[Many thanks to @J_M_A for this most excellent blog title]
5:45 AM Alarm goes off. Meant for it to go off at 6 — apparently the clock thought I needed an extra 15 minutes to get ready this morning. Perhaps needing to look extra nice for today’s CT scan? Perhaps it’s a warning?
6:45 AM Dressed, coffee’d and ready to face the day. It’s cold outside so I put on a warm jacket, picked up my purse and computer bag and headed out to the car with Dad. On the drive in we chat about incidental things, planning to meet back at his office at 4:30 to head to my great-aunt’s where I am to help her decide between an iPad and Macbook. All seems well.
7:15 AM On the way into work Dad realizes (because I tell him) that I have had coffee but no breakfast (who can eat at 6:30??). He suggests I go up to his suite and have breakfast with him. I’m mystified (is there a cafe up there?) only to discover he has yogurt, granola and tea. There is much yumminess and I feel happy despite the hour. Everything still seems well.
7:30 AM Go to use the restroom (or loo depending on where you are). Things start going badly. After being used, the ladies executive toilet refuses to flush properly. It’s not backed up, not overflowing (thank goodness) but stuff isn’t going down properly either. I flush about 10 times before the situation clears up. Now, Paul will tell you (with great amusement) that I have issues about using public toilets, partly for just this sort of reason. This helps confirm my grandmother’s teaching — which was that if at all possible, one should only go at home. Deep calming breaths. It turned out okay. Don’t freak.
7:35 AM Leave for the metro redline station across the street from my Dad’s office. Buy a ticket (machine works fine) take the stairs down down under the ground. Check the board and see that metro red line is delayed 10 minutes. No biggie, not worried about it. I’ve got plenty of time before CT appointment.
7:45 AM: Didn’t take the wrong train and get lost myself lost. Worse. I sat quietly in my seat, watching two young ‘uns arguing about a third who wasn’t there. The train reached Union Station and I got off, taking with me my jacket and computer bag. The train refilled with people and headed off as I headed up toward the bus stop. As I got toward the top, I realized my mistake, why the day was going to be crap. Have you noticed yet? Jacket, computer bag and…. and…. Right. Pardon me for shouting but I LEFT MY PURSE ON THE METRO. Oh my God. Breath, breath, OH MY GOD, breath, PANIC!
8:00 AM: Find MTA security guards and beg for help. They shrug off my “lost item” (It’s not an item — it’s MY PURSE — for UK people that means handbag + wallet). They tell me to call the MTA lost and found office. I can, apparently find the number online. Visions of them somehow calling the train evaporate. This is bad. Very bad. Ever so bad.
8:30 AM Take the shuttle (fortunately free) to the hospital. Connect to wifi and find the number of MTA lost and found. Listen to recording enough to hear that they aren’t open until 9. Begin calling credit cards. Realize I’ve lost the debit card to Paul’s account as well as my own. Oh God! Panic. Xanax is in my pill box in my purse. Panic hurts.
8:35 AM Send Paul a message to let him know what I’ve done. Want to be rescued. Call Chase (Paul’s bank). Try to make the computer that answers understand that I’ve lost my debit card and don’t know its number. Nor do I know the account number. Beg it to give me to a human being of any sort. Am repeatedly told to enter debit card number. Anger mixes in with panic.
8:45 AM Begin to rant at Chase computer and randomly push buttons on my phone. Computer becomes offended and hangs up on me. Call back. This time just keep hitting “0” until the system surrenders and gives me to a person. Person is helpful. Claim purse was “stolen” rather than “lost.” Card is cancelled. Embarrassment mixes with anger mixes with panic.
9:03 AM Call MTA lost and found. Again get recording which this time I listen to all the way through. Recorded message tells me their office hours (9-5, closed for lunch between 1 and 2), location and a warning that I must wait at least three working days after losing an article before coming in, in person, to ask them if they have it. No, there’s no way to call the office and check before you come. Thank you. Heart drops into stomach. Feel as lost as purse.
9:15 AM Realize I’m running out of power and go to bagel place that has outlets. Continue calling credit card companies with lie about stolen purse. Will not cry. Will not cry.
10:00 AM Go to radiology department to check in. Realize I don’t have my insurance card anymore. Tell the very nice receptionist about distress. He is horrified for me in the way only a very gay man can be, bless him. At the sympathy I start to cry. It’s stupid to be so upset. This is all my fault.
10:05 AM Sit and fill out generic hospital paperwork about allergies and past illnesses. Get to section on mental health and cop to mental illness. Section on drugs makes me realize that I don’t have my morning dose of mood stabilizer to take at the given time (it’s actually supposed to be taken at 1PM but is still deemed to be “morning”). Wonder how adding withdrawal to the mix is going to go. Starting to calm down. Maybe everything will be okay.
