Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why I haven't been writing

I have nothing to blame other than...lack of inspiration and lack of motivation. Yes, I've been busy, but that never would have stopped me in the past. I used to be on fire with my desire to write. I was constantly thinking of stories I could write, exactly how I would word them, etc. Maybe I hit a writer's block, I don't know. But since I'm not a "serious" writer, I don't believe in forcing something. I figured, when inspiration hits again, I'll write again. I have several old ideas for stories, but again, just no motivation or excitement at actually sitting down and writing them. Writing has always only ever been a hobby for me, so you may not see many stories from here on out. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be bit again by the writing bug in earnest. But for now, I'm happy to pursue my other hobbies and interests. As always, thank you for reading. :)

A Series of Unfortunate Events

I want to tell you the story of one of the single-most memorable events in my "diabetic life." I don't believe any diabetic has truly been initiated until they've gotten so low blood sugar that they passed out. (This in no way shape or form condones the getting-of-low blood sugar!) I would also like to meet a (insulin-dependent) diabetic who never had this happen to them. It only happened one time to me (so far).

I call this story "An Unfortunate Series of Events"
It was 1999 and I had been dating my soon-to-be husband Cale for about three months. I had been a diabetic taking insulin shots for five years. We decided to spend the afternoon at his house in Enoch. We talked and just hung out until we both were getting hungry for dinner. Cale offered to make spaghetti. Now the insulin regimen I was on was such that I always took my shot of Humulin R (regular) insulin thirty minutes before eating time. The insulin takes thirty minutes to enter the blood stream, therefore when we decided to prepare to eat, I took my shot 30 minutes in advance, so I could eat when the food was ready. Cale put the water on to boil and we decided to go outside and jump on the trampoline until thirty minutes had passed. This was mistake Number One and Number Two. Exercise makes blood sugar go low and it also can accelerate insulin effectiveness, and (Mistake Number 2) I should have tested my blood sugar before taking my shot in case I was already on the lower spectrum, which I didn't.

We jumped on the trampoline for probably forty-five minutes. Mistake Number Three. I think Cale's mother made up our spaghetti and told us it was ready. There was a table with chairs set up in their garage since the weather was nice so Cale and I took our dinner there.

I had my plate of spaghetti sitting right in front of me and Cale kept going in and out of the house to get forks, drinks, napkins, etc. I just remember laying my head down on the table next to my plate. I may have even had spaghetti on my fork but I hadn't taken a bite yet. I remember laughing giddily, probably at something funny I thought Cale had said or done. I vaguely remember Cale telling me to eat my spaghetti. It was then I started to swim in unconsciousness. Unrelated images flashed in my reality: sitting cross-legged on the edge of the trampoline and leaning towards Cale who was standing on the grass.Wetness. Feeling like I was going to throw up.

I was trapped in a space that I will try to describe. It wasn't sleep. It didn't feel like a dream. I felt like my entire being and my whole body had been reduced to a single-celled amoeba.  I couldn't think, I couldn't recognize or reason or identify anything, I could only be carried by the wave of subconsciousness in which I was submerged, floating. 

The first thing I became aware of was an acute sense of panic which gripped me violently. My whole consciousness, my whole reality was one single sensation: the impending sense of doom. My body was trying to communicate to my sugar-deprived brain that something was seriously wrong.The periphery of my consciousness suddenly registered something within my vision. I sensed someone next to me, and I knew I was about to be injured, poked, lanced. I knew I did not want to have that happen to me.

My brain suddenly devised a situation in which my consciousness could make sense of, and this is the scenario I suddenly felt I was in: I knew something was severely wrong. Cale wasn't with me. He was in the house trying to help me. I was in the car, and the person with me was wielding a lancet device, gripping my dead, non-responsive fingers.  They were about to pierce my unsuspecting-finger. I couldn't let that happen. I suddenly regained control of my faculties and yanked my hand out of the oppressor's hold and yelled across their form, through the open car door, in the most urgent and loud voice I could, one word: HURRY!!!

Reality soon returned to me and I suffered nothing worse than probably many, many killed brain cells and some extreme embarrassment. Now, here's what really happened, as accounted by Cale, his mother Mary Ann and I believe Cale's sister Tyree. I absolutely recall nothing of this.

