“How I dreaded the white page I had to foul with ink!” ~ George Gissing

Husum Falls on White Salmon River, USFWS

                   

“May one day
soon someone pull us out into the rain
where all that vanished becomes legible again
and all we’ve struggled to decipher fades away at last.” ~ Dean Young, from “Disappearing Ink”

Wednesday afternoon. Rainy.

A very bad night for my body. I haven’t felt this kind of relentless pain in a while, and I’m not used to it, which means that I’m noticing it more than usual. Let me put it this way—those stupid smiley charts the nurses show you to ask for your level of pain, 1 through 10, with 10 being the worst? I’m never, ever at a zero. Never. Not exaggerating here. At a minimum, I exist somewhere between a 3 and 4, so I’m used to that, can handle that. But this? This is hovering at a 6 with spikes to a 7 or 8. Haven’t been in this state for years. Not used to this any more.

American Goldfinch, USFWS

C’est la vie . . .

I love the rain, love the sound of it, love to hear the songbirds who continue to sing during a spring rainstorm, but hate the muddy paws and how the rain brings out the dog smell in the house. I know that once we tear up the old carpeting in the living and dining rooms and refinish the floors that the old dog smell will pretty much go away, but for now, it’s an omnipresent reminder of wet dog . . .

Speaking of birds, I bought myself a bird feeder several weeks ago, just something simple, not the cedar one that I’m really hankering for, but it’s nice for now. I hung it on a shepherd’s crook on the corner of the porch so that I can see the birds. The biggest problem is that it’s not high enough, so it’s not attracting a lot of birds. But today I saw a goldfinch. How spectacular. I used to have a thistle feeder just for the goldfinches. If we ever build the overhang on the back patio, I’m going to have my different feeders again, one for thistle, one for sunflower seed, and one for mixed feed.

If ever . . .

“Once it happened, as I lay awake at night, that I suddenly spoke in verses, in verses so beautiful and strange that I did not venture to think of writing them down, and then in the morning they vanished; and yet they lay hidden within me like the hard kernel within an old brittle husk.” ~ Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf (trans. Basil Creighton)

This is the second quote that I’ve used in as many days that has included the word husk. Just commenting.

Laysan Albatross over Water, USFWS

Somehow this spring I managed to let my lilac bush come into bloom and wither without ever noticing. I absolutely hate that. I love fresh lilacs, love to put them in cups around the house, but not this year, I suppose. My peonies are blooming, and their tissue petals are so fragrant. I have them in the living room, bathroom, and our bedroom. Unfortunately, they are not fragrant enough to overpower the dog smell . . .

Last night I had a mucho strange dream: I was back in the apartment that frequents my dreams. I had moved back into it after my ex had vacated it. Not sure of the circumstances that caused the situation. I was wandering around the apartment, and I began to notice all of these incredible details: There was this beautiful tile work in the kitchen, completely covering one wall; a claw-footed tub was sitting along the wall in the kitchen. A little nook off the kitchen housed a beautiful wooden desk with lots of cubbies. And my reaction was to be extremely put out, as in how could he do all of this beautiful work here and never lift a hand in our house?

Then I found out (and this is extremely weird) that the apartment had been used for major parties, the sketchy kind. I found a wardrobe filled with tacky formal dresses for women. The wardrobe was behind an old refrigerator. In the midst of this, I couldn’t find any of my coffee mugs, and I realized that I didn’t have any dog food for the puppy. My mother was there, as was a friend of hers who is quite ill, and a neighbor to whom I had lent a copy of  The Count of Monte Cristo. This neighbor does not exist, but in the dream she had a pet owl that turned bright green when she stroked his feathers . . .

“Writing is a form of therapy. Sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in the human situation.” ~ Graham Greene

So, bad news. Remember when Corey was sent home from Lithuania, and he had found out all of those things about the company? He had decided to ignore the rumors and throw his lot in with them, and I agreed that it was a good decision. Well . . . pretty reliable rumblings that the company is in financial trouble. They’ve sold their Pacific ship, and their other ship is in the yard—again, which leaves the ship that Corey is on and a tugboat. And as I’ve said, the one that he’s on needs work. Do the math—they aren’t making any money.

