Author Topic: MIL has stroke! MY role???  (Read 2056 times)

tybec

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MIL has stroke! MY role???
« on: August 07, 2016, 07:23:00 AM »
I have written some about my MIL.  Back story a bit.  My DH was an only child, and we have one son together, married 21 yrs., together for 28.  My MIL was not mature, never married and with circumstances and choices, ended up following us to where I live now.  She was very close to my DH, obviously, and he, of course, was a good son to take care of her, but she drove him crazy.  He was my buffer.  Move forward to 2 years post his untimely death, and I decided I had to change our relationship for me to move on.  She was very involved in helping me with my son's care, a win/win for us both.  Well, son had grown, I changed from my 40 plus hr. a week job to be the parent I needed for him better, so her help was less needed.  In the last year, our relationship changed to what I would tell folks, separated.  She only calls in regards to DS, and that is fine.  I involve her in school events, holidays, etc., but she is not popping by my house when she wants, letting herself in, calling me almost daily.  I finally started dating, 4 yrs. 2 months after DH's death, and that has further sealed life is changing for me and DS.
MIL had changed her POA after DH died to me, as I am the only family she has here.  She is one of 8 in her generation, and she has loads of family 3 hrs. from here. 

She had a stroke this week!  Life flighted to trauma hospital a hour and a half away.  She didn't call me.  A mutual friend did at the helicopter pad!  I could go, and I felt the need to do so.  I had no idea what I was walking into.  For my DS' sake, I needed to do this.  She dodged a bullet, was released two days later with no perm. damage, and I went to get her as I could. BUt NOW what?

I do not need to be the main caretaker.  She told her extended family not to come.  I have myself, my own 87 yr old mother here, and I am the POA and health surrogate for, and my son.  I work part time now to manage my mother and my son and my life.  I can't take on her care.  I had made such good avenues in changing our relationship, and now this.  My NG is a MBA logistics guy, so logical.  He told me many things about this situation that were not pleasant to hear, but realistic. His mother is widowed and did help with her former MIL as much as she could when needed.  So, I am trying to decide the best path, which I know involves MIL and I having a conversation, unpleasant, and likely with her extended family.  I cannot take on another person and hope for changes in my life with NG, possibly.  Anyone else out there dealt with this?  Advice. I can handle the good, bad and ugly.

calimom

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Re: MIL has stroke! MY role???
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2016, 12:36:53 AM »
Tough question and here's the not-so-easy-for-you answer. Take care of this woman in the most respectful way possible. Yes, try to involve the other family members in her care. But try (if you are even remotely able) to put yourself in her position. She's old. Her only child has died. She's had a terrifying medical situation. No one has ever been hurt by being kind in a circumstance like this. Show your son what family does when there is a crisis. As passionate as your relationship is with "NG", if he is any kind of man, he will understand that some things take precedence. Be the Christian woman you keep telling us you are. Seriously, you can do this!
"I'm breaking through, I'm bending spoons, I'm keeping flowers in full bloom" - REM

tybec

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Re: MIL has stroke! MY role???
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2016, 08:19:06 AM »
Thank you for the response. Calimom. I was starting to wonder if this topic was so horrible no one wanted to reply.  I will heed your advice.  Balance is the key for me.  I started talking to DS and my family about moving out of state to a new family hub this past yr.  and making changes in my mother's care with my brothers being more involved.  NG is actually for helping as much as possible, too, but worries about all my responsibilities.  I guess he saw his mother taken advantage of some and treated poorly despite her trying to assist her mil after her husband's death.   Yes, I try to be empathic.  My mil has 25 Nieces and nephews and their families.  She has incredible support but it is not here geographically.  Enlisting some of them is needed. Good info to process. 

Also, as a Christian, I am fallible, selfish, hypocritical like anyone else.  Just striving to be better in my faith walk.  Hopefully, most folks are working to better themselves with whatever they use as their guide.  :-)

sojourner

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Re: MIL has stroke! MY role???
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2016, 08:42:29 AM »
Oh, no, not a horrible topic at all, tybec! Don't want you feeling that way! In this case, I just personally don't have any relevant experience. My MIL was widowed at about my age & never remarried.  Then she passed away a couple years before my husband.

