Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sometimes I Write Like This

And they watched poetry read aloud in a bar. A backroom of a bar with tin ceilings and too much warmth and chairs that were very well upholstered.

And from watching poetry, short stories and humorous notes in bottles, she thought it poetic to begin entries with "and." She thought it made her sound deeper. She realized she was wrong.

She has realized a lot of things about herself recently, and more than just her penchant for speaking about herself in third person like Caesar. That, actually, seemed to help her be more direct about what she had learned, as it sounded like she was talking about someone else's problems.

She listened to lanky men in beards and too-skinny women read about love in very detached ways. Comparing it to pandas and bamboo, scenes in movies starring Wilfred Brimley and mockery of Kevin Costner films. Perhaps lack of food made them detached when speaking of love, as they may faint from over exertion otherwise. Perhaps they were, in fact, quite brave. When was the last time she stood in front of a microphone and talked about what love meant? When was the first time, for that matter?

Friday, May 23, 2008


Just like 'Nam, this is long. And a bit gross. And a little pointless. So if you're into that, keep reading.


Just making sure you knew.

Most of my days, I walk around with a giant boot on so my feet look like this.

Yesterday, I had bandages removed from both sides of my feet and the toe they worked on. According to the xrays, it looks fantastic. According to my eyes, it looked like this.

What's that? You want a closer look at the wire that is partially coming out of my foot? Ok.

They then put bandages over the grossness after removing the stitches and sent me hobbling along my way.

This morning at about 3am, I sat straight up in bed with the most excruciating pain I have ever felt. It was coming from my wee toe, second to the last. The pentultimate toe, if you will.

Now, I am not a wimp about pain. I have a dead guy in my knee. When I fell and tore my ACL, I burned from embarrassment in a TaeKwonDo class, not pain. I believe that vicodin is a foreign term for "pill that makes alien baby rise from stomach," so painkillers aren't my bag. But JesusMaryandJoseph I thought my toe was dangling and ready to fall off. Because it had, at some point in the night, been dipped in hydrochloric acid. I was sure.

Scott once again sprouted wings and sprung into action - getting me another pillow to elevate, ice for my ankle and kisses for my forehead while he alternately told me to squeeze his hand and then remember to breathe. I forgot sometimes.

Finally, at 5AM, I decided the doctor should be called. I didn't want to go to the hospital again. They'd do something terrible like poke it for fun and show it to me. I knew they would.

The doctor called back within minutes. He told Scott to loosen the bandage.

Loosen the bandage? Well, sure. We probably have to look for the top of my toe. Unless it distintegrated, of course.

And so he did. And so the pain stopped.

I felt relief like never before. And stupid like never before. That didn't feel like a too-tight bandage. It felt like microscopic armies had declared war on my toe with spears. And...hydrochloric acid.

Not surprisingly, I was exhausted this morning and I made us late. Scott dropped me off at the Montrose stop, only for me to find out the elevator is broken. Hopping up I went. The train took off a little fast and I had to put pressure on my boot to keep from falling. I could have been incredibly grumpy. But then I realized that's all I've been for weeks.

I started to notice some different things. I was well taken care of, and I have been this whole time. That wasn't news, but it hit me rather hard. Also, other people - strangers - were behaving rather kindly. At least four people asked if I needed help on the way up the el stairs. Doors were held when I got coffee and oatmeal.

Then, when I got here, a co-worker asked how my foot was doing. Berl is an elderly African-American man who came on when we outsourced our Office Services department. Kind to everyone and mild mannered, I told him about what happened. He patiently listened.

He then proceeded to tell me that he completely understood.

"I don't take painkillers, either. I'm with you on that. I had a collarbone injury,"
he began, which already told me this was gonna be way worse than my pain.

"Because I was shot there in Vietnam. Now, to fix that, they also had to cut away part of the deltoid,"

Oh my God so much worse.

"and the bone,"

I am an asshole.

"So, for about a year,"

My toe hurt. toe. That's it. Why am I complaining?

"I had to relearn to move my arm."

You know what? I'm...I'm fine. I really am.

On that note, have a great Memorial Day weekend. If you were planning on fucking off to somewhere, I hope it's somewhere good. If you plan, like me, to fuck off to a couple of barbeques, I hope they're delicious.

Just remember...nothing a 'nam wound. I really don't care how much you hurt. It's the trump card of pain.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Recooped Up.

Ok, so I'm bad at updates. I make everyone worry and then I run away giggling.

Don't worry. That last part isn't true. I can't run anywhere.

So Mom has headed to a short-term rehabilitation nursing center and has been discharged from the hospital. She's in Skokie, recuperating like a real Jew. I'm so proud. She loves it there. They are having her do physical therapy for her back and all kinds of other stuff she would normally hate and hit people for making her do if she weren't in such nice surroundings. The fact that she has no choice probably helps. As do the pain killers. I'm guessing.

