Tagged: WTF

Mar 21

Seize the Day

I threw up in the shower today for the second time in less than a week. I’ve thrown up more than twice, but only twice while I’ve been in the shower. A new medication that I’m taking is making me sick and it’s been tough.

A little more than a week ago I was out on a Saturday afternoon with my mom. We had lunch with my sister and we laughed and joked and traded gossip. Then we shopped. The pet store for cat food. Mom needed cream cheese & I needed mascara so we went to the grocery store. We split up to get our stuff. I remember looking at mascara, but then suddenly I was sitting awkwardly on the floor of the makeup aisle and 2 people with a bed on wheels were asking me questions. What was my name? Did I know what day it was? Everything felt fuzzy. I was aware that I should have easy answers to the questions but I didn’t. I was thinking so hard but the answers just felt out of reach somehow.

I only recall snippets. I started to really be aware and lucid once I was in the ambulance. I started to realize what had happened. Well, it’s more likely that I was told what had happened. I had a seizure. Nobody was sure how long it lasted, but it was a grand mal (or tonic-clonic) seizure. This type of seizure is characterized by a loss of consciousness and violent, full-body muscle contractions. Surrounded by eye shadow & lip gloss, I fell to the ground and convulsed uncontrollably for what felt like hours but in reality was probably a couple of minutes.

The paramedics checked my blood glucose, ran an IV in my left hand, took my blood pressure and probably a million other things that I didn’t even notice or don’t remember. At the hospital, doctors and nurses drew my blood, checked my urine & blood pressure, did an EEG to check my heart and more. After a couple of hours I was discharged. They told me not to drive or swim, and that the neurology department would call me to schedule a follow up.

The next few days were awful. I was in so much pain that I could hardly move. The muscle contractions left every single part of my body in agony. I bit my tongue so eating was uncomfortable. I didn’t do much of anything, which gave me plenty of time to think.

I had seizures in my early 20s. Not very many, but one is actually enough. I took anti-seizure meds for a long time and once I found the right combination of seizure control and tolerable side effects, I did ok. In 2012, it had been 9 years since I’d had a seizure and my neurologist suggested I stop taking the meds. He felt that it was likely that I’d outgrown the seizures. From a medical standpoint, if I could make it 18 months without meds and without a seizure, I’d be considered cured. I went well beyond 18 months and I thought I was officially done with that part of my past. Until last week.

I feel betrayed by my own brain. I’m filled with fear and uncertainty. I’m desperately afraid. I can’t drive. I’m back on these powerful drugs that make me sick. I feel hopeless. Helpless. I turned 40 the other day. This isn’t what I thought 40 would feel like.

I saw a neurologist last week and she prescribed a new drug – the one that’s making me sick. I’ve reached out to her office to find out if the nausea & vomiting will go away or if I need to try something else. I’m still only on a half dose, but I titrate to the next higher dose in a couple of days. Will these problems get worse? I’m not sure yet.

As hard as this has been and as much as I want to scream about how unfair it all is and dissolve into sobs because I’m terrified, I’m incredibly lucky. My family and friends have been 1000% supportive. My boss is super flexible & has told me to do whatever I need to do. My husband is my rock & his job is also flexible enough that he is able to leave work to drive me to doctor’s appointments and to the many follow up tests that I have scheduled. I have great health insurance and I’m able to afford the deductibles and co-pays. None of this is cheap by any stretch. I haven’t been billed for the ambulance or ER visit yet, but my portion of the MRI I had this morning was more than $500 (which I had to pay upfront without any notice, but luckily I have an FSA). That’s just one test of many. Plus the prescriptions and office visits and it’s overwhelming and endless.

I guess what I’m getting at is that this sucks. It’s been a real struggle. As tough as its been for me, I can’t even fathom how people deal with any kind of serious illness IN ADDITION to the financial burden. Too many people have to choose between necessary medication and groceries. Or opt out of costly diagnostic tests that could ultimately impact their treatment & prognosis. So as much as I may whine & complain, it’s not lost on me that I’m extremely blessed.

I don’t really have any point to any of this, but I’m a tornado of emotion and I really needed to write about it. If you made it all the way to the end, thank you for listening. ☺

UPDATE 3/23 – I heard from my doctor, she thinks the nausea will resolve itself and told me to keep to the medication plan & update her either way. I’ve been feeling better the last couple of days, so I hope she’s right! I switch to the higher dose this evening, so cross your fingers. Also, here’s a very quick sketch of me on the grocery store floor I did a week or so ago. And YES, I really was wearing my Bad Ass shirt. 😎

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Sep 04

One of the Guys

I had just turned 17, and it was spring. It was my junior year at my very small high school, and I was taking a marketing class in the afternoons at a nearby school district. There were 3 of us, two boys and me. Since I didn’t have a car they took turns driving us to class and I chipped in for gas.

