Emotion Ocean

I went to see dad yesterday. I ended up there 45 minutes before I could go in, so fortunately the psychiatrist sat down with me for a bit. 

He says he’s considering letting dad out. Still no affirmative answer though.

My father was griping about how cold it was again, yet he refuses to use the ten blankets they’ve provided. He’s animated now. That’s better. He’s walking. However he cried a lot. 

He cried because the nurse had farm fresh eggs and they were beautiful. He cried because a pastor that’s a patient is leaving. My father doesn’t believe in God at the current moment, so I found that odd. He cried because Lauren Bacall is dead, and she was so so pretty. Random. Random.

They announced that dinner was ready. Since he’s a fall hazard, he can’t pick up his food tray. He pushed that damn call button literally five seconds after the announcement to ask where his food was. 

So here I am wondering what he is going to be like when I bring him home. I better get my bathroom vanity painted because I’m about to go into the deep waters again. 

Blank

There isn’t much to say right now about my father. This evening will mark exactly two weeks that he’s been sleeping inside the psych ward. I’ve only missed one night in regards to visiting. I was feeling ill and was afraid that I would make him sick. He seems to be a little different with each passing day. Some days he says he’s good and then the next day he’s completely agitated or he’s back down in the dumps.

I’ve been utilizing my alone time with painting our bathroom vanities. It is surprising to me how therapeutic it’s been. I feel myself kind of slipping into more of my introverted side. I have all this free time, yet I do not care to really seek out others and get my socializing in while I’m free.

In fact, five days ago I even deleted my Facebook account. I don’t have any other social media accounts. Facebook has become this world of hate in my view. I post my blog, people read it and then there’s a few that reach out personally to ask me how things are. It’s nice to discover those empathetic types. I doubt anyone has even noticed I’m gone. No one has asked me. I’ve always used Facebook as a way to communicate little funny things or great happenings. Most these days are just too full of hate. Politics will ruin friendships. Plus, when you’re feeling like life is a train wreck and someone is posting about their bad day, you become a bit snarky when you discover their bad day consist of just having to wake up. Whatever.

What’s in a Bowl?

  Something inside me continues to question why. Why is that our brains have to make us suffer? Why is it that our hearts have to make us suffer? 
  Suffering at times can be a very beautiful thing, for knowledge is gained. Some truths come from pain. There are moments that trickle into life that are completely unexpected pain, perhaps the pain that others cause.
  I walked into the ward this evening and passed by a room with a girl inside. She was alone, it was visiting hours. She was on her bed rocking herself back and forth and uttering words full of anguish. She was shaming herself for not being strong. I can’t step into her room. It’s against the rules, for I do not even know this young girl. I wanted to go inside. 
  My father. I step into his room and suddenly he turns to me to say hello. This my friends, is progress. He’s eating a tiny bit more. He’s observing others. He told me a story about the girl across from him and how her intellect was impressing him today. I didn’t tell him she was in her room beating herself into a bloody self shame now as he speaks so highly of her. 
  My father. He told me that he is beginning to feel like he’s awake. He described himself as a goldfish bowl. A bowl that others throw food into. The food comes at him so quickly and it looks so appetizing, but once it hits the bowl, it’s gone. The food is no longer in existence.
I sat there wondering why he wasn’t a fish. Why is it that he proclaimed to be the bowl? 
  When I left, the young girl was telling herself that she’s made so many mistakes. She was still absorbed in her own dark bowl. Her bowl has murky water. It seems to me, she was eating…Soaking every last bite up with a fine piece of bread. 

