Sunday, June 27, 2010

Two Trapped Posts

Since I went home for Father's Day, I haven't been able to get back into a routine when it comes to these posts. Well done, Johnson. It lasted, I think, 9 days before I screwed the pooch and fell of the wagon posting these things. Anyway. Here's two posts that sat trapped on my traveling computer for a while. They are written in the same rushed, one-draft policy that the other posts here have followed.

Mom said, Oh, you’re so skinny! She poked me on the shoulder and felt the bone protruding through the skin. Feel your shoulder, it’s not that big of a deal. Most people of appropriate weight have their shoulder bones showing like that. Anyway, Mom took it as a sign of malnutrition. Malnutrition is a strong word, but this weekend when I was back in St. Louis, I was fed like a person suffering from not enough food. She said, Do you want this? while holding out a fritter or something and then she’d say, Oh take it, go one, take it. One weekend isn’t going to hurt you. Try it.

Honestly, I still feel fat, and that’ll be the way I feel for a long, long time, even after these final twenty or so pounds are lost whenever they are lost (I‘m not making it easy on myself). Hearing my mom pronounce me skinny and then push log after brick of food on me in that motherly pressure way, I now feel even fatter. Bloated. Obese. Disgusting to myself and others. I have let down myself and all the disciplined choices I’ve been making.

I don’t blame Mom for acting that way. All my life, I’ve been her fat little boy and to come home, turning my nose up at extra portions and turning down ice cream, potato chips, and everything else, it’s worrying to her. Probably also makes me look elitist, like I’m too good for what she wants to give me. Or least I’m afraid that’s how she feels.

This weekend I relented. I don’t want to recount the food I ate or the calories I know I consumed because it was too many. It was a weekend of food that I shouldn’t be eating, no matter what, and I had choices. I could have always said no. However, during the one very big home cooked meal I had this weekend, I didn’t push against anything put in front of me and I could tell it made my mom quite happy to see me chowing down like I used to. After dinner, just like I used to, Emily and I went out for frozen custard to just heap more and more ugly pounds of food into my body.

The last day I was home, I felt just generally depressed. It wasn’t a sadness because I was leaving, though I bet that was part of it, but I had come to realize that I don’t want to live that way ever again. As nice as it would be to be close to home to see my parents, I have my own life away from my mom without old expectations or rituals or pressures. And, you know, maybe I am better than my old life.

Maybe that makes me a terrible person for saying it, but that’s the way I feel now. I like food choices being my own and without pressure.

When I was a young fat kid, I had this feeling that if I could only move out, then I would be able to get control of the food and everything that I did to make me fat and reverse it. It took me years after I moved out to get a hold on that because I still ate like a moron and without exercising or anything remotely resembling physical activity.

At my parent’s place, unable to fight their peer pressure about food and everything, I relapse and go home feeling terrible about myself. My foremost reason being for thinking of this as an excuse because I’m not powerless against Mom’s deserve to push food on me like the way I was when I was in her house. I can say no, but goddamnit it’s difficult, much more than it should be.

My dad’s heart surgery went well and he should be back home today, barring any complications. Even got to speak to him over the phone, so I’m feeling relieved about that.

My own condition, well, I don’t know anything else about that. I’ve been tested and the results seem normal. The doctors are supposed to discuss the next plan of action with each other and then let me know what happens next.

However, the new worrisome is my two aunts. One of them, Aunt Sissy, is having knee replacement surgery. That isn’t the troubling part. She’s a tough broad, so swapping out knees won’t cause her any issues. However, she has a heart condition that was discovered in preparation to the knee surgery. Further testing is pending and they’ll find out what’s troubling her. My other aunt, Aunt Cheryl, has a raging case of diabetes that will probably result in both her legs from the knee down being amputated. She, too, has a heart condition, congestive heart failure (or maybe it’s congenital, I don’t know which).

