Cancer, with Benefits

I forgot a couple of photos from Shabbat, so I’m including them here.

Today I received my first monthly free food delivery from Food Outreach.  It’s for cancer and other patients who will benefit from a healthy, balanced diet but can’t afford or access it.  I was overwhelmed by the volume of produce, frozen fish and meats, frozen chef-made entrees and sides, and non-perishable pantry staples.  It looked like enough to feed a village.  I guess having cancer is not all bad!  Between that and the Instacart membership and gift card from Robert and Bob, I won’t starve for at least a year!

As I suspected, I didn’t get away with not catching the sore throat and cold from the kids.  Between my compromised immunity and my vertigo, which can be brought on or made worse by infections, it can be more than just an annoyance.  At least I had a healthy, balanced meal today!  Tomorrow I have the first of seven therapy sessions for my vertigo, probably featuring The Chair, electrodes, and other capital punishments, for which I need to be not sick.  Can’t wait.


Reasons to Not Die

It seems I tell time now by specialist procedures.  Since my last ignominious incident of the fridge fall, I revisited perio for  dental suture-removal.  Now I just heal for a few months for the next steps.  The foggy view from their window was not my brain (or was it?).

Then I spent some more entertaining time with the mob, er, Family.  My gkids are very sharp-witted and crafty, when not having a meltdown.  Y is really coming out of their shell.  I enjoy getting to know them better and watch them lowering their defensive walls.

Shabbat happened as usual.  My challah continues to outdo itself in perfection.  We seem to spend more time just schmoozing around the table each week.  S is learning the hard way that some of his inadvertent inappropriate behaviors can cause painful injuries for others.  He is also learning to do basic tasks like going potty without going berserk.

It’s actually almost February, which besides featuring my birthday, means it’s time to start the spring seedling process down in A’s prop cave.  This will be my second spring in STL.  I intend to be there for it.

Fridge Parkour

Eventually I was coaxed out of my hiberstate to go do erev preps and spend the night.  All went as usual until…

The highlight of this visit: a very stupid refrigerator climbing maneuver that resulted in falling flat on my back and possibly breaking my arm.  So on top of all the other errands and rides Avdi had to provide, he kindly insisted on taking me to a clinic.  I’m now sporting a wrist brace, and possibly not a fracture, sprain, or dislocation, time will tell. I learned a hard, painful lesson–don’t act like a demented person!

In better news, I had a good time with the kids, including S, when I wasn’t parkouring off the fridge..  Everyone seemed a little calmer and more secure.  E got to go to CRC Shabbat with Avdi.  Jess came over to work, co-watch kids, and help organize the squirrels’ room, while A and E built a shelving unit for it.  A and the kids and I watched a movie together, a rare instance.  Avdi, needless to say, continued to augment his chronic sleep deficit.

In other better news, my brother kindly and generously gave me an early birthday present of an Instacart membership and gift card, so I could afford to have groceries delivered, which I did today.  Yay vegetables!!  Outside it’s cold with icy rain, but I’m inside with groceries!  A novel idea!



Hibernacula (look it up)

I haven’t been out of my apartment for days, mostly due to hibernating through this petrifyingly bitter cold spell, nursing my pride balloon of a face (it’s down to mostly yellow now), but always on call should Avdi find a moment between crises to pry me out.  I’m ashamed to say I’m relieved he didn’t, only because I’m irrationally paranoid of cold.  Also, my face was seriously scary, like a psycho-clown.  I know, no excuse.

But I haven’t been completely dormant; in fact, I’ve been using this opportunity to get myself and “house” more in order.  With food staples (and funds for it) dwindling, I’m trying to get my diet more balanced with what I have to work with.  With my income even lower in the new year due to medical premiums and expenses, utility assistance ending (again, thanks to MO which thinks I have money?!), and having to dip into my meager savings for medical bills, I will literally have nothing left for groceries, unless a private food assistance program comes through.  I’m already keeping my heat down to chilly, to be able to afford it.  Not complaining, just the facts.

Also, I finally dragged out the dreaded boxes of old files to sort through and reduce (again).  I’m making good progress, a little at a time.  I’m also doing housecleaning and organizing .  My goal is to leave as little behind to dispose of as possible, and make sure it’s in order and self-explanatory.  If you’ve followed my Blahg for a while, you’ll know which daunting experience (hint: Vortex Of Evil) inspired this dust devil of activity.  Never again!

My circumstances make it difficult to get involved in any proactive social or political action, but it’s hard to live in this state for long without being pushed to say something against all the fascist inhumane bills being passed.  The seven (!) [update–correction–nine!] anti-trans bills being considered just today are particularly heinous and cruel.  So I sent my humble opinions online to the state gov, to add to all the testimonies being heard.  Hopefully they will be heard.

One of my challenges when alone is talking to (in whatever form) one person per day.  Some weeks my only conversations, other than with the family if I’m there, is with volunteer drivers and medical personnel.  I don’t count unpleasant phone exchanges with bored state gov drones.  I haven’t solved this dilemma yet, but I will.  In the meantime, conversations with myself are always fine and worthwhile.

Anyway, until my son can dig out from under the heavy landfill of life long enough to coax me out of hiding, here I’ll be, trying to seize the time that’s left.  Leukemia be damned.

