Tuesday, April 23, 2013

the ripples of a tragedy

I first came to Boston when I was in middle school for a field trip. I fell in love with the streets that seemed to start and end with no warning. The tall buildings that weren’t to tall to strain my neck while I stared up at them.

When I was 15 I came back to visit and knew it would be my future home. I rode the sprawling commuter rail and wandered the frozen streets daydreaming of making it home.

I came back when I was 19 and started making a life for myself. My knuckles were bloodied with how hard I pounded out my new life. Boston isn’t an easy city to get started in, but I was determined.

I’ve lived all over Boston. I lived in someone’s living room on the floor for 3 months just to get my foot in the door. At night I’d go up to the roof and have a view of Fenway Park, lilt up with crowds cheering. I’d smoke cigarette after cigarette waiting for the urge to go back inside to come over me.

I left Boston for a couple of years, but I came back. The city always called me back.

The second job I ever had in Boston was at a spa, on Boylston Street. The spa was located at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The week leading up to the marathon we’d sit at the window watching everyone set up. Scaffolding and bleachers unfolding and being erected.

I left the spa, and over the years the spa has moved farther down the street.

I’ve since worked at two other day spas and salons in the area. Leaving behind me a lot of close friends and acquaintances still working in the area.

I used to take my lunch and sit in the park in Copley Square. Throwing pieces of my sandwich to the birds.

I’ve always made it a habit of avoiding Boston on Marathon Monday. It can be a crowded and hard to get around if you aren’t there to watch the race, and I’m not one for race watching. Or crowds.

I had just walked into a client’s house when the news of explosions in Boston came on the tv. A tv that the clients never leave on, but happened to be on this particular day. I sat staring at the tv, finally knocking myself out of the stare I had fallen into.

I come home and tell Kh and her friend about it. We all sit on our phones, reloading and reloading any news page that’ll give us information on what’s going on. I don’t have cable.

I was truly in shock. Everything seemed like a bad dream floating by. Everyone I know was touched in some way by the tragic events; Boston’s a small city.

News comes about that a former co-worker of mine was caught in the explosion, as was her teenage daughter. Her daughter sustained injuries to her legs, while she lost both her legs from the knees down. Unreal.

The rest of the week everyone seemed to be holding their breathe. Waiting. Listening. Taking everything in and trying to make sense of it all.

Friday morning Kh woke me up before 8am to watch the news. A shoot out in Watertown. We see pictures of the end of Kh’s old street. All of the surrounding areas are put on lockdown. By 2pm we leave the house to get some errands and work done. The streets aren’t empty, but its scarce out.

Everything calms down by the end of Friday night, but the ripples of what happened on Monday can still be felt. Everyone’s on edge, relieved but still in shock. It’s all most people can talk about.

One of the victims lived in my town. Her memorial service took place at the funeral home down the street from my house. I saw the mourners lining the streets and the heavy police presence on Sunday.

It’s eerie for me to think about how close I could have been to all of the events that went down. I’m in awe at how quickly Boston stepped up to get justice. The entire city went on lockdown until the suspect was apprehended. While I still haven’t formed an opinion on how I feel about it all, I know I am disgusted in the evil that can exist within a person. It’s devastating to think about those in other regions of the world that suffer this form of injustice and brutality on a daily basis. It’s those horrors we are spared from daily that make it ever more shocking when incidents do happen.

I’ve been out of sorts lately. I’m working on getting back. I need a few days of something terrible not happening to really help with that.

Boston strong.


Friday, April 12, 2013

my heart broke just a bit more

I was 20, on the cusp of 21 when my roommates and I decided we wanted to get an apartment dog.

I spent months obsessing over what kind of dog, and even longer trying to find one. I came across a family that wasn’t very well off whose Chihuahua had a litter of puppies. I started emailing with the family and soon received pictures of what was soon to be our dog. My dog.
In the first photo I ever saw of her, she looked like a rat. A bug eyed rat the size of a remote control. No. Smaller than a tv remote control.

I met the family in a Target parking lot and handed  over $150, $50 more than the price they wanted for her, and $350 less than the original price they were asking for her.

I brought her home with me. She slept in my bed, peed all over my floor, and quickly weaseled her way into my heart.

She’s 6 ½ now and has been by my side through many of lifes journeys. She has seen my ups, my downs, and everything that’s been in-between.

The Wednesday before Easter weekend we noticed she had a slight wheezing cough. We took her to the vet and after Xrays, and bloodwork they found nothing wrong with her. Except her usual issues. A heart murmur that may have intensified, her degenerative back issues, cherry eye, and slipped discs in her knee caps.. Generally she’s a gigantic mess.

We take her home and the next day make an appointment with a cardiologist for the following week. Thursday night she gets worse, and by Friday we’re taking her to the ER for pets. They immediately rush her to the ICU and put her in an oxygen cage, and find fluid in her lungs with an Xray. She’s put on a lasik drip and everything seems like a hazy dream.

Kh and I leave the ER, unable to really speak and drive back home.

I climb into the shower in the dark and cry for half an hour. 

We begin the waiting game.

Later that night I get a phone call, she’s responding well but still in critical condition.

I couldn’t cry anymore. If my eyes stay open, they’re in a permanent squint. I take a sleeping pill and try to sleep.

