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Why Do "They" Pick The Bad Days To Visit?

lovingwifedeb's picture
Posts: 184
Joined: Aug 2010

I will try to make this short... (hard to do, I know).

Family visits is the subject I am speaking of.

Bob had his first "BAD WEEKEND" last weekend and I am not sure how to handle the family. We are a step family so that makes me the enemy sometimes. I won't go into all the details because it would take pages to explain here. Just know that my biggest support went down for the count for 3 days with head pain and slept for most of those days. Scared me to death. He has a sister that wanted to visit him, a daughter that wanted to come and another daughter who is disabled and lives right now with her mother and wanted to drop her off for a couple of hours so she could visit with her dad (conveniently so the mother and her boyfriend could do something else I later found out). The disabled daughter used to live with us until one year ago and Bob has raised her.

NOW... I did explain to everyone that their dad was "sick" this weekend. That he was getting up, taking pain medication and going back to bed. (Mind you he's been at this for 6 months not... surgeries, brain mets, etc.) The sister just wants to know when is the "best" time to come over, see? In the last 12 years that Bob and I have been together I can count on one hand the times she has been to our house. When the mother of the disabled daughter called to see if she could drop the daughter off, I was crying in the bathroom... I guess everyone was getting "pissy" at me by the end of the day for placing boundaries up on the visiting issue. "Well... could they just could they just come and sit quietly?... the sister asked, when this happens again to Bob?

Am I missing something here? Bob is not on his death bed yet... he was having a REALLY bad weekend and evidently so was I and no one noticed.

I tried to enlist the help of the sister but it backfired... she tried to "gorilla" me, by this I mean take control. She wanted to know exactly when this and how that, she couldn't see that there would be days that no one could visit.

Am I wrong here?

I can't be the only one that needs privacy at times?
Yes you need help, there will be days when I can't do it alone but geeezzz.... give me a break....

Any ideas?

lovingwife, to Bob stage 4 melanoma

Posts: 51
Joined: Apr 2011

Unless other people are going through what we are going through, they do not or not willing to understand. People are very selfish and unreasonable but at the end you are the caregiver 24/7, you are the one who is going to suffer if your husband, after the visits, get sicker or had to taken to the hospital,. You are the one who is going to stay all night taking care of him. The "family" will give you some excuse of not being able to help you. Therefore you MUST put the boundaries on visits. And especially on the bad days. Good luck be tough. Hopefully they would understand if not, you should not feel guilty. It's your loved one that you are protecting.

luz del lago's picture
luz del lago
Posts: 452
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Deb,

First, I am sorry to hear that Bob is having a rough time of it. I know this must be hard on you, even scary.

Have you continued to work, or have you been staying home? The reason I ask, if you are working away from home, perhaps these family members could come and spend time, and assist Bob while you are away. And if you are still working, they need to know that the weekends are your time to rest and spend time with Bob.

I was very blessed with my side of family during Dennis' illness. They would at times drop by, with food and little treats for both of us, give us a hug and a kiss, say a prayer and then leave. Always telling us that should we need or want anything, just say the word!

Since Dennis' family lives in Chicago, they came to "visit" about three times before he passed. It exhausted me as I had to cook, clean, entertain, all while still caring for my beloved! I welcomed their time to visit with him, but never a little help with anything while they were here! I think some folks don't understand that a visit is a visit, if the person that is ill is feeling alright, well enough to sit and talk a bit. But if they are not, it should be called, a time to offer help, or an opportunity for the caregiver to rest or run an errand.

These times are difficult for all. Please take care of yourself. I know that my frustrations and anxieties affected Dennis. I think it made him feel bad since it was his illness that brought about these situations. And if he wasn't doing well, he felt there was nothing he could do to make it better.

Perhaps if Bob feels better in the next day or so, you both can discuss what to do about this situation. What does he wish to do? Does he mind that they come when he is feeling bad? Maybe a routine "visit day" can be established, and the family can be told about it by both of you.

Does his disabled daughter require assistance herself while she is visiting? If so, perhaps her mother, or someone that can help her, should stay while she visits.

Dear one, I send you many hugs and wishes for peace in your life.


UKLady's picture
Posts: 85
Joined: Jan 2011

Hey girl,

Apologies for being absent so long but my daughter, our one and only support came safely back from Asia and the tsunami experience for 10 days.She will be gone again til August which is a tough one with Steve in hospice at home, wondering if they get to hug again.

As you know I am sole caregiver- the five siblings just one hour away used have me jumping all over the place with not so much as actually being here. The one time they were, Steve's first stay in ICU they left the place looking like it had been hit by a storm when I arrived back alone several days later. They have come sporadically up to Christmas time on their schedules which I know leaves you just gasping with exhaustion.

