I Begin with the Blues

Corner of backyard deck with planter and birch tree and other bushes in winter.I begin the New Year with the blues.  (I don’t mean the music, I mean depressed. Just to be clear). But that’s all right. I know I got a brighter day up ahead. I’m working toward it.

The end of last year was rough. Two cerebral angiograms. Intravenous brain surgeries. Both went well. I got these two aneurysms treated. The second surgery was a bit rough. I woke up right after, and when they wheeled me into the ICU, my arms and hands tingled and felt numb. My temperature dropped. The nurse ran and got two heated blankets and quickly laid them on me. I got through it all right, but I was left feeling a bit depressed.

Then after going through that, someone in my life was a major asshole. I just had fucking brain surgery, man. They punctured me in the groin to worm their instruments into my brain, and my leg aches like a motherfucker. After surgery, I limp for two weeks (and then some). I’m sorry your life sucks, but right now I gotta sit here with this heating pad on my aching leg and cry a little.

I didn’t say anything. I just took care of myself. I have to let it be, and keep on with my life. I wonder if karma will kick him in the nuts. I feel sad for him. I used to be bitter. Karma kicked me in the ass. That woke me.

The nurse asked me if I had someone to take care of me. I said I did. But I don’t. If I said I didn’t, they wouldn’t let me go. I already got med bills up the kazoo. I didn’t want to be in there more than the one night. I’m not supposed to bend, squat, or stoop for at least five days afterward, but I can go ahead with normal routine, as long as I don’t exhaust myself. Hey, I can do that. I used the dustpan to pick up the dog’s food and water bowls so I could fill them. I placed them back on the dustpan and lowered them back down. I used a stick to slide them on and off the dustpan. I let her out in the backyard to do her business. For the first week, I didn’t pick up her doodie. But she’s only 8 lbs, so it wasn’t really that big a deal. Little doodies.

I’m bummed out, but I’m happy to be alive.

I’m doing a poetry reading in February.  A woman I met many years ago in a creative writing class is promoting her second book, and she asked me (and another guy) to also read. I said, “All I have is my self-published chapbook.” She said, “Well, bring that.” Her book is relationship poems, she told me, and she knows I and this other guy write relationship poems. Mine are dark-humored. “This is a love poem,” I say. Then I read, “You sonofabitch,/You piss me off…” It catches people off guard. They laugh. I like that.

She called a week before my surgery, so it was good timing. I kept it in mind: “I got a poetry reading in February.” Even now, post-surgery. I repeat it in my head: “I got a poetry reading in February.” It helps me get through. Something to look forward to. The thing I love most: reading my poetry. I know it rocks. I love it when people are surprised by what I read, and that they come up to me and tell me they like my work. That feels good. (Sure, on occasion someone doesn’t like it. But that doesn’t matter. That’s just how it goes.)

But I need bread, man. Moola. Ducats. Warm fuzzies ain’t gonna pay my med bills.

I gotta take this a day at a time. Can’t let it overwhelm me. “Don’t stress,” the nurse told me as I got ready to head home. “OK,” I said. Photo of black and sable Chihuhua named Isabel, with her paw on her toy.

Isabel helps with that. She makes me laugh. Earlier today, I got another fat bill in the mail. My heart sank. I went to my room, and lay down. Isabel follows me everywhere. I put her on the bed with me. She loves being on my bed. She goes, “Whee!” (well, her little face expresses that, and her ears point with excitement) and she starts working the blankets with her little feet, front and back paws, bunching up the blankets, grabbing them with her teeth to adjust them, making a cozy, comfy spot to lie on. Or she burrows underneath them. It’s fun to see her do that. But I felt depressed, so I lay there looking up at the ceiling. Tears trickled out the corners of my eyes, and I sniffled. Isabel jumped up, rushed toward me, tapped my shoulder with her little paw, and bowed, giving me that devilish look. That’s her invitation to play. That made me laugh. It made me happy. She’s good medicine.

About Poet Dressed In Black

Poet. Artist. Grammy of one, a granddaughter. Mom of three, son and two daughters, all grown. Individualist. Care-taker of Isabel, an agoraphobic, fear-aggressive, very nervous, delicate flower, Chihuahua mix.
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