Thursday, March 02, 2006

stormy weather...

...it happens. Storms can blow in from anywhere at anytime. Normally they're predicted, have advance warnings, forewarn those in their paths but sometimes... sometimes they just happen... a tempest from nowhere!

That's what happened three nights ago.

Bi-polar brother in law was not doing well at all... mentally. He was really, really getting oh-so-much worse and "The Wife" and I had nowhere to turn for help. We just did what we could to ensure he didn't hurt himself... or others. And we tried our best to keep him on some level of sanity.

After the desk he'd started a new project... a lamp table of sorts. We'd given him $40.00 to use for gas and to buy cigarettes with earlier in the day. He left our house in his pickup that we dubbed the "Beast" to do just that... left fairly early in the day by his standards... left around 12:00 noon. That's not saying he's sleeping in until then! Absolutely not. That's just saying his body's finally caught up with his mind long enough for him to get a rational thought in... as fleeting as it may be.

Anyway, he left. Drove off. Got in the beast and headed outta the driveway... backfiring and all.

Seven hours later he returned. He smelled like gas... a helluva lot like gas. I asked him what was up with the gas smell. He told me he ran out of gas and someone stopped to help him. He had to siphon some from their truck... enough to get to a station "down the road".

"Thought you had money for gas?" I asked him.

"I did"... he never really, fully explains himself.

"Annnddd???" I asked, getting a bit anxious. Not sure I wanted to know the answer.

"And what?" he was fumbling with something in the bed of the beast. A flat, round piece of plywood with three wooden, dowelling type legs jutting down from the plywood's base.

"Look!" He plopped the 3 legged plywood circle onto the driveway. "I'm going to make a lamp table."

It was going on 8:00 p.m. I was hoping he'd be sleeping a bit tonight because he'd finished his "desk lamp" project. You know... kind of give everyone a break and catch up on sleep... re-energize.

"Not tonight Bill. Not tonight." I told him as I walked back into the house. "How much did you have to pay for that?"

"$30.00" he answered "Not bad, huh?"

I shook my head as I went into the house. J was waiting for me.

"Well?" she asked. "Where was he and what'd he do?"

I shrugged my shoulders, walked past her and sat down at the laptop to finish the report I was writing. She followed me. She does that when I don't answer... follows and stares. No offense but I think that's a gender thing. I've noticed my daughter and daughter in law do it too. Follow "son in law" and "son" around, stare at them when the guys would have no words, when they couldn't think of anything they could say that would help explain the situation at hand... much like what was happening to me.

"He'll be in here in a minute. Ask him." I wouldn't look up. I just stared at the computer screen as I answered her.

Almost as if "on queue" he walked through the door, this $30.00 plywood contraption in tow. "The Wife" turned towards him, away from me... key words towards him, away from me. He was the focus... the entire focus of her attention. I couldn't see her face... but damn I wanted to. I could see his though. I could see the color in his face drain. I could see his eyes lose their luster, their bright, insanity type look... you know, that bright twinkle in the eye's corner much like the twinkle in an Appaloosa's eyes... that half-baked, gonna go nuts any second twinkle.

Well, I saw that twinkle fade when he locked eyes with J. I almost felt sorry for him. He knew she was a bit annoyed and he knew he was the cause. For once, someone else! YES!!!

I watched... with a huge grin I watched.

"Look at this" he tried to distract her... showing her his... plywood thing.

"What is it Bill?" She didn't take her eyes off of his.

"Look at it" he said as he shook it. "It's a lamp table. I bought it for you. I'm going to work on it. I'll make it look Italian so you can put it in your living room."

He was rambling. I was laughing... inside but still laughing. Laughing hard, very hard.

"Ask him how he got it" I couldn't let it end.

"How'd you get it?" she asked.

"I got it at an antique store" Not a good answer.

She winced. A visible, very pronounced wince.

"How much?"... left hand moving to her temple now... not good!

"He wanted $40.00 for it." one of his incomplete answers.

"How much?"... she's a master at this. Damn! I was in awe. Normally it was me on the receiving end. Now I could watch her at work. An artist.

