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Monday, October 19, 2020

How to live and (almost) die in LA

Hey there. Just a quick check-in to say that I am still alive and that I hope you are too.

I started this year by getting an awesome opportunity to go to LA for work which I then parlayed into an excuse to visit my two best friends who had each moved to California for life. 2020 was gonna be my year, y'all!

The day before I flew out, I found myself battling a zit on my face of epic proportions. At least, what I thought was a zit... 

The zit to the right of my mouth, not the one by my nose...

After very little sleep, I woke up the next day to head to the airport, my "zit" was even angrier. As my face throbbed, I found myself seated on the plane next to a guy who was a real butthole. I strongly considered rubbing my new-found friend on him, but somehow managed to refrain.

Once I landed, I checked into my hotel and immediately took my jaunty new accessory to a work event filled with incredibly important people--and me. After I had thoroughly grossed out enough people, I headed back to my room to eat room service and sleep. As my crater-like companion lay precariously close to the corner of my mouth and produced the pain of 20 unmedicated childbirths, eating was no small feat. Neither was sleeping. I slept with a frozen water bottle on my face to help with the pain. It didn't.

I "woke" the next morning to an even bigger and more painful pal. I had breakfast with my aunt and uncle, who live close to LA. I ate what I could and apologized for the state of my face, which was covered with more concealer than a toddler in a beauty pageant. 

All about that base...

After breakfast, I headed to another hotel where my work event was being held. I did what I could given my current situation and then headed back to my hotel to work some more. While working at the bar of my hotel, I remembered that my company offers telehealth services. Even though I was halfway across the country from home, I could get something to help with whatever the hell was growing on my face!!! Thank the 8 pound 6 ounce baby Jesus, right? Oh, no. Not even close.

The telehealth doctor took about three seconds to listen to my symptoms and look at my face and diagnosed me with...wait for it...herpes. Um, what? With what little use I had left of my mouth, I tried to explain to him that that was not the case for several medically-relevant reasons that I will not bore you with, but he remained unmoved. Thankfully, he did finally agree to prescribe me with a topical and oral antibiotic just in case. Ok. Hopefully we are making some progress. 

Herpes, obviously...

So I haul my half-dead self to the nearest pharmacy on foot, because I do not have a car and my expense report does not cover Uber rides for potential not-herpes medication. I arrive at the pharmacy and they have nothing from my doctor. Awesome. Super. Great, grand, wonderful. I sit in the chair outside of the pharmacy for two hours waiting for them to receive the script. They finally do. Phew, right? Again, not so fast. They can prescribe me the topical antibiotic, no problem. The oral, however, they can not. Because the doctor prescribed 800mg pills and they only have 400mg. They can just give me two of the 400mg pills for each dose, but the prescribing doctor is not responding. They suggest a sister pharmacy that is 20 miles away (in LA that is like 300 miles) but again, I DON'T HAVE A CAR. So we wait. And then wait some more. We call their line and each time we get an actual person, the line disconnects. Needless to say, I am in tears at this point. After I believe five hours of waiting, I give up. I leave with my topical cream and go sit outside of the pharmacy--in bum pee, mind you--and cry. 

While weeping on the urine-covered concrete steps outside of Ralph's, the telehealth agency calls. Not to help with the prescription issue though. They want to know how my experience has been using XYZ Telehealth. Seriously? SERIOUSLY??? I explain to the poor woman what happened and she offers to...wait for me another appointment. Whatever. At this point, I am out of options. While setting me up for another appointment with a new doctor, she asks me the preliminary question that every woman gets asked, "What is the first day of your last menstrual cycle?" I laugh and tell her, "Today, actually." She acts as if all wisdom in the history of ever has just been bestowed upon her and responds, "OHHHHH. That's why you're so upset!" 

I don't even have words for how these words at this moment felt. Let's just say it broke me. I was halfway across the country from home, alone, incredibly sick, starving, sleep-deprived and sitting in downtown LA at night in the dried remains of someone else's pee. And a woman just told me that the only reason I was upset was because I was on my period. Needless to say, I kindly hung up the phone and dragged myself back to my hotel to apply my antibiotic ointment and hopefully sleep away this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Sleep was even more elusive this night than the two previously. The pain in my face was unbearable. I finally threw in the towel at around 5 a.m. When I got up, I realized that things had escalated quickly overnight. My face was hot to the touch, I was feverish and my glands were swollen. Y'all I was fucking scared. 

