Thursday, October 9, 2014

It's important, so do it.

Quick, note the day and time:  I'm having a productive day.  Two loads of laundry, the weekly refilling of the med box, several psychological evaluations of the Feline Triumvirate, orientation of several new Marlinspike Hall Manor Gift Shoppe volunteers, coffee -- perfectly strong and I did not pour boiling water in my lap in its making!

Sure, there were errors, flukes, lots of pills on the floor, and the Gift Shoppe may be in retail peril, but there is an abundance of clean covers, ranging from light and kind to tender skin to heavy and cold repellent. None of the cats aberrant behaviors have improved but we have lowered alert levels to DefCon 2, hoping that we can continue to deescalate tensions and avoid Buddy killing Marmy, or Marmy shifting from clawing defense mode to slashing aggression.  Most of all, we would like Dobby to retain some fur, as when the little guy is stressed, he releases all of his hairy hairs, usually on my clean clothes.  And, if we put all our desires out there, well, we'd like him to shut up, as well. He's the Town Crier of our world and, honest to God, it sounds like a nonstop tirade of a lisped "Oyez, Oyez, Oyez!"

Ahem.  Yes, I'm having a day!

My right foot is probably as small as it's ever been in the past 12 years. If you ignore its purple and frigid state, well, hell, it almost looks like a doggone foot!

The claw phenomenon is, indeed, spreading to two fingers on my left hand, but rather than cry over that (we now cry for an hour when the lights go out at day's end), I am forcing that hand to do extra duties.  I suppose someone without CRPS would call the doctor.  I have been taught not to, trained better than a seal.  Oh, how to stave off the urge to balance a beach ball on my nose?

I am daring to see another Kaiser Permanente neurologist next Thursday.  Yesterday, if you had dared to ask, I'd have told you it was a hoop to be leaped through, or thrown through (by the neurologist, or Fred, perhaps... maybe even Lumpy, if he could work up the strength).  Today, I've decided to focus on researching these sudden and completely un-freaking-expected changes in my upper extremities.  Research as only I can.  I have awesome research powers, friends, and they, coupled with unerring insight, rarely lose me in a corn field.

Don't know where that came from, that whole "lose me in a corn field" thing, but I like it. So it stays.

So next Thursday, yes, we slough off the history of Kaiser Permanente's abysmal neurology department (though I hear that EAST of the Lone Alp, they have better staffing) and we politely make the focus saving my hand function.  The OT kept concentrating on the pain of it, not hearing my oft-repeated: "I can handle the pain... what I cannot handle is losing the use of my hands."

It's easier to focus on the amorphous and try to score points for ass-kissing empathy, sympathy, compassion rather than brainstorm with me how I am going to toilet myself, wash, and manipulate forks, knives, knobs, buttons, cats, Fred, paperwork, pens, computers, car doors, seat belts, coffee cups, telephones, and pills, pills, pills!

Much better to wheedle: "It must hurt a lot.  Does it hurt a lot?"

Button my shirt, bitch!
Dice the Holy Trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery.  Or the required base to a magnificent, fragrant stir fry:  ginger, garlic, and several optional thirds -- onion, chilies... none of that to be confused with the saucing options.  Don't get excited, Therapist, about a perceived ease to the saucing, because the saucing involves mixing, and the opening of many tiny bottles, and the outpouring -- precise outpouring -- of fish sauce and sesame oil and the many variants of soy and chili and sweet/sour viscous liquids.
I had trouble washing my face last night and dropped my toothbrush in the toilet.

But that was last night, and the OT was Tuesday, and won't be seen again until a few hours after the neurologist next week!

I've a firm grip on this day, still.

Part of that vise-like hold has been enabled by merely turning off all the phones and watching a few episodes of what I call a soap opera, but Fred insists is a "drama series." Yay for solutions, because they're solutions!

Clearly, giving my brain, such as it is, and these hands, such as they are, access to a keyboard has not been conducive to what pop stars like Dr. Phil might call "self talk." Dr. Phil is a marketing genius and a professional fraud.  I know the difference between what I type and what I actually feel.


Time to finish my chores, turn the phones back on, be an encouragement to Fred and the hulking, skulking cats.  The genetically indentured Domestic Staff Executive Committee has requested a meeting with the Haddock Labor Relations Board, and judging by the steely glint in a few eyes, there are more issues than territorial disputes and genetic engineering snafus on the table. I think, I am guessing, I assume... that they want a bump in salary, an expansion of benefits, and some minimization of their essential serfdom.

I could be wrong.

Last night, when I turned off the lamp beside this godawful hospital bed, after I threw the stupid washcloth gripped by my right claw all of three feet (after a full wind-up and high kick), before I picked the 90-minute "sleep" music option (which started with dear Simone's "Go to Hell"), I spent an hour crying.  I didn't time it, the hour is a guess.

All I could see was Lumpy's sweet face, his eyes gone deeper than deep seems possible, and dark, much darker than seems fair.  I don't see the two lumps he says are there -- in his skull, one on the left hairline and the other at the base of his jaw.  Granted the jaw is disfigured and I can actually see it, but I like to pretend that I don't, and that his well-trimmed beard just has an inexplicable scruffy area.

To me, he is beautiful, handsome.  And, damn it, other worldly.

Can I convince you, you who are as mortal as he is, that he does not deserve death, that the world needs him, that nothing will ever be the same when he dies?  That a whole generation of mediocre writers will not have the touchstone of his classroom f-bombs and hilarious illustrations of rhetorical fallacies by the citation of the authority of South Park and The Simpsons?  They won't learn the crucial life lesson, the crucible of working life, that he models when explaining, over and over: "I grade what you put in front of me."

You haven't seen him mime gold medal winning Olympic ski jumpers.  He's a little over 6' 4" and could launch himself off the icy ramp, and extend his upper body, straight as a rail, over his legs until his slightly Roman nose seemed (and therefore, was) mere inches from his skis.

A Normal Hill specialist, his split leg landings, with arms making delicate ballast adjustments, would be the envy of any world class orchestral conductor.  The arms part, not the leg part. Unless we're talking some sort of weirdly energetic orchestra conductor, or perhaps an afflicted one, suffering from neurological tics, Parkinson's, or Tourette Syndrome aggravated by the brass section, probably the tenor trombones.

So tears turned into giggles in the dark.  And each cat came by, politely following their peculiar rules of Buddy first, Marmy second, and -- everpresent, very somber -- little Dobby.  Dobby never leaves me when I cry, though he may position himself so as to be unseen.  On the top edge of the pillow, perched on the corner of the bedside table, alertly upright between my feet.  He didn't learn the "don't stare" lesson in kittenhood, so he stares, and mewls softly.

Like I said, the hour was just a guess.  I also visited with some other beloveds, before relaxing my mind into the recurring memory of me, seated on Lumpy's shoulders as he walked, slowly, from the shallow end of our swimming pool to the deep end.  Yes, that put him under water for about a third of the journey, but never did he hasten the pace, break the rhythm.  Sometimes the tipsy Happy Hour boozers at poolside noticed, sometimes they did not, but it was something to behold.

Well, I just promised Fred, The Castafiore, Sven and his son, Cabana Boy, a healthy dinner of roasted organic vegetables and some sort of fish.

A chance to wield knives and cavort with a very hot oven!  Now, THAT is what I call Occupational Therapy. No co-pay and a delicious pay off at the task's end.

Readers?  Love the ones you're with, and find ways to transmit, send, convey, and give away the love you have for those not within your wily grasp.  It's important, so do it.

© 2013 L. Ryan

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