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Am I being unreasonable? Advice needed...


KarenC
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My mother lives 13 hours away.  She called 3 days ago telling me she is having knee replacement surgery on Dec. 24.  She wants my youngest to fly to her house to help her and care for her dogs and cats for 2 weeks over Christmas break.  Youngest has only had a driver's licence for a few months and has never driven anything as big as her grandmother's SUV.  My older dds will be home from college during this time, so she wouldn't be able to see them as much.  

I will probably end up driving there and staying with her for a couple of weeks.  But, then I won't be able to see my oldest two as much.

She can stay in the hospital for 3 days after the surgery.  I suggested she fly here after the surgery.  Then she could spend time with everybody and I would get to see my children.  

She could have the surgery in July, but decided on Christmas eve.  I knew none of this before last Friday.

She still works and December and July are her least busy times of the year.  January is her busiest time.  I guess she plans to go back as soon as she is able.

I really wish she had coordinated this with me before hand.  Is that unreasonable?

She has to have the other knee replaced at some point.  Hopefully, I will have more notice with that one.

Edited by KarenC
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You’re not being unreasonable.  The posters above made the point that she should have coordinated with you if she expects your help (or your daughter’s help!), but I’ll add more. Your dd is a new driver and it’s ok if you don’t want to let her loose driving an unfamiliar car in an unfamiliar area.  Not to mention that when kids start to grow up and go away to college, coming home for Christmas is SO much fun for parents. Seeing kids get along, watching them morph from kids to friends...no way would I want to miss that ‘on command’. 

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Thanks, I do feel better now.  I was feeling like such a horrible daughter for not wanting to go.   The dd she wants to fly there is a senior in high school and I'm really not comfortable with her driving in a strange city, especially in such a big car.

I didn't even think about complications following the surgery or if grandmother fell.  That would definitely freak dd out.  I'm not even considering send one of the girls.  If anybody goes, it will be me.

I didn't know how likely to would be that she would be able to fly 3 days after the surgery.  I'm sure she will have pt afterwards, but I can take her to that here.

I would be really sad if I have to miss two weeks with the girls home from college though.

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Oh, no way! That’s thoughtless of her to want to disrupt your family’s Christmas for her elective surgery. I agree with a pp that she should stay at a rehab place after the surgery. My dad did that after back surgery and it was so much easier than it would have been to care for him at home.

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Just chiming in that you are being totally reasonable.  I shouldn't say this about anyone's mother, but it seems to me a jerk move.  I have a relative I can see doing that, and it would be completely planned to get sympathy and attention.  My apologies if that does not apply to your mom.  

Who the heck gets surgery for anything other than an emergency on Christmas Eve?  I'm surprised the doctor/hospital would even schedule it.

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1 minute ago, marbel said:

Who the heck gets surgery for anything other than an emergency on Christmas Eve?  I'm surprised the doctor/hospital would even schedule it.

That's exactly what I thought.  Who does this?  

My mom is very passive aggressive but I'm the only living child and her sister passed away.  She has friends who could help her who live nearby, but I'm going to look into rehab places near her.

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44 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

Her not contacting you before scheduling the surgery - unreasonable. 

You expecting her to travel 3 days after knee replacement surgery - unreasonable. 

Knee replacement can have major complications, including massive infection.

 

Yes. This.  No way I would suggest she fly anywhere 3 days after surgery.  Dh had  a knee replacement last summer and just no is that a good idea. 

I would tell her no one can come help her at the time she has scheduled.  If she tells the doctor she has no help at home he will likely send her to a rehab for a week or so which will give you time to see your children and then go help her as she leaves rehab.  Or better yet she can reschedule so you can go be with her.

And no I would,not send a teenager. Way too much responsibility.  

I would want to go be with my mom though.....so if she insists on not rescheduling I might go even if it meant I couldn’t see my kids.

does she have friends to help her? Any support locally?

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She should go to a rehab center. Knee surgery can have very serious complications that need to be monitored closely.

An adult advocate who visits and ensures that everything is okay could be good. I don’t see why that has to be you if she has friends nearby. Scheduling on Christmas Eve without discussing it with you first seems passive aggressive and controlling.

 

ETA: Regarding flying, the possibility of blood clots is something to consider. That is something that needs to be monitored regardless of flying and nothing to mess with.

Edited by BeachGal
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Facing almost the identical thing with my own mom.  From my perspective, you are not being unreasonable. 

