my friend is gone

I don’t make friends easy. I might say hello, and at the most, maybe some useless back and forth conversation. But there won’t be anything telling anyone I want anything more from them. If they start getting too nosy, maybe asking about what I do, what I like, something personal about me the subject will get changed. I don’t like attention being drawn towards me and I’m really not interested in knowing you. Saying goodbye after work isn’t common. Telling you happy birthday will never happen. I really have no interest in other people’s lives.

I took a job six years ago at a retirement home. It was suppose to be temporary until I found something I’m experienced in. After a while it seemed like I was thrown into this building to take care of everything, including the people. It took almost two years before I realized this community was dumped off on me. I’m not a people person. I’m more of a “leave me the fck alone so I can do what I was hired to do” person. I kept waiting until I noticed I was one of them. I made friends and they were interested in me and my well being. We laugh and have fun together except I keep my wall up. They will only know me at work. They’ve stuck up for me, they have my back. There’s nothing more I can ask for after finding that out.

One morning when I came into work I found an envelope on my door. Inside was a card. I didn’t open it right away because I saw it as a personal invasion. It’s like when they give me Christmas cards after I tell them I don’t celebrate that holiday. I check to see if there’s anything of value in it then pitch it. When I finally opened it, several days had passed. This was from Melanie. She was thanking me and that’s all she wanted. I thought this was the greatest thing in the world. No one has ever just said thanks to me for anything. If they did I’m sure I was ignoring them like I always do. Then I found myself doing what ever she wanted done. She didn’t ask for much and I didn’t mind doing things for her. I even found myself sitting in the lobby talking to her. Just me and her until we were invaded by the loud angry heard of bitter lonesome retirees with not much to do.

The card on my door

melanie-1

 

Inside the card reads:

Mike, Just wanted you to know that I truly appreciate everything you do for us. I thank you so much.  Melanie (304)

Melanie-2

 

I’ve kept this card on my desk. If anyone asked I’d let them read it. A few years had gone by and Mel was getting older and was having health issues. This is normal. But not once did I ever hear her say how bad she felt. She seemed tired and lost some weight but she always laughed at the dumb stuff I’d say to her. I noticed she had trouble walking so I kept an eye on her. Elderly people are hard to pick up. They either feel like jell-o with a bone in it or they’re so fragile you’d think they would break at the slightest touch. Last Friday I watched as she left for a doctors appointment. I went home for the week end just minutes after that. Monday when I came in I noticed a lot of trash in the dumpsters and some items in the bulk pick-up area. People dump their shit on our property a lot but this was more than normal. As people were waking up someone broke the news that Mel had a stroke and died that Saturday. Her family was cleaning out her apartment. I showed her daughter the card I always kept. She was heart broken. Mel’s family finished removing the belongings and dropped the keys off in the lock box.

This was for me

Melanie-3

 

 

 

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**GRAPHIC**

A picture of my scar if you don’t want to see it click out.

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Second warning. This is a picture of my scar from back surgery.

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Final warning to click out of here or you’ll see it

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scar

 

I warned you. This is the scar from my back surgery. There is a medical term for what they did and I think they just make words up in the hospital. All of my prescriptions are words I’ve never heard of too. I thought it was just a 2″ incision. This is the first time I’ve seen it. My physical therapist took the picture. That’s her hand at the top just to give it some comparison. The thing is 6″ long. There’s just some small scabs left and a one of the stiches sticking out of the top that will probably just fall out. It’s healing pretty good on the outside but hurts like hell on the inside.

 

 

I’ll miss my room

I’ll miss my room at the rehabilitation hospital. Or no, I’m miss the entire place. I was spoiled the entire time. I’ve never been taken care of my entire life like I was here. The attention and respect the staff gave me was outstanding. I had to ask them not to disturb me as much. They said o.k. but continued and I never brought it up again. A lot of times in the evening no one came in to check on me but I could see them going in and out of the rooms around me. After a while I finally told the nurse that I feel like I’ve been forgotten. She told me I’m one of the few that never pushes the callimage button. I never wanted to bother them, they looked too busy. The only time I asked for anything was when they brought my meals in. They always said they’d let the nurse know. I never knew who was and wasn’t a nurse. When the nurse did come in with the med cart and to check my vitals she always asked my pain level from 1 to 10. I always said 9 and the meds weren’t helping. A few days later she comes in and said if I need pain meds just ask. So I did. Dilaudid did absolutely nothing, after several tries even with the IV, they tried a combination. This caused me to have a seizure. I was completely aware of what was going on but had no control over anything. My right hand started flinching and it felt like cold air blowing on it, when I look down at my hand I lost control of my neck. It was like my neck folded and cut off my breathing. That’s when a lot of people came running in the room. One lady was holding my head up as they laid me back in the bed. When I finally got control I couldn’t speak no matter how hard I tried my mouth wouldn’t let words come out. That was scary. After that my meds were given to me in intervals but I still could ask for pain meds anytime I wanted them. Now they were Oxycontin tablets which kind of scared me. I don’t want to be a pill addict except I’m not craving them as a buzz, I need them when I can’t hold out any longer.

