Dosing for Death vs Guns and Murderers


Dosing for Death vs Guns and Murderers

fence-691095_640Another week has gone by and things are, for the most part, the same. A few days of further ugliness from the friend I’m primary caregiver for spewed forth, and I kept my “switch” turned to off. What switch? That one I keep most immediately accessible… that one that sets my emotions on the back burner while the rest of me lives, goes through the usual motions of any given day, while keeping on constant alert.

Is the stove on and unattended? Is the oven on too high with whatever is in it on the wrong rack height or a plastic plate? Is water left running? Has he had another stroke outside, while he sits for hours alone in his truck, the only place he can smoke and where he hides his vodka? Is there more excrement or urine on the floor between his room and the toilet? I can no longer walk in my house without shoes on my feet--not while he is here and especially not while he’s still drinking.

I do my best to watch after and care for Jack, especially considering his previous, serious health issues: liver failure, renal failure, liver transplant, failure to thrive, extensive and painful recovery, advanced prostate cancer and the effects of enduring all three forms of recommended treatment when surgery was not an option because it was so advance, followed by a stroke--all between 2002 and 2010--then the realization he’d gone back to drinking four years or so (at most) post transplant, hiding it from me completely.

He seems to barely notice all I do and try to do, and when he does, he makes sure to tell me what a hovering, complaining bitch I am. He let up a little on the hard alcohol. I say a little, because I can tell the moment he’s had the first swig of grain alcohol and he has not been "raging" the last few days, but his weight has dropped so, it takes a lot less to give him the effect he seems to thirst for. After thirteen years of experience with him, I guess this is “the new normal.” I can smell it immediately when he's been drinking vodka or whiskey or pretty much anything. I can tell with the first word out of his mouth. I can tell by the way he holds his body, and by his immediately affected gait. Here we go again…

Every day, one or two times, I ask, “Have you read my letter yet?” This is the letter I wrote almost a month ago, laying down my boundaries, proposing a new plan, and setting up, well, an ultimatum. “No, not yet, “ he tells me, until today.

Today, Jack told me he’d read my letter, and that we would have the conversation I’ve needed and wanted to, in the best interest of both of us. He was very sweet today, friendly, loving even. Gentleman Jack has been "on." Later, he took a nap, and I focused on other things, which included some activities on the computer.

While doing that, a notice flashed across my laptop screen. It was about the two prisoners who escaped from a prison 350 or so miles north of us about two weeks ago. Both were convicted of murder, and one had not only killed his boss, he’d dismembered him, and the other had killed his parole officer. These two are dangerous, and everyone’s been on high alert in upstate New York. We weren’t concerned about it, though, since the escape took place so far away and they were so close to the U.S.-Canada border.

Unfortunately, these two guys seem to have been spotted only a few miles from my home now. Corning is only 20 miles from here, and Lindley is even closer. Everyone’s been thinking their destination was Canada, which is very close to where they were, like eight miles from that prison. Now, we're looking at a different story.

I knew I had to tell Jack--there was really no way around that. If I didn’t, he’d hear about it later on the radio he listens to constantly in his “clubhouse” in his truck, and he’d lose trust in me. With both of us living here, both of us needed to be aware of this potential danger. So, I told him as he was waking from his nap. He immediately arose, pulled himself together and set to his consideration of the number one priority and plan.

Here’s where Jack’s love shows. His only comments and thoughts were about his determination to make sure I was safe and wouldn’t be harmed should these two dangerous men wander onto this 120-acre property. He pulled out the guns I have hated knowing about. He told me he was going to load them up and put together a plan. I have not been able to find where he’s keeping his vodka this time, so had to “let it go,” if you will, about that.

A couple hours later he telephoned me from his cell, from his truck in the driveway and, with a very calm and friendly voice, he asked me to please join him there for a conversation. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, and sort of hoped maybe he was ready to have that conversation I’ve been wanting to have about a new, more balanced arrangement about my caregiving and his drinking, so I told him I’d be out there in a few minutes.

When I got there, all he wanted to talk to me about was his plan, what he felt should be our plan, should these murderers show up on the farm. He wanted to teach me about the use of a shotgun he had waiting there. He also wanted to show me the handgun he intended to keep with himself, but in case something happened, and it became necessary, he wanted to know that I’d know what to do and how to use both weapons.

Normally, I prefer to meet every challenge with love and trust in our Divine Father/Mother, as opposed to violence of any kind. I would not have a gun. After living through the Los Angeles riots, my then husband and I opted to get a small hammerless, .35 pistol I could use for our plan for me to drive myself and our boys out of California to his sister’s home in Arizona while he was to stay at the house and “protect” things with his presence and a (don’t laugh too loud) antique sword he had, should anything happen like that again. I’d be able to drive and protect us from carjackers with this gun.

I had gotten a pistol permit then, and trained at the Beverly Hills Gun Club. When I moved from there to this rural area of New York back in 1998, though, I decided to let my permit go and not to renew or get a gun permit for New York. I sold my gun and haven’t had one since. Now, maybe the situation’s different.

