Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Just petals on the wind

This was our cherry tree, but it's gone now.
I've let myself be blown about lately, just petals on the wind. NaNoWriMo? What was that I was doing? But I am happy to say that I planted 64 tulips, and had no physical problems. I felt so good that I almost canceled my doctor's appointment for Tuesday the 13th. But I did go, and was shocked when she took my odd on and off again stuff seriously enough to refer me to neurologist. Well I'm sure the neurologist will be dismissive, but I'll have to wait at least four months to find out.

     I let that information carry me farther away, by wondering whether I should or shouldn't take her concerns that I make sure I don't have MS seriously. An unsettled energy invaded me, making me a restless errand runner, flitting about in my car from place to place in pursuit of nothing of particular importance, hoping the pace would offer some peace. Of course I have decided there is no point in concerning myself about it, too many various possibilities, and too much time between wondering and knowing to waste with worrying.

    But still it is in my nature to research. So instead of writing and working on my novel, I take books with various illness titles out of the library and read them. Some seem a possible fit in some ways, but not at all in others. Things can be symptoms of things, but can also be nothing. And when I sit at my computer, I don't go to NaNo, I google health stuff. And so it is that I have landed on MS versus Celiac Disease. Apparently there are a lot of neurological things that can go on with Celiac. So starting the day after Thanksgiving I'll be starting a 4 week gluten free trial to see if my whatever they ares improve. Which means more research and reading for a gluten free diet, and lots of time spent reading the backs of packages at the grocery store.

   At times this past week I have been super frustrated with myself for this waste of time and energy. But forget it, I'm cutting myself some slack. My doctor intentionally worded it, to try and scare me- talking about plaques on my brain building up and getting worse over time. Verbally she threw ice cold water all over me, so of course I'm going to take notice. She did this so I would actually do the follow up appointments and testing. She seemed shocked that I had let this stuff accumulate over the past year without coming to see her, and I was shocked that she thought I should have. So honestly what other response but concern could I conjure.

Hopefully now-I've adjusted and adapted. Reminding myself nothing has actually changed. Tests ordered to rule stuff out are common procedure. So I'm getting out of those cold water soaked clothes, and dressing in something warm and dry. Mentally I needed to fray, but now I need to mend. Time to be getting back on track, settled down and working on writing (and a bit of cleaning. Where oh where is my house elf?).

Actually it is reassuring to know that when I have looked up all the info I can and can't go any further with figuring any of this stuff out, and I am too tired to run any more senseless errands (both of which are points I have reached already), that there is this other world waiting for me. A world roughly written across two notebooks. A place I can get lost, and found, in. Now if only I can imagine typing this stuff up like it is a warm bath I am stepping into, rather than like it is masses of great tangled Christmas tree lights, I shall be forever untangling.

The squirrels unplanted 12 of my tulips- they do that again and...and...I'll..I'll (okay I'll probably just shake my fist at them, but I'll imagine myself flinging them about the yard by their tales. Oh yes PETA that is what I'll be imagining)


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lost to time. Feels like February. Last week my son only had school on Friday thanks to Sandy's power outages. Our power went out five times, but fortunately came back on minutes later. That week felt like holiday break without the holiday. Not festive, more bleak than break. Grey and cold. I can't imagine what it was like for those without power, and for those hit hard along the shore. I still can't find images of Ocean City, New Jersey, I search though am afraid of what I'll find.

My husband's brother died last week. I really didn't know him. He suffered from schizophrenia. He was plagued by memories of horrible things- that never actually happened. Do to the severity of his illness in a way my husband lost him years ago. My husband talks of the boy he knew, of the times they shared. I sense the depth of my husband's pain. And he is grieving most, for a life that didn't get to truly be. For all that could have been, should have been, but wasn't, and now for certain, never can be. I am not sure, what, if anything, comes after this form of being, but I pray. And I pray that he is somewhere, restored and well. And that some of the wonderful that he missed out on here will be part of his future.

