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Please begin with an informative title:

Hi, everyone.

This is the first diary I've ever written, although I've lurked here for YEARS. And this isn't political, but I've seen other diaries on similar subjects, and I could really use a place to vent and get some advice tonight.

My late husband was an only child. His mother still lives in the city where I live, and my children and I see her at least once a week.

Over the holidays, we were out of town visiting other family. We got home this afternoon, and after getting the dog from the kennel and dropping her off at home, we picked up my mother-in-law and took her along with us for dinner at my mum's house.

MIL is 87 years old (Hubs was 15 years older than me). Over the past few years she's been getting thinner -- not a bad thing, because she was a bit overweight before. But tonight she looked quite a bit thinner, and only picked at her food. And since I buy her groceries each week or two, now that I think of it she's not been eating as much lately.

We had some snow while the children and I were away, and she took very careful baby steps to my car, and when we got to Mum's house, she was slow climbing the stairs to the main floor.

Dinner, as I said, she picked at. Usually she wants seconds, but tonight wasn't the case. When we stood to go to the living room to chat, she tried to stand up, but instead ended up on her knees with her head stopping inches from the carpet. Fortunately she didn't hit her head. It took a few minutes for my daughter and I to get her back up on her feet. Later, when I helped her back to the car, got her home, and then back into her house, she walked extremely tentatively, and was wobbly a few times.

We stepped into her kitchen, and I told her, "Your son is whispering into my ear right now, telling me to inform you that you must call your doctor tomorrow morning."

"Oh, I don't think that's necessary, but if it gets worse, I'll call then."

No amount of pleas would change her mind. I kissed her goodnight, and went back to the children to drive home.

"I'm going to piss off your grandmother beyond belief tomorrow," I told them. "In the morning, when I call her, if she won't call her doctor, I'm going to call him."

"Good!" said my 14-year-old daughter. "If you hadn't just said that, I was going to tell you that we needed to do that."

I know this is the right thing to do. But I'm scared, and I never thought I'd be doing this for someone who wasn't my own parent. But the children and I are the only family she has in town -- the rest are over three hours west of us. And yes, she can drive us crazy, but we also love her so much.

Any advice on what to say to the doc tomorrow? What I should say to her tomorrow? I'm so worried for her, and oh yes, on top of all the falling and me suspecting that she's hiding other health issues from me, she's a hoarder. In the past I've told her that if she ever needed home health, she'd end up having to call a company to clear out her home so it wouldn't be condemned until cleaned. She always put me off, always denied the problem, and I'm certain she hasn't told her doc she hoards.

It looks like a day I always knew was coming but hoped was a bit farther off is instead tomorrow.

I wish I didn't have to do this. I wish my husband was still alive to help. I wish so many things, but I'm facing up to reality, and I may end up having to make her do the same.

So, to repeat myself, I'm scared. Just putting this out here, and hoping for some understanding and advice.

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Originally posted to Cheeky on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 06:19 PM PST.

Also republished by CareGiving Kos.

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