Wish this forum was more active because I need advice. I am quite certain that my sister's factitious disorder has risen to a severe case of Munchausen's. My niece is at her wit's end. When my sister was faking knee and neck disorders we pretty much humored her. She has had a long history of depression, paranoia and delusions which all came to fruition when her husband died 26 years ago. But now we know she is harming herself.
6 years ago she came down with a severe case of shingles which was real. However, 6 years later she insists she is still in the middle of the episode. She has a "secret" Indian doctor who practices eastern medicine who is treating her for it. However, she will not share his name. We know this is a lie. Her primary doctor now has her drugged up on Xanax and pain killers.
However for 5 years now she has smothered her body with Vaseline per her guidelines from her "secret doctor". Her house stinks to high heavens and there is Vaseline all over the place. It is truly disgusting. Now she appears to have a severe case of cellulitis in both of her legs. I fear she will eventually lose her legs because our entire family knows this is self created. She denies that it is cellulitis and claims that the rash and pustules are caused by her shingles "coming out of my spine".
I do have a medical background in Physical Rehab but then again my sister was a psychiatric nurse before her psych issues exacerbated. I remember well a case of Munchausen's where a patient harmed himself with a ball point pen and then went to ER dozens of times and eventually he ended up losing a leg. The ink was found during tissue testing.
We have now called adult services but they said they can't do anything. My niece is on the verge of a meltdown trying to deal with her mother and the filth she is living in.
Because there is no outreach help we are ready to just confront her and lay the proverbial law down that she must get a second opinion with my niece present. My niece is her healthcare proxy yet my sister will not tell her who her doctors are.
I know that the literature discourages confrontation but what is a family to do? For my niece's mental health I believe she needs to confront her mother and set strict limits such as a second opinion, stopping the Vaseline slathering and getting her house cleaned from bottom to top or risk losing contact with my niece. As my niece says "I could deal with the ER trips and the faking of injuries but I cannot deal with the filth that my mother and her house has become". I know we can't fix her but would just be happy if she returned to her fake ankle and neck injuries instead of living in filth and destroying herself.