Monthly Archives: February 2012

Reaching New Heights

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Birthdays, they come around year after year for us lucky ones still celebrating life. And my turn is coming around soon. I feel as if I’m holding my breath this year. Last year was such a beautiful experience that I can’t help but spend my time reminiscing. The family rarely brought on much excitement over birthdays, with my grandmother as the exception, she always would take the birthday celebrant out to an extravagant five star dinner. Most birthdays were spent in a yelling match with the celebrant being screamed at for being selfish or self-centered on their day. My mother would usually delight in preparing a cake and putting up streamers, but usually only a handful of friends were allowed to be invited and the few that did come, were hard-pressed to come back after witnessing a yelling match. Didn’t even get a chance to have a 16th birthday after a fight with mother, the most important birthday of a girls childhood was taken away as a punishment for being ungrateful.

I guess, what I’m getting at is I don’t expect much for birthdays. Maybe that is why last year’s celebration was so memorable. The night before my birthday, I was up waiting for Shiva to return home from a typical late night studying for his engineering exams. I had put the baby to bed, cleaned up, and knew just when to start dinner and tea. It was this common scene of a clean home, lit candles, and burning incense that welcomed Shiva home on this day. He walked into the kitchen to compliment me on the fresh hot soup and tell me how much he loved that familiar smell of cardamom drifting up from the cup of Chai.

This night was different. He hugged me and thanked me as he always did. He complimented me as he always did and then he dragged me over to the couch completely ignoring our meal. I was confused, I begged him to let me fix a bowl of soup for us and he grabbed my hands and denied the request. He sat me down and kissed me and told me I was beautiful. Then he told me to wait right where I was and he went outside. I sat on the couch glancing out the window, but couldn’t see him in the dark. Then he peaked in the front door and told me that I needed to go put on pants and a long shirt, and shoes with good traction. What?

“Don’t ask any questions, just go, hurry.” He said. So I went in the room and put on  a pair of comfy sweatpants and a sweatshirt over my grungy night t-shirt. I put on my sneakers, as good of traction as any other shoes I owned and came back out to see him, outfitted for a hike. “Those pants won’t work and neither will the shirt, something different,” he criticized, “go put on jeans.” I was a little bit frustrated, and probably a bit hungry. “Our food is getting cold.” I replied. “Just do it,” he said shortly. I returned in a pair of jeans, a different sweater and grabbed my corduroy jacket. “Better, that will do.” He said, “Now lets go.”

“Go where?!” I pretty much shouted at him, “did you forget there is a baby sleeping, we can’t leave her alone.” Then he revealed that our housemate had agreed to keep a watch on my daughter. “Now, lets go.” He said again, this time dragging me out of the door. “Oh wait,” he said, “I forgot something.” The confusion really was beginning to aggravate me. He pointed off at a tree and exclaimed “Look!” Of course, I did, and saw nothing. I turned back at him and he was pointing at his watch. “Look at that.” I looked and said, “yeah its midnight, so?” Then he kissed me and said, “Happy Birthday.”

Then he grabbed my hand and began walking. We walked and walked, I think at the end we walked a little more than a mile. The whole time I kept asking him where we were going, what we were doing. And the whole time, I was wished happy birthday, kissed, and told to be patient for my surprise. Finally, we arrived at the base of the university’s basketball stadium. He pointed at it excitedly, “here we are, do you like it?”

“A stadium, you brought me to a closed basketball stadium for my birthday, in the middle of the night?” He brought me to wall and said, “Sort of. Do you remember telling me what your greatest phobia is?” I thought, well, I only have one great phobia, falling to my death. I answered him. He knew very well about this fear. He had been awakened many times by my repeating dream of falling to my death. He also knows that I hold an irrational belief that I died by falling in a past life and that I’m not afraid of heights, so much as falling. He also knew that when I described what I fell off, it wasn’t a mountain or a skyscraper, or a bridge, but a white building. He pointed back to the white stadium before us and said, “We are going to climb it.”

