Psycho-Babble Social Thread 394020

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It's not ratting out Dinah

Posted by saw on September 23, 2004, at 8:43:52

In reply to I'm going to rat out my parents. Any thoughts?, posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 7:18:32

You are not ratting out on them. You love them. You are concerned and scared for them and the rest of your family and you want to do the very best for them. They are lucky to have you, though I am sure they know that. It is very clear that you will only do what is best and that you are doing it out of love. Please try not to feel guilty. I am sure I would do the same under your circumstances.

I am so sorry you and your son are going through this. Please look after yourself Dinah and give yourself and your son a hug from all of us.

Take care


Re: I'm going to rat out my parents. Any thoughts? Dinah

Posted by partlycloudy on September 23, 2004, at 8:43:57

In reply to I'm going to rat out my parents. Any thoughts?, posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 7:18:32

I think your speaking to your parents' physicians is the best thing you can do, in addition to contacting home health. He would not otherwise have any knowledge of their behaviours. I suspect that many geriatric patients are too embarassed to confide all their symptoms to their doctors, escpecially if it will reveal any kind of frailty. You're their best advocate.
and here's a hug from me


Re: I'm going to rat out my parents. Any thoughts? Dinah

Posted by Lou Pilder on September 23, 2004, at 8:44:41

In reply to I'm going to rat out my parents. Any thoughts?, posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 7:18:32

You wrote,[...any thoughts...].
First, let me say that the situation that you are describing in the house causes me to be greatly concerned about you, for there is so much in your parents situation for one person to handle.
I am aquainted with this type of situation when you referr to the path left from the stacking of things in the house.
If I could make some type of contribution to what you are asking, it would be this:
I had this situation, almost like what you are describing and the friends of the family brought in a huge dumpster and removed evrything. The reason I am bringing this up is that by them doing that, a greater problem arose. You see, they did not understand the hording and the horder went into great agony because of the items removed. This removal of the items ,such as a towel, was not understood by the removers for the hoarder kept the towel as to have something to do with her mother and this caused some severe problems. I know that you know about this situation, but others may not.After all was removed, then the removers had to learn about OCD in relation to hoarding. It is not that simple to just call in a dumpster and have people throw out the piles of whatever and I belive that yuou are aware of that. My concern here is how can you handle this situation by yourself,and you wrote that [ are going to call the primary...]which could be a good thing to do, but does the primary physition know about OCD in relation to hoarding?


Which priority is higher? Dinah

Posted by bobby on September 23, 2004, at 9:32:00

In reply to I'm going to rat out my parents. Any thoughts?, posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 7:18:32

Their pride or their health and safety? There comes a time when the old must hand over the reigns to the young. They did it with there parent(i assume), you must do it with them and one day your son will do it. It's not an easy transfer and i don't envy you Dinah but don't forget to take good care of yourself!
your fan,


Revealing family secrets

Posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 9:48:22

In reply to Which priority is higher? Dinah, posted by bobby on September 23, 2004, at 9:32:00

With your encouragement, I put in a call to their doctor. It isn't easy to reveal these things I've been conditioned from childhood to conceal. Because it's always been a problem. It's just gotten steadily worse since I moved out until I now really think it affects their health. I don't know if he'll think it's a problem, but at least I'll know that he knows.

But on some level it is so very scary to *tell*. We're all terrified of my mother. My father, all of us. And growing up seeing my father scared of crossing my mother's will and unable to do anything about any of her behaviors made it some sort of enormous monster in our house. Not only the results of what I know on some level is a mental illness on her part, but the secrecy surrounding it. For example, when I used to live there, the hoarding was confined to nonpublic areas. I took pictures once to show my therapist.

I can't help but think she's going to wreak some horrible justice on me for telling.


Re: I'm going to rat out my parents. Any thoughts? Lou Pilder

Posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 9:51:18

In reply to Re: I'm going to rat out my parents. Any thoughts? Dinah, posted by Lou Pilder on September 23, 2004, at 8:44:41

Lou, I do understand that. At least on some level. My therapist works with me to see it as a variation of the OCD I have. It's harder to see because she doesn't *show* anxiety, but I understand it's there. I thank you for your sensitivity. And I will be as sensitive as I can with her.


