Update from the Heart of Hess 7

6/28/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Oh, my gosh. If everything could just slow down for a minute. A second, even.

Help.

Oh, wait. Warning: This post will contain fear, frustration, freaking out, fretting and at least one other “f” word multiple times. If you cannot handle the truth, stop reading right now. Go rent A FEW GOOD MEN or something. Seriously. I’m not going to make up shit just to sound positive. Go on, now. Go watch some kitten videos on YouTube. Go onnnnnnn. Gone? Okay.

Hess has been home less than two days (yay!), and he’s already had one episode of atrial fibrillation that required a call to the doctor’s emergency service in the middle of the night (not yay). The rehab fellow who came by today – Art, who is an angel – said that Hess’s heart is healing very slowly and that Hess has to slow himself down immediately so that he doesn’t damage his heart muscle, which would be irreversible. He showed us all kinds of things about the devices we’ve been given, which would’ve been good to know BEFORE we came home two days ago.

The doctors sent us home with a mound of instructions – some of which are contradictory – and a baker’s dozen of new meds, and I’ve yet even to find time to make sense of it all. There are specific things that must happen on a 24-hour schedule, and there is no rotation of nurses – good or bad – to share the responsibilities.

All of you who’ve been through anything like this will understand: A caregiver has a mountain of sand to move with a pair of tweezers.

And not the good kind that really grab either. The cheap ones that after fifteen minutes of trying to get a grip on that chin hair you can’t see unless the hand-mirror is angled just right finally snag the hair enough to make it hurt like a bitch but then only break it off at .0000000000001 mm above skin level.

And it doesn’t diminish the importance of focusing on Hess’s recovery for me to say that as the primary caregiver, I’m drowning. In fact, the most critical thing in my universe is Hess’s recovery, but, but, but. I’m the most ill-equipped candidate for this job.

First, my darling is a tad resistant to all these “silly” requirements, which forces me to turn up my shrewmometer even higher than normal. Who else is going to make him shower and clean each wound and then swab it with Betadine every single day?

(“Oh, yeahhh. Betadine? No. You’ll have to go buy that separately,” said the CVS pharmacist at midnight on our first day home.

“The patient must be attended 24/7 for the first 3 weeks,” said the yellow instruction sheet.

“He has to ride in the backseat,” said everyone involved in cardiac healthcare.

“Fuck you getting him in the backseat!” said our Mini-Cooper.

“He’s better off if you leave him at home unattended than if he gets in a car,” said the first home-health care person. “You’re not going to be gone an HOUR just to get Betadine.”

“You have to get a pill-splitter, a pill organizer, medical supplies, special food, a home blood-pressure monitor, a freaking 3V lithium battery for the bathroom scale because it decided to die TODAY, and so, so many other things, and the lines at Walmart are like registration on the first day of Zombie school,” said my spinning head.)

Who else is going to make him weigh and take his blood pressure every morning before he takes his first round of meds? Who else is going to make the phone calls with her motherfucking deaf, betraying ears for all these mandatory doctors’ appointments (and that, alone, sends me into a tailspin)? Who else is going to fold him into the backseat gently, GENT-ly, Oh, my God, watch your head! so that we can go to the appointments? Who else is going to wash him and the sheets and the sheets and the sheets and the clothes and the clothes and the clothes when the meds make him incontinent, and it is totally NOT his fault, and he’s humiliated and doesn’t want to wear freaking adult diapers? The measure of true love is directly proportional to how willingly we wipe our partner’s ass. I. Fucking. Love. My. Husband.

And before anyone out there blasts me for making this negative or “about me” in ANY way, consider this: The bottom line is that I’m Hess’s ONLY advocate and caregiver. There is no one else to do the million things that must be done to help him heal properly, and I kind of suck at it. We have a combined total of five classes of students depending upon us, and I can’t keep up with it. And our house is in chaos because I was right smack in the middle of renovating EVERYTHING – and I do mean EVERYTHING – when this unexpected health crisis waylaid my co-pilot.

So, there is shit lying around all over, and the stream of home-health people who’ve come by since Monday (to tell us what to do, not to help us do it) have had to navigate the place like a minefield. Plus, we have a new puppy, so you can see how that might impact things, yes?

