Falling . . . Again, Never Wanted to, What Am I to Do? Can’t Help It.

[Disclaimer: That had better be the right video of Marlene Dietrich. Some things one cannot control.]

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In the first place, if you’ve been reading, you’ve noticed that two posts about Geoffrey the squirrel disappeared. After a little research, I decided it would be politic to take them down.

We still have Geoffrey–in fact, we have at least four Geoffreys, who share the name because we can’t tell them apart. I think the Geoffrey that spends the most time on the patio looking in at Ernest and William is the initial Geoffrey. The one dove is still named Geraldine. She looks in, too.

A grackle has added himself to the mix. I haven’t chosen a name for him. I was thinking of Hairy Black (as in Harry Black of the Jungle, starring Stewart Granger, but Stewart Granger was a heck of a lot better looking than this bird, and I hate to besmirch the memory of one of my favorite men to gaze at.)

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My book is beginning to look like a book. Or like a manuscript. I’ve been writing scenes I’ll have to insert here and there, and pieces of scenes have to be inserted here are there–I hope I don’t have to discard any, because they really are darling–In short, there’s a lot to be done. But it looks doable. That’s a good feeling.

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When people ask how I’m doing, sometimes they’re making a polite opening sentence, but since I have a health issue, sometimes they want to know how I’m doing in that realm.

I usually say, “Fine.”

Depending on who’s asking, I tell them the real situation, which usually starts with, “Fine,” but I add some detail.

We’ll, here’s some detail. Some is funny. If you like that sort of thing.

What happened at the New Braunfels Civic Center after a book fair was pretty awful at the time, but told correctly, it can be hilarious. I shall not tell it, though. Maybe in four or five years.

Anyway, I’ve been doing fine, sort of. But I can’t walk without a rolling walker, and that probably won’t change, and sometimes David has to haul me around in a wheelchair. We have two wheelchairs–one for transport, which has no wheels for the rider to use, and one real one I should be able to roll around myself but haven’t learned how because we use it only for rough terrain. It has more oomph.

Or did. The rubber wheels fell apart and strewed pieces all over the carpet. It looked like a semi whose tires are disintegrating and leaving strips of rubber all over the highway.

So yesterday a new wheelchair arrived. Which makes it three wheelchairs. I have not ridden in it. I have no desire to ride in it.

The transport wheelchair is for roaming around on smoother surfaces. The rider can’t navigate it. It’s not as sturdy as the real wheelchair. I don’t want to ride in it either.

The reason I’m walker/wheelchair bound is one of the meds I’ve taken every three weeks for six years. It makes me wobbly. (I finally got smart and googled side effects.) It gives me other problems, too. The doctor said I could take a vacation from the drug, but studies show . . . I said, Heck no, I can live with the side effects. Keep up with the drug.

Anyway, lately, I’ve been falling. Two separate weeks, I fell three times. Last week I slid off the bed. We bought a mattress with coils to the edge, but I’ll bet it doesn’t have them, because when I sit on it–it’s a little high–I have to scoot way back to keep from sliding off. I’ve fallen for other reasons, too.

The falls can sound amusing. But getting up is not funny, because it’s difficult to get up, even with David helping. I’ve been too weak. David’s back is only fourteen months younger than mine–I married a Younger Man–and I see no reason for him to risk injury getting me off the floor. After the bed thing I told David to call an ambulance.

Four delightful firemen arrived. When they got here, I was sitting against the side of the bed with a pillow behind me. I told them if I had the energy, I’d feel embarrassed. They asked if lifting me would hurt my shoulders. I said Yes, the left one, but I didn’t care.

They also asked questions. Was I dizzy? Nope. Did I need to go to the hospital? Nope. How did I fall? I was reaching for the handles of the walker, which was too far from the bed, and moved too near the part that doesn’t have coils, and slid off. They took my blood pressure. It was 122/77, the best it’s been lately.

Anyway, since I couldn’t get around the house without a chaperone, David suggested we get a chair that moves around the house under its own steam–I won’t use the brand name–and I said, “No. No. No.” My rationale: I did not want to be dependent on such a chair because I would stop trying to walk and doing my PT exercises.

Then I realized I was thinking like my uncle’s mother-in-law. She could hobble around the house but couldn’t get out. Her daughter wanted to get a wheelchair. No, no, no.

  •  Mrs. C.: “They say once you get into a wheelchair, you never get out.”
  • Aunt: “But, Mother, you wouldn’t use it all the time. Just when we go out.”
  • Mrs. C.: “No. They say once you get into one of those, you never get out.”
  • Aunt: “But, Mother, if you had a wheelchair, you could go shopping. You could go to church. You could visit your friends.”
  • Mrs. C.: “NO.”

So I reversed my decision. This chair would let me move around the house without supervision.

And, although I hate to admit it, the thing could be fun.

I’ve always thought those scooters at the grocery store looked like fun. And the drivers seem to feel they can ignore the traffic laws of the state of Texas and the dictates of Emily Post. When they back up, they don’t consider a shopper might be behind them; they just back. When they go forward, they’ll clip you; they’ll mow you down.**

I don’t complain. It comes under the category of funny.

But back to the new chair, which is set to arrive next week. To combat insomnia caused by another drug (whoopee!), I’ve been taking a low dose of Valium at night. Then I remembered the big not-bad drug changes the way the brain reacts to soporifics.*** Which means the sleep aid sticks around in my system for days. And made me feel rather blah. And weak.

So I stopped taking Valium. I now get around quite well. I still use the walker but no longer need David to keep me off the floor. And I’m careful, careful, careful.

I assume I’ll still need the chair at times. I might need it all the time and permanently. My nurse practitioner told me not to become dependent on it and stop walking and doing my exercises. She sounded a bit like Mrs. C. I told her I’d thought of the possibility and would not fall into that trap. I didn’t add unless it was fun.

