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She got sick, didn’t want surgery, and her kids had her have the surgery anyway. They refused to listed to me, my husband, her son wouldn’t even let me talk. His siblings chose for her to have surgery, and now she’s suffering. They expect me to go to the hospital every other day and encourage her to get better and do physical therapy. This 90 year old woman needed to go to heaven, not be rescued by her children. I can’t stand to go to the hospital and watch them force her to do PT “to get better” when she isn’t going to get better. Had they not done the surgery, she could have been kept comfortable and passed away within about two weeks. I can’t sleep at night, I’m so angry. How do I forgive my husband and his siblings for not honoring mom’s wishes? I am afraid that after 40 years I am done with this family. I am so heart broken for what my Mom-in-law is having to go through. And so disappointed in my husband and his siblings.

What an awful mess.

I would visit her, but I wouldn't force the PT issue.

Ask about better pain relief.

Has anyone talked about Hospice? Hospice would be all over her pain.

I think I would step away from the caregiving role when/if she comes home.

Be the loving DIL who gives backrubs and treats. Let the others do the caregiving, or let them arrange in-home caregivers.

I think I might arrange to go on a vacation for when she is released from the hospital.

As for forgiveness, consider marital therapy.
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BetsyPE May 3, 2021
Last night I told the family we needed to begin a rotation visiting her, and my husband supported me completely. Because of Covid we had to make exception arrangements for her adult children to go be with her. It was I am another daughter-in-law taking turns. Now, her children are spending time with her that they will be grateful for when she actually passes away. I got up my courage and expressed that I cannot support a decision to have her do physical therapy and try to get better. I want her to have her end of life plan honored. It was scary for me to have that conversation, but I was able to do it in a calm, kind loving way, which was a gift from God, and it was understood and considered. I have been rubbing her hands, feet, and legs
With lotion an calming essential oils every time I go in there. I always lotioned her feet and calves and shins along with her back after her showers. So that isn’t a new thing for me to be doing. I agree about the vacation. I’ve never been to Hawaii, that sounds good to me right now! Thank you for your encouragement. I truly appreciate it.
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First, I hope you can reach a place of forgiveness. I don’t agree with the family’s choice, but I can see it was made out of fear and concern. There wasn’t a malicious intent. And forgiveness is often a gift you give yourself. It releases you from hanging on to something that becomes bitterness. I agree with you about the exercise. I watched my dad at 90 in a failed rehab attempt. There was simply no more “try” left in him. He died on hospice care just over a month later. I hope the family will see the need for hospice and compassionate care. Don’t do anything you’re not on board with, those things leave to her children. She’s been blessed to have you
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BetsyPE May 3, 2021
I have been praying for hope and faith that I can forgive. Particularly my husband. I love whom and we need to communicate more and better. I was so distraught and in agony when I typed this question, but we’ve had heartfelt deep conversations, with the help of a loving daughter who helps us sort through feelings and helps us be more careful in our communication to each other, and I feel heard and understood and like he understands and will stand for his mother’s wishes now when we meet as a family. I encouraged the other brother and his wife to get details
feom the doctor about how each scenario would look, and I think that gave them pause and information they needed to understand. You are right, it wasn’t malicious, and I knew that before, I was the one who needed to be courageous and step up and have an uncomfortable conversation about it. As her caregiver, it was my place to take that stand.
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How awful for your mother in law and for you!

I am so very sorry that she is going through this. I would never want surgery at her age. I am surprised that her doctor even considered surgery.

My mom had issues that if she were younger she would have done surgery but her doctor said no surgery ever for a woman in her 90’s.

I know someone whose daughter had her father have resuscitation in the hospital. He didn’t want his life prolonged in any way. It was horrible. He only lived one hour afterwards and was in great pain.

I agree that most people are ready to go when they are that age with health issues.
Why would your husband and his family expect you to be her caregiver in this situation? They caused the situation. You are absolutely justified for feeling as you do.

PT is effective in certain circumstances but is extremely hard work and isn’t appropriate in every situation.

