Print Story Who did he piss off in a past life?
By wiredog (Fri May 07, 2010 at 12:52:33 PM EST) (all tags)
Schizophrenia, family reunions, and other randomness (maybe), below the fold.

The AA group I'm in is pretty inclusive. You show up and, as long as you're not too weird, you're tolerated.

Of course, an AA group has pretty loose standards for what constitutes "weird".

So there's this guy, call him Eric, he's obviously delusional, matches the description of Paranoid Schizophrenic pretty well. As the shrink in the group says "He's not my patient, so I can't diagnose him, but..."

Eric has very little contact with reality, and is slowly getting worse. People who've known him for 20 years (since he was a teenager) say he used to be only mildly out of touch, and was quiet and non-confrontational. Ten years ago, when I first met him, he was delusional, but still capable of appearing normal. He dropped out of sight for a couple years, then showed back up last fall. He was in bad shape. Not physically, mentally.

When he talks it's a pure stream of consciousness. He has no concept of personal space. Incapable of responding appropriately. Doesn't understand that saying things like that to 25 year old women, nevermind 15 year old girls, is Not Good. So he really creeps out the girls (and some guys) in the group. People leading meetings stopped calling on him to speak in meetings because the things he said scared off the newly sober.

Two times he's gotten, not violent really, but inappropriately physical. An implied capability for violence. He's over 6 feet, over 250 pounds.

He just doesn't understand why people don't want to be around him, because he thinks he's perfectly normal.

He thinks the CIA kidnapped him to Barbados, dosed him with PCP, and Did Things (what Things he doesn't say) to him. He also thinks his neighbors are trying to kill his dog. How does he think they are doing it? By pumping poison gas into his apartment. The gas smells just like hamburgers cooking on barbecue grills.

Last Saturday his neighbors were having a cookout.

Eric is now in a long term care facility. May be a permanent resident.

When I heard this from R, who's known Eric for 20 years, I remarked that I felt sorry for the dog. R said "Yeah. The dog's epileptic, too."

"Damn. Who'd he piss off in a past life?"

So. Family reunion this July 4 weekend at Uncle's (Dad's brother) in California. Hanford, in the San Joaquin Valley. Me, Dad, Uncle and Aunt, all the Cousins and the Cousin's Kids (some of them in college, thus no longer "kids"). Somewhere around 20 of us all told. Fly into Utah the Thursday before, drive out Saturday, drive back Monday. This way we get to see everyone without spending too much time with Uncle.

Uncle is somewhere to the right of GW Bush, Dad is an old school New Deal Democrat. They get along well, as long as they aren't in close proximity for too long.

Given family size and dispersion we don't do these things often. The last one was five years ago. The next one...?

Well, Dad will be 82 this year, Uncle is 80. Given their age the Cousins and I don't expect there to be a "next" reunion. Which is why I'm going to Utah July 4th Weekend for the reunion instead of San Antonio for the AA World Convention with 200 friends from my AA group. (And 70,000 other sober drunks.)

Dad's started slowing down a bit in the past few years. Gave up skiing after a bad fall. Gave up backpacking in the Sierras 2 years ago when he could no longer keep up with people 20 years younger than him. (I went on one of those trips when I was a month out of the Army and had a hell of a time keeping up with him then.) This summer he gave up hiking with the Outback Hiking Club when he could no longer keep up with them. Here are some pictures of their hikes, to give you an idea of what he was doing into his late 70's. Here's a pic of Dad in his red hat.

It's one thing to know, intellectually, that Dad is old, and slowing down, and will eventually die. It's another to know it. To discuss plans for what to do when, and have them be something more than an intellectual exercise.

Uncle is younger than Dad, but hasn't taken as good care of himself (used to smoke, drank a bit too much), so is a bit slower. Aunt is in pretty poor health, too. So the cousins and I figure at least one funeral in the next 5 years.

On the bright side, I'm moving a week from tomorrow. While waiting on the VA to get its act together on the VA loan the owners of the condo I'm buying offered to rent it to me. Since the loan is as sure a sure thing as there is, just waiting on the paperwork, there's no issue with that.
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Who did he piss off in a past life? | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
nice hikes by georgeha (4.00 / 2) #1 Fri May 07, 2010 at 01:08:38 PM EST
We don't get those kind of views in the East.

Good luck with the move.

my husband's grandparents by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri May 07, 2010 at 02:27:21 PM EST
are getting to the point where his family needs to have those conversations.

but they're resisting it.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

Takes both sides... by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri May 07, 2010 at 02:54:44 PM EST
That is, the elders and the kids. If either doesn't want to talk about it...

Not that much needs to be said. "Turn off the machines under these circumstances." "The important paperwork is here." "Is there anything special you want from this batch of stuff I'm leaving to X?"

The last bit is difficult if there are several kids wanting the same things. See Toxicfur's diaries for details...

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
right. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri May 07, 2010 at 03:05:47 PM EST
it's more that J's parents are basically unwilling to accept that their parents are on the edge, and so are unwilling to talk about it.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
Scaring the newly sober by MartiniPhilosopher (2.00 / 0) #5 Fri May 07, 2010 at 03:42:30 PM EST
I realize that those meetings are hard. That being honest with oneself about one's situation is an incredibly tough thing to achieve, but the idea, the concept, of that statement sounds insanely cruel but extremely fun at the same time.

If there be a hell, I think I just got a few more minutes' time in it for the mental pictures I had.

Whenever I hear one of those aforementioned douche bags pontificate about how dangerous [...] videogames are I get a little stabby. --Wil Wheaton.

The way he scares them by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #6 Fri May 07, 2010 at 03:55:55 PM EST
They hear him and think "20 years of going to meetings and I still end up like that?"

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
yeah, that's unfortunate by lm (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri May 07, 2010 at 04:50:58 PM EST
I know paranoid schizophrenics that have been dry their entire lives. They're no less batty.

It's hard not to associate their problems with whatever groups they happen to be affiliated with. Oh, so that's what belonging to X does to a person!

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Schizophrenia by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri May 07, 2010 at 11:47:28 PM EST
was probably the Who's greatest album.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Who did he piss off in a past life? | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback