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How to deal with a hypochondriac
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Cindi    Posted 12-26-2003 at 05:03:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
Fred's folks were here for Christmas. I mentioned that. They come every year and stay for a week, and after they leave, I have fifty one weeks to forget what it was like. Fred's mother is a joy. She shows up and buys a couple hundred dollars worth of groceries, insists on doing most of the cooking and is positive, cheerful and helpful. I love her to death.

Fred's father is a sensitive, sweet man and when you are lucky enough to say something to make him laugh, he rewards you with a belly laugh that is a joy to behold. I strive to make him smile or laugh, as his alternative behavior sets my teeth on edge.

Freddie is the consummate hypochondriac. He has real health issues, and according to his doctor, is in a perpetual state of heart failure. Doc won't give him a time limit, he merely says, 'keep an eye on him'. Freddie is roughly four foot seven and about as big around as he is tall and is his own worst enemy. He eats everything he is not supposed to, gets NO exercise, and chews tobacco like there's no tomorrow which gives him a constant case of indigestion which in turn makes him think he's having a heart attack.

A typical conversation with Freddie goes something like this.....

"Hey Freddie, did you hear they caught Saddam Hussein?"

"Yeah I heard that. (Grimace....Expletive) my (expletive)____________is KILLIN' me. I swear to God if I could die today, I'd be better off."

The one thing you don't do with Freddie is ask him how he is. There's no end to the list of ailments and aggravations that he has to deal with, and he's not shy about elaborating on them. His legs ache, his back brings him no end of misery, his chest hurts, he head is splitting, his belly is erupting and his throat is raw and sandpapery. He's got places on him that hurt that he can talk about, but couldn't identify if you ask him to point at them.

The sad thing is that he runs people away from him. Nobody wants to sit and talk to him because at some point you lose the ability to be sympathetic and just look for a way out. But no one will tell him. No one will say, Freddie, dang it, the reason you're sitting in here by yourself is because you complain too much. I know you hurt, but there's nothing I can do.

Before you say how heartless that logic is, you have to spend some time with a hypochondriac. I suspect that Feddie won't be here next year, but I would like to ask him to come and stay a few weeks with us this summer. If you were in my shoes, would you try to gently explain the situation to him?

Bob    Posted 12-26-2003 at 09:45:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
Wasting your time trying to reason with a hypochondriac is like trying to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

I know all about this. My late Dad lived from the 1970's into the late 90's always thinking he was sick or dying. My Mom did her best to take care of him and deal with the constant unnecessary medical visits. She was actually the one with REAL medical problems, and did her best to hide her misery while taking care of him, while he could have been the one taking care of her. She finally wore out and passed away, and he lived several more years in a nursing home. He would still be alive if her health would have held and she was still alive to baby him. He found out in the nursing home no one would listen to his constant whining about his "cancer" or other imagined problems, and simply lost his will to live.

Ms. D    Posted 03-04-2008 at 20:57:25       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Please help me, I am tired of my coworker, telling me there's something wrong with her. I have to hear it every day cause I work with her and it is wearing me down. I am tired of hearing negative things first thing in the morning. It is driving me off the wall. I am this close to telling here to shut up. It irretates me because there's notthing wrong with her and I am tired of hearing the same stuff every day. Help how can I get out of this mess...

KellyGa    Posted 12-26-2003 at 08:05:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
I think with people like that, you have two choices. You can let it go, or you can tell them the truth.

My grandmama (my mama's mama) is impossible. She is 76 years old, has everything from congestive heart failure to hammer toes. She lost her husband coming up on four years ago. They were inseperable, and they kept to themselves. A year ago, she came to live with my Mama and Daddy. She had fallen down the stairs at her apartment, and just wasn't able to do for herself like she used to. Everything went fine for about three months, then she began conjuring as we call it. Making up stuff in her head. She called herself a burden, all her ailments, then it went on to "What are the rules of this house?" Mama said there are none, we are adults here, eat when you want to, do what you want to. Every time you spoke to her, she spoke of her ailments, which after a while is a drain on any person.

So, things went downhill, she came to live with me. I totally redid a bedroom from top to bottom for her. For two weeks all I heard every morning at the table while drinking our coffee was how much pain she was in, and no chair in my house would do. She would stay in her room, with the doors shut, the drapes shut, and lay in that bed. I tried to tell her, and Mama had tried to tell her she needed to move around.

She ended up taking a bunch of pills and I found her on the floor one morning. Shelby, poor SHelby stood witness to all this chaos. I called an ambulance, they took her to the hospital, and when she had recovered enough to be coherent, she promptly cursed Mama and I for saving her butt. She said "I told you to leave me on that floor!" which she did, but come on.

Now she is in a redone hotel in Columbus, it isn't assisted living, but everyone has their own apartment, and there are two meals a day served in the kitchen downstairs. There is access to washers and dryers and such. She has not spoken to me in over a year. She said, get this, I showered her with too much attention. I have no idea why that is a bad thing. She is off her rocker. Mama says she is not like anybody. Nobody will ever understand her.

Anyway, my point being, sometimes people that have a lot of ailments and pain like to complain, and get no results. They feed off the attention they get from people who will listen. When somebody tries to actually help them, to make things better, they don't like it, because if they are better, then they get no attention.

I think we would have all been better off not helping her so much. If Freds dad only comes once or twice a year, let it go. It's not worth the shattered relationship. I will probably never see my grandmama again. Mama has slowly started building a relationship with her again. What we all hate the most is all we tried to do was everything we could for her, and she blamed us and hated us for it. So, just let it go. He enjoys talking about his ailments, especially to family that will listen.

Anyway, hope y'all had a good holiday, we did. I will post all about it later!

Jimbob    Posted 12-26-2003 at 06:06:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Nothing cold hearted about it by avoiding people (bless your big heart Cindi), but some people you just can not do anything with them.

Vic in Kenefick    Posted 12-26-2003 at 05:32:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sounds like Freddie could use a puppy. One that will listen to him all day and night and just love to hear him complaining.

Donna from Mo    Posted 12-26-2003 at 05:30:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
Nope; I imagine he's past the point of changing. Just learn to let it roll off, like water off a duck's back. When he passes on, you'll be glad you did it that way.

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