Posts tagged "illness/disability"
After the Appointment

After the Appointment

  I’ve dumped nearly everything from my car’s glove box—registration, flashlight, crusty hair ties—while I paw around for a tool to open a bottle of wine. This bottle of wine, the first screwtop I spotted in 7-11 and purchased in a rush. My hands aren’t strong enough for the feeble job of unscrewing (as if...
When the Uber Driver Asks, Do You Have Any Kids?

When the Uber Driver Asks, Do You Have Any Kids?

and they always ask, the other me doesn’t say no. She doesn’t get the follow-up questions – Do you plan to, later? or, worse, Why not? Other Me doesn’t have to weigh whether to tell a lie, something easy, or to plunge into the sudden intimacy of the truth of life as a disabled woman....
Decade

Decade

I sit on the pool’s edge and watch my daughter swim. She dives underwater then surfaces beside me. “Momma,” she says, “I was trying to see how long I could hold my breath…what it would be like to drown but couldn’t. I popped up for air.” I kiss the top of her swim cap. “Your...
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...
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?...
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...