Matthew 5:14-16

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." ~Matthew 5:14-16

Friday, May 18, 2012

A season called March

Thursday, March 22, 2012:

March. From sunshine to thunder and rain, to hail, to snowfall to whooshing winds. I saw this in a Garfield comic strip given to me from Paul (designed to make me feel better…it worked). March could almost be a season in itself, the weather seems like it doesn’t know which to pick…a little of this, a little of that…lol. Just last week while trying to capture a little creative time with my camera, I heard a thick, resounding boom. It was instantaneous with the vibration the house took. That wasn’t thunder, was it? I shrugged it off, thinking that they were doing scheduled blasts up on the mountain. That made sense. To have a thunderstorm with our landscape so covered in thick snow seemed impossible. I put the camera up to my eye, and focused up at the snow-clad trees. The wind was picking up. I couldn’t get a clear shot with them swaying like that. Well, I could, but not the shot I wanted at the aperture I had set. 

I lowered the camera with a sigh. Then squinted. The wind was picking up a lot! A blinding flash shattered the sky and just as quick with no time to count, a deep, rumbling boom shook the floor beneath me. All doubt fled from my mind. This WAS a thunderstorm. I hastily put away my camera and slipped into my coat, out of the house, and my wading rubber boots. The chickens had to be put away pronto. I’d heard from a lady at work that chickens are easily spooked and large amounts of lightning could terrorize them into miniature heart attacks and they’d be dead. I wasn’t sure if this was true or not, but it wasn’t like I was going to stand around and find out. I herded them into their coop, closed the doors and felt the dripping of rain. Uhoh… I snuck a glance at the sky and took a deep breath. Everything in me said, run, run, run lest you be soaked; it is coming! I closed the gate and took off like a rocket through the mushy snow, the muddy places sucking at my boots. I slid towards the steps and bounded up them. No sooner had I tucked myself safely beneath the sheltered porch, there was a resounding boom that vibrated through the air. It seemed to rattle all the hail from heaven, as it poured so thick that I could not see the mountains, and the trees around me blurred into a solid sheet of white. The hail was so huge! I briefly wondered if it could put a crack in my car’s brand new windshield. I resolved not to ponder it and stood mouth agape on the front porch. Lightning forked across the sky. “Awesome….” I said, staring. Camera! Camera! I frowned. Yes, this needed to go on my camera, undeniably so! I got a few shots and then my alarm rang: time for work.

I had a good day at work. There was a lot of work to do, which I enjoy. The only sad part of the day was knowing that it was the last day that I would work with one of my coworkers who was moving out of state. He was a great coworker and I knew we’d all miss him. “Draw for it!” I said as we three closers stood in a circle at the beginning of our shift. I raised my hand, “I’ve got the kitchen.” “Coffee and pizza.” He said. “Salads then,” said Tina. We turned off to our respective tasks and the day went by swimmingly. I grabbed the utensil cage from the dishwasher and began to pull out the spoons. My hands began their random trembling dance. The spoons I held flung from my hands and clattered to the floor around me. I was overcome with embarrassment. I tried to grab the spoons, hands still shivering wildly. No good. Frustration overwhelmed me. “STUPID HANDS!” I shrieked angrily at my hands. 

Tina turned toward me, her eyes wide. Apparently she had never seen me lose my temper. My face heated with shame. “I’m so, so sorry. I…” “It’s okay Nicole.” Tina said. “Really, I’m sorry. I should keep control of my mouth. I know better.” I continued, rambling. “Nicole! It’s okay. Haha, you’re so cute…” Tina laughed. I picked up the fallen spoons from the floor and placed them in the sink. I turned to Dan, “I’m incredibly sorry. I should keep control of my anger. That wasn’t a very good example and I’m sorry. I shouldn’t lose my temper.” He chuckled softly and looked at me, “Apology accepted although, honestly, I can’t see what’s so wrong. Sometimes things happen. Besides, you didn’t say anything harmful that I heard.” “But I called my hands stupid, and nothing God made is stupid.” I replied back. “True,” he nodded. “But you were frustrated. It happens. Sometimes you have to vent or it just gets stuck in there, and that’s not good. It’s okay.” I turned away and went back to my tasks. The rest of the shift passed without reoccurring hand tremors, of which I was grateful. 

“Well,” I said, wiping my face on my forearm (washing dishes can be a wet experience…especially if the hose squirts back at you through a loose spot in the seal), “We’re all done back here! How are you guys doing? Almost ready to go home?” (why do I refer to myself as “we” I wonder?) “Yep yep, just finishing with the trash and we’re outta here.” Dan replied enthusiastically. “Yeah!” Tina agreed happily from near the salads. I squinted. My nose felt soggy. I brushed my forearm across my nose (unwilling to dirty my hands with drying water off from my nose), and I saw bright red blood streaked wetly across my arm. “Oh no, not now!” I cried out, knowing I had just a second. I thrust myself toward the nearest sink, intending to put my head down to it. They’d just mopped the floor, cleaned the counters and the sinks. We were done. Blood splattered all over the counter, myself, and the sink. A flood of it poured from my nose like a facet opened all the way. I could hear Dan whisper from behind me, “Oh my **d…” 

Tina stopped dead in front of me, eyes wide, “S***, Nicole are you okay?” “I think so.” The sink clogged and backed up with blood, the dark red pool filled higher, then splattered wildly outside of the sink, dripping down my apron, filling in my mouth. I spat. I knew better than to swallow it. I reached my hand out for the paper towels, my hand and forearm were glistening with the bright red. I snatched off a wad and pressed it to my nose. “Put your head back. I’ll get a wet towel.” Tina said. “I’ll get a chair.” My 45 min nosebleed flashed before my mind with the thought, oh no, please not again. “No no, this is how I need to do this. Pinch the bridge of my nose and keep this wad on it, and look down so I don’t swallow the blood. The nurses said so.” I objected. It seemed like many minutes passed, but I wasn’t sure. I tried to peer at my watch from around the towel, it had me feeling cross-eyed and dizzy. I gave another try but I couldn’t see. I glanced in my peripheral vision, trying to see the hands of the clock stationed over the bakery. The hot case blocked it from view, the only way to see would be to erect myself and splatter the floor and anything within the vicinity of the sink. Not a good idea. I stayed put.

