Monday, October 30, 2006

Family Meeting

We're having a family meeting tonight to discuss how to proceed with Anna's care. I really need help dealing with this family of ours. Everything is so deliberate. The meeting is just so some of them feel proactive. I'll continue to do all the work.

Still, I am at least looking forward to seeing my brothers! They don't get to come down to San Diego very often and they're actually going to be staying with me for a few nights.

The family "meeting" goes down at 7pm at Anna's place. I'm responsible for serving the wine and my cousin (the master chef) is bringing finger foods. I just hope a food fight doesn't break out.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Broken glass

Gay Marriage

Aunt Anna didn't even have to stay in the hospital last night - they just sent her home with some strong painkillers. She has a nasty bruise which she keeps showing to me. I'm glad that she's okay.

Anna is thrilled about the ruling in New Jersey yesterday. She says it is good news for lots of her friends. The great thing about Aunt Anna is that she still considers people she went to college with ages ago and hasn't talked to in decades friends. Once you're in her orbit, you're there. Even if she's not in yours. She is a special lady.

In honor of the "landmark" event, Anna wants to throw a halloween party. Everyone is supposed to come as their favorite gay or lesbian couple. What about people without partners, I asked? Oh, they can just dress up as someone obvious like Liberachi or Ellen Degeneres and propose to everyone at the party. That could be fun. But I'm going to try to get her to open up the costume constraints just a wee bit.

Anna won't tell me what she's dressing up as. And she hired a cab for the afternoon to take her around to get her goods. I love her, but she's a regular weirdo sometimes.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Forget all that

I had to bring Aunt Anna to the hospital this morning - she fell out of her bed.

It was an aweful morning. Everyone around me was rude and I couldn't get in touch with any family members. That guy I was gushing about yesterday? Forget him too - I was typically optimistic for nothing. He's sort of a jerk and he's not the type to ever settle down anyways and he was more embarrassed than supportive when I called him from the ER erlier. Oh well, I guess it's better to know these things early on than after spending 5 years on and off with someone. Still, he's like the first new person I've connected to in years.

I think I see now that the bond that he and Aunt Anna shared had to do with feeling comfortable being alone - alone but not lonely. Drifting effortlessly from new person to new person and being genuinely and deeply satisfied by the exchanges. Having the ability to trust anyone with emotions - particularly including oneself. And being highly emotive without being overly or really at all emotional.

How do people like that evolve? Could I ever become one? Right now I think not - I want to hide away and not have to deal with distant men or unhelpful family or rude strangers or really even my sick aunt who is about to die. What will happen to me when she dies?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Such a great time

I'm at work, and I don't want any students to see me blogging during office hours (like they'd actually stop by this far ahead of final exams - har).

That guy I went out with - very sweet, intelligent, and funny! We've been seeing a lot of each other and having a fun time. He and Aunt Anna even seem to have a special bond - like their souls are made of the same stuff or something. I'm glad they got to know each other. And I'm glad to have someone else around whose not family (no offense, guys!).

That's all - more later!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hello hello?

Does anybody ever read this? I mentioned to a few of the doctors and some of my friends that I was going to begin using this blog medium to discuss my Aunt Anna. I'm doing it as much for the future Garcias and Ravelos (lest they wonder what it was like to watch her die, or what she herself was like). Aunt Anna - are you even reading this? I know you're an internet junkie, and I told you about this.

Well, in any event, Aunt Anna has been out of the hospital for a few days and everything seems pretty much back to normal, except that she's staying with me instead of at her apartment. But I'm at work all day so she still has her privacy. Well, as much privacy as you could expect with two cats around. I'm not accustomed to having her cats in the house, but they do seem to make her happy. The smell is also not as bad as you'd think.

I know this is diverting a little bit from the original topic, but I have a date tomorrow night! Anna wants me to wear one of her necklaces - she says for luck. But I've never heard her talk about luck, so I think that she really wants a little piece of her to be with me on the date. I'll wear it. What harm could it do??

