Monday, October 29, 2007
my new roommate, beside the fisherman, will be the aforementioned josh. he's a guy i work with who i like a lot; he's young, nerdy, funny and sort of a smart-ass, and this will be his first apartment. i worry a little about living with a boy who isn't old enough to drink, and who is sometimes a little spacey and forgetful, but he's such a nice boy i think everything will work out okay. plus, the one place we're kind of hoping to get has only a 6 month lease and then goes month to month, so we won't have to sign away our lives together. looking for and at apartments is exhausting and it doesn't help that both boys are like "oh, you know more, you should just do it." josh has been so pushy about it too! that's why i'm making him go with me today, i'm sort of tired of being in charge. there's only so much demanda* in me, you know. he's going to have to learn how to do this shit at some point anyhow, best he learns now.
ugh. the thought of filling out all that paperwork and applications is not appealing, but living here with my folks and the fisherman is a lot less appealing. off to the shower i go, wish me luck!
*demanda is me when i'm bossy! it's a very demanding amanda.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
while they pump dad full of x-rays!
today is the last day of his radiation therapy. everyone is crazy excited. then he'll have a few weeks to lay around the house and heal up, go in for a check-up to make sure he's doing okay, then a few months after that they do an MRI and look for the cancer. he's sore and raw and miserable, and all he wants is for his taste buds to come back. i think that's reasonable, don't you?
saturday i start looking in earnest for a place to live. i've been trying to do that while working and taking pop to his appointments, but not a lot has gotten accomplished. the fisherman gets here in a few weeks and i have no place for him to stay. this house is too tiny to fit anyone else, we need our own place. apartment hunting stresses me out, but the thought of all of us crammed in here stresses me out more.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
and i did make a plan for my birthday! mom is going to watch the baby that day, and my sister and i are going to head into seattle to do super fun stuff. on the list: see the darjeeling limited (which won't ever show on the island, i'm sure), go to uwajimaya, eat noodles at shanghai garden, and feel all nostalgic about our lives before moving back in with mom and pop. we might also do some shopping and goofing around, depending on what time we leave town. i'm excited about going into the city, i haven't spent any time there since i got home.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
i'm kind of sad i might end up doing nothing. once anne pointed out it was my golden birthday i was so excited! i feel like i have to do something because i'll never have this kind of birthday again. dammit, i'm going to go make a plan now. any suggestions?
Friday, October 19, 2007
a lot of the other patients are nice and i like chit chatting with them. there are a few men who are in for prostate radiation, who always come alone because the side effects aren't so awful. i suspect my pop is getting a much bigger blast of radiation as well, but no one will confirm or deny this. i usually knit or embroider out in the waiting room, make small talk with the other patients, fetch cups of ice water for dad. yesterday i went with him for everything, which meant watching them take more blood (he clots so well that most of the time they take it once then come back and say, "um, we need more."), pump him full of a medication that is supposed to save his salivary glands, and watch him nearly barf taking the anti-emetic (irony!). he has exactly five more treatments and i can assure you that's he's as excited as he can be for this to end. he's tired and lost his voice and more of his hair, that radiation sunburn is becoming more red and evil looking by the minute and this week alone he lost two pounds in one day. all he wants right now is for this to be over and to be able to taste thanksgiving dinner. we were talking the other night about his treatment and wondering if in twenty years they'll look back on this kind of cancer treatment as barbaric and old-fashioned. all they can really do now is kill cells and excise tumors. it's mass carnage; blast it all with massive doses of radiation and hope it doesn't come back. civilian cells along with rogue ones go down, and the side effects are lousy. pump your body full of poison and cross your fingers.
what bothers me more than seeing him miserable is not getting a straight answer out of anyone about his prognosis. no one will commit to any sort of odds; is this going to cure him? what are his chances of it returning? how long will it take before he feels better? is all of this worth it? what happens next? no one wants to talk about it and the doctors and nurses say things like "we'll just have to wait to and see," or "it really depends on *fill in the blank*." i understand that they don't want to treat him or his cancer like a number, but it would be nice to know in more concrete, mathematical terms, what we're dealing with. at least, i think so. if they gave us bad news i might now want to know. maybe i should scrap this paragraph...
