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Monthly Archives: April 2016

Stealing Cleaners

My cleaning service is undergoing some staffing issues. (I’m familiar with the problem!) However, they have been skipping my cleanings and when my cleanings are scheduled the work has been so bad that it has required me to clean up after my cleaning ladies on more occasions than not. I’ve spoken with the company, and they are just really suffering from a labor shortage.
I decided to call the company that Paula set up for my dad. He has had nothing but compliments for them. So they start next week.
My first mistake was calling my dad, “Well, you’re going to get a referral bonus because I’ve just hired your cleaning company!”
He laughs, “So you finally go rid of yours huh? Well that’s great! The do a heck of a job at my house. They really do. There is a girl named Amy who comes every week, she’s the leader and she does a heck of a job on my floors.” (This is a HUGE compliment – when he was cleaning his own house he threatened to paint the hard wood floor because he couldn’t keep them clean. I guess the dust resistant paint)
So this morning I get this call from dad, “I guess you hiring my cleaning company has really messed me up! They didn’t come this morning! They come every week at 8:30 on the nose, and they weren’t here. So I left! So, what?! Did you steal them? Are they doing you instead of me now?!” He was actually angry with me.
“Dad, me hiring them has nothing to do with your house being cleaned. When did you leave? You didn’t wait for them?” Why does he do this?
“Well I waited until 8:40 (how generous of him) and when they weren’t here I took off. I can’t sit around here all day, I’ve got things to do!” This from the man who routinely takes a ride to our office to visit, just because he has nothing to do. I ended the conversation quickly, couldn’t deal with it today.
A few hours later Paula gets a call from dad’s cleaning company (and now mine…evidently SOLEY MINE), “Hello Ms. Gregory, is everything okay with our services for your father? One of my cleaners said she was sitting in front of his house this morning at 8:20 (BEFORE 8:30) waiting on her partner to arrive and your father pulled out of the driveway, rolled down his window and told her “You’ve just lost a good customer” and then drove away.”
Paula persuaded them to come again, persuaded dad to calm down and handled the situation.
I received a phone call before bed from dad, “Well, those cleaners came to my house late today……” Then proceeded to tell me the same story as before, this time in a more calm voice and actually adding in the fact that one of them was there and she was just waiting on the other girl, who was evidently sick. Whew! It wasn’t my fault after all!

Sent from my iPad

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Try “Dolly”

One of the stressors in dad’s life is his cell phone. (Therefore, one of the stressors in my life is HIS CELL PHONE) We have purchased him at least 5 in the past 4 years – each one having enough faults to drive him to a weekly rant over the difficulties of its operation.

I finally broke down and bought him an iPhone. He seems to manage his iPad pretty well, so in the sentiment of being consistent I figured this was the best bet.

He’s had it for about 3 days now, I figure the learning curve should be over so I’m ready for this to end.

He’s on his way to my office as I type this – we’re going to try to set up Facebook on the phone. Because without Facebook – how is he supposed to get the “news”.

We’ve tried numerous times to set up his account, but he cannot remember any passwords. He has cussed and screamed, “I’m a 74 year old man that has trouble remembering how to get from here to there – how am I supposed to remember all of these passwords and emails!”

I agree. Which is exactly why we have set up the SAME EXACT password for everything. He even knows that password and recites it to me often.

So why – why – why when I try to go in and set up his Facebook account is the SAME EXACT password not working???

He swears he’s not changing it – but he also likes to go in and play with the account settings.

“I lost all my contacts! I was trying to change the ringtone and lost them all. But when someone calls me, I see the name of who’s calling, so I think they’re in there somewhere!” We found his contacts, he had changed a setting to hide them all. He swears he didn’t. “I don’t change anything! I swear!”

“Okay dad, have you changed your password?” I’m trying not to sound like I’m talking to a child.

“No! I don’t change anything! Ever! This damn phone is messed up. Stan tells me it’s the platform it’s on. (???) It’s the router.”

“I’m trying your password, the one that we have written down, that we all know, and it’s not working.” Trying to be perfectly clear.

“Well…I didn’t change anything.” He lets me continue to enter the SAME EXACT password over and over again.

Me – “Dad, it’s not working.”

“Try Dolly.” Dad offers a password that is so far out of left-field, none of us have ever heard this one.

Me – “Why would I try that?! Did you change your password to Dolly?”

“I may have….” He’s acting confused now, and believe me it’s an act. He knows he’s been caught.

It wasn’t Dolly either.

