Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I'm a little bit behind today because, in addition to other fascinating developments, my mom was admitted to the hospital last night.  It's only a semi-big deal, because she was admitted because of really low potassium levels, after a week and a half of not really eating.  So, dehydration plus, basically.  The plus is: what caused the nausea that made it impossible for her to eat for almost two weeks? Originally, we thought she had the same bug I had, but since mine turned out to be my gallbladder, it's hard to imagine that that would be contagious. 

Then she figured that it was switching from one dose of meds to a larger dose, which is still the leading theory, but because they're not sure, they spent the day ruling things (like her gallbladder!) out, just in case.  And she still there tonight because of another 'just in case': her EKG was slightly abnormal, and the potassium is not as high as they'd like it, so one more night of observation it is. 

It's frightening, even though I know she's in there for a minor issue, to see your mom laying in a hospital bed.  And she was in great spirits - mostly like her normal self, just hooked up to an IV and the oxygen cannula (she's got breathing issues that come from smoking for 35 years, so that's why the oxygen stuff).  It definitely gives you an odd twist to your gut - My mom, while not exceptionally healthy, has managed to not be admitted to the hospital since she delivered her last child - the child who'll be turning twenty six years old come January.  That's a pretty good streak, and there definitely feels like something's wrong to have it broken. 

The thing is, my dad deals with that odd twist of the gut in all the wrong ways: I know that he has some pretty poor coping mechanisms  - we've talked about his issues with alcohol before, for example -  but one of the worst is his ability to catastrophize (I think that's a word, but spell check says no: my psychology background says yes.)   It's just ridiculous: since coming home at nine o'clock last night, I have heard about three 'they were so young' deaths; the time when he was a teenager and his grandmother had a stroke and he came home to an empty apartment; and how the neighbor down the street caught MRSA while he was in the hospital for a routine surgery.  He told me about his friend's sister-in-law who won the lottery - $60 million - eleven months ago, and then dropped dead last week.

And I know - I know  - that he doesn't mean to be annoying, and that his mind is going there because he's worried, but for god's sake - stop putting those images in MY brain!!  And the thing is, he doesn't understand boundaries. So I can say, while he's telling this first story about an 18 year old who got hit by a bus, survived and then was killed by an infection in the hospital, that I don't want to hear about these things right now.  That tragedies are not exactly what I need to be focusing on at this particular moment in time.  That he is stressing me the fuck out.

And he'll stop.  Sometimes in the middle of the story, most of the times he finishes it and then says "Ok, I get ya."

But then 20 minutes later, he's back at my door, armed with a little bit of small talk - how was dinner? is the music too loud?  do you know how to make quiche? - and somehow it gets from there to tale of a 45 year old wife and mother who was smothered in her sleep by a guy she met online.  And when I tell him, more forcefully now, that I need him to shut up and keep that crap to himself, he'll make a serious face, and say things like "Well, it's life; that's life, and you have to remember that." Or when I interrupt him and tell him to knock it off, he'll nod and say "Dad's stupid; he's a guy; what do you want from me?" (I don't even know what that means). 

Worst of all, he's talking about how horrible his life will be without mom, and how miserable he is that she's just not here right now.  Meanwhile, I can't even get into how many issues they have with each other, or how I'm not certain, most of the time, that they even want to exist on the same planet as each other, but whatever: Sure, your relationship is AWESOME, super, Perfect!!!  So there's a bit of denial there, (a bit: ha!) , and then there's the fact that he wants to play Who'll Be Worse Off when my mom dies. 

A) NO - I don't want to talk about that. 
B) It's stupid to be thinking about this right now, when she's in for dehydration, which is something they can easily fix, and yes, it's worrisome, but (I can't type the rest of that sentence about how it's not serious without it feeling jinxy, but pretend I wrote that, ok?)
C) WTF?  Why is this necessary?  ALL OF OUR LIVES WILL BE HORRID WHEN THIS HAPPENS so why are we even asking this question???
D) Why are we asking it right now, when B) and we're already nervous about the damn thing?
E) Why are you an asshole?  Really - why?

Then he started talking about how she's his wife and that relationship is so vital to him, he won't know how to go on.  (I . Can't. Even. )   And she's "just" my mother, and yes, it would be difficult for me, especially me, since I'm so dependent on her, but she's his wife, and that's a whole nother level that I just wouldn't understand.

And then I punched him in the face.

No: Unfortunately I did not.  But I shut him off damn quick, because HELL NO.  At first, while he was spouting off that last bit, he looked at me, sort of waiting for me to be all "Oh, yes, of course: you will have it much worse than me", and then he saw my face, and he stopped talking post haste.  I could see that he wanted to be all explain-y and start justifying what he was saying - because it's a goddamn contest to see who's suffering more? - and I just said "We are Done. Talking. About. This. Now." and he thought twice about whatever it was he was going to say. 

Which is good, because otherwise, I probably would have punched him, and then neither of my hands would have been workable for typing out this post, but that's another story, and tomorrow's another (NaBloPoMo) day.  In the meantime, we could use some positive vibes over here, if you've got any to spare.  Between cancers and gallbladders and hospitalizations and arguments and tension and just getting through the day, I say a few stray happiness vibes are just about due in our neck of the woods.

Good night, bloggy world: Let's all hope tomorrow's a better day. 


1 comment:

The Goldfish said...

I'm so sorry you're having such a rotten time of things. There's nothing worse in a crisis than having to support someone who can't cope at all - you're fairly amazing for keeping your cool with your Dad. And whilst I'm sure your Mom will be back soon, it is *always* distressing to see a loved one in hospital.

I know I've been very quiet lately, but I've been meaning to get in touch for weeks and wish you my best. I think you have my e-mail address, and if you ever want to use it, do feel free too.

Looking forward to the rest of NaBlo, although I do hope the month improves for you from now on in.