Saturday, October 24, 2015

In which Ted sends Primo information about urinary tract infections because Primo is supposed to fix Sly's UTI?

1. Primo: I was talking to Ted's Wife and told her how nice it was that he came here for ten days to give me a break.

Me: Some break. He called you all the time.

Primo: I told her except that he called five times a day. All she said was, "Yeah. We're talkers."

2. Primo: Ted just sent a link to an article about urinary tract infections. [Sly has one.]

Me: Because you are supposed to fix it? Because the doctors aren't doing it right?

3. Primo: Jack is kind of annoyed that the service is on Father's Day.

Me: But we can't do it the day before because Jack has some furniture being delivered.

Primo: Yeah. So he can't change the furniture delivery?

4. Primo: We need to know how many people are coming to the service before we can order food.

Me: I just talked to Stephanie. She said Ted and Jack aren't sticking aroun--

Primo: What?

Me: That's what she said.

Primo: They can't stay for my mom's funeral? I know Jack has planned a dinner. He said he knew I wouldn't be able to go because I have to take my dad back to the rehab center.

Me: Wait. He can't delay dinner for an hour while you drive your dad back?

Primo: I guess not.

5. Me: Ask Stephanie if she will pick up the food from the grocery store.

Primo [on phone]: Blah blah blah. She'll do it. She has to rearrange some other things, but she will do it.

Me: And that is why Stephanie has no problems getting boyfriends. Because she is nice. Because she is helpful.

In which I have to spend the night at Sly's house and am even more miserable than I thought I would be

At Sly's house now.

1. Sly asked Primo to help him pee yesterday. Primo thought it was just that he needed Primo to hand him the bottle. No. Sly wanted a complete assist from Primo. A complete assist. Didn't quite make it and wet the bed. Primo brought home a bag of urine-soaked clothes to wash.

Primo: Maybe he will ask for your help.

Me: Ha.

Primo: Don't you know what a privilege it is to help him?

Me: The last thing your father wants is for me to have that part of his body in my [vindictive] hand.


Ted: Yeah, Dad tried the same thing with me. All I do is hand it to him. I don't put the pieces together. I did tell Dad that he has a small dick and that's why he keeps missing.

Sometimes I like Ted.]

2. Ted thinks Sly should have a second opinion.

Me: About his diagnosis?

Primo: I don't know.

Me: About the treatment plan? Because there isn't one, It has been a month since his surgery. They have the biopsy. They know it's stage 2 adenocarcinoma. How come nobody has said, even if they are not going to start treatment yet, "This is the standard treatment plan for an 81 year old man with stage 2 adenocarcinoma?"

Primo: He just wants me to do it.

Me: Of course.

Primo: If he wants dad to have a second opinion, he can find the doctor, make the appointment, and take him there himself. But I am pretty comfortable that the guys at Mayo know what they are donig.

3. The house does not reek of cat urine. Ted was wrong. It is also not as horribly cluttered as I remember, but that's because Primo has been throwing junk away.

4. I needed an extra pillow last night and had to figure out how much I wanted one, as my only option was to get one from Sly and Doris' bed.

5. Sleep horrible. The guest bed is cheap and nasty and the cat hurled himself against the door a few times last night, trying to open the knob. I suggested locking the cats in the laundry room with their litter box, but Primo did not like that idea. I was ready to strangle the cat and I am a cat lover.

6. I saw the obituary.

7. I hate being here so much.

Friday, October 23, 2015

In which Sly continues to complain about his ex wife, whom he divorced more than 50 years ago

This is a catch-up post. I have not written in a few days because I have been either completely debilitated with a headache or exhausted because I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and could not get back to sleep.

I wonder how stress affects me.

I leave today for Florida for Doris' funeral. Primo asked me to stay an extra day and arrive early - I wanted to fly down on Saturday and leave Monday because around Sly is the last place I want to be.

I don't care that Sly has told Primo to "give [me] his best." You don't get to erase ten years of meanness (and even two weeks ago, Sly was telling Primo that Primo had bad taste in women) with a few throwaway comments.

I will be nice. Don't worry. I will be nice. But I do not believe that Sly has changed and I will remain on guard. I am being nice for Primo, not for Sly.

