Saturday, January 01, 2011

Going to Canada

with apologies to the Canadians; it's just a metaphor.

The new year never feels much like a new year to me. I look outside and everything looks just the same as yesterday. There are no birds chirping on my window or squirrels singing or rainbows and I haven't magically gotten thin, and I don't feel some profound sense of newness. It's like going to Canada; you cross the border and you might expect everything to be different, but it all looks the same, except not quite. You can buy smarties and codeine now.

My Dad died yesterday afternoon. He has felt unwell for several months now but a month ago he was admitted him to the hospital. He didn't have lymphoma in October, it was just an infection. But then he got sick again after that, and no tests could explain the continuous fevers.

They finally tentatively diagnosed him with multiple myeloma, which is a blood/bone marrow cancer. He had very first stage, almost low enough they probably wouldn't have bothered to treat it, except they also diagnosed a complication called HLH, which, summarized, is where your immune system goes batshit crazy and starts attacking itself because of the myeloma presence (hence the fevers). The treatment is to treat the cancer.

He went through a first round of chemotherapy and was weak but no longer feverish. Then he picked up an opportunistic infection in the hospital. He wasn't conscious by the time I arrived and never came back. Each day he got a little worse. Unfortunately the chemo for stimulating production of new white blood cells didn't work either, so he had no defenses at all, and he wasn't responding to any of the treatments.

When he went, he went quickly. It was so systemic that all his systems just shut down, within a half hour.

Now it's like going to Canada again, everything looks just the same but everything is different. It's the little things that catch you, I think.

I'm really appallingly awful at talking to people right now (I blame genetics, my voice gets all high and squeaky when I'm emotional, just like Mom's) so I'm pretty much dreading the next few days. Ah well, can't be helped. I am hoping very very hard that my cousin does not bring up his racist neighbor again like he did at my grandmother's funeral or I might punch him.

If any one at the funeral asks, I'll tell them what they can do for me is that if they're able to, go donate a pint of blood. I think Dad went through at least a couple dozen of them, probably more, and I'm sure the blood supply could use the help.

Things could be better, but they could be a lot worse, too. Happy new year.

Hello, pretty mountains

20 comments:

pacalaga said...

ah hell, evil twin, I'm so sorry.

(formerly) no-blog-rachel said...

Oh wow...I'm so sorry.

Manise said...

I am s sorry for your loss Carrie!

kmkat said...

I am so sorry. Losing a parent is a big wrench. {{{hugs}}}

Kristen said...

I get squeaky when I'm emotional, too. I'm actually envious of people who can at least carry on a conversation when they're feeling that way. Of all the things to worry about when you're sad, right?

So I'm sending all the comfort, hugs, and graceful composure I can muster. From Canada, even!

Roobeedoo said...

I am so sorry. It is always the "complications" that get people with MM, it seems, and everyone's complication is different.
Hugs from afar.

Carole Knits said...

I'm sorry to hear about your father. I hope you can find peace in the next few days and comfort in your memories of him.

Joan said...

Oh Carrie, I am so sorry. When things settle down (I mean administrative and practical things and other such minutiae) I hope you will be able to sit down with some knitting and find some comfort in feeling the yarn slip through your fingers. Ground yourself by focusing on the moment, and don't forget to breathe. XX

Hippy Goodwife said...

I am sorry Carrie. It's a bitch that things just go on, when all you want is for a day or two of stillness. I know the feeling.

Love and Hugs from me.

Michelle said...

I am so profoundly sorry for your loss Carrie. You are in my thoughts.

Cookie said...

Oh, honey, I am so sorry. What a horrible and shocking loss. I wish we lived closer so I could hug you and smack that neighbor for you if need be. Anything we can do for you?

xoxox

Knittripps said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Sending you a virtual hug.

Amy Kraft said...

We're sending lots of NYC love your way. We're thinking about you and your family during this sad time. xoxo

Big Alice said...

Thank you everyone.

Katie said...

Very sorry for your loss. It's a difficult journey, transitioning through the grief and pain to a place where memories bring smiles instead of tears. You will get there. Be patient with yourself and have faith.

Carrie K said...

Oh no!! I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad, Carrie. Going to Canada is just about the best metaphor - everything's practically the same but nothing is the same.

Don't worry about being appallingly awful at talking. People will say appalling stupid things to you but we're all just thinking that SOMETHING should make it be right again. And, no.

Sarah said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss.

alittleweirdo said...

So sorry to read this... wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you, and sending virtual hugs! and I'm around if you want to talk or need in person hugs...

fillyjonk said...

I am so very sorry for your loss.

Next time I go donate blood I will be thinking of you and your dad.

Karen said...

Aw, sweetie, I'm sorry, and I'm sorry I didn't see this until now.