A woman took to Reddit’s “Am I the A**hole” forum and said she called her sister “mean” and “cruel” for how she treated her son who needed to undergo an MRI.
In her post, SmudgestC wrote that her nephew has always been uncomfortable with being confined and preferred to move freely. However, she said her sister believes that it is just a phase.
The issue at hand came when the Redditor’s nephew had to undergo some testing that led to the need for an MRI when a scan showed he had a mass in his brain. The machines that are used for these scans involve being enclosed in a tight space. SmudgestC went to the appointment with her sister and nephew and asked her sister if she explained to him what he should expect, which she said she did not.
“It’s a quiet drive and when we arrive, as predicted, my nephew has a mental breakdown when they try to put him in the MRI machine,” the Redditor recalled. “He’s sobbing, shaking, sweating and trying to hide behind the trash can.”
She said her sister tried to force him on the table, but doctors could not move forward with the procedure because he could not settle down.
In an update, SmudgestC explained she tried to calm him down and explain that the MRI machine would not hurt him, but it was too late and he could not be consoled.
When they got back to the car, the Redditor said her sister began yelling at her nephew: “‘Why are you so stupid,’ ‘You wasted my time for nothing,’ ‘Are you happy now,’ ‘You can say goodbye to all your things.'”
After her nephew fell asleep on the drive home, SmudgestC told her sister that the incident was her fault because she didn’t prepare him for the process despite knowing that he is claustrophobic.
“I told her she was mean and acting cruel to her son,” she wrote.
A piece published with Intermountain Medical Imaging stated that there are some steps that those who suffer from claustrophobia can take to avoid a panic attack, including asking questions about the test beforehand, listening to music and stretching before the process begins.
“During the MRI, you’re asked to be as still as possible and this can be difficult for some people,” the piece read. “The desire to stretch or adjust your position while you are in the MRI can be overwhelming.”
Although someone can take precautions before their MRI, there are times, Intermountain Medical Imaging pointed out, individuals feel too anxious and may want to speak with a doctor about medication.
Her sister tried to defend herself and said she was stressed out, but SmudgestC said it was her job as a parent to not take her frustrations out on him when he is scared. At one point, she noted, he asked if he was going to die.
“After she dropped me off, she sent me a long text calling me an [a**hole] for saying she’s being mean and a bad mom and since I don’t have kids I wouldn’t understand her struggle,” the Redditor wrote.
The majority of the comments sided with SmudgestC.
“God knows the long term damage she’s done to her child’s mental well-being or even their relationship as a whole,” a comment read.
Another person pointed out that the Redditor’s sister did not try to reassure the young child throughout the process and make him feel more at ease.
“It’s one thing for her to be stressed, and it’s another thing for her to completely ignore her child’s emotional needs then verbally abuse him for not acting correctly,” a Redditor wrote.
One commenter related to the Redditor’s sister in their own parenting journey but urged her to seek a therapist.
“I agree that your sister’s handling of this is atrocious. She’s probably confused, frustrated and embarrassed about everything that’s happening and she’s not responding well at all,” the comment read. “She doesn’t know how to help him and she won’t until she starts talking to someone who will.”
In another update, SmudgestC wrote that her sister called her and asked that she take her nephew. She continued and said their mother also criticized her for how she treated the Redditor’s nephew.
“I will be taking care of him and she will send me child support money for his care,” the Redditor noted. “We both believe it’s what is best for him and she admits she needs to reevaluate her life and behavior.”