Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Our love is like a roller coaster...

For some unknown reason, I've been inexplicably obsessed with finding information on Taoism. We studied it in my World Religions class with LD Russell and I've been curious since.
In Taoism, the term "Qi" is used to describe the flow of energy that moves through the universe. Eastern medicine focuses on this energy flow in its treatment of chronic diseases. Since the beginning of my RA Adventure, doctors have recommended acupuncture. Now, everyone knows that I have a phobia about needles. It's taken me about 2 1/2 years to succumb myself to taking my injectable medicine. I'm not saying that I enjoy taking it now, but I've overcome the phase of panic attacks and hyperventilating as Joe now gives me the shot in the arm (where I can't even see the needle) and Sirius sits on my lap and diligently licks the wince off of my face.
A few weeks ago, I finally decided to talk to someone about Acupuncture. There's an Eastern Medicine Center in the Kentlands and the one therapist gives Aetna discounts. I made an appointment with her and went in last week. We talked for about 45 minutes about everything and anything in my life. Unlike western doctors, she focused a lot on my lifestyle, pressure points, body temperature, and life events. Surprisingly, we spent a lot of time on the concept of "trauma." I've been very (very!) lucky in terms of injuries - the only ones I can think of would be the infamous diving board smack in 3rd grade and my broken thumb in college. I have a normal family, no emotional abuse or trauma, and all in all - nothing to complain about... it was the first time that I had to take check on it all and, by the end, I was feeling very grateful for having such a smooth-sailing life.
Between the diving board, thumb, and now the RA, Rebecca (the therapist) wanted to do a treatment to relieve my Qi of past traumas. I reminded her of my potential to freak out once the needles came out, but I just buried my head into the table. She started with the top of my head (EEK!) and worked her way down my back, legs, and feet. I lost count of the needles, not because there were too many, but because I only felt a small prick of them going in and then couldn't feel it again. I was figity for that first treatment, the 10 minutes seemed like an eternity as I tried to not focus on the needles that I knew were there.
The second treatment was to balance my body temperature. Between my love of duvet covers and warming my self up and her feeling around, I am a cold-bodied person! She mentioned the notion that the RA inflammation was my body's way of heating itself up and that balancing my body heat may relieve some pain. I don't know about pain relief, but let me tell you... I was out cold! I felt a warm tingle flow through my body and I fell asleep in the cozy warmth! I wish she had let me lay there and sleep a few minutes longer, but no-can-do. I left feeling very light and airy, probably from the pride I had from not passing out with so many needles around!! She warned me that I'd be drowsy that afternoon and she was right... I passed out for a solid 3 hours and had the most blissful sleep ever! I'm hooked and will be going back next week!

Friday night came and went with Bar-T Summer Orientation... big Joe gives his big talk to kick off the summer. This year's theme is Bartopia, a word I've heard more times in the last few months and would be elated if I never heard it again, and the focus is on building communities at camp. Joe's speech was great - he used clips from Pay-it-Forward and a documentary on happiness... it was a great (and relevant!) talk!

I packed up the car on Saturday morning and headed down to Roanoke for Sarah Toney's wedding! Joe had to work, so I hooked up with Meg Pinnell and spent some QT with her and her cutie boyfriend and fun parents. The wedding was.... fabulous! I would have never imagined Stoney as the gushing bride, but she was deliriously happy! The ceremony, overlooking the mountains, was short and sweet (focusing on the sweet!)! As they headed to Key West for the honeymoon, and are HUGE Buffett fans, everything at the wedding was Key Lime... there were sugared limes on the cake (which had key lime filling) and the centerpieces were filled with limes. They gave everyone a bag of Virginia Peanuts and had blue and white seersucker tablecloths! The night was truly amazing... everything there just screamed "Sarah," a trait that I find necessary to a perfect evening! I was sad to see them off and leave the party because it was just so fabulous!

Going back to Taoism, most of us are familiar with the theory of Yin and Yang. Displayed as the black and white circle, the two colors show that "one (phase of) Yin, one (phase of) Yang, is what is called the Tao." Being at the conjunction of Yin and Yang alternance, Tao can be understood as the continuity principle that underlies the constant evolution of the world... the world needs balance.

And, as the world self-corrected itself, the euphoria of the wedding was met by a feeling of indescribable despair. Ally texted me at 7am, asking me to call her. She got past "I've been at the hospital with Mom and Dad" before the tears flowed out. Scott was in a car accident. He was driving home from work with a friend in the Porsche and lost control on a back road. After a sharp turn, the car started to spin, and when he tried to correct it, the engine in the back of the car took control and sent them into a telephone poll. The car hit the pole right behind the passenger-side door, sending the transmission across the road and causing the oil line to erupt. That's about all we can really figure out. Neither of the boys can remember anything past the car spinning, so its all speculation.
The other guy's jaw was shattered, so he was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. They found Scott across the street, unconscious, and medivac-ed him to University of Pennsylvania hospital. There's too much story to tell, but the bottom line is that he survived. His scalp is stapled together, there's a horrendous gash on his left shoulder blade, he broke his right shoulder, and has broken ribs. In the end, he's going to be okay.
But when Ally called me, I was 8 hours away and without any details at all. Meg was there to let me freak out and cry and her parents made me eat some fruit before hitting the road. By the time I got to MD, my face was swollen and my shirt soaked from crying. I talked to Al and she confirmed that he'd make it, so there was no rush in getting there before visiting hours were over. Joe, Sirius, and I took a quick nap on the couch before packing the car and sending me off with the puggle in tow.
I'm not sure where Scott's strength is coming from, but its amazing (and I have to walk away when I get gushy b/c I don't want to upset him). His shoulder and ribs have to heal, so the choice was between hospital or home - Scott chose home. We've tried to make him comfortable - letting him reclaim his place on the couch - and ran around to get prescriptions and such. He's eating and standing up, more anxious and not wanting to be stuck laying around. The main challenge is Finley, usually too small to make a dent in anything, but lethal when he jumps on the couch-dweller to get to the top of the couch. The other dogs don't jump on the couch, so not as threatening... although Bailey could surely do damage with his wagging tail! This morning, I found Sirius laying on the floor next to the couch and Scott was petting him with his good arm. He looked at me and said, "He may be porky (Sirius' new nickname to my family), but he sure is cute." I don't why, but that made me tear up and realize that he will eventually be good as new... probably sooner than I think.

A storm just tore through the area, leaving us without power, so I'm hoping my laptop holds up for a few more minutes... I'm mostly packed up and Daddy will take me to the airport tomorrow morning for my 6am flight to Texas! Just talked to Ellie and she sounds a lot better than I thought she would... now I'm just antsy to get down there to her and Grant! Joe's been teasing me the last few days, alluding to me as a FEMA trailer and disaster relief. We joke, but also know that I wouldn't have it any other way... especially Chunk and El - two people that are always there for me.

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