Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

We took a road trip to see family this weekend. Two days at my dad's house, one day at K's parents', and a stop for lunch with Brian's parents. 800+ miles and a good 13-14 hours in the car. I'm tired, and really wishing I'd taken today off from work to recover!

Healthwise, my dad is doing about as well as can be expected. The Parkinson's is progressing to some extent, and the doctor just changed his meds. His blood sugar is OK most days - not great, but OK. But mentally/emotionally, I'm worried about him. I'm worried about my dad, though. He's fine with me and J, but he's getting mean in some ways. He's always been a difficult person to live with - very outspoken, very blunt, quick to anger and slow to admit he's wrong. With me, at least, that's mellowed somewhat as he's gotten older. My stepmom and I had a chance to talk, though, and he's getting to the point where he'll say things to other people that are really just hateful. If he'd said them to me, I'd have stopped talking to him, that's for sure. She said his tendency to do this is driving their friends away, and I hate that. I don't know if it's age, if it's some transmogrification of the Parkinson's, if it's both, if it's just that he's scared to death that he has no control over how things will progress, or if it's just a magnification of personality traits that are already there, but I don't like the mean streak. They got a puppy - three months old. He's a cute pup, bouncy and hyper and jumpy and barky like puppies are. J doesn't do well with bouncy barky dogs, so I'd hold Jake (the puppy) while J went by. We were getting ready to leave and Jake was all excited and kept trying to climb in my car. I didn't care, I'd just shove him away gently and tell him no. I figure he's about like a little kid, he has to hear it forty-seven thousand times before he gets it. LOL But my dad shoved Jake and hit him, hard, and that worried me. I told him that wasn't necessary on my account, that Jake would get it with time and repetition, there was no need to be so rough. And sometimes it's like he's looking for things to pick a fight about. My stepmom had gone to Monroe to see her great-grandbaby, and was on her way home when I got in Saturday, so she wasn't there when I got there. It never occurred to me to be in the least upset about it - that meant that her daughter and granddaughter were with her, so I got to see them, too, and I got to see pics of the grandbaby, yay! That was fun for me. My dad told me on Monday that he was sorry my stepmom gave me the cold shoulder, that she'd known I was coming way before she'd planned that trip to Monroe, and it was like he was upset she'd gone instead of staying there to see me. ??? I told him she and I were just fine, we get along well, and that if I had a problem with anything she said or did to me, I was a grown woman and would certainly tell her how I felt, that he didn't need to get all worked up over some perceived slight to me. I don't get that at all. He just seems to see things so differently than I do, and I hurt for him. If he keeps it up, he's going to chase off all his friends, and he'll be alone. I know getting old sucks, and he's always been such a control freak that the Parkinson's must scare the bejeezus out of him, but that's no reason to be hateful to people. And he's 81 - the likelihood of his behavior changing at this point is slim to none, especially if any part of it is just the progression of the disease.

It worries me, too, because should he become incapacitated, someone will need to handle his affairs. My stepmom is the logical choice, as she's there and she's the one running the house and keeping things up. But given the conversation he and I had this weekend, I don't know if he'd ever sign anything naming her power of attorney. Sure, I could do it, but it seems silly for him to name me when I'm seven hours away. I just worry as to how all this will get taken care of when he sometimes seems to have this mentality that the whole world is against him, even his wife.

Other than that worry, the trip was good. J came home with more stuff than I don't know what, and K's parents sent us home with enough groceries that I shouldn't have to shop for a month. It was good to see everyone, even if it meant a long trip for us. It rained a lot on the drive home, but we made it safely, and the house was still standing when we got home, so it's all good.

J's teacher sent home a Conner's scale, a survey that looks for ADHD characteristics. She said she filled out the teacher's scale, and sent the parent's version home for me to fill out and return. The counselor will then score the surveys and let me know the results. Some things are "never or seldom" for him, like being angry and resentful (not so much), having no friends, checking things over and over again, fussy about cleanliness (I laughed out loud when I read this one - hardly! LOL), irritable, headaches, blaming others for mistakes/misbehavior. Some things are "very much true" - inattentive/easily distracted, easily frustrated, easily distracted by extraneous stimuli, interrupts others' conversations/games, has a hard time waiting his turn/waiting in line, always "on the go". I'm curious to see how my answers compare to his teacher's, and what the counselor sees. It will certainly give us something to talk to our counselor about. On the one hand, it makes me nervous - you hate for your child to be labeled in any way, even if having a label can help in areas where help is needed. On the other, I know his teacher is just offering a tool, something we may be able to use to address behavior concerns even if things don't rise to the level of ADHD, and that's a good thing. Also, if there is a real, genuine problem, then it's better to know sooner rather than later. I honestly don't know what the counselor will see when the results are tallied. I don't know how much of J's bounciness and inattention is due to some possible diagnosable issue and how much of it is just 5-year-old boy dealing with a lot of change in his life. We'll see.

So. Ten days until Brian's move, seventeen until the wedding! K's grandmother was there this weekend, and bless her, she gave me some money as a wedding gift. I don't know what I'll do with it - she suggested some nice lingerie. LOLOL I love Granny, she is an absolute card. Anyway, I'm going to Brian's this weekend to help with the yard sale. Whatever doesn't sell, if he doesn't want to move it, we're taking it to Goodwill. I'm going to see if I can get motivated and box up some stuff I might want to sell, too, while we're selling.

And good news - Brian has found a retail outlet that may be interested in carrying Bright Blessings goodies! The man who's opening the shop is looking for Texas-made products to offer, and I'm going to get a sample basket made up to take down there this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed!


Squishypig said...

Lots of stuff going on! SOOOOOOO exciting about Brian moving and the WEDDING! Congratulations!

Carol D. O'Dell said...

My mom had Parkinson's for about 15 years. While there were times that were physically difficult, I found that the the neurological/psychological changes set in and you have more to adjust to. Eventually, we moved her into our home (my husband, our three daughters, and my self), and getting used to all that was quite a challenge!

I was grateful for the time it gave us. It slowed my domineering, fussy, self-centered, funny and irratating mom down a bit--which was a good thing. It taught me patience, kindness and acceptance for things to be okay just as they were--her, me, our relationship.

I hope you have many good years with your dad.

~Carol D. O'Dell
Author of Mothering Mother: A Daughter's Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir
available on Amazon