The rumors of my…

You know about my broken ankle.  You know about my reliance on the kindness of strangers.  I’ll bet you didn’t know I spent almost a week in the hospital.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY MY PEOPLE.

I had pain in my leg, without swelling, and thought it was only related to my fracture.  Well, it turns out that it was deep venous thrombosis (coincidentally, Dr. Oz referenced this in the most recent issue of O Magazine as one of five pains you shouldn’t ignore).  The clot then broke off, with parts moving into both of my lungs, a condition also known as pulmonary embolism.  SCARY.  SHIT.

It’s no secret that I believe in taking care of myself and looking out for my health, but when I tell you that I TOTALLY took this minor break for granted is the understatement of the century.  I honestly believed that my shortness of breath was due to a cold.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, I had blood clots in my lungs, and I put some Tussin on it.  Thought I could let that Tussin sink down to the bone.  Is it funny now?  Only slightly.  Totally unfunny when I was panicking in the hospital.

I was admitted last Tuesday, and on Thursday, I suffered from what is called a vasovagal syncope.  It’s a fancy way of saying that I fainted.  It’s apparently the most common cause of fainting, but the reasons behind them are fairly broad.  Anything from being in a reclining position for an extended period of time, to to the sight of blood.  I lost consciousness (fortunately on the bed) was sweating profusely, and the coup de grâce?  Vomit.  A fuck-ton of vomit.

All this is to say that even I, despite my preaching, have a lot to learn regarding listening to my body.  Particularly since I’m more of a summer, rather than spring, chicken (shut your face).  Thankfully, I had the good folks in my life checking on me every day. I’m used to being on my own, so it feels good to have people concerned about me and my well being.  One of my sisters came up for a few days and helped immeasurably.  I’m grateful for having a support system and people who love me.

So now, I’m out of the cast and wearing one of those walking boot things.  My brace for my sprained leg has a spider and web logo, so I’ve decided that I’m a superhero for the handicapable.

I’m not out of the woods, and I’ll be on blood thinners for approximately 6 months.  Additionally, I’ll have to monitor this condition for the rest of my life due to damage done to my veins.  That being said, things are finally on the way up.  It’s close to summer, and though I’ll have to cut back on the sangria afternoons, I’m glad to be on the mend, and I’ll be back on my gym grind soon enough.

Smooches!

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Kindness of strangers

…And friends.

I know good people. There’s really no denying that at all.  I can’t tell you how helpful people have been to me, even if it’s just checking on me regularly.  That means a lot, you know.  My kids are very helpful and sweet.  My friends are making sure I have the things that I need, and my family is doing everything they can to make sure I’m taken care of from afar.  I’m sort of drowsy, but I didn’t want time to keep passing without acknowledging that your positive thoughts and prayers haven’t been most helpful.

Tomorrow I go back for more x-rays and another appointment with the orthopedist to ensure that I don’t need surgery.  Today was rough, and I have been achier, but you know your girl is gonna be alright.  Feel free to send me topics at wrecklessendangerment@gmail.com, and I’ll be sure to give you my two cents.

Love you guys.  And especially you.  Yeah…you. 🙂

The Price of Being Jaunty

Every day, it’s the same routine.  I catch the Red line, and sit in the last car because it’s closest to the escalator.  Then I bounce up the escalator, and traipse down to exit.  It gives me about eight minutes of constant motion in the morning.  Good stuff.  Typically, I don’t put on my glasses until I get to work, forgetting to actually put them on until around 10:30.

The reason I don’t wear my glasses until I get to work, is because I have astigmatism, and for some reason, my glasses fuck with my depth perception (I think that’s what it is) so wearing them, I have problems judging inclines, uneven ground, declines and steps.

But Wednesday…

I was looking sexy.  I had on my white linen pants, a canary yellow tube top, and a white linen overshirt.  The glasses stayed on (because, you know, I’m getting my “sexy bookworm” look on), I power walked up the steps, and I was in such a good mood, basking in all my sexiness, I went down a little faster than usual. And when I was almost at the bottom, I misjudged a step, stumbled forward, rolled BOTH ankles, and went down.