The Rest of the Story
I asked Cale what happened, and I remembered some stuff wrong. We said a blessing on the food, then I said dreamily, "I need to eat." He said, "Okay, go ahead."  Then I laid my head down. Cale, being a pre-pharmacy student immediately saw the red flag of low blood sugar. He told me to come inside and I situated myself in the kitchen, not far from the carpet of the living room. He brought me cranberry juice and commanded me to drink it. I did, he held the cup. I was still acting weird, but my eyes were open. Cale went into his sister's room and found her saved Easter candy. He brought the lot of it out to me and started peeling them and feeding them to me. Tyree discovered what was going on and got mad and said "That's my candy!" Cale said, "Well she's diabetic and she needs to eat sugar."  When she saw the gravity of the situation she was contrite and said, "Oh, okay she can eat as much as she wants to."

I suddenly said, "I think I'm gonna retch," then immediately heaved two times--not onto the wood kitchen floor of course--but onto the nearby carpet. Mary Ann does not recall me throwing up. Mary Ann was trying to call her pharmacist friend at the hospital. Cale was more concerned with bringing me out of it than anything else. Mary Ann says Cale took straight sugar and put it on my teeth or in my mouth, as I had become completely non-responsive. Cale and Mary Ann decided I needed to go to the hospital. Cale carried me to the car, by which time Mary Ann's friend said to test my blood sugar. Cale went back in the house to get his keys. Mary Ann found my tester kit and was just about to poke my finger when I came to.

Cale says as soon as I seemed to be conscious I said things in a groaning voice... "Euughh ohh, I do not feel good." I remember getting out of the car and sitting on the grass to rehash what happened with him. I remember asking Cale, "Did I throw up?" He seemed embarrassed to admit that I had. I then tested my blood sugar inside his house--I saw no signs of my "accident"--and my blood sugar was 35 or so. Normal blood sugar is between 70 - 120. 

After it was over I was incomprehensibly grateful to Cale. He had saved my life. I always considered him my Guardian Angel ever after, and I'm sure it helped solidify my growing feelings for him. He was so selfless in his behavior to care for me, not just during that event, and it touched me deeply. If I had been dating any other individual, who wasn't in a health-care major, I'm sure it could have been extremely ugly. There are just too many "what ifs" to entertain.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Curse of the Starfish Hook

For lack of anything better to write about, I decided I needed to get this puzzling experience out there.

I recently painted our bathroom in an ocean theme. I need a single towel hook that I can place at a level my seven year old son can reach to place his towel. So I went online at least four weeks ago to see if I could purchase a "starfish" towel hook. The internet is awesome--there were tons of starfish hooks for sale. I found one I liked and bought it. A few days went by and I heard nothing from the seller, no confirmation e-mail, nothing. So I tried to e-mail the seller only to have it returned with a "this e-mail does not exist" error. So I e-mailed Paypal, or registered a complaint or whatever to have them look into it/refund my money. I followed the progress on their (Paypal's) website and was notified that I would shortly be receiving a refund. Now, I did not purchase this item on any reputable website (aka Amazon or e-bay), but I did pay with Paypal obviously. Well, it took a week or more before I received my refund, but it did come. BTW I purchased everything in this story using a debit card only.

So, I still wanted--and needed--a towel hook, and there are so many cute and different styles of starfish hooks out there that I was confident I could buy another one. I found another no-name website that *looked* very clean and legit. I purchased yet again, another single starfish towel hook. I immediately received a confirmation e-mail from the company but it said "Unfortunately, this item is out of stock right now. We expect another shipment in 14 days. We will contact you when your item arrives." Out of stock!?? But.. you just told me I bought it? What the heck? Needless to say I was ticked, but decided I would wait for my hook to come in.  Better late than never.

Shortly thereafter, we had suspicious charges start to show up in our checking account. We often have charges that are labeled so bizarrely that we usually find out it was something we did actually instigate and purchase. So we ignored the first one. About a week later I went to buy printer toner and my card was declined. That was a huge red flag. So I went straight to the bank. This all happened the week of the 4th of July so things were just crazy and I wasn't being as good a watchdog on our account as I probably should have been.

