Surgery

My Dad had surgery on his badly broken foot last night.  The surgery went well and took almost 5 hours.  They put a few pins in and 2 plates. He didn’t get out of recovery until midnight, so I ended up not going to the hospital last night.  I get up at 6 am for work and I have just been exhausted lately.  My brother and sister-in-law were up there with my Dad’s girlfriend. He will have months of recovery and can’t put any weight on the left foot for 2 months.

So can someone please tell me why I feel so friggin guilty? Probably because I’m the girl and I’ve just always been the one who does ALL the caretaking. I guess I’m just having a rough week and I’m extra sensitive.  Doesn’t help that he was in the same hospital that my Mother-in-law was in having her hip surgery a month before she died 5 months ago. I don’t need a psychology degree to realize I’m avoiding certain feelings regarding grief and the eventuality of losing him some day.

He’s always been my rock and I need him more than I’d like to admit. We have been there for one another through everything.  That first year after my Mom died and he didn’t leave the house some days? He always called only me just to say he was still alive and so I didn’t worry.

Growing up when someone asked are you a Mommy’s girl or a Daddy’s girl? I never hesitated to say “BOTH!” LOL. I have always been close to both my parents and kept very few secrets from either of them.  I’ll never forget when I was about 5 and he took me to lunch so my Mom could clean the house on a Saturday. My brothers had gone to the movies with their friends. My Mom figured we’d go to McDonalds or something similar. But technically she didn’t specify lol. We went to this fancy and expensive restaurant with cloth napkins which is known for great steaks and lobster. Boy was she pissed when we got home and she had just finished eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Not that he had taken me there, but that we hadn’t brought her home any lobster 🙂

Well he was discharged a little while ago and I am going to the drugstore after work to pick up his prescriptions and then meeting them at his house.  I’m sure he is going to have some smart ass remark/joke about me not going to hospital last night lol. And that’s okay. I know he just feels more secure when I’m around as I do when he’s around. We’ve been through a lot together, more than most. My cancer, my Mom’s, the time I got roofied the night before Thanksgiving and stopped breathing on the way to the hospital with only he and I in the car and ended up on a respirator for 3 days. Oh and then the time when I was underage and got literally thrown out of a bar face first (not because I was underage because we all were but because I had given the bouncer a fake number a few weeks earlier). He thought he could do whatever he wanted because we were all underage and I guess they figured we’d never tell our parents. But like I said, I didn’t keep secrets from my parents. My Dad and brother made me take them right back while my friends waited at our house and point him out. The music stopped, the lights went on, and the bouncer tried to hide lol. He was a pretty big guy, over 6 feet, and my Dad just grabbed him by the neck, lifted him off the ground and made him apologize to me. My brother knew the bar owner and the rest of the bouncers/bartenders, so everyone hung back and just let him get what he deserved.

We’re family, always there for one another through thick and thin.  Yes, we drive one another nuts but we’re still there when it matters, no questions asked. And I think that’s what family means. More than simply a blood relation, it’s shared history and shared experiences. Family, friends, love, and laughter mean the most in life.  If you’re rich in those things, I think you’re pretty damn lucky.

 

 

 

 

ER Adventures

ER

Last week my Dad’s foot was swollen so he went to the nurse practitioner (his dr recently retired) who diagnosed him with cellulitis and prescribed antibiotics. A few days later, the foot and ankle were blown up so he went to the ER. They took an x-ray, diagnosed him with gout, prescribed steroids and released him WITHOUT READING THE X-RAY!!! Saturday morning, he just happened to listen to his home number’s answering machine and there was a message from the ER doctor telling him he needs to come back! WTF is wrong with these yahoos in the medical profession these days???? When I saw it, it was huge, with a cankle and his toes were so swollen, it looked like a pig’s foot 😦

