Sunday, December 30, 2007

Where to Begin?

Oh, I know! (Cue heavenly background music)...

HAAAALLLLLLLELUJAHHHHH!
HAAAALLLLLLLELUJAHHHHH!
HALELUJAH! HALELUJAH!
HA-LE-LU-JAH!


The Beast and my brother have departed after an eight day visit. (I never thought I would say those words).

It was an eight day visit that started with a bang as I spotted The Beast in baggage claim and cheerfully strolled over to her, “You look great!” I exclaimed, lying of course, but making an effort to be cordial, “You’ve lost so much weight!” “I have,” she replied, nose snarled in true Beast fashion, “but what’s wrong with you? I’ve never seen you at this weight. Are you okay? Are you sick? When’s the last time you saw the doctor?”

Um, yeah, I love you too mom. It was about there that I peeled the phony smile off my face and succumbed to what I was in for: eight days of torment.

That night was disastrous. She had apparently started drinking that morning on the plane and by the time we sat down for dinner and finished our fourth bottle of wine she was a belligerent, raging drunk. Squishing her pasta in her hands at the dinner table, breaking wine glasses, making uncalled for and hostile remarks towards Rey. When we sat down to watch The Simpsons Movie she was uncontainable. Screaming profanities, kicking her feet and shaking her head, parroting the movie lines. It was like we were in a bad movie, instead of watching one, (only The Simpsons wasn’t a bad movie, it was actually pretty awesome).

And so the rest of the visit went. She forced me to go shopping on the busiest shopping day of the year, where she proceeded to talk to any willing individual in the stores. She let my cat outside on Christmas Eve who subsequently went missing for the next four hours. She shook her head and scoffed every time I dared to eat. She was restless and repeatedly asked what we were going to do next.

But all that being said, and although I’ve developed an eating disorder and feel like I’ve been beat with a baseball bat, the visit wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Now, that being said, you can bet your ass there won’t be another visit for a very long time.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Shoot Me Now

The Beast and my brother are in town for eight days. They flew in yesterday and I’m already on the verge of suicide.

I’ll fill you in later, assuming I don’t eat a bottle of sleeping pills by then.

Monday, December 17, 2007

You Can Always Count on WebMD

It never fails! When I’m not surfing “It Which Must Not be Named” (read WebMD) on my own accord, that bastard site tracks me down and pumps the fear of god into me. We’re connected like Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort.

Now given, the connection could have something to do with me foolishly signing up to receive a newsletter from that ungodly organization, but is it really necessary to fill my inbox with subject lines that read “Are Your Arteries Headed for Disaster?” and “Sudden Death Gene Strikes Women Most.” No, I don’t think so.

So now, thanks to You Know Who, what started as a pleasant morning has turned into an afternoon obsession with atherosclerosis; apparently, America’s number one killer. And also thanks to You Know Who, things like: “Atherosclerosis is dangerous because it's so stealthy” and “Diseases caused by atherosclerosis also lead to chronic pain, kidney failure, blindness, and even impotence” and “Athero is linked to nearly 1 in 4 deaths in the United States” are running rampant through my mind!

So in the wonderful holiday spirit of giving, you too can get the shit scared out of you by clicking here.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wishing I was born in the UK

It has just come to my attention, while mindlessly surfing the web, that UK residents are afforded a luxury—a mighty fine luxury I might add—that I, in the states, am not; a do-it-yourself liver test. How remarkably ingenious!

You can find out the condition of your liver without even putting the beer down. All you do is prick your finger, send the blood and your hundred pounds to the lab, wait ten days, and voila, color coded results show up in the post (as they call it in those parts).

“If it’s green, ‘your liver enzyme levels are within the recommended normal range.’

If amber, ‘your liver health is less than optimal and you need to look at making changes to your lifestyle.’

And if red, ‘even mild liver test abnormalities may be an early clue to liver disease. You must make significant changes to your lifestyle to protect your liver in the future.’”

What kind of backward ass country am I living in? I can walk out my front door and get a gun and an abortion within a block of the house, but I can’t get a god damn home liver test. I need to relocate.

Oh, and you lucky UK residents can purchase a bloody kit, here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Front Lines

I didn’t have the chance to mention it, because I was obsessively cleaning my house for the last two weeks, but Rey graduated (with two B.A.’s) last weekend, and thirty of his out-of-state relatives were there to applaud him.

That means thirty of his relatives, including his neurotic dad, delusional sister, and super annoying, super tattooed cousin from SAN FRANCISCO were in my house; in my personal—but very clean space—at once. And despite all the anxiety I experienced leading up to the event, I must admit that I actually enjoyed it. I basked in the company.

It could’ve been the alcohol that made it more manageable, but I almost felt like my social anxiety was non-existent. No sweaty palms. No heart flutters. No blushing. No shaky voice. I did feel my ears turn red when Rey’s mom thanked me during her dinner toast, but aside from that, I was like a pro.

Now all that being said, I awoke the morning after they left with severe, right flank pain and met the following days with heart attack-like symptoms.

I’m thankful the social anxiety is at a low, but the hypochondria is suddenly at a high. One more thing I didn’t mention is The Beast and my brother are coming in to town and staying at my house for an entire week over Christmas; maybe that’s why I’m suddenly dying.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

If Perspective is Reality, I'm Dead

I cannot even begin to explain HOW REAL the “heart attack” I “had” today felt. It started at about 3:15 p.m. as I sat in our dimly lit conference room crosschecking an agreement with a coworker. I was reading aloud, she was silently following along, when mid-sentence, an intense stabbing sensation coursed through the left side of my chest.

