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To think BIL should visit his ill mum in hospital?

(78 Posts)
Rainicorn Sun 04-May-14 21:42:57

I know I'm not, I'm just furious he is leaving everything up to DH.

MIL is really ill in hospital, possible cancer, she is very weak and on oxygen and a drip. She isn't eating and on nutritional drinks. She has been deteriorating quite rapidly over the past two weeks.

DH is both physically and mentally drained, finishing work and going to hospital after work, sitting in hospital on his days off, waiting for doctors and surgeons to speak to as well as trying to see the DC and me.

BIL doesn't live far, he lives 45 minutes away. It would cost him £8 train fare. He doesn't have DC, and works a mon-fri 9-5 job so no real ties keeping him in his home town. It's a bank holiday weekend so he has had three days to come up. DH has just got off the phone with him after asking him to come up and see her but he has said he will just wait for the test results from biopsy.

AgentZigzag Sun 04-May-14 21:49:24

It does sound sad that he can't do it for his mum, but is there anything behind it? A bad experience with the hospital? How close is he to his mum/your DH?

Of course nobody wants anyone they're close to to be ill and have to visit them in hospital, but you do it for the person who's there don't you?

Could he be struggling coming to terms with his mum possibly having cancer? If he sees her in hospital that it makes it more real?

Of course you can't make him visit, just be there for your DH and don't count on any support for your BIL.

Rainicorn Sun 04-May-14 22:01:06

I know it's probably a struggle as they went through the same thing just 6 years ago with their dad who died within 4 weeks of being diagnosed with cancer. I can see the struggle DH is going through, the fear.

And yes, BIL probably doesn't want to visit as it is hard to do all over again, but he is the older brother, he should be helping with some of the strain.

AgentZigzag Sun 04-May-14 22:14:59

No wonder then, it must be fucking with his head big time. It might be that he can only deal with his own emotions at the minute, he's struggling so much that even though he knows your DH and mum need him, he has to get his head together before he's got that extra bit to give to other people.

That might be making excuses for him, but it must be a very stressful time all round and people deal with it in different ways. I'm not sure it'd be fair to put any more pressure on him by making him feel bad for not visiting, he might crack if you do.

(and I don't mean any of that to minimise what you/your DH/his mum is going through, because of course you're all under pressure too)

2rebecca Sun 04-May-14 22:25:01

If he can't cope with it I don't see why it would be less of a strain on your husband as he'd be comforting his mum and his brother. Your brother has to decide how much time he can spend in hospital and leave his brother to do the same. If his mum is in hospital it should be less of a strain than coping with her at home.
It's sad for your MIL that her other son isn't visiting, but this is just 1 weekend out of her whole life so I'm not sure why him not visiting this weekend is that important to YOU?

Rainicorn Sun 04-May-14 22:28:47

Tonight was the first time DH has asked him to visit.

I understand, I really do. I nursed DFIL in his last days, it was awful seeing someone you love die.

I am trying to see it from his point of view, and I can see it, I'm just struggling with seeing DH looking so drained and so tired with it all.

Thanks though, perhaps I am being a bit unreasonable.

2rebecca Sun 04-May-14 22:35:13

I can understand you feeling sad that your husband is so drained, but I'm not sure that having BIL there would make him less drained, especially if BIL isn't very emotionally supportive. His mum is dying, that's the draining bit, that's not going to change. Has he any annual leave he could take?

Rainicorn Sun 04-May-14 22:42:30

No he doesn't. His work have been good and allowed him time off for surgeon meetings etc.

I'm not entirely sure what use BIL would be when here tbh, maybe it would be good for MIL to see her son, to see he cares enough to make the effort to visit her.

We are not allowed to take DC in ATM due to her being in isolation, so I know that is getting her down.

Sorry, my posts really don't make sense. We are both a little stressed and drained I guess. Dealing with home issues with ds2 as well.

AgentZigzag Sun 04-May-14 23:58:23

You're making perfect sense.

The nuts and bolts of it are that you're worried about your DH and looking to see where you can reduce some of the stress on him, but is that really possible if his mum's so ill at the minute?

He should be comforted that you're so fucked off at his brother on his behalf, even when he's a chocolate teapot, it shows what you think about him (your DH).

