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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Odyssey

NO, not that one!

I'm talking about my quest for a cot, a place to lay my head after a couple of mega stressful days—these coming on the heels of a tremendously arduous couple of weeks.

Originally, the good nurses on Ellison 11—the cardiac floor—told me they'd set up a pallet for me in the lounge. It would be safe, dark and, absolutely just as important, horizontal. And then the travel ban was announced. This was Monday. The Amazing Bob's day nurse told me that I could no longer sleep there as the staff would be using it as a bunk house. There was no spare space for me. None of these wildly important worker bees could go home AND make it back in the next day either. These nurses, doctors, pharmacists, etc. are hugely, for reals necessary.


I got the no-cot news after Jen had left for home. Not that I would've gone with her, mind you. The travel ban, which started at midnight on Monday night, meant that not even the T would be running on Tuesday morning. I needed to be at MGH with my TAB so the only real option was to stay in town. Both hotels, within a couple blocks of the hospital were booked for the night.
A wonderful friend offered his couch but he lives in a Western suburb. Nice, heart felt, lovely offer but, if I couldn't get back into MGH from Quincy, how the hell would I make it in through the big fat blizzard from Arlington? I figured eh, I'll sleep in the visitor chair by TAB's bed. It's OK. I'm cool.

It wasn't until around eight PM that I realized how utterly fried, exhausted, sore and just wickedly bummed over the concept of sitting upright, attempting sleep, in that hard back seat I was. I knew I wouldn't be able to get any shut eye and that's precisely what my body and mind needed most.

Near tears, I whine-texted my most awesome niece Helen. Her response? She found a hotel with an actual available bed AND it was just one mile from Med Central. FABULOUS!

And what a tremendous auberge it was! Loews on Berkeley Street. More about them later. For now—MEGA WOW. They’re THE best!

The heroic, wonderful Stephen Daignault
On arriving at Loews, the cabbie was assisting me out of his car and onto the sidewalk. Earlier, I'd taken a mega nasty-ass spill just trying to step into the taxi. I'd wiped out completely and, frighteningly, could NOT get back up. The kind driver had to actually pick me up and place me in the passenger seat.

On disembarking, I was taking ZERO chances of a repeat fall performance. The hotel doorman, seeing this, zoomed over to give me his arm and escort me the rest of the way in. Damn, I felt like a prom queen. Or a complete fucking invalid—one or the other.

I was, upon checking in, belatedly realizing that walking a mile in clear weather on snow free streets is one thing. Hiking through a mammoth blizzard, especially with my spectacularly wonky balance and sneaker clad feet (what I was wearing when the ambulance came for us) is a whole 'nother animal. Yeah, my brain hadn't been firing on all cylinders when I thought oh, a mile's nothing. I can walk that easy!

Rebecca, the fab-ola front desk agent, said come down to the front desk when you're ready to go in the morning. We'll get you back to MGH.

And they did. Leslie Liquito, the Front Office Manager was on the job Tuesday morning. I asked her if anything—T, cabs, horse drawn conveyance—was up and running. Nope—travel ban. While camping out in this mega comfortable lux joint for a day would've been heavenly, I HAD to get back to TAB at MGH. Possibly more for me than him.  After all, who'd nag him to eat if I wasn't there?  (Live to Nag/Nag to Live—my tat) Also too, it was our anniversary—29 years of blissful entanglement. See? Getting back to MGH during the height of the blizzard was imperative.

I didn't need to bleat cancer, chemo, heart attack, anniversary, THE LOVE OF MY LIFE DAMMIT—Rebecca had already filled her manager in—but I did. I asked if there were any orphaned ski poles or a cane I could borrow—I was gonna slog through that damn storm, oh yes I was! Just then Stephen Daignault, the director of engineering and security walked by. The astoundingly fabuloso Mister Daignault stepped up to the plate and hit it outta the park. He said I'll drive you there. WOW.

As we walked over to the parking garage where his sturdy, heavy truck was parked, I fell again and, once more, need to be lifted up and out of the snow bank. Nothing like a couple of giant tumbles to make a gal feel like a leviathan-esque fucking frail. Is it my age (56 thenkewveddymuch and no), my lack of balance nerves (in part, yes, absolutely), the fact that I'm not exactly in total primo, amazonian shape (yup)? Am I really a wickedly delicate invalid?

No but I need to think and prepare if I'm gonna be out in weather like this. Boots, a couple of big ass walking sticks, crampons and I shouldn't have on a huge backpack.

In any case, Stephen not only got me to MGH, he put up with my nonstop nervous chatter on the way there. The man's a hero. Big time!

Do TAB and I know how to consummately celebrate an anniversary or what?!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ice Nine

From Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle:
There were no smells. There was no movement. Every step I took made a gravelly squeak in blue-white frost. And every squeak was echoed loudly. The season of locking was over. The Earth was locked up tight
In fact, there really is a form of ice called Ice-IX. Ice-IX was discovered in 1968. It exists only under high pressure and does not have the properties of Vonnegut's ice-nine (thankfully!). Kurt Vonnegut's brother held a PhD in physical chemistry from MIT; he published papers on silver iodide and ice formation (cloud seeding). So that's one possible source for the idea.