It is November. I have to keep telling myself, not January or February. Look the fields are still green and gold. If any trees yet hold their leaves they are russet. I am trying to do National Novel Writing Month, but struggling with it. Which becomes more surprising when you consider- that I am cheating- so far I'm only typing up stuff I have already written. So I should be much much farther. I wrote some new stuff for JAD 2 this week,which is good, maybe next NaNo I can type that stuff up. And this weekend I'm bound not to make up for lost time. It is supposed to be nice out, and I have tulips waiting to be planted. The cold weather ushered me indoors before I finished. There are holes left in the dirt, waiting.

I have had a good week and a half- no real physical problems. That said, I am a tiny bit afraid to plant my tulips. Last time I did yard work, about two weeks ago- I got fiercely dizzy. I was fine digging holes and transplanting- but standing still, and walking were awful. I staggered about the yard, walking on an invisible seesaw. Standing still felt like falling backward, and sitting down like falling through the ground. Eh so I am not so keen on repeating that experience. But if I have learned anything this past year, it is that if I expect problems, I'll be just fine so I'll feel like a neurotic headcase for having been concerned. It is only when I don't expect any trouble that I could be in for it. So I'll expect the worst, assuming that will bring me the best, and hope the universe doesn't call me out on this strategy.

It will hit me hard if I can't muck about the yard properly anymore. Because if I can't do it, it wont happen. My husband doesn't understand the importance of flowers. How I dream of them in winter. I love the magic in it, the dark cold days, the heavy white blankets of snow that recede revealing a barren landscape, that bursts forth into blooms. Rows of happy petaled faces, smiling in the sunshine, waving in the wind. What they mean to me, visually, emotionally, it is like planting joy. (oh yeah I went there, full on corny. And I'm not stepping back.) He will never plant them, feeling that if I can't do it, that is proof that we need to streamline, make life easier for ourselves; we should get rid of the ones we already have. He doesn't have the time or energy to do it (which is true). And feels I should save myself for maintaining the house, which includes stuff like moping. I hate moping, I'd much rather dig a hole. I told him that last week, he said, "I can tell." And so you can.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Well at least I am writing again. Strange how sometimes it feels such a part of my life, such a part of me- but then can just slip away- til I realize days, even weeks have past. I had lost the feeling of it.

I've tried lately to sit and type previously written stuff up, but I always manage to run away, off to other things. If that continues into November I'll set myself up for NaNoWriMo. My work will be outside the parameters of the official challenge- but my focus/goal is to do whatever necessary to help me sit down and get all my notebook stuff typed up in a legible, organized way on my computer. And placing that desire within the context of a 30 day 50,000 word challenge should help me get there. If I do that JAD will be the story I go with.

Anyway, my head still hurts from last night- partying? nah, just reading over one of my stories- which is my way of coaxing myself back into writing. Because I can't help editing, and adding, as I read down a page. Better than that though, is that I've been adding little snippets to JAD. Better because it falls under the request I made of the universe-that rather than my sitting down to page, feeling nothing, and trying to force myself to write- that instead it would begin with me going about my day to day stuff, but feeling called time and again, to add something to the story. That it would reawaken within me, and I would feel it while doing other things. Because that is my favorite way to write. Because then I am eager to get to my computer, and it feels like play rather than like prison, a sentence of writing sentences. Like the one way- I'm trying to write,to create, but keep find myself listening to songs on itunes, this way, this morning- I am trying to listen to stuff on itunes but keep getting interrupted by ideas I have to go add to my story. Yes work is still involved, time, effort, and frustration, but this way just makes it all feel right, feel worth it and like what I am supposed to be doing. Ah thank goodness, actually feeling the characters again, their thoughts and emotions a stream I am swimming in. I've been alone on dry land for a while now.

This way is like hanging out with friends revealing their secrets to me, the other way is like trying to interview tight lipped strangers.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

been wasting time in a totally non writerish way lately. Time to accept that the new computer I had anticipated having by now, and was waiting for, wont be in my life anytime soon. So as long as this old apple is still working, I should be working.
A week ago we went to Longwood Gardens and saw Bruce Munro's light installment. Loved it. My only complaint was- more more more. I wanted more lights in more places. It was like walking through a fairyland. My inner child and inner writer were delighted. Now if only I could learn how to release enchantment on to a page.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Wasting time in a wannabe writer way.
Spent last two hours looking at photos online, searching for images for my characters. Still struggling with my main man Kin, but I have found faces for some surrounding characters, which actually is good, since sometimes they can be blurry and less developed for me. So giving them a concrete image, forces them more clearly into focus. Only thing is, now I have a headache, my eyes feel like they are crossed, and nausea is setting in. A.K.A I haven't actually gotten any writing done, and I am not going to.

