Friday, August 31, 2007
First the Bad News (and it's not that bad)... you know that tube? The one we've grown to hate? Well, it ain't coming out until (probably) Tuesday. If that's bad news to you, think how Trish feels. The reasons for the delay are: 1. It's just not time. This is the prudent judgement of the surgeon, and is all for the good. Premature removal could be extremely harmful for Trish... it's not one of those things to rush. 2. Today is Friday, and tomorrow is the week-end. Apparently x-rays don't work on week-ends. Or, rather, x-ray technicians don't. 3. Monday is Labor Day! And if they don't work on week-ends, they sure as heck don't work on holidays! .... so.... it's looking like Tuesday.
The toughest thing for T. is that she's been keeping a stiff upper lip and all that, putting up with the irritation... knowing it would be over in a few days. Now that "few days" has been extended. It's like running a marathon and having the officials telling you at mile 26, "Oh, we've decided on a 36 mile marathon today".
She confided in me that upon hearing the news early this morning she had a bit of a break-down... but, by the time I arrived she was already resigned, and she was following the doctor's advice to just sleep as much as she can. Still, we had a few moments of amusement playing the New Yorker magazine "caption-the-cartoon" game. Trish is very good at that.... I suck.
Anyway.... I feel bad, because I've sort of demonized this tube in the past few blogs, and made the removal of it such a big deal. So.... until it's out.... we aren't mentioning the little bugger anymore. We won't dignify it by our acknowledgement. What tube?
And the good news? Trish got a room upgrade! I don't know what they call it in the hospital, but it's the equivalent of the airline bumping you up to first class. Actually, St. John's is fairly egalitarian, and it's kind of a crap shoot whether you get a private room or a double... it's all about "available beds". But, knowing you're going to be in the hospital for longer than you had intended, it's nice to have the private, more luxurious room. So... Trish is now occupying a quiet, corner room, with a better T.V., better view, more privacy, and a couch-bed that Willie can sleep on if she needs someone to spend the night. It's not as good as having your fairy godmother wave her wand and say, "Heal!"... but it does make the tedious hospital days easier to bear. Will said they got the news upon returning from a walk... it was apparantly just good luck, but Will suspects it might have been Dr. Kuchenbecker pulling some strings after having to deliver disappointing news about the delay.
And Trish continues a speedy recovery.... sitting, walking, peeing... and she's now getting a more substantial looking food-stuff (looking at the ingredients I realized it's basically a high-protein vanilla shake) to give her more energy.
And she's still looking fabulous.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
One tube down! Not the dreaded "nose-to-stomach" tube, unfortunately, but the runner up in the "Most Hated Tube" contest, The Catheter, is history! Which means, of course, that Trish has to now GET UP to relieve herself.... but she can! And does!
Unfortunately, it's not all blithe, care-free urination, as there are the OTHER dratted tubes complicating the procedure,... but she's knocking them off, one by one.
A delightful divertissement in the day was provided by the arrival in her room of TWO "commode chairs", and she was allowed to select her favorite. Trish went with the more streamlined, "moderne" version, a good choice as it blended nicely with the minimalist, utilitarian furnishings of room 562.
The other major event of the day was that one of the remaining tubes was used to actually get real food in her. Well... "real" in this case is a relative term, but she's been existing on intravenous Gatorade (or pretty close to it) since Monday, and today one of the less heinous tubes delivered dextrose directly to her digestive track (or is that tract?). And more nutrition equals faster healing.
And she's been healing at a rapid pace. She's been sitting up, and walking around, usually accompanied by her son, and the ever-present IV stand, which tags along beside her like an anorexic C3PO.
Once again, the doctors seem pleased with her progress, and once she gets the now thoroughly loathed Tube-We-Dare-Not-Name (I'm calling it Voldemort) yanked, she'll be sailing!
And, as her wise and witty son Willie observed "This tube shall pass".
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Anyway... here goes:
Trish continues to improve. She was sitting up, and even doing a little walking today, and the doctors (in their traditional cautious way) were giving her thumbs up. Her spirits seem to be good, but as her body heals and wakes up, the annoyances of a hospital stay become more acute.
The irritation caused by the tube that runs from her nose, down her throat, and into her stomach is the worst thing. "All perfectly normal" as Doctor Kuchenbecker pronounced, but that doesn't make it less irritating. The removal of the tube depends on a test which involves her drinking a stuff-that's-visible-to-x-rays-liquid (there's a perfectly good word for this class of fluids, but I can't remember it now) and then, after she ingests said fluid, taking an x-ray to check for leaks. They want to keep the tube in place until they are sure they want it out... putting it BACK if they need to would be risking trauma.
The critical factor, since this will be the FIRST thing she ingests by mouth, is that they want to be sure that her stomach is ready for the concoction (there is an arcane formula to establish this, but I don't know all the details). So... it may be a few days before they can do that... Hopefully, by Friday... but it may even be Monday.
In the meantime, though Trish can talk (softly, but distinctly) it soon grows VERY irritating for her to do so. With that in mind, she's asked me to ask any of YOU who might feel so inclined, to NOT visit her until she feels up to it. I suggested to her that people may just want to SEE her, and they would understand if she couldn't talk, but she would be uncomfortable NOT talking, and in pain if she WAS talking.... so she'd rather put off the whole thing for a few days (This includes phone calls as well... though if there's someone in the room with her, they can play middle-man on the phone... but if she's alone in the room, with all the tubes, it's difficult for her to even answer the phone... the hospital's ACCOUNTING department hasn't quite figured that out yet; though they are very pleasant when told they should call to ask about her social security number in a few days. They'll probably pleasantly assure me that they will when they call tomorrow as well).
