Sunday Morning

It has been an eventful decade. First a diagnosis of idiopathic neurapathy.. Then three strokes, one right after another.  Subsequently I developed Idiopathic periferalneuropathy, A struggle  finding the effective medication to quell the neuropathic burn in my hands and legs.I am presently on Methadone. I have never used heroine, it is cheap and appeared to offer the best suppression of pain  even though it carried with it the taint of it being used to treat junkies. I have done a lot of partying but never have had a taste for narcotics. It just a little embarrassing filling prescriptions with methadone on the list.

 About 5 years ago My good wifes father cals in an IOU. She had promised to keep him out of nursing homes as much as possible. We are a of a sort that once a commitment is mades it is kept at all costs. Deb’s dad shows up with dementia and we, committed to take care of him as long as could, rented a big beautiful house in the mountains west of Colorado springs, and for two years we suffered under the rage of a man, ,. There was few  good moments, for two years as my wife daughter, her husband and myself had as Ivan declined. . When death came and mercifully took him, the wreckage in human terms was four people suffering from PTSD to one degree or another. At about this time my health began to fail and I left the mountain retreat on oxygen.

And about that time one of my other daughters came up with stage three cancer in her breast and, more frightening, in her lymph nodes. We moved her up from Kansas and have spent the last year with the entire family living in a large house nearer the Springs. Amber my daughter, showed such strength and poise ,through out  I still stand in awe of her calm strong demeanor. I am proud of her

. My daughters brought their children of course and the population of the house grew to fourteen. It was crowded.  A moment of serenity was hard to find and the screeching was skull spitting But yesterday over half the children left for and overnighter with relatives in Greely. I thanked God for a little peace and quite.

At the moment my small world of living on the end of a cannula got smaller. Having had all my top  teeth pulled to fit some false teeth I woke up dopey and set my face on fire, (oxygen + flame) I have been bedridden for about a month going crazy.

One of the children who didn’t go visiting  stayed with me. Deb was working an overnight shift. So I woke up with a tabby cat curled in the bed sheets and a Macy next to me pushing my legs off the bed. Macy will do anything for me as so will the other children. I am treated with respect that I never expected at this point in my life.I spent a few quiet moments lokking at Marci and the little tabby car, curled together in slumber.

I now things will be getting better. As long try, very consciously, to go the extra mile in loving each other. Loving each other seems to be the only real answer. 

Sure the place gets noisy and messy with the kids. But when I need something or wish to say something the kids are right there, saving my soul just a little bit more with their brand of love. I am blessed. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Above all, I would like to praise Deb. Her efforts to keep the house running, making everybody happy while taking care of a woman with cancer and a man with COPD. She is a remarkable woman. I would probably be dead if not for her. Debra Mixon taught me a lot about love in the past few years. For that I thank her.

 

My Little Savior

 

Best picture I have of the couple , “John and Deb” . That’s why I use it so much. And having the Parthenon as a backdrop is pretty cool. But this is a story about hero’s and the lessons of life.

I am 6’3″ around two hundred pounds in height and weight. Deb, the nymph at my side is five two and 110 pounds weight on any given day.

We have been through a rough gauntlet this past decade what with a cluster of strokes kicking off a decade marked by death and disease of family members as well as financial difficulties related to my disability and inability to work. I have just discharged from the hospital.a couple of days ago with pneumonia and a bottle of antibiotics. This comes on the heel spending a couple of years tending to Debs father in the latter days of his dementia. All of us, contributed in fulfilling Debs promise to keep Ivan, (her father) in the home rather than neatly ensconced in a nursing home, ran us been run through the ringer of a very angry man with a brain disorder and related behaviors that  were so severe that we couldn’t  find a place willing to take him even if we were to wish that it be so.. Wedged between Ivan and my strokes I lost my motherand older brother within three months of each other, (unexpectedly).

