Friday, June 3, 2011

Pre-Vacation Brain Dump

We're on the countdown. I should be sleeping since I have to go to work in the morning and then we leave in the afternoon. I'm excited to see friends and family. I'm excited about traveling with A and getting the dogs transported. I'm excited about taking A out for day trips and hiking around in the hills. After all that is "home" even if I don't live there anymore. The one part of my trip that gives me any concern is seeing my father. I don't really know what to expect from the visit but I'm not expecting things to go well. Of course when I don't want to deal with something uncomfortable, my natural response is to avoid.

Since my dad had his stroke last August, I haven't shared much about him. When I left Ohio to return to Minnesota, I was surprised that dad was even still alive. He was not expected to make it through the weekend. He did and insisted to my brothers and I that he wanted to stay in Ohio. He absolutely did not want to return to Minnesota. I truly felt that when I drove away that would be the last time I would see my dad alive. But as bad as I felt for having to leave, my life had to continue and I had to come home; my life, work and most importantly A was here.  I honestly started to feel like I was going a little insane without her; like I was barely holding myself together. I drove home almost straight through feeling exhausted and  bruised.

Since I came home last August, Dad's health has been an up/down thing and now it seems that he's declining more both mentally and physically. His heart is weak, he has not regained much mobility on his left side and the medications used to prevent blood clots is so harsh that it alone causes additional complications. 

Last fall he started calling and telling me he wanted to return to Minnesota. He called us all hours of the day and night. He left multiple repetitive and angry messages on our phones and then became even more angry when we didn't answer (we were working). He wanted my brother and I to come get him. Even now when I talk to him he goes back and forth between knowing he can't do things to thinking he can come back here, live on his own and if he could just find his keys, he would go out, get in his truck and drive himself back. He was paranoid (that's not unusual for him) but it was worse than usual and he was manipulating family members to fight each other as well as for sympathy. These behaviors have decreased a little the past few months and I think it's because he'a failing more physically. Maybe he has just given up. 

I have been a caregiver for many patients with dementia and those suffering from conditions that have caused them loss of control over their world. I understand the psychology behind these behaviors but it's different being on the inside as a family member. It's hard to block the emotional part of things; take a deep breath, step back and think about what's really going on. 

Dad doesn't know I'm coming. I didn't tell any of my family until just a few weeks ago for different reasons. If dad knew I were coming to visit, he would be convinced that A and I are picking him up to drive him back. I didn't tell my mom because I didn't want her trying to hitch a ride. He has been manipulating her to the max these past months and I know his situation contributed to her mental/depression issues. Even when I told her a few weeks ago about out trip, she asked shocked if we were planning to bring him back in the RV! Seriously, I think she's delusional too! No matter how many times I talk to her about the medical risks, financial situation and liability involved, she just doesn't get it. In the end, I end up "being the bad person" for not giving a sick man what he wants. I say bullshit! Both my brothers and I believe that he is too medically unstable to transport and if he did come back here, he would have the same complaints. He would accuse us of not taking care of him too. And I know my mother well enough to know that dad wouldn't even be here 24 hours and she would be talking about how sick she was of him. 

Well I should try to get some sleep now. Maybe since I wrote these things down my brain will be lighter. I'm sorry if things don't make sense but I weary. I'm sure I'm just making more of this situation in my mind and reality will be much better. Here's hoping.


Ms. Moon said...

It's so hard not to get caught up in the emotion, to be the strong, sensible one. I'm sorry you have to go through this.

Mark said...

I've never heard of a brain dump before but I Love it!
I'm sure it feels good to get that off your chest. Take care. m.

Jess said...

When it is family it hard to be calloused, no matter how much you try to tell your brain and heart to hold it together!

This is a tough thoughts are with you guys. Try and enjoy the ride and when you are feeling down, just take a good hard look at those adorable puppies and things will feel a little bit better!!


tommy said...

It's never easy lady and while I wish I had the perfect thing to say, I do not... what I can do is remind you that you have a wonderful woman in your life who I'm sure is going to be there next to you every step of the way no matter how delusional your family is...and I'm sure that when the day is over she'll make you a kick ass margarita, give you a hug and remind you that it's all gonna be all right and sometimes while none of us have the perfect thing to say, having that in our lives is all we need :) Crazy situations or not :) Good Luck Doll and don't forget to lean on A as much as you need during this... enjoy your vacation and good call on the brain dump pre-vacation, sounds like you needed it... way to go into with a clear head.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your parents. What a damn pain in the ass for you. I guess we'll all be there at some point. I am dreading it in advance.

I love you and A. You know this. I look forward to meeting you face to face.


LilliGirl said...