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Discussion Starter #1
Honestly I don't know what to think right now.

My husband and I don't have children and have always been very close to my sister's three kids. They've always stayed over and we've enjoyed their company and spoiling them over the years. These kids are now 21 (male) 18 (female) and 15 (male). Truthfully I would give life and limb for them if I had to.

Almost two years ago my father-in-law (heart problems) became very sick and moved in with us. Life as we knew it changed drastically. I now have a housekeeper/caregiver for him 5 days a week. He really shouldn't be left alone. Now he doesn't seem terribly sick to anyone who doesn't understand or isn't familiar with his problems. On the weekends and in the evenings we don't like leaving him alone. He walks with a cane, has a pacemaker-defibrilator (sp?), and basically suffers from heart failure. We have to keep his sodium intake very limited and he takes a gazillion medicines. He went into acidiosis when he was in the hospital and so he must use a bi-pap when he sleeps. When he hasn't used it in a couple of days (he's a stubborn fella) then he gets very confused and disoriented.

Well in the past year or so he has stopped wanting to go out. Prior to this we would take him with us to family functions etc. Now we have to make sure that his caregiver can come stay with him. This isn't always possible on the weekends.


There have been exactly two family parties (one of which is this coming Sunday for my niece's HS graduation) that I have missed. We were originally told that they had limited tickets to the graduation ceremony and we were invited to the party. I told them I would have to let them know if the caregiver could come in. I have periodically spoken to the kids explaining that I still love them etc., but my responsibilites are very different now. As it turns out the caregiver can't come in - so we cannot go to the party.

About a week and a half ago I received a call from my niece that she had two extra tickets to the graduation ceremony. We decided we would go. Well FIL and I both got sick over the weekend. We were hoping I'd be well enough to go (Monday was the graduation), but there was no way.

Well my father (their grandfather) happened to be alone with them, and he got an ear-full. The three of them think I've abandoned them and only care about my FIL!!!!!!! I'm stunned. I've always talked to them on the phone and maintained contact and interaction with them. I allowed the oldest to stay here while he was in firefighting school, gave him money when he needed it. In fact I just sent him a check. These children KNOW I would do anything for them....at least I thought they did. My niece told my father straight out that "she wants nothing to do with me". They say their great-grandmother is 93 (and healthy) and manages to be left alone from time to time.

I don't know what to think or what (if anything) to do. I sincerely thought my sister would at least have given me a head's up if her kids were this upset.

I'm devastated and just needed to vent.
 

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Wish I could help you with this one I really do because I cant relate to this. A few months ago I got sick and missed a ton of school so if I missed another day now there is a good change the school wont pass me (my grades are fine its just technicallitys about missing so much school). So anyways my cousin who I pretty close with and my cousin a hardly know got married and my sister who I really almost never talk to graduated recently. To have made it to any of these things I would have had to miss more school, and sorry but I want to graduate on time. Well my family does not understand at all. I am now officially the second least favorate family member to everyone on my dads side of my family (my sister I talk to all the time is still winning but thats a while other story). But anyways they think I am trying to avoid them and I keep getting calls and emails about how sad it is that I dont want to be part of the family anymore.
 

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I think the kids are missing the fact that no matter what a persons age-they can be unable to care for themselves.

Some older people with dementia or health problems need round the clock care-it's not a matter of not caring for anyone else-it's a matter of caring enough about someone to realize that they may have responsibilities beyond the limited scope of their sight.

I'd call the kids, explain that even though your FIL is not OLD, or ANCIENT, he has a disability that prevents him from being left alone, for he can hurt himself. Suggest they speak to someone who works at a nursing home, or that they visit a nursing home and find out the median age of the guests there-they'll probably be surprised to find the age to be about 78. There's a reason the people at those ages are in nursong homes-they need care-around the clock.

tell them you hope they'll think about the fact that you love them and you send your love and all that, but you cannot neglect the fact that your FIL is helpless and they are now people grown. Tell them that you'll come to visit when you can, or if they'd like-they can visit you and you can give them a small family celebration at your house. At the same time let them spend enough time with you FIL that they see his condition. Show them the medical records and meds that he's on.
My dad has advanced alzheimers-my step mother has 24 hour care for him-but he still manages to get out of the apartment and roam the halls when the woman is in the bathroom. Scary, because he could easily light the whole building on fire because he has no clue what a stove is now.

Hugs. It's hard with famiiles sometimes.
 

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Family problems are soo difficult to deal with, heres a short version of mine.... I just got married to my husband that has a family with soo much drama. About 1 month later i find out his family hates me. So one day i decided to right a letter and send a copy to his father and grandmother (husband closer to them) i never got a response from no one so i called his dad and he basically told me that after Josh (my husband) married me everything turned into **** and that i took him away from his siblings. Hellooo how stupid is that.
 

