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I’m Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack

Hey, how y’all been?

What’s new in your world?

Me?  I’m okay…still giggling over the letter I got from the Social Security Administration.

They’re terribly sorry about the loss of my father, but umm…could I send them back the meager amount they deposited in his account on the third of June?

Awful sorry to ask, but you know he didn’t live the entire month of June so yeah we need that money back.

If I thought I’d be able to remain civil I’d call, but I do know my limitations.

Instead I’m going to send back a letter and tell them I’m awfully sorry about their financial issues, but Daddy has exactly $169 left in his account, and his “estate” consists of a box of old photographs, so if they think there’s any money to be returned they’re sadly mistaken.

I’m still awaiting the statements from the hospital…you know the ones that list all the charges and the “Amount Due” at the bottom?   Yeah, those ought to be good for a few laughs for sure.

Everything else that’s coming in I’m writing “Deceased – June 19, 2012” and sending back. 

I guess we’ll see if the government can get money from a dead person.

Lord knows enough of them vote with the government’s blessing.


Free At Last…

…at 2:30 a.m. on June 19th, 2012 Daddy went home….finally, after over a week of suffering and fighting.

So, now he gets to play basketball and baseball and visit with is mom, dad, brothers and sister who went before him.

He gets to party with his friends that went before him, and most of all he gets to be the fun-loving man I knew before Alzheimer’s tore him apart the last two years.

Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty he’s free at last.

And me…I am taking a break.

A long break.

I’ll be back in mid-July.

But, don’t you forget about me ya hear?  And tell all your friends to come visit my blog, poke around and comment on the things they like.

God Bless You, my friends.

What the Hell?

For those of you wondering about my lack of presence lately…..

Daddy is in the ICU, acute respiratory failure due to aspiration pneumonia….

Between work and hospital, no time for anything else.

And, my funny bone’s broken.

I’ll be back…someday.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting some repeats over the next couple of weeks. 

I apologize for the redundant redundancy, but these days I’m lucky to remember to put on pants before leaving the house in the morning.

I Think The Government Is Trying To Kill Me

And not in any blatant hail-of-gunfire kinda way.  No, the bureaucracy that is the U.S. Gubmint is trying to kill me by making me have a rage-induced aneurism.

Let me attempt to explain…

My father is a veteran.  He’s also a 176 lb. infant these days, due to advancing Alzheimer’s.  Knowing the end is inevitable I decide to do the responsible daughter thing and get funeral pre-arrangements going. (That’s another with more funny and less rage.)

In my naiveté, I figure this will be a relatively *simple* process.

*proceeds to laugh hysterically for a moment*

Whew…oh yes, where was I?

Convo with me and funeral director:

Me: Hi, I’m here to do some funeral planning for my father.  He’s a veteran, so the interment and perpetual care are already taken care of…

FD: Do you have the DD-214?

Me: The wha…?

FD: The DD-214 form.  It’s your father’s discharge from the military.

Me: I have a discharge certificate.

FD:*shaking her head* That’s not the DD-214.  I’ll get you the web address to send an electronic request for the DD-214. It’s a fairly simple process.

The rest of the funeral pre-arrangement meeting went well….even though I laughed at precisely the wrong moments.  Every. Time.

I got back to my computer and proceeded to place the e-request for a copy of Dad’s DD-214.

This morning I got this e-mail from an Archive Technician (who knew they existed and are they like The Librarian?):

I have been assigned your request submitted for verification of military  service for the veteran:

Wyle E. Cattle 

Center Policy is that if the veteran is living, their signature is required to authorized release of information from military records.  If the veteran is not living, immediate next-of-kin must send written request for information.  Please identify your relationship to the veteran as you signed the web request indicating you were the veteran.

Additionally, the service number, provided in your request, is identifying a veteran with a different name than you submitted.  Was the veteran known by a different name during his military career?

I replied:

There was no place to indicate on the form who I am, but I requested the form on behalf of my father.  I am Awesome Sauciness (nee Cattlecall).

