The parent trap

5 Dec

10:12 pm

No, not the movie. MY parents–or, rather, parent…though, both have their issues.

I haven’t really felt like writing lately, considering work and life. We did have a nice Thanksgiving–with old friends and new, a small group; so far, so good re: Covid–and I took a SWEET day off to go hiking with a friend. It was THE best thing I’ve done in a while, to get out of my ‘hood, my house, my head for the entire day, to spend it talking and walking and swimming with a new friend. Today, we went by the shelter to check on our new boy–YES, we’ve finally decided that we’re ready to welcome a new dog! We get to take him home on Monday. (Actually, it was my boo’s pick, so I guess I should say, HE is ready to have a son again. I had my eye on another dog at the shelter, but when I walked her today, I just didn’t feel like we had a connection; I feel bad for her, since she’s been there a year, but…I don’t know if I am ready yet. My old dog, who we put down almost four months ago, was such a smart, ridiculous friend–she was part chow, part shepherd, and I don’t know if I’ll ever meet a girl like her again, so maybe I should lower my expectations? It might be that I’m just not ready for another pup yet…)

Other stuff hasn’t been so good or easy, but I’ll get through this, too. The older I get, the more I realize that I will get through anything; and, a positive, selfless (as in, it’s not about ME, ever; I don’t ever have to choose to take anything personally) attitude goes a long way toward keeping self, others, and events in perspective. However, this thing with my dad has really thrown me for a loop!

Past couple months, shit has truly hit the fan with my dad. To summarize, he has always had what I would call a personality disorder (the closest I can come to describing him is narcissistic–like, according to Wikipedia, he has all three of these: exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive craving for admiration, and struggles with empathy; in fact, I would say his lack of empathy has always almost bordered on sociopathy, mainly because he has often had very little regard for others’ well being and he lies a lot). BUT, he’s also had lifelong UNTREATED bipolar disorder (yeah, it took me until 40 years old to unravel my issues from growing up with that shit!), which seems to have morphed into a full-blown dementia somewhere between five years ago and now–which seemed to be kicked into high gear by going under general anesthesia during a recent hip surgery (in fact, he has had serious mood/personality changes from past surgeries, too, it seems).

Anyway, it’s been a trip trying to deal with him because he’s not incompetent, but…he can’t do what he used to do (work-wise) OR take care of himself anymore. It’s very bad; I don’t really have the energy to go into details, but he is 100% unable to take care of himself (as in, he does not shower, he has not been eating, he didn’t think it was a big deal that he has no heat–it’s freezing cold where he lives now), and he seems 100% incapable of making rational decisions, of executive level thinking. Yet, he is also 100% in denial about this and does not believe anything is wrong.

Tomorrow, a social worker is coming to the house; I guess she will interview him and make the decision on whether to send him to a care facility. It will be interesting to see if and how he takes that; he has been extra-belligerent with my step-mom, and there is NO forcing him to do anything. I don’t know. It’s interesting to wonder about all the mental health stuff–I had no idea that people could pass for so long, as in, hide their dementia; I had no idea that dementia can include all sorts of mental changes, like delusional thinking that can be so very subtle that you don’t distinguish it from “normal” personality-disordered thinking; I had no idea that untreated mental health disorders can actually cause issues like this or wreak havoc later (he’s only 73; pretty young to be this bad, right?).

I have spent hours on the phone with him, my brothers (yep, plural; first time I have talked to the one brother who wrote me off in 3.5 years–eh, I am so over it that I felt next to nothing), my step-mom, trying to get him to understand that he needs care, that he can’t go home–he has no bridges left to burn, and at this point, I am not sure what the future holds for him.

I have thought once or twice about how this would feel if I had wine to rely on for escape; probably just more muddled and overwhelming. No, thanks–I like the extreme clarity re: other people’s “crazy” that being sober affords me these days! It has caused me some anxiety, though…

Anyway…just a short post. Even though I haven’t blogged much lately, I am always reading and following your posts, so keep ’em coming!

9 Responses to “The parent trap”

  1. Ainsobriety December 5, 2020 at 10:48 pm #

    I’m so sorry. That must be very hard…hopefully your step mom can come up with a plan for him…73 is young. It sounds like he cannot live on his own.

    I am thankful my own parents are self sufficient. They are 82. My grandma will be 100 in April and she still lives in her own house. If anything happens to any of them I am the only family, and I am 800 km away.


    Your are right. Booze would only make this heavier and more sad.

    Take care of yourself

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 5, 2020 at 10:59 pm #

      Thanks, Anne, I appreciate that! Yes, we can only do so much, and, no, my LORD, booze would make it so much sadder and muddier. xx

  2. Dwight Hyde December 6, 2020 at 3:11 am #

    Wrapping you all in light and love. A very difficult situation becoming the parent to the parent. Big hugs🤗. The outdoors for me is my best therapy.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 7, 2020 at 10:02 am #

      Thank you! I took your advice, went for a walk yesterday (we live in a tropical setting), and felt comforted and renewed. *love Nature*

  3. Shawna Rae December 6, 2020 at 11:02 am #

    I think the dementia also causes anger and stubbornness because I just went through a similar thing with my own father. A year later, the dementia has advanced enough that he’s at peace most the time and much more like a child again. He no longer struggles with the loss of control.

    I hope your own father reaches the same stage eventually. Wishing you the best …


    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 7, 2020 at 10:04 am #

      Hi, Shawna, Thanks for your comment. It’s good to know that this may be a likely progression. I am hopeful that he is not in pain, per se, or vexed; I would hate to see him mentally scared or paranoid because he is aware of his lack of memory… So far, he does not seem to be aware how bad it is, or he is in total denial about it. Thank you… Sorry to hear about your father–

      • Shawna Rae December 17, 2020 at 6:48 pm #

        I can’t believe that he died right after I commented on your blog about him. He’s been on my mind for a few days.

        We all agree that my dad’s last seven months or so were really like a second childhood for him. He didn’t seem to worry. He ate what he wanted and people catered to him all day long. Still, I’m so glad he has passed on. He’d been ready to go for a long time. I think he really was hanging on just long enough to see his latest great grandson. 😀

  4. Lovie Price December 7, 2020 at 6:02 am #

    Can relate on the parent issue as usual. My stepfather is almost exactly the same- i cant say he was ever diagnosed with mental issues before but it was always pretty apparent. Finally he was diagnosed with Dementia a few years ago. I believe he is about 72. It’s been hard on my mom, and my brother who was diagnosed with cancer back in May has been staying with them during his treatment. Last week, though ,he completely blew up on my brother out of the blue ( he has had deep life long anger issues and the dementia has only made that worse) . It was so bad my mom finally decided to call the area agency on aging to see if he could be placed elsewhere as it is getting too hard for her to care for him alone. They told her if he can eat, shower, and put on his own clothes- no facility will take him. It’s very sad. I only go see them once or twice a year .My mother and i have always had issues as well . Kind of feels like being an adult orphan sometimes…hugs!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 7, 2020 at 10:15 am #

      Thanks for your comment. Wow, yeah, that sounds really hard for all involved in your family. I can’t believe it can happen so “young,” but I was clueless. Yes, that is the same issue for my father re: the self-care limitations on facility placement. But, he’s “been there” for months, which the social worker finally saw yesterday. SO, I think we’re moving forward with “forcing” the issue, which is to say, making him stay somewhere like a hospital or facility for a while, at least. Hugs right back atcha…

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