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April 1, 2010 (Really Long… Really)

April 8, 2010

***A more appropriate title of this post is Catharsis but I’ll leave it as is- but it is certainly a warning***

Life is definitely circular.

My nephew was born 20 days early and sure did take his sweet time to get here. He was born on April Fool’s day and God help him he will not trust any of his Tio’s one iota on his birthday after age 7!  He is healthy and alert. To the day, he came home a month from the date my step- brother passed and the fact did not escape my notice.  Here we are a week later- 12 days to go to his due date- and he continues to do well.

I don’t want to say that I have not thought about posting but really it was (and continues to be) a strange bag of emotions… a bag that apparently is deeper than I originally thought.

My husband is leaving Sunday for a month to train for his deployment…again… to Iraq.

We weren’t even here three weeks before he got his orders.

So I sigh and figure that this is what God/fate has handed to me though I don’t know why.  Like there is some major lesson that needs to be learned and I am too obtuse to figure it out so I continue to get crap piled on my plate.

I should also mention that as far as my Fibro/CFS is concerned I am on a quick down-ward spiral.  My last appointment with the acupuncture was well over a month ago. I have never gone more than 3.5 weeks and have many times had to ask for an appointment before that.  My meds are running out and I couldn’t get an appointment here earlier than the 13th- though I call every morning and see if there is a cancellation.  Either I call too early or there are people calling before I do- I don’t know but the result is the same.  Yesterday, I was up for about six hours of the day… that is 18 hours of sleep… and while today has been a bit better it certainly hasn’t been pain free.  My knees hurt, my ankles and feet hurt, my elbows, wrists and fingers hurt.  The worst is the headaches because there isn’t anything I can do about those.  As the weeks passed I could feel the muscles knot- from my head to my neck into my shoulder blades and lower back.  My left shoulder is sitting higher than my right because of the knots.  My bra is unbearable and the seat belt of the car just barely so.

But here they don’t cover acupuncture.  As a side note: they also don’t cover anything related to fertility outside diagnosis and I have already been handed one of those- infertile.  All those months of waiting for my turn at the fertility clinic in San Antonio went straight into the trash since the referral is no longer valid with the move.

Which means (or rather- what I am expecting) that they will just put me on more drugs- something I had cut back on already (happily so) by going through weeks of playing with med combos. All I can really hope for is a great doctor right off the bat though that isn’t my history at all.  I am scared that I won’t and will end up in the ER again before I get the right doctor… and my husband won’t be here.

I have come up on a wall here…

not that I don’t have anything to say, but the opposite.  I don’t even know where to continue….
I can start with the death of my step-brother I suppose.  When I posted I think I was still kind of in shock which is why I posted minimally.  Things were hectic here with the moving and unpacking.  I was up late a few nights later and watching Celtic Women on PBS.  Maeve, the violinist, came out for her first set and it really did hit me like a ton of bricks– reality.  My brother played the violin and was very very good at it.  He could have made a name for himself in that area, but he chose to be a chef.  I’ll get back to that in just a minute. I have always loved the violin and now I think the music holds far more meaning than it did just a little of a month ago.  The feelings are odd.  On the one hand it doesn’t seem possible that it has been that long and on the other it seems like just yesterday.  I think that there may even be a small part of me that is probably still in a kind of denial. I can say though that I didn’t cry.

I mean, how could I?  Unless it was for myself.

The amount of pain he was in and the weariness that comes with round after round of treatment then having a procedure which should have saved his life but instead had taken it. How could I not be glad that he wouldn’t be in that pain any more?

This is where I find extraordinary peace when it comes to my step-brother: I saw him accept Christ and was there to see him baptized. I would consider myself a person of faith and it is in faith I believe him to be exactly where he should.  The day after my hit of reality I opened a box and there at the top was a picture of us.  It was just thrown there into the box but it was the only thing not wrapped in white paper.  It was him- straight out of the baptismal pool- with his arm around me.  We were standing at the base of the stairs in our church with my friends all crowded around.  We used to joke that I was his leaning post because he was soo much taller than I.  We are all smiling. It is now a picture I cherish far more than I ever thought it would.

I pray that God will spare me from losing another one of my siblings.

Let me just write a bit more about my little Bro.  He was kind.  He was shy unless he had an instrument in his hands.  He was strong.

