Monthly Archives: March 2014

Nursing Home Humor

Life has taught me to roll with the punches and I’ve gotten really good at it lately. I’ve also always had a knack for making humor out of just about any situation. Combine those with my appreciation for dark humor and you’ve got one sick, twisted puppy.

Case in point:

So the other day after work, I decided I would visit my dad at the nursing home. The home is just two exits up from my job and figured I’d be in and out before they started serving dinner. I admit, going there isn’t my favorite thing to do; I’ve been super busy lately, the place smells, there’s this one guy who follows me around and they keep that place heated up hotter than a sauna. Plus, it’s getting harder and harder to converse with my dad.

That day, however, it must have been a full moon because that place was more alive than I’d ever seen it.

I arrived to the second floor and was immediately greeted by that same old, stale urine smell that has been impermeated into the walls and floors. I smiled and nodded to the nurses and looked around for my dad.

The residents were abuzz and wandering around like the undead, which was unusual since most spend their hours moaning and eating brains in their respective rooms. The staff was putting on a late snack in the lunch room for the residents and they were blaring some preschoolish, nursery rhyme-type songs from a boom box. I found my dad in his room. His face lit up when he saw me and asked to go for a walk. He then repeated his ritual of introducing me to every nurse on the 2nd floor. “This is my daughter, Sarah! This is my daughter! She is a…uh…(and then he asks what my job title is again and I tell him)…She’s Director of Sales & Marketing! She’s the apple of my eye!”. It’s sweet. The nurses and I play along every time and pretend like we are meeting each other for the first time.

Dad decided he wanted to sit in two chairs that faced the nurses station. I ran through my usual list of easy to answer questions that i ask him that would be unlikely to send him into an emotional bad place:

1.) “How have you been”

2.) “Anything good on TV?”

3.) “Have you been doing any of the activities at all?”

4.) “What did you eat for lunch today?”

Straining to converse, the music in the background changed tracks to “BINGO” and one of the older, female residents in a wheelchair started yelling “Halp! Halp! My legs don’t work!” This piqued the interest of my dad and he shuffled over to the lady in distress. I followed.

He stood in front of her and stared at her with a confused expression on his face. “Halp!” she screeched. “There’s something wrong with my legs! I can’t feel my legs!!”

Her atrophied legs gave away that she had been unable to walk for some time. The nearby nurses looked at me with a tired expression which told me that this must be her catchphrase. Many of the residents there say the same thing over and over. One lady’s catchphrase is “Abba bah! Abba bah!”. I call her Abby.

“Halp me!” the lady repeated. In flight or fight, my dad has always chosen the former in precarious situations. This hasn’t changed. He looked to his left and then his right and quietly tiptoed away in front of the the woman, and the entire lunchroom of people. That seemed like a good idea to me so I followed.

We walked back up to the two chairs, but now there was a commotion at the nurses station. My dad’s “nemisis”, a 90-year old man named John, had snuck behind the station to call his dad (!!!!) sporting nothing but his diapers. The nurses were trying to get him to put the phone down, but he insisted that his father was trying to reach him and proceeded to ask me if I knew his dad’s phone number. My dad saw what was happening and mumbled something hateful under breath. Pretty sure he called John a “low-life scum bag”. This is getting interesting!

The next track on the boom box changed from BINGO to “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain”. Halp Lady, realizing she’s being ignorned, increases the frequencies of her distress calls. The funny part was though, and I don’t think she meant to, is that her “Halps!” are now in time with the music. So now it sounds like this:

“She’ll be coming around the mountain, when she comes!” HALP!

“She’ll be coming around the mountain, when she comes!” HALP!

“She’ll be coming around the HALP, she’ll be coming around the mountain, she’ll be coming around the mountain, when she comes!” HALP!

I faked coughed and covered my mouth to hide my obvious grin. It was all I could do not to laugh at that point and I didn’t want the nurses thinking I’m some sadistic bitch. One male nurse caught my eye and for a second, we shared the same humor. I saw a glimmer of a smile, which with great effort, he quashed.

