I Am Not Yet Dead

Kage Baker wasn’t very concerned about much of the future when she reached the end of her days.

She was worried about her last book getting finished (I did that, from her copious notes and instructions); she was worried about her family, but thought they would make it if they just took care of one another. And she worried about me. She was sure I would try to live on my own; and that without her guidance I would neglect my health and nutrition and be found as a months-old corpse, mummified with a book in my hands and dust on my eyeballs.

She did have a way with words, did Kage …

I have been absent from this blog for a long, weary time, Dear Readers. I have been really amazingly sick, though I didn’t catch Covid-19! Nor did Kage’s lurid fantasies come true in any way – no untimely demise surrounded by Terry Pratchett books and empty cracker boxes; no living under a bridge in a hovel make out of, yes, Terry Pratchett books … no eking out an existence couch-surfing with everyone I know.

I did none of those things. I sensibly moved my household goods and chattels to my native Los Angeles, and moved in with my patient sister, Kimberly. And all went well until I apparently annoyed some Elder God or something, and my health began a slow, layered, apocalyptic collapse. For the last 4 years I have been battling a variety of stubborn and confusing conditions, culminating (I hope!) with my spending the last 10 days in hospital, with pneumonia and a MRSA infection.

During that stay, my doctors decided that my tracheotomy tube, which I have had since failing to emerge in a timely fashion from anesthesia for heart surgery, was too large. We are now fighting with my medical goods supplier to get the smaller trach that has been prescribed – the supplier insists that the model ordered does not exist, does not come in my size, is only made by Dark Elves who require a human sacrifice to deliver it, and I know not what other nonsense. While Kimberly battles with them, I continue to cough up mucus: though not as much as previously – all that is left to produce trauma to my throat is irritation from the trach, and while that is annoying, it is a big improvement over the last several months.

So large an improvement it it, that I have been released from hospital; and in much better shape than when I entered it, in an ambulance, wired up like a cheap stereo and turning blue from lack of oxygen. I can breathe, and talk, and eat, and walk around the house without oxygen. We are just hoping we can browbeat the bureaucrats at Super Care to provide the right trach quickly enough to change it out before the old one chokes me again.

I must advise, Dear Readers, that life with a plastic tube down one’s throat is not an optimal life style.

And! Super Care has just this very minute called to advise us that, as they do not have the right size in stock, they are arbitrarily sending a larger size; and is that all right with us? Kimberly demurred, amazingly without the profanity I would have added, and ordered them to talk to the doctor and order the right size. It’s a good thing I cannot talk easily on the phone right now, because I would wither their ears and blast their office with very naughty speech. I doubt that would increase their efficiency very much.

So, anyway, against monumental odds, I am trying to return to life. I hope to resume something approaching normalcy – and that means, first and foremost, resuming this blog. My audience may have wandered away by this time, not-unreasonably assuming I was dead or kidnapped by aliens. I shall resume anyway, shouting into the Void in the hope that someone, somewhere, will hear and consent to listen as I stand on my soapbox.

I am so very tired of life revolving around 3 meals of dreadful food a day, and when my next breathing treatment is due, and how soon before I can have another painkiller. I am tired of the late night ambulance rides; though I must confess, the lights and sirens are kind of fun even when one is moribund. I am tired of clothes without backs, without underwear, without pockets; I am tired of decaf coffee and chamomile tea, and endless dry chicken. I have seen the ceilings of every hospital in the area – from a racing gurney – and none of them were worth the trip.

So I return to this life line, Dear Readers. I started it because I was aching with loss and needed to memorialize Kage. Those still apply; yestreday was Kage’s birthday, and I hovered all day on the edge of tears … but it’s very hard, and painful, too, to cry with a trach in place. And so, as they sang in WWI through their own traumas, here we are again.

Let us defeat evil, Dear Readers, and rise above the mud and barbed wire.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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17 Responses to I Am Not Yet Dead

  1. Sue arrowsmith says:

    Maybe a different company could provide you with the teach you need. Keep trying. Hang in there


    • Kate says:

      Thank you, Sue. As for a different supplier … there is a lack of companies that due this, and Medicare won’t pay just anyone. At the moment, I am stuck.


  2. debraji says:

    So glad to hear from you again! And sorry that the Medicare gatekeepers are making life more difficult than it already is. I’m glad you’re home again.

    I thought of brainstorming ideas about going outside Medicare to source the right sized tube and fighting for approval after the fact, but I’m sure you know far better than I do what works for your situation.


    • Kate says:

      Thank you, Debra. Yeah, we’re getting pretty good at finding out way through the mazes here. And Medicare is not the problem – it’s the supplier company, Super Care; they seem to think any old thing is fine to send me, just so they can bill for it. Guess again.


  3. Jane Sandmeier says:

    MRSA? Pneumonia? Elder gods are fickle indeed(I typed fuckle my first try…)
    Anytime insurance is involved their goal is to kill you so please keep fighting!
    So wonderful to read your voice here again. And Happy Birthday Kage!!


    • Kate says:

      Thank you, Jane. Oh, they don’t want me dead, I am sure: Medicare won’t pay for services to a dead patient. But I do suspect they would like me sick and quiet. Man, that’s a vain hope – I will be complaining about this on my death bed, as loudly as I can manage.


  4. jenfullmoon says:

    I’m sorry to hear you’re still having so many issues, but am happy to hear you’re still plugging along. Update when you can, but don’t push yourself too hard!


  5. wheatgoddesses6212 says:

    Good to see you writing again! Darleen, one of the Readers at faire, and I used to rate different hospitals by their food and general ambiance. We concluded it’s best to just stay out of them. May your health continue to improve!


  6. Michael Young says:

    Mother, I did not wander away I sat right where you told me waiting for you to come back. I had no doubt that you would come back so it made the weeding easier. I actually hope this is your last battle with the demons who try to take your spirit. I tell you now I am happy you were home, happy you were doing better, and lookingTo the time we can see each other again. Hugs and kisses Mike


  7. kararacemoore says:

    So happy to see you are still alive! Keep fighting the good fight! Your fans are rooting for you! I’m guessing after 2020 your zombie story is feeling a bit obsolete, but I very much hope to see more of the adventures of Missus Trick and Treat.


  8. Brad Campbell says:

    Glad to hear you (AND I) are still alive.
    I too am looking forward to next chapter of the tale of the Misses & treats (AND Zombies, since I’ve felt like one for this past year). Though if the next line in either story is, “With a tremendous leap…” I shall be disappointed. (and if you don’t get that reference, I apologize…I’ve been talking to myself for far too long…)
    Anyway, welcome back.
    -Brad, OAF
    (Only A Fan)


  9. Gen says:

    I loved your 2 stories! Zombie and miss trick and treat! Hope to get more when your feeling better. !💚


  10. Lynn says:

    Hosanna! You’re back! What Michael said. I’m very glad to read of your return; I hope you receive the proper-sized trach tube soon and that your health continues to improve.


  11. Mike Bennett says:

    I have been sitting outside your blogspace, candle in hand, singing Kumbya My Lord with the other virtual volk, and now rejoice to see your silhouette in the high window! Huzzah! We will continue to chant but with more hope!


  12. Dorothea says:

    What a thrill to see you back again! Keep fighting the good fight. I love your writing, and reading you makes Kage Baker a little closer too.


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