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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Default "Secretive" parents when it comes to hospitalization/medical

    I strongly suspect that my mom is back in the hospital at this very moment but wouldn't tell me when I called 2 hours ago.

    I talk to my mom daily, multiple times. ESPECIALLY right now because she was hospitalized back in early August and damn near died due to complications from a-fib (CHF). She didn't tell me THEN that she was in the hospital til she'd been there 2 days, then needed me to come home and take care of her. I was there for almost 2 weeks and she still hasn't had the cardioversion to right her a-fib so it's an ongoing concern.

    Then a few weeks ago on her bday no less, she was hospitalized again for a stroke. Didn't tell me because I was out in DC for my husband's swearing in ceremony. Only reason I found out I think is because I had sent her flowers for her bday and they called to tell me they had successfully found Mom at the hospital and delivered there instead of the house.

    I called her today when I was taking a break from packing my office and she sounded kind of...sneaky. Let me go really quickly and said she'd call me back in a few minutes. This is how she acts when she's at the doctor's office (not today because it's Sunday) or how she acts when she's back in the hospital.

    Maybe everything is fine. But ultimately, it drives me batty that she doesn't just tell me what's going on right away instead of trying to "protect" me because I'm busy/in the middle of stuff/whatever.

    And I'm her medical POA, financial POA, and the only family member involved in her medical stuff. Yes, I'm 700 miles away, but my one brother is in Germany and my other brother in town is pretty hands off.

    I keep telling her that I NEED to know what's up, that no matter what I have going on here, she is my mother and is a priority.

    My dog just had emergency surgery this last week, I'm in the process of moving to DC in the next few days and DO have a lot going on. So based on that plus her previous history...I think she's back in the damned hospital and isn't telling me.

    Anyone else deal with this? And anyone else find a way to get their aging parents to just be up front? I am not histrionic about this stuff, it's not like I react poorly. I just want to know what's up.

    If she needs me home, I'd rather head THAT way than to DC in two days.

    She just has a tendency not to let me know what's up til it's really serious.

    Again...maybe I'm totally overreacting and she was just out at the barn or out with friends for lunch. But normally, she just tells me what she's doing and that she'll call back.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2010
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    Where humidity isn't just a word, it's a way of life.
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    Default

    From your posts I've gotten the impression that you are a very strong, independent person who thinks about others more than yourself (dealing with the stepkids, etc.), and who would be uncomfortable disrupting your friends/family with something you felt you had under control, especially if you knew they were dealing with their own stuff at the moment.

    I think I now see where you got it.

    That said, it doesn't make it easy to deal with when you're the one on the "wondering" side.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 12, 2008
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    4,068

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    My step-mom didn't tell her daughter when she had a hysterectomy. Her daughter didn't find out until a long time later. Why? Because she didn't want to bother the daughter. I knew because my dad told me to visit her in the hospital, but I guess no one thought to call her.

    No one told her when my dad had a heart attack, either. She was away at college at the time.

    She's just out of the loop! I am thinking your mom is just thinking she's trying to not add to your plate. She is trying, in her own way, to be considerate.

    My aging mom, on the other hand, was a bit perturbed that I didn't go visit her in the hospital while I was on orders, getting ready to deploy. She lives an hour north and the hospital was an additional hour north.

    She was also irritated that she had a surgery and I didn't know about it because the last conversation we had, she said she was talking to the doctor about whether or not she was going to have it and I told her to let me know. Apparently, I should have called and asked, which would have been nice of me, but I thought she was going to tell me how the doctor appointment went.

    She also accused my brother of purposely calling her when he knew she wouldn't be home, for Mother's Day. This, instead of just being happy her son called her.

    Sometimes, you just cannot win with parents.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 17, 2003
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    AridZona
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    Default

    She probably doesn't want you to worry. Does she have a nosy neighbor and/or friends you could call and ask/enlist in keeping you in the loop?
    Delicious strawberry flavored death!



  5. #5
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    Mar. 17, 2003
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    North Texas, US
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    Default

    If you're her Medical POA, couldn't something be put in her records that you are to be notified...either at the hospital or the Dr.'s office?
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2008
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    Gillett PA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cyriz's mom View Post
    If you're her Medical POA, couldn't something be put in her records that you are to be notified...either at the hospital or the Dr.'s office?
    This.

    Your mom probably knows you are under strain of moving etc and doesn't want to be a bother....does she realize it would be much worse on you if she didn't tell you what's going on.

