Saturday, November 26, 2005

Not Thankful for Mortality

From my teens through my early twenties, I kept a diary, scribbled in spiral notebooks. The earlier volumes are decorated with lace and wallpaper samples and have my name written on the front in big calligraphic flourishes. The contents are embarrassing beyond belief; one of these days, if I ever get around to it, I'll make a nice bonfire and destroy the evidence of my adolescence. I shudder to think of my grandchildren one day reading that sticky mishmash of naive dreams, agonies, self-absorption, and anatomically questionable sexual fantasies. Perhaps this next couple of weeks, while I'm on my own, I'll brush off the old firepit and exorcise my teenaged demons.

It's something to bear in mind as I try my hand at blogging. Hey, kids! All the ickiness and angst of my innermost thoughts - now on display for the general public!

And the innermost thoughts are always doozies, aren't they, during the holiday season? I am home by myself (well, 'cept for the kids, who really don't count anyway) for the next couple of weeks as my husband is in Houston helping out his sister, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. We saw her Thanksgiving Day, for the first time since she was diagnosed and began treatment. She looks well, aside from having no hair and needing to wear a surgical mask all the time.

It's set me off, yet again, into reverberations from my mother's death of complications from breast cancer (the cancer itself was in remission - she died very suddenly of embolisms) a year and a half ago. It's been the central element in my life ever since. She lived in another part of the country and I very rarely saw her, had never seen her during treatment, and her illness never felt quite real to me. At the time she died, I had just begun, for the first time, to realize that maybe she wasn't going to be around forever, which was a horrifying thought. Then suddenly she was gone. And time, rather than softening the hurt, just seems to rub my face in it deeper and deeper because the weeks and months and years pass by and she's still gone...

My sister-in-law is in need of blood, particularly platelets, so I went and gave platelets yesterday. It takes about 90 minutes. They pump the blood out of you, separate out the platelets, then pump the blood back in (eegh - that's all right, really, you can go ahead and keep it...!) It's mostly the same sensation as giving blood, no big deal, just takes a lot longer. 90 minutes is just a very long time to be alone with the kind of thoughts I found myself alone with during that process; and I would really rather have had (to borrow from Douglas Adams) a chaperon... The donation needle hurt like a son-of-a-bitch going in and no wonder; I looked at it as the phlebotomist was removing it and that bastard was huge! (The needle, I mean, not the phlebotomist.)

I found it more frightening than painful. The apheresis machine was all gurgling and beeping and clicking and I was so afraid it was going to mess up and pump some air bubbles into me, or go haywire and suck out all my blood, or who knows what. I had the most hideous sense of fragility. Anything can go wrong, at any moment, without warning, and kill you - and, what's more, eventually will. And that's... that's just... unacceptable!

All I can say is, I hope I've come to grips with this shit by the time I'm old, because otherwise it's really going to suck.

And on that note, welcome, imaginary readers, to the inside of my head! Sorry there's not a bit more fripperies about the place. I expect I'll be posting quite a lot over the next couple of weeks. Happy Thanksgiving!


At November 26, 2005 7:02 PM, Blogger Bainwen Gilrana said...

I found one of my old diaries from my adolescence and was utterly embarrassed by it. Even worse, it was written in CODE! Like I had so much to hide that I couldn't even write in plain English!

Hopefully in 10 years or so I won't be just as embarrassed by my blog entries. :)

Bainwen, aka Minstrel

At November 27, 2007 5:24 PM, Blogger dreadpir8roberts said...

So this is where it all starts. Happy two year anniversary, blog.


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