Friday, September 23, 2005

PopPop...POP go the bullets into my head

PopPop and SD were back from the hospital by about 3:30. Do you want to know what was wrong? Do you? Nothing. Abso-fucking-lutely nothing. He was a little dehydrated and hadn't eaten. So he needs to eat and drink. The man is diabetic. He knows this. Grrrrrrrrr. Basically, all of what is wrong is self inflicted. He feels bad. I understand that and would normally be sympathetic to that. To a point.

I love my father-in-law, I do. But I just do NOT like the man anymore. I used to. He used to be a charming, loving, lovable person. A little odd, a little self-centered (but what man isn't), but in general, a pleasant person to be with.

But now? Oh, geez. I wish that there were words that could express the aggravation this man brings to our lives. Please understand that I am going to sound like a royal bitch when you read this. Because really, it's not any one thing that seals it. It's all forty skillion little things.

After SD's mom died eleven years ago, PopPop started a downhill slide that has yet to stop. He began having heart problems. Had quintuple bypass surgery. Then, he had a stroke. He was pissed that he couldn't drive for a while after that, but he was having seizures and other issues. He has never eaten well & it just got worse. He was diagnosed with diabetes. He still eats like crap. He will tell you how healthy he eats. He puts Splenda in his coffee and buys sugar free ice cream and jelly. But I will tell you that in the past 24 hours, he has eaten six donuts.

A little over two and a half years ago, he was driving from his home in Mississippi to visit a friend in Sarasota, Fl. About the time he got to Pensacola, he had an accident. His car rolled several times across several lanes. Luckily it was early morning and there wasn't much traffic yet. He is lucky to be alive. As it is, he ended up losing his left arm. He was in the hospital for several months and remembers very little of it. This accident left him in a great deal of pain. I am a compassionate person. I hate to see other people hurt. But he has these pain "attacks" that cause him to cry out and scare my kids. I would be more inclined to cut him some slack, except that he still drives. I asked him how he can do that if he has these attacks. He told me that he can tell when he is going to have one and pulls over. If that is the case, then leave the room when you feel one coming on. It scares my kids. They don't know what to do when they see someone they love in so much pain. It is confusing and upsetting.

Last year when he visited, we noticed that he only had the attacks when he wasn't the center of attention. Like, you know, when the kids were around. Once the kids were in bed, he was much better, evidently. That is when we started ignoring the attacks. I still do feel bad for him. But one effective parenting tool, thank you Mr. Skinner, is ignoring a behavior in order to extinguish it. It is not entirely effective, but I am at a loss as to what else to do at this point. I am not heartless, so don't get all up in my face about what an unfeeling person I am.

He refuses to eat healthfully. I try so hard to encourage my kids to eat healthy meals and snacks. I try to model that for them. PopPop having three donuts for breakfast is not helping. Now that is what Bear wants. He eats very few vegetables or meat. He asked me to get him some Entenmann's (sp) from the grocery store. I told him I would not, just as I wouldn't buy heroine for an addict.

He is not a kind and loving grandfather. He does love my kids. I know that he does. He really tries sometimes. But he can be so thoughtless in the things he says and does. I won't even begin to describe them, because that is when I get most angry. Mostly though, he just ignores them. Then he is amazed at the things they can do. Things they have been doing for months and have done in front of him several times since he got here. It frustrates me and it frustrates the kids. They have, for the most part, already written him off. They don't want to give him good night kisses (and they want to give everybody goodnight kisses!), they have stopped asking him to play because he never will. It makes me sad. He is giving up such a potentially wonderful part of his life.

PopPop was supposed to be with us until the beginning of October. Since he has been feeling so bad, it has been decided that he will head back home Sunday or Monday. He needs to be where his doctor is. I feel so bad about this. I really wanted for him to be here to at least give my sister-in-law a break. But this cannot go on. This will likely his last visit. SugarDaddy is just torn up. I cannot imagine how he is feeling. My parents sometimes drive me crazy, but not this way. I wish I could do something. But the best I can do right now is avoid PopPop. You know, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement. I appreciate your support more than you know. I hope you won't see me as mean or heartless. I just have to put my children and marriage first. And this man soaks up all of the energy and joy from our lives. I'll stop now. Thanks again.

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