Wednesday, September 22, 2004

These are the Daves I know

I guess the thing that keeps me going, instead of holing up in my apartment and listening to dixie chicks and natalie merchant til I slit my wrists, is my friends.

Thank you all, friends I know and friends I don't. To my friend Martyn, who immediately took me out to dinner last night (prompting my mom to ask "What about him? He sounds nice?") and to Chayyei Sarah who will be my date tomorrow. To Dave, who understands that chicks like me hate the pity party. Even if we share our heartbreaks and humiliations in a public forum like this.

And to all the kind readers who reminded me that life goes on and that this is better then being divorced, or even worse, unhappily married.

Thing is, I've had the worse before. About exactly 4 years ago, another man named David did the same thing, only we were already engaged and the invitations were already printed. I owned a wedding dress (which I promptly donated to poorer brides whose fiances hadn't left them), all manner of hats for head covering, was sporting the diamond ring, and had lots of china and challah covers to return.

I can mostly laugh about it now, though this time of year always makes me think, "What was so bad about me?"

When this happened 4 years ago, everyone said, "You're a gem. He's an a**hole. You'll find someone new soon and he'll just be fat and bald."

Except as it turned out, he'd left me for another woman. His camper from Bnei Akiva. They just had their first child, as I heard through the grapevine.

Whereas I still get dumped. And sure, this time its a different David. This time there's no gifts to return. This time, this David dumped me over the phone, whereas the last David dumped me at our engagement party in front of friends and family. But the hurt is the same. I keep thinking that in six months I'll see this David engaged to a simpler, less complicated, easier to love girl. As Sally says in "When Harry Met Sally", "It wasn't that he didn't want to get married. It was that he didn't want to marry me! What's wrong with me? I'm difficult!"

So I know that this could've been worse. But I've had worse and somehow this hurt hurts more. This David spent 2 years with me. He knew me like no other person in the world. And he said, "No thanks". He strung me along for two years, always saying "It's not that I don't want to marry you. I'm just not ready yet!" And yesterday he finally said, "I don't want to marry you."

And the thing is, I knew this. I knew he'd never commit to me. I knew that (again, "When Harry Met Sally") "When you find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." If he really loved me as much as he claimed, he would've married me years ago.

I just feel so stupid. I saw this coming a long time ago. Yet I loved him, I believed in us. I worry I will never find a "fit" like David. Maybe I'll find someone who treats me better. But will I find someone I can spill my heart to, and not feel judged? Can I survive another heartbreak? After the last David, I told myself I could not survive another heartbreak. One more, and I was finished. I would only take the chance if I thought it was really worth it, if I really thought I wouldn't get hurt.

I remember when this David and I started dating, and things were super intense and moving fast. I told him, "I think I'm falling in love and that scares me so badly I want to end this now. If I love you, it means you can hurt me, and I can't take more hurt." Dave told me, "I can't even hurt an ant, how do you think I'd ever be able to hurt you?"

Ah, the sweet naivete of new love.

There's this song called "These Are the Daves I Know" by a Canadian group called The Kids in The Hall. I'd like to make my own edition:

These are the Daves I know
I know I know
These are the Daves I know

David E. was once my fiance
But he left me in front of guests
At our very own part-ay

These are the Daves I know
I know I know
These are the Daves I know

David S. just could not commit
Maybe its me, maybe its him
I think its time to quit

And for now, no more Daves.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Sad Toenails

I had thought today's posting would be different. I already planned, in my head, what I was going to write, what the title would be. I planned who I would call first, whom second. What I would wear. What I would say. How I would react.

Today, D. and I were supposed to announce our engagement.

After more than 2 very rocky years, 26 months of on and off dating, of loving, of fighting, and mostly of D. telling me "Its not that I don't want to marry you, it's just that I'm not ready yet". Today D. told me the truth.

Things have been going swimmingly. He's been very attentive, very commitment-y. A few weeks ago he told me, "I'm ready to get married". So I told him, Great! Let's announce our engagement. He said he wanted to wait til he bought a ring, til he "proposed" properly. Two weeks ago he said "What about March for our wedding?" I reminded him I'd be finishing up finals then. So he said, "So then we'll do it in January, before exams."

We started talking about dates, places, where we would buy an apartment. We planned on having an engagement party during Chol Hamoed Sukkot.

