"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

20 November 2010

Sickhouse Waltz

I started the mourning with some easy listening; the smooth stylings of Ministry, followed by Bad Brains. Sabina gave me a strange look for my description of easy listening, but it's exceedingly easy for me to listen to Ministry followed by Bad Brains. Before we left, there was some old AFI and Bad Religion. On the way to the sickhouse, I played early Rolling Stones, Anthrax, and Stone Temple Pilots. The context of the day spoke of crunchy tunes.

I was not looking forward to what I was about to do. The night before, when the demons came for tea, I was reconciling a friend of mine had died in all the ways that counted the day after my daughter's birthday. All that remained was mangled meat, which stood as fetish effigy to her memory, and that was to be let go as well.

Things had apparently changed in the time from that darkest part of night and the rising of the sun. It had been decided her mental function needed to be more clearly assessed. She was in surgery again, but the paralytic medications were slowly being stopped. In another couple of days an MRI was to be done to see if anything of our beautiful friend was still within a mass of gray sponge.

And we had a reason to feel a little better. At one point, there was a reaction to base stimulus, a lower brain function. There was a small glimmer of hope. Some hopeful notes in an otherwise mournful tune.

It was not so long ago I dealt with those awful last seventeen days that my mother was in the sickhouse. I can still recall vividly the roller coaster of hope and despair. Those moments of light in the metaphoric tunnel that would be winked out by the darkness of another tragedy. Having played this game and danced the dance a little more recently than the others, the feeling we were experiencing was a familiar one to me. Perhaps it's because of that, I found myself being a little cynical.

I find I still think of her as gone. She's been dead two days now, even though her shell is still puppeteered through its basic functions. All of this is formality. Delusion the family plays out so they can feel they did everything. I feel horrifically bastardish for this, but I cannot shake that that's how it is.

However, I have not given up hope. Were that the case, I would've said my goodbyes to the mangled meat and left the sickhouse, telling those who keep me in the know to phone when the biologics cease. As it stands, I'm going down again the next time the sun rises. I listen for any scrap of news.

I have danced the sickhouse waltz before. Once, with my grandmother, almost seven years ago, and again, with my mother, almost a year ago. I have ridden this roller coaster and played this game before.

And yet I want so desperately to be proven wrong. For my friend to make an asshole out of me for figuring she's been gone since the accident. I want to be able to tell her this is the shittiest way in the world to get me to buy her a steak, but being meat-drunk on porterhouse is in her future. It is said no one likes to be told they're wrong, but here and now, I would welcome the opportunity.


  1. Beautiful writing. I hope you are proved wrong, too.

  2. Your writing is really picking up pace.

    Only one bit of feedback - feel free to disregard it. Don't stop writing on any account, but when you publish it every day or even twice in a day you are frittering it away. Store it up. Post every other day and leave something in the tank. This stuff deserves more readers.

    Oh, and please get rid of word verification - it's so frustrating as a reader.

  3. Baglady; Thank you. It's the waiting game right now. I worry even if she wakes up, the neurological insult will be such it won't even be her anymore.

    Mr. London Street; Thanx for the feedback. Coming from someone's whose writing I admire, I appreciate it. It sound cliche, but I pretty well post when I have something to say, that might be once a week or an hour, just depending. I didn't know I had the verification on, and I find it annoying on other blogs, so I'll have to get after that.

  4. Beautifully written account of this tragic event.