"He wanted $40.00 but I got him down to $30.00" his gaze was falling towards the floor now, the plywood thingy placed on the floor next to him. She had won the first round.

"Do you have cigarettes?"

"I have five left" Oh, he wasn't even bothering to look up now.

"And why do you smell like gasoline?"

Oh this was good. I still couldn't see her face but when he raised his head, raised his eyes to look into J's I saw a totally defeated human being. He wouldn't answer. He just gathered his plywood thing and went out into the garage.

J turned to me.

"What are we going to do?"

"He has to go in... has to see the doctor. I'm going to be gone all day tomorrow but he has to get in somehow" I told her. I really did have to leave for a remote part of the state the next day to help out some region folks. I'd put it off for two weeks and couldn't put it off another day. She knew that.

"Call his doctor first thing in the morning and see if you can't get him in. He needs some quality time with the folks over at that psych ward" I suggested.

J was at wit's end. I was beyond. I was actually numb. She wasn't there yet.

We've been operating on 3 hrs. sleep every night for the past two... three weeks.

The next day I left early in the morning, around 04:00 a.m. to that meeting I'd been planning and canceling for the past several weeks. Bi-polar brother in law was in the garage working on the table when I went to bed at 11:30 p.m. and he was still out there working on it when I left for the region at 04:00 a.m.

J called me while I was still enroute... at around 08:00 a.m. and told me his doctor wanted to see him immediately. The doctor was very concerned he was relapsing. She (doctor) felt he should be admitted for a 30-90 day period so she and her colleagues could "study" him to determine what he needs.

We were both elated!!! Finally!!! Finally we were going to get some help with him!!! Finally we had someone notice!!!

"Have you told him yet?" I asked.

"No. He's out in the garage working on the table. I'm going to tell him in a minute. I just got off of the phone with his doctor" she said.

We said "good-bye", "I love you" to each other and hung up.

An hour later J calls and told me she sent bi-polar brother in law "on his way"... sent him away. It seems bi-polar brother in law called her everything but nice things, accused her and I of plotting to do GAWD KNOWS WHAT to him and stormed out of the house, refusing to go to his doctor.

J told him to stay away. Told him that if he "didn't want to do anything to help himself then we couldn't do it for him."

The last she saw of his pickup was it's tailgate as he drove it away.

I turned my vehicle around. I called the region folks, re-scheduled for another day and turned around... headed back home. Awhile later "the wife" called and told me bi-polar brother in law's crazy wife called her and told her that she's still in love with bi-polar brother in law... she's going to take care of him.

Like a storm... out of nowhere!

A tempest... swift, powerful and confusing!

J and I have peace again... except for the occasional phone call from bi-polar brother in law telling me to finish the lamp table in the garage.

What a ride... like a wild ride on a half baked Appaloosa.

4 comments:

Sunshine said...

Goodness me. I don't visit for a few days and then I find that all this has been going on....

I hope that BiL gets some help. It really sounds as if he needs it...

I hope that you and J get some quality time together now - I can imagine that this has put a lot of strain on you both...

I wonder if I do that staring thing? I could almost picture J and her conversation with her brother.... the way you described it was very vivid.

Will keep you all in my prayers and thoughts...

There is a weekend coming up - I hope that it will be a time of togetherness for you and J and you catch up with some sleep....

PS thanks for your concern over my migraine - free at last thank you...

D. H. said...

Hi Sue-

Yah, it's been a pretty wild ride around here during the last couple of weeks.

Even after he "left" we were concerned... worried about where he was at, whether or not he was eating, sleeping, taking his meds, etc.

Yesterday we got our answer as I posted in the most recent post above. He was hospitalized and was being taken care of.

So, yah... we relaxed a bit. Got some quality time together and with my Dad.

And got some much needed SLEEP.

Like I said, I've never had a migraine but I know several people who get them quite frequently... I can't even imagine the pain migraine sufferers go through.

DG said...

ya, know! You two are a tower of strength and patience.

D. H. said...

DG- thanks but over the past couple of weeks our strength and patience was truly tested. Things are getting better now. He keeps checking in with us and has let us know they've (the doctors) found an appropriate medicine for him. So all's kind of falling into place...

...for now.