Still she wanted me to tell you all that she knows you care, and she feels the love, and has appreciated the messages passed on to her... but she'd much rather tell you all about it in person when she can tell you all about it in person over a martini.
I'll also make sure she sees any replies to her blog, or any e-mails.
More news tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Trish is doing really well. She would probably say, "Yeah... really well for someone with a fucking TUBE down her nose, and a vertical incision in her abdomen!"... but, as an objective, outside observer, I'll stick with my diagnosis: she's doing really well.
The second day is notoriously the worst day after surgery. You're more aware, and that means more capable of being annoyed. The hardest thing for her has been a very sore throat, exacerbated by the tube and the proscription against any liquids... so she has a sore throat she can't lubricate. The surgical incision is painful for her, but she is dutifully able to do the deep breathing exercises she needs to make sure her lungs puff up and stay clear. I was there when the pulmonary nurse came to show her the breathing-in toy (providing bio-feedback on her inhaling), and after she listened to Trish's lungs she said she didn't have to do the abdominally painful "coughing up" exercise, as her lungs were remarkably clear. Score points for swimming and yoga.
We talked for a while this morning, until that seemed to exacerbate her sore throat (or maybe that was just her polite way of saying, "Andy, shut up!!"), and I got her a pad of paper and a pen to ease her communication.
However, even without the spoken or written word, Trish is remarkably expressive. She made me laugh (better me than her at the moment) with her takes and eye-rolls as we listened through the curtain to the very lovely lady in the bed next to her discuss EVERY POSSIBLE item to eat on the lunch menu with her two daughters. It was obviously God's little joke: "You can't eat Trish, but here's a detailed list of all the things you aren't going to eat in the next half hour!"
Anyway, I left at around 12:45 when Willie and Dennis came, and I hear from them that she continued to have a good day ("With a fucking BURNING throat!" I can hear her yell in my head).
I'll let you all know about tomorrow, and maybe she'll have some input for me to add to the next post.
Monday, August 27, 2007
As following in Trish's extremely funny foot-steps is a daunting task, I'll forgo any attempt at humor (for the moment), and cut to the chase:
Trish had her surgery today, and everything went EXTREMELY well. I'll check with her about sharing any intimate details... but the surgeon was very happy with how things went, and the prognosis is rosy (everyone knock on wood).
It was a looooong day, with Trish and Willie arriving at 7:30 a.m. to prepare for surgery at 9:30.... this was changed to 10:3o soon thereafter. Dennis Redfield and myself arrived at around 9:00 to provide moral support.... and, truth be told, much fun WAS had by all concerned in the small pre-op room to which she was assigned.
But then....nothing happened. Nothing BAD happened.... just NOTHING happened. For about three hours.
Apparently Dr. Kuchenbecker (I kid you not) was in surgery before his date with Trish, and complications arose that pushed his schedule back..... Strangely enough, MORE hilarity ensued in the tiny pre-op room, though Trish, who hadn't eaten or drank anything since midnight the night before, was getting a little thirsty and hungry.
Eventually... the 9:30 a.m. surgery commenced at around 12:45.... and lasted for close to 4 and a half hours. During that time Willie, Dennis and I split our time between the cafeteria and the waiting room. SOME hilarity ensued.... but not as much as with Trish in the room.
After the surgery, the remarkable Ms. Soodik was NOT taken to I.C.U., as had been deemed likely, but after an hour or so in recovery, was taken directly to a hospital room. There, having come through a MAJOR bit of abdominal surgery... she proceeded to make jokes. Now... they were sleepy, morphine-laced, wry jokes... but they were jokes.... and, though she may not remember the conversations tomorrow, she knew where she was, what had happened, had questions about what had happened, and (while occasionally nodding off with her finger on the "self-medicating" button) was remarkably THERE.
And, as I know this is important to her, she looked great! Well.... she had a tube coming out of her nose (and from a few other places) and, as she herself felt compelled to point out, wasn't wearing any mascara... but she looked remarkably good.... her hair was even fetchingly disheveled on the pillow.
At one point I thought she'd drifted off, but said to her anyway, "You look fucking great, Trish", and she opened a sleepy eye and said "Put that in the blog".
As she has stated in her previous blogs, she REALLY doesn't want to have a lot of visitors while there's a tube in her nose (it will be there a little longer than is usual; until they make sure, as Dr. Kuchenbecker put it, there are "no leaks" in the new plumbing). I'll relay any changes in that attitude as the days progress (because of the nature of the surgery, the recovery will probably keep her in the hospital for 6 days or so). In the meantime, she re-iterates that if anyone wants to send flowers, she'd love a contribution to The Virgina Avenue Project be sent instead.
Anyway... while not exactly a fun day, it was a very good day. I'll try to keep everyone up-to-date with her progress.
In the meantime ... Trish Soodik remains my idol.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Midnight, August 23rd
A middle aged fake blond with a questionable haircut was seen staggering down Abbot Kinney around midnight. She was quite disheveled and was carrying an empty martini glass from Hals and a half eaten slice of pizza from Abbots Habit. A green olive with pimento was found in her right ear. She kept saying something about St. John. (Probably a religious fanatic.) And she was rambling on about Clive Owen and James Brown and said something about Mother Teresa questioning her faith. When Officer Spring apprehended her she told him that he had to let her go because she was flying off to Calcutta tomorrow. (Probably something related to Mother Teresa.) She also told him that she had slept with someone named Bobby who had a very thick New York accent. Officer Spring said that from the looks of her he doubted that she had slept with anyone. Ever. He asked her to take the breathalyzer test but she bent over and did something she called a downward dog instead. Officer Spring concluded that she was just a harmless mid-century woman so he let her go. As she was leaving she told Spring that she was going to buy some moisterizer for St. John. (Probably an offering.)
