Thursday, September 22, 2005

More on the Dad Story

I left out in our first installment that my father was diagnosed with heart disease at 36 years of age. At the time, the doctors told him there wasn't anything they could do for him. He should just continue to take his medication and take it easy. Being 36, this didn't sit well with my dad. He did some research and found Dr. Co*oley in Texas to perform a bypass. So my dad had his first bypass at 36 years of age. His second bypass came at 45. He's had a number of angiographies and angioplasties throughout the years.

After I began talking to my dad again, he called in 1999 to tell me he would need a stent placed in one of his cardiac arteries. Upon hearing this, I offered my company immediately. He was fairly taken aback, because he was calling to ask my advice if he should ask my mom to join him for the trip to California for the surgery. After listening to my mom spew horrendous muck about him for the past year, I thought that might not be the best idea. So off to CA we went. On the plane, he divulged two items of information to me: he showed me a picture of a handsome man he had been seeing who was also a deacon, and that he was planning on being ordained a priest, having been a deacon since 1987. I was happy for him on both counts and let him know. Sensitive guy my dad is, his eyes welled with tears. He told me he was worried about my mom finding out he was going to become a priest because it was something he felt so strongly about, and he knew she had a tendency to slander. Because I didn't trust my mother either, I didn't share that info with her. As for his beau, D was someone who he met at church after my dad moved from NY. He is a sweet, kind, loving man, who has an unsettling tendency to never throw anything out. We love him and consider him a part of our family. In fact, we asked him (once he was ordained a priest), to perform our wedding ceremony. We couldn't ask my dad - he would have cried throughout the ceremony, which he did anyway. I thought it was endearing!

My father now has his own church, his own apartment and is still together with his partner. I've never heard him sound so happy and relaxed, and he is a constant source of support and comfort to me. We talk on the phone several times a week, and we're going to see him this weekend. Bless his heart, he reminds me to go to church, even though he knows we're spiritual but not religious.

My dad says he would like to be called "Grand-pop", which s just fine. D is still thinking about what he would like to be called. e decided to call my aunt Gramma, and her partner would like to be called "Unchi" (oon-chee), which is Sioux for grandmother. I think that's the cutest name ever! I love that. (She's not Sioux, but has studied the culture and language).

So that's my dad's tale. There are lots of little horrific anecdotes from his childhood, but I guess that's it for now.
Stay tuned! I'll return with more on the little wee chipmunk (who is 11 weeks and 3 days today)!

Monday, September 05, 2005

So... About my Dad...

My Dad is 61, divorced, and a gay priest. Time for a little background. He was born in D.C. to a histrionic mother and absent father, who worked on steam ships and wasn't around when my dad and his sisters were growing up. Dad was diagnosed with lupus when he was about 10. My grandmother carried on, screaming that he was going to die, and screeching to my aunt 'Marge' "why couldn't it have been you, you ugly pig!?" Years later, once he moved out of his mother's house, his lupus went into complete remission. Hasn't had a lick of a problem since, which leads many in our family to believe it was probably psychosomatic. Auto immune diseases can be psychosomatic, so this isn't really too far of a stretch.

He married my mom at 25, when she was 29. She knew he had lupus; she also knew that she had MS (what the doctors at the time believed her condition was), but told my dad that no one knew what her symptoms were from, becoming symptomatic at 24. My dad said he liked my mom because she was beautiful, kind (a nurse), fun, and really listened to him; he thought she really 'got' him. My mom liked my dad because he was handsome, well mannered, polished, came from good breeding, had style, knew how to really cut a rug and was funny and sociable. Seemed like a good match at the time...

Flash forward to about 20 years later. My dad remembered, during a therapist's appointment, that he had been sexually abused repeatedly as a child. It seems that sometimes, my grandmother would join my grandfather on the ship and they would sail to Europe and go on vacation. After my aunt B, who is 10 years older than my dad, married at 18, my grandmother would find someone - anyone - to baby sit my dad & aunt M, who is 4 years older than my dad. This would usually involve buying a bottle of liquor and asking someone dodgy to "watch the kids" for a month or so. You do the math.. This person would then use my dad and my aunt in whatever way suited them at the time. I'm sure anyone reading this would be horrified at the prospect of doing this to their child. Well, this is what makes you a good parent, and my grandmother an unconscionable one.

