Friday, November 4, 2011

Scan Not a Friend With a Microscopic Glass. You Know His Faults, Now Let His Foibles Pass.

Things on the dining room table where I write: Luke's extremely sharp pocket knife, a work pen of mine he broke, my work pens/highlighters/key to the office, half a dozen Lego Halo guys and a ship, my jury summons (thank you, Dr. M, for the excuse letter), miscellaneous pills, Luke's report card (straight A's!), a stuffed bat, Jayden's memorial service church service bulletin, coupons for Always pads, blank DVD's, my Polish boxing gloves, my camera, Viagra sticky notes, various catalogs, all of my mom's shit, and information on Luke's summer 2012 Work Camp trip to help the disadvantaged in Centralia, IL for a week. Oh, and a bottle of nerve blocker drugs for me. It's a strange combination of random shit on this table. Oh, and my laptop too. Just sayin'.

iTunes Shuffle suggestion: Try not to get totally fucking frightened and freak out with your earbuds in when iTunes decides to play Iggy & The Stooges' "Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell." Seriously, that song could raise my father from the dead, get him dressed and give him a perm. I'd just been lulled into a catatonic mindset from Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" when Iggy came on and scared the shit out of me. After a relatively frantic week of walking on eggshells at work, that was the last thing I needed. To be freaked out by Iggy Fucking Pop. He's shorter than Yoko Ono, for crisssakes! What's there to be scared of?

Good iTunes Shuffle: Garbage's "Special." Shirley Manson not only had the best pairs of what I like to call "Come Fuck Me Boots" in the mid-90's, (I own several pairs, to this day) but she sings in a key I can sing along with. And this song bitingly reminds me of my ex-boyfriend in an empowering way. Yeah, you were the talk of the town. But there's a new sheriff, and you ain't fucking with me anymore, buddy.

Another good iTunes shuffle? "My Secret Place" by Joni Mitchell and Peter Gabriel. My favorite song by Joni, all about letting someone special deep into your heart, a place you reserve for very few. You know me; I love everybody, it seems. But very few are allowed that deep into my heart these days, mostly out of self-protection.

Ariel Zevon is now my Facebook friend. She's the daughter of one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Warren Zevon. He was a recovering alcoholic whose smoking habit cost him his life at a young age. His music is eerily but blissfully legendary and extremely poignant in my life. I highly recommend the biography his ex-wife wrote about him, "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead." Come on, that motherfucker wrote an entire album, "My Ride's Here," or was it the album "Life'll Kill Ya?"--anyway--about death and dying and the afterlife a few years before he was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and died, of which he had no idea at the time. How could I *not* identify with this musician?

Speaking of musicians I love, The Flaming Lips followed up what was an epic 6-hour long song with a 24-hour long song that was sold encased in a real human skull covered in gold plating. Another one of Wayne's psychedelic ideas that Steven had the responsibility of bringing to fruition. Thirteen skulls were created, each selling for $5,000. They're all sold-out. And yet again, no, I didn't get a free one because I'm friends with the band. This sounds nuts, but quite honestly, I wouldn't want one. The 24-hour long song streamed free on the internet, to which I listened at least a solid 4 or 5 hours in various stretches throughout a few days ago. I suppose had I heard the entire 24 hours in one loop, I'd feel differently, but I found the "song" broken, non-linear, un-flowing, scattered and senseless. I recall saying a few days ago that the portion I heard early in the morning was a perfect soundtrack to the burgeoning sunrise--calming, hopeful, sedate. Ok, that was good shit. What I heard after my hard day at work, as I posted elsewhere, sounded like the soundtrack to a bad episode of a space zombie transcendence television show. What's worse is that it continued to loop on the web site 24 hours after the 24 hours was over, and I honestly couldn't tell if I'd heard the spot of music to which I was listening before or not, for none of it was necessarily memorable. Those of you who know me know I love the Flaming Lips more than, well, just about anything apart from Luke, but guys, really. Quit letting Wayne come up with insane ideas that, when brought to reality, consequently kinda suck. The Gummy Fetus? Brilliant. The 24-hour song? My sweet Lord. Guys. I love you, but sheesh. To be fair, I'd have to listen to the whole 24-hour long song in one fell swoop to fully appreciate it, and that's an impossibility.

