The ICU Is No Place to Spend Thanksgiving

November 25, 2008 at 7:38 PM (Happenings) (, )

My grandfather landed in the hospital last Friday.  At first we thought it was a stroke.  Then I was told it was pneumonia.  At long last, the cuplrit has turned out to be a nasty urinary tract infection (UTI).  Although a UTI is certainly the least of all the above-mentioned evils, when you’re in your eighties and you’ve been avoiding doctors for years, it can take a toll on you and whatever other secret ailments you may have contracted in the last decade or two with age.

It’s been particularly hard for me because I’ve not been home fo any of this.  The only updates I receive are the erratic, ambiguous E-mails and voicemails that my mom leaves me.  “Things have gotten ugly again.”  “Your grandfather is not doing well.”  Define “not doing well.”  As far as I know, that could mean anything from his left toe itching to his falling into a coma.

Unfortunately, it was defined more like the latter.  My grandfather became unconscious last night and needed to be moved to the intensive care unit (ICU).  When he went into the hospital last week, the doctors took the opportunity to run an assortment of tests on him to make up for all the avoided visits in previous years.  Not only is he suffering from a UTI, but he also has heart and breathing problems, and Heaven knows what else.  Again, I’m not there, and I’ve been getting precious little detail on much of anything right now.  Luckily, as of this morning, my grandfather regained consciousness, but he’s still in intensive care.  I go home for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and I’m anxious to see him.

I’m harboring a lot of frustration right now.  I feel stranded right now, whereas my parents and grandmother are able to visit my grandfather daily.  I feel sidelined, totally dependent on what little information my parents divulge to me through voicemails and E-mail.  I understand that it’s not intentional; chances are, THEY don’t know too much that’s going on right now, but I still coiuld do without the extra degree of separation.

In addition, I have never before lost a loved one.  Death has mostly stayed away from my family – a few distant relatives have passed away, but none that I could really consider voids in my life today.  I’m trying so hard to prepare for the worst: after all, my grandfather is no school boy, and he isn’t the healthiest of people, either.  There’s a natural order to life, and we’re all bound for that final stage in our own time.  That certainly doesn’t mean that I’m ready to experience it myself, though.  I have been blessed with grandparents who care the world about me, and have been eager to be involved in my life as much as they could.  Hearing the excitement in their voices and the seeing love in their eyes whenever I’ve visted has always brought a smile to my face and a certain warmth to my heart.  Even when I went away for school, my grandparents have been close to me, even if I’ve not seen them as much.  I have been told to prepare for the worst, but that will not stop me from hoping and praying for the best.

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My New Favourite Rumba

November 7, 2008 at 2:05 AM (Dance, Musings, Personal Reference) (, , )

Dancing’s always fun, but it’s even more fun when it’s to a song that really suits the character of the dance.  Rumba has been described by former World Rhythm Champion and Dancing with the Stars cast member Tony Dovolani as “the bedroom dance.”  I personally think a good Rumba can make an audience member feel just a little bit scandalous by watching.

iTunes is currently featuring a one-week promotion: purchase Maroon 5’s debut album, Songs About Jane, for $4.99 (http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=252382416&s=143441).  Nevermind the fact that $5.00 for twelve songs on iTunes is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s for Maroon 5 songs.  This album had so many hits that I’d forgotten about.  Justifying the purchase was pretty easy.  As I made my way through the CD, I eventually reached “Secret,” which I just so happen to be enjoying right now.  Talk about sensual.  I realised that one of the dance halls I used to frequent played this song on occasion, and that my friends and I almost always commented on what a good song it was and that we should probably look into finding out what it was called.  I’m happy to know that I finally have it: I think I’ve listened to it six times in a row already.  I definitely want to keep it in mind for a future showcase . . .

Lyrics: “Secret,” Maroon 5

Watch the sunrise,
Say your goodbyes –
Off we go
Some conversation,
No contemplation –
Hit the road

Car overheats,
Jump out of my seat
On the side of the highway baby
Our road is long,
Your hold is strong . . .
Please don’t ever let go,
Oh No

I know I don’t know you,
But I want you so bad
Everyone has a secret,
But can they keep it?
Oh No they can’t

I’m driving fast now;
Don’t think I know how to go slow
Oh, where you at now?
I feel around –
There you are

Cool these engines,
Calm these jets
I ask you how hot can it get,
And as you wipe off beads of sweat,
Slowly you say, “I’m not there yet!”