Spring told his fellow officers that he felt she was out of her mind but harmless. She was last seen getting into a Prius and driving erratically towards a beauty parlor and bouncing up and down in her car seat as The Grateful Dead blasted from her speakers.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
They called me from the hospital today to ask questions and tell me what to expect. The first question, "Do you have a will or a living trust?" Was not the most comforting of questions but I answered that and then they told me not bring any valuables. Which is quite a bummer since I have a couple paintings I really love and thought they might look good amidst the dull colors of the hospital walls. Possibly a Klimpt. But I won't be bringing those now and in fact she told me not to bring anything and that was rather disconcerting. "Not even my toothbrush?" "Nope. Won't be needing that." Okay, is it just me or does that sound eerily ominous. "You won't be needing anything from now on..." Actually, she didn't say that but it SOUNDED like she said that. Don't these people have a heart? They are talking to a human here who is about to have her stomach cut open. I said that to her, the part about the stomach and she said, with great compassion...
Well, I hung up and I started thinking about how lucky I am to have so many friends. I have my theater friends, my Academy Award Chick friends, dog walking friends, book group, writing group, swimming pool friends, yoga friends, Virginia Avenue friends, our kids went to the same school friends, high school friends, camp friends, temple friends, did we sleep together once friends, did we want to sleep together once friends, work friends, store friends....
So that's a lot of friends which is why I am asking you two things...Please DO NOT visit me in the hospital. If you all come I will pull the tube out of my nose and probably start making appetizers and that would not be good. I really will be fine and on morphine so God knows what I might say to you. Second thing...Again, no flowers, no presents but if you want to send fifteen dollars to The Virginia Avenue Project, that would be great. I am so ready for this except...
PRODUCTS! She told me not to bring anything but I'm telling you, if I have even a moment of consciousness on the second day I KNOW I will want to put on some moisturizer. Am I going to have to sneak that in? Contraband moisturizer? Dammit, I'm going to do it. And I'll need a candle and a bottle of Ketel One. You think that's allowed? Why the fuck not?! Come on, I have cancer for Pete sake! Let the girl have some fun. Vodka and morphine, Can you think of a better combination. Sort of a cosmopol....................(See, you take a sip of the drink, push the morphine button and you're out cold before you state the name of your drink.) Oh, to hell with what the hospital lady said. I am going to bring everything that comforts me into my room. Clive Owen, for instance. I just look at that guy and I relax. That's it! I am going to visualize Clive Owen right before anesthesia. Who cares about a stream in Colorado or the Pacific Ocean on a sunny day. I want to dream about Clive Owen on a sunny day. Ah yes, I can feel the pressure lifting already. See, you can't follow all the rules because they just don't make sense to everyone. We are not all exactly the same. A martini after surgery might disgust some people. (And if you are one of those people please know that we have very little in common.) Some might not think of moisturizer right before they are going to cut the shit out of them. It might seem frivolous at a time like this. But what is life if not frivolous. Who among us has not purchased something they didn't really need? And what the hell am I talking about?
Oh, it's been another crazy insurance day, quickly saved by some very nice people who helped me out, and I wasn't going to talk about insurance because it is boring and I've been there done that but I think that is what has my brain in a...
You know what, I am going to begin to pack right now. That hospital woman does not know me and if she thinks I am going to walk in there without a purse, (a purse full of products) she's nuts.
Quick story...For one year my half Jew of a son went to St. Matthews school in the Palisades. Don't ask me why. Long story. Has to do with David Chase of all people. Anyway I told my dad who was a good Jew, that the name of the school was SIR Matthews (not that saint would have bothered him.) And he never questioned that. Although he always told me that Sir Matthews seemed like a very strange name for a school.
Hmmmm, I have a really small painting that I like. You think?.....................
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I do not have to tell you what that means but imagine my horror when I heard those words attached to the words, "Unfortunately you might experience something called..." Which says to me that going on a date anywhere three feet from my toilet is just not going to happen. Spontaneous dumping. Can't a girl have at least a tiny bit of dignity? "Yes, I'd love to go out with you but I can only eat an olive and I have to sit just outside of the ladies room." Is this what my life has really become? And the answer is..."Yes, Trish. Welcome to another new club. The Spontaneous Dumpers. Or, the SDs as we like to refer to ourselves."
It just feels so good to belong to something. Can't wait to get my SD tee shirt and mug.
Saw a preview of a movie about Gustav Klimpt starring John Malkovich. (Think I might miss this one.) But I thought of this funny line that for some reason made me laugh so hard. It was in a Rodney Dangerfield movie and he was at a party and a woman came over to him and said, "Come here, I'd love to show you my Klimpt." And of course he rolled his eyes and I think I have lost it because I'm laughing even now.
When someone you love leaves you alone in the driveway it's hard enough, but when there is someone younger waiting in another driveway, it just makes you feel like a homely piece of crap. You spend months thinking you are such a loser. You're old and you're unattractive and you are just waaaaaay over that hill. I'm trying to hold myself together but, come on, I'm no spring chicken (Oh, no, the strangled chicken thing again.) And my plumbing does not work exactly like it used to. Like when you see a really nice looking house that is advertised as "mid-century" you know that the first thing you are going to do is replace the plumbing. But the house is so well built and looks great and has character and, of course, has those wonderful solid old bones. (I have solid old bones but unfortunately they have a bit of osteoporosis. Hey, I'm mid century, what do you expect?) So maybe you check out one of those cool new houses in Venice which look so fabulous and modern from the outside but you go inside and everything is made out of crap. You can put your hand right through the wall. Oh sure, the outside is all orange and blue and fiery and exciting but inside...she's completely unsubstantial.
