Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Feeling It

So here's how it's gone. I get a grip. I gather all the facts. I figure it all out. I chart a course. I forge ahead.

And then there's some new piece of information that changes the whole deal. It's a kaleidascope reality: click! And it's all different. The pupil cannot dilate quickly enough.

Not so today.

Today was the day that my father got a bronchoscopy and a biopsy of whatever the hell is going on in his chest. For me, it was a work day. Six a.m. to 3 p.m. Which means that last night I set my alarm for 4:30 a.m., a.k.a. "one half hour after last call in NYC." I've come to really appreciate the rhythm of the day when I open the store. The alarm goes off in the middle of the night, I get up in the dark, the drive to work on roads that are often mine alone, being the first customer of the day at the Starbucks in Chalfont, entering before the store opens, walking through the Kitchen and Bath department alone, making sure everything is perfect, the morning meeting, the first customer...

Well this morning, there was this ice storm thing going on when I left the house. Or maybe slush storm would be closer to the mark. A few inches of snow followed by rain. The roads were awful. I had to go about thirty miles-per-hour the whole way.

And that had me clocking in ten minutes late. Hate that! I'm never ever ever ever late. Not even by a minute. So that had me a little rattled.

Or so I thought. As the day unfolded, I found out what "rattled" was all about.

In psychology, I believe they're what's known as "invasive thoughts." I just couldn't stop thinking about my dad. I threw myself into down-stocking toilets, became every one of my customer's New Best Friend, dusted out the bottoms of the bathtubs and shower stalls... but I was just a watch wound too tight. If anything had gone wrong in the least, I just would have snapped. And I felt at times I was hoping something like that would happen, just so I would have the opportunity to scream, "Do you have any idea what I'm going through you asshole?"

As the day wore on, something really started to worry me: I'm way conscientious about work. My job is important to me. I give it my all. And Lord knows that the Powers That Be have come to expect that of me. With everything I have on my plate and everything to come in the weeks ahead, I worry that I'll be slipping up. How to let the Powers That Be what I'm facing without it sounding like, "Be on the look-out for me falling down on the job!"

I decided to call the Employee Assistance Program.

During my orientation, the praises of EAP were sung. Although it was originally for folks with substance abuse problems, it's expanded. They now work to provide resources for anybody going through Big Life Stuff like marriage, divorce, buying a house... Surely they had something for facing the death of your father.

And they did.

I got hooked up to a website with tons of information, free legal consultation, three free sessions with a therapist...

Ho(t)me(n) Depot's got my back, Yo.

I finally made it to 3 p.m.

Off to the hospital to see my dad.

And tonight, I had church and Project Runway to look forward to. It almost counts as a day off!

I was joined at the hospital by this woman from church who's been visiting my homebound dad for years now. My dad's spirits were pretty good. The broncoscopy was trying, so they let him take a pass on the physical therapy. And he was eating a hamburger! He hasn't eaten a damn thing since he got there! And he seemed to be enjoying it.

So far, so good.

But walking to my car, I just had this thought: Let this be over soon.

Grim, considering what "over" entails.

But I kinda saw what was going down: for eight days now, I've been dealing, and this was a stress reaction. Which is cool. I'm stressed because it's stressful, right? It would be weird if I wasn't feeling this.

I took some time between the hospital and church to chill at Starbucks, and that felt good.

And church was just perfect: solemn, quiet, finding my strength. And after Mass, I got fed! (Love Wednesdays in Lent! Love that!)

Then off home. Finally home. Project Runway to look forward to.

Inside the door, I saw that our family lawyer had come through with the Power Of Attorney form my father had executed way back when. Per. Fect.

Oh wait.

My brother and I were both named.

Uh oh.

Does that mean that my brother who is a thousand miles away in Florida has to be there at the bank with me for everything?

Oh wait.

There's a message on the answering machine.

Someone I've never heard of from Doylestown Hospital, calling and leaving a message here when I've given them all my cell phone number to say, "Oh hi! So your father could be discharged to a nursing home as soon as tomorrow, so I need to speak with you today."

Well that's just like The Opposite of everything I've been hearing.

So home, instead of being a refuge and the place where I put it all behind me, I got hit by a shitstorm.

But it all melted away as i settled in for ProjRun.

Adieu, Sweet P. Gonna miss you, but kinda saw it coming. But that whole Chris and Rami thing! How sadistic is that? Do a whole line and kill yourself doing it and then we might give you an aufweidersehn anyway? Oh man.

Well, it's way late. Tomorrow I learn the results of my father's test today. And hopefully a couple of phone calls on my way to work will end the whole "as soon as tomorrow" thing and clear up the power-of-attorney issue.



Anonymous said...

Did you ever hear Martha Stewart discussing how/what got her through her recent troubles? I did, used it during my own recent trials and it was truly helpful.

Someone (therapist?) told her to always keep the fire to her backside (very appropriate for you), and always face the cool blue ocean. Yes, there are problems and challenges, those are to be deal with, but constantly imagine the cool blue ocean and going for a swim.

I may not be writing it as well as I heard it, but hey, if it's good enough for Martha, it's gotta be ...

John M. said...


I've been keeping you and dad in prayer. I don't have much to say that will help, but I will say that your writing here is helping me a whole lot. Thanks for that.

Also, I was totally pissed that Sweet P. went home and Rami got to stay, even if he is being further tortured. Sure, her stuff isn't that good, but a biker chick whose been around the block and has great tattoos deserves some consideration. And Christian's stuff is consistently great but he is such an arrogant twit that I want to see him suffer.

Anonymous said...

I can only offer my prayers.