About Me

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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

the agony and the ecstasy


back in the land of all things hockey, i was a connoisseur of the TTC (the toronto transit commission), or subway, or the tube; also known as "the better way" to torontonians. not only was i riding it independently by age 9, but i worked for 2 summers as an underground custodian, (that's janitor to you plebs) to put myself through theatre school.

you see a lot down in toronto's middle earth. and i learned a lot, too. who knew sawdust was so effective in soaking up the vomit of the mind numbingly inebriated?  i even had my very own stalker, who frighteningly sent a letter of verbal diarrhea when i stood him up for a "date". who knew i could look so sexy in stained jeans, work gloves and steel toe work boots? apparently, blue collar was the new black.

but one of the most poignant moments took place on the eastbound platform at dundas west subway station.

most homeless folk are invisible. whether we look away or stare in judgemental silence, they are seen, but rarely acknowledged. but this woman commanded irrepressible energy. the stage was hers. quintessentially dressed a la "homeless"; ill-fitting, mismatched garb, her hair explosions of panicked tufts, and her scent. ah, her scent could have given those bathrooms i used to scrub a run for their money...


i cowardly snuck glances, until fully baring witness to this character. and i was enchanted.

the darkened tunnel stretched westbound, only to reveal an all too frequent occurrence. the eastbound train was stuck. 2 gleaming headlights tantalizingly frozen in the distance. so near. yet so far.

she shuffled frustratingly, dragging her slippered feet in endless circles. and we felt it. her agony. her pained helplessness and castrated power. and we felt this, too. the ecstasy. the hilarity of her overreaction. and the overblown melodrama when we pin our hopes on something so trivial.

there's a thin gap between humor and pain. most say it's time that bridges this gap. i say, it's truth.

["mind the gap"]

because all of us standing on the platform that afternoon, could recognize our self in her behavior. desperate, primal cries. the figurative stomping of feet (and in her case, literal). and our secret desire to have her courage to act the very same way.

today, i was giggling to myself over a particularly witty line from "glee".

[sue sylvester to mr. schuester: "ok, sponge hair, square jaw..."]

i was a little late to the "glee" party, but now there, i shut the party down every time. after artist (actress/writer), my dream profession would have been groupie (especially for mormon rock stars...that's for you, j!), but a very close second would have been singer.

god, i wish i could sing. i would never stop.

(this is not to say i don't. in fact, ask my husband. i sang along with gaga's new smash 9 times in a row before he begged me to stop....)

today, the anticipation in the ivanans-mcintyre homestead was electric. i was primed and ready to burst into song.

ring. ring.

"your creatinine is 4.3 (0.4-1.2) and your BUN is 61 (7-24)".

highest creatinine ever.

["send in the clowns..."]

ring. ring.

"this is cedars-sinai. you are a go. congratulations! kevin has been accepted as your donor."

["oh, what a feeling! we're dancing on the ceiling!"]

"but, we are very busy with transplants now, so we are hoping your surgery will be around april 5th. but we won't know definitively for 2 weeks."

["ohh-oh, we're half way there...ohh-oh, living on a prayer..."]


"the kidney transplant program at usc medical centre has been temporarily suspended. a recipient was mistakenly given the wrong cadaver kidney."

["just gonna stand there and watch me burn...but that's alright because i like the way it hurts..."]

this onslaught of information left me fetal, and triggered a generous flow from my tear ducts. we were so hoping for an earlier surgery date. and so, i seriously began to consider dialysis. would it be worth the painful surgery of a shunt, the thrice weekly, hour long commute back and forth, the hours spent in a hospital bed, under florescent lights; and the emotional toll of watching your entire blood supply slither through plastic tubing and mechanical filters?

[OR nausea, headaches, fatigue, pain, bleeding, diarrhea, sores...]

can i hold on?

