Road Trip Day 2 Continued

Well, we got back tonight. Finally. There were some interesting things along the way that I’ll detail, but I’m home.

After we finally gassed up and got on the road, Mom puttered in the back seat for a while, and after about 45 min. needed to stop. We found a rest area and stopped for about 20 min. Mom became very concerned about where we were, since she didn’t have her map, even though the highway goes all the way to our town (assuming we can stay on it for any length of time). Rest stop over, we continued on our way for about another half hour until Mom decided that she was hungry again. Keep in mind that we had finished breakfast less than two hours before. As is typical with Mom, ALL of her issues are really problems with other people, so it quickly turned into a ‘your father needs to eat again, remember his diabetes’. The level of complaint gradually increased over the next hour, and went back to the ‘horrible slop’ that she had in the hospital.

We finally stopped about 11:30 at a massive tourist trap/rest stop, where Mom dug some stuff out of the cooler and snacked, while we walked around the parking lot and I took touristy pictures. Calm again, we got back on the road for another half hour, when Mom again began complaining about being hungry. Since she wanted ‘some place nice that didn’t serve nasty greasy food’, we began looking at billboards and highway signs for something acceptable. During this little distraction, I found out that Mom’s primary memory of dinner last night was almost exclusively of the smoke that precipitated our table move, and that she didn’t finish her meal. This prompted another complaint about how I had thrown out her leftovers from that meal (they had been forgotten in the car overnight and she didn’t think they would have been bad). Eventually Mom started retching, and half-filled a cup with spit, claiming that it was vomit, and that the meds were making her sick. I reminded her that her stomach problems began long before she started on any meds, so they couldn’t be the cause of the problem.

We settled on another chain restaurant of acceptable quality, and stopped for lunch (now about 1:00). Lunch was relatively normal, if not pleasant. When we got on the road again, I took over driving, and Mom rode shotgun while Dad napped in the back. Mom dozed occasionally, and when she woke we had an amazingly normal conversation about my flight down, and the security checkpoints, and the layover, etc. I salted it with lots of humor, and dragged it out because it was so normal. Mom dozed some more, and woke again in a slightly worse mood. I listened to a monologue about how everyone had betrayed her, and the police mistreated her, and the shrink got his degree from a cereal box, and how all the other patients in the psych ward didn’t think that she needed to be there (Hello? Inmates? Assylum?).

Time for gas again, and the stop was only slightly prolonged. Dad rode shotgun this time. Mom dug around a bit in the back, and discovered Dad’s ‘Bipolar for Dummies’ book. At least I had predicted the results accurately. Half an hour later, the topic of conversation (read Mom got around to yelling about) sjogren’s and how it causes all sorts of her problems. I interrupted and told her that I didn’t believe that she actually had it because the symptoms don’t fit with what she has. ‘But the doctor…’ from Mom elicited a ‘What about the doctor that said bipolar…’ from yours truly. This ramped up pretty quick, and turned into Mom playing the ‘Other people love me more than you’ card. (She really knows my buttons, and that’s my BIG RED(tm) one. Never argue with a crazy person, outsiders will have a hard time telling the difference). I informed her that I cared enough to take a week off from work, and leave my family, and put up with the TSA hassle and fly down to help, and if she was going to pull that crap, she could just sit back and mumble to herself, as I wasn’t listening to anything else. I’ve had kids screaming in the back of the car, and I have had experience ignoring stuff – including the disapproving looks from Dad as I ticked the cruise-control up a notch at a time.

Mom went into her ‘woe-is-me’ mode, and covered everything starting from before Mom & Dad were married, and how he abandoned her for the military, and abandoned her to raise the kids while he was deployed, and how she used to be a teacher and was competent and did such a good job, and that nobody appreciated it, and, and, and. Dad just sat there and took it all. I don’t know how he does it. I don’t know why he doesn’t have ulcers either. I don’t know how he has kept from striking back. Mom, who can’t remember how to re-program her TV can remember in excruciating detail every piddling instance where she percieves that she was wronged, and has no problem bringing it up and examining it under an electron microscope. If either had asked, I would have gladly pulled over and dropped Mom on the side of the road to walk the 200 miles home, or wherever. Vile, hateful, self-centered, manipulative, liar.

She eventualy spiraled back down, and we drove most of the rest of the way in silence. Fortunately we didn’t need gas. When we got to their house and Mom went inside, she started complaining about the ‘musty smell’, and the bushes that had grown too big, and the repairs that she wanted done to the house, etc. Dad drove me home. I appoligized for blowing up at Mom in the car, because I know she isn’t in control. Somewhere deep down, I fear that she might not be helped with the meds, or that that part of her personality isn’t due to the bipolar.

Pray for Dad, he’s still in the lion’s den.

~ by namegoeshere on April 20, 2007.

4 Responses to “Road Trip Day 2 Continued”

  1. I am praying for you all…….your dad, yourself, your wife, your family……everyone….it effects you all.

  2. Praying.

    Did the doctor give you a suggestion as to how effective the medication might be? I was taught that “sessions” were found to really increase the effectiveness of medications. Even if they are simply a forum for the individual to vocalize their deluded opinions. The studies I can remember found no real difference in group versus individual sessions.

    I really hope and pray that your mother can be kept on her medication.

    And am praying for your father and the rest of you.

  3. To: songbirdy
    The meds that mom is taking say that they can take several weeks before you feel a difference. Judging by what my cousin and Dad have said, there is already a significant difference – Mom’s tirades haven’t lasted the 3+ hours that prompted the call to police, and she is sleeping about 6 hours a night instead of the 1 -2 before. From what I understand, the modern meds bring the person down (or up) gradually, instead of the ‘bigger hammer’ of past meds. This is both good – in that the patient isn’t shocked by the sudden change and has time to cope with it, and bad – that the patient has to be dealt with in their state for a longer period. The level of med may also require adjustment, or a 2nd med may be needed to ‘finish’ normalizing (assuming that they work at all)
    The problem with disorders of this nature are that they tend to cycle on their own, and it can be initially difficult to determine if it is the med bringing Mom down, or if she is winding down on her own. In Mom’s case, she hasn’t wound down like this before, usually she will go until she crashes into a week or so of serious depression.
    Psychology is much less of a science than those who practice it would like you to believe, but that’s an entire other post…

  4. Interesting. And I agree, I don’t feel that psychology should be considered a science.

    I am glad to hear that your mother seems to becoming a little more stable.

    Continued prayers.

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