Arnold Lobel, F&T All Year




Perio World

Where’ve I been for a week, you may or may not ask?  For starters, I finally made it to the Perio planet and back.  As I write this, the whole right side of my face looks like Fight Club, but that stays in FC. I even have a “black” eye, for some reason.  I’ve been jackhammered, power drilled, ratcheted, and sewn back up.  I now am the proud owner of three screws drilled into my bone, to be later crowned with a permanent bridge.  It really is like road construction, on a micro-level.  To look at my swollen, bruised façade, you’d never guess I’m ecstatic, but I am.  I’ll die with teeth, if it kills me!  (Financially or otherwise.)

I also spent two days at Avdi’s, helping with S, and doing erev Shabbat.  S has been attending half days at school for now.  Avdi as usual is overwhelmed and barely hanging on, with no time to rest.  The kids and I continue to get closer, as they trust me more.  These are challenging times, but I’m grateful I get to live through them.  I get to witness and be part of each kid becoming more aware of the social, racial, and humanitarian realities in our past and present country and world.  Sad as it is, it’s quite a thing to see the moments their eyes and minds open on another level of realization and empathy.

In climate news, we’re heading into a severe winter deep freeze, with temps below zero or in single digits plus wind chills.  Fortunately I can go semi-dormant indoors for a rare doctor-less week.  The bad news is, my heat assistance chose the coldest time of the year to disqualify me–once again the great stupid state of MO at work–so now I have to keep my heat and electric use even lower.  But whatever.

Not much else to say…back to hibernation and nursing my injuries.





Demons and Snow Magic

While I was home for a few days, S went back to school and immediately got suspended again, just before Avdi was to meet with school officials (yesterday) to figure out where to place S to receive more adequate supervised education.  Meanwhile, he’s home for five to ten days of moping around and driving A to distraction.  Way to go, school system.

Yesterday I went over there to do erev preps as usual.  S alternated between being happy, playful, and occupied, to suddenly out of nowhere, for no apparent reason, being seized by a fit of shrieking and extreme distress which nothing could calm.  It especially happens when he has to go to the bathroom, which is almost always a crisis.  When it takes over, it’s like he’s not there, and unable to control it.  Then just as suddenly, he’ll come out of it and resume laughing and playing, as if nothing happened.

Today, without much prompting, S volunteered some thoughts and insights on what he thinks might be going on.  He described quite articulately a disconnect between his front and back brain, in which a sensory or mental overload takes over and his higher brain functions can’t help him control it.  In the bathroom scenario, he imagines a threatening entity in there with him, violating his strong need for privacy.  It turns out he has similar fears to my recurring extreme bathroom nightmares, involving his privacy being invaded, in his case by this dark presence.  If he can distract his mind with thinking about creative interests, it’s not so severe.  But if his mind goes blank, the fears take over, and he’s totally out of control.  He says it’s not about physical discomfort or pain.

We actually have some good talks about life in general.  I’ve noticed he’s not repeating the same phrase over and over or hesitating as much to get to the point.  And his points seem more coherent and insightful lately.  When he’s not reverting to infantile or agitated behavior, which escalates as he gets more tired and stressed, it’s like having a mature conversation with a gifted mind.  As he trusts me more, he allows and displays more affection and confiding.  Hopefully he’ll be placed in a school with more capable people trained to help him manage and channel his reactive, destructive behaviors into positive, productive learning and empathy.

Shabbat preps went smoothly.  I got whimsical and made six “personal challot” this time, which the kids loved!  The meal was pleasant, and then it was snowing!  The kids and I went out to play, throw snowballs, and E and Y made gigantic balls for a snow person.  The snow was so wet and heavy, they couldn’t lift it.  Later E made hot chocolate for everyone and we watched “Barbie” again.  Then back outside!  Avdi and S drove me home, where I slept in like a zombie until almost noon!



Back with the Pack

S was clamoring for “Nomi” yesterday, so there I went.  He really missed me, it seems; he was all over me.  He seemed a little better to me in some ways, more articulate and less unstable.  The only time he melted down was when it was time for me to leave, and then he cried pitifully.  Well, OK, also when he had to go potty!

The others seemed pretty quiet and content.  K was back to his usual lair.  E had been baking up a storm, as usual.  Y (at the moment) seemed happy and not having screaming fits.  Avdi was cooking dinner, but actually took a few moments to talk.  He’s able to leave S home more often for short errands or driving me home.  Soon Avdi will meet with the school to figure out where S can be placed for more appropriate supervision.

Today my dentist did the full mouth scan for the perio implant construction project, starting next week.  It’s an exact realistic 3D photo of my teeth, amazing.  (He also did a filling while we were at it.)  I know, boring, but not to me.  Plus I’m a little schnockered from the anesthetics.  The only thing he didn’t provide comfort-wise was the margarita I ordered!



STL 2024

Here’s how I celebrated NYE: I slept through it.  I believe my son, now home with the kids, did too.  No more partying for us lone oldsters and single parents of juvie fiends.

My “vacation” featured mostly much-needed sleeping in, but that ends tomorrow, with the first of many early morning dental and medical appointments, undoubtably interspersed with childcare, throughout the coming months.

As for financial assistance, I lost or disqualified for half the things (I’m too “rich”!?), but did manage to qualify for some medical financial assistance and a food program (not state gov, of course), so that’s already kicking in a little.

The days are now getting a fraction longer, and I’m already starting to plan and preorder for the garden, so that’s something to look forward to.  This year’s garden should be more intentional and customized to the family’s preferences.

My “resolution” as it were is to stay alive and try to make my extended chosen family’s lives easier for as long as I can.