Here’s the problem I’m having: I don’t feel worried. I know I said I’m worried in the above paragraph, but I don’t feel it. It hasn’t manifested as feelings yet, only habits. I’ve noticed that lately I’m having trouble sleeping. I’ve talked about all these issues with whoever would listen to me, but the corresponding worrying feelings just haven’t been there. It’s like I’m having these outward expressions of worry, yet not actually feeling worried.

Is that normal? Is that what worry is, behavior without feeling? It’s not the kind of worry that I’m familiar with, surely. There’s usually a kind of mental tightness that goes with it or the thoughts are just dogging me as I play out each possible scenario in my head. This batch of problems, it’s been more like I’ve been just living my daily empty-thoughted day to day and then I just find myself talking about these things, even if it wasn’t anything to do with the conversation I’m involved in.

So, I guess it’s clear that it really is bothering me because I’m exhibiting the behaviors…right?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Above is my EKG reading from this evening. It's regular and according to the doctor who looked at it, it's good, but you never know. The doctor, who is not my regular doctor, spoke to me incredibly fast. He went on and on and on about a great many things related to the heart incident I had. He asked a lot of questions, had a lot of good information and told me something that I knew already. That throb with chest weakness that I felt on the treadmill...who knows. The above EKG shows that while I have a low resting heart rate, that it was behaving well right then. Maybe, at some other time, it would misbehave. So he said maybe we can echocardiogram me. Maybe put me through the paces of a stress test. Maybe this. Maybe that. Maybe something else. Surely a blood test and then, maybe this other thing. But, you know, probably just had too much caffeine and not enough water. Drink more water, cut back on caffeine and maybe it's this other thing, too, that we could test this other way as well.

That's what I hate about medicine. Everyone, I'm sure, feels the same way. Why can't they just tell me, definitively, what's wrong with me? I mean, I clearly explained it precisely how it felt? Right? I couldn't remember anything incorrectly, forget a detail, or use words to describe the sensation I felt that would be wholly different than the words the doctor would use. I mean, come on, I told him what it is, he should know how to fix it.

All in all, it was reassuring in a sense. He didn't knock me out right there and demand I have a heart operation. He also didn't say I couldn't exercise, so I'm going to start running and biking and everything else soon. And that's relieving. But he did mention Jim Fixx, so that sure as hell wasn't a reassuring reference for the doctor to bring up, but that's exactly why they want to be careful.

What was funny to me, as well, is that while sitting there and he's going over all these potential extra tests and blood tests, all I could think about was The New Yorker article about how people want all the medicine and tests they can get, which in turn drives up health care costs. So while he's going on about all this stuff, I'm thinking, "Yeah, great, but I don't want to be a health care cost sponge."

He did shake my hand twice over the fact that I've lost all this weight. The way he reacted made me realize that I never really appreciated how big of a deal it is that I've lost 130-plus pounds over all these years. Most of the time, I think of the weight loss as a big deal, but ultimately something that had to happen and something that anyone could do. I mean, I've made this mess, I should be able to fix it. So should anyone else. It never felt extraordinary, just regular ordinary. Because if I can do it, then it must be ordinary, right?

Oh, one final note about this doctor's trip before I close this 15 minute spot up...the nurse was crazily obese. That just doesn't sit right with me. That's like seeing your nutritionist eating a Double Down sandwich from KFC while drinking a milkshake. The nurse was very nice, professional and efficient...however, come on, buddy, you're in health care! Knock it off.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Why I Hate My Current Apartment: 3

That's a light switch that doesn't do anything. Notice how dark it is in the picture and also notice the on position of this light switch. This is what I'm talking about. There's another light switch in my bathroom that is like this as well. There's actually four light switches that operate the bathroom. There's two lights, each on their own switch. There's the stink and steam fan. And then there's this other mysterious goddamn light switch that doesn't do anything except move from off to on. Probably turns on the hot water in the next apartment.