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Wow-that is very heartbreaking-it sounds like the kids (adult kids) are acting a little spoiled-there are other ways they could handle this besides talking behind your back and not coming to you about it-they are old enough after all. Maybe they need to come around your place more to see what all you are doing for your FIL . They truly don't understand what YOUR going through-and how hard it is on you that your missing out on their life too. I feel so bad for you I know you are so torn-but hats off to you for taking care of your FIL like you are. Sounds like a good little heart to heart talk with them at your house.....might help. I hope so!! Is any of your husbands siblings helping you out with their father? Sounds like that would be a good idea too!! I hope this all works out for you.
 

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those kids sound kind of bratty
they're old enough to understand things like that.. maybe you should invite them over for a week and have THEM care for him~!

you should call your niece, and try to see why she wants "nothing to do with you".
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Jessica your post made me laugh so hard. I can only imagine what that would be like to have them caring for the old fella. Thank you for making me smile today, since I really needed it. I can't believe you're so young!

To all the others ~ Thank You! ~ from the bottom of my heart. I had a good long talk and cry with two very close friends and my husband. I realize that this is their problem. I did have the opportunity to talk with my niece today and basically explained that I had heard she was upset, and explained (without getting angry or being dramatic - just calmy explained) that this was hard for *me*. I didn't enjoy being away from them or missing any of the important stuff. I also explained what it's like to have someone always *there* when you're very used to being alone.

I do think it was an enlightening talk for her. And ya know what - if it wasn't then she'll have to work through those issues herself!

Thank you all again
 

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Jessica your post made me laugh so hard. I can only imagine what that would be like to have them caring for the old fella. Thank you for making me smile today, since I really needed it. I can't believe you're so young![/B]
no problem
and thanks~! i try to act as mature as possible LOL

i can understand a little bit because my aunt cares for my grandmother w/ alzheimers, and sometimes i feel like she's 'forgetting me'. but then i think about what mimi is like now, and how she needs care.. and i just understand that my grandma is more important i guess

i'd definitely suggest you have them spend some more time with him, so they understand a little more. and try to set aside maybe a weekend a month for time w/ them
 

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do you guys just use one caregiver? because there's companies out there with nurses. all you have to do is call and tell them what times you need them.

thats sucky about your FIL. i hate seeing people in pain or needing to be taken care of.

maybe have parties at your house? like a sunday breakfast every week and just invite your nieces and nephews.
 

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I'm sorry you've got even more on your plate than you had before. Keep in mind that all three of them are really still kids, and kids can be SO self-centered. A shame that your sister hasn't explained some things to them. You've got the right idea about this being *their* problem. That's exactly right. I hope that the lightbulb goes on over their heads soon, and realize the depth of your feelings for them. Hang in, and know that you are doing everything you can do for your family.
 

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I totally agree with PuppyLucy. I'd be pissed. They sound spoiled. They are DEFINITELY old enough to understand and if they don't, they should spend the day with you and see how it's like. I know it hurts, but it seems that you have enough on your plate already, so maybe keep your focus on something else of something more positive. Did she not say anything on the phone after you talked to her about it? Or even apologize?

If your neice wants to be like that, then there's really nothing you can do about it. Maybe after you talk to the boys about it, just forget about it. And still be the same loving aunt you've always been. I don't think that makes much sense, but you are family, so what else are you suppose to do?
 

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Please check locally for some extra help for you! There are MANY organizations out there that have "respite care" for caregivers....they come in and help out for a few hours to give the caregiver a break. Check with your local Senior Citizens center, the American Heart Association should also have a branch in your town. See if your city has an "information and referral" organization that can guide you in the right direction. YOU need time for yourself, you are not doing ANYONE any good by not taking some time for you!! As far as your family goes, it comes with the territory I am afraid.....especially at those ages, it's all about THEM......I am sorry you are going through this. I admire you for taking the time and caring for your FIL, he is a very lucky man and your husband is especially lucky to have you.!!
 

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Being a kid myself, I will give you my point of view. They don't really mean what they say. Sometimes we get together and just whine and complain. They know you still love them but sometimes they don't really see the point.

To them, it feels like it is ALWAYS your FIL and never them. These are key milestones in their life and it is hard for them to understand why you have to miss it. Would it be possible for your husband to stay home while you went? Or sometimes your husband goes out while you stay home. Is it possible to find more than one caregiver?

I guess as people get older, they become like babies again. Parents still find some time to go out.

Please don't be upset. It will all work out.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I want to thank all of you again - I truly appreciate all the input. She came over Wednesday and we had a girls day ~ nails, hair, lunch. We had a great time and it was a wonderful day for both of us. We talked at length and she came away understanding that this is just as difficult (if not more so) for me than for her and the boys.

There was also some things that my father misunderstood, which I can clearly see happening. I do hate when things like this happen, but feel good that overall we walked away from the experience with a clearer understanding of each other and our relationship.

Thank you again. For those who asked we hired our caregiver outright after dealing with agencies for over a year. The agencies were a crapshoot pure and simple - you never knew who would show up at the door. I do need to find a backup though.... I want to thank those who offered suggestions about agencies to contact - I didn't even know these resources existed! I will be looking into those as soon as I have a little down time.

Now you all see why my little Chloe is such a wonderful joy and distraction in my life :D
 
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