Saturday, March 30, 2013

Wouldn't It Be Loverly?

Boo hoo hoo.  Here comes a major whine.  I indulge myself partly because it can be a relief to express the hard stuff, just to get it out there.  But mostly I hope that anyone reading about what I am going through will know they are not alone if they are experiencing similar challenges.  Somehow knowing that can make a difference.

I am woefully behind in posting here.  I am not feeling well and I am just so tired of even thinking about being sick, never mind writing about it.

As the effects of the steroids I got in the hospital wore off, the lymphedema in my legs returned in spades.  The pain is unbelievable, which is a pretty strong statement from someone who had two babies at home.  If I stay completely immobile, it is tolerable, but it is impossible to not move at all!    To simply make a cup of tea is a struggle that most of the time is not even worth it.  It is so much effort to just get into the kitchen that as often as not I don’t even bother with fixing a meal.  You would think between the sheer exertion and the reduction in eating I would be thin as a rail.  But noooooooo.  Not me.  I am the only human being in history who can eat less and gain more.  Additional injustice. 

The shortness of breath is creeping back, so I started another course of steroids today, at home this time, thank goodness.  And hopefully because I am nipping it in the bud, it will resolve quickly.  Although heaven knows what we are going to do to about this as an ongoing issue.  Next week I go back once again to try the lymphedema treatment.  Hopefully this time will be a success.  As far as the paralyzed diaphragm and shortness of breath…the possibility that this will never get better is too scary to contemplate. 

I am feeling overwhelmed by everything.  I worked so hard to achieve what I did in my career.  However, my prior considerable income is now defunct and I have massive financial issues and responsibilities.  But so much is being neglected because I am so sick.  Having all these things hanging over my head just adds to the stress level.

Besides being absorbed by illness, I am also immersed in regrets and melancholy and beating myself up.  Since all I do, practically, is lie in bed, why have I not completed all my thank you notes to all the wonderful people in my life who have visited and been there for me?  I am so self-involved right now I had very little to do with planning my daughter’s wedding this past Saturday.  But she never complained, she managed everything herself and it was a lovely day.  My gorgeous, funny, smart children were all at the wedding.  But seeing them all together just reminded me of how infrequently I see them in everyday life.  I torture myself with self-doubt about my parenting.  I remember every flaw I have as a mother and every misstep I took as a parent.  I desperately wanted to be perfect for them and fell far short of the mark.
In a true coincidence, thirty seven years ago my late husband Dennis and I attended my college senior prom at the very place that Mary Kate’s wedding and reception was held. The Georgian Court College class of 1976 had it's senior prom at Christie's in Wanamassa, which had been there since at least the 1930's.  Now it is the English ManorWe weren't engaged or even serious at that time.  Who knew that someday we would even have a daughter, never mind that our daughter would be getting married right where we were sitting!   Or that I would eventually buy my own cherished home just a few blocks away?  I was consumed with memories and a sense of incredible poignancy the whole evening.

A decade ago, as I became more and more independent and financially secure, I had envisioned myself at this point in my life maybe working overseas for a while.  My dream was to live in London for a year or two.  I never imagined I would not only not be traveling, but I would be losing everything I worked so hard for and would need another person to help me bathe and dress.


Despite all these complaints, I really am not terribly greedy.  This song popped into my head the other day as an example of how simple my wants really are:

Listening to it again made me so nostalgic and triggered so many more memories!  My father is the one who introduced me to Broadway musicals, he had dozens of records that I listened to all the time and My Fair Lady was one of my favorites.   He had the original recording, with the Hirschfeld illustration of George Bernard Shaw in Heaven, manipulating Professor Higgins and Eliza like marionettes.  It makes me smile because of course I thought Shaw was actually God: an old man with a beard in Heaven = God.  I knew every word to every song and sang along with gusto.  I was such a little ham.

When I was in college I was in a production of Pygmalion and I played Colonel Pickering, Professor Higgins best friend.  (What can I say, it was an all girl’s school.)  My only line was “By Jove, Eliza, the streets will be full of men shooting themselves for you.”  Instead, during one rehearsal I said, “By Jove, Eliza, the streets will be full of men shooting at you!”  That was it, we could never get through that scene without dissolving into giggles. 

For years, when I was little, every Saturday my father drove from the Bronx to Yonkers for me to have my ballet lessons with my cousins. In the car both ways we would sing all sorts of old songs.  This memory is especially precious because it really was the only time I was ever alone with my father, the only time he appeared to even acknowledge my existence.  I don’t mean that as a criticism, just as a fact.  My poor parents were not suited to have children and didn’t know quite what to do with us.  I don’t think it ever occurred to them we could be fun.

I think, for me, the worst part about dealing with all the sickness and loss is going through it with no partner, no one to share the burden, no one to commiserate with.  Friends are a true gift, but still different from a single, loving individual.  How I long for someone’s head resting on my knee, warm and tender as he can be, who’ll take good care of me.   Really, when you consider it, something we all need and deserve.

Wouldn’t it be loverly?


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