Chemo Effects

Part 2

The day before yesterday...

...was School Day at work.

I'm a graphic designer in the advertising department at the Telegraph, our local newspaper, and we had kids from the Middle School come in and see what it is like to work at a daily newspaper. Mostly they saw what it is like to goof around on the computer, taking their pictures with the digital camera, downloading them into the computer, and then drawing moustaches on their faces.

But it was fun. Only it was all I could do to keep myself feeling like I was really "there," and not vaguely outside of myself, just watching the chaos of a bunch of adults trying to put out a daily newspaper with a roomful of sixth graders hovering around them. I did my best. But it wore me out - even with a free lunch at Pizza Hut - and I went home early that afternoon.

So yesterday I decided it might be a good idea to stay home in bed.

And I DID sleep in a couple of hours, honest I did!

I still had to get up early to rustle the kids off to school. And, of course, Mannie and Aracely (both in 6th grade at the middle school) announced that morning that it was School Picture Day - and NOW - 20 minutes before their bus was leaving - they couldn't find anything nice to wear!!!!


Oh well. They'll just have to look like they do every day.... It's not like we can afford to buy any pictures anyway.

That little crisis rationalized away, I crawled back into bed.

But there is just SO MUCH that needs to be done. I just couldn't stay there all day... even though I knew I really ought to.

So around 10:00 I got up and tried my best to get some stuff done at the computer. But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't put anything worthwhile together. My thoughts just kept spinning away into some cottony cloud.

Two hours later and I had come up with exactly ZILCH. I was so frustrated! I just don't have that kind of time to waste anymore!!!

But I realized I just had to let it go.

So I punted on the deal and went to get my weekly blood work drawn.

As I backed the car out of the driveway, I felt like a ghost driving our wobbly old T-bird. I was pretty wobbly myself as I walked into the clinic a few blocks later, grabbed an old home-improvement magazine (Hey! That's OUR house on the cover! ...with a giant meteor just about to strike it - the home improvement remedy we need...), and sat down to wait my turn to get stuck with another needle.

20 minutes later I was back home again, and Pepe and Marcela piled in the door from school, dropped their coats and book bags on the floor like they always do, and sat down at the kitchen table.

I tried my best to be with them, but I couldn't quite make the connection. I was there in the kitchen with them, but I wasn't. Pepe was chatting on and on about the magic show they had at school. I heard the words, but they just floated around inside my head.

I needed to get back in bed. Really badly. So finally I dragged myself up the stairs, turned on the TV in our bedroom and flopped down onto our old, sagging mattress.

5:00 and the news comes on.

"Big storm coming! Possible tornadoes in the area!!"

Oh great.

We get a MINOR storm here, and our power goes out.

A storm hits, our block goes black. I think our little section of the power grid HEARS a storm is coming, and goes down just out of cowardice. We can see lights through the trees on the back porches of the houses across the yard. Our neighbors are all sitting comfortably, having dinner, watching TV - while we are sitting in the dark, trying to find candles...

So this time - even as worn out as I am - we are going to be ready.

With a wince and a moan, I pry myself back out of bed to dig up the flashlights we bought the LAST time there was a storm...

And, of course, there are no batteries. Of course not!!

By now Dani is trying to get dinner ready. She has a meeting she has to go to, Marcela has gymnastics, and the kids all want to go to the magic show Pepe and Marcela saw at school that afternoon (the afternoon show was just a teaser to get us to come back that night and fork over $20 for a family ticket!).

There is no way I have the strength or the energy to take them, and the whining begins.

I am just so tired.

But I still needed to go to the store ...besides, I was just craving something salty, and we didn't have anything.

There are a few dishes in the sink, and Aracely is sitting at the kitchen table doing her homework. So just as I am getting ready to go out the door, I say, "Aracely, could you take five minutes and do these dishes?"

"I have homework."

"I know, but it will just take a few minutes, there are only a few of them."

"Dionel said he would do them."

"I know, but he is busy...."

"Do I HAVE to??!!! I have still have homework."

"It will only take you a few minutes..."

She wouldn't budge. She got this look on her face like she was the Queen of Sheba and I had the audacity to ask her to trouble herself.

All of a sudden I just snap. My control just evaporated.


She slowly pulled her royal-self up out of her chair and made her way to the sink, her chin up in the air.

I just couldn't help myself. I grabbed her by the shoulders, "Are you that SELFISH???"

I was so angry at her. And then I was mad at myself for being mad at her. And then I was mad at her for making me feel bad that I was mad at her.

I slumped down at the table.

"How much easier would it have been if you just said, 'Sure, Daddy, I'll help,' " I groaned to her back as she oh-so-slowly washed a cup.

I was just so frazzled and tired. And I still needed to go to the store.




2011 Paul Dallgas-Frey