Spring Sunset at Ridgefield, USFWS

I’m trying not to fret too much over this news, but damn, can we get a break here? Corey is working, making good money, had planned to stay with this company to get some deep-sea time so that he could go for his third mate’s license on a big ship . . . The best laid plans of mice and men? Is that what this is?

Fate is fickle. Life is a no-holds barred free-for-all cage match with no rules, no set round times, and absolutely no referees. Corey and I are tag teaming against André the Giant at his optimum (yes, I know he’s dead, but you get the point). And yes, this metaphor is stupid, but so is what’s going on. But even though everything feels like those bad dreams in which it is impossible to wake oneself, I refuse to give in.

Sounds bold, doesn’t it? Don’t call me on it. This thing called life is not a sprint, but a marathon. Sorry, I keep talking/writing in metaphors today.

“This face had no use for light, took none of it,
Grew cavernous against stars, bore into noon
A dark of midnight by its own resources.” ~ Josephine Miles, from “Made Shine”

Let’s see . . . what else is going on around here? Brett starts summer school next week, and oh yes, we can’t get financial aid for summer. Another bonus. But he really needs to take two classes this summer so that he’ll be caught up enough to begin his major classes in the fall. The money? Hmm . . . . Possibly the tax return, but oh yes, that’s been held up another eight to fourteen weeks . . . Just grand.

Barred Owl at Malheur National Wildlife Reserve, USFWS

Ask my ex to help his son with college? You’re joking, right? After the kids’ eighteenth birthdays, obligations went out the window. Now, anything that comes their way is a bonus, and everything else be damned.

Sorry, bitterness showing.

What else? Oh yes, Eamonn, who has until recently been cooperating in helping around the house while Corey is gone, has reverted. By that I mean that I’m getting heavy-duty attitude regarding the chores for which he volunteered. His logic? He’s working full time, so why should he have to take out the trash and recycling? You would think that I asked him to put on a new roof. I’m such a demanding mother. He gets clean laundry, Internet access, cable, food, help with his car insurance. Damn, what was I thinking in reminding him to take out the trash?

Sorry, more bitterness showing. Bitter kind of day. Dark kind of day. The pain and bad news are converging, brewing, coalescing, resulting in one premium foul mood.

“I imagine this midnight moment’s forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock’s loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.” ~ Ted Hughes, from “The Thought-Fox”

Actually, today is kind of like a scene from a David Lynch movie. Do you remember “Twin Peaks”? Remember the opening credits pulling back from the mountains? Remember the complete insanity of it all, how it was in stark contradiction to the beauty of the natural surroundings? The pie and coffee, the dream sequences, the clues within clues? I never did figure out who killed Laura Palmer. That show used to leave me stupefied and feeling completely lost. I think, no, I’m fairly certain that’s how Lynch intended it to be.

Rainbow at Quilcene National Fish Hatchery Looking South toward Mount Walker, USFWS

So today is my David Lynch day. I think that there may be clues out there somewhere as to what’s going to come, but I surely can’t decipher them. The rain? The rain that I loved at the beginning of this post? Now it just reminds me of Washington State, not that I’ve ever been there (but I actually do want to go to the Pacific Northwest). Rain, overcast, bleh.

Actually, there is a point here. David Lynch is big into dream sequences and dream interpretation. I, as you know, am constantly talking about my dreams, what happens, and what they might mean. In many ways, my dreams fall over into my real life as the mood I’m in when I awaken is often tied to what happened in the dream (Corey says that I get mad at him because of something he has done in a dream, and unfortunately, illogically, this is true). But  Lynch’s work is often open-ended and open to interpretation, kind of like today.

In Lynch’s movie Mulholland Drive (not Mulholland Falls with Nick Nolte)—a film not for people who like plot, linear movement, or logic—there are a few scenes in which people are wearing rabbit heads, like the kinds of animal heads men used to wear in the Victorian era, for some strange reason. Anyway, I think that I might actually have better vision if I put on a rabbit head. Or not.

In that movie, the female lead has a bad case of amnesia and spends a lot of time going places (like Winkies, I kid you not) and looking at things and talking to people in an attempt to figure out what happened. You know, I can’t actually remember how she got amnesia. Amnesia about the amnesia, if you will. The point of all of this? I couldn’t tell you even if I wanted to do so. So like most David Lynch things, I’m just going to end, in the middle, as it were.

More later. Peace.

