Current troubles

At this point in my life I seem to have a talent for loosing an earring that I’m wearing. I’ll be wearing a full pair when I get dressed and when I check myself over in the mirror to make sure that I look presentable, and then partway through the day I’ll notice that one of my earrings has escaped somehow.

When compared with the other physical issues I must currently deal with, this does not seem like something I should actually care about. Mainly I have an issue with this recurring dilemma because this happened recently when I was wearing a pair of earrings that I had with real diamonds and real opals in them. I didn’t purchase them being that I got them when my grandmother passed away, though they must have been quite expensive.

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Cashews on Kale

It’s almost lunch time, but not quite. I’ve got a bagel with cream cheese wrapped up inside a brown paper bag on my desk that’s waiting, too. I see Lauren in my peripheral holding a bag of something and look up at her. She offers me a kale chip. I’ve had homemade kale chips before, so I agree. She just finished up a 5 day juice cleanse, supposed to rid your body of all its toxins. After the first day she was sick of the juice. Maybe she feels good after having done it; maybe she wants to be healthier from now on. I don’t know. I lay out a napkin and lay the kale chip in front of my keyboard. I let it sit for a while before taking a bite. It’s disgusting. I’m reminded of these wasabi flavored soy beans I ate once: the wrong kind of spicy, the kind of oregano spicy that won’t leave your mouth even after you’ve swallowed it all down. I chew the piece in my mouth slowly, grimacing. She’s laughing at me and my disgust. I give her back the rest of the piece I took and run to get some water. After the second cup I notice something is wrong. I taste metal. It tastes like there’s a green penny in my mouth and my throat is already beginning to tighten. I come out of the kitchenette and walk quickly over to Lauren’s desk, asking to see the bag of chips. She pulls it out of the top drawer of her desk and hands it to me, saying she’s already checked the ingredients and there are no peanuts.

 Peanut allergies, for whatever reason, are almost common these days. It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have a relative, immediate or distant, with a peanut allergy. Always young people though, never older people. Most people can remember peanut allergies without too much effort, and that makes them feel good. But peanuts aren’t my only enemy. Second ingredient on the list: organic cashews. Fucking cashews. I explain the situation to her and she’s suddenly horrified. She’s already blaming herself. It’s unnecessary: my allergy, my responsibility.

 I run to the bathroom. There are still little chunks of kale stuck in my teeth so I scrape them out with my fingernails and rinse my mouth vigorously with the tap water. When I return to my desk I seek my stash of Benadryl and take 3 pills, everything I have on me. I know what’s going to happen, at least I think I do. In a little while I’ll start to feel extremely tired, and once my body starts digesting the cashews I’ll feel sick to my stomach for a few hours. It’s not nausea, it’s a sharp ache that gnaws at the inside of your stomach and nothing satisfies it. I tell the manager what’s happened and explain that I need to go home because once the Benadryl really kicks in I’ll be useless. She understands. Her mother is severely allergic to shellfish. She wants me to go to the hospital, but I refuse. I’ve done this all before, too many times.

                The drive home is fine. I’m panicking a little and my heart is racing slightly but other than that I’m fine. The first thing I do is brush my teeth. I lay in my bed and the stomach pain has already begun, sooner than expected. I won’t be able to sleep just yet. I go to the bathroom and try to force myself to throw up though I know it’s futile. I know it won’t happen, and it doesn’t. I spit up a small amount of bile, metallic spit. I sit back down on the bed and notice for the first time that my breathing has become labored. My asthma has been under control for years, but I know when there’s a problem. This has never happened before. This is not a part of the usual process. My panic escalates and I call my mother, a registered nurse. I ask her if I should go to the hospital. She says yes. I knew she would. So I go to an urgent care center close by.

                The parking lot is jam packed. I drive around in circles cursing and hitting the steering wheel. My breathing is getting worse. I finally find a spot and squeeze into it in my little red sedan. I’m glad I don’t drive a big car. It’s only 10 degrees out. I walk briskly to the door of the building and am relieved that there are only a handful of people in the waiting room. I sit down until one of the women at the front desk calls me over. I say tell her I am having an allergic reaction to cashews and she tells me to sit down. She asks for my insurance card and driver’s license which I hand over. She looks at the two cards then types something in her computer. She looks at the cards again, and types some more. She gives me some papers to sign while she looks and types. She has no sense of urgency, she’s seen worse. I don’t look sick, aside from the expression on my face. But she can breathe, and the longer I sit there as she types and settles my payment, the harder it is for me to breathe. I can even hear it now. The wheezing has become audible, not a good sign. Finally we’re finished with the paper work, and I go sit down again in the waiting area. She assures me it won’t be long until I am called back. She’s not convincing me. My epipens are in my pocket and I wonder if I’ll have to use them on myself before I’m seen by anyone. I’ve never done it before. I know I have to stab it in my thigh, but that’s all I know. I sit restlessly until a young nurse calls my name.