Turns out he has multiple breaks and parts of bone fragments inside his foot. The ankle and foot bones have separated and he will need extensive surgery with pins, etc. But they cant do the surgery until the swelling goes down. They had put him in a hard cast the second time he was in the ER but now he’s in a boot. His poor girlfriend has been through the ringer this week lol. My 4 & 9 year-old nieces asked if they could sign his cast and why it wasn’t colored. He said they can sign it after he gets the surgery 🙂

I just cannot believe the level of incompetence in this whole comedy of errors. He’s been walking around on a broken foot for 2 weeks! I asked him how he could not have known it was broken? He banged it against a cabinet hard while at his girlfriend’s condo in Virginia, but never thought it was broken. And he has some neuropathy from diabetes. After looking at all the films and the MRI, the surgeon said he cannot understand how he is not screaming in agony. I have made him start taking the pain pills and they are helping.

So in the span of one week he went from having Cellulitis, Gout and now a really messed up and broken foot. They were supposed to be driving down to Florida this week, but I guess that’s probably not going to happen. Dad had said he doesn’t care what they have to do, next week he will be in Florida NO MATTER WHAT lol!  But that doesn’t seem possible now as they are talking multiple surgeries, months of no weight on that foot, rehab, etc.

I’m just glad that eventually he’s going to be okay and there’s nothing seriously wrong. He’s really upset and I could tell he feels guilty and crappy. I told him, it happened and it’s no one’s fault. Yes it sucks but he has to accept it because this is the reality. Although I will make sure he gets a bone density test run as soon as possible. After what happened with my MIL and the broken hip, I was nervous even though it was completely irrational.

He’s a tough old guy with an amazing capacity to see the humor and joy in life and he will be fine.  Oh and before I left his house last night, he said the pain pill made him feel so much better LOL.

 

 

My Grandma

My Grandma was always such a character, even from my earliest memories.  She never really did things that other Grandmothers did.  Instead of baking cookies, she made fried bologna sandwiches.  She was married 3 times, the second time being to my Grandfather. Then 40 years later, she had a brief marriage to his identical twin brother, my Great Uncle!!  Can you say ewww, creepy????

She was obsessed with visiting cemeteries where her loved ones were buried.  At age 5, Grandma and I went on an adventure alone to the cemetery.  Before we went, she stopped at Roy Rogers and got me a hamburger and fries so I was a happy camper.  By the time we got to the cemetery, it was late afternoon.  I had no idea what time cemeteries closed at that age and Grandma certainly wasn’t deterred by the late hour.

She took me all over to 3 different gravestones and told me stories about my ancestors.  It was actually pretty interesting and before we knew it, it was dark out.  Well I know now that most cemeteries close pretty early, and it was definitely past closing time.  So we were locked in and our car was outside the gates.

Grandma looked around and then found an exit with a cement wall rather than those black ominous looking spikes that were everywhere else.  I remember getting scared and that I started to cry.  She said don’t cry Emma you can jump it.  C’mon, I will help you!  And that’s exactly what she did lol. She helped me get over the fence and then she did the same.  I was so proud of my accomplishment and excited by our adventure that I failed to notice my Mom’s abject horror at the thought of her little girl scaling over a cemetery wall.  After a few other misadventures with Grandma, I noticed we pretty much stopped going places with her alone for a number of years lol.

She moved down to Florida after my Holy Communion in the 80’s and she never set foot back in New York again until she got Alzheimer’s at age 83 and we brought her up to live with us for the last 2 years of her life. Grandma might have had a stroke and couldn’t remember where she was but she NEVER lost her spirit. One night following dinner, shortly after she arrived, she said, “This is great! I have everything I need. Except I need a man.”  My Mom had gone up to change her clothes, so it was just my Dad and I at the table with her. My Dad spit out his coffee he was laughing so hard and I just said, “Grandma, you were married 3 times! I think you’ve had enough men lol”. She said, “I was? Wow, that’s a lot huh?”

