thats a wrap: mantra. [31/31]

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“to survive you must tell stories.”
—umberto eco. 

Final Challenge Update:
Plank:
I can now plank for 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Not comfortably but planking after the first minute in general sucks. That’s a far cry from the 55 seconds I started off the month with!

Meditation: I enjoyed the short head, shoulders, knees, toes meditation from Smiling Mind last night.

Both meditation and planking are things I am going to keep up. As for the blogging? Well, it didn’t go as well as I’d planned, but I still got it all done. Onto regular programming…

Well, and writing a novel. Here I come, NaNoWriMo!

[catching up] mantra monday[-ish]. [10/31]

Thanks, Thanksgiving, today is really Metaphorical Monday. So I’m not really late. Actually I am.

Whatever.

My friend Mike started this thing called Mirror Mantras, where he puts a positive phrase or quote on his bathroom mirror to focus on for the week. Of course, I copied him. Here’s mine for this week.

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“Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.”

Plank update [yesterday]: 95 seconds. (Seriously. WHAT!)
Meditation update [yesterday]: I did something except Smiling Mind only gives me ONE meditation history, sooo I cannot tell you what it was. This is why I should update every day. 

“i’m moving forward now: the thought of a ghost brought me to life”

–i swear this place is haunted, a skylit drive.

It’s been four and a half weeks since I last blogged. Apparently losing a week of your life/near death experiences suck a lot more time out of life than just that one week.  For the record, I am staying more-or-less in-tact academically which is [very] surprising. I only needed to get one deadline pushed back, which was a deferral on my Sport in the Ancient World midterm. Six extra days to work through the things I missed meant I got a 78% on that test, which was much better than I’d anticipated even had I not gotten sick. I’m sitting at 100% in my Developmental Studies class (SERIOUSLY.) and got 63% on my Disability Studies paper (I am fully intending to argue that one).  As soon as I got back on my feet, I had to start drowning in school again. I had a full three days of all day work and nights till 3 AM on the two aforementioned papers that were the same week as the Sport in the Ancient World midterm was SUPPOSED to be (had my amazing instructor not granted my test deferral I’d have been screwed).

Other than academics, it’s been a hell of a few weeks. Two of the chaos producing things are so worth it: getting my Special Olympics season off the ground (six confirmed athletes, two unknowns, two coaches and five program volunteers: I need more athletes!) and planning a Team Asthma event for Sports Day in Canada. Things are fortunately falling into place but I now have five weeks to promote this event and get things off the ground. It never stops (thank God).  One of the two other chaotic things, however, was not anticipated and not a welcome situation, and I still have yet to figure it out.

I saw my primary care doctor two weeks after surgery. To say it sucked would be an understatement, and I am looking for a new doctor. To start, we discussed nothing much relevant to my post-surgical state–had I not been as angry as I was, I’m sure we wouldn’t have discussed it at all. I went in and tried to stay civil, and asked about flu shots. Flu shots are civil topics of discussion. I then asked if she would refer me to Alaa, the doctor I saw at the hospital who did my surgery. Through the whole multitude of gynaecologic related shit, my gynaecologist had been very available and more than happy to see me any time I needed–what he wasn’t, was action driven. He also had the ability that is probably very helpful in dealing with pregnant ladies to make a person very calm (and perhaps he should reconsider a career in something like criminal negotiation because it’s near impossible to get mad at the man), which makes it a bit hard to get mad at a person. However, he also dismissed my questions regarding the fibroid, saying that it was small and shouldn’t be causing my problems. Considering under his care I received multiple blood transfusions, that in itself should be enough to warrant a referral elsewhere. It wasn’t, apparently. My primary care doctor refused to make the referral until she “receive[d] the pathology report indicating [I] need ongoing care,” but apparently I didn’t have to see my old gyn again if I “didn’t want to”.

This is where I lost it on her. “I don’t CARE what some report says, I WANT ongoing care. He was apathetic towards finding the root of the problem from the beginning, and even once it was evident refused to deal with it and book surgery until my mom called him. That’s not okay. This time I almost fucking died. I shouldn’t have to spend ten hours in the ER prior to going into hypovolemic shock less than two days after a blood transfusion, and require resuscitation before I get proper care. How is that acceptable? That’s absolute bullshit.”