Through it all I fought the fight to remain above physically and spritualy above ground asage and some early wild living caught up with me and took its toll in spades. Problems marched through my life putting me in the hospital several times. Ivan has passed, we get a call. One of my daughters has stage 3 breast cancer with some spread to her lymphatic system. She, her  good hubby and four children are with us now. Concomitant with this development my COPD reared it’s ugly head and now I spend some time every day on oxygen.In short, the last 7 years added up a millennia, or, so it seemed.:

  • 3 strokes
  • My mother dies
  • 3 months later my older brother dies (unexpected, an aneurism ruptured)
  • Appendix ruptured, but thinking it an old hernia I let it go for a week. I was so close to death when I finally saw my doctor about it. from the of my doctors office call and the opening incision was less than an hour.. The appendix  had been ruptured a week or so. and fecal material was filling up my thoracic cavity for a week. It took two Doctors over an hour to scoop all the shit out of me. ZIP dodged a bullet again.
  • Now, after a year of guarding a hostile, violent, sexually inappropriate dementia victim from hurting himself. (I must emphasize he was a rather rigid but otherwise nice fellow before his brain began to shrival).
  •  Oh! Yes, wedged between the dementia and my burst appendix, Three of my step daughters lost their father to a truck/train collision..

My daughters and son in law fought the good fight and I am proud of them…..but I found myself stuck in a paralytic state of intense agitated depression as I chaffed at my canula leash – time caring for Ivan wore on. I didn”t know whether I was going to survive Ivan or if he would be attending my funeral pretty soon.  As I wallowed in my depression, grieving over my shriveling physical capabilities and advancing age, the family did the best they could to take care of Ivan and as it turned out, tending to me when my lungs began failing.. I  could not handle the rarefied atmosphere of the Ute pass. Soon after Ivan’s passing we moved back to the plains at the foot of the front  range of the Rockies because I became prone to passing out unexpectedly and it was scaring the women in the family to death. But my depression and sense of having been an utter failure in life gave death an attractive luster. I became more beguiled by defeating my situation than just ending it.

Now that daughter with cancer is here and we 15 in the household, I have stopped sucking my thumb and come to the realization that as long as I love this family and show it  strong and quiet love, I am part of the strength and healing vital to the heart of the family. At the age of 61 I finally learned what true success is. I came to feel that I was a man of limitless wealth. Money had nothing to do with it. You can be a depressed drip driving your Lamborghini down highway 101 on the California coast with money in your pocket and the world by the testes and still be the body found in a Lamborghini with a cooling pistol in your hand.

MY MINITURE SAVIOUR

Deb is tiny. She has this huge quilted coat that gives her the look of a little tee-pee with a pretty face on top. After discharge from the hospital I couldn,t even manage to check the oil on my pick-up. Feeling useless, I sat in the cab wondering how she was going to do the job when the top of the engine was up to her nose. I watched in true wonder as she popped the hood and scampered (sporting her huge coat) up the front grill of my Silverado.  She carefully chose her grips and foot-holds on the face of the engine, and with a  few quick heaves she pulled herself up and onto the manifold under the hood.  Squatting on the engine, she checked the oil and added a quart  before nimbly climbing back to the ground and shutting the hood.

 

My daughter with cancer sat one morning, feet tucked up under her and staring off at whatever was in her head. She had shaved most of her hair off but with the tuft she left up top it gave the impression her “do” was a deliberate fashion choice. She was quite serene.

THIS PIK WAS TAKEN JUST A MOMENT AGO. SHE HAS  SHAVED THE LITTLE MOHAWK OFF COMPLETELY.

The pik shown here does no justice. but the fact remains that she has been gifted with such strong, beautiful, features, she cannot look bad. Even through the silent tears we have shared, she possessed effortless, heart breaking dignity. I am humbled and have no right to bitch about my pitiable condition with a daughter so strong.

I could go on for hours talking about my girls and their gifts, but today I will do just this.

I have been, through Amy, ( my oldest) and her steady and selfless help, Sherry and her example of a family done right, and Margi, my middle child, who gave us refuge when Deb and I found ourselves homeless and afoot, and last but not least, Alexandra and her precious gift of LaRay my brand-new granddaughter.. From which she has rallied and excelled. Now she is another star in my sky,…..