Oh, yeah - Anna and I had a great brownie a la mode dessert a few nights ago!! ;-)

Monday, October 16, 2006

high high high - uh, hi

I know that Aunt Anna was a big hippy. But I just cannot believe how much pot she used to smoke! She's a free spirit, but rather proper and definately not a flake. She writes all day long and knitts in the evening. I love her but have always considered her generally bland in her strict daily routines.

The image in my mind is comedic and novel: Aunt Anna's soft grey hair pulled back losely in a braid while she packs a pipe or rolls a joint in the Grand Tetons, saying something like "duuuuuuuude, check out this toooootally kind bud I just got" to her bearded, sunglassessed, headbanded companion who is whistling a Bob Dylan song.

Aunt Anna's doctor, Toby XXXXX (coinidentally, a classmate of mine from high school), slipped me some marijuana while he was reviewing with me Anna's prognosis, status, hospice options, and requirements for dismissal. He whispered that he had a special place in his heart for Anna Ravelo as she had been one of his favorite professors in college. He wanted to see her comfortable and he didn't want her hooked up to any more machines.

Dr. XXXXX suggested that I mix it into a pesto or bake it into some brownies - she'd never even know. Aunt Anna thought pot pesto was a good idea for a restaurant in Berkeley but a lousey thing to do to such nice "grass."

Come again?

Did my dear old sweet aunt call this stuff "grass." Do people still use that term?

And so began today's musings over my narrow-mindedness. Pot does not necessarily turn you into a loser or a burnout - it's not inherently evil. Maybe it not evil at all. My aunt is not as bland as I thought. Everyone has secrets.

Apparantly my Aunt Anna was actually quite the stoner during her prime. I told her about Dr. Toby XXXXX's little gift, and she laughed in recollection of her highs. She smiled mischeviously as she recounted genres of memories that I never would have imagined her to have been involved with. From Aunt Anna, I'm accustomed to hearing stories about Pacific waves taking unexpected turns or about how the pH of the rain in Mexico affects ant hills in Costa Rica and the birds that feed off of them. But today I heard about the time Anna's college roommate inhaled bong water and the time when she and a bunch of her post-doc friends (post doc!?!) streaked through a trailer park after going skinny dipping nearby.

I'm glad I got to know this side of Aunt Anna. To be superhuman you have to be super human (as in, really human). My aunt is the smartes stoner I know. Unless my department chair is a stoner. Because he is damn smart.

Okay - I have some brownies to bake (hey it's hard for an old lady to inhale!).



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p.s. Anna came back from the hospital this evening! She seems to be doing well and I keep forgetting about her prognosis. I have a sense that she's going to be one of those rare sick people who miraculously recover by having a good attitude. Cross your fingers!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Aunt Anna had a heart attack last night

Aunt Anna had a heart attack last night. But that is hardly the worst of it. She is an 84 year old woman with all her wits but a bad case of the sugar bugs. She likes candy in a really innocent and endearing way, but she can't have it. Her body doesn't know what to do with it. Apparantly her heart attack yeterday was primarily the result of her advanced diabetes. And now it looks like she had a stroke too. It's funny - I know all about plants and earthy organic matter, but I have no idea what is really breaking down in Aunt Anna's body right now. The doctors have all but said that she'll be gone before the end of the month. She'll be alert but not her normally extra sharp self. The best that the family can do is make sure that she is comfortable and happy in her last few weeks. How can I do that? I can I do that and be honest at the same time? I really just want to wail and cry when I see her, but she's not gone yet. I KNOW that I should be enjoying every moment with her 110%. But it's hard to enjoy being with her in the present because I'm haunted by the creeping future without her. The creeping, lonely, sad future.

I am normally a generally optimisit person like Aunt Anna. She does not know how much pity and grief I am already feeling about her imminent death. At least I don't think she does.
I would be dishonoring her life to mourn its loss defore her death. She is such an amazing person that I wouldn't be surprised if she wote a novel or masterpiece screenplay before she dies. Or even if she drafted a treaty for peace in the middle east or learned how to make video games or saved the world. She is better than a super hero.