Tag Archives: Death

Don’t mock my dreams. They might KILL you.

9 Dec

Be warned:  I composed this post in my head while in bed trying desperately to a) fall asleep or b) not throw up.  If either happens to you upon reading the following post, remember you were warned.

Last Friday I wrote a little post about these recurrent “teeth falling out” dreams called I can’t keep my teeth in my mouth.  Somewhere near the end of the comments I responded to a remark made by BecomingCliche where I casually mentioned that just today (the day of the post) my jaw slipped a little again.  Wow.  I was as wrong as I have ever been about anything, ever.

Friday night the pain my jaw increased and I found myself unable to sleep even using my night-mouth-guard thingy (I’m a teeth grinder) and taking a couple  of T3 left over from my c-section.  The kicker (this IS a pun) was that early Saturday morning my sweet baby Ephraim kicked me in the face…on the side that was hurting.  We co-sleep (before you get upset that I took pain killers and slept with my toddler let me assure you that I did NOT.  I slept on the couch that night and only went up to the family bed in the morning when I heard him fussing to get up!)…back to where I was: We co-sleep so getting kicked in the face, chest, kidney, or neck is nothing new.  On especially rowdy sleep nights I flip over so that E is kicking my back and it feels awesome. Sometimes I look forward to it.  Anyway, I don’t usually cry about baby foot in the face.  That morning I did.  I cried hard.

25 minutes later (about 6:00 a.m.) the little family was dressed and headed to the ER.  I don’t go to the doctor on a whim EVER.  I only go when I have to or when I am pregnant.  I am bad enough about the doctor thing that my husband makes appointments for me and reminds me repeatedly until I have gone…and then he will pick up my prescriptions for me because I am bad about that too.  My kids on the other hand will go to the doctor for a check up on schedule and often in-between.

So, we are at the ER and my face looks fine except for the fact that my features are contorted in pain.  Poor Rich…I know the staff was just doing their job, but they asked me far too many questions about how and why it hurt for us to think anything other than they thought he had done it to me.  I got a morphine shot.  It took my pain from a 8 to about a 5.  That is all the relief I got.  They took 4 x-rays of my head.  Nothing to see.  Seriously?  There was nothing there?  How can something hurt so bad and you can’t find anything?  The ER doc was super nice and his only deduction was that I had injured my trigeminal facial nerve.  He offered a CT scan but that was going to take another 2 hours and rugrats had just about used up all their public decorum by that point.  I declined and went home.

Saturday night was worse.  The pain was still there but then something new started to happen.  My face started to swell.  I mean SWELL…but only the sore half.  If I thought I hurt before I was a light-weight.  This hurt worse than childbirth.  Guess where I was Sunday morning?  Yep. Back in the ER. Luckily my mom and step-dad took the boys to play (they even skipped church to help us out. God would totally understand.).  The same super sweet ER nurse was there and helped me into a room immediately.  She was noticeably concerned considering the change in my condition.  She hooked me up to an IV for fluids, more pain medication (this time Dilatin since the morphine was a wash the day before), and something to keep me from throwing up.  I have a weak stomach.  I got the CT scan this time.  Guess what…still nothing.  My sinuses were a little mucky so the ER doctor gave me some antibiotics, some vicadin, and some other pills for nausea…and sent me home again.

Monday morning…the first day of classes for the new quarter.  I was in bed, drugged, fevered, and crying.  I love the first day of classes.  I felt guilty I wasn’t there.  My face was still swelling and the narcotics were not working.  My husband called our family doctor and made me an appointment for that afternoon.  My mom picked me up to drive me there.  She hadn’t seen me since this started.  Her expression was enough to know I didn’t look so good.  She didn’t need to say anything.  Even the receptionists who are an angelic bunch of women that oh and ah over my kids when I bring them in were a little taken aback by my appearance.  My GP’s expression confirmed it.  I looked inhuman.    She looked at the x-rays, the CT scan and then gently poked around in my mouth.  She couldn’t see anything either…and she is SMART and I trust her.  She insisted I see my dentist just in case I have an abscess tooth even though there were no signs of it on any of the scans or during any physical exam by any doctor.  Super Mom called the dentist and got me in immediately.  My dentist is another smart and very kind woman whom I trust.  I was at her office in 30 minutes for more x-rays.  Still no real evidence of anything.  She was worried enough about me to call my GP right then and form a plan of action…because as she put it to me in her softest kindest voice, “your kids need you”.  Yeah, whatever was wrong that could not be pinpointed could kill me.  KILL ME.  She called the oral surgeon she trusts most and got me an appointment for a day later.  The dentist and GP were satisfied that with the amount of antibiotics in my body I would make it until Wed. although both of them called to check on me on Tuesday just to make sure.

