Friday, September 2, 2011

Cardinal Sin of Bloggers: Not Blogging Due to Death

I have committed the cardinal sin of bloggers. After more than one year of consistent blogging and never missing a day, even once, I have missed one. I have, in fact, missed several.

I was brought up in Los Angeles and always dreamed of being a Hollywood star. I went to university and studied television and was one of the very few lucky ones to actually get a job in that business and to make a good living.

Why I mention that is because, in show business, we have a saying, "The only way you'd ever miss a live broadcast or performance is a death in the family.... And that death had better be yours!"

In the early nineties, I was the host of the most popular late night music and talk radio show in Tokyo. One day, I received a call from my wife. She was sobbing. She told me that my mother had died earlier that day in a car accident. 

The world stopped. I didn't know what to say. I still don't.

Nevertheless, the show must go on. I went to my program that night and I did an excellent show. No one knew how sad I was. And I did that for every night from then on too...

That's what the difference is between a professional and an amateur.

I guess I am not a professional blogger yet. I have missed three or four days of blogging.

On Saturday morning I received a call that my father was being removed from life support and, if it didn't kill him, he would be sent home on hospice. I was asked to come to America immediately. My wife was sobbing when she told me this news. 

I didn't want to come to the USA, but my wife convinced me that, just this one last time, I must.

My father and the kind lady he has been staying with for over 15 years are very old. They are both past 80. They have no Internet connection. I was expecting that a dear old friend of mine would be here. She lives close by and has an Internet connection. I was counting on using her connection to blog everyday.

I couldn't. She had gone off to Mexico. There's no way for me to access the Internet here. 

Do you realize how difficult it is to find any sort of information without an Internet? I opened the Yellow Pages and searched. I couldn't find anything. 

That's OK. From what I understand, the Yellow Pages are now notorious for being useless. 

As I said, my dad and the lady he lives with are over eighty. They have no Internet. They do, though, have the TV on constantly. The TV is like a window into the past. There's so much absolutely crap on TV it is nearly unbearable. A house with no Internet and just TV is like living in the 1960's - and no, it's not retro and it's not cool. It is driving me mad. I have to get out of here.

I will write about how there are still pockets of resistance to the Internet in the world today and how these pockets are filled with handicapped, poor or retired people; and how TV is trying, but failing, to survive on this audience in a few days when I get back to Japan, but, for now, I must hurry and return to their house as I am needed there. 

The following is excerpts from a message I wrote my partner in business about the situation here. Perhaps you can read this and, by understanding the above, see why I haven't posted on my blog. This is not an excuse, just I want everyone to know this as I reckon most people might go through a similar experience... Hopefully not soon.

Dear Rick (not his real name):

It is Thursday 9/1. I have driven what seems like 10+ minutes to a Barnes & Noble store to use a computer (I think this is the only place around here). So I wanted to catch up as much as I can. 

This situation where my dad is staying is terrible. The lady my dad has been living with for 15 + years and my brothers do not talk to each other directly so everything is royally messed.... Probably much my own fault. 

My dad can't do anything by himself. He can't stand up, sit down, walk, take off his clothes. Unbutton his shirt? Can't do it.......He can't urinate by himself so he is wearing a device called a catheter (sp?) and can't really go anywhere. 

There's a million and one things wrong and things he can't do.... Things that he could do just a year ago or so. It is amazing how fast they deteriorate. When I arrived and walked in the door, he looked like he was already dead like one of those near death people you see in those old films of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Every night he coughs uncontrollably and cannot sleep well. When he is awake, he hiccups all the time. After he eats, only soft food of course, he feels like throwing up. For 2 of the 4 nights I have been here I expected him to die any moment. And would not have been the least bit surprised if he did.

Every second word out of his mouth is "I'm dying!" I thought about calling an ambulance twice but then found out that when someone signs up for hospice, they cannot call an ambulance nor go to the hospital anymore.

I can't describe how bad this is. Thank god my older brother is there handling this situation with a calm and cool head otherwise this would be a complete disaster.

I thought the lady my dad has been staying with all these years was having a nervous breakdown last night because she got extremely angry at me for simply passing on a message from the nurse. "WTF!? I'm just telling her what the nurse asked me too and she's yelling at me?" She continued to berate me and talk down to me, complaining about the nurses and help that's coming to the house and my brothers and how poorly may dad treats her, how people talk down to her (maybe that's why she did that to me?) etc. etc., on and on....

She complained about the nurses and how she doesn't want them or other strangers in her house, but I cannot see how she can handle this situation by herself. 

On the one hand, she says that she can't handle the situation. On the other hand she says she can (she has for 6 months!)... She is under tremendous stress.

When she began to get angry at me, at first I was offended, then I soon realized that this women is close to having a breakdown so I thought it best that I shut up and let her talk. (I also realized that she had already started drinking so I shouldn't comment or ask too many questions). Then she started smoking cigarettes and continued drinking much more....(I had never seen her smoke before!)... 