Primo feels sorry for Sly because Sly is old and feeble overnight. Primo is more forgiving than I. Of course, he wants to forgive. Sly is his father. I have no connection to Sly and do not crave his approval.

But I leave today - Friday - for Florida and don't come back until Tuesday and that's for Primo.

When I am around Sly, I will smile and I will take notes.

The funeral is Sunday. Primo is going to have to get Sly there in a wheelchair. Sly really is weak and feeble.

Two days ago, Jack called Primo and suggested that they change the funeral from 2 p.m. with a reception at the funeral home to a later time with everyone getting together for dinner somewhere.

I guess Jack has never planned an event where other people are invited? But changing funeral plans five days before the funeral - ten days after Primo has emailed everyone, including Doris' friends, with the information? (Not that there are that many people who would need to be informed, but just the principle.) To change everything then? And I'm sure it wasn't that Jack was volunteering to do the work. He wanted Primo to do it.

Primo said no.

Primo said that his dad continues to bad-mouth his first wife, Jack and Ted's mother.

"I wish I hadn't married Isabel," Primo said, "but I don't spend all my time being bitter about it or being mean about her. I wish I hadn't, but I did and I have to look at the good. I have two wonderful stepdaughters in my life. That's the part I think about."

He's right. He does not trash-talk Isabel. Oh sure, he will mention that she was irresponsible, but he also acknowledges that she was a lot of fun to be around and that they did have a few good years. "She was not a bad person," he says. "We just should not have been married to each other. I've never even heard my dad say, 'I can't even say I wish I hadn't married my ex, because then I would be wishing Jack and Ted didn't exist.' He's never even acknowledged that at least he has Ted and Jack."

Primo 1, Sly 0

In which I do not want to spend one minute more than I have to in Florida for the funeral

Primo called twice yesterday which made me a little bit cranky and then I felt guilty right away because at least I am not the one stuck with a feeble, whiny old man.

Primo: Can you stay until Tuesday?

Me: I thought I was coming back on Monday. The funeral is Sunday.

Primo: I know, but you have the funeral leave--

Me: I am super busy at work! This is a huge project!

Primo: I know, but also, the miles to go back Monday are really high. And I could really use your help on Monday. I need to get my dad into assisted living and I haven't had time to do anything. You could really help me.

[My sister: What is he doing all day down there?

Me: Hanging out with his dad.

Jenny: That's it? Isn't he making arrangements for assisted living and cleaning out the house?

Me: You know what Primo's like. He is not a good multi-tasker. He can do only one thing at a time. If it were you or I in that situation, we would already have that house cleared out and a place for him to move to.]

Me: You mean I could throw away crap in their house?

Primo: Maybe.

Me: Oh man. I don't want to. I don't want to be there.

Primo: But I want you here. And I have done things for your family. Of course, they have always been nice to me. But I went for your mom's 70th birthday and for your brother's 50th and for your sister's wedding, all in a pretty short time.

Me: Yeah, but those were fun events and nobody in my family has ever been nasty to you.

Primo: When my dad dies, you won't have to spend much time. It won't matter what Ted or Jack think. But I need you here now.

Me: Fine.

Primo: Besides, my dad keeps telling me to give you his best. I think his attitude is changing.

Me: He is going to have to do a lot more than tell you to give me his best. That does not make up for the past ten years.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

In which Sly does not have to stay at the hospital but I still suspect he will find a way to ruin our vacation

Primo: It's not the same for you. When your dad had cancer, your mom could take care of him.

Me: I know. But if my mom were sick now, and my brother and sister and I had to take care of her, you can be darn sure that if my brother had a trip he'd been planning for a year that either Jenny or I would say, "You go on your trip. I'll stay with mom these two weeks."

Primo: That's because people in your family are concerned about being a burden on others.

Me: And because my siblings are not jerks.

Primo: They are not admitting my dad to the hospital. The CT scan and the bloodwork came back OK.

Me: So what was wrong?

Primo: He was just dehydrated.

[Again with the committed socialist consuming medical resources even though he is past his time of being useful. Sly believes he should always on the receiving end, not the giving. How much did that little escapade cost?]

Me: Dehydrated?

