Sunday, 8 July 2012
I have been pondering my demise since Heather mentioned death a couple days ago. You just can’t keep it in mind while you are still above ground, stumbling around and – more or less – living your life. It drifts just outside your awareness. Really just a concept.
Lists. Who should have what small remembrance? Write it down. Do the work.
Yesterday, as I was ruminating, it occurred to me that Heather moved in sometime in March, just before radiation treatment. Then, the symptoms were fatigue and vertigo. Since then, I’ve added quite a few. It seemed to me that because it’s all so gradual, I am probably not a good judge of my own condition, so I asked her, “Objectively – am I worse?” She thought a second and said, “yes.”
I was trying to assess whether or when I had to check in to Palliative Care at the hospital. Right now, other than walking around, I do very little on my own. The rare occasions when I leave the house, Heather has to bully Rodney Roll into folded position and drag him up and down flights of stairs – to me a gruesome looking chore with Rodney trying to unfold several times each trip. Then there are the pills. Did I take them? Have I eaten? Did I check my messages on the phone? I’m sitting on the couch. Inside is the woman I was. Surrounded by a kind gauzy haze which prevents thought from becoming action for hours – or days. Heather doesn’t think it’s time to go yet. And I’d miss the marigolds. Hang on. Do my best, I guess.
I suspect treatment has caused some damage to my Amygdale – that part of the brain that handles anxiety and emotion. I am even. I have a sense of humor. I laugh and feel happy. Things make me sad. Nothing, however, is over the top. That emotional, anxious me is quiet under the gauze. Who would have even thought that could be a relief?
Priorities shift. Illusion was important once. How I saw myself. What I looked like. Now, getting ready for bed at night, it becomes clear how much I depended on it all for self-definition. Hair, jewelry, makeup, a certain way of dressing. One by one I take it off – and there I am: a Caucasian human, of female gender. This is always what I have been – only it’s clear now. I am getting used to the simplicity of it.