Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Details, details, details...

My last post was long, emotional, humorous, and...Well, it had a little bit of everything...but not everything.

First, some news on Dad. He's in medical trouble, and it's nothing minor. He's become immune to the antibiotics that they give him to address the weeping wounds on his legs. My estimate would be that it's about five or six years that he's been on them almost continuously. If not receiving a full dose to address a genuine infection, he's been on a low, prophylactic dose to prevent anything too serious.

Well, there have been warnings from the medical community. I've heard them often enough, as one doctor or another has said they don't want me on antibiotics "just in case" because of the potential to become immune to their effects. Now it's happened to Dad, and that means trouble is no longer just around the corner...it's peeking around, looking for him, while sharpening its gun...or something like that.

Look, folks...If I'm not trying to maintain my off-beat sense of humor about these things, I'll end up crying in the corner, shaking uncontrollably.

At minimum, my father is 100 lbs. overweight. His mobility has already tanked. If he gets an infection that's serious enough, and they have to amputate, my father will become one of those senior citizens who never leaves his bed. Psychologically, he probably won't watch TV...or read a book...or answer his phone. He'll lose his soul if he loses his leg, as he is already convinced he doesn't have much to live for at the age of 80.

Surprisingly, this topic was also glanced over, just like the discussion of my toe. As I sit here and type, I'm starting to see a connection. If it's medical, Dad doesn't want to discuss it. If it is solidly connected to the financial and/or social...Well, now it's a topic for conversation.

Which brings us to Stu and his potential divorce. I unintentionally failed to explain why it was actually happening, although there were plenty of implications directed at the stupid reasons he got married in the first place. Love...? It would seem the men in my family, with the exception of myself, don't marry for love. And that's the foundation for all the woes that are sure to follow.

Because the lines of communication appear to be at a minimum between Stu and Nicki, their discussions are usually about what "must" be done. The house must be repaired. The bills must be paid. Our biological mother must be executed, (as per Nicki's opinion). The child must not play with running chainsaws. That kind of thing. That husband and wife occasionally meet in the bedroom to attempt further procreation...I think that's more a testament to our natures and biological functions.

Over the years, while Stu struggled to find stable employment, Nicki worked full time AND went to school. And when I made that list and said that Nicki's family treated my brother and sister-in-law like strangers...it was more that they treated Stu as such. Nicki continues to work her butt off, sometimes pulling 11 days in a row of work. When free time rolls around, she's off with friends or family, abandoning Stu to watch their child AND our biological mother.

So Stu works a miserable job, (which I believe is at Wal-Mart), and is often left to handle "the child that lived to be dumb" and Satan's sister. He's practically not permitted time to make friends of his own, and should he dare to mention his misery, it falls upon the deaf ears of his wife. She has what she wanted: American citizenship. Stu is no longer a commodity.

This is why Stu has found himself in a loveless marriage, with a child who needs far more attention than anyone can spare, and a senior citizen from Hades living under his leaky roof.

Oh...One other goofy thing floating around in their lives...Nicki wants to enlist in the military. The idea is that by doing so, the military will provide many of their needs, such as a home that doesn't require perpetual repair. They are under the misconception that this particular shift in careers for Nicki will fix some of what's broken in their marriage. But if Stu moves forward with the idea of a divorce, it's going to blow such plans to smithereens.

One final side note about the actual visit, (and not its aftermath), is that Stu seemed to be making an attempt to ignore the fact that I was treated like an ATM two years ago. And as part of that effort, he pulled me aside and told me that Mom had given Stu a mission, in which he wanted me to share the burden: explain to Dad that his driving days are over; he's far more dangerous behind the wheel than many drunks.

If Stu was waiting for my support in such a conversation, he never got it. There was no way, in the short time we were allotted, to gently ease into such a discussion. Once he mentioned it to me, I knew that the only way to approach it would be as gently as possible. That would take longer than the 45 minutes we had. Thus, it never came up, especially with us allowing Dad to lead the conversation.

Meanwhile, back at home...I blew quite a few major emotional fuses over the visit. The saving grace of the entire trip was our time spent at Bryan's place. But what weighed far more heavily was what went on at Dad's. To reach the age of 44, when fate seemed to be doing its best to make that impossible, and then find myself dismissed like a five-year-old talking nonsense...it hurt in ways I find difficult to describe. It was very much "same 'song,' different day." And I found myself wondering why I was still trying so damnably hard to hang on to a father who seemed to want me to quietly disappear into the background. I felt as though I'd been summoned to his home so I could be ignored in person.

Dwelling on this, I found myself losing perspective on much of my current life. Why was I fighting anymore? Why wasn't I simply allowing fate to have its way with me and end my existence sooner?

Well, the answers are actually numerous. I'm still on my feet, malfunctioning though they may be, and fighting because of the love I stumbled upon. I'm still making my best efforts because of the friends I have scattered around the world, (and my prayers remain with my UK friends amidst the chaos there). I'm still here and fighting the good fight because I'm still hanging on to hope. Going back to what I'd expected when I was visiting Dad...I was HOPING their emotions had somehow been reconnected to their brains. If there was no hope, then I'd be resigning this commission in life.

Thankfully, I am a blessed man. Monday evening, when I was on the cusp of complete emotional collapse, I called a valued friend, one of the Playgrounders, and unloaded a truckload of my woes onto him. I chose him because he is actually a professional in the therapeutic field, and he was the voice of calm I needed in that moment. It didn't hurt that I also took half a Valium to calm me enough to speak without choking on my tears. Approximately one day later, he stated that he wished he could give more than love and support, although I don't think he was referring to me. The thing is, what he considered such a small thing meant volumes to me. On Monday night, I was lucky to have such a "fragrant angel" in my life.

With all of this now reported, I'm off to continue crafting a letter to my father. Snail mail seems to be the only way I can ensure that he'll hear me out, without dismissing me. Be well, and DFTBA!

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