How can I give you "advanced notice" if, for example, the efforts of a physical therapist weaken your sister to the point where I do not feel comfortable leaving her alone to, for example, shop for groceries? Things, if you haven’t noticed, change rapidly.
One minute, all of her vitals (blood pressure, oxygen saturation, etc.) will be normal; sixty minutes later, she'll vomit and demand last rites, but thirty minutes after that, she'll be all set to climb Mount Everest. This doesn't happen every day, no, but it happens. If there is an emergency, believe me, I will inform you--that is, when I call from an Emergency Room. Remember, your sister is a fragile woman, and I count on YOU when our neighbor is unavailable, because your older brother, who typically visits only once a year, is INSANE, and your niece, as a rule, is MIA. But more importantly, does it not trouble you in the least that I rely on a neighbor MORE than I do a blood relative? Yes, I understand that your wife is ALSO insane, but she is still capable--is she not?--of fending for herself.
I am curt on the phone because it COSTS ME MONEY. Therefore, if I ask, "What time are you available?" I expect an EXACT time, I DO NOT WANT TO NEGOTIATE; if you are unavailable, or if the time you offer does not work for me, I'll figure something else out. Mind you, I've been doing this for ELEVEN years. I have become quite adept at working around your sister’s issues as they spring up. But make no mistake, if you, a mobile, grown adult, EXPECT financial support from a woman who has essentially raised you and provided for you throughout your life, given you money to finance your house and all of your failed little business ventures--not to mention money for basic expenditures--(while, for the past eight years, you have gone on cruises, African safaris, mountain climbing expeditions, to PGA golfing tournaments, bought car after car after car, and brought a baby lama home to raise in your backyard), you need to be available, from time to time, to support HER. Otherwise, I will not support her support of YOU. As I have warned you many, many times, if you cannot put your house into fiscal order, it will be done for you, one way or another. True, she may not have been the greatest sister, but I seriously doubt she was ever the verbally abusive and manipulative woman your current wife has been to both of us (let alone the manipulation your second wife got away with).
To be clear, I am not asking for everyday help, nor am I asking for your presence at the exact time of my call. I am usually asking for your help on the day that I call, BUT AT YOUR CONVENIENCE. And, of course, IF I KNOW that I'll need help a day or two or a week or a month in advance, I will inform you. Again, if it is not convenient when I ask, I will find another way.
And contrary to what you might now believe, I do not hate you (if I did, I would have cut my ties with you, as I did with my biological mother, years ago), but I honestly wonder about the degree to which you allow your wife to control you (somehow, I imagine that statement makes me sound a lot like her). Yes, I chose to care for my aunt, and, to some degree, I will likely have to take care of you. Why? Because that is what any sane relative with half a conscious would do! How do you not understand that??? When I ask for help, all I expect is your presence, for, at most, an hour--and, again, at your convenience--nothing more. No heavy lifting required.