Atlanta, Silk Pajamas, and A Twist At the End.

posted in: Day In The Life, Story, Work 0
It could be an ad for silk pajamas. It could be an ad for something...else. Either way, image courtesy Wikipedia.
It could be an ad for silk pajamas. It could be an ad for something…else. Either way, image courtesy Wikipedia.

This coming week has me heading over to Atlanta to teach and speak at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo. This is one of my favorite gigs to do because I get to see Marlene. Marlene is the brains behind the Atlanta operation among other, similar operations and has been a friend and mentor to me for years. She was most publicly my friend when I went down in flames in Atlanta a number of years ago; without her help, I might still be casting about in the halls of a hospital in Georgia, filling out endless forms in triplicate and not getting the good kind of pain medicine.

Whenever I go to Atlanta, I am reminded of the first time I went to Atlanta. I was traveling with Bari; like Marlene, Bari is the sort of person you want around when the zombie apocalypse comes. It was awhile ago, but I remember Bari needed to drive to St. Louis to deliver something to her grandmother. That sounds like a cover for something, but I think it was legit. Bari grew up in the Atlanta area and her parents still lived there; for some reason, it made sense for her to drive to Atlanta and then go on to grandma’s house. Bari and I were living together that summer and she asked me if I wanted to go. I had no plans and I loved Bari. We got in her SUV and got on the road.

Bari’s family home was the finest house I had ever been in up to that point. The architecture, the interior, the grounds — these people had impeccable taste in every area in which impeccable taste matters (e.g., food, art, dogs, etc.) And they were all so nice! Within an hour of being welcomed inside, I got used to the fact that there was a grand staircase in the front of the house and a back staircase in the back of the house. I wanted to live in the kitchen and could have, perhaps with ten or eleven other people.

Bari showed me to my own guestroom where I had my own bathroom and my own balcony, I think. There were silk sheets on the bed and I had packed silk pajamas. When I got into bed that night, I really slid around.

All the comfort of that home was thrown into sharp relief the week after: I went to visit my boyfriend Dan in New York City and we heard a dog get shot. Dan lived in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a decade before Bushwick began to be remotely cool or safe. I didn’t like being there, but I really liked Dan. One night, we were going nuts listening to this dog bark and bark and bark and bark and bark and then we heard a gunshot and the dog didn’t bark anymore.

In life, as in patchwork, contrast is what makes things interesting.

What Happened.

posted in: Day In The Life, Sicky 33
Onionweed. An invasive species. Pretty, though.
Onionweed. An invasive species. Pretty, though.

Here’s what happened. No pity party, just the facts.

I’m crazy anemic. On top of that, I’m leaking blood somewhere, and this wimpy system got hit with a virus that was less like “the flu,” more like “the Invasion of Normandy.” The triple-threat was disastrous.

I sort of knew I was kind of anemic; I remember a doctor saying something about this years ago. But I didn’t know it was a big deal and I figured it was related to surgeries. Mild anemia is not a big deal, but severe anemia is and it’s not just related to surgeries. Anemia, by the way, is “a condition marked by a deficiency of red blood cells or of hemoglobin in the blood, resulting in pallor and weariness.” I’ve always been pasty and pale; now I know there’s a reason I look like a character cut from Twilight. When taping the TV show last year, I caught myself on the monitor standing next to a tanned, Texas-dwelling Liz Porter and scared the badoobies out of myself; I was practically translucent by comparison.

The headache came on Thursday night, an H.R. Geiger creature trying and failing to claw its way out of my head (the failing part made it try harder, see.) I do remember things — spinal taps don’t fade from memory quickly — but it’s all in patches, including a visit from my Chicago GI doctor one of the days I was at Northwestern. Dr. Yun asked me, “Mary, what the heck is going on with you??”  I remember croaking out, “I have to get on a plane to D.C. tomorrow morning” and she basically laughed me out of the building. My mother came in from Iowa; if you said you’d give me five million dollars to tell you when she arrived, I would not be able to take that money home. My sister and her fiance visited; I remember stories they told me of their visit to India, but when did they come? How long did they stay? I remember texting three people, one time each, but I can’t remember one of the people I texted and I have no idea what I said. A friend came to visit and all I remember is him opening his mail. I blogged twice and I am so afraid to read those entries for fear they were absolutely unintelligible.

They did an upper GI. They did another pouchoscopy. They did a CT of my brain. No bleeding so far. They tried an MRI but I pressed the panic button; the congestion in my chest was so bad, I couldn’t breathe outside of a head-locking, skull-screw, mask device; inside one, I was a basket case. I’ll reschedule that and the pelvic ultrasound.

So there you have it. Tomorrow, lighter fare. Now I must rest. I am in D.C. again, horizontal, unable to move anything but my fingers. They’re fine! I feel like I got punched in the ribs and someone has been beating my organs with a fish.

“The Picture of Health”

posted in: Sicky 7
"The picture of health."
“The picture of health.”

It’s not often one does a google image search and comes up totally empty-handed, but if you’re searching for something truly obscure, it’s possible that there will be a “No results found for [blank]” message. To give you an example of how rare an occurance this is, I tried to think of something that for sure could not turn up any image results whatsoever. I typed in “Beckett peanut butter sandwich.”

Tons of results. Thousands.

It came as a great surprise, therefore, when I entered in (in quotes) the common phrase, “the picture of health” to find an image for this blog post and got the “No results found for ‘the picture of health'” message. Really? That surprised me. Though there were images for the picture of health without quotes, they were not what I expected, really. I suppose I thought I’d get beaming cherubic children, or expensive stock photographs of doctor/patient interactions, etc.

The best of the lot was the above picture from the Department of Health Sciences and Technology in Zurich. It’s unclear what’s going on, here, but there’s at least one object visible there in the office that one is not allowed to touch; judging from the intricacy of the robot-lobster the older fellow is strapped into, I suspect there are a few more.

I wanted to find a picture of the picture of health to be ironic. I’m not exactly the picture of health but I’m better than I was on Monday. This whole week was a bit of a wash, I’m afraid. When I was actively feeling very poorly, I was flat on my back. That was a couple days. Then there was a Doctor Day, when I got some disturbing news that I’ll share tomorrow (too tired, psychically and physically, at the moment, to go there), and then there were a couple days of Getting Back on My Feet. Today, I was hale and hearty enough to finish a quilt top and eat some chorizo scrambled eggs, so I’d say ground has been gained.

Thank you to all the well-wishers — you shall be justly rewarded. I’m not sure how or when or if I’ll have a lick to do with it, but surely something positive must come when we send funny texts and things to those who need a laff.