Author Topic: Supporting Sandy victims vs. taking care of myself - need advice and phrasing.  (Read 12126 times)

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TamJamB

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Personally I don't think this qualifies for an exemption under the take-care-of-yourself-first rule. This is, for your friend, the very definition of an emergency. And, while having a guest in a small house for a week is certainly an imposition, it's not like you're giving him one of your kidneys either.

To me, this favor falls clearly under the stuff-good-friends-do-for-each-other. You can back out if you want to, but I wouldn't blame the guy for taking that to mean that you are not to be counted on in a pinch. Because you can't.

SPuck

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I think there is a difference between letting a friend say one night during an emergency versus several days for an unknown period of time. Your the one who is not changing the deal if your emergency boundaries your friend friend is asking you to change them. That and your also dealing with a medical predicament, and at the time you also have what sounds like an open door policy for other friends in need so it is not like your boarding yourself away from the misery that surrounds you. If he can't say over he can't say over. Your not doing anything wrong. If you could would a night or two at the beginning of the work week? That will give more time for more gas stations to open and more electricity to come on.

SoCalVal

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I reread LadyL's first post and, maybe I have a strange sense of what constitutes an emergency, but Friend doesn't sound like he has an emergency situation (such as what she stated about staying overnight once if there were a blizzard and he couldn't get home safely).  He has a situation where things are a bit tougher (generator instead of regular power and gasoline shortage), but he's not in an unworkable situation (he has a home to go to, rather than having to stay in a shelter, for example).  I used to be part of a DAT (Disaster Action Team) for the Red Cross.  Friend's situation definitely isn't considered an emergency (I don't know if he would be permitted to stay in a shelter when so many others need to stay in one and he has a home to which he can return).  Side note -- we once had a family who wanted vouchers to buy new clothes because they considered themselves to be in need and in an emergency situation due to their clothes smelling like smoke (I think either their or a neighbor's residence had a fire but not a bad enough fire they couldn't return to their residence).  Anyway, they were turned down after it was assessed that the clothing just needed to be washed in order to eliminate the smoke, not replaced.  They still kept asking for vouchers (turned down again); they didn't want to wash their clothes.

Anyway, looking at it this way, his tougher situation doesn't supersede LadyL's health issues.  I think LadyL and LordL should be able to state her medical reasons for not being able to have him stay a week.  This would not be rescinding their offer of helping out during an emergency.  Again, he's not in an emergency if he still has his home and has a back-up provider for power (this from someone who lived in a house with no gas and no electricity for days, not because of a environmental issues but because my parents didn't pay the bills -- also no fridge and no phone in the pre-cell phone days -- but we still had our house; lack of these things made life tougher but didn't make the situation an emergency for the six of us living there).  Friend may feel he's in a true emergency situation for him, but LadyL is, equally, in a true medical crisis for her.  With those in mind, LadyL needs to be able to take care of her health.  Still, if they want to help Friend saves on gasoline usage, I'd be inclined to say Friend could stay the first night of the week and the last night of the week OR the first two nights of the week or the last two nights of the week (to give LadyL a block of time to continue to recover instead of the time being broken up).



SPuck

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Also if you feel like you have to explain yourself when it comes to go into detail about your medication problems. All you really have to say is "I'm having medication and migraine issues so I cannot have a guest over for longer then x days/hours." Will also work.

dirtyweasel

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Personally I don't think this qualifies for an exemption under the take-care-of-yourself-first rule. This is, for your friend, the very definition of an emergency. And, while having a guest in a small house for a week is certainly an imposition, it's not like you're giving him one of your kidneys either.

To me, this favor falls clearly under the stuff-good-friends-do-for-each-other. You can back out if you want to, but I wouldn't blame the guy for taking that to mean that you are not to be counted on in a pinch. Because you can't.

POD the bolded. 



Cattitude

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I reread LadyL's first post and, maybe I have a strange sense of what constitutes an emergency, but Friend doesn't sound like he has an emergency situation (such as what she stated about staying overnight once if there were a blizzard and he couldn't get home safely).  He has a situation where things are a bit tougher (generator instead of regular power and gasoline shortage), but he's not in an unworkable situation

I just wanted to address this part of your post.  We also took a hit here in coastal NY and had no power for 4 days so it was not fun but certainly tolerable.  However, the gas shortage here is SEVERE, with people spending the night in their car on a line, just waiting and hoping the gas delivery shows up to the station.  An hour's commute would be a hardship on anyone right now in this area.  Many of my coworkers (visiting nurses) could not even see patients due to the gas shortage. 

