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Old 06-24-2007, 02:04 PM
Los Feliz Slim Los Feliz Slim is offline
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Default Help Me Be Less of an Insensitive Prick

As I've posted about previously, my wife's grandmother is dying. Very long story very short, she's now in a nursing home and is receiving hospice care. I am not a doctor, but I think she's probably going to die within four weeks. Her decline has been steady since early March. There is no chance she's going to get "better". It's just a matter of time. Now, this is sad, but it is inevitable. She is 91 1/2.

My wife has not been able to get an ounce of perspective. Nana is her mother's mother, who passed away ten years ago last Thursday. My wife is the most grounded woman I've ever met, but she's still emotional. Add in the connection to her own mother, and it's pretty crazy around here.

Nana will have a "good" day, where's she able to make conversation and be herself. Then, she'll have two "bad" days where she's either in extreme pain or very doped up on morphine. On the "good" days, my wife will get all psyched and be like "She's doing great!" On the bad days, my wife is beside herself, calling the nurses every half an hour, having me call the immediate family and tell them it might be "time" soon, etc. It's a total roller coaster.

I have a really hard time when people are being irrational. I always want to try and bring them back to rationality. This is a terrible line in this case, and makes my wife angry. I am incredibly supportive logistically and my wife knows that I care immensely, but I'm not doing a good job at all emotionally. I just don't agree with how she's dealing with this, and it's so hard to be supportive emotionally when she's just not being rational.

She actually said "Let me be in denial for the next two hours" this morning. I'm like, OK, but just leaving her alone is the only way I know how to do that, and that's not being supportive either.

I know there isn't an answer for this, but if anybody has any ideas I'm all [censored] ears.
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  #2  
Old 06-24-2007, 02:51 PM
MicroBob MicroBob is offline
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Default Re: Help Me Be Less of an Insensitive Prick

Yiikes. Not really sure what to tell you on this one but I guess I'll toss out a few ideas for consideration.

I would probably end up taking a similar angle as you have and would also end up causing a similar issue I suspect.

Maybe being as simple and obvious as possible in your rationality?
Instead of using logic that might be a bit too drawn-out for her to feel like following you can just use the very simplest of cliches like, "I think we need to be prepared for anything" or something like that.

When she gets optimistic again then just say, "That's great. Glad to hear she's having a good day."
Skip the part where you say, "....but you know she's going to have her ups and downs."
Sounds like you pretty much just have to let her live in never-never land when she starts to think her nana is going to fully recover.


My GF is a nurse at a hospital and usually it's not the patients that give her problems, it's the overzealous patients' relatives (she had a particularly overbearing one to deal with yesterday).

Calling every half-hour like your wife is seems pretty over-the-top and inappropriate so I don't blame you at all for trying to bring her back down to earth somewhat (albeit unsuccessfully apparently).

I can almost promise that the nurses who are trying to do their best to care for ALL of their patients and also remain professional on the phone with your wife are getting a bit annoyed.


I don't have much experience at all with the death of anyone close to me.
But I think that some people actually have a tougher time dealing with it during your current phase.
When it's finally over and there is finality and the roller-coaster is over your wife might freak-out somewhat but I suspect it won't be long at all before she finally finds some calm.
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Old 06-24-2007, 03:32 PM
almostbusto almostbusto is offline
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Default Re: Help Me Be Less of an Insensitive Prick

i come from a very big, very family-oriented family and when my 96 year old great grandmother dies, i don't think anyone is going to be really upset. I think the funeral is going to just act as a mini family reunion. Everyone loves my great grandmother, in fact she is a centerpiece of any major family gathering on my paternal side, but she is 96 and when she goes, its her time. getting upset over her death? I really just don't get it. I guess some people like your wife think about issues like that emotionally rather than logically. In that case, there isn't much you can do other than let the grieving grieve. So my advice to you, is to not argue with her and avoid confrontation. Let her do her thing for awhile, eventually she'll gain a more realistic perspective.

