Saturday, July 26, 2008

Family Emergencies

My mother-in-law is back home now, crisis averted for the moment, and we all breathe a huge sigh of relief...until the next time. Thank-you, all, for your supportive comments and emails.

Warning: extreme snarkiness ahead....read at your own risk...and if you'd like to preserve your image of me as a sweet, gentle, understanding soul, well, perhaps you'd better not read at all...

Over the last five years or so, we've had quite a few family emergencies involving my mother-in-law and her myriad medical conditions. Family emergencies often bring out the best in people. Unfortunately, the women in my extended family do not exemplify this. Quite the opposite. I've learned a lot about human behavior just by watching them, though...when crisis rears its ugly head--which it does with alarming frequency in this family--one can count on the following:

Sister-in-Law #1: (The Chief's sister) will be furious. This is the last thing she needs, and it's so damn inconvenient on top of everything else. The fact that her constant harping and complaining about how this is all she needs puts Mother under a tremendous amount of stress which probably isn't doing a whole lot to help her recovery will not occur to her. Although she will spend more time at the hospital than most of us (with the possible exception of Sister-in-Law-Wannabe, see below), she will refuse to speak with the doctors or be any sort of advocate for Mother because "I don't understand all that medical crap."

Sister-in-Law #2: (The Chief's brother's wife) will visit once, for the sake of appearance, and when she does, she will be dressed like a runway model, wearing a plethora of expensive jewelry she cannot afford. She will sweep into the room with an air of self-importance, being sure to wave her rings and bangles in everyone's face so they get a good look at what her massive credit card debt has bought her. The fact that she will be required to don gloves, mask, and gown before entering the room will probably cause her to rethink her visit--what's the point in showing up if no one can see how much money she's got?--so if MRSA protocols are being observed, perhaps she won't be showing up at all.

Sister-in-Law-Wannabe: (The Chief's other brother's girlfriend) will spend almost as much time at the hospital as sister-in-law #1, but she will wander vaguely about the room with a shell-shocked look on her face, wringing her hands and making whispered comments about How Awful It All Is. She will let everyone know that she's been so worried that she hasn't eaten or slept in spite of the fact that she has taken large doses of narcotic medication and sleeping pills. She will make sure that she is seen hovering solicitously over Mother in the hopes that we will all forget that she was an instrumental factor in other brother's divorce. If this does not garner her the appropriate amount of attention, she may pass out dramatically across Mother's bed.

Family emergencies often bring families together...but this family is enough to make me want to run for the hills...

/snark

14 comments:

deepblue said...

ahh . . . I think it's refreshing to hear some snarkiness. So many of the other blogs I read are so positive all the time, it gets old. So thanks for your honesty! :)

Gianna said...

I'm getting to hear about my husbands messed up family dynamics around his mother dying.

Unfortunately because it involves my mother-in-law dying it's difficult to have sense of humor about it...

In any case...what's family for if we can't be snarky about them???

Someday I'll have to go off on my sister...well, I'm sure I have before actually...

I"m glad your mother-in-law is doing better...I hope that this will help her change her ways...I know that is unlikely from what you've said...

Jazz said...

Deepblue--
Actually, it was rather refreshing to write such snarkiness as well!

Jazz said...

Gianna--
The family dynamics can be rough. It's enough to have to deal with someone being ill or dying, without having to worry about all the clashing personalities of the rest of the family...but unfortunately, these situations often do bring out the worst in people. If my mother-in-law's situation had been more serious, I wouldn't be snarking, I promise.

Her bloodwork came back fine except for some evidence of congestive heart failure. She's been told by her doctors--for the umpteenth time in the last twenty years--that she really must lose weight.

If I was her, I'd be scared.

Jazz said...

Of course...I would have been scared twenty years ago after the first of four knee replacement surgeries...

Wellness Writer said...

Jazz,
Actually, I think there are very few positive bipolar blogs, a lot of downright depressing ones, but also very few "snarky" ones, which make me laugh!

And I had a good laugh (I guess at your extended family's expense) because you so captured their bad behavior. I always figure it's better to laugh at these kinds of antics than cry!

Susan

Jazz said...

Susan,
Actually, the choice is laugh or run away very fast, screaming my head off!

Wellness Writer said...

That too!

Marissa Miller said...

Eek! It's good that you can have a sense of humor in the midst of all this. I echo what's been said: I'm glad your mother is much better.

Terra Incognita said...

Oh gosh, I'm so sorry, that must have been hard!
I came over to nominate you for an award on my blog. I hope you visit and accept it!

Stephany said...

my ex mother in law loves being sick, old and tired. (this is my snarky comment saying thanks for opening the door to the discussion!)she is so into death that she keeps an "obituary book". honest to God,the ex sister in law yelled at me one day when i laughed they kept such a thing (including photos of non dead relatives so when the obit comes out all one has to do is glue it in!)--and the mother in law is worried who will "keep the death book going" once she's gone. and she's been on her death bed for 25 yrs LOL

hang in there!

Jazz said...

Marissa--
If there's one thing I've learned about myself, my most valuable sense is my sense of humor!

Jazz said...

Terra--
Why, thank you! I will be over to have a look...

Jazz said...

Stephany--
An Obituary Book!? Oh, my...that's a little macabre...I can imagine sister-in-law-wannabe getting a kick out of that...she's one of those people who is always in crisis and loves telling everyone about it.