A note about The Deviated Norm

This here is a low traffic blog on topics close to my heart. As such, comments and engagement on old posts are always welcome and will be responded to. Except! for comments on old posts telling me to lighten up, not take things so seriously, or let things go, 'cause that shit's just plain ironic. Those comments will get a suggestion to visit Derailing for Dummies.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I've been really stressed recently. It's been vague amorphous stress, I can't pinpoint where it comes from well enough to excise it and it has been starting fights. Some of the things that are probably contributing are that my summer part-time job is drawing to a close and I need to start gearing up for my second/last year of MSW program, Bluejay and I are talking about where/when/how I'll get into a PhD program. Houses, children, animals, free time, money are also part of this future-talk. It's all sort of been swirling a bit.

Last week my father was taken to the ER because he was having trouble breathing. For the first couple rounds of chemo it seemed he'd been doing really well, his counts were up in all the right places. The last 2 rounds though he'd been having a worse reaction (it seemed to me, not actually living with him), and more lag time to feeling base level ok. Last week my mother wasn't home when he woke up and he realized he couldn't move around the house without worrying about falling over/passing out. He's said that he thinks that if she'd been home he wouldn't have bothered to call the doctor/911, he'd have tried to tough it out. Turns out there was clotting in the leg that traveled to his lungs. He's on blood thinners now.

I'm jealous of my sister who's living at home with our parents because she found out before I did and was able to see him in the hospital the day it happened. When the diagnosis for the cancer happened I was ready to be part of a caretaking team. On some level I was happy too, because I'd been feeling like a subpar son/male relative with my other folks who are sick. I wanted to redeem myself (on some level... it's also true that I just genuinely wanted to be there for my dad). Instead I've only taken him to one round of the chemo and since he does better with less people around I haven't been around more than once every few weeks. My sister and mother know what times of the week are "good times" after the chemo, but I wasn't close enough during that time to learn his personal cycle.
A neighbor came around the other day when I was there (after going to the hospital to see him) asking after him. It just felt mostly like gossip to me. There'd been an ambulance and a fire truck and as my dad put it "almost all of the emergency folks in the whole town," and she'd seen him getting wheeled away. My sister took it as her being involved and caring about him, (and probably knows better than I do), but I just found it so frustrating and icky to have just gotten in from seeing him and having her pounce on us in the driveway to get all the details.

When he first started chemo, he wanted to not have his hair look patchy. He shaved his head. He started losing his beard and I kept expecting him to shave that too... it's so thin right now I feel like I could count the individual hairs. I didn't know whether to be worried or not that he wasn't putting energy into keeping his head from getting peach fuzzy (since it was going to keep falling out and looking thin), did it mean something? Did it mean he was focusing on the important stuff or did it mean that he didn't have the energy to do something that was important to him?

I don't really need to worry about that anymore though, 'cause they've taken him off the chemo. It was killing him. Technically that's the point of chemo, to have it kill you, but hope that it kills the cancer quicker. We think? (hope?) the cancer's gone, but this wasn't the plan. This is the new plan. The one that involves rat poison (blood thinner).

Anyway, so I'm stressed. Not sleeping well and throwing up. I've got an itch in the back of my throat starting, so I'll get to begin the school year sick as well. And my grandmother's still alive, which should make me happy, other than it just means that the funeral hasn't happened yet. It's selfish but I want her to die in such a way/time that the funeral isn't during my school year, so I can attend without worrying about classwork. I'd be fine with winter break but I honestly doubt she'll make it that long, she's already beat the 6 month pronouncement by multiple months and when I visited her in early July everyone seemed to think it'd be mere hours.

About a third of me thinks that this isn't the reason I haven't been blogging (or doing anything "productive" for the upcoming school year), a third thinks it is, and another third wants it to be the reason 'cause it's a damn fine excuse.


  1. Hi, just wanted to say I'm really sorry for what your going through, and offer hugs.

  2. You've got a lot on your mind right now...taking a break from blogging is totally understandable. I'm sorry to hear about your father and grandmother. The important thing is to take care of yourself and the people close to you. Sometimes I think the vague, amorphous stress takes a harsher toll than the kind we can actually pinpoint to a single source. When we can't tell what the exact problem is, it becomes easier to blame ourselves and to hide from other people (at least that's how it works for me).

    Best of luck at school this year. I'm starting a PhD program next week-- scared. Shitless.

    If you want 'em, I've got some hugs for you. *hands over Tupperware container* :) Hang in there!

  3. I'm sorry to hear that all that stuff is coming down on you at once, and I hope that in the future things will start to clear up in some way, or at least the toll on you will lessen. And if you'd like any hugs, I've got some to spare.

  4. We all go through stage where it seems like all the problems in the world are cruelly placed on our backs...and we feel helpless. Sometimes we thought there's nothing we can do but to deal with it.
    Pause for a moment, close your mind and try to smile even if you don't feel like doing it. Problems are just temporary situations that are meant for us to overcome.

    I can sense your strength behind this post...and I admire you. Sending my sincerest bear hug for you! :-)


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