Saturday, September 6, 2008

are all older men crazy, or is it just my father?

First, some background, so you understand who my father is:
Years ago, my parents went through a bit of a drinking phase. My sister calls this time period "the years of never-ending embarrassment" because my dad loved to order Sex on the beach (as in the drink). At any rate, they went to some all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean for a 7 day holiday, and on the 5th day, my father woke up blind. My mother (quite understandably) freaked out and wanted to take him to a doctor. He not only refused to go, but he also refused to go home early. He insisted on making the most of the rest of their holiday while blind.

Finally, my parents came home and my dad went to see a doctor, who told him that he was actually a diabetic and that he had gone into diabetic shock because of all the sugar he was drinking. But the diagnosis isn't the point of the story; my father was crazy enough to spend two days in a foreign country, blind as a bat, without getting help, of his own free will. Crazy person, no?

So here's the story of this week:
My parents have a cottage where they spend most of their summers now. Of course, this cottage is in the middle of nowhere and they refuse to get a landline, Internet access, or a cell phone. Since I hadn't seen them or spoken to them in a while, I decided to pack up my bruised tailbone and spend last weekend with them.

Saturday was a great day, but then Saturday night I was woken from sleep at around 2:30 am by a big thump. My father had gotten up, lost his balance, fallen over, and hit his head on the wall. Insisting he was OK, he went back to bed. Well, the next morning he was so not OK. He couldn't stand up on his own and refused to eat because of nausea. I know enough about medical stuff to understand that that could be just an inner ear infection, but a voice in my head kept saying that it also could be a stroke (especially because I'd just read this). I called around to a bunch of doctors in the vicinity but nobody was working on the Sunday of the long weekend, so I suggested that I take him to the hospital in the area, if only to get him a drip so he would feel better. He reacted violently to the suggestion, insisting that he was OK. This went on all day, and I don't think I slept for more than 20 minutes that night.

The next morning, when he was no better and asked me to walk him across the house, I lost my mind. I told him that the only place I was walking him to was my car so that I could take him to the hospital. He refused to go, so I packed my bags and left. Yes, I left my sick father in the middle of nowhere with no means of communication, and, since their plan was to stay until Wednesday, I spent the next two days waiting for my phone to ring, hoping that my dad wouldn't be in intensive care somewhere. No sleep was had.

At the end of the day, he apparently got better, but then, he didn't go to a doctor at all, so who knows?

Is this how men get when they get older? If I end up with someone who's seemingly normal now, is this inevitably what I'm going to have to deal with once he reaches retirement age? Or is my father just a crazy person?


Jon said...

1) Yes, he's crazy.

2) That sounds like a concussion to me. He definitely needs to see a doctor.

Complaint Department Manager said...

Some men just don't like being in the position to admit they are hurt, it makes them look weak and vulnerable. Yes, it's silly and in the end they don't look tough, they just look foolish.

complain away said...

Jon, didn't even think of concussion. He won't go get it checked out. Shoot me.

CDM, I'm just going to go ahead and admit that I like admitting to weakness far less than the average joe. However, if I were suddenly BLIND or UNABLE TO WALK, I think I would be accepting a ride to the hospital from pretty much anyone.

How do you think people determine the line between "I'm OK" and "rush me to help immediately?" I think the part of my dad's brain that makes that decision was somehow irreparably damaged. How oh how do I get it back, for my own sanity?

Emory Mayne said...

"However, if I were suddenly BLIND or UNABLE TO WALK"

Hee hee, now let me tell you ...

CDM, you can't be serious. Weakness should never, ever, ever be admitted - it should be overcome. Period, full stop.

In the case of Ol'dad he is aged; no longer the silverback of his youth, and no doubt is 'old school.'

You just have to convince him with a feather, and not a hammer. The ageing process is bad enough, he does not need to be 'dogged' but be cajoled into thinking that he is in control and seeing a Doc is his idea.

Emory Mayne said...

" should be overcome."

Oh, I should include; or indulged in.

Back to regular scheduled programming.

complain away said...

Emory, methinks you and my mother have read the same tome in the manual for happy marriage series. For the sake of your health, I hope your 'pouse is better at following the instructions than my mother is proving to be.

Emory Mayne said...

My Father passed away at the age of 47. He died in the lobby of the Waldorf -Astoria in NY city (which is not a shabby place to 'check out' when you do - and we all do sooner or later) of a massive coronary.

SO, I understand the importance of A. a healthy lifestyle, and B. the responibility I have to others.

Fortunatly, I do not carry his particular genetic string with regard to heart disease, but I still get regular check ups - not so much for me, but for those around around me. Growing up without a Father kinda stinks in many, many selfish ways - you know.

Your Dad certainly needs to take charge of his health. I would address this issue along those lines. Again, for our elderly, being in 'charge' is something they need to feel.

If he could not be arsed to take care of his health, then no amount of your frustration with him will change that. He may actually be depressed, which is not uncommon with in the elderly.

Good luck, and spend time with him.