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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The good, the bad and the unbelievable


This last weekend was crazier than usual. Bena arrived on Saturday at 10am and went to the hospice where she spent several hours. I arrived there at 2pm and we stayed till 4pm. I took some baked tilapia and roasted veggies for him for two dinners and made up some cards with large print to put on his bulletin board because he cannot see what is in the fridge. The cards are written in felt markers and as he uses the food, he can remove the card and toss them but and the food does not go to waste in the fridge. Tracy the chef makes some good meals but ours is a change and more familiar to his palette (at least this is my reasoning for taking dinner for him several times a week).

Dad had a good visit with Bena but wanted to know which night she would spend there. Although it sounds like a good idea in theory, dad's bedtime is around 8:30pm and he has a morning routine that starts at 4am and because his vision in his left eye is getting weak, all lights have to be on like you are in a floodlit football stadium so it would be pretty difficult to sleep over and have any rest at all.

Bena did not sleep over but she visited each day with Mom as did Darwin and Sophie. Yesterday they took two sets of peas and rice that mom cooked but as soon as he heard that we were going out to dinner, he got upset, poured salt all over one container of food and refused to eat it. Bena and mom left and came over to my house - Bena visibly upset and mom crying - because mom had gotten up early to make the food that he ruined and he showed no appreciation for the effort she made. By the time they told me the whole story, I was pretty upset myself. I had already packed a container of herb roasted chicken, bake red cabbage, bokchoy with garlic and roasted veggies to take for him this morning but I debated whether I should even bother to do that. I asked mom to bring in the food that he had over salted and when I tasted it, it was inedible.

I strategized all night (with maybe an hour or two of sleep) and finally came up with a plan. I went to the hospice this morning at 7:30am and took both containers of peas and rice (one edible and one inedible) plus the chicken that I had prepared. When I arrived, he was in the bathroom so I checked with the nurse to see about his progress. She said that he had a good night and had just finished eating his second breakfast - one of oatmeal early this morning and one of dhall and roti just before I arrived. She said he even had two dinners last night so I asked what he ate. She said he ate one dinner with mom and Bena and then he had another one at 5pm. I told her what he did with the one mom brought so of course he was hungry at dinner.

I waited until he came out of the bathroom and told him that I brought back the food he had ruined last night plus the one I packed and he could do with them as he liked. If he decided to eat the over salted food, then there would be no more of such food coming as it is inedible for the rest of us. If he chose to throw them out, then there would be no food coming as he is not appreciative. In essence, we won't be bringing any dinners as he does not seem to appreciate the time and effort that goes in to making him comfortable. The hospice makes good food, so he can have their dinners. I said that we will continue to bring his dhall and roti but one complaint from him and that will stop too and he can eat cereal and toast like the other residents. I also said that I will not tolerate his abusive behaviour - most especially to my mother - and when he feels sufficiently remorseful, we'll come back to visit but in the meantime, he will have to think about his actions and the consequences of his actions. He tried to give me an explanation as to why he ruined the food but I was not really interested in hearing it.

He likes to use the expression "He met his match" so today I reminded him of that, except that I am not his match, I am the brick wall he finally ran into. I am the immovable object that he is not going to find his way around with apologies, excuses and nice words. I reminded him that I promised myself when I was growing up (after a sound beating) that I would not continue the cycle of abusive behaviour and will no longer accept it for the rest of the family either.

I know some of you may be thinking that he has cancer and this kind of behaviour is to be expected but I have to admit that when I saw my sister upset and my mother crying, it just took me back to my childhood when he would do the same thing if he was angry for whatever reason. I spent practically the entire night awake and hurt that he would do this. It's staggering how one small act like that can trigger memories that I did not want to deal with right now. I've learned how to compartmentalize my feelings and I am not ready to deal with this. I am going to take some food for him on Thursday because I promised that I would but in the meantime, the rest of the family will have a reprieve from his anger at us, God and the world for his cancer.

I asked him today why I am the only one he doesn't treat with such disrespect but I didn't give him an opportunity to answer. He knows that I have gone above and beyond what would be reasonable to expect for his care and well-being but he also knows that I will be the one to call him on his silly behaviour when he gets out of hand.

I have no idea how I would handle a terminal diagnosis if I got one, but I would like to think that I would appreciate that I had some time to do the things with the people I love that others don't always have a chance to do and I would really try to live each day as if it was my last. It's been a difficult weekend and I don't expect that it will get better by next. I called the hospice this afternoon and the nurse said that the doctor does not think that dad has thrush after all. It may just be a sore in his mouth from the cancer. He is also having difficulty clearing his throat so they suggesting some kind of transderm patch which may help alleviate the situation but one side effect is that it causes confusion. I told the nurse that he is already confused sometimes and she said that it would get wore - he wouldn't know what day it is and may not remember things which in turn may make him even more agitated. If he does go on the patch and we observe those behaviours (worse than he is now confused) we should tell them and they will remove it and he the side effects should go away within 24 hours. What kind of choice is that for me to make? Either have him have difficulty swallowing or give him some meds that will help him but will make him confused. Sometimes I wish there was one right answer or someone could tell me what the right answer is.

We have not heard from Karran and Kelsey since they left for New Orleans ten days ago so he probably has no idea what is happening over here. They are due back on Thursday but I am not sure if they will go to the hospice when they return or wait for a few days.

In amongst all the idiocy, my grandbaby Sabreena had a stomach flu on Friday and spent the whole evening and the next day throwing up. Then it passed to Trent who Sharm said was whiter than usual. Then Sharm got it on Sunday and she was feeling so bad, that she called and asked me to make some soup for the family so I made a huge pot of chicken and rice soup with potatoes and dumplings. Then it was Sahana's turn yesterday and she had it the worse. They are all feeling much better today but vomiting and diarrhoea sure wipes you out.

Can someone suggest a vacation spot in a nice warm location, next to a beach, with a butler, room service, massage therapist on the beach, where I could just go and veg out for a week or two with no phone or internet? Isla Mujeres sounds like heaven right about now. Or better yet, Santorini (some pics from my October trip)....

Caldera, Santorini


Great seafood restaurant in Fira

The villa I would like to own in Santorini

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