Hurt over Christmas plans

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by DMac, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    Surrey, UK
    I found out today that my sister-in-law, who does the night-time care routine for my DIL and usually entertains my MIL and DIL at Christmas time, is going to stay with her husband's sister over Christmas this year. That in itself is not an issue - in fact, I would encourage her to have a complete break over Christmas and be pampered for once.

    What hurts me is the manner in which I found out about this. I received an e-mail from a brother-in-law, inviting me and my husband, AND the MIL and DIL, to his home for Christmas day. A lovely invitation, I am grateful that they have thought about us. Apart from the fact that they live an hour's drive away from MIL and DIL. DIL will need to be got out of bed and put back again at the end of the day. By me. Both MIL and DIL have dementia of varying degrees, and are not good at having their routines disturbed. DIL has incontinence issues which are difficult enough to manage in his own home, never mind someone else's. I'll have to deal with all of this. I'll probably be expected to do all the driving too (so hubby can have a drink or three) AND the caring at both ends of the day. Hm. Some Christmas. :mad:

    It's the throw-away comment at the end of the e-mail that really hurts though. "By the way, D....and N... are spending Christmas with N...'s sister". Now, I speak regularly with my SIL. Why didn't she tell me of her plans herself? I would have understood and supported her. I would have helped to work out some alternative plans, perhaps a respite home. Instead it feels like I've been dumped on. Another SIL who lives close by (who I don't particularly get on with) has pointedly told everyone she is going to her parents for Christmas, so would not be inviting MIL and DIL either. I feel like I'm being punished for something - what? Caring too much?? :confused:

    By way of background, I spend quite a lot of time with MIL and DIL, taking them to appointments, doing their shopping, and bringing them meals at least every other day. I've organised a rota so that their other children bring meals to them on the days I'm not there. I sort out some of their admin for them. I justifiably claim carers' allowance as all of this takes well over 35 hours a week of my time. The SIL who I don't get on with has made pointed comments about my 'over-caring', so I do think she bears a grudge somehow.

    By the way, I haven't accepted the invitation yet. I told my BIL I would need to think about the logistics.

    Advice, sympathy, and a shoulder to cry on would be most welcome. Oh, and how do I respond in such a way as to keep my dignity? Any thought most welcome!
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    First of all do you want to go? If you don't but you're trying to please everyone then politely decline. If you want to go then talk with your inlaws about how this might work eg would one of them come and collect you all and then you all take a taxi back home so you too can have a Christmas drink?
  3. Moonflower

    Moonflower Registered User

    Mar 28, 2012
    Could you sit down and talk this through with your OH? It might not be too late to organise a respite home for a few days - and that might be kinder than a disruptive and confusing trip to relatives.
    If not, TBH I'd be inclined to graciously refuse the invite, explain that it would be too hard for your parents in law and stay at home instead.
  4. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Keep Christmas as simple, and easy for you!

  5. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    Personally. I would be planning a quiet day with in-laws at home, as you've said they need their routine. 2 hours travelling is a long time for you all, with all the organising needed for the day to run smoothly.
    And reply to BiL's e-mail exactly as you have written:
    however .... and decline with regrets.
    It's a shame you heard about the others' plans this way, maybe, just maybe they were going to say something next time you meet with suggestions to help you - at least you do have time to organise something for yourselves, should you wish to.
    I sympathise - had dad to look after on my own one year for the last week of summer term (exhausted by then), when I'd thought co-carer was having time off at home so could help me, instead went away without mentioning it except in an e-mail hoping dad and I had a good week ??!! and I was taking him on holiday the next week (co-carer never did) so had 2 weeks of caring on my own.
    Hey ho - family life.
  6. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    Surrey, UK
    Thank you all for your comments. Interesting that the consensus is almost universal - politely decline. This was my first thought and is most likely what I'll do. Marionq, you ask "would one of them come and collect you all and then you all take a taxi back home so you too can have a Christmas drink?" Here's the answer from BIL's e-mail:

    "Clearly this would involve Dad travelling in a car for an hour or so (ideally a bit less if the traffic is OK, but could be longer. Traffic on Christmas Day sometimes surprisingly heavy) and you being prepared to pick them up and drop them off at the end of the day"

    So that would be a No, then. :rolleyes:

    The late night devil in me is thinking about booking a last minute Christmas holiday to see the Northern lights. Always wanted to do that. Shall I? Shan't I? It would certainly help to bring things to a head. ;)

    I'll leave you to ponder my evil intentions....MWOHAHAHAHA!! :D
  7. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    Just book it . I love Christmas but have never had a " we always" at Christmas. Now that routine has been broken you are surely free to do as you please. Northern lights,why not !!
  8. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    DMac, I think I may be even more evil
    in light of the other part of BiL's e-mail
    I'd be tempted to reply:
    Lovely idea, however, we've already booked to go see the northern lights, it was the chance of a lifetime ...... had no idea that others were to go away too .... oh my what a pickle!
    Then sit back and 'enjoy' the fireworks!

