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'AITA for not letting my kids ride in a car with their grandma? Wife thinks I'm overreacting.' UPDATED

'AITA for not letting my kids ride in a car with their grandma? Wife thinks I'm overreacting.' UPDATED


Sometimes, you need the internet to let you know if you've gone too far (or not far enough).

"AITA for not letting my kids ride 4 hours home with their grandmother?"

Around 1AM there was a terrible crash as my (70F) MIL decided to try to navigate our stairs in the dark while wearing a CPAP. She tumbled down the steps, hitting her head bad enough to bruise her face and cause some serious swelling around her ear.

I immediately started calling 911 but my wife who is a NICU RN told me not to call as her mother had no obviously broken bones and didn't want to go. I'm not a medical professional and it's seldom wise to argue with a nurse or one's wife but I pressed for them to at least let me drive her to the ER if they refused an ambulance but all to no avail.

This was just a couple of hours ago and she's now in the bed with an ice pack and a couple of Tylenol (to avoid blood thinners). In the morning she wants to drive home and take my (9F) daughter and (13m) son to her place for the week.

This has been planned for weeks and I would have no issues with it but for the fact that the woman just fell down a flight of stairs and could have a concussion. I love her and don't want her to drive at all and asked her to stay a couple of extra days but if she insists on going I can't stop her.

I told my wife I was uncomfortable with the kids riding with her given the danger and she thinks I'm being silly which I don't understand at all as she's a very competent nurse. I finally told her that everyone could be mad at me but it simply wasn't an option. I'll take the day off and drive them if I must but I won't take any chances. AITA?

The internet had OP's back.

StarryNorth wrote:

I'm a nurse and I'm frankly appalled at your wife's decision to not take her mother to the ER. A 70-year-old who suffers a fall and sustains head injuries should absolutely be checked out in the ER, whether or not your wife, your mother, or the Easter Bunny believe it isn't necessary.

If she absolutely refuses to go, tell her that your children will not be staying with her at her house, as you do not think it is safe. She could be suffering from a concussion or an intracranial bleed.

the BOOPisonfire wrote:

The fact she's on blood thinners makes the situation worse. And then she wants to not only drive but take the children for days. Those poor children will be the ones that find her if she is bleeding internally.

Ok_Detective5412 wrote:

My mum was a very competent and well respected RN for fifty years. She also told me to “take some Dimetapp and go back to bed” when I complained about ear and throat pain, until I got referred to a specialist who told us I was lucky that I hadn’t gone deaf.

I think some nurses reach a point where they’ve seen so much truly awful stuff (kids with c-ncer, etc) that they get a bit numb to it outside of work.

Rileysvoice wrote:

NTA and your wife is being blindly irresponsible just because it’s her mum. I would drive them yourself and make sure your children fully know how to contact you in an emergency should anything happen to MIL whilst they are there.

The next day, OP shared an update.

Well, my MIL was alive and conscious when we woke this morning. My wife stayed up to watch over her through the night. I spoke to my wife this morning and again shared my concerns regarding the dangers my MIL would be posing to herself and our kids and my wife was frustrated that I questioned her opinion.

But when I asked if she was so utterly certain in her diagnosis sans any medical equipment that she was willing to bet both her mother and our children's lives on it, she sheepishly relented and agreed the kids would stay home and that she would encourage her mom to go to the ER.

I spoke to my MIL again and asked her to let me take her to the ER, and she shared that her primary reason for refusing medical care was a fear of the cost of doing so.

Unfortunately, that's a serious concern of many folks here in the US. Anyways, hearing that, I firmly insisted she go and told her we'd cover any costs. She and my wife finally went to the ER and after several hours and copious tests, it was in fact determined that she had a concussion as well as rib and wrist fractures and soft tissue injuries (bruising?).

My wife was pretty devastated with the diagnosis and was deeply apologetic and remorseful. My mother in law will be in the hospital until at least tomorrow. The hospitalist pretty directly chided both my wife and MIL. All in all, I'm thankful that things didn't end up worse. The kids only cared about their grandma being okay.

Some answers to questions asked:

My MIL is a retired school teacher on a very limited fixed income along with my FIL. There's no inheritance or other reason my wife would have wished her ill. They have a great relationship.

My wife sprang out of bed the moment the accident happened and was almost detached and clinical at the moment but was later extremely emotional. Her father had a major stroke last year, and we actually just sold our house Friday in order to move closer to her parents to help take care of them in their old age.

While my wife has been a NICU nurse for a decade, she was a stepdown ICU nurse for 8 years. I realize that doesn't strengthen her case regarding her decision, but perhaps it adds context. She really is remarkable with babies and has saved many a life, but I can certainly understand why the circumstances of these events would paint her in a less than beneficial light.

In retrospect, I think my wife was in a state of shock. She's never lost anyone, and her dad's stroke is still fresh on her mind. I've lost both parents and four siblings plus plenty of friends my time in the service, so I have to look at her through a lens of empathy.

The internet continued to respond.

kv4268 wrote:

My father is currently dying from a brain bleed from a fall. He has fairly advanced Parkinson's and tried to walk without his walker. The nursing home didn't send him to the ER until his level of consciousness changed three days later. No idea if it would have made a difference, though. He's still bleeding into his brain 14 days later and is on hospice now. Head injuries should always be checked out in a hospital.

Smartquokka wrote:

As someone once said, a doctor who treats themself (or their own family) has a fool for a patient.

TitaniaT_Rex wrote:

I am so glad they went to the ER! I was shocked a NICU nurse would trust her judgement on a head wound. Finding out she was a step down nurse prior to that just confirms she hasn’t dealt with concussion protocol in years. Thank goodness was OP was able to convince them to go to the hospital.

sebeed wrote:

Honestly, and with all the vitriol in my body, f- the American health care system for what it does to people. Having to weigh cost against human safety is abominable and I do not envy any anyone who has to do so.

merpancake wrote:

My dad died from being hit by a car while biking. Not a high speed accident at all- he was crossing the intersection and the driver turned right on red and didn't see him. Dad never wore a helmet unless he was taking my kids out with him- and that's because I made it an ultimatum to wear it or don't take the kids out.

But it was a relatively low impact accident, and it still ki-led him. You don't f-k around with head injuries. You don't assume someone who is doing okay is unharmed. We thought Dad was pulling through for the first week.

Sources: Reddit
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