Saturday, March 31, 2007

dealing, pt. 1

Suffered a flash of agoraphobia today. I was in a music store, and it hit me that there were just too many people around. I started to go into a bit of tunnel vision and felt light-headed.

Later, this evening, I began to have waves of anxiety about what happened--about what could have happened and, at an even more basic level, just the fact that I was shot. That simple, unchangeable fact is enough to haunt me right now. Whoever thought a basic two-by-four would be a life-saver?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

life or death

I posted this at MySpace, but it can't hurt to post here too. I will add as things change...

I am now a certified hero, at least that's what everybody from neighbors to coworkers to the news to hospital workers are saying. I guess that's true, considering what could have happened.

For now, these are the facts: On Sunday night, two men followed my neighbor as she drove in off the alley. My friend Phil and I were on the porch, watching her park her car. When the men started demanding her bag and pulled a gun, I started yelling at them to leave her alone. The man holding the gun turned and fired two shots. One hit the side of the house and one went through a two-by-four and hit me. The bullet penetrated my shoulder, narrowly missing my arteries, throat, esophagus and lungs. It stopped in the muscles under my clavicle and will remain there until the doctors feel it is extractable. Anna did not wake up, though her bedroom is a matter of feet away. She didn't even wake up as the firemen arrived from the fire station around the corner, and the paramedics and police began swarming the entry to our house. I was taken to the trauma unit under full lights and sirens because the EMTs feared where the bullet might travel and whether the shock my body had gone into would cause cardiac arrest. After I was stabilized and the wound was determined not to be life-threatening, I was admitted to the hospital.

For the next day and a half, more tests were done and X-Rays and CT scans taken. On Tuesday, I was released, and for the last two days, Anna and I have laid low with another family to avoid the media attention and recoup a bit. I also wanted to wait until at least one of the suspects was in police custody--news I received this morning. We are back home now, and I am confronting major questions about what we do next--whether we stay in this house any longer--and how much I need to rely on the kindness of friends and family to manage the big and little tasks of life--you never realize how tiring things like dishes and laundry can be until small repetitive tasks cause pain.

As for the hero question, I will leave it alone for now. My neighbor Lindee is alive and safe. I am injured but extraordinarily lucky for what could have happened. My daughter remains the light of my life. One foot in front of the other...

Monday, March 12, 2007

fits and starts

That pretty much describes how often I work on or update this blog. And it pretty much describes life in general right now.

Banana and I are cruising the weeks and the new custody arrangement with fewer and fewer hiccups. Mornings go easier most days, and she seems to be genuinely happy most of the time. I wish I could say the same for myself.

The emotional triage I have to do on a regular basis gets a little tiresome, but it's necessary. When you lose your partner--especially a partner you willingly brought back into your life--it seems like the days just stretch out and all you're doing is surviving. But then there's the matter of having the partner on the edges of your life--hearing reports of friends who run into her, having her try to edge back in in small ways, even just having to explain to people what the shape of your life really is. It's exhausting in spiritual and physical ways.

One of the worst parts, however, is having no real release for all of the feelings that roil about. Drinking is a lousy approach--and one that I've used too often. Finding small releases like trips or hikes are good, but they don't really accumulate the peace of mind that I miss.The real release I want some days is the chance to scream at the ex, to spill on her all the vitriol I'm feeling, to take her apart for what she's done to Banana and me, to rip into her about what all of my friends really think of her, to scream in a soul-cleansing tirade. But, even if there were a chance to do this, it would probably do more harm than good. After all the victim of any of this fall out would be Banana.

It's all a matter of time and babysteps, I suppose. Just like learning to keep the house in good order, and my bank accounts in good order; just like learning to take proactive steps to build a better life as a single dad; just like that, it's a matter of doing the emotional and practical triage to get past the worst of the feelings. After all, as I told a friend this morning after we dropped our kids off, at least I'm finally learning to accept that she had a breakdown and that it wasn't about me. He laughed. "We all knew that," he said, "and if you didn't figure it out, we would have told you."