I feel your pain…Had one myself the other day. Up in my face, literally calling me to the room every 2 minutes to put mom on the bedpan, fluff her pillow, dress her wounds, on and on. I had a new CVA in my trauma room and a critically ill patient in my other room. I finally went to my charge nurse and offered to pay her to discharge "mom" home for me. She looked at me and rolled her eyes and said, "why does this feel like a set up"? I told her if I went back in that room, I'd probably lose my job as I was going to tell the guy that his expectations were ridiculous and that I wouldn't be coming back in any time soon. This was after I had repeatedly responded to the room and in between requested he not wait in the hallway or at the nurses station for me……Our team is usually very good with running interference with families like this-but the team was overwhelmed with multiple critically ill patients all at the same time, so, I was on my own. Oh, mom and the critically ill patient were tag teaming code browns so much so team members getting supplies from the supply closet asked, "who in the world? Where is that coming from? What??" I just said, "that's my circus". Everyone in our department knows what that means.
Anyway, I'm usually very good at diffusing difficult family dynamics and usually hold my own, but that particular family member was extra trying and I had a LOT going on in my other rooms (code stroke and full septic work up with cultures, lactic, fluid resuscitation, and antibiotics. I think we all have days/nights when we need backup from our team members.
When I have un-welcomed, extra inquisitive questions from patients/patient family members about my private life, I redirect back to the care of the patient and treatment plan of care. If that doesn't work, I usually, laughingly, say something like, "How about we focus on getting you better and back to your life"? That usually conveys that I'm not willing to give out personal details. If they persist, I can make an excuse to leave the room to gather supplies or equipment.
As far as the engagement ring comment, I probably would have said something really snarky like, "I saw it, I liked it, I bought it for myself". That would have started a whole new conversation though...