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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dr. Welby Never Had It Like This

An Angry Dadzilla in a China Shop Hospital Ward

dadzilla restraint

Dadzilla has a new type of appointment. A few times per week he now goes to hydrotherapy in an attempt to help his breathing. One Tuesday he goes to the hospital where they offer the hydrotherapy. I thought the appointment was for the morning, but I guess I could be wrong. He doesn't show up in the early afternoon. I think I hear him enter his room, clunking around. I see no sign of him the rest of the day, not even his van.

It comes to be early evening, and the sun is now setting. Something is not right. Dadzilla never drives at night since he can barely see during the day, nevermind dim light. I find a couple tenants at the picnic table. They tell me that he is at the hospital, that they thought the apartment manager told me. I begin to wonder who was tromping around in the apartment if it wasn't Dadzilla. I come to the realization that the upstairs neighbors must have been so loud that I thought the thumping was coming from inside our apartment!

I head over to the hospital where Dadzilla is supposed to be, the one where his hydrotherapy appointment was. I find out the information about his room number and find him there watching TV. He tells me that he had trouble breathing immediately after his therapy, so they admitted him to the hospital. They haven't found anything yet, and they hold him for observation. Nothing much new for either of us besides the obvious, so I head home, pick up some his toiletries, and drop them off to him. We chit-chat for a little while, then off I go. He thinks he'll be home tomorrow afternoon.

I feel guilty for feeling relieved that I finally have peace for more than an hour or two. I haven't gotten a break from his nonsense in over 5 years when he went to visit my brother for a couple weeks around his birthday. It's nice. I remember the advantages of living alone, or even a roommate or two that isn't him. I don't have to acquiesce to anyone's need to feel in control and superior.

The next day he doesn't come home in the afternoon. I call him, and he tells me they're keeping him for more tests. He sits around watching TV, bored. Sometimes he gets up to walk around a bit to stretch his legs. Funny, that sounds like what he does at home, just with less freedom. He's going stir crazy, goddamnit. At least he thinks he'll at last be home tomorrow. I enjoy an entire day of quiet and freedom to walk around without a shadow, nor an inquisition!

Immediately the next day, 'ding-dong'. Doorbell. The apartment manager is at the door. He wakes me up to tell me that something is horribly wrong. The hospital called and left messages at the office number. They couldn't get a hold of me.

I rush to the phone. We've had wiring trouble with the handset. Cheap garbage. I wiggle some wires on the body of the phone. Somehow, the ringer must also be affected, though I'm at a loss for how. Three messages, all hospital related about Dadzilla.

I call the floor nurse back. Dadzilla wanted to leave last night. He told me he'd see me tomorrow, so I thought all was well. Silly me. An impatient Dadzilla started getting angry and loud. The staff tried to soothe the savage beast. An inconsolable Dadzilla made threats. The staff probably tried to reassure him, but in doing so, put their hands on an enraged Dadzilla. Dadzilla misinterpreted the touch and started waylaying staff with a makeshift weapon in the form of his cane! The staff subdued Dadzilla and put restraints on him, which also tethered him to his bed. Dadzilla wore himself out and is now fast asleep.

The nurse wants to figure out if he might be exhibiting signs of dementia. I relay to her what he has told me, that he's had very little sleep in the past several weeks. I know that can cause cognitive issues. She tells me that all the tests they've done show no new anomalies and nothing to cause new breathing difficulties. He's free to be discharged, but she would like me to wait a couple hours, because a sleeping Dadzilla is a healing Dadzilla that isn't causing mayhem on a hospital ward.

I talk to friends online. I get the feeling they may have thought I was exaggerating the stories about Dadzilla. I tell them the news about bedlam at St. Joseph's. They say they've believed me all along. They're familiar with stubborn, old coots that refuse to listen to any form of reason and act out. I wonder why their elderly relatives don't act this way, why I'm the one with the misfortune.

I actually go to the hospital twice. The first time, no matter what I do, I can't wake him up in a soothing way. I'm not going to stir the pot at the hospital after what they've been through with him, so I went home. Turns out, he woke up very shortly after I left. They released one of his two restraints, and the hospital bed is now on the floor. They tell me they do that if there's a danger of someone falling out of bed. I've never seen such a thing, but it makes sense.

The hospital is actually an interconnected wonder. Just about everything is computerized and/or made electronic. It's a far cry from old shows that portrayed hospitals as a sanitized world of nurses with white caps, gurneys of cold steel, and beds of stiff metal with rigid, cheap mattresses.

