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My Tribe

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Sebastian Junger wrote a book called “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging”.If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it.One of the points he makes is how trauma unifies people.How when something terrible happens to a group of people, they are unified by the feeling of tribalism that is present in all humans.He supports this with evolutionary theory, sociology, psychology, and just personal anecdotes from his time spent in war zones.The classic example is New York after 9/11; how crime rates dropped and how the city became warmer.On 9/11/01 I was living on an Army base in Germany and I experienced this first hand.Americans, especially those with military ties, were treated with a deference that was hard to describe.TSA agents in airports would thank me for my service and sacrifice (I was then a Military wife). I saw the memorials in Paris and in different German towns where the locals were pouring out to show their support.It was overwhelming.Still, the experience was removed from me.I …

The weekend

I left home for the first time in 1996.  It was for 10 months, then I was back home for 10 months again, and then I was gone forever.  In reality, those 10 months when I was back I was in a sort of purgatory of being home and away at the same time.  It was a hard time for me.  When I left again in 1997 I just went to graduate school in San Juan.  I was home (in Puerto Rico) but not home (in Cabo Rojo).  From the first time I left I have always called my parents on the weekend.  Always.  For over 20 years.  Back in the stone ages of the 90s we had to rely on land lines and long distance calling plans.  Remember the “Nights and weekends” plans?  That’s why I called on the weekend – it was usually cheaper.  If you called during the week you had to wait until after 9 pm to get the cheaper rate.  The good old days.  When I lived in San Juan I took off the long distance plan to save money and would buy calling cards (remember those?) just to call my mom and tell her I was fine.  When I l…

Maria

When I was kid I used to love storms.  In Puerto Rico the storms were always a fun time.  When I was really young it was a time to play cards and board games with my brother.  Sometimes I read by candlelight.  I remember fondly a time early on – maybe even the first year when I was 7.  My dad and my 16 year old brother were fishing with my uncle. My 9 year old brother was staying at my other uncle’s house with my cousins.  It was just my mom and I and it started storming.  No power.  We had two candles.  So, as it got dark, we lit one candle and then made another one from the melted wax and some string.  Eventually my dad and brother came home with crazy stories of being in the ocean when the storm was coming in and my dad being sea sick.  I remember that fondly.  The best part about living in a place where the power goes out frequently is the stories.  My mom and dad always had stories about growing up in the 50s in Puerto Rico.  As we grew older we would be playing outside with fr…

800,000!

I was 7 years old when my parents decided to move us to Puerto Rico.It was June.One brother turned 9 that July, one turned 16 that August.It was without question the hardest decision my parents had to make for their family - and without a doubt the best one.The difference in upbringing between one child and the other two is staggering.I won’t dwell on that right now because that is not my focus.My focus here is that I am Puerto Rican.Yes, both my parents are from there.But I was born in New York City.I never tell people I am from New York.I am FROM the island.That little piece of land is in my heart because that is where I grew up.Where I came of age. First album purchased.First date. First concert. School graduations. My life story started there and nothing will ever change that.It doesn’t matter how many turns my life has taken (and there have been quite a few) I am Puerto Rican first.All politics aside, that is my truth; that is your truth; that is everyone’s truth.You are from the…

Acceptance

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Here’s the thing: my head still hurts.  I do my best not to complain too much.  The reality is that in the last 2 months I have had maybe 3 migraines that made me want to take a pill for it and lay down.  There have been a couple of times when I took two Ibuprophen PM and called it a night.  For the most part it is business as usual.  What choice do I have? As an update, in late May the headache sort of went away.  It was gone most of June and July.  I went to Puerto Rico for 9 days and only had a headache once.  I went to Columbus Ohio for 4 days and didn’t get much of a head ache.  (Good thing too, because just me and the hubby with customers and no kids = a lot of alcohol.)  June, July and August my headache started a couple of days before my period.  So I went to see my Ob/Gyn and he said the same thing that the eye doctor and dentist: “Not me.”  Sigh.  I go for a follow up with the Neurologist this Thursday.  He will more than likely do a second MRI to see if anything is different…

Still here...

Remember that head ache?  It is still here.  Yes.  I have had a head ache for 4 weeks.  It's a little hard to believe, I know.  I see it in people's faces when I start to tell them about it.  I know it is hard to comprehend but it is true.  I just keep living my life, try not to talk about it too much, and hope that we can get rid of it someday. 

There are a few new developments.  For one, we do not believe it is cluster head aches anymore.  If it were, then I would have had immediate relief from the oxygen and a few other factors lead us to believe that is not what I have.  It's a shame too, I was looking for a medical reason to do mushrooms...

The Neurologist told me to start taking a daily baby aspirin just in case this was related to my arteries as a preventative measure.  He also sent me for a lot of blood work.  The results are in and apparently my anti phospholipid antibodies are high.  Not life threatening high, but high.  And combined with the head ache is cause …

Day 19

This headache!  Nineteen days now... I am better.  I feel better.  I still have a head ache, but on a scale of 1 to 10 I would say it is a 1.   I am fine. Really.  In the grand scheme of things, I think I am pretty good.

I'm blogging this because it is too much to put on a facebook post.  Those of you who care enough will click on the link and read all about it.  If you do not, I will spare you.

I went to the Medical Center in Elberton on day 5 and saw the nurse practitioner.  She prescribed migraine medication and it did nothing for me.  Other than make me light headed on top of the head ache.  I went back that Friday (day 7) and saw Dr. Jonathan Poon.  He said maybe it's a cluster headache.  We'll get you some oxygen and an MRI next week.

It turns out it takes an act of congress to get oxygen for a headache.  I finally got my tank four days after seeing the doctor.  That was day 11.  I actually got a second tank from a different supplier that came on day 14 that sits unt…