I know I don’t know you,
But I want you so bad
Everyone has a secret,
But can they keep it?
Oh No they can’t

I know I don’t know you,
But I want you so bad
Everyone has a secret,
But can they keep it?
Oh No they can’t

Here’s the track list:

Track List: Songs About Jane, Maroon 5
01.) Harder to Breathe – 2:54  
02.) This Love – 3:26  
03.) Shiver – 3:00  
04.) She Will Be Loved – 4:17
05.) Tangled – 3:18  
06.) The Sun – 4:12 
07.) Must Get Out – 3:59
08.) Sunday Morning – 4:05  
09.) Secret – 4:55
10.) Through With You – 3:02  
11.) Not Coming Home – 4:21  
12.) Sweetest Goodbye – 4:31

Definitely worth the $5.00.  Go buy it!

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“Devil’s Night”

November 7, 2008 at 12:26 AM (Friends, Happenings) (, )

Last week, I enjoyed my first U.S. clubbing experience.  The last time I had been in a club was three years ago in London.  The venue back then was supposedly one of the best, but I wasn’t too impressed.  I’ve decided that I’m not too much of a clubber, much preferring the chill atmosphere of hanging out in a bar/lounge with friends, versus going deaf in a club with a bunch of drunkards I’ll never see again.

I was a little hesitant when my roommate (#3) asked if I wanted to go out to a club earlier that week.  I was short on cash, and I know I won’t be sleeping much this weekend on account of the fact that I have a two-day competition.  On the other hand, I really don’t spend too much time with my roommates, and I knew I didn’t have work before noon the next day, so I figured giving clubbing another try couldn’t hurt.  Plus, with a Halloween theme, I’d have another opportunity to dress irrationally.

As a referee and a fem bot, we made our way out to the T station.  Admittedly, walking in 7″-heels and a miniskirt in 37-degree weather and not getting frost-bite or a twisted ankle certainly feels like an accomplishment.  Unfortunately, we left our apartment around the same time a major show at the arena down the street was letting out, so the first train to arrive (when it finally did) was packed to the gills.  As petite as we were, we were not fitting into that train.  As we shivered and swore some more, we saw a bus making its way down the street.  We sprinted – in our outrageous footwear – across to the bus, only to wait five minutes for the bus to actually maneuver through traffic . . . and pass us by.  We swore some more and saw another train pulling in across the street we’d just crossed.  I prayed that I didn’t twist an ankle as we ran – again – across the street in hopes of catching some form of public transportation into the city.  Luckily, this train was sparsely populated compared to the last one, and we scored a seat.  Yes, “a” seat.  My 8lb. roommate sat on my lap 1) because she’s an 8lb. lightweight whereas I weigh at least 15lbs., 2) with her on my lap, she helped obscure the view of my attention-grabbing footwear, and 3) she served as an excellent body-heater.

We arrived at our destination station, went outside, and proceeded to swear some more since in the half hour that we were underground, we had forgotten that it was borderline freezing outside, and neither of us had the decency or half-mind to wear pants.  Thankfully, I had an idea as to where the club was, and if I was correct in my assumption, we didn’t have to walk too far.  With each hobbly step I took, I wondered at how stupid I could have been to think that stumbling around in 7″-heels two days before I had a dance competition could have possibly seemed like a good idea to me.  On the bright side, I found both hormonal men and intoxicated women approved of my unreasonable footwear.

After walking past the club about four times (some marketing genius decided that signage is not necessary at this establishment), we finally made our way inside.  We paid the “discounted” cover of $20, since my roommate got us a place on the organiser’s guest list, and spent five minutes looking for a coat check.  Once we made that crucial discovery, I decided that it was time to get a drink.  Strangers don’t seem so strange when you’re as drunk as they are.  However, I had absolutely no intention of reaching that state of intoxication, so after one drink I’d have to settle for “strangers seem pretty silly when they’re much drunker than you are.”

Roommate #3’s friend the organiser found us within two minutes of our making it into the club and immediately selected us for the costume contest.

Wait, costume contest?  Something about $3,000 towards a new apartment?  Awesome!

As we nursed our drinks, we fantasised about our future awesome apartment, when without warning, someone smacked my posterior.  I whipped around in time to catch the back of the offender as he ran off.  I turned back to my roommate, fuming.  I may be a laid-back lass, but I am by no means lax when it comes to personal handling.  Before I could finish explaining what had just happened to my confused roomie, I turned around again to find myself face-to face with the culprit.  I don’t know if I was angry, stupid, or both, but I stormed up to the guy and smacked him in the face.  He stepped toward me and tried to grab my face, but I’m assuming he had a few more drinks than I had, so my reaction time was a bit better than his.  I dodged, sort of – there was a red mark on my face later where he’d tried to lay another hand on me.

