I've been reading my surrogate daughter's blog with scary regularity, ever since she started one (Bad Teenage Poetry
). I am sooo proud of this girl/woman. Her writing is heart felt and crisp. She went off to college in August and has been feeling her way along, joining a wrestling club, feeding the hungry at the Krinsha Temple... But she all of a sudden hit the zone. She's quoting the beats and reading at poetry jams. Dancing mad at midnight to the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Finding her new family. And I'm watching it all with my breath held, as the chrysalis thins and the magnificent wings start to show. What an unfurling this promises to be.
So my best friend's brother died in my hospital this morning. He had leukemia, had tried chemo in prep for bone marrow transplant, and instead of getting 10 good months extra, he crashed. Got about 10 good days. As if that doesn't just suck the big Lebowski, here's the part I really don't get. He had a DNR. He had a living will that said no machines, no drastic measures. For the past 10 days he's been in a coma: tubes, machines, pumps and drips. Because his wife couldn't accept it and wouldn't admit that Jimmy had made his choice about how to die.
Can you get any more selfish than this? I'm not ready, so I'm going to control your end. Promise me, when it comes to it, give me a major bolus of morphine and let me shuffle off this mortal coil. I am not so attached to life that I fear the next passage. I AM affraid of dragging it out.
When my grandmother died, she went at home. We all came around to say goodbye. I let her hold her diamond ring, one last time. Even put it on her tiny little bird-like finger. The weight spun it around. Then it wouldn't come off. "Ha Ha, Gramma, you can't take it with you. Dammit, give it back, you gave it to me!" And the nurse is looking at me like I'm nuts, but the ring would not BUDGE off her finger. Hey. The nurses here all tell stories about folks in comas can hear you. Tell stories about how the one guy woke up and said they remember hearing what the nurses were saying over their bodies.... more or less. So who's to say Gramma wasn't giving me the hose, one last time for old time's sake.
What's that old joke? When I die, I want to go like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.
My fingers are numb from the cold. The truly sad thing is, I'm sitting in an office in Miami. It's the freaking air conditioner set to meat locker that has me in a sweater and polar fleece sox over my brogues. Red ones, for those of you who keep track of my shoes. With neon green sox.
Here's a rhetorical question: why do my coworkers insist on saying things to me like: "You need to tell your boss to do..." or "You need to make your boss do ..."
Hey! If he's my boss, then, by definition, I'm not the one doing the telling what to do. Get it? See, crap runs downhill. I'm downhill. From everyone it seems, some days.