There's also my "intercom" system which actually provides no intercoming. Oh, it'll buzz a person in, but if you want to ask if the person buzzing your door is the UPS man or an irritating fuck from down the hall who forgot their keys or some mysterious burglar, you don't get to know. You have to let them in to find out. The "Push to Talk" button doesn't work.

All of these are truths that have been truths for the last two years. I've never pursued them with the rental management to get them fixed, so I realize that it's my fault. However, is it too much to ask for shit to work like it's supposed to? I don't think it is.

What's funny, is that I really don't care that much about those broken bits. That light switch, eh, we get by. The mysterious light switch in the bathroom? We just don't use it. The broken intercom? Eh, that's been a problem like 10 times in two years, if that many. It's just the idea that they're broken and they never worked as designed that bothers me. And, I'm not one to cause an actual stink over something that I want to operate properly out of principal.

Does that make me an unassertive person? It says something about me that I've just sort of grinned and beared these issues with broken shit and didn't even so much as make a peep about them. And it's something that I don't like.

Really where we live is just a representative of our characters. So these broken things I've never bothered fixing are indicative of what, exactly in me? What do I know that's been wrong, but never bothered to fix because I just don't care? Eyebrow length? I don't know. I've never been a strong whistler, either. Maybe that's the correlation.

That's probably what pisses me off the most about these broken things is what it suggests about me moreso than it actually not working. Like this broken intercom, what kind of person leaves that broken for two years without even mentioning it to someone who can fix it? I don't know. But I know I don't like it.


I know the above post isn't up to snuff for me, but I'm pretty tired. I slept last night on the couch because I couldn't sleep and it got to a point where I thinking about not sleeping so that means I couldn't sleep. So I crashed on the couch and watched TV until I got my mind off of not sleeping. Anyway, right now, I'm pretty tired and nervous. Tomorrow, I have a doctor's appointment for this episode I had while running on a treadmill. I keep telling myself it's no big deal. I know it's no big deal. But I'd be stupid to not hear the "But you never know" little voice in the background. And I know tomorrow, I'll get tested, poked and so on, but there's won't be answers. Answers come in two to three weeks or something like that. Eh. Maybe I'll know tomorrow. Either way, I hope I get some sleep tonight.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Don't Talk to Me with Your Dick in Your Hand

Silence is necessary at urinals. I don't care who you are, or your rank, while me and you are pissing, we don't talk.

I don't understand the need to chat while pissing. Doesn't seem like a particularly social occasion. Two bulls hanging out, in a bathroom, dicks presented...sure, let's chat about weather. Doesn't seem right.

Just get in there and get out. Treat bathroom trips like a bandit. No reason to do anything else in there except God's dirty work.

I've been trapped a couple of times lately into conversations whilst pissing that I didn't want to be a part of. Sad thing is, how do you shut down a urinal chat?

You can't say, "Dude, not now." Because that opens you up to the whole "Why?" questioning and then you're left explaining the politics of a silent piss to some dude you don't want to talk to in the first place.

You stand there silent after someone entreats you with a conversation started like, "How's it going?" then you're just a jerk for not responding without a least a cursory "Doing good."

Then again, really, if you are going to be cock flangrante next to a complete stranger, maybe asking "How's it going?" isn't a bad plan of attack because if the guy doesn't answer or starts foaming at the mouth or gives you some crazy answer, then you have a clue that you can just hold it. No reason to go pecker-out next to a feller who wants to bite your face or other parts.

It's still awkward though. There are no winners with a urinal conversation. What kind of conversation can really be had then? I mean, if I get asked "How's it going?" and I start crying? How would that guy feel then? Could you piss next to a person you just made cry? Maybe you can, I don't know what type of dude you are, but I don't think so.

Also, come to think of it, the times I've been asking "How's it going?" maybe I've been displaying some disturbing urinal behaviors that I'm unaware of. Like I have a speech tic that I can't hear but some friends have picked up on where I kind of go "Hmm-ss" after some words. It's a kind of half-laugh thing that just happens. I don't hear myself do it and I don't know why it happens, nerves probably. Anyway, maybe when pissing I emit a kind of low wail that's indicative of pain or disease and the people who try to talk to me while peeing are just asking "How's it going?" out of concern.

