dimanche 15 août 2010

An Early Adieu

Watercolor by moineau: In the Hospital

If this were actually it,
I'd have to admit a lot of anger for
the last 14 years of my life,
the loneliness, the loss of friends,
the mistrust of my family,
and all the ignorant doctors who
tried to make me see that I made
much too much about being in pain,
pain without end, exhausting,
often excruciating, until that
hour comes and I take my pills and
wait for salvation, relaxation,
and maybe even resurrection
if I'm lucky... for a few hours.

I read today that if only I
practiced cogitive behavioral therapy
I could make myself happy, like
the way you can be happy even
though it's raining outside...
I think I could be happy if it
were raining, if it were hailing,
if bombs were falling on Iraq
or children were starving in Africa--
I have the facility like you to ignore--
but these things are "outside", not "in".
The interior is not so easy to partition
or wish away or meditate through,
and when the clock strikes three
and I've already been waiting
four hours for that relief,
well, it's a penetrating fact,
that burnout.

Where people are concerned,
the emails and support groups,
how I loved my on-line friends!
They were easy, slippery and fun;
they'd wait days for a response.
But those off-line chums that
never called or those that tried
but did not get an immediate
response, especially when I was too
over the top to answer the phone,
they felt so jilted, ignored and angry.
I'm sorry to them all, and
wish I could jump to the phone
with enthusiasm, but there are
times, weeks, months, when
I just can't budge, and even if
i did, could you stand to
hear about it?

Or seeing my grandson a few times
per year and knowing that family
takes so much more but not
having the energy to survive the
two-hour trip to visit,
the car sickness so extreme, and
then the guilt and near torture of
feeling less than mother human or
feeling nothing and nowhere at all,
trying to rise above the nausea,
the constant curves and edgy vertigo
and endure... and love...

My partner of 17 years has
seen it all and was angry too,
but he had to give up something
intrinsic to be with me:
sex, big hugs; just little touches, a small
foot rub perhaps because
I feel like I've been beaten up with
a hammer and it's the day
after and each bruise scalds
and so... ouch! sorry...
that's a hot spot I suppose, not
your fault, how could you know?
He's become a good cook,
dishwasher... and my best friend.
But is it enough? He says "yes",
that good man, but he gets more
and more tired as the years
wear on and nothing changes;
no libido, no concerts, no outings
together. Yet, love can be strong
in spite of pain. Dare i say
we're lucky?

But oh the emotional flatness
that comes with narcotic use,
and the paralysis and low
blood volume, orthostatic
intolerance: I just don't want to
move sometimes, its movement like a wave,
and yet, move, walk, force,
grow strong, go to France
and then crash with nausea
and sudden increased pain
and bam! you're back exactly
where you were two years ago;
back on the couch,
and everything's dark and
vertiginous... again and again
and again... the same day.

When will I recover enough
this time to get up? And when will I
feel like talking on the phone,
taking a ride to the beach,
eating out in a restaurant,
making love to my mate?
When will I get up and not
feel like throwing up
because of some strange
whiplash, some odd brain
dysfunction no one understands
except some Japanese researcher
at the University of Kyoto
who puts out an abstract that
everyone ignores about how
pain shrinks gray matter?
I look at the date,
2004... Where's the follow-up?
Where's the drug?

So if this is it, if the heart attack
comes or the stroke or even
a suicide... no, my darlings,
I can never do that to you although
I think about it every other day,
and wonder, Would you forgive
me for it? Is 14 years enough time to
suffer 24/7? Is life on a couch worth
this much grief?

Or another trip to France where I will
be sick sick sick with stress and
ridiculed by the airline personnel?
Will they laugh among themselves
again or roll their eyes at the next
heavy white women traveling alone who
requests a goddamned wheelchair?
In my dreams, everyone is laughing;
I'm completely humiliated.
Doctors do the same, passing
around the dossier and steeling
themselves each time they come into
the room and have to deal with
one of us chronic pains-in-the-ass.
Must be tough never to have an
answer, it must be very deflating.
I feel for you... I'm full of feeling
for everyone...

I'm so tired. My eyes tell the story.
This is my early adieu
just in case I don't make it another
decade. Just in case nature takes
its course. Just in case they don't
get me to the hospital in time
or they decide to lock me up for
a month. (If they do, make sure
they've got my pain pills, ok?
Last time they never requested
them, the worst irony of all.)
Just in case my heart stops
by itself or with some prodding.
Just in time for sleep...
Just in time for rest in peace...
Just enough time to say,
I loved you more than myself:
I did my best to live for you:
I really did love you all.

Watercolor by moieau: Tu m'as laissée seule

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