Frustrated, at end of my rope
My grandmother is 87 years old, had a stroke about four, 4.5 years ago. She's diabetic, on Glyburide. Doctor expects her to do some "assistance" on the treatment with dietary management but she simply cannot understand nutrition. She went to school only through third grade.
The stroke affected her memory and sight. No paralysis. She's blind in her right eye due to a childhood accident along with continued deterioration through the years as the diabetes developed. The stroke killed her right-side peripherial vision, so she has vision only toward the left side from the left eye. She complains constantly about being unable to see, but refuses to believe any kind of "treatment" would keep it from worsening further. She curses her glasses from A to Z. We try to take her for eye exams and new prescriptions, she raises hell about it, that nothing can be done. Last couple times new eyeglasses prescriptions were issued, she was so ornery about getting fitted it wasn't done until six months and a year later.
I keep her stocked with plenty of foods that are good, or at least OK, for her to eat, but she doesn't like any of it. She wants all the BAD stuff. She can't cook for herself any more, or when she does, she doesn't like the results and won't eat it. When I make something, like chicken breasts or fish, she turns her nose up at it. We go round and round and round again arguing about bread, toast (she thinks toast isn't the same as bread, that the toasting process changes it so it's no longer bad -- "I didn't eat bread, I had TOAST!"), potatoes, crackers, etc.
She has chronic constipation, and is supposed to take Metamucil twice per day. I know she doesn't (obviously, I can monitor the supply). When I question her on it, she gets upset to the point of tears that I'm "fussing" at her. When the blockage builds up to the point something HAS to be done, try to get her sticking on a liquid diet, juices, broths, etc., to flush the debris, that's a real challenge.
I refused to buy bread for several weeks. She resorted to making cornbread and biscuits to the ability that she can. Results, constipation again. Severe belly-ache. So I bring a supply of juices and sodium-free chicken broth (which she *already* had anyway). I try to explain what she has done wrong, if she'd follow what I tell her to do it wouldn't happen. Ended up in a big argument again. Drink your juices. I don't have any juices. Granny, I brought two bottles of juice just now, and you already had two bottles half-full in the refrigerator.
She called my sister (who lives about 45 mins away) today (Sunday), said "I don't have any groceries. I'm out of everything." Not true. I brought several things on Friday that she wanted, and her freezer and refrigerator are stocked with chicken breast, fish, lean hamburger, vegetables. She has canned goods, low-sugar juices, gelatin, coffee, tea, seasonings, everything needed to whip up any number of meals. The thing is ... that, isn't, what, she, wants. She wants all the bad stuff that she can chomp on and shoot her blood sugar all to hell.
She has the most awful preoccupation with death of anybody I've ever known. Her brother-in-law called her "Bad News" because the first thing she wants to discuss is who died. She is constantly saying "I should been in the grave years ago." "A person is no use when they get old."
I drop by, ask "what do you need?" She answers "A bullet," or makes a sawing motion across her neck.
She is way past the point of being able to live alone, but there's NO way she'd EVER agree to leave her home. Her mother and husband died there, and she emphatically insists "I'M GONNA DIE IN MY OWN HOUSE." And trust me, she's doing everything she can to speed up that process. And sometimes it's all I can do not to scream back at her, "I wish you would already" .... so I leave instead.
The thing is that the rest of her body is not in that bad a shape for her age. No cardiac trouble. She's on a thyroid supplement now. Some arthritis. The diabetes. Blood pressure is always good. No kidney trouble. She has had several incidents of skin cancer, but is examined regularly.
What'll very likely happen is she'll go blind or suffer another stroke. Everything I do to try preventing that from happening, she fights against the efforts. I've tried using leverage of "do you want to end up having another stroke and being paralyzed? You'd have no choice then in what'll happen." Doesn't work. She accuses me of "wishing" it on her. She's banking on "the end" being neat and clean. She doesn't realize or accept how messy and unpleasant and problematic it may be.
So should I give up? Or keep fighting, trying to keep her in order?