Jedi Marri

Just ME, as I Am.

To sleep or not to sleep… November 12, 2008

Filed under: Life As It Is — jedimarri @ 7:54 am
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I tend not to sleep well anyway.  I’ve always been an insomnic, and I’ve always had troubles falling asleep, but lately it’s gotten worse.  My hubby helps me make myself keep to a relatively normal schedule, which is good for me, but I still really struggle to sleep through the night. I think a large part of that right now is all the meds I’m on…

Anyway, sleep is a challenge right?  Last night was way worse than normal! Why? I was hooked up to a machine…  My lung doctor thinks I may have sleep apnea and that it could be affecting my asthma.  So we put a finger monitor on me, strapped the cord to my wrist so it didn’t come off during the night, and recorded my blood oxygen levels and heart rate.  We’ll see what they say!

The one thing that has come of the test for sure is that it’s proved I’m still having problems with my heart rate.  I’ve been on heart meds of a couple of months now, and while my heart rate lowered drastically for awhile, it seems to be creeping back up now.  I was lying in bed and my heart rate was 90 or higher! That’s not good…  So I’m assuming that the doctors will either up or change my meds.  We’ll find out soon.

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Busy, Busy July 5, 2008

Filed under: Life as an Artist,Life As It Is — jedimarri @ 12:32 pm
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Life is so busy right now!  School, business stuff, and life in general.  I love it though 🙂

I saw my lung doc again on Thursday and it was a really positive meeting!  I’m really glad about that, because the last one was such a downer.  This time he was really happy with my progress though 🙂

I’m having such a hard time focusing on school right now!  I’m getting geared up to do a big craft fair in August, and it looks like I’ll be doing the occasional farmers market too starting (yikes!) tomorrow!  So hard to concentrate on school when I want to concentrate on that…

On the other hand, at least being busy means I can’t get lazy and put off doing things 🙂  So that’s good for me cuz I’m a massive procrastinator!

 

Half way there… July 2, 2008

Filed under: Life As It Is,writing — jedimarri @ 7:50 am
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It seems incredible to think that we are already half-way through our summer session!  This week is week three…and there are only 6 weeks!  Incredible.  This quarter is passing by sooo fast.  I’m really looking forward to the break when its over though.  I was thinking about it this morning and this is the 8th consecutive quarter that I’ve been in school.  Whew!  And, even though there was a few weeks between the end of summer and the start of fall last year, I was moving and planning my wedding, so it didn’t really feel much like a break!  I’m not going to get a long break between quarters, because I have a “pre-fall” class, but even a few weeks will be really nice.

Tomorrow is my big appointment with the lung doc.  I’m hoping that, since I can tell him I’ve only had one very minor asthma attack since I last saw him, this appointment will be much more hopeful.  The last one was so depressing!  Ah well.  Life, as they say, goes on.

The only class I wish was longer is my creative writing class.  I’m having so much fun with that class!  We’ve moved from creative non-fiction into creative fiction now.  I’m enjoying getting to let my mind wander and create whatever details I want without having to worry about little annoying things such as truth and accuracy.  It’s a nice change.  Although, to be honest, I did enjoy creative non-fiction a lot more than I thought I would have.  It definitely gave me a different perspective.

 

Cheerful? June 25, 2008

Filed under: Life As It Is,writing — jedimarri @ 8:24 pm
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Today we had our first workshop in my creative writing class.  For those of you who may not know, a workshop is where everyone turns in their pieces a day or two ahead of time, they are distributed to the rest of class, we read and write down our comments and ideas, and then come back together to discuss the pieces.  It was a lot of fun!  It was like a breakthrough point for our class!  There are a few of us who’ve been participating a lot in class over the last two weeks, but today we all opened up and everyone shared.  We had turned in our hearts for review, and with that knowledge, we became more open.

It was really interesting getting to know my classmates.  The variety of pieces was incredible.  Our topic, memoirs (personal stories), naturally give you a view at a piece of the author.  We had everything from a high-paced and highly entertaining story about playing Risk, to a childhood memory of a Mom packing up everything and moving to LA with no warning, to jail experiences, to a walk in the park.  It was fascinating!

