Tuesday, 22 January 2013

08:03 – Things are not going well with Barbara’s parents. Her dad is doing okay physically and mentally, about as well as can be expected, but Barbara’s mom can’t cope with the fact that Barbara’s dad is going to die sooner or later, probably sooner. Her mom told Barbara yesterday that she needs someone to stay with her 24 hours a day, which just isn’t going to happen. Her mom is desperate to do something, anything, to keep Barbara’s dad from dying, even though there’s obviously nothing at all she or anyone else can do. So she pesters Barbara’s dad constantly, making his life miserable, ordering him to do this or that or not to do the other thing. Her mom hovers over her dad every minute, determined to control a situation that’s uncontrollable.

The stress on Barbara and her sister is incredible. I told Barbara last night that she and Frances need to give top priority to maintaining their own physical and mental well-being. The two of them working together are just barely able to keep a lid on the situation now. One or the other of them is over there every day, sometimes both of them, and sometimes more than once. If one of them breaks under the strain, things will be unmanageable.

I told Barbara last night that I’m hoping that for Barbara’s mom anticipation turns out to be worse than the reality. That is, I’m hoping that when Barbara’s dad does eventually die, her mother will finally accept reality and be able to grieve and then get on with her own life. But for now the situation is pure torture for everyone involved.

23 thoughts on “Tuesday, 22 January 2013”

  1. So this is still going on; any possibility of some kind of meds to alleviate the anxiety and panic with the mom, and possibly also for the caregivers? At this rate someone is going to break before the dad finally dies.

    Our thoughts (and prayers, of course) are with you all; we have a pretty good idea what this is like.

  2. Barbara and her sister are taking her mom to the neurologist Wednesday. He’s changed her medication already, and I suggested to Barbara that when she speaks privately to the doctor she ask him if they can load her mom up with a high dosage of drugs to keep her as tranquil as possible. Barbara’s mom is manic-depressive to start with, so even under normal circumstances it’s a fine balancing act. With the stress Barbara’s mom is under now, I don’t know if it’ll even be possible to keep her in some kind of balance.

    From what Barbara’s said, the doctors just don’t know how long her dad will last. It could be days, weeks, or months, but they think there’s a high probability it’ll be shorter rather than longer. It’s been three weeks now since they said he could die at any time. If this lasts weeks more, let alone months, I don’t know how Barbara and her sister, let alone her mother, will be able to take it.

  3. I know exactly what this is like…

    Barbara’s mother is not only fearful for Dutch’s life, but her own mortality. Many elderly do not survive for long after their spouse passes away.

    It takes an immense amount of strength to “stay strong” during these times, but that is the row Barbara and her sister must now hoe. They’re both going to need a holiday after this ordeal is past.

    My thoughts are with you all.

  4. Yes, that’s a concern as well. My dad died in 1990, and we were concerned that my mom would soon follow him. We redid the finished area of our basement as a granny apartment, partially because my mom was disabled and couldn’t really live on her own, but also because we were concerned about her pining away over there by herself. But my mom was physically frail but mentally tough. Barbara’s mom is frail both physically and mentally. I guess we’ll just do all we can do within reason. My main concern at this point is that Barbara’s parents don’t drag her and Frances down with them.

  5. Found some unclaimed property for my uncle, the spouse of my aunt who recently died. He passed away in 1993 in Washington state. Now I am trying to provide proof to the state of Oregon that he died. They are too lazy to look up death records in another state or query the SSI system. Getting a copy of a death certificate using the online system is $37.00. Sending in a paper request is only $20.00. Dipwads. Or they will accept as proof an obituary from the paper, of course the paper wants money and exact date it appeared which I don’t know. So now I am contacting the funeral home to see if they can provide documentation for less than $20.00.

    I guess it is worth the effort for two claims of $47.00 each. I have half a mind to just tell the state no thanks you can keep your new found wealth. Hope it helps balance your budget.