I laughed, surely he’d lost his mind. Surely he knew that there was no chance of me climbing a white building like the one from my nightmare with the awareness of said nightmare in the middle of the night on my birthday. And surely, I should have known, that when Shiva puts his mind to something, he is not easily swayed.

Before long, I was climbing ahead of him, holding onto a thick metal cable that ran along the drain pipe. he informed me that the cable I was holding is what the work crews tie their safety cables to. Being that we were climbing the drain, pipe the surface was a little bit wet and slippery. My hands were sweating and all I could think is, “I’m going to die, my daughter is at home and I’m so stupid to climb the side of this building, and I’m gonna die. What are they going to tell her? Your mother fell off a stadium? We don’t know why she was there. We don’t know what she was doing. There was no note, was it a murder, a suicide, an accident.” I got about half way up the drain pipe and just froze.

I told Shiva that I couldn’t go any further. I couldn’t lift my leg, I couldn’t move. I didn’t look down, but I just felt like my whole body had turned to stone. He was behind me and promised me that even if I slipped and fell, he was beneath me and he’d catch me. He promised that he’d climbed the route we were climbing before and I’d be safe. Then he reminded me that my birthday gift was at the top and it was 100% worth the climb. I felt my body relax, things felt lighter and I thought, Well, I’ve made it this far.

I don’t know how long we climbed, but eventually we reached the top of the drain pipe. To my surprise there was a ladder at the top. I hadn’t seen it from the ground, but I grabbed onto the ladder and pulled myself up on the a platform that was completely invisible from below. I sat down and had a good panic spell complete with dizziness and hyperventilating. Shiva pulled himself onto the platform with a proud smile on his face. We sat for a few moments while I composed myself and he commented on the beautiful night. He pulled a bottle of water from his backpack and offered me a drink. Once I calmed down, I asked him where this supposed birthday present was. He pointed up, “We haven’t reached the top yet, you don’t get present just for getting halfway.”

He’s joking. I thought. But no, he wasn’t. We walked along side the platform until we reached another ladder about a quarter of the way around the building. It rose vertically to the top of the dome. It didn’t look that far from the platform, but then I made the mistake of looking down. Shiva smiled at me and said, “What are you looking down here for? Come on, you are almost there.” He could tell that I was starting to freeze up again, “You aren’t going to die tonight, I wouldn’t let that happen. Just take one foot ahead of the other.” Finally, reached the top of the stadium which had a concrete slope for a roof. There was an edge around the slope maybe a few inches high. I thought, “If I slip, I’m going to slide right off the edge.” Shiva crawled up after me and led me up to the top of the slope where we rested against a wall. He pulled me into his arms and kissed me. “Happy Birthday, do you like your present?”

“What present?” I asked. He gestured all around.

“You’ve climbed up really high.”

“Yes, well, you helped me.”

“All I did was come up behind you and reassure you, but you did it, you climbed up here. You thought you might die if you ever did something like this, it was your greatest fear. And now, you know that you can climb all the way up here, take some time to look around, and enjoy the moment. And you know that your life is in your own hands and you aren’t going to die. You have overcome your greatest fear. Happy Birthday.” He pulled out two wine glasses and a bottle of wine. “Let’s toast to your birthday.”

We did. “To reaching new heights.”

Natural Wellness Tea

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I am sick with a cold that is taunted by seasonal allergies. That is what motivates this post on my favorite remedy for these conditions: home made “wellness tea”.

Boil some water. Use a tea ball for loose tea leaves.  Fill the tea ball with mostly dried eucalyptus, about half as much lemongrass, and a pinch of spearmint. Let the tea ball steep for at least 5 minutes. While the tea ball is steeping, grind a teaspoon of local bee pollen with a mortar and pestle. Dump the mixture into the tea and remove the ball. Stir. Then squeeze some fresh lemon juice and a mix in a spoonful of local raw honey. If you also suffer from a cough, add some rosehips to the mixture.