["another head aches, another heart breaks; i am so much older than i can take...if you can hold on...hold on..."]

like those subway lights so beguilingly close, eventually our train will arrive at its destination. but, it's that damn metaphorical journey wherein we should thrive. so here's the compromise:

when sprawled, defeated, on my bed, tears of agony will fall...but, i will also sing in ecstasy from the top of my lungs...

[the agony and the ecstasy]

i'll sing...sing...sing...

for the subway. for my dinner.

and for me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

thursday, i don't care about you

yesterday, maggie decided to consume a package of fire starters. bugger.

although panicked, we had been down this road before. ms. daisy had once inhaled an entire package of laxatives before the rite aid bag even touched the floor.

[you ain't nothing but a hound dog...]

a couple of tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide later and my sweet basset was dry heaving with the committed gusto of a bulimic teen.

as, i crouched next to my convulsing hound, holding back those god-dang-it long ears, stroking her back; i felt love. and i missed it.

i miss feeling needed, valuable. i miss being a good friend. i miss being a good wife.

[although k. still got his valentine's treat...]

i'm emotionally broke. my every penny's spent on the energy required to swallow my pills, get dressed, eat and maybe write a little. swimming in affectional i.o.u.'s, and drowning in debts of disappointment; i want to refinance my soul...

it's confusing to recognize yourself, but no longer know who you are.

yesterday we went to cedars.

i have never been good in the morning. even one of my canuck besties, j, quoted my mother at our wedding; "henriette's really not human in the morning". classic. currently my definition of morning is closer to the blue-rinse crowd's dinner hour, but it's not so bad, really. so much can be accomplished with insomnia.

such are the perks of end stage renal failure.

so, i dozed, sprawled like seaweed, across the backseat. the annihilated los angeles streets a roller coaster ride of cresting bumps and cavernous potholes, tossing me back and forth across the jolting route.

but we laughed the the whole way there.

how none of k's jeans fit ("hi, i'm wearing clown pants"), how it takes me 18 minutes to climb a flight of stairs ("c'mon. c'mon. you can do it"), how dr. dauer comes up as dr."sauerkraut" on k's iphone, about the poster on melrose for "piers morgan tonight". lights...camera...piers! and our version: "lights...camera...douche! anything and everything.

[c'mon. what's the alternative?]

but, surfing the churning streets of l.a. hit me hard, and i could barely walk when we got to cedars. another perk of end stage renal failure, is that you don't give a flying fuck what people think anymore.

[goes along with turning 40]
collapsing on the floor, (you'd think there'd be benches in a hospital lobby!), i squatted by the elevators, head in hands, as kevin grabbed me some apple juice. once upstairs, i was immediately escorted into a room. lie down. lights out. wait.

but, soon enough, dr. dauer arrived and we weighed the legitimacy of nausea with renal failure, but not the cramping and diarrhea. so despite the massive cost, i am being switched back from celexa to sexy lexy (lexapro).

"but, hopefully, come april, you won't be on any of these".

could he have uttered sweeter words?

[oh, dr. dauer. my funny valentine...]

an image of myself wearing a weathered cowboy hat, chaps, packing heat, floated to mind. one by one, knocking off my 20 prescriptions bottles, clint eastwood style. and with a wink and a tip of my hat, i was drug free.

but for now, this is but flesh for fantasy.

i have been immunosuppressed since i was 13. there are no pig's kidneys being transplanted. no-one is drug free.


there is a very risky procedure being attempted in 2 u.s. hospitals (pittsburgh, massachusetts) where the immune system is completely suppressed before surgery. the donor's antibodies are introduced to the recipient's, and because there is no immune system recognized, they create a hybrid immune system, or chimera. in theory, this would mean, one day, you would no longer need medication.

one day.

but, today there is still good news. my antibodies are low. very low. which means i don't need the poisonous "anti-antibody treatment", rituximab, most multiple transplant recipients require. kevin is a 3 out of 6 antigen match, as strong a match as a sibling.

