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Care of Nephew

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Old 12-26-2005, 02:51 PM   #1
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Care of Nephew

I was caring for my nephew, age 10, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in Sept. After three long hard months of chemo, he is clear of the tumors. That is the good news.

He did not suffer any of the side effects of chemo, except to lose a little of his hair. He did however, become extremely spoiled and everyone who knew him, gave him gift after gift, and everything he could possibly want.

I went to the hospital and stayed with him throughout the treatments, since his mother has social phobias and cannot stand to be in crowds or around strangers. I am the one who explained to her and the rest of the family about the diagnosis and the treatments. I sacrificed three months of my life for this child and his mother, who is my sister in law.

I lost my job, and my unemployment, since I could not look for work. I spent all my savings paying for meals at the hospital, transportations to and from the hospital. His mother lost nothing. She actually gained, since her son is now getting SSI, on top of the SSI she gets for herself and her oldest daughter. She receives all kinds of sympathy and well wishes and gifts of money and food and clothing to 'help' out with the expenses.

I have sacrificed my sanity, time with my family, my household, my finances. I have not received one word of thanks from them. I am the one who administered the antibiotics through my nephew's central line everyday, since home health would not cover it. I am the one who flushed out his line everyday. I am the one who was the sounding board when everyone was frustrated. I am the one who had to make all the phone calls, schedule all the appointments, etc....

My nephew's school and church has made many gift baskets for him and his family, which is wonderful.... but nothing has been shared with me. I have no income now. My husband is disabled, but not qualified for SSI himself. I am losing my mind. I am so bitter and depressed. I see all the wonderful things that people have done for my sister in laws family, and I feel angry.

I only wanted someone to acknowledge their appreciation. My sister in law only wants to fight with me over who should pay for the gas that was used to go back and forth from the hospital. What about my expenses? Hospital food is not only terrible tasting, it is also expensive. I wouldn't have spent that kind of money if I had been at home eating with my family.

I have diabetes. My glucose levels were through the roof on many occassions, due to the stress.

Am I being selfish wanting some validation? some thanks... some repayment?

I am still expected to have the cup of sugar, the extra roll of toliet tissue, the half gallon of milk, everytime someone calls for something. O and my the way, I live next door to them.....

Now I just want to move away, never to help anyone ever again, which is not in my nature. I am severly depressed. but is anyone here to help??? my husband says, I told you so, since he knows his sister very well. their other sisters and brothers did nothing to help except to spoil the child even worse than he was before he had cancer. No one else stayed at the hosptial. No one else advocated for the child. No one else offered to take over the daily routine of care.... there was only me.....Now I want some of that back.... I feel terrible and I want someone to actually care about me....

I know, I'm whining, but I need to..

Thanks for listening....please don't blast me...

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Old 12-31-2005, 09:23 PM   #2
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Re: Care of Nephew

I just want to say. You are a very very special lady for all that you have done. I know how bad you must feel after all that you have done . Just know in your heart that what you have done is very special. You did it for the love of a child and made his life better.

Old 02-07-2006, 09:13 AM   #3
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Re: Care of Nephew

Has your sister-in-law ever actually said thankyou? I'd be royally ****** off too. I don't blame you for feeloing the way you do. What you did was WAY beyond the call of duty, afterall the child is your husbands sisters kid.

Having said that though, I do agree with gardenandcats in that what you did was for the love of that poor 10 year old child.

Can't you speak to your SIL directly and tell her how you feel?

Good luck.

Old 02-07-2006, 10:25 AM   #4
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Re: Care of Nephew

I find your story amazing and incredible--you are one wonderful person!! I know it's hard (put it mildly) when all your hard work and sacrifice seems to go unnoticed, but I do believe in Karma, in a way..all the good you have done will be rewarded.

I, too, cared for a relative for several months w/o recieving much validation. My father in law, actually. Three times a day I'd drive to his place, change his dressings, clean & cook for him, take him to the dr, etc. My husband acted like it was no big deal..... My personal life suffered, my kids felt abandoned and my house was in chaos during this time. Dad finally passed away and, unbelievably, I was the only one who would go through his things and clean his condo in preparation to sell it. I also was the one who painted, cleaned and had all his things packed up for either charity or family members who wanted them. Not a word of thanks from anyone, except a BIL who, in passing, said, "Oh, you did a good job". I was not compensated for the hundreds of hours I put in to the care of my father in law nor for the cleaning/remodeling of his home so it could be sold. I felt bitter and angry for a long time, then I guess I just figured that people (even family, maybe especially family) can be blind to those of us who are the "chronic caregivers". We're always just there, you know, doing what needs to be done and nobody really thinks about us. I have no answers for you--just a common bond of feeling sad that our best efforts go unappreciated. But I know that in your heart you know you did the right thing, and sometimes that is all we have to go on. You could talk to your SIL but it sounds like a pattern has been established here and she will not see things as you do. But your nephew is alive, and that is probably due in no small part to your care. God bless you. You are NOT being selfish and you have every right to feel what you feel. Nobody is going to blast you for being an angel!!!

