Wake me, please

iPodFor a long time, I’ve wanted a wake.

Right away, this begs the question of who services after someone’s death are for. Pretty much, they’re for the survivors, and I get that.

Still, it seems some of the more thoughtful viewings and the like that I’ve attended have tried to incorporate something of the deceased besides the coffin at the end of the room. Usually, this comes in the form of photos.

This doesn’t suit me so well. For one, I’m not terribly fond of being photographed, because it forces me to focus on how the world views me and I just am not that interested.

A better representation would be things I had DONE. A notebook of clips. A portfolio of artwork. Photos of my kids, maybe. Plants I had managed not to kill, as even now I have some that have been with me several years, and I like this purple wandering Jew better than some former co-workers and other folk who might choose to breeze through.

The other missing element is music. I usually don’t hear any, but I always have thought any event that was meant to mark my life needed to have loud guitars or it wouldn’t be a true reflection. I went so far as to tell my son a while ago that there was a song to be played at my viewing, LOUDLY, and he promised to cooperate.

I thought about this again when I was listening to my iPod Shuffle and my favorite Nirvana song, “You Know You’re Right,” came on. I sang along as loudly as I possibly could, even though I am not a belting kind of singer. It is a very personal song to me.

That made me think, though. It’s from a place I don’t live anymore. Another song I knew I needed at my wake, “Ain’t It Fun,” fell into the same category: deeply felt, but in memory now, not in present.

It still works. Not everything at a memorial is from the most recent past; some of it goes way back. And to tell my life without any pain in it would be a lie.

So for anyone who might be involved in planning such a thing, here’s a playlist so far, with annotations and appropriate links:

“You Know You’re Right,” Nirvana lyrics • video

“Patience,” Guns N’ Roses. This was played for the first dance at our wedding reception. lyrics • video

“Ain’t It Fun,” covered by Guns N’ Roses lyrics • audio

“Welcome to the Jungle,” Guns N’ Roses. OK, at this point you’re sensing a theme, and you’d be right. The original GN’R (sorry, Axl) was my favorite band on the planet, their concert my most meaningful. But in addition to loving the noise of this song, it has to be played as a joke because EVERY effing pro sports event plays it and I laugh every time. lyrics • video

“Seize the Day,” Avenged Sevenfold lyrics • video

“Take Me or Leave Me,” from “Rent” lyrics • video

“I Wanna Be Sedated,” Ramones. Besides that I love this song, I think it would be great funeral home music. lyrics • video

What version am I on?

Just when I think the reset button on my life has been hit enough, someone starts mashing B! B! B!

For you non-gamers, that means cancel and it’s do-over time.

I’m still on drugs. It is startling and enlightening to be chemically dependent, especially observing the changes the different medications make.

I’m not employed. Damn depression. However, I was comfortable with freelancing, so now I just have to crank it up to 13.

Hanging in there, and not like in a garret.

Day by day 2012, the July checkup

Many moons ago, on New Year’s Day, resolutions occurred to me and, madwoman that I am, I threw them on the web for all to see. Having done so, I thought a public poke at the results might be in order.
1) Write. Meh. I write almost every day for work. Most days I have no thought of writing anything further.
EXCEPT … I’m pretty decent with dialogue, and it occurred to me that as I craft scenes in my head, maybe I should stick them down somewhere. Eventually a few of them might hook up. Maybe then a few more.
I’m finding myself more inclined to think about drawing than writing. Still a creative outlet I miss, so fine.
2) Read. I did finish the book I got for Christmas. I didn’t quite finish the summer book. I have read two autobiographies recently, both by Russell Brand, whom I adore. He’s quite entertaining with words, so he counts.
3) Read the Bible. I tried, but Genesis and all those 700-year-old people with 70 progeny just wore me out. Also, women were raped or threatened with rape a bit too often for my taste. Maybe a study of a particular book is something I could do at some point, but right now I’m not feeling compelled to absorb every page.
4) Work on earning more money. I did a little of that, then depression body slammed its way back into my life and anything that required motivation ceased to exist. I looked at my spreadsheet and realized I hadn’t bid on anything in more than three months, but I’m back at it.
5) Exercise. The premature (to me; I wanted more than 217,000 miles) death of my car helped fulfill this one. Meetings two miles away that end after the last bus run? Oops, missed the inbound bus by one house length? Some weeks I have walked 10 miles or more.
If I were to write out a list now, it would look more like this:
1) Draw.
2) Read.
3) Work on building a long-term freelance career.
4) Keep exercising.
5) Regain mental health. Everything got torn down, then I got stuck somewhere in the rebuilding process, pissed off for a couple of weeks and now back at it. It is slow going … but it is going, and that’s something.

The mashed potatoes of medication

My friend Ken tells a story about stopping into a mediocre diner while traveling. When the waitress brought his order, she told him, “The potatoes aren’t very good today, so I gave you extra.”

“Just what I wanted,” he recounts. “Bad food and more of it.”

I couldn’t help thinking of this as I replayed my visit to my doctor, where we danced a salsa for my insurance company’s amusement.

Four weeks earlier, I had been given samples by the same doctor. Within a week, after adjusting to unpleasant side effects, I felt good. Pretty soon I was feeling great, better than I had in … I didn’t even know when.

When I exhausted the samples and went to pick up my prescription, though, the evaluators employed by my health insurance company stepped in.

You don’t have prior authorization, the pharmacist told me. Hogwash, I said. I knew about this requirement and had given the phone number to my doctor’s assistant.

Bwahaha. Silly me for thinking a simple phone call from my doctor’s office would mean anything. No, I was asking for a Tier 3 medication, at the top of the price chart and with no generic. My insurance company would pay for it … after I had tried two other medications and failed to get any results with them.

Are you freakin’ kidding me?

Understand, I long have been of the mind that insurance companies don’t tell you the kind of care you’re allowed to have; they tell you what they’re willing to PAY for. You can have anything you want. You just might not be able to get someone else to pony up for it.

My rational response was biting me in the ass.

Unfortunately, said drug was a whopping $186 a month. Still, I was toying with the notion. In the meantime, my doctor thought there was something else I could try, and I grudgingly agreed to jump through the hoops. By now I had gone four days with no medicine and not only felt the effects of not having it, but was going through the reverse on side effects and getting the stomach pain and insomnia back.

Drug #2 was … OK. I wasn’t miserable. I didn’t have side effects. But I didn’t feel like tackling the whole world, either, like I was starting to feel on drug #1.

I duly reported this to my doctor, thinking he would switch me because, to my way of thinking, I was telling him this was ineffective. His response? “Take twice as much.”

Bad food and more of it?

“Two capsules might not be enough,” he said. “Call me next week. Maybe you need three.”

So, day two of double dosing. I WANT to want to kick the world’s ass … I just need some help to get there.

Tired but not sleepy

I had been having trouble sleeping, often waking in the middle of the night, and Tuesday night was no exception. When the doctor I saw Wednesday said the medicine he wanted to put me on might make me tired, I thought, “Excellent.”
Bwahahahaha! Be careful what you wish for.
I woke up around 2 a.m. and could not get back to sleep. The cruel reality struck me: I was tired, but not sleepy.
That afternoon, I examined the list of possible side effects. They included insomnia, tiredness and sleepiness. I was two for three.
Things remained that way for two more nights. Finally, Sunday morning I slept until 5 a.m. That’s not to say I didn’t wake any beforehand, but it wasn’t until 5 a.m. that I was pretty well awake. Still, I managed to doze a bit even after that.
Hopes for an alert day were dashed soon after breakfast. An afternoon nap was a necessity. By 9 p.m., I was tired again.
But not yet sleepy.