When Confusion Meets Indolence

Whether the culprit was the 6.5-ounce can of minced clams, the remnants of the week-old half-can of diced tomatoes, or the similarly aged half can of tomato sauce that went into last night’s pasta sauce for dinner, I do not know. Or maybe it was the Italian spices or the crushed red peppers. Perhaps none of them deserve blame. Something, though, has been causing my stomach to growl and gurgle these last few hours, beginning sometime around 2:00 a.m. I finally gave up my attempts to get back to sleep around 4:30, when I arose to discover I had not organized my medications for the week. Rather than do the work then, I opted to put off taking my meds until I feel more fully awake and alert. So, I went in to the kitchen to make coffee. There, I realized my lethargy is not new; it began last night, when I casually rinsed my dinner dishes, rather than wash them. They waited for me in the sink, scolding me for being lazy last night and demanding I take action this morning. So, I washed the cookware and put the dinnerware in the dishwasher, punishment for failing to take appropriate action last night. I hate waking up to dirty dishes in the sink; I have only myself to blame.

Pasta takes far too long to cook. Twelve minutes can seem like twelve hours when one feels ravenously hungry and inexplicably exhausted. And the twelve minutes begins only after the water begins to boil, a process—from turning on the heat to reaching a rolling boil—that seems to last as long as adolescence. It’s a good thing I like my pasta al dente; if I liked it soft and slimy, I would still be waiting.  The right time to cook pasta, I think, is early in the day, long before one plans to eat it. Then, when it’s time for dinner, it can be popped into the microwave with a few splashes of water and, presto, it’s ready in a flash. At least that’s how I envision it. I don’t think I’ve ever reheated pasta; I tend to enjoy it cold, if it’s not freshly prepared.

Food was on my mind sometime during the night last night, either in my dreams or while I was battling my growling innards. I was wrestling with a decision on how to cook meat loaf; if I permitted it to spread out, it would not fit in the oven, but if I did not allow it to spread out, it would be too thick to cook throughout. I think it must have been a dream; it makes absolutely no sense. The night before, I was in a similar nonsensical situation; sitting in a rowboat in a placid body of water, viewing a glass and steel elevator at the water’s edge. I do not need irrational dreams to complicate my life; it is complex enough without them.

Last night when I got home from visiting my wife in the hospital, I was quite tired. Even though I stayed only three and a half hours, it seemed longer; probably because she was asleep most of the time and I simply sat at her bedside, occasionally reading or rereading email or just fidgeting. A nurse told me it’s possible my wife will be moved to a regular floor, out of ICU, today. That’s assuming her blood pressure remains in safe limits without IV medications. The nurse said my wife did not require the medications for most of the day yesterday, a good sign her sepsis is healing.

I took a container of watermelon balls to the hospital, hoping to give my wife something she would enjoy eating. When I got there, though, someone (a dietician?) was evaluating my wife’s swallowing, trying to figure out what causes her to cough when she is trying to eat or drink. The woman doing the evaluation told me my wife, for the time being, should eat only soft foods and liquids that had added texture until her aphagia has been addressed. My wife has grown so weak, she said, the muscles she uses to swallow have begun to atrophy; those muscles need to be strengthened before she can safely swallow food that must be chewed. Ach! My wife cannot get a break from all this!

The haircut I did not get several days ago still eludes me. Today, Monday, is a traditional rest day for barbers, so I will not get my haircut today, either. Tomorrow is iffy, in that I do not know what to expect from the hospital; the doctors may opt to release my wife, rather than keep her on the regular floors. I just don’t know. Better, then, not to make any plans; that way, I will not have to cancel them.

My fantasy life seems to be in odd bloom lately. Mostly, it plays out when I go to bed, before I go to sleep. I envision myself in a secluded and remote location, in a private lakeside house; the lake is private, too. It belongs to me. The architecture of the house combines mid-century modern with contemporary design. I feel safe and alone. A small dog keeps me company. I am lonely, but I cannot figure out why. I am not asleep during this fantasy, but not fully awake and aware, either. It repeats with some regularity, though the location varies slightly from time to time. And, on occasion, I interact with visitors, though I cannot recall who just now. Sometimes, in my fantasy, I work crossword puzzles. A day or so ago, one of the clues was “carefree.” I wrote “insouciant.” I think insouciance was a “Word of the Day” recently, so that explains that; it’s not a word I would have remembered from my own vocabulary. I probably will not remember the definition a month from now.

Lazy. That’s the way I feel at this moment. The idea of shaving and taking a shower does not appeal to me; too much effort is involved. But I will do it, nonetheless. I have to get it over with. First, I’ll have something for breakfast. I wish I had made congee last night; congee strikes my fancy this morning. But it takes too long and too much effort. So, I will have something simpler; like cereal or a banana or a protein bar, if I can find one. Lethargy. Laziness. Sloth. My photo appears beside each of those words in the New American Dictionary of Impoverished Emotions.  Enough. Absolutely enough.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to When Confusion Meets Indolence

  1. Bev says:

    “Lethargy. Laziness. Sloth. My photo appears beside each of those words in the New American Dictionary of Impoverished Emotions.”
    You do realize it isn’t that easy to make me laugh? You just did.

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