Day One — Kentucky

Got to Kentucky in one piece.  Tired.  But in one piece.  The last leg of the flight was not a prop plane all was good.

Got to the hospital.  My aunt looks awful.  Awful. 


She almost jumped out of the bed when she saw me.  No one had told her I was coming.  I planted myself at the bottom of her bed and I stayed there most of the day.  She’s alert and aware.  But she’s very disoriented.  Sometimes she knows she’s at the hospital.  Then she’ll ask you who moved the furniture in the living room.  She became focused on a box of gloves today insisting that it was a doll in a box.  Even when we took the box to her she still didn’t quite comprehend what we were saying.  This all got worse as the day went on and she became more and more tired.

We still don’t know what’s going on.  They first thought it was a stroke.  Then just seizures.  Then big time seizures.  Now they just don’t know.  She was ho0ked up to all sorts of machines today.  Tomorrow morning they are doing a MRI of her head.  Hopefully by midday we’ll have been told something.  In the meantime just keep her in your thoughts.

And for the crappy part of the story.




They were mean to her today.  They talked about her while she was in the room listening.  They had an entire conversation about the power of attorney of both my aunt and uncle while she was in the room.  Of course they were whispering which made it okay in their eyes, all the while my aunt is there trying to figure out what they are saying about her.  When ever she was disoriented, instead of gently leading her back to where she was, my mom would yell at her.  I’ve already told you.  YOU ARE IN THE HOSPITAL.  NOT AT HOME!!!!  Ugh.   One of my aunt’s went to a nurse and told them that part of my aunt’s problem was the stress of taking care of someone with advance Parkinson’s Disease.  She then suggested to the nurse that the process be started to put my uncle in a home.  The way they started the process was to go to my Aunt Doo and repeat all of this.  The same aunt went to the nurses again and told them they should not let Doo’s son Tommy in the hospital.  That he’d been known to cause problems.  (Tommy is slow.  He’s never been officially diagnosed with anything just he’s just not all there.  That being said he’s very sweet and means well.  And at least he has a job that he goes to every day unlike my noisy aunt’s children).   So my Aunt Doo got wind of this conversation, fixated on it, and developed the scenario that if Tommy came to the hospital he’d be arrested.  So she spent the whole day worring about this. 

I pulled my mom aside and told her to stop talking about my aunt when she’s in the room with her, and to stop being mean to her and now my mom’s mad at me.  I also voiced my displeasure to my mom about the noisy aunt.  And what does my mom do?  She confronts the aunt and tells her what I’ve said.  So now we have my mom and  her sister, my two cousins and shit load of other people mad.  Mostly at me. 

Meanwhile, while they are in the waiting room airing all of this dirty laundry for all to hear, I’m in my aunt’s hospital room chatting with her.  Trying to get her to calm down and go to sleep.  The thing that struck me at one point was that my aunt’s illness was no longer about her.  It was all about the other 64 personalities in the room.  

I finally told them all that it didn’t matter what happened to Uncle Tom.  That it didn’t matter how Tommy behaved when he came to visit.  No one gives a shit about power of attorney.  The most important issue in the room that no one seems to be aware of, is getting her well.  None of the rest of this shit means squat if we don’t find out what’s going on and get it fixed.

I’m still mad.

They are still mad.

I have four more days of this.



6 thoughts on “Day One — Kentucky

  1. Lemuel October 31, 2009 / 06:14

    Maddog, first, your Aunt Doo’s behavior reminds me of the way my grandmother behaved and talked when she had her stroke. I was early in high school. It is so sad to see someone you love so disoriented. My thoughts continue to be with you and her.

    As for your family… if you need any help slapping them silly, give me a call. So they are mad at you, don’t give a f*ck. Right now your Aunt Doo, your uncle, and Tommy need an advocate. (They may also need a legal advocate soon.) It is good that you are there. I know it stresses you to be there, but think of where they would be if you were not there.

  2. Sarah October 31, 2009 / 07:10

    Your mom is scared. That’s why she’s yelling. What’s happening to her sister is a reminder of what the future may hold.

    Talk to the nurses about the behavior and conversations in the hospital room and how your aunt is reacting to it. See if they would ask that the family have such discussions in the waiting room. A person in your aunt’s condition deserves the same respect as anyone else. She aso deserves the least stressful environment in which to recuperate it.

    Hang in there.

  3. Karen October 31, 2009 / 10:23

    Maddog – I have to agree with Lemuel. My father in law had a stroke. They put him on morphine while in the hospital. He told me he saw bugs everywhere – on the walls, on his food. He was completely grossed out. And he didnt’ believe me when I told him nothing was there.
    Is your aunt on Morphine?

    And secondly – you are doing exactly what needs to be done. Love Love Love. If someone isn’t being loving get them out of the room. Too bad if they don’t like it. You came all the from NYC to help and that’s the best way to help.

    I like your spirit.

  4. javabear October 31, 2009 / 16:05

    You’re her favorite nephew, right? It’s obvious why.

    Keep writing this stuff out. It helps. Helps me, anyway. I am here to reassure you that yes, the rest of your family really are being a$$h0les. Yes, you are right about what your Aunt Doo needs and doesn’t need right now.

    Big hugs, honey.

  5. Kelly October 31, 2009 / 19:32

    Hang in there buddy… you are a better person than everyone else and when it comes down to it, your aunt has you above everyone else… and I am sure she knows that….

  6. Urspo November 3, 2009 / 23:44

    it is an all too common habit for people to talk about a sick person in the 3rd person like that. You are not alone on that one.
    Family frustrations – rise above it and ‘limits and structure’ are the mantra.

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