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How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent?

 

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TheForge

Dec 22, 13 15:35

Post #1 of 57 (1476 views)
How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? Quote | Reply

I woke up last Wednesday in the middle of the night to my wife crying. Her father has been sick for a while. Mostly escalating muscle pain. They flew down to visit for Thanksgiving, but he had issues breathing on the flight back. That morning he took a higher than usual dose of Prednisone and apparently that can cause lung weakness at high altitudes. He refused oxygen. So he has been home, but never full recovered from that flight.

Last week he went into surgery to determine the cause, as they have been unable to diagnose. He had a heart attack coming out of surgery, and complete organ failure. His body has gone septic and he is in an induced coma. She left that morning by 5:00 am.

Her parents have been more like parents to me than my own in my adulthood. So this isn't coming from somebody who doesn't care for their in-laws, but how long is reasonable for somebody to leave their spouse and two kids under the age of 5. She is now saying it will be NEXT SUNDAY? My kids are asking a lot of questions, she doesn't want me to answer. At what point is it too much to tell her she needs to come home. I'm getting frustrated. Am I in the right? Or is this likely own selfishness or lack of empathy? In the last day it went from a minor thought to pressure cooker in my head. Maybe things will be better during the work week when there is stuff to do, and less time to think about it.



"In the world I see you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Towers. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying stripes of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway." T Durden


owen.

Dec 22, 13 15:50

Post #2 of 57 (1460 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

It's a shitty situation. You're damned if you do and damned if you dont.

Young kids shorten the acceptable duration as would other members of the family to help care for him. I would say a week, maybe two tops. It is unfair on her part to not want to answer the questions... "Grandpa is sick, we don't know what's wrong, and we hope he will be better really soon now!"


TheForge

Dec 22, 13 15:54

Post #3 of 57 (1457 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [owen.] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I think the oldest knows. I slipped, but caught myself, and the Rabbi approached us after school pickup friday. He was also at a birthday party today (his kid was there) and he inquired. Both times the kids were there.



"In the world I see you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Towers. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying stripes of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway." T Durden


triguy101

Dec 22, 13 16:11

Post #4 of 57 (1432 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Sorry that you're in this situation.

Personally, I would say let your wife do what she needs to do.

Easy for me to say not actually being a single parent and having to fend off questions...but I think in the long run, your wife will be eternally grateful.

Just my 2 cents


tigerchik

Dec 22, 13 16:49

Post #5 of 57 (1407 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I agree with giving her whatever time she needs but giving the kids some info. Can you hire a babysitter to help with some of the kid duties, or someone to clean the house for the next 2 weeks, etc - people to do some of the stuff your wife normally does?

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(This post was edited by tigerchik on Dec 22, 13 16:50)


timboricki

Dec 22, 13 17:08

Post #6 of 57 (1382 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

How far away is your father-in-law?
Can your wife fly home for a few days and then back?
Can your family go there for a few days.


bmeer

Dec 22, 13 17:30

Post #7 of 57 (1361 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

How long has she been gone?



---------------------------------------
Fruit snacks are for winners


kmh1225

Dec 22, 13 17:31

Post #8 of 57 (1361 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I'm terribly sorry. Does your wife have siblings who are willing to come help with her father? I would try and give your wife as much time as she needs right now. Also, is there anyway you and the can take a few days and go visit with the kids? I'm sure she could use some support during this difficult time. BTW, you're not being selfish, these situations are difficult for all family. I'm sorry the family is going through this during the holidays. Hang in there.



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rick_pcfl

Dec 22, 13 17:34

Post #9 of 57 (1357 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I think it depends on whether or to he will recover or not. If it is definite that he will recover, then expect her home sooner. If there is a chance that he won't, then let her stay. This is her father and she should be with him if he isn't going to make it.

My wife went through something similar with her father, but it was terminal and we knew it. Still, with young children it was tough and I wanted her home. I let her stay and I am glad I did.

While it was tough to be without her, I got over it and there is no resentment that she wasn't there when he passed. She also has no guilt for not being there for him.


TheForge

Dec 22, 13 17:40

Post #10 of 57 (1350 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [bmeer] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Since Thursday morning. Before dawn.