IT, I mean, IT is completely unsubstantial. (Did you really think I was that bitchy? Did I really think I was that bitchy? Oh, the things we discover when we're under duress.)
Actually, I would like to be under anything right now except for duress. A blanket, a person, anything.
Oh my gosh, what to take to the hospital! I've only got a few days to get my wardrobe together. I'm telling you, if it's not one thing...............
Monday, August 20, 2007
And there was a sweet Russian mother with two sons, the youngest of whom was in the cart and the other one, around four or so, was holding a balloon and a stuffed horsey. The little one was also holding a balloon which popped right in his face, leaving a huge welt on his forehead and a scream coming out of his mouth like Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. Everyone was trying to comfort the poor boy (and the Trader Joe people were hoping this Russian woman had never heard the words "law suit" uttered in her English classes.) So, the other son, who was taunting his brother and saying something mean in Russian, (you could just tell by the look on his face) dropped his stuffed horsey and I picked it up and handed it to him and he totally freaked out. Started saying awful things to me (I could tell by the look on his mother's face) and I told him I just didn't want his horsey to get stepped on. At which point he dropped the horsey and jumped up and down on it so hard that the stuffing came out. And I was appalled and very upset because I'm crazy enough to think that stuffed animals have feelings but more than that I realized how tough Russians were, probably from living in Siberia, and that my grandparents were from Russia but I could not imagine them stomping on anything. Although I did see my sweet grandma strangle a chicken once (I think I mentioned this but I'm pretty sure that strangling has shaped my entire life) so I guess Russians might have a quiet heartless side to them.
And that was my morning.
On the way home I stopped at a red light on Olympic and a man was crossing the street and our eyes met for five tenths of a second. He smiled and I smiled and he came over to the car and I opened the window and he said Hi and I said Hi and he asked me if I'd like to have a cup of coffee. It was late morning and I was a bit droopy so I said Yes, I would love that.
He took me to a little unStarbucky coffee house and we both ordered decaf low fat lattes and I stared at his full head of grey hair as he asked me all about myself. Who I was, what I did, where I'd come from and when I finished telling him everything interesting I could think of he wanted me to tell him all over again and I said I wanted to hear who he was but he wasn't interested in telling me about himself, he just wanted to hear about me. So I told him the same story three times and he asked if I was hungry and would I like to walk over to his apartment and have a little lunch. And he smiled and we looked into each other's eyes and I felt a surge of embarrassing warmth run from my toes to my brain and I said I would love to go to his apartment.
It was down the street from the unStarbucky place and he opened his door and a table sat in the middle of the room with a romantic place setting for two and we talked and we laughed as he cooked the pasta arrabiatta and made the salad and he wouldn't let me help at all, he just wanted me to relax and he lit the candles and he knew I didn't drink wine so he served me a glass of sparkling apple juice and we laughed and the food was delicious and he wouldn't even let me help with the dishes but I came up next to him at the silver sink and he wiped off his hands on a dish towel and he took hold of my face and he kissed me and I melted into a puddle of longing and he asked if he could see me again and I said "You can see me every minute of every hour for the rest of my life." And he held me and my heart beat into his.
And all of this happened in five tenths of a second.
And that was my afternoon.
I can't wait until tonight.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Also, about yesterdays anger...I completely accept fifty percent of the blame for the breakup of my marriage. A breakup doesn't happen just because one person finds another and leaves. And I should have seen the writing on the wall much, much sooner. Like maybe when he told me that he had fallen in love with someone else as much as he had fallen in love with me years before. Was I stupid? Yes. Because it's hard to hear those things...Really HEAR what the other person is telling you. And truthfully, if someone falls in love then come on, it's over. There is nothing you can do about love. But I am at peace with it now and actually feel like that was a good thing and I have no regrets. I just have cancer.
So, Ena from Egypt...I have been going to this little mailbox store for over a year now. I use it to send packages or buy stamps or boxes and stuff. Cooper the dog is there and his owner, a very nice woman named Ena. Ena works hard. She's got high blood pressure. And today Ena told me a little bit about her life. She came here from Egypt in the late sixties with her husband. They got jobs and bought a house in Santa Monica for $40,000.00!! Imagine that. And she got pregnant. The house was small so they added some square footage and then the family grew and they bought the house next door and soon they had a very big house and two kids and good jobs. And then the husband left for (hold your hats) his secretary. (By the way, Ena must have learned English from an African American woman because she had all the moves and lingo down and it was very charming.) Okay, so now Enid is alone and she loses the house in the divorce and what to do, what to do. So a friend tells her she has a mailbox store, a franchise of Mailboxes etc. Ena thinks this might be good for her but she finds out all about it and it seems like one big ripoff having a franchise so she goes to mailbox school (Is there such a thing, you ask? Ena said there is so...)Anyway, she learns all she has to learn about mailing things and learns how to use the computer and in a year or two she has own little shop. Enter husband number 2. Akmed. Now he just wants to stay in the country so he marries Ena because her children did not want her to live alone and Akmed absconds with everything. Her high blood pressure lands her in the emergency room one night and when she gets back home, everything is gone including her car. And Akmed. He calls her a week later from Egypt and asks her to send money so his mother can buy an apartment. And I'm looking at Ena in her little mailbox store and I'm thinking...This woman has guts. This woman is brave. I should be so brave. We all should be so brave. She lives her life with no fear. It's about taking care of yourself and your children and standing up straight and when you get hit in the stomach you take the punch and you get up before the referee counts to ten. (Oh, that was an awful metaphor. I'm sorry about that. I am ill from that metaphor.)
