Sunshine and Wheelchairs

I was drowning in bland, yellow, liquidy chicken soup. I needed food. To eat. To chew. Damn this soup to the depths of Hell. I caught a glimpse of the hostess (lunch-lady) scurrying past my room and beckoned her with my not-so-feminine shouts. EXCUUUUSE ME. I had been chatting to her previously. She was sympathetic and continuously told me to thank the Lord that I was alive. No, lady. Thank modern medicine. I had curbed my sentiments towards this so-called Lord ever so much. Nurses were so obtusely religious and shunned those whose thoughts and beliefs were contrary to their own. I bit my tongue for I needed their help to mend and get the Hell out of here. It was quite tedious. Restraining myself. She came in, hands clasped to her chest, flashing the most sincere smile she could muster. I asked her to bring me a menu for the doctor had taken me off my liquid diet. I lied through my teeth and she nodded graciously. For breakfast I was given apple juice and weak custard. Breakfast? Are you kidding me? Custard? Where are the eggs and bacon?!  I will dictate my lunch and dinner choices this time. There were several options for lunch but the fruit and cheese platter made me salivate. Yes. I shall have that! For dinner it would be roast chicken and vegetables. BRING ME FOOD. She beckoned me to sign the menu choices and my fingers failed me. I could barely hold the pen. I gripped it in my left hand and proudly scribbled an X where my signature would go. She laughed a sympathetic laugh and left, menu in hand. The thought of cheese and fruit and savoury biscuits excited me beyond belief. In walks the mind therapist. Her again. This walking facade of fabricated smiles and mousey brown hair. I fell for her charms for she was the only one that seemed to care about how my mind was doing. Obviously, foolish woman. Is what she’s paid for, after all…

I told her things. Things of anger and remorse. Things of neglect and fearful sleep. She lapped up my misery and even shed a few fake tears while documenting my lack of sanity. I foolishly took to her over the days. I lied about a lot of things initially purely because the idea of head doctors infuriated me. Slowly her ways took hold of me and I opened up, but still I omitted a lot. It was her birthday today and she was in high spirits. I bid her pleasant salutations and offered her a box of chocolates that I was given by my dad. They tasted of burn and char, as usual, so she might as well indulge where I cannot. Perhaps then she’d stop flashing me that sympathetic smile… More sympathy… My lunch arrived while she was there and I could not be bothered with her any longer. Please leave. Leave me to my fruits and cheese! She stayed… The nurse opened up the platter and set the delicious morsels neatly in a line for me to access. I was eternally grateful to her, wonderful woman. The shrink rambled on asking  questions. I told her I want to eat. Go away. Our session is not over, she says. Well, bill it to my medical aid then. Is why you’re here, right? Money? No pretenses. She leaves, with a look resembling hurt on her face. Really? Come now, woman. I carefully placed a bit of cheese on a tiny, salty biscuit. What a task but I did it. There was some sweet-smelling green melon as well. Every time I tried to lift it to my gaping mouth, it fell tragically to the ground. Bastard melon. Eventually I sort of flung it into my open mouth and almost did a cartwheel, as if, when it landed successfully. I chewed the moistened fruit gleefully only to taste, you guessed it, burn and char. I spat it out. Perhaps the cheese would go better. More burn. I felt like flinging the platter to the ground and stomping the delicious morsels with my swollen, incapacitated feet. But I left it there. Staring it into submission. Come on, mouth. Come on, brain. Let me eat. Please. Please? Sleep.