The gal at the bank told me there were suspicious charges and they hadn't been able to reach me by phone. It just so happened that we got new phones in June and I obviously hadn't updated those with the bank.  So they had put a hold on our card. She told me two more charges of $100.00 each had recently taken place somewhere in Texas (the same place as Charge #1). I told her those definitely weren't us. So she issued me a new card and we put in the claim to have the fraudulent charges returned to us. Red tape, I should expect the money back in about a week. 

As I was waiting for her to do everything she had to do to take care of this problem for me, I asked her how it was possible they were using my credit card number to buy gas? She said something like "Not all websites are secure when you enter your credit card info, and some people are able to get in there and steal numbers, then they actually make a physical copy of your card and can use it like that." I immediately thought back to my two failed starfish purchases. Surely one of the two websites had been the culprit.

Okay, lesson learned, I wasn't going to buy anything from any website that wasn't Amazon or e-bay. However, I still needed a towel hook! And no, I was not going to accept anything other than a stinking starfish hook! So, I went onto e-bay and hunted down the best deal. Surely e-bay could deliver what I wanted. There wasn't a big conspiracy, a scam that all focused on the Elusive Starfish Hook? I had just had bad luck and this time, Third Time's the Charm, I would actually get my starfish hook. So, I purchased it, entered in my new card info into Paypal, and awaited my confirmation e-mail.

I kid you not, this is what the e-mail said:
"The item you have purchased:
NEW Park Designs Star Fish Single Hook Towel Holder 220815100100
Is temporarily out of stock, we have already ordered additional quantities.  We will ship as soon as the item is available.   Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.
We appreciate your business."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME???????????????????????????????????
I mean. Seriously. I have been hit with the Curse of the Starfish Hook. And yes, before you say it, I am just too lazy to hunt down on foot in shops where I live to see if they have what I want. It's just so much easier to purchase such a specialized item online--so I thought! I forwarded the e-mail from the seller to e-bay customer service and I'm waiting to hear how they handle it. What I cannot fathom is how companies, individuals, sellers, anyone, is able to actually put up on e-bay that they HAVE an item to sell, when in fact they do not. It boggles the mind! Will I never get my Mythical Starfish Hook? I'm too stubborn to settle on a generic hook. I know I could go down to Walmart, or Lowe's or anywhere, and get a plain old studded towel hook or something.

I got my refund for the $400-odd fraudulent charges. I ignored the 2nd attempt to purchase since they have my old card info, and I think they are the culprits for getting my card stolen. I mentioned my dilemma on facebook and everyone told me that if I paid through Paypal it most likely wasn't that website's fault. Paypal is like the Fort Knox of internet security. People posted many enlightening things on my page that day, and I thank each and every one of them for doing so. I learned that I need to be extremely careful about letting my card out of my sight (for example when paying at restaurants, etc.). I learned that most Credit Card companies have authentication steps and precautions to help defend against card theft.  And my brother-in-law astutely pointed out that paying with cash eliminates most of the problems associated with card theft. However, it doesn't help when trying to purchase something online of course. I am convinced The Curse is real. There's something the scammers have latched onto surrounding the allure of starfish hooks. I'm determined to outsmart The Curse.

Stay tuned to find out what happens next on The Curse of the Starfish Hook!

7-26-11 Update:
Received an e-mail from the most recent "seller" which reads as follows:
"Hello,

I just receive notification from the MFG, the Star Fish Single Hook is back order until September 15.

I will ship as soon as available, otherwise I will refund you money in full.  I do apologize the for the delay and any inconvenience.

Please feel free to email me if you have any additional questions.