If you read anything I write for any period of time, my “fall stories are the stuff of legend.  My favorite is when I was taken out by a rogue pothole in front of Club Utopia on Bourbon St.  These stories all end with me popping back up in a fit of laughter.  So naturally, I tried to pop right back up and my ankles said “AW! HELL! NAW!”

I was already hurt and shaken up, and the pain in my ankles when I attempted to get back up was totally dull and strange.  So I cried, partially out of pain, mostly out of frustration.  Okay, mostly out of pain.  That shit hurt.  Ambulance is called.  I couldn’t get up at all, even with help, so I’m wheeled out on a stretcher and taken to GWU Hospital.

To take my mind off the pain, I joked with everyone. The paramedics, the folks in triage (Terrance at GWU is the bomb, and a Xavier boy, so we started talking about where we could find some good boudin), the doctors…everyone.  Oh, and the radiologist owes me a date to go dinner and dancing.  I think telling him “I know where you work” might be a bit much, but I’m thinking it REAL HARD.

The verdict? Right ankle: spiral fracture. Left ankle: VERY badly sprained.  My sexy ass: can’t walk at all.  Watching me scoot through the house and try to be inventive in getting around:  comedy.  Picture me at about 3 am trying to scoot to the toilet on my son’s skateboard. Epic fail in life.  Epic win in comedy.

I can assure you, scooting to the toilet on my butt was not on my weekend plans, but folks have really been helpful and I’m going to have the ill upper body strength.

Beware of my sexy.  It’s dangerous!

Keeping it Real

Okay, I’m pretty sure that Her Royal Flyyness Madame Dr. Tha L covered this topic in her blog,* but I don’t think it can be restated enough. *deep breath* How does one define a “real woman?”

Before your mind starts wrapping itself around existentialism, gender politics, and femininity, let me clarify that I am referring to size. Girth, junk in the trunk, thickness and obesity have long been conversation topics in this fast food world we live in.  Add on top of that, the fact that even our meat and vegetables are pumped so full of growth hormones, or spliced with God knows what, healthy eating has almost become a unicorn: oft spoken of, rarely seen.  Obesity is increasing at an alarming rate, and is directly linked to heart disease and Type II diabetes.  Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States.

Therefore, imagine my dismay when iVillage, an e-zine that specializes in women’s health and interests, sent me an email titled “Are Real Women Really the New Sexy?” The email implored me to “[r]ead one woman’s plea for magazines to stop putting these women on a pedestal as an example of ‘real’ women, and tell us what you think.”  So, I read before I came to any conclusions.  The writer bemoans the fact that the representation of women with curves are the likes of Christina Hendricks (who is a smoking hot chick, by the way), Beyonce and Scarlett Johansson, yet according to the Center for Disease Control the average woman is 5’3 and 164 pounds.  The writer went on to say that actresses are not real women, a statement which may well be another blog post in and of itself.

And you want to know what I think?

Well iVillage, I think you’re irresponsible, and I think your writer bitter, and quite likely a little pudgy.  Had she chosen to the path of due diligence, she would have found the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Adult Body Mass Index Calculator.  According to the calculator, a 5’3 woman that is 164 pounds has a BMI of 29.  The BMI of an obese person?  Thirty.  The average woman is overweight.  The average woman is 5.5 pounds away from obesity.  Two hot wings and a slice of pizza, and your DONE son!  The article upset me, because there are two issues at work.

The first being this:  there should be no awards for us, as a culture, eating ourselves into oblivion.  Obese moms make for obese kids.  It is heartbreaking to witness a child under the age of 8, barely able to catch their breath due to minimal exertion.  It’s criminal, it’s obscene, it’s lazy and it is not loving. You are not only stigmatizing your child socially, but also setting your child up for a world of health issues.  Before you criticize these “un-real” women, be honest and ask yourself if you are TRULY healthy and happy with your weight.  The actress Mo’Nique painted herself into a corner on her “skinny women are evil” platform, then suffered backlash from her sistren in backfat when she chose to put down the pie and pick up a carrot.  “But I’m HEALTHY,” she cried.  So, what were you then?  I distinctly remember you in the movie “Phat Girlz” (don’t you dare judge me *kisses*), railing against the evils of Spring Mix.  Oh, but now it’s okay, because you no longer feel like an outsider?  I understand it’s a coping mechanism, but help other women and admit that.

