Where to begin?
There was the call that I placed to my father on Sunday, that was answered by his 80-year old girlfriend, Mary. The woman that Dad met last year and has been living with him since he returned from visiting us in California, last April.
I wasn't able to talk to Dad.
I haven't been able to talk to Dad for at least a month.
It seems he is always sleeping or on his way to the bathroom. Mary told me that Dad was having an off day. He has been unable to sit down or stand up on his own. He had to have a catheter installed because he was up every 30 minutes at night to use the restroom and he - nor she - were getting any sleep.
But he's doing better now.
Everything will soon be fine.
There was the call I placed to my mother on Tuesday where she made me realize that I was in denial about my father's failing health. It doesn't appear at all likely that he is going to bounce back. It's just a matter of time before he is gone. There was that instant while I stood looking at a partially packed suitcase - and it felt like someone dumped a cold bucket of water over me.
There was the suitcase that I finished packing for the business trip that would take me to Los Angeles for several days. There was the 400-mile round trip drive, that I drove by myself while my husband and four children stayed at home. There was the same song that I listened to over and over again and I cried and cried.
I mourned for my Dad, that hasn't yet left this earth.
I mourned for myself that I was so far away and helpless to do anything.
There was the phone call that I had with my sister, Janet, this afternoon. The call where she told me that she had talked to my brother, Frank, late last night. Frank had told her that something funny is going on up at my father's house. Although my sister Beth has been saying it for months, for the first time, my brother smells a rat.
Unauthorized checks are being written. Strangers are getting a hold of house keys and hiding them in the garage. When Frank tried to call my father's missing cell phone, it was answered by a contractor that had placed a bid to do work on the windows. Health care aides that are supposed to be helping take care of Dad are sleeping on the couch. When Frank dropped in to check on Dad, two of Mary's sons were hanging out in the house.
Why were they there?
Why is it that every time someone calls the house, we are happily told Dad is doing better? When in reality, Dad lies in bed for 22 hours a day completely oblivious to everything. Unable to get up. Roll over. Use the restroom. Unable to feed himself. Unable to drink without a straw. And now, he has an infection - due to the catheter.
Dad wants to be with Mary. That's what he said. That's what he told me that last summer when I was there. He told me again in January when he was put in the hospital. So what if Mary takes every last cent that Dad has? So long as Dad is happy, what does it matter? That's the primary reason Beth was driven out of the picture. That's the reason Beth's Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy were reassigned.
Because Beth wasn't willing to let Mary take complete control over my father's health care and financial decisions. Even though Beth knew what she was doing. Even though Beth has stood by my father's side through everything that he has been through. Even though she singlehandedly got him through his divorce that was finalized a year ago, yesterday. Beth didn't trust the situation. She suspected something else was up. She was resistant to give any of his financial documents back and almost everyone turned on her.
Everyone cried, "Respect Dad's wishes!"
But did Dad really wish for this?
If Dad was in a clear-state of mind, would he want to lay on a bed in his boxer shorts with his parts hanging out for all the world to see? Would he want strangers taking his house keys and stealing his cell phone? Would he want unauthorized checks written from his bank account? Would he want all of his appointments with world-renowned neurologists that he was seeing in Boston canceled? Would he want to have his medication mixed up, countless times? Or would he want to have his loyal daughter that holds a pharmacy AND law degree to be managing his medication and business affairs?
There are the plane tickets that I have on hold to fly back to Massachusetts, in April. Unfortunately, I can't go sooner because of a two-week court trial where I'll be testifying as an expert-witness and representative for my company. So I'll be in Massachusetts for my birthday. And Dad's birthday, provided he lasts that long.
God-willing, I'll make it there and back again because on my birthday, I'll be turning 38. And if my 10th grade Geometry buddy Will Brown was right, this is the year I'm due to perish in a plane crash.
There was the call I placed to Beth today that I said it doesn't matter what anyone thinks of says or does. As she was planning to do in January, she needs to go to court and have all of the documents overturned and assume immediate control of my father. She needs to be his guardian, regardless of what anyone might say. She needs to move him out of his house and in to her house. She needs to get his medication straightened out. She needs to bring in nurses, if need be. Or, she needs to move up his house - as she had been planning to do last year - before my father met Mary.
He can't be in his house alone - and that house is where he has always wanted to be.
There's this post that I'm writing that I'm sure will generate a ton of controversy from my family. But whatever the case.
Whatever it takes.
Even if toes are stomped upon and battles are waged.
This is my Dad.
And I'm not ready to lose him, yet.