DSS Mom wants my vet records - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-03-2010, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, I will try to make this brief. DP and I live together. We have 2 dogs and a cat (that are technically mine). DSS is here Thursday nights and every other weekend. DSS's Mom has demanded, several times, that DP give her copies of the vet records for my animals. DSS has previously had MRSA infections (I believe he picked them up from the children's hospital in our town, as he has had a few medical procedures there) and currently has a spot on his arm that has flared up. DSS's Mom has repeatedly told DP that dogs carry MRSA, hence the request for my vet records. DSS had his first MRSA infection before he ever started coming around my dogs. Oh, she also wants to know how I get the dogs groomed...I don't get them groomed, they are short hair dogs. So...to my point here, should I give her copies of the vet records?

I have 3 thoughts about this:

1. DSS's Mom and I don't speak and have never met. If she wants those records, she can contact me (she has my number and email address) and ask for them herself. After all, they aren't technically DP's pets, they are mine.

2. I'm not giving them to her, she can get a court order to get them from me. I think it's intrusive and overbearing. I think if we start appeasing these types of requests from her, they will just get worse.

3. I think it's ridiculous that she thinks my dogs gave DSS MRSA. Isn't it true that once you have it, you have it in your system forever and will experience flare-ups?

I would love your input about this, because I have a tendency to overreact to things...expecially where she is concerned. It is difficult to determine what is a reasonable request and what is completely over the top.

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Old 08-03-2010, 11:26 PM
 
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What stands out is that you expect her to contact you directly. I don't think so.
She should address concerns about the living conditions and situation of any home her ex lives at where her children visit, and that should be done through her ex absolutely. She should not contact you directly about her concern about her son, even if that concern is your pets that live at her ex's house.

The rest of it? I know nothing about MRSA, sorry .

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Old 08-03-2010, 11:29 PM
 
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My MRSA knowledge is pretty limited (which is pretty sad considering the fact that I just took Microbiology - we skipped all of the fun topics), so I cannot really speak as to whether of not animals carry/transmit MRSA.

I can speak to how this situation would have gone if it were our family (and it was taking place a few years back, so DSD's mom and I weren't that knowledgeable of each other): DSD's mom would have said something like this:

DSD's mom: Hey, I heard/the doctor mentioned that animals can transmit MRSA to humans. You wouldn't happen to know if pinksprklybarefoot's dog had it, do you?

DH: Uh, I don't know. I'll ask and let you know.

End of conversation.

Asking for documentation seems like game-playing to me. DH said that he would want to know why she wanted the documentation - why can't he just tell her? I would tell your DP the answer to the questions that she has and leave it at that.

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Old 08-03-2010, 11:31 PM
 
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What stands out is that you expect her to contact you directly. I don't think so.
She should address concerns about the living conditions and situation of any home her ex lives at where her children visit, and that should be done through her ex absolutely. She should not contact you directly about her concern about her son, even if that concern is your pets that live at her ex's house.


These sorts of things should always go through the parents. Her contacting you directly would really just stir up trouble.

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Old 08-03-2010, 11:34 PM
 
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Dogs can and do carry MRSA, and in a household with an infected child, I think it's more than reasonable to get the dog(s) screened to see if they're carriers or not.

I can't speak to the rest of the issue, though.

Doctors aren't out to kill you or your children. Childbirth isn't inherently safe. Science is actually smarter than your intuition. Lighten up. Use sunscreen.

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Old 08-03-2010, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She did ask DP...but for the records. He told her they are current on their shots and everything...but that wasn't good enough for her.

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Old 08-03-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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Ok, I will try to make this brief. DP and I live together. We have 2 dogs and a cat (that are technically mine). DSS is here Thursday nights and every other weekend. DSS's Mom has demanded, several times, that DP give her copies of the vet records for my animals. DSS has previously had MRSA infections (I believe he picked them up from the children's hospital in our town, as he has had a few medical procedures there) and currently has a spot on his arm that has flared up. DSS's Mom has repeatedly told DP that dogs carry MRSA, hence the request for my vet records. DSS had his first MRSA infection before he ever started coming around my dogs. Oh, she also wants to know how I get the dogs groomed...I don't get them groomed, they are short hair dogs. So...to my point here, should I give her copies of the vet records?