Maybe because my family doesn't have a history for longevity is why i don't think my family will be phased when someone who has beaten the odds finally passes away.(high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease are very prevalent in my family)

or it could be because my family is very deeply religious. everyone goes to a better place, so nothing to get upset over.
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Old 06-24-2007, 03:36 PM
turnipmonster turnipmonster is offline
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Default Re: Help Me Be Less of an Insensitive Prick

try listening more and talking less.
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  #5  
Old 06-24-2007, 04:31 PM
SlowHabit SlowHabit is offline
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Default Re: Help Me Be Less of an Insensitive Prick

[ QUOTE ]
try listening more and talking less.

[/ QUOTE ]
This. And let your wife do whatever she wants. Just hang in there. It's only four weeks.
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  #6  
Old 06-24-2007, 05:41 PM
Anacardo Anacardo is offline
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Default Re: Help Me Be Less of an Insensitive Prick

Dude, a world in which you of all people are an 'insensitive prick' is a world where the bar for sensitivity is set pretty [censored] high.

First thing you oughta to is take it a little easier on yourself, maybe. After that, I really don't know what to tell you, except that imo it's probably better to err on the side of unconditional squeeze-and-nuzzle style support, with less trying to reason. I blindly concur with the majority!

My unlimited condolences to y'all in your time of family crisis [img]/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]
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  #7  
Old 06-24-2007, 06:28 PM
El Diablo El Diablo is offline
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Default Re: Help Me Be Less of an Insensitive Prick

LFS,

Deal with irrationality for four weeks. Highly emotional situations, especially involving loved ones, often are very counter to rational analysis.

Sometimes that matters to a degree, like when people make very bad financial decisions based on this type of irrational reaction that will have long-lasting negative consequences. In that case, it makes perfect sense "to try and bring them back to rationality."

In this case, though, it doesn't sound like anything like that is going on. It's just that you see your wife not really processing the information in a rational way and you want to make her understand what you see as very obvious facts regarding the situation. But what she's doing may definitely be part of her coping mechanism in this troubling time for her. Trying to make her think of things in a different way is unlikely to help the situation much, and could definitely hurt it. So, stop trying to change the way she reacts emotionally. For the next few weeks, just listen and agree w/ her and follow her lead. If something is getting out of control, take action. But otherwise, just listen and agree and do what she wants you to do.
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  #8  
Old 06-24-2007, 07:21 PM
7ontheline 7ontheline is offline
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Default Re: Help Me Be Less of an Insensitive Prick

Are everyone's relatives dying in this forum? (in reference to poor olliejen) Anyway, if there is only one irrational behavior you can get her to give up, I would recommend somehow getting her to stop calling the hospital every half-hour. The nurses will really appreciate if you can make this happen, because Microbob is correct in saying that this is truly annoying behaviour. It will not help her grandmother at all. I'm sure she will still receive adequate care, but human nature is what it is.

In any case, sorry to hear of your (and your wife's) difficulty. Please don't interpret my post as being unsympathetic - I'm only pointing out what could potentially help the situation around her grief, not her individual pain.
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  #9  
Old 06-25-2007, 02:55 AM
Big Poppa Smurf Big Poppa Smurf is offline
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Default Re: Help Me Be Less of an Insensitive Prick

A woman in that state is not getting reasoned with, I'd flat out just ask her what you can do to make things easier for her and then bite the bullet and do it for a month.
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  #10  
Old 06-25-2007, 04:35 AM
IggyWH IggyWH is offline
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Default Re: Help Me Be Less of an Insensitive Prick

I hate how people mourn a life lost, instead of celebrating a life lived. When I go out, I want it to be like Biggie. Rolling down the street in my hearse with music blasting and people celebrating in the streets.

Sorry about things LFS, but I doubt there's really anything that can be done to change the status quo. People act irrational about loved ones and death that there's nothing you can do except try and support.
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