I hope your mother in law can find relief soon. I wish her children would have respected her wishes.
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BetsyPE May 3, 2021
she has been living with us for 16 months, and I have been her care giver. The hospital, because of Covid restrictions, would only let 2 visitors come into the hospital for the duration of her stay. Because my sister-in-law and I were the the ones willing and able, we offered. But I realized her children needed to see the situation to know what needed to happen. My husband agreed to go today, and the Dr. was able to make an exception so he could come in. And if the family decides, which I am fairly sure they will (to let nature take its course and offer pain medication as needed) more arrangements can be made for her adult children to also take turns sitting with her as she receives comfort care. I just had to SPEAK! I was asking my husband to have a conversation he was unsure, and possibly fearful of, that I was also fearful of! Yet ,having been her caregiver for 16 months, having been the one to take her to the hospital, having gone through the worst of everything with her in the last 16 months, I am really the only one with the perspective to deliver that message in kindness and care to her children. I needed the courage to speak. I cannot fault my husband when I was also afraid to have that conversation. 😢 They may have saved her from what they understood to be a horrible death, but they do not want to deny her a calmer one, if they can help it. I think they were all just afraid and needed time to adjust.
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My Mom passed about 3 months ago due to a massive stroke. I decided for Mom to go to hospice in January per Doctor’s advice. It was the most scary decision I ever made knowing she would likely pass in a few weeks. But in hindsight, I dont think I could do differently.
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She had a stricture in her colon caused by scarring from diverticulitis. She now has an ostomy bag. She was in bad shape, yes, I’m the daughter-in-law who has been her caregiver for 16 months and She lived with us. I took her to the doc, dentist, did shopping, showered her, did her laundry, cooked for her, everything. I did get some help a few days a month from one sister-in-law. But I and my husband, her son, along with our kids who actually spent the most time with her, are ones who have seen her decline continue to get worse. I’m the one she told through many years that she didn’t want end of life surgery, she filled out Medical POA papers with me, but we never got them notarized. Another sister-in-law was her next in line for medical, and she didn’t remember that Mom didn’t want surgery. She’s almost 90. I felt so strongly, as much as I dearly love her and will miss her when she goes, that we needed to just keep her comfortable and let her die. The doctor said it would be a few weeks of her lingering, and that was probably all. Well, surgery turned into a much bigger deal, and the surgeon said if he a had actually known what all was going on in there, he would have told the family to let nature take its course. She has multiple tears in her colon and an adhesion that was making it so her intestine was just in a loop and everything was just going around. She’s said she didn’t want surgery that very day, but her children thought her dementia made it so she didn’t know what she was choosing and it might be painful for her to go that way. Now, she’s in pain from surgery, knows her name, birthdate and that she’s in the hospital, but doesn’t know why. She doesn’t want to live! She has no motivation to even try, she didn’t have that before she got sick. She has hardly moved in a week, without the nurses doing their turning every two hours. The physical therapist came I yesterday and put her in a recliner and she was in terrible pain. I don’t want her to get stronger, she deserves to die peacefully like she always wanted. I resent that my husband and his siblings did not honor her wishes, and as par for life, no one would wanted to here what I had to say. I am still expected to go to the hospital and encourage her to “get better”. It’s tearing my heart out! I knew these people had little respect for me, but they seem to have even less respect for their mother. I can’t stand watching her suffering needlessly. I was the only one who felt we should let her go, keeping her comfortable and let nature takes its course, and am
now expected to fulfill their wishes to get her well.
I think each of them needs to go sit with her for a day and see exactly what choice they have made for their mother. I cannot in good conscience force her to exercise and be in so much pain just so her children can feel like they did the right thing. My husband wouldn’t even let me participate in the conversation yet another sister-in-law was there. I feel so disappointed and abandoned by him. They have abandoned their mother when she needed someone to let her go and be finished with this existence! Her husband died 12 years ago and she wanted to go and be where he is! I am having trouble sleeping and am so angry at this family.
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Tothill May 3, 2021
Incredible heartbreaking Betsy.

