Monday, December 13, 2010

The Rewards(?) of Caregiving...

Insane blogger becomes frustrated nurse...and gets interviewed by the New York Times!

Go figure!

Anyways, it seems that my rant about my mother and having to take care of her during her convalescence has struck a chord. Initially, this post was picked up by a professional caregiver's website, and reprinted in (almost) it's entirety, suitably edited for language. The next thing I know, the thing gets picked up on Twitter (it's still a bloody mystery to me how that thing works), and then something incredible happens;

I get an e-mail from a New York Times elder care blogger who would like to interview me. So, I figured, what the hell, why not?

And then something even more incredible happens:

I managed to top the Google search list with that post sometime this past afternoon. Just type the words "Lunatics Asylum" into Google, and there I am...Numero-fucking-Uno! I had no idea this had happened until my friend... in England... told me. Then I noticed that my traffic has basically doubled in the last three days (I'm on par for 2,000 or so hits this month, at that rate).

I find that absolutely amazing, considering I never thought anyone would actually read this piece of crap when I started it seven years ago. Now, 2,000 hits is paltry by the standards by which "the great" blogs are rated, but I find this baffling from the point of view that this blog was never intended to be a mass-media sensation -- not that it really is. Still, the idea that 2,000 people would look me up just to read complaints about my sick mother -- and perhaps they have similar problems, and can just relate, or they think I might help them with some sort of sage advice? -- is sorta-kinda incomprehensible to me.

So, I might have a line or two in this week's Times Caregiver's blog. I say might because my interviewer was kind enough to inform me that having reviewed other posts here, if she recommended that anyone take a walk around the Asylum, they're likely to be offended to the point of physical illness (my words, not her's. She was at least diplomatic about it). And if there's one thing the sainted Times never sets out to do, it's to turn people on to a point of view that might be considered offensive.

Unless you're a conservative, of course.

The point of the interview was that mine was a point-of-view the Times blog doesn't normally give voice to, or hear. The original post was sarcastic and full of gallows humor, and that's what made it interesting.

Which reminds me; for some reason, the interviewer found it necessary to ask about my political views. Apparently, even your personal story about having to care for a difficult parent is somehow political. Or maybe she was just curious? So, I told her the truth: I'm to the Right of Hitler, and to the Left of Pat Buchanan. She said she wouldn't print that. Anyway, the access to "offensive" material (hey, offensive is in the eye of the beholder!) on this blog might not pass muster with her editor, and that might be reason enough to call the whole thing off. Heaven forbid the Times should turn people onto a nutcase, racist, homophobe, who wants to snuff the elderly, and kill Muslims by the millions, like me, right?

In which case, she's wasted 40 minutes or so of her time.

However, I have to admit, it's all a bit of an ego trip.

As for Mom, she's getting much better, and after a frank exchange in which I've told her that her complaining and whining -- while understandable given her circumstances -- makes me want to set fire to an orphanage, has relented slightly. She has agreed to be slightly less critical, and actually uttered something that might be construed as appreciation for my efforts...just before she asked me to prune the tree out in front of the house. Right after I get the haircut she's been busting my balls to get for the last month.

Sick people have entirely too much free time on their hands. The smallest annoyances and pettiest details somehow manage to consume their every waking moment.

So, the appreciation lasted for approximately 5 minutes, which I guess, is progress. In the meantime, I'm learning that patience takes practice -- especially when the list of tasks and the criticism come just as you're about to give someone a potentially-lethal injection. That's when, I've discovered, self-control becomes a fine art.

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