Saturday, November 26, 2005

Bittersweet Memory

"Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love." 

~ Neil Gaiman, as Rose Walker in Sandman #65


The passage above reminded me of my disenchantment with love long time ago. I hated love for a few years but a special man saved me from living the rest of my life as an old and bitter spinster. 


When I was young, my boyfriend cheated on me with my best friend. I walked away from both of them. I chose not to be a part their drama and refused to see them everagain. I was bitter for a while and it took a lot for another man to convince me that I will not be betrayed again.


My friends voiced concerns about my "man hating" tendencies. I told them I did not hate men; I just did not need unnecessary distractions at that moment. I was in denial. I did not withdraw from love but I approached it with Machiavellian bravado for self- protection. I kept men at arms length and scrutinized their intention to the minute detail. I feigned disinterest in their lives so I will not get attached. It took a while for me to be comfortable in a relationship. I dumped them or gave them cold shoulder as soon as I started liking them. I took care of not getting hurt again by being cynical. Only a few men with remarkable patience stayed around but not for long. I always succeeded in driving them away. Some of them thought I was vicious and heartless. I was even called "Ice Princess" and "Dragon Lady."


One person saw through my facade and challenged me to seek closure. "Someone hurt you real bad, huh? I know there is a wonderful person lurking behind that smirking face," he said one day. I employed my best defense mechanisms on him but he was persistent. The more I spurned him, the more insistent he became. He told me he was not going away until I showed my true color. Then one day, my annoyance turned into admiration of this man's tenacity.  I told him about my experience with loving someone. He told me not all men are the same. He said he had experienced similar betrayal. He helped me dismantle the wall I surrounded myself for a long time. He showed me that I do not have to hate love. 



                                                                  Single Lily with Red Note Card- Georgia O'Keeffe 


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Friday, November 18, 2005

Sad But Wonderful



 I spent a wonderful evening crying my eyes out. Sad, but what an awesome and well-deserved night!

I went to the showing of the Broadway production of Miss Saigon last night with the whole family. I should had been a little more unemotional because I have seen the play before. I guess knowing the story line did not make me more objective but set me up and cued me when to reach out for the Kleenex in my purse.   At first, I debated on the whether I should get a ticket for my teenage son because of the adult content/language and violence portrayed in the play. Then, I decided, he might as well see the dark side of humanity through someone's creative endeavour. He is very active in the local theatre so he has a clear sense of what is real and what is art. He came out of it unscathed and without a need for a shrink. He enjoyed the play tremendously.   My daughter was with us and I can proudly say that she is mine. She is a crybaby just like me. She said, "It makes me real emotional to hear someone who can sing beautifully."  I know it was more than that, the child gets lost in a play and becomes the heroine and feels for her. I know the feeling. I've been Kim, Cosette, Stella, Grizabella and so many others. I'm talking in theatre only. I dispose of my split personality after leaving the theatre's portal.   Ah, the hubby's reaction. This I can write a book about. He is a typical man. He feigns distaste and disinterest in art in fear of being seen as effeminate. He hides behind macho critiques of the play and pokes fun on the overdressed/pretentious theatregoers. Behind the facade, his wife could see a manly man who enjoys the performing arts.   The family needed this night out after the trauma of the weeks past. We even brought out some of our dysfunction in the car on the way home. Once again, our love for each other won out and we were better people when we kissed each other goodnight.      

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

All's Well, I Hope...


                                                     Mother and Daughter by Hua Chen

"Don't you ever ask them why.  If they told you, you would cry. So just look at them and sigh. And know they love you."  ~Graham Nash 

Sorry for the lack of update. I think when the body, mind, and soul goes through a trauma,  it manifests a psychosomatic response. My daughter was discharged from the hospital last Saturday and I started feeling rotten and had been nursing a nasty cold since then.

My daughter went to a follow up visit yesterday and was pronounced well and on her way to full recovery. She was told not to over-exert herself and rest when she is tired. She is still on various meds for the next 2 weeks but the Doc thinks she will be able to resume her hard charging teenage life in about 4 or 5 weeks. For now, she will be staying home with me until I can fatten her up. She looks a tad too emaciated at this time.

