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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Doctor, Doctor, Doctor, Patient!

It sounds like a game for late nights during hospital rounds.

Three of my doctors were in residence/starting out at the same time at the same hospital back in the day. When my GP retired, my psychiatrist referred me to a new one. Then, my GP sent me to a specialist, who looks a lot like the other two, is around the same age — When they send test results along they chuckle and say “you know, we knew each other when…” …every time.

One’s jolly, one furrows his brows and says an extended “welllllllll….” while he puzzles over something, and the last is right in between, thorough and calm in his black t-shirt and jeans. As I shuttle between them I know that I’m a sort of human tesseract, rubber banding them back to long green corridors, lots of humanity, and not enough sleep. I fell like I’m kind of a member of the club – these three doctors who have the one patient in common.

It’s helpful to me and my health when my doctors take the time to consult one another, since medication and separate conditions can get so tangled. I’m on less medication because they talk. And I get to laugh when they use nicknames, calling each other on their cell phones during an office appointment. I’m their shortcut, their Wrinkle in Time ant.


This Is Universal

I write a lot about “this is bipolar.”

Being tired and wanting a break mid-day at the end of the work week is universal. Bleh.


Superhero Shout-Out: Writing Partners

LD, BP, and I were writing without thinking “why?” It was something we had to do – To get through the day, the moment – To put something down – To get by.

We invented the Survival Kits. LD and I carried around a second bag to class each day, filled with markers and papers and photos and widgets that, in a way, helped us breathe. We convinced the high school powers-that-be to let us invent an independent study after a term of creative writing. We taught a lesson or two, but what I remembered best is that we sat to the side of the students who took the class officially, with our SARK books and Sarah McLachlan lyrics.

BP’s survival kit, besides his pencil and paper, was outside. He would just go when he needed to. LD and I tried to put our stuff on paper (or collages or plastic fish mailers) and release it to the world, and BP’s was already out there.

I could not have gotten through high school without these two, and could not have made the survival kits that I’ve so desperately needed to dive into sometimes, and desperately need to just have the act of creating them help me at other times in the years that followed. What the three of us put together during our senior year of high school led to knowing that I can depend on the act of creativity, and its production, to get by, even if for one breath to the next.

Superheros through and through.

Superhero Shout-Out: Pfar-Pflung Pfriend

He and I can pick up a conversation that we started at a diner – He’s got a coffee, I have a blank journal and some pens. There’s something really nice about knowing that no matter how many years pass between, we’re still friends.

Superhero Shout-Out: Huzzah!

This friend of mine always makes me want to stand up and say “Huzzah!” I don’t know if I’ve ever done that in her presence, but she makes me want to cheer.

She’s wonderful and empathetic and inspires confidence. SMmmmmd is forthright and doesn’t pretend to be feeling something she’s not. She’s thoughtful and kind and fun and has a fantastic smile. I have a photo of her, palms up like she’s dancing (or, actually, posed to look like she’s holding up the sign for Pier 88 during Fleet Week). It’s always on my iPad. I love it.

Smmmmd has so many dimensions, so many talents and gifts, that I can’t put it all down, and I like that I can’t describe her easily. Every time I turn one aspect of her around, another color shines just around the edge. She’s like an opal. Maybe this is what I should say: “I’m working on the ‘Superhero Shout-Out’ about you for my blog. Even after thinking about it for weeks, sometimes it’s hard to know what to say except ‘thanks’ and ‘I’m glad you’re my friend.'”

Superhero Shout-Out: Friends Until We’re Ghosties!

There’s an ecard that sums up the friendship JDL and I share: “I hope we’re friends until we die. Then I hope we stay ghost friends and walk through walls to scare the shit out of people.”

It’s a magical story, truly. It was a sparkly clear December day in 1989, and my Mom drove us across the river so that we could ride on a horse-driven sled. Along the way we stopped at a house five down, where another young girl lived. She had been dreaming of the day that she would be swept off her feet in such a fashion, for a sled ride and some ice cream, and that day had come.  I was 12, she was 11.