I have 3 thoughts about this:

1. DSS's Mom and I don't speak and have never met. If she wants those records, she can contact me (she has my number and email address) and ask for them herself. After all, they aren't technically DP's pets, they are mine.

2. I'm not giving them to her, she can get a court order to get them from me. I think it's intrusive and overbearing. I think if we start appeasing these types of requests from her, they will just get worse.

3. I think it's ridiculous that she thinks my dogs gave DSS MRSA. Isn't it true that once you have it, you have it in your system forever and will experience flare-ups?

I would love your input about this, because I have a tendency to overreact to things...expecially where she is concerned. It is difficult to determine what is a reasonable request and what is completely over the top.
I'd want to know exactly what she is looking for in the vet records.
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Old 08-03-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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well, if you feel that the pets are yours exclusively, i don't know that it is fair for you to expect this woman to view her child as part of your family unit- therefore it makes sense that she would talk to dp instead of to you regarding their child. what i mean is, more explicitly, that if you guys are in a partnership where things are "his" and "yours," do you really share his child? Are you guys married in other ways? I don't mean to imply that you need a legal/social bond (like formal marriage) to be partners or a family- i don't believe that at all. but how long have you been a part of your dp's kid's life? In what ways do you act as his stepmom? if you have a long-standing relationship with this child and love him as a family member and you and dp are in it for the long run, then i can see why you want his ex to talk to you directly- although it doesn't sound like you guys (you and the ex) are on good enough terms for that to be practical. maybe you could start a dialogue with her in another way? but if, in the end, she doesn't want to work with you, i'd just let her go. sometimes it is hard to discuss things with "the other woman," and this child is her son, so ultimately, she and your dp get to make those calls. also, it might just take time.

as far as giving her the vet records goes, i don't think i would do that. i don't know what mrsa is; if you think there is any chance the kid might have contracted it from your dogs, by all means take steps to make sure that problem is fixed. but i don't think there is any reason to discuss that with her, beyond assuring her (or having dp assure her) that you have the situation under control. either way- no vet records, if i were you.

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Old 08-03-2010, 11:40 PM
 
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My MRSA knowledge is pretty limited (which is pretty sad considering the fact that I just took Microbiology - we skipped all of the fun topics), so I cannot really speak as to whether of not animals carry/transmit MRSA.

I can speak to how this situation would have gone if it were our family (and it was taking place a few years back, so DSD's mom and I weren't that knowledgeable of each other): DSD's mom would have said something like this:

DSD's mom: Hey, I heard/the doctor mentioned that animals can transmit MRSA to humans. You wouldn't happen to know if pinksprklybarefoot's dog had it, do you?

DH: Uh, I don't know. I'll ask and let you know.

End of conversation.

Asking for documentation seems like game-playing to me. DH said that he would want to know why she wanted the documentation - why can't he just tell her? I would tell your DP the answer to the questions that she has and leave it at that.
This.

I'm afraid I would not be very charitable if my ex (or in this case my ex's partner?) asked for 'documentation' on the health/vax status of my animals.

As a matter of fact I think I'd be rather insulted if someone didn't take my word for it.

I do agree with the issues being addressed between the two parents however. My ex and I do all the communicating. If I'm at work during drop-off, my ex will tell my girlfriend things she needs to know about the kids, but any big issues from the weekend, or things he wants to talk about, he'll wait and talk to me.

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Old 08-03-2010, 11:46 PM
 
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I can attest to the fact that the childrens hospital in this town does carry MRSA. My son got it there as well. Totally reasonable to suspect that and not the dogs. I think she is over-the-top in demanding papers that wouldn't attest to the fact of whether or not your dogs have MRSA if they havent been screened for it. She isnt asking for a screening, she is just asking for the records. Its a control thing.
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Old 08-03-2010, 11:46 PM
 
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Ok let me explain MRSA.

