That's It, I'm Pulling The Plug, You Stupid Assholes!

Don’t feel a need to reply, I’m just venting here, but I have had e-fucking-nuff.

Just got through a weepy, crying conversation with my wife. She is at the end of her rope with her parents and her worthless sisters.

Her dad, my FIL, is eat up with Alzheimer’s. In the bad way…think of Uncle Junior in “The Sopranos,” but not as nice.

Her mom is hallucinating about lights coming through her tn-foiled windows, going thru the doors, and playing about in their bedroom.

Today, my wife took them both to an (audilogist? ear doctor? whatever…) to have his hearing aids cleaned and re-batterized. Her mom spent the entire time complaining, busting the receptinist’s ass. My wife jept trying to tone it down by giving the mother visual clues to the effect of, “Tone it DOWN, dammit!”

Got excorciated big time by mom when they got home.

Dammit, enough! I pit her 3 sisters who live out of state and just think because she is like, THERE, she has to handle all of this.

Well, screw 'em. I’m getting a permanent position, going off the consultant trail, and we will relocate somewhere far away, rent the Florida house. Let the other 3 sisters see how it feels to shoulder their fair share of the burden.

It will probably take about a year to find something suitable, but you stinking bitches, it is coming. See how you like it then, when you don’t have Mrs. LiveOnAPlane to do all of your dirty work for you!

And just to be perfectly clear, I am applying, and interviewing for international positions, I want the hell out of the country, see how they like that.

Taking a deep breath…thanks for listening/tolerating me. I feel a lot better for having said that. But I will feel a WHOLE lot better when reaality settles on her worthless sisters.

To play devil’s advocate here, are you sure your wife’s sisters know how much your wife would like their help? Are there any local resources available to help your wife (home care, live-in aide, something like that)?

No prob, no offense taken, your questions are very pertinent.

Yes, the sisters know very clearly how much she would like (and desperately NEEDS) their help. They blow it off, with "Well, yes, but you a re there, you can’t leave, you have to do more because you are, like, you know, there.

Home care, live-in-care, and others…NO! NO! They (her mom/dad and the sisters just think this is anathema.

Nursing home for him–assisted living for her? NO, they refuse to even discuss it.

You wouldn’t believe how many others hold the exact same belief. It’s called DENIAL. And it ain’t a river in Egypt, although I’m sure you already know that.

Of course your SILs are thrusting everything on your wife. Nobody wants to face the fact that yes, unfortunately, ALZ exists. It can tear families apart because nobody wants to be responsible for the caregiving. There’s the financial angle to consider, too. ALZ isn’t a cheap disease.

Speaking as a caregiver (my mom has ALZ; my husband and I live with her), the first thing you and/or your wife should do is contact your local Elder Services organization or the Council on Aging. They’re extremely helpful in directing you to those you need to speak with, and set up a basic plan for your FIL. The first thing they’ll probably do is send out a social worker for an in-home assessment. My mom, for example, is eligible for 3 days at an adult day health center per week. When she’s no longer able to attend there, our social worker, along with her doctors and I, will draft up a plan for the next step. What that is, I can’t say. ALZ is quite unpredictable.

Have you discussed anything with your FIL’s doctor? Does your FIL have a neurologist?

Sooner rather than later your wife and her sisters are going to have to sit down and hash out a care plan, be it actual hands-on and/or financial. I agree – this is probably one of the most sticky and uncomfortable issues when it comes to caregiving. If her sisters refuse to do any of the hands-on, the fair thing for them would either be to provide respite for you and your wife here and there and/or provide some sort of financial help for in-home health care, etc. Judging from what you’ve said about them, it will probably take a doctor, social worker, or someone in authority to FORCE them to see the light, as it were.

But first steps first. Please contact your local COA or Elder Service agency. Tomorrow, if possible. Believe me, you and your wife cannot do this alone. I know my husband and I can’t.

Nursing home for him–assisted living for her? NO, they refuse to even discuss it.

Thank you, kiz, for the information and helpful advice. I will pass this on and we will get with Council on Aging or Elder Service or whatever agency is in our area.