Then again, even you're in a bathroom and there's a guy pissing making noise, are you really going to stand next to that guy? I could walk into the a bathroom and the President could be in there, but if he's going "Uhhhhhh" the whole time he's peeing, I'm not standing next to that fucking guy. I'm out. I can hold it. I'll sneak into the ladies room. I'll piss in an corner or planter or coffee mug some place. No "How's it going?" question will assuage me of any fears that this guy's fucking cuckoo bananas and I don't want to be prone next to him. He could reach over that urinal wall and karate chop my privates or something. No, I don't think so.

By the way, do you think urinal walls preclude the one-urinal spacing rule? I don't think it does. I love urinal walls and think that all urinals should be equipped with them, however, observing the one-urinal rule is still paramount.

In summation, I just have to saw with all finality that I truly, truly wish no one would talk to me while I'm pissing and I'm at a loss how to make that happen. Maybe if I just pee in stalls then no one would bother me, but then I look like a weirdo who only pees in stalls when really I just want to piss without needing to converse. Is that too much to ask? I don't think it is.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Cracker Shopping at Walmart

Fat kids make me sad. Yes, I'm perfectly aware how that sounds coming from me, but it doesn't make it a lie.

Last night, we decided to grocery shop at the Super Walmart to see if it was any cheaper than the regular grocery store options we have. It was cheaper, in all respects, and very depressing.

Maybe it's the lighting and just the aura of Walmart, but the joint really got to me. I felt myself shuffling through the aisles, looking around at the stuff for sale, thinking, "My god, this is what I can afford."

I mean, have you ever looked on the back label of an Oscar Meyer lunchmeat and seen how much stuff is in that besides meat? You know that for the cheaper turkey, it lists one of the ingredients as "white turkey." Not white meat, or breast meat or anything like that but some ominous sounding "white turkey." Does that mean the turkey with the white feathers, or somehow, have they started bleaching turkey meat? We looked at the turkey burgers, the kind pre-frozen and put into discs, and the ingredients read "Turkey and flavoring." What the fuck if "flavoring"? Grime and boogers has a flavor, and if I stuck on a sandwich, I guess it would be flavoring the sandwich, right? Gross.

And then seeing these two rotund 7 years old bowl down an aisle in that side to side lope of the obese. Oh, it's a walk I know well. You don't so much move your knees as swing your trunk side to side, forcing your legs forward at the hips. Anyway, these kids, these two 7 year olds, easily 150 to 175 apiece and they were maybe 4-5 or 4-7. Tiny fat bastards, really. And their mom, equally huge.

Look at that food they eat because that's what's affordable. Even the good stuff, the good for your stuff, stuff like turkey, drenched in sugar and vague promises of "flavor." That's what available. And nevermind the whole Walmartness of the situation.

No ceiling, just those fucking rafters and metal roof. And the floor, which at this Walmart is concrete glazed brown. The florescent lights sort radiating sickliness out there. And then these fat fat fat kids swaying like a boat on waves down the aisle looking for snacks and sodas because that's what's available because that's what they can afford. What else can they do? Water or something with taste that brings joy to their lives, even if it's grossly damaging?

It's just sad.

All this came to me when in Walmart and trying to buy crackers. I was there, reading the back of the box thinking about why is it that crackers need all these ingredients I can't pronounce and why do they need to try to hide the amount of sugar and bad-for-you stuff in there.

Label reading brings on a whole new kind of depression just thinking of all the junk you have to digest because the food without that junk costs 6 bucks a pop and for fewer servings.

