Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Well, the month of October that usually starts with rounds of Halloween parties, and lots of delights and frights and ends with the celebration of Samhain or All Hallow's Eve has certainly gotten off to a bang this year around here. But, this being Nebraska Ave., 33602, 33605, where everything can and has happened at one time or another and has seen the visitation and/or arrest of everyone from Harry Truman, to Theodore Roosevelt (neither of whom saw a jail cell) to Darryl Strawberry and several other athletes and congressmen (who have visited our fine Orient Road Jail), why should I be at all surprised that October started out with something like James Thurber's “The Night The Bed Fell” and as of Sunday, we experienced a little bit of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane”, “Baron von Munchausen” (or Munchausen by Proxy), and ended the week with a re-enactment of a segment of “The Jerry Springer Show”, minus the “who the baby daddy?”

"I suppose that the high-water mark of my youth in Columbus, Ohio, was the night the bed fell on my father." ~ James Thurber

Of course, all of this needs some 'splainin'. My erst-while roommate who is no longer my roommate, had spent most of September in New York, visiting her birth mother who was in the hospital, with liver failure. When her mother did not expire, she returned home with her relatives. The condition of her release from prison, stated that she would be unable to live with them, so because I do belong to a political committee and because one of the Chairwomen knew of Jim's passing, it was thought that this might be a win-win for us both, as I am living on my own income. I was rather reluctant at first, but said I would at least talk to the girl's aunt. The aunt seemed rational enough, so she brought her niece over and we struck a deal.

Well, the first month wasn't so noticeable, because the girl was in NY for most of the month, and when she was in the apartment, she kept to herself, writing her letters, being quiet. She did however, mention that she knew it was me putting coffee filters in the coffee pot. I dismissed this, as just some off-hand remark; I knew she was trying to adjust to living “outside” and I just went about my day. Then, she left for NY again, and her mother died. Now, she was not close at all with her birth mother; she was raised by her grandmother and had very little feeling for her birth mother, but when she returned, she acted like her world had fallen apart.

I tried to be sympathetic, but we've all lost people at some point in our lives, and this does not give us license to be. . . well, stupid about things like coffee filters. I say this, because she brought this up again, by leaving a note on the coffee pot. I answered her note, in kind. Just really immature, and stupid stuff. This was just as she went to NY. While she was there, I felt an immense sense of relief and was dreading October. Well, October came and it was something.

A week ago last Monday, which would still have been in September, I took my night-time medications. I take the same thing every time and have been on the same meds for at least 2 years. The essential tremor medications quell the high-frequency tremors, but along with that I have to take a mild muscle relaxant to quell the dystonia (cramping) that the tremors will cause. It allows me to play and do all the virtuosic things I'm used to doing on the viola. Because I have a motor disorder, ANY deviation from any of my medications louses me up and I've heard this from many other people who have everything from Parkinson's Disease to Tardive Dyskenisia. It's why I wear that faboo little bracelet, made for me by Handmade by Heroes! Thanks, Guys!

And on a side note, the roommate was also using a TON of bleach in the apartment, which I had specifically asked her NOT to do (even when I pee'd) because she claimed her nose was so “sensitive” (more on that later). I had started to develop a cough that was nagging and much like an upper respiratory infection that I would normally develop if I weren't taking my medications for my COPD, so that was an issue.

Anyway, last Monday night, about half an hour after I had fallen asleep, I felt a burning sensation on the left side of my face, up by my left eye, and I was in a sort of half-awake, half-asleep state. I had the sensation of seeing something over my left eye (the eye has a flaw, like a caul and it's like looking through hand-made glass; wavering) and it was bright and melting. I sort of jerked more awake and fluthered around and bleated “help help”. Had Jim been there, he would have talked me down, as he did numerous times, when we were together. We were really good for each other that way. But no one was there. It was 1:30 in the morning, and I had a rehearsal the next day.

So, I jump up, and I'm bumbling around for my phone and I'm trying to dial 911 and I babble something into my “smartphone” and it hangs up on me. Great. Then, it calls me back, and it's a 911 operator, and they send Fire-Rescue out.

Now, in the past, when I've had a panic attack or felt like I was having a heart attack, they come out, take my vitals, everything is normal; and the Fire-Rescue guy says, “did you take your anxiety medication?” and I say “no” and he says “Well, there's your problem, right there”. They're good about it and it hasn't happened in a long, long time.

This time, they had me sit in a chair, and my vitals were okay, but. . . my blood pressure was orthostatic. That means that when I stood up, my blood pressure dropped and my heart rate went up. I explained to them that my muscle relaxant does that in the first hour to 2 hours that I take it, and it had only been about 45 minutes. I talked and talked and danced and Scoobied and they weren't having any of that. Well, shit. So, they bundled me up, made sure my cat had food and water, locked the door and off we went.

Once, I got to TGH, I went through the whole blah blah again, and was getting all ready to put my sho-I'm in my damned bare feet! And skate out of there, after they ran all their tests, feeling fine, gimme my cab voucher, I got a rehearsal!

Whoa Nellie, here comes an Attending doctor with five neurologists. Oh hell's bells. We go though the routine again. Eye, hurt, bright, melt, jump, blah, blah, blah. Only, I am very precise with these doctors, because I have a “history” and an “agreement” with TGH.

