Friday, September 19, 2014

Dear Priya - Meet your Mommy

Dear Priya,

I meant to write to you sooner to tell you about your mommy but there were volleyball games and unicycle lessons and karate and vomiting and homework and lost hairbrushes, and clogged toilets fighting and giggles. And eleven loads of laundry.

See, this is what life is like with a family. It's loud and frustrating and hard and awesome and spectacular and wonderful - sometimes all at once.

Soon your mommy, Reena, will be so exhausted she won’t know her head from her booty*. But before she gets to permission slips and VID (Very Important Drama), she has to get through a few years of screaming, crying and poop. Er…um…just kidding. Those things might not end.

Here’s what you need to know. Reena is a strong, beautiful, smart Indian woman. She’s your salvation in the tanning department. She has a postgraduate degree, giant brown eyes and excellent manners. She looks pretty in every color – so will you.

Your mommy likes things organized. And neat. Really organized and neat. In fact, hold off on that walking thing as long as you can because it all kinda goes downhill from there. At least in the mess department.

Also Reena is a worrywart*. This means you will say but moooooom, everybody else gets/has/does about fourteen times a day. And it won’t be fair, because life is not.  And there will be a lot of VID in your life. I can't wait to hear about it. When Mom gets tired of it, you come see me.

Reena is traditional and modest, so please don’t think you’re getting away with those shorts, young lady. A cami is not a shirt, jeggings aren’t pants, and no – you can’t have a tattoo! Because Mommy says so, that’s why! She always looks lovely so borrow something from her closet if you need to. Class never goes out of style.

You’ll need to prepare for something weird that happens when you are in double digits – you will be horrified by everything your mom does. Nothing she cooks will taste good, and nothing she does will be right. You have ten good years to get in your snuggles before this happens, though, so hop to it.

I have a secret about cuddling.

It’s just as delightful for the mommy as it is for the kid being snuggled, and it’s the probable reason you children thrive as a species. Otherwise we’d have accidentally on purpose smothered you all generations ago.

Aunties are excellent airbags in case of a Mommy Malfunction. When Reena crashes, I get to step in
and shnoozle you myself. This is for her sanity and your safety.

I will never be as well-mannered as your mother or as organized, and I will certainly never be that tan. But I have it on good authority that I’m so much comfier to lay on than a mom. My friend’s son told me that when he was three, and he said it with such bliss and wonder that I almost forgave him for calling me fat.


I’m a little rusty we'd better practice snuggling this weekend.

Love,
Auntie



Booty – this is the cool way to say BUTT.


Worrywart – a person who loves you SO MUCH that they constantly imagine all the terrible things that can happen to you in this world and panic about it. Try not to worry, Priya, most of the bad things that you worry about never happen and the awful things that do happen weren’t what you were expecting anyhow, so you’re still unprepared. My advice? Learn to laugh. Laugh at yourself and laugh at life. Laugh with love, though, don’t laugh at other people and hurt their feelings.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Letters to Priya - Meet your Daddy

Dear Priya,

I have so much to tell you that it’s hard to know what to say first, but I think you need to know that life sucks and so do people.

You will get hurt and life isn’t fair and you will fail and you will basically never get what you want. People will lie to you, hurt your feelings and make you so angry you might bite them. Please don’t do this beyond age two, it’s really quite unacceptable but I totally get it. I may or may not have been a biter, too.

Your daddy will be so mean to you sometimes, you’ll want to scream. He will grumble and yell when he’s mad and he won’t always know how to talk to you, because you’re a girl. 

He farts a lot, honey. I mean – ask your mom…it’s bad. When you’re little you’ll think it’s hilarious but then it will totally embarrass you and quite possibly ruin your entire life because he totally won’t understand. Just be sure to ask for dance lessons, Priya, it’s the best revenge. Trust me. He won’t be able to say no and he’ll hate every second of it.