[nope. not touching the subject of my doctor brother; except to say, "first do no harm"...]

my hemoglobin was low. very low. 8.2 (low end normal 10.5). when i hit 7 during an inpatient stay, i needed a 6 hour blood transfusion. i am beyond anemic.

[i am ichabod-ette crane.]

so i got the shot. 40,000 units of epogin to be clear. 4 times the usual amount. hmmm...how to explain? getting an epogin shot is like a syringe full of ammonia shot through your veins. it's cold. it cramps. it's BURNS, and it goes on and on and on...
oh, and another perk of end stage renal failure, is that you get to strip for people you don't know.
tomorrow, we should get 2 calls.

one, from kevin's transplant evaluation team. hopefully, they've all snipped their cuticles (thanks, c!), cushioned their corns, or done whatever the hell was keeping them from showing up last week, and a surgery date can be cemented.

and two, dr. d will be-a-calling with my latest c.b.c (complete blood count), creatinine and clinical abacus of results.

[cut to: frantic gnawing of nails. oh wait, i have no nails.]

never one to shy away from the spotlight; tomorrow i'd prefer to flatline. no off the charts results, please. skyrocketing figures only bring me closer to "d-day"(dialysis). and that's the only day i won't embrace.

like the cure song insists,"thursday, i don't care about you"...

oh, but i do, thursday. i do.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

born this way

tonight, i slapped on some war paint and braved the streets of burbank.

i've never really cared for valentine's day. smacking of another pressure point The Establishment subtly manipulates; breaking us down into submission.

[flowers and candies and balloons, oh my!]

like the artificial amusement disneyland provides; a brave new world stripped of imagination and force fed archetypes. how does a large, plastic mouse spark any one's interest anyway?

[my guess is soma.]

give me greek mythology and grimm's fairy tales any day. tales fraught with danger. thorny plot points and characters unredeemed. leaving you emotionally cut and bleeding.

[f@*k cinderella...wow! you found my shoe!]

dump the plastic mannequins; saran wrapped and suffocated of any germ of creativity.

even at age 10, when i finally conquered disney world, my disappointment was palpable. zipping down the I-95, squashed between my brother and grandmother in our red hot, AMC pacer, my expectations soared...

[behold the peanut butter and jelly sandwich]

my therapist loves to equate the dichotomy of expectation and disappointment to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. one can't thrive without the other.

you've heard of eating crow...well, i've mowed down on a few pb and j's...

i remember the skanky smell of the endless, caved lineups, the model-esque actors masquerading as fairy tale heroes and the realization that cinderella's castle was an empty, room-less facade.

[what a crock.]

much like valentine's day. like so many milestones society dictates we celebrate; it holds little meaning for so many. what if you are single? never married? never want to be? never graduated from college? never had a child? don't want one?

there are many of us not interested in the provincial, conventional path society lays out for us...

h.s. graduation, college, marriage, house, career, children...it's a path many of us, including moi, refuse to tread...

[nej, tak. ellers tak!]

it's the "keeping up with the jones' " mentality...a mindset in desperate need of rewire...
guess what. we're all going to get old. we're all going to get sick. and we're all going to die. this is why i photograph myself in all stages of my personal hell. i'm not cynical. not pessimistic. and i want no pity.

[at some point, you're all going to join me here. so don't force a round peg into a square hole.]

it's the unexpected, not the coercion of ideas, that thrills the soul.

a dresser stood isolated, unattended to. jiggling handles. when like magic, they were mastered into submission. twisted into tight perfection. uberhubby had sprung forth into action; screwdriver in hand, mission accomplished. not a nagging wife in sight. i had never been so turned on in my life. and this is what reigns true...

the unexpected.

not engagement.
not graduation.
not marriage.
not children.
not valentine's day.

[that's all good.]

but, it's the moments of surprise. gasps of joy. flutters of the heart.

[bring it, gaga]

it's what i live for.

i already have his heart. and soon, i'll have his kidney.

so shoot me.

