AGORAPHOBIA~ TRYING TO EXPLAIN IT AND LIVING WITH IT

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After spending a week in my state’s local psychiatric facility I realized I did need help and I needed to make some big changes in my life.

Unfortunately I wasn’t really given the tools or resources to deal with my biggest problems that have been preventing me from living the life I want to for a very long time.

I did what probably a lot of us have done and looked for some self-help books.

I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, and Conversion Disorder (not sure if it’s still called that). The Anxiety Disorders started when I was around 8-10 years old and have been the most debilitating.

I always thought Agoraphobia was like what you see in the movies. The person is unable to leave their house without collapsing or having a full blown panic attack. I was wrong.

Agoraphobia is actually related to Social Anxiety Disorder and panic attacks. With Social Anxiety Disorder the person becomes anxious around social situations like meeting new people, public scrutiny, starting conversations, speaking to authority figures, dating, etc. This can lead to panic attacks where you feel fear, impending doom, nausea, dizziness, trembling or shaking, have trouble breathing, hot and cold flashes, a lump in your throat, sweating, or chest pain. Some of these symptoms you’ll have with Social Anxiety anyway but with a panic attack you’ll have more of them and they will be bad enough to where you start avoiding social situations or anything that makes you feel this way.

Little by little you begin to limit your contact with society.

With Agoraphobia you only feel safe in certain environments or with specific people.

Being away from home or the people/person you feel safest with fills you with anxiety. Your anxiety increases each time your safe places or people are too far away or unavailable to you and what you feel becomes intolerable.

You stay home more often and begin to isolate yourself. Your safe places/people can start to shrink if your Agoraphobia goes untreated. Some people do become confined to their home or bedroom.

Agoraphobia has a higher risk of occurring in late adolescence and young adulthood. A second period of higher risk occurs later in life after the age of 40.

Agoraphobia is thought to be passed on in families and/or environmental. It’s also a chronic disorder and reoccurring if left untreated.

HOW THIS RELATES TO ME

Ok, I’m not very good with time periods so cut me some slack. In my early teens and lasting into my early 20’s I couldn’t go anywhere alone. Either my twin, best friend, or a parent had to be with me. I couldn’t put gas in my car by myself, go to the grocery store, the mall, or the movies, alone. I never did anything alone.

I’m not sure what changed except that I began drinking but I remember going to the mall alone and my entire family being shocked. It could be when the Bipolar Disorder started or that I wanted to look pretty for a guy I drank with, I don’t know. It would happen again.

At some point I tried to quit drinking and my anxiety in general was overwhelming. I believe I was in my late 20’s and it lasted a year. I spent most of the year in my bedroom watching movies and reading books. I lived with my parents who never made me go to the store or leave my room if I didn’t want to. I think they were just happy I wasn’t drinking. I was afraid of everything. I declined all offers to go anywhere with anyone.

Ten years ago when my Mom passed away it started again. The only reason I think it ended before was that my parents eventually forced me to go back to work and my Mom had been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. My love for her forced me to help take care of her and work. When she passed, everything crumbled.

I knew I couldn’t go back completely to the way I was because my Dad needed me. The first few years my Dad and I spent a lot of time together. Then I started to go up to my bedroom earlier and earlier where I would watch movies and chain smoke. I cut myself off from everyone again and it started to become difficult to go places by myself. My Dad started to fall back into the habit of going to the store for me. When I think back on it I can see how bad it was and how codependent we both were.

What forced me out of my room this time was my Dad getting sick and me having to take care of him until he passed away. I don’t regret that for a minute.

Recently I’ve had to face going to a Laundry Mat for the first time and thought I would throw up and die. I didn’t.

I’m trying to move from Rhode Island to Florida, for someone like me this is like trying to climb Mount Everest naked. I’m still trying and struggling but I want some happiness in my life for a change so I need to find a way to do it.

Thank you all who read my blog you help keep me going.

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IS IT A HALLUCINATION?

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I mistakenly thought my twin sister and I were on the same page. It turns out I was very wrong. This has caused a set back for me. I will no longer share anything with her. I don’t have many people in my life and find it extremely difficult to make friends. When you’ve had Social Phobia/Anxiety that went undiagnosed for as long as you can remember this usually happens.

