Hospitals, Part 1

My mother was recently in the hospital. You know this from my last not-a-post. I’m going to tell you about what happened.

For the last few years, my parents have been forced to play with fire. They lost their health insurance when my father’s company laid him off. It wasn’t until recently that they qualified for certain state insurance and began seeing doctors again. My dad faced his own terrible diagnosis. That is a story for another time. My mother realized her diabetes was back with a vengeance.

Mom’s new primary care doctor told her she had outrageous blood pressure and sugar levels and was very insistent she be hospitalized. Clearly, he didn’t know her quite yet. She was very insistent that she stay put and after a verbal fighting match with the doctor, was prescribed a medication that was supposed to lower her blood pressure and another to lower her blood sugar.

It apparently didn’t work.

I was woken by a text message on my phone from her, “Michelle are you home?”

“Ya in bed. Y”

“I don’t feel good”

“Need medicine?”

“I think I need to go to the hospital”

“Oh my ok”

“Can you take me?”

“NP lemme get dressed real quick”

“K”

I pulled on some pants and a shirt. I knew from experience that emergency rooms are very lengthy visits indeed so I grabbed my phone charger and mentally checked that there was a book in my purse. I brushed my hair, rubbed on some deodorant, and slipped on some shoes. I walked out of my bedroom and down the creaky wooden hall to see my mother sprawled flat in her computer chair, her night shift clinging to her body and rendered sheer from the layers upon layers of sweat on her body. Her head had lolled back and she was slurring her speech. I stood there mouth agape for what felt like minutes as I took in the sight of her. In reality, I snapped to work and touched her arm. Cold. Slicked with sweat. Almost dead. I told her we weren’t driving and that I was calling 911.

“Hello, what’s the reason for your call.”

“My mother’s in some weird kind of shock! She’s lying here like she’s dead and she’s cold to the touch but she’s still kind of talking, you need to send me an ambulance!” I provided my address and was told help would be on its’ way.

I was dutiful and vigilant as I grabbed water bottles, her purse, her medications, and put them in a plastic grocery bag. I snatched her robe off the towel rack out of the bathroom and delicately slipped it around her. I carefully buttoned her night dress all the way up to her neck and secured the robe across her chest to give her modesty.

I waited for the ambulance.

This is also not a real post, but I assure you, one is on it’s way.

Me: *browsing Facebook* Aww, look, a bunny. Oh wait, that’s a giraffe.

Hubz: ‘A GIRAFFE’? How did you go from bunny to GIRAFFE?

Me: IT LOOKED LIKE A CARTOONISH BUNNY RABBIT, ALRIGHT?

Hubz: But those are two EXTREMELY DIFFERENT things!

Me: Clearly, you don’t see the world the way I see the world.

 

In other news, both my mother and our family pet have been in the hospital over the last 4 or 5 days. No, it was not some horrible accident involving my mother trying to pick up the rabbit and him turning Vorpal Bunny on her. Thankfully, they are both home and doing better. I will definitely be writing about it, probably in many different ways. But for right now, I’m just trying to play catch up with school and the house.

Keep your eyes peeled in the next day or two.

It Started Out With A Crayon

In elementary school, it was important to my teacher that we students learn to tell a story. I remember learning to fold multiple pieces of printer paper, staple them down the middle, and create a booklet. Inside this booklet, on the bottom half of each page, we were instructed to write a short story about something we enjoyed and to draw a picture of each page’s contents along the top half. I very specifically remember the colors I used (waxy pinks and reds, greens and yellows, blues galore) and how awkward the big crayons felt in my small hands and how terrible I was at drawing dogs and stick-people. Yet, this was my beginning in the writing world. I wrote stories mostly about my dogs and about my family: antics we would all get up to. How funny it was to watch the little, mostly-hairless white one run around the backyard and the bigger, fluffier, matronly tan and white Cocker Spaniel tailing after him.

From there, I would spend the next twenty years writing what I was supposed to write: essays, book reports, mid-terms, and finals. Somewhere along the way, though, I kept needing to write my own stories. Like my mother, I kept logs of our family vacations in pretty little journals. I would write fan-fiction as a teenager when I wasn’t satisfied with how the book, TV show, or movie played out. I kept a personal diary. I began writing more and more intricate status updates on social media, telling more stories of my personal life, except this time I would leave myself open for others’ opinions. I’ve never been a fan of the minute-by-minute update and generally only say something if it’s worth saying.

