Hi again. So life has been a whirlwind of adulting these past few months. Let me tell ya, I want to go back to being a Toys R Us kid where I don’t have to grow up. Throw in Discovery Zone and life would be much easier.
For starters, we have a pest control company who comes out and treats our property. It’s a good system and we’re on a quarterly plan so they come treat every quarter and if I see an increase in bugs between treatments they come and take care of it for no extra cost. Which is great because sometimes there’s a huge spider and my husband isn’t home, so I can call them. That hasn’t happened yet but, I kid you not, I did ask about that. Anyway, the most recent time they were here they were working in the garage (spraying the perimeter and the crawl space) and guess what they found?
That’s right. Freaking TERMITES. The past two years we have had a horrible flying ant problem and since they look so much like termites I really took to the study of them and know much more about flying ants than I would like to. With that said, I also learned to look for termite trails and all that good stuff. I thought our coast was clear. In the garage, though, my husband is restoring a vintage truck so it has its own bay. On the cinder block base of our garage, on the other side of that truck, were a couple termite trials. So I blame him for not seeing them (but in reality I don’t actually blame him). So they’re coming to do an extensive, all-day termite treatment and since they only take cash that’s $2,000 cash that we need to come up with.
Then. My husband and I have been looking at newer vehicles for our family and the daycare for a few months, we had a timeline of when we were going to buy the vehicle because money would be different then, that time frame had pushed back a tad because of the termites. Then my car, ol’ reliable, failed inspection baaaaaad. It needed thousands in repairs just to pass inspection, thousands we didn’t have especially since we didn’t plan on keeping it for more than six months. So a couple weeks ago we upgraded, bringing back those dreaded car payments a few months earlier than we were expecting.
So in one month we went from being comfortable to suddenly an additional $20k in debt. Fun right?!
On top of all of this there’s my dad. Clearly I have daddy issues (which I actually expand on) because he seems to be a common theme in my posts. Anyway, his jaw had been hurting him for a while and his doctor kept shrugging him off, which was a very unwise move since my dad had cancer in his jaw eight years ago. Long story short, the cancer is back and it spread. So after many consultations and scans and poking and prodding, my dad was given two options:
1. Do not have surgery, but you will die in six months. Painfully.
2. Have the surgery, we remove all of the cancer, but we also have to remove your tongue and larynx so you won’t be able to eat for months, we’ll rebuild a partial tongue out of chest muscle, you’ll go to PT to learn how to eat again, aaaaand you’ll never talk again.
Great choices, huh? Spoiler alert! He chose option two.
Now, my whole life I’ve known my dad as a drunk man. I’d begrudgingly accepted it, went to therapy, came to terms with the fact that his disease was so far advanced that I had greater odds of winning the lottery than I did seeing my dad sober. It is what it is and I accepted it.
For anybody with an understanding of alcoholism, his addiction turned into a disease many years ago, probably some 20+ years ago. He literally needed alcohol to survive. Due to some hospital stays and forced sobriety (after a ridiculously high ethanol drip at the hospital) his brain kind of did this “turn it off and turn it back on” kind of thing, advancing something known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, on the street that’s called “wet brain,” and it’s something that commonly affects drunks. Ultimately, the alcohol caused irreversible brain damage to the part of his brain that handles memories.
Despite my understanding of alcoholism, there was always a small part of me (albeit jaded part) that held out hope that my dad would one day wake up and decide he didn’t need the alcohol. I always felt like I came second to his drug, like I was never worthy. Speaking of worthiness, since he is an addict he has a tendency to lie to people, he doesn’t do it to be malicious, but to hide his addiction. He would tell me these things, mean things, about my grandparents, my uncles, and he’d go and tell them mean things about me. I realized what he was doing when he was in the hospital back in 2009 so I started working on repairing relationships.
It has been hell.
My grandparents, his parents, have had a very hard time coming to terms with the fact that he is an alcoholic. Truthfully they didn’t believe me when I first told them eight years ago. It has been a really bumpy road, one that I’ve been traveling mostly alone, and still, despite doing so much for my dad, they don’t believe that I’m not some selfish, crazy teenager. A selfish, crazy teenager that they “know” only because that’s what my father told them.
So my dad’s addiction damaged relationships with most of my family, damage that I fear is beyond repair, but I keep trying. I’m having a really hard time coming to terms with not having a stable dad, not having a relationship with my grandparents, one of my uncles seems to think I’m just there, I can’t help but think he views me as just his brother’s bastard. It’s been hard, and I see people, my husband included, who have these great relationships with their extended family. It makes me envious.
Back to current day, though. Want to hear something amazing? My dad, the alcoholic, was so scared by his diagnosis that was scared sober. I mean it. He had his g-tube put in a couple weeks ago and had a 0.00 BAC. The hospital has come to know him and this habit of having a heightened BAC so they have him come in a day before the surgery so they can actually detox and monitor him a bit so he’s at a safe level for anesthesia. He was ready to go, though.
I spoke with one of his social workers yesterday and even she said there is no sign of alcohol usage. His home is relatively clean (another amazing factoid), he’s gained weight (huge news!), he’s sober, though. I should’ve played the lottery.
So where I stand currently with all of this information is here: my whole life I’ve wanted a real relationship with my dad, I’ve never even had a real conversation with him where he wasn’t intoxicated or under the influence of hospital meds. Now, though, there is this little window where he is sober and it’s been used to discuss the hospital plan and discharge instructions, his will, lawyers, me being is PoA…just business, nothing that might work towards mending our relationship. I wish he had this sort of realization years ago so that we had more time to actually speak with each other.
I feel selfish for being upset because I know my dad is dealing with way more than I’d want to, but I can’t help it. That small little part of me that I mentioned just swelled at the thought of hope, but it was like a tease. Like the sobriety was dangling there just out of reach for so long and now that it’s there it comes with a really horrible price.
He will not learn sign language, I’ve had dozens of people suggest that but he won’t do it, plus we have no use for it since, ya know, 700 miles separate us and he doesn’t have a webcam. I don’t have time or money to learn ASL either. Our relationship is going from talking every single day to a text relationship. I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with that, too, since he’s like the only person I talk to. I talk to him about everything. You know the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? That’s like my dad. He’s almost 60 with memory-related brain damage, trying to get him to grasp everything a texting device can do is so hard. It’s just a struggle.
I’m ending this here, it was just easier to type it all in one spot because not only is it cathartic to me, but people have been asking what’s going on so now I can direct them to this post.
Thanks for reading ❤