My twin says she takes no responsibility for my recent hospitalization. I agreed to being hospitalized because she gave me the ultimatum of going or she would no longer be in my life in any way. She also said I had ruined her life and was ruining her marriage with “my illness”. I felt scared, guilty, and ashamed. It didn’t help that I could hear our older brother coming on to my Dad’s property at night and my Dad had just passed away. It was a lot to deal with.

The hospital stay was horrible, while I was there my one best friend and her boyfriend were driving by the house to see if anything was going on. She works for the post office and asked the people who deliver in my area to keep an eye out too. She also knows a family in my neighborhood. It’s sad that someone not in my family went to all this trouble to find out the truth instead of automatically thinking “D is Bipolar and under stress so she must be hallucinating”.

On 2 occasions my car and my Dad’s car were not in the driveway. I was in the hospital and my Dad was in the Cemetery, so who was driving the cars? There were trucks parked outside the house on several days and we were not having any work done, no one was home. I told my best friend what color they were and she confirmed it. These were all people my brother knew.

I was tired of lying to my twin sister after I was released from the hospital. My brother and his girlfriend were still coming here around the same time each night and leaving around the same time every morning. My brother would leave first because he had to be to work earlier and she would wait until a friend picked her up 45 minutes later.

I’m still adjusting to all the errors made with my medications and the problem that I was being glutened at every lunch and dinner by accident. So I haven’t been feeling well physically. My sister didn’t react well when I told her our brother was still coming on the property. She yelled at me “I thought you were doing so well! I thought you were getting better!”. Still not listening to me or the fact that other people have actually seen him.

When she came to see me in the Hospital she treated it like a day at the zoo. I was hurt and angry at her behavior. This is how she sees me, if says otherwise she is lying. I’m not a person to her. I’m a burden or a problem to fix.

My brother has done things so disgusting that his own children have said to his face they wish he was dead. Their mother is dying from Pancreatic Cancer and he took her GOFUNDME account leaving them with nothing. How can my sister doubt what I’m saying?

I’ve researched Auditory Hallucinations until I can’t see anymore and I don’t fit any of the criteria. My file now has that I am paranoid and should be kept away from guns and any other weapons! I find all of this offensive. And yes, I also feel a deep shame. I now carry an extra label on me that I don’t deserve.

Are there people with severe mental illness who can be violent? Yes there are and there is a specific protocol with testing and interviews in place to TRY to make sure they don’t hurt themselves or others. It often fails. People often wait until they are years into their disease to seek treatment if they do at all. Let me be VERY CLEAR the percentage of violent mentally ill people is much, much, lower than any other population. The mentally ill are more likely to have violence done against them.

Most of us are intelligent, sensitive, human beings who just feel everything a little too much, or have that hole inside that aches all the time but we can’t explain why, or have trouble speaking around groups of people so we withdraw or drink so we can speak. There are millions of variations of “illness” that change constantly. Unfortunately what doesn’t change is how society still sees us.

I’m still scared and angry but eventually I’ll get past it. What’s in my file stays there forever.

 


PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS~ HOW MUCH HAVE THEY REALLY CHANGED?

 

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If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know that I had been having a hard time with the death of my Dad and my siblings. My Dad didn’t leave a Will and it was and still is causing a lot of problems.

I have a twin sister and a half brother who is 7 years older than we are. I believed he had been squatting on the property and breaking into the basement with his new girlfriend. My twin believed I was hallucinating and having a Psychotic break. No matter what I said or did she refused to believe me.

My sister wanted me to get away from the house for awhile to see if I was still “hearing things” and suggested an Extended Stay Hotel for 30 days. I really didn’t want to but I was exhausted, recovering from surgery, and tired of arguing with her.

The Hotel parking lot was filled with drunk people, one of them was passed out in his car where I had to park. It was going to cost me $1,450 to stay there for 30 days. The room was filthy, my poor dog was scared to death and I kept worrying he was making too much noise. I didn’t sleep at all and had started bleeding from my surgery. My sister came the next day and even she was disgusted. I was stuttering and shaking because I was upset. She said I needed to do an inpatient treatment program at the local Psychiatric Hospital or she wouldn’t have anything to do with me any longer. I had ruined her life and now her marriage was suffering because of me.

