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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.

22 Responses to “Mold. Eyeball. Funeral. Seizure.”

  1. Haidi Masley says:

    I’m glad you’re here too. I laughed out loud about the underwear. Keep up the good work.

  2. Amy says:

    Aaaaaaaaaaggthththth. Aaaaghhh. I am puddlefied!

    Is it possible to acquire this radiant resilience?! Or does one just have to be Jane?

  3. Jane says:

    I’m able to add resilience to the story. Otherwise, I wail. Or, if that gets old, I whine and yell at cats. Thanks for thinking that I’m more mature than I am, Aimee!

  4. Oh, Jane. What a month you’ve had! I would be wailing and whining, and somehow you have put a grateful spin on things. I am so glad you’re here to keep the rest of us humble.

    • Jane says:

      It’s always easier to put the grateful spin on things after the fact. I do believe that I’d win a wailing and whining competition with you. Thank you for the kind words, Loretta.

  5. Ross says:

    Things can only improve now, right?

  6. Lucy Selander says:

    Wow! You certainly went through a lot. I feel exhausted reading about your mold experience but all the other and Louis. I’m glad that everything worked out.

    Lucy Selander

  7. Kathleen says:

    Yikes, a horrifying few weeks! Being a sometimes believer in things balancing, you and Louis must be in for some fantastically marvelous somethings and they better come along darn soon, too! Any one of those events is difficult and complicated. Congratulations for not falling apart!

  8. Cleo says:

    Teacher Poster: “I’ve come to the conclusion that my attitude makes all the difference in my classroom’s day. ” What ever spiritual course you two are on, continue the practice. Jane, you have an inspiring ability to smell the flowers. Thanks for this month’s words of wisdom.

  9. Paul Jacobs says:

    Dear Jane & Louis,
    I feel so guilty!
    While you had such a bad experience, Mia and l were celebrating my birthday in Rome with friends.
    Life is not fair!
    We wining and dining and you whining and wailing.
    But l know you have more resilience than all of us!

  10. Jane says:

    Please, no guilt! I have wined and dined extensively while others whined and wailed. (Louis might disagree about my resilience because he knows me too well.)

    Happy Belated Birthday — and how lovely that you and Mia and friends celebrated in Rome!

  11. Paula Vandenbosch says:

    Murphy is still alive !!!!
    Oh Jane, you wrote a wonderful text about things that were not that wonderful.
    You have the ability to make “unfunny” things FUNNY !
    I hope that Louis is recovering nicely and that the mold will start a new life somewhere far, far away from your place !!!
    Thank you so much for this text. Reading it made me happy, as your texts and books usually do !

  12. Cindy says:

    Jane, I both laughed and teared up. What a well-written piece! You’re a smart, objective woman, loaded with hutzpa.

  13. Jane says:

    I didn’t feel objective while it was going on. But thanks!!!!!

  14. Donna (Franks) Jones says:

    Jane, what an (awful) adventure, but your words flowed like it was one! I need to get other books you have written -what are they and how do I get them? Glad you are both doing well – along with the house! Where are your children and how are they doing? Sure do miss our carefree childhood days! Hope to hear from you. Happy (early) Birthday!

  15. Donna (Franks) Jones says:

    Jane, what an (awful) adventure you two went through! Glad you’re both doing well now! I went back and read all your blogs, laughed, cried and remembered some of your experiences! We did have a pretty carefree childhood when I look back at it now! I wouldn’t have traded any of it. Love reading everything you write.

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