Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tempting Fate (part 2)

Here's yesterday's introduction to what we're talking about here, in case you missed it.

Mum's sister, Auntie E, was already in pretty serious shape - sedated and on a respirator, in a safe room - when we got up Thursday morning, so we knew it wasn't going to be the easiest holiday ... our celebrations, as they were, were supposed to be pretty low key anyways.

And then Nana (Mum's mother) calls and says that E's organ's are failing and Mr.PUS (Mum's brother) is going to drive her to the hospital immediately.

Now, in an attempt to not flood the internets (and my brain) with vicious hate, I have tried to keep the PUS postings to a minimum. (PUS, by the way is both the noun for what they are and the acronym - People UpStairs.) But there's a reason I call them that. They are, truly, despicable people. They are verbally abusive to all of us, most especially my Nana. If I must give a concise sort of encapsulate of their vitriol, I will say that the following things have been said, by them, to another member of our family: "If I have to, I will go down there and beat the shit out of them, I will set him on fire... you won't be able to stop me." "Your mother is a slut who hasn't worked a day in her life, because she couldn't keep her legs closed and just kept popping out kids." and... probably most important in this situation, "The wrong sister died." As said to Nana, about the death of her eldest daughter 20 years ago this month, and referring to his 2 remaining sisters, Mum and Auntie E.

Both Mum and Auntie E have refused to speak or deal with him, for about 3-4 years now. He, of course, considers himself the wronged party. It's all his sisters' fault for not speaking to him, for making him an outcast, blah de blah. So, this, of course, excuses his - and his family's - behavior towards us and towards Nana. It is ok to spread rumors in Nana & Auntie E's place of work, because it's our fault. It's ok to TOTALLY IGNORE Nana for more than a week - and I mean not speak a single word to her, even though you live in her house, on the same level as her - because it's us who are being mean to you.

It is all ridiculous and childish and hurtful and tense and disgusting, and, on its best day, makes me nauseous just to think about.

And, of course, this was not our best day.

So, long story short, Mr. PUS is not allowed to visit Auntie E - her husband has put a restriction on her visitors, and he is NOT ALLOWED.

So when Nana called and said that, Mum immediately said no, and said she'd take her. Nana - who, while I love her, totally makes this whole situation worse by not just doing something about it.. instead she plays both sides: she plays up her victim status to us, and let's him be the victim on his own side... says "Oh, but if it's that bad he HAS to see her... he's his sister."

No mention of the fact that it's his sister's RIGHT to choose, no, it's all about poor him.


Anyways... Nana has been sick out of her mind with worry this whole week - Auntie E is in bad shape (her chances, when last given, have been pretty evenly split), and Nana knows it. Not to mention that this time of year reminds her of when her daughter, Auntie M & her husband died (different years). Add the fact that she's got her own health issues: scary tests and possibly dangerous diagnoses to deal with.

But Mr. PUS doesn't care about that... it's all about how HE can't get in, how HE's trying to do the right thing, how SHE's doing him an injustice by not letting him in, how it's Mum's fault because she won't tell him anything, won't even look at him. And he's badgering Nana, all week long. I can see it; I can hear it.

And Nana, she just takes it. Snaps at us for interfering. Tells us he isn't, when he obviously is. Takes his side, again and again.

To the point that, Wednesday night, I got so upset and started planning this whole little speech (1 of about a million) I would give her the next day. About how she's constantly playing both sides, and it isn't right. How she keeps telling us that she's making them leave and then she never does. How all her daughters have ever done is stand up for her, their families, and themselves, and yet, somehow, she tries to make them seem like they are in the wrong.

But I never got to give the speech.

Because after Nana's phone call (and a quick check on Auntie E, who thankfully was not failing...she was, in fact the same - stable, and holding on), there was a little altercation between Mum and Mr.PUS (and me! Yay... blech~!) and then he took her to the hospital anyways.

He couldn't get in to see her (even though Nana tried to manipulate my uncle and cousin out of the room in order to get him in!!), and - here I am only guessing a little - took Nana aside and started berating her. He didn't scream (or else my other uncle and cousin would have heard & intervened), but he's capable of such a cold, blank intensity that it is frightening. And I am sure that he used it on her then. Then he left her there - without a ride - and came back home to slam the outer door and storm his way up the stairs.

