14 April 2012 by Published in: Blogging 19 comments

I wanted to take a moment to explain why there haven’t been a lot of substantive posts from me recently, and I wanted to apologize to you for that.

On July 4, 2007, my father had a massive cerebral hemorrhage five weeks before his 87th birthday. It was the sort of stroke that normally kills the victim. The only reason why he survived is because it was far enough to the outside of his brain that he never lost consciousness. Fortunately, my mother recognized that something was wrong and called 911. There is a level-1 trauma center roughly two miles from their house, which meant that my father got treatment within the so-called “golden hour.” They were able to reverse a lot of the damage, but the stroke destroyed his speech center. Very little of the constant flow of gibberish that comes out–he lost his filter with the stroke–can be understood, so communicating is exceedingly difficult for him. He gets very frustrated when people don’t understand him because he does not realize that there is a major disconnect between his brain and his mouth, and to him, he makes perfect sense.

The stroke also sent him spiraling down the rabbit hole into dementia. He’s now 91, and has the mentality of a five year old. He cannot be alone at all, and can do very little for himself. As of a week ago, he still knows who I am, but I harbor no illusions that that will continue much longer. I view these last nearly five years as borrowed time. Because Susan and I have paid for it, we’ve managed to keep him at home with help, but those days are rapidly coming to an end for his own safety and well-being.

My mother has also started down the same rabbit hole. She is 87 and presently has mild to moderate dementia. She had two bad falls in a week and was hospitalized after the second one. She was released yesterday and was involuntarily sent to a local nursing home for a rehab stint. She is the only person on the face of this earth who doesn’t think that she needs to be in a nursing home, and she’s determined to make everyone else just as miserable as she is. We’ve never had a good relationship, as we are two completely different people, she does not understand me, and I have never understood her. The dementia has brought about negative personality changes that have made her substantially more difficult to deal with than she was previously. She’s combative, demanding, and very unpleasant to deal with most of the time. The phone rings constantly with one unreasonable demand after another, regardless of what I’m doing or whether I have time to speak to her and have the same conversation again and again and again. I am subjected to a constant barrage of emotional and verbal abuse, and it just exhausts me. The bottom line is that I just don’t have the tools or energy to handle this ordeal, but there is no escape.

I recognize that I am very fortunate to still have both of my parents at the age of 51, and I try never to take that fact for granted. However, as this situation grows worse and worse, and as my nerves get more and more frayed, that becomes more and more difficult to do.

I am an only child, and I live 400 miles away from where they live. I’ve had to bear this burden alone, with only Susan to fall back on. Aside from the financial burden, the emotional toll has been terrible. I won’t bore you with the details of what I’ve been subjected to, as nobody really cares. I only bring any of this up because it has dramatically impacted my productivity. This never-ending and ever worsening ordeal drains me emotionally and mentally, and leaves me completely exhausted at the end of each day. It’s all I can do to make myself get up and go to work each day–which I have to do for financial reasons and because I have employees who depend on me–but by the time I get home at night, I am so tired and emotionally drained that I just cannot muster up the degree of intense focus needed to sit down and write to the level of excellence that I demand of myself. Instead, I simply don’t have the emotional energy to do much more than be a video idiot in front of the television for a few hours until 10:30 at night, at which time I drag myself upstairs and crawl into bed. Consequently, I have not written a word in months, largely because I just don’t have it in me right now. It also means that I lack the focus to tackle anything ambitious here, which is why there have been so few forgotten cavalrymen posts or other items of substance lately.

I tell you this not because I seek your sympathy, but rather because I feel that I owe you all an explanation and an apology. I think that I finally have mustered up some energy to go back to writing–I have projects that need to be completed, and time inevitably marches on–and I intend to do so this weekend. If I’m right about being able to muster up some focus and some motivation, then hopefully more substantive posts will begin rolling out again very soon. All I can say is that I’m sorry. It hasn’t been intentional, and it surely hasn’t been something I ever wanted to have happen. Life, such as it is, interfered, and all I can do is to try to keep on doing the best I can to manage the situation.

Thank you for your patience. My interactions with you here mean more to me than I can possibly say.

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Sat 14th Apr 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Eric.

    A) You got my sympathy and my best wishes for your health as well as for your parents.

