I’m finally unable to avail of the student discounts in public vehicles and I’m still not obligated to show up for the office every working day. I’ve forced myself to smile at our wretched College Dean on stage and have sweated in my toga. It’s fucking vacation time!
…well, no, not really.
Rest days have come sporadically. Fate has decided to make the weaving of events intertwine exactly as the need arises. The burden of responsibility — which I had assumed was about to loosen its tight grip on my soul, even for a month or two — has only undergone metamorphosis. Like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, my time has been put into questionably good use as soon as it became available.
My uncle’s cranial operation, which seemed to be on a quick road to recovery, took a gigantic leap backwards. Within 5 days immediately after the operation, he was walking on his own. He was taking himself to the bathroom without worries. His aura was positive and we brought him home. The following morning, he convulsed, fell to the floor and his head made contact with the floor; he remembers nothing other than waking up wondering why he’s lying on his wife’s lap on the floor. We ended up going back to the hospital. The neurosurgeon, to his own admission, did not foresee seizures. And these seizures took a tremendous strain on the strength of my uncle’s already frail body.
While he physically responded well to medical treatment — the convulsion-exhausted pillars of his body slowly recovered — his mind did not. Frustrated over his condition and pride as a man, he desperately looked to get back on the easy road to recovery he used to be in. When his desperation bore no fruit, his wife bore the brunt of his anger. Eventually, his stubbornness to refuse physical aid backfired on him. In a futile attempt to get up from the toilet, his weakened legs disagreed with him and he fell. He hit the back of his head (thankfully; cranial opening is located in front) and I rushed to the nurses’ station to get help.
The blow on his head woke him up from his pride-induced haze. Finally realizing that he was pushing himself beyond his physical limits, he decided he wasn’t going to await a worse accident to finally secure his safety. If previously, his family (us) couldn’t talk sense into him, our combined efforts — including several medical professionals — to convince him to accept help finally entered his ear without exiting the other.
Now they’re back home. He’s cooperative, he’s listening, and he’s taking things slowly. Before my graduation, I called him up and reminded him before hanging up to “Get well. Not immediately, but get well. We’re taking the safe and slow route.” (in a less profound manner).
Where do I fit in this picture? When I managed to secure my graduation as early as the first week of November, I became the first option for nearly every menial task in the house. Everybody else was either working, studying or elderly. Those not concerned with of the last had commitments they could not break. I was the only one who could afford to let go of other responsibilities like my volunteer work in the office. In other words, I was only one available and the only one they could rely on. They had no other choice.
So that’s basically how my vacation is mostly going; it’s not. There was a time I spent 4 straight days with my uncle and his wife (2 without a bath) slowly losing my sanity whenever my uncle wanted things his way — the Autobahn way, no speed limits. From time to time, he would keep wanting to rush his healing. I managed to take a 2-day rest afterwards. I then went back to the hospital to pick them up and bring them home. Along the way, gigantic prides and sporadic decision making plagued the family, threatening to dismantle already-asunder emotional ties.
When we got back to their little abode-for-rent, what remained of my composure was in uproar. The visual trauma left behind by the sight of my uncle shaking uncontrollably, foaming in the mouth haunted me; strangely, this was triggered by the scent of his wife’s fabric softener. My friends being assholes by pressuring my girlfriend to follow them to where they were drinking (which did not seem very safe at night) only piled on my stress. I wanted to take her thee myself, but I could not leave my uncle and his wife; not until the caregiver we hired arrived. Unfortunately, he had no cellphone and the only thing he had was his Born Again faith and the directions my grandfather gave him — which unfortunately weren’t very clear.
I couldn’t stay inside their door without succumbing to madness so I sat outside their garage gate, drowning in my little puddle of distraught with the world. I was getting ready to lose some friends if anything should happen to Catherine; their immature insistence forced her to leave the house. And as much as the place unnerved me, I was getting ready to stay as well. To think that it was her best friend who was being the primary instigator of peer pressure was a mental siege.
Eventually, Catherine gave me a call, assuring her safe arrival. As I regained half of my sanity, I looked to the left and I noticed this massive male looking a little lost. I rose from my position, slowly walked toward this wandering nomad. Upon recognizing him, I had a little celebration inside me. It was the caregiver. He’s a friend of ours, and as expected, he was definitely what my uncle and his wife needed. I introduced him to them, oriented him a bit on his duties and left, picking up the trail of my girlfriend.
My family has voiced their massive appreciation for what I’ve been doing — which I find unnecessary. I’m only doing whatever it takes to NOT be a liability. And if they need someone for something, there’s nobody else available but me.
But I can’t complain. My uncle, despite his hard-headedness (which probably ensured he was safe when he fell off his seat in the bathroom), is also tremendously generous. He was slipping some money to me as gratitude, and when I was trying to refuse it, he yelled at me. Not wanting to see another seizure, I took it. So basically I still have enough to buy drinks for my friends to celebrate my graduation with. It’s a bit ironic to think that our family isn’t rich to begin with but we keep sticking money into other people’s throats as a token of appreciation.
Or I could just do that again.