Feets and Feats

tmp_2290_4-21-2014_110059_-1My  wife seems to be having the beginning symptoms of dementia.   Thank God she’s not anywhere near a drooling, muttering creature that some might portray.  But she is also not the vivacious, dynamic administrator of a large social service organization; not the woman she used to be.
And I…   …   …I am not the man I used to be, without her.  Without her!!  The thought trickles down my mind like a sliver of ice on an blazingly hot desert afternoon.  My shoulder muscles wink together in migraine pain.  Emotional brain-freeze.  I laugh too much; to keep from…   …   …I won’t it say out loud, for fear of what you must already know I’m trying not to express.
We met in Brooklyn, NY, in 1957:  teen-age lovers who went through high school and college together; though continents apart she at East Los Angeles College, (which actually is located on Brooklyn Avenue) and I at Brooklyn College-City University of New York.  I don’t know how to live without her.  And she’s fading away.  Not that anybody notices.  But I notice.  And my daughters notice.
Now we live in a “retirement community” which is not meant to be a prison, but is a prison nonetheless.  A prison of broken people, too tired to die, but without the energy to fully live.
The situation is too complex to describe fully today.  But, little by little, I’ll describe it to you.  I’ll describe it to you from my wheelchair, from our little room, which I am now going to leave for a moment, and contemplate my new world; to see what new opportunities await me. If any!!   If you remember my story, I’ve been dead before (not metaphorically;  but ACTUALLY!!) so anything I now accomplish is a death-defying feat.  So “Feets; don’t fail me now”!!!
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Norman Is In Ireland (apologies to R.J.Squirrel)

Falling.  Bottomless.  Tumbling.
Bloodless,
painful joints;
Grasping

nothing.

Writing
to know You.
I is nothing with out U.

Writing this,
like this,
formless, meaningless….

I;

nothing

Meaning?
No meaning.
Am!

All I know, can know, hope to know, hear, see, feel:
no form. 

Am?
Was!

Pin-ball wizard!
Damaged hands.
Motion. Memories of motion; e-motion.
Broken/English, back-hand, left-hand, no hand.
No spin; dead ball.
For(n)ever!

Wish it’d “Go”!
But it won’t.

TTD

Tease And Sympathy

[Do I have to even say (sic)?]

My “hunt-and-peck” typing hand, the only utile one I have, the one with the carpel-tunneled wristband on it, has developed bone-spur, or arthritis, or a cyst on pointing finger.  Tests will tell.

Now you were told, many times, NOT to point!!  Look what you’ve done“, is coming back to point at me.

So, I will whine!!

POOR ME.  Poor, poor me.  I try so hard…and fate-just-keeps-throwing- roadblocks-on-my-path.  Whatever shall I do?

That’s enough.  Thanks!!

So I went and bought a new Mac Mini [ain’t it cute] and a Dragon Dictate  [bite your tongue-?] using a student discount card, surreptitiously  “borrowed” from A. Friend.

There’s a necessary learning curve in this endeavor.   A fatal flaw, I feel.  [from the AA Handbook…   …   …Alliterates Anonymous!]  And I’ll need to stop writing for awhile.  I have to learn to use this shit.  Which takes me away from you, my many readers.  Three, at last count!

Just do the math.  One hand, two computers, speaking haltingly to a headset, flicking between two Firefox windows, taxi-dog to dictionary/spell-check…   …   …WHOA…   …   …I’m whining!!

Awareness is a bitch, isn’t she!

Taxi Dog At Work

Taxi Dog At Work

People With Disabilities

On December 3, 2011: "World People With Disabilities" Day

Me Dreyfus, You Jane

I found a friend from grade school on Facebook.

Coney Island Express

She wrote,

I joined the circus so part of time I’m traveling and
performing as a high wire ballerina-the rest of the
time I live in New York City and work as a dental
hygienist. Life is good!

 And I responded,

The circus? Where were you when I needed you? All those floppy shoes in my closet! And me, in my baggy pants, doing my sailors jig looking for you. What a pair we would have been!

Instead, I’m a retired psychotherapist in California. You haven’t been on this website for years. But just in case, I’ve left you the keys to my locker and, if you need help, just whistle. Phew! Phew. and we’ll run off together. I have the keys to my dad’s old jollopy, jellopie, JALOPY, what-ever [thanks, wikipedia] and off we’ll go.

Its a shame you’ll never see this. I had great fun writing it.  Hope all is well.

And now, we’re now corresponding.  So;

Hi, Jane:

There’s so much to tell.  But first, the formalities.  I’ve learned the hard way how easy to be misinterpreted on the ‘net so don’t get angry but I just want to correspond.   Hope you have similar good, healthy social instincts too.

Enough of that.

