December 13th, 2011

crossed heart

what to expect when you’re expecting the worst

Originally published at Cassie Alexander. You can comment here or there.

I called my real dad on the way home from up north this morning. His girlfriend's son assaulted him last night.

It's funny being a nurse. I see bad things happen every day. But there's still a "those-things-happen-to-other-people" shield around me, or at least inside my head. Until things like this happen, and I don't know what to do.

He's five states away. He's drunk. According to him, he deserved it, and knowing him, I bet he did. And now he's sitting around at 11 AM drunk, watching La Dolce Vita, which is amazingly ironic, heh.

I don't know what to do. I know he's brittle from all the alcohol -- he thinks he has broken ribs, and he might. In my head, there's all the super bad things, pneumothoraces and embolisms, that could happen after a fight. It wasn't even a fair fight though. Apparently they pushed him down and then kicked him in his chest.

Do I call 911? For a fight that happened last night? I told him it's not OK, because it's not, and that he should call 911 or me next time, but i don't know if he will. Has this happened other times? Will it happen again? What can I do?

I just wanted to see what he wanted for Christmas, and to call early enough that I caught him before he got drunk.

He's been circling the drain lately. Moreso than at other, prior, times. He doesn't have a job anymore -- and is unlikely to get one, being a 65 yr old chain smoking alcoholic in a rural area -- and that's bad for him. We're sort of the same in that way -- when left to our own devices, we crib on the stall like a bored horse. Or like a parrot that plucks out its own feathers. Quiet is no good. I always have writing, but he doesn't have anything left to do.

And rehab's a lost cause. You have to want to rehab, and more significantly (based on my nursing experience) you have to have something to want to rehab for. He doesn't have anyone or anything. I can't be the person who looks after him. Not if he can't even do the basics of looking after himself.

I called my folks, my wonderful mother and my glorious stepdad. (That is not irony there. Those are just adjectives and fair comparisons. My stepdad's pretty much the reason I'm alive today. I was a really depressed kid.) My mom was supportive, and my stepdad was too. And then I called my uncle, who's dealt with more fall out from my real dad recently, and who saw him over Thanksgiving. He said he'd call him later today to see -- but also expressed a wish to not have to be dealing with all this, again. Not putting it on me though -- everyone was way cool -- just wishing, as I also do, that somehow we'd wake up and he'd magically be better on his own.

It was one thing when he needed financial or emotional bail outs. My grandmother and I were good for those. But I can't protect him if he won't protect himself. And I'm so scared what'll happen next time he gets drunk and they have a stupid fight and get out of hand. I've only met his girlfriend twice, and never met her son. I don't really know them. I have her number, but I'm not sure what good calling her would do. I'm amazed she's stuck it out with him this long.

My uncle (who is a doctor, and who has seen his share of this) says he'll just wind up in a hospital soon. My mom, after we were done talking, called me back to be straight with me, and tell me that I shouldn't be surprised if someday he winds up dead. He's always been suicidal. Something, from multiple conversations with him once he was already drunk, I already knew.

Frankly, i don't know what I want. There's not a wake up call big enough to shake him out of his rut. I know he's just one case of pneumonia or one DUI into a tree (I hope, as opposed to another car) away from the end, anyhow. Somedays I'm awful and I wish it would hurry up and come, because the waiting to see what happens while I watch him fall hurts.

I wonder if when something big happens, anyone will know who to call. Or if I'll just call some day and he won't pick up the line, and then what.

I can't tell my brother, because it would make him sad -- there's no reason to share it with him that isn't selfish of me. And I can't tell my sister because she's estranged from me, largely because I do still talk to our Dad, who she already disowned. My folks are understanding, but they also want to protect me. I just want to do what is right, but there's nothing I can do, it seems like. There's never been anything I could do. No matter how many times I've tried.

I'm sick now, I have a head cold and now I'm depressed, so I think I'm just going to crawl in bed for the day.

I just wanted to get all this off my chest. Again. Thanks for listening.