Thursday, October 28, 2010

My mom was a librarian.

I'm writing a paper for my British literature class about John Keats. I can't read his writing, or even about his life without feeling moved to make my own pathetic attempt. Is there a less cliché way to capture the notion that he stirs my soul?

This is the first time this semester I've gone among the books in the library. I forget with every absence from this sacred place, how much I adore libraries. It's more than just books. There is something that also, to further the cliché , moves me when I'm surrounded by dusty tomes resting on shelves from floor to ceiling. I can hear the shoes slapping, pages scraping, pens scratching, chairs creaking and tenants whispering, but it is still silent, overwhelmingly silent. Reverently silent. My own body responds the hallowed ground. I breathe more slowly, more deeply, more quietly. Every step I take is measured and cautious, so as to not disturb what hundreds of thousands of authors have created for my special use and appreciation.

Have you ever thought about that? Every book in a library was written for you. I think if books had the run of the place they would jump off shelves and into laps, admonishing non-readers for their incredibly foolish oversight for not reading "The Masks of Keats" (or whatever it may be) sooner. Books are powerful, make no mistake. I can walk straight through a library without being much affected but the moment I pause and take a closer look, I'm in trouble. Touching a faded spine or sometimes just being sandwiched between two rows chalk full of books gets me. The very essence of the pages presses itself onto me. I feel it on the back of my neck, the inside of my elbows, and in that narrow space on the top of your foot, where your shoe doesn't quite touch. The only option left is to pick up a book and set up camp in the middle of the aisle, because doing anything less at this point, is a travesty.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Crohnie McCrohnsalot

EDIT: I will one day revisit this a more eloquent manner.

Oh hey, I have Crohn's disease (warning: there are some pictures, a few of which are not for the squeamish). That might sound casual but that's kind of how I live with it. Every eight weeks or so my symptoms flare and I think "oh yeah..." This isn't to say Crohn's isn't a big deal, I mean look at those can be a huge deal (e.g. stomach/colon/intestine removal, extreme diet change, bag for a stomach, etc). But I've been lucky, what can I say. I had great doctors that found it, found what drugs worked for me, health insurance to cover it, and I've been good for 4 and 1/2 years, ish.

I used to get infusions of Remicade (my personal miracle drug) every 12 weeks and the last month before my treatment I would start feeling terrible. When I couldn't stay awake during class, or even get to my morning classes on time, or would be late for work, (fatigue from Crohn's is a big kick in the teeth for me), or would regret eating because I knew eventually I'd have to go to the bathroom, I'd get frustrated that I'd acted so nonchalant the eight weeks prior. Then I realized the disease was nonchalant for the eight weeks prior, there wasn't really anything I could do about it. I wasn't about to wish for a more extreme case of Crohn's (I'm not that masochistic) so there was maybe the most troubling part of my illness: that I couldn't claim it all the time, because most of the time, there was nothing to claim.

But then, I actually got to talk to a doctor who made my treatments more frequent and now my bleed-through might be a few days, (which still suck, but it's better than a month) but nothing too extreme. Today I got my infusion at a new place, and it was good. The nurse was really nice, I was in a room by myself, the IV didn't start itching or hurting, and I just studied French for 2 hours.

So now you're saying "Laurie, get to the point." I guess I can't stop thinking about how lucky I am. Sometimes I almost feel guilty, people hear I have Crohn's and start gushing about my life, trying to alter potlucks around my "eating habits", and I have to clear my throat and say "actually, aside from the ridiculous financial aspect of this garbage, I'm 98% fine. Sometimes if I eat too much candy/ice cream/soda, it bothers my stomach, whereas before it didn't. ...Sorry." (seriously, I never got sick from excessive junk food before Crohn' was a mind blowing gift). I'm sure there will be complications later in my life (there just has to be...I'm just going to bank on it) and I should count all financial garbage (I keep saying garbage so I don't swear about it...garbage) as sickness enough.

