Brave Woman

Adventures of a future nurse-midwife


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Walk of Shame #2

Posted by Lucille on September 23, 2011 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I always leave my keys on the table next to my bed, but when I woke up this morning desperately needing to go to the bathroom, they weren't there. I felt around for them in the dark for a few minutes, but I couldn't find them, and I could tell that my shuffling around was keeping my roommate awake. I could have left the door ajar, but closing the door when you leave has been an issue of contention with my roommate. (When I politely asked if we could both try to do a better job of remembering to close the door when we leave the room, she refused, and said protecting my stuff was not her responsibility and that if I wanted to run home every five minutes to see if she'd left the door open, I could. When I acknowledged the inconvenience to her, stressed that this was important to me, and politely repeated my request, she compared me to a nazi.) We have appear to have resolved this issue with the help of our landlord, but because of the obvious hypocrisy of me leaving the door open, I ruled that out as an option. So I decided to grab what I needed for the day and go.

       Once in the bathroom, I glanced in the mirror to confirm that I still looked like a sunburned bear that got woken up too early, and looked at what I'd grabbed. I had a pair of jeans, a bra, and a sweatshirt. No school supplies. And no shoes.

       But by golly I was going to class. So I decided to do what I normally do when I'm acting like an idiot, and do it with utter confidence. (Honestly I probably act more confident when I'm making a fool of myself than I do the rest of the time). I walked to class without shoes.

       I was walking a little slower than usual because I was being careful not to step on anything, and I didn't want to be late. So I asked someone walking by if they knew the time. She gave me the weirdest look, turned around, and walked away. I know I look like a sunburned moose (I changed it to moose because they're crabbier) that got woken up too early, but come on! (I later found out that she had reason to be cautious, apparently homeless people sometimes come onto campus and ask people for the time, then grab their phones out of their hands when they go to look. But at the time I thought it was pretty rude.)

       My classmates thought it was a pretty great story and I made it to class on time. When I got back, everyone else had left for class, so I found a park bench to lay down for a while. Someone in a passing car yelled something about homeless meth addicts at me and told me to go back to People's Park and stop crowding the sidewalk.

Eventually someone let me in, and I found my keys (and shoes). My keys had gotten wedged between the desk and the bed. This has been a crazy week.

Dear Future Partner

Posted by Lucille on September 20, 2011 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)

To my future life partner, whoever you may be, I must apologize. I have fallen for another. I know you will be shocked, but I hope you will believe me when I tell you this was not your fault, and simply inevitable. Nyquil and I are meant to be. I intended to make this an elaborate and creative ode to my beloved, but now that we have eloped, I can finally (and intend to) get some sleep. Farewell.

       P.S.  I hear Dayquil is single, if you're interested.

       P.P.S.  NO. WAIT. Dibs on Dayquil. They're both mine!

Physics and Colds

Posted by Lucille on September 19, 2011 at 1:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Then again, according to the laws of physics, a truck would slow down when it hit you and not, in fact, leave as quickly as it came. I'm really sick. I guess it's a morning/evening thing. I'd forgotten about this, but someone on my floor was sick with these same symptoms around two weeks ago. And she was out for a week. I guess I'm in for the long hall. It's not just me, either. Our RA, while reaching for a cough drop, said, "God, everyone in the fucking world is sick today." Yep. Oh the joys of cohabitation.

National Standards

Posted by Lucille on September 19, 2011 at 1:10 AM Comments comments (1)

I went in for a medical appointment, because it's a good thing to do when you get back from Africa. (Both the TB test and HIV test were negative! Yay!) I kept trying to steer the conversation toward other things I might have been exposed to, things I should watch out for, etc, but she seemed overly focused on my weight.

       "114?! You realize your BMI classifies you as anorexic?"

       "I just got back from Africa."

       "You're really underweight. Do you ever starve yourself on purpose?"

       "No. I just got back from Africa."

       "What are you normally?"

       "I don't know, around 120, I think."

       "That's still underweight."

       The group that makes the BMI standards shifts them up a little every year to make it look like their anti-obesity programs are working. Three years ago 120 for my height was normal. Low end, but still.

       "Have your periods been irregular?"

       "Well, yeah, but I was in Africa. It always happens when I travel."

       "With those two symptoms-" Wait, those are symptoms? "You could be at risk for early onset osteoporosis. I'd like you to see a nutritionist."