                I’m ushered into a room just outside the waiting area. They take everyone’s pulse, temperature and blood pressure before sending them back to a real exam room. Triage, I think it is. She doesn’t ask me what’s wrong. She doesn’t care yet. Right now she only cares about 3 numbers. I know my heart beat must be fast. Once the preliminary tests are complete, she walks with me to an exam room. There’s a computer on a rolling desk in the middle of the room. More questions. “What do you think is the matter?” As if I’m fine or I’m making it up. I suppose they must deal with people who enjoy embellishment, but I don’t like the way she said it. I answer her questions as well as I can, while the force crushing my chest increases. The longer I wait, the more nervous I get, the faster my heart beats. My faith in these people is waning. No sense of urgency. They can’t feel what I feel. She leaves and says she’ll be back soon. As I’m waiting I look at my arm and notice the skin is red and blotchy. I pull my sleeves up and see more bright red skin. I pull my shirt up to examine my abdomen. It looks like I have a bad sunburn. I can’t breathe and I’m fidgety. My mother is texting me, I’ve worried her. Without going into too much detail I tell her it’s getting worse. Most of the time she worries about silly, pointless things; at least this is legitimate.

                A blonde nurse comes in the room. She looks concerned. She tells me I’ll be getting a shot of some steroid then leaves the room. Two more people, men this time, enter the room. They ask me what happened and tell them about the Kale chip. I’m asked multiple times if I have an epi pen and why I didn’t use it. I’m embarrassed to say I never have and don’t exactly know how. I was never told when to use it, I don’t know how to gauge the situation, don’t know what merits its use. Now I do, I guess.

                A male nurse gives me a shot of epinephrine in my shoulder. It hurts when it goes right into the muscle like that. It’s easier to breathe almost instantly, and my heart begins to race. Epinephrine is essentially synthetic adrenaline. I feel dizzy, like I’m in a fast moving car with the threat of crashing, but I can breathe. They let me sit for a few minutes and relax before the shot of the steroid. This one goes in the fleshy part of my hip. It hurts too. I sit back on the bed, and the injection site is immediately sore. The nurses are commenting on their success, I’m less red, I can breathe again, mission accomplished.

                My mother shows up and comes in the exam room. She’s trying to keep it together, but I know she’s a bit of a wreck over the whole thing. She tends to get emotional. I mentioned earlier that she was a nurse, so the doctor on call comes in the room and throws around some long words with her. She gets it better than most parents, and I get it better than most patients. He tells her that my breathing wasn’t that bad. I don’t know about that. It felt pretty bad to me. He says it more than once. I wonder if he’s ever had the luxury taken away before. I wonder if he’s ever struggled for air because of one simple little nut. I doubt it and wish he would stop saying that.

Before I’m discharged one of the nurses tells me I have to take a steroid for three days until the allergen is completely out of my system. It’s one I’ve been on before, my mother tells me once the nurse leaves. I remember. They put me on this same steroid when I was 4 years old and had to be rushed to the hospital for an asthma attack. My face was blue, my mother always says. The steroid made me incredibly moody, which she now associates with my inherent character. She says I sat under a table at a restaurant and screamed and cried while everyone else enjoyed their meals. She says it gave me growing pains. That I remember. It was always the ankles. At least I can make jokes at work about being on steroids; that could be fun.

I return home and let the 100mg of Benadryl I popped prior to going to urgent care take me away and sleep. The doctor told me next time it could be worse, and I shouldn’t hesitate to use my epi pen; after all I did pay $65 for it. Maybe I’ll be more careful, maybe I won’t. It’s hard to say. Sometimes I think about the fact that if I was born in a different time with my food allergies, I would never have live passed my childhood. But then I think if I was born in a different time, I most likely wouldn’t have food allergies at all. Must be nice.

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Blizzard Condition

The wind outside is angry

and so am I.

It whips around our so-called sturdy walls teasingly,

it slaps the tree trunks and bare branches

with such an attitude,

it howls boastfully until I pull back the shade to look.

In the pathetic yellow-orange glare of the streetlight,

the snow is not falling, it is dancing hectically,

dizzily.

Barely a flake lands on the hidden ground

before it is thrust back up into the air in a frenzy.

My sight falls, unimpeded, upon a rabbit in the yard,

a shimmery gray brown bump in the white flux.

They say the air feels like 20 below and I’m glad I’m not him.

But I imagine I am him

alone in the frigid night,

and while I sit amid the chill calculating my next jump,

a strong hand comes from above and scoops me up

and hides me someplace warm 

between a thick coat and a compassionate torso.

Perhaps I am not so glad.

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Shameless Promotion

Shameless Promotion

I recently read that the more back-door links exist, the more relevant a specific page becomes in search engines. So I’m putting one out there myself. I make jewelry, and I pretend to sell it on Etsy. So take a look, or don’t, it’s up to you; like I said I’m just putting it out there.

