Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random Thoughts while in Texas Land

The Grackles love Arlington, Texas. They congregate here, oblivious to us lowly humans, shrieking and preening and strutting, flocking in quantities that make my mouth go O in awe.

In a short amount of time, I’ve driven two-hundredish miles just in the city of Arlington, and most of that is back and forth between either my mom’s house or my brother’s house and MCA hospital. While doing this, I notice how I have not seen any license plates that are not TEXAS license plates. It could mean no one visits here (except me) from other states. However, a proud Texan would say, “Once the visitor visits, they never leave but instead convert to Texans.” :-D

Hospitals are strange places with little communities and I notice those communities even more so in the hospital cafeteria. There’s the break-down of staff: nurses, doctors, therapists of all sorts, maintenance, etc. There are the volunteers. There are the visitors (like me). There are a sprinkling of patients who are allowed out of their rooms. Each little community leans over their table, eating, talking (or not talking), without an awareness of what is going on in the communities around them—except for me, since I am aware of everyone and probably taking notes, even if I do not realize this "note-taking." Somewhere, a hospital setting will occur in some book; I am betting anyway.

Listening to the radio in my car, I recognize how nothing has changed in the years since I worked a “Desk Job” and drove my car daily to and from The Office. The announcers sound the same; they still repeat the same song(s) in some kind of cycle throughout the day, every day. There are still give-aways of tickets to concerts. There are still songs that I want to turn up the volume and those I quickly click off. It’s rather comforting to know this Radio Thing has lasted through The Ages of Me.

I have many more friends than I ever thought I had, and most I have never met face-to-face. The thought of all these people extending their hands and hearts to me, this woman who isn’t anything special, makes me feel a profound gratitude.

I can go longer without food than I ever thought I could. This is not a good thing. The same goes for sleep, and quiet, and writing.

Texas drivers are more courteous than I realized. They’ve more than once taken pity on this North Carolina driver who is skirting the edge of complete exhaustion. Thank you Texans!

Sometimes a dream about a huge gigantic venomous snake that fills you with poison is just a dream about a huge gigantic venomous snake that fills you with poison.

To the young woman in the hospital parking lot that I impulsively turned back to her and told her she should really stop smoking, and we both smiled at each other—me with “really, I hope you quit” and she with “Aw shucks, I’ve heard it all before.” I wonder, will my voice be the one that makes you go, “Hmmm . . . maybe I should quit,” even if it is subconscious?

I haven’t thought about my book sales in two weeks. It’s rather freeing. There is this “well, what happens, happens” thing as I clip my father’s fingernails, rub lotion on his bald head, on his hands, feet, arms, as I slip a little teeny bit of water on his dry tongue, as I hold his hand, as I adjust his pillows and covers, as I dab a wet cloth over his face and eyes. There is a perspective to life and living. A priority thing.

I look like hell in a state full of women who are perfectly coifed and shaved and make-up’ped and dressed and jeweled, but guess what? Nobody cares. Nobody notices. Nobody snatches me up and says, “Gawd, you look like hell.” Thanks y’all.

I wonder if my mountain cove and mountain and ridgetop and the critters and my dogs (dawgs as I say and make no apologies for it) and my GMR and the creek and wind and trees all miss me as much as I miss them?

Finally: Again, I thank you all for the love and support you’ve shown while I am here in Texas Land with my family *blows kiss*

Grackle photo


Elizabeth Eagan-Cox said...

I'm a Californian who loves ancestors were the Tenn colony that went to Texas in the early 1800s, Texas was part of Mexico at that time. My Texan grandmother was iconic of a Southern woman with a soft Southern lilt...she was "the hand that rocked the cradle", that also made a fist or held a gun when it came to protecting her own from the harsh realities of a pioneer lifestyle.

I very much enjoyed your blog.
Elizabeth Eagan-Cox

Anita said...

Sweet lady, this post moved me near to tears. I hope that you will take better care of yourself as you take the most gentlest of care of your precious father. You are very loved and I wish you so many good things!

Marguerite said...

So glad to hear that your father is doing better. Take good care of yourself, too, and know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Hugs.

john bord said...

There are little ships that pass by, seldom noticing the other. Shrouded in their own sails, seeking their direction. Pausing not to tarry and greet the other. To the horizon they slide, fading to nothing. What is their destination, what are carrying or who are they.

Few stop to ponder, look, observe and take in the environs. The cadence of life walks at it rhythm, seldom changing.

The blackbirds are fun to watch and yes they are pests. The grackles cousins, cowbirds and starlings can be just as obnoxious. It is amazing to watch them fly in formation, an ordered frenzy of black dots swirling across the sky.

What you are doing is not easy. Not only do I pray for your father, I also pray that God will give you the strength to deal with the moments. Hang in there and may God's strength be with you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Kat .. I can see you, hear you, feel you, know the 'g*d I look absolutely terrible' .. know that everyone around you is in their own worlds .. some days good ones, some days not so good (at all - days of despair) ... it's not woe is me .. it's the sheer exhaustion, anxiety and not knowing the future of it all ..

I've had some fantastical experiences in and around the wards ...

Your creek, the dawgs and hubby will all be missing you hugely .. drive safe, be careful with yourself, keep doing what you're doing .. sounds as though you're making a lot of difference to your family, but giving your Dad lots of love ..

Many many thoughts and hugs Hilary

NCmountainwoman said...

There is no doubt that your mountain cove and all within and around her miss you. The bare-bones existence required in the hospital's ICU will no doubt serve you well in future reflection.

Thank goodness you are able to be there with your father. And you are absolutely correct - a major medical condition certainly gives a renewed perspective to life. And you are right when your focus is not on all the things we normally term "important." When it comes down to it, such a situation defines a new perspective and priorities in your life.

I'm still thinking of your and your family here on the other side of the mountain.

Small Footprints said...

Several years ago, when we spent weeks and weeks in the hospital with my mil, I was struck by how the world kept going about it's business ... totally unaware of our life drama. People were doing normal things and living their normal lives while ours seemed stalled ... hanging by the breath of one small woman. It was a lonely feeling but it also made me realize that it was all part of the journey. I'm positive that GMR & your Dawgs ... and your mountain, critters, rocks & trails all miss you. And if you get to feeling lonely ... just know that there are a bunch of people thinking about you!

Karen S. Elliott said...

You are a wonderful person. Blessings to you and your family.

Barbara Forte Abate said...

A most special post--a true gift to all of us. Moving, touching, and pure. I wonder if you really know how awesome you are, Kat (Smiling smiling, smiling.) Prayers, love, an peace coming to you across the miles.

Kathleen Boston McCune said...

So much of your message reminds me of tending to a fiance with cancer in 1990....very tough duty but greatly greatly appreciated by the recipient. I too picked out the "Pretend" Doctor who was handsome and had an group of students with him (A Teaching Hosp)and did not appreciate me knowing more about the fiance's condition than he who finally admitted he hadn't read his chart. Texans are truly forgiving of out of state tagged vehicles trying to find our way from A to B. And their women all look as though they could go on stage at any given moment....I know their husbands and beaus appreciate this, as would my Nana who said "Dress for your Public and that begins at Home!" Know our prayers are with you and your family and know GMR is craving your time and well being too.

Deb Shucka said...

Sending you prayers and blessings and love, my friend. It tickles me as I read these last two posts how strongly your writer voice comes through - even in the midst of this very hard time. Hoping you're able to return home soon.

Carolyn V said...

I hope all will go well with your family. I'm glad Texas is being good to you.

My sister moved there, planning on only spending a short time there. She's still there and loving it. I'll have to go visit. ;)