Observations on my 84 Year-old Dad: Father’s Day Edition
It’s Father’s Day. I guess it’s time to fill everyone in on what’s up with 84-year old Lou. It has been over two months since I last opined about him. I kind of got busy with life: selling my book (found an agent), catching up on the work I missed dealing with my dying mother for 28 days, rampaging for Sylvain, etc.
“What’s Lou been up to” you ask? He has not gone to post–op rehab. What say me? I say, dad presently has no children that wish to speak to him. “What now?” you ask? Perhaps I’m jumping all over the place and confusing you. Well, Lou Weiss keeps you on your toes.
Let’s start about two few weeks back:
Dad – “I’m having a surgical procedure on my back next Tuesday. They’ll be performing a laminectomy on me.”
Me – “Is that arthroscopic or do they open you up?”
Dad – “Ya know, I’m not sure. I better find out.”
Dad – “I’ll be in a convalescent home after that for two weeks of physical therapy”
Me – “Where?”
Dad – “I’m not sure. I better find out.”
That might be smart. This was the kind of stuff my mother always took care of. She was the smart one. I mean, outside of marrying my father…
Tuesday comes. He has my sister (the one that was speaking to him at the time) take him to the wrong hospital. This is after reminding him he might want to pack some clothes…and a toothbrush (doesn’t he usually have one in his back pocket?). This is also after bugging him for a few weeks for the name of the doctor (wrong), the hospital (wrong) and the name and address of the convalescent home (wrong and wrong). After all, he is going to be gone for two weeks……………
After finding the correct hospital, his surgery is delayed a day as the doctors don’t like the results of some pre-op blood tests. The next day though, he goes under the knife. After a day or so he has some physical tests to determine his post op needs. Super Jew walks 500 feet without the aid of a walker. It seems he all but tore a phone book in half for his adoring fans. “You’re free to go home Mr. Weiss.” And what of his post-op rehab? “Not needed” they say. But…the Loid knows better and he insists on his two weeks of rehab. But…the insurance company does not agree (my father causes me to use the dreaded and dangerous literary device known as the ‘double but’, where two “but”s are used close together in a paragraph – It’s only used on rare occasions when talking about psychopaths). They never approved anything beforehand and by walking 500 feet, Macho Mandlebaum failed the needs test.
Does this stop Lloyd Weiss? Nothing stops the Hebrew energizer bunny. He refuses to leave the hospital. Sister who still talks to him (Hereinafter known as “SWSTTH”) spends two days trying to find him after-care. Meanwhile, he remembers that no one is checking his mail box. He asks SWSTTH to check his mail, go into his apartment and bring his “911 file” as he’s met someone in the hospital who knows something about computers.
At this point, I am compelled to explain the “911 file”:
During his trial back in the late 90’s, my father wanted evidence introduced of a a 911 telephone call transcript reporting the fire in his Canal street store. Ya know: the fire he was found guilty of setting. No transcript could be found. He does have a report though, listing the time the call was made, a short description of the call and other pro-forma information. Every time I see him, he shows it to me and asks if I’ve seen it. “Yes dad, you’ve shown it to me about 35 times.” He maintains that this transcript would “exonerate” him, proving a conspiracy by not only his ex-partner’s wife, the building owners, the police and fire department, but is also ‘worth millions’, as he would have to be recompensed for his three years in the pokey and the property taken from him (the long term master lease of 305 Canal Street’s basement and storefront). Another name for this is “delusions of grandeur”…also called “megalomania,” but more accurately referred to as “narcissistic personality disorder”. Several medical professionals have also pointed out his “mild dementia.” “Mild” they say. They obviously haven’t spent enough time with him.
Mind you, he could have made the call himself, reporting the people he paid to burn the joint down, thereby creating an alibi for himself. Another feat of reverse engineering. But even if it wasn’t, this unto itself is not proof of his innocence. A fire occurred and someone called 911. Big deal! When I point this out, he will hear none of it. He has obsessed on this quest to find this transcript for years, to the point of searching for a “hackuh” to get into the city’s 911 telephone archives. He’s even walked up to unknown teenagers in the library who are sitting at a computer and asked them if they can “hack a computuh” (ergo, why my father = Ray Donovan’s father).
So, dear SWSTTH, having gotten facacta (look it up…no, it’s not a type of bread) info from him from day one, who’s spent days trying to clean up after his latest fool’s parade, is now being asked for the 911 file. Her flame of concern and compassion is turning to a few smoldering embers by now. I get “the call”. This is the point where she calls me and says “I can’t deal with his mishegas alone anymore. Please help.” As I learned with my mother’s decline last year, it’s the time when I need to step into the breach before SWSTTH becomes sister who has killed him (which would cause me to refer to her as “SWHKH”).
