Thursday, September 24, 2015

In which Doris talks about suicide AGAIN which is not stressful for Primo at all

Primo: My mom is talking about going to Oregon so she can commit suicide.

Me: She would never last the trip.

Primo: Nope.

Me: So I guess she would reach her objective one way or another.

In which Primo returns to his mom and dad's four days earlier than planned

If Sly were standing in front of me right now, I would punch him in the nose.

It's a good thing we don't own a gun.

I would use it.

Primo came home last Saturday. He had been gone for a month, with one quick weekend home. He was supposed to be here until Tuesday. In this time, we were going to celebrate his birthday and he was going to do a bunch of chores and he was going to relax.

Instead, we had the drama of Doris needing a blood transfusion. And an x-ray because of severe abdominal pains, which turned out to be (as I diagnosed) constipation.

Today, Sly called Primo - Sly never calls Primo - he just complains that Primo doesn't call them enough - to say that he does not know what to do.


Admitting he does not know what to do.

A first.

Primo messaged earlier today

  • He had heard from the nurse that my mom would not be able to bear any weight on her leg for at least 6 more weeks -- but that may only apply to the left leg.

  • 2:46pm

    She is miserable in the rehab place. He is unhappy about paying the full cost (if Medicare won't cover any because she can't do real PT) for a place where she is unhappy. He may think that she could go home, but I said that would require full-time care and a bunch of equipment at home, which might cost even more.

Primo is worried about his mom, whom he will not be able to see for a week yet, so has decided to return early to his mom and dad's.

"It's no fun for me here," he said. "They still  bring their problems to me but now I am a thousand miles away. This is just too hard."

"Did you want to scream at your dad that he is the reason Doris is in a rehab center?"

"Yes," Primo admitted.

So now, on a weekend when we are having a houseguest and in a week where Primo was going to relax and catch up on some chores, he is instead, again

dealing with his parents' shit.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In which Primo suggests, in our three-way conversation with Sam, his best friend, that I should be nicer about Sly and Sam says that if Sly had ever been nice to me, perhaps I would be nicer about him

Primo: At least I am not working. Can you imagine what would be happening if this were going on and I was working?

Sam: If you were working, your parents would have to deal with this on their own. And they would. It's easy for them to let you do everything.

Primo: I guess.

Sam: They are the ones who got themselves into this.

Primo: And they are doing nothing to get themselves out. He met with the surgeon the other day. The doctor asked him how much he drinks and my dad says he has one drink a day.

Sam: One?

Primo: Yeah. I looked at him. I guess because he pours eight ounces of hard liquor into a tumbler, he thinks it counts as one drink.

Me: That might be information you might want to correct with his doctor.

In which Primo gets a phone call from Mayo about Sly needing to return to the clinic only Primo is at home and Sly is on the road

Mayo called Primo. "Tell Sly he needs to come back - we need to do another test."

Primo: I am not with him. I am in [a state not where Sly is]. Why are you calling me?

Mayo: Because this is the number he gave us.

Primo: What?

Mayo: This is the number he gave us.

Primo: He didn't give you his cell number?

Mayo: We thought this was it.

So then Primo had to call his niece, Maria the beautiful sweet girl, who had driven Sly to the clinic, because he could not reach Sly, because Sly did not have his cellphone turned on.

Because cellphones are of the devil, I suppose, or something like that. Because the world is supposed to read Sly's mind. I don't know what.

Related note: My brother in law gave my mom an iPhone and put her on his plane. This is a good thing - Primo and I have been begging my mom to get a cellphone for years, but she didn't want one. Instead, when her car broke down in northeast New Mexico as she was driving from Colorado Springs to Austin, she called me from someone else's cellphone and left a message to call her back on that number.

She did not tell me that she was fine, that it was a minor breakdown, that there was no need to worry. Just that 1. her car had broken down 2. in the middle of nowhere and 3. to call her.

Which I did, panicked, because my mother is not a phone caller. (Thank goodness.)(Neither am I.)

And it was just that she wanted me to call my brother to tell him she would be a day late, which is information she could have left in the message.

But at least now she has her own cellphone.

Except she has learned to text.

But that's another story.

And really, if Sly and Doris have done anything for me, it has been to make me so, so, so grateful and make me realize how truly lucky I was and am with my parents. I had no idea.

