Monthly Archives: October 2005

This May Feel Cold

Thumbnail: Holter monitor

I’m lying down, naked from the waist up, giggling uncontrollably. The nurse dampens some tissue with rubbing alcohol, and rubs down my torso methodically. I feel it evaporating off my skin, staring at the ceiling, unsure of anywhere else I could appropriately keep my eyes. Suddenly, there’s a sharply dragging pain on a small area, and I see her making quick, short arm movements in one direction.

“Ow, what is that?”, I ask jovially. I’m still giggling, a result of my nervousness. She picks up on this.

“It’s sandpaper. Haven’t you ever been exfoliated?”

The sandpaper removes the dead skin, making the electrodes stick better.

“Are you telling me that this is going to make my chest glow, and reduce the appearance of any lines and wrinkles?”

She playfully returns, “On these five spots, yes.”

Afterwards, I’m told to sign a form with a short explanation on what is being done, that acknowledges my understanding.

Holter monitoring provides a continuous recording of heart rhythm during normal activity. There is no discomfort associated with the test.

I’m given a journal to record any abnormal heartbeats, whether it’s a skipped beat, an extra beat, or an irregular beat, but for the 24 hours that I’m wearing this device, I don’t write in it once. It’s a guessing game for them, to sort out the what’s normal and what’s not. After any test they do, urine, blood, stool, holter, they say the same thing: we’ll call you if anything shows up in the results.

They always say, no news is good news.

Just One Thing

It’s been a long week, although it was technically made shorter from the long weekend. Three cancellations in three nights. Nothing’s working out. I left work early yesterday because my eyes stopped functioning. The previous day I’d worked a full 14 hours.

I used to get angry or frustrated at things like this, but now I find myself cold and emotionless, accepting things as the way they are. The advantage is that I’m a much more stable person. It isn’t even any attempt to be stoic, but I’m sick of all the bullshit.

All I want is a break, just one thing to go my way.


Growing Pains

Thumbnail: Dry bacon

I caught my father after a shower. How formal the word, father. Like addressing a character in some Elizabethan play. His hair was mussed, wild, even thinner than before. He’s been going gray since he was 15, and every couple of months he colours it black again. It works for him, taking at least ten years off his age. People don’t really know how old he is until he tells them that I’m in my twenties.

How scary it was to see him like this, like some crazy old fool with all his hair pointing outward and uncomposed, but still knowing that he was still my stable, strong, cold father. The thought that he may one day go senile, lose the virility that he seems so desperate to cling to, filled me with pity.

The bacon they serve me for breakfast is dry, dull, devoid of soft fat, or grease that pools in the waves of each strip. A result of his heart condition. No more cheese, red meat only once a week.

Thumbnail: Wrinkled hand

Even my mothers’ delicate hands have deeply withered, though they remain soft from her attentive care, which include varying sorts of designer hand creams and specialized lotions that follow her everywhere. My parents have long stopped wearing their weddings bands, but she wears one of my grandmothers rings, a beautiful old-fashioned cut on a clamp mount, left to her in the will. I remember my grandmother pinching my cheeks, holding my hand, her skin loose but, like mom, supple as a softened chamois.

I see this ring on my mother, and realize that she’s getting older too.

Elementary School

Thumbnail: School crossing sign

Thumbnail: Four-square tiles

Thumbnail: Rusty tetherball pole

Thumbnail: School portable

This was my elementary school. The Catholic institution I attended during the first few years of moving here. Where I used to offer best-friend status for a mouthful of Big League Chew. Old, familiar four-square courts are still painted on, unmoved. The T-ball poles are rusted out and missing their tethers. Countless feet jumping, running, skipping during recess have caused the pavement to warp and crack. Even the old portables are anything but, their familiar beige tones still inhabiting the back of the school, built out of concrete and plastic foam when the town was budding, and the classrooms couldn’t handle all the students. Walking up the wooden stairs, I bet they even have the same groaning creaks.

Continue reading “Elementary School”…

Weekend By Bus

Thumbnail: Greyhound station

Leaving by bus, in the rain and in the dark, is something special.

The perfect album to put on is Ágætis Byrjun by Sigur Rós, with songs like Starálfur and Olsen Olsen, but especially Sven-G-Englar and Ný Batteri. Sounds are distracting all around with the people talking, the battering of raindrops on the windshield, the thud-thump of the uneven highway road, but they gradually fade to a lethargic pulse. The unrecognizable timbres of each distinguishable instrument take over.

This is the moment. The exact purpose of the song. The notes are pure, amorphous colours in the darkness, a dulcet damper for the outside world.

Soon the rhythm of the passing city lights will become more and more sparse, and all that will be left in the windows are the reflections of those with their overhead lights on, reading books or keeping eye-contact.

It’s been ten months since the last time you did this.

How has so much happened since then?