Sock it to me

Since I’m pretty much a homebody these days, I’m trying to set small projects for myself, things that stretch me a bit but that I can handle without lifting much or bending or whatever, like folding laundry, reviewing piles of saved mail for the shredder, or trying to get a brush through Sunny’ s hair.

Call it Occupational Therapy and also a way to combat the boredom/guilt over the household chores I can’t do yet.

And even though my usual ensemble on most days is one of my tres chic  (read, old, comfortable, and slightly worn) cotton nightgowns and a mismatched robe,* I’ve set myself the job of cleaning out my dresser drawers, one at a time, top to bottom, with a little assistance from whichever kid I can snag/nag/bribe.

Today, I tackled my underwear drawer.

With Sunny’s one-armed help,** I pulled out the things that don’t fit any more, the uncomfortable and/or ugly what-was-I-thinking items, and the aged/worn stuff my mother warned me not to wear in case a random bus might be feeling homicidal.

The rest was folded/matched, and put neatly back in the drawer.***

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Fuzzies on the left, trouser coutre in the center, white athletics on the right.^

I’m left with a mountain of mismatched socks (including five distinctly different red fuzzy socks… five) that I don’t dare pitch, in case their mates escaped down into the lower drawer (or underneath)  and other, say, foundation garments that I already pitched because donating them is impossible…and a little gross.

I honestly can’t believe the discard piles actually fit into that drawer in the first place–I mean, it barely closes now.

But it’s done.  And now, all I have left is the bottom drawer of nightmar–I mean, nightwear, which I hope will yield at least some of the matches to the denizens of Sock Mountain.

Because I have no idea how to dispose of perfectly good single socks… we don’t need any more dusters or silver polishers, the craft closet is full, and no one I know wants to make sock puppets…

Any ideas?  Heck, I’ll mail them to anyone who wants ’em–and I might toss in a basketful of single baby socks^^ to sweeten the deal…

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*Best thing about having a stomach wound: being legitimately excused from wearing pants, at least at home.

True story: I was in Physical Therapy a while back with an older man who was wheeled in once a week.  A therapist mentioned that she’d thought he was homebound, since he hadn’t been around lately. He said, “I’m not homebound–I just hate wearing pants!” He was a hoot.

**Sunny’s bike pedal fell off a few weeks ago, just as she stood up to get some power.  She nobly cushioned her bike’s fall and was rewarded with several nasty contusions and a broken arm. She’s fine now–in fact, she didn’t even need a cast, just a sling, and she’s all but forgotten to take her OTC pain reliever. So she and I are palling around this summer, until she’s deemed well enough to go back to day camp. Her only real side effect is being seriously bored.

*** That last bit really took it out of me–no one person should own that many socks. Especially that many nearly identical white ankle socks, all of which had somehow been separated from their solemates.

^ I’m usually anti-segregation, but they’ll re-sort themselves by tomorrow, anyway.  And probably start partner-swapping as well, darn their round heels.

^^Yes, my younger kid is ten. I told you I have no idea.

So. That happened…

It’s been a while since I last posted… a year and nearly ten months, holy cow…but I have one hell of an excuse.

I think.  You be the judge:

If you haven’t read my last post or you don’t remember it, you might do that now.  I’ll wait.

Yeah, so it turns out that the pancreatitis thing wasn’t over yet. In fact, at my very next checkup, the doctor took one look at me and ordered me directly to the nearest ER. Who had me airlifted for emergency surgery to a hospital an hour away.

The surgeon, the incredible Dr. S, did her best to piece my insides back together–from what I was told later, it was a bit like tatting lace.  Things had melted to other things and had to be pried…well, never mind.

That was September 4th.

Since then, I’ve had five major surgeries (only three planned), about twelve procedures under general anesthesia, and countless adjustments, stitches, rebagging (think ileostomies and colostomies) and retubings. At one point, I was sporting approximately eight drains around my waist, a hula skirt from hell.