Second, criticizing women who are not overweight is hypocritical, because you are still projecting a negative body image.  If a woman is starving herself, yes, that is unhealthy and awful, but I feel pretty confident in the assertion that a Salma Hayek is NOT skipping meals (neither are her magical, life sustaining chichis).  Why is she not “real?”  Why is the plus sized supermodel (who is a size 12) not real?  Ashley Stewart, a purveyor of plus sized finery, starts at size 12 if memory serves.  And let’s go smaller.  My mother had four children and was a size four.  She also sewed for all four of us, cooked homemade meals every night, and made a conscious decision to abstain from excessive snacking.  Good luck escaping with your teeth if you attempt to tell me that she was not a real woman.  Some women have smaller frames than others.  Some have metabolisms that function at a higher rate.  None should be penalized for nature.  And there is also nothing wrong with a healthy work out plan.  The concept is simple:  If you take in x, you must burn y.  If you do not burn y, x will get all up in that ass…and thighs…and heart.

The refusal to lose weight (and I say this as an obese woman) is either due to depression, laziness, or in some cases, outright stubbornness (though rarely have I encountered a stubborn “Imma be fat” woman that was not combating her own personal demons).  Stop trying to prove a point.  What baffles me, is how some (not all) of these women who supposedly reject society’s notion of beauty, will spend extraordinary amounts of time and money on every other notion that doesn’t involve weight.  Shoes, cosmetics, hair, nails, clothing are quite often done to excess.  Don’t tell me you don’t care about society’s view on how you look; you wouldn’t spend an hour and a half getting dressed if you didn’t. Let’s get to the core of the matter.

Don’t let stubbornness or discouragement keep us from the road to health and well being.  I know it’s hard.  Weight loss is one of the hardest things I have ever attempted, and I’m a single parent.  I can keep my kids in line; keeping myself in line is a horse of another color.  I am an obese woman who considers myself to be beautiful.  But that beauty has NOTHING to do with how fat or slim I can be.  It is due to my heart, that I desperately want to keep beating for as long as I can.  So I plan to get busy.  I’ve only got one question, and it can best be summed up best by my favorite stoner Brian:

WHO’S COMIN’ WITH ME?

*For the life of me, I can not remember the name or estimated date of the post, please forgive.

“Plan your work…

“…and work your plan!”

I can’t tell you how often my mom said this to us.  Basically, the root of success is an organized and well thought out plan, accompanied by the tenacity to see that plan to fruition.  Truer words were never spoken.  What makes this  comical?  Bless her heart, my mother would not have known organization if it brought her lunch.  Dear Tree, I am your apple.

Point for point, I’ve followed in, and surpassed her footsteps:  notebooks with great schemes, ideas, ambitions; half-finished projects; meals no one would really enjoy, but they were new and different.  Yeah.  And now I’m 33, the age where she’d given birth to her final child, and I want to kick it up a notch in a different way.  But the thing that gets me, and what may well have been the thing that got to her, is the blues.  When the blues hit me, I got it bad and that ain’t good.  There are days I just feel set adrift, and it’s hard to get my bearings.  The other part is, once you’ve created your millionth half-ject, and embarked upon your trillionth unfinished plot, the feeling of being overwhelmed is stifling.  Partially because, it’s not just a feeling – we really are overwhelmed.  Quite honestly, I know I have the ability to see myself clear of anything in my path – that ability just happens to be blocked by a million other things.  You can’t see the forest for the trees, the book report, the sewing project, the business venture AND that casserole you left in the oven.

So I’m reaching out to you guys:  What do you do to beat back the blues?  How do you combat feeling overwhelmed or even a little afraid of the notion that maybe you’ve bitten off way more than you can chew this time?  Or, how do you prevent yourself from being in the position where you are overwhelmed and spread too thin?  Being the come-back kid is great, but it’s also emotionally taxing, and I’m not so haughty as to presume that someone isn’t doing it better than I.  Feel free to share, and perhaps we can get a dialogue going.  When you take into account the times we’re living in, I find it hard to believe that I’m the only person who feels this way.

Let’s build folks.