Do not drink more than 3-4 times a day for no more than 7-10 days. If you suffer from severe allergic reactions that result in anaphylactic shock, do not take this remedy unless you ask a Dr. first. Raw honey and especially bee pollen can cause problems in severe cases. If you do not suffer from anaphylaxis, but are still concerned about taking this remedy, you may let one granule of bee pollen dissolve under your tongue and wait 24 hours to see if you suffer an negative side effects such as throat swelling, sweating, or rash. I am not a Dr. or trained medically, this is just a home remedy I use and have shared with many friends. I’ve never known it to do anything but help people with colds and allergies.

To good health!

Chakra Healing

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Chakra balancing is an activity that keeps me going. Mediation is an art form that sometimes happens so effortlessly and other times seems an impossible adventure. This week has been an easier stream than usual. I think that it has something to do with the removal from lots of other influences. I have taken myself off Facebook for Lent, I’m sick with a rough cold, so I’ve stayed indoors, and my throat is sore so I haven’t even been talking on the phone. I figured that while I was confined to my bed, I’d practice some chakra healing. 

Normally, I focus on all chakra’s equally, but this time, I thought to see if I could sense an imbalance in any of the chakras. The ones that stood out are my root and naval chakras.  I felt a compensating pull on my heart chakra, as thought it is attempting to carry the weight of the others. Both imbalanced chakras feel weakened. I focused on images to heal these chakras. One image that kept flowing through me is an image I had of standing barefoot under a golden oak tree. I could feel the heat radiate through my feet when I held this image. I hear the words of Khalil Gibran, “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” And I feel connected to my soul’s root. 

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Then I focus on my Naval chakra. This chakra’s problem is not so easy to decipher. It feels physical, not emotional. I drew a picture of the heart chakra, but I color it red, I picture the naval chakra, but I color it red. I see that my weakness in my root is why my naval chakra is also weak. But I can not see the corrective image so clearly. I feel like I’m off balance that I have lost my center. My self-esteem is weakened and I have a feeling that I don’t belong. I have an image of erecting a wall around me to establish a boundary, but I feel weakened. I see myself drawing a line in the sand, but the ocean comes and washes it away. I feel myself holding my arms up and saying “Stop.” And nothing stops at all. I feel my heart pulling on one end and my sexual desires pulling me on the other. And my third eye opens to shine a dream on the suffering. And then I am floating away because my roots have been cut. Image

It seems so clear after a little visualization that my center needs clear boundaries, my feet need roots, and my imagination is covering for my sadness.  

 

Customer Disservice

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This is a response to nepaliaustralian’s post on customer disservice.

