When I was a little girl my father was always the quiet, recluse type. My mother was the outspoken, take charge piece to their unit. I remember this one occasion hearing my parents making a fuss. This was one of the only two times my father ever raised his voice towards my mother. “Ruby, I am doing the best I can!” is all I heard. My mother retorted with something I couldn’t quite make out through their closed bedroom door but all I know is that by the next summer, we had a yacht and were spending two weeks in Lake Havasu where my mother hosted elaborate and semi-obnoxious dinner parties.
The moral to the story is that Ruby has always demanded so much from my father. His mission in life has been to take care of her and his three children. She hasn’t worked for as long as I can remember. Her sole job was to rear me and siblings and to keep our house a home. What can I say? My father was super old school. He brought home the bacon and she cooked it up, displayed it, served it and whatever else she could think of. So our family’s most recent blunders…brought about by my mother’s unpredictable behavior has been a bit, we’ll say, unanticipated.
It unfolded as such….
Two reps came out to my parents’ home to meet with me and the two of them so that we could set up their long term care insurance. As it turns out, even though they’ve been paying into it for a thousand years, it is only available for use when you are on your last leg. Of course, I am exaggerating but I was honestly disappointed at the red tape involved with utilizing something that is rightfully yours. Apparently, one or both of my parents must require a certain level of assistance with a certain number of daily tasks (they called ADL’s…Activities of Daily Living) to utilize this policy. Anyhow, that’s not the point of today, nope. When the young woman and man came in, outside of telling them that her name was Ruby Whitmore, I don’t think she said one kind or dignified word to them. While on page one of their questionnaire, she managed to spit out how she was not going to give them any personal information so they could try to clean out her bank accounts and take her home from her. She then turned her frustration on my father when he tried to calm her and reassure her that they only meant her well. She expounded, saying that he was in on it, he’d always been a leech and needed to get a job to pull his weight. Yes, all this in front of the visitors! She wasn’t done with them, however. She then told them she was calling the “authorities” if they didn’t leave. She stormed down the hallway leaving us all there with our jaws dropped. Befuddled to say the least, my father and I offered our apologies to our guests. We attempted to explain, without her overhearing, that although she hasn’t been formally diagnosed, we do believe she has some Dementia. We were escorting them back outside when a police cruiser pulled in front of the house. My mother had actually called the police! As if on cue, she appeared in the doorway just as the officer was climbing out. Her arms folded across her chest, emphasizing rightness in the matter.
I went over to explain the situation to the officer while my father coaxed my mother back inside. Luckily, there’s an entire division dedicated to these types of calls….Dementia/Alzheimer’s….and these officers are dispatched out knowing how and what they are facing in advance. I’ll have to share some of the jewels of knowledge the officer gave to me another time. Priceless indeed.
As for this ordeal, well, I go back inside to check on my parents after this epic fail at a meeting and my heart breaks at what I hear on from the other side of the kitchen door.
“Ruby, I am doing the best I can.”
I am a little girl again. Hearing my parents make a fuss. Only this time, my father’s voice isn’t raised. It is completed defeated.
Until Next Time,
Sleepless in Sun City