Friday, October 14, 2011

I've stopped blogging on Cat Day Afternoon because inside it feels like everything is falling apart, and for me to continue yapping about books and cute shoes and funny things John said... well, it just doesn't gel with what's real. And I just want what I'm expressing to be real. I started feeling apologetic because every post I started would begin with the same thing. "I'm sad and I really miss my Daddy. I'm sad and my old lady cat is dying. I'm sad and John is sick and needy. I'm sad and poor. I'm sad and I miss my family." And then I'd go on to apologize for it and then I'd be pissed off for apologizing so I wouldn't even post at all. Or I'd start over and just post something frivolous. I'm okay with frivolity. I love the superficial. But I don't want it to replace my emotions when my emotions are so raw and exposed and RIGHT THERE for everyone to see. I don't want to be the crazy lady in the room wearing a lampshade on her head and everyone just tells me how pretty my hat is cause they know I'm crazy and the don't want to upset me.

So here's the real deal. I feel like dying. I feel like I don't want to be in a world that doesn't contain my daddy. I feel like I'm watching my child die and I'm helpless and pissed off. I feel like I'm screaming to be heard and no one wants to hear what I'm screaming. And I'm pissed that we're not moving until the spring. I am pissed off to the umpteenth degree. But there's nothing anywhere or anytime that is going to make any of this any better. It's not going to get better. There will never be another person who is going to love me like my Daddy loved me. There is never going to be another being who was by my side through the entirety of my 20's and the first half of my 30's. I am losing my self and my grip on what has become my life. Every day, when I leave the house and get to the end of the driveway I think to myself, You can do it right now. You can drive into a bridge abutment or you can drive to North Carolina or you can drive to Colorado and no one will know where you are and you can pretend none of it ever happened. You can live off the grid and wait tables and change your name and never have to face any of this ever again. You can pretend every day and every night and every minute of the day until one morning you're serving someone eggs and bacon and they call you by the name on the tag on your shirt and it never occurs to you that you were anyone else. And you never look back ever again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mama's Roots

My mama was born in Macon, Georgia on August 26, 1944. I think my grandmama must've been visiting someone down there because she talked about riding back to Kinston, NC on the bus when my mama was only a couple of days old. Mama was the third child in the family. My aunt Evelyn, who my grandaddy christened Butch because he wanted a boy, was the eldest and then my Uncle Cecil, who instantly became Buddy, came along a year later and a year after that my mama. There was another baby. A still-born baby that my grandmama told me was absolutely perfect except that all of it's orifices were covered over with skin. It's nostrils and ears and mouth were all sealed. She buried it in a shoebox out in the garden. Another baby -or maybe it was the same one, maybe I'm mixing up stories, but another baby was buried underneath my grandaddy. After the still-born child, came my Uncle Danny and my Aunt Joette. They grew up in east Kinston in a poor hardscrabble neighborhood where people grew their own vegetables and my grandmama took in laundry and my daddy worked as an electrician when he wasn't in jail for beating the shit out of my grandmama and their children. He was mean. Mean as a snake. Mean just for the sake of mean and it was all exacerbated by massive quantities of alcohol. I believe he was a gin man. My grandmama was beautiful. I don't mean pretty or handsome, I'm talking Ava Gardner gorgeous. When I was 20 or so, I met a man from east Kinston who, upon finding out I was Pauline Kelley's granddaughter drew back and said, "You're grandmother was the most beautiful woman I ever knew." Too bad it didn't get her any farther than five hungry children and a mean-ass drunk for a husband. For kicks, grandaddy used to make the three oldest kids fight each other out in the front yard. He'd make them literally beat each other up or else he'd beat all of them himself. Those were the choices. So, when my mama was eleven years old, grandaddy got thrown in the tank for beating the hell out of grandmama. Only this time, she'd had enough. She went before a judge and asked for a divorce. He agreed, but then he told her she'd better pack her kids up and leave or else my grandaddy would kill her. It was 1955.