Pain has engulfed me for a long ass time. I had a series of x-rays and a blood test this week to rule out God knows what by my PCP, Stosh, to whom I complained of awakening every morning in extreme pain on whatever side on which I slept. I don't roll over when I sleep. I lie in one position all night, only awakening to attempt to roll over when it's close to the time I will get up, at which time I feel like an 80-year old woman every morning, with sore joints, tight muscles, et al. I sort of chalked it to the lack of fat on my frame, bone upon bone for hours on end at a time. It's been plaguing me for upwards of a year and I finally got tired enough of taking 4 Advil every morning to call him and complain. My stomach lining can't take that much ibuprofen. It *does* help that I'm no longer sleeping below a 280-lb man, with 2 herniated discs in my back, but the pain is so severe that even the prescribed narcotics for my epigastric pain don't touch the morning pain. The x-rays and blood tests both came back normal, which the PCP expected, ruling out arthritis and what the fuck else, so he deduces I have fibromyalgia. Add it to the list of medical maladies. He called me at work the other day to ask me how the Neurontin he Rx'd me was working. "I don't know, you didn't prescribe it for me yet," I said, reminding him that he was awaiting the x-ray results. He called in the Rx to my pharmacy, which I picked up tonight after work (along with 3 grapefruit, which I'll explain later). The instructions couldn't be any fucking more complicated. I almost needed a bigger bottle on which to fit all the verbiage. "Take one capsule by mouth three times a day. May increase to 2 capsules by mouth three times daily after 2 days if no improvement." I've taken Neurontin before. It was Rx'd to me by a neurologist after I developed peripheral neuropathy in my feet as a result of taking the anti-alcohol drug Antabuse, the first year of my sobriety. It blocks nerve stimulation or some such medical nonsense. Whatever it does, it totally works. But my experience is that it takes a few weeks to yield results, so he's sort of dreaming if he thinks that a few days will garner a noticeable difference in my pain level. But I trust Stosh, and he takes really good care of me, so we'll see.

This morning, I have to see my OB/GYN at 7:45 in the fucking morning because (TMI ALERT) I'm having what is a gross understatement of "irregular bleeding." Hoping to God the cervical issue hasn't reared it's ugly head again and that it's just early menopause or something. I thought people who weighed very little and never ate were supposed to not get periods, period, whereas I get them...constantly. It's a huge pain. So we'll see about that too. (Update: hormone level blood tests drawn and an ultrasound planned for next Saturday. She's thinking perimenopause, which I'm a little young for, but is certainly a possibility.)

iTunes is now shuffling "Oh Shit," by the Buzzcocks. Befittingly, as last night I found myself alone in the house with Ma up in Madison with her sister visiting my gravely ill first cousin, who had a massive stroke, while Luke is spending the night and tomorrow's day at Dad's. We don't know yet if Jackie, my cousin, will pull through. She's in a drug-induced coma, being awakened a few times a day, during which she's aware and awake enough to respond to stimuli (pinching, etc) and tries to rip out her feeding and breathing tubes, and looks her daughter in the eye, not knowing what the fuck is going on and too doped out to understand. Her blood pressure skyrockets when she's awake, so as a precaution, they put her back to sleep. They performed brain surgery on her a few days ago, looking for what they thought were aneyrisms (or however the fuck you spell the plural), but couldn't pinpoint any, so they chalked it up to a stroke. Jackie also suffers from essential thrombocythemia, a rare but serious blood disorder for which she's been on chemo for years on end. Not an easy life she's had, my cousin. She's in my constant prayer, as are her 5 children and multiple grandchildren, as are my mom and my aunt, who bravely made the trek up to Madison to see Jackie, though neither of them are in the best physical or mental frame. So godspeed.

Craig really stepped up to the plate and helped my family out. He's a meeting planner for various hotel chains across the States, so he was able to get a great rate at a nice hotel for my mom and Barbara for the night close to the hospital in Madison. He made the reservations and got all the discount paperwork in order. Bless him for that.

