Thursday, May 7, 2009

I hope this isn't a buzzkill...


So maybe you do or maybe you don't know?

My Pop lives in a nursing home and has Parkinson's disease and it's progressive and he's doing pretty bad. He can't find his words anymore due to dementia associated with Parkinson's so he can't speak and the last time my sister visited him, he was incontinent and wet himself out in public.

I know - total buzz kill for my funny little blog right? Well - just wait a minute.

It IS really hard to drive 3 hrs to go see him in Bayard NE. And I feel awful every time I do because I am the one that put him there. I know, I know - he needed to be in a nursing home but every time I see him, I think I'M the one that did this to him.

He lives in 1/2 of a room, has only a handful of belongings and he is dependant on Medicaid. He shares his room with a comatose patient and I think, "I am the one that did this to my Dad. " My sister didn't help to move him so it really was me and me alone.

Everyone who knows the situation assures me it's the right thing and I keep telling myself that this is one of those instances in life when the right thing doesn't feel very good. I have to focus on the fact that he is fed, he is clean and he is safe. But still, I get riddled by guilt even with all the positive speeches I give myself. Must be the growing up Catholic thing and going to a school attached to a convent of nuns. I don't know.

K - so stay with me here. I'm setting this up. I'm not sad or anything - really - I'm fine!

I have a younger sister who is cute and smart and funny and thin. We don't get along. At all. Like oil and water we are. (oops, I'm slipping into Yoda speak) We are like day and night. If you met us, you would never guess we are sisters. Once we tell people and they get over their shock, they will squint and say, "ohhhhh - yeah, NOW I can see it - I can see some resemblance"

I wish it were different and I wish I had this really great sisterly bond with her but I don't and probably never will. At the same time, I don't have a crystal ball and who am I to say how life will play out?

Anyhoo, she had a baby last July. And I guess with new life, along came my sister trying to get along better, mending fences and all that ballyhoo so her child will know family. My sister is making an effort.

I get an e-mail from her every month or two and I reply and so the doors of communication are open. That is probably a good thing.

Everyone still with me? Here comes the funny part!

My sister sent me an e-mail saying she is gonna go visit Dad with her daughter, my niece. And as I described before, that is a really icky emotional thing right? At least it is for me and I can only assume on some level for her as well.

Then she says, after she sees him, on her way back to Denver, could she stop by and visit me?

After my eyebrows lowered from the shock of her coming to see me, THAT question right there is what just about brings me to my knees with laughter.


Because a visit to me is on par with a visit to my deteriorating father in Bayard NE who can't talk anymore, falls over regularly and pees himself! (you just have to develop a sick sense of humor because if you can't laugh, you will cry and laughing is just so much more FUN!)

Oh, I know. She is trying. I will be good, I won't discuss anything she would find distasteful and I won't share anything of large importance to my life. She will do the same. Things will be "pleasant". A bit odd and a bit stiff, but pleasant enough for everyone's sake. I will have a small window to play with my neice and get to know her.

If you only knew my sister and how she thinks... I know she's killing two birds with one stone and while she is probably confident I won't piss myself while she's visiting, I know a visit to me with dogs and cats and horses and goats in the country is NOT at all a fun thing for her to do.

And that my friends just makes me laugh so hard in my head that I'm snorting like a pig....

Lucky for me, I have a fun graduation party to attend after my sister leaves. My cute as a bug friend, Meg, is done with college! HOORAY for her! A bunch of friendly faces and people I love will be there so if there is any residual stiffness left in my bones, the graduation party will bring me back round to my fun-loving, loosey-goosey self.

It's all about balance isn't it?


Sass said...

It IS all about balance...

And finding a way to laugh.

You've found both. ;)

Kelley said...

HA!HA!HA!HA!HA! I know I should not laugh... I know I should tell you that you are looking at it all wrong... but HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!!!! Two painful birds with one stone!!! : ) At least she saved the "fun" painful bird to top off the trip. It really is proactive of her to come visit you after your dad JUST so you can be the Highlight!!! She is really making an effort. See!
I was feeling sick that I was missing Meg's party as it is... now I KNOW not only am I missing a good party and the chance to pat Meg on the back for a job well done... but I'm also going to miss YOUR fun stories. Because I'm pretty sure you are going to have some.

