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Day 584: A Breast Lift, A Drag Queen, and Another Birthday

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

I am lying on my back. She is lifting my breast. My breast is where it always is when I am lying on my back.

My armpit.

I don't remember ever having pert, dainty orbs. Mine have always been pro-gravity and um… casual.

[Question: Perky breasts. Real thing or urban legend? Discuss.]

The "sisters" are still fab though [and always ready for their close-up]...

Now, she is lifting my other breast - in an awkward way [which clearly is the only way] - placing sticky pads to monitor my heart activity.

“I see why grandma said always wear clean underwear in case you end up in the hospital," I joke with the nurse.

Nurse Gidget proceeds to chirp away - like we are at a coffee shop… all of her bras and panties match, she says. If she collapses in the hospital she wants to look great naked in front of her co-workers.

This is the most proactive thing I’ve ever heard. [Work it, girlfriend.]

If I ever end up naked in front of my co-workers, I will have reconstructive surgery, change my identity and move to Antarctica.

Nurses and doctors are rushing in and out of my curtained corner in the emergency room taking X-rays and blood and asking questions.

Honestly, I thought I was dying an hour ago…

Curled up in the fetal position on my living room floor, wishing I actually threw some of my bras someplace other than my couch, and dreading whether to call 9-1-1 at all.

I kept thinking I am fit and healthy and don’t need an ambulance.

But the paramedic was kind of hot in a I’d-wanna-do-ya-if-I-wasn’t-ab
out-to-die kind of way. [I know. Right? Focus… Chest pains. Ambulance. Blah blah blah.]

Anyway, that was so one hour ago, now I am lying in a hospital bed with tubes shooting from both arms - trying to think deep thoughts.

Assess my life.

Take stock…

Meh. My life rocks. Bored now. I wish I brought my iPod like the dude in the next bed.

I am trying to reach around and adjust my sheet to cover the entirety of the plastic, germ-infested mattress. [Hospitals are Disneyland for germs.]

Then, one of the heart wires pops loose under my sister and the heart rate monitor goes ballistic.

Why aren’t hot doctors rushing in like on the TV show – Grey’s Anatomy? [Alas, no man candy. What a jip.]

No really. No one came.

I press the come-help-me button over and over.

And then I wait and wait.

Finally, a different nurse - Nurse Apathy - shuffles in [clearly, so over the work thing.]

Normally, I love workplace apathy. It’s my favorite thing at work – aside from leaving.

“Can I help you?” she says nonchalantly - like she is a waitress at the worst diner ever.

[Yes, I’d like to order pancakes. Duh. Helllloooooooo.]

“One of the wires came loose for the heart monitor,” I respond [Am I the only who hears the loud beeping – coming from the HEART MONITOR?! Hellloooooo.]

“Okay. Let me tell YOU how to re-attach it,” Nurse Apathy says. [Sure. I don’t feel complete unless I am doing someone else’s job.]

After 4 hours of waiting, modern science had no answers. I did have low magnesium. But everything else…

Heart. Thyroid. Blood clots. Blood sugar. Embolism check. And the list goes on…

Totally perfect. [That's right?! This body is a vessel of luscious, fabulous yummy with rock star endurance. For real. So what gives?]

Sigh.

Maybe the intake nurse, Nurse Subtlety, was right. Her look of shock and awe at my admission of drinking 80 ounces of caffeine a day was over-the-top, but still...

And I hate the idea that mowing the lawn in a heatwave [okay, okay, I get it] or too much caffeine or not enough water or stress can suck the life out of my vessel of luscious, fabulous yummy with rock star endurance.

But I’m not gonna lie.

I quadrupled my coffee intake when I started my Master’s thesis. And just kept on drinking that sweet, sweet nectar from the caffeine gods to deal with stress and work and ‘cause I love it.

And I’m not gonna lie

Because I was drinking so much coffee, I decreased my water intake by 50% [about a half a gallon.]

Confession over. I don’t like confessions. Those were just the facts.

But I don’t do my own taxes or my dishes or answer email consistently.

Or confessions.

Here is my thing.