Re: Revealing family secrets Dinah

Posted by Emme on September 23, 2004, at 16:07:13

In reply to Revealing family secrets, posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 9:48:22

I think you've done the right thing. When such a problem becomes a health hazard, it's definitely time to get the word out - too big a problem for you to have to worry about on your own. It also sounds very hard b/c you don't yet know what the fallout will be for you. Let us know how it goes. We're rooting for you. (((Dinah)))


Re: More bad news

Posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 16:32:38

In reply to Re: Revealing family secrets Dinah, posted by Emme on September 23, 2004, at 16:07:13

I heard from the doctor, and let him know. I'm not sure how much good it will do. He did say that he'd have a consult for her for depression and for the hoarding behavior and maybe try to get her on meds.

Then he told me she was probably going to have her entire leg removed below the knee and would be in the hospital for weeks and weeks, then in a wheelchair, then eventually fitted with a prosthesis. And that while she was in the hospital we should remove the stacks of newspaper and clear the place out and tell her that it was necessary because of her wheelchair. He didn't seem impressed by our fear of doing that, and our fear of her. But I can't imagine doing that. :(

My understanding is that her surgeon is more hopeful about amputation. I hope that's true. Hard to say what's true filtered through my mom. I don't know what they're going to do, poor parents of mine. How can two frail and wheelchair bound people live alone? I really do realize that however difficult this is for me, it is immeasurably more difficult for my stubborn and independent parents.

I contacted the home health agencies but now my father's backed out of his promise to get someone and is saying he'll die alone in the house before he has home health care. And he is perfectly capable of driving away anyone who would agree to work there, if I don't have his cooperation.

And I'm scared of both of these people. The idea of going against their very strongly stated opinions is so far against anything I've ever done that it is absolutely incomprehensible to me.

I think I'll move to Australia. :(

The only good thing is that I made an appointment with a geriatric social worker for counseling for me and what I can realistically do for my parents. It's not for two weeks, but maybe that's almost good as I should have a good idea what's going to happen to my mom by then.

I'll see if I can call their family and friends to talk sense into them. And my brother is coming to town friday. Of course, he's not going to go against their wishes any more than I am. My parents are scary!


Re: More bad news Dinah

Posted by Poet on September 23, 2004, at 18:46:38

In reply to Re: More bad news, posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 16:32:38

Hi Dinah,

Think of talking to the doctor as tough love. Your parents need it.

I think clearing out the newspaper and other clutter now is far better than later. My late mother-in-law was a hoarder, not to the extreme your mother seems to be, but pretty bad. The sad thing about hoarders is eventually someone has to go through their stuff and deal with it. We went through my mother-in-laws stuff because my father-in-law couldn't do it. It's hard, but, Dinah, someone has to do it. If your brother doesn't understand why, he needs to carefully look at how your parents are living and ask himself if its really to their benefit.

I'm sending a giant can of parent monster spray via cyber space. Use it as air freshener.

Let us know what the doc says after he talks to your mother.



*you* need support Dinah

Posted by octopusprime on September 23, 2004, at 20:06:59

In reply to Re: More bad news, posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 16:32:38


dinah call your T and schedule extra sessions. you will need all the support you can get!

have you talked to your hubby and your brother. you will need your whole family to support you. i know you are having a tough time, this makes it extra rough! but so important to have your sib and your hubby on your side.

have you investigated long term care facilities for your parents. maybe you should prepare a list. talk to the geriatric counselor, and consider starting to bounce this idea off your parents *now*. i know it is scary. but they need to start thinking about it if they haven't already.

wills, power of attorney forms, living wills. has this all been arranged? have you decided when your parents will and won't be rescusitated (sp)?

((dinah)) this is so tough, especially when you are not feeling well and your pups are not well. you need extra love and support darling! please get it however you can (hubby, T, etc)

thinking positive thoughts...


Re: More bad news Dinah

Posted by gardenergirl on September 23, 2004, at 20:07:32

In reply to Re: More bad news, posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 16:32:38

I'm so glad you made that appt. with the geriatric social worker. Hopefully he or she will be able to provide some valuable resources. In my city, there is the Council on Aging, which is kind of the gateway to many different agencies and programs for older adults. I'm so glad you will be getting access to help.

I didn't read the entire thread, so if this has already come up, I apologize. You know, you may want to consider letting Adult Protective Services or whatever the equivalent agency is in your area step in. They can do an assessment and make recommendations which might take some of the "blame" off of you. Perhaps your parents will still be very angry, but it might give you a buffer zone. Sometimes the rehab therapists can play this role of "bad guy" as well.

