A stupid update and stupid Ebola

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I realized that I haven’t been posting lately and although I’m sure no one has noticed, I have, and that right there goes against the whole point of this blog experiment. This is not to say that I haven’t tried. I went and started about half a dozen of these but then got too overwhelmed or tired to complete them. So here I am with a brief synopsis on my junk, which I may or may not go into further detail on at a later date.

When last I posted it was shortly after my cousin’s memorial service. It’s been really hard, and affecting me in strange little everyday ways – but also in big ways. Like how I celebrate Christmas sort of ways. This year has been upsetting and disruptive to my routine, traditions and things that make someone like me – someone with major anxiety and depressive issues – on edge.

My great aunt, who is really my grandmother (she was there for me like a grandmother when her sister, my actual grandmother, wouldn’t be), suffered a series of strokes that have left her barely able to think, see, hear or speak. The matriarch of my family, as well as the single wisest person I know, has now lost everything, is in a senior living facility, and her life is being dictated by this monster of a cousin-in-law whose motives in the whole situation are dubious at best. I feel so entirely helpless in this that I don’t know what to do. TheRapist has tried to help me with it, but she doesn’t understand our relationship. She doesn’t get how for the majority of my life I felt that only one person in my entire family understood me, and I’m losing her: systematically, and in most despicable ways.

A terrible run in with the cousin-in-law has also started a strange thing in my family. People by and large are on my side because this woman is particularly offensive. However, it’s making things hard in other ways.

My house is entering its fourth year of renovation. Meaning that my entire house is in disarray, half of it has little to no electricity and no lighting, many of our belongings are in storage (including stored in my studio – thereby preventing my being able to use it) and it’s just not a big enough house for this much disruption. The main reason this is happening is because my father insists on doing these renovations by himself, but he doesn’t want to do it. He’d rather play with his boat or his band. So a project that could be finished in a weekend or two has taken nearly four years. Any interference from my mother or me is met with hostility and accusations. It’s created an environment of stress and resentment that is just too much right now.

Especially considering that my mother has atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. We finally got the heart failure into remission when she just made all of her stress worse and now it’s acute again. Awesome. Add to that my father quitting his fucked up (once epically awesome job) for a new one, and having to wait for the new health insurance to kick, it’s been a ball over here.

And it’s not just my mom who is sick. Our ancient greyhound is not doing too well either; and we don’t expect to spend another Christmas with him.

Personally I’ve not been in a good place. I may have to have a surgery next year that I’m not really on board with but am afraid I am without choice. My anxiety is at epic levels (obviously), I’m unemployed and unemployable. I am now, for the first time in years, officially broke. I don’t know what to do anymore.

Everything has been coming at me from all angles (even more things, things that I don’t want to even mention, lest I well up or throw up), and just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, my grandmother called crying yesterday. My grandfather isn’t well, and instead of going to the doctor or the hospital, he’s refused medical treatment and aid. He won’t let us move him or let the ambulance take him. He’s announced that he wants to die and won’t get out of bed and eat.

So right now there’s this epic vigil going on at my grandparents’ house. We’re all just waiting for him to knock it off or die. And seeing as he is a stubborn old fool, and he isn’t well to begin with, he’s going to slowly die in his bed, breaking the hearts of his four children, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. And there is nothing we can do about it.

For the first time I really don’t think that I can handle this. It’s literally too much for me.

So there’s that. My completely bullshit life, and the reason I’m not really up for much socializing or generalizing or blogging.

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Before I go, I do have something I’d like to say about this Ebola outbreak. There’s been a lot of panic, a lot of bullshit reporting, and apparently even some ignorant and ridiculous conspiracy theories. But what it comes down to is this:

The reason why Ebola is spreading through Africa uncontrollably right now is because of poor sanitary conditions. The poor sanitary conditions are a direct result of having no access to clean water. This is a larger, much more terrible, much more difficult, underlying problem that needs to be addressed and no longer ignored.

Having no clean water is a major and horrific reality that you almost never hear about, and that most people in the western world don’t give a shit about. But the fact is, around a billion people worldwide have no access to clean water. An estimated 345 million of those people are in Africa alone. So now these diseases that are rare, that are containable – hell, some that should have been obliterated ages ago – are free to go unchecked because there is just no way to maintain sanitation when there is no sanitation to begin with.

What is happening with the Ebola outbreak in Africa is only an issue with us in the Western world because it’s starting to affect us directly. And like most things that happen around the world, they get ignored until they affect us directly. It’s sad.