This Saturday night D. asked me if I would have dinner with him Tuesday night. We would meet at this Indian restaurant I love near his army base. Last night he asked me to meet him at his base instead. He took my ID number, so he could get security clearance for me to enter. He was very specific. He wanted me there at 4:30 pm, exactly. Clearly, something was up. I knew he'd be proposing today. No one gets security clearance to enter the base. Last night he told me "You'll have an early birthday present tomorrow."

I was up all night, tossing and turning. Wondering, would D. come through this time? And if he did, was I making the right decision by saying yes?

The past 2 years ran through my head. Of D.'s infinite patience. And of the time when I had a suspicious tumor in my breast, and he refused to come with me to the hospital for a biopsy. Of the wonder in his eyes when Sharona, our dog, gave birth to her puppies. Of the sadness in mine when he told me "I'm just not ready yet."

Eventually I got up. I was conscious of my mother's sagely (experienced) warning, not to be too hopeful, since D. has disappointed me before. I told no one of D.'s plans/my suspicions that he'd be proposing today. Last night a few friends asked me how things were going with D. I simply said "Well".

I wasn't sure what to do today. I wanted to dress up, to prettify myself. I wanted to look gorgeous when D. asked me to spend my life with him. On the other hand, if he didn't ask me, if my suspicions were incorrect, I'd feel foolish. And disappointed. So I didn't want to prepare too much. I didn't want to get my hopes up.

I waited til about 1 pm to glam up. If he hadn't called to cancel by then, I figured I was safe. I did my toenails in bright red. I painted my fingernails a demure ivory. I knew people would be looking at my hand to see the ring. I agonized over my outfit. Do I wear a skirt to feel girly? Or do I wear jeans to be myself?

By about 2 pm, I headed over to my parents house, to drop off the dog. I need to be at the bus station by about 3 in order to be at D.'s base by his 4:30 meeting time. At 2:41 I headed out the door. Just then my cellphone rang.

I didn't have to look, didn't have to answer, I knew it was D. And it was. As soon as he said "Hello", I knew. I knew I had painted my nails in vain. Knew it didn't make a difference what outfit I'd chosen. Knew that instead of going through my pre-arranged list of friends to call to share the good news, I'd be calling friends to cry on their shoulder.

He told me "Today was supposed to be the day. I have a ring in my hand. But I can't go through with it. It doesn't feel right all the time. I can't do it, not now, not ever."

I cried, I told him he had hurt me for the last time. He said "I know. I know this is it, and that's what I'm calling to say."

He sounded sad, but resolute. Just like last night. When he'd sounded thrilled, excited and resolute.

And now I know that everyone was right. My mother, my friends, my coworkers. Everyone knew he'd never marry me. That he was just lying. He told me, "I'm sorry I lied to you. I lied to myself too."

It was just me out there. In love and willing to believe D., even though history had shown me that was a foolish thing.

And I stare down at my bright red toenails, which now match the rims around my eyes, and the look sad to me. They are evidence that I believed and got hurt and that a man, no a boy, broke my heart and I believed him anyway. I think my toenails are crying too.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Pray Hard

My little baby (puppy) Sharona is very sick. After her mad sex with Jack back in June, she has been plagued by a variety of gynecological problems. She's had a very bad infection for a while, and antibiotics have not killed the infection.

Yesterday she took a turn for the worse, was shaking violently and vomiting, and at 10 pm, my vet met me at his office and said she needs to have her uterus removed immediately (something we didn't want to do) because its too infected.

Sorry for the yucky semi-details, but Sharona is in surgery now. We had to wait until this morning because she had already eaten yesterday and couldn't handle general anesthesia.

Anyway, her surgery should be done at 11:00 am.

I am a very anxious and sad mommy right now. And I am convinced Jack gave her some kind of doggy chlamydia or something. He also impregnated Lady, an 11 month old dog in our old neighborhood.

Friday, September 10, 2004

A few funnies

UPDATE on the incompetencies of the hospital. To the person who works at a Jerusalem hospital, the one I went to was Hadassah Ein Kerem -- where I'll be starting school next month.

Anyway, after Dr. R. caught that the Frenchie prescribed an antibiotic I was allergic to, he told me to just stay on the doxycycline that the first ER doctor, from Sunday, had started me on.

Yesterday Dr. R. called to tell me that he had the CT scan read by the chief of radiology at Hadassah EK, and that they found an enormous pneumonia, almost the entire left upper lobe, with nodular involvement and effusions. Not good. So he said he'd like me to be on the antibiotics for 3 weeks instead of 10 days. I told him I was going to need another prescription then. He asked me how many pills I had left. I said, "well, they gave me 10 on Monday, and I took one a day, but threw up 2, so I have 4 left." He said "You took one a day??? Why?" I told him that's what the ER doc prescribed and that Dr. L. (the now totally dumped family doctor) had agreed with. He said, "No wonder you weren't getting better. One pill a day is the dose for acne. For pneumonia you should be getting at least double that!!"

