Thursday, July 29, 2004

Wading Through it All Again

I'm crashing toward one of those "low points" again.  Had a big old fight with one of my sisters this evening.  I was basically told that I was looking at every situation as if it was "about me" and that I needed to "get past my anger" and move on. 

The fight was about my mother's care.  My two oldest sisters have completely taken over this task.  It wasn't that I abandoned my responsibility here.   I was very roughly shouldered aside.  Eventually, I chose to bow out; in fact, I moved two hours away, because I could see that this was the only way that our family was going to achieve even a semblance of peace, after my dad passed away.  Now, when my sisters vent about how much time and effort they have to put into caring for my mom... I'm sorry, but I don't have even a molecule of sympathy for them.  They brought it on themselves.

Unfortunately, Mom suffers from many chronic illnesses, along with several "surprise" problems that most old people I have heard of don't even get.  When my dad was ill, she suffered for months with osteo-myelitis (a very serious staph infection of the bone) before she was finally accurately diagnosed and treated.  Over the past month or so, she has been exhibiting many of the same symptoms that she was back then.  When I pointed this out, and suggested to my sisters that they needed to rock the boat a bit to get her doctor to get on the stick and figure out what is going on, they pooh-poohed me and insisted that she has a great doctor who is doing a fine job. 

A few days later, I get an email telling me that Mom's doctor has finally agreed that there is something going on with her, and that they are going to start running further tests to see if the osteo-myelitis has re-occurred.  Well, duh! 

So  I fired off an email to my oldest sister,  saying that I was happy that the possibility of something serious was being investigated, but that I wished they could have at least acted like they were giving my idea serious consideration.  Instead of sitting on it for several days and then claiming it as their own....   I tried to explain to my sister at dinner that their attitudes towards me are largely dictated by our birth order.  I am the LITTLE sister, so, even though I am middle aged, for God's sake, I can't get credibility in my own family. 

So, yes...the important thing is that Mom's doctor has set in motion a course of treatment that should make her much better within a month's time.  I should be happy, and so I am...about that.  But it makes me just nuts that my sisters can't listen to me when I try to point them toward a better standard of care for Mom.  They act for all the world as if it's none of my business.

Sometimes, I wish I could just FIRE my sisters and hire someone to take their places. Someone who might actually cut me a break and listen to me.  Wouldn't that be novel ?


  1. I'm the oldest and much further from mom than both of my sisters.  We don't fight, but I understand your frustration.  I make suggestions regarding the problems we have with mom...and they listen and often agree.  Then nothing happens.  Right now there's nothing really serious going on....but who know what's down the road.  What I really hate are excuses for doing nothing.  I'm sorry that your sisters dis you because you are the youngest.  At this stage in life, certainly birth order should have nothing to do with it.  In hearing the side of the youngest will make me pay attention to the level of respect I give my sisters.  You (and my sisters) deserve to be treated as nothing less than equal.

  2. Birth order seems to rule our lives for years. You'll probably find more peace if you just accept their need or innate desire to be the know-it-alls that come with being the older siblings then to continue to allow it to wreck havoc on your emotions. I feel fortunate because my oldest brother and I are very close and over the years it has become a relationship of comraderie where he respects and admires me just as much as I do him. But, I am always his little sister and I'm kind of glad for that. It's nice to know he wants to watch out for me even if I don't necessarily need it. :-) ---Robbie

  3. I could be your sister.  But I hardly ever listen to anything but my big mouth, either.  Maybe we could just gripe about our loved ones together.
    I'm for that.
    Well, today I am.  

  4. You have all my sympathy regarding the care of your mother.  It is extrememly difficult being the "one who isn't there"; physical immediacy carries it's own weight when it comes to dealing with doctors and making decisions, I'm afraid.  I'm experiencing very similar issues.  There's little we can do about it except to express our concerns, remain involved and compassionate, and above all, never let them know how truly pissed off we are.

    Not an unappealing idea, firing one's family.  Who would be your sisters?  I'm thinking Ted Turner for my brother ~ he's rich and liberal, and I'd never have to worry about Mom again.  Or me!   :)

  5. greyhoundloner03July 30, 2004 at 9:12 AM

    own....   I tried to explain to my sister at dinner that their attitudes towards me are largely dictated by our birth order.  

    I'm the "baby" too. My siblings are 2 years apart, and then I came on the scene 10 years later. You can imagine how that is going. LOL
    I've finally gotten a little farther down the path with this issue, and thank God~I finally asked myself: "If they weren't your siblings, would you choose them as friends?" Not really. So, I love them and pray for their sorry asses (lol), and that's it.
    Just wanted to let you know you werenn't alne out there with this issue.
    Take Care,


  6. greyhoundloner03July 30, 2004 at 9:13 AM

    sorry for the type-O's...rough AM.

  7. I really thing this is a girl thing, Lisa.  My brothers live in the same area as I do, and half the time they don't check on my mom unless they need something from her.  When she broke her foot, I did 100% of her care, they never offered anything and hardly checked on her.  
    Atleast you are staying in contact and by offering your insights and opinions shows you really care despite the rough shoulder treatment.  Good for you, and you know the reason for their hateful words was that they don't want to admit that despite your distance, you had your finger right on the pulse of the situation, and was able to correctly identify the problem.  Shame on them for making your mom a point of a power struggle.  

    I hope your mom is feeling better really soon and you keep putting your 2 cents in, that will sure get your sisters' goats!!!!   Kristi

  8. What a great discovery!  This is a beautifully-written journal!

  9. My sister and I are also butting heads over this very issue...she wanted me to have my mentally ill mother move in with me. Mom's lived here before and it didn't work--and I have three kids to worry about, not to mention a marriage that would end. Sibling relationships are tough, but it is fun to imagine who I would CHOOSE as a sister.  Jane Goodall?  Actually, most of my girlfriends would do just fine...

  10. I'd gladly be your sister seeings how I never had one of my own.



  11. Ah...the dreaded little sister treatment...I hope the "sisters" get with the program and let you have some input, or at the very least, take your suggestions to heart without claiming them as their own.  Families!