How My Daddy Died Part 2

John was on the phone. He said You need to leave right now. I'm looking up plane tickets so you can fly out as soon as possible. Mama says they're keeping him alive until you and Angie can get there. Just try to stay calm until you get home. Drive slow and careful. So I hung up the phone and found Chris and told him what John had said and he said Go! Take care of everything and call us when you can. So I went. I bawled all the way through the parking lot and all the way home. I trembled and quaked and sat down at the computer to find the first flight back home. I found one out of Boston that left in less than two hours. I threw clothes into a carry-on bag. Underwear, sweatshirts, a pair of jeans, my laptop and charger, my journal, a toothbrush, my birks. I was wearing a t-shirt and a sweater and holey jeans and thick socks and Soloman hikers so that I could run through the airport if I had to. We left the house and I called Angie. She was already on the road and said she'd pick me up at the airport when she got into Charlotte. It snowed a little on the way to Boston. It was cold. The airport was crowded and the plane was packed. I sat at the window. Scrunched into the window seat wearing three layers of clothes including a winter coat. I cried the whole time. Shaking and queasy. Praying Please don't let me lose my Daddy. Please let this not be what it is. But all the while knowing that it was futile. That this was exactly what it was. I arrived in Charlotte and ran through the airport. Called Angie and she was 10 minutes away. She picked me up. We didn't talk much. Traffic was bad. It was 5pm rush hour. It took an hour for us to get to the hospital and it was strange because it was the new hospital which I'd never been to. Angie dropped me off while she parked because my stomach was so upset I had to run to the bathroom and heave and poop. After I came out, Angie was just coming in and Sarah and Katie had come to the front waiting area to bring us back to the ICU. That long hall way. Shining floors and fluorescent lights and my head throbbing with every thump of my heart, with every foot step and Mama standing at the end of the hallway. She held me and I sobbed, I wailed. I'd never known the wailing and gnashing of teeth until that moment. I was near hysterical and Mama was very calm, and pale. She was wearing Daddy's John Deere tractor jacket and it hung down past her knees and she whispered to me. He's hooked up to machines, they're keeping him alive. He and I talked about that and this is not what he wanted. His kidney's shut down and he's eat up with the infection. He's on dilaudid and morphine but he can still hear us. We're all going to go in there and we can stay as long as we want. We can talk to him and be with him and then when we're ready, they'll unplug the machines and eventually he'll stop breathing. The nurses said it could be anywhere from a couple of minutes to a few hours. But not until we're ready.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It had been almost a week since I'd talked to Mama. Other than a "hey" here or there in between her talking to John. I woke up today feeling okay. But then it went down hill. I went out with John for a little while, but within 10 minutes I knew that was a mistake. I felt sorry for myself. I felt sorry for everything. I felt premenstrual and sad and then it all fell apart after I got home. I cried. Crying because I miss my Daddy is an all-consuming cry. It's not like crying because I need to release. It's crying because there's nothing else I can do. Because I can't think or breathe or move. I thought about calling Mama. About calling Angie. But I couldn't do it. So Mama called me. She knows these things. She asked me if I feel him around me. I don't. I think because it would make it worse if I did feel him. It would hurt more. But Mama says he's around her. And Daddy guiding Mama is good enough for me.

Monday, May 2, 2011

How My Daddy Died

Daddy fell three times that Friday. The first time was early in the evening and Mama had to ask Jimmy to come over and help her get Daddy up. The second time was some time around 9 o'clock. That time she called both of the Billys and they got Daddy into the bed. The third and final time was a couple of hours later. Mama called me and said that she had called 9-1-1 and that the ambulance was on the way. She had asked Daddy before hand what he wanted her to do and he said he wanted to go to the hospital. He was too weak to take care of himself and Mama was not strong enough for the both of them. So the ambulance came. They EMS workers got Daddy up and then kept asking him if he didn't just want to get into bed. Was he really sure he wanted to go the hospital? Wouldn't he be more comfortable in bed? Finally, Daddy got pissed off and told them he wanted to go to the damn hospital. I'm sick and I want to go to the hospital. So they took him. Mama had already told me that she was certain he had a urinary tract infection. That she could smell it on him even after he had showered. It was inside of him. At the hospital they pretty much confirmed that he had MRSA. Not just an ordinary infection. They put him in CCU. He never left. It kept getting worse and worse. His kidney stopped working. They talked of dialysis but he'd have to go to Charlotte. And they didn't think he'd make the flight. They said he was so swollen. He had all this fluid going into his body and next to nothing coming out.

