Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 18

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 18

• Dad – “I gotta get another TV. This one’s boring.”

Did my dad suddenly go all Punk Rock on me?

• Cable TV issues part 3:

It seems he was getting charged for both Direct TV and AT&T’s U-Verse simultaneously because he hadn’t returned the Direct TV receivers. He got them to send him two cartons with postage paid to return them. He can only find one receiver.

o Dad – “What’s that?”
o Me – “It’s a DVD player dad. That’s not what we’re looking for”
o Dad – “Send them that!”
o Me – “Dad, that’s not what they’re looking for, and anyway, you own it.”
o Dad – “Doesn’t matter. Just send it!”

Why not just send them a toaster oven? By the way: I found the other receiver behind a table covered in dust. The remotes are still missing though. Perhaps we could send them an unused cell phone instead?

• Early in my mother’s health decline, she spelled out a number of things she expected of him. This included spending lots of time with her while she was infirmed. It’s not as if he has a job. This has always been a battle with him. He’d arrive at the facility in the early afternoon, spend ten minutes with her, disappear to get some coffee for an hour, spend ten more minutes with her, try to get her into a wheelchair for a five to ten minute walk (sometimes resulting in “Weekend At Bernie’s” type moments), harangue some staffers and want to leave.

o Dad – “Why do we need to leave the house at 9:30 in the morning? What’s so special about that time?”
o Me – “It’s just after rush hour dad. We can stay until three and beat it back. You’ll have plenty of time to go to the gym. We could always leave earlier and be resigned to driving in rush hour to get there earlier if you want?”
o Dad – “I don’t understand why we need to get there so early? She doesn’t even recognize me anymore.”
o Me – “Actually, she did say your name when she saw you yesterday and made a motion as if trying to kiss you.

She’s said since July that she wants you there with her. She’s not expected to live another two weeks dad. At least give her that. You can bring your crossword puzzle with you.”

This was the third day in a row I had to explain this to him. My sister’s been saying it since July as well as my mom when she could still communicate clearly. “I still don’t know why your sister was mad at me,” he’d say. (It’s worth noting that when he’s happy with her, he uses her name. When not, she’s ‘your sister’.) It was like living in the movie “Groundhog Day.” I guilted him into doing this once but the next day he said he needed more rest before leaving the house. He comes from a time and place where men stayed in the waiting room while their wives gave birth. I came from a time where I was expected to be there in the room coaching my wife to take deep breaths and hold her hand while the doctor said “Push!”

When my mom finally passed, my sister and I were there with her while he was off getting a Mocha Frappuccino. I’m not angry. It actually seems fitting.

© Curt Weiss 2015

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