So, yesterday I went with the MIL to a doctors appointment. She has been having upper and lower back problems with pain, numbness and tingling and after she was examined by her primary care and neurologist, she was referred to a neurosurgeon. The doctors were worried that from what they could see on xrays, her spine might be pinched and she could eventually become paralyzed without surgery. Naturally we were all worried but none more that her. She was understandably upset.
We saw the neurosurgeon, you know- the expert? He said that he didn't see any reason for the MIL to have surgery, he saw nothing to justify it. He said he saw normal wear and tear for a 60 year old. Instead of being elated that he didn't see her spine being compressed by her vertebrae, and she didn't need extensive back surgery, (probably involving disc removal and vertebral fusions requiring bone grafts... an extended recovery period involving a lengthy hospital stay and physical therapy... possibly being paralyzed from surgical complications...), she insisted on asking questions that seemed a bit defensive, which in turn caused him to be defensive. I intervened and said that she doesn't want surgery, she just was hoping to get some answers as to why she is having the problems. He seemed slightly relieved and said after looking at the scans and xrays, he couldn't say why except that she has a few slightly bulging discs, but that women her age usually end up with a few, but unless she was incapacitated by pain he couldn't see a reason to put her through all of that. By the way, I got it all on a digital voice recorder for reference later incase she couldn't remember what he had said.
Immediately on the drive home she began to blame her primary doctor again ( she was already mad at him for not doing xrays in the first place). She wasn't going to see him again, he didn't know what he was talking about sending her to a neurosurgeon, instead of trying physical therapy first... yaddi yadda yadda. It's a good thing I don't drink. I explained that her primary care doc isn't an expert in neurology/neurosurgery, or at reading those types of xrays. He did what he thought was best in her situation, which was to send her to a specialist to be on the safe side. Oh, she said... she guessed I was right.
All I can say is that I can see why her primary care (which just happens to be ours too) wouldn't do xrays at first. I got to see my MIL in all her vague and sputtering splendor. She has a bit of "yes, doctor" disease, which I understand. She comes from the time when you did what your doctor said, without question. She would vaguely explain her condition, but then seem guilty about complaining about it and say something about her pain maybe just being normal aches and pains.When the physician's assistant was examining her before the neurosurgeon, she had trouble explaining herself, and asked me to confirm her answers. I just sat there dumbfounded. She was asking me if what she was saying was right. About her condition, which we hadn't really talked that much about because she was so stressed out. I just sat there shrugging like "I don't know what you want me to say."
I just sat there thinking that she had probably acted the same way when she was examined by our doc, and he went what he had to go by, but she was blaming him and saying he originally misdiagnosed her. Later she was angry because the neurosurgeon couldn't give her answers. I explained that doctors don't always have the answers and that he is the expert and said she didn't need surgery but physical therapy could help.
Later last night, she called and asked in a "tone", "Didn't he say that everyone has bulging discs?" I let out a sigh and said that no, he had actually said that most women her age probably have a bulging disc or two.
"Well, you're just going to have to listen to the recording." This is about where I am about to reach the last inch of my rope. This is where I usually find the similarities between her and my mother staggering, and this is usually I where I thank myself for estranging myself from my own mother 3 years ago. DON'T tell me to do something, ASK, dagburn it! I said nothing. she wanted me to drop everything I was doing (which was nothing, but still) and listen to 25 minutes of recording to find one sentence.
"Well, I guess I could listen to it when I have a chance." Followed by a nervous chuckle.
I just find all of it irritating. She reminds me of my mother so much I just want to jam a fork in my ear to stop all the bad memories that her behavior triggers. The floundering in front of the doctors and then blaming them for not treating her properly. How can you be treated properly if you don't give all of the info? The expectations that someone is to blame for her condition. Someone is always to blame for her, no matter the situation. The fact that she butted in during her appointment while I was disciplining (scolding, really) MY toddler (Emma was trying to climb up on the exam table, and I was telling her for the 100th time to get off the metal step stool before she fell and hurt herself), and told me - without even looking at Emma to see if this were actually so- that "she's fine". To which I glared at her and shushed her, loudly. The telling me/us to do something for her and never asking (until we confront her, and ask her if she is asking us or telling us) because she has this overbearing sense of entitlement, always. And finally, the belief by her and her other children that just because she lives near us, that she is our responsibility. That IF something should happen to her, it's our burden, insinuating that she would live with us.
Finally, what made me most angry yesterday (and what stunned me the most) was the topic of her lesbian daughter, my SIL. Now, John and I have struggled with it from a Christian stand point for awhile, John more than me. I told him that it's between her and God, and though we don't like her lifestyle and that fact that despite repeated reminders that we don't want anything to do with that part of her life, she is always pushing boundaries and testing limits and flaunting it in our faces. in the past this would include bringing her girlfriends over even though we asked her not to, and not discussing the details of her sex life with us (or just me, but within earshot of her brother), and me saying loudly several times within seconds "I DON'T want to hear about it, Rachel!".
