We’re Down to Thrumming Here

I have some semi-positive news to report on the Lithium front.  My hands aren’t stable, and there is still a bit of a tremor, but the worst part seems to be that my hands and arms are thrumming, rather than actually, noticeably shaking.  Steph put her hand on my forearm and said she could feel it.

We went to the Harry Potter party at the Kroger on S. Sycamore St. last night, and I’m glad that we went to that one, and not to the ones at Barnes & Noble or Borders.  There were maybe 20 people there, and we were the second people there, after a couple who had been waiting for about an hour (we got there a little after 10).  Two managers set up a plastic fountain-like apparatus for punch and sherbet, but never got it completely assembled.  There was free chocolate and snacks, and at exactly midnight, cartons of books came out.  (They also had door prizes; Susie drew the first ticket, and won a quill and ink bottle set.)  I forget how many cartons Kroger ordered, but they were rapidly disappearing.

I didn’t understand why there was so much suspense about the ending of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  The book became available at midnight local time all over the world, so I was wondering what was stopping folks from getting on the ‘Net and sending the ending to the areas where it hadn’t been released.  I’m sure all the printers and typesetters had been sworn to secrecy–although there may have been another plan there.  Here’s what I would have done.  (I am like Gore Vidal: There is no earthly problem that cannot be solved if everyone would simply do as I advise.)

J.K. Rowling should have written several alternate endings and given them to the production people.  It would be just like 1980, when Dallas villain J.R. Ewing was shot, and all summer people were wondering who his assailant had been.  (The wait was delayed even longer by a strike in Hollywood.)  Lorimar Productions filmed alternate endings, each with a possible suspect pulling the trigger, so that not even the actors–including Larry Hagman, who played J.R.–knew who the shooter was until the rest of the country did.

I actually bought an Ohio State-Florida Gators shirt at Barnes and Noble last night, for $5.99 on the clearance table.  It was for the Tostitos Bowl in Arizona last winter.  (Ohio State lost, so that is why the shirt was so cheap.)  During dinner at the Happy Greek, I spilled some sauce on the shirt.  I didn’t want to walk around the rest of the night looking like I used my shirt as a bib, so I bought the shirt and changed into it in the men’s room.)

Susie has a new cell phone!  (Rather, she has my old Revol phone.  Steph bought me a new one, and while it was a pain in the ass for the Revol people, I get to keep the same number, and my phone book was transferred to the new phone.)  I’m still learning the layout of my new phone, so I’ve disconnected a few calls, sent some half-finished text messages, etc.  Give me a week, I’ll be able to do it in my sleep.

I took the night off from writing last night, since I wasn’t home until after 1 a.m.  I began writing a play earlier this week, and I’ve been at the typewriter managing 3-4 pages per night.  (The last play I wrote was a Nativity play for grade-school kids when I was about 10.  I played Joseph, which meant I got to be onstage in a bathrobe and a fake beard.  I have a different bathrobe, and my beard is real now.)  I gave my Smith-Corona Galaxie XII last night off, but I’ll be back in the saddle tonight.  (Louis L’Amour’s young daughter once came into to his study while he was busy at his electric typewriter, and she asked, “Daddy, why are you typing so fast?”, and he replied, “Because I want to see how this ends.”  That’s kind of where I am.)

Side Effect?

…and it’s not because I don’t want to diarize here, and I love keeping this blog… whenever I remember to do it.

A caveat: This entry may have more typos than usual, which is something that never pleases me.  The reason is because I may be having a bad reaction to my Lithium.

At least I hope that’s what it is.

I took the morning off from work to deliver Susie to the Davis Center and so Steph and I could meet an attorney downtown (we are not divorcing, so let’s not jump to conclusions here, beloved readers).  After the meeting, Steph and I were having a late breakfast in Jack’s Diner, a place I highly recommend.

During breakfast, Steph said to me, “You look terrible.”  I thought she was commenting on my clothes, since I spend 30-45 seconds per day choosing what I’ll wear, so I waved it away…

…and Steph stared because my left hand was jittering like a tuning fork.  She was appalled at how both hands, left and right, were shaking.  (I had tried all morning to keep something in my hand–my MP3 player, a notebook, Susie’s hand–to try and hide this.)  I shrugged it off and said, “It’s the Lithium.”

She shook her head.  “You’re shaking like you have Parkinson’s.”