This time I bring a neighbor with me. Someone has to drive Dadzilla's van home. The best part is he can say things to him that I can't, lest I cause a temper tantrum for being disrespectful, goddamnit. “Get your ass out of bed, you mean old bastard! Get dressed, or we're leaving your ass in the hospital!” It was said in jest, but if I'd even done that, he'd have flown off the deep end.

The floor nurse has to get discharge papers ready. Meanwhile, Dadzilla tries to get out of bed. An alarm goes off. One of the other nurses rushes in. He's still hooked up to an alarm from his behavior the night before. She makes sure that at least one of us will be there at all times, then disconnects him, and removes the last restraint. Her bedside manner is great. She doesn't show irritation in the least. Much better than what I'd be like. Another break from the old days, when they'd just about put people in straight jackets and keep that grudge for the rest of their stay.

Dadzilla is unsteady, so an orderly has to wheel him out. While we wait for the elevator, he makes comments loud enough for the entire staff at the desk to hear, just in case they haven't registered his disdain. I think they feel sorry for me. They should. They only had to deal with him for a couple days. I've been in hell for years.

The neighbor drives home with him in the passenger seat. I drive for my last few minutes of freedom. When we get home, he settles in, and looks over the mail and his medical papers. I see that we have beer and take one outside with me. Not three minutes go by and I have a shadow in the form of Dadzilla. It begins anew.

<Dadzilla in a Bottle>                                                                         <cont'd in future post>

Monday, May 4, 2015

If I Could Save Dadzilla in a Bottle...

I Had Some Dreams; They Were Clouds in My Coffee

One morning, I wake up and want to get my cup of coffee for the day. There's a kink in my plan: Dadzilla is in the kitchen doing who knows what. Sometimes I can deal with this dilemma, but usually, I'm simply not up to being pestered first thing in the morning. I diddle around on the computer for a little while, then I make like I'm going into the bathroom. He's still out there. He must be making lunch. He does everything early-- breakfast at 6am, lunch at 10am, dinner at 3pm, then snacks most of the night.

I hear Dadzilla enter his room, which means he's probably on the way to his bathroom. I make a mad dash for the kitchen. Son of a bee! He's got his spread out for lunch and his meal is in the microwave. No coffee for me. I head back to my room, irritated. I wait a while longer, til I think I hear him go to his room again. I rush back out to the kitchen. The table is clear, so he's done eating. I immediately put the coffee on, and go back to my room.

A few minutes later, I open my door to go check on the coffee. Dadzilla is coming out of his room. He asks if I can take him to the hospital; he's having trouble breathing. I rush out to turn the coffee maker off (naturally, it's finished, but I am denied). I get my stuff together, he gets his stuff together, and we head out to the car.

Half way there, he notices he forgot his wallet. We continue on anyway. I know he's not feeling well, because he's not talking a mile a minute like usual and complaining about anything and everything. I drop him off as close to the emergency room as I can and find a place to park. They admit him even without information and insurance cards from his wallet. He's on the computer system, so there's no trouble.

We're led to an examination room after a short wait. It's not at all like any ER I've seen on TV. I had no idea they made you wait. Apparently, his case isn't critical enough since he can still walk on his own. They examine him and take blood. It takes them about an hour to even get the needle in because his age makes his veins incredibly hard to access.

The man who can't breathe well talks and talks and talks, jokes with the nursing staff and doctors, nags me to go outside and get fresh air. I tell him that if I wanted to go outside, I'd be there already. Even in his condition, the man has to be annoyingly meddlesome.

That's not all. When we're alone he talks again about how we need to “get the hell out of Arizona”. He blames inanimate objects for his ills, so a whole State is nothing. And he has money coming whenever they finish his case. I wonder if it's the same type of case he had for 20-30 years in NY that made that State Dadzilla Enemy #1. It's the mesothelioma class action suit everyone has heard about. Of course his breathing difficulty has to do with mesothelioma from chemicals he once worked with. It couldn't possibly be from smoking for 55-60 years. They took his case anyway, so who knows? What kills me is that he dismisses out-of-hand the possibility that his trouble has to do at all with smoking for decades.

Wah wah wah wah, wah wah, wah wah wah”. Charlie Brown's teacher is all I hear since I now have a headache. That doesn't stop him. “Wah wah wah, wah, wah wah”. I wonder if they've ever taken someone's voice box out just for the hell of it.

After all is said and done, they tell him his blood work and exams all come out normal. Therefore, they give him a nebulizer to use right there in the ER and a prescription for one for home. They also give him a prescription for some topical cream for some type of ringworm they say is pretty common. He still swears up and down it's from the black mold in his shower. Dadzilla the expert doctor.