Back to my dad, who was now glaring at John while the nurses escorted him back to his room. Another gentlemen in a wheelchair paddled up to my dad, obviously concealing something in his shirt.

“I-I have a plan,” he said to my dad. i-I know how to escape from here. I-I know a place to go to.” Holy Shawshank. This is getting REALLY interesting!

However, my dad thinks this guy is talking about John.

“Oh you mean John?” said my dad. “He’s a low life son of a bitch. I told that woman to get the hell away from him.”

The wheelchair man continued. “Don’t tell anybody about this, but I stole this map” and he pulled the concealed brochure out from under his shirt. It was the same nursing home brochure that they gave me when I registered dad there, only his was all rolled up and dog eared.

Dad took the brochure, looked at it briefly, and then continued to tell his imagined tale of 90-year old John, trying to sweet talk one of the female nurses into running away with him, but my dad knew better and told that nurse to stay away from him. Because he’s a low life son of a bitch.

Oh my. Where’s my popcorn? This is too rich.

The wheelchair man, frustrated at my Dad’s lack of hearing, paddled away and tried his escape plan pitch on another man around the corner.

At this point, my dad is getting really worried about dinner so I gave him a hug, told him I loved him and that I had a good time visiting with him today. And I did! What a story that was painted! We had a damsel in distress, a sweet-talking womanizer who still loves his dad and our very own, in house Andy Dufresne.

I walked out to my car with an amused grin and very glad to be back in cold, fresh air.

 

 

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Categories: Funny, Old People, parkinson's disease, Potty Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

3 Years, 29 Days

To My Dad:

I am writing this to you even thought I know well enough that you aren’t able to read any more and your thoughts are only getting more jumbled, morbid and hard to process. But I’m angry at you.

3 years and 29 days.

That is the amount of time it took for you to go from a respected man with a full time job in middle management to a resident at a nursing home. A man that got up in the morning, put his clothes and shoes on without struggle, drove to work without rear-ending another car, went to work and made important decisions. Yes, only 3 years and 29 days from the moment you retired to the night we had to come and take you from your bed, your things, your dog and your home. Forever. Here are some other numbers for you:

10 – Those are the number of years it’s been since you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. That is also the same amount of time it’s been since you decided that you would only deal with your disease by throwing medication at it, even though that General Practitioner you insisted on seeing told you that your medicine had a limit and then there would be nothing else that could be done for you. 10 years of insisting that going to a specialist wasn’t necessary because you had a handle on your degenerative disease.

14- Those are the number of Carba-dopa/Levadopa pills you were taking a day when you used to call me up at work to tell me that silent puppet people were living in your house and that your mother, who passed away in 2004, was conspiring with my Mom to kill you. The maximum dosage a day for that pill is 8 because any more than that causes hallucinations.

16 – That is the average number of hours you spent in front of the TV daily after you retired because you didn’t have a plan for retirement. You essentially let yourself rot in front of Western Channel. You let your pride and embarrassment from your disability prevent you from leaving the house and attempting to enrich your life by meeting other people your own age, trying new activities and making new friends. In my eyes, you never had anything to be embarrassed about.

2 – 2 Years ago is when I really noticed the drastic decline in your cognitive function and motor skills. That is also when you started to tell me that you were depressed but when I brought up ideas of things you could do you get you out of the house, you made excuses for yourself.

18 – 18 months of my husband and I hounding you to sign up for Metro Mobility so you wouldn’t be a hazard on the road. 18 months of asking nicely and then after a while,  not so nicely telling you that a senior day center would be beneficial to you and Mom. After 18 months, you and Mom told both of us to mind our own business and to quit asking. So we did.

3 – The number of times mom had to call 911 because you fell, could not get up and mom was unable to physically lift you.

