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Too harsh or 'give them an inch, they'll take a mile'?

Dear Prudence,
My husband’s sister Susan was recently diagnosed with early-stage cervical cancer. Her care plan calls for six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. There is a facility less than 30 minutes from her home where she can get this treatment. Another one, slightly better, is 15 minutes from my home. Susan lives three hours away and has asked if she can stay at our house for her six-week treatment, with me providing transportation to her appointments. She and her husband are in dire financial straits. Neither is working; the husband is on an endless money-for-nothing quest. Susan is one of the kindest people on earth. However, lodging, caring for, and transporting Susan for six weeks would destroy my family's tightly-structured budget. My husband and I have two school-aged children, and I worry how this would affect them. I’m a stay-at-home mom, but my days are filled with typical mom-errands. Am I being horrid and selfish if I encourage her to seek treatment at the facility closer to her home?

—I Guess It's All About Me

Re: Too harsh or 'give them an inch, they'll take a mile'?

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    I really don't know what I'd do in this situation.  

    Actually, I do, but I feel horrible about it.  I'd say no.  B/c this woman is going to end up being a nurse, unless Susan's husband is staying too and that's just too much for me.
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    Ugh.  This is a tough one.  Unless she feels comfortable laying down some serious ground rules (Susan goes home on weekends, Susan buys gas and her own food, Susan's husband does not come to stay) then I think she needs to say no.

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    Actually, the more I think about it - - this is what family does for eachother.  My brother and SIL would do this for me in a second.   She should certainly lay out the rules and say "yes".
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    there has to be compromise between doing nothing and providing full-service care for 6 weeks. i'd probably be okay with letting them stay, but i would not be able to provide transportation all the time.

    in the end, if the roles were reversed, i would hope someone would help me get the best treatment possible if i needed the help (if this were me).


    how would it affect the kids? it would show them that being kind to opther people is what human beings sometimes do when someone we love needs help.

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    GBCKGBCK member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    edited November 2012
    I can't imagine saying no; like AF, this falls into 'this is what my family does for each other"
    I mean, I can imagine saying no, but, unless they were toxic, I really can't imagine it.

    That being said, I think the letter-writer is grasping at straws.
    How does 1 sick person and some hospital drives destroy a budget unless it's ALREADY super tight?  (and there's no suggestion of saying "mary, I ahte to say it, but it'll cost us $200 a month we don't have.  Can we find a way to work on that?"  Could Mary really not come up w/ that either?)

    And the 'how does it affect the kids' always seems like a red herring to me.  Their aunt dies and family scuttlebutt is that your family refused to help even make her comfortable...how does that affect the kids less?
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    There is no way I could say no.  I would try and make some rules though and tell them the truth that finances couldn't cover the additional gas and grocery bills this would cause and that they would have to contribute.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_wedding-woes_too-harsh-or-give-them-an-inch-theyll-take-a-mile?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:47Discussion:b809e8a8-fb7c-4b5e-902e-71b149251658Post:528994ae-a767-4f26-9053-cbcd15ae0722">Re: Too harsh or 'give them an inch, they'll take a mile'?</a>:
    [QUOTE]There is no way I could say no.  I would try and make some rules though and tell them the truth that finances couldn't cover the additional gas and grocery bills this would cause and that they would have to contribute.
    Posted by pegasuskat[/QUOTE]

    This.  I'd do what I could to help, but limits would be set.
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    depending on the family dynamic, i'd lean towards "no". 

    conn, you need to think about your family, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. and how this change will impact them. 

    do you have a spare room/rooms? will susan *and* her husband be staying with you? will they have nurses coming to your house? will you be required to play a role in her care? will Susan be paying her own way, and if not, what is the financial impact on your family? what is the time commitment for you and your family? will you need to be "on call" to drive Susan around, etc. 

    my grandfather lived with us for 3 weeks after suffering from a stroke. i was in middle/high school at the time. it was the most miserable 3 weeks for my entire family. We ended up having my aunt and uncle take grandpap because the family just couldn't manage it  anymore. 
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    This would depend for me on how much care Susan actually needs. Chemo can be harsh, but is she the kind of person who gets a cold and needs someone to wait on her hand and foot? That would be a no.

