Thursday, May 12, 2005

 

Parenting the Parents

I'm not really sure when it started. Maybe it was after my father won several thousand dollars in the lottery or maybe it was after the electro-shock therapy for my mother. I'm not sure but I do know that something fell apart five years ago. And now I'm trying to convince a proud, 82 year old WWII vet to declare bankruptcy from his creditors. He did his time in protecting the US. Now its his time to have the US protect him.
My sister and I got a look behind the financial curtain 5 years ago when he fell in a hospital parking lot and had internal bleeding. He went into the hospital. He fought the battle. He recovered. We had a chance to review the family finances and discovered that he had accumulated several thousands of credit card debt that he was hiding from Mom by having the mailings sent to PO boxes in other cities nearby. We all had a little family intervention to stop the deception. We got them put back on track by having them do a home equity loan to cover the debt and make them whole.
During the next several years my mother slipped deeper into depression which was treated every month with a new pill. Always looking for the new pill. Soon in-order for the 2 of them to live together they relied more and more on the contents of their "shoebox" full of mood altering drugs. For mom, nothing really worked. Leading up the the depression she suffered with severe sleeping disorders. The snoring shook the walls of their little National Home. We were always told by dad..."Don't tell your mom she snores, it will hurt her feelings." Well, not telling her hurt more than her feelings. It obviously has altered how she thinks and copes with life.
The drugs and the eventual addictions drove her to more and more bizarre behaviors including threatening to kill her self in front of my 15 year old son as well as trying to grab the wheel of the car we were driving, trying to cause a wreck. She spent several "vacations" in the psyche wards of several well known hospitals.
It was determined that she was super sensitive to normal doses of medication and so electro shock was diagnosed. She had over 50 treatments in 2 years. It did work each time for approximately 2 weeks. Over this period of time my father successfully grabbed power of attorney over my mothers affairs and proceeded to drain the small inheritance she received from her father. Some was spent to cover the treatments. Some was spent on lottery tickets. Some was spent eating out which they did at least twice a day in their little town.
I guess we could see the train wreck coming. Maybe the 10 year olds in both my sister and I didn't want to see the change in our parents. Who are these people?
I talked to them every week. I'm over 4 hours away my sister is about an hour. There was really not much change in the conversations on the phone, favorite sports teams, some politics, some updates on family. Until, that is, a phone call from my dad about 2 months ago.
He needed money to pay his gas bill. He has never asked for money before. This sounded like trouble. To be continued...

Monday, May 09, 2005

 

Ground Rules

OK. Like most of us this is new. Blogging? Like most of us we just push forwards. Here goes nothing.
Let's set some ground rules for this site.
I'll try to stay focused on writing "stuff" on the experience of being a member of the American "Boomer" generation. I am warning you now...I will wander from the path time to time.
Hopefully, many of you will find it interesting enough to look in occasionally because of its scary similarity to the real things you are facing in life as a fellow traveler...Some humorous some humorless.
GMClark

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