I really do like On Golden Pond. "Look, Norman. The loons. The loons." How can you not love the loons?
Thursday, August 16, 2007
And then I started thinking about anger. People ask me all the time..."Aren't you angry?" And most of the time I am not angry. But you know when I seem to get really, really angry? When I am all relaxed and lying in the corpse pose at the end of a yoga class. Oh my God am I pissed off lying there. For some reason when I am all relaxed is the time I want to kill someone. Keep me busy and I am calm as a cucumber. But give me a few downward dogs and a bridge pose and I'm ready to strangle...Everybody. Truthfully, though, why should I be angry? Because the man formerly known as my husband left me a year ago a few weeks after my son went to college and two days after my play opened and six months after our dog died and nine months after my father died and he went to Paris with his new girlfriend and he wasn't here when I was diagnosed with cancer so I had sit in the room by myself and listen to Dr. Hertz tell me that I had a tumor and I had to drive home by myself and absorb the information and go through all the chemo and make all the plans for when I'm in the hospital and deal with the exploding toilet that leaked into the hallway so I now have to replace the flooring one week before my surgery and my car needs a tune-up and my life as I knew it is all different and I have to go through a divorce and I have to move and I have to learn how to eat little bits because my stomach is going to be smaller and I am little overwhelmed and that dwarf is so lucky that I didn't run into him today................WHY SHOULD ALL OF THAT MAKE ME ANGRY?!!! It's all just little obstacles that are thrown in one's path and can be dealt with. I do not live in Darfur and I was not in a massive earthquake in Peru. Wait a minute, what if THE BIG ONE hits when I'm having my surgery? Oh, that's just what I need. Then I WILL be angry. But at whom? God? Is there such a thing? Hard to accept that when you see so much suffering. But luckily if the Big One hits while I'm being sliced in two I will be peacefully unconscious. Hopefully, the surgeon will be conscious and not hit by falling debris.
But hey, I'm not angry. If I was a dwarf in a wheelchair I might be angry. But just don't try and talk to me after a yoga class.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
This is going to be very short (like me) because I have to run around today but I just wanted to post SOME RULES.
My surgery is the going to be the last week in August. Please do NOT send flowers. I will only sneeze and that is not a good thing when you have stitches. What you could do with the money you were going to spend on flowers or a card, is send that money to ...
The Virginia Avenue Project
3000 Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica, Ca. 90404
My friends Dennis, Dierdre, Andy, Katy and of course Will, are going to be in charge when I'm in the hospital and Mr. Andrew Parks - actor, writer, singer, chef, gardner, regular man about town, will be taking over the blog to post updates. He claims he did NOT sleep with Robert DeNiro but he is a mysterious person and I just don't know...
I will write more later about my exploding toilet and all the fun things that make my life just slightly challenging.
And on a serious note I must mention this...Two hundred human beings were killed in Iraq today. TWO HUNDRED. These are people with families and mothers and uncles and baby sisters. I cannot help but think that that old hippie saying is correct...War is not the answer. How can it be?
Monday, August 13, 2007
I have never won a contest. I occasionally receive Publisher Clearing House letters and possible trips to Belize to win if I subscribe to KCRW (which I do but never seem to get to Belize. Where exactly is Belize?) However, I did get a letter with a contest attached and I have a feeling if I enter this one I might actually win. The prize...A pre-paid Cremation! Yes, it's a letter from the Neptune Society, all excited to write to me. It says Hi Trish and Hey Trish and they actually know my name and seem really happy to meet me. Last years winner, Ocremina Stewart (I kid you not) seems thrilled to have won. They have a drawing each month. I think I have a damn good chance. But here is the question...Does the Neptune Society go around to all of the chemo clinics and gather names? Is someone at the clinic getting paid to give them the names? Why would I suddenly get a letter about cremation? Hmmmm. But it's...somehow exciting. I could belong to this little club. And they make it even more attractive by telling you that cremation has less impact on the environment then a regular burial. I certainly do not want to contribute to that pesky global warming. And one of the more important things if I actually win this contest, I can lock in at today's cremation price. So, I don't know, I'm feeling good about this one. Just have to fill out the information card...And here's the best part...At the bottom of the letter, in very small type it says, "Please accept our apologies if this letter has reached you at a time of serious illness." Wish I knew what Ocremina Stewart has.
I hate to think of myself as an elitist and I hate to use the old cliche of Los Angeles having no culture...(It has a lot of culture, especially at UCLA Live. That is the greatest.) However, yesterdays Sunday entertainment sections said a lot...In the New York Times were two articles, one by Woody Allen about Ingmar Bergman and one by Martin Scorcese about Antonioni. And what was on the cover of the Los Angeles Times Calendar section? A huge article on High School Musical 2.
"And what is wrong with that, Trish, you big pretentious snob?! Kids loved High School Musical 1 and did you see it? No. So you have no right to comment!"
I'm sorry. You're right. I'm sure the themes are very thought pervoking.
"Again with the snotty talk. Who do you think you are? What planet do you live on? HSM is amazingly popular. Be honest, Antonioni movies do not make any sense. They are bullshit. Bullshit with good camera moves. And Bergman. Could a person possibly snore any louder? High School Musical. It's got a plot, it's got music. It's got young people. It makes you feel good. Anything wrong with that miss snottypuss?"