"In the world I see you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Towers. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying stripes of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway." T Durden


TheForge

Dec 22, 13 17:41

Post #11 of 57 (1347 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [timboricki] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Virginia. We live in Florida. No family here. All up there.



"In the world I see you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Towers. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying stripes of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway." T Durden


TheForge

Dec 22, 13 17:42

Post #12 of 57 (1344 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [kmh1225] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Her whole family is within an hour and a half. Her sister, her and her mother have been rotating.



"In the world I see you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Towers. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying stripes of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway." T Durden


DavHamm

Dec 22, 13 17:44

Post #13 of 57 (1342 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

First, I am socially inept if I say anything offensive or bothersome, sorry I don't mean to be rude here.

From your description, it sounds like this could be the end? would you really want her leaving if it is?

It does not sound like this is an issue of financial need. I don't understand why you would not tell the kids Grandpa is sick and mommy went down to help make him and grandma feel better, when grampa is better she will be back.

Since you mention Rabbi I assume you are Jewish, so Christmas may not be a big issue. Yes to me you are lacking empathy, If this were a simple knee or hip surgery then sure a few days a week. But it sounds like this is bigger, and needs what ever time it takes.

Just my opinion with limited knowledge of the situation.

Just Triing

Triathlete since 9:56:39 AM EST Aug 20, 2006.
Since I am editing my sig line to take out the fake line I had figured I should add something smart.. but I got nothing.


TheForge

Dec 22, 13 17:48

Post #14 of 57 (1334 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [rick_pcfl] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

To complicate things, he apparently said DNR before the surgery. He is a medical professional who happens to work at the hospital he is at, UVA. My mother in law confirmed he said something like that, but when told what DNR means she said he didn't say that. You would think as a medical professional he would have documented that.

If he did say that and wakes up, he will be pissed. My wife is worried about that. If he does, which is an uphill battle, he will likely be depressed the rest of his life.



"In the world I see you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Towers. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying stripes of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway." T Durden


cerveloguy

Dec 22, 13 17:48

Post #15 of 57 (1331 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [kmh1225] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

"I would try and give your wife as much time as she needs right now."


X 2


cerveloguy

Dec 22, 13 17:54

Post #16 of 57 (1328 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Sorry to hear, but I also agree that you should give your wife all the time she needs. Its her dad so be as supportive as you can and don't put pressure on her to come home until she's ready.

You can handle your own cooking and being alone for awhile with the kids big guy. After all you've got 23 guns in the house to keep you safe.:-)


Richard Blaine

Dec 22, 13 18:02

Post #17 of 57 (1320 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Same caveat as DavHamm above: if I'm a dick, I didn't mean to be.

I myself spend about a month in hospital a couple of years ago. The hospital I stayed in was a specialized trauma hospital and about an hour's drive from our house, with no traffic. Since that's a myth, my wife usually spend about 2 hours down to see me and about 3 back home. The result was that she had to farm our kids (7 and 5 at the time) out to various friends, everyday after school, and sometimes before school as well. She would typically be home just in time to put them to bed, but there were days she missed that to. The moments she did see our kids, she was irritable, tired, and generally a mess.

But my kids dealt with it. And I think they did because they knew what was going on. And having lived through that, they're better human beings. They understand that life is not all sunshine and roses and cool gifts for christmas, but that crises happen. And that you have to grit your teeth and deal with it, but that a lot of people who you didn't expect it from will be there to help you. So even if I would have preferred that the entire thing didn't happen, I don't see it as a completely negative experience for my kids, especially in the long run.

Applying that to your situation, I'd say that I would ignore what your wife said, tell your kids that mom is gone because she loves grandpa very much, that grandpa may be dying, and that it is important for her to be there. And you deal with single parenthood for a couple of weeks. All three of you will manage.

Citizen of the world, former drunkard. Resident Traumatic Brain Injury advocate.


realAlbertan

Dec 22, 13 18:04

Post #18 of 57 (1315 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [owen.] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Sorry to hear, don't rush her ( aka don't ask her when she is coming ) if you rush her and she come home and passes you will bear the brunt of her emotions.

___________________________________________
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebral_palsy
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realAlbertan

Dec 22, 13 18:06

Post #19 of 57 (1313 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [Jan de Visser] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Kinda like the seven weeks my youngest spent at Alberta Childrens Hospital. I took the whole time off looking after my 3 year old son and my wife who was recovering from almost bleeding to death.

