Archive | February 20, 2014

Sandwich Generation Scourge #259: Relatives Speaking Nonsense

If you are a caregiver, you have a person like this in your life too.  She means well and is a good person.  Probably loves her kids and has many redeeming qualities.  Connected to you by blood and the memory of many family events, some of which you even recall as not completely awkward and uncomfortable.  Someone who has come through for you in the past.

But not always – because this person can be counted on occasionally to give your loved one spectacularly bad advice.

In my case, this advice was related to taking medication.  Because apparently doctors are all trying to make money by prescribing antibiotics like Dificid, which is the pill that currently separates my father from the runaway symptoms of the stomach bacterial infection C Diff.  Also, once the symptoms are gone, you don’t need to take more pills.  After all, if I have a headache, and I take aspirin, and the headache goes away, I don’t take more aspirin, right?  I mean, clearly doctors are just trying to make money.  Everyone knows that.

My father relayed this advice that he’d heard to me and I went ballistic.  Sometimes I do this.  Generally my style of persuasion is finesse, not brute force.  As a sandwich generation person, I try not to go to the yelling mode with either my father or my kids, but sometimes there is no choice.  Plus, I was angry.  My father has a penchant for making his own medical decisions, most of which consist of trying to second-guess which prescriptions he should take that week.  I have worked really, really hard to talk him out of this habit and put the medication process on auto-pilot.  It has worked.  This is better for everyone.  And then now this

So I somewhat (but only somewhat) more gently pointed out that this infection had come back many times, that he should stick with the plan, and this relative should stick with what she really knows a lot about, whatever that is.  Etc.  Then he said, “Peterkem (Hungarian for ‘my Peter’, sort of a term of endearment), of course I am listening to you.”  Almost as if to say, “I know that this advice makes no sense.  I am not a dummy.”

Problem solved.  Until the next spectacularly bad advice floats over the transom.