I acknowledge in a non-judgmental way. I tell myself I’m still fabulous. I get on with it. Next.

I find that confessions are so easily confused with self-flagellation.

And the same self-abuse I heaped on myself for decades just with a different intention.

I mean one minute there is the admission that a Number 1 Big Mac Meal was consumed.

And the next, there is talk of being on or off or under that stupid wagon while clutching a pillow and fighting with your cat about who’s gonna lick the Haagen Daaz lid after the pint is gone.

[Idea: Replace the “wagon” with a Toyota Hybrid? It is 2011. Discuss.]

I am not trying to undermine the gravity of the emotions behind getting in the Toyota Hybrid.

I’m just sayin’ every twist and turn in this journey does not have to be a cataclysmic event.

It’s [OTTA] over-the-top accountability.

When I first got my driver’s license, I was trying to be slick when pulling out of a convenience store parking spot.

[Just for the record, I am only good at driving slow and forward. I don’t pull into things or do that backward parking magic. Anyway….]

I barely tapped a car next to me. And I popped out of the car like someone stuck a hot poker up my bum. The door to the other car opened slowly.

And a teeny, tiny nymph of a woman got out. She was pregnant with an elephant.

When I saw the mountainous belly, I proceeded to burst into tears and sob uncontrollably. I was fully prepared to give her my house and call the police on myself.

The pregnant nymph consoled ME for 15 minutes.

That was me. Over-the-top accountability.

Translation: Inconsolably crazysauce when regular crazysauce would suffice.

Not to worry

With years of workplace apathy under my belt I have found a middle ground

But it does take a lot of not caring to find a balance

And even then…

Parts of the journey still suck massively.

There is a painful stripping away of all the things that just don’t work anymore

Because you’ve changed so fundamentally.

I mean people, ideas, things, and places that just do not fit.

And the stripping is like peeling off a thin layer of skin ever-so-slowly.

But like that fierce drag queen prophet, RuPaul, says: “If it didn’t hurt. Then you are not done.”

Word.

Today is my birtday. [Yup, 29 again.]

And I am lucky to say that all of the stripping away left me with a whole new me

And a support system that continues to challenge, lift and love me.

My friends now – on- and off-line remind me of the boundless generosity of Jane L.

I escaped my abusive household at 17 and slept on a friend’s couch for months. But then her mom said I had to leave two weeks before college started.

I had no family or friends or student loan money to help me.

I ended up in a homeless shelter in Midtown, NY. Even for someone who grew up with a sociopath that was pretty scary.

I sat in the student lounge at college for hours waiting for check-in time at the shelter with my bags piled next to me.

A grad student named, Jane L., just walked up to me, asked what was wrong, and then said I could stay in her apartment while her roommate was away. I could pay her $100 if I ever got the money. I am sure she knew the likelihood of repayment was slim.

And just like that, I had a place to stay [and it was nice too.] Taking a stranger into one’s home in New York City was/is unheard of.

But not for Jane L.

She was barely there. It was like having my own apartment stocked with food.

My life has been filled with unexpected angels like Jane L.

Teachers. Strangers. My friends here and offline. The family that I have chosen.

People always ask me why I write about details of my abusive past.

There are many reasons [most of which have to do with self-empowerment]

But also,

Because I want anyone who thinks they are alone

To feel that they are not.

That life can change in a split second

Sometimes you have to work hard for your luck

And other times it just floats – like a feather – into your lap.

That hope can take you farther than you dream.

And I have always found that

Where ever I am

I am always miles away from where I started.

And yes, there are angels.

That is the gift that was given to me.

That is what I want to give back.

Years after I graduated, I saw someone who looked like Jane L. on a crowded New York street. She was stunning in a trench coat and a short, trendy do.

I ran to her and tapped her on the shoulder.

She was shocked to see me – but remembered the girl she took in years ago.

I quickly pulled out my check book and scribbled a check for a $100.

She insisted that I didn’t have to.

