A brief glimpse

One day last week my brother came to me as I was putting away my laundry. He looked a little distressed as he said to me-Can I have a hug?

I complied…against my nature asking-“What happened?”

He said-“I’m  dying and I’m scared”

He continued-“I’ve lost my family, my friends are gone….you are the only one I have left”

I hugged

Then I  wondered if this was the time to contact his daughters…

Maybe he was coming to terms with the whole scenario….maybe he was ready to make peace with his family…

After the brief hug he recoiled and said “That’s fine, I’m good, I can go on”

Shortly after he was back to his usual critical self

Mean people get cancer too

I guess if I was starting a brand new blog about caring for my 60 year old, three times married, ex alcoholic, estranged from his daughters and living in china for the past 10 years brother who landed on my doorstep 10 months ago with a baseball size tumor at the base of his tongue~that’s what I would call it~Mean people get cancer too.

We were always the closest of all my siblings in age and being the two oldest knew the most about our shared family story. But life has a habit of knocking people around a bit, as above and while I have always been the grumpy one he was as I remember the “golden” child. Blond, blue eyes, clever and creative~mom’s favorite!

I’m not sure the exact route he took to his own particular isolation, how much inflicted on him vs self inflicted- but I can say that if you imagine that mean old man who scares little kids for walking on his lawn….that is my brother.

He just has this acerbic tongue attached to a selfish brain with no filter. I am by no means a shrinking violet but even I am intimidated sometimes…in my own house!!!

So while I will do my best to care for him til the end it is not easy. Make no mistake~Mean people get cancer too~and not all of them have a personality change or epiphany.

Why is there blood all over my bathroom?

I came home Saturday morning to find blood splatters

  • all over the bathroom
  • the kitchen sink
  • the bathroom sink

And no activity from my brother. Truthfully at this point anything can happen.

When he appears it becomes apparent by the bandage and discoloration over his eyebrow that something happened.

He tells me casually that he fell going down the stairs and proceeds to list for me for the inadequacies of the hall lights motion sensor.

Not long after he asks me if I have any oxy’s. Oxycontin. No, I don’t. I gave you the Norco I got after my surgery.

He tells me how he enjoys the high of the oxycontin. I can appreciate that he wants to escape reality.

But the question is did he fall because of the lack of lighting or because he was shitfaced on oxycontin?

I started to feel sorry for him thinking maybe he is getting frail, he’s had a good ten months and maybe the chemo is just frying him. I thought about how guilty I will feel that I didn’t do more.

Then tonight I came home to the usual in my face confrontation about the deficiencies of my house and family.

 

It’s all about curtains

Awhile ago my brother got it in his head that we needed curtains in our second floor apartment. I don’t really see the need since we are not overlooked from any side. My only concern is that it gets cold in the living room because that window has a draft.

But no, he went on and on about it, bought a sewing machine and got a book from the library about…yes, curtains!

He took measurements and found some fabric he liked on Ebay.

Everyday day, several times a day for about 2 weeks all he went on about was the absolute need for curtains…curtains, curtains, curtains!!!

I stalled and ignored and admittedly avoided the whole subject. I just couldn’t be bothered and didn’t see a need but recently have been trying to find things for him to do. he wants to help me but most of what he does-rearrange  the furniture, put hooks on my toothbrush…just annoys me.

So this week I asked him to take two carpets to the laundry mat which he eagerly did and I was really relieved to have one less thing to worry about. Building on that success I stopped at the fabric store and bought some curtain fabric that I could live with. I said we could start with the back window and if it goes well I’ll go back and get more.

He hasn’t touched the fabric all week…he completely lost interest in curtains.

Father of the Year…NOT!

My brother has two daughters from two different marriages. Wife number one was a high school romance and daughter number one is almost 40 years old. He was apparently fooling around with wife #2 while still with wife #1…messy. Daughter #2 is in her early 30’s and just got married in June.

One of the first big disagreements I had with my brother was regarding child support. Wife #1, who I knew very well, went on to marry a nice Christian man who had custody of his 3 children and they went on to have two more children together. Big happy family! My brother however refused to pay child support because he insisted that his now ex wife would spend “his money” on “all the other kids”. I told him that knowing her I personally did not believe she would do that but also legally that is not a reason to just stop paying-I told him if he felt that strongly then he could buy my niece some new shoes or a winter coat or put the money in a joint account but he had to show some effort to support his daughter.

I insist that he spent most of his adult life nursing this grudge with wife #1 and avoiding work that may have been garnished to pay the child support. It all came back and bit him sharply in the ass when he was in China a few years ago and he attempted to renew his passport and they confiscated it until he coughed up $11k in back child support. Ouch!

He actually was more involved with daughter #2  mostly because he was unemployed (see above) and wife #2 never had more kids and hadn’t been cheated on so slightly less axe to grind.

