Thursday, November 20, 2008

dad is good (so far), son moved out of stbx's house

dad is fine

surgery went well. six bypasses, no aortic replacement.

as of this time he has the ventilating tube removed, and was conscious. the old bastard must be pretty tough. he was conscious and aware. he knew who he was, where he was, and what had happened.

that is apparently not what usually happens in the first few hours after bypass surgery. we are told there is usually substantial disorientation

all his limbs are functional so there appears to be no stroke.

my brother saw him and talked to him at about 10:30 pm our time - he had just come out of sedation and had the ventilator tube removed

i am happy that things are far better than i had prepared myself to deal with.


son moved out of his mothers last night

he is here full time now

for now - but i expect permanently

more on this tomorrow

Monday, November 17, 2008

dad's surgery is on wednesday/withdrew from classes

as above

the prognosis is much better than i expected/was concerned

thank-you to Sicilian for the information you provided about bypass/replacement surgery

i am still VERY concerned about the possibility of stroke after the fact, as is my sister. my mother and father do not have the same level of concern, saying that the doctor has not mentioned it. i pressed my dad to ask the question specifically, but he hasn't so far.

i call avoidance...


i have put together a plan(s) and sold it to my sister (eldest child/overachiever of the family) to address the potential outcomes:

1) he's fine (normal recovery)
2) he dies
3) he clearly requires institutionalisation
4) he suffers a level of incapacitation that leaves it unclear if he should be in an institution... leaving my mother to care for him - which she can't. she cannot

in regard to instance 4: at my suggestion my sister made initial contact with the priest who is Vicar General of the Diocese and the Archbishop in the event that outside intervention is required to get my dad to agree to going to an institution. he can be a selfish, egotistical, self-centred son-of-a-bitch at times.

very kind many days, but he generally comes first in his world and he really doesn't care whom he inconveniences or puts out.

(i remember one time i was in a briefing with the Premier of the province - he called my cell phone. i skipped the call. he called 3 more times and i finally said i needed to take the call. i told my father "Dad - I'm in a briefing with the Premier." his response: "Oh... Well, I'll only take a minute."

I hung up on him and turned off my cell phone (i generally leave it on at all times so the kids can reach me).


my mom is in pretty rough shape - this si taking a terrible toll on her

she has post polio syndrome

what is post polio? i believe it is fibromyalgia - as do a number of experts in the field. either way it mirrors the fatigue and fog of FM. and the pain and the stress responses.


as noted in the post title, i dropped my classes

more later


thank-you to all of you for your thoughts, wishes and prayers

i mean that in the most heartfelt way


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


dad's going in for open heart surgery on the 17th

quadruple or quintuple bypass

some kind of heart repair something

and likely some kind of aortic replacement (planned but not certain)...

for a dude who's been having TIAs and has massive arterial plaque issues...

the 17th is the last possible date i can pull out of my classes with just a withdrawal and no failure recorded

it is the day i expect my father to die or be permanently disabled from a stroke

hopefully that will not come to pass and the old fart will pull it through

my mother has complained that he seems to think that by sheer force of personality he can overcome his physical condition

i hope he is enough an asshole to prove her right

Monday, November 10, 2008

all in a day

one of my professors just sent me an email recommending i withdraw from his class and take it again next semester
(context: fibromyalgia and family issues)

my dad's angiogram is complete. they are keeping him in hospital to do bypass surgery (how many bypasses, i don't know). for some reason there is a gasterointerologist involved... so maybe there is more than just the heart issues - we just don't know yet

i guess that solves the health insurance while in the U.S. issue - 'cause they're not going anywhere

Saturday, November 08, 2008

where's cadbury?

how much in the way of chunks do i blow as a human being?


how much chunks is life blowing in general?


as i said to my counsellor on thursday "i'd rather be dead right now, but there just wouldn't be any point in it because it wouldn't solve any of my problems..."

don't worry, i'm in no way a danger of doing harm to myself

if nothing else, i know that even were i curled into a little sobbing ball, i'm of better value to my children than their mother

and i haven't been in that curled, sobbing ball publicly yet...

the pain is what has really taken me down. everything else is so much harder to take when i am in such incredible pain. my arm and shoulder are just beyond words in how much pain they have been causing me. please remember - am not a suck about pain - i get my teeth drilled with no anesthetic.

the prescribed drugs don't help. massage doesn't help. physio doesn't help. acupuncture doesn't help. electro-stimulation acupuncture hasn't helped.

the pain and the other crap in life has brought back a massive fibromyalgia attack. it's as bad as its been since 2004 - before i began my exercise and fitness regime and before i left the stbx

the muscle spasms and acute pain (rather than the dull general "bruised" pain of the overall fibro condition) started to spread to other parts of my body

i haven't been able to do my assignments for school because i can't think clearly past the pain. the pain and the fibro fog. i had to ditch one of my midterms because i couldn't think well enough. the assignments and exams are pending - i had registered with the disabilities office and that is helping the profs be able to give me leeway under the rules.

i wasn't able to attend class all week this last week.

the one bright spot is that last week i went to see Lenny Kravitz - which was cool in and of itself - but i decided to get really high for the concert (took a cab home). my arm hurt much less after that. fibromyalgia is one of the conditions that is eligible for medical marijuana in canada. mine is legal - i had some left from a couple of years ago (yeah - it was pretty dry...) and did that.

i called a person i know and got a small amount more - i am desperate and will try anything at this point - anything to make the pain go away

it worked for a couple of days in conjunction with relaxation, but the pain and fog came roaring back on sunday and monday when i went to buckle down into my assignments (because my brain was clear enough of pain to work)

my arm is a bit better now, so it is not quite as excruciating and the spasming has stopped spreading to other parts of my body

my anxiety level has been juiced up to the unreal

on thursday and friday i could barely function without starting to degenerate into tears - other may not have noticed it or known, but that is what was happening inside

the kids were with their mom, and she was being even more of a freak. she has a new schtick because fighting and arguing didn't work. now she goes on rambling rants/talking and crying/weeping jags. the kids say it's worse that fighting with her because at least then they were fighting.

