Having Pops closer to home had to help, right?!? At least on good days, we can have him to sporting events, or take him to grab a meal. We were busy trying to raise our families and doing the best we could, all things considered. At least if he ends up in the hospital, it will be easier to be there for him.
He found a room to rent. We got him settled in. He could walk to nearby stores if needed. He got set up with doctors and stuff closer to his new home. The cycle of his seizures and hospital stays didn’t end.
During one of his hospital stays, we started talking to Social Services… this was YEARS ago. We were worried that he was not able to take care of himself. We felt he would be better off in a skilled nursing facility – to make sure his meds and meals are regular and keep him healthy. But he wouldn’t sign anything giving us any power to help… and the docs kept clearing him.
During one of these hospital stays, he called me from his hospital room. He asked me for cigarettes. I told him that he cannot smoke in the hospital. He said “I will need them when I get out.” Cool – we will get some when you get out…. He cussed at me, told me to tell my brother (who was already living out of state), because he will bring dad what he needs. I eventually hung up and went back to the cookies I was baking. He went on to call me 37 times. Obsessed with needing cigarettes & needing them now. I had to block the hospital phone number and tell them to call from a different line if they need to reach me.
After every hospital stay, we are still getting the same questions – can he stay with you? Can you take care of him? The answer is no. That would not be a good situation for either of us mentally. I work full time. I have a family to take care of. I do not have the physical or emotional strength to face this every day.
I hope you can understand the frustration we were facing. There was this endless cycle of health issues. There was his obsessive and often angry behavior. We would bring him to a little league game, and he would obsess about buying a loaded baked potato. It would be all he would talk about for days leading up to the game, the whole ride to the game, stand in line as soon as we got to the game… and if they didn’t have potatoes, we never heard the end of it. He would yell at umpires & coaches. He treated my mom like crap, though she was the one who helped the most with bringing him food at home, and bringing him to games when we felt up to putting up with it.
He was working a program with social services. They had him going to counseling. They helped him make medical appointments. They helped him get to and from – until they were “comfortable” that he could arrange his own county express rides, and keep his calendar of appointments straight. What they didn’t see, what he didn’t show them…. his living arrangements were trash. He completely trashed the room he was renting. He had meds spread all over the ground. He had food that had gone bad… my mom would bring him food every day, and he would just let it go to waste.
Let me expand on that note just a bit. My parents divorced somewhere around 1992. My dad was renting a room, and had only a mini fridge and a microwave. My mom, in her never ending quest to make her kids lives easier, would make my dad food EVERYDAY and drop it off. His likes and dislikes would change, and he would let her know in some rude manner. His times were screwy, because he would take a sleeping pill at 4pm and then want to start his day at 2am… He would start texting my mom, asking IF she was going to bring food. When will she be there? Hello? You fucking bitch, just bring me all my money and I’ll get my own food? Answer me right now!!! She would show up when she normally would, on her way to work, and he would say “Thanks kiddo! See you tomorrow!” As if he hadn’t verbally abused her for the past several hours. As if he didn’t come across as completely unhinged. But my mom never waivered.
And don’t ask about holidays (“Your mom is ignoring me, but you better bring me hot food – don’t make me wait for crap”). It took all my strength to not lose my shit.
The docs did work on getting him OFF pain killers. I left work one day to do a counseling session with him and the social worker. Her and I chatted a bit about my dad, our history, and she said that he wanted me there and wanted me to be a bigger part of his life. She brought my dad in, and talked about limits and not using abusive language in texts and calls to me and my mom. He agreed (as he always does). We decided that if I say “that’s enough” he will stop harassing whoever. Then she asked Pops if he had anything he wanted to say to me… He did.
“When is the next pancake breakfast event? That was really good.”
Of course the agreement didn’t last. The erratic behavior continued. But hey – he graduated the county’s social service program! He is free to keep making his own decisions. Making his own appointments. Leaving the rest of us wondering how we can possibly keep this going, and how can we make it better.
The next chapter in this saga is going to bring you to current times… how I finally lost my shit and we got to where we are.