       I thought this was ridiculous, but I agreed because I thought it could be a good resource for learning how to have a more balanced diet.

       "Someone your height should weigh around 140 pounds. I'm going to recommend that you try to get as much fat in your diet as you can, and avoid exercise- walking is okay, but no jogging or athletic activities- until you reach your goal weight."

       Fast forward to talking with the nutritionist. She started out by asking some questions, and I told her a bit about my struggles with texture and my desire to expand my diet. "About that, I don't know what to tell you," she said, "But your BMI classifies you as anorexic. You need to gain weight."

       She talked for a while about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight (I'm confused about why this is based on a standardized numeric scale instead of on feeling healthy), and ways to gain weight (don't exercise and fry everything) and eventually I tried to steer the conversation toward information I could use.

       "So, I've been experimenting with different foods, and I'd like to get an idea of how close some of the meals I've been making come to being balanced. Like, when I make sandwiches, I usually do whole wheat bread, cheese, spinach, and turkey..."

       "That's pretty good, but you really need to add some fat to it, like butter or oil."

       As I went to leave, I asked her about what the nurse practitioner had said about athletic activities, hoping she would disagree so I could tell her at the follow up appointment.

       "See, I signed up for this yoga class, and it's not very much, just two times a week..."

       "No, I agree with her. I don't think you should exercise until you reach your goal weight."

       I never in my life thought I would hear a medical justification for NOT doing yoga.

       She kept using words like 'goal weight', 'calorie count', and 'meal calendar', and I just thought, "I don't speak this language. I eat when I'm hungry, and I eat what makes me feel good. That makes more sense to me."

       Eventually I left, feeling more confused about nutrition than when I went in.

       Am I crazy for thinking that as long as I continue to eat when I'm hungry, eat what makes me feel good, and exercise when I feel like it, my body will adjust to whatever it's supposed to be, never mind the national standard?

       I cancelled my follow up appointment.

I'm Sick

Posted by Lucille on September 18, 2011 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

In the first week here I was talking with some other women and mentioned that I was homesick. "Oh well, it will probably get better as time goes on," I added hopefully.

       "Not quite," one of the sophomores said. "The first time you're sick, that's the worst. The first time you're sick as a dog and there's no one there to take care of you...that is the absolute pits. After that it gets better."

       She was totally right.

       I don't know what I have, but I got the works: sore throat, migraine, fever, chills, nausea... I'll spare you the details and condense this to simply: It sucked. The good news is that my roommate went home for the weekend (we both needed a break) so I was able to get some rest during the day without people going in and out of the room.

       The other good news is since I'm always a little behind in blogging, I'm actually feeling better now. When I woke up this morning after sleeping for thirteen hours, I felt fine. (Mostly. I'm still sick, but I feel a lot better, so I think the worst has passed.) It always surprises me how, when you're not sick, you never notice feeling healthy, but after you've been sick and feel better, your sense of norm adjusts, so what before would have still been  'under the weather' now feels great. I felt amazing and got this energy surge that helped me catch up on the homework I'd fallen behind on. ...And then I took a nap.

      Plus the concussion and a twinged shoulder from yoga... Man, I made it through two months in Africa, and then I spend three weeks in college and look what happens! A lesson in dropping your guard, perhaps. This was also when I noticed I don't have any medicine in house. I need to fix that.

       Oh those sneaky 24-hour bugs... they hit you like a truck and then pass the same way. I walked by a mirror a second ago and I look like a hibernating bear that got woken up too early. (Scary, I know.) I guess I should take the hint and take it easy for a few days.


Posted by Lucille on September 17, 2011 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

After an incredibly stressful night (basically, my roommate did not, in fact, move out, and things got worse) I woke up at eight (it's on college time, so this is really early) with a terrible headache, localized to where I was kicked. The strange thing is this was not the morning after it happened, but the next morning, so I guess I have really delayed reactions. I had to take pain meds, for which I had to eat, so I dragged myself upstairs. I got really dizzy, and nauseous when I tried to eat. I guess I got that minor concussion after all. No one else was up, so I called my dad to let him know I felt like shit (sorry for worrying you, Dad). I was exhausted, but lowering my head made it a lot worse, so I leaned against the wall and concentrated on not being dizzy while I waited for the ibuprofen to kick in. I considered going to the health center, but I've had minor concussions before (NOT from letting someone try to kick over my head, actually...It may shock you but I only plan on doing that once) and usually they just send you home with an ice pack and tell you to come back if it gets worse. I hung up when the headache started to dissipate, and woke up on the couch two hours later feeling so much better. Oh the healing powers of sleep.


