Before I do anything else, I want and need to thank the scores of people who sent healing hugs, thoughts, light, and prayers over these past few weeks since my brother was moved from nursing home, to hospital, to a surgery floor, then ICU, and then into hospice. I know the love you send to him and to me helped us, healed us. I am so happy that friends and new readers found my words to be worth comments, concern and sharing. I did not think my pain would become evergreen. But it might.
Thank you all for your caring and compassion. I did not ask for it lightly. I could not do that. That is why I am sheepish.
At the moment I am teetering between wonder, thankfulness,tears of joy, and befuddlement and sheepishness. My brother seems to be getting better. I cannot express how happy I am that even though he will always have memory problems, and confusion, and will be in a wheelchair, he is alive and getting better. I am actually crying tears of joy right now. His son, who is the same age as my daughter, has his dad for a while longer. My brother WAS in HOSPICE… and he did not die.
I know about hospice. I have lost my parents and two brothers. Of these loved ones, three went through the hospice program as they lay dying. These last couple weeks have been emotionally grueling. I know I will have to say goodbye to my brother sooner than I should have to. I mean I know this because I have already said it. I say it whenever I leave him after a visit because the 2,000 miles between us means I cannot see him often. Those visits do not always find him lucid and knowing who I am.
There is so much wrong with this scenario.
His son is working like mad to try to get him unclassified as terminal, which the majority of the staff no longer believe he is, so as to get him moved to a VA hospital where he received good care a couple of years ago when he was initially diagnosed with severe dementia. The care they provided stabilized him to the point where he could carry on normal conversations that would fool most people listening to them. Only those who knew him well could see that he was floating in time. I started to think of him, quite affectionately, as my Billy Pilgrim.
How can a man when removed from feeding tubes, antibiotics, and all treatments intended to help him recover from infections and surgery, because of medical judgments that he was dying and placement in hospice — then get better? Something happened.
Miracle? Maybe, almost certainly. But there are other elements here also.
Misdiagnosis? Could be. We would have to have access to his medical records to determine the extent. The hospital will not release them.
Malpractice? Very possibly. My brother has always been allergic to penicillin and similar antibiotics. Hubby, the brilliant neuro-chemist, says this sort of “allergy” usually is due to a “leaky blood brain barrier.” Make sense to me. Another brother had problems with unequal membrane regulation between parts of his CNS. That brother’s spine – brain fluid balance was “off.” He had to have a shunt implanted.
So what happened? We do not know.
The Nitty Gritty of Getting Better
It seems that when they stopped feeding Roger through the surgically implanted stomach tube, and stopped the massive antibiotic treatment he was previously on, he began to get better. This is a report to me by a friend of my brother who visited him earlier this week and then messaged me:
Friend: The nurses said he doesn’t eat , but I couldn’t get the food in his mouth fast enough. He drank 4 glasses of water and 2 apple juices.
(later)Met (His son is) … taking him out of hospice and having him moved to Marion – care there is better. The care in Marion is light years better than FW.Friend: I agree he was starving and dehydrated. I wanted to scream at them.
Women have chronicled family history, recorded life events, written diaries, and journaled for all the centuries since writing became feasible through technological advancements. We still do, but for some of us this is just what we do, we write no matter what the limitations of our access to technology, there are lots of options when the muse is cooperative.
My muse has not been cooperative as of late. I am getting back on my feet after being sick for a few weeks. When I am not feeling well I am overly critical of everything I do. I make unfair comparisons of my self with others. I knew I was seeing things askew when I decided I could not read my friends and fellow mid-life bloggers because they made me feel jealous of their achievements. Now that I am getting back my balance and perspective I am wondering why I reacted in such an exclusionary fashion.
Speculation on motivational undercurrents in women’s blogging
The group of women I consider to be my peers in the blogging world are mainly women I have met through the BlogHer blogging network. That is where the similarity ends. We are incredibly diverse in our backgrounds. We all bring distinct elements of what it is to be a successful 21st Century writer to the table. There are many kinds of success.
- Being published on a high circulation site, paid or not, is considered success by some.
- Making money from advertising is considered success by others.
- High number of readers is considered the goal by some.
- Writing sponsored posts for a recognizable national corporation the goal for some.
- Being able to blow your own horn about success can be viewed as being a successful marketer.
- Reaching readers with a message is the pinnacle of achievement for others.
- Being considered a good writer by peer writers is an honor for many.
- Being an expert and blogging may increase the perception of a writer as a subject expert.
- Some blog as a necessity for their business site.
Women’s life situations differ dramatically too
One of my main problems, in addition to battling depression, is that my support network of one, the Hubby, is not all that supportive of anything I do that does not either involve working outside the home for at least 30 hours a week, or making more money than him. He recently told me, “I don’t know why you think you have to be a successful entrepreneur. Can’t you just go get a job?” Scientists are at times distant and diminish the importance of everything other than work similar to their own. I’ve heard this from spouses of both sexes with partners who are scientists.
Other bloggers have supportive and successful partners and spouses who underwrite their efforts with action and moral support, while others have partners who underwrite the costs of professional start-up, networking expenses, and travel.
That said, there are some folks who have come to blogging with perks that are unrelated to writing, per se, after having worked in an industry for years, and they bring their networks or expertise with them.
Still others just have the seemingly innate ability to sell, sell, sell themselves. Marketing is a skill that comes naturally to some.
Why write this?
