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til later Lil Bro

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Dale is gone and he is not coming back.

A day went by, then a week, a month and now another week from then has passed since he died and it is still impossible for me to believe that I will never see him again. This is the toughest truth to come to grips with and I suppose it always will be.

Dale was eulogized to brilliant perfection at his funeral. Still, I felt I had to write something personal. Writing is all I do at all decently, but I imagine even if I managed to produce the most magnificent masterpiece of writing that I could ever craft, it probably wouldn’t be good enough, not by half.  I’m still struggling with the words I wanted to put down. I’ve wrestled with phrases and memories and words, attempting to craft a bit of a perfection befitting him. I’ve agonized over it, to the point of paralysis. Today is the day. I can write a perfect memorial later. It’s time to set this down.

My brother and I weren’t really close, but we had a bond. It’s difficult to describe our relationship, I suppose. It was forged in our hellish childhood days. And even though we lived in different cities at different points later in our lives, we always found a way to reconnect for small snatches of time. We didn’t have to say much. We just were in each other’s heads. We had a similar type of humour and a similar view of the world, so we got along really well when we were together.

By way of explanatory background it is important to know we were apprehended as young children by Family Services from that apartment where we lived on 17th avenue in Calgary.  For a time we lived in a children’s shelter and then we were unceremoniously dumped into a foster home. We were kept separated and both suffered as many kinds of abuse as exists. In this environment Dale seemed to thrive, not as a result, but I would imagine in spite of it all. As if to show those horrible people that they could try as they might but would rise above them. Myself, i collapsed under it. I left when I was sixteen and moved to Vancouver at eighteen. Dale remained in Calgary, eventually going on to attend university.

I took my role of big sister seriously from early on. We would walk together the several blocks to and from school in downtown Calgary; he was 5 and I was 7. There were times when we could come home to a locked door and we would hang out in the laundry room, play in the local park to pass the time or on one occasion we even ventured into surrounding local buildings soliciting neighbours for something to eat. Those were different times then.

I’m still the serious one. Dale was the charmer, the life of the party; always smiling; the joker. The slideshows played at his viewing and funeral bore this out. In most every image he smiles wide at the camera and a glint of mischief gleams in his eyes. Truth is, I envied him as much as I admired him; like a lot of people did.  He had it, that intangible quality so many of us wish we had, including me. He was on his way; the rising star on a steep upward trajectory.

The ache of his absence is palpable. I can be consoled only slightly by a phrase his friend Rob used to start and end his eulogy. “A light that burns twice as bright, burns twice as fast.”

Goodbye Dale, my Lil Bro. I will miss you.


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i'd have to look to know the last time i was here, smacking down a few words to feel a sense of accomplishment. my thoughts have been all over the place and they are still not organized. i am trying to make order. get them running in a straight line. no easy task. as anyone who knows me can attest, my stories and thoughts can sometimes take a circuitous path. i love a good story. i love to tell a good story. i miss relating stories of bad dates and other experiences to my friends who hooted in laughter as i animatedly acted out the experience as much as i described it. man i miss that.

i feel as though i've been dropped on an island and without those few things i can't live without. no one is to blame for this sense of isolation. i talk to no one i see no one until the end of day when my man comes home hassled and spent from his toiling. every day alone in my apartment i struggle to work up the enthusiasm to get what's needing done completed. i send out chirpy sounding cover letters with my resumes that are apparently zooming off into the ether. the sense of futility is staggering.

i'm in the pit of the biggest depression i've ever been in. i know the only way to combat it is to pull myself out, but i can't see the light so much. i act; throw up the facade to keep people from knowing, but i am also hiding. i don't lie when i say my favourite time is when i am asleep in my bed. when i can sleep. i toss and i turn, reviewing all the things i should have done, could have done, to avoid ending up in this place. i have thrown every piece of my life under the microscope for a closer view. it's not helping. for a time i stopped going to facebook, stopped updating my status. what was i going to say? that i was even more fucking miserable than i was yesterday? i've been taking the antidepressives for a month now, and i am not
seeing much of a result except that i am now constantly hovering in a
bland, nauseated brand of a different misery. my limbs are heavy,
muscles weak and my head feels disconnected from everything as if
someone has chopped me up and reassembled me with it suspended  close
enough to feel as if it is still part of my body, but not quite.

it seems i didn't bounce this time when things went for shit. just hit in one giant splat. oh, it was different in the early halcyon days of the brilliant summer sun. that was when my optimism buoyed me and i had little debt and money in the bank to boot. now i feel like balance of my bank account. a big fat zero.

if it isn’t one thing it’s another

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i've been experiencing a new agony lately and i wondered what it was, but did nothing about it. every morning as i swung my feet out of bed i was reminded that i might need to get to the bottom of it. months have gone by and i thought about going to see the doctor, but really didn't feel like going to his office for him to tell me what i just found out myself.

the temple is going to hell, the new bit of damage to plague the structure: plantar fasciitis. as you might imagine i am over the moon about the development of this new physical ailment. now i've got stretching, icing (and not the yummy creamy kind) and orthotics to figure into my daily life. oh joy. and my love affair with walking has to cool some until it works itself out.

