Empty spaces

Yes, yes, there is one on my nose at the moment and no, I don’t care to show it to you even though I said I would. Trust me, it’s nothing more than an ugly dark bloody scab with black suture threads sticking out. It’s not so big but it’s a definite hole and I certainly hope that my nose can regenerate nose cells at the same rate I replicate hip and belly cells as opposed to brain cells. There’s some kind of inverse relationship with the net result being that my hips and brain have both narrowed their respective vocabularies to “food”, “time to eat”, “now.” McCloud and I speak the same language.cloudy 1As far as the nose goes, a petite little bobbed nose would be fine as long as it was that way on both sides but since you can never talk these surgeons into throwing in some cosmetic work on the side- well, I’m just hoping it grows back. One last complaint: I get to choose between wearing a bandage that then sticks my eyelashes together, gets part way up my nose and leaves that highly irritating adhesive residue or going without. In which case, my glasses slide down and bump the top two stitches and I have to be constantly mindful not to swipe at them. I woke myself twice during the night by itching it and then jumping into consciousness with “ouch! Ack!” and anxiously checking to make sure I hadn’t knocked anything loose. Or open. Really though, it’s all fine and a short couple weeks in the relative scheme of things and man, do I think the world of my dermatologist/surgeon. He’s everything a person could ask for when it comes to this BCC stuff and Mohs surgery. Assuming the hole fills in.

But this is all minor compared to what my friend, Larry, is dealing with. I just don’t know what to say about people who make crappy decisions about their lifestyle that then leads to misery, pain and poor health. I mean the lifestyle part about taking risks. Partly I want to say, “WTF? What were you thinking??!!?” The thing is, most of us spend some of our young adult lives not thinking at all and then the consequences can be really bad.

Maybe you remember me writing about Larry, actually it’s pronounced “Laawwwrry”, who is our gay Tennessee gardener. He periodically comes over to work in the yard here in Florida, especially when it’s SO DAMN HOT. Larry, by his own admission, has made “every bad move ah could make. But ah sure did move pretty.” He used to be a “part time tranny” and listening to descriptions of some of his high fashion days, I’m sorry I didn’t know him then. He hasn’t had anybody special in his life for quite a long time and he’s not looking but it doesn’t stop him from saying loudly, “Oh, Boo, lookie thar. That’s mah next husband.” This is usually when we’re  picking up mulch at Lowe’s or “Homo Depot”- both places he likes to go because there are so many construction guys hanging around.  Really, he talks like that but when he does it’s funny and outrageous and I can’t help but laugh. The thing is he’s a sweetheart and kind and generous. He’s very smart with no formal education past high school. He reads the paper and watches the news every day and he’s right on top of current events and politics. (Except he’s convinced that Michael Jackson is not really dead but merely transforming himself fully into a woman someplace in France. So he can finally be “his own true self and live in peace.”) He’s one of those people with vast amounts of random knowledge and if I ever want to know where to find something in St. Petersburg I ask Larry. He loves plants and he has an amazing green thumb and when his ADD hasn’t got the better of him, Larry is a super gardener. Larry loves animals and he always talks to the cats like they’re people.  Sophie’s a narrow minded bigot but McCloud adores Larry and always rolls around and purrs in whatever part of the garden Larry is cultivating. He’ll buy dog food for his little (gak) chihuahua, Cowboy, before he buys food for himself. At Halloween, Larry puts Cowboy in some ridiculous costume and decorates like mad and then he gets dressed up in a sweltering hot, very scary ghoulish outfit and hands out candy and he’s the hit of the neighborhood.

Larry likes the heat and hates the cold so last year I knit him a hat so he could still work in the yard when the temperature fell below 65. Up until then he was walking around covering an ear with one hand and pulling weeds with the other, muttering about how he was “freezing his white queer ass off.” He switched hands every 5 minutes but it was taking him twice as long as it should have. He put on the hat, came in the house three different times to check out his appearance in the mirror and then cornered, Bill, our back alley neighbor. Bill is well into his 80s, a former minor league pitcher and a life long Floridian and conservative. He and Larry get along quite well. So, Bill is finishing up a walk with Newton, his little goofy dachshund when Larry calls out, “Hey, Bill! Do you thank this hat makes me look gay?” Bill paused and then said he thought the hat looked fine but he didn’t rightly know a whole lot about gay fashion let alone gay anything. Larry called out, “Wall, Bill, be careful cuz ah got mah eyes on you!” Bill looked briefly confused and answered, “Okay, then, you do that and have a lovely afternoon. I’m going to take my nap.”

