dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Hummingbird Haven

Yesterday the dietician made a plan for me.  I was so tired and weak after a week of diarrhea and fasting for a blood draw.  They took 11 vials.  Maybe she thought I couldn't make my own plan.

But really I need to decide what I want.  It's my body, my life, my health, my time.

I wanted to do it this morning.  But I've been busy doing a hundred things.  Got stressed about Ming's de-escalation training that's happening Saturday.

I need to relax, take it easy, not take on other people's problems.  But it is a radical mental health collective event too. 

I wish I could be there, but there's no way I have the stamina for a three hour event considering there's also driving time, set up, tear down.

Well people and sick people.  Sometimes I feel the well will never understand me.  She's sitting there telling me I will get more energy from exercising. 

I've been me for 42 years.  And exercise has never given me energy.  It's always taken it away. 

Does she think I have no experience with exercise?  I told her I went for a walk almost every day for 15 years.  Her textbook cliche doesn't match my experience.  She didn't ask my experience.

Lies.  Like the dentist telling me if I kept flossing, my gums would get tough and it wouldn't hurt so much.  I flossed two weeks, believing him, crying.

I am so tired, I have to budget to take a shower.  I am so tired, I can do one thing a day.  I am so tired.

Unrelatedly, I got some lemongrass tea that's so good.

This is my friend's herb shop.


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

content warning: poop

Sucks when you can't eat food.  My friend brought me some vegan potato soup she made for me, yesterday.  I really wanted to eat it.  But I was too sick last night and went to bed at 6. 

Up sick around midnight, I had part of a banana and some reduced sugar orange gatorade.  I asked Ming to buy me sugar free, but he couldn't find it at the two stores he looked.  I ordered some electrolytes mix so we can make our own, without sugar.  But I hope this will be over soon.

Doctors, heartless.  Monday the new GI doc said my diarrhea for a week was no big deal.  She doesn't care it's making me miserable.  She only cares about the ulcer, I guess.

Well, I feel strong this morning, in contrast to other mornings.  I'm weak physically, but I'm glad to have my life. 

Fasting for more labs.  My arms are pretty again, the hospital bruises healed, but I guess I'll take another.

Yesterday we survived the stool sample ordeal.  Ming helped me like crazy.  They wanted the poop in five different containers, two different ways, two of them frozen.  Instead he drove it all to the lab right away.

Weird what you can get used to.  Our elder friend from Colombia talks to himself all the time in Spanish and does this weird growling thing.  Maybe it comforts him.  You learn to tune it out, or just think it's fine.

Well, the sun came up over Freedom House again.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

waiting room vision

Yesterday in the waiting room of the GI doc, I was just sitting there.  Well, first I filled out my new patient paperwork.  It was so loud in there with people talking, I could barely concentrate enough to answer the questions.

I'm getting really annoyed being around people lately.  I have little tolerance for asinine conversations about movies, girl scout cookies, ice machine mold, Hobbit homes.

Well, I did hear an interesting story yesterday.  This lady went to the ER and barfed on her paperwork during triage, so they put her in a room by herself (not the regular waiting room) and told her to wait there.  Then they threw away her barfed on paperwork and forgot about her.  So she waited for hours and then went home. 

I wonder how true that story is.  It was always my fear in the hospital that they would lose me.

Back to my story.  I filled out all that paperwork, and then I was just sitting there.  Most people were on their phones.  I just sat and closed my eyes, breathed, and enjoyed breathing.  Enjoyed life, being alive. 

I realized it was like meditation.  Who knows what I'll be doing in a hour.  But here I am now, breathing.  What a pleasure, to breathe.

When I decide to meditate and sit on a cushion and set a timer for 20 minutes, it become tedious or scary for me, a big deal.  Like there are expectations.  Sometimes--well, sometimes it's ok.

I used to meditate in the Rice Room.  It felt good, something to do for myself, for my well-being.  I had a little digital timer I liked.  I would bring my birthday amethyst as well.

Maybe I should do that again.  I think it's okay to have phases.  Do that for a few weeks and then not.  It's okay to change.

Well, in the waiting room, after I was enjoying being alive and breathing, I tried to pray.  I always think I need to be in a peaceful mindset to pray and a quiet place.  I started talking to God in the way I do.

Then I had a vision.  It wasn't really intense and vivid, more like a daydream maybe, but it came unbidden. 

It was of a lady, kind of floating there, and she put her hand on my heart, comforting me.  I think it was Mother Mary, but she looked white.  I thought Jesus was Black, so Mother Mary would be too?

