Alone

I’m sitting in silence, the most complete a silence can get in this apartment—only the soft hum of the refrigerator and the whir of laptop and file server fans and the clacking sound of my own typing breaking the stillness. It’s so still, so quiet.

I’m alone.

On Skype, Sean’s status is green for online, and so is Kathryn’s. They’re here, but not really. Sean is at William’s, and Kathryn is hundreds of miles away from me, where she always is. Earlier I typed at length into Sean’s window about a story idea I am working on, but he didn’t respond. He and William are likely in a game. Kathryn is quiet, but available: she spoke first, and we spent some happy moments imagining what we might do if we were actually in the same room. I would like to watch The Last Unicorn with her. It’s been on my mind lately, and all weekend I’ve been listening to the soundtrack, and tonight I browsed screen captures and quotations and fan art and was brought nearly to tears several times.

Today was aimless; I did laundry and read and fed myself. I had planned to read Bloodline, the new Star Wars novel, but instead I read fan fiction. Both times I ventured out for food, the day was bright and beautiful, the sun blinding and the trees vividly green. The air was warm but not hot and there was a cool breeze and it was perfect. When I got home the first time I opened all the blinds and saw that our patio bistro set is completely coated in pollen.

I’ve been opening two of the blinds in the sunroom every day, for the peace lily. I just searched Google for “funeral flowers” because I couldn’t remember what it was called, and I scrolled past dozens of arrangements that were so obviously meant to stand near or on a casket, and then I started seeing names spelled out in flowers: Lee, Granma, Mum. So many Mums. And finally, Dad.

The peace lily was given to us for Dad’s memorial. We received several beautiful arrangements and plants. When I first came home, after he died, after the memorial, I didn’t bring any of them with me. I was sure I would kill it. But I soon went back to Kentucky because I wasn’t okay, and I stayed a little while longer, and when I came home again I brought the peace lily too. It’s big, and it looks good on my dining table in the sunroom.

There’s so little stability now. But I can take care of this plant, at least. Right now, it’s just me and it.

After

“It’s so bright out!” Mom said as we walked out onto the pedestrian bridge leading from the hospital to the parking structure. “It seems like it should be nighttime.” She expressed the sentiment again later, as she turned the Explorer onto Conn Terrace towards Limestone. “It should just be dark.”

We took Limestone to Waller, crossed the railroad tracks, and turned left onto Broadway. It was late afternoon and the sun was directly in our eyes. “That folder in the visor is all Dad stuff, medical information and the handicapped sign,” Mom said. “You can take that down and flip the visor down. And we can just throw it all away when we get home.”

Broadway turned into Harrodsburg Road as we made our way back to Nicholasville, a route Mom has taken innumerable times over the past week, and months, and years. I unlocked my phone and told Sean and Kathryn that it was over and we were going home.

“There’s a place in Brannon Crossing called Legacy or something. We should call them,” Mom said. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t really like funerals.”

We finally got to the house and the couch was still at the end of the driveway. “If it’s still there in a couple days, we’ll take it to the dump,” Mom said. We went inside to where the adjustable bed from hospice, made up fresh that afternoon and never used, sat in the newly rearranged and cleaned family room. I put the folder on the kitchen table and dragged Mom’s luggage to her bedroom, where I threw all the syringes and masks and tubing and other medical supplies into a bag and then hid that bag away in the small guest bedroom, laid Mom’s clothes out on her bed, and put away the shirt and pants Dad was supposed to come home in.

“You’ve done everything,” Mom said, even though she was simultaneously putting away the clothes I’d laid out. She turned to the closet. “And there’s all his shirts,” and her voice almost turned into a wail, but she hugged me and drew a deep breath. “When Lee passed, family from Oklahoma came and took all the man stuff away,” she said. “I think that would be good. We can put everything in bags and give it to Cedar Lake Lodge. Do you think I should ask the boys if they want anything first?” I agreed that this was probably the best idea. “I just feel like I’m full of adrenaline,” Mom said. “Like I have to do something right now. But I don’t have to do anything right now.”

