Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Breaking Point Tested

October 17th is the last day to file 2010 personal tax returns and, as usual, I've been swamped. Since labor day, I've been at the office every day, working until 10PM or later. I'm at my desk by 7 am on weekends and holidays and, during the week, I am doing morning duty with the kids, getting them up, dressed, fed and off to school. It's a hectic month and a half. The last 5 days have been an endurance and psychological test of epic proportions.

Last week, my dad decides he'll take a few files with him to work from home. His home being an hour and a half from the city. On Saturday, when I saw him at the Yom Kippur fast breaking, he didn't have the files with him. He said he hadn't finished them yet. Translation - nothing done. This is par for the course and frustrating but he says he'll have them with him sunday night, when he returns to the city. Monday morning I find out he's still out east and he's spending his second day with my sister and her kids. Translation - I won't get the files until Tuesday and they will be untouched. Par for the course.

Tuesday he comes in around 1 (par for the course) and he's working on them. I take what I can from him and start sifting through the mess that these clients leave us with. I have to leave early Tuesday (and Wednesday) to attend some hebrew school event with each child (my wife was away on business). Leaving early only makes things worse for me but my dad says he'll get the work done in my absence. He left the office at 7:30 because he felt like crap.

Wednesday morning my mom calls to tell me that my dad is not coming in. He's not feeling well and he's in bed. I cannot recall that ever happening but, he's 77 and he's entitled to a bit of rest and this type of thing is expected when you are neck deep in work and the forces of hell are testing your mettle. I tell her to take care of him, get him better and I get back to work. I leave early again Wednesday, hauling some work home with me so that, after the kids do their homework, are fed, bathed and in bed, I can do some work.

Thursday morning I drop my daughter off at school (the sitter takes my son) and I get to the office. It's 8:30 and I'm starting to feel the pressure and the lack of sleep taking its toll in the form of exhaustion, mental clouding and the onset of a cold.

At 9:00 my mom calls me. From the hospital. Seems my dad took a turn for the worse, his fever was over 102.5 and his doctor said it was best if he was monitored at the hospital. My dad has hairy cell leukemia which, while not deadly, is a pain in the butt. It's a blood disorder that results in a compromised immune system. So, he's at the hospital with the absolute worst brain trust you could have in a situation such as this. My mother and my younger sister are in charge, my older sister is scrambling to make it into the city from her home on long island and I am stuck at work, with clients coming in all day, work still piling up on my desk and phones that never seem to stop ringing.

To give you an idea as to how bad it is having those two knuckleheads controlling the flow of information from the hospital, my dad was given a CAT-scan so they could try and determine what might be the problem. Once it was over, my sister called to tell me that they were waiting on the results of the scan and that his dermatologist would be coming soon to see him.

That's right, my sister told me his skin doctor was coming.

When I asked her why his skin doctor was coming, she said she wasn't sure but that they told her the dermatologist was coming.

I said "do you mean hematologist?" and she said "yeah, maybe it was that."

So, now I know I need to be there. I actually considered asking my sister to not speak to anyone, out of fear they think she might accidentally have them remove my dad's spleen.

Late in the afternoon, I am still unable to rework my appointments so I can get up there and then the geniuses call to tell me that my dad has pneumonia, he's on anti-biotics, his fever is down and he should be getting out in a couple of days.

I get out of the office around 7:45 and race up to the hospital so I can be there before they close the door on visiting hours. I stay at the hospital until 10:45. During this time, my dad is either dozing off, sleeping or trying to hold a conversation with me while fighting off the chills, the coughing and the desire to pass out. His fever is up around 102 and change and there's no way he's getting out of the hospital.

The next morning, my sister texts me to tell me he's doing great and should be getting out by Saturday. Three hours later she calls me to tell me his fever is spiking again and it's really bad and I should be there. There's no way in hell I can just up and leave and I don't know if it's as grim as she makes it sound because she's a fucking moron. My older sister arrives and I start to get the first reliable reports. They expect his fever to go up and down until he starts the second round of anti-biotics. He's not getting out until after the weekend.
I spend my days and nights shuttling back and forth between the office, my apartment and the hospital. It's now physically exhausting, along with mentally taxing.

