Archive | May, 2012

Who’s on First?

25 May

In trying to describe what some really difficult nights are like for us I have heard B say it is like the movie Groundhog Day. In it, Bill Murray wakes up to re-do the same crappy newscast in the same shitty town over and over again until he gets the entire day right, which in his case means getting the girl. That same thought had crossed my mind but it didn’t quite meet the level of stress and anxiety. Then I thought about the movie 50 First Dates. Although there is some real fear in Drew Barrymore’s character not having a short term memory, thus forgetting she had met the man of her dreams, married him, then had his child and was stuck on a boat to watch a video every morning recounting all of this, has a darkness and comes close,(especially since it is an Adam Sandler video she is sentenced to see for the rest of her life), it does not quite get there either. The winning loop, the loop we are currently stuck in, I can only compare to, "A Nightmare on Elm Street, Dream Master" clip.

When Betty wants to use the phone it is an ordeal because everyone she wants to call is dead. It makes no difference whether we tell her this or not, be it her sister, her parents, her husband, because five minutes later she is searching for the number and telling us all over again that she would like to use the phone and do we have the numbers? A phonebook? Could we perhaps call the operator to help? We made the mistake of letting her do this once after much hesitation, debate and finally her smashing her walker on B’s foot in a huff. She dialed the operator, tried to tell the automated voice she was looking for her parents, then followed the prompts pushing the buttons on the television remote.
We try but are not always able to change the subject.
“We only have a phonebook for Texas. The operator will want a first and last name and probably a town, what should we tell them? Where do you think you are? Look at that dog!”

B has worked out that where we are in time and space depends on which room we happen to be in. Betty remembers Idaho in the living room. The farm; a car accident. When we are in the kitchen she is a nursing student back in Pennsylvania, out past hours. They will be looking for her. She asks if she can stay the night with us until she can find her wallet and make her way up North the following day. “Sure. We have a room all set up for you already.” Then once we take her back we have travelled to Texas and she wonders how all her stuff got there.
It is a tedious subject, the phone and where her husband is but nothing compares to the job of keeping her in bed and off of her now swollen feet. Betty once stayed up for almost 36hrs. Sleeping pills nor pain killers could keep her mind from puppeteering her body. Spinning and spinning, the way women keep themselves up at night with worry but ten fold. Up and down to check the lights, the locks, the dogs, the shades because Betty forgets she just laid down from checking them a moment before. I listen for her on the baby monitor through the night when there is no sitter, watching her on my iPhone through the cameras hooked up throughout the house. “Hey Betty. Why are you getting up?” “I don’t know.”
B says she can hear a mouse fart across the street. He imitates his mother, “Did I hear a piece of cotton touching felt?” But once asked why she is getting up there are a lot of “what’s, huh’s” and misheard phrases. “What time is it?” “Midnight.” “Do I have to eat tonight?!”

So this is our life together as newlyweds. Not having the time to mourn his father, we only grieve the simple life we left behind. An opportunity to laugh turns quickly to tears because emotions are so stifled they seep out given any chance. This post sounds like a real bummer and I will admit the situation is not ideal and it sucks on many, many levels but I am learning so much and in the end, in her finale, B and I will have a clear conscience knowing we did everything we could to keep Betty safe and comfortable. We have been told the woman B knew growing up is long gone but the fragmented person in her body is the only mother in law I know and when through the confused tears she squeezes my hand and tells me she loves me I know we are doing the right thing. For now at least.