He would have laughed… (beware – graphic, dark-humor truth.)

Warning: graphic, dark-humor truth. He would have laughed. You might, too. You might not, though. 

Peripherally, I spied Jeff’s ever-present mega-jug from Speedway on his night table. I tested the weight out, concluding there was water in it.

Actually, I didn’t conclude there was water – I really just concluded liquid. It likely could have been what I call soda or what he called pop. I assumed it was water, which is why I decided to pull the lid off the monster mug and dump the entire contents on Jeff’s head.

It was water.

There wasn’t as much of it as I’d thought.

It certainly wasn’t the deluge I was hoping for.

He didn’t wake up sputtering.

“Are you doing it?” the operator asked, referring to the mirror test she’d requested.

“Oh, my God!” I cried. “How did this happen? He’s not waking up! How could this have happened?”

Almost out-of-body, hearing myself and thinking; cliché. Soap opera style dramatics.

Frozen, fleetingly, I wondered: was drama reenactment of reality or was my reality a reflection drama?

Sensing my conclusion, I was assured, the ambulance was on the way. She said she’d remain on the line until it arrived.

Having endured Jeff’s preference for based-on-true-events TV, I’d either half-watched or got completely sucked into countless crime-solving and autopsy shows.

A horrifying scenario popped into my still grappling brain.

“They’re going to think I drowned him!”

“Oh, my God!” I blurted aloud, in response to my silent reasoning. I scooted around the bed.

“Do you hear the ambulance?” The voice surprised me out of my own head. I was shocked to find I was still holding my phone – firmly plastered to my ear.

“No. I don’t.” I replied. Swiping a washcloth from the counter, I scrambled back to Jeff.

I used the maroon square to swipe Jeff’s wet face and hair.

My inner dialog continued. “Oh, no! If he starts breathing, inhaling water could kill him!”

I pushed a small corner through the tiny opening between his teeth, trying to sop up any of the gushed liquid that might have run into his mouth.

“They should be there soon…” came consolingly over the line.

Well past the verge of hysteria, another terrifying possibility crossed my mind.

“Oh, my GOD!” I wailed, wildly recalling the frequency with which the tiniest of fibers had helped solve mysteries and finger murderers.

Fortunately, only heard within the confines of my scrambling head, my error screamed, “They’re going to think I smothered him!”

Quote for the Week: 2019 10 15 The brain works with remarkable speed to process jakorte

“911, what is your emergency?” (graphic)

Some of this is just the gist of my recollection, not necessarily verbally accurate to every word spoken to me.

Some of this is 100% precise thoughts and words and deeds – mostly mine.

Overall, though, generalization and sequence should be enough to put you there, with me.

When the operator answered, I was momentarily stunned; marveling at the accuracy of every stereotypical dramatic portrayal of a 911 operator.

“911 – what is your emergency?”

I wasn’t expecting that.

“911 – what is your emergency?”

I wasn’t particularly panicked, but I was absolutely emphatic. “I can’t wake my husband up. I’ve shaken him and yelled in his ear, but I can’t wake him up.”

“Is he breathing?”

I put my ear to his chest.

“Are you still there?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said. “I’m trying to listen….”

“Do you know CPR?”

“Yes, I think so… but you’ll have to remind me….”

She urged me toward mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, instead.

“OK, tilt his head back.”

“I can’t,” I said. “His head won’t move.”

“Put your hand under his head, and push up on the back of his neck.”

“That’s not working, either,” I said.

“Is his mouth open?”

“Not really,” I reported. “Well, I mean, a little… like normal sleep…not closed, but you know, not open.”

It was explained to me that I was going to have to open his mouth in order to breathe my breath into him. I wasn’t sure how to do that, so I awkwardly tried to ease his lips apart.

“I can’t,” I said. “It won’t open.”

“Try putting your hand in his mouth and pulling down” she suggested.

I inserted two fingertips and squeamishly applied pressure to his bottom teeth.

