April 2012 Archives

light pink roses = happiness
It is so pretty here.  Even with the ugly, pointy, flipped insideout umbrella trees on the right.  What are those called, anyway?  

This morning I was driving home from the school drop off run with my cup of coffee in my left hand and my iPhone in iPod mode hooked up to the stereo in my right.  (I drive with my mind.)  As I came to the stop sign where the Jingle Bells Lady got a ride with me that one time, a few things happened: I hit random on the iPod; I saw a mattress, an old kitchen cabinet, and a For Sale sign on the lawn of the Jingle Bells Lady's house; Rocket Man came on; and I remembered something my stepmom said on the phone a couple of days ago.

Remember all those hats your dad had?

Of course I do.  (Especially that one that my brother and I got him for Christmas that one year.  We were shopping at the mall with no idea what to get him, and we found this forest green rainproof sort of fedoraish hat.  It was rad.  He loved that thing.)

I had to give them all to the Goodwill.

(I didn't say anything.  I was trying not to cry.)

You remember where he kept them?

Yeah.  They took up the whole top shelf of the coat closet by the front door.

They did.  I just.  I.  Ihadtogivethemallaway.

I know.  I know you did.  

So there I was on this perfectly gorgeous morning, looking at this woman's things on her lawn and her house for sale and hearing this song that I know must be more about drug addiction than about going to space, but my dad, oh man did he ever want to go to space, so that's where I imagine him now.  In space.  And the song goes, It's lonely out in space, and I was thinking of those damn hats and it was like he just died all over again.

Here's what I tell myself to try and feel better: At one point, everyone was just a tiny little egg just like all the other eggs inside an ovary, surrounded by a body.  And when that egg left its ovary for the bigger world outside of it, as far as the other eggs were concerned (not that I think they think, but, this doesn't have to make sense because it's how I feel better) that egg was gone.  Forever.  But, instead of being gone forever, that egg changed drastically and started growing into a person just a few inches away from the other eggs, but totally beyond their perception or imagination.  And, as the egg became not an egg, but a person with muscles and bones and blood and a heart, that person only knew the world of being where they were -- in water, inside someone else's body, a body that they couldn't imagine or understand.  And, (I've written about this before) as they grew, they became aware of being surrounded by something alive, something, maybe, about the way she sang at night or laughed made them feel secure.  And then came being born and leaving the only universe they'd ever known to exist to live so very differently here on the earth. 

It only stands to reason (in my mind) that we just keep growing and moving on to bigger places that we're already inside of but can't even begin to imagine, right?  And, so, because of all this and because my dad was so drawn to space, that's where I think of him.  Not the him that I knew, but the energy part of him.  I don't think we get to keep our memories when we die.  I think those are lost when our brains stop.  How could we ever go if we wanted to be with everyone here?  But I hope there's something there, some sort of impression left.  I hope my dad is cruising through space finally and all that time he spent here wanting to get there has left him feeling overjoyed about it.  Of course, if the whole traditional hanging out in the clouds with winged angels and being in paradise heaven with your nearest and dearest turns out to be true I won't argue, but if I think long and hard about it, I'm not super hopeful there.

Anyway, this morning I was just gutted all over again.  I came home to my empty house and in the living room the kids' computer was on screen saver mode, and all these gorgeous images of space were hanging there for a few seconds before moving to the next one and I don't care how stupid or crazy it seems, I found myself standing there crying looking for my dad in those pictures.  Or at least looking at them and hoping that's what he was looking at, too.  

Willow's next project at school is this really fun wax museum thing.  The kids all pick a famous person and then dress like them.  They line up in rows in the cafeteria and the teacher puts a colored round sticker dot on them.  They can't talk unless someone presses their button, then they recite a speech about who they are.  Soph was Amelia Earhart.  That kid behind her is probably Einstein, but I like to think of him as Mark Twain.

amelia earhart soph 038

amelia earhart soph 039

Today was the day the kids got to pick their person.  Willow's going to be Sally Ride.  My dad would have loved that.  Would have helped her write her speech over the phone.  When I'm really daydreaming, I think of how great it would have been if he'd never gotten sick and was out here visiting us and helping her do this report in person.  It's really not all that healthy, but I can't stop doing that kind of thing.  I've got a bunch of my dad's old papers and binders from NASA and lots of photos of the shuttle and of space to set her up with as props.  It'll be good.

