Metal Rings

(Photo by Tatiana on Pexels.com)

This was written and recorded prior to hearing the news about Robb Elementary school. My heart is in deep pain and I am choosing actions of activism in regards to gun safety. I’m not sure that I have the right to feel this pain. The following is sent out into the world with the deep soul knowing of my own privilege at having my sweet SonHerisme with me, as well as both of my parents, siblings, and friends as I tumble through this messy messy life.

(prologue added post recording)
(or listen here)

SonHerisme recently joined a rock band as their drummer. He is very enthusiastic about the entire experience. After playing violin for six years, he took a break and tinkered on the piano for a bit, bought himself an acoustic guitar, and finally got his mother to sign him up for drum lessons. He has been playing some kind of rhythm instrument since he could crawl and bang. It has been his calling but I have tempered it (mean mommy) with pushing him learning to read music and unlocking the most difficult instrument family to understand – the strings – first. He asked his father, MrexH, for a drum set last Christmas. SonHerisme now has his eyes set on enclosing a part of the garage to accommodate a sound proof area for his drumming and other instrumental explorations. Later this week he has an interview to be accepted into our local Fine Arts Academy for High School *fingers crossed.* So, yes, he is hooked.

This well intentioned momma is handing over the reigns to follow the bold screaming adolescent calls of the soul interests of the boy-teen-man. I can do this. Right? I mean, we can do these hard things, right? Is Glennon right? Can we?

He wants to try High School football too. All I see are brain damage and permanent paralysis looming along with peer pressure for sex, hazing, alcohol and drugs. I hope that the summer tennis coach can charm him into focusing on tennis. Maybe I can do the soccering consent? His cousin (boy crazed Rugby fan) is pressuring him to do rugby – hard pass on that too, please and thank you. SonHerisme says/yells in a giant man voice, “Momma, look at my body! Look at it! I am MADE for contact sports! *flexes* No one can hurt me! Look at how big and strong I am!” Ohmyholywildturkeynesses How have mommas been doing this?!!? Why won’t he do swimming? Golf? Horse Riding? I mean, c’mon universe. Can we, can I, really do this final sprint to my tiny newborn giant tiny baby bear’s adulthood? You guys. I have my doubts, but also cannot comprehend an alternative. More tea STAT STAT STAT

SonHerisme’s band is practicing to participate in a Rock v Grunge outdoor weekend lineup. SonHerisme says he and the band are working on mental health. How cool is that? His band is practicing mental health exercises to prepare for performing in front of a large audience! Blogisphere friends – it took me a few days to figure out he meant that his band is playing a cover of Quiet Riot’s METAL HEALTH. When I pointed this out to SonHerisme, he said the song is by Quiet Riot but it is mental health. Oh my sweet baby tiny puffin boy, yes, yes, yes, alliteration, yes. He did not believe me until I showed him a YouTube. Then I felt super sad and old that as a part of popular culture, I am old enough to know of Metal Health despite my calling leaning towards Hootie and the Blowfish, The Sundays and such. Then I felt super love and protection for my precious baby bear who is not quite grown, but so full of all of the teen hubris earnestnesses. Squeezy delicious babes working on their Me(n)tal Health indeed.

Side Note: Charlotte (shar-LOT, a former co-worker insisted I read boy centric interest books and not just 398’s and 811’s, to become a great children’s librarian – she was *sigh* correct) is, “I told you so,” -ing from the great beyond.

I suspect FatherHerisme’s parents are doing the same from the great beyond. I never met FatherHerisme’s parents. They passed when FatherHerisme was 4 (his father died) and 12 (his mother died). When FatherHerisme’s dad passed away, his mother remarried an extremely abusive criminal, and had two more girls. She had a total of five children: 2 girls and a boy (FatherHerisme) with her first husband, and 2 girls with her second husband. ZoeLorriane and Bertie – what a pair they must have been. Perhaps they crossed paths at some point with David Lee and Emily B.

When FatherHerisme’s mother died, the two older girls married their boyfriends right away so they would not have to live with their abusive stepfather. FatherHerisme was sent to live with a childless, very religious, aunt and uncle. Within a year, the abusive stepfather, known as, “Whitey,” *charming* was in federal prison, and FatherHersime returned to Indiana to live with his oldest sister while he finished High School and went to college. The two younger sisters split their time between family members’ homes, including with FatherHerisme at the oldest sister’s home. Her husband was also abusive. He passed away many years ago, but she is alive and well, in her 90’s and thriving in the same house where she raised her son. The second oldest sister married an abusive man who moved her to the hills of Kentucky. She rapidly mentally deteriorated in severe poverty and isolation from everything, and eventually died. The two younger sisters married challenging people, had children, and are alive and well surrounded by grandchildren and great grandchildren. Some are doing well. Most have struggled with mental health, addiction and abuse. Generational trauma for reals y’all.

FatherHerisme continues to struggle making very slow progress at a skilled nursing home rehabilitation facility. 2 steps forward, 1 step back, 2 steps forward, 3 steps back, 2 steps forward, 2 steps back etc. He receives dialysis three times each week and physical therapy five times each week. When his blood pressure drops too low(frequently), they stop physical therapy, or dialysis, and he rests for the remainder of the day. SisterHerisme sees FatherHerisme everyday and brings him something tasty to keep his calories up and continue to help his kidneys work. I never know if I am making the best decisions for his health care – but I am trying my best to do what he has expressed to me in the past that he expects or wants.