MRSA can be carried by an animal. MRSA is also carried by countless humans say, in their nasal passages and they do not have symptoms, they are just carriers. However, if you have an active MRSA infection that is in your urine and causing you problems or coming up in your tests then you need treatment. Once MRSA is treated the active infection is gone. As far as I know you are either a carrier or you are actively infected. I don't think it lays dormant really. If that makes any sense. (I am a CNA, we see a lot of MRSA in the Urine or Nasal passages or in wounds). Carrying it in the nasal passages = not infected but carrying, in the Urine or a wound say = Infected.

It seems like a power trip to me. But in the long run, if it will make DP's life easier and things smooth with DSS's mom maybe you should oblige? IMO having a child with MRSA is awful. MRSA is scary and very difficult (painful). So if she thinks your dogs might be carriers she may be reallly worried. Just trying to think of it from either side.

I know this must feel childish and like an invasion of privacy and semi annoying but there are most likely reasons for her concern.

Also, you may not want her to contact you. Sometimes once they start contacting you, they never stop. Your their go-to person and it becomes awkward.

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Old 08-03-2010, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think that the pets are "mine" exclusively. We call them J's dogs, but they were mine before we were a we, that's what I was referring to. My DP didn't have pets of his own before we were together.

As for the MRSA, he had that before he ever even saw the pets, so I know he didn't get it here.

The reason I want her to ask me for them directly is that she doesn't believe him when he tells her things. I guess I don't know why I think she would believe me either...

I'm relatively new to the step-parenting role, so I wanted to do a check before I went off the deep end with this (I have a tendency to do that). I guess I have to learn to leave it alone when it comes to the dynamic between him and her...when it really isn't anything to do with me, it's about them and their relationship.

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Old 08-03-2010, 11:50 PM
 
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I think her fear may not be that is where he got it, but being through it and being scared he may get it again. Are you willing to get them tested? I mean she doesn't need all the records. If you have them tested and DP tells her the results and she still presses, then yeah, she is just controlling.

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Old 08-03-2010, 11:58 PM
 
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As for the MRSA, he had that before he ever even saw the pets, so I know he didn't get it here.


I'm relatively new to the step-parenting role, so I wanted to do a check before I went off the deep end with this (I have a tendency to do that). I guess I have to learn to leave it alone when it comes to the dynamic between him and her...when it really isn't anything to do with me, it's about them and their relationship.
As for the first part: well, there you go. Is the screening expensive? If it would give any of you any peace of mind (and prove your point!) you could just get it at the animals' next exam, not go out of your way or anything, but just as part of their normal routine.

As far as the second part: you sound like a grounded lady, who knows how to look at all sides of a situation and keep your head cool even when you are (rightfully!) incensed. Applause for that

I have had two step parents, and neither one of them had good relations with their exes (my mom and dad). At the same time, I have a dear cousin who likes her daughter's stepmom way more than her ex husband, and a couple of friends who are on more than decent terms with their kids' stepparents. I think it really just depends on the people and the amount of time that has passed, and the terms of the split/divorce... but don't worry. Whatever your relationship with her turns out to be, I'm sure you'll be a fantastic stepmom.

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Old 08-04-2010, 12:15 AM
 
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Crashing from new posts. MRSA is basically an antibiotic resistant staph infection, a very hardy bacteria. It is commonly acquired in hospitals however, has been lately found to cause nasty infections acquired in community settings as well. Think gyms, pools, etc.

Staph is everywhere. It's just a matter of the staph being present at the exact time YOU (general) are present with a break in the skin to acquire it. In hospitals, when people are sick and immunity resistance is down AND there are catheter openings and IV lines, yes you can get it in the blood, urine, etc. But in the community, it is usually skin affected.

Honestly, I've never, in almost 15 years of nursing, heard of it being acquired through animal transmission.

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Old 08-04-2010, 12:51 AM
 
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2...if we start appeasing these types of requests from her, they will just get worse.
That's right. I'm sure she's upset, esp. the way MRSA is portrayed in the media. But knowing the source of the MRSA infection is not going to change the fact that her son's fighting it. MRSA is everywhere, thanks to rampant overuse of antibiotics throughout our population. Even if he DID get it from your dog, that by no means implies you are to blame, or that you're unclean, or whatever else her aim may be, in requesting the records. It's pointless blame-seeking.

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3...Isn't it true that once you have it, you have it in your system forever and will experience flare-ups?
That's also correct, except the "will" should be a "may". Please allow our experience with MRSA to be a lesson for you, because I find it really scary - and people's reactions to it even scarier!