It isn’t like I thought on a whim, “Hey! I’ve got a great idea! Why don’t we get a house, and I’ll tear it all up and replace everything and run into all kinds of problems and delays so that the renovation bleeds into the time that all of our new classes start, but right BEFORE we get the house, let’s get a puppy who will just shit and piss EVERYWHERE because we are SURE that we’ll have plenty of time to train him now that we have a HOUSE with a yard, and then—I know, I know—this is the BEST part: Let’s do ALL of this, Honey, knowing full-well that you’re about to need to have your chest split open and your heart fixed and then require months of recovery and rehab! What do you think???” And then Hess just blithely went along with the plan.

It didn’t happen like that. But, now, here we are.

There are naturally good moments and not-so-good moments. Good: After Art gave Hess the directive to rest, slow down, take it easy, heallllll, a calm settled over the land of excrement.

Not-so-good: The CPAP lady who thinks she is being really efficient but who is really just a shell of humanity with no actual feelings came at 10 this morning and fitted Hess for his CPAP machine because sleep apnea – which was diagnosed shortly before the heart issues – has been robbing him of enough oxygen for years. He had to call her a few minutes after she left for clarification on how to fill the stinking reservoir, and we put the two head strap contraptions on all kinds of ways wrong before we figured it all out.

For just a moment, I was married to Hannibal Lecter, and it was so, so scary.

CPAP                                  CPAPs

But, once we got him looking more like a high school wrestler than a serial killer, he was able to drift into a peaceful, healing sleep in which he dreamed he was teaching in the coolest school where all the teachers walked together to have dinner in what turned out to be a library. As a token to get a tray, each teacher had to choose a book to discuss over the meal. He said, “Ohhhh, I’d love to teach in a place like that.” And, of course. Because my husband craves community more than anyone I’ve ever known. But, now, here we are.

We moved into a retirement community – for the community, get it?? – but because we are dumbasses, we got here right when everyone else left for six months. It is Florida. It is summer. Our neighborhood looks like the Apocalypse unless it IS the goddamned Apocalypse, which it probably is and we’ve been left behind because I use the Lord’s name in vain. Jesus Christ! Can I do nothing right?!

Well, okay. I did one thing that helped. I allowed myself a few moments of bleating and snotting this afternoon–I’m an ugly crier–until I felt better. Hess had a quiet, serene evening; good dinner; a little school work; warm shower; fresh Betadine; nighttime meds; CPAP on correctly; and he’s sleeping so well and beautifully as I type. The puppy is off somewhere humping his stuffed bear, which I know because I can feel a slight thumping in the floor. I’m filled with hope that Hess’s heart is healing, oxygen is rejuvenating his cells, slumber is restoring his precious body and soul. Thank you all for being there. For listening. Or reading. Good night, Darling Friends! More tomorrow.

A Little Consideration, Please

You know, it is evil to post photos of people on social websites without their permission. I have never, ever, ever liked having my picture taken because taken means stolen, and whatever tribe it is that believes cameras steal your soul is absofuckinglutely right. One should not have to suffer even in private the humiliation of the hard, cold pictorial evidence of one’s actual appearance, yet alone in a global forum teeming with former high school classmates’ malicious anticipation that you are more swollen than they are.

I prefer to live in a sort of delusion that I don’t really resemble what a Polaroid says I do. If you have seen a photo of me, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. My fat fricking chinnage looks like one of those inner tubes for river rafting, or like Trump when he’s sputtering. Coincidentally, my upper torso appears to have been inflated by a gigantic air mattress pump perhaps inserted into one of those little plastic valves that may be hidden beneath my back-fat folds. Who knows what’s all up under there? You can understand why I don’t willingly pose for posterity. It’s totally unfair to be the cause of mass pukery.

Now I realize that many folks enjoy flaunting the goods, especially when they are young and firm and dumbasses. I mean, who out there hasn’t allowed the occasional tasteful Hustler-crotch-shot or the harmless sex-with-multiple-kitchen-accessories tape? What? Yes, I meant besides Paris Hilton and anyone who assists Hef with his catheter and collection bag. What? No one? Huh.

Well, booby shots, then. Everyone does that. Even Pippa. And what happens to all embarrassing exposures the second the image develops? They pop up on Facebook. Or somebody’s ex sells them to a skin mag. Whatever. Why can’t we all just show a little more consideration? Here are some pointers that might help: Don’t let anyone ever shove a camera in your hoo-ha. Don’t generate a penis gallery with your own damned cell phone. Don’t smoke. It kills. (I just had to throw that in there.) And please don’t put my age- and jumbo-bags-of-Kit-Kats-tarnished image on display without checking with me first. My answer will always be “no,” but it is strictly in the best interest of public safety.

