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


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


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


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.