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Archive for the ‘Dying’ Category

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for getting aggravated with you every time you are trying to choke up a hairball.  See, the last few days I’ve been hit with an upper respiratory infection that has rendered me helpless against the cough spasms I go through just trying to breathe.  If I lie flat, I am wracked with coughing that makes my eyes water and brings me to the verge of puking.  In the medical world, we call that posttussive emitus. In English, that means you cough til you puke. 

And it isn’t fun.

So, yeah, I feel ya, kitty cat. 

Do your ribs hurt as much as mine do?  Does coughing up a hairball hurt as much as coughing up this stuff that has taken residence in my lungs?  When you are trying to rid your body of that hairball, does it feel like someone has punched you in the ribs and broken maybe one or two or ten of your tiny cat ribs? 

Because, I’m telling you…whatever this tuberculosis is, it has made me cough to the extent that I feel like every. single. one. of my ribs feels like they are broken, so that every. single. time. I cough, I feel like my very rib cage is going to just explode, or deteriorte into ragged shards inside of my disease-ridden body.

So, yeah, if this is what you feel like, and it is certainly what you look like when you are trying to expel whatever crap you got in there, then I am never going to fuss at you to get out of the room to do it again.  I know now that when this kind of coughing spasm comes on ya, then you cough it up wherever you are. 

Last night, I’m proud to say, I coughed so hard that…um…”fluid” came out…partially due to the fact that I’ve squeezed four babies out of my body, but mostly due to the fact that the sheer force of this coughing just begs the fact that either “fluid” is going to come out…or a lung.  All things considered, I guess I’ll take the “fluid.” 

Who Loves being 44? 

Yeah, that’s me.

Love,

Chris

Okay…now to the back story.

Here’s what is sort of funny.  For the past 21 thousand months, I have had this aggravating, cranky hacking hack.  While most of me thought it was due to my daily heartburn, the other 75 percent of my brain was sure it was esophageal cancer.  Finally, last weekend, thanks to what I type every day, I decided I would at least try to get some anti-reflux medicine to see if it would help.  I bought some Zantac on Saturday and immediately that hacky, acid-reflux hack went away.  I was able to sit through a wedding without that annoying cough cough. 

Unfortunately, by the end of the night, that annoying cough cough was quickly being replaced with a more annoying COUGH COUGH.  I’m hugely excited to see what I feel like when the COUGH COUGH goes away and the Zantac has made the cough cough go away. 

It’s only a little bit ridiculous that it took so many months of my hacking for me to think perhaps trying an anti-reflux medicine might be a good idea. 

I’m smarter than that.  I type this stuff every day, all the day long.  I’ve self-diagnosed stuff much worse than stupid acid reflux. 

So, yeah, here’s hoping that when I kick this tuberculosis/flu/the plague, the Zantac keeps working and I finally get to stop with the hack-hacking, annoying cough I’ve walked around with for weeks, nay months.

More than that, I just hope that maybe, thanks to the Zantac, the Mucinex and generic HEB ‘tylenol cold,’ this crap just goes away.  My ribs hope so.  My throat hopes so.  My husband hopes so, since he has deemed sleeping with me the last few nights like sleeping with a woodpecker.

If the woodpecker was trying to hack up a lung.

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Worry not, folks, this Growing up Glen Rose thing has got to end at some point or the other.

As I’ve said before, these entries about my kidhood aren’t so much about writing something funny and entertaining as they are to document for me, and perhaps even my kids, how absolutely decent and loving my growing up was.  I think sometimes we get it in our heads how miserable our youth was…how our childhood was so hard.  I know that growing up, I did…heck, we all did.  All we thought about was getting out of Glen Rose.  That getting out of Glen Rose mentality was largely responsible for my child-brideness.

But then, a funny thing happened when I had kids in a place that was nothing like Glen Rose.  I realized pretty quick that my kids weren’t going to have the same experiences I did.  When I realized that, I began to appreciate more the fact that I had been miraculously blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing people who not only helped my mother and I, but they truly cared about us. 

I’ve written about Olene and Burt and Lillian and Dorothy and Maxie, and today I am going to share a bit about Geneva and Doyle Aston. 

The Aston’s were our landlords for nearly as long as I can remember.  When we moved to English Street they became family. 

See, I was the same age and a lot of the time in the same class as their nephew Bradley.  Brad and I shared the love of UFOs and the Legend of Boggy Creek and Big Foot.  We were fast friends.  When mom was in hospital for this or that when I was little, I remember many times spending the night at Brad’s.  I remember sitting out on top of their storm cellar with walkee talkees thinking we were listening to UFO talks when in reality…well, it was truckers’ CBs. 

We were little.  We didn’t know that UFO folks probably didn’t say ‘Breaker 1-9.’  So, cut us some slack.