Yes, I was shaking, but not nearly as badly as Muhammad Ali when I saw him with his daughter on Dancing with rhe Stars, or the way John Paul II looked the last few years of his life.  “It’s not all that bad,” I said.

“You remind me of Muhammad Ali,” said Steph.  (I am not used to be compared to him!)

I cancelled my evening plans and I’m meeting Steph and Susie for dinner at the Happy Greek.  Even as I speak write, they’re at Hairspray.  I told Steph I don’t know what this is, the shortness of breath is another variable in the soup.  I told Steph I am going to ride it out until after 12.  We’re going to a Harry Potter soiree at the Kroger’s in the Brewery District tonight–and shopping for groceries.  I told Steph that no matter what this is, I am not going to ruin this Harry Potter event for Susie.

As a former typesetter, I am pleased with the way this entry has come out thus far, but please know I have given the “backspace” key quite a beating since I began.

Oddly enough, I have already been tested for Parkinson’s.  Early in 2000, right after my dad passed away, I was seeing my then-psychiatrist in Bexley.  I wondered why he was staring at my hands during most of the appointment (“No, my wedding ring is not for sale,” I wanted to say, “and neither are the other rings, because Steph gave them to me”).  He then wrote out an order for me to go to Ohio State’s medical compound for an MRI.

I still don’t see why MRIs freak some people out.  I lay on my back, minus all my jewelry and anything else metal, and it looked like they were sticking my head in a front-loading dryer.  They piped in classical music (courtesy of WOSU-FM) and there was a microphone inside, so you could communicate with the technician.

It came back normal, and Steph and I believe now that it was some Asperger’s mannerism that I no longer even could notice myself doing, and that was what he thought might have been Parkinson’s.

Reunion, and a Productive Weekend

My friend Rich, an archivist whom I met here in Columbus in 1995, was here in Columbus for the first time in over four years.  Four years ago, he took a job as an archivist for the State of Rhode Island and moved to Providence.  we have kept in touch by E-mail, snail mail, and occasional telephone calls, but this is the first time I’ve seen him in person since he left to go to Rhode Island.  He was (is) en route to a conference in Topeka, Ks., and took the opportunity to visit friends along the way.  (He had spent Friday night in New Jersey, and last night at our place.)

It was very good to see him.  He was the closest we had to a permanent dinner guest.  It used to be that families would adopt a nearby bachelor for Sunday dinner, holidays, etc.  Rich came over for dinner most Sunday nights; Susie, who was in pre-school at the time, loved the chocolate cookies he always brought.

The funniest anecdote about me he likes to tell is about something I didn’t do.  The day after Susie was born, we were at Grant Hospital, and both Steph and Susie needed to get out of the room.  We were wheeling Susie in a crib, and Steph was walking slowly (not unusual after a C-section), and Rich was with us.  A man passed us in the hallway, and he said, “Newborn, huh?”

This incident is significant in that it shows one my rare moments of self-restraint.  Rich was wearing a T-shirt with an upside-down triangle (although he isn’t gay) with the words CELEBRATE DIVERSITY!  I was so tempted to point to him and say, “Yes, my husband and I are so proud!”, and then point to Steph and say, “She’s the surrogate.”

One thing I definitely respected was Rich’s research skills.  He told us a story about a farmer who grew up in Rich’s part of North Carolina.  Apparently, this bumpkin liked to celebrate Christmas by driving around the countryside on Christmas Eve throwing dynamite sticks out the window of his truck.  (Farmers buy dynamite for things like blowing up tree stumps, etc.)  One Christmas Eve, he and his hired man were out on their Christmas rounds–like Santa and the elves, I suppose.  Rich’s uncle was awake and heard the explosions, and thought, “Cleo’s at it again.”  (This farmer’s name was Cleo Moore, the same name as a B-movie goddess from the ’50s no one remembers anymore.)  There were one or two more explosions, and then a tremendous KAAA-BOOOM!!!  The next morning, they found out that one of Cleo’s sticks of dynamite had fallen inside the truck and ignited all the others.  He, his hired hand, and the truck were all blown to smithereens.

Maybe his tombstone reads, “Rest in pieces.”

I didn’t believe this story when he told it to me at first, so when he went home for Christmas that year, he came back after New Year’s with a Xerox of a clipping from the local newspaper describing the whole thing.  What broke both of us up was when the story jumped to an inside page.  The rest of the story was printed there, and in the adjacent column was a feature called “Bits and Briefs,” which is probably all they found of Cleo.  (We thought about changing the weather slug to “Partly cloudy and light Cleo” as the Christmas Eve forecast.)