Other times when there're situations I feel I should add something, I often feel so drained by all my own current life circumstnces and total upheaval going on that I just don't seem to have the any energy to compose a coherent response. I'm probably I'm not alone in that. All that to say, it wasn't a bad topic, and hope you don't feel bad!

Trying

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Re: MIL has stroke! MY role???
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2016, 08:57:28 AM »
This is a difficult situation to be in.  An honest and heartfelt conversation needs to be had with your MIL.  Perhaps you could approach her that you would like to help her problem solve how to have her current and potential future needs met.  You could tell her the amount of help you are happily able to give her but that being a primary caregiver for a third person while also working just isn't possible.  I'm sure it will not be easy but you need to honor your limitations so you don't spread yourself so thin that you are no help to anyone.  This is something I struggle with as well and finding balance still eludes me most of the time.
You will forever be my always.

canadiangirl

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Re: MIL has stroke! MY role???
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2016, 08:29:29 PM »
Hi tybec, I just wanted to weigh in to say that I am really sorry that this has happened to your MIL. If there are that many extended family members in her life, hopefully they can step up -that is not an unrealistic expectation, same with your own family with your own mom.  My parents saw me take on the caregiver role when my husband was ill and they have stated categorically that they wish to be placed in assisted living when the time comes.  I know that is a luxury for many so perhaps not feasible.  But my own MIL is currently deteriorating rapidly from dementia and she is living with her single adult son and it is completely wrecking his life. He admits this. He may be doing the charitable thing, but it is a tremendous sacrifice, it is preventing him from finding his own partner and happiness, he is beyond exhausted, he feels resentment and, importantly, he is not equipped to meet her medical needs.  This last point means her safety is compromised, as well as her quality of life, as in her case she is basically confined to their apartment due to the risk of wandering. I can empathize with fear, but I feel my MIL is being incredibly selfish -- she is one of those from a certain generation that believes that going to a seniors residence is akin to being shipped off to die by ungrateful children, when the reality is she is likely to outlive us all, and would have a much better social life and quality of care in assisted living.  Just my two cents from my own life.  It's okay to find a way to meet your own needs too. Good luck. ((tybec))

tybec

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Re: MIL has stroke! MY role???
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2016, 08:42:41 AM »
Thanks for the support/replies.  I am working on things.  Pt of my back story is I have already dealt with my father's early onset Alzheimer's, 5 yrs. in a nursing home and then death, in my 30s.  I thought that would be the hardest thing in life until my husband died in a car accident.  My mother was the primary caregiver for my dad, me 2nd.  She moved to my town a year after his death and has been here 9 years.  She was completely independent and then got sick quickly.  I hired a sitter, and she has one 5 days a week, for the past 6 years.  She has dementia.  I handle her appts., finances, and I am on call 24/7.  I am the weekend caregiver and still have my tween son to manage and his activities.  Last summer,  I decided I wanted life to be different and started the process of enlisting my 3 brothers' help as being the widow with an elementary school age child and then caregiver of my 87 yr. old mother was taking its toll.  I had no life.  I decided if my eldest widowed brother could date and move on, I have the right to.  I also was called out by a friend that I had taken on the MARTYR role, which I had.  Not attractive in the least, but accurate. My mother's finances are now dwindling, and I am working with one brother on this, also.  A nest egg can go away quickly.  My mother has the family farm in another state, and me and my one brother manage that, too.  This is her last nest egg.  And quite complicated.

