June Mania

My paternal grandmother is in her 90s and she lives locally at an assisted living facility. My mother, her former daughter-in-law, has maintained a relationship with her even 35 years after getting divorced from my father. This, I guess is the nature of having your child’s grandparents in town. 

My mother visits my grandmother in her assisted living apartment ever week. My grandmother who is blind–like my maternal grandfather–appreciates these consistent visits. That is until my mom gets all manic and my grandmother gets worried. 

She’s very worried about my mother right now. She reported to me a couple weeks ago that my mom had come over and talked for hours about a bunch of things, jumping from subject to subject: a story about my youngest daughter, something about a car she purchased 40 years ago, a long description of a blade of grass. WTF? 

I didn’t catch is at the time, but my grandma also mentioned something about the sherriff. My uncle just called and told me that a week or so ago the sherriff called him to get some information about my mom. Someone apparently was concerned. My uncle, who has the same last name as my mom, because he is my dad’s brother, gave them my phone number, but I did not get a call from the sherriff, so I’m a little confused. 


My mother has been having mouth pain since February, but has only gotten vocal about it since her most recent manic started a month ago. It seemed to start with biting her tongue and feeling like there was loose skin in her mouth, where there is not any loose skin. She says it’s the worst pain she’s ever been in and she has always had a high pain tolerance.  She’s been to several doctors (her general practioner, a neurologist, a dermatologist, her dentist, an ear nose and throat guy and her psychiatrist, all of whom refer her elsewhere, because no one can figure out what the hell is going on. 

Most recently, it sounds like there’s a possibility that it may be a related to a side effect of going off of her medication. I did not know it at the time, but she told this week that in March her psychiatrist had her stop taking Abilify. At her appointment last week she mentioned to him m that she was having tongue, foot and hand movement involuntarily. He advised that that could be a side effect of discontinuing the Abilify. 

“When will it go away?” 

“The Abilify is out of your system in three weeks…” he said. 

“It’s been almost three months.” She said. 

“Then it may be permanent.”

Needless to say she is upset about this. 

My husband wonders if involuntary tongue movement might be causing her to bite her tongue and causing the pain. Seems like such a simple explanation that one of these doctors should have figured it out by now. 

I’m frustrated with the Mania-induced communication. I’m frustrated by the responsibility of needing to be involved in her medical care and the privacy laws that generally make it difficult for her doctors to communicate with me.  I’m frustrated because I don’t know how safe my kids are with her when she’s is this phase. I’m frustrated that she’s on so much pain with no help in sight. (The doctors keep prescribing various mouth rinses, many of which she finds intolerable.) I’m frustrated by the pharmaceutical industry in our culture and I’m skeptical about the effectiveness of her treatment for bi-polar, as well as for this mouth issue. 

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