Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chip Rabkin

I imagine this is my last post of the year. And it’s ending on such a cheery note. One of Doug’s friends died. And became one of mine albeit a more distant one. But he always included me and Chip in the summer soiree upstate in a beautiful spot with beautiful grilled (hmmmmm!) food. He was a really nice guy. He was part of the New York Ranger ticket sharing crew. We were all part of a bunch of New York Ranger fans who bought into a friend’s season tickets that he could never afford on his own. (Who the fuck can?)

No more live Ranger games at center ice for me. Lucky me, they look beautiful on the television my Chip and I received from Lydon and my mother-in-law last Christmas.

Our friend who is no more: his name was Chip Rabkin, and we were the same age and lucky us, we became ill at roughly the same time. Unbeknownst to him, he had congenital heart problems, which we were all told were fixed once they were correctly identified. (I thought it took too damned long, if you ask me. But no one did, and I think my urging Chip’s doctors to “Move along, move along” as they dawdled during recess would have fallen on deaf ears. I would have made one lousy instructor.) Ultimately, the doctors made the correct diagnosis in time. Phew!

Them surgeons opened that boy up and found what they’d expected to find. Chip was told that if he didn’t have this gargantuan surgery, he’s have only a twenty percent chance to live to old age. Duh, he chose the surgery. There were no complications. He went back to work in a matter of weeks even though the doctors had to open up his chest to fix his heart. Chip was fixed! Me, we know I wasn’t quite so lucky. I lost lung function, and then I lost more lung function. I don’t think I can lose much more without being switched to a ventilator. Do any of us really want to live attached to a ventilator? Don’t raise your hands all at once.

I don’t know why Chip had to have another procedure sometime last week. But he did. This time, he had a massive stroke and died without ever regaining consciousness. (Not that that would have been a good thing. But I don’t think he- or his brothers- ever imagined that the procedure would have gone anything but swimmingly. He’d been through the worst, right? Those scary days before his condition was initially recognized when the congenital defect could have done him in.

It’s crossed my mind more than once that if medical science finds, if not a cure, something to help me out so I don’t have to be so frightened with every new thing I feel. I’m always on edge that I’m losing lung capacity. I’m not. Not yet anyway. But panic sure makes it feel so.

I received high marks two weeks in a row from my masseuse. My body is responding to her touch. I’m opening up. That’s the one thing I’ve never done since this nightmare began. How long has it been, four years? I must be petrified to let whatever’s in there out. I have been feeling low these days. But Rachel, my crack masseuse, explained that the emotions massage can release don’t necessarily release while on the table. They might the next day, later that night. She assured me that releasing these feelings is totally normal and not to get freaked out whenever they choose to announce themselves. (Rich gets a major thumbs up for warning me about this months ago. Glass half full?)

My therapist has given me a powerful tool, which, I admit, has kept me from leaping out the window. For Franny to remember: when I’ve worked myself up into a lather what’s put me there are just vicious, destructive, painful feelings that push me over into the abyss (oooh, that abyss again!). They are not reality. (Oh, they may resemble reality, but I don’t have to accept every nasty feeling that comes my way as the god’s honest truth.) This isn’t easy. It’s fucking hard as hell especially when wrestling with my life and especially today, my death.

My new one that popped out unexpectantly, “I can’t bear this!” Shaking my head vociferously, and repeating my new mantra over and over again. To escape, I tried to go back to sleep after waking from my afternoon nap. Even with my beautiful Lunesta, you can’t sleep when you’re not tired. Around 10:30 I gave up and joined my very much alive Chip in the living room.

Eons ago, my mother bought me two kits to make dolls. She chose the Indian Princess and Katrina, the little Dutch girl. They’re darling, and I felt so sad and teary that I never sat down with Ma and put them together. These include patterns, different stitches (a lot of sewing). These are not beginner’s projects, and it would have been a fun activity for the two of us to do together. I had her bring them here. I have begun the Indian Princess. The pattern for her body is pinned down and ready to be cut out. Scares the willies out of me that I’ll screw this up. Ma will come over and help me along. My therapist loves this. This work takes me out of my head.

It’s like mending underwear and darning socks except here I’ll end up with sweet smiling faces to look at. Don’t pooh-pooh sweet smiling faces. They’ve got serious mojo. Uh-huh.

I need to be taken out of my head. For all my qvetching about wanting to die, I’m petrified that I’ll follow the way of our friend Chip. I don’t want that.

Hey, and I have two dolls that need to be made, a book that needs to be published, and a new Facebook organism that I need to screw with. I think that’s reason enough to live, don’t you?

Chip Rabkin, I’m just stunned. You were one of the good ones. They fixed you, damnit! I’m sorry. This is not supposed to happen.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Fran,
    I just Googled my late brother Chip's name, not expecting to find anything about him - just still trying to process that he is no longer here and your blog was first up. My heart was pounding as I read it. It means so much to me to read something from one of his friends. I wish you all the luck in the world regarding your health. You are right - it was not supposed to happen. I share your grief. Patti Rabkin Greenberg (on facebook).