Sunday, December 20, 2009

We Lead Complicated Lives...

Have you realized from reading my blog how complicated my family's lives are with their efforts to keep me physically and mentally healthy? It really is amazing the lengths mom and dad will go to help me. I guess they really do love me. A list of things they do for me...

  • 2 cartons of cigarettes every ten days. I must call dad and he will go by Fat Albert's and get them. He pays for these out of his pocket and cigarettes are very expensive these days due to the state taxes imposed - the sin taxes. "You smoke too much," dad will tell me. "Smoke one every thirty minutes!" Dad is very forgiving of this addiction as he realizes a great deal of mentally ill people smoke due to the great deal of comfort it can give an unwell mind.

  • 6 diet cokes a day. Mom goes to great lengths with a Nazi like tenacity to assure I get these cokes every morning and only six at a time. Dad says I will get "high" off the caffeine and it will make me mentally sick. He doesn't want me to get "off." I have trouble with moderation. I will often call mom and ask for more and she will tell me dad would get on to her.

  • Mom buys my groceries every Wednesday because for a long time I couldn't go because of my panic attacks and social phobias. We try to stick with $40 dollars a week to help my disability allotment last through the month. I eat a lot of sandwiches, but dad, lately, has been helping me with eating healthier prepared foods.

  • Dad comes every night religiously to give me my medications. He waits thirty minutes watching The Weather Channel to make sure I don't throw them up as I have been known to do when I get paranoid they are harming me. This, after he worked ten hours all day.

  • Mom once was bad about giving me money from time to time. She once gave me three dollars a day, but I was using it to get high off Benadryl. A 48 pill count of Benadryl was only $1.99 at Fred's and I would take all of them in a day. She got scared that if Dad ever found out he would disown her.

  • I am given two restaurant meals a week to vary my diet and as a treat. Mom brings these by my house on Monday and Tuesday nights.

  • Helen cooks for me and mom on Fridays. Dad worries I don't eat enough vegetables and Helen ALWAYS cooks at least three wholesome vegetables every Friday along with a meat selection, salad, and baked bread such as biscuits. Helen's help is very expensive and she doesn't come cheap. Dad pays for this.

  • My life is carefully monitored to assure I don't get money so as not to be tempted to drink and thus defeat the purpose of my mental illness medications. Dad even goes to such lengths as keeping my driver's license from me to make sure I am not pawning all my nice belongings at the pawn shop. You can get a lot of drinking money from pawn shops with nice things such as Nintendo Wii's and Canon digital cameras. They even buy old DVDs and CDs and I have hundreds of these, but you need valid identification to sell them.

  • Every night, dad makes sure Maggie has fresh food and water. He will throw out the day old food Maggie doesn't eat and puts fresh food in the bowl. Maggie loves this little ritual of ours and will stand by and watch with anticipation of getting her fresh food stuff.

  • I am escorted by dad and mom to all medical appointments to make sure I go and that I am receiving the medical attention I need. Dad will use his day off to drive me all the way to Opelika for my psychiatrist's appointment. That can't be fun when he could be sleeping in. This week, it is blood work to check my Lithium levels which must be checked every two weeks. Mom is going to take me. I wouldn't go if were of my own volition. I could care less about my Lithium levels.

  • All my bills are paid by dad out of my checking account. There has never been a lapse in my utility bills such as power, water, or Internet due to lack of payment. Dad does this for my great aunt as well.

  • All the many paperwork sent by Social Security is handled by mom. She makes sure I fill out all forms correctly and really frets over it. She is so afraid I will write the wrong thing and lose my disability. And they send A LOT of paperwork to fill out and send back. Mom always makes sure the paperwork has postage and is mailed back.

  • Every two weeks, dad has a pharmacy employee of his pick me up at the house, pick up my injection, and drive me to Dr. Kamath's office to get my Risperdal Consta injection for my Schizophrenia. Tim, my father's home health care supervisor, does this and is always so kind to me about my limitations when it comes to small talk. He knows I can be awkward socially at times.

  • And finally, Dad bought me a nice remodeled house and car. This was to make sure Maggie and I always had a home and was part of my inheritance from my deceased grandmother. I will never be homeless again.


forsythia said...

If this isn't love, I don't know what is.

This is probably none of my business, but did you decide to take up smoking again?

Andrew said...

Yes, forsynthia, I did. I was having a lot of symptoms mentally, or so I thought, and I started back in a weak moment.

Diana said...

No doubt your parents love you and are devoted to you...if it were just money, that is easy (if you have it) but they spend a lot of time and effort taking care of you and making sure you can take care of yourself. You are really blessed!

Joy Heather said...

Oh Andrew..reading that made me really love your parents..and i dont even know them...they really do care for you and want what is best for have the advantage of having your own home & car and a certain amount of freedom...coupled with the knowledge that your parents are always there for your welfare and to keep a caring eye on you..should you need anything, its really many folk are not that lucky..bless your Mom & Dad..they are lovely...wish them a really happy Christmas from Me.

christina said...

why dont you print this out, wrap it in a box and give it to your parents for their christmas gift.

This is a beautiful accounting of love....and gratitude.

Leann said...

I agree with everyone else here Andrew. What you describe exhibits a ton of love for you and Maggie. You are indeed blessed to have them in your life. I see homeless people every day that have no one who cares about them. I see the elderly in the same predicament. It is sad to watch. Seeing what your parents do for you makes my heart glad.