That about ended the appointment. I can’t say she really responded to any of it, but it certainly didn’t get me a referral anyways. I briefly discussed the weird inspiratory pain I’d developed following surgery (I was betting and she agreed that it was just a muscle strain from coughing) and requested to go for a chest x-ray to rule out anything bizarre–honestly, she refused, and asked about pain killers at which point I lied and said I’d tried the go-tos (I’d really only tried Naproxen which did nothing), telling me “Take two extra strength tylenol every four hours for three or four days–if it still hurts, come back in and I’ll send you.” Seriously? Not going to happen. Why on earth would I OD on OTC pain meds for really minor pain?

I got a requisition for blood work, but I left without booking a follow-up appointment and hoping I never had to go back in there. I got a call the next day saying my hemoglobin was 93.  The downfall of chronic disease is I need asthma medicine to live–and I kind of need a dealer.

—–

Given the inability to secure a referral from my doctor, I called Alaa’s office myself the next day. I left a message not anticipating anything, explaining who I was, that I’d seen Alaa in the hospital and he did emergency surgery on me, that my primary doctor refused to make me a referral, and that I would really like to see him for ongoing care.

Two hours later I was shocked to see “DC OB/GYN” pop up on my caller ID, saying “Dr. Awadalla would be happy to see you for follow-up and ongoing gynae care.” I have an appointment on Tuesday.

I began the quest to find a new primary care doctor, which has been quite futile. I have a bit of a deadline of December 5th [when I apparently long ago booked a follow-up appointment] unless Alaa or my psychiatrist will refill my asthma meds for me (ADHD meds appointment with a side of bronchodilators?).

—–

Last week, after the appointment being pushed off for nearly a week, I saw my old gynaecologist. Ready to give the man shit except, damn, he’s too nice.

“So, they removed a fibroid, eh?” I told him he had certainly been informed of it.

However, he gets huge props for the fact that the second question of the appointment, which certainly made me soften a bit: “Is Dr. Awadalla taking over your care?” When I said yes, he replied “He’s a very good doctor.”

“Yeah, I really like him.”

At this point I had to start answering him in more than a few words. He, I swear to God, asked “Have I seen this ultrasound? Who ordered it?” I reiterated that he had seen the ultrasound as both myself AND my mom brought it to his attention. “A submucosal fibroid–in over thirty years of practice, I have never seen that type of fibroid in a young person–they’re rare.”

Then, he apologized.  He apologized more than once. If you are going to majorly fuck up despite being a kind and skilled person, there is no way you can fix that: a sincere apology, however? It’s as close as you can get sometimes. He told me once again “I’m sorry we put you through all of that”, and I could genuinely tell he did feel really bad about what had happened–what he had missed, what he had overlooked.

“I accept that. But the only reason I came in today was so that I know that you know exactly what happened: so that you realize a week after you told me I didn’t have to come back for six months I was in resuscitation for hypovolemic shock. It’s not okay: it may not be the typical, but it happened–I’m proof of that. So next time you have a young person in here, presenting like I did, please consider it. Because I don’t want anybody else going through the hell that I had to go through.”

With that, we left the room.  And I even said “thank you” on my way out.
I booked it down two flights of stairs, finally feeling free.
I dug my iPod out of my backpack, and scrolled through.
freedom is mine, and you know how i feel: it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me . . . and i’m feelin’ good.
feeling good, nina simone [muse cover]
Shuffle, ever appropriate, interjected:

but i am the reason that i will stay alive […] every now and then, i think about you: it’s bringing me closer to closure–every now and then i know it’s over. […] take everything you need and move on. we are the answer to the broken breaking through–take everything from me: ’cause i’m not dying, no i’m not dying today.

the energy, audiovent

Because never again do I want to be where I was.

the thought of a ghost brought me to life.

I was that ghost.

I’m moving forward now.

i swear this place is haunted, a skylit drive

Here’s to moving forward.

Again.

