Monthly Archives: February 2009

How I Found the Barbies This Morning


Nightmare, 2/20/09

Rukan, Rocky and I were waiting at a large, busy clinic.  It had been discovered that I would need heart surgery for my panic disorder.  I was scared and crying.  Ru was trying to comfort me.  It occurred to me that after the surgery, I would have a scar like Ry, that she’d have someone else in the family who had gone through what she went through; I thought back to Ry’s surgery, and how I had wanted to spare her the knife by going in her place. I tried to find comfort in that.  I had my hands over my sternum, my heart’s protection, feeling it whole and unbroken for the last time in my life.

A nurse called me in, and Ry went with me.  Ru was somewhere else tending to some sort of responsibility.  The nurse led us into a huge white-floored room, filled with animal cages.  They were medical test animals.  Cages and cages of rabbits, mostly, situated throughout the room, such that we had to navigate through them.  The first few cages held rabbits that seemed for the most part all right, at least at the moment.  Then we began to pass cages that held animals with devices and wires attached to them, screwed into their bones, getting successively worse the deeper into the room we went.  I walked by quickly, my body tense with the horror of it, narrowing my eyes and trying not to see.  I told Rocky not to look, and herded her quickly after the nurse.

In the back of the room, I was led to a green, vinyl-cushioned examination table.  This was the surgery prep room, where I believed I’d get the anesthesia.  I remembered that I had joked that if I was going to get cut into, they’d better at least give me good drugs.

There was music playing.  It was horrible and loud, so loud I couldn’t hear anything else, full of cacaphanous noise, voices, squealing electric guitars and a dozen other sounds randomly layered over each other.  It was the sound of panic.  To my right, I saw another animal test station – two men had a kitten, and they were holding it over a pitching, bucking table.  They were tossing the terrified kitten back and forth.

This was the prep.  They were testing my level of anxiety, overwhelming my senses with the loud noise, torturing an innocent baby in the name of medical science.  I ran over to the table and turned my back on the room, covered my ears with my hands, and began to scream.

My New Kentucky Home, Part I

As you may have heard, we had one heck of an ice storm here in good ole’ Lebanucky.  Every limb, branch, twig and power line was coated with thick, sparkling ice, the weight of it bringing down trees and lines all over the city.  The first day of the storm we all hunkered down at Sito and Gido’s, fingers crossed, watching the lights flicker as we listened to limbs crashing to the ground outside.  Though I do wish people hadn’t had reason to bring their charcoal grills indoors and get carbon monoxide poisoning, I did take secret pleasure in the storm.  It’s been many years since I saw winter in all its glittering, powerful glory.  The ice transformed the dreary grey Kentucky January to the wintery fairyland of my childhood.  While the other grown-ups shook their heads in disbelief, Ru and I went for long walks out in the cold white world, holding hands to keep from falling, steering clear of dangerously heavy branches and drooping power lines, listening to the muffled chatter of chickadees and the juicy crunch of our boots in the snow.

Womb Report, Part II

“Rocky, what did it sound like in my tummy?”

“I heard angels singing.  And people talking, going ‘blah blah blah blah blah.'”

My New Kentucky Home

The Ox family has moved into a new home.  It’s . . . well . . . lets just say its a work in progress.

It’s putridly disgustingly unclean.

And it needs repairs.  However, it’s a lovely house, hardwood floors, lots of light, and lots of space  – I had forgotten what space looked like.  We are paying a small cash rent, the rest being bartered in home improvements.   Not too different than what we had going with Harry, our landlord in Austin, except this time it’s all set forth and writ in a long, arduously-hammered-out lease.

Did I mention it’s effing freezing in Kentucky?

No matter where we go, we’ll always be too far away from someone

but at least there’s prayer.

Tonight Rukan and I found out that our close friend back in Austin, a mother of three, grabbed her kids and escaped just minutes before her house exploded and went up in flames.  The blast was so powerful it shook the block, broke the windows of the houses around it, and flung pieces of roof into the trees.  Ru can’t reach her, but at least we know (thanks to another Austin friend) that she and her family are safe.  If you’re the praying type, please pray for them, and also for their old kitties, who may not have made it out.