She knows I’m terrified of hospitalization and haven’t been hospitalized since I had one round of ECT in 2012. This was my twin saying these things to me, I had no one else to talk to, the one person I had that accepted me and loved me unconditionally had just died. I agreed to go to the hospital. She agreed to watch my dog and dropped me off at the door.

As soon as I entered the building my legs buckled. I couldn’t speak or write. The staff was nice enough to help me to a chair and wait until I calmed down enough to speak. I didn’t know my sister had called ahead and told them that I was “hearing voices”. This meant I would automatically go to the highest security level unit. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forgive her.

The were only a few changes since 2012, they no longer mixed the detoxing patients with the mental health patients. They also had more restrictions on what you could have with you. 1 pair of pants, 1 shirt, 2 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of pajamas, 1 pair of glasses, 1 set of contact lenses (no solution), and that’s pretty much it. Needless to say some people didn’t always smell that great. The bathroom doors had no locks (which I understand) and no way of telling if it was occupied. Every single time I went to use the toilet my roommate walked in on me. We talked to her about it and 5 minutes later she did it again. She also snored louder than anyone I know and talked about personal trauma in her sleep that I was extremely uncomfortable hearing. Again, no sleep.

The second day there I called my sister to check on my dog. She told me she might have to “give him away because T (her husband) didn’t want him there”. This triggered my stuttering, tremors, crying, hiccups, and I had to hide in my room or I would’ve been given Haldol. The doctor in charge of the Unit was in charge of ECT and a big believer in Lithium, Haldol, and Depakote. He was an older man and not up to date on newer medications/treatments. He was also against Adderall, Xanax, and Klonopin. I’ve been taking 30mg of Adderall for years it helps with word finding, my speech, and cognitive issues. He took it away cold turkey, cut my antidepressant in half, and cut the Klonopin in half. He then told me I shouldn’t have any withdrawal or problems with the changes. I’ve been on the same meds and dosages for years.

He didn’t even question the new medication that had been added, Risperidone, which I was having horrible side effects from and felt worse since taking it. Frustrated doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. He couldn’t even get my name right for the 5 minutes I met with him every other day.

I didn’t receive any kind of therapy, we did a lot of adult coloring and watched TV. Some of the patients were violent which was hard for me to be around. The men and women are kept together, there were a few physical fights that happened next to me and I froze, hands cold and tingling, blood rushing through my ears, I didn’t even hear them yelling at me that it was a lockdown and I needed to go to my room. I finally had to speak up and tell them about my PTSD and Conversion Disorder diagnosis.

The one positive thing to come out of all this is that I learned I have to speak up for myself. I can’t ask or let other people do it for me anymore.

There are things I need to work on and one on one Psychotherapy is my first step. It’s been difficult finding someone who takes Medicare but I’m still looking. My meds are almost back to where they were. I was in the hospital for a little over a week. I’m not sure if I can ever truly have a relationship with my twin sister. I’ll be civil but I won’t call her for support or tell her anything personal.

I’ve been walking my dog and getting more fresh air, I’ve also been looking into what I need to do to move to Florida once my Dad’s estate is settled.

The Extended Stay charged me $1,450 for being there less than 24 hours. Hopefully that will get resolved. Supposedly my sister handled it and told them I was going into the hospital. I wasn’t there so I don’t know and my sister is on vacation so I can’t ask her.

My hospital stay was scary and not much has changed but the staff was kind and I received 1 marriage proposal and 3 phone numbers (from patients) when I left. I’ll never let anyone talk me into or make me feel like I have to do it again. I didn’t hear my brother’s voice or anyone else’s the entire time I was there.

Thanks Everyone!


THIS A TRUE STORY PART III~HOPEFULLY WITH A RESOLUTION

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My brother’s ex-wife was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in September of 2018. Their son took a sabbatical from college to come home and help care for her. My brother as usual showed no emotion, he got drunk and called family members late at night still complaining about a woman who was just told she had less than 6 months to live.

My brother managed to go to a Vocational School and learn computer programming which can pay well if you leave your political views, racial views, raunchy jokes and ego at the door. He never managed to do this for long. His jobs were always contracted for a specific amount of time, IF a company really liked him they could decide to hire him permanently. This happened maybe twice and eventually he would go out drinking with co-workers/bosses and say or do something inappropriate causing the company to let him go.

