I owe an apology first. I promised I would not bother you again unless I learned something new to me about hospice that might be useful to others.
All that comes to mind is that I did not specify my new regimen for pain control. It’s methadone (10 mg.) twice a day. So far, methadone keeps the promises it made when floated as an alternative to heroin. I’m having pain free spells, some of them fairly long, for the first time in years.
Now for the other half of the debate. The patient must not be allowed to get high. I’m not clear on the reason for this beyond protecting the public from persons taking on more risk than they should while in an impaired mental state. Policing one’s own mental state is risky business, even for the short time it’s supposed to take me to die.
I’ve asked my family to keep an eye on me and now I’m asking you, my readers, to let me know if I begin to make less sense than you have come to expect from me. I’ve put my professional license on inactive status and I’m not driving. I do not wish to harm anybody in my attempt to escape pain, but, so far, it seems a lot like objecting to condoms in high schools because they prevent diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
There should not be an orgasm without a downside or, I guess, people will be unable to study because of time wasted chasing orgasms. Since I only attended high school for a few months, I can claim no knowledge of what goes on there, but I do know that college students appear to spend as much time chasing orgasms as they do chasing grades. And the Republic stands, in spite of one party in a two party system seeking to abandon the quaint practice of awarding the office to the candidate who received the most votes.
Whether the greater threat was sex-crazed college students or power-crazed pols is a question I’ll not live to see answered. As has become customary, I took my confusion to a counselor. It was hard to get an appointment with Covid 19 causing a national outbreak of cabin fever. I think it was my second meeting with my counselor when she referred to writing as “my happy place.” She wasn’t asking me; she was reporting her (correct) observation.
If I am going to write from behind a persona I’ve called “Dead Man,” that’s fine in terms of attracting readers but not so fine when I set up wickets too hard for a fat man like yours truly to navigate.
Dead Man fears dying and suspects the only people who do not are like my across the street neighbor, Bill, who thinks Jesus has his back…and his front and all else to be found in the Book of Bill. This is pure coincidence — if you believe in coincidence — -but the day I went into hospice, the ambulance took Bill away.
This would be the same ambulance that has given me several thousand dollar taxi rides. I like the guys who drive and do the EMT stuff and we are getting to be on a first name basis. We often argue about whether I’m going and, if I go, where. I try to avoid Seton, where every room contains a metal rendering of Jesus hanging on the cross.
I prefer St. David’s, where Jesus is also present but will not get in your face unless invited. I cannot picture St. David’s having a funeral service for a stillborn fetus unless it was requested by the would-be mother.
Bill was a Protestant of the evangelical variety. And a Republican who got his news from Fox. One day, I was attempting to load some stuff in my car and Bill was kind enough to offer help. However, Bill did not have a mask. When I offered him one of my spares, the offer touched off an oration about how Covid-19 was no worse that the normal flu and if you had your flu shot, you were OK.
What about all the deaths from Covid-19?
All the other stuff was invented to make President Trump look bad.
Bill was probably ten years older than me, which would put him in his mid-‘80s. He did all his own yard work over his wife’s vociferous objections. This is an age-restricted subdivision and few of the geezers who live here do their own yard work. Hiring somebody is a matter of looking meaningfully at your lawnmower or — if you want to get fancy — checking out the guy who knocked on your door in the book kept in the subdivision office. It’s easy to rip off geezers, but, thanks to that book, we have few repeat offenders.
Hiring it done is easy, but Bill wanted to do his own yard work. That included unusual stuff, like damage from an ice storm in the Texas Hill Country. The last storm that blew through here left a major branch from one of Bill’s trees hanging by a piece of bark. After the usual argument with his wife, Bill took a saw to it. This time, the tree won the first round when Bill fell in the process of cutting the limb off, and his wife scrambled to hire the job finished before her grouchy husband could get back into the fray.
Bill refused his thousand dollar taxi ride and his wife was unable to hire the job finished before the ambulance jockeys got their A.M.A. (“against medical advice”) forms completed. The argument about how much he should do continued, and the ride he got on the day I entered hospice resulted from a fall inside his home. A couple of days later, we learned that a surgeon had to go in to repair some perforations in his stomach and Bill fell victim to unspecified “complications.”
So it was that Bill walked on before me, just barely. I am confident that he will put in a good word for me with Jesus. I am less confident that it will matter. I tried to live a decent life according to the credible signals I got; my success or failure is what it is now.
I used to think I was raised poor. Yes and no. You are poor in the United States when all you have to eat for extended periods of time are beans and tortillas. (Used for illustrative purposes; I was 11 years of age when I saw my first tortilla and began my lifelong romance with Mexican comfort food.) I’ve been tortillas y frijoles poor, but from there you are poor when you come to offer yourself for day labor and you have masa on your fingers. It got on your fingers as you prepared your own tortillas and it stayed there because, without running water, you learn to conserve what water you have.
You do what you must do to get by, and you use the tools at hand. This truism explains why the Taliban use AK-47s for crowd control. Everybody has an AK-47.
Previously Published on Medium
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