Posted by Lucille on September 17, 2011 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I walked up the hill to watch the sunset, and now my face is sunburnt. It was worth it.

Galloping Grasshoppers

Posted by Lucille on September 14, 2011 at 3:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Just now as I was sitting upstairs blogging and helping someone with her French homework, a grasshopper flew into the room. She panicked and I did my best to try to catch it in a cup, and eventually our RA came in and caught it for us. He carried it out the door, and everyone followed him to watch. My friend wanted him to take it further away from the house, but he stood on the porch and flung it out toward the sidewalk, and the grasshopper did a 180 in midair and zoomed right at her face, and she hit the deck faster than I've ever seen anyone drop in my life. Eventually the grasshopper was determined to be outside and everyone rushed in and shut the door and ran around laughing and repeating the story.

       A few minutes later a martial artist in the house wanted to show that he could do an inner crescent kick over someone's head. A girl near me volunteered. She's about my height, and she ducked, but it looked to me like he would have cleared her head pretty easily. Thinking that with my experience in martial arts and theatre trust exercises I would do a better job of not flinching, I volunteered to go next. I got kicked in the head. ...Yeah, that probably wasn't the best call.

       I didn't move, but he fell down, and thinks he might have pulled something in his leg. It doesn't actually hurt very much. People couldn't stop laughing and everyone ran around telling the story to the people that weren't in the room. The poor guy felt terrible about it. I got a lot of hugs, and it was actually kind of cool. (You know, to the extent getting whacked in the head can be cool. I'm not a masochist, don't worry.) This whole thing happened in about three minutes. Crazy night. It really doesn't hurt that much, but I agreed to stay upstairs for a half hour so they can watch me and make sure I'm okay. Someone looked up the wikipedia article on concussion symptoms, and I figured that as long as I'm up I might as well pull up my blog and record the craziness of college life first hand.

       Anyway, my head kind of hurts, and I'm going to go to bed. Night, everyone!

Everybody Does This, Right?

Posted by Lucille on September 14, 2011 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I went to another yoga class, a refreshing work out, but afterwards I realized I had a problem. I'd changed into a workout bra before I went in, but it was a heated class so I was all sweaty and I didn't want to put my other bra back on because I'd just washed it. (I planned ahead. Before I went to Africa, I bought new bras and underwear, and stashed them away so when I came back and got out of the shower I had brand new clean clothes to wear. It was awesome.) It was a molded bra, too, so I couldn't shove it in my bag without hurting it. I wasn't sure what to do. So, what the heck, it's only an article of clothing, right? I set off across campus with my bag in one hand and my black, lacy bra in the other, smiling serenely as though people do that every day. It worked well until I ran into people I knew. :P

Friends in Unexpected Places

Posted by Lucille on September 14, 2011 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

As I was leaving chem lec the other day an international student from China came running after me. "Hey! I see that you are never taking notes. You must be good at chemistry. Can you help me?"

         Whoops. That was me being lazy.

         We walked together for a ways, and it turns out he recognized me from our lab section. At some point I thanked him for starting a conversation and admitted that I can be shy around new people. "Yes. I see you in lab, sometimes quiet but always know what you're doing and seem like nice person, so I decided to say hi."

         I had no idea I was being watched. That's a strange feeling.

         We ended up walking all the way back to the dorms together and exchanging numbers so we could organize a study party. He texted me later, and it occurred to me that I might have been a little too friendly. For a second I was tempted to use the sorority trick to correct that impression, but then it kind of bothers me when I'm talking to guys that might be future objects (in the grammatical sense, not the dehumanizing sense) of interest when it comes up in conversation and they look disappointed and go talk to someone else. I guess I'll stick to straightforwardness. But hey, I made a new friend. And a study buddy. Win-win.



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HIPAA Disclaimer

Sometimes I have the privilege of being a part of intimate, powerful moments in other people’s lives. I cannot and would not share these stories, because they are not mine to tell. However, they touch my life and become part of my own story. When I share these moments here, you can trust that I have not broken anyone’s confidentiality. The characters are invented. They are not real, but could be. I take creative license to communicate the essence of my experience while respecting the privacy of others.