The Court forced him to pay child support for his 3 beautiful children that he hardly visited unless he needed something from the family. I understood his childhood and the pain he was constantly feeling but it didn’t give him the right to pass it down to his children. Me, being the coward I am, usually said nothing. I was dealing with my own issues at the time. I wish things had been different.

I honestly don’t know what kind of trouble my brother is in now. I can only guess that it must be bad. After what he put me and his family through I no longer care.

My best friend and her boyfriend started to drive by my Dad’s house (the one I’m living in until it’s sold and have lived in most of my life) they would see my Dad’s bedroom light on when I had closed off the upstairs. Late at night I would hear cars coming and going in front of the house and my brother’s voice. One night I heard him talking to his youngest daughter about an incident at a party I had no idea had happened. I was furious. She was facing felony charges. When I asked my twin sister about it she wanted to know how I found out about it. I told her once again that our half brother was coming and going on the property and into the basement. It’s an older house with baseboard heating all along the floor, you can hear everyone’s conversations, you always could. She still didn’t believe me and said I could’ve guessed. I became angry and said “Would I know that the drugs were fake and she was holding them for a guy she liked if I was just guessing?” She hung up on me.

By this time my brother knew she didn’t believe me so he didn’t bother whispering anymore and brought his new girlfriend with him. I was disgusted. They still hid, for what reason I have no idea. I know he was obsessed with the idea of how he thought he was treated by our Dad and the house being his “childhood home”. He was kicked out at 16/17 for drugs/alcohol/fighting/expulsion from school. He’s also obsessed with how other people see him. He will repeatedly brag about how much money he makes. He forgets to mention how much he loses.

I began to eat less, sleep less, and became afraid to use my own bathroom. The front door had always had problems but now it wasn’t locking at all. I’d had enough. My twin wondered why I wasn’t outside in the middle of the night chasing him and his friends to get evidence. Maybe because I’ve been beaten by drunk men on several occasions, maybe because I still hadn’t had time to grieve for the one person who understood me and loved me the way I am, or maybe she should’ve gotten off her ass and chased them into the dark woods with a camera herself. I called the police.

His size 13 footprints were all over the property along with empty little liquor bottles and cigarettes. The older officers knew exactly who he was and who he might be with but he wasn’t on the property then so they couldn’t do anything. They did barricade the basement door for me so he couldn’t get in that way anymore. I could hear him swearing later that night when he tried. I felt some of my old self start to come back.

Early the next morning I heard a female knocking on my neighbor’s door. Then my neighbor started swearing at her and asked her who she was and where she lived in the neighborhood. I had started sleeping downstairs when my Dad became sick so I could hear everything. I do not think I have Super Human Ears. I did have to hear for 2 people for over 10 years due to my Dad’s tinnitus. It made it difficult for him to be in public places and hear the TV so I was used to hearing for both of us.

My brother wanted to know what had happened the night before so I yelled (the loudest someone like me can yell) “I called the police moron! I’m sick of it! Get off my property now or a restraining order is next!”. Ten minutes later 3 trucks show up at the edge of the property to give the poor guy some moral support while I had to pack to go to an Extended Stay Hotel with a very frightened dog (my sister’s idea).

After 1 night at the Extended Stay my sister came and gave me an ultimatum.

Go to Butler Hospital for the “hallucinations” I was hearing or she would no longer have anything to do with me. She told me that I “ruined her entire life and was starting to ruin her marriage”, I wouldn’t be allowed to see my nephews either. She held all the cards and I was terrified. She dropped me off at the hospital entrance and drove away with my beautiful dog.

A lot of not great things happened in the hospital that I’m not ready to talk about yet. I did get proposed to 3 times and the patients kept thinking I was the staff.

The day after I was admitted onto the highest secured floor (automatic when someone calls ahead to tell them you’re hallucinating voices) my brother called my sister and asked if he could move into the house. He also asked where all the keys were.

I’m home now and don’t know where he is, I assume running after stealing his ex-wife’s Pancreatic Cancer Fund. She has less than 3 weeks left. He’s a great guy isn’t he?

Thank You Everyone


This Is A True Story- Part II

Where did I leave us? Oh, my brother.

