Chaos Attraction

Damned If You Don't

2005-07-14, 1:37 p.m.

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I'm currently home "sick" writing this. I was up till 12:30 on the phone with Mom last night and was out of it by the time I got off the phone, and felt about the same when I had to wake up for work. It took a lot of effort not to send out the "I'm staying home today" e-mail with typos aplenty. Especially when I nearly sent out "I was up into the whee hours of the night..."

Too bad one can't just call in "sick" in the morning hours and come into work later. I hate having to waste a whole day because I felt nasty in the morning without the excuse of pregnancy.

Anyway, the latest developments:

(a) Dad theoretically gets out of the hospital today around eleven, assuming nothing else goes wrong.
(b) Apparently they didn't do much of ANYTHING for him- or at least "We can't figure out why he's doing so badly. Uh, we're just going to send you home and you'll probably have to come back to the hospital for transfusions a lot." Gee, thanks. They didn't bother to test him on his swallowing ability either. "Just puree everything!"
(c) Now Mom feels guilty about eating solid food in front of Dad. "How am I going to hide me eating?" Gah.
(d) She did talk on the phone with the HHCW, Mauricio, and she has a good impression of him so far. They will meet today when Dad gets out, and he starts work tomorrow. Assuming Dad doesn't stay in the hospital some more.
(e) Auntie D. was on the phone with Mom late into the night, hence why I was on the phone even later into the night. What was she saying, you ask?
(f) Well, for one thing, she's being all bigoted. Like "OMG THE GUY MIGHT NOT BE WHITE!!!" Okay, not that blatant, but immediately asking what he is and shit like that. Jesus, woman, I know you're from Montana and other races don't exist there, but you've lived in California for decades. GET OVER IT.
(g) And then she continued to be all delightful by insisting that Grandma be brought down to California to "say goodbye." And that's where things got ugly.

I should probably tell y'all what Grandma has been doing in recent months. Apparently the household hygiene levels and cleanliness levels have gone way down, they're not taking their medication, and Grandma is in "mourning" for my cousin-in-law. Which translates into her sobbing all day long, all night long, for weeks on end, in between calling Janelle to cry at her.

Keep in mind this is also the same woman who is out to lunch on how bad this is for Dad in the first place. She's much happier in denial and not knowing what's going on and seeing him looking horrible.

Mom said that if Grandma was down here, she'd spend the whole time sobbing, refuse to leave our house (Auntie D: "Oh, we'd make her leave." Mom: "That's not gonna work unless you can carry her out."), and then phone-stalk Mom when she got home. "It's not like they can even talk any more." And she makes Dad feel miserable, and seeing him obviously makes her miserable... so she said, NO, you are not bringing her down to say goodbye.

Naturally, Auntie D didn't agree with this.

And Mom was all, "Look, I didn't get to say goodbye to my father either, I know what it's like, and I feel for her not getting to say goodbye. But I have to put him first here, and she's just going to be a wreck." (It was more extensive than that, I'm keeping this short.) "And hell, her own sister would probably agree with me."

Hell of a thing, to have to say, "No, a mother can't say goodbye to her son." But if Grandma insists on being a basket case and making things worse...hell, I don't even think she should ever see him again.

This led to a discussion of whether or not I'd come home this weekend, especially since now I'd have to have someone else in the family pick me up. Fortunately, Mom agreed that having the evil aunt and uncle do it and leaving me alone in a car with them for 45 minutes while they tell me I'd better find a boyfriend and get married NOW before my dad dies was Not A Good Idea. Eventually we decided that me coming and seeing Dad looking like shit was also Not A Good Idea. Phew, so I'm off the hook with that one.

But that in turn led to an even worse conversation than the Terri Schaivo one: the "Do you want to see him right before he dies?" one. And much as I didn't want to have to answer that question...and feel really shitty to have this answer... I don't want to. We can't talk, and I really don't want my last, best, and clearest memory of him for the rest of my life to be a dying drooling vegetable, but even worse than usual.

But saying that and thinking that makes me feel evil. Yeah, deny the dying man the last chance to see his own daughter because I'm such a selfish bitch I can't suck it up and pretend. Just like Grandma there, aren't I?

Oddly enough, Mom refused to judge me (at least, not saying it to me directly, though I know she doesn't feel that way), saying that she knew how I was about other relatives dying and yes, the last time you see them is what gets burned into your brain and she doesn't want that for me.

I said, what do you do when what's best for you ISN'T what's best for the other person? She said to do what you could deal with in the long run.

I don't know if I can deal with either choice. The guilt of not seeing him versus the horror of seeing him. I feel godawful about myself no matter what choice I make.


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