I hope things look up for you soon. You sound like a wonderful person.

Last edited by liz49; 02-07-2006 at 10:28 AM.

Old 02-08-2006, 12:50 PM   #5
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Re: Care of Nephew

Thank YOU to everyone for your comments.

My nephew has to go to Charleston, a three hour drive, on Friday for his check-up. His oncologist moved to Atlanta, and the closest one is in Charleston. I cannot drive him right now. My car is broken, passenger side front axle, and I can't afford to get it towed to a garage and have it fixed. I've asked everyone I know to ask everyone they know to help me. My SIL received a BIG back pay from SSI for my nephew, and I even asked HER if she would pay to get it fixed and I would repay her when I could...she hemmed and hawed and never really answered the question....I'll take that as a 'no'. She was also supposed to, as a condition of me taking care of my nephew's central line, do a few loads of laundry for me a week. I live just next door, and have no washer/dryer. I go to the laundry mat every week.

Right now I can't do that either, and it's not just the lack of funds. I'm having horrible pains from endometriosis and I am scheduled for testing and surgery within the next three weeks. I will be in the hospital for several days, and will need several weeks of recup time. There is NO way that my husband, who has several carpal tunnel syndrome and spinal damage, can help me completely. He cannot wash dishes that are not plastic. He breaks them because he can't feel them. He can't really cook, he'll burn himself, cause he can't feel his fingers. He can't lift me, because of the back injury.

But I'll post more of this on the hysterectomy board, my point being that I feel that even if I ask my SIL for help, that she will not give it. I'm not even sure that I want her to.

My husband has told his sister that if our nephew needs further treatment, that he will not "allow" me to help care for him. This 'allow' is a term that my SIL understands, but what it really means is that my husband doesn't want me to do it again, because of the cost to me. If I really wanted to, if I had the energy to, he wouldn't argue about it. But I agree with him. I'm still drained, I still have bruises, and the emotional abuse is still with me.

Thanks again for your comments, I really appreciate it.

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Old 02-10-2006, 03:25 PM   #6
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Re: Care of Nephew

Just say No! Do not go over contact her, if she contacts you make some excuse such as you are not feeling well, and be in bed when she comes over. if anyone else calls to ask for help, same thing. Better still tell your uhusband to pick up the phone every time it rings so that you do not have to deal with her. If you do get "caught" be her, tell her you have to look for a job to put food on your table and get your car fixed. Tell her I am completely broke which you are and can no longer help her and see if her other siblings can help her out until you get back on your feet. Tell your husband that you will be faking being sick until they get the message that you will no longer be involved. Have a chat with your nephew, and let him know that you love him but you are not feeling well enough to take care of his needs and that hopefully his parents or other uncles and aunts can help him. He may want to contact thes epeople himself to ask for help, sad to say that but with parent like he has he will need to grow up a little sooner than most kids do.

People who do not want to do anything always have umpteen excuses. We compassionate people have to learn not to be abused by such people by learning to make excuses ourselves.

Old 02-10-2006, 11:40 PM   #7
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Re: Care of Nephew


Thanks for your reply. My husband has already told her and his other sister that I am not well. He told this sister, who lives next door about 20 feet away, that I can't help anymore. He told her that I come first now.

My nephew is a spoiled brat who whines to get what he wants and it works. I can't blame him for that, since that's what he's been taught, mostly by example.

Now my niece, who also lives next door, helps out a lot. She's 18 and tired of living with her mother and sister and brother. She's welcome here anytime. She'll do dishes, sweep the floor, take care of my pets, and just about anything we ask of her. She goes to the laundry mat with me and won't let me do any heavy lifting. She's going to be staying with us after I get out of the hospital.

I took a few steps to get ready. I purchased some plastic plates and plastic tumblers for drinking at a dollar store. They were 4 plates for a dollar and eight tumblers for a dollar. My husband will be able to wash these. I'm also going to prepare food in advance and freeze it, so he won't have much to do.

I, like the rest of you, enjoy helping others, but not being a doormat.

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