I totally know where you are coming from! this is what helped me:- I set up google calendar- I put in the previous months schedule just to blow their minds and it did. Now Steve's family don't step up more or less than they did you understand but it cut down the calls of *you need to* or expect me to call them in their schedules and we both know, we caregivers get to sit down at 11pm most days! (and of course family don't get that) the calendar allows to you put in from and to times.

So I was mindful of peoples privacy and would just put * guest* on the days we had one with am or pm on it-no names- and put on other days *time available for guest* and Deb- I was audacious to set aside days on the weekend which actually said *alone time together* :-) So I had in hospital appts, etc etc all week so they could actually see the time we spent together was in waiting rooms and not all snuggly down on the sofa together ;-)

Now you can set the calendar to *share* by using the settings just with those you want to and not the whole Internet you understand :-) It hasn't stopped the coward of a brother in law who was coming to visit this weekend having used the schedule, sending a text message that he would rather pour concrete on his drive instead.........so now you know I do know where you are :-) but it cuts down from having to feel defensive , explaining etc and say here is the schedule (and basically fight over it amongst yourselves ;-) ) I also found that after that all my calls received were friendly ones and well meaning, offers of help, kind messages etc.

I can only share what worked for me after so many people trying to pull my strings and run my life but did not want to step into my shoes for a single second.

Much love to you and Bob dear friend


Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2011

Dear Deb,
It's hard to find peace with the hurtful behaviors of thoughtless people. I give most people credit for not being deliberately hurtful, and find that approach serves me better even if I find out they were just being mean because it was fun.
It comes down to these three insights, which help me in moments like the one you describe. 1)no matter what people do or how much it hurts you, they are doing it for what they consider to be good reasons;
2)no matter what people do or how much it hurts you, they are doing the best they can under the circumstances that exist at the time; and
3)if you were them, under the influence of of all of their lifetime experiences and circumstances, you would probably act much the way they do.
Be gentle with yourself, especially when others can't find the compassion you need. You are doing holy work that will benefit you for lifetimes to come. Your hurtful relatives are missing an opportunity to do the same.
Good Luck and God Bless You

lovingwifedeb's picture
Posts: 184
Joined: Aug 2010

I am so grateful Bob got over being "sick" last weekend... and your thoughts on the subject are much appreciated. Zinniemay also has a post on the subject of inconsiderate family visitors at the same time I did and it is also interesting to read.

Bob's new symptoms were due to being weaned off his steroids... so he is back on the little buggers. He is doing much better now, thank you. BUT... this did give me a BIG insight on what may happen to our family visits in our future. I really do need to get a better handle of overbearing family members. I have talked it over with my husband and whether certain family members like it or not this is our house and Bob is my husband here and now. He is in total agreement with my feelings but it surely doesn't help at the time someone is trying to roll me over.

I do know my emotions got the best of me last weekend, I was terrified... I know I wasn't ready to see my husband go down for the first time. There is soooooo much to talk about still and do that it makes me crazy to think we are fighting against time each day then BAM... some new symptom comes or a test over takes us. I fight my fear everyday.

Thank you for responding as it always helps me think and pull myself together.

lovingwife, to Bob, stage 4 melanoma

luz del lago's picture
luz del lago
Posts: 452
Joined: Jul 2010

So good to read that Bob is doing better, Deb. And I am glad for you that you both have been able to talk about the "family and visiting" issue. I hope it brings some peace and calm to you, both.

Scared! Yes, I remember that emotion. Sometimes, a symptom or behavior that was new, frightened me more than the scariest dream or horror movie! The cold fear running through my veins was worse than "scan-xiety"! I told Dennis once, when he had begun to experience some pain, which he had none for the longest of time, even after they saw the cancer in his bones, that I was scared. He held me and told me that he was scared too, but that this was not the "big scare". I prayed he was right.

This "scared" emotion actually has a physical side to it. I have described it as waves of cold sensation that begin at the bottom of my stomach and move up towards my head, causing me to even get goose bumps. My therapist said it was adrenaline.

Take a deep breath, dear one. Choose "one" thing to accomplish daily, in regards to matters that need to be addressed. Never forgetting to do "one" thing pleasing for yourself, and of course, choose "as many things" that are pleasing to both Bob and yourself.

Peace be with you,


Posts: 1154
Joined: Jun 2010

I would have more empathy if someone paid for a 700 plane ticket to come and visit, but it sounds like everyone is in town. Go ahead have a Charlie $sheen moment on the overbearing relatives. Sometimes it is worth it and they respect boundaries in the future.

Posts: 710
Joined: Mar 2010

This is about Bob, what he wants. You of course being the caregiver are the communicator on his behalf. If Bob doesn't want visitors then no visitors. You don't need to explain to them why. And don't feel guilty. "He isn't up to visiting. It's a bad time for him, perhaps when he feels up to it." Enough said.

When Bob feels like visiting then call them to arrange a visit. On your schedule, at your convience.

Posts: 51
Joined: Apr 2011

that Bob is doing better... Keep your chin up and do not give in to your family..

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