[i'm on the right track, baby...]

i was born this way...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

the big chill

"sweetheart. do you want to go to the hospital? you don't look so good. you're a funny color."

it's true. oh, how i have devolved from the peaches and cream completion of my youth. my visage a shade only to be described as "rhapsody in sulfur"...

today was a bad day.

the omnipresent headaches and nausea aside, i can no longer accurately describe my BMs as bowel movements. more like streaming. constantly buffering the toilet like a "you tube" video.

stop and start. stop and start.

[talk about your coitus interruptus]

and i'm cold. always cold.

1987. barely 19. mere weeks before my transplant, i would sleep until noon, or longer. anything to expedite the minutes before my mum arrived home at 5:40 pm. winter in toronto. cold. dark. gloomy.

[and that was my heart.]

but, my beagle, ralph, never left my side. molded to my fetal frame, we would sleep together, smothered under a mountain of blankets; electronic radiator blasting, along with the one already clunking away in the corner. smiling eyes, silly poses and first loves gazed down from the surrounding walls, but i only felt them closing in on me.

eventually, ralph would squirm, pant and jump down onto the ground. scarce inches from the bed. one eye always half-cocked on his charge; my canine custodian. half an hour cool down. jump back onto the bed. bury in bedding. pant. jump down again. repeat.

even as the rest of the country endures an historical deep freeze, my adopted hometown glories in an early spring. today from my bedroom window, i saw trees exploding with green, our lemon tree weighed down by boundless yellow fruit, and in the distance, the mountains of the angeles national forest. no tv. no music. birds melodically conversing. it was so beautiful...

inside: a washcloth on my head. tiger balm on my temples and a system saturated with pills.

[ah, but the weather inside is frightful...]

funny how history repeats itself.

2011. in addition to my comforter and blanket, kevin's heavy cotton robe, and the basset hound come furnace named maggie; kevin bought me an electric blanket. omg. fabulous. now officially my second favorite electronic device...

but, as kevin has reluctantly been steamed out of his own bedroom onto the cool sanctuary of the couch, shivers of sadness rock my spine.

must everything be taken away before you can rebuild?

[the ol' proverbial rock bottom argument.]

illness. irredeemable. why must anyone go blind? become paralyzed? why does a 5 year old get leukemia? but "what i know for sure" is this:

[i hate quoting oprah. it makes me feel so pedestrian.]

the only way to truly "be in the moment" is when you are sick.
it's a remarkable, twisted, painful gift.

people flirt with this unattainable state and experience glimpses of its possibility. but, it vaporizes with dreams of the the past and the fantasies of the future. present company included.

working so hard to get to the present instead of just being there.

we distract. with diets. from no carb to low carb to all meat to vegan. with exercise. from running to yoga to pilates to yogilates. with religion. from christianity to buddism to muslim to atheism. with aesthetics. from minimalism to shabby chic to feng shui to nouveau riche. with hobbies. from music to shopping to video games and friends. and with family. oh, family...

i used to be a compulsive list maker. i am crystal clear as to why. it was my way of cementing the past, controlling the present and planning for the future. but, i haven't touched them in months. because it's only when the final autumn leaves flutter to the ground, that the beauty of a stripped arbor can begin to blossom again.

and in no longer having any options, perhaps that's when my only remaining option can begin to bud.

living in the present wipes the slate clean. but your fears can once again begin to take shape. if you let them.

[i'm freezing them out]

i have an image of a hibernating oak tree; barren branches spidering across a gray, winter's sky. icy, but alive. ripe with potential for rebirth.

the big chill.

like the movie, where the beautiful people realized their past was frozen solid and not even the most righteous soundtrack could unthaw it, their big chill soon warmed to the present. a present renewed.

and as for my big chill.

bring on the cold. i am canadian after all. the frigid present, burgeoning with life. i want no past. i want no future.

it keeps me clear. it fills me with fear.

but i am fully here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

the curse of the unlucky hen

here's the good news.

today, kevin came back testing negative for opiates.