I was really gratified to hear everyone’s response to my piece.  I wrote about my job at Arby’s, a topic I’ve discussed and thought through quite a bit, and so it wasn’t too hard for me to write.  It was, however, therapeutic.  I’m still dealing with some of the emotional wash back from that job.  I wasn’t too sure if it would be a good enough story for everyone else.

There were a few grammar things that people pointed out, but the one thing that I heard over and over was “I want to read the rest of the story!”  I had left the story unfinished because we had a page limit for the workshop, and I know that the final version is supposed to be quite a bit longer anyway.  Everyone was really curious to hear what happened in the end!

It was an interesting contrast to the rest of our discussion.  On most of the pieces we would offer advice on how they could flesh it out to make it longer, but most of the time the pieces were relatively complete.  I felt bad not finishing the story for them, but our teacher let me tell them a few of the details 🙂

The one comment that stuck out in my head went something like this: “I was really impressed with how you never actually described yourself in the piece, but we learned a lot about your personality through how you handled the different decisions and how you describe things.  You were working in fast food, you could have just said it was a crappy job because of that alone, but you didn’t, you gave it your all and emphasize that it was this particular place was the problem.”  A couple of the other people agreed with her…including another former fast food worker!  i was really touched by this, but it also gave me a pause.

I couldn’t help but think back to one particular night working at Arby’s.  It was late, nearing 1 in the morning, and we were getting close to closing up for night, finally.  John and I were both working that night.  John was another assistant manager at Arby’s and we formed a close bond working there, similar to what I imagine soldiers must feel after being in the trenches together.  Obviously our situation wasn’t as life threatening by any means, but we daily faced stress and pressure together, and we helped each other to survive.

It had been a horrible day and we were all tired and looking forward to going home.  I don’t really remember what about that day had made it particularly bad, I just remember the emotions in the air.  I was trying really hard to stay cheerful, and to keep everyone else going. I was in the drive-through having just finished handing out a sack of food, when John walked up and leaned on the counter.  I turned around and leaned on the opposite counter, more than willing to take a moments break and chat.

“Damn,” John said, “Sometimes I hate how perky you are.”

“Perky?” I said, “I’m not perky!”

“Yes you are!”

“No…I’m just a bit cheerful.”

“Nope, your perky damn it, and it drives me nuts.”

“That’s just because you love the night and the dark.  Perky is the exact opposite of that.”

“I know.  Why are we friends again?”

“Because, despite my perkiness (if I am), we have a lot in common.”

He nodded.  “Still drives me nuts.”

“All the better reason for me to do it!” I said with a cocky grin.

He laughed at me and we both went back to closing up for the night, but his words haunted me for a long time.

I’ve asked many different people, the people who are the closest to me, if I’m a perky person.  They all agree that I am, even if it’s not the word they might have come up with.  Occasionally, I can see where they are coming from.  I have my moments that take me to a higher level of cheer than most people experience with out the aid of drugs, but in between those super-hyper moments, I don’t see myself as perky.

There’s a song by Evanescence that came out around that time that I’ve always identified with.  The opening lyrics go:

” How can you see into my eyes like open doors?
Leading you down into my core
Where I’ve become so numb
Without a soul
My spirit sleeping somewhere cold
Until you find it there and lead it back home

[Wake me up] Wake me up inside
[I can’t wake up] Wake me up inside
[Save me] Call my name and save me from the dark”

That is much closer to who I’ve seen myself as for years than the terms “perky” or “cheerful.”

I have pain that’s deep within me.  Memories that haunt me.  In my daily life I face challenges that I often hear people say, “I don’t know how you deal with that.”  I don’t know how I deal with it either.

There are times I don’t deal with it.  Or I don’t deal with it very well.

Tonight has been one of those.  I had a long time talking on the phone with my Mom today.  It made me homesick, but it also hurt.  We talked about both of my brothers in that conversation, and they were conversations that were good and needed, but it hurt.

