There are 740 unopened emails in my inbox. I used to blog at least twice a week; this year I’ve posted once, all year. I can’t remember when I last scrubbed my toilet, mostly because I forgot where I keep the toilet brush. I know I have one. Somewhere.
It’s probably not a surprise that I spend an inordinate amount of time staring blankly into space. Thoughts come and go, but the energy to shape and communicate them coherently remains elusive. I have wondered if this is depression. But it seems nothing like the dark heaviness that others have battled through. If anything, I feel emotions more sharply: incandescent joy, crushing sadness and chilling terror – and that’s just a night of Netflix. Don’t get me started on American politics.
There is so much right now. So much everything. And I feel unpeeled.
Which sounds like one of those dire, but vague status updates on Facebook. Obnoxious with its lack of information and obvious in its desire for sympathy. I apologize. Listing my every struggle and concern seems equally distasteful, but it does make me feel better. After all, writing is cheap, accessible therapy for me.
I have teenagers. I have special needs children. I have chemotherapy to administer each night and a marriage to maintain. I have homework from a university course (Spanish) as I inch toward my English degree. I have four children in three schools; two only part-time. I have physiotherapy exercises and pounds to lose. I have meals to make, friends to call, medical appointments and therapy sessions to coordinate, laundry to fold, lunches to pack… all the side effects of a wonderful, overwhelming, messy life.
And the driving. Oh, the driving.
Life is very much right now. Small and urgent and in the moment. It reminds me of our brand new baby days, when my own identity was wrapped in and around the life of another; when ‘survival mode’ became normal.
Last month they wheeled my baby girl out of the operating room after injecting chemo into her spine. As they hooked her up to oxygen, a SAT monitor, a blood pressure cuff… I calmly ate my apple. She isn’t able to eat before a procedure so I’ve learned to snack while she’s getting her lumbar puncture. She has one almost every month.
It used to be a nightmare. I’d cry every time they ushered me out of the room and wait on pins and needles. The oncology nurse looked at me oddly as I crunched away on my snack. There was nowhere to put it down. I considered throwing it out, but it was a particularly good one, crispy and sweet. Ambrosia, my favourite kind. And I was hungry. So instead I shrugged my shoulders and kept chewing. I told her, “I’m pretty sure you can get used to just about anything.”
In the room next to us a mom was crying her heart out. Her child had been diagnosed that day. There seems to be at least one of these each time we visit. The other reason parents might be crying in the oncology department of Childrens Hospital is something I cannot bring myself to consider.
Here I am, in the middle of all this, eating my damn apple.
© 2012 Patrick McFall, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio
So here’s me.