Monday, November 15, 2004

30 NaNoWriMo, vet, phone orders, is there a good way to die?

11-15-04 Mayatime: 10 Ik 5 Cen
I hit 50K on NaNo Friday afternoon. So technically, I'm done, I could stop writing (and I did, all weekend).
But I won't, I'll be back to it today, on this lovely 10 Ik day, so good for lots of communication.
Just a few dad-related things.
2 weeks ago I had to bring my birds to the vet. I have six. I had already brought four of them, but the two that were left are the worse. Lance hates the car, he has epilepsy and has terrible convulsions, he screams bloody murder while he's being worked's very stressful (both of his kids have epilepsy also, but someone they don't freak me out as much as he does).
So I figured I'd ask my dad to help. And he was supposed to mow the lawn first. He mowed part of the lawn only (I wanted to get ALL the leaves chewed up. Oh well).
He had a great time coming with me. I put the birds in a plastic aquarium (vented top) and he held them on his lap and talked to them all the way there (it's a 20 minute ride or so). Gwennie really liked him. She was bouncing and dancing and whistling to him. She likes men; she was raised by a man and speaks in a man's deep gravelly voice. She does this funny thing when she's in the clear box, she puts her foot up and tries to climb onto the hand that's holding the box. (But when she's not in the box, she won't get on your hand. Go figure.)
My dad thought she was Lance, and he kept saying "He remembers me!" so I stopped explaining that it was actually Gwennie who was playing with him, and Gwennie never lived at Dad's house. (In case you didn't get it, their names are Lancelot and Gwenivere). In the vet's office, Gwennie kept running to my father and trying to climb him. At one point she was on his Red Sox hat, hooting and thinking she was safe. He must remind her of the guy who raised her.
That Sunday, he said he had some kind of problem with an order he'd placed over the phone. (Just the thought of my dad placing a phone order is scary.) He said they didn't send him something he ordered, and took the extra money and put it toward a subscription to something he didn't want instead. So that Monday I went over at 3 p.m. to look at the order and call.
Sure enough, he said he ordered 2 of everything, and one thing he only got one of. And he did get a brochure with it, but I didn't think he got charged $6 for it, it was the kind of ad you stick in with an order. The line on the invoice that was freaking him out was the name of a magazine and "shipping."
I deduced that the vendor probably charges different rates for each magazine's ad OR that shipping charge code is how he tracks which magazine the customer saw the ad in. But I called anyway, about the missing item.
The guy says my father never ordered it. My father, of course, is showing me his paper where he wrote down "2". Doesn't prove anything. He's yelling at me while I'm on the phone with the guy, trying to find out what's going on. The guy agreed to send out the missing item but wouldn't eat the freight. I explained that my dad has Alzheimer's and that some vendors take advantage of his illness. He got very upset and said that his grandfather had Alzheimer's and, "I wouldn't hurt your father for the world." It really sounded like he was crying. "And if other people do that, that's just..." he couldn't think of a word. "Wrong," he said finally. (Wow, I'm really in fiction mode, aren't I?) I actually had to call the guy twice, and my dad kept yelling at ME and my mom, like we could really do anything, saying he got charged $6 for this brochure instead of for the item he'd ordered. We could not make him understand it was a simple shipping charge for the order. Sometimes it's easier to give up and hope he forgets. Isn't that awful?
I was at a meeting this week where a lady had just lost her mother to cancer and she was complaining how horrible it is to watch someone die like that. Not that I don't agree, but I gently pointed out to her that if her mother had been hit by a car, or killed instantly by a stroke or heart attack, she would complain that she hadn't had a chance to say goodbye. Is there a good way to die? Probably. Is there a good way for those around you for you to die? Probably not. I personally think Alzheimer's is a lot worse than cancer. People with cancer retain their personalities and memories. My father knows this disease will kill him but he has no idea how much of his essential self has already been taken away.
There was a third thing, but now I can't remember.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Hey there,

I found your blog today by clicking on "Reiki" to see who else put that as an interest in their profile. I'm glad I found it. Your writings honor your dad in a very profound way. Isn't it interesting how we usually appreciate people more after they die than when they are alive? The slow progress of Alzheimer's gives us the chance to live in the moment and appreciate the little moments of clarity and to remember the good times while the person is still alive. My grandmother had Alzheimer's and although I didn't interact with her very often myself, I remember hearing how difficult it was for my Aunt who was taking care of her. I always wondered what it was like from the inside for my grandmother. It's interesting that you also mention cancer. My dad died in 2001 of bone cancer. I feel fortunate that we had developed a close friendship during the last several years of his life. I think it helped me deal with his death because there was no bad stuff between us; nothing left unsaid.

Thank you for your blog; it has enriched my day. Blessings to you and all your family!