Blinded by pain, I jumped up from my chair and grabbed my breast. Words were spewing from my mouth, (a problem I usually only encounter when drinking). “Holy shit, I think I’m having a heart attack!” I screamed.

My coworker, being an older woman, who’s actually had a heart attack, tilted her head and looked at me with unsympathetic eyes. “Your arm would hurt like hell and you’d be nauseous. You’re fine.”

Little did she know that as I stood slumped over that oversized table, gasping for air, and clawing at my chest, my arm did hurt, and it wouldn’t be long before the nausea set in. But before I could convey these seemingly infinitesimal details, and ASK HER TO CALL 911, her turquoise eyes shot to the black and white cityscape hanging on the wall behind me. “Why is that picture crooked!?! What the hell does that cleaning crew do in here at night? I’m gonna have to call management...”

The agreement fell to the floor as I limped out the conference room towards my desk. I could actually feel the artery bursting as I stumbled through the office. I could feel myself drifting away, when a sudden burst of nausea brought me back to this world. And then it happened, I started to dry heave, (right there in the middle of my office).

In a fit of panic, which it apparently was, I fled to the bathroom, gagging the whole way there. I locked myself in the far back stall and stood with my head in my hands for what felt like hours as stabbing pains continued to course through my chest.


Five minutes later, calmed only slightly by deep breathing, but still in a fog, I emerged from the stall and hobbled back to my office. The daziness lasted all afternoon. The pains have been sporadic. If what I experienced this afternoon wasn't at least a minor heart attack, I'm on the brink

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Afflicted

First of all, I must apologize to my blog, because if it were the French Bull Dog I’ve been so yearning for, it’d be dead in the back yard right now.

Second, I’m dying. And not that it did, but my absence was not meant to convey a period of wellness. Actually, it wasn’t meant to convey anything at all, except that I’m a lazy procrastinator. Writing hasn’t been all that appealing to me lately. In reality, nothing has been all that appealing, except for drinking, so that’s what I’ve been doing; throwing back bottles of wine amidst fits of hypochondria.

Among other things, I’m wholly convinced that my eye ball is going to explode at any moment. Over the past week, I’ve been experiencing severe pressure in my eye cavity whenever I move my head, blink or bend down. It essentially feels like being repeatedly hit in the face with a baseball.

Also, I’m suffering from what I’ve determined to be Multiple Sclerosis or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, due to the crippling pains that have been plaguing my arms. I’m talking stabbed with an ice pick pains, that leave me in tears.

Oh, and I simultaneously have colon and cervical cancer.

So, um, yeah. Basically, I’m a basket case right now.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Family Lines

My great grandmother, Anna Augustine, arrived to America, from Poland, in the early 1900’s, settled down in Chicago with an alcoholic engineer, had several children, then died from a heart attack at age thirty-five.

A woman in my family, only three generations removed, died at age thirty-five, from a heart attack. I cannot tell you how disheartening this is. Thirty-five. That’s twelve years older than I am now.


I like to live in denial about certain issues, and this happens to be one of them. I have secretly developed a theory about the death of my great grandmother, damn her to hell, that negates the conclusion that my heart is a ticking time bomb. You see, the theory I’ve concocted is that the sweet thirty-five year old Polish mother died not from a heart attack—as family history would lead you to believe—but from a violent drug overdose in the hard streets of Chi-town. Believable, right?


I bring this up because I’ve become increasingly aware of my own heart issues lately. First it was the heart attack in my sleep, now the constant chest pains; I can’t help but think I’m on the verge of my own heart attack, but I’m holding out for an overdose.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Notice to All Hypochondriacs

If it’s not too late—which it may well be, considering the movie was released to the box office back in June—do not, I repeat DO NOT attempt to watch Michael Moore’s Sicko.

I left Blockbuster last night thrilled with my DVD selection. I could barely contain myself in the liquor store knowing that Sicko sat in the car waiting for me. (And as a disclaimer, I am NOT a Michael Moore fan by any stretch of the imagination, I’m just a sucker for a good documentary). But my dreams of movie grandeur were crushed not fifteen minutes after settling in on the couch and cracking my first Guinness.


Horror stories of sick people abandoned by their insurance companies filled the air. Young women and couples detailed their experiences with rare diseases.


And the TV went off.


So I warn hypos of the world, Sicko is not your friend.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Step One

I emerged from my birthday stupor this morning to kick some anxiety ass. I headed off to work five minutes late, to discover that I was wearing a dirty sweater, and decided at some point thereafter that I was going to do the thing I’d been boasting about all weekend; ask my attorneys for letters of recommendation so that I could apply for the clerk job that I am so deserving of.

It took me all morning to drum up the confidence, and after a lunch pep talk with Rey, I marched into one of my attorney’s office—with racing heart and sweating palms—and recited the words I’d practiced forty-two times that morning: “There’s a job I want to apply for at State Court and I was wondering if you would write me a letter of recommendation.”


I saw her jaw tense as her chair swung in my direction. I stood their exposed in my dirty sweater as she looked me squarely in the eyes and exclaimed “No!” She, in fact, would not write me a letter of recommendation. Not only no, but fuck, shit, hell no. She didn’t want me getting another job.


Flattering, sure, but not the response I was looking for. A simple “no problem” would have sufficed, but what ensued was five-minute conversation about why I wanted to leave.


After explaining that the clerk position paid almost twice my current salary, the attorney reluctantly obliged. She also offered to talk our administrator about getting me the money I deserve. Score.


