11 July 2009


Last week my mom called in a panic (rightfully) to come pick her up and take her to the doctor in Everett. It's 45 minutes from my work and another 45 minutes south to Everett. My day was shot. Luckily for me, work is super flexible and I could leave. She had an eye infection that had to be treated by the specialist immediately or risk losing sight in that eye so panic was due.

But that didn't stop me from muttering & cursing when I got there and she casually mentions that she needs to go to Seattle rather than Everett. It's another 30 minutes to Seattle AND it would put us coming home in rush hour. *awesome*

So, crisis diverted. We got her to the specialist and subsequently to the ER and they took care of her. Whew.

And then...

A few days later, my Dad called and left a voicemail:
"I need you to take me to the doctor in Seattle, even though you don't want to."

Again: *awesome*

Twice my parents have told me "You get to drive the New Car" in order to keep me from killing them...like that's a prize. But it was better than their Escort that I hated.

On one of the busiest days that work has had since I've been there, I had to be gone. Not Good.

I arrived at The Parents at 8:25 AM and they're not ready. Dad is eating breakfast and isn't dressed. The awesomeness continues....

Dad finally gets ready to leave, goes out to the car and FALLS. This happens often, no need to panic.

Back into the house we go so he can change clothes.

And the Parental Bickering begins.

Finally I walked outside and began dead-heading my mother's rhododendrons.

We eventually got onto the road, Dad evntually slept in the back and my mom rode shotgun. A few barbs were traded and I considering rolling their windows down like a Mom would for bickering children.

Have you ever seen the movie "Forget Paris" with Debra Winger and Billy Crystal? When Billy takes his father-in-law anywhere and he random names businesses, signs, etc. That is so my mom. If it weren't funny, I would have undone her seatbelt and kicked her door open.

We get to UW Cancer Center with nary a glitch. Dad insists on getting out and making his way on his own. Mom alternately worries and badgers him. Off he goes.

The car door shuts and she starts complaining....I tune her out, concentrating on parking.

By sheer dumb luck, we find my dad. We wait to check in, barbs are traded...Mom fusses, Dad resents, rinse and repeat. So awesomely fun.

I abscond his paperwork and complete it because they won't tell the truth on any of the questions. (alcoholism, general health, etc) And they don't bring his meds or a list of them. Sigh.

The doctor calls us back and explains the procedure they want to do...direct injection of nasty chemo into the liver, this will only buy time...I'm irritated that we're even having this conversation and irritation continues when the doctor says "You have to meet with the oncologist in order to get accepted into this program." Really?

Dad is flippant about answering questions and my mom starts "beaking off" as my Canadian friends call it. She's trying to tell the truth but she's being so snarky that I want to smack her. The doctor looks at me occasionally for confirmation or negation of information.

Eventually he does a physical examination. Dad has a untreated hernia that I had heard about but not seen. OMG OMG OMG it looked like the movie Alien. I swear to God the doctor had to bite his tongue to keep from screaming "What the hell is that thing!?!?!?"

My mom thinks that the surgeon is going to fix his hernia and his poor circulation through surgery "once he gets stronger", completely ignoring that Dad is terminal. I think I caught the Doctor eye-rolling at one point.

The doctor begins to talk about Dad's health, the unlikelyhood that this procedure is going to help much and how Dad needs to be proactive. (I nearly LOL'd) Dad interrupts him and says:

"When I graduated high school, my life expectancy was 58 years old."

Um...wait, what?

WTF does that have to do with ANYTHING. We don't know.

The alcoholism is the final discussion. The doctor tells him that it is required that he stops drinking in order to do this procedure. He suggest AA....and the conversation goes downhill from there. My mom tells him that "You Have to Get Off the Sauce". Firstly, I hate that expression with the white hotness of the sun. Secondly, Not Ever Going to Happen.

The doctor excuses himself to get lab paperwork and Mom starts in. I interrupt her and say in a most Forrest Gump kind of way: "We have had this discussion before and I'm tired of it. You have a choice and it's clear. If you're going to drink, FINE, but don't waste time and resources doing treatment if you are. And that's all I have to say about that."

And I walked out the door, imagining kicking baby bunnies and snicking kittens to cool off.

When I return, they are both meek. I rarely lose my temper so they know to duck and cover when it happens.

We go to the lab and they start in again. Mom is hovering and Dad is grouchy. I walked ahead of them until I nearly couldn't see them anymore.

Lab draw goes quickly and we go to the car. As I'm pulling out, Dad suggests taking the scenic route home so he can see the 520 Floating Bridge. "Nope" is all I said as I turned to get on 1-5.

We drive in relative silence home, stop for lunch and both are quieter but still trading barbs.

Again, I'm waiting to turn to get on I-5 and both parents this time suggest that we take the scenic route home via a smaller highway.


I essentially kicked them both to the curb at the house and left. I waited five minutes before calling Brother Dear and shouting:

"I DESERVE COMBAT PAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


Not Your Aunt Bea said...

Ugh. So sorry. It sucks when parents get older and sicker. And crankier. I already made my mom promise that if she kicks the bucket she has to slip my dad something because he will be intolerable!

Swistle said...

This is SO vivid and SO funny-awful!

Jess said...

Oh, this is so FRUSTRATING! Sometimes I'm glad I live so far from my family.