Friday, February 27, 2009

Hospital Haute Coutre

If you have ever been in the hospital, you know what I am talking about. The hospital gown. It is designed for easy access for nurses and is the (excuse the expression) butt of many a joke.

I haven't had a proper sit down bath in weeks. I can't submerge completely in water because of radiation burns and now my surgical incision. And I'm one of those people who shower in the morning and then at night, I enjoy being submerged in boiling hot water to my chin with a good book and when I was healthy, a glass of wine and soaking until I was done to a turn. I resembled a very done lobster when I emerged in a cloud of steam from the bathroom about an hour later.

But back to hospital fashion. So here I am in this hospital johnny. My sister who is a nurse, usually comes in of the evenings and gives me the ubiquitous bed bath, changes my sheets, and dresses me in a gown she constructed of two of the johnnys., snapping up the shoulders and tying the sides. The hospital would really prefer she just use one, I am the skinniest person in the world right now. But I suppose she wants to preserve as much of my dignity as she can. It is a running discussion she has with the nurses to make sure that if I am not fashionable, I am at least decently clad.

To pass the time, and believe me when you are a patient, you have plenty of that, I began to concoct a tale of the man who invented the hospital gown. Here it is for your perusal.

Hospital Haute Coutre
By Aslinn Dhan Dragonhawk
In the late 1800's in Paris, a struggling fashion designer was trying to find his place in the annals of fashion design. He worked feverishly to create clothes that would set trends and cause a stir in the fickle and often vicious world of Paris haute coutre. He entered competitions, went to all the top design houses and begged anyone who was anyone to allow him to cut their clothes. No one was interested in his work. So he went to work for the French government designing uniforms and other apparel for the military, the gende d'arm, prisons and the like. It was a living, but he was uninspired. He knew this was just a way to make a living and he would simply be an anonymous government employee.
Then there was a post on the bulletin board that the Paris hospital needed a simple design for gowns for patients that would fit most any body shape and be simple to put on and take off and leave the patient easily accessible for any and all medical proceedures. It wasn't difficult but it would at least relieve some his boredom. He went to work and created his design and made a gown and had it shown at the hospital director's meeting. They praised it's simplicity and it's utility and before he knew it, most every hospital in the world would use it.
Of course the patients would never really appreciate it's design and helpfulness. They complained that it was too big or too small and it left your derriere hanging out in the breeze. All the easier for nurses to give you shots, enemas, birth your babies, or secure your diaper. But woe unto the absent minded ambulatory patient who forgot about the opening in the back as they took their stroll down the halls. Everyone had the chance to make you the butt of their joke.
So now, the decades have passed and we still use that wonderful, simple hospital gown today, but the name of the man who designed it is still a mystery til now. The name of the designer: Pierre Buttzout.
Thank you Pierre, you have made my humiliation complete.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Surgery Tomorrow

So, today, I have been going for tests, a final MRI and an intense discussion about my little stranger. The doctors have been giving me the blow by blow about that they may be doing to me during the surgery. They orginally wanted to do it laproscopically but they have decided to do it open, along the bikini line.

I have heard stories about the myths surrounding air reaching the tumor causing spread of cancer. I have been begging for a closed proceedure, but they felt that I would not be assured that all the tissue would be taken out that is effected by the cancer. They explained that the myth comes because most people ignore symptoms til it is too late and that adds to the notion that exposure to the atmosphere causes immediate spread. They promise me that this is not the case.

My dad has been donaing blood for the surgery and I have been doing a mix of synthetic blood and true blood to build up my count, and fight the anemia that I am experiencing. I will have two more rounds of radiation then they will do the bone marrow transpant and I will be in isolation.

I'm scared, I don't mind to say it. My priest is coming to anoint me and give me Communion and he will even do the ashes, on a little card to post on my window because I will be in a protected environment. I will be fully ready to go through whatever it is I will be going through, at least spiritually.

Mom and dad came to see me today. They still don't like to be around me and they are glad I'm about 30 minutes away and the weather has been on and off again so they have an excuse not to be around so much. I understand, though it does hurt.

My sister and her wife come to see me for a few minutes every day, which is nice. I like my sister in law. I can't see my little "niece" because she is seven and little kids are notorious little petri dishes, but she draws me pictures and writes me letter. I always email her a little note, just for her. She wants to know what the boo boo looks like. I told her it was a little man that was kind of ugly and the doctors were going to trick him out and grab him.

