Thursday, September 1, 2016

Tending My Three Chickens

The Unknown Level of Dante's Hell: The Neurology Clinic


I couldn't possibly not mark The Quarterly $475 Reflex Check with The Neurologist, could I, even though the one yesterday was generally pretty unremarkable? I took the requisite photo in the Conquest waiting area, where I get my usual chuckles. For new readers, I loathe the medical/war metaphor in all its forms, and the fact that big, generous financial donors get their name on the wall as latter day conquistadores just basically brings out the cynic in me.

Anyhoo.*

The big hair in the nest-like foreground of the photo above, where we stood in line to check in, is indeed Sophie's. She sat impatiently for quite some time, humming and shifting and drawing disapproving stares despite the fact that not many people hanging out at the Neurology Clinic at a major Los Angeles clinic are -- well -- free of all disease and affliction. I noted some quick look and look-aways, some look and look and look and look and looks (#don'tstarepaparazzi), some kind yet pitying looks and then, thank the abundant universe, a look and a smile and a hello! The Neurology Clinic is actually a pleasant place in that the people who work there are kind and efficient, and Sophie's Neurologist takes a whole lot of time with us and is sensitive to nearly all my needs and desires. Yesterday she even asked me if I had Caregiver Burnout, and as a response I spontaneously combusted leaving behind only the dark stain of my toes in the footbeds of my pale blue metallic Birkenstocks. That The Neurologist can't and hasn't ever really helped Sophie's seizures is just a matter for me to file away in the giant cabinet of my tiny little mother mind™ and try to remain sane in this, the twenty-second year of refractory epilepsy. Let's face it, though, hanging out for a couple of hours talking about seizures and The Mysterious Apocalyptic Friday Last Week, as well as the goddamn vagal nerve stimulator (always brought up by doc, always dismissed by me), the amount of rescue rectal valium we should try in the future, and a wait at the lab to get blood drawn, followed by an hour through Los Angeles traffic, is not an afternoon from which I can draw some jolly insight. Humor me if I sound resentful.

Here's what I'm grateful for: the fact that Sophie has recovered quite nicely from The Mysterious Apocalyptic Friday last week, and that when I get home I have my two very delightful teenaged boys with whom to laugh, converse and enjoy.

Here's something funny.

The Brothers have been extremely helpful to me the last couple of months. I bought a small gas grill at the hardware store, and they've both been terrific at preparing chicken or steak or peaches or zucchini on it, much to my delight because I hate grilling. What they're not so good at, though, is dinner conversation. There's generally a lot of bickering about who does what to whom, and I honestly don't remember even a minute or two in what seems like years that anything truly interesting or stimulating was shared. I know some of ya'll think I'm a saint, but some of you know my true colors, and I have had moments at the dinner table listening to them where I fantasize about pushing back my stool, standing up and announcing that I'm leaving. For good. That I can't take the idiocy any longer, that I need to discuss Russian literature, or The Wire, or the subtle sexism directed at Clinton. Even as I fantasize, though, Oliver comments upon the chicken that Henry has grilled that night:

My bicep would be easier to cut into than this chicken.

Henry answers:

You're an idiot.



Sophie hums, picks up her cup, drinks by herself and then flings it across the room, even as I'm on my way out the door.















*I despise colloquialisms like anyhoo but enjoying using them in jest. This is an approved message for new readers.

28 comments:

  1. "the giant cabinet of my mind" Perfect

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    1. I meant to say tiny little mother mind and went back and changed it. But thank you.

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  2. I would love to discuss The Wire with you. Did you see Michael Williama (Omar) on one of the late shows (I forget which one it was) recently? And as far as Russian literature - did I ever tell you about my beloved nephew, Conor? He has a PhD in Slavic Language and Lit and spent several summer's studying in St. Petersburg. He has great stories and insights into Russian culture AND knows how to pronounce all those Russian names. We could discuss that. And I would absolutely enjoy discussing the subtle sexism directed at Clinton. Did you happen to hear Malcolm Gladwell's discussion on that topic when he was interviewed on Charlie Rose last month? See? so much we could discuss. By the way, when my daughters were teens we all watched TV shows together while eating dinner. It was the only way I found to make family dinners actually relaxing and enjoyable.

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  3. I volunteer to discuss sexism, biceps, and idiots.

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    1. Denise, I'm on my way over. Make me a drink.

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  4. So she really didn't ask about the cannabis? Didn't comment on the reduction in her seizures? NOTHING?! That's really appalling. Maybe not quite as appalling as self combustion or tough chicken but still.... (I jest!).

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  5. I volunteer to discuss pretty much everything, including What It Is Like To Eat Dinner With Two Tweenage Boys.

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    Replies
    1. Get ready, Ramona. Sadly, there's very little progression in my experience.

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  6. You made me smile. And I am not feeling especially smiley at the moment. By the way- I love your kids.

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    1. I can't wait to hear what Owen and Gibson talk about when become teenagers!

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  7. It gets better. At 16 all my son wanted to talk about was DEEZ NUTS. Now at 19 he lectures me on the virtues of Gary Johnson and (best yet) is prepared and even eager to LISTEN to my politics too. And apparently DEEZ NUTS is running for president in some state somewhere, so maybe even the 17-year-old knew something. Your kids are the best. :)

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    1. HAHAHAHA Well, in teen-speak, it's "these nuts." Ie. "my balls." Just a rude thing to make your mom cross! But some satirical-minded teen got him on the ballot somewhere ..... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deez_Nuts_(politician)

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  8. "No one wins. One side just loses more slowly."

    Let's talk "The Wire" :p

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  9. I guess it's because I don't have young kids in my life all the time, but swear to god, I kinda like listening to them argue. Unless they start hitting each other, it just seems sort of comical to me. But then like I said, I'm not often around them, which explains a lot.

    Anyhoo...

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    1. Hit that pub button before I meant to there.
      What is with that CONQUEST on the wall at the neurological clinic? Huh?

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    2. liv-- At best, it's funny. At worst, it's mind-numbing. That's probably true for the Conquest sign, too.

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  10. I would discuss "The Wire" with you, because Dave doesn't like it, so I wind up watching and figuring it out on my own! I don't know that I could match the brothers' witty repartee, however. :)

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  11. I guess I need to give The Wire another go. I can never figure out what is happening. And the boys are merely bonding.

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  12. So beautiful. Your writing. Suggest Medical Nemesis by Ivan Illich to your reading list:

    http://www.columbia.edu/itc/hs/pubhealth/rosner/g8965/client_edit/readings/week_2/illich.pdf

    Published in 1976.

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  13. Hmmmm. What I remember from my teenage nephews is the STENCH. What IS that SMELL?

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  14. Love these windows into your life. Can picture the dark stain of your toes in your Birkenstocks, perfectly.

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  15. Just loved your reaction to Sophie's Dr's query about caregiver burnout (surely you already contracted that years ago). Please teach me how to spontaneously combust like that - I get the urge to do it very often.
    Interesting that both Sophie's Dr. and ours have been plugging the VNR. We've put it on hold because we're engrossed in "pressure sores" now. How do you brush off the suggestion when it's raised?

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  16. Teenagers in general have little to offer in the way of interesting conversations, siblings even less so I find. My two are 32 and 25 now and they still revert to child like behavior around each other:)

    I have to laugh that people will offer up disapprovingly looks to a young woman in a wheelchair because she doesn't like waiting for hours to see a doctor. Really? I tend to wear a fuck off face when Katie starts up. Katie hates waiting too. We spend a few hours in emergency not long ago and to be honest, our daughters have it right. Why do we have to wait so long? WTF! How come they can see the stupidity in the long waits and we just put up with it?

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  17. Spontaneous combustion from being asked if one has Caregiver Burnout had me LMAO ... I was recently referred to a Caregiver Support Psychologist who gave me a handout on 101 Stress relieving tactics for Caregivers, high up on the List was Yodeling. Just thinking about that being a serious suggestion makes me want to spontaneous combust! Mediating at the dinner table is about all I can count on, forget about stimulating conversation... and so, if your Fantasy ever becomes a Reality I'll applaud you for doing it before me. Dawn... The Bohemian

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