But when I Google Crohn's out of morbid curiosity, and I see people with massive scars and attached to bags and listing their restricted diets, I just close my internet browser and sit outside for awhile.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I have this thing about heat. I don't know how to analyze it, so this post truly has no point, but here it is. Sorry for being gross. Also, this isn't an every day thing. Sometimes I come home and take a cold shower I'm so hot and open every window in the apartment because I can't stand the heat. But the experiences related below happen...I would say often. Often enough to write a blog post about it anyway.

In the summer, I freeze inside air conditioned buildings. For the first twenty seconds after I walk into the heat of the summer air, I feel fantastic. I walk for another twenty seconds, and I start sweating. But for some reason, I enjoy it. I start to feel like I'm doing something with my life, when all I'm really doing is walking to my car, to drive to Dairy Queen, to get some ice cream. Not that I did that everyday, but in general the point is that I wasn't doing any productive. The drive to wherever my destination was would also perpetuate this love of heat, sweat, and disgusting. I wouldn't roll down my window or turn on the A/C or even the fan. I'd just sit and stagnate in a sweltering five minute drive back to my apartment. I would start to feel beads of sweat form at the back of my knee and slowly collect then break and drip down my calf. I wouldn't move, I would just relish the feeling. I would feel the sweat collect on the bridge of my nose and my sunglasses would slowly slide down my face, but I never moved, I never touched anything. I just sat in my car, waiting for the red light to turn green. If I was smart, I'd try to claim this as making me appreciate the outside once I got out of my car. I did, to be sure, but I don't think that was ever the end goal.

Why am I thinking about this now? Because my apartment is on the 3rd floor of my building. I usually keep my door closed so I'm not eavesdropping on the Korean festivities that are never ending in my kitchen (LOVE roommates). The building is right next to a fairly busy road, that gets pretty loud so I try to keep my window closed. To top it all off, I'm usually on my laptop, which is literally on my lap. Have I changed out of my jeans or opened the window or turned off my laptop? Negative. I can feel my face flushing and I can feel perspiration forming on my upper lip and hair line and I'm just sitting here, with my eyes closed, for some inexplicable reason, savoring it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Against my better judgement

In every way possible, this post is against everything my brain is telling me to do (i.e. don't post this, run away). The hazards of late night blogging I suppose...Comments are disabled because I don't want to hear concern, and for the record I will state: I am in a very healthy, right state of mind, I promise. Literally, I will write affidavits signed in blood that I am happy and healthy, especially because I'm writing!

In futility I have looked for online writing communities (that would probably be more beneficial for feedback since my readers won't be family and friends) but haven't found anything promising. And, since I think this is the first really great thing I've written in awhile, it's going up. *deep breath* Don't think about the subject material, just appreciate how well everything sounds (if I do say so myself...)

Mind, let me write, let me think, let me feel, let me breathe. Oxygen fills every inch of my lungs and I wait, feeling the expanded tension so when I exhale...the sweet relaxation of exhaling...I know to the exact degree how wonderful it feels. With concentrated effort I let go of my shoulders. I'm not sure my shoulders relax even when I sleep. For some reason the limpness that ripples through my body brings tears to my eyes. I am weary, in body and mind and spirit. I am in isolation of my own creation. The acknowledgement is harder when the steps to evacuate are clear and precise and yet feel so impossible. The silence of the room fills my ears like cotton swabs, and aides my tranquil emancipation. My legs are dead weight, not unable to move but unwilling to move. Dry and raw, my throat is begging my hand to drop this pen and force my legs to move to get a drink of water. Unfortunately, my throat is used least nowadays therefore holds the least amount of sway. A glance at my watch reminds me of the hour and that prolonging returning to an empty apartment is futile. I will slowly pack up my things and slowly walk to my car and slowly drive home. I will lie on my back in my room and stare at the ceiling until I drift away into unconsciousness. Every night is the same.