Coincidentally, my torso looks a bit like target practice for a small, hungry shark packing a twenty-two.

I spent around eight months in various hospitals, under various levels of sedation and the really good painkillers.* Not to mention various Dante-like circles of PT, learning to sit up and maybe do a little walking, as someone followed me with a wheelchair, just in case.

When I left the first hospital, for a specialty one nearer to home, the nurses and staff lined the corridor and gave me a standing ovation… because (i was told much later) most of them weren’t sure I would make it.

That changes a person, knowing that kind of thing, even more than the 140 pound weight loss (I didn’t eat anything by mouth for a long time), or my new 4-inch belly button. Or having to resign from my beloved job (who am I, if I’m not a librarian?)

I couldn’t write for the longest time, either, even after I came home, this time possibly for good, two months ago.  I was tired and empty and in quite a bit of pain.

But bit by bit, I’m getting stronger. I walk a little every day, sometimes without my walker.  20170202_090039I no longer have a stomach tube and am down to six medications, only one of which is longer than my thumbnail.

Money and insurance are worrisome, buy I’m working on applying for Medicaid and Social Security.  I’m also looking for a stay-at-home job that doesn’t involve stuffing envelopes or fraudulent practices.

And better yet, I have incredibly supportive friends who have stuck with me through all this mess (including those of you who keep asking me when I’ll be blogging again–this is all your fault!)

And I’m writing again. Maybe not well, but there are words now, and sentences, and maybe stories, too, however rusty and convoluted.

And I am here. Battered and bruised but not beaten.

How have y’all been?

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*It is a terrible thing to put someone with a fraught imagination on heavy drugs when they have no outlet.  At one point, and I’m not kidding, I refused to wear my socks because I was convinced they were pregnant…and when they died in childbirth (because they aren’t built for it, obviously), I tried to convince the nurse to call a funeral home so they could have a decent burial.  She’ll be telling that story for decades; I should be getting royalties.

Living with Pancretitis: Beats the alternative…

So. You might have noticed that I haven’t been around here since last Sunday.

That’s because I’d just scheduled my post at We WriWa on Saturday when the worst pain I’ve ever felt grabbed me under the belly and bit down hard.

I just came home from the hospital yesterday.

My pancreas, for no discernable reason—seriously, they don’t know why—decided to dissolve itself with its own IV funenzymes and by the time this was determined, I was sustaining heavy renal damage.  The only treatment was to not feed me, while pumping me full of  gallons of fluids and antibiotics and calcium and drugs and, one assumes, liquid exhaustion.

Frankly, it’s difficult to sit up enough to type, or want to. I’m still having trouble eating—I’m lugging 24 pounds of fluid I didn’t have four days ago.  It saved my life, but it’s terribly uncomfortable now and there’s only so much I can do to get rid of it without ruining my electrolyte balance and going back to the ER.

I have bruises like blackened bananas up both arms from IV needles and blood draws and shots. I have a regimen of six huge horsepills a day.  Dude, we aren’t talking about the diarrhea; I can’t.

But I’m alive to be embarrassed and cranky and in pain. All my loved ones, more than I thought I had, stepped up to help save me.

I’ll take it and I’m grateful to be alive to do so.

I reserve the right to complain about hauling my  water weight to the bathroom every twenty minutes, though. I earned that.

Bruising

Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Mooon)

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Moon

“I won’t have our child superseded by a brother or sister simply because he or she can’t shift. And my bloodline,” he said, with razor-sharp scorn, “never brought me anything but trouble. If I didn’t love you so much, I never would have wanted children at all. But if I don’t have an acceptable replacement, there will be a Challenge Moon.”

“What’s a Challenge Moon?” I asked.

“Just what it sounds like,” he said. “If enough of the pack supports a different packleader, a challenge is held on the full moon. The . . . candidates try to maim their opponents beyond the ability to fight—and the winner decides whether the loser is worthy to remain in the pack. These days, they’re usually given letters of introduction to other leaders and their portion of the pack’s assets. But sometimes they’re considered too dangerous to the pack—or the packleader.”

