Thursday, February 05, 2015

4010 Followup from the south

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Well, Ex#2's lab results came back, and he does have (did have?) Stage 1 colon cancer.  Apparently no big deal.

Mentally he's not doing so well.  In the ICU he apparently kept trying to get dressed and leave, so they finally had to strap him to the bed.  Daughter has been talking with him on the phone, and he thinks he's in a hotel. "I don't know the name of it.  The cleaning ladies are nice, but they won't  let me out of bed."

Daughter had a nice long heart-to-heart with a case manager, and the plan now is not for him to go directly home, but to spend some recovery time at a skilled nursing facility, where maybe? they can evaluate? his ability to care for himself.  "The family", his sister and all those other family members down there, have a very strong prejudice against admitting any kind of mental problems, they see it as some kind of unacceptable weakness, a character flaw, so Daughter has to work against them, too.  She's been choosing her words carefully, and that's a strain itself.

In the meantime, Hercules's maternal grandmother, who pretty much raised him, died on Tuesday.  Not unexpected, she's well into her nineties.  The funeral is tomorrow.  Hercules's mother is just plain nuts, certifiably, seriously, the only way she avoided incarceration in North Carolina was by agreeing to psychiatric counseling, whereupon she promptly moved across the country, well anyway she is currently at nasty odds with everyone else, including Hercules, and she will be there.  Daughter and Nugget were supposed to go to the funeral, too, but Nugget suddenly developed an abdominal malady while visiting me yesterday, and she was throwing up last night, and lethargic today (but a bit more chipper this evening), so Hercules left for Pennsylvania today alone.  Poor guy.  Daughter is, I suspect, guiltily happy she doesn't have to deal with her mother-in-law.

The MIL hasn't seen the Nugget in --- gee, maybe more than a year, not since she moved to Arizona or wherever the hell she is now, and I'm worried that since Nugget isn't there, she's going to change her flight plans and insist on coming back here with Hercules.  That may be more than Daughter can handle right now.  Probably more than Hercules can handle.  Likely more than their marriage can handle.  I hope he has the strength to say no if she demands it.

Well, things have been very tense across the street for a while now.  I hope things will loosen up over the next few weeks.

Monday, February 02, 2015

4009 News from the south

Monday, February 2, 2015

"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove
that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right."


I've said many times that I don't understand how Ex#2 is still alive.

He has actually gone into diabetic crash at least once in the past.  He was warned that he has to watch his diet.  He doesn't.  He subsists mainly on junk food.  Stuff that comes in crinkly bags, you know?  He doesn't check his blood sugar, doesn't even think about it.

He had an old injury to his lower back that messed up the nerves to his lower body, which led to some continence problems (both) all his life, which he never admitted to a doctor, and about two decades ago he landed in the hospital with what they thought was an abdominal tumor, but was discovered to be an enormous bladder - he had become unable to empty his bladder.  They did something, I don't know what, but then they taught him how to use a catheter to empty it.  That was supposed to be a temporary thing, and he was supposed to be getting therapy to learn how to control it, but he didn't bother.  When he could no longer get prescriptions for sterile tubing, he just bought aquarium tubing and used that.  Still is, as far as I know.  How has he avoided massive infection?

He was diagnosed as well into congestive heart failure about ten years ago.  Doesn't seem to worry him any.

He doesn't bathe.  Maybe once a week, if that.  He brushes his teeth only when he leaves the house, which these days is almost never, but that no longer matters because he lost all his teeth twenty years ago.

For a long time, Daughter fussed over him like a mother hen.  She felt guilty that she couldn't "fix" him.  It took me a long time to get through to her that he can't be fixed.  All she can do is stand back, let him be himself, and be available.

He'd been having tarry stools for a few weeks, and I guess someone talked him into a colonoscopy, and ....

Daughter is down there (far south NJ) right now.  She just called to fill me in.  He had surgery today, a laparoscopic bowel resection to remove a tumor on one side and some large polyps on the other side.   Don't know yet whether it's benign or not, but with everything else wrong with him he's not a candidate for chemotherapy anyway.

As usual with him, he went his own way.  They wanted to do another colonoscopy before the surgery, so they had given him three bottles of that icky cleaner-outer stuff to drink last night.  He drank two, and decided he'd rather sleep than be up on the toilet all night, so he didn't drink the third, with the result that he was so dirty in there they couldn't do the colonoscopy.  Sigh.

