I got a call from Only Living Relative's caregiver, and duly freaked out just like I did last time this happened. I called back though, and it turned out that Only Living Relative just wanted to talk to me. He was reminiscing about his life, and not making a ton of sense, but he wasn't too out of it. He did try to guilt me into coming to visit, which I would love to do but can't afford, and he wanted to keep talking when I had to go, so I told him I'd call him back and finally managed to extricate myself from the conversation.
When I called him back yesterday, though, he was totally out of it. He kept saying he was confused, and then saying "so you're telling me that you're going to work now, but you'll come visit tonight?" It seemed like he couldn't understand English at all, and could barely speak it. He was having a hard time forming words, and I realized that the reason I get calls and voicemails from the caregiver now is that he can no longer use the phone. At one point he was saying how he thought he was worth coming to visit, and he knew I was super-busy at...what did I do for a living again? I said I worked for Eclecstasy (it's an international chain, so most people who aren't completely disoriented recognize the name), then went with a more general "at a restaurant," except Only Living Relative had forgotten what that word meant, so I said "A PLACE WHERE WE COOK FOOD AND PEOPLE COME AND PAY TO EAT," and then he got it and said "oh, right, right! What do you do there? Do you at least own the place?"
Yeah, no, here, let me explain to you all over again what a failure I am at life. Divorced, no credit, waitress (lately we're called servers but Only Living Relative is stuck in the '20s). WAIT-RESS. I TAKE PEOPLE THEIR FOOD AND THEY TIP ME!!! No matter what I said, Only Living Relative was intent that I was coming to visit; no matter how many times I said I couldn't, he kept asking if I was coming over after work. Realizing that he wouldn't remember the conversation anyway, at one point I said "sure," and he was so happy that I felt like a total asshole. It's tough to know what to say in that kind of situation--do I lie and tell him what he wants to hear in the moment, or keep trying to orient him?
Either way, Only Living Relative is going rapidly downhill, and desperately wants me to come and visit, but I can't because I don't have a spare $2k lying around, and I feel bad about that. In Only Living Relative's mind, I have the money and just don't seem to want to show up, and the process of explaining that I just can't make it happen is so demoralizing that I've come to dread talking to him, but at the same time feel guilty because what if the next call I get from his caregiver is The Last One, and I owed him a phone call? He won't remember, but I will.