“It won’t move,” I reported. Exasperated with frustration, I raised my voice to make the situation clearer. “Nothing is working!”

“Is he breathing?” she asked, again.

“I don’t know!” I repeated. “I can’t tell.”

“Do you have a mirror? Can you go find a mirror?”

“Yes,” I said, but I didn’t move.

I stood there, frozen, scanning with my eyes. Head to toes and toes to head and head to toes. Panicked bubbled up as I almost came to grips with reality.

“Are you still there? Did you get the mirror?”

“Yes,” I said, even though I hadn’t left his side.

Instructed to hold the mirror to his lips and watch for condensation fog, I must have registered some part of the truth, at that point.

While I instinctively knew what the mirroring result would be, I also concluded we were wasting time.

I needed to try something else. Something powerful.

Something with enough impact to prove what I didn’t really want proven.

Quote for the Week: 2019 10 08 insisting on static concrete paths leaves no consideration jakorte

 

The Beginning of the Story of the End

 

13 years ago today, I think I knew before I knew.

It was the strangest feeling.

It still is.

.

I took a 20-mile detour on the way home from Lansing this past weekend.

Accidentally, really. Not even on auto-pilot, since it’d been so long since I went that way.

Just a missed turn while I was thinking about the rain and Frosty Boy and my Brookside destination.

Odd to travel that same path so close to the same days. The thing is, the story goes on.

And, again, a warning.

It’s only the beginning of the story of the end.

The reality that followed wasn’t pleasant. It was shocking, bizarre, surreal and sadly, in a glass-half-empty way, expected.

February’d found us listening to a rundown how things might go. How Jeff’s disease and complications would likely progress.

The order was correct: first, he’d be alive, and then, he wouldn’t be.

The timing, though, was fundamentally far-off, greatly misjudged, significantly skewed.

Even when you know what to expect, it’s still unexpected. Quite unbelievable, and unbelievingly challenging for the mind to process.

It’s the sort of thing the heart is much quicker to recognize.

In the same way that Sadie was waiting for me to figure it out, my certain heart was forced to wait for my uncertain mind to follow.

I picked up the phone and dialed 911.

Quote for the week: 2019 10 01 the heart will speak truthfully jakorte

The Oddity of a Moment

What happened next, seems like an out-of-body experience to me, now.

I don’t remember any logical thought process. I can’t explain it. I clearly see myself glancing at the linen closet. In a fractal second, with no room for self-question, I pulled out a blanket.

It’d never happened before. I never even entertained the idea before. I only know this. I settled on the couch, fluttered the blanket over me, and seemingly instantly, fell asleep.

My reality memory kicks back in here.

By my best approximation, it was between 3:45 AM and 4:00 AM when Sadie decided to use me as a trampoline-style dog run. She ran straight up my body, barked in my face, and took off running. I curled protectively onto my side and sighed.

Seconds later she ricocheted. Running the prone length of me again, Sadie barked in my face, again, and sprinted down the hall toward our bedroom. I was hoping her antics might have woken Jeff up, so he could take her out. After her third round of nonsense, I threw off my cover and stomped to the back door.

Sadie followed me but refused to go outside. I picked her up and took us both over the threshold. When I set the squirmy girl down, she stood at the slider staring into the house. So, we went back in. As I struggled to un-clip her, she pranced in antsy expectant circles. “You’re not going to get a treat for that,” I admonished, but Sadie-lady didn’t stick around to hear what I had to say.  She immediately galloped away, rocketing back to the bedroom.

Passing by, I saw Jeff was still blissfully asleep and wanted to cry. With spiteful thoughts, I closed the door. She can just stay in there with HIM and the next time she thinks she needs out… she can wake HIM up.

I went back to the couch and grumpily set my phone alarm to be sure we’d be up in time to eat breakfast and get to church. A blink of sleep later, I was up and making breakfast.

