I know how you love stories about my insane mother, so here's one I
just got from my sister, who is in the hospital with pregnancy-
Pregnancy-induced hypertension is just that; it's caused by pregnancy
and there's nothing you can do about it but lie in bed until you're
not pregnant anymore. My mother, being a nurse, should understand
this. However, she suffers from that misconception, common to all
busybodies, that you can NEVER DO TOO MUCH in the pursuit of solving
a problem. There are no aggregate utilities for my mother, no
multivariable problems, no parabolic functions of any kind. More is
better, less is worse; there's no such thing as diminishing returns.
Her solution to pregnancy-induced hypertension? Driving 2 hours
every weekend to sit around for 48 hours, telling my bedridden sister
to relax. Urging her to relax. Berating her to relax. Reminding
her that it's really better for the baby to just relax. RELAX.
My sister prepares for these visits by making lists. She provides
tasks upon tasks for my mother to do, hopefully enough to keep her
busy until she has to go home. She sends our mother out with a
credit card and a series of baby-related missions. Luckily my sister
is one of those oldest-child, A-types for whom making lists
constitutes relaxation. If she didn't do this, our mother would park
herself on the pullout bed in my sister's hospital room, alternately
nagging her and napping. My mother snores. Loudly.
[My sister] calls me every so often to complain about Mom. She's not really
a complainer; I think she likes calling me about it because we always
end up laughing, in sympathy, and empathy (Mom called me 4 times in
one hour tonight, and left 3 messages. All of them were the same,
but with escalating hysteria: "It's mom; call me back."). How
ridiculous is it when talking for 20 minutes about something that
completely stresses you out is more relaxing, more FUN, than dealing
with someone who really, sincerely wants you to relax and have fun?
Docs decided to spring the baby 2 months early. Baby, Sis/Mom, and Mom/Grandma are all doing well.