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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Vanilla post -- a little sad

Not to worry; John is fine.

I realized something last week: In the past few weeks, I got so caught up with Shadow Lane, John's mother being in and out of the hospital, worrying about John and his work, figuring out my new client's work, etc., that I completely forgot about my stepfather. I felt bad about that, so I called him.

He sounded awful; I could barely understand him. It was like he was speaking around a mouthful of marbles. Things had taken a bad turn for him. A couple of weeks ago, he fell. He got pretty banged up, so he tried soaking some of the aches in a warm bath. But when he was ready to get out, he couldn't. He literally could not get up out of the bathtub.

He had to call 911 and they had to break into his place and haul him out. How humiliating. And then, his neighbor took him to the doctor to get checked. While there, they asked what happened, and before he could answer, his busybody neighbor blathered on about his fall, about not being able to get up out of the tub, etc. That set off red flags, one thing led to another... and they took away his driver's license.

My stepfather doesn't complain, but his life is pretty miserable. He misses my mother. His body is falling apart. He can't do any of the things he used to love. Most of his friends are gone. His grown kids are... well, they leave much to be desired, let's put it that way. But the one thing he always said to John and me: "I'm OK as long as I can drive. If I can't drive, I don't know what I'll do with myself. Might as well put a gun to my head."

And now he can't drive. I think they just handed him a death sentence. I'd never heard him sound so defeated.

I felt so, so horrible for him. And all I wanted, after I got off the phone, was to talk to John. But I couldn't. I wasn't seeing him that night. He was going to be in a pipeline all night. He called me before he went in, but I told him nothing. I didn't want to burden him with this when he was just about to pull an all-nighter doing physical labor in an underground pipe. So I kept it to myself. I wanted to talk to someone, but I didn't know who.

Saturday morning, John came home around 9:30-10:00, but he had some things to do and then he was going straight to bed. The family gathering (his aunt, cousin, one of his sisters and his brother & sister-in-law, all going to visit his mother) had been moved until Sunday. So I didn't say a word, just told him I'd see him that night.

Last night, I got to his place at 6:30; he was still asleep in his bedroom. I went in, and as soon as he called me over and I lay next to him, I lost it. All the worry, first over him and then about my stepdad, gave way, and John was alarmed as I started bawling out of seemingly nowhere. First, I wanted to make sure he was OK. "Are you all right? Did everything go OK? Do you have to go back to work?" I sobbed. He said he was fine, the inspection went fine, they didn't need to do anything further and it was over. What a relief.

I told him all about M. He said all the right things, just as I knew he would. "That's just awful... that's so sad... Poor M. He doesn't deserve this." I just kept weeping that it wasn't fair, how much did one person have to suffer. That he had taken care of my mother all those years, and now he had nothing to live for but he kept on going and going, with everything being taken away from him, including his dignity and his independence. Then I blurted, "Sweetie, I'm sorry, but I just can't do the family thing tomorrow. I can't handle it. Your mother has four kids and all sorts of extended family taking care of her, watching out for her, taking care of her every need. She lives in a nice place with all kinds of things to do. But all she does is complain, and I can't stand it. All old people should have as good a life as she does. If we go there tomorrow and she starts up with how bad her life is, I'll think about M and I will completely lose it."

John didn't argue. He didn't say a word to try to convince me otherwise. He just put his arms around me. After a moment, he said, "You're right about Mom. But she can't help it. You can't be mad at her about it."

"I'm trying not to be," I wept. "But it's hard! I'm angry! I'm angry at the unfairness of it all. M never complains, all he's ever done is take care of people, and he has nothing. Your mother has everything and everyone she needs, and yet all she does is talk about how awful everything is."

John sighed. "Yeah... it does wear on you after a while." He gets it.

So, after a while, we got up and went for sushi. Poor John was still wiped out, so we came home and I watched TV while he fell asleep on the couch. Then, this morning, he left to go to the family thing. I slept a little longer, then got up, showered and left. We didn't get to spend much time together. But at least I got to see him, and he got through a high-stress and low-sleep week unscathed. And I didn't have to go to the gathering. I really don't think I could have handled it.

We'll go see my stepfather soon. I wish he were closer; if he weren't 75 miles away on a bitch of an L.A. freeway, I'd drop over and do things for him. He's going to look into getting some live-in care. Meanwhile, I will call more often.

Onward with the week. Yesterday was ST's birthday. I wish we could celebrate our birthdays, one week apart, together like we did last year. But that's over. I wish I could see Mr. D tomorrow, but he is out of town. So... I need to keep busy. Be productive. Find something fun to do, and don't think too much. And remember that next weekend, and next Monday, will be awesome.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear all that about M. I'm kind of surprised they would take away a license so easily without doing a further checkup and asking a doctor if he was really still functional to drive or not. Or maybe they did, I don't know. Not being able to drive would be rough. For older people, they tend to have so many doctor appointments and things to get to it would also be tough on nearby family and friends to always have to organize transport.

