This is an absolutely true story
She would wake up at 3 am and put on the television. When I asked her to please let me get a couple of hours sleep she told me to “Shut the fuck up or leave, she didn’t care if I went or stayed.”
Of course I considered she was under the influence but illness was a way of life for her. She loved to stay in hospitals. She LOVED to stay in hospitals. She worked there. Yet, she LOVED TO STAY IN HOSPITALS. It was just like staying in a hotel with room service, which she LOVED even more…no, almost as much. The longer the hospital stay the better. Even though it was a hardship on the family. And she called everyone she knew to let them know she was going to be in serious condition and needed their prayers. Deep sigh….
Personally, I hate them. I get a weird feeling waking up in one. WHen the nurse comes in, it is creepy to think you are part of someone's workday.
She would ask her co-workers to come in. And because she was under the influence, I had to give her a play by play of their visit. Repeatedly. She wanted to know how they acted and if they went to the nurse’s desk, if they looked at her chart, if they were concerned, what look did they have on their faces. As opposed to me who, when in the hospital, I could easily climb off the recovery room bed and hail a taxi. I hated hospitals. Subsequently, when I ended up in them something would happen and I would have to stay longer.
The doctor begged her to stop smoking. Finally he said the only way it was going to heal was if she stayed off of it. For a year and a half this went on. She had to have several more surgeries.
Even though the commode was less than 10 feet away, she had to have a portable one that I had to empty at the end of the day. I am not good with those things and it made me very sick.
I supported the family, at the time working directly for HCA Columbia Hospital System under a gay man. So that part of my life was not in the playbook.
Every day I came home to a messy house, screaming teenagers and a full portapoddie. I would be exhausted, but still made dinner, cleaned dishes and kitchen, threw in some wash spent, then, whatever quality time I could with the children finally climbing into bed exhausted. It would be 10 pm or later. I needed sleep. But Willie wanted to watch TV and I never stopped her. I was too tired to, but there were times…
My dear sweet nephew Joshua, one of my sister’s sons, came to Houston for 6 weeks that summer. What a sweet boy he was. He waited on Willie hand and foot. And I truly thanked God, and my sister for his presence. Most boys this age would be predestined to avoid such a situation, but not Joshua. He was a gorgeous six foot tall blond and black haired boy with his hair two toned in the latest trend. He never met a stranger and my friends were immediately taken by his charm and tenacity. He had goals and anyone within hearing range would be subjected to the ins and outs of his latest hobbies and he had many. One of them was making motion pictures.
He had the time of his life just 15 years old with such promise ahead of him. He and his cousin, my daughter Devon were as tight as brother and sister. But Devon was away at debate camp, so Josh was the only child, except for the frequent visits from Brooke
who felt she had carte blanche to Devon’s bedroom.
Joshua was a wonderful young man with so much promise. And handsome with a weird little defect on one ear. This would one day be an issue. Not too noticeable, but to him, it was. He was going to be a director. He and I spent endless hours researching different favorites, one being M. Night Shyamalan. M. Night, had documented his film making from a young boy. Some of these films can be found at the end of his more famous endeavors, the Sixth Sense and Signs. When you watch the young M. Night, as serious as we would find him funny, you could see Joshua. Who, in fact, did not find the films funny at all, but as a guideline to what he was going to do with his life. He loved to make movies. And we were subjected to these films with all the raw humor a young boy can give. They were detective type stories, who dunnits.
During his stay we spoiled him. We got him a Nintendo for the TV, tons of fireworks for July 4th; Willie would sit outside in her wheelchair and watch him blow up everything in sight.
Joshua met a young blond girl who was a dead ringer for Brittany Spears, but also the personality and brainpower. Joshua liked the look but the mind made him crazy and eventually he let the girl down. He told her he had a love at home. He didn’t say much about her, but it was obvious she was someone special for him to turn this young woman’s advances away. After all he was a 15 year old boy with raging hormones. I always thought about his self-discipline.
Joshua earned everything we gave him. He emptied Willies potties, brought her food, and basically waited on her hand and foot. After all, He was just 15 years old, with all the spirit and drive one has at that age.
Willie took him out in truck with her leg in the cast and let him drive.
And he called home and asked to stay another 4 weeks. My sister Marnie gave the ok. It was a blessing for me because when I got home, I didn’t have to immediately start taking care of whatever Willie’s issues that needed attending.
That was the last summer he spent with us.
Every time we saw him in our visits to Kenosha, he would wrap his arms around us like a bear. He was a handsome, big boy.
2 years later he would be taken from us forever.
My mother called and left a message on my answering machine: Dianne you need to call home it’s Joshua. Please call as soon as you get this.