She went to school today. I drove her to her first class this morning. I told her that it is OK if she feels tired after the first one or second one and to call me to pick her up if she started feeling unwell. So far, so good. She has not called yet.  

Thank you to all those who sent their best wishes, hugs, and prayers through blog comments, e-mails and phone calls. You guys are the best!

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Phoenix Rising

"Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death. "  -Harold Wilson                     
                                                                             It had been a harrowing week. My daughter had been at a hospital since Tuesday last week.

She drove to Tallahassee and Orlando for the weekend and came back on a Sunday evening. She said she started throwing up on the way back to her dorm. She thought she ate something that did not agree with her so she went to sleep. She woke up on Monday with a stomach pain so she went to the emergency room. They told her that she was just dehydrated from the trip so they intravenously hydrated her and sent her back to her dorm. She was supposed to have dinner with me that day and see her brother's Stage Fright show. She did not show up so I left several messages on her cell phone to give me a call. I told myself that she must be exhausted from all the malaise so she was sleeping it off.

The next morning, I was just so worried about her that I left another message on her cell phone stating that I was worried about her and that I will break into her dorm if I do not hear from her immediately. My cell phone rang after a few minutes. It was my daughter. She said that she was still feeling really bad and her vomiting and stomach pain seemed to have intensified. I picked her up from her dorm and brought her to the emergency room. An emergency room doctor immediately saw her because she was doubled in pain and was spewing greenish fluid all over the waiting room.


I was told that she probably had a viral gastroenteritis, food poisoning or an intestinal obstruction.  They ran several tests on her including x-rays and EKGs. They gave her more saline IVs and some meds for her vomiting.  She was still in great pain, still vomiting and generally miserable by that evening. I was told that all they can do was wait because intestinal obstruction was ruled out and time will take care of the other two diagnoses.


All these times, she was feverish, and her heart rate and blood pressure started creeping up. She looked delirious and in pain. I never felt as helpless and scared in my life. I knew there was something wrong with her but I could not do anything about it. She was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit before midnight. They gave her sleeping pills and some pain medication and the vigil started.


She woke up early the next morning with the same symptoms: stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. She still had a high fever, plummeting heart rate and erratic blood pressure. She was in a bad way. At 10 AM her stomach ballooned as if she was in her third trimester and she was disoriented. Several specialists were called to the floor and suddenly a swarm of technicians with portable CT scanners, EKGs and other medical equipments were all over her. I watched the commotion with an overwhelming fear. One of the specialists, a surgeon, told me that there seem to be a lot of fluid in her stomach and he needed to do a surgery on her to find out what was going on. He told me about the possibilities: a leaky intestine, a diseased ovary, liver or kidney, a stomach cancer or a ruptured appendix. He said the surgery needed to be done at that moment because my daughter could die from any of the possible diagnoses without it.


They started preparing her for the surgery and when the nasogastric tube was inserted in her and her nose started bleeding, I broke down. I told the medical staff that I was going outside because I do not want her to see me that way. My daughter did not cry or exhibit any fear and I was glad because I probably would need to be sedated if I ever see her scared and in more pain. The operating room nurse walked with me and told me that she will call me during and after the operation to let me know what was going on.


The operation was a success. The surgeons opened an eight inches incision on her stomach and found her appendix ruptured. One of the surgeons said all her organs were bathed in bile so they cleaned her insides up and took care of the appendix remains.


She was transferred back to ICU where she was put on a regimen of intravenous antibiotic, narcotic drip, saline solution and potassium chloride. Yesterday, her vital signs were back to normal, she was able to get up and walk, and she had her first intake of fluids. She was transferred to a regular hospital room. She seemed to be doing well, but this morning she started having high-grade fever indicative of infection. The surgeon said that she might have an abscess in her incision site so a CT scan will be done and a tube will be inserted to drain fluids off the abscess.


That was how I spent my week: on my toes trying very hard not to have a nervous breakdown or cardiac arrest. I would not wish it to happen to my worst enemy. The fear of losing a child is a mother’s worst nightmare. Iam still worried about her but I have known this child all her life. She is a fighter. She will be well, and out and about soon.