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Archive for the ‘Junk Drawer’ Category

The Chaos of Cancer

In Deep Thoughts, Junk Drawer, Real Life, The CANCER on June 6, 2016 at 8:27 am

 

This may just be a kind of stream of consciousness kind of post and make little sense. I do not make much sense lately and the chaos of my mind grows daily. From what I read (and I have read a lot about brain cancer over the last 5 months, if you know me at all you know it is pretty much the biggest duck I have ever had in my life.) This chaos and confusion is pretty much par for the course, and I am not surprised that 6 months in I would be questioning everything I think, do and say.
Steadily losing control of my emotions makes me feel like a raving lunatic on some days. Since I have been known as kind of a volatile person all my life, (Ah…the redheaded stereotype follows you from birth, but in my case, unfortunately, mostly fitting.) but this kind of volatility is different to me, instead of the pretty firework that goes boom and scares the hell out of you then gives you a pretty show for a while, and a few ooooohs and ahhhhhhs, I am the box of whistling chasers that accidentally got set on fire that sends everyone running and jumping and fleeing for their lives. This is why my prayer is for peace. Let my mind be at peace.
Once, years ago, I was meditating by a pond and my eyes were closed, and at the end of the meditation I opened them to a completely mirror-like pond, with one lone duck swimming gently across in front of me, barely making a mark on the water. My thought was: Yes, it looks tranquil, but he is paddling like mad underneath. This is the way I feel most days. Tranquil to those around me, but pandemonium within.
There is so much that adds to this constant confusion besides the fact that the tumors are now invading the space in my brain that controls such things, so many outside influences that I have no control over, and there is the unfortunate reality that because of what is going on inside I must give up more and more control of my life to other people on the outside. This, to a woman who for years has loved her silence and solitude. Independent and intelligent and oh so intolerant of the idiots of the world. Highest on my list of pet peeves is incompetence and injustice. They sometimes are seen side by side. There is also the trust issue. I have been screaming at people for 3 years about various odd maladies I have suffered from while they have sat with tunnel vision on one symptom which I have had for 30+ years–my blood pressure, all the while ignoring my presenting complaint. (Ok, so I inserted an old rant here, thank you, drive through) The only reason I mention it is because it has caused a great deal of trust issues with regards to what we foolishly call Healthcare in America. (Oy, and I digress into politics, not my intention, [insert an emergency cute kitten picture here.]
When I was nursing I was a very good nurse. Without the least bit of conceit of self-aggrandizement, I can honestly say I was one of the best.  So my transition over to the Hospice end of this journey has not run smoothly.  I expect competence from people. I expect it most from professionals and salaried folk, even more so if I believe they should have as much smarts as I do— People with degrees should not be morons. One problem I think is that to the non-discerning eye, outwardly I do not look half bad. Just a fat, bald, slow-moving old woman. No big deal.  But it is in my brain. That organ that pretty much controls everything.  And it boggles my already boggled mind that nurses would not understand that to bombard that frizzled brain with a lot of information at once is like putting water through a sieve.  Changes? Oh my holy Lord. I am lost.  And again I look like a raving lunatic, because I cry, laugh, scream, and stare vacantly at inappropriate times.  I would hope they would know this. But some are fooled by the “wellness” I seem to portray. It is chaos. This week Denise has had to take on any communication between the med staff and our family because my short term memory is almost completely gone, and I just screw up any information they give me.
So this seems to be turning into a kind of physical update, So I will give you a rundown.  I am progressing rapidly it seems to me. I do not have as many “good” days as bad.  A bad day is one that begins with me waking with a horrendous headache. I must get control of this pain early on, or it will wreck the entire day. I had to get over my aversion to taking “mind altering” drugs, and remind myself that this kind and amount of pain medication was meant for people like me, and just TAKE THE PILL.  My eyesight is going, and I will be blind in both eyes soon. As most of you know the tumors affect my language center and I am once again losing that. It has also, this time, affected my speech, and talking is hard. I slur my words, and sometimes cannot find the right one for ages, as my brain spins its multitude of roll-a-decks up there.  The prednisone has taken most, if not all of my muscle mass in my legs. Any strength there comes from prayer. I can walk (with a walker) perhaps 100 feet before the legs begin to wobble and I must sit and recharge.  If I wait or am not near a seat (my walker is one with a seat, so is usually near by) the risk of my legs giving way  is high, and a fall is imminent. I have fallen 4 times so far, but thank God with no real injury. I cannot get off the floor by myself, so I am the infamous “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”  Lady.  My last spill was last night, I forgot for a moment that I could not just turn around quickly and spun around to check something and boom there went the knees and I buckled to the ground, the plate in my hand flying to the sky (it did not break) and after some of the pain of the fall subsided I began the scoot on my butt ala crab mode to the bedroom to grab a phone and call in the Calvary.
 There is a big chair in my bedroom that I have found is easiest to get up on and then lift myself up, but this time I could not negotiate it solo.  Eventually Mysi arrived and we got me in the chair, checked for injuries and new bruises. One on the knee. Oh, yea, forgot to say I am now plagued by petechiae  over my arms, and other places. Once again side effect of the prednisone, and I bleed easily. So new bruises seem to just spontaneously appear.
This random little post has now been 3 days in the making. I cannot write long, words fail me. An odd feeling for me, the lady with a head full of words. A house full of beautiful books.  Death has irony as well as chaos.  I am also quickly going blind. My muscles of my legs are all but gone, they cannot lift me without great effort and getting up from any chair is a struggle and sometimes just managing to stand can take me 20 minutes or more.
I hate to appear to be a whiner on her pity pot when I digress into talking about the cancer, or Aunt Jenny talking about her gall bladder operation for the umpthteen time this week,  because that is not my intent or my feelings in all this.  Mainly I just do not want anyone to be surprised when they get the news that I died.  “But she seemed fine yesterday!” And clinically, the whole process, looking from the inside out, is fascinating to me.
It is interesting that you feel yourself dying. Things shutting off or down. Like a long pilot’s  flight checklist. I am flying away.

