Horse Pistols

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Maternal GrandparentsHerisme said their silly things when they were on this physical body side of existence such as:

All the way 'round the corner for a nickle!
When you assume something, you're just making an ass out of you and me.
Look at the fancy fence around that cemetery - that's because everyone's dying to get in there!
You know what they call the Hospital? Horse Pistol, because once you go in, the best you can hope for is that they take pity on you and put you down like a horse.
Spit in one hand, and wish in the other. See which gets filled faster and that's the one you can count on.
The sun is shining while the rain is coming down, which means that the devil is beating his wife - go on little devil and make a pretty rainbow.
Never write anything down that you don't want to see printed on the front page of a newspaper.

Y’all

Sheesh

y’all fuh realsies sheeshio magnifico splendcrapico wtfio I cannot believe I have not abandoned my postio toastio (and now I need tea-io yo-de-lay-hee-hoo-io)

obvs I am exhausted – as we all are WELCOME to life. Please keep your hands and feet inside at all times. Please check that your harness is secure. There is no emergency exit with re-entry options. Enjoy the ride because ain’t none of us gettin’ out of this one alive. Carry on life warriors.

Before FatherHerisme began his hospital ordeal, MotherHerisme was in the emergency department at our local hospital just before Christmas. The first time, I drove her there where she was discharged 12 hours later. The second time, 12 hours after her discharge, I phoned 911 because I physically could not get her into my car to drive her and she wasn’t able to remain conscious long enough to get into my car on her own. Not COVID. MotherHerisme remained in the hospital for 13 days.

As she began to feel a bit better while in the hospital, she refused to allow doctors or nurses to change her bandage on her leg (recurring ulcers of unknown origin), insisting that I come in to the hospital to change it for her. The first time I went in, you guys… I do not know how I did it (the bandage change, I mean). The room and charge nurses came in and out, and the hospitalist doctor came in just as I finished, all commenting that they too didn’t know how I managed to make it through. I was a bit concerned that I would vomit or pass out at points. When I felt it coming on, I stepped away from MotherHerisme’s bed, paced around a bit, got my disassociation on and went back in.

For those of you into grossnesses, a more detailed description of my experience is at the end of the post, with warning. I get that not all of our systems handle sensory input in the same way. SonHerisme is extremely squeamish.

Protologisms are the way. I have the spokened.

While staying with me over the holidays, FatherHerisme spent 4 hours at the hospital Urgent Care with a dramatically broken toe. They x-rayed, stabilizing booted him up, and sent him on his way with instructions to see his orthopedist when he returned to his home (8 hours over mountains away). He did so and found there were three broken toes with instructions to continue with stabilizing boot.

It could be that his stumbling and not remembering was an indication of the cacophony to come with the UTI, kidney infection, subsequent dialysis treatments, near death, COVID negative yet COVID affected by collapsing health care, which continues to this day. FatherHerisme is currently back in the hospital after less than 48 hours in a rehabilitation facility which left him dehydrated, unfed, unwashed, sat in urine, frightened, and exhausted. When I spoke with the person “in charge,” at the rehab facility, they responded that this was all due to my inability to communicate clearly with them that I had trust issues and required a higher level of communication than was reasonable. Hard fucking pass.

Back in the far away newly adulting times, I managed preschool/daycare/before and after school/summer camps for a national company. While not during pandemic times, I am well aware of expectations, trust and communication needs of people leaving loved ones in your care. Also, fuck them. If you do not have enough staff, STOP TAKING PATIENTS. STOP IT. Just fucking stop it. Also, the gaslighting bullshit dominating certain areas of our country (read: OHIO, for example, just out of the blue mentioning OHIO as an area having a HUGE poop-of-the-bull issue) is entirely intolerable, and I will have none of it. No thank you.

Poop-of-the-bull is courtesy of my dear friend’s youngest daughter who refuses to use ugly words but also needs to express her utter frustration at times. She’ll appropriately get to bullshit later, in her own time, as needed and entirely appropriate 🙂 I’m calling it now – our healthcare is BULLSHIT poop-of-the-bull and we continue to ignore the crumbling.

I also call bullshit on the purely politically motivated playing to the basest temper trantruming covidiots craptastic decision of removing masks in schools and on school buses.

I also call bullshit on our (entirely needed and appropriate) outpouring of support for Ukraine as we watch other areas like Afghanistan, Yemen, and Palestine crumble. They are all unique of course, but our hypocrisy is loud. UNICEF, Red Cross, local Ukrainian collections… My soul is pained for all of the suffering people. Damn, I hope Ukraine maintains full independence and sovereignty over themselves. Amplified better humaning needed all around. Do we even like our neighbors in this country? I don’t know how to tell.

