I’m so queasy today. I feel exactly like the face my dog makes before she vomits: sort of a grimace with gritted teeth, lips pulled back, and squinted eyes. As usual, I have no idea if I’m sick, got contaminated by a food allergen, have some sort of flareup of my autoimmune stuff, or am just in really bad pain elsewhere in my body, which often bleeds over into causing nausea as well. I took another bad fall yesterday, after tripping on a bunch of cords, and my notoriously loose, floppy ankles took the brunt of the injuries. My right ankle is swollen, painful, stiff, and feels misaligned. I’ll need to baby it over the next few days and hopefully it’ll respond favorably.
Recently, smoke detectors seem to be crawling out of the woodwork left and right throughout the house. Who knew there were so many in one house? The batteries must have all been initially inserted at the same time, because within a week, we’ve had enough chirping detectors that you’d think we’re on some sort of mission to self-inflict deafness. As Nathan Fielder recently pointed out on Nathan For You, there are few sounds so universally grating as the horrid chirp of a smoke detector. With any auditory sensitivity, this just multiplies by large numbers that can only be reported in scientific notation.
As I got ready for bed, another detector signaled its dying battery. Over and over. I’m far too short to reach them, and not supposed to use ladders and stepstools, so I tried to ignore it by blasting fans, wearing earplugs, throwing a pillow over my head, and playing a show, but the chirp could not be drowned out. It simply pierced the other noises I created, all of which started to bring on a headache. Ignoring the chirp wasn’t going to be possible and Ben wasn’t slated to return home for hours, so I took to getting it down myself.
At first, I tried throwing things up at it, which was wildly unsuccessful as my aim resembles that of a small child. Then I tried batting it down with a long plastic object, but the span between my arm and the detector was too long for the torque I was putting on the object and it snapped. Lastly, I hauled the only wheelless chair we own upstairs, stood on it, and used a wide plastic bin top. I shoved and pried the lip of the detector, but it was on there like a barnacle on the back of a whale. Eventually, I snapped it off, taking the screws and drywall dust out with it. The whole apparatus came crashing down on my head. Ouch. I angrily picked it up while it noisily screamed in my ears. With the batteries out, I threw them on the floor and stormed back to bed. Today, I have an almond lump on my head to remind me of its victory over me.
I’m reminded of my mom, who somehow manages to take care of every problem that crops up around her home herself. She’s a fiercely independent woman but I worry about the physical demand of the various predicaments and home improvement needs that arise as she ages. My mom is youthful in many ways, but overly stubborn in her will to handle things herself. I think it is every adult child’s innate desire to feel competent and prepared to step in for their aging parents when physical tasks do exceed their parents’ capacities. I regard this responsibility of one of such importance that it riddles me with anxiety, shame, and low self-value that I might not be able to do this unless I find ways to shore up my own strength, stop falling so much, and be less prone to illness (and maybe grow a few inches taller!). I absolutely want to take of her in all ways after everything she’s done for me and continues to do. It’ll never be equal repayment per se, but it’s a start.