Archive for the life-n-death Category

My grandparents

Posted in family, history, life, life-n-death, marriage, true story, writing practice with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2009 by bosquechica

My grandfather had a thin mustache, my grandmother good legs. My grandparents spoke Spanish and English and a little Italian but the Italian was not sincere. My grandparents smoked and went to theatre and galleries and lived in Texas and Mexico and Colorado and New Mexico and Canada and California and then back to New Mexico where they lived for most of their elderly years. My grandparents were runaways and liars, and cheated on each other for as long as they were young and could get away with it. My grandparents were married for 70 years, but divorced for 10 of those. My grandparents had smooth beautiful voices and liked books, and vino tinto, and chile, and they used olive oil to keep their feet smooth and soft, and they drove very big cars and voted Republican in the 80s but were socialist in the 30s, and they planted corn in their backyard with the great grand children, and they walked in the Organ Mountains looking for a place to scatter their ashes, and that’s where they are now, in an arroyo in southern New Mexico, on their way down to the gulf of Mexico by way of flash floods and monsoons, however long that might take.

This was a 5-minute writing practice in group this Monday. Got some great photos, but not the ooomph to scan them right this second. I’ll add in a separate post.

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Hesitantly returning

Posted in body, health, insomnia, life-n-death, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , on February 3, 2009 by bosquechica

ramona-lifting-weights

I haven’t written anything for months, mostly because of the nasty shoulder injuries that were keeping me from doing anything at all. I think I’m ready to write again, but I’m nervous and shy, have regained my blogging virginity, and have been wondering if I have a damn thing to say.

So, since it’s all about me and all, I thought I’d write about prolotherapy, which is the treatment I chose for my shoulders (yes, both of them).

Prolo therapy is a non-surgical intervention for torn ligaments and tendons. According to the prolo pros over at prolotherapy.com,

Prolotherapy uses a dextrose (sugar water) solution, which is injected into the ligament or tendon where it attaches to the bone. This causes a localized inflammation in these weak areas which then increases the blood supply and flow of nutrients and stimulates the tissue to repair itself.

Let me just say that, after I spent a couple of years skirting around the issue of living vs. dying and being repeatedly slit from my guzzle to my zatch, I came finally through that experience weaker and more wobbly than I knew was possible. Everything I did hurt, everything I did caused a new injury. In about 18 months, I sprained my ankles twice, got a hernia while on a tiny little super easy bike ride, and tore ligaments in both my shoulders. This sucked beyond my ability to convey, but was at least better than actually being dead.

I stopped sleeping, due to pain, started taking vicodin, due to pain, and slid into a vague, extended and tiresome period of being afraid to do anything. Let me say, this did not seem to be an actual depression, although it was depressing. More, it seemed like my body wasn’t willing to carry me anymore, and I was tired, and tired of pain. From some angles, I look like Frankenstein, a constructed being, scars shooting out in all directions, lit more by lightning than by nature.
frankenstein11

So. That did sound a bit depressed, eh?

I am a bit driven, by temperament, and this sloshing around in a half stupid hydrocodone fog, alternating with bright and angry pain, did not suit me overmuch. Hence the prolotherapy, after assorted other modalities did not do the trick.

Here’s what they do, and let me tell you it hurts like holy hell:

prolo-therapy1

The needles feel huge, no, enormous, and for about 30 days after the injections the pain was worse, massively and unbearably worse, which made me feel like a complete idjit. Pass the vicodin, please.

Then one day about a month after, it stopped. Not 100%, but about 80%, not bad, not bad at all. I stopped taking vicodin, and switched to ibuprofen with a very mild pain pill on the side. Stopped taking anything in the daytime, and now I’m taking the pain pill at night just two or three times a week.

As soon as the pain stopped, I started lifting weights and going to the gym (still working on frequency, but really I’ve always liked weights, so it feels good to be able to do it at all). I’m starting to sleep again, intermittently. My brain and body are starting to feel better, not well, quite, but better.