I don't usually go for pretty characters, but this particular story (JAD) does call for it, and, honestly models and actors via TV, the internet, and magazines, are the easiest resource to glean images and thus likenesses from. I mean I know what my characters look like, but I can't picture them precisely. They are always slightly out of focus when created with just my imagination. So it helps if I can tether my image to an actual person.

Monday, July 9, 2012

glug glug glug- just chugging along, typing up notebook stuff. It's disarray (no not in disarray- it is disarray itself).- with one notebook page spanning three totally different parts of the story. Oh how I am not looking forward to all the work it will take to get this story typed up and in proper order.

On the upside (I think), I've realized this story, JAD, can actually have a sequel. I've never had that in a story before. Though come to think of it, I do have a set with a prequel- Fresh Oranges, but the two stories basically stand alone- not having the same characters or anything- and I don't plan on ever publishing the story (Primrose) that came before it. So anyway- I am excited by the prospect of a story with two books. But of course, that means that my notebook now also has bits and pieces of JAD2-fire in the sky, scattered throughout it. Make that notebooks. I have been hesitant to get to the work of typing stuff up, because I am having computer problems- the kind that can't be resolved with this computer. The lovely people at apple told me I can't buy more memory-I am outdated all around-no replacement parts available-and the only upgrade that will fix her, is a whole new computer. Oh and we already turned our vacation into a staycation because our refrigerator died and had to be replaced. Blogger itself keeps announcing I am not compatible with it. Blah. Blek. Stop harassing me, I'd upgrade to google chrome if I could.

So I consider taking the time to type stuff up risky- as I will surely have a meltdown of epic proportions if I can't transfer it to my new computer. But who knows when I will actually have a new computer. And I can't spend the entire summer doing yard work, tending to my flowers- watering them, battling heat waves, the husband, neighbors, and Japanese beetles- all hell bent on killing my plants. Oh infernal weed whacker how I hate the sight of a man holding ye.

Yard work is good though, for writing passively. While watering I realized that more than one story has an angel in it, and several have supernatural or fantastical elements. And I became concerned about whether or not my different stories all have a shared mythology. Of course they don't need to have one- each one can play by its own rules- but of course I want them all to have one (a shared mythology)- for them all to exist together. So I am working on that too, weaving my own universe- a glistening web, that all the little separate planets- worlds of story, can cling to together. And for some reason, even though I haven't even accomplished it yet- the thought of all my little ones under the same umbrella feels right-knowing that they will all fit, and work together, makes me happy.

Whenever I get a new computer- I will be very excited as I will actually be able to share more recent photos on my blog. Don't be surprised if you find October awash in pictures of my May garden. Now let's see if blogger is willing to post this.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Been busy. Still jumping back and forth on writing projects- currently I have been working on JAD, which stands for Just a Dream, or Just a Daydream, since it started from a dream I had, that I then kept going with spinning a daydream around it at night to help me to fall asleep. And after a couple of months I figured what the heck, I'll write it down and see where it goes. I have learned something from doing this, while my story stories (intentional attempts at novel writing) tend to be lacking in the dialogue department, my daydreams have plenty. So I have to figure out, what is so different about them (and my approach to them)- why is one heavy on speaking and the other on narration. I'm just about stopped now though, as I'm actually at the point where I need to do- what else- research! for it. I need to develop it's mythology.

But, I haven't yet, because I am reading The Nine Lives of Chloe King (did I mention that I have decided for sure that I am a YA writer, because that totally justifies reading teen novels, and watching ABCFamily.). And because I have been super busy digging holes- planting stem cuttings, divisions, and several hydrangeas I found on clearance at Lowes, and then watering watering watering- in hopes that they will take. (while my body has added some slight jerks and twitches to the fray- and still can plague me when I try to stand still on a smooth surface- for some reason I have no trouble at all traipsing up and down the hillside.)