We left her bedroom and went into the kitchen and started dumping all of Dad’s medicines into the trash.

Sorry, blog

Tonight on the phone Mom was telling me her morning routine, and she said that the first website she opens is pixelscribbles.com, “which the author herself never seems to visit lately”.

Alas!

I do have some pictures I need to post, and I’m sure there are things I could be writing about…but I’ve just been sick for so long that all I tend to want to do when I’m at home is either watch DVDs or go to bed.

But don’t worry; I’m sure I won’t be able to keep from posting something new for long!

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Mom is (as Logan would say) awesome.

I called Mom before bed and we chatted for about 40 minutes. She is home again after a nice weekend vacation to Indianapolis with Aunt Bev. We talked about that and about what everyone’s up to and our plans for Christmas.

“Dad’s making little instruments now,” she said. “You’ll have to see them when you get here. They’re pretty cute.” She paused. “Actually, they’re not cute at all. They’re kind of ugly. But they make sounds!”

I laughed so hard I cried.

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Worry-less wireless

Me (3:02:05 PM): I was going to ask you earlier if you had any good ideas for getting rid of a sore throat
Me (3:02:12 PM): but then I sucked on a cough drop
Me (3:02:16 PM): and what do you know?
Me (3:02:53 PM): we don’t really have a good term for sucking on stuff, other than “sucked on it”
Me (3:02:59 PM): like you “take” a pill
Mom (3:03:03 PM): losenge
Mom (3:03:04 PM): LOL
Mom (3:03:15 PM): lozenge
Mom (3:03:20 PM): how do you spell that
Me (3:03:21 PM): in Japanese they actually say that you “drink” pills
Mom (3:03:26 PM): lol
Me (3:03:36 PM): with a z
Me (3:04:00 PM): I’ve heard people here say you eat pills
Mom (3:04:04 PM): lol
Me (3:04:07 PM): but I would just say “take” or “swallow”
Me (3:04:17 PM): “I ate a Motrin” just sounds funny
Me (3:04:37 PM): but anyway, the point of all that was, I wouldn’t say “I took a cough drop” either
Me (3:04:44 PM): because I feel like that implies immediate swallowing
Mom (3:05:14 PM): lol
Me (3:05:24 PM): at about this point, my friend Brandon from work would say, “When you don’t have to think about your wireless plan, you’re free to think about OTHER things”
Me (3:05:34 PM): have you seen those commercials?
Me (3:05:45 PM): those people are always talking about the stupidest stuff
Me (3:05:47 PM): lol
Me (3:06:00 PM): I like to pretend that my silly tangents are on a higher level at least
Me (3:06:01 PM): ;>
Mom (3:06:49 PM): yes is silly
Me (3:07:07 PM): lol
Me (3:07:17 PM): “no is not on higher level”?
Mom (3:07:30 PM): no the commercials are silly
Mom (3:07:31 PM): LOL
Mom (3:07:32 PM): not you
Me (3:07:35 PM): hahaha

Edit: Hai points out that “you HAD a cough drop”. Fair enough.

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Christmas decorations

So I spent the day watching DVDs and putting up Christmas decorations. Here’s the Christmas village Grandma Flo gave me yesterday–I love all the trees!

Click here to see the rest of the decorations. These photos aren’t so great with lighting, but you can get an idea of how things look. I’m especially happy with the dining room table (although it looks a bit like a card table, being surrounded by folding chairs) and the ornaments hanging off the chandelier.

I haven’t decided where to put my two little Christmas trees yet. I also have two strings of Christmas lights that I guess Mom left here, because I have no idea where they came from. Not sure what to do with those either, but I’ll keep you posted.

Ugh, again

Yesterday started out a lot better than it ended. Mom was set to leave, but she was still in town when I wanted to have lunch, so we met up at Mikoto. She tried and enjoyed katsudon and I had teriyaki beef and sashimi. We got to say a real goodbye (I was a little grumpy and distracted that morning) and then we both headed off in different directions on I-20. Who knew that hours later I would feel so terrible?