Turns out the nebulizer works, and we're back on our way home. There's more pep in his step and he talks the entire way home, so I know he's ok. I'm telling you, he doesn't stop talking for 60 seconds the entire way. Sweet Jesus, get me home! Oh, look. No parking spaces, so I get to park up half a block after dropping Dadzilla off at the entrance. I can never park straight on the street, but I figure if both tires are within a foot of the curb, all is well.

I go through our gate. He is telling his trials and tribulations to some other tenants. I go into our apartment and get my coffee I finished brewing 5 hours ago. The coffee helps my headache. I go online and check email and so forth. Then...oh, good. The awesome internet we have decides to break, just like every other weekend at some point. I'm fed up. The coffee gets rid of my headache, but doesn't prevent me from taking a nap. So that's what I do.

And here I sit for the night, without internet. Hopefully, the nebulizer will allow Dadzilla to sleep in his own bed for more than an hour at a time, rather than on the couch. That way, I'll at least be able to watch TV and/or cook something in peace.

<Pepto Bismol...>                                                     <Dr. Welby Never>

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Kingdom for Some Pepto-Bismol

Ignorance Is Bliss...But Not for Dadzilla

I don't know if it's my meds or middle-age creeping up on me. Seven days and my innards are at a standstill. Luckily, I made an appointment on Friday for Monday in case I'm still having issues, and I am. It's also my yearly check-up so I can keep getting my meds.

Where ya' goin'?” There's no getting around Dadzilla. He's still in the living room 18 hours per day, guarding both kitchen and the door out to freedom. It galls me how he gets to come and go everyday, as he pleases (which is the way it should be), yet I get inspected like Mexican fruit. He should pretty much be ready for a smart answer when he starts the probing. I simply, curtly reply “Out.”

Simple appointment with the usual questions and measurements. I tell the doctor about my concerns of week-long gut trouble. I have never had this kind of trouble in my entire life. She renews my prescriptions and adds an order for five strong diarrhetics. Of course there are issues with the five pills, and I don't get them til Friday. I resort to using a bag of prunes and it works.

Since the creature is in the living room all the time now, it doesn't go unnoticed, my many trips to the bathroom in a short period. He starts twitching. “Got trouble?” Here we go. “Yes.” I close my door. The trips back and forth continue. “What's wrong?” God, will I ever get peace? What I do in the bathroom is no one's business but mine.

Why does he think he has to know anything and everything. Yes, he's my father, but for the love of all that's good in the world, stop micromanaging me! I grit and clench my teeth. “I have stomach problems.” Of course, that's the problem. Why the hell else would I keep going in and out of the bathroom? To cook dinner?

Speaking of dinner, for that night, I decide to just have some rice with soy sauce. “What are ya' makin'?” Gahhhh...Sweet Jesus, get a life already. I clench my teeth some more, “Rice.” I can usually refrain from creating additional tension, by choosing the path of least resistance. I suspect that's what everyone has done with him most of his life, lest they invoke the spectacle of a temper tantrum, followed in short order by a migraine. I think he thinks people are afraid of him, so he gets what he wants. Not true. I think they give him his way like a spoiled 2 year old, because they don't feel up for all the noise at that particular moment.

I've told him several times that you can't force people to do what you want them to do. What I don't tell him is that that applies to him too. That's why when I need him to do something, I sometimes have to resort to trickery and psychological warfare. It doesn't always work, but it's better than a lot of other options. But: one day I will escape this Dadzilla of mine.

<He Ain't Heavy...>                                                       <cont'd in future post>

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rotary Dial Cell Phone for Elderly

Does It Make Me Old If I Remember Rotary Phones?

Senior Cell Phone
originally from GeezerPlanet

So...I'm not elderly by any standard, but I grew up with a rotary phone in the house.   I never even thought about that until just now.

Elderly Man Causes Scene at the Beach Because of What's Under His Beach Towel

Elderly Man Just Wants to Float in the Water

Elderly Man with Float
Originally found at GeezerPlanet
That this cartoon featuring an elderly man at the beach was pretty funny :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

He Ain't Heavy; He's Dadzilla

As If It Couldn't Get Any Worse

antique meds

One day Dadzilla has trouble moving at all. He manages now and then to make trips to the kitchen. He can even go out to the picnic tables under the gazebo, but whenever he comes in, he talks about how difficult it was for him. I encourage him to make an appointment with the doctor. He waits and waits and waits, then finally goes when he has an appointment for something else.