Primo: It's kind of my fault. He doesn't like the tap water at the rehab center and I forgot to bring his water bottle from home.

Me: Your fault? That he's not drinking enough water?

Primo: I guess not really. But they are supposed to be giving him bottled water in the rehab center.

Me: Uh huh.

Primo: But they are not as attentive as they are in the hospital.

Me: Uh huh.

Primo: So he is not drinking enough.

Me: Because he does not like the water.

Primo: Yes. And he's not used to drinking water at home. When he's at home, most of his water comes from the ice cubes in his bourbon.

In which Sly has a seizure and has to go to the ER and Primo thinks our summer will be ruined, which it probably will be, and thinks we should consider canceling our vacation, to which I say oh heck to the no

Primo: They think he might have had some kind of stroke, so we are on our way to the ER.

Me: Oh great.

Primo: I am despondent. Our summer is ruined.

Me: It is looking like it.

Primo: We have only three days to cancel the cottage. If we wait after the 19th, then we will lose our [50%] deposit.

Me: Oh no. No. We are not canceling.

Primo: But if we don't cancel now, it will cost us a thousand dollars!

Me: No. It will cost your father a thousand dollars. If we have to cancel our vacation because you have to be with him, then he can pay for it. We cannot absorb the costs related to his medical problems.

Primo: I guess he would. I don't know. I'm despondent. I don't want to be here. He didn't reserve his space at the rehab center. If he gets checked into the hospital, this whole thing starts all over. I am despondent.

Me: And I am pissed.

In which I try to understand why Sly would want me to go along on a long trip in a motor home (which is something I did not want to do when my own father was alive, although of course I would jump at the chance today)

Me: Why on earth does your dad want me to come along on this made-for-TV movie adventure?

Primo: I think he wants a better relationship with you.

Me: Ha. Why?

Primo: Because he realizes he is alone.

Me: Yeah, but he does not like me.

Primo: He realizes that the way to get more time with me is to have a better relationship with you.

Me: He is just now doing that math?

Primo: I guess so.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

In which Sly wants Primo and me to spend a week driving from Florida to Connecticut in a motor home to scatter Doris' ashes

Primo: My dad has this idea and you're invited.

Me: What?

Primo: He wants to rent a motor home -

Me: No.

Primo: And drive it up the East Coast -

Me: No.

Primo: To his sisters' so we could put my mom's ashes in their family plot.

Me: No. No. No. I am not spending a week in a motor home with your dad. No.

Primo: I told him you have to work.

Me: Tell him I am washing my hair that  night.*

* Primo had never heard that expression before.

In which Primo doesn't quite make the connection between Sly's mean cat who can be nice but then swat you out of nowhere and the improbability of Sly changing; my sister wants Primo to make her lose 20 pounds

1. Talked to my sister yesterday after she read the email Ted sent to Primo. She wants to know more about Primo's apparent wondrous powers to make other people lose weight.

"I'd like to lose 20 pounds," she said. "Could Primo make me lose weight after he takes care of Sly's 30 pounds?"

2. Me: You know if you feel compelled to stay there for a few months, I will support you.

Primo: But I don't want to stay here any longer!

3. Primo and I have some form of this conversation at least every other day.

Primo: Cat #1 is usually mean, but she has gotten to like me.

Me: That's nice.

Primo: She will sit in my lap and purr, but I am always worried that she is going to scratch me. She does that a lot.

Me: Yes.

Primo: She will act all nice, then suddenly slash at me. I can't trust her!

Me: Because you know what she is like.

Primo: Yes.

Me: Because she has shown you that she is a cat who scratches.

Primo: Yes.

Me: And she does not change her essential nature.

Primo: No.

Me: And yet I should try to have a relationship with your father why? Is he going to change his essential nature?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

In which Sly and Primo discover that medicine is an art, not a science, and I remember I am married to an engineer so there is no point in arguing about this (even though I want to)

He's cranky because he did not expect to take anywhere near this long to recover from the surgery.
I mean his general personality
and why would he expect to recover quickly?
he is 81 years old!
and he is always cranky
One of the doctors admitted that the guideline of a 4-7 day stay in the hospital after surgery was always optimistic. They should have given us a realistic range.
They didn't do it right.
They should tell people what the bell curve looks like.
Something like "10% of patients are out of the hospital within X days, and 90% are out within Y days."
When they said 4-7 days, I interpreted that as something close to a minimum/maximum (i.e., roughly 10%/90%) range of expectations.
He was there for 16 days after surgery.