This used to be called Grand Rounds. Now, it's more of a "Chat 'n' Chew". Back in the day when I worked at the University of Michigan Teaching Hospital they would have anywhere from 15 to 20 interns. Now, depending on the specialty, I noticed, only 5 or 6 and I felt like I was doing the teaching. Eek!

It goes like this and it came about after a totally nasty and humiliating experience I had when two of the Attending Neurologists were not willing to listen to what I was saying. I describe a symptom to the doctor and the doctor paraphrases it to me. If I feel that he or she is mis-interpreting what I said, I correct them, and vice-versa. It makes for a much more productive experience.

Because I have a world-class neurologist, they decided they would run “due diligence” and keep me overnight (which wasn't what I wanted, but I couldn't very well say no, either) run some tests and see where that went. Everything checked out and I was released from the hospital late, late, late Tuesday night. I really did appreciate their concern. I've always been compliant and I've been granted such a marvelous quality of life, who am I to bitch?

This has to be one of the most terrifying movies I've ever seen in my life. I never realized I was going to star in an episode of it.

So, I come home to “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane”. My roommate is home, and things are back to normal, whatever that is. I wake up the next morning, and I'm sore. I've had IVs in both arms. For some reason, the food at TGH, which used to be pretty awesome, was horrible this time around. I'm hungry and I missed my rehearsal which did not make me happy. I look over and on top of my bag of potato chips is. . . a coffee filter. I'm instantly pissed.

I go in the kitchen and I say to my roommate, “What is this?” She feigns surprise. “Oh! I don't know where that came from!” I looked at her. “You put this on my bag of chips. Listen, I don't do head games. I won't have this. If you're going to continue in this vein, you can't stay here. No head games!” I emphasized. I turned and left the room. I got my cane and sunglasses and left the house.

Of course, when I came back in, it smelled like bleach. She went to her grandmother's house to pick up the rent and I deposited it and paid it, and the rest of the bills. Alex and I had bought groceries while she was gone and 2 days later she told me that her roll of stamps was missing, implying he had taken them, although they had been by her computer, and I had worked AT her computer that evening and she failed to mention it to me for 2 days. I just bought her some new stamps; she didn't like Alex, although he is the closest person to me and the best thing in my life.

Sunday was the kicker. I woke up with a bladder infection. I haven't had one of these boogers in decades and they're horrible. I knew I hadn't been drinking enough water and I knew there was plenty of tension going on in the house. Luckily, I was able to get some AZO and Cipro and it started clearing up, right away. But, on one of my many trips to the bathroom, I caught my roommate spying on my, which just freaked me right the hell out. As soon as I came out of the bathroom, I decided that was it. Especially since, she went right behind me and poured half a gallon of bleach in the toilet. I called Alex, he came over, and I went outside. I called her aunt and told her to come and get her niece. Now, normally, if the woman had been civil, I would have offered to pay her for the days the niece didn't stay there, but what transpired was something out of “Jerry Springer” minus wondering about the parentage.

The aunt came bolting out of the car and screaming, “I want my money! I want my money!” I said, very calmly, “I told you over the phone, I don't have your money, I had to pay the rent. Now, we can set up a payment plan, but I cannot pay you now.” I'm standing on my neighbor's porch, and my neighbor Sheila, who is seven months pregnant is outraged. She yells, “She doesn't have to give you anything!” and she proceeds to get right up in the aunt's face. This escalates and the two women are hollering and all of a sudden, the aunt hauls back and she's going to slug Sheila, my neighbor. I'm just behind Sheila, on the phone to 911, who cannot understand anything for all the yelling, and I'm trying to get to the aunt to punch her before she hits Sheila. Sheila's roommate, my soon-to-be-ex roommate are hollering and there's just this scrum of women hopping up and down. . . until, Alex, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 300 pounds, ROARS, I mean, ROARS “JUST A GODDAMNED MINUTE! EVERYONE CALM DOWN!

We all freeze; and from the four corners of da 'hood, comes every able-bodied male to help. The clarion call had gone out that the House of Women was in distress, apparently, and the men rose to the occasion. The roommate was stuffing her crap in the car as fast as she could, but the aunt wanted to wait for the police. Fine. We waited. The police kind of sided with the aunt, but the roommate wanted to beat feet, so they all left, yelling “Go die!” or something. The true classiness of people really comes out when it comes to money. Just ask my ex-husband, Bill Nunnally. Totally unclassy.

I got a lovely little text from the aunt the next day, saying that she was coming by with the police to get the money, or she would take me to small claims court. I texted her back; this was after I had spoken to the head of the political action committee and discovered that I had been lied to; that the roommate was to have had her ID and been registered by 10/1 and had made no attempt to do so. I told the aunt that her niece was already in violation of Florida statute and she knew that, and also if she did try to take me to small claims court, I had nothin' but time on my hands. I would delay, delay, delay and ask for continuance after continuance, whereas she would have to keep taking time off from work. I'm not proud of doing something like that, but I will protect myself and my loved ones.

I will also continue to live by myself and make my plans for what I had originally started to do after Jim died. More to come on that. My political activism will remain in the background. With all this crap going on, I didn't have time to be insecure about writing. I was more insecure about my playing viola. It's been that kinda month already! Oh, by the way, the cough cleared up, now that there's no more bleach being poured all over the house!

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