Sunday, December 30, 2007

386 days, 0 hours, 31 minutes, 50 seconds

The confetti in Times Square will carry messages this year. Wishes will float down like in Cinderella. Anyone can wish over the Internet. It will be mixed in with more than a ton of real confetti though. She’d never get a wish. Or if she did it would be something stupid like bring my husband home from Iraq or let a Democrat win the election.

Make a wish foundation.

Her parents bussed her to Times Square as an eight-year-old. She doesn’t remember confetti. She remembers the cold and the crowd and being pushed and not being able to see over the people in front of her.

Confetti was high school. Saving seats for football games. Making bowling pin dolls. Cutting newspaper into confetti for the older girls. Until she just stomped her feet to get rid of the gum wrappers that landed on them and took off head first along the dark road. Head down, she means. She wished a car would run over her. She wished for a boarding school. Or a hospital.

386 days, 2 hours, 4 minutes, 37 seconds

She’s been here nearly three weeks now. She no longer knows or cares what day it is. Still, they write the date on the board at the front of the room each morning, along with the names of the nurse and aides. Like name tags for Alzheimer's patients. At a rally in Iowa, Hillary hands out pledge cards urging people to vote for her in the caucus on January 14. Only problem is that the caucus is January 3. Shooting herself in the foot, as the paper describes it. If that’s true then she’ll have to use a cane also. Not for support, just for balance.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

387 days, 6 hours, 16 minutes, 31 seconds

So if she falls, she falls, she wants to tell the therapist. Always someone around to help. Thinking of that last fall, 82nd and Broadway, trying to hail a cab. Ten people gathered around helping her, fending off traffic. The cab must have driven around her.

A news story she also remembers. A woman walking in the East Village falls. Two teenage girls run over, ostensibly to help, then rob her. But she was old. And a tourist.

387 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, 20 seconds

Speaking of oranges: children with diabetes as young as 10 years old learn to give themselves injections by practicing injecting water into an orange. So now she can’t even do what’s expected of a normal 10-year-old.

387 days, 6 hours, 47 minutes, 19 seconds

Tonight’s orange is better than last night’s orange.

387 days, 8 hours, 19 minutes, 2 seconds

Here is the man who owes her a dollar. But he is in the hospital. She is in the hospital. She is getting better. She sits at the computer hitting three keys at once, making up for lost time. Time is always lost. There’s no such thing as time, it’s a magic trick. Now you have it, now you don’t. Long long ago, there was time, but the teachers (except for third grade) had no time for her. Other kids had no time for her. She was the smallest. Making up for lost time. Holding her head up. Holding her new hat on. Weighing it down with the cane. This is what it’s comes down to: $40 cane, $ 200 hat. Which will he see first?

391 days, 12 hours, 29 minutes, 3.6 seconds

Sometimes she just wants to be a stray again.

391 days, 12hours, 32 minutes, 22 seconds

For the first time in what seems like months she has a strong enough Internet connection to browse the weird news sites. One of the first stories she reads is about a Jack Russell terrier who heard a 91-year-old woman crying for help at the end of a driveway. She’d fallen in a snowbank. No one else could hear her. Thes dog was a stray just three months ago.

Yes, she calls for help, despite herself.

Now, if she can just keep her eyes open.

391 days, 14 hours, 32 minutes, 11 seconds

Leon Fleisher, the revered pianist who for decades battled, and eventually overcame, a neurological disorder that crippled his right hand, was presented with the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors in ceremonies yesterday in Washington, D.C.

391 days, 23 hours, 14 minutes, 53 seconds

Christmas eve. They try to recall where they were the first time they watched a porn movie.

391 days, 23 hours, 26 minutes, 4 seconds

Shake my hand, the therapist tells the severely brain-damaged man who’s nodding off, reaching out to take his hand. Even the grungiest dog in the pound can do this. But both parents have to want the mutt.

On a nattress across the room, two therapists are trying to teach a man how to roll over with the aid of his elbows.

Bush’s dog, Mrs. Beasley, scampers away from Secret Service men trying to surround her. She doesn’t want to be photographed.

She gets the picture.

392 days, 0 hours, 2 minutes, 22 seconds

She’s trying to make up for lost time.

392 days, 0 hours, 6 minutes, 8 seconds

Aren’t you glad you use Dial?

392 days, 1 hours, 10 minutes, 8 seconds

Voters in Iowa are bothered by campaign calls this close to Christmas.

392 days, 5 hours, 16 minutes, 6 seconds

Blue’s just not your color, the therapist says, as she tries to screw in pegs a two-year-old can manage.

392 days, 22 hours, 27 minutes, 40 seconds

Rich roofer's fatal fall: One of the world's richest men, who made billions with a roofing company, has died after falling through the garage roof at his home. Ken Hendricks, 66, was checking on construction of the roof at his house in Illinois when the accident happened. He suffered massive head injuries.

Do roofers still use asbestos?

Her father-in-law on that roof. One of the first things he did for her. Before he got sick.

392 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes, 4 seconds

Finally a clonipin. Or is it tin? That taste in her mouth. That asbestos.

392 days, 23 hours, 12 minutes, 24 seconds

Call the gentle men in blue.

392 days, 23 hours, 25 minutes, 45 seconds

Woman’s work, she called it two days ago, trying to explain to the cognitive therapist that she doesn’t cook, doesn’t shop. Yesterday she discovered her hand works best with two fingers wrapped around a small blue sponge.