On this particular spring day, one of the guys was sick, so there were only 2 of us. The healthy guy and I were casual friends. We took this class together, and said hey in the halls of our own school, but we didn’t hang out after school or anything. We’d never had a real conversation about anything important. I didn’t know him well, but I liked him just fine in a classmate/acquaintance kind of way.

I had kissed a boy, and that was the extent of my experience. I knew about sex in theory, but I was very naive. So when he pulled the car over to the side of the road, I was confused. We had been talking about random things. I don’t even remember what. Nothing that could possibly lead to what happened next. We weren’t flirting. The next thing I knew, we were on the side of the road in the middle of the day, and this boy told me that I had to have sex with him. He told me that it was my responsibility and I had to. I said no. I asked him to start the car and drive us back to school. He persisted. I said no. He raised his voice. I said no. He told me that the very least I could do was perform oral sex. I said no. I continued to say no and he got angry and yelled at me. He called me all the worst names he could think of. He finally gave up, because he eventually started the car and we continued our trip. We never talked about it again, and I never told anyone. I also never went to that marketing class without all 3 of us being in the car again.

This whole thing happened in just a few minutes. I knew that things could have gone very differently, and sadly, I actually considered myself lucky. In those 5 minutes, I learned so much. I learned that boys can’t be trusted. I learned that boys saw me as a sexual object, even though I didn’t see myself that way. I learned that sex was terrifying. I learned that a boy could make me feel scared and violated and small without even laying a hand on me.

This was just the first in a string of somewhat similar situations that I found myself in as a young girl, and most were much worse than this one. Unfortunately, I don’t think my experiences are all that unusual. But starting with this one, they shaped me. I couldn’t sleep the other night and I was thinking about this and the impact it had on me. This was the first piece of the puzzle that became a lifetime of trust issues.

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May 29

The Sweetness of Mike King

A great friend recently described me as a very warm person, and commented that I treat every stranger I meet as if we’re already friends. My first thought was that it was a criticism, and that maybe I should try to be less trusting, but he assured me that he admires these qualities and my personality in general.

I’ve thought about this conversation a great deal trying to decide what it means and who I am and how other people perceive me and whether or not any of it even matters. I’ve come to some conclusions and also come up with more questions and I thought I’d share.

First, my friend was right. I do treat everyone I meet like a close friend but I’m not sure its warmth – I just like people and enjoy meeting new ones. In fact, I like people so much that I have a tendency to actually believe there’s a closeness to relationships that turn out to be completely one sided in the end. There’s warmth and care from my side, but I don’t catch on that the other person is MEH until its too late and my feelings are hurt. It’s like I have some kind of attachment disorder. Its sort of self-defeating, to be honest.

To complicate this even more, I’m a fixer. I hate to see someone I care about in need, sad, angry, hungry, hurt or with any other affliction. I try to help. In most cases, I’ll drop what I’m doing to help. Because its the right thing. Because its what friends do. Because I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes and do what I’d want someone to do for me.

These two things together – the perceived closeness and the fixing – are a truly horrible combination. I end up spending so much time giving pieces of myself and my time and my energy to people who, while grateful and in most cases appreciative, simply have no interest in ever returning the favor.

But so what? Is that so wrong? Is the reason I help other people just so that I can collect a fat stack of favors that are owed to me? No, of course not. But its also very difficult to not reflect on the help I’ve given others when I find myself really needing other people and there’s nobody there. I’m not blaming anyone but myself. I make this mistake over and over again and I somehow never learn the lesson. I find myself pretty regularly repeating the adage “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Learning the lesson would mean treating new people as strangers and not trying to help people when I know they need it. I don’t think I’m capable of either. I actually WANT to be. I wish I could be cold. It would save me so much sadness and so much hurt. But at the end of the day, this is who I am, for better or worse. And sometimes it hurts like a bitch.

So are these qualities admirable? On paper they sound good, but I sure wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.

This probably isn’t the best time for me to get all emo. I’ve barely slept the last few nights and I’m exhausted and sad and all alone and its the middle of the night. I’m not sure if any of this even makes sense and it doesn’t really matter if it does or not. I guess it’s just hard to feel so isolated when I’m such a “warm” person.

Just to end on a light note, here’s a drawing of a close friend (I think it’s a close friendship, anyway) I did the other day. It’s ink & watercolor.

