Tuesday, September 8, 2009

La vie en rose

Yes, well.

I'll need to detail it soon or I'll forget everything, but I've also told the story enough times now that I've temporarily grown bored with it.

A few things I haven't told:
I've never loved or appreciated my family as much as I did for those 3 weeks.

I've finally seen their quirks and annoyances as delightful details of personality.

It was hard to see my father in pain for a full night, as my sister and I alternated between sleep and awake in his hospital room.

I think my mother may have taken it to heart when, as she poured her fourth glass of wine in the hotel room, I said "Mama? Please don't drink as much as you did last night 'cuz you fell into the TV and it scared me."

Yes, we all magnify a specific part of our personality under extreme stress. My sister became the project manager (researching whatever procedures or words the doctors said, memorizing the time line, digging more deeply with questions to gain understanding). My mother became the friendly neighbor (to everyone - little kids, old ladies, hotel managers, cashiers at Jimmy John's). And, oddly enough, I was the tough cheerleader... or the parent... or the companion... Dad had to walk every day to encourage circulation to heal. He'd beg out of it sometimes, but I'd bargain or trick or tease or mandate he get up. "C'mon, old man, up we go. Remember, it's not the distance but the frequency. After the walk, we'll see how you feel for a shower!"

Almost every day, minus the day he was high on dilaudid, we'd do some portion of the newspaper crossword puzzle together.

On the 7th day at the hospital, my temperament started to shift. I was growing bored and annoyed. But it was also a celebration that I was feeling irritable, since I'd skipped August's period entirely (due to stress) this was a good sign.

I didn't have sex the entire time while in the States, although I tried.

I had the most vivid and strange dreams, despite still taking the 1/2 Tylenol PM a night and drinking at least one glass of wine.

Dogs and cats are pretty awesome. I hadn't realized I longed for touch so badly.


And so. For now, I'm back in Paris. When I left my parents, my father was successfully showering on his own and had peeled back the bandage on his abdomen, proving that I was right: "Dad, you're freaking out. You do not have a gaping hole from where they took the tube out. The body doesn't work that way. Skin heals. I bet there's a bit of gooey scabbing over, but you are not leaking or oozing or going to squirt all over the floor when you remove your bandage." My mother was dropping everything for my father, which he was recognizing and thanking her in abundance. My sister was losing trust in her fiance after he neglected the dogs for a day and one of them peed on the bed. But, she also found out from a visit to the eye doctor that her retina was detaching. This put her in 3 days of respite (face parallel to the floor with a bubble in the back of her eye), and dependent on the finance. I think they probably had some truthful words shared over that long time.

Everyone's doing just fine, in other words.

Still, I didn't much like going through tragedy so far from my family. And, I've been considering the meaning of 'community' much more. Mine seems to be attached to people, not to places. My people are scattered all over the world. There are some of them congregated into a region though and I might just like to stay there for a while: Midwest, USA. The thought of that idea in the long-term terrifies me, although I'm pretty sure that it's not possible. I'll start to drive my family nuts and they, me. So, I'll consider it a temporary community residence until I find a job.

Thus, for now, I'm searching for a cheap one-way flight back, finding out the costs of shipping books by boat, and checking out the Parisian sights I haven't yet seen.

Oh, and I've been mini-posting over on Tumblr.

No comments: