Thursday, May 24, 2007

My kingdom for a horse

So, due to a sudden infection, Spooney had to go to the hospital and have this minor surgical procedure done. He calls to tell me this while I'm at work, but I've got the Board of Directors in and I can't leave. 12 freakin hours later, I am home and he walks in the front door, looking, well, drugged. He is bleary-eyed, wavering on his feet, and talking really fucking slowly.

Me: “Are you okay?”

Him: “Yeah.”

Me: “Are you sure?”

Him: “Yeah. They gave me morphine.”

Me: "I thought if they gave you morphine instead of a local that you were going to call me to come get you."

Him: "I know, but I felt fine."

Me: "You don't look fine."

Him: "I'm fine."

We’re standing in the kitchen, next to counter full of Indian food that I had ordered as a treat for him for when he got home. I look down, and he is trying to dip a piece of naan into a container of steamed rice. Only the lid was still on the container. He's stabbing the naan into the lid over and over.

Me: "You know the lid is still on."

Him: "Oh, okay."

He stands there looking at the container. I take the lid off.

He starts poking the bread into the container of rice, trying to scoop some up.

Me: "You know that's rice."

Him: “Okay.”

I open up a container of tandoori eggplant.

Me: “You want to dip your bread in this, instead.”

Him: “Okay.”

Me: “I’m so glad you drove yourself home!”

Him: “Okay.”

I fix him a little plate of food and sit him down on the couch.

Me: “Do you want a glass of water?”

Him: “I’m going to have a glass of wine, and then I’m going to bed.”

Me: “You’re not having a glass of wine.”

Him: “Why not?”

Me: “You’re on morphine.”

Him: “Is that bad?”

Me: “You can’t mix alcohol and opiates, baby. It’s dangerous.”

Him: “Really?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Him: “Well, you know…I can really understand…how people who take heroin and shit…just doze off in the middle...”

And then he dozed off. I am not fucking kidding. With his fork still in his hand.

It was one of those deals where, he was so cute and helpless, and I wanted to take care of him, and yet I also wanted to sock him in the face. Know what I mean?

I’m a terrible person. I fear weakness in myself so much that it tends to push my buttons a bit when I see it in the people that I’m close to – the people that I depend upon to some extent.

Notice the qualifier. To some extent. Because I don’t depend on anybody, okay?

Recently, there have been some upheavals where I work, and my reaction has been a typical one for me: I fret. I fret at work, I fret while I drive (when I’m not cursing the people who can’t get it through their thick heads that the left lane is for people who go fast, goddammit!), and I fret in bed at night. Hoooooooooo boy, do I fret in bed at night. When I am in full-on fretting mode, I can lay in bed and fret for five or six hours straight. I can fret while I’m reading in bed until I start to doze, and then as soon as I put the book down, the full-on fret takes over and I am wide awake again. I can fret while withstanding a marathon of late-night movies that should have been a guaranteed snooze-fest. I’m talking That Thing You Do, Riding in Cars with Boys, and The Karate Kid Part III, folks. And I was awake and fretting for every single excruciating minute.

I could go on about the financial insecurities of my childhood, and how events conspired to shape me into a teen that took over the worrying with which my mother was obviously insufficiently concerned. And how my mother’s subsequent collapse and withdrawal probably only proved to me that our economic and emotional downfall was due to an insufficient amount of fretting about our deteriorating circumstances.

But I won’t go on. Blah blah blah, right?

Look, I have made a good life for myself, and despite his misadventure with hospital heroin, I honestly think I have the best boyfriend in the world.

And yet I spend so much of my life feeling as if it is all a house of cards that will at any minute come crashing down around me. It seems as though I cannot accept any indulgence without paying the emotional price for it in fretting. I would like to, for example, be able to enjoy playing with my dog without worrying that his shots are due, and they’re so expensive, and he’s getting old, and what happens when I have to put him down? I would like to be able to enjoy being still relatively young and, you know, sorta still cute without thinking constantly about the slide, the slide, the slide.

What wouldn’t I give for peace of mind? What wouldn’t I give to feel really, really safe, even for just for one night? What wouldn’t I give to finally, finally believe what the experience of my own damn life should have taught me by now - that I am strong, and that I will ultimately, somehow, make my way?


Grant Miller said...

Don't fret about your blog at least. It's just right.

'Bubbles' said...

Ahhhh. I know these feelings well!

I mean, really, really well!

Someone saying, "don't fret" doesn't help a bit, either.