My other uncle, Auntie E's husband, called Mum and told her to come get Nana... she left right away (leaving me in charge of the food).

And then she called, 25 minutes later, in tears.

Mum never cries... I mean... I have seen her cry, but maybe 10 times, total. So, I knew it was bad.

Nana had collapsed, she said. She'd thrown up and then passed out cold. My cousin had caught her, but they were taking her down to the emergency room.

Dad and SisterJ went to the emergency room right away - Mr. & Mrs. PUS both raced off as well - and I was here alone, left to call the rest of us and put Thanksgiving on the back burner, both literally and figuratively.

What followed is another, long, too-tiring-to-write-right-now post, but as of today, Nana is OK. She was dehydrated and stressed past her limit...and they've been giving her fluids and running tests. Since we already know that she's got some sort of mass (although we haven't really had a chance to digest that information yet, coming, as it did only a day and a half before my aunt's collapse), they're being extra careful and making sure the two things are not related. But she is much more her normal self, which is to say pissed off that she's still in the hospital, more than slightly scatterbrained (a whole nother worry), and ignoring that which she chooses to ignore.

Case in point - that SOB Mr. PUS is acting like the perfect son - taking her the paper in the morning, peeling her banana, acting solicitous to the doctors and nurses, trying to find out what he can. It makes me want to throw up. And here is one reason - in a post that is supposedly about my aunt and grandmother, who have I talked about the most...? He always manages to make it about him, when it is NOT ABOUT HIM!! And... even better... she lets him.

It is so hard to love someone so much, and still be so angry at them that they allow things like this to happen - to themselves and to our family. I'm mad at her for not taking better care of herself, or for not letting us take better care of her... but my being mad just adds more strain, which is dangerous for her. Does this make any sense? I feel like, even though I have a perfect right to be angry with her, I can't be angry with her because she's so sick.

SisterJ and I were talking about how, you always hear that when there's emergencies or difficulties, families are supposed to put aside their differences and come together. But how do we come together with him, with the rest of the PUS, knowing that their behaviors are one of the main factors in her being so sick? Having heard them screaming at her the night before, knowing how scared she was about her daughter, and still obviously not caring? How can you put that aside? I don't know that I can, even if it is what she wants us to do. I can't ignore it, knowing that this part... this solicitousness... is all an act, that nothing in his/their behavior has really changed. It would be nice to think that this scare has woken them up, but it hasn't: he continues to rail at my mother, at not being allowed access to Auntie E, at not being the one in charge of Nana's medical decisions (Mum is). He continues to try to manipulate things.

He hasn't changed, and neither has she: she refuses to see him for what he is, but I feel like I can't just put what I know about him aside.

I don't know if I can do that, not even for her.

And wow, this post is long and morose, and I thank you for listening, letting me babble it all out this way. Needless to say it's been a very difficult week, and adding my Flare to this all hasn't really helped - I was totally out of it Friday and Saturday, but my brain hasn't shut off since. The intensity of this Flare is largely because I tried to do to much - in the face of such crises, I couldn't exactly just go lay down whenever I needed to, plus there were a million things that Mum does for me that I had to attempt to do on my own, plus there were the million other things she normally does that I was trying to do. So, I'm not in the best spot, physically, right now either.

Which brings me back to the point: Things are getting better today. Yesterday, Auntie E was being taken off her ventilator, and the hope is that she'll be much improved today (Mum hasn't gone yet, so I don't know). Nana's ok right now, just pissed because they haven't let her go... she's hoping to come home tomorrow or Wednesday. And I am stuck in bed, but off to lose myself in the glories of the blogosphere (and maybe some internet shopping?): I really appreciate the chance to just get this all out of my head for a little bit.

And not typing anything else about how grateful I am that things are getting better, because I ain't tempting fate again.

1 comment:

Maya said...

I tried emailing you to tell you had won the contest but not sure if it went through. Anyways...need to get your address to send your photo books too. You can email me at