Some things seem so much clearer hearing from someone else. You are very right, we need to get others involved in this whether the sisters like it or not. When we go, they are going to have to deal with it like it or not. And they are not the types to be prepared, so we need to start things now.

I am so sorry to hear you are going through this, our thoughts and prayers are with you all, too.

Thanks again!

My SIL is very ill with cancer, and one of the sisters and SIL’s sons live out of state. The fact is, unless they have a lot of money, it isn’t practical for them to shoulder the burden. They might be able to help with little things sporadically, but the brunt of the responsibility will fall on those who are nearby.

That’s not to say you and your wife have to go it alone. As Kiz said, you need to get a game plan in place. Someone needs to me medical power of attorney, someone needs to handle the money end of things, and someone needs to get the myriad agencies on line with the situation. Both your inlaws sound like they’re a bit “off the beam” and these issues have to be dealt with soon.

The sisters who are out of state can start dealing with Medicaid/Medicare. This is done on line or over the phone, so they have no excuse not to do it. Nursing homes are rated and reviewed by Medicare, so you can find a suitable place to put Uncle Junior (it sounds like it may be sooner rather than later). Call the local agencies and see about getting help with housework, shopping, etc.

And please reconsider moving away. Unless your wife wants nothing to do with her parents, she’s going to feel guilty and depressed about removing herself from the situation.

It’s a hard situation and I don’t envy you at all. But there is help out there. Take advantage of every agency you can find. Best of luck to all of you.

With regard to moving and your wife feeling guilty; I think the most important thing for her is to feel that she took this situation as far as she could. If she’s not there yet, I agree that moving could lead to a lot of guilt and regret for her. I guess your job here is to keep her realistic about what she (and you) can do for her parents.

Yes, good words. The wife is not “there yet,” but she is getting close. Staying has its own set of disadvantages, that is the bad feelings her mother is engendering in her, and of course, the “being taken for granted” by the sisters plus their own selnse of being too important to actually have to deal with such a tawdry situation.

So either way, stay or go, there’s gonna be some feelings of guilt.

The key to getting over this, is the suggestion for having a game plan in place to reconcile duties & rsponsibilities. Then I think Mrs. LiveOnAPlane will be able to deal with it without feeling like we’ve abandoned them. (Such was never my intent, just getting her out of the center of the storm.)

SO thanks yet again…I don’t know if we’ll wind up outside the US or just several states away, but we will prepare for it well ahead of time and make the transition as smooth as possible. Your info and ideas have been wonderful and do help!

I just wanted to say thank you for being an advocate for your wife. I think that’s nice.

And it does sound like the time has come for some assessments–perhaps if you call their doctor, the office can direct you.

I dread this time myself–my parents live far from all of us. They plan on retiring to DC–again, no where near any of us. So far, they are hail and hearty in their mid-70’s.

Best of luck to you. (I would pull the plug, too–they sound like they’ve just taken advantage of your wife for a long time).

Does your wife have a good relationship with her sisters? I can see where this situation will erode those relationships, as well. I wish you both luck in finding the happy medium in this situaion; I just had my mom live with us for over four months, and I can see where these family situations are never simple with obvious resolutions.

You’re welcome :slight_smile:

I wish I had more suggestions, but what I said should be a start. Somebody else further along mentioned that your FIL’s doc could probably direct you to a place or person who can also help.

You’re undoubtedly going to be the strongest advocate for your wife. I think that’s more than wonderful – in fact, I’m not sure there’s a word to describe it. I know if I didn’t have my husband advocating for me, I’d probably be in the proverbial loony bin right now.

Caregiving is just as much about the caregiver as the loved one. I don’t know how else to say it. One’s not apt to understand the magnitude unless one has experienced it.

If you have any questions or want to vent, my e-mail addy’s in my profile.

Thank you again, kiz. I depending on the situation, I might take you up on the offer, or my wife very well might. She needs support, not “poo-poo. it’s nothing, you need to be a better daughter.”

Much appreciated. You are a winnner…and P.S. my email’s in my profile, too…feel free to do likewise, we’re in a similar boat.

