Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Alone With Her

This blog is updated because a reader caught me "rewriting history" even though I didn't mean to. I will highlight the parts that I changed and if you are curious what set this in motion, please read Martha's comment and my reply to her.
My Mom is coming to visit in three weeks. I want to feel excited and I do feel excited but I feel nervous, too.

We have not been alone since her nervous breakdown.

This past Christmas we talked about my Mom and Dad coming to visit me here in California because my older sister wasn't coming home. Then my younger sister decided she'd like to go have Christmas with my older sister. I didn't want to go back to that house, where it all happened and where I had not been since it happened, and be all alone.

So I invited my parents here. Then the fear came. What if she had another "episode?" Where would I take her? Would they accept her insurance? (I'm very practical.) How would we get her home after?

I thought how I reacted when it first happened the Christmas before last... and it didn't make me feel very capable of being able to handle anything happening to her this Christmas. I'm not quite ready to describe exactly what went on that night, I will just say that I burst into tears and when running for my little sister.

My mother came after me, downstairs. The things she was saying were just... crazy and frightening and even though I can now reason, that was not her, she was not there... all I could do was run, past her and up the stairs to get my father.

E and I had just taken him out to lunch that day to say, "Something is wrong. Something is very wrong." He insisted it wasn't, Mom was fine. He said we should do a toast to all his girls being home. We did and he said, "Don't clink any booze outta my glass."

I know. I mean, he was kidding. But we were all kidding ourselves. Hiding. Having a drink during the day to deal with what would come just that night.

What's strange is, I have no memory of what happened just before it happened. That seems so unbelievable. It was late, why were we all up? Something must have made it happen? What was it?

But it was me who burst into tears and E who sprang into action. First with the plan to get her into bed, then to drug her so we could come up with a better plan. Then hunting and pecking all over the house to find all of my Mom's pills.

I was hiding down in E's bedroom when she brought them to me. There were 6 or 7 bottles. E, "All different doctors." What? Some were anti-depressants. Some were anti-anxiety. Some were sleeping pills. Then E got out my Mom's date book with phone numbers and just started calling. She didn't care that it was 1:00am. She was a private detective, on a mission, trying to put the pieces together of how my Mom, a therapist herself had conned so many doctors into prescibing conflicting meds. Yeah, she's a therapist... so that's probably how.

I did end up pulling my end. It's amazing how we fall into our strengths. E was good with the factual stuff. The talking to doctors, the calling of my Mom's friends to see who knew what when (and shockingly, they all knew, for a very long time...). I was good at cooking for my Mom, sitting with her, keeping her on a schedule.

But I wished I had been E. She had the strength. Although, I did one day (this automatically brings a smile to my face) go into my father's bedroom while he was sleeping, rip off the covers and he jolted awake. "What? What?" he said. I said, "You knew this has been going on for a year. We're not playing this your way anymore. We're playing it my way. And if you back down to anything E or I say, we're getting on a plane and leaving you to handle this all alone."

"Okay, okay," he said.

I had to leave the room, because I was so shocked he went along with it. I didn't want him to see the surprise on my face.

So I guess I have to remember that part of me when she comes out here. I can handle it. I can handle anything.

This blog is dedicated to readers who leave comments after feeling a little awkward that the blogger may have just revealed a wee too much about her family.


adventure grrl said...

Hi, It's me. Just wanted to say, my Mom called today and said, the cheapest ticket she could get meant she'd have to stay the longest - TEN DAYS!!!! Wha???? It was either reach for a bottle of Chardonnay and a Klonopin or take care of this myself.

I'm at the library near a heavy breather looking up flights RIGHT NOW. PS, what is a 60 year old guy doing on MySpace????

And where can I sanitize my hands after using this computer????

SweetFightGirl said...

My thing wasn't a breakdown with my mom but something equally frightening by the sounds of it...it was the night my Dad kicked us out when I was only just-13 and my brother was only nine. I have no idea who babysat us that night before he kicked us out at three in the morning I just remember I had to take charge and get things in order. I guess that means I am like E?But it does suck to be like her too because for the rest of your life people expect you to be that way and now that it is my turn to be sick no one gets that I need an E and a girl like you to be a good friend depending on my day. :-) Nice writing.

I am writing my piece on inspiration tonight and hope to get it on my new blog tomorrow.

Big hug and lotsa courage,
- sweetfightgirl

SweetFightGirl said...

Wait so how do you feel now? Are you prepared for all this?

thesleepycat said...

oh my gosh, wow. i can't even begin to imagine how that must feel. well, I sort of can, since I've had the occasional majorly dysfunctional family episode. but your mom was obviously very very sick.
I hope everything goes okay when she comes! maybe you could try to spend a lot of time with her with *other* people as well, so it won't be so scary/awkward with just the 2 of you. as for cheap flights, orbitz.com has always worked well for me. make sure to shuffle around the dates/times a little (like leaving a day earlier/later can make a couple hundred dollars difference, so weird but true!), and try different locations to fly in/out of based on how many airports are in practical driving distance from you and your mom.
good luck... and whatver you do, keep running your pen across those pages (both virtual and real) :)

hope&laughter said...

You could try kayak.com for comparison pricing on airline tickets. Good luck sounds like you need it way more than I do.

adventure grrl said...

Thanks for all your comments guys! Sweetfightgirl - I think I'm doing good... to me, it's all about the preparation and not just rolling over and letting "fear" drive this trip - hence being proactive about booking the ticket!

