Monday, December 19, 2011

It'll be a sad, strange Christmas

This Holiday season, despite Shasta's miraculous return, is full of question marks and worry:

Last week, DH got a phone call, that his mom (my mother in law) had fallen down the steps and broken her pelvis, hip and arm.  She had surgery this week, which was as successful as could be, but is still in the hospital and will be there for Christmas.

The day after that happened, DH got a phone call from his stepmother (whom I love), letting him know that his dad had had a massive stroke and was actually in the same hospital as DH's mom for some time (they divorced about 35 years ago).....DH has been having some bad mental health issues himself these last few weeks, so he didn't think to ask a lot of questions about the prognosis (I'll give a call tonite if I can), but from what I can gather about the timeframe, it sounds like a major hemorrhagic stroke and that he has survived that (the stroke had happened about three days before DH was notified), but will need to relearn how to walk, talk, eat, etc.....DH's dad was not in good shape prior to this, as he had suffered a life-threatening infection after a "routine" surgery, so I'm not sure what this bodes....I think DH is a little confused, too, as he really doesn't have a high opinion of his dad, but is concerned nevertheless.

And then my Aunt Judy, who, when I was a child, was my favorite aunt ever--she had no qualms about coloring with me, or talking about teen idols, or playing with my dolls--it wasn't until I became an adult that I realized that she was somewhat childlike and dependent herself.....anyhow, she just turned 65 this past Fall.  She and my uncle Neil, who is/was my dad's brother, quit smoking 24 years ago, when my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer (which he died from in January 1988).  Anyhow, at Thanksgiving dinner, Judy was talking about how she had no appetite any more, which was somewhat unusual, considering that at some times in my life I am sure she weighed upwards of 300 lbs (but had slimmed down recently due to being more aware of how her diet affects her health).  I made a little mental note to myself, just a "that's a little odd..." when all she ate for Thanksgiving was a couple of barbecue sauce weenies and two Dorito chips....anyhow, about two weeks ago, it was learned that she has Stage IV lung cancer and it has already spread to her brain and internal organs.

We won't be having our usual Christmas get-together this year at my brother's, we are going to bring Christmas to my uncle Neil's, because Judy is too weak to go anywhere.  She is getting radiation and chemo, and the doctors say it is "treatable, but not curable".  Whatever that means, I think this will be her last Christmas with us. 

We won't be having our traditional Christmas Eve games (that I am in charge of), either, since DH's mom and brothers won't be coming.  It doesn't really break my heart, I get stressed out, especially trying to come up with prizes that I can afford, and new and "improved" games every year....but it's going to be strange, for sure.  I am scheduled to work the overnight shift at the group home on Dec., 23, 24 & 25 anyhow.  I get double time for working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so that will help.  My tentative plan is to make a special Christmas Eve dinner and just enjoy spending time with DH and DD.  I'll pop in to see my mom, too, of course.....

But the clincher is the mental health issues DH has been having.  He was able to get FMLA for his physical health problems, so he won't (or shouldn't) be punished for missing work....but the thing is, in the last three weeks, he has only worked two days.  And that doesn't help us much.  A lot of days he doesn't get out of bed.  So the double time that I'll get for working the holidays will help out.  But he's not doing anything to help us or to help himself.  Again.  And this had started before we got all the bad news about family.  I have reminded him til I'm blue in the face, that he needs to go see his PDOC, and he was supposed to have his Lithium and Depakote levels checked nearly two months ago, but when I remind him, he "forgets".  And he hasn't checked his blood sugar, let alone watched what he's eating, for at least 3 weeks.  One day he told me "I think I might be Schizophrenic" because he kept hearing his own voice in his head talking to him...."but the voice doesn't usually tell me to do something bad, it just talks to me...." but he hasn't been to the PDOC to ask about that.  I suggested that DH check himself into the hospital, and he was concerned about how much I work and I could I "take care of things" without him.....I just looked at him, and he said "Oh.  I guess things wouldn't really be that different, huh?"

The one good thing?  I realized that this would be yet another "special occasion" where I didn't get much of a present.  So I took some of my Christmas bonus and ordered myself a Kindle Touch ereader.  I've wanted one for ages, and I know nobody will be asking me what I want for Christmas, so that's my present from me to me.  I probably shouldn't have wasted that money on myself, I know I'll regret it when I have to scrimp for gas money to get to work, but I probably won't have any "extra" "not earmarked for a bill" money again until maybe next year if I'm lucky.......I hope it lives up to my expectations.


Kathie said...

Oh Carol...this is one of those times when I'm not quite sure what to say to you, except that I am so sorry you have to go through all of this, essentially by yourself. You will certainly be in my prayers, as you always are.

Lindsay said...

I think we have to splurge on ourselves at these times when no one else will. I am so sorry this is all coming to head now.

Grace. said...

Carol, this obviously won't be one of your better family Christmases, but I hope you'll take the time for whatever Christmasy is going on in your community, and participate. Buying yourself the Kindle was a start (and though I love 'real' books, I do use my kindle quite a lot--even when driving because you can set it to read aloud, and the voice [you can pick male or female] is less robotic than you might expect). Guess this means things can't help but get better for 2012, huh? Please take care.

CatLover said...

I am very sorry to hear about all these things happening in a string like this. What helps me when I am down is to hug my cats and listen to music, and at this time of year it's Christmas music. I am also going to make and eat a bunch of Christmas cookies, and not worry about my diet until after Christmas.

CatLover said...

Oh, and PS, I think buying the Kindle was a good move, also. Even when you are broke, you have to live a little.

Miss Kitty said...

Sheesh! When it rains, it pours. Bless your heart, Carol.

I agree with CatLover: Hugging kitties makes me feel better during crappy times. I've been hugging the resident HKC tubs o' lard a lot lately. :-)

As always, you, the kitties, DH, and your loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers. (((HUGS)))

Robin said...

Wow, this is going to be a stressful Christmas for you :(

My sister has stage IV cancer, 'treatable not curable' means that she will die of the cancer eventually. There are treatments to keep it at bay and manage pain, but eventually the treatment options will fail and pain management is used until the end :( So sorry :(

Annehueser said...

Do you have a public wishlist on Amazon for Kindle books? I would like to gift you a book when you get your Kindle. I got mine last spring and love it.

Miz Kizzle said...

What awful news about your beloved aunt and the other hospitalized family members. Every time I read a new blog post from you I keep hoping to hear that you either won the lottery, got a huge raise, or a distant relative died and left you a fortune and a villa in the south of France.
Something good is bound to happen for you sooner or later. I just hope it hurries up.
BTW, Kindles rule! Some books can be downloaded for free and some libraries allow you to "borrow" books in electronic form.