Monday, December 06, 2004

NY Journal # 19 and a half (oops!)

Monday, December 06, 2004
An email from my dad to me, my brother and my mom's cousin:
At this point it is very hard for me to call and talk to you regarding Donna's condition. So I will try email to keep you inform. I don't know, maybe it is better not to let you know of her pain and suffering which is now happening so fast. She is to be transferred from the assisted living home in Irvine to a skilled nursing facility in Laguna Woods tomorrow. This is the best facility that I have found after checking most of the available ones in Orange County. Besides losing her eye sights completely, she now has lost control of her left leg and arm. It is so hard to watch all this. Love, D[an]
things my dad did not mention about her condition: loss of much of her motor function, ambulation, continence, patience, rationality, word recall, short term memory. It seems that in this final phase of cancer, it takes a victory lap around, destroying individual bodily processes and wreaks havoc with the nervous system, sending shooting pain through limbs that haven't been stimulated to pain. Pain, itchiness, goosebumps, being cold or hot, any sensation your skin might ever feel.. now happens at random. and doesn't stop when treated.Thank god for morphine. (i hope) ever increasing quantities. I hope it's helping. I hope it makes it marginally bareable. I hope it at least helps her sleep. I hope it makes the final days my dad gets to spend with her... worthwhile. They've had 37 years to form a family's-worth of memories and though it's being cut short, I'd hate for their final impressions to be so.... so.... ...not about their life.

Friday, December 03, 2004
Last night, a massive batallion of cranberry juice stormed the beaches, laying down suppressing fire for the orange juice infantry that followed. A final barrage of vitamin bombardment softened the entrenched enemy encampments... or so was hoped. This battle day atmosphere was unusually dry, given the previous day's frustrating wetness and the debilitating shivers of war fatigue. Concusive sneezing was sporadic but still marked the night sky with echoes of the chaos unfolding within. An early bedtime seemed to signal armistice. The tides of battle had seemed to have turned, morale was increasing, but would it last? War is hell. Overnight the enemy staged an effort to recapture lost ground in a bitzkrieg of sweat and occasional shivers. The enemy had done a superb job in surrounding my forces, it's effort was admirable. But as is often the problem with surrounding an enemy, one leaves oneself dangerously thin in ranks. Had my morale been lower or had I not had accurate field counts of the enemies strength, I might have lost the battle to continue the war. Luckily, I saw it for what it was - the feeble, last ditch, thrust of a beaten enemy that does not know surrender. For good measure, I dispatched orange juice en masse to clear out insurgent hold-outs. As the fog of war lifted and dawn broke, the enemy was seen withdrawing to it's last stronghold of head-stuffiness .. and nothing more. Reconnaissance missions confirmed no hidden enemy lurking in wait for repeat attacks. Still - battle, war or skirmish - no conflict is ever without damage done. My nasal system reflects a ravaged field of battle, eerily quiet now but whispering the ghost tales of the myriad fallen. Sneezing, coughing and stuffiness have taken the major toll, leaving a dull-aching headache to fill the void where chaos had reigned. A lower back ache recalls the vestiges of former battles waged so long ago. And in some twist of lesser-evil relief, is actually welcome in comparison to any of the enemy symptoms encountered recently. "V-Day" is at hand.