These are just some of the fascinating bits you can find out while endlessly waiting, waiting and waiting and waiting while in hospital. Waiting to hear if you need to enter the OR. Waiting to get into surgery. Waiting for results. Waiting for final analysis. Waiting for the new meds to arrive from the pharmacy and then waiting to go home.

Yup. Looks like we MAY actually get cut loose today. I'll believe it when I'm home with two tuxedo cats clamoring for pats and treats.


"The snow doesn't give a soft white damn whom it touches."

“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water."

“Snow falling soundlessly in the middle of the night will always fill my heart with sweet clarity” 

“All Heaven and Earth
Flowered white obliterate...
Snow...unceasing snow” 

“I think we should model parts of the English language after the Inuits, who have 52 words for snow. Why don't we have 52 words for love? Instead, I have to rely on metaphors like, Her love was as pure as yellow snow.” 

“It snowed all week. Wheels and footsteps moved soundlessly on the street, as if the business of living continued secretly behind a pale but impenetrable curtain. In the falling quiet there was no sky or earth, only snow lifting in the wind, frosting the window glass, chilling the rooms, deadening and hushing the city. At all hours it was necessary to keep a lamp lighted, and Mrs. Miller lost track of the days: Friday was no different from Saturday and on Sunday she went to the grocery: closed, of course.” 

“Today was so cold that the wind froze my words as I spoke them and they fell silently like snow. I tried to say I love you, but I’m afraid I just muddied up the situation.” 
“When I was growing up, I’d walk to school in the snow. In Florida. Uphill all three ways.” 

Monday, January 26, 2015

NOT Still Waiting

TAB's out of surgery. They were unable to put in any stents BUT the good docs feel they can manage his "dicky ticker" with meds. They also feel that the attack was most likely caused by insanely high blood pressue.

Where did the cloud dwelling BP come from? Em...likely it was the stress from the cancer diagnosis and beginning chemo.

Swear ta Bast, if our lives were a teleplay, no one would fucking believe it. The story line would read as some bad soap opera witten by stoned teenage Martians.
and we're still waiting.

Catheterization today or no? Dunno, dunno. TAB can't eat before surgery so he's had nothing so far and we still don't know if he'll see the inside of the OR this day or no. Doesn't the Geneva Convention say something about not being permitted your morning coffee and cookie? What? No?

The one thing I do know is that we're here for the duration. Just as well. If we went home and my hero had any sort of post-cath complication it'd be insane, risky and maybe impossible to get back here to Health Central.

I said it before and will say it again--this joint needs a bar. It could be in the basement next to the cafeteria. Honestly, this concept seems like a real money maker AND it would be a real solid mitzvah for those of us camped out here doing this upcoming Storm of the Century. I just heard that we may get up to three feet of wet, heavy, not-so-fluffy white stuff.

groan, whine, snivel, kvetch.
No, this image isn't related to the post--I just like it. K?

Lost my shape
Trying to act casual!
Can't stop
I might end up in the hospital
I'm changing my shape
I feel like an accident
They're back!
To explain their experience
Isn't it weird
Looks too obscure to me
Wasting away
And that was their policy
I'm ready to leave
I push the fact in front of me
Facts lost
Facts are never what they seem to be
I'm still waiting...I'm still waiting...I'm still waiting...
I'm still waiting...I'm still waiting...I'm still waiting...
I'm still waiting...I'm still waiting...

I get all the news I need from the weather report

Yup. I'm with Mister Simon right now.

And the weather report is daunting and depressing enough (considering we're at MGH and not home with Rocco, Coco et al.) without reading about all the tragedy and traumas happening out there in the world beyond Hospital Land.

We're waiting to see Doctor Drachman, The Amazing Bob's regular heart dude. TAB might have a catheteritzation today. Maybe not. We wait and wonder.

There's a very slim chance we'll go home later (much later) today. Possibly before the big storm begins. If not, I'll be sleeping in one of the lounges or on TAB's guest chair. All the hotels right around MGH are booked solid. Of course. Just as well--starting rate for the Liberty is $350. OUCH!

The weather report's now calling for two feet. Coco and Rocco should be here with us. Both beasties, by the by slept with me last night. BOTH! Rocco's taking to his roll as co-house cat therapist admirably.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Turns out that was a heart attack that my Amazing Bob had last night.


Dunno what's gonna happen next. Really hoping that more open heart surgery is not in the forecast. Duh and OF BANGING COURSE!

A couple of friends have suggested this was inevitable given TAB's "dicky ticker" (as his chemo doc so technically phrased it), the mega stressed out week we've had AND the onset of Haddock Anxiety (another highly scientific diagnosis).  WHAT was I thinking? I should've told him I'd be frying up a cheeseburger and fries, sending out for pizza, baking a thousand chocolate chip cookies but NOOOOOOOO I had to get all fucking baked-wild-caught-haddock-with-brown-rice on the poor man.