When I saw your bio I thought, “I should have known you better”, in the day.  I was so ‘spaz” then.  I was so scared.  Vietnam, the “Cuban Missile Crisis“, the whole 60s thing…and all I could think of was “Should I join the ”Weathermen’ or be an upstanding citizen.  So I became an upstanding citizen.  No serious regrets.  Little ones, but no biggies.  I loved, and still love, being a father.  My two daughters are joys.  The eldest, S., gave up a good career in non-profit management to open a knitting store.  My youngest, J., is a good third grade teacher.   S.’s husband owns a small, small medical PR firm.  They adopted my grand-daughter, M.S., from China the same week I was dieing [sic] in the hospital after a stroke.

That’s whole other story.  Later!

J. has a boy, J., 10; and and girl, M., 6.  J. has my personality.  Thoughtful.  A little too thoughtful…he gets paralyzed by doubt.  He thinks things through, and through…I encourage him to let go…most things work out well, don’t they?  Otherwise we all, as a Human Race, would have been long gone.  But he’s so young, poor kid, and he needs a wise grandfather.  Eureka!  He has me!!  J.’s beau is among other things, a blues guitarist, and went back to grad. school at State to be a nutritionist.  Come to our house for Thanksgiving, y’all.  He’s from Dallas!

I know what you’re thinking.  This guy really know how to write the shit out of a piece of paper!  That’s the rest of my story.  In 2002, I had my second stroke.  It left me paralyzed on one side, and aphasic.  I was in rehab at university hospital  for months.  I am The Six Million Dollar Man.  I joke about it, what else is here to do.

I blog about my good fortune, and my newly acquired neuroplasticity, at http://taxi-dog.com

I’d love to talk to you.  And I will!  But first another story.  An embarrassing one.  I don’t know you!  Of course I know your name.  But nothing else.  My elderly mind thinks we knew each other in grade school…maybe even Mrs. Callahan’s class by…what, Ditmas Park, before even The Caton School?  Maybe not.

In the1980’s, at the reunion, Larry S. was saying, “You’ve got to see Jane…You’ve GOT TO SEE Jane.  She’s been looking for you.”   It was the scene from “American Graffiti“!  I was Richard Dreyfus and you were Suzanne Somers.  But I never found you!

And now its 30 years later, and I’m still looking but my stroke-leaden mind just doesn’t compute.  Were you my Cadillac Girl?  Was I your chubby little Jewish philosopher?

Eliphino

“Eliphino”, he trumpeted!

TD

Hit The Showers!

Ploy Of Mine.

If I told you I don’t shower often, would you shun me? My wife doesn’t.

Is this question just another literary ploy of mine? To make me seem big and scary.

Well, it’s a serious problem. I joke about it because it is a serious problem. The problem is that my wife is seriously depressed.

Andi and I met in our teens. Its a good love story. I tell it over and over again, It sustains me. Nowadays, she sleeps a lot. A lot! And she sleeps a lot because she’s embarrassed. She’s embarrassed because she used to be a dynamo.

Its called ‘depression’, but I think of it as an assault on the selfBy the self.  Deep within it, there are elements of guilt and anger.

She was always the “go to” girl. Her depressed mother and her depressed father always came to her for assistance.  Her sickly brother and her  spoiled sister came as well.  These themes take generations to work themselves out.  But she and I, we always had each other to protect ourselves from the onslaught.   Her support was my first experience of salvation.

I’ve not told you about my family.  Yet. 

But on to Andi’s ‘now’.  Where is Andi now?  “Where’s the Jones file, Andi?.”  “When was it that we had that terrible lawsuit, Andi?”  “How should we approach The Director, Andi?” “Where’s that place we used to go for Chinese, Andi?”  “What should I get for my girlfriend, Andi?”  “I’m having a fit and I need someone to take it out on and…Hey, there’s Andi?”

And, finally, “We’re needing to cut staff and we know you’ll understand, Andi”.

But Andi has built her life on ‘understanding’, and excusing others, and taking it all on herself. We know that strategy as “controlling”. It has good parts and bad parts. [In our relationship, we talk about that theme a lot.  Controlling.]

[I am uncontrollable.  By design.   She loves me for the excitement I bring.   But she’s also afraid of the ‘danger’.  This push-pull energizes our relationship.  For better or worse.  Its a toss up.  I don’t feel the limits until I see the disapproval in another’s eyes, and feel embarrassed.  At least, that’s my current conceptualization.   But, hey, ain’t God’s plan grand??]

But on to depression. We, Andi and I, have a problem. I can’t shower by myself. I’m in a wheelchair. I can’t step over the bathtub sill. Andi showers me. Sometimes weekly. Sometimes less.

Of course there’s a solution! Duh! Medi-Care pays for home health care. But Andi won’t allow the shower person in. She’s embarrassed to acknowledge she needs help! And she’s too guilty to get help.

