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To find my dh's and FIL's calmness about MIL's illness really odd and awful?

(43 Posts)
Blowin Sun 17-Mar-13 23:52:52

My MIL who I am really fond of was admitted to hospital this am with pneumonia. My dh and FIL and BIL followed the ambulance over to the hospital and stayed there for most of the day. It took them a couple of hours to diagnose, and for a while, her blood pressure was so low there was a seroious chance she was going to have either a massive stroke or go in to organ failure.

When they returned this afternoon, neither DH nor FIL seemed that worried or concerned. I tried to talk to DH about his mum, as I am worried about her and wanted to hear what docs were saying, how long they will keep her in for etc, but he was quite short on detail, and didnt seem that concerned, just shrugging his shoulders type thing and saying "sure what can you do" type of thing, and PIL was totally sanguine and matter of fact about it all, like she was just going in for a tooth extraction.

AIBU to feel slightly frustrated by their seeming equilibrium when i am so concerned, and if it was my own mum I would be extremely worried and upset and confiding in and leaning on my dh? He doesnt seem to need to talk at all and was more concerned about catching up on the days Match of the Day Highlights. i know they are quite buttoned up as a family and the men never share or talk about feelings etc but it would be nice to bloody see a shred of concern for this poor lovely lady who looks after them all and is the heart of their family. sad

Meglet Mon 18-Mar-13 07:52:11


In my exerience my dad + stepmum were unbearably stoic when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Just got on with it, barely any time off work for either of them, didn't want to pester the hospital inbetween appointments, even when dad was clearly in pain and having problems eating. They drove me up the bloody wall as he was clearly very sick and they were just sticking their head in the sand. When we (me + my sister pestering the GP) finally got him into a hospice for what they though was further assessment he died 7 days later as there was a massive tumor on his kidney they could have operated on had they not been so stiff upper lip about it. Me and my sister were the only ones not in the least bit suprised by his death as we'd spent the previous 9 months wondering why the fuck they weren't bothering the consultant more often.

So, yes, it's great to be practical and not be wailing and weeping, but not to the extent where you don't want want to admit to pain or bothering the doctors.

Here endeth my rant grin.

wigglesrock Mon 18-Mar-13 07:52:32

I know what you mean it can be very frustrating. But I'm a bit like that. There's very little they can do at the minute I'm assuming. Your mil is in hospital. When things like this happen, I like a bit of quiet smile. My mum and sister like "to talk things to death" me and my Dad - we like to plan for outcomes/worst case scenarios but we like to do it in our heads. Usually while watching something inane on tv.

I hope your mil recovers well.

Chandon Mon 18-Mar-13 07:56:08

It is a sign of the times, we now expect people to carry their heart on their sleeves and constantly burst into tears. It is required really.

Being stoic or strong or calm are now suspect.

However, there are quite a few intoverted people, or people who do not sow their emotions. It does not mean we feel nothing.

When my youngest Dc accidentally poisoned himself, SIL was here and she thought it was odd that I stayed so calm. i sat down with him and asked what he had taken, then called NHS, they said go to A and E, which I did.

I competely fell apart later.

I also stayed very unemotional for days when a friend died, and only broke down much later.

Anyway, what good does sobbing do? Must we be hysterical just to show people around us we are not heartless monsters?

I hope your MIL recovers soon. You are right to worry as it sounds worrying, but hope all will be fine!

Lueji Mon 18-Mar-13 08:10:38

Best wishes for your MIL.

However, your concern about their reaction is mostly about you.
"it would be nice to see them..."
you would have liked to see a reaction.
They probably would have liked you to not question them too much, or a nervous wreck (I don't know if you were, but you probably seemed to them).

I don't do nervous wreck either, which is probaly why a hospital doctor felt the need to tell me that my baby could never recover from his bronchiolotis. After my concerns being disregarded by the triage nurse and being made to wait a few hours, and me having to go tell them that the baby was getting much worse.
I could have thumped him.

Iamsparklyknickers Mon 18-Mar-13 08:12:33

Another stoic one here I'm afraid.

In my experience, I find that if I let myself go too much it's a hard one to pull myself back out of, it makes me uselesss which is the last thing anybody needs. Over the years I've learnt that (especially in cases of illness) there really is nothing I can do but be there, and what use am I if I'm over emotional? I can have my moments in private, talking things to death makes no difference to the situation and I'm very bad at dealing with others who seem to talk themselves into a state of distress - why do it to yourself? Distraction isn't just for toddlers.

That's just my personal take on it, there really is no right or wrong to dealing with these situations, but it's very difficult for both ends of the spectrum if you all have different ways of coping - you find stoicism uncomfortable, I find overthinking/talking through every minute detail uncomfortable. We all just have to grit our teeth and let people work through things in their own way and try not to overanalyse or judge their way with our own perception of how things 'should' be done.