Peter is out of the country, I’m not supposed to say too much about it on-line, but I can say that I really miss him.  We’ve always been really close, we used to joke about being twins separated by 5 years, and it’s been hard not being able to talk him much.  He’s not a very good communicator.  He never has been.  Not even in person.  So when our only contact is e-mail…  He’s been through some painful stuff recently, a friend of his back home in Vancouver died, and Mom and I both thinking he’s doing his typical response and pulling away a little until he’s dealt with the internal pain.  It means that his usually sporadic and relatively short e-mails have trickled down to almost nothing.  I understand, because I know this is who my brother is and how he deals with things, but I ache from the lack of contact.

My other brother, Gordon, has on-going health problems.  He’s in the middle of applying for disability right now because of the severity of his problems.  Right now he’s facing what, if it ends up happing, his 15th surgery.  Please don’t ask me for what, if your a super-close friend I might talk to you about it at some point, but this is one time he doesn’t want us talking about it and I don’t blame him.  It breaks my heart.

I think back over the last 22 (almost) years of his life.  I think of each of the 14 surgeries that went before.  I’ve held him through each of those recoveries.  He doesn’t remember them very well, he’s blocked out most of it and he has memory issues on top of that, but I do.  I remember them vividly.

I remember him having eye-surgery at 3 and how small he was.  Mom went to go pull the car around to the front of the hospital when they released him, and since he was so tiny, they put him in my lap to wheel him out to the front of the hospital.  I’m sure that they were at least partially just letting big sissy being a part, but for all I knew he was just too tiny to sit in there on his own and they didn’t want the chair to swallow him whole.  I was only 5, but I felt like the most important person in the world, and no Mama has ever felt more protective over her baby than I did over my precious little brother at that moment.

I remember his tears from the surgeries that he had when he was way to young to understand why he was in so much pain.  I was always amazed that he continued to love us so fiercely, and to cling to us for all he was worth, I had no idea how he could manage not to blame us for the pain.  All he knew was that we loved him.

Not all his surgeries were as traumatic as the others, but every time he’s gone under the knife my heart has clinched with pain, and I’ve lived in fear until he was awake and alert afterwards.

His most recent set of surgeries were scary.  Yes, I said set.  I’ll never forget being at work and getting a call from my Mom saying that Gordon had gone BACK into surgery.  He’d had the initial surgery the day before and there had been complications, so the doctors had to go back in and do an emergency surgery to fix things.  I started crying right there in the store.  I was working at Cold Stone Creamery at the time, and it was a few hours before the next person came on shift.  I was stuck there.  I remember having to apologize to my customers for my tears and getting bigger tips because of it.  Eventually Mom called me and told me he was ok and out of surgery.  My tears started again.  My boss showed up not long after that and gave me a bunch of ice-cream for free to take to my family as comfort food.

Now, as he faces a potential 15th surgery, I ache.  I’m afraid for him and the pain I know it will cause.  I’m afraid for what the recovery will be like for him.  And I’m afraid that this will be the surgery he doesn’t wake up from.  I know the chances are unlikely that he wouldn’t make it, it’s not like it’s brain surgery or heart surgery or something like that, but there’s always that chance, and I have to admit that it scares me.

I’m also scared for myself right now, for completely different reasons, and maybe not as traumatic.  The last time I saw my doctor he gave me a bit of an ultimatum.  Pretty much, if I relapse between that visit and the next, I have to move back to the Westside.  No don’t get me wrong.  I love my family and my friends and I miss them, but I also love my school and I love this town.  I like the life we’re making for ourselves here and I’m not ready to move.

The last couple of weeks have gone REALLY well.  I’ve had some minor problems, but no asthma problems.  No relapse.  Well, I have a week left until I see the doc again.  I’m sooo afraid that somethings going to go wrong in this next week!  That I’m going to get sooo close to success only to have my body fail again.  I’m trying not to think about it, but how do you avoid a concern that’s so overwhelming?