Fortunately, one of my bosses allowed me to leave work at 5:30, half an hour before quitting time last night. I had spoken to the daughter-in-law of one of his patients about her uncle and his blood test results, and she asked me when the doc would call her husband back about a rather emergent "addiction issue." Addiction issue? Cue raised eyebrows! I didn't pry. Instead, I asked the doctor to please call the husband back as it was an important problem. I sort of overheard the doc talking to the patient about his issue, and the patient agreed to come in and see the doc early next week. Before I left work, I asked the doctor what the deal was with the alcoholic patient. He said the patient was resistant to both inpatient and outpatient rehab, and that his wife sort of kept an eye on him at home, but they had this home in Florida to where he'd go and escape and drink himself into oblivion several times a year. This fella had the capacity to stay sober for a couple of years, but would routinely fall off the wagon in FL and resisted inpatient treatment. "Was he having DT's?" I asked the doctor, who looked at me like he didn't know to what I was referring. "He needs to be medically detoxed," I told him. The patient, citing work issues, also rejected outpatient rehab, which I explained to the doc took all day long, 5 days a week, for upwards of a month, and honestly, the doctor didnt' know what to do with the patient when he was scheduled to come in for a checkup next week. This all weighed heavily on my head as I left work, and I planned to offer my assistance to the doctor on Monday should he need the advice of someone with acute experience with rehab and detox from alcohol. Believe me, I can tout the benefits and risks of admitting yourself to inpatient rehab better than an inexperienced internist can. My advice? Get as far away from home as possible to avoid bolting out at the first chance. That's half the reason I went to St. Joe's downtown as opposed to Lutheran General in Park Ridge. I'd love to help this guy out, but with HIPAA and confidentiality issues, not to mention malpractice (!!) I just can't intervene.

I had the Neruontin and some Propranolol (blood pressure pills for my tachycardia) to pick up from Osco after work, so I picked up some grapefruit to eat for dinner as I wasn't hungry. TOC called me after I texted him that all I planned to eat for dinner was the grapefruit. We settled on some cereal at 9pm, which I did consume, and told him that would have to suffice. He was nonplussed.

Planted on an end cap in the drug store en route to the pharmacy was a liquor display which I gazed at after I picked up my Rx's. There was a bottle of Pinot Grigio champagne that looked mighty inviting after the week I'd had. My 2 favorite alcoholic drinks--pinot grigio and champagne. But as I looked at it, I thought about how far I've come in the last 4 years and how wrecking it would royally piss me off. Thinking about the doctor's patient, I resisted the temptation and walked away, soberly. Proud of myself. Not ashamed that the thought crossed my mind--it has in the past, but I always manage, by the grace of God, to walk away.

Instead, I went to another end cap. One with an array of dorky winter hats that Luke was trying on the last time we were at Osco, that he begged me to buy for him, but I refused. So last night, I broke down and bought him his favorite of the dorky hats that he damn well better wear this winter. A new competition: does Luke or Mom look dorkier in his/her dorky winter hat?
(See photo..)

After I got home to chill and heard my cell ringing, I saw it was TOC and answered the phone saying "Uh oh." He told me he was calling to give me a lecture about my eating habits. He said the grapefruit didn't have much protein in it, and he was right. But I told him I just wasn't hungry. He asked me if there was no food in the house. Quite the opposite, actually, as Ma left the house fully stocked with yummy food for me to eat. I told him I'd eat the cereal later, I promised him.

He'd read the blog from last week about my little family--Craig, Luke and myself, and rather than critiquing it as a piece of writing, which he did think was quite good, he liked the sentiment of it. He's proud that Craig and I know how to put Luke first in our lives despite our own personal issues with one another. We talked about the importance of the family dynamic and preserving that. He emphasized the importance of Luke having good, positive male role models in his life, and Craig did put his anger aside and help Luke with repairing the Halo gun, and he's a great Daddy, so I did emphasize to TOC that Luke does have strong men in his life.

He also talked about the CD Craig had made me, assuring me he'd NEVER make me a CD of songs about he feels about me, which I wholeheartedly agreed he wouldn't, for that's not how he rolls with his emotions. He knows I get CD's all the time from men who want to tell me something via music, which he thinks is charming, I guess, but he insisted he'd never make me a CD. But speaking of Craig, he agreed that the song "Thank You" that Craig put on the CD was the epitome of how Craig truly felt about me.

So after the uber-snarky exchange of emails between Craig and myself earlier this week over petty bullshit, heavy bullshit and bullshit of a general nature, I got tired of arguing. Always wanting to be the one who gets the last word, I emailed Craig back by quoting Sir Frank Crisp, the original proprietor of George Harrison's Friar Park estate, who said:

"Scan not a friend with a microscopic glass. You know his faults, now let his foibles pass. Life is one long enigma, my friend, so live on, live on, the answer's at the end."

Craig replied, "Well said," or "Well put," something to that effect, and the disagreement was officially over.

This morning, we unite as a team for our parent-teacher conference about Luke. Luke already claimed that he's certain he got straight A's, which is great and we're really proud of him, but we need to address the bullying issue (which has mended to the point where Luke has invited the bully over to play tomorrow). All good stuff.

George Harrison was so taken by that quote from Sir Frank that he wrote a song about it, called "The Answer's At the End." For your listening enjoyment:

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