By the way, people may think I'm unbalanced with all my theories, but the sharks know I'm on to something.  SEE?  (Contains an f-bomb so maybe NSFW)

I got all these things in the mail today:  Two of the same religious kooky junk mail letters that I'm askerid to open (it looks like a prayer to Jesus for financial blessings, so you just KNOW they're going to be asking you to send them money TO ANSWER THEIR PRAYERS), a Prilosec sample, and a Sundance jewelry catalog.  I took Prilosec ONCE.  Then I had to take a ton of Benadryll because I got hives and my throat started swelling and itching and closing.  It's like the mailman is conspiring with P&G to murder me.  I generally recycle catalogs before even opening them, but when I get a Sundance catalog I sit in a little sunbeam in a room with no distractions and I carefully fold down the edges of all the pages that have pictures of pretty things I want to own.  This is so pointless, because Robert Redford clearly doesn't relate to normal people who can't grock spending $498 on a pair of studded wedge sandals that are described, I shit you not, as down-to-earth, but I cannot seem to help myself.  I figure if I just kinda let the universe know that I'd like to own those things, then maybe one or two of them will magically fall in my lap or show up at Ross Dress for Less or something.   

Is it just me, or does your inner voice (or whatever you call it when you are thinking to yourself) go through changes and have different kinds of personas and stuff?  Mine, inexplicably, sometimes is male.  Not just generically male, but (this is embarrassing, no?) an actual, real-life TV character.  For awhile it was Don Draper, not that I wanted to be some kind of man-whore (OMG, did you see Mad Men last week?  Don has come SUCH a long way and I'm so proud of him.  Really.) but, and you can ask Scuba about this, I was drinking Old Fashioneds and internally I was very charming and witty yet gruff when I thought about things in my Don Draper (or, sometimes, Dick Whitman) inner voice.  My inner voice was also drinking a ton and smoking so that I didn't have to.  I half expected to wake up with a 5 o'clock shadow some days.  A few weeks back, Scuba and I started watching a new show called The Killing.  So naturally, now I'm thinking in Agent Stephen Holder voice, (which means a lot of daaaaamn and snap! and thinking of my mom as moms) and let me tell you that shit is FUNNY when you're flipping through the Sundance jewelry catalog, but I'll spare you the transcription.

Okay.  So I've gone over the whole thing about how having your colon removed = MAJOR THIRST all the time, because the colon's job is to absorb water and salt.  My problem is that plain water upsets my stomach.  My theory is that the water hits my belly and my brain is all RIGHT ON!  FOOD!  and it tells my stomach to make acid to digest the food, but there's nothing to digest so I just get queasy and ill.  I need a little something in my water - any sort of flavoring seems to stop that reaction.  I fully understand that my theory is dumb, but it's all I've got.  When I first got home, and even when I was still in the hospital, Scuba was buying me cases of this awesome stuff called Hint with watermelon essence in it.  Fancy, right?  But now I've switched to Smart Water, because it's got electrolytes and I am so tired that I need an extra helping of those and for some reason it is mostly okay on my tummy.  I ran out of water today, and I also wanted to get some sweet 1015 onions from Texas so I could make this, so I went to Whole Foods.  While I was there, I started smelling the food and I stopped dead in an aisle, certain that I'd faint if I didn't eat, now.  So I went to the deli and they had mac and cheese and I got a small container, that cost $4.98.  This is just stupid, but I bought it anyway, because I had to.  Then I saw that they have this fancy water that I've had once before and love but never buy because it costs even more than Smart Water.  So I grabbed a bottle of that and I went with my expensive gluten free pasta to the checkout.  (They didn't have the onions.)  And the whole time I was in line I was debating, in Agent Holder voice, whether or not I should tell the woman at the checkout that I was buying crazyexpensive mac and cheese and shishi overpriced water because I just had my colon surgically removed four weeks ago today and I'm thirsty, but only for special kind of water, and I normally wouldn't pay five bucks for a few bites of mac and cheese, but I'm just so hungry all the time, because I didn't want her to think that I was the kind of asshole who would pay $2.39 for a bottle of fucking WATER.  But, you know what, I AM that kind of asshole (snap!) so I just paid my thirty bucks for five things and got the hell out.      
Hi. I'm going to watch Justified and make out with these here grilled cheese sammiches. <3

Udi's makes the BEST gluten free bread, but it's little so a girl has no choice but to make two grilled cheese sammiches at a time.  

