Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The final week of August in the year 2011 in the Northeast section of the United States will forever be known as the week of The Earthicane.  It’s a compound word.  Surely this is something (a good example, too!) we all learned in elementary school?  (And can anyone please tell me HOW Microsoft Word is so damn smart, it flagged that sentence until I punctuated it with a question mark.)

Earthicane, the sister word to Hurricado are MY compound words.  I think I better run to the trademark office right now so Komen can’t steal them and sue me.  My compound words are combinations of natural events.  Things over which we have no control.  Maybe I’m feeling a sense of oneness with these natural events because I can relate to the “having no control.”

My brain has a mind of its own.  If you missed that entry or forgot that little tidbit, scroll to the bottom of the page.  This time I’m not holding your place.  You are on your own.  There is no way anyone could have prevented the earthquake and there is no way anyone is stopping Irene from roaring up the East Coast.  And there is no way I can fix my (chemo)brain, at least Not Yet.  It’s things in three’s again!  The more things change, the more… And, it’s clichés again, too!!

Right now, all of this is very funny.  No one has been hurt and there are no reports of substantial damage.  Therefore, Funny.  In other words, No One Lost An Eye.  This is post earthquake.  And it’s pre hurricane.  Since no one knows where that hurricane eye will hit and with what intensity, it may not be quite so amusing in five days or so.

Personally, I’m going with my normal assessment of the weather forecasters.  It’s the greatest job on the planet.  They are always wrong.  Not always, but it sure seems more often than not?  I know I'm not the only one with that opinion.  Here’s my prediction.  Irene will stay off shore and she will be the one losing the eye when the cold water deconstructs her.

Magic Eight Ball says:  Forecasters will clear Long Island from the danger zone and continue to make their predictions which I WILL monitor on the Weather Channel, the app on my iPad, the Hurricane Center in Coral Gables AND The National Weather Service.  I can’t help myself.

When they are ALL wrong and I am here on Sunday night with torrential rain, no power, no internet and not enough battery life in my laptop, I’ll be sure to go into descriptive detail of the Irene Story.  This is great fodder for the OCD portion of My Chemobrain.  Stormtracking, I mean.  The only questions:  Do I go stock up on water, batteries, cash and fill my gas tank and do I go outside to move all potential projectiles?  The hurricane portion of the program is now concluded.  I will decide how to handle that about 4 hours prior to projected landfall.

The earthquake?  Bizarre.  I remember the last time I felt an earthquake.  I was in New York and it was October of 1985.  It was in the very early hours of the morning.  My kids were sleeping in their cribs and their dad already left for work.  It was a Saturday morning.  He started a new company and this was the first job.  I thought someone was firebombing the house when everything in my bedroom began to rumble.

Here comes the eye rolling.  And she has chemobrain??  Yes folks, I do.  I can still SEE myself sitting up in bed watching the lamps skip across the night stands and I can feel the bed moving.  It was The Exorcist.  Not sure the year the movie was released but I have such a clear recollection of the feeling, I can liken it to the Exorcist.  (And, I did have to do my wiki thing.  It was Oct 19,1985 and the wee hours of the morning were actually 10AM… when you have a 2 year old and a 4 month old, clock time doesn’t exist, OKAY???)

And today?  I was sitting on the sofa in my quiet room.  It’s a “basement” but it’s only four steps below ground level and it’s only a “half basement" so it’s a nice size, yet it’s still a cozy room.  It’s also the only “common area” in the house that has a door.  Why this should matter when there is no one else here, who the hell knows, but it’s where I like to practice yoga.  When I was done, I was sitting quietly on the sofa, NOT in state of meditation but enjoying the calm that washed over my body and was taking my time about leaving the solace of that room.

I knew what was waiting and I can’t stay on task (CB).  Upstairs was a pile of unfolded laundry (from Sunday), a dishwasher that had to be emptied (also Sunday or maybe even Saturday) so I could clear the sink of the cups and glasses that were beginning to accumulate.  Two days worth of mail had to be sorted so I could bring the bills upstairs (so much for the admonishing note about opening and sorting mail every day) and I had to go make the bed so I would be prepared because one never knows when those awful bed police are going to break down the door demanding to do a bed check.

Obsession with the unmade bed?  BC.  Definitely, BC.  That is just an ingrained “thing” and when I actually try to think about it, I no longer comprehend this necessity to have a perfectly made bed.  The inability to comprehend?  ADD due to CB, for sure.  Clearly, none of this is motivating me to get my ass in gear.  Not the laundry, not the dishes, not the mail or, for that matter the bed.  The bed police can drag me off in handcuffs.  I just stayed quietly on the sofa looking around the room.

In an instant, the sofa moved a good two feet, with ME on it.  It took a couple of seconds for it to register and I quickly looked over my shoulder to see that the couch was damn far from the wall.  I jumped off the sofa, ran to the stairs and just sat on the top step far enough from the sofa to feel safe.  My brain completely disengaged.