Thank you,"


Needless to say I have requested the refund (though I don't believe I have been charged yet). So, it's one of two things: the manufacturer of all Starfish hooks, or perhaps I attempted to purchase the same exact one three times (I don't believe I did) are simply, in fact, truly out of stock at the moment. Or, it really is some kind of bizarre scam, which I'm leaning towards simply because this seller has less than a fluent grasp of English. Looks like I'm going to have to fashion my own homemade starfish hook. :/

11-12-13 Update:
I never succeeded in my quest. I gave up on ever attaining the Elusive Starfish Hook.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Comp died

My graphics card was acting up, freezing my screen etc, but for whatever reason we determined that it was the power supply that had gone bad. We sent it in for an RMA and I received a brand-new power supply much to my pleasure. Unfortunately, I inadvertently, unwittingly, included our three sata cables in mailing the old power supply back to the manufacturer. Whoops! Once I got a new sata cable, the screen was still garbage. Neither Cale nor I are experts at computer hardware, but we've both had frequent enough problems with our computers that we've been grasping the inner workings of computer hardware more. This last bout of troubles educated me more than any of the others. In short, Cale figured my graphics card had gotten fried when my power supply started to act up, so he bought me a shiny new graphics card and now my computer is back up! Hallelujah!

I have been aching to write during the past several weeks of my computer being out of commission, but I simply can't perform at my husband's computer. So now that I've got my medium back, I hope to have some more stories flowing soon. I recently attended our local Renaissance Fair and it was so much fun for me. It was truly one of the highlights of this year for me. I have always wanted to go to one but never really made it a priority. This year I made a petal skirt for it, got into character, the whole thing was great! My son even loved it. I'm always keeping a keen eye out for any experience that could be used in my storytelling--I definitely picked up some golden nuggets!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Trespasser Wake-up

This happened last night:
I was sound asleep, when I suddenly awoke with a jolt. I was trying to figure out what was going on when I heard boy's voices right outside my window. Our bed is situated directly under said window. So I knelt up and peeked between the slats of the blind. There I saw three teenage boys, drinking something from a can, and just shooting the breeze. Right outside my window. At 5:00 am. Boy's voices who are post-puberty are not subtle. They rumble and carry and these boys weren't attempting to whisper, although they were talking quietly. Two boys were facing away from the house, and one very tall one was facing them. He looked like a grown man he was so big. My first thought was, "What is a man doing out there?" Although it was dark, I could clearly see what they were wearing. They all had jeans on and t-shirts, but the tall one looked like he had a school crossing-guard vest on. I guessed they were around sixteen from what I could tell.

I attempted to rouse Cale, thinking he would want to know, and that he'd know what to do. He's such a deep sleeper that after a few gentle shakes I decided not to wake him. I could handle this myself. As it turns out, I have a long and rocky history with trespassers on our property. The river flows just behind our house. Unfortunately, we have no wall to protect our yard, so it is the thoroughfare through which all kids travel to get from the river to the street. I have been burglarized two times by kids traipsing in our yard. These boys were not getting away with this. So what did I do? I decided I was going to take their picture. I knew I could catch them completely by surprise. I got up, fumbled in the dark for my camera, checked that it was working, and then steeled myself for the imminent confrontation.

I slipped out the back door silently, and walked slowly but confidently around the corner, snapping my first picture in the process--no flash. My camera has been acting up so I just knew that would be my luck to have it not work tonight. I didn't care, maybe I'd get lucky. I kept trying to take pictures. The instant the Tall One saw me--he was the only one who could see me coming--he said "OH SH--" and bolted. Then he tripped and fell loudly. "Good job" I said. The second one half-ran as well, then paused when his friend fell, or maybe it was because the third boy just stood there. But I gotta give it to Boy Number Three. He turned and faced my camera as cool as a celebrity. He didn't flinch. He kept drinking his beverage and had an intelligent remark. He only stood about two feet from me. I said, "Thanks for waking me up guys." I heard someone, I think Boy Number Two mutter "sorry.. we're sorry."  Boy Number Three said calmly, "Yeah, sorry, we were just using it to come off the bridge."
"Our bedroom is right here, so if you could just please not hang around here."
"Yeah, sorry."

