The ongoing personal impasse

Here’s a short list of things dad was busy doing during the second half of the semester, when my classes went virtual and I was trying to keep all the classes and students going. We had a system set up while I was working a certain number of hours and on a fixed schedule that was not leaving him unsupervised very much, but when #saferathome happened, first, all the reasons for that organization of the schedule disappeared (but I was advised to stay on it) even as he was simply not able to leave me alone while I was working. So I did end up spending a lot of time away from him, trying to get lectures recorded and seminars zoomed. And he was only supervised for part of that time, and while he was unsupervised, he managed all this.

  • cutting into the kitchen ceiling to install a skylight
  • taking doors off the kitchen cabinets
  • getting credit-card phished four times
  • getting talked into installing malware on his computer over the phone
  • confounding the cable system to the extent that we had to have a service call (and then refusing to stay six feet away from the repairman)
  • confounding the cable system a second time and hovering over me constantly until I fixed it (since I didn’t want to spend an hour yelling at dad to stay away from the repairman)
  • tripping all the breakers in the house at least once
  • revving up a chain saw to clear a fallen tree
  • trying to pry the door off the washing machine because I happened to be away from home and he thought I wasn’t drying the stuff in the machine fast enough.
  • burning brush on a windy day.

I may have forgotten some things.

This in partial explanation of why I didn’t have much energy for blogging the last 2-3 months. I’d hike myself to work and dread coming home to whatever I find.

And it goes on. Last night dad had been in bed for an hour, and I was sitting in the living room, when he got up and asked if the refrigerator was running.

“I guess so,” I said. “Why?”

“I tripped some breakers,” he said.

I didn’t want to get into a discussion about that (although I then went to see if the freezer was running) but I wondered exactly what he’d tripped, and why. Or if he hadn’t tripped anything but was dreaming about having done so and just woke up and believed it was true.

We’re also having some issues with a neighbor who’s decided to take over the brush clearing in our yard because “obviously your father needs help.” Yesterday he cleared the clump of brush outside our dining room window, where the songbirds lurk and we often watch them while eating.


The sum total of time I have had away from dad, when not working or sleeping, since I returned from London, is 8 hours. And I spent three of those hours returning from taking him somewhere or picking him up.

That number gives me serious pause.

And it looks like our senior helper arrangement is crumbling (I won’t get into that whole story).

So on Sunday I had a brief meeting with our geriatric consultant and she laid it out in pretty stark terms:

When you need help outside of a crisis (like now), HL can’t/won’t intervene. So it’s really on you. You’ll either have to wait for a crisis to happen, or you’ll have to decide.

~ by Servetus on June 16, 2020.

35 Responses to “The ongoing personal impasse”

  1. I’m sorry you’re going through all this. I know you will make the best decision for you and your dad. hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Eight hours isn’t enough time to restore yourself from the latest
    problem your dad creates. I know you know that.Take care of yourself. That’s pretty much what I always say. But you don’t follow my sage advice.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh boy 😦 {bear hugs}

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m exhausted just reading that. Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The breakdown of care for relatives at home is another hidden horror of the lockdown. 8 hours free time is nothing. I’m sorry for you and hope for the best outcome. And I hope your interfering neighbour curbs his ways.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. That list is exhausting – and particularly when having to deal with it on your own. The lockdown really has been hardest on people who are looking after anyone with special needs of any kind. I hope you will at some stage – soon – get some much deserved time for yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • and it’s hard on the people being cared for, too, admittedly. I don’t mean to minimize the difficult of the situation for dad. But we ALL need a break at this point.


  8. ((Hugs!)) Oh Servetus! It sounds like new parenting, but with a giant baby that knows how to operate power tools. I’m not surprised that you haven’t been blogging, but it is surprising that you still sound so much like yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yeah — that’s just it. I really don’t want to stand between dad and the chainsaw or try to separate him from it while he’s operating it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I can’t imagine what it means to take care of your father. You should take more time for yourself. But you know that already and if you felt you could, you would. Just take care of yourself too. Stay safe and healthy. Sending you hugs from the Netherlands.


  10. Only you can decide if a crisis means a real risk of serious damage, but your report sounds frightening. You are the responsible adult, I can only send a big hug and hope for the best. Stay sane


  11. Wow! I don’t know how you remain sane! So sorry you have to go through this…


  12. D T doit avoir un emploi du temps et des soucis moindres que les votres. C’est inimaginable ce par quoi vous passez. Vous n’avez pas choisi la facilité. (il me revient en tête: la parabole de l’évangile sur “la porte étroite”) Vous occuper de lui de cette façon est tout à votre honneur. Tant d’autres auraient baissé les bras et emprunté le chemin de la facilité. Que ferais-je quand ce sera mon tour d’affronter une situation similaire?
    Merci encore pour avoir pris le temps de corriger et envoyer les 2 articles traduits sur les moines de Solesmes…


    • I don’t think there’s a right decision in situations like this that are unclear. I also think it’s possible that someone else might be doing a better job. However, there’s only so much of myself that I can suppress on any given day. The situation has definitely made clear that my own understanding of myself as a flexible person has quite a few limits (although they may not be unreasonable ones).

      I’m sorry I haven’t been able to talk more about the monks — have just been really tired.


  13. Something’s gotta give and I think you’ve had your fair share… Can your brother help with any of this, including with coming to decisions? Try to take care of yourself, you’re in my thoughs. (((hugs)))

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think one piece of the problem is that HL says he’s already made his decision, and it goes like this: “If Serv can’t deal with it, then dad goes to assisted living.” Fascinatingly, however, the one point at which we’ve really been exactly there (the drama around the washing machine), he backed off. But no — he’s going to make this my decision, and hence whatever happens he will not be responsible for.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, that sucks that he’s sticking it on you like that! I’m so sorry. I guess all you can do is keep on trying to involve him in all major decisions and at least let him know every step that it is his responsibility too.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I agree with Esther you’re dad can’t be home anymore but I understand, boy do I understand, why it’s hard.


  15. Wow. That is a very impressive list of trouble… how you are managing, especially with so little time to yourself is also impressive. I wonder if there is any way that you could get live-in help. If you could find someone he and you both liked, maybe that could be a next step.


  16. I’ve just started to browse through Tumblir. I know it’s been a few weeks since you first posted this. Very sorry to read about your recent experiences regarding your Dad. 😩😪

    I hope as lockdown eases where you are, that day centres for older people may open up, and you might be able to arrange some respite care on a regular basis, if only for a few hours?

    Big hugs to you!


    • Thanks for the message and welcome. Stuff of this sort has been going on since dad’s stroke two years ago (documented if you dig further into the archives of this blog). He won’t go to an adult day center (flatly refuses) even if one were open. He has also refused to go to respite care. He has a senior helper for (at this point) ten hours a week, which allows me to leave the house, but it doesn’t really prevent him from doing stuff — just makes sure that he doesn’t physically endanger himself (or at least mostly).


  17. […] geriatric consultant sketched the parameters of the problem pretty clearly this summer, but at the same time: […]


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