[uh, D-UH.]

here's the bad news.

too many employees at cedars-sinai were sick today and couldn't show up for kevin's presentation...grrrr....as my husband so eloquently articulated on facebook today, "i bet henriette is a lot sicker than any of them"...

another week may not seem like a long time to any of you; probably passes within the blink of an eye. busy with jobs and family and hobbies and travel. but in my world, time has become my albatross. a figurative weight anchoring me to the most mundane life imaginable.

bed. couch. bed. couch. its a daily dance i negotiate; craving even the briefest exhilaration change brings.

so i'll dance for another week. dance for a surgery date. dance for my life.

but everything looks good, save kevin's slightly abnormal ekg; but, ah, how false positives irritatingly reign. so how can i not adore a man who defines medicine as an art; not restricted by the "rules" of science, meant to be broken. textbooks constantly abridged and the evolving art of medicine discovered, not dictated.

[all hail dr. dauer. you must never leave me. ever.]

i miss my life.

i miss eating what i want. i miss exercising. i miss traveling. i miss hanging with friends. i miss me.

images that fill me with a searing melancholy.
but, these images i understand; those of the chronically ill...

it's an understated dichotomy, to be certain. at cedars i feel safe, protected, cared for. but, i incessantly squash a panic wishing me miles away. desperate to escape this land of illness and confinement.
after close to 30 years, i've never fully resolved the daily necessity for swallowing pills twice a day. since age 13, i've been popping pills. like clockwork, i swallow them with the efficiency and emotional detachment of a porn star. but there's no "happy ending" for me...
a few years ago, my mother-in-law gifted kevin and i with a "lucky hen". more accurately a mexican chicken, but now we're just dishing semantics. it was supposed to bring good luck; when positioned correctly within your home.

bring on: the crash of the american real estate market. the plunging of kevin's business. and my diagnosis of renal failure in february of '08.
cut to: opening of trash can. dumping of said hen. whew.

i don't really believe in these superstitions; but one can dream...

when kevin is finally "presented" to the transplant board next thursday, they should assign a surgery date. in 2 to 6 weeks. minimum.

you float in limbo; the chronically ill. from a distance, everything seems so attainable, but when attempted, your ego collapses souffle-like. flattened into humiliation.

and i'm angry.

angry that most of my days are spent on my back, with a heated pillow soothing cramps of nausea. never satiated. paralyzing.
un plateau du fromage.

it was my favorite thing to order in paris.

not only because it would roll off my tongue on a sexy, slippery slope; but because french cuisine was beyond sublime.

now i enjoy tomato and white bread sandwiches.

NO: beans
      broccoli, asparagus, squash
      sweet potatoes
      dairy (yogurt, cheese, milk, cream, sour cream)
      brown bread, rice, pasta

[and the beat goes on]

but unfounded hope ignites twisted desperation in all of us. so as a pseudo-gag i threw a ceramic hen into kevin's stocking christmas morning.
there comes a point in your life where you want to believe in anything. need to believe the impossible is possible. and if that means displaying a butt ugly, ceramic hen on my stove, i'm in.

[maybe l. was on to something...]

but those hens are fake. figments in a world of fantasy. unsubstantiated.

this hen is real. weak. yes. sick. definitely.

but unlucky? nope.

never a day in my life.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

the poppyseed conspiracy

310 423 3277

kevin's cell explodes. my heart stops cold. blood-a-tingling.

[possibly just my edema]

is this it? our surgery date confirmed?

kevin was walking in, mid shoot, with a client, as i mouthed the words "cedars-sinai".

reach and grab.

"yes, this is kevin. uh-huh. uh, no. well, i take tylenol pm at night...a multivitamin...".

as snippets of conversation floated frustratingly from his office, i did what any wife in her right mind would do. barged right in.

cut to: the titanic of my heart.

i recognized all too well that look of disbelief, infused with a dash of panic, spreading across my husband's face.