My brother became a different person after that. He didn’t trust anyone, started smoking pot, drinking, and fighting. He also became a bully, fighting with everyone, especially our Dad. He was 13, 6 foot 3 and 200 pounds. My Mom was hospitalized twice during his teens due to all the verbal and physical fighting going on around us. The police knew exactly who my brother was and were called to the house often.

I never stood up to him, never told on him, I just tried to laugh and shrug it off. My twin had enough backbone for two people and did stand up to him, did fight back, and told our parents. This may be why he picked on her more.

He also insisted she was a lesbian, calling her horrendous names, after her marriage he switched to her husband. I’ve heard him be racist, sexist, homophobic, and an all around bastard. But I still remember the goodness that was once there.

I mentioned in a previous post that he had been giving me marijuana to help me sleep since my Dad passed away in January. What I didn’t know is that high levels of THC can and usually do cause psychosis in people diagnosed with Bipolar and Schizophrenia. I was a drinker and street smart but didn’t know too much about chronic marijuana use. I had only researched medical marijuana which is very different than what you would buy on the street or from “someone you know”.

I started hearing conversations that sounded like they were right outside my window or in the basement. They call these “Auditory Hallucinations”. I admit that I’ve had 1 visual hallucination due to a bad reaction to a new medication years ago but that’s it. These were voices I knew well and they were continuing like a soap opera or movie.

I talked to my twin sister about it, she believed it was the marijuana, grief, lack of sleep, and “my illness”. No one likes to say it out loud.

I was hearing my brother, his 2 daughters(mostly 1 of them), and a voice I didn’t recognize. The more I insisted he was coming and going and hiding it, the more my sister started to talk about hospitalization, something I fear more than anything.

She insisted on coming with me to my next appointment with my Psychiatrist. I didn’t argue with her. They decided I needed another medication added to what I was already taking, Risperdal.

MEDICATIONS: Viibryd, Adderall, Xanax, Risperdal, Topamax, Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride (Klonopin was switched out for the Xanax I don’t know why)

I had already stopped using marijuana after doing extensive research online and told my doctor this. I wasn’t happy about more meds but when they started discussing how involuntary commitment works I accepted it. Like I mentioned I’m not good at defending myself unless I’m continuously pushed into a corner. As someone who has experienced a considerable amount of physical abuse from various men, I’m frightened of all confrontation. It takes a lot to get me to defend myself. I gave the medication changes 1 month to see if anything changed. I didn’t know what outcome I was hoping for the most. My brain has hidden things from me before when I wasn’t able to deal with something, I also know my brother better than anyone else does.

I would be crushed and furious if I found out he had been squatting on the property or trying to find if my sister and I were planning to leave him out when our Dad’s house sells. If he had allowed and encouraged people to think I was hallucinating because of the grief, I’m not quite sure what I would do. His narcissism is endless. He never paid attention to what I did, never believed I’m an alcoholic (in remission), laughed at any mental health diagnosis, and always ran or ignored his own problems. I turned a blind eye when it came to a lot of the things he did.

Unfortunately things would get much, much, worse.

I know this is only my side of the story, being a bipolar sober alcoholic with other mental health and serious health issues makes my credibility a problem for some people. Mostly because they don’t really know me.

TO BE CONTINUED…………


This Is A True Story- Part I

My Dad passed away on my 46th birthday, January 11, 2019. He passed without leaving a Will or any instructions for what he wanted should he die. He did have a DNR and instructions for no feeding tubes. He was 112 pounds when he passed away.

Some of you may know how close I was to my Dad, for those that don’t I’ll tell you I never left home and he saved my life on more than one occasion.

I wasn’t diagnosed as Bipolar until I had already self-medicated with alcohol for a little over 20 years. My Dad did everything he could to help me maintain my sobriety. He took me to the movies when he would rather be outside, watched numerous TV shows he normally wouldn’t have, drove me to see the animals I love in a different state, whatever it took to make sure I was safe.

I decided years ago that I would take care of my parents for as long as I possibly could no matter what. I kept that promise with both of them.

My Dad did have to stay in a long term care facility for a few weeks at the end of his life. I had become Manic, over stressed, and couldn’t lift him any longer. He was 76 and Sepsis, a UTI and Pneumonia, had caused Dementia. None of us knew this could happen. Within 6 months the man I knew became a frail child. The man who fixed and collected antique clocks now didn’t understand the difference between 5p.m. and 5a.m. leaving me up all night as he tried to leave the house in the middle of the night.