A few years ago, my ex husband I ran into a problem with our mortgage company. I handled all the bills and paid the mortgage on time. Well, one month, for some reason they deducted our mortgage from a stranger’s checking account. Obviously, that person became enraged and had her money given back. The mortgage company then fixed their mistake and withdrew money from our checking account.
The reason we know they first drew money from someone else’s account? Because, our next bill contained a balance for TWO mortgage payments and a hefty late fee. I immediately called the company and said, very clearly that our mortgage had been paid. The person on the phone went through records and said that the bill had been paid from account #…. and that a request from the bank said the payment was in error and they refunded the money. I told them that my bank statement clearly shows where our mortgage came out of my checking account number and not the number they had in their file. They asked me to fax them a copy of my bank statement and would fix the problem.
So I paid the one month due (ignoring the past due balance that I was promised would be fixed) and faxed a copy of my bank statement showing where my checking account was drafted for the mortgage payment.
The next month, a new bill, with now three months of mortgage payments due and an even heftier late fee and non payment fee and balance carrying fee. Also, we were issued a rather threatening letter that our non payment was now going to be reflected in our credit reports. We were also told that if we did not pay the balance in full, the bank would refuse to collect in future payments.
So I called again, explained the situation and was order to send in TWO bank statements showing the mortgage being drafted from the checking accounts for the past two months. I was told to mail in only one payment and to ignore then threatening credit letter.
Next month (now four months after the first payment) I receive a letter stating that we are now four months in arrears and that we are not to send any further payments until all four mortgage payments could be paid in full. The letter also stated that a credit bureau had been made aware of the non payment. The letter concluded that if the full payment was not received we were likely going to be faced with legal, action…whatever that means.
Now, I was furious, I marched into a local branch where I had copies of my checks that had been cashed and copies of my own checking account showing the payments being deducted and demanded that the manager correct the account.
Reason one to never bank with a large institution, the local managers have just about as much power to fix the situation as you do. I was told there was nothing that could be done and the manager called the EXACT SAME phone number that I’d been calling. After explaining that we had proof that we paid our mortgage bills and that the letters were obviously in error the manager was instructed to take a single months payment and fax over the proof of payment. So she complied and tried to take a payment. The computer would not allow her to take a payment. It said that our account had a hold and that no payments could be applied except the full amount. So she called customer service back.
The customer service line said that they would “escalate” the request for assistance. The person we spoke to next informed us that the bank was aware that there was a problem with our account and they were investigating the situation.
What investigation was needed? They had several bank statements showing our payments being made, receipts for payments made, cashed checks for payments made, and a bank center manager backing up our proof and yet we still couldn’t pay our mortgage, were facing our credit being punished, and whatever legal action might come next.
The manager took our single months payment and put it into some sort of escrow account to show that we had attempted to make the monthly payment on time so that we could avoid more fees, that were now almost as high as a single mortgage payment itself.
Now, the next month we went into the bank once or sometimes twice a week to ensure that the mortgage company was concluding their investigation. Time after time, we had to explain the story time after time, and time after time was told that we needed to be patient while the company escalated the account.
Finally, six months after our first payment that was inexplicably drawn from our account and some strangers account, was fixed. The bank established that the reason for the error was that someone had entered our account number incorrectly into the computer system and later corrected their own mistake. No reason was given for why, if the mistake was corrected did it appear that for months on end we were not paying our mortgage when we were. The company credited our account for the payments but still expected us to pay all the fees incurred from their mistake.

It took another three months to get all the escalation finished that needed to happen in order to reverse the fees. Almost a year after we never missed a payment, yet somehow didn’t pay, our mortgage account showed the proper balance. So there is my customer disservice story.

Chicken Soup for the Cold

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I grew up in a house that believed in chicken soup for a cold. Although, my family’s version was an extra watered down Campbell’s chicken noodle, the idea of chicken soup as comfort food as stuck with me. It rarely made me feel better. Although, I do remember my great grandmother making a kind of chicken soup that was really yellow, had a lot of mushy stuff in it and really did make me feel better.  About four years ago, I stumbled across a Cuban restaurant while I was very very sick with the flu. I couldn’t bring myself to cook and my ex-husband sure wasn’t going to try and make me feel better, so I pretty much just ate out.

On this occasion the Cuban restaurant was serving homemade chicken soup. I ordered a bowl and couldn’t believe how much it reminded me of my Irish great grandmother’s soup. I ended up bringing two orders home with me and started feeling a lot better. After recovering from the flu, I went on a search to discover the ingredients in this soup. I knew, it had something like potatoes, but they weren’t. I went back to the restaurant and the waitress didn’t really know what was in the soup. She did know that the potato like mush was yucca and sweet potatoes. She also confirmed that there were also yellow potatoes in the soup. She said the key was the bone.

I didn’t have any bones in my soup. She said that you have to pull the meat off with your fingers. So I went to the store, bought a chicken, and went to making soup. It wasn’t quite what I wanted, but it wasn’t bad. It took me almost a year of trial and error to come up with the recipe that has cured many a cold and flu.

I don’t know how much of the cure is in my mind, heart, or reality. I do believe that it has to be cooked with love and healing intentions. As I cook, I literally envision pouring healing energy into the soup.  With each shake of salt, each dash of rosemary, each pinch of pepper I feel more and more love and health soaking into the broth.