    Ughhhh elderly independent parents



  7. #7
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    Dec. 21, 2008
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    Missouri
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    Default

    My parents have always told us "after the fact" when something medical was going on. Being 2,000 miles away made that easy for them. Even when we knew my dad was near death she always down played it. My mom has always said she didn't want to be a burden to her children and I bet that is your mom's thinking too. My mom lives in our town since my dad died so she can't escape me now.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Default

    Ah ha ha! You caught me. And you make a really good point. Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonoverMississippi View Post
    From your posts I've gotten the impression that you are a very strong, independent person who thinks about others more than yourself (dealing with the stepkids, etc.), and who would be uncomfortable disrupting your friends/family with something you felt you had under control, especially if you knew they were dealing with their own stuff at the moment.

    I think I now see where you got it.

    That said, it doesn't make it easy to deal with when you're the one on the "wondering" side.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Default

    I just want her to tell me BEFORE things are out of hand instead of after the fact when I have very little time to react. I feel like mom has really learned how to advocate more for herself since her hospitalization in August and related complications due to flat out incompetence by the nursing staff. (giving her both her alpha and beta blockers at the same time causing her to bottom out.)

    The visiting nurse didn't even know what some of her meds were and they're not new. They're very standard!

    I am very very happy with the CHF clinic at the hospital as far as their patient education. VERY pleased. But my mom is very cowed by Dr's and isn't in the habit of asking questions because she feels intimidated. AGain, getting better. To the point that when her BP was up a few weeks ago, the day she learned she was losing her job, and the cardiologist wanted to up her BP, she called me and asked if it was okay to take her journal in and SHOW him that her BP had been fine and didn't want to up the meds. Smart!

    I am SO proud of what she's been doing to better her medical situation. I just need her to keep me in the loop so I have a fighting chance at staying on top of it too.

    I have not found a doc yet who will notify me without her asking unless she were to arrive unconscious. Otherwise, they tell me that she has to request that they make the call.

    Anyway....ring ring ring. Calling her again. I really HOPE she's just out at the barn enjoying a beautiful fall day.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  10. #10
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    Feb. 11, 2010
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    S. Calif.
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    Default

    Call the hospital switchboard and ask for her. They will either connect you and ring the phone in her room (or the nursing station) or tell you that she is not there.

    This will of course only help for the short term and doesn't solve the underlying problem of her not telling you.



  11. #11
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    VA
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    Default

    Thank you. I have called a couple of times, but they don't always get people in the system very well til they are fully admitted. If she's down in the ER or they haven't registered her yet, she isn't likely to be in the system anyway.

    I am going to wait another 30 min or so then call my brother or a friend of mom's and ask them to drive over to her house and check.

    I don't want to be all up in her business, but I really need to know she's okay.

    It's not like her to not return calls.

    Quote Originally Posted by Macimage View Post
    Call the hospital switchboard and ask for her. They will either connect you and ring the phone in her room (or the nursing station) or tell you that she is not there.

    This will of course only help for the short term and doesn't solve the underlying problem of her not telling you.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  12. #12
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    Jan. 26, 2010
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    I don't necessarily have the medical issue, but, yeah, know it well. It's been years of digging to find out the nightmare of finances with my mom and her hiding it and lying to everyone. I wish I had access to her doctors to ask what they think about the bruises and if she should be driving on the freeway every day.

    Your mom may just be hiding to keep her independence and pride. I know my mom is doing the same thing, but she's also very embarrassed at the huge mess she's put herself in and is completely manipulated by a sibling.

    A few of us are sort of taking turns keeping at her and letting her know we already know everything, so there's no point in lying. And we just hope that we make progress that way before something even worse happens.

    When the pit bull my step father insists on keeping that has already killed killed the cat in front of them and my frail mother tried to pull it off, she didn't tell us, and that was a long line of things like that. I told her she HAS to tell us no matter what.



  13. #13
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    May. 12, 2008
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    I just want her to tell me BEFORE things are out of hand instead of after the fact when I have very little time to react.

    I have not found a doc yet who will notify me without her asking unless she were to arrive unconscious. Otherwise, they tell me that she has to request that they make the call.
    I completely agree with the first sentiment! Interesting to the other statement, I found out my mom was in the hospital last time because there were some minor complications and she apparently put me down as emergency contact. I got a call from the doctor, who ended up leaving a message because it was late (11pm) and I didn't recognize the number (or know she was having her surgery that day). She ended up in the hospital for a week.



  14. #14
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    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Oh, that's the other thing....I feel for you. My middle brother and I have spent a lot of money bailing out the mortgage, me to my own detriment. What has made that easier for me is that I'm simply not in a position to throw money at problems anymore.

    But when I went home in August after her hospitalization, I was appalled at the living conditions. It was not quite hoarders worthy TV, but close. To the point I had to actually leave, take a drive, and calm down. I fixed plumbing, the ceiling was falling down in the bathroom due to the roof issues, it was obvious no one had gone to the basement to do laundry in a long time because I needed a broom to clear the spider webs. Not cob webs. I had actual spiders crawling on me and thought I was going to have to OD on xanax to avoid a panic attack.