Yambabe Mon 05-May-14 00:45:51

Look at it from another point of view. My DH has 3 brothers, he is #2 in terms of age.

My FIL is currently in hospital, dying. He has no kidney function at all, can't swallow so has to be tube fed and now has a massive infection in his liver.

On Friday his BP dropped so low (60/40) that the hospital called the family in. He rallied a bit while we were all there but DH was in bits. He is not a man who cries easily but he was in tears all night.

Since the visit he has been really depressed and down. Says now he wishes he hadn't gone and refuses to go again even though we are probably looking at days now rather than weeks.

Care and visiting has pretty much fallen on his youngest DB and DSIL (wife of DB#3). We know how knackered they are (both work, DBIL#4 has teenage kids too) but that's just how it's worked out.

DH wants to remember his dad how he was, not how he is now. Yes that might be a bit selfish but we are trying to help in other ways (bit of childcare, having them come here for a meal or just a drink and a chillout after visiting). Some people just can't cope with death and maybe your DBIL is one too.

He might just be a selfish uncaring twat of course but equally he could just be in denial. Really your DH needs to have a good talk to him and make him aware of just what is going on at the moment.

Ludoole Mon 05-May-14 00:46:30

When mum was in HDU following 2 major cancer ops, my brother rarely visited. Apparently he didn't "like hospitals..."
Well I don't like them either but we have a dad with alzheimers who insisted on going to visit every evening, which meant there was only me to take him. (Brother didn't work and has a partner)
As a single parent with 2 boys it was a nightmare (especially as HDU didn't allow young children...)

A few years on, I still resent that everything was left to me.
My relationship with my brother will never be the same.

mimishimmi Mon 05-May-14 01:46:33

I am the only one visting my grandfather regularly. Everyone else lives too far away/have their own health problems and, in any case, his treatment of many in the family in the distant past was not the best. He did improve a lot though but it's always a case of treading on eggshells wondering when he might explode. Dad said he's started being quite verbally abusive again to my mum and aunty on the phone over the past couple of years. It's come back to bite him bigtime and I think he regrets it but expresses it as either a lack of duty on their part (if in a bad mood) or as special, unique circumstances that only he is in wrt where his children have moved to (when in the more usual self pity mode) - not a reflection on his past behaviour.

Did your BiL have a fraught relationship with his mum?

Thumbwitch Mon 05-May-14 01:51:29

No YANBU to think he should visit her - and tbh, if he doesn't get a wiggle on, he might not get the option sad
My mum was in hospital for 4 weeks and we only knew for the last 8 days that she had terminal cancer before she died. Waiting for a diagnosis might be too long - by the time we knew, Mum was in ICU with a ventilator, we didn't hear her speak again. sad

Ask him how he would feel if he left it too late.

Thumbwitch Mon 05-May-14 01:51:54

sorry, "on a ventilator"

musicalendorphins2 Mon 05-May-14 03:44:14

I hope my sons will visit me if I am ill in hospital, terminal or not.
I think your BIL should go see his mother, so she doesn't die thinking she isn't important to him.

PrincessBabyCat Mon 05-May-14 03:54:57

Some people handle stress and grief in different ways. He might be having too much anxiety to go into a hospital and relive the same experience all over again.

When my MIL was dying DH was very stressed and drained from that alone. FIL was there too, and clearly not coping. So, not only was he dealing with his mother dying, he had the added stress of his FIL and his maladaptive coping. I'm not saying your BIL would do this, but I am saying that him being there might not make things better for your DH either.

Instead of getting upset about BIL, why don't you go with DH so he doesn't have to go through this alone? The best thing you can do is to just be there for DH.

treaclesoda Mon 05-May-14 04:23:11

I struggle to symoathise with the 'some people can't handle it' viewpoint. No one can handle it if someone they love is dying. And the person who is dying probably can't handle it either, except they can't opt out.

The thought that I could be lying in a hospital bed someday and my children might prefer not to come and visit because it might upset them? I bloody hope they'd be upset if I was dying.

ravenAK Mon 05-May-14 05:01:45

My DBIL was exactly like this when DFIL was dying.

Took himself & DSIL off to Glastonbury at a critical time with instructions to DH not to contact him: if DFIL shuffled off over the weekend, could DH not let him know until he got back?