How I woke up.

I started searching nearby urgent cares that took my insurance, let my team know I would not be at the event that morning and called an Uber. Once I arrived at the urgent care, I poured myself out of the Uber and into their waiting room looking half dead. But I had made it! Oh but wait. Turns out, even though I checked with my insurance before heading to this facility, they did NOT take my insurance. They took the brand and were a partner organization and all that, but for some reason they didn't take the arm my insurance was under. Fuck. 

So, while sobbing silently in their waiting room and making the poor front desk girl INCREDIBLY uncomfortable, I called my insurance and explained the situation. The sweet woman on the phone helped me find another LA urgent care that 100% took my insurance. So I called another Uber and headed to my second urgent care.

I arrive at a super sketchy looking building but at this point, I would let a back alley hooker treat me if they could just make the pain go away and ensure I was not going to die in LA. So I check in at the front desk and sit down. Mere seconds later, the kind receptionist informs me that they do accept my insurance, however they only treat WORKERS COMP cases, so they can not see me. I seriously can not even make this shit up at this point. She also relays that the doctor read my entrance form and saw me when I came in and based on my appearance and symptoms, suggest I head STRAIGHT TO THE ER!!! Cool, cool, cool. Also, remember, I don't have a car and am already two Ubers deep from my hotel. 

After searching my trusty info provided by the lovely-yet-ill-informed-lady I spoke with from my insurance company earlier, I call A THIRD Uber to transport my corpse from the workers comp urgent care to the nearest hospital that accepts my insurance.

At this point in my journey, I don't know how there is a single drop of moisture left in my body. I have been silently crying for like 12 hours straight. But by some miracle, I am still consistently leaking--and scaring the shit out of every single soul that has the misfortune of coming in contact with me.

Now, I want to take a moment to set the scene of where all of this is happening: Central City East, LA, also known as skid row. No, I'm not kidding. I picked my first urgent care based on (faulty) research on what insurances they accepted, their ratings and their location in proximity to my hotel (which was right by the STAPLES Center, which is right by Central City East). Central City East may be located in beautiful, sunny California, but its residents live in tents and shelters, rather than the palatial mansions inhabited by the Hollywood elite, located mere miles away. Central City East is a glaring reminder of the imbalances our society so easily overlooks. It is also not where you want to find yourself half-dead in need of emergency medical treatment, but I digress.

So after hours on this seemingly endless journey, I arrive at the hospital. After checking in, I am immediately escorted back to the emergency waiting room and seated between two gentlemen: one who is covered in blood and vomit, both new and old, and the other who keeps trying to give me his mail and then gets very agitated when I decline to accept it. Then there's me: open lesion on my face, haven't slept or eaten in over three days, and is openly weeping.

I get called back to a room where two nice doctors examine me and almost vomit ask me questions about my symptoms, length of illness, etc. They quickly inform me that my very angry zit is not a zit at all. Nope, not even close. It's a staph infection and an ugly one at that. The doctorly duo provide me with some bandaids and write me multiple prescriptions for enough antibiotics to kill an elephant. They then promptly deny my request for something for the pain because I look like an extra from the Walking Dead and they think I am a drug-seeking junkie--because I look exactly like a drug-seeking junkie. Touche.

Meth mouth?

Prescriptions in hand (fool me once, fuckers), I exit the exam room, remind my postal pal that I do not want his mail even though he assures me there is really, really good stuff in it and I need it, I pay the hospital $500 for their services and then walk to the nearby bodega/pharmacy. I shockingly retrieve my meds without issue, pop my first dose and decide to walk the almost two miles home from the hospital to my hotel. Because if I haven't fucking died yet, nothing is taking me down.  

After a few doses of antibiotics, I started to feel human again. I wrote a story about Staphanie, a smalltown bacteria with dreams of making it big so she hitched a ride (on me) from the Midwest to Hollywood so she could one day latch on to hosts the likes of Brad Pitt and Lady Gaga. Yeah, I had pretty much lost my mind at this point. I did a lot of really creepy laughing during this time. I then spent the rest of my work responsibilities donning a Nelly-esque bandaid on my face. 