When my dad went through this in therapy, it was really quite a blow - he kind of went through an identity crisis, grew his hair long, got an earring, leather pants, and asked my mother to go to therapy with him, so that he could figure out how to process this. To which my mother responded: "It's your problem, not mine; you deal with it." So they were unhappy for the next 9 years. Eventually, my dad got so miserable, he figured out that if he had 5 years left to live, he wanted them to be happy. After drawing up the courage over the following year, he finally told my mother he wanted to leave. My mother, who had been just as miserable as he was, didn't take this very well. Now generally, you just don't leave a Scorpio. It's dangerous, and you should have an escape route/alternate identity planned out. Generally, I'm just saying. My parents went back and forth, his lawyer, her lawyer. She filed for "cruel & unusual punishment", but after quite a while, her attorney finally convinced her to file irreconcilable differences, being that my father did not, in fact, deliver any cruel and unusual punishment. That's just how my mom perceived it.

Now during this time, I lived fairly nearby to my mom. She called me everyday, crying and wanting to die. My heart tore for her. She told me how awful my father was, what a bastard, and because my mother is convincing to the last, I believed her. After many long months, my father contacted me to get together and meet. I had no interest initially, but eventually we agreed to meet in NYC. My attitude was, fine - what do you have to say for yourself? When he did talk, I realized, embarrassingly, that there are always two sides to every story. I realized that my father was not a bastard, not a cruel man, and he told me what he had to say without once speaking ill of my mother. I quickly realized who the cruel manipulator was in my family.

Long enough for today, the tale will continue...

Friday, September 02, 2005

It's a... Chipmunk?

I swear. Had an ultrasound showing a fetbryo that looks exactly like a baby chipmunk to me, which is adorable of course. The amniotic sac looks like it could be the tail... Hey, I'm just saying. What's really funny is that when my dad told his sister that the baby looks like a chipmunk, my aunt asked, seriously, if maybe they might have mixed up the embryos. First of all, this is one of the funniest things I've ever heard (really, what would a fertility clinic be doing with chipmunk embryos? Even if they were infertile, surely they wouldn't be able to cover the thousands of dollars in fees?) It does make one wonder. Second, my aunt is so nice and sweet that this statement is hysterical without us laughing at her. She says thing like this sometimes, and really, I just find it endearing.

In other fronts, I went for my very last appointment at the fertility place today. I felt like I was graduating; I kept thinking I should get a certificate. I brought in Dunkin Donuts for the staff, because everyone has been lovely to me and they're always so friendly. They really appreciated it - I got the impression that donut deliveries don't happen very frequently. I can't imagine why...

The poor girl who drew my blood dropped the vial. On the floor. Where it broke. I felt terrible for her. And the woman sitting next to me who got squeamish over the sight of all the blood. The phlebotomist then tried a vein on the other arm, but missed it. I just told her to use the original vein but go up a bit higher. That did the trick. Poor thing; mistakes happen, and I certainly wasn't upset... It definitely made my last time memorable! She probably felt mortified that the other patients were looking at her, hoping she wouldn't be the one to draw them... Shit does happen, I told her not to worry about it. Then I told her to go get a donut.

They just called in my results, and my progesterone is low: 12, down from 19 on Wednesday (I've been off the injections since Tuesday). They've just called in a prescription for Prometrium 200mg tabs, which I take (vaginally! Yay!) three times a day. I also found out this will cost $187.00. Whoo hoo! I have a mail order pharmacy, but I need to start the meds tonight, and the mail order takes about a week. So when I get the Rx fulfilled at a local pharmacy, I pay up front and then get reimbursed for 80% in about 2 weeks, which isn't too bad. Time to bust out that miles card!