Re: her flying to see you, though, her doctor may not clear her for that so soon; my mom's doctor has told her he wouldn't even want her driving 4 hrs a month later (even though she would be cleared to drive herself, he would not want her driving that far so soon); your mom literally may not be able to fly down. 

Which is not to say you (or any of your children) need to go to her, at all, just that her flying down may not be an option. 

I think helping her find a rehab place near her, or kindly suggest she ask if her local friends can help, is perfectly fine. Neither you nor your dd's need to use your Christmas vacation to nurse her/care for her after her surgery. If she insists it has to be you, firmly holding to a need to reschedule is also fine. Don't let her guilt you into it. 

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I would tell her she can either come to you over Christmas break or she needs to reschedule her surgery to a more convenient time.   This is elective surgery and she can easily reschedule, no matter what she may think.   It was very inconsiderate of her to expect you to change your Christmas break plans.

 

You have our permission to set boundaries.  

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I totally agree that you are not being unreasonable, I have a mother who would try to pull stuff like that, but we don't let her get away with it. 

Do find out about a rehab facility and maybe a pet service if she does need someone to take care of animals.  I would give my mom a set amount of days that I could co e Andy ask her when she would like that. "Mom, i am not comfortable sending DD on her own,. I would be happy to come stay 5 days. Would you prefer that I be there right after surgery while you are in rehab, or would it be better if I wait and come when you go home from the rehab?"

 

do do you think this was planned so that she has family with her for Christmas?

Edited by City Mouse
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1 hour ago, mmasc said:

I don’t normally chime in on threads like this, but I think I will on this one. ? You absolutely are not being unreasonable. Your mother is. If she needs your or your family’s assistance, then the surgery needs to be coordinated with you. 

I don't either and I often think the poster is being unreasonable. I do NOT think you're being unreasonable @KarenC

It's possible that the pain is such that she didn't feel like she could wait until July. I know two people who had knee replacement surgery and both couldn't wait to get it done as they were in a lot of pain. It's also possible as others suggested, that flying might not be feasible after her surgery. The two people I know had very different recovery experiences, one easy and one quite difficult. 

Even if both of the above are true, you're still not being unreasonable. I think @TheReader has a good suggestion about finding a rehab near you. Win-win. Family gets to be together. Mom/grandma gets both professional help and the help of nearby family.

Edited by Lady Florida.
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1 minute ago, Lady Florida. said:

I don't either and I often think the poster is being unreasonable. I do NOT think you're being unreasonable Karen. 

It's possible that the pain is such that she didn't feel like she could wait until July. I know two people who had knee replacement surgery and both couldn't wait to get it done as they were in a lot of pain. It's also possible as others suggested, that flying might not be feasible after her surgery. The two people I know had very different recovery experiences, one easy and one quite difficult. 

Even if both of the above are true, you're still not being unreasonable. I think @TheReader has a good suggestion about finding a rehab near you. Win-win. Family gets to be together. Mom/grandma gets both professional help and the help of nearby family.

Oops, no, I meant to find a rehab near the mom; it's very unlikely she'd be able to fly that far, that soon after the surgery, to be near the family. But if she has friends near her who can pop in, that should be doable instead.  

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My husband and host of friends have had knee replacement. Not one would have been ready to travel three days later. The advice they gave at the hospital when we went to the required seminar before the surgery was to completely block out EVERYTHING for three weeks and to stay home. You are supposed to carefully move around afterwards and to keep the knee up with ice as much as possible. No way can you do that on a plane.

That said, she is being unreasonable to expect that you drop everything to help her at a difficult time of year. I had outpatient surgery on Christmas eve that couldn't be delayed any longer and felt bad for the people that came to take care of our kids that day. However, I was up on crutches the next day cooking and getting around. Totally different situation. 

Edited by G5052
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Just chiming in that  the teenage driver issue would be a big problem with me- my college student still is not a great driver and when she was a senior in HS with a license she just wasn't ready for driving an SUV, driving in new places, or driving in weather that was different than ours (I grew up in FL with sheeting rain but she has no experience with it, for example).  I would NOT be comfortable with her being the sole driver in a new place in a new car! 

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12 hours ago, KarenC said:

That's exactly what I thought.  Who does this?  

My mom is very passive aggressive but I'm the only living child and her sister passed away.  She has friends who could help her who live nearby, but I'm going to look into rehab places near her.