I think it was Barbara Ehrenreich who said that healthiness is like the new godliness or morality. That being healthy and eating right somehow gives you a moral superiority or cleanliness. Maybe she's right. It's moral superiority you can buy at jacked up prices. Only the well-off can afford to be morally fed. Hm.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why I Hate My Current Aparment: 2

That right there is the ugly exposed pipes that run our sprinkler system. This was installed over the past few months. Why was this installed now and not, you know, years before when this place was first built? Well, probably because this building at my entire complex is going or have already went Section 8.

Yeah, affordable housing, sure that's all fine and good. I like affordable housing. But affording housing, you get shit like the last picture. You get shit like the above picture. Yeah, the housing is affordable, but why must it feel so cheap?

The above picture was taken in the pantry of our kitchen. So, maybe you could understand why they wouldn't bother covering it up with a big metal box that's roughly the same color as the wall paint (which they did in the other rooms). The piping is also exposed in our closet. It's just so fucking ugly.

My biggest problem is that this change happened suddenly, without out consent and not up to a standard of decoration that we would want. I mean, we do live here after all. You'd think we'd have just a little say as to what goes on here. They've also recently added dogs to the premises around here. Down the hall, the people have a full grown lab. Cute dog, verily, but it's huge, especially for an apartment, and the thing barks all the damn time. I don't mind the barking too much because it's our neighbors who get the brunt of that loveliness, but you can still hear it, very clearly, a lot of the time. Stupid cute dog.

Really, the pipe just underlined how out of control the living situation we have. Yeah, we live here, but it feels like we've sort of nestled into a suite at the Motel 6. Too much of the place around us lost that homey feeling.

Well, let's be honest, the place never really felt like home. The white-walled box we have at least was comfortable, but with the pipes, the dogs, the shitty neighbors (more on them later), just made living here stressful. When you get off work, you should want to come home because it's relaxing, welcoming and just nice. There's nothing welcoming here any more.

Plus, I think the uptick in rent went towards paying for that new sprinkler system and the allowing of dogs. Well, since I didn't ask for a sprinkler system or dogs, maybe I shouldn't have had to pay for it, right? How Tea Party of me, I know.

Still...bright ass orange fucking exposed pipes. Bullshit, I say. There's no reason for it. I would chicken-bomb this place, if not for the fact that there's nowhere to hide a mason jar full of milk and chicken parts, but I also want all of my deposit back.

And, honestly, the pipes make me nervous. What kind of people do they plan on moving into these Section 8 apartments that they can't manage a goddamn stove? Or is there something else going on? Faulty electricity? Combustible paints? What? fucking ass pipes...


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why I Hate My Current Apartment: 1

That's a picture of my patio window. It shouldn't be like that, obviously. A year ago, we were promised a new patio window. See last winter, all that condensation got inside the window and unglued the taped crosshatching. So, how we got those gummy remainders in there to decorate our window.

It really shits on the view because the lawn out there, despite being the place where the dogs shit, can be idyllic on a nice evening. It's especially nice on nights when the Indian fellows are out there on the tennis court playing cricket. But, no, we tend to keep it our shades drawn because we'd have to look at that ugly nonsense that should have been replaced months ago.


See, we shouldn't have to beg. We pay them hundreds of dollars a month to live here, so why must we ride them to get some broken shit fixed? I bet it's because they know the dry wall is also shit and once they rip out the door, it will exposed all the rotten dry wall that's lacquered in 20 coats of apartment-complex white.

And it's not just the door that they've ignored our complaints or been slow to act. The paint was peeling on our bedroom windowsill the day we moved in. We said something about it right then. One year later, they finally replaced the windowsill because, turns out, the wood was rotten.

Really, what's most annoying about the window is that it's depressing. When we moved into this place, it was the best option we looked at. Seriously. Knowing what I know now about Madison, we looked in some supremely fucked up places of this town to live when we first got to town. But this place, it had us fooled. And seeing those tape leavings, like slug trails, inside our windows and the water pooling up in there, it just makes me feel how duped we were. It's like every time I look at that window, I can hear the leasing agent we talked to saying, "Ha ha! Gotcha, dumbass!" And all I can do is say, "Yeah, you got me. I'm a dumbass. You win leasing agent."

