My MIL is in an assisted living about 100 mi from our home (in town where DH grew up). She was living with us, but that was a nightmare. Unfortunately my husband doesn't have a lot of respect for me and so sets a poor example to his family in how to treat me. I have a chronic illness and physical disability, so unfortunately my husband knows I don't have many options so takes my presence for granted. I finally put my foot down and said it was either her or I when she threatened my animals and tried to hit me; after treating me as a maid for the past year. Surprisingly enough, DH finally put her in assisted living. His mom is 80 years old and in good health physically w/ the exception of some osteoarthritis.
Mentally it is a different story. She is a hypochondriac, and has been her entire life. She is also a recovering alcoholic and has depression and anxiety. She interprets all the normal signs of aging as a serious illness in the making, and will visit doctor after doctor hoping that they will either diagnose her as seriously ill or wave a magic wand and make her 30 years old again. I have been saying for years that DH and his siblings needed to hire someone to give her companionship and get her out doing things. I finally started looking for someone on my own yesterday and my husband is finally on top of it. She has been having them take her to doctor after doctors the past year and simply won't give it up when they each give her an essentially clean bill of health. They did discover a year and a half ago that she has a ruptured diaphragm from an accident almost 10 years ago. She has clearly had this all along, but now that she KNOWS about it, it is consuming her. The pulmonologist told her that she is not a candidate for surgery as her pulmonary function is well within normal limits for her age. However, she drags the chest x-rays to every doctor's appointment and tells them how serious it is and how bad she feels. She is sure that she needs to have surgery to correct it and constantly says she is short of breath when she walks places, but every time one of is actually with her she shows no signs of respiratory distress whatsoever.
She has been to the hospital three times in the last year; never with any concrete diagnosis other than one time with a minor UTI (which I doubt personally that it was ever truly symptomatic, esp since she had no systemic signs of infection at all). She uses the health care system as a way of getting attention. She herself was a nurse for over 50 years, so she always knows exactly what to say to elicit unaware clinicians' concerns (her regular docs have now grown wise to her issues, so I think that has contributed to her seeking referrals to many new specialists and trips to hospital). She also enjoys regaling clinicians with her nursing stories and basically making herself a minor celebrity in the process, LOL. Saying that she is sick also is a way to get her kids to come running and get them all concerned about her. She had an appt yesterday with a gerontoloist that she told us her PCP recommended she see. I got after DH a bit, telling him that a gerontologist WAS a PCP, and suggesting he contact the office yesterday morning prior to taking her to figure out why she referred her. I esp wanted him to do this bc number one, I figured it was a self-referral she just got her PCP to sign off on (none of the kids were actually present for that visit); secondly, that she was unable to give a clear reason herself as to what she was going for (other than he "really needed to review her plan of care to ensure they weren't missing anything," despite the fact that her care has been reviewed by no less than four doctors in the past six months plus the hospitalists) and most of all bc I myself was sick and in a terrible amount of pain due to a flare up of my autoimmune condition. I simply wanted my husband to verify what the appt was specifically for according to the DOCTOR, & if it was nothing urgent reschedule.
While her mom ( my aunt ) was alive and cuz was living with her, she was fine living in the locale where her mom was. As soon as her mom died, she moved to a better county. If your current locale is not affording you adequate support and if your husband isn't making up the difference, I think you should move.
He will need to make a choice then, right?
Now about ur husband, mine would do the same thing. My MIL had an illness. Everyone talked about it but my husband. I think he knew by some of the decisions he made but he would just say "she exaggerates". She lied. But like you said, she eventually believed her own lies. Because she could repeat them word for word years down the line. She would lie to get out of doing something she didn't want to do and lie to get out of something she said or did. Early in my marriage I would go visit her alone. She would tell my husband I said this and that turning around what I said to make me look bad or her look good. My husband would ask what I said, say OK and walk away. This would make me mad but found out he probably was just confirming what I said was not how Mom told it. A fight with MIL and my DH standing up for me made me know I came first. By the way, her other sons chose to move to GA and Miss. 2 days drive from the state we live in. I was a little mad when she and FIL moved to Fla when she had a 4yr old granddaughter. But, it was probably the best thing for our relationship. I only had to see her 1 week every year or two. Oh, and she complained about my daughter not being closer to her. Really! She had nothing to do with her when she lived not 10 min away and then she moved 1500 miles away!
You can't make his siblings do any more than they are willing to. They have set healthy boundaries; your husband has not.
Find other ways of getting to doctor visits; look into local assistance for the disabled; it certainly exists.
Set boundaries for yourself. Don't chime in with "What your mother needs". Focus on your own well-being and maintaining your independence.
You and your hubby will need to set boundaries with her, or she will keep running you ragged. Like maybe have certain days of the week that you visit, and let her get transportation from the AL to dr appts. Many AL facilities do offer that service. As you said, if it's a true emergency, she can call 911.
The companion sounds like a good idea too. If you find someone that's a good fit, the outings and visits from them may take her mind off of her many "ailments".
I understand where you're coming from. My mom lived with us for awhile too, and it was just too much. She too suffers from mental illness and has some physical issues, but expects 24/7 attention. She literally wanted me to be her sole source of entertainment. And for years when she lived alone, she would get paranoid and call the police, and would call me with some sort of crisis all the time. I can definitely empathize. She is starting to participate in more stuff at her facility but every time I talk to her it's "Oh, woe is me."
(Yes, btw, she does get transportation to some of her appts via the facility, such as to the chiropractor, some of her PCP appts and (supposedly) her therapy appts. My husband only goes to the "important appts." At this point though he says he is putting his foot down and not taking her to any new doctors unless there is a clear new reason that she needs to go. The self-referalls he hopefully will follow through on not participating as he says he finally seeing my point that he only enabling her by doing so. Of course, interestingly enough, while she won't get herself out of bed to do much else, she almost never misses a Dr appt! I of course have no problem with him taking her to see someone if she actually NEED it. The problem at this point; as I indicated, is trying to tell the difference between her "crying wolf," and the real deal).