Primo has to call Maria, whose phone is turned on, to deliver the message from Mayo. It is an hour from Mayo to Sly's house and Maria almost had Sly home but had to turn around.

Well done, Sly! It's not like anyone else's time is important!

In which Doris is, indeed, full of it

  • Primo

    I'm all "Woooo!" again. My dad is at the doctor with Maria and that's going OK, but I called to check on my mom and there is a new problem. She has some abdominal pain with distention and they are taking X-rays. I'm afraid that she may have to go back to the hospital, and I'm afraid that if she goes there she will never make it out.
  • 10:28am

    oh no frown emoticon
  • 10:28am

    So we don't know what's wrong. I cannot relax and enjoy my birthday.
  • 10:29am

    I am sorry

    I am guessing the obvious - that she is constipated?
  • 10:31am

    I don't know. I talked to the nurse (because she didn't answer the phone), not to her.


My mom's abdominal issue was a blockage of poop in her intestine. She was about to have an enema when Maria and my dad left there

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

In which Primo is home less than 48 hours before realizing he may have to go back to Sly and Doris' before he intended

Primo is supposed to be home for ten days. He got home on Saturday; he is supposed to be here until next Tuesday. Ten days. Ish.

But when I got home from work, he announced that instead of seeing the orthopedic doc tomorrow about her bones, Doris would be getting a transfusion instead because her red blood cell count is down.

Primo says this has happened before.

He also said Sly is super cranky because he has had to stop taking all of his allergy meds in anticipation of surgery.

Doris' cousin sent a frantic email to Primo asking for a status update.

"Why didn't she just call your dad?" I asked. "Since when have you become the master of these ceremonies?"

Primo sighed and got despondent. "I might not even get to be home for ten days!" he said. "I might have to go back there early!"

Yes. We are losing our lives to these people.

In which Primo claims visiting his mom and dad is fiscally responsible

Primo: At least we're saving money with my being at my mom and dad's.

Me: How's that?

Primo: Because my dad buys all the food. I do all the grocery shopping with his credit card.

Me: Our daily food expenses are not that high.

Primo: That salmon cost $20!

Me: It's two pounds! There are at least - at least - four meals in that.

Primo: Yes.

Me: So basically we're saving five dollars a day by having you be gone? I would pay five dollars a day not to have to do all the extra stuff I have to do while you're gone.

Monday, September 21, 2015

In which Primo wants me to talk to his mother on Mothers Day

Me: But she's not my mother!

Primo: She's in the hospital!

Me: The last thing she wants is to talk to me. She doesn't even like me.

Primo: You don't even want to talk to your own mother!

Me: Nope. I hate talking on the phone. And I love my mother and I still don't want to talk to her.

Primo: So are you going to just not call her for Mothers Day?

Me: No! She's my mother. She wants to be called. I love her. I will call.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

In which Primo returns home after being gone for two weeks and we go through all the rituals except having a fight

Primo got home last night from being gone for two weeks. He was not cranky. He is making an effort not to be cranky and not to be a jerk.

"Should I throw cheese?" he asked.

"Nope," I said.

But we went through the other rituals - he had to identify everything new in the fridge and freezer.

And then, I discovered this morning, he had to reconfigure the squeeze points on the toothpaste.

In which Primo brings me peaches

Sly and Doris are finally paying Primo's travel expenses. (I think they should give him a daily stipend as well - his time is worth something and damn, if they had to pay someone else for everything he is doing, it would cost $20 an hour. Plus I should be compensated for loss of consortium and loss of person to do the dishes and the laundry and the loss of person to clean the bathroom and do the vacuuming.) Yet Primo continues to knock himself out to save them money.

As in, he drove six hours to the Atlanta airport because it was cheaper for the car that way.

I asked why he even cared about saving his dad the money. It's not like his parents are indigent - far from it - they have the money to buy a case of bourbon (maybe a slight exaggeration) every week and to pay a maid and a gardener and to have cable and internet and all kinds of things that some people would consider luxury.

I do not begrudge his parents these things. It is their money and they get to decide how to spend it.

It's just that I don't think that Primo should twist himself in knots to save them money. If they can afford the other things, they can afford an extra $100 for car rental.

But Primo loves to get a deal and this somehow worked for him, at least in theory - he likes driving and he especially likes driving back roads and, now that I think about it, it gave him an excuse to leave their house six hours early.

The good news is that he did get to have a nice drive.