Then, after 4 hours of drinking and smoking she was visibly drunk (never seen her drunk before either). She then switched between anger and sobbing and crying and spilling her heart out to me. She went on about how when she was a nurse long ago but she didn't have enough empathy for people and didn't care for her husband enough... Her husband died of cancer many years ago... She wished she could have done more...

This went on for a few more hours until she seemed to get tired.

Finally, I realized the true gravity of this situation. They say that when someone in a family gets a serious illness, like, say, cancer, everyone in that household gets cancer. Well, I think it must be true.

My dad is extremely sick and near death... But everyone is this household is extremely sick. At least my father knows he is sick. The lady he is staying with doesn't realize the extent of her illness.

I have to leave here soon or this will make me sick too. Anyhow, I'm leaving on Sunday. It will be good to be back in Japan.


I will blog again, at least by Sept. 6, when I get back to the 21st century and away from this time machine into the past that I have slipped into.


Andrew Joseph said...

Hi Mike... what all around sucky news. My heart goes out to you for a number of reasons... I did suddenly wonder what was going on with you as I had not seen anything new in days, when usually you put out 2 blogs a day.
Again... sorry to hear about your dad. Keep the faith, brother!

Jimbo said...

I too was growing concerned you weren't posting anything. I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Best of luck to you and have a safe trip home.

Anonymous said...

"A house with no Internet and just TV is like living in the 1960's - and no, it's not retro and it's not cool. It is driving me mad. I have to get out of here."

Sorry, That was funny.

When I was young, in the 1970's, it was just the opposite for me, a house with no TV was unbearable,... it's odd how things have changed, nowadays I feel about the same as you describe.

"Every second word out of his mouth is "I'm dying!"... Reminded of TV's Fred Sanford, "It's the big one!" I imagine it wasn't like that though. Not at all, I'm sure,... but at the same time...

Hope my making light of it didn't offend you. "I can't describe how bad this is." Been there, done that in bits and pieces, and expect to again someday.

When it's my turn, I hope to do the "push off on an ice chunk" Eskimo style and face the polar bears. Or some such. Prolly won't get to though.

Anyway, don't feel too bad about not blogging as I've been replaying that leprechaun video over and over again each time I visit your blog when I see there's nothing new. ... Or maybe I over did it some?

For Whom The Bell Tolls,... time marches on.

I just saw the original 1940's version of the film, For Whom The Bell Tolls, that saying makes a whole lot more sense now,... and, it's what you're a part of, imho. You must... you must go on, move on, get back.

- clark

Murasaki Shikibu said...

A lot of us have aging dying parents if they aren't both dead already and it appears that if you're not extremely wealthy, there is hell waiting for you in old age (both for the dying and their children and spouse).
If we work, we have no time to care for our parents and if we don't work we have no money.
At the same time, governments are in this peeing contest to increase lifespan despite the fact that many older people no longer have control of either their mind or body or both and social systems are inadequate to take care of them so that they can die in a dignified manner. It's all very sad.

See Otter said...

No internet? Just get an iphone, you can do anything you want from pretty much anywhere.

mikeintokyorogers said...

Thanks everyone. I hope to leave here today and return to Japan. See Otter! I have an iPhone. Try writing more than a few sentences for a blog on an iPhone and you'll see how that is a very difficult thing to do. Thanks for the suggestion, tho.

Anonymous said...

Watching Peter Fonda try to ride a wave in the film, Escape From L.A. is a whole lot different than the film, Easy Rider, I'll tell you that.

In the film, Escape From L.A., 1998 and 2013 was considered the future... [I'm dating myself here and leaving a lot unsaid]

Also, seeing your comment via I-Phone makes you seem like one of us.

One other thing, get this, I was trying to discuss free markets on and I got, basically, a death threat from a deluded Imperialist,... I haven't gotten one of those since Jr. High. [Deluded Imperialist confuse free markets with merchantilism, no matter how many times you try to set them straight on the matter.]

The world has gone freaking insane, and now you're making your escape from totally insane, to not-so-insane, the 14 hour flight being the dividing line?
I wonder if you had to suffer viewing the film, The Sound of Music on your flight? Ah, the film ain't all that bad though, some lessons in that film, but still...

I think I'm on replay number 15 of that leprechaun video,... I'm considering watching one of those Japanese Go-Go girl videos of yours.

Finally, Murasaki Shikibu had some words of wisdom,... only, for many in the blue collar world, for those who try to live on the edge, while there might be, "hell waiting for you in old age" some get lucky and find a quick route out. ... and if that fails, just disobey a cop. ?

- clark

See Otter said...

Mike, you can't use the iphone keyboard for much long text blogging but you can start with Dragon dictation and its trains to your voice pretty quick and pretty well. Use that while on the road until the projective keyboard interfaces start to show up next year or so.

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