But your daddy split wide open when he met you. He croaked like a frog. They say ribbit. That’s what he does when he’s totally in love. He did it when he married your mom. He will teach you everything you never wanted to know about sports, and you need to pay attention even if you don’t like sports at all, because you will learn about teamwork. He will teach you respect and honesty and most importantly how to be fair.

Something else you should know about your daddy is that he knows how unfair life can be. He has had troubles in his life. He loves baseball and missed out on his last year to play it after a knee surgery. It changed his body, his friendships, and hardest to take – his expectations for himself. This means learning to roll with the punches.

He also lost something far worse than the chance to play baseball. In college he lost his best friend. Not lost like your homework that you don’t want to dig through your backpack for, lost forever. His friend was murdered, but we don’t need to tell you what that means just yet. All you need to know today is that it changed your daddy’s heart. He knows that life is fragile and that sometimes bad things happen to people even if they are big and strong and think they can protect themselves. 

This means you need to accept that your dad is always going to be the strictest dad in the whole world. It will be unfair and he won’t get it and your friends will ALL have nicer dads, but know this.

He loves you more than he knew it was possible to love.

That’s why he will be so terrible, awful, no good and very bad. Because it is his job to make sure you grow up into a strong, good, kind woman and he takes his jobs very seriously. And someday when you are old like we are now, you will know that everything you thought was terrible, awful, no good and very bad was actually pretty fucking awesome.

Love,
Auntie

Roll with the punches – this means that every time life doesn’t go your way, your job is to smile, laugh or cry – and then  move on.

Fucking – this is a terrible word that truck drivers and aunties use and you are not allowed to say it until you’re 18, except for one free pass that ought to be used at age two for maximum comedy impact. Auntie suggests you use it when you’re out in public with Mommy and Daddy.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Letters to Priya

Dear Priya,

You're a bitchalicious little diva already, aren't you?

I was trying to have a sleepover* with my friend Leslie and you totally screwed me out of a girls night. You wrecked my Sunday plans, too, also with friends. We'd been looking forward to it for ages, but don't worry about me. You kept me up until 4 AM and I haven't settled down since you arrived.



I'm going to tell you a secret, baby girl. I wasn't prepared to meet you.

See, I'm not well - that's why I talk funny - and I've had nightmares for months that the infections would overrun my system and I'd kick the bucket before you were fully baked. Given my certainty of my own impending demise, then, you can understand my shock. You came early and/or I didn't die!

And then....I held you.



My ovaries twerked**, my heart inflated like Goodyear*** and my eyeballs exploded. They were leaking for weeks (my eyeballs, not my ovaries), but you broke the main.  In fact, you broke a water main in your mommy's pants, too. Again with this diva nonsense.

So, I'm your auntie - the warm, squishy one who keeps kissing your nose. The bony pretty auntie is Reepal, but I'll just tell you now that I'm a better cuddler. It's the fat. You'll see soon, when your thighs chunk up and you wonder why we're all hugging you. 719 times a day.

I used to do things, baby Priya. I had a job and a car. And a fat cat (see above, re: cuddles). I even wrote a book.

Then I got sick and sad or sad and sick and I stopped writing.

I ran out of positive things to say, and Nana always told me that if I didn't have anything nice to say to keep my mouth shut. (Speaking of which, you should try keeping your perfect little mouth shut for a minute, huh? Give mommy a break for an hour or two?)

I've been hurting and hopeless and ready to summon Kevorkian lately. I have an infection in my body and in my brain and sometimes it makes it hard to see. Hard to see positively, and hard to see literally, but we'll discuss spontaneous blindness at a later date, perhaps over toffee**** when you're of age. Say, two?

All of this sad talk is merely to circle round to my point.

I guess I needed hope, Priya. I guess I needed some unabashed joy. I guess I needed a wild new love, and a place where I fit. I guess I needed a shot of happiness so pure that I got caught having a dance solo with the broom in the kitchen today.

