I have noticed I have been hugely delinquent in blogging this academic year.  There is probably some cogent analysis that can be made of this.  However, I think I will decline the task.

I am now among those who can claim to have experienced kidney stones.  I wonder if someone will invent a little app that computes how many parts of your body has had ailments, like those maps of all the places you have been.  I added a new item to my list.  On Wednesday AM I awoke with a kind of burning pain on my left side.  Didn’t think much of it, as I have had a similar sensation for decades on the right side, which has been identified as a colon spasm, which is activated by anxiety.  As I have had cartloads of anxiety to deal with recently, I didn’t think much of the pain.  I thought “Gee the spasm has just switched side.  I drove on to school, I arrived at my 8:30 classroom, got the door unlocked by public safety, and logged in on the computer.  While waiting for my obese profile to load, I got out some routine paperwork.  BAM.  I felt like I had been kicked by a mule.  I then thought “Gee what WAS it that I ate last night?”  I made my way out of class to the restroom.

Now I would like to pose the question:  how many people take their cell phones with them to sit on the toilet?  I will note that until I got the iPhone, I was not one of them.  as a matter of fact, during class the cell phone is usually consigned to the handbag which is consigned to some relatively secure spot.  

I sat on the toilet in the restroom (sans phone) and this ‘gas attack’ was phenomenally stationary and intense.  It became so intense that it triggered a hot/cold sweat.  I was there hanging onto the grab bars in the stall to prop myself up.  It went on. and on.  After over a quarter of an hour had passed, I began to worry.   I had been gone from class for quite awhile.  There were no women in my class.  On Wednesday mornings, our secretary is out of office taking a class of her own.  There was no one else in our office area either.   The thought passed through my head “I could just die in here and no one would find me”.    Then I really began to worry.  not that I would die, but if my students came looking for me, the only place that they could go to ask what happened would be the dean’s office.  Unfortunately, I believe the dean would immediately believe the worst of me, before getting any facts, and would assume I was flaking off somewhere.    I realized, “Not only am I going to die in here, but I will be written up for dying in the Ladies toilet to boot and not delivering instruction on schedule”.  

whether the gallows humor of that thought revived me, or it was just the natural nature of the ailment, all of a sudden I felt immensely better.  “Gee I’m glad that’s over” I thought and made my way out of the toilet, down the hallway, toward my classroom.  If the first onset of pain felt like a mule kick, the second one was like being between a crash dummy and the dashboard in midcollision.  I collapsed on the sofa next to the HR office and stopped thinking about the class, the dean, my students, anything except the immediate present and how to ride out the wave of pain.  I commenced deep breathing relaxation exercises that improve my migraines, but I had a hard time relaxing … duh.  The sweats came back.  It was pure hell.   A colleague walking down the hall asked me “Linda, are you all right?”  to which I croaked “no”.   This lady is foreverafter to be known as my guardian angel as she just took care of everything.   She had HR call my husband.  When the third level of agony commenced (equivalent to obstructing the Space Shuttle during takeoff), compleat with involuntary vomiting and kicking the wall, it was decided that i was to go to hospital.  And as It was impossible for me to walk, the ambulance was summoned.  

I have had many moments of wonderment about this current group of students, and in retrospect I find it a little amazing that they waited over an hour before trying to figure out what the heck was going on, as I had yet to make a reappearance in the classroom.   One student came out to try to find me just in time to find Public Safety officers, my spouse, my guardian angel, paramedics all right outside the classroom, and me, moaning and vomiting into a waste receptacle.  It was quite a dramatic moment.  Equally dramatic was the exit atop the ambulance gurney, my face buried in the trash can liner as it seems the paramedics did not come equipped with a vomitorium.  or an equivalent.

I went to the closest hospital, not the one I usually go to.  It was a choice between 3 minutes versus 20 minutes travel.  I am going to append my commentary on how to get attention in emergency room admissions.  I have discovered that continuous projectile vomiting with sweats and trembling is as nearly effective as being covered in blood.  I sailed through triage and even before they found me a cubicle, I had been administered a healthy dose of Dilaudid.   Now that is one serious drug.  If that is what heroin or coke is like, well then I might see now a a wee bit more of why someone might be motivated to want to use it.  
Wikipedia says “a drug with higher lipid solubility and ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore more rapid and complete central nervous system penetration, with the result that hydromorphone is somewhat faster-acting and about eight times stronger than morphine and about three times stronger than heroin on a milligramme basis. ”   

If I closed my eyes I saw a brilliant halluncinatory world as vivid as the one I saw when I opened them.  I wasn’t exactly within the realm of a stately pleasure dome a la Coleridge, but it was a singular experience. Nine hours later, I had been diagnosed with a kidney stone [CAT scan], and sent home with Vicodin, antinausea meds, and a sieve.     

so what has happened.

I made a bird costume. It came out well.
I don’t take care of all my family well when I am involved in projects. It shows.
I can’t write about the worst of it.
It may be pointless to go to Italy. What is there for me to learn, other than something else I have more than a little talent for, but I won’t ever be able to use.
I don’t know what I want except my animal family (which includes necessary other). It is the only thing that really counts.
Everything else – pppfffft.
what profiteth a woman to gain the whole world but to lose her family?
Bird Costume

Depression and Disaster

The mood is pretty hard to keep “up”. I have a lot of trouble just going forward. Working all the extra hours and the fatigue it engenders does not help. Grieving for New Orleans victims & survivors and the memories of 9/11 it touches does not help. Trying to pull myself outside of the wrapper of shame from the little Ghost Girl of my childhood doesn’t help.

