Sunday, October 30, 2005

Off the Wagon

Family dynamics are strange. Even under the best possible circumstances, the crazy-making weirdness comes out to play at holiday time, or road trip time, or long family vacation time - causing various forms of distress, embarrassment, hurt, frustration, whatever. As some people know, Thanksgiving Dinner can be a place where strange secrets get blurted out at the dinner table, i.e., "I Wear Men's Tighty Whiteys!" followed by the embarrassed silence of the table where everyone collectively adds more wine to their glasses.

When the circumstances are at their worst possible it is up to the family to put their weirdness aside and step up to the plate for the person who needs the most from the family. Personal weirdness really doesn't have a place when it comes down to truly caring for a family member in crisis.

My father (and I use the term VERY loosely here because he never had the tools to be one), has chosen to make this most horrible time for the whole family - about him. Now, I should preface that my father is insane. Rip roaring, bug-eyed raving, creepy lunatic with little or no regard for anyone else, because it's a conspiracy to try to control him if he is told to consider the needs of others. Mad as a mercury sniffing hatter. Crazier than a shit house rat. Other cliches that escape me. And that's on medication.

Add that to that phenomenon that effects many PhD academic liberals that vote liberal, give money to liberal causes, yet in terms of their behavior they are strictly Republican with respect to how they treat the working class, women, or members of their own family. It's their world - we just live in it.

Suffice it to say that my objective here, which is to take care of my terminally ill sister - and that is my ONLY job here, is being circumvented by a maniac that believes in humiliating the family with public outbursts, yelling at highly trained nurses, title company personnel, family members, etc... demanding that every weird and inappropriate impulse of his is paid attention to and gone along with - and other people be damned. We just bought a condo to live in temporarily while we are here and I think the association is going to have us out on our asses before we are even moved in.

He needs to go home. He has made a perfectly horrible situation impossibly more horrible and stressful. I can only take responsibility for my own responses to things - stress being one of them - and I'm sure I had other choices - heroin for example - but I smoked last night for the first time in over 3 1/2 years.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Pump Up The Volume

Yesterday was a very bad day. There is really no good way to put this. I woke up with a funny feeling and decided I wanted to go to the hospital earlier than everyone had suggested. My mother came with me. We got paged very early on and the surgeon informed us that they were not able to do the surgery - that when they opened her up they found that the cancer has spread to the liver. Her only option at this point will be chemo, which will start in about 5 to 6 weeks. The prognosis is not good.

We were present when the doctor gave my sister the news. She handled it remarkably well, turned to me after the doctor left and said, "My prognosis sucks" and immediately started trying to take care of us and our feelings. I think today will be a very different day after she has had the chance to truly take it in, process the information and speak with the doctor.

I'm pumping up the volume on the positive energy. She has said that she will fight this, get well and finish grad school. So that's what we're going to help her do.

Thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers, good wishes, Reiki, distance healing...the works - it's all welcome.

Be well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Call For Good Thoughts

Hello out there. Greetings from St. Louis. If any who read this have a moment to send some positive thoughts to my sis who went under anesthesia 53 minutes ago and will be in surgery for another 6 to 8 hours - I would be truly grateful. I love her more than life.

Be Well

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Meet Me In St. Louis, Louis . . .

Well, I have been ensconced in a hotel here in the Clayton section of St. Louis since Monday. It isn't freezing yet, so my Southern California Weather Wimp self hasn't had to break out the long underwear. People are pretty nice and Beef . . . It's what's for dinner.

My sister is doing remarkably well, despite the drama of bureaucratic imbeciles at insurance companies, etc. She has a remarkable sense of humor that is as shockingly witty as ever. She is still up and about until surgery on Tuesday, so she chose to drive us around for a quick tour of the area - accidently cut someone off, gave them the L.A. wave and said in a cheery voice, "Sorry! I have Cancer!" She has had opportunity to use that on numerous occasions since.

My parents have purchased a condo in the neighborhood near her home - real estate prices are quite different here than in California - so there will be a home base for family and friends who come here over the next several months. They are holding up - though emotions have been running high with a lot of energy being used to keep those emotions from showing when we're around Sis. At times I feel like I'm 13 again - and wonder just how it is that I'm going to be able to live under the same roof with them for any length of time - ah well, time to suck it up.

Manpants is holding the fort in L.A., but will be out here periodically. We talk several times a day, so that makes things less dreadful.

Well, I've been summoned. Dad's got that look like he woke up with the intention of fighting with someone today - anyone want to take bets on who that will be with?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ever noticed that . . .

In an attempt to divert myself from reality with the random comedy . . .

Has anyone ever noticed that David Caruso's acting on CSI Miami is identical to Jack Lord's acting on Hawaii Five-O? IDENTICAL.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

When Lives Collide with Sharp Objects

Life is always in session. No matter what one might do to try to control that concept, that is simply the way it is. Those Zen types that gave in to this concept long ago and who live stress free, miraculously zit and wrinkle free, with a “half-full” attitude at all times – have a little handle on that little factoid. Life is always in session. But there is always the potential for a curve ball to completely change the course of your game (oh wait – I’m switching metaphors mid paragraph…shit….oh well) causing one to have to reconfigure their comfortable lives. Hurricane, flood, firestorm, earthquake . . . family.

I have a sister. She and I actually haven’t spoken to each other in three years due to one hell of a falling out. It has been a lifetime of getting along, not getting along, being roommates as adults, not being roommates, writing a one-act play together that actually got produced and then reviewed mighty nicely; times we’ve been fiercely dependent upon one another – and times we wanted nothing to do with each other. The last three years has been the worst example of the latter. But “Cancer trumps everything,” as she said to me last night when we spoke for the first time after the long big chill. She has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and will be undergoing surgery next week. They actually caught it early by accident – there are usually no symptoms, so it is usually too late by the time they detect it. She was undergoing a surgical procedure for something else and during the testing prior to the procedure, they found it, did a biopsy, and Voila. Or Tah Dah. Or Motherfuck.

She lives in St. Louis, Missouri and thankfully her medical plan has her at Washington University Medical – which is apparently where one wants to be if they happen to find out they have the worst form of cancer. She’s young to be having it – just what you want to be at a university medical institution – an interesting case . . . and we all have really no idea what to do except show up in St. Louis and take it day by day.

So . . .I’m withdrawing from school for this semester, kissing Manpants and the doggies who will stay home to run things here that have to be run – like the pesky notion of working and paying bills - and will be meeting up with my parents (who are getting to be older and neither of whom are taking this news very well), flying to St. Louis next week for an indeterminate period of time while she has surgery and recuperates. After that, we’ll simply have to try to be like the Zen people and take things as they come and plan for the day to day after that.

I have no idea what tone, subject, rants, blatherings that my blogs will take on – I will more than likely have a lot of time to write them - and I'll need to . . . I understand that St. Louis is a red state and that fine dining consists of something containing a burger . . . I have an inkling that I won’t be going out much except to the hospital or to the store. Sharing with my parents and/or my sister whatever fears, angers, whatevers I have during those empty spaces between being busy will more than likely not be appropriate. Thank goodness for blogging.

Manpants has been an incredible, understanding and selfless rock through all this and I wish everyone could have someone in their lives like that – he makes the room better just by being in it.

Until later. And if you’re the praying sort, put one out there for that sister o’mine. She’ll need it.