So here it is: the recipe for heal it all chicken soup. It makes a LOT so be prepared.

1 whole chicken
1 bell pepper
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1/2 yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 medium yucca
2 golden yukon potatoes
1 sweet potato
2 red potatoes
rosemary
thyme
salt
annatto (whole)
fresh cilantro
2 bay leaves

Boil a large pot of water, add the salt and spices (except fresh cilantro). Crush the garlic into the soup. Crush the whole annatto in a mortor and pestle and add this as well.
With the water boiling, slowly add the chicken and make sure that water covers most of it.
Chop the potatoes and yucca. Add all potatoes except the sweet one.
Cut the carrots into small pieces, first into discs, and then quarter the discs. Add these.
Slice the celery and add them to soup.
Dice the onion and add to the soup. Dice the bell pepper and add.

Once the potatoes are soft, slice into a thick part of the chicken and make sure it is cooked. Once the meat is cooked, add the chopped sweet potatoes.
Once the sweet potatoes are soft, take out the chicken and pull the meat from the bone and return it to the soup.

Sorry that I don’t know many measurements for the spices, its pretty much an add as I go policy.
What brings on this post? Shiva has a cold now, so guess who is going to be having chicken soup tomorrow.

Henna, Hair Loss, and Unnecessary Panic

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I’ve been known among my friends and family for being adamantly opposed to most beauty products. I rarely if ever use make-up, maybe three times last year. I haven’t colored my hair since the one and only attempt I had in ninth grade. I don’t use wax, favoring threading. I pay big bucks for all natural glycerin based shampoos over the common sodium lauryl sulfate versions. I even spend $11 per tube of toothpaste for my fluoride free calendula toothpaste. And my gums, roots, and pores have never been happier.

So it is completely out of character to pursue the following silly activity of attempting hair coloring. Since moving from the deep south to the far north, I’ve knocked about four hours of sunlight out of my day in addition to having much lower exposure even during the few remaining hours of sunlight thanks to the overwhelming cloud cover. I have had natural blonde hair my entire life. Beautiful natural highlights have always graced these locks. So, I didn’t know what to do with myself when suddenly my hair looks brown with a lackluster dull appearance. And where did my highlights go?! I still have a nice golden touch to my skin, but my hair has always been by pride and joy. And suddenly, I don’t recognize myself with these light brown strands falling on my shoulders.

This leads to me to the heart of the story, henna hair color. I am so opposed to chemicals and hair dyes, even bleaching. I surprised myself after purchasing an “all natural” hair color based on henna. I thought I was safe. Of course, being a person not fond of directions (except the IKEA kind, they’ve proven themselves necessary) I just went ahead and applied to whole bottle to my fifteen inch long hair. I felt a mild tingle to my scalp, something I thought to be a typical side effect. Tea-tree shampoo even does this, so why worry?

Then I rinsed it and followed the directions to apply conditioner, which resulted in a burning sensation. I felt a little unhappy about this new development, but didn’t worry too much. That was, until I rinsed out the conditioner and about a months worth of hair brushing hair loss exposed itself in about three minutes. My hair was falling out in clumps. Freaking out does not do the scene justice. More like rocking in a corner like an insane asylum veteran is probably closer to the image you might have witnessed had you been here. The picture of a bald cancer patient would not leave my mind. After, pacing my apartment for about twenty minutes, I finally brought myself to Google this.

BAD IDEA #1!!!! I found pages about people who had severe allergic reactions to henna that resulted in days of agony, itching, and burning pain that resulted in severe hair loss. And immediately, the somewhat already severe panic I was suffering, turned into complete utter ridiculous idiocy. It didn’t take long before I was on the phone with poison control.