Yes I did.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • v MISSFORTE
    Sorry I am late reading this


    Great blog, sorry you were in hospital and it wasn't like our TV shows

    happy belated birthday for 2011 and 2012! emoticon
    1339 days ago
  • v 1D1W1Y
    one of my favorites.....know you are busy with that last class....so patiently waiting....take care hotness with a Masters
    1547 days ago
  • v PEWTERBUNNY
    I just found your blog today and yes, it's awesome! Such a touching story. They should make your life into a Lifetime movie. And of course you should write the script!

    Lay off the caffine, crazysauce. emoticon
    1635 days ago
  • v CAROLYNINJOY1
    It’s [OTTA] over-the-top accountability.

    "GOTTA" Gorgeous! over-the-top accountability.

    Love your blogs. emoticon
    1646 days ago
  • v WILSON425
    Love your blogs. And Jane L. should be called SAINT Jane L.
    1651 days ago
  • v LUVMYCRAZYKIDS
    I agree with the hoards of others...your blogs are awesome. Are you a writer? You should be a writer in some way, if you are not!

    Bless you!
    1678 days ago
  • v FITKAT62
    I love reading your blogs.
    1678 days ago
  • v COLETTEISGREAT
    Amazing blogs!

    I hope you get the opportunity to be Jane L for someone else and change their life as much as she changed yours.
    1679 days ago
  • v JSGETFITNOW
    great blog
    1679 days ago
  • v TWEETYKC00
    Ok, great blog as always (like how could I not love it!) I hope that you can have a good relationship there. If I thought it would have done any good, I would have sent my virginity to you for protection just on your pinky swear alone! lol.
    1681 days ago
  • v TOMEETMYGOAL
    I just read this and it's awesome!! I'm a little late but I'm glad I stumbled into it. What an amazing journey. A very inspirational story, thank you for writing it!!
    1682 days ago
  • v SPARKLINN
    This blog is fantastic! I love it: "Over the top accountability with a side of crazysauce, please." "Will that be regular or inconsolable crazysauce?" "Oh, let's go all out for the inconsolable." "Comin' right up!" Thank you for making me laugh while relating to your humanness and admiring your fabulousness. Keep up the great work!
    1686 days ago
  • v STARSPIRALS
    Awesome blog, you are such a talented writer!!! I'm assuming that's what you are getting your masters in, if not you should. I stumbled across your page and I'm so happy I did. I can relate a lot to encountering struggles in your upbringing, but I too believe it's not healthy to relive it, but necessary to learn from it. You are very inspirational! I hope everything turned out o.k. after the hospital visit and happy belated birthday....29 is such a perfect age LOL!!! take care, Janet
    1696 days ago
  • v JOSI1959
    Love your writing style and thank your for sharing your story. I do hope you have backed off the caffine a bit, I really need to do the same but mine is tea. I too am in awe of you, where you came from, and how you turned your life around, you Go GIRL!
    1703 days ago
  • v LILHOBBIT29
    This is a lovely blog! I'd never read one of yours before! :) :) :)
    Dont stop writing! :) Take care and have an awesome week ahead!
    1705 days ago
  • v SKINDEEP24
    You're a great writer! I couldn't stop...no I did not want to stop reading it! Awesome

    1710 days ago
  • v BECCALULU
    Fan-freaking-tastic. Great writer, Teeny! had to leave a comment in order to subscribe to your amazeballs blog!
    1717 days ago
  • v KKINDE
    I love your writing style. You are a gift to all of us! And happy birthday! Thank you for sharing your journey! emoticon
    1717 days ago
  • v ADVENTURESEEKER
    Was a powerfully real post! Thanks for sharing!
    1727 days ago
  • v MERRIKATE
    Teeny, my love, I look forward with a grin to your first popular publication (unless you have some out there already, eh) and to seeing the film of your own inimitable screenplay. To-the-core Teenybrilliance -- the whole world need to share the power, wit and magick of your writing, sez I.

    Hope your cardiac scare has passed on by, and that you can concentrate on that miserable homework. Won't do it FOR you (no former teacher would go that far), but sure would gladly help for no pay beyond a few of the grand guffaws you seem to evoke with natural panache! May it go well, the dread stuff ... may it create knowledge and skills to please you mightily!