Say it loud, "I'm from the Lou and I'm proud!"

When work was over, my friend picked me up in LA and we headed to the whale's vagina for a few days. During that time, whatever was living in my face decided it wanted out. And out it came. Whole. Leaving a giant hole in my face the size of a pencil eraser. It was hot.

This came out of my face. It is solid, like a bouncy ball.

So that's my tale of how I lived--and almost died--in LA. A telehealth appointment that yielded nothing accept the knowledge of where LA's homeless use the toilet and that Karen works in customer service at XYZ Telehealth, two Ubers to urgent cares that could not treat me, a third Uber to the emergency room where I made friends with a mailman, and a hole in my face you could fit your pinkie into. 

A hole...lot better.

Oh yeah, and I saw sea lions IRL. That was pretty sweet!

Me and Staphanie on a boat.

Man, I remember when getting a staph infection while by myself halfway across the country seemed like the worst thing that was going to happen in 2020... Oh, the salad days.

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Organize Your First Aid Kit and Medicine Cabinet

I have been on an organizing kick lately. Not because I am an organized person, but because I am a hot freaking mess and need help wherever I can get it. The place where we keep our first aid supplies and medicines is a friggin' dumpster fire of disorganization and it drives me cray. Every time I need a Band-Aid because I cut half my leg off shaving or nausea meds because children always be pukin', I have to dig for 45 minutes through bottles of expired ExLax and errant tampons. So I decided to slay the beast that is our pharmacy of sorts.

Target almost always has a deal that if you buy three qualifying items you get a free medical kit. Well, I literally about cut my damn leg off shaving last week so I needed a bunch of supplies anyway so I stocked up and got two free kits. I made one a kit for the kids meds and one a kit for wound care. I can't tell you how much this has saved me in the last week alone.

My Kids Meds kit has pain relievers/fever reducers, Pepto tabs, allergy meds, gas relief and eye drops for pink eye because children are disgusting. This kit came in handy this week when my son decide to start leaking from his facial orifices thanks to pollen and my daughter decided to follow up our trip to the circus by projectile vomiting cotton candy at 3 a.m.

My Boo Boo Kit has Band-Aids, gauze, ointment, medical tape and peroxide. Now I don't have to dig for everything when one of my kids decides to take a header off the couch or I try to de-sasquatch myself.

Thought I would share since these have been super useful in our house.

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK on Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Sorry, not sorry.

As a new year prepares to emerge, I have been thinking about what I want 2019 to mean for me. 2018 was a mixed bag. From starting a new job that has become less work and more calling, to helping a friend escape domestic violence that almost ended her life, 2018 was like that bipolar friend you had in college: unpredictable and filled with the highest of highs and lowest of lows.

But I have learned so much. Mainly, that I care too much sometimes and that isn’t always healthy for me or the person I am helping. Because I am a “fixer” and there are so many things that are out of my control to “fix”. And those situations leave me feeling frustrated and powerless, and the other party feeling judged and resentful. I have learned to put my own health and mental well being first and to sometimes let other people deal with their own circus and their own monkeys.

I have also learned to foster the relationships in my life that are healthy and not one-sided. I have taken stock of my friendships and tried to evaluate which ones are there because they are true friendships and which ones are there due to habit or feelings of obligation. My inventory found that many of the relationships I hold on to are not healthy. Most of which have grown that way from years of neglect of the good and support of the bad. Some of these friendships are worth saving and fighting for, others that are not. All will require change on both sides in order to rebloom and flourish. But my friendship inventory also opened my eyes to so many people in my life that are positive, supportive and genuinely invested in our relationship. These were often the friendships that were easily overlooked. Because they weren’t necessarily flashy or fun-filled. They were even, steady and strong. So now instead of just watering those friendships every so often, I am fertilizing them and watching them grow even stronger. Just like me.

Another thing that has to change in 2019: I have been hiding my happiness for too damn long. I never sing from the rooftops when something good happens. I hide it, underplay it and act as if my wins don’t matter. Because I don’t want others to feel less than or jealous if they are not as lucky. But I am not lucky. I am simply reaping what I sowed. Because I work hard, help others, do good wherever I can and live a purposeful life. I am the little red-headed hen. I planted my wheat, tended to it, harvested it, and baked some delicious fucking bread with it. So why am I not allowed to enjoy my tasty ass bread when it is finished? In 2019, ima eat the shit out of that bread and not feel guilty if your bread isn’t done yet. I’ll share my bread when I want to with who I want to. But I won’t ever feel I owe anyone a slice. Get ya own damn bread, chickens.