I also call bullshit on Universal Healthcare not being a thing in the US yet. This is the poop of the bull all up and down the beltway and beyond. POOP OF THE BULL

Thank you for coming to my Herisme rant. I’m walking through the things that I do everyday. As I am tipping into olden times, I recognize that I continue to walk through the awful not because I think that things will get better in the way I envision, or that I will rise above it all to no longer be affected to the point of falling asleep out of sheer exhaustion every time I stop physically moving. I continue to walk through as a practice for the next hard thing that comes along. I continue to walk through to provide SonHerisme concrete examples of how to navigate the hard things which will inevitably come his way throughout his life (as a natural part of living). I continue to walk through so that I can see the reminders to appreciate and enjoy the unique and special moments of love, beauty, and joy that pop out no matter the horrible tornado hurricane swirls of crazy hard things that come along. I know that I am not brave, I am privileged. I know that I am not strong, I am privileged. I am doing the things of the doing as they arise (my WORDLE start everyday), as we all do.

This probably sounds crazy, and is most likely crazy yet you’re still here so… Sometimes I wish I had the strength to have an actual escape – addictions like alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, the whatnots of so-called vices. I just do not have the energy, resources, or confidence that I could pull any of that off. I wear cozy scarves and long sleeves to keep my head up and feel protected. I do the same 5 minute calisthenic routine as I brush my teeth and apply deodorant in the mornings, like a talisman or blessing on my day (truths out, the blessing occasionally only sticks for the duration of the teeth brushing). I wear my hair the same almost everyday. I eat the same food almost everyday (spinach shout-out!). My outfits are a version of the same thing everyday (add heavier sweaters in colder months natch). This is my way of controlling what I can to feel some normative center in the swirl.

A shared thought with a sweet friend the other day was that perhaps the universe keeps throwing heavy my way so that I don’t fully collapse post any of the crazy because I do not have time and SonHerisme still needs his momma. Perhaps I am on the universal step-down-from-trauma plan! *fingers crossed* there is a generous in-ground heated saltwater swimming pool in the shade with a cabana, composting toilet, sauna room, with invites for all of ya’ll on the final step down. I’m calling poop of the bull if there isn’t.

None of this is like Scrubs at all. I can’t do this all on my own. Thank you for being here and holding space for all of this.

Love, Ms, Herisme xoxo

***WARNING**** vivid description of bandage change ahead

Prior to becoming hospitalized, MotherHerisme was refusing to shower more than once each week, sometimes waiting up to 10 days. I changed her bandage at home about 6 days before being admitted to the hospital. At that time, her two leg wounds had opened from the size of pencil erasers, or smaller, and only on the surface, to larger than quarters and much deeper, especially the lower wound (closer to her ankle). Her leg was swollen and red, obviously irritated. This happens occasionally and I typically apply a topical steroid mixed with A&D ointment for dermatitis as recommended by the wound care and rheumatologist doctors. I also apply topical gentamicin to the wound bed(s).

Once MotherHerisme was admitted to a hospital room, the charge nurse phoned me because MotherHerisme refused to allow any doctor or nurse remove her bandage and check her wound both in the emergency department and on the critical care floor. The wound smell was nauseating the medical staff. MotherHerisme had a terrible prior experience in that hospital when her wounds were about 8inches high and completely circumferential. At that time, the hospital staff repeatedly debrided her wounds with only topical lidocaine at the most (and a few times without any pain relief other than tylenol). At the time she was also on a fentanyl patch, which did not work for her pain, but did give her hallucinations. She has had multiple debridements since then using either versed or full anesthesia in the OR during other grafting prep/grafting procedures.

Thank goodness masks were required because her wounds were extremely horrific smelling – which got worse as I removed bandages. I could smell the wound as I was walking down the hallway towards her room. The overpowering rotting disgusting stench felt as if it was washing over me and sticking to me like vaporous slime molecules of gooey brownish yellow death. Speaking of which, that is what her wounds looked like as I removed the bandage. Compression stocking, ace bandage, cotton wrap, abd pads, keramax, drawtex, and final inside layer next to the skin, mepitel. The consistency of what I tried to wash off and came off with some of the bandaging, was thick yellow brown gooey foul pudding raw egg slime. Her wounds were deteriorating. One had a thick dime-sized area of black, which the hospitalist Doctor thought might be necrotic. Somehow I (not even remotely educated in health care) thought I should correct him (an actual doctor), and pointed out that it was most likely a build-up of blood which would need cleaned out. I added that I would not be doing that kind of cleaning at this time because I was about to pass out from the visual and olfactory overload. The doctor nodded at me, and I continued to move the process along as best as I could. A nurse came and quickly changed out the chuck pad underneath the wounds. I applied medications, lotions, and re-wrapped MotherHerisme’s leg. I removed my gloves into the special trash bin and thoroughly washed my hands. In the bathroom, I made eye contact with myself to make sure I wasn’t passed out and to ground myself into reality so that my feet would move. Somehow I kissed my mother on her cheek and left.

