Thursday, August 09, 2007
Hard to believe almost two months have passed since I last logged on. Wheels are turning and I've gotten another whole decade under my belt. I spent my 60th birthday on the road back home from Michigan. It was a side trip. Kind of like the ones I did back in the 60s and 70s.
Carol and I went to Augusta to watch Sally Jo die a little more in mid-July. Did I tell you that she has this ugly disease called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy? It's like Lou Gherigs Disease on speed. She was in a hospital bed that was too short for her long old frame. Me and Carol plopped her into a wheel chair and deposited the goods in her big Queen Sized Bed between us for the night. I scandalized the Christian nurses telling them that we were going to feel her up. Sally just giggled with what little breath she had left.
Peaceful, blissful night for Sally Jo although me and Carol hardly slept. Both of us were accutely aware of Sally's fitful breathing and waiting for the spasms that would send her into a convulsive cough. They never came. With whatever grace we brought with us, she was allowed to sleep like a baby through the night. We held her hands, snuggled up to her, and let her scratch and work her feet with the red toenail polish I'd decorated with hologram sparkles. Carol bitched good-naturedly about the tiny piece of bed she was squizzled into. Served her right for being skinny.
I told Sal I would be there for her when she got ready to go so she wouldn't be alone. We used to joke about shooting each other if we ever got in that state many, many years ago when she was still a cop. She even told me to use her service revolver on her and she'd use my Ruger Sarah Jane on me! We really had a laugh at that one never thinking that that day really might come. But I can't shoot Sally. Not even with her pistol. Not even with the promises.
We watched her talk to her mother in asides like her mom was in the room in moments between lucidity. She picked threads out of the air, balled them up and handed them to us. We laughed and told stories about Sally and the baloney - you'll never get the details on that one from me. Just let me say that she almost shut down the local K-Mart with a whole baloney.
So. Me and Carol left, drove to Atlanta. There we stopped, got gas and made a choice - North to Detroit or South to Tampa Bay. Carol's brother was selling his house there in Michigan. Men being the creatures they are, Carol was worried about the state of cleanliness and show-ability it was in given the current market. She asked if I wanted to go. Free spirit that I am, I said, "Sure". Buckled in and enjoyed the trip all the way there and back.
It was like the old days when we used to go on the road to some art show or another, Carol selling her art glass and me showing my Dream Coats. We slept on the floor of the house just as we'd done so many times in floors, cars, in the backs of trailers and under E Z Up tents during and before shows.
The house wasn't quite as desparate as we had thought. Bob is a clean creature, his only downfall being the male choice of shades of brown for everything - including the kitchen sink and all the appliances. Bob flew up and met us. We spent two days painting, sprucing and doing that femme thing that women know how to do and then drove back non-stop. Carol and Bob took turns sleeping and we lived off of the most dire of junk snack foods until I demanded a meal.
Mental note for future ref: Pack more than one pair of underpants and one change of clothes when you get into the car with Carol.
Came home to find a crisis looming close at hand. A friend was depressed and took the opportunity of my trip to pull an Industrial Sized Drunk the week I got back. No details here. It's over and won't happen again on my shift since I don't respond too well to addicts of any shade.
There were other phone calls, too. I told you earlier in the year that I had another friend dying. Add one more of my doyennes to that list. I've been chicken shit about seeing Shirley when she went in hospital in mid April. I knew she was starting the check out proceedure and had no desire to be the one to tell her. She knew I would so my one visit to her was brief, scattered...me wearing the plastic bag suit and rubber gloves everyone who went into her isolation room had to wear and her just itching to get me to read her cards for her so I could "see" what condition her condition was in.
Just didn't have the ovaries to tell her that I knew she was dying. She was in a state of denial at the time. Now, three months later, she's jiggy with it, is in the hands of hospice and I finally can face her as the frank and honest friend she expects of me. I'm to be on her sitting team giving the nurses a break. I have a special project planned for her. I'll divulge it later on.
So. Now there are three pending deaths and one pending life. Mine. I've finally decided that I need to be proactive about my mental health and want to see a counselor to talk to and a psych to optimize my medication. I'm a generally happy clam despite all this going on around me, but really think I need my oil changed and a tune-up.
I have many more stories, poetry and articles for you from the old Deepwater Journal that I truly will get around to putting here. Just expect the participation from me to be somewhat patchy during this time for reasons mentioned above. It's busy work, dying. It's busy work living, too.