Sunday, November 28, 2021

Charity Sunday: In Memory of my Dad


Today is the eleventh anniversary of my father's passing. He had a serious hemorrhagic stroke in 2006. In the following years he had more strokes, developing vascular dementia. During his working life he had been a college professor. Towards the end of his life, he would read and re-read the same line in a catalog. He also developed congestive heart failure. His circulation was so poor that at the time of his passing, his lower legs were purple.

Collier Hospice in Wheat Ridge, Colorado was the second best thing to being able to pass away at home. The room was spacious, pleasant, and quiet. The staff were attentive but allowed for plenty of private family time. On the night before he departed, I read my father A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. He always read it to my brother and me when we were kids, along with Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I know that in this lifetime, I will never again be able to read A Child's Christmas in Wales aloud because I can't get through it without breaking down.

I will donate a dollar for every comment received on this post to SCL Health in honor of my father.

Link to learn more about Collier Hospice.

Link for the SCL Health Foundation donation page.

I apologize, but NaNoWriMo in conjunction with the November Poem-a-Day Brain-Dissolving Challenge has dissolved my brain and I can't think of an excerpt to post. If you would like to read a gloomy holiday-related poem that will appear in a future anthology, follow the link.

I'm adding in the 28th chapter of my NaNoHellMo project. I'm 1000 words from being able to stick a fork in that fucker. Be forewarned, it's a long read.

Day 28

28 November 2021

Spirit of the Universe, please set aside everything I think I know about myself, about my story, about my need for validation, and especially about you, Universe, so that I may have an open mind and a new experience with myself, with my story, with my need for validation, and with you, Universe. Please help me to see the truth. Amen.

Today is the 11th anniversary of my dad’s passing. It was about a half-hour ago that the hospice called my mother to inform her that he was gone. The ringer on my phone wasn’t working so she had to call twice. On the second time she said something hurtful that has stuck with me. She said “you’re never here for me.”

I don’t want to sit too long in this place. My mother is better these days, not as angry any more. However, my parents’ disappointment in me has always been palpable to me. I think it’s been a driving force in my life. I want to show them that I can be successful without having to do what they want me to do because I can’t do what they wanted me to do.

My parents helped me a lot financially over the years but it always came at the price of having to listen to how disappointed they were in me. I felt like I was always begging them to see what a mess I was, to please have some understanding for me and to let me get better so I could succeed on my terms.

I remember when I got the job in the independent living section of the retirement community where I worked. It was such a relief to not have to kill myself in the long-term care center anymore. Part of what got me the job was my EMT license. I was never able to work as an EMT because I would have had to take a $4 per hour pay as an entry level EMT over what I was making as a C.N.A., but the license still helped me.

I liked the job in the independent living section much better. I had a lot more autonomy and there was far less heavy lifting. I was proud when I told my father that I’d finally found a job that I thought I could stick with. His response was “well, we’ll have to see about that.” He and my mother were hell-bent on having me get my nursing license so I could make more money. There went my feeling of pride in one fell swoop.

When I did get the nursing license some six years later, I made between $2 and $6 more per hour than I had made working as a resident assistant, and I was killing myself working 60-hour weeks. My sciatica got better because the first case I had involved working with a one-year-old infant whose case resolved.

The next major case I had would be the main client I worked with for the rest of my career in nursing. It might have been okay if the patient had stayed with the agency that I was working with, but there was a serious disagreement between the agency and the patient’s mother, so he was transferred to a different agency.

I signed on with the new agency but kept my foot in the water, so to speak, at the agency I was already with. I had good (though expensive) health insurance through them. I did not know about the Medicaid buy-in if it existed, and I don’t know if it existed in 2016. There can be dry spells working for homecare agencies, so I figured it was smart to be signed on with more than one.

Working as much as I did fucked my health to hell. One of my patients developed a severe respiratory infection which he passed on to me. I had to call off from my other assignments so I wouldn’t pass it on to those patients, but my coordinator told me that I could keep working with the patient from whom I’d picked up the illness because I couldn't re-infect him and laid on the guilt by saying “the family really needs you.”

