Should I Add Secretary to My List!!!

Shirley

Should I Add Secretary to My List!!!

Shirley
telephone-310544_640Last week my husband's grown son called about four times and left messages. Every time he called we were either at therapy or napping. I told my husband his son called; I was really feeling bad that my husband didn't call him back after four calls. I sent his son a text to tell him his father said that he would call the next day. He replied "We will see."

His son wants me to dial the phone and put the phone in his hand. He also badgers his father every time he calls telling him he should call his other two grown children and seven grown grandchildren who have not been in our lives since he became ill. He tells him he should call one everyday until they pick up the phone!! I guess he wants me to dial their numbers and hand the phone to my husband.

My husband is very capable of calling whoever he wants even though he has a little dementia. I don't feel as though I should be his secretary--I have enough on my plate. I know it would only take less then a minute, I feel my husband should make his own calls if he wants to talk on the phone. His family have not been very caring or respectful for almost 16 months I guess I have a attitude about them.

I was going to send his son this message.

I gave your father the messages and reminded him several times. I'm sorry, but I have my own problems. This week Monday I have to take him to has pulmonary and physical therapy 50 miles round trip. I have to go to for cataract surgery on Tuesday. On Wednesday I go back to the eye doctor for a check-up and I have an appointment with a cardiologist to have a heart monitor put on for 24 hours. On Thursday, my husband has pulmonary and physical therapy again. This week he is only going to therapy twice since I need to take care of my health too. Friday I have to go to my dermatologist and back to the cardiologist to return the monitor. Plus starting today I have to start a regiment of three types of eye drops with a very stringent schedule. I have to also food shop on Monday because I'm not suppose to lift anything heavy for a week or two. And I still take care of everything else--cleaning, cooking and all of my husband's needs. I think my plate is full !! I don't have the time or the energy to worry about if my husband returns calls or doesn't. At this point frankly I don't care. I don't need this stress. Plus on July 5 we had a power outage while trying to care for my husband. I fell and I'm still dealing with a sore back and neck and sprained wrist. So please don't add secretary to my already busy schedule!!

Needing to vent!!
Shirley

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Rosie

Denise, You give such great supportive advise and help but I think I have to disagree with you this time on one point. Sometimes there is not one bit of time left in the day to make even a phone call. And once everything stops and one might think there would be some time for a phone call either the caregiver or the caree or both are usually too exhausted to have the physical or mental energy for a phone call... especially if it's likely to be a stressful call. \r\n\r\nIn my case I have to say its like that pretty much all week. And while Honey's mother and father are ill and he used to be such a great son to his mom, he rarely wants to call her. Even if she calls and I remind him he doesn't necessarily call back. He doesn't even want to visit when I ask him and this is the first summer where I actually have some time to drive him there. While there's no change in his diagnosis, I don't think he focuses as well as he used to so even if she's talking about an ailment he can abruptly change the subject. \r\n\r\nI asked my honey if there was anyone he would like to see. The person he said was someone who was cruel to me while honey and I were in the hospital in the first place. It was ugly and horrible. He continued to be horrible and could not even separate himself from me enough to be a big man and see his good friend (they used to see each other about every other weekend as well as work together) when he got out of the hospital. It's been years. For a long time I didn't tell the honey of the experience but there came a time to do it. Anyway as much as I had no desire to spend any time with the guy and his wife, my honey missed him so I called and asked if he would like to get lunch or coffee sometime with honey. It was a tense cordial brief conversation. He said yes and would contact us when he got back from business in early june. So far no word. It doesn't surprise me. Yes I bit the bullet or took the high road or whatever but the outcome is rather predictable and a wound has been opened for my honey. My honey doesn't need any more wounds. \r\n\r\nI agree with your suggestion about being frank with the son and I agree you never know how much time is left but sometimes circumstances arise where it stops being the caregiver's responsibility to fix everything. To me it's now the adult son's responsibility to figure out a way to maintain a relationship with his father and a good start would be to have a better relationship with Shirley: more respect for what she does; eliminate the meanness; and recognize that a little understanding for Shirley's work, health and time might go a long way to find a mutual time for a phone call. I think Shirley and everyone can do what they can do. To me \"taking care of yourself\" includes eliminating or minimizing stress which includes people or circumstances. \r\n\r\nOtherwise I love you :-)