“Do NOT touch me,” I hissed.  He was six inches from my face.  He did not move, blink, or speak.  My heart raced, but I refused to let it show.  “Back off,” I said through clenched teeth, “I WILL call security.”  Again, he continued to stare menacingly at me.

Having no interest in engaging in the staring contest, I stepped past him and made my way over to the bouncer.  No sooner did I inquire about a security guard than I turned around to see a 280lb. stone-faced man with an ear piece asking, “Is there a problem?”  I explained what had happened, and he assured me that I’d be taken care of.  He said something into his lapel and another 280lb. stone-faced man appeared.  They asked me if I could see the person who’d technically assaulted me.  I peeped around the corner, but couldn’t find him.  What made things more difficult was that he was wearing a popular costume that eveing, so there was more than one of “him” running around.  Biting my lip, I told them I couldn’t see him.  I was beginning to question my deciding to make a fuss in the first place.  The men took me aside and asked me to walk around the club looking for the guy.  When I recognised him, I was to point him out to them and then they would take care of the rest.  One promised me that they would be watching me the entire time.  Although they weren’t going to win any awards for bedside manner, they certainly weren’t rude, and as a 15+lb. lady, I felt pretty secure standing in the midst of 560lbs. of muscle.

That feeling of security melted away within three seconds of stepping back into the club to seek out the jerk who had done a decent job of making me incredibly uncomfortable on my night out.  Luckily, I didn’t have to go much further than that: I saw him talking to someone at the bar.  I whipped around to look back at the security guards.  They motioned me back, and told me to take a walk on the other side of the bar while they dealt with the rogue (okay, so they didn’t call him a rogue; that doesn’t mean he wasn’t one anyway).

I took this opportunity to finally explain to my poor roommate what had just occurred in the past ten minutes.  After sympathising with my situation for a few minutes, she asked if we could go back into the club, now.  I hesitated for a moment or two, but then agreed to head back.  I was relieved to see that Mr. I-Can’t-Keep-My-Hands-to-Myself was nowhere in sight.

I had put the experience in the back of my mind as we danced, shouted conversation, and generally enjoyed ourselves and the drunkeness that surrounded us.  One clubber asked us if we had any interest in being in Rolling Stone.  Not wanting to get suckered into some poorly masked pornographic photo-shoot, we declined.  I’ll have to remember to check the next issue for anything that will make me shout “D’OH!” (among other, less appropriate for publishing things).

Later, my roommate’s friend found us again.  It was time for the costume contest, and we had an apartment to win.  Another one of the organisers escorted us to the VIP area, where we waited with a selection of more intoxicated clubbers (all of whom were quite friendly, by the way).  I felt a little sorry for him as he tried to explain what we were all supposed to do for the contest.  The instructions weren’t at all complicated, but the music was loud, and his audience was less than attentive.  When he told us that we’d be walking down a catwalk, my stomach did a half-arsed cartwheel.  My 7″ heels were NOT made for walking under high surveillance.  I had visions of breaking an ankle and making a fool of myself, then remembered that most people in the club would probably have little to no recollection of the evening, anyway.  It was slightly comforting.

My roomate was first, and she made her way down and up the catwalk with no difficulty.  I cursed my stupidity.  How did I always manage to forget how excruciatingly impractical these boots were whenever I decided to wear them for any period of time whatsoever?

I was next.  I wished I was wearing dance shoes.  I would have batucada’d down that catwalk so fast the evening attendees would have no clue what hit them after the vodka.  Unfortunately, I was still stuck in my suicide heels, and my roommate’s friend was announcing me.  I took a deep breath and made my way over to the elevated catwalk.  The steps were cushioned, and as I took my first step up, my ankle buckled.  I swore under my breath as I pulled myself up to the catwalk less gracefully than I would have preferred.  I put my game face on and strode down the catwalk like nothing had happened, struck a brief pose at the edge, turned around and walked back.  I was relieved to see a security guard (not one of the first two) waiting for me to help me step down.  As he offered me his hand, I thanked him and went back to the VIP area to hang out with my roommate and one of the other contestants who had found us both quite fascinating.

Unfortunately, we didn’t win the costume contest, but the organiser promised to E-mail us gift certificates since we were runners-up.  I’m still waiting on them, and I doubt they’ll ever arrive, but the evening was a memorable experience, nonetheless.  We partied for another half hour or so before catching a cab home.  Within three seconds of getting in the door, we ripped our shoes off and threw them across the room to remain untouched for at least a week.  As we collapsed in our living room chairs, my roommate made an excellent point: “Well, we were told to come home with stories for our roomates, right?”  I grinned, and she laughed as I pointed out that the evening might be worth a blog entry.

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