Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bitter pills

Something interesting I’m noticing on this trip I mean visit is that my mother keeps complimenting me on my outfits -- the sparkly belt, the yellow corduroys, even my purple sun hat. Well, the sun hat she doesn’t exactly compliment, but she says something that indicates surprise in a positive way. It does feel genuine, like she’s paying attention to every detail. She’s that way in my apartment too, one of the few people that immediately notices the wall of memory: photos of Chrissie and JoAnne, an art piece JoAnne made about the two of us, a scrawled drawing Chrissie made when she was high, a silhouette drawing of my grandmother from the ‘50s, a photo of her father wearing some kind of apron and sandals. My mother comments on the art in different lighting, my furniture, houseplants, she thinks my apartment could be in some magazine. She even restrains herself from getting angry at the computer store when we wait forever, because she knows I hate it when she starts getting obnoxious. She doesn’t restrain herself as much at the consignment store, arguing over $10 in some game I don’t understand, or I do understand, and I hate it. We talk about money too, finances, my security, and it’s stressful the way she wants to give me less but not stressful in the way it used to be, since now I have the money from my grandmother, or most of it -- now I’m planning for the long-term, trying to make sure that it doesn’t all vanish and then I’m left trying to figure everything out again. I’m going to be okay -- if only I could figure out my health, then maybe I could, well, I don’t know yet.

I can’t remember if my mother was always so detail-oriented, I mean I don’t remember that, but of course I’m that way, so I guess it makes sense. Maybe she suppressed it with my father, fearing his rage or not fearing it so much as living with it all the time. Her own rage, suppressed. And, not suppressed -- I mean they argued all the time. But he was always the dominant one, his own obsession with detail.

Sitting in the waiting room while waiting for the optometrist, I can hardly even speak -- was I this exhausted before my mother arrived? Is this the after-effects of the medication, or part of what always happens when I see my mother? Both, I guess -- or, I’m not sure. Then I’m sitting in a dark room while waiting for the optometrist again, I mean I’ve done the tests with the assistant but the optometrist is taking his time to get here. It’s hard for me to do anything except close my eyes, although I guess I’ll need to open them when he arrives.

Somehow after that time in the dark room I feel a bit more energetic, my mother and I go to the gardening store, she wants to know if I’ll really plant all these things, but then later she doesn’t think I got enough. I wake up feeling not quite as awful as the last few days, I mean at least my whole belly isn’t clenching in pain. I guess the new medication is ready, turns out the doctor phoned it into a different pharmacy but no one called to let me know. Time for more clenching -- after I drop my mother off at the hotel, I decide to walk over to the other pharmacy, located just past one of the most hideous intersections in Santa Fe, Cerrillos and St. Francis, like two highways coming together, but actually at night it’s so much calmer, kind of surreal and I don’t smell all the car exhaust it kind of feels like an adventure, a practical task that I’m succeeding at doing. Even crossing St. Francis feels like an adventure. But when the pharmacist tells me how much the medication costs, I think I’ve heard her wrong -- I mean at first I think she says $2.11, since it’s only for three days, and that sounds fine, but I ask her to repeat the amount and she shows me on the computer: oh, $211.69, I didn’t bring that much money -- or, my insurance card, I guess the terrible insurance I have would at least be good for reducing this cost, right? The pharmacist says it will probably go down to 60 or 70 dollars, so I guess I’ll be back tomorrow.

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