Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys soldiers

Random theater here, kids. The doors are locked behind you. We’re all doomed, so get comfy. Too bad the popcorn costs more than the movie itself and this is all the entertainment we can afford!

1. It took Eight. Hours. EIGHT!!! to drive from Pittsburgh to Georgetown. EIGHT. Gah. My ass hurts. Our beloved interstates 76, 70 and 270 were parking lots. Only the Beltway was moving, in an ironic twist.

2. I’m convinced the hospital’s just trying to kill my grandfather. Seriously. He walked in there a month ago and now he’s crying himself to sleep, he’s in so much pain. His doctor is a sniveling little cunt. And I probably shouldn’t have called her that.

2.a. “Well, he IS 80,” is NO excuse for abuse and neglect. Whore.

2.b. Picking a fight with my mother four times in front of me won’t win you any points, either. When I get to the point when I snap at you, “It’s not a competition,” kindly back away and go back to being inept like you were before.

2.b. explained:

My great-aunt M. (my grandfather’s younger sister) and her two sons D. and B., none of whom I’ve met in my 32 years but gawd, I was missing out on some great people, drove in from Ohio Friday only to see the same shriveled shell of a man that I had just met the night before. (How much damage can they DO in a week? Apparently plenty. Jesus.)

(Aside: My cousins? Are HOT. Holy shit, I wouldn’t even know I was related to them, as Mom and I look NOTHING like that side of the family. Gah. You could end up with someone and never know that you shared their genetics!)

We had a “family meeting” with the bitch of a doctor, who refuses to tell my mom anything otherwise. My aunt cried the whole time but stopped as I got into an insane discussion with the doctor and asking her how we came in to treat a bladder infection and now it’s dementia and end-of-life care that are the topics of discussion.

(I’m lethal when it comes to medical discussions — don’t act like you’re out-educating me because I’m educated, too, you whore.)

So anyway, dementia is a surprise to me, but thanks to the infection after infection that he’s contracted at those hellholes, it’s made the dementia advance. Thus, she says we should give up on him. I of course tossed in my two cents that maybe if they’d manage the goddamned pain they keep putting him in, maybe he would no longer be driven insane from it and PERHAPS he’d be normal again.

Let me say this. He doesn’t recognize me anymore. AT ALL. Dementia, as it were, is not an overnight-onset condition. It takes years before it’s even perceptible. It’s a gradual decline. How can he go from being my best buddy last week and this week he looked at me and called me two other names (caveat: when he wasn’t sobbing himself to the sleep that never comes)?

Let me also say this: I am not exactly the biggest fan of private hosptials, either. I can tell you stories about fighting for my own life and begging for them to not let me die. And when the assholes finally figured out I wasn’t lying to them, the cuntfaced surgeon came in to pat herself on the back for saving me just in time. GAWD.

In any event, in the meeting, we were all surprised by the dementia. The doc had first said it was caused by all the infections, but when I repeated her words back to her, she said, “I didn’t say that.”

Five people heard it, but OK, fine.

She backpedaled and said that it’s been there for awhile because it can’t just happen overnight, but that the infections aggravated it.

I’m feeling rather litigious right about now anyway; this gives me another reason to go visit my friendly neighborhood smart guy. Ah, Johnnie Cochran, we miss you. …

I asked about all his meds and he’s getting a pharmacy pumped into him, but what she wouldn’t talk about was dosages (yeah, 5 mg of pain meds? My backaches require about 300 times that, but OK. Whore.). She was reading his history to us on a computer and surprising my mother, who sits there ignored every day, just like him. He went eight hours without pain meds today and they think that’s normal? Christ.

Anyway, so later, the whore came into the hosptial room and snapped at my mother that she’d just seen in his records that he was diagnosed with the early stages of dementia in November 2004. Mom said she didn’t know that, and the whore said it was in the records that my mother knew it. Mom said something and the doctor kept saying, “You didn’t bring it up. You didn’t mention it. You said NOTHING in the meeting about it.”

That’s when I got mad enough to say, “It’s not a competition!” to the doctor. She’s got short-man syndrome — always has to prove she’s right, that she’s the one with all the power. I hate her. I said, “She’s not always allowed to be in the room when he’s examined — she doesn’t get all the information. You guys tell him things that he doesn’t repeat to her.”

Oh, was she PISSED.

Mom had a greater comeback — “Yeah? Around the same time, he got diagnosed with an enlarged prostate. When do you feel like getting around to treating that one, since you left the other neglected for two years?”