I fixed the bacon, first. When that was done, I mixed up eggs for a scramble, started a pot of coffee. Amused that the yummy wafting smells hadn’t roused man or dog, I went to wake them, both. 

I opened the door I had so surly shut a few hours earlier, and immediately asked Jeff if he’d rather have toast or a bagel. It took me a second to scan the situation.

With one paw on Jeff’s knee, short-time-ago spastic Sadie the hyper-pup was sitting stock-still. Oddity registered, I stared.

Unblinking, maintaining constant contact with Jeff, Sadie’s return stare seemed pointed, communicative, a bit impatient; like she was waiting for me to catch on.

Quote for the Week:2019 09 24 Not everything that’s real is true jakorte

 

 

a sleepless smile

(backtracking to This is My Truth)

At 2:00 in the morning, I was annoyed to be so wide awake. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was just the long day we’d had Saturday. Maybe it was knowing Sunday would be busy with church and groceries, and maybe meeting that baby. Maybe it was me being selfish after a long week at work. I just wanted to get one good night’s sleep.

Once I’d done what I had to (the mask and the loo thing), I wandered back to the kitchen for a snack. I don’t recall what I was looking for, only that there was a minuscule amount left. My frustrated feelings admittedly moved to more along the lines of exasperation. Directly associated with this continual pet peeve: leaving 2 crackers, 1 cookie, 5 chips – or only the crumbly remnants of what might have been.

Unhappy, I turned about for the other side of the house, again. I figured as long as I was sort-of cognisantly sleepless, I might as well be productive. Jeff and Freddie and Sadie were all slumbering soundly, so I took advantage of the quiet. Parked in front of our home office computer, I tackled month-end book-keeping for September.

I made notes, reviewed cash-register close out receipts. I ticked-off sales, counting the number of salsa, hot sauce, snacks, candy, cookies, gift goods and beverages that had found their way off of our shelves. I ran comp numbers, created projections, brainstormed upcoming holiday and marketing scenarios by myself.

In the early morning hours of October 1st, I’d delightfully determined our September had continued our positive streak for the second month in a row. I, fully alone, full-on grinned at the spreadsheet, looking forward to sharing success and smiles with Jeff in the morning.

That was finished and nicely settled, but I wasn’t. I was on an accomplishment high.

To wind down I relaxed into a Scrabble game, battling it out with the computer-generated Maven. Winning a rare game against the programmed-to-win competitor, lead to another round.

When I was sleepy enough to try sleeping, again, I shut down the computer, packaging up tall of the papers and receipts.

By rote, I turned off the office light and turned the corner, fully self-expecting to return to my side of the bed.

Quote for the Week: 2019 09 17 go ahead smile alone jakorte

 

A Sleepless Smile

(backtracking to This is My Truth)

At 2:00 in the morning, I was annoyed to be so wide awake. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was just the long day we’d had Saturday. Maybe it was knowing Sunday would be busy with church and groceries, and maybe meeting that baby. Maybe it was me being selfish after a long week at work. I just wanted to get one good night’s sleep.

Once I’d done what I had to (the mask and the loo thing), I wandered back to the kitchen for a snack. I don’t recall what I was looking for, only that there was a minuscule amount left. My frustrated feelings admittedly moved to more along the lines of exasperation. Directly associated with this continual pet peeve: leaving 2 crackers, 1 cookie, 5 chips – or only the crumbly remnants of what might have been.

Unhappy, I turned about for the other side of the house, again. I figured as long as I was sort-of cognisantly sleepless, I might as well be productive. Jeff and Freddie and Sadie were all slumbering soundly, so I took advantage of the quiet. Parked in front of our home office computer, I tackled month-end book-keeping for September.

I made notes, reviewed cash-register close out receipts. I ticked-off sales, counting the number of salsa, hot sauce, snacks, candy, cookies, gift goods and beverages that had found their way off of our shelves. I ran comp numbers, created projections, brainstormed upcoming holiday and marketing scenarios by myself.

