Wednesday, August 10, 2005

It ain't over 'til it's over

Borrowing a page from my pal ABDMom, I'm drawing on Lenny Kravitz's foray into bad Europop for today's title. The phrase seems all too apt, in ways good and bad.

First, the dissertation. Note to my fellow dissertators still in the salt mines: the goddam thing just WILL NOT go away. I'm slogging through the "conclusion" my committee requested, realizing that the best I can do is to write in circles for page after page. I have a scribbled page telling me exactly what they want to see, and it's nothing new, scary, or unusual. But since the best description I have for the actual defense is THIS (at least for the time being), I'm finding myself lacking in motivation and confidence. More about that, later. Suffice it to say that I want the thing off my desk, but don't want it to embarrass me any more than it already does; hence the dawdling. This is one fat lady who will be singin' as soon as she can, but in the meantime, there's no rest for the wicked.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Exhausted by her rapid-fire clich├ęs, your tour guide needs a moment.

The other situation is worse: new tumors. We hate that. Given my husband's recent brush with death from pneumonia (scourge of cancer patients everywhere), chemo is temporarily (we hope) off the table, which means we fall back on the brutality of radiation. As my husband says, "Fire up the barbie and let's toast this thing." Of course, it's not that easy. We'd had a certain respite from new bad news, but that appears to be ending. Or not. In the world of "palliative care," things aren't always what they seem. It's cancer of the "don't ask, don't tell" variety, and during our absence from the oncology ward, our doctor has reverted to his triage approach.

Still and all, we are lucky. Lucky to have had, already, more time than any statistics could have suggested. Lucky that, right now, no tumor is causing immediately horrific consequences. Lucky that our little girl gets more time with her beloved papa. Lucky that I have, in fact, defended my dissertation, which has hung suspended over our lives for far too long when we should have had time for other things. Lucky to have each other. Lucky to have decent, albeit expensive, medical coverage. Many, many members of our sad club are not that fortunate. Remember, we live in a country where your life's value is ostensibly determined by your income: you have money, you get care. You don't, you don't. If you ever doubted that this country values rich people more than poor people (instead of kind people over nasty ones, or smart people over foolish ones, or any other possible permutation), remember that the 9/11 executives' survivors got a lot more than the firefighters'. And that your government has apparently infinite amounts to spend on keeping you safe from foreign terror, but not a dime to protect you from the terrors closer to home.

Didn't realize I was in such a bad mood, or I would have skipped the post.

14 Comments:

At 7:21 PM , Blogger bitchphd said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. (And fuck the committee, just throw some crap on a page and be done with it--if you want, go check out my conclusion, which my chair told me point blank was "awful" but the goddamn thing got passed anyway, so WHO CARES.) Get it done and spend some time at home before the stupid semester starts up again.

 
At 8:42 PM , Blogger Badger said...

sending you good thoughts, dorcasina, and wishing you speedy typing on the conclusion

 
At 4:47 AM , Blogger jo(e) said...

I admire how you are able to stop and think about others who have it even worse.

Sending warm thoughts your way.

 
At 6:24 AM , Anonymous New Kid on the Hallway said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. Sending you best wishes - like jo(e) said, I admire your ability to be positive about what you have in a tough time.

 
At 6:26 AM , Anonymous New Kid on the Hallway said...

PS - my defense sucked, too. (At least I think that's what you're implying.) You know what? No one will EVER know what happened at your defense - all they'll see is the letters after your name! :-)

 
At 7:25 AM , Blogger diana christine said...

Dr. Dorcasina,

You are beautifully brave. Wonderfully and beautifully brave. You may suggest there is no other way to be but there is, as there are those who are less conscious, less in touch with the experience that is so deeply painful. You are in a holy place and you are brave enough to touch it. I would that I did but I have nothing to give but my prayers and my good wishes for your continued strength and courage. You are beautifully brave.

Diana Christine

 
At 8:45 AM , Anonymous Mme. X said...

Dr. Bitch is right-- throw some crap on a page & be done with it. You don't even have to give those last pages to the admin. dolts who check the margin spacing if you don't want. You defended & it's done with. Fuck 'em. You have far more important things to do at present-- taking your family to a park or having a good bubble-bath entirely among them. Attach a very, very short note to the crap pages stating the above while you're at it & inform your (apparently borderline autistic) committee that you're done. Don't forget to thank them sweetly for the fabulously intellectually, spiritually & emotionally productive defense which they provided you. Bless their little hearts.

My great love to your brave & exhausted selves with this round of the mortification of the flesh. Jesus. You're entirely right; Brueghel just about sums it up.

 
At 9:22 AM , Blogger academic coach said...

Please don't apologize for your post -- your attitude towards your husband's illness is admirable.

Your'e in the final few yards of the marathon - our thoughts are with you as you cross that finish line.

 
At 11:23 AM , Blogger Dorcasina said...

Thanks, all, for the pep talk. I just emailed off the conclusion with complete confidence in its utter crappiness AND, more importantly, its irrelevance to my real life and future work.

It's good to have reminders that some of this stuff just doesn't matter. Done is done is done.

 
At 12:25 PM , Blogger diana christine said...

Sometimes it takes greater strength to let go an imperfect work. Sometimes an imperfect work is what is called for.

And sometimes what we think is imperfect is in truth a perfect thing.

Congratulations on letting go...

 
At 5:32 PM , Anonymous ehj2 said...

i'll just sit silently at the edge of the campfire on this one. i won't slip away into the woods and pretend i'm not here and did not hear this story. but i won't pretend my small human hands can bring anything to this, either.

i'll just bring my presence, my being here, my sharing, my participation.

love & peace

 
At 6:17 PM , Blogger ABDmom said...

I'm glad the conclusion is done and out of your hands. Good!

I'm so sorry to hear you and your husband have yet another battle to fight. And as others have said, I admire so much the fact that you have the sensitivity and graciousness to acknowledge the suffering of others. I don't think my heart would be that big, if I was in your shoes.

Please take good care of yourself as you take care of husband and daughter.

 
At 10:32 PM , Anonymous dorcasina's sibling said...

wow! what awesome comments! thank you all for the extra support you give my truly amazing and wonderful sister. i'll chime in on the note from ABDmom: "Please take good care of yourself as you take care of husband and daughter."

 
At 11:24 AM , Blogger Dorcasina said...

Okay, now I'm *really* going to cry...

 

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