“We need to call her mom.” Tina said. “Now. She needs to go to E.R.” “No,” I breathed from beneath the towel, pinching my nose and looking down at the blood filling the sink. My blood. I was getting dizzy. I tried another look at my wrist watch, but I couldn’t see the hands and notches from this angle. “What time is it? Tell me.” I ordered gently. “It doesn’t matter. What matters is getting...” Tina said. “Yes it does. I need to know. I need to count how long.” I replied hurriedly. “No, honey, you need to go to E.R.” Tina said. “Ten minutes, the nurse said. Ten minutes. Then I’ll go to E.R. IF it’s still gushing.” I interrupted. “Okay,” She told me the time. “Thank you.” I said, dragging the trash barrel toward me with my right leg and dunking a completely soggy towel into the trash. Then a third, then a fourth. It was soaking right through, making the towel more than useless. “Oh my **d.” Dan said again, still behind me, otherwise speechless. “S***, s***, s***…” Tina said openly, pacing back and forth in front of my peripheral vision. “It’s going to be okay, really.” I tried convincing all of us. “Just a part of life, bloody noses.” Something gagged me and I couldn’t breathe. I pulled the towel away and a long 7 inch goop of blood clot drew out. Tina’s pacing was more frantic. I stared at the unknown streamer, blood gushing faster from my nose. “Is this umm, normal?” I held up the towel. Tina looked. “Umm, no,” she laughed nervously. “Then can you get a plastic half pound container for me. I’d like to have the evidence. Gross as it is.” 

“Are you okay?” Dan asked, still frozen in his place. “I think so. I’ll find out. I’ve dealt with these a lot with my disorder. Ha, I think eventually I’ll get good at it.” I joked. “Disorder…” Dan repeated. “ITP, basically my blood has a hard time clotting because my immune system thinks the platelets used for clotting are yummy.” “Oh,” Dan frowned. “That’s not good. Could you bleed to death?” “No, it’s being monitored and I’m at a safe level. Just not out of the woods yet, that’s all.” “How many minutes?” I asked them, curious. “Seven, and I’m going to call your mom. It’s not stopping and you need to go to E.R.” Tina said, stopping from her pacing to look at me. “Wait wait, when it hits 10 minutes, then you can call her. But it might stop.” I said, looking into the red pool in the sink. My ears popped. I felt vaguely dizzy. Okay, so now I was imagining that I was about to pass out? Oh no you don’t. I thought. It’s only been under ten minutes. Don’t imagine yourself in trouble, you’re fine.

“Ten minutes,” Tina announced. “I’m calling your mom and she’s taking you to E.R.” “Okay,” I said, resigned. That had been the agreement, and my nose wasn’t stopping. “You can call her now.” Tina, however, was gone from my peripheral vision and I could hear her muted talking from across the way. The phone hung up. “She’s on her way.” Tina told me. “Look at the mess I made. I’m not leaving you guys to clean up my blood. Here, get some bleach and…” Tina got the bleach and began to open it. “No no,” I objected. “It’s my blood. I’ll get it.” I said. “You’re in no condition to clean it up, you’re still gushing a river of it!” Tina said right back. I put my head down toward the sink, but reached out with one bloody, but free hand and put it into the pool of blood, finding the drain. It finally went down and then she poured in the bleach. By this time, my nose was merely dripping. I scrubbed at the blood with my hand. The bleach made me feel lightheaded and the smell burned in my nose. I wasn’t about to let them to this sickening job of cleaning up blood though. It was mine and I felt obligated to clean up after myself. I finished up and scooped up my purse. I apologized, but was told to stop it because it wasn’t my fault. 

Said goodnight to them and mom took me to E.R. I told them what happened, so they asked more questions and then took a sampling of blood. I showed them the clot and they said that was gross, but a good sign…it meant I was clotting. They threw it in the trash. “You’re bleeding again.” Mom said, pointing at the blood spot on the floor. “Oh no!” I said and covered my nose, but felt nothing…I removed my still clean hands and looked at the floor, rubbing my shoe against the blood spot. It was dried. “Oh, not mine.” I said. The doctor returned with good news: my count actually rose. The reason why I started bleeding was simply “because the nose was dry,” and “stress.” Dryness, that I could see…but stress? I hadn’t felt an ounce of stress before it happened. They asked if it were possible that I was suffering from Depression, I answered a solid no to that. I am not a depressed person. We shook hands. I was told to take it easy and they joked, “I hate to say it, but hopefully we don’t see you in here again. Although, sometime in your life we probably might.” “Same here.” I agreed. We went home. 

