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Feeling so frustrated and confused....


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How do you know how best to help someone? My FIL seems to be getting weaker instead of stronger since the first days after his surgery. He "doesn't feel like eating" and "nothing tastes good" so my MIL has really had to work to get him to eat anything. Then over the weekend, he had dizzy spells, and dry heaves - we think he may have gotten slightly dehydrated, plus nauseated from taking pain pills with very little food.

The last two days have been a little better - he is eating a little bit and it seems to be staying down. But it is a very little bit. He doesn't seem to want to get out and walk much...he is disgusted by what he can't do instead of being happy at how much progress he has made in the 3 weeks since his surgery.

To top it off - there are 4 kids in the family. The two daughters have done NOTHING to help their parents. So, my dh and I, and my BIL and SIL have been calling every day (none of the kids live right by them) and trying as best as we can to make sure one of us is at their dr appts with them. We have been rotating weekends so that one of us can go back and help them with groceries, lawn care, just visiting, etc. But the other two just haven't contributed, nor have they contacted us about working out a schedule - we have been doing it all ourselves. And we all work and between us have 3 kids - age 2, 4 and 7. We live 2 1/2 hours away and my BIL lives 1 1/2 hours away.

And...I feel so bad about feeling this way...but I was so mad last night when my MIL told me that one of the sisters finally stopped by to visit dad. And how wonderful it was that she came to cheer up her dad. I wanted to yell - did she help with anything? Did she offer to take you shopping? Did she offer to take a day off for any dr appts? Where was she this weekend when we thought he may end up in the hospital again? This is the first time this daughter has seen him since the day of his surgery, and now she is daughter of the year because she took 2 hours out of her day to stop by to visit. It is not my nature to be this way - I help people because it is in my heart - not too look or feel better than anyone else, but I am disgusted with them.

Sorry for my pity party...just frustrated and don't know how to help him help himself. I was always so afraid of this.

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Darci, vent away. You need it. For some strange reason, parents make over the once in a while dropin more than the one who is always there. Maybe absence does make the heart grow fonder -- I don't know. When my MIL was in a nursing home near us, she would make over my visits, which were much less than my wife's, more than my wife's which were routine. So, go figure.

Have your husband and his brother asked their sisters to help, and give specific areas that need attention? Sometimes, people need to be coaxed or shown specifics. And then, if you all are doing all the work, they will probably leave you to do that -- either because they don't perceive the need for them to participate (you all are handling it well) or because they just plain don't have to. I myself would be insistent that all participate.

When my wife was diagnosed with LC, I told my three adult children that I could not be there for them even though I knew they were hurting, because I had to give full attention to their mother. I also told them they would need to give their mother much more attention than they normally do, because this is a much different situation than normal. She needed their presence, their phone calls, their help much more now than before and this was the new norm in our lives. Later, after Lucie got better, I told them I could then give them more time, if they needed it.

Hang in there. Ask for what you all need. Don

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Oh don't get me going on the in-laws.. :roll: All you can do is take the high road...and the only other suggestion I have is to just tell them what you need. Call and say we need someone to do....or do you have a day you could...?

I have a friend whose brother does zip for her parents. She and her sister started to call him Jesus because every time he did the smallest thing for her parents you'd think it was a miracle. Anyway, they try to laugh about it but when things get tight they just tell him what they need him to do and he does it. Good luck.

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Thanks so much for the support. You are so right...we have not contacted "the two" and specifically asked for their help. Kind of hoped that they would come forward, and that is probably childish on our part.

My SIL did tell my MIL that there is one specific weekend that none of us can come back, and that unless they felt that they could go through that whole period with no help (other than neighbors) that she would have to call the girls and see if one of them could cover.

I don't know...maybe part of us is feeling that they can't do it as well as we can??????? Could that be? I feel like if we go to the appts with them, then we know what is going on...but if someone else does, we may not get accurate information.

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It is so hard, we are referred to as the sandwich generation, raising our young children, while caretaking for aging parents.

My MIL lives with us and our boys are 3 and 5. His family is not supportive or helpful or anything of the sort. You are probably right though, when MIL does go visit her daughter every 5th weekend, we worry about her like one of our kids, wonder what she is doing, etc.

All of our caregiver resources have said to tell his siblings what we need (we even offered to pay them for respite), but that has not worked.

My advice is to think of the days when he is gone, hopefully many years down the road, and how sound you will sleep at night.

We are doing the right thing my friend, so hang in there!!!

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Darci: I hope things soon start going better for you FIL. it has only been 3 weeks since his surgey. I was still teetering around at 3 weeks after my surgery. It is good that he is starting to eat more. Try to get him to laugh.

Maybe his 2 daughters are somewhat afraid to visit. You might consider telling your sister-in law that you are glad she visited her dad and encourage her to visit some more. I betcha they are just a little afraid and don't know how to be around their dad.

Don M

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Darci, please always know that we are here to listen, regardless. I know that you must be tired, worried and very frustrated. I have always heard that even if there are a dozen children in a family, the bulk of the burden , when caring for parents, always seems to fall on one child. I seem to always think about that and it seems to be true. I think your husband should definitely ask for help from his siblings. I know that your MIL would appreciate extra hands, as well. Although there are no excuses for not helping out, there can be some reasons. My youngest son had a really hard time coming around, let alone helping, when his dad was ill. He finally admitted that he couldn't handle seeing his dad sick and in pain. His dad had always been "bigger than life" to him and the thought of seeing him sick was too much for him to handle. I don't know if this could be the case in your family but it is a possibility. I am saying prayers for you and your FIL. Hope you get some help.

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