Monday, August 15, 2011

Beware the ides of August.

Hiya.

So. Who remembers my kidneys? They look like other kidneys, I suppose. Except for the little rocks in them. I think of them as little white rocks, but that's not accurate. They're more... clay colored.

When last I checked, in February mind you, I had two such interlopers in my right kidney (which, incidentally I've named Jeckle). Jeckle has been feeling quite tender lately - for close to two weeks, actually. So last Thursday I went and peed in a cup like a good girl should, and this morning I had a few years' worth of ambient radiation in one big dose to the torso (also known as a CT scan).

Now I sit and wait for results, and try not to think about their implications. Hospital? Lithotripsy? Stent? Worse? Right. These are precisely the things I'm not supposed to be thinking about. Meanwhile, Mr. Kidney Left (a.k.a. Heckle, the instigator of all this madness) has been relatively quiet. But kidneys are a bit like conjoined twins: when one feels pain, the other shares it.

I do not relish these medically dominated times in my life. But I'm hoping that I learned enough from last year's experiences to make any future events a bit more bearable. Fingers crossed, eh?


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

All Apologies.

Hi y'all. I've been, you know, busy. What's that? Did I find a job? Mmm yeah no. I'm just doing what I'm good at: running myself ragged with my projects. These days I'm essentially being a professional vegan. I'm starting Vegan Drinks New Orleans, writing about restaurants that have vegan offerings, writing about other vegan events happening around town, writing posts for the Vegan Etsy Team blog, writing, writing, writing. Writing everywhere but here, apparently.

Sorry guys. I miss you too.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Clocks.

The clock on my computer is an hour fast. This irritates me. I feel that my computer should be psychic. It's connected to THE INTERNET - which is to say, god. Rationally I know this is because I have not told it that I am in a new time zone. It's still living in New York. So. This display catches my eye and for a moment my whole body freezes. The air catches in my throat as my mind screams into my ear, THATCAN'TBERIGHT.


Conversely:

The clock in my car is an hour slow. It catches me off guard sometimes and my mind works like molasses. Mostly in confusion and with the slightest twinge of hope, it says aside to me... t h a t c a n ' t b e r i g h t n o w... c a n i t ?

There are four (1, 2, 3, 4) clocks in my kitchen. They are all set within thirty seconds of each other. I like to imagine that they are in a tag team race. (Because in my world, all objects have personalities and talk to each other.) As of yet, there is not a single other clock in the house - save the alarm clock by my bed, of course.

Shortly after Christmas, I bought a watch. I loved wearing it in New York; it's a real pain in the ass to be pulling your phone out on the subway all the time, digging through your bag or into your pocket, elbowing standing or sitting neighbors all the while. And course you always need to know what time it is. New York City is nothing if not a study in time used vs. time lost.

Three days after I arrived in New Orleans, I took the watch off to go to Jazz Fest. It just didn't seem like a good idea. It didn't fit, didn't work. I haven't put it on since. I'm not actually completely sure where it is right now.

It's a pretty little thing, my watch. Stainless steel, with nice clean lines and a shimmery blue face with two sparkly crystals set in. It's not exactly "me," but it goes. It went in the law firm, anyway. On the subway, and in midtown. It all worked. Even on the weekend, in Queens, getting bagels from Hot Bagel on a Sunday morning. It slid right in.

Not here though, where everything is green, and time matters but just not so much. Somehow a need that's been with me since childhood is fading. Not gone, no. I'll still get there on time. I'm just not so worried about it. It's as if I've slipped into a side stream, one that runs right alongside the old space-time continuum, looks the same mostly but feels slightly, importantly, different. I'm running on Gulf Coast time now. Oh, tell me New Orleans isn't the Gulf all you want, but believe me. I've been everywhere else.

When Jonathan comes, he'll be living on east Coast Time; he'll be working in it all day and trying to pull away from it all night. I wonder: Can we force it to be merely what it is - simply numbers on a clock?


Full disclosure: I like whoa did not take that amazing photo. Click on it to be brought to the artist's site.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Orleans: A Lovesong.

I am living in the chaos of an unpacked house. My clothes are still in suitcases; my food is still in boxes. My books, while not unpacked, are of course easily accessible. Heaven forbid I should have a craving for my Hemingway short stories at 1am and not be able to find them.

It seems like a lot of this putting away should be done already. But it's just not. For this I can make many excuses, and even give some reasons, and a good part of it can be explained by sheer exhaustion. After all, I've been living like this, on one end or the other now, for over a month - it takes its toll.

But at the core of all the excuses and reasons and explanations there is something, some ephemeral thing, some object or concept that I have not yet been able to grasp. This thing called New Orleans.

Yes, New Orleans, I'm blaming you. You are in my heart and head and soul, and yet I don't fully understand you. Like a lover, I don't know that it's possible to know you completely. Just when I think I've got you figured out, you surprise me, thrill me, break my heart, and then turn around and stitch it back together again. Bordering on obsession, I never stop wanting more from you - even when you frustrate me to tears, even when I want to wring your neck. It is impossible not to forgive you, and our scrapes never last long. You are too beautiful not to love, too complex and mysterious not to investigate.

So I will breathe you in, smell you, taste you, listen closely to your every sigh and exclamation. Make you my own and become part of you again. Maybe in the process add something to your rainbow mosaic. And you, in turn, will continue to distract me from unpacking.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Homecoming.

I can see the streetcar from my kitchen. I can see my kitchen from the streetcar.

The rabbits don't know what to think. They're just glad to be out of the car.