Images taken from USFWS Pacific’s photostream on Flickr Creative Commons

Music by Pink, “I Don’t Believe You”

                   

Up

You wake up filled with dread.
There seems no reason for it.
Morning light sifts through the window,
there is birdsong,
you can’t get out of bed.It’s something about the crumpled sheets
hanging over the edge like jungle
foliage, the terry slippers gaping
their dark pink mouths for your feet,
the unseen breakfast—some of it
in the refrigerator you do not dare
to open—you do not dare to eat.What prevents you? The future. The future tense,
immense as outer space.
You could get lost there.
No. Nothing so simple. The past, its destiny
and drowned events pressing you down,
like sea water, like gelatin
filling your lungs instead of air.Forget that and let’s get up.
Try moving your arm.
Try moving your head.
Pretend the house is on fire
and you must run or burn.
No, that one’s useless.
It’s never worked before.Where is it coming from, this echo,
this huge No that surrounds you,
silent as the folds of the yellow
curtains, mute as the cheerful

Mexican bowl with its cargo
of mummified flowers?
(You chose the colours of the sun,
not the dried neutrals of shadow.
God knows you’ve tried.)

Now here’s a good one:
You’re lying on your deathbed.
You have one hour to live.
Who is it, exactly, you have needed
all these years to forgive?

Margaret Atwood

“Have you ever had so much to say that your mouth closed up tight struggling to harness the nuclear force coalescing within your words? Have you ever had so many thoughts churning inside you that you didn’t dare let them escape in case they blew you wide open?” ~ Ellen Hopkins

 Beachy Head Cliff, South Coast of England (Pixdaus)

                             

“Sometimes, when one is moving silently through such an utterly desolate landscape, an overwhelming hallucination can make one feel that oneself, as an individual human being, is slowly being unraveled. The surrounding space is so vast that it becomes increasingly difficult to keep a balanced grip on one’s own being.” ~ Haruki Murakami

Dunstandburgh by Moonlight, by Rainer Mirau (Pixdaus)

I’m not even certain as to where I should begin to pick up the tale that has been my life over the last week and a half. I was finally able to stay connected long enough to put together the two posts that I had drafted on Word. Both are backdated to the time on which they were actually written, but so much more has happened.

As I write this, my mother is in the hospital where she has been since the very wee hours of Tuesday morning. She developed blood clots in her broken leg, and they traveled to her lungs. On Monday evening, I noticed that her leg was very swollen and filled with fluid. I suspected clots, but she did not want me to call 911 again as the EMTs had just been to the house two nights before (more on this later). I reluctantly agreed not to take her in as long as she woke me if anything changed.

Around 4 a.m. she yelled my name. I took one look at her entire leg, down to her big toe, all of which were twice the normal size and called 911. This time they took her to DePaul hospital instead of Leigh; however, I went to the Leigh ER as I did not know about the change. Once I got to Leigh, someone came out and asked my name and told me about the mixup. I broke the land speed record traveling from one ER to the other.

Very long story short, they finally put her in a room around 11 a.m. where she has been since; she will be moved soon to a rehab facility to continue treatment and receive physical therapy for her leg. All of this has really taken a toll on her mental state, which in turn is passed along to me in the form of panicked telephone calls during the times when I am not at the hospital with her.

“One can’t build little white picket fences to keep the nightmares out.” ~ Anne Sexton

The Furrows, Sacramento River, by Stephen Oachs (Pixdaus)

The first night that my mother was in the hospital, the hallucinations began again in earnest. She called me and told me that someone was trying to get into her room, that someone was having a party next door, that children were running down the hall screaming, that someone was knocking on her window asking to be let in (third floor room). She did not want me to say anything to the nurses because they would hurt her.

Three nights ago, she called and told me that she wanted me to listen to the noise and then held the phone up in the air. When I told her that I couldn’t hear anything, she became furious. She said that she was going to call 911, call a taxi, call her neighbor, and she was going to get the hell out of that place.  She wanted me to bring her purse. I refused. The conversation ended with her saying to me, “When you find my dead body somewhere, then you’ll have to live with that the rest of your life.” Turns out my mother can be even meaner when she’s hallucinating.

On Friday, I stayed at the hospital for hours waiting for the doctor who was supposed to come by, and luckily it was a female physician with whom I had spoken with on Wednesday morning. She explained the condition as sun downing, something that happens to people who are in the hospital and begin to exhibit symptoms such as mom’s in the evening. Sometimes sun dower syndrome is associated with Alzheimer’s, but not always.