my week in cancerland has been eye-opening. i've said it before and it holds true; a diagnosis of cancer doesn't magically cure familial issues. i've seen fights in the waiting room, one guy telling his mom to "fuck off" because she pissed him off, one guy ignoring his wife's request to move her wheelchair a few inches back, little spats over stupid shit. however, i have to say that even if pop makes me mad or snaps at me i pretty much never argue with him in public. i'd rather die than yell at him in the radiation waiting room. no matter how unreasonable or jerky the cancer patient might be acting you pretty much look like a major douchebag when you yell at them. i should print up pamphlets to that effect. "don't yell at your cancer patient, you look like an ass." they might be evil incarnate, but put an old lady in a hospital gown and freaking out on her in public and you will indeed look like a slimeball. i'm not saying we all need to be having hallmark moments, but you can let it slide if they raise their voice or tell you not to interrupt. one guy actually yelled at his mom, "it's all about you, isn't it?" and i wanted to say, "um, yeah. when you get the shit radiated out of you, you can act like an ass then." jeez.
speaking of cancerland, i have to go take a shower and get ready to go. today pop is having a coffee shake on the way up there, and i need to finish midge's baby blanket since her sweetie is due in about a month.
p.s. i just bought this and it makes me crazy happy. i've been meaning to order it for a while, and realized hey, now would be a good time. subversive cross stitch rules, and i think a kit would make an awesome christmas present for any crafter you know. not only are they amazing and funny, but it will give them something cool to work on.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
rescuing patty hearst, virginia holman: memoir about a girl who's mom has a psychotic break and kidnaps her kids to live in a cabin and prepare for a secret war, in which they will be in charge of helping the orphans. i first heard part of this story as a short on this american life, and then put this book on my amazon wishlist and forgot about it. i'm sad i did; it's a quick read, sad like most memoirs are these days, and an interesting look at what it's like to have a parent with severe mental illness. the chapters are arranged like a series of short vignettes, and go back in forth in time from the seventies to now. even though it is at heart a sad story about a mother who needs help and doesn't get it until it's way too late (by the time she's diagnosed and gets medical attention she's so far gone that not much helps), the book doesn't wallow in a lot of self-pity or "why me?" i would recommend this book to anyone who likes augusten burroughs, david sedaris, david rakoff, sarah vowell, etc.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
penny's right, though. i should be a teacher. i've actually been thinking about that a lot lately. looking into what it will take to get certified, thinking about what i'd like to teach (social studies or history! or english, even, although i can't diagram a sentence for shit), and planning my classroom outfits. that part is my favorite. i vacillate between wanting to do prim and proper librarian style skirts and short heels and cardigan sweaters or a more casual i'd-like-to-be-your-cool-teacher stuff. in my heart, though, i am a nerdy librarian so i'm pretty sure it's cardigans and closed toe, sensible pumps all the way for me. am i too old to make a career change like this? should i just use the degree i have and try something else? thirty isn't that old. i don't feel like i'd be totally out of place in school again. also, becoming a teacher shouldn't take more than two years, and i could put up with college shenanigans for that long.
okay, time to go get ready to spend the day in the radiation wing. i have books to collect and embroidery projects to organize! i hate to admit that i kind of like my time there just because it's a nice quiet place to work.
Monday, October 15, 2007
two days of work this week, then three off, then one on. including yesterday that makes four days where i only work 6 and half hours. did i mention they are seriously cutting hours at work? while reducing costs and making money for shareholders they basically expect us to get as much done for less pay. um, i call bullshit. i could bust my ass a bit more, sure, but not for corporate whores i won't. if this were a mom-and-pop operation and we were all taking one for the team i would reconsider, but so far it's only non-management that's feeling the crunch. i hate to get all commie on you, but i'm kind of anti-"the man" right now. my paychecks are sad and i still pay the same in gas money every week and have a million bills to pay off.
money, money, money. sometimes i get so sick of it.