Blessings and enjoy your day friend.

Charlotte said...

You are truly blessed, my friend. You have a family that understands your illness and goes to all lengths to protect you and help you be successful in your recovery. Having people who love you that much is such a blessing. There are many people with your illness that live a misunderstood life and are never able to get control of their illness. My hats off to you and your family for battling back and making your life easier and successful. You are so blessed, my friend.

Andrew said...

Thank you all for the kind words. I really didn't realize what mom and dad do for me until I sat down, starting thinking, and then started writing this post. I was in awe at the effort they go towards helping me have a good and decent life. It is amazing.

This IS The Fun Part! said...

What's really the greatest is that you see it and understand why they do some of the things they do. I know sometimes it gets to you - but when you handle things as well as you did the other day, you are proving to yourself that when you set your mind to it - you can take care of important things!

How nice to feel the love!

Anonymous said...

Plsss convey my heartfelt regards to your parents.You are blessed.
Your blog really moved me to tears...
My parents falter once in a while with my bro even though they very well know that its cos of his illness hes doing so still they blame him but they are the ones who are with him always and take care of him and his every need.
Whatever u have in life doesnt matters but u should have parents! They are God's most precious gifts to us.
God bless u and ur parents.
-From India

Anonymous said...

I don't understand. You often mention things on your blog you don't want your dad to know about, such as your mom giving you money, your vomiting up your meds at times, your toleration of George drinking at your house and storing his beer in your fridge. And yet you just wrote your dad reads your blog!!! Little wonder he doesn't trust you! He may love you as much as when you were a baby, but he doesn't respect you as a man because without trust there can be no respect! How are you ever going to learn self-reliance and personal responsibility if you aren't given enough freedom & trust to test your potential for growth and success? From your blogging ,you seem to have a compassionate nature , a high iq and a good education. Letting such talents go to seed is a real tragedy.

Andrew said...

Grannie, for the longest time I couldn't see it. I thought dad and mom were just tying to control me. I could be so bitter about it and would get so out of shape no be able to drink when I wanted to. Now, I see it is just love. My father is doggedly determined that my life be good.

Anon in India, I will tell dad of what you wrote and about your brother having schizophrenia as well. A mentally unwell loved one is such a struggle and can be so trying at times. I understand how your parents feel.

Anonymous, I don't know what to see. I didn't ask for my parents to do all this. Dad just took upon himself a few years ago when he realized I was dying drinking and cavorting so much. I'm not sure if dad reads my blog. He knows the title and can Google it. I have a sneaking suspicion some anonymous comments have been from him lately. My life is complicated. Such as George and his drinking. I don't have many friends and I am willing to tolerate his misgivings to have his friendship. Also, dad knows of George and it does drive him crazy, but what can he do? Maybe I am playing with fire, though. And that is why dad doesn't trust me. Maybe you are right. Thanks for the comment.

glittergirl said...

i've been reading your blog for almost 2 years. i don't comment often.

i read this post last night and thought it was pretty amazing. i also wondered if you'd get any negative comments.

that last anonymous comment was pretty harsh. interesting that you think your dad might be reading and commenting.

anyways, this post really has me torn. i think it's amazing, the things your family does for you. i also sometimes think they might be too controlling. at other times enabling.

i guess, in the end, you & your family are the norm; complicated, loving, trying to do what's best & sometimes making mistakes.

geelizzie said...

Having it all spelled out like that is really eye-opening, isn't it. Your parents must be awesome people! So many families kind of give up on their mentally ill members, kind of shoving them under the rug hoping that they won't have to deal with it.

Andrew said...

geelizzie, That's why you see so many homeless mentally ill in big cities on the streets. Their families give up on them. I would be one of their numbers if it were not for mom and dad. I am truly lucky!

Summer said...

We, your readers, only have a glimpse of your life. Reading this let us know much more. Thank you for sharing. You are blessed with such a caring family. And your family is blessed to have such a great son and brother. Merry Christmas to you and all those that love you.

Andrew said...

Summer, thank you, reading your comment really did bring a tear to my eye. You mean so much to me.

Andrew said...

gittergirl, thank you so much for taking the time to comment! It's complicated isn't it? I guess all our lives are in a way. Especially when it comes to loved ones. Life sure would be boring without families. That's why I have such a soft heart and affection for homeless people and people without families to help them. I've been there. I was almost disowned for awhile there my drinking and schizophrenia got so bad. I was homeless for six months and it was at times the best of times (the freedom to drink with abandon) and the worst of times (being so cold and miserable you would cry.)

glittergirl said...

i spent 2 years in columbus OH working at a homeless shelter. it was the city's largest men's shelter and the only one that had a rehab program.

i worked in that rehab program for 6 months. i was just an administrative assistant. but it was life changing.

i saw homeless people of all ages, colors and backgrounds. all of them struggling with horrible addictions. and all of them seemed to be "self-medicating" some serious mental illnesses.

no one is homeless by choice, or because they are bad or lazy. they are homeless because of untreated mental illness, addiction, etc...

so i guess that's why i love to follow your story. you give me hope that some of those guys i met all those years ago might have made it off the streets!

amelia said...

The only comment I have is to say that you should have your drivers license with you when you drive and I believe you said that your dad keeps it.

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