It has been eleven weeks since I had a conversation with Bonnie. It has been 11 weeks since I brought Bonnie an overflowing cappaccino and said "La Crema, here is your cappaccino" which was our morning ritual. It has been 11 weeks since Bonnie got up out of her Aeron chair to give me her long hug to tell me she loves me. My La Crema is gone and so is the concommitant Daniel.
I am in Mountain View California attempting to rebuild my life without Bonnie. It is a very odd experience to be so at home in California - and so lost in my everyday life. I awaken and have to remind myself that Bonnie is gone.
I find myself in an altered state of consciousness. I have never experienced this way of being in the world. I feel wooden most of the time. I do not know if my feelings stem from the let down of the 9 years of constant stress of trying to keep Bonnie's body and soul intact. I no longer have to listen for Bonnie's breathing or footsteps or to examine her left eyeball, or look for infected places on her beleagured body. My psychiatrist says my feelings stem from the grief of my loss. Since I do not cry much, I have not fully caught on to my grieving process. But I have not only lost Bonnie, I have lost 20 IQ points. Routine problem solving, like getting my stereo up and running takes considered effort when one or the channel did not work properly. Problem solving is the one joy I seem to experience. Otherwise I am flat, and sad. Friends have been wonderful and patient with me.
At the end of June, I started my cross-country trek, visiting with friends of Bonnie's. I heard new stories about Bonnie, but mostly I had time to think about the book and to rest after days of driving.
I have been struggling to get on top of the pain in my hips. Pain management is an imprecise art and exceedingly difficult due to the politics surrounding pain killers and predjudice around people in chronic pain. After 1 year of awakening from sleep due to the pain in my hips, and effort to get some doctor to actually take on my pain management I can sleep through the night. I live with my pain in the 1 - 3 range on the pain scale. On the other hand, one wrong step and I hit 7 on the pain scale in my right hip. The addition of Celebrex seems to be helping. My sense of feeling wooden, may include the effects of Percocet which I take every 4 hours to keep my pain in a livable range.
I feel like I am in a cartoon, with my life stripped of the rich human detail and the personal effects one has in a normal life. I call my bare apartment the "Cartoon House": It shows in clear relief what is missing and what I value and my vague attempt to rebuild my life here.
I crossed the United States with my La Spazeile Italian Espresso machine designed for small cafes and 3 audiophile stereo amplifiers in my car. No dishes, pots or pans or clothes or books. It is a funny picture, illustrating what I have been focused upon; recreating my morning ritual of making cappaccino and having my music to lift my spirits.
Curiously, my La Spaziale has a sticky valve and it could not express it's self. The problem has resisted resolution despite the 30 hours I have invested, pouring over the Italian manual and stripping the machine down and cleaning everything and reassembling it. On my third attempt, I was able to release the sticking valve, but the machine developed a leak elsewhere. I have finally given in and am having a commerical espresso repair shop fix the machine.
The fine Italian espresso machine is beside the point. The difficulty in completing anything I aim to accomplish seems emblematic for this period in my life. Everything I do takes more steps and time than I anticipate. Each action item is accomplished only with significant effort. Setting up this apartment, with the adminsrivia of transferring the utilities and getting broadband, beds, linens and dishes, and finding the bills in Bonnie's email and the passwords to our bank accounts etc. has been accomplished slowly with a sense that I am way behind schedule. I find that I am often taking 2 steps forward and one step back.
The kicker is being in constant pain, 3 - 7 on pain scale. The pain compounds my sense of having the whole world uphill from where I am.
Friday, I should have my espresso machine plumbed in and working properly. My stereo is burning in and beginning to sound decent. Now I just need to bring my 2 terrabytes hard drive of music back from North Carolina. I only have a small iTunes library on my Macbook Pro.
I printed the current draft of our book and it was 387 pages. I like what we have written. There is still a good deal of writing to flesh out our detailed outline on the second portion of the book. When those chapters are written, I will have to pound down and refine the text we have. It will be a good book when it is done.
I am doing only a couple of hours of work on it on non-doctor days for the next few weeks until I feel like I am back in the swing of things. Right now, editing is an effort, and painful reminder of the years and years of Bonnie's difficult road. On the other hand, writing comes easily. When I sit and read pieces of our journey I am both amazed and tired. What a long strange trip it has been.
I am able to write in the Pain and Suffering Chapter and in the Death and Dying Chapter with ease.
That is it for now. I will come back and clean this account up, but I felt that I had to show up and say hello world.