God only knows what’s up in any given situation. I surely don’t. George was feeding me positive reports as I drove toward Greensboro seven weeks ago. I remember thinking, “This trip is wasted. Time and money are going down the drain for nothing. Mom is recovering already.” I couldn’t have been more wrong, and the ‘Medical updates’ between then and now offer proof.
What has been achieved here is the fulfillment of my long-held belief that Mom (at least) needed to be in a continuing care (CCRC) situation. That is, in an Assisted Living facility that also has Skilled Nursing Care. It was certainly not my intention, as I drove here, to accomplish this transition. It just came to be of itself. And the primary motivator for this was the primary resistor of it in the past: Mom herself. She firmly held that she no longer wanted to live with Pop and suffer his undo influence. Past updates have given you all of the gory details.
Yet Mom herself has vacillated on this very issue and now brings her old behaviors with Pop to her new environment. He, of course, jumps into his own natural behavior because he can. Lesson learned: you can’t change the stripes on the zebras; either of them. My characterization of their relationship in the last Update was premature or, perhaps, wishful thinking. So wrong was I, that it will be necessary to facilitate an intervention before returning to Minneapolis so that Pop can’t destroy or discard any more of Mom’s few possessions and dignity.
I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked, “How are you doing?” An innocent and well-meaning question to be sure. But after awhile, I began to sense that everyone else knew something I didn’t: that I might not be doing okay. In the heat of battle, I’m the guy you want around to lead and manage things. When things settle into a routine, well, God made other people for that. But even I know from experience that you can’t fight fires every single day. It wears you out. To guard against my own burnout, I have made time to exercise hard for an hour every other day.
What everyone else seems to know is that the M&P situation is a continuing battle. And here Lisa and I are moving to be closer to it. Lesson learned: I’m not as smart as I may look. So with the few IQ digits I actually do possess, I resolve now to be the tough-love parent this situation seems to require. The parental role has been mine for years already. Up to now, it’s been mostly democratic and fair. No longer. Mom has to make her statement. I have to cite and enforce the new rules. Short of divorce, neither Mom nor Pop can have any influence over the other. If they choose to play well together in their sandbox, fine. If they act out, they will be sent to their rooms. Literally. And not necessarily by me; but by the staff at Piedmont Place followed by a call to me. This is PP policy; not mine.
I’ve come to liken this experience as something akin to learning a new language. You learn the new words but have to translate them in your brain before effectively using them in sentences. This effort burns up many extra brain calories (my term), and can have a negative impact on other body systems. The point is that you are apparently able to see the impact of this level of activity in me, and this has become a cause for concern. I actually have come to appreciate this coming from you. And it has strengthened my resolve to NOT let the M&P situation have a negative impact on me or on Lisa or on our own relationship. Lesson learned: listen to the people who love you.
That said, STOP IT !!! Stop asking me how I am. I’m FINE, dammit! I’m fine.