I'm sorry. I'll check it out. And I will never again pass judgement on something I have never seen. Promise. (Dear God, Please air High School Musical when I'm unconscious. Thank you. Love, Trish.)
Do you ever feel like you're not alone? Like you've got an evil twin lurking in your brain and if you just turned your head a little to the right it would pop out and become...You. Evil you. Oh, I don't know. I think this Karl Rove thing has me all fermished. I think I'm going to look for my phone book and see if I can locate Ocremina...IF she's still with us..........................
Friday, August 10, 2007
I swim everyday and after about six months my Speedo bathing suit disintegrates so I went to buy a new one today and this particular store also sold nightgowns and intimate apparel and girly stuff. And I was looking at the nightgowns and thinking that I was going to be in the hospital for a week or so and wouldn't it be nice to have something rather than an old t-shirt to wear in bed. So I told the two salesgirls that I was going to be in the hospital and they both WINKED and said how great it was going to be when it was all over. And I realized that they thought I was going in for plastic surgery. So I told them I had cancer and they laughed and said that was a good one. They had heard all kinds of stories as people disappear to have things nipped and tucked. One woman said she was visiting her sick grandmother who had actually died years ago. Another that she was going to some kind of reunion in Europe. And they laughed and just thought it was all so clever and funny and I ran out of there without paying for my Speedo, which I left on the counter. There are times when I really do feel like I am living in a parallel universe.
For instance, what the hell happened to KCET? Everytime I turn it on I see Celtic singers, like thousands of them. Is everyone in Norway a Celtic singer? Or doo wap groups wearing orange suits with pants that don't reach their ankles. Or Ed Ames who I think died years ago but he's still singing some song that he says was a hit although I don't know on what planet. Didn't KCET used to have mysteries and English detectives and Victorian dramas? Now they seem to sell collections of oldies or self help books written by some bald guy who says he has the answer for how to have a happy life but I listened to him and it's pretty much "be here now" and didn't insane Timothy Leary actually say the same thing? Maybe the bald guy is on acid although he looks like more of a martini/golf dude to me.
Now there is another singer that I came upon who really fascinated me. Larry Anderson the singing attorney. I kid you not. I love the channels that no one watches more than anything on regular TV or cable. The people on these off channels are nuts and what is more exciting to watch than a very strange man singing the theme to The Godfather? Did you even know that melody actually had lyrics? I didn't. "Oh yes my love I'm here I'm standing on the street..." Something like that. They were the worst lyrics I'd ever heard and I couldn't take my eyes off of Larry, he was so bad, but he was selling this song like he was Sinatra. Standing in front of a blue backdrop, wearing his little suit and tie. I wanted to hire him right on the spot. Does he sing in court? I've got to get this guys number because you never know when you're going to need a singing attorney.
Just to let everyone know...I love you but I have decided that when I am operated on, I don't want any visitors until I get the tube out of my nose. The tube that goes from my nose to my stomach. Is that even possible? Oh...My...Gosh...Vanity? No, it's just so disgusting that I think I want to be alone with my own yuck. I do have my dignity. Sort of. (No, that's a complete lie. I have absolutely no dignity anymore.) Anyway, I will write more about the upcoming incision next week.
Now I've got to go buy a bathing suit. Hey, I just thought of this...
...Sounds like a Jon Stewart segment.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
There is so much I am pissed off about I don't even know where to begin but I shall begin...HERE. Get a load of this one...Medco, my insurance conglomerate, had a rule that if they do not get you your pills on time (they are mailed from Canada) then you can go to your local pharmacist and get a fourteen day supply at the insurance rate. So that would cost you about $15, which is great. However, they changed that rule which means if they do not get you your pills on time, even though it is THEIR error, you can go to your pharmacist but you pay full price, which in my case would be...(Hold your hats) $3,360!!!! That is for two weeks of chemo pills. And I'm telling you, you can yell at the other person on the line until your face turns blue or your nose falls off and it does not matter because you are but a number to this person and they just do not give a shitshitshit in any way shape or form. They do not care.
And here's what makes me really upset...Bob. Bob the pharmacist. He's been my pharmacist through Will's sinus infections and chicken pox and all the little childhood illnesses. We are on a first name basis. We talk politics. We talk Sicko. And this guy, the center of a community, is being wiped out by these conglomerates. What happened to our neighborhoods? These horrific big box stores make me sick. I hate Costco. Costco is hurting Bob. It's hurting Norm who used to sell my parents small appliances in Chicago. It's hurting Mr. Flinkman who sold my parent's glasses from his little shop on Addison. You can buy all this stuff at Costco or Target or that awful Walmart from...a no named person who just doesn't care or know your first name and doesn't know how they are getting screwed (especially from Walmart) because they don't have a pension or any security and when they turn fifty they might just be replaced but they are too young to imagine that. I know it is the future and I know it will never go back to what it was, but I cannot believe that politicians wonder why people are feeling alienated. Do you think George Bush has ever been in a big box store? Anyway, people would know who he was and treat him differently, but your average sweet person just walks through the stores with their enormous cart getting twelve hundred cotton balls and thinking, where the hell am I? Does anybody know I'm here? Does it even matter? Hey Joe, how are you doing? Never hear much of that anymore, especially in Costco. This is how old I am, my grandparents owned a mom and pop grocery store in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. (Yes, Joe Namath worked there!) Mom and pop. They did everything. He was the butcher, she picked out the produce. They lived behind the store. They would give people a cut of meat when they were low on cash because everyone knew everyone else. It sounds corny and incredibly old fashioned and I have become one of those older people saying things like, "Why, in my day we used to walk twenty miles through the snow and blahblahblah..."