Celebrities, You are NOT the Boss of Me.

Why do celebrities even open their mouths when they are not A.) speaking in character on screen or stage, B.) getting their teeth whitened, or C.) blowing someone? I mean, the only thing of substance that ever, ever comes out of a celebrity’s dental orifice is partially digested food. Are you paying attention here? Donald. Trump. Could. Be. President. People think Jennifer Aniston is REAL. And for God’s sake, global warming is NOT to blame for the ozone’s holes. The one-hundred percent true cause is Sean-Puerile-Penn’s toxic twaddle.

Why do we—and by we I mean idiots when I don’t personally like the celebrity in question—follow the minute-to-minute functions of people so synthetic that if you flip them over and look at the bottom of one foot, it will say Patent Pending? Did you know there is a Celebrity Attitude Scale developed by a British psychologist, which ranks people according to their levels of celebrity worship? There’s entertainment-social: Celebrities are fun to watch! There’s intense-personal: Celebrities and I have lots in common, and I want to hump one! And then there’s borderline-pathological: The duct tape, chain saw, and map to David Letterman’s house are in my trunk because he has been sending me secret love messages in his monologues, and he wants me to come over and cut him into small squares so that I can keep him in my pocket at all times and maybe wear some of his skin.

There is something seriously bent about the fact that we buy schmillions of products and services just because Tiger Woods or Oprah says we should, unless of course Miss Winfrey selects my book for her Book Club one day, and then you absolutely, by all means, most definitely should get a copy as soon as possible because Oprah really knows her shit when it comes to picking incredible literature except for the couple of times she touted those bogus-memoirs, but everyone makes mistakes. Under no circumstances, though, should you trust any fucking thing Tiger Woods says, even if he is trying to convince you to buy golf balls. The last thing anyone should ever want to play with is that guy’s balls.

Damn That Sexist, Winnie-the-Frickin’-Pooh

Okay. So, Dr. Janice McCabe, a sociologist at Florida State University, announced a startling and universe-shattering discovery this week: Children’s books are sexist, by which she means against girls. (And, I must say that the bozo who wrote the article about the kiddie-lit sexism should have to hand over his job to me immediately because he wrote, “Dr. Janice McCabe… examined nearly 6,000 children’s books between 1900 and 2000…,” by which he didn’t mean to insinuate that the doctoral-degree-holder is old as fuck. He meant that she read 6,000 books that were written between 1900 and 2000. Dumbass! Our language is in the toilet, people.)

So. Where was I? Oh. Yeah. Tomes for tots are heavy on the male characters and male/unspecified gender animals. For example, in A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, everyone’s male except for Kanga. Girls are representin’ in only a third of the selected yarns for youngsters. McCabe claims that children learn in their tender years about gender from the books, cartoons, and movies to which they’re exposed—and that even in coloring books, even in 2011—males are the featured creature.

What can this revelation mean?! What if Christopher Robin had had a stash of Barbies to go with his boy toys? What if MacDonald had been an OLD lady? What if Thomas the Train and Bob the Builder had female co-workers? You know what? Chris would be considered homosexual, Old MacDonald’s farm would’ve had its taxes raised by the nasty carpetbaggers until the rent on Tara was so high…sorry. Wrong story, but same point. And the women in Thomas the Train and Bob the Builder would get paid half of what Thomas and Bob make for the same damned job.

Why should children’s literature reflect anything other than the real world? Shit. Even Hilary-who-I-still-think-is-Satan-in-a-super-fugly-mask was erased this week from a current newspaper photo of the Situation Room during the bin-Laden-liquidation because a not-tiny part of the fricking world still believes a woman has no business in a government leadership position.

We currently teach our children that a certain fashion doll can be an ASTRONAUT, but she better have really big rockets. I read Woman’s World magazine each week because I need at least one good solid belly laugh every seven days. You’d think there would be a female CEO or at least some estrogen on the five-member board. You’d be wrong. The reality is that men rule the world, and anyone who doesn’t believe it has obviously never read any damned children’s books. But I’m not sure that adding some extra girl-goats and she-bears to bedtime stories will tip the scales in vay-jay-jay favor. And really, wouldn’t it be too freaking creepy if Pat the Bunny featured a female? Ewwww.

