Linda says I am permanently sick but have no disability income, or other income. I have items to sell on line that she has promised to help me sell, but that I am too sick most days to do them myself and she has promised often to help me she says, like listing things on ebay. But she so far does not, she also says, too busy. So I have little income.
“And what do I do with what I have?” I asked, as I was scanning ebay, as I would be in Cardiff, looking for items to turn a quick profit.
“You buy things,” she said (this sounded familiar), “and you give them all away.”
“All of them?” I was slightly incredulous because if you don’t keep some floating base, how can you maintain your profit or core capital. Yes. Everything, I gave it all away.
I thought about that for a while. “So then, this MSA thing, it’s pretty serious?”
Yup. This is not to say I do not like to think of myself as generous, but you only give away everything when you don’t need enough money to keep maintaining yourself. When you honestly belief there is no point in keeping things to spread throughout your life, but rather that this short time is your life.
I did not ask her how short. But she said I was not anorexic anymore, no, I didn’t do that, I just was that thin. And pale?
For now I don’t know you, those reading, really, or that much. Indeed it seems all the people I know are a continent away. And it seems that who I am is further...
Who is this Elizabeth? Why would I not come up with some scheme and pour my energy into that, write another book, or create a job? I can’t explain it, nor can I explain this apartment and its medical equipment.
“Here,” Linda said, handing me an oxygen nosepiece.
“I am NOT on oxygen.”
“Yes Sweetie you are.” (Only Linda calls me Sweetie, try it and I will rip your lungs out!). She said lots of people are.
I asked her to name one my age. Except the one we knew, back in the UK. And she had cancer. A panic made my heart squeeze up, “I have cancer?”
I could see Linda choosing her words, she is not a proficient liar. Apparently I do NOT have cancer, but I have a serious thing, something as serious as cancer, plus something else, I could tell by the pauses, that there were other things she wanted to say, but didn’t. At one point she said I had been let down by so many in the medical field. It made me check my toes and maybe I should check a mirror, I can’t FIND any amputations, or surgical scars I don’t remember. What did they screw up so bad?
Linda and I are in a bit of a tiff over language. She keeps using “We” the way First Grade Teachers use “we.”
“Who is ‘WE!’” I demanded. Turns out “we” is me, or the me that is supposed to be receptive to the cues from her, or the like.
She even said, “That’s okay, we don’t have to eat our whole dinner.”
“We?" I exploded, "I was not aware that mastication and swallowing were a group activity!” I had experienced more than enough of 'we'. Experienced enough of this place to be honest.
I am a person who does things, solves thing: I open stores, I find jobs where none are, I make money to pay rent, I do not have little funds and have to clear them through ‘authority', my partner Linda; I am not a child, nor an old person. I am not a person who needs help brushing my teeth! Except it seems I am. Since she had to.
“How do I live with this!” I railed trying to type and hitting wrong keys 3 out of 4, asking her how the 'other Elizabeth' could stand it. Apparently she does.
Everything is changed, Linda as well. She is stronger emotionally, tougher, but more tired, sighs more. She handles confrontation better, even if with me. But there is a fatigue in her voice when she talks about not using the “we” and not trying to control everything I do. I ask if we have talked about this before. Yes. Linda is wearing too many hats. I think the fatigue is because she knows she doesn’t have the luxury of time to work at changing. Is she forced to do too much as my medical aide, the person who takes care of me, and there is nothing left of “us”?
“Why does my head hurt?” I ask her, holding the back of my head.
She says this is a subject that gets me agitated. She says it like there are a lot of subjects that do that and that agitation is when bad things happen, bad things happen to me. She said we were talking about this subject when I had my seizure. And now I am here. Only it seems that Tony Blair isn’t Prime Minister and I am not in the UK, and that the “I” who is talking to you will disappear in the morning, maybe.
Tomorrow I am supposed to be fitted for a wheelchair. She won’t say what type. I think she thinks I will get upset if I find out. She doesn't want me to answer my email or open it, because I will get upset at things in there, or confused. Quite honestly, I don’t mind not taking in any more information. Nor am do I find the idea of disappearing when I wake SO awful. Maybe I will wake back in Wales. I think not. But maybe the person here will be stronger than I? I seem to be a person bound? A person overcome with appointments and organizations and no wonder I can’t find a job. And if I don’t know who I am to be, how can I remember all I would need to maintain my own business.
Linda says that is another problem, that I can’t remember things.
I like these images of girls I found on here (this computer), though the ones with wings are all bound, bound with ribbons to keep them from flying away.