I made this guy’s night. He looked up the product I used and assured me that no severe reactions could be associated and all the ingredients were completely safe. Then he went on to question why my zip code was not in accordance to my cell phone’s area code.  I explained that I moved about two months ago. He asked if I knew that people in my region were subject to a lack of vitamin D. I had heard a thing or two about this, but never thought much of it. Did I also know that this takes about 60 days to take effect? Is it any wonder that day 60 in my new home takes place this upcoming Sunday? Oh, and had I been under any uncommon stresses? Um, does moving across a country and breaking up with a long term relationship, graduating college, and finding a new job count as uncommon stress? I was informed that under high stress circumstances hair loss can occur between 30-60 days after the major stress is introduced and especially if it is ongoing.

The next part is probably what made me feel the most silly about my poison control call. “Did you brush your hair before using the product as it recommends?” Why yes I did. “Do you normally brush your hair before shampooing and showering?” Um, no, I don’t. “Do you normally lose hair in your hair brush when its dry?” Um, yes, I do. “Would you mind brushing your hair to see if this is a typical amount?” So, I brushed my hair, and almost no hair came out at all.

The rather kind man on the other end of the phone at poison control informed me that my hair loss is probably due to brushing my hair before the shower, which is not something I would normally do. In addition, people in my new zip code are subject to vitamin D deficiency that can cause some hair loss problems. He also mentioned that stress can cause additional hair loss. After adding that he lives with his wife and three teenage daughter and still feels like they must have skinned an animal after all the hair they lose in the shower, he believes that I’m 100% okay. At the end of the call he thanked me for lightening his night. (You are welcome?)

It’s good to know that I’m a hypochondriac at worst and a completely healthy individual at best. (Of course by health, I imply physical health, it would seem mental health is in question.) As for Henna, it remains a safe alternative to chemical hair colors. As for me, I’m going to return to my general rule of avoiding beauty products, natural or not.

A Balance Between Life and Death

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Death is something that I both fear and do not fear. I fear it now because I fear being without my daughter and I fear her being alone. But I also do not fear it because I have faced it and was completely ready to die. I’m actually not sure that I was meant to live. Its hard to go through life questioning whether or not your time came and you cheated death.

I have always been a strong believer that in order for birth to be a welcome event, death must occur. I have been sad upon the death of loved ones because I miss their presence. But I have never been sad for them. Death is a reality that we must all accept. I believe most of us fear it because we do not know it and fear the unknown. We also fear that we have not yet had enough time.

But when I was on the edge of death, I did not worry about if I’d had enough time or not. I was not afraid that I was missing out on the rest of my life. I did not think, but I’m so young, not even 25 years old, I can’t die now. Instead, I found myself praying to God to forgive my sins, to protect my newborn daughter, and to thank him for my newfound peace. I was grateful to be dying.

Afterwards, I was informed that this is an effect of shock. That it was a physiological response to  my body’s stress in order to relax me and keep me alive longer. At least that is what the doctors told me. I had just given birth and my poorly trained midwife that insurance covered (the experienced midwives weren’t covered by insurance) did not recognize my wounds and actually inflicted more wounds due to her inexperience. These mistakes resulted in a loss of four pints of blood by the time I was transferred to an emergency room and the bleeding stopped. The adult human body holds between 6 and 8 pints of blood depending on size, gender, and age. My doctors later informed me that they believed that I lost four of my 6.3 pints. This means that I lost about 2/3 of my blood supply.

As I was transferred from where I gave birth to the emergency room, the thing I remember most was how vibrant everything appeared. I was taken outside on a stretcher and I can clearly recall the most beautiful blue sky.The leaves seemed to glow in the sunlight, like they had a light of their own. The birds were singing. I felt uplifted by their song and asked the EMT to leave me in the grass. I begged him to put me down and let me feel the cool dirt and listen to the birds and watch the clouds. I remember telling him that I didn’t need to go to the hospital, that I was ready to die. He told me to be quiet. I remember telling him that he didn’t need to be afraid of dying. I remember an inner peace filling me with these words. Almost as if I was hearing someone tell me the same things I was telling this EMT. He had very blue eyes and I remember noticing that they were as blue and bright as the sky.

