Author Topic: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd  (Read 3583 times)

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Thipu1

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A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« on: May 30, 2013, 09:10:28 PM »
A few months ago, I posted a thread about several norovirus shut-downs at the place where MIL lives.  This has now cleared up but things are not going well.

MIL fell and injured her shoulder.  Nothing was broken but, while being checked out, other problems were discovered.  MIL wound up spending about a week and a half, including Mother's Day, in the clinic because of fluid on her lungs.

She's back home in her apartment but several events have everyone in the family a bit on edge.  Last week, an Email went out to all that began, 'My end is near...'. A nephew was the first to read the email and it sparked a barrage of concerned phone calls, emails and tweets around the family.  It didn't help that we couldn't reach MIL for several days. 

  SIL is the person of contact in case of emergency and hadn't received a message from the doctor.  When we did manage to get in touch with MIL, she sounded good but not great.  She also sounded a bit despondent.  As proof of this, yesterday,  we received a letter and documents from her updating the costs of her cremation. 

There's to be a major meeting between MIL and her doctors on Wednesday, June 5.  SIL can't fly half way across the country for this but we can.  We don't mind going and we'll be there with MIL for most of the week.

There is an etiquette question here that's an odd one.  MIL will want us to stay in her apartment.  The
 problem is that she will want to be the gracious hostess. She'll want to make us meals and keep us entertained.  Frankly, we think that, while having family around will lift her spirits, she will try to work
 too much and do herself damage. 

There is a guest house on the grounds where we'd prefer to stay.  It's only about a five minute walk from MIL's apartment so we'd be spending most of her time with her.  The charge for our room would go to MIL's account but we'll certainly pay the cost ourselves. 

Should we accept MIL's hospitality or opt for the guest house? 
« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 09:13:14 PM by Thipu1 »

NyaChan

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2013, 09:12:54 PM »
Will it upset her if you insist on the guest house? I would certainly suggest it, but if she seems unhappy, then I would give in - but bring up your worry with her.  Tell her you know how good of a hostess she is and are worried about her going to too much trouble when she isn't feeling well.  That way if you do stay with her and you see her doing more than she should, you can reference the conversation to gently redirect her.

gramma dishes

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2013, 09:17:00 PM »
Will it upset her if you insist on the guest house? I would certainly suggest it, but if she seems unhappy, then I would give in - but bring up your worry with her.  Tell her you know how good of a hostess she is and are worried about her going to too much trouble when she isn't feeling well. That way if you do stay with her and you see her doing more than she should, you can reference the conversation to gently redirect her.

I agree with NyaChan.  I think that's how I'd try to approach it.

But if she insists that you stay in her apartment with her, I think I'd do it.  She probably really likes the feeling of not being  alone all the time and there would be the added bonus of letting you observe first hand how she's REALLY doing on a 24 hour basis.

Thipu1

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2013, 09:52:57 PM »
Like many Asian women of her generation, she may put up a fuss about how family should all be together.  However, if only to give her some rest, we think she'll agree to the guest house. She is perfectly rational on matters like this. 

There's another wrinkle here.  About two weeks after our visit there's supposed to be the big family gathering at a resort near where MIL lives.  Everyone is on board with this.  Flights have been booked and vacation time has been secured by all. 

MIL arranged this before things started getting iffy with her health.  However, at the age of 94, it's reasonable for her to be concerned about her passing.   Part of the reason for the gathering is to make a video to be shown at MIL's Memorial Service.  She wants the people with whom she lives to 'see her family all at once'. 

We'll know better after our meeting with the doctors but, according to MIL, her heart is only working at 40 percent capacity.  We have to ask the Cardiologist about this but we wonder if the big-blow-out is really a good idea for her. 



« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 10:04:46 PM by Thipu1 »

Firecat

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2013, 10:01:05 PM »
It's such a difficult balancing act. If you can, I think opting for the guest house might be the way to go if at all possible.

Regarding the family gathering, I think, if there's a way it can, it should move forward. For one thing, it sounds like MIL is really looking forward to it. For another, at 94, this may really be one of the last opportunities for her to see family and so on - assuming there's no toxicity or anything like that, it sounds like it would be a shame to pass up the chance.

Maybe one option would be, if MIL's health is "iffy" to see about hiring an aide or other caretaker to assist MIL during the gathering? Maybe set MIL up in one specific area, with comfy chairs near her, so people can take turns going and spending time with her, so she doesn't have to move around much, but still gets to see and talk to people? I don't know if either or both of those ideas would be feasible, but maybe worth considering at least. Good thoughts to you and your family.

gramma dishes

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2013, 10:24:25 PM »
...   About two weeks after our visit there's supposed to be the big family gathering at a resort near where MIL lives.  ...

MIL arranged this before things started getting iffy with her health.  However, at the age of 94, it's reasonable for her to be concerned about her passing.   Part of the reason for the gathering is to make a video to be shown at MIL's Memorial Service.  She wants the people with whom she lives to 'see her family all at once'. 

We'll know better after our meeting with the doctors but, according to MIL, her heart is only working at 40 percent capacity.  We have to ask the Cardiologist about this but we wonder if the big-blow-out is really a good idea for her.

If not now, then when?  Look please don't take this as my being disrespectful about the possibility of your Mom not being up for this huge gathering.  But honestly, it's what she wants and regardless of whatever her health may be today or tomorrow, it isn't honestly likely that a big gathering of her whole family is going to make any difference whatsoever (as to her longevity) in the long run. 

She's 94.  Eventually she is going to pass away.  It may be this year; it may not be for ten more.  But when it's her time, it will be her time and if anything, looking forward to this big reunion gives her something to live for.   It's motivation. 

