October was a pretty shit month for me.

October was a pretty shit month for me.

There’s not really any other way to put it, in my thinking, but I’ll try to elaborate.

1*ZTLar54jatZLIJn2CVmQKADad died a month ago. For all of the getting ready and expecting the end that we were all told to do time and time again by any robotic medical professional that ended up on dad’s case, I really got sucker punched when I saw it happen.

We’ll leave how I did or didn’t need to see that happen for the professional mental critics to consider.

It hasn’t hit me until now that he was one of the reasons my family stayed together. Over the natural course of family life, it’s natural for children to leave the home and go somewhere to do something. Raise a family, fight a war, start a business — but all of that takes place away from home, right?

It sounds bad to admit this, but dad’s cancer was one of the only things tethering me to home over the last few years. The worse it got, the more guilty I started to feel about not being there to help.

Whether my being there would’ve helped things is an entire other matter to think about, that I’m not even prepared to think about. The self-doubt about whether I should have left home at that time or not is still something that staggers me when I try to think about it.

My mother made a joke about me moving back home to help pay for the mortgage. And after almost getting over that whole thing after dad died, I just lost it. I can’t even begin to think that several incidents wouldn’t have happened if I were at the house, just there to help.

I don’t know. I was — and still am, for what it’s worth — happy being alone and not having to worry about things complicating my life. I was just starting to really work exercise into my routine, as well. I just want to do my own thing.
Moving out just felt right to me. And even in the first house that I moved out to, was pretty neat. I have pretty cool roommates who tolerate my special brand of idiocy and I usually find a way to contribute to the common good of the house without ending up being completely worthless.

There’s always a schedule to keep and a time to be quiet everywhere I go. I wear headphones all the time — even at work — because I fear the clashing of what I like to listen to when I’m at the office or the games that I play to be too loud to piss off my coworkers or my roommates.

I’m starting to think that I’m losing some sort of awareness sometimes as a result of trying to keep everything bottled up inside my head. Every so often the wrong chord progression or the most dramatic moment in a story will punch me in the gut until my eyes start to water. I gives me the strongest urge to play music again, but I can’t shake the fact that the group I want to play with will probably never exist. I make up random melodies in my head to distract me from everything that I would otherwise think about.
To pile on to all of that, my dad’s father passed last week. I haven’t had a real conversation with the man for over a decade as a result of his progressed Alzheimer’s, but I knew he had gotten used to doing things his way for so long that he wasn’t about to let anyone tell him what to do.

Perhaps that rebellious streak kicked the rate of memory loss into overdrive — or at least it appeared. Towards the end, he never recognized me even after introducing myself as “Jim’s oldest” time after time. I was mistaken for my father, once, because of how similar we looked, and thankfully he didn’t make that mistake after dad died. I was certain I was going to lose it if he had.
Moving forward from all of this isn’t going to be the easiest thing. As we have no other legal recourse but to deal with dad’s brothers, settling grandfather’s estate and scheduling a time to have my grandfather buried is causing a headache of its own. That’s all I should probably say about that.

As the second week of November draws to a close, it’s probably safe to say that I have a 80% wrap on everything going on in my head. I don’t think that I’ll be mentally altogether again for a little while, especially with the holiday season and dad’s birthday coming up in a month.

I’m just hoping to continue operating as a slightly overweight and alone human being that enjoys gaming. That is, if all of that’s not a bad thing.

Emergency room visits on weekends are the worst, I know, but are they always this bad?

I’ve mentioned cancer on this blog before when Quora decided to promote the shittiest question ever asked on the Internet about curing cancer in an email newsletter. I was so offended because my father has a type of stage IV lung cancer that’s spread in different directions and had gone undetected for about twenty years.

Yesterday got a bit rough.

My dad had a TIA mini-stroke yesterday while at church. Muffled hearing and a momentary loss of real verbalization seemed to be the only symptoms he had. He could walk, had full use of his body otherwise. EMTs decided he wasn’t experiencing a stroke, and the doctors reluctantly called it a TIA because they didn’t really have any evidence to go on from the contrast less CT scan they performed right out the ER.

Other than seeming upset that he had to go to the ER and missing a planned lunch out at a Mexican restaurant (he legit griped about being hungry in the ER and how he’d been craving some “Mexican beans”), he seems fine. The acute hearing loss is a new symptom altogether. He’s got a meeting with his neurologist bumped up to this week and a port study next week. Sending positive vibes his way is appreciated.

Looking back on yesterday, I’m upset with–but will get over–a few things.

The oncology doctor supposedly on call was simply notified of the entire situation as the emergency room doctors knew it. Didn’t even bother to call to talk to my father or mother to learn first-hand what happened, since the acute changes he experienced is probably due to his previous treatment and the good (and bad) results of those treatments. What a dick. Glad he’s not the primary doctor for my dad.

Next, a registrar came in to talk down to him and have a lying down patient initial and sign forms the hospital felt necessary for him to fill out, because apparently, that’s this person’s job: show up in the middle of ER operations to get people to sign paperwork or else. The way this person handled the situation seemed completely graceless and, I think, allows me to label this person a heartless paper-hound without thinking twice about it.

The ER doctor indicated that they might be doing a CT scan to check for changes in my father’s brain–all well and good–but decided that once my father had signed a piece of paper giving his consent for treatment that notifying him about the scan wasn’t necessary. Not even five minutes of mental preparation for him. He’s not a fan of the CT scan and I remember him telling me “shit, I’d prefer an MRI if I’m honest”. A nurse unceremoniously came in to move him out of the room to the scan without telling us where he was going beforehand. Gave half of us a heart attack when my mother–talking to friends of the family down the hallway–ended up running through the ER wing to catch up to the nurse pushing my dad’s bed down the hallway.

For my father’s sake, I hope that this is the last time he has to deal with an unscheduled visit to a hospital. Scheduled visits are all great. The hospital I was at is great for going in with a plan or for out-patient treatment. The first hospital visit which resulted in his cancer diagnosis was so damn professional compared to this last visit. It’s as if we didn’t get the A-team or the B-team, but rather were left with the C-team.