There's no point to draw back around to here. Just look at that fucking window! I hope that nothing like this, no kind of grand "gotcha!" awaits us at our new place, which we look upon with rose colored glasses more and more. Seriously, we're counting the days down. We're shopping for furniture for this future place. We've talked about painting. We have 52 days before our lease starts at the new place. And I don't really want to pack up all this stuff and spend ours lifting our thousands of books, but if it means I don't get that daily reminder that I made a two-year long bad decision then so be it I suppose.

Honestly, this window is like a bad old girlfriend you work with. Like you can't help but see her every day at your job and you wish you wouldn't have to, but she's right there by entrance...looking at you, eating her cheesecake yogurt thinking it's good for her but it's not the light Yoplait she's dining on but the full-throttle fat yogurt with chunks of cheesecake as big as eyeballs inside of it and drinking her coffee that's more sugar than coffee and she calls it some awful nickname like her "Browny juicy" or something like that that makes you cringe but for three months you convinced yourself she was hot enough, you know "office hot." Then you woke up. And the tape falls down and you have snail trails. And it sucks, sucks, sucks...and there's nothing you can do but look at it and wallow in your mistake.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

15 Minutes

With these posts, I'm timing myself on what I write. Word limits always seemed daunting to me because the problem I've always had writing was the damn backspace key. The word I haven't thought of yet always more appealing than the one I have just put down. So with these first few posts I've put on here so far, I've given myself 15 minutes to write them. No more, no less.

The experiment in doing this, I hope, will allow me to grow a bit more confident in my first word choice and not struggle so mightily in first getting something down on the processor.

For example, right now, I've been writing this story. I have no idea what's going on with it, which is also something against what I've always done when I write. I like a plan to follow, I can't help it. But this story, I'm just sort of going where it leads me in the 30 to 45 minutes I can write each morning on the bus before work. (On a side note, they shut down the in-house coffee shop were I snuck in a few extra minutes, so I need to find a place to reclaim them).

This story, while I think it's interesting in parts, but it will certainly need a lot of trimming once I get somewhere. If I get somewhere. I'm 16 or so pages into it, and I don't know what's going on. It's 16 pages of treading water. It's 16 pages of no direction, no momentum, no end in sight. It's some kind of character sketch I suppose, but I don't know exactly what I have. Whenever I think about ways to sort of, you know, give it a plot, it just seems too contrived. Like, ooh, add a love interest or something else like maybe kill somebody or have the main character (her name is Betsey) lose her job. Drama it up. Makes sense, considering that it is a flipping narrative, but still...whatever I want to add it doesn't feel right, so I just keep going forward or at least going and seeing what happens.

Problem is, there's too many mornings that I don't feel that I'm getting enough written because I get stuck not writing, thinking about the perfect thing to come next or what should come next. Then I suddenly find all these other things immensely interesting. Like this morning, this morbidly obese lady and her infant child were on the bus and the lady was wearing this scooped next kind of thing that came down low on her back. I was mesmerized for a little bit about the crosshatching of stretchmarks across her back and the sores and blemishes on her back that she clearly couldn't reach to wash. Then I started thinking about my back and how it surely looked when I was that big. But, none of that has anything to do with this story I'm trying to write about this hyper self-aware 21st century lady who is remarkably lonely in her dead end job and sort of forced into taking care of her parents, in a way.

Ah, see, I just had about two lines types and I deleted them all. It was something about Alice Munro stories, nothing too interesting, but it's exactly what I'm trying to fight against.

Not that I want to make half-assed stories with half-assed writing. I want it all to be gem-perfect like a Barry Hannah story (have you read that speech of his published in the most recent Harper's? Excellent stuff.) but I'm convinced that by analyzing my each and every step, I'm muting myself along the way by not just trying to write stuff out and down. See where the characters and the situations go. But, I still have to point them someplace, right? It's all contrivances, isn't it?


