Orange bottles

It’s a quiet Monday morning, and I’m sitting at our kitchen island with a cup of tea and my morning meds. My crutches are sitting on the chair next to me; outside, the first workers are climbing the scaffolding on the cathedral to work on putting bright new copper plating on the roof peak. Kate left early for work, the cats are all dozing, and after a week of waking from anxiety dreams (getting fired; unprepared for an audition; falling; bureaucracy) I finally woke this morning from an excellent dream (flight; teleportation and other superpowers; questing; friends) and a day’s worth of errands and tasks ahead of me.

A week ago today my mother and Gil were here, and the apartment was a blur of activity and just-one-more-thing to correct or unpack or stow. My folks, bless them, got Kate and I way farther up our historically-Sisyphean slope of Dealing After Moving in two weeks than we would have gotten ourselves in two months; as intense as their visit was, it’s produced an apartment we’re thrilled to come home to. (Now we just need to prove my mother’s prediction wrong: that in the next four months we will not manage to hang any of our still-boxed art.)

A week ago, I was just home from Helen Hayes, still crutching gingerly over boxes and cords, and feeling a little like a figurehead on a ship full of working sailors. I could not (and still can not) lift or carry anything heavy, crawl around on the floor for longer than a minute or two, or maneuver without very deliberate thought about where my feet are going. While I sat feeling useless, my mom, Gil, and Kate assembled Ikea pieces and put our bed on risers and lifted the coffee table to put felt disks on its feet. I was able to cook a meal, however, and disagree with where my mom had put away some of my kitchen tools. Go me!

A week ago, I was still figuring out where to put my four orange prescription bottles. I wound up putting the morning meds in the cabinet with the tea and cereal, evening meds in the bathroom medicine cabinet where we brush our teeth, and a small stash of my three-times-a-day pills in the man-bag I’m carrying whenever I leave the house. When my phone rings, it’s far easier to put the man-bag – okay, let’s face it, purse – on a counter or in my lap to rifle through it than it is to frantically fumble around in my coat or pants pockets.

A week ago, I was with Kate as she met with her midwife. To date, everything appears normal, and we still don’t want to know the gender. Kate got a orange bottle of glucose and water to drink before her next visit: part of a routine one-hour glucose screen for gestational diabetes. I’ve been leaning down and talking into Kate’s abdomen every day, telling the fetus not to believe everything it hears and that its mom is looking truly radiant and its dad tells very funny jokes and that by the time it can understand language, we will have managed, somehow, to start slowing the world’s apparent tailspin. A plane can land on the Hudson River and nobody dies; surely this can be an omen to our resiliency in the face of other crises.

I’ve been going to the gym downstairs every day. Rowing machine every time, and upper-body/lower-body on alternating days. Chalky fruit smoothies with protein powder when I come back upstairs.

My therapists at HHH prepared me well for most of the challenges I’ve faced so far. Revolving doors were a little tricky at first, as were plastic takeout containers. Faced both this past week, and survived. The grab bars in our bathroom are oddly placed, but I’m making use of them. I’m cooking and doing laundry and making the bed.

It’s the things the therapists couldn’t cover that produce lurking anxieties: our insurance company is questioning certain items on my medical bills, or saying that particular doctors at Columbia provided out-of-network services. Inexplicably, Kate and I are seemingly expected to mediate between our insurance company and the hospital. (The sailors all shout: Medical bureaucracies off the port bow! Prepare for endless phone calls, faxes, and potentially paying many thousands of dollars!) Today I will brave the New York DMV to register the GTI I cannot drive. More bureaucracy. My application for the long term disability benefits for which I will almost certainly not qualify will still require assembling a mound of data and paperwork. (I likely won’t qualify because I will not, can not, wait another three months to go back to work.) I am antsy to rush back to WNYC but nervous, too. It’s been a while; what have I forgotten? My medical appointments – evaluations for out-patient PT/OT and a visit to my PCP who I’ve never met – start tomorrow and run through Friday.

At some point I will need to begin responding to things online again. While sick, I read everything and responded to nothing except generally, through this blog. Now that I’m typing more ably, I feel the need to respond to the support I got and am still getting, but I could spend a week writing thank you notes on Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, and email and still have only scratched the surface. Perhaps I’ll just draw a line in the sand and start responding to things going forward, but that feels rude and ungrateful to those that wrote before. Getting back to Inbox Zero feels like an insurmountable task.

Our previously fat cat, Lucy, has shrunk to a shadow of her former self over the last four months. She’s happy and affectionate, but both Kate and I worry that she’s going hyperthyroid, like Lightning. She goes to the vet on Thursday.

I’m cooking, though, and cleaning the cat boxes so Kate doesn’t have to, and sleeping in our own bed and watching Kate’s body change, day by day. All great things, save perhaps the cat boxes. I haven’t fallen again yet, though there have been a few near-misses, much to Kate’s consternation. I keep my cellphone within arm’s reach anytime Kate’s not around. New Yorkers have thus far proved surprisingly polite and accommodating around me while I’ve been lurching down the street and onto the subways. Food tastes wonderful and the faculties I most wanted back while lying paralyzed – taste, speech, motion – have all returned. The bells of the cathedral are ringing. It’s time to start the day.