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I'm 47 and was remarried last year to a great guy. He's not the problem (at least not totally), it's more his allegiance to his mother and brother.

His brother (age 56) has some serious health issues, but a lot in part to his own doing. Brother in law is diabetic, but because he had lost his job (his own fault) he didn't go to the doctor until it was too late and through months of hospital visits, trial surgeries, etc, he eventually lost his whole foot due to diabetic complications. With no insurance, my husband paid for his prosthesis since it was needed to make him functional again. Still have no idea how brother in law will pay for the nearly half million dollars in medical bills. The problem is he is NOT functional in the least. He spends ALL day watching TV and organizing his DVD and comic book collections (he makes the guys on Big Bang Theory look cool) instead of either trying to get on medicaid or trying to get a job. He really doesn't want to get a job and husband defends him saying he is missing a foot. Yeah? Well I have people at my work that are missing limbs and you see people out running marathons that way too. He has no medical restrictions other than what he puts on himself. He lives on unemployment with my mother in law now and just lets everyone cater to him.

Jump to this last week and brother in law has an episode while out at the gas station where attendants call 911 as he was short of breath and they take him to the hospital again where he has now congestive heart failure. He needs more tests and I get that. The problem is that he wants everything just his way, and husband and his mother do it. The guy wouldn't eat a vegetable if his life depended on it (and it does) nor fruit. He eats chips, candy, fried foods, and starch...period. And his current health is a surprise why?? He's already lost a limb because of his habits and no one corrects him or even tries.

It would be easy to ignore this to some extent, but they really pull at my husband to help with everything. Husband lost a job last year after 25 years due to downsizing and just started a new job one week ago today and is already taking off today, tomorrow and the next to shuttle his mother around. (She lives on the opposide side of the state as we do) and I'm afraid he might lose this new job due to his brother's lack of respect for anyone's time or duties. After his brother was ambulanced to a hospital about an hour from my house last night, they called to see if I would take him his favorite soda because he "wanted it" when they were going to be there at 7 am this morning anyway!! (mind you I am in the middle of moving homes THIS week and have prepping for that ALONE, have a full time job, 2 kids, etc) And when I told my husband that he needed to get back to his new job tomorrow, he was more concerned about his mother having to sit alone with his brother. My daughter just had an emergency appendectomy last month and I didn't make him come there....I can handle it. Grow up everyone, is my theory.

Brother in law could be there for weeks. And my husband says he has to do what his mother needs him to do. Am I being too harsh??
 

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Hi. Im 47 too.

First of all, we have a similar situation in some ways - so I hear what you are saying. The differences I see are 1) your brother-in-law sounds like a selfish, entitled, doofus and 2) his problems center in no small part around his health.

For us.. I have a couple of brothers that both have had some heavy financial problems. Long story short.. we have helped both of them out quite a bit over the past 10-15 years.. and I dont mean a few hundred bucks here and there - I bet its been closer to 35 grand all together... and that isnt chump change - nor are we by any means, able to easily afford it.

Hang with me here.

When it came to actually helping out - I talked with my wife about it. I dont really think I asked her permission to be honest - it really was something I felt I/we had to do so was just talking out loud. She said OK and really was fully, jaw-droppingly, supportive. She was/has been so good about this it makes me want to weep, frankly. I am keenly, painfully aware that if it was someone in her family, I am not so sure I would have been as accepting and supportive. So, she has humbled me and I feel no smll amount of guilt over all of it. I think - reflecting back on it, that it was a snap judgement on her part - she is very perceptive and empathic - and could probably see that it was important to me and that chose to just go with it.

However - I have also told her that 'Our family comed first'. Period. I hope that this is obvious, but it needs to be said.

Dont get bitter - "my daughter had an appendectomy and I didnt make him come there...I can handle it." Of course you can handle it, and I agree - he should grow up. Dont hold your breath however.

