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Feisty Folder

Talking in circles

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I just needed to post this someplace where I thought someone might understand


My mom's been sick for a week- her sense of time has been completely obliterated- from day one she's been saying she's been sick forever- she'll take medication then 30 seconds later say "I took meds but don't feel any better". She's been resisting eating, drinking and taking her pills- mostly out of fear of barfing again. Several times a day my dad will call me in frustration saying he can't handle the frustration any more- then put me on the phone with her and we spend an hour or more talking in circles. Yesterday went like this

Mom- I don't feel good

Fiesty- I know and I'm sorry but I think you'll feel better if you drink something

M- but I already drank lots

F- I know it feels that way but dad says you only drank one glass today

M- but I drank everything and still hurt

F- and I know and I'm sorry and it's not fair but you need to eat or drink something- would you rather have ice cream or juice?

M- I've been a good girl and done what I'm told but I'm still sick

F- I know and I'm sorry but you need to have something- would you rather have ice cream or juice?



After ten minutes of this- and a few times where she was so upset with me she stopped talking for a bit- she said she'd eat ice cream if dad brought it to her- it then took me another ten minutes to talk my way onto the phone with dad to tell him she was willing to eat ice cream


After all that she ate half a scoop


I'm not even frustrated- I'm just sad and feeling kind of beaten- and I needed to talk to someone who might be able to understand. I'm just looking to be heard.


So thanks for listening



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Dear, sweet Feisty,


You are an excellent "active" listener, ensuring you've heard what your mom said each time, and letting her know you're feeling with her when you say that you're sorry.  :-)  It's actually very touching to read your responses to her in the conversation (and so cute that she said she's been a good girl and done what she was supposed to).  :-)


The conversations that get us nowhere are so, so hard.  My mom got that way as she began showing signs of Alzheimer's.  These kinds of  conversations feel so futile, don't they.


Have you read anything on line that might help give some suggestions on how to handle this sort of thing?


I just went on "Caring.com" and found some posts back and forth between a caregiver (to her mother-in-law who has Alzheimer's) and an expert and a couple of fellow caregivers.  They were so heart-felt that I thought you might be as touched by them as I was...  https://www.caring.com/questions/take-her-medicine.

Edited by Linda Garren

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Oh that's hard, and heartbreaking.  It's so hard to be on the phone in those circumstances.  I'm sorry she's not doing well, and know how worrying and frustrating it is.


One small suggestion, I don't know the circumstances, if your mom is still 'with it' or not.  When my dad was dying, his cancer had moved to the brain, so chiding him to eat was not working.  I spent a lot of time washing extra dishes because one thing that helped was bringing in 2 very small dishes of gelato and sitting with him, and eating my dish.  After a half hour I would remove the dish with a cheery 'well, this doesn't look very good..'  and an hour later, bring in 2 small bowls of ice cream.  When we're sick, it's hard to eat oftentimes.  So a small dish doesn't trigger the 'YUK' factor that a big one does.  With my mom, I would also bring one small dish, and lovingly tell her she needed to eat this, and that I knew it was hard.  But she had emphysema, and was sharp as a tack.  Same problem, but from different ends of the spectrum.  Small amounts help, the big glass of liquid is overwhelming and takes soooo much effort to get down.

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I was just reading how fragrances are strong connections to memories and that food inspired scents are being used to cue dementia patients to eat.  Maybe a food scented candle or spray would help.  I don't know what your mom's illness is so maybe this wouldn't help in her situation but thought I'd throw it out there in case. 

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