Friday, May 8, 2009

Fresh Food, Old Memories

(Savoy cabbage from Boggy Creek Farm.)

Fresh Food, Old Memories

Right after I wrote a post six weeks ago about what a great grocery delivery person I had, she let me know she was having to give up her personal assistant business in order to return to full-time (salaried) social work, because of the economy. She recommended a replacement who has turned out to be not nearly as good. I got a second delivery from the new person yesterday, and despite addressing with her the errors she made the first time around, well, she made some of the same mistakes.


So I have to write her another e-mail tonight, or call her tomorrow, and complain again. Point out that when she doesn't bring me a dozen eggs, for instance, it means I go without eggs for a month. My list has no room for deletions, it's as much as I can afford AND it's all the food I'll have for that month, so every item is essential to my meal-planning.

The good news is that I have someone at all (she's young, she's got a kid, I'm pretty sure she's on food stamps herself, I'm hoping she doesn't give up on me). Also good is that in the fridge right now are some fresh veggies, milk, cheese, and other items that do not last a month. The next week will be decent eating.

Also good news is that the act of carrying in and putting away the groceries did not trip any joint or muscular problems. I was extremely cautious, and I'm so proud of myself for having pulled this off that I can't stop grinning. Major victory in the world of criptitude.

Which does not mean that if I was now in my usual post-exertion pain, it would be my FAULT. No, things happen. I will accept credit for whatever role I play in navigating these waters but no blame for when I do my best and it does not work. The last thing disabled people need to hear is that we have brought it on ourselves, have failed. Again.

Last weekend, I had a scare because it felt as if I was going into an ovarian cyst rupture. My right ovary began to smolder (which is a very accurate description of the feeling). I immediately went and lay down in the only position which helps, and then only sometimes. I remained prone, drinking only water, for the next 24 hours. Watched a lot of cooking shows and got fairly hungry before the vigil was over, but again, it worked. After another day, the residual pain disappeared and the rupture never completed itself, nor did I get a fever (although I did have the usual diarrhea, which I think is from the heat in the region.)

Another factor which may be helping is that I began taking Aleve in the last four days. I've been out of Celebrex for months and there's no time visible on the horizon when I'll be able to get in to the doctor and get a new prescription, even if I could pay for the scrip, so I've been without analgesics except an occasional ibuprofen for quite a while. I'm wary about the naproxen, especially with my new GI issues, but so far, so good. My sleep is immensely better, and I'm standing with less effort, which means I'm willing to move around more, which is all positive. I'll take a holiday from the Aleve after seven days, to not overstress my gut, and see what a difference it makes when I don't have it in my system.

Speaking of ovarian cyst rupture: One of the blogs I read daily is a small jewel written by Blue Ox, a friend of mine who used to live here but has now moved to Kentucky. Today's post is gorgeous, about trying to follow up on her last ovarian cyst rupture, dealing with poverty, no insurance, being a dyke, contending with having been crazy, in a world which values none of those states of being. I recommend it highly: On Scary Ovary Monsters, Revolving Pee-Cup Doors and Finally My Own Sweet Rukan

Blue rescuing a turtle
This is photo of Blue not long after I had my knee replaced in 2000. I was off work and would walker, with great difficulty, out to my van every day and drive to Hornsby Bend, a series of treatment ponds which are great for bird-watching. I could drive the deserted road around the ponds, sit in my vehicle and use my binox to see what migratory visitors were on the water that day. Blue went with me this day and on the approach road, we saw a largish snapping turtle sitting dangerously in the middle of the asphalt. Blue took a bucket from the back of my van and scooped up the turtle, depositing her safely in the grass on the other side, while I snapped her picture.

I was at Hornsby Bend on June 19, 2001 at the time my little brother Bill died. On the first pond was a large flock of wading birds I had never seen before (or since). I sat for half an hour with my field glasses and Sibley's, trying to identify them -- not big enough to be wood storks but too large to be curlews. Finally I narrowed it down to white ibis, although we are a little out of their range here. However, Hornsby Bend is on the Colorado River and an ancient flyway. There were a few dozen of them, and their appearance unsettled me in ways I could not understand.

Not long after I got home, my father called me from Bill's house, saying Bill was dead on the couch, already cold.

White ibises are admired and heeded along the Gulf Coast because they are the last sign of wildlife to take shelter before a hurricane hits and the first to reappear once the storm has passed. They were the ancient Egyptian symbol used for Thoth, the god of wisdom, the moon, and the invention of writing. I do believe the ibises I saw that day were an omen, of the storm about to hit but also the aftermath.

Bill's yartzeit is when I began writing my novel Ginny Bates, after a dream in which he crashed the action, demanding I follow him to a trunk behind a chair. Inside the trunk were three massive reams of bound paper. He picked up one and handed it to me wordlessly, his rattlesnake-bite-disfigured hand showing its scar and twisted fingers. When I read the top page, I realized it was a book by me.

The next day, I listened to a Youtube video whose soundtrack was a song from the Solomon Islands. The music haunted me and entered not just every dream but began playing in my head all day long. That night, I had another dream with Bill in it, an outdoor party, and Ginny Bates showed up for the first time as that song was playing. A week later, I gave up trying to fight the haunting and began writing the novel. The day after that, I discovered the song's lyrics (in a language I swear I've never heard) were about an older sister telling her little brother about the nature of death.

I just realized I've never told anyone about the ibises before.

White ibis by Judith Vivell (White ibis, oil on canvas by Judith Vivell.)