Checking In

I’m just checking in.

To tell you all how I’ve been

I keep surfacing for air

And looking here and there

To see if the grief is gone

To see if life can go on.

But grief’s a cheeky bugger

And not much of a hugger

He tends to sneak up on me

From behind where I cannot see

So I quickly dive back down

Trying to find smiles in all the frowns

And try to be patient with me

Because that’s what mom would want to see.

Detached from Time

As some of you know, last Wednesday I underwent carpal tunnel surgery on my left wrist. My recovery has gone quite smoothly, and my pain is pretty minimal unless I’m not thinking and do something stupid like turn a doorknob. The surgery itself went very well, I’m still not used to anesthesia though and closing my eyes and waking up an hour later still unnerves me. This time though it totally discombobulated me from the passage of time. I was able to listen to music during my procedure and when I went under I was listening to a specific song. When I woke up afterward, you guessed it, the same song was playing again; given the fact that my brain was still loopy from the drugs I had a hard time realizing the procedure was over. Not even the reality that I was no longer in the operating room and back in recovery could make me believe my surgery, was in fact, done. The very patient post-op nurse finally had me look at my hand and upon seeing my mummified Oompa Loompa hand (thanks Betadine) did my brain de-fog enough for me to realize that it was in fact over. Lying there in recovery, I found myself thinking about how being unconscious whether during normal sleep or during surgery, we become detached from time itself. Minutes and hours become meaningless, we just exist in a stream of time where nameless moments pass without our knowing. These deep thoughts were soon replaced with the gnawing in my stomach reminding me that I hadn’t eaten in 12 hours. I ate something, they monitored me for a while longer and then sent me home to recuperate.

Prepping for Surgery

Greetings Morning Glories,

You may have noticed I haven’t been posting on a regular basis during the past week or so. I’m getting ready to have carpal tunnel surgery on my left wrist, so I’ve been busy getting last minute projects done in anticipation of only having one good hand for several weeks. I had my right wrist operated on in 2016, it was an instant success, but taking care of my mother with one hand proved to be very difficult, so I’ve been putting off having the left one done. As a result, now my left hand is always numb and tingling, and even though my anxiety over having surgery (even minor such as this) is through the roof, I am looking forward to finding relief from these symptoms. I’ll try to post a few more times before the big day next week and then take some time off to recover.

Exiting the Merry-Go-Round

I’ve been trying to write this post for about a week now. I feel like it is vital for me to talk about and yet I feel like what happened to me isn’t as horrible as what many other women have experienced. On the other hand, I think it’s important not to downplay what happened either. A couple of weeks ago I had to cut all ties with the neighbor who helped my mom and me out so much for past four years. I had been riding a merry-go-round with him for the past several years of turning down his advances towards me. He’s married to his third wife and would often express his desires to be more than friends, and I would always tell him, “No.” He would try to rationalize it by saying things to me like, “You know, you wouldn’t be the first woman to be someone’s mistress.” Or “I’m not going another year without sex.” Or the day he brought me his copy of “The Joy of Sex” which I promptly handed back to him. My stance on the subject never wavered for a moment, and it frustrated him. One day he told me how once he wanted something he never stopped until he got his way. Maybe I should have cut ties with him then, but he helped us. And I was so burnt out taking care of my mom by myself; I let him help. I was grateful for the help. Grateful to have someone who understood my point of view and was willing to be there for us at the drop of a hat. But even silver linings cast shadows. And I was willing to ignore the shadowy side of our relationship until what I’m not very creatively calling “The Incident.” He had come over to help me with something, and before he left, he decided that it was ok to pull me to him and forcibly kiss me. I posted a poem about the incident a few days after it happened. It was shocking and as I struggled against him and kept saying, “No!” it didn’t matter. But that wasn’t the worst part. Before he left, he turned back around to me and looked me dead in the eye and just said, “Yes.” Then he turned and left. At that moment, I knew I had to cut ties. But going about life alone scared me to no end. I felt so overwhelmed by the idea since I’ve always had some kind of help to get me through tough times. I didn’t sleep for days weighing the situation. But it always kept going back to having to protect me from him. That kiss shattered all the illusions I had been wearing like blinders. I had talked myself into the idea that if I told him “No” enough times, he would stop. If I reasoned with him enough, he would see the situation from my side. But there is no reasoning with him. He wants what he wants, and I know now that how I feel about it and how it would affect his wife, should she find out about it, didn’t mean anything to him. Fast forward six days when he came over to weed the garden as nothing had ever happened. I went out onto the porch and told him that I had found someone to do that. He simply said, “Very well.” and left. I haven’t seen him since, and that was almost two weeks ago.