You know how it seems like someone is not meant to live long in the world?  When I look back I see everything he has accomplished in his 25 years I feel as though perhaps this notion is true in some sense. He accomplished far more than I.  We have cut outs of him in the local paper when he was just in elementary school.  He made all state in band and was asked to be in several community orchestras. He decided in his Junior year to take a Home Ec class to finish out his schedule for the year and that’s when he fell in absolute love with baking.  He was accepted into one of the prominent culinary schools in the US and focused on the pastry side of things.  It wasn’t too long after that he got a job doing what he loved, but felt to expand his knowledge base. He became a sous chef and then was offered a position as a head chef at the age of 23 at a small place in St. Louis.

He’s left his mark on the world and it certainly is a good one.  I couldn’t be prouder to say, “That’s my Brother”

Moving on to the drama that is boiling under the surface of a particular branch of my family.  My dad (the one I don’t speak to at this point) decided the best way to tell me that my brother passed was by text message.  I found out how bad he was doing just a few days before from my dad’s0 facebook status.  I knew he was fighting the cancer, but had no idea that he was losing and had been for almost a month.  I called and left messages for Germy letting him know that I was just praying for him… no need to try  and call me back.  He had enough on his plate without having to worry about returning phone calls, though he did call.

One thing about my family that I both love and hate (and this comes from almost all sides) is that they are so very willing to candy coat things so I don’t stress out.  This is especially true when it comes to hospitalizations.  I almost never get a call until the person is out of the hospital or in a position where danger is past.  See my Fibro is triggered by stress, and my CFS is triggered by sustained stress.  I’ll get back to this in just a bit.

Really… I will.  Probably in this post as well– surprise of surprises.

Anyway, so I am pretty sure that I have posted about my very non-relationship that I have with my father since he chose his wife above me.  That sounds really selfish I know.  Kinda bratty too, right?  When I say he chose his wife above me I don’t mean in a way of the stereotypical step-mother/step-daughter relationship.  He chose her over me in that true anger was generated in my direction with things that weren’t entirely true.  Situations where there were witnesses to my “innocence” and over looked.  I am not afraid to say here that I didn’t realize that what I went through was very much like mental abuse and in some cases resulted in some physical altercations.  She’ll tell you though that she protected me.  She really believes it as well and I think my Dad does too.  They are very much revisionists when it comes to their lives and no matter what the rest of the world saw- it is the world that is wrong.

So I have to say that I didn’t call them and I replied with a text as well.  I did, however, send my condolences and prayers.  I also passed on that my friends (the same ones from the picture) sent along their prayers and condolences as well. So it isn’t as though I ignored them.

At the same time- to spite that I did do those things- all that will matter to them is that I didn’t call her.  I do understand that she is a mother who lost her only child. I get that and I paid my respect insofar as that goes.  She wasn’t ever a mother though- not beyond the biological-  to her son and when he was 16 he asked that she give up any parental rights she still had concerning him.  Yes, he could have waited two years and it wouldn’t have mattered but instead he chose to sever that connection with her.   And she didn’t fight for him.

I will admit that I only have two sides to what is honestly a three sided story- Germy’s and my fathers wife.  It is my Nana (my step-grandmother if we are going to label the legal connection) who raised him and who he chose to legally take on the role that she had filled for 15 years of his life.  Its so hard to realize all this happened just 10 years ago.  I was a Senior in High School… anyway back to the drama boiling.

I haven’t heard from them at all and I am really very okay with that.   I haven’t seen them since September 09 and it was then that I told them if they wanted a relationship the phone did work both ways.  I am more than okay with that part of things as well. With them it is always the other person who has to make the effort, but also the other person who gets the blame for what may (or even may not) have happened.  The responsibility and the fault never lie with them in their own minds.  I am not really looking forward to really running into them anywhere either because I know that the whole situation will get thrown in my face. It is kind of like watching a storm on the plains in Texas: you can see it building but it takes days to come.  I guess I’ll deal with that whenever (if ever) it happens.

Let me go back to this whole thing with my family and not telling me things.

I do appreciate the support that they show but at the same time I am frustrated with it all.  It is as if they called some sort of pow-wow and made this default course of action.

Days after the death of my step-brother (father’s wife son) I got a text from my sister that said she was taking my Big Daddy (mother’s husband) to the ER.  Not too long after that I got a phone call from my mom telling me that things were dicey.  I should probably get a bag ready to go.

I should probably provide some back up info here.  My Daddy has been diabetic since he was a child and it is something that his whole family deals with and in the past couple of years have had several deaths dealing with direct complications from diabetes.  My Daddy had triple by-pass surgery three weeks before I got married and rented a van he could lay in to make it there for me. My Daddy is also in full renal failure and spends close to 7 hours every other day at the dialysis center.  We have a perfect match in my baby brother and since we finished the testing to ensure a match it has been a year and a half.  I think that they are waiting for him to die.  They told him since then that he needs to lose 15lbs before they’ll do the surgery, but they pull out close to 15lbs of fluid every other day.  It makes no sense.