Don’t get me wrong, there are things in my life that I’m really happy about right now.  I love my husband.  Let me say that again, I LOVE MY HUSBAND.  He is incredible and he has been so incredibly supportive through all of this.  I’m doing well in school.  I have a good GPA despite my health problems and I’m joining the honor’s society this week!  I’ve even got some wonderful friends, some back home, one in Missouri, and some here, that have brought a lot of sunshine and joy to my life.

Am I perky?  Am I cheerful?  Tonight I don’t feel it.  Ask me tomorrow.

 

I’ll be here when it all gets weird… June 24, 2008

Filed under: Life As It Is — jedimarri @ 6:13 pm
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Yesterday was all icky.  Ok, so maybe the day was nice, but I was too icky to notice.  Yucky, yuck, yuck.

The “good” news is that I think I was actually fighting off something normal, like a virus, instead of my “I have a weird body” problems 😛  Yippee!

Have I mentioned that the last xolair shot left me with a pretty, dark purple, 1 1/2 x 1/2 inch bruise?  Crazy. Yes I measured it.  I’m weird like that.  It did that the first time I got a shot too.  It was already showing a bit of a bruise when I left and I impressed the nurses.

Speaking of which…

Last Friday I was the center of attention at the Yakima Memorial Hospital’s Infusion Care Center.  It was fun!  And, before you freak out, no it wasn’t because I tried to die or anything dramatic like that.  It was just pure fun.

I was sitting in the waiting room like I normally do and starting to wonder when they were going to call me back.  Usually it’s rather anti-climatic because I drive for 45 minutes.  Walk in, sit down, get called back, shot, and I’m on my way in around 15 minutes.  This time I’d been sitting for a good 20 minutes when a nice and cheery nurse came out and asked me if I was Ruthie. Of course I told her I was and she proceeded to explain that they were really backed up because everyone was getting long infusions…and so there were no rooms open to give me a shot in.  However, if I didn’t mind not having a privacy curtain, she’d be willing to just pull a chair out into the hall and give me the shot there.

She emphasized over and over that this was pretty non-kosher…but she didn’t want me to have to wait for 45 minutes either!  Well, being my usual bouncy self, I of course agreed.  I mean, it’s not like they give me the shots in the butt or anything, it’s my arm for Pete’s sake!  As long as no one passes out from watching, I don’t care where I’m sitting when they give me the shot.

So she pulled a chair out into the hall way across from the nurses station, borrowed a blood pressure machine from somewhere else, and started getting my vitals and asking all the questions they ask me EVERY time.  It seems nurses have an endless curiosity about things like your appetite, how well your plumbing works, and a million other little details.

She was a pretty awesome lady (I wish I could remember her name!) and we chatted the whole way through, cracking jokes and all.  She ended up working some of my story out of me, why I’m getting the shots and all, and it rattled me slightly to see a nurse going “ooo…that sounds soo horrible!”  She’s not the first nurse to say that in the last few months by any means, but it still shakes me a bit.

As we were going through this whole process people kept interrupting us wondering what on EARTH she was doing.  She explained it with a laugh and they always ended up accepting it, but we must have heard that question at least a couple dozen times!  I even fielded the question for her a couple of times when she got called away briefly to help with another procedure!

Finally, all the formalities were taken care of, and we were ready to shoot me up.  Now, I should explain that this shot is a rather thick liquid, and because I’m so messed up I get the highest dose, which means three separate needles.  This generally means two nurses give me the shots at once because their trying to limit the amount of time I’m in pain.  So I’ll get one shot in my right arm and one shot in my left simultaneously, and then the third shot afterwards.  Some nurses are incredibly talented and can actually give two shots at once and then we go for the whole shebang in one shot!  I learned this last time that the reason not all nurses can do it isn’t as much a matter of talent as it is you have to have strong hands because, as I said, the stuff is thick.

Anyway, friendly nurse lady had pulled over a second friendly nurse lady, and she ended up getting a nurses aide as well.  She had the aid pinch the skin on the back of my arm so that she could do the double shots easier, and then on the count of three they stuck me.