I am hungry ALL the time, but I can't eat very much at once so I'm eating ALL DAY LONG.  I know, call the whaaaaambulance.  Today, though, I forgot that I have to eat six times more than I used to, and I took my lunch break at 2:30 so I could go to the bank and the pharmacy.  I was driving to the bank, three hours after I'd eaten last, when suddenly I had to eat.  Immediately.  I was so hungry I got all shaky and almost threw up.  I was right near my favorite Mexican restaurant so I pulled in and asked for a plain quesadilla and chips and watermelon agua fresca to go.  I was so sad to not have any salsa or guacamole.  So sad!  Especially when they asked me seven times if I was sure that I didn't want any salsa.  Sad.

I don't think I'll be like this forever and ever.  I hope not.  It's enough of a pain having to stop and eat so frequently when I'm at home.  I'll have to bring a portable mini fridge if I want to leave the house for more than two hours. 

My second surgery is scheduled for May 10th.  I can't tell you how relieved I am to be so close to being done with the operating part and getting on to the getting well part.  Hmmm, except I just realized that surgery = no eating.  I cannot fathom that at the moment, but maybe that's just because it's been an hour since I last ate. 

I'm starting to feel better, have a little more energy.  Yesterday was my first day back at work, and I was able to put in a full day, cook an easy supper, and do some laundry before I had to take a nap at 7:20 p.m.  I'm getting there.  
Top floor of the hospital

If you're a good patient at Kaiser in San Francisco, the nurses will let you escape from your floor and go up to the top of the hospital where you can check out the panoramic view of the city.  It doesn't look like much in this photo, but it was quite lovely considering I spent eight days in the same room without a view.  The good thing about my room was that it was private and quiet, AND the TV channel package included AMC so I got to watch the season premiere of Mad Men, even though I had to really focus and squint at the TV to keep the picture in focus and I didn't remember any of it later on thanks to the button on the dilaudid pump I was pushing every ten minutes plus.

My mom stayed all day long and then slept in the room with me the first few nights, but I don't think she actually slept much.  Scuba came up every day, too, and even brought the kids a couple days after the surgery.  I don't remember falling asleep mid-sentence while talking to them, but Nathan thought that was pretty funny, the little shit.     

I've had a ton of help since I've been home.  Scuba stayed with us for the last ten days and made meals and shopped and took care of me.  I needed it.  Badly.  This has been much more difficult than I expected.  By the two-week mark I was getting really cranky that I was still feeling so tired and having pain.  It's only been two and a half weeks now, and I had to spend nearly all day in bed after going to visit with an ostomy nurse this morning.  It's horribly frustrating, and I'm using up all my willpower by staying just this side of not being depressed and freaked out. I can see how it would be so very easy to be resistant, to get pissed off and depressed and focus on how unfair it is to have to deal with this.  To look at myself in the mirror and feel mutilated and freakish and broken and disgusting.  But I also see how little that would help me in anything other than the occasional small doses, so I'm all Ms Silver Lining (And Shit) (excuse the pun, please) over here as much as I possibly can be.  When all else fails, I take comfort in the fact that my old jeans fit, I magically have a waist again, and I have left over dilaudid.  

I hurt.  I'm exhausted.  I'm going to feel better eventually, though, and the thing is that in some ways I'm already better off than I was before the surgery.  I'm learning how to take care of myself, what I can eat, that it's BAD to forget to take the massive dose of Pepcid I'm on twice a day, and it's even worse to eat too much at once.  One thing I'm encouraged to eat is marshmallows, so I am stealing the kids' Easter Peeps without apology.  As it turns out, for me, dealing with my own flipped inside-out small intestine sticking out of my abdomen isn't as icky as I thought it would be.  The skin around it is pretty sore, but I can handle looking at it, touching it, and caring for my unhappy skin and all that.  There have even been some points of humor, but unfortunately they're too gross to share (though poor Jenny has heard a thing or two).  

My mom's taking me back to see the surgeon in San Francisco this Friday, and I'm hoping we can talk about the date for my second surgery.  It may be further away than I'd like it to be, but it's coming, probably just about the time when I'm actually feeling good again.  I'll spend this week resting and reading and hanging out with my kiddos who are on spring break, and then next Monday they're back to school and I'm back to work.  I'll have to wean off the naps by this weekend, but I'm really ready to jump back in.  I'm not cut out for all this lounging.  
Partner since June 2006





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