I'm sure your family will arrange things so that they're not too taxing for her, but I do think you should follow through with what she has arranged and what you all have agreed to.  It may be your family's last gift to her and if not the last, at least the most memorable one.

*inviteseller

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2013, 10:56:59 PM »
((((hugs)))))))  Tell her that after visiting all day, you feel she will need her rest and you want to stay in the guest cottage so she doesn't feel  obligated to play hostess.  I think honesty is warranted.  I visit with my dad frequently, but I know how fast he tires out so I try not to stay long, even though he wants me too.  I finally got honest with him and said I know a visit is over when he is nodding off, and I would rather have little daily visits than long ones that are taxing on him.  And btw..my father also does the 'end is near' conversations.  It is hard to hear, but on the other hand, I know he has finally accepted the inevitable (heart issues) and he is making sure we are aware of his plans and wishes.  Let her talk because surprisingly, it is comforting to them to be able to still have control over things, even if it is their funeral plans.  Again ((((((hugs))))))))

doodlemor

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2013, 11:13:51 PM »
I agree with gramma dishes. 

Your MIL is already 94, and lives in assisted living.  I think that the quality of the life that she has left should be a priority.  Being with her family is probably what she loves the most, and brings her joy.  IMHO  she has earned the right to pretty much do what she wants, even though her health is fragile.

Tea Drinker

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2013, 11:23:59 PM »
I would go for quality of life, if her doctors think that she would have enough energy to be able to enjoy the big gathering, even if they also think it would affect her longevity. It sounds like your mother-in-law is making plans based on the idea that she not only isn't immortal, but has relatively little time left. In that situation, I don't think I would want to be told that I couldn't have, or attend, an event I wanted very much, because someone else was trying to maximize the number of uninteresting days I had left.
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

Maude

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2013, 01:48:24 AM »
   Part of the reason for the gathering is to make a video to be shown at MIL's Memorial Service.  She wants the people with whom she lives to 'see her family all at once'. 
 
[/quote]

MIL does not seem to understand that at her Memorial service she will no longer be alive.
The people with whom she lives probably suffer from dementia or other aged-related conditions
and will probably have little memory of or interest in her.

The family gathering should be ALL ABOUT MIL .ENJOY THE DAY!

AngelicGamer

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2013, 02:05:33 AM »
As someone whose grandma just died (end of March) at 94, please please PLEASE let the family reunion happen.  We, along with other people, were happy that we gave grandma the last little push to go to the annual Christmas Eve party with all the cousins.  Why?  It was the last time that they had a really good memory of grandma before visiting her while we were waiting for her to pass due to a stroke taking her. 

As for visiting, I like the idea of giving her space but make sure to be with her a lot during the day.  However, she might want you there are night because I bet her apartment will be quiet and lonely after a day of family visiting.  So, maybe impose this one time and help her with doing things like cooking and cleaning.  Say that you want to learn how she makes whatever it is she's doing for dinner or that your recipe of it never turns out right, so you want the family secret.  Tell her to leave the washing of linens and making the beds to you and your DH.  I bet that you'll make her life a lot happier by imposing.




"Life's tough, huh?  And then you die." ~ Buck, the Magnificent Seven.

Thipu1

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2013, 08:23:27 AM »
Thanks everyone for your helpful and thoughtful posts.

The problem has solved itself in a way.  MIL just Emailed us that the Guest house is not available so we'll be staying with her.

MIL is not in assisted living.  There is an assisted living area but she lives in a regular apartment.  People living in her area are perfectly sharp.  Many drive and engage in sports. Some have second homes and shuttle back and forth. A few volunteer as docents in local museums or have part-time jobs in town.  It's just like any other apartment building except the residents must be over a certain age. There will be many who remember MIL at her Memorial Service.

We'll certainly be going ahead with the reunion.  It's just unfortunate that MIL's health problems are surfacing now. 

cwm

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2013, 10:15:50 AM »
Going ahead with the reunion is honestly the best thing I can think of. Work with her doctors so they know it's happening and have them tell you what to do in case something happens, but your MIL wants to see her family, and it'd be hard to tell her she can't.

My great grandad came to his 100th birthday party. He didn't do much, sat around and got pictures taken and talked with some of his family members, but it was honestly the happiest I had seen him since he went into his elder apartment home (sounds like the one your MIL is in). His heart wasn't too strong, his lungs weren't the best, and he wasn't hearing anything too well at that point, but he had a great time and got to see his entire family and all of his friends come out to celebrate, and I don't think anyone regrets that decision. We lost him within six months, but everyone in the family still talks about the big birthday party and how nice it was to see everyone there and what a great time he had.

White Lotus

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2013, 10:30:09 AM »
Maybe the lady has every intention of dropping in on her memorial service.  I don't think anybody can prove she won't be able to do exactly that.  It is presumptuous, disrespectful and impolite to assume everyone shares one's own spiritual and religious or non-religious views.  I am sure no one from this forum would do that deliberately, would you?

Thipu1

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Re: A Visit to MIL that Could Get Odd
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2013, 11:38:32 AM »
Maybe the lady has every intention of dropping in on her memorial service.  I don't think anybody can prove she won't be able to do exactly that.  It is presumptuous, disrespectful and impolite to assume everyone shares one's own spiritual and religious or non-religious views.  I am sure no one from this forum would do that deliberately, would you?

I thought the matter was settled.

I haven't seen anything on this thread that I would call 'presumptuous, disrespectful or impolite'. 

I have not noticed any reference to 'spiritual, religious or non-religious views'. 

All of the posters have been kind and helpful.

Could someone help me figure out what White Lotus is trying to say?