Venting about my brother(s)...

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I recently wrote a post about how I'm tired of paying for my mom's medication out of the money I make from my at-home job. I live with my mom and also work from home. Sometimes things are very tough for us and we literally live paycheck to paycheck. Asking my brothers for help comes up empty. I am the only one that does *anything*... Here's the thing. "Brother 1" calls my mom every day. And his way of helping is to constantly bombard my mom with questions about her health and if she's been to the doctor and what the doctors are saying. He constantly says "if you need my help, call me" but when food is low or my mom needs a medication and we can't afford it, he says no. He says he has a mortgage. He has to buy his own food. He has to drive 40 minutes to work. He's not rich. I get it. I really, really, really get it. If he can't help us, he can't help. Fine. But he always tells me if I need help then ask him. He says if I ever need him to come out (he lives about 4 hours away) then he'll come immediately. So okay, well, I guess I had to put that to the test. My mom was recently in the hospital a few months back for a UTI. I was at home and the doctor from the hospital called me. "Your mom is displaying signs of stroke. Her face has sagged on one side. She's going to ICU. Please come out here." I freak out. I'm alone. I don't really want to call any of my friends to burden them. So I call my brother. I tell him to come. To help me. I need him this time. He starts asking me a zillion questions. Questions I don't know. Basically he wants to make sure she's really having a stroke or REALLY going to die before he asks for time off from work, which, btw, he has said repeatedly that he has told his boss about his mom's condition and that he may need time off at a moment's notice. But apparently this time he had to make sure. So what the hell can I ask my brother's help for? Nothing. He never asks "Hey sis, does mom have all her medications? Do YOU need anything? Is there anyway that I can help?" Apparently he can't emotionally support me or emotionally support his mom. My mom is sick of being asked a million questions when he calls. He must feel guilty and his way of alleviating his guilt is to ask questions. I am not saying (ever) that it's a child's responsibility to help with their aging parent. It's not even my responsibility. And we have only asked him for help with money like two times a year, if that. My other brother, I've just given up on him. It's a miracle if he even calls at all. He calls maybe 2 times every 3 months. It's almost like my mom just has one son and a daughter. I do EVERYTHING. My brothers have NO IDEA what it's like to take care of a bedridden mother and be responsible for all things financial, for food, for house chores, for hygiene. They have no earthly idea and they can't even throw a bread crumb my way. A thank you. Nothing.

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BTW, my mom didn't have a stroke. They only thought she did, but everything worked out alright. Still though. STILL. The fact that my brother didn't immediately say "I'll be there very soon" is something that I will never forget. And the day something DOES happen to my mom, I now know how things will go. I'll be truly alone until my brother makes sure my mom is dead... then he'll come.

Sorry for the book I wrote. :(
Pacifist, I'm sorry for your situation. It would be nice to think that your siblings would step up and help when needed. But sometimes they just don't. And then there are the siblings who kind of make things worse instead of helping. Sometimes venting your frustrations is the only thing you can do. This is a good safe spot so vent away. Is your mother or you eligible for any gov. Assistance? If you are in the U.S. there is a program thru Medicare/Social Security called Extra Help that reduces the cost of prescription drugs significantly. Ask your pharmacist. Some Agency on Aging have food programs that help. Ours in Maine periodically have full grocery bags one may pick up to help the elderly (no paperwork - get on an email notification for when they have bags available and pick up).
Is mom on Medicaid? There is a program for free meds. Also there are non-profits that will provide meds. Even some churches here. Call social services for assistance. Call Area Agency on Aging.
I'm glad you came to vent, thepacifist. Caregivers need to vent and turn our anger outward rather than keeping it inward and hurting ourselves! I have sibling issues too, but one thing that's vastly difference if I need them they drop everything and come running. Beyond that, they make me crazy, angry, and isolated.

Have you considered, when your brother insists he'll be there if you need him, to say, "Just stop saying that, because we both know you won't"? Give him examples. If all he really does is ask questions you don't yet have the answers to because that's his way of allowing himself to be concerned and acting as if he's helping, then tell him so. Not likely it'll really cause him to change, but it might.

If siblings can't/won't help at least caregivers can clear the air. I've told my siblings when they do come over for urgent situations, I don't necessarily need assistance, but, dang, having moral support and not feeling so ALONE is priceless.

I'm relieved for you about your mother not having a stroke! Becky04473 and gladimhere have good advice. Take care of you!
I've learned that when you need your siblings the most, they tend to fail you. I've also learned from this that no matter how much info I gave about mom/dad, the siblings will continue to live their lives, travel several times a year, or even vacation for 1 full month but.. they don't have money to help pay for a caregiver on Saturdays so that I can have weekends off. They don't have money to pay for their portion of the land tax (only $53 a year!!!) but they can travel every year, stay in hotels, eat out at restaurants, but they cannot help out financially or pay their portion of the Our landtax (dad gifted us land but he didn't subdivide it.)