At our most recent conversation, where he was very lucid, he clearly communicated that staying where he is in order to seamlessly get his next surgeries, is what he would like to do. His other option is to be transported via interstate ambulatory stretcher service to a hospital local to me (about 450 miles or 725 km from where he currently is) and begin the process of diagnosis/procedures with new physicians. While he would be closer for my brother, my mother, and me to be more supportive of his recovery and progress, he does not want to delay any procedures further than they have already been delayed at this time. BrotherHerisme is very frustrated that I am not forcing FatherHerisme to relocate (I’m POA). I am trying to be respectful. This is another exercise in letting go.

FatherHerisme has cycled in and out of lucidity these past few months. He was at a point where he “forgot” how to swallow, he could not feed himself because he could not control his arm well enough to find his head or his mouth, and he could not control or reliably track anyone with his eyes. Today he can hold a conversation, transfer from chair to chair (with assistance), and, with special utensils, feed himself and drink from a straw or cup. Miracles!

FatherHerisme FaceTimed me yesterday while BILHerisme was visiting with him. FatherHerisme was concerned he had mixed up his Dr appointments (he had not), and wanted to tell me that something was wrong with his fingers and his eye. He was feeling small metal rings getting caught underneath his skin in his fingers. The metal rings were like small washers or the backs to snaps on clothing.

FatherHerisme was worried that the metal rings were coming off of his hospital gown and getting stuck underneath his skin in his fingers. 
He was able to push on some and get them worked out to the tops of his fingers, carefully push them through his skin and flick them onto the floor.
He was worried that he was making a mess on the floor and that someone would get hurt on the metal rings he was leaving there.
He was worried that if I didn't tell the janitors, they would not be able to see the metal rings and get them all swept up, or they would be upset with him that he flicked them onto the floor.
He was worried that one metal ring accidentally got caught in his eye and he hadn't been able to get it out on his own.
He was worried about how many more metal rings would get caught underneath his skin and how he could get them out more efficiently.
He already phoned SisterHerisme asking her to bring precision tweezers and a magnifying glass for him to use to pull out the metal rings.
I listened to all of his words as he stumbled through trying to say everything he needed to say about the metal rings so that I would understand how concerned he was. 
I listened with what I hope was respect and honorable space holding for his worries and problem solving processes. 
I asked him if he shared his concerns with one of the health aids or nurses. He had not.
I asked him to hold his fingers up to the camera so that I could take a look.
I asked him to put the camera close to the eye he is worried about so that I could take a look.

Bloggees, I had to then gently walk my father through how all evidence points to his brain playing tricks on him. His fingers and eye do not show signs of trauma, which would be expected if metal rings were being poked through them. I had to walk my father through possible explanations for these sensations – nerve pinch, nerve damage, neuropathy, medication side effects, or growing toxicity in his body from kidney failure/blockage or another developing UTI. FatherHerisme then asked for tweezers just in case. I had to walk my father through on why tweezers are not the best first intervention for these metal rings. My suggestion was that BILHerisme go find a small bag for FatherHerisme so that he could catch the metal rings in there and not on the floor, alleviating his worries about safety and cleanliness. Secondly, I sent a large magnifying glass to FatherHerisme so that he could get a better look at his fingers as he is feeling the metal rings push through them. Lastly, I told FatherHerisme I would let the nurse know what was going on so that they can help him determine what is happening with his fingers too, since he might need support in retraining his brain signals if there are not metal rings getting caught beneath his skin and needing extraction. I explained to FatherHerisme that if tweezers are needed, the nurse will bring them for him, or we can discuss that after he has some rings in his bag to confirm what his brain is telling him.

FatherHerisme asked me how he will know if there are other incidents where his brain might be playing tricks on him but he truly believes what is happening is real. I requested that he pick two people he trusts who are physically with him, ask them for confirmation, and then no matter what he sees or feels, he will need to trust them until he cannot. Once he cannot trust his two trusted people physically with him, he needs to call me and I will fly there to help him.

My brilliant, funny, difficult father is struggling and it is painful to witness. My heart hurts and it is so painful that my already giant eyes feel like they are going to pop out of my head from the pressure of not being able to cry. I can hear my heartbeat all of the time now.

When I was a little girl, FatherHerisme wanted me to write a book when I got older and title it, “My Pop was Carbonated.” He was trying to connect with me in his own ways, but I too was hiding in my protective bubble from the time I was born. We have the same eyes, but his are more blue than green now. While I have the odd old lady hairs popping up hither and thither, he can still grow one impressive Santa competitive beard!

FatherHerisme told me this year that his mother died on March 24th 1952. He has never spoken of her, other than she died when he was young. ZoeLorraine and her sweet baby puffin bear boy (and girls). I hope I am doing the right things. Or at least in these instances, leaning right things.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. apologies for all of the things I am not measuring up on atm irl people and friends and family. I am pushing love out to you in absence of my follow-up on whatever I have missed. Or maybe I am too distracted by showing SonHerisme Between Two Ferns clips lol

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