Wait and Attend!

A lot of waiting going on here. My sister went into the hospital the day K and I flew to Boulder last week. There I was walking along the foothills of the Rockies trying this hospital, then that, trying to find out where the ambulance took her. I sat on a rock in the morning sun. Cows lowed nearby, steam rising off their bulk. The nurse had called earlier to say the apartment was locked and appeared to be empty. I got good at leaving hospital web pages up in Safari and hitting the call button. She was in Beverly, turns out.

She’s home again but perhaps shouldn’t be. She cannot eat. Cannot keep meds down. Can barely scooch herself off of the (new) hospital bed onto the potty-chair. I am talking with everyone — the VNA personnel, the North Shore Elder staff, the PT who couldn’t get a hold of her, her psychic friend in Vancouver.

I’m googling all manner of depressing physical symptoms.

I spent the night with her before we flew to Boulder, sleeping on the floor. Her psychic friend had called that morning to say, “If I could SEE her, I’d know.” It’s hard to gauge these things. I honestly thought she might die while we were away, knowing how some people need that — the absence of their loved ones rather than their attendance.

[The nurse just called from my sister’s. They’re readmitting her. This is very good news. I asked a direct question and got even better news, “No, the end is not near,” she ventured. “She’s got a lot of life left in her.”]

Meanwhile, Finn ran away from his dog walker yesterday, running the mile and a half home along busy, well-traveled roads. There I was standing in the line at Marshall’s buying chocolate when I should have been at CVS buying a temporary mouth guard (more on that below). “He’s probably running home. Call your neighbor.” And so I did. I called the one that Finn tried to bite once. She let him in ten minutes later to my enormous relief, but it didn’t spare me the drive home during which I couldn’t help but scan the sides of the roads for an immobile, black heap.

And about that mouth guard. I left a messenger bag in the cab coming from the airport on Monday. This is me, off of ADD meds. I’ve been waiting (with diminishing hope) for a call from the Boston Airport Taxi Lost and Found (it’s not just me, as it turns out). The police officer James took down the hack number, time of pick up and drop off, the cab company and told me not to give up hope. But that was yesterday morning. Now, I’ve pretty much given up hope.

Are you ready for what was in the bag?

  • Laptop.
  • Bose noise-cancelling headphones.
  • New blue tooth ear buds (a total splurge).
  • A quilt I’d put umpteen hours into.
  • My $600 mouth guard.
  • My brand new, barely begun Michael Twitty book, “The Cooking Gene.”
  • A three page list of passwords.

Because I’d backed up my manuscript an hour before we left, I almost don’t care. About any of it. Seriously. It’s just money. It’s not four feet of water in my house. It’s not the prospect of no power for weeks. It’s not a town leveled by wind. It’s not a dead dog on the side of the road. And it’s not sleep interrupted to make watery squirts into a plastic bucket.

No, what bothers me about the loss is what this lapse of attention represents.

Because of an aberrant EKG two weeks ago (you may have read about it before I made the post private), as well as my first EVER high blood pressure reading, I’m off the stimulant meds. I WANT to be off for good. I’m committed. But to be this rattled?

“Where’s my phone?” I can be heard saying at any given hour of the day. “Where’s my phone?” (K says with kind realism: “You never can find your phone, you know, even on meds.”)

Okay. Okay.

But, I nearly left the same messenger bag in the Denver Airport four days earlier. And I DID leave my Daily Pages in a shop on Pearl Street in Boulder the day of our departure. We’re talking about a full-sized spiral bound notebook!

And so, I had to wonder — do I want to leave this writing project behind so badly I’d inconvenience myself to this astonishing a degree?

My brother says things will settle — in about a month. Meanwhile, I wonder what else I can possibly lose in the interim.

A silver lining must be mentioned before I trundle off to hunt down my Replacement Daily Pages (yes, I lose them in the house, too, and yes, it was that way before). I’ve missed my laptop. It’s almost like having lost a companion and so its loss is not quite purely pecuniary. But, here’s the silver lining — how great it’s been to want to work, to notice the longing to flip the computer open and GO. I cannot remember when I last felt this way. Have I EVER? There’s been a lot of bruising resistance, overpowering doubt, and the suffocating sense of obligation. Productive hours, too, but still.