i ignored it today though as i walked in the glorious sunshine. i decided i would pay for it later if need be. the day was as crisp and clear as a person could hope; the sun a blazing, glowing, yellow dew drop orb in a cloudless deliciously cerulean-blue-as-it-gets sky. i strolled down victoria, taking in the neighbourhood, the sweetness of the air, and the utter lack of pedestrians. it was as if i had the whole world to myself for awhile. i may not be rich, quite the opposite, but i am enjoying an exquisite luxury all the same. i felt a lightness of being, an uncomplicated momentary, blissful nothingness. enhanced by the atmosphere of music in my ears, removing me from the blather of crowds and nonsense of the mundane. i felt ridiculously at peace. there's no amount of money that can buy the sensation. good thing too, i don't have any.

and now what?

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on friday i was brutally ill. no clinging endlessly to the precipice of nauseau. oh no, none of that. my body went on a purge, expelling everything it could until there was no more and that still wasn't enough. because i was so delirious i could hardly make sense of anything and i swooned under the fluourescent lights. i had to leave work midday (hardly the impression i wanted to leave) and have a taxi speed me home to bed where i was laid out flat for the balance of the day.

later i dared a tentative small chicken noodle soup and soda cracker dinner. the question, why? was it food poisoning? no that is more immediate. the flu? it lingers over several days, more of same, with a fever. i think i nailed it down to taking my meds in the morning, which i used to do before i scaled back on the dosage and began taking it exclusively at night. it appearing that a morning top up was necessary i started again with one in the morning. perhaps it was the day or the preceding weeks i have been experiencing but my body just couldn't accept it and strenuously revolted. so what happens when i really need it? i can't be that ill and function. perhaps it time to try to find a homeopathic and natural way of managing the pain.

i'm not looking forward to the process.


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40 something days and counting. i’m losing track. one more than tomorrow, but one less than yesterday.

the weatherman has come through with the promised rain. it is intermittently spattering and pouring. a bad day to contemplate life. a perfect day to break in the puddle jumpers. if i were a baseball player (and i loathe the sport, and sports analogies for that matter), it might be said that i was slumping and my average was slipping. guess it’s time to re-examine the drug situation. 

save tonight just came up in the rotation. made me think of sophie and her time in canada and how she pretty much wore out that track on one of her few cds.good times. now sophie is in guernsey and i’m going back to vancouver and i don’t know when i’ll ever see her again. it’s a lot further from vancouver than it is from toronto, and for all my good intentions i didn’t make the trip there while so much closer.

i went for my 3 month follow up mri. the hospital is eerie quiet, and the hallways are half shrouded in darkness. everything is shut–except for trusty timmie’s. the usual throngs of people are absent. even the tv is off in the mri waiting area. but the wait is short so there isn’t really a need for it. i’m going into the big 3T, which means nothing to me. i am told that it gives a more detailed image. i wish that on one of these forays into the big noisy machine that some giant mass would materialize and the surgeon would be forced to go in and fucking do something aggressive. this routine is appreciated, but maddens me as well. nothing like thorough and frequent follow-ups, but what about some action? be calm, girl. it’ll work itself out somehow. you’re a survivor, you’ll make it through. *sigh*

i get my two gowns–one to wear front to back and the other to serve as a robe–and the spiel about locking my stuff and binning the gowns after.  the second gown makes for a more genteel and less immodest feeling, but stripped of our jewellery, and everything metal; wearing nothing but socks and underwear we are humbled and equal in status. there is a middle aged good son there with his mother, who is clearly more nervous about the whole thing than his mother, who will be going into the tube. hospitals have that effect on most of us. this time i notice when the table stops that a handwritten x that has been taped on with invisible tape. out of curiosity i raise my arm to brush the top of the tube. it is about 6 inches from my framed head. at some point in the procedure i notice my heart racing and i quiet it by closing my eyes. that’s when i fall asleep as i generally always do. in the back of my semi-conscious head i worry that my light sleep
twitchings will affect the image. the machine sings me no lullaby,to be
sure, but somehow the bangings, clackings and knocks of the it put me
right out.


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i’m feeling light-headed, woozy, weak and vaguely ill, but not nearly as bad as i did yesterday, though there were a few moments i wished my body would simply betray me and collapse in a heap, so i could get myself home and back to bed. i dealt with the breakthrough pain as recommended by some others, which is to whack hard back at it, with an extra dose or two of regular, mind-arresting tegretol. i’ve been taking the time-release version of it lately; enough to stun an even larger animal, but apparently not enough. i’m not sure how much stock i put into this whole "time release" thing. i am assuming it’s been working, but now i’m not so sure. now, back in when-will-the-other-shoe-drop land, i am feeling anxious and wary. this just plain sucks.

