Saturday, August 29, 2015

In which I try to be nice to Doris when Primo hands her the phone

Primo: I'm on my way to the hospital. They thought they were going to do the surgery today so my mom was under orders not to eat as of midnight last night. Then they didn't do the surgery and she didn't get to eat until late afternoon. I am taking her some frozen yogurt.

Me: Good. Lots of calories.

Primo: She doesn't like the high-calorie shakes at the hospital.

Me: Those are nasty. I used to go to Wendy's to get shakes for my dad.

Primo: My dad is starting to get emotional. He hasn't admitted guilt, but when they did the scan today, they had to give my mom iodine. She is allergic, so they also had to give her steroids. They were having a hard time with her veins and she was saying it hurt so much and my dad was by her and he was crying.

Me [long pause]: It sounds awful.

Primo: She told me she was in such pain that she thought she would rather be dead. My dad was shocked.

Me: But she has expressed suicidal thoughts to you many times.

Primo: Yeah, but my dad didn't know that she had shared that sort of thing with me.

Me: Hmmm.

Primo: They might do the surgery tomorrow. They think for sure they are going to put a blocker in her vein to keep blood clots from getting to her heart. They might do the orthopedic surgery then as well.

Me: I hope it goes well. Have you thought of maybe taking a photo of you and Nancy to put by her bed? And maybe some flowers?

Primo: No! I haven't even gotten her flowers.

Me: You've been sucked into the details. But flowers or a plant. Some of her books. And she hasn't had her hair washed for a week.

Primo: The nursing homes I toured have salon services one day a week.

Me: Pay them to give her a pedicure and a manicure. She has never had one and it would be a nice thing for her.

Primo: That's a nice idea. Hey. I'm almost at her room. You're being so nice and supportive - would you talk to her?

Me: Oh man! Really?

Primo: Please. She feels so awful.

Me: Fine. But only for one minute. You break in and say the yogurt is melting.

Doris: Hi Goldie.

Me: Hi Doris. I am so sorry you are not doing well.

Doris: I am in pain.

Me: I'm sorry. It sounds like nobody there knows what's going on, either.

Doris: No. Every day, it's a different story.

Me: I was telling Primo that maybe he could bring you some books tomorrow.

Doris: I can't read. I can't watch TV.

Me: So you're in pain, it's boring, and the food is probably not very good.

Doris: Yes.

Me: I am sorry. I have been praying for a quick, easy surgery.

Doris: I am sorry for ruining your lives and taking Primo away from you these past months.

Me: Well, it's not like you did this on purpose. [Although if they had moved into assisted living two years ago and if Sly hadn't been so stupid, this would not be happening. However, Doris is not the one who got drunk and fell on her own knees. It is Sly in whose face I want to stick my finger and scream, "What the F were you thinking? You let a frail, malnourished woman lie immobile and in horrible pain for FOUR DAYS - after YOU fell on her and injured her - and DID NOT CALL FOR HELP? What kind of miserable SOB are you?"]

Doris: I am sorry.

Me: Let's just get you better and then let's get you in a situation where you will be more comfortable.

Doris: Thank you. And I am sorry for taking your husband away.

Me: Well, he is your son. You did have him first.

Doris: I loved him so much.

Me: Doris, you did a great job raising him. You raised a wonderful man. You have a wonderful son.

Doris [crying]: OK. I better not get maudlin.

Me: No. Don't do that.

Doris: I will give you back to Primo.

Me: OK. Feel better.

In which Doris is going to have surgery and then not going to have surgery and now we don't know

Yesterday, they discovered that Doris had more damage to her knees - yes, plural - knees than they thought. They finally got consensus on what to look at and what not to look at and the news is that it is bad.

However, it was the hand guy looking at the scans and not the knee guy, so the hand guy wasn't sure if it would be plates or screws or what. It would be something. Surgery would be today or tomorrow. Or sometime.

This morning, Primo messaged me. Surgery today.

I told him to tell Doris I was praying for her.

He replied that he was not comfortable using that kind of language. I wanted to shoot something back about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Primo is not a big picture guy and he picks tiny hills to die on sometimes.

