Thursday, June 9, 2011

“What do we say to the god of death? Not today.”

I’m not usually a fan of fantasy, and I’m definitely not a fan of the swords-n-lords kind of fantasy. But I am enjoying Game of Thrones, both the new HBO show and the Song of Ice and Fire series it’s based on (I’m up to the fourth book, A Feast for Crows). I especially adore the character Syrio Forel, who uttered the title of this post—kind of the Braavosi version of never say die.

I bring this up because I survived my first week back to school. You may laugh, but I seriously had my doubts. All week, I have caught myself muttering under my breath, over and over again, “What do we say to the god of death? Not today, not today . . .”

The stakes, you see, never get lower.

I took vacation last week to try and get some rest and prepare myself mentally for going back. Education. Work. Family. Money. Responsibility. If you aren’t careful, you find yourself eclipsed by categories. No thoughts exist beyond what’s next on the to-do list.

It just gets easier and easier to walk away from institutions of higher learning, no matter how much you may love them—no matter how much you love learning. And I love Rockhurst. In fact, Rockhurst may be my favorite place. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t hard to go back.

The older you get, there’s so much tugging you away.

My first two years at Rockhurst were when Patrick was at his absolute sickest. You’d think that after everything we went through then that this would be easy.

It’s not; in fact, it’s harder. I’ve accepted a lot more responsibility at work, which means I’ve been putting in long hours. I serve on four committees and chair two of them. I go to church when I can. I have friends and other family who do, occasionally, like to see me. And then there's the little niceties like sleeping, eating, getting my hair cut, and, er, watching Game of Thrones.

And, of course, there’s writing. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t escape into my own head now and then.

While on vacation, Patrick had a whole slew of doctor’s and clinic appointments. I’m very pleased and excited to say one of those appointments was with a new physician, Dr. Steven Charochak, at St. Joseph Medical. Dr. Charochak is one of those rare, wonderful doctors who is interested in actually treating root causes rather than just symptoms—and by treat, I mean he’s not interested in just chucking more pharmaceuticals at the problem. In fact, his goal is to have his patients on as little medication as possible.

I wanted to kiss him.

So Dr. Charochak has actually taken Patrick off several of his medications, including the erythromycin. He has ordered a series of tests to see if there are other problems that might be causing the nausea and feelings of fatigue. In the meantime, he has recommended Patrick go off the high-protein diet and try eating carbs, especially in the morning to help stimulate hunger and aid digestion.

This was a week ago. And you know what?

Patrick has had a great week.

He hasn’t thrown up once.

On Monday, he mowed the lawn.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, he’s done housework—not easy stuff, either. Vacuuming, which required him to haul the vacuum cleaner upstairs, and mopping.

While I was in class last night, my brother came over and the two of them went for a walk around the neighborhood. Then my brother came over again this evening and took Patrick out to play Frisbee golf.

And best of all—Patrick has gained three pounds.

So what do we say to the god of death?

Not today, motherfucker. Not today.