07 April 2024

Well, Dad had rallied for a little bit after his most recent hospital stay, but he had a bit of a downturn again. He hasn’t regressed all the way to how he was before he went into that hospital stay, but he’s not at the level he was when I moved here, either.

It’s pretty plain to me what’s the most likely PHYSICAL cause of the problem. When I got here, he hadn’t been drinking in I think a month? It’s possible he was lying to everyone, but I don’t think so. I say that because that’s been the one big difference between then and now. He is supposed to see his kidney doctor this month and possibly one other one and everyone’s saying he doesn’t need more labs, even though they changed his meds in the hospital and gee, it would be nice to track how that’s affecting things. It’s Dad’s own fault, really, because he complains incessantly about what they do to him. He couches it in crude old-man humor, but he also means it, and I’m sure they know that. So they pull their punches — not a good metaphor to use when they’ve literally saved his life about a billion times in the past seven years, but like that — when they ought to intensify the fight a bit instead. Because he hasn’t been declared incompetent and can still say no, and they know that too. So they resign themselves to only doing as much for him as they can get away with, in deference to his complaints.

(I don’t expect them to keep him alive forever, but he could be doing so much better than he is now, for his own comfort and functioning if for no other reason — but he’d rather fuck around and find out, which is sad considering how critical he is of everyone else who does that.)

The irony is that when it’s my turn for all this shit, they’ll probably actually treat me like shit and if I so much as mildly remark about the treating-like-shit, they’ll write me off as a Karen and make things worse. And you wonder why I’m so angry at men anymore. They could change this. They fucking don’t. Let’s defer to the problem men and cause problems for the women. Yay.

Okay. And. I think my being here is also stressing him out. No, I know my being here is stressing him out. He’s said as much, though for once he wasn’t mean about it. Yes, Dad, I know you have lived alone for thirty-plus years. Yes, Dad, I know it’s what you’re used to. Never mind I’ve been keeping up with the kitchen under my own incentive and, if Deborah weren’t cleaning here every few weeks (it hasn’t been every second week in the past couple months — I have no idea what’s going on there), I’d be doing that too — probably for free instead of $140 a month — AND, I’m at his beck and call when he needs to go to town and he doesn’t have to make his business Carrie’s business or the family’s business anymore. There are many more benefits than drawbacks in it for him. He sort of dances around the almost complaining that me having the TV on at night when he’s sleeping bothers him (he is hard of hearing and I never have that thing at even half volume), or me having my bedside lamp on at night (not even the overhead big light in my bedroom) bothers him, but he also rarely sleeps all the way through the night even when I am not doing those things, and I have to hear his fucking westerns at 3am or the fucking early news at 5am. I have two fans in my room now and I run them at night as much to drown out his noise as to keep me cool. In other words, he wasn’t sleeping anyway and I can’t see why the reason matters. And he naps in the daytime regardless. At least once. Usually twice.

I could try to work toward getting my own place. I should do that, probably, for his sanity if for no other reason but another thing that I’ll have to deal with is people giving me stinkeye because I am not there all the time, and if I were to get a place it would likely not be in the trailer park so I would not be RIGHT THERE for an emergency, AND, if we had another episode like last October with his brain bleed, the reason I would not be living with him is I would have a job, so either I’d risk the job being there with him through the crisis or I would not be there with him through the crisis because it conflicts with my work schedule and people would think I was shitty for that. I sound heartless invoking other people’s opinions of me, but think about it. This whole fucking mess I’ve been through with Matt and then the leaving Matt’s house and having to come here since there was nowhere local to go and then the having to live in a weekly-rate motel and then the being homeless: all that shit happened BECAUSE I had offended too many people’s opinions. When no one likes you, you end up on the margins of society and that much closer to premature death. That’s the real reason people care about being liked. It’d be nice if some of you bozos would start noticing.

(Yes, there are people who “like” me online. I’m like a really-badly-written TV show. Believe me, they change the fucking channel. It’s called “scrolling through one’s phone” these days, though.)

And if you were wondering, yes, I fucking hate people for shoving me into this catch-22. They will ignore, of course, that Dad is in his mess by his own design and mistakes. They will not ignore that when I’m seventysomething with fucked-up health, let me tell YOU.

No, I won’t belabor the point. I treated it several paragraphs ago and you can just go read it again if you want.

He seems to like having someone to chat with. Not all the time, but if he’s in a chatty mood, it’s handy having me there. Sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes… well. The repeating stuff he’s already said to me doesn’t bother me; sometimes you just don’t remember you’ve said something before, it’s been more than two years since he said a lot of that shit to me, and now he’s still contending with aftereffects of the brain bleed. (I think it’s even permanently changed his handwriting. It was not an improvement.)

But there are times he verbally contends with me and his reasoning is like, what the actual fuck, Dad? And the brain bleed might be to blame for some of that, but it isn’t to blame for all of it because I ran into this with him sometimes before last October, too.