I texted my pals and told them I was a-ok and that my count actually rose. I was warned not to tell all my coworkers, lest they think me frail and incapable of doing my job. That was a thought I had actually not considered – my bloody noses causing them to think me unfit for working? Firing me for dealing with a disorder was foolish in my mind and I couldn’t see my bosses doing that – the proof was all around the store, others that I knew that struggled with adventures of their own. My bosses are compassionate and good. I did see one point about what she said, and that was the rumors. Rumors can easily spark untrue things and I didn’t want that. I shrugged it off as whatever would happen, would happen. I wasn’t about to be concerned about rumors, now was I? No.

Tried to sleep, but my stomach was in knots and very unhappy with me. I tossed, turned, tried to sleep, but rest was evasive. My stomach still hurt. I tried to reason with the pain: I was finished with the medication, so I shouldn’t have the same pain as I had throughout taking the meds. It was over. But the pain was still there. I prayed about it, then watched the stars from my bedroom window, tossed and turned some more. Relief just wasn’t obtainable, was it? Finally, at last, I drifted away…

The next morning at work, although I said nothing, I was greeted with a concerned coworker, “I heard you were raced off to E.R. last night! Why are you at work, shouldn’t you be resting? I heard there was a lot of blood. What did the doctors say…is it serious??” I pulled her aside and quietly fixed her concern. There was no reason to worry, it was a bloody nose. She relaxed with a sigh. Another coworker stuck his head around the corner, “Oh, talking about the bloody nose? How was the ambulance ride? Loud?” “Ambulance?” I said incredulously. “I didn’t take an ambulance ride, mom took me.” “Oh.” He said, his eyes squinting. It didn’t line up with what he was told. I began to wonder who else knew. I got a phone call from mom reminding me not to tell anyone so no rumors could start. “Too late, I didn’t say anything, but they know.” I replied. Then, I heard from behind me a familiar voice. “How are you girly?” Tina asked. I gave a thumbs-up. She hoped I didn’t mind, but she told a few people. So, I reasoned, those few people must have passed it on and that’s where it contorted into “a dangerous amount of bleeding” and “an ambulance ride to E.R.” I don’t blame and don’t mind that Tina told them. I’d scared the crap out of her that night, gushing blood as I was. It certainly wasn’t her fault that the story twisted up on itself.

I fixed the story as it finished spreading throughout the store. I was safe, it was a simple bloody nose, Mom drove me, no ambulance. The main part of the story was still there, so it made it quicker to fix. My disorder is not a secret; I just didn’t want people to be unnecessarily concerned, and worrying their socks off over me. I’m at a safe level and I wanted the story to go out, not to make people scared for me, but to use as encouragement. That’s what I want. The day went smoothly and all went very well. I even had a few coworkers tug me aside and tell me I was in their prayers and what a blessing I was to them. It was heartening to hear that. I was glad the info had gone out for their sakes. :)
The rest of that shift was spent bagging and packaging bakery items. “Hello deli girl, what are you doing over here?” My head snapped up to see a regular customer and his wife. “Hi! I’m working bakery today.” I said. Across the way, my coworker put his hands to his mouth and shouted over, “Traitor! Traitor!” lol. Tina did likewise. Soon, my deli coworkers were shouting over, “Traitor!” “Yeah, yeah! You just think I am!” I shot back.  “Because you are, haha!” Tina said. “Oh yeah?” I questioned. “Yeah.” She said back, laughing. “You might win this time, but…” I started to warn her. “You bet I did!” she chuckled. We all laughed. A great day. :)

Text talk:
3-2-12 A memorable moment: Serving an older gentleman who wore a wide brimmed hat with what looked to be a pheasant's feather. I had given him a sample of my newest creation, a Country Kitchen Beef Bake. He said in strained English, "It is very good." He decided on a 1/2 serving of it. I engaged in conversation with him as I served him...about warm, good home-cooking, and also, what brought him to visit Idaho (he said he was only visiting). I passed the order to him. "Merci beaucoup. Vous êtes belle." He smiled at me, tipped his hat cordially, and walked away without translating it. I didn't understand anything except for merci, which I knew meant thank you. I didn't know the French words for "You're welcome." I turned to a coworker, "What does 'Merci beaucoup. Vous êtes belle' mean?" My coworker smiled, "Oh...he said, 'Thank you very much.'" :) Dru later told me, “That is the translation of the first part. Vous êtes belle means, ‘You are beautiful.’”

3-20-12: “Today’s the first day of Spring.” -Paul. “Really?” –me, I placed my palms on my desk and looked out the window at the snow. “Yep, just look at the Google page. :P” –Paul. I looked, finding that he was right. I smiled and looked out the window, putting my fingers on the keyboard once more, “*Is very tempted to open her window and shout “Hello Springtime! Tell Winter his time is up!”*” Paul laughed in response. 
“So why were you saying you’re clumsy this morning?” He asked a few moments later. “Instead of leaping to my feet out of bed, once I placed my weight on my feet to do that, I crumpled. :P …My legs were apparently made out of jelly. They just, didn’t take the weight. :P After all, they’d been rested for quite some time unbothered…then I leap to my feet? Ha, they weren’t ready yet.” I recalled the failed leap from bed: "Mayday! Going down!" I had said as I went backwards and down. “Morning people. :P” He said. I wasn’t done explaining my clumsy behavior. “Getting to the laundry, I got my toes caught up in the laundry pile and accidentally dragged a sweater behind me…” I smirked, thinking about how nutty that was. “Unhand me, you! I said let go!” I said as I shook myself free of the clingy sweater while not trying to topple over and lose my grip on the clean bundle of laundry. 
“In putting the granola box away for my yogurt, it toppled toward me and I shielded my face instead of moving to catch it. :P” I stood up on my tiptoes, stretching to reach the cabinet, speaking to the cereal box as I went, “Up you go…” It began to slip, then fell from my grip, so I shielded my face with my palms, “Aaaahh nooo!” It landed against my palms. I opened my eyes and peeked at the ground, not a single piece of granola slipped from it. “Yippy!” I celebrated with a little dance around the kitchen, then slipped the box up where it went. I wouldn’t talk about the dancing in little circles, hugging a cereal box; he’d think I’d lost it. Anyone in their right mind dance happily with their cereal boxes in the morning? Doubtful. Yes, very doubtful. I continued typing, “I smacked into the wall instead of going through the entry way to my bedroom…” I had tried to enter the door, humming and stepping lightly along and then I looked up just as I met with the wall, *whomp!* “Oh my deepest apologies!” I said to the wall. “Quite by accident, I assure you.” I bowed with a flourish and then proceeded through the actual entrance to my room. I finished with my rather silly argument of how clumsy I was, “Now, if those things aren’t clutzy, I ask you, what is? :P” It didn’t go believed.