To read the whole McCabe article (although why would you?): http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/05/06/study-suggests-winnie-pooh-isnt-gender-equal-does-matter/#ixzz1LdDHDja9

I Can’t Heeeearrrrr You, Part 2. Otherwise Known As “Speak the Fuck Up”

When I started college, I realized that I couldn’t always understand conversations or what folks said to me in public. And then the first week of freshman year, this dummmmmmmmbassssss threw a couple of lit firecrackers over the transom into my dorm room, and they landed on my bed where I was reading. Right next to my left ear. Oh, yeah! HiLARious! What a totally FUNNY prank, you nutless wonder! (I know your name, too, anal plug.)

Wooo. I’m still laughing.

My ear did nothing but ring for days, so I had a hearing test. The really funny part of that story is that the How-in-the-World-Have-you-Gone-This-Long-Without-Hearing-Aids?!-verdict surprised me. I didn’t see it coming.

Too-bad, so-sad that since sixth grade I’d been a vocalist. Ran in the family. But so did progressive nerve-loss hearing impairment. Better think of a new career, I thought. It truly sucked big, nasty, geriatric balls that I had to stop performing. At my ten-year high school reunion, Lisa Jones, whom I’d known casually when we’d sung (See, J-Lo? You use “sung” when there’s a helping verb, dammit!) in shows together, asked me, with genuine excitement, if I planned to join the 80’s cover band on stage.

Sheeeeeeee-it, no. I’d have sooner stripped naked and turned clumsy cartwheels while peeing in front of everybody and God. No-ho-ho-ho. I’d given up the tangerine dreams of a permanent spotlight after embarrassing myself on a handful of occasions. It seems in my case, a career in music involves hearing oneself, Beethoven be damned. So I chose teaching. Those are close, aren’t they?

Fast-forward twenty vicious years, and spiteful reality has sucker-punched my ass, snatched out fistfuls of my thinning hair, deviated my septum, and left me unconscious on the hot sidewalk. There is almost NO career for an INTELLIGENT deaf girl. In fact, no activity that requires human interaction was designed for us posts.

Teaching is torment. Shopping is agony. Dinner at a restaurant is torture. And although my hearing loss is responsible for most of the distress, a large portion of the blame falls on the devolving diction of most people I encounter. Many store clerks, students, waiters, co-workers, and all of my daughter’s myriad doctors sound like they’re fighting to form words around a giant old chaw of fresh cow shit in their mouths. I can ask folks to repeat what they say a hundred-thousand-billion times, and it won’t make a bit of difference. Just fucking text me. Jesus. I know most of these folks can’t spell either, but damn. Let’s at least level the playing field!  And, honestly, if what you have to say isn’t important enough for you to speak the fuck up and enunciate, then just keep it to yourself.

I Can’t Heeeearrrrr You, Part 1

It’s my own fault. I didn’t learn to be careful what to wish for until too late.

I spent most of my youth pining to be deaf. I used to steal my father’s hearing aids when he was out cutting the lawn so that I could experience the feeling of the appliances in my ears. I still remember exactly how the world sounded while I listened with the aids—there was a delicate, metallic whooshing overlaying the sounds of my world: the television I could hear from the other end of the house, the lawn mower buzzing outside, the central air purring through ducts. I made my own secret hearing aid out of a non-working transistor radio for those times when my daddy’s “ears” weren’t available. I’d strap that sucker inside the front of my bra and pop in the ear phone, and voila! I was a deaf girl.

I had half a dozen deaf childhood friends—which I now find odd—and they all had the battery pack/amplifier that they wore on their chests and double wires that connected to their ear molds. I really, really didn’t like that they were special, and that I wasn’t. So. I wished. And play-acted. Until I really didn’t have to anymore. Too late to take back that shit.

I have been hearing impaired for so long that I can’t recall what it is like not to have to ask people to repeat everything, not to miss ninety-nine percent of any movie that isn’t closed-captioned, not to grin like a fucking moron most of the time because I’m pretending that I hear what’s going on around me.