Warning - this post is graphic and gross and something I wouldn't usually talk about, but this is the reality of dealing with a sick person with no sense of boundaries

Primo: I had to wipe his butt today.

Me: What?

Primo: He needed to use the bathroom. I thought he was able to go on his own - he went there with the walker and I helped him sit. I thought I was done.

Me: And?

Primo: And then I heard him say, "I'm not going to be able to wipe myself, you know."

Me: Wait! He knew before he went in?

Primo: Yes!

Me: And he asked you to help him get there anyhow?

Primo: Yes! Usually the CNA helps, I guess. I told him this was the first time I had ever had to do that and he said he did it for my mom. I said I expect to do it for a spouse but not for a parent.

Me: What is wrong with him?

Primo: He apparently thought it should not be a big deal and I shouldn't be bothered. He just didn't feel like calling for the nurse. He says they take too long. Later, I overheard him telling the nurse that I should be nominated for CNA of the week. The nurse was shocked and told him that he should have called for help - that he should not have asked me to do that.

In which Ted continues to be obnoxious - helpful in some ways, but still presents things in such an obnoxious way, although I am probably just at the Bitch Eating Crackers Stage, but my sister read the email and wrote back, "What a pompous ass!"

I guess Ted could be worse, but this is pretty annoying. I understand he wants details about Doris' funeral and Doris is not his mom, so he can't take over, but he could have written something like,

Primo, I know you have a lot going on right  now, taking care of dad and the house and trying to plan Doris' funeral. I know she wasn't my mom, but is there anything I can do from here to help? I could call the funeral home to see if they have AV equipment, I could put together photos like we did for Nancy's service, I can make sure all her friends know about the service. Would you like me to do any or all of that?

That would have been better than the approach he took, which has Primo ready to slug him. Honestly, I am surprised that Ted is not beaten up weekly - he just rubs people the wrong way.

(And who calls a funeral a "gig?" And who talks about a funeral being a "get?" See why people want to punch him?)
UPDATE: Also, notice how Ted had to get in a dig at Stephanie with his "lying vs laying" snipe? I cannot stand Ted. And then his little pat on the back to Primo for not giving out Sly's cell number? It would have been bad for people to have his number why? I cannot stand Ted.


I meant to copy you on this when I sent it.

After I sent my update yesterday, Ted sent two annoying emails. I was annoyed, so I waited until today to respond.

I told him that his style was causing stress.

Subject: RE: family update: Dad in rehab, Mom's memorial event
Date: Sat, 13 Jun 2015 09:49:58 -0500


One step at a time. We haven't gotten far enough to provide complete answers to some of your questions. If you were just asking questions that came to mind or suggesting things that we need to think about, that's fine, but the style of your writing tends to elevate the recipient's stress level.

Dad and I will be working on a list of additional people to notify (and invite) today.

Does Dad want to invite Wakeen and Shavon to Doris' memorial service?

Yes, they are invited.

 Excellent update email, as usual, but there’s no inherent invite to non-family for Doris' gig, as I’ll call it.

I disagree. There was an implicit invitation to all recipients of the email. Near the end, I wrote "If you are able to attend next weekend, we look forward to seeing you." The message was not intended as an official invitation; I was merely sending an update email and notifying the recipients about "Doris' gig."

Also, what are Dad’s and your preliminary plans for photos, posters, etc. (as we did 12 years ago next week at Nancy's)?
How might we help with that? (OK, that was nice and Primo should accept that offer - GD)
We have a digital photo archive and, lying around (as opposed to laying around), a stash of analog stuff.

This topic has been brought up briefly. We'd like to have photos on display. If you have some, it will be helpful if you can bring them. I am not sure whether the funeral home will have a TV or projector to display a "slide show" of digital photos. That's something I can ask the funeral director on Monday.