Later… I sighed, thinking, then started typing. “Who knows what else I'll find on this "treasure hunt" as Val calls my medical adventure. :P” “True.” Paul agreed. “Ha, it'd be nice if there was an everything-test. That'd erase all surprises for sure. lol. :P …I laugh and think to myself by the time I'm in my mid 60's, I'll be part machine. Then I'll be indestructible! Bwahahaha!” Paul smiled in reply, “Only part of you. :P” I squinted, he was right. Well now, that did it. “Pop my balloon will you?” He typed, putting a silly face with a tongue sticking out, “…Eventually you won't have to worry about it. :)”  “Yeah, forever young.” I said. Paul simply smiled. I thought about it for a moment. “That'll be somewhat odd. To reach whatever age I'll be all pruny and wrinkly at and die of old age and then be *poof* young again. But permanently this time with no need for "age defying wrinkle cream remover dark circle hider" stuffs! :P” He smiled. I turned to pondering my story as I typed in memories of all that had happened. I typed my thought, “Ha, what a story I have. :P  I wonder if people will believe all of this, or think I'm some sort of exaggerating drama sort of writer and these facts are all fictional. :P”  He smiled, I imagined a shrug with his words, “Some will, some won't. :) …I do.” I continued writing, looking up old text messages and wishing I kept a better record of the specifics. Everything seemed, in hindsight, blurred together in a single incident, instead of several events as it had happened. It’s so interesting to find how everything is piecing together, just like a puzzle. I found myself daydreaming. What if the answer to all of this was just around the corner? I hoped so.

3-21-12: I brought up a chat window with one of my friends as she wanted an update after my appointment. My stomach has been very upset as of lately and as a result, I feel nauseous most of the time. I thought at first it was all due to the steroid treatment, but being I’ve been off the treatment for months, it couldn’t be that and had to be something else. I was expecting to hear that something I was eating was disagreeing with me. What it was, we’d have to find and then cut it from my diet. I was prepared for anything but what the friendly, bubbly nurse was about to tell me.  I remember not crying, but sitting there in the small room as she spoke, Hannah sitting beside me; my hand over my stomach…numb. Quiet and numb. I began typing, “My tummy ache is not really a tummy ache from med side effects. I can't have wee-ones, so the nurse says. She joked to lighten the dark news, "At least you aren't married so you don't have to go home and tell your hubby why you can't have kids. Consider it natural birth control." Would appreciate your prayers. I know it doesn't affect me right now, but I had hoped in my future to have wee-ones. It may be fixable...I certainly hope so. Will u pray for me?” Her reply was instant, “Of course I'll be praying…” I wrote in a hug. “…I'm going to find out on Tuesday at 11... and if they tell me I can't, I'll be an absolute mess. I have plans to run away to my secret place to cry and pray. I don't know how I'll drive, but that seems to be such a small detail.” “Well I'll be praying for your appointment on Tuesday...” She wrote. “Thank you.” I texted back. “…You're welcome!” I gave a hug and she hugged me in reply. I put out my tongue, being silly.
“lol… It’s comforting to know I'm not alone.” I wrote. “Yeah.” She smiled back. “I've had a very brief time to think about it. I was told just the day before yesterday.” I could almost hear a sigh, “Yeah.” “Even though I was told that this problem isn't new. Doctors never saw it because the ITP, so the problem was invisible until now. They just said my pain was strange for others but being that it’s always been that way, it’s how I am. ...and I'm just now learning that's false.” I shook my head and continued. “lol, doesn’t it seem like when one thing breaks, just like a car, other things go with it? :P” She agreed with me, “Yep. Lol. Hopefully nothing else.” “I know trusting God is the way to go. But how do you do it, you've had to deal with your trials much longer?” I asked. “I just do.  It's a way of life for me.  I know these things won't ever change so I just deal with it.  I've had these medical problems since I was born.  I don't know how else to explain it.  There's no use in complaining even though I still do from time to time. I just have to get over it and keep moving forward.” I smiled, “I wish I could be there for you, so I could hug you…” “I wish I could be there for you too.” She responded.
 I sat there for a moment. “My friend, Sage, said upon hearing my news, that I could steal an orphan from Haiti or China.” I joked. She smiled. “Adoption is what she means,” I clarified the ‘stealing’ part. “Just something to keep in mind for later. I've thought about adoption for a while now, being that I was told that ITP could affect pregnancy. But now that it’s controlled, I'd be fine. But this... *shrugs* it’s an idea. And those little orphans need a mother with unmerited, unending, beautiful love that reflects Jesus. :) Those wee ones are still gifts from God, even if it’s not born of our flesh. This was brought to my attention, and I couldn't help but agree the truth of it.” “Amen to that.” She agreed with a smile, “I have also thought about that option as well.  I would love to have however many kids God allows me to have through giving birth to them but if not then I will definitely adopt that is if the husband is okay with that.  Whoever he might be....” “I'm sure your husband would adore you for you, whether you could bear him children or not. He'd just want you, and on that note, I doubt he would be opposed to an orphan baby. :) "There is always adoption." I was told, once. "A man who truly loves you will not look down at you for not being able to give him children. A man who truly loves you, will love you for who you are." She smiled, “That's sweet.” I nodded, then remembered via text, she couldn’t see that. “Yeah, I gave that little tidbit treasure to you cause it applies to you as well. The man God will give to you, will love you. He will be compassionate, and if you truly wanted children, I don't think he'd be at all opposed to adopting. After all, aren't we all adopted? :)” “Yep.” She grinned and I smiled.
“Well I gotta be going.  Have to run an errand.  Going to be buying myself a small pocket bible.  I would like to get one that is the entire bible that is small enough that I can take it with me to work… The book and the card that you sent for me arrived on the same day- My Birthday.” She told me with a smile. “That was pretty neat. :-)  Thank you for those! :-)  Love you!!” I grinned and my fingers flew over the keys. “I am glad you like them. You will love the prayer book. I got gifted that book and it's so rich, it helped my prayer walk. I thought it'd do likewise for you. :) *Hugs* Love you too! Glad to have someone to relate with in my trial. :) Plz take my friend's words to heart for you. You're special, just you. :) Talk to you later and have a great day! God bless!” “You too!!!  Have a wonderful day!! I will take your friend’s words to heart. :-D  Thank you for the encouragement!  You're the best!!” She grinned back, and then closed out of the conversation. I sat back in my chair. Perhaps the reason why I am going through this not only to learn, but to encourage others. Maybe something would happen so I could have children? But then, what if it wasn’t fixable? I placed my face into my palms and rubbed away the thought. Maybe this situation was here to open my thoughts to the concept of adopting? This way when the time came (whenever that would be), a child who didn’t have a mother would have one, and a woman who was childless would have a child to nurture and love, and point them in the way they should go. I very much liked that path of thought. 