Kemal

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Jan 18

Crack Pipe

It’s been a tumultuous week around here. Last Sunday morning, hubby & I awoke to the sound of water dripping. In our sleepy haze it took us a few minutes to realize that water was dripping into our closet from the door frame. Huh, weird. Mike rushed upstairs to see what was going on. The guest room and guest bathroom were SOAKED. The carpet was squishy and the ceramic tile had half an inch of standing water. While he was up there, I went downstairs to the basement. I was in a total panic when I stepped into the home theater to find the drop ceiling had collapsed and water was gushing out into the room and all over the furniture. What a mess! Mike got the water shut off so the gushing stopped, and we were able to walk around and sort of assess the damage. We had water on all 3 floors, and in nearly every room of the house. The only place that was completely dry was Mike’s man cave upstairs. The room was dry, but we later learned that the pipe that had frozen and cracked was actually in the attic behind the guest bathroom sink. The only access to the attic is through the man cave, so even that room wasn’t completely immune.

Here’s my drawing of me when I went into the basement, and also a photo of the tiny little cracked pipe that caused this whole mess.

Gusher

The Culprit

We were lucky enough to get a plumber here very quickly who repaired the pipe and turned our water back on. We were also lucky enough to get a crew here in the afternoon who were obviously experts at water extraction, and they worked into the evening to try to get things dry. Mike & I holed up in the man cave with the cats and tried to relax. My poor Buffy – she’s such a neurotic little diva anyway, and I think this whole thing was harder on her than any of us. We did all we could do to try to keep her calm and reassured, including putting one of those pheromone collars on her. Nemo is ultra resilient so he just rolled with it. I wasn’t quite so lucky. After a few days of incredibly loud fans and dehumidifiers, I was having a very difficult time keeping it together. It’s hard enough to try to sleep with the cacophony of equipment, but this is also where I work. So I was sort of trapped here 24/7 under pretty crappy conditions. We all got through it, though, and by Friday, the crew removed all of the fans and equipment and we are officially dry! The next phase in the process will be dealing with contractors to replace lots of drywall, trim, carpet & pad, and paint. We still have a LONG way to go, but I think the worst is behind us.

On that note, here is some random artwork I’ve done recently that I thought I’d share. This is a quick selfie I did in pencil with a bit of watercolor.

Self Portrait

A quick drawing I did at my desk while I was working. I like to doodle when I’m on hold. Ink & highlighters because I used what I had on hand. 🙂

Purple Haired Girl

Also, my 365 sketch project is going well and I’m really enjoying it. Click this link to take a look at my progress: http://trishsworld.tumblr.com/.

In other news, the TWELFTH anniversary of this blog is rapidly approaching. I’m honestly a bit stunned to realize that so much time has passed! It’s still about a month out, but I’m thinking about it now because it’s time to renew my domain for another year or more. I remember sitting in our tiny closet of an apartment in Climax all those years ago teaching myself to code from an “HTML for Dummies!” book or something similar. And I had to think long and hard about investing $20 per year to have my own domain. Things have changed lots with all of the super easy blog building websites and I haven’t had to write any code for a long time now. I sort of miss it in some ways. Anyway, I’m rambling! I’ll take this walk down memory lane another time. 🙂

One last thing I want to mention – some really great friends of mine have started the new year with a bang, and they’ve decided to chronicle their journey via a blog – They’ve made a few posts so far, and it’s a pretty interesting read, so I encourage you to take a look! Click this link to see what the fuss is all about: http://bandthec.weebly.com/.

This post is sort of all over the place, but that’s a pretty perfect reflection of my life this week . As I mentioned in my last post, my word for the year is Adventure, and I’ve certainly had that in spades. 🙂

Until next time! XOXO

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Apr 15

Me & Ice

I made it on the Ice T Podcast!! You can download episode 8 right here at this link. This is not a podcast for children or the squeamish, folks, so keep that in mind if you choose to listen. If you just want to skip to the end and hear me, I come in right around 1:13:45. We did talk just a little bit longer and those parts were cut out. He asked me if I let me kids watch it, so I told him I didn’t have any kids. He suggested that “me & my man turn off the movie and get to work on some kids.” 🙂 This was really fun, and I’m glad I got to talk to Ice since I’ve been a fan for a long long time.

