Posts tagged "illness/disability"
The Old Phrases

The Old Phrases

Billie Holiday’s 1944 recording of “I’ll Be Seeing You” was the final transmission sent by NASA to the Opportunity rover on Mars when its mission ended on February 13, 2019. At the Center My father’s friend Harry, a man whose memory has perished before him, says, Are you from the neighborhood? Are you here to take me home?...
Future Care Instructions for Your Wife with Multiple Sclerosis

Future Care Instructions for Your Wife with Multiple Sclerosis

When I can no longer grasp the tweezers to pull at the fine, blond blades between my eyebrows, please look closely. Pluck them all—imagine them as the weeds in the garden we never got to, the sumac growing up through the rhododendron. The mole on my left cheek—if you see me run my fingers over...
Remember?

Remember?

Slow processing speed. Major deficits in executive functioning and short-term memory. Normal left and right hippocampal volume with low left and right hippocampal occupancy. * Here is the translation: His broken handwriting, his stricken face, his blank or puzzled or fearful eyes. Doors and drawers standing open, lights left on wherever he goes. Two lamps...
When I Speak Why Do I Become More Invisible?

When I Speak Why Do I Become More Invisible?

(capital)The average woman says a minimum of (number) 1 (number) 0 (number) 0 (number) 0 (number) 0 (number 0) words a day (period)(capital) Spoken (period)(capital) Expressed (period)(capital) Gobbled up by the world(period) (indent)(capital)We (comma) as humans have an obsession with communication (period)(capital) It (apostrophe) s in our (capital) D (capital) N (capital) A (period)(capital) Technologies...
Twenty Minutes

Twenty Minutes

Before I forget and too much time passes and the shape of the moment withers or disintegrates, or rests in the dull shadows of my brain, weakened in the space of night, only to show itself in the final days when I will remember everything before the nothing. Before I let myself think it was...
Defiant

Defiant

Your pulse beats, defiant, in the tender crook between thumb and forefinger. My gaze shifts between it and your face, your cheekbones prominent, your neck slack. The cardiologist tells you, “Your heart is very sick. You should start to have conversations about the end of life.” And I can feel you shrinking next to me....
Intro to BRCA1+ Quiz

Intro to BRCA1+ Quiz

1. When a woman reveals she’s been diagnosed with BRCA1 and is taking prophylactic measures, what percentage of people will say to her, “Well, at least you get a free boob job!”? a. 13%b. 38%c. 59%d. 90% 2. Define “lucky.” 3. Which term best describes what having as-of-this-moment-in-time healthy breasts, ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes...
I Can Shrink to Perfection

I Can Shrink to Perfection

When Ma asks if you’re hungry for dinner, tell her you already ate, then remain mute, even if she protests and wags a wooden spoon in your direction and flicks red sauce across the white linoleum. Your father will continue to read the newspaper. The next morning, announce a newfound love for animals, and refuse...
What Joy Looks Like

What Joy Looks Like

Your grandfather on your grandmother’s lap at Christmas, wearing polyester and mismatched plaids, his colostomy bag under his shirt crinkling against her body, and he’s weeping like you’ve never seen, much harder than an hour earlier when he appeared in the dining room doorway and said, “I’m sorry I yelled at you,” and burst into...
On Fluency and Surrender

On Fluency and Surrender

Google’s first result for “stutter synonyms” is “stammer” but I prefer the former. It always feels like a letdown when synonyms don’t ring true. Stammerers approximate. Stutterers struggle. “Stammer” comes from a Proto-Germanic variant of the verb “stumm,” meaning “to mute.” “Stutter” also comes from a Proto-Germanic verb, but this one, “staut,” means to push,...
You Were Always on My Mind: A Love Letter to Migraine

You Were Always on My Mind: A Love Letter to Migraine

We met when I was eleven—on the cusp of my first blood—in that Taco Bell on University with the refried beans stuck to the windows. I thought you were so cool with your Pearl Jam T-shirt, Nevermind spinning in your Discman. Curling into that corner booth, I rested my head on the greasy Formica and...
Running After Her

Running After Her

I sit in a slant of winter sun in the living room I share with my husband, Tim. From its safety, I Google the medication I must take to stay free of locked rooms where nurses strip me, chart my scars. Then I add, “+ pregnancy.” Hunched before the screen, I cry for my unconceived...
Bath Hour

Bath Hour

I run the bath at 3 a.m. Occasionally at 4 a.m., 2 a.m., 1 a.m., 5 a.m. Whenever my small body shivers with fever and can’t get warm, but more so, like this morning, when the pain builds like waves, like a California earthquake, spreading across my back and down my legs. Even at age...
Rain on the Wind

Rain on the Wind

My sweatpants bound my ankles together. An inventory on the sink beside me: on a clean paper towel, a shiny packet of lubricant and a mint-green catheter wrapper, ripped open. The toilet seat numbed my butt cheeks, flesh on chill porcelain. A table-top mirror balanced atop a milk crate in front of me, poked up...
Let's Say

Let’s Say

“Let’s say I found the key behind a secret panel,” Andra whispers. Tonight, instead of my ten-year-old sister, she’s Julie, the beautiful detective from The Mod Squad. I’m not four-year-old me either, but an equally beautiful teenager named Heather whose foot is chained to a bed. “Now I just have to figure out how to...
Out Back

Out Back

They hear me coming before they see me. I round the corner of the house, my entrance heralded by cockatiel cheeps and peeps and a call just for me. So quickly they have learned my new routine. I pause at the window, press my face to the screen. Through double walls of mesh and cage...
Conduction

Conduction

When people next to you begin to swipe left and right on bodies on their phones, the black glass like polished fulgurite, don’t feel like you have to feel left out just because you’re aro/ace. Join in their looking at the faces and chests, even if they have to tell you what makes someone attractive....
Last Words

Last Words

The dictionary, red and tattered, sits in a cardboard box in my garage along with a telephone, its only button programmed to speed-dial my mobile number. Both items once belonged to my mother. For a time, the dictionary and its 1,550 pages of definitions comforted her. A woman of words, my mother wrote the food...