3-21-2012: I slowly sat down and placed my hot-pack up to my stomach, then opened up Word and started thinking, my fingers hovering in indecision over the keys. I was popped with a message and a conversation began with Paul. I hoped he wouldn’t ask how I was, I was getting tired of saying that I hurt, only for the reason that I didn’t want to be a complaining person. I was told I am certainly NOT that sort of person; that I’m just saying that I hurt, and by expressing that, they know how to go about praying for me. I couldn’t focus on my sci-fi’s story plot. I x-d out and began scrolling through emails. I was not focused on any one place. I hopped around from email to email, sorting as I went. “How are you doing?” His message popped on the chat screen. “Just okay today.” I said, choosing my words. “But you know what, that's just swell cause it means two things: I'm alive and I'm breathing. Two remarkably good things!” “True,” Paul agreed.  “May I ask what's wrong?” “Tummy ache,” I decided to say. “It woke me up this morning. When it’s strong, it sort of feels like a Charlie horse, sort of. So I woke up. It feels kinda like I ate something wrong and my stomach doesn't like it...but it’s not.”  His response came, “That's why you said the waking up wasn't so good.” “Yeah,” I sighed, “It really wasn't. I probably would have slept till 8am otherwise.” I was still on the sleepy side, and could have easily slept till that hour, even though I tend to be a morning bird, up at the crack of dawn. Paul frowned, “Well, I'm praying for you.” I didn’t want him being worried. I knew I would be just fine. “It’s okay, really.” “I don't care.  I’m STILL going to keep praying for you.” He said, and then joked, “So take that.”
In the middle of trying to jump-start the sci-fi story again, I squinted at his reply, then re-read it again. I caught on. Silly text messages… Was he thinking that I was saying it was okay, he didn’t have to pray for me? I tried to clarify what I meant, “Thanks for the prayer. I'd never refuse that.” He smiled, “You're welcome.” I didn’t want him worrying, either. “This tummy ache won't hurt me, the nurse said so. She said I'll be just fine.” He only smiled. The conversation shifted. “Meh, getting to sleep was a restless venture, but I slept perfectly fine. Got up to my alarm. Trying to write. ...trying.” I joked, sticking out my tongue. Just a smile and then a text was the reply, “A lot of things going through your mind so you couldn't get to sleep?”  I shook my head, then wrote, “Nah, my stomach was bothering me…Tried to relax n cool off, but that only made me dizzy and weak, so I went to bed, but it was still bothering me. Oh well… I'm ok.” I attached a smile to the comment. He smiled back. “Still breathing. That’s a plus, yes?” I joked. “No,” Paul replied. “That's a GREAT thing.” “Haha, right you are sir!” I laughed. “*yawns* I'm still sleepy. And after a full night's rest. lol!” He wrote in a smile then added, “You should have stayed in bed.” I laughed outright, and then wrote, “Could u see me sleeping in?” The reply was quick. “Yes,” Paul said. Oh, I thought, how does he figure? I watched the bar as it explained he was typing. “Albeit tied down.” He added. I laughed, “Well in that scenario, I'd obviously be unable to get OUT of bed…But I'd be giving whoever would dare do that a mouthful of complaint.” He thought about it, “Mm.” “Nah-awh,” I began, “Or....or I'll make good on my guest's idea - "whoever makes the cook angry had better watch out, you could always slip laxative in their food and they'd be sorry..." “Mmmm…” He wrote, “If you could get out of bed.” I smirked. “A minor setback, I assure you.” A smile was the reply.

