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Old 12-04-2012, 06:51 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Fremont, CA, USA
Posts: 1
tteng HB User
Father-in-law is dying of lung cancer, MIL is acting weird

Background story:

My FIL (in his mid-80s') is dying of lung cancer, and both his daughters are taking turns caring for him because my MIL (in her mid-70s') has been extremely uncooperative in his caring. The cancer diagnosis came on fast and hard, and my FIL went from normal to in-home hospice in about 1.5 mo, so all of us are kinda like catching knives while they're falling. From my wife's description, her mom's behaviors are,
- won't cook for him
- won't wipe after him
- compete against him to gain daughter's attention
- purposely making noise while he's asleep (or poke him awake)
- ignore both daughter's admonition by being unresponsive and walk away
- act as if my FIL is none of her business
- with visitors around, she'll brighten up, talkative, and tell them what a wonderful caregiver she is to him.

My FIL loves her unreservedly to the point of extreme pampering. I asked my wife once- and she told me it was to make up for her (MIL) unfortunate upbringings (my wife's grandpa might of sexually abused my MIL.) Also, MIL was diagnosis with depression about 3-4 years back, was on medication, but the medication changed her personality so the dosage was cut back. Still, it's sad to see my FIL can't end his journey with the spousal love he deserves.

Anyway, I promised my FIL that she'll live with us, but I like to know- is there a medical condition (besides depression) describing the above?


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Old 12-05-2012, 02:53 PM   #2
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Re: Father-in-law is dying of lung cancer, MIL is acting weird

She's angry at him for being terminal. As goofy as it sounds, that's exactly what she's feeling, IMHO. It's hard for you to understand, I'm sure, but the fact that she had an unfortunate upbringing and has been treated for depression in the past points to her inability to accept what is happening. It sounds like he pampered her and now everything that made her feel safe is going away and she's scared. She's behaving as a child would when frightened by the unknown. You might want to speak to her doctor and make him aware of her behavior. Perhaps some meds could be prescribed. I wish you well and try to be understanding.

The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to rudiraven For This Useful Post:
slenderella (12-06-2012),tteng (12-06-2012)
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