Thursday, May 7, 2015

A List of Mom's Antics While Dad's in Hospital

My best friend ran across and forwarded me an old email I had sent her in the days after my dad went into the hospital, but before the convict story or my taking over my parents' finances or their divorce or my wedding.  It details some of the little things I had forgotten. 

So my dad is in the hospital in Cleveland for the foreseeable future, which puts my mom back in charge of the finances (Dad had come up with a system for paying everything when she stopped paying bills, eating, and getting off the couch).  He had started digging them out of debt so that they were projected to actually be free of debt in five years.  Here is what my mom has done since he has been in the hospital:

1.  decided she has NPH, or Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
2.  went to the emergency room 3+ times
3.  decided to sue Cincinnati Medical Center for putting her in a psych ward and ignoring her NPH back when she stopped eating and getting off the couch
4.  found out she doesn't have NPH
5.  decided she had multiple sclerosis
6.  bought herself a $2300 bed and explained "if I've got a disease that will make me bed-ridden, I want to be comfortable.  I deserve this." 
7.  found out she doesn't have multiple sclerosis
8.  fell down and "broke [her] nose"
9.  bought a motorized scooter and explained that "walking is obviously hazardous to [her] health"
10.  made arrangements to buy a $3000 van from a woman in Queens so that she will have something to ride in when the degenerative disease gets into full swing (as she said today, the doctors ruled out NPH and MS, but she could still have Lou Gehrig's disease, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Parkinson's, or any other number of diseases that she has heard of on television -- she listed more but I can't remember them all)
11.  tried to convince me to drive said van from Queens to Cincinnati.  I said no, and she has decided my cousin will leave his job, wife, and young children to do it for her.  I'm pretty sure he doesn't know about this yet. 
12.  decided she could get Medicaid and cheap drugs if she divorced my father, so she went to see a lawyer about a "quickie divorce" while Dad is in the hospital
13.  saw an ad for refinancing home equity loans on the way to the lawyer's office and decided to do this instead
14.  demanded that my father get a fax number where she could send him the paperwork in the hospital so she could get his signature and refinance the loan the next morning.  got angry when she was told the fax wasn't coming through and said they (nurses?  I'm not sure who had the fax machine in the hospital) were lying.  found out two days later that her fax machine is broken.
15.  cancelled the non-profit program that had arranged for them to be out of debt in five years, because it was "too expensive" (note:  all money being paid into this program was paying off debts)

Where Are They Now?
Today she has decided she will use the $40,000 she expects from refinancing their home equity loan to fix up the house ("so I have somewhere nice to live when your dad dies"), to purchase back her parents house that they just sold for $35,000 and give it to them as a surprise gift ("yes, it will cost more than they sold it for, but it will be fixed up"), and to hire a personal care aide for herself since she will need someone to dress and feed her when the degenerative disease -- whichever one it happens to be -- finally kicks in.

My dad is pretty panicked in his hospital room in Cleveland with no way to do anything about this.  He never really paid attention to the finances before she gave them up, at least not to my knowledge, so it's distressing seeing him in this situation.  He doesn't know about 80% or so of the list above, and I want him to be aware of the stuff he might be able to prevent, but I don't want to freak him out since I think he'll heal faster if he calms down.  I'm glad for my situation, being out of there and all, but I wish I could do something to keep her from ruining the rest of his life.  I'm not sure what kind of situation they'd each be in if they did divorce -- surely the alimony would ruin them both, and he'd still be saddled with the debt she racked up.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that, shortly before #1 on the list, my mom canceled her medical insurance.

I made Thanksgiving travel plans finally and determined that I would not be able to tolerate actually being in the same house as that woman without snapping (I've been really docile on the phone -- you'd think I was on Valium or something, but in reality I just try not to pay too much attention to what she is saying), so I'm staying in a hotel in Cleveland and spending a few days with just my dad and fiance.  The hotel has an indoor pool, and there are a few restaurants in the area (it's in the outskirts of the city and we plan to stay in that area), so Michael* and I figure when we aren't hanging out at the hospital, we can pass the time in a leisurely fashion, and the hospital will probably be pretty calm too.  I'll miss not seeing friends in Cincy, but I really would not be able to handle her, plus she was insisting on accompanying me to Cleveland on the one day I'd get to see my dad.  It just wouldn't have worked.  I was really good today when I told her though, because when she accused me of loving him more than her and of not wanting to see her, I laughed and said, "You're being silly, Mommy," and explained calmly that my father has cancer and is in the hospital 4 hours from anyone he knows.  Even she knew that her retort of "that's what he wants!" was weak at best, and that her argument that he doesn't like people only holds for people he dislikes, like her.  

* The fiance.  This is not his real name.


  1. Oh my god... I love your blog. I'm reading every post in awestruck amazement.

    1. Thanks, Steve. That's pretty much what I was aiming for. :)