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Yes, yes, another oblique strategy to quote.
I think I owe readers an explanation from the last blog. I was verbally putting up my dukes in the last blog, mostly because I was still in "shock and awe" from what had happened to me. Let me break it down in a way that you will understand the journey, physically and emotionally, that led to such an outburst of literary combat:
The holidays are always a stressful time of year for most people, but especially for those in healthcare. I cannot begin to tell you how many people expect things done for them at the last minute. And usually it's just "I need my Lipitor filled in fifteen minutes! My plane leaves in less than two hours!" There is no foresight. Do people not realize that a little planning ahead to obtain that which delusionally sustains them (end of soapbox) is all that it takes to keep themselves (and us who serve them) from going insane?
Now, don't get me wrong. While I'm certain my field of business enabled many, many people xmas weekend who believe the only thing that makes a difference to their health is swallowing little white pills, I also know that I helped many patients who were going through true emergency health crises that are eternally grateful we are opened for business during the hours we are supposed to be with our families.
With that, people don't realize though that being a healer does not mean being a martyr. The week leading up to Christmas Eve, I was taking care of everyone but myself. I wasn't getting enough sleep. I wasn't getting enough fresh food that wasn't filled with sugar (typical holiday fare). And I was just working under extremely stressful conditions with many staff around us falling ill and many, many discharge patients trying to leave the hospital before the big day. This will always be the case because the employees with the highest seniority always get get to take that week off before or after the holidays. (It's a good case for working for oneself and setting one's own hours but I'm not quite ready for that yet.)
So xmas weekend, I worked 18 hours between two jobs and was supposed to drive down to Mason City that Sunday to celebrate with my family. Every cell in my body was screaming "DON'T GO ANYWHERE! STAY HERE!" My period was starting, and my entire abdominal region was NOT happy with me. Before hitting the road, I came home and took a bath. Then I lay on my bed for about twenty minutes hoping to find some perfect excuse not to make the two hour drive to Iowa. No words of excuse came to mind that would keep my family from guilt-tripping me down to Iowa. I just intuitively just knew I needed to be left alone to heal myself and protect myself.
Nevertheless, I got in the car and I drove. Luckily, the 89.3 (The Current) was playing some good stuff on public radio that lasted until about 20 miles north of the border. When I got to my parents' house, I hobbled in lethargically (sp?). Not only was I in my moon, I was starting to get intestinal cramping from some funny walnut pate I purchased at a local deli earlier in the week.
I had been out to my car a few times to unload gifts and things. I unloaded everything but my purse and cell phone. Around nine pm, we ate our traditional xmas eve dinner. Many unfriendly foods for As were sitting at the table: roast beef, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, etc. I eat these things once a year when I'm with my family because it's traditional, tribal. And it's very hard to let go of those roots during times when everyone is supposed to band together for celebrations. Believe me, people don't want to hear about a diet they consider a fad anyway when they are busy stuffing their faces with yummy home cooking. I was in no mood to debate the status quo.
After dinner, we sat in the living room to open presents. At this point, my entire abdominal region was cramping up madly. I wanted to see everyone open their presents, but I could not even stay sitting. I went into the bathroom hoping for relief but no relief came. I lay in child's pose trying to breathe through the pain. I heard my mom or sister call my name to try to get me to come back to open gifts. They had no clue what I was going through.
I stumbled up to the bathroom and filled up the bathtub, hoping the warm water would help alleviate some pain and cramping. It didn't really help. By this time everyone was almost done opening gifts. My mom came up to drag me back downstairs to open my gifts. I had asked for a squirrel-proof bird feeder and so they had me open it. There was a funny joke they tried to play on me by putting a little stuffed animal squirrel INSIDE the bird feeder. But, again, PAIN. I just couldn't find any humor in the current state of my being.
My dad got me some ibuprofen and put on some tea. I happened to bring some Female Toner tea from a local co-op down to Iowa, anticipating a less than ideal health situation but didn't dream of this. My entire abdomen was DISTENDED. Anyone who knows me knows that despite my larger than ideal derriere, I have a pretty flat stomach. Such was not the case this night.
My family was hanging out in our family room a little before midnight. Somehow, everyone managed to go to bed, leaving me to fall asleep on the couch with the lights on. Around 2 am the family dog came into the room and nudged me. I KNEW he was trying to tell me something! But I was still in so much pain that all I could think was, "perhaps he's just trying to remind me that there is a comfy bed waiting for me upstairs!" He was sort of barking toward the door. Again, no clue at the time what he was trying to tell me. I wish dogs could talk. I think that he knew someone was in my car.
I tossed and turned in my bed. I was thoroughly exhausted but every little jolt in my colon sent my entire abdomen into a spasming mess. Finally rolled out of bed around noon.
I walked, still doubled over, downstairs. I was offered coffee by my parents. Yeah. Like I needed to deplete my body of any more minerals like calcium and magnesium and force my colon to spasm further. I politely declined. I sat down on the couch and my little sister turned on "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York." I figured, hey, why not, not like I'm mobile right now anyway.
Took another bath (that's like three baths in 24 hours). Lay down again in sister's bed with our cat Tigger purring by my head.