Junk Drawer Essay: Pieces of Childhood Continued

In Deep Thoughts, Junk Drawer, Real Life on May 26, 2016 at 5:15 pm

 

I am pretty much certain I have explained in previous posts my idea of “Pieces of my Childhood”.  Perhaps a brief  reiteration is called for, however.

If you live in the same town you grew up in, and also if you live enough years, you will see the town you live in change, and things of your youth will disappear. Some are as simple as a food or candy.(Anyone seen Kraft Fudgies or Post Fortified Oat Flakes the last 10 years?) Others large buildings and landmarks. (The Biltmore Hotel, Elmwood Swimming Park,  Springlake Amusement Park)  When one of these disappears forever I generally just say aloud: A piece of my childhood died today. Sometimes if it was especially significant I will call my sister to let her know that something from our childhood is no more.  This happened a couple years back with the Redskin Theatre. This was the theatre my sister and I sat in all day watching movies over and over and over. They literally paved paradise and put up a parking lot. It was a sad day.

So recently, in Oklahoma City’s revamp of our downtown area (which I approve of for the most part, we have made significant progress in bringing our downtown area back to life.) a piece of my childhood was torn down.

I had a very wayward youth, from the age of 13 or thereabouts I was on the wrong track for 5 years, a hippy runaway homeless street person. The government called me “In Need of Supervision”. Kind of a catch-all phrase for juvenile delinquent I guess. At 16 it caught up with me and I was sent to Tecumseh Girls Town, a “Maximum Security Reformatory” for girls. I never had a clue why I was sent there, I hadn’t committed any crime, and in truth, even the folks who ran the place were confused on what sent me there. But I was there, so I made the most of it. I had never finished school of course, being a street person, and they said I could go at my own pace, so I finished 8th to the 12th grade in one year. Since school was done, I decided to enroll in some of the other elective classes they had, and chose “Creative Writing” given by a sweet woman named Patti Bivens. (I have looked for her on the interwebbies but not found her, if you do know her, point her my way.)  I wrote a lot of poetry and short stories. Patti encouraged me and told me I had a lot of talent for writing. Her encouragement would lead to a lifelong love of writing.

