Sunday, September 28, 2008

Time to get a shit colored fan

I have had the shittiest couple of weeks I can remember and what sucks the most about it is I haven’t hit rock bottom yet. Friday I found out I had hurt my sister-in-law, which is not something I ever intended to do nor something I will easily get over. She is in the middle of the health crisis of her life, juggling 2 darling kids ( not literally, they’re too big for that) and coping with the grief of transitions, adaptations and of course the fear that cancer always instills – facing our own mortality. Allison is such a remarkable woman and great mom and I love her so much that it is devastating to think I caused her even a thimble full of pain.

But wait, that’s not even the sucky part. Around 5 or so, I was getting ready for my gig and I fell fully backwards, missing my hard headboard by about a foot but landing on the back of my head with huge impact. Of course I had taken off my medic alert bracelet (“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”) for the gig but I was able to crawl to the cell phone and reach Edith. I lay there on the floor sobbing and wondering how the hell I could possibly perform.

Once I got to the club, I was surrounded by so much love and laughter, I got through it all with the help of brandy and painkillers. Lisa made sure I was well iced and the small number of folks who knew what was happening rallied to the cause. Edith informed me she was sleeping over which I felt was unnecessary until I fell again and again hit the back of my head. Again I sobbed and sobbed – less for the pain that the symbolism. These were the two worst falls since before my diagnosis, so scary, violent and random that even I am now forced to agree with many of the health care professionals I work with and most of my friends. I need to be in the wheelchair almost all the time.

Transitions are hard and this one is a bear.

I don’t want this.

I want to be normal.

Sometimes I wonder how many body blows I can actually stand. Since Allison’s diagnosis I have been sick with grief for her, for my precious and amazing niece and nephew, for my poor family who are already reeling and of course for my beloved baby brother for whom I would happily take a bullet (especially now!) While they have been fighting their battles, I’ve been dealing with my own decline, severing a 25 year tie with someone who has been very unhealthy for me, worrying about the state of my son’s hurting heart and slowly realizing that someone I really like does not reciprocate my feelings – or maybe just finds it way too depressing to date someone with my challenges. Either way it has the same effect.

It’s better if these things aren’t jammed into 2 weeks I think.

But here’s the funny part – blessings abound. The boys in the band offer their superb musicianship and their loving friendship, their wheelchair schlepping services, their jokes, their Carla-lifting and love. At the ALS event on Saturday there was no chair lift as promised and one of the men said “Don’t worry, we have all kinds of people around here trained in lifting people” and my piano player John R said “But they don’t love her like we do, “ and my bass player Jon said “Yeah, we’ll carry her.” Which he did, honeymoon-style up the steep set of stairs.

More love – my mom brought the famous (to this blog) Pat H. to the Bay Area to hear the gig. What a treat to meet her in the flesh!

More love – my dad and brother admitting to crying when they read the recent review, my dad covering my head with kisses after the gig and hearing my drummer David talk about joking with Dad at the urinals. He said something to the effect of “your daughter would say something really funny about now.” No doubt.

More love – my amazing, phenomenal, gorgeous girlfriends swooping in, bossing me around and knowing what’s good for me even when I can’t see it. The way they hold me when I cry, hold the space for me to vent, deal with things I don’t want to, mother me in a way that is so hard for me to accept but so deliciously comforting, look gorgeous in velvet dresses and laugh when I offer to help them bury their husbands.

Yet more love – if you saw me sing Friday night, I wasn’t being brave or faking it. I was just thoroughly loving the moment. It’s a joy, honor and privilege to get to sing and tell Sarah Palin jokes. It just doesn’t get much better than playing with those three guys for all of you.


Anonymous said...

you are perfection
ways large and small
despite falls
perfection, remember
friends and fantasized lovers
love you
perfection, remember
and if you get a shit-colored fan, it'll be perfect, too
you are perfection, remember...

evlyn said...

I just had to respond to this blog...I was on the way to your concert on Friday evening, and I took a big fall on Shattuck and landed on my head, cracking it open, and having to go to the emergency room.
my post to my writing group:

Alison and other interested Sunnies

Well, I was on my way to Carla's concert, so looking forward to it, and wham! tripped on the street and cracked my head open.. Berkeley is a wonderful place for this to happen, because I had lots of young people come to my aid. The best was a young man, who didn't look a day over 16, said "I am studying to be an EMT" and took off his clean, white T-shirt and wrapped my head to stop the bleeding.... a wrap that held until I could back home on the BART and to the emergency room.....So I have inadvertly joined the "stitch club", but I am fine. One of my eyes was so swollen I could not see out of it for a day, but now I can see. Face looks horrible, but very little else bothering me. Mostly the trauma of falling, and missing Carla's concert.....
It could have been worse......

I have been to some of your other concerts & follow your blog, and I am glad that "the show went" on...
Blessings & peace,

Anonymous said...

Dear Carla
I would loved to have been there to hear you sing. Living in the Interior of B.C. makes me just a little too far away to get to these things, but one of my Gladstone mates will let me know all about it. I needn't tell you how blessed you are to have such wonderful friends and family. So many heavy burdens are put on us in this life - the question becomes, how do I get through them. But somehow we do and it is so much easier with all that love and laughter. My son once said "for only four letters - Life, is such an incredibly large word." So many thorns along the way, but without feeling the thorns how do we come to see how beautiful the roses are.

CT said...

I love you, even if gravity and fate conspire to not love you.

Anonymous said...

I would fight a hungry pit-bull if it would bring your walking back.

I would walk naked into a frat house to bring back your fingers.

I would wear panty-hose (control top) for every second of the rest of my life if I could ensure that you could see your son become a father.

I would work at the DMV
I would sell tupperware
I would vote for Palin/McCain if I could take away your pain, although that might hurt you worse.

I hate that you are hurting.
I wish I could help!!!!!

Anonymous said...

What a treat to be able to fly to Oakland and to finally get to meet you. I was so totally impressed with your beauty, your talent and with the love that surrounds you. The Secret Service could use those wonderful women who are determined to keep you from harm. They truly are a blessing and a joy to watch in action.

It was also a great pleasure to spend time with your parents and to see where you get your sense of humor. Your Dad drove us around the area, we walked on a pier, talked, laughed, cried a little and marveled at the fact that 51 years just fell away.

What a gift you bring to those who love you and to those who read you.
Count me as both.

Anonymous said...

My darling, darling Carla,

Right back at ya, in that I never want to cause YOU pain!

And let's not forget the facts, lady: that YOU were taking care of ME (and protecting my weird-WASP boundaries)... Plus, it was the teensiest, tiniest timble of hurt.

Love you love you love you,

Ezra Fox said...

Sarah and I felt really blessed to be there on Friday. It was magical.

I desperately want a recording of your Most Depressing ALS song in the world.

Anonymous said...

wassa matter? cant post anything about forgiving yourself for makin a mistake?