That is my story and why I am so reluctant to take on MIL's care, too.  And I finally started dating.  My mother is pleased.  Our parents actually do not want us to be alone, something I never considered.  My confused mother can still tell me I am too young to be by myself.  How about that?  Anyhow.  Great info here to assist. I will do what I can to help my MIL and pursue her family's assistance, too.  Thanks.

calimom

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Re: MIL has stroke! MY role???
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2016, 10:35:45 PM »
I think it speaks well of you that you're concerned about your MIL and her care, with the other things you have going on in your world. Hopefully other family members will step up at some level. Care of the elderly and sick can be disproportionate. Even if MIL is in a nursing or assisted living situation there are still things to be done, as well as just plain visiting. Wishing you and your family all the best as you move forward, and take care of you too!
"I'm breaking through, I'm bending spoons, I'm keeping flowers in full bloom" - REM

tybec

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Re: MIL has stroke! MY role???
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2016, 10:34:12 AM »
I did it.  I talked to MIL and then her health surrogate about the need to communicate her wishes in the event of a health crisis again.  It is/was unpleasant but necessary.  My MIL is back to limited contact or information with me after I brought this up.  I have no say so in her care, have my own mother to take care of, and I know she knows it but I am not likely doing what she wants.  As I suspected, she had not talked to her health surrogate about anything except a funeral plan and where her will is and that kind of end of life planning.  She has to let someone know that has the legal right to make decisions.  She dodged a bullet, no rehab even.  But she has had a heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, both knees replaced, teeth, eye surgery, 350 plus lbs, and she does what she wants.  She drove herself to the hospital having the stroke.  They told her to call 911 if she has another health issue, and she said she would probably just drive herself again.  I was furious and told her in front of my son I hoped she didn't kill herself or someone else by doing something  not doctor recommended.  I think it may have stuck a little. 

ON a positive note, she talked to a mutual friend and stated she will probably move in a couple years as the only grandson (my son) will be driving by then, and she knows he will not be the person to take care of her.  She told the friend her family will take care of her, then.  Progress...

My mom is stable health wise, but the dementia has no cure.  88 yrs. old in Dec. Do have to have her pacemaker replaced then. Hard to believe I am dealing with this after having it with my father.  I try to remember I am very fortunate in so many ways and others have more challenges than I can imagine.  Helps me keep swimming....

piecesofapart

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Re: MIL has stroke! MY role???
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2016, 07:06:08 PM »
I'm pretty much in the same situation. MIL- only has me and her mentally ill son. I was married to her other son for 17 years- have known her for 23 years now. She's 99% always been great to me. My husband is gone now 3 years. She did have a horrible sickness about two years ago. I was the one who took her to hospital- stayed with her- did her household things. Food shopped. I did it because she's my husband's mother. I did it in memory of him. However, it was draining- and she now has put other people in her life that can help out if ever the need be- because I just work too many darn hours and can't just leave work at a drop of the hat.

However if she ever needs me I will do my best- it's just what I feel is right and I need to be able to live with myself.

Good luck....

tybec

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Re: MIL has stroke! MY role???
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2017, 10:23:00 AM »
Things just keep changing.  Some good.  MIL has decided to move up HOME as she calls it.  She is applying for senior housing.  She has lots of support.  She sees me dating NG now a year, and realizes if we continue, I will move.  My dear mother is worsening, and her sitter is marrying tomorrow, so my mother may end up living in the town where NG is as they have the same senior care community but full range of services.  My mother may need personal home care/memory care, and they have it.  We have nothing here for dementia folks in our town.  So, it seems to be working out in some way.  Tough stuff to have care issues of elderly parents and my son is only 13.  Sandwich generation for sure.  It was hard but so much better with me and DH tag teaming it.  I can't do it alone.  So, MIL is making good choices for her needs.  25 nieces and nephews and 4 siblings and their spouses within 20 mile radius.  She has the help she needs.

Now to make decisions about my mom and ME!

Euf

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Re: MIL has stroke! MY role???
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2017, 06:50:04 PM »
Sandwich generation for sure.  But it sounds as if things are being handled as best as they can be handled.

No easy answers as I'm sure you know. ( Don't mean to be condescending.) I'm sort of in the same place you are except it is my mother.

I guess we just keep on keeping on and try doing the best we can.

((hugs))