Saturday, January 24, 2004

Sorry I haven't had much this weekend. I've been purposely staying away from the computer. Not much to report except that while cleaning I came across a treasure trove of audio tapes from my childhood. There's Leonard Nimoy's You Are Not Alone album. There's Iron Butterfly, The Moody Blues (who were my first live concert experience btw,) a Fraggle tape, and several tapes of Farley Mallorous who used to have a radio show called the astrological/metaphysical forecast. I used to listen to him (no pun intended) religously each week.
Couple all of this information with growing up on Pete Seeger and the Guthries and it's easy to see why I'm such a hippie.

The other thing is that Nissa called me today that Ron, one of our favorite professors at Chapman, passed away. I was very sorry to hear that. He was one of the jolliest people I've ever known. He directed a ten minute play that I was in and it was one of the silliest things I was ever involved in. It was about monsters under the bed coming back to torment a grown woman. I played a Frazzle type character who jumped around yelling, "Downsizing! Downsizing!"
He was also the guy who made me submit a script of my one man show before he would allow any talk of schedualing and funding. So, he got me doing the work too.
I watched his cat Oreo when he was travelling once. I went over and made sure the cat had food. He had the largest personal video library I've ever seen and the taste for the strange. Every old B sci-fi film you could think of and more.
He was a very sweet man. He was also intelligent and really wanted you to learn (and not usually the easy way.) Yet another person that the world's a little poorer now that they're gone.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Not much to report today. I meant to package my books for tomorrow and then slack off in the sun and finish the book I'm reading. But I heard that my grandmother had no dinner and while my mother could have taken care of it, my mother hadn't been able to go exercise after work all week. So I took my grandmother some dinner. She was very weak when I got there but gradually gained strength as she ate and we talked.
She told me that one of the nurses at the hospital came into her room and asked her a bunch of questions about illnesses and if she'd ever had them before. Most of them my grandmother had never even heard of. Then the nurse asked, "Are you pregnant?"
"Yes." she replied.
My grandmother is 84 years old. So I guess I've got some of her sense of humor.
She also told me that on the day my aunt was born my grandfather gave up hunting. He'd just been given a new rifle a few months earlier. The day my aunt was born there were five hunters in the hospital who had been shot while hunting. My grandmother said she'd always suspected that my grandfather had had a close call himself. But he never talked about things like that. He rarely talked about unpleasant things. I don't blame him.
When my grandmother ate, I put a table cloth on the tray by her bed. It was a table cloth celebrating the ways of the Pennsylvanian Dutch (which is what my maternal side of the family comes from mainly.) There was a distlefink on the tablecloth. A distlefink is a finch that eats thistles and may or may not exist from the stories I've heard about them. At least they've reached mythic proportions in Pennsylvanian Dutch culture. There was a picture of Faschnachs (sp?) which are donuts. There's a celebration called Faschnach Day that falls on Fat Tuesday every year where the Pennsylvanian Dutch eat many donuts. It's one of my favorite holidays. There was also a picture of a boy speaking to his mother saying, "Would you smear me all over with jam a piece of bread?"
Because that's how we talk.
So I didn't finish my book today. Perhaps tomorrow after my many orders are shipped and I wind down for the sabbath.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

The first half of the day I spent farting around, waiting until it was time to go to the hospital. I put some books into boxes, I did my grandmother’s laundry so she’d have clothes for when they let her go home, and I laid out in the sun reading (Phish gave me the advice to let the sun shine on my chest for a while to heal up my persistent case of gnappylung. Thanks again, Phish.) Then I went to visit my grandmother with my mom around 2:30. Actually before that, as an aside, my mother found an old wood picture frame at her work and she brought it for me. My portrait of Captain Samuel Samuels looks brilliant in it. Very striking.
My grandmother was much better today. She was smiling and her voice was stronger. At first she could walk with help and by the end of the day was walking around on her own just a hair slower than usual. They said that she didn’t have a stroke or a heart attack, which is very good news. My mother went to talk to the doctor and the doctor said that it was her opinion that my grandmother had had an extreme anxiety attack.
My mother said that she didn’t know what she would have had to be anxious about yesterday. I told her, speaking as one who has experienced anxiety attacks, that they’re not always brought on by something immediately apparent. Sometimes it’s just piling on mindstress for years and you finally just snap. Or sometimes everything externally is jim dandy, but internally you’re ripping yourself apart. I’m really glad I don’t do that anymore.
I have to say that it further confirmed my low opinion of doctors when my mother asked what to do if it happened again. The doctor said, “Have her lay down and take it easy for a while.”
To our surprise and delight they said that my grandmother could go home around 3:30. My grandmother was dressed and trying to get nurses to pull the IV from her arm by 3:35. It was 6:30 before we got out of there because that’s the pace of the hospital. Mom and I went out to dinner. It was a goodly dinner and we followed it with one large piece of cheesecake each.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Blogger just ate one of the more important posts I've written. It was about today, which I spent in two hopitals with my grandmother. She collapsed this morning and it appears to have been a stroke.
I wrote all about it and about how I'd made peace with my grandmother after a hard patch at the end of last year. I said a lot of things, but I'm not going to write it again because it was hard enough the first time.
I'm okay in case you're wondering. I'm just very tired. It's been a long year.