My twin helped as much as she could. She’s married with two small children and has ME Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. My older brother lives in the next state over and worked a lot. (I should mention he’s my half brother and had a different father).

Growing up we were always told everything was to be split three ways if anything ever happened to my parents. He was the only Dad my brother had ever known and he was 7 when we were born so I never thought it would be a problem.

My brother and sister never got along. I was always close to him even though he had a tendency to push everyone away and was always in trouble. Drugs, alcohol, fighting, AWOL from the Military, a wife, kids, gambling their home away, jail, divorce, a lot of baggage and trauma to go around.

When I was little and had a nightmare it was my brother I went to first because our parents drank. I went with him on his paper route and watched wrestling and horror movies with him. To me he was my “cool” older brother, not so much to many other people I would find out in High School. It never stopped me from loving him.

My Dad’s Wake was uncomfortable to say the least. My sister hadn’t seen or spoken to our brother in 10 years. He had never met her children.

My twin is a difficult person to get along with and so is her husband. Once they make up their minds that’s it. I thought she would be a little more forgiving when our Dad died. Instead she felt out of control and the need to gain that control back took over.

She decided our Dad would basically be buried naked or with a “shroud” around him and a closed casket. I agreed with the closed casket because he was unrecognizable. She then had her husband first in the receiving line. I and many other people were not happy about this but my brother never said a word.

We had to get a lawyer because there was no Will and my Dad owned the house and land him and I were living in. The lawyer mentioned we didn’t have to give our brother anything because our Dad never adopted him. This was never the plan but I could see the wheels turning in my sister’s head. I put my foot down.

I didn’t know my brother had a lawyer of his own telling him the same thing at about the same time.

I feel the need to tell readers that my brother’s father committed suicide while my Mom was pregnant with him. His father was an alcoholic and his family had a history of mental health issues. It sounds like a bad movie but his father was seeing another woman who was also pregnant at the time of his death. My Mom’s brothers decided to tell my brother all of this at a young age without my Mom’s permission. My brother was devastated.

TO BE CONTINUED…….


NIGHT NOISES

My psychiatrist is a nice man and I’ve had 2nd and 3rd opinions on my diagnoses which he encouraged, but sometimes I wonder if he stays up to date.

He suggested trying medical marijuana to possibly wean me off the Klonopin and sleep aid I take every night. We’re trying to save as much of my kidney function as possible so I don’t have to go on dialysis like my Dad. I miss him.

The doctor said he doesn’t have a license to “prescribe” medical marijuana but he thinks it would help me immensely!

You don’t need a special license to prescribe it, the doctor just has to verify that you actually have one of the qualifying conditions that would benefit from it’s use. I only found this out recently.

In the meantime, my sister has a license for it and I tried what she gets for anxiety at night. I think it’s the first time I’ve slept that good in years.

Of course, all good things must come to an end. We had another argument where she tells me I never take responsibility for anything and I’m cut off. I was ok until my Dad died.

I did the worst thing and asked my brother. He was nice and just gave it to me lol nothing with him is free. I started hearing things. Now I don’t know if I’m hearing voices and noises because of my Dad dying, the pot, or who knows what?(THC can cause auditory hallucinations and I don’t think it’s in much of the medical marijuana)

I haven’t processed my Dad’s death at all. It’s in a little blue box shoved far, far, in the back of my mind.

I just keep hoping I get to live near my Aunt for a little while. I love the area where she lives, I get along with my cousins, I love the weather, my Aunt is like my Mom, filled with love and laughter. They were sisters and best friends, imagine that!

I’ve been wanting to write more I’ve just been too tired. I had to postpone my kidney surgery by 3 and a half months so I start to feel like a giant slug. I’m good with it, I got to have extra time with my Dad.

 


BUT YOU’RE GONE

FIRST THINGS FIRST 

Why do people insist on putting a time limit on grieving? Or continuously ask you how you are but it sounds more like “Are you done yet?”. My best and possibly only friend of 35 years accidentally said out loud “How long has it been? Almost a month? Hmm…it’s close.” But I know her, I know she was doing her own equation on how to deal with feelings (eww). I do wonder how she became the way she is and what makes her love me and stay my friend no matter what.