I guess my imagination is inaccurate.  Or else it wasn't Mother Mary but was some other comforting lady.  Well, I liked it.  I just enjoyed that for a while.

Afterward I told Ming about it.  He's cooking up some veg sausage for my breakfast.  I survived another night.

Monday, February 25, 2019

things I've accomplished since getting out of the hospital

-arm and hand bruises healed
-iv places healed
-healed blood
-recovered from a long cold
-healing ulcer
-managing Las Vegas Radical Mental Health Collective stuff
-blogging almost every day
-wrote text of new hospital zine
-assembled text of new poetry zine
-new apple tasting zine originals are done
-maintained calendar, to do list
-doctors appointments

"Honey, I think I'm having a problem.  An old person problem.  I'm having trouble remembering what med does what thing.  Like this one, the label says 'diarrhea' on it.  So I know which one it is...  There are too many!  How am I supposed to keep track of them?!  It doesn't help that everything has two names!  Like characters in a Russian novel!"


"No, in a Russian novel, everyone has three names."


"Did you ever read a Russian novel?"


"Oh, which one?  War and Peace?"


"Brothers Karamozov?"


"Crime and Punishment?"


"Anna Karenina?"


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Portrait Pain Scale

This, on facebook, made me laugh and cry.  It's by Patrice Pounders Smith.  Here's my commentary!

yesterday at urgentcare, Ming and I were waiting a long time in the exam room and were looking at the pain scale on the wall. I told him I was at a 6 but wasn't in pain at all. my face was like the 6 face. "where's the emotional pain scale?" I asked. well, I'm at a Whistler this morning.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Ballad of Larry Bird

me: Hey, one time, back when Netflix was young, back when you got the movies in the mail--do you remember that?

Ming: Yeah.

me: My dad asked me if there was any movie I wanted to see, and so he got it for me from Netflix, and he put it on a VHS tape.  I didn't have a dvd player yet.

Ming: Okay.

me: And then after that, he got recommendations for gay movies, because the movie I wanted to see was gay.  He complained to me.

[Ming and I laugh.  Dad was a straight shooter.]

me: There was a movie he wanted me to see--it meant something to him, and he wanted to share it with me.  But I never watched it.

Ming: What was it?

me: Big Fish.  Have you ever seen it?

Ming: No.

me: Maybe we should see it.

Friday, February 22, 2019

still alive

My friend gave me flowers in the hospital.  This one is still alive.  Ming took this pretty picture.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Addressing Medicine’s Bias Against Patients Who Are Overweight

Yesterday my new endocrinologist did the exact thing this article says not to.  I want to print the article for her and highlight just that part in yellow highlighter.

There are lots of reasons for being fat.  Calories in, movement, metabolism, stress hormones, genetics.  Eleven years of being on a bipolar cocktail of powerful psych meds?  Poverty, living in a food desert?  Disability.  The people who are working two jobs and raising kids and don't have time to cook.  Capitalism.

She reminded me of a psychiatrist I had a long time ago.  "You can't gain weight if you don't eat too much, right?"  He's prescribing seroquel to unsuspecting mental patients who gain a hundred pounds then think they're bad and cry in group, hating themselves.  Talk about blaming the victim.

"Hello, I'm Dr Richness.  You're terribly vulnerable and powerless.  I'm all-knowing and omnipotent.  My science is bullshit and I don't know what I'm doing.  There are no tests for the multiple maladies I diagnose you with.  All I can offer you is pills, and the pills will harm you.  Then I'll blame you for being harmed.  Give me two hundred dollars.  Gotta go--the drug reps are here with lunch."

I'm feeling mad writing this.  Maybe I should stop.  But I wanted to tell you. 

I'm listening to the endocrinologist.  I can tell Ming is getting upset.  I'm just listening, thinking my thoughts, thinking "diets don't work" and feeling shocked when she suddenly suggests gastric bypass surgery.

"No, I'm not going to do that," I said.  Thinking of my relatives who had the surgery, my aunt who gave me black garbage bags full of her old clothes, when she lost 150 pounds.

The endocrinologist's telling me things that contradict everything I believe.  I always thought it was "better" to be fat and exercise than to be thin and sedentary.  She's telling me to get thin at any cost--nothing else matters.

I'm thinking how for 15 years I went for a walk almost every day, how it helped my anxiety and voices and moods and eased my back pain.  And yoga, and dancing in the living room.  Then I lost all my energy.

That couldn't have been all body positivity propaganda, could it have been?  No, I knew it myself, that exercise helped me.  I thought it was keeping me alive.

So I'm feeling confused on top of my confusion.  I pretty much know I need a new endocrinologist.  But how will I find one who listens to me and will hear what I need and what I choose?