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Jan 26

Grandpa Joe – THE WORST

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is one of my all time favorite movies.It’s easily Top 10, maybe even Top 5. I’m talking about the old school Gene Wilder Willy Wonka, not the creepy, nightmarish, Johnny Depp horror show.  That’s another rant on it’s own. Anyway, Willy Wonka is magical, whimsical, and so much fun. I thought so when I was a kid, and I still do today. There’s really only one dark spot in this fantastical cinematic journey: Grandpa Joe.

I just don’t get this guy. Let’s start with the obvious – he’s bed-ridden for 20 years. TWENTY YEARS. That’s a long time, dude. If you watch closely, you can even see the bed pan sitting under the bed. Charlie’s dad is nowhere to be seen and never mentioned, so let’s assume that he’s long dead. That leaves Charlie’s mom to take care of a family of 6 with her low-paying and thankless laundry job. Charlie got a paper route, which is cute and all, but a drop in the bucket (see what I did there???) for this family’s needs. Yet somehow, Grandpa Joe has been smoking a pipe for what I assume to be YEARS even though they have to eat cabbage water because it’s all they can afford. Oh, and also, he poos in a pan that someone else has to clean up after they’ve worked all day, made hot cabbage water, washed the dishes and run to the store for pipe tobacco that they can’t even afford.

This stuff alone doesn’t make Grandpa Joe a bad guy. Well, the tobacco does, but he can’t help it that he’s an old dude who can’t get out of bed. Maybe he worked so hard in his youth to care for his family that his body is just busted now. I get it. Good on ya, Joe. But then Charlie finds a Golden Ticket, and suddenly Joe is dancing like a teenager. REALLY? All it took to get him up was some chocolate and the chance to see some Oompa Loompas? How about you find some motivation for your starving family and get a job, yo? Matter of fact, if you could just start wiping your own ass it would ease some of the burden around there I’m sure. But the Ticket makes him sing and DANCE. So he was obviously faking this whole time right??? DIRTY LYING FAKER. And then he has the NERVE to sing “I’ve got a Golden Ticket!” Ugggh, you ain’t got jack squat, Joe. CHARLIE has a Golden Ticket, and you are a filthy coat-tails-ridin’ mofo. This guy is unbelievable.

Once they get to the factory Joe gets under my skin again. He’s the one who talks Charlie into hanging back on the tour to try the Fizzy Lifting Drinks, which ultimately ends up getting them in trouble, and not to mention nearly killed. Charlie is such a freaking do-gooder; he would never have done it on his own. So thanks for that one, too, Joe.

So in the end, Joe gets everything he always dreamed of. He can lounge around again, smoke a pipe, and watch Charlie do all the work to run the chocolate factory. The message here to kids is that if you lay around long enough mooching off your parents, your ship will eventually come in, so just play it cool. Grandpa Joe is a selfish prick.

This movie is really great, though. Amazing music, amazing acting, amazing everything. Except for Grandpa Joe, I mean. 🙂

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Dec 08

Kapow!

Wonder Woman saves the day

 

Today, Mike & I went to the Grand Rapids Toy & Comic Expo. Its always pretty fun, but this year we got a superhero photo taken. It was really fun, and I can’t help but laugh every time I see this picture. I’ve always wanted to be Wonder Woman, so this was my big chance. 🙂

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Aug 24

Fitting into Boxes

If you’re not familiar with it, art journaling has been growing in popularity for the last several years. I looked for a real definition and found this at wikipedia:

“An art diaryart journal or visual journal is a daily journal kept by artists, often containing both words and sketches, and occasionally including Mixed media elements such as collages. Such books will frequently contain rough workings, in cartoon form, of ideas later to appear in finished works, as well as acting as a normal diary, by allowing the artist to record their day-to-day activities and emotions.”

That’s exactly what my diary is. Sketches, collage, mixed media, etc. The only place I differ is that my diary doesn’t later become a finished work, it just is what it is. I write every day. Sometimes a sentence, sometimes quite a bit more. I try to share my art occasionally, but I don’t typically share the writing because it’s sometimes personal. Anyway, here’s the only page I’ve ever shared in full. I’ve posted it here before, but look at it again.

Winter Beer Fest 2012

This is pretty standard for the pages I make. I write about my day and my feelings and I always draw pictures as well.

Now take a look at this link. This is sort of a curated sample of art journal pages from around the internet. As far as “art journaling” is concerned, these pages are the standard. I feel like the pages in my books are nothing like these. And for some reason, I feel this intense pressure to make my diary look MORE like these pages. Logically I know that doesn’t make sense. Why should I try to do anything that I don’t want to do? Part of the problem is that I spend a lot of time looking at other people’s artwork and watching YouTube videos to learn new techniques and such. I take the ideas and techniques and work them into my diary in ways that suit my style and what I want it to be. But I still feel like what I do isn’t “right” or isn’t “good enough”. Maybe this is something artsy people go through? I don’t know.

