01 December 2009

My most embarrassing life

My Most Embarrassing Moment by Suebob, Mrs. Flinger's Period 3 English*

*Explanation at bottom of post

Most embarrassing moments are usually just that: a moment, a brief time of realization and blushing, followed by the blissful softening of time's passing.

But what happens when your embarrassing moment happens and you don't even know about it until long after everyone else has heard about it, when, years later, the realization comes crashing down on you like an emotional pile of bricks?

That's what happened to me.

When I was in my junior year of high school, I awoke one day with terrible back pain. I was in ballet at the time, so I thought I had strained a muscle.

I iced, I used a heating pad, but nothing helped. My mom took me over to the chiropractor and I almost passed out from the pain.

I remember standing at the counter and having my vision disappear down to pinpoints and the noises around me get farther and farther away until someone grabbed me just as I collapsed.

Someone took my temperature and found I had a 104 degree fever. My doctor ordered me admitted to the hospital. Our family doctor at the time was this harsh skinny old guy with a thick German accent. I always suspected that he was a retired Nazi but I'm sure that is just speculation...mmmmaybe.

They put me on the pediatrics ward at the hospital. The doctor came to visit me there and took me into a broom closet and did my first, and by far the worst, pelvic exam of my life.

Between the pain and the fever and the broom closet and a strange man rooting around in my privates with the grace of a ham-handed plumber, I was a mess. During the exam, Dr. Mengele asked me "Are you sexually emancipated?"

This was 1977 and I had no idea what he was talking about. I assumed he was asking me if I was a feminist. After all, the debate over the Equal Rights Amendment was raging at the time. So I said yes.

After that, things get a little fuzzy. My fever went up even higher and I ended up spending six weeks on that peds ward, receiving massive doses of erythromycin for a staph infection that had settled in the bones of my lower spine. Except for developing a permanent hatred for runny food served on plastic plates, I recovered fully.

Fast forward 25 years. My sister Laura and I were talking about the time I had spent in the hospital. She said, laughing, "And that old German doctor told mom and dad you had gonorrhea."

"WHAT?" I yelled.

"You didn't know? He said he had asked you if you were having sex with a lot of people and, with your symptoms, he suspected gonorrhea."

"Doctor Mengele told mom and dad I was having sex with a lot of people and had gonorrhea?? That isn't what he asked me. He said 'sexually emancipated.' I thought he meant if I approved of women being firefighters and judges!"

So my most embarrassing moment lasted 25 years, the years when my parents thought I was a total slut.

Mrs. Flinger has a new project: trying to help bloggers become better writers. Thank God. Somebody has to!

The idea is that we will do weekly writing assignments and give each other gentle and helpful criticism. Week one's topic: My Most Embarrassing Moment. Ok!

29 November 2009

Helter skelter

How often do you think to yourself "There is something seriously wrong with me?"

Often? Please say often. That way I won't feel so alone.

Today I was walked Goldie at my old community college and parked over by the swimming pool. I used to spend an hour a day there doing laps, back and forth in the glassy blue water, composing poetry as I listened to the bubbles in my ears.

I walked up to the fence and looked in and suddenly felt like I had been dropped down an elevator shaft. Darkness zoomed up around me.

I was instantly nauseous and reeling. I grabbed the chain link fence to keep from toppling over.

The pool was empty. It wasn't the sight of my beloved swimming pool empty that got to me. It was just...oh, here it goes - empty swimming pools horrify me in a way that I can't even explain.

It is not rational. It is blown out of proportion. It is more than a bit ridiculous. And it happens every single time.

I staggered back from the fence and kept walking Goldie around the campus for about half an hour, but I couldn't get that gaping empty swimming pool out of my mind.

I felt sick and weak and bad. I just limped on, propelled by the force of a determined 65-pound mutt on a squirrel hunt.

Toward the end of the walk, Goldie sat down suddenly and began madly licking a back foot. I looked at her paw and saw what looked like a moderate gash, like she had stepped on something.

I urged her on because there was nothing I could do to help her. In the middle of the street, she sat down and began licking and chewing and would not move. Fortunately, it wasn't a busy street, but finally a car came along and I kind of dragged her over to the edge.

"Is he ok?" the man in the car asked.

God bless him. I told him she was ok, just had a little cut. I really appreciated him asking - just one human letting another know that they cared. I love people like that.

I sat down on the sidewalk and inspected Goldie's paw more closely and found a big thorn. I pulled it out and we waited a bit and she recovered enough to start rooting in the bushes again.

Then I realized my fear and nausea was all gone. Funny how sometimes a small crisis can return our focus, bring us back into ourselves and make everything ok again.

So make me feel better and tell me about your irrational weirdnesses. Come on. You know you want to.
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