He’s ready for his zombie closeup

•May 13, 2021 • 4 Comments

Uncle Vanya while moving

•May 8, 2021 • 23 Comments

Four things, whichever

•April 29, 2021 • 12 Comments

I have totally lost track. What has everyone been doing?

The post-vaccination days continue to be sludgy. I was taking a three hour nap every day for about two weeks. The last two days are the first that I’ve felt something like back to my usual energy level. Still better than actually getting COVID-19.

The details here are slowly coming into focus — packing supplies, movers, a removal company, and the thousand silly little jobs that have to be done. So often I feel like I’ve been thrown into a pot of hot water and today was a lot like that. Attorneys will tell you all you need is your durable power of attorney to do stuff, and that’s true — once they decide they’re going to read it. Turns out our local power company has a three week delay before they will process the POA and then talk to me about the electric bill. Or they have it on file, but the person you’re talking to hasn’t read it and insists that you send all the paperwork over again — the situation I ran into at the home insurance company. The credit card companies don’t accept them at all — you have to fill out an entire separate form.

Scheduling cardio rehab has been a huge hassle due to dad being at assisted living — I can’t just schedule anything, I have to accommodate their schedule. I have no idea how he feels about it. When I see him he mostly doesn’t talk to me. I don’t know if this is because he’s angry at me, he’s feeling depressed, or he just doesn’t have anything to say. He is still talking to the personal care person, but her days are numbered as she has a regular, demanding summer job and will be returning to it for several months now.

The front of the house is increasingly torn up but the trees are still there, for now.

Anyway. I’m still alive. Five more weeks.

Did I know that Richard Armitage

•April 21, 2021 • 16 Comments

has a wikifeet page?

Oculis flentis

•April 17, 2021 • Leave a Comment

I get a lot done but I feel like a stream of sludge. I decided today to abandon my childhood piano rather than trying to get it restored. I ordered cleaners and movers. I read a home inspection. I scheduled eight appointments for cardio rehab. I ordered a laundry basket with handles, two tubs to put dad’s other-seasonal clothes in, a large area rug, and $500 of packing supplies. I graded several essays and watched a documentary about Rwanda (the next film is Hotel Rwanda). I took most of the “art” from the walls and transported some of it to Salix. Paid some bills. Threw away two more large sacks of trash. There’s also the things I don’t do anymore, for which I am perversely grateful: wake dad up for his breakfast club, guess what to make for lunch and supper, sort out pills, the complicated laundry derby.

Dad’s been away for a week and I think a lot of the sludgy feeling comes simply from the relief of not being constantly concerned about what I will have done unsatisfactorily. It was also a feature of the last month that every time I thought I was getting somewhere near crying, he would say something to me that prevented it — usually something angry or critical. So it’s a week away and it’s probably normal that I’m getting set off.

This is what did it: Penn & Teller Fool Us is on tonight and we usually watched it together.

[comments closed]

Four things update (days 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)

•April 15, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Not gonna write twenty things.


Dad was able to transfer from the hospital straight to the assisted living place (I’m going to try to keep calling it “Salix”). This was a huge blessing to him and us. The anticipated argument about living at Salix didn’t materialize because it was obvious he needed to have more professional observation in the short term. That doesn’t mean the aggravation is going to go away, because the second he was in the room he started to pick the main fight about the furnishings of the room that he’d been picking for the previous ten days.


There’s this weird paradox: his discharge instructions say he’s not supposed to get angry, and also that he’s not allowed to lift anything. So we’re not letting him come home unsupervised, because we couldn’t stop him from lifting stuff, but that makes him angry.


Ten new meds. Ten. He is still walking unassisted, but never far without having to sit. We we were at his GP’s today (who felt kinda dumb for missing this last Monday). Cardiologist on coming Monday.


We have been asked twice now if we wish to sign a DNR order. Everyone has an opinion. I don’t know. I don’t feel like it’s a great time to make this decision. Too many decisions.


I am still feeling under the weather (slightly swollen — is that a thing? — inflamed) from Moderna #2.


On top of all that a “right” house came up for sale on Wednesday. We had to offer by Monday. We got it. So now at least I am not going to be homeless.


In principle now everything is scheduled. All the work left is emotional. I am so tired. Severe decision fatigue already. The prospect of the next six weeks continues to fill me with dread.


I am again going to closer comments, not because I don’t want to chat, but because I don’t think I have the energy to give the replies you deserve. I feel everyone’s positive energy and I am thankful.

In place of four things, day 12

•April 9, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Dad went to emergency yesterday in the early evening — anterior STEMI. 99% blockage of the anterior LAD at the dominant diagonal branch. Significant stenosis elsewhere. Balloon and stent. He’s in the hospital (not in an ICU bed) and I will go there shortly.

I was driving back home and was about a half hour away when he began to suffer — his personal care worker was here. She had seen this before — got dad in the car, drove through the road repair construction zone maze, and had him in emergency within fifteen minutes. They saw him (according to her) in 90 seconds after she drove up to the entrance. It’s no exaggeration to say she saved his life; that, along with our (around here) typical “no wait” acute care situation.

Dad was going to assisted living today, or that was the plan.

I’m putting this here as part of the diary mode; and just to say this to someone; I’m closing comments because although I appreciate them, and you, I don’t know when I’ll be able to answer. Thanks for all of your prayers and thoughts — we appreciate them massively.

