I spend my days and nights wondering what will be the next thing wrong with me. Analyzing every ache, pain, bump or bruise. I've been this way for as long as I can remember. It would really frustrate my parents, especially my mother. As a pre-teen, I was terminally ill at least once a month. This was pre-internet, or at least pre-my access to it, so I had to stick with the things I knew. The most popular ailment of the time: brain tumor.
I used to get constant headaches when I was younger. Sometimes mild, sometimes just enough to be annoying, but occasionally, they were knock down, lie in my room in the dark, in the cold, buried under the blankets, please don't speak in anything more than a whisper headaches. Those were the headaches that gave me the ammunition. These were the headaches that were caused by my brain tumor.
Sidebar: I am not making light of anyone who may be suffering from a brain tumor. Just recounting a story.
I suppose that my incessant yammering about my impending doom, along with one of the aforementioned headaches, finally drove my mother to the point of taking me to the hospital. She knew it was serious, at least to me, when I physically couldn't function because of the red-hot spike that was dead center in my skull. By far, the longest trip in a car, ever. In the real world, that trip was less than 20 minutes. In my world, where every bump in the road equated to John Henry driving that spike another inch deeper into my brain, the trip may have lasted 4 years.
Upon arrival at the hospital, I was taken into a room and provided with a life-long fear of needles. The poor nurse who attended me may have been new or just bad at drawing blood, but she ruined me for life. I'm sure that it didn't help that around that time, I also used to get the most ridiculous heat rash in the crook of my arms. (In case that's a country term, it's the other side of my elbows.) So, I'm Black, then it's summer so I'm even BLACKER, and on top of that, I have this rash which has discolored my skin even more, exactly in the place where she needs to take blood. She assures me that it will only be a little pinch, but she lies. Chalk it up to my heightened sensitivity because of the
brain tumor headachemigraine, but it felt like she had just sliced into my arm with a sword and a dull one at that. She is a very aware nurse, I will give her that, for she recognized right away that she wasn't in a vein (hence the lack of blood draining from my body) and that I was in pain. The latter, though, she probably realized because I was screaming like a banshee.
Now, instead of removing the needle and taking another STAB at me. I know, I'm sorry, bad pun. She decided that it would be easier if she just moved the needle around in my arm until she found some blood. I am not joking. I have now completely forgotten about my head because my arm is on fire. I screamed. And screamed again. And again. Until the nurse got scared and I told my mom to make her take it out and go away. My mom, being the superhero that she is, obliged. The nurse, who was just trying to do her job, informed my mom that she had to get blood for tests. I yelled out to get someone else to do it. The nurse looked like I just stole her puppy. I was in too much pain to feel bad.
After being admitted, and several rounds of testing, the esteemed hospital staff diagnosed me with, and I couldn't make this up folks, an allergy to cheese and hot dogs. Staples for a pre-teen on summer vacation. They told my mother to keep me away from the processed foods. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Not eating a hot dog will cure me forever! Tomorrow, I'm having a hot dog.
Yesterday, after I got out of the shower, I looked at myself in the mirror and it kicked in. I started thinking. Why haven't I put any weight back on? I had the flu and lost it, but it hasn't come back and it always comes back. Am I getting too skinny? Is something wrong with me? And in the mirror, I have this arguement with myself. You can't be sick or your body wouldn't bother to bloat up for your period. But it goes away as soon as it's over. You can't be sick or else your hair wouldn't be growing so rapidly. What if that's some freak symptom? You're not sick. What about my skin? What about this spot, or that spot? Give it up and go to bed already, would you?
So I did. I went and laid down. With dinner only 3 hours gone by, I wondered why in the world would I be hungry at that moment? I had some water thinking it would help. I soon realized that it wasn't that I was hungry, but I was feeling a bit nauseated. This too, I thought would pass. But it didn't. It got to the point where I had to get up and take something for it. Hello Pepto my old friend, I've come to chew you up again. It must be psychosomatic that as soon as the Pepto hits my mouth and I chew it, I feel better. Finally, better enough to rest.
Until about 3 minutes later when my shoulder starts to hurt. Of course, being who I am, I immediately start to think that I'm dying. I lay in my bed worrying, wondering. Should I say anything? It is my left side. What if I'm just being stupid? But the pain is getting worse. There's nothing wrong with you, it's just an old injury flaring up. But WHAT IF IT ISN'T?!?! Just lay here quietly and stop freaking out. I tried that. The pain dissipated as the yucky feeling did. The psychosis did not.
I wanted to feel my heartbeat. Make sure it was normal. I couldn't feel it. With my hand on my chest as still as I could be, I couldn't feel my heart beating. Common sense told me it still was otherwise I'd be dead, but that was not comforting. I tried for the aortic pulse. It was there, but faint. It seemed to be hiding behind some swollen glands. That are now a lump. And I wonder if something is wrong with me. And what would happen if I died right there. And a wave washed over me. Can't quite explain it but it freaked me out even more. Somehow, common sense yelled loud enough to get past all the other voices in my head. It said, "You're just sleepy, dumbass". Somehow, that didn't calm me. I laid awake. Worrying. Scared that something was wrong. Scared that I might die if I fall asleep. Scared that if I stroked out that no one would even notice till morning when it would be way too late. Scared that I haven't done a quarter of the things I want to do, seen a quarter of the places I want to see.
