Now It's the grandmother who went to the emergency room...any advice? - AgingCare.com

Now It's the grandmother who went to the emergency room...any advice?

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Actually, she is my step grandmother on my deceased father's side and who helped my blood grandfather raise him and his brother since they were teenagers. So, she is just like blood; I never knew my 'real' grandmother. Anyway, the reason I'm saying that is because today her blood niece called to say she went to the emergency room. Immediately, I am skeptical about her because the same thing happened last year and this niece asked me to go there because she couldn't be there yet-- was waiting for her brother-in-law to pick her up as he drives and she doesn't. As I drive too (a blessing and a curse), I was not only the first one there, they also came and left early. Ok, granted. But I made a note to myself about it, as she is retired and I'm not. By the way, we're both over 50 and she is about 10+ years older. So, this time around I knew I'd hear another sob story--she's sick with the flu; I responded that I'm about to relieve a coworker from a duty. Don't forget that I have work and school. Plus, I've been sick practically all winter and fighting something off now; though I'm back on my feet. She responds that she has a lung disease. I still said she would have to fight through this (maybe shouldn't have said it like that), and that her aunt couldn't just stay there without someone checking in on her. That I'd go and demanded she get it together when it was time for her to be sent home. She basically hung up. Then when I talked to the narcissistic mother, who is close with the grandmother and recovering from a hip surgery, of course barked her orders to go back to work and be ready to go pick her up on the day she leaves. I said that would be the niece's job, bottom line. Anyway, didn't listen to that; went to check on her because she was short of breath earlier and they wanted to keep her because they think it's her heart. And she's 93 going on 94. Plus, she doesn't give me the headaches the narcissistic mom does; she's very much sweeter though she does have these traditional family beliefs of the stupid solo family caregiver role. In any event, she said she was grateful I came through she acted like why was I there. Now I'm thinking of addressing that niece of hers again to stress the need for her or arrange one of her people to pick her up when ready. I am pi$$ed because she knows I just went through this emergency thing with my own mother and I always expected her to be there for her aunt. I have my oldest half-sister (on dad's side) on standby, but she recently had her own hands full with her now deceased husband who was paralyzed a few years from a stroke. Now she has been getting some fresh air so to speak. I think I also stressed her out venting to her, which I had to apologize about before. It's for the same reasons too; family not stepping up for their 'shifts'.

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Hi Jeanne,

At the time, being the disagreement with the niece happened when she called me about my grandmother/her aunt, I was asking if I was being unreasonable. But now I am past that; just will be telling all those 'family' members no more reasons via calls/texts why they can't step up, and trying to direct me instead. Not happening. So yes, at this point I'm letting all the residue off my chest so I don't feel so wiped out anymore.
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Reply to Ceeceeisme
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What is your question, Ceeceeisme? What do you want advice about? Or do you just want to vent? (Which is perfectly OK. It is helpful for us to know, though.)
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Hi Jeanne and All,

I've been wanting to get a chance to answer your post. I was there because when the niece called she said some key words, "emergency room". Since she's going on 94 and has been having heart issues, the only way to see how serious this was, was for someone to go see what was up. Since the niece said in the next breath, "...and I'm sick...", means she was insinuating the same expectations of me she did the prior year; you get there. Otherwise, she would tell me only about her aunt/my grandmother. So, whose trying to direct who here? Just so you understand, I didn't go because of that, I went because that's who I am. And I do realize that's why the niece thinks she can use me. So, I am at the point where I am not listening to any of the following I've been told as to why they couldn't be there for my mother and grandmother: "Oh, I have the flu...oh, I won't get paid by FMLA...oh, I'm starting a new job...oh, I had cosmetic surgery...and oh, I have a lung disease...", even though this chick was just at an event with her aunt. So, maybe she does, but I am at the point where I am saying don't tell me about it, tell either your aunt or your own sister who now I'm hearing, "Oh, she can't come to the hospital for religious purposes". By the way, all these things were actually said to me in the space of only a few months. And oh, I've been sick with the flu myself but I don't go saying that to them when an emergency has arisen. In other words, I thought at one time we would all work this out together as not to bog one person down. But I see that I was wrong and now I'm on a new track where I will see to my mom and grandmother in spite of them, and on my own terms. But yes, they will hear demands from me if they think they can direct their "Whoa is me..." stories to me; to my oldest sister I said that this is not the 'Ceecee Show' and I want everyone to stop directing their whoas to me. The oldest sister actually indicated to me at one point how much she gave up when she took care of family members, insinuating that maybe I should give up work/school and that our grandmother is probably looking to give me inheritance money instead. What??? Told her in no uncertain terms that wasn't happening and I don't want her inheritance money; I work for mine, for one. Plus, in this day and time she better think about living off that money. Don't get me wrong, my oldest sister is good people because she did do a lot for her own family. But as she indicated, she was not the type to speak up for herself like that (I think it's due to her abandonment issues by her own mother and our father, who didn't raise her. Her maternal grandmom did). So, I'm saying enough of everyone's sob stories, because I'm not hearing it, contagious diseases and all. By the way, I'm not telling the niece to show up to the hospital sick and contagious; my point is you can still figure it out with your own sister and husband who does drive; but they are never expected to. And anyway, how was she able to do all this calling everyone as she had told me? I know I just recently had bronchitis as well as the flu, and I assure you I couldn't talk a couple of minutes without losing my breath! But whatever, just don't direct it over here 'cause I'm not trying to work with all of them anymore. Oh yes, and the blood comment I made is because if I look at her as my family regardless, her as the niece and her sister (the other niece I just mentioned with the hubby whom has always been too much of a deadbeat) definitely should be making sure not to take advantage of this situation.
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Ceecee, I understand about personal obligations. It's not a matter of whether you should but maybe a conscience thing. When it comes right down to it nobody really has to help anybody if they don't want to but if you are like me, it comes down to doing the right thing. Unfortunately, I've been getting the impression lately that it always ends up being the one caring person in the clan who is left with all the dirty work through no fault of their own except that they care. Life would be so much easier if we didn't care wouldn't it? You could hang out on the sidelines criticizing but not doing much more than that.