10:20 AM Nurse comes over and says my name. I look up to see her standing with two paper tumblers (they’re huge) full of what looks like punch. It’s apparently “contrast fluid.” I have to drink it all, wait a hour and then she’ll come back to put in my I.V. Suddenly realize I should have researched what a CT scan entails. Had thought it would be more like a sonogram. Look at the contrast with disfavor. Take a picture of the two cups for Twitter. Wonder what’s in this stuff? Will it kill me? Who cares?
10:30 AM The first sip wasn’t bad but the taste gets worse as I try and drink to the middle of the first cup. It’s like koolaid made with bad pool water. I try and use the straw so the contrast misses my tongue and make myself gag. Oh my god there’s a whole other cup of this stuff. Feel queasy.
10:45 AM Finish the second tumbler of contrast. Feel sick but determined not to throw up for fear of them giving me two more glasses of the stuff. Try and think of happy things but fail. Go back to calling credit card companies. Remember I have therapy this afternoon and feel glad. Getting messages from Paul who reminds me that I still have my phone, promises to meet me for lunch. Thankful he can see the bright side. Tries to join him. Fails.
11:30 AM Nurse comes to get me and pass me to the radiologist. He tells me I’ll change into gowns and then he’ll set up my IV. I ask what the IV is for. My mind blanks when he says “radioactive something”. He gives me forms and I sign my life away. He takes me to a little room to change and points to the locker where I’m to put all my belongings, including my iPhone which I’ve been holding like a lifeline. Wonder where my fear of the radiation is. Embracing the idea of going nuclear.
11:45 AM CT scan is fine, though I was made nervous by them pumping radioactive iodine through me, but have been assured it’s harmless despite it burning throughout my body (that’s normal). I’m out with nothing to show for it except a bandage from the IV prick and a slightly woozy feeling. The sun is shining. Maybe everything will be okay.
12:30 PM Return to bagel place. Search through computer bag for a stray dollar to buy a cup of tea to give me a reason for taking a table. Discover two pennies in the bottom of my computer bag. Shamelessly stay at table. Realize I no longer have a credit card I can use to charge my medications on today — call parents and ask them if they’ll charge them for me and I can pay them back in January. They’re sweet and agree. Paul promises to come and claim me for lunch. Feelng a bit better.
12:45 PM Lunch with Paul. Refuse his debit card as I don’t trust myself but let him give me $20. Realize I don’t have a wallet to put it in. Paul points out that I have pockets and that I’ve only lost things, nothing important. Comes up with way my having lost my purse could cure cancer. Am shallow enough to want my things and purse back anyway. Tell Paul I’m going to talk to my therapist about my forgetting and losing things when I’m stressed out, see if she can help me become more mindful. Get a sugar-free hazelnut latte at Starbucks and am comforted by the warm beverage. Feeling a big bit better.
1:45 PM arrive at therapist’s for 2:00 PM appointment. Discover therapist has had an emergency and can’t see me today. Am understanding — at least as far as anyone can see. Feel that I should count as an emergency today too.
2:00 PM Have returned to bagel cafe and decide to blog about today. Dad arranges to meet me at the hospital at 4:30 PM, collect me, pay for my meds and take me with him to have dinner with my great-aunt who wants my advice on buying an iPad (no I don’t have one, I’m bringing my mom’s). Consider that if I sit very still nothing else bad can happen to me. Begin to write this epic. Numb.
2:30 PM Realize I can now afford a tea as table rent and pick out an English Breakfast blend. As cashier rings me up I consider how I’m feeling and get a camomile and lemon. Realize the day still has 9.5 hours left in it. Gulp, afraid.
3:15 PM Have written 1200 words and am still writing about the morning. Wonder if anyone will read this post. Keep typing. Seeing the humor in it all but hoping, even for the sake of narrative that things turn around.
3:30 PM Discover that cozy bagal cafe with outlet and wifi is closing for the weekend. Am the last one to leave. Start to search for warmish place to spend the next hour until my dad comes. Find a waiting room near the pharmacy. Become aware I’m going through early withdrawal (head and jaw ache) from not having my dose of geodon (mood stablizer). Thankful my dad will be able to get me my medications.
4:40 PM Dad calls and I meet him outside the pharmacy building. We decide that I should wait in the car while he goes in to pay for the drugs (that way we don’t have to find parking). While he’s gone I idly wonder what the odds are the car will be ticketed for waiting in a loading zone while he’s in there. It isn’t. Am safe in the car and determine that the day is going to improve from here.
