So this is Christmas

This venturing out into the so-called “land of the living” thing is exhausting. I almost admire the people who keep their distance from me because if you don’t know what to say, it’s best to stay silent.

Case in point: the mall. I should have known better than to go today. But I really just wanted to buy a pair of shoes, and everything’s picked-over and I know the parking lots are a no-man’s land, but I figured fuck it, I need to get out of the damn house already.

I stopped at Caribou for a break from annoying people and just a quiet moment in general. And those of you who know me know that I’m usually chatting up everyone in line and the cashiers and just trying to pass the time pleasantly. But today? It was all I could do to not throw hot coffee on anyone who pissed me off.

I ordered my stupid little coffee and as I waited for it, the woman in line behind me went on and ON about how she spent five hours wrapping gifts last night and four hours this morning, she has so many. And that she’s so exhausted and has so much more shopping to do and gawd, the money that just slips through her hands.

The three women behind her chimed in, commiserating, but she was looking right at me for a response. I don’t know why — my face is anything but friendly these days. I kept just trying to smile and not say a word, but when they all started pissing and moaning (playfully, I guess) about how the holidays are just SO hard with all the fuss, I got my drink and said, “I’m having no Christmas — I just had a death in my family.” And I kept walking.

I hate to ruin everyone’s parade. I know too many people like the way I just acted today — those who cannot possibly allow anyone to have a moment of victory or joy because WAH, nobody’s paying attention to them and their iddy biddy widdle problems. Boo fucking HOO.

It’s like, just let me feel bad for my grandfather, OK? Don’t make me pity you because you have so much money and so much family surrounding you that you just can’t take it. Wah, fuck off. You know what I’m geting this Christmas? A baseball bat to bludgeon you with.

I guess I never thought of the holidays as a burden. Sure, it was always a familial obligation, but it involved a nice dinner and maybe, if we could afford it, one or two gifts apiece. Last year my gift was a nice dinner and a good sleep in a nice house. My gift was having a bed in my own little bedroom in my family’s new house — I’d slept on the couch or rented hotel rooms for the prior decade-plus, so my grandfather was very proud to finally be able to give me a place to truly call “home.” It was the best gift ever.

So boo hoo to your fucking paper cuts, seriously. Call someone who cares — I ain’t answerin’.

Mom got something similar today. She was out running errands and someone said to her, “You look so sad, like you just lost your best friend.” She said she had, actually. And the person was stuttering and stumbling and sorry he ever spoke.

It’s by our nature that we typically help people to smooth over what they never dreamed would be a mistake to say, but it’s tiring. Some days, it’d just be nice to meet someone who exhibits some sense, for a change — someone who realizes that the world doesn’t, in fact, revolve around them and that others might just be doing their damndest to get through a day and even that’s a challenge.

While mostly everyone in my world has been a dream and a real friend, there’s always that one or two whom you wish you could just beat with a cluestick. Those are the ones in the outer periphery — the ones who could fall off the planet and never in a million years be missed. Those are the ones who are only out for their own purposes and have no concept of how bad I’m hurting — how hard I’m trying to get with the program already. I was telling my friend last night about one in particular, and my friend reminded me that I’m not going to forget who’s been good to me … and I’m not going to forget the one or two who weren’t. And she said when it’s their time of need, she hopes I will be just as cold.

I don’t think it’ll be hard — I think I’ve used up my compassion supply till 2008, at the earliest.

Not the same thing, but related, I was having a discussion with someone who told me I’m going to drive myself insane with guilt, with remorse, with anger. He said that it was my grandfather’s time to go, plain and simple. That he’d lived a good life and it was done, the end. That his number was basically up and you can’t keep God from taking him home when it’s his time.

I rallied “bullshit” and said just one week before his death, my grandfather was talking and laughing and eating and joking and planning. He was in a real hospital and his pain was controlled and he was alive and wonderful. It’s when that fuckup of a VA Hosptial took him back — ripped him from the good hosptial — that it all went to shit. They morphined him up and he slept fitfully 24/7 because he had enough drugs in him to knock him out but not enough to keep him sobbing and screaming with pain.

