Scarlett and doctor’s news

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The first time my father’s doctor asked me into his office to explain his situation to me, I was too nervous to look directly into his face (like most of the time when I have to have a conversation with a stranger). Therefore, I scaned the office instead.

His office is more like a little bedroom, with a single bed with white sheets and a fluffy looking pillow, a desk covered in papers, folders and medical gadgets, and a small closet. There is one shelf full of books and file holders, and the window looks out to a familiar avenue, the one where my faculty building is in. It’s autumn, the trees’ branches are still showing off their brown and yellow colored leaves, still crunchy but ready to die and fall to the ground. The noise of the cars driving through the avenue is muted thanks to the thick-looking glass that constitutes the window, and I can only hear the voice of my father’s doctor. He’s not Spanish, which makes his voice peculiar sounding. But he has a reassuring voice, and is never afraid to tell things clearly. He asks me if I understood what he meant with “tracheotomy”, “brain hemorrhage” and “hypertension”. I nod a few times, trying to hold my tears back. He then says the only thing we have to do is wait. More waiting.

I scan the office for the second time and stop at the corkboard right above the doctor’s desk. I saw her before, but I didn’t pay attention. I looked without looking, so to speak. There, in A4 form, Scarlett Johansson pouts at me. It’s almost as if she was saying “hi, your dad’s gonna be ok, look at my lips”.

I can’t help but smile, because I never really liked Scarlett. Yet she decided to be present at one of the most important events in my life. Hi, Scarlett. Welcome. Please, watch over my dad.

The rest of the day, I’m stuck thinking about Scarlett and the irony of it all. I think about the moment when my dad’s doctor put up that picture, almost like a schoolboy putting up a poster of his favorite football team. I think about his colleagues, going inside his office and seeing the picture, and maybe commenting about it. And I think about my dad, who never really knew who Scarlett is –but will certainly do when he gets out of this. I will make sure of it.

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Waiting

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My father had a brain hemorrhage last Monday night, and it happened while he was alone. Totally alone in a huge empty house. It happened, and I had no way of knowing it until I tried calling him and he didn’t pick up the phone. I ran and took a cab and when I got there, the blue lights of the cops’ cars illuminated the street. The front door of the house was wide open and somebody had turned all the lights of my house on. And I heard voices upstairs. I ran up, I jumped 2 steps each time and got to his room, finding him on the floor, still awake but totally out of it. He tried to talk, but his mouth was twisted and the left side of his body paralysed.

It happened really fast, but my dad managed to stay awake until we got to the Emergency room. The doctor treated him, asked questions, and he complained about pain. He couldn’t speak. He was out of it. And I was crying. I was angry, but I was scared. Really scared.

Somehow, he still remained the polite individual I will always remember whenever I think of him in the future. He referred to the doctor as “miss” (señorita, por favor). And asked me why was I there. He shouted directions “call this man”, “not this hospital”, “my head hurts”, “I want to sleep”.

Now 5 days have passed and he’s in the hospital, sedated, his brain has stopped hemorrhaging. But I’m still scared.

I can only see him for half an hour in the morning and another half in the afternoon. That’s not nearly enough -I don’t care if he’s sedated. I hold his hand. And I talk to him. In my imagination, he’s somewhere far away, but he still can hear me. He’s having weird dreams (he always has weird dreams), and when he wakes up, he will tell me everything about them. When he wakes up, he will remember what I told him, will promise to change, to take care of himself. He will be ok. His hand may be paralyzed. Or maybe his whole arm, but I just want him to wake up.

I know what could go wrong. But I also know what could go right. Perfectly right.

Waiting is the worst.

I never thought I’d be sharing this information on here, but writing seems to help me, and, afterall, I’m rambling. This blog is for ramblings. My ramblings.

This week I missed all my classes -but I simply couldn’t concentrate. Wherever I’m in, I have the image of my dad stuck in my head. I can’t focus. But I need to remember what he wanted the most: he wanted me to have a future and his whole life has consisted on providing it to me. I need to keep going.

But please, please, please, let my dad be ok.

I hate waiting.

Growing Up

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Funny how lately I had been thinking about growing up and about how scared I was of becoming an “adult”. In my opinion, no adult has it together -we all have problems, no matter our age.

It seems almost as if the universe were trying to force me to grow up, and recent events prove my theory. Nothing like a reality slap in the face to make you consider things.

Yet, in spite of this, I’m still scared. And overwhelmed.

Defective me

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Disabilities can be really annoying.