I do not know how to do these things and I never ever know if I can do these things. I just do the things y’all – just like you – then I wonder WTF and how and why and how and WTF and also I am so sorry for all of the suffering in the world. All of the people in all of the healthcare worlds have my empathy for reals. I hope I am doing the right thing in my tiny corner of the world to ease some suffering somewhere for someone. #carryonhealthwarriors

Plowing the Dust of Stars

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Friends, I am…spent today. I received a call from my insurance company a few weeks ago – a reminder about seeing my primary care physician. It turns out that since I missed going in 2019, and then the entirety of COVID, I have to register as new patient. I have been seeing this physician since 2006. Protocols, baby! The insurance company attempted a 3-way call to “help” me schedule my appointment. This was a disaster because the insurance company can only facilitate scheduling annual physicals NOT new patient appointments.

Insurance man: Ma'am, perhaps you've been seeing a different physician for the past 3 years?

Me: No - life happened in 2019 and then COVID life. I haven't been anywhere.

Insurance man: Are you sure?

Primary Care office: She has to schedule a new patient appointment and I cannot do that through a third unauthorized party.

Insurance man: Well, I need to schedule an annual physical for her.

Primary Care office: Look sir, I spoke to you the other day with another one of your clients, and the rules are still the same today....

Me Interrupting: Hi there. I am not going to participate in or listen to this argument. I am hanging up now and will phone the office to make my own appointment. You do not need to follow up, Insurance man. Goodbye. Have a lovely day.

Sweet beegeezus y’all. I made my “new patient” appointment, which turns out to have been today. It was great to see my Doctor – she is awesome, empathetic, encouraging and has guided me through some yucky stuff (cancer, domestic violence, MotherHerisme’s ongoing illnesses, etc). I feel lucky to know her and to have her as my doctor. We dutifully completed the “new patient” appointment, and caught up a bit on our families. I have seen her over the past three years, but only as the accompanying person for MotherHerisme (also her patient).

Then comes what always comes, since I was about 25-years-old and my body hard core quit me. It is always the same messages, no matter the change in physicians. Here’s my take on the whole shebang: I do not drink (maybe once a year, although I’d like to drink more, alcohol hates my body and my body hates it – mutual deep disturbing hatred I will never understand and do grieve over), I do not smoke (although I WISH I could – my body revolts vomitously), I do not take drugs, I very rarely eat out (even pre-COVID) and when I do it is typically brothy veg soup or dressing free salad, I am highly conscious, controlled and particular about food/chemicals etc., I have celiacs so my carb consumption is low, I am vegetarian so my veg consumption is high… and yet… the Doctor has advice on how to better control my bloods numbers etc.

Y’all, I am spent on this. I have been plowing away doing this for a loooonnnnnngggg time and added things here, minused things there, and all of this’s and none of the that’s.

Gut says: control your stress lady and find something ANYTHING that brings you enough joy to control your stress

I wonder what it will be. Perhaps I should’ve had that nervous breakdown, shaved my head, donned false eyelashes and done the things. I forgot to be FOMO motivated or LYBL or whatever. At this point, it seems that my body is on the tip of revolting entirely, and I need it to last at the very least another 15 years for SonHerisme to get into his adult times with some of his own footing.

Anyway, I have got to change something. The tweaks aren’t doing it. Upon brief reflection, I believe they never have. Back to the NewPath thoughts, I suppose. But, dang it, I’ve tried that as well. MOTHER OF ROOTS, I need a gentle Joy Doula (?). I mean other than what I know, which is to bundle up, head outside, stare at stars, and nature things up.

"Unknowingly, we plow the dust of stars, blown about us by the wind, and drink the universe in a glass of rain" 

"As a symbolic option in the contemporary world, quests recover something essential to human life, sometimes in encounters with animals (lions, grizzly, leopard), often in encounters between cultures, almost always in encounters with nature. However ravaging or equivocal, quests somehow pluck the nerve of existence; they dispel the amnesia and anesthesia, the complacent nihilism, of our cosseted lives. And they do so nowhere more vividly than in contemporary American and British letters. More probably, they simply yield an indefectible perception of an individual alone, edging cultures, hedging histories, acting riskily on a vision of himself, or herself, and the world, a perception that, from our best selves, speaks to all."

Ihab Hassan

What quest are you on? Is it really that individualistic anymore? That seems outdated to me. Or perhaps too gargantuan. Is there a baby steps version of a quest? I suppose not because then it wouldn’t be a quest at all. The quest is grand but the path is a mixture of baby steps and giant gravity-defying leaps, perhaps? Sweatergot y’all, I just do not know anything. And now Socrates is banging about again in my brain… tea me out, please and thank you. Happy week-ending

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps writing feels better

pps SisterHerisme has been in and out of the hospital for the past two years with similar blood results which have yet to be regulated properly so… m u s t d o t h e s o m e t h i n g s