392 days, 23 hours, 34 minutes, 5 seconds

She married a turtle.

392 days, 23 hours, 41 minutes, 28 seconds

She loses files. She loses her notebook. She loses a poem. She loses her mind.

393 days, 7 hours, 50 minutes, 1 seconds

No pt for her today. She fell yesterday. Alone in the dining room, where she shouldn’t have been to begin with. Not alone. Not without him.

393 days, 8 hours, 0 minutes, 51 seconds

They just leave her sitting here.

395 days, 6 hours, 10 minutes, 18 seconds

Saturday evening. The Hispanic woman in the bed beside her has her family filling the room, including her 8-month-old and a newborn godchild. They offer to help her pick papers off the floor. Before dinner they join hands in prayer.

395 days, 6 hours, 10 minutes, 18 seconds

at 5:20 tonight, Queen Elizabeth II became the oldest British queen. But not the one who ruled longest.

395 days, 4 hours, 16 minutes, 36 seconds

He went straight to the emergency room. But he didn’t stay 26 hours.

395 days, 4 hours, 25 minutes, 39 seconds

It looks like Santa Rudy has a new health care plan in the offing. Coming down with flu-like symptoms while campaigning in Missouri, bringing it back to New York with him. The plane had to turn around.

396 days, 1 hours, 12 minutes, 8 seconds

At home, while searching the Internet for cancer turbans, she zoomed past sites offering hand- knitted gifts. Then, rushing out the door to move to her new room yesterday, they showed up. The Jehovah’s Witnesses. Well-intentioned cancer women wth their bags of makeup including skin tanning creams. They included a copy of in style magazine, with its lead article on tricks to having great hair. She wishes she could give it back.
Well, she found out from the rehab doctor why she wasn’t admitted that first day: they were considering another operation. No one told her. She’s thinking about a different oncologist. She’s thought of this before.

401 days, 1 hours, 10 minutes, 16 seconds

keep that arm involved, they tell her. Even if it can’t be of help, keep it in the vicinity, don’t let it feel like it’s being unused, or just in the way. God, she knows that sham.

401 days, 11 hours, 47 minutes, 3 seconds

So he slept late . He’s sleeping better now. He’ll call when he gets up.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

401 days, 14 hours, 47 minutes, 3 seconds

So. It was a month after their wedding when they saw his extended family. And his aunt, a retired nurse turned real estate broker, gave them a clock with Westminster chimes. But she didn’t feel well. The hotel where they stayed had their first Jacuzzi, and he set it too hot, stayed in too long, emerged barely able to stand up. And she couldn’t help him.

401 days. 23 hours, 10 minutes, 3 seconds

36 hours checking e-mail. She feels like she’s been to a spa for her whole body.

402 days, 9 hours, 8minutes, 50 seconds

She watched as a man twice her size pointed out his bruises to the technicians. So grown ups fall also.

Friday, December 7, 2007

409 days, 1 hours, 25 minutes, 13.8 seconds

A law was passed last Tuesday: neglect of aging parents is a criminal offense. But this is in India.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

410 days, 0 hours, 10 minutes, 41 seconds

Things are starting to grow again. Her toenails. Her fingernails. There’s fuzz at the top of her head. She rubs it for good luck.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

412 days, 7 hours, 5 minutes, 14 seconds

Stay out of the sun, they warn her, handing her the third bottle of pills. A piece of German chocolate cake for her (and she doesn’t usually like chocolate). She fainted when the Brownies went swimming at the lake. She dropped out of the Brownies. She dropped out of school. She bought a dozen sun hats, different shapes and sizes and colors. But there is no color.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

414 days, 17 hours, 10 minutes, 59 seconds

Must acquit.

414 days, 17 hours, 29 minutes, 48 seconds

She imagines Dubyuh with convertible gloves like she just gave her husband. He uses the cashmere for jogging, slips on the outer leather shell when he meets heads of state. Easy to slide out of. That sounds right, doesn’t it? He’ll ask his Chief of Staff, if he can just remember…

414 days, 23 hours, 3 minutes, 31 seconds

It’s after midnight.

414 days, 23 hours, 7 minutes, 30 seconds

He offers to help her set up her pills for the coming week, always a grueling task. He’s trying to make this as pleasant a day as he can but she can’t.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

415 days, 1 hours, 0 minutes, 13.4 seconds

She imagines a diabetic coma at the stroke of midnight on her birthday. Everything else has gone wrong today. She takes her 23rd bite of zeppole, a gift from the waiter, reminds her husband again that if she’s even on a ventilator, not a respirator, she wants off. Don’t let them sweet-talk him into her being as good as before. This is before. The waiter didn’t know it was her birthday. Almost her birthday. She takes another bite. A coma might feel pretty good right now, despite the flowers.

415 days, 4 hours, 58 minutes, 31 seconds

The first day of December, the day before her birthday, three days before Chanukah, 30 degrees out, he goes to visit a friend and comes home having lost one of the gloves she gave him for Chanukah years ago. While he’s away she reads an article about a website set up to unite gloves with their owners, but that’s only in Pittsburgh. For now. The flowers he sent her are delivered while he’s out, and she has to hobble down the stairs to receive them, then hobble back up, terrified of that final step, no one to hang onto.