Sunday, September 27, 2009

Christopher came home Thursday night--weak, fragile, and in pain. I don't know how we got him up the stairs into our bed, but we did. God bless Gerry for staying with us through a long boring frustrating exhausting day at the hospital, trying to get a notary to come to C's bedside to authorize me to collect his car from the tow-yard ("But you're married," my friend Ruth said incredulously. "Yeah, you'd think that heterosexual privilege would count for something," I said. It doesn't. Everyone's trying to legally protect themselves from getting sued.)

C meanwhile, still couldn't keep anything down, and was throwing up and writhing in pain whenever he tried to sit up. Finally by the end of the day he managed to sit up and we got the back brace on him, then loaded him into a wheelchair and took him home. No discharge plan, no cane or walker, no thing. Good-bye and good luck.

He made it into the house on sheer determination alone, collapsed into bed and basically slept for the better part of two days, eating a very little at first and then gradually a little more. Friday he sat up incredibly s-l-o-w-l-y and carefully, and we got the back brace on. A trip to the bathroom was an Odyssey. But Saturday, he managed to walk all over the top floor and even venture downstairs. And today he's been puttering--slowly, cautiously, balancing between pain medication and the brace, but puttering. He's learning what he can and can't do in this new, recovering body, and--typical--he wants to be up and doing again.

It's bright and hot out and we've been sitting in the living room drinking coffee, eating figs from the tree, listening to Harry Reasoner and reading the Sunday Times. So simple and precious.

Last night I left him for a few hours in the care of a good friend and with his encouragement drove to Sacramento to hear No Nude Men Theater group read my play Glitter and Spew. It was about two dozen people, lots of very strong actors, a couple of other playwrights, and directors. They loved the play! They laughed, sighed, and there was a great discussion afterward which gave me ideas about how I could expand and improve the third section. Of course I felt critical as I heard it aloud--lots of places I wanted to fix. In particular I'm concerned about the balance of lyricism to "real" dialogue.

I read an interview with Sarah Ruhl (author of The Clean House and many other wonderful plays) who said that writing a play was writing poetry for the stage. That quote from her gave me permission to write heightened, poetic monologues for my characters; it was very freeing. I'm concerned though that it's easy for me to write "poetically" and that i shouldn't lean on that ability as a lazy substitute for character development or plot. So hearing the play aloud, I wanted to trim some of the fancier monologues. But Stuart, the director, said that he wouldn't change a thing from the first two short sections. The third one he said, does need more development.

It felt great to have the play read aloud, finally, and exciting to make connection with this talented crew. And it felt--I don't know--independent--a little lonely, but kind of good--to know that i could have both these halves of my life, but that I alone am responsible for balancing them--to work as an artist and also be a care-taker. It was a long drive back without radio reception; I listened to my CD of Carla singing, and also to the Roche Sisters. It reminded me of so many long empty moonlit road trips, with Alan and without him, and now with C and without him. Times in the car when you go without saying or even thinking much of anything for long stretches and then come to with a start, realizing you've been dreaming awake, and the road has flown by, and you are finally home.


Anonymous said...

What??? "No discharge plan, no cane or walker, nothing."

I don't understand. This surely is not adequate or safe care and a letter needs to be written to the hospital administration to this effect. Will you do that? Please consider.

I hope C will feel better rapidly.

Vicky said...

It is a while since I checked into your blog - and this is what I read? Oh my, Alison - so much to deal with, my dear! I am so sorry that C has to endure this, and that you have to accompany him along the way. I am thinking of you both, and sending warm and healing thoughts. Love, Vicky xx

Vicky said...

PS - Delighted to hear about the play - and that you are a fan of the Roches. Congratulations on the play - and your good taste in music!