I said that quoting is not endorsing and unless he thought Doris would be insulted by the concept, to tell her. Otherwise, say nothing. Sheesh. I DO NOT CARE. I WANT THIS DONE.

We had also spoken yesterday about planning. I suggested that the next steps would be to identify and place a deposit at an assisted living place and get bids from a senior moving place and Primo was all, "Woooo! We don't even have my mom in a nursing home yet!"

So we settled on his putting together a suitcase for Doris for the rehab center. Even that was tough. "We don't know when she's actually going," he protested.

I suggested that the timing would probably not make much difference in what she needed - no matter when she goes, she will need some clothes and her own nightgown and her own toiletries and some books and maybe a few family photos.

Primo agreed and told me I am really good at this, which I am. I am the person you want around in a crisis.

So Doris was going to have her surgery this morning, which was good because it increased her chances of moving to the rehab center either before Primo's planned departure date or after it but not on it. If she needs to move to rehab on the day Primo is planning to leave, he might feel compelled to stay to supervise.

(Me: Is there a social worker or someone at the hospital you can talk to about this? They probably are actually pretty used to doing this sort of thing and can do it without a family member present.

Primo: I don't like her. She is condescending.

Me: [OK SLY.] ][Sigh.] That doesn't matter. Is she competent?

Primo: I don't know. But I guess I either need to trust her or do everything myself.)

But then she didn't have the surgery because she has COPD, there are some issues with her breathing, and because they are worried about blood clots from the knees, etc, etc, etc.

So now we don't know what's happening.

This will never end.

Friday, August 28, 2015

In which Primo thinks he wants to throw cheese again

Did I tell you about the cheese-throwing fight Primo and I had the last time he came home from Sly and Doris?

It was really more of a cheese-throwing tantrum that I watched and thought, "Yeah, he is always super cranky when he returns from his parents' and he always picks a fight and this should last about another 20 minutes, so whatever." I just stood and watched and listened and was bored.

So now Doris has damage in her other knee - both knees are damaged - and they might want to do surgery in a few days but they don't know yet and Primo thinks she might not be in a rehab center before he is scheduled to leave and thinks he should not leave until she is settled.

I just want this whole thing to be done.

He is not happy.

He wrote, "If I need to change my travel plans, I may want to throw cheese."

I suggested he throw it at Sly, as Sly and Doris are allegedly lactose intolerant, even though they are very happy to eat our expensive $24 a pound Carr Valley cheese and make an entire meal of it and then not be hungry for the supper that Doris sighs and says I should not have gone through the trouble to make, although if I had not made supper, you can believe I would have heard about that.

Plus Sly and Doris buy crummy cheese. Throw the cheap cheese. Don't throw the good cheese.

In which I discuss next steps

So Primo and I had an IM fight, I guess, where I was telling him that no, it would not be acceptable for him to take another year off work, and no, I am not sympathetic to his father, who is the one who caused this problem, and really, I have already had my parental medical drama and if my father could have gotten rid of his cancer by not drinking alcohol, he would have, so please do not ask me for sympathy for a drunk who caused his own problems, and no, Primo probably cannot force Sly to hire in-home help, and Sly and Doris need to have a PLAN within the next month.

Primo said, "But my mom is incapable of making decisions and my dad is in shock."

I said then Primo needed to make the decisions.

Primo said that Sly and Doris think they want to go to the place in Atlanta but that would require a lot of work and they would have to leave their doctors.

I said that Sly and Doris were going to have to make some sacrifices - that Primo could not be expected to make all the sacrifices just so they could have things their way.

Then I said that Sly and Doris needed to identify two or three assisted living places where they could live and get on the waiting lists. I also said they need to start interviewing and getting bids from one of those senior relocation services.

Primo didn't know what I was talking about, so I sent him some links. Then I texted a friend of mine who owns an estate sale business, which is related to senior relocation. I asked him what certifications and/or licensing I should look for in such a service - explained I wanted to find three solid services where Sly and Doris live so they could get estimates now and maybe start working now on clearing out some of the clutter.

They can afford this.