I agree with your comment. It is time for your hubs, sister in law etc, to be the ones sitting with her in the hospital. They need to face the consequences of their decision.
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Sadly, because she didn't put her desires in writing, her children had the say in what to do. It's a lesson for everyone to learn -- put those wishes in writing NOW, not when faced with a life-changing crisis. My husband and I already have our medical POAs with our wishes spelled out, and we're only 60. You just never know what could happen.

I remember my 90-year-old aunt was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and her kids where so horrified at the thought their always-healthy mother was dying, they insisted she try chemotherapy. She agree, and did it for two weeks before stopping because it made her so sick. Now, seven years after her death, my cousins beat themselves up for having put her through that pain and agony in her last days.

I think you should go to the hospital and visit, because your MIL needs someone there who understands and is there for her. Honestly, I doubt she'll last long in spite of the surgery, because she's in such bad condition.

In time her children will understand they squandered valuable time with her by putting her in this situation. It'll be after the fact, but some of them may eventually realize the mistake they made. It's too late now to point out to your husband and his family that just because a doctor lays out options for treatment doesn't mean they're what you should do, but that's the reality. Some doctors just won't tell people if a treatment is really a good idea or not when they give them treatment options.
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BetsyPE May 3, 2021
I’m sad to say, we did have her wishes in writing, but didn’t get them notarized. She had thought it best that I was the medical POA because she was living with us, though she did have some dementia when we went over the papers and discussed them. But I knew her wishes. Since the papers were not notarized, I admit to waiting to long to have that done, I did not feel as a daughter-in-law it was my place to fight with her children.
I know, I should have had them notarized, I should have fought for her wishes. I did a soft fight before surgery, hoping they would com to the same conclusion I did. They did not. I immediately regretted not doing that. Come to find out, she had previously signed a medical POA with a different son, which she did not remember and he did not say anything about until it came to the time to decide about surgery. But as the daughter-in-law, I wouldn’t have wanted to give my husband the choice over my own mother’s end of life care, and I felt I needed to have them feel peace about that decision. It was my own fault I didn’t speak up sooner and lo them what she needed. I am disappointed in myself and angry at myself for not doing that . I think that disappointment and anger is what pushed me to finally speak today, and talk about what I have felt this week and what I know she would have wanted to do. I am grateful that her dementia is such that she doesn’t even remember why she is in the hospital or that she’s been there for a week. I’m grateful that I love her and she’s knows it, and that she loves me, and I know it, and I know she would forgive me and want me to forgive myself and her children. They do love her. I think it was their misunderstanding the gravity of her situation and the painful results of the surgery she had. They are each spending time in the hospital this week as she is given comfort care instead of pushing for recovery. The dDr. Thinks it will be a matter of days, and maybe a few weeks before she passes. But at least we are on the same path now.
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I took care of pretty much a FIL. So long story short, his wife is a trip. He did not want to go home from rehab to care for her. I remember on a Fri, he was supposed to be discharged from rehab as a not into effect POA, that he wanted to stay the weekend. That was fine I understood. So, on Sun when I visited, he told me to go home, he did not want me there and thanked me. Two hours later, the nurse called, he was filled up with fluid, the stomach was sticking out. She decided to transport to hospital and not follow the DNR. The hospital, he was seeing his dead nun sister squeezing my hand saying, I am coming home. To anyone that was not the family it was pretty obvious what was happening. My POA kicked in but family freaked out. Honestly, I did not have the money to fight it out and was scared of the violemce. I gave up POA and they did every life saving measure til his daughter arrived from Europe. They released him on hospice. That became a mess, daughter said I only have 2 weeks and want to go shopping. She called herself a nurse but she only worked in a cancer center and brought German meds over, who knows what they were it was German. Anyway mom ended up in hospital and rehab. Dad died after tripling the morphine and German drugs within 2.5 days. It made me sick, still does.

So, you don't forgive and you do not forget, its been since 2016 and it is still rough. I rarely state my opinion but ehen I do, it brings up bad emotions.