One thing that has stayed with me my whole life is my need to tell a story. It feels so good to write everything down and know I can go back and look at it later if I wish. When I write my travel diaries, it makes me happy as I’m writing them because it’s like experiencing the events all over again as I dig and pull specific details out of my mind to flesh out the pages. Later, it’s fun to go back and read again once I’m home and thinking of the more fun times.

I think writing has been in my blood the whole time. When my grade school teacher showed us how to communicate those small parts of ourselves, she truly lit a spark. That little spark has lived in my heart ever since and only now am I honestly allowing it to fan into flame.

Guess What’s Crazy: Life. Life is Crazy.

Today is Wednesday. A new post was neglected Monday and today almost slipped by me. You get to be privy to a blog post that is going to be entirely written on the fly with very little editing. Normally, my posts are lovingly crafted, proof-read, edited, then proofed some more. I have at least one person read it, usually The Hubz (imagine the eye-rolling and deep-sighing he exhibited when he read The Hubz Ballz.) But this past weekend and week were very busy for me.

So as the title indicates, and I’m sure everyone is aware, sometimes life can get away with us. It can make us forget what’s truly important in order to prioritize for the immediately important. Immediately important for me was to burn through The Color Purple by Alice Walker (a novel whose movie I had seen many years ago, but never got around to reading) in order to play homework catch-up for one of the courses for my Master’s program. I won’t review it now, but suffice it to say that I was ugly-crying by the end. I won’t tell you if it’s for happy or sad reasons, just in case there are other souls out there who neglected to read it (you really should stop by the library and pick it up).

I was also swamped with work (Labor Day is a busy time in the retail world).

And my poor kid was swamped with zillions of little tonsil stones that I had the unequivocal joy of scraping out of his throat with a q-tip. Actually, about 100 q-tips. Dead serious.

And a million other reasons that I just never had the chance to sit down and write. But the point I’d like to make is that it’s okay to sometimes forget what’s really important to us when we get distracted by all of the things, as long as somehow we get around to remembering again. Today in my nutritionist’s office, I had a small break-down. Day-to-day, I’ve been able to hold everything together. “There are tasks to be done and then sleep to be had.” No time for crying or feeling, really. And sadly, no time to realize there wasn’t really a single thing I was doing to make myself happy (besides goof off for a few minutes on some game app).

Last week, I had just interviewed a local business in order to write something up and see if the local papers will bite. I had a great time with the owner as he showed me around his shop and told me his dreams for the business and for himself. I love talking to people and getting to know and understand them, asking questions. But as soon as the next day came, it was time to go back to work and forget about these happy things. It isn’t that the work is all that bad, it can be annoying but what job isn’t? It’s just that it isn’t personally gratifying for me beyond helping someone find that thing they’re looking for. But it’s long, and it’s physically laborious, and as soon as it’s done there’s either a shower and bedtime, or other necessary things at home to be done (laundry, shopping, cleaning, child-raising). The Hubz is fantastic and steps up and gets quite a lot of this done. But I need to contribute, as well.

So it’s fairly easy to forget the things that are important. As I mentioned, there was a little crying jag in the nutritionist’s office today. All it took was for her to notice the fabric  fraying around the edges, the one holding me together in this day-in, day-out business. She squinted a little bit at me as she leaned closer, “Are you okay? You look like you want to cry..” And that was it. The finger was removed from the hole in the dam. Suddenly the water was springing forth and I could feel my isolation-wall collapsing, brick by dusty, crumbling brick.

I felt my face fall and the sting of tears prick my eyes and burn my nose. I felt my throat begin to close and immediately reached out for a tissue as the tears came stronger, even as I angrily tried to hold them back. I hate crying in front of people, even my husband. I know it’s nothing shameful and that it’s good for you and releases those much-needed endorphins. Nevertheless, hiding my tears is a habit ingrained into me from years ago that is very difficult to release.

As I sat there and made a nice, big puddle of emotion, she talked to me. I forget already exactly the words she said but she brought up how happy writing made me. The hiccuping began to slow down, my eyes opened a little wider. She reminded me to do more things that make me happy. After our appointment, I went out to my car and sat for a little while. Finally I decided to really start looking into local papers and how to submit freelance pieces. I emailed a local reporter for advice. We’ll see if she responds back. But either way, I’m still gonna be writing.

Now, I have to make good on all that speed-reading for my class, and write up the response to that beautiful book. This is it for tonight, blog. I’ll try not to neglect you again.