Rewritten (Toxic, Part 2)
Mouth agape, I listen to Husband’s story.
Part of me wants to turn the car around. Expose Father’s lies. Another part is detached, compartmentalising this latest betrayal the same way Mom takes a giant step back from Father and stares at the floor.
I burst into guffaws. “He did not.”
“He absolutely did.”
My mouth somehow widens. I blink hard and forget to breathe.
Worst part is believing every word describing Father’s #narcissist behaviour. And wondering why I didn’t see it coming.
Last year, Mom called with upsetting news.
“Your Father told me I was going to see a doctor, I thought he meant the family doctor or my rheumatologist, but instead I’m sitting across from a man I don’t know who starts this test and he tells me I have dementia, he took my keys away, it’s illegal for me to drive, I felt so betrayed I refused to get in the car with your father after that, so I walked home.
“I’m giving you my car, OK? I don’t want anyone else to get her.”
We talked for over an hour. Me trying to get all the details, Mom so upset she can barely hold the phone steady.
“Mom, you need to get a second opinion. It’s too big a diagnosis to not.”
I immediately go into research mode. It’s my best defence against this kind of stress. Reading blogs, asking friends online, discovering a plethora of online sites dedicated to dementia research and support. And hit on something so important.
Mild Cognitive Impairment (#MCI) is often confused with dementia.
A foremost expert interviews about the difference, the grey areas between the two, and asks one question: can you leave this person alone for any amount of time and not worry about their safety? No means dementia. Yes means MCI. But dad let her walk home.
She needs a second opinion.
But talking to Father is impossible. He turns the conversation to insurance.
“I took her for testing because if she gets in an accident insurance won’t cover the costs.”
Of course this is about money. And control. She is fully dependent on him if it’s true. He can tell any story he wants because she no longer has a voice.
I send emails. He stands behind the diagnosis. I can’t get through to him because he wants it to be dementia.
For a month, mom and I talk about how much this impacts her daily life. They put her on drugs that give her the worst headaches, so much pain she never gets out of bed. Depression sets in. I keep researching, telling her what I find.
Until I can’t hold it in anymore.
“Mom. I don’t think you have dementia.”
“You don’t think I’m crazy?” She sounds so fragile, but there’s a touch of steel in her voice.
“Oh, thank you. Your father keeps treating me like I can’t think or do anything for myself.”
“Is there a doctor you trust, mom? Someone you can call? Tell them what’s going on so they can help you find a second opinion?”
There’s a family doctor she sees, someone she loves. Her confidence builds. Mom decides to call and trust her opinion.
Her family doctor confirms there’s a massive grey area between MCI and dementia. She does not agree with the diagnosis and takes Mom off the pills.
So. Much. Relief. Validation. Gratitude.
I’m proud of myself and Mom.
Except Father rewrites history. Makes himself the hero. Tells Husband how much he researched dementia. How he wasn’t sure if he could trust the original diagnosis, or the psychiatrist. Then insisted Mom call the family doctor for a second opinion. And thank god he did, or she might still be on those pills
“Um, I’m pretty sure Bear did most of that.”
“Oh, she helped a bit.”
This is the story he tells everyone. Husband knows better than to argue with a narcissist.
I shouldn’t be shocked.
But ego energy, not universal energy, fuelled my every step.
One of Mentor’s first lessons: when you use ego energy, you need something in return. Money, gratitude, favours. A fair exchange. Part of shamanic training is recognising you used ego energy. Negotiate your reward.
At the time, it didn’t occur to me how much ego energy I poured into my task. The reward is Mom having a bit more control. But until Husband tells me this story, I didn’t realise I also needed recognition. For being a good and true daughter.
Still crushed under the shame for being unable to save Mom.