So my BIL has this website up for family and friends to update people on his cancer situation. People can comment and they do. Most say wonderful, warm, smushy things.
Others say totally retarded things like this:
just hang in there and things will get better as they always do,sometime we hit a few bumps in the road but it will be a happy ending
Uhm, distant cousin dude whom my BIL has never met? Yeah. Shut up. He has stage III oral cancer. It’s no bueno. Things ALWAYS get better? I want to live in your world, peaches. In my world, aka reality, they don’t always get getter. Seriously, shut up, Slappy.
Or this, from a close relative — not on MY side of the family. We’re a little more articulate than this:
This is your redneck voice saying tubes in my nose HURT!! I’ve beat up on people that tried to hurt me HALF that bad, and yet you’re gonna hafta PAY them to do you that ‘DISCOMFORT!!!’ LIFE AIN’T FAIR!!!
But we knew that.
If I have to muck out stalls in the horse barn for 4 hours, or 2 days, as long as there is an end in sight, I can do it. I can’t stand in horse-poop up to my waist forever, but as long as I know there’s an END IN SIGHT I can do it for 2 measley days!!! And so can you!!!! AND THEN IT’S OVER!!! Same with the feeding tube.
My BIL went through nightmare after nightmare with his feeding tube post surgery. His oral cavity and throat were so inflamed, they couldn’t get a tube down. He had a tumor removed from his tongue, for God’s sake! When they finally did get a tube down, the process was agony. Literal agony. Then it got coiled on the way down, so they pulled it out which was reverse agony. They tried this repeatedly. The poor man was beside himself. He finally decided not to have a tube and didn’t get nutrition for, oh, 5 days. He was being hydrated, but not fed.
How that is like mucking out horse crap in a stall, I do not know. Call me stupid, but I cannot make that analogy work for me.
The other day I told my sister — who is calling me every day with updates anyway — that I wouldn’t be commenting on the update site because I just couldn’t hang with those people.
She said, “Are you talking about the horse crap comment?”
“Well, that, and a few other wanker comments.”
“Yeah. I know. People don’t know what to do.”
“Well, I get that, but don’t equate cancer with horse crap! People HAVE to know not to do that! My God!”
“Hahahaha. You’re all worked up.”
“It’s not HORSE CRAP!”
“Horse crap would be way better.”
“People are stupid.”
“Someone else keeps leaving me links to inspirational music videos.”
“I saw that. Have you watched them?”
“No! I don’t have time for that. Gimme a break.”
“I’ll watch them and re-enact them for you when I see you next.”
“People are stupid.”
Yeah. I’m now on Day Three of “Oh, Lawd in heaven, please keep me from going on that site and opening up a can of whup ass!”
So far, it’s working, but who knows how long my resolve will hold?
As I’ve said here before: I am occasionally somewhat unmoderated in my behavior.
MB and I were out at my parents’ on Sunday, checking on Piper, giving them an in-person update about their son-in-law’s surgery and progress. We’d just gotten home from my sister’s a few hours earlier and MB kept insisting, “You need to sleep. You need to sleep,” but it wasn’t gonna happen. I knew it. I was entering that weird energy phase that happens when you’re beyond exhaustion and morphing into a manic freak. I make dubious decisions in this state of mind. Oh, for instance, “Let’s go out to my parents’!” MB just rolled his eyes and shook his head and drove the car. Piper was ecstatic to see us and basically threw her uncle into the pool with her which meant I could talk privately with mom and dad. I walked them through everything with their son-in-law and they were impassive, which is how they typically respond to anything emotional. It’s frustrating. There are key areas — key areas — where I am not like them in any way, shape, or form, where there is a complete disconnect between us.
Honestly, we are grossing me out a little bit. Can I say that?
