So it dawned on me…as much as I give dad shit about screwing around with the renal diet – I sorta do the same. Right now I am just lucky enough that my body bounces back from the poisons faster. Let’s face it the way dad salted things he didn’t just get 69 years out of salting food – he’s probably salted a few life times worth.
If you haven’t had to start being a parent to your parents yet – Good Luck! I’ve decided it does indeed close the loop on my motherhood experience needs. The cats totally have the whole baby through pre-teen phase down. There’s the crying and vocabulary that you have no idea what it means at first…and one day you greet a co-worker with cheek clicks and patting your leg (While they have no idea you are trying to hustle them up faster). You have all sorts of firsts: playing in the snow, climbing the Christmas tree, baths, haircuts, food likes & dislikes. Eventually you get to the boundary pushing phase: invest in plastic mattress covers. I’m just sayin’
Then they mature a bit- but they still hover between “I want your approval” and “Can I claim all before me as mine? Ask forgiveness, not permission!”
Parents on the other hand normally* are mature.
I’m putting the * in ’cause I ‘ve met adults that weren’t mature, had kids, and still never grew-up. My folks weren’t like that. I can offer no insight there. I was lucky. If you find yourself the adult care giver of a parent who never did grow up, I’m sorry.
Back to me being sorta funny about some morbid crap 😀
So when you have a parent who’s got a new illness you try to help them figure it all out. You find out what you need to do to make it better, make it not get worse, etc. You try to treat them with respect. Don’t talk down to them. Provide them with the tools & resources to make it easier. You go grocery shopping for 3 hours a week looking at every label in a food section at one store to try to find some alternatives for the things they like. Then you do the same thing the next week at a different store. They are your parent, you want them happy and having a fulfilling life. Then you find out the son-of-a-gun ate a caramel apple “because it was going to go bad.”
Never mind the 5 lbs of Honeycrisp apples on the table – let’s worry about the one you should not eat as it will destroy your kidneys.
So as much crap as I give dad, I’m due some mirror time. I require 2 mental health meds, 2 shrinks and a GP: and I still can’t change my diet as radically as he needs to. The difference is – mine has not put me in the hospital – yet. His allowed him 10 days between hospital visits.
Yesterday for lunch he decided to make noodles with sauce, since he had something similar in the hospital. This is where this reverse parenting gets weird. I’ve told him a dozen times – read the mother fucking labels!!!!! Did he? He claims no. Part of me wishes he was lying about that, and that he knew full well that this was suicide by Lipton Noodle. Then at least you are dealing with a mature being capable of making the decision to say “fuck it, I want this, if dialysis comes sooner it was worth it.” When they lay that line on you about, “I had something similar and figured it’d be the same,” you won’t know if you should smack* them for not listening to you or for being childish.
* I DO NOT ADVOCATE ELDERLY ABUSE. I use strong phrasing to express my level of passion. No matter how crazy dad may drive me – I don’t hit him, threaten him with a pillow, withhold any living necessity. I may delay getting internet set up for Facebook gaming. I make make mean comments about suicide by caramel apple – but his life is not in any jeopardy at my hands. He does enough by himself thankyouverymuch.
It’s a tough line. You want to believe your parent isn’t really possibly trying to manipulate you.
(I found out about the noodles because he asked for fried chicken for dinner, when questioned on what he ate that day he mentioned pasta with sauce – I knew the hubby was making it the next day for dinner, so to make sure there would be enough of the special sauce – that I have to drive 40 mins for -yea renal diet! I asked which sauce)
he said,” like an Alfredo”
“What? We don’t have any Alfredo sauce in the house”
“Yeah, there are those Lipton noodles with sauce.”
“OMG. You did not eat that?”
“It’s just like at the hospital.”
“No it’s not. Did you read the label?”
“Why didn’t you read the label?”
Let’s face it that was a no-win question. Short of “wolverines stole my magnifying lens”, I was going to be disappointed. Dad’s don’t often seek out disappointing their kids. A co-worker offered the curious question of has he lost the will to live. It’s a good question, but I’m sure as shit not ready to come out and ask it.
So that one aside why not read the label:
Doesn’t know how.
Refuses to learn.
Doesn’t care about the outcome.
Doesn’t think there will be a consequence.
Believes that if he can seem helpless enough he will get more attention.*
* that’s my fear. The problem is that all of this whole congestive heart failure episode is occurring 8 months after the renal failure episode…and during the time in which I am working 2 jobs.
I was lucky, I was saved tedious hours of job hunting and was offered my dream job, with my current company. For 2 and half months I need to work two jobs in tandem while the old job is transitioned away and the new one ramps up. Then dad starts shenanigans. Alright so for surgeries & things I take time off, I do remote work until midnight and I make shit work. He fights everyone to get home as soon as possible – selling all of them that he’ll heel better there.
He starts off getting better – I continue 14 hour days. He starts acting more geriatric, I ask more questions and try to not berate or treat him like a child. The decline picks up pace – I get shorter tempered in my line of questioning. The questions change from “Did Joe eat a caramel apple?” to “Why are you not using your unsalted butter?”
The problem is the next 8 weeks mean me getting my dream job – we are talking my equivalent to Barbie as President- she’s been gunning for that for a long time. Would you put that in jeopardy for someone intentionally fucking around? Gosh I hope not. What do you do when they aren’t doing it on purpose? What do you do when you can’t tell? See parents can be just like teenagers. Right now I take it day by day.
Some day’s he has a nice daughter, who understands how hard these changes are and she sympathizes.
Some day’s he has a daughter who cares enough to try tough love and fight for him to get better at any cost.
Some day’s he has a daughter who’s at her wits end and can’t even take care of herself.
Maybe kids would have prepared me for this better…