In a word, NO!! She is the youngest of the 4, was always told by the other 3 how she was an “accident” and and by her father how she “should have been a boy,” AND by her mother at how disappointed they were that she wasn’t a boy.

The sisters are cold, arrogrant, and distant. She was always the black sheep of the family, and is still today held in very low regard. They are her sisters, and she does love them (Damn me if I know why),. But really, there’s nothing to erode. It is a one-way street.

Which is the main reason I am getting her the hell out of here. It isn’t about her parents, it’s about her sisters.

And yeah, you are absolutely correct, it is never simple, never has obvious resolutions. But I thank you and appreciate your wishes for good luck to us.

The support means SO much to us, all. I originally just needed, really needed, to vent. What a place, though, even in the Pit, I get great advice and wonderful support and good thoughts.

You truly are the best, once again.

My WAG here is that she is still trying to get acknowledgement and approval from them, even if it is on a subconscious level. It sounds like she is the outsider who is perpetually trying to break into the family and earn their love (in her mind, not in reality, because we all know that family love isn’t supposed to be earned; it’s freely given).

Um, how do I say this delicately - will taking her away from this dynamic cause her more difficulties if she’s still invested in trying to do something that will never happen? Has she ever done any counselling to get it right in her head that her family are the ones with the problems, not her?

LiveOnAPlane, my parents took in my grandmother when she was hit with Alzheimer’s. It was a pretty severe form, with bodily control issues as well as the mental deterioration. I’m not sure where you are in FL, but I’ll almost guarantee that there is an Al-Anon analogue for people with Alzheimer’s parents. There was one in the northern suburbs of Chicago 25 years ago.

From personal experience (my father also was showing strong symptoms before he died), don’t let your wife take your FIL into your home. I know it sounds hopelessly brutal to say that, but the relationship goes sour VERY quickly. It sounds like you may have the means to do the nursing home thing, so please do yourself a favor and guide your wife that way. Don’t take a stand and make it an ultimatum, because that’s the exact thing that messed up my sister’s marriage (her husband took a stand, my sister though he was unkind/rude/not understanding). Odd things going on in any sort of Alzheimer’s relationship.

One last $0.02… I’d be careful about moving your wife away. At that point, she’ll start remembering the good things over the bad, and want to get involved again. It sounds like she has a big heart, and it might not take too much prodding from the Evil Sisterhood to make her feel guilty.

Wow…more than I had planned to write.


You didn’t mention how old the in-laws are, but if they’re under 65, Medicaid may be helpful, but only if they don’t have any assets. My SIL is being forced to sell her condo. When the proceeds from that are depleted to $2000, then Medicaid kicks in. I believe the nursing home is running $5K/mo. It’s a shitty situation no matter how you slice it.

Thanks again for the further replies & advice. Yeah, it’s several situations rolled up into one big hairball.

But you have given us more points to ponder and resolve.

LiveOnAPlane- your MIL is hallucinating? Has she been seen by a doctor?

It sounds like this is the time to have family conference with the SILs, because neither your FIL nor your MIL sound like they going to be able to make decisions for themselves for much longer, if they are still in a position to do so now (having strong views is not the same as being competent to make decisions for oneself).

If practicable, talk to a lawyer about how your wife can go about getting enduring power of attorney for both her parents, and arrange assisted living/nursing home care. Once you have the ball rolling on the paperwork togive your wife power of attorney, notify the SIls.

It should be put to the other sisters firmly as what is happening, no wriggle room, no way of backing out.

“Since I’m the one here, doing all the work, I’m the one that gets to make the decisions about our parents’ care. They’re not well enough to have a say, I can’t cope as things are, and you’re all too far away to help. If you want to move out here and take care of them, fine, but if I’m the one responsible for their care, I get to make the decisions, and we are selling their house and putting them in accommodation more suitable for their needs. If you prevent me from doing what I see fit wrt our parents’ care, I will simply walk away and leave you all to do what you want without my help”.

It is a disservice to your wife and to her parents not to give them the best care possible, and the best care possible isn’t your wife desperately trying to do her best under impossible circumstances.

Since your wife shoulders the responsibility for her parents, this should be reflected in her legal position and her ability to make decsisions for them. It is not unreasonable.

