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February 2009

one thing at a time

Another week has slipped by.  This is the week that was:
the week the doctor rang, and told me all my blood tests are AOK, including the hormonals. Which is happy-making. Phew. On the other had, I still have to go for a Ultrasound to see if all is in place and no-one has moved the furniture around or changed the decor or anything, in there. It still remains to be seen if there is any male factor involved, but to that niggle, I repeat my mantra: ONE THING AT A TIME which is also my New Year's resolution. (A thing I decided in February when it became apparent that not eating in front of the telly was setting the bar a little too high this year.)
Speaking of a little too high, I am spraying the flippy bits in a flipclock with graffiti artist's paint. All in the name of art, you see, although for the life of me, I can't remember why I thought it was a good idea to take 9 flipclocks, take out the flippy bits and draw on top of them. Why, why? oh why?
Am obviously deluded.
I went to visit Spike and co last weekend. Spike has been throwing crying fits and not wanting to go to Montessori since his friend left to live in Paris. It is hard being 3.
So. In conclusion. It seems that despite my mantra and the title of this very post, I haven't learnt anything. I am skyping E (young artist friend), listening to Sinead O's You do something to me on Youtube and posting this, all at the same time. Three things at a time.
Self, you exhaust me. I am leaving you for another. Hey, they are talking about transplanting larynxes (sp?)  why not a psyche? For this one is decidedly faulty.