Anyway, as for the OP, I also have anxiety and this week has ramped it up so much.  But I would still let a good friend crash here if need be.

SoCalVal

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However, the gas shortage here is SEVERE, with people spending the night in their car on a line, just waiting and hoping the gas delivery shows up to the station.  An hour's commute would be a hardship on anyone right now in this area.  Many of my coworkers (visiting nurses) could not even see patients due to the gas shortage.

Well, that part DOES change the situation a little where he's concerned, but how is public transportation?  Is that a viable option?  Sorry, when I saw gas shortage, I think of being in line a few hours, not overnight, so I could see that making it an emergency for him when he wouldn't know if he could even make it back.  With that in mind then, again, Friend would need a serious talking to of expectations of him as a guest in order to accommodate LadyL's medical issues (and he would need to know that he would have to find lodging elsewhere if he couldn't compromise so she could focus on getting better).



Minmom3

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Going with the title of your thread, it doesn't have to be completely an either/or matter.

While you need to look after your well being, and need extra consideration from LordL and anyone else who would be in your home more than briefly right at the present, you could discuss what special considerations or restrictions would be needed from your friend in order to minimize the anxiety and discomfort you have which are currently exacerbated as you work through the best medical path.

Your friend, by staying with you, would be able to conserve whatever is available gas for his family's generator rather than using it for his commute to and from work for a week.

If you can be clear and direct with your friend about what you need now (quiet, privacy, etc) and ask if that is acceptable to him for his stay, your friend's emergency needs may be mitigated by staying with you, impacts on you could be mitigated by being direct about your own needs.  It may or may not be that your friend then decides to pursue a different option than staying with you, or stays only a night or two, or does indeed have a need to stay closer to his work which is great enough that he would happily, quietly couch surf for a week as unobtrusively as possible.

That was really well said!
Mother to children and fuzz butts....

camlan

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I reread LadyL's first post and, maybe I have a strange sense of what constitutes an emergency, but Friend doesn't sound like he has an emergency situation (such as what she stated about staying overnight once if there were a blizzard and he couldn't get home safely).  He has a situation where things are a bit tougher (generator instead of regular power and gasoline shortage), but he's not in an unworkable situation

I just wanted to address this part of your post.  We also took a hit here in coastal NY and had no power for 4 days so it was not fun but certainly tolerable.  However, the gas shortage here is SEVERE, with people spending the night in their car on a line, just waiting and hoping the gas delivery shows up to the station.  An hour's commute would be a hardship on anyone right now in this area.  Many of my coworkers (visiting nurses) could not even see patients due to the gas shortage. 



Yes, that was my understanding about the gas shortage. A combination of stations not having electricity and therefore not being able to pump gas, gas tankers not being able to get to some of the stations, and tanker ships not being able to dock at the ports for several days. The government has called in the Department of Defense to move gas supplies into the affected areas quickly, and released stores from emergency supplies that have never had to be used before.

And if there's no gas, buses can't run. No electricity and trolleys and subways can't run.

Friends of mine lost power for three days. We don't have a gas shortage here, but running their generator just enough to power the refrigerator, the stove and the pump for the well cost them over $150 in gas.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


bonyk

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"Friend, my migraines are seriously acting up, and I really, really needs some down time.  Instead of the whole week, why don't you plan to stay on Tuesday and Thursday night?  I think that will work out best for both of us."

Where I am (about an hour out from the city), the gas lines are significantly shorter today than they were yesterday.  I'm hopeful that by the end of the week the gas situation will be normal again.

bbgirl

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You need to ask yourself what you value more...your privacy or your friendships.  You offered a place for emergencies and an  offer like that does not usually include "but only if it's convenient for me." An emergency by it's very nature is inconveniencing.  You have it very lucky that you aren't suffering the effects of the storm and have not lost your life or home.  So it really comes down to what you value more.  Your friend has asked for help so of course, it's your choice to either follow through on your previous offer of helping during an emergency or not but you will need to weigh very heavily the effect that this might have on your relationship and on how others in your community look at your reliability.

If you have two rooms and need your down time, then just explain that in plain terms to your friend and retreat to a private room. If you need him less chatty, then just say that to him. An emergency situation I think changes the status of the hosting element. He will temporarily be a part of the household, not so much a guest. So lay out the terms of the house and go about your normal (as normal as can be anyway in this situation) daily routines. If he's a true friend, he'll understand.

And turn the tables in your thought process.  How would you feel if you had to ask someone for help but they then told you no even when they had previously offered? Would you be able to maintain that friendship with them knowing they weren't willing to follow through for you?

