This past summer was supposed to be my “push to the finish line” and “bring ‘er home” summer. I was originally supposed to submit my thesis (this past) Friday, September 29. But things got a little complicated. and I asked for (and was granted) an extension. Sometimes I need to be hit over the head with a sign or two to really understand that just because I had planned something to go a certain way and I WANTED something to go a certain way- it might not necessarily work out like that. My summer went something like this;
My summer went something like this;
May- Finish teaching gigs and gear up to get this PhD puppy DONE.
Last week of May, out of the blue, and within the space of a week, the ol’ man (that would be my husband) discovers something is not feeling quite right, goes to the doctor, is rushed through a myriad of tests, is diagnosed with testicular cancer, has surgery to remove the cancer and returns to work 3 days later (even though the doctor had recommended 3 weeks off)
One week later, I get a call that my elderly father is very ill, has been admitted to hospital, has a “do not resuscitate” order on his chart and that I should get there pronto. I hastily book a flight and traverse the country to be with him. He improves but I spend a good part of 2 weeks in the hospital advocating for him.
During the first week I am there, I receive a call from my brother’s social worker (he is schizophrenic and has long been under the care of a mental health team while living independently in a specially designated building for those with mental health challenges). My brother, I am told, has early-onset dementia. He cannot live independently and will be moved into a group home.
My Mother has advanced dementia and has lived in a full-time care facility for four years. My grandmother had it, as did her sister, my great aunt.
During the second week, I am “home” to care for my Dad, I get a call from another hospital saying my oldest (61-year-old) brother is there. I had had lunch with him earlier in the week, he seemed fine I couldn’t imagine what could be wrong.
I arrived at the hospital and was escorted into ICU to find out he had overdosed on heroin. He was (I thought) a recovering addict. He had been (I thought) clean for 12-15 years.
He stayed in the hospital 2 weeks with sepsis (a blood infection from the intravenous drug use). My Dad got stronger, I got him settled back home, arranged home care, sold his car…my other brother was placed in a group home. I visited my Mum one last time before I flew back to my other “home”. Mum has no idea who I am, but she seemed happy for the company, I didn’t tell her about Dad and my brothers. she cant comprehend anything like that anyway– I’m glad I didn’t have to tell her all that.
Back home, with my ol’ man and the kids (he reminded me, or rather ribbed me about the fact that he had cancer as I was off looking after my father, mother and brothers…)
We spent a lovely 4 days on a lake because that is all we could afford financially and time-wise. The day after we got home. I was grocery shopping and planning out the rest of my “summer”…Kids were occupied with camp and activities and I was clear to write the bejeebers out of my thesis. The grocery cart was full when I realized I needed frozen mango for my ultra-healthy brain boosting green smoothies– I left the cart with the ol’ man and turned to go back to the freezer section when BAM! I go flying, I feel (although it was so intense I swear I heard it too) a POP! in my left leg- and the next thing I remember I was lying, screaming in a pool of cold water from a leaky freezer. An ambulance was called- I was carted off, put on morphine and told I had torn a hamstring.
That is when I realised that sometimes a little re-jigging is for the best. That is when I had to accept that the universe was essentially begging me to just STOP. Wait a gall-darn minute– Re-jig– you are NOT submitting September 29, 2017.
March 29, 2018 it is then.
Home again, home again jiggity-jig…