We were really lucky – Not only did we live five houses apart on a busy street filled with neighbors who bought their houses before settling into making baby boomers, but we went to the same small school, only a grade apart. She was a dancer, and had photos of all of the Bedazzled outfits she wore for shows and a dance studio on the third floor. She had an ever-changing collage above her bed, and had pierced ears and could watch PG-13 movies. I sewed scrunchies, which she wore loyally. I started a rubber stamp notecard/ t-shirt/ bookmark business called “Coloristic, Ink” [get it?] and taped Scholastic posters to my rolling window shades, because I wasn’t allowed to tack anything to the walls. I showed her all of the haunted places at our house, from the ivy-shrouded passage beyond the basement and the Alice in Wonderland hole [what?!] in our woods.  Together we dressed up in tube socks and kicky skirts [ours] and full make-up and crimped hair [hers] and walked up and down our street, waving to the senior [citizens] that drove by. At least, that’s how we remember it.

We’ve been, like, best friends ever since. With the top two girl names for about a decade and our shared love of Color Me Badd and Boys II Men, there was no separating us. We know the names of every crush the other had, and quickly bring them up even now when one simply must humiliate the other. Works every time.

When someone new comes into the fold, they must hear 24 years of jokes and jibes that are so practiced that we don’t finish one before the other tells the ending, therefore making fun of herself. That’s what best friends are for. So – Thanks to my current Superhero, and future ghosty! You put the “awe” in “awesome.”

P.S., friend: I’m including the “D” in “JDL.” Because I know the truth.

P.P.S.: I fully expect a phone call about 2 minutes after I post this. I hope I can hear you through the screamed laughter.

Superhero Shout-Out: The Patron Saint of Rock-Solid Friendship

I’ve been trying to write my thanks to Csz for months. She should have been the first – Not because she drove me to the hospital two (three?) times in one year. She made sure I packed what I needed for a stay in the ward. She is eminently practical when that is the most important thing. She’s the one I talked to before starting this blog.

Though she’s the reason I started the “Superhero Shout-Outs,” it’s not for traditional healthcare support. I just couldn’t put the words together to write her shout-out. I’m going to try now:

She is Generous: The least of it is the way she puts the coolest packages together. Whether it was her intention or not, I have one of her gifts on or in my bag about every day. So whether or not I have the jade hoops on, I see the Stephen Sprouse book on the shelf across from me whenever I relax on the couch at night, and touch the gorgeous scarf in the morning that reminds me of the sea. She recommends books and movies, too, and they’re spot on.

It works the other way, too. I often listen to a mix that I created for her, because it matches a certain event or mood that we’ve talked about. It’s like she’s with me all day.

She is creative: These packages she creates – She knows what someone needs when. It’s a talent to know how to predict that. She also recognizes others’ talents, and gently suggests that a person try a medium that is  the way her friends and family can express themselves. I am indebted to her and G. for the encouragement and tools they’ve given me to take photographs – And she goes above and beyond when she asks for collections of the photos I’ve taken, because she loves what I’ve done.

She Doesn’t Try to Mold with Expectation. She leaves it open-ended. And then she champions the product because it was made with the talents she encouraged in the first place.

She’s Available to Talk and if she says she’s busy, she calls back. She remembers all of the nearly two decades of conversations.

And, duh, Csz is smart. Book smart. She hears a lot about that. I wanted to share with all of you the other stuff that makes her my superhero. The superhero.

With tears at the corners of my eyes, I will end here: I would not be the person I am today without her support. It is true of every “Superhero” I write about. It is true of her. Thank you.

Friendship, Facebook, and Forgetting

As we sort out the new etiquette that comes with Facebook, texting, and other social media (including blogs) it’s easy to type into a phone rather than call a friend. I used to write letters, call from a land line, and walk to another dorm to say “hi.” I haven’t done any of these things for years and years – And I have not been proactive in keeping up with some of the amazing people in my life.
So – Here I go – A way to start. I’m going to post at least five “Superhero Shout-Outs” by the time I go to bed on Sunday. And while I’ll keep names out, I’ll leave enough details in so you know it’s you.
Lots of love! 
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