I got on the streetcar and sat at the very back left seat facing front, knees canted to the left to give me more legroom. as we rumbled along I stared out the window–sans iPod once again–a funeral procession passed me by. I wondered a bit when I noticed a police car pass moving slower than they ever do. it always make me sad even though I don’t know who the person was or the people who have lost someone they cared about.  the day seemed to echo the sentiment, grey and gloomy.

on the way up to the office i craned my head up to engage in that favourite elevator pastime of staring anywhere but at the person sharing it i saw that apparently it’s 18 in new york. don’t they say it’s lovely in new york in the spring? i do wish i could go again. s. doesn’t have much desire to visit any US destination, but especially New York. i’m not exactly sure what his mad-on is, because he appreciates architecture and history as much as i do.

it’s a pain the ass, this pain in the face

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got a jab in my face while eating breakfast. haven’t had that in awhile and it came at me completely unexpected. i’ve got a bunch of other things going on and so i let my guard down. i’ve not been vigilant. now it starts. that slight rub of concern that works away at my confidence.

saw a blurb on tv explaining–coles notes style–tn. it might help those people understand, who might otherwise not, the affliction i tote invisibly within me. the doctor speaking said that it was an affliction of the old. some teenager clerks might call me ma’am but i am not old. not yet.

life’s a bitch and then you die

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when you get to the end line what do you do? you hold fast honey ’cause what else you gonna do? go back to the beginning, where it all started or would you rather hold on and hope for something good?

that’s where i am right now. i wanted to do something groovy with my life or at least a lot less boring than falling unconscious at the most inappropriate moments but my body just won’t cooperate, or for that matter, neither will my brain. in some moments i surprise myself at how easily i am able to grasp and reach for just that perfect word or phrasing that sums up what i want to say, and then there are stupendous brain farts that sometimes stun me as to how affected by this drug, and drugs in general.

now i know neuro guy, not the other one, but this one, says that i am getting a good result so it’s best not to screw with a good thing, but then he’s not attempting to walk while his limbs threaten to flop over or give out completely; or type and have to concentrate more on holding his wrists above the keyboard; or eat because he’s ravenous and then feel like puking over and over again. but i guess it’s better than the pain, because i tell ya, if i have to deal with that again i am going to seriously go in search of the escape hatch.

so i was joking with the neuroguy, because he’s an affable sort of guy and seems receptive,  asking him, why doesn’t he just go in there and yank something out or somesuch? why did it come back so quickly? to which he can only reply that he can’t say. i told him i just really don’t enjoy being special in this regard. so i have to wait and see, i say? see where it goes, he says. it’s one of the vagaries of the condition, i say. he nods in agreement. it’s all he can do. he’s got to listen to people like me everyday who are looking for answers to which he can only reply that it is something that just isn’t known. i wonder if anyone has whacked him out of anger or frustration? probably not, couldn’t have lifted their arms to do it.

back in the uncomfortable saddle again

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i’m up to full dosage from a good old bad friend. it might not be a huge amount, but it is enough to render me somewhat discombobulated.  i succumbed to taking meds again to keep the beast at bay. as much as this pains me, i’d rather be somewhat doped up and relatively pain free than always waiting for the other shoe to drop. when i saw the nerve doc the other day he said the current state i am in is disappointing. he has no idea. it reaches far beyond that. i didn’t even have 3 full months to revel in the state pain-free bliss. disappointing doesn’t describe the half of it.

typing is proving challenging. my arms don’t feel quite connected to my body. and i noticed today that i sort of feel like i am in the midst of some prolonged out of body experience. hopefully this will all go away once my body becomes used to this stranger in itself. it’s been just shy of a week now since i started the gentle titration that brings me to where i am now. i refused lyrica because it makes me fat and utterly stupid. i think i’d rather remain somewhat my fighting trim and slightly awkward on my feet than that as the alternative. but it’s all bad. my body hates all drugs and responds badly or not at all.

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states of being

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i’ve got three books on the go right now. lately i skip my lunch in favour of going outside for a half hour break to sit in the sun. once i’ve taken the edge off the chill, using my body like a solar panel i hope to absorb enough warmth to sustain myself through the rest of the day. i’ve taken to sitting on a planter across the street, and on most every day it emanates a blistering heat. i make sure that i’ve got something to sit on or it feels like my ass is on fire. an uncomfortable sensation that doesn’t go away even once i’ve absorbed some of its fiery glory. i now know why i am the only person ever to brave its surface. this building here, well, it is either hopelessly inefficient, or they are not paying attention to the "dialing it down" admonishments being made to encourage a curbing in the use of energy for follies like artificial artic airflow. i don’t think much of air conditioning. i’ve only ever been in one building where they got it precisely right. it was so subtle and so perfect it was as unobtrusive as it should be. i prefer to think of a/c as human refrigeration, because that’s how it seems to function. my body on the other hand, seizes up and loses function when experiencing the discomfort of too much cool. a narrow comfort margin has formed where i am comfortable now. too hot is somewhere around 27 and too cold hovers in the neighbourhood of 5. not a lot of latitude for contentment.

after my fourth message left to the gamma knife centre, i finally got a call back from the receptionist. i had to get whiny and petulant before i could get any response. or so it seems. i hate that. i really would have preferred some attention around, say, the second call and message. the first could have been waylaid, so i made allowances for that, but after the 3rd i was becoming a mite crusty and so my tone adjusted itself accordingly for the 4th.

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