Thursday, February 28, 2008
Other than a sharp intake of breath and a couple of tears hovering at the corners of her eyes as the stinging sedatives entered her bloodstream, she was an absolute trouper. She endured Bubba's jokes that we may have to supply the catgut stitches ourselves by performing a tummy tuck on our own kitty. She watched in rapt fascination as the blood pressure cuff, oxygen monitor and EKG leads were stuck to various parts of her body. She didn't move a muscle as the twin cannulas poked themselves into her delicate little nostrils to deliver oxygen and measure her carbon dioxide output, even though they were altogether the wrong fit and forced her nostrils apart unnaturally. She went to sleep peacefully and trusted that she would wake up just fine.
That she did. Bubba and I refused to look at each other for the first few minutes in the waiting room, knowing that meeting the other's eyes would only prompt tears from both of us. We managed spurts of conversation amidst islands of silence and he finally said, "It is so much easier to be the one in there," as he gestured toward the door of the operating room.
But an hour and a half later, the doctor emerged from the back office to let us know that she had sailed through and was ready to go home. Packing ice, extra gauze, tea bags to help stop the bleeding (wet them and it activates the tannic acid which helps stop the blood flow), and a baggie with nine of her teeth, we headed out. She spent the day on the couch watching Star Wars movies with Bubba and endured only a few twinges of major pain. Her tongue has found the stitches (she calls them 'whiskers') protruding from her gums and pokes at them endlessly. She is enjoying her diet of applesauce, mashed potatoes, 7-up, and ice cream (specifically dark chocolate and blackberry, although not together). Her cheeks are puffy and her eyes are very tired, but she has sailed through the first day better than we could have ever imagined.
As we tucked her in to bed tonight and poured all nine teeth in to her tooth fairy box she said, "I hope nobody else around here lost any teeth today, cuz the tooth fairy is going to be really busy at our house tonight." Indeed, my dear. Indeed.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Because Bubba is out of town, I decided to try a new dessert. He indulges me all too often in my search for new flavors of ice cream, but he draws the line at sorbet and frozen yogurt. Because I have a sweet tooth the size of a T. Rex, I am always looking for something not quite so fattening and I usually experiment while he is safely on a business trip. While I'm not certain the new dessert I have come across is less fattening, I'm certain I'm glad I don't have to share it with anyone this week. I know that sounds awful, but as I sat on the couch last night, book in hand, towel wrapped around the carton of bliss in my lap savoring each and every mouthful of silky chocolateyness, the thought of taking a bite and then passing it off to anyone was ridiculous. So, you ask, what is this dessert that has inspired such passion? Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss. Ice cream made out of coconut milk (no cow's milk, soy milk, rice milk, no preservatives, no cane sugar) and flavoring. They have several flavors: vanilla, dark chocolate, cherry amaretto, coconut (duh), mint and cappuccino to name a few. So far, I've only indulged in the dark chocolate and, being a total chocolate snob, I can say it is FABULOUS! Creamy, rich, chocolatey, absolutely satisfying. And, it's made in Eugene, Oregon. That qualifies as 'local', doesn't it? Sorta?
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Monday, February 04, 2008
When the girls are settled, tummies full, lunches packed, shoes on, hair brushed, bags in hand at the garage door, I can no longer deny it. I’m headed for the bathroom. The stuffing of the last few days, weeks, months is over. The dog knew it. My body knew it. I was the only one who thought I could make it through another week or two before I came undone. No matter how many times I learn this lesson I never really learn it.
I couldn’t sit still. My family had disintegrated right before my eyes and I had to stay busy. I lost my brother, my soulmate in an excruciating blow that had yet to be acknowledged by anyone else. My father had moved out of the house. My mother took a full time job. My solution was to throw up. Careful not to draw too much attention to myself lest anyone discover this was just a ploy, I crafted a schedule that I thought would work. Once or twice a week I excused myself to the bathroom down the hall. Just in case there were any teachers wandering the halls, I made sure to hustle across the shiny linoleum, not pausing to gaze through the glass display doors at past school heroes and trophies. Once inside the girls’ bathroom I locked myself in the third stall and retched over and over again. Too afraid to stick my finger down my throat, most often it was just the retching sounds with nothing coming up. When I had exhausted myself enough to produce sweat on my brow and draw the blood from my face I slowly shuffled back to Mrs. Griffith.
She always stopped talking as I entered the classroom and cocked her head to one side as I made my way to the front of the room. I took in her long peasant skirt and flowing sleeves, longing for that warm protective arm to surround me and pull my head to her shoulder. I would get sent home and my mother would have to come stay with me. A good daughter, I felt guilty at the thought of disrupting her work day, making her lose a day’s pay to sit with me on the couch and push my hair back from my face, my Dorothy Hamill hair always springing right back to where it framed my cheeks.
Instead, I ended up across the street from the school. Coat hanging across my shoulders and drooping down the front of me, backpack bunching up the fabric behind me as I climbed the concrete steps – five of them that led to the white house where my sister and I would curl up on the couch and watch TV while Jan sat in the kitchen and talked on the phone all day long. We watched TV together and waited. Waited for her son to get home and bring us in to his dark cave of a bedroom where he molested us and nobody knew.
I hate throwing up. The mere thought of it brings tears to my eyes more violently than anything else I can imagine. I would rather choke back the bile and swallow it – push it deeper and deny it any power or release. These days I know I’m in trouble when it starts to come out the other end.
My grandfather. The man who was one of my heroes. The glue that held his family together. The one who accomplished what I could not. Since I was eight years old my mission has been to put my family back together and draw a tight band of steel around it so that it can never be split again. Only then can I truly believe that I have the right to be a mother. Only then can I truly believe that I am worthy of being part of a family.
My grandfather is gone. How can I learn his lessons now?
My father is dying. Before I can find my brother again, I am threatened with losing yet another member of my family. The little eight-year-old inside me is cowering in the corner, desperate to wake me up. “Please!” she screams. “Please fix this! I need help! I can’t bring them back by myself. Everything I do turns out wrong. I can’t scream loud enough to make anyone pay attention. I need a witness." I can’t cry quietly anymore. I need to feel the sobs coming from deep in my gut. My throat must be raw from the sounds that erupt through it. My body must shake with the effort, the tears should fly from my cheeks as I struggle for air. Please listen to me.