    HUGS
    emoticon
    1729 days ago
  • v MSCELIA45
    You're a Gem! The rarest of them all.........


    1732 days ago
  • v MVIEL1
    I loooove your blog! Thank you for sharing all you do. You give me hope and inspire me like no other.
    1732 days ago
  • v LUNADRAGON
    You are awesomesauce!
    Happy Birthday! and boy can I empathize with you about apathetic nurses. There are some that are not, but it seems the other kind stand out when you don't feel well.

    Get off the caffeine! Get back on the waterbottle girlfriend!
    Caffeine also dehydrates you!
    I passed out one summer after riding my bike, around the time I started drinking coffee - and cut it out after that!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1736 days ago
  • v DAISY443
    Giggles, tears, and most of all in awe of the wondersome of you!
    1736 days ago
  • v JANETRIS
    What a great blog post. So real... so emotional...where's the tissue?!? emoticon Thanks for sharing!
    1736 days ago
  • v SAMBIDEXTROUS
    I love this so much!
    1738 days ago
  • v SYLPHINPROGRESS
    The check you wrote to Jane L. was not only a matter of honor and a commitment you made to yourself, it was a gift to her spirit and heart. You first encountered each other at a low time in your younger life. By giving her the $100 years later, you let her know that she'd had a part in your moving on to make a better life for yourself. It brings to mind Carol Burnett's experience with a benefactor when she was an undergrad. To the best of my recollection, the story was similar in that he'd told her that she could repay some day.... She did and it was greatly significant to her.

    Now, to the big stuff. I'll bet you a Starbuck's that my underarms are lower than yours and my boobs travel the distance.

    Do you know that I went to a dermatologist last week for a look-over, not having done that in about 15 years? This was a first visit. Upon hearing that I'm planning on some plastic surgery after I get to goal weight, he told me that getting rid of the bags under my eyes will make such a great difference that I may be happy and decide against other plastics. What to do with input such as that? It makes for a particularly self-conscious rest-of-the-day.

    Am I supposed to say something about the chest pains you experienced? I suppose etiquette and auto-response require it of me: Glad you were told to go home and carry on.

    Laurie
    1739 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/20/2011 4:41:26 PM
  • v ESTEPHENSON2
    Well crap. Now I have to reapply my mascara. That whole Jane L story got me!
    1739 days ago
  • v SM-ARTGIRL
    I love what you said about angels, and how hope can expand your dreams Teeny.
    You Rock, as always.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1739 days ago
  • v 4AMAZINGME
    I love this blog. Thank you for sharing. You are such an inspiration. emoticon

    Rosi
    1741 days ago
  • v 4AMAZINGME
    I love this blog. Thank you for sharing. You are such an inspiration. emoticon

    Rosi
    1741 days ago
  • v LITHETHA
    the guy next to me is just wondering why I am giggling so much. Note to self:I have to stop reading your blogs in public.
    1742 days ago
  • v MSPOOH404
    After reading all of this (happy belated birthday and glad you're doing well), I'm stuck on the hot paramedic... emoticon
    1744 days ago
  • v GOIN4GR8
    Great, interesting, multi-topic blog post. Wow. I hope you are ok and that the only problem was over-caffeination. And how wonderful that you ran into Jane L. again on the street, AND that you paid her back.

    I think I would love to have you as a friend "in real life". I love your attitude, your outlook, and your spirit. :-)

    emoticon
    1745 days ago
  • v SFSU-GRAD
    Fantastic blog. You are hysterical and heart-warming. Love it!
    1745 days ago
  • v KARMA70
    Wow! I started off reading this blog lmao end ended in inspired tears!

    Funny, back in Feb I had almost the exact same experience in the hospital (down to the comment about the underwear). They couldn't find anything wrong with me either but I realized I needed to get healthy to avoid them finding something if there was a next time!

    One of my cats is also an ice cream (or any kind of dairy) addict and will come running from the farthest reaches of the house any time I have anything creamy!