A recent example. We were talking about term-of-service discharges from the military. I think that’s what they’re called. I forget now and I can’t google it as I’m writing this. But what I’m talking about is when you have been in the same pay grade for longer than regulations permit. They have a maximum time you can serve in each pay grade and then, if you haven’t gotten promoted, they kick you out.

It’s not a big deal when you are lower enlisted, because for E-1 through E-4 your promotion is automatic. It’s a problem when you go to E-5 and up. That is a whole complicated process where maybe you have to go to a month-long training somewhere, and you definitely have to go before a promotion board, and you have to do a little of this and a bit of that to make your record look better for said promotion board.

AND… [drumroll]… there have to be enough slots for your target pay grade in your job specialty.

Probably their way of avoiding the “too many chiefs and not enough Indians” problem.

Dad contended that if you were really good at your job then you would win out over people in your pay grade and job who weren’t as good at the job and so of course you would always be promoted.

I tried to explain to him about the number of slots available in a specialty. He bulldozed over that and repeated that it doesn’t matter because if you’re good enough at your job they will have a space for you.

I gave up. But no, Dad, and I don’t care if you were a senior chief petty officer. You weren’t paying attention on that one or you have long forgotten it. Or shit started working differently after you retired. Whatever.

I could have told him the tale of how I got a letter when I was an E-4 stating that there weren’t a lot of promotion slots in my medical admin specialty and suggesting that I reclassify into something like fuel specialist instead, because they had plenty of openings for promotion. I did mention my wasband Mike’s little issue with not having much of a future as a parachute rigger with nine years as an E-4 so having to reclassify as a Special Forces medic so he’d have half a prayer of making E-5. I think the limit for E-4 was ten years. It’s been too long to remember now and (again) I can’t google it. Besides, that number might have changed since the nineties. But even that Dad bulldozed over. Dude… whatever. I was there. Don’t tell me what I know. I didn’t say that part out loud, but it’s that thing where if I go quiet, you have not won the argument. I’ve given up on you. It is not a compliment.

We’ve had similar arguments (not quite but to the point he gets contentious) about food, nutrition, and weight gain. That’s a subject I try to avoid even joking about now because he gets insulting. Dude, you got your kidney failure with a fucking fork every bit as much as I got the equivalent of a second me stuck to my body with a fucking fork. And then you want to cook me ten tons of food. Oh my god. Just stop.

I ran to Rita’s to get two bags of ice for Dad and saw Rafael’s wife (I have forgotten her name again) standing outside with him and her dog, a little black Chihuahua. Doggo was very excite when he saw me standing at my car and started barking, “Hey! Hey! You! Who you???” so I went over to say hi. His name is Odie, and he is always nervous around new people but eventually he settled down a lot.

Mrs. Rafael and I got around to talking about the feral cat infestation in the trailer park. I love cats, but I will be the first to tell you keep your goddamn cat inside. If they were just in danger from cars and big wildlife, that’d be awful and I’d be sad but they’re going around killing birds. Not fucking okay.

I wish I could do something about it. I’m good with cats. I just don’t know if it would be better to TNR the whole lot of them and let them live out their natural lives or to just take them in to walk their last mile, so to speak. I am not against euthanasia for companion animals. It beats the hell out of them staying in shelters or being feral their whole lives. But admittedly, if I got rid of all these cats, we’d probably end up with a hellacious rat problem or something, because birds aren’t the only critter cats hunt. And some yo-yo will always be dumping off cats and kittens near us. It’s a whole thing.

Bit of a joke to talk about which option I’d pick. I’m too poor for any of them.

Anyway, this is the second time I’ve been at Rita’s… I want to say this month? I don’t think it was still March last time I went. Same old guy was there, and this time he told me a couple Boudreaux & Thibodeaux jokes. I hadn’t heard any of those in years. Maybe I should put a section here on the website for them. We’ll see.

Guys like that remind me of Pawpaw but, ironically, he’ll be in my dad’s generation or not very far from it. Dresses more like Dad’s dad, though.

It looks like Dad’s icemaker is kaput. He speaks, if I understood him correctly, of acquiring a new fridge. My god, man, you’ve got ice trays. I never liked icemakers anyway. I don’t trust them to stay clean in the tubing and that’s just what I need, a nice bout of Legionnaire’s disease. But at least that would not be an issue with a brand-new fridge, I hope. We’ll see what he does. I washed the trays because they’ll have sat out in the cigarette smoke and I’ll set all that shit up for him tomorrow. The cooler is pretty good at preserving bags of ice and I figure he’ll have enough in there through tomorrow night at least. I’ll be making ice for him by then.

One more thing he doesn’t have to struggle with, but I’m annoying. Thanks?

He and Matt should be besties. Matt thought I was worthless too.