I feel your pain.

But remember you're also modeling to your children how to take care of an elderly (even if not infirm or otherwise incapable of taking care of herself) parent, which you will be some day. I think it will be good for you to help her find rehab facilities and to do whatever you can, from a distance, because it's absolutely not unreasonable for you to refuse to send your high school-age child up there to care for her.

Edited by Ellie
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I read things like this and think, "What the heck??!!"  She needed to have first checked with you if she's hoping you'll be that involved.  Knee surgery is generally not urgent and can be planned.  Maybe she needs to have it done where you live, (I don't know if that's possible), and then convalesce with you.  Or maybe she needs to have it done in the summer.  Or maybe she needs to go to a rehab facility following her surgery, either where she is or where you are.  Maybe her insurance would hire a home health aid to come to her home.   Also, I wouldn't feel comfortable with my dd at that age and as a new driver doing that either.  

I do have a dd who is currently an unofficial home health aid for my parents.  She is living with them for a few months while they try and work through serious health issues.  She does drive them places, but only close by.  She's also 4+ years older than your dd, and has another part-time job near their home.

As a parent, I just can't imagine putting that demand on my kids.  I'd be more apt to figure out my own solution (if capable) and then if kids offer to come and help, fine.

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Maybe she can reschedule it.  I would not do this and I am extremely close to my mom.  It is too much of an upheaval when it can be arranged in a different way.  

Edit:  I think looking into rehab is also a great idea.  

 

Edited by Lecka
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I am also very in favor of being a good role model as an adult child.  

But there is a balance, with being a good role model in not doing unreasonable and needlessly difficult things.  

Edit:  Anyway I think posting here is good and better than bringing it up to your kids.  I think — don’t even tell your daughters about every current detail, and hopefully in a few days things will be worked out in a better way.  

Edited by Lecka
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No your dd does not need to do that. Even if it wasn’t driving it’s a bad idea for such a young person to be thrust into such a responsible role. We did a similar thing to my dd her senior year and it really was a terrible idea. Like she still wants to weep when looking back on those weeks.

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Another wrinkle--I suspect that she needs knee replacement surgery because it is very painful to walk.  So suggesting that she put it off is kind of condemning her to a lot more pain.  I had a surgeon tell me that my gall bladder surgery was elective, even though I was getting attacks at random that dropped me to the floor in pain--sometimes in a store or other public place--and could not drive safely for fear of one occurring while I was driving.  Just some perspective on the term 'elective'--it doesn't necessarily mean 'you're not really having bad trouble'; rather it can mean 'you're not going to die suddenly of this'.

My guess is that she will go into rehab for a little bit.  My inclination would be to offer to fly down with the girls if she covers part of that plane ticket cost, and take care of the animals and visit her, starting the day after Christmas.  A neighbor can feed the pets Christmas Day.  That way you still have a nice Christmas together, and still help care for her and the animals, and still visit your kids (though not optimally) during their break.  Then you can get the lay of the land and see whether you need to stay longer or not, in the moment from right there.

I know that that is not optimal for the girls' visit home, and that they would probably like to spend more time with their friends, so maybe there is a compromise in which they leave sooner than you do.  But we all do make sacrifices for our elderly family members, and I think a compromise is possible here.  I'm guessing that there is a good reason to have this before year end, from an insurance standpoint, as others have said, and that she is in pain every time she takes a step as well.  And I'm guessing that she ran out of time and that this was the only date the surgeon was available before year end.  Those don't justify this somewhat selfish behavior, but they mitigate it a bit in my mind.  I don't think you're unreasonable for being upset, but I also think that there is a middle ground that would let her have the surgery with some support but not be dangerous for your daughter or so completely inconvenient for your family as the two possibilities in the OP.

 

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1 hour ago, G5052 said:

My husband and host of friends have had knee replacement. Not one would have been ready to travel three days later. The advice they gave at the hospital when we went to the required seminar before the surgery was to completely block out EVERYTHING for three weeks and to stay home. You are supposed to carefully move around afterwards and to keep the knee up with ice as much as possible. No way can you do that on a plane.

 

My daughter had surgery for a torn meniscus, so that's my only experience with knee surgeries.  How soon after the surgery does pt typically start?  Dd was on a continuous motion machine for at least a week before she started pt, so I was envisioning something like that.