4:50 PM No ticket and Dad is back with drugs. He suggests I take missed meds (guess even he could tell I needed them). Head over to great aunt’s discussing where to pick up dinner on the way. While we’re talking, my phone rings. It’s my doctor who’s reviewed the CT scan and determined I have a hernia under the cyst and need surgery. Tell dad and together we consider whether it will be possible to do surgery before I head to Portland for Christmas. Try not to feel bitter. Wait in the car while Dad picks up El Pollo Loco. Unsurprised that news is the worst of the three posibilities, seems par for the course.
5:15 PM Ask Dad not to tell great aunt about lost purse. He seems surprised I’d think he might. To make me feel better Dad stops and buys an sugar free apple pie. I assure him the day is looking up. Sure pie makes everything better.
5:30 PM Arrive at great aunt’s and admire Christmas decorations. Chat a bit and then serve and eat dinner. Let Dad handle everything related to the stove with the thought that I might cause my sleeve or the house to catch fire. Feeling oddly better. Surgery news puts the lost purse out of my mind for now.
6:30 PM Demonstrate to great aunt how my Macbook works (not so different from her old iMac except for the touch pad) and then what my mom’s iPad does. iPad does some wonky re-size thing it’s never done before and it takes me 10 minutes to get it back to where it should be. Encourage great aunt to do stuff on both machines. Hit by a flood of despair that even Apple products aren’t working for me. Wonder if my iPhone is going to die too. 🙁
7:15 PM Dad asks great aunt whether she wants an iMac, a Macbook or an iPad. She mulls it over, looks at me and wonders if she needs any of them, wants me to come back and show her them again. I smile and say “of course.” Dad agrees to leave iPad with great aunt for a week so she can play with it. I can see her fear and wonder how much tech support even an iPad will require. Feel affection for her. Fear I can and do understand.
7:45 PM After some chit chat, great aunt begins to talk about her mother (my great grandmother – Lita) and how I was her first great grandchild. Reminds me that like Lita, I was born in July. Says she wants to do something tonight that she knows Lita would want and that she’s in heaven smiling at us all. What the hell? Mystified, embarrassed and excited.
7:50 PM After what felt like a drum roll, great aunt pulls a ring box from her pocket. She tells me it was Lita’s and that she would want me to have it. And that she wants me to have it too. Inside the box is a beautiful ruby ring. Oh. My. God.
[For sense of ring, see bad iPhone picture below. ]
7:51 PM Am overwhelmed, suddenly remembering my great grandmother and what a brave and amazing woman she was. Given what she did, what she experienced in her life, how could I think of today as a bad day? Stammer as I thank my great aunt and promise to wear the ring on my first day teaching as a Ph.D. Ashamed. I am so fortunate in so many ways.
8:10 PM We say goodbye, taking away the old (and broken) iMac, leaving behind the sexy iPad. I call Mom to tell her about the ring and share a picture of it on Twitter. Purse suddenly seems unimportant and I tell Dad that. He says he’s sure it will be turned in and I’ll get it back next week. I may be broke and unemployed but I have a beautiful ring that belonged to my beloved great grandmother. Find out from Mom and Dad that this ring was one of the first things my great aunt bought when she started working for the teamster’s union, using her first three months pay. A gift for her mother. Humbled, honored and deeply responsible to care for this ring. Must never ever ever ever lose it.
9:00 PM Arrive home to tell Paul about the ring (though he saw it on Twitter). He says it’s so big I’ll rarely wear it. I tell him I’ll wear it often. He suggests my finger will get removed by someone after the ring. I argue that it won’t because no one could imagine this ring is real. Am slightly giddy.
9:15 PM Sort though medications only to discover that my anti-anxiety drug, buspar was apparently low and that they owe me 87 of 90 pills (they left a note). Refuse to allow that this is in anyway a bad thing. Paul promises to pick up the rest on Monday. Determined not to have the day end badly. I am fortunate damn it!
9:30 PM Make cup of peppermint tea and settle down to finish writing about the day. Everything is going to be okay.
11:00 PM Finished writing indulgent and extremely long blog post. Wonder if this can count for 3 days of Advent blogging. Bed. Bed is safe and cozy. Bed. Tomorrow is another day.
Advent bloggers so far (they made today better):
padme & Anakin – Journey to the Darkside
Marie – Life, Lemons & Spanking
EmmaEnchanted – This Kinky Life
Quai – Spanking Discussion
Poppy St. Vincent – Poppy’s Submissions
Sharon – The Evolution of a Pin-Up Model
Tiger – Innermost Me
You can join anytime — think of it as getting your calendar a bit late so opening a couple days all at once. This is fun, not a holiday stress!