Last year I came back from Missoula empowered, energized.
This year I came back so in touch with those old wounds, I was in mourning.

Auctions for Animals

I have been focusing on hurricane relief – participating through NOLA Volunteer community forum links to many various grassroots efforts to get direct aid to the folks who need it as soon as possible. As the Biloxidoc would say – the American Red-Tape Cross can do somethings well, but in others they just don’t even begin to try. He is starting his Send Me Your Panties campaign for college sororities and fraternities to get underwear for folks living in shacks or tents in their backyards of their destroyed properties who haven’t had a change of clean clothes since Katrina/Rita. Yes, can you imagine living in the same pair of underwear for 6 weeks.

I am working with two Adopt-A-Families, trying to get them some stuff they can’t get, or that they just plain need absolutely everything.

And of course the animals – I have to ration my reading of animal stories. By now they are getting much more focused on the tragedy. Either the poor creatures are close to dying of starvation or dehydration or they were rescued early, but now have been transferred to out-of-state KILL shelters. Saved from the flood only to die before their owners can find them. I just plain don’t want to find out how bad that confusion is … I know there are some folks kicking ass on the internet to try to point folks to the information – but there are just too many databases, so much happening so fast.

I try to focus on the happy picture – the one kitty in the cage with a sign – do NOT send – owner found. I try to chant about the stories of mass death like the NOLA high school, and then move on but it is hard. How do you keep your sensibility and humanity and stay upright and not want to crawl into a hole and weep at the end of every day?

Grumbling – Grumble

Things could be worse. The college could be burned down and I could be out of a job.
Things could be worse. I could have lung cancer or some other potentially mortal disease.
Things could be worse. My animals could have died in my house fire.

So the fact that the classrooms, storage, room assignments were all uprooted for technology upgrade [long term gain] in the most disorganized last minute fashion making my start of classes for the term exponentially harder, is not the worst thing that could have happened to me …

Things I can’t find:
Orange oil cleaner for markers on green borco boardcovers
My long white extension cord for electric pencil sharpener.
A lot of my instructional handouts which at the moment I presume are in the box where I rescued the whole lot of what I found in miscellaneous haphazardly packed boxes [done without my knowledge or input which WAS available ] However no one consulted me about packing up ALLLL of my stuff.

Things we don’t have:
Electricity in one classroom – we keep throwing breakers
Electricity for E-size copier
Functional A-size copier for classroom work
Parallel rules for drafting classes

Things we have:
A room for student’s drawing lockers in which they can lock themselves in.
Other department faculty who are unwilling to be even a teensy bit inconvenienced by all of this.
Instructional and other administration who have revealed they have NO CLUE about exactly what should be done.
A department chair who doesn’t give a shit.

It is pretty crappy all around.
But as I said – things can be worse.

Tired Already – Day 3 –

Obstacles too numerous to enumerate keep arising until tomorrow at 9:40 am I can put this year to rest.

The PowerPoint & Technology. What a nightmare that has been.

It is easier and harder this year. I am not so overwhelmed trying to accommodate the novelty of the experience as in the first year, SO I have mental space to grapple with self-doubt. I wonder how that fits on a scale of experience …. FEAR is first level – then once you master fear, you can progress to SELF-DOUBT.

Last year’s group is so laid back it brought out another totally different side of me. Boy, this year we have a group of people who can really remain “on task”. Miss my fellow zannes from last year a bit – we never stayed on task, but got the job done anyway with hilarity to boot.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Deja Vu Depression

I am in midst of trying to throw off my bout of athsmatic bronchitis . Per MD predictions – it is nearly a week since that doctor visit and it has been at least another week. The complications are that the coughing has been so severe it has strained my back and I am in pretty dicky shape as far as moving goes. Then there is the sleeping issue . It was only yesteday since the refill on the heavy-duty narcotic meds that I knocked myself out enough to actually sleep more than 2 hours at a stretch.

Of all the illnesses I have had in my life, this was number #3 in the top 5.

Anxiety Redux

I got to spend the entire afternoon in the pouring rain, in one of my new recurring roles – chauffeur. I was reminded of the opening of Gosford Park, with the lady’s maid standing in the pouring rain, showing her ladyship how to get the top of her thermos jug of coffee. It rained buckets, and helping my Dad in and out of the car with his walker – even with an umbrella left me soaked through to the skin. Waterrepellant raincoat – shirt jacket – long sleeve T- shirt : a combination not up to the task. I didn’t wear my wellington boots, so since I positioned the car exits ideally for the walker – that left me in the pools and gutters awash with water. Wet, I was.

I don’t know how to describe how distressed I was by the viewing of the abradement treatment being undergone at the wound center. I don’t want to try to describe it – but when the ulcerations in the skin are being measured in centimeters, and there are more than one – to apply the cliche perfectly – it was not a pretty sight.

I am still in shock from it. Next time, I think it will be better for me to pop in to talk to the Doc at the end. I am getting nauseated and shaky now just remembering. It is sad to think of it being my father in this state. Poor guy. He is bearing up well. After all, in comparison to amputating his leg, this seems on the “upside”.

I am feeling really beaten down spiritualy.

Starting Again …..

There was an eBloggy disaster and my entire Fall term Creative Pulse journal went up into the netherworld of the internet …..


The eBloggy journal was restored. All is not lost. However, I am starting over here …
on Buskers, Bloggers, and Being