Friday, March 21, 2014

A Failure to Act

I have many fears, many sources of anxiety.  One of my biggest is not will I miss something; it is I will blow something off that’s important.  I don’t worry about missing clues, I worry about ignoring them.

When Marty and I started we settled into rather comfortable roles.  She tended to over inflate, I tended to under inflate, she would maximize the good and the bad, I was the yang, I tended to minimize the bad and the good.  There was certain symmetry of our opposites, but there was also tender for the angry fires of a budding relationship.

Too often Marty thought I was minimizing how she felt or what she worried over, she was right, I probably was.  But, the opposite was also true, too often she made the most out of what seemed inconsequential, I suspect to get me to pay attention to the issue.   Does that sound familiar to any married couples out there?

Things change, Marty’s strokes and the associated illness that come as a part of that have pushed me to abandon my minimalist approach to, well everything except cooking.  I have had to abandon the rather childish view of, “well, it will be okay.” I can no longer blow stuff off assuming it will just be okay, I can’t just ignore the small stuff because in our life the small stuff rapidly turns to big stuff. been several weeks 

We had been on a good healthy streak since Marty’s last hospitalization in February.  We had gone several weeks sans antibiotics and generally Marty felt okay.  She was eating well, sleeping well and engaging appropriately.

Then suddenly there was Sunday.  Sunday started good.  Marty woke, ate breakfast, got up, ate lunch and we settled into our Sunday afternoon routine sitting in the living room doing exercises.  Then, she did the weird body spasm contracting thing she does when she’s sick, just once.

I sat there and watched her waiting for it to happen again, nothing, we sat there.  I thought maybe it was nothing, maybe I just didn’t see it right, maybe it’s a fluke, maybe I could try really hard and rationalize my concerns away and fall back to the familiar, the comfortable blow it off mode.
Her body did it again a few minutes later, nothing big, subtle movements but enough for me to go on-line and register for a trip to the Providence Emergency Room.

I give kudos to Prove ER and their InQuicker process as we sailed through triage and were in an exam room within about 30 minutes of our arrival.  Marty’s vitals were good, she wasn’t in any distress, she didn’t hurt and she didn’t have a fever but I knew,  because of the funny body spasm thing,  she had an infection, or that was my assumption based on my doctorate of Marty.

Maybe it’s the earnest way I tell her story, maybe they just hear weird stuff all of the time but the nurse and the doctor listened to my tale intently and started doing all of the requisite tests.  Sure enough Marty had a pretty bad infection, origin unknown.  

They checked the obvious, the urine, the chest, the abdomen and everything was normal save the white count which they dealt with by using a big time antibiotic with instructions to see Great and Wise the following day.

I called his office Monday morning and walked in unannounced with Marty and a sample of her snot about 1 p.m. that afternoon.  She got another antibiotic shot a prescription for more and we went home.

Marty is feeling fine today, we are at the lake and the cause of the infection was in the snot.  The drugs she is taking will kill the bacteria and all is right with our world today, we passed another test.
My fear, my big fear is my natural inclination to ignore the bad will someday keep me from acting.  My fear is that I will see something and ignore it long enough for little to become big.  My fear is that my newly discovered hyper vigilance will become exhausted to the point I will one day ignore the evidence and opt for “things will be just fine”, when everyone knows things won’t be just fine.

You see, we have learned a lot over the last years about Marty and the ramifications of her disease.  Certainly we have not learned everything and we will continue to meet new things, but we do know a lot about Marty and what her sick signs are.  

My fear is not that I will not miss something out of ignorance or because I’m not paying attention.  My fear, as always will be that I will ignore what I know. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Done a Solid

I read a speech some time ago, a commencement speech gone viral by author George Saunders.  In the speech he talks about one of his greatest regrets, not being kind enough (Speech Text).

That is an extremely poor and inadequate summary of what he said but his speech touched me.  In this day when we spend so much of our time and energy talking down, about and around others, when we spend our days avoiding, when we too often abandon the need for kindness, what he says rings true and I hope inspires.  

The need for simple kindness has never been greater.

And, it happens, probably every day, probably to you.  Maybe not in what we read, I just read several speeches from the CPAC convention, kindness never came to mind.  I just watched the morning political shows, kindness didn’t appear, we are currently being inundated with Republican ads for the primary in Texas and those guys, all guys by the way, left kindness, understanding and empathy at someone else’s doorway.