I had to laugh, actually we were all laughing before long.  “How many nurses does it take to give a shot?” I couldn’t help but quip.  We even had the nurses and secretaries at the main station laughing with us…and the lady down the hall waiting outside her mother’s room!

I think that’s officially the most fun I’ve ever had getting a shot.  And trust me, I’ve had a LOT of shots in my life.

 

Strangely enough… June 22, 2008

Filed under: Life as an Artist,Life As It Is — jedimarri @ 8:21 pm
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“Strangely enough, it all turns out well.”

“How?”

“I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”

These words are spoken near the beginning of the movie “Shakespeare in Love.” They are repeated in various forms through out the rest of the movie and each time they stuck out at me.  Why?  They sound a lot like my husband!

Every time I get stressed out about something – he’ll tell me it will turn out ok.  I find this incredibly annoying most of the time as I tend not be optimistic for myself.  I’m an optimistic for everyone else, but when it comes to my own life, I tend to be a rank pessimist.

I know, in my head, that pessimism is not a good thing.  I know I should trust in God, I know that I should let things happen and just make the best of them, but I have a very hard time doing that.  I think I’ve been knocked down to many times.  I’ve had my hopes dashed, my fears realized, and watched dreams evaporate.  Consequently, I assume things in my life will go wrong.

When I first started getting really sick at the beginning of the school year I’d get really down, and then Moses would tell me it was all going to work out.  Sometimes I would be ok with it, other times I just wanted to yell at him.  To tell him there was no way it was going to work out, and that I was just sick of it all.  Not sick of him of course, but sick of dealing with my health problems.

Over time I started to listen to him.  Which is a good thing.  I don’t know how I would have gotten through the last 6 months if Mo hadn’t helped me to find reasons to have hope and keep going.

I’m still trying to figure out how things are going to work out in my life and with my health, but I’ve had an interesting 6 months.

I’ve made a few friends…not a lot of them…but a few.  Jayna, Stephanie, and Asia have all been really supportive and, while we don’t get together that often due to busy school lives and my health getting in the way, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them and the support they’ve given me is invaluable.  Jayna’s the one who I watched Shakespeare in Love with last night 🙂  More on that later…

I’ve also had a chance to work more on my jewelry creation as a result of being sick.  I’ve had to give up working, and I’ve had to try hard to make myself relax because otherwise I wouldn’t heal.  That was HARD.  However, sitting and making jewelry has helped me to force myself to relax, and it’s a lot of fun!  I haven’t made a lot of progress yet on selling my jewelry, but I’ve made some and what’s more important, I’ve really enjoyed tapping into my creative side more.

I’ve also had a lot more time with my husband as a result of being sick.  With his weird work and sleep schedule, if I was working we’d not see each other that much.  The first month or two of our marriage were hard because I was working, and our schedules didn’t work together that much.  I’ve treasured the chance to grow closer to him, and the troubles have really pulled us closer together.

I’ve also grown closer to some of the people from back home.  It’s been hard being away from home, especially while sick, but I’ve learned who my closest friends and had some incredible conversations via e-mail and the phone.  Conversations that lifted my spirit and helped me keep going on.  Convo’s that made me cry, but crying with a girl, even on the phone, was sometimes what I needed.

There have been draw backs to the last few months, but there have been good things too.  How is it all going to all work out?  I don’t know, it’s a mystery, but I’m starting to think it truly is working out 🙂

Back to last night and the movie.  I had a lot of fun!  Jayna is a fun girl and we have a lot in common…and lot is really different…but we are able to connect on a lot of levels!  We got together at her boyfriend, Brian’s, house because I just really wanted to get out of the house for something other than school or the doctors house…and he has a better tv set up than she does. 😛  Mo didn’t feel like coming along this time, but considering Brian has a Wii, I might be able to convince him next time!