This request was fairly academic, anyway, as he'd been in the habit of regularly switching off his phone anytime he might get a difficult call...

He had his reasons - chiefly, that he & DSIL can't abide stepMIL - admittedly she was by all accounts a nightmare when DH & DBIL were teenagers - & he wasn't going to sit in a hospital room with her for hours on end.

So he left all that to DH, who made his peace with stepMIL years ago.

Eventually he & DH had words. DBIL came in to visit DFIL a few times before the end, & said afterwards how glad he was that he'd done so.

It was all a bit crap on his part.

One thing I do think from my experience, though, is that no good will come of you putting your two'pennorth in. DSIL & I ended up having a fairly fraught discussion at the height of it, each of us feeling our DH was rather hard done by by his brother. Achieved absolutely nothing apart from putting a strain on my relationship with DSIL, with whom I've always been good friends. The two sons had to sort it out between themselves.

It's all water under the bridge now, but if I had it to do again, I'd stay well out of it...& accept that ultimately you can't force someone to 'man up' in these circumstances.

Marylou62 Mon 05-May-14 08:16:54

I nursed my MIL and even moved in with her. I had a very bad back, an active 3yr old and a new baby who was very unsettled. One SIL and BIL came for a w/end but other than that it was all up to us. I was told that they would come to funeral as didn't have holiday time. I was shocked and would have used any holiday to see my mother alive. It was very hard (supporting DH too). But my conscious is clear and I did my very best for MIL. At her funeral when her large family were all crying I just thought...if you had cared that much you would have come before and looked after your own mother/grandmother. (even if it had been a w/end that would have helped us). My DH sat by her bed in the hospice for a week with no family to help. (I was at home with LOs) Any way ff 20 years and when they say things like 'we wish we'd seen her before she died' etc I just smile. It was very hard but at the same time we both did our very best for her and I know she is smiling down on us. Hard times and you have all my sympathy.

SweetDreamz1 Mon 05-May-14 08:23:36

How near are you to the hospital?

He sounds like a lovely son, surely you and DC can cope without him for a while so he can focus on his mum.

It is to focus on what DH can rather than BIL

My DH used to drive 200 miles when his mum had cancer and was dying. His brothers didn't bother. He should do what he can for his mum and forget his brother

Rainicorn Mon 05-May-14 10:22:19

Thank you everyone for sharing your stories.

We are very near the hospital, 10 minute drive, so easy for us to get there. Costing a small fortune in parking though.

BIL is a bit bury-his-head-in-the-sand like, or just doesnt like to help. I suppose if youre not here seeing it it is easy to put it at the back of your mind. He only visited DFIL twice in the hospital, once when the famil were summond to tell them DFILs cancer was terminal, and on the day he died.

I dont think he will be able to ease the burdon of this for DH, but maybe just him being there would be supportive. Nobody is pushing for him to come up, I have not been vocal about it to DH as he doesnt need me bitching about his brother.

I'm visitng MIL as often as I can if DH is at work and shift wont allow it, but with three DC, one with SN, who are not allowed to visit it is a bit tricky.

SweetDreamz1 Mon 05-May-14 10:31:39

I dont think he will be able to ease the burdon of this for DH

I guess his mum would hate to think of this being a burden sad can he not just be there for her without it being a burden? I am sure she has has sacrificed a lot for him over the years

Nanny0gg Mon 05-May-14 10:43:10

I struggle to sympathise with the 'some people can't handle it' viewpoint. No one can handle it if someone they love is dying. And the person who is dying probably can't handle it either, except they can't opt out. The thought that I could be lying in a hospital bed someday and my children might prefer not to come and visit because it might upset them? I bloody hope they'd be upset if I was dying.

^^ This.

Watching someone you love dying is horrible, doesn't matter who they are. But it is far more important to put your own fears and distress aside and do what you can for them.

After all, if you regret not helping/visiting etc afterwards, it's too damn late to do anything about it.

Rainicorn Mon 05-May-14 10:44:38

Sweet, I did not mean his mum is a burdon. FFS.

SweetDreamz1 Mon 05-May-14 10:46:58

Visiting her is a burden then from what you are saying and the parking charges FFS

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