I have decided not to be ashamed of my behavior today. There's nothing to be gained from such shame.
Honestly, the reasons for my outbursts aren't clear, even to me. Stress, pain, blahblah? It's likely that I've maxed those accounts out long ago. There is no further purchase to be had from tired woes.
It started in the elevator, as these things do.
No, it started promptly at 4 am -- as Fred came to bed, I rose. Sleep hadn't put in an appearance, though I had drifted near a nightmare. I have had nightmares for the last four or five nights -- real ones, the kind that leave you dripping with sweat, heart pounding, images runningdancingjumping left-to-right and back, fast. My response is automatic, as much an echo as the dying scream I imagine hearing fade through the cracked bedroom door, slipping quickly around the corner into my office and hiding, crouching behind the freeform green rocking chair that Fred once said frightened him. ("Can we get rid of that rocker? It scares me.") (I am still so very sorry to have laughed. He was very serious.)
The first night of mares had me shouting "I don't know where I am!" --
The second night, I queried, "What is that?" (pointing to a shadow on the ceiling)
The third night I don't remember any words, just a bunch o'guttural goo and a whistle.
Last night -- emphasis on speed -- "I-don't-think-so-I-don't-think-so..." (wherever I was, I was lost)
There's a theme. It's facile. Boring, even.
It's the first week off of antibiotics in a month and darned if I don't think these things are related to a resurgence of those feisty bone-smacking bacteria sorts, those pestilent punks.
So, anyway, restorative sleep continues to be a mythic thing. As Fred faded, I shifted gears and pretended the things I did in that darkling time were important. The kibble bowls needed scrubbing, the rosemary trimming, online bills scheduling, biscuits a gentle touch -- Nephews needed birthday checks, brothers an unexpected kind word, strange and cancered children prayers.
I finally got myself a Laughing Buddha -- it's been a lifelong desire -- and I do not fail to rub His Belly in these chiaroscuro mornings. Dobby the Runt Cat rides my lap, leaning into the wind kicked up by this speeding wheelchair, nose raised to the unknown, looking like nothing so much as a faithful dog. He goes eyeball-to-eyeball with the smiling Buddha and does not blink first. He's a remarkable cat and loves these early hours.
By the way, if anyone knows how to train a cat to modulate his voice... I need suggestions. Dobby has adopted a permanent scream that is grating, that flails strips of inner ear and takes tiny melon balls of brain matter... It's truly awful and we don't know exactly when or why it began. He wants something, desperately, but after checking on hunger and thirst, general comfort, humidity levels, belly rubs and fanny whacks, and yes, even laser lights, we are left with what we had -- a cat that levels an intensely meaningful gaze within a strangely wizened little face, then screams.
I wanted Fred to sleep as long as possible before we had to head out for my ophthalmologist's office, a good 40 minutes of Tête de Hergé highway away.
Two weeks ago, I reintroduced myself to the good EyeMan, I, the errant glaucoma patient having gone missing due to distraction and a lack of insurance. Nonetheless, I kept up the eyedrop regime and kind of enjoyed the respite from appointment upon appointment.
Of course, I was also losing vision, a distressing thing. It turned out I have cataracts in both eyes and -- much more importantly -- out of control eye pressures, despite the medication.
So he fiddled with the eyedrop prescription and had me back today for a visual field test and another pressure check.
To get there, of course, we rode in red, red Ruby.
As he and his colleagues are hunkered down on the eighth floor, we took the elevator up.
I don't often board elevators that are full, preferring not to risk being touched. You'd be amazed at the number of people who think a wheelchair is an invitation to pat a shoulder (oy! always the shoulder!) or to reach down to my sorry knobby knee, all the while speaking to whomever serves as that day's Gimp Escort, because the person in the chair could not possibly have higher brain function.
But I did today. Get on a crowded elevator -- in case you lost track of the relevant antecedent.
And sat staring into what amounted to a huge mirror as we stopped on every floor.
It wasn't that I did not recognize myself. I'd know those small, beady, darting eyes anywhere.
But... what happened? Where did my face go? When was I smushed down, squashed, and caricatured as an unfinished lumpy dough, resting between rises? Cast blame on steroids, on a cushingoid effect, on collapsing joints and bones, on a lack of regular tennis and even fewer occasions for a morning run.
So, of course, right there in the blasted reflecting elevator car, I started to cry. Thankfully, no one noticed, we made it unperturbed to the mighty eighth floor, I had the VF test, and was escorted to an exam room, where I promptly pissed everyone off. Last visit, I transferred easily from wheelchair to their exam chair, then watched as the nurse laughingly drove my chair into a wall. "Ooops! I wish I had me one of these..."
Today, I was dizzy, febrile, and had recently wept. No question but I was staying put. The exam chairs slide out of the way very easily and the doctor, I knew from past visits, didn't mind at all. But the nurse pursed her badly colored lips, went "tsk tsk tsk," and then huffed and puffed her way to a gathering of nurse-types in the hall, where she proceeded to "tsk tsk tsk" with renewed vigor.
Fuck 'er, I say.
And cried while I waited for The EyeMan.
Last time, both eyes were 30, I think. Today, 29 in the left and 31 in the right. Actually, I might have that mixed up. So he added another medication -- and back I will go in a month. We've picked up right where we left off, he and I. A regular dance.
The new drops sting and blur my vision. I threw the package insert away when I saw the prodigious number of side effects.
Oh, and I cried some more on the way home, but at least had recourse to a pair of dark glasses and a driver distracted by squirrelly traffic.
Thursday looms large, as do my hopes for it. There is, I think, a psych evaluation necessary for the ketamine infusions, so I'd best quit this bursting into tears business immediately.