They all walked away. And I left. I didn't want to have to pick up the pieces of whatever was going on with the Tall One. For all I knew he was still lying on the ground. Finally, once I was back inside and the adrenaline started to slow, I realized the Tall One had gotten clothes lined--literally. Like I said, we've had a constant problem of kids trooping through our yard, so my father installed two lengths of clothesline attached to two steel posts a few months back. It was mostly to keep bicyclists out. Anyone on foot could easily duck through. I started laughing my head off. Serves them right for trespassing and waking me up. It confirmed to me that the boys didn't live in our neighborhood. They would've known about the lines, and also would have known that one house over was a fire lane path they could have easily used. There was no chance of going back to sleep after that, so eventually I wandered out to the Scene. They had left a can and what looked like a ripped portion of a wifebeater tank. The can was Mountain Dew. I guess the parents of these boys should be glad they weren't drinking alcohol at least. I was sure they were. One of the steel posts was ripped from the ground. I can't be sure if the Tall One caused that, or if he was tangled in it and couldn't figure out how to get by, and hence ripped it from the ground. The post had been driven into the ground at least a foot.

Cale thinks I should have called the Police, but I disagree. As mad as I am about being woken up in the middle of the night, and having people constantly in my yard, it seems extreme to think of calling the Police on the boys. I think they learned their lesson. Unfortunately, I only got three black photos with absolutely nothing discernible on them. But the boys don't know that. :o)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gall Bladder, Gall Bladder, Who's Got the Gall bladder?


This is a story I entered into the monthly writing contest in the Ambitious Writers group on goodreads.  I finally broke past my writer's block! :)
Disclaimer: This story is loosely based on true events. Names have been changed and no disrespect is meant to those referenced here. I have taken enormous liberties with the facts and this story should be viewed as fiction. Thank you for reading.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gall Bladder, Gall Bladder, Who's Got the Gall bladder?

If you’re reading this, then I am dead.

I was born in 1907 and grew up in Reno, Nevada.  I studied ecology, and worked as professor of ecology at University of Nevada, Reno.  In 1967, I penned the three laws of Ecology which made me famous on campus and in ecological social circles.  Each year on my birthday, the campus celebrated Thomas Henderson Day in honor of me. But this isn’t a story about the great things I’ve done nor the great things done for me.  This is a story about a single terrible thing done to me.
    In 1973, at age sixty-six, I found myself lying supine on a surgery table in Tehran, Iran.
I had brought my wife and daughter to live in Khorramabad, Iran while I worked under contract for the American government. The following is an account by my own hand of the events that transpired.

Chapter 1 - Surgery

The voices drifted to me through a thick haze of unconsciousness.
“There eet ees,”
“That’s not it.”
“...one of ‘ees kidneys out while we are ‘ere!”

Was I just dreaming? Everything went blank.

While I slept, demons haunted me. Doctors speaking foreign tongues loomed over my surgically sterile-sheeted body, wielding scalpels and forceps. They cackled maniacally as they cut away at my entrails. They pulled my innards out at random, holding them up to the light as proudly as a father of a newborn babe. They laughed sadistically, while one reached his arm up to his shoulder into my exposed middle. He pulled his arm out holding my heart, staring me in the face triumphantly, leering at me. I stared back wide-eyed, paralyzed more with fear than anaesthesia. The doctor holding my heart pumped it grotesquely for me and said in an icy voice, “I am going to make one million rials* on your heart.” He laughed madly, and my subconsciousness bucked against the dream, ending it.

*****

A heavy blanket of sedatives pressed on my consciousness as I tried to make sense of myself. I wanted to go back to sleep, but there was too much pain somewhere in my middle.  Should there be this much pain? It was worse than my symptoms before surgery. I could feel my heart racing. I’d never had surgery before, but my instincts told me something was wrong. The images of my nightmare flooded back to me. It had to be a dream, my logic reasoned, because the doctor held my heart. Yet here I was, still alive. A tender voice reached me through the fog.

“Tom... Tom sweetie, are you feeling alright? It’s me, Myrtle.”
Myrtle was grasping my left hand lovingly. I was afraid to open my eyes. I was afraid of what I would find there. I finally opened my eyes and looked at my sweet, unassuming wife. Her greying hair perfectly coiffed, her eyes still rich blue. Her forehead was wrinkled with worry. I wanted to smile and tell her I was fine. But I was not fine.
“Something’s wrong,” I moaned. “It doesn’t feel right.”  My words sounded slurred as they came out. I saw panic in her eyes. She smoothed my hair and forehead, trying to comfort me.
“I’m sorry, Tom, let me call a nurse.” She moved to go but I held her hand fast. She stayed.
“Dr. Ahari said you had to have lots of blood transfusions during surgery.”