A Tuesday

Tuesday 7.15
I slide out of bed and into shower in one movement. I'm vaguely aware of more brightness and warmth. Apparently in the last 2 weeks spring has sprung, and the grass has riz. JB's mobile goes off in the bathroom where he has seen fit to leave it and I go back to the bedroom to throw it on the bed. There is no speaking. My hair is wet but who cares, I am going. I can get a tea later. On the bus, which is good enough to come promptly, a bad-tempered woman sits by me and occupies more than her Twangy-allotted space. So I think. Then I chastise myself for thinking that. I plug in my mp3 player, but the battery is dead. My eyes glaze over. My brain glazes over.
It's 8am. At O'Briens I indulge/sustain myself with a take away green tea and a flapjack which I partly wolf as I wait for the LUAS. (The crumbs from the remainder spread around the bottom of my bag, sticking to various pieces of fluff and tubes of lip salve). I step on to the LUAS. I am happy, the LUAS is wonderfully sleek and modern and I pretend I am in a film travelling into the future. In reality I travel along Abbey St to Hueston and out to Tallaght and the hospital. It's tremendously bright. The canal is very high, and is catching the blue light of the sky. Things are pretty. I am thinking about last night when JB applied the wrong tone to the wrong words and upset me. (Although really, of course, the matter is another deeper one). I feel teary. I get bored of my thoughts and pick up a free newspaper. My horoscope tells me not to force the issue with loved ones - things will fall into place on their own if I leave them alone. I am cheered by this.
It's 8.40am. I'm a bit hungry. I turn over the paper. There's a story about J.ade Goo.dy (is that her name? She of Big Brother fame?) and how she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She is only 27, and the fact that she at one point became something of a despised figure in the tabloid press (after her racist behaviour on celebrity BB) makes the reporting of her news an uncomfortable affair. The change in tone doesn't convince - it's not different enough, its focus is still on her celebrity - as if this was a publicity stunt. I contemplate her circumstances. So much worse than mine. I step off the LUAS.
It's 9 or so. I gobble the few lumps of flapjack that remain in the wrapper by turning it inside out as I walk along and lobbing them down my throat. I throw out my tea cup in a steel LUAS bin. I slip in the back gate where the staff enter unofficially and take a shortcut through the smokers' meeting place. It has an illicit air about it. Past the Recovery Doc where the staff are having breakfast and I am inside the hospital. It's warm and clean. The usual notices about Clean Hands saving lives, the trolleys along Main St whirring along, the patients in their PJs taking a stroll, the whole place has a reassuring air of quiet competence about it. It's a ticking machine.
There's no sign of L.ucia, although it's 9.10. I collect the art trolley, do the requisite back-and-forth with the keys and trundle back down what is jovially referred to as Main St. Past the people waiting for blood tests, the splinting dept, the mortuary, to the dialysis department. I apologetically enter and dump the trolley there for a minute, while I step out to try to conact L.ucia. (Phones are emphatically prohibited in the department for fear they could interfere with the dialysis machines. These dire warnings are cheerfully ignored by the patients, who openly chat and text on their phones, let alone keep them on. Makes one wonder if the similar warnings on aircraft are a load of hooey, too-ey).
All are quiet. One patient, who was so sick and afraid last week, is sleeping. I hope he's better. I don't dare wake him. I hate waking people, even healthy ones. I know that despite the clean orderly appearance of this ward, with each patient resting or watching telly in bed, things could turn on a tuppence at any time for any one of them - they are so vulnerable to infection - even the Winter stomach bug could finish them off. For all that they look comfortable and safe, death is lurking not far away and they never forget it. I look around. Most people are sleeping. Then the nurse calls me to the phone. I am all apologetic. It seems a frivolous use of the ward phone. L.ucia tells me she has to go to a funeral of a young parent in her daughter's school. She says she forgot to ring me last night, but I am not sure why she didn't ring this morning. I feel slightly stitched up - maybe she knew I wouldn't want to come on my own and thought our Art Office Co-ordinator might notice no-one was there at all. (She, L.ucia, is the artist-in-residence here, not a volunteer) I tell her it's okay, but I let a silence lengthen for a second after she explains to indicate my lack of thrilled-ness. But, it IS okay.
It's 9.30. The nice man from Kerry has been sick last week, but now he's well. He is persuaded to paint in the lawn on his painting of a country house. And at least in that way, we both feel something has been achieved. He offers me a Fruit Pastille (he is fond of snacking on dialysis) and I am grateful. After a time, I leave him to it and go down the hall for a sit-down. I have a cup of weak tea and a some ginger biscuits. I give up my seat because they are in short supply and pass the time as I gulp my hot tea by reading a poster about smoking. The coloured illustration of the diseased lung looks like a sandy sponge. The cervical tumour looks huge and out of place. I am appropriately alarmed. It's time to go back to the ward. I tidy up and discreetly trundle away up the Main St. It's about 11. I return the trolley to the age-related end, and I take the LUAS back to town. I go into a pleasant daze on the way. The LUAS has a comforting rhythm, and is all nice, even though it is plastered - even the ceilings - with ads for a vibrating cleanser. Phhhiifff. I am not buying it. In town I feel tired. It's The Time. I text my friend A, thinking she may be working in the GPO today but she tells me to come up to her office and I get on the 13A and do that. It's sunny. We go and buy a sangwich and eat it in the park. She and her sister also my friend L, quiz me about my plan for the shed conversion. I am increasingly queasy - though not enough to prevent wolfing of sangwich - and can't parry them effectively, though I know they are right. I should get moving on it. I should get him to re-do the roof and put in a dome window. I just feel too defeated at this minute to make the effort. JB rings me as I walk uncomfortably home, hoping I will make it before my stomach explodes. He can't find his phone. I tell him I am not feeling so good. He says "Ok, grand, I'll go so", and hangs up summarily. I feel abandoned. I get home and have to lie down for a bit, so I stretch out on the sofa with the West Wing in the background. It's an episode that concentrates on CJ - she's meeting Danny in a restaurant while a nuclear reactor threatens to melt down. I admire her calm. How do these people hack it? (I mean the real ones? I wonder if they actually have a personality disorder of some yet to be diagnosed type - who could do it? Who would have the nerve? the hubris?) I fall asleep to the reassuring rhythm of the clever dialogue. When I wake I feel So Much Better. I am renewed! Tra-la-la! I do a bit of work on my computer. I improvise a nice dinner of sweet potato and spinach stir-fry. I smile. I make jokes to myself. I wonder what has happened in my brain to allow this to happen. I am a different woman. When JB come home, we talk about how he might not hang up immediately next time I am telling him I am sick. He explains he thought I was travelsick from the bus and would want to get off the phone as soon as humanly possible. I explain that this is not so.
And this is ok. It's ok. It's OK.
We watch Desperate Housewives. I do my yoga. We go to bed. I sleep deeply. Tuesday is over.