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood 

Do you ever walk away from a situation thinking to yourself that you’re not perfect? Wondering why is it that the Jones family down the street have it all and you don’t? How is it that Mary and Bob can still swoon over one another after 20 years of marriage? Why is your family dysfunctional and their family is not?
Trust me, we all live tiny white lies. Can’t you feel fake? I can. 
There was a time in my life however that I lived a perfect life. In my mind I had to have it all and no one would have ever realized that on the inside I was dying. I lived this way for years. It’s exhausting. This fake little existence. Facade. 
When my life and it’s perfect little package opened with shreds of pain, I realized how alone I was. I had not let those that loved me in. I had not allowed myself to show others how vulnerable I was. So I found myself with this constant lump in my throat. This annoying little frog stuck in there. How do you utter the words, I am not perfect? Once I did, I was set free.
When you can’t sweep all the pain and disgust under the rug anymore. When all the dirt blows into your face and on all your belongings. Who will be there for you? Who will already know that the current is shifting? Who will hold you up and support you through the shadows of darkness? Can you answer this question? If you can’t, then it’s time to shed that facade and start realizing you aren’t alone. No one lives a perfect life and if anyone ever told you that you have to be perfect, then they are probably psychotic. I’m being serious. 
I’m open now because I’ve realized that the more open I am, the less work I have to do. The less fake I have to muster up. I’m open. There is no reason to wrap this package of my life back up and seal it tight. I’m not perfect and I don’t want to be. 
I am not one to have a thousand friends. I have few friends, in fact. I have friends that I talk to every day and friends that I haven’t spoken to in a year. However, each one of them I have chosen because I know that in a time of need, I can pick up my phone and call them. Without a doubt, I know my chosen few would drop everything and come to me. These are men and women who I know would tell me their life struggles. Who would admit that behind the scenes they suck at life sometimes. 
I beg you, if you’re perfect, rethink this. When your white lies become white noise, you may find yourself needing to be heard.

Delirium 

I woke up this morning just like every morning, having my coffee and reading. It was 3:00 am this time. My father didn’t wake up until 7:00. He made his first cup of coffee himself, but by the time he was ready for the second cup he had already decided he’d forgotten how to do it.  I made his coffee and reminded him that I had an appointment at 10:00 and that’s when it started into its full frenzy. He began to proclaim to me that he couldn’t handle me leaving him. I reminded him that my husband was home today, but that didn’t soothe his fear of me leaving him. Before I knew it, he couldn’t even walk. I made the decision to take him to the ER.

We got there at 9:00 am and I was prepared with water bottles, my calendar to help me remember specific times of dad’s events, my legal papers, etc. etc. etc. I assumed we’d be there for a few hours. My father was convinced he was dying and that it wasn’t mental this time. I knew it was mental, but what if I were wrong. Besides, he wasn’t eating and I literally somehow propped his 180 pound 6ft 2″ frame up enough to get into the ER doors. 

Labs, fine. CT scan, fine. Urine, fine. My father had to face the fact that he wasn’t dying and that somehow his mind had failed him once again into believing that he’s unable to live. 

We were there so long (11 hours), that I witnessed the craziness of the ER like never before. It was packed and full of viruses, cuts and memory loss. One adorable old lady was asked if she knew her name and she screamed at them, “Priscilla Presley and what in the hell is going on here ?” Adorable. Poor thing.

 A man was rushed in by paramedics. Codes were being called and the next thing I knew I was witness to a mass of medical professionals trying to save him. He died from his heart attack right there in front of me. My father kept moaning and repeating how he was dying and I wanted to hush him somehow. Now is not the time for you to be proclaiming your death when the real deal just happened. A very long time later that man was taken away in a maroon body bag. At this point I couldn’t even cry. I was becoming delirious.

I noticed one of the machines hooked up to dad had the word Mindray on it and suddenly I found myself in a fit of giggling because I was imaging that I was wearing the machine on my head to penetrate into the thoughts of everyone around me. This sounds ridiculous because it is. I had to cover my face with my dad’s coat because I was unable to control myself. 

I saw an adorable little girl and her dad called her EBay. I almost spit my water out at that point. I was so ready to get out of there. My poor dad. He’s oblivious to what his surroundings are and I’m so tired that I’m not even sure that little girl’s name really was EBay, but I swear that’s what her father called her. 

It was decided that my father should be admitted given his history. Eventually after hours and hours of trying to find a geriatric psych ward and being unable to do so, my father was admitted into the ward at the hospital we were in. I know, it seems like that could have been done at hour three, but it’s complicated this world of mental illness and I get it. 

They wouldn’t allow me to go up with him as they took him away and I can’t see him until tomorrow at 5:00. Until then, I will sleep, eat, clean, pay bills and just worry. Worry because who wants their family member in a psych ward? Worry because will he remember that I told him four times I’m not allowed to see him until 5:00 pm? 

Since my father has moved in, I have felt like I’m riding a roller coaster. I bet he feels like he is the roller coaster.