    It was gross. I never even went to the second floor for fear of what I'd find as I just didn't have the time or money to fix. Made me so sad to know my mom was living in that.

    However, since then, since taking more control of her diet, exercise, and medical stuff, she has gotten someone out to fix the roof, fix the bathroom, etc. I am REALLY proud of her.

    Left message for brother and a friend of mom's.

    I know it seems silly, but a few years ago, I called and caught her in the middle of a TIA. She was very disoriented. So I take this not answering the phone very seriously because she almost always DOES answer. Unless something is wrong.


    Quote Originally Posted by Beentheredonethat View Post
    I don't necessarily have the medical issue, but, yeah, know it well. It's been years of digging to find out the nightmare of finances with my mom and her hiding it and lying to everyone. I wish I had access to her doctors to ask what they think about the bruises and if she should be driving on the freeway every day.

    Your mom may just be hiding to keep her independence and pride. I know my mom is doing the same thing, but she's also very embarrassed at the huge mess she's put herself in and is completely manipulated by a sibling.

    A few of us are sort of taking turns keeping at her and letting her know we already know everything, so there's no point in lying. And we just hope that we make progress that way before something even worse happens.

    When the pit bull my step father insists on keeping that has already killed killed the cat in front of them and my frail mother tried to pull it off, she didn't tell us, and that was a long line of things like that. I told her she HAS to tell us no matter what.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  15. #15
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    Jan. 26, 2010
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    What's a TIA?

    Yeah. Mine was similar to yours. I've been going over there doing some brutal, disgusting cleaning for years, paying to get things done, forcing them into a reverse mortgage so they could get a roof on the house so it doesn't rot away and get it painted . . .

    The secretiveness made it necessary for me to pry into finances in a way that makes me sick. It was the only way I could prevent complete disaster and figure out what was going wrong. The last message I got from my mom was yelling at me how dare I do that. (Well, yelling for her.) I guess that she can get mad now is a good sign. She said how dare I go into her finances and how would I feel if she did it to me. I would EXPECT if she cared about me at ALL and saw me clearly living in substandard conditions and having major problems, that she WOULD do that. We haven't had that conversation yet. I'm trying not to have a heart attack.

    This stuff is not fun.



  16. #16
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    Feb. 14, 2000
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    San Diego, CA
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    It's frustrating, certainly - like the time the nursing home called me to tell me that Mom was having trouble, because they couldn't reach Dad (who was himself in the ER). And me 3000 miles away. sigh.

    But what, really, can you do when they're adamant about living their own lives?

    Mind you, this is the same man who only turns on his cellphone (that *I* provided) for my weekly call, but half of the time forgets even to do that. aargh.



  17. #17
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    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    When my mother and brother's bank accounts were frozen by the IRS a few years ago due to non payment of taxes and I was 12k miles away, I came up with the 20k to fix it.

    But I said then that I wasn't doing it again and that I was going to take over the finances if it happened again. That's when I got the POA on the money. Technically I can get access to whatever now. I have chosen not to because I really don't want to. But I can. And I will if I need to.

    As for the medical...good gravy.

    Guess what? She's home and says she's okay. She's still acting sketchy so I'll keep following up.

    But what a relief. I just want all of my people to be okay dangit. This heart condition is really a problem. I worry all the danged time.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  18. #18
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    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    BeenTHere--a TIA is a kind of "mini stroke". Trans ischemic attack.

    Small clot usually in the brain that resolves. sometimes there is long term damage, often times not. My mom has been in the hospital for them twice, but it appears that since the first, she's had at least 5 more before this last one
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  19. #19
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    Feb. 28, 2006
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    The rocky part of KY
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    Oh yes. My mom and her partner are exactly like that. Last summer things went pear shaped fast, her partner was in the hospital for a colostomy and I kept getting oh, don't worry you're coming for a visit in a couple of weeks it'll all be fine, finally the doctor called me, they were getting ready to make the decision to put her partner on lifesupport as there'd been a drastic change for the worse and I got a flight out to there the next day. BTW if that ever happens it's cheaper to change your roundtrip rather than get a one way and try to use the round trip to come home on, they won't let you. I was just too flustered to think straight and it cost a lot.

    I went home after a month, with partner in vent dependent limbo and FMLA running out and found that I was better off spying on my mother's email than trying to get a straight answer from her. The family has enough money I was able to hire an advocate to keep track of Mom and her partner and make sure they were cared for properly. I don't know what I would have done otherwise, Mom is about as stubborn as they come especially as far as letting go of her financial control - she'd happily sit there with her friends writing checks for all kinds of things but let me talk about paying her gas bill online for her and she threw a fit. The advocate did the stuff Mom didn't want to do, like talk to people she couldn't hear on the phone and fill out the piles of paper. Mom is already quite disabled from MS and needs her own caregiver, she most certainly can't muster up the energy to be interviewing a live-in nurse, it takes so much out of her to do even simple things like go out to eat, too much and then it precipitates a flare and she gets just that much worse.