My husband contracted MRSA several years ago, while working at a children's hospital. Eventually, I got it and then my teenage sons (who were the only kids around us at that time). The twins spread it to their Dad and Step-Mom. Our two households approached it completely differently and my household appears to have conquered it, while my ex is STILL struggling with infections.

What I believe my ex did wrong are all the things which sound right! He began using every anti-bacterial product known to man. He went through gallons of instant hand sanitizer. Once a week, he soaks his entire body in diluted bleach. For a long time, each time he got an infection, he took major drugs. When a round of regular stuff didn't clear up his problem, his doctor just pulled out bigger and bigger guns, until - honest to God - he wound up taking IV antibiotics and some pill whose main use is the treatment of EBOLA...more than once! And his infections always lasted longer than the rest of ours - and, of course, he still gets them. And he's very healthy. He eats right, exercises, he's very fit and not even 40 yet. He doesn't usually get sick.

My husband and I (and the kids) did put extra effort into cleaning the house, scrubbing our nails, etc. We kept infections covered with both Band-Aids and clothing (whenever possible); used Mupirocin (a prescription cream like Neosporin that specifically targets MRSA) on the actual infected spot; and sprayed Lysol on bathroom surfaces touched by someone with an infection (although I don't know that Lysol actually kills MRSA, it may have only made us feel better). But beyond that, we did NOT o.d. on antibacterial products and did not take any systemic medicines. Although you hear scary stuff about MRSA, none of us (including my ex) have had anything worse than a really, really bad, deep, painful pimple. I just could not see taking IV medicines for something that - however uncomfortable, ugly and embarrassing - cleared up on its own in a week or two. If MRSA spread due to overuse of antibiotics, then using high-powered antibiotics to target non-life-threatening infections struck me as a formula to make MRSA resistant to even more medicines - and to breed MORE antibiotic-resistant bugs! I'm not opposed to medicine - but only when it's really needed. (And our family doctor thought the same.)

I (who have a great immune system, thanks to years teaching preschool) had a couple infections, then have never had another. My husband had flare-ups for a few months, but they were progressively smaller and shorter and he hasn't had one in years. So I believe he built up an immunity. The twins followed the same route, but it took a lot longer (I think because of all the excess measures when they're with their Dad - and him having started them on the ebola medicine without telling me and our doctor taking them off without finishing the course, due to the potential side-effects). My step-son and our baby (who both joined the household later) have never had infections. My ex has come around to the conclusion that I was right about not using the high-powered drugs...but for all I know he has already helped his MRSA morph into a worse, more resistant form and that's why he still struggles with it.

I know this is long, but two more helpful tidbits:
* One twin, who seemed to have licked it, had a bad outbreak this summer, after getting a blistering sunburn (with his Dad, not me!). So avoid that.
* Although many will advise you not to "pop" the pimples (really sorry to be so gross! I don't normally discuss such things), we DID - with latex gloves and face masks, then slathered Mupirocin on the wound. It was REALLY gross, but I think it helps to get all that infected stuff out, so it can start healing and quit festering. I think this is why our infections tended not to last as long.

Good luck!

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Old 08-04-2010, 01:50 AM
 
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What is it she thinks she will find in the vet records? Is there something specific she is looking for?

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Old 08-04-2010, 08:31 AM
 
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In her situation I would be adamant about examining every possibility of reinfection, but I would never ask for someone's vet records! I think a control issue may be a big factor in this situation. But I would still humor her to some extent, in case she truly is worried that her child will be reinfected.

My relationship with my vet (when I still had my dog) was such that I could call her up and explain that my stepson had MRSA around my dog and ask if he could be a carrier. She wouldn't have a problem writing a letter of explanation as to why she felt the testing wasn't necessary, or testing them and writing a letter explaining the results if necessary. Could you call your vet and see what they say? Even if you can't get documentation, the fact that you called to get professional advice may help.

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Old 08-04-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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First off, yes, if you give in to her absurd demands then she will continue trying to control your life. If she wants to know something about the animals and their health, she can ask -- I think that could make sense, depending -- but demanding the records is just about control.