5.3 ft. Pre-Lit Female in a Box

I woke up this morning crying. I cried through coffee. I cried through texting a friend. I cried through cooking breakfast. I cried while sitting in my living room alone. Our Christmas tree is still just sitting in its box on the floor and I must have read the label a billion times to try and stop crying. All that happened instead was I started imaging that I was inside there. I certainly could fit in there. Don’t worry, there are holes for breathing.

Pre-Lit. I think that’s what I am. I don’t mean lit as in drunk or lit as in I’m so happy I feel lit. I’m destine to be who I am. I’m pre-lit to have emotional days. I’m pre-lit to have my feelings hurt easily. Pre-lit for empathy. Pre-lit for caring too much. Pre-Lit. If I were in that box, I’m sure my pre-lit feature would come with confusing directions on how to make me blink off and on as well as how to make me continuously the same.

My father’s Bipolar disorder has come with consequences to myself here and there and that’s okay. If this were an easy box to fit in, everyone would be trying to fit inside it. I have good days and I have bad days. I have guilt free days and then some days I feel so guilty for not being able to keep my father from his current depressed state; that I would like to lie down in bed all day and unplug myself.

At least I can step in the box and step out of the box. I can’t very well change my pre-lit feature, but that is okay. If you don’t like that feature about me, there are other boxes to make a choice from.

This situation I am in is not a situation that is too hard on me. It’s not something I’m crying over because I wish I hadn’t have made this choice to care for my father. I cry sometimes because I need to. Remember, I told you I’m just pre-lit this way. I’m not unplugged. This is how I am supposed to work. Don’t try to read my directions.

Oh, Do You Know the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man, That Lives On Drury Lane?

I’m being tested. In 2013 I took a break from my corporate job to find a calling. I had always had an interest in working with people who have cognitive disabilities. So, I ran off into the fairytale world of job coaching. Let me tell you, it was no fairytale. It was for the most part depressing, however in order to do this kind of work, one must be patient; and not to mention have a huge sense of humor.

I say the humor part because you’ll find yourself in the oddest predicaments. It’s almost like living vicariously through the person. The girl with bipolar disorder bags groceries as you stand there and help. She suddenly tells the cashier that she thinks they’re creepy and would never be friends with them on Facebook. (Awkward) Later that night you’re outside with her pushing carts in 1 degree weather and she pulls her shirt up at a car passing by to show them her belly button ring. (Oh my) Then all of a sudden she’s running from you and leaving you out there with a line of carts in front of traffic. (Ummm… I mean, this is your job young lady, technically) You find her later flirting with the butcher and then even later on you find her crying in the bathroom. (Typical shift)

I did these kind of things for 2 years. I actually had a blast. I became close to a 30 something year old  man who was autistic and never spoke. However, if he saw me looking at a bag of Doritos, he would gently tap my shoulder, rub his belly and then shake his finger in no no manner towards my face. I could open a map and ask him where I was born, and he’d turn the pages to Kentucky and point straight on Mayfield without even having to look for that tiny town.

After a while though, you begin to feel like you can’t make a difference. Perhaps that’s just something inside me that I struggled with. I left and went back to my corporate job. They took me back. Same salary, same vacation days, even immediately put back into the pension. Was I happy? For about 6 months. Then I began to long for someone telling me my black and grey hair matched my black and grey shirt. I began to long for someone telling me about how they would like to wear a princess dress and ride a frog to town. Boredom. 

Yesterday my father crawled around on the floor begging me to cancel his surgery for Thursday. I felt like he was testing me. He said that I was ruining his life. Am I really ruining your life, Mr. Muffin Man? So, eventually I made a call and spoke to the surgeon and albeit, we all know this is necessary; when lasers are involved and you have a patient who isn’t compliant, disaster can strike. It was cancelled. You win, Mr. Muffin Man.

Do I feel defeated? No. I feel, I guess I feel, okay with it. The one thing I learned in the 2 years of being a job coach, patience. Patience my dear friend, as you cannot control it all. You don’t have the power to step inside someone’s mind and tell them what to do.  Ever.

I’ve also learned that the Muffin Man doesn’t have to have a mental illness to live on Drury Lane. It’s not up to you to judge if someone should be happy or not. I’ve  driven down Drury Lane several times. I’ve parked on Drury Lane a few times. I bought a house on Drury Lane. Eventually I moved away.