Bent Words

Bent Words

January 16, 2010

I really need to vent, mmm'kay...

So last night around 5pm, when I'm just about ready to rock a Reuben panini, I get a phone call from an unknown number. Second time that day, different number so I let the call go and let my voice mail do the work. Check messages and it was my cousin Hillary. Her father, my Dad's brother, Dave, is in Florida at the condo with his wife and other daughter, Roxanne. In her message, Hillary asked for the phone number to the health clinic that's near the condo. I called my mom to get the info (which is also located in a log book in the condo itself) and called Hillary back.

"So what's going on, Hillary?"

She says that the day before Dave left for Florida his wife, Cheryl, found him sitting on the couch and the left side of face was drooping down. He was also drooling. Well, the word 'stroke' was thrown around but Dave insisted that he just had a cold (right -- because loss of muscle function is a common side effect, along with the sniffles, when one has a cold). So Cheryl somehow lets him fly off to Florida, alone, without contacting a physician. He arrived on Monday evening and Hillary called him to see how he was doing. Apparently he was incoherent. He took long pauses before answering her questions and the answers weren't of the sense making variety.

I start texting him on Monday (not knowing any of the above) to see how the condo is and my parental units also send him a few message. We didn't receive any answer so I asked Hillary via Facebook if everything was alright. She replied that Dave had left his cell phone in Wisconsin and that they were sending it to him. She also said that she was worried about him because he sounded so strange. Apparently he's on blood pressure meds and is borderline diabetic. Worried, I passed this info onto my father and he called the condo's land line on Tuesday to see how his brother was doing. Dave said he was sick but getting better. Dad reported that his brother did not sound incoherent when they spoke.

Cheryl and Roxanne decide to make an earlier flight to FLA (yes, we still leave the 'A' on the abbreviation and shall stubbornly continue to do so). They arrived on Wednesday. Two days down there and Hillary calls to see how things are going. Cheryl seems rather vague about Dave's health. *** It's worth noting at this point that Cheryl recently had breast cancer and tried to keep this information from her mother and daughter so "they wouldn't worry." (!?) Because a surprise death would have been way more kosher than allowing your family the opportunity to deal with it, right? Hillary is pregnant so I don't know if Cheryl is attempting to keep her from worrying but my guess at this point is that IT'S NOT WORKING *** Anyhow, Hillary talked to her sister Roxanne yesterday and Rox says that Dave must have had a stroke -- he still seems really strange, completely unlike himself.

But that hardly matters since he won't go to a doctor.

Hillary is calm enough but obviously pissed off. You can't throw the word 'stroke' around and expect family not to worry. There could be another episode; there could be a blood clot because of the stroke which would instantly kill him if it traveled to his brain or heart; it could have something to do with the diabetes; it could be a side effect of the meds; it could just be a fucking cold -- who knows. But none of us are there to see how he's doing and there's not much we can do while still in Wisconsin. Dave doesn't want to go to the hospital in Lake Worth because that's where his father died six years ago. Hillary is trying to get him to just go to the 24-hour clinic right down the road because it's NOT the hospital and perhaps they can convince him to hit the hospital, if necessary. Naturally he doesn't want to go there either but, I'm sorry say, there isn't a third option of a Wal-Mart brand, Death Prevention Stick available yet so the choices are somewhat limited.

After all of this I had to call the 'rents to let them know what was going on. Dad's at work so I convey the information to my mother. Mother conveys information to father. I call them later to provide approximate time line of events to my father. Upon completion of conveyance, which he requested, he tells me not to overreact. Well, I'm not over-fucking-reacting, I'm just telling you what is going on. Here are the facts -- do what you want with them -- it's not my brother and I don't even know why I'm the mediator in all this. But in my opinion this family has a fine history of under-reacting. For example, my grandpa wouldn't go to the doctor when he had pneumonia during a FLA trip until finally my grandma and Dave forced him to go to the emergency room. Rather than spend his time with his mother, my uncle Dave decides to leave with Grandma's car so he can golf. Probably around his sixth cocktail on the green, the hospital calls Grandma to inform her that her husband is dying. Grandma can do nothing since Dave has her car and no cell phone. Two years later, my father tells me (VIA E MAIL) that Grandma just had a "little fall" at her condo her in WI when, in all actuality, she had a heart attack and died in front of me at the hospital.

I never called anyone out in regards to the way they reacted to the above situations so how about not telling me how to react or feel for a change?

I mean, I get it that it could just be a cold that David has but two people who are actually WITH him have called out "stroke" and knowing the Johnson aversion to hospitals, I would say it's fairly safe to assume that no one's exaggerating the size of the fish. And I really don't care if it's a cold or a stroke or a fear of clowns -- he needs to suck it up and go to the f'ing doctor so that his daughter, who is ready-to-pop-pregnant with his second grandchild a few hundred miles away, doesn't worry herself into sickness.

Ya know, I tell them what I know and all I get back is to not overreact but I'm not the one who came up with this little story in the first place. Talk to Hillary or Cheryl or Rox if you want to discuss overreactions -- I'm just here to pass on what I know and you can do with it what you want. You can ignore it six ways to February hoping it just magically goes away like Grandpa's pneumonia for all I care but if it should happen that there actually is some merit to the whole 'stroke' notion, don't get weepy on me if he dies or has the constitution of a six-year-old for the rest of his life.

Aaaaaaaand, football.

Written at 3:43 p.m.