or die trying

I had prepared myself. Rehearsed the things I would say over & over in my mind, thought of new ones, carefully planning the appropriate metaphors and similes so that even as someone who didn’t have aliens slowly digging their way out of the front of his body as they gestated and came to full explosive maturity, my doctor would be able to clearly understand what it’s like.

If I started getting a bit too happy during the hours leading up to our appointment, I would immediately think of one of the “Lost Dog” fliers I’ve seen posted recently on light posts around my neighborhood, the last one I saw about a week ago having a picture of a happy, smiling Golden Retriever on it.

I swear, I could step over human bodies littered in the street with the only thought being that I hoped that I didn’t get some of the blood or decomposed flesh stuck to my shoe, therefore having to scrape it off on the tattered clothes or face of the next corpse I came across – but show me a picture of a dog who was lost, its home and warmth and everything it knows suddenly gone, and I would sit there staring at it, fighting back tears and memorizing every detail just in the off chance I actually did see it wandering aimlessly around the neighborhood, matted fur, a hungry, confused and terrified look in its eyes as it occasionally stopped, lifted its nose to the air and sniffed, hoping for the faintest scent of home or companion.

I had pictured going into a vicious, swearing rant the second the door to my doctor’s office was closed and we were alone inside, ripping off my umbilical hernia belt, violently lifting my shirt and dropping my pants. “LOOK AT ME! Look at… THIS, this monstrosity that has taken over my life and destroyed my hope, this THING that makes me mentally destroy any chance of a human companion before I even say the first word to a woman I could see myself with, someone to care for and to care for me, someone to give myself to, someone that will again fight like hell to stay alive for because I couldn’t stand the thought of them being alone. THIS DEFORMITY that I do NOT have to live with, do not have to accept, like having my legs cut off or being born with half a face or worse, no sense of style. The surgeon says he’s concerned that I would die if I had the operation, but doesn’t he understand that by NOT performing the procedure just to fucking put my insides back INSIDE that he is condemning me to an existence where every morning I look at myself, every time I wish I could go swimming, every day that it’s warm and I can’t even just wear a fucking t-shirt without having to put on the hernia belt and another shirt to cover that I feel that I would rather be dead? What right does HE have to play god, this spineless, ignorant, self-centered human-shaped Jell-O mold?

Et-cetera, et cetera. Fire & brimstone. The 15 minute scourge of Ward 86 at SFGH. Sure, there may be a bit of hyperbole in all that was said, but it wouldn’t be forgotten. John (my doctor) would cower in the corner, eyes wide and terrified and amidst the indiscernible mutterings of prayer for his safety and futile attempts to calm my tirade, swearing to me that he would relay every word I said to the surgeon, Dr. Mackersie, the second he felt safe enough to come out of the corner and sit at his computer to send an email.

Yeah, it didn’t really happen like that. At all.

The moment the door was shut to his office, he turned to me and with a sorrowful, incredibly caring look on his face said “I read the email you sent to me (see previous post), but… I didn’t know how to reply.”

Wait. What was I thinking? This is my friend, this is the guy who knows me, the guy who cares for me. I quickly fired the original mental director for this performance and brought out a new one. This needed to be a quiet scene, one where I played the much more realistic role of someone entirely drained of the passion for life, someone who, after so many years of holding on desperately to that last thin thread of hope, had finally let it go after John’s email to me saying that the surgeon felt the procedure would be too dangerous to perform.

Though the fact that I wasn’t really playing a role made it much easier, I still should win a goddamn Oscar for it. Sure, I overstated here, embellished there, and inflated some things quite a bit, but when you’re a generally happy person called on to act despondent & dejected so that the emotion of what you actually do feel sometimes is pounded like a stake into the heart of the person you absolutely, unquestionably HAVE to relay it to, a little bit of dramatic license is necessary. After all, HE doesn’t have a scrotum sticking out of HIS belly – but I think I helped him understand what it was like.

And I’m nearly certain that I saw him fighting back a tear or two at times.

