The last several weeks have just wiped me out, hence my absence for the last week or so. First was my roommate's whole medical fiasco and eventual return home (which was hectic enough), then my Mom fell ill, then I came down with a nasty summer cold (which is still not entirely gone), and now my roommate is back in the hospital. It looks as though he might have cancer (lymphoma to be precise), but I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that he is once again quite ill and facing a serious health crisis. To top it all off, work has been kicking my ass. With emergencies and lots of big projects going on, I've barely had time to think clearly and certainly haven't had time to live my life.
And that brings me to my frustration of late.
As Jenny and I have been discussing lately, life has simply become too full of minding the affairs of others while my own personal life languishes on the sidelines. I'm not saying I'm a cold-hearted bastard, but when did I sign on to be everyone's keeper?
I ask that because, for the nine months that my roommate was in the hospital the first time, I ran my ass off keeping his affairs in order since he was unable to. I was also responsible for his health care when he was unable to make those decisions on his own.
Now, a few months later and back in the same situation (in the hospital, that is), it would seem that once again Derek's life falls on me to maintain.
It's not that I don't care about my roommate. We're very good friends and have been roommates for many years. Our interests have normally been similar and complementary, yet we both enjoyed the freedom of sharing living expenses while being able to live our own lives.
So how did it fall to me to be the responsible party when he fell ill?
I'm not a member of his family. We're not married or dating or in any way involved.
Where's his family, you ask? They've never been told about his condition nor that he has been close to death many times in the last two years. That's a decision he made and I respected. Now, however, I'm realizing that only exacerbated the problem as it was taken to mean that I did indeed accept responsibility for him.
Where are his friends? They've never been told nor do I expect them to be told any time soon.
So who visits him in the hospital? That would be me and my friends. Who calls and asks about him? That would be me and my friends and family. Who takes care of his affairs when he can't? That would be me and my friends.
At the expense of my own personal life, I have been forced into being the primary care giver for someone with whom I am no more than close friends and roommates, forced to sacrifice my own life and desires and plans time and time again in favor of his, forced to give up personal endeavors so I can manage his life, forced to make life and death decisions for his health and medical care, and the list goes on.
I've grown to resent him and myself for this entire situation. I allowed it to get out of control and he's taken it for granted — taken advantage of me and my compassion in order to hide his condition from his own friends and family.
As I've explained to Jenny on many occasions and to my mother only recently, it's as if he's living vicariously through me now. The only friends he has here in Dallas are my friends. The only people who know about his condition are me, my friends and family. The only people who take care of him are me and my friends. The only people who will help him get the care he needs are me and my friends. The only people who will clean up after him are me and my friends.
What's wrong with this picture?
As you might be able to tell from this post, I'm a little pissed about the whole situation. Never having received a single "thank you" for all I've done already, I find myself in the same situation as before with Derek simply expecting that I will continue to handle his life while he's unable to do so, that I will continue to be his keeper, that I will continue to sacrifice my own life in favor of his.
Sadly, I've finally reached my limit. I am not to be taken advantage of. I am not to be stepped on simply because you can't or won't take responsibility for your own life.
Sick or not, hospitalized or not, I do not intend to keep doing this. All of my free time is gone, all of my plans are canceled, and all of the things which are important to me are slowly slipping away as I have less and less time to focus on them.
This isn't living. It's working for no pay.
And I fully expect Derek to be rather upset with me when he finds out I've decided we're not going to be roommates moving forward. I intend to part ways this autumn or winter. At this point in time, I feel it's the only way to force him to take responsibility for his own life, to use his own support structure of family and friends, and to stop using me — yes, I said he's using me.
Perception is reality, and I perceive that I am being used and have been for the last year at least.
Well, the buck stops here.