Those sweaty palms and racing heart ain’t got nothing on me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Twenty-Three, Bitches

I’ll make this short and sweet. Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday…okay, excuse me while I go drown in a bottle of scotch…

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Suck

I feel like a freak. Like a pariah. Like a clown. Mostly like a cripple.

I found out today that the state court is hiring. Judging by the way I’ve been acting for the last six months, you’d think I’d be ecstatic; sprinting to the courthouse with my resume plastered to my chest.

You see, I’m starting court reporting school next month and it’s common knowledge that court reporters who work in the courts pull the highest salaries; we’re talking in the ball park of $10,000 for a three-week trial, which is all fine and dandy, but the catch is these jobs are all sowed up, (surprise, surprise).

So, it’s been my dream—not in the sappy sense—to get my foot in the door at the court, as a clerk, so that I can woo the judges (and their staff) and eventually—after I complete my court reporting certification—steal a lazy, unknowing court reporter’s high-paying job.

But today, when I saw that posting for the clerk job on the court’s website, I nearly crapped myself. Actually, I’m lying, it wasn’t until I read the words, “those most qualified will participate in an oral interview or interviews before a panel,” that I nearly crapped myself.

Panel interview? Um…NO!

Release the anxiety gates! Ever since I read those dreadful words, my mind has been flooded with potential botched panel interview attempts.

Red face. Stuttering. Sweating. Crapping on the panel members. Or my chair.

Instead of excitement, I feel fear. Instead of opportunity, I smell failure. This damn job posting—that I don’t even have to respond to—has ruined my day, and probably my week. I’m pathetic.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I know I can handle the job. I don’t think I can handle the panel interview. I want it, but I’m scared. I don’t know if I have it in me to apply.

I wish I was someone else. A braver, stronger someone else.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Truth be Told

Every decision is liberating, even if it leads to disaster. Otherwise, why do so many people walk upright and with open eyes into their misfortune.
-Elias Canneti

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Things That Come Out of His Mouth

I crawled out of bed this morning just long enough to call in sick. Strangely, after the call, the “fog” lifted and I felt strong enough to make a trip to Wal-Mart to pick up a 360 game in celebration of my mini-vacation. I leaned against the door, decked out in my grey sweat pants. I had the hood of my trusty Raiders sweatshirt pulled tightly around my face to hide my dirty hair. Rey—who had showered and shaved before I called in sick—looked at me while adjusting the collar of his dress shirt and said:

“Maybe they’ll think I’m taking you to get an abortion.”

I love you too, honey.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Analytics

I bring you an update from the frontline. Or, is it the backline? Enough bad jokes. I’m here to report that things in the southern region have improved, i.e. I no longer feel like I shit fiery clumps of jagged gravel. Jagged gravel maybe, but I’ve gone five days without finding blood in my shit, and this alone is grounds for celebration.

But although the blood is gone, I still have intense upper-stomach pain, and I’m increasingly convinced that my turds look skinnier by the day; both indicators of colon cancer. And while I never thought I’d say, “I’m crossing my fingers for hemorrhoids,” I definitely am, (and it’s looking pretty bleak).

I just can’t bring myself to pick up the phone and call the doctor. I’m operating under the illusion that this thing will clear itself up.

Bottom line? The blood is gone, that is good. The pain is not, that is bad.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Truth be Told

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.
-Helen Keller

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Narcissistic

I’ve often wondered how I’d look in the eyes of Renaissance man Sandro Botticelli. Now, thanks to this nifty little site, my life long desire has been fulfilled.

What important questions will I ponder in my spare time now that I know what I look like as an apewoman:

And as an Asian:

And as a black girl with jaundice:

I guess I could use my spare time to quit smoking and lather up with sunscreen, (if I care not to look like this in forty years):

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hyposomnia

When the clock struck 4:00 this morning, I slept peacefully in my TempurPedic bed. When the clock struck 4:01 this morning, I was out of that TempurPedic bed, keeling over in a fit of panic—a steel dagger lodged in my heart.

In the fleeting moments of consciousness that ensued, I became cognizant of the fact that cardiac arrest had found me in my sleep. (And how ironic, it being on a night that I’d eaten a salad for dinner).

Blurry vision. Loss of breath. Numb arm. Aching jaw. SEVERE, piercing chest pain.

I wobbled through the hall as the symptoms persisted for two, three, four minutes. Ten minutes finally passed and although my vision had adjusted, and my numb arm had turned into a numb leg, the chest pain was unrelenting.

I tried to go back to bed. Tried to tell myself it wasn’t a heart attack. That it was gas (from my salad). But I wasn’t buying it, and I wasn’t falling back to sleep. I laid in that bed, in that god awful TempurPedic bed, wide awake for the next two hours.

The chest pain never ceased as I tossed and turned, nor, as I debated its cause.

Gas. Blood Clot. My Lung repairing itself. MRSA.

Heart attack mostly stuck in my mind. I couldn’t accept that it was gas, not on a night that I’d eaten a salad. And so I laid there in agonizing pain, waiting for the cardiac arrest to take me.

But, obviously, it never did.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

Staying true to my obsessive nature, as a child, my Halloween costume for the first eight years of my life was a cat; teased hair, face paint, black leotard, felt tail and ears. And although I won't be dressing up as a feline this year, it's in that spirit that I say Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Perfect Excuse

I could be brainwashed by the relentless media coverage of drug resistant staph infections, but I’m fairly certain I’ve contracted (HA) MRSA, i.e. Hospital Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

It’s the pussing sore in my right nostril that tipped me off. I’ve had it ever since my tonsillectomy two months ago, and according to the Mayo Clinic, it’s in the hospital—during tonsillectomy-like procedures—where most of the 1.2 million MRSA infections a year are contracted.