She was lying to me when she said I'm fat simply because I eat too much.  We know there are lots of reasons. She doesn't know me, my past, my trauma.  Does she lie to all her patients, or does she think Ming and are simple-minded in particular?

Cried in the minivan, cried at home--I've seen so many people torture themselves.  I've mostly avoided it. 

I wouldn't mind being lighter.  It would be an easier life, to fit in all the chairs and not need a seatbelt extender and not have people think I'm lazy and stupid just by looking at me. 

It's just I don't want to do that to myself, the weight loss roller coaster.  I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  Wouldn't wish it on a dog.

My appetite is different, and my diet is limited by a handful of problems.  My stomach ulcer bled so bad I became anemic to the point of not functioning.  (In our hotel room in Arizona, I couldn't get from the bed to the bathroom in one trip.  I had to stop and rest in the chair by the mirror.)

"Oh, you lost weight," the nurse cooed at my annual wellness appointment.

"Yeah, I was in the hospital," I said, and she apologized, hadn't read my chart.


space dress

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

real snow

We went to a Japanese food place.  I wanted pumpkin soup, tempura vegetables, something different.

I was looking out the window and realized the rain wasn't rain anymore.  It was white and floaty.  I could see it in the streetlamp light.

"Holy crap!  It's snowing!" I told Ming.  He went out to look.

The flakes got bigger as the time passed.  I would see them move, thick and wild, being pushed around quickly in the wind.  Huge billows of them.  Blizzardy.

"It's like a blizzard!" I said.  Couldn't believe the other eaters weren't amazed as I was.  They were too cool!  I was mystified. 

In Las Vegas I only saw the briefest of snow, a few years ago.  Just a minute of it, small flakes of snow that were barely snow.  Technical snow.

Well, the pumpkin soup was very delicious.  It tasted like pumpkin.  The veg, I realized I'm not supposed to have fried stuff right now, very much, so I had half, most enjoying the tempura sweet potato.  The avocado roll, I realized nori sheets are kind of like raw veg, roughage, so I only had a little.  The inari was heavenly.  Ordered a second order.

Driving home, across town, I remembered a poem I wrote when I lived in Bishop, living in the snow for the first time.  There were the lines "the snowfall hypnotizes me / like a screensaver." 

Well, if any kids are reading, maybe you don't know what a screensaver is.  I guess they hypnotized me.

I told Ming the story of a student I had my first ever class, first time I ever taught, 1998, at UC Irvine.  I was 22 and they were 18.  I didn't have the boundaries figured out yet.

As we went north, homeward, the snow turned into rain.  I was txting with my friend who is a teacher still, my age.

Maybe the heater in the bedroom has done its job.  I can't stay awake anymore.  Gnight.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Well, It's a Job

My friend who is a poet and zinester, she made a new zine and is taking donations for it for a good cause, Immigrant Families Together.


She's great at small poems, regular-length poems, found poems, teeny tiny zines, collage, interviews, staying creative.  She also teaches and cooks and is a very nice friend up near Seattle.

Please consider supporting her project.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Mt Tom

A tv was playing an asinine morning show thing where the hosts were being compared to presidents.  Lots of laughter about stuff that wasn't really funny.  At the waiting room of my doctor.

I told Ming I would rather watch that mountain than the tv.  There was a brown mountain outside. 

"The mountain tells me better things," I told Ming.  "It says, I'm strong.  You can rely on me.  I'll be around for a while.  I'm good when the sun shines on me, when there's a cloud above me, when there's moonlight and starshine.  I'm always good."

Ming was telling me how he climbed that mountain twice.  I guess it was Frenchman Mountain.  I heard a rumor there are trilobites up there.  He said it's slippery.

Then I was telling him about a mountain I had, Mt Tom near Bishop on the Eastern Sierras.  I looked at it every day, and every day it looked different.  I thought that was pretty wild.  And when I drove to Mammoth I could see it from another view as the road curved around.

I told him people saw lights on the mountain and some believe aliens liked Mt Tom especially.

I pulled out my phone and showed him pictures of Mt Tom, and he liked them.  Mt Tom is a five star mountain, based on five google reviews, which made me laugh.

Then the CNA opened the door and called my name and took us back to weigh me and make me read an eye chart, covering each eye, standing behind a certain line.  Still 20/20.


lotion fear secret

me: Hey, can I tell you a secret?