Throwing Orange Flags

Yesterday was the Day of Misplacing Everything.

Duck!2I would go in the sorter room to find a book on a shelving cart and go out on the public floor with the item in hand, and somewhere between the door and the patron, the item disappeared.  I backtracked and found the things—except for the time the patron reached out and took it from her table as I stared at my empty hand—but I’m sure I never put them down.

My travel mug was never where I thought it should be, even when I finished its caffeinated contents.  Twice.

PencilsI never had a pencil when I consciously needed one, even though there were penciled hash-marks on my stats sheet, which implies the existence of at least one.  This mystery was solved, sort of, when our page appeared at the desk near the end of the day with a handful of pencils.  “These are scattered all over the place,” she said.  “Did a little kid grab some or something?”  “No clue,” I said, nonchalantly shoving one behind my ear.  Two minutes later, a coworker handed it to me.  “You dropped this.”  I could see how she came to that conclusion, but I knew the truth—it had dropped itself.

My phone also drifted around in this manner all evening. If I was in the bedroom, it was in the living room.  If I was in the living room, it magically relocated to the kitchen.  If I was in the kitchen, it promptly moved itself behind the breadmaker.

And then there’s the stack of Sunny’s clean underwear, which evaporated somewhere between the clean laundry hamper and her dresser.*  You could argue that this one isn’t my fault, but Sunny’s talents at making things disappear had to come from somewhere.Dear Me

My copy of Peter Ustinov’s autobiography kept relocating to the bathroom, but that was convenient, so I told it to carry on.

But it was obvious to me that something was going on.  Either small, localized portals are opening up and things are falling through them; inanimate objects have decided to mess with me more than usual; or my short-term memory is finally coming unmoored.

I’m pretty sure it’s at least two out of three, and since I’m more of a self-aware magical realist than a scientist, we’re going to go with anthropomorphics and that last thing I said, whatever it was.

Since the need to lecture, apologize, and apparently amuse lifeless items is deeply ingrained in my core belief system and ginkgo biloba sound like something that clogs up the filters in your aquarium—for all I know, that’s where it comes from—I need some other method of pinning down the things I need and remembering where—and what—they are if they momentarily leave my direct line of sight**

I know there are little lo-jacking systems for your stuff, along the lines of the keyfob that lets you know where your silver Honda is in a large parking lot full of Silver Hondas by making it beep loudly, thus scaring hell out of the elderly lady innocently walking by, which also helps identify the spot.***

But a system like that depends on being able to put one’s hands on their fob (Oh, hush.) whenever they feel the need (Hush, I said.), and if my keyring wasn’t in desperate love with the lanyard of my work ID, I wouldn’t have a chance of locating either.  I’d have to stalk elderly ladies in the parking lot, hoping one would have a Pavlovian reaction to my car from a previous encounter, and people tend to misconstrue behavior like that, or so I’ve heard.

What was I saying?  Oh, right.

So as amusing as a beeping remote or coffee mug might be, I’ve decided on a more subtle method:

Warning Cone Flag

I’ve decided to plant orange flags on anything I set down, even for a second.  I’ll need seven for the average work day and maybe a set of ten or fifteen for home use.  And one for the roof of my car, which I hope will keep the AARP from sending me strongly worded letters.

The flags will be collapsible and carried around in a quiver.  I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with the cones, which are necessary for stability . . . which I assume upon re-reading this post, is also something I should be working on.

I’ll just go put a flag on that.

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*You could argue that this one isn’t my fault, but Sunny’s talents at making things disappear had to come from somewhere.

**Hey, blinking is semi-involuntary.  Just out of curiosity, how many of you consciously stopped blinking when you read that?  Weird, right?

***I think it also locks and unlocks the car doors, but that’s clearly a secondary function.

^Because my purse is a Bag of All Holding, not a Bag of All Finding.