Most of the time, you accept your disability and try to live with it. You try to convince yourself you can be a whole person in spite of whatever you lack of -sight, hearing or mental agility. But every once in a while, you encounter a day when you don’t feel complete, you feel like a defective product, and start to wonder the overused “why me?”. You look around and see people who seem to have it all, whereas you’re sitting there, feeling incomplete.

This has happened to me a couple of times in my life. Well, that’s a lie. This has happened to me PLENTY of times in my life, but the triggering situation is often the same: I can’t hear what people say to me.

Due to bad genes (familiar heritage), I’ve ended up being 22 and slightly deaf. Yeah, people laugh at cartoons where (mostly) old people repeat the “WHAAT?” when someone speaks to them –but believe me, it’s not funny when you’re the one saying “WHAT” more than 4 times. And it’s not funny when you’re not old at all.

I still remember the day when my ENT told me I would have to use hearing aids. I was 14 and ever since, my hearing seems to have gotten worse. I cried in the car and asked my father why did I have to wear those things in my ears. I was angry, but mostly, worried people would laugh at me. At the time, I had only seen those big hearing aids that kind of wrap around your ears –my mom used one of those, despite being totally deaf. She said she could still hear noises (yet she couldn’t understand what someone was saying to her). I guess that’s why I was so worried: I didn’t want to end up like her. My sister often told me stories about her high-school years, when her classmates used to laugh at my mom and mock her sign language speaking. That made me really sad. And again, angry.

So, when I later went to get my own hearing aids done (I would have to wear one in each ear), I was pleased to see there were more kinds and finally got two tiny pieces that go inside your ear. They’re also made in many colours, but I, scared of them being visible, picked the flesh colored ones. I still wear them, and people say they’re not too visible, at least not if you don’t pay attention to my ears (and definitely not when I wear my hair down, which is most of the time).

Yeah, going through high school using them was easy. I think most of my classmates didn’t know I used them, only my close friends -and I think some of them often forgot I did. My best friends called them “antennas”, and they would often tell me to “put my antennas on”. So I laughed -but still got sad when once at a sleepover I couldn’t hear the film we were watching at 2am. The voice was down so we wouldn’t disturb my friend’s parents, and I pretended I could hear it. I couldn’t bring myself to ask them to turn the subtitles on (because some people find subtitles distracting). So yeah, the next day I cried a bit.

 

My young-adult years have been filled with up and downs. I still get mad some times. And twice has happened to me that I have had to go back home after having just arrived to my faculty, just because I had forgotten those hearing aids (without which I can’t properly hear what the professor is saying, no matter how close I sit -I’d probably have to sit in his/her lap to understand him/her. I’m studying English at uni, but it wasn’t my first choice. Well, it was, but I decided to take Law instead just because I was scared I would lose my hearing and would not be able to understand a word of English. I was worried the pronunciation would be hard (it is) because I wouldn’t be able to imitate the sounds or that I would miss what the word sounded like. Anyway, taking Law proved to be an epic fail and I ended up plucking up some courage I never thought I had and dropped off after two months in Law school -just because I knew I wasn’t meant for that. I had to study English (now I don’t see me anywhere else)

Today was one of those days when I feel disabled. And I hate that I missed one the classes I’m most looking forward to this semester because of that. Today (I can feel it) will be one of those days when I doubt my potential and think I lack of something important. I will wonder if I can get anywhere in life in spite of my disability, and I will feel like I’m not good enough. I will imagine scenarios where people would speak to me and I would not understand a word they’re saying. And, most importantly, I will worry about losing the rest of my hearing.

Because having a defect is scary as hell.

Shine On

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  • There’s always music playing in my room, and it tends to be too loud.
  • Books pile up around me -some of them patiently waiting to be read.
  • Sometimes I get angry at a book or at a film, and talk to myself when I’m alone.
  • I like my friends (normally this, in the world we live in, is a remarkable thing). I believe you must surround yourself with people you actually enjoy and don’t feel like you need to impress.
  • The view from my window (balcony, actually) is always the same, but I tend to lose myself in it every once in a while. I’ve been awake for whole nights, feeling the coldish air coming through my open window. I’ve stared at the dark sky, looking for stars but failing miserably because of the excess of city lights. I’ve followed the path of the moon at night, going from one clear point to the other, hiding from me behind the building in front of mine.
  • Every once in a while, I catch myself creating weird scenarios in my head -impossible, distant and beyond amazing.
  • I’ve been to the streets of NYC thanks to my imagination (and films, and books, and pictures) but never in real life.
  • I like writing. I do, but some times I think I’m not good at it. Maybe what I’ve dreamed of my whole life is just a distant light, like Jay Gatsby’s green light. Something that keeps me going but, at the same time, seems to be unreachable no matter what I do.