    If she's pretty hardy and would help during the times when she's not feeling poorly, I'd let her come and drive her. How many errands does she have during the day that she can't drive someone to chemo?
    image
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    If there wasn't a firm end date, I'd b very 'hell no'.  So I'd make sure there was a 'get suzan home again' plan in place.  plus a 'she dosn't want to leave' backup plan.
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    barbie makes a valid point. if the OP says yes, there has to be boundaries. even if this is what people just do for each other (and i still lean towards yes), it can wear on the people already in the home.

    good luck, conn. between this and your HIV-positive friend, you have a lot of thinking to do.
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    I have family members I would do this for, b/c I know I can trust them to be fair to me as well.

    I have family members that I know that even if I laid out all these rules, I'd still be taken advantage of.

    There are just too many changing variables when it comes to something like this.  Is this daily chemo?  Weekly chemo?  What appointments in between b/c there are drs checks in between chemos a lot.  Also, this woman is going to be SICK.  Who is taking care of her?  I'd be a daily caregiver to my husband like that and my parents, but probably not anyone else, SAHM mom or not.  There might be ER trips if she gets too sick.  If your budget is tightly structured, an additional gas tank(s) can be an issue (for us it's another $60-$70 bucks depending), not to mention food.

    The minimum would be $ and that's just reality for me.  All of the rest of this stuff would have to be answered too.
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    For my family I would do it in a heartbeat.  I can't imagine not giving my bro/sis/sil (even the stupid one) the best chance at a full recovery.  Sure there would be boundaries and there would be stress, but I'd do it.  I also know that there would be other people that would be willing to help me help her for 6 wks. 

    I would hope it would show my children that some things, like life and family, is more important than a budget. 

    6 WEEKS not 6 YEARS.  Certainly something could be worked out.  I would venture that the hospital/county has some sort of program to help with travel.  It's 15 mins.  I bet the writer pisses away 15 mins in the Starbucks line.

    I understand why others would not. 
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_wedding-woes_too-harsh-or-give-them-an-inch-theyll-take-a-mile?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:47Discussion:b809e8a8-fb7c-4b5e-902e-71b149251658Post:37fd0ccd-b9d7-41cf-a37e-a0641734f56a">Re: Too harsh or 'give them an inch, they'll take a mile'?</a>:
    [QUOTE]For my family I would do it in a heartbeat.  I can't imagine not giving my bro/sis/sil (even the stupid one) the best chance at a full recovery.  Sure there would be boundaries and there would be stress, but I'd do it.  I also know that there would be other people that would be willing to help me help her for 6 wks.  I would hope it would show my children that some things, like life and family, is more important than a budget.  6 WEEKS not 6 YEARS.  Certainly something could be worked out.  I would venture that the hospital/county has some sort of program to help with travel.  It's 15 mins.  I bet the writer pisses away 15 mins in the Starbucks line. I understand why others would not. 
    Posted by 6fsn[/QUOTE]

    I agree with all of this, 6.
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    I didn't say it very well.  That post was randomly strewn together thoughts.  I do understand that not everyone deserves this just because they are family.  I love my family (even the annoying ones) and they aren't jerks in general.  I'm sure there are people that would pull out all of the stops for friends that they consider to be more family than their bloodline.
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    The "typical SAHM errands" thing pisses me off to no end. And I spend no small part of my days doing such errands. Be more efficient with your target trips.

    Ditto for the kids thing. Depends on how old they are and how displaced they would be, but geez. 

    The money thing I can get behind, but part of me just wants to scream at the SAHM to get a damn job if money is so tight. I know it's not always that easy, but it doesn't sound like she is interested in that avenue at all. 