    Sorry, not at all helpful, except that I'm really responding to
    And get the feeling that you think it's time to do just that. Does OH agree?
  9. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    I like your evil streak :D
  10. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    Surrey, UK
    Ha ha ha, I LOVE it! You made me laugh, Shedrech! :D

    I'm still thinking about what to do, TBH. OH wants to go to BiL's, but will defer to my judgement at the end of the day

    I'm keeping my powder dry for now, so when the fireworks do happen, they'll be...EXPLOSIVE!! :eek:
  11. Bessieb

    Bessieb Registered User

    Jun 2, 2014
    You know DMac as BIL has been so presumptious about your availability I would be tempted to reply and say that you and your OH will be unavailable as you have other plans ....but MIL and FIL would love to come!
    If others are going away without having the courtesy to have a discussion about it first then I don't see why you shouldn't. BIL has already indicated that they are going to be home and willing to host so ....
    The Northern Lights sounds fab and it sounds like you deserve a break...
  12. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    Oh, yeah! Like this idea!

    "you picking them up and dropping them off " - dear God, is he serious? Does he honestly think all you have to do is "drop them off "? :mad: How long is it since he's seen his parents?
  13. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    I love this solution, what a wicked one!!
  14. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    Oh my, I should have kept mum
    what a naughty lot we are, tempting DMac so ;)

    I'm glad I made you laugh DMac - especially after reading your other thread

    Suffice to say, although we can't physically help with your situation, we are definitely here to support you come what may
  15. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    Surrey, UK
    Thank you Shedrech and all who have commented with their naughty ideas! ;) I like them all!

    A bit of gallows humour does help to lighten the load a little, that's for sure! That, and all your great support, really helps. I'm off to bed now in a good mood chuckling to myself! Have a good night one and all. x
  16. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    Surrey, UK
    Big blazing row

    Oh dear. Matters have come to a head now.

    My SIL phoned today. It didn't help that she told me my DIL has overdosed on the antibiotics. This is after I had offered to stay with MIL and DIL just whilst DIL recovers from his UTI (see my other thread, 'In Denial').

    Then she asked, did I get a message from B...(BIL) asking me and OH to spend Christmas with him and his family? Yes, I replied.

    What was my answer? She wanted to know. No mention of HER plans yet, mind you, though I do know of these because BIL told me.:rolleyes:

    So I told her of my uncertainty. Especially given that DIL has a UTI at the moment, I said I thought it would be unwise to make him go to BIL's. It would involve an hour's travel in the car there and back, coping with a room full of noisy people, cramped surroundings, no raised chair or adapted toilet seat or grab rails or ramps over steps... in short, I know he would hate it.

    I told her of my proposed plan, which is that my OH and I are planning to ask them tomorrow if they'd like to go to BIL's. We're thinking MIL might indeed like to go, but if DIL says No, or Yes and then changes his mind, I have a plan B. Plan B is a simple ready-meal for 2 and I will look after him in his own home. OH will then take just his mum to BIL's. And actually, I'm fine with that plan. I can have a quiet time choosing my favourite Christmas programmes, while DIL snoozes (he usually does).

    Still, the denial, denial, denial from SIL (see my other thread titled, 'In Denial')

    She said, 'It will be no Christmas for you if you're left behind with Dad!' I replied, 'But someone has to look after him, he can't be left alone.'

    She said, 'You've GOT to think about Mum in all of this. It would spoil her Christmas if she didn't spend time with her family. You've GOT to force Dad to come along so that Mum doesn't feel guilty about leaving him behind. And anyway, he would have a WHOLE FAMILY to look after him!' Oh yeah? I'd like to see my BIL wipe his dad's a**e after a messy toilet visit, just before he tucks into his Xmas pud! :D

    Anyway, she ranted on at me on the phone, laying the guilt on thick...then I decided I could not take a single word more from her. So I handed the phone to OH, whilst she was still talking, put my coat on and walked out into the pouring rain for an hour or more.

    Now, I am feeling a tad ashamed, because when I got back inside, my OH made me a cup of tea and said Christmas plans were all sorted. I'm afraid I snapped back at him, saying, 'Oh good. I'm glad you've sorted it. But I don't need to know the details because it's NONE OF MY BUSINESS.'

    Oh, and I also told him I'm starting a job search on Monday and am cancelling my carer's allowance. That would take care of the 'over caring' then. :rolleyes: I feel a bit sorry for my OH because it's not his fault his sister called me and made unreasonable demands on me. But heck, I'm mad as hell right now! :mad:

    So that's that, then. The end of my role as a carer. The end of trying to get this dysfunctional family to SEE SENSE beyond the pound signs. The end of my participation in this whole sorry mess. Maybe it's for the best.

    Sorry to rant on, but I really have had it now. If I don't make a drastic change, nothing will ever change and they will carry on in their oblivious little worlds, until the inevitable crisis happens. So be it.
  17. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Rant away! I often feel better when Ive put it all in writing.
    Unfortunately, in dementiaworld it often takes a crisis before anyone takes any notice.
  18. 2jays

    2jays Registered User

    Jun 4, 2010
    West Midlands
    And now breathe.....

    Glad you had a shout. Glad you put it down in writing here and got it off your chest. Glad you told OH how you feel.

    Sad you had the need. Hugs xxxxxx

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  19. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    Surrey, UK
    Yes, breathe! One.... two.....three.....AAAAAAHHHHH!!

    Needed to get it out of my system! Thanks for hearing me and for the hugs. Feeling better already! xx
  20. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    oh DMac. So pleased you have got this off your chest, it has been building up for you for so long and you have been magnificent xx
    As everyone says BREATHE! and see what happens next - strange how one event can sometimes trigger others to think about their own behaviour - so my advice would be to keep an open mind.

    Keep posting and most importantly look after yourself xx

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