“I don’t know why he is so mean.”
Those were the first words that Mom said to me the other day, talking about my Dad, and they keep ringing in my ears. But let me back up some….
After suffering too much neglect, and, frankly, abuse, from my father, for failing to get my mom care when she needed it, Mom went on a hunger strike. She wouldn’t take her medicine for her infection, she wouldn’t eat, she wouldn’t drink, she wouldn’t speak much. She was defying Dad in any way that she could in her limited state. She refused to let him care for her ostomy bag, and things got really ugly between them.
After a discussion with the social worker from APS, it was clear that it was time to act without Dad on our team. This is a big risk, since we risk losing his power of attorney, which means not only is our ability to care for Mom compromised, but our ability to ultimately care for Dad also becomes very difficult. I took a day and moved some monies around so that my sister and I will have complete control over it.
My Mom’s doctor is pretty good, and thankfully we are able to handle a number of issues online. After messaging that Mom isn’t eating and just wants to die, he referred her to Hospice. The Calvary has arrived…..
We are overwhelmed trying to get everything in place, as well as me trying to manage the beginning of a new semester. In one day I had seven messages from Hospice. They are a wonderful team. I have arranged for a caregiver to be there a short time most days, with the folks’ money. We all still have to work on coordinating our resources, but life has just changed dramatically for both of my parents, for the better.
I was able to go see Mom for the first time since her new bed arrived. The Chaplain was there, they had started their visit with him playing his guitar and Mom sang along with all the words I’m told, but now he was at the counter just chatting with Dad about WWII stuff (that is, before he started complaining about how much dumber some of us daughters are compared to another one – he is so ugly nowadays). The hospice social worker arrived just before I did.
I found Mom sitting up and smiling in her new bed, she had just eaten something. She was happy to see me, and very willingly took her medicine. Out of the blue, she said to me, in a very sad voice, “I don’t know why he is so mean.” We talked a bit about that, then strayed and talked a bit about her eyesight. She has macular degeneration (different types in each eye), and I’m afraid she’s lost a lot more vision lately. She was too defeated to be angry, but was clearly upset that Dad would get mad at her taking “all those pills”. Yeah, those pills, the ones that the doctor has her on to preserve what little vision she had left. That’s why she stopped taking all her vitamins – because Dad just got meaner and meaner about them … he has always been anti-pill, but he has been more assertive about it lately, from vitamins to pain meds.
It was like she was completely shut down, but now that she feels safer and more cared for, she can speak more freely. Even in her confused state, there are some things that are very clear to her. She must have some form of PTSD from the trauma that Dad has put her through. I try not to think about this part too much, because it just breaks my heart. I’m afraid that those are the words that I’ll remember when I think about Dad most of the time …. “I don’t know why he is so mean….”