I imagine this must be so difficult on so very many levels. It is not easy at all to become and sustain being a caregiver for parents. The dynamics, even in emotionally healthy families are complex. It sounds like this is triggering for you, and who needs that? I know my time with my mom was "toxic", but I kept telling myself "that's what families do." But you know? Not all families do that. And you have to do what's best for you and your own family first.

Oh dinah, I wish I could somehow make this burden lighter. It's so sad and heavy at times. I hope you are able to find a few minutes or more each day for dinah time. You deserve it, and need it now more than ever.



PS Dinah

Posted by gardenergirl on September 23, 2004, at 20:12:11

In reply to Re: More bad news Dinah, posted by gardenergirl on September 23, 2004, at 20:07:32

By the way, Geropsych is my speciality area, so please feel free to email me with anything...questions, concerns, rants, etc. I know the caregiving from the giver end, from therapy with clients and caregivers, and from theory. I'm no expert, but I do have some knowledge and resources that might help.

(That's me trying to practice selling my skills...probably need to work on the "I'm no expert" part) But I do mean it sincerely.

gardenergirl 88 at yahoo dot com




Re: More bad news

Posted by fayeroe on September 23, 2004, at 21:03:54

In reply to Re: More bad news, posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 16:32:38

Dinah, where I live, the physician would call in the adult protective services for you. Do you think that he might do that? Perhaps if you approached him about that, it might help you. I also work with geriatric patients and am dealing with a wife/mother now that is an absolute terror. Everyone in the family is scared to death of her. Her husband is dying and she's busy cooking up ideas concerning her other family members. She's very heavy duty! So, that said, I know what you're going through. Please know that there are services that can help with this and do ask the physician if he would make that one call. Frequently, an older patient is much more responsive to a social worker/health worker than a family member. It is sometimes easier for them to "give way", when it is an impartial person that is there to help them. Good luck and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


Re: More bad news

Posted by daisym on September 24, 2004, at 2:09:07

In reply to Re: More bad news, posted by fayeroe on September 23, 2004, at 21:03:54


Families are complex and old feelings remain difficult, even at our age. I think you should call in Merry Maids and get them to clear everything out. It is the most healthy thing you could do. Because even if she doesn't come home in a wheel chair, she needs it to be sterile to heal.

I do want to remind you that there is a dementia that can show up for diabetics, especially when an infection is present. This makes them even more irritable and less able to make decisions grounded in reality. (I hope I'm not remembering this wrong, as far a who has diabetes.)

I can only imagine how hard this is. Take care of yourself too.


Re: More bad news

Posted by mair on September 24, 2004, at 13:08:44

In reply to Re: More bad news, posted by daisym on September 24, 2004, at 2:09:07


I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time. Diabetes has immobilized my father as well and he is big and difficult to move. Everytime he lands in the hospital, he usually has to go to a convelescent place before he can come home, just to rehab sufficiently for him to be able to lift his weight up out of a chair, because he's certainly too heavy for any one person to lift. After that he needs either a wheelchair or a walker to move around the house.

Dealing with him puts a great deal of mental and physical strain on my step mother who has a whole host of her own problems. During one particularly long stint in rehab, she told me she didn't want him home unless he agreed to certain conditions like going to adult day care a couple of times a week to give her a break, and not trying to do certain things that he really wasn't capable of doing. With our help, the social worker at the rehab place drew up a contract that my Dad had to sign as a condition of going home. It seemed to work.

I think someone here suggested that you may be able to enlist the help of a physical therapist, or someone like that. If your mother does need the amputation, chances are she'll end up in a rehab place for awhile before she can go home. I would try to get the phys.therapist to require the removal of the stuff as a condition to her leaving. It sounds like Pt would agree to it as being necessary anyway.

I'm inclined to think that trying to get her to agree to this on her own, or trying to address the problem after she's gotten home, will get you nowhere.


PS: I'm so much more fortunate than you in that my father is enough of a narcisist to love having any number of people hovering over him. As far as he's concerned, the more phys therapists and home health nurses who come by the house, the better.


Two words (((Dinah))) irrational fear

Posted by 64bowtie on September 24, 2004, at 19:22:52

In reply to Revealing family secrets, posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 9:48:22


You know by now I care toooo much to be hurtful toward you. So whatever I might say here is my attempt to be helpful and constructive. I have known folks who were "path people" hoarders over the past 30 years. This includes, much to my "blushing" embarrasment, a gal friend (long ago in college). She claimed storage companies were just a rip-off, and she needed stuff from time to time. I outgrew her excuses, and her.