DebH said...

hey,,I get that. I have 4 sisters and two brothers. Not one alike and then one that I really Like and one who is "your" sister. Sometimes miracles do happen and they change completely. Surprising how much children can alter a persons thinking. Maybe she is really understanding that family is all we have in the end. Surely along the way, others are trying to teach her some common sense to thinking and living and she actually has "got it". It does happen, but if it sizes up that she is just reaassuring herself that she is still the "Perfect One" (trust me..I know these types) you will just smile and realize..there are people out there like you and I that know whats important to being Happy! That is accepting us for US and our odd ways!! I want this on my Tombstone.."I will do it MY way and you will like IT!!

Shanster said...

Sass - thanks! I keep trying to find the balance and humor... wine helps!

Kelley - oh, I hope there are no good stories! I want no sister drama. And I know she IS trying which is part of what makes it funny to me. Darn it, I will miss you at Meg's!

DebH - yes, I think she is realizing. My Ma isn't doing so hot either right now but I don't talk about it here cuz I think she reads my blog sometimes and is in denial.

All the more reason for my sister to want to reach out - it's just the two of us. I can't believe you have such a big family!! I know a lot of people don't get along with their families... such a nice fantasy tho isn't it?

Yeah - I need a lot of acceptance for my funny quirks because I have so many! Good thing I'm so amusing to Furry Husband! Love your tombstone!!!

Cheryl said...

Oh, I love how you frame what's usually a painful subject in such a funny way. I have it both ways, myself. I really close to my sister, even though we got to this point through a lot of hard work. But my brother and I... I feel like he's competing with me even though I don't give a f--- what he does so long as he's nice to me. But then he makes up for it by driving all the way from LA just to spend Christmas and New Years with me. But I admit it still hurts that he'll call my sister just to talk but not me. (What, am I not fun to talk to? Is he afraid I'll big sister him? Am I just too awesome for his competitive self to handle? ha, ha) So I just tell myself he's the one with the issues, not me, and I have great friends anyway. And, like you said, I think it'll all even out in the end, and when he's older he and I'll look back and laugh at how much we used to fight. I hope.

Shanster said...

YES! That is exactly it. I don't care what my sister does as long as she can just "play nice". And it is sorta all about the family we make vs. the ones we get stuck with. I hope you and I both can!!

Foxxy said...

I am probably going to be the devil on your shoulder for this one, but I think you should have fun with your sister's visit. Play with the baby and do little things to unsettle your sister. Not enough to cause a family rift, but just enough to make the visit memorable. Then when she leaves, send pleasant emails referencing all the fun you had while she visited. Then become the niece's favorite aunty with the horses, goats, cats, dogs etc. I love to goad my brothers. So I look at it as my job to push them just a little farther each time I see them. Good Luck

Shanster said...

Foxxy - you make me laugh. "little things to unsettle your sister"... trust me. I do have a bit o' fun with her without her knowing.

If I want to see my neice, I have to put in the effort and go to Denver. I about fell over she's making an effort to stop by MY house so yes, I will definately play with the baby! And I DO appreciate the effort. Even if I AM lumped in with someone who can't control their bladder! heh heh.

Kelley said...

Foxxy cracks me up!!
I don't think you'll have drama stories... but you ALWAYS have some good story... and I know I'm missing it. I think you'll have a good visit,

Don't tip toe around too much though... that just makes everyone nervous. People are like horses.... take a deep breath when you are near them and let out a long sigh... if you do this next to your horse you'll see them do it next, and people will too. It relaxes them, even if they don't know it!!! : ) Have fun.. it's Your house... and hopefully she'll want to come back because I KNOW your little niece is going to grow up wanting to visit... so better get your sister broken in now!

Shanster said...

I know - Foxxy is great! I'm so glad she de-lurked. Oh - with the new StarTrek movie.. maybe I should say de-cloaked...

I'll try not to tippy toe! Deep breaths and beer with Foxxy on my shoulder. And yes, I DO want to get to know my neice so that means the adults need to ACT like adults! :) Me AND my sister.

Takes two to tango and all that...