Friday, December 19, 2008


Two of our long-time friends, T and C, have significant health issues.

T is in his late 50's and was in a very bad accident many years ago and is confined to a wheel chair. He is terrified of using the baseboard heaters in his house, even when guests come over to visit and everyone is up and about. It's been been cold and snowing here.

He rants about how dangerous the heaters are and yells at anyone who reasonably says, It's cold in here, "Well, that's just the way we live. If we can do it, so can you." Meanwhile his wife has a little space heater by her desk where she goes to get warm once in awhile.

We couldn't wait to leave.

C is 85 and has many joint replacement surgeries due to rehumetoid arthritis. She uses a walker now to get around. We went down to the garage to pick her up at the elevator. She came out of the elevator, I got out and opened the car door for her as she walked 20 feet past the car...walker shaking over the rough asphalt..."No, pick me up over there."

"I told you I don't like to be picked up come over here right now!" A few back and forths...I walk over to her to help her to the car and she swats me she's fuming and screaming, red tight face. This episode occured after we had gone to her apartment and she said she didn't like our haircuts, our hats, our generation, our opinions.... We were there to deliver her Christmas present and take her out to lunch.

There was no way that lunch was going to be any better, so we simply drove off.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Burnout = divorce

During dinner last night, I was chatting with H and he was after me for my "flat, sarcastic delivery" about how much Christmas costs every year and how I'm trying to manage that down for this year.

I said that I didn't mean to be sarcastic, but I'm just tired and burned out.

He looks at me intently and says, "Well, we should just get a divorce." And he goes on from there about an attorney, selling the house, whatever....blah, blah, blah.

I said in a flat, tho', not sarcastic voice, "Well, if that's what you want." Truth be told, at least this would be one way out of this mess.

He flies into another tirade about something related to whatever, whereby I get up from the dining room table and walk away.

What's striking to me is that this is the same M.O. that his family has: whenever I raise my experience and my struggles with caring for H, I get the consistent comment, (sigh) "Well, I guess that means divorce then."

While I understand that no one in the family will take H, what I don't understand is how little empathy there is for my struggles caring for him.

Why is it that saying something is hard for me causes these folks to jump to divorce?

Perhaps this is all just their guilt, but I think that the motives are much more pedestrian: money. They all know that I support H and without me, who will or can? If it's labelled divorce, then maybe he or they get a settlement?

Later in the evening, H is all mopey and affectionate. After a bit of TV, I go off to bed in the guest room.

At this point, I have to confess that I don't care much anymore, really.