You've Got To Know When To Hold 'Em, Know When To Fold 'Em

... know when to walk away, know when to run. Kenny Rogers had something there. I think this advice goes for all sorts of different situations besides shady poker tables, but to me, the gist is -- You have to know the rules. And know when to break them. And know when to get out of dodge if shit gets real.

ChicagoNow is doing a thing called "This Blogger Life," where we get broad topics each week to expound upon (or not) to help us along in the blogging inspiration department. This is not to be confused with our Blogapalooza feature, where we all sit and write a post on a topic in one hour on the last Wednesday of the month.

Instead, this is just a loose guideline if you need something to write about. The first week was "taking a break" (clearly, I took a break). Last week's was  "seeing the other side" and I wrote this piece about the ALS ice bucket challenge. This week is  "breaking the rules."

I was always a very good student. I didn't really break the rules. I didn't ditch class, I didn't come late, I didn't drink, smoke, or have sex. I was a "goody two-shoes," as it were. I don't really regret any of that, because I got plenty of rule breaking in later.

As it stands, I'm still pretty much toeing most lines. But, I have to say that I've spent the week in Wisconsin helping out my parents and visiting my dad in the hospital. And I'm breaking rules and I'm breaking rules. The first rule I'm going to break is just talking about this cancer shit.

I said that I wasn't about the whole "fuck cancer" thing, but for fuck's sake. My dad has already been through so much in his life (kidney transplant, cataracts, hip transplants, diabetes, mild skin cancer -- to name a few), and now this. Cancer. Worse yet, it seems like cancer might not even be the thing that finally brings him down.

This week, it was an infection. I guess. Fevers. And then fucked up body chemistry, which was really scary and got him 24 hours in the ICU. And, you know ... I guess I don't know how fucking exhausting it all is, until I get home and am in my bed and want to write something because I haven't blogged in forever, even when I have ideas. Because I sit down to write and I just ... I'd rather check Facebook or watch TV.

Not that that isn't a regular occurrence even when I'm *not* stressed, but I definitely have much less energy and patience when my mind and body are preoccupied.

So, yeah. Breaking the rule where I don't sit and blab about cancer. It really does suck, and my mom is ruined and my sister's worried and I feel terrible for my dad.

The other "rules" I was breaking all week is being a loudmouth. Asking tons of questions. Being proactive about my dad's care. Saying things because my dad doesn't write notes/keep track/remember a lot of stuff. I've seen the medical establishment fuck up enough shit that could have had some way more dire consequences, and I'm not going to sit by and do nothing.

I made a friend in this -- my dad's main infectious disease doctor really seems to have taken a shine to me. The first time I met him, I mildly ripped his face off, and we've been best buddies ever since. I'm not kidding. I really like this guy. I'm glad he's one of the people watching over my dad.

But yeah. I'm not willing to settle for okay or good enough or "that happens." Fuck that. I'm coming out swinging. I'm breaking all the rules.¹

¹Including the one where I throw this post up, even though it's a hot steaming pile.

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