4 – On December 30, 2013, this was the number of hours you were lying on the bedroom floor before my husband and I found you and after Mom called us frantic at work because you weren’t answering the phone. You fell two more times that day after Mom came home.

5 – 5:00 PM December 30, 2013. That’s when we realized that this was the day we knew it was all over. The day we saw coming years ago. The day where Dad’s disease would render him weak and helpless to the point that he could no longer be safe at home by himself while Mom worked. This is is the day we took you from your home.

4 – The amount of car accidents you were in in the last 2 years because your reflexes were deteriorating. We heard about many things after the fact, including how we found out you were driving up until the last moment because both you and Mom were keeping it secret.

3.6 – Your score on the Allen Dementia test upon arrival at the nursing home.

4.6 – The minimum score they recommend for someone fit to drive.

0 – The amount of times I’ve had a conversation with you recently were you asked me about how things were going in my life, or my sister’s life, or my husband’s life, or talked about anybody other than yourself. I took the TV out of my living room and put it in your room since the nursing home did not provide you with one, because I wanted to make you happy. All it did was make you complain about the picture quality and the remote control you that loose and accuse the staff of stealing. Your dementia has widdled your capacity for caring about others down to nothing.

6 – The amount of times that you’ve called me in the middle of the night because you can no longer tell time of day.

3 – The amount of months until my sister has her baby. A baby boy you that will only remember Grandpa from pictures and stories.

Dad,  I’m angry at you because I feel cheated. I’m angry at you for cheating me out of a father at 33. I’m angry that you cheated mom out of a husband and left her a woman alone in a large house without the basic understanding of how her own fucking TV works. I’m angry that you will never know my future children. Sometimes I worry that by the time I get pregnant and give birth, that you won’t know who I am anymore.

I’m angry at you for giving up when you should have put up the fight of your life. For Christ Sake’s you were a combat soldier!! As a disabled veteran, you had so many resources at your disposal. There were exercises, both physical and mental that you could have done. Support groups you could have attended. Diets you could have tried. Counseling that you and Mom should have sought. You could still be living in your house if you would have chosen to take that help. Sadly, you chose not to and now, at 68, you are in a nursing home and will be for the rest of your life.

I’m mad at me, too, you know. I watched you deteriorate for 3 years and 29 days and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. I wish I could have made you see that there was nothing to be afraid of and that accepting help isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. I screamed. I yelled. I jumped up and down but I could not get through to you. I used every tactic I could to try to get to you to see what everyone saw coming a million miles away. All I can do at this point is promise myself that if I ever end up or a terminal or degenerative disease, I will do what ever it takes to keep myself as healthy for as long as I can for the sake of my family. I owe it to my husband and future children to do just that. And to never stop fighting.

Dad, I still love you. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be so damn angry. That’s what’s so fucked up about this situation.  I thought you knew how fragile and short life was.

I’m sorry I had to take you from your home and please excuse me while I get over my anger at you. I know deep down you never intended to cheat your family out of anything and your unreasonable fears of doctor’s offices was probably the cause of some undiagnosed anxiety disorder that you tried to hide from everyone.

You’re fading fast and I’m not sure how much time I have left with you. I’ll always try to do my best to visit you as much as I can, Dad. I love you. I miss you and I hope tonight that your dreams take you back to a pleasant time in  your life.

-Your Daughter Sarah

Categories: Crappy Adulthood Problems | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Celebrating Birthdays After You’re Married

Special occasions can take on a different tone after you’ve known your partner for very long time.