Monday, June 7, 2010

58 Percent

I have to weigh 200 pounds of real weight, slicing off my extra skin of course. From my heaviest, that puts me at 42% of my body weight being lost. Just today, I was standing talking to a friend of Emily's at my wrist grazed my ribs. My actual bone ribs. Damnedest thing.

42 percent. That means I'm operating at 58% of what I once was.

I've decreased myself by about half.

I've been thinking about this a lot. Like maybe I've lost some other part of myself in there, too. I don't think I'm that different of a person, just sort of boring now. And I'm tired more often. Oh, yeah, and the hair on top of my head will exist more as rumor and memory than actual fact for the rest of my life.

On Sunday, I was trying to run on a treadmill at my apartment complex. Running has been the one thing that I haven't mastered. I feel in better shape, but I still can't run very well or very long. Treadmill set to about 5.5 miles an hour, yeah, that should get me running and if I do it more often, I will soon consider myself a runner.

However, on Sunday, I get this hiccup in my chest. Not sure what to call it yet. Palpitation seems wrong because I'm not 70 years old. It was irregular in that it throbbed more than usual and a weakness emanated out from my cheat throughout me.

Of course, it panicked me, sending my heart to beat faster, causing one or two more hiccups and that ripple of weakness from my chest out. I calmed down, everything felt better and I biked some instead.

I then went to WebMD. Huge mistake. I just wanted to obtain the language for how to talk about what just happened to me, not be freaked out by something called "aortic regurgitation." Yeah, hearts puke, apparently.

I go there because I want to know what this thing was that I felt. Murmur? Irregular heart beat? Palpitation? Heat attack? I don't know. Then again, what I felt fits aortic regurgitation. Also fits dehydration and about a billion other things. It's not that I found out nothing because I do have an idea that something funny did in fact happen to me, but that's not really specific enough. It's like a toddler telling you that it saw a fuzzy animal at school today. To him, yeah, fuzzy animal, that's a whole new world. But to you, fuzzy animal? That doesn't narrow it down and maybe he's wrong, maybe to this kid, he could be dumb, thinks fuzzy means slimy and he saw a fish.

Anyway, half of me is gone. I had a weird thumping in my chest that I never felt before. I'm north of 30 now. It's all too much, isn't it?


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tell Me What to Do

My parents' cat is diabetic. The cat is already missing one toe and one thyroid. She has two scratched corneas and a general pissy demeanor. Now, she's missing kitty glucose control. Bummer.

My mom called to tell me about the cat. Dad was working afternoons, the shift he hates the most. Mom was distraught. The cat, a Siamese, is 14 years old so she's been with the family for a long time, so it's understandable why my mom was so sad about the news over the cat.

The cat needs shots, daily. Needs constant monitoring of food intake. This on top of three thyroid pills a day. Maybe specialized food, or other things to keep the cat going.

My mom was telling me all this, clearly sad and not sure what to do. They already sunk about 800 dollars on the thyroid operation. Now more medicine, more expenses. It's tough, for sure. How do you put a dollar amount on something you love, especially something so dependent as a cat?

The options were, simply, try to keep the cat alive with all these extra treatments or put her to sleep.

My mom, weighing both options said to me, "I don't know what to do. Tell me what to do."

Those five words scared the hell out of me. Tell me what to do. Mom's don't ask sons those questions. Or at least they shouldn't.

It cut straight to my biggest fear, and my biggest eventual worry...what happens when my parents get old. I mean old old. What in the world can I do? How can I do that? And it'll be just me. I'll make all the decisions for them. And I'll do it from miles and miles away here in Wisconsin or some other faraway state. How is that done? I'm talking nuts and bolts and existentially. Like, who will take my mom to the store when she needs to go if she outlives my dad? Who will do the laundry? Who will dust, vacuum, fix their plumbing? Who will do anything for them? Me. Right. It'll have to be me. From way over here. Somehow.