"well, i had a poppyseed bagel. i know that's a seinfeld episode. ok...ok".


"i tested positive for opiates."

of course. of course he did.

his case social worker checked with dr. fuchs (we like to call him something else) and although they are pretty sure it's a false positive, and NOT the poppyseed bagel, would he mind doing another test? so, naturally uberhubby and i climbed into our ghettowagon asap and drove over to the dicy looking, sun valley urgent care centre for a urine test.

[this was no cedars-sinai, folks]

look, i realize, it's a lot more exciting for them to believe that we are a couple of druggies. on paper, we're not looking too good right about now. first my june overdose on barbituates. secondly, my resistance to sign the outrageously vague and restricting abstinence letter. and now, kevin's false positive for opiates.

[i'm sure one day this will be really, really funny; but, right now no-one's laughing.]

of course, we have nothing to hide.

the painful irony is that kevin is a man who hates painkillers. riddled with shingles, which mothers testify is more painful than giving birth, he passed on both vicodin and norco.

"is there any way you can send this stat? i'm giving my wife a kidney, and if they don't get these results by thursday morning, my case won't be presented on thursday afternoon, and we'll have to wait another week".

seconds like minutes. minutes like hours. hours like days. days like weeks and one week like one year.

and with the empathy of an a t and t customer service operator, she deadpanned,


["please attach your own oxygen mask before assisting others with theirs".]

so with shallow breaths, tight chests and heads hung low, we scurried away.

absurd, really.

like the seinfeld episode where elaine begs mrs. seinfeld for her urine sample, because she has accidently consumed yet another poppyseed bagel, kevin could have asked anyone in the lobby for a sample. asked on the street. asked me.

[although hopefully he wouldn't have tested positive for menopause. yet.]

and much like an ongoing gag a sitcom milks for 22 minutes, kevin had a poppyseed stuck in his teeth the entire day of his evaluation. throughout every interview, the ekg, the radioactive dye and scan, he participated fully in spirit, but tight lipped in body; all tightly pursed lips and excavating tongue.

[but really? REALLY? of all the breakfast choices on that day. a poppy seed bagel?]

are we living in our own, personal sitcom? except our conflict, arc, resolution and tag ain't wrapped up in 22 minutes or less.

in fact, this episode wasn't particularly funny at all.

tonight. with limited commercial interruptions. a very special "How I Met Your Kidney"...

Monday, February 7, 2011

abstinence makes the heart grow fonder

last week, my friend, m, asked me if i ever crave fiorinol.

for those of you not up to speed, i overdosed on fiorinol last june, was admitted to cedars-sinai medical center, and k. convinced the e.r. psychiatrist not to 51-50 me.

[i hear, the more you talk about this stuff, the easier it gets. still talking.]

i told m. the truth.

[and the truth shall set you free]

the first time i migrained after june, (yes, once you've become a professional headache-r, like myself, all things noun become verb) i had a full-blown panic attack. all the literal bells and whistles. blinding lights, shaking booty and spinning top.

but, gone was my obsessive, insidiously possessive girlfriend. who cheated and lied her way into my heart like a bad, country song, but who i'd borrow clothes from and totally loved her hair.

[god, i miss her so much.]

i dreamed about fiorinol the other night. i took 2 pills from a huge bottle and immediately felt sick. withdrawal sick. i didn't want anymore, so i stored the bottle in our cabinets in north hollywood. i didn't take anymore and i didn't hide it, but i didn't throw it away.

sure, it was only a dream, but for me, this is progress.

they say timing is everything. so it's really no surprise that in the midst of all this, a request most apropos arrived from cedars. would i please sign an abstinence letter from the drug and alcohol rehab program? by signing, i would consent to abstain from all illegal drugs, all prescription drugs (not prescribed by my doctor), marijuana, all alcohol, nicotine and any over the counter medications (e.g. cold medicine) that contain alcohol? i would agree to random drug and alcohol testing, and if i did not say "how high", when they said "jump", i could lose my position on the transplant registry and be forced to return to rehab.