When you first meet somebody, you spend a lot of time and energy making sure that their birthdays are well celebrated and the Christmas presents are well thought out. Then the novelty wears off and you become more comfortable in your relationship. You’re no longer trying to impress each other because each of you knows who the other is. Gifts go from extravagant to practical, or sometimes non existent. Slippers for Christmas? I can say I’m genuinely happy that I got slippers for Christmas. “Thanks, Hun. I could really use a pair of slippers. No, really. Peterbilt ate my last pair.” Ironically, Peterbilt gets better birthday celebrations than we do:

https://houseoffarts.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/peterbilt-turns-5/

Case in point: my husband’s birthday was Thursday. Our health insurance policy recently changed from affordable and reasonable to “Kinda Not Really” coverage (by Medica). We had just learned we were on the ball for the entire bill from last month’s ER visit for Hubs. A miniscule piece of metal got stuck his eye after welding and he had to go in and have it removed, which in the ER, takes like eight doctors to do.

So with the surprise bill absorbing a great deal of our spending cash, it was up to me to make my husband’s birthday enjoyable while still being affordable. So, I took stock of all the food items that we had our house and I sent him an email the morning of his birthday:

Re: Best birthday $3 dollars can buy!

I have developed a few options to help celebrate your birthday tonight with a $3 spending cap. Your Berfday packages are as follows:

Package #1: Little Flitaly

A taste of Florida and Italy, wrapped up into one delicious yet oddly paired meal!

Dinner: Spaghetti (ground beef and hot Italian sausage) with Garlic Bread.
Desert: Key Lime Pie with whipped cream.
Entertainment: Mack will serenade over dinner us with his shrieking from the other room.
Red Box Movie: Old Boy

Package #2: The Denali

An Exquisite dining experience.

Dinner: Those buffalo wings that have been in the chest freezer like FOREVER , with fries. Or Mac n Cheese. Or both. Hell, it is your birthday.
Desert: Klondike bar with a candle in it.
Entertainment: Peter will will perform a skit where he ferociously humps his dog bed because he hasn’t had a walk today.
Red Box Movie: Runner Runner

Package #3: Windy City

Pack some heat because this dinner’s so good, you might be murdered for it.

Dinner: Brats and/or hot dogs. We have all of the fixin’s to make a killer Chi-town dawg! Mac-n-cheese for a side.
Desert: I’ll make brownies. Not sure what that has to do with Chicago, I just haven’t had a brownie in a while.
Entertainment: I’ll play happy birthday for you with my armpit.
Red Box Movie: Dallas Buyers Club

—————————————–

And do you know what option he picked?

Number 1. And he loved the dinner & dessert. Even more so than the brand-new coffee thermos I gave him for his birthday (again with the practicality). I forgot to pick up the Redbox movie, but he didn’t care. To make up for it, I tried to play Happy Birthday for him on my armpit but Mack upstaged me by farting loudly. As we ran for cover to the bedroom, laughing and then hiding as we heard Mack coming for us, Hubs whispered that he could not think of a better way to turn 36. Sarcastic? Probably. But I know there was some truth to it.

Welcome to Mundane.

Welcome to Mundane.

Categories: Being Married, Dogs, Farts, Potty Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peterbilt Turns 5

Peterbilt Turns 5.

I can’t believe Peterbilt has been destroying our lives for 5 years now. Man, time flies. It just seems like yesterday and Hubs and I had hopes and dreams of building a life together without destruction: Buying shoes and having them still exist years (or days) later, using savings towards home improvements instead of vet bills, expecting sass talk only to come once we had children, enjoying our pristine hardwood floors……ah so young. So naïve.

So we took our shoe-eating, knee-busting, sass-mouthing, pee pants bulldog Peterbilt on his ritual birthday trip to the buffet. Not as in Old Country. Noooo. No right-minded health inspector would ever allow a creature so foul to pass through restaurant doors. This is the dog buffet, or in other words, Chuck n’ Don’s Pet Food Outlet. For those of you that may be unfamiliar, it’s a franchised pet food store that leaves open buckets of treats and chews on the floor. Enough temptation to make even the most disciplined dog make his owner look like a total asshole. Peterbilt is no exception, but one woman that works there owns an Oldy and she feigns joy pretty well when we walk in.