I woke to my parents looming around my bed. The fruit nurse followed with a wheelchair. She said that she would like to take me outside to get some sunshine, it’s a lovely day. Sunshine. What a wonderful, thoughtful woman. She also said that a doctor would be by later to remove the staples from my surgical wounds as well as the two drains currently attached to my abdomen. I did not mind these drains. What bothered me the most was obviously the catheter. But that could only be removed once I was able to move myself around. Sigh. My mom draped a fluffy black robe around me once they had lifted me into the chair. On my lap was my drip, my bag of urine and two bags of dead blood. Gentlemen, contain your erections. As exited as I was to be actually going outside, I felt terribly self conscious being wheeled past all of the abled people in our path. My mom was cooing sweet words of  encouragement in my ear as I felt the impending panic slowly set in. Why was I panicking? This was a good thing! Progress! I was terrified and overcome with joy at the same time. These conflicting emotions left my stomach knotted and my head clouded… But then… Sunlight hit my skin and I felt alive for the first time in weeks. My overly emotional mom had the tears ready and was smiling gleefully. The trip to the spot of grass was bumpy, sending shrieks of pain through my spine. I was completely oblivious to it. My mom and dad sat on a bench next to me while the cheerful nurse wandered off for a smoke. The moment was pure and fresh. A new memory to hold on to. I was grateful for it. Sitting up in the wheelchair was difficult and painful. Ignore. Bask in the present, delicious sunshine for soon you shall be back to your pillowy prison pushing pills into your perplexed face. Yes. The smells were all new to me. Grass, pollution, cigarettes, my mom’s floral perfume, my dad’s salt and vinegar chips that he was carelessly munching much to my dismay! A lady was walking towards us. She did not look familiar but wore a familiar shirt. The occupational therapist shirt. Urgh. Was she going to do therapy things outside? Fine. I suppose. She was tasked with developing my fine motor skills. Getting my fingers to work once more. She presented me with a little container full of colourful, glass marbles. I was to take them out, one at a time, then place them back in. It was a tedious task. So much so that I worked up a sweat. Next was pinching a clothes peg open. That was tremendously difficult and I felt failure wash over me. How could my wretched body not remember how to do and perform these simple tasks? Next was play dough. I had to squeeze it back into its little tub. More difficulty. More sweat. She was cutting into my sunshine time and I grew angry. My mother saw this and tried to calm me down. I asked why she could not grant me thirty minutes of sunshine and peace… She scoffed at me and said fine. Fix your own hands. I shall and will, you callous cow. Just. You. Wait.

When we returned to my room, I practiced using my fingers as much as I could. Lifting little things, fiddling with a pen, pressing buttons. I could press the button on the remote now which meant more channels for viewing! Two nurses came in with ominous face masks and what looked like scissors. What– what is going on? What are their intentions? Aah. Removal of drains and staples. The older one removed her mask and told me to brace myself for pain. The drains were several centimeters into my skin, stitched into place. I had around 30 staples that needed to be removed as well. I regulated my breathing and braced myself for their onslaught. I could press buttons now. Bring it, bitches.

The passion that fueled my initial ramblings regarding my experiences seems to be dwindling… So much so that I have faltered to add new additions in a while. These are pure recollections from memory. So easy it ease to seep into the abyss once more… My journey is far from complete through textual means on here but my mind has mended itself over the year that has passed. I find myself lurking over the edge of remembrance. Bathing and wallowing in its sordidly dark allure. All too easy to forget that I am alive because of it… No, in spite of it!

 

My Cup of Tea

My Facebook Memories

My pain (Onward!)

My pain (Spoon!)

My pain (Lizards)

My pain (Breakdown)

My pain (Maltabella)

My pain (Bringer of water)

My pain (Pin number)

My pain (Masterchef)

My pain (The pipes)

My pain (Welcome)

 

 

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My Facebook Memories

I’ve been checking my memories from a year ago on the ever watching, ever observing Facebook and nothing has been coming up for the last couple of days from a year back. I always post something daily on there. A selfie, a funny picture, an overly verbose status update or perhaps there’s a post on my wall from a friend who saw something and thought of me. My favourite posts, those are. My thoughts wonder to last year, this time. What was I doing? Was I that busy that I had posted nothing on social media? Busy? Ha. No. I was slowly but surely dying with my little dude fighting for his internal life within me. I was roughly 7 months pregnant a year ago to the day and life was far from kind. My body saw the wee baby Vash as an intruder and was doing everything to get rid of him, to the extent that he hadn’t picked up a gram of weight in a month. I was petrified but tried to maintain a calm disposition. My gynecologist was the biggest asshole of the medical realm. I could not eat. My body rejected everything. Even water. I had constant pains in my chest. My feet were so swollen that I could not walk. They were a menacing shade of purple/blue as well. No circulation. My wrists were bandaged and drenched in menthol ointment to ease the excruciating pain I felt in them. Whenever I would call him to ask, no, beg for help, him and his receptionist would just state that I am an unlucky mum to have such a rough pregnancy. Just lie down. Just drink water. Just take it easy. It will all be over soon. By my death, most likely. Who am I to question the notions of an experienced, qualified doctor? I took his word as bond, unfortunately. Perhaps if I sort out a cliched second opinion, I would not have had to endure what was to follow… Musings of troubles passed. His first birthday is coming up next week and I am taken back by all we have had to endure to survive. Everything seems so trivial. Work. People. Money. Religion. Politics….

I find myself spitting those cliches of life is for the living and whatnot. Am not dwelling in the past but are we not all shaped by it? If so, then my shape is a tetrahedral parallelogram with a hypotenuse extending to Andromeda.