We changed it back to the SAME EXACT password that we all know. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Breathing is Forever

“You know what Aimie told me? She told me that I’m gonna be on oxygen the rest of my life! I don’t know where she’s getting this, I never heard that from the doctor. I don’t know why she’s saying this.” He’s actually upset.

I explained that the doctor has been telling him that he should be wearing oxygen ALL THE TIME for a few years now. I reminded him that he and mom used to argue over him wearing his oxygen.

He doesn’t believe it. He’s going to wear it just until he feels better, and then he’s going to get rid of this GD, SOB, death contraption. “These tubes and this machine are gonna kill me! I get stuck on everything, it’s a pain in the ass to drag this thing around!”

Yesterday I showed him some new carrying cases. He decided he didn’t want a new one. We rigged his current carrying case to go around his waist – one of the options his current case offers. He likes it. For now. But still says he’ll be getting rid of this oxygen soon, as soon as he’s better.

Hearing

Dad can’t hear his phone when it’s on silent. Just thought I’d start with that nugget. Had to reach him in a somewhat emergent situation this weekend, and he was out of touch for a while. When I finally did reach him, he was very angry because…”There’s something wrong with this phone, when I turn it on silent I can’t hear it!”

Speaking of him not hearing…he’s still convinced that we are not telling him everything he NEEDS TO KNOW.

Dad likes to play Colombo with me. He tells me he doesn’t know anything about the schedule for the day, then gets mad at me because I tell him something that he didn’t already know. It’s a game we’ve probably played our whole lives come to think of it, but in his older years – less oxygenated years, more confused years…it’s incredibly annoying. He acts like he’s trying to get information out of me by playing dumb. Then the information that he’s gathered becomes ammunition against me in the "no one told me that, why are you not telling me?!" game.

For example, this weekend Teresa was in the hospital for an emergent Appendectomy. Very stressful, scary event that lead to her being in the ICU with septic shock as a matter of fact. So I’ll give him some grace on the confusion. Some. Because it’s not like this only occurs during stressful situations.

Stan was trying to arrange for someone to come to the hospital. Stan told me that both dad and Teresa’s dad had offered to come. I did not know who had chosen to come – but figured he had it covered.

Dad called me –by the way WHILE HE WAS SITTING IN CHURCH. I could hear the preaching in the background! I bet the people in the pews close to him were very happy to hear this conversation. So he calls me (during church) and tells me, “I don’t know what’s going on with Stan. I don’t know if he wants me to come up there or not. I don’t know what to do.” He is a bit agitated.

“Dad, don’t do anything until you hear from Stan. If he needs you he’ll call you. He will tell you what to do, just be on call. And, Dad – is that praying in the background?? Are you in service? Maybe you should step out and talk.” What the??

“Yeah I’m in church, if they don’t want to hear me they don’t have to listen! I just don’t know if I’m going down to the hospital or not – he needs a ride, I don’t know how he’s getting home.” He’s not even trying to keep his voice down.

“Dad, hang up and call me when you get out of church!” I won’t be a part of this conversation.

I did speak to Stan again, and he informed me that he HAD TOLD DAD TO COME TO THE HOSPITAL right before dad called me to say “I don’t know if he wants me to come or not.” So I texted dad and said, “call me as soon as you’re out of church” so I could tell him – you know WHAT STAN HAD ALREADY TOLD HIM.

Then, neither Stan nor I could reach him for about 2 hours. (remember – he can’t hear it when it’s on silent) When he finally called me he was angry with me because “I was supposed to go to the hospital, but you told me not to! You told me that Stan didn’t need me!”

Hearing. Important skill to have. God help ME to hear better!!

If not Hypoxia, Then ???

I thought it was the lack of oxygen that was making dad confused. I had my morning conversation with him today and he told me, “My oxygen tester says I’m at 92% even after doing some yard work.” So it is not hypoxia causing confusion, but I’d say still confused.

Dad, “So what’s going on tonight?”

Me, “Oh I don’t know, nothing I guess.”

Dad, “What!? The boys don’t have ball practice tonight? Nobody told me!”

Me, quickly, “Oh no – I don’t know anything about the ball schedule. I was just saying I don’t have anything planned.”

Dad, “Well I guess they don’t have practice. Or I’m wondering if they won’t, probably not.” Sounds like he’s given up.

Me, “You should talk to Aimie (their mother!) about the schedule. I don’t keep track of it dad.”

Dad, “Yeah, they probably won’t have it anyway, I’m guessing it’s called off.” Now sounds like he knows something I don’t.

Me, “Why do you say that, is there rain in the forecast?”