So now I am on the right dose of medicine, and feeling a bit better. He said I'll be pretty sick for a while, about a month. Today I took a field trip to a pizza store with my parents and D. and it wiped me out.

So here's the people I almost shot while I was sick:

The nail/cuticle cutter
You know how in New York, on the subway, certain people clip their fingernails, even their toenails, on the train, and think its ok. As if they are all alone, on their morning commute, and have a few annoying "housekeeping" rituals to do. As if no one else is there, wading through their toenails and fingernails? I hate that.

So this woman was in the emergency room, clearly with her son, and she starts clipping her toenails and trimming her cuticles. Nasty. She was carefully building a pile of the clippings on her knee. The clipping was nasty, particularly in a room full of very sick people, but she was clearly planning on throwing it all away, perhaps in the trash can about 4 feet away from her.

Nope. She stood up, brushed the nails and skin on the floor, then continued talking on her phone. I thought this was especially rude, since some fell on my foot. And I'm sick as hell, along with 10 other people in the room. So I tapped her on her shoulder and said, "Lady, this isn't your bathroom". She gave me this nasty look and said "What's it to you?" I said, "I'm sitting here, its disgusting, and you've dropped them on my sandaled feet." She said, "They fell." I told her I saw her do it on purpose, brushed them on the floor, with my own eyes. So she goes, "Who cares? It's not like I'm sick!" I said, "I am, however. And its gross and rude, and insensitive to the other sick people." I pointed out the trash can not 4 feet from her. And she said "Lo ba li" -- meaning, "I don't feel like it."

I thought about an appropriate response. And then, holding my chest X-rays in my hand, I began coughing on her face. Wet coughs. I was sitting about 15 inches from her.

She turned to me, horrified, and said "Cover your mouth when you cough...use your hand. It's right there, and you've got one for a reason."

So I looked at her and said, "Lo ba li"

Don't mess with me when I am sick.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

I'm baaa-aaack

Sorry for the long absence, folks, but I was (am) out of commission.

After a really wonderful coffee with lots of other Israeli bloggers who write in English, I had a relaxing fun weekend with family and friends. D. has been particularly wonderful, attentive, talking about the future in definitive tones. He even allowed me to take him shopping Friday, bought most of what I pointed out and didn't grump about the price.

Cutest was that we bought him a nice pair of khakis (made his ass look cute) but they were too long and needed to be tailored. Friday night he went straight to my dad's synagogue to pray with him, so I didn't see what hewas wearing. He didn't even say he was going to meet my dad -- he just did. See what I mean abot him being better?

Anyway, I met him after synagogue and he was wearing the new pants, and magically they were the right length. I thought that was pretty fast, since the tailor was definitely closed when we were done shopping. I asked him about it and he said he'd pinned them -- with straight pins! He said he thought I would like it if he wore the new pants, since he knows I hate his nasty clothes, so he just "fixed" them temporarily! He's so cute!

Anway, Saturday night I started feeling kinda achy, run down and had the chills. By bedtime my chest was hurting. By Sunday morning, my 3rd to last day of work, my nurse-roomate Mia said "You must go straight to the doctor". To make a very long story short, I ended up in the emergency room with 104 F (39.9 C) fever and a mass on my mediastinum (the bone in the middle of your chest). This was scary. I couldn't breathe well, was sick as hell, and had a mass that they could not identify. They couldn't find pneumonia on the chest X-rays, which would have explained my symptoms, and the next clear idea was lymphoma - the big C.

I hung out in the emergency room for 8 hours drinking fluids through my arm, taking meds, and trying to bring the fever down. They told me my fever was high enough to admit me, but that because I was young and had a nurse at home, I could go to my house and be sick there with an unknown illness instead. So I went home.

Sunday night I tried sleeping at my folks. No sleep was had. Between the inability to breathe, and a now 103 F fever, I was up all night, gasping for air. At around 3:30 am my mom had to help me take a cold shower to bring down the fever. I don't think I have let her see me buck naked since I was about 10.

I spent all Monday at my parents, throwing up, with my sisters bringing me things and both my dog and my parents' dog curled up in bed with me. I went to my family doctor at around noon, who told me what I had was no big deal, to take Tylenol for pain and fever reduction, and to just suck it up because nothing was really wrong with me. I went home Monday night because I was so bored. My parents have no books in the house since their lift is not yet here.

