Thursday, August 1, 2013

I like things to be just so. Like if I am hungry, I rate my hunger on a scale of 1 to 10, though the extremes never stay constant. How sad am I? On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 spilling over with joy and 10 soul crushing grief? I am an 8, the number somehow balancing right in my chest like that. For a creative who writes for a living and doodles on everything, I like to quantify my world. A 3 for sleepy, a 6 for thirsty, I am a 1 on a scale of understanding univariate polynomial equations of the second degree, 1 being I have no idea though I very much like saying the words.

 Sexy graffiti if you ask me.
How long are we talking? I ask everyone what they think. Doctors, nurses, my dad, my brother. What do you think? On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being writhing, crying in pain, my mom is now usually a 9. 4 for clarity, sometimes more, she has lost at least 30lbs. I run these numbers through my head like worry beads, 9, 4, divided by the square root of 82...there is no constant and I can't do the math. How long are we talking?

The oncologist says it could be weeks, it could be a year, but there is just no way. My mom is not eating. The oncologist also pauses a lot when he talks; I want to take his dry hands in mine so that maybe he will flip to the back of the book for the answer. I know this--the Rule of Threes: 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, 3 minutes without air. More numbers yet still no one will tell me.

I need to know how to pace myself. Because sometimes math becomes a word problem when significant information is presented as text rather than mathematical notation. The age-old SAT question. How many days should I leave work at 4pm to go to the hospital to then rush home in time to put the kids to bed to then jump back on work email to make sure nothing falls behind? A few weeks, a year? When will the train reach the station? Otherwise written as: how long can I subsist as an 8, the inside of my chest surely bruised, and more importantly, how long must my mom be a 9?

Heidi F said...

Hugs, prayers and strength to you and your mom. Jobs will come and go. Moments spent with loved ones trump all.

Michelle M in KY said...

OH SUSANNAH...
I am so very sorry! You leave at 4 as many days as you feel able. Spend time and just be with her whether it be just a few weeks or months. Your gut will tell you regardless of the math. Virtual hugs & prayers to your Mom and you.

Anonymous said...

Are you a Virgo? B/c I am...an anxious one at that. And numbers help me control my world when it's uncontrollable. Numbers and lists and planning.

I wish you strength to balance it all.

Petunia Face said...

Anon--yes, I am a Virgo. One of the Virgoest Virgos there ever was, like a 10 on a scale of 1 to picky. You just described me perfectly. Let's be friends and meet at 2pm for a 7-pump chai tea (even though the caffeine is bad for anxiety). :)

Thank you all.

Sarahviz said...

Thinking of you from way over here...

Vee said...

I'm unlurking to tell you that I am so sorry for the stress and sorrow you are going through.

Vee

wonderchris said...

I don't want any 9s and absolutely no 10s.

Thinking about you all often. I'm a Virgo too and the things I do with numbers are starting to make sense.

Sending you only good things, thoughts, prayers, vibes, unicorn wishes!!

-xo

Susan said...

I totally get the math thing. It makes sense. It's order. Order and logic can be very comforting when everything is fucked.

Try to remember there are no rules. Trust your instincts no matter how out of wack they seem. Everyone will forgive you for missing whatever it is you may miss due to spending time with your mom. You may not forgive yourself if you miss time being with her. My mother used to tell me, "no shoulda, coulda, wouldas..." I try to live it -- and I miss my mom every single day.
I'm sending you strength and forgiveness to go out and be selfish enough to take care of yourself -- whatever that means to you. Breathe. Hug. Susan

krista said...

one of my best friends went through this with her mom. let me know if you maybe want to exchange emails with her. i just know that sometimes it is easier to talk to people who know what you're going through without having to explain it than with other people who are full of well-intentioned questions. and her favorite number is five. i have no idea what bearing that has.

Bearden 365 said...

::sigh:: beautiful writing on a horrible topic. sending you love.

Robin said...

Susannah my heart breaks for you and your mom. Sending you hugs, prayers, good vibes, call them what you wish. I am not a religious person but sometimes I feel the need to"pray" if that is what one calls it, to reach out mentally to the universe/higher power/deities and ask for hope. I send you hope.

sweetbittertart said...

Thinking of you and so sad for what you and your family are going through. Sending hugs and much, much love from afar. xo

Shannon said...

S-
I am thinking of you and your mama. May love embrace you all and work to ease the numbers in pain.

~ Shannon
I don't know if you follow http://annamariahorner.blogspot.com/
She lost while welcoming, her words brought my mind to you.

Petunia Face said...

Thank you all so so so much. Really.

Shannon--I just checked out that blog you recommended. Wow. Ugh. And wow.

A Perfect Gray said...

hey.

thinking of you...

donna