I told him that I wasn’t afraid, that I knew it was time for my to die. I remember feeling that I had done what I was meant to do and that my daughter would be okay. My husband wouldn’t come with me, but my best friend who held me hand through labor was with me. She kept trying to quiet me and I looked at her and told her she was beautiful and that she needed to help take care of the baby because my husband wouldn’t know what to do. I told her my mother’s phone number and asked her to call and tell my mother not to be sad. Once I arrived at the hospital I was overcome with anger and pain. I remember ripping IVs out of my arms and telling the nurses not to save me that they needed to take me outside to be with God. At some point, they sedated me.

It truly is a wonder I survived. I’ve read about blood loss and learned that I was given about a 5% chance of recovery. Basically, my husband had been told that within a week, I would more than likely be dead. The hospital even checked me out to go home to be at peace. I barely remember the first two days, the only thing I do remember is driving my newborn and myself to my husband’s job and being told by their on staff nurse that I needed to be taken to the hospital again or I would definitely die.

The hospital reluctantly checked me back in, only to check me back out again. I developed a 105.5 degree fever that night, now two days after birth and drove myself and the newborn back to the ER because my husband refused to get out of bed again. He was convinced that they would just say I was okay and send me home again. This time I refused to leave and was checked in. The hospital finally agreed to do a blood transfusion but would only agree to three pints. Their problem was that I had not saved blood ahead of time and they claimed that I had rejected a blood transfusion. It is possible, but I am foggy on much about these days of running on only 1/3 blood supply. In retrospect, I know I should not have been driving a car.

It was on this third day that I finally stayed in the hospital and remained there for an additional twelve days. I had been breastfeeding this whole time and the nurses kept telling me that I needed to start a bottle because no one in my condition could possibly produce milk.  I didn’t care and although I still believed that I was still destined to die, I wanted my daughter to have as much milk as she could before I passed. My milk came in and she was doing fine. Something that the nurses, doctor, and pediatrician were shocked by.

By the fourth day, I had become so weak that I couldn’t sit up, let alone stand or walk. I was still ready to die and not afraid. I told my husband that when I died he needed to give our daughter over to my mother and he agreed. It was on the sixth day that I received the blood transfusions. The doctors actually lowered my survival to a 3% chance on this day. My fever was holding at about 104 degrees. I was always cold because they would not let me have blankets. I was nude most of the time because I was told that my skin was so hot it could raise the baby’s temperature. I developed a headache on the 7th or 8th day and the hospital would only give me strong narcotics and refused regular medications like ibprofen or tylenol. After about a week in the hospital, I accepted the fact that I was not going to die. I was almost sad that I realized I was going to stay alive. It was during this time that the bright glow that embraced everything around me faded.

The last few days in the hospital were the hardest part of the journey. My fever was down and the nausea brought on by the foreign blood was gone. I still had a terrible headache and was feeling very tired. I felt broken. I was disappointed. I’d felt so much relief in knowing that I was going to die, I’d let go of so much worry and pain. When I realized that I was going to live, anxiety and sadness entered me and weighed me down. I felt guilt that I was being spared. I pleaded with God, I told him that I was ready to die, that I didn’t need to live. I told him I knew that people died every day that deserved to live more than I did. I begged him to spare someone still attached to their life and take me. The doctors were surprised by my recovery and on the day that I was released home was given a 25% chance of survival. To most people this still sounds like a death sentence. I felt like they had damned me to life.

I started feeling better after I was returned home. I was grateful for being with my daughter. Every day I looked at her, I was happy to be in her presence, I was glad that I was her mother. But I still felt like someone had been cheated. I felt regret that someone lost their life that should have lived and that I was given a life I shouldn’t have had. These feelings have never truly subsided.

I no longer regret living, I am thankful that I have been blessed this way. But I long for the peace being near death brings. I know that when I do die, it will be a good thing to be welcomed. I know that it is a state of happiness and euphoria, a state without fear and anxiety. But it is not a place for me anymore. Not for a long time. I will always feel like I broke a rule of life, that I cheated death, that I have an undeserved privilege, but I will continue being grateful for the experience. I don’t know why I was spared death. So, now I pray, dear God let me accomplish what it was that you spared me for, and when the time comes, let me remain fearless of death.