Finally decided to leave for Minnesota, though I wish I could have just stayed in bed for two more days. Strangely, I noticed my dome light was on, but thought that perhaps I had just left the light on when taking things out of my car the night before. Dad helped me pack up the car. As I was driving, I noticed my cell phone was not where it was when I left it there the night before. The charger was gone, too! Then I realized my purse was gone. It was more like a totebag, but it had my wallet in it. It dawned on me that I didn't bring these things into the house the night before xmas. This totebag also had in it two natural medicine textbooks and the IfHI brochures. I was planning to read up on natural medicine that day in Iowa. Instead, I learned lessons in natural medicine through this experience.
Drove back to house (I hadn't gone very far) and we combed through the house just in case. Called my grandma and uncle to see if perhaps they'd accidentally picked it up. Nope. At this point, I KNEW it was stolen. There is no way I'd take my charger out of the car. That was the first tip off. I called the police to have an officer come out and file a report.
I called my credit card company and sure enough, the thieves had already made two gas station purchases on my card: one in Mason City, IA, and another in St. Paul, MN a few hours later. This thoroughly freaked out everyone. After all, they had much of my personal information in that phone; could they be looting my house? Fortunately, I had a 90 pound lab-rott mix on guard for any intruder. Unfortunately, Grubster, who was taking care of said dog turned off his cell phone and I had no way of knowing the status of my Minnesota abode.
I had to have the police in Minnesota knock on his door to tell them about what had happened to me and together both the police and Grubster searched through my house to make sure there was no one lurking behind a door somewhere and nothing valuable missing. All the while, Grubster had to force a barking, growling protective "Kujo" into the bathroom so that he wouldn't become a liability to these other "intruders".
Meanwhile, the Mason City police officer came to file the report. He must have thought I was truly a naive idiot for not locking my car door. My parents kept trying to tell me things not to say to him before he got there, like "don't tell him you had a stomach ache" and "don't tell him about the dog at 2 am" as if these things were irrelevant to the situation. But this is the truth I know. I know I wouldn't leave my car door unlocked with my stuff in it if I were feeling well. And the truth is that the dog woke me up at 2 am when I was downstairs as if he had something he was trying to tell me. And the truth was I really didn't want to come home for Christmas, not because I didn't want to see everyone, but because the very fact that my stuff was stolen on this supposedly sacred holiday where peace on earth and goodwill to all men allegedly take place negates any faith I started to have in making this a holiday I can ever count on to bring me joy. I think I'd rather be a pagan and celebrate the Winter Solstice. Or convert to Judaism which seems to make much more sense to me.
There is a wonderful massage therapist here in MPLS who treats me from time to time who is much like a shaman to me. He is intrigued by the concept of finding certain people as vampires. Perhaps this is going to sound a bit new age, but I truly believe I was "attacked" by a vampire that night. Here we were on 12/25/06, just past a new moon; darkness and peace are supposed to fill the night in this phase. But I was physically and psychically vulnerable in my moon time to attacks on my energy.
I was out of my element, already physically drained and emotionally fragile, literally and figuratively BLEEDING. And someone has the audacity to come into the subdivision in the middle of the night on Christmas and steal the tools which help to sustain someone else. On an emotional level, these things probably mean nothing to this thief or thieves other than a way to get them through the next couple of days on someone else's energy and funds. If that's not a vampire, I don't know what is. It's like they could taste my "blood" from miles away like a shark in an giant ocean full of marine life.
Important things I've learned from this experience:
1)Despite any safe, nostalgic feelings of home you might encounter when back in your hometown, population 30,000 (a far cry from the 2 million in the Twin Cities metro area), watch your back (I don't mean to sound like a gangster). Forget the fact that the Sound of Music puppets created by Bill Baird are sitting in a local museum and that Meredith Wilson's boyhood home offers tours near Music Man Square. Remember, there is Trouble...."right here in River City" With a capital T. That rhymes with P, that stands for....Pseudoephedrine converted to methamphetamine???? Welcome to today's rural Midwest.
2)LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. LISTEN TO THAT INNER VOICE OF INTUITION THAT TELLS YOU WHEN YOU ARE ABOUT TO ENTER A DANGER ZONE. Even if words cannot describe that feeling.
3)Say no. To people who try to sap your energy. Say no. To being overworked. Say no. To the pressures of tradition for the sake of tradition which no longer serve the original intended purpose. Take care of yourself first and foremost. Perhaps if more people would just say no, there would be less people on this earth to take advantage of the fact that they don't say no. Perhaps there would be more self-sufficient individuals who think of positive, creative ways to live their lives.
I'm sorry this blog was a bit of a downer. The good news is that I'm safe and alive. No one was physically hurt in this violation of privacy and property that occurred on Christmas Day. I am a tough little cookie and as frustrating as something like this is to anyone who experiences it, it can't break me.
Don't worry; I haven't completely lost faith in humanity. Truly, I believe there is a seed inside every single one of us that is just waiting to bloom and grow out to fragrance the world. There are just a lot of people who have chosen not to nurture that sprout; it's not too late.
If you have come this far in reading all this darkness and uncertainty in the blog, I reward you with a link to a beautiful business I toured tonight at the Building Biology meeting here in Minneapolis:
It's people and places like that which give me hope in future of our earth. Enjoy.