Then there was the Sunday morning I woke up to my Mom’s shrieks and ran downstairs like a bat out of hell without even thinking. Sitting in the middle of the foyer on the floor was my Grandma, completely covered head to toe in her own poop.  It was already so caked on she looked like a brown clay person. Little known fact. Poop doesn’t really smell when it’s dried like clay lol. To make matters worse, she had left a trail from one end of the very large downstairs of the house to the other! Did I mention we had white carpet in the formal dining room n living room? My Mom called my Dad who was working and he calmed her down a little.  I got my Mom a cup of coffee and asked her did she want to take the house or Grandma? One of us would have to clean the house and the other would have to clean Grandma. Since I wasn’t looking forward to either task, I thoughtfully let her choose. She said she would take the house, so upstairs I took Grandma to put her in the tub. It took over an hour and a half to get her totally clean and the whole time she just kept saying over and over, “I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it!” which I found pretty hysterical because come on! LOL So as I was toweling her off and putting a new set of clothes on her, she said “You’re a good girl, I want you to have the house.” I said this house (knowing my parents in fact owned it and always had)? She said yes. I said thanks and we all got a chuckle out of it when I told the rest of the family. Well about a week later I was stopping Grandma from throwing chicken bones out on the front lawn when she said, I don’t like you, get away from me! My Mom, the original smart ass (see I come by it honestly), turned to me and said, “Oh well, guess you’re not getting the house!” LOL!!!!

It was difficult taking care of her at the end, even with all of us pitching in. But I’m so glad that we did. In her lucid moments, I really got to know her more than I ever had before. And I treasure those memories, good and bad. When my Mom got sick, we had already worked as a team, my Dad, Mom and I, all those years ago. It made it much easier to work together again to help get her well and then at the end to keep her comfortable. I know many things happen for a reason and I’m glad my Mom couldn’t just put her Mom in a home. She showed me that even things that seem way too difficult can be good for us and that we should always take care of the people we love.

Family, Grief and Strength

family isn't always blood

It’s been 2 1/2 weeks since my Mother-in-law died very suddenly and unexpectedly.  In a week she went from being completely healthy to dying of stage 4 ovarian cancer.  The only blessing is she never really knew she was sick.  By the time we knew it was cancer, she was already in hospice.

I’ve just been exhausted physically and emotionally. We’re all Catholic so the wake was Friday day n night. Then Sat morning was the funeral mass at church then the burial. Then we had a lunch at a restaurant. We rented the whole place so it was nice.

Neither of my husband’s brothers or sister are really spiritual (I have lovingly called them heathens for years n my Mother in law used to laugh lol) so I planned the funeral mass. It was beautiful and sweet. Just what she would’ve wanted. No hypocritical church bullshit lol. The priest looked like and sounded exactly like the actor from those old 7 up commercials. My H said his Mom would’ve really liked him.  I thought so too.

I was sitting there in the front on the aisle because I had to do a reading because my brother-in-law changed his mind which I understood.  It really hit me right them, standing near her covered casket and I started crying silently, the tears pouring down my face.  My H took my hand and squeezed while putting his arm around me.  Then of course I felt horrible that he had to comfort me because it was his Mom we lost. But just when I felt so weak and broken, I turned around and looked back at the church.  There a few rows back was my family!!   I knew they would all come to the wake. But I was so surprised and happy to see my Dad, his girlfriend, my brothers n sis in laws, even my cousin at the church. My Mom would’ve wanted that but I was so grateful and it gave me so much comfort and strength.  I know they are all very busy, except my Dad who’s retired, so the fact that they were all there for me?  It helped my heart tremendously and lifted my spirit more than words can ever say.  That’s why even if we drive each other nuts or piss each other off, it doesn’t matter.  When push comes to shove, we are always there for each other and that will never change.  I know how truly blessed and lucky I am to have them in my life.  I’m going to my brother’s house later for a birthday party for my nephew.  They will all be there and I will definitely tell them since I don’t tell them nearly enough how much they mean to me lol.