So that’s good, right? Now I access the files on the PC and I’m reminded how much faster I type on an honest-to-goodness keyboard. So maybe that’s a good thing, too.

Needless to say, I will replace those expensive, noise-cancelling head phones (we are enduring the seventeenth week of jack hammering as I type. In addition, Aftercare has distributed recorders to the kids across the fence and a handful of them are tooting the same note over and over again). I’ve scheduled a dentist appointment for a new mouth guard (probably costs way more than $600 now). Plus, earlier today, I ordered replacement ear buds. Murphy’s Law says that if the bag is to show up, now would be the time.By the way, the folks at the Pearl Street shop who found my Daily Pages (“Oh yes! The notebook with a photo of a very pregnant Serena Williams in the front sleeve? It was in the restroom”) offered to ship it to me gratis. How incredibly nice! I have two parallel fantasies about this. One: they read enough to feel utterly sorry for me. Or, two: they read the rare powerhouse page and thought — this is some writer! We don’t want to get in her way.

It’s probably neither, but it’s fun to imagine.

19 thoughts on “Wait and Attend!

    1. deemallon

      this is way more than a Mercury thing — more like Pluto and Twelfth House, but thanks. I feel unbelievably calm, actually — probably also a result of stopping the ADD meds.

  1. anna lisa

    That is so much at once! I’m sorry for your quilt and the rest too. It sounds as though you are balancing on an avalanche… but you are staying upright!

  2. fabricwoman

    Must have been a small quilt, Dee. Messenger bags just aren’t that big! I pretty much quit using purses because of my habit of hanging a shoulder bag on the back of my chair and walking off without it. Backpacks only now when on the road, they’re too big to forget! Hope Murphy gets your stuff back to you…

    1. deemallon

      The quilt was about 18″ square. I liked it but hardly anything to really cry about. I can’t stand back packs but I didn’t like this messenger bag either. It was a teenage boy reject and flawed for lots of reasons. I should’ve given it away years ago.

  3. Ginny

    Oh Dee! What a nightmare. Might be a good idea to keep your stuff at home till you shake the meds. Fingers crossed the package turns up, at least the mouth guard! I have to get one and dread it. It would kill me to lose it. Kill me. Oy! And poor Noreen. I will reach out to you kids soon. Normal lunacy by me and I’m grateful for that.

    1. deemallon

      The meds are out of the system quickly. That’s why there’s a morning does and then an evening one. But the sense of disorientation is different. Have to muddle and compensate. Mouth guards are a godsend. And they’re painless to be fit for. One of the only dental interventions ever that is solely about comfort. Headache and jaw pain upon waking without it.

  4. Michelle in NYC

    Gasp–Sigh–Eeeeeek–Ah–Ha! The heart is a muscle. You need to find a way to be kinder to it
    You are at treacherous roller coaster speed dear Dee. Seriously, I hope you get to a group to do some TM. It’s stronger in a group and easier to forget if you only attempt it alone. There’s a way to carve out ten minutes every day no matter what (short of earthquake and try to make it the same time or near daily. But get to a group once a week for at least the rest of the Fall-PULEASE. I’ll bet the hospitals offer something… I’m not talking about religion, just a practice. Think of it like an Rx. Meanwhile that one picture of you walking – Touching! And the photo of Serena!

    1. deemallon

      It’s been an intense week but not THAT different from usual. Maybe more of a different level of revelation than of an increase in treacherous ups and downs. But in any case I will take your advice to heart (ha!). I was given a mantra to practice TM in 1973. Used it religiously twice a day for five or six years. Now I’d rather just follow the breath. Morning. Before dinner prep. There! It’s a commitment

  5. ravenandsparrow

    The level of stress your post shows makes me think of the times my Graves disease kicked up. Is your thyroid calm? I am thinking of you and sending friendly thoughts.

    1. deemallon

      Thanks for thinking of that. I in fact have a new and terrific endocrinologist (because of osteoporosis diagnosis earlier in the year). I’ll be seeing him again in about a month.


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