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Some good and bad news. My grandmother is out of the hospital and back at home. But she needs an operation because she has heart congestive failure and she also is in a big house by herself. Even so, she's been getting a steady stream of family and friends coming to the hospital just about every day, and calling.

I'm a bit annoyed (what else is new these days, lol) because firstly, she wouldn't say all the way from a year-and-a-half ago what her issues were to me, though I was the one to come to the emergency that time and this time, too. It was a bit weird that a cousin--who is there only once in awhile, but that's fine because she has her hands full with her own health and family--is over there tonight and in a snap told me the diagnosis of my grandmother. Even though I did know something was going on with her heart, I had to pull teeth every conversation with my grandmother to even say she had her issues from a year and a half ago, and tried to follow up with her; I had to let it go because she lied and said she'd tell me what the doctors said, but she never did. I told myself it was her business.

Now, though I'm glad the neighbors, some family including the cousin has been/is there, it feels like it looks like I haven't done anything for my grandmother. Because, my grandmother keeps saying for me to do what I need to and the hospital would transport her home, even though I offered. As soon as I look to relax about it, the next thing I know she is talking like she had no choice about the hospital transporting her because they saw she was 'alone' during her stay. I asked what was she talking about? She had a steady stream of visitors and callers practically every day while there. She goes, oh but the staff didn't see anyone.

Now, I call her tonight to see if she needed me to run something like food over (though she always stays well stocked) and though I am busy, I decided it would be best. The cousin answers the phone, friendly as she always is, but she goes how my grandmother is alone is why she was there, when I stated I was glad she was. I said she is not alone, but she does live alone. I didn't want to sound defensive, but sometimes it's hard not to when making a statement back to someone. I said I was about to come by if the grand needed. She said no, do what you were doing. To be fair, this cousin mentioned that her husband is in the hospital with the same thing as my grandmother.

My question is, I'm wondering if anybody experiences being able to determine when they are too busy with their own thing vs. when to help a senior loved one who is very sick?

While I get that I should only do what is possible, I've been injecting that in my conversations with them more sternly to keep making it clear, while others are just starting to step up. While this makes me feel like I can breathe, I'm also beginning to feel a bit villianized for deciding not to come running during a time my grandmother is obviously feeling alone. I do need to make sure not to get hooked into caretaking, which is also why I don't want to keep being the one to show up.

To add to it, my mother's boyfriend who has been caretaking her, is ready to go back home which is many states away. To recall, she had the hip operation a little over a month ago, but claims she is getting around.

With my busyness, should I continue to hang back from both? I sure am trying to so they could put other things in place. But it's a bit scary too that something could happen especially with my grandma and her heart with navigating two sets of stairs. She has the chair lift, but still has to get on and off steep staircases. Plus, the cousin is only there for a day or two and lives somewhat far herself. In a way, I'm praying my grandmother ends up going to live with her (while she waits for her heart operation) because her and her hubby live in a large house.

I'm trying to lend some support to both, without messing my own responsibilities up and without getting "trapped".

P.S. Man, haven't really even been able to get to my taxes with everything going on!

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I looked it up on Web MD just now; diabetes is one of the factors. Not only that, life expectancy is not very long; can be anywhere from 1-10 years, depending upon the severity. And I know this has been an issue for awhile though she kept tight lipped about it, to me at least. *Taking a deep breath*.  Every time I look to reconcile this situation with her and my mother and relax, something else hits me like a brick; this is what I mean. Now I keep getting knots in the right arm and shoulder. Great. 

Can only continue to look to God. I know He revealed this website to me as one of  my coping mechanisms. Thanks to all for your support and being straight forward.

And please say a prayer for my grandmother.
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By the way, she is also diabetic. Don't know if it's related, or exacerbates the problem or not.
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Hi Joann29,

As far as her children, she only had my father who has been deceased since 2013, and was actually her stepson; so, yes she is my step grandmother, but like blood to me because she helped my grandfather raise him and his brother (deceased years before I was born) since they were teenagers. And even if my father were alive today, he wouldn't be any help...at all. If anything, he needed the help and she enabled him even beyond the grave. I say that because even now she talks about how she and my sister had to help him in the state home he was. This man left us by the time I was 5 years old and ran the street all my life, so give me a break.