Through the mysterious grapevine that is my family-my estranged sister, brother and mother have information that my brother is “dying”. Not sure how that happened, certainly did not come from me but that’s between them.

My nieces knew their father (who they refer to with his first name M) was back in the states. They rather bluntly expressed to my daughter that they had absolutely no desire to revisit that unfulfilling relationship.

Last week they were informed by my youngest brother that M is close to death. So out of the blue they were texting my daughter and me for the “real story”. I shared the facts and even a photo of him but I was clear that if they thought cancer had softened his razor sharp barbs and vindictiveness they would be sadly mistaken.

Daughter #1 wrote:

“Is he still a racist asshole who laughs at people who are in pain or is he better that that now he is dying?”

Um,  yes and no.

They offered me support-said I was a saint for taking care of him, that he’s in good hands and that if he gets “sappy” and asks for them maybe they would come see him. I would say he’s still a long way off from that as he informed me this week he took himself off his fentanyl patch and the pain is “not so bad”. He has repeatedly told me he is pushing this “death thing” out as far as he can. You would think this would include some major relationship mending? Or not….

Mail, Paranoia and CT Results

Got this when I arrived at work this morning

What’s going on with the mail at this address? I’ve had to get a PO Box because letters were disappearing and now Fed Ex says they can’t deliver here.

What the fuck are you talking about??? I replied

Nothing is “going on”. It’s a multi family house-they are wrong

Fuck sake, they deliver mail for tenants from 5 years ago!!!

Then what is the “right” solution to the problem of me not getting my mail?

deep breath….

I don’t know ask the post office, ask Fed ex. Tired of paranoid accusations. Nobody is taking your mail

I was thinking-nobody gives a shit about your fucking mail. Maybe you just don’t have any fucking mail!

They suggested I wait on the porch everyday for the delivery or get a post office box.

Really?? that’s the only option???

Then he dismisses it all as a minor irritation….grrrrrrr

Later in the day he texted me that the hospital called and told him “all his lesions are very much improved” according to his CT from Monday.

I still haven’t asked which lesions-the ones on his liver, the ones on his spine or maybe the grapefruit size mass on his neck is only tennis ball size now?

It’s good news for him but when you spend 90% of your time aggravating everyone around you it’s hard to be supportive. I know I’ll regret this some day but I am really out of compassion at the moment.

 

 

 

even sisters that are caregivers have limits

My brother has pretty much criticized every element of my life  since dropping into it unexpectedly 5 months ago. He has surveyed every inch of my home where he now lives alone in a two bedroom apartment….for free….and told me the water heater will need replacing soon, the water pressure sucks and it needs a new roof.

He has alienated 2 of my 3 children.

He has inaccurately and scathingly made assumptions about my behavior, actions and motivations. For example, I saw him last week fully 8 weeks after my surgery when he asked me if I was back to work yet. I nearly spit out my drink and said “Of course-I went back to work less than two weeks after my surgery” to which he shrugged and said “Oh, I thought you’ve been laying around on the sofa watching TV all this time”…..!!!!!????

I haven’t been able to figure out which came first- his obsessive lack of self monitoring or his social isolation. I think it’s all intertwined because every time he criticizes me I think -no wonder he is divorced 3 times and estranged from his 2 daughters.

I’m all for being honest but some of the things he says are really uncalled for-like he asked me what is wrong with my cat…..Why is she so fat? I’ve never seen a cat so fat and what is hanging off her belly? I’ve seen that on a cat that has just had a litter of kittens but what is wrong with her? Is she sick? She’s so fat…

It’s the repetitive, ongoing, obsessive comments that drive me crazy-

verb (used without object)perseverated, perseverating.

1.to repeat something insistently or redundantly:

to perseverate in reminding children of their responsibilities.

The last straw happened this week-My brother was all excited to apply for a medical cannabis card a few months ago. I helped him complete the paperwork and paid the fees. Then he got the letter that he was approved but no card yet. This is where his paranoia kicks in because even though he was bugging me to get pot from my boyfriend now its apparently too much to ask for him to get some really good stuff legally to pay BF back.

I asked my brother about the card a few times like over 2-3 weeks, I offered to call and see what the delay was because I anticipated based on his past behavior that he would be hounding me to death to find out where his card was. No, he replied that he was going to cut up his card into guitar picks when it comes and I should reconsider “my plot” to get access to it……….oh, really?

My response? FUCK YOU AND YOUR UNGRATEFUL ATTITUDE!!!

Barely spoken a word to him, exchanged a text/email since. The bottom line-and I guess I should say that I don’t care if he is dying of cancer anymore there are common rules of respect that apply to everyone-EVERYONE!

I did not say what I wanted to say which was I think you should look for other accommodations so my family can relax. I didn’t tell him that the reason he is dying alone is that he is such a squirrely, mean person. And I didn’t say that I don’t want to go camping with him next week….