Wednesday morning came and my mom drove me to the oral surgeon’s office.  Yet again another x-ray scan of my entire jaw and yet again no real evidence of a problem.  I do have a root canal in the area…the best guess at this point is there is a fracture so small that it cannot be seen on any scans and it is infected and leaking puss into the skin/muscle in my face.  (Puke now if you need to.  I almost did when I heard that. Thank God for those anti-nausea pills)

Here I am one week after my silly post about teeth with a swollen face (albeit FAR less swollen) and an appointment to have one of those teeth ripped out (a real one, not a dream one) next Friday.

Moral of my story:  Don’t mock my dreams.  They might KILL you.

p.s. I thought of several alternative titles for this post.  Here are a few.  Some have explanations, some don’t need them.

1) After 4 days of being unable to eat, microwaved frozen cheese pizza meant for the children tastes like heaven.  Sorry kids, it is all gone.

2) I am not a fan of narcotics.  While they helped take the edge off the pain, they did not make it go away.  Also, they made me feel crazy.  I think, all right, I know they gave me auditory hallucinations.  We have a sound machine in our bedroom that plays soft summer rains sounds all night while we sleep.  I woke up Rich several times asking “did you hear that?”  He didn’t.  I had to leave the room because for me every few minutes the sound machine was making static poltergeist like sounds.  It was not soothing. It scared the bejesus out of me. Once I could get by on ibuprofen alone I stopped taking those things.

3) My mother is made out of steel. (except her knees)  My mom has been through a lot of shit in her life. (Excuse my language mom, but sometimes profanity is necessary.) Those are mostly her stories to tell…speaking of, you should have a blog mom.  My mom has grit (the “momma bear” thing) when it comes to taking care of those us  fortunate enough to be counted as one of her loved ones.  She went though revolving-door doctor thing when my dad had cancer and despite her best efforts that didn’t have a happy ending. She went through something like this with her mom, her dad, my brother when he was baby, her step-daughter, herself, my step-dad (which did have a happy ending), and with me a couple of times so far.  She will be right there when you need her and back off when you need space.  She will be at every appointment you let her in and ask questions you should have thought of yourself.  She will be on the phone making the next appointment and asking “what is next”.  She will also not take it personally when you are a bitch to her because you don’t feel good.  She is made out of steel…except her knees.  We all have our weaknesses.

4) It is perfectly acceptable to eat 3 giant pixi-sticks if you have a fever (and nobody is looking and you are over 4 years old).

5) My coworkers and boss are way cooler than yours.  They probably don’t read this.  Why would they?  As Adam so astutely put it one day, “Why would I read your blog?  I share an office with you.  I get the one-woman show.”  Being the first week of classes was the worst possible time for this to happen.  Well, maybe not the WORST, but a pretty awful time.  My coworkers jumped in and took up my slack.  They kept the train moving and saved my seat.  I would say I love them, but I would get all kinds of teasing for that.  F- it…I love them.  They are awesome.  I am so grateful.

6) I love my kids.  I cannot get any more clear than that.  When the dentist reminded me my kids needed me I almost lost my mind.  I do not want to die now more than I have ever not wanted to die in my whole life..not that I ever really wanted to die before.  Now is different though.  I could muddle through an explanation, but I bet I don’t need to.  I bet you get it.

7) A 37-year-old can find comfort in blankies.  For four days I was home alone and needing to rest.  Before I got in bed I searched the house for 4 things.  1) the heat pack for my face. 2) Alastair’s blankie. 3) Ephraim’s blankie. and 4) One of Rich’s already worn t-shirts.  I would get in bed, put Rich’s shirt over my face with the heat pack on top, put Alastair’s blankie up under my chin and drape Ephraim’s blankie over a pillow and then wrap my arms around it.  My warm little nest of family smells made me feel better than any drug ever could.

8)  I won the partner lottery.  I had to save this one for last because I am going to cry when I type it.  I have the best husband in the world.  Cliche statement.  I know.  I could give a thousand examples from the last week about him missing work to take care of me, doing all the housework alone, taking care of both boys emotionally and physically, dealing with doctors and prescriptions, driving everybody around, making dinner, keeping our families updated, and all those other things.  That is not what earned him the award.  (Here are the tears!)  He wins, or actually I win, for one tiny little thing he did that he probably didn’t think twice about, which, of course, makes it extra special.   Sunday morning when I was in the ER I was in bad shape.  I hadn’t showered, my hair was crazy (think: dreadlocks-finger-in-a-light-socket), my teeth weren’t brushed, my clothes weren’t clean, I was crying out of fear and pain, I was in a narco haze, and my face was so swollen I was almost unrecognizable.  Rich Mansfield, (aka The Love of My Life) took my hand, leaned over, and whispered in my ear, “Your freckles are so pretty.”