    You are truly a gifted writer and I enjoy your blogs so much. I'm sorry you had to go through so much crap to get to where you are today but I'm glad there were people to help you along the way on your journey to awesomeness! Happy belated birthday!
    1748 days ago
  • v CHIEF_GEEK
    WOW, I just loved this blog! Thanks for sharing it with us.
    emoticon
    1750 days ago
  • v CONTENTCHRIS
    I saw that you had another good one up from our friend Cmunkle's page. It was indeed. Have a great week and I know you enjoyed your bday! emoticon
    1751 days ago
  • v PURPOSEPOWER95
    Happy belated birthday. Wow my girls have a conversation with my tummy almost. LOL. No to keep your dignity in the hospital. I guess they think we've seen them all before. Maybe but mine is mine and not open to the public. emoticon Glad you are ok
    1752 days ago
  • v MRSRUBLE
    HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY,
    emoticon I am so glad you are doing well. emoticon

    Angels are always wonderful emoticon and always share your story, you never know who else may need to hear there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. emoticon
    1754 days ago
  • v LORETTA24
    Happy to know you are able to find a way to smile through a not so shinny day. Personally, if my co-workers saw me naked I'd hang around just to look them in the eye (while smiling of course) and use it to get my way because of "their" discomfort (of course I'd feign remembering it ever happen if anyone tried to make reference which of course would again put me at the point of power ... after all I'd have to be unconscious or delirious to be in such a position). lol Life is not easy but we are what we are because of "not" what it is but how we respond to it. I'm certain that you brought great joy to Jane on that special day you found her again (I'm NOT referring to the unexpected $ either). Angels surround all of us and sometimes those around us are as if they themselves are Angels. It is a pleasure to hear that you acknowledge all of them. Stay safe and continue to find the joy in your days. Keep smiling sunshine. emoticon
    1755 days ago
  • v WHIRLEDTRAVELER
    "If I ever end up naked in front of my co-workers, I will have reconstructive surgery, change my identity and move to Antarctica."

    Well, ain't that the truth!?! I'll be in the next igloo because how could I ever live that one down if it ever happened? But I must say, your body IS a vessel of lucious,fabulous yummy, so I doubt your co-workers would be anywhere near as traumatized as mine would. On the perky breast rumor, I seem to remember perky breasts when I was around 16 -- certainly very much pre-baby.

    This blog is wonderful, written by a woman full of courage and awesomeness.
    1755 days ago
  • v PICKIE98
    "Life IS a job"

    _Father Guido Sarducci
    1756 days ago
  • v MARYONAMISSION
    Awww, Happy Belated 29th Birthday! I have no doubt you looked fierce and you rocked it! I'm also very glad there was nothing seriously wrong with you. This blog made me cry at the end. As always you have made me think and you have made me feel and you have made me reflect. That is why I crave your blogs like crack. You are just awesome.

    1758 days ago
  • v LIGHTHOUSE23
    I'm glad you made the call. Happy to hear you are doing fine- with your fabulous self. Sorry, I missed your birthday.

    I, too, believe in angels. I know they have been there for me...and so happy to hear that they were there for you, too!!

    Happy belated birthday!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1758 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/1/2011 10:41:00 PM
  • v PSILER
    Hope everything is OK. Had my own heart scare in May. Since then, I have eaten my way back to my starting weight 2 years ago! After my visitors leave next week, I am back to sparking. Great blog. I look forward to reading your blogs! Take care.
    1758 days ago
  • v FIT-AT-50
    WOW! I hope you're writing your autobiography. Wait! You already are, and we're able to read the chapters ahead of time. Thank you, awesome and inspirational lady!
    1758 days ago
  • v ONE6OH
    I look forward to your posts because of the inspiration and warmth. Thanks! Happy belated birthday and I am glad you are ok. Much love.

    1758 days ago
  • v REVSERENA
    Your fabulosity overflows!

    I love a woman who tells the truth.

    I am so glad that it wasn't serious and that you now know how to attach a heart monitor!
    1759 days ago
  • v OLDBLUESHIRT
    Thank you for your post
    1760 days ago
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