Friday, February 22, 2013
"It sounded like ya'll watch out 'cuz I'll get your ass smited".
I love my mom. I have decided that she is the only person on the planet that could possibly create that sentence. Such a lovely mix of biblical SAT words and modern swearing and slang.
I laid sleeping in the hot bedroom, the hottest room of the entire house. From far away, I heard the alarm. Why the fuck was my alarm going off at 7:30 in the morning? I don't even think the sun is up by then. Oh God, that's right. Hijo de la gran puta. I had rescheduled Spider Pig for 8:00am. Obviously not by choice, I was already weeks behind on my remove pins, follow up appointment and that was the only time I could get in before March. I could barely open my eyes. Lola was unconscious in her own warm sleep lethargy. I turned the alarm off. There was no way it was going to happen.
My step father is very ill. It is frightening. And it is taxing the hell out of my mom. I don't like it.
I applied for forbearance on my student loans. I have never had to do that before. It is embarrassing to talk finances, but mine are bad. I have a pile of medical bills that I shove under the microwave. I am constantly floating and skimming to pay all the other shit. It appears that my teaching position will go full time next year and a second full time position is opening up. No one has told me if I will officially be in either position. It makes me nervous.
I was hugging Lola. Maybe I shouldn't bother going to the appointment. All they were going to do was X-ray the bone again. It had to be healing, so what was the point? But, what if, what if, what if? I walked Lola, put some dirty clothes on and went into my 8:00 appointment at 9:15.
"Your name?" the receptionist asked.
"Hilary Wagner. I'm late for my nine o'clock appointment".
She typed for a minute.
"You were supposed to be here at eight".
"Really? I thought I was only fifteen minutes late" I answered. Then I just stood there. I wait hours for Spider Pig no matter if I am on time or not. It's like the DMV in there.
"We'll work you in".
I read my phone and some People magazines. A nurse called me back quickly.
"I need a urine sample" she said strictly.
"Painkillers, you're on painkillers"
"I had surgery two months ago. I never even took the painkillers".
"Oh, okay" she answered me, eying me warily.
I read some more People.
"Oh my God, Lola destroyed her crate, there is poo everywhere. Dogs do NOT do that unless they are sick!" Hadley's text read. I was worried. I had been worried. I called the vet in between classes.
"Sorry you guys, it's an emergency," I called to the class as they walked in.
I raced to the vet in Alec's car. Mine is still broken. Lola's bros at the vet held her tightly while they stuck a stick up her butt. She tolerated it well, but the SECOND stick up her butt tested her patience. It was all good, no worms or anything else. Just a week long diet of chicken and rice and antibiotics. And almost two hundred dollars. I wrote the check, knowing that the one I wrote for the window she broke would bounce.
She and I walked around the corner after a good, pre-work walk. I saw someone coming and paused. Lola likes to jump up and kiss people she doesn't know, rubbing her muddy paws on their clothes and nearly knocking them down. I was surprised that it was my neighbor. And her new rescue German Shepard that does nothing but bark at Lola every time she is outside. Or inside for that matter. Against my better instincts, I let Lola approach the dog, and the dog approach her. Lola lowered her head while the German Shepard sniffed her face and ears. Lola smelled its butt. Then she growled in a way that I knew was trouble. I pulled her back. Both dogs started barking loudly.
"I have to turn her around. She's funny about other dogs" I called.
My neighbor continued talking casually as if nothing was wrong. I wrestled with Lola.
"I really need to go" I called.
"We need to just leave them alone together. They'll work things out!".
I turned and left. Where, in the small confined space that you call a yard that is also your dog's territory? Surrounded by a three foot fence that Lola could jump over in her sleep? Yeah, let's leave a Pit Bull and a German Shepard that are showing aggression alone together. Sounds great.
"The bone is healing as it should, but you need a new brace for your hand. Your finger won't stop bending". Spider Pig informed me.
"Come back in a month. You don't have full mobility".
I went over to physical therapy.
"What'd he say?" the physical therapist asked when I walked in.
I watched a few people in the office slowly doing their exercises. A hip man that looked like Spike Lee pushed a towel up and down the wall. My eye fell on a second man that was moving slowly. He looked broken. I didn't know if it was his shoulder, his back, what it was. He could walk, but things were at strange angles. He wore a dark stocking cap that was nearly the same color of his skin. It went down below his eyebrows. He reminded me of that character in 'Fat Albert' that had a stocking cap for eyes. Except he was old.
"I have to keep seeing him. He told me to do the same things that you make me do. And I have to come back in a month".
"I've been pushing on it!" he said, exasperated.
"I know. It hurts". I responded.
"I don't know why I have to keep going to him".
Friday, February 8, 2013
I guess I should rewind.
Alec and I were watching TV. Lola peacefully stared out of the window in the Conservatory, the most beautiful room in our house. She sits on a chair in the Victorian bay window for hours, watching the world go by. I heard a loud noise. I knew what had happened and started running, screaming her name. The window was broken like a spider web, a large dagger shaped piece, missing. I saw the window and grabbed Lola.
I wanted to see her feet. The fucking window was already broken.