It is not Primo's job (he keeps saying he does not want this job, so I am offering him an out) to help his financially-able parents to get the junk out of their house.

My friend wrote back and told me he would have someone on his staff do the research for me and provide me with three good prospects.

I told Primo, who asked, "How come you're so resourceful while I'm all 'Woooooo!'"

I answered it was because I am not as close to the situation, but it's more that I refuse to let this crap drag on for months and months and months. This is not why I agreed to a sabbatical for Primo - he has spent five weeks now (it will be six when he returns next week) at Sly and Doris' in the past six months dealing with their issues, issues that could have been prevented if they had not dithered.

Primo asked, "What if I had still been working while all this was happening?"

I said, "Then they would have been forced to deal with their problems by themselves."

Yeah. I am not a nice person.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

In which Primo declines to assign blame

1. My sister is the only person I can tell the truth to. She is the only one I can admit things to about Sly and Doris.


2. Summary of conversation Primo and I have been having over the past three days:

Me: Has your dad admitted fault?

Primo: It's not about assigning blame right now.

Me: It is always about assigning blame with him and with you.

Primo: Right now, I just have to deal with the situation.

Me: You never want to just deal with the situation when it involves me. Has he admitted fault? It is his fault!

Primo: Even if he knows that, do you really think he would ever admit it?

Me: No.

Primo: He keeps claiming he doesn't remember anything about the fall.

Me: How convenient.

Primo: I think he knows and he will have to live with that knowledge the rest of his life.


3. Primo: I certainly can't be expected to look for a job under these circumstances.

Me: I not only looked for and found a job while my dad was dying, I moved halfway across the country. So. Yes. I certainly expect it.

Primo: This is different.

Me: Yes. My dad wasn't an asshole. Nobody got drunk and fell on my dad and put him in the hospital.


4. Primo: I think my mother might be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life and it's all my dad's fault.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

More stupid Sly stuff and Doris is still in the hospital

1. Did I tell you they thought Doris might have broken some vertebrae? As in, Sly might have broken her back?

Turns out there was no damage, but her knee is pretty bad. She is in the hospital and will go to a rehab center in a few days. Primo spent two days touring the places the hospital suggested and said that Doris agrees with his choices. (I am thinking she is not exactly in a position to be choosy, but whatever.)(If I were Doris, I would be so excited at the prospect of six weeks away from Sly and at the prospect of someone else preparing my food and maybe meeting some nice people and not being criticized all the time.)

2. Sly admitted to Primo that I am not, after all, a golddigger.

"But I am still that c*** who tries to steal your love from him, right?" I asked.

Primo laughed. "Yes."

3. Primo and Sly had to warn the hospital that alcohol withdrawal might be an issue with Doris. Hospital wanted Primo or Sly to spend the night in Doris' room after that announcement and Primo was all, "But why?"

I'm with Primo. My mom, my sister, and I took turns spending the night in the room with my dad when he was first in the hospital. Not comfortable - it was just in a chair - but my dad had gained about 40 lbs of water weight, we still didn't have a diagnosis, thanks to Christmas and an ice storm in Germany where his tests were done (he was medevaced from the base hospital in Sicily to the military hospital in Germany and then to the US), and my dad was in awful pain. We were all scared to death and so upset that we did not want my dad to be alone.

My dad was not going through alcohol withdrawal. Say what you want, but alcoholism is not a disease the way cancer is. If my dad could have stopped his cancer by not drinking, he would have. Anyone would.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I have run out of titles - but let me sum it up: Sly is a big fat jerk who severely injured his own wife because of his drunkeness

  • Primo


    Lots of bad news today. I will copy you on an email to the family.
  • Me


    Oh no. I was getting worried when I hadn't heard from you

  • Primo


    Perhaps I will sing the Song of Something Bad Happened while writing the email.
  • Primo


    I still haven't sent the email. It's really bad. The MRI revealed serious knee damage, and she may have a fractured vertebra (back X-rays were just taken today). She is looking at several weeks in a nursing/rehab facility.

    This is the crisis I've been afraid of.

    I am out looking at a couple of the rehab facilities.