Are you being too harsh? My only response to that is - do the best you can, and don't fully discount the stress your husband feels as he watches his brother die, and his mother is reacting as most mothers will - leaning on him as well. Make no mistake - the fact that his brother doesnt take care of himself and is selfish will make no difference, no difference whatsoever in the end, there will still be loss and grief. Do you have any siblings and could you imagine it?

I think your feelings are spot on. You are rightfully annoyed and critical. Dont get angry or resentful, and try most of all to be patient and helpful. Its a crappy situation no doubt - but I believe you actually may feel 10 years from now if you look back and see that you, for whatever reason.... brought this goofball his soda... not because he wanted it - but because I bet your husband would have done the same thing. If you can tolerate it - this really is your chance to shine in the 'support' department. Its not easy. 'Moving' and having a couple kids crawling all over you and a fulltime job is...uhm... a pretty good excuse for not playing 'delivery gal' at a moments notice. Like you have nothing better to do right?

Talk with your husband. I would open the conversation by expressing your understanding of the stress he may be feeling from mother/brother and his new job. Let him know you are trying to be supportive. You can also express your fear that the pressure and demands his mother/brother may be detrimental to his new job....already. Its worth saying - even if he feels he has no choice. It may be too early to 'put your foot down'... nobody wants to be in the position of having to choose, or of forcing that choice on someone... gads. I think the more you talk about it - the better the chances that both of you will have fewer surprises at the next crisis point. Your needs, and your families needs should come first - but that does not mean that he cannot drop everything in a moments notice when something critical happens. Hopefully the 'crisis of the moment' doesnt turn into one long chain of events that drags on for years and years.

You have been married to him for just a year, so I assume you do not have 25 years of emotional currency with your husband to draw from. Sounds like you are doing well however - good job!

I am already babbling aimlessly, so I'll just shutup now...
 

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Thank you so much, anotherguy!

I had played the single mom role for so many years that I had forgotten what an extended family is all about. I was used to being mom AND dad, handling everything myself, and being in charge of my whole home and doing it my way. I like what you said about this being my time to shine in the being supportive department. You are so right. I will work harder to show that, even if it may not be what I am feeling right now. It's important to him, and I empathize with his emotions, but still struggle seeing his stance on catering to the every whim of a 55 year old who has never really grown up. I just don't get the whole world coming to a halt for every little thing. The big things are understandable, but not the whims. As self-absorbed as teenagers are, even mine wouldn't dream of asking someone to drive an hour to bring them a soda.

On one hand, I see that brother in law is unlikely to change, may not have a whole lot of time left, and should be able to enjoy some things while he's still here. On the other hand, I don't get his disregard for everyone else's life, career, time, money, etc to come to his aid. I've had two brothers in the hospital recently myself, one with a collapsed lung, and another with a terribly large brain tumor. My family handles these things so much differently however. We tackle it, we are supportive, we LISTEN to the doctors, modify whatever lifestyle needs to be done, and respect one another's lives to their own families while not imposing additional stresses. Love is NOT giving a person everything they WANT, but more giving them what they NEED, which is at times, a bit difficult. Ask anyone with kids, huh?

The financials are a fine line. It's just money, but like you, we provide not just a few hundred dollars here and there. It's thousands and will continue to be so. Since yesterday's post, we have learned that BIL's heart cath says he needs to have a triple bypass, but docs are concerned of his stability to make it through the surgery. Again, no insurance, no Medicaid. And will need home health care.....again at our expense. Hospitals will provide service without insurance, home nurses will not. I'm willing to help, but my feeling is that the guy needs to do the same. If we're shelling out all the $ to rehabilitate him, he's repaying us with more and more bills to support his old habits.

Thanks for letting me vent, and again for responding to my post to let me know I'm not alone. I wish you and your situation the best. I strive to be as supportive as your wife has been to you.
 

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hey - dont totally feell like your feelings dont matter either...

There are lots of shades of gray between being supportive and allowing someone like your B-in-law to take advantage. It may help to think of some of it as supporting your hubby rather than his knucklehead broher - but you also do need to be mindful that you and you husband cannot allow that situation to sink your own ship.