So for 2019, I am updating my resume.

Whipping girl, doormat and all around person you can use to take your shit out on whenever you feel like it with no rhyme, reason or apologies.

Selective, but supportive friend.

Fun, fearless and unapologetic about her happiness.

Bring it, 2019.

So how about you? What changes are you going to make in 2019?

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Santa Brings Joy and Cheer, Not iPads

The holidays are officially upon us. A time of joyful anticipation for children and ridiculous amounts of work-and wine-for adults. I thought I would take this time to share with you the way our family celebrates Christmas.

I treat the holidays as a time to gather with friends and family over copious amounts of food, laughter and usually booze. For me, Christmas is a time to be together. To ice cookies and listen to rat pack Christmas albums.

I don’t do elf on the shelf because I don’t need Santa's little helper narc sneaking around my house in the middle of the night to teach my children how to act. I do that. And because I sure as shit don’t have time to remember to move that motherfucker errry. damn. day.

I also don’t buy my children extravagant gifts under the guise of them being from Santa. Santa only fills stockings at our house and he doesn’t fill them with iPads. He fills them with little toys and trinkets that the kids love--like Rubik's cubes and candy and nail polish. The Hatchimal that I had to go to three damn Targets to secure came from mommy and daddy. Because Santa's jolly ass fo sho isn't getting credit for that shit.

But more than just not wanting to give a mythical figure credit for my hard earned money and time, I am thinking of other families when I limit what Santa gives my kids. My kids go to a school where there is an incredible range of household incomes. Some children at their school may be lucky to get a few trinkets from the dollar store from Santa, while others get an Xbox and a literal pony. How do you explain to a child in need that Santa provided a family that already had so much with even more and that he provided them with so little? I have no problem with you providing your child with a Clydesdale for Christmas, but don't do it in the name of Santa. On second thought, if you have Clydesdale money, please just promise me that you will make a gift to charity that equals the amount you pay for the horse. Also, can I pet it? And maybe name it Sparky? And possibly have it pull me around in a cart shaped like a smaller horse?

Anyway. So on Christmas, we give our children very little from "Santa". And to be honest, not much more from us. My kids each get three gifts. All totaling less than $100 per child. Because my kids don't need more "stuff". They need love and support and kindness-all of which come for free.

So how do our kids feel about this? Happy. And grateful. I told them that I asked Santa to only fill our stockings even when he gives others gifts because we are so lucky with all of the love that we have in our lives. And they get it. And they spread that love and spirit of it's-better-to-give-than-to-receive to others.

I will step off my Santa soapbox. But I hope that some of you will join me in pulling back on Santa's reins this year. In the name of raising grateful kids, supporting kids in need and getting ALL the damn credit for that damn Hatchimal.

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Parenting isn't hard.

Parenting isn't hard. Now before you gather your mom friends and head toward my house bearing flaming torches...

Parenting isn't hard. Life is. Parenting should be a joy. But often that joy is suffocated by real life. Bills, taxes, marital problems, etc. Dropping our kids off at soccer practice isn't hard. The problem is that during that drive instead of enjoying our kids we are thinking about laundry and cooking dinner and... We can't focus on singing crappy '90s rap songs with our kids on the way because we are too busy worrying about the myriad other things we need to be doing in order to keep the wheels on the bus from falling off and our lives driving into a fiery pit of chaos.

And crying over spilled milk isn't a joke--it's an epidemic. Just ask any mom who spilled 8 oz of freshly pumped liquid boob gold. Or a mom that just picked her kid's sippy cup off the ground for the 14 millionth time today. In the long run, we aren't mad about the spilled milk. We're mad because we made another mistake because we weren't paying attention. Or because we yelled at our kid for an accident--or a pattern they have developed trying to get our attention. I've lost count of the times that I have completely lost my shit over something small. All because I am absolutely overwhelmed by all of the people/pets/things that I am responsible for in life.