The death certificate said the cause was a myocardial infarction. Heart attack. The man didn’t have heart problems. I think he was in so much agony that his body gave out. I think he’d tried so hard to stay with the program but died from the torture. For Christ’s sake, we shoot animals in less pain! Where is the humanitarianism? The fucking VA gets its drugs for less than what Medicare pays — could they not spare him any good ones?

The last night I saw him, I’d asked his fuckwit of a doctor what else he could be given instead of morphine, and she said that was it. I said there are other drugs on the market — hell, demerol, even. He was sleeping with his eyes open and moaning and writhing in pain on the morphine — NOT WORKING. She said that’s it.

That same night, I approached his nursing staff to say he was in so much pain — I hated him being on the morphine (I made that clear) and asked what alternatives there might be to get him off that but get him comfortable. They looked stupefied. The one nurse, Jeff, even said that they could give him more morphine but any more drugs would push him “over to the other side.”

And hours later, one wonders if that’s what happened.

They said they found him unresponsive. Given that the staff itself is unresponsive, I wonder how long he had to lie there before anyone got a fucking clue. I can’t get the image out of my head, of him being under a sheet and them transporting him to the morgue. I can’t believe I am actually typing all of these words — that he didn’t pass over peacefully. I told that fuckhead doctor that I wanted to take him home right then, when we talked and he was still alive. I said we were willing to do anything just to get him home and let him enjoy the rest of his days, far away from them.

And maybe I’m being irrational, but one wonders if they just didn’t purposely kill him, although they sure did a hell of a job, Brownie, without trying.

So to the person who told me that it was his time, fuck you, too. Say you’re sorry to hear it, that it sucks and damn, he was a good man to have been a parent to you. And stop there. My cats get better medical care than that wonderful man was afforded.

In fact, a gal at work told me that she had a clause put into her living will that she get the same level of care that a family pet would at the end stages of life. Do whatever it takes to keep her functioning — if you’d do it for a cat or a dog, you’d best do it for her. And if that means good drugs to help her pass into that gentle good night, then hot damn, do it.

A gal at work just lost her father, and had to fly to China two days after the fact because that was the first available flight to get to him. I cannot imagine that flight. It reminded me, though, of being in the Vegas airport at 11 p.m. in the smoking lounge (shut up) and a good-looking guy about my age dressed in a suit came to ask me for a light.

He said his dad had died in Florida and he’d be arriving just in time for the services. He was dressed in case his luggage got lost — he’d be ready and not fussing. I remembered praying I wouldn’t have to make a similar ride (drive, in my case). God, that was a whirlwind, because I did. Never in my life drove 250 miles in three hours. And why, because there was no rush. All I was doing was meeting with the funeral director when I got there.

I keep hoping that some miracle will drop out of the sky, you know? I don’t know what to wish for — my only wish was to have my grandfather home from the hospital for Christmas. So, you see where my faith in wishes — and everything else — has gone.

I do, however, wish that those who are having a good holiday and don’t deserve it will enjoy it, and I hope they know they don’t deserve it and aren’t planning on their luck continuing. And for those who deserve to have a good holiday and good things in general, I hope those wonderful things come their way. I think that would be the only thing that would bring balance to this world right about now.

As for me, I need to have a chat with the Goddess to figure out why my visions led me to believe that my grandfather would come through this just fine. But like T and I were saying yesterday, Denial is great — we’re tall and skinny and cute waiters are bringing us amazing cocktails. There are no mirrors, just blue waters and white-sand beaches, in Denial.

Oh, well. I’ll get through this. Thank God I have a safe place to land, right where I am. I’m not sure where God was when my grandfather was struggling to hold on, but I have no doubt that I will be taken care of by reams of angels who, if they couldn’t do right by him, are going to make it up to me in any way they can.

And I’m going to let them.

One Lonely Response to So this is Christmas

  1. Tiff :

    I think the way we handle pain management in this country is a dirty shame. We spend all this time worrying about addiction that the elderly and dying don’t get what they need to just stop hurting so much. Like addiction is a big problem for a man in his 80s.