Larry was also the one who told me I had the “wrong kind of hurricane shutters.” We had just gotten new shutters for the whole house and I was showing Larry where they were stored because he has a side business where he goes around and puts up shutters as necessary for “all mah girls.” “Wha, Boo, you got yourself the wrong kinda shutters!”

“What’s wrong with them, Larry?”

“Wha, Boo, you can’t see out them! The hurricane be over and all your neighbors be out in the street having a paatty and you all won’t even know ’bout it.”

Larry’s been living on the margins for most of the last 20 years and now, no surprise, he’s in pretty dire straits. He was supposed to start taking some meds a few years ago but he tried and the first go around landed him in the hospital with terrible side effects. Larry and social services mix like oil and water but it’s a Sisyphus-ian nightmare in any case, trying to get through that system to find a regular doctor, get appointments, get medications- all without a phone number or a car. For as long as I’ve known him he’s been trying, with the help of his more organized friends like me, to get settled into a treatment plan. Partly he’s terribly distractible and inconsistent and partly the system just jerks people around until they’re hopeless. So now, he’s really sick. This morning he came by, ostensibly to work in the yard for a bit, but really to talk and get some moral support. He had an appointment last week and an all new and new to the States doctor (so, imagine Larry, who doesn’t really speak English trying to communicate with someone from Pakistan who doesn’t really speak English) tell him that his white blood count was so low that he could die “veddy soon.”  Larry said, “Boo, ah know ah have you and the other girls but ah really need mah mammaw now.” He does, indeed.  I know it, but I’m so sad he’s going back to Tennessee, feeling all sick and defeated.  All I can do is hope his mammaw takes really good care of him and pray for him, cuz you know, we don’t pass judgment around here if we can help it. It’s hard not to. I’m really really pissed at him for not taking better care of himself.stones

(A random non sequitur photo. I’m bored with these stones now, so I’ve moved on to vegetable-like vessels. Pumpkins, what have you. And, oh, yes! Wasn’t it wonderful to have Bonnie visit the ‘hood? I miss that woman.)

11 responses to “Empty spaces

  1. You must have read my mind–because as I read your blog title, I thought–oh no–the nose. Glad to hear it is healing–it is, if it itches enough for you to scratch in your sleep.
    Oh my–you tell the story of Larry with such humor that you make me ache and laugh simultaneously. Sounds like a character out of a Tennessee Williams’ play–that is, if Tennessee had written such plays.

  2. Oh my, Larry. I was thinking about him the other day when I was over in your neck of the woods. Some days we all need our mothers, don’t we.

    Bonnie was here? I guess I better go back and read comments. I’m off on Wednesday to Virginia for birthday #3.

  3. Sad story about your friend Larry. So many people end up being non-compliant, and drugs are often so complicated and with terrible side-effects. It’s a bummer, though, when people just give up and fall through the health care cracks (and ever-enlarging crevices). I wish him well.

    Take care of your one and only wonderful nose and best wishes for your very speedy recovery.

  4. Oh, how I love flamboyantly gay men. He sounds delightful and charming and highly impacted by whatever his particular issues are. So frustrating to watch and not really be able to do anything, am I right?

  5. Oh, and honey! I’m glad you are healing up nicely!

  6. Oh Vicki. I didn’t get to meet Larry when I was there as you were picking him up on the way back home from dropping me off at the airport, but I am so sorry to hear about this.

  7. I, too, love flamboyantly gay men. Poor Lawrrrrry, and poor Vicki, to have to do without him. I hope he can get better.

    Sounds as if your nose is getting much better, for which I’m thankful.

    I LOVE the stones – and I’m sure I’ll love everything you make. You have such style!!

  8. Oh, this makes me sad. I am so sorry about Larry. I hope his Mama can talk some sense into him about seeking medical treatment and sticking with it and he finds a doctor who can help him. Do you think that doc was just trying to scare him into being more vigilant?

  9. I hope Larry gets some help.
    Glad you can see the light at the end of your nose even with scabs and stitches sharing your face.

    I received the coolest bumper sticker today.

  10. Probably too late for this suggestion…but for the future, look for Hypafix tape and supplies by Smith and Nephew. They are a bit more expensive, but do not leave the adhesive residue and irritate the skin nearly as much as other brands.

  11. Glad to hear you are doing as well as expected.. even better. McCloud looks to be his hefty self… like most of us who do not have your wonderful metabolism, who can just look at food and gain ten pounds.

    Prayers for Larry…. miracles do happen… it sounds as if he has progressed and those white counts are ominous.

    And Bonnie… was she here? I missed her… yes, I miss her calm words a lot.

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