I can’t stop the nightmares. It’s the one where I’m caught under ice. My gloved fists pounding against the thick layer of frozen water, desperate to reach the air that is barricaded from me. Oh, how I want to be on the other side where the air is crisp and taking a breath is exhilarating instead of being underneath. Taking a breath here will doom me to a watery grave. But it’s inevitable. I’m going to have to “breathe” sometime. And taking water into my lungs will weigh me down until I disappear into the darkness of whatever lies beneath.

I hate that I can’t escape into my dreams. I’m overloaded in my everyday life and sleep should be a time of respite but the nightmares keep coming. Most of the time it’s the one about the ice. Other times it’s about pain. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I had both dreams last night. Something woke me up at 2 AM and I haven’t been able to sleep since. I tried working on some crafts but I was uninspired. I tried watching a movie but couldn’t focus. I am now trying to write but feel jumbled. My brain is frozen. Much like being caught under ice.

I want. I need. I long for. What? What is it? I’m so tired of not being able to think.

I’m just so tired.

Real Housewives…

So, Ben and I like to fly Frontier on our jaunts back and forth to NYC. They have direct flights into LaGuardia PLUS they have Direct TV on most of their planes. Having a few channels of Direct TV certainly makes a four hour flight a lot more tolerable.

On our most recent trip to NYC I got sucked into Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”. I’d heard of the Housewives series but had not experienced it first hand since we don’t have cable at home. I felt I owed it to myself to see what the hubbub was all about.

It was a flipping train wreck. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. These women – these “real housewives” – are aesthetically pleasing to look at – beautiful hair, stunning jewelry, expensive clothes, fancy homes – but had absolutely horrible, hateful personalities. The jealousy and general malaise over nothing in particular permeated through the teeny-tiny screen mounted to the back of the seat in front of me. I’m sure I was sneering in disgust as these women jetted across the country to do fabulous things while nannies cared for their children, staff managers made sure their homes were perfect, and body guards kept their so-called friends from shoving a high-end, jewel encrusted Henckles butcher knife between their shoulder blades. Who needs friends like that? What is so “real” about these women? While I wouldn’t wish having a sick child on anyone, I can’t help but imagine how these women would handle a situation like mine. Would they hire a nurse to give the shots? Would they hire a special nanny to deal with hospital duty? A professional organizer to deal with the copious amounts of daily medication? A special team of housekeepers to keep up with the sweat-doused sheets and vomiting? I wonder.

Drama. I’ve had a bit more than I can deal with lately. I keep thinking that I’ve reached my boiling point but the hooey just keeps a-comin’. My mother is deteriorating quickly. She’s still in the hospital and it is now believed that she has had a series of strokes over the last couple of weeks. There was drama in NYC for Ben’s most recent round of antibody therapy. His bone marrow procedure disappeared from the surgery schedule so we were in NYC for no reason. Antibody therapy is always horrible – so listening to Ben scream in pain was terribly unpleasant. Then our dear friend who relapsed. He’s starting treatment soon and will be receiving four times the regular dose of antibodies. My heart breaks to think of the pain he will have to endure. Then a couple of friends have died in the past few weeks. Too much drama. Too much pain. Too much.

Yet, life goes on. Beds still get made. Dinner finds its way to the table. Laundry (ugh) gets done. Lately, I cry while doing my daily routine, wondering if and when there will be any peace. Then there’s the wishing I were wealthy enough to hire someone to do all the dirty work. It’d be worth a knife or two between the shoulder blades, I think.

Maybe that knife to the back would finally get rid of that pesky knot I’ve been carrying around for seven years. 🙂

Run

My mother’s bruised and battered arms lifted toward me from the confines of her hospital bed. She was motioning for me to lean in so she could tell me something in private. I casually bent over thinking she was going to whisper something like she loved me but got something much more dire. Her breath, hot on my ear, seared the following words into my brain: “They are trying to kill me. Take your children and run. Get out before they kill you, too.”

Now, my mother is usually full of caustic remarks (my sarcasm is definitely an inherent trait) so I’m used to her smarmy comments. But this? No way was I ready for this. And she fully believed that someone was going to kill her. She was terrified. She kept trying to get up out of bed but the restraints that held her down due to her combativeness refused to give.

I was stuck in between the reality that nobody was truly trying to kill her and realizing the fact that she fully believed that someone was trying to kill her. In her mind, it was terrifyingly real and there was not a single thing I could do. She even stated to me that she understood how crazy it sounded. Tears filled my eyes as I realized that this person was not my mother. And even though her scathing remarks can sometimes take their toll, I wondered if that person would ever be coming back?

The hard part is that she changed so drastically in such a short period of time. On my first visit to the hospital mother was her usual self. She was genuinely happy that we had come to visit with her but, of course, it was all tinged with a few biting remarks about how she had to “get sick” so we’d come visit. Then she had a couple of days of not doing well. She had become combative and was becoming increasingly delusional. Then she had a day where she did nothing but sleep. I sat beside her resting body and stroked her bruised and battered limbs. She had cuts on her legs from the restraints. They were covered with sheer plastic bandages so one could easily see the jagged edges of her wounds. I outlined them with my finger, wishing they would disappear.

During one lucid moment she queried, “What has happened to me?” Again, tears filled my eyes as I shook my head, not knowing how to answer her question as we, ourselves, had no answers. The doctors first believed she had an infection, possibly meningitis or encephalitis. Once that was ruled out they started thinking that she’d had a series of strokes. She has a pacemaker/defibrillator, which, unfortunately, made it impossible for them to conduct an MRI. So, we still don’t have any answers.

And it was without answers that I left Central Ohio, shifting gears to begin thinking about Ben’s next round of antibody therapy and bone marrow biopsy that is starting all too soon. I have just enough time to get laundry done and maybe get the tree decorated. We won’t be coming back from NYC until right before Christmas. Ben doesn’t believe in Santa any longer and I figure this will be the last year that Madeline believes as well. Then, somehow, the magical element of the holiday will be gone. I’m so angry because Cancer stole our Christmas last year and now that Ben doesn’t believe in Santa, I wanted to somehow make this year extra special. I don’t know how that will happen, but I’ll figure something out.

And, boy, would I love to take my mother’s advice and run. I wouldn’t be running from the murderous hospital staff she believes is coming to get her. I would be running from pain and cancer therapy and sick mothers and laundry. Oh, how I’d love to run away from laundry. But the restraints called responsibility are keeping me confined.

And I’m dealing with that the best I possibly can.

It never stops…

I was looking for a bit of normalcy on our “time off” from Ben’s treatment but that is just not to be. I’m not surprised, I guess. I should be used to it by now but sometimes I would just like a little bit of a break.

My parents are sick. Both of them. My dad is struggling with COPD and congestive heart failure. My mother is suffering from some sort of infection and is in the hospital.

I have so much to say but my mind is working a million miles a minute and wont let me get anything out. I’m frustrated, overwhelmed, sad, cranky, and probably every other emotion available to man. If it were later in the morning I would let out a long, loud cry of frustration. Or maybe a long string of expletives.

In the meantime, I have children to care for. That is my purpose and my focus. The rest of the world will just have to wait.