Dad and I have been in Charlotte all week. We have saddle sores from riding in the car so much. Our to-do list is very long, and few of the to-dos are much fun: trips to the doctor for him and for me; trips to Target to get prescriptions filled; trips for haircuts; trips to the bank; trips to donate miscellaneous household stuff to charities; trips to find a consignment shop that will take all of his unwanted furniture and knick-knacks; and a long round trip to visit Mom’s grave. I want to go home!
To add insult to injury, I brought my laptop to Charlotte with me so I could hop onto Dad’s internet service, while it is still up and running. Well, in our haste to box up all of his computer and video equipment last month, the power cord to his modem was also packed, and it is now sitting in some box in Ellijay. In order to re-connect with the outside world, I have to make trips to Starbucks and sip on “Grande Skinny Frozen Caramel Macchiatos” at $5 a pop, while reading email and catching up on the latest news. (You know, I do believe that a lot of small business owners use Starbucks as their personal office space. While I was there yesterday, a woman who plans “events” called customers, had meetings with her personnel, and caught up on her computer work, all while sipping a glass of water! Other people, dressed in suits, seemed to be conducting interviews and/or having staff meetings…)
Now for the good news. My Dad is doing very well on his medication. His doctor says his blood protein levels are dropping every month, and he thinks that in a few months, the meds can be stopped altogether. But Multiple Myeloma is not curable. It’s like playing wackamo; you hit it down, and it stays down for a while (maybe 2 years), but it will raise its ugly head again, and the meds will have to be re-started. Thankfully, though, this form of cancer is not a death sentence. Dad now realizes that his body can (and does) adjust to the side effects caused by taking these harsh drugs. Essentially, being on a maintenance program for the remainder of his years is a small price to pay for a very good quality of life.
Now for the bad news. I love my Dad dearly, but the meds make him so cranky. Plus, he is almost 84 years old, and it is difficult to get him to make decisions, or take needed action in a timely manner. (I recently asked my sister to please come down and visit him, so he can yell at her for a while, and give me a break!) For instance, I suggested to him over breakfast yesterday that it was time to decide when his furniture would be moved from Charlotte to Ellijay. He said he would have to think about it, although I could swear we all agreed, last week, that early July would be the target timeline. So, I grabbed the yellow pages and called a couple of moving companies. He was quite annoyed by that exercise, and told me he didn’t want to “get ahead of himself”. It was all I could do to bite my tongue and not mumble something like “if you move any slower, your shadow will be long gone”!
One mover gave me an estimate over the phone that was very reasonable, considering that we need to have a few pieces of furniture dropped off in Atlanta, prior to the final delivery in Ellijay. I was a woman on a mission, so that same afternoon, I sat at Starbucks, while Dad went to Auto Bell for a car wash. Online, I checked the references of the moving company that I had spoken to. It all looked good, so I called them and booked his move for July 7th, which is the day after his next doctor’s appointment. (Oh, boy, a 4th of July weekend spent packing; we will no doubt experience fireworks, but not the fun
Later that afternoon, happy hour turned unhappy when I told Dad that his move was booked. His reaction: “It’s too soon; why didn’t you consult with me first? How will we get everything packed in just 3 days before the truck comes? I don’t want those movers touching my Christmas decorations; I want to hand carry my Santa collection, and there won’t be any room in the car in July!” (All this from the man, who had told me just the day before, that since he didn’t yet have any offers on his townhome, we would have the “luxury” of moving his remaining incidental belongings out “over time”!) I proceeded to remind him that I was tired of sleeping on the floor in Ellijay, and my distaste for doing so had amplified after we found 2 scorpions (albeit dead) in the house! Our backs hurt, and Greg and I have no place to store our stuff in the mountain house, since Dad is currently occupying the only fully furnished bedroom. In other words, the sooner his bedroom contains his own belongings, the happier (and more comfortable) we will all be. He finally “got it”, picked up his date book, and designated July 7th as “moving day”…!
The icing on the cake is that Dad is also quite hard of hearing. When he first told me he had cancer, he said the doctor told him he had melanoma. After a bit of research, I explained to him that he may have misunderstood, and he probably had myeloma.
BUT NO, according to him, he heard exactly what the doctor said, and the diagnosis was melanoma! I keep telling him he needs to procure some “ears”, but for whatever reason, he refuses to even discuss getting hearing aids. The upshot is that everything needs to be said twice. When I complain about that, he claims that “I mumble”. When I talk very loudly (to avoid having to repeat myself), he wonders who I’m yelling at! Sometimes, I talk to him, and rather than responding to me, he stares at me, or stares off into the distance, without saying anything. I say HELLO, DAD, I JUST SAID SOMETHING TO YOU! He replies, “I know, I was just thinking about what you said”. (Like I would know that??? He has ways of getting even, believe me!)
Patience has never been a virtue of mine (sadly). I ask you all to pray that I can reach way down within myself, and find the humor to get through the next few months without a meltdown. Lest you think otherwise, I actually look forward to living with my Dad in Ellijay, when all the life-changing decisions are behind us, and the only big issue of the day is “whose turn is it to water the ‘Lesley tree’” :>?