The bitch stomped out.

Anyway, I’m horrified at the fact that he’s getting morphine twice a day and has to beg for painkillers every four hours on top of it when he can’t even speak. I can’t understand him and he knows we can’t understand him and he’s so frustrated that he’s becoming slightly combative. THAT’S NOT HIM. And holy shit is he strong, too. I had to wrestle him back into bed because he somehow polevaults himself out and he’s not allowed to get up.

Which brings me to brighter stories.

3. These yin-yangs keep saying he has no appetite, yet they give him appetite-increasing meds and then leave his tray four feet from his bed where he can’t reach it. The trays go back and they say, “He never eats.” Because he’s not fucking Houdini, geniuses.

Wobin, however, has raised hell and now he has a “sitter,” someone who hangs out in the room all day and makes sure he stays in bed and feeds him. Actually, the nurses are supposed to do the feeding but we had a great sitter who could work magic with him. He’ll eat if you tell him to. I fed him, too. I’m not good at it — he ends up wearing it when I’m at the helm, but those of you who have known me for way too long know I always used to say that “I always end up with more ON me than IN me.” Heh — holds true with food, too. 😉

So anyway, it was almost supper time and I said to him that it was almost time for dinner. So he turns to me, bright and clear, and says, “Great — where are we going?” And Mom said, “We’re staying here, Dad,” and he looked horrified and said, “Oh, no, we’re not going to eat here!”


I always tell him that he’s stronger than they are stupid. Which I think holds true for eternity but I’m afraid they’re the ones (not) pushing the drugs. *sigh*

4. More funnies — I think Grampy’s developing a lil’ jungle fever in his old age. When he’s a little more with it than usual, he’s flirting up a storm with the nurses. We love it. I’ve been wondering what he would say when I brought someone home who’s more apt to get a tan than me, but now I’m not so worried anymore. 😉

5. So Mom and I and her friend had breakfast at Eat ‘n Park this morning. (Go on, watch the Christmas commercial. We all need a good cry!) Per usual, the service was horrible and the food was delicious (perhaps only) because we were starving. Anyway, I was just saying how much I missed being around rednecks when some asshole walks past our table, clearly done with his meal, and belched so loud, the plants above my head rattled.

I was already pissed off from having to send my breakfast back twice and this did me in. I yelled, “PIG!” and he kept walking. I looked at Mom, who was at the end of the booth, and asked if he’d gotten anything on her. (That was a wet burp. Classless. Gah.)

6. Odd observation on the VA. Lots of doctors and nurses are from the countries these guys fought against. My grandfather doesn’t care — the man loves everybody and is grateful for everything (and nothing) — but a lot of his roommates are downright offended that they’re being treated by the Vietnamese or Chinese or Korean. It’s really weird to watch some of these guys react — like, that’s who they were told to kill. The flashbacks are readily apparent sometimes.

7. Mom says I talk in my sleep, talk in the shower, talk to my food, talk to my ass. I drive her crazy. She feels bad for my colleagues, who must want to shoot themselves when I’m around. She’s waiting for ME to be institutionalized!

8. My grandfather reminds me of the dad in “Hope Floats,” when “Birdee” goes to visit him in the home and he finally, finally recognizes her. Because when he does, he holds out his arms to her.

My grandfather did that for his sister — she was convinced he didn’t know she was there or who she was, but I understand his mumbling enough to know that he’d said her name 20 times. I told her to go closer to him because he suddenly can’t see or hear very well either (a side effect of the hospital, no doubt) and she said that she was there.

And in his thrashing pain, he stopped trembling, had the biggest smile and held out his arms to her. I don’t think I stopped crying for three hours after that.

9. From “Hope Floats” to “Steel Magnolias,” I get the end of the latter, when all the men step out of the room because they can’t take watching “Shelby” slip away. It’s hard. It’s terrible. I think the hospital system is fucked up and I think they’ve fucked him up irreparably, but I’m not ready for end-of-life discussions. I’m not — he deserves more than that. He deserves to be rescued from that dark, small place they’ve beaten him into.

He deserves to live be 100 and die of old age, not from others’ incompetence. (I’m looking square at the doctor — he’s got phenomenal nurses.)

Today I couldn’t go to the hospital. I’ve seen enough. I’ve seen too much. I couldn’t do that drive with all this so fresh in my mind. I don’t know how to save him. I just don’t. I feel like I can — that this is my chance to fix it. But how?

And will there be anything left of him by the time I figure it out?

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