They plan to send him home Wednesday, Daughter says, because they are severely short on beds.  Daughter originally planned to stay until he went home, but now she says she'll come home tomorrow.


He lives in a studio apartment built onto his (late) parent's big old south Jersey farm house.  His sister, her son, the son's girlfriend and their toddler, and the ex-husband of the sister's daughter, and who knows who else (and I'm not sure of all that, it's weird) live in the main part of the house.  They are there in case something happens, and I guess the sister will be picking him up from the hospital, but they long ago gave up trying to ride herd on Ex#2.

The sister was very angry with me when, after 13 years of marriage, I left him.  I suspect she's no longer mad at me.  I think since he's been living there, she understands.  It's amazing that I lasted as long as I did.

He bought that house from his mother after his father had died and his mother got sick, with the idea that, having no savings, she could live on the money from the house.  She lived in a hospital bed in a front downstairs room for nearly twenty years.  She kept saying she wanted to "go", but she kept on breathing.  I think she was in her 90s when she finally found release.  (I figured as much as she said she wanted to die, she was afraid to.  Afraid to meet her Maker.  Yeah, I'm awful, but she was worse, and I think when she thought the end was near, she realized how much she had to answer for.)

So, what Ex#2 is driving everyone crazy about now, and for the past few years, is his will.  There's the house, and a bunch of money.  He set up a trust containing the house and the investments.  There are all kinds of conditions.  The house is not to be sold - it's to be kept for the use of several family members (those living there now and a few others, three or four generations worth) for as long as anyone wants to use it. It can be sold only after none of the dozen or so people want to live there. Household expenses (including groceries!), utilities, repairs, upgrades, real estate taxes, etc. are to be paid from the trust.  And on and on.

He doesn't seem to realize that there are a lot of beneficiaries of his trust, and if only one person stubbornly decides to continue to live there, only that person will consume the trust.  Daughter asked me if he has some great attachment to the house, if his purpose is to ensure the house stays in the family, is never sold or demolished.  No, he never lived there until just lately.  He didn't move there until after his mother had died.  He should have no emotional attachment to it, except that his mother died there.  I think he just never thought it through. I think he has a vision of "providing for his family, a roof over their heads" in perpetuity.  Paint that in gold with beams of light around it.

For the past several years, that trust has been his sole occupation.  He runs spreadsheets over and over, and has been harassing everyone else in the family to contribute their personal financial information so he can "manage" that, too.  It's all he talks about.  Daughter got sick and tired of his wanting to go over spreadsheets over the phone every week, and I got sick and tired of her complaining about it, so I finally gave her a piece of her own advice - either quit complaining, or DO something about it.  So she told him she didn't want to hear about spreadsheets any more.  

Daughter was originally the executor of his will and manager/trustee of the trust, but after finding out some of the details, she wants out.  It's simply too complicated, and she wants no part of writing checks for household expenses ("I'm not going to write checks for toilet paper receipts!").  Too many ways to get everyone angry.  Recently he agreed to add his sister and his niece's ex-husband as co-whatevers.  The sister has told Daughter not to worry, that the three of them will simply agree that majority rules.  If two want to sell the house, it will be sold.  End of problem.

(I worry that the damn thing might be written such that legally it won't be that easy.  I was tempted to ask to see a copy, but then backed off.  No way I'm going to step into that.  Besides, the sister went to law school or something... anyway, she's smart.)

I simply don't understand how he's still alive.  That household has guns.

4008 More snow

Monday, February 2, 2015

If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere.
--Frank A. Clarke--


It snowed about 2 inches overnight.  By the time I got up this morning, it had turned to light rain.  Slush everywhere.  

Today is a garbage day, so the street was lined with full garbage cans.   I was in the kitchen when I heard a loud bang, hard to describe, but my first thought was a natural gas line explosion, it was that loud.  I ran to the front porch, and discovered it was a town plow truck plowing the slush in the street, and hitting every garbage can the whole way down the street.  Garbage flying everywhere.

Guy oughta be fired! 

It's now 2:40 pm, and the garbage crew is coming by, unusually late for them.  They usually come through by 10 am.  I wonder what their opinion of the plow driver is.