Facing the world alone for the first time in 46 years has, as I said before, overwhelming. I’ve been waking up early in the morning having anxiety attacks over this. But I’ve also made great strides in finding the help I need around the house which has bolstered my confidence. But dealing with my neighbor’s assault while continuing to mourn my mom and deal with the loneliness I’ve been feeling has left me emotionally drained. Throw in the failing health of my older cat, and it has me just wanting to pull the covers over my head and hide. Hide from the suffocating weight of everything that is going on. It’s just too much for my heart and my spirit to take. I’m trying to move forward with what I want to do with my life, but it’s hard doing that while dragging around all this emotional baggage. That’s why my posting of original content has kind of slowed down, I’ve been dealing with all this other stuff in my life, and it’s sapped my creativity. There have been days over the past couple of weeks where it’s all I can do just to take care of my pets and myself. But I’m working through it, and I just have to be patient with myself and listen to what my heart needs and continue to work on what I need to get past all the recent trauma I’ve experienced.

Ghost at the Medical Building

I returned to the medical building today where I had taken my mother so many times. It was the first time I had been back there since my mom passed away and, as I walked along the curved sidewalk, I was overwhelmed by memories of pushing her wheelchair towards the door. I felt like her ghost was everywhere as I walked inside. I could still see her waiting in the lobby while I went to get the car. Or in the laboratory waiting room, fretting that her wheelchair was blocking the walkway. I was not prepared for how sharp the dull ache in my heart would feel.

The Sneeze That Woke the Beast

***A fable about the last few days of my life***

 

Sitting on the sofa, I watch some mountain monster hunting show and breathe. The night before had been one of the most torturous of my life. The left side of my back had been seized by some creature’s claws that kept squeezing the muscles over and over again. I was wracked with pain so intense it left me uttering shuddering moans in between its grip. With the help of heating pads and painkillers, I had gotten the thing to let go, and now, in my mind’s eye, I could see it slumbering. I could also see its bony hand loosely draped against my back. I hoped it would stay asleep forever. Then I felt it, a foreboding tickle in my nose. My heart sank as it grew and I realized I was going to sneeze. My shoulders shifted forward, and my back curled over on itself as my nose exploded. I sat in terror waiting to see if it would set off a new series of spasms. I closed my eyes and prayed. I could see it, eyes still closed but its breathing was uneven, and as I watched I saw the whites of its eye appear and then its pupil roll down. It stretched and wrapped its claws around my back again and started to squeeze. I hobbled hunchbacked into the kitchen to get the heating pad again. Hoping a warm blanket would put it back to sleep so that I could sleep tonight. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and I didn’t.

*** A few years ago, I was plagued by back spasms every few months. They had gone away as mysteriously as they appeared and it wasn’t until Monday night that I was reminded just how excruciatingly painful they were. I’ve been pretty much sofa-bound this week, unable to even type because the action of leaning forward would cause the muscle to tighten again. This morning, my back began feeling normal again. I’m still exceedingly cautious in every movement I make. I’m living life at the speed of a tai chi master.  ***

Snowglobe

Ten weeks later and the world I knew

Still lies scattered around me.

I stand among the shambles as

Remnants of my old life

Still crash around me.

I will never look at a

Snowglobe the same

Way again.

Because I know how it

Feels to be in one.

To have everything you’ve

Ever known to be

Upended and

Left in chaos.

To have yourself

Be shaken to your

Core to such an extent

You barely recognize

Your own soul anymore.