Life is so short! All that matters is love, family, friends, laughter, joy n yes passion n great sex lol. I know everything does happen for a reason and I am so grateful that I was here for my H when he needed me most. I will continue to be here for him.  But if January comes and there’s still not improvement in the sexless part of our marriage? I will not be living without love, sex and passion and that is non-negotiable.

My Dad

I know I write a lot about my Mom but I hope I also share how wonderful my Dad is. He’s 6’4, a big but gentle man and has always been laid back and pretty hysterical.  He likes to tell stories and jokes. One of the best gifts he gave me has been my ability to always find the humor in ANY situation. He’s very sweet, loving, kind and he has always been 100% supportive of those he loves. 

He grew up in Brooklyn with his older brother and sister. His Dad, a longshoreman, was killed when he was 9 months old. Fortunately, his Mom was a smart and strong woman, ahead of her time. She died when he was 16.

People tell me he changed a lot when he met my Mom. He let down his walls and totally let her in to his heart. She had that ability to tear down walls because like me, she didn’t see them lol. But it took courage to risk losing someone he loved with all his heart. I’m glad he is a brave man.

He coached my softball team from when I was 5-10. Anyone will tell you coaching young girls is not an easy task lol. In the beginning he actually bribed us with bubble gum. He was always kind, patient and he made us all laugh.

He’s a big, tough guy from Brooklyn who I never saw cry til I was in my 30s (a story for another time). So when I got sick and we found out it was severe clinical depression, he was definitely not naturally equipped to know how to act or what to say. But he read what my Mom showed him and learned almost immediately how to help and support me. He also made me laugh when I no longer thought it possible 🙂

When my Mom was sick and we were taking care of her, it sometimes got very stressful and we would get angry. But we couldn’t tell her, so once in a while we’d get mad at each other for the stupidest things lol. Probably not the best way, but we always laughed and apologized soon after.

One time he said something that hurt me very much in my very sensitive state and I mumbled under my breath, “I wish it was you”. Now my Dad wears hearing aids, is almost completely deaf and he wasn’t wearing them. But he heard and I hung my head in shame. He put his finger under my chin and made me look at him. He said “So do I sweetheart, so do I. So don’t ever feel bad for feeling that way. She’s your Mom, your best friend and your soul. I will try to be your best friend too.”

We will always be very close and bonded by what we went through. Only the 2 of us were there when she passed. He adored and loved her for 42 years. He could’ve easily given up when she died. I know he wanted to. But he didn’t for my brothers and I. And for their grandkids who mean everything. It wasn’t easy and it took a few years, but he is happy and doing well.

He met a widow from down South and they spend half their time here and half there. She’s a great lady who never ever tries to be anything other than who she is. Just like my parents, she had a wonderful love with her husband and nothing can replace that. But life must go on. They have fun together and laugh a lot.

My Dad has taught me to be strong and resilient. He also taught me laughter is more powerful than any drug and joy is a recipe for happiness.

My H and I are taking them out to dinner soon and I will take the time to thank him for always being there and for helping to make me the good person I am.

Happy Father’s Day!!!!

Communions & Memories

Saturday was my niece’s Holy Communion.

She is such a wonderful little girl and I am so happy to be part of her life.  I figure I only have a few more years before she no longer jumps up and down in excitement almost every week when I see her. Let me tell you just how kind, sensitive and loving she is.  When she was 5 and she learned about how the economy wasn’t all that great, she left out $1 for the TOOTH FAIRY!!  LOL  She asked her Mom to help her attach a note saying that she was worried that he might not have enough money to give to all the children who had lost a tooth and she felt he could use the money more than she could.

One of the last photos I have of my Mom is her with my 2 year old niece.  Her smile is so bright, it could light up the sky.  She was happier than I had ever seen her whenever she was around her and my nephew.  All she ever wanted to be was a wife, a mom and then a grandmother.  Just the simple pleasure of being able to see the kids whenever she wanted made her complete.  Sometimes I wonder if she had any idea she was or would become sick.  Because she packed a lifetime into just a few years with them.