I'm re-envisioning the back bank. It's a lovely stretch of yard steep and shady, where many plants have gone to die. Their suffering was due to my lack of accepting the reality of the situation. Now I am trying bigger things-and things that say part sun on the tag. I also gave the trees there all a crew cut. Actually they are bushes and shrubs, but I pruned them to look like little trees (and I don't care how they or anyone else feels about this. Summer haircut!) A neighbor gave me some hostas last fall. And they have made a spectacular difference. I never thought I liked hostas, but trade in a bunch of weeds, for tidy white edged loose spirals of leaves, and yeah-hostas are awesome. And with this bit of encouragement, my mind is looking freshly at the bank, and coming up with other strategies. Like something that had never occurred to me before- planting hydrangeas along the edge at the top.

As I stood there today watering my new plantings- I thought about a speaker on writing and a book on it that I had read- that both mentioned the importance of being able to re-dream your story. That there is the initial version- but that the key is being able to let go of the first version of it, and re-dream, re-envision, re-imagine it. Frankly I never really pushed myself in this direction. I always kind of just let things in my stories, unfold, and evolve, and take me where they are going. But my yard has surely shown me something- how long it takes my thinking to evolve. That my mind isn't as open to seeing all the possibilities that are truly available, as I think it is. But that though it can take half way to forever, if I keep trying, and moving on away from what doesn't work, trying different strategies, something beautiful can still be created where I failed many times before.

So I am trying to open myself up- in my yard, and in my stories- to the power of re-imagining. Re-dreaming till I find the dream that can be made real.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mind-set reset

    Sometimes I suppose I am but a Winnie-the pooh type, dragging my own Piglety self ever round in circles tracking imagined woozles in the snow. Like magazines, my life covers the same topic year after year. For me, progress involves a lot of time, and occurs in small increments- be it my weight, my writing, and lately my balance. I am trying really hard to ditch negative mindsets.

Last summer I was jogging trying to lean into an image of myself that would be fit, healthy, vital. Then in October the balance stuff started. And it has been a struggle to not see myself through the lens of someone who is unwell in some way. I finally came to the self dx of disembarkment syndrome (Mal de Debarquement Syndrome) and that has really helped me, because it is self limiting, not progressive, and doesn't effect lifespan or anything. But still on a bad day when I try to do something regular, like walk up a small incline, use a public restroom, get out of the car, scrub anything, and I end up feeling like I am ninety, my mindset tends to suffer. So it will take time for me to get used to this and all the minor adjustments I need to make; to be prepared for feeling wonky, but not to expect it.

Now today- Today was a good day. This morning I went to the park and walked by myself. The sort of thing I have hesitated to do because of the hide and seek quality of my equilibrium; one moment I am fine, the next I can feel like I am on a boat- or like I am falling through the ground, or feel like I am being pushed down, or falling backward. Every day I get to ask myself will I be okay today? Answer-Heck I don't know. But today walking I didn't have any problems, and so fueled by that success, I was inspired to try rollerblading this afternoon. I have wanted to do it for the past month but have been scared to try. I mean in the past months I have almost fallen while standing perfectly still on flat ground, so it didn't seem like the best sort of idea. But I did it, and I was fine. Like with walking, moving faster and more decisively tends to work best, much better than attempting lots of stops and starts, looking around, and turning in circles. And hours later I still feel fine. I know I could still get walloped, it has happened before- where I think something went well, but there is just a time-lapse till the consequence arrives. But so far I'm feeling cheerful. Excited by the prospect that this is an activity I can still do and enjoy.

There are some sort of rules and I just have to figure them out. Trying to dance today, a hip sway side to side, felt like a tilt-a-whirl, circling my hips I felt pulled downward; I had to stop, first because of the nausea, and second because I know from experience that if I ignore this sensation it doesn't go away-instead my knees give way. So okay I can't dance footloose and fancy free like I used to- dance around every day-, and yeah that does bum me out- but rollerblading to music that too is awesome- and I think I am going to be able to do that. Woohoo!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Well I wrote two posts, and posted none. Full of thoughts, but lacking commitment.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

For my Nana Jean.