The doctor spoke with my mother about going to a rehab facility (something my mother had already decided quite firmly that she had not intentions of doing as she just wanted to come home). The doctor pointed out that since my mother is still on blood thinners, if she came home and fell, the chances of causing internal bleeding were good, and she pointed out that I could not do anything for internal bleeding. Finally, between the two of us, we convinced mom that a rehab facility would be a good thing.

Can I just tell you how good it was to cross that particular hurdle?

“Hospitals are places that you have to stay in for a long time, even if you are a visitor. Time doesn’t seem to pass in the same way in hospitals as it does in other places. Time seems to almost not exist in the same way as it does in other places.” ~ Pedro Almodovar

Morning Mist in Holland (Pixdaus)

Currently, she is being given seroquel at night to help with the night terrors, and thankfully, she did not call me last night, which meant that I slept, very heavily I might add.  I decided to give myself time to write this morning before tackling anything else, hence the current, up-to-date post.

I do understand why my mother does not want to be in the hospital. Who does, really? It’s the luck of the draw if you are going to have a nurse who is compassionate versus one who is snotty. And regardless of their dispositions, they are all overworked, which means that they may tell their patient that they are going right now to take care of X, only to return an hour later, having completely forgotten the request.

After my last hospital stay post back operation, I don’t know that I ever want to be in a hospital again. My mother is chomping because they are keeping her completely immobile with a catheter and some are treating her as if she is demented. She told me that someone came into her room to ask her what month it was, and she told them December. She knew the month, but she just wanted to fuck with them.

I reminded her that if she keeps doing things like that, those who don’t know her personality may be inclined to think that she really is out of touch with reality. She maintained that if they are going to torture her, she is going to mess with them.

I did finally have to make someone put a note in her chart that before being admitted, she was mobile, using a walker and standing on her own.

“Funny how life is so like surgery . . . sometimes you can make that rocky davis in that right lower quadrant.. and then there are those days when your bowel ruptures and spells into your peritonium and all you are left with is intense pain and sepsis . . . oh brother, my kingdom for a tenblade when that happens !” ~ Dr. David Morgenstern, ER, “Let the Games Begin”

Fox in the Trees (Pixdaus)

So getting back to the second ER visit, the one that happened the Sunday before the third visit (think it was Sunday, things are blurring together). On Wednesday, October 13, my mother developed diarrhea (too much information, I know). But after three days, of this, I knew that she was dehydrated: I could pull the skin on her hand, and it would stay raised and pinched.

I called her pcp’s emergency service and spoke with the triage nurse, recited the increasingly bad symptoms. She instructed me to get her to the ER, reaffirming what I thought in the first place. Mom, of course, did not want to go. I called for another ambulance as I was alone, and there was no way that mom could have assisted me in getting her to the car. She was taken to Leigh ER again, and pumped full of fluids and potassium. She was diagnosed with c diff (clostridium difficile), which is a microorganism that normally resides in the GI tract and only becomes a problem when it decides to go postal and wreak havoc with the bowels by producing toxins in the GI tract that result in severe infectious diarrhea and inflammation of the large intestine.

Regardless of the c diff, this was still an atypical ER visit in that my mother was joking around with everyone. I think that she was just glad not to be sick to her stomach any more. The more fluids she received, the better her mood. We got home sometime that night, and Corey and his mother were at mom’s house. My mother slept that night.

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those, who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in a human condition.” ~ Graham Greene

Swan in Fog (Pixdaus)

So here we are:  Mom is recovering from c diff, a broken tibia, night terrors, and blood clots.

In between all of this, Corey’s mom came to town for a few days. Corey was off work, so he was able to spend time with her, but I only saw her during breakfast on Sunday morning and a little bit in between. Everyone (family) got together on Tuesday night for dinner at P. F. Chang’s, but I was unable to go as Mom’s was having too many issues.

In the past few days, I have had a few good things happen: I have found a new musician, Ólafur Arnalds, who is from Iceland. Beautiful music. I have also had an Internet connection long enough to post. The other thing is that I have had some sleep, some even in my very own bed with my husband and dogs.

Small favors.

More later. Peace.

Music by Ólafur Arnalds, “Ljósið”