So as I sit here watching  my little Tee-Pee gingerly scamper across the engine. taking care of business as I realize I have not failed at making my mark in the world. I have not failed to find the top of Everest and the pot of gold. It has been a long and winding path to my grand epiphany, I am winner of winners. I am the great and powerful King of the most important place…….a family that loves itself and children who can now teach me how to fight the good fight.

Thank you Deb. Thank you family. You have breathed life into a soul near death and opened my eyes to beauty again. I hope to help you as much as you have helped me.

 

 

THE SNAKE PIT

 

I am sorry about the dirth of posting of late. I am sure you have been holding your breath awaiting the next profound revelation (humor). But there is no joy in Mudville lately. For the past cople of years Deb and I have taking care of her father, who has dementia and is presently on hospice care in our home. He is however of a special variety of disorder. His violence, resistance to co-operation and  sexual improprieties (his granddaughters cannot be left in the same room, and visiting of any kind has become sparse. His mania and  round the clock assaults have sucked my life and the lives of my family into a maelstrom of insanity. Dementia like his is so hard to manage that there are few long term facilities that will take him.

 They call it care-taker burn out. I call it depression. There is no way to describe the despicable nature of the beastie without getting melodramatic and still not impart the tremendous stress involved. Suffice it to say we live with two barricades in my home,  locked doors and  alarms.  The geezer has always been an selfish asshole. His demented condition has escalated his mean nature into attitudes and behavior that would have called for an exorcist in any other age. The dysthymia and major depressive bouts make formerly enjoyable activities seem a chore. Well this is my restart on my site. Sorry about the delay.

 

Reincarnation

 

It would be nice to report my absence of a couple of months was a fulfilling sabbatical that has recharged my spirit and refreshed my outlook.  Not the case.  In what appears to be a stunning betrayal,  Deb (my spouse) and I have been liberated.  Liberated, primarily, from a roof over our head. We are presently homeless.

FREEDOM FROM BONDAGE

 

What do you say when you  have failed to meet the needs of moochers and human tics that have attached themselves to you? How do you make it right with a leach that is disappointed in your lousy provision of the easy life?  What do you say when the leeches move out after they have drained the final dregs of your last good tit?After twenty-five years of sacrifice, patience beyond understanding, commitment, and crippling labor, our precious progeny have crapped in their own nest.  Now all bets are off.

What do you say when the bear has tired of mauling you?

Good-bye….

and HELLO EMANCIPATION!

 

AT THE AGE TEN AND FIVE

Deb found some old essays and such of mine while in a document search through some old boxes in our basement. I found this short piece on my two youngest daughters. It is an obvious first draft and cutting about 30% of it’s bloated text would be in order. But it returned to me after a few years and I felt I should let it see the light of day as it had been while in waiting all these years. I did not edit past spelling and repetition and such. Margi had a bit of the flu and her sister Alexandra was in attendance. About a decade ago .

At Age Ten and Five

The morning sun fell through the blinds on Margi, sick and lying on the east wall couch of our Sheridan Street house. Her baby sister, Alex fetched her water quickly. Little ALex fetched aspirins and syrups, blankets and pillows on pattering bare feet across the wooden floors. Quickly the little girl tended to her ailing sister. This was not the first time, both had done such things before.

   Alex cared for her sister as naturally as taking a breath or brushing the flaxen hair from her eyes. No guilt or embarrassment, no hesitation or doubt from either girl in giving or receiving love from the other. Both, had grown together since before the stretch of their memory. And just as naturally they would play together until I would growl at them to quiet down, or fight with each other till we threatened their little lives with parental wrath.

They ebbed and flowed from jealousy or competition for love or favor. They were kids together. We were all there, older sisters and mom and dad. All keeping an eye out and keeping them safe. With a fat little grandma to spoil them with time and attention. But then slave them with stepping and fetching.

They were just kids. But one of them was down now. And the miracle of Margi and Alex blossomed before me once again. The healing poured from one to the other without urging or education from any other authority than the wisdom of the heart. I didn’t have to tell them to help or heal or comfort each other when the need was there. I just had to witness the revealed nature of their bond of sisterhood.

I sat in my unremarkable living room, on an unremarkable morning and bore witness to the miracle of those two most remarkable children helping each other through life. They are my rosebuds. They are my heros.