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Mold. Eyeball. Funeral. Seizure.

Posted February 24th, 2016

A little garden of mold bloomed on the upstairs windows. I had recently scrubbed the frames with vigor. Excessive condensation this winter, but mold?

Those dark basement walls behind the washing machine . . . mold. Places where window glazing had worn away . . . mold. I gathered goggles, mask and gloves, bleach solution and toothbrush—and soon gave up. The mold men arrived and attacked. Their parting words lingered: clean every surface to avoid a recurrence. They couldn’t mean the ceilings and walls and floors and furniture and books and pictures and little animal sculptures from Uganda. They did. And our clothes? Yes.

At Jumbo Wash, we paired 20 Mule Team Borax with detergent. We spent mounds of quarters, dropped bags at the dry cleaners, and purchased two dehumidifiers and a HEPA vacuum. Clean clothes hung on the porch while we cleaned indoors. We gave away one-and-a-half mountains of household items (clean . . . what goes around comes around).

Before we had finished, Louis complained of strange sights in one eye. An ophthalmologist peered at Louis’s torn and partially detached retina as well as attendant scar tissue.

The day of Louis’s early morning pre-op was the day of my friend’s dear father’s funeral. We’d have time to go home and change into appropriate grief attire, wouldn’t we? We would not. We wore jeans to the funeral. It was hard to keep up with the laundry. I didn’t have any clean underwear so I wore Louis’s briefs under my jeans. It reminded me of the long girdles of my youth—except softer.

Then, Louis’s surgery. He was ordered to keep his head down for a week. The next day, post-op. The minute that the nurse left the room, Louis began to spasm. His head flipped backward and his pupils disappeared from sight. I screamed; four nurses and the doctor appeared. I didn’t have time to wonder who would help me finish cleaning the house.

Clutching airsickness-style bags, we left—Louis shuffling and disoriented. Was anesthesia the cause? Vasovagal syncope? Pain in his stitched eyeball? No definitive answer. To think of it, there haven’t been any definitive answers lately.

But that’s OK.

Louis is improving. The house is cleaner. Clothes are in closets.

The days are never dull; the days are often funny. Mold. Eyeball. Funeral. Seizure. We are glad to be here.

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