He tells me ahead of time that he'll need a ride. Of course, I'll give him a ride. Just tell me when the day before the appointment. I don't hear a peep out of him. It's hard telling when the day before the appointment is since he says nothing. I wake up on what is the day of his appointment (I found out later) and he's gone. A couple hours later, he shows up and tells me they took X-rays of his lower spine. I wonder aloud why he drove himself. Oh, he didn't want to wake me. Didn't want to wake me? He wouldn't have woken me if he told me the day before like I'd asked. These are the kinds of things that make me feel less sorry for him and his situation; he takes a difficult situation and makes it that much harder on himself.

Seldom do I push anything further. Why?  He'll just have some cockamamie excuse, and the egg shells I continually walk on will shatter and he'll throw a temper tantrum. It's kind of like when he asks me what I need from the store, I tell him, he comes home, and then proceeds to tell me something like he couldn't find it. It could be milk, and he'd say something asinine like he couldn't find it or they were out or something else unbelievable.

So they took the images of his lower spine and tell him that he has some degenerative
disease. Groovy. I don't know what we're going to do if he gets worse quickly. He'd have to get a nursing assistant or other caregiver if it meant toileting or showering issues. I know neither one of us would be comfortable with my doing it. Besides, I don't do poo. I can't physically manage it without vomiting.

They give him some pretty strong pain pills. This doesn't stop him from getting up several times per night to go out in the living room to watch TV because he can't sleep. I suspect he's not taking his pain pills, but I say nothing because of aforementioned reasons.

What his sudden night owl behavior has the nasty effect of doing is having him in the living room even MORE of my waking day. It sounds selfish, but if he acted in any way like a “normal” person, it wouldn't be an issue. Every time I go into the kitchen he has to have something to say, or some snooping to do. Sometimes he'll be especially cranky and ask me what the hell I'm doing out there, that I'm making too much noise. Are you serious?! Too much noise from the man who can't stop banging on the wall and telling the upstairs neighbors to shut the hell up? I've mentioned it a couple times, how hypocritical he is. All I get is flat out denial and yelling. Hypocrisy from him is usually the thing that makes me mad enough to say something, even though I know the result well ahead of time.

Since I now have almost no time alone outside of my room, I go stir crazy. I work more on my internet stuff than ever, trying to make a living to finally be on my own again, live like a normal person, and finally have peace again. I always think to myself, “God, it can't possibly get any worse.” Yet, somehow things usually find their way there: an even worse situation.

<Reminiscences>                                       <cont'd in future post>

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Reminiscences of a Dadzilla Past

Momzilla the Ostrich

I come out of my room and make like I'm headed for the hall bathroom. I hear the door and Dadzilla. Is he coming or going? He's going, because I hear the rustle of a garbage bag. I wonder if he's just going to take the garbage out or if he'll stop by the picnic tables and sit down to talk.

I can only hope he'll stay out a few minutes, but it's not looking good because it's hot out today. I'm hungry, so I start my frozen dinner in the microwave.

I hear the rattle of keys and I know Dadzilla is back and the door opens. One thing about him is he's seldom quiet, but then I usually have ear plugs in. I head for my room while my dinner heats up, and I manage to skirt Dadzilla. I was undetected, but I'm sure he'll hear the microwave.

I head out to the kitchen after a few minutes and get my dinner. God almighty, he starts whistling. He just can't be quiet and motionless. It's like dealing with an ADHD child. I start on my way to my room. “I don't understand you, Dad. You want everyone else to be quiet, meanwhile you sit there with the TV on whistling.”

Well, it doesn't matter about the people upstairs; they make so much noise they deserve it. They probably won't even hear me. I guess you don't like it either, huh?”

I take that as a rhetorical question and just continue on my way to my room. Same old drill. He won't listen anyway, so why waste my breath?

Today is my late mother's birthday. She would have been 75. I get to thinking about how she'd make the same trip to her room behind a closed door because of his behavior. He was younger then, so he'd actually follow her sometimes and yell outside her door. Whatever they were arguing about: “The truth hurts, doesn't it?”, “That's right, go bury your head in the sand.”, “Your friends and neighbors think I'm crazy? I'm crazy like a fox.” , “Goddamn New York! This was your idea and I'm getting the hell outta here!”

These are just the recurrent phrases I can think of off hand that I heard repeated throughout my childhood.

I also remember him telling me almost proudly, “You know, I never hit your mother.” Back then, I didn't understand the full scope of the statement. Today, sarcastically I think, “Gee, what an achievement to never have assaulted and battered your spouse. One day, I might aspire to those heights.”

   <Life to Dadzilla>                                              <cont'd in future post>