Also according to the Mayo Clinic, there are four major risk factors for contracting the hospital acquired version of the strain:
  • A current or recent hospitalization;
  • Residing in a long-term care facility;
  • Invasive devises; and
  • Recent antibiotic use

Need I remind everyone that I had a recent hospitalization and that I was pumped with antibiotics twice a day for two weeks following that hospitalization? That’s exposure to two out of four factors. That’s not good. But what’s even worse is that I have the number one symptom of the infection; a painful, pussing wound, in—of all places—my nose, (the unfortunate body part where the majority of staph bacteria are housed).

But that’s not all, in the last couple days I’ve developed a cough. Now, this could be attributed to the two and half packs of Camel Lights I smoked this weekend, or more likely, to the advancement of my MRSA infection, which often kills people by infiltrating their lungs.

And as a side note, this (HA) MRSA is the perfect reason not to go to the hospital for my colon cancer/hemorrhoids. If I don't already have the "super bug" (as the news agencies so lovingly call it), which I most likely do, I'll surely get it by trekking into the doctor's office and having an "invasive device" shoved up my rear.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Not for the Faint of Heart, Read at Your Own Risk

I’ve been silent because, frankly, what I have to say is unpleasant. The disease I’m suffering from is unpleasant. My existence is unpleasant. And despite the unpleasantness that has become my life, I’d like to think I have enough pride not to share it with the world. But I don’t, and I can only stay silent for so long.

I apologize now for the words that I will write, as they too will be unpleasant. I’m not one for bathroom talk. I don’t like to hear about people’s gastrointestinal “issues” and I don’t share my own. But under the unforeseeable circumstance that I’m afflicted with colon cancer, I figure my life is about to change, in more ways than one.


I have blood in my shit. Blood. In. My. Shit. This alone is cause for alarm. I’ve been on this earth for damn near twenty-three years and until a week and a half ago, I have NEVER had blood—not a trace—in my shit.


But that’s not all, I feel like I shit gravel. Fiery. Clumps. Of. Jagged. Gravel. I need not explain the trauma involved in this.


Oh, and depending on the day, I have diarrhea, or constipation, whichever is more inconvenient at the time. Lets just say this morning, as I repeatedly dashed from the shower to the toilet, (soaking wet in thirty degree temperatures), it wasn’t the latter.


All of the above, and the severe upper abdominal pain I’m suffering, are symptoms of colon cancer.


I don’t know what to do. I’m terrified.


I don’t dare go to the doctor. The last thing I want is to be sedated while a perfect stranger shoves a “long, flexible, tubular instrument about ½ inch in diameter” up my ass. Shitting fiery clumps of jagged gravel sounds like a day at the spa compared to that.


My doctor, (read WebMD), said hemorrhoids may also be the culprit. But just reading the four stages, see below, gives me diarrhea:

First degree: The hemorrhoid does not stick out from the anus.

Second degree: The hemorrhoid sticks out from the anus during a bowel movement but returns on its own to the anal canal afterward.

Third degree: The hemorrhoid sticks out from the anus during a bowel movement and does not return to the anal canal on its own. In this case you can push it inside the anus with your finger and then it will stay in.

Fourth degree: The hemorrhoid is always outside the anus and cannot be pushed into the anal canal.

I lost it at “you can push it inside the anus with your finger and then it will stay in.” WHAT THE FUCK!!! I want my innocence back.

But don’t think you’re in the clear, fifty percent of people encounter hemorrhoids in their lifetime.

This is the epitome of a no win situation. Shoot me now. I beg you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And I'm the Crazy One

It was an ordinary day as I fell out of bed this morning grumbling to Rey about the nightmares that stalked me through the night. Elevators were the subject. Not uncommon. Not terribly exciting. Just the typical forget to push your floor, end up on the 12th, crash to your death.

So, I headed off to work and arrived five minutes early—only because my supervisor was in town—to encounter an elevator maintenance crew in the lobby of my building. Coincidence, I thought.

But apparently, I thought wrong, because upon entering the elevator, the following conversation ensued:

“I don’t like to see those guys working on the elevators”

“Neither do I.”

“You know, the elevator to the right of us fell yesterday.”

“Are you kidding!?!”

“No! One of our attorneys was riding it down. It only fell one floor and he wasn’t hurt, but he was pissed off!”

This is where I exited the death ride. Am I the only one who knows the meaning of foreshadowing? Stairs are in my near future.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I Should Have Saved the Last Post’s Title for Today

I have colon cancer and a tumor in my neck and brain. I realize how ridiculous this sounds, but despite the absurdity, I am wholly convinced that I display symptoms for each.

I’m not going to elaborate, other then to say I’m freaking the fuck out. I can’t hear or see with my right ear and eye respectively, and I have shooting pains coursing through the left side of my neck. (I refuse to elaborate on the colon cancer symptoms, but trust me there’s not a more fitting diagnosis).


Excuse me while I go try—for the second time tonight—to convince Rey to take me to the emergency room.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Death Becomes Me

I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately—my cat’s death mostly, and my own death, of course—but not in the usual, panic-stricken way. The distinction between my recent thoughts and the thoughts I’ve had most of my adult life, is, recently, my thoughts seem to address mortality from a state of awe, rather than a state of holy shit I’m gonna die right now.

