White-Knuckling It Into The New Year
What am I doing now that the Palinode and I have survived cancer, a broken back, bouts with anxiety and depression, a month-long strike, and one period each of being off work on disability pay over the last year? Why, I am cowering under a blanket for days on end, that's what!
I am just that thankful for our combined survival.
I am thankful for our combined survival, because if my anxiety and depression had landed me in the psych ward doing the Haldol Shuffle and I had then ended up dying of cancer and the Palinode had ended up incontinent in a wheelchair, well, that would truly have sucked a big nasty one. None of those things did happen, which is the best of all possible outcomes, and when I once looked ahead to this exact future, I thought I would be putting on my own abstract interpretation of celebratory fireworks at this point.
The truth is that, rather than rejoicing at every new morning, I am white-knuckling it. I have an aunt and uncle whose history together has included a string of things like this: a car crash broke my aunt's leg in three places and put her in a cast for eleven months, my uncle had most of his skin melted off by a bucket of hot tar when he was a roofer, my aunt was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and later had a heart transplant, my uncle has severe diabetes as a result of the trauma if the hot tar incident, etc. After the kind of year that the Palinode and I have had, it is easy to fall prey to the idea that we may be like them, seemingly destined to totter on the brink of destruction and tragedy at every moment.
When I go out for a walk, I cross streets carefully, because a car could swerve out of nowhere and hit me. I gave up on the idea of ice skating this winter, because I do not want to do anything that could cause injury. When I am out without the Palinode, I am certain that I will come home to find him collapsed on the floor, because I was not home to help him when he needed it. I keep worrying that the cats are not eating well enough, or that they instead have toothaches, or that one of them is diabetic.
Something must go wrong, mustn't it? That is how we have had to live since 2006, rolling with whatever stupid crap the universe thought it would be fun to torture us with, and I think it is going to take a while for me to accept that I do not necessarily have to start each day with the vague, background fear that one of us will die or end up lame or spontaneously go blind or some such thing. I would like to call home from work just to talk to the Palinode rather than to make sure that he is alive and still able to speak at some point.
That is not going to happen right now, though, because I am busy removing all choking hazards from the Palinode's immediate surroundings and dulling all our scissors. Later, I will be duct-taping styrofoam to my person and sticking thermometers up some cats' butts.
I am a participant in Holidailies 2007.