Tuesday, December 2, 2008

the post-op care

So, why is it when you go to a surgeon and he says, "You need surgery for whatever", they don't also say, "You will need this and this and this when you get home, so go get them now." That would be so helpful! Even when I ask what I deem are all of the right questions, I still am unprepared for what they obviously know.

My husband had surgery on his knee-- reattaching his quadricept. Why do the doctors send you home from the hospital with prescriptions? Why not give those prescriptions in advance? Then I don't have to leave the moaning, groaning, groggy man in the car to go get the pain pills that he obviously needs. Once I went into the pharmacy to retrieve pain pills for my son who had been in surgery earlier that morning. I came out to the car and my son had moved into the driver's seat. In most states, he could be arrested for DUI, just for waiting for me to go into the pharmacy to get the medication that the surgeon knew he was going to need.

When I anticipated knee surgery, I didn't envision a brace that reaches from ankle to high thigh. I don't know what I thought it would look like, but I didn't think it would be so immobilized. Why didn't the surgeon tell me ahead of time that I would have to clean the wound? Am I supposed to have Betadine and flat, 4-inch gauze pads with no adhesive? Why didn't he tell me that I would need to find the screwdriver to assemble a shower chair that I had to drive around town to find? How about telling me how long until he can drive? How about a little heads up on the bathroom situation? I would have grabbed that $200 plastic urinal I paid for in the hospital room.

This isn't my first trip around the rodeo. When my husband had heart surgery, the nurses were loading my husband in the car-- three days after the heart surgery-- and told me that he was not allowed to lie down in bed for weeks. What a large assumption... do I have a chair other than the office chair he uses and the hard chair I sit on? How about the fact that I would need an endless supply of bed sheets to cover beautiful leather said chair. Good time to find out that I need a lounge chair with feet that raise up... 15 minutes before arriving home with the heart patient. And, the biggest missing piece of information.... that the heart patient cannot be left alone for three weeks. Don't you think there are more errands that I would have done? There are just a few more people who would have been assigned chores? Vital piece of missing information...

Everyone is blogging and self-publishing now. Why can't the surgeon take an afternoon and make a pamphlet that would save me 85 errands post-op? I can only prepare for what I know.

Monday, November 10, 2008

the glasses

Are you really going to ask me to find your glasses again? It sounds like a children's book, "I found your glasses with your mouse." How funny that your glasses end up in the strange places of the house.

I found your glasses in the house.
I found your glasses with the mouse.
I found your glasses on the floor.
I found your glasses by the door.
I found your glasses on the desk.
I found your glasses in some mess.
Your pile of papers.
Your pile of notes.
Your pile of pillows.
Peak under your pile of coats.
I found your glasses between the sheets.
I found your glasses, the day repeats.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

the peaches

Did you ever stop in the middle of the yard and bawl your head off? Well, I did today. I walked into the yard and saw peaches on the peach tree. You missed it. You left and you died. You never got to see those peaches.

You loved the yard. You bought trees and shrubs. You watered and fertilized. Your hands touched these plants and trees. What do I do with them? Right in front I see the tree you planted. Remember the one? It was the same height as the kids when we moved into the house. You planted it out front. Then you promptly went to the store and bought another 12 trees just like it. I guess you thought you would cover the front of the house with a row of trees. Today that pine tree is so tall. It's almost taller than the house. It's certainly taller than your babies are now.

I remember when you came home with the peach tree and the Japanese maple. It was the same month and year my precious niece was born. I remember being so excited about her birth. I remember you being consumed with peaches. You used to tell me that the peach tree was there so that I could bake you some cobbler. I suppose I could bake a cobbler to complete the circle. Just to remember you. It think it would be too watery with tears.

It was so fitting that today was my niece's birthday and today I found the peaches. She is 12. You are gone. Sometimes God just wraps it up in a bow like that. A perfect circle of memories.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

the undecided and the fraudulent

So, how is it that 9 days before a presidential election there are still undecided voters? The primaries, the conventions, the debates, the relentless commercials... how could anyone not know who to vote for? There are many people who are legitimately undecided. Are they the people who wait to fill out their 85 deposit slips while they are in line at the bank? Are they the people who pull up to the drive-thru where they have eaten once a week for decades and don't know what they want to order? They hold up the line at the post office as if they have never mailed anything in their lives. It must be. They are the indecisive among us. They hold up the lines everywhere. They steal bits of time from each of us. Let's just hope that they don't hold up the lines at the polls.