    B) You dont’ need to apoligize for what life is doing to you.

    C) Take your time and think of your self and your wife.

    When you is ready, thats your decision and nobody else’.

    Keeping my thumps for you…and your hockey-team.

  2. Chris Evans
    Sat 14th Apr 2012 at 8:14 pm

    All the best.

    I really enjoy reading your posts and visiting the site frequently.

    Chris

  3. Dennis
    Sun 15th Apr 2012 at 5:25 am

    Eric,

    Hang in there. It is indeed a tough row to hoe. I will keep you in my prayers.

    Regards,
    Dennis

  4. Gary Dombrowski
    Sun 15th Apr 2012 at 8:30 am

    Eric, NO apology is neccesary. I can relate to your story and understand not only the effects of those suffering from such an illness, but those doing their best to support them. Hang in there. ~Gary

  5. Ken Noe
    Sun 15th Apr 2012 at 9:03 am

    We’re with you Eric, especially those of us who read this and found it all too familiar.

  6. Mike Fitzpatrick
    Sun 15th Apr 2012 at 11:17 am

    Eric,
    Just take care of the business at hand. You are respected for the care and concern you give your parents. Your fans will still be there when you are able to pick up the pace again. All the best!!!

  7. John Foskett
    Sun 15th Apr 2012 at 1:53 pm

    What Ken said. And no explanation is ever needed for your taking time from this blogsite to attend to far more important and difficult issues. If the site becomes inactive at points, I think I speak for all in saying that we know it’s for a damned good reason.

  8. Mitch Elms
    Sun 15th Apr 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I agree totally with everyone here Eric. You don’t need to apologise.

  9. Brian
    Sun 15th Apr 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Eric, you have my sympathy. Your description of your mother sounds remarkably like my paternal grandmother.

  10. Sun 15th Apr 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through all that. Being in the role of caretaker…. It’s indescribably draining. As if you don’t already know that. True, very true, you owe no apologies, but I can understand how very frustrating it is not to keep up with things to which you feel committed. Things have been like that for me, a beloved elder failing, though not nearly as intense. I finally caught up some yesterday. I have your site bookmarked and will keep checking back. No worries about whether there’s something new–we won’t abandon you!

  11. Susan Sweet
    Mon 16th Apr 2012 at 1:52 am

    Eric, Ken is right , you owe no appolgy and many of us have been there and know what you are going though . Just remember to take care of yourself and Susan as you go along .

    We are all pulling for you and wish you the best . Do what has to be done.

  12. Randall Dick
    Mon 16th Apr 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing. We are going through the same with my mother in law. My wife is also an only child and what you describe sounds so similar to what we are going through. Stay strong – your right it is emotionally draining.

  13. Chris
    Mon 16th Apr 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Having gone through similar situations with our 4 parents (the last passing in 2005) I can tell you there is no rulebook, and it does not get better. However, when they are gone and time passes, you remember them less and less in their decline, and more when they were young and vigorous. Do the best you can and leave the rest to God.

  14. Coll Kilpatrick
    Mon 16th Apr 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my email, can’t believe that you are going through all this hell and yet you still found the time to help me, how incredibley generous of you. Take care of yourselves.

  15. Butch Barringer
    Mon 16th Apr 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Eric,

    I am sorry to hear about this and the strain you must be under. There is no need to apologize. Thanks for letting us know. We are thinking of you, Susan, and your parents at this difficult time. Best Wishes.

    Butch Barringer

  16. David R. Shaw
    Tue 17th Apr 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Eric,

    I understand completely. My mother-in-law died in 2005 after suffering dementia for several years. If you need to talk sometime, shoot me an email. Trust in God and fear nothing. Prayers for you and your parents from my lips to God’s ear. Respectfully, your obedient servant, David R. Shaw

  17. G. E. Colpitts
    Mon 07th May 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Eric,
    I echo the comments here — no apologies necessary. In fact, I felt I owed you an apology for not yet completing my work for you. I have been going through something similar with my mom, who died last month. Her decline was very difficult to watch, and her demands and comments were sometimes troubling and and many times completely out of character. I can relate to the emotional toll this takes and you and Susan are in my thoughts and prayers.

    G.E.

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