Real Life MMD: Should we keep paying for son's extras?

edited 17 May 2011 at 8:15PM in Money Saving Polls
74 replies 27.2K views
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  • As a regular visitor to hospital with my son, I know how much even a day in hospital can cost, so I send my sympathies regarding the mental and financial issues you are facing. Some people can;t even begin to understand - so I'm going to say now - I think you and your husband are amazing. Don;t let anyone else tell you otherwise.


    I think a lot of the replies already posted are valid, but also speak to the patient and liaison office (PALS) at the hospital, and put help with nhs travel costs into google and see if you are eligible for any help. I hope your son is able to be home soon, and I wish you sleep and all the best. XX
  • antonia1antonia1 Forumite
    596 Posts
    I think that the important thing is that if your husband wants to see his ill son very day, then you need to be doing whatever you can to be supporting that. Imagine what you would be doing if your step-son was a yound child. A child who is in hospital at 28 years can be just has hard for a parent as if the child is 28 months - you still love your children just as much no matter how old they are.
    :A If saving money is wrong, I don't want to be right. William Shatner

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  • JayDJayD Forumite
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    Well, of course your husband wants to ensure his son has the very best quality of life possible, especailly in such depressing circumstances - and I think you should make it clear to him that you undrstand this fully and totally agree. But you should also emphasise the word 'possible - and point out that this is directly related to what is 'affordable' - as what you both can afford to pay for them is what dictates what life enhancements you can provide.

    So I agree with many who have advised before me that the spending has to be reduced to be within budget. If not, you will be unable to be the support (both finanacial and emotional) that your son needs. This will not be possible if you are in debt and struggling to cope with that stress too.

    If you have not already done so, I also suggest that you mark everything you give him very clearly with his name and ward details and ask the staff to keep as best an eye on these things as possible. Explain that you know they are extremely busy but ask if they could please return things to him that have obviously gone astray. They should easily be able to see things that have been marked clearly and should know when they are not where they should be, thus enabling them to return such items to your son. Ask too, if there is a 'lost property box' where stray CDs etc could easily end up when tidying a ward and if you could have access to it when you visit - looking through it jsut before you leave could reduce the 'wanted' list.

    Helping the hospital to keep tabs could be way of reducing the outlay if you aren't having to keep duplicating your purchases but discussing with your husband the need to reduce the amount spent would also seem to be a must to me.
  • Mother-in-law complexes much?

    Sounds like the father needs a reality check... this can't keep going forever. Is the son forgetting that you brought these things? Does he forget that he asked for them as well? Are you buying slippers for the whole ward?

    He's not going to lose his Father-of-the-year award if he visits every other day. These kinds of emergencies are what savings are for, it's appropriate to dig into savings initially. Yet once it becomes a regular thing, it stops being an emergency and starts being something you need to financially plan.
  • tenuissenttenuissent Forumite
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    Visiting has to be done. I engaged an au pair for the birth of my 3rd child, and she immediately had appendicitis with complications meaning a long stay in hospital and permanent infertility. I vowed to visit every second day (30 mile round trip) with my newborn, a 1 yr old and a 2 yr old and it wasn't easy, but just had to be done. She couldn't speak English, was in a foreign country, frightened and ill, and this stepson must be in a similar state. However, I did realise I could not manage every day, and perhaps 3 or 4 times a week would be enough to raise this poor young man's spirits?

    Things do get "lost" in hospitals. I bought my dying father new pyjamas and a warm jersey when I saw him shivering, and they disappeared. Heartbreaking. The only answer, as others have said, is cheap distractions, fresh fruit, home-made biscuits and drinks and the like.
  • edited 18 May 2011 at 12:17PM
    ChrisgandmeChrisgandme Forumite
    4 Posts
    edited 18 May 2011 at 12:17PM
    I was a mother of someone with severe mental health problems, sectioned, and I was working full time. Spent all my time (straight from work - till 10.00pm at night) visiting. It is not wrong to feel as you do. No question of your caring any less. Start visiting every other day... Your stepson will have something to look forward to instead of 'everyday' routine visits. Maybe 2 day weekend and 2 mid week visits. Do not feel 'guilt' though this is a normal response. Prempt the requests for special gifts by doing simple things - copy cd's this makes replacement very easy.
    Take him surprise meal treats... McDonalds, KFC an occasional Chinese. Hospitals usually accomodate such treats. Not always on the same day so it does not become routine. .
    Pick up day-to-day clothing cheaply at bargin stores.
    Try posponing his gifts to ' say next week' or 'in a couple of weeks' 'He can have all the luxurys when he is well again...
    Your son maybe trading his expensive gifts for other favours in the ward - this is quite common...He should also be able to claim some basic day-to-day benefits but this would depend on the amount of his savings, Equally, he should be paying for his own expensive requests from his savings if he really wants them...Your son is of age to recognise you are not there as his own private banker.
    Good luck and a speedy resolution/recovery to your son. But remember - NO GUILT you obviously do care xxxx
  • I think you should look at your car/learn to drive.

    Seriously, that works out about 25mpg which unless you drive in constant traffic is likely to be result of using a silly car or poor driving
  • Newly_retiredNewly_retired Forumite
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    I have a close relative who has been in and out of mental health wards all her life since she was 18. She is now in her 60ies. It is just not practicable to visit every day. When she first goes in she has no idea where she is or who is visiting, so there is little point making a long journey till she is a bit better. She loses things or they get stolen all the time, so we have never taken anything of any value. No gifts, just food, cakes, stamps, toiletries etc. and basic clothes eg from chairty shops.
    OP, you could be in for a long haul here- though I hope not. You are right to be realistic and sensible about money. There is no point getting into debt nor exhausting yourselves.
    Lots of good advice has been given. I hope it helps.
  • Would it be possible to personalise the gifts? Perhaps big orange flowers sewn on the toes of the slippers would make them too obvious or embarassing to accidentally borrow and they might raise a laugh?

    I wish him better.
  • musicmaker29musicmaker29 Forumite
    210 Posts
    I have no real idea of your financial state, so find it hard to comment.

    However, the comments made by others about taking copies of cds and other less valuable items are good ideas.

    I can see both sides of this, but don't know why you would complain about spending a little of your savings - surely this is exactly the sort of situation you have emergency savings for?

    I also don't think it helps that this is a mental illness - if a son/daughter had been admitted to hospital for a physical illness that needed a medium term stay, would this questions arise in this way?
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