She died yesterday, many years ago. Twelve to be exact. Sometimes I think it odd, that her death is the day I mark in her honor (to remember her then, instead of on her birthday). But she was not born into my life, she was always there (a given, like the sun, sky and ground). Her death is the day that startled me, the moment in life of us parting.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

mind to page

 pencil to paper, fingers to keys, and font to screen

    I was having a great time reading Fountain of Swans.  I hadn't worked on the draft directly in years. It was fun reading it like a reader, rather than like someone struggling to write it. Sure I noticed things like missing details, merely suggested sections, and areas of suckitude, but I was also totally caught up in the story; excited to be on this ride, this journey. There were scenes I had forgotten, and the words I used to frame ideas surprised me (that doesn't happen with Echo. I've worked on it for so many years, that when I change something the original words reverberate back to me. I don't get caught up when I read it, I get stressed out.). It all went along nicely until I hit page 88, which is where the story suddenly ended, even though it wasn't at its end. Like a reader who bought a book that was missing its ending I was flabbergasted. What the....where is my ending?
  I knew the ending, I knew I had written all this stuff down.. somewhere...oh goodness..all that information...all those ideas..they can't be lost....they have to be somewhere. Where? Oh the mental meltdown as I searched through my computer note pages- the information wasn't there. Ugh. Upstairs to the lair of everything, scooping up piles of notebooks, knowing there are forty of them I might be forced to slosh through. First ten nothing, and obviously not the right sources. Searching high and low, oh not long ago, it was all in piles on the floor according to what it went with, but then I thought I should clean the floor- so now where was everything?
Ah finally I found the right ten notebooks, flipped through them, found a couple of pages in one...then in the official FoS notebook (duh) finally the lost information was found-but of course it was written in my less coherent than chicken scratch style (OMG what if I have found it but can't read it, so it is still lost to me). But wait- every page has a big check in the side margins- which is what I do when I type a page up. So that means at some point it was on my computer. Okay found my back-up discs. Had to beg son to help me- my notes tried to lock me out saying I needed a password- but then finally my own words were opened back up to me. Hello old friends.
Now among many other things, I have found a drunk swan, and a boy with a club foot. But I am still missing some french monks, and a staircase hidden behind a mirror which leads to a secret room under the castle. I don't know if I should keep searching for them,  or try to re-imagine them, or just let them go. Do I need them, do I want them, is something missing without them?  I don't know yet.
Right now I am busy inserting my found information in the correct locations, and then reading through the parts to make sure they work together. A lot more work than reading as a bystander, a lot more writing too.
So far I am enjoying it though. And the best part is I am playing hopscotch, jumping back and forth between FoS and Echo. At times my inability to stay completely focused and see one thing through has upset me- but right now I'll let it be- for this is how I feel safest- hiding from one in the other. And as long as I am seeking shelter from stress over one, in words and pages of the other, then I am writing. And both are moving forward.
My not feeling well before- has led me to realize that this matters to me. These stories I want to finish. What if I don't have tomorrow? What if I am still here but unable physically to write? I don't want this left undone. I want Koji to exist in the world with or without me (and the other characters and stories whisper, "me too."). I have surrendered the idea of making any sort of living off of my stories, but I haven't surrendered the idea of having them mean something to someone. Someone other than me. Whenever I fall, tomorrow, fifty, sixty years from now, I want them to be in a place, to have a chance to go on, without me.
Besides my son, my husband, and the patch of earth I try to bring forth flowers in, I believe this, these stories, are my work, what I am to do. A thousand flowers set in my heart waiting to bloom.
And maybe they never will bloom. Both my gardening abilities and writing abilities are subject to failure- but this is how I have decided to perceive my life: trying to coax a thousand flowers to bloom.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    I've decided to attempt a rewrite of Echo using third person. For some crazy reason I thought this would come naturally. By the second sentence where I had to replace I, I became angst ridden. Now having completed one paragraph I'm distraught. So, I'm going to modify my initial strategy, from complete rewrite, to simply going through a copy of the manuscript and changing it to third person. And then later going back through it and seeing if I can make it better. I really wanted to approach it with a different spirit. Koji is the narrator, and I wondered what it would be like instead to have a fairly limited omniscient narrator; one close to his shoulder, who carries some affection for him. A blanket of thought spread out around him for his paws to walk upon. I wont get that from merely making I, he. Maybe I will give it another day or so. Lean into it, re-imagine. Maybe I will have to just do a simple edit form of rewrite first, and then it will be easier for another tone to unfold. Or maybe he still just wants to tell the story himself. I don't know. I worry that this struggle is just a waste of time, and that I should focus instead on making the story stronger as it is. But I wont know until I try, and fail, and try some more. And I do feel the need to know this answer. It would solve some problems. Yeah, I'll do just the basic edit and see how it feels, then I'll know if I should spend the time and energy re-imagining/rewriting.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

