352: aromatherapy

Friday (4/29): My mailbox used to be overwhelmed by bills, flyers from local realtors, magazines. Now it’s full of referrals and orders for more tests. I look forward to Thursdays, because that’s when I get The New Yorker. Fridays are better, as they bring US Weekly. My favorite thing to do Friday night when I get home is to start dinner and read US Weekly while I stand, leaning against my kitchen counter. So I was a bit surprised Friday evening when I got home to find a large cardboard box addressed to me, sitting outside my apartment. I brought in the box and put it on the floor next to my couch. I found a pair of scissors and began to slice away at the tape.

Another cardboard box, surrounded by inflated plastic pillows to cushion it. The envelope which holds the packing slip tells me to open the box first, so I do. It’s an aromatherapy set, in an orange wooden box. A porcelain warmer, the top of which is concave in shape. That’s where the oils and water would go. A space underneath is where the include tea light goes. A few metal relaxation balls to juggle while heating the include oils – lavender, grapefruit, sweet orange. I open the card and it says “I am there for you. Maria.” I drop in some lavender and orange and fall asleep on the couch. I wake up in time to see a late showing of “Mona Lisa Smile”, which I enjoy thoroughly.

Saturday (4/30): Almost not worth recounting, as I woke up late (11:30) and didn’t do anything or go anywhere. Exchanged AIM messages with Maria, who was in a similar state in New York — not sad, but a bit under the weather. I tell her she should try to go somewhere, drink some tea and sit quietly, and she tells me she’ll consider it.

A friend called me around 5:00 but we couldn’t talk because of my crap cell phone reception. She sent me text messages instead while I convalesced and watched “A Cry in The Dark” on cable. Some of her messages are below:

“Why? we must be linked energy wise. i have been on the verge of tears all day – that is when i am not sleeping.”

“you & i are really the same person.”

“i would be sad if a dingo ate meryl streep’s baby, too.”

“I’m never going to to leave my baby with a dingo. i do not care how inexpensive his fee.”

I responded that I always believed that we were the same person, and that, never mind the dingo, I will never ever leave my baby with Meryl Streep.

Sunday (5/1): I finally see “sex, lies, and videotape”. I don’t see what the big deal is until I realize that Steve Soderbergh was, like, 26 when he wrote and directed this film. It won the Golden Palm at Cannes. It was nominated for an Oscar. I am 29 and have yet to finish, much less make, my manuscript for my top-secret project which will bring the filmgoing public to its knees.

Monday (5/2): Chiagoist.com shows the weather on its main page, and tells me that while it is 39 degrees Farenheit, it actually *feels* like 31 degrees Farenheit. I don’t think it would make me feel any better were the temperatures switched. I’m just saying.

I have my 2-D doppler and stress test. Another ill-fitting gown, only this time I had to get topless so I could let Bernadette the tech attach leads to my chest and abdomen. Or rather, the huge mound of fat where my abdomen should be. I am lead around a corner and down a hall to a dark room which is set up to run two tests at a time. Another patient jogs on a treadmill while Bernadette draws a curtain around what is now my side of the room. I lie down on the exam table and meet Brian, who is operating the equipment. He’s going to take the pictures. I have to lie on my side for about twenty minutes while he pushes something that looks like a microphone into my chest.

My heart appears on the monitor as trembling lines, pulsing chambers rendered in blue or pink or orange. The cardiologist comes over to look at the pictures. A nurse starts an IV of something called Definity so my heart appears more clearly. I try to bear it as Brian drops a section of the table away and pushes the microphoney doodad into my chest, into my breast, to get better pictures. It hurts like hell and the harder he had to push and grab the more I pull away, but I can’t pull away completely because he has to get the shot. The cardiologist steadies me, almost holds me down.

I feel like shit when it’s over, my chest hurting, and then I have to get up on the treadmill to get my heartbeat up really really high so I can then get back on the table and let Brian take more pictures. For a moment, I think of doing a runner. Instead, I do what they tell me — I run for 7 minutes at a very steep incline and I walk backwards when it’s over back onto the floor up on the table over on my side and ow. Thump thump thump. OW. Beat beat beat. UGH. Fucking hell. Fucking shit fuck fuck. It. Hurts.

It didn’t stop hurting until some time Thursday morning. Good news, though — my heart’s fine. I’m glad to know that I have at least one organ that isn’t damaged or scarred in some way.

Friday (5/6): I tell my boss about what’s going on with my health, and she is sympathetic. Though she does make it clear that she isn’t going to let up on me, because work will always be hectic, unless I ask her to. Which is nice, actually. I need something to be normal.

On Fridays, the company has lunch brought in, each week from a different restaurant. So today’s it’s really good Mexican — shrimp ceviche and these really delicious chicken enchiladas. The guacamole still has the stones in it, and I think of bringing some home for Kevin to put in water.

That evening, I go to the Chicago Brauhaus with Andrew, Rozi, Jacinda, and Joe. Did you know you could make anything into an umpa song? “I Will Survive” works particularly well, especially if you have some oldsters to twirl around to it. I have the hackbraten — yummy, though my potatoes were room temperature. The best part of my meal was the lentil soup — almost velvety, it was warm and delicious. After dinner, we walk down the street, sitting down in front of a bar to talk more about college pals. Married all, they swap stories about their idiosyncrasies that are annoying yet charming. The way Joe and Andrew talk about it, you would think that their respective abodes were overrun by their wives’ soda cans. What, like you never leave your unfinished cokes around the house to get to later, when they’ve had some time to get a little less cold but no less flat.

Odds n’ sods:

a. I’m dogsitting this weekend. Spencer and I are spending a lot of time lying around, either in the apartment or in the park.

b. Scavenger Hunt is today, Mother’s Day. I don’t think I’ll go see the judging but if you do, you should totally take pictures. Or if you go, you should totally come pick up me and the dog so we can check it out and relive my late teens. The list, and all sorts of other goodies like pictures from scavhunts past (including two pictures of yours truly), is on-line at http://scavhunt1.uchicago.edu.

c. I’ve decided that the personality I most embody when I am thinking about health stuff, or going to the hospital, or taking my pills, is The Cookie Monster. Or Homer Simpson, I’m not sure, yet.

d. When I picked up Spencer from daycare Thursday evening, I had to give the proprietor the password. Dudes, do you even know how humiliating it is to have to whisper “Sir Sissypants” to a total stranger?


Be interesting. If you can’t be interesting, be weird.

The Buzzcocks – Love You More; Counting Crows – Colorblind; Outkast – Prototype; The Cure – Lullaby


The Dreamers (d. Bertolucci, 2003) – I don’t know what I coveted more, Eva Green’s breasts or the sprawling apartment her character shared with her parents and her creepy yet sexy brother.


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