Consider it a success so far that you both have been able to help as much as you have. Do what you can, and hopefully you will never get to the point of having to 'draw the line'. It may come - but at least you will be able to say, with all honesty... that you gave it your best shot.

I remember when I was little... what... 10 or so? I had an alcoholic uncle that used to come over to the house when he needed a place to sleep. Probably to get money. I remember my parents fighting about it a little I think. Im not sure what happened, but suddenly he never came around anymore - and my suspicion is that my parents had to draw the line. A few years later, my uncle was dead and it was the only time I ever saw my dad cry... and I dont man a little.. I mean bawling like a baby. Very scary for me. I never talked to him about it, but I bet he felt quite a bit of guilt about it. Hopefully he came to realize some just cant be saved and all you can do is your best.
 

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I'm afraid I failed my first assignment to be more supportive. I know my husband is trying to do right for everyone and is torn, but I had a melt down last night (again) when this situation went from bad to worse....as it keeps doing each day it seems. Our moving has me pretty high strung too so the timing has heightened my sensitivities I think as well. Found out our closing that was supposed to be today was postponed due to our buyers lender, to next week....."sometime" is about all they could nail it down to now. Mixed blessings on the delay as this week is pretty hectic with my BIL, etc. But calling moving companies, utilities, scheduling work, mail, invisible fence people, etc to move dates AGAIN (this has been a LONG process)Anyway, I'm derailing here....

The good news was that BIL's kidneys were recovering well from the dye from the heart cath and that meant they were going to do bypass surgery likely this week, but the bad news was that he has now tested positive for MRSA. If you don't know anything about MRSA, it's BAD. A staph infection that's resistant to nearly everything. It's something that nearly killed my dad 10 years ago, I got it from him several months later (it can live on surfaces for a LONG time), spent a lot of time in isolation, thousands in battling it, and try to stay far, far away. So BIL still wants his mommy there with him, even though she's in poor health, has to suit up to go in his room, detox when she leaves, etc. I broke down and said my husband shouldn't go....and really, his mom shouldn't either. For her own health, and also the fact that if SHE gets sick, my husband then is the only one to take care of her, and then he risks bringing it back to me and my kids. I've been there with this so I know. I sent my kids off to my parents and it killed me to not see them, but would have killed me more if I had gotten them sick. BIL doesn't seem to think this way....and he's 55 friggin years old. Then husband starts talking about his brother wanting to come visit in the new house when he gets out of the hospital and I said NOT with that bacteria!! My dad gave us a good chunk of change and will be living with us part time (shared with my 3 brothers families too) as he's getting up there in age, but still in amazingly good health (doctors call him a miracle with the way that he fought back from the brink of death with MRSA) So then I said....Okay, my Dad is helping us GENEROUSLY with getting this new, bigger house, and we repay him by having your brother come over with the same infection that nearly killed my dad...again, just because his brother WANTS to come to our new house and see it, and stay for a little while. I just want off this roller coaster. I'm trying to see both sides, but I'm failing. I've been really sick before, so has my dad.....and as much as we both hated it, we stayed in isolation, sucked it up, and put others interests before our own. I don't get this....wondering what today will bring....almost scared to find out.
 

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yikes.

as if the stress of moving wasnt bad enough... seems like some sort of endurance test when you pile everything else on, doesnt it?

I think your intuition about avoiding contact with a MRSA patient is wise. I know a little about it. What is the problem here? Its dagerous right now.. he can deal without visitors and handholding for a few days. I mean cripes you have a family and kids.. I bet the doctors would even tell you its a good idea to step back for a little bit... I mean really?

Im not sure how I would deal with it. I mean, once he is released - he should be OK... but you having seen it before are justifiably nervous. I suppose you can use that as an excuse.. just be honest. "Hey, MRSA almost killed my dad... I am worried sick about it and nervous about you staying here so soon. Can we do it next month? I may be overcautious on it, but I worry about the kids."

this is assuming your BIL is concientious and actually cares about other people I suppose. Again - talk it through with hubby and see how he might handle it?
 
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