The bad news is that he got a nice drive only until he hit the Atlanta freeway and it took an hour longer than he thought because there was construction and he barely made the plane.

The really good news is that he stopped at a farm stand for okra and they also had peaches.

He should have framed it as, "I stopped to get peaches for you!" instead of "I stopped for okra and noticed they had peaches," but bless his engineer heart, he is not a dissembler. That is a good thing.

And now I have peaches. In May.

In which Sly pees in his pants at the hospital and I can't even relish the moment because it is such an awful thing to happen to anyone, even someone I do not like

OK. Primo is back for ten days. He has to return to his mom and dad's (wait - he CHOOSES to return to his mom and dad's) to be there when Sly has the Whipple procedure, which makes me think of squeezing the Charmin.

Did I tell you that Sly has been diagnosed with cancer? He has. I am sure he will not die from this.

He is going to have surgery and Primo is going to be there when he has the surgery. He will stay there for two weeks.

Primo has been on sabbatical for seven and a half months. He has made six trips to Sly and Doris' and has spent over six weeks with them. So he has spent almost 25% of his sabbatical taking care of them and their issues that either would not have happened or could have been resolved much easier if they had actually made some darn plans that included an admission that 1. they are getting older and 2. they are not getting any healthier.

I googled "Whipple procedure" and "alcohol." Guess what? You are not supposed to drink after you have this. I suspected that might be the case - isn't the pancreas (part of which is removed with the Whipple) involved in processing alcohol?

I mentioned it to Primo on the way home from the airport last night, despite the advice of my sister and of the wife of Primo's best friend, both of whom said that nothing I could say would change things and it would just upset Primo, so just be supportive.

Sam's wife wrote:

Primo needs to insist that Sly share with him his financial info. and his end of life care/wishes so that Primo can implement "his" plan when the time comes. This is practical and necessary, is there a safety deposit box, for example, with pertinent papers and financial info. that Primo may need access to. If so, he should have a key or know where it is kept. I am not sure that you can really help Primo at this point; you probably just need to be his sounding board and let him vent -- there is too much baggage and history here. His parents are going to leave a colossal mess for him to clean up; we know this. While you are trying to prevent this from happening, his parents aren't going to play nice and make things easy for him. They are selfish and self centered and not concerned with what they are doing to their son. This is such a sad and unnecessary situation and I am sorry that you and Primo are on this journey. Let us know what we can do...

Your problem is that you are trying to implement fixes for people who are illogical, irrational and unwilling. If everyone was as organized as your family there would be no 'fun' in dysfunction.

She is right. I just need to be supportive. But I also thought, "Now that I have this information about alcohol, do I have a moral obligation to mention it?"

So I asked and Primo said that any time a doctor asks about alcohol, Sly says he has a drink at night and then maybe some wine.

What Sly does not clarify is that for him, "a drink" means "six ounces of bourbon."

He also neglects to mention the after-dinner brandy.

I don't know why Sly thinks it is a good idea to lie to his doctor. I admit the things I am ashamed about to my doctor. What if the information has an impact on how I am treated for something? You don't lie about your taxes and you don't lie to your doctor.

"The good thing about the Whipple is my dad might lose some weight. He could easily lose 50 pounds."

"That would be good - then, the next time he falls on your mom, he won't do as much damage."

Primo rolled his eyes.

Primo said that Sly was reviewing all his meds with the doc.

"He has two Cialis prescriptions!"


"One is a low dose he takes every day to help him urinate. It sure works - he pees all the time. The other is on demand."

"Wait. Are he and your mom even - Stop. Wait. Never mind. I do not want to know. But I do not understand how a frail, malnourished woman who has COPD could participate."

"He pees all the time" (and here we had a discussion about why someone would take Cialis to pee). "He had an MRI today. He was stuck in the machine for an hour and really had to go. But rather than go as soon as he got out, he changed back into his own clothes."


"And then had to go so bad, he peed in his pants. I do not understand how he could not have held it until he got to a bathroom."

I winced. I do not like Sly at all but this is more humiliation than anyone needs. "Sweetie, your dad is super proud. I expect that he absolutely could not control himself. You know he was just mortified."

Primo sighed. "I guess. I could have held it in. Maybe he does not need to be taking Cialis every day."

"Maybe not."

"So Jack took him to the MRI and they were going to visit my mom after, but couldn't because my dad's pants were wet."