Sitting in the coffee shop at the hospital. Mark walks up full of false cheer. He has sold me art supplies for 40 years, and his father before him, and now his daughter. His wife has been here for 167 days. So he sat down exhausted and told me about it, her stroke journey, as they say.
Mark, get to see the psychologist on her team, I said, you are burning out. No. I’ve got family. How do you know what you don’t know? Huh? I was a burnt out primary caregiver for 10 years. You’ve been for 6 months. I recognize the signs. For instance you’re talking to a guy in a wheelchair and you haven’t asked me how I’m doing.
Do you want a cookie? he asked. No thanks.
So he left and my friend from the coffee shop arrived, Menha. Now a unit clerk a couple of floors down I haven’t seen her in years. A chance encounter. Well drop by sometime I said. No I’m too tired after work to visit.
I just looked at her. Not speaking. Eventually she went away. Hopefully forever.
so I saw her again today, been a few years. I was vulnerable and fell in love fast, and backed away as the red flags got trotted out, one by one.
We had reconnected she was a waitress at the deli, where I played guitar. She went to university and studied English, 4 bachelors and a masters, I went to art school, and 20 years later here we are having coffee and then dinner.
I like my men to walk me up to my apartment she said after, and a nice snog and good night. Best kisser ever, and we had talked for hours with dinner, I was smitten,
A while later she came over for dinner, and she brought 2 bottles of wine and polished one off as I don’t drink like that.
Around 10 she took a call, snickered ‘booty call’ as she took it, and arranged to meet someone at her apartment at 12.
Off the phone, I said, I think you’d better leave, this is pretty rude and I find it hard on me. But I’m too drunk to drive..well you can call a cab from your car, I’ll walk you down and make sure you are locked in, the cab will be here soon…
Saw her a few weeks later, in the coffee shop, raging mad, I mean pissed off, how I had abandoned her, and I said it might be the amount of booze you poor down your throat. She stormed out.
I saw her this morning, years later, packing on the calories from the booze, splotched face, staring at me with hate, as I got my coffee….
Dylan wrote her a song I find….
Sept 12 2017 I woke up confused and unable to move my right arm and leg. 45 min later I was in hospital and here I remain.
I spent a week on an acute ward before being sent to a rehab ward to recover the use of my hand and to walk again.
I’m in no pain.
Tnree mri’s an ect, a heart scan, and there is no reason for me to have a stroke.
It’s been a month in hospital. A week on the acute ward. Three in intense physio. It’s Friday and I’m tired and discouraged. Even typing this blog with my left hand is hard, not to mention physio workouts, room mates calling for nurses at 3 am hurting lonely scared mostly.
It’s infectious the fear. Losing my car and my home to a life of transit and subsidized housing will do that. Will I walk? Use my right hand? No one knows.
Then I see a photo by the new Nikon D850. Not even a raw but an out of camera jpeg. In some ways the most amazing photo I have ever seen. I think I will own this camera and shoot photo again. There. That’s decided. All decisions fall into place.