 

My pain (Welcome)

My pain (The pipes)

My pain (Masterchef)

My pain (Pin number)

My pain (Bringer of water)

My pain (Maltabella)

My pain (Breakdown)

My pain (Lizards)

My pain (Spoon!)

My pain (Onward!)

My pain (Lizards)

The concept of time was lost on me and I learned to tell night from day by the rotation of the nurses. A new batch at 7am and 7pm. 7pm was also visiting times. My glass chamber was right in front of the entrance but now that I had moved, I was in a somber corner of the ICU. I saw my mom walk in and stare blankly into the glass room I was in. It was now empty and dismay set into her face. I could clearly see her and wanted to shout out to her so that she could see I was still alive. She had of course thought the worst. She looked frantically round for some sort of help and finally saw me, tears in her eyes, she shuffled towards me with my dad trailing her. She did her routine of prayer and sprinkling ashes around my bed. They were happy to see that I was out of that room. One step closer to home, my dad said, but I felt far from it. I maintained a pleasant disposition but was falling apart internally. No sense could be made of my emotions and I seem to be coming down from roughly 6 weeks of morphine. I saw things. I heard things. I felt things.

I had several visitors this evening. Nieces, sister, husband and friends. They all had words of encouragement and love but it wasn’t enough. I needed to be me again. How to express this to them? I shan’t. This is my fight. They left and I prepared for the long night ahead sans sleep. A nurse came over to dispatch my medication. This now included an injection in my tummy which was decorated with healing surgical wounds. The pain inflicted by the needle was minuscule in comparison to everything else but it was pain none the less. A pill to numb, a pill to sleep, a pill to dull this pain you keep. Masterchef was no longer on my television. I was on some sort of movie channel now. I watched whatever was playing, without sound, in an effort to combat sleep at all costs. Was that… Was that Mel Gibson? A new movie? The man who holds my heart and our baby will be thrilled. It was some sort of mining expedition with children being used as labourers. The children were working in a dry, arid place when they struck something in the ground. One of them fell into a hole and felt every bit of terror that a real life scenario would invoke. When the boy child landed, he was covered with some sort of poisonous iguana lizard creatures. They were tiny and menacing. I looked at this little boy with his reptilian debacle and felt sick to my stomach. I could feel them crawling on me. I could hear their scaley eyes making revolutions in their sockets. I could sense their murderous intent in my core. The ceiling started to move closer to my face. This again. I knew I could break free from the chaotic illusion my mind was creating but coming to that realisation was a monstrous task. I focused so much on the movie that I was trying to pry the reptiles off of my skin. My hands were not moving. Sparks were toying with my sanity, dancing in front of my eyes threatening an escape from reality. I felt my body lift up and convulse and tried with all of my might not to swallow my tongue. I was crying. I was vomiting. I was submitting. In my submission, my body began to relax. My mind was clear and I saw myself. White sheets. Bloody nose. Vacant eyes. Two nurses, one male the other female rushed to either side of my body. I felt the male nurse grab my right hand and he ushered me back to reality with a soft, poetic voice of desperation. I slipped back into my body when the paddles hit my chest. My flesh was aflame with electricity yet the imaginary reptiles continued to taunt and gnaw at my skin. I felt them draw blood. Blood. Vomit. Urine. Terror. The beeps on the machine slowed down and I was back in my own filth. The other little boy had succeeded in fending off the poisonous lizards. They were sitting in the heat of the sun, drinking water and questioning their lives. I too had questions….

I was cleaned up and given a sedative. It did not work.. I fought it tooth and nail. I will not sleep but giving up on it all seemed so easy. It seemed like a better route as opposed to fighting this fight of being trapped in this body. The nurses were upset that I would not sleep but their daggered looks and frivolous sentiments were lost on me. I had remembered my urge to fight now. Why I was fighting. Who I must live for. Myself. My husband. Our son. This will be the last day that I shed any tears. I need to get the fuck out of here now. The 4am coffee lady does her rounds and with it, I am given a new lease. A new more solid resolve. A new day has broken through the trenches and I have work to do. Wiggle your big toe. It moves. And so does both of my hands.

 

Everyday was an ebb and flow of defeat and small victories. The loss of movement in limbs and such is something no able person should have to endure. More so if one knows that they are functional but the mind does not transmit the necessary signals. A mental block. My body was doing everything it could to make me give up. Succumb. Submit. Subdue. I fell prey to the charm of death many times but a constant mental battle was always afoot. I am not strong but I am certainly not weak. I am stubborn. I am alive. I am here.