Because I Can’t Say

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Such a pathetic mess I am, to sit here crying for what I do not have.
Who I am to find this such a reasonable reason to cry?

Get up, move on, get over that man, he never deserved the devotion anyway.
All the logic doesn’t seem to negate, the feelings of pain that well up within me.
And if he knew, he’d just say that it isn’t real and that its okay, I’ll feel better about it someday.

Everyone can say the same, that its just a short untimely phase
of life that soon I’ll pass through unscathed.
But all I know is in this moment, I’m desperate for some faith.
That I moved to follow, move to be together
that I left my world behind in search of another
that I really do believe that the right choice was made
only to be deserted at this stage.

And even though its wrong, to wish ill on someone else, I hope he’s suffering in this moment in the way my heart is sinking.
I hope he’s crying too and realizing that his actions aren’t without their wrongs. And when my daughter wakes up in the morning and asks if we can see him again, I hope he’s hearing her words in his head knowing that I can understand, I can justify, I can comprehend why we’ve been denied.
But she only knows the man she loves and cares for, the man she looked up to and called daddy, must be hiding in a place so we can find.

How do I tell her that its not hide and seek, that he isn’t calling tonight, that we won’t be sharing dinner, or reading her bedtime stories together. That now its just her and I because the man we both loved is gone. How do I tell her that because she’s not his blood he doesn’t want her? That because she wasn’t born to him, he’ll never love her?

How do I look her in the eyes knowing full well that she wants to hear me say, “we are going to drive and see him, he’s coming home tonight, we need to get dinner ready and clean up because he’s coming home.” In her whole life, he’s the most she had for a father to love her and now he’s gone.

I can hold it together just long enough for her to say, “Mommy, I KNOW that today he’s coming home.” And then I sit here crying and feeling sorry for our life, feeling sad that I believed that finally we were blessed, that we’d be a family, and know how to be happy. Now I sit here crying because I know that all we’d believed in was a lie.

Unfortunate Reality

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I’ve had many a heated discussion about pedophilia and child sex rings in the US. A lot of people wrongly believe that child sex trafficking happens only in third world countries. The fact is, that the United States may be one of the worst places on earth for child sex abuse. It is a rampant problem. People from the low slums to the highest political positions engage in this horrendous practice. And very little is done. The most recent statistics suggest that the national average of 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys is sexually molested prior to age 16 is actually grossly under-reported and the closer statistic may actually represent 1 in 2 or less girls and 1 in 3 or less boys are sexually abused prior to age 16. I must say that of all the women I’ve spoken to about this topic, I only know ONE girl here in the US that has not suffered sexual abuse as a minor. Now, I obviously don’t ask every girl I know “hey, were you sexually abused as a child?” but its come up in enough conversations for me to feel confident in the under-reported statistics. This documentary covers an example of what children growing up in the US can expect to happen to a vast majority of them and with little to no justice. Here’s to freedom!

http://documentaryheaven.com/conspiracy-of-silence/

Do women have it better?

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I absolutely enjoy reading nepaliaustralian’s posts. This one especially. I don’t definitely agree that women get preferential treatment, but she gives some good examples of times when I do believe women probably are getting the better end of the stick.

nepaliaustralian

I am all for women’s rights and everything that goes with that. Then sometimes, things happen in my life, I wonder if that is true that women have it better. 

This morning I went to a service station because my car’s tyres needed some air. Normally I put the air myself as most service stations have a machine where you can enter the tire pressure and off you go. But this particular service station had an old style air pump which I didn’t know how to use. I parked the car and I was just looking at how to use the machine. I must have looked dumb and confused so out of nowhere this guy came and asked me if I needed help. I definitely did, so I said yes. He was kind enough to help me and fill air in all the four tyres.  I thanked him and drove…

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