    Mind you, when she was 40 something she had an emergency appendectomy and never said a thing to me - I was living a couple hours away and she just never brought it up.

    I don't really advocate spying but if you can get a trusted friend to check in and keep you abreast of what is really happening it is very helpful. The advocate was someone already involved with my family and I trusted her, she also had more time in her life to dedicate to the complicated things going on, unlike our family friends who have their own families to deal with and don't have eight hours in a day to devote to friends' medical issues.

    I am at least able to say that the house is well kept up and the partner was very organized so keeping track of things was easy, but I was thankful to God that the partner has made a good recovery and things are under control. I still don't trust that I am going to "be bothered" as much as I should be though.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  20. #20
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    Sep. 29, 2009
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    My dad died last June. He kept his health a secret, and alot of his life, but aparently the whole doctor community and his "friends" down there did. He was a very BAD gambling addict. Yeah, I know this is not bad (these days) HA, it is. It is just as bad as any other addiction. Thus he had many "families" and NOT with us kids. He was twice divorced. Our door was always open for him. But he had other family it was apparent.

    I was his medical power of attorney, and I am his executor of his will, and one of two out of three children who is in his will.

    Let me tell you how embarrassing it was when I was called by his neighbor (he lives 5.5 hours away from me so he can be near the gambling btw FL, and he only had to drive 90 miles to GET to the hot gambling spots) and tell me he had gone into the hospital, and they were given strict orders to NOT call or tell anybody in his dna family. He said, "Don't call until it is time." Direct quote. Yes, I was on the hospital contact list of if he died call this person. sigh.

    Well, I had to get the secret password from the neighbors so I could even talk to the hospital. They wouldn't tell me anything until I faxed all the poa documentation. Over the next 24-36 hours I talked to alot of the medical people I had never known about and they told me: as you know on his health. Well, I said this is the first I known it. His primary doctor was like pshahh, really?really? You are serious? ha ha. No, really, you kiddin? I said: Yes. Come to find out he had had a heart condition for a really long time. He pretty much had a 4 liner on the death certificate of what all he died of, pretty much CHF. His kidneys started to go due to fluid build up. And not even within 12 hours of him being there the primary doctor joked about how my dad was going to hate being on dialysis. Well, 2 hours later the ICU female doctor called me and pretty much said he would die here soon and explained alot more than his primary doctor did. And he did die 6-7 hours later. They made him comfortable and he had a dnr and his heart pretty much stopped. He fell into unconsciousness within a few hours of him getting to the hospital. they were trying to treat him, and it was a wait and see game then it got serious, and he died. He lived a long life. He was 81, obese, smoked since he was 10 years old, later years chain smoked, quit smoking a year or two before he died, was very sedentary.

    I talked to the nurses, and they knew to call me on anything. They did. The male nurse on duty called me right as his heart was stopping. The hospital was a VERY nice place, they did nothing wrong.

    I had found out he had been in the hospital for 5 days and he never told me. That had been 6-7 months before his death. I now wonder how many other times he had gone in. ?? Pretty much from all the insurance info I am reading, he probably had gone in quite a bit to be saved. This time, he didn't make it.

    I have found out all kinds of not so nice things about him. Of course this is very involved, and don't really want to get into all the details. He led a double or triple life. He cared evidently for others, but not his own kids.

    If your relative mom or dad doesn't want you to know, then they don't want you to know. I was very shocked this had happened. I have some ideas why he didn't want anybody to know, but . . . why? The stoopid housekeeper knew. Yard man did, neighbor. He was always totally welcome to come up here and live, but I know he just couldn't leave his precious MGM Grand. He was retired, and the only other place he would have retired to was LasVegas, but he didn't want people to think he had a problem. I have audited his checking account since he moved there, and that is about 15 years or so. Yes, he kept checking registers. The money he spent. OMG. True addict. I do know he was very paranoid, liked to be in control of everything. You know, not one of his friends has contacted him. Not one. Only one immediate relative has, well my cousin. He had been going to the doctor every 3 days pretty much for quite some time. I was not informed of that, but found out on his insurance records.

    Sad, because he died at 12:30am, and I was down there by noon. I did have a key to his house, and ya know, it looked like he thought he was going to "be right back". His house was a bit messy, and he was what some call a "neat nick". His house was neat, but not clean. Gee I called him EVERY weekend, and sometimes during the week for YEARS and YEARS. But he never told me the whole story. I am not stupid, I figured out mostly what he had from the web. But he never discussed it. Never. It has been a puzzle, and I pretty much have put all the pieces together, well most of them.

    There is more to this story, but I will stop here. Sorry it got long.



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