Thursday, December 02, 2004
Being sick sucks.... it sucks.... ....So Hard. I guess I haven't been this sick in a long time because I was reminded last night what it truly feels like. Or maybe it's just the cold shivers component of whatever kind of sickness this is that sucks so hard. Aside from pepper spray to the eyes, I doubt there is a more debilitating condition. Granted, the shivers only last for... as long as a given shiver lasts.. and being pepper sprayed is 30 minutes of wishing you were more than dead. Lying in bed, soaking the bed with sweat, not wanting to move a muscle because it'll just induce another shiver, trying to keep my constantly running nose from running, to keep my constantly tearing-up eyes from tearing, to decide if I am freezing or boiling under the covers - All the while knowing that it is getting later and later and I will most likely have to call in sick for lack of sleep alone - and I start thinking "ok, if or when i Do go into the office tomorrow, what will i say to my Napoleon-complex-having boss to shut him up if he says AnyThing At All about me being sick?". This aspect of job politics has always been interesting - how truthful can you be without coming off as bitchy or a guilt-tripper? I mean, no one wants to get walked on without so much as a word in your own defense, so you need to get a Little bit of a dig in... like, say "ya, I had to drag myself in today... I realized that paying rent was more important than staying healthy". or maybe "Sorry, I know I probably shouldn't be here today, but I already got screwed by not getting paid for the two day thanksgiving day "holiday" (finger air quotes optional) ... i cant afford any more non-working days" or.. if you're prompted or goaded or outright antagonized into major snippiness, try on a "well, since I've only been making $60 more than I was making on unemployement, that is.. when i work a FULL 5 day week... i figure if i want to... oh I dont know... have Shelter, or have.. what's that other one? oh ya, -food-... i had to come in today". With visions of sugar-plummed comebacks dancing in my head, I finally got to sleep. And then woke up. and then slept, and then woke and... on and on and on. I stayed at home till noon, got into work at 12:20 and ..... of course....... ................ my boss said nothing.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004
The Daily Show is the best show ever.--- t'was most awesome. everything about it. except for waiting for an hour to get in, but whatcha gonna do? The opening warm-up comic was actually Really Damn funny... suprising because none of Letterman's opening comics have ever been funny. The studio itself was much smaller than I'd imagined it would be. John Stewart is just as funny or moreso in person (taking questions from the crowd before the show) - Matt asked him if he'd warned the Crossfire bozos that he was going to lambast them, on-air to which John said "wow, excellent question.... do you mean, did i tell them I was going to go on the show and call the guy a d!ck? no." going on further to say he wish he would have because it might have prevented some of the back-&-forth nastiness that ensued. One thing about live tv tapings I've now noticed: the audio that they pump into the studio while showing taped clips they mix into the show is at 5 to 7 times as loud as anything else that you'd hear during a show. Why? No idea. except that maybe they actually use the sound OF the clip that they pick up ON the studio audience mics (so they also get accompanying audience laughter). this happened on Letterman too. it's strange to go from laughing hysterically to freaking out about loud speakers blasting at you, making you want to cover your ears in horror. All in all though, it was a Most, Most excellent experience. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. A heartbeat ... that happens next Tuesday even! HA! yep. Matt has tickets for the Dec 7th show. ohww yaaa. and Conan O'Brien in January. mmm HMMM...! god i love this city.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004
So much for the reprieve. My mom is being moved into a nursing home today. The good news, .. if there can be any good news in any of this .. is that the home is not the one her mom spent her last days in and it is just down the road from their house. can i still call it 'their' house? see, these are the things I dont want to think about. The bad news.... well, see above. Where would I even start..? And so I wont. Needless to say, her condition sucks, this whole situation sucks, cancer sucks... literally, sucks.. the life out of the afflicted and those in friend and familial proximity. I hate what it is doing to my mom, to my dad, to my brother and myself. I wouldn't wish any of this on any type of 'worst enemy' - What about G.E. Smith, the former guitarist of Saturday Night Live, you ask? good memory. he Is my nemesis and I hate him so much I still turn my head when he's on TV, but no. Well, how'bout the "band" U2, you say? no. a pox on their poorly-rocking house, but that's it. not George W. - he deserves something else... maybe something itchy, ...not even the Denver Broncos... i'll go with the same for them - something itchy, sounds right. AND SO it goes.... moments of overwhelming gravity ... with split second jumps to comedic relief. sometimes even a half assed attempt helps. confrontation, avoidance, confrontation, avoidance. huge steps forward, little steps back, sometimes little steps forward, huge steps back. like inching into a freezing pool or scalding bathtub.

IN other news:
- the leaves have fallen. what haven't are banana yellow or litter the street in a heathered carpet of fall loveliness. Snow is not too far off.
- had thanksgiving at Waverly Diner. it's the most diner'y diner in the neighborhood but man alive was it a weak t-day meal. still... not-so-hot left overs Do Make somehow-much-better left overs.
- Revelation Space is THEE most amazing book in the universe. to say it's the best sci-fi ever implies that it's only the best of sci-fi, a huge injustice. It is... and do not take this lightly at all... the best book ever. Ever. yes, I said it. e-v-e-r. Read it. tell me I'm wrong. I'll tell you, You Lie!

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