Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 21: Low Blood Sugar, Peter Balakian, "Baseball Days, '61"

I was at work early on Monday.  It was about 6:45 a.m., and nobody else was around.  I like working in the medical office at this time of the day.  It's quiet and dark.  No phones ringing.  No TV mumbling in the waiting room.  It's easy for me to get centered.

Yesterday, however, I had a low blood sugar.  I have been an insulin-dependent diabetic since I was thirteen, and I've been using an insulin pump for about ten years.  Usually, the pump keeps my blood glucose levels pretty even.  But, every once in a while, I have a little problem.

I started to sweat and get dizzy.  I knew what was wrong.  Now, in the past, when my sister was my boss, I would go into her office and find something to eat.  She always kept her refrigerator well-stocked with juices and cheeses and chocolates.

Whether it was my altered mental state because of the low blood sugar or just plain habit, I got up from my desk and walked to the door of what used to be my sister's office.  I had my hand on the door handle before I realized what I was doing.  I stood there, reminding myself that my sister is gone.  I had to repeat that phrase several times in my head:  "She's gone, she's gone, she's gone."  And then I started crying.

I cried for quite a while.

It was a strange collision of past and present for me.  I was quite temporally disoriented for a few minutes.  Again, I don't know if it was my medical issue or my sister's ghost or nostalgia or a combination of all of these things.

I thought I was doing pretty well in my grieving process.  Holding it together.  Yesterday, it all came crashing down for a little while.  I went back to my desk, found a juice in my lunch bag, and sat at my desk and thought about the past, sort of the way Peter Balakian does in the poem below.  I miss my sister.  A lot.

Saint Marty is still a little sad tonight.  Maybe he needs to eat a brownie.

Baseball Days, '61

by:  Peter Balakian

All summer the patio drifted in and out of light the color of margarine;
days were blue, not always sky blue.
At night the word Algeria circulated among the grown-ups.
A patient of my father had whooping cough, the words drifted into
summer blue. The evenings spun into stadium lights.
Kennedy’s hair blew across the screen. Castro was just a sofa.
I saw James Meredith’s face through a spread of leaves
on the evening news. The fridge sweat with orangeade,
the trees whooped some nights in rain—
a kid down the street kept coughing into his mitt.
Static sounds from Comiskey and Fenway came
though the vinyl, the plastic, the pillow—
So when it left Stallard’s hand, when Roger Maris’s arms whipped
the bat and the bullet-arc carried into the chasm the disaffections
at 344 ft. near the bullpen fence
under the green girder holding up the voices rising into the façade and over the
where a Baptist choir on Lenox Ave. was sending up a variation of Sweet Chariot
into the traffic on the FDR that was jammed at the Triboro
where a derrick was broken and the cables of its arms picked up the star-blast of
     voices coming over the Stadium façade spilling down the black next-game
     sign into the vector
of a tilted Coke bottle on a billboard
at the edge of the river where a cloud of pigeons rose over Roosevelt Island.
It was evening by the time the cars unjammed and the green of the outfield unfroze
and the white arc had faded into skyline before fall came
full of boys throwing themselves onto the turf with inexplicable desire
for the thing promised. The going. Then gone.
My sister, Sally


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sally looks like she was so merry. :*I

  3. Some losses we don't recover from, we just survive.