At times I have to remind myself of all these things, so I thought that someone else might want to see them too.
Our lives and paths are very different. But each of our life situations bring blessings and curses.
I was born a writer. I was also born an anthropologist. Neither are practical occupations though they provide for an interesting life.
I was born poor, my family was not supportive emotionally, and my only mentor in life is a brilliant but eccentric academician.
By the time I was 30 I had learned to trust no one. By the time I was 40 I was so broken that I had to do a complete restart to re-evaluate and rebuild my self. Other than for my daughter, I felt I had nothing but a fair intellect that was positive in life. I wrote about subjects that were important to me, but I did not really write myself into the story.
Then on my 49th birthday I found myself again. Over the course of the 50th year I learned a great deal about who I was coming together as in this rebuilding. I decided to build a network of connections through the Blogging Conference I adopted as my professional conference. It was a good choice.
I think I am talking to all the women writers who face challenges that at times seem insurmountable. Allow yourself time and space, and if necessary even envy when you need to step back and regroup for whatever reason. If you have a talent that can share and a passion to do so, it will come back to you. You may not have money, the perfect support system, or luck, but you have the fire inside you and that burns as long as you live. I am convinced of it. If I can lose my way, get knocked down, become demoralized by comparing myself to others, and then get back up and start all over again, then you can too.
This year I will turn 57, and having been born in 1957, I have decided to consider this a magical point in my life. In the next month, or so, until my birthday, I will write a few personal pieces on what I know about — how to keep going. I am nothing if not tenacious and resilient.
Getting bogged down for a bit isn’t so bad. The bog or swamp goddess told me so. That is one of the reasons she, Nerthus, is my twitter handle. @nerthus.
I have not been able to figure out what is going on with me lately. I cannot write, or concentrate, or work. I start wonderful pieces of writing and then lose interest and decide to take a nap.
I got off track after successfully getting on track a few weeks ago when I deviated from being an infrastructure inducing dynamo to do taxes. Then I worked on some non-writing projects and got sidetracked. In the middle of March I began to have a gut ache, pain, and felt like my digestive system had stopped dead in its tracks. After three days of fairly intense pain I went to the doctor at Hubby’s insistence and then had to go for an MRI with contrast as well as have a full blood workup.
I was scared shitless for a bit as one brother died at age 55, younger than I am. A second brother died at age 59. I try to be in touch with my body and usually on top of what is going on with it. This blind-sided me.
I have been told that I have diverticulitis even though I had a colonoscopy a few years ago, after turning 50 just like the health guidelines suggest to do, and everything looked good. No need of a followup for 10 years. Damn. So I was given the classic treatment of Cipro and an another antibiotic that kills anaerobic bacteria.
The other thing they found was that my fatty liver that they told me had gotten better has not. My liver is enlarged. And over the course of being on the antibiotics a dull occasional pain in my mid-right back has gotten progressively worse.
So I’m seeing the doctor again.
I do not likemedical appointments. My mother exhibited behavior that had all the hallmarks of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. Until I was 14 I played along with her and pretended to be ill. Actually being ill makes me depressed. I always think, deep down inside, that I am faking or exaggerating when I am ill, because of this early history.
Right now, I feel terrible, I am depressed, and am spending a lot of time blaming myself for becoming ill. But I am forcing myself to write again, every day, this month to get back in the saddleso to speak.
I am doing the A to Z Challenge for April and NaBloPoMo. I will conquer this abject attitude/health.
Two pieces of writing crossed my field of view before I was fully awake today. The first piece was from the New York Times but it was brought to my attention through a writer-friend on Facebook. The NYT article, When Writers Expose the Dead, is about writing memoir. The second piece is The Homeschool Apostates in The American Prospect.
Combining the two streams of information was a natural for me as I am writing a memoir of growing up in 20th Century America in a dysfunctional family that only makes sense when I look at it as a family cult. These two articles mapped onto my experience in a way that was both meaningful and enlightening.
Of course all this was gelling as the caffeine did its work and Morgan Freeman’s Wormhole was providing background context as I thought about women victimizing their own children in order to gather positive acknowledgement from their culture or community. Unequal access to resources perverts control over the resources to which one does have access and is reflected in some of the sayings in our culture.
- Big Fish in a Little Pond
- Rob Peter to Pay Paul
- Poison the Well
I keep realizing new ways I can organize sections of my book. I have to stop doing this and just pick one format for the final product and go with it. This current ability to format one’s own works is a curse for those of us who know that structure has tremendous impact on the finished product.
Today I realized I need to have sections in the memoir that do allow for explicit conjecture of why my mother allowed, fostered, and created the medically abusive situations she did. I also realize that I should reference her confessed desire to be a teacher. This of course could and probably should segue into a brief mention of the home-school apostates movement. And that suggest to me that I should also mention how economic collapse crushed my father’s dreams and consequently allowed for frustration spill over into unhealthy and deleterious behavior over many generations.
If I am going to dredge up issues and facts with which the dead, if they had a say, would not be comfortable, I should use them to illustrate cultural and societal trends which these dead would have agreed should be exposed and understood. To have this be something other than a vindictive, navel-gazing exercise I must incorporate this level of analysis. But I have to do this in a way that is not overly analytical and just conversational so as to appeal to a non-technical reader.
For want of a nail…
I just have to finish this project off.
Any thoughts or tactics on finishing up this type of written work would be greatly appreciated.