The past three days have been scorchers. The outside thermometer hit 100 yesterday (in the sun). There's a breeze today, thankfully, but it's very bright, and our lone fan is rotating its little head off. Of course we don't have air conditioning—this is the Bay Area! I'm betting folks without air conditioning were seeking alternatives to staying home yesterday. A number of them were across the street, waist high in the Bay.
Maybe I was a little harsh on Ted Koppel's documentary. I've since read Leroy Siever's blog, and it's more complete, if still vague. The show definitely nudged me back to the reality of my situation, which is that I don't feel as perky now as I did a couple of months ago. The cough is driving me nuts, and I'm searching the house for environmental factors. Which means I'm cleaning house on this very hot day. I'm not just cleaning, of course…I'm sorting through things. I'm starting the sort and purge, but with a whole new meaning. It's not the once-a-year, seasonal purge, although it started with a search for shorts. It's become the "I won't be needing this anymore" purge. It could be sad, but ultimately, it needs to be productive. This new life dictates a need to let go of the past.
I'm also on edge because my brother is getting to me. I've always been the caretaker in my family, and that hasn't changed inspite of my illness. There's almost a desperation now, to get my help before I go. I joke that I have to carry on, because my sister's too self-involved to take care of anyone, my brother's crazy, and my parents' age is starting to show. They carry the heavy burden of my brother, and I try to ease that by being available to them. No easy task.
My brother's condition imposes great difficulties in actually trying to help him. Attempts usually end in frustration, and they normally always have to do with money. He doesn't work because he seems incapable of maintaining a stable thought pattern. Not working leads to poverty which leads to all the other things—no real/dependable transportation (ok, he's got a scooter, but it's ridiculously impractical in southern cal), no bank account, etc. Worse, he doesn't answer his phone, and doesn't seem to understand that cell phones only work if you turn them on. He goes on about having things he can sell, but reasoning with him that there is no benefit to an item's value without the action of exchanging the value for cash is futile. It's completely and utterly frustrating. And he bullies, which I no longer have a tolerance for. Mike has almost completely washed that aspect out of my personality—I'm sure I used to do that as well.
It's very rare for me to get angry, raise my voice, even cry at being frustrated. But my brother pushes my buttons every time. After I got sick, I had a newfound compassion for him. He has a condition, it can't be helped, he's in treatment, etc. I've tried to help him, and when he first underwent treatment, his improvement in communication and motivation was astounding. He seemed almost back to normal. No bursts of anger, a little erratic behavior but not bad. He seemed almost timid. Now the anger, aggression, manic focus on a premeditated thought, inability to stop and listen instead of interrupting with an already formulated answer and trying to talk over the speaker, and projecting senseless analogies of the situation "being imposed" upon him has escalated to previous levels. Whatever meds he's on now are ineffective. I think intervention with his physician is now necessary. I don't think my parents will/can do that, which leaves me to write a letter.
One might ask, am I not volunteering for this duty? Perhaps so.