(Edited to add: It should probably be mentioned - and I didn't mention, because I'm a jackass - that my father and I don't really speak. We never really have. We don't do much in the way of family at all, he and I. I love him because I was raised with him as my father, but as a person he is very, very hard to tollerate and always has been. This is his personality, and has nothing to do with anything other than him being who he is. He's never had much to do with my life, not since I was very young. There are a lot of underlying issues here, but that's the biggest one: We're practical strangers. Which might be where the anger here comes from.)
I called my dad the day of our appointment to tell him he's going to have a grandson, that we're doing great, and that we seem to (somehow) be staying out of the woods so far when it comes to health. This was my first mistake, and I have since come to wish a house had fallen out of the sky and crushed me before I could dial his number, because to this news he said, "Oh, that's good. I'll be there on Saturday."
He didn't ask, he didn't warn, and there was no room in the tone of his voice for doubt. This is how he controls situations: He storms into them with his mind made up, and damn the consequences for anyone else.
Hooray for me and fuck everyone else.
This is how he goes through life. He didn't even start announcing himself until I went on a screaming jag two years ago about the very good chances that someday, he's going to drive 7 hours from his door to mine only to find I'm out of town, and THEN won't he feel like a dick.
He doesn't care what his arrival will do to the lives he's crash landing into. He expects room to be made with no notice, and he always has. If for some reason room cannot be made, he throws an epic fit. I'm talking EPIC--complete with stomping, yelling, outlandish accusations concerning alienation of affection and a lifetime of disrespect, guilt, etc. Also, and I feel like I really do have to stress this next fact:
My father is dying. He's had congestive heart failure for YEARS, has had two bypass surgeries, has a defibrillator AND a pacemaker implanted in his chest (two different things - one keeps the rhythm, the other shocks the wrath of Satan into your heart meat when the rhythm cannot be kept) is on a list of medications as long as I am tall, calls the Cardiac Clinic to report his weight and BP/other stats every morning, needs mechanical assistance to breathe at night, and goes in to the clinic for a check up 2-3 times a week. He has 30 percent of ONE SIDE of his heart left functioning at a normal level, the rest is either dead or in afibrillation -- beating so fast that it does absolutely no good to his body or his blood.
He. Is. Dying. He is also the one drinking Pepsi out of a keg in the corner. Yes, that is a gravy stain on his shirt and no, he doesn't know what stain you're talking about or how it got there because he would never do anything stupid like eat biscuits and gravy at the Cracker Barrel and house more food than is necessary to feed all of Asia every chance he gets. You must be hallucinating. It must have been fairies. Gravy fairies. And the doctors said that the Pepsi is good for his blood sugar, which is totally normal even though he hasn't used a test strip since God created sky. He obviously feels the pathological need to lie about the state of his health and how RECKLESSLY he is regarding it. He is constantly, every second of every day, seconds away from death. This, of course, as you can imagine, is incredibly hard to be around and bear witness to. It ALSO means that he cannot be more than 20 minutes away from a major cardiac ward, lest his body give out on him. (Which it does. A lot. And will again. Frequently. Until it can't recover anymore.) Which means he should not ever, ever drive 7 hours to anywhere, especially not to me, when I live in one of the most desolate states in the Union and there is literally no way he would survive if something happened to him on his way here.
On top of his terrible health and habit of lying about it, my father is incredibly demanding. He demands constant attention, constant submission. THIS is not due to his illness, THIS is due to him being a FUCKING SPOILED TYRANT. Get me this, bring me that, go here for me, do this for me, LISTEN TO ME, don't speak, don't make noise, why is your dog looking at me, get your cat away from me, it's too hot in here, get me that, I need this, you're doing it wrong, you're doing it wrong, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG, I know more, I know best, do this for me, I need that, give me that right now, let me tell you a story about how wonderful I am, I'm thirsty, my medication is making my balls swell. Oh, hello, The Boy's family members! FRESH MEAT! Come listen to me, right now, do this, do that, NOW! NOW! NOW!
Because of ALL OF this, it is not possible to make room in one's life for him without notice, as he is a walking fucking time bomb and his heart is literally always on the verge of EXPLODING. Not to mention his kidneys are failing, as is his liver, and don't even get me started on the rest of his organs. Certain allowances have to be made, certain tasks and activities become absolutely impossible.
Whatever. I didn't much feel in the mood to argue with him or point any of this out just then, since I'd just gotten out of my appointment and was flying so high, I could not see the ground. I told him I'd check my work schedule and try to get someone to cover for me so I could spend more time with him when he got here, and that I'd call him back later.
Big mistake. Huge.
I don't know if that recess gave him time to cook up his little plan or what, but man... I could strangle someone. I feel like a tool about it, but I really could just kill right now.
When I called my father back, he told me that my sister had told him that The Boy and I are moving into a new house, and she suggested that he stay with us instead of saving his money and staying in a hotel. (BECAUSE SHE OBVIOUSLY FUCKING HATES ME, THAT'S WHY!) So his plan now is that instead of my sister driving down to get him after the baby is born, he's going to drive here alone WEEKS BEFORE the birth and, this is the best part so I'll quote him directly, "I can stay as long as I want. Not forever, but for a long, long time."
Now, you might be thinking, "He can't seriously be suggesting that a near-seventy year-old man who's hardly managing to stay out of the ground should drive an ancient, rust bucket hoopty 7.5 hours IN NOVEMBER BLIZZARDS, alone, and then squat his geriatric, critically ill and incredibly needy, belligerent ass in the home of his youngest daughter and her love, who will have a newborn to adapt to and care for and try to keep alive."
No. He can't be serious, but he is.
So now on Saturday when he shows up out of nowhere (If he shows up, actually. He could very possibly arrest on the way up and be detained in some po-dunk ER somewhere in the middle of God's country,) I have to look at him and tell him that he cannot do this, he can't because I CANNOT HANDLE IT, and he is going to freak his shit. He will absolutely, completely lose his ever-loving mind. And I won't be able to relent because DAMNIT, this is MY life and MY baby and I know how much I can handle, and having him hovering over our newborn while wheezing, coughing, unable to move, demanding every second of every person's attention, is going to be too fucking much.
My unwillingness to cave to him will infuriate him. Everyone has alwas given in to him. I always have, because I love him and want him to be happy. Growing up, there was no defiance. There was never a time we told him "no." It was not allowed because he does not accept that answer from anyone, especially not his children, who will never know better than he does. His anger will spark mine, and I will very likely end up telling him to get his old, sick ass back from whence he came and DON'T COME BACK HERE AGAIN until he can act his age... I love him so much, but motherFUCK this. I will choose my child over him. And I will not be made to feel bad about it.
Am I wrong? What would you do?