[Some men I drew in the cafe. I wonder if they were gangsters?]

a missive for posterity

----- Original Message ----- From: Twangy's Mother To:
Sent: Friday, February 06, 2009 4:56 PM
Subject: snow
Hi T, I'm sure you are not as deep and crisp and even as we are, but it was lovely today with the sun out. I got out your snow suit and snow boots and walked down to the village. It was a tight fit, but I got really warm, (and tired). Smokey seems to be all right with the small amounts of haylage and seems to be less scoury. That ski suit is 22 years old, but still works! Apparently the match is still going ahead as they have underfloor heating, as long as they can get there it'll be grand.
Hope you are keeping warm, I've had enough now, take it away.
love Ma
Lovely Ma
that sounds fun, walking to the village. Bit of bulldog spirit, what? JB is all ready for the match. He is wearing two pairs of trousers and two jumpers. It snowed a little here last night. Our kitchen roof is still all white, but this is because we have no heating on, not because our insulation is any good. Did you get the rest of the wool [insulation] in last week? I am interested to see what difference it will make in "my" wing.
Good news about Smokey, I am sure he loves that stuff. On the other hand, if this is the solution, keeping him well is getting more and more complicated. Talk about molly-coddling!
I will see you tomorrow I think. I am going to try to go to Nora Wickham for glasses on Monday. These ones are making my eyes feel funny. Talk to you then 
Love Twangy

in the bleak mid-winter, snoooow on snow

P2030067It's snowing. Quite exciting really. We are in thrilling trench mentality, in batten-down-the-hatches mode, even though the snow storm is more of a little Irish-style Shnow Stormeen in a teacup. I dodged world-saving One Dialysis Patient At A Time today on account of (what we like to think of as) the severe weather conditions. The idea of getting up early and slip-sliding down the road to the fogged-up bus full of sleepy commuters and then walking up the wind-swept plain with the wind coming straight off the mountains was enough to strike laziness terror into my heart. Never mind, we'll make it up to them later in the term.
I feel a lot more cheerful. Phew. And hurray! even.
Spike and co were down to visit on Sunday. Spike is a stickler for precision. And he doesn't seem to buy into the idea that there may well be more than one word for anything. So for instance, sheep are not to be referred to as Sheep, but as lambs, to please His Highness. Call a truck a lorry, and you risk being cut off with a bellowing NO! He reminds me of one of those Evil Kings in fairy tales who cuts off his daughter's suitors' heads at the drop of a hat. Was there one I remember that when he asked the young men to describe  what was wrong with his legs, if they dared to say one was shorter than the other, rather than one is longer than the other, he would summarily behead them? Or was that one of my lurid dreams. (Last night I dreamt I got a resounding round of applause for singing that old Beatles song I want to hold your hand. It was really fun. Maybe I have a secret desire to be a big show-off!)
Spike got over all those word-games in any case and turned out to be in a good mood, with much shrieking and jumping and wrestling. Dazzle is lovely - she can pull herself up to standing now, and is tolerant and as sweet as something really sweet a lump of sugar.
Smokey (Oldest Horse In The World) seemed much better than I expected. He seemed so full of energy and so strong that it was easy to dismiss any idea of this being an appropriate end to his life. He seemed not bothered by the snow, just shying and snorting like a youngster at a plastic bag. (A lot of horses have paranoid delusions about plastic bags. Why, no one knows. They are to horses what surveillance devices are to mental patients).
So all is well, for now. And even with that proviso, for now, I am happy and relieved.