Sunday, February 19, 2006

Familius Horribilus Retardum Act 2

Scene 1

An email from my brother. My thoughts are in red:



Thought I'd let you know it's Dad's 90th birthday coming up on May 8th [a Monday] but you probably knew that already.

Oh, really? Because I have no idea when my own father's birthday is.


Because of the special age etc... C [wife] and I are flying down with M & P [kids] too on Saturday 6th in the morning and returning home on Monday at 6pm or so.

We missed being there for Dad's 75th so would like to make this special for him and Mum to.

Actually, you missed his 80th.

We haven't mentioned anything to Mum and would like it to be a surprise if possible. Would you be interested in getting together for a lunch somewhere special on say the Sunday or Saturday like you did last time? Not sure where you had that get together.

Are you able to organise the luncheon from your end knowing Adelaide a bit better? Will you be able to get yourselves with baby + Mum and Dad to the lunch?

Suuuuure, because, you know, only 5 weeks until I give birth to my first child I obviously have nothing better to do. As for lunch 4 weeks after his birth, there's nothing I'd love better than to drive for two hours and sit in a restaurant for several more hours with a newborn and deal with people I dont like particularly and listen to my father ask the same question every 5 minutes. And I'm sure we can strap Spudly to the roof so we can fit the olds in the back of the car.


We have hired a small car only but would like to surprise them at the lunch, not before.

Will wait to hear back for your thoughts.

I dont think you want to hear my thoughts on this matter....


Scene 2

Another email from my brother:

Can you think of anyone else to invite ? If you don't give it away about us coming down, you may be able to get Mum on side to organise some of Dads other friends in Adelaide to come along too.

Are you on drugs? What friends?

I take it Mum is getting out and about from time to time ? By taxi or with you ? Alone or with Dad ?

Yes, clearly you are on drugs. How else could you come up with such a preposterous assumption?


If she can make it out from time to time I'm sure we can get her and Dad to lunch somehow.

Try hitting her over the head.

Do Mum and Dad qualify at all for assistance with taxi transport through Adelaide Access
Taxis? Mum didn't speak to highly of the regular taxi operators she had used to start with.

Start with? She's used a taxi ONCE in 7 months.


Scene 3

My response:


Okay, it seems fairly obvious that you're not up to speed on what things are really like down here, and if you're getting all your info from mum that's hardly surprising.


Hmmm. Where to start. I'll address the issues/questions you've raised first.


Mum and Dad dont have any friends. At least not people they're in contact with anymore. I know mum talks about people she knows, but this is more of a "living in the past" thing as they have no visitors, no-one rings (except for D) and no-one is aware of what is going on with dad, which as far as I can tell is how mum wants it.


Monkey Boy and I have talked about the idea of it being a surprise visit the other day, and upon reflection I have come to two conclusions:


1. You could tell Dad every single day every five minutes from now until his birthday that you are coming down and we're all going out for lunch to celebrate, and it will STILL be a surprise to him. He remembers NOTHING that you tell him. Absolutely nothing. He will ask before you get him in the car where we're going, as soon as we get in the car, and every 5 minutes after that where we're going and what we're doing that for. So trust me, it will be a surprise visit!


2. Mum hates surprises. She doesnt want to deal with people, and everything is too much effort. I can guarantee you that there is no way I could talk her into a lunch out without it turning into some huge drama that ends up with her crying and yelling at me about how nobody cares about HER.


I dont know where you got the idea about mum getting "out and about" ( I can guess) but she most certainly doesn't. She has left the house only twice since her fall, once the week after it happened to go to the bank, and the second time a couple of weeks ago when the doctor had a go at her about not bothering to bring dad in to his specialist's appointment. At which point she cried and played the victim card and was badgered into taking dad by taxi the week later. Which she complained about. Dad only leaves the house to go to his medical appointments.


