Friday, 28 October 2011

There is a reason I shouldn't make plans

I broke my own rule and now I am paying for it. Actually, lets start from the top, seeing as I failed to post anything when stuff happened.

First, my grandfather died, as we knew he would. I was in Eastbourne at the time, doing some work experience, but had tickets booked for Israel anyway, so off I went, about 3 days into the Shiva. I knew when I left Israel that it would be the last time I saw him, and I still don't have any regrets about that. Who knows, though, they might catch up with me. My biggest problems continues to be that I keep worrying that I am not taking advantage of the opportunities when they arise. However, I am learning that sometimes opportunities are there to be missed.

The short version of the story is that my father had another infection when they arrived in Houston. His haemoglobin is very low and his ammonia is very high. The doctors reckon that he his leaking blood from somewhere, because it doesn't seem to matter how much protein he eats or how much blood he receives, the haemoglobin doesn't rise. The oncologist described it as "like having a wheel on a car with a very tiny puncture that the mechanic can't find". The mechanic is him and his colleagues and at this point, their best advice is "just keep pumping up the air" i.e. the blood.

The problem is that he hasn't had any treatment for the cancer for weeks. And every time he has not been in treatment in the past, he has gotten stronger and sorted out his other health problems in preparation for another round of chemo/radiation/whatever. This time that hasn't happened. He has not gotten stronger, he has not bounced back and the doctors are not willing to treat his tumour when his body is so weak. And they are not seeing it improving.

So, in short, they are foreseeing treating his secondary symptoms but being unable to do anything about the tumour/s (there are many in his lungs that are becoming an increasing concern) for the foreseeable future. Now, I don't believe in miracles, and we all have to look at this realistically, so that our lives don't fall apart. Without treatment, the tumour will run rampant and we know what happens then. Obviously.

My brother reckons we shouldn't make any plans for Christmas (actually, he thinks we shouldn't make any plans for Thanksgiving, but I didn't have any anyway, so let's move on). My mum thinks that if anyone got pregnant at this point, my father would still not live to see a grandchild, but no one can say for certain, obviously. So I have a Devil's Timescale here, which makes it difficult to do anything.

So, things I didn't do in these last couple of months:

1. Be there when my grandfather died (horribly, I might add. From what I understand, it was quite hideous and he only stopped being in intense pain when they moved him to a hospice, less than 24 hours before he died. He didn't like the hospice either, but at least they could control his pain a bit).

2. See my parents for between the beginning of September and the end of October.

3. Get a job

4. Make any commitments that "my father is dying" wouldn't get me out of.

Things I did do:

1. Started a law GDL. Good for me and all that. It's hard work and I am getting seriously invested in it personally. Which isn't to say I can't easily drop out, but I would be miffed.

2. Got accepted onto a pro bono clinic. We have clients, who are real people, who really need our help. Not turning up would be frowned upon in more than one way.

3. Signed up to volunteer with an organisation. I can still back out at this point, but I have been waiting a year for the training.

4. Signed up for Mooting. Right now, that, again, is not a big deal, but it will be if I register properly.

As you can see, the Devil's Timescale makes it difficult to know what to do with all these things. If we are talking about 3 weeks, I should drop everything now. I will get my money back for part of the course (I think) and upset the pro-bono people, and I will have to start again next year, but that's the way it goes.

If it's 9 months then I will have finished the course but be doing summer work experience or something. Less of a concern.

If it's anything between now and six months from now and I don't know where, I will have to pray that they don't chuck me off the course and anything else I am doing.

So here is where I broke my rule. The rule is: DON'T MAKE ANY PLANS THAT MIGHT INVOLVE LETTING SOMEONE DOWN. I successfully did that for over a year and then I broke it big time by trying to grab the opportunities that came out of my course. Idiot. I should have let them pass me by. It hurts on a professional level, but personally it makes things easier.

But wow, look at me. I managed to whine about my commitments for a whole post and didn't stop to consider the important questions for a moment.

Should I drop everything (again) and spend all the time with my parents, bearing in mind I did that last year?

If not right now, when is the right time to call it? I don't have a holiday from my course now for another 6 weeks.

Should I quit my course now, before I get too invested, on the assumption that I will fail it on attendance anyway at some point, and at least now I will get my money back?

Are there any people whose needs are more important than mine right now? What is best for my parents/partner/grandmother/brothers?

I told some huge lies of omission to my grandmother last night. She had been ringing since mid-afternoon and my mother had been ignoring her and it was obvious that she wasn't going to go to bed before talking to one of us. So I was tasked. Side note: I should really have word with my mother about making me do her dirty work. It's not fair to sour my relationships with people because she doesn't have the energy to do it herself. If she calls someone with bad news, they understand. If I do it, I'm just cruel. This must stop. OK, back to our programme. I rang my grandmother and told her about my father's trip to the dentist, that he has been eating like a hellhound, and that he was in a fairly good mood. I failed to tell her about the unscheduled meeting with the oncologist and that his markers are at 20000. Luckily, she doesn't know how to get online, so I am safe. But I felt shitty about that. She needs to know eventually, even though she often makes things 1000 times worse than they were before we told her.

So there it is, incoherent, messy and unstructured, much like life. On the other hand, my law notes are beautifully organised. FML.