To want to visit less

(10 Posts)
EverySongbirdSays Sat 19-Mar-16 00:06:35

I have a friend in hospital. She has been in there since June and in the first few months I set a precedent that I visited every week, usually a weekend day but if I can't make it I switch to a weekday if I have one free (rarely). I have not known her long but she has been very good to me, her own DDs don't bother with her which upsets her, and I have become somewhat surrogate.

The thing is, she is not in the local hospital but a unit several towns over. I don't drive which leaves me 2 options.

1) A £4 2hr round trip bus ride ballache from hell which usually leaves me with motion sickness, plus waiting round at bus stops.

2) A much faster more civilised £5 train ride which takes about 25 mins but then I have to get a taxi from station to hospital - return at about £7 a go so £19 a trip plus waiting round on platforms and for taxis.

This adds up to about £80 a month the civilised way, and I can't really afford it.

When I get to the hospital my friend expects me to stay for 90 mins MINIMUM she is hurt if I leave sooner and sometimes makes me feel guilty for leaving after 90 mins.

The whole shebang can take up to 5hrs of my day sometimes what with delays and sorting taxis and getting to the stops and stations. So I tend to lose a full day of my weekend every weekend, by the time I'm ready to leave etc and by the time I get back it's dark and I'm cold and I've got to eat.

Sometimes when I get there even though I've told her I'm coming she'll go off to do something, and tell me to wait and reappear 40 minutes later, having left me sitting in the visitors bit like a wally; and then be surprised and hurt that I have to go and she's hardly seen me. Sometimes this is beyond her control and sometimes not. A couple of times it has felt like a wasted journey. Once they had moved her to a different department and told me I couldn't stay whilst she was having tests as I wasn't a relative. I had to turn round and get straight back on the bus!

It is the time more than the money, though that adds up.

Am I selfish for wanting to cut back to fortnightly? She has rung tonight to see if I will go this weekend. I know that she is lonely and bored and I feel guilty.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Sat 19-Mar-16 00:20:13

If she's truly a friend then she'd understand if you couldn't do every week.
I wouldn't set it as fortnightly in stone, I'd just say I'll try and make it every week but there's some weeks it is just havoc and I can't manage.

You sound very supportive and, I'm sure she'll miss you but you have a life too.

lordStrange Sat 19-Mar-16 00:38:57

Well I think it sounds exhausting and a total drain for you. Try not to feel guilty (easier said I know) your friend is in a dreadful position but your time is precious too, and you need your money for you.

I would be straightforward with her. If fortnightly visits would suit you perhaps say, I need to spend more time on my hobby/ my decorating/ my OU course so will see you twice a month.

Secretmomma79 Sat 19-Mar-16 01:08:26

You sound like a lovely supportive friend to make all that effort to see her. As PPs have said, whilst she's in a horrible situation being stuck in hospital if she's a true friend she will understand that you can't always give up a full day every weekend.
Can you ring her on the weeks you don't get to see her? Send her nice cards to the ward so she knows you are thinking of her even if you can't always be there?
I would tell her you're not sure when you can next visit because of xyz but will keep in touch to arrange your next visit. If you stick to your word with that she hopefully won't feel abandoned.

EverySongbirdSays Sat 19-Mar-16 01:10:35

Thanks guys - the thing is I'm sure she'll say she won't mind but actually she will because she often talks about how the daughters have just forgotten about her and she'll think I'm doing the same, but won't say.

RockUnit Sat 19-Mar-16 01:15:05

YANBU. You're already doing far more than you have to, so don't be guilt-tripped into having to spend time or money you can't afford.

Would it work if you talked to her on the phone or sent a letter instead of visiting some weeks?

EverySongbirdSays Sat 19-Mar-16 01:22:22

Oh she rings a couple of times a week - but literally and I'm using the word properly - chats last 2 mins.

"Are you alright?"
"Yeah. Are you alright"
"Good, I'll ring you tomorrow" grin grin She doesn't like the phone.

Texting/letters is pointless because she can't read. Often when I've gone they've left her and she hasn't been able to fill her menu in because she doesn't know what it says. sad

I didn't know this for ages. She hid it well so stuff like that makes me worry.

potoftea Sat 19-Mar-16 08:42:43

This sounds like a massive responsibility on you, one that close family members would struggle with as its manageable for a few weeks but not long term.
Everyone on this thread will, I expect, tell you to cut back on the visits for your own well-being, but only you can deal with the guilt you'll feel. You have done so much for her but it's not enough, you are spending money you can't afford but in normal situations friends divide costs because they take it in turns to travel/host, but for months now its all one way for you.
And at the end of all this time and effort it sounds like the returns on your efforts aren't worth it, she still feels you don't spend enough time with her so neither of you are satisfied really.
You say her daughters aren't bothered to visit....would it be appropriate to contact them to see if they'd visit even once a month to ease the burden? Or old neighbours or friends, anyone who could do one weekend to leave you free.
But the bottom line is....you are doing way more than most would do, and should feel no guilt pulling back a bit.

EverySongbirdSays Sat 19-Mar-16 15:59:23

This is 1 of the things that annoys me potoftea She has 4 DCs - the youngest is very good and she does give him the runaround but even he is feeling the strain and I think is grateful for me being there because he knows she gets a weekend visit as he has a complicated personal life and several kids to see to.

The other DS works away but will only do a "1 duty visit" when home.

The DDs do nothing and never visit DD1 has been once in the last 9 months, DD2 3 times maybe, at one point when she was very ill they didn't even know and I wanted to ring them and tell them to get in there, you know, in case but I didn't have numbers. I have DS2's number these days for this kind of thing but he's given up on his sisters and is sick of them.

I just feel terrible, I hate to think of her sitting there. It's long hours to fill and little to do.

paintedorpapered Sun 20-Mar-16 08:37:30

You need to look after yourself as well, this doesn't sound sustainable. It sounds as if she needs to get more used to the telephone; you could spend a lot of time talking to her for the time and cost of the journey! Try calling her yourself regularly, she might feel more relaxed about it if she doesn't think she might disturbing you.
I don't like talking on the phone much myself, but it was a lifeline recently when I had a longish spell in hospital - I could easily call back later if the doctors turned up or I was too tired, which was much less stressful and actually got me more time with "visitors" even if they were a bit virtual.
Anyway she might not like the phone, but she can certainly get used to it if she is really lonely. I don't suppose you like all those buses either!

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