We prepared to load Peterbilt in the car, him leaping and dancing around the car like it’s some rusted, worn down, fucking maypole, while I laid a towel on the backseat for him. Peter and I piled in and waited for Hubs. All the while, Peterbilt vocally expressed his frustration at my husband’s pokiness. He would have climbed into the seat and laid on the horn if I’d let him. “Let’s go!!!” he growled. “I need to get out of his hellhole for a spell!”

"Who's shoe does a Petuh have to eat to get dis show on da woad?"""

“Who’s shoe does a Petuh have to eat to get dis show on da woad?”””

Peter loves a good car ride for reasons most dogs usually don’t care about: people watching. While most dogs love the window down and the wind in their face, Peterbilt pulls his head back inside in disgust after we reach a speed over 20 miles an hour.

"Y u no drive slower?"

“Y u no drive slower?”

Peter, and Mack too, love to gaze out the window and wonder at buildings and trees, gawk at joggers with their dogs and watch the other cars and the people inside. This is probably due to the frequency at which people try to waive and talk to our dogs while were driving, which is very often. I watched a lady almost rear end the car in front of her while trying to strain to tell me that she liked my dog once. “He’s yours!”, I usually shout back at the strangers, which elicits a smile on their part but a dead-serious expression on mine. And they always drive away……

We arrived at the pet food store and Peter just couldn’t get out of the car fast enough. We walked inside and Peter took a sharp 90 degree left to the cage with a black cat inside, waiting for adoption. Peterbilt’s lack of experience with cats was apparent when he pressed his big, black wet nose up against the bars of the cage, undoubtedly giving the cat several short sprays of snot and wet whatnot.

"Y are da cuddly ones always dicks?"

“Y are da cuddly ones always dicks?”

The cat arched his back, hissed and swatted at Peter, which sent him running in the opposite direction. This was of great amusement for everyone in the store, including us. Peter peered out from behind my husband’s legs.

The rest of the time there was spent trying to physically restrain Peterbilt from eating $50 worth of dog biscuits.

Buffet Style

Buffet Style

It took both of us when he reached into the $25 antler bucket. “Whoa Nelly! We said you could have anything you wanted but what we really meant was anything you wanted under $20.”

I found a 24” long beef hide stick for $3.99 which seemed much more reasonable. Peter also got to peruse the clearance dog toy section and picked out a squeak toy. After I got tired of picking up every box of dog treats that Peter’s giant head knocked over, we decided to check out.

"Scuze me, suh. I'm just checking out your wares."

“Scuze me, suh. I’m just checking out your wares.”

Check out is calamity all it’s own. Years of experience at the check out line have taught Peterbilt it’s OK to jump up on the counter because he’ll get a treat.

"Petuh can has treats now?"

“Petuh can has treats now?”

If he’s feeling really rambunctious, he’ll even sneak behind the check out counter and rummage through the bags and packing tape in hopes to find the mother lode of treats. This is the point where you can tell what the cashier is really made of. Dog lovers will laugh and give him treats. True Dog Lovers will lead him out from behind the desk and once outside, make him sit for his treat. People posing as dog lovers express annoyance and shoot you a glare. This time, a very wise and patient gentleman made a game to get him off of the counter and tossed Peterbilt small treats, Peterbilt catching them mid air. Peterbilt was instantly in love and we were instantly grateful for this man’s cleverness.

We waved our good-byes. Peterbilt took another brief, cautious look at the black cat again and skittered out the door. Foreseeing a disaster on the drive home, I packed the new toys and treats in the truck. I’d rather put up with 10 minutes of bulldog pouting than 30 seconds of him gulping all of his treats down as fast as he can, throwing them back up in the car (hence the towel. Not our first rodeo) and re-eating the treats.

I’m happy to report that we managed to wear this bulldog out for the day, which is as much of a present to us as it is to him. A good dog is a tired dog. Happy Birthday, Peterbilt! Only 5 more to go! (I keed, I keed)

Categories: Dogs | 1 Comment

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