So, while I will be gone tomorrow, I guess the other Elizabeth, probably very battered one, if Linda is any guide, will be back. If Linda is that tired, that weary, that exhausted, then Elizabeth must be a bit of a wreck. I say that not just because of the way Linda watches me all the time, as if I am about to fall over, so physically I'm guessing not in good shape. Because Elizabeth, and I mean me, always was a bit of a slow learner, in that, just because I got smashed down by a brick wall doesn’t mean I would stop running (or rolling) at it again if I believed it shouldn’t be there. So how bad off is she (Elizabeth)? Bad off that the only things on her desk are an anime figure, in a wheelchair, an inch or two high and pain medication.
Is she so lost that she needs something to touch every day to remind her that she is not alone in history or society? Is she that alone in life? How does she go on? By looking over and remembering that she is not as alone as she feels? And by taking enough pain meds to focus?
There are two pictures on her (I mean 'my') bookcases, one is a girl with wings, and the other is this. I can’t tell if it is Elizabeth and Linda in the picture nor who is supposed to be watching over whom; who is the exhausted one? Or is it Elizabeth watching over herself. Am I the one standing, her past, her Cardiff memories and attitude brought up to give her a rest. Though the picture has flowers, it is a cold picture, of some sort of winter. And the girl with wings. It is odd because I used to believe I had black wings yet all the pictures are ones of girls with white wings.
Something has changed inside of her, this Elizabeth of this desk and the pictures. For the first time in her life, I think she is paying so hard right now, that she has no need to punish herself further for her past. These are the angels of now, bound only by a bit of ribbon, they want to be kept here, and Elizabeth sees herself in these. I believe that. A few years ago, in 2004 and you would have found the pictures of Dore’ surrounding me.
All this tells me that Elizabeth’s life, here and now, is more horrific than probably anything I can imagine. At that every little bit of happiness is fought for. Certainly it is a painful (literally, I attest!) existence. And yet, she has pictures of angels waiting, accepting the binds which keep them here. I think that is Linda, and maybe, not knowing you, that is you too. She knows she can go, but yet she stays. I think there is someone or a lot of someone’s that she is trying to protect. I will tell a story about her, or me, or both of us from when Linda and I first got together. Elizabeth was driving Linda’s car. It was in a parking lot, she asked Linda to get out. Insisted. Elizabeth (I) have had my whole life senses beyond that which is normal to an extreme sense (like hearing a wristwatch in a pocket in another room through a closed door type hearing). Linda got out. I motioned her away and started the car. She got back in and wanted to know what that was about. Elizabeth (I) explained that she smelled gas fumes and was concerned that over dinner the gas fumes from a small leak has filled the car and so when the engine turned over, the car would flash fire, incinerating anyone inside of it. Linda was not amused. Linda said never to treat her like that again. That she should watch while I (Elizabeth) died.
See, Elizabeth has never been scared of death in a conventional way. And there is absolutely no way she would not find a way to make sure Linda was safe. And not find a way to make sure each person who was innocent or vulnerable was safe.
She’s been in a garage on fire as a child. Her mother took her though the smoke to move the car they couldn’t afford to lose. She was probably nine.
I guess I am trying, in my own way to understand what Elizabeth is doing. And how sick she really is. Pretty sick it seems. I think when she thinks Linda and other people are safe, she’ll go. Or let go. And if she thinks she has become a burden in any way, or is “bad” in any way; she’ll kill herself.
When the “I” with the memories I have now first woke up I had very bad chest pain, and Linda said she had a stethoscope and she did. I looked at Linda with a sort of wonder, ‘when did she learn how to use a stethoscope?’ I thought.
She said my heart was very erratic. It hurt so bad, I couldn’t help but scream a little, or try or writhe. She asked if I remembered the last time this had happened? I did. It was early 2004 in Cardiff, and I was lying on our hallway, and the Marfan’s was acting up big time and she wanted to call and ambulance and I said, “If it is now, it is now.”
Apparently that WASN’T the most recent time, she was just trying to find out where or which Elizabeth I was.
Time for me to go now. I know, what a monologue, eh? But no caterpillar wants to die, just so a butterfly can live. So it seems I don’t want to go to bed, to wake up to jumbled memories and me, the Elizabeth of 2004 gone.
Treat Elizabeth well, all of her. She doesn’t realize how fragile her humanity is. Particularly if it is worn down. She’ll want to impress you, prove she can’t be beaten. Everything can be beaten, by the simplest of things: since gravity breaks down mountains; and rain splits stone.