It's not about the house.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

And Right Now I Am Writing a Blog

Oh, hell. I put this up last night and took it down because it isn't narky-snarky like I try to be. But it's what I'm living now, and I've come to realize that if I'm to post at all it's this or nothing. I'm going to try to write through it, to find my narky-snarky voice inside it, somehow -- and I will. I know I will. In the meantime, though, it just might be a train wreck. But train wrecks are fun, aren't they? And anyone who says they're not a rubbernecker is a lie. So let's make a deal: you promise to slap me upside the head if I get mawkish, and I promise to cheat toward the camera if I bleed.

It was the pile of sawdust under Chuck (TFT) that convinced me to eat the fucking strawberry.

I was out in Worcester for yet another meeting with Mom’s liver doctor. These things are starting to get old, but I wasn’t really worried about this one. At her last appointment (which I wasn’t at, and which was with her GP and not the liver doc, but still) the news was that she’s not sick enough to qualify for a transplant – either from me or from some random dead guy. So never mind that she doesn’t eat or drink or really even move: if she’s not that sick, then (I’m extrapolating now, but I think my logic’s sound) she isn’t dying. And not to be all me-me-me or anything, but it also means I won't be trying to finish my Really Big Project while I'm on a morphine drip. Although -- hoo, boy, talk about rubbernecking! That one would probably be worth the ride.

Anyway, so I pulled into the garage 45 minutes early and sat there listening to the end of an interview with Rosanne Cash on NPR. At first I worried poor old Rosie'd bought the farm, what with Terry Gross’s side job as the Crypt Keeper and all. But she’s alive. She just has a new album coming out. Golly, but I love that woman’s voice. And good old Terry did make sure to send me off into the bowels of the GI clinic at UMASS Memorial with Rosanne’s version of “Motherless Children” ringing in my ears, just so I wouldn’t think she’d gotten soft.

Well, I’ll give you motherless children, Terry. I thought I damn near was one when Dad finally pushed Mom’s wheelchair through the door. She looked like a fetus. All curled up against herself, protecting her soft core. She was trying not to hurl, is what she was doing, and for the entire hour they made us wait past the appointed time, she won. But as soon as they put us in the room and shut the door, she let it fly.

youuuuuu… hhhh…youuuuuuu…hhhh…youuuuu…hhhh…

“This is not good,” the Liver Doctor said.

No, Doc, it isn’t.

“How long has this been going on?”

Well, Doc, since a little before we first told you about it? Back in June?

“Do you think she ought to be admitted?”

Yes, Doc, please.


youuuuuu… hhhh…youuuuuuu…hhhh…youuuuu…what

“We can’t admit you against your will. Will you allow it?”

youuu… hh…fine

Oh, thank god. Because, Mom, if you're in the hospital maybe they can get you to eat and drink things, and if you eat and drink things maybe you’ll get stronger, and if you get stronger maybe you can move again. Plus once you’ve been re-admitted your insurance plan reboots, which means you can go back to rehab, which means you can get physical therapy, which means maybe you can even walk and talk like in the old days. Wouldn’t that be great? To be strong enough to pat your dog again? Strong enough to possibly receive the better half of my hopefully-not-yet-too-booze-or-bile-damaged gut? And then go back to Maine? And tend your garden?

“Let’s take one thing at a time,” said Liver Doctor.

Okay, Mister Liver Doctor. Fine.

It took a few more minutes to hit me on a conscious level, but right there, for the first time, I understood the existential genius of that neuvo-Zen, live-for-the-now idea. It isn't about yoga teachers smoothing chakras and getting the ultimate enjoyment from their morning chai. It's about keeping your head down and inching yourself through the worst circles of hell as painlessly as possible and, if you're lucky, coming out the other side.


The Now to Live For: getting Mom admitted.

After that, the next will be whatever it is. But that is next. And this is now.

Right now we have to wait right here till there’s a bed. Which can take hours. Even days. The last time we did this, Mom was in the emergency room from Friday night till Sunday evening. So Mom's Now for right now is to wait. And mine, as selfish as I hope it doesn’t sound, is to go home. Dad says he’ll wait here with her, and what good would I be doing, anyway?

I hugged both of them, twice, and then I left.

I stopped on my way out and bought a large, black coffee for the road. They really do make the best cup of coffee in that little lobby shop.

I used the one bar I had left on my cell phone to call Johnny and tell him I had not left Worcester yet. I was still on with him when I stepped up to Chuck (TFT) and saw the sawdust. Which I was positive had not been down there when I left.

It was quite pretty, actually. Cedar, I think. In a sort of paisley pattern. Or paisley shape, I should say. Just one blob. And reddish-yellow. Not yet soaked in whatever viscous liquid had at long last become emancipated from my car.

Although that "whatever"'s disingenuous. I knew it was transmission juice. I knew.

But right Now I had a job to do, and that job was to go home. The car was finally dying – well, let's be real here and admit the car was dead. This was at long last the morbid moment I’ve been waiting for, and there was nothing left that could be done for poor old Chuck. But if I had any hope of being any use to anybody in the short term, then I still had a mess of duties left to do. And the #1 one, at this moment, was: Get Home. So I turned the key in the ignition, and I put poor old Chuck (TFT) in gear.

He moved.

So I kept driving.

The big blue ox kept right on breathing till I got off the expressway at Neponset Circle, which is just about five miles from my home. In fact, it's possible that if I hadn’t taken that detour at Route 140 in Marlboro for that Angus 1/3-pounder, we might have even made it all the way.

But you know what?

That Angus burger tasted pretty sweet.


12ontheinside said...

They must have different Angus burgers your way. I had one the other week and thought I would have preferred a quarter pounder.
Hope your mum gets the care she needs and recovers in time.

jen said...

mmmmm....angus burgers...
This all sounds so familiar.
Im all atear over here.

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