“And chat with you while I press aprons and pkg them up… acourse after I do my morning chores, which is oh, 7am. People who have the day off can afford to sleep in till 6ish, yes? :P” –me.

“After I sent the message that at least you'd still be able to have tea and the girls night out, I get "And chat with you, while I press aprons, etc."  And I responded saying I thought you had to work, and then no response.” Paul said, lightheartedly. “No response because when I read the message I was curled up in a quiet ball upstairs and felt no desire to respond, only to close my eyes and try to fake sleep until it did take me. It was a very bad night…” I read over what I wrote and then added, “I'm okay though. It can't hurt me.” I thought it best to remind my pal that I was okay and this wasn’t dangerous. “Are you?...” He sounded doubtful, so I added more, “Yes. I'm sore, but the pain is much less. Feels just like I'd eaten something sour, that's all.” I considered what was going on inside of me and wondered if my vivid imagination was tricking me somehow. But no, the pain was real, as was what the nurse told me. “Ha, part of me keeps thinking that my imaginative mind is making all this pain up. That I'm just milking off all the attention, so my body makes up imaginary signals of pain. But the other half of me is repulsed by the foolish thought of that.” I entered that in the conversation. That was foolishness, signals of pain like I was having couldn’t be imagined. How could they be?
Paul wrote back, “Somehow I doubt your body is making it up.” I didn’t think it was possible either, but someone had planted that thought. What if I just didn’t know it yet? I returned to typing, “That side that thinks that, thinks that’s the truth and the doctors will never find a problem because it’s imaginary. But again, that other side thinks that they better find the problem because this pain sucks, bogs me down and sometimes pins me down. There ought to be something wrong in there because if this were imagined, it would have an off switch.” I read over my entered text and then sighed, “I'm a strange person.” “We all are.” Paul responded back.
I told him to pray for an upcoming doctor appointment, that all would go well. I told him very little. He asked if I would have someone there, but I said no. I would want to be alone if I didn’t hear something good, and to go to my secret place afterwards. Then I’d take company. But, I fancied that my symptoms were uncomplicated and simple to deal with, and not a problem. It would be over before I knew it and everything was going to be just fine. He told me he’d be there for me if I asked. I knew somehow that he was going to say that. It wasn’t like I could tell him details. And he shouldn’t show up at that appointment. If I were to hear that I couldn’t have children, I wouldn’t be in a good way, and I wouldn’t want him to see that. No, it was better if I were to simply text him with either, “It went well, thanks for praying!” or “It didn’t go so well today and I still want prayer.” I decided on what to say, “I’ll keep your offer in mind. But! I’m going to hear good news. Yep yep.” He smiled and said he’d still be there if I asked. “Of course,” I wrote, then thought to myself, Of course he would say that. :P
I huffed as I read over my blog draft. I typed in the chat block, “I hate how this is turning out. *sighs* Journaling about me and all I see is me...I can be so doggone stubborn! Why won't I just let others help me? (lol *shakes head*)” Paul responded, “Dunno.  I keep asking you the same thing. :P” I laughed and copied a section of the post and pasted it, “Look at the mess I made. I’m not leaving you guys to clean up my blood. Here, get some bleach and…” Tina got the bleach and began to open it. “No no,” I objected. “Its my blood. I’ll get it.” I said. “You’re in no condition to clean it up, you’re still gushing a river of it!” Tina said right back.” I typed after it, “I'm not like this, am I??” 
I posted a second section, “I put my head down toward the sink, but reached out with one bloody, but free hand and put it into the pool of blood, finding the drain. It finally went down and then she poured in the bleach. By this time, my nose was merely dripping. I scrubbed at the blood with my hand. The bleach made me feel lightheaded and the smell burned in my nose. I wasn’t about to let them to this sickening job of cleaning up blood though. It was mine and I felt obligated to clean up after myself.” I facepalmed myself and groaned, then typed. “*sighs* Oh Coley, what do we do with you? :P” Paul smiled. I wrote, “Perhaps I'm crazy. :P Who else is like that? I've never read of a character quite like the one living in my journal. I wish to shake sense into her "let them clean it, sit down, you're dizzy. You're unfit to clean up." But, just like all characters, they are untouched by such fictating. Nothing that is said will stop them from their next paragraph and course of action. She moves on to clean the counter and drawers. *facepalm* lol, someone help me before I tie her down with rope!” 
He smiled, “…No, you’re not crazy.” I raised my eyebrow, “No, I'm not? Why not?” “No, you're not.  Just stubborn. :P” His response came. “lol, thanks. I think.” I said with a silly face. He smiled, “And I remember having to walk you to the house twice to get you to rest. AND make you promise to take it easy.” Hmm, I said, then typed, “True....I forgot about that.” “And then shortly afterwards found you curled up on the couch in a ball.” He finished. “I...tried to collect laundry from all over the house, so I could do something. <.<....>.>  I didn't get far.” Me and my excuses. Why didn’t I just say it? I am a workaholic. “I knew you needed to rest.  As did your Ma.” Paul wrote. “Yeah. I got into one of my modes. Besides, I wanted to help.” I explained. He said he knew that, “But helping would have been resting.”  “Hindsight's twenty-twenty? Thank you for helping, btw.” I wrote back. “It wasn't hindsight for me.” He said with a silly face, “And you're welcome. Besides, it's in the past now.  Go get your breakfast if you haven't yet.” 
I frowned. I wasn’t sure. I placed my fingers over the keys, “I haven't had breakfast yet. I was debating if I should eat something or not....I don't feel very hungry being my stomach feels uptight. but, I'll eat.” “Just get something light, non-greasy, etc. Non-acidic, decaffinated.” He suggested. I grinned and typed quickly, “A double double animal style cheeseburger with an iced caramel mocha. Mmmmm!” He laughed, and then wrote “How about a blueberry bagel?” Without hesitation I wrote, “Potato wedge fries and blue cheese yes please!” “Toasted, and with butter melting on it…Blue cheese?  Ugh.” He replied. I laughed and then told the truth, “I’'ll go with yogurt and hot tea.” He agreed, then told me he was glad that I’d be going out for tea with Val, “It sounds like you need the encouragement.” I nodded quietly, yes, I did want that. “Si.” I would talk briefly about my medical condition, but not a lot as I didn’t want to accept it before I knew if it was mine to accept. I didn’t want to cry in public.