My darling BFF, Lisa, posted on FB today the question, “How many times is it appropriate to say ‘what?’ before you just nod and smile because you didn’t hear or understand a word they said?” Shit. I don’t even say, “What?” most of the time anymore. I just watch people’s body language and project happy-face if a person looks like she’s telling me something exciting and positive, or shoot the old concerned-countenance if a person seems to be relating something negative. Every now and then I get it wrong. So. If I’ve rejoiced at the news of the gruesome decapitation of one of your loved-ones, I’M SORRY. It sucks, but I just didn’t hear you.

Oh, God. We’ll ALWAYS have Paris.

Jesus. When ugly old Humphrey Bogart snarled out of his overbite the words, “We’ll always have Paris,” to his torn-between-two-lovers dame in Casablanca, NEVER did he imagine the heinous association that would forever taint the word “Paris” four decades later. Mona Lisa, the Eiffel Tower, even buttery croissants cannot redeem their homeland because any mention of its name conjures up that other Paris. You know. The one with the pocket pooches. The one with the mouth-breather stare so utterly blank that there simply can be no other explanation than this: Fred Flintstone lives inside her hollowed-out carcass, working the controls like he used to on the dinosaur down at the rock quarry. Or maybe the little bird inside Fred’s camera needed a new job. Whatever. There is clearly no one home inside that vapid blight. Her show wasn’t called The Simple Life for nothing.

Why is this skinny sack o’ money constantly in the fricking news? The possibilities:

  1. She has a new reality series coming out, so we all need to know exactly when to tune in to see her keen mind working about as fast as dead mule. With ankle weights.
  2. She has been arrested, and we all need to tune in to see her spend a harrowing eleventy seconds in jail.
  3. She has to appear in court to testify about the “scary” incident of waking up to find that she was in no danger whatsoever because some stalker tried to break into her “mansion,” but her “security team” dispatched his ass in less time than she’s spent in jail.
  4. Some stalker (i.e., skank she screwed, who probably expects lots of money) has “assaulted” her current boyfriend (i.e., skank she is currently screwing, who probably expects lots of money)…and it was surprisingly caught on tape! Just like that time she screwed that skank who then sold the tape to the tabloids because he expected lots of money! That’s fucking news. Literally.

Why doesn’t she just go away? How does she continue to perambulate to and fro even though I am positive L.A. uses those pesticide trucks to fog its neighborhoods? And do you suppose she ever flits around the room like a balloon when her security team lets all the air out of her at night? Just asking.

C*nt Never Could

Holy shitwads, y’all! Gwenyth Paltrow appeared on Chelsea Lately—the only late, late night talk show with a woman behind the main desk—a couple of nights ago. This is, apparently, BIG news. Or the uproar could be that while on the show, Gwynnie called her grandmother a really, realllllly nasty name for the female genitalia. In case you are too chaste to know what the word is, then I’ll give you a hint, and perhaps you’d like to tell me what the fuck you’re doing reading this in the first place. Hm? Nothing? Mm-hmm.

For you sheltered mama’s boys, the word that Ms. Paltrow said begins with a “c.” It rhymes with “cunt.” Do you think you have it figured out? I’ll give you a sec. Thaaaaaat’s it. Yeah. Gwyn called her own grandmother that derogatory name because she was trying to riff off some stupid shit that Chelsea said about her grandma, which wasn’t even funny like 90% of what Chelsea says.

Well, my grandmother could kick both their grandmas’ asses in the kitchen; she smoked Marlboro Reds for sixty-five years; and she said things like, “Cain’t never could,” which means “Stop yer fucking bitching and whining and saying, ‘I can’t,’ and just do the goddamned thing I told you to do.” Whatever she told me to do generally concerned picking shit out of the garden in the Georgia heat and then shelling it for dinner as if I didn’t have better things to do in the air conditioned den where the t.v. was. “Peas cain’t shell themselves,” she’d bleat. To which I’d think, “Cain’t never could, you fucking peas.” I never said anything out loud, or I sure as shit wouldn’t be here whining today.

The thing that gets me about Gwyneth Paltrow’s c-word utterance is that every damned body is so shocked. Is there really anyone who still believes in the sparkling, studio-spun celebrity persona? Rock Hudson screwed boys, people. The jig’s been up for years. Gwyneth does not shit diamonds or have gold for blood. She isn’t immortal, as far as I know, and she calls her grandmother a cunt. She is one of the greatest actors I’ve ever seen, but since when does pretending well mean you’re better than everyone else? Shit. If that’s all it takes, where’s my fucking limo?  I’ve been married four previous times. Don’t tell me I cain’t act.