The person I showed him truly was me, in every way. In everything said, in everything felt, in every tear that I shed yesterday – but as an adoptee, the very first thing I learned in life as I was taken from my mother’s arms, 15 minutes after I was born, was how to shut down and build nearly impenetrable walls that kept the pain away, so even I don’t know that it’s there, and even less seldom feel it. As least not most of the time. I’ve spent a large part of the last nearly 20 years working on getting behind those walls in a manageable way. When I first began, I went too far to quickly and had I guess what was some kind of break-down, where I was sent home from work & spent the next three days in bed, in a fetal position, trembling, wrapped as tightly as I could get my blanket around me.

Yesterday, I was able to carefully make just the most infinitesimal crack in one of my walls, and bring out only what I needed at the time. I’m not sure if that’s progress on my issues or not, but hell, it worked for what I needed it to, and he had sent an email to the surgeon asking about something he said, and also mentioned looking into a different hospital for the procedure if my insurance covers it. “I don’t want you to have your hopes shattered again if the other hospital also says no.”
“John… they already are.”

He was standing above me, put his hand gently on my shoulder, and sighed in a knowing but somewhat helpless way. I stood up, thanked him for everything he has done, we hugged warmly, and I left with the impression that if he could perform the surgery himself, he just might – knowing that it could kill me, but also knowing that I felt that if I died because someone was at least trying, that would be infinitely better than living the entire remainder of my life with the hernias and pain unendingly growing, knowing that all it would take is one fucking person. One person with enough courage to let me have the chance to live the life I fought so hard to create, then fought again to keep.

All in all, I think the appointment went pretty well – though I would have liked to have the chance to perform that scene where I ripped off my clothes and said “LOOK AT ME! OPEN YOUR EYES AND LOOK! I’M A MONSTER! YOU’RE DOING THIS TO ME!”
But then I would have to hire a completely undetectable camera crew, and I just don’t know where to find one of those for under $20.

one of those days

I look out at the grey shy and feel its reflection in my heart.
I look at what my life has become after fighting so hard to keep it, and wounder if I would have if I’d known where it would lead.
For years now, broke, hungry, depending on others just to survive, the dreams I once had all becoming less substantial, less believable as time progresses and I look with a hard eye on reality. I don’t write this for your pity or encouragement. I write this because it’s what I feel, all that I see in front of me.

The last hope I have, the last thing that might change this life of nothing is my book, and even the excitement of that has waned over time and the poisoned questions I always ask myself.

But I need to try. I need to keep going, if only for that. Only for that. Only for the slight possibility of perhaps helping someone else, of perhaps helping me. Of the possibility of breaking out of this place that I’ve built inside my heart, ripping down the walls I hide this sense of hopelessness behind and letting it go, letting it dissolve.

I still remember how to fly – I just can’t seem to get a running start.

Just one of those days.

going down

It was new to me, this pain, and I freely admit I was a little bit more than concerned – though doing my best to keep worry out of my mind. The feeling was like someone with long, jagged fingernails had reached into my intestines & stomach, grabbing them, puncturing and twisting until the muscle fiber began to rip & tear like the stalk of a vine wrenched past its limits. That was the first day, this past Saturday, but thankfully by the evening it was only a dull pain – most of the time.

Sunday came, and the pain was fresh, stronger, & accompanied by my stomach expelling all inside of it, though not much could be – I had eaten very little the day before. Still, with every few small sips of liquid my stomach somehow found that on top of three or four times the amount to purge, though I don’t know how it found it anywhere.

The thought occurred to me that my hernia had finally torn open internally, the intestines had twisted & were blocked, sepsis had set in or a multitude of other things that can happen. Not  knowing what it felt like or how quick death could come, deciding that if this was the time I would let it come, I decided to forego the trip to the emergency room. Hell, I don’t have the money for the bus anyway so I’d have to call for an ambulance, and I’m just not into the bullshit of everyone knowing my business that that involves, especially if it turned out to be nothing to worry about. If it got to the point where I had to post asking for a ride on Facebook I would, but more than likely the hospital would keep me overnight which would mean having to again ask for someone to care for Ruby. I wasn’t willing to be let down again so soon.