Actually, talking to an elder care attorney is an absolute must, before anyone makes arrangements for FIL/MIL to go into a home or assisted living. Once they are both in a home, their assets will have to go entirely to funding their care until they are indigent enough for Medicaid to kick in. If they have a house or any other significant assets, you need to plan out the disposition of those as soon as possible. It’s probably too late to “hide” their money for inheritance purposes - the gov’t will go back three years looking for asset transfers - but you can pre-pay funeral arrangements, and keep a small amount of money (about $3,000, IIRC from my own grandmother’s experience) for incidental expenses like a personal phone line in the nursing home, new clothes, getting hair cuts, etc.

If your MIL is just getting a bit squirrelly with age and could get by with a visiting nurse at home, rather than being in need of constant supervised care, you should have some additional options re their finances. However, I wouldn’t wait any longer to investigate.

Also, I don’t know what the situation is like in your area, but I should mention that nursing homes with good reputations can have lengthy waiting lists (in my neck of the woods, as much as 2-3 years). A conversation with your wife’s parents’ doctor(s) would be good, so that you can work out a medical plan of action that includes getting them into decent supervised care. With luck, the doctor(s) might even be able to pull some strings on your behalf.

In all other respects, I agree totally with irishgirl. If the sisters are unwilling to do their share, then they surrender any say in your in-laws’ care, and you and your wife get to do what you feel is best. From my own family’s experience, I can tell you that unwilling siblings add at least as much frustration to the situation, and in the end the responsible child has to shoulder the entire burden anyway.

Best wishes to you and your wife.

You are a good and decent man to want to fight your wife’s fight and I applaud you.

But, in reality,* you cannot fight someone else’s fight. * All you can do is listen. It sucks beyond measure to watch someone you love get shit on from all angles and seemingly do nothing about it. It is like why don’t you just put on a blindfold and ask for a cigerette while you are at it. You are an IN LAW and therefore, a non-person in the family schematics. at least that is how is seems to work with our (my) particular dynamics, YMMV.

It sounds to me as if your wife is trying to gain some acceptance from her family members that she has been searching for her entire life and I feel very sorry for her for carrying around this baggage all these years. What a crappy, crappy way to live and shame on the parents for the guilt trip of " you should have been a boy" garbage.

By focusing on what should have been they have denied the very essense of their own daughter to bloom and blossom. Shame on them and shame on any parental unit that carries on this archaic way of thinking.

Furthermore, I would bet the farm that the sisters got a buttload of " if we only had a son things would have been different" crap too, thus they have their own insecurities of their own identities to deal with and notice they all live out of state. Hmmmmmm, what does that say to you about the parental units?
Guilt-based care for a parent will only erode the caretaker until only a nub is left. And then when the parent is gone, the siblings stride in for the funeral and Reading of the Will. I’ve seen it happen several times.
It is imperative that you get a lawyer and professional councelling for your inlaws situation to help you realize * you are not alone * and to give you a fresh perspective. Moving away won’t make the parental units care magically care for themselves or the problem to go away, it will only multiply every heart ache and quadruple the guilt eating at your wife’s very soul. **(Guilt is what makes this world go round, dontcha know.) **

The sisters are in denial over the situation and many adult children can not ever picture mom and dad in a nursing home because they cannot and will not accept them as anything less than in perfect health and still up on that pedastal. In a very sad way, these sisters are very much still sheltered and like little girls. Unable to accept reality and to deal with the problem at hand. That too me, is very sad.

Your wife and yourself are in a shitty, shitty position. I won’t lie to you and I think you understand that the road that you two are on is going to be a long, bumpy road filled with a shitload of potholes until it gets worse and you feel like the most callous bastard on the planet for wishing for a stroke/pnuemonia to finish off the ill person because it would be more merciful for all parties involved. It is a sucky, sucky, sucky experience. You both will emerge the better person for walking that path and, you won’t beleive it, but you won’t regret any step after the fact. You will stand taller.

No one said doing the right thing was going to be easy.

Stand by her and be her strength.

Remember you have this message board to sound off on.
I wish contentment in your decision making for both of you at this time of your lives.