“I’m not really hungry. Trying to get me to get food is...difficult.” I joked it off. “Course, your stomach bothering you, doesn't help.” Paul told me. “That's the reason why I don't want food. In a way, it makes sense: Why put something into an upset stomach?” I shrugged. My own statement bothered me because I wanted to get food in there. My doctors want me to be 130lbs at least….and I’m not. The subject shifted. “I know I eat slower than others but that's just so I don't get hiccups, which I get if I eat too quick. Its chronic (had them since infancy). Dunno why that is, but they are embarrassing. Sage says I sound like a mouse squeaking and its super comical.” I joked. “I think I've seen you with them.  It's amusing.” Paul told me. “But I also feel for you.” He added. Was he thinking that it hurt? I began typing, “It doesn't hurt at all. It just sounds loud and draws attention. I get them a lot at work (due to cramming in my food).” I paused. Had he heard the squeaks? “You've heard the high-pitched fits? I know you've seen me drink water upside-down. I've gotten to that point many times.” He wasn’t sure. “Usually people around me give this sympathetic smile before they tell me it hurts their ears.” I explained, because it did.
Then I happened upon a crazy thought that made me laugh. Me and my wild imagination! …so I typed it in the chat block, “Jah! Supersonic hiccups! Blasting the eardrums of all nearby, muahahaaha!” “Sure. Uh huh. I've heard you make that claim before and it not be true.” Paul replied, unconvinced. “Yeah, then no one would be able to hear me sing.” I explained. “I WANT TO HEAR YOU SING!” Paul shouted in the chatroom. I pretended not to see that, “Mercy, mercy! they'd be screaming.” 
He repeated himself. “You are shouting.” I stated the obvious, and then wrote, “You must already have damage from my powerful hiccups.” “No, I'm trying to get it through somebody's thick skull when they've stuffed their ears with cotton, put their hands over their ears and is going "lalalalalalalalala." I laughed hard, wiping away the tears in my eyes before typing, “rofl.” “I still want to hear you sing.” Paul said. I shook my head and typed, “I know. You've said it a kazillion times (I've kept track, see?).”
“Yes, I but I don't think it's gotten through to you yet.” He said with a silly face. “No, cause somebody's thick skull won't hear it cause they've stuffed their ears with cotton, put their hands over their ears and is going "lalalalalalalalala," I repeated. There was a pause and then, “You need to be tied to a chair until you sing.” “O_O” I wrote simply. “Seems like the only way.” He wrote. No, I’d not sing because of that. “I'd likely die there then.” I joked and then told him, “I haven't a pretty singing voice.” “That's not what I've heard.” Paul replied. “I don't, but that doesn't mean I don't like singing. I love to sing.” I thought of all the times I sang and danced with an air-microphone and air-guitar when alone….spinning circles on our lawn, my jedi pack (fannypack with cd player inside) strapped at my side. “And what were your parents and the others saying when you sang that one night?” He asked. He had me at that one. Hmm. “That it...was beautiful.” I said reluctantly. “And that's why I want to hear you sing.” He had a good argument, darn it.
 “And they wanted me to sing it in front of the church. I hit the falsettos and that doing so is hard to do and I shouldn't be able to hit them like I did.” I was very nervous about that. He smiled. Fine, Paul, fine… I knew how to solve this. I pondered a good song, tapping my chin in thought. Yes! That one! I put up my pointer-finger, and then twirled it down to the keyboard like a spiraling plane. The other nine fingers followed and touched down on the keys. Jesus is comin’ by Sam and Jennene would do perfectly. “Okay, I'll sing... *clears throat*” I began and then typed furiously, verse by verse, "Jesus is comin'. Someday, maybe soon." “HEY!   I said I want to HEAR you.” Paul interrupted, but I kept going undeterred. “I know He’s comin'. Someday, maybe soon." “That means I need to be there in person.” He interrupted again. "He's brinin' changes to this world of sin." I wasn’t finished. "Open your heart right now and let Him come in… Better get ready, don'tcha wait too long. No one can know the hour He'll come. The hour He'll come. Jesus is comin'…" I smiled. A small sampling was all that was needed, I was certain. “There. Satisfied?” “No. So when can I hear you sing?” I laughed. “I said I want to HEAR you. Right now, I'm READING.” I laughed harder.

