Today is the calendar reminder of how my mom died on this day three years ago. I also realized I hadn’t made a blog post for three days soooooooooo… I am also realizing that I’m not especially communicative or creative when focusing on staying cheery and achieving the regular goals during weeks I feel are hellish.
So… my mom was diagnosed with behavioral-deviant frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) and given six months to live in January 2012. I feel the illness started to affect her when she was my age.
It’s a heartbreaking, soul-crushing illness.
Therefore, if you have money and you’re all “Wow, I just don’t need all this money! What can I do with it?”… while there are many noble causes, I’d suggest the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) because it’s long been the only organization solely dedicated to finding a cure for this awful degenerative form of early-onset dementia for which there is currently no cure or treatment.
As someone who really can’t stand feeling helpless, it was upsetting to watch my mom fade away.
And, since she was ill for so long, I always felt it important to remember how she was before she became ill.
And also how she was after she became ill because, while she was a beauty queen, she was also a real fighter. She baffled hospice nurses and doctors and I couldn’t have loved her more.
The woman simply defied death and I adored her.
But life gives and takes and rolls right on.
So how is your week going?????????????????????? A friend told me to stay inside because, cosmically, all kinds of shit is happening out in space.
I did a quick Mozilla search and found that she was of course right as this week’s cosmic adventurer activity is summarized as: Stream a solar eclipse and hunt down deep-sky objects.
Uh, no. I don’t want to.
Right when you need things to simply be calm in your little world the universe is all
YOU MEAN NOTHING. UNIVERSE IS EVERYTHING. UNIVERSE IS GOING TO SHAKE THINGS UP BECAUSE UNIVERSE RULES.
Thanks, space. Appreciate your support as always.
And a fucking wasp butt-bit my face on Sunday. Remember how Sunday was Father’s Day? And for those of us who don’t have dads through immaculate births or because the men who were physiologically involved don’t deserve the title or, as in my case, they’ve died, it’s subsequently a weird day because many of us are lacking the holiday focus.
To get through it, I was able to use my defense mechanism: humor. Humor gets me through most things, including life in general.
Because what else are you going to do? You have to make it through life using some kind of method and humor isn’t heroin so I think I’m doing great.
And humor is free. Heroin is never free.
In any case, I don’t think dads get enough credit for their free storage service. I’ve been talking to friends who are dads while their kids just keep handing them shit and they simply accept whatever it is without looking and their kid may say “watch this” or “here” and the dad is all “sure” and the kid keeps bringing stuff and the dad keeps accepting it and also keeps talking to me and it’s all kind of funny to me that all that is going on while our conversation continues.
So Happy Belated Fathers Day to all the really good dads who let their kids pile all their precious earth belongings on them as they go off and do God knows what.
My dad did his job right.
And, on Sunday, my husband and I went to his parents’ house because that’s where his dad who isn’t dead lives. And it was a lovely day and I was about to eat grilled corn for the first time in a long time and I was happily sitting outside in the sun on their deck and
a fucking wasp butt-bit me on my face.
I mean, it was a complete dick move. I was sitting there, being quiet, nibbling on my corn and a wasp felt obliged to fly over and sting me on my face.
I threw my plate of food into the air because it was so surprising and sudden.
As soon as I did this, I felt terrible BECAUSE I WAS SO EXCITED TO EAT THAT GRILLED FOOD AND NOW IT WAS ON THE GROUND.
My nephew had been bit on his arm earlier but he had also been running around in the yard so I didn’t think bees were a thing to worry about as I was not running around in the yard and was, rather, sitting quietly in the spot I had been sitting for most of the day.
I haven’t been stung by a bee in years. It’s good to revisit experiences. I calmed down as soon as I confirmed the bee had not stung my eye.
When I was a kid at summer camp, a girl had her eye stung by some kind of bee and it was
TERRIFYING AND AWFUL.
I had forgotten about that until I thought the wasp butt-bit my eye and I completely freaked out on the inside for about two seconds until I confirmed it was just about an inch below my eye.
No big deal.
But my physical body doesn’t handle things well. While I’m personally a big fan of downplaying things and utilizing mindfulness and the “big picture” perspective, my physical self is a complete drama queen.
For example, last summer we went to Marathon in the Florida Keys. I don’t think many people go to Marathon for vacation and we didn’t have the money to rent a car so we were just kind of limited to our quiet resort and anywhere within walking distance but we met a bunch of locals and they were great. This key was still recovering from Hurricane Irma. We didn’t know much about the Keys and had never been to any of islands before so it was all pretty eye-opening.