I'll bet you grind your teeth. I've loosened my teeth from fretting in the night.

I don't fret *as much* as I used to fret. I have to think about why and I'll post, because it was a huge change for me, and it was a good thing.

Fretting takes its toll on health, slowly but surely.

'Bubbles' said...

Oh, and I hope Spooney feels better. And what kind of hospital let him out like that??? Scary.

RandyLuvsPaiste said...

Hey Bubbles-
You ask what kind of hospital? An overburdened and underfunded one. Hospitals in the LA County system (of which I recently became an employee) are asked to do more with less all the time. I'm not apologizing for letting someone drive home in that condition (I can't even think about what MIGHT have happened), but that place is like a M*A*S*H unit. They really try their best, but often get overwhelmed.

Anonymous said...

If they sent him home with a monkey on his back, was it at least a helper monkey?

Skylers Dad said...

Hey Vikki, as a fellow fretter I feel your pain. I wish I could enjoy the fact that I scored a pretty good job without having to feel the pressure of being the sole bread winner.

And all the well meaning friends in the world who will tell you not to fret don't understand the fretting mentality. We are hard-wired that way.

At least I won't say that God only gives you what you can handle, cause I have punched people for that.

Michael said...

Your hard-ass act is charming sometimes, but damn! so well done. I swear I can see right through it. At the same time, no way would I say any of this to your face. :D

dad said...

Repeat after me, "I'm safe, I'm flexible, I can deal no matter what comes, I am woman."

Remember, we are Americans and we pursue happiness, even if it fret about it.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Grant, I think that's the sweetest thing you've ever said to me. Don't ever do that again.

Bubbles: I don't grind my teeth, I think because sleeping with headgear forced me to keep my teeth apart, but I DO have recurring nightmares about my teeth becoming loose and falling out. Fun, huh?

Randy: Thanks, Nurse Randy. Now, can you come over and change Spooney's bandage?

Kirby: Oh, I wish! I hear you can train those little guys to make a mean mojito.

SkyDad: I have punched MY MOMMA for that.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Michael: RE: my hard-ass act. What else can I say but "practice, practice, practice."

Or is it "volume, volume, volume"?

Dad, first of all, I think you've been channeling Helen Reddy, which, if done for my benefit, is so sweet, and if not, kinda creepy. Secondly, I already have a chant that I use for when I feel overwhelmed. It is, I regret to say - most especially in this company - the Litany of Fear from Dune. Hey, you got to dance with the chant what brung ya, I guess.

Pinky said...

For the fretting...try a little morphine. It's great.

Larry Jones said...

Maybe you should, like, take up the mandolin or something, since, you know, you fret so much anyway.

'Bubbles' said...

Sorry. No offense intended! My comment was more geared to the 'WTF could have happened' and thank God it didn't... and then I wonder why I was forced to ride in a wheelchair to the front door of the hospital with a nurse escort, who checked to make sure I had a car seat, after having each of my three felt like being the queen in an f'ing parade - and I would gladly have driven a guy on morphine home! (granted, I might have forgotten to put my shoes on!)

'Bubbles' said...

Oh, yeah. Vikki, your theory about the head gear is right, I'll bet. My dentist, who charged me $500 for a retainer-type device told me that eventually the device would train me to keep my teeth from beating the hell out of each other while I 'cope'.

GETkristiLOVE said...

It's amazing to me how different we are about so many things, yet so similar at things like bedtime fretting. Notice how many times I post stuff at 1 or 2am?

And doesn't it make you mad when your boyfriend... you know, just sleeps?

Tell Spooney I hope he's okay!

Spooney said...

That hospital was in such a state of chaos that when my procedure was finished I just got dressed, grabbed my stuff & walked out. I stopped at the vending machine & bought 2 of those Starbucks espressos in a can. I downed them both had a smoke and waited until I felt awake enough to drive. I had been there for over 10 hours (most of it waiting), I just wanted to get the fuck home.
Feeling much better today.

David said...

V: Your fretting is part of what makes you strong. Just like your anger is part of what makes you so loving.

Spooney: Thanks for the update on our health care system. Holy crap.

cheer34 said...

And I thought I was the only worrier and fretter in the world. Many nights have been sleepless because of over whelming worry.

Over whelming worry is a habit from my childhood that still plagues me. I found writing in a journal helps.

Hope your boyfriend is feeling better.