As for me, I had foot surgery yesterday, the very day Mom was discharged and moved to the rehab center. The hospital folk assured me this would not happen and go ahead and have my surgery. Here's a tip: hospitals can promise you nothing. This is my lesson of the week.

As a result, Mom is moved and I can't move. See, my foot surgery went well. But not as planned. I was supposed to be on crutches for maybe three days and then in a walking boot. No dice. They couldn't hold the bone in place with a screw on one of the sides that were operated on, so they have to put me on crutches for three weeks. With a walking boot I can't walk on. It's heavy, but it's acting as a cast.

Seems that if you're on birth control, casts are bad. Blood clots are more likely, and no one wants that.

Birth control can apparently prevent more than one shock when you wake up. (rimshot)

I had twilight anesthesia for the procedure, which means I was pretty much asleep but not knocked out - and I wouldn't remember anything. That was mostly true. I remember going into the OR, thinking it wasn't as cold as I expected, then waking up and wondering if my hands were tied down or if I was simply too lazy to move them. It was the latter. I think.

I woke up at the end of surgery, it seems, hearing what must have been the doc and a medical Makita attempting to drill into my foot - and the doctor cursing like a sailor. I didn't feel a thing, but at least I knew something was wrong.

Today, my doctor told me that he was certain he was more frustrated by the incident than I was, but he was "ecstatic about the bone placement."

I imagine he walked away from the phone, sans crutches, so no. No he is not more frustrated by this than I am.

So. I'm homebound for a few days, and then it's off to compete in my favorite regional sport: See If People On the Train See Your Crutches and Surgical Boot. Here's a hint: they don't. Ladies, don't sweat the footwear. No one's looking, as people have actually kicked my boot or let me stand on crutches from past surgeries. Or maybe they just don't like my face. Whichever...those people can suck it.

Meanwhile, I will attempt to not embarrass Pasko by gushing over his kindness with all of this. But holy crap...I owe that man BIG. You''re something else, Scott. Thank you.

While I'm thanking, so many of you have sent well wishes and offers of help...thank you. I sure have some kickass friends. I knew that, don't get me wrong, but when you're forced to be as have some time to think.

Ow...thinking hurts.

Monday, May 12, 2008


(traces small circle in dirt with toe)

(looks up sheepishly)

(back to tracing circles)

Um...sorry I was a sad sack of drama there. It's still rough, and I'm still not sure what's going on. But Woe Was Me won't help much. And...hey. I got off the train today realizing I had dropped my swipe card for work (GASP! HOW will they KNOW when I GOT there??), and a random stranger threw it out of the train at my feet as the doors closed. Thanks, random stranger.

Little things, people. Little things.

I am wearing heeled boots today, as I have foot surgery tomorrow and won't be able to wear heels for a long time.

Little things.

But the martini I'm gonna have after the hospital visit tonight and before my food/drink cutoff...huge.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I Can't Dance to This

Because there really isn't an upbeat note here.
(Wayward tomato)

This is one of those Deep Sigh and Then Write blogs, so I'll apologize in advance. The last week has been a roller coaster of epic proportions, only without the part where you went there on purpose and it's fun.

Mom went to the hospital on Sunday. We took her there at her request, and she was sent home with a diagnosis of bronchitis, as well as a prescription for antibiotics, valium for the inflamed muscle due to coughing and an inhaler.

On Wednesday morning, she called me to tell me she had called 911 because she fell during the night. Thanks, valium combined with the nine other meds she's on. Thanks a heap.

I spent seven hours at the hospital yesterday, and my notebook is filled with worrisome scribbling about all the meds, all her illnesses and their potential interactions and the ensuing disaster therein. I was told by doctors that the benefits outweigh the risks. Up until Sunday, that's what my mom said about smoking.

Today is different.

As of today, she is better. As of today, she can sit in a chair despite a fracture in her spine. Today she can cough to get rid of the infection without hurting the tear in her shoulder muscle. Today, she gets breathing treatments every six hours and may or may not have to go into a nursing home for rehab for a while after she's released.

Today, I'm going shopping for groceries to bring her Mother's Day brunch in the hospital.

Today, I am bracing myself to see my sister again tomorrow. I don't speak to her unless my mother is ill. So I'll see her for Mother's Day...despite the fact that she doesn't celebrate it. Maybe she'll enjoy a banana muffin with cream cheese and not judge me. I doubt that.

Today, I am fighting with the man I love and I don't know why. Or maybe I do, and that makes me even sadder. I am not so easy to put up with, and when I'm in crisis I'm reeeeally not easy to put up with.

Today, I don't know what the statute of limitations is on difficult, but I'm waiting for it to run out.

Today, I will try and hang posters for an anti-suicide fundraiser I'm supposed to be helping with, but I need to go to Rogers Park and then Evanston for my mother. This has a tendency to put "helping" in a different perspective.

Today I will try to be a better person.

Because tonight, I will sing my fucking lungs out at Duke's with The Cain Mutiny. And then today can suck it.

But for now, Today, you have me. Fine.