September 23, 2010

Why, gas stove, why?

Apparently, underneath the stovetop part of gas stoves, there is this thing called a pilot light.  And apparently, that means that when you're trying to clean up the sauce that spilled right there next to the metal burner-part using your finger as a scrubby, you're going to get a burn.  A very small, painful burn right next to your fingernail.

September 22, 2010

Pregnant dreams

Last night, I dreamed that I was pregnant.

I have had this dream once before, but this was different.  I was in our kitchen at home, talking to my mom.  We were talking about nothing in particular.  I felt my water break and realized that I was pregnant--I hadn't known before.  There was some discussion about how it was that I came to be pregnant--I didn't know.  I couldn't think who the father was, or even how it had happened.  I remember patting my belly, which was not taut the way pregnant bellies look with their hidden-basketball roundness, but rather much the way it normally looks (soft and squishy and nondescript).

The dream did not include birth, but suddenly I was presented with a tiny baby, purple-mauve with curled arms and legs and a scrunched-up face.  My whole body suffused with joy as I looked down at this infant cradled against my chest and I had the thought "skin on skin contact."  I thought it was a girl but then saw that it was a boy.

Next, I was at home again, in a La-Z-Boy recliner, like the blue cloth one we had when my brother was new.  My baby was fussing a little, and I held him and pushed out the recliner to tilt horizontally.  A vaguely defined male was standing over us and drew a blanket over me, tucking us in, and I curled up on my side in the chair around the baby.

I woke up curled in the same position and diffusely content, though a little weirded out.

September 15, 2010

Cause of Death

"The list is up!"
"What list?"
"How our donors died.  You can see how old they were and everything!"

We are crowded around the paper, taped to the dry-erase board.  Our donor heads the list; our table is the first one on our wing.  She was 85 and died of several different things.  She is not alone: most of the donors are older individuals and their list of ailments runs to the end of the line.  Some entries end with commas, as if there were more but it just couldn't all fit on the line.  Some are heart-breakingly short.  Two donors on our side were young, in their fifties.  Both died of pancreatic cancer.  Someone runs their finger down the "age" column, marveling at the youngest (53) and the oldest (101).  One of my classmates speaks as if she were an authority: "Well, it's the deadliest one.  It's the fastest."  I can tell from her voice that she has no idea, that she has never known anyone with pancreatic cancer.  I try to speak up.  "It's hard, because you don't know what it is until it's too late.  And it's fast, that's true.  But it's because you don't know until it's too late."  Too late.  The words linger on my tongue.  My classmate has no idea, is not really listening, is only thinking about what she thinks she knows about pancreatic cancer.  One of my lab partners knows.  He says "Our family friend died last year from pancreatic cancer."  His grimace is brief, a shadow that passes over his face at what cannot be understood without experience, that it takes without mercy, that there is no justice in finding out a diagnosis because it is too late.  I say nothing but suddenly I am struck by the fact that my classmates have donors who could just as easily have been Dad, that they might not even have realized yet--that their body is young, much younger than our 85 year old.  They have not yet connected these dots, the ones that would have pointed to a tragic end.  I wonder if I had seen these donors (I know I have, during the practical) when I was studying.  How often had I scrutinized their brachial plexus? or turned their arm to see the posterior arm muscles? and never paused for a moment to study the body itself, to see age or barely even register sex.  As I strip off my gloves, I am grateful the lab was short today, that I am already free to go, that I can wash my hands in the gently warm water and slip out the side door without anyone noticing.

September 12, 2010

First block of exams--check!

We had our first exams last week, right after the long weekend.  I did well, so I was very content.

To celebrate, a lot of our class went out Wednesday night to do karaoke--there was beer spilled everywhere and middle school favorites sung and plenty of dancing/shout-singing along.

Friday night we had people over and watched telenovelos while making up what they were saying.  Then we went out to a bar and it was so crowded I couldn't hardly move.  At one point I was gratefully wedged into a corner by an incongruous arcade game and the side wall.  I had a jager bomb and a shot of jager later, probably trebling my jager consumption to date.  Eventually, I gave up and wove through the crowd to escape.

I was by turns elated, confused, and content for varying reasons over the course of the week.  Movies were watched, studying was done, exams were taken, drinks (and shots!) were had...crazy, good week.