For anyone naive to the problem, this is not clutter!!! Clutter can probably be cleaned up in a couple of hours.

Story 1. A friend of mine told me his odessy day by day as it unfolded. He helped clean up for a reclusive elderly lady who had a four unit apartment complex, living in one unit. She had passed away amongst her stacks of precious clutter and for three weeks, her cats "got hungry". There were some cats that had died from disease or starvation long before amongst the stacks of stuff. A couple had been crushed when stacks fell on them.

It took four roll-off style dumpsters to collect all the stuff from the four apartments. They found $8,000 in cash and $30,000 in uncashed checks amongst the "C L U T T E R". The newspaper interviewed the relatives who unanimously related that this lady had an IRRATIONAL FEAR of being "without", so she kept EVERYTHING!

The clean-up lasted two weeks. My friend almost became OCD himself feeling he couldn't ever take enough showers to be clean again. He had been a Marine Master Sargeant in Viet Nam, so he adapted, improvised and overcame.

Story 2. I have a friend I look in on a couple of times each week, who sometimes can't get to his front door through the cluttered stacks and duplicate furniture pieces. He had a stroke recently that has left his tear duct glands not functioning. He claimed he needed $4 for eye drops (he's a chronic gambler). I found 3 eye dropper bottles on the floor in his kitchen amongs papers and un-openned mail under his kitchen table.

Will he go blind before he changes his ways? I hope not, but probably. He is 82 and an ex-fighter pilot from World War 2. We all admire him in many ways. He didn't start hoarding till 10 years ago. Now he can't manage and will surely die amongst his "STUFF". I hope not, but fear so!

(((Dinah))), none of what I said here is for entertainment. This is "Blood and Guts". No matter how tyrannical your Mom may appear to you all, the local health department can set her straight without you fearing reprisal. You will be praised by all for being "sturdy"; as sturdy to your family as you appear to us herein. Trust me. Its not as if you are trying to steal inheritance money by selling off her precious "gems". You'll be helping your Dad with his quality of life, a little.



Re: I'm going to rat out my parents. Any thoughts? Dinah

Posted by TexasChic on September 24, 2004, at 19:31:08

In reply to I'm going to rat out my parents. Any thoughts?, posted by Dinah on September 23, 2004, at 7:18:32

I was my Grandmother's caregiver for 7 years. I just recently moved out and now my Mom takes care of her. I found the Social Worker to be the absolute best person to go to. They know all the ins and outs of the system and can get you the help you need.

As for feeling guilty, there were things I felt guilty about because my Grandmother didn't want to do them (like go to the hospital when she was extremely ill). But I realized, if she was dementia and illness free, she would want these things done. For some reason it made me feel better to think of her spirit after she moves on, with no more illness to cloud her mind, and how she would see what I did was for her benefit. And she be grateful.

I think of my deceased Dad that way too, not like he was, but how he would be in spirit, out of the body that made him mentally ill.

I know if I got so extremely ill that I could no longer make rational decisions, I would hope someone would do what was best for me, rather than leave me to do harm to myself.


Re: Another thought

Posted by TexasChic on September 24, 2004, at 20:19:53

In reply to Re: I'm going to rat out my parents. Any thoughts? Dinah, posted by TexasChic on September 24, 2004, at 19:31:08

I also have a problem with hoarding. It hasn't progressed to severe, but I realized the extent of it when I moved out and I had to deal with bags and bags of bills dating back several years. This had been going on for a while and I knew it was a problem, but when I had to let my Mom sort through it and throw stuff away, I KNEW it was bad. I cried and screamed and threw a fit, but in the end, I think its the only way it would have gotten done. If you're interested, there is a story of famous brothers who were hoarders named Homer and Langley Collyer. If you google them, its pretty interesting, but kind of gruesome. They actually died because of it. I don't know if that's something good or bad for you to read in your current situation, but when I read it, it made me realize what a serious problem it was, while at the same time making me feel better because I wasn't that bad! It also shows how dangerous it can be in the extreme. But don't read it if you think it will upset you.


I'm so ashamed

Posted by Dinah on September 25, 2004, at 22:52:46

In reply to Re: Another thought, posted by TexasChic on September 24, 2004, at 20:19:53

Because I really can't do any of these really great ideas. If the doctor doesn't do anything with the information, things aren't likely to change.

