Thursday, August 13, 2009

*Someone throws the first punch*

Siege and I have been in regular contact about my move into his place. It's turning into a possible "nice guy fight."

No joke...When Arguskos was here, we had one of those, which was very amusing. The plan, before he and his friend arrived, was to order out for pizza. Unfortunately, his friend started suffering from allergies that could have come from any number of things in my apartment. It could have been the mold hiding in the walls, the Lysol I'd sprayed before they got here, or the insane layers of dust that will fill any residence in AZ, simply because, as a desert, that's the main product made here. So we had a brief debate as to where we should have lunch.

Me: Really...You're the guests. It's up to you guys.
Argus: Maybe...but we're treating you to lunch, so pick where you want to go.
Me: Oh, you don't have to treat me to lunch. I can pay my own way.
Argus: No, really. We want to treat you.
Me: Okay...But it really doesn't matter where we go. I can find something to eat wherever we go.
Argus: We insist that you choose.
Me: No, I insist that you choose.
Argus: No, YOU choose.
Me: No, YOU!
Argus: NO, YOU!

*someone throws the first punch*

Just kidding, of course. So we went to Wendy's, where his friend got on line to place the orders.

Me: Are you sure I shouldn't give a little money toward the order?
Argus: No, he's got it.
Me: Yeah, but you had to juggle the finances to make this trip. I feel bad that someone is shelling out money when they don't have much themselves.
Argus: Rob, we got it.
Me: You sure?
Argus: Yes, we're sure.
Me: Because I'm willing to help.
Argus: Would you stop, already?

*someone throws the first punch*

And then there was the purchase of...a box. Really, it had to be the most expensive empty box ever. I'd always thought it would only be a couple of dollars, maybe $3 at the most. But the cardboard animal carrier we got for Nike, (because she'd chewed off the edges of the old one and made it an iffy affair), cost $8.99 plus tax! Arguskos tried to run his debit card, and it was rejected. I believe he said it was the card that was the problem, not his account. Still, it meant opening up his wallet for cash. He did so, pulling out the $20 I'd given for gas.

Me: Look, you shouldn't be spending almost half the gas money I gave you on this. Let me help.
Argus: No, I got this.
Me: No, this time I insist.
Argus: Are you sure?
Me: No...It's why I offered and insisted.
Argus: It's just that you don't have a lot of money, Rob.
Me: Neither do you, so shut up.

*no one throws the first punch*

I find it somewhat amusing, the thought that the police would arrive to find two guys bruised and bleeding, and asking what happened. "He said I was a nice guy, and I insisted he was a nice guy. We came to blows to prove who was nicer." Then the two of us, continuing our fight to be nice, will refuse to press charges against the other, leaving the cops with one really weird tale to tell back at the station.

As a side note, Arguskos said something that has stuck with me...a kind of validation of my physical issues. After showing him my feet, he said, "To be honest, I'm amazed you can walk at all." It's an important statement for me, because my family seems to be intent on convincing me that I'm not nearly as disabled as I've been told by professionals. I also pointed out the portions of my hands that clearly show the atrophied muscles. Argus was stunned when he finally got to see some of what I'd been talking about online for some time.

So...Family and "nice guy fights." This is what opened a recent e-mail from Siege:

Re: your family: I certainly do not want you to cut off association with them if you can avoid it. Bad blood is a terrible thing to carry. By all means, keep communication with them if you can. The last thing I want is for you to do something you regret.

I don't want to do something I'll regret, either. Which is why I'm giving them weeks to fix what's broken. I suppose I could try, but I have been trying for YEARS to help them understand that I have problems. Not imagined problems...REAL problems. I have made almost every effort I can, just shy of getting copies of my medical records and throwing them at my family members. "Look...This large file is a lengthy list of all that's wrong with me, as confirmed by various doctors. Stop trying to tell me I'm not disabled. If I wasn't, the United States government would not be sending me a monthly check, and I certainly would not choose to live BENEATH poverty level." I've been at it for years, and I'm tired of trying to explain neuropathy, retinopathy, Charcot's joint, severe recurring depression, PTSD, diabetic gum disease, and anything else that just happens to come along that's complicated by diabetes.

The more people I tell, the more they are stunned at what was happening to my supposed move to TN. Indeed, the only side people are getting is mine. My brother might have a very different tale to tell. The thing is that I was told my rent would be one very specific number...a number I was more than willing to accept. That number was $350, and at the start it was all there was to be in terms of what I'd have to shell out. What I think happened inside my brother's head was the thought, Well, he willingly pays out $464 for rent right now. I can probably start adding various charges until I hit somewhere around that number, and he'll accept it because he's already doing that. He'll also be able to eat whatever he wants, and we won't be charging him extra for electricity. And he offered to watch my son from time to time, so I'm sure he'll enjoy the fact that that'll be his job here.

WRONG! The number was $350. That's it. I offered to watch my nephew, not become a nanny. If the latter was the case, I would charge my brother for the service. And since I'd be living there, with a degree of freedom within his house, I would give him a discounted rate of a mere $200 a month, because $5 an hour to watch his kid would become an outrageous amount of money. And to push a cell phone on me that I didn't want...That was becoming an issue unto itself, as I told my brother that the cell phone would stay in the house. (I never got to the part where I feared losing it somewhere.) The thing is that I don't believe myself important enough to be reached at any time, wherever I am. In order to get me the phone I didn't want, he would have to upgrade his account. And who had to pay for that upgrade? Me. Then he wants to get me a new bed, trying what he can to get out of relying on Goodwill or the Salvation Army. More money out of my pocket. Then came the debate of shipping my computer, which could, in his eyes, be resolved by simply getting a new computer...With what money?!? "Oh, I'll just use my Best Buy card, and you can pay me back." I can?!?