Can you find out what she wants to learn? And maybe call your vet and see if it makes sense? If she's worried about her son, then I would do what I could to assuage that without letting her run the show. Maybe your vet will have a useful insight.

On communication -- people have their own ideas on this. My view is that your DP and his ex have no "relationship" in the traditional sense anymore -- that has ended. What they have is more like a business partnership. And if you are a stepmom (not sure what definition to use for that), then you are a part of that business. It's not unreasonable at all to expect someone who is dealing with your partner on issues regarding your family to deal with you directly too. It is a matter of respect and I get it completely.

However, be careful what you wish for. You may find you don't want that drama and yuck that comes with it. I don't deal with my DH's ex because I don't want to anymore. We tried it, and it was actually smoother some ways (both being female and being more planner types than my DH, things were logistically much easier). We were both much more polite (not knowing each other well), and it was ok. BUT, it was a lot of work, and frankly, I have decided it's DH's job to deal with her. I never married this person, and while DH does consult me and represents our views when he deals with her, I have stopped dealing with her directly for the most part. I agree with many PPs that it is usually easier to just stay out of it.

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Old 08-04-2010, 12:26 PM
 
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On communication -- people have their own ideas on this. My view is that your DP and his ex have no "relationship" in the traditional sense anymore -- that has ended. What they have is more like a business partnership. And if you are a stepmom (not sure what definition to use for that), then you are a part of that business. It's not unreasonable at all to expect someone who is dealing with your partner on issues regarding your family to deal with you directly too. It is a matter of respect and I get it completely.
No, they are not in a "business relationship". They are co-parents.

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Old 08-04-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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I feel that both women are doing a little power tripping.

All's I did was do a MRSA pets and the top link was below
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23580386/

Carrier pets
http://www.fountia.com/transmission-mrsa-dogs

Yes, your pets could be compounding to an issue. But, the proper request is to ask your partner (her ex) to have your pets screened. Shot records and vet records won't show MRSA but a screening looking for it might. It is more than reasonable to request that your pets be screened for it, since this child is having issues. You want to eliminate all possible sources.

She has a legitimate concern that as a step mom you should respect. You don't have to respect giving all your pets medical records. You should show concern and have your pets examen for MRSA.
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:57 PM
 
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Okay, so I am in a unique position in that I am on both sides of this. My almost ex-DH and I have two biological children, but he also has two other children that I consider to be my own; #1 son wasn't quite two when bio mom removed herself from the picture, I have been the one and only mom for him and his sister for almost 8 1/2 years. They live with the ex, because I have no legal claim to them, but I will continue to be a huge presence in their lives even after their father and I are legally split, because they are mine in every other way other than biologically. If that means making myself a pain in his butt when he's being cagey about what's going on with them, then so be it; I will be polite, I will not throw tantrums, I will not make unreasonable requests or do anything that will upset my children, but I will be as charmingly stubborn as I need to be when it comes to acquiring pertinent information pertaining to the well-being of my children. I know what it's like to be sitting at home wondering what's going on with your kids when they are at the ex's; not only do I have the two who live with my ex, but I also have to send my 2 year-old and my 4 year-old for regular visits with him. He currently lives with my fil, who is depressed and constantly cycling himself onto and off of his meds, and my mil, who is an alcoholic. I chew my fingernails to the quick when my younger kids are with their dad, I don't take a deep breath until they make it home safe and sound. I know that your DP's ex may just be trying to make trouble, but what if she's not? What if she's genuinely worried about her kid and just wants some extra reassurance that he's okay when she can't be there to watch out for him? I don't think you should hand over your vet records, but I don't think that it would hurt to have your vet either test the dogs and write a letter stating that they are all clear, or just write a letter stating the reasons why she is sure that your dogs are no danger to your DSS.

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Old 08-04-2010, 12:59 PM
 
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No, they are not in a "business relationship". They are co-parents.
I wish it were a business relationship - then I could delegate.

All joking aside, I do see some of violet's pov - but I would not be willing to discuss things with my ex's partner beyond very surface/light issues.

Just as he's not really comfortable discussing anything past 'Um, here are the kids bathing suits from the beach today. Sorry they have sand in them. Oh, and they ate at four, and the toddler only slept for an hour today'.

