Three a.m. I am awoken from a deep untroubled sleep, a sleep that until recently was a rarity. I was about to make a world-changing speech, on what I cannot remember, but the dream was probably inspired by Johnny Depp in the movie "The Libertine", a 17th century period piece where he plays John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, who both saves (with a brilliant political speech) and threatens to ruin Charles II.
The watching of the movie to bring in the new year was an executive decision on my part. NO MORE HOCKEY. A friend had loaned it to me and it was a good choice. What movie with Johnny Depp isn't a good choice even if, towards the end of this film, his face and body are ravaged with advanced syphilis? He was a libertine after all.
We did not ring in the new year the conventional way by propping open our eyelids until midnight and toasting the occasion. No, a normal boring night for us, but I had a new eReader to look forward to in my room. So with Michael safely tucked away, I indulged in a new book, drifting off to sleep well before midnight.
Then the clanging began. Not the pealing of bells but the din of metal on metal, Michael's whistle hitting the metal bed frame, an overly efficient means of summoning my help.
I dragged myself downstairs to see to his needs which at first seemed unclear. He was rubbing his abdomen and then was able finally to tell me he needed to use the toilet. There was no way I was going to be able to get him into the washroom safely in his by now frozen state so I hoisted him up in bed and readied him for the commode, situated conveniently right next to his bed.
A bit of history: For ten days, Michael suffered a particularly stubborn bout of constipation, spanning the entire week before and well into the week after Christmas. It is often his way when anticipating any change in his routine but this was worse than usual. It was becoming very alarming especially since I had resorted to powerful laxatives and even, in desperation, an enema on Christmas Eve (yes, we have unique ways of celebrating the holidays in our house), all to no avail. I was putting off calling the nurse to come and administer the garden hose of enemas. No exaggeration. Well, maybe a little. I'd wait till after all the kids had left, as much for his own privacy as respect for their sensibilities. Besides, despite the slow down, he continued to eat. In fact he packed away a pretty impressive amount of food on Christmas day, all without any discernible discomfort. I was marvelling that all the measures I had taken were so ineffective.
Or so I thought. Apparently his body was just waiting for an opportune moment of quiet, which is a very rare commodity in our house over the holidays. One afternoon, when only the two of us and the two sympathetic dogs were at home - Wednesday, I think - the action began. I can tell you over the days between Wednesday and last night, he more than made up for ten days of inactivity.
But apparently not completely. Three a.m New Year's day was the Mother Load. Once I woke up enough to take in the whole situation, I couldn't stop laughing. Nor could he, despite his discomfort and Parkinson's rigidity. What else can you do at three in the morning when faced with a very large offering of human waste?
I'm taking this as an auspicious sign for 2012, an emptying out of the bad of 2011. A bit like rain on your wedding day, is how I'm looking at it, but a tradition I'm not wanting to become established.
Happy New Year. May you all begin 2012 as cleanly as Michael. Out with the old; make room for the new. Clean slate. Tabula rasa. Empty vessel.