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3 minutes ago, KarenC said:

My daughter had surgery for a torn meniscus, so that's my only experience with knee surgeries.  How soon after the surgery does pt typically start?  Dd was on a continuous motion machine for at least a week before she started pt, so I was envisioning something like that.

 

They start PT while in the hospital. DH had someone come to the house for PT daily M-F until he was approved to drive (he had his left knee). Then he had PT 3x a week.

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41 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

My guess is that she will go into rehab for a little bit.  My inclination would be to offer to fly down with the girls if she covers part of that plane ticket cost, and take care of the animals and visit her, starting the day after Christmas.  A neighbor can feed the pets Christmas Day.  That way you still have a nice Christmas together, and still help care for her and the animals, and still visit your kids (though not optimally) during their break.  Then you can get the lay of the land and see whether you need to stay longer or not, in the moment from right there.

 

My aunt lives in a remote area with no home health, and the hospital she chose was two hours away. She went from the hospital to a rehab center for a total of three weeks. It was a really harrowing surgery replacing a previous replacement, so she had a hard recovery. In rehab, she had PT 2x a day, seven days a week. She went in very healthy and strong.

Her husband is also very healthy and strong for his age, and he later told me that she absolutely had to have that level of care.

Edited by G5052
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She is supposed to contact her doctor's office and ask if she can fly after the surgery, if she needs a continuous motion machine, and when pt will start.  Hopefully, I will hear from her soon and I'll talk to her about a rehabilitation center and me staying for 4-5 days after the surgery or rescheduling for July and I could stay longer.

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is there something passive-aggressive about her that she would schedule this for christmas?  (forcing you and/or your daughters to 'see' her) when she could easily have scheduled this last summer, after coordinating with you about when it would work for you?

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45 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Another wrinkle--I suspect that she needs knee replacement surgery because it is very painful to walk.  So suggesting that she put it off is kind of condemning her to a lot more pain.

 

she could have scheduled it for january.

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4 hours ago, KarenC said:

My mother lives 13 hours away.  She called 3 days ago telling me she is having knee replacement surgery on Dec. 24.  She wants my youngest to fly to her house to help her and care for her dogs and cats for 2 weeks over Christmas break.  Youngest has only had a driver's licence for a few months and has never driven anything as big as her grandmother's SUV.  My older dds will be home from college during this time, so she wouldn't be able to see them as much.  

I will probably end up driving there and staying with her for a couple of weeks.  But, then I won't be able to see my oldest two as much.

She can stay in the hospital for 3 days after the surgery.  I suggested she fly here after the surgery.  Then she could spend time with everybody and I would get to see my children.  

She could have the surgery in July, but decided on Christmas eve.  I knew none of this before last Friday.

I really wish she had coordinated this with me before hand.  Is that unreasonable?

She has to have the other knee replaced at some point.  Hopefully, I will have more notice with that one.

Nope.

She wants her granddaughter to give up her last Christmas with her high school friends and the time with her older siblings so that she can feed Grandma's dogs and cats?  That is absolutely selfish and bizarre.  That's what the kid next door is for.

I think she should talk to you about when you can go visit (after your kids are back in school) and plan a better time for the surgery.

 

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1 minute ago, HeighHo said:

 

Have you seen what the recovery from this surgery is like?  Its not fair to put that on a child who hasn't volunteered in the nursing home or done elder care.

No.  My only experience with knee surgery is for a torn meniscus.  After reading all of these comments, I'm feeling much better by refusing to send a 17 yo.  I think her reasoning was, the 17 yo has fewer responsibilities and would be more available.

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I would call her and tell her what the options are:

1. Have surgery as scheduled and recover in her local rehab facility with medical staff.
2. Reschedule when you're available and recover at her house with you.

I don't think the flying option is realistic because complications could happen during or after surgery and if that happens she should follow up with those who did the surgery. Even the healthiest young patient with a textbook recovery would have serious challenges flying right after surgery.  

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3 hours ago, Ellie said:

I feel your pain.

But remember you're also modeling to your children how to take care of an elderly (even if not infirm or otherwise incapable of taking care of herself) parent, which you will be some day. ? I think it will be good for you to help her find rehab facilities and to do whatever you can, from a distance, because it's absolutely not unreasonable for you to refuse to send your high school-age child up there to care for her.

 

Along these lines I think that by saying no to unreasonable demands, you are modeling to your children how to have healthy boundaries with relatives.  Which is such an important life skill.