Son and daughter are smoking drugs all the time... they are missing a pile of school (absences)

Smitten pointed out to me that the new behaviour out of the stbx and the kids reaction is much worse - because now they are subject to the same pressures as before, but don't even get the protection of defending themselves verbally

they are now just taking the emotional drubbing - like the dog in the electrified floor experiment


Learned Helplessness

Psychologist Martin Seligman spent years studying the impact of "controllability" on people and animals which is described n his book, Learned Helplessness: On Depression, Development and Death.

In a typical study matched pairs of dogs were divided into two groups, one where the dog could control what happened and one where it could do nothing. In the first situation, a naive dog was place in a room with an electric grid floor. This first situation was called "controllable" because the room also contained a puzzle. If the dog "solved" the puzzle, the shock stopped. In this example the puzzle was a lever, which when pushed, turned off the shock.

Since the dog had never been in the room before and it had no knowledge of the shock it was about to receive, the dog was relaxed and friendly as it wagged its tail and wiggled its nose. However, when the electric floor was activated, the dog's demeanor changed dramatically. It jumped and yelped as it frantically searched for a way out. In the process the dog accidentally pushed the lever, causing the shock to stop - a powerful negative win. Over the next couple of trials when the dog was put back in the room and the shock turned on, the dog learned very quickly to run to the lever and push it. The dog was highly motivated - albeit avoidance motivation - because the dog learned that it could do something to control its world.

The dog in the "uncontrollable" group was placed in the same room with the electric floor, only this time there was no puzzle and there was nothing that the dog could do to turn off the shock. Just like the first dog, it ran around trying to find a way out. When the dog eventually learned that there was nothing that it could do it gave up, and laying down on the floor, it took the shock. The dog was not motivated because it learned that it was helpless.

Later the second dog that had learned that it was helpless was put into the room with the puzzle but it made no effort to find a way out. Instead the dog just lay on the floor and took the shock. Even when the door was left wide open, the dog did not attempt to escape the shock. The dog could not seem to learn that the conditions had changed and that it was no longer helpless.

To summarize, the second dog "learned" that it was helpless and stopped trying to get away. Its motivation to escape was extinguished or eliminated. In the process, dog exhibited a lot of negative emotions: first yelping and growling, later whimpering, and eventually just remaining motionless. Something happened that interfered with the dog's ability to learn when things changed and when it could do something. In effect, the dog burned out.

Powerlessness at work can affect people in the same way. As you learn that there is nothing you can do you'll probably experience negative emotions, beginning with frustration and anger, later anxiety and guilt, and eventually depression and despair. In the process, motivation declines. When the conditions change you will probably find it hard to learn and continue acting helpless.



also you may wish to read my posts Desperation and Objectivity and Traumatic Bonding


hey, did i mention that my dad has Angina? and is going in for an angiogram and probable angioplasty next week... and probable arterial stent

so he's in not so great shape

they are looking at leaving for the U.S. (Texas for the winter) in the next couple of weeks, but Dad's health insurance for the U.S. is now going to be fucked - they're looking into what can be done on that front.

in canada it's not an issue - you get whatever you need for as long as you need it until you die or don't need it

health insurance - what a fucked up system of health care. have a condition? ok - we won't cover you - because what would be the point of giving people the health care they need - that would just cost money... and health isn't about health it's about profit



i am trying to meet the challenges as head on as i can. i know that i have a big avoidance streak and that has kicked in hard, but my head at least knows that won't work.

i am:

kicking meat and wheat out of my diet (except for my pita on the morning see Cadbury's Healthy Breakfast

going vegan + fish again - on The Diet

taking my vitamins every day - bought some of those old people daily pill boxes and put the daily vitamins into it so that it takes no effort to just slap them into my hand and then swallow - yes - there are moments when opening the 8 or so pill bottles is too much effort to work up the will to do...

going to counselling twice a week. we are working on two things: 1) relaxation therapy; 2) anxiety reconditioning (like brainwashing yourself out of existing anxiety responses)

exercising every day

aggressively working within the system at the university to make sure my difficulties don't screw my life plan

working with the schools to help my kids

took son to the doctor to see if there is any medical intervention that can be done with him

have an appointment for 2 weeks for son (2nd appointment) and one for daughter

(more on that story later)

cleaning my place up to make it a better and less cluttered/messy environment

going through old boxes of papers and things and shredding and discarding

trying to keep my hygiene and deportment up (shaving regulary - making sure i dress reasonably well to look good)

doing fun positive things - movies with friends and kids (comedies), walks in the fresh air when it's nice enough, addressing the positives

trying to take at least one hour every day for self-care - working on my my relaxation and anxiety workbooks and meditation, and finally doing the exercises in my post traumatic stress disorder workbook

blah, blah, blah

more later