What's my point? God only knows. I am generally so distracted by everything in life that I lose track of what I was saying/doing three seconds in. But sometimes I'm not. For a split second every once in a while life stops me in my tracks with something beautiful. My children playing together without guidance or fighting, a butterfly fluttering by, a check I didn't know was coming in the mail just when I needed it.

So what's my solution? I don't have one. Just a bit of perspective to stop and smell the sweaty soccer cleats every once in a while. Take a minute to laugh at being spit up on right before you have to head to an important meeting. Take five minutes out of each day to stop thinking about all of the flaming piles of poo that life is currently throwing at you and enjoy watching your kids throw all of the laundry you just folded into a pile that they can jump in. Hell, jump in with them. You are going to have to refold it one way or another so you might as well get some joy out of it.
If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

You boys like Mexico?

So we booked a trip to take the kids to Mexico for spring break. One of those all you can eat and drink and sunburn deals that has a kids club. I am equal parts excited and terrified.

As we prepare to embark on a vacation that is complete luxury and no necessity, I am reminded of all of the families that are fighting so hard to stay in this country so they can better the lives of their children. There is no difference between those families and mine.

Though my children reap the benefits every day of the latitude and longitude of their birth location and color of their skin, two things that mean nothing in reality but everything in the mixed up world that they are living in, I work to teach them to fight for others. Speak up for those whose voices can't be heard. Recognize their privilege and use it to change the world for the better.

If ever I thought raising an infant was hard, raising children in a time where I have to explain the terrible actions of a rich, white male with no empathy for those who are different than himself is so much harder. But I will continue to mold two people who will be selfless, advocates for others.

Please join me in raising a generation of amazing men and women who will make this world better with every action.

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Love for Orlando

If you're like me, the events in Orlando, both at Pulse and at Disney, have shaken you to your core. It is hard to not imagine one of the dead as your friend, or brother, or son. 

As a mother, I feel their loss deep in my soul. My legs feel weak at the thought of the friends and family who have to go on without those 49 people in their lives--a feeling I know all too well. My chest aches and burns for the parents who lost their sweet little boy right before their own eyes.

It is times like this where kindness goes farther than ever. To strangers. To your loved ones. To yourself.

Though we will find a way to move on from these tragedies, they will change us. But don't let them sour you. Make them strengthen you.

Take this sadness and turn it into something that betters the world.

Don't just embrace people's difference, celebrate them. See people as human beings, regardless of the color of their skin, sexual preference or religious views.

Tell your children you love them more. Hug them a little tighter. Read them a story even when you just want to close their bedroom door and relax on the couch with a glass of wine.

(Steps off soapbox. Pours said glass of wine.)

Ending with love. For all.
If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Bruce Wayne has had his first taste of blood…

So I guess the best way to start this story is to set the stage. Bruce Wayne is more dog than cat.
He likes to read books with the boy.

And bath time.

And...well...he doesn't seem to like this very much...

Example: when my husband came home yesterday after being out of town for the weekend, Bruce greeted him at the door, rolled over onto his back so my husband could rub his belly and then started licking my husband's hand for half an hour… Pretty much the only cat thing he does is watch animals out the window and squeak at them like a huge pussy. 

Well, this morning he finally filled the, "soon…" meme.

As we opened the door to head out for school/work this morning, a bird screeched like a fucking banshee and swooped over us all and into our fucking house!!! Bruce immediately came out of nowhere and pounced on it Matrix style. The bird managed to get away and fly through the living room and kitchen into the dining room. Bruce again sprung into action and pinned it down. I was amazed. My kids were a mixture of amazed and terrified...

Best comment so far: In his defense, it is the dining room.

As for the bird, I managed to wrangle him away from Bruce. I checked him out and though he was missing a lot of feathers, he seemed OK. Just stunned. Hoping the best for him but but let's face it, that feathered little fucker dive bombed my entire family and flew into my damned house. He is kind of an asshole bird and deserved to have a few feathers ruffled. I hope he lives though. mostly.

Bye Bye, Birdie.
Needless to say, there are fucking feathers everywhere in my house. And Bruce has a crazed look in his eyes as he has finally gotten his first taste of blood. I am somewhat fearful for my own life now. Though I feel like for Bruce this is the culmination of months of methodical stalking. It is sort of the cat version of a mic drop.

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.
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