Sunday, November 25, 2012

FIFTY-FOUR

8:30 a.m.

I suppose it was that I got so much rest yesterday, but I woke up before 6:30 this morning. The family is still asleep (the girls are still here) but Emmylou and Cooder have been up with me, sitting on the forbidden surfaces as I cleaned up the kitchen and started another load of dishes in the dishwasher. We're still not done with all of the Thanksgiving dinner dishes, but getting close.

Thursday was Carl's birthday. He would have been 54. Although I spoke to my mother about it a bit, my brothers and I did not mutually acknowledge the loss of the one. For my part, I was fairly swamped with getting ready and then entertaining tasks. I hadn't scheduled much reflection time, although I did spearhead the Thanksgiving table round of "What do you enjoy most about Thanksgiving?" (I can't remember what I said but it was probably about finally being able to sit down.)

Carl spent quite a few years working up to his death, or maybe working down. THe had been very very ill. There were something like 40 empty bottles of Tylenol under his bed. There were reports circulating in the family circle about how much Tylenol he had consumed just prior to going into the hospital, but I cannot remember the particulars, just that it was a crazy amount. As Tylenol is known to cumulative deleterious effects, we think (not sure who that collective "we" encompasses) that it was the Tylenol that signed the warrant.

The family in various configurations talked about "what to do about/with/for Carl". What I am reflecting on now is that for all the hassling, encouraging, begging, berating, praising, and other manner of communication with the goal of getting Carl to change, I don't know if we ever asked him how he felt. I know that I did not. I knew that he had had a stroke and was not appropriately attending to the follow-up, but I did not know that he was feeling so crappy on a daily basis that he was consuming Tylenol as if they were Tic-Tacs.

And I'm not sure what the upshot of this post is, just that Carl would have been 54 on November 22. And that I did not really stop to get beyond or beneath the reality I could see to actually enquire about how he felt. Like a lot of folks when faced with frightening pain in the midst of the other struggles of life, Carl didn't share.

Jeff Davis, by the way, is hanging in there last I heard. He was no longer intubated and was speaking to people. There's been a stream of visitors and he's even made a post or two on FB.



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