Yesterday, I spoke with my dad a couple of times and he sounds a thousand percent better. No fever for the better part of the day and he's alert, awake and back to his old self again. Great news. I tell him I'm coming by around 7:30, with my wife, and we'll hang out for a couple of hours before we head out for dinner with friends.

I leave the office around 6, figuring I'd do my usual walk home, change, see the kids and race up to the hospital.

I'm walking home and I hit times square. It seems more crowded than normal. I'm practically sleepwalking at this point so I don't realize what's going on until I am stuck in the massive crowd of Occupy Everything.

I couldn't move. It was so jammed with protesters, gawkers, news crews and cops that I was drifting with the crowd.

I'm sort of half checking out the crowd but I got a really good understanding as to why this protest won't ever work. the so called 99% are divided up 99 ways as to why they are there. There were teachers protesting for their rights, people holding signs that commanded we stop fighting wars in the middle east for oil, signs saying banks suck, signs protesting the government and so on. They aren't organized with their cheers and chanting and the many small bands of musicians are incapable of performing in a cohesive manner. It was cacophony to the nth degree.

There were superheroes and zombies, probably strays from Comic Con which is happening elsewhere in the city.

There were giant muppets and gold painted street performers.

There was chaos.

And I was stuck in the middle of it all.

A strange pounding sound started building in my head.  As I elbowed and forced my way through the crowd, the beating got louder and faster.  Suddenly, I was in the middle of a bunch of bongo and tambourine playing kids and, as I slowly spun around in the circle, I felt a scream building in the back of my throat.  It was like a million tiny flies were trying to escape my gullet.  I closed my mouth, squeezed my eyes shut and fully understood what it was like to experience a nervous breakdown.  The flies subsided and I lifted my head up.  I must have had the face of a murderer because once I started walking again, the crowd parted, as if they saw the murder in my eyes.

I made it home, changed, headed to the hospital and, for the first time in days, things were looking up.  My dad couldn't wait for me to meet Tatiana, the russian night shift nurse who checks in on him.  He told me she was so bubbly and happy and she takes such good care of him and she's going to give him a sponge bath once we leave.

We realized we'd never make the 9PM reservation so my wife called to cancel it and the host told her he'd cancel the reservation but he wasn't refunding the $140 deposit (dinner for four) as we cancelled on them.  She explained that we were in a hospital and that we would rather be there and he didn't care.  One last test was being handed our way.  I took the phone from her and in a very even, calm tone, explained that if I was charged the deposit, given the circumstances, I was going to fight the bill and that my first order of business would be to hit up a friend who is huge in the world of public relations for the fashion and food industry and she would ensure that the tale of their charging me $140 while I was sitting with my father in the hospital, would make every newspaper in the Tri State area and then I simply hung up.  I am actually kind of hoping he does charge me the $140.  I have such a need to go all vicious crazy on someone and he'd be perfect.

We spent about an hour and a half with him and then we got thrown out (visiting hours).  As we left, he was standing by the bed, with his arm around Tatiana's waist.  Huge smile spread across his face.

Clearly, he's on the mend.

I'm not so sure about me though.


Anonymous said...

Stubbmled accross your blog and decided to have a very quick study, not what I usually do, but you have a great blog. Wonderful to see a site that isnt full of spam, and actually makes some sense. Awesome blog

Floogin McNoogin said...

And thank you for not being spam or, at the very least, appearing to be non-spamlike in your commentary.

Anonymous said...

I need my "flooginmcnoogin" sandwich...! We can't get it here in the West Coast at McDonalds anymore. Come on Mr. McNoogin, quit being a 2012 tease and give us something to stick our teeth into...

I am Anonymous, (well ok..Johnny Anonymous)