You gave me everything I never knew I needed. I will give you my love, plus some glitter******.


Gimme back my heart,
Auntie Tricia



I have to start teaching you shit, so expect footnotes in all letters going forward.

*Sleepover - verb - a critical overnight event held semi-regularly to grout friendships

**Twerking - verb - a wildly popular and sexually aggressive dance move that involves gluteal seizures

***Goodyear - pop culture reference - a blimp, also known as a way to send a mass message that disappears in the prehistoric times before Snapchat

****Toffee - noun - coffee (as pronounced by your cousin Keya)

*****Glitter - family reference - we're big on jewels








Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Healthy: You're Doing it Wrong

So I wrote a literary masterpiece that won me a juicer. Pokey (my amazing acupuncturist) upgraded hers and offered her spare to the writer of the best poem. I wrote a rap about vomiting constantly and how juice would be easier to upchuck than food, and I was prepared to stutter-bust the rhymes on video if need be.

Of course I won.

I assembled it excitedly, envisioning a rosy healthy family toasting with our juice glasses before heading off to win a triathlon or at the very least a beer or bacon fun run.

Cukes from the farmers market. Spinach. Apples, carrots and pungent mint leaves. Beets and blueberries. Into the Breville it went and the girls shocked me by drinking green juice without being first strapped to a chair. I could practically feel our immune systems smiling.

Then we sat down to eat pizza and watch Big Brother 16 (which you can thankfully appreciate without seeing the first fifteen seasons).

This morning I juiced again. We experimented with different combinations and the girls even recorded their own custom recipes. At one point I caught myself sampling a blend and thinking it would be further enhanced by a shot of Grey Goose but then I remembered they are children and also it was eight AM.

Then the kids buried their pancakes in a veritable avalanche of Redi-Whip.

It's probably for the best that I didn't carry them and wasn't around during their critical formative years. I'm relieved that their limbs have already developed properly and I figure that their brains function to a level where if I stunt them at this point, they still have a shot in life.

I'll drink (juice) to that.



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Message from the Lord

I open my eyes to four little girls proclaiming their starvation. Pancakes, debate, dishes, philosophy, two snacks, four loads of laundry.

My right hip and knee feel like someone is twisting knives inside them, and I can barely walk.

"Can we go to the park?" They ask.
"Sure!" 30 minutes of peace and quiet? Don't mind if I do.
They return six minutes later because Little fell off her bike and landed in a mud puddle.

Commence load five of laundry and make lunch. Spill entire box of macaroni noodles on floor. 
Sweep and curse.
More debate, town gossip, proclamation that Zac Efron isn't even hot, dishes.

"Can we go back to the park?" They ask
"Sure thing..." 30 minutes of peace and quiet? Don't mind if I do.
But wait! Somehow during the three and half minutes they weren't eating or shrieking, someone spilled a bottle of nail polish.

They spilled it on the carpet.
And the tile floor.
And the rug.
And the door.
And the counter.

And even on the motherloving cabinets
It was like Jackson Pollock vomited hot pink.

Then the cat vomited hot brown.

Which to clean first?

I went for the nail polish and let the cat nibble at her homemade delicacy.

After cleaning barf and nail polish and various other bodily fluids and hazardous materials, I sat down to take deep breaths. 

Reclaim my inner zen. And - you know - check Facebook. Where this was waiting for me:


Very funny, God. Very funny.



















Friday, August 1, 2014

I Did Math and Threw Up

My brother is an accountant by life and by trade. As a child, he lined toys up and counted them. He loves spreadsheets and knows his bank balance to the cent. His small motor skills suck and the only thing he can draw is a baseball diamond - stick figure style and horribly out of perspective.

I colored a lot. I can do a kabillion kinds of crafts but I regularly screw up anything involving numbers. Luckily my bank balance is always roughly nothing which is pretty easy to remember.