Pause to let that statement sink in…

He probably thinks I didn’t hear him or if I did that I don’t remember.  I do remember and will until the day I die.  (which will NOT be any time soon!) You may have just fallen in love with him too. I wouldn’t blame you, but, sorry, this one is taken.  I totally learned “momma bear” from an expert so don’t test me on this one.  MINE!

 

I failed.

22 Nov

I have failed quite a few things in my time on this planet.  Fine.  Whatever.  I took the driving portion of the DMV test 4 times before being awarded my license. In my defense, I passed the written part the on the first try and was a nervous 15-year-old.  I failed a couple of courses in high school and a couple more in undergrad.  That was my fault for not paying attention and/or not showing up.  I failed at my first marriage.  I was 23 and knew what I wanted, not what I needed.  I failed as a saxophone player in middle school.  It was heavy!  I failed at snowboarding.  I am just not that coordinated.  I have failed at doing my fair share, remaining composed, being sympathetic, picking right over wrong, meeting deadlines, following up, apologizing, saying what I mean, losing weight, quitting smoking, correct pronunciations, simple math problems, remember things, listening, and being on time.  I failed a pregnancy test twice…

In the end, very few of those things mattered and some of them even turned out for the best despite their poor initial showing.  I have had my fair share of successes.  I even have a document printed on the skin of a dead animal declaring me a master.  (I totally would have opted for the paper if I knew I had a choice!) Those are stories for a different day. It is my failure as a writer that continues to needle me.  I finished my undergraduate degree with a major in studio art and a minor in English (creative writing).  It could have gone either way for me.  It just so happens by the time I visited an adviser I had 1 art class left for the B.A. in studio art and 3 left for the B.A. in English.  I went for the art degree.  After 5.5 years it was the way to go.  For several years I wallowed happily in the mud of mediocrity.  I dabbled in both photography and creative writing.  I taught art to elementary school students and later English literature and creative writing to high school students.  I loved both jobs.  What I did not love was the idea that I was done growing and evolving as an image maker or writer.  A good number of my friends at the time had terminal degrees and spoke enthusiastically about what a gift it was to have had the time away from “real life” to hone their craft and refine their methods of expression.  Slowly my mud stopped being safe and pleasant and started to get sticky.  I found myself increasingly frustrated with my creative works.  They were stagnant and juvenile.  One subject in particular proved itself to be impossible to express through either photographic imagery or the written word.  I tried innumerable times to address the death of my father with seriously limited success in either media.  It was time for graduate school. I looked into programs that offered a MFA in photography and those that offered a MFA in creative writing.  I labored over statements and cover letters.  The more I wrote the more frustrated I became.  I found myself blaming language for my inability to communicate.  In one rash moment, I unceremoniously discarded all the creative writing applications and dedicated my life to the photographic image.

It was not a mistake.  I thrived in my MFA program.  My images grew technically, expressively, became more sophisticated, and I leaned who I was artistically.  I finished my degree, worked a year in a museum, and then landed the coveted college teaching position.  14 years after my father’s death I have finally made a series of images that address this ever elusive topic.  Granted, they don’t even begin to scratch the surface of my experiences or emotions in regards to losing my dad.  I have not resolved anything, nor do I think I ever will or even want to.  What I did succeed in doing I am very proud of.  I simultaneously communicated my grief and gratitude.

Bolstered by my pride in that series of images I thought, maybe now I can do my dad and his life some justice with the written word.  It turns out that I cannot.  I tried.  I failed.  I found myself reverting back to my old argument that words are weak and incapable of the depth I need.  While that may be MY truth, it is not THE truth.  I have read so many well crafted,  interesting, and entertaining blog entries since joining this crowd a couple of weeks ago.  Here are some recent examples that I enjoy and am admittedly a little envious of: The Laws of Nature « Becoming ClicheProcrastination and the Time Thief | Rant Rave Write.  Rebellious Phase (Or Why I Blame Boyfriend For Ruining My life) « purposefullyawkward.  Boxers & Blugs « Kana’s Notebook.  Panic and Maternity Pants « brokencondoms.  Driving in America « Miss Demure Restraint.  Weak words are definitely not their truth.

Right now I feel like Alastair.  He is 4 years old and in a manic struggle with the number 5.  He can count to and far beyond the number 5.  He can add and subtract to reach 5.  He can write the letters to spell five.  He can recognize a well crafted “5” when he sees one.  He can also recognize a poorly crafted “5” when he sees one.  What he cannot do is get his brain and hand to co-operate to consistently create his own beautifully handwritten number 5.  The frustration causes screaming, tears, and projections.  I know, buddy, I totally get it.

Pregnancy, Death and Fear

5 Nov

Sheila Talbitzer – Fine Art Photography.

Photographic art about pregnancy, death, fear, and more.

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