Anyway, I set out to make a “real” art journal page. At an estate sale recently, I found these rad old yearbooks from the 70’s – they even have signatures from classmates in them and everything. I decided to turn one of them into a “real” art journal. The other day I decided to give it a go. Here’s what I came up with.

"Real" Art Journal page - Laugh

"Real" Art Journal Page - Laugh

I enjoyed making this. It was pretty fun, and I’m happy with the results. Working with the old yearbook was really fun, and it was kind of fun to just work with no plan and add paint and colors and tape and get my fingers all dirty. However, this is just not the same for me as my regular diary. I use my diary to document my life, and I just don’t see this style of art journaling fitting into that. I may continue to do this as I have time, but I don’t see it becoming my focus.

I guess I don’t “get it.” When I fill this whole book up, what will I have? A bunch of painted and doodled on pages. My diary is my story – this is just a book with paint in it.

I guess that’s it for now. I just wanted to share this experience so that other people who may have similar feelings (that the art they are making isn’t right or good enough) will know that A) they aren’t alone and B) it’s ok to do what YOU feel is right for you. Don’t try to fit into someone else’s box.

 

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May 06

Crash Boom Bang

Mike & I were in Grand Rapids on Saturday to attend a couple of family events (more on those in a later post, promise) and we were in a car accident. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, with the exception of poor Mikey’s beautiful Scion xB. OF COURSE, he had just gotten it detailed that morning, so it’s officially the shiniest, cleanest wrecked car in the county. Basically, we were backing out of a parking space, and hit one of those big round cement light posts. It was right in the blind spot – just one of those things. We did hit it pretty hard, though, and I was turning around to look behind us so I whacked the right side of my head on the headrest. Mike locked his arms and the force of him hitting the seat broke his seat in half. Again, luckily, we were both ok. The insurance will take care of the repairs, so all in all, it was not a big deal. We’re both pretty sore, but that will pass. Anyway, here’s a pic of the car.

 Oops!

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Jul 23

Waterworld

Garage Sale!Last weekend, Mike & I had a garage sale. After living here for 3 years, we have accumulated quite a bit of crap that we don’t use and don’t need, so this was a perfect opportunity to make a few bucks off of it. We did the sale on Saturday only, so on Friday night we were up late getting everything together. One of the last things on our to do list was to take a hard look at our DVDs and decide which ones we wanted to sell. As we were downstairs doing that, we noticed a weird powder on the DVD boxes on the very bottom shelf of the wooden bookcase we store them on. Upon closer investigation, we realized it was water damage, and when we moved the bookcase, the carpet underneath was covered in mold.

We didn’t know what to do. It was midnight on a Friday, and we had zero ideas what we were supposed to do. So we decided to do nothing for the moment. We put the bookshelf back where it was, and finished setting up the garage sale. The garage sale went great, but I was stressed out all weekend about the mold and wondering what to do. First thing Monday morning, I called my insurance agent and told her the sitch. She gave me a couple of mold specialists to call and told me to keep her informed. The mold guy came over on Friday and checked things out. The problem was FAR worse than we originally thought. Not only was the area the bookcase was in a concern, but the other outside wall was damp as well. Basically, we needed professional mold removal and all of the carpet in the basement had to go. This guy had 2 even worse pieces of news – 1) the cost of the removal (not even including replacing the flooring and fixing the problem that caused it) was outrageous, and 2) he was 90% sure that our insurance wouldn’t cover any of it. Basically, the issue is with the grading on the side of the house. It needs to be redone so that rainwater flows away from the house and not towards it. In addition to that, Mike & I decided that we will also be digging out the basement window boxes and replacing them with newer ones, as well as installing domes on top to keep water out of them.  

Water DamageDecontamination Chamber

So on Saturday morning, the mold removal process began and all of our beautiful carpet was ripped into pieces and hauled away. We have a decontamination chamber in our basement still, with industrial strength dryers and fans and Hepa filters and such. It sounds like a tornado is going through there. The mold guy is coming back tomorrow to pick up all of his equipment. Mike cleaned out the gutters this weekend, which is a start, but this coming weekend we will be working on the grading and the window boxes.

Just to put the icing on the cake that was my weekend, I heard from my insurance agent today, and she confirmed that none of these costs will be covered. So any tiny little threads of hope I was still clinging to are officially dashed. Also, I think I’m the only person in West Michigan who is praying that it DOESN’T rain this week.

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