Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Someday You'll Die

This was the highlight of my day.  The cleaning crew was here while I was out.  Twice a month, the bedding looks this way.  It was my first night sleeping under the green comforter.  Since 2001, I've been changing the comforter to color coordinate with the season, burgundy and green.  I was late this year.  I don't know how it got past me, but, you know. . . . 

My gut is feeling 90% better.  I woke this morning thinking that I had been returned to health.  I stretched like a kid.  That's what I was expecting, I guess.  When I rolled over, however, my shoulder slightly dislocated, the metal in my ribs started barking, and I couldn't straighten my bad right knee.  

Oh, yea.  

It's all good, as the kids used to say.  Homey.  

I took my mother to the doctor yesterday.  It was a real eye-popper.  The exam began when the nurse took her blood pressure.  It was an impossible number.  My mother's head should have been exploding.  When the doc came in, she began asking my mother questions.  The first was about her vision.  My mother doesn't answer questions directly, though.  You have to work to get an answer from her.  So. . . my mother began telling the doctor about getting her driver's license renewed.  The doc got lost.  They were speaking in different rooms, really.  It was agony, so I spoke up.  

"She's saying she passed her eye exam when she renewed her license."


"How's your hearing?"


You think I am making that up, but it is true.  

Louder--"How's your hearing?"


Again, I had to speak.  

"She can't hear for shit."

"I hear fine," my mother said.  

"Do you ever have headaches?"


"Wait. . . mom. . . what have you been complaining about every day?  Why are we here?"

My mother launched into the story of her fall.  She's into it, acting it out with her arms, showing the position she was in when she fell. . . but she's not answering the question.

"She's been complaining of having headaches since she went to the E.R."

"Is the pain in the front or back of your head?"

My mother touched the back right side of her skull.  

"Does it start from the bottom or the top?"

My mother began to explain her pain.  It comes up from the neck.

"I'm not surprised," said the doctor as she asks one of the nurse trainees to pull up the report from the E.R. on the computer.  "Your scans at the hospital showed you have severe arthritis in your neck."

My mother has both stenosis and a closure of some foramen.  

But the doctor shocked me at this point.  

"Taking pain medication isn't bad when you have pain.  I'm going to write you a prescription for Tramadol."

WTF?!  I was all for it, of course, but I was incredibly surprised.  Only recently one of my gym friends, a woman I have not known but have been around since we both were going to the same yoga classes twenty years ago, told me she takes Tramadol for her arthritis.  

"It's not an opioid," she said.  

But she is wrong.  When I got run over, I went from fentanyl to morphine to oxycodone then to Tramadol. After that, they put me on the non-opioid Gabapentin.  And when that was gone, I suddenly came to having never realized that I had been "in the bag" for a long time.  

My mother suffers with arthritic pain.  I think giving her the drug is wonderful.  Of course, this could be the opening act from "Requiem for a Dream" (link).  

The doctor had the nurse trainee take my mother's blood pressure again.  It hadn't changed. 

"I want you to see a cardiologist," she said.  "I can hear that you have a heart murmur."

"I've always had that," my mother spat.  

"You should be seeing the cardiologist every year."

The doctor said she was upping my mother's blood pressure medicine dosages.  As we left the building, we passed the cardiologist group that has half the office space on the building's first floor.  

"Do you want to make an appointment now?"


"I think we'd better make it while we are here."

I got her to walk in.  The woman behind the counter was very flustered.  The office was not functioning well, I could tell. . . or maybe it was this woman before me with electric green fingernails.  She was huge.  When she stood up, she looked like an advertisement for heart attacks, not the person you should see first when you enter the cardiologist's office.  

I don't think she was a very happy person.  

After a few minutes of futzing around, the woman offered my mother an appointment the following week.

"No. . . I had a fall. . . I'm still recovering. . . ."

The woman offered more dates.  In frustrated resolution, surrendering to the her plight, my mother made an appointment some three weeks out.  I guess that gives her time to change her mind, but at least we got it in the books.  It was done.  

I took my mother to Costco to get some things, then home.  We sat down in the garage just to chat.  I'd started this journey at noon.  It was four.  

I came home to a clean house.  That is always a treat.  I don't like to cook on the days the maids come.  I like to keep the kitchen sparkling as long as I can, so I had stopped at the store and gotten half a smoked chicken.  I would have it with a salad (not iceberg), broccoli, and beans.  

In the evening, I watched Nikki Glaser's HBO special, "Someday You'll Die" (link).  I've watched Nikki Glaser before, and I thought she was funny.  This special never made me laugh.  Rather, it was like having a conversation with myself.  I mean everything she said was a thing I say regularly.  It was like having a ghost come out of my brain and say all the things I think about people who have kids, aging, and death.  It was like watching a half-cute younger female doppelgänger of myself.  

As I watched the hour special, I just kept thinking, "Thank God!  I'm not alone!"

But I was.  

So, if by chance you watch it, think of me.  These are the things I don't always say to you.  O.K.  Not all the time, at least.  

Today, I must begin dealing with real shit.  My home insurance company cancelled my policy.  I have a month to find something new.  Nobody wants to insure a 1927 wooden house in a hurricane state.  Whatever I find is going to cost me a whole lotta money.  But I have to do it quick.  

Everything distracts me from what I want to be doing.  I am in a hurry. . . you know. . . 'cause like Glaser says, "Someday You'll Die."

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