    Finally, it doesn't sound like her treatment plan would change depending on the hospital, so I don't really see the benefit in getting a "better" hospital. I feel like something else is going on here.

    IDK what I'd do. I'd probably say yes and resent her the whole time, even though I should know better.

    image
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    I wonder if the family is looking into other places, ala Ronald McDonald house and other similar stay houses. IDK, seeing a typical cancer regimen...that is a tremendous commitment of time and resources and care taking energy for the patient, and their caretaker/ride.
    imageAlternaTickers - Cool, free Web tickers
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    DG, I was wondering about that too.  If it's just the chemo treatment, why is this one better?  B/c if it was some sort of special chemo she couldn't get at the other one, that had a better survival rate, I'd probably suck it up and do it, NMW.  But "slightly" better?  I'd like to know what that means.
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    tawillerstawillers member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    edited November 2012

    I keep typing things out and deleting them because it comes across as really unfair and it's not at all what I mean.

    I can see it from both sides.  Personally, I'd probably do it, though I can see why others wouldn't.  I'd hope that my two school-aged children (according to the OP) would understand why I wanted to help and learn that these next 6 weeks, no matter how much it's going to suck, could potentially save a person's life.

    ETA:  As far as finances - if we couldn't afford to have another person stay with us for 6 weeks, we'd definitely be upfront about it.

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    If I had the choice of The James at OSU or pretty much anywhere else in the state I'd be at OSU.  I get that aspect. 

    Isn't Ronald McDonald just for kids?

    I do a lot of running, but I could drop it or consolidate it for 6 wks.  I also know that I can call on others to help me run the stupid things.  My husband being a big one.
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    What answer did she give her?
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_wedding-woes_too-harsh-or-give-them-an-inch-theyll-take-a-mile?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:47Discussion:b809e8a8-fb7c-4b5e-902e-71b149251658Post:fd1edd97-b2a2-43ac-97ce-0dae687f1ab4">Re: Too harsh or 'give them an inch, they'll take a mile'?</a>:
    [QUOTE]What answer did she give her?
    Posted by pegasuskat[/QUOTE]

    Dear Guess,
    It certainly sounds as if Susan’s realizing her life’s helpmeet is no help and not meeting her needs. But unless her husband is an irredeemable bum, now is the time for her to insist he put aside his get-poor-quick schemes and step up and attend to her during her illness. After all, an out-of-work husband is in an ideal situation to take her to treatments and bring her chicken soup. You don't say whether Susan's primary motivation is superior treatment or moral support, but since you say the facility near you is only slightly better, and she is not having, say, delicate brain surgery, I assume her request is less medical than personal. If you were to have Susan stay with you, it would be a generous thing to do, and I can’t imagine that one extra mouth to feed and trips to the hospital would destroy your family’s budget. But Susan’s request for six weeks of nursing is a serious imposition, and you’re not horrid for not wanting to shoulder it. It’s time for Susan’s extended family to come together to see how they can support her. Maybe everyone can chip in and give this pair money to pay for gas and some meal deliveries. Possibly you, your husband, and other family members could take turns spending a weekend each with Susan to help with her care and lift her spirits. No matter where she has her treatments, she can find services for getting her there and back and other kinds of support at the <a href="http://www.cancer.org/treatment/supportprogramsservices/index" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">American Cancer Society</a>. And you should feel fine about trying to find that sweet spot between selfish and saintly.
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    I'd do it.  I can see that it's within someone's rights to say no, but I'd give that person the emu eye for sure.
    image
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    I think you should do it. This is a serious illness and they seem like they really need help. If i was in their shoes i would hope someone would help me. i agree with the others though in that you should set some ground rules and have them help with the costs of gas and food, also have a FIRM date that they go home.I know this is a huge inconvienace, but this is family. I have dealt with simular situations and no, its not a picnic. but its what families do for one another. 
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