Mum has been using a walking frame since her fall at the beginning of July. She is not able to walk unaided, she is in constant pain and taking large doses of codeine daily and still continues to refuse to seek medical treatment. She hasn't seen a doctor at all, and despite what she may say she has not improved any. I was walking around and driving my car 6 weeks after major spinal surgery, so I think the fact that there has been no improvement in seven months is fairly indicative of a major problem, but she absolutely will not accept that she needs to see a doctor.


Re qualifying for Access Taxis; yes, they do but as usual mum hasn't been bothered about organising anything with them as yet. In fact, they qualify for a whole heap of assistance but mum does not want a bar of any of it. I am not broaching the subject with her again since the last conversation we had about it ended with her screaming abuse at me for an hour and telling me that her fall was all my fault and I never cared about her anyway, yadda yadda.


In case you weren't aware already, whatever mum tells you about how things are is grossly minimised. She lies, she understates how bad things are and denies problems that are obvious to everyone else. Oh, and lets not forget the manipulation. To tell the truth, I'm really worried about dad's welfare staying in the situation that mum has created. He needs much greater assessment and assistance than mum will let him have, and from what I have witnessed he is often treated abusively by her because she simply can't cope. Not that she will ever admit this though.


I have done everything I can, even up to talking to the Public Advocate directly about the situation. Short of going to the Supreme Court to have the Powers of Attorney declared invalid (dad was already mentally incompetant when he signed them) or having mum assessed as unfit to be his carer under the Mental Health Act, there is nothing more that can be done until she is willing to let the Aged Care Assessment Team into their house and actually be honest with them. Oink oink, flap flap..... I have given up. It was just too stressful and the only thing I could to to protect my health and Spudly was to leave them to it. It really breaks my heart thinking about dad not getting the treatment and care that he deserves to be able to live out his last few years with dignity, but mum has the power and control now and she is not about to give it up for anything.


In summation: its bad. Its really really bad.


So, on the idea of lunch, I think its a nice idea with a lovely sentiment behind it, but under the circumstances I can see it being turned into a big drama with no-one being happy about it except dad, who willl be oblivious to the whole thing and wont remember it the next day. Given that I am only a few weeks away from giving birth, I am SOOOO not wading into that minefield, so if you want to organise lunch I suggest you talk to mum about it yourself and sound her out. By the time May 8th gets here I could be still recovering from a C-section (I have placenta previa, so this is a real option), so I'm certainly not willing to say I'll definately travel for two hours and then sit in a restaurant for a few hours.


*****INTERMISSION*****


8 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:44 pm

    Still feverish and weak so apologies if typos+general madness but wanted to tell you right away GOOD FOR YOU, and am v proud that you did what's best for you and Spudly and didn't jump into the quick sand wringing hands. XXX

    Lioness

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Hun - I think you said everything that needed to be said except "Why are you not more in tune with your own parents instead of just the um Fun things like "surprise lunches""?

    Good luck and do yourself a huge favour - just stay out of it. - He is a big boy, let him deal with it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. you go girl!! I wonder if he'll believe a word of it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. GOOD! FOR! YOU!

    That's all there is to say about that.

    Well... except to wonder if you've heard back from him yet???

    ReplyDelete
  5. Auuughhh! It's stressful just READING that post!

    If your brother wants a lunch, he can do it himself. Maybe that way he'll see how bad things really are. Does he have more sway over your mother than you do?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I like D's 'personal touch' in sending an email (as opposed to say... using the telephone and actually speaking to you).
    Full tilt babe - sounds like things are utterly shite at m&d's - sucks! xxx Speaking of which - tried to call you on the weekend - I'm pretty sure I left a message - send me an email & let me know when's a good time to call xxx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Auuughhh! It's stressful just READING that post!

    If your brother wants a lunch, he can do it himself. Maybe that way he'll see how bad things really are. Does he have more sway over your mother than you do?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I like D's 'personal touch' in sending an email (as opposed to say... using the telephone and actually speaking to you).
    Full tilt babe - sounds like things are utterly shite at m&d's - sucks! xxx Speaking of which - tried to call you on the weekend - I'm pretty sure I left a message - send me an email & let me know when's a good time to call xxx

    ReplyDelete

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