Denise

Hi Shirley--You've got so much on your plate and so much to worry about. It must feel like you do everything while the rest do nothing. The unfairness can really tear at your heart.\r\n\r\nI hope you don't mind if I offer a perspective. I'm from a family that specializes in rifts. I grew up with my parents who had relationships with family members that just stopped. We didn't see my grandmother for years. We didn't see an aunt and my cousins for a decade. When I look back on those experiences, I think: What a waste. What in the world were those battles all about? \r\n\r\nMy grandmother and aunt have both died. We don't get a chance to get those years back.\r\n\r\nI have four siblings who are married and three of them have children. I am unmarried, no children and work a lot. My mother doesn't understand this life I lead. Last Christmas, I attended a luncheon with my mom held by a group my mom belongs to. She introduced me to one of her friends and then had to step away. The friend said to me, “Are you the one with triplets?” (My younger sister has triplets.) “No,” I said, “I'm not.” “Ah, well,” my mom's friend replied, “she's the only one your mom talks about.”\r\n\r\nSure, it stings. But I want to choose what I do with the pain. I want to be a better person than my mom. I never, ever want to discount another individual's value or worth. Everyone is important.\r\n\r\nMy point is to be different than your husband's children. Be the one who promotes family communication. Be the one who ensures your husband has every opportunity possible to have relationships with his children and grandchildren. \r\n\r\nMy suggestion would be to call his son and talk this out. Explain that you've got a rough week coming up. Let him know how much you appreciate that he calls your husband. Then, tell him you'll do your best to make sure your husband calls family members. And, then say, “I'd love your help this coming week. Could you stop by on Tuesday to help out after my surgery? I'd love the extra help and I know your dad would love to see you.”\r\n\r\nIf he says “No, I can't help” then he has to live with himself. You know that you continue to do the best you can.\r\n\r\nBecause we never know how much time we have left, I think it helps if we use our time to nurture the family and friends we have in our lives. I think it's important that your husband regularly speak to his children and grandchildren. Perhaps he hesitates to make and return phone calls out of a worry that he will upset you if he does. Making the phone calls happen--dialing the phone, sharing your support--can be one of the best gifts you give to your husband. The regular connection to his family can be quite helpful. Certainly, you don't have to call everyone every day. Perhaps you can set up a schedule--one phone call to one family member every day. If the family member doesn't answer, your husband can leave a message expressing his love for the child or grandchild. Letting go of what others are doing and staying focused on what you do can be such a freeing experience. You give yourself such peace of mind when you can simply let go. Doing this ensures you know you did everything you could for your husband in his final years.\r\n\r\nI know that caregiving can feel like a powerless situation. I really believe you hold the power to make these difficult days a little more comforting.

Rosie

Hi Shirley, I sure understand the venting letter. Many a time I wrote emails and letters to my husband's siblings. some I sent but most I didn't. I also would explain it in person, asking for help, sometimes in tears. They were pretty much useless for about 5 years. It was shocking to me because before he got sick I thought they were the most loving family on the planet. I'm not sure you're ever gong to get through to the son but I don't know how old he is either. My husband's sibs were in denial or self absorbed but as far as I was concerned it was no excuse. Their brother needed their help (and I made it as minimal as possible so they would do it but they didn't). It sounds like your not going to get much satisfaction with the son but I wouldn't apologize for anything. You're doing a great job and you have an impossibly huge amount of work to do just to take care of the two of you...never mind all the house, car, groceries, upkeep, insurance crap etc.\r\n\r\nOne other thing I\"ll say is that my husband rarely calls anyone back or asks to call someone. I don't know if he has forgotten, or isn't interested, or simply would rather do whatever he does (he's limited to not much). We have a schedule similar to yours and he gets tired. I've stopped covering for him. The only people I'll make an effort for are long time friends from around the country and we rarely hear from them. I also make an effort for his mom.\r\n\r\nAlways hoping things get easier for you.