 Also—and more important—what’s the protocol, if any?
 Are Dad and you leading off with spoken words? May I contribute some? Jack? Music? (Also nice - but again, see my recommended approach. I just don't like Ted and can't like anything he does. :) GD )

This has been brought up very briefly. Yes, we will include some brief remarks. Of course you and Jack can contribute. Yes, we'd like to have some music playing. There will be some kind of "program," which is also to be discussed with the funeral director.

Dad is eager to make it home (for at least part of a day sometime before next weekend) so that he can work on things like choosing music and photos. I told him that I can find music if he tells me what to look for, and I can also get some help with photos here.

Thursday and the first half of yesterday were very stressful because Dad was pushing to get home today (and for me to pick him up early this morning) until he realized that he wasn't ready. I think he is going to be just barely recovered to the point where we can have the event next weekend, but we need to get it done and move on instead of pushing it out into July.


Subject: Re: family update: Dad in rehab, Mom's memorial event
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2015 19:30:24 -0400

Also—and more important—what’s the protocol, if any?

Are Dad and you leading off with spoken words? May I contribute some? Jack? Music?

keep us posted

Subject: Re: family update: Dad in rehab, Mom's memorial event
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2015 19:28:50 -0400

Does Dad want to invite Wakeen and Shavon to Doris' June 21 event? Obviously, Father’s Day is a tough “get,” as we call it in DC and the media biz.

Excellent update email, as usual, but there’s no inherent invite to non-family for Doris' gig, as I’ll call it.

Also, what are Dad’s and your preliminary plans for photos, posters, etc. (as we did 12 years ago next week at Nancy's)? How might we help with that? We have a digital photo archive and, lying around (as opposed to laying around), a stash of analog stuff.

lettuce know

ps) good call on not giving out his cell phone #

In which I wonder if anything would make any difference to Sly - although I would pretend grovel just to get material for this blog

I have not written the fawning letter yet
Am I still supposed to?
Dad wanted Jack and me to get him home for the day tomorrow, but we're not doing it. He decided that he is too weak and the PT person agreed that he's not ready.
Fawning letter to my dad?
yo uknow - how I want us to repair our relationship
It's not time for that, at least not yet. You can start by being nice next weekend. I think he will be nice to you.

Monday, October 19, 2015

In which Primo has not torn out the carpet yet

10 hours ago
Ted and Jack are very bad caretakers of cats.
They are sitting near me, purring and wanting attention.
And they completely screwed up the feeding. The cats have different food, but Jack fed both of them Lilith's food yesterday and fed them WAY too much.
"Zey were 'ongry! Zey were crying!"
Lazy! Too lazy to do it right!
Does the house reek of urine? It wasn't like that when I visited. Do the rugs have to be torn out?
Well, the living room rug should probably go.
The bedroom carpet is a bit dirty, but I don't see how it's a fall risk.
They pretty much did everything wrong here. They said that they "threw out some old food." Included in what they threw out was a stash of cheese that was bought recently and was in the back corner of the fridge. The expiration dates on the packages were months from now!
And they took an extra quart of half-and-half I'd bought and put it in the freezer! It was brand-new.
I talked to Stephanie last night
She said Ted said something about how he was the elder
I had put half of a quart of milk in the freezer.
and implied he needed to be running things
and she doesn't know why Jack isn't more involved, as he moved them to FL specifically to have a better relationship with your dad
If my half-and-half is separated when it thaws, at least it won't cost us. (I'll buy more with my dad's credit card.)
smile emoticon
They did NOT do it right.
She said Maria was shocked that Ted wanted to board the cats
They also got rid of a few household items, but they would have done much better by getting rid of magazines. Most of what they threw out, both food and non-food, should not have been thrown out!
they didn't do it right!
Stephanie said that your dad and his ex wife had gotten some silver as a wedding present
and the ex was going to give it to Jessica when she died
but your mom and dad said it had to stay in the family so should go to Maria
And they lost some things. Dad's electric razor was left at the hospital, and one of the clipboards is missing.
I guess Ted's wife isn't family
smile emoticon
They are not doing it right!
So the silver is here?
Ted's mother has it!
That's why I am so confused!
1. who cares who gets the silver that belongs to your dad's first wife?
2. how is your dad going to get it from Ted's mom when she dies?
No one is doing it right.