I’ve been feeling very out of place here, lately. Fill in your preferred analogy. I spent some time talking to a professor yesterday, and a small group of people today (quite by accident), and was feeling a bit better about everything. Sitting in on a class where I knew the subject comfortably, and talking about crit theory over a late lunch, helped, too.
“Fine,” I think to myself. “First year adjustments, it’s just a painful transition to make…” and then I get home to find out Mom’s pneumonia took a turn for the worse last night, and she spent almost eight hours in the emergency room. They drained two quarts of fluid, to reinflate her lung, which had collapsed, and diagnosed pneumonia complicated by pleural effusion (thanks, Sherlock – the fluid wouldn’t have told me that). And now my irrational response is to run to the airport and jump on the next flight back to Portland, even though I’ve only been
homeback in Albany a handful of days. Mom’s resting comfortably, and Dad’s there, but I feel like I should be there, too. When I was in Seattle, I could have been with relative ease…
…and I’m back to where I was, wondering if this is where I’m supposed to be. It sounds like my mother, but I have to wonder if the fight I put up to get out here, and all the subsequent problems, have just been the universe’s way of saying I don’t belong here. (The tiny, analytic part of my brain would like to comment that a ceasing of these swings of mood would be nice, any day now. Just be miserable or happy, but the going back and forth is really getting tiring.)
Kelly, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom’s illness — and I know how tiring it is to have to fly back and forth between places when your mum or dad is ill or failing. (I was in Rhode Island running a law practice when my mom — who lived in New Jersey — was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and then a few years later, when I was doing my fellowship at the AMA in Chicago, my dad — also in NJ – suffered a stroke and died about a week later).
It doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t belong in Albany, but, yes, it sure does make life harder. And it’s hard to give yourself permission to put your professional life on hold when someone you love is ill, but that is what you may have to do — the best that you can hope for is that the people you are working with are supportive. And if they’re not — well, they can go jump in a frozen Adirondack lake. Love comes first — the rest is just details.
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