I tried to distinguish fact, from dream, from hallucination. Anxiety crept over me. I wouldn’t forget the disturbing voices I had heard.
“That’s not it.” Something about one of my kidneys, “while we’re at it.”
Had it just been a joke? Had I blacked out before the laughter registered in my aural canal? If I’d been anywhere else, I would have chalked it up to the meds and hallucinations. I didn’t remember seeing anything. That was what convinced me it couldn’t have been a dream. I never had any dreams where I only heard and didn’t see. No, I decided. It was not a dream, and it was not a hallucination.

I’d been so ill before the surgery with excruciating pain in my abdomen for a week. Dr. Ahari, an Iranian surgeon, recommended having my gall bladder removed would cure my problem. Was how I felt now better than how I felt before the surgery? I wasn’t convinced.
Just then, Dr. Mehdi Ahari, my surgeon from Tehran, strode into the room flanked by nurses. His full black hair was combed stylishly, his skin the hue of a silky almond. His mouth was crowded by a thick mustache and beard. His light brown eyes met mine, appraising my condition.
“Hello Tom,” he said. “The surgery was a success.” His rich Persian accent made me have to work to understand him. “We removed your gall bladder. Unfortunately, you bled a lot and we had to give you blood transfusions. You’re running a high fever that is giving us much concern. Your vital signs are not what we would like to see. You will need to be fed intravenously until you are stronger.” I could hear the concern in his voice. My heart rate increased, an unshakable sense of paranoia gripping me. I knew this surgery was risky at my age, and it seemed all had not gone as planned. I had to know the truth.

I lifted my gaze to meet his. “I’d like to see my gall bladder, please.”
Dr. Ahari stared at me and blinked. I guessed none of his patients had ever asked him that question before.
“I’m sorry Tom? What did you say?”
“I want to see my gall bladder. Please bring it to me so I can see it.”
He stammered before answering, “O-okay, Tom, I will see what I can do.”
I sucked in a sharp breath as an acute wave of pain shocked me. I clenched my eyes shut.

“What is it Tom?”
“My middle, it hurts.” I said through gritted teeth. My breaths were coming in short and ragged.
“That is not good.” He said simply. He gave instructions to the nurse in Farsi. I looked up to see what was going on. She was filling a syringe with medication.
“Tom, we are going to sedate you so you can sleep. You may be under sedation for quite awhile until you are more recovered.”
“Thank you, Dr. Ahari.” I eyed him seriously. “Now, please see what you can do about finding my gall bladder.” He nodded and stepped out into the hall. The nurse plunged medication into my IV. I barely caught Myrtle’s, “I love you, Tom” before I slipped back into the mercy of unconsciousness.

Chapter 2 - Recovery

I opened my eyes, revealing my sterile recovery room, a blue patterned curtain drawn separating the next patient’s space from mine.
“Tom how are you feeling?” Myrtle was there, gazing anxiously into my eyes. “You look very pale.  Can you speak?”
I could hear the worry in her voice. I was still weak, but I felt monumentally better than before. I met her eyes and tried to smile.
“Hi, turtle.”
She smiled, her face softened with relief.
“Do you need anything? Shall I call the nurse? How do you feel? Dr. Ahari said to notify him the moment you woke up.”
“I’m okay. I feel better than last time I was awake. Did they ever bring my gall bladder?”
Myrtle’s eyes darted to the left as she stuttered a response. Uh oh.
“He ah, said he wanted to talk to you about it when you woke up. Let me go tell the nurses you’re awake.”

The mind-numbing pain in my mid-section had ceased. I could breathe easily, but my limbs felt like jelly. I was aching with hunger. I glanced down at my upturned arms. The crooks of both elbows were riddled with red dots and splotched with purple and brown, evidence of numerous IV’s. I turned my hands over, examining the backs. More bruising and tiny red scars.
Dr. Ahari entered with Myrtle.
“Hello, Tom,” he said in his lilting tones. “I am glad to see you are awake. How are you feeling?”
I groaned. “I’ve been better.” Myrtle took her place by my side, looking up at the doctor with concerned eyes.
He smiled at my perceived joke. “Do not worry, you’ve beaten the fever and your vitals are much better. We will need to keep you in hospital for observation and recovery for several weeks.”
A flame of fear caught in my chest.
“How many weeks?”
“I cannot say for sure, but probably about three more weeks.”
I nodded. “Doctor, can I see my gall bladder now?”
His expression turned from upbeat and optimistic to fumbling and regretful. His eyes widened as realization struck. He tried to recover, but it was too late, I had already read what he’d hoped to conceal.
“Eh, yes, Tom, about that, unfortunately, your organ was destroyed immediately after removal. It is hospital policy, I am very sorry.”