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I’ve learned a lot about mobility and handicaps in the past few months. Automatic doors, ramps, handicap parking spaces, mirrors, and a number of other things. They make a difference.

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*See Huckleberry Finn about preserving the unities. I believe the faux King says it. Aristotle said in his Poetics that a drama must have unity of action. “However it is not until 1570, in a book by Lodovico  Castelvetro, that the concept of three unities evolves:” time, place, and action. Mark Twain knew a great deal about classic literature not only from reading but because he’d worked as a printer’s devil, setting type one letter at a time–which is a slow process requiring reading and perfection.

**See Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. One of Charlie’s lines was, “I’ll clip ya, Bergen . . . I’ll mow you down.” That Charlie was a ventriloquist’s dummy who wore a top hat and a monocle made it extra funny. So did the fact that he was Candice Bergen’s brother. So to speak.

***Soporific causing or tending to cause sleep
I include the definition of soporific because I was in my thirties when I learned the definition. It appears in The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, by Beatrix Potter:

  • It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is “soporific.”
  • I have never felt sleepy after eating lettuces; but then I am not a rabbit.
  • They certainly had a very soporific effect upon the Flopsy Bunnies!

This is evidence that very young children can comprehend long and unfamiliar words. You read to them, go back over the context, ask, “Does anyone know what soporific means?” If no one volunteers, define the word, go back over the context. Lots of little people will have learned a new word.

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Image of Marlene Dietrich via Wikipedia, Public domain

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Image of Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, and Mortimer Snerd via Wikipedia, Public domain

Image of The Flopsy Bunnies via Wikipedia, Public domain

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I’ve published short stories in anthologies and online. and a novella, Stabbed, with Manning Wolfe. I’m working on a novel, a cozy mystery that’s intended to be funny. I hope it turns out that way.

Video, Hat, Hair, Chewed Up Manuscripts, and Humphrey Bogart

First, the BOTA Sealy film festival was a singular event. A little underwhelming for David’s video.

During the “offensive” block, two policemen stood, then sat, in the back of the room. I don’t know whether they were monitoring language or potential riots. Before long, they were looking at their cell phones. There were no riots. Language would have amused seventh-grade boys–although the seventh-graders I dealt with were polite when I was around.

It was explained to David that his film was mid-offensive to provide laughs between offensives. The audience was small. I don’t remember anyone laughing at anything. The poIlicemen would have laughed at David’s video if they hadn’t been looking at their phones.

I laughed. When I asked David how he got Ernest to come up and stick his nose in the lens, he said he knew if he put something different in the living room, the cats would do something.

That was a long time ago, when they were kittens. Now they run under the bed, mostly for the maintenance man. Ernest disappears when he hears leaf blowers. William is not impressed by lawn care.

The highlight of the weekend for William and Ernest was visits from the kitty tech, who fed them, gave them their insulin injections, and played with them. She brought them a peacock feather. William’s interest is minimal. Ernest tries to eat the feathers.

Ernest also pulled a couple of loose pages from my novel manuscript, which is in a binder on the floor beside my chair, and chewed the corner off one. Last night he slept on the other one. I haven’t had the energy to pick them up. Anything he eats can be reprinted, and paper biodegrades inside cats. I hope. As long as he doesn’t eat string or thread or anything else that could cut into his GI tract and require CT scans and possibly surgery. So far we’ve been lucky. Just scans and enemas.

The highlight of the weekend for me was the booths set up on Main Street. A vendor who displayed a hat that wasn’t for sale–it was hers–told us about Images Boutique, around the corner, where she bought her hat. Because mystery writers need hats, I went looking for a fedora.

The owner had to open both doors to get my wheelchair in–it was a wheelchair kind of weekend–and the store was so packed with merchandise that I couldn’t get more than six feet into the store. It’s an “upscale” resale shop. Because I almost couldn’t get in, I received 25% off on a hat (not a resale). And the owner and I had a long and delightful conversation about everything but hats.

When I got out, I realized it wasn’t the kind of hat I wanted–the top is fedora but the brim is wide and circular, not the kind that turns down in the front and up in the back. I wanted the kind my father and Humphrey Bogart wore.

But it’ll keep the sun off, and it will be excellent for bad hair days. I have a lot of those. I’m going to my hairdresser and tell him I want my 1972-2010 cut, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll tell everyone it’s not his fault.

In the 1980s, a woman in the row behind me at a performance of Die Fledermaus at Texas State University leaned over and said, “Who cuts your hair? The back is perfect.” In the 1990s, a woman sitting next to me at a library conference said, “You have the perfect haircut. And my husband was a barber, so I know a good cut.” In the mid-2000s, a woman waiting on the porch at East Side Cafe asked, “Who cuts your hair? They do a good job.”

Chemo and another drug have done a lot to my hair, even after it grew back in. But I want my old hair back, or as close as I can get to it.

That’s a nice hat, but I don’t want to have to wear it every day.

Well, we’ve gone from videos to cats to hats to hair.

One more thing about hats: I have a snapshot of my father holding me in the yard the day they brought me home from the hospital. He was wearing his fedora and looking at Ime as if he didn’t know what he’d gotten himself into. It didn’t take him long to find out.

I also have some snaps of myself wearing the hat. But I’ve been having bad face days.

And about videos: David is working on a screenplay. I can guarantee it will not be offensive.

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Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

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I’m author of short stories in anthologies Murder on Wheels, Lone Star Lawless, and Day of the Dark. One of my stories appears online in Mysterical-E, https://mystericale.com/pre-2015/index.php?issue=131&body=file&file=forall.html

I’m working on a mystery novel that will soon be finished if the cat doesn’t eat it.