I mean, we are now officially precious and I don’t know how to deal with it now that I’m part of The Precious Family. You know how you envision certain things playing out in your life? You think things like, “I will be a teacher.” “I will be a doctor.” “I will be an Olympic curler.” Stuff like that, right? Well, you know, I have to tell you that I have never once thought to myself “I will become precious.” Nope. Not once. I never ever saw that as my destiny. But it’s sneaking up on me, worming its way into my blood like a virus. I’m taking echinacea to build up my immunity, but it ain’t helping.
Now this current precious trend is not coming from my parents. No, they’re not demonstrative AT ALL. My mom is never precious and my dad is mostly inadvertently precious. It’s these damn precious kids tugging at your heart strings and making you cry and making you think you’re living in The Sound of Music and maudlin crap like that. I mean, one thing we all know about me is that I am NOT precious. We know this, right? I am a crankypants. I AM A CRANKYPANTS AND I WEAR MY CRANKYPANTS BADGE WITH PRIDE!!
But now, sheesh. I’m living in a Strawberry Shortcake world and it’s precious and it’s making me confused about my identity, okay? If I become precious, I don’t know what I’ll DO.
So coming up next: “The Precious Family — a Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation.”
Do sit down.
~ A few days before BIL’s surgery, my sister heard Elder Nephew on the phone, the tail end of his conversation. He was going out of town on a pre-planned church trip, so he wasn’t going to be home for his dad’s surgery.
“Who was that?” My sister asked when he hung up.
“Well, I was calling the church.”
“I told them I was going to be out of town, so I needed the deacons to come check on my family.”
“Well, yeah. I told them I won’t be here to take care of my family, and that’s what deacons are supposed to do, right?”
You’re right, kid, but damn. Kleenex to Room 212, STAT!!
~ Piper wrote her dad a pre-surgery note about how much she loves him. She drew a sad bunny face.
~ At one point post-surgery, I came home to check on Younger Nephew, the only kid home. Sister said, “Yeah. Please make sure he’s alive.” I told him about his dad — in a roundabout, as-needed way. Then I said, “You know, it might be nice if you wrote your dad a note or something.” Again, he’s monosyllabic these days. He talks to me because we’ve always had a ruthlessly teasing relationship on both sides and that continues apace, but emotional stuff …. uhm, no. Not so much right now.
He responded with a noncommittal shrug and I just figured he wouldn’t do it — that it was too much for him or something. A while later, though, as I was about to head back to the hospital, he said, “Here, Aunt Tracey. Take him this Spider Man bobble head doll.”
I looked at him, looked down at the bobble head doll now in my hands, and furrowed my brow in confusion.
“Well, when I was in the hospital for my tonsils when I was 4, he brought me a Spider Man doll because I was really scared.” He paused for a second, seemed embarrassed. “Well, I just want him to have this.”
Ow, my eyes hurt. It has to be the red eye of Sauron again, right?
Then he handed me a folded piece of paper with a rather long note on it. I promised him I wouldn’t read it and he didn’t believe me even though I didn’t read it. I really didn’t. Of course, my sister read it aloud to her husband at the hospital, so I heard the whole durned thing. (Sorry, kid, but I DID keep my promise.) He relayed the Spider Man story to his dad and told him how much he loved him and how proud he was that he was his dad and how Spider Man would watch out for him.
Again with the stinging in the eyes. Dark side of the moon, my lily white bottom.
~ Elder Nephew was given a Mac Book for high school graduation. Since he was going to be out of town for his dad’s surgery, he used it to record himself singing and playing a song for a pre-surgery DVD for his dad. My BIL watched it alone first and then showed it to my sister, Younger Nephew, and me the night before surgery. We gathered at the kitchen table all hunched around BIL’s laptop and watched it.
I’m telling you, we are officially precious and I’m at my wit’s end about it. Seriously.
Elder Nephew sang the song “Life of a Salesman” by Yellowcard for his dad. It’s a kind of punk rock song thanking a dad for being a good dad. It ends with the line, “Thank you for my life, Dad.”
So Elder Nephew sang the song on his video, a little slower than the original, and the screen faded to black for a few seconds. Then a graphic came up that read “Thank you for my life, Dad.”