in better news, i am in love with my library again and reading all sort of great things. the last thing i read was "righteous" by lauren sandler. i'd tell you more about it, but i have to get ready to go to work. in short, it was a great read, albeit a bit freaky. if i've said it once i've said it a million times, evangelical christians scare the shit out of me. has anyone else read this book? were you a bit taken aback at the political agenda inherent in evangelicalism? it makes me shudder to think.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
he's gotten so weak and miserable the past week, though, that he finally admitted he'd at least like the company. the drive up to the cancer center is over an hour long and he does a lot of waiting around once he gets there. after he checks in (via a neat little bar code on a card; it automatically fills in his info and puts him in line), he gets his glass of ice water in the infusion treatment ward where people are getting their chemo, and settles into another waiting room in the radiation wing. he gets a pill when he gets there, then waits another half an hour for a shot, then waits a half hour more before they can actually radiate him. "radiate" is a sort of misleading term, however. dad doesn't get dosed with actual radiation (i.e. plutonium) he gets bombarded with serious x-rays. the nurses brought me back to show me the room they do it, and i got to watch the whole thing. first they arrange him on a table and affix a custom made mesh mask to his face and neck. the mask is marked with the area for treatment as well as various plotting points. then he has a board that they place at the soles of his feet; through the board are two long ropes with shearling covered cuffs. when dad pushes his feet on the board with the cuffs around his wrists it gently pulls his shoulders downward and out of the way of the radiation. he doesn't wear a gown or anything, he just sheds his shirt and takes his boots off. then they calibrate the ray a few different ways, use the x-ray to make sure they're in the right area, then start the radiation. they aim for three different parts in the same area, covering the area of the actual cancer as well as a bit outside that to make sure they get any hiding or stray cells. on two screens are black and white video feeds of dad on the table, and on the computer is the actual x-ray image of his skull and spine, with spots highlighted showing the location of the ray. while the treatment itself is time-consuming, uncomfortable and boring, it's the after effects that are really making pop unhappy.
because they aim the radiation at where his lymph node used to be he's got a what looks and feels like a sunburn on his neck, as well as a wicked sore throat and mouth. he's lost his sense of taste and his mouth is basically one giant raw sore. eating anything too hot or cold bothers him, he's sensitive to acids and spice, yet everything tastes like sawdust to him. he's lost his appetite and quite a few pounds. we try to make him drink protein shakes and ensure, but he balks at that even. he's tired and uncomfortable and just isn't interested in eating. he's also had to give up coffee, and if you know my dad at all you know that's not cool. the man drinks a few pots a day, goes through a five pound can coffee in a little over a week. his saliva production is also down, so he has to use a nasty tasting rinse to make sure his ph doesn't get too high and the acid from the bacteria naturally in the mouth doesn't rot his teeth away. the doctor prescribed what amounts to medical marijuana (it's a liquid derivative with no high, damn) to try to stimulate his appetite. in order to get through the next few weeks of treatment he has to stay as healthy as possible because if he misses more than one day he has to start the process all over. trust me, he doesn't want to do that.
it was hard to see him strapped to that bed with the face mask. harder to see how skinny he's getting. walking through the infusion treatment ward was awful as well. everyone at the clinic was very brisk and cheerful and the whole thing felt like "business as usual" but at the same time there were all these skinny bald people hooked up to iv's. some were obviously sicker than others, and the ones that were all alone killed me. i know cancer treatment has gotten much better over the years, and that when dad did chemo he did most of it alone because he wanted to. if i were sick i have no doubt i'd feel the same way. and it is better for the atmosphere to be one of perky efficiency rather than sad melancholy, but it was still difficult to see and take in. i know my dad is sick, and not with something he'll sleep off, but seeing it won't ever be comfortable for me. to put it simply, i don't like it. regardless of how promising his prognosis is there's still a good chance that he'll just get sicker. his chances of coming down with luekemia in the next ten years after all this are also much, much higher. we talked about that the other day. i promised him that if he's diagnosed with cancer again and he doesn't want to do this i'll buy cartons of smokes and kegs of beer and we'll just have fun until he goes. he's not doing this as much for himself as he is for my mother, sister, niece and i. this is as much about the women in his life as it is him getting better. he's sacrificed lymph nodes, his taste buds, his hair and his general sense of well-being so we'll have a dad/husband/grandpa longer.