Sometime in the afternoon I started seeing a weird effect through my right eye. I think it’s happened in a mild form before. At first it was just a little dot, in the middle of my field of vision such that I had trouble reading. But then it got bigger and bigger until it was like I was trying to look through a swirling mass of water.

After awhile it went away, replaced by the worst headache I’ve ever had. I guess it was a migraine. I tried the only pain medicine we had left in the first aid kit at work, which was non-aspirin. It did nothing. I was to the point of tears when I told my boss how I was feeling, and she had Elgin drive me home in the Cruiser.

I took my medicine and a Motrin and went straight to bed. This was about 6:30 pm. I didn’t wake up until a little after 4 this morning.

The headache’s gone. I ate some cottage cheese and surfed the web and read webcomics. I think I will go back to sleep for a couple hours, then call work so someone can come pick me up.

Living

Things are going well. Mom has been able to stay longer than I originally thought she could, which has been so great. She actually dusted my apartment. I don’t think that has been done since we moved in.

But seriously, it is so nice to have her here. A lot of people don’t get along with their mothers, which is such a shame. My mom is just wonderful. She was strict enough when we were kids and when we became adults she treated us like adults. Now she’s my friend and my mom, which is just neat. We can sit and enjoy a good conversation or go out together and have fun, but then when I’m sick or upset I can snuggle in for a good Mommy hug.

Plus, it feels so good to have someone take care of you. Sean and I are both really independent, and while we do take care of each other, we’re not doting. And I don’t really want to be doted on by him. I know he loves me; I want him to do his own thing and be his own person. But occasionally I do like to just relax and be coddled, and while I can ask Sean to take care of me sometimes, my mom will instinctively know what to do and just go ahead and do it. It’s such a comfort. I’ll really miss her when she goes back home.

Monday I felt all right up until the end of the day, at which point I got really tired. Tuesday, though, I felt great the whole day, such that I ran errands on my way home and then tidied up the apartment. Yesterday was another okay day. I haven’t had any moments this week where I’ve had to stop and gasp for breath, probably because I’ve been careful not to exert myself too much, but there have been times when I’ve been tired. At those times I just put my head down for a few minutes to recharge and I’m usually fine.

I’ve been sleeping all right, too. Last night and the night before I decided to skip the Flonase to see if that would help with how I seem to lose my voice when I’m at work. And it did seem to help yesterday; I wasn’t nearly as hoarse. I think I can probably stop using the Flonase. Conveniently enough I have a doctor’s appointment this morning, so I will ask him when I go.

I’ll also be asking him if a sleep study is actually necessary–it probably isn’t, so I should be able to cancel it, which will be good. I’m not sure how much of that insurance was going to cover :>

Later today I’m seeing the cardiologist again, and she said she might prescribe a third heart medication.

The next steps I need to take care of are organizing exercise and diet. I need to get a treadmill so I can walk indoors, and I need to figure out a good plan so I can eat heart-healthy foods and maybe lose some weight. It’s funny to try and lose weight at a time when I can’t really exert myself, but whatever ;>

Beyond the health stuff, there are a couple other things I want to do soon. First, Mom wants to buy me a new cell phone so I can take movies and pictures. Sean and I had a ridiculous experience at the Sprint store this past weekend–we were all ready to buy this brand new phone, but their system wouldn’t let us buy it!–so we may change carriers. Hopefully we can make that decision this weekend.

The next thing is to get a dining room table, because I am planning on hosting Thanksgiving. I know the exact table I want, so I should probably just go ahead and order it. The problem will be finding chairs…the chairs that come with the set don’t do it for me. We’ll have to see how that goes.

I also need to get a desk and a file cabinet, or maybe just a desk with a file drawer, for the multipurpose room, so I can get all our paperwork off the floor. (I gave Gargantua the Monster Desk to Rex from work.)

