Wednesday, November 16, 2011

One of those days

If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't do it any better. I'd skip it entirely.

I felt like a salmon swimming upstream. A really bitchy salmon. A really bitchy salmon with a back ache from trying to keep up with that bendy little twit who rolled her beady little eyes at me during yoga last night. (Fuck you, bendy twit. Fuck you.)

A really bitchy salmon who sucks at competitive yoga. That's me.

And if you don't think yoga is competitive, I'm afraid you don't really understand salmon.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The dog in her favorite spot.
Me in mine.

It's good to be home.

I spent the week in Denver meeting the Boy's family. (I'm going to have to come up with a blog name for him. Capitalizing Boy like that makes it look like he's some sort of weird deity.) It went well. As well as could be expected given my near disdain for staying with people...and meeting new people...and talking to people.

And did I mention that I stayed with people?

They were altogether gracious and hospitable. If you're ever looking for people to stay with, I can't recommend these folks enough. I'm just not a staying with people kind of person.

More on all that later.

Right now, my bed is calling.
My bed.

Like I said, it's good to be home.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A foxhole

At one point, I just looked at him and said, "You know, I have no idea what to do here. No idea. If you could just keep me from fucking it up any worse. Please."

In case you've ever wondered, what does it sound like when my doctor prays?

Except, maybe it doesn't sound like that at all. Maybe your doctor has his spiritual shit together and his prayers are all, "Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy medical knowledge..." Or maybe your doctor is a brilliant atheist (I've yet to meet a stupid atheist) who never finds himself standing at your bedside at 3 am with no idea what to do next.

Maybe this is just what it sounds like when I pray.

I don't do it often at work. It's not because I don't need the help. (God knows I need all the help I can get.) I don't ask for help because I'm not sure that God cares about the same things that I do.

I am all about making you better in this moment--relieving your suffering, curing your disease, keeping you safe. And, I'm just not sure that he's all about those things.

That said, when I had absolutely no idea what to do next, I looked at him and said, "Please."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An accident

We have a young teenager in the unit this week. This is to say, we have a child in the unit this week. He was hit by a car. There was no room in the pediatric ICU, so he is with us. I much prefer to take care of kids. (Even when they're really sick? Isn't that sad and depressing? Yes, even when they're really sick. For reasons I can't explain, this kind of sad does not depress me.) As such, I may be the only one in the unit who doesn't wish we could transfer him.

Yesterday afternoon, the family descended on the unit, a flock of red eyed, puffy faced birds, thrown out of their v-shaped flight into a pile of broken winged mess. They were exhausted, but restless. When people brushed past them in the hall, they drew back, as if every unexpected touch was a static shock. They looked and behaved as people often do right after an accident--a lot like desperate addicts, pacing for relief they can neither conjure nor find.

They came in waves to his bed. Surrounding him on three sides, they stared at his body and looked for the boy they knew. And then they tried to will him to wake up. One of his many aunts reached across the bed, over his chest, and grabbed his mom's hand. "He's going to be fine," she said, wild eyed. "I can feel it. I just know it." The rest of them joined in chorus. He was a strong boy. He was going to get through this. He would wake up, his hair would grow to hide that 8 inch scar on his head, and he would walk right out of here, back to video games and after school sports and girls.

I had to hold myself back. I wanted to grab his aunt's hand with the same force as she had grab his mom's and say, "Stop saying that. You don't know that he's going to be fine. And it doesn't help." It doesn't help because his mom knows that he may not be fine. As she looks down at those staples in his head, his purple eye swollen shut, she knows. And as the chorus sings out in denial of all that lies in front of them, she is left alone to face it.

Hours later, after they've all been persuaded to go home, she and I sit with him. She is at the head of the bed, stroking his forehead, whispering half prayers. I am at the foot, sipping tea, staring at the monitor over his head, trying to decide what I'm going to do next if that intracranial pressure keeps going up. She has just finished doing reiki and the room smells of white angelica, an oil of protection and security, strength and endurance. I find myself hoping he soaks up every drop of it. I'm running out of things to try, and I really want to tell her that he's going to be fine.

