Tuesday, February 05, 2008

My Mother-in-Law is A-Comin' and Other News

Saturday, Christopher and Brian had a wonderful father/son day. Brian runs the chess club at school, and Chris is a member. They, and a few other kids in the club, took a field trip to Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, near NYU. For those unfamiliar, Washington Square Park is a chess mecca: Traditional chess, speed chess, you name it. It is a where young Josh Waitzkin meets Vinnie (Laurence Fishburne) in the movie "Searching For Bobby Fischer." The chess club went to see the game played and to challenge the regulars. Chris lost 3 times, but that he played is more important. They also went to the Village Chess Shop to play and browse. After that, the other kids and their dads went back to Queens, and my two favorite geeks traversed on to St. Marks Comics. For those two city boys, it was an idyllic day.

Somewhere in their travels, they ate at a falafel joint. Both had very upset tummies Sunday, with Chris suffering a nasty bout of the the Aztec Two Step. Brian's bout of food poisoning was much more severe. In fact, he was sent to the hospital for an endoscopy to determine why there was blood in his stool, and in his um...sick. Turns out that he has a tear in his stomach lining from being forcefully sick. I'm not sure if that can be treated, but since Brian is on aspirin therapy and Plavix, it is important to identify and staunch the source of any bleeding.

Now, add to this the fact that my mother-in-law is due in town at 2-ish this afternoon. I had Brian's sister tell her what was going on, as if we didn't, we'd never hear the end of it. We discussed waiting until she lands, since it is nothing major, nothing any of us can do, and why cause her an anxious night before a flight. But, no, that would not do. And once she lands, she'd want to go directly to see her son. I can't blame her for that, I'd want to do the same thing if it were my son. But, since Brian's sister's partner is picking her up from the airport, I did ask that they pick Chris up from school, and bring him to us, too. That would be very helpful to me, to Brian, and to Christopher. He gets out at 3, she'd be at the school around then, since the airport is just 15 minutes up the road from there, and really, who lands on time these days??? Especially on American Airlines??? Nope. That wouldn't work either. I have to go to the hospital, then leave Brian to go get Chris, then come back, if he is not yet discharged. Because, of course, my in laws' right to see my husband supersedes my own. Even though they have no legal recourse if, God forbid, something should happen.

After 20 years, I should know better than to allow this to get under my skin. But like poison ivy, it is impossible to develop a resistance. Just once it would be nice to hear, "What can we do to help?" "What would make things easier for you and Brian?" "Do you have anyone who can watch your son while you tend to your husband?" I am going to have those words engraved or embroidered on to something so that I remember that there are others beside the almighty mother who might need help and support. So that I do not become so self centered in my anxiety or grief when, again, God forbid, my grown son becomes hospitalized and he has a wife and child(ren) that will need support.

It is also possible that in my own anxiety, I am blowing this out of proportion. I've been though this so many times with Brian. In 6 years, he's been hospitalized over half a dozen times. In fact, we've only gone around 18 months hospital free once in that short time. Most times, phone calls to his mom suffice, and the main argument is between me and his sister. She will not marry the man with whom she lives, so does not recognize spousal right or preference to deal with medical emergencies first before disseminating information. I prefer to hear the news from a doctor by myself. It allows me to think more clearly to not have to worry about how someone else is processing information. It allows me to ask questions, calmly and rationally, and find a course of action. I don't break down until after all is said and done.

No one seems to recognize that is my duty, my right and my preference to see my husband first and alone. That some things are private, and just between us. It isn't a matter of pushing anyone away or shutting them out. It is a matter of protecting our own boundary, the little island that is the family we chose to create and, therefore, defend. Am I wrong?

r.

15 comments:

Rachel said...

I don't think you're wrong, at all. It's hard to keep boundaries around family...they just keep beating and beating until you lower your guard and let them have whatever they want so they'll just go away already.

I'm sorry they didn't come through for you. I'm the youngest in my family, and at 33 have already realized I can count on none of them when I really need them. I'm determined to change that for my son, as much as within my power.

Found your blog through bah's blog. I will keep reading!

Foster Communications said...

I think it's a good thing that your mother in law lives far enough away to require a flight. Imagine if she was down the street.

I do hope all is well soon. I hope your husband is out of the hospital quickly. And for you, this non doctor prescribes either a hot fudge sundae or a vodka cranberry, your choice. :)

Rebecca said...