I’ve been driving my wife crazy with my bad sleep, chronic pain and forgetfulness (goes with the other two). And I’ve been driving myself crazy with the sensation that my body is the enemy, and that my brain has gone utterly to mush, never to be its own vigorous, adventurous and imaginative self ever again.

 I will let you know how this goes. It’s the old body-mind connection, can’t have the one without the other. I knew that. Wish me luck.

I’ll be back.

brain-exercise

Gah I can’t think

Posted in family, life, life-n-death, marriage, personal history, rant, writing practice with tags , , , , , , on January 29, 2008 by bosquechica

Well I have been slam-banging along for the past couple of weeks, running into walls, wrestling (I have an urge to say “rasslin'” here, like I’m doing things with alligators) with nursing homes and assisted living facilities and anxiety-ridden relatives and ridiculous therapy contracts and elder lawyers and may I just say that even without being there in the same city or state as my old mama (who is getting really cranky about being in a nursing home, even if it is temporary, and the jury is still out on that) it’s really time consuming to the point of disrupting the time-space continuum (whatever I mean by that) and gah I can’t think. My life is interrupting my blogging and it really chaps my hide.

And this week I’ve got company Wednesday through Saturday, a bunch of yodeling folk singers descending on Casa de Bosquechica on Friday, a trip to Santa Fe on Sunday for a hideaway-retreat with the missus and a visit to the state legislature on Monday to advocate for our right to have the partner benefits that other married people can just take for granted, thank you very much. And I can’t find my damn photo album from Africa, which I’ve been trying to find to post in this piece I was working on last week, because ever since the mom-stroke thing, it’s been hard to focus forward; my brain keeps doing “my life in review”, which is just a wretchedly self-absorbed response to her pending mortality (pending?).

The persistence of the “life in review” thinking made me decide to do a two-piece writing practice: “5 years ago, I . . . . ” followed by “In 5 years, I . . . ” to help me shift back into where I’m going instead of where I’ve been. What will I be doing in 5 years? Well, if this past couple of weeks is any indication, I’ll still be working on this freakin’ “freewrite” about what I did five years ago…….and geez, that’s just wrong.

My own pillow

Posted in family, life-n-death with tags , , , on November 26, 2007 by bosquechica

I got home this weekend and slept 14 hours. My mother has been from critical care to oncology to inpatient rehab and back to oncology again (this time with pneumonia), all in less than two weeks. Went from 100% independence (home, finances, pets, shopping, cleaning – everything) to almost nothing – she can’t walk, write, stand, sit without help, swallow safely, talk clearly. She’s still cognitively on-board, which is just unbearable, I think.

I’m reminded of my grandmother’s death – she had a stroke during Jeopardy and died on the spot. She was almost 90 and living at home with my granddad — they were married for 70 years. He said she turned to him, said his name (Paul), held out her hand and died. All in the blink of an eye — he always described the transition from life to death as taking place in the blink of an eye — moving from a temporal state to one in which time no longer exists. He and Laurie had a lot of good wine-swilling late night jaws about the nature of life.

Anyway, there will be more to do for mom and the brother, and sleeping with my honey in our bed with my own pillow is a welcome break. I baked, watered the plants, praised the dogs, did some laundry, played scrabble with Laurie (I was a bad sport when she kicked my ass — sorry honey! — sooooo frazzled), and did my billing. All regular stuff, fortifying to have some usual routines. I sense that I will need to regroup again — hell, what is the meaning of life? Of work? Of love? Of family?

The sandhill cranes just flew past my window, coming down low on their way to the fields next door. Maybe they know.

2 a.m. again

Posted in family, life-n-death with tags , , on November 19, 2007 by bosquechica

Full on stroke, leukemia, and a host of other issues. It’s becoming less likely that she’ll be going home again, although there is still more to talk about. The schnauzers are worried, Steve and I are just starting to rally the family, and Laurie is at home looking after everything else.  

