Yeah yeah. I know. Daddy issues *eyeroll*. But also just let me write here, eh?
My relationship with my father has always been complicated. On one hand, he’s my Dad. I love him. On the other, he’s done a lot of physical, and psychological damage to me with abuse. On one hand he’s alone now and needs someone to just look after him. On the other hand, he’s one of the big reasons I go to session and trauma therapy multiple times a month. On one hand he’s the man who has thrown me away six times throughout my life and left me at the mercy of some really not good people. On the other hand, he’s always come back.
So things are complicated.
Lately I’ve been doing my best to look after him though. Back around Christmas he noticed a really itchy, dry spot on his ankle and it bothered him enough to complain about it but he just waved me off when I said, “Dad, go to the Doctor.”
And then it exploded all over his body.
Doctors who don’t know my father suggested scabies. I understand that STI infection rates among seniors are stupid high, but my father doesn’t believe in anything past second base without a wedding ring, so… no. There was a concern that it might be shingles. In the end a biopsy showed it was not insect related, not cancer, not fungal, and the final diagnosis was just a really bad case of psoriasis.
So for the last six or seven weeks or so, I’ve been going over to Dad’s twice a week to rub petroleum jelly on his back to just try and keep the scale and the scabs from cracking (because secondary infections are not good), and monitoring his progress.
I’ve also kept telling him, “Dad, go to the Doctor”, which he finally did do and finally got two courses or prednisone that seem to have rebooted his immune system. When he went to his GP at first he tried to pass the buck to me… “Well my daughter said that…” and “My daughter thinks that…” and “My daughter suggested that…” and his GP apparently told him, “Listen to your daughter. She’s giving you good advice”.
*first pump of vindication*
Since his GP said that, he’s been listening to me a lot more, which is good. He’s drinking more water to be kind to his kidney (yes, singular), and eating small meals throughout the day to keep his blood sugar levels in the green. He’s not getting mad at me when I mention maybe doing a sleep study and getting a C-PAP (he’s had apnea for a long time, and doesn’t treat it). He’s not pushing himself and hurting himself as much. But he’s also starting to realise that he’s not 40 anymore (I keep pointing out to him that I am almost 40 at this point) and that his body isn’t bouncing back from things the way it used to.
But he’s doing better and taking better care of himself. The psoriasis is pretty much under control at this point. He doesn’t look like he has scales on his back anymore like he did eight weeks ago, and because of the petroleum jelly we’ve managed to keep scarring to a minimum.
My sisters must be mad at me right now. The last time I spoke to my middle sister she said, “Dad’s horrible to himself. Let him be. Let him kill himself, Sascha. We’ll get the money faster”.
Which is yet another reason why that was the last time I spoke to my sister. And I’m sure she’s not impressed with me at the moment.
And then he bought me a bed. It’s the first brand new bed I’ve had since they moved me out of the nursery in 1983. The new bed is amazing and I’ve been sleeping really well the last three nights, but it really hurt him to get it. At the furniture store we happened to get the newbie, and it took over ninety minutes for her to learn how to punch the sale into the system. It had to get punched in three times before it was right ($3400 for a clearance mattress? I don’t think so. Try again). In that time THREE senior reps, including the store manager, came to help and then had to leave again. Honestly at the 35-40 minute mark I was ready to go, “You know what? I’ll survive without it” but Dad made me stand down. Over an hour and a half later it was done. BUT, in that over an hour and a half absolutely NO ONE offered my elderly father a fucking chair. Not the sales rep. Not the two senior reps. Not the manager. Instead he was made to stand on the concrete floor. For over and hour and a half.
And now we’re eight days after the bed was purchased, and my Dad still can’t bend his knee enough that he can sit comfortably in a chair, or get in and out of his minivan. For most of the last week he has barely been able to walk.
Yeah, I’m still mad. I think rightfully so, honestly. But being mad doesn’t help Dad right now.
Over the weekend I ordered groceries delivered to his place for him because he was running out of things and starting to freak out because he couldn’t get down the stairs to get in the van to go shopping. And I put it on my credit card, which I absolutely couldn’t afford to do, but he has food now.
And I’m calling him twice a day right now just to check in. Not because I need to check in, but because he keeps asking me to. He says he really appreciates just having someone check in on him and just having someone to talk to when he’s trapped in the house.
“I really appreciate you doing this”, “thank you”, and “I love you too” are not words that one easily gets from my father, but I’ve been hearing them at least once a day the last 8 days. And that is both sweet, and kind of scary.
So yeah. It’s complicated.
On the one hand there are so many things that have happened over the years that pretty much anyone who knows me tell me I absolutely have the right to hate the man for. But on the other hand, he doesn’t have anyone but me right now. He’s alone, and he’s unsettled, and I get that. Taking care of Dad comes from the same place as taking care of Dottie and Bennett with all their individual extra issues.
I’ve been thrown away, and I’ve been alone and had no one to turn to, and I never want anyone to feel like that if I can do something to help it.
Even if the person who threw me away is the one I’m helping now.