Author Topic: Broken Record: Ask Your Brother!!!! (The Continuing Saga of DH's Sister)  (Read 13668 times)

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BarensMom

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Per everyone's advice, I've been keeping my distance from SIL (she from the bottle and denture thread).  I've not responded to any of her phone messages and have let DH handle her. 

Last week I finally caved and met up with her for lunch.  The first thing she started talking about was a new bed.  SIL has mobility issues and, within the past few years, has developed bedsores.  She is also on Medicare/MediCal, which provides for most of her medical needs.  She wants to me to ask DH if he would give her $1000 for a special mattress.  I responded that was between herself and DH.  The conversation went like this:

SIL:  "I really need that bed, but I'm scared to ask (DH).  Can't you ask him for me?"
Me:  "That's between you and DH.  I can't interfere."
SIL:  "It has one of those foam mattresses that is good for bedsores.  You know how I suffer..."
Me:  "I can't interfere. That's between you and DH.  You need to ask him yourself."

Repeat ad nauseaum.  I cut the visit short and came back immediately after lunch.

I went home and told DH about this, and his first reaction was "CRIVINS!, $1,000!?!"  Now he's thinking about it, or at least providing half.  I told him I have problems with this because (a) it's the time of year when property tax, car and home insurance, and DMV fees all fall due; (b) he just invested a ton of available cash in the stock market, leaving us with just enough for bills and everything in (a); (c) If she really needs that bed, she should go to her doctor and apply for Medicare/MediCal to pay for it.

Yes, there is a question in all this - how do you shut up someone when the "broken record" method isn't working? 


NyaChan

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Well you said it yourself - you caved.  Not only with the whole staying away part, but after telling her you wouldn't play the go-between, you played the go-between!  Saying you won't interfere to stop her from talking to you about this stuff will only work if you actually follow through.  In the end, you gave her exactly what she wanted. 

BarensMom

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NyaChan, I didn't ask him for her, although it seems that way.  I gave him the heads up that it was coming and gave him my opinion, which was "Don't do it."  If I hadn't, she would have caught him while busy at work and he would have said "Sure," without realizing what he was agreeing to.

Zizi-K

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Can I just ask why you didn't say no? If she can get the money thru Medicaid, it sounds like a no-brainer.

BarensMom

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Can I just ask why you didn't say no? If she can get the money thru Medicaid, it sounds like a no-brainer.

Per agreement, DH controls the finances in our household.

gramma dishes

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If she really NEEDS the bed, there are ways to get financial help with that.  But if she just WANTS the bed because she thinks it will be good for her condition, there are also less expensive alternatives. 

If the mattress she's now using is in reasonably good condition, it is possible to get a fairly thick "memory" type foam topper.  Much less expensive than buying a whole new bed or even a new mattress.  And even for that, she should be able to get financial aid if her doctor thinks it's an actual requirement for her healing. 

I think you were smart to forewarn your husband that this subject might be coming up.  It gives the two of you an opportunity to work on a plan for his response. 

But please don't go out for any more lunches with her!  They seem to end badly.    :-\

AvidReader

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OTOH, you write that you reported this conversation to your DH.  That doesn't necessarily mean that you asked for the money on SIL's behalf.  (It doesn't sound like it to me.)  I consider that your DH is forwarned.  His sister may work up the nerve to ask him directly for the money.  He should have an answer for her at the ready, as it appears you are a bit strapped for cash at the moment.
 
Had you not reported this conversation to your DH, he might have fielded her request stone cold and committed to something that would not be in your best interests as a couple.

Lesson learned.  Don't cave to your SIL's entreaties.  Keep up the broken record act. 

BarensMom

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If she really NEEDS the bed, there are ways to get financial help with that.  But if she just WANTS the bed because she thinks it will be good for her condition, there are also less expensive alternatives. 

If the mattress she's now using is in reasonably good condition, it is possible to get a fairly thick "memory" type foam topper.  Much less expensive than buying a whole new bed or even a new mattress.  And even for that, she should be able to get financial aid if her doctor thinks it's an actual requirement for her healing. 

