Tag Archives: health

My Granuelita & Ageism in America

I just got home from hanging with my granuelita at the hospital for a good couple of hours.  Gawd, I love that brassy-brilliant-classy-timeless-firebrand brawd.

She was feeling ill on Monday and was admitted to emergency care.  On Tuesday, before we knew what was wrong with her, I had a killer attack of those ancient Teenage/Early 20s Blues. You know those blues?  The I hate life, everything sucks, there’s no point to living, getting out of bed is a joke, I’m going to sleep for as many hours as possible today Blues …

Finally, yesterday we found out that my grandma’s faintness was resulting from a growing heart rate irregularity.  Apparently she can’t relax for too long or her heart skips too many beats a.k.a super slows down.  She must somehow always be on-the-go for her heart to beat regularly, which is ironic because that’s her favorite state of being — Think, Scheme, Talk, & Gooooooo.  The blues have calmed down since we got some answers.  Thank Baby Jesus in Da Manger!  I hate those darn blues.

Anywho, the doctors cut down the dosage of her regular meds to see if the irregularity of her heart beat was potentially being caused by over-medication or if her 79-year old heart was just finally ready for a pacemaker.  Obviously, her aging body needs different medications to keep various organs up and running so cutting down her large dosages to almost nil within a 4 day period is going to reflect in her body as signs of pain and discomfort.  Basically, her body is going to start yelling “give me the meds!” for x, y, and z ailments.

Long story short … My grandma KNOWS her body.  She reads countless medical articles and journals on the human body, studied to be a medical assistant at one point, listens to La Doctora Isabel and other spanish-language Doctors’ radio shows on a daily basis, etc.  She’ll read anything and everything on the human body. A more voracious reader, self-educator, and passionate student of well, everything, I’ve never known (except for Baby Dewds).  I mean Granuelita knows a lot about the body’s compartments and how they function — “Como una machina” a.k.a. “Like A Machine,” she says.

Granted, I’m not delusional, I know that my grandma is what we all are  — A flawed human being with a lot magnificent, astounding, and brazen qualities and a lot of hurt, horrifying, and healable ones too.  She’s not Mother Teresa or Joan Crawford — Actually, somewhere perfectly in between.  Perfect for me, anyway.  We have a blast together.  She’s not only my grandma, but also my friend.

Anywho, back to our kick back at the hospital.  My grandma may be old and talk a lot and over think every tiny detail more than the average bear, but mentally she’s sharper than a tack.  Emotionally, she’s a work in progress as we all are, but mentally — brighter than a florescent light bulb.

I say this because hanging out with my grandma in public is a strange occurrence.  Whenever she tries to reason or discuss her needs and points of view with say, the bank teller, cashier, nurse, etc. they look straight past her and address the response to me … As if her questions or requests were worth less than that of a bratty child.  Maybe it’s because of her physical handicap that many other adults try to treat her like she’s mentally handicapped too?  She’s always dressed to the 9 in her 1940s dresses, gold-rimmed glasses, and fabulous shade of red hair, but she walks with a walker because of ailing hips and knees.

I, on the other hand, think of my grandmother as A Force of Life. Her spirit is like the clenched fist of an old sea captain that releases every once in a while to play the piano.

It bothers me that adults (20 years from being where she’s at) treat her like she’s senile and the worst of it — that they try to wink 😉 me in on the condescension –which, of course, she never let’s fly.

Once she was bargaining down the price of fish at a grocery store and the seafood butchers wouldn’t reply to one of her questions. They kept directing a “you’ve got your hands full with this one” smirk my way so I stepped into the conversation to back her up, mediate between the two you know, and she whispers to me, “Meh, don’t worry. I’m just dancing.”  So I stepped back and let her do her thang.  Suffice to say she got the fish she wanted at the price she set — head, tail, and all.  I mean this woman survived poverty in the 30s, Cuba’s Batista Regime and Castro Regime, and The LA Riots — All while wearing pearl earrings!

Yet, today, it happened again — Ageism.  I was hanging out with my granuelita in her hospital room.  After 4 days of observation, the doctor ruled that to remedy her irregular heart beat she needs an old-fashioned pacemaker put in so she’s due for surgery tomorrow morning.

Consequently, they started slowly but surely easing her back onto her meds.  Still, she’d been feeling a sharp pain that reached through the right portion of her upper neck into the lower-back of her cerebrum since early morning.  When she tried to explain to the nurse about having had that same problem 4-years ago and that X medication had helped to regulate and alleviate it — of which they’d been giving her half the regular dose — the nurse SHUSHED her.

At the end of the whole hour-long debacle, it turns out my grandmother was right! Medication X apparently helped prevent possible stroke because it did y and z, and so they finally agreed to give her her regular dose.

But still, THIS is what she had to go through to be heard:

First, as my grandmother tried to explain to the nurse the pain she was feeling and how that particular medicine helped, the nurse basically kept repeating an answer that didn’t address her concerns and then told her to shush because the incessant talking was raising her blood pressure.  The nurse then turned to me and told ME to tell my grandmother to “SHUSH” because she talked too much and that was raising her blood pressure (even though her blood pressure was terribly low at that point). The whole time, she didn’t even recognize the fact that my grandma was telling her the blood pressure monitor machine wasn’t reading properly, which was true. Another helpful and compassionate nurse came in after the debate was resolved and had to change the machine chords and everything to get it properly working again. This is a nice grade-A hospital too.