My father and I were talking about it, and we just can't see any way to make it work without involving government officials. Even if we mustered the courage to throw out *just* the newspapers and magazines (and we'd never manage to get up the nerve to throw anything else away) and cancel the paper, my mother would just order the local paper herself, and maybe add the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal and buy out Publishers Clearing House entire line. I *know* that OCD is a disease, but with her it seems more like a battle she's willing to fight to win at all costs. Like everything else in her life. She maintained the same stubbornness at work and got fired. Her desire to win at all costs has affected her relationships. And she never realizes that winning the battles causes her to lose the war.

Nor can I hire a health worker for my dad against his will. He'd manage to drive off anyone I found, even if I got the courage to do anything about it, which I won't because I'm a spineless worm.

I'm so ashamed to admit that there is no way on earth that I'm going to do anything about anything other than reluctantly and half heartedly obey some of their commands, while hiding from the others.


Re: I'm so ashamed Dinah

Posted by Susan47 on September 25, 2004, at 23:15:55

In reply to I'm so ashamed, posted by Dinah on September 25, 2004, at 22:52:46

You're not a "spineless worm", love. You're doing everything you can to help your parents, who are difficult people and have had a lot of power over you in the past. Your road isn't easy, and I can see where mine will lead me in exactly the same direction when my own very stubborn, independent, authoritative and intimidating parents need help and won't admit it. I'm probably reading too much into it all, but I'm watching your thread with great interest, in anticipation of the time when I'll be in your shoes. Take heart. You're doing all a person can do.


Re: I'm so ashamed Dinah

Posted by gardenergirl on September 25, 2004, at 23:24:13

In reply to I'm so ashamed, posted by Dinah on September 25, 2004, at 22:52:46

You are in a terrible tough situation. I'm so sorry you are caught up in this.




Oh my. Susan47

Posted by Dinah on September 26, 2004, at 0:43:09

In reply to Re: I'm so ashamed Dinah, posted by Susan47 on September 25, 2004, at 23:15:55

I'm dreadfully sorry. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. :(

I keep trying to remind myself over and over that it's worse for them. I'm not the one stuck in the wheelchair and dependent on others for my basic needs. And I'm not the one faced with at the least losing a part of a foot. Not to mention everything else.

But it doesn't seem to be working. :(

Risperdal helps some though.


Thanks gardenergirl

Posted by Dinah on September 26, 2004, at 0:48:30

In reply to Re: I'm so ashamed Dinah, posted by gardenergirl on September 25, 2004, at 23:24:13

My mom's surgery is Monday. At least after that, I'll know exactly what I'm facing. Her surgeon seems to be way more optimistic than her internist.

On the positive side, my brother seems to be in fine spirits. It's good to see him looking fit and happy enough.

Oh, and another positive, Harry seems to feel much better now that I've added a steroid to his drug cocktail and reinstated the Metamucil. His tail is up and wagging again.


Hmmm.. Unexpected Babble benefit

Posted by Dinah on September 26, 2004, at 0:59:49

In reply to Thanks gardenergirl, posted by Dinah on September 26, 2004, at 0:48:30

I get embarassed at the unrelenting blackness of my own thoughts when I start to write them down and am embarassed into thinking more positively.

That worked with my pdoc once. I called him with suicidal impulses when my therapist was unavailable, and the act of sharing the thoughts with him was so unbelievably embarassing that the thoughts just went away.


Re: Hmmm.. Unexpected Babble benefit Dinah

Posted by crazymaisie on September 26, 2004, at 5:02:24

In reply to Hmmm.. Unexpected Babble benefit, posted by Dinah on September 26, 2004, at 0:59:49

hi Dinah

i'm sorry you're going through all this, it sounds more stressful than i could bear.
i know this is really tough for you, but it sounds as though you're carrying so much guilt on your shoulders. i think the only thing i really wanted to say is that your parents have to make these decisions for themselves and while you can help and advise them and maybe see things a bit more clearly from the outskirts (isn't it always so much clearer from the outside) their choices are their own. and i think you should absolve yourself from as much guilt and resposibility as you can. they are adults, after all, and as long as they are capable of making decisions by themselves there's only so much you can do.

i hope this makes sense and i hope you can be as kind to yourself in all this as can be. it's difficult to watch people you care about do something that seems so obviously to be the wrong thing, but sometimes you have to just do that, watch them do it if they insist upon it against all advice.

i hope this doesn't sound too cold. i'm speaking as someone who has removed my parents from my life because they are too toxic, and that's not a road i would recommend to anybody, but i do believe that sometimes you have to just let go. you're already a much better daughter than i am by being there and caring for and about them.

be good to yourself


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