It is lunchtime.
I had a flash. It was time for me to join the fourth support group in my life! I decided to call it ”Role Reversal with our Parents.” Actually, “Healing the Daughter’s Heart” was what ended up coming to mind.
Only last night when my father was eating dinner at our house, did I realize how far things have switched. I actually admonished my dad to stop “spitting” corn. He always argued with me about this one. I was upset because his table habits have made all my children run from the table.
There was a time when my daughter actually ate corn (her only vegetable, if you consider it one). Her excuse for stopping, was that she was too grossed out after seeing what my dad did with his corn. Even when I’ve tried not to look, the little chewed up pile on his plate was definitely gross. I always thought fiber was a good thing – but my father did not think so. When my dad encountered fiber in foods like celery or corn, he chewed them up and spit out the pulpy part.
Last night, I decided to speak up.
“Dad, I wish you wouldn’t spit the corn back on your plate. How about using a napkin?” As soon I said it, I realized he’d never do that. He hated to waste napkins. He always brings me over stacks of napkins from Subway or wherever else he goes.
“It isn’t spitting!”
Now it felt like I was dealing with a teenager; I couldn’t win! This role reversal was so new that I felt downright disrespectful telling my own father what to do.
Suddenly, my husband spoke and backed me up. I loved it!
“It is spitting, and if you eat with us, you’re going to have to stop it!”
This still gave me a pang, so that was why I needed this new support group. However, come to think of it, many people my age have parents that are aging. It’s universal. Therefore, the world is my support group! I am fortunate, I know. There are those that wish their parents were still alive to make fun of.
One of my worst moments when my parents lived with me was the time my dad had hernia surgery and another surgery in his “private area” (for a hydrocele).
Sharing this story is extremely embarrassing, and is one of those things to either laugh or cry over. I just feel like I have to share it. I am not worried about my dad feeling embarrassed that I shared something so personal, because he is the least shy person on earth when it comes to “human functions.”
On that traumatic day, I picked him up after his outpatient surgery, and brought him home. We were told that the catheter in his “you know what,” would need to be removed the following day. The choice was to either come back to have it removed in the doctor’s office, or to “extract it” at home. My dad preferred to do it at home.
I am not a doctor; I am not a nurse. I am just my father’s daughter who suddenly felt like a little girl again.
This “removal” was not for the faint hearted. There was a balloon on one end, and it was what held the catheter inside and kept it from falling out. The tube needed to be cut; then the balloon would deflate and the catheter could easily be pulled out.
My father is a hoarder. He doesn’t like to waste anything. He did not want to cut the tube; he wanted it to come out in one piece. For the life of me, I didn’t understand later why he wanted to save it in one piece for. The hospital wouldn’t “use” it again! Later on, I learned what the result was of not following these directions.
The next morning I was very nervous. I had to wait until my children had gone to school. It was time! My father and I went into his bedroom and I prepared myself. I closed my eyes, and he held onto my shoulders. He yanked on his catheter to pull it out himself.
Suddenly, my poor father let out a loud yelp, and began to hop around the room. There was blood shooting out from “you know where” in a stream, and I was definitely traumatized for life.
Since he wasn’t unconscious, I resisted calling 911. I breathlessly called the urologist and described what happened. I had to check to see how much blood was actually lost. It was then explained to me, how he was supposed to cut the tube. I didn’t know what to say when I was asked why he didn’t follow the instructions. I just trusted that my dad knew what he was doing!
I was very relieved when they told me over the phone that he would be okay. I was told that it was just more painful the way he did it.
I’ll say it looked painful!
I bathed my dad, and cleaned up the blood on the carpet and bed. This was just another example from my life the year my parents lived with me.
“Healing the Pet Owner’s Heart”
Yesterday, Rosa told me if I give our puppy, Killer, turkey again and he gets diarrhea, I would be cleaning that mess up. And to think, I thought she worked for me!
Killer will not let me rest. He is whining; he is barking outside my door. I hesitate to have him on my bed. He left a huge pee circle for the third time on my oldest son’s bed. My husband admonished all of our children that it was their job to take Killer outside so he could go to the bathroom. Thank god there is one disciplinarian in our house! The kids are deaf to me. My kids love to pass things on to their siblings. When I see cabinet doors left open, bags of chips spilled out on the counter, it is always the “other,” the invisible sibling’s fault.
I have thought about adding some videos to truly capture this menagerie in our house. Every moment is filled with excitement. The cats are arching their backs, showing fangs, and letting out long hisses at this leaping Chihuahua puppy half their size. I keep hearing these shrieking yelps that stop my heartbeat. Before I run and check it out, I go to that place of . . .
The dog is dripping blood with a huge gash from the cat’s claws; emergency vet visit – oodles of money!
I look down and see only feathers, where the hell did the bird go?
The bird just poked out the puppy’s eyeballs; a blind, disabled dog is now my responsibility for life!
Oh my god, did I just sit on the cat, which was sleeping on my computer chair? (I did do that to our very first cat. Maybe I did kill it after all?)
Okay, I’m done sharing all my worries; I can now move on. I have discovered that the dog, Killer, does not like the blow dryer. Turn it on, he is barking and dancing on two back legs. Turn it off; he stops. I could create a whole circus routine with this!
Before I exit, here is my description of something yucky. I have to be so careful not to step in cat vomit. Sometimes it is daily (time for a vet visit to give the cat a cortisone shot), and sometimes it is weekly. Now I am dodging little, tiny rawhide sticks belonging to our adorable, new puppy, Killer.
I am barefoot, and I am careful. I am in the bathroom, and there is one on the floor, I pick it up; it is wet and sticky.
It is not a rawhide stick.
I am in an honest phase of my life. I am trying to be open. Sometimes openness gives me pangs; I’ve worried that I’ve upset my friends by sharing their email messages. I have also written personal things that my children wouldn’t like me to share. So far, they don’t care enough to even find out by reading my blog, but they might someday.
I’ve written about my husband; mostly it’s kind and honest words. He doesn’t care, as long as we get rich.
But my father? How would he ever forgive me for writing about my experience with him while he removed that catheter from his penis?
I love my dad! He also gave me $200 in cash last night. He wanted to pay for my son’s retainer, which I wrecked when I dropped it down the sink, and then ran the garbage disposal.
I had to face it. It was bothering me. So I faced it last night.
“Dad, I’ve been writing a lot of personal stuff. I hope you don’t mind that I found humor in that horrible, catheter incident I went through with you. I’ve now shared it with the world on the Internet!”
He looked at me and needed clarification as to what I was talking about it. I reminded him of it. He was totally un-phased. He prefaced his words with, “I’m not the man I used to be.” (He says that quite often.) I was so relieved!
Then he said, “Be sure to add to that story. My penis has never peed straight since! It shoots off side-ways!”
© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.