Greetings, HOTties! Welcome back to your weekly installment of Jamey’s health updates. I’ve bypassed on the updating specifics for the past two weeks since I uploaded the videos of Jamey.
I figure the videos speak for themselves.
As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been feeling “off” lately and have had a hard time posting. Rather, I’ve had a hard time posting anything of note that is up to my publishing standard.
I apologize for that. I’ve also recently cut out most carbs…most food products, really. That might account for my feeling “off” as well.
I just ate a pop tart.
Bring it, blogging.
So health-wise, Jamey’s still stable….blah, blah, blah. I swear, we’re gonna get kicked back out of hospice soon for being “too healthy!” We’ve gotten so comfortable with Hospice workers Marianne and Dawn that often, I don’t even have to be here when they’re with Jamey.
I’ve even gotten to the point in my level of comfort with them that I’m not in crazed lunatic cleaning mode before they get here. In fact, the other day, I had to get my snow shovel to dig a path through the piles of decomposing garbage strewn about the floor to make our way to the bathroom for Jamey’s tri-weekly shower.
Speaking of cleaning, mad, belated shout-outs to my “Aunt” Chris Ellmer for driving alllllllllll the way down “The Pike” to help me clean a few weeks ago.
For a little bit of backstory to help bolster the significance of this event, even though she is my aunt(at least I think she is—she’s 17 years younger than my mom and i’ve kind of always had some weird feeling that maybe, just maybe Chris and I are more closely related than aunt and niece, but I digress….)
So Chris and I are only 7 years apart in age–we’re actually closer in age than I am to my actual sister, Pam, who is 8 years my junior.
Chris and I grew up together is a sense. Growing up, I spent a decent amount of time at my grandparents’ house. Considering my grandparents were her parents(or were they???) Chris and I saw each other a lot.
And considering we’re both intelligent, kind of feisty and somewhat sarcastic individuals, we fought each other a lot. Well, not really fought, we just had somewhat of a sibling relationship(maybe because we are actually siblings?????)
Our biggest, longest-lasting argument centers around Little House on the Prairie. Weird, I know. And I’m not talking about debating the subtle, but present anti-Native American sentiment in favor of Anglo-American colonization principles. I’m talking’ ’bout “Who plays Laura?”
Whenever we’d attempt to “play” Little House, we’d run into a stalemate from the start…..character assignation. Laura, of course, was the main lead and, as such, the most coveted character. Of course, we both strove for that role. And both of us had valid arguments in support of our cause.
My argument was placed purely on age……Mary was the elder, Laura, the younger; Christine was the elder, I, the younger. Ergo, I should play Laura.
Christine’s argument was purely superficial…….Mary had blue eyes and light hair, Laura had brown eyes and brown hair; I had blue eyes and light hair, so I should be Mary. Chris had brown eyes and brown hair, so she should be Laura. And neither of us gave a crap about the youngest one who falls down the hill during the opening credits.
I honestly don’t think we ever actually got to “play” Little House. Neither of us would give in. Each thought that our point was more valid than the other’s. So we both kind of lost out in a way, I guess.
Fast forward about 25 years and some uncomfortable family issues surrounding strong feelings, family duties and death and Chris and I found ourselves in a more serious argument in which I, at least, thought my point was more valid and was not willing to give in. It’s the hard-headed Romanian temper we both share.
In defense of my mom and immediate family, I made some statements I’m not happy about.
In hindsight(which is the best way to look at things, by the way) I should’ve realized that there were some really serious issues going on with my mom at the time(i.e……early stages of Alzheimer’s) that led her to react in a way towards her little sister that led me to feel a need to step up and protect her.
And I also have a tendency to be an all-or-nothing person. I’m either passive and doormouse-like or explosive and wolverine-like. And I acted wolverineishly.
So Chris and I didn’t talk for a while….like probably 3 or 4 years. And we didn’t talk face-to-face until she showed up at my door a few weeks ago bearing chocolate chip cookies, a vacuum cleaner, and wide open arms.
It was nice.
And there was no talk who’s playing Laura.
This led me to think a lot about families and family dynamics and serious illnesses.
As I’ve mentioned before, I used to work with families who’d been affected by pediatric cancer.
One of the reasons I took the position was because I felt that I wouldn’t be dealing with “crazy” people(and yes, that is the clinically appropriate, politically correct term for those impacted by mental illness.)
One would assume that a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness would be so mind-numblingly terrifying that it automatically catapults you into prioritizing; that it puts all of life’s banalities and petty squabbles about toilet seats and toothpaste caps and extramarital affairs into perspective.
Well, ok, maybe leaving the cap off the toothpaste is a pretty unforgivable crime, but you see where I’m going with this.
But what I often found was quite the opposite.
A diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, or any illness that brings with it stress(whether acute or chronic)works like a magnifying glass on a family. Any weak links or subversive allegiances or unhealthy habits become amplified.
And often, these distortions are done to divert the family’s worry and concern from the real issue at hand.
It’s like, “It’s much safer to scream at my husband about the fact that he cuts the grass in a perpendicular rather than horizontal fashion than it is to crumble in his arms in abject terror talking about the recurring vision I have of my 3 year old in a casket next to her Hello Kitty doll dressed in her Cinderella costume.”
And so people squabble. They reject. They repress. They fear. They resent. They attack. They silently suffer the same disease. And many families are scarred for life, even if the family member recovers. The patient may recover, but the family as it was prior to diagnosis might not.
When you throw death into this macabre mix of powder-kegged emotions, you are often folding-in a poisoning ingredient in your Hate-y Pudding pie.
I’m thankful and grateful that there are no servings of Hate-y pudding pie at any of the Cranstoun-Biddulph family dinners. Well, at least no one of our actual, genetically linked and family-recognized family members(a lot of you will get what I mean by that vague disclaimer) receive any pie slices. There are a few outlaws, however…….
Listen, no family is perfect. I’ve been told I may have one or one and a half flaws. I have yet to agree with that assessment, but I know all of my family members are very, very flawed.
And Jamey’s family as well.
We’re flawed because we’re human(or they are, at least–I have no pressure points. I am Wonder Woman.)
The worst thing you can do when you’re dealing with stressful family health issues is not forgive yourself AND those close to you for acting like idiots.
Because we are idiots.
And we’ll be idiots and do idiotic things and act in idiotic ways and a lot of times, crap that we didn’t deal with from our idiotic childhood comes crawling back into our minds like non-killable idiot cockroaches and hides in dark corners of our memories, mouths and minds.
And maybe we say something we shouldn’t have.
Or maybe we don’t say something when we should have.
You need to forgive us.
And we need to forgive ourselves.
Either way, we all need to talk–and be honest and open and raw and real.
And we need to embrace the idiot in others.
And we need to embrace the idiot in ourselves.