As the years went by, I went through the very angry stage. I remembered wishing that Karma visits them. Oh, I wished so hard with my whole heart, soul and mind. The next day, I felt bad for doing that. So, I asked Karma to not visit them... I read your words and felt such sadness descend on me. I went through that. And I have Seven siblings....

Mom and dad were on the meals-on-wheels. Why don't you check if they have in your area for your mother. Mom was on liquid diet (stomach tube) and they provided the nutrition can for her. My dad eventually ended up with grinded lunch because he refused to eat solid food (cavity).

Both parents were bedridden. We have 2 programs here on island that they both qualified. One program was the gov't caregiver (both local/federal funding) in which they came 4 times a week, 1 hour increment, to wash my parents on their hospital bed. (They soaped them and then literally poured water over my parents while lying on their beds.)

The other program was private but has funding with a national caregiver program from the states. This program was to help me, the caregiver - one hour a week. They usually ended up talking to dad to keep him company. He didn't want them to change his pamper. He just wanted someone to talk with. This organization also helped me find therapists for free (limited sessions) when I became suicidal. You definitely cannot do this all by yourself. Between my dad and I taking care of bedridden mom was very tough, difficult. I cannot imagine what you're going through - with just yourself. You really do need help. Start calling phone numbers. And if you come out blank, call your public health or senior citizen center and ask if they know of any programs to help you and your mom. Take care.
Thanks everyone for your support and advice!

There is a church here that gives food for only $1. Sometimes I go and get that. It does help a lot.

I've looked into a senior food delivery service but they're actually kind of pricey. They're about $6 or 7 a meal. I figured I could make a meal for much cheaper than that and it would probably taste better.

This post was inspired by a recent phone call I had with my brother. It angered me so much and I told him. Today he called and apologized and said that he would help out where he can. Strangely, I don't even want his help now. I think the only thing I wanted was for him to care and for him to be genuine. That's all I needed... was for him to say that he would help and mean it. I think he really meant it this time when he said he would help pay if he could. But like I said, I don't need for him to do that.

Thanks for listening to my rambles. I really needed to get that out yesterday.

BTW, My mom doesn't qualify for medicaid, but there was some information in another post that I made that maybe she can qualify for other things if I look deeper into it.
And thanks for sharing your own stories. It's nice to relate to people. It's nice for people to get it. I feel like nobody really understands what this is like unless they've done it. Even when they try their hardest to put themselves in my shoes, people just don't understand.
One time, my brothers from the Mainland came home for a visit. Both brothers just sat there as I struggled all by myself to change our mom's pamper. Mom was bedridden, on oxygen 24/7, trache, stomach tube and suction machine. Mom was completely immobile - couldn't even move a finger or turn her head.

I had to pile lots of pillows on top of mom while she was on her side so that I clean her butt area. My brothers just sat there watching me struggle. In the middle of cleaning mom's backside, older brother spoke up. He said, "There's a better way of doing that."

I paused. Straightened up from anger that neither brother offered to help hold mom while I cleaned her, and said angrily, "Do you want to take over?"

Brother's faced looked shocked that I used that tone of voice on him (culture and being respectful to your elders). He silently shook his head and kept his mouth shut....

To protect yourself from being hurt by your sibs not helping you, just stop expecting that they Should be helping. I've hinted and even straight out asked for help. I got token help and then back to zero helping. In the long run, years later, I finally learned to let it go - after I found this website and learned from others' experiences. Sometimes, we just have to keep asking and asking before we finally learned to stop. I was like that. After the funerals of both parents, I realized that only baby brother had really thought of what I truly did for the parents. Actions speak louder than words....
I remember cleaning my mom up when she was bedridden and suffered from c diff. This happened regularly. It remains the most dreadful thing I've ever had to do. On the rare occasion that my sibs were even there, they could be heard talking and laughing in the kitchen while my dad and I were cleaning mom up. I am learning to forgive them for the peace of mind that it brings ME, not because I think they deserve forgiveness for that level of neglect. I'm not completely successful at it, but I am becoming better at accepting them for who they are, and who they are not. This has resulting in me drawing some serious boundaries around how much time I spend with them, but when I am with them, I'm less and less filled with bitterness. I just don't feel much affection for them anymore, to be honest.
I so hear you, suzeeQ! I had seriously considered moving back to my hometown after my house sells in another state to be near my siblings. Since I've been here and my house is empty, I've realized I'm not staying here but going back to "family I choose." I have thick walls up around my emotional health now when it comes to my siblings.

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