First of all, I want to commend all the full time caregivers out there who are dedicating their lives to taking care of others. Back in May I spent two weeks caring for my mother after heart surgery, and was at my wit's end by the time I left. I can only imagine the strain of doing it day after day for months or even years.
So here is my question. I am an only child, and all other family like aunts, uncles, etc. live overseas, so they are out of the picture. Before my mother went in for her surgery, we were told what to expect in the way of care. After being released from the hospital, she should have someone stay with her for at least two weeks. Having a full time job, that meant I would have to take the entire time off work. My mother-in-law is a housewife, so she told me that I wouldn't have to do that, and offered to stay with my mom during the day while I went to work. I thought that was great, and said sure, thank you. Fast forward to my mother being released. She was released on a Saturday, and the night before we dropped by my in-law's house and my MIL told me that she knew that she promised me that she would stay with my mother, but now she and my father-in-law had decided to go away for the weekend and wouldn't be back until Tuesday! Then she was having her kitchen redone on Wednesday. Fortunately Monday was a holiday, but I still had to take two days off work that I wasn't expecting. She stayed with my mother Thursday and Friday, and then when I asked my husband if she would do it again on Monday, he said probably not because she had to do laundry and other housework. So I had to take Monday off as well. Fortunately my mom recovered quickly and I was able to leave her through the day for the rest of the week and not take any more time off.
I was very hurt and disappointed by this. Am I overreacting? I realize she is my mother and my responsibility, and I will do what has to be done. But after somebody tells you that they will help and then backs out, should I just consider it a lesson learned the hard way?
No...I don't think you were asking/expecting too much! I am currently my mother's sole caregiver (extensive small cell lung cancer) and when someone says they will watch her for me I am truly depending on it. I actually work
two jobs...one part-time as a secretary for my school district and the rest
of my time I am supposed to be a Realtor. However, I have taken a leave of
absence because I simply cannot do it ALL!!! My mom is needing more and more care as her disease progresses. I am the only child (besides a brother that doesn't bother with her) and it is one big job I have been given to take
care of her. I occassionally have my sister in law and mother in law help out
when I absolutely cannot be at home. When they say they will be there for me...they are! It means so much to me. But if they backed out, I would certainly not ask them to help out anymore and would have learned my lesson. In crucial times like this, you really need someone dependable...trust me, I know. Hope things work out for you and your mom gets well quickly.
Thanks for your reply, SherryAnne. Sorry about your mom's condition as well. It's not easy trying to juggle all these responsibilities.
It would have been one thing if my MIL hadn't said anything, but she was the one who offered. I hadn't even asked her, she just volunteered. It has been a rough year for my in-laws too, because my FIL lost his brother and sister within 7 weeks of each other back in March and April, so I can understand them wanting to get away, but I still don't think it's fair to offer and then back out. My husband is a great help to me, but of course he is inclined to stick up for his parents on this issue. I haven't actually said anything to my MIL about my disappointment over this, but I'm not sure if maybe my husband has. Either way, the subject has never come up since. I don't like confrontation (I'm a big chicken, I know!), so I don't plan on bringing the subject up. I will probably just do like you, and not rely on them again.
Another thing I found out - since the surgery, my husband has taken time off work to drive us to appointments, etc. because I don't have a car and my mom doesn't drive. Plus he has taken time off to help look after my mom. My hubby's boss is his father, and apparently during one of the conversations our mothers have had since the surgery, my MIL told my mother that my FIL was starting to get annoyed with all the time my husband was taking off to help me with my mom. I don't even know if my husband knows about this, because he still offers to do things for my mom. Even if my FIL does feel this way, I don't understand why my MIL would say this to my mother. Now it makes her hesitant to ask him for any more help.
My mom was doing better, but in the past few days she has had some angina symptoms, which shouldn't be happening after bypass surgery. So I'm sure the road will only get rougher.
Hi Georgette, well...you certainly got a lot of things going on there and I can
give you some insight into why your MIL is telling your mother about your FIL
getting upset with the time he's taken to help your mom. See....I've already
had that game played on me. My MIL would tell my mother things in hopes
that she would in turn tell me. Do you see what I am getting at? She is actually probably telling your mom so your mom tells you and then you in turn tell your husband (so that he maybe won't volunteer so much of his time). That was always being done to me. So I simply told my mom that I'm not interested in hearing about what my MIL and her talk about. It works for me!
My MIL is really a very good person and has been extremely helpful during these past nine months. Anyway, I am also getting some "scuff" at my secretarial job at the school. I've had to take a lot of sick days (which I am
entitiled to) and leave work early a lot of times to either take Mom to chemo
(she is done getting chemo and hasn't had any since end of Feb). We have hospice helping us, but mostly everything has to be done by me. It seems to
me that because I receive a few phone calls (from nurses and social workers)
and am not always SMILING, they have implied that taking care of my mom has interferred with my job and told me that I could self-refer myself for counseling through the school. NOT!!! You know, until someone has walked in my shoes (and none of them have) they should not judge me. I simply don't feel that taking phone calls...and not even every day...and not smiling every minute of the day (they are aware that my mother is DYING) does not warrant telling me I need counseling. I am so ticked off I could spit nails!!!!
But that's okay when THEY take the past 3 YEARS to NOT run the school properly so that they can get their Doctor's degree...that's certainly okay for them. SORRY....I am really ranting..I don't mean too. I just have so much
going on right now. (I do feel better getting things off my chest though).
Well, take care and hope things go well with you and your family. My prayers are with all of you.