Friday, January 15, 2010

For Micah

A friend recently asked what my room here at Pikes Peak Hospice looked like, expecting--no doubt--my usual visual pictures painted by the many nuances of my voice and mood as a distraction (to us both) from this odd reality of my heading to an actual hospice...where I am being shipped to actually and really die. Well, this night, I wasn't quite up to that; thus, I thought I would just take a few pictures (It is, after all, the least I could do after the lovely bouquet he had delivered to me...along with his friendship, patience, and "love".)

First, allow me to post a picture of what I am told will be the last bed in which I will ever sleep. Such an odd concept...yet, one that does not alarm me as much as one might think. The prospect of death is neither frightening nor upsetting: simply strange. In this bed I am expected to take my last breath, which makes it, in my mind, worth a quick snapshot.

On a lighter note, above rests my Entertainment Center. Stunning it is, especially considering I have yet to flip on the television even once. (So much for tee-vee one simply must see!)

Here sits the ugly red chair (mentioned in past conversations with my dear friend)...slightly obscured from view by piles of food I will probably never eat...even though the ever-hopeful nursing staff keeps pushing it my way, optimistic that the sight and smell might somehow tempt my non-existent appetite into being.

Here we see the bedside table
from the second hospice room, upon which rests the phone, that foul instrument that allows me to pester said Micah at all hours of the day and night, whether he appreciates the constant "chatting" or not. Also, tissues for my ever-increasing
"weepy" moments...and last (but not least) the flowers (sent by that same dark-haired angel masquerading as a long-suffering close friend) which brighten my days...and nights.

This is the living area. (Notice the tightly shut drapery, which cause the hospice staff no end of vexation. "Don't you want those open?" they ask at least six times a day (corresponding with each shift change, no doubt).

On those rare days when my head is not pounding from red-blood-cell-and/or oxygen-deprivation, they are thrown open to reveal this surprisingly soothing view.

Below is the view from my bed, complete with recently painted toe-nails. (Vanity, thy name is Chanctetinyea...or would that be boredom? I've never been good at sitting still...or waiting.

And, it must be admitted, I spend as a result far too many hours contemplating the twenty-year-old scar on my right knee!)

Still in all, things are going far better than one might expect, given the circumstances. Yes, I am looking rather green of late; however, the pain is minimal. Furthermore, my energy levels--though not spectacular--do not seem to be diminishing...even though my skin tone is obviously green. (Yes, I snatched off the oxygen tubing long enough to take this rather looooverly snapshot on the Blackberry--now fully charged thanks to the long-distance purchase of a new AC adapter from Radio Shack...provided by Micah.)

What an absolutely hideous shot! (I would respectfully ask that the state of the arms and abs be forgiven, ya'll. The musculature melts to flab at an alarming rate when one is confined to a hospital bed for hours on end!)

I guess I shall never write that great work of literary brilliance to withstand the harsh trials and demands of this wisp of illusion we call "time."

Ah well...!

All in all, this whole matter of facing one's Final Days is not nearly as traumatic as one might expect. My children are safe, my best friend is but a phone call away, and Pikes Peak is not the worst place one might find herself interred to die.

Death does not, I find, scare me...

The prospect of leaving a life only partially lived, on the other hand, does. In those heavily silent hours of the morning--those unending strings of minutes, seconds, and heartbeats pregnant with both infinite promise and burgeoning loss--I wonder if somehow, on the other side of some great chasm between the dimensions of life and death, some part of me might be aware--cognizant--of the needs and sufferings of those I love (specifically my children...and, less so, my best friend) though physically unable to in any way intervene on their behalves. To me, this would be the very definition of Hades: to "see" them in danger, neglect, misery, or want...with no means to rush to aid them.

Perhaps, this is the one fear we all must face: the prospect of leaving behind "messes" to be cleaned up by those we hold dear.

In any event, for now, things are...okay. (Albeit it has taken me nearly three hours to complete this entry on my borrowed laptop.)


Time for yet another nap!

In the meantime, however, I would like to once again thank you for the flowers, Glaser my boy. They really made (and make) my stay--here as in Memorial--more bearable.

Good night, all.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dead Chance Walking

Since my last entry, my life has changed dramatically.

Last week I was in the hospital, where I was pronounced terminally ill. After being sent to the hospice, they said my terminal illness was not "acute enough" to warrant taking up a bed and a room. Now, I'm facing homelessness.

Nevertheless...I can't escape the urge to write...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thank You, Sunshine

When my mother died in February of 2006, I spent many a night asking myself if all that she was--all that she had the potential to be--had died with her. A few months later, I found myself discussing a similar topic with someone who would later become a very dear friend indeed. He and I spoke about our individual longings, pondering the question of whether one truly could "follow his [or her] heart. Of late, I have found myself lying in bed tormented by the question of whether my mother, Ms. Katie, was aware of the impact she made upon this world in her brief seventy-four year occupation upon it...and if my own four decades have by any means impacted upon this same world in any positive way.

This past week, I have been fortunate enough to have had the encouragement of someone I both admire and trust. And, he has assured me that my presence--as a person and a writer--made some small difference in his life. Realistically, it is more than feasible that he would only say as much to bring succor to me during this time, when my fate is uncertain and my future, ultimately, bleak. (After all, I have had the sinking suspicion on more than one occasion that this particular "friend" is more than capable of telling a whopper of a tall tale when it suits his purposes!) Even so, the fact that I now sit furiously scribbling the words forming in my hazy recesses of my oxygen-starved brain tells me that I have been given at least the hope that if I do depart from this Earth in the near future, my time here was not completely wasted.

My mother may not have had that assurance.

For that very reason, I am all the more grateful that someone took the time to make sure that I have.