The other thing I liked was the food. The place had their own cooks and I wasn’t on any special diet. I had a big menu to order anything I wanted, and I did. They fed me well and nothing I had was bad. I ate everything I ordered.

room_2

One other thing was my bed. When I went to my three hours a day physical therapy (which is a whole other story) I’d come back to all new sheets and pillow cases, the bathroom was clean and trash taken out. I was suppose to stay until May 22 but they came in on May 15 and told me I was leaving on the 17th. I didn’t want to leave, I had another week but they felt I was o.k. to go home. My last day I got up, took a bath and dressed myself. The ride home kept changing times. First it was 11am, then it was 4pm, then 6:30pm. They finally show up at 7:30pm and they wheeled me into a transportation bus and strapped me in. I was kind of afraid to go home on my own but every morning I wake up something new is going on inside me. Sometimes it’s good and other time, like today, it’s horrible. One thing I’m learning is the nervous system is a strange thing, the other thing I’m finding out is nerves repairing themselves is the most agonizing pain I’ve ever endured. I’m working on a drawing I came up with while I was here. Sitting up for any length of time is a little painful but I’ll get it done.

the city

I use to live in the city. It was above a pretty popular restaurant which made living there a pain in the ass. If I left during the day I would have to park pretty far away until they closed then go get my car and move it back where I could see it. For once I really didn’t like the other people that lived up there. The one kept getting into my mail box until I threatened him. I’m pretty laid back but I will get in peoples faces if they piss me off. The other neighbor I called him Joe Dirt. That’s exactly who he looked like, the hair and everything. He was straight from the ’80’s. The owner evicted the mailbox guy then changed the locks at the entrance. He tried to get back in and Joe Dirt went to talk to him. Joe, being a little slow, forgot he left hamburgers grilling on his oven caught his kitchen on fire which set off the buildings fire alarms. The fire department shows up at this historic landmark thanks to these two clowns. This was in the summer, so it’s around 90 degrees out and we had to evacuate the building. I was pissed because I just got home from work and I was working a few beers. Don’t interrupt my fucking beers, god dammit! The other guy was evicted for not paying his rent. I mean it was only $400 a month, WTF. So he destroyed everything in his unit. Then it was just me up there. I think the owner liked it that way, I was responsible and kept and eye on his building. But I didn’t want to be his after hours security. I didn’t want to be responsible for anything that happened to that building. It was a popular restaurant, even the local news personalities ate there in the late morning. I really liked the apartment. It was kept up for as old as it was. New cabinets, new hardwood and ceramic tile floors. The one thing I didn’t like was I felt like I was always on stage there. I had to go past all the customers in the parking lot to get to the second floor stairs. And it was two flights of metal stairs, those things made some noise too. Once inside I felt safe. I liked my place, I liked the view of downtown and Broad Street. In the very back is where I kept my computer and tech stuff. I didn’t even have a living room because this is where I spent all my time. The window and balcony to my left was a nice view at night. The streets calmed, the lights dimmed and the city went quiet. This is where I forgot everything and went into another world.

OFFICE

 

I finally get my surgery next week. I’m probably typing this because I’m wigged out on Oxycodone and Gabapetin and I’m not even aware I’m doing this. But anything is better than the excruciating pain I’m normally in. Just one more week…

 

 

boredom

The one thing I can’t get use to are the endless hours of boredom. I’m kind of stuck, if I hurt I can’t move, if I’m medicated I turn into a jelly glob and still can’t move but things don’t hurt as bad. I tried drawing laying down, it’s not the same. My arms move too much and I flip the paper every where in front of me. Then my pencils roll under my ass and I get pissy and stop. I’ve even started watching T.V. I hate it, T.V.’s the most idiotic form of entertainment. Even PBS is has turned to crap. There’s three PBS channels and it’s nothing like it use to be. I’d never waste money on cable and my digital antenna picks up quite a few stations and if I spoke Spanish I could watch half the channels, but…

story_1

 

I’m working on a drawing, it’s taking along time which I have plenty of. Too bad I’m not a good artist or I would put out something really cool with all this time I have. But I am being picky about things. I look online for a good scanner, mine makes my stuff look completely different. Photos are more accurate but leave out the details.

 

I’m typing this as I go, if there’s mistakes that’s ok. I’ll look back in a few months and remember how I thought and was feeling at the time. Most of it’s a blur now. I’m not sure what day it is sometimes. I wake up at 3:30 am a lot and start my day then go back to bed at noon. I’m not use to no structured living but it is kind of fun. Soon I’ll have to get back to reality.

 

 

picture story

 

I was really looking forward to going back to work next Monday. But according to my visit with the neurologist today that’s not in my future for a while. They must think I’m made of money. I want to go back to normal, a normal sleep habit, normal conversations, normal daily destinations. I tell them I feel great, I can go in and do light duty at work!

I miss the people I use to call my job but in reality they are my friends. They make me laugh, they make me feel useful, they like me for me. I was part of their life. I never accepted that until now. I use to hate hearing my name yelled out every time I walked down a hallway. Now I would welcome it. The only time I hear my name now is a nurse calling me back because it’s my turn. What I notice about the healthcare workers is they treat me like I’ve treated the people where I work. I’m just a part of their daily routine. They will talk to me just for their information and move on to the next person waiting to be seen. I use to try to be myself around them but the most Istory_2 would get was a courtesy response. That little forced laugh or a generic answer. Now I just answer their questions. My humor, my intelligence, they mean nothing now. I miss the few conversations I use to have even though it was something I loathed.

I think a lot sitting here. Nothing important. I think of old friends and wonder what they’re up to even though I really don’t give a shit. I’ll remember something we’d done back when life was fun and future-less. Or I’ll hear a song from back in the day and remember what was going on the first time I heard it. For some reason 70’s pop music makes me happy. It wasn’t anything I cared for, maybe it was a collection of subconscious ambiance reminding me how great life was before I had to live it.  Maybe…