  6. Hmmmm….sounds like somebody needs a hug!

    Or an attitude adjustment.

    Someone should be *happy* to help a state balance its budget.

    And I think I can detect that mean old sarcasm thing going on.

    Shame on you!

  7. Someone should be *happy* to help a state balance its budget.

    Dear State,

    Pleas don’t spend anymore money than you take in.

    Thank you
    A Taxpayer

  8. I like his use of “Pleas” instead of “Please”. I beg my MLAs and MPs not to blow the budget, too!

  9. Well, I got my new 30 year home mortgage locked in at 3.75% today. We close Jan 30. I’m carrying a second mortgage for 10% of the purchase price until I get my present house sold in a month or two or ten. That is 15 years at 5.99%. Or I may repave the 1500 foot road on my commercial property and get rid of that stupid gravel dust plume when you drive up or down it.

    If you had told me 5 years ago that we would have these kind of mortgage rates today, I would have called you a fool. Amazing.

    I am thinking about FSBO’ing our present house instead of listing it. I’ve told the two realtors living within a block of me that I am moving. They are jumping up and down in joy. We had not had any homes for sale in our neighborhood of 254 homes since last August until last week. And that bad boy is beautifully updated and priced at $106/ft2 without a pool:

    My house has not been updated. I’ve been pricing out the update costs and am at $25K so far with another $25K to go probably. Not gonna happen for half of it! I was shooting for a price of $97/ft2 for my 3,585 ft2 house but I’ve been worried that it is too high. Maybe not.

  10. Pleas? Anymore?

    Sheeeesh. Fast typing, slow brain and lack of proof reading.

  11. That agent looks fairly cute.

    My elder nephew and his wife are divorcing, and have to sell their place in the suburbs of Adelaide. They started asking $700k, which I thought was completely unrealistic. They are down to $649k now, which is at least $100k more than I’d pay. I wish them well.

  12. That agent isn’t so cute.

    Five bedrooms.


    Four full bathrooms and two half?


    To paraphrase Edward Longshanks “Texas is quite a nice place, apart from the Texans.”

    Just joking Lynn… 🙂

  13. Bob,

    “From what Barbara’s said, the doctors just don’t know how long her dad will last. It could be days, weeks, or months, but they think there’s a high probability it’ll be shorter rather than longer. It’s been three weeks now since they said he could die at any time. If this lasts weeks more, let alone months, I don’t know how Barbara and her sister, let alone her mother, will be able to take it.”

    Maybe it is time to get the help of Hospice? I’ve heard good reports of their care.

    We think of you and Barbara in this trying time.

  14. It’s strange, what people will try to sell their houses for. There’s a house here that was built about 5 years ago; it’s small, with a nice view of the valley (but only from the top floor, as the lower floor sees only the next house). At a guess, I’d say they paid around $700,000 for the house (mainly because land prices here are very expensive).

    The owners then spent the next three years putting in a *huge* oriental-style pond. Did it all themselves; it takes up most of their yard. I figure ponds are like swimming pools: they don’t really change the value of the house, just the set of people who may be interested in it. Definitely a matter of taste. Anyhow, they have now put the house on the market for (IIRC) $3 million.

    There’s another place nearby, around a hundred years old (which is not at all unusual here), but built in the style of a Victorian castle. Comes with a lot of land as well, but apparently the place is in desperate need of renovations. On the market for $5 million. Nuts.

    We are going to have trouble selling this place, when the time comes. It’s a huge house, by Swiss standards, originally built for a family of six with three live-in servants. We fill it out because my wife uses the entire ground floor for her business. However, we aren’t really in a business zone, so only “quiet” businesses like a doctor or attorney practice would be allowed to operate here. However a normal business is not going to want the grounds that come with the place. I reckon it will take us a couple of years to find someone with the right set of needs…

    Hey, editing works again!

  15. Thanks. I’ve mentioned hospice to Barbara. The next time Dutch goes to the emergency room, it’s quite possible they’ll discharge him to hospice.

