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Help on dealing with obsessive behavior
Posted: Friday, December 6, 2019 2:07 PM
Joined: 12/6/2019
Posts: 1

My 84-year old mother had a stroke almost a year ago and has lost some control and use of her left hand. We have been to several doctors and had OT come to the house to help her with exercises. She does not understand that she had a stroke and says she hurt her arm when she fell. She does not grasp the fact that her hand will never be the same. Every day she makes comments about her hand not working and every couple of months she asks to go to the doctor for her hand. (she lives with me) Up until now, we have had other appointments scheduled where I can bring it up to try and get her off my back (I'm frustrated if you couldn't tell), because she just won't let it go. She thinks she needs an x-ray or shot, but the doctors don't do that as they know it is due to the stroke. Is there anything I can do to get her to move on from this, or I am stuck dealing with the comments and pestering to go see a doctor? Do I just need to suck it up every few months and take her to the doctor knowing there is no solution? I find I am losing my patience with this (I know the hand isn't going to improve and she is unable to move past it) and don't know what to do. She gets irritated with me when I tell her I'm not taking her to the doctor, but it gets brought up at least once a day lately, sometimes more.

Thank you for listening.

Posted: Friday, December 6, 2019 4:05 PM
Joined: 10/9/2014
Posts: 1148

Did the therapy help?  I'd likely ask her doctor for guidance. Before, my LO was on Hospice and had a doctor who visits her in a facility, she saw her primary doctor on a regular basis.  I think she was in there at least every 3 months to check her out.  She had severe dementia, but, also had arthritis and Type II diabetes.  Maybe, her doctor would like to keep an eye on her too, since, she's had the stroke.  I wouldn't disagree with her or refuse to take her.  I'd assure her that I would take care of it. There's no need to have her fret over it or to lose temper. If her doctor thinks it's an obsession, I might explore medication for it.
Iris L.
Posted: Friday, December 6, 2019 9:35 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16562

If the doctors have no further treatment for her, you can validate her concerns by simple massage, movement exercises, and perhaps a sling to wear for a few hours.  Her complaints are real to her.

Iris L

MN Chickadee
Posted: Saturday, December 7, 2019 10:18 AM
Joined: 9/7/2014
Posts: 1085

Try some therapeutic fibbing. "I'm sorry your hand isn't working mom. You're right, there is something wrong with it. I will call the doctor in the morning and set something up." Or if that's not sufficient for her, say you made an appointment, always for "next week."  If she can't remember what is actually wrong she likely won't remember when a week has passed. Or blame the doctor.  "Dr. ____ is pretty busy right now with flu season so you have an appointment next month. Sure, he'll probably do an x-ray." When she brings it up, validate her feelings saying you understand something is wrong, tell whatever fib about the appointment will fly, and redirect to something pleasant like a treat, a cute picture, a different activity etc. You will probably have to do this multiple times per week or day but eventually she will move on it just may take a while.
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