Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More Trips to Town

The best laid plans always get changed. I gave this place a thorough vacuuming while Sweetie picked my Dad up at my son's business. He had convinced by Dad to leave his car there and come home with him for an overnight stay.

As Sweetie pulled up to Dad's car my Dad just sat there. Long story short, he had fallen while shoveling snow at his house. He managed to get off the ground and in his car but had to drive one handed! Though in obvious pain, he refused medical treatment, so I inspected the damage when they arrived. As far as I can tell he has a dislocated shoulder and bruised ribs.

I placed my hand on his good shoulder and said, "Dad, we really should get you seen by a doctor." In a flash, his good arm flew up and smacked me. His anger was evident in his choice of words so I backed off. After that shock, we sat down and focused on our cat's antics. Finally, my Dad said he'd go to the doctor when we bring him back to his car tomorrow. Stubborn Norwegian, as usual.

He took a nap, completed a word search puzzle and is now laying on the sofa. Of course, all I'm thinking is he shouldn't live alone anymore.

Just yesterday he told Sweetie he has to figure out where to get two suppers a week because his Meals On Wheels are for five days. My father refuses to cook - which is probably just as well. Every morning he microwaves some instant oatmeal, has a banana, then leaves the house. Almost every day he stops at my sister's and about half the time she remembers to ask if he's hungry. When she doesn't ask, he doesn't say a thing. This is the sister who is forever broke, accesses food pantries and spends foolishly. He stays at her home until 4 p.m. then goes home to his microwaveable meal, his cat and television for company. We've pleaded with him to move in town to senior housing but he maintains he'll be "carried out" of his house be the undertaker.

If it weren't for him seeing a doctor tomorrow I'd try to convince him to stay here another day. We've repeatedly offered to have him stay here for at least the winter but he refuses. It's a frustrating and sad situation and we all dread the day when one of us finds him dead. But, I'll probably be the same way if I live to be 81.

So, instead of hibernating, Sweetie and I have decided we'll visit him at least two evenings a week (26 miles one way) and have supper with him. We'll also call him more often. He'll know what we're up to but that's just something he'll have to tolerate.

Another thing that concerns me is my Dad's thriftiness. He is by no means poor. Yet, he keeps the thermostat on 65 and dresses accordingly: a long sleeved T-shirt, flannel shirt, TWO hooded sweatshirts, windbreaker, plus a cap on his head. He wears long johns year round and jeans; 3 socks on one foot and 2 on another and keeps his legs wrapped in a blanket. And still he complains about the high heating bill. When we offer to pick him up he claims he doesn't want us spending the money. Sweetie made up an excuse as to why we'd be in town two days in a row to get him to agree to accept the ride out here.

His rent is an unbelievable $180 a month plus utilities. He has well water, satellite TV, propane heat, phone and electric. His 2007 SUV was bought for cash. He has no credit cards and about $3000 a month in income!!!! His thrift is part of the reason he gave each of us our inheritance early. That's been a godsend for each of us but I'm just livid that he continues to live this way.

He jokes that coming to our house is like a "warm vacation" because we're the only ones who heat with wood and it's 75-84 degrees in here. Today he said he came to the "sanitarium" for treatment of his injury. A little dry Norwegian humor but I still worry about him.

Even worse, my idiotic, arrogant brother is his executor and has his power of attorney. When he comes home in March he'll spend two days with my Dad and the rest of in the bars. If his siblings express concern for our father he says we're upset for nothing. He was the same way with our mother until the doctor called him and said she had three weeks to live. Four days before she died he showed up. Typical ass that he is.

Guess this has turned into a rant. Oh well.

So we'll no longer hibernate and our fuel bill will increase. Like they say, sometimes life gets in the way.


Mayberry said...

Well, I got to say that he sounds like I think I'd sound at his age. I'd rather die than go to some "assisted living" hell hole. If I can't make it on my own, I'll just go away. One last SCUBA dive, sail away to wherever.... I say that now anyways.

I know you worry, but I think you should be proud of his independence. At least he is living the way he wants to. Unfortunately, I think he, and y'all are some of the last to be able to do so....

Sixbears said...

Good luck with your dad. He sounds as stubborn as mine.

treesong said...

Mayberry, I am proud of my Dad's independence but I want to see him stay safe. Both of his neighbors have now moved. If he were unable to move after his fall how long he would have laid there being found?NONE of us want him in a facility; we want him in one of our homes so we can treasure our time together.

This is a situation lots of individuals and families will have to face one day. If families lived together as they used to, caring for one another instead of being almost alien to each other, I think we'd have stronger relationship; use fewer resources and need less outside assistance. Just my thoughts and thanks for commenting.

debbieo said...

Tree song,
I am sorry your dad fell. My dad had a stroke a few months ago and is going slowly downhill, its hard to watch. Luckily he lives in a small apartment in my sisters back yard. I think she gets tired of him though. I wish he could come here but he is still working and doesnt want to give that up.
I think your ideas of the calls and visits are good. He will enjoy it I'm sure. Like you said sometimes life gets in the way. Its not all about us anyway.
Take care and hang in there. Hope your dad's injury is not as bad as you think.

Did it MY way said...

You are correct in saying when families lived together there was more caring. Today parents do not wish to be a burden on their children. Perhaps if there was no assisted living facilities they would think differently.

I'm like Mayberry, save the last bullet for me. When I can't take care of myself, my time will end.

Some men are just more independate than others. I'm one of them.

I wish you luck helping your dad, just don't be to hard on him.

God Bless.

See Ya

2 Tramps said...

The thrifty part of your dad is something we envy here. Just returned from visiting Tramp 1's elderly parents in another state and they don't know how to be thrifty. We have had to put them on a budget and count every penny otherwise they would be flat broke. We live the farthest away of all their children but are the ones that are stepping up to the plate to provide proper care. The siblings that live within an hours drive don't do anything except for one - she takes them out to lunch. Such is life, eh?