  16. “Hey OFD, now here is a rich man’s house for sale:”

    Ya know, even if we HAD that kinda money, we’d never buy a house like that; in fact, now that there’s just the two of us aging old farts, we are quite happy with our small footprint and only 1,400 SF; less to have to clean and keep squared away and worry about.

    If we actually did have that kinda money, we’d first dump most of it off to kids and grandkids and the Church. Maybe my siblings and their kids and her cousins. (she’s an only child.) If we still had a bunch of coin, we’d probably invest in farmland, silver and gold.

    As we get older, it takes less and less to make us happy and comfortable. We get a kick out of watching the cats, observing the night sky and local wildlife, plus discovering all kinds of birds we’ve never seen before. Also x-c skiing, hiking, canoeing, or just hanging out listening to the radio and reading. Yes, it’s an exciting life up here on the frontier…

  17. Hey OFD, now here is a rich man’s house for sale:

    Bring the BIG check book for $1.3M. That house is about 15 miles away from mine. And the seller is Brian Cushing, star linebacker for the Houston Texans football team.

    Shoot, I can find a house around here that’s too big for us for a mere $152,000. I have a talent for finding such properties. It should be a $200,000+ house. I took one look at it online and said, “What’s wrong with it, does it have mold in the basement?” Fifteen minutes of poking around on the the Internet, and I found out it did indeed have mold in the basement.

  18. It’s one thing to have mold in the basement but to have it also in the upstairs walls and ceilings is pretty bad; we had that in one rental house and saw it in others that were for sale. Then there are the houses with restless ghosts….more than a few here on the Frontier….one right in town and I’ve checked out the place, too.

  19. OFD said on 23 January 2013 at 12:12
    “…we are quite happy with our small footprint and only 1,400 SF; less to have to clean and keep squared away and worry about

    In Australia, back in the post-WW2 decades, a “standard” home was ten squares, with a square being 10’x10′. That was big enough for a “standard” family of Mum, Dad, and three kids. Kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom, perhaps something of a hallway, three bedrooms. They’d generally count the verandah in the roofed-area as well, but a garage would be separate and not count. Maybe a guest bedroom as well. Later, as children matured, maybe as visitors with families became a consideration, they’d wall-in the verandah and fit it with full-width sets of louvre windows. It wasn’t ideal, but it was perfectly functional.

    Often the family would live in a garage while the house was being built, and that would be one big area, plus toilet and shower tacked onto the back. When they moved into the house, the garage would house the family’s one car, and any spare area would become Dad’s workshop.

    When you get right down to it, 10’x10′ (or more likely 12’x12′) is more than adequate for a kid’s bedroom with wardrobe, chest of drawers, and two single beds, or even two bunk beds for Roman Catholic families. Also when you get down to it, the restricted space and small rooms made compact living possible. Bedrooms were for sleeping and for getting dressed, and that’s all. There was no sprawl of kitchen-and-eating-and-living into a big uncontrolled and never quite tidied-up family room. Instead the dining room was for dining. At other times it was empty and free for other specific uses, like homework, or playing board games and card games. That meant no having to sprawl out with desks in kid’s bedrooms, or space for games in the living room

  20. My father’s father owned about 30 or more blocks in our suburb, and he gave two adjoining blocks (that also adjoined the family home) to my father for a 21st present in 1945. After the war building materials were hard to come by. My father married in 1948 and he and mum lived with his parents. By 1952 they had permission to build a 3 BR house next door, which my father and his did themselves, bringing in contractors for the bits they couldn’t do themselves. It would have been 10-12 squares originally, a 12′ x 24′ room was added eventually.

    It got torn down and replaced with two separate homes in about 2008, the land was too valuable to allow a single house of the “austerity housing” era to sit plumb in the middle of the double block. The block wasn’t quite large enough to fit three houses. Mum got $100k more for it than expected when she sold in 2007, as it was in an inner suburb of Adelaide close to public transport.

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