Huh? PART 2

After what felt like hours of listening to Willow (my Mother) talk about what seemed to nothing but gibberish regarding her past experiences with “Satan’s Angels” (this is what she calls doctors and/or nurses), she finally started to get on a page that I could somewhat begin to read with clarity.

“Remember when you lived down south and I got the Shingles that weekend when I came down to visit you?”

“Yes, how could I ever forget that? That was awful – forever…”

And it was awful forever:
Willow came down with the Shingles Virus in her left eye while she was staying with me down south, over ten years ago. In her case, she had a delayed reactivation of the anti-bodies or something and basically in a nutshell: continues to live in chronic and severe optic nerve pain (which is supposedly horrific pain) from day to day.

“Well….at first, the docs had me on Vicodin for the pain; but when I went in for a checkup with my regular doctor when I came back up home, he said they had me on the wrong meds – and he put me on something for actual nerve pain instead, which worked like a charm…”

It was an interesting story, but my tooth was killing me and I could hardly concentrate on anything but my own chronic pain at the moment. Finally, she turned up the lamp that she keeps on the table to the left of her recliner and stared digging around for something.

“Well, that’s great Mom, that they figured out the issue – I had forgotten about all that but yeah – I remember how miserable you were that weekend…and I didn’t see you for a while after that, did I?”

It is occurring to me as speak these words that the weekend she came down with the Shingles was the last time I saw her before my traumatic injury and near-fatal experience that left me hospitalized for a year plus; she left with my daughter that day, and she and I had planned on her keeping Boo for a few weeks – she knew something was very wrong with my situation. She finally stops the shuffling and hands me a bottle of pills.

“These are the same a s what the y gave me for the nerve pain in my eye, honey…it’ll probably at least ease some of that nerve pain in your mouth…try it out, here”

She shoves the bottle into my hand and turns down the light again, sitting back in her chair as if her work is done.
And let me tell you: the stuff worked like a charm…

Twice as Toothless.

By the time that I have forced myself to arrive,

the night before, spent doing headstands in misery;

by the time I check in, my vision is blurred,

and my hand signs my name on a page, shakily;

and, when I am called by a mask-clad technician,

my heart seems to pocket itself in my throat;

but the pain overrides my desire to hide,

its crushing waves barely leave me afloat;

I am shown to a recliner draped in plastic,

to catch all of the blood I’m expected to spill;

as I am lowered backwards, I bathe in bright light,

and then I’m directed to keep myself completely still;

the expectation of such a personal invasion,

has my every bone locked – rigor-straight;

the anticipation stabs at the thoughts I have,

my teeth randomly chatter as the pain radiates;

the technicians begin to prod and poke around,

and my nerves shred themselves into strings;

I remain still and silent against the clanging of tools,

hand-drills, icepicks, and other Gods-awful things;

my eyes instinctively close themselves

as each one drops a warm, heavy tear,

down both ridges on both of my of cheekbones

and silently drop themselves into my ears.

For a moment the buzz of the drill is blocked out,

and my body reflexively exhales to such reprieve;

the poking has ceased and my teeth fail to throb,

they have numbed me out successfully;

now, for the show to finally begin,

there’s a swarm of motion around my head;

they speak in a language I can’t understand,

I suddenly feel like I’m snuggly in my own bed;

I peel one eye open against the weight of the world,

to see nothing but blurred hands in my mouth;

at that very moment I think to myself:

“I think I’ll just sleep this one out…”

When I wake up, there are holes in my tender gums,

and bloodied surgeon gowns and gloves in the can;

I tongue my wounds and recoil at the generalized ache,

tomorrow brings a brand new, twice-as-toothless woman.