In idle moments, my mind drifts to thoughts of mine and my cat’s deaths, but instead of focusing on the particularities of the deaths, i.e. the pain, or lack there of, the last thoughts, the fear, the loneliness, the tears, the feeling of knowing you’re dying, instead, I find myself thinking of the greater implication of ceasing not to exist. I’m consumed by the enormity and insignificance of the end of a life. People die everyday. Young people, old people, people just like me. They die, everyday. It’s insane.


I’m suddenly baffled by the idea that such a sweet little creature, my cat, so full of life and personality will one day close her eyes, become limp and cease to exist. I don’t know what to make of it, but I do know it’s a perspective of death that I haven’t taken in the recent past.

A step forward? Perhaps…

Monday, October 08, 2007

Anticipatory Anxiety

Although I haven’t mentioned it here, I’m beyond thrilled to have an out from my company Christmas Party this year. The ordinary person may think I’m insane to dodge a free trip to Vegas and a stay at the Wynn, but frankly, I live in a town where gambling and prostitution are legal (which takes all the fun out of Vegas), and I like my house more than my coworkers.

There’s just one problem, I traded my soul to the devil to get out of the event. This year, instead of attending the Christmas Party, Rey and I will host thirty members of his ridiculously large family for a graduation party in his honor.


What will I wear? What will we talk about? How will they get here from the airport? Where will they stay? What will we eat? What if I crap myself? What if they don’t like my home d├ęcor? What if they want me to say something in Rey’s honor? What if they think I’m a horrible host?


Aside from all the customary questions racing through my mind, I’m largely concerned with the demeanor I’ll exhibit in such a large group. One-on-one, I can be charming and witty, which is not always the case, but it happens—I’d like to think—more often than not. Put me in a group of more than two and I clam up, sweat profusely, shake in my boots. Unless large amounts of alcohol are involved, me and groups don’t mix.


Aside from social anxiety, anticipatory anxiety is the form of anxiety I struggle with the most. Maybe they’re byproducts of each other, maybe they’re one in the same, but whatever they are, I know them both extraordinarily well.

Take that anxiety, throw in some quasi-in-laws, and that trip to Vegas suddenly ain’t looking so bad. “Don’t trade the devil you know for the devil you don’t” never had so much meaning.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Potty Mouth

There’s a toilet paper dispenser in my office bathroom that has increasingly become the subject of my thoughts. This dispenser isn’t special upon first inspection, it’s your run of the mill, round metal bar with a circular metal stopper on each end. And every stall in the three-stall bathroom has two of these ordinary dispensers situated neatly under a small metal shelf, which typically holds extra rolls of toilet paper.

Now that’s all fine and dandy, but there’s one minor detail specific to the first dispenser in the first stall that is plaguing me. You see, the circular metal stopper that holds the toilet paper in place is broken, so when you pull the paper from the roll, it gently slides to the right and threatens to fall to the floor. Now, this in and of itself is no problem for the person with common sense (who can easily use their free hand to hold the roll in place), but as Rey’s Grandpa once said, common sense aint so common, and I’ve never heard a truer statement.

It didn’t occur to me until a conversation with a coworker, that this dispenser was more than an inconvenience; it was a disease waiting to happen.

Upon entering the bathroom together and noticing a roll of toilet paper strewn across the floor, my unwitting coworker made the following remark:

“People are so disgusting! How rude do you have to be to drop a roll of toilet paper on the ground and not pick it up?”

It occurred to me at that moment that, holy fuck, she—and who knows how many other filthy bathroom goers—were entering that first stall and dropping rolls of toilet paper from that rickety dispenser, on to the infested bathroom floor, only to pick them up for me—and who know how many other unknowing sanitarians—to walk in and wipe our asses with festering disease rags.

I nearly lost my lunch. I couldn’t even “go” after that little comment, and silently trudged right back out that bathroom door to sit at my desk for the next three hours and stew over the multitudes of diseases I must have been exposed to over the course of my employment, all the while holding my piss.

Sparing any details, I’ve since developed a condition in response to this discovery, and I blame it on that damn toilet paper dispenser. I think I'll start carrying my own roll.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Wine is Back on the Menu, Boys

Rey had a surprise for me this evening when I got in the car after waiting for him for two hours after work while he attended his statistics class. He had a tasty little morsel waiting for me and he could hardly control himself when I got in the car. It wasn’t chocolate, which I’m not particularly fond of anyway. It was this tasty little piece of advice that his professor had imparted upon him:

“Never give up your vices based on the results of a study.”

That came from the mouth of a woman with a Ph.D. in Psychology who specializes in statistical analysis, which means it might as well have come from the mouth of God.

According to her, studies are unreliable because they’re frequently conducted by professors seeking tenure at their colleges. To receive tenure, the professors must have published studies. The catch is this: schools frown on replication—which is the backbone of any reliable study—hence the bogus results, i.e. wine will strangle you in your sleep.

So, for those of you keeping score at home, Take 492 is officially over. Cheers!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Layin’ Off the Sauce, Take 492

Tonight doesn’t count, because I have an excuse in Monday Night Football, but starting tomorrow, there’ll be no drinking in my house on weeknights. And I use the term weeknights very loosely. Mondays and Sundays are excluded, due to my football obligations, and Fridays and Saturdays are no-brainers. That leaves three days, or “weeknights,” if you will.

Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday.

That’s seventy-two hours in which a drop of alcohol must not touch thy lips. Actually, if you subtract work and sleep hours from that figure, it’s twenty-four waking hours. Simple enough.

There are two reasons I’m instituting this law:

  • I don’t want to die a horrible and painful death caused by prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption; and
  • I don’t want to die a horrible and painful death caused by prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption.