Anonymous said...

oh vikki, love you, love you. of course i'm also an olympic-level fretter and so am deeply touched by the way your piece resonates in me. neil calls it the 'germanic emotional centrifuge'; a shout-out to my genetically melancholic control-freak heritage. you are beautiful, toots. you know how you slow down and enjoy it more? drink more beer with your girlfriends, that's how. true story.

Michael said...

Spooney, I give you credit, man. I haven't set foot in a hospital for a long time. Can't take the cattle system.

dad said...


Dude, don't ya know ya violated the hospital's rules? You did something that I probably would have done. When I broke a blood vessel playing football in HS, my leg stiffen so much I was in pain and couldn't walk and the ER unit came for me. After ice, then heat treatment, I was fine the next day so I got my clothes and walked 2 miles home. Grant you I had a clear mind, but I always have had a desire to make up my own mind about whether I was capable of taking care of myself. On the other hand, I have been mistaken sometimes. Like the time I was in a bad car accident. but I had only one small cut on my leg from crawling out the windshield. I announced I was nice and got up, then fainted from shock.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Pinky: I don't know who you are, but I like the way you think.

Larry: Ah, music puns. Not quite the lowest form of humor, but you can see it from there.

Bubbles: $500? I just use bullets. Much cheaper.

Kristi: Your boyfriend sleeps? Mine offers to have sex with me to "relax" me.

Spooney: Baby, considering that you were out cold within twenty minutes of walking in the door, I'm not sure if the "two cans of espresso and a cigarette" rationale is really flying anymore.

David: Hm. Never thought about it like that before. Sure, it sounds profound, but I will have to ruminate. Be nice if it were true.

Cheer34: Now I'm wondering if it is more of a female thing, this fretting.

Alex: Drinking beer with my Gs gives me an insane amount of pleasure, it's true, even with your Germanic melancholic control freak element thrown in there. Or, actually, ESPECIALLY because of it, probably. Truth be told, what I've found is that it's like getting into a pool that you're afraid will be too cold. As you lower yourself in, bit by bit, you find out that it's more than safe, and okay - it's actually really nice and warm once you get used to it.

Michael: So many things you can avoid enduring when you have health insurance.

Dad: WTF? Through the windshield? How come I don't know this story?

Jess said...

They gave me a Morphine drip in the hospital, too. I friggin' HATED it! "Just give me some Vicodin" I asked, finally. They gave me something that started with a "D" (that wasn't Demerol, which I kept mistakenly calling it), and it was much nicer.

I hope Spooney's doing OK. What? Did he get a sympathy infection for me? ('cause that's what I had) That's very sweet.

I know you know this... but horrific things happen whether you fret about them or not. We can only do what we can do to head them off. Beyond that is anyone's guess. (Look at me, I'm all Yoda 'n shit now)

kbryna said...

look, i know you're older than me and all, so don't think impertinent here but:

bitch, you look fucking AWESOME. not even "sorta" cute. fucking rad. hott, even.

i, a still-27-year-old girl, am insanely jealous of your hotness.

so you got that rockin, anyway.

Pinky said...

Darling, you know who I am. I've been in your live going on forevah now.

Hey Spooney, hope you're all healed up now. Might see ya'll tomorrow night, if I'm not watching my eyelids...

grooveva said...

My kindred midwestern fretter. *sigh* We've come a long way sister, and no this is no vintage ciggie ad I'm coping from.

You consistently (I suspect this may come as as something of a revelation), inspire hope in me that i'll one day pull it together half as well as you do. Stick with it, Nurse Spooney back to proper rock form and I'd be willing to place bets that it's all going to fall together.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Jess: I had a morphine drip once. I never wanted it to end. Talk about no more fretting. Ahhhhhh......

Kbryna: Okay, I am officially nominating you for BEST COMMENT EVER!

Pinky: Apologies, Pinky, your alter ego slipped my mind momentarily.

Grooveva: If you saw me with the cold sweats at 4am, I bet you'd take back that "aspire to half my shit" bit. Betcha. But I appreciate the sentiment.

Flannery Alden said...

Great story...I was laughing out loud as Spoony fell asleep.

"Fear is the mind killer..." It's one of my mantras too.

kim said...


Fretting is a disease. I have it. The only way I stop is is by making myself stop. It has taken Johnny Yen, Girl Yen, Mother, Father, sister and friends to help me stop....and that is for one issue. Then I move onto the next. The constant state of fretting is tiresome. The house of cards will probably not come tumbling down. But you should ween off the fretting. It only causes stomach pain.