I hear you call my name 20 times a day, I can hear you whistling “Moon River” from my sister’s wedding, I hear you say the only swear you ever really used, all because of your birds. Birds we all thought at one time or another, you loved more than us. The 2 that are left are like me, broken and unpredictable, no one wants them.

This hysterical commercial came on and I turned my head to your end of the couch to ask if you had seen it too. But you were gone. I keep forgetting.

I had to listen to a message on my phone, I didn’t know there was one from you from when you were in the hospital. I sat in my car and cried.

Yes, I have found myself outside liquor stores and bars since January 11th. Physically I can’t, I don’t know why but my body can handle maybe half of a beer (not the best example considering I’m allergic) before I feel nauseous. It isn’t Antibuse or anything like that it’s having 38% kidney function. I don’t want it to go any lower.

The biggest problem is the loneliness. I’m not used to being alone this much. My Dad deserves a lot of credit for listening to me babble for so many years.

The rest of my family doesn’t really want to have much to do with me. Everyone has their own lives or I said something they didn’t like so they avoid me. My twin sister doesn’t want me in her life until I go through an “intensive treatment program” because I am a “manipulative c*nt and a dry drunk”. I also “never take responsibility for anything I’ve ever said or done”.

In ten years no one else has ever called me a “dry drunk” and I know plenty.

I’m the first one to take responsibility when I know that I’m wrong.

I don’t always know that I’ve offended someone or said things I didn’t mean when backed into a corner or if I feel threatened.

I know I am alone.

I miss my Dad more than anything.

I wish I could be in Florida with my Auntie L. who would hug me and talk to me.

They listened to you Dad. Without paperwork I told you they would run right over me. I know you felt guilty and torn about what to do so you kept putting it off. Now I’m stuck doing what I’m told waiting for the day I’m free.

I love you Dad

 


TOGETHER AGAIN

I haven’t been able to do much of anything these last few months.

In my last post I mentioned what I was going through with my Dad and his health.

On January 11th my Hero and Dad passed away. It was also my 46th birthday.

I’m not even sure what was put as his official cause of death. I had so many questions that no one was in a hurry to answer. My sister didn’t question any of it. I have to be extremely careful with what I say now. If not I’m accused of being “paranoid” or “imagining things”. I also have to be careful not to cry too much and make a “scene”.

I kept my Dad home with me for as long as I physically and in good conscious could. When he refused to go to dialysis one morning, all I could do was beg him or bribe him. Soon it didn’t matter, he would hide under his blanket and like a child pretended he was invisible.

He was also falling more. I wasn’t going to restrain him, he had the right to walk around his own house. We made the downstairs completely his and as safe as possible. I just couldn’t be up all day and night. I would feel so guilty when he would get confused and think it was time for dialysis. It would be 2:30 in the morning when I would hear a thud and immediately know he had fallen.

The weight loss was disturbing in itself. How many times can you call the same doctors? The other problem was my Dad had only given my name as someone information could be given to for a few places. This would turn into bigger problems.

My Dad never did a Will or put someone else with him on his bank accounts. He did no End of Life Planning at all. There’s so much to do and go through there isn’t a time when I don’t feel nauseous. And lucky me the dry heaves are back in full force.

I know I’m sick. I kept putting things off to take care of and be with my Dad. My kidney stents should’ve been changed in November. I’m losing weight again, my vision has changed for the worse, and last but not least I’m having auditory hallucinations. I keep hearing voices outside, bottles being thrown in a recycling bin, car doors, and voices of family members coming to visit (ha). It could be anything so I’m not panicking yet.

My twin isn’t making any of this easier. I’m scared. I don’t know what to do. Her suggestion for everything is that I go to an intensive treatment facility for mental health and addiction. She said we can’t have a relationship unless I do. She also called me a “manipulative bitch” and a “dry drunk”.

In all the years I’ve been sober no one has ever called me a dry drunk or manipulative.

Enough about all that.

 

My Dad was the best anyone could’ve asked for in a Father. He had his faults but was always there for his family. He went from a 30 year old man who never said “I love you” or showed affection to a man who hugged me and told me he loved me almost every day.

He loved my Mom so much I don’t think he ever got past her death.