I wish you well.
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BetsyPE May 3, 2021
Stacy, I am so very sad for what you had to go through. That sounds much much worse than what I am dealing with. 😢
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Because it is the topic of this post, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind people that "last wishes" MUST be legally created in writing (or digitally) and given to the PoA and doctors. Someone "telling" you something doesn't hold any authority. I'm so sorry for how this is unfolding for the 90-yr old grandmother, but we must all create Living Wills (Advance Directives) the legally correct way. There are not other options.
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BetsyPE May 3, 2021
Amen! I already have paperwork for an advance directive fire my husband and I and all 5 of our children have been informed about what those wishes are. They will continue to be informed for the rest of my life!! They have seen much of the suffering that has taken place in my own birth family, My fathers death 25 years ago, my mother’s death 12 years ago and my brother’s death 1 1/2 years ago. They saw how we as sisters of a man with schizophrenia, struggled when we took him to the hospital and his life was saved, only to return to the nursing facility where he could no longer walk, and only had so much control over his life. Yes, we visited him and cared about him and loved him, but after that happening a few times, it began to feel cruel to bring him back, when if we left nature take its course, he could be relieved of a Lot of suffering. Yes, I am not God, nor do I want to play one on TV or on an Aging Care page! But after our brother had decided he wanted a DNR and went into cardiac arrest, it happened when our sisters closely involved in his care were both recently returned form trips outside of state and the DNR was honored. We spoke afterward and realized that individually we had all been praying, without saying anything to each other, that the Lord would provide a way for him to go, without intervention from his sisters, as well as without them having to make the decision whether or not to revive him. He made that choice and we were grateful that we could give him that wish l. Yes we miss him dearly, yet we know he was released from a body that had not worked well for him for some years and from a brain that struggled with hallucinations and hearing voices. We felt a bittersweet sorrow at his death, while rejoicing that the Lord had taken him home. I think maybe that experience is what gave me the perspective I have had about my Mominlaw, as well as having had those conversations with her over the years that she did not have with her actual children .
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I have had that exact surgery. It’s incredibly painful before and after. I am sooo sorry that your husband and his family put your MIL though it. Having been there, I would never choose to go through it at 90.

Discharge to Hospice seems appropriate. You are right. They should have left this poor woman to pass in peace.

Is your MIL on Hospice care going forward?
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BetsyPE May 3, 2021
I am sure that will be the decision tonight. I think they will understand. I just had to not be afraid to have the conversation. My frustration when I wrote this pushed me to action, and I’m grateful that God helped me take a stand for her.
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Very good responses from posters and you. I've read all your responses. I'm relieved that you and hubby talked. It's really hard to face - losing a loved one. Communication is vital. esp about these end of life plans and dealing with and supporting each other during this time. Even if you know it's the end, it's still very hard.
One thing I will say to you that I don't think others have yet, is that you have to forgive yourself too. You're very upset inside, however calm you are outside. I read your angst and self blame between the lines. Forgive yourself. Then you may be able to forgive others. Life doesn't come with a play book. You made the best decision you could in the moment. God may using this whole situation for a growth in yourself and others that we cannot yet see. Please forgive yourself.

And visit your loved one but share the caregiving. I pray you can bring her home for her final days because dying in the hospital with only one person allowed at a time is awful for your MIL, you, your hubby, your children who have cared for her also, and all her family.

May God give you peace.
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BetsyPE May 3, 2021
Thank you for your thoughts, and you are correct. I always wish I could perfectly care for her until she goes to sleep and does comfortably at home. I know none of that is realistic, and I do need to forgive myself as well as them. The meeting tonight was very good, all supportive and all agreed, it’s time to help her have the most comfortable release we can give her. I know that won’t be perfect either! And I can’t control all
of that. We talked about options. And I’m looking into availability of nurses 24/7 at her own home, as well as a facility. I would love to have her come here, again, and I’m not sure that I am truly actually up for the emotional toll it might take on me. I cannot do it all
by myself, and, because of family circumstances, no other family member is in a position to have her in their home.
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