Now I get on the phone. I talk to the hospital social worker, who connects me to someone at another organization, whose job it is to place seniors into assisted living. He says my father is sitting in his hospital room in his bath robe, doing crossword puzzles and watching TV. He’s taking up space in a critical care unit that can be used for someone who needs REAL critical care. After considering the donation of my father’s brain to science while he’s still alive, assumedly to be replaced by that of a chicken (I could use the free eggs), we instead set out to find him somewhere to go for two weeks to be looked after. While this assisted living stay would officially be temporary, what we’re hoping is, he ends up liking the place and wants to stay. People that don’t know him very long seem to like him, and when most of the people you meet are in their eighties, you don’t have to worry about them being around long enough to find out how compulsive, irrational and neurotic you really are. With cantankerous, delusional, old farts like my dad, the challenge is getting them into assisted living in the first place, as they cling to their independence. And payment? He says my father agreed to pay up to $1,200, as insurance won’t pay for rehab when the patient doesn’t need rehab. He later denies he ever agreed to pay anything. Surprise!
After several more calls back and forth (to my dad, my sister, the counselor, the person that runs the place…all while I’m at my own paying job mind you…) we find him a place on the west side for 14 days at the reduced rate of $87.50 a day with food. That comes to $1,225. I agree to pay the extra $25. All that’s needed is for a nurse to visit him in the hospital for a medical assessment. They’re even willing to consult with his general practitioner to find a way to finagle Medicare into paying for physical therapy, thereby circumventing his show of super human strength to at least get him some free post-op care.
I call him with the good news. “No need for that” he says. “I got Medicare to pay for a place. They’re coming in a few minutes.” Seems like the squeaky wheel got the grease and he’s getting his way. After getting the name and address out of him, I call back everyone who has moved mountains and spent hours of their day looking to meet my father’s needs, and thank them for their time and efforts. In the back of my mind I know on one hand the Loid is feeling very proud of himself, having finagled the system to get what he wants (‘Boy, everyone else is so stupid!’ he’s probably thinking). On the other hand, he has screwed up so much over the last year when it comes to navigating the world of medicine and insurance, I wait for the other shoe to drop.
A few hours later I get a voice mail from SWSTTH. The other shoe has dropped. Verbatim transcript of the message follows:
“You have to call me. You would not believe what happened. I just got a call from the nursing home. Dad walked in there, didn’t like the toilet, said the backyard was too small…and left. I have no idea where he is. He left against treatment advice. He packed his bags. I’m assuming he’s getting on a bunch of busses and coming back from Santa Monica to Korea town, which will take him a minimum of two hours this time of day, if not three, with his ‘I can’t take care of myself, my back hurts too much.’ And he has no medication. Welcome to my life. Bye.”
I speak to SWSTTH. She said when the convalescent home called her, they also said that he was surprised they didn’t have his medication and since he didn’t like the food (he apparently got there after dinner was served and they scraped something together for him) they went out and got him Chinese food. He still left.
A few hours later I get a call from SWSTTH. She said the Duke of St. Andrews place called her. After hearing his complaints she reminded him that there wouldn’t be physical therapy there since his post-op Olympian display at the hospital. They also won’t have his medication that late in the day (why didn’t he just take it with him?) nor will they have a doctor on staff (another one of his complaints) and he should know this as he went through this with my mother. He of course brushed all of this off. He couldn’t understand why she’d want him to stay there. After spending days cleaning up his messes, looking to find him a place to stay, hearing about his 911 call madness…AGAIN…and his dismissing all of her efforts as well as anyone else’s, well…that was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. She left the phone call with a few choice four letter words and went on her merry way. SWSTTH is now the second sister who doesn’t talk to him (now known as SSWDTTH).
And now…I’m the only child that speaks to him. He’s called me several times, each time asking me to explain why SSWDTTH won’t talk to him, and would use such language with him. I tried explaining that SSWDTTH put a lot of effort into solving his problems, and he seems to go on his own path nonetheless, leaving us the mess to clean up. He immediately dismissed her contributions…and mine. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t talk to him…and I ignore most of his phone calls. Just a guess.
On subsequent calls he again re-iterated that the place was terrible and he filed a complaint against them. “For the hour you were there?” I ask. The next phone call he said the place had complaints made against it, as if that would justify his behavior. I said “Yeah Dad, they have complaints because you made them.” Again, he is a master of reverse engineering.
On his first call after getting back home, he said that “The bus ride wasn’t so bad. Maybe I don’t need any physical therapy?” Lord help me. He’s lucky I’m three states away. Correction: I’m lucky I’m three states away.
There’s a rubber room waiting for him…if not me…
© Curt Weiss 2014