Anyway, I digress.  Back to Geneva and Doyle.

I’m quite sure that Geneva and Doyle more than once probably allowed Mom to be a little late with the rent.  They knew she was good for it.  They never minded me coming in to use their phone, since we didn’t have one and I was the one who would need to call if there was a problem with the gas bill or the electric bill.  Mom wasn’t comfortable talking on the phone with her German accent, so I learned early how to deal with folks on the phone.  At 10. 

Geneva and Doyle were always the first stop trick or treating.  Geneva always made ‘special’ treats for us…homemade popcorn balls or candied apples or cookies made especially for us.  They always oo’d and ah’d over whatever silly little costume I could come up with, which most of the time consisted of ‘hobo’ or ’50s girl.’ 

In the summertime, if they were watering their giant lawn, I was always invited to come play in it.  Especially if the grandkids were in visiting or Brad was over.  If there was a family gathering over there and they were making any number of freezers of homemade ice cream, I was always invited over to help sit on the things while the grownups cranked.  It always seemed to take forever for it to ‘make’ when I was little…while I was trying to keep my bare feet out of the little river of salt water that trickled out of the hole in the bucket. 

When you are waiting for the ice cream to freeze when you are 10, 30 minutes is an eternity.  The first time I actually made homemade ice cream as a grownup, it amazed me how fast the process was.

When we weren’t making ice cream, Doyle was always quick to flick me a quarter to run up to the corner for an ice cream.  Doyle, during baseball season, was forever sitting on the porch listening to the Ranger games.  I didn’t really get the baseball back then, but I remember so many summer evenings sitting on that glider on their front porch listening to games with Doyle while the cicadas chirped in the trees around us.  Any time I ever went over, they’d always offer up a ‘coke cola,’ of which they kept cases and cases in the carport.  Coke never tasted better than when I was sitting on the porch listening to a Ranger game with Doyle.

Well, maybe it tasted as good on the picnics with Olene up shotgun road. 

So, we’ll call it a tie.

As I got older and played junior high basketball, Doyle would always wish me luck (and I needed a LOT of it) as I’d walk up the drive on my way to school.  We only lived down the street from the school, so I’d walk to the school to catch the bus to go to the game and then walk home after…in the dark…alone. 

But it was Glen Rose, so it wasn’t really a scary proposition back then.

When Doyle’s health started failing a bit as I got older and he got older, I didn’t bother them so much.  When I would need to use the phone, Doyle quite often was napping in his recliner and I would talk in hushed tones so as not to bother him.  He always had his glasses on, sometimes a little askew on his head. 

When that awful morning came that I was awakened by the flashing lights of the ambulance, it was, perhaps, the first time the D-word affected me directly.  As the ambulance pulled off, I realized that I’d never sit on the porch with Doyle and listen to a Rangers game again.  He’d never throw me a quarter and tell me to go get an ice cream again. 

When we went to the ‘visitation’ at the funeral home, I will never forget how relieved I was that they’d laid him up proper with his glasses on his nose.  It made it like he was just dozing. 

And it made it all a little bit easier for me to deal with.  It was like Doyle wasn’t really dead, he was just napping.

My gosh, I loved those people…and they loved me. 

When mom was in nursing home, I got word that Geneva was in hospital at the same time and her health was failing.  I made myself go to visit.  I was so glad I did when she passed not too long after.  Even in the hospital with her own health failing, she was most concerned about how my mom was. 

And that is what being from Glen Rose was about.

People cared about you…truly.  They cared enough about you to love your scraggley kid.  They cared enough about you to invite you to the family ice cream supper.  They cared enough about you to give your kid the quarter you couldn’t afford so she could run up to the corner for a tasty ice cream snack.  They cared enough about you to invite you into the storm cellar when that ever-impending storm was coming.

They cared enough to make you FAMILY.

How many of us in this day and age can look around at our neighbors and say the same?  I’m guessing that not many of us can…

and I think that is sad.

I think it is especially sad for my kids.  Granted, the older girls did grow up on a street where there were close friendships.  We all had kids about the same age, so we all sort of looked after one another’s offspring.  We spent lots of time in their driveways while the kids played.  Happily, the girls still have some of my Ya-Ya friends from back then that still live on the street.  The Junior can still walk down the street and visit with Lee or with Colleen. 

Is it the same experience as I had?  Well, it’s close.

The thing I find so sad is that The Boy won’t ever have it.  We have become, since the Banishment, pretty much our own island here at the Casa.  We don’t really know the other neighbors that well.  Sure, sometimes when The Boy is out back with Belle, the other side neighbor will have a chat with him over the fence, but it isn’t the same. 

And it never will be. 

But hey, he has us and Belle.  I guess we’ll make do.

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