Wii – I played Guitar Hero for the first time last night!  Jayna said I did pretty good for it being my first time!  Somehow she managed to con Brian into making us dinner (yummy spaghetti!) while we played.  We had fun 🙂

Then, we watched Shakespeare in Love while eating dinner.  The movie was good, it would have been better if they didn’t have all the nudity and sex, but it was really well written.  I recommend it with the qualification that you need to be prepared to look away or fast forward through some of it.  I did really appreciate how they wove Shakespearean lines through out all it and incorporated them into the regular dialogs.  There was some excellent acting in it as well.

I stayed and we chatted and eventually watched another movie – Sweeney Todd.  Either we started it later than I thought, or it was longer than I thought, because I didn’t get home until 1am!  Which meant I was still wide awake when Mo got home a half-hour later.  Through him for a loop.  Poor guy.

It was great having some girl time 🙂

 

Those Random People… 2 June 20, 2008

Filed under: Life As It Is — jedimarri @ 8:17 am
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Over the last 6 months or so I’ve been battling an on-going battle with asthma.  As I’ve done so, I’ve gotten a chance to make more random friendships, with the type of people you usually don’t get to know very well.  Take your local pharmacist as a case in point.  Most people only see the pharmacist on occasion, when their really sick, and while they may be able to recognize them, they don’t know them at all.  Then there’s the people who regularly gets a prescription refilled.  They’re in there once a month.  They may have had a few conversations with the pharmacist, but again, they don’t really know them at all.

I love my pharmacy ladies.

As I’ve dealt with all these health problems I’ve “gotten” to try a bunch of different medicines.  There were times that I was in the pharmacy with a new prescription every 2 or 3 days!  As a result I’ve spent a lot of time talking to my pharmacy ladies.  And I love them.

There are 5 people that I’ve seen working in the pharmacy.  Two of them have never really talked to me, so I don’t really know anything about them.  One of them is a guy, so I suppose he must fall into the category of guys who just don’t talk much.  He has been known to listen to me chat with the ladies and laugh at our antics though!

Out of the three ladies I see all the time there are two that I know the best. The third isn’t as talkative, but she always gives me a huge smile.  For some reason I haven’t been able to learn her name, so I think of her as Pharmacy lady #3.

Then there’s Dawn.  Dawn was the first of the ladies that I made friends with.  She is one of the sweetest gals in the world!  She learned my name early on in this whole ordeal, and always greats me with a smile and a, “How’s it going today Ruthie?”  She has a fantastic smile.  She’s listened through this whole ordeal, always curious about what they were trying, and looking like she’d give me a hug if she could reach me over the counter.  She’s even been known to snag coupons for me and stick them in her purse until she saw me!  I nearly cried the day she did that.

Dawn recently had foot surgery and now I get to ask her how she’s doing.  It’s kinda fun change, but I wouldn’t have wished the surgery on her!  Last time I saw her (earlier this week) she had dyed her hair a darker shade of brown.  I think it looked good, but she thought it was a bit too dark. She flashed me a grin and grabbed a frosting kit and proceeded to tell me that all the ladies were going to have a hair dying party!  They were all giggling like school girls about it.  I couldn’t help but laugh along.

I thought it was pretty awesome that the other pharmacy lady was going to go along with the hair dying scheme.  See, while she has a slightly timeless look about her, I’d guess she has at least 10-15 years on the other ladies.  Of course, with a name like hers, who wouldn’t be up for crazy stunts?  Her name is Tuesday.

Tuesday is one of the actual pharmacists, the other ladies are the pharmacy techs.  She’s always quick to make sure I’m handling everything ok with my meds and to offer me suggestions if I need them.  Like Dawn, she notices if it’s been awhile since I’ve been in for more drugs, and she’ll ask if I’m doing better.  It’s exciting when I can tell her I am!

Dawn and Tuesday were so sweet when I started the xolair shots.  They both winced when I told them that was the latest thing the doc’s were trying and wanted to know how it went!

I’ve considered my pharmacy ladies like my aunt’s here in Ellensburg.  They check up on me whenever they see me, they do truly care, and I always feel better after I’ve gotten to chat with them.  They’ve lifted my spirits during a black period of my life and for that I will always be grateful.