Ming: Yes.

me: My secret is...I'm afraid of lotion.  I'm afraid there's something in it that shouldn't be.  I'm afraid it's going to hurt my skin.  Like look at my arm, it's all dry and weird.  But I'm afraid, what if I scratched it and there's a little owie and then I put on lotion and it goes into my blood and hurts me.  So then I think, there's gotta be better lotion.  There's gotta be some kind of lotion I can trust.  But really, I don't think any lotion could be good enough!  Maybe aloe vera gel, straight from the plant.  But even then!  What if I didn't wash it good enough?  It's just impossible.  What do you think of this?  What's wrong with me?

Ming:  There's nothing wrong with you.  You're perfectly right.

me:  Says the man with ocd.  Well, when we moved into this house, and there was a thing of lotion on the desk, and I was like, no way is that lotion good enough to use!  Throw that stuff away!

Ming: I love you.

me: Oh, and I knew someone who actually got sick from bad lotion.  It was old lotion and she got some kind of infection from it.

Ming: Me too.

Sunday, February 17, 2019


1.  delegate
2.  take time out
3.  retreat
4.  self-care
5.  say no
6.  smile
7.  breathe
8.  ask for help
9.  plan ahead
10.  let go

Saturday, February 16, 2019

strawberry flower

advice I gave myself:
You're still getting better.  Be gentle with yourself.  Give yourself the maximum slack.  You need a lot of rest.  Don't expect too much.  It's ok to be sad for a while.

I was crying in the minivan about writing and money and families.  Success.  What people say to me, in real life rarely, and in my head often.  Church, skills, contributing.  Expectations.  Poverty, what people can afford, volunteering.  Where I belong and don't belong.

Then it was time to hear R play guitar.  It was raining.  It was cold.  I was sitting on a metal folding chair, letting my soul be soothed by the music.

Then we left, and I was crying more, but not with wordy reasons, just a deep sad in my body.  Wanting comfort.  Having painful memories.  Feeling that intimacy fails.

Then we got home and I cried in bed, more of the same.

Ming sliced mushrooms and chopped spinach in the food processor, and I cooked it up.  Wow, it's great.  I've been craving both.  I ate some veg sausage too, and there's rice. 

Then we're watching our friend's granddaughter while he and R visit someone in jail.  Ming's going to make us tea, and I will rest on the couch.

Life can be hard, but there's a good reward: life.  Like fruit is its own reward.  I realized one of my favorite flowers is the strawberry flower.

Friday, February 15, 2019


I wanted to go to a spaghetti dinner and dance tonight at Transcending the Gender Box.  But I can't eat spaghetti sauce right now and don't have much pep. 

Need to get up at 5:30 tomorrow morning and serve at the soupline, my first time serving the hungry since the hospitalization.  Ming's going to carry a chair out to the field.

Then I will also attend Saturday meeting.  It's been a while.  I could have gone last week, but I didn't want to bring my germs to the table.

I had this laptop I wasn't using.  I bought it to have a windows machine when I wanted to be an oral historian.  Then I found out transcribing interviews takes too many hours and doesn't agree with my pinched nerve, and Dragon voice transcription software doesn't work for me.

So the equipment was gathering dust.  Found out my good friend did some interviews, and next thing I knew, Ming was packaging up the technology to send to her.  But we forgot the charging cord.  But Ming sent it today.

My aunt sent me a get well present: pretty journal, nice pens, paper, envelopes, get well card.  How perfect.  I sent her a thank you note already.

Thursday, February 14, 2019


My journal was having a problem.  The loops of the binding were getting bent outta shape and would no longer allow pages to turn.  I was frustrated.

So Ming said he could fix it and removed the offending loops, fixing it.  Cute, kind, smart, loyal, and handy on top of all of that.  What did I do to deserve this darling Valentine.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

sunrise yesterday, dress superstition, year of the pig

"I'm afraid to wear the dress I was wearing when I got sick," I told Ming.

"Why?" he asked.

"Superstition," I said.  "Afraid I'll get sick again."

"Maybe the dress saved your life," he said.

The dress fits differently now.  Yesterday at the doctor, the scale told me I lost 23 pounds. 

I had feelings about it.  Doctors are like, you lost weight, very good.  No matter you almost died.  No matter you lost weight because you were in the hospital unable to eat for five days.

Last time I lost weight, years ago with a med change, I wore a belt to keep my pants up.  They were falling off me, and I had applied for social security, had no money for new clothes.

Then I gained all that weight back, and then some.  I don't want to be happy I lost weight in this horrible way, and if I look at my past, I know it will be back soon.

Ming's relative is really interested in my fatness in a way that drives me nuts, and I was on facebook this morning--I belong to a group called Fat Girls Traveling.  The women give each other tips for flying while fat and good places to visit. 