They give me about even odds, because the chemo and radiation didn't do everything they expected it to do, namely shrink the tumor. But it did stop growing and is in stasis. I hope they can get it out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Geronimo's Bones

As I lay here in my hospital bed, trawling the Internet, trying to keep my mind off what is happening to me, yet trying to decide how much further I am willing to go, I ran across this article about the descendants of Geronimo seeking the remains and funerary pieces of the great Apache warrior to give them an honest burial so his spirit will go on to the land of the dead.

Being Cherokee and Iroquois, I have a profound empathy for the Native people of America. I know that aboriginal ways are not always Christian ways but their belief structures are just as legitimate as Christian ways of dealing with the living and the dead. I would hate to think that here would be someone in the future that would dig up my ancestor's graves or even my grave, to study and keep in a cardboard box in the dark bowels of the Smithsonian or some college. I would rather think that my remains would remain in the earth to become a part of the Great Mother, who allowed us to spring up and walk on her great body and then cradles us in the arms of the soil to nurse us in our death sleep as we wait for the time of rebirth and reunion with the Creator.

To honor the dead, whether they share your world or religious view is a human responsibility. To treat with respect the most basic thing left of us, our earthly remains is the last request any of us could make of our brothers and sisters.

As one chief wrote: Deal kindly with my people for the dead have a power, too.

And for the sake of the great spirit, go to Mount Rushmore and blow those President's faces off the side of that mountain. The Black Hills Mountain range, of which Rushmore is a part is the home of Wakontanka, the Creator God of the Lakota Sioux. Those carvings are the equivalent of drawing a moustache on the Virgin Mary. It is a sign of dishonor and respect. Those mountains are the Sioux' cathedral. Give it back to them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Own Sheets and Blankets

See, no one really knows what is like to be in a hospital for a very long time. And as I am going to be in the hospital for a long time, I miss my old room in my mom and dad's house. My own bed and matresses with that familiar divit in the spot where you lay the most, the smell of your own pillows, that mix of clean skin and hair and your favorite cologne, the favorite flowered sheets and the old blanket that is warm in winter and somehow cool in summer that has the little hole in it that that you finger when you read or just before you fall asleep.

So, although I am in a rather sterile hospital room, with my little True Blood calendar the nurse Sherri made for me pinned up on my bulletin board. (I'm currently staring at Eric, sitting on his throne, looking sexy and bored. Obviously she doesn't know about my Bill fixation.) I was surprised by my mom bringing my pillows and and one of flowered flat sheets and my favorite blanket to put on my bed. Hospital pillows suck anyway.

After she and dad left, I snuggled down in my hospital bed and pulled my sheets and blanket up around me. I could smell the fabric softener she's washed them in. Lovely smells of home.

They take out my little stranger (I hate funny doctors, even though he is English and sounds a little like Stephen Moyer when I close my eyes) on the 24th. They say it roughly the size of an IHOP pancake and twice as thick and sort of kidney shaped. I asked them if I could look at the little bastard (that's what I call it) when it is "born". I don't think they have ever had anyone ask to look at the thing the thing that has been held in stasis for the last eight months. That's just a fancy way of saying they have managed to make it stop growing, though they hoped it would actually shrink.

I want to see the thing that would have loved to eat me alive, that may still kill me, that made me puke, undergo alchemy, undergo the burning times, made me cry and despair, made me ugly and bony and pale. Made me lonely. Made me Other. I want to look at and say "Well done you little fucker. Even if I don't make it, I know you didn't either."

But, I like being under my own sheets and blankets.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Some of you will have noticed that I have changed my blog some. I wanted to change it to reflect not so much a change of heart but a change for myself. To open up this blog to creativity and a change of spirit. I want this blog to be about me, not just the occult side of me, my dual naturedness, but my human side, my frail and failing side, my creative side.

