Friday, March 30, 2012

Power of Kindness

My daughter's BFF (Best Friend Forever) had surgery recently to correct her scoliosis.  The poor child has been in the hospital for a week now, and she's on pain medication.  In her case, there were no options - her condition was deteriorating quickly, and the doctors were worried about long term damage.

Well, Thursday night is library night at our house, but it was also the first night we could visit the BFF.  So we tried to squeeze both visits into a very narrow time frame. By the time we got to the hospital, the entrance on one side looked closed.

So we, along with another couple there to visit their relatives, turned around to find another entrance.  Just then, a very kind and big man came forward and said he would help us.  He said the automatic doors looked closed, but could be forced open.  Why not?

Next thing we know he's pulling the glass doors apart and we're walking through, as in the Red Sea parting.  How ominous.  This truly kind man then called his relative waiting in the after-hours medical care room to come open the final door to let us in.

Both my daughter and I, along with the other couple, were truly amazed at this man's kindness.  He used his strength and connections to help people he didn't even know.  I told the BFF's mother all about it, and we had a good laugh.  The image of pulling apart the doors was really too much.

But I got to thinking that G-d wants us to see things on purpose.  Kindness to strangers with no reward is the truest kindness of all.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bus Stop Revelation

I went to my future rotation site today to fill out paperwork and to generally get the ball rolling for the final nutritional confrontation - food service (the internship is divided into three rotations: clinical, elective and food service).  Hope I'm up for it.

Afterwards, I waited at another bus stop to meet VC and JJ for lunch.  It was a completely different bus line, I had picked up an additional bag from the site, and frankly, the book I was reading was so riveting that I lost track of time.  And my back pack.

That's right - when the bus came, I got on.  Along with my purse, my additional bag and my book.  But not my back pack.  Lucky for me I'm always fidgeting around with my stuff or I would not have noticed my missing back pack until I was in another city (that's easy to do in Los Angeles - there's hundreds of cities whose boundaries make no sense and you cross into without knowing).  

I jumped off the bus (the driver felt so bad he gave me a free return ticket) and waited somewhat impatiently for the bus going back where I came from to show up.  I started going through my mind what I had to lose in the back pack.  I had cleaned it out before my trip this morning.  Then I remembered: the volunteer forms that needed filling out.  I would look like an idiot if I had to replace them.

When I couldn't wait any longer, I started walking, and that's when the bus came along.  No where near a bus stop, I motioned to the driver to let me on, which she rightly refused.  So I continued walking, and was saved by a red stop light. I managed to cross the street alongside the bus and make it to the bus stop before the bus left.  The next stop is where I needed to get off.

And there it was - my back pack.  I thanked G-d immediately, promised who remembers what for the reunion, and waited for the bus to take me to lunch.  Oy vey.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

One Down, The Rest To Go

I cleaned up my daughter's room for Passover today.  That means something to people who understand the concept of "cleaning for Passover."  It means tearing apart every draw, moving away furniture, taking the bed apart.  You know, psycho stuff.

I must admit, 20 years of cleaning the house for Passover and it is getting a little faster.  Tomorrow, I take on my sons' room.  Now, this room, how do I describe it, okay.  How about: Hurricane Katrina.  Yes, all those photos you saw of the devastation, that's their room.

I have 4 boys in one room.  Correction, one 20-year old, two teenagers, and a nearly Bar Mitzvah boy.  We're not talking little kids with legos who might have left a few crackers laying around.  We're talking Category A slobs who won't pick up after themselves even if it meant facing a firing squad.

I know I sound like I'm exaggerating, but I'm not.  I might want to call my doctor and get myself some antibiotics, just in case I cut myself.  You never know what lurks in that mess.  In fact, better get to sleep early. It's gonna take all my strength to get the job done.

A Stitch In Time

I got the stitches (all 8 of them) in my face removed yesterday, all the while telling the doctor that he should have warned me what would happen.  When he felt around the scar for the first time, he was, indeed alarmed.

It appears that I had a major blood clot under my scar, the reason why my face was so swollen and I continue to be miserable to this day.  It will take weeks before my cheek is back to normal.

I looked at my doctor with a somewhat red eye and said, what?  It isn't normal to walk around with one side of your face black and blue, the size of a watermelon and your eye nearly shut after this kind of wound?  No it is not, he assured me.  I was the 1% that has this happen.

While it's nice to feel special and apart from the crowd, I just want to be like everyone else - cheeks the same size and eyes wide open.

It's Over, Again

Last final of the quarter is over, and I'm free to become a slave to house cleaning.  That's right, Passover is just weeks away, so I have to practice being a slave and clean my house so I can physically, and spiritually leave Egypt when the times comes.  That time is a around the corner.  

So now my time will be split between cleaning my house for the holidays and writing my thesis. Unfortunately, I think I will enjoy cleaning my house more.  Sigh.  Deep breath.  It's all good.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Should I Stay or Go?