Monday, January 19, 2004

By the way, I didn't stop having hives just by hearing the advice of Dr. Weil. I had to follow the advice.
I don't like to assume that I have bronchitis or even talk about it too much. I resist naming it especially since I don't have any medical insurance so I can't find out what somebody who's supposed to be trained to name things thinks I have. And then I could buy the drugs that they say will help in a bigger leap of blind faith than any religion requires. I'm not in any hurry to try and get medical insurance again.
But everytime I get sick in my lungs I think of Jessi Morris from when I was in Newburg. I think of her because that November I told her about how one of the goth girls I knew in high school told me that every smoker gets bronchitis in December. And every year I smoked I found that to be true. Jessi and I both caught bronchitis and there was little in the Oregon winter to help matters. But I was young and still under my parents' medical insurance. I got a dose of antibiotics for Christmas. Jessi didn't get any medical attention.
I remember I used to say to her what my parents had told me every time I got bronchitis. They told me that you couldn't recover from bronchitis without antibiotics. Jessi didn't care. Part of why I was in love with her was because she was punk rock like that. Eventually she got better, but she went back and forth in her illness until sometime in early March.
I always remember that strange little interlude to a strange little love story. Nowadays I've found that she was closer to correct than I was (albeit most likely by accident.) My parents said a lot of stupid things when I was growing up and for some reason I never asked them what the people from thousands of years before we had antibiotics did.
"All those people got pneumonia and died. See, that's why they're all dead now." And buckity-buckity, off we'd go to the doctor to undermine my immune system.
Now that I don't have medical insurance I always turn to Dr. Weil. I follow him like he's the cult leader that he looks like (dude, go look at a picture of him at www.drweil.com. I'd help him build a spaceship.) You may laugh, but I had terrible hives for two years. Like Job I was, stricken and in extreme physical discomfort for two years straight. I saw over a dozen doctors and they all said "take benedryl." I had to take a pair of pliers and pull out the three front teeth of one doctor before he'd give me an allergy test to try and find what was causing it. They found out I was allergic to tomatoes and dust. They said, "avoid tomatoes and dust."
Finally I started looking elsewhere. Dr. Weil said that there's a plant extract called Quercetin which is what your body produces normally to keep you from having allergic reactions. When you get hives, it's because your body isn't putting out Quercetin. You can buy Quercetin at any vitamin or holistic store. Also hives could be a vitamin B deficiency. I heard the advice of Dr. Weil and BOOM no more hives.
So in this season of lung sickness, Dr. Weil told me to eat a lot of garlic, don't touch milk, and if I do have bronchitis, I'll be over it by sometime in March. So, there you go. Allergies, lost love, strange unnamed illnesses, and a long rambling story that didn't go anywhere. Aren't you glad you check in on this site?
Today is the birthday of Owsley Stanley, Edgar Allan Poe, and Alexander Woollcott. But all of the post offices and libraries are closed because they're observing Martin Luther King Junior's birthday from a few days ago. Which is great. MLK was a great man. I just thought I'd mention the birthdays that actually are from today lest anyone forgets and would like to have a party. Having correctly stated that MLK is aces in my book, I'd also like to say that I'd like to live in the world where we get a day off for Edgar Allan Poe's or Alexander Woollcott's birthday. I'd really like to live in a world where we get off of work for Owsley Stanley's birthday, but I think that would require a lot of reconstruction of our complicated legal system.
Yesterday was my father's birthday. And Oliver Hardy's.

I didn't really mean to take the day off today. Actually, I didn't completely take the day off. Last night my sinuses were slapped shut with goo in the middle of the night and my lungs refilled with goo as well. I relapsed. My cough never really went away, but in the past two weeks it had died down to a gently clearing of the throat twenty minutes or so. But last night it all came roaring back. I don't know if it was the rain or the billowing smog we endured today or what.
So, figuring that I couldn't go to the post office or the libraries today, I stayed at home, put a few books online, got my orders ready to ship tomorrow, and went back to sleep. I'm feeling better now.