In the early morning hours of October 1st, I’d delightfully determined our September had continued our positive streak for the second month in a row. I, fully alone, full-on grinned at the spreadsheet, looking forward to sharing success and smiles with Jeff in the morning.

That was finished and nicely settled, but I wasn’t. I was on an accomplishment high.

To wind down I relaxed into a Scrabble game, battling it out with the computer-generated Maven. Winning a rare game against the programmed-to-win competitor, lead to another round.

When I was sleepy enough to try sleeping, again, I shut down the computer, packaging up tall of the papers and receipts.

By rote, I turned off the office light and turned the corner, fully self-expecting to return to my side of the bed.

Quote for the Week: 2019 09 17 go ahead smile alone jakorte

 

The Missing Third

(Ok, ugh. Out of order. Somehow  I managed to skip this post between Around the Corner and Murky. It’s a big important emotional chunk, too. So a restart – to bring us back to that point.)

I blew the car horn three times, in quick succession, then, let one long loud one linger.

That sort of worked.

Jeff didn’t wake with his usual start. He opened his eyes slowly and stared straight ahead.

“Do you see it?” I asked

“See what?”

I considered Jeff’s sleep-talking history and noticed that he didn’t seem to be blinking.

“Hey!” I solidly smacked his arm. “Are you awake?”

He shrugged away from me like I was a loon. “Yeah, I’m awake. A car horn woke me up.”

“That was me! I wanted you to see! Look!” I pointed.

“Look at what?” Jeff searched the distance. “You used the horn?”

“Yes! To wake you up.”

“Why didn’t you just wake me up?” He puzzled.

‘Ugh!” I threw my hands up, pointing again. “Look at the rainbows! There are three of them!”

Jeff squinted and swiveled. “I only see two.”

“There are three!” I directed him to tree-top landmarks; to guide his eye up to the faintest of the triple arches.

“I don’t see it.” He repeated.

Realizing my vision might be clearer because of my colored lenses, I whipped off my sunglasses. “Look through these!” I demanded.

“These are way too small.” Jeff laughed, pinwheeling them.

Overcome with urgency, I shouted “I don’t care! Just put them on, before it’s too late!”

“Ok,” he agreed, but furthered his logical reluctance.

“You know they’re gonna get stretched out and won’t fit your pea-head, anymore.” Said, the man with a head the approximate exaggerated  size of an early-season pumpkin and the scale-confirmed weight of a bowling ball, to the woman who buys her ballcaps and sunglasses in the youth sections of stores.)

I watch Jeff bob his head up and down, peering through them.

“Nope,” he re-concluded. “Don’t see it.”

By then, the third had almost faded away. An unsettling sadness rolled through my heart into my eyes. Jeff stared at me, shocked. “Why are you crying?”

“I really wanted you to see it,” I whispered, to avoid sobbing. “It’s very… comforting.”

“Comforting?” Jeff repeated, his expression equally confused and concerned. “Why is it comforting?”

“I don’t know… it just…  is.” I was just as baffled by my reaction as he was.

I was so truly disappointed for him. In those few moments, it had felt like such an important thing; significant.

I’d never seen a triple rainbow before, and Jeff still hadn’t.

Quote for the Week: 2019 09 10 delicate things jakorte

(about this photo, i was sitting at a sunny high top table taking a little rest during a warmish march traverse city wine tour earlier this year. i looked over at this nook, and thought, “i should take a picture.” then, i thought, “why?” then, i thought, “well, those are some interesting angles.” then, i thought, “i’m gonna look like a loon.” but, it kept drawing my attention, so i got up and took a short burst series. back on the bus, i scrolled through some of the day’s photos while waiting for the rest of the riders to board. brought tears to my eyes.  i can’t always see exactly what i’m shooting in sun glares. happens a lot on weekend morning strolls. especially with spider webs and rainbows.)