A few more seconds of black, then my sister’s voice from years ago, just her voice saying, “Well, J, right now, you like nothing better than imitating your daddy. You copy the way he holds his spoon and fork and you like to eat like him, too. You try to do everything the same as he does.”
You see, since her kids were little, my sister has made regular audio recordings of their lives, what they’re like at a given age, what they like to do, funny things they’ve done or said. She’s saved them all and she gave Elder Nephew his mini cassettes for his graduation. Obviously, he’d listened to them.
My sister’s voice continued, just her voice from the black screen:
“You know, J, you’re so lucky to have a daddy like you do. He plays with you all the time. He’s funny and loves to be with you and talk to you more than anything. He just loves you so much. You are everything to him.”
And at that, my sister, who has not once cried since the diagnosis came down, dropped her head to the table and burst into sobs. Then I burst into sobs. Then my brother-in-law burst into sobs. Younger Nephew, standing at the kitchen counter right then, watched as his mom and his dad and his aunt burst into these massive Hallmark sobs and, well, I’m sure he thought for a second that we were all nutso insane, but suddenly he just jumped across that room and grabbed his mom from behind in a huge bear hug. The room was still for a very long time, the only sound the sound of sniffles. I held onto BIL. Younger Nephew held onto his mother.
And that’s all we did. That’s all we did.
See? What did I tell you?
A “Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation.”
I am beside myself about it.
Here is a video of the song EN sang. Lyrics below. I will always love this song now, but, frankly, I do worry that it will be part of my insidious transformation from crankypants to preciouspants.
What’s a dad for dad?
Tell me why I’m here dad
Whisper in my ear that I’m growing up to be a better man, dad
Everything is fine dad
Proud that you are mine dad
Cause I know I’m growing up to be a better man
Father I will always be
That same boy that stood by the sea
And watched you tower over me
Now I’m older I wanna be the same as you
What’s a dad for dad?
Taught me how to stand, dad
Took me by the hand and you showed me how to be a bigger man, dad
Listen when you talk, dad
Follow where you walk, dad
And you know that I will always do the best I can
When I am a dad, dad ~(when i am a dad, dad)~
I’m gonna be a good dad ~(i’m gonna be a good dad)~
Did the best you could, dad ~(did the best you could, dad)~
Always understood, dad ~(always understood, dad)~
Taught me what was right, dad ~(taught me what was right, dad)~
Opened up my eyes, dad ~(opened up my eyes, dad)~
Glad to call you my dad ~(Glad to call you my dad)~
Thank you for my life dad
I’m back from 5 days up at my sister’s for my BIL’s cancer surgery.
I am exhausted to my core. Don’t even know where to begin. I slept without sleeping in a pull-out chair in the hospital last night so my sister could finally get some actual sleep. We have been by his bedside nonstop — literally — since Friday morning.
I briefly saw Piper today — she’s staying with my parents — and at one point, she looked at me funny and said, “Tee Tee, why do you keep repeating things? You just said that.”
“Oh, I did?”
“Well, hmm … Tee Tee needs some sleep, sweetie.”
She snuggled up close to me. “Oh! You should get some, Tee Tee.”
I would like some “raging energy,” please. I guess I’m doing it wrong, the working out thing. I mean, who am I? Mel Gibson??
“If you have reached a plateau with your current pre-workout formula and are looking for something to take your progress & workout intensity to a level you have never experienced before we dare you to uncage your inner rage with HEMO−RAGE Black.”
Hm. My “current pre-workout formula” is called “sitting around.” I sit around, then — SUDDENLY — I get up and work out. That’s my very involved formula.
Will someone please buy some Hemo-Rage and tell me how it goes, okay? With the blood rage and all.
I’d have MB do it, but he’s been uncaging his inner rage a little too well after the “Maybe Church” debacle. Do they have a “recage your inner rage” formula, I wonder? Hemo-Calm or something?