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January 5, 2014 · 3:27 pm

Reflection on the Year 2013

I moved back in with my parents

I came to the realization that my Bachelor’s Degree in English is useless

Someone whom I loved very much decided they didn’t want me in their life anymore

I fought long and hard with the notion that my bouts of depression are worse than I’d like to admit

My brother and my oldest cousin proposed to their girlfriends.

 

I already know 2014 will be better, because two weddings are better than none.

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Short Hair, Don’t Care

I find long hair cumbersome and annoying, and I recently cut most of mine off. It went from being just about shoulder length to what is commonly referred to as a ‘pixie cut’. I’ve never been attached to my hair, in fact I prefer to let it grow for a while, and then cut a drastic amount off and even dye it a completely different color at the same time. In my opinion, if you’re going to spend the money to go to a nice salon and get your hair cut, you should look completely different than when you went in; otherwise I don’t think it’s worth it. Plus, hair grows back. Even if after a few weeks you don’t like your new short cut as much as you did the day you got it done, who cares? You are 100% guaranteed to have your hair eventually be the exact length it was before you cut it, you just have to be patient. And in the mean time, who cares? There are many ways to make an unfavorable hairstyle bearable until it grows back. And there are even serums and products to help it grow back faster. And yet, many women are terrified by the idea of cutting their hair as short as I did. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been told how brave I am in the past two months. As if hair is some sort of protection against danger, and by discarding mine I have left myself vulnerable to attack. I suppose it goes to show how deep the idea of long hair as being a staple of femininity runs within our culture. Many women truly believe that they will not be beautiful unless they have long, flowing hair. It’s true that different lengths of hair look attractive on different women due to face shape and such, but I’ve never paid much attention to any of that. If I get an idea to cut my hair a certain way or dye it a certain color, I just do it without too much thought. I’ve never been scared because it’s not permanent. Men are also victims of the ideal of long locks as being the true form of femininity. Which is not to say that no men find women with short hair attractive, but they too tend to see it as something that is against the norm. Shortly after I cut my hair, a man I was talking to in a bar asked me “so have you always had short hair?” I thought it was a very strange question to ask. It reminded me of conversations I’ve had with people about my various allergies, and they ask, “so have you always been allergic to…” wondering if I’d been born with the defect or developed it later on. So whether he meant it that way or not, his question seemed to imply that my short hair was some sort of defect, something not necessarily undesirable, but something that was notably out of the ordinary. I just don’t understand why a simple act, shortening something that grows continually, can bring on such strange, unintentionally negative attention. 

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Fallen Idols Are Idols Nonetheless

It always confuses me just a little when people extend their love and admiration for a particular celebrity beyond the scope of their work and into the realm of their personal lives. Most celebrities, though not all, are such because of their profession. Let’s make it simpler for the sake of argument and say they are either famous because they are actors or musicians, some trying to be both. Many of their fans are turned on to them in the first place because of the work they do. They had a hit song on the radio, or they were in a popular movie or tv show. It starts out this way, as innocent admiration. Some, however, become so obsessed for whatever reason that their “love” for the celebrity eventually reaches a point where they no longer recognize the work that the celeb produces; they are so loved that they can do no wrong in the eyes of many of their adoring fans. But if you are ignoring the work they produce, you ignore the very reason you noticed them and admired them in the first place. I’m not sure that’s as clear as I meant it to be, so I’ll give an example that I’ve seen numerous times. Britney Spears. When she started out, she was very young and very pretty and highly sexualized. Can she sing? She’s not great, but she’s got a unique style of singing that certainly set her apart. Can she dance? Moderately. But she was the first of her kind, and made many people take notice very early on. That was in the 90s. I remember seeing the music video for ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ play on all the televisions hanging in the Foot Locker of the mall near my house and thinking ‘what is that?’ I was only a child, and I was mesmerized. Now that she’s older and pop culture has abandoned the brand she created, Britney has been forced to become a follower rather than a leader. And in my opinion, she’s not exactly doing it gracefully. Granted, I haven’t been a fan of hers in a very long time, but her newest songs almost sound like a joke. And that music video that just came out? It’s bad, let’s leave it at that. One of the major issues of the song, as well as the video, is that it’s trying so very hard, and that fact is overwhelmingly obvious. But her fans love it. Because they objectively think the song is good? No, because they love her so much that it doesn’t matter what she does, she’s a goddess. A friend of mine who is a big fan of hers even admitted that she thought the new song was horrible, but she didn’t care because she just loves her so much. But what’s the point? Ignoring the reason that first made you admire Britney, or any of them, when they do or make or sing or write something awful but you brush it aside because you love them that much, then what more are you doing that worshiping and praising someone who sucks at their job? Furthermore, to claim that you love a celebrity for who they are and not for their work, singing or acting or whatever, is ridiculous. YOU DON’T KNOW THEM, YOU’VE NEVER MET THEM AND YOU MOST LIKELY NEVER WILL EVEN SEE THEM IN REAL LIFE LET ALONE HOLD A CONVERSATION. That’s not love, it’s empty idol worship.

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