I my mind, very different things were happening. Okay...once I'm in TN, I need to get to their version of the Welfare Office so I can apply for benefits. Of all the services I'll apply for, what I absolutely need to get is that extra medical coverage. Food stamps and cash benefits are not a need. As soon as I have that, I need to find a PCP, and have him or her get copies of my medical records. Then I need to get in touch with Arguskos, because I'm going to need the serenity that Nike adds to my life...BIG TIME! The people in that house wouldn't know a *good* emotion if it bit them on the ass. Then, maybe...just maybe...I can sit back and relax for a bit, hopefully without any new medical disasters.

Bad blood? Sorry, Siege, but it would seem that that's all my family has tried to create when it comes to me. They have skewed priorities, mostly in that money is a greater concern than my well-being. (I mean, of all the plans my brother was making, a run to the Welfare office wasn't even part of them!) They are the ones that have been throwing gasoline on the bridges and then playing with matches. Everything with my brother was, "Money, money, money." When asked how he might deal with the possibility of me losing a foot or leg to diabetes complications, his very first thought was that he couldn't afford to put a lift in the house for me, when I was asking about his emotional response. He admitted that he wouldn't have one; it was very much a "[stuff] happens" kind of attitude.

I am at my wits end when it comes to dealing with my family, and their reactions to the fact that I'm disabled. "Caring" isn't part of their vocabulary. Okay...not 100% true. They care in their ultimately twisted way, in that they see me as an issue that needs a resolution. And perhaps it's that I've been spoiled by my friends at GitP. The response from said friends has been, "Oh, look! I person in need of love and caring! We will give him that!" I shouldn't have to chase after such things from family. "I love you" shouldn't be an alien and painful phrase. With my is.


Oh...On the "pain front," I have been failing to mention my Tuesday visit to my PCP. You see, I had these two, rather small bumps on my upper arm. The occasional itch would have me unconsciously scratching them, and the slightest contact with these things would make me yelp with pain. I'd spoken to Dr. M about them, and we arranged for an appointment where he would biopsy them.

This is not a cancer scare in ANY way. The purpose of the biopsy is to find out exactly what they are, and how to fully remove them. The phrase I am most accustomed to using for these is neurofibroma, which is a benign growth off the nerve. They are small enough to be fully removed without scheduling actual surgery.

My current problem is that the doc didn't actually remove them. He took samples of both bumps, and a sample of the normal tissue around it, and now we wait. Here's the thing...These bumps caused me great pain just by scratching them. Now they've been cut, and they HURT!!! The smallest action that involves moving my upper arm has me wincing. This has included moving my arm while typing. (It's the fact that my skin is moving and stretching.) So...I need me some rest to let these things heal. I'm going to go silent for a few days, or at least try to. If these things weren't attached directly to a nerve, they would just be "boo boos." But right now...Well, this very post has been a literal pain.

So, my friends...Don't forget that I've sent up the flare for aid. (Thanks, Lou, for the $25. =) ) Do what you can, when you can, if you can...and I'll be in touch when I'm feeling a bit better.


Siege said...

What I meant, because I see now it may not have been clear, was that I want you to make sure you've made every possible attempt to be closer to family. I don't want you to decide to move down here, or even get here with all your stuff, to only then work things out with your brother and decide you want to go to TN after all. I know it's unlikely this is a huge misunderstanding and your brother will miraculously come to his senses, but weirder things have happened. Not that I'm encouraging some wait-til-the-last-second tactical maneuver, but it would be better to do that than something you'll regret.

Rob Meadows said...

Ah...Well, this is the reason my family has until the end of the month. After that, I will consider myself committed to my move to your place.

It's one of those things that makes me seem like someone not of this Earth. I'm very big on promises and commitments. If I say I'm moving in with you and your friends, then that's the way it will be, specifically because your living arrangements can't be a "what if" scenario. "What if Rob goes with family, just when we were counting on his contributions to the rent?" "What if Rob's family *BEGS* him to move in with them once he's under our roof?" No...The only way I'd leave on short notice, once I've made a commitment to others, is if I find myself being mistreated, or some aspect of the living arrangements becomes unbearable.


I say that quite often, and I mean it. If my life becomes entangled in the lives of others, they are relying on me and I've made promises, then it would take some doing to see me break that commitment.

A week has passed, and my brother, as far as I know, has made no effort whatsoever to make amends with me. No one in my family has tried to call. But I will wait. They have until the end of this month, when I *MUST* hand in a written 30-day notice that I'll be leaving this property. I might even make a call to my step-mother, as I can talk to her with greater ease than anyone related by blood. But after that...I'm simply not up to continuing the chase for my family's humanity.

Right now...the biopsy sites are killing me. The slightest touch is making me wince; the band-aids covering them is causing me great pain! I have to stop moving this arm and get me some continued rest.

But have no fear...I will keep you posted on what's what.