a beauty’s day

February 22, 2006

“She walks in Beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies . . .”
Thus spoke Lord Byron of his delight,
And I am sure he spoke no lies.

But dare I say . . .
If I may . . .

That I’ve a sister [her name means “light”],
Who outshines the Light of Byron’s eyes.
His Beauty, sure, was quite a sight,
But Helen needs no nightly guise

For every day
Bows, Helen to obey . . .

Yes, Helen Kay’s a true Grand Dame,
Whom one cannot but address as “Ma’am,”
But have no fear: she never frightens,
She needn’t, for others’ lives she brightens

So on this 22nd day of Fevrièr
I wish for my Helen a love-filled Birthday!

So I may never know for sure what happened to me on that hellish night. It seems to have worked its way through my system—for the most part. My muscles feel today as if I recently ran a marathon, with a tight and aching soreness. And I am rather frightened still, hyper-vigilant and on-guard. Not having my Potassium levels tested in the midst of it all, blood work at this point would probably show nothing, even if I were ready to shell out the cash required for it. Mind you, I am not silly enough to completely blow it off: the slightest recurrence would have me dashing to the hospital with no financial qualms. I simply suspect that I would feel silly about spending the income I have had to stress so much over lately if there is no foreseeable benefit for doing so. So like I said, I may never know for sure what happened . . .
But this I do know:
I am thankful. I am thankful for a body that, up to this point, has served me faithfully. Too much of my life has been spent taking my health for granted. I rush along, blithely assuming that whatever I set my mind to, I can do. It is humbling to realize that if my body is off-kilter, no matter what I may want to do, this corporal cloak could prevent it.

I am also thankful to be blessed with people I can count on. I have a friend. A friend who, when I called to start to tell her what was going on—in the middle of a work day—she interrupted me to come see me, to hear the story in person, and to check on me. A friend who came back, after work, to take me out to dinner in celebration of wellness, and to spend the evening with me. A friend who I know I can count on to be there—so that when I called my mother to relay the past few days’ events to her, I cried when I tried to explain how thankful I was for count-on-able friendship. So my hope, my prayer, is that I can be such a count-on-able friend.

time’s winged chariot

February 17, 2006

It is a strange thing to be close to death. I almost died last night and did not know it. And I am not yet over the hump. I was miserable all night, for sure. But not until this morning did I figure out the cause: it seems a Potassium overdose cramped up all my muscles, overloading my entire body. A salt substitute was the cause: in my attempt to choose a “healthy” alternative to salt the other day, I discovered a product that just about killed me. Literally. I spent last night alternating between sweats and chills. Periodically I would get up to, painfully, use the bathroom. I tried to drink water, but it was difficult to force into my throat. Now I know that even my swallowing muscles were hindered, making it difficult for me to swallow, speak and, dangerously, breathe. By the time it was late enough for me to gratefully give up my vain attempts at sleep, my muscles were so constricted that I stumbled around in an attempt to walk. My body was just refusing to function. A few anxious phone calls later, I reached a doctor-friend who “diagnosed” me and coached me through the next few steps. So I wait. I watch for signs of further danger, and I wait for my kidney, liver, and intestines to flush out of my system this necessary for life—and deadly—mineral . . .

one boy and his world

February 16, 2006

While writing an email this evening, I realized that part of my day needed to get out, in a sense . . . that I’ve been saddened by a discovery. I should have realized this earlier, I suppose, when I thought about it during the last class of the day and found myself fighting tears. It could have helped that we were watching a DVD about Tsunami’s at the time, mind you—tears are of course odd things sometimes, cropping up when you least expect them, but telling more by doing so than any “expected” tears could ever tell . . .
So anyhow, as I began to say, school involved a rather rough realization . . . the kids I was subbing for started talking about the latest news:
A large chunk of the students are on the ski trip right now, along with several of the teachers. It seems that last night a teacher found drugs on one of the kids—a discovery that his classmates were not at all surprised by. They all knew that when he was roaming yesterday afternoon [and he popped in to the library as well, leaving with a disconcerted shake of his head when I asked if he needed me], he was nervously looking for his dealer to arrive.

How disheartening–I really liked the kid, for all his oddities. He is a sweet boy, and eager to please, eager to be helpful when asked. And it’s so sad that I suppose that as a school we’ll have to lose him now, to a world that is, I fear, not so kind to teenage boys . . .

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