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When In-Laws Get Terminal

My FILs health has been on the rapid decline over the past few months after he decided giving chemo a try for the multitude of cancers that have recently been discovered. A couple of years ago, a form of cancer was found and at that time he went with the hormone treatment and surgery as his overall health was not conducive to anything like chemo or radiation.

The treatments are kicking his ass, but not the cancers’. His malaise and fatigue are so bad that he’s been hospitalized for fluids building up in his chest cavity due to lack of physical activity. He’s made it to his ninth decade of life, morbidly obese and hasn’t been able to walk from one end of our home to other without being utterly winded, and this was BEFORE the cancer. His own home is a trap, narrow and cramped, preventing him from even manipulating his walker. It’s guts me to watch my husband watch his dad wither.

A few weeks ago when FIL went to the hospital for the first time with the fluid building up, he was taken by ambulance. It was a scary situation and what turned into a possible overnight stay turned into a four-night stay. One of the first things my MIL asked upon hearing he was not coming home that night was, “Well, what about me?!”

He since has gone home under very strict home instructions like elevating the legs when sitting, physical therapy, and diet restrictions. He thinks the therapy is “torture” so he doesn’t go. The diet is being maintained only because the chemo makes him sick. And the MIL complains that when he puts his feet up, it blocks her path.

She sounds selfish, doesn’t she? But he takes the cake. MIL has been on the wagon for a couple of years, but not voluntarily. It was a family-induced prohibition. FIL had set aside HIS alcohol in the basement because she was incapable of managing the stairs, but when his illness became so bad he could no longer manage the stairs, he brought the booze upstairs. Of course, he couldn’t NOT offer his wife a nightcap so he would mix her one knowing full well she’s recovering. He’s defending his actions by saying he’d only give her one. What he didn’t know is that once he fell asleep, and really he’s rarely awake, she was shooting it down, one jigger at a time. Insensitive and ignorant grandchildren were providing it in the form of either birthday or Christmas gifts, knowing grandma’s problem, because my husband had prohibited the home nursing aide from buying it for them.

I know. This isn’t cohesive and probably sounds like I’m being just the bitchy DIL, but there isn’t enough white space here to truly explain this further without providing enough details here to get myself googled and busted. I had to get it off my chest. My poor husband has to witness his parents killing each other and themselves and he feels trapped between the demands of being the respective son and a responsible human being.

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