Saturday, September 17, 2011



When I wrote that August 22nd post, the one about being in love, I knew you'd be the first to comment. And I knew you'd be happier for me than anyone else. That is the very nature of you.

The boy and I were curled up on the couch last night talking. I told him that while catching up on your blog, I learned that our days of reading each other are coming to an end. I explained a little about AS, about how it has affected you. He said, "It's like everything's been stripped she's been deconstructed."

I understand how it may sound that way. But to know you is to know what has been left. It is to know the seed--the very seed of love and peace and joy--that lives, completely unscathed, in you.

I am going to miss you like whoa, girl.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

All the memories fade
Send the ghosts on their way
Tell them they've had their day
It's someone else's tomorrow.

- Patty Griffin

Friday, September 9, 2011

On faith...or whatever this is

The older I get, the less I know for sure...and the more this feels like a powerful, peaceful, liberating kind of knowing in itself.

I grew up with fundamentalist Christians. I knew a lot of things for fucking sure. I had a firm grasp on most of what was so clearly the black and white, good and righteous truth.

It only makes sense to me that this truth still exists. To say that it is relative or that I could just live my own version of it would be to betray an ignorance of the very word. But, it makes even more sense to me that something as righteous as this cannot ever be understood by something as human as me.

When I say that I know there is a God, I am not convinced of my rightness. I am, instead, sure of my experience. While those things may sound the same, they feel like the difference between Jerry Falwell and Anne Lamott.

The older I get, and the more I have some experience of God, the more I know that, mostly, I just don't know. Resting in that, in a God that understands that, feels like grace.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Saturday

As they walked on ahead of me, I thought, “If I could take a picture…it would be of this.” The Boy and the dog, walking next to each other on that horse trail, her leash clipped onto his backpack, his arms swinging, her tail wagging, trotting along, both kicking up a little dry dirt with each step. He sang the mostly wrong words to Free Falling

It’s a long day livin’ in Raseda.
There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard.
Something, something…cause I don’t really miss her.
And I don’t know the words to this song.

…and, for the fifth time that week, I fell in love with my life.

Out loud

We were lying in bed. It was after midnight. You know that achy feeling you have when you first catch the flu--the feeling that even your hair might be sore? Yes, well, I felt that way on the inside. (Son of a bitch cardiac rotation.) I was completely drained, but wide fucking awake. I couldn’t lie still. I got up, got myself a glass of water, wandered into the living room, and curled up on the end of the couch, hugging my knees to my chest. That lasted all of three minutes before I commenced to pacing. 

Traipsing through the apartment in the dark was doing little to help, and it wasn’t long before it woke the dozing boy. 

I crawled back into bed, mostly because I didn’t have a good explanation for why I’d left in the first place. Then, because it was just about the only place in the apartment I hadn’t yet been, I slid on top of him and buried my face in his chest. He threw his tired, heavy arms over me and kissed my head. I’m certain this was as much a physical restraint intended to prevent further idiotic wandering as it was affection. (He is a warm and sweet smelling straight jacket. I am straight up crazy. We were made for each other.) 

I was as close to sleep as I’d been all night when I whispered, “I love you.” 

Shit, I thought, that wasn’t out loud, was it? I didn’t mean for that to be out loud. 

But then, “I love you, too” was whispered into my hair. 

Now, it's something he says all the time to that crazy girl he's dating. And she says it back. Out loud. And what they both mean but don't (usually) say is, "...even when you're pretty much insane."

Monday, August 22, 2011

And when I have the time--when I'm don't have to be up at 3:30am, when I'm eating something besides Cheerios for dinner, when I'm done starting epi drips in my dreams...this is to say, when cardiac is over--I will tell this blog all about how I am in love.

Not just in like. But in love.

In love like whoa.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The wedding

My little brother got married. And by little, of course, I mean younger and not actually smaller. I say little because I still think of him this that way--as small but mighty. Timmy was born with four holes in his heart. For the first four years of his life, no one knew. Most kids with this kind of heart defect turn blue on occasion. Timmy never did. I think it just never occurred to him to be anything but pink.

He had open heart surgery when he was 5. He was supposed to spend the rest of the summer taking it easy. Telling a 5 year old boy to take it easy—it’s like telling a bird to take a walk.

