“Where is fancy bred? In the heart or in the head?”
I just thought a random Willy Wonka quote would work well there.
It’s nearly one o’clock (by the time I post this I’m sure it will be) and I cannot sleep. Aside from the nocturnal rodent (hamster) running on it’s wheel in my kitchen/dining/living room, there is the small matter of my lungs feeling as if they are filling with soot.
Where did all this discomfort begin? Let’s take a trip back to three weeks ago…
::que scooby doo wavy screen effect: doodlydoo, doodlydoo, doodlydoo…
My son gets “croup” which is a disease (family of diseases) caused by the virus parainfluenza. He has fevers ranging from 100 to 102.7 and up, and is not well at all. I am of course worried and take him to the doctor who gives me no prescriptions and tells me to keep him home, let him rest, and give him tylenol if the fever gets too high.
SO… I miss practically that whole week of school (which also includes deadlines at work meaning less money and the stress of feeling as if I am burdening others by not being able to pull my own weight). Thursday I attempt to take Bastian to daycare -get a ticket on the way (note to self, pay ticket SOON), and he has a fever when I pick him up early back up to almost 103.
The weekend happens, Bastian’s fevers have drastically reduced and now he just has a nasty cold. Monday morning he gets cold medicine and off to daycare quick!
Tuesday morning of the following week my mother calls me (while I’m at work trying to catch up with a week’s worth of missed classwork and stories) and tells me Dad is in the hospital. Last time he went in like this it was congestive heart failure. I call him, he’s able to tell me that it feels like congestive heart failure again, but the doctors don’t know yet.
I leave to go get Bastian and see Dad in the hospital ASAP. He looks bad- his breath is raspy, his chest is shuddering as he inhales and exhales, and his voice is barely there. He tells me that he’s fine and I need to go back to school and keep up with my classes. Dad’s always been the type who glosses over his health problems. Partly to keep all of us from worrying about him and partly because he himself doesn’t want to acknowledge his own physical instability or take the necessary precautions to keep himself healthier. He hasn’t modified his lifestyle to lessen the effects of his pipe smoking, heart disease, or his late-stage diabetes.
Thursday I go to Rockford to pick him up from the Hospital (and to do my taxes so I can fill out my fafsa which is yet another item on the rapidly ascending STACK of things I have yet to do) and get him home about 4. The respiratory therapist arrives and takes Dad’s blood pressure and pulse and begins asking a series of questions. By the time he’s done phoning nurses and doctors and getting information, Dad is groaning to himself on the couch and the Resp. Tech guy is telling us he needs to get back in the hospital immediately. Back we go, and Dad’s in the Critical Care Unit by that night. Mom calls me 7 am Friday morning and tells me this, and wants me to come into town and go to the hospital with her. I call my sisters (being the liason for my father’s family who live in Missouri) and they decide to come up and see him.
It’s all starting to get a little scary at this point -none of which is made easy by my mother encouraging me to discuss where Dad should be buried (here or MO) and someone dying two rooms away from Dad’s while he was in the CCU.
Finally, Sunday we wake up and go the hospital only to find that Dad now has “restrictions” which require my sisters and I to wear surgical masks, gowns, and rubber gloves to enter his room. I won’t get into the medical details -there’s just too much to cover- but dad’s lungs had to be protected from us and we had to be protected from lung infections ourselves.
He’s still there, in the hospital, but doing better. My sisters had to go home to thier jobs and families. My parents being divorced, my mother’s altruistic attitude towards this ordeal is waning and I’m the last one left.
Dad now needs to monitor his diet (for the diabetes) take insulin shots (for the same) quit smoking his pipe (for the lung issue) and in my opinion needs someone to just be around. He’s been all alone in that apartment since Bastian and I moved to DeKalb and hasn’t taken care of himself. When I got to his apartment to sleep there during my first visits, I found the lightbulbs had burned out in all the lamps in the living room and he just hadn’t bothered to replace them. His apartment looked half deserted, he hasn’t lived in any part of it but his bedroom since we moved out. Even his refridgerator was empty except for frozen meals.
It made me feel somewhat guilty for leaving him alone there. My father has always tried to take care of the things and people he felt were his responsibility. I was so anxious to get out of Rockford, get my own place, and have the “college experience” that I really didn’t give that much thought to his loneliness. I knew he had a few friends at work and mom to hang out with occasionally. But he doesn’t go out with people unless they call him really.
I’m moving back to Rockford, and I’ll commute to NIU. The whole college experience is for people who are independent. With a child, a sick father, and little to nothing in common with most of the people I meet here I have made no friends. I have been to one bar in town (not that barhopping is my greatest ambition or anything) and I spend most of my time working, studying (ha), or playing online mmorpg’s that barely make up for my complete lack of the active social life I once had. Once upon a time I could have truly immersed myself in this whole university setting -but things for me have changed.
Honestly, it makes me a little sad to know that my opportunities for partying and looking out for #1 have basically dwindled away to nothing. At the same time, I wouldn’t go back for all the “good-times” in the world. I feel as if my life is one awakening after another. By no means am I trying to imply that I am completely enlightened in the spiritual sense; but I know that I have learned things that can never be reversed. A lot of the pleasures of youth, the irresponsible adventures of late teen/early adulthood, could never be had if the partygoers really understood the world and it’s workings or people and their subtle messages. Being ignorant of certain emotions, responsibilities, or signals that people send allows us to be who we think we want to be -do what we think is actually bringing us pleasure.
I have new pleasures now, and I hope to find newer and better ones than these in the future. Right now, I need to take care of my responsibilities and find whatever happiness I can in the process.
I’m cold, and I still don’t think I’ll sleep -but I’m gonna try.