Tuesday, September 15, 2015

In which Sly has cancer, but not pancreatic cancer, Doris is having cognitive problems, and Primo is resorting to ice cream

It's been a few days. It's been stressful. I want this to be over. But it won't be. Our summer is going to be shot.

This is stressful. Primo is not going to tell Sly and Doris to dammit, would they just focus and take care of things.

My sister pointed it out to me. "I have friends who are adult children of alcoholics," she said. "They are not like us. They have been raised with the guilt and the sense that they have to take care of their parents. You are not going to make him do anything. Just support him. If you try to turn him against his parents, he will resent you."

She is right.

Little things over the past week or so:

1. If there is a funeral, I have asked Primo if it could be scheduled around my friend Leigh's visit. It's not like there would be anyone attending a funeral for Sly or Doris besides Primo and perhaps his half brothers, maybe their wives/ex-wives, and perhaps their children. Sly and Doris have no friends in the area. My friend Leigh is visiting for the first time in six years. I think we can schedule a funeral around her visit. Primo agrees.

2. In the 36 hours that Primo was home, he brought into our house an old magazine he had found at Sly and Doris' house - a 1981 issue of Life. The magazine did not have a story about Sly or an article about Doris. I think it had the Rolling Stones on the cover. Primo's sister had saved it. In 1981. Sly and Doris moved that magazine - if you have never moved, you might not know that you often pay movers by the pound and books and magazines are not lightweight - halfway across the country. Correction. They paid someone to move a magazine that had been in their house since 1981 halfway across the country.

3. Primo was on his way to visit Doris and couldn't talk to me for very long because Doris of "Sly and Doris are so refined and cultured and other retirement home residents would be intimidated by us" just had to watch Barbara Walters interview Bruce Jenner about his sex change.

4. Doris is refusing PT. Primo said she does not want to talk about what is going on with Sly and his cancer.

4a. Sly does have cancer, but it is duodenal cancer in his pancreas or something like that. It is not pancreatic cancer. He will have surgery in two weeks. Which means Primo will be gone again.

4. I think Doris is finally letting herself get angry at Sly and I am wondering what took so long. First, she is refusing PT, which is not helpful at all and a factor in the reason Medicare will no longer be paying for her care. But refusing PT hurts only her so I don't get it. But maybe she is good and ticked at Sly and is punishing herself to get back at him? I don't know. That doesn't seem very smart. But I don't blame her for saying she is really not interested in hearing about Sly's problems - she has enough of her own.

And she is forgetting things, like that she just talked to Primo two hours ago. That is a problem when he calls when they have been drinking, ie, any day after 3 p.m. our time, but she has not, as far as we know, had a drink for the past three weeks.

But she is foggy and forgetful and has no interest in doing anything at all - not reading, not watching TV, not playing cards. Primo is very concerned.

5. The will is still not done. It has not been done for six or seven years. Sly says he needs to know what Ted and Jack will inherit from their mother. Ted and Jack say they don't know. I guess there is NO POSSIBLE WAY TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION.

In related news, my aunt is married to a divorced man with children. When my mom moved to the same town as my aunt, my aunt said, "You have to meet [husband's] ex. She is fabulous. You guys will like each other."

When it would have been uncle's and ex's 50th wedding anniversary, they threw a party.

What was I saying about how there is no possible way Sly could find out what his ex-wife has put in her will? No way at all.

6. Primo found out yesterday that Medicare will no longer be paying for Doris' care. He had until today noon to file an appeal.

I do not have a problem with Medicare's decision: Medicare should not be paying for custodial care.

However - more than a day's notice would be nice.

7.  With Primo gone, I am doing all the housework and all the yardwork. I had gotten spoiled, coming home to a house where the trash had been taken out and the mail brought in and sorted and the bed made and the laundry done and the dishes done and the snow shoveled/grass cut.

Now Primo is gone and I am doing everything. I told Primo that he should charge his parents for his time and for the loss of consortium. "Your dad did that, remember?"

"I don't remember that."

"When your mom fell and broke her wrist in the hospital. Your dad, late 70s, sued for loss of consortium. Because your mom has been so eager to consort."

"He watches porn now."

"Ew. Has he invited you to watch it with him?"

"NO! That would be so disgusting. NO!"


  1. It sounds more and more like what Primo needs is not just you, but a support group that can help him let go of the idea that their disasters are his responsibility to deal with. When he has to work harder than they will to deal with their lives. To hear and have reinforced that such a concept is Guano Loco. Al-Anon is probably the easiest to find, but not the only one. There are also caretaker support groups that would give him much of the same reassurance.

    And knowing that he is working on that issue might make it easier for you to support him as he struggles with figuring this out?

    Btw - from long experience dealing with people like Sly "I don't know how much their mother is going to leave them, but if you rely on that to make your decision, you're probably going to end up leaving them a lot less or more than you want when you die without a will and have no say at all in how much they get. Maybe you shouldn't count on that info. Especially since you don't seem to be having any luck getting it."

  2. If Doris is on pain pills, they could be causing her to feel depressed and lethargic. She might also become addicted to them, for added complication.

    I know this is not real time and may be over and done with but if Sly is so determined to not leave each son an equal portion, he could split it in half by wife and give Primo 50% and the two step brothers 25% each.

    Sorry for all these troubles.


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