It's not easy, it probably won't be fun or comfortable..but it's what people (friends and strangers) do for each other when times get tough. 

Two Ravens

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You need to ask yourself what you value more...your privacy or your friendships.  You offered a place for emergencies and an  offer like that does not usually include "but only if it's convenient for me." An emergency by it's very nature is inconveniencing.   You have it very lucky that you aren't suffering the effects of the storm and have not lost your life or home.  So it really comes down to what you value more.  Your friend has asked for help so of course, it's your choice to either follow through on your previous offer of helping during an emergency or not but you will need to weigh very heavily the effect that this might have on your relationship and on how others in your community look at your reliability.

If you have two rooms and need your down time, then just explain that in plain terms to your friend and retreat to a private room. If you need him less chatty, then just say that to him. An emergency situation I think changes the status of the hosting element. He will temporarily be a part of the household, not so much a guest. So lay out the terms of the house and go about your normal (as normal as can be anyway in this situation) daily routines. If he's a true friend, he'll understand.

And turn the tables in your thought process.  How would you feel if you had to ask someone for help but they then told you no even when they had previously offered? Would you be able to maintain that friendship with them knowing they weren't willing to follow through for you?

It's not easy, it probably won't be fun or comfortable..but it's what people (friends and strangers) do for each other when times get tough.

I can't say how much I agree with this post. Especially the bolded.

SPuck

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You need to ask yourself what you value more...your privacy or your friendships.

It is also not necessarily a privacy issues, it is also the LadyL's medical issues. I know when my own mother had migraines it could take her down for a couple days, and if she tried to trudge through the migraine itself she made herself sick enough to throw up. It took her over two decades to find medicine that actually kept her functioning and after all that anguish she went through menopause and the migraines stopped. LadyL needs to value her own comfort level, and there is nothing wrong with that if a medical issue is involved.

LadyL

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You need to ask yourself what you value more...your privacy or your friendships.

It is also not necessarily a privacy issues, it is also the LadyL's medical issues. I know when my own mother had migraines it could take her down for a couple days, and if she tried to trudge through the migraine itself she made herself sick enough to throw up. It took her over two decades to find medicine that actually kept her functioning and after all that anguish she went through menopause and the migraines stopped. LadyL needs to value her own comfort level, and there is nothing wrong with that if a medical issue is involved.

I didn't want to sound defensive or like I was nitpicking people's language, but since SPuck picked up on this as well  - I feel this goes beyond me being simply stressed or inconvenienced over lack of privacy. I have had more days than not when I have struggled to get out of bed, get dressed, and leave the house and some where I have failed to do so entirely. I have had to take potentially habit forming sedatives in order to function, something I am trying to minimize as much as possible by keeping my stress levels as low as possible.

Also, the gas shortages in my friend's area are a problem, but he is able to get gas (he lives in a less populous area so the waits are on the order of hours, not days), for those who were wondering how that factored in. It is actually much harder if not impossible to get gas in our area right now, but that is expected to get much better within the next few days.

Two Ravens

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You need to ask yourself what you value more...your privacy or your friendships.

It is also not necessarily a privacy issues, it is also the LadyL's medical issues. I know when my own mother had migraines it could take her down for a couple days, and if she tried to trudge through the migraine itself she made herself sick enough to throw up. It took her over two decades to find medicine that actually kept her functioning and after all that anguish she went through menopause and the migraines stopped. LadyL needs to value her own comfort level, and there is nothing wrong with that if a medical issue is involved.

I didn't want to sound defensive or like I was nitpicking people's language, but since SPuck picked up on this as well  - I feel this goes beyond me being simply stressed or inconvenienced over lack of privacy. I have had more days than not when I have struggled to get out of bed, get dressed, and leave the house and some where I have failed to do so entirely. I have had to take potentially habit forming sedatives in order to function, something I am trying to minimize as much as possible by keeping my stress levels as low as possible.

Also, the gas shortages in my friend's area are a problem, but he is able to get gas (he lives in a less populous area so the waits are on the order of hours, not days), for those who were wondering how that factored in. It is actually much harder if not impossible to get gas in our area right now, but that is expected to get much better within the next few days.

Look, you have to do what you have to do, but turning away a friend in a time of need by talking about your "stress levels" isn't going to make him feel very valued, or that you were being genuine in your original offer. There is really no good way to do it. You are at great risk of over-explaining, and making it sound like you are just making excuses.

Just offer what you can offer (are you going to offer anything?) or just say you can't. Be brief and then just be prepared to deal with the fall out.