For many years where I may dwell

I went home and worked for the past week and a half. I talked to Amanda every day. He was sleepy and odd but chatty and personable — still very much himself. I was scheduled to fly back to Boston tomorrow.

Last night, though, around 4 a.m., something in Nurn’s status changed. He was more confused than usual. He was scared. An hour later, in the company of his wife and mine, he was dead. I missed saying goodbye by one day.

I’m at Las Vegas International now, flying back to Boston a day early. The funeral will be the same day as the opening of The Hermit Bird, outside of San Francisco. (I’ll provide further details here when I know them.)

I am sure that all this has a deeper significance. For the time being, I’m not going to think too much; I just need to get back to her as soon as possible. There’ll be plenty of time for thinking later.

At this moment, at this precise moment, I’m all right. I’m worried about Amanda.

I’m a lot like you were

The IV tube developed a slow trickly leak. We think the nurse broke it when she attached the new drip. It slowly spooged saline onto his stomach. So we figured out how to disable the machine. It beeped forlornly for a while until I figured out how to silence the beep.

I babysat the baby for a couple hours. It was my first time ever babysitting. I put the morphine out of his reach. We colored with some permanent magic marker on some newspaper. A little got on his face.

I replaced the light switch and demonstrated how to use the fuse box. She had never seen a fuse box before. Standard fifteen-amp breakers. I set up remote access controls on all their computers, to provide remote tech support. Tomorrow I’ll set up a backup device.

The drainage bag has a little blue valve on it, connecting to the G tube. Empty the contents into a plastic urinal and dump it out. Be careful to snap the valve completely back to “closed” when you’re done. You’ll hear it click. The snap is very important. Listen for it.

Visitors; well-wishers; nurses; neighbors; a social worker. A woman came by yesterday. Fiftyish, graying hair, about fifty pounds overweight. She cradled a gallon jug of water like a warm loaf of bread. “I’m not coming here to sell you anything,” she said. “I am just delivering this ionized water. This water here is produced by a machine and there are only eighteen thousand of those machines in the world. I tell you, I tried this water eight months ago and I’m in the best health of my life. Again, I’m not here to sell you anything. But this is Kangen water. I’ve got it covered here, with this rag, because the ions are affected by light, so you just want to cover this jug with a dishcloth or anything, as soon as possible, to keep the light out. This process was invented thirty years ago in Russia, and this machine is imported specially from Japan, and it modifies the water’s ability to fight free radicals, through the use of the natural antioxidants. Again, I’m not selling this water to you. It’s a gift, from a friend, who heard about your illness, and wishes you to recover as soon as possible. So you’re not saying anything, I’m having a hard time knowing what you might be thinking right now?”

The medical supply company came by an hour later. The delivery girl was maybe twenty, with a strong aroma of pear-shaped butch lesbian; close-cropped hair, no makeup, efficient. She provided three bags of zero point nine percent saline solution. It Must Be Refrigerated. “Yeah you can recycle that freezer bag, but the injections there don’t need to be refrigerated. You’ve got copies of everything in that bag over there, and if you need more batteries there are ten in here.”

The blankets must be folded. One across the chest, one across the feet.

So much talking. So, so many words. I listen to everything.

He wants me to take the longer bar out of the bedroom and install it in the backyard. It’s a longer bar, and it’s intended to replace the bar that’s already there. There was a bird feeder out back, but the squirrel was able to get into it. I have not seen the squirrel, but I am informed that he exists, and he takes the food from the bird feeder. So if a longer bar is installed, the squirrel will be unable to crawl along it. I suggested using safflower seeds. Squirrels don’t like them. But he wants the longer bar.

Sanitary wipes, gauze, latex gloves; Heparin, a highly-sulfated glycosaminoglycan; postage prepaid sharps disposal unit.

The baby got out of his crib at naptime. He got into the staples and paperclips. They went everywhere. I searched for “Elmo” on Youtube. I don’t know how to babysit, really.

Two rooms; only two, for everyone, all the time.