A lady was talking about how in China people would come up to her and ask her why she was so fat and ask her what she ate, nudge their friend and point and laugh, make rude gestures.  There were 80 comments on the thread, mostly by others who had experienced the same. 

Then you could see it go into racism and generalizations vs cultural observations.  Comments had been turned off. 

Someone gave a list of things to say back in Chinese like, Why are you talking to me?  Someone else said to reply, Why are you ugly?  Why are you poor?

Also there's a saying, Fat is fortune. 

It's to the point where I don't want to see Ming's relative anymore, stressed to begin with, but extra stressed knowing she's scrutinizing my body and complaining about it to Ming later. 

"Do you think it has to do with her being Chinese-American?" I asked Ming.  "Or is it just her?"

He starting talking sociologically.  The why doesn't really matter.  I'm a bad in-law.  I'm supposed to be getting closer to them but am going the other way.

I love myself unconditionally, now more than ever.  Those nights in the hospital by myself, that night after the procedure when the bad drugs were still leaving my body, and I was lying there shaky, hearing my mouth say things I didn't ask it to, having weird too-vivid dreams bits and waking up, back and forth--couldn't sleep but couldn't wake.

That shit's for real.  Hours of that, lying on my left side in the half-dark as machines beeped.  The roving phlebotomist came to take my blood at midnight, but I wasn't asleep.  I cuddled myself to myself.

My body--it's ok.  We went through that together.  We can be fat.  My body's gotta do what it's gotta do.  I'll be there for her.  No doctor can convince me that I'm bad.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tortilla the gay duck

For some reason, in the hospital we were talking about Tortilla.  He was a duck we got from our neighbor, a white duck, white as a tortilla.  I think he liked eating snails?

Unfortunately, he pooped a lot.  My dad was mad he pooped all over the ping pong table, ruining it.

I was heartbroken when one day, Tortilla was gone.  I cried and cried.

I thought Tortilla went to a park.  But in the hospital, Mom told the rest of the story.

Someone wanted to breed ducks, so my parents gave them Tortilla, but he was gay.  He would not help make baby ducks.

So then he was taken to a park and released as if worthless.  Waller Park, I think.

We also had a brown hen named Judy.  She gave us eggs.  We fed her chicken feed.  She was a sweet chicken.  And one day she was gone too.

I remember that backyard, planting a peach pit and wishing it would grow into a tree.  The blackbirds in the bamboo forest that grew up against the fence.  When a piece of bamboo would fall into our yard and we would play with it.  Slip-n-slide, party pinatas, all that.

Monday, February 11, 2019


We ate the perfect avocado.  I love it when that happens.  The joy of life. 

I sat in the sun for a few minutes.  It was divine.  I took a selfie.  I look sick, I think.  But I'll get better.

Sometimes I'm coughing like crazy.  I dread the night.  I told Ming, I hate the night, the ordeal of sleep.  I wish there was only day.

I told my friend I feel like a little shut-in.  I said she should skype with me, and we laughed because she lives only a mile and a half away.  I was having a coughing fit, and she was looking at me from across the room, sorry.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger here again. Our hero is resting up from her recent hospitalization. You know how you enter a hospital real sick and exit it feeling better but not well. She is working on feeling well.

She has been writing a lot of letters.

I am now cooking the majority of the meals and doing the usual cleanup. In kind turn, she created text for me for the deesclation training.
I am super excited that the De-escalation training that has been in the works and planning is finally coming to fruition and is happening March 2nd at 10am to 1pm .
She and a couple of friends have solidified this project of mine, gratefully.
The Las Vegas location is set and ready.

Last night's LVRMHC meeting that was also a Get Off Your Chest open mic was a success. People also had feedback that the Craig Lewis talk of the LVRMHC was informative and successful.

Saturday, February 09, 2019


human touch
pet touch
drink--hot tea
tactile pleasure like a special blanket
something to look forward to
sleep / rest
feeling of accomplishment
feeling of progress

Friday, February 08, 2019

my problem

Yesterday we went to a meeting clear on the other side of town, and I couldn't stay awake as Ming drove us on the freeway.  But then I was awake telling him this:

What I went through with my health felt like the stuff people get tattoos about.  Needing to mark what happened.  Needing to acknowledge, this was a big deal.  I'm changed, I'm a new person.

I txted my niece that when I was discharged, I thought they would cut off my hospital bracelet with a golden scissors and confetti would fall from the sky.

In reality, they just had me sign a form and gave me a bunch of paperwork about GI bleeds etc. 