Coming up with new treatments that only first-worlders can afford, or doing special new screenings at airports is ignoring the real issue and placating the few. It is the equivalent of walking into the most used room of your home, seeing a steaming pile of shit in the middle of the floor, covering it with a facial tissue and then walking away.

Without fixing the whole problem, the core problem, the ACTUAL problem, things are going to get worse and worse. For all of us.

Everything that happens everywhere in the world, everywhere on this Earth affects us directly. There is no us and them. There is only us. This is our problem and it is spreading. It won’t be long before it’s a rampant issue in the US. And note how I said ‘rampant’ – because it already is becoming an issue here.

So I just wanted to point that out. I also want to point out that these massive problems aren’t impossible. There are solutions. Everyone and anyone can help. You can raise awareness. You can demand it become a central political issue. Go to water.org to get further educated and see what else you can do to help bring clean water to these areas.

That’s it for now. Later.

My FUBAR Life and Brief Spider Updates

Lately I have been looking at my life from the perspective of how broken things are. I don’t recommend it as eventually you notice that everything is broken. It gets overwhelming fast, and you find yourself with really stupid options for remedy. You can take the chaos theory approach to things and just say that it’s the universe’s tendency to return to its natural state of disarray. You can take the optimists approach and say if it can be broken it can be fixed. Or you can declare it irreversibly fubar and either hide in a hole or bail.

I took this in September while going in for labs.

Sufficed to say all my trying to fix what I can fix has led to more things going to shit, which just further supports chaos theory, and pushes me toward fubar every time.

Case in point. The more I try to fix my health the more backward I seem to go. Despite my efforts to try to make my blood situation manageable, the more I get screwed up.

I got a letter in the mail sometime last week. I say sometime because someone else got to the mail first and not only did not deliver my letters to me, but sort of hid them from me. That aside, I find this letter addressed to me from the oncology clinic that serves as my blood dealer. It is a form letter notifying me that it no longer exists, but not to worry – my oncologist or haematologist will contact me with further instructions on what to do and where to go now. With the exception of this one oncologist who also no longer exists. Of course, that one oncologist happens to be MY doctor and I happen to have labs due for him and an appointment at his now nonexistent office in a week.

What? I just looked at the paper and then reread it several times. Who notifies a patient that their oncology clinic has closed and they’ve got to find a new oncologist that way? Who just dumps their practice and makes for the hills like that?

I seriously hope that they did not send that letter to all the patients who use that clinic’s services. I mean really. Imagine getting that letter when you’re in the middle of cancer treatments? I’d be terrified if my oncologist just bailed. My needs at that clinic are nowhere near as severe as they could be, but what would have happened had I not received that letter? Would they have just let me show up to my upcoming appointment and find out that way? It is exceedingly inhumane to have your health – which in the case of oncological patients is your life – treated with the coldness of a form letter. And people have the audacity to argue that there is nothing wrong with our health care system.

Right now I’m sort of having a rough time of it, and I suspect I will need to be fused to the juice again soon: I’m cold, exhausted, my hair is coming out in clumps again, and I’m passing out. What if I can’t wait months to find a new clinic and new doctor? What the hell is wrong with people?

It turns out that my clinic and its parent hospital were absorbed by a larger area hospital. I knew that was happening (via local media) but had been under the impression that the two hospitals would function the same way, with departments and emergency services remaining at both just under one name. This made sense as they both shared the same lab departments, many of the same staff, and the larger hospital has more services, better facilities; the smaller hospital would often refer a patient to the larger for those services. I had no idea that they were planning to consolidate oncology services. At my last treatment no one said a word and they made the appointments so they knew I was expecting to come back. I am now concerned that the rug may have been pulled out from under them as well, and am more than a little worried for many of the staff. No one needs to lose their jobs in this economy.

The letter provided several (seemingly random) telephone numbers for me to try to figure out what I’m supposed to do next. I felt terrible for the various receptionists and nurses I talked to on the phone who must be running ragged trying to figure out what to do with all of these lost people calling them up all day. It took several days to work it out, but I have found a new oncologist and we have an appointment to meet next week. This is good but it means starting from scratch with someone new in a new place that I don’t know with people I don’t know. Sorry, but I like to get to know a person before I puke in front of them (because Real Women Puke in Barrels) or exchange bodily fluids.

I have yet to hear from the oncologist who ditched his practice and r-u-n-n-o-f-t back to Boston. I am now oh-so confident in his diagnosis and prescribed treatments.

So fubar is my blood. Next I have to fix my home. My hair (I really don’t want to go bald). My employment situation. My book. My life.

In other news the spider did not in fact steal my mother’s purse. But there’s the possibility of a missing twenty so this was suggested:

Note: Everything is improved with cleansing fire.