I'll keep you guys posted. She already told me today she was excited to talk about something called "eharmony" and "It's not a meat market like match.com!

Save me!

One Last Milkshake... said...

OK, I finally started a (new) blog so I can leave you nifty notes that actually lead back somewhere. I've been thinking about the ever present barriers a lot lately so perhaps a post on that will come soon. It's not so personal, just kind of something people keep making me aware of.

In other news, I lived in Spain for 9 months and the people in the internet cafes were super sketch! I saw waaaay more porn than I ever wanted to. Yuck. I feel your pain.


lindz said...

Man alive.
As a fellow sufferer of "mother issues", I'm amazed and inspired by your strength. 10 days is a crazy amount of time. Advice besides pill popping and booze chasers: Take every day as it comes, reach out for help if you need it (E seems like she's your rock) & enjoy, enjoy, enjoy the time you spend. Who knows when you'll see her next after this?


Anonymous said...

Everyone has their strengths - and it sounds like your sister works well under pressure. She can take charge and see the situation through.

...although, I'm sure there are situations that scare the shit out of her too! :) Situations that you might handle really well.

For your Mom's 10 day extravaganza - find out EVERYTHING that's going on during those days, and just stay as busy as possible. The time will fly by, and you'll be able to talk about all that you did and saw, rather than past stuff that's not going to change.

She'll also probably feel quite special that you researched all of this great stuff for her trip! :) It's a double bonus!

Anonymous said...

Dear Adventure grrl,
We all have the past, it is something we have to draw strength from and move on. I had a similar incident with my mom, my parents were divorced, my dad had gone back to college basically to screw as many coeds as he could. My mom was alone with my sister, my brother, and me, she was completely overwhelmed. About a week before christmas she packed up her stuff and my brothers stuff and just walked out the door. My sister and I didn't even know what to do, my dad was away with the Clark County Community college student government on a screwing coeds trip and we were all alone. She took my brother because both of my parents wanted him, my father because he is middle easter (not the bad kind, assyrian and greek orthodox) and my mother because it would piss my father off. I was 12 and my sister was 15 so we gathered up as much money as we could find around the house and went to the store to buy macoroni and cheese because there was no food in the house, my mom had stopped shopping because it was too much. We had to borrow milk from a neighbor. We tried to put together the Christmas tree but we couldn't. It was really tough for a couple of days till we tracked down our dad. I am 39, I love both of my parents, I understand why my mom did what she did. It wasn't easy for her to be recently divorced with 3 kids and an ex-husband screwing 20 year olds. I hope this wasn't to blunt or I don't know too uncomfortable for you to read I just wanted you to know that you are not alone with parent issues.


Julia said...

Don't worry about not having the same talents or strengths as your sister. You have to remember that we are never given more than we can handle. At that moment, you could handle staying put, being brave, and not running away. Your sister could handle different tasks. They are both equally important and valid. Stay strong...and remember take deep breaths before, during, and after your mom's visit. It's going to be okay.

Anonymous said...

hey! I'm really sorry about what happened with your mom. it was definately a hard time for you and i can't imagine what I'll do if I were you
but there is one thing in your post that I really didn't like
"If you irresponsibly prescribed meds to my Mom, you were gonna get woken out of bed by my sister. "
I mean if your mom went to so many different psychiatrist how could they know she is using other meds? she probably lied a lot to them and after all doctors are just humans and they can't see through every lie...
I'm not attacking anyone, it's just my first thought after reading your post...


Natalia said...

"Would they accept her insurance? (I'm very practical.)"

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has thoughts like this run through her head during a potential crisis run-through! :)

adventure grrl said...

Dear Martha,

Thank you so much for your comment. Here it is in part: "...but there is one thing in your post that I really didn't like "If you irresponsibly prescribed meds to my Mom, you were gonna get woken out of bed by my sister. "

I mean if your mom went to so many different psychiatrist how could they know she is using other meds? she probably lied a lot to them and after all doctors are just humans and they can't see through every lie..."

You know what, you are totally right. And what's weird is, we knew within days that my Mom lied to all the different doctors. I don't know why I remembered the story differently. Maybe in an effort to protect my Mom.

I was thrown when I read your comment because there is such a... standard of my family "rewriting history" which I HATE and always promise never to do. AND THEN I DID IT. But it was toally not meant to deceive - it was subconscious.

Anyway, I love your comment because it really made me think. And also, I am going to correct the post right now.

Lisa said...

Okay, OKay, OKAy OKAY! There is no way no how I would leave this blog after the (clearly charted) hours I have spent here without making a COMMENT!


Anyway, that is exactly what I have been doing -- reading your ENTIRE blog and I love how you explain things and I love how I identify with you (and we have the same blog layout, pretty in pink!) and I thank you for sharing your journey (ongoing of course) and I am not afraid to read your deepest, darkest thoughts NOR am I afraid to comment on them.

CHALLENGE!!!! :) (come on, you must have more!)

Anonymous said...

hehe it's just different perscpective :) probably because I'm the medical student. and you can't even imagine how many patients lie. when I was working in the hospital (holidays and with no pay....uuugggghhhh ) that was something that always confused me. Good thing I had the advantage I could always ask doctors and I wasn't responsible for anything. I think it's the easiest to lie to psychiatrists and although they should be extra careful they have to trust patients to some extent. otherwise they could never prescribe anything


Anonymous said...

oh I forgot to say that I'm really happy you weren't offended by my comment :)