It turns out his accounting degree provides more stability than my talents with scrap paper and glue*.

Today I did math and threw up, which is my segue to the latest edition of My Life by the Numbers.

SIX - The number of antibiotic prescriptions I have to pick up today and add to my regimen.

A SHITLOAD - The number of pills those prescriptions will equal each day. Cheers to hoping I can keep them down.

24 - The number of times I've moved in my life, and I'm doing it again in a few weeks. God Almighty, I'm sick of moving. Let us now pray that my man loves me as much as I think he does.

TWO - The number of times I've thrown up today and also the number of naps I took yesterday. Not bad.

NINE - The number of pages in the Function Form I had to fill out today regarding my alleged medical condition.

ALMOST NONE - The number of times I've blogged - or written anything - lately. Mostly I'm too depressed and or busy barfing or playing with the helping parent the girls.

$3234 - This is the price of a migraine that has you blinded, vomiting blood and thinking you're going to die. Mama Bird dialed 911, the (allegedly hot) firefighters came and revived me, and now I have the bills. For that price I should have been able see them and they should have danced.

So, yeah.

I did that math and then I threw up. The two may not be unrelated.

I have to put down my checkbook and medical bills and do good math for a while. I still laugh 17** times per day and I know I'm lucky to be so loved.

Soon I get to be a Party of Ten. Just me, my guy, his two girls, the cat, two guinea pigs, two hermit crabs*** and our Potential Dog.

And soon after that, Herm will be born. I will have ONE niece or nephew or niece****. And even though I'll be Crazy Auntie Tricia,  we know the kid will have fun with me playing with scrap paper and glue. My brother can handle the math.



*Not hot glue. I always burn my finger.

**That's an estimate. I lose count after three or four.

***We never know. They always look dead until they decide to waddle around for a minute and a half.

****Not that I'm leaning toward a girl because I really want to buy ruffle-butt things.




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Everybody Poops

The girls have wanted a dog for ages. Seriously - at least a year - which, in iPhone times, is equivalent to at
least three years. We spent a week up north and the resort owners have a dog.

All week we heard how great dogs are and what amazing dog owners they will be, so I decided to test them.

Enter Dozer.

Dozer is pretty much the best dog in the world. Calm, well-trained, doesn't bark, submissive.

The girls fell in love. Brushing him and throwing the ball, giving him treats and applauding his tricks. We went to the park, we went on walks.

Once a week here we have Poop Camp, which means cleaning the cat litter boxes and the guinea pig cage. We discussed family responsibilities, as they fought tooth and nail over who had to carry in the bag of guinea pig bedding. I pointed out that I don't even like their guinea pigs, but I help them clean that funky-ass cage every week.

"Then you can carry in the bedding," suggested one kid.

This was not how I imagined things. Instead I handed them plastic bags and began pointing out piles in the yard.

Much wheedling and bickering commenced. It was critical that the number of turds were fairly divided and negotiations turned tense. It went unnoticed that I matched them two turds to one. I even picked up the fresh warmies.

As they gagged dramatically, I reminded them that if we get a dog, this is something we get to do every single day. Steaming summer piles and frozen winter piles.

Suddenly their love for Dozer diminished and they changed the subject. "Let's go swimming!"


Dog Test Results: Epic Fail

I miss my imaginary future dog already.






Thursday, June 26, 2014

An Ode to SuperMoms

Let's go to the lake, I said.

Let's take the girls, I said.

It will be relaxing, I said.

As a singleton, going to the cabin meant laboriously packing the essentials: clothes, swimsuit, vodka.

As a pseudo step-monster, I've been packing for a week. An infinite number of tiny panties, bug spray, sunscreen, towels, goggles, books, puzzles, games, crafts and food. Oh - and a 79-piece first-aid kit that I expect to use in its entirety.