  2. So sorry you're having more family troubles. right there with you. funny story about old people driving... my granddad is in "their new apartment" aka assisted living, and getting the keys away is a challenge. My aunt reminded him at one point that he could drive legally until his doctor said that he couldn't. Inevitably, his doctor (who'd been seeing both of them for years) said that he couldn't. When I told him this, his response was "Well, tell Statefarm that he's no longer my doctor. I fired him!"
    Grrr... Hang in there sweetie.

  3. I feel for you.

    When we registered my father's death, the doctor said it was old age, but both my sister and I know the real reason- a broken heart- and this is not an acceptable reason. Sounds like your stepfather may be finding it difficult to get over the loss of his wife.

  4. Lea -- I cannot imagine losing my autonomy and being completely dependent on others. Especially after a lifetime of being so competent. My stepdad never got so much as a traffic ticket, ever.

    SS -- poor guy. Tough to accept, I'm sure!

    BPuk -- as heartbreaking and difficult as it was, taking care of my mother gave my stepdad a purpose in life. That is gone. So yes, that's quite true.

  5. Back in my days as an active attorney I represented several older persons at DMV administrative hearings to restore their revoked driver's licenses. In almost every case they did get it back. Often it was restricted (ie, no driving after dark), but it wasn't a total loss. You might want to help M find a local attorney and check into that option. Just knowing he is fighting this may give M a new lease on life and a renewed purpose to help ease his (and your) understandable sadness/depression.


  6. Pam -- that is very good to know; thank you. M really isn't a danger on the road. He still has all his faculties.

  7. How very sad for M. Maybe Pam's advice will be useful; I hope so.

    My mother is one of those complainers who can't think of one happy memory to look back on, just a deeply unhappy person, in spite of having it pretty good, all things considered.

    I hope you have lots of work to keep you busy today.


  8. Hi Erica -- Reading this made me sad :-( I feel so bad for you and M,I agree that it is very unfair that they took your stepdad's license away :-( I also agree with Lea that they should of done a check up first instead of just taking the license away.Some people have everything in life and other's have nothing and that make's me so sad and angry cause it's just not right.Hope everything turn's out ok for M.I am happy that John is doing ok :-)and that you got to see him for at least a little while :-)Keep your chin up my beautiful best friend,thing's have to get better sometime,You can't have a rainbow without a little rain :-)I can't wait to send out your birthday gift's this week,that will put a smile on your face :-)Much Love and hug's from naughty girl Jade xoxo

  9. I should never read your blog in the mornings. Now, I am mad for the rest of the day. What does falling in the bath tub have to do with driving. I almost died in the parking lot of the Grand Canyon because my lungs had filled up with blood clots and my blood was not getting the oxygen it needed. They got me to the local hospital and they fixed the problem. Again, NOTHING do to with driving. I would fight this all the way to the State Supreme Court. Erica - get in a domme mode and help him fight this. They can't just do this without better medical reasons. This is crazy. ok - turning off rant - Hugs - Hal

  10. What a sad situation for your step dad. He seems sweet. Would it do any good to try to get his kids to speak w the doctors to intervene and reissue his license? Or are they too ridiculous to engage in important matters?

  11. Hermione -- my mother was a very negative person as well, and she was quite vocal in her anger and hostility at life. John's mother, on the other hand, expresses her negativity in a smiling, passive-aggressive manner, so she seems nice while she's complaining. It's confusing as well as annoying.

    Jade -- I'll try to keep my chin up, I promise. Putting my chin down makes my neck sag. ;-)

    Hal -- I suspect their medical reason was "He's 94."

    Kelly -- (sigh) His kids are a long story unto themselves. Suffice it to say, they aren't much help.

  12. There is an expression from the county of Yorkshire (Northern, hard working, very wry sense of humour sort of place) that there is "nowt so queer as folk."
    Do you know that expression? It just means people are the oddest things in the world. They are. It is bewildering and unfair. I really feel for you and for John and for M. It is rough.

    You will endure - it is just that enduring is shitty sometimes.

  13. I am truly sorry for M. I hate to see such good people treated so unfairly. My thoughts are with him.

    I am glad you have each other, cherish each moment, you are very lucky.


  14. Poppy -- No, I've never heard that expression. But I agree; people are strange. And yes, enduring sucks!

    joey -- I am very grateful for John, and I do hope to have him all to myself next weekend. :-)

  15. I like Pam's advice a lot! I'm betting he could win, too. You definitely should mention that to M when you call! In fact, a call from a pretty and caring daughter always is a lift.

    I'm guessing his town is all spread out in a California kinda way, rather than having a lot of things to do and friends to make closer by. What I'm wondering is if there might be distractions to take him out of his grief a little sometimes: nearby cronies who play games, or sit and BS, or hobbies to pursue, something like that.

    But even when very little seems worthwhile, knowing that someone really cares means a lot.

  16. Wolfie -- well, he lives in a gated retirement community, and there have always been things to do, activities, etc. Thing is... most of his cronies have died. That's what happens when you live this long. And now he can't get out to meet new ones. (sigh)

  17. Sorry to hear about M. Can they just take away a licence with further checks, that's awful. Is there no one that can speak up for him and try to see if his licence can be restored?


  18. Ronnie -- I'm hoping that an attorney can do so. I know he has one on retainer.