___________________________________________
http://en.wikipedia.org/...eoesophageal_fistula
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebral_palsy
Canadian Record Holder 35-39M - 400 & 1500 m Freestyle/200 m Butterfly


bmeer

Dec 22, 13 18:22

Post #20 of 57 (1295 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

TheForge wrote:
Since Thursday morning. Before dawn.

If its only been like 3 days I think you're way over reacting.
I remember when my Gpa (we were very close) had a massive stroke in 2003. It was terrible for the family. He had a quintuple bypass in 2006 I think. He was in a medically induced coma for about a month and my family went up their almost daily, 45-60minute drive. I was 5hrs away and couldn't make it down much but wish I did. He finally passed after having a massive brain stem stroke 3 years ago.
I think you give her the time she needs on this. Everyone has different ways of dealing with things like this. Just bc you would deal with it one way isn't going to be the same as her. Everyone grieves differently.



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Fruit snacks are for winners


travelmama

Dec 22, 13 18:51

Post #21 of 57 (1268 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Giver her all the time she needs and inform the kids of what is going on and why mother is not around. Every person deals with illness differently and this needs to be respected especially in your case.
A few months ago my father was in a lot of pain and in quick decline only to find out his kidney was failing due to hydronephrosis. After spending 9 days in the hospital and very weak (136 lbs.), we decided he needed to move into the house with me. I am able to watch over and take care of him in a way that he trusts and understands. It is a lot of work but my job, I believe. People in my circle know that my time is my time when dealing with my father and pressure me none.


_____________________________________
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DawnT

Dec 22, 13 19:23

Post #22 of 57 (1233 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

How can you be frustrated after taking care of your children for only 4 days? Seriously? You need to HTFU and support your wife right now. It's not that hard to take care of children on your own. Single parent families do it all the time, 24/7. Certainly you can handle it for a week or two. Your wife needs to be with her father right now. Just be quiet, tell her everything is fine at home and let her come home when she feels she is ready.


ironclm

Dec 22, 13 19:38

Post #23 of 57 (1218 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [DawnT] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

DawnT wrote:
How can you be frustrated after taking care of your children for only 4 days? Seriously? You need to HTFU and support your wife right now. It's not that hard to take care of children on your own. Single parent families do it all the time, 24/7. Certainly you can handle it for a week or two. Your wife needs to be with her father right now. Just be quiet, tell her everything is fine at home and let her come home when she feels she is ready.

What Dawn said. You come across as an ass. But I come from the place where my mom went into the hospital and passed before I could get there.


clm
Nashville, TN
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timboricki

Dec 22, 13 22:43

Post #24 of 57 (1153 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

TheForge wrote:
Virginia. We live in Florida. No family here. All up there.

I don't know your financial or employment situation.
How long is the drive? 9-12 hours?
Are you off of work at all over the holiday? Can you take some time off?
Pack the kids in the car at around 7pm. They'll sleep in the car. You will need coffee and a nap when you arrive.
Go visit your wife. I bet she is aching to see her children. Stay for a few days or a few hours. Whatever feels right.
Drive home. Work for a few days. And then drive back again the next time you are off of work.

Yep- It will suck. Long car rides with kids is terrible. But your wife is losing her father. If not soon - It will happen in the near future anyway. Support her. Support her family.
But - That is what families are for. When things sucks - Families get together and deal with things together. You will either cheer each other up or you will be sad together. But the point is for you to be together.

If you can't afford it - Too bad. Rack up your credit cards. Spend your savings. Spend it on babysitters. Spend it on plane tickets. Spend it on hotel rooms. Support your wife and her family. They are your family too.


kiki

Dec 23, 13 2:02

Post #25 of 57 (1124 views)
Re: How long is a reasonable amount of time to leave family for a sick parent? [TheForge] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

You'll figure it out. You'll be able to make it work, even if imperfectly.

End of life care is terribly difficult for all involved because there's no roadmap and this makes it challenging to manage it logically. This is one of those instances where unconditional, graceful support of your wife and her situation will only help. It's what marriage is really made of. Take care.


(This post was edited by kiki on Dec 23, 13 3:59)

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