But, my fear of a horrible and painful death caused by prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption, apparently doesn’t outweigh my attraction to chilled chardonnay. I’ve attempted this “program” several times in the past, and each time, it’s the same result: misery, followed by excessive alcohol consumption on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

I don’t know why alcohol is so instrumental in my happiness. Maybe being raised by alcoholics has something to do with it. But in my mind, there’s nothing like a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer to relax to after work.

I’ll be back tomorrow to cry about how horrible my life is sans alcohol. Until then, cheers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Don't Judge The Judge

As I walked through the lobby of my building after work today, I couldn’t help but notice the frisky blonde that trotted just twenty feet in front of me. Four-inch heels. Hoop earrings. Big sunglasses. Gucci purse. I silently snickered as she gawked at the reflection in the bank’s window as she passed.

So captivated by her image, she nearly missed the exit and veered right at the last possible moment towards the building’s main doors. I shook my head and snickered again, continuing straight towards the garage as I thought about what a shallow girl she must be.


I quickened my pace to beat the five o’clock rush, when something in the sprawling, reflective window of the gym caught my eye. It was her, Ms. Burberry, standing firmly in the threshold of the high double doors, staring intently at me.


I wilted under her gaze.


I continued walking as the grey pants I was wearing for the third time this week became painfully obvious and my black, five-dollar t-shirt screamed cheapskate only slightly less than my flat sandals doctored with permanent marker to hide last year’s scars. I cursed the good lord as the strap of my $50.00 purse slipped from its buckle, and the princess turned away.


I limped the rest of the way to the car, assuring myself that being a plain Jane was admirable; it proved external forces didn’t control me.


And as I forced that thought repeatedly through my mind, a vision of just 24 hours earlier came into focus. There I laid, crying on the couch, loudly proclaiming that “I hate[d] my life,” because, (brace yourself)… a burrito with beer was not included in the night’s itinerary.


As I watched the image of myself wreathing on the couch in such emotional pain, I realized I had the same flaw as the beauty queen in the lobby. It just manifested itself in a different way: hers an obsession with style, mine an obsession with burritos and beer.


And even though we scrutinized each other in the brief moments that our paths had crossed, it’s obvious upon reflection that she and I—the beauty queen and the plain Jane—are unwitting sisters in slavery.


Poor mental health makes for strange bedfellows.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Outside My Window

Embarrassment fear and shame
Torment from shadows
Anxiety clogs the mind

I woke up feeling creative this lovely Saturday morning, so the above is my attempt at a hypo style haiku. I wrote it while I sipped decaf coffee and listened to violent hail beat at my roof. I love nasty weather. I don’t understand why they call it nasty, I think it’s soothing.

I was born in San Francisco on a Thursday morning in November; I’d like to think it was raining.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Poetic Justice

"I was suddenly in love. It was amazing. We seemed to be stuck in the same kind of miserable marriage," - Sana Klaric, 27. There was just one small problem, the anonymous stranger she was chatting up on the internet was her husband. They're now filing for divorce and accusing each other of cheating. Now that's what I call comedy.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Moon is in Hypo

Now that the tonsillectomy is behind me—and all I have to show for it are a drug habit and a healthy throat—my good friend hypochondria seems to be rearing its head again, and rearing it wildly, I might add.

Things were relatively quiet for that two-month period surrounding the surgery. Of course, there was the death by anesthesia obsession and visions of violent post-op hemorrhaging; but those delusions aside, that period was relatively calm. There were no strokes, no heart attacks, no deadly blood clots and no brain tumors. All of which I encountered this weekend.

The brain tumor appeared on my radar Friday morning, after I repeatedly experienced severe pains in the same spot on the left side of my head. By the time lunch arrived, I was smelling “weird” smells—like my brother did in the days leading up to his diagnosis—and although I wasn’t peeing in closets or asking people to take off the sock that I wasn’t wearing—like my brother also did in those days—I was certain that there was a rapidly growing tumor in my left frontal lobe that was seconds away from crushing my brain until blood spewed from my eyes and ears. And frankly, I’m still certain that that tumor is lying in wait.

The blood clot made its debut Saturday afternoon as I attempted to enjoy a little more than a little Chardonnay with my HGTV after reporting to work. In my peripheral vision, I spotted a deep purple mark the size of a quarter, on my left inner calf. I nearly spilled my wine as I jumped up to investigate, but before my feet hit the ground, sharp pain engulfed the entire area surrounding the bruise. I limped around the room for a good four minutes in agonizing pain before I realized that the bruise could only mean one of two things: leukemia or blood clot. I decided on the latter and sat back down to finish my wine, acutely aware of the fact that the blood clot would fatally encounter my heart in less than twenty-four hours.

But, before I could reach that twenty-four hour mark, the heart attack hit. Hard. In my chest. Then my arm. I did my standard heart attack dance around the house, gasping for air while grabbing my chest and stumbling through the halls. Rey sat unconcerned in front of a rerun of NFL Playbook. I finally slinked back to the couch, grasping my chest in one hand and my thermometer in the other.

Oh, must I go on? To relive these “episodes” is humiliating. What seems so true in the moment, seems so pathetic in the now.

It’s beginning to sound like hypochondria is my favorite past-time, and in that spirit, I finished off the weekend with a bang. A bang in the form of a stroke, right in the middle of the finale of Design Star. And before I continue, let me clear my good name by saying that I am not a reality TV whore, I actually despise most reality shows, but HGTV is my weakness and that stroke couldn’t have hit at a more inopportune time.