I wish she was here to see my niece today, but I have no doubt she is looking down and smiling.  Family is so important and the older I get, the more I believe this.  It doesn’t just have to be the family you were born into.  It is also the one you create with the people that you love and care about.

Out of the Fog

What made me love him so much? Why did I completely romanticize our relationship? Yes he was gorgeous, funny and sweet. But he was also self-absorbed, negative and extremely neurotic. And he took so much more than he gave.

Despite the fact that his father physically abused him for years and his Mother mentally abused him, he has never confronted either about the abuse and sees them daily. He said it’s quite common for 100% Italians who came from Italy and settled in the Bronx. My father-in-law is 100% Italian and was not ever abused or abusive so I call BULLSHIT. His father was a functioning alcoholic and his Mom was raised by an aunt

I come from an amazingly loving and supportive family who are very close. But any 45 year-old man whose mother repeatedly strolls into his house with a spare key (for emergencies yeah right lol) and right into his bedroom without even knocking? This guy has some serious Mommy issues!

It’s not a family, it’s a dysfunctional creepy cult led by a Mom who literally stalks him day after day until he gives in and does what she wants. But because they smile pretty for the camera and put on a happy face in public, the facade continues.

How is it that his mother, wife and daughter are all controlling psychotic bullies? I only wish I had known all this in the beginning. The sickest part was the way he constantly sought approval from this family that just weren’t kind, supportive or loving.

I thought he had to be making them seem worse than they really were. So a bunch of times he would put the phone on speaker, hold it or put it in his pocket so I could hear. He wasn’t embellishing! But they are all he has and all he knows.

The final straw? When he changed his cell number without even an email or text months after we broke up. I had told him not to contact me again and he agreed. She had been wanting him to change his number for months. He promised if he did, he’d let me know before he did it. I said it’s fine if you do.Just shoot me an email so I’m not surprised. He didn’t. That was 2 months ago.

Foolishly, in a weak moment, I dialed him from a restricted number just to hear his voice. So stupid, I know. That’s how I found out it was changed. I didn’t think it was possible to be anymore hurt and disappointed. I was wrong.

I immediately lost it and called him at home. He usually would be alone. His friggin Mom answered at 11am on a Thursday! Can we say Norman Bates? I just hung up, horrified and feeling totally out of control. He called me back and said he thought it would make it easier for both of us. Yeah right!

I never ever felt like a dirty mistress until that day. And I knew in that moment, I would never ever put my battered, broken heart through this ever again.

It was my first and last affair. Affairs only seem like a good idea when you are in one.

Upcoming Birthday

Birthday
A week from tomorrow will be my 40th birthday. I have never minded growing older but this is a difficult one for me. It’s hard sometimes to just enjoy the journey of life instead of getting caught up in expectations of what your life should be. But I have faith that the best is yet to come.

The only birthday present I want from him is his continued disappearance from my life. Yes it hurts terribly but at least the pain will eventually subside. He lives in a world full of dysfunction and misery. I don’t want any part of it anymore. I owe it to both of us to find happiness elsewhere and never look back. There’s nothing there for me with him any longer. All they want is to control and manipulate for their own selfish reasons. Living with people like that would’ve driven me insane. They saw him day after day, week after week, miserable and in pain. But did they care that he was unhappy? No they didn’t and they still don’t.

That bitch of a mother is a disgrace to all mothers. She should be ashamed of herself! What kind of mother tells her son that if he leaves her for me, he will be disowned. And that he will end up a bum in the street alone. She is NOT a good mother, woman or human being. But what kind of 45 year-old man lets other people run his life and make his decisions?

I don’t think I ever really thought about the fact that all he knows about family is fear and manipulation through life-long abuse, threats, lies, and bullying. Well, I thought about it but didn’t realize what kind of damage it caused. All I have known is love, acceptance, kindness and unconditional support. It was completely naive and unrealistic to think my love and devotion could heal a lifetime of scars.