The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly-wugly Worthday

Tomorrow’s another birthday, likely to be spent in a state of moderate terror triggered by a single expression caught on the face of an ultrasound technician yesterday. Normally, I like my birthday. It was always the last or second-last day of school, which meant it came with a built-in sense of joy and release for all participants but not quite too late in the year to secure an adequate number of guests for a party. As the possibility of partying became occluded with adult issues, like sick elders, kids’ graduations, or transitions like moving and traveling, I salvaged that day… Continue reading

The Orgasmic Lightness of Being

A natural-health newsletter alerts me to the rise of cancer among pharmacists, nurses, and doctors who handle chimotherapy chemicals. Rick the Health Ranger says, "Treating cancer with chemotherapy is like treating alcoholism with vodka. It’s like treating heart disease with cheese, or like treating diabetes with high-fructose corn syrup. Cancer cannot be cured by the very thing that causes it. "And to those who deal in poison, watch out for the cause-and-effect laws of biology. If you deal in chemotherapy chemicals, don’t be surprised if you get cancer one day. If you deal in chemical pesticides, don’t be surprised if… Continue reading

Ironic, the loss of my iron man

Thirty-two years ago, I lost the love of my life, and my love lost his life, and all his loves. It never stops aching. Not entirely. Every June 18, unless my living dear ones have crises that obtrude, I remember. Most years, I cry, again. Some years, I write another June 18 poem. I don’t talk about the date, lest it be thought an occasion. Let the stupid world think June 18 is just a boring day–I want it to myself, to remember the best man in my life. He was a brave man, our Spence. He didn’t go to… Continue reading

Maddening

A full month after the surgery, the lab results arrived. They were said to be due within two weeks. Good. That way, I thought, I can plan my summer. If the cancer is gone, maybe I can attend my friend’s wedding. If the cancer lurks and various docs think I need more treatment, well…at the least, it means a lot of self-education and some big lifestyle changes. Once the results arrive, the patient doesn’t get them, of course. Oh, no. One must attend the doctor in his office. In my case, two doctors on two separate days. That is, after… Continue reading

Wisdom Nugget

The acquisition of wisdom is seldom much fun. The happiness part comes later, once the pain subsides. Take me, the woman stepping around town now with a smile wrapped twice around my face, ending with a knot behind my ear. I’m idiotically happy. Why? Because I’m still alive. Because surgery saved me for another day. Because I’m Canadian, which means I partake in what Americans call, in dread and loathing, “socialised medicine”. Because, if I still lived in the US, I’d be slowly dying now, too poor to save my life even if I knew how sick I was. In… Continue reading

Is A Life So Small?

"Is a life so small?" Lately, I hear that cry of anguish again, every day. The heart-shaped face of my Hawaiian poet-friend, Susan Starr, arises from memory. Eleven years ago, kay and I were struggling to fit in a visit every week or two to Susan’s little ohana perched on a hillock a third of the way up the sunny slopes of Maui’s dormant volcano, Haleakala, the "house of the sun". The rent was cheap, by Maui standards–a mere $500 per month, if memory serves. For the privilege of privacy, Susan, who could no longer hold down one of the… Continue reading

Lose 7 Pounds in 30 Hours–Without Boring Exercise!

As soon as I’d clambered into the house, I waddled into the bathroom and weighed myself. Two pounds heavier than when I’d entered the hospital. I put a tape measure around the belly That in itself took effort. Almost forty-eight inches. Wow! Given the five or six cups of hospital food ingested in the past week, these statistics made no sense. What was going on? Was it the types of food? The lack of deep sleep? The constipating meds? I took the meds anyway. What if the pain got worse? I slept seven or eight hours straight for the first… Continue reading

Borborygmi Theater

A left-behind stethoscope was our ticket into the Borborygmi Theater. A nurse or doctor had momentarily forgotten the thing. With a conspiratorial glance, Kay and I began listening through it, the way kids play with a doctor kit. Fun’s hard to come by in a hospital room, after all, and I hadn’t had any fun for quite a while. First I passed the stethoscope over the four quadrants of my burgeoninig belly, just as the nurse had, and then Kay had a listen. Have you ever done this? Omigawd, as Mother would say. Rumbles like a truck. Squeaks, gurgles, skitters,… Continue reading

The Overnight Pariah

Take your journal to the hospital, and a couple of pens. You never know when its seems wisest to stay awake by scribbling your way through the dark. I was becoming desperate for the four-hours-straight stretch of sleep that is essential to steering clear of fibromyalgia pain. I could sense it hovering out there, ready to pounce on some or all of my anatomy. So, I had soldiered on until 12:30 a.m., the time appointed for the nightly meds, in hopes of getting those precious hours for the first time since entering hospital three days earlier. What an effort! Pain… Continue reading

Fools of the Gods

The first breakfast that arrived at my hospital bedside astonished me. In one corner of the large tray sat a big cup of a dark brown liquid probably meant to be coffee, topped with a plastic cap to prevent spillage. Next to it sat a "milker", which is not a miniature Swiss miss leaning her forehead against a contented cow while pulling the teats, but another piece of plastic containing high-fat milk. Then a white-sugar baggie. Next to that, another plastic, mass-produced milk container with white stuff I haven’t drunk for years, since I learned about all the messing around… Continue reading