Anyway, enough of such explosive topics.  The productive day started about 3 a.m. Saturday morning, while I was going through the two or three shoeboxes full of breast-pocket notebooks and notepads I’ve been saving since I was in Athens.  I picked out five poems I especially liked, and when I took Susie to the Franklinton library, I typed them up in Microsoft Word for windows and printed them.  Later this afternoon, I’m mailing all five (the maximum permitted) to the Virginia Quarterly Review in Charlottesville.  (Yesterday, I got a rejection slip from The St. Anthony Messenger, so the two events balance each other.)

I’m coming in late to work tomorrow.  Steph has a job interview tomorrow morning, and Susie has to get to Comedy Camp at the Davis Center by 9.  I’m going to do another errand I’ve been postponing–my psychiatrist ordered a second blood draw for my Lithium, so I’m going to stop by Grant Hospital’s lab and have that done.  (I’ve been carrying the order around in my wallet for a month.)  They are literally painless in drawing blood; had I not been watching, I would never have known they had filled two tubes.


Something that I never would have believed possible has happened.  My former psychiatrist, Edmond Goold, has passed away.  What makes it odd is that he remained in practice until last year–and he was born in 1921!  He was a fine psychiatrist, and one thing he respected about me was that I had actually read Ulysses.  Dr. Goold, who grew up in County Cork, had read it many times.  He did his internship at the lying-in hospital depicted in the novel.

One time when he really came to my rescue was during one of my brief hospitalizations at Mount Carmel West.  I didn’t have reading material, so I got on the phone to his answering service and said, “Could you please ask Dr. Goold to drop by some New Yorkers?”  He did, and I was glad.  The ward had many magazines, such as Family Circle and Ladies’ Home Journal, but these had been cut to shreds to make mosaics in occupational therapy.

Here is the good doctor’s obituary.  God bless.

Edmond J. Goold

COLUMBUS — Dr. Edmond J. Goold died Friday, June 29, 2007, at Mount Carmel Medical Center, Columbus.

He was born March 23, 1921, in County Cork, Ireland. He was a long-time physician at Mount Carmel Hospital in Columbus. He was a devout member of the Catholic Church and was a member of St. Joseph Cathedral.

He is survived by a son, John Goold of Akron; and longtime friend and administrative assistant, Debbie Caris.

Friends may call from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Egan-Ryan Funeral Home, 403 E. Broad St., Columbus. Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Cathedral, 212 E. Broad St., Columbus. Burial will be in St. Joseph Cemetery.


Go to Your Room

I have Wednesday off from work, for Independence Day, and that is the only significance that the 4th of July has for me.  As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I am the same way about patriotic holidays that Scrooge was about Christmas.  “But don’t you want to celebrate being American?” you ask.  You might as well ask me if I want to celebrate being right-handed–I had about equal choice in both.

Steph and I have had a very rough week, mostly because of my doing.  One of the end results of this is that we did something we probably should have done awhile ago.  I have moved out of the master bedroom and into my study.  We both enjoy having our own rooms, mainly because we’re both only children.  Even when I was at Ohio University, I paid the extra cash to have a single room.

Steph realizes that I’m hardcore nocturnal, and she isn’t.  She didn’t mind my being awake so much, it was just that I could never get up without awakening her, which did not improve mood or situation.  She understood that I’d probably have to get up at some point during the night to go to the bathroom, but I couldn’t even do that without waking her up.  The door of the master bedroom sounds like the trademark of The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre or like a sound effect in The Addams Family, so if I moved it at all, it would make noise.

So now I can have my music on and stay up typing as late as I want to.  I upend the mattress in the morning when I wake up, something like a Murphy bed, and I have a clothes rack in the room and the back balcony is good for drying clothes.

So I sleep surrounded by my books and my typewriter.  (I have a portable black-and-white TV in there, but I haven’t turned it on since I moved in.)   Steph has a whole king-sized bed to herself.

I was up until 3 a.m., and managed to write one poem.  This afternoon I wrote another one at the Subway on North High Street just north of campus.

Susie may have made a new friend at the YMCA pool last night.  This is a girl named Spencer, who is also going into fifth grade, but who is a year older than Susie (since Susie skipped a grade).  They talked and played in the pool together for 2-3 hours, and I made sure they exchanged telephone numbers before we all parted company.