We did visit Key West once we got a rental car on our final day of vacation as the only public airport in the Florida Keys is located in Key West and I had managed to break my foot while on vacation a few days earlier and could no longer walk everywhere and found that Key West was hell on earth and confirmed once again that some people’s idea of “fun” is not our idea of fun.
David and I laughed at the TV commercials for a Key West bar called “Irish Kevin’s.”
Its name kind of sums it all up. And its commercial made it look like that was the place to go to experience date rape.
While waiting to leave at the Key West Airport, I made a very tan white guy realize what “class war” was when I asked him to move his luggage from the middle of a narrow airport walkway because people kept almost walking into it as they were usually staring at their phone and would then dramatically swing their body at the last minute in order to miss his luggage which caused them to bump me and my broken foot which was propped up on the chairs.
And that hurt so I spoke up:
“Hi! Could you move your bag from the middle of the aisle because people keep running into my broken foot to avoid it.”
My eyes were flashing but a pleasant smile was pasted on my face and the tone of my voice was sweet.
And the tan guy looked at me as if he couldn’t even believe I had spoken to him. I mean, he appeared visibly shocked. It was as if I was a ghost and he had seen me. His mouth formed a perfect little “o.”
And then he slowly nodded and moved his bag out from the middle of the aisle while not taking his eyes off me.
I smiled and thanked him and went back to reading my book and I could feel him getting upset from his close distance as he was by that point on his third brown alcoholic beverage and he was also wearing an Irish Kevin’s t-shirt.
The airport loudspeaker then asked first class passengers to board a flight which wasn’t ours and naturally that’s when he and his blonde money mama picked up their luggage (she had been on her phone the entire time, talking about dinner plans using grand hand gestures and definitely seemed to be in charge as he had been dying for her to get involved in the luggage drama but she just shooed him away as if he was dust) and that’s when Tan Boy said, “Yes! Because APPARENTLY there isn’t enough ROOM in this airport.”
Good one, Kevin.
In any case, earlier that week I had broken my foot while playing tennis at our quiet little Marathon resort. The racquets and flat tennis balls were free so we took advantage. And neither of us had brought appropriate tennis footwear (I had pictured sitting on a beach and our resort turned out to not even have a beach because the resort was struggling due to the hurricane and so it kind of exaggerated some things) so… we played tennis with shoes which had no support.
And, consequently, I was lunging to my left to reach a shot when there was a terrible crack and then my foot just kind of didn’t work and I fell to the ground.
Now I was falling all over that court because I was not in Wimbledon shape but I’m insanely competitive so I had to physically throw my body to make shots which meant I was always falling down and getting back up so when I fell to the ground in a pile… David just kept playing.
I had made the shot and he volleyed it right back.
The ball pattered to stillness close to my crumpled body.
Damn that hurt. I’d never broken a bone while conscious before. I had broken my other foot in a car accident when I was 24 but I wasn’t conscious for that.
I just woke up with a boot on my foot.
So this whole being conscious thing was really painful.
And we were on an isolated key which was recovering from a hurricane. And we hadn’t rented a car.
But whatever. The dramatic thing was how my foot looked really… bad.
It looked like a beached manatee which was beached because it had been run over by a motorboat a few hundred times.
And people looked at me and my Frankenstein’s Monster Foot in fear and with concern and at least two people told me that I shouldn’t fly with my foot looking so terrible as it may swell and explode or whatever.
But it’s not like we could just live forever on Marathon. I had iced my foot and kept it high and stayed off it but… we had to return to the mainland at some point and our scheduled flight for which there was no refund was the logical and economical option.
We simply had to see if my foot could handle it.
Sooooooooooooooooo I didn’t want people running into my Frankenfoot at the Key West airport because Tan Generic Irish Kevin had thoughtlessly placed his bag in the center of the narrow aisle which was also a very busy airport walkway.
Hahahahahahahaha his face. He was so tan and shocked by my existence.
In any case, since I was injured, I was permitted to get on the plane before anyone else because, since the Key West Airport is so small, passengers have to walk out onto the runway to climb up the ladder to access the plane.
So the weak, injured and infirm who couldn’t swing that were instead loaded onto a wheelchair and then loaded onto a Jeep and driven out to the plane and then loaded into a little ladder-side elevator which mechanically lifted us and our wheelchairs onto the plane.
That whole scenario was embarrassing to me but Delta was very accommodating.