Yes, yes, I know. These are the kinds of self-imposed problems that drive me crazy too!! But it is not only my life! Its our life.

I realize this is a rant. Nothing will change now. Sometimes all we can do is rant. It helps me to know you understand my situation. Funny thing is, no one seems to notice. I keep thinking people will sniff the air when I approach. But no seems to care.

Except me.

When I’m talking about the ‘nitty-gitty’, it’s really gritty.

Another Frustrating Afternoon

you wouldn’t believe what a perfectionist i am.   because most people think i’m so ‘all over the place’.   like a chef in the kitchen, with plates flying, hot dishes slipping, and pots boiling over.

it seems a mess.   but its my kitchen and i know where everything belongs.   i have the blueprint.   its my mess.   all the Swedish meatball recipes are here.  the bouillabaisse is there.   can i find bergamot extract?   of course!   Crystallized violet petals?   How about a cut kitchen whip to make caramel nets or a copper bowl for “egg foam success’?   yes, yes, and yes!

i just can’t communicate it to anyone.  Chef Solo Silento.   he eats his words.    I was like this as long as i can remember, even before my aphasia.

but the aphasia is becoming more important than the hypo-mania.  you and i talk about our hypo-mania.  we write about it in our correspondence.  how do i communicate it to you as an aphasic on the blogosphere?   i can’t conyinue to misspell words w/o losing my train of thought.   i keep thinking ‘spell check is my friend.  ‘spell check is my friend.’   but its not true.   ‘spell check’ is my  enemy.   and my constant companion.   [my sister.  my daughter.  my sister.  my daughter.  my sister AND my daughter.   i keep hearing faye dunaway wailing]  i am typing with my left hand and i am [was] right handed.   its too much to handle. 

i forget the point.  oh.   am i the only blogger who writes like an aphasic thinks.   i wish there were another.    its a lonely life.   i can’t spell check myself into happiness.   this post has taken me more than 3 hours to edit, and re-edit.  I will get it right.   i will get it right.   I Will!

but i’m so tired.

……………………

researching this post, i found on google, this coincidence.   “arcane things in a kitchen”, takes you to this:  http://www.arcanepalette.com/tips-and-tricks/fixing-bullet-points-list-items-wordpress/.  

Maybe paul mccartney was trying to tell me something, all those years ago.   reading those backwards lyrics.   maybe i should read the bhagavad gita backwards too.  I’m aphasic.  it would make sense to me. 

Time To Start Working

I have an admission to make.  I’ve been playing.  Not lying.  Just playing.  I’m avoiding taking the steps to make my life work.  I’ve being doing the ‘Taxi Dog’ dance that has characterized my life for the  last six to eight months.

At the beginning, I was really, really depressed.  That would have been several years ago.  I had just come off a 6 week hospitalization after knee surgery.  I was in a nursing home.  It was Bedlam.  You know the Bedlem story?  Bethlem Royal Hospital, London, was the first world’s first and oldest institution to specialize in mental illnesses.  The name itself has come to mean chaos or madness,

The nursing home was like that.  Senile old men and women, in soiled clothes, and overworked and under staffed LVN’s  struggled, literally struggled, to keep order.  Forget about taking care.  The  word was order.

I was flat on my back for the whole six weeks.  Being paralyzed, I couldn’t turn in my bed.  I have bed sores to prove it.  The wound on my heel has taken 5 years to heal. I’m in a wheelchair now, but then I was more mobile.  Six weeks.  With no daylight; screaming, terminal, Alzheimer patients, all cramped up…I’m sorry.  The image is too much to inflict on you.

Was I depressed?  Does a bear shit in the woods?  Fish cared for me.  And my wife, of course.  She got the worst of it.   Well, I got the worst of it.  But she got the worst of me.  I was my own Bedlam.  I was S-C-R-E-A-M-I-N-G!   Fish got a psychiatrist friend to see me…the care in that place was so minimal.  Somehow, my wife was able to stem my verbal attacks…and after I screamed, I calmed down.  After a few days, I was in physical therapy, and at home on an I-V.

But I remember.

Now, my life is easy.  Now;  I just enjoy the ‘taxi dog’ life?  But there’s work to be done.  I’ve been looking for a new apartment.  Rental are astronomical where I live and, although I’m doing all right, $2500 is a lot of money.  Moving is a chore and the apartment has to be wheelchair friendly.

And then there are the small, but significant things.  I’ve got to do my grad. school report.  My checking account is in tatters.   Other things that are eluding me now.

Acknowledging these things is all I can do now.  No self blame.  I know better that to do it.  Just focus.

Look Into My Eyes: 

Shazzam!

Wouldn’t that be rich?!