My diabetes was getting worse and I wasn’t on insulin yet. I was really, really sick. There is no way under the sun that I should have been working. During the night, I sat by this patient’s bedside. I would play games on my tablet or write on my laptop. Sometimes I dozed off, but it was a light sleep and I would always snap to if something were amiss.

I didn’t snap to on this occasion. I recall looking at the time when I started feeling so drowsy that I knew I was going to go under. I was in a state of complete unconsciousness for the next 20 minutes. When I woke up, the patient’s father was sitting at the end of the patient’s bed glaring at me. I collected my things, apologized profusely, and left. I knew what was coming.

I think that I had a T.I.A. (transient ischemic attack) brought on by all the stress that my body was undergoing. I was well and truly unconscious. I was, unsurprisingly, fired from the first agency. I wanted to rail at my coordinator for putting me in that position, but I remained stoic during the process, responding only with “yep” and “nope” and finally saying “okay, bye,” and leaving.

It wasn’t so bad at first because the second agency kept me on with the patient I’d been working with before. Unfortunately, his case worsened to the point where he needed more care than a regular LPN could provide. He had a rare x-linked genetic disease and was going to start needing infusions. I am unsure if he is still alive. He had lived longer than most kids diagnosed with this condition.

I tried to go back to work in a long-term care center when the homecare agency was unable to find me another suitable client. It didn’t work out. The diabetes had taken a lot out of me physically by then and I felt like I was going to pass out. I also felt confused, probably as a result of my blood sugar taking a dive.

There is a high rate of burnout in long-term care and this is because they work their staff to death.

I made a promise to my father that I haven’t been able to keep when I was sitting beside his body in his room at the hospice. I promised that I would finish my Bachelor’s degree in English. My father was a college professor and was always disappointed that I only had an associate's degree. Unfortunately, I am too busy to take on even one more thing.

One always hears these stories about people getting a lucky break after years of hard work. I honestly don’t think I’m ever going to be able to join that crowd.

Enheduanna's Daughter : A Nature Poem

Enheduanna's Daughter : A Nature Poem:   A Nature Poem You expect, perhaps,   a paean to trees, an effusion on the beauty   of hills and rivers, or a towering   ode to mountains? ...

I don't think most people know who they really are. I may be slightly more connected with who I really am now that I no longer live in the city and am no longer killing myself working 60-hour weeks, but I can honestly say that I haven't known who I am for a long time.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Kestril's Rhythms and Groove: Assassin

Kestril's Rhythms and Groove: Assassin: Grief is an assassin waiting for the pause between forgetting and remembering to re-shatter your heart, leaving you attempting to find a way...

Keanu Reeves once said that grief changes shape but it never leaves. I agree with that assessment.

Tomorrow is the 11th anniversary of my father's passing.

Poets and Storytellers United: Friday Writings #4: Pain in Ink

Poets and Storytellers United: Friday Writings #4: Pain in Ink: Greetings, my dearest poets and storytellers, and welcome to another Friday Writings session. I hope your weekend starts well and keeps gett...

I mostly experience widespread low-grade chronic pain. It's hard to explain to people that it makes me tired.
Midway through November 2017, I started experiencing excruciating pain in my left arm. I ignored the numbness and tingling that preceded this pain. As it happens, I severely injured the median nerve by continuing to bear heavy loads while delivering groceries and alcohol. I had no insurance and had to quit my job and wait for Medicaid to kick in. During that six weeks, I was in non-stop agony that was only alleviated by laying on the arm until it went to sleep. Fortunately, physical therapy helped with the pain fairly quickly, but I still don't have a full range of motion in the arm.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Cressida de Nova: The Wayra ...57768

Cressida de Nova: The Wayra ...57768:      there is something wrong can't get you out of my head begone dull lothario get behind me satan am too old for this foolishness   ...

Love it, love it, love it!

And, obviously, I'm not done talking about this incident, but I have a new spin on it.