Welcome, Rachel, and thank you.

Jess, I think a glass of wine is in order for this evening. Brian has been discharged, with follow up prescribed. He is feeling much better. We can all begin to decompress...

SOUL: said...

nope-- not wrong at all--
happy to hear hubby is home, and feeling better..
wth did they eat????
was it really food poisoning that did this to both of them.. holy moly.. ( you know what i was gonna say--- but that would be just WRONG...
anyhow-- i hope you are drinkin wine--- and lots of it , you know for the MIL tolerance level to be heightened.

anyhow-- inhale-- and exhale--
it will all settle down soon...
seems the whole world is in crisis mode lately-- it has to stop SOON.. right?

take it easy--

Uncle Phatato said...

I was sort of there this past fall (sorry I haven't posted in a while...) and my mom was in the hospital because of stomach trouble (to make a long story short). Although she was in extreme pain, the ER sent her home and everyone was up my butt about how I didn't ask enough questions and DEMAND DEMAND DEMAND the doctor do something else.

I am a passive person and I really didn't know what to do in the situation (have never been in one like that before). At that point, the doctor's word is more powerful than my own...and my father was there and so was my grandma...

But alas, people were all: "Remind me to have someone else when I'm in the hospital and not you," pretty much.

*sigh*

That was a bicker wife and I had. Health of a loved one is stressful enough without the added "did you or didn't you do the right or wrong thing" politics family can bring into the mix.

I hope things go well and I wish Brian good health!

Rebecca said...

Oh, Soul, Yes, holy shit, indeed!!! My poor plumbing took a beating. They ate Falafel--mashed up chickpeas that are deep fried, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber and Tahini (a sesame seed sauce). Served in a pita. Usually delicious Middle Eastern food. SOMEone might have forgotten to wash up...

This is me breathing. Pouring a glass of vin rouge. Oh, and watching election coverage.

Hi, Uncle, I've missed you :) I sure hope your mom is feeling better, and I'm sorry you had to deal with so much criticism.

I have no problem demanding information from doctors. I have enough medical knowledge to make me a serious pain in the ass to hospital staff. But the family politics that come to bear in the face of a medical crisis of any magnitude are un-freaking-believable. Just exhausting. What I don't get is their seemingly adamant refusal to acknowledge who we are and how we deal with things. I mean really, is it really THAT much of a news flash??

The Real Mother Hen said...

Arh tough question!
I don't think you are wrong though.

Hope Brian is getting better. Will keep you and your family in my prayer.

simonsays said...

Of course you are not wrong. MIL's should be lined up and shot, well- most of them anyway. I am like you, and am so afraid to act like your MIL, or my own mother for that matter, as she is as self centered as your description. I hope that things in your world settle down, and that the time with the in laws turns out better than expected.

Have a good week. And thank you for all your words recently. You my dear, are a smart woman. :)

SOUL: said...

hope today is good for all of you ...

and i shall remember to never eat that "stuff". :))

The World According to Me said...

Hi Rebecca

I don't think you are wrong one tiny bit, but relations can sometimes make you feel like that!

I'm glad to hear your hubby is out of hospital.
I hope the visit is not too stressful, and you're enjoying a glass of wine.

Kate said...

No, of course you're right. Unfortunately, being right doesn't really help you get ahead in this situation. I have been in similar situations with my in-laws and have learned pretend that no help is possible from them,even when it is. That way, I can be pleasantly surprised at the offer of help (which so far has never arrived...)

Maria said...

Ugh. I DETEST my MIL. Unfortunately, she lives in the same city as we do. Last night she called in the middle of a blizzard to make sure that Bing got home from work okay. Not a word about Liv or me.

Luckily, Bing is as healthy as a horse, so I have never had to deal with her acting out about hospital arrangements, etc. Bing has already told me that if something happens and she is unconscious, I am NOT to let her mother near her. This will be sort of hard as our marriage is not recognized and actually, lawfully, her mother has more right to be in her room than I would....

Ugh. One foot in front of the other. Hang in there, dude.

Glad the chess was fine. Liv loves chess but Bing can beat us both easily.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Rebecca - how is he doing now? Still keeping you and your family in my prayer.

JYankee said...

Oh yeah I am late on this post..you are NOT wrong..and unfortunately so many MIL's dont get it... *sigh*... I am lucky to get a long with mine...she lives with us....

eastcoastdweller said...

Not wrong at all, not in the least.