Everything here is lush and green and ALIVE. Rich green carpets of trees drape over streets, providing much needed shade. The live oaks shelter us all. I've missed the camellias and azaleas, but not the gardenias. And who needs dogwoods when you can have giant magnolia trees, with their dark and glossy emerald leaves?

It's hard to believe I'm home. Or rather I know I'm home, but I don't fully know that I'm not leaving again. For years it's been easy to fully embrace being present here, and leaving has been excruciating. I'm overwhelmed with everything that has yet to be accomplished, but I need to embrace a time-honored New Orleans tradition: worry about that tomorrow. After all, it'll come whether you like it or not.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Another Friday Morning in Queens

I had to stand on the subway today, my last day at the office. A little farewell gift from the MTA. And yet, as I stood there staring out through the train's safety glass window, there it was spilled out in front of me. Queens, my Queens, bathed in the morning sun.

This neighborhood has changed so much just in the five or so years I've been in it. Turn-of- and mid-century buildings demolished, hotels and condos erected in their place. Views of the city's famous skyscrapers blocked a little more each day. Subway lines re-routed, re-named. And through it all this hundred year old El rumbles up its center, stalwart , even if it does get shiny new cars every few decades.

I have loved this place, and I have hated it. The time has come for me to leave and a new phase of my life is waiting to begin, some 1300 miles away. But this place was here for me when I needed a home, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Officially Official.

Yesterday, I gave notice at work. Because the decision has been made - mother I'm coming home. As of May first, New Orleans will once again be my home. At work, they are sad to see me go. But I'm not sad. In fact, I can't remember the last time I smiled so much. :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Jerk. (A retraction / correction / confusion.)

Alright then. So maybe I'm not going in for lithotripsy. Which is good news I think, at least for now.

I do, in fact, have two stones in my right kidney. But when I had the tests done on Friday, they looked ginormous on the sonogram and didn't show up at all on the x-ray.

Dude, what's up with that?

Naturally my doctor didn't call me back on Friday. When I finally got to speak to him on Monday, he explained that basically - why mince words? - I was full of shit. Essentially, the kidney stones were invisible on the x-ray because the colon sits on top of the kidneys and... well... yeah. So we decided that I would fast, et cetera, and re-take the x-ray on Tuesday.

Which I did. Lo and behold, the stones miraculously appeared! The radiologist that day said sort of offhandedly that yeah, it was somewhat pointless to do a KUB x-ray without fasting first. Good to know, since this is at least the fifth or sixth time I've had it done.

Anyway. OK, so the stones showed up. And they look to be about 3mm each. Not 9+mm, as I'd originally been told. Why would a sonogram make a stone appear three times its actual size? I have no fucking idea. Frustrating, no? But the plain fact is that given my current state of relatively good health, a 3mm stone does not warrant the trauma of lithotripsy.

So the good news is that I don't have to have two surgeries in the month of February (I'm still having my wisdom teeth out). The somewhat bad news is that I *do* have two stones hanging out in my kidney, and they could get bigger. Super Big Gulp OF WATER anyone? Why I do believe I will, thanks...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Once again, I'm keeping my hospital bag by the door.

You don't have to spend long in a hospital to realize that you'll be happier there if you come prepared. For example:
  • No matter what the temperature outside, it will be freezing inside. (Bring a sweatshirt.)
  • If your back is killing you - from an obstructed ureter, say - you think you'd be able to get something as simple as an ice pack. It will never happen. (Icy Hot adhesive patches are a lifesaver.)
  • It can take hours - literally HOURS - for an ER doctor to come assess you, no matter how much pain you're in. (Can you say percocet?)
  • And if you believe that hospitals serve anything even approaching "food", ho boy do you have another thing coming. (Hello trail mix!)
And this is why, when on Friday a sonogram revealed a new stone in my right kidney almost a centimeter in diameter, I knew I'd be pulling out The Bag. After my first trip to the ER (which incidentally was caused by a stone of only 6mm), I won't get anywhere near the hospital without it. It contains all of my incidental medications, a very soft hoodie, the aforementioned IcyHot patches, an ankle brace, a knee brace, and a pad of paper and pen, among other items.

These last two are crucial - if I could give one piece of advice to anyone who ever sets foot into a hospital, it would be this: write down every single thing that happens. Every doctor you talk to, medication you take, test and procedure you have. As much as they may try, hospitals are just too big these days, and for the most part cannot:
  • a) determine if you (or they) are coming or going,
  • b) get the left hand to talk to the right hand,
  • c) decipher their asses from their elbows,
et cetera. If I could give a second piece of advice, it would be this: if you'd like to take a shower during your stay, mention it while you're checking in. Seriously.

So, soon I'll be scheduling another lithotripsy, a noninvasive "surgery" that uses soundwaves to break up the stones. I am not happy about this. But if we get me in soon enough, I'll be able to avoid the hospital entirely, and I'd like that. As you may be able to tell, it's not my favorite place. The lithotripsy is vastly preferable to waiting until the stone moves into the ureter and causes an obstruction - simultaneously causing the worst pain known to man. I'll take a little kidney bruising over doing that again any day.

No one thus far has been able to do anything crazy like, oh say, tell me *why* I'm making the stones. My diet is perfect, I'm taking special supplements, and I'm drinking so much water that I'm surprised I don't float down the street. It appears to just be one of my many special talents. That's the ticket - I should look at the bright side. Think I should start putting it on my resume? Maybe I'll start a small business...

***Calcium Oxalate Stones, Made to Order!!***

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A winter morning commute...