A few weeks after his surgery, we were at the pool. He had an extra stripe of white sunscreen on the 10 inch bright pink scar on his chest. His chest was a bit of funny shape, as if he’d been opened down the middle like a clam and then wired back together. (He had.) He was constantly being reminded to take it easy.

It was a nice easy walk to the top of the high dive. My mom spotted him up there, peering over the edge, his white greasy scar shining in the sun, just before he flung himself forward and landed with a splat, chest first in 12 feet of water. She got to him before the lifeguard next to the board even heard the splash. As she dove to the bottom of the deep end, she will tell you, “I was sure those sternotomy wires were broken.”

She pulled a stunned, but intact boy, from the pool; and for a few hours that day, he took it easy. He’s been back at it, though, plowing through life—sternotomy wires first—ever since. Maturity has pruned him to be more brave than reckless. His energy has been channeled into a fierce work ethic. And his scar has been a huge hit with the girls.

When I told my now sister-in-law that she was the best thing that’s happened to him since we fixed his heart, I really meant it. She’s sweet, and kind, and funny, and she lets him be himself.

Their wedding weekend was fantastic. I took the Boy home with me. Everyone loved him. And not like, “Oh, he’s nice. Where did you two meet?” But more like, “Oh my God, where did you find him? He is SO HOT!” (Granted, I didn’t really expect that from my uncle.) The Boy has a super cool superhero job. Word of it spread quickly through the groomsmen, and they spent most of the weekend asking if they could see his license to kill.

I never had to worry that he was bored, or didn’t have anyone to talk to, or wasn’t having a good time. I threw this great guy into a my favorite group of people, got myself a drink, and floated through an amazing weekend back home.

At one point, after several drinks, he accepted my mother's invitation to accompany the family on vacation next summer. When she mentioned this to me a week later, I said, “Mom, it was nice of you to invite him, but he and I aren’t really making plans quite that far in advance yet. We’ve only been dating a few months.”

“Well,” she said, “if things work out between the two of you, you can come, too.”

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Tilex Soap Scum Remover now kills the flu virus. It says so right on the label. When I read that I thought, "Do I really need you to kill the flu? I mean, has anyone ever actually contracted this disease from her shower? Athelete's foot...maybe. But, the flu?"

Am I the only one who isn't even the slightest bit worried about catching a fever and chills from her grout?

Monday, May 9, 2011


I had the day off yesterday and so made myself a to do list. In between clean shower and sweep backyard, I wrote, get a grip. I wrote it as if it were a task to be accomplished, a chore to be done. Then, I looked over my list, realized I wasn't actually in the mood to do any of that cleaning shit, and headed to the bookstore instead.

I bought Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. I wasn't looking for a book about writing. I was looking for some Anne. Anne is the kind of woman who would understand why I wrote that list...and why I walked away from it. She wouldn't ask why I had to buy a book, a bag of chips, and some guacamole and spend the afternoon sitting on a bench, spilling avocado on my shirt, growing new freckles (or, as is more likely with my genes, basal cell carcinomas) in the afternoon sun.

As I did just that, I overhead two young 20-somethings discussing what their lives would be like when they were 30. These two had all sorts of grand plans. They were going to be established in their careers, well into their first marriages, having their oldest of three children...

Oddly enough, neither of them said, "When I am 30, I'm going to make elaborate to do lists. They will say things like, chill the fuck out, lighten up, and get over yourself. And then, I'm going to spend whole Saturdays sitting in the sun, spilling guacamole on a white tee shirt, and working towards going home to put a check mark next to get a grip."

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dive, I am still happy

Very happy. When he walks into the room, I still squeal on the inside. Every single time.

But, I'm trying not to squeeze this too tightly, resisting the urge to act like an 8 year old boy who just caught a frog.

I am acutely aware of the fact that sometimes (oftentimes...hell, more times than not) even good things don't last forever. While I'd love for this relationship to have the spirit of a lightning bug with the longevity of a tortoise, I hope I will have the grace and maturity to recount this as a good chapter, no matter its length.

Unfortunately, in my experience, when you really like someone, grace and maturity are the first things to go...