I shared the Jeep with an older white man who was extremely well-mannered and gracious.
And the British Delta attendant who assisted us was also really nice and, when she asked me how I had hurt my foot, I told her I had hurt it during a highly competitive tennis match with my husband.
I don’t know if she didn’t hear “my husband” or what, but David later laughed when he told me that the attendant must have only heard “competitive tennis” because her face got all serious as soon as I had said it as she apparently thought I was on the professional tennis circuit.
“Where are your racquets?” she breathlessly asked.
I remember her asking this because I was concentrating on not falling off the lift and wasn’t able to field questions effectively while doing so and was kind of “what are you talking about, the hotel has the racquets” and… yeah.
There is a British Delta attendant who may have tried to find me on the internet that night to see where I was ranked with the WTA.
In any case, we eventually arrived safely/in one piece in Pittsburgh which is where we were then living and an x-ray confirmed that my left foot was slightly broken/badly sprained so I was referred to a couple surgeons who were SUPER BROS and totally high-fived me at least two times and they were kind of blown away by how my foot looked.
Because it still looked really terrible, all black and purple and kind of dead.
And Surgeon Super Bro #1 was all, “I have the x-ray so I know what’s wrong but… your foot shouldn’t look like that. Soooooooo… that’s crazy. All right.”
I don’t spend much time with bros but these surgeons’ overwhelming positivity and enthusiasm and their constant giving of high-fives made me feel surprisingly wonderful and I felt great when I walked out of that room and reconsidered my genre of friends.
It was about this time I also started to eat more iron and now I toss an egg into my daily lunch smoothie.
I do all this for my drama queen epileptic body.
And it’s never enough.
As another example of my body’s apparent inability to function and cope, when we first moved back to the States from our three years in Scotland, a mosquito bit me on my forehead.
Scotland didn’t have mosquitoes. That was wonderful. And apparently my body super-adapted or devolved and lost its ability to process mosquito bites because, after that mosquito bit me on my forehead, my forehead swelled up.
David isn’t one to freak out… he runs pretty neutral most of the time… but he greeted me with a “Holy shit!” when I woke the next day as my forehead was ridiculous.
So apparently I was suddenly allergic to mosquitoes. And still am.
And, as we’ve moved back to Wisconsin this year, the three things Wisconsin is known for in the summer is
- all the roads will be under construction and you don’t know what they’re doing because it looks the same after they finish up in September
- drunk driving
so I really take a risk going outside. Who knows what my body will do.
And now there’s coronavirus and me with my sudden asthma and minor lung infection…
Therefore, when the wasp bit my face on Sunday afternoon I was secretly worried I would bloat into a balloon and float away or something.
But I didn’t. It looks worse than it is but, again, my body is a drama queen.
Now I’ll have to go in to see my new neurologist tomorrow looking like I have been sucker-punched.
Not a great first impression but at least I won’t be on fire.
It could always be worse.
I’ll just wrap a bandana around my forehead and go get some answers.
And hopefully my neurologist will just blow me off like most neurologists who buy my “I’m completely fine and fill out all the paperwork” routine but I hope she can give me some reassurance after six months of being treated as if I should be hospitalized or dead by the previous neurologist.
In my experience, it’s like doctors are either “you’re fine” without really doing anything and just apparently relying on their gut instinct/bias or they’re “you’re dying.”
I’m a Libra and I’m always looking for balance. I’m hoping tomorrow’s appointment will deliver.
David is currently looking for somewhere to stay for a night or two for our upcoming wedding anniversary and I can’t wait to see where we end up.
One year we went to Puerto Vallarta which was beautiful and the only time either of us have visited Mexico but we went during the Mexican presidential election and the entire country was prohibited from serving alcohol.
So we just sat on the empty, dead beach and drank virgin pina coladas and it was lovely.
This year we will be looking for a place that is away from people and around a hundred bucks but… no matter where or what, it will be wonderful to get a short break from the fireworks, bells and gunfire which relentlessly play in our residential neighborhood.
Maybe we’ll end up some place with bigger fireworks, louder bells and more extreme gunfire because this is American and that’s how we roll.
Meanwhile, my wasp bite looks like a black eye and though it’s barely swollen it’s enough to make my left eye feel like its vision is slightly impeded and I constantly want to shut my eye.
But we can’t shut our eyes and wish for the best in this life, we have to get an eye patch, pretend we’re a pirate, drink more rum and hobble along with a song in our heart.
Because life is nothing if short.