I think you were smart to forewarn your husband that this subject might be coming up.  It gives the two of you an opportunity to work on a plan for his response. 

But please don't go out for any more lunches with her!  They seem to end badly.    :-\

You're right about that - I start to feel bad for her because she's alone and disabled, but it always bites me.

I asked her about the foam toppers - my parents each had one during their final illnesses and it helped with their sores.  She said, "But I want a new bed."  I told DH that if a topper was good enough for my parents, it should be good enough for her. 

*inviteseller

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I would have your DH give her information on applying for medicare/medical instead of handing her money.  Why should she do anything for herself if the Bank of DH is always open??  It is not fair for your DH to cut you guys short to pay for her necessities..yeah, she has issues, but you and he and your responsibilities come way before hers.  I applaud your backbone in dealing with her, and it sounds like DH is trying to get a spine. And she 'wants' a new bed??   Well we all want things, but most adults know the needs come before wants, and if the want is a big enough priority, you save for one, not expect everyone else to provide it for you.

My DD is your SIL in the making and I am being 'mean' in teaching her that family can be a source of support, but not your personal bank because you make unwise decisions and choices. 

Zizi-K

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Can I just ask why you didn't say no? If she can get the money thru Medicaid, it sounds like a no-brainer.

Per agreement, DH controls the finances in our household.

Ah, ok. I do seem to remember something vaguely about that in a previous thread. Controlling finances is one thing (being in charge of checkbooks, credit cards, budget, etc) but I think it's unwise for you to not even have power if veto. From what you said, it sounds like you really can't afford it, and it doesn't make sense to put all the decision-making power with someone who will make bad decisions on the basis of emotions and family guilt trips.

Zilla

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I would be firmer after her constant asking, "I have said quite a few times now that this is between you and my dh.  I do not wish to discuss this again.  If not, we will have to cut this short.  Now tell me about...." and bean dip.  If she brings it up again, signal the waitress for the check and offer to box up her meal to go.  Don't do it dramatic but quietly.  She is used to doggedly getting what she wants with total lack of pride or social cues.  So you have to be firm and show her in a simple way that you mean what you say.

ladiedeathe

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Medicare/Medicaid pays for durable medical equipment for the handicapped. If she has bedsores she will probably qualify. It wold be kind of your husband to wait for her to ask, then offer to help her through the process of getting a new bed through Mcr/Mcd. A true low pressure bed is usually way more than $1,000- if what she wants is just a really nice bed then it is worthless to her in terms of pressure relief. It may feel nice, but won't help long-term. She and your DH need to speak with her care team and work this out.
"Here to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Have chalice, will travel."

oogyda

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I asked her about the foam toppers - my parents each had one during their final illnesses and it helped with their sores.  She said, "But I want a new bed."  I told DH that if a topper was good enough for my parents, it should be good enough for her.

She wants the whole shebang, but she wants someone else to pay for it.  I know there are very good quality, thick mattress toppers out there.  And they *are* expensive.  But not as expensive as a new bed.  I would suggest that IF DH really wants to do something, he should buy the topper and give that to her......not the cash.

It's not what we gather along the way that matters.  It's what we scatter.

Roe

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Can I just ask why you didn't say no? If she can get the money thru Medicaid, it sounds like a no-brainer.

Per agreement, DH controls the finances in our household.

Ah, ok. I do seem to remember something vaguely about that in a previous thread. Controlling finances is one thing (being in charge of checkbooks, credit cards, budget, etc) but I think it's unwise for you to not even have power if veto. From what you said, it sounds like you really can't afford it, and it doesn't make sense to put all the decision-making power with someone who will make bad decisions on the basis of emotions and family guilt trips.

I agree.  Control of the finances should be separate from "having no say whatsoever in our (my) money."   Just because your DH controls the finances doesn't mean you shouldn't have a voice.

TootsNYC

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I think you're splitting hairs when you say you didn't ask your DH, you just gave him a head's-up.

I think you need a better approach to her asking for you to intervene.
Instead of trying to shut the conversation down by stonewalling, I think you should say,  "I'll tell him you want to talk to him about it."

Because that's what you did, essentially.
And it's what you'd do every time. So acknowledge it.