A few weeks ago, I attained a (very) small measure of internet fame with this post on my mother's post-operative recovery. The original blog post was linked to in the New York Times Healthcare blogs, and beyond the "Holy shit! I'm really in the New York Times!" period of absolute shock, I didn't give much thought to it afterwards.
But,there's still an absolute ton of people following that Times post back to my blog, which means it's probably still rather popular, and so I decided to see what people were saying in the comments section over there. Idle curiosity, and all that. Two particular comments jumped off the page, and should be addressed here for entertainment's sake.
The first one:
It figures that a systems programmer would feel especially overwhelmed by this task. They tend to be systematic thinkers rather than empathizers. There's no program you can write or system you can invent to solve these kinds of problems. His main coping technique is useless. No wonder he's losing it so badly.
Spoken like someone who probably has a shelf full of dusty-and-unused Self-Help books, and who believes that Dr. Phil's brand of McDonald's Drive-through psychology is exactly what the world needs more of. Actually, I was not overwhelmed by the task of providing care; the feeding, bathing, arranging pillows parts were not that difficult. No, the difficult part came about because my mother is a raving lunatic. I happen to know this, because I have first-hand experience of her vast array of mental disorders which begin with clinical depression, take a long detour through OCD, with a little sightseeing at the Monument to Narcissism, and finally come to a screeching halt at Anxiety Complex.
After my initial phase of discomfort with having to do things which one would rather not do, if given the choice -- like injecting your mother with a daily dose of blood thinners (in the stomach) which might actually kill her without great care being taken, or washing a parent who is quite capable of doing so herself but decides that the opportunity to play helpless victim is too great an opportunity to pass up for the sake of garnering pity and sympathy -- the actual "doing" part of the process becomes quite easy, if repetitive and annoying.
The issue, which this particular commenter missed because she was in a rush to pontificate about what a superior douche she is, is that beyond a certain point, it's not about medical necessities; it's about milking the situation so as to scratch the itches of her own neuroses. If she doesn't call my name out and have me respond every 20 minutes, she's afraid I've packed my bags and left her alone. If I do respond, then there had better be something for me to do, because otherwise, she'll have to answer that most basic of questions"What did you want?", and have no answer for it. If she doesn't have a reason to have called me beyond this fear and anxiety, and she doesn't have a medically-necessary reason for calling me every 20-minutes, then she must invent one to avoid looking foolish or pissing me off, because Narcissists do everything short of murder to avoid looking foolish.
Once the initial list of necessary "must do's" quickly exhausts itself, she must invent another list of "must do's" which have absolutely no connection to her health, immediate comfort, or necessity, but are intended to ensure that I'm not leaving her alone, or which play to her selfishness and compulsions; hence, "when you get a chance, go chop the hanging branches off that tree outside", or "as long as you're up, would you check to see if there's any canned peas in the pantry", when she knows damned well there aren't. And that's when the branches and the canned peas, or lack thereof, don't actually consume her every waking thought, because my mother is a compulsive worrier over the pettiest of details (that's the OCD talking).
It's not about her needing me to take care of her as much as it is her needing me to take care of all the stupid bullshit that keeps her up at night because she's a crazy woman with far too much time on her hands and no distractions. She's been seeing "professionals" about this for over 20 years, and it doesn't seem to have helped any. Either she's an extremely rare case, or psychiatry is bullshit.
And no, my 'coping mechanism' is not to systematize or write a computer program; it's to vent, usually with humor that could be considered 'dark'. This is a far sight better than my old 'coping mechanism' which was to drink...heavily (I was the best goddmaned functioning alcoholic you ever did see!) , or my even more-primordial 'coping mechanism', which was to punch someone in the fucking face because my goddamned fuse was so short, and I was probably drunk, too.
Then there was this gem, most-likely written by someone with a permanent menstrual cycle, and a community-college degree;
Nothing against the frustrations that family caretakers experience on a daily basis-- I am 24 and have not yet experienced it, but as a child, I watched my parents deal with my grandparents' declining health--and yes, I understand that it is immensely difficult. But I have a pretty serious issue with this piece, and it is this: Why is a respectable publication like this one giving any sort of publicity AT ALL to an angry, small-spirited man whose writings you openly admit "include offensive references to an array of groups and institutions, including various immigrant groups, unions, the giant bank that was his former employer and the entire third world?" Especially one whose name we are not given? What ever happened to credible references and sources?Roman Polanski, Mel Gibson, and "Matt N.," ladies and gentlemen, for your viewing displeasure-- who cares what they do, as long as they keep entertaining us?
Well, as it was explained to me, the reason why the Times "gave" me publicity was because I had given voice to an opinion and viewpoint that the Times would normally not present. Now, if you accept the validity of anything the Times has to say on any subject, then you have to accept that it has an obligation, the right, and even a responsibility, to make public opinions which you might find angry, small-spirited and offensive. That's what newspapers DO, after all, or are supposed to. If you want to be protected from the opinions and thought processes of other people, I suggest you find a nice tent in the Mojave, lose the cellphone, television, and laptop, and assiduously avoid all human contact.
As for "credibility", just because the Times didn't use my last name (something I specifically asked them not to do), it doesn't make me any less credible, nor does it make my opinions/views any less valid. News organizations routinely make use of "unnamed sources" or "sources speaking on condition of anonymity", and I wonder if you call the validity of their views and facts into question? Or is it simply views and facts that you disagree with or find distasteful that aren't "valid"?
I think I already know the answer to that question; it was contained in the first sentence of your reply, when you said "I am 24".
I'm thinking that's pretty close to your I.Q., as well, Sweetcheeks. Hopefully you have big breasts and know what to do with your tongue, so that some man will come along and relieve you of the responsibility of having to take care of yourself.
Otherwise, the responses were mostly supportive, sympathetic, or along the lines of "Goddamn, I wish I had the balls to say that!"
I've said it before, and I shall reiterate for those who may have missed it: I really don't give a Tinker's Turd for what anyone thinks of me. I know who and what I am, and I'm pretty happy with it, and don't feel the need to show my soft-squishy-feminine side to every asshole who demnds or expects to see it. If I were a heartless bastard incapable of empathy, I wouldn't have been at my mother's bedside. That, somehow, always goes unnoticed and unremarked, because people who want to give an opinion without thinking it through are legion. The point was to screech something that makes them feel as if they are superior human beings, possessed of more 'empathy' and 'caring' then everyone else.
They are the Saints, you see, The Special Ones, the Light-Bringers, Our Moral Superiors, and the rest of us are shit on their shoes. I have taken the time, and wasted the bandwidth, to point out the glaring idiocy and logical inconsistencies in these replies, not because I had to, but because there is some slim hope that having had your stupidity identified for you, you might be able to the necessary take steps to correct your issues and, therefore, lead a productive and happier life. You don't have to thank me for it, either, and just in case you haven't learned your lesson and will persist in your fatuity, then you can go expletive-deleted yourself.
(because a couple of people were upset with the language,too)