As I laid in bed, paranoid, a lone tear rolled down my cheek and made it's way into my hair. I made it through the night and the waking hours aren't so scary.
For those of you that don't know, I'm a resident of south Florida, Miami to be exact. I've lived here now for 3 years. It hasn't been all candy and flowers, but it hasn't been that bad. If, by some chance, you don't read these sorts of trivial things, Miami was voted country's rudest/worst drivers. You can laugh about it and point fingers and joke, but it's sadly true. I've lived in many places both in and out of this country, and Miami is the worst. (And no, I'm not going to just sit and complain, we're moving next year.)
I didn't start this post, however, simply to say the driving is bad here. This is a wake-up call, a warning, a shout-out, whatever you want to call it, that we, as responsible driving adults, need to SLOW DOWN on the roads. Saturday morning I was reading the Miami Herald and under the breaking news was a story about a pedestrian being struck and killed by a car while trying to cross US1. This highway is dangerous. People are dying trying to cross it and nothing is being done. The most tragic part is that this pedestrian was only 14 years old. A young life lost before even having a chance to reach its potential. Parents have been devastated. A whole school is this morning trying to cope with the loss of their friend and classmate Vincent Delmore. I know this is true because my daughter was friends with this young man. She created a
It's hard enough to explain death to the young, but at least it is typically an older relative. How do you help a child cope with the senseless death of a friend?
I beg you, I implore you, I ask you kindly from the depths of my heart, le pregunto, please slow down on our roadways. There is really very little that can be that important for you to endanger the lives of those in our community and the lives of our children. Please, leave 5 minutes earlier or just be 5 minutes late (nothing starts on time anyways) and slow down and pay attention to the road.
My heart goes out to every child at Ponce this morning and especially to the parents of this young man. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Are you taking a vacation this summer (or this season)? Where are you headed and who's going with you?
I was just counting down to vacation this morning, actually. School will be out soon and so my daughter is going to do a little vacation time with my mom. During her vacation there, my love and I will be spending one week in beautiful Key Largo, FL. Activities to include:
- sleeping in
- going out on the boat
- getting nekkid
- drinking (me not him, he's driving)
After that, we come back to reality for a couple months. In September though, we're taking a little road trip to Club Med for a weekend of meeting new folks and me catching up with a bunch of folks I already know. Ex-GO reunion!! If you know what that means and don't know the details, drop me a line and I'll fill you in!
Back to reality for a few more months before the BIG vacation in January. Park City, Utah, here we come! This place is so super awesome that I cannot wait to go. They offer a one day class that guarantees that you'll be ready to get on and off the lift by yourself and take on some gentle greens the day after class. Kiddie and Lovey are going to that while I take a class on shredding on my board.
Oh how I can't wait for vacation!!
But only because Roboco made me. :-) They're in no particular order, each as dull and mundane as the last. I'm putting myself to sleep.
- I can't draw. This probably isn't great for someone who's really interested in Web/Graphic design, but it only takes my one good idea (coming soon to a party near you) to make sure I don't have to work for someone else any more anyways.
- I graduated high school at the tender age of 16. If you have the opportunity to do this for your child, DON'T! Trust me, it sucks when all of your friends are two years older than you, have two more years experience than you do and most of all, when you try to go to PSU (main campus) when you're that young. Let kids be kids. Don't push.
- Jam is better than jelly and grape is better than strawberry, at least for me. There's nothing better than some honey roasted Peter Pan (I don't care about the recall, get it back on the shelves) and Welch's grape jam on fresh squishy wheat bread.
- After I devour that PB&J, I'll most likely go brush my teeth. I'm pretty anal retentive about my teeth. (Should anal and teeth even go in the same sentence?) I love my Sonicare and I've never had a cavity. Ever.
- My hospital visits have been very limited. I say this as I knock on all the wood I can find; I've never broken a bone or required stitches. I am dull.
- One day soon, soon meaning within the next 5 years, you'll see me on TV on the World Series of Poker. I love it and I feel like I should be there so I will.
- I'm one hell of a bartender. No, I don't flair. You don't have to spin bottles to be a great bartender. I dance on bars, I sling drinks, I give attitude, I get you drunk. End of story.
- I've never been a big fan of the open water, except when I've been drinking, the most dangerous time. I can't take my Open Water PADI test because I don't think I can float that long. I hate to swim, yet I absolutely adore snorkling on a calm day and scuba diving any day.
- I'm a circus freak. See here or here for proof. Available for bookings. NOT!
- I write porn. Yup, sure do. Drop me a line, tell me what you like and I'll write you a story.
There you have it. All you never wanted to know. I'm not tagging anyone but feel free to share.