                                            orchids- Longwood Gardens

    Regret. A word for big mistakes, and small oversights. I thought I was careful. My blunder, financial. When the doctor told me I should get an echocardiogram, I let them make the appointment. They named several nearby facilities, all having basically the same words in their names, just in different orders. I picked one on a road I am familiar with.

    I asked how much it would cost. The lady who made the appointment called my insurance company for me and tried to get this information. Fifteen minutes later, she gave up. I was told it shouldn't be too much and most insurance covers it.

    Of course I didn't let it go at that.  I went home and looked up my insurance info online. I had to add info and set up a password. I made sure the place I was going for the testing was covered by my insurance (in-network). And I found out that my insurance covers 80% of procedures-AFTER I reach my $1,400 deductible. But I still didn't know how much this procedure would cost me, so I called the facility and asked them. They didn't know how much it would cost and gave me the number for billing. Billing told me they couldn't give me a number- I told them my deductible and said I'm going to be paying for this out of pocket I need to know how much it is going to be. They said the number is so inflated they wont tell me because it isn't the number I would ever pay anyway. And then told me there are payment plans that can be set up to make it easier to pay.

    I didn't find any of that reassuring, so I called my insurance company. It took a while to weave through all the junk where I talked to a machine and said this or that and pushed this or that button, and several times it didn't like what I said, and made me repeat and pick something else, but eventually it connected me with an actual person. The person I reached quickly repeated all the info I had found online, 80%coverage after $1,400 deductible, and while I was in the middle of asking a question hung up on me.

   Alrighty-So I got to start the whole dialing and talking to a machine process all over again and tried to think of a different category for my question in hopes of getting to talk to a different person this time. Ah..a much better person, one who listens and then responds. She was very helpful, reassured me that echo bills come across her desk all the time, and no they aren't in the thousands but in the hundreds of dollars. And that there was a surplus of several hundred in our account (because we hardly ever use any of our health benifits) so it is possible that they would apply that to it, and I could end up paying nothing. She also helped me find the cost estimator on their website. And there I was able to see that my test would cost $200 dollars. Whew did I heave a sigh of relief. Okay I had all the info, it would be reasonable to have this test done.

    So imagine our shock when we got the bill. $3,219.68. After insurance adjustment-$1,290.64 due. What?????!!!!! I still can't believe it. I mean this was a 15 minute test, just ran the ultrasound thing over my chest area. We thought it must be a mistake. We had to wait several days because of New Years holiday to find out what was going on. My husband called our insurance ( he got to do the long talking to the machine process) but eventually I got on to ask the questions myself. I mentioned the cost estimator- she said it's an estimator not exact- I said, I get that but um $3,000 extra is more than a little off. I may have screamed that part. (I kept getting worked up and then having to bring myself back down again.) She said well it wasn't just a basic echo, it was 2d complete, and was recorded. (I didn't ask for it to be recorded, it didn't say anything special on the form, it was recorded so it could be looked at later because no doctor was there for it.). Okay I said so how much more does that sort of echo cost. She looked it up and then said, Oh. I said how much more- about $34 she said. I asked her why I was being charged so much. I told her I couldn't pay this much, I never would have had the test done if I had known it could cost this much. She said our insurance was applying some surplus account money to the charge so it should end up costing us about $700,  she didn't know why I was being charged so much but that it has to be paid- the insurance company has an agreement with the facility to pay a certain amount for a procedure- it is all about the code for that procedure, maybe this was a special code. I should call the facility and double check that the right code was put in.