At home, I was in bed and asked Ming to cut off the bracelet for me.  Wanted to smash it, kill it, burn it.  But it was plastic, and I think he just threw it away.

I would like to do some kind of ritual.  Oh, but I was telling Ming, some people go the other way (anti-tattoo) and just try to forget it, drink a lot of alcohol or do whatever drugs to numb it and pretend that it never happened.

I'm eating a banana and Ming is out at an appointment.  In the hospital they told me I was potassium deficient.  They had me swallow four big white potassium pills in a row.

The nurse warned me, they taste really bad. 

I was like, who cares.  If swallowing disgusting-tasting pills is my problem, I'll take it.

Thursday, February 07, 2019


Yesterday I was sitting here on the bed.  I had accomplished taking a shower and was proud of myself.  I've always hated that shower because it's small.  But I learned that the smallness was actually useful when I needed a rest and leaned against its walls for a while.

Also I was telling myself nice things, like that I was doing good and almost done.  There's a lot to balance.  Energy level, weakness, dizziness, what's going on with my hemoglobin and how oxygen moves, what's going on with my lungs and what happens with oxygen there.  My swollen feet.  How tangled my hair is after not washing it for a week.  Not having any heat in our house, just space heaters.  Slipperiness of floors.

Anyway, did the shower.  Smelled like shampoo and hair still damp, half-naked.  Then I got a txt.  My friend was a little early. 

So I put on my dress, a new yellow dress, and it was windy.  I wanted to wear these leggings underneath, but it would have taken a while to get them on, so I didn't.  But then I was feeling like the world could see my chonies when a gust of wind came, that moment we passed through the courtyard to Freedom House.  My legs felt really bare and soft, and the wind seemed to be finding my vulnerable places.

The little boy had made me a card.  It was red construction paper and said GET WELL on the front in weird huge print of a four year old.  Inside there were stickers clustered together.  And an H for his name.

I thanked him and almost cried and said it was beautiful.  I had never been the sick one who a kid brings a card to.  His pride at having done a good deed, my awkwardness, the ways we try to love each other. 

Wondering what the mom said, remembering when I was little and a grandparent was in the hospital and how scary that felt to me, the vagueness and is he going to die this time and needing to be gentle when he comes home.  Sensing the grandparent was different now but not really knowing what to do.

So we watched them eat their lunchables, fruits, and cheetos. We were offered crackers and refused.  I ate half an avocado that was on the table and some banana.  The space heater was on but didn't seem to be doing anything.

They had brought groceries based on a list I wrote but didn't let us pay them back, a gift, and I was moved by that too.

Later yesterday afternoon for a treat Ming and I went out to buy some tater tots at sonic, but I was really dizzy and got scared and was crying.  I was trying to figure out what was wrong to make me so dizzy.  I was trying to tell myself the only real problem would be if the ulcer was bleeding again, and it probably wasn't that, so I probably was fine.  But the weird dizzy sleepy feeling was scaring me like I was going to pass out. 

So the outing wasn't fun.  Ming was struggling with the ap to order the food, and I was panicking, squirmy, trying to comfort myself by looking at clouds, hearing the energetic sonic top 40 music.

Ming wanted to take my pulse to see if it was really high again.  I was like, if it's really high again, what will we do?  Are we going to the hospital?  No way am I doing that, so what's the point of taking my pulse.

The dizziness lasted 45 minutes or so and then I was fine.  Well, progress.

When we came home from the hospital, I would be sleeping in my bed at night and wake up not knowing where I was--where am I, where's the bathroom.  But last night was the first night I would wake up knowing I was home.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

what being in the hospital for five days taught me

Every day, things change.  Yesterday morning Mom and I were crying on the phone together with my discouragement.  Then by evening I was sitting at my desk, messing around on my computer like before, like the medical ordeal didn't happen.

That felt weird, because the whole thing was so informative and amazing, mostly bad but a little good.  I don't want to make like it didn't happen--I want to carry my lessons and be who I am now.

I used to say, "I quit smoking--I can do anything," but now I feel like spending five days in a hospital, getting blood transfusions, seeing God in drug visions, feeling support from all sides, seeing how deep I could love myself and be there for me and trust myself, doing things I never thought I could do?  I understand a lot now that I had no clue about before.

Also I see who loves me.  Today a new friend came over to clean my kitchen and bathroom and hang a new curtain.  I told her no and she insisted.  Mom visited from California to sit by my side for days, and her sister and brother-in-law drove her all the way here.  Countless prayers, visit gifts, patience.  Ming's endlessness.  So many good nurses who held my life in their hands and who I will never see again or properly thank.  I don't even know their names.