When I went to shul yesterday, my face, and the prominent scar slashed across it, became a real topic of conversation.  Some people don't like to hear the word cancer, it makes them nervous.  You have to call it something else, like they cut this thing out of my face, wink, wink.  Everybody knew what I meant and nobody could stop staring.

So today, this afternoon, I am invited to the bar mitzvah of a friend's son.  This is the third mutual age son we have in common, and it would be wrong to miss the party.  But where I didn't really care about my face before, now I'm a little concerned about how I look.  I need to make up my mind about it - the party is in a few hours. But it's a dilemma.  I will upset my friend either way - when she sees my face or if I don't go.

Okay, I'm going.  Wow, writing things out really does help.  I should do this more often.  Like with my thesis.

Happy Birthday VC!

Just a short message to a very important person.  Happy Birthday - may all your wishes and dreams come true.  May we only hear of good news and glad tidings.  My you and all you love live long, healthy lives and bask in the glow of all your accomplishments. Happy birthday friend.  Thinking about ya!  Have a wonderful year, and a wonderful life.  Hope to be a part of it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Another One Down

Today marked the last day of Round 2 of three rotations on the road to becoming a Registered Dietitian.  It was a rather rough road, considering it was my choice of sites and I consider my preceptor a friend.  Just remember one thing: you never know anyone until you marry or live with them.  I would count as 4 days a week for 3 weeks living with them.

I survived, of course, but not without a few scars.  If I crumbled every time someone thought I was less than who I really am, I wouldn't be writing this.  I know my strengths, weaknesses, and how I score.  It didn't really match watch my preceptor thought, but what the heck.  Still love her.

I'm really excited that the swelling on my face is going down, I have oodles to write in terms of my thesis, and my house hasn't been touched in terms of Passover cleaning (we all eat everywhere).  So it's going to a busy one week that I get to do it all.

As the saying goes, shoot me now!

Just A Few Interesting Thoughts

This Tuesday morning I had surgery on my face.  Not that kind of surgery, although it would have been nice.  I had a basal cell growth removed from under my left eye.  The surgeon, a perfect candidate for a personality in-plant, refused my request to sew me up.  It was a small, round cut, and I didn't want to go to the plastic surgeon.

The surgeon insisted.  So by 10:30 am I was ready to go home (he used the MOHS system and got everything on the first attempt), but my appointment with the plastic surgeon wasn't until 3:15 pm.  With a rather large bandage in place, I went home by bus.

Oh my gosh, you would not believe the way people were staring at me.  Listen, I ride the bus a lot and you see all kinds of people.  One with a rather large bandage on one side of her face is not all the rare.  Later, the plastic surgeon made the cut twice as big and inserted 8 stitches a la Frankenstein, and insisted on no bandage. Once again, I took the bus home.  NO ONE EVEN LOOKED AT ME.

What a day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Swing Time

I know I write about bus riding a lot, but that's because I spend a lot of time on the bus.  Like last night.

Oh my gosh, the bus was jammed.  Standing room only, and the bell alerting the bus driver that a stop had been requested was broken.  So suddenly, up jumps this young black woman from her seat, screaming at the bus driver to stop the bus.  It was shocking, all of us packed in and then the screaming.

Well, this bus driver wasn't backing down an inch.  She was screaming right back, and those two were going at it.  The profanity was hair raising, and you could hear people quietly encouraging the young woman to get off.  

Well, I was really taken aback.  I mean, it's not an easy job to drive a bus, and here this woman was getting berated.  On the other hand, she didn't apologize and she didn't stop the bus right away.  She continued on, even though the young woman had demanded she stop.

Needless to say, I felt sorry for the driver.  But when my turn came to get off, the driver didn't stop either.  I yelled out to stop the bus, and the driver's response was something like, what's so bad about getting off across the street (from the stop).  I mean, hello.  Do your job.

I walked home thinking about what happened and what G-d wanted me to learn.  But all I could really think about was how I wished that young lady had taken a swing at the driver.  Somehow, I don't think that was G-d's message.  Oh well.

Today I Am A Crayon

I couldn't help but think about Franz Kafka's Gregor Samsa as I dressed up as a crayon for Purim.  Yes, that's right, a crayon.  A red one, actually.  My daughter was a purple crayon.  This way, people knew we were related.

Only kidding.  Last November, my daughter, sons and I went to Kmart, a local department store here, to pick something up.  It never occurred to us that Kmart was selling off it's stock of Halloween costumes for next to nothing, and when we accidentally came upon the sale, we went nuts.

That meant crayola costumes for my daughter and I, mustard and ketchup costumes for my sons (which they didn't wear), and a banana costume for what turns out to be a child.  I also got costumes for friends, including a young son and a dog.  If I had known a friend would get a second dog, I would have bought two of them.

So here we are, Purim night, after a long day's fast, eating everything in sight.  I'll just add a few minutes to the treadmill tomorrow.  I hope.