Oh Lord – why did I have to mention the weather. I won’t write the back-and-forth about the forecast, or why he wonders why I thought there may be rain coming when he’s been watching the news since 4:30 this morning and these damn weathermen – or whatever they call themselves – haven’t said a word about it! He was very angry that I knew something he didn’t!

Eventually we discover that there is no weather cover-up and I just assumed he thought the practice was going to be called for weather. Why else would he assume it was cancelled?

I’ll tell you why –

NO ONE HAS TOLD HIM THE PLAN FOR TODAY! NO ONE!!!

He doesn’t know where practice is – he doesn’t know what field – he doesn’t know if he’s taking them – he’s been left in the dark again! He can’t reach anyone, no one is answering the phone!

After he calms down – he tells me about his plans for the day, “Well I’m gonna shower, feed the squirrels, get the mail, kill some time and then pick up some chicken for the boys at 3:00, I told them I’d get them some chicken and Hawaiian rolls, ha ha ha. Then I’ll pick up Connor from school at 3:40 and feed him, he loves those rolls. Then I’ll take Connor to ball practice and sit and watch until it’s over, I guess Blake will come with us……”

Evidently ball practice has NOT been cancelled.

Battery Life of Oxygen

AP

I thought we were doing so well yesterday with the Oxygen conversation. I thought he was okay with the 24/7 oxygen addiction. I thought we’d finally broken through to an understanding.

And then there was this morning’s conversation:

“I’m done with this oxygen! It’s not working, I’d rather be dead!” My good morning conversation has begun.

“What’s wrong dad? You said that you’re feeling better than you have in years.” That IS what he said 24 hours ago.

“Well yeah! Yesterday I did, but I keep getting this damn thing stuck on the cabinet door and I have a sore under my nose and it about strangles me! So I’ll die of strangulation but I’ll have good oxygen in my blood when I do!! It’s not working I’m telling you NOW.”

Side note: I think Death by strangulation = lack of oxygen. But we’re not exactly trying to make sense of this conversation, just understand why he’s agitated.

I try to explain that we can get a different carrying case, maybe a backpack or we can MacGyver the one he has into something less cumbersome (I have plenty of paperclips and rubber bands). We can treat the sore under his nose, but he’ll have to develop a tolerance for the nasal cannula. I try to get him back to the appreciation of oxygen that he had yesterday. But he’s on a rant –

“I got up this morning and tested my blood oxygen (we purchased him a pulse oximeter to monitor his levels…maybe in hindsight not the greatest gift) and you know what it said?! It said 84% when I didn’t have my oxygen on and then 97% when I had the oxygen on! You see, the oxygen isn’t working.”

Let that sink in. So how do I respond? Slowly.

“Dad. I think that means that the oxygen IS actually working. The oxygen in your blood goes UP when you wear oxygen, as evidenced by the numbers going UP.” Try not to sound like a smart-aleck Kim.

“Well….no. I was only wearing one liter.”

Then he took about five minutes rambling – describing the numbers to me. 2.5 liters at night through the big machine, 2 liters on the portable machine, 1 liter when I test myself, percentages all over the place, trying to wean myself, I can probably do another month if I have to, bottom line he’d rather die than wear oxygen the rest of his life. Then quickly he changes to talking about Aimie and the boys and Hannah and then we get to the weather and the laundry.

After hanging up and digesting the conversation – I think I get it. He thinks that wearing oxygen is going to “fix his lungs” so that eventually he doesn’t have to wear oxygen. Wearing oxygen is just recharging his lungs I guess – like a battery. Holy crap! Am I starting to actually understand his logic???

Give Him a Break & Some Chapstick

Found this old post from 2014 that was never posted….Maybe, just maybe it still applies today!

Dad annoys me lately. Every time he tells me the weather forecast – 15 times a week – I get annoyed. Every time he tells me what Blake & Connor ate for breakfast – every single morning – it annoys me. Every time he tells me what clothes he washed or how he cleaned his bathroom – yes he does laundry about 3 times a week and claims to clean his toilet every day – it annoys me. Every time he licks his lips or smacks his teeth or whatever it is he does with his mouth that sounds like nails on a chalkboard – it annoys me.

I think you get the picture.

So I’m going to try to give him a break. I’ll see the positive. He’s a caring man, who is concerned that I’m going to be out in a storm without an umbrella. He is a generous man who loves to feed his great-grandchildren and watch them eat. He is a self-sufficient man who doesn’t ask ME to do his laundry or clean his toilet (anymore), he’s learned to do it himself.

The crazy lip-smacking thing he’s got going – I suppose I will live with. I did tell him I’d buy him some chap stick. We’ll see how that goes.