I made a detailed list of items each girl needed and told them to please go pack. When I came to check on them I was informed they had no clean underwear, their clothes don't fit and also, critically, does the cabin have wi-fi? Then the 11-year-old zipped the 9-year-old into a suitcase and called it a day.

We're at T-minus 48 hours and I'm fairly certain we're prepared. I have approximately two U-haul loads of shit packed. I just need to add the last minute items - food, meds, and the 412 items the girls will undoubtedly unpack tomorrow.

Yesterday I accompanied the girls and their mother to a dance competition. If you don't have a child in dance, let me explain: 800 squealing girls, 14 hours and all the glitter in the world. Seriously. There's a shortage now.

I marveled at how Autumn had come prepared for every conceivable issue - extra clothes, snacks, picnic lunch. She didn't even take Xanax (or if she did, she didn't tell me - or share.) She makes it look so simple. By the time we got home I was so exhausted I was seeing double and I slept until 2 PM today then spent the afternoon doing laundry and vomiting.

She? Got up this morning at 6 AM and went to work.

She is not human. She is SuperMom. And a kind one, at that. Normally Fridays are our night but she offered to take the girls so Paul and I could have date night tomorrow.

Date night will be amazing. We have reservations with the couch, party of two. I fully expect we'll both be sound asleep by 7 PM.

Because come Saturday? We're off to the lake...to relax.

I am not a SuperMom, or even a mom. I love those girls to the moon, but as I delve deeper into this world of parenting, I am constantly reminded that I will never, ever be as good at this as she is. Today I congratulated myself for finally figuring out how to tell their underwear apart - we just bought new ones and I marked them with a Sharpie. I was so proud of myself and it only took me a year to figure it out.

I just pray I can get through next week without causing irreparable damage to her two beautiful children.

Friday, June 13, 2014

What Could Go Wrong?

It's a sweet, sunny Friday in sweet, sunny Wisconsin.

This summer I'm helping watch my boyfriend's girls since he - you know - works. Both he and the girls' mom have full-time jobs and I don't, so I offered my dubious housewifely services. These consist of:

 - Refereeing and mediation
 - Spreading nutella and toasting bread (only the good bread)
 - Random somersaults with the girls
 - Cleaning various owies and praying no stitches are needed

Last night the girls called to ask if they could have friends over today.

Of course.


But then it hit me.

Four girls, ages 7-11...

Friday the 13th...

Full moon...

What could possibly go wrong!?

In 120 minutes we've choreographed and filmed four videos including American Idol auditions and a red carpet appearance, had two snacks and been to the park twice. It's 9:26 AM and so far there have been no casualties. I consider this a win.

Check back at 5:00 PM. I may be howling at the moon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

God is Laughing

Don't tell me God doesnt have a sense of umor

Monday I woke feeling lousy - as in, worse than my normal everyday lousy. Tremors, nausea. A few minutes in the sunshine and I brokw out in hives everywhere. Then the headache.

An ice pick behind my right eye triggered the vomiting and I like to do things in a big way. So I barfed so hard I saw stars and then passed out.

Vomit, rinse, repeat. Except I didn't rinse, I just heaved all over myself. And the floor. And the rugs.

Several hours passed in a fog on the floor and I wanted to crawl to my phone but fifteen feet was insurmountable.

Mama Bird came home and by then I was soaked in sweat and starting to convulse. She called 911 and I'm told that the firefighters were hot. "Hotter than Chicago Fire hot" was the direct quot.

I was blinded by my headache so all I saw was a brief glimpse of knees and suspenders. I asked Mama Bird later why the doctor wore suspenders. Nope, those were the firemen, though Mama Bird sad the doctor was pretty cute too.

God is laughing.

As I writhed on the gurney sobbing in pain I kept trying to ask why they wouldn't give me a muscle relaxer. After the first shot of Valium and muscle relaxants I apparently told the nurse I loved her and passed out.

Ten minutes later I was howling for more and evidentlly I was then max dosed on both Valium and whatever else they were giving me. It barely touched the pain.