tagging along to radiation and making endless glasses of ice water and pots of soup is the least i can do to thank him.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
i put up a photo like this because i like my new tights. they remind me of chain link fences, and were on sale for like $5, and they make me happy. yet even with the "no pervs" and "pervs go away" tags i apply to anything foot and/or leg related, this photo still has been viewed 160 times. 160! it's not like my legs are so amazing, or you can even see much of anything (aside from baby mess) in this photo, and yet all those jackasses with feet and leg and tight fetishes are looking at my photo. the thought creeps me out. it just serves to remind me that even if the internet is amazing, world-wide, and has great potential to be a tool for education and knowledge and interaction, it will always be primarily a big old porn repository.
as a side note, i think feet as a fetish is totally passe and everyone should just find something new to dig on. the foot fetish thing is boring. i'm yawning as a i type this. pretty feet are nice, i get that, but i'm suggesting that if you are a guy with a thing for feet you cultivate a new hobby. like suicide*. or pick up a new fetish, like clown sex or over-sized underpants. be creative.
Monday, October 08, 2007
the other night my sister and i are out running errands and we're talking about a kid she went to high school with who she tells me is part japanese. "really? serious? how did i never know this?" she point out it's his dad who's asian and i think about it for a second and say i can't recall what his pop looks like. "amanda, you spent hours with him when he fixed your car. we all went to the same church as kids. you can't remember what mr. so-and-so looks like?" um, nope. i think about it harder and admit i know he's short, but that's all. we argue about whether or not he does indeed look japanese, then decide to ask dad when we get home. after all, dad's spent the most time with this guy out of any of us (this man fixes all of our cars, and he and dad spend a lot of time in the garage shooting the shit).
we get home, and ask dad what sort of race or ethnicity he thinks mr. so-and-so might be. he thinks about it hard for a second, then says, "french canadian."
at this point my sister and i bust up laughing because 1) how does anyone look french canadian? and 2) where did pop come up with that? we tell him he's not french canadian, but half-japanese, and then we all spend a lot of time determining who in that family looks the most asian before going to bed.
this is what passes for entertainment around here. that and feeding the baby.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
my favorite aunt died of breast cancer, one of my father's sisters died of it, and one of my other favorite aunts lost a breast to it. in general the people in my family seem to be fond of rogue cells multiplying, but breast cancer has shown up the most. it's something i worry about getting. just because i hate that pink ribbon doesn't mean i'm all for breast cancer. breast cancer is shitty and horrible and painful to deal with. i hope we find a cure. i don't think it will happen until people take it seriously, however, and i don't think the pink color is helping. it might have been an effective marketing tool in the beginning, but i don't think it's doing much for the cause now. let's find another way to show our support, like volunteering for or actually giving real money to foundations working on cures, working to raise awareness, or working to help real women with the disease. stop buying pretty pink kitchen appliances and anything with a pink ribbon on it. i don't think those things are helping.
Monday, October 01, 2007
speaking of which, here is a small list of things that annoy me at work:
- old ladies who freak out if you put too much into their container. our small container is all of 12 ounces, but they insist they can't each much more than a spoonful and will actually reprimand you if they get one broccoli floret too many. have they never heard of leftovers? would eating more than 6 ounces of chicken salad actually be such a crime?
- old men who eat bologna. bologna is okay on it's own (delicious, actually) and for the most part i'm fond of old men, but they are fucking persnickety when it comes to the thickness of their bologna.
- we have a nice new girl at work, who happens to have the same name as i do, and yesterday i was helping her help out a customer and the old lady we were assisting actually had the gall to complain when we were done. "i prefer to be waited on by people who know what they're doing." yes, well i hope you get rained on and melt.
- i love it when yuppies freak out about having to buy their prosciutto in packages. they want us to have a big hunk of salty ham ready to shave thinly for them, and when they find out we don't they basically stomp their feet and pout. one guy was canadian and told me "american's are fucking stupid." we might be, but we could totally take over your country, fucktard.! i smiled and nodded, which made him more mad.
not so low that i'll go to work without putting some makeup on, though. i have some eyeliner than needs applying! place your meat orders at the deli, please, and don't forget to check out our wide variety of cheeses. thank you and have a nice day!