17 March 2015
I didn't mean to drag the suspense out, but I've been fighting a little bout with bronchitis and I've had a ton of work to do so today I landed in bed and I can reveal "the rest of the story" from my Dad's Friday Night's escapades.
Last Friday was a pretty full day with babysitting, running to the store for prescriptions and cooking a family dinner and by the end of it, I was ready to collapse in bed, which I did around 9:30 (early for me). I don't know if it was the infection cooking or just general exhaustion but I laid down and within minutes I was sound asleep.
Around midnight, my Dad burst into my room with the full knowledge that he had no business climbing the stairs. Had that been the only offense, I would have not come undone. Oh, but there was more - Friday evening it began raining fairly hard so it wasn't a night for anyone...much less a 90 year old man who can't walk well...to take a stroll around the pool to the corner of the backyard BEHIND the shed where I had mentioned Sailor had escaped a few days previous. Ah, well, not to mention the ground was covered in slippery leaves, mud and perhaps there may have been a few snakes hiding about and oh yes, he was in his house slippers. He was sure Sailor had once again "escaped" and he was going to look for him. Sailor? He was inside the living room apparently watching the man walking unsteadily with a cane who was looking for him, having better sense than to be traipsing around BEHIND the shed. OMG.
OMG OMG OMG OMG.
It took a few seconds for my brain to snap to and comprehend what he was telling me and he was so amused to imagine that Sailor had "outfoxed" him. Me? I wasn't amused at all. Let me count the ways I wasn't amused.
Had he fallen into the pool or behind the shed, had I found him missing by the time I woke up, I would have had no idea where to begin looking and most probably behind the building would have been my last guess.
If he hadn't returned and my Mom had the rare temerity to have eventually realize he was "missing", there is no way she could have climbed the stairs to report that Dad was AWOL. I was asleep and there's no way I could have heard her.
Say I had finally found him, had he fallen, there's no doubt it would have resulted in a broken limb or two and I would have had one of the "elder twins" in the hospital and one of them here at home, unable to go anywhere (my mother can barely climb into a chair, much less a car). There are two of them and there is one of me. Can you imagine how that would have all worked out?
Now yes, you're probably thinking, I could "hire" someone to attend one of them when I was with the other but let me let you in on a secret. My savings is dwindling and before this whole thing finishes there's no doubt I will be forced to put my home on the market, depending on how long things go on. I pinch pretty much every single penny twice. Yes, my dad has a pension and while it's certainly respectable, taking care of two parents full-time is expensive. Ah yes, I'll just quickly rejoin the work force (something I would LOVE to do), but do you have any idea how much it would cost to have a full-time caregiver in this house? Ummmm, yeah, pretty expensive.
When I factored in all the risks he took with this stunt I was horrified. As I was calculating the potential disaster we averted (by the Grace of God), I heard him regaling my Mom with his exploits - "and it was pouring the rain and I kept looking and don't you know that little dog was inside the whole time???". He thought it a fabulous tale. I didn't share his view. As for Mom, well, she strings maybe two minutes of thoughts together on a good day and I heard her laughing as he was telling his tale. I could only shake my head.
I didn't pick that moment to discuss with him all of the reasons he shouldn't have gone outside on a wet, rainy night to look for a dog that wasn't missing. I couldn't. I knew my admonitions would come out harsh, unkind and I also knew that no matter what I said, I would have as much chance of making a brick wall understand as I would my Dad.
I'm still appalled by it all. I'll find myself trying to consider how I could discuss his actions in a such a way he would understand the danger and then I realize it's completely hopeless and the only thing to come out of such an attempt would be for my throat to hurt more than it does right now from having to shout each word something like eight times until he would be able to hear me.
I've worked overtime the past few days trying to shake off what happened - hoping to busy myself to the point I don't have to think about it, which is probably why I feel like crap right now. I'm taking today off, inasmuch as I can take any day off. I mean, there's still meds to dispense, coffee to make, meals to prep and moments where I have to practice parental redirection to avoid more mishaps but otherwise, I'm laying low. I'm exhausted but it's equal measures emotional and physical.
My friend Cheryl often refers to what I do as "herding cats". She's been here and she "gets it". Let me tell you, there are moments when herding cats would be a far easier proposition than ensuring the safety and care of "elder twins".
So there you have it - and that's the rest of the story.
Oh, one other aside. I spent the past couple of days steaming the carpets upstairs in preparation for my daughter, son in law and twin granddaughters much anticipated visit later this week. On three separate occasions my mother has dispatched my Dad to deliver the message that they will "go to a hotel, because I'm having company and she's sure I'll need their room.". I kid you not. Each time I stop what I'm doing and go into their room and explain that it's Katie and her family who are coming and that we have ample room without displacing anyone. I did this twice yesterday and once the day before and she processes the information for maybe two minutes and then poof, it's gone.
I'm just so tired.