Tuesday, February 10, 2004

For the most part, this past weekend was a good one. Mom stayed overnight by herself at her place and will officially move back home this coming weekend. An elderly lady with health problems, who she met at the ALF, is going to stay with her. Neither of them can live alone and neither can afford a paid companion, so it sounds like an ideal situation all around. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works and Mom doesn't end up panicked like she did last time she tried to live at home. Hubby and I got some chores done, found a really good (and cheap) Asian cookbook, and went to the local Asian market for some ingredients. We had a yummy dinner of miso soup, tamago, and chicken on Sunday. Tonight we're trying out a beef recipe.

We went out to dinner with best friend and her husband. We both worked really hard to be pleasant to them. It was difficult. The whole night was spent bitching about the situation with her mom, their medical bill$, and their daughter's health problems. I don't want to trivialize their problems, because I know things have been tough. I don't have kids yet, so I can probably only understand 1/10th of the magnitude of worry one can have for a child. I know how it is to have a parent who treats your spouse like shit. But I hate how their problems are always so much worse than anyone else's and no one can truly understand how bad they are unless they're in the exact same situation. If I even dare to mention a problem I'm having, they try to turn it into a pissing contest. It got so bad, hubby dozed off for a few minutes at dinner - no small feat at a loud, busy Italian chain restaurant on a Saturday night.

This is what I held in all night:

Warning: Big time rant ahead.

OK, so your mom is driving you and hubby nuts with her crazy-assed ideas that he treats you badly and is cheating/will cheat on you. And then there's her whole recent uber-religious development that the tv is satan in a box and the only safe channel is the religion channel. Your child is on heavy duty antibiotics to clear up a chronic infection which is freaking you out since it's also used to treat TB. But she doesn't have TB. But that doesn't matter. If it's used to treat TB, then the doctor probably lied to you about what's really wrong with her. Because we all know that a specific antibiotic can only be used to treat one and only one pathogen.

Let's pretend you have a child who's 30 years older than you. What the heck, let's call your child "Mom". Mom has a plethora of health problems including bipolar disorder, panic attacks, severe debilitating osteoarthritis, and macular degeneration which has led her to have spotty vision. A few years back, "Mom" was receiving shitty healthcare and went through an episode that left her so messed up she had spells of not recognizing you or her house, was wetting the bed every night, and couldn't even dial a phone. So you took a few weeks off work and brought "Mom" home to live with you until you could figure things out. You had to have boyfriend (who luckily was on summer break from teaching) stay with her every day so she wouldn't wander off in search of the grocery store or pharmacy or whatever. "Mom" also was hostile to boyfriend because she felt imprisoned. Finally you and "Mom" fly back to her home, pick up her car and cats (who have been cared for by a neighbor) and drive her 900 miles in her rickety car, that you pray won't break down, to your grandmother's house. You agree to this because you are so stressed and worn down you can't argue anymore. The whole ride Mom yells at you because you're driving too fast for the crappy car and the cats are freaking out. You get to Grandma's and realize "Mom's" siblings aren't going to help because either they are in denial or can't cope, and Grandma is in poor shape herself, so "Mom's" siblings want "Mom" to care for her even though "Mom" can barely care for herself. But you know that "Mom" has access to excellent healthcare if she stays there, so you leave her.

Now, flash forward a year or two. Gramma has ended up in a nursing home after much fighting between "Mom" and the siblings, who wanted her to take care of Gramma and didn't want to chip in with the care. During this time you've been paying "Mom's" mortgage, insurance and whatever else you can afford, in addition to paying your own rent and bills. During this time you've had to default on some of her credit cards because there wasn't enough dough to go around, so "Mom" is getting hassled by them, which is stressing her out even more than she already is. "Mom" finally sells her house, and is screwed out of several thousand dollars by her realtor who also runs a construction business, and took it upon himself to make repairs on the house without "Mom's" consent. Unfortunately both he and the attorney represent the buyer as well, and "Mom" and has to fly back home the day after the closing, and "Mom" is so desparate to finally have the house sold after a year and several failed deals, that she goes through with it. "Mom" is fortunately able to pay off the mortgage, her credit cards, and buy a trailer in your hometown. "Mom" still is not stable between then and the present is in and out of hospitals and day treatments. "Mom" ends up on Medicare, which thankfully covers a substantial amount of her medical bills, but does not cover prescriptions. "Mom's" monthly prescription bill ranges from $300-$500 depending on her meds. Guess who pays those bills. Guess who "Mom" calls when she's in a panic and begs to take the day off work and stay with her. Guess who often drives "Mom" to the doctor (which involves taking time off work), the grocery store, the pharmacy. Guess who buys groceries for "Mom" when she can't afford them.

So, no, best friend, I guess I can't fucking understand anything about your situation.

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