Four things (day 11)

•April 7, 2021 • 25 Comments

Today: more stuff to assisted living. I simply kept stressing to dad I was not available for conversations about assisted living. Tuberculin test for him. Then the long trip to the county where I work for Moderna 2. I was listening to news, but the news stations all drop out within about 15 mi of that city and so I was listening to WPR classical. It was kind of a hazardous drive (road repairs already) and I was appropriately tense.

As I parked, this came on:

and I just broke into sobs. I haven’t been able to listen to music in probably a year or so.


Again with the flags waving us to different cubicles. I told the flag lady I wanted a checkered flag, after all this.

Had to sit for a half hour afterwards due to bee venom allergy. Read about 100 pp of this. It’s really useful, esp the chapters on information overload / internet addiction, and family obligations.

I feel embarrassed that the only time I find to read a book about laziness is in the enforced 30 minutes of still after the vaccination.


On the way back I decided to stop for a bit as I was feeling woozy. More places are open now (until recently all the fast food dining rooms had been closed) and I stopped at a Jersey Mike’s, and this came on:

That album was on constant loop in my car the summer my mother died. Uch.


Long uncomfortable talk with HL last night. I had to tell him that if last night repeated itself, I would call the police. Very supportive talk with assisted living place this afternoon. Apparently nothing we are experiencing is unusual. They have the meds list and we set a specific date. Dad just started in on me again about the furniture and I am going to plead vaccination illness and go to bed. At 4:20. I am not lazy. He has a Jersey Mike’s sandwich.

Four things twice (days 9 and 10)

•April 7, 2021 • 25 Comments

Yesterday we started moving some of dad’s stuff into the assisted living place. Nine years ago I would have found words for this sort of thing. I could have made it poignant, or blunt. Now I am just broken, running on empty, and increasingly wordless. I could tell you the angle of the sun, I could tell you what dad said (it wasn’t kind), I could tell you about driving through the countryside on “the back way” to the assisted living place. There hasn’t been much rain and so the landscape is still brown. I could tell you what it looks like from the window there. I could tell you what dad said there (it wasn’t kind). I could tell you about the geese.


So many conversations with the same three triangle points: the veneer of rationality; the level of sheer desperate anger (“cornered rat” viciousness); and the possibility in between that he’s consciously or unconsciously manipulating. The geriatric consultant says it’s impossible to tell which, and it’s probably all three (or four). And today we noticed clear attempts by him to triangulated between me and HL.

I simply can’t do this, it’s exposure to the worst possible kind of gaslighting. “I’m rational, and my rational choice is to abuse you.” “I’m not rational, so you may not defend yourself against anything I say to you or about you. You may not even react to me. You must just take it and take it and take it.”

Upside: Forty years ago I would have just taken it. I wouldn’t have understood what was happening.


This morning was worse. A few more things moved in, and so much anger. There are only so many square feet in that room, and dad has determined to cram every inch of it full. He can’t be told that it won’t fit. If it didn’t involve a huge amount of work to put all this stuff in the place I would just give in and let him manage, but it disrupts the other residents and HL has a hard time accommodating what dad wants.


This Grandpad is really complicated to set up. After 40 minutes I still can’t figure out how to get a new phone number for dad.


This afternoon, more running around buying stuff you only notice is missing when you’re there. A bathroom vanity, a cart for towels, a shower curtain, a shower caddy, and a pillow. How could I forget a pillow? Then picking up the stuff I had already ordered yesterday.


This evening: apocalypse. This is the worst it’s ever been. I don’t know how we come back from tonight.


Any relationship counselor will tell you that the thing a relationship can practically never recover from is contempt. People can work to, agree to, surmount all kinds of other negative emotions but once contempt is in the picture, saving the connection becomes infinitely harder. Dad has treated me with contempt, off and on, since I was a teenager, and pretty continuously for the last year or so. As a child you always hope and believe that your parent can change, if you can just figure out how to be good enough. And then I was away for a long time and it didn’t really matter what he thought of me.

After tonight, I may finally be at contempt.

It is not ethical to feel contempt for someone who has brain damage.

We’ve gotta get him out of here.

Four things (day 8)

•April 5, 2021 • 6 Comments

While I was learning to play the clarinet, Marjane Satrapi was dodging student revolutionaries on the streets of Tehran.


Watched the end of Howards End (2017) last night. The improbable ending of the story somehow seems more unlikely when you watch it on the screen. But the theme of the house tugged at me. And seeing those gorgeous English summer hay fields made me long for fall (specifically, that scene triggered a memory of September 2006 when I moved to Berlin for the year). I wonder what the fall will be like this year.


I got an Easter dinner from a local supermarket and it wasn’t bad (and it was the right price — $40 and we got four meals out of it and there are probably two meals left). Dad was generally opposed — to me leaving the house to collect it, to me putting it in the refrigerator, to me warming it, to the time we ate it, to eating it, to the amount of food, to the kind of food, to the cost. I owe myself a post sometime about dad’s general opposition to fuss (this is not new, it’s just more intense now) and my family’s odd relationship to holiday meals. In any case, it’s done. We had a last Easter dinner in this house. At least I noticed it.


“They” say if a cardinal hangs around your house someone dead from your past is trying to talk to you. If that cardinal is mom, I hope she can find her way to the assisted living facility, at least.

%d bloggers like this: