I find myself babbling cheerfully to the barista at Ralph's about sugar addiction. We talk about white peach and green versus pineapple and black, and she says the pineapple is popular so I pick that. The more you eat, the more you crave," she says and I agree and she puts only one pump of sweetener in mine instead of the six that is called for in the recipe. Behind my sunglasses are tearburned eyes. I've just had a harrowing ride home in the car with Sophie. I had picked her up from the day program in a bit of a state. I contemplated driving straight to the emergency room of any hospital to admit her for another weird episode of Unable to Swallow Well and Therefore Laboring a Bit for Breathing and admit me for despair. Instead, I continued to drive home in some of the worst traffic The City of Angels has to offer, rubbing her back, wiping her drool and speaking sharply to her to both Cough! and Come ON! and then called the neurologist's office to yell at the receptionist about The Fact That I Have Still Not Received The EEG Report Which Was Done On July 4th. I didn't really yell, but I got upset, and she said to hold on and I'll speak with my supervisor, and then The Neurologist got on the line and in his gentle way apologized and said that he'd review the report and get back to me tonight. I've learned by now, in this the 24th year of caregiving that it Pays To Be An Assertive Unreasonable Bitch and you can always throw in a I know it's not your fault, but I'm tired of this, and I feel like no one cares and I am doing all the caring and the work, and I'm losing my mind. That's what I said to the receptionist who then left for her "supervisor," and lo and behold, The Neurologist, and that's what I said to him, too.
When I drove up the driveway to my house, I jumped out of the car and ran around to the passenger side and dragged Sophie out and carried her to the front door and considered screaming for help but instead pounded on the door. Saint Mirtha opened it and helped me carry Sophie back to her room where, for the next half hour, we coaxed her into coughing and relaxing, and I don't know what else. The suction machine was involved but it's psychological, like everything else, I'm afraid. You're doing something! You're making an effort! You may wonder why I didn't let The Professionals take care of this, but you might also dig not so deep (just a few shovels) if you know me and very deep (all the way to China) if you don't, to figure out why.
Meanwhile, Sophie fell asleep for a bit, quite peacefully.
I'm going to go in my room and cry, I said to Saint Mirtha, and she said, Elizabeth. I lay on my white bed and wept through the eyelet of my white blouse and then I got up and walked to Ralph's where, like I said, I noticed how inane my chatter is when I am most in despair and where, I've also noticed, the eyes of men who work unpacking crates of beautiful vegetables follow me, right through my dark glasses like they know and love sorrow, a sad-eyed woman. I bought thick-cut bacon, tomatoes and tortillas for BLT tacos and walked home.
Sophie is awake and has eaten dinner like normal, and I wish I was (or is it were?) an angel and I'd fly back somewhere, anywhere, but here.