Sunday, October 08, 2006

My brother and I made a pact. We would not go to California unless it was going to produce final results. We would take care of everything over the phone, staying in complete contact with each other and standing together on all decisions. So why am I in California all alone?

Guy and I cancelled our vacation to stay in TN with my brother so that he and I could make a plan. Implement a plan. Stand firm. Mom and Dad needed home health care months ago. Even before Mom's diagnosis and chemo. We told them this repeatedly. They declined to do anything about it.

Dad doesn't sleep well at night. I'm one to talk, but that's another story. He gets up during the night, but then he can't get back down. The bed is too tall. My mother loves the bed and the hand knotted canopy that hangs above it. Which itself is probably dust and germ laden, and I could go on, but you get the point I'm sure.

There are things about their lives that they have been unwilling to change. Can I blame them really? They aren't supposed to have to yet. They aren't supposed to be old.

This past week, Bro and I made great strides with Dad. We even got him to agree to home health care overnight for himself. Then there was the Nose.

The Nose is a "friend" of my parents. She presented herself to me during this episode of the soap opera that is my parents' life by calling to ask me for my aunt's phone number. "You know, the one who lives in Georgia?"

Yes, I know my aunt that lives in Georgia, thank you. No, you may not have her phone number. She is my aunt, I'll call her. Why are you trying to call our family members anyway?

Turns out, she's been calling my parents' friends back in Mississippi, talking to doctors, nurses, and basically deciding that she was in charge of this family.

Wrong. She made a big mistake Saturday. Bro and I had asked the one person that we both trust to be at the meeting with Daddy and the home health lady. The Nose called and said she was going to be staying with my dad anyway, so why didn't she just tell our person not to come. I said fine. I thought it was fine. We only wanted there to be an extra set of ears so that they could help Dad remember what was said.

Only the Nose took it upon herself to say to the home health person, "He has a lot of his plate right now," and "We really have this under control, you know. He is going to come and stay with us at our house."

WHAT????? I specifically told the Nose earlier in the week that Daddy needed to be at home. Staying in other houses is terrible on him. He falls. He gets confused. He doesn't rest. It is not an option. And there she was, completely sabotaging every effort Bro and I had made. Every bit of progress. Daddy sent the home health people away. All because of the Nose.

The kicker is that I told the Nose that she was only to listen, and that we needed to make sure that she was going to support this decision if she was to be present. Looking back, I realize what she said was this, "I agree that someone needs to be with your dad at night."

Manipulative bitch.

By the way, I ripped her a new one over the phone and then got in lots of trouble with my dad. I actually was quite pleased that he was lucid enough to be completely and totally pissed at me and tell me to apologize. So pleased that I actually did apologize to the Nose. I apologized for the tone of voice that I used and then stated that I didn't apologize for anything I said, which included several "how dare you's" and "what gives you the right's" and "you are to keep your opinions and control issues out of our family's."

Is there a point? Yes, a couple.

I'm now in California. Yesterday, I spent 12 hours in a car driving across I-40 to get home. Then, the Nose caused me to have to get on a plane less than 12 hours after I got home and fly across the country to try and salvage what little progress we had made with Dad in the past week. Plus, I thought I had better get my sorry ass out here and make him a pound cake before he decided to hold a marathon grudge against me for putting the Nose in her place and thereby embarrassing him in the process.

The second point is a really just a thought. Someone else from my mom's church tried to explain the Nose's inappropriate behavior by telling me how much she loved my parents and that it scared her to see them slipping away. Therefore, the control freak in her came out and took over.

Am I the only one that is appalled by this? She is scared of losing them? Aren't they my parents? Hasn't she known them for 7 years to my 33? Am I supposed to care? Am I supposed to help her feel better by letting her run the show? Ummmm, NO.

Then it hit me. When my parents die, or when just one of them dies, all the needy people they collected in their lives are going to come to me and suck me dry. It hit me that when my grandfather died, I couldn't stand to be in the room with all those sad people. Visitation was torture. I wanted to be sad, and I didn't want anyone else being sad around me, making me feel like I had to make them feel better. I don't know how I'm going to deal with my parents' funerals. I've got to get a handle on that, because it can't be a repeat of Granddaddy's funeral. That was just a disaster, but good material to write about someday.

Lucky for me, there was no grudge. He was happy to see me and I was happy to see him. I don't know what will happen this week, but I know that Bro and I have now taken back control of our family and we ain't ever letting it slip away again. They are our parents. We love them, and we will take care of them. So there.