Saturday, March 03, 2007

"Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears."

I'm having trouble with forgiveness and rejecting a sense of injury... ...

Once again, my father's wife is the root of distress for my sister and because of that, for me. In this case, it is her children. There are children on both sides of this second marriage for my father. My mother died in 1984, the same year my son was born, leaving behind a husband and two grown married daughters. My father remarried a couple of years later to a woman named Barbara, who helped take care of my mother in her last months and divorced her own husband after my mother died. The new wife had three children- two daughters and a son, also all grown and in adult relationships.

Apparently, all of Barbara's children are representing themselves as my father's children to the medical staff at the various institutions, which would be somewhat flattering except that my sister and I have been left out of the discussions and in fact even "forgotten" to be put on lists of family with access and so forth. Recently, Barbara's son suggested to my father's doctors that my father be put into hospice care and no further treatment be given (a new tumor was discovered, which the doctor was suggesting be removed). This of course was a horrible shock to my sister when she heard it from the doctor, as was the doctor saying, "your brother suggested". My sis went ballistic.

But it doesn't end there. Barbara hadn't been told the extent of my father's illness, for whatever reason, she didn't understand the various treatments, why and what to expect. She was told the surgeon had gotten all the cancer, that no radiation or chemo would be required and that my father would get better and would return home, but that there would be new tumors later which they would also remover. They implied it would be no big deal to remove the new tumors as they arose. This is a version of the truth, but not the truth. My father has had several setbacks and the cancer was much more extensive than she was told. So my sister explained in simple details what she knew and what Barbara should be asking the doctors. Because it does now appear there were and are some treatment missteps, including things like not actually having an oncologist until a few days ago, and the surgeon supposedly being the lead doctor but not bringing anyone else in to assist with other medical issues as they arose in the recovery. It was upsetting to Barbara to hear some of the details she hadn't previously been told, of course, but it wasn't malicious on my sister's part. She needed Barbara to ask the questions and get my father involved in understanding what is going on- so they could make the tougher decisions about what happens next.

Keeping mind that my sister has stage 3 breast cancer which had spread to the lymph glands (and that may have spread elsewhere), who is recovering from a double mastectomy and hasn't yet been cleared to fly, let alone to even resume normal activities, she is doing pretty well. However, Barbara's daughter called her up and raked her over the coals for upsetting her mother, for not coming to see our father because my sister's "little medical thing" was just an excuse, not a good reason not to come and be by my father's side. She also made many statements about our father being the only grandfather her children had ever known.. and so on.. trying to establish her claim as one of my father's daughters perhaps? Or justifying her and her brother trying to shove my father off into hospice care without even a discussion with him or us??

Excuse me??!!! I am beyond angry.. white hot, cold steel, icy burning, deep anger... It isn't good. I tried to take the "bad guy" stuff on myself so that the wife and her family wouldn't create additional problems for my sister. It is the very least I could do to try to keep the heat from her. She takes these things to heart so much more deeply than I do (which is not to say that it all rolls easily off my back), and it isn't good for her recovery.

I feel they injured my sister and I want to let them know not to do that again. I am about to dive in with not revenge, but something to try to protect my sister. I don't think this is the end of insults and problems. I believe it is just the tip of the iceberg... And I don't understand why they don't understand about my sister, about how this didn't have to be family against other family, and about why we might be upset about them deciding things for my father without consulting my father or us (he isn't mentally incapacitated). And I can't believe this is turning into such a soap opera. It's disgusting on so many levels. But they're injuring my baby sister and sometimes I'm not a pacifist. I just haven't figured out exactly what to do next...

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