I’ve sprained my back, and it hurts a good bit. Time to catch up on some reading, I guess?


Symphonie Fantastique

She rocked in her armchair, her fingers wrapped around her throbbing skull. The creaking of the old springs was only making the pain worsen–or was it? She paused, and realized that the rocking was the only thing keeping her conscious. Through the dark haze she returned to motion, and it eased the slightest bit. Enough for her to keep her sanity. 

Hours later, days later, she woke on the floor in front of her chair. The clock told her that hours had passed, but the soreness in her knee told her it had to have been at least a day. She fumbled for her phone on the table nearby. Hours. Only hours. A sigh of relief escaped her lips. At least she wouldn’t have to find another job again for not showing up. 

Her stomach grumbled its discontent, and she thought back to the apple she ate the day before, the last food she’d had. The corner of her mouth drifted upward, and she took a moment to appreciate the little things in life: a pain-free head and Pink Lady apples.  She rubbed her knee another moment longer before rising, slowly but surely, and heading for the kitchen. 

The apple bowl contained one shiny but lonely specimen, and she picked it up and took a bite, chewing thoughtfully as she rummaged through the pantry, then the fridge. Juice dripped down her chin, and she absentmindedly wiped it with the back of her hand. She paused. Something was wrong. 

The silence struck her like a bolt of lightning. The silence. She checked her phone again for the time, praying that she was muddled and confused and didn’t know when it was. 

She was neither muddled nor confused. He was over two hours late. She dropped the apple in the sink and rushed down the hall to check the bedroom, hoping against hope that he had somehow slipped by, not noticing her lying on the living room floor. 

The bed lay empty, sheets unmussed and pillows perfectly aligned. She checked her phone again. No missed calls. No texts. Thumb shaking, she called the pizza place twice before correcting her sim enough to call him. 

Straight to voicemail. She sank to the bed, mussing the sheets and misaligning the pillows. He never let his phone die. Why would it go straight to voicemail? Hope leapt in her chest. Because he was calling her, of course! She kicked herself for choosing just the wrong moment to call. 

Her migraine returned like a gunshot, and she dropped her phone to the floor. Tears fell from her eyes, and she collapsed to the bed, never hearing his Berlioz ringtone as he called her back. 

By the Numbers

  • I got 234 likes on an Instagram photo of lipsticks because I used Jeffree Star’s hashtag and he liked it
  • I read 206 pages in the tub this afternoon after reading that hot baths can help stent pain. It did help for a bit after I got out. 
  • I have 3 pain pills left from the 10 I was prescribed on Sunday, and I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask for more. 
  • I ate 3 ribs at dinner tonight. If you’re ever in Lafayette, Louisiana, pick up some of Russell’s Barbecue Sauce. 
  • We’re watching season 2 of Daredevil. 
  • I work 4 hours tomorrow night. 
  • I have 9.5 French tips in It’s Raining Men by Deborah Lippmann: I had a corner break, which sucks. But I’m just gonna wear it til it grows out. 


    The Latest Medical Adventure

    I spent about eight hours in the ER last night/this morning with my third bout of kidney stone pain in ten days. I get to rise at the crack of dawn tomorrow to be a “scheduled walk-in” at the urology clinic because there is a massive stone possibly stuck in my ureter. After some blood work, we learned that  my kidney function was not the best, so depending on how things are in the morning, I’ll either get more tests done if I’ve passed the stone or get a stent if I haven’t. 

    This was probably the worst one I’ve ever had since my first one fifteen years ago. When the nurse gave me morphine in my IV and it neither helped the pain nor made me not care about it, I started to worry. I’ve only had morphine for kidney stone pain once, but it helped the pain and I didn’t mind what was left. 

    When I went to CT and had to lie on my stomach I was confused; Ian told me that Google said that meant they thought a stone was stuck. Google was right. 

    Not my imaging

    At first the doctor said it was 2.5mm by 5.5mm, but a few hours later, after talking to the urologist, he said the urologist thought it was bigger. 

    About an hour after the morphine didn’t work, I got Toradol and Zofran. It was another half hour before that kicked in, which was also concerning. The first time I had kidney stones, I got Toradol and felt better before the nurse had the needle in the sharps container. 

    I thought about How to Die in Oregon. I think if everyone against assisted suicide went through what I did last night, there would be no question. I can’t imagine dealing with constant, intractable pain with no hope for relief. And it’s only been about 24 hours for me. 

    I don’t want to be too optimistic, but I think my stone has moved some. Hopefully I won’t need a stent tomorrow. 

    But nothing to eat from now until then, just in case. 

    Bad Vibrations

    I fell in the bathroom six hours ago. Way to go me, right? 

    It took a while to lose the fuzziness of the concussion, but it’s much nicer now that I don’t feel like I’m about to start drooling. 

    You know what really sucks, though? A jerky, vibrating CT scan with a concussion. When you have to lie on the swollen side of your head. The bouncing was not fun.

    I also injured my ankle a bit. Got some X-rays of that bad boy.

    And I only had to announce my LMP and explain my fertility status seven times so far this ER visit.

    I’ll keep you posted on the rest of my miserable weekend–because I will definitely be sore tomorrow. When I fall, I do it right.

    Radio Silence

    Life is hard. Ah, that old prosaism. It’s true, though no one will ever understand its extent. How can we? Every event, every action, every happening; we think that wasn’t so bad or at least I survived or it can’t get any worse.

    Sometimes it can. Sometimes it does.

    People are unfathomable. Why do we do the things we do? Why has “integrity” become a hot buzzword in businessland instead of an honest-to-goodness value that we teach our children? What happened to the concept of honor?

    I know, I know that good people exist in this world. I know that good things happen. I believe in the power of random acts of kindness. I know firsthand the feeling of warmth that comes from simply being nice.

    And yet.

    I also know the dreamlike feeling of metaphorically running in quicksand. I know the pain and confusion and emptiness of broken trust. I know the staticky sound of radio silence in my head when it seems that the whole world is against me.

    I know that the depths of madness into which life can spiral are infinite.

    Still, I am grateful. I am thankful not to know the next bump in the road, not to know when it’s a cliff instead of a pothole. Not to know when my world is ending.

    I have never felt such empathy for poor Cassandra, burdened with her foreknowledge, as trusted as the boy who cried wolf. In comparison, Sisyphus had it easy. Oh, those ancient Greeks. Such an understanding of the human condition.

    How bad can it get?

    Never ask. Never. Life will take your question as a challenge. You do not have the patience of Job.

    We all have a point of despair. Every time that point is reached, we cry, we break, we die a little inside. Every time the wound heals, that point is pushed a little farther back. And like a bone is stronger in the place it once was broken, we can take a little more. We made it through the last one, we can make it through this one. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

    Until that strength becomes the burden. Life is hard, but surviving the tragedies can bring that pervasive pill of bitterness, the black hole that sucks the joy from everyday living.

    Why bother to trust again? Why bother to love again? Why bother to try again? It will all end badly; it always does.

    But it doesn’t. Everything does not turn to ashes, and even from ashes, a phoenix may rise.

    Life is hard.

    There is no shame in despair. There is no shame in surrender. But one decision is not the right decision for us all.

    There is no shame in fighting for truth and honor and justice. There is no shame in trying to be strong.

    There is no shame in surviving.

    The shame lies in the heart of the liar.