I asked Mama what I should do. Should I come? She said she didn't think so. I asked Wendy what she thought. She said she didn't know what to tell me. Tuesday I decided that if they were going to transfer him to Charlotte then I would fly down Friday and spend the weekend at the hospital. I wanted to see my Daddy. Mama told me Tuesday night that his eyes didn't look right. That it seemed like he'd had a stroke. That one side of his face seemed like it had drooped. They were planning on doing another CT scan Wednesday morning around 9am. I called John from work on Wednesday. It was my morning break. 9:15am. Had they done the scan? Not yet. I asked him to call me either way. I wanted to know the answer either way. I found Chris and gave him a run-down of my situation. Told him I was expecting a call. He said he'd patch it through to me as soon as he got it. I told him I wouldn't be able to work over on Friday because I needed to fly out that evening. He asked if I needed to take the day off. I said, No. I didn't think so. The morning passed. My stomach in knots. My heart in my throat. All out of whack. I'd hear the phone ring and wait... But no calls for me. That's good, I told myself. Good news is easier to with hold. Maybe John thinks it'll be better for me to find out good news on my lunch break. Lunch time crept up. Twelve o'clock. I raced for the break room. Grabbed my coat and lunch and was nearly out the door when Denise Gliddon grabbed me. Janet! There you are! I just paged you. You've got a phone call.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Part The Second

... I told the nurse that Mama had called me twice. The nurse is shocked and then says that there had been a lot of chaos. Someone had code-blued down the hall and nurses and doctors and staff came running from everywhere. So Mama freaked the fuck out and wound up having to be restrained. She thought people were trying to kill her. So I called Wendy and Wendy got Angie and they went to the hospital. For their own piece of mind really, since they had sedated Mama and she was out. After she woke up, she was pretty much fine. In fact, other than a few moments of mild confusion and hyper-mamaness, she's been relatively good. Physically she's much better. They sent a psychologist 'round yesterday and of course she figured out what he was up to and she played his ass like a fiddle. Serves him right because we told him to be discreet. So now the doctor says she can't go home by herself. So they're checking into having a physical therapist/light housekeeper come in a few days a week. I don't know. I just don't know.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mama had herself a bout of the psychosis. Wendy took Mama to the hospital last Wednesday evening because Mama had had diarrhea for days and had been passing out and of course Mama never told anyone. So anyway, they admit her to the hospital because she's got an infection in her colon and she also has a urinary tract infection. Because she's also been passing out, they put her in CCU so that she has constant supervision. They put her in CCU. Right up the hall from where my daddy died four months ago. We were all panic-stricken. We called regularly to check on her and Sarah sat with her for most of Thursday. I had an encounter with the bitch-twat nurse who told us to stop calling so much because our calling was interfering with Mama's care. I told her too bad and to eat a dick and either tell me what I needed to know or kiss her job good-bye. Afterward, because I really, really suck at confrontation and will get my feelings hurt super-ass quick, I had myself a little breakdown and had to eat a Valium. Friday, Mama's blood-pressure finally stabilized and all of her stats were looking better and things and stuff seemed to be on the mend. She called me for the first time since who knows when and I talked to her for ten minutes. It took 30 seconds for me to figure out she was high as a kite. Like super high. I texted Angie who was in the car on her way to Lincolnton from Kure Beach. And I texted Katie who was sitting in the room with Mama. Both messages basically said, "Woo-Wee! Mama's high!". Well this was just the beginning. Paranoia. Hallucinations. Lack of sleep. Fatigue. Depression. Severe mourning. Complicated grief. Mama called me at 1:30 Saturday morning. She thought the nurses and doctors were trying to kill her. She told me I was her only hope. I told her I'd do the best that I could to help her. Five minutes later she called back and wanted to know what I was going to do. I decided to call the nurses...

to be continued...