I had already missed the premier unveiling of the new Design Star, (in lieu of watching the Patriots/Chargers game), and it was 10:00 p.m. as I laid in bed, away from the TiVo, when the second showing finally arrived. Not fifteen minutes in to the long awaited show, my left foot went numb. A sure sign of stroke. It was all down hill from there. I couldn’t breathe, I was disoriented, my vision was blurry. I became convinced that I would die a slow painful death in the bed, as Rey laid there engrossed in the finale, so I resorted to pacing the room, at 10:30 p.m. mind you, so that it would be obvious that I was dying when I hit the floor in a brain dead stupor.

Translation: I’m back.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

There's No Escape

“…he’s [Frank Gore, 49ers running back] having a conversation with his mother that he’s had everyday of his life; and this will continue even though, she’s passed away at the tender age of 46, because of, kidney failure…”
~Anonymous NFL Announcer

And I thought football was safe. At the tender age of 22, I can feel my kidneys failing as we speak.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thank You, Tongue!

Had I not been so overworked these last couple of days, I would have apprised the blogosphere of my newly developed condition. It came to my attention early Tuesday morning that my tongue was…acting up.

Ever since that fateful day, when I found my rogue tongue lodged in my throat, strategically restricting my oxygen supply, I knew I was destined to die. In my sleep. From suffocation. By my tongue.


It’s like that bastard can’t accept the loss of its good friend, the tonsils, and is going to take it upon itself to fill the void, and kill me in the process, if necessary.


Every time I turn my head, I find that damn tongue waded up in the back of my throat, sitting there like a pouting child. I’ve spent the last two nights fighting off sleep, after twelve hour work days, because I’m terrified that fucker will slip into my throat the second I dose off.


I’ve been conflicted on whether or not to mention this phenomena of the animated tongue to my doctor. Rey advised against it, so as not to reveal myself as the crazy that I am. But this afternoon, when that white coat cornered me in that cold, little hospital room and asked me “how I was doing?” with those all knowing eyes, I cracked. I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. That tongue came alive, and I spilled it, I told him everything.


His response? “Normal.”


And when I carried on, like the lunatic that I am, about my newly developed sore throat, that was silently infiltrating my kidneys and killing me, he suggested, “a refill of the pain medication.” I nearly fell out of my chair.


The tongue was all mine as I spattered and stuttered about what a great suggestion that was. And as the white coat left the room to fetch his pen, it hit me, that unruly tongue was on my side, it was all a ploy for more drugs.


And tonight, as I sit here next to my 400 mg of liquid bliss, I introduce to you a body in harmony.

Monday, September 10, 2007

She took yer JOB!

I’m not a Mexican, but today I stole a good American’s job.

Unbeknownst to me, the bigwig senior attorney in my office demanded to work with yours truly. It just so happened that the bigwig senior attorney previously “belonged” to my thirty-eight year old, female, recently separated, legal secretary, stalker ex-“friend.”

(For those of you who pay attention, that’s the same thirty-eight year old, female, recently separated, legal secretary, stalker, “friend” who I spoke about several times several months ago and then never again. I never elaborated on the “ex” part—when I probably should’ve—because the story of me and her turned out to be the story of my life: it didn’t work out). Oh, you can also read about our adventures here, if you’re looking to gag yourself.

But that’s beside the point, this reassignment of me to “the bigwig” is headline news in local office politics; something I try to stay miles away from. For the last three days, since the news hit the floor, doors have been shut, and whispers have filled the halls. At least in my mind they have.

And despite all the drama and petty power plays that are accompanying this change, the reassignment is a great career move for me. The bigwig isn’t just a bigwig in my office, she’s also a bigwig in the city and a great contact to have. She’s one of the first women to graduate from Stanford Law and a very successful, independent woman to be associated with. Not to mention, I think she suffers—though it hasn’t impeded her—from anxiety, so all in all, she’s a great woman role model to have in my life.

The bottom line is, even though I essentially stole someone’s job, I’m pumped!

And in my state of glee, I’d like to take a moment to thank my anxiety for this feat. Without thee, I never would’ve been able to bust my ass so hard at crunch time, or do my job so meticulously. There’s nothing like self-doubt and anxiety to fuel that oh-so-important attention to detail and speed that I wield so easily. I guess anxiety isn’t all bad after all, at least not today.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Rise and Shine

I never really noticed it before, but my house is directly under the flight path for incoming and outgoing planes of the nearby international airport. I’ve lived under this flight path for three years and the planes have never bothered me, I never really noticed them; until a couple a weeks ago.

Every morning, at about 6:20 a.m.—twenty-two minutes before my scheduled 6:42 a.m. wake up—I’m jolted from my state of comatose by what feels like a thirty ton meteor crashing into my house.


Everyday, as sure as shit, I find myself vaulting out of bed in sheer survival mode, as the sound barrier is broken above my house. Some days I know that earth-shattering sound for what it is: a plane crashing into my bedroom. Other mornings it’s a bomb, alien invasion or terrorists.


And, so my morning started today: in a state of pure panic, and that panic has somehow followed me into this evening. Mid-afternoon I developed a severe case of pneumonia and I hold that damn plane responsible.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Panic-Man

Apparently there’s a new computer game designed to show how the brain reacts to threats. The game, modeled on Pac-Man, has a predator chase down a player; if caught, the player receives a shock. The results of the study are allegedly explaining why some of us unfortunate souls suffer from anxiety and panic.

"When our defence mechanisms malfunction, this may result in an over-exaggeration of the threat, leading to increased anxiety and, in extreme cases, panic, he said. Although brain-imaging studies like ours cannot directly help to cure such disorders, they do improve our understanding of how the emotional system operates. This is the first step to helping people with anxiety-related disorders."