  I call the facility. Again they switch me to billing department. Matter of fact tone, she scoffs at me. Like how could I ever be surprised over such a thing. I had my test done at a trauma center, of course it would cost me more than it would anywhere else. I said over a thousand dollars more? She said, "Oh yes. We don't do echos here for less than $2,000 and that is for a standard echo and you had a 2D complete and it was recorded" (lucky me.) Thinking of the future I asked her if this would also be true for an MRI. Yes, at least $1,000 more at a trauma center. She said I could call and ask the amount of one if I decided to have one (she said it like it was an easy and obvious thing to call and get a price. I felt like screaming that is what I tried to do for the echo! And no one would tell me _ _ _ _!) I then asked her if she had the adjusted bill saying we owe $700 now instead of $1,200+, she said no, it shows here you owe us the full amount. She told me I could set up a payment plan, and that I had 90 days to pay then it goes to a collection agency, and she hung up.

    Ugh. I felt so sick. I still can not believe this. I am desperately hoping (we are calling our insurance company back today) that it is at least the modified 700 number, the 1,290 number I can't even wrap my head around.

    Oh, and the fact that I tried so hard to find out how much this procedure would cost ahead of time, because I knew we couldn't afford much. And that I still messed up. I still made some stupid error that resulted in this cost. If I had known our local hospital was a trauma center and that, that made some sort of a difference I would have gone somewhere else. I didn't choose it specifically (I didn't even know the facility was within the hospital when the appointment was made.) it was just that it was on a street that I knew, thus was easy to find. I knew the hospital was on that road, but so are many medical and dental facilities.

    If only- one teeny tiny decision- here instead of there, and this would have been $34, or perhaps even free. And despite my efforts, it is my fault. I feel like I am robbing my family.

   But then I have to step back, remove myself from that space, from that heavy distraught feeling. I have to let it go. It hangs there, it doesn't dissipate, but I stand outside rather than within it.  It is done, this has happened, the situation is, what can I do now? Not make this mistake again. Not go to the writer's conference this year. Try to squeeze this money out of other areas of my life. Feeling distraught and sick over it, that wont help at all.

          -My heart is fine, normal. So if it wants to skip some beats, or thunder along for several seconds here and there no big. And both the perpetual exhaustion, and chest pain with exercise, are gone now. Because I am fine, I more regret the expenditure as it was all unnecessary, but ultimately if the test had been shown justified- abnormal results, um that would not be in any way comforting.
          -Possibly an upside- I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that stress and anxiety do not make me feel any dizzier. It comes and goes whenever it feels like it, and to whatever degree, regardless of my state of mind.
         -Gee if I do get worse, I have now met my deductible- our year stops sometime in June- so I will have 80% coverage if I get an MRI, and I now know not to have one at the hospital. So that knocks at least $1,000 off the price right there. I don't intend to have one though. I'd have to be sure something was really terribly wrong (not just off) before I would get such a test. And I have every intention of being terrifically well instead.
        - I still couldn't resist putting pretty orchids at the top of this post. A.k.a, this is a sucky thing, I feel I have been treated ill. Allowed myself to be tricked, used. I have been a fool. We have worked hard to cut back on all our spending, yet I have offered up our resources unnecessarily. Stupid, stupid, stupid. But this isn't an insurmountable thing. Everything, anything, could so easily be much worse. Live and learn, I get more chances, today is a new day; and like Anne of Green Gables would say, it doesn't have any mistakes in it (yet). And I don't take simple things like movement, my ability to walk, or dance (when I can dance without feeling sick) for granted anymore. It is a fine and remarkable thing to be able to move about the world.

I apologize for the randomness through which I approached tense, swinging back and forth between present and past tense without regard. Ah to be freely reckless with something :) . Oh and I suppose I should apologize as well, vaguely, for the myriad of grammar-ish mistakes I am aware of but not going to take any time to attempt to fix. Really, as I am sure anyone could agree, been here writing this far too long already. I am not however inclined today to apologize for all the grammar-ish mistakes that I have made but am completely unaware of. No. I want to take a moment, and a few deep breaths, and not hold myself accountable, for being stupid, and unaware. A space to feel okay and free to not know, and not feel consequence. I do try to know better but I often don't. And rather than apologize to you, I am going to forgive myself for it.