Monday, September 24, 2012

I've missed the hell out of you, my darlings.

All right, I've missed blogging regularly. I've neglected the documentation of my North Dakotan adventures because I've been afraid of work people finding me and accusing me of being bad for writing about my experiences in caregiving, ND-style. But if I'm proper enough about it, I  should be all right. And even if  not, it's rather theraputic, this blogging thing. 

Lots of occurances since I  was last writing regularly. I suppose the bigger things were the deaths of several Residents at my nursing home workplace. I can't even really think, off the top of my head, how many there have been in a one-year span, but two of them I had an extra-special fondness for. One of them, my favorite old man of all time (we'll call him E, shall we?) died just before last Christmas, the night I was working. Three of us found him separately (in his room) before we managed to find each other, so three of us had to realize he was gone, on our own. It was a pretty hellish time leading up to that point-- in the nights previous all he would do was thrash around and cry and yell. Most of the stuff he said in that last week was either nasty or indecipherable, and he shrunk to such a tiny size. He broke his oversized blinds by ripping them from the window in a fit of rage, and one night he just wouldn't stop screaming help even though I was right beside him, holding his hand, pushing him back up in bed every five minutes (as he kept kicking and thus wiggling nearly out of the thing-- impressive,  I guess, for a dying person). Anyway, the night he died my former coworker, Agnes, who's a bit like my mother figure around here (not to be confused with a Resident I may have mentioned with a similar name), had an eerie feeling, and so went to check on E. She realized, standing over him, that he had literally just died, so she left the room to find my Sardonic Coworker (how I miss him and his Sardonic-ness), just seconds before I  came into the room to check on E. I had scared myself so many times by convincing myself that his chest was no longer moving up and down that once I finally saw him motionless I had to wonder how well my eyes were functioning.  I then left to likewise track down Sardonic Coworker, who arrived in the room moments after I left it and had his own recognition experience. Finally, we all found each other, and gathered into the room to nod about and say goodbye to E. We called Hospice, who called family, who called us, and then we made a call to the local funeral people. We then collected all things of importance, changed E's abandoned body, and waited. 

It had just started snowing a little outside, after snowing a bit on and off that week. It was the beginning of a mild winter for North Dakota (of course, that spellt a harsh winter for any Californian, so I was grateful). When the funeral person came to collect, we assisted him as he cheerfully went about  his preparations,  listening to him make peppy smalltalk,  which was honestly just the most bizarre thing. Even more surreal is that you just go along with it, even when you're helping wrap  a corpse in sheets and rest its head just-so; to make sure it stays put. That was perhaps the worst-- when they lift it onto the gurney, the resting of its head caused E's teeth to  clank together, which is really a disheartening sound. And then we opened the doors for him, and he was gone. Afterwards Sardonic and I shared a cigarette outside in the mild snow; I don't think he even wore a jacket. I complained about what a bad night it was, Sardonic responded with the insanely dark comment that we were doing better than E at that moment.

A few nights later, though, Sardonic mentioned to me, ashen, that the morning after all this he had jolted awake, under the impression that beside him in his bed was the wrapped and covered silhouette of E's corpse, his distinct profile coming through the covers. Sardonic said he just stared at it, feeling like he was having a heart attack, until he fell asleep again for many hours. I didn't have any dreams like that, but I miss E. He was a racist and a bit of a sexist man, but he was magic, and I'm glad he went when he did;  to see him suffer was torturous. 

All that, and only one story from nearly a year ago. There's so much more to say. Tonight was a night off for me, I went outside on our balcony in the crisp fall night and watched the half-moon (orange) settle into a patch of  ultra-thin, moving clouds. It  looked like the reflection of the moon and not the real thing, like I was looking at it in moving water, like the earth was upside down.

1 comment:

Laura Allyson said...

I love you. Write more.