If I were alone, I would not worry nor go out and get a gun, but that’s just not the situation now with Jack here. Now, I have a man very equipped with a few different types of (all licensed and registered) guns, all permits, and a person who, in his lifetime, won many gun shooting contests and has historically been very responsible with them.

Here’s the challenge, though, right? I’ve been uncomfortable having these guns here with his un-checked alcoholism, yet today, tonight, there are two murderers wandering through our area, so maybe having them (and Jack) here is not such a bad thing.

My only requests of Jack earlier this evening were these: 1. How much have you had to drink, and 2. Can I have your promise that you will not drink anymore until these bad guys are found and apprehended or no longer living and a threat? He told me he’d had “the equivalent in alcohol of one martini,” and that “I will not drink anymore while this is going on.”

I know that his statement of “one drink” means at least two, and for a man of only 135 or so pounds, it hits him harder. I pointed that out to him and, surprisingly, he did not explode in aggression or defense. He said, “That’s fair.” I also told him that the moment I find any hard alcohol on this property, anywhere, I will toss it.

Jack let me know tonight that he intends to care for me in this situation. Wow. What a nice switch this one was. I can tell he loves me--as much as he’s capable of loving anyone. He’s fiercely protective of me, yet the weird thing is all that he does to destroy himself, our relationship and our combined, overall, quality of life. Interesting, isn’t it?

Sadly, I watched him a little earlier tonight while he didn’t know, and I saw a frail, near 72-year-old man having to brace himself from one piece of furniture or corner of a wall to another just to get across his room 8 feet or less from his “tv watching” chair to his bed, where he placed his cell phone, checked his pistol and had to sit a few minutes just to catch his breath and garner strength for his next tasks…to get from his room to the kitchen where he removes his dentures and puts them in a wash bath, from there to the bathroom for his last elimination for the next few hours and from there to his bed, where he stays, feeling (finally) secure enough to rest.

I've got all the doors and windows locked and secured, and have my Great Pyrenees, Zara, in the house--and what an incredible guard she is! I'm feeling safe and secure here tonight, with a keen awareness that's keeping me alert.

What a surreal world it can seem sometimes. The conflicting feelings about guns, now complicate things. I know my own feelings about them, while Jack lives here, is apparently not all up to me and my preference for a gun-free home because he has his right and legally holds his collection. And at the same time, there’s a part of me that is glad to have the shotgun he gave me to keep next to my bed tonight, just in case. These escaped prisoner guys out there are desperate and my guess is they are or were smart enough to know that all law enforcement would be automatically focused on Canada near Vermont and the northern-most part of New York on the east side. Moving south to where we are, and to thousands of acres of rural countryside where they can travel west under much cover over to entry into Canada from the Rochester/Niagra Falls connection would be a reasonably good bet held up to Mexico.

For me? I’m banking on principle, love and the eternal reality of Spirit. Jack on alcohol, guns or murderers, my security and life is secure with my Father/Mother God.

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wren,\r\nSorry for the taking so long in replying to this I was out of town for a convention for my women's group for church this past weekend.\r\nPhilip is 53\r\nHe has applied for Medicaid and has been accepted which was HUGE for him. He has applied for food stamps but got frustrated at the process and gave up!\r\nHe does have any advanced directives and a Power of Attorney. I have told my husband how important this is and he has told Philip but nothing has happened. \r\nThe latest thing that has really made me mad is that he has not seen a doctor since getting out of the hospital and wouldn't go back to see the surgeon who did the surgery as he owns them money. My husband and Tom (the other friend) had said that they will make a appointment at one the clinics for the undeserved in Wichita. Well, now They aren't going to do anything as Philip doesn't want to go. At this point I feel that this out of Philips hand and he needs to see a doctor. I told my husband that I will make a appointment for him & take him!\r\nThanks for listening!


Wow, Wren. With all you already manage, you now have to manage a potentially unsafe situation.\r\n\r\nAny news? How are you feeling today?


Wren\r\n I SO relate to what you are going through! We have a friend whose brittle diabetic and has been in the hospital twice in the last year. Last year he had some toes amputated from his left foot and this year he had all of his toes on his right foot amputated. He's a hoarder and doesn't work. He has a brother that he doesn't talk to him so we are it/ My husband and our friend Tom, It's VERY frustrating as he wouldn't help himself so we can't help him even though he needs help!\r\nMaria


Hi, Wren. Your stories of Jack remind me a little bit of an elder cousin who lived near my mom and me for the last years of his life. He had some self-destructive behaviors - cigarettes + throat cancer, a drinking habit, but just beer in his case. His health went downhill drastically before he died. He was so difficult and could be mean, but also loving and protective in his way. You are a loyal friend, and I'm glad you had this chance to feel cared for by Jack. I hope you get to have the conversation about your letter soon.