But I hate my insurance company because I'm no one and you're no one and Bob is being pushed out of his little business and I'm walking around Costco feeling invisible and alienated and I like people and I want to talk to them but they are all too afraid and plugged into their IPods so they don't have to actually have human contact. I miss Norm. I miss Mr. Kramer who used to sell shoes and put my foot under the X-Ray machine to see how much it had grown. (Yes, another cancer device but at the time it was fun.) I miss Mr. Flinkman and his cheap glasses.
And I will miss Bob when he sells his last pill and puts up his "closed" shingle for the last time. And maybe we will run into each other pushing giant carts around giant stores and maybe we will find a little corner where we can talk and give each other a hug and I can say, "Thanks, Bob. Have a nice day, Bob. I love you, Bob."
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Of course, I am talking about the Casablanca fans from Lamps Plus that my friend Keith, Master electrician of Carpinteria, installed on Sunday. I love them! He did such a wonderful job and all for a bagel and a chicken salad. I'm cool. Yes, I'm cool. Thank you, Keith. (And family.)
Yes, I went to the surgeon yesterday to learn my fate. It started out like a Twilight Zone episode I had seen once. I was in the waiting room and I picked up a magazine and I noticed it was from the year 2004. Then I noticed that all of the magazines were old and I joked with the receptionist about the age of the publications. She said, without a smile, that no one comes back here more than once. WHAT? My mind was racing. Why don't they come back? Are they all...dead? This is not a good sign. And then the surgeon came out and beckoned me into his office. I reluctantly followed him to what I thought was my doom.
Actually, that is the story of my life...Doomed. Doomed at birth. And yet I go on. I go on laughing. Ha ha...Hahahahahahahahaha...Laughing just a little too hard.
But about my surgery. The surgeon showed me a chart of my insides and told me just what he was going to slice out of there. A little bit here, a little bit there. A good portion of my stomach, a bit of esophagus, maybe a little garnish on the side. And voila, I will have a new digestive system. Exciting, isn't it? It is sort of is exciting. What else could one do at my age that would be completely different from the norm? Climb the Himalayas? Anyone can do that! Become a Hindu, swim the English Channel? Pssshaw, child's play. Get a new digestive system, now you're talking challenging. How about climbing the Himalayas with a brand new stomach? Now that is an extreme challenge. So this will all happen the last week of August. And while he continued talking about all of the negative possibilities that might happen during surgery my mind went to much more important areas of concern...That I had to get my hair done before surgery because it had been a very long time since I'd had my hair done since I have been cutting my own hair for some unknown reason and because I felt like I needed some kind of DO (or due) so I might not look absolutely terrible lying in that hospital bed with a tube up my nose. If your hair looks good you feel complete. Then I thought I should get my toes done since I never do that either and you never know when the anesthesiologist might look at your toes and wonder if you were a person worth saving. And by the time I had finished thinking about all of this important stuff the surgeon was shaking my hand and saying he'd see me soon and then he said two words that made me want to run out of there as fast as my legs could carry me.
What did he mean, good luck? He's the one doing the operation? Is he going to be coming off a bender that day? Is that what he's talking about? Do his hands shake? And he's a very big man. How is he going to fit his huge hands into my little stomach? Does he know something I don't know? And what about all of those old magazines in his office?
What if I get on a plane right now and land in, oh, I don't know... Calcutta. I'd live there for a while, right? Have an interesting life. Wouldn't have to be cut up by a drunk surgeon and spend weeks trying to figure out how to eat. Why don't I just do that? Why? Why am I listening to people I don't even know? And trusting them. This while thing feels like a Twilight Zone.
You know what, I am going into the living room and I am going to sit underneath my fan and I am going to pretend I am in Calcutta. And maybe, just maybe I'll buy that plane ticket. Ahhhh, I feel better already.
Monday, August 6, 2007
I'm not sure cancer was the catalyst for this, maybe it was just getting older, but I find that there are certain people that I have known for years that I must, at any cost, avoid. They are, for want of a better word, toxic. Negative. They make me want to shoot myself or them after I have spoken with them for about thirty seconds. There is one person in particular that I am thinking of and there are three words that one should never...EVER...utter in this person's persence and those words are..."How are you?" The last time I saw this person I was in one of those unavoidable situations where we were standing in a line and we locked eyes and no matter how I tried to distort my face and become someone else, it was quite obvious that it was me and that we had made contact. So this person comes up to me and there are lots of "Wow, hey, hi!! How cool." And I blurted out without thinking, "How are you?" Mistake of the century.
"You didn't hear about so and so?" "I don't know so and so." "Yes you do. He's the half brother in law of you know who and he's married to whatyacallit's cousin." "...Aha..." "Well, this is so awful I almost don't want to talk about it..." (Oh, please don't. Please don't.) "He lost his foot in an unfortunate cooking accident."
I do not even know this so and so nor do I know his cousin or anyone involved in this story but this person went on and on as if this was all happening to her even though she really had no idea who these people were either. Some people just scour the earth everday for horrible stories. They cannot live without them. If there is a kidnapping in Virginia, a state they have never even been NEAR, they take a very personal interest in the story as if it somehow has something to do with them. And then they have to make sure you get involved too because you never know if it's one of those Kevin Bacon things and everybody is related to everybody else, including you.