Lola watches the world in the Conservatory, but from time to time, a rabbit or cat will run through the yard. She bangs on the window with her hands. On that old, hundred year old glass. I stop her, but have been fearing the moment that the glass might break. I had a nightmare that she jumped straight through the window and broke it, running free into the world.
Her foot was bleeding. Alec and I put her in the tub and rinsed it off. We poured peroxide on it and I applied Neosporin. The bleeding was not too bad, but she had a long gash along her toe. Lola was agitated, pacing. Wound up. I was too. We sat in the TV room half of the night. I petted her and got her to lay down and got drunk.
My alarm went off. I had to go to physical therapy for my finger and to Spider Pig to get it X-rayed again. Lola pulled closer to me, pushing her back against my chest and stretching her neck up to my neck. I hugged her. It was gray and raining. I put plastic over the broken window and called the doctors to tell them I wasn't coming. And then, I laid down and hugged my dog.
I got up at 12:30. I needed to leave by 1:25. Lola laid on the bed, licking her wounded foot. I got ready. Yeah, I had blown off the doctors but was going to be early for work. I took Lola for a pee and let her settle into her crate. I set the alarm, grabbed my coffee, and went out to my car.
As I stood in the driveway, I heard an alarm going off. Was it...my house? I walked closer and realized it was and ran inside and turned it off. The alarm company would call in a minute. MOTHERFUCKER. I stood there and waited, watching the clock, knowing I would be late. Finally, I grabbed the phone. The battery was dead. I couldn't have heard a ring even if they called. I dug through the drawers, trying to find the number of the alarm company. Lola was howling and whimpering, terrified. I locked the door and left, phone in my hand and calling everyone I knew to come to my house. My dog was afraid and I left her alone. If the police came, they would see that broken window and think something had happened. They could kick the door in.
I had called my sister. She had a migraine and wasn't answering her phone.
"Mom!" I screamed into the phone, tearing right out of the Krog tunnel.
"I need help!".
I ran down the hallway as the bell rang. The kids were in the room. I was surprised. They were sitting calmly and the woman that had taught the previous class had remained with them.
"Oh my God, thank you" I said to her.
"Hey guys, thanks for your patience. Here's your warm-up, I'll be back in two minutes, I have to get your test off of my desk downstairs and then I'll tell you everything".
My phone started ringing.
"Get a late pass!" the students called, "and turn your phone in!"
Holly had warded off the cops and taken care of Lola. I was almost hyperventilating. The kids did their test and gave me no problem. I went home and set up a bunch of make-up doctor's appointments and called my good bro to fix the window.
I walked out this morning to go to work, determined that things would go better. My car wouldn't start. I was parked BEHIND Alec's car. He and I pushed my fucker car into the street and I rolled it into the grass and took his car. I was speeding again.
I had ten minutes to make copies of the test, drop my shit off at my desk and run up three flights of stairs. I made it with time to spare.
My finger was pulsing, veins bulging and red. The physical therapist held it, crunching it into a fist. My feet were tapping and I was sitting up straight. It fucking hurt.
"Five more seconds" he told me.
He released it.
"I think in two more weeks you'll be able to push it into a fist" he informed me.
"But the knuckle, it still has some fluid in it, it might not get much smaller, it might get smaller, but it will take a while, a long while".
It is bigger than my thumb. It looks like my big toe.
"How do you say 'does your back hurt' in Spanish?" he asked the family member of another lady who he was working on.
"Le duele la espalda" I answered, and kept doing my stretches.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
I drove to the west side of Atlanta, way out by the Holmes MARTA station. Anything with 'Holmes' in the title tends to be a bit sketchy. I spotted the Department of Labor in the run-down parking lot and pulled in. I felt sheepish.
"Hey!" a brisk walking man called.
"You unemployed too?!"
It oddly put me at ease.
"Well, underemployed and THAT is NOT enough!" I called back.
"I'm telling you!" he agreed.
"But we are going to be alright. The jobs will come back and we will be fine".
"Thank you for saying so".
"It's Jehovah's word" he answered, still smiling and walking briskly.
The doctor unwrapped the mummy hand. Thick hunks of skin were peeling off of the splinted fingers. Flaky orange skin covered the rest of my hand. It was disgusting. After my X-ray, the nurse guided me into a suspicious looking room and laid out some gloves and iodine. The doctor walked in, carrying a pair of pliers.
"Um, looks like the wires are coming out?" I asked Spider Pig.
"Yup they are," he answered, "one, two, three".
I could hear and feel the wire scraping against the bone. I didn't realize it was imbedded inside, I thought it was just like, well, a guide. It hurt as it exited. The wire was about two inches long.
"One, two, three" he continued. I didn't say anything.
The second wire was like getting your second ear pierced. You're scared now and you know it's going to hurt. The hand really did look just like in my dream, weird and swollen and crooked. The wires hurt more in reality than when Holly pulled them out. And, my finger was about as thick as my big toe and would not move an inch. Actually, not even a quarter of an inch. It is a claw. A toe shaped claw.
"Don't worry, Ms. Wagner, I got you," a big, silly student boy professed as I walked in the classroom. He was standing by the door. The bell rang.
"Happy birthday to you!!!" the kids shrieked.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU !!!!"
My big silly boy student blinked the lights on and off, in lieu of a light show.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MS. WAGNER, happy birthday to you.....".