I am tired of seeing myself as just one way, for like a jewel, I have many facets. If you are looking for my magik, it is still there, just look for it in the guise of other things, in the hidden nature of art and thoughts and commentary, of meanderings and of fantasy. The spells that come from poetry and prose, the praise of God in the desire for life. The exploration of life through fantasy and fiction, to find truth in simple thoughts.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

All Things in the Night

I was perusing the internet, like you do when you are bored and I saw a video for the Northern Lights and had a sudden streak of inspiration:

The Viking Vampire stepped out into the night and looked up into the black sky. How long had it been since he'd seen the sun? He thought hard, trying to remember, something Eric did not like to do because it reminded him just how long it had been since he was human. Still there were some things he did remember. Like the way the Northern Lights would light up the midnight skies and make the snow covered mountains seem to be blooming in the thousands of shades of green that could only been seen in the light of day. But then, as the night began to melt away, the colors would fade and disappear and the mountains would become dark with the coming of the sun rise behind the mountains. But in that brief instant, the ancient dead man with his ice blue eyes could see the world in false daylight, not under the killing orb that he now avoided since being made Vampire.

These things of nature, of the night days he now lived, did not trouble him. He was leaving soon, to America, and he would not see the green fire that danced and showed him the Valhalla he would never know. The gods were dead to him now, as dead but not as eternal as he. Eric had lived too long in one place and new vistas called to him. He stood there in the cold he did not feel, he saw the symphony of green and blue light which would be the only day he knew. Would the American nights be as beautiful? Or would they simply look like the velvet blues and blacks of a thousand other human places. He once killed a jeweler in Germany and scooped up a piece of velvet with a small mound of diamonds on it as he left. In the privacy of his nest, he spread the cloth on a table and spread the diamonds across the soft silky pelt of the fabric, and though he was not given to metaphoric thought, the Vampire mused how the diamonds looked like stars in an inky black sky.

The female, his second in command, eternally young and beautiful with her long blonde hair on her shoulders stood next to him.

"Everything is ready," she said.

"We leave tonight," he said. But he stood there a moment longer to watch the lights.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Love and Betrayal

So, here is something I want to talk about as I have taken the time to read and reread the Charlaine Harris books. I'll warn you now there are BIG TIME SPOILERS here so if you don't want to know, back out now.

Being that I am in the hospital and likely to be here for at least another two months, I have read the Charlaine Harris books multiple times. I had really stopped reading them thoroughly after book three after she so uncerimoniously broke Bill and Sookie up. I just wasn't that interested in reading about Sookie or Bill sleeping with other people. It's because I loved the love story and the notion of true love, every bit as real as true blood.

So, in Dead to the world, Sookie goes to clean out her cousin Hadley's apartment. Cousin Hadley was murdered and, unbeknownest to Sookie, Hadley was Vampire. In the course of her activity, she is attacked by the same people who killed Hadley. This is what Sookie discovers.

Sookie discovers that Hadley had been the favorite of the Vampire Queen Sophie Ann. In the course of their relationship, Hadley tells the queen about Sookie being a telepath. The queen is intrigued. She then forms a plan to draw Sookie into the world of Vampire politics by sending someone to seduce her. You guessed it, Bill Compton.

It's terrible. It's an idea so loathesome, that even I, a Bill Compton devotee, feel my skin crawl. There are a lot of reasons for this. Bill is so courtly, so gentlemanly, so sincere and he did take Sookie's virginity. (Some of you might say "What difference does that make?" It makes a lot of difference if you cherished your virginity and wanted to give it to that special man as the gift you can only give once.)

But then I took some time and thought about it. What choice did Bill have? None, under Vampire custom, he has to follow the orders of his queen. If he hadn't, someone else would have been sent who perhaps would not have been as patient. Did Bill really love her? Absolutely. That was something the queen and Bill didn't bargain for. He was sent in to bring Sookie into the world of Vampire, and James Bond, Bill is not. He ended up falling in love with a mortal. Is Bill a victim in this, too? Sure. Maybe not on the same level as Sookie, but he is. He even suspects his descendant, the person he inherited his home from, was murdered to make room for him in the world of Bon Temps.

I still hold out hope for the romance. In Dead to Worse, he declared his love for Sookie and the declaration of his willingness to die (for good) for Sookie. I will know the entire story in March when the paperback comes out and I will know in May when the newest book comes out. I won't buy the hard back edition but I will sit down in the local book store and read it through right there so I will know if there is the hope of a Sookie/Bill reunion. I have to believe in the possibility of true love. There is so little of it out there.