Mom keeps asking me why I haven’t bought an electric piano…I guess I just don’t feel comfortable spending thousands of dollars when I’m not sure I’ll be dedicated to it.

Grandma Flo called and offered to clean our apartment for me once a week, which is going to be a huge help. I’m going to see her on Saturday and work the details out. Also on Saturday, I think Mom and I are going to the mall. Maybe we can all go together…we’ll have to see. Then, that evening when Sean’s up, maybe we can figure out the cell phone thing.

And that’s pretty much what’s been going on. I feel fine on the whole, I have an idea of how things are going to work from now on, and I should be getting more details worked out today with my doctors. So there you have it.

Moving forward

The response to my diagnosis by the people who have responded so far has been interesting. There are some people who are incredibly upbeat–either they are just trying to cheer me up or they seriously don’t think it’s that big a deal. There are people who are seriously freaking out. And there’s the middle ground, which is where I am, where you just kind of say yes, this sucks, and I’m going to roll with it.

Today my mom did me a huge favor and assembled a DVD cabinet that has been sitting in a box in the hallway for 14 months. Then she rearranged all the furniture so it was to my liking. My mom is awesome.

As for me, I got so tired after putting a few DVDs into the cabinet that I had to take a nap :P

A day of recovery

I’m enjoying a quiet morning, waiting for the Advil to eliminate the pain of the neckache I developed in my sleep. It’s diminished a little, but boy does it ever hurt when I sneeze!

At around 11 I’m supposed to meet up with Brooke and Mari (and others?) at the Olive Garden, which will be nice. I hardly ever go there, since Sean isn’t big into Italian, but I really like it. Should be fun.

One thing I am really happy about right now is that Mom is coming to visit me. She has been so wonderful online and on the phone, but I really want to see her in person, and I can’t take any time off since I’ve already put my vacation days on the week of Christmas. So she’s going to come here, which is great because she hasn’t seen this apartment in person. She really hasn’t seen a whole lot of Augusta. Hopefully I will feel well enough to show her around all my favorite places.

Yesterday I could have spent a fair amount of time with Brooke, but my sleep schedule was messed up and I was depressed and I didn’t want to go anywhere, so I just stayed home and read/watched Detective Conan. I think I needed a day to just do nothing. I feel better today.

Brooke wants me to go to Columbia with her this afternoon to visit her brother’s family, which I may just do. Apparently there will be barbecue, yum.

My mother, ladies and gentlemen

Mom (8:20:33 AM): Dad is playing music
Mom (8:20:37 AM): we both are at computers
Mom (8:20:40 AM): me at old one
Mom (8:20:45 AM): but it is working fine
Mom (8:20:49 AM): and you are at a computer
Mom (8:20:51 AM): a family
me (8:20:53 AM): lol

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Blueberry bagels with strawberry cream cheese

Mom and I used to go to the hospital a lot, for my checkups. On the way home, we’d always stop at the little bagel place that used to be on Nicholasville Road just before Man O’ War Boulevard. That was where I first discovered blueberry bagels with strawberry cream cheese. I almost invariably got one every time we went.

After a time, the bagel place closed and was eventually replaced by Popeye’s chicken. This happened towards the end of my hospital visits, though, and soon enough Mom and I weren’t taking routine trips up to Lexington together. I started going to UK, making the daily jaunt up Nicholasville Road alone. Soon I discovered the Intermezzo up on the mezzanine of Patterson Office Tower, central campus. That casual cafe became one of my regular haunts…and I’d always get a blueberry bagel with strawberry cream cheese to munch while doing my homework or reading.

For my first year here in Georgia, I really didn’t eat bagels. I hardly ever went anywhere, and I didn’t have an income to speak of, so they weren’t high on my priority list. But now that I’ve got my own job–a place to go during the week, plus money–I’ve been adding bagels to my shopping lists.

So now I sit here at my desk on my lunch break, preparing to dig into a nice blueberry bagel with strawberry cream cheese. :)