I thought about all the morphine I had in my drawer across the room, then thought I shouldn’t think about that. Too easy. The pain will go away. The pain will go away…
Gods, I hope this pain goes away…

Day three: Monday.
I still haven’t eaten anything other than a bowl of cereal and an artichoke since Saturday morning. I drink what I can to stay hydrated. Weak, tired, and hoping something left in the kitchen appeals to me, hoping that something might stay down, I pry my body out of bed while holding my intestines inside of me. The pain is less & I’m grateful, but at times it still crawls out, breaks through. Still, I feel better. Better than yesterday & the day before. I decide not to call my doctor. I have an appointment with him on Friday anyway.

As usual I weigh myself, keeping track of where my weight is heading. It gives me something to work with, something to determine if my body is beginning to retain fluid or if it’s doing what it should. I look at the glowing digital number on the scale, telling me that I’ve dropped a little over 10 pounds in the past three days. I’m not surprised, not concerned. Even if there was food to eat it wouldn’t stay down, but I feel the hollowness in my stomach, feel the energy drain out of me. I fantasize about chicken soup but don’t have the money for it. If I did have money, I would need to buy coconut water before anything. It all comes down to priorities.

It’s much more than the lack of food that’s making me weary.

I finally fell asleep at 6am, wake up a little after noon. Today I almost feel whatever normal is, though I have little to go by these days. I’m making an educated guess. I don’t think that normal people feel a normal like this.
I vow to myself to finally finish this post I get out of the house, walk somewhere with Ruby. I wish I had the time strength & energy to just keep going, leaving everything behind. Find a forest, make a shelter, learn how to hunt with my bow to eat & feed Ruby. Just go away; paper, pens, and only what I think I’ll need. Find a river, sit in it for a few months and wash all of this away.

There are many things I would like to do. In none of them do I see this apartment, these streets I’ve walked on & woken to for nearly five years now. In none of the things I see do I feel this way. In none of them this deep melancholy.

It’s hard to believe in anything anymore.

I’ve forgotten how to believe in me.

Until again… or if never.

After many months, maybe nearly a year – an email sent to my adopted dad…
I will never be able to say everything I feel to him, but I try.
I don’t want to hurt him… just want him too see me… for once.

to believe in me for once.

 

A Hard Road…

this is the road I have chosen. It has been destruction, wanting, searching, beauty – and the knowing that they were all who I needed to be – who I am.
 
We tried, didn’t we? Unfortunately we carried our past with us – our expectations, our beliefs in who we “should” be to each other, and in that gained nothing.

Do you know what my only regret is? It might surprise you. It is not any of our endless battles, not the pain I cause you or the pain I let you cause me… my only true regret is not going to the symphony with you when you asked me if I wanted to… was itevery Thursday, or just one a month?

I don’t remember – only that it was on a Thursday.

I still hold animosity towards Jill & Katherine. That is my own challenge. I need to somehow forgive.

I will.

Do you remember the time driving home from somewhere, crossing the bridge on 52 when you asked me about my search for my Birth Mother? “I don’t know why you’re wasting your time, she’s probably dead anyway.”

Clear as day, still. After all this time.

I have grown. I think you might be proud…

After all, that’s all I ever wanted, but couldn’t seem to achieve. Every single passion I had for life was ripped to shreds by your questions, things I hadn’t thought about.

It took me years to realize that most times, passion is all it takes – everything else falls into place after that. Just get started, screw plans, and follow your dreams.

Dreams are more important than anything we could ever make tidy or explain…

I am still alive because of my dreams. ONLY because of my dreams.

Life is good for me now. I have the most incredible girlfriend I could ever wish for, and am in love with my life – though I am still fighting to get a few cash clients for my copywriting/content strategy business. I know it well and WILL rock it, just need to push the fears ingrained in me aside and KNOW that I can.

I can change lives. I already have… for the better.

I wish you the best. You always tried, and I appreciate that.

My birthday is in seven days. I am spending it, for the first time (save for the few minutes when I was brought into this world) with my Birth Mother. A gift from my girlfriend, who is driving me up to her home.

This will be the best one ever – and yes, I am including the train rides to Del Mar. I still talk about how much I loved those.

For that, and so much more – thank you.

You are a good person, dad. One of these days you just might be fortunate enough to have a bit of sense knocked into you. 😉

Until again,
~ Casey