IMHO people who are worried about being unreasonable, are usually being manipulated to think that by unreasonable people.

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16 minutes ago, Zebra said:

 

Along these lines I think that by saying no to unreasonable demands, you are modeling to your children how to have healthy boundaries with relatives.  Which is such an important life skill.

IMHO people who are worried about being unreasonable, are usually being manipulated to think that by unreasonable people.

This.

It actually speaks volumes that your mom made these plans without a proper heads up and without giving thought to you or the season. I would not let my new driver go, for me that is an automatic no. I would also not give up my time with my children I don't get to see as much. That is precious time. I would insist she reschedule her elective surgery, or hire in home help if she can swing it for the amount of time you can't be there. I would feel frustrated and I think you are a lovely daughter for working hard to find a solution.

Edited by nixpix5
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It is an unsafe situation for your daughter. That part you have to say no to. 

It may also be unsafe for your mother.  

Rehab hospital and pet sitter, summer surgery—  lots of other options exist. But you cannot allow your daughter to be in a situation that is likely to be dangerous for her. 

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Agreeing with others--you are not unreasonable, your mother's expectations are unreasonable.

"Mom, we've thought about your surgery and have determined that dd17 is not prepared to provide home care for you and our family's plans for the Christmas season are already set. Please talk to your doctors about rehab options for after your surgery. If you want to reschedule for another time let me know what the options are and I can check if I might be available to help during your recovery period."

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1 hour ago, KarenC said:

She is supposed to contact her doctor's office and ask if she can fly after the surgery, if she needs a continuous motion machine, and when pt will start.  Hopefully, I will hear from her soon and I'll talk to her about a rehabilitation center and me staying for 4-5 days after the surgery or rescheduling for July and I could stay longer.

My grandma couldn't fly after her knee surgery due to an increased concern about a blood clot forming. That is what she told us. Not sure if that is a legitimate worry for someone as my sweet old grandma liked to tell tales 😋

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3 hours ago, Lecka said:

I am also very in favor of being a good role model as an adult child.  

But there is a balance, with being a good role model in not doing unreasonable and needlessly difficult things.  

 

I agree. There's a difference between taking proper care of an elderly relative (and modeling that to your children) and being manipulated into dropping everything because the elderly relative called. Certainly if this was an emergency surgery I'd say the OP was being unreasonable and should drop everything. But that doesn't seem to be the case here. Yes, there is likely a lot of pain involved but were the only options really just July or Christmas Eve? It seems like it could have been scheduled for after Christmas or just after the first of the year. That way she wouldn't have to wait another six months while in pain but she also wasn't turning an entire family's Christmas upside down.

 

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35 minutes ago, nixpix5 said:

My grandma couldn't fly after her knee surgery due to an increased concern about a blood clot forming. That is what she told us. Not sure if that is a legitimate worry for someone as my sweet old grandma liked to tell tales 😋

 

Yes, that is one of the many concerns. They give them Lovenox in the hospital to reduce the chance of clots, but they seriously don't want you sitting with the leg down for long or taking long walks for awhile.

My husband had various complications afterwards that had to be carefully monitored. At that time, they also gave narcotics for home use, which needs an adult to keep tabs on. Now I understand that many surgeons have a policy of only giving narcotics in the hospital and rehab. If you still have significant pain afterwards, they send you over to pain management where I have heard that they only do week-by-week prescriptions. 

Edited by G5052
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5 hours ago, KarenC said:

That's exactly what I thought.  Who does this?  

My mom is very passive aggressive but I'm the only living child and her sister passed away.  She has friends who could help her who live nearby, but I'm going to look into rehab places near her.

I was going to suggest this. She can have the surgery and then go to inpatient rehab for a week or two or three. She will be taken care of and you can go visit her on your time schedule, not hers. Now, I wouldn't be surprised that once she tells the MD that she needs to go to rehab because there is no one to take care of her, that the surgery may get rescheduled as they get rehab set up.

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5 minutes ago, Margaret in CO said:

I so hope this has worked out. You are not being unreasonable, not in any way. 

My mil pulled this several times--going on "Hospice" just at the holidays. Nope, not dying, but once again addicted to pain pills. I declined several times to help as I had scheduled c-sections. 

Ok, I think you've got me beat.  She's never asked me to reschedule giving birth.  😂

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