By Tuesday nothing had changed, so I went back to my doctor's office, but asked to see a new doctor from the same practice. I didn't like that my doctor, Dr. L., had, on Sunday, told me I had nothing wrong with me. Because I insisted she let me have a chest x-ray. Which revealed a mass in my chest. Not a good thing. Then on Monday she didn't seem to care that I hadn't slept in 2 nights, was suffering, and was scared about this mass in my chest. She told me to repeat the chest x-ray in 2 weeks and suck it up. Fortunately I didn't listen to her. I made an appointment with a pulmonologist behind her back.

Anyway, the new doctor, Dr. R., took one look at me, my chest X-rays and my fever and said "This is bullshit". He told me I needed a CT scan of my chest immediately, not in 2 weeks. He said we could be dealing with a very serious illness -- lymphoma. And that waiting was the worst thing to do.

So I went back to the emergency room, because here in Israel, the only way to be admitted to the hospital is through the emergency room. The doctors there have to decide to admit you.

I saw a bad French doctress, in the least sensible shoes I have ever seen a doctor wear. Sequined, high-heeled, and easily ruined by sick people. I knew this doctor was French before she even opened her mouth. And when she did, it was clear she was recent graduate of medical ulpan. She knew medical terminology in Hebrew and not much else. Anyway, she hemmed and hawed, blew the vein in my left arm trying to get more blood (after a well-intentioned nurse blew my right arm), and finally thought she should bring in a pulmonologist. I told her I just wanted a CT scan of my chest. The pulmonologist came down. Bless her soul, she had a head on her shoulders and couldn't believe that no one had given me a CT scan yet. She couldn't understand why they let me leave on Sunday night without a diagnosis.

The pulmonologist told me "You're not to leave here without a CT scan. If someone tries to discharge you without one, come find me. I'll see you after your scan and talk to you more". I never saw her again.

I had my CT scan, and then began shivering uncontrollably and turned white. Fever was back with a vengeance. I waited in the ER for another hour, and the French lady told me that she couldn't find a radiologist to read my CT scan, but she looked at it, and she thought I could go home. Again, no diagnosis. I asked to see the pulmonologist but she told me I was discharged so I couldn't see any other doctors anymore. She said she was putting me on a different antibiotic.

I should mentioned here that Ihave violent allergic reactions to certain things. Penicillin, erythromycin and cefovit antibiotics are 3 of them. This information is on my chart, always. I make sure to tell every nurse and doctor. This one asked me (even though it was written on my chart) if I was allergic to erythromycin. I said yes. She then wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic called Azenil.

The discharge nurse gave me the prescription and told me that I had to go back to my health insurance clinic to have the script re-written onto Maccabi (my health insurance) forms, in order to have them cover it. I was really angry at that. It was 5:30 pm, the offices close at 6:00 pm, I was a 30 minute taxi-ride away and sick as hell. And to get my medicine I had to race across town!

I decided to go to my family doctor, the new one, Dr. R., because he could also write the srcipt on Maccabi paper and it would be easier then going to the health insurance clinic. Thank god I did.

He took one look at my script for Azenil and said "Noa, this is erythromycin, you're allergic to this medicine". Previous reactions included anaphylactic shock. Which, with my already screwed up lungs could have been fatal! Then he asked what the CT scan had found. I told him they had no one to read it, and that the French doctor had told me to call back Sunday for the results. This was on Tuesday, mind you. Well, he really hit the fan! He called up the radiology department, and started screaming at them. He couldn't believe the incompetence. I like Dr. R. a lot better than Dr. L. He couldn't believe someone had the nerve to write "Diagnosis: Call back in 5 days to find out. Treatment plan: Wait 5 days, follow up with someone else" on discharge papers.

Anyway, at the end of all this, it turns out I have a very bad and very weird pneumonia.

Weird because:
1) I was not sick at all beforehand and then wham! 104 F fever, inability to breathe
2) Pneumonias normally occur in the lower lobes of the lung. Down at the bottom. And mine is in the left upper lobe. All the way at the top. And he said it is a very massive infection, encompassing most of the lobe.

Very bad because:
Its enormous and he said it will take a long time to recover. Like over a month just to be functioning, longer to be truly well.

Good thing I am on vacation.

In my next post I will describe just how grumpy and irritable I was after 3 days of no sleep, 101-104 F fever and chest pains. I bitched a lot of people out.

I've just rented Season 2 of Sex and the City.