I don't remember much more of Monday. I don't recall the ambulance at all and I wasn't really coherent until pretty late.

I remember begging God to let me die.

I remember my mom rubbing my contorting muscles and Paul holding my thorbbing hand.

And I remember that they told me the spinal tap would hurt so much but it was kitten kisses compared to the pain of Lyme diesase.

God is laughing.

It's been 36 hours and I can finally open my eyes with no sunglasses. I can see again but its blurry. The aftermath feels like I was beatn with a sledgehammer.

Diagnosis: Muscle Cramp

Because the doctors don't kno w what a lyme herx is? Because this is in my head?

God is laughing.

While I convulsed in hte bed begging for pain relief, the hospital brought in all the important forms. HIPAA and financial counsel - "Oh, you don't have insurance!?"

(I've been waiting on MnCare's paperwork for months and my COBRA ran out. That's half the reason I went off my Lyme meds. The other reason is they cost a fortune that I don't have and I merely throw them up anyhow.)

God is laughing.

This happened Monday.

Today is Wednesday and I already received a letter in the mail re: payment.

I bet my Muscle Cramp will cost well over $10K including my EMS limo. Thousands of dolars and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt. From what I hear the only entertainment on Monday was the firemen so of course I'd go  blind and miss it completely.

I'm two years into this latest bout with Lyme disease and I swear it's killing me. Slowly, painfully, physically and financially. For certain I thought Monday was my end.

My mom thought she was going to lose me.

We're not laughing anymore

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Self-Correcting

And as it always does, the world humbled me as soon as I pitched a fit. Some resentment squeaked out of my last post like a fart. 

I beg your pardon.

I was in pain and nauseated and crabby and frankly vile, and I pulled out some old photo albums to cheer myself up.

This was the first picture I selected for Throwback Thursday.


It made me laugh because, as always in the group shot, I was doing my own thing. In this case the thing happened to be batting my eyes at Anders. He lived down the street and sometimes we walked home from school together.

It was love.

Except that it was unrequited.

I saw this today and I'm so happy for him.


Photo: Lavender Magazine 2014
READ THE LOVELY ARTICLE

I'm proud we live in a world that is beginning to accept that nontraditional families are no different than traditional families. Some of them suck and some of them are really doing things right.

We have a long way to go but this article made me hopeful.

I have a nontraditional family, too. Don't we all? By blood and by marriage we are fishermen and bankers, nurses, academics, accountants and bums (moi). We are painfully white and nut brown. We are educated and not. We are strong and soft.

I'm a pasty Norwegian. My boyfriend is part Native American. He has two little girls, one a spitting image and one with freckles and bright red hair.

We're not blood.

They have a mommy, a great one, but I get to be part of a part of a bigger, crazier family now. A family of mom and Dave and dad and me and aunties and uncles and grandmas and grandpas and three cats and two guinea pigs and a lizard and hermit crabs and a bulldog. (No, not a bulldog. But I'm trying.)

Their girls know they are so loved.

I imagine Baby Hugo will grow up feeling pretty loved as well.

Thanks, Anders, for the pick-me-up. I needed a reminder of what's important because I have a lot of good in my life now in between the barfing. I ought to focus more on that.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fool Me Once

I haven't been writing because I mostly feel like crap. When I don't feel like crap, I spend my time with my loved ones before I revert to feeling like crap. Then I lay in bed feeling like crap and thinking I should be writing but not knowing what to write about that doesn't sound crappy.

Some of you have reached out to me in concern over my silence and you're sweet for doing so. Thank you. I didn't go anywhere.

I'm here.

I've just been terribly busy laughing and barfing and sweating and crying and writhing. And thinking....oh, but there is time to think when one spends 60% of life in bed. So much thinking.

I think I have reached the conclusion that I am a fool.

Stay with me, let's review some recent evidence.