At the end of the day, it's all about what you yourself can live with. Everybody else will just do what they do. I can't just leave a person laying on the side of the road but surprisingly, some people have no problem with that. Sad but true.
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Hi CDNReader, 

My grand is in a really nice neighborhood where they do look in on each other. But one lady is not much younger than she, and then there's a wonderful, younger man who is a husband and father; he already does a lot. Like recently, her sweet cat of 22 years went to heaven and this man helped her to bury him. She was so upset, she didn't tell anyone for 2 weeks... actually, she admitted it after I asked her how was he doing; as I'd often do, and I had a bad feeling about it. Also, I feel this is adding to her heart issues; she's lost so much family, including furry ones, I don't think her heart can take it anymore. Will post more in a while. In the meantime, thanks so much.
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I can see your delemia. When it comes down to it, Grandma needs someone there to make sure she understands what is going on. Who has her Medical POA? No, I don't think you should always be the one. The family needs to get together and figure out how Gma is going to be handled when there is a hospital stay.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Your Grandma didn't understand why you were there. I don't either.

You have a job. You go to school. Your health is unreliable. You are very stressed. Why did you think you had to visit GM? I know that you love her, but couldn't you love her over the phone? At least until there was some prognosis -- would she be there 2 days or 2 weeks? Was she going to need rehab or tcu? It doesn't sound like GM was expecting you to come. Why did you expect you needed to go?

Does the niece have a lung disease? Do you think she was lying about having the flu? Do you think it is wise to go into a hospital with a contagious disease?

You can make decisions for yourself. You can decide to visit or not to visit, to pick her up upon discharge, or not to. And you can let everyone know your decisions, so they can plan accordingly. But you really cannot make decisions about what other people should do or have to do. Unless you are GM's medical POA you are not responsible for dealing with her discharge. If you want to, out of love, fine. But no one can force you to.

It was your decision that "your aunt can't stay there without someone checking on her." And so it was your decision to be that "someone." Perfectly acceptable. But this was not forced upon you.

I'm not quite sure why you explained that she is your "step Grandmother" and why your refer to the "blood niece." Do you think the degree of "blood" relationship imposes different obligations? If you do (I don't) then make that clear to other relatives. "I am not a blood relative and I have less obligation (or none) than blood relatives do." Again, you get to make decisions about what you will and won't do. But not what others do.

Poor dear Gramma does need some help. At 93 she may need some help understanding her discharge options. She may need someone to make arrangements for in-home care or to select a care center. Decide what pieces of help you can offer, if any, and decline the other tasks.

Take care of you! You certainly deserve it!
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Dear CC,
Let's see if I have this right....you're in your 50's and still working and you're ill...your 'cousin' is in her 60's, not working and is also sick, and grandma is 93 and ill. Is she well enough to be on her own, does she have dementia or other disease where she would require round the clock care? Because, I know this is not just about Grandma needing a ride home (if that were the case a taxi or uber/lyft would solve that)...I'm guessing this is more about care-giving and your 'cousin's' lack of help....or she says she WOULD help, but a. she's sick, b. she can't drive, c. she's busy or some other excuse...Am I close?
This sort of situation where the care-giving falls only on 1 person is very common and drives most people crazy, because the ones that ALWAYS have a reason why THEY cannot help usually have NO problem in telling you what you should be doing...which is really frustrating.
If the time comes where grandma can come home you always have the right to tell the hospital that you cannot take care of her and she would not be safe. Then the hospital needs to make sure she has a safe place to go to and someone to care for her (especially if she has advanced dementia or other debillitating disease). You need to be strong as the hospital will try to guilt you into taking care of her...even if you cannot. They should get a social worker (or similar) to help find a place where Grandma will be safe and cared for....Blessings to you (and Gma) LindaZ.
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Dear ceeceeisme,

There is so much on your shoulders. It is so hard when other family members do not pull their weight and each person is already dealing with so much.

Do you think a social worker might be able to help the family coordinate some care from the community for your grandmother? Do you think she would be better in a nursing home?

Even with my own family it was a terrible struggle. I just gave up and tried to do everything on my own but that was a horrible mistake.

I hope you'll be able to get your grandmother the help she needs.
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