Monday, January 1, 2018

new year's resolutions.

I never used to make New Years' resolutions. I was one of those people who always proclaimed them as stupid, cliche, and things that you said only because everyone else was. Most people forgot about them by February, anyway, I used to reason. As I got older, I started to see them more like guidelines - things that you could post on Facebook if you really wanted to, but if you ended up failing at.. well, they didn't really count, did they? By the time I was a working professional, I stopped thinking about them at all.

This year, I'm seeing things differently. By definition, a resolution is "a firm decision to do or not to do something," "the action of solving a problem, or contentious matter," according to the dictionary. It's something you do, on your own, to rectify something you've been having difficulty with or anticipate having difficulty with in the future. Simply put, it's a promise to yourself. It doesn't have anything to do with a public post on Facebook or making surface-level commitments just to join the fad. So I thought about what I have been really struggling with and want to change in the new year, and this is what I came up with - my resolutions:

reading this past year.

One of my earliest memories is of my dad and I, sitting with me on his lap in his black velvet recliner chair - the same chair that just a few years later I would fall into and acquire a dent in my skull that I still have - reading a big book together, sounding out the words for what felt like hours. They weren’t dreadful hours, though, as that phrase can often mean. They were joyful hours, and continued to be joyful hours throughout my young life into my adolescence and into my adulthood. 

In first grade, I won an award for reading fifty books at home on my own and the prize was a red wagon full of brand new, beautifully illustrated hardcover books. My mom came to the classroom for the presentation, the principal came down to the classroom, and a photo ran in the district newspaper. When they announced the competition, it was the first time I could remember truly wanting something and feeling that fire burning in my gut. I was determined to win and when I did, I was so proud and excited - not just to win, but to win books

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

pain you just can't ignore.

They say it takes 66 days to form a habit.  Habits can be something beneficial - starting a new diet to lose weight and become healthier - or something bad, like starting drugs.  This is a habit neither good nor bad, something neutral that I never asked for and certainly don't want.  My mind and body are fighting this lackluster routine every step of the way. Sitting on the couch hour after hour, leg propped up on pillows and being brought the things I want: it sounds like a dream to some. But when your biggest desire is to be able to walk down the stairs correctly, with both ankles and knees pumping and flexing, to simply grab a glass of water, it's not such a pampered lifestyle after all.

It's been six weeks since I developed the blood clot in my leg and not much has changed. I'm on my fourth blood thinner, a shot called Arixta, because none of the other medications have changed the size of my clot at all. It hasn't decreased in size at all and I'm baffled to how that could be. How can I have suffered through all of this pain for these past weeks, endured not being able to walk properly or very far, not being able to stand for more than a few minutes at a time, and still my clot is the same. It feels like all of this has been for nothing.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

the new normal: life with a blood clot.

Whenever I watch a movie or television show where a character experiences some life-changing event, something that really shakes up their life, I think to myself, "Did they see it coming?" Did they sense anything different in the days or hours or minutes leading up to the seconds that turned their life upside down? Did they sense a change in the wind, a subtle vibration that made their hair rise up and planted a question in their mind?

I don't know about them but for me, I didn't notice a thing. Even up until the very last second, I was completely oblivious and looking back now, it makes me feel like an idiot for not noticing anything at all.

Two weeks ago, on the 22nd of January, I was getting ready to watch the Packers game on television when I got a sharp pain around my belly button. I hadn't eaten anything strange but sometimes I get random pains around my body so I didn't think much of it. As the day progressed, the pain increased and moved up under my ribcage. It was so sharp that it hurt to walk and move around, and I thought maybe I had contracted the stomach flu that was going around. Later in the day, the pain shifted to below my belly button and finally to my right lower quadrant. After having my training in the medical field, I was worried about my appendix, but I didn't have a fever, wasn't vomiting or throwing up, and didn't have any other symptoms, so I brushed it off.

By Tuesday night, the pain hadn't gone away and I was still having difficulty moving around. It hurt with every step, I couldn't bend over, I had to sleep in a completely horizontal position, and sitting on the couch wasn't comfortable no matter how I sat. With much reluctance, I asked my mom to take me to the emergency room.

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