I’ve been thinking about how we become (and continue to become) who we are, about choices and chance. About certain people, ideas, books and experiences that have shaped this life.  Floating thoughts: integrity – consistency between thought, action and belief; choice points – moments when  conscious awareness and response helps guide our path; the importance of witnessing the joys and sorrows of self and others; the need to dream and rest, to sing and dance, to worry and grieve. I am reminded of my jungian analysts in Assimilate/Appropriate, who took emotional possession of their new country through full engagement with the physical aspects of it. Which reminds me of an actual jungian analyst I worked with in California many years ago, who taught me how to watch and feel my dreams, and how one day in therapy I screamed like an animal while reliving the pain and anger of being a child with cancer. And how hard it is to die, and how much self-reflection means to me and how confusing it is (to me) that it can’t possibly mean much to someone who avoids it. And about time and how it alternates between linear and circular.

My mother was very insistent yesterday that Steve and I go home and watch Groundhog Day, which is a movie she’s watched many many times, and it gave me a crazy infinity mirror meta-feeling about repetition and how it helps create a feeling of safety in the world. Poor mom.

In graduate school my mentor was a very bright man who’d done a master’s thesis on locus of control and how it informs the perception and choices of the individual. Internal locus being a psychological style in which the individual believes strongly in self-determination; external being a stronger belief in authority and a need for known rules. Of course all of us shuttling along a continuum even within the context of our own lives.

Which brings me to a precarious balance, here filtered through the imagery of the tarot (sorry, I truly am not a linear thinker) and an emotional trinity: internal forces (the empress – I make these choices because I have the knowledge and power to make them); external forces (the heirophant – my choices are determined through the guidance of the powerful other); and chance (the fool – the unknown is just that, and I step out over the cliff into whatever will come next) that we all live with.

And now it is 4 a.m. and time to say goodnight, at least for an hour or two.

2 a.m.

Posted in family, life-n-death, pets, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 15, 2007 by bosquechica

It’s 2 a.m. I am not good at sleeping, generally. My rule around this is don’t get online in the middle of the night!

I’m going to see my mother tomorrow (later today). She went to the emergency room yesterday with what she thought was a TIA (transient ischemic attack, mini-stroke), but is apparently some kind of leukemia. She’ll be frantic about the schnauzers.

My brother Steve is there — he lives next door to her and has been her primary caregiver and companion for several years now. We’ve been trying to get both of them to move out here so we can help, but that has stalled for various reasons. Steve says he feels unreal, like he’s hovering about six inches above his own body. Common feeling during medical stress.

I’ve been information mining — what kind of leukemia? course of treatment? prognosis? — but in the absence of more specific medical information I’m just spinning my wheels.

I’m going back to bed. The rules still more or less apply.

Swimming

Posted in dreams, life-n-death, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 22, 2007 by bosquechica

Had this dream a few days ago:

I’m hanging out on the beach with a bunch of friends. They are all super buff, tanned, hearty beach types. We’re having a great time. One of them tells me a story about the ghost sailboats that haunt this shore. Swimmers see them and are compelled to go after them, climb aboard. They swim too far, are carried out to sea, and drown.

My friends leave and I am sitting watching the waves as the sun goes down. Suddenly, I see them — the ghost boats, dozens of them, glowing, translucent, rolling with the waves. I get in the water and swim swim til I reach one and climb in. Turning around to look back at the beach, I see I’ve come much too far, and it is almost dark. I can tell, from this distance, that once it is dark I won’t be able to find the shore again. Far out on the horizon is a last moment of sun, narrowing into a shrinking triangle in the distance. I abandon the boat and swim toward it as it fades, and pull myself onto the sand, which is still warm.

I get up, brush myself off, and go to find my friends. They are inside, working out, cooking, listening to music, dancing. I go to the gym looking for one person in particular, a young black man. I want to talk to him about my swim, about almost drowning. When I get there, he has been handcuffed, and he’s being taken away by scary authoritarian goons. We are all arguing, crying, why are they taking him? Where are they taking him? Let him go, now, we say.

Then I woke up.