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.