Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Faking It

Oh, dear lord, family drama is once again rearing its ugly head.

I am about to go on an epic rant, here.  You've been warned.  Feel free to skip this one if you have a low tolerance for soap-opera-type family dynamics.

On Friday, I got an email from my sister Ditzy.  The subject line was "illness".

Do you ever get an email that you really, REALLY don't want to open?  Yeah.  I knew, I knew, that I was about to get involved in some next-level bullsh*t.

A little background here.  Ditzy is eight years older than me, making her 60.  And for as long as I can remember, she has been "sick".

Oh, there's never really been any official diagnosis, although chronic mononucleosis, Gillian-Barre syndrome, and others have been bandied about and then dropped when the next disease-of-the-moment comes along.

Her symptoms?  Well, when there's something FUN to do, like traveling, or going out dancing, or hanging out at the lake, there ARE no symptoms.  She feels great!  It's only when there's something NOT FUN to do, like, oh, I don't know, WORKING, or doing dishes, or cleaning the house, that her symptoms appear.

She's tired.  She doesn't feel well.  She needs to lie down for a while.

She's faking it.

After YEARS of trying and failing to get on disability (because she's NOT SICK), she finally hired a lawyer (and paid him a bunch of money which she borrowed from family members, natch), who convinced a doctor to diagnose her with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and then convinced the government that she was, indeed, deserving of disability payments.

She isn't.  But is she getting those payments?  Oh yes she is.

And now, she's convinced that she's "sicker", although how you can be "sicker" when you weren't "sick" to begin with is a good question.

When she emailed me on Friday, saying that she's got some mysterious new illness that tests can't diagnose (because she's not sick), I tried to be supportive.  I did.  I went up to her house and visited with her on Saturday.  She asked me to help her find out which Medigap insurance plan would be right for her and her fake illness, and I am doing so.  I offered to help her out with cleaning, cooking, running errands, etc., when I was able.

And then the phone calls started.  Yesterday she asked me to pick up some eyedrops for her and bring them to her house.  I did.  When I got there, she said she didn't have the money to pay me back for them.

She's not broke. I KNOW she's not broke.  She just didn't want to pay for the eyedrops.  Somebody ELSE, like ME, should pay for her eyedrops, just like somebody else, like ME and everyother TAXPAYER, should pay her disability payments.

Am I bitter? Oh, nooooooooo.

This morning, she called me again.  She had a bad night, she said.  She might need to go to the emergency room.  Could I give her a ride if she didn't feel better?

Here's the thing:  She keeps GOING to the emergency room.  She's been there FIVE TIMES in the last couple of months.  They run some tests, which show no problems (because she's NOT SICK), and they send her home.  She has been BEGGING her doctor to admit her to the hospital, which her doctor will not do (because she's NOT SICK), and so she just keeps going back to the emergency room, in the wan hope that THEY will admit her to the hospital, which they will not do, because she's NOT SICK.

So when she called this morning, I asked her why her long-term boyfriend, who works from home, could not take her.  ("Well, he might be able to, but he might not," she said.)  I asked her why her adult daughter could not take her. ("She works too far away," she said.  "She'd have to leave work, drive all the way here, take me to the emergency room, drive me home, and then go back to work."  (a) Her daughter works twenty minutes away. (b) It's not okay to ask your DAUGHTER to do that, but it's okay to ask ME to do that?)  I asked why her adult son, who works right here in this town, could not take her.  No answer.

In the end, I told her that if she could not find anyone else to take her, I would give her a ride, but I would have to leave her there at the emergency room.  I would not be able to wait with her.

But honestly?  If she calls back?  I am going to tell her to call either a cab or an ambulance.

Because I am NOT going to get sucked in to her fake "illness".  I don't even know why she's suddenly contacted me out of the blue; we haven't much contact since Mom passed away back in 2013.  Maybe she's run out of suckers, er, sympathetic ears?

Look, if she was REALLY ill, if she had cancer or was in a wheelchair or had some REAL ILLNESS, I would help her.  Of COURSE I would.  Just like I helped my Mom when she got sick. 

But Ditzy is not really ill.  She's faking it.  And I'll be damned if I'll be a party to it.

There.  Rant over.  I feel better now, just for getting this all down in writing.

Thanks for listening.  I owe you one.


Random Felines said...

sometimes you just have to step away from the crazy...don't let her suck you in

Domestic Kate said...

Has anybody suggested that she be admitted to a *different* kind of place? I know some people just like to manipulate, but some people manipulate from a place of mental instability because they truly believe they're sick. It's kind of like an addiction or an obsessive behavior. At the very least, it seems like a good way to confront the behavior the next time she asks for something: "No, I won't drive you to the hospital, but I will help you find a therapist."

the queen said...

Be strong. I second both comments. Don't let her suck you in.

rockygrace said...

Yep, guys, I am doing a rapid retreat, here. If I had one of those back-up beepers like trucks have, it would be going off like CRAZY.

and Kate, that's a great idea. "You're sick, all right. Sick in THA HEAD." Ha. It may indeed be a type of obsessive behavior for her - after all, she's been getting attention for being sick her entire life. It looks like now, the people closest to her are tiring of it, and she's casting a wider net, so to speak.

I never did get a call yesterday asking for a ride to the emergency room. Thank God.

~~Silk said...

I have great difficulty handling stuff like this. When I was little, a teacher told us the story of the boy who cried wolf, then asked what the lesson was. All the other kids said that if you lied, people wouldn't believe you any more. I protested, no, no, no, the lesson is that even if someone lies over and over, you have to act as if it's the truth every time, because THIS time it may be true and may be important. That belief has caused me pain all my life, but I can't change it. Maybe it has to do with my feeling that everything that goes wrong is my fault.....

rockygrace said...

~~Silk, I'm sorry, but I legit lol'd at "THIS time it may be true". It must be tough to feel that way, like, getting disappointed over and over.