Okay.  I knew things were bad when I got the text because since my diagnosis they haven’t ever told me of his hospitalization until after he was out and relatively alright.  When my mom called I just didn’t know what to do.  We’d only been here in Georgia about two or three  weeks and I felt like life just slapped me in the face.  For almost three years I lived in driving distance and almost three weeks from when I move is when I can’t just up and leave.  My Daddy had been admitted to medical ICU and not even my Mama was allowed to see him.  My sister got sent to Labor and Delivery shortly after our Daddy’s admittance because the stress was causing contractions and she was only 32 weeks.  Mama told me that they had tubed him up because he had pneumonia and was basically drowning in himself.  While in ICU he had another heart attack and they had to place another stint.

Then they told us in regards to his transplant that he wasn’t well enough to get it done- yet all the stress on his body is coming from not having that surgery.

There is no way I can put into words how I felt.  So completely useless while scared to death that I was about to lose someone else in so short a time without being able to say goodbye.  Add into the mix my sister’s contractions being serious enough for admittance and it was four days of a stress level I don’t think I’ve ever experienced.

Three days after being admitted my Daddy was moved to a regular room and my middle brother called me… sibling conference call.

It was decided that should it be necessary our parents were going to move in with us.  I know that there comes a time in life when the child takes care of the parent. The Man and I didn’t ever realize the time would come quite so soon.  I still think they should move in with us because here we have far more access to various medical centers than they do out there.  We have Savannah, Brunswick, Charleston, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and even Augusta.  Outside of my oldest brother (who I don’t think is in a relationship) we are the only one’s who won’t have children at the end of this year and this is the only time I have ever seen that as an advantage.

Let me move back to the beginning of this post (though there is so much more to write about).  My sister gave birth and joined a club that I doubt highly I will ever be a member of- but I am not going to focus on that.

My nephew has proved already that he will do things as he sees fit without regard for anyone else.  He was gaining weight pretty rapidly and then one week after the issue with the contractions he hadn’t grown at all.  They told my sister they were setting her an induce date of 13 April.

Then we found out The Man was leaving for training for the whole month of April- which of course means that I can’t leave because we have no one to care for the dogs.

The next week they decided that they would check for lung maturity that Friday and ended up going the steroid route.  They told her that they would induce no later than the 31st.  So while concerned we believed that there was just enough of a window for me to fly out for a few days so I could be there— except Southwest doesn’t have a terminal in the Savannah Airport and I couldn’t find a price less than 700… which we couldn’t afford.

So I said that I would go out as soon as The Man got back for training- and the day after that we found out that he would be deploying only weeks after his return.  So at this rate it will be quite some time before I will be able to meet my nephew and it does make me sad.  I need to find a job and can’t stretch that long financially without one.  Probably (hoping and praying that nothing happens to contradict) I won’t be able to go out until my baby brother’s child is born- and even then I might not be able to see him/her because of drama with the Baby Mama (another post another time).  Anyway that is September and the little man will already be almost six months.

We all know that there are a whole lot of changes in that time.

Anyway, so she was induced the night of the 31st. I swear I did not sleep.  My niece was born via emergency c-section and so there was no time for all this.  That and I knew that it wasn’t my brother in pain.

This labor was awful and I fear that had I been there physically I may have just gone out of my mind.  They had to do her pain meds three times before she felt any relief and I was ready to go through the phone.  I mean, after the second time didn’t they think to themselves, “Humm, maybe this isn’t working.  Maybe we should try something else”.

I seriously had some major nausea going on… I went through two and a half packs of saltines in just the last three hours. All three of my brothers were the same.  Stomach issues from knowing that she was going through pain.  Do we all have some strange connection?  I dunno but we do usually have the same reactions to things even when miles apart.  I like that.

I must say we discovered Skype during this experience. When my sister was admitted we had a test run and it was so much fun. Our niece LOVES that she can see us!  The only thing is that she always cries when we leave and the same is apparently true when the web-cam goes off.  But now we know about Skype and have set up “appointments” so we will be able to see them on a regular basis!  20 minutes after our nephew was born we were allowed to turn on the cam again and I got to “see” him and they set me down on a tray next to my sister so that I could make sure she was doing well from her own lips. I also got to talk to and see my Big Daddy for the first time since his hospitalization and while he looks gaunt he sounds strong.

There I will end this post: my nephew entered the world, my brother remembered, family crisis (whats the plural for that?).  I doubt anyone will read all this but I think that I can’t relieve the stress unless I write about it so this is the route I went.

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