I get a phone call at 6am. She’s doing better. Still on lasik. Still getting oxygen.

I get another phone call around 11. Same thing. More waiting. They ask if I want to visit her and bring her food.

We get ready and head up to see her.

I try my hardest not to cry when I see her get excited at the sight of us. She rushes to the front of the oxygen cage, an IV in her left leg wrapped in a gauze. A nitro paste taped to her right ear.

I get it together and choke back my tears. We stay with her for 20 minutes and feed her. She gets sick of us doting on her and starts to give me that “alright, enough already” look. We leave and get a stiff drink at a chain restaurant down the street.

We go home. I put on my pajamas and take up my ever vigilant mope on the couch. I have a few drinks. I take a sleeping pill.

We wait some more.

Easter comes and we aren’t interested. I get a phone call at 6am again.

Kh’s parents come up and have lunch with us. It feels good to try and distract myself. Kh’s mother awkwardly tries to divert the conversation and ends up going right to how she’s doing and when we can see her again.

I keep my phone in my hand every minute, not wanting to miss a phone call with an update.

It finally comes, right when I’m finishing my 2nd glass of wine. I run up the 2 flights of stairs to make it outside in time to answer the phone call. She’s stabilized; her heart rate is down, fluid in her lungs is gone, and is well enough to be discharged.

I choke back tears and put on my game face to finish up lunch.

We pick her up at the ICU. She sleeps the rest of the night and I cry any time I look at her for the next 2 days.

Tuesday morning I take her to her cardiologist appointment that we just so happened to have kept from the week before. I cry the whole way there. I cry the whole way home.

I keep it together long enough to get to see her Xrays. Her tiny little rib cage. Her heart. I get to see her echocardiogram and try not to cry when he shows me the valve that isn’t working the way it should be.

She’s given her diagnosis. Chronic valvular disease. She had congestive heart failure and her heart murmur had worsened. She’s on the less complicated side of things. No liver or kidney failure or even signs of failure. She’s put on 3 different medications. She has to take twice a day. Indefinitely.

Her cardiologist tells me the general survival rate is 12-18 months after the initial congestive heart failure, but he has patients that are 2x past that and are healthy and doing well.

I cry the whole way home. I cry the next 3 days when no one is around, and lets face it, I’m always alone unless Kh is home.

Friday night we finally go out. We go out and drink and try to take a weight off our shoulders.

We start to notice a difference in her. Her energy is back. She’s playing with her toys. She’s humping her bedding and bringing me her favorite (albeit completely falling apart) favorite toy.

We take her to her follow up cardiologist appointment this past Tuesday. He says everything sounds good and she’s looking much better. We get her bodywork back, everything’s normal. No signs of kidney or liver failure which is our big concern.

I’m relieved and only tear up once.

That brings us to now. I try not to think about it. How terrifying it was, and how I don’t really know how much longer I have with her. I don’t know what my future would look like without her in it. She’s so much apart of me, I believe a part of me will die with her. 

I got sick of hearing people say "Pets suck" and "oh that's tough." I'm not one for words of empathy when it's hollow and forced. Out of all the pain I've felt in this life of mine, this has been some of the worst. 

I’m trying not to dwell on it. She’s here with me now. And that’s all that matters. Taking a break from worrying about what my weekends looked like, or getting caught up on what someone else wore during a week is the last of my concerns. Blogland, some times you need a reality check. Life isn’t really about how you’re decorating your living room or what you liked most on pinterest.

Real life lies outside these cyber walls, and I’ve been a bit too consumed with it.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

inhaling is the easy part exhaling is where it gets hard

I'll talk about the sad stuff some other time. 
I shaved my legs for my birthday. That was a pretty big step for me. 

For the first time in years I had a surprisingly good birthday. My best friend came in from NYC and my other bestie was up from Florida.

I got my hair done. We went out to eat. 

I made Kh and my bestie get Friendly's sundaes with me. 
We played Cards Against Humanity. Ate cheese and crackers, and veggies. Drank too much wine, and stayed up to late. I'm glad I had on waterproof mascara. I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time.

 Flat Stanley got to hang out in my boobs and party with the veggies. 

I bought myself ankle boots with skulls on them. I'm pretty much in love with them.

I got some amazing gifts. Porcupine quill earrings and a silver shark tooth necklace from Kh, and my bestie got me a necklace with dandelion seeds in it. 

Thus far 27 has been interesting. I've had some terrible lows, and some mid-level times. Business is so busy I haven't had a full day off in over a month, which I can't complain about. But I am feeling burnt out, tired. Some days I just want everything to be on mute so I can be alone in my own thoughts. Separate my feelings, compartmentalize everything.

Some days the energy just isn't there.

This is what 27 looks like on me. And one of my new dresses I bought for Mexico. Vacation can't come soon enough.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

just in hiding

I know. I've been avoiding this blog for quite a while now.

Shits going down in my real life, and my slightly manic mind can't handle too much at a time.

I'll be back soon. To explain, and generally tear apart all that's happened in my life in the past week and a half. It's not very pretty, it's not very nice, and it's definitely breaking my heart.

But. That's life. I'll report soon on all that's happening.

For now. My waffle fries have finally cooled down. My sixth glass of wine is running out, it's almost 11:30pm, and this gal is running out of dexterity to type all of this out.