My father is Wyle E. Cattlecall.  I didn’t apply for the form under the name you list below.  I applied for it under his name, Wyle E. Cattlecall.

He is a resident at ******* in Redacted, TX. It’s a nursing home and he is in their secured wing as an elopement risk.  He has advanced Alzheimer’s and no language/writing skills.

I requested the DD-214 as part of funeral pre-planning arrangements I am making with You Stab ‘Em, We Slab ‘Em Funeral Home in Dallas, TX.

And I wait.

I have no faith I’ll get what I ask.  At least not until I trot one of these Archive Technicians over to the home and have him/her attempt to communicate with Dad.

Though if they are anything like the Librarian I would hope they have a Babelfish in their knapsack.  Then, maybe, I could talk to Dad too.

Then maybe I could explain to him why his next SS benefit check will be $200 short.

It’s because the SSA thinks Dad is not in a nursing home.

And that’s because the TX Dept of Health and Human Services told them that in October of 2011 Dad left the home he was in in Ft. Worth.

That part is true, but he wasn’t discharged he was transferred to a home where I wouldn’t get calls at 2:00 a.m. to tell me he had been beaten up again and had a head injury…again.

So the new home he went to filed all the necessary paperwork for the transfer, only somewhere along the bureaucratic nightmare of tangled webs the whole thing got lost.

I’ve now spoken to FOUR different people and gotten FOUR different answers about Dad’s benefits.

The only consistency is their insistence that I’m not someone to whom they may speak, but they must speak to Dad.

I finally told the last twit that I’d be glad to drive her over to the home and see, just see, how much of a conversation she could have with him.

I probably screamed that into the phone.

I have my own caseworker now.

And, probably, my own surveillance satellite.


There Are Days…

….when my Alzheimer-riddled father makes no sense when he speaks.

Truth be told, that’s most days.

And then, the light flickers on for a moment and as I ready to  leave the nursing home where he spends his days, lost in a fog,  he speaks the only lucid sentences I’ve heard in months..

“When will you be back?”

“Soon, Daddy, very soon.  I love you.”

“I love you too, baby.”

He will sometimes try to follow me out the secured doorway or hold onto my hand until both our arms are stretched to their limits.

And the light flickers out again, the connection broken, he turns to shuffle down the hall – alone in his world, lost to mine.


This Deep Well

There’s a deep well inside me and from it springs my skewed outlook on pretty much everything.

It’s not a bottomless well, and sometimes the rope to the bucket breaks and I can’t bring up anything at all.

Other times, there’s so much in the bucket I have to force myself to relax, slow down and organize things into something that may entertain a few of you.

By far, the greatest contributor to my well is my life experiences. 

Good, bad and indifferent.

I have to say, though, that the bad experiences seem to provide me with the best source material.  Humor is a great buffering agent.

To that end, I present Daddy.

He has Alzheimer’s.

It’s not pretty.

But, sometimes it’s damned funny.  Especially since he has really lost the ability to communicate verbally.  Oh sure, his sentence may start out with “Today, we had…” but  most of the time it ends with “….verbloggle fish toasted narfles” leaving me to wonder if he had fish, toast, narfles or verbloggle for lunch.

Like I said, it’s funny sometimes.

Other times, not so much.

He’s in a secured unit in a nursing home, since he’s given to walkabouts that may, or may not, include clothing, shoes, money or any idea who he is or where he is going.

I go vist him every chance I get, and he seems to understand we are connected somehow.

He’s just not sure how.

I visited him the other day, and most of what he said made no sense whatsoever.

Except when I got ready to leave.

I sat across from him and took both of  his hands in mine.

“I have to go now, Daddy.”


“Yes, but I will be back soon.”

“Where you goin’?”

“Well, back to work and then home.”

“When are you coming back?”

“Soon, Daddy, soon.”

I leaned in and hugged him.

“I love you, Daddy.”

“I love you too, baby.”

Tears well, heart breaks and I leave as quickly as I can.

It’s the moments of clarity that steal a little of my soul.