Sometime during the summer of that year there was a Poetry Festival in downtown Oklahoma City, and Ms. Bivens got permission to take two of her pupils to attend. I was chosen as one of them. Off campus trips for girls in reform school was rare and I felt blessed and privileged to be chosen.

It was held at what was called at the time the “Mummer’s Theatre”. A very rare and very unique building (later called “The Stage Center”. ) built in the Exoskeleton Architecture style that had come into vogue in the 70’s, it was either loved or hated, depending on who you spoke to.

 

I loved it. Each stage on the interior was in one of the various modules. Seating was in the round, so the stage itself was in the center of the audience.

 

The festival was very open, and people took the stage to read their poetry. I was surprised when Patti escorted me center stage, my little folder of poems I had written under my arm. I read one which was generally about the idea of being classified in various ways by the Government. I lost this poem, but have been aware all of my life that it was published in the pamphlet or brochure/playbill that they handed out that evening. It is a regret that I do not have that brochure, and I have searched for it online at various times.

It was special to me because I got a standing ovation. It is the only standing ovation I have ever received.  This was also such an affirmation of my worth as a human being, and also that perhaps I did have some talent in writing. Young wayward kids need that. I did.

Every year of my life if I drove past this building I would be reminded of that moment. And now it is gone. They tore it down 2 years ago. A piece of my childhood died.

 

 

Meat Cake and Other Food Atrocities

In Junk Drawer on February 9, 2014 at 11:59 pm

I recently had a discussion with John about a thought that had been mulling around in my head for some time, and that is the ludicrous fixation that vegetarians and vegans have in trying to fool themselves that they are eating meat with the various “meat like” imitations they produce. First off, they have chosen to be vegan or vegetarian, and you would think that if they had chosen this “lifestyle” because they loved vegetables and not as either a knee jerk politically correct decision or some silly “anti meat” crusade, then they would just eat their chosen foodstuffs with zeal and gusto and worship them in their pure form, and not go to mind-boggling extremes to fool themselves that they are eating something that they supposedly abhor, and have rejected. Instead they go to great lengths to change vegetable matter so that it “looks and tastes like meat.”

Granted most of the “meats” made from vegetables, no matter how you slice it (forgive the pun) are, I suppose no substitute for the real thing, indeed I would say that most are probably unpalatable.

Although to be honest, being a die hard carnivore, I have not tried any, other than my own homemade lentil burgers (which were not too bad, but I knew they were not meat, and called them patties, and not burgers, to be honest) during a brief meatless foray during the 70’s in my hippy dippy days.  But even as a meat eater I often turn my nose up at things like “Turkey Ham” and “Turkey Bacon” because they are not the “real thing”.   And I would venture to guess those people who inconsistently go vegan or vegetarian and still crave meat enough to eat Fake Meat, count themselves among the people who protest McDonald’s “pink goo” as “not meat”. Why do they care? They are not eating it. Have these people ever seen sausages made? Its all pink goo!

In all honesty I have never identified with the food I eat enough, nor have I been fixated and am not inclined to give over that much time in my life to the stuff that I stuff my mouth with. I eat to stay alive and if I wake up breathing every morning, I figure I must have eaten enough to do that.

I also wonder why carnivores have never felt a need to make vegetables out of meat. Think of it! Green beans made from bacon! Iceberg lettuce made from liver! Juicy tomatoes made from pure Angus! Where is the demand for Un-veggies?

I may have discovered a hereto untapped market in the food industry!

Nah…..