Yet, we find it every day.

I was at Walgreens, standing in line, somewhat patiently with my three bags of sugar free Werther's Originals.  The cashier on the right was dealing with a cart full of little things; the one on the left was dealing with a return, like I said, somewhat patiently.  Hey, I wasn’t glaring or tapping my foot.

An employee walked past the line and said they could help at the photo counter.  There were two people behind me and one in front, I turned about the same time the last person in line, a petite, dark haired, middle-aged woman, did.  She looked at me and said, “You go ahead, you were next in line.”
I thanked her for her kindness, it made my day better.

That same day I received a call from one of the internet vendors we use for Marty’s “products”.  We are a good customer and have been using the same company for several years.  Our overall experience with Cheap Chux has been excellent.  They are reasonably priced and fast and take care of their customers. 

As a prolific user of the internet to buy “products” I rarely if ever talk to any of these people on the phone.  It’s one of the advantages.

The lady on the phone told me one of the products we consistently use had a promotion that I hadn’t been using.  She’s right; I wasn’t using it because I didn’t want to send in receipts to get coupons.  She told me she realized I hadn’t been doing that and she took it upon herself to send in copies of our receipts and she had our coupons and she would apply them as I made future orders, all I needed to do was send her a note.

I thanked her for her kindness and it made my day better.

It happens.  We see it around us, people doing nice, polite, kind things that affect us.  When I am with Marty they hold doors, they let us on an elevator, they move their children aside, humanity can be kind and it always makes my day better.

I find myself identifying with Mr. Saunders; I have often regretted my haste, my self-importance, my blindness in not being kinder.  It’s not necessarily a new age affliction but our fast paced electronic driven lives hasn’t helped.

I want to work on that.  I want people to know, in spite of the vitriol and hatefulness we often see on the internet and in politics and in our daily lives, that there are people, good people who are out there doing others a solid.  I’m going to talk about it more.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Smile

On any given day it is the best thing I see.  It is guaranteed make my day better, instantly.  It lights up my world and it does the same for the people around her.  When Marty smiles, I mean really smiles it is the best thing in my day.

Marty has always liked to laugh and to smile.  She was the funny one, the one who could actually remember a joke and tell it without pause and with real comic timing.  She was the one who laughed out loud.  She still does and when she gets tickled it is a worth seeing.  Marty’s face lights up, she laughs and holds her stomach and just for that moment,  a real normal seems to take hold and all is right with the world.

You have to see it to understand, you have to understand Marty to see it fully.  Her eyes light up, her lips kind of purse together and then separate to show a little tooth, the corners of her lips turn up and her whole face smiles.  The mouth is the star but the face is the universe, they combine and show joy.
The best of her smiles are spontaneous, when she hears something funny, when she sees something funny.   

We never really see a smile of contentment, that doesn’t happen, it has to be something that for whatever reason she finds funny.

We went to see Anchorman 2 and Marty laughed out loud and grinned at the first ten minutes of the film.  She yawned the rest of the way through the movie.  That’s her review of the film, she is an astute judge of funny.

They also had a preview for Melissa McCarthy’s new flick, “Tammy”, where McCarthy was wearing a sack on her head and dancing to Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” and Marty smiled big and laughed through the whole trailer.  That’s the stuff, over the top, base, visual, auditory humor that gets Marty going.

Don’t get me wrong, she laughs at me from time to time, she even cracks herself up occasionally.  Yesterday we went to Academy and I went to check out with our few things.  Marty and Renee went ahead to get into the van.  We were parked close (Academy in Waco has great handicapped parking….as opposed to WalMart) and she was riding in the lift up, facing the store as I came prancing out.  When I got to the van she was just beaming and I asked what she was smiling about and she said, “You look like a real shopper.”

Now I’m not sure why that thought made her laugh, but she cracked herself up.  I think it’s because she knows I’m the anti-shopper and she thought it pretty funny that I was earnestly walking up clutching my new purchases like I was carrying something valuable.  I make her smile and occasionally I make her laugh.

It’s the simple things, the simple times that seem to hold this whole thing together, the time spent laughing, the time spent smiling, and the time spent being together, quietly, contentedly.  Smiling is really a good thing.