A Day In The Life Of Scott

If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion

The never-ending seizures, money and cancer…

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It has been nearly two weeks since my last blog update, and a nice bit has been going on, well sort of.

James’ Keppra-induced mood swings and aggression seem to have stopped. Thank God. It was getting pretty bad there for a while. I was to the point that I almost didn’t care if he was coming or going when he stormed out the door mad over some silly little thing. Of course, I did care deep down, and if he had taken off mad in a state of anger and never came back I would have gone out looking for him. The only reason I was, or am, able to deal with it is because I know it is not really his personality to be that hostile all the time. While I realize the pills were causing some frustrations on his part, I would not let him blame the pills for everything.

He was getting angry over silly things and taking it out on me through shouting matches, throwing things and he even called me off one day. He has never called me off before, no matter how much I made him mad before he never once told me to “F— off.” At this point I had to sit him down and have a talk, man to man. No one calls me off in my own house, I don’t care how many pills they are taking.

He is 18 years old and has to be responsible for his own actions and what he says to people. And while the pills may have been causing him some frustrations inside, it is he who has to decide whether or not to act on those frustrations. He needs to consciously think before he speaks or reacts over something petty and gets mad about it. He did apologize for calling me off (an hour after he said it actually) so at least I know he knows the difference.

While the anger was subsiding in the last couple weeks, the Xbox usage was not. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my technology probably more so than the average person. They don’t call me a geek for nothing, and I accept that. Haha. However there comes a point when too much Xbox is too much. Although James’ anger was getting to be more controlled as the Keppra doses became stabilized in his system, he was replacing human contact with the Xbox Live and talking to friends online on there. Sure, this is fine in normal amounts, one to four hours daily tops, but when it starts replacing social interactions with humans and the only time I would hear from him is if he wanted a smoke; that is too much.

Just hearing that machine running in the other room was frustrating me. I couldn’t get a conversation out of him for any more than 3 minutes at a time, yet he never was out of things to say while gaming. Last weekend two incidents occurred resulting in me shutting it down. I was trying to have a conversation with him to figure out why he had had three big tonic clonic seizures, two of which resulted in hitting his heat on a concrete floor and the wall. He wasn’t being cooperative at all, he walked away after not speaking and started talking to people online. Suffice to say I was less than amused. The next night his best friend phoned him up to chat, he was so anxious about his game when he took the phone in hand that he talked for 2 minutes and gave the phone to me without saying “bye” to his friend. This was on top of two weeks of calling his Nan, or his she calling him only to talk to her for 2 minutes before he gives up the phone telling me to talk to her so that he can play his games. NOT COOL!

Earlier this past week, following days of tension headaches, I shut it down cold turkey. One entire day with no Xbox allowed my headaches to stop. James was so lost he scarce knew what to do with himself. He begged me a couple times to get on it; I stuck to my guns and refused. It was a rough day for him, but he survived. It had to be done. Human contact is so much healthier than that damned Xbox. He has been doing pretty good this past few days, I’ve only been allowing one or two hours on school nights and 3 or 4 on weekends. That is more than enough.

On another note, the battle to get pills covered by the provincial drug program that I thought was over a few weeks ago, unfortunately still lingers on. While all of his meds are not being covered, the program is refusing, basically, to reimburse me for $3000.00 worth of meds that I have been paying for since James moved in with me last July. They had promised that all I to do was get the special authorization taken care of, saving all of my receipts and send them in to get my money back. I did that. They are not cooperating.

Last week I contacted the office of our local member of parliament (MHA). I gave them my story about what happened, and how much money I am owed for pills that are not mine, and how I was told I would get all my monies back. They are kindly fighting for me. I hope to get some more feedback on Monday to see what the chances are that I will be getting it back as planned.

Last weekend I lost a friend to cancer. He was actually my good friend Jackie’s father, who at the age of 74 succumbed to cancer that flooded throughout his body in the last few months. During the past couple years I have gotten to know this man, Jerome. He was first diagnosed with cancer 8 or 9 years ago and he has been fighting ever since with repeated chemotherapies and surgeries. Although he spent his last week in a hospital he always remained confident that he would be going home. Each time I seen him in hospital he was always in such positive spirits saying “When I get home…” not “If I get home…” I strongly believe that this is what helped to keep him going strong with cancer for so long – in a sense, mind over matter. Even as he was dying he was telling Jackie that he was going home with her.

Although I only knew Jerome for a short time, I had the greatest respect for the man, as did everyone else who knew him. James and I would make regular visits a couple times a week to see him. He always appreciated this because James is best friends with his grandson, which meant a lot to him.

Speaking of cancer, I received some sad news the other night. My uncle, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, went in for surgery to remove it. There was nothing they could do to help, and he is now doing chemotherapy.

I am overly exposed to cancer here in Conne River, and everyone I know here has family who died from it, or has it. It is sad enough when you hear about people dying from it when they are not related to you. To get news of my uncle’s diagnosis came as a complete shock because no one in my family has ever had to deal with cancer before. Not directly anyway.

I want to say one thing before I close this blog post. Cancer sucks! It always has this nasty way of affecting the people we least expect – the good people around us. I know a few people that I would not mind seeing with cancer just for spite, but of course they will live on being the horrible people that they are.

My uncle is not one of these horrible people. He is a great man and a strong man. While I am not really a praying man, I strongly hope than he can fight this for as long as possible; keep his strength in body and mind so that medical treatment can work. He will be in my thoughts for the coming months my family goes through this at home in Nova Scotia without me.


Author: Scott Oosterom

I live in Cut Knife, Saskatchewan, Canada. I teach high school math/ science at Chief Little Pine School in Little Pine, Sk.

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