It's been one year since Wild Bill picked me up on the corner with my belongings. He took me to get my PICC line installed. (Is that the word when they thread a tube into your heart? But anyway, he picked me up crying on the curb.)

This morning Wild picked me up on another curb but I wasn't crying. I was barfing. Luckily I am wearing this shirt today.

I cannot even make this shit up.

A year ago, I walked out the door a newly divorced woman with Lyme disease. I left behind the giant flat screen TV I'd won because...well, it would be mean to take it from him when he loved it so dearly and couldn't afford a new one of his own. This past year, while y'all helped me pay for my Lyme drugs (yeah - the ones I throw up on the sidewalk...sorry), you'll be happy to know that he too has made ends meet. Thank goodness I left him that big TV to go with his brand new Playstation 4...and new motorcycle.

I'm a fool.

But I guess at least I'm a kind fool instead of a mean fool?

I always say that I'm not poor, I'm broke. There's a difference. Poor sounds lacking, needy. Broke is just numbers. I live check to check on long-term disability insurance right now and reviewed my balance online the other day.

Four dollars and change - I was golden until my check arrived!

Except that long ago, I authorized a FIVE DOLLAR monthly contribution to the Human Rights Campaign. Which posted and threw my bank account in the hole.

For a buck.

And an overdraft fee.

I'm a fool.

But I guess at least I'm a fool who supports equal rights?

THIS IS MY LIFE, PEOPLE!

I do one stupid thing after the next.

I was never going to change the world with my brilliance, but this is getting ridiculous. Last night Mama Bird and I met old friends to catch up on our news.

Friend 1:  I'm beautiful and blonde and help raise my adorable niece and nephew!
Friend 2:  I'm so in shape I run 100 miles at a time!

Mama Bird:  I'm gonna be a grandma!

Me (wearing a broccoli floret in my hair):  I'm pretty certain I'm mildly retarded from the Lyme.

Mama Bird:  She's not kidding.

Then she said it...

Something I've been denying to myself since 2012...

But it's true...

Mama Bird: Neil told he knew her cognitive abilities were deteriorating. He now smokes her every time at Words with Friends.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Check Yoself Before You Wreck Yoself: A Springtime PSA

It's fifty-five degrees outside, perfect for a meandering walk or a bike ride. Perfect too, apparently, for
another day on my knees in front of the toilet.

It's been over a year since my diagnosis.

Thousands of shots.

Thousands of pills.

I stutter and tremble. I've pissed myself, crapped my pants, convulsed, seized, cried, drooled and I vomit more often than many people sneeze. At times I've been unable to grip a pen or to spell my name.

All because of an itsy bitsy filthy little tick the size of a poppy seed.

I remember crying in relief the day I got the diagnosis. Finally! An explanation for years of bizarre medical troubles. Finally! A path back to normalcy.

Because A leads to B, right? Diagnosis begets treatment which provides recovery. RIGHT? I'm learning that it's not that simple, especially when the infection has spread to one's central nervous system. After thirteen months of hardcore drugs my systems are exhausted, my bank account is zero and my improvements are modest albeit certainly appreciated.

I'm weaning myself off all the medications to give my body a break. I need to reassess. I need time to decide what's next. I was told that recovery is a marathon and I don't know which mile markers I've passed, but I'm sitting down for a bit on the curb.

As the weather turns warmer and you head outside, I beg of you:

CHECK YOSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOSELF

If you find a tick on yourself, proceed immediately to your doctor and do not pass go. Do not leave their office until you have a fistful of antibiotics. I wouldn't wish Lyme Disease on my worst enemy. Had I been treated initially, as a child, I might have been spared this hellfire. I can't change that but I can shout from the rooftops so it doesn't happen to you.

Actually, that's a lie. I can't shout.

But I can stutter and d-d-d-d-ammit, I c-c-c-care about you. W-w-w-watch for these tiny m-m-m-monsters.




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