I ground my teeth, furious. My breath coming out in rapid spurts through my nostrils. I felt cheated and extremely vulnerable. I would never be able to confirm with my own eyes that they had removed my gall bladder. I was in a country I knew little about, was notorious for civil unrest, and had the strongest military power in the region. I’d be lying if I said I trusted Dr. Ahari and his assistants. It was outrageous that he couldn’t produce my gall bladder. I knew his excuse about hospital policy was just that--an excuse.

I spent six weeks in Pars Hospital recovering. I ate boiled chicken day in and day out. I never wanted to eat chicken again. I had to follow a strict diet the rest of my life. No fatty foods. No oil, no butter, only skim milk, lean meats. No more cheese. It was my own personal torture.

Chapter 3 - Discovery

It was fifteen years later when I made the Discovery. I was living with my wife back home in Reno. I was eighty-one, and my wife had been badgering me for years to get a prostate exam. I finally yielded. I abhorred doctors. While there, I asked my doctor--Dr. Horgan--if he could tell me for sure if my gall bladder had been removed. He said he would have to inject dye and take an x-ray to know for sure. I asked for the procedure.

And that was when I discovered it. I’d been right all along. My suspicions had been founded. My mistrust rightly placed.
They had never removed my gall bladder.
When I’d heard those unfamiliar voices speaking over my semi-sedated body, joking about taking out one of my kidneys, my self-preservation kicked in. My subconscious went on high alert. Somehow my consciousness filtered everything after that through my fiercely defensive subconscious. I suspected the doctors in Iran, but I didn’t have a specific reason why. The unknown I suppose. But that was a petty reason for judgment. My nightmarish dream during surgery--while fiction true--was a reflection of the physical realm taking place in my body at the time. Those doctors had truly committed a nefarious deed on me and my body translated it directly to me in a twisted, drug-induced dream.
And that’s when Dr. Horgan told me. I had never lost my gall bladder, but my left kidney had been harvested.

I stared ahead, eyes glazed over. Images raced past my vision of the nightmares, the recovery, asking for my gall bladder, Dr. Ahari’s face, the blue patterned curtain in my room, the smell of boiled chicken and khoresh stew. My ears burned. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dr. Horgan saw steam coming out of them. I was furious. I’d never felt so violated in all my life. I wished then and there that I could put Dr. Ahari under the knife by my hand. All that confounded chicken! The diet I had been restricted to for the last fifteen years. Was it all some big... trick? A farce? God playing a cruel joke on me? There weren’t enough words to describe my outrage. I must have appeared catatonic to Dr. Horgan.
I had been a victim of the mythical Organ Black Market.

*rial = Iranian currency

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Writers Block :|

Yep, I've finally hit the dreaded writer's block. I was explaining my mind boggling over this to Cale and he said, "Yeah, that's what's called 'the Wall.' Every writer hits it. Most writers give up when they hit the wall. What are you going to do?" That gave me good food for thought. I have several unfinished stories simmering, but I just have not been able to force myself to work on them. Back when I had "the fire," my mind was constantly writing the stories in my head, then it was just a matter of sitting down and typing it out in a coherent manner. Nothing of the sort has happened since the Perkins drama unfortunately. I don't think that's the reason for it, but it may be a small contributing factor. I am determined. I will press on. But I am too zen to try to force this untamed animal that is my writing. It will come out of hibernation eventually, and I will be here ready to lead it down the path to the plentiful garden. So, if you're one of the few who look forward to, and possibly miss my writings, I can only ask that you be patient, and possibly post suggestions on what you've done to get past your own writer's block.

I will conquer!