Anyway, let me finish telling you what my grandmother had to go through to be taken seriously: 1) I had to explain and re-explain to the nurse what my grandmother was saying on my grandmother’s behalf because the nurse just wouldn’t give her the time of day 2) We had to call my mom — who is a phenomenal and experienced social worker — to speak to the nurse and then the nurse’s supervisor and then the doctor.  The nurse’s supervisor and the doctor were somewhat helpful, but it was that initial nurse who didn’t want to LISTEN to my grandmother — because she was too old and talked too much or spoke english with a thick Cuban accent or WHATEVER reason people feel they have the right to disregard the rights, voices, and needs of elders — that proved dangerous.  Her prejudice, her ageist attitude could have left my grandmother with a pain increasing up the right side of her skull and a blood pressure monitor that wasn’t properly monitoring her blood pressure!

My grandmother is a sly fox and figured out how to get them to give her the full dosage of that particular medication by having them give her smaller dosages every 4-hours.  I mean what a fabulous brawd!  BUT STILL, if I hadn’t been there and my mom hadn’t spoken up for her, she wouldn’t have been able to get anyone to seriously LISTEN to her needs.

My grandma is a relentless one who won’t give up until she gets what she needs and this definitely helps her, but I began thinking about all the old people in our society who aren’t strong enough to tenaciously fight for their rights anymore …

Stuck in banal senior citizen homes and suffering inhumane social security cuts … Heartbreaking.

Fight for Senior Citizen Rights!!!!

For the record, Elder-Hater, I am not on your side so don’t advise me to tell my grandma to shut up!!!!  Just remember, you’re going to wake up 79 and need a pacemaker one day too.  How would you like to be treated by your nurse on that inevitable day?


Making a Movie Day 3 — “I” ain’t my career.

So, I decided to get started early on today’s blog — like at midnight of January 15th instead of at day’s end because …

I have a loooooong Saturday ahead of me.  A long weekend, actually.

I keep wracking my brain for the next “To Do” regarding my film Dear Dios and my book The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrassing, Repulsive — whose characters are based off of the Dear Dios script characters.  I’ve decided to focus my energies in 2011 on these two specific projects.

1) Continuing promotion on my book: Interviews & Reviews.

2) Getting my film off the ground — meaning done with pre-production and ready for production a.k.a. producers, production company, financing, cast/crew, and distribution deal in place … or at least 3 out of the 5 😉

Still, being an artist is being someone who internalizes every single bloody thing that happens, reflects upon the internalized, and expresses their contemplations through an art form.  Consequently, I can’t just focus on the business end of things and push aside the creativity.  It’s like pouring water on a space heater.

When I tried to do that in my early 20’s; my heart imploded into my brain and my brain exploded into my mouth and my mouth poured into the world a rotted deteriorating sight, scent, and sound.

Believe me, I tried for many years to BE what I DO for career — to identify myself solely as “writer/filmmaker,” but we human beings are much much much more than what we professionally do.  Our innate profundity always sabotages our cheap conscious-level efforts to be lesser.

To derive any real three-dimensional joy out of life, I must continue to work on myself as a whole human being.

There is no stagnancy in Life — you either grow or shribble and die.  Your pick.

I’ve done the whole shribble and die dance and UGH, it’s sooooo boring and AWFUL!  Consequently …

A huge part of choosing growth is choosing to grow my whole-self, which requires developing emotional, psychological, and spiritual health. Nurturing the well-being of these specific areas cultivates my gratitude, humility, and compassion. Thus nourishing my perspective and as a result, my art.

I must be honest with myself.  I’m meeting with my group therapy mentor on Monday and reading her the inventory on my entire life.  All 80 pages  (9-point font), which took me a year and a half to do.

I have 2 days worth of work left to do on it and 2 days until we meet, which means:

I must finish the assignment this Saturday & Sunday.

It’s vital to my personal healing = overall well-being.

I can’t realistically research and watch films on Fandor this weekend.  I must go to work on Saturday from 8am – 4pm and spend the rest of the weekend finishing the inventory.

I feel like a slacker, like a lazy bum, like a slothful ingrate when I don’t work on my film and book 24/7.

I must embody the mindset that I’m working on my film even when I’m not working on my film as long as I’m fortifying the other poignant areas of my life …

Next Week’s Strategy for Dear Dios (while I wait for the 4 film books to arrive in the mail):

1) Update my Director’s Reel

2) Update the Dear Dios web page with synopses

3) Update Main Web page with Bloggimia info

4) Update Press/News Site with new publicity info

5) Renew my IMDBpro subscription

That’s of course, aside from my book promotion tasks, which I’m not detailing in these posts because they mainly entail research on blogs, magazines, newspapers, radio/tv/internet shows, sending them emails, following up, and mailing them books for review.  You get the picture.

Alright, enough of my boring rants!  Gah!  Hopefully mah’ funny kicks into these blog posts soon.

Layta Gaytaz!

Ps. I’m beginning the book When God Was a Woman tonight before clonking out. Woohoo!

 


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