What went through my head?  As OCD and as illogical (and now hysterically humorous) as this was, I swore there was a raccoon under the sofa.  There are two windows in the room, both locked and there is an air conditioning unit through which any critter entry attempt would be met by the its demise inside the A/C.

What seemed like a great deal of time, I now know was truly only a few moments.  My logical brain regained control and I realized there is NO raccoon anywhere.  The good ol’ Chemo OCD brain was still trying to hang on…. Damn OCD.  Worse than a rabid dog (or raccoon?)

OCD:  SOMETHING is under that couch

Logical: You are a MORON….

OCD:  Am NOT, and besides, a raccoon would want the dark and the only dark place is under the couch....

Logical: Take a good look around the room and tell me exactly HOW this f’ing raccoon got under the sofa?

OCD:  I don’t know but it could have happened.  Anything is possible.

Logical:  OMG… must we descend into cliché hell again???

Logic won out and I walked back to the sofa because now I was convinced I dreamed the entire thing.  The sofa didn’t move and I was quite simply, losing whatever tiny shred of my mind I still controlled.  I walked down the stairs and took the twelve steps toward the sofa.  With trepidation.

OCD was still shouting in my head but logic was winning control over my body.  I can now see a very big gap between the back of the sofa and the wall.  There wasn’t enough space to fit anything between the wall and the sofa when I sat down.  Why I remember this, I do not know, but I had a vivid memory of the sofa flush against the wall. 

So what happens in Minute Number Three of this commotion?  I “Re-Live” what I felt when I was sitting on the sofa.  While the sofa moved, I did have a sensation of being bounced around.  Not a big bounce but I remember thinking, “Did this sofa just slide and lift at the same time?”  I could feel the cushion sort of pushing me up.  My logical brain retreated completed and OCD brain went completely haywire.

OCD:  Holy shit.  What were you meditating about when you were finishing your yoga, you idiot.  You pissed someone off.  That was a sign from some pagan god.  The bouncing was an Exorcist kind of thing.  YOU are a MORON.  You must have tempted fate with whatever evil, unpure thoughts you allowed to flow through you during your dumb ass meditation.


Logic:  How about THIS?  Lets go back upstairs into the office so we can get some word done.  (Arm twisting required)

OCD:  That’s a really great idea.  LET’S GO.

I think OCD was being sarcastic and condescending but I walked past the clothes, the dishes, the mail and straight into my office.  The quake began at 1:51PM.  Everything that happened to me occurred in the time between 1:51 and 1:59.  How would one know this information?  “Would you like me to explain?”  This is where I need you to play Joe Pesci’s part in the movie, My Cousin Vinny.  I need to hear a resounding, “I would love to hear this!”

In eight minutes time, the quake hit in VA, began moving the earth, moved my sofa, I freaked over a raccoon, realized I was being a moron, freaked over some exorcism type episode, calmed down  when I was being even MORE stupid about that and returned to my office.  At precisely 1:59, I see the following on my “it never works” iPhone.  “Earthquake!”

I have often heard people say things about their “moral compass.”  I don’t think I have one of those but I do have my own “Communication Compass.”  His name is Jim and he is my son.  And the word “Earthquake!” on my phone was a text to me from him.  Considering cell service was out all over the place, it’s a tad funny that text got through, don’t you think???

AND Yes, that question is to you, AT&T

My immediate reaction was to hit my trusty iGoogle page which has blurbs of every bit of breaking news.  I don’t limit myself to the medical news, I’m an equal opportunity news whore.  I have feeds for all kinds of news sources from all over the world.  I scanned the page.  Earthquake?  Nowhere to be found.  Not Reuters, not the AP or for that matter, CNN, Fox, the NY Times, or Bloomberg either.

The funniest thing in all of this?  When the internet didn’t have the information, my first reaction?  Text Jim.  Something along the lines of “what are you talking about” with many curses inserted.  It took me another FIVE full minutes to realize, “Idiot, go turn on a television.”

I am spellbound.  And the thing with this Chemobrain ADD is the fact that my mind just races.  I can’t slow it down.  So, I now have televisions on in two different rooms tuned to different stations.  As I’m walking from one room to the other to monitor this breaking news, I can’t get the image of Linda Blair spinning, levitating or spitting pea soup  out of my head UNLESS it’s being replaced by a scary, yet cute raccoon.

Then, I was distracted by the news crawl warning the entire east coast to watch for the Irene situation which, in the best “let’s sensationalize this” fashion had it at a Category 4 hurricane.  And here comes the images again.  Strobe like.  Linda Blair, Rocky Raccoon, Pea Soup….  Hurricane Irene?  They are up to “I” already??

Where was I for the first eight storms?

Raccoons, exorcisms, NO! It was Carole King.  I can hear the song clearly.  Her voice.  The tempo and I’m singing along, I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet, I feel the sky tumblin’ down.  

Chemobrain in its finest hour.  Literally, an hour.  SIXTY minutes before I was able to rid my brain of animals and the anti-Christ.

If my math is right, (check it for me?) it took me three thousand six hundred seconds before I realized:  “Holy crap, sista, you just bounced your way through an earthquake!”

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