Anyway, this is all to say that there are certain people I will cross the street and leave the state to avoid because they are just downers. Not that I avoid all the sadness in the world, I am quite aware but do I really have to know about somebody that I don't even know and the loss of their foot?
When you know the world is not what it seemed...Ingmar Bergman just died and Max Von Sydow is co-starring in Rush Hour 3. You think Max ever sits there watching Jackie Chan fall from a skyscraper wondering if Liv Ullman could do that? I wonder if Liv Ullman could that.
Poppa's got a brand new bag...Indeed.
Friday, August 3, 2007
So...chemo...Seems to have gone smoothly. Both my thumbs work. The arms a little sore where I got the treatment but it's getting better every hour. But on to the good stuff...So I'm sitting there reading about boys in Time Magazine. A ridiculous article, I might add. You know, stuff about the woman's movement and how it made men feel less than masculine and how it's all changed now and boys have their sense of self back and oh boy was that a boring article. But luckily, right in the middle of it, before I started ripping the pages out, this cute man, about my age, sat down right next to me. Right next to me!! And he was not wearing a ring. That, of course, is often meaningless like his finger might have been swollen or he lost the ring (right!) or something but the point was he was not wearing one. So I smiled and he smiled and I could not believe there was actually someone next to me who wasn't one hundred and ten years old. So he starts talking to the nurse and I start doing insane things like finding a mirror and making sure there wasn't food on my mouth or on my teeth and I tried adjusting my IV in some sort of sexy position. (Try to do that. I do not think even Angelina Jolie could make an IV look sexy unless she put it on her lips.) So by the time I finished all of my "freshening up" I looked over at this highly available cute man and he was lying there with his I-Pod in his ears and a sleeping mask on his eyes and he was covered from head to toe in a blanket and he was snoring. This all took place in approximately one minute. So I realized that this was certainly not the man for me. What kind of a human falls asleep in sixty seconds? In a barcalounger? With an IV in his arm? I mean maybe if he was listening the White Stripes or something cool on his IPod. But it sounded more like Bread or one of those groups they play in the dentists office. So I sighed and picked up a magazine that someone before me had left behind. It was the Learning Annex. As I remember, the Learning Annex used to have some interesting lectures. I once actually saw Anne LaMott through that catalogue. Well, the entire Learning Annex is now all about how to make a million dollars in two days. Or write a novel in twelve hours. Or become a life coach in five minutes. Everything has to be done very quickly. I guess if you have cancer that's probably a good thing but for most people who have long lives, why on earth do they have to do everything in one minute! And why does everyone have to make a million dollars? I mean, that would be nice, yes, but isn't that something you work for for years after you've learned how to actually do something? You make a million dollars because you worked very hard and went from office boy to manager to CEO. I heard a radio ad recently where the guy is saying that doing this particular scheme thought up by some guy named Jim, he has made himself a million dollars without leaving his home and he never has to work again. And he's only 22 years old. Well, what the hell is he going to do for the rest of his life? My favorite, actually, was how to make a million dollars doing foot massage. Can you imagine how many awful feet you'd have to touch and how much can one actually charge for a foot massage? Hey, make a million dollars writing a blog. No, I'd have to make it more appealing by adding...Make a million dollars IN FIVE MINUTES, by writting a blog. See, if you'd all send me a hundred dollars...Hmmmm. I've got to call that Learning Annex.
On to surgery. I will find out on Tuesday what the next move is going to be. Oh, I can barely stand the suspense.
Between my operation and the Cubs possiblilites, this year is turning out to be one damn exciting 2007. Please, someone stop the madness.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
If you haven't read Lawrence Ferlinghetti lately, do. He is beyond cool.
I do not hate men. (Why would I even mention that? Why would that even come out of my mouth? Anyone out there an analyst?) Anyway, I have a problem with men sometimes, yes. Because they love women, they need women and they hate them all at the same time. I occasionally have a real problem with Hemingway and Picasso. It becomes hard for me to separate their art from their lives.
They had so many women and you know most of those women were hurting when they left them so my female side looks at a Picasso and thinks, "You little shit. Who cares if you can draw? If you can't treat someone with kindness than to hell with you." But, he is Picasso. And Guernica is a pretty damn good painting. But I would still like to grab him by the ear (thank goodness I wasn't talking Van Gogh.) and scold him. "You can't do things like that for your own pleasure, Mr. Smartypants." I often think if there were talk shows when Hemingway was alive he would come off as one gigantic asshole. More narcissistic than Norman Mailer. And that is saying a lot. I used to listen to Mailer talk on Dick Cavett and think, yuck, what a jerk. And then I read Armies of the Night and I hated that I liked it so much. And Marcello. Imagine the women he left crying in the gutter. Me included. I should have worn a low cut blouse that day. What a fool.
Tomorrow I have my third and possibly last chemo until after surgery. And for the first time I am not worried about my outfit. It's whether to wear a tinted moisturizer or just a light concealer with a little blush. And always, of course, mascara. I walk into the chemo situation looking fine but by the end of the treatment I must admit I look a bit peaked (or peek ed?) I know, I'll bring some touch up products. Remember, this chemo is sort of like my own personal singles bar and you just never know who's going to be hooked up right next to you. Of course, the last time I had chemo the man next to me was wearing his bedroom slippers. Cannot go out with a man who wears bedroom slippers on the street in the daytime. Or actually, cannot go out with a man who wears bedroom slippers at all! For some reason a man with slippers makes me want to shoot myself. Slippers should not bother me that much, should they? Another overreaction and yes, another question for an analyst.
Bye bye Michelangelo. Grazie.