Also, I'm just hearing about her CHF, though I tried to follow up with her when she was in the hospital over a year ago. She didn't want to talk to me about it then, and it's been like pulling teeth now, so I'm trying to back up to not stress her about it anymore. Plus, I'm stressed because I'm feeling like I'm in over my head. I do remember her mention about them needing to do draining. All I know is when I hear about heart troubles and a 93 year old, I know this is bad news. Any particular insight you are having about it?

It would definitely be welcome.
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My question is...where are her children? And operating on a woman with CHF? CHF is when the heart can't pump blood anymore. Usually the body and lungs retain water. Is it an operation or inserting of a Pacemarker or Defibulator? Just curious.
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You are all right in what you are saying and it feels like a ton off my shoulders. Up until around last year when I started erupting about them having their other daughters there (even though the oldest is more of a sweetheart and says she will be around, but we will see because she has alot she juggles), I began to face my naivete that they saw this as a family issue and would step up when the time came. Now I keep going from feeling too cold, to too vulnerable whenever we have a good conversation; I know they think I've "come around" and things will go back to "normal". 

I do feel good that after not talking to my mother for a few days--when we were having disagreements and I said ok to her turning down my offer to visit last week--upon calling to say hi last night, I went back into letting her know I expect her to not keep bothering me because the last time with her accident (before her surgery) she laughed to me about it not being the first time, and knew I'd worry. As in, I'd come running. She keeps calling it "nothing". I told her call it that for her, but not for me. Sarcastically, I said how it was nothing for me to walk in an unsecured and dark apartment. Nothing to have my heart palpitating. Nothing to take off from work. Nothing to figure out how to get you set up in a sturdy chair (and straighten her house up). I said that could hurt me, including her messing up my schooling. 

First, she was about to give me the selfish label, but became quiet because I really spelled it out to her. But I think it's really because the boyfriend is leaving this weekend. Both her and my grandmother have home aides and therapists coming during the daytime, so very good. I can't stand hearing it's temporary though. But can't you still ask for more visits and the doctor arrange for it? I've been through it when I broke my ankle 7 years ago; I was on Medicaid at the time, so I know Medicare must work the same way.

By the way Jeanne and Barb, I will keep working on holding on to those boundaries and not getting sucked--or suckered--back in. I will need clarity on things I know will come up. 'Cause Barb you're right; it is not the way functional families think with all the judging. The problem is, it feels normal, which is what I have to shake and decipher between when to be there and when not to be.

My goodness, I even went to bed and woke up writing this. Lord, I pray to please continue to give me strength! We can't do this without Him!
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It is a not a healthy goal to try to win approval from a dysfunctional family.
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Ceecee, there is a difference between an elders "needs" and "wants".

If grandma's heart condition was so dangerous that she shouldn't be alone, the hospital would have made sure they were sending her someplace where she would be attended. She may be lonely and want company,  but that does not mean that you or anyone else needs to move in with her.

There seems to be a lot of
" judging" in your family and concern about appearances.

Do you know that that's NOT how functional families operate?
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Over the years I've learned that nobody ever steps up to help as long as someone else is still taking responsibility, keep your boundaries.
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It doesn't matter if they understand or approve of your stance. You need to do what's right for you.
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Jeanne,

Honestly, I've been feeling like everything is a 'No' with me these days. I don't seem to feel like balancing things out anymore. Don't know if this is normal or cool of me. I can't say I'm surprised, because I've been telling my grandmother and mother for about a year now that I'm tired of years of holidays (didn't dare to mention hospitals and other help, what I call my '3 H's') with just us, when they have other daughters too. The crazy part is, let me step away once = instant villain. Let them step up once (that goes for any family member whose been MIA) = favored. That's what it feels like, at least. 

In any event, thanks. Praying for a positive outcome. Can't wait until things settle down. Don't want it affecting especially my studies.

And I do hear you about not worrying what family will think. But how does one keep interacting--because I don't mind calling, as that is what I can say is my 'Yes' thing more these days, but what to say whenever it sounds like they are starting to  judge? Should I expect them to understand my stance?
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1. Yes, you should continue to hang back from both.
2. Stop feeling villianized. Decide what you want/are able to do. Do it.
3. "What will the family think of me?" should not be the driving question.
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