Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why be modest? I think this post is hilarious.

Oh, Peace Corps. Currently, I'm on dental hold, thanks to a small chip in the enamel of tooth 13.
The dentist's office has been amazingly helpful (Dr. Duthie's office in Ithaca--if you need dental work, so far I highly recommend them). First, I needed sealants--ouch, without insurance, but okay--so I got them. Then, we sent everything in, and Peace Corps sent all the paperwork to my mother in Colorado. We like to keep everyone in the loop. No, really, it's because somehow my address change didn't take. So, my mother (bless her heart) sent it all back to them.

I had another dentist appointment. Got more x-rays, yesterday the dentist sent in a signed letter explaining why he thinks it is not necessary to drill and fill. Called Peace Corps--did they get the letter? Yes, they'd gotten it. And they'll get back to me next week, or sometime, because their dentist is on vacation. Their one dentist. Is on vacation.

Their dentist. They have. One. Dentist.

One.

One dentist.

They have fewer dentists than I do.

I leave the morning of August 11th. They want the information that my tooth has been filled a week before staging. Their dentist returns to the office (note: no guarantee about when he will get back to me) on August 3. Today is July 28. I wonder from where they think the time is going to come, that's all. Clearly, I cannot make an appointment for anytime before Aug. 6 or 7.

In the past few weeks I've been buzzing around Ithaca, doing odd jobs: tutoring, yard work, grinding up leaves, and just today, finishing a metabolic study. As a subject, I mean, not a researcher. It's pretty neat, what they're doing, using stable iron isotopes to measure iron-absorption from different iron sources. Today was the blood draw, because obviously the easiest way to measure iron is to spin down blood and look at heme groups.

This is my moment of glory. This is how we know that my brother and I, as different as our coloring is, are in fact blood siblings*. This is why you are all proud to know me. Except those of you who do not like the mention nor description of throwing up. And my mom, who can handle that sort of thing but does worry about me--Mom, don't worry, I am fine. I am eating lots of molasses and dark green vegetables, drinking lots of water, and taking it easy.

I was fine through the stick-the-needle-in-your-elbow part of the blood draw. 10 to 20 mLs of donation later, I was still fine. Off came the tourniquet, and there I am, chipper and chatty. Then, for the fingerprick (to see if similar results could be garnered). Prick the finger, I start asking questions about experimental procedure and statistics. The researcher is in the room, answering questions, leaves for just a second, and suddenly I'm re-enacting Sleeping Beauty.

Naturally, I put my suddenly-much-too-light head down on the armrest. Nurse asks if I am okay, and I tell her I'm fine, just a little lightheaded and nauseated (not nauseous, for those of you who have not yet heard that lecture). Next thing I know, I'm in the middle of a very intense but not wholly memorable dream, being pulled gently out of it by the nurse, who is holding my head up, and telling me to, "Stay with me, now, stay with me. Wake up." Which is the very last thing I want to do. Passing out cold is a beautifully pure escape from whatever is torturing you, a period of true oblivion followed by a moment of total peace. It must be like being a newborn, a brief second of blank awareness before you remember why you fainted in the first place. Not a good recreation, but not to be complained of.

I said, "Hello."

She said, "You fainted. Can you drink the apple juice?"

I nodded. Sipped the juice. Put my head down briefly, but she kept talking to me, so I could not go back to sleep (too bad). And was suddenly very certain that I was about to be sick. I said, very originally, "I think I am going to be sick." To her credit, the nurse did not try to argue with me on this (I have had them do so before). She handed me a bucket.

As I began to get it over with, the researcher came back in, and utterly aghast, said, "Oh no!! Are you okay??"

Barely conscious, blind with nausea, in the middle of tossing my cookies and wishing I were anywhere but inside my own body, I said, cheerfully, "For given values of 'okay' (blurrrrtttttt!), I'm just (blurrrrrrrrrtt!) great!"

I am extremely proud of myself for this. I subsequently lay on a bed drinking apple juice for about 45 minutes, sat another 20 equilibrating and then walked--very slowly--back to Whitby.

*My brother is fair-skinned, blond, and blue-eyed. But once, when he was about to have surgery on a greenstick fracture in his finger, a nurse gave him an IV in his hand. But missed the vein. So, after his hand swelled up like it had half an orange under the skin, she came back over and said, "Oh, I guess I missed the vein." My brother, who was either in intense pain or else drugged nearly to unconsciousness said in his best deadpan tone, "I guess you did," and passed out. This is such stuff as we are made of.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rants and Raves

It bothers me when...

...people claim creds or merits they don't have and when people deride themselves thinking to somehow defend against potetially painful judgments or truths.
...people put others down to build themselves up and even more when they pretend explicitly or implicitly that isn't their intention.
...people misuse words, like breaking beautiful tools or art or something. It offends me deeply, in a painful way.
...people are dogmatically selfish.
...they will not engage in dialogue.
...they do not think about precedent or general application or implications.
...they are ideologically inconsistent.
...they perpetuate hatred and unacceptance (forget tolerance--it's just a nice word for ___ism).
...they whine all the time.
...self-anointed liberals/openminded/educated/unprejudiced people are usually exactly the opposite, and they are usually also self-righteous and patronizing.
...everyone holds their emotions so close to their chests--how will it hurt you to tell you that you love me? How can it hurt me to tell you I admire you? And then everyone wonders why nobody expresses anything. And then I get grief for being direct about emotions.
...your friends lie to you and beat up on you and occasionally completely betray you.
...people act like being well-rounded is some sort of social disease ("I don't read fiction.." "I don't 'do' science/math.")

And here are some things I love about the world:

~There are people who can look inside you and tell you who and how you are. They can do this and love you anyway, and that allows access to a higher level of genuinity.
~Music brings people together in beautiful ways, both because it is often about what it is to be and often also to express love.
~Love exists and sometimes people are not afraid to express it.
~Words are so powerful that they frequently leave me speechless.
~If you wait long enough then things will turn out okay.
~The rain, and having a picnic in it with thunder and everything.
~Lots and lots of people really, really care, even if you can't tell.
~Strangers are kind, and people will smile at you if you smile at them.
~A lot of the time, people are worthwhile and have interesting thoughts about things, you just have to give them the chance to show you.
~People forgive each other, love each other, and trust one another.
~Empiricism is enchantingly beautiful.
~My brain and what it can do.
~Senegal has been stable for 48 years.
~Making friends is not as hard as I thought.
~Sometimes you meet people who are consistent and when you do it is breathtakingly amazing.
~The outdoors is a beautiful place with so many exquisite, fundamentally inexplicable, and unique things to discover.
~Silence.

Anyone want to add anything to either list, go for it.