The night before he died he was unresponsive and so small in the hospital bed. I got behind him so I could hold him and he could hear me.

“It’s okay Dad. I’ll be okay. You can let go now. I love you more than anything but there’s somewhere else you need to be. So get in your boat and find her.”

His foot arched back and he opened one eye to look at me briefly, he sighed and was out again.

He was ready.

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CAN I DO THIS?

I started to notice small differences in my Dad after his car accident.

He was taking a lot of medication he should not have been taking. His Doctor never explained the medication to him. You give a strong opioid to someone who never used to take so much as an aspirin.

He struck a guardrail, his front tire became stuck up on the rail and he took out 350 feet of rail. His brand new truck was destroyed, both airbags deployed, the State and Town Police came to the scene. He refused to get in the ambulance or go to the hospital.

I handled the insurance company (not easy), the State and the Town. My Dad winced every time he moved the wrong way. We argued about him seeing his Doctor and he still refused. It took several weeks to settle everything and we discussed that he should get a used truck and not a new one. He agreed.

Next thing I know he’s bought a brand new Nissan Rogue. He had it 2 days when I noticed a big dent in the back.

I told my twin sister all of this because I knew something wasn’t right. My Dad is extremely frugal. He doesn’t like to owe money and after everything was paid he wasn’t getting much from the insurance company.

My Dad also began having problems talking. He kept running out of breath. I told him the day after the accident that he could possibly get fluid in his lung from the rib I could see sticking out. He still refused to see anyone. I called his dialysis place and let them know what was going on.

We were trying to get him help with his bladder that had been ongoing for years. He was at the point where he was screaming into a towel each time he urinated.

We finally got him in to see a Urologist. My Dad insisted on going alone. They inserted a catheter for a few days so he could go back and have tests done. He was in so much pain all he could do was sit there and grit his teeth. He thought the nurse cut him while inserting the catheter.

Three days later he goes to dialysis thene24a0470e843063ac24ede8055779515 back to the Urologist for tests. When I got home he was in his chair unresponsive. I couldn’t wake him right away. When I did wake him he was confused.

He could only give me his first name, he didn’t know the day of the week, and he said the year was 2008 (this is the year my Mom passed away). I called my sister and even though he was mad I called 911.

I should also say during this entire time his weight was steadily going down which I complained to everyone about for months.

When the EMTs came they tried to ask him similar questions that he couldn’t answer. He had a fever and his vitals were all over the place. One of them said “Sepsis”.

He had been to 2 different places with plenty of doctors and nurses who had to have noticed that he was walking like he was drunk, was incoherent, confused, had a temperature, any of the above! He was driving like this!

He spent a month in the Hospital. He had a UTI, Pneumonia, a Pleural Effusion, Sepsis and weighed 127 pounds.

He spent 20 days in a Skilled Nursing Facility for Rehabilitation. He was too weak for any rehab. When my sister and I brought him home we had to half carry him in.

Most people don’t know that a UTI and Sepsis can cause a form of Dementia, there is also a type of Dementia that people on Dialysis are prone to.

I’m with my Dad 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He didn’t want this for me but right now he’s scared. We talked about this. He didn’t want me to take care of and watch another parent die. We didn’t talk about any of this with my twin sister or anyone else.

My Dad didn’t do any paperwork. No Will, Durable Power of Attorney, nothing. He didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause arguments so he kept putting it off. I kept telling him I didn’t want anything that he needed to just do it. Then my brother would do something stupid and my Dad would be back at square one.

My twin said she would be with me all the way and help as much as she could.

She did for the first two weeks. Now she comes twice a week and stays 2 hours. She does do our laundry because of course we can’t go in our basement right now (don’t ask). She also insists on cooking which is tricky with my Dad. He’s become picky in the last few years.

I don’t know how he went from a vibrant 75 year old who did everything to a stooped over frail old man in diapers. One who wakes up every hour on the hour to get ready for dialysis because he can no longer tell what time it is or what day it is.

I had to explain time to a man who fixed and collected antique clocks.

There are days I want to leave and never come back.

There are days I’m so afraid I can’t swallow because of the lump in my throat.

There are days I don’t want to do this anymore.

There are days I’m so tired I can’t sleep.

And there are days I’m angry, sad, and feel alone.


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