*** before I get flamed by a passer by, I have known a lot of gay guys and gals( I was in the Navy, ya know), and I don't have a bad thing to say about the ones I knew. They were all very nice people. I'm no bigot, and I don't hate gay people. My opinion is that the lifestyle doesn't line up with my religious beliefs... but I am a sinner just like the next person, and I do things that it says not to do in the Bible too. I can't attest to anyone's salvation but my very own. So, that's where I stand. John had a really hard time with it when his sister came out, but he has worked really hard to pray about it and not be judgmental. I think living in the SF Bay area helped, LOL! I'm not tooting my own horn, just setting the facts straight, pardon the pun.***
She is always pushing the limits, and even though we have said explicitly that we want nothing to do with all of that, we still love her. She sends a picture of her and her girlfriend and two sons, then asks where it is when she visited last summer like she expected us to put it in a frame and hang it on our wall... despite knowing and being told repeatedly how we feel.. Now, she is getting "married" in a couple of months. We weren't invited, but informed it was happening. Cool, that's fine. We wouldn't go anyway. Why bother sending us an invitation in the mail? I don't get it except that she still continues to flaunt it. We aren't judging (anymore), we just don't want to hear about it.
Anyway, yesterday, on the way home mom called Rachel on her cell phone to give the good news. Mom asks her if she wants to talk to me,I am then told how they have been going to church as a family. OK, not judging. I say that's good, again thinking to myself "who am I to say ... it's between her and God, at least someone is going to church, we haven't gone in 5 months".
They have been going to marriage counseling. *holding back a gasp* OK, that's good I say. Inside I have so many conflicted emotions that I wont go into here... I know someone will be offended. I check it, OK God, I say to myself, it's Your show- not mine. Still, despite our history of the occasional argument about how she says inappropriate things to my daughter and around her, and her life style... I check the instinct to be judgmental. She is trying really hard for once to keep a relationship going... instead of finding another girlfriend before she is done with the old one. Even though we can't stand this woman, she was very rude to John, MIL and I and very *not nice person*'y the whole time they were here this last summer (she's bipolar, but Rachel doesn't see it. How could you not see it in a person who is so hot and cold, when you are a nurse? the excuse? She had a bad childhood. Sheeyah, so did I , but I'm not rude to people like that).
Anyway, not much to say really, but I say that's good that they are going to counseling.Not judging, very neutral. I get off the phone, and after a few minutes I ask the MIL, "How long has Rachel been going to church?"
She gives me a superior sidelong glance, with a smirk tacked on the end, and the flourish of a cocky head bob..."For a while now."
Silence. I have known her now for almost 19 years , and I know her well enough to know that her unspoken words, look and body language said this:
Hah! You guys sit there pretending to be the perfect Christians, judging her (which we don't, we just get irritated by her rubbing our noses in it, despite our request to keep her private life... well, private)... And she is the one going to church with her girlfriend and her GF's 2 sons.I pretended like her condescension and her subliminal sarcasm didn't bother me. Sitting inches from her, I wanted to rip her head off verbally, but I didn't. Mostly because she reminds me so much of my mother I want to scream sometimes. I said nothing, made not sign of even noticing her efforts.
We were already planning on going to church this Sunday, though to the MIL I am sure it will now seem like One Upmanship. The hilarious part about all of this is that the MIL has judged us for not going to church, the same church we used to drag her along to because she complained about missing going to church in Texas. We kept asking her to go with us, but after awhile she was always "too busy" to go, so we stopped asking her. Yet she judged us when we stopped going, and made snide comments when we did go for a Sunday, saying things like, "I wondered when you would go back."
And again she is complaining to people that she never sees us, but fails to remember all the times we have invited her over but she was too busy. So we don't ask anymore. We started asking again, but she acts as if we are bothering her by being silent when we ask, then finally saying in irritated tones that she "guesses that she could come over", especially for babysitting... because she doesn't want to miss her shows. To which I one day said, "It's called a VCR, get over it".
And still complaining that we don't drag 4 bags of crap for our 2 kids to the car, up a flight of stairs to her tiny NOT child proofed apartment instead of her driving the 2 blocks between her apartment and our house to visit. And whining that instead of giving our kids our older electronics since we are getting a new one soon (a SLR digital camera), we should be giving it o her instead ( I don't even have a digital camera, and you're going to give your old one to them?)... or insinuating that since John has scrimped and saved 1400$ that she deserves to have John buy her one too (yeah, since we are so rich and everything).
OH, and calling us and asking us for our opinion or advice and then having the gall to sit there and argue with us about it, or calling someone us else about it and ALWAYS taking their advice over ours (sometimes from a bankruptcy client, about investing her money)! Like recently calling me and asking if I though that the eggs that have been sitting in her fridge for nearly 3 months should be thrown out... arguing that back in her day, no one ever died from eating 3 month old eggs, then calling back and saying that she called the number on the egg carton and said 2 weeks was just a guide line, blah blah blah. yeah well, I'm sure you didn't actually give them all the facts, that they have been sitting in there for 3 months. Well, mommy dearest, there have been advances in the FDA since your day, not to mention modern medicine/science, and maybe this is why your son usually gets the craps after eating over at your house.
Be proud of us for not losing it.... but I think a storm is brewing.
I sincerely hope that I get my junk together and that I am not like her to my in laws. One can hope, and pray. God help me.
Help me now and in the future because John and I are about to go postal with her, we are reaching our boiling point. AGAIN.
Thanks for letting me whine and rant, dear blog and blog buddies. I feel better now.