Always.

light my candles in a daze*: dissonance

*lithium, nirvana

did you give it up, did you give it up, did you give it up?

heard a lot of talk about the ocean / heard a lot of talk about the sea, now / heard a lot of talk about a lot of things /  never meant that much to me. / heard a lot of talk about my spirit. / heard a lot of talk about my soul. / but i decided that anxiety and pain were better friends / so i let it go . . .

did you let it go, love? / did you let it go, lover? / did you let it go, my friend? / let’s get it back, let’s get it back together, yeah.

heard a lot of talk about this Jesus. / a man of love, and a man of strength / but what He meant was two thousand years ago / means nothing at all to me today. / He could have been telling me about my higher self / but He only lives inside my prayer / so what He was may have been beautiful / but the pain is right now and right here.

operation spirit (the tyranny of tradition), live

 

 

yeah i found God and He was absolutely nothing like me […] i couldn’t take it anymore so i went back to the sea. cause that’s where fishes go when fishes get the sense to flee. / where you going now? what’s your plan?

yeah i found God, and He was absolutely just like me […] He opened my mouth, looked down my throat, told me i was thirsty / He said “i been, i been, i been, been in this water all my life, never took the time to breathe. breathe. breathe.

what you doing in this darkness, baby? when you know that Love will set you free? would you stay in this sea forever / try a little on eternity? / what ya doing in this darkness baby? looking down where the sun don’t shine. […] come on out into the light of love, child, don’t spend another day living in the sea.

where fishes go, live

 

a light to free me from my burden, and grant me life eternally / should have been dead on a sunday morning, banging my head. / no time for mourning, ain’t got no time.

my own prison, creed

 

its funny how silence speaks sometimes when you’re alone / and remember that you feel. / again i stand. Lord I stand, against the faceless man.

cause if the face inside can’t see the light i know, i have to walk alone. and if I walk alone to the other side i know, i might not make it home. / again i stand, Lord God i stand, against the faceless man.

the faceless man, creed

I want more of You, and less of the religion shit.

I’ve been to church once in the last six months, and to be totally honest, it didn’t do all that much for me. i’ve been stuck in this place for almost a year. And the reality is, I don’t know when that’s going to change. I used to become frustrated about spiritual passivity, spiritual apathy, in myself and other followers of Christ.

And now, I have been in that rut so long myself.

Thinking. Contemplating. Trying to act.

Refusing to move.

Refusing to listen.

my ears were clogged and it was so quiet.

are you alone?, fireflight

 

I realize this. And I do not know how to move.

I question so much, every day. I question why people act the way they do; why I act the way I do. I question what lead a person to be where they are at. I question why people who believe that Jesus changed everything; why people who say they fully believe in love waste so much time in hate.

quit playing religion games: there’s blood on your hands.

instead of a show, jon foreman

Why we judge each other: we all do; why we just shake our heads and walk away; why we do not even think about what is going on in our worlds anymore. Why we let life slip through our hands like sand and do not take a moment to realize what the potential holds for each moment as it sifts through our fingers.

I question my own choices. I question my thought process. I question in retrospect why I just walk away from a situation that I am not okay with instead of contemplating what I could do to change that situation or change my thoughts on that situation. That thought. That belief.

That dissonance.

Dissonance.

Why I do not care to change myself, yet crave this change. Why I do not know how to change myself. Why I drift further into this cyclic pattern. Why I have these thoughts day after day — why they have reached the point of no longer being questions, just passivities.  Why I cannot just grab on to You. Why I cannot own my desires to become intentional in every aspect of my being.

Why.

I succumb further to apathy.

Yet I feel apathetic towards even this.

“experience is what you get, when you didn’t get what you wanted”

I’ve received some good advice on the topic of failure, probably for the best that I received this advice prior to actually accomplishing my first university failure. Unofficial anatomy marks went up last week, and realistically, not even a curve can save me–I got an F.

The word failure, though, to me implies that I didn’t try my best. That I didn’t work hard and that I didn’t engage as deeply as I could. That I didn’t work for it. And I worked for it. I worked for the 37% that I got.  I did two tutoring sessions a week for a month. I did hours of revision and notes. I consumed a ton of iced coffee [caffeine doesn’t do much for me, so this was purely to add some joy to the agony within the form of a venti iced white mocha].

And fortunately, as it always seems to cycle back to all of Jay’s words in Physical Activity: Promotion and Adherence: I am more than my grades, and my grades do not define who I am as a person. And at least I know 37% more for when I re-engage in the journey of anatomy for September.

Experience is what you get, when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Experience. I got it.