One day when I went out for a walk with my mobile park bench (my upright walker) this aggravating fellow greeted me to give me one of his unsolicited pep talks. On this occasion, he told me "you have beautiful hair. If we could get your body to match your hair, you'd be a real doll."
I wish I'd thought of saying "yes, and if you'd just shut your mouth, you might be handsome."
Unfortunately, I live in a small town and don't want to make enemies of anyone here, so I probably wouldn't have said it even if I'd thought of it.

"Fun" With Sleep Paralysis


This is a response to a post by Amber Daulton featuring an excerpt from one of her books. The hero suffers from PTSD. He sleeps with a knife under his pillow.

Yikes! I can only imagine that if I kept a knife under my pillow, I'd slice myself up. 

I suffer from bouts of sleep paralysis. One time my son happened to be passing my room and saw that I was in distress. To my relief, he woke me up. When I asked him if I was making any sounds, he said only vague muttering. I could have sworn I was shouting at the top of my lungs.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

A Response to Life's Journey by Dawn of Dawn's Night


Free-use image by Enrique Meseguer on Pixabay

Ah, Dawn, I really feel your words! My nuclear family wasn't physically or sexually abusive but they didn't understand me at all and were often inadvertently emotionally abusive. I was badly bullied at school and was inasmuch as asked what I was doing to cause it. 

My father (RIP) once suggested to me that I had "weird mannerisms" because I tended to talk with my hands, the result of not being able to speak above a painful whisper during a severe month-long strep infection. Because of his words, I became very wooden, rarely gesturing with my hands at all and being very self-conscious of it when I did.

When I was fifteen, I was sexually assaulted by a nineteen-year-old guy. This was 1980 and I didn't believe there was anything reportable because there had been no PIV sex. The cops would have laughed at me. My friends supported me, but like me, they didn't think it was "real rape." I started acting out more than ever at that point. Not one adult bothered to ask what was going on with me. I was just scolded for being bad and told that I needed to be fixed.

I suppressed that event for 40 years. It really wasn't until I was in my fifties that I started being able to acknowledge that the bullying my classmates inflicted on me was abuse. I was 54 years old before I was able to acknowledge that I had been sexually assaulted by that fellow.

I still have trouble acknowledging that my parents psychologically abused me, even if the abuse was inadvertent. But they did. It doesn't mean that I don't love them but if I'm to move forward I need to be able to acknowledge it.

Thank you so much for this very powerful poem. I mean it.

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~

Free-use image from Open Clipart Vectors

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Rainbow: to never ever trust a stranger

Rainbow: to never ever trust a stranger:                                                                                                        
It's wise to trust one's intuition. If someone is sending up a red flag, there's probably a reason for it.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Kestril's Rhythms and Groove: Origin Story

Kestril's Rhythms and Groove: Origin Story: My lips were chapped, holding back words I couldn’t know. But it didn’t matter, because my eyes still saw that girl with a sword who held th...

I love it! I wish I'd heard more stories with girls being their own heroes rather than relying on some prince to rescue them. It would have made all the difference.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Lunch Break: 2874

Lunch Break: 2874:  wear them they must masks of every design - back to school students © gillena cox 2021 REVISIT   sumie sunday 49 Sunday Standard 49 Sunday...

I hope that with both the church and the school having Halloween events we won't have any tapping at our door. Then my son and I can eat all the gummy bears.

I'm glad that my son is an adult and we are in a small town. Kids at the schools he went to were, overall, better behaved than the kids at the schools I went to but it would still make me nervous. At the schools I went to, the kids would have gladly pulled the masks off of kids they didn't like and spit in their faces.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Graham Lester's Poetry Blog: The Children Who Fell Through the Cracks

Graham Lester's Poetry Blog: The Children Who Fell Through the Cracks: Here come the children who fell through the cracks; Here come the whiz kids who went off the tracks, In between sitters and saccharine sna...

I'm one of those kids who fell through the cracks and was everybody's punching bag, but I don't have enough stamina to get revenge.