Anything deeper to do with the kids would be between their father and I - their parents. Period.

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Old 08-04-2010, 01:16 PM
 
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I don't think it's an absurd demand at all. And it could be that the details of her request were lost in translation. If I were the mom of a child with recurrent MRSA infections, I would want to do everything in my power to help them beat it. If I read, or heard on the news, that they're discovering that the infection can be spread to people from the family pet, I'd certainly want to check it out. So I can only imagine she wants to know if your pets have been specifically screened for MRSA (they probably haven't). If I were you, for the sake of my SS, I'd take the animals to the vet. If they don't have it (and they probably don't), you can rule it out. If they do, they can be treated.

About the contacting you directly thing: you say you've never met this woman, but her son is in your and your partner's home on a regular basis. Can I then assume correctly that this is a relatively new relationship? If I were the mom, and I had not yet met my ex's girlfriend, I wouldn't be comfortable contacting her directly. If you two had a relationship of your own established, then sure, but it actually seems more respectful of you, the child and her ex the way she did it. It really is between her and the father of the child. It only involves you because they're your animals and you have the records and the responsibility for taking them to the vet.
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Old 08-04-2010, 02:57 PM
 
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So what I'm hearing from her is that her son was sick with a scary thing. She wants to make sure her son doesn't get it again? and doesn't know that kinda of record wouldn't be in Vet records and would need a separate test. I would assume shes going based off of what she knows...that animals can be carriers.

OR she is assuming that her EX was around before he is saying he was and she things it may have originated with you animals?

Either way I'd talk to your vet about writing a letter about pets not needing to be tested or give her some research to ease her mind about the pets. She is being a concerned Mom, even if there are other things going on. I don't think its about power (giving her all records however is not something I would do. It is not information that she needs.)

As a parent, if I felt I was loosing control over the safety of my child (which you do when your ex has them) then I would be concerned. I also agree that either information was lost in the translation or she is going about this the wrong way. Either way I think she has valid concerns as a parent and you job as a now co parent (which you've become) is to recognize her role.

Its easy to go on the defense, I probably would, but I'm trigger happy .

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Old 08-04-2010, 02:59 PM
 
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While I would not give her all the vet records I would take my pets to the vet, explain the other mom's concerns and get the vet to write a letter saying your pets are not carriers for this.
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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I wouldn't give her my records since aren't going to tell her anything. I would however offer to take my animals in for a check at her expense if she is worried and then give her the record from THAT visit.

Since you weren't together then could she be searching to see if you were? Perhaps thinking she is going to catch DP in a lie?

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Old 08-04-2010, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I called my vet's office and they are going to check with the vet and get back with me tomorrow. I have a bad feeling that this is going to be expensive.

It's just so hard with her to determine what is a valid request out of genuine concern and what is her trying to be controlling and manipulative. She does think that he was around me WAY before he ever was and thinks DP is lying to her. It's hard to want to give her anything that she can use against us in the future, should she so choose (she has a track record of this).

Thanks for the input!

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Old 08-04-2010, 07:25 PM
 
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I wouldn't give her my records since aren't going to tell her anything. I would however offer to take my animals in for a check at her expense if she is worried and then give her the record from THAT visit.

Since you weren't together then could she be searching to see if you were? Perhaps thinking she is going to catch DP in a lie?
If the child has a serious condition that could be made worse/caused to come back by the pets then they should be tested. If these were my animals possibly making my child sick I would certainly test them. The fact that the child has to visit these animals means that the OP and her DP need to have them tested. Why should the mother have the entire expense?
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:58 PM
 
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If the child has a serious condition that could be made worse/caused to come back by the pets then they should be tested. If these were my animals possibly making my child sick I would certainly test them. The fact that the child has to visit these animals means that the OP and her DP need to have them tested. Why should the mother have the entire expense?
(I could be wrong about this.) My understanding is that if the animals were carriers of MRSA most likely other people in the household would also be battling infection. The fact that no one but this kid (who had the infection BEFORE meeting the animals) means that the animals are not likely to be a problem. If the mother wants an expensive, unnecessary test done for her peace of mind she should pay for it.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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