say WHAAA?

my first reaction was, "NO. absolutely not". how can i sign this?  how often will i get called? what if i can't get there? will they refuse me treatment if i have wine with dinner? how many years of random testing?

fluttery butterflies quickly spun into frantic moths; pricking my belly walls.

secondly, how can an institution hold me hostage within my own life? last time i checked, alcohol, cigarette smoking and medical marijuana is legal. i get it. in excess, it's not good for my health. but, why, then, isn't there an abstinence clause for donuts? surely the evils of refined, white sugar are up there with the reasons the health care system is overburdened with obesity and type 2 diabetes?

thirdly, not a one time after my overdose, was rehab suggested, inferred, mentioned or encouraged by the 2 psychs or dr. d.

so i mulled. realistically, i knew there was little chance this could ever be "enforced" or "policed" to any serious degree. this standard form, 90% of which did not apply to me, was clearly designed to secure their liability browser.

[and please, any addict worth their salt is not going to let a form letter stand in their way...]

but, i just couldn't sign a lie.

i, of course, recognize the terrible irony in "protesting too much". but, it wasn't having a drink i was trying to protect. it was having the choice.

at first, we were met with edgy resistance..."why, are you calling for henriette?"..."well, actually she is really sick now, and this is the last thing she needs"...

so there.

[i'll admit it. it's kinda great having your own personal champion.]

"well, that's fine for today, but she'll have to talk to psych."

so, she talked with psych. and psych didn't understand me, and i didn't understand psych.

it was like a flaccid game of frisbee. we kept throwing it back and forth to each other, but neither side was catching on.

"honestly, henriette. we've just never had anyone question this".

yes, well, you've never met henriette. (well, once. for 40 minutes.)

i'm the girl whose kidney transplant lasted 23 years when most last 7-10. i'm the girl whose never tried a cigarette, having bore witness to its devastation. i'm the girl who never got high off pot (barely attempted) because she doesn't know how to inhale. and i'm the girl who is practically drooling at the sight of her runners; fantasizing about the day when she can run 5 miles again.

and you're telling this girl she has to agree to never again, toast her husband with a splendid, italian white wine over sublime, katsuya sushi on his 38th or any future birthday?

"i don't know. maybe people just sign it hoping they won't get caught".

and then it hit me. HARD. they saw me as an addict.

and it hurt. because maybe they are right.

[jury is out on this one. they are in the back having a smoke.]

"i guess people don't really read it. everyone has just signed it."

it'd be kinda of patronizing to point out the obvious to a psychiatrist..."if everyone else was jumping off a bridge - would you?"...so, i let it slide. and finally, i felt it. like, new jeans worn on the second day, the fabric began to give, and we relaxed.

and so i consider it a small victory that i signed an amended version of the abstinence letter.

they say the eyes are a window to your soul. now, officially housebound, the television has become my window to the world. i find myself envious of the egyptian protestors. their energy and passion and the ability to execute it. truly. i get winded puttering around my house. resting between chores. i haven't had a regular bowel movement since december 17th. i am in constant discomfort. unrelenting headaches and crippling nausea. incessantly re-nuking the "magic pillow" my friend, a, made to keep me warm. it's heat the only buffer against the endless cramps and waves.
a surprising decline from last week. too fast. too furious.

so furious, that tonight, the "d" word is back on the table.

[spoiler alert: dialysis. to "d" or not to "d". that is the question]

so, m, it's not fiorinol i crave. i crave escape from this increasingly painful, uncomfortable existence. but, today, in fighting for power of attorney of my body, i was able to regain a teensy piece of my self esteem, my dignity. my soul.

["the spirit of the henriette" flies still.]

so, don't write me off just yet.

'cause i ain't signing shit...

["If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";"]