My pain (Breakdown)

My pain (Maltabella)

My pain (Bringer of water)

My pain (Pin number)

My pain (Masterchef)

My pain (The pipes)

My pain (Welcome)

My morning

My morning started at roughly 4am with the wailing of a baby boy. My body reacted before my eyes could make sense of my surroundings and before I knew it, I was standing at the side of his crib. Oh. This is my wailing baby boy. Right. I have a son. What pains you, dear child? His legs are cold to the touch, fingers even more so. I cradle him and whisper sweet words of where the fuck is your blanket. He has a habit of doing tai-bo in his sleep. Gymnastics. Synchronized swimming sans the pool. His fluffly blue blanket is always miles away from his sleeping body. He is full of complaints as he nestles his head on my shoulder but the wailing has ceased. Bad dreams? What does a baby dream of that makes them wake up crying? A never-ending series of empty milk bottles? The horror. Diapers being changed but poopyness remains? DISASTER. My mom would say that when he smiles in his sleep, ye ol’ gods from superstitions passed are having a merry chat with him. Does that mean when he cries, our dark lord and saviour, Oprah, is plaguing his subconscious with free cars coupled with Eat, Pray, Love books? I despise Oprah. The Colour Purple was a shit movie. Okay, it wasn’t but fuck Oprah. Ahem. Back to reality and my snuggley, little borg. A diaper change, a fluffy onesie and a warm bottle of milk satiated his morning qualms and put him back to sleep but left me waaayyy off my daily routine. Coffee. Cigarette. Cleansing. Clothing. Easier said than done when sleep beckons…

I gathered a generic ensemble of clothing; pants, underpants, t-shirt. Generic. How. Very. Generic. A word I would hope another never uses to describe me. The t-shirt shall suffice, the underpants too but these pants simply will not do. I stare blankly at my open wardrobe and think WWSD? What Would Siouxsie Do? Inspiration strikes. Little skirt, stockings and fuck-off big boots. Black on black on black. On black. Yes. Onward! To work! I am feeling empowered and bitchy. Bitch couture.  Come at me, Friday and all that I am woman, hear my stomach growl nonsense. I catch a glimpse of myself in mirror not far from my office and I’m all, hey there foxy lady. A colleague bids me a pleasant day and asks how do I have the time to do hair, make-up, stockings and such when I have a kid. I am at a loss for words as I recall my feverish morning thus far. Truth of the matter is, I do not have the time but I do have the desire to like what I see when I look in the mirror. How to convey this sentiment to my inquiring work person… I flash a fake smile and continue my trek to the office.

I am struck with profound thoughts of why a mom should be clad in sweatpants and stained shirts. I refuse to be that mom. Vanity shall prevail. I will wear my mohawk high, smudge my multitudes of black eyeliner and rip deliberate holes in my fishnet stockings for as long as I possibly can. When the time comes for me to drop my son off at school, his friends will ask him who that weirdo lady is. He will smile ear to ear and proudly proclaim, THAT’S MY MOM, YO.

My breakfast

What a wonderful, uplifting feeling. You get to your office after a good couple days of public holiday realness and the entire expanse of the working realm reeks of boiled eggs. Marvelous. My esteemed colleague is in the process of stuffing six whole boiled eggs in her face. Remnants of broken shells decorate her already terribly untidy desk and she is devouring said unborn with her mouth wide open. Egg debris spews forth as she turns around to bid me a pleasant morning. Oh, darling. You have already ruined any chance of my morning being remotely pleasant. Now, fellow miscreants of society, I am by no means a food snob. I relish the aroma of freshly made food in all its steamy glory. My breakfasts are hardly of the ordinary kind. You might see me slurping a bowl of stew, munching a slice of pizza or even indulging in my mom’s famous chicken curry for breakfast all before 9am.

I long to take a wetwipe from my handbag of tricks and wipe it across her egg splattered face. As she is sharing anecdotes of the long weekend past, bits of yolk land on my freshly ironed skirt and I want to squeeze the life out of her bulging neck with my camphor cream-fresh fingers. Drastic. But I am a firm believer in morning freshness. All day freshness, for that matter. Refer to my previous post Smell the look.

Tragic is the plight of the thwarted woman bound by societal and workplace pleasantries. I could indulge in a full Natural Born Killers moment and exact my violent revenge… How much we take for granted. We all live this life in bounds instilled on us by… By who exactly? Emotions and actions are always to be in check less we experience the full wrath of the law. But let us leave that anarchic, existential debacle for another time. After I have indulged in my morning food offerings. A cheese burger is on today’s menu. I bid a splendid day to all of you gracing my blog with your inquisitive eyes. May the day bring flowery smells and may your hammer be mighty.

ANARCHY IN THE RSA