And what about these 200,000 voter registrations in Ohio that can't be confirmed with government records. Why is it that the alumni fund-raisers at my college can find me within days of moving to a new address? Why is it that the red-light cameras can mail me a ticket when I wasn't even driving the car? Even if my car was driven by a wayward teen, the ticket finds me, the owner. With all of the government data bases that can be breached to find the scoop on "Joe the Plumber", why can't they use the data bases to root out voter fraud? Even I can look on Google Earth and tell if my weeds need to be pulled. We have technology. We have passwords and user names everytime we make a purchase online. We have tracking cookies on our computers so that marketers can profit from our profiles. We have MySpace and Facebook and blogs such as this, but we can't tell if someone is registered in more than one location for the same election. Find some teenagers. Give them 10 bucks to root out each bad name. Let them text and search and enlist all of their Facebook friends. The problem would be solved before the next episode of "The Hills"!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

the headphones

My headphones are an appendage of me. They rub ear pierces raw. They insulate me from the noise of kids—the tapping, the humming, the whistling, the off-key singing that clutters my brain. My headphones… they tether me to the TV. The cords surround me and entangle me with the DVD player. My ipod strangles me. I am caught in the connection I have now to electronic devices. Those devices used to be so insignificant to my daily life, but to connect through a cable seems so crucial now to my sane existence.
I suppose it is noise sensitivity. Perhaps it is the clanging around me that makes me lose track of my internal drumbeat, my internal song. My headphones are cheap therapy… releasing anxiety. They keep the song within me intact, undisturbed, and clear.

When I ask for quiet, I get challenged to measure the volume in each individual instance. They ask: Is this enough? Is this better? I say: No! I can still hear every word of rock music through the vents, pop music through the walls, and rap music down the hall. The mixture of noise, song, disharmony… it dislodges me. But there seems to be no relief. I thought they should have headphones, not me. I am the sensitive one that no one regards in their decisions. The kids are not mine to correct. They are not mine to mold into young folks aware of my sensitivity. They are unlike my grown children who share the same definitions of loud, disruptive, and insensitive. I would be the one instituting a police state, so therefore… my reprieve… the headphones.

The perimeter protects me. I am safe from the noise. I can think without interruption, without losing my thought when it releases from my unhinged head. The dog likes his den. As am I with the locus of points that surround my headphone jack.

I can see him across the room… my confidant, my best friend, my husband. But what is the latest development in my world? He is wearing headphones, too! I am two stages apart from him. He removes his. I remove mine. We are connected again. I talk. He listens.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

peely head

Have you ever had peely head? It's that one spot where you can't put the sunscreen, the part in your hair. For me it's this spot where my bangs meet the rest of my hair. Well, I suppose you can put sunscreen there, but what a yucky, greasy mess. So, a few hours in the sun, and I have peely head.

I started calling it that when my twin boys were 10. They were heading to cub scout camp. Their father thought it would be a good idea to cut their hair himself. Wrong! They are thick-haired, curly-topped red heads. And their father thought that shears with an extender would be perfect. After one slip of the shears, the extender fell off, and there was a strip of bald head. Twin 2 comes running into the house, "Mommy, Mommy, I don't want to be bald!" Before I knew what was happening, Twin 1 was nearly bald. Then there was a moment when I looked at these identical boys who no longer looked identical. Their foreheads were stuck together, deep in thought. They often problem-solved in this pseudo-conjoined position. Twin 2 emerged and said that he wanted to look like Twin 1. Cutest thing EVER!

Coming home from camp with burned heads, their skin peeled and peeled. I know it sounds disgusting, but I had to actually peel the skin off of their bald heads. Affectionately, and with much laughter about their father's one attempt at being the barber, we used the phrase that still makes us crack up-- peely head.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

the ribbon

How is it I am in my forties and I am so geeked out about a ribbon? I won an honorable mention ribbon for one of my photos in a local photo contest. Hilarious! I was smiling like I was 10 years old at the spelling bee.

I love this photo. It was captured at the merger point of three creeks. Hiking around the local parks is my escape my chaotic life. I could stand in this same spot every day for the rest of my life, and it would never look exactly the same as it did on this day at this time. It reminds me to keep perspective.