Huh…I’m not sure what to make of this. I guess one could say I “overreact” to certain situations, but, when your heart starts pounding, your palms start pouring sweat, your vision becomes blurry and your arm goes numb, it’s kind of difficult not to overreact.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Or Does It?

"Just because you're crazy and we're crazy does not mean we're related." ~Nancy Botwin

Ten dollars—that's fake dollars, not real dollars—to the first person who can guess my most recent DVD obsession.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

On Tongue Hair

I feel like I have a hair tied in a bow around the tip of my tongue. I have no idea what implications this may carry, but the sensation is terribly annoying.

Had I not been dealing with this “tongue hair” for the entire morning, I might be convinced that I’m actually in the initial stages of a stroke, but as the hours have passed I’ve lost faith in that theory and have really no idea what this could be.

I figured I should at least document the sensation, in case this ordeal turns into something serious. Tongue hair update to follow shortly, assuming I’m not dying from some rare tongue hair disease.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hi, My Name is Leila and I’m a Drug Addict

Since I’m on “vacation,” I allowed myself two slices of salami and olive pizza and five bottles of Sierra Nevada last night. I watched Wheel of Fortune and several other obsolete shows—which were apparently a huge waste of my life because I can’t even remember what they were—and then headed off to bed at 10:00 p.m.

Normally, I go to the bed—to my beloved Tempur-Pedic bed—at 10:00 p.m., fall asleep by 10:45 p.m. to a show on the Science Channel then wake up at 6:40 a.m. (or on the weekend 8:00 a.m.), it’s my schedule, it’s what I do. It never fails and it never wavers. Until last night.

I headed to bed, as usual, turned on the Science Channel, as usual and laid in my sea of pillows waiting for sleep to overcome me, but it didn’t. 10:45 p.m. passed, no big deal, 11:00 p.m., can’t be long now, 11:45 p.m., tossing and turning, 12:15 a.m., burning flesh and itching, 12:30 a.m., headache, 12:45 a.m., shooting pains coursing through the body, 12:50 a.m., aching legs, 12:55 a.m., spinning, 1:00 a.m. panic.

I was having full-blown withdraws from that evil red syrup that that evil greedy doctor prescribed to me.
I didn’t even realize it until I woke up Rey (who had to be to school early this morning), in a sweaty fit of panic and described to him the symptoms. “It sounds like you’re kicking dope,” he informed me, “go take some OxyContin.” But I didn’t want to take OxyContin, especially not if I was having withdraws because taking it only meant that I’d have to face the horrors of withdraws another day.

So, we stayed up for the next hour and a half as I cried and twitched on the bed. I finally caved at 2:30 a.m. and fell asleep with that sweet, red syrup coursing through my veins at 3:00 a.m.

Being addicted to a drug is not a pretty thing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back on the Wagon

Please excuse my recent absence, several days ago I discovered that OxyContin does not have to be used alone, it can also be paired with substances such as alcohol—which burns a hacked throat—and “greenery”—which does not burn a hacked throat, but depending on the time of day does make me think I’m dying of a heart attack.

Since that grand discovery, I’ve been diligently testing the results of the aforementioned substances, and through intense analysis have determined that each should be used individually, and in moderation, preferably when not recovering from a surgical procedure. But no worries, I’ve locked the juice in the safe and took a shower.

I’d like to say that those doctors lied. I did not loose ten to fifteen pounds from this surgery, I more like gained ten pounds, because all I ate for five days was KFC mashed potatoes and gravy, which apparently aren’t terribly healthy. I want their heads for false advertising; that whole weight loss schpeal is just a ploy to reel you in, don’t fall for it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Painkiller Jane

I’m clawing my way into day five of recovery looking like a prisoner of war. Over the past four days, I’ve eaten no more than one Quaker’s cinnamon bun oatmeal packet, half an order of my favorite Mexican restaurant’s beans, and one can of Progresso Chicken Rotini Soup. I no longer comprehend the meaning of the word “food.” My world revolves exclusively around OxyContin and frozen Gatorade.

Actually, I’m lying about the last part, I couldn’t care less about frozen Gatorade—despite having drank nine gallons of fierce melon in the last 48 hours—what I really care about are my drugs. That sweet, red syrup that courses through my veins is what keeps me pushing on. It’s also what keeps me incessantly itching around the clock, but I don’t care, I’ve come to love the “heroin itch,” as Rey so lovingly calls it, and I think my skin looks nice with red scratch marks raked across my body.

That syrup, my handheld mirror, my purple flashlight and my digital thermometer are what I’ve been reduced to in this time of darkness. From my twelve-plus pillow bed on the sectional couch in the living room, my existence involves staring into space in a OxyContin-induced stupor, sleeping (only for increments of less than three hours, as not miss an OxyContin dosage), examining the rotten abyss previously known as my throat, taking my temperature, and bitching about my lack of nutritional intake. Really, it’s the life; beats the 9-5 grind, any day.

Now, please excuse me; it’s time for my precious...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Still Kickin'

My throat looks like I gargled with and swallowed a hot coal, but I’m alive! Alive and surprisingly well. As a person extremely versed in the horrors of strep throat, I must say that this tonsillectomy can’t shake a stick at that god-awful sickness. I feel like I could run a marathon, or more realistically throw back a beer and burrito.

(Now, this whole happy-happy-joy-joy attitude could be the Percocet talking; it wears off at 5:00 p.m., so I very well may be back at that time to rescind the preceding paragraph, and curse the day my doctor was born; but as of now, I feel great).