Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Theory One: Incarnation of Push-me-Pull-You

In Vancouver, Michael got some kind of stomach upset, which he managed to transfer to me by the time we got home. Our reactions to whatever it was (food poisoning? virus?) nicely illustrate the differences between us: Michael didn’t feel well and mostly slept during the day while I was off at UBC. In contrast, I had loud and messy symptoms, exhibiting the contents of my digestive tract in wastebaskets all over the house. So, he’s quiet and self-contained and I made a spectacle of myself. It has ever been thus.

The possible meanings of the yard-as-parable keep intruding into my thoughts. The first doesn’t fit all that well, but it’s plausible and with some brute force it can be made to work: the dramatic yet very slow changes in our front yard keep coming back as having some meaning because they represent a metaphor for my own transition during this medical adventure. My strong preference is to care for others, not to be cared for, as being cared for is a dangerous and vulnerable state for me, rooted in my mother’s death when I was twelve and the lack of parental care after that. There weren’t choices in the brain tumor adventure, so learning to be cared for was just part of the deal. The changes overall have been both gradual and large. We’re all in a better place than we were not too long ago: everyone in the family took part in my care and I was able to accept it (mostly) with reasonable grace. We’ve all grown and benefitted from the experience. It’s still hard at times for me and still triggers fear at times. On the other hand, in this respect, we’re all better off than we were before. For the girls to be important in caring for me was good for them and for me to be able to accept it was good for me.

And now we’ve made lemonade out of it and I’ve managed to grow up a little more. This was brought home during this bout of whatever we’ve had, as the ebb and flow of interactions was smooth and caring and it all felt good and right. Not sure why my brain is so full of old sayings and cliches these days, but it is, so here’s another that seems apt: it’s an ill wind that blows no good.

The trip revealed other interesting quirks: I’ve gotten so pleased with having a clean inbox that when the email came in faster than it was possible to handle it--especially with absolutely terrible email connections--it was very disquieting. And what it is about high-end hotels that charge outrageously for internet connections and then have bad connectivity, too? You can stay in a cheap hotel and have free wireless everywhere. As it was driving me mad that my inbox wasn’t so clean and tidy anymore, I made a folder into which I transferred everything I had to deal with on my return. This seems like cheating, but it sure did make me feel better about my inbox. Of course, the folder is full, but... you cannot have everything in this life. This small compensatory mechanism went a long way to peace of mind and seems cheap at the price.

Spring has sprung in Urbana and it’s beautiful. Green is good. Hope your spring is happening, too.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. There is so much that this post makes me want to comment upon. First, how insightful it is that the difficulty you feel "being cared for" is likely connected on a deep level to the loss of maternal care much too early for a child, who learned to care for herself and others as a result, but never got comfortable being the object of such care. And then the whole insight into how this sort of crisis shook the family out of their traditional roles and familiar patterns, and left you all vastly more skilled for facing other of life's challenges and (I will venture to speculate based on my own family's experience with this "altered roles" phenomena when my brother had his terrible car accident while my mom was still being treated for breast cancer)closer to one another even if you thought that wasn't. And, finally, on a practical note--you should consider getting one of those broadband internet connection thingys--I gave one to Lance for Father's Day last year, plus added an essentially unlimited data package to our Verizon package, and he can use that puppy everywhere he goes--airports, cafes, hotels, and not be dependant upon the quality or cost of the wireless connection of the facility (even assuming it has one, which, of course, some locations one finds oneself in wanting to do work--when one has workaholic tendancies--not that I know ANYONE like that--do not).