Mostly I learned about pain, that there are all kinds of it.  Terror-pain, growth-pain like trying to do the difficult hurting thing so you can get strong again, torture-pain so repetitive and stupid, like when they could no longer find a vein so poked a finger and milked my blood into a test tube--not again.  Not that it hurt that bad but the medivalness.  The pain of empathy when your roommate is at a 9 begging for pain meds or losing her mind and asking for haldol.  Boredom-pain when they park you in the loneliness bay and ignore you shamelessly for an hour as you await a procedure, alone with your fear.  Pain of fighting for your life in a drug jungle, pain of struggling for consciousness, pain of the wrong voices.  Injustice-pain when the roommate is still covered in vomit.

I also learned how "it's temporary" can help with most of it and other sweet self-talk so that what happens is welcomed, met plainly rather than constantly struggled against and judged in a way that turns everything into twice the work.

I learned how hospital is like school where the whole thing exists to help students learn and improve, but in reality it's the students who are abused and at the very bottom, fighting for their lives as well-paid administrators strut the halls and rule.  All the money.

I learned about seeming vs actuality, the results of certain performances.  How everyone is playing a role and things are so defined and rigid.

I learned that it's just as dystopian and creepy as I imagined.

I learned to write histrionic blogposts in the middle of the night to comfort myself.

I learned they would give me sedatives rather than solve a problem.

I already knew but re-learned how a doctor sees you through the lens of his specialty, and if you say something about seeing weird visuals to a GI doc, he will just think you're crazy, or it's irrelevant that you may be having this not-understood experience, even though it might kill you.  They desperately need to see you through the lens of their specialty rather than see you as a whole person made of connected systems that work all together.  He will get frantic to pretend just that certain part of you can be treated in isolation and that'll work!  Ha!

I learned they will release you totally unprepared, the instructions he promised are not in the discharge packet, and the one prescription that was supposed to be printed isn't in there.

I learned that sharing a bathroom with someone who's in ICU for a bacterial infection is chilling, how dirty the baseboards could be, blue mop just swirling the germs in a circle.

I learned to wait for the fatness jab, that the conversation would be going well, and then he'd have to insert that insult that this is all my fault.

I learned things about gender and ethnicity that are hard to explain.

I learned how problems make problems.

They'll give you wipies in ICU but not on the fourth floor. 

I already knew but repeatedly experienced how a lot of medicine is hurting someone in the short term in hopes of helping them in the long term.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019


They released me very anemic and I can't do much but lie in bed listening to the windchimes.

Monday, February 04, 2019

midnight phlebotomist witchbird, hospital lies, medical monster fail, old horses

I was at a late party on a patio table lying on my back.  A witch or bird was holding down my left arm, pecking deep at my arm.

I was trying to understand why I was letting her do it, sharp beak pecking me, and I didn't know where I was or who I was.  It was night, and there was a loud whooshing sound so I couldn't hear and pillows stuffed around my head, blocking my ears.

I thought I would let her do this to me because maybe it was the last time.  Midnight she'd hurt me like this but then I would get to go free in the morning.

Then I realized she was sticking metal in me to get blood.  She said the word and the metal pierced me.  I was giving her advice in my mind based on the previous 25 times others had done this to me.

She moved the metal again and again in me.  I wondered how to tell her I needed to pee, tilted my head to move pillow from ear. 

I was still in the hospital: Laura-Marie.  She undid the rubber strap from tight around my arm.

"Did you get it?" I asked.

"No, baby girl. You're a hard stick."  She could see all the purples and was at a new spot wrapping it with rubber and poking her sharp finger into another's bruise. 

The last one I remembered had whispered, "I'm sorry," like a prayer as she went for a deep one, but it was okay because I trusted her and she got it.

This one poked the back of my left hand.  Many others had had luck there and I felt a hope. 

When the metal slipped in, I tried not to move my shoulders or make a sound each time she moved it.  I wondered if it was working because if it was working, it was fine.

But that was another fail.  She unsnapped the rubber and turned my arm over to poke at the inside of my left wrist. I knew a good vien there and tried to tell her the spot but didn't know how to explain.

She found it and some blood pumped out into the tube.  She got what she needed and pushed a cotton ball to the spot then taped it against me with a blessing and quick turning away.

"Let me lower your bed," she told me so I could struggle off it and shuffle to the bathroom.

They wanted me to poop so they could see if my poop was still blood.  "How are you supposed to poop if you can't eat?" Mom asked.  The tiny particles of carrot I swallowed from the bottom of each broth bowl were not enough to make poop form. 