I hope your MIL is on the right track to being on the mend x

cory Mon 18-Mar-13 08:22:36

In my family, we are pretty evenly divided between the ones who get emotional in an emergency and the ones who get on and do something.

Being one of the latter myself, I find the emotionality of the others adds enormously to my stress levels at times when I am pouring all my energy into supporting the person who is sick.

When I am ill I don't really like being around very emotional people either. My mum is great because she controls herself and stays calm for my sake. With my dad, I always feel guilty if I am in trouble because he gets so upset.

When dd was suicidal and had extreme anxiety she refused to let us tell her granddad because she couldn't cope with his sad face; it made life very, very difficult and potentially dangerous when she was staying with them, but I could see where she was coming from.

INeverSaidThat Mon 18-Mar-13 08:30:17

I hope everything is going ok today.

I am usually pretty stoic too. I also have a lot of faith in the NHS so am not the type to ask lots of questions and I tend to be fairly passive with things. I am not daft though and I am not shy to ask questions when needed.

If I were the person inhospital I would much, much prefer my family to be mellow and calm. If someone bottles things up and then it all comes up at a later point it's not necessarily a bad thing.

Owllady Mon 18-Mar-13 08:30:22

As a carer I must admit I have to detach myself emotionally at times otherwise I really would fall to pieces. I feel sometimes as if I have a private and public face

Owllady Mon 18-Mar-13 08:30:42

I hope your MIl is okay too, sorry for not adding that!

financialwizard Mon 18-Mar-13 09:04:28

I am also a 'doer' in times like that, and it is only after the occasion that I will sometimes have a moment. My mother, however, thrives on the melodrama and makes me feel very stressed at the best of times.

As an aside my husband was admitted to hospital with pneumonia and although it took him 3 weeks to get better, he did. He still has a slightly lowered lung capacity 5 years later but he has massively improved.

mrsjay Mon 18-Mar-13 09:10:44

some people need all the details to get their head around illness/hospitals you are maybe 1 of these people I know I am, the men in your MIls live are calm assured she is the best place doesnt mean they don't care or are being cold about it, I hope your MIl is better soon

FrauMoose Mon 18-Mar-13 09:16:04

I think I can relate to the thing about choosing a CD for the car journey. I got a call to say that a close relative was near the end of their life (in a hospice.) Not having been in that situation before I wanted to jump in the car. My partner told me it was important to have some lunch, as there was a journey ahead and it might be a long day. I do remember the music I listened to in the car very clearly - it was quite uplifting. My relative did not die for over 24 hours. There was certainly time to have lunch!

BegoniaBampot Mon 18-Mar-13 11:51:59

you would approve of my dad. when mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he was the only one to break down and show emotions. she was trying to be stoic and he was blubbing at her hospital bed saying what was he going to do when she was gone.

Blowin Mon 18-Mar-13 13:25:11

Hi all, thanks for the replies, have been offline until now so just catching up.

Thanks to so many of you for the advice and good wishes, and you have helped me understand it a bit from their point of view.

Some of you for some reason seem to think that i advocate wailing, hysterical, and "Dianaesque" (as one poster put it) levels of emotional outpouring. All i can say to that is, er, maybe go back and read my op.No one is weeping or wailing hysterically. I am just worried, concerned for a woman that i care about, and would like to hear about her condition and progress from her DH and my dh when they get back from seeing her. I would visit myself except that visitors are limited. I dont think that is a hysterical or overtly emotional stance to take, but whatever, thanks to everyone else for the constructive input. smile

meddie Mon 18-Mar-13 13:29:01

My mum was calm and nonchalant when my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I tried talking to her, she was convinced it would be ok. Even when he got the terminal diagnosis, she refused to accept it and was in denial up until the minute he died.
Denial is just some peoples way of dealing with stuff they don't wish to face.

FryOneFatManic Mon 18-Mar-13 14:49:45

I'm calm when things happen, because someone has to be, to ensure the right questions are asked, the right things are done. I can fall apart later.

cory Mon 18-Mar-13 15:07:18

OP, perhaps your first post didn't make your own stance quite clear. If you just had said "am I right to be upset because they won't share any information" then you might have got a different response. But you did say that you were upset about their seeming equilibrium; which gave posters to believe that you yourself were not maintaining equilibrium or saw this as valuable. It's just one of those things where you can't quite read things right on a screen.

Hope your MIL is feeling better.

Lueji Mon 18-Mar-13 21:59:45

when i am so concerned, and if it was my own mum I would be extremely worried and upset and confiding in and leaning on my dh?

And with being upset they didn't share all the details, etc

Anyway, have you consideres that if they started telling you all, they might easily start sobbing?
Possibly they have done the sharing in the car and needed some respite from the intensity of the previous emotions.
Not necessarily bottling it up.
Also, in general men don't easily share with direct questioning.

You'd probably have got more results by joining in watching Match of the Day and probing gently.

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