Clearly I'm at fault for this latest angina affair.

Apart from self flagellating, thinking about food and planning out the garden I'll paint on the kitchen walls (once I finish the hall/stairway koi pond), I'm attempting to keep my mammoth anxiety under wraps. It would do no one, myself included, any good to see/hear me go full metal, screaming, hysterical basket case.

Placid. Tranquillo. Chilled the fuck out. I can do this. 

Well, That Was Fun


Before dinner last night, I was next door watching True Blood (yes, we're terribly deep like that) with Jen and Oni. I was gonna make our hero haddock and brown rice—NOT The Amazing Bob's fav but, now that he's doing better, it's back to healthy food. Poor man.

And then he called. TAB was having chest pains. Bad ones.

Just 30 minutes before, he was doing great. Fabulous in fact. After the long ass chemo day, he was in better shape—more energy, less pain, had a mondo appetite and way more upbeat— than he'd been in months.

What happened? Dunno. Might have been that morning's post-chemo Neulasta shot. Jen had the very same reaction after her Neulasta injection back when she was doing the Chemo Tango.

In any case, we had a replay (with happy variations) of that heart attack-ack-ack night five years ago. This time I wasn't fogged with fear. Afraid, yes. Most def! Addled by it, no.

Jen called 911. The wonderful EMTS (a whole herd of them!) were here in blink of an eye. No, TAB was not having infarction action (YEA!) but we still needed to hit the ER all the same. As they loaded him in I cracked Hey, if you didn't want haddock tonight, you could've just said so! He laughed (He laughed—YEA!) and off we zoomed in the lovely ambulance.

Lemme just say this—I feel sorry for the ambulance dudes. I was NOT a sweet, placid passenger. Between telling them how to do there job (Is anyone back there with TAB. He needs someone to ride with him. Who's minding my Honey Pie!) and yelling at cars that didn't pull over, out of our path fast enough for my liking ('the fuck, you dimwitted asswipe, MOVE. This is a goddamned ambulance. We've got hot freight! Do you not see the lovely flashing red light?  How 'bout the dulcet strains of the siren? We can't ALL be deaf ya know. Goddammit MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!) I was a real treat.

Tragic asslessness
Another difference between now and five years ago, while TAB was swarmed by docs once we arrived, the pace was way more mellow-ish. That and, while the docs—all women, just like last time—were attractive, they weren't freakishly super model gorgeous. Perhaps the exotically magnificent dazzler team is deployed for critical cases only? So then, half a dozen medics worked on my man, tests were done and then the wait began. Jen and Oni had arrived and the three of us camped out around TAB.

He was doing MUCH better—no pain at all. TAB and Jen talked football (both were very glad it wasn't Super Bowl night. They do NOT want to miss it!) while I people watched, making acid commentary (that man has NO ass whatsoever. It's tragic. Perhaps he was born without one? Those pants don't do him any favors either). Oni? Zen Master Oni Flash? He tolerated all of us in his usual peaced out, calm fashion.

Eventually it was decided that TAB needed to stay overnight for more tests. After accusations (You just want a night off from me and our smelly cats!), Jen, Oni and I trundled home, stopping first at the packy for some strictly medicinal Jamo for me.

Now it's time to head back in and hopefully tote my man home. 'scuse me.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Oh Yes, It’s Caturday!

Inscrutable Skitter
Our Schmooze Monster
It's official—Jen and Oni’s Skitter is now more feral-ish than Rocco.

Skitter was born outside to Trixie (who lives with a lovely woman in Portland, Maine now) but moved inside before her six month birthday. Four years later and she still runs from everyone but Jen. Only Saint Jen is allowed to pat or even come near her.

In contrast, Rocco ran away from his theoretical home down the street more than a decade ago. He’d been surviving here in the wilds of Hough’s Neck (Jen spotted TWO coyotes earlier this week!) all that time. OK, a few years-ish past, he claimed our porch as his own. It’s been a slender hair over a year since he let me come close enough to pat him. Then, four months ago, he moved in.
Coco, plotting her next crusade

Know what he did yesterday? While I was sitting on the couch, our former feral climbed half onto my lap and began kneading my thigh!

 Why do cats knead?
  • to show contentment or alleviate stress.
  • to create a soft place to sleep.
  • to generate nourishment (sorry big fella, no milk here!).
  • to mark their territory (yeah, like there was ever any dispute over the fact that Rocco’s the boss of me....except when Coco is).
Was this boy ever feral? Seriously—it seems his heart wasn't in all that Cat With No Name shit. Now, while he’s still not keen on company, he’s completely comfortable with The Amazing Bob (of course. TAB is the original Cat Whisperer). How long before our furry warrior sidles up to Baby Olivia to demand pats?

Coco continues to adjust to her new roommate. The litter box violations (I am SO taking a slash in your box!) and food bowl thefts (what’s this? You gave him a treat and not me? What? There’re three in my dish? Oh. nevermind) continue. I suppose they always will.