Nurses made me swallow two laxatives.  Then another hard red pill.  My release was contingent on a measure of hemoglobin, not pooping, and the three GI doctors had told me they would come back, but it was superbowl sunday.

Hospital life there are a lot of lies.  The lady in the next bed had her womb removed yesterday, and the pain medication they gave her made her vomit at least ten times.  She'd pushed the button to ask for a clean gown and sheet, but they were ignoring her.  I was getting mad because they said her spouse and Ming had to leave even though we all consented.

If this poor scared barfing hurting lady had to spend the night alone because of their cruel policy, the least they could do was not make her lie in her own vomit for an hour because they were too lazy to bring her a fresh sheet and gown.

When Ming went to the nurses's station to re-ask about linens an hour later, they were talking and laughing.

I told Ming the charge nurse shouldn't be getting rich enforcing inhumane policies.  I imagined telling him he should be ashamed of himself and cursing him to be as poor as the rest of us.

If I yelled at the guy long enough, half-naked in the hallway, would they transfer me to the psych ward?  I'd have a hold on me then.  Ming said we could take out the iv and just go.  I said I couldn't run faster than them.

I told Ming I was a monster and showed him my arms.  "You're not supposed to have this stuff," I told him about the itching tape holding down the iv places and all the royal splotches of color on my skin, the tape getting fuzzy gray on the edges and curling up.

This is a fail.  I think I will escape tomorrow with my life.  I'm sorry to everyone I dragged into it.  A learning experience, but I always used to say I'd rather just die than go to the hospital.

"Why do you laugh when you say that?" Mom asked.  I remember Dad saying, just take me out into a field and shoot me.  I'm the old horse too.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

garlic bread

Been craving chicken, delicious fake chicken.  Told Ming I want three huge servings of spicy fake fried chicken.

And garlic bread, so buttery with little green flakes of dried oregano and a crispy edge of toastedness, getting butter on my fingers when I pick it up, five pieces.

Oh wouldn't it feel good to eat food again.  When I can't eat food, I enjoy the broth and juice.  When the ultrasound tech told me "don't breathe" I tried to be good for him, a wonderful not-breathing person.

I was proud of myself I could take the iv stand and wheel it myself to the bathroom in the night.  Someone had left a yellow plastic caution sign by the door.  "There's a yellow thing," I said.

"Men at work in the bathroom," Ming said.

"Don't fuck with me," I said with a flash of confusion, hurting his smile.

They moved me to a new room last night, so spacious and quiet I feel like a spoiled hotel guest.  The roses R brought are with the yellow flowers N brought which surprised me with the friend hospital visitor performance done perfectly, N's hesitation to enter the room and meet Mom.  We sat there comforting each other.

I told him how a machine beeps, and in another room a machine beeps like a bird saying hi to a bird in another room.

Ming's gone to see if the cafeteria's open, and one day I'll eat food again too.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

spinach broth

You know I haven't had any solid food since Tuesday.  "You call that eating?" Mom said when I told her about my delicious meals of veggie broth and juice. 

Something about jello.  I told her it isn't vegetarian.  She was kind of, eat the damn jello.

"I thought about it," I said thoughtfully, imagining thinking.

"There's a secret surprise," I said.  "When you get to the end of the bowl of veggie broth, there are some little tiny carrot bits."

Veggie broth fantasies.  An array, from carrot broth to spinach broth--how delicious.  For some reason Ming's suggestion of cauliflower broth made me laugh.  What's the funniest broth?

In real life I have suggested he buy me mushroom broth.  I also want grape juice, white and purple.

Last night when I was sleeping, the bad drugs were still in me, messing up my dreams.  Vivid visions and the wrong voices.  I was talking sometimes, but it wasn't me.

Friday, February 01, 2019

hospital life

I'm flashing a lot of unexpecting visitors.  My right breast is getting a lot of exposure.  I asked Ming am I bad at gowns, is everyone bad at gowns, did they give me too big a gown, too small a gown.

I was in the jungle with the jaguar.  I forgot to tell people the jaguar was god.  It was hard work, getting out of that jungle.  Why people like drugs I have no idea.  Realizing the operating room doctors were talking about me.  A little blood on the ceiling.

Remind me to tell you about the place they left me for an hour and I said I was dying of boredom and did they have a bible.  The lady gave me a wedding dress magazine and Oprah magazine.  I read some recipes.

Well, Mama will be here soon.  We tried not to laugh when my roommate was being moved out and said about her cough that Ming and I were used to it.  It's true.  In the morning I cried and cried and imagined holding her as she couldn't stop coughing and I couldn't stop crying.