3-23-12: “But that's too simple. I demand some difficulty!” –me. That received a roll of the eyes. I facebooked it only to have Val say, “Haha, yep. That sounds like you!”
3-23-12: “Oh that choosing boots were a simple matter “Would one of you shoes just fall off and I’ll wear you?” *Jostles the shoe rack to help the decision.* A lone red sandal falls and rolls to a stop in front of me. “Umm, I wish. Back on the shelf with you. You are summer-wear, not to hurt your feelings or nothing but my toes need protection. I know, I want to wear you but later I promise.” Were that summer be here already! :P” I texted my goofy behavior to Hannah.

3-24-1: “I've been cleaning house (well, and two naps to recoup energy). …I think mama bear loves me.” I smiled, hearing the phone conversation downstairs: “No....she's  mine!! Hahaha! I went to clean my lady's house and came home to laundry, dishes, vacuumed house, all done... and pot roast in the crockpot!! What a great daughter I have!” “Now what would ever give you such a crazy idea?” Paul joked in response. “(see above text)” I said simply. “I did.” “Her friend is too cute: "I need a Cole!" lol. (I took over mama bear's facebook profile while she was at work n that's how I wrote under her name. Clever, ain’t I?)” I grinned. Paul smiled. “Course she doesn't know about the power naps.” I joked. “Or power-downs, actually.” Paul shrugged. “Who cares.” I shrugged as well. “I do.” He wrote, “But at least you took the naps.” I didn’t want to take the naps. They were not in my plan at all. I had sat down on the couch to catch my breath, intending to stand right up and work... only to wake up an hour later and find out I had slept. I told Paul that. He was glad I did, as I obviously needed it. “Obviously.” I nodded.

“(Val) convinced me that going to my appointment alone is not a good idea. And that she'll be there with me. Her reasoning: if I get all emotional, I won't hear details and she will.” Paul nodded, “That's probably a very good idea. …Just remember, if you need me, I'll be there.” I bit my lip. He couldn’t be there this time, maybe next time, but not this one. I came up with another reason of why he couldn’t. When told bad things and I am hurt by it, I gather hugs… that was a good reason why. “I know you would, but I don't know that this is a trial to share with you. I mean, what were to happen if I were to be told what I don't want to hear and I were to get all emotional and cry on you? It is better to protect the situation from that, true? I just want to be wise about this.” He knew that, but still told me he would be there for me if I needed him. And I knew that and thanked him. “Like I've always said, prayer is the best thing.” I knew he would want something to do about my trial. Prayer was very good. “I've already come to the conclusion that God's in control and this won't ruin me... it'll just grind at some more rough spots in my walk.” He only smiled. I shrugged, “Who knows, it could be something else that's bothering me. Who knows but God? right?” He nodded, “Perhaps a few angels.” I smiled, “Well yeah, there's that. I know there's at least one nearby. Kinda interesting to think about, isn't it?” He nodded and then paused. “I missed seeing you online yesterday.” I frowned, “Yeah, I wasn't on yesterday. It was sort of a lost day.” A very lost day. It was awful. 
“I figured you were having a bad day.” He told me. I should clarify – most of the day wasn’t bad, I’d slept. “Not really a bad one until dinner time. I just....slept and slept and slept. I couldn't seem to get myself to wake up.” He nodded. I had felt so lazy that it gnawed at me in an irksome way. “I hated the fact that I was being lazy, so finally after sleeping off a good 4 hrs, I forced myself up and cleaned house and made dinner and folded laundry. Then I felt accomplished somewhat....and also crummy. So I cleaned up and went to bed. Where I promptly fell asleep (who thought a person could sleep so darn much??).” He smiled, I imagined sympathetically, “Are you feeling okay?” Best not to lie, but I didn’t want to say I felt crummy. “Kinda.” It seemed like such a good answer, right in between. “In other words, no.” He translated. “I've been praying for you.” He added. “Well, kinda yep and nope.” I was trying.  I talked about the appointment and he smiled, “It's in God's hands.” I twined my fingers together in my lap, then put them back on the keys. “Yep. All you're likely to hear from this dr app is that I'm sad to hear bad news, or I'm relieved to hear good news. *hopes u understand*” He did. I had to go fill out paperwork, so I said my customary farewell. “Vaya Con Dios.  I'll be praying.” Paul typed.

3-27-12: At the doctor’s office, I sat with Val, chatting with her as I waited to have my name called. My name was called. This would be it then. I mustered up courage and followed the lady through the door….
                I blew a sigh of relief and smiled. I brought up my text message on my phone and found Paul’s message waiting for me. He was praying the tests would come out fine and they can find the problem. I wrote to a few of my close pals and to my Mom. “Glad to be ok. It’s not what they thought. It’s what I thought all along: It’s my stomach. Onto another kind of doctor and a brand new situation with the possibility of irritability (thus my trouble with loss of weight and no appetite) and possibilities of food allergies (they want to test for wheat and milk, among others). Just like Val said, it certainly is a treasure hunt. :P” 

...Is this new situation scary? Yes. But then, God has guided me thus far and I am still okay. I’m learning, I’m growing. It is a treasure hunt… although the prize at the end isn’t really a mystery after all. At the end of this journey, I will have grown so much. This is shaping me and changing me from the inside. Wherever this leads to medically, I don’t know. What I do know is that the treasure is a deeper walk with the One I most love.