Monday, May 30, 2011

Perfection to Remember

   Our school went to an amusement park which I will not name for location privacy purposes. We rode there on an activity bus. I sat beside my friend Dana. I brought poems, wrote poems, wrote a letter, listened to music on my iPod, read a Nicholas Sparks book, and talked/laughed with Dana on the way there. Suddenly, a wave of excitement crashed upon the bus, as one of the boys claimed to see one of the big rides. Everyone was so excited! It was lovely to see everyone so happy, and though my excitement was not as great as theirs, (I'm the calmer type) I marveled at seeing them all so ecstatic. (My friends commented that I don't really have many facial expressions.)
   We got our lunch passes and tickets then got into our groups. My mother, physical therapists, and I had agreed that it would be best for me to rent a wheelchair there. I did not want to hold my friends back and be the weak link; it would not have been fair to my friends. Luckily, our chaperon, my friend's dad, was very understanding and assisted me in the process of renting and returning the wheelchair as well as pushing it. My friends also helped push me around. To all of my friends (even London, who scared me to death as she pushed that thing around): thank you so much!
   Anyway, we all had a ton of fun. We were in line for one of the rides; our group had split up. All of the sudden, a teacher came up to us and asked, "Are you all from (the school we go to)?" nodded. "The buses are leaving. We have to go, now." He said it with an urgency that made us run (well, I rolled) to our chaperon and race to get the other half of our group. Finally, after they came back, it began pouring rain. Our chaperon checked the wheelchair back in for me and all of my friends ran back to the bus, ankle-deep in murky water. I walked slowly and painfully, watching the rain pound so hard on the ground that it caused ripples of waves on the pavement. I smiled, thinking back to my blog post 'Rain's Advocate'. Water squished in my tennis shoes, and my hair got seriously curly and messed up. My pink shirt and denim shorts were literally soaked, and water droplets were clinging on to my eyelashes. I would've looked the same if I'd jumped into a pool. Finally, our chaperon caught up with me and walked with me (how sweet!) to the bus. We were the last ones on and the wettest. I climbed up the steep stairs and all eyes became hooked on us as we stepped into view.
   My language arts teacher and science teacher, both of whom attended the field trip, looked at me. "Are you okay?" My language arts teacher asked me kindly.
   "Oh, yeah, I'm okay," I laughed, running my fingers through my hair in an attempt to keep it untangled and straight (which proved unsuccessful). Everyone on the bus was grumpy and wet and exhausted. "Stop," I told them. "This will make the trip memorable. We're going to look back at it and say 'remember when we went to the amusement park and it rained like crazy and then we went, soaking wet, to (insert restaurant name here)?" Gradually, the whole bus lightened up and laughed it off.
   So thank you to everyone on that bus. Thank you London for your view of Lindsay Lohan on The Parent Trap, Mr. Bus Driver for driving our bus, Dana for helping me with my list, my teachers and our chaperon for ensuring the safety of all of us, Alexus for dancing in the rain, Joey and Amber for being awesome, Deja for pretending to suffer from amnesia, and tons of others. I love you guys and I always will!
   It was on this trip, in the moment that I felt that my life was impeccable. Pain and problems can't stop me.
   Thank you for the best day ever.

Love,
Rachel

Monday, May 23, 2011

Millions of Moments

   Today, I thought about why I even started this blog in the first place. I finally came to a conclusion that writing saves me when I feel as if I'm going to break. Of course, a majority of my days, though pain-filled, are beautiful and marvelous. I don't always feel as if I'm going to break. (Which is way different than feeling like I'm going to fall down from arthritis.) Even so, when I do, writing my blog helps me recall memories from my past. Memories of better moments. Soon, I am so enclosed in my moment that I am nowhere to be found. My face advertises a blank expression. The happiest words I've ever heard echo around me, and I am able to relive them in my head. As soon as the picture fogs up and then disappears, I am able to apply the happy thoughts in even the worst of situations.
   I don't think people realize how much I've learned from this. Everyone learns something important and unique at some point in their life. Since that point is now for me, I hope that I am like an ingredient in a recipe. Adding something to your recipe for life. Then, after you combine it with all your ingredients, it might taste just a tiny bit sweeter.
   Isn't a tiny bit all we need at times?
   I have been feeling okay lately, and brilliant for part of today. I'm not saying that there was no pain; it was just to a lesser degree.
   The other day I was watching a commercial with London and Addie (two of my friends) about butterflies you grow in your home. It then occurred to me how much I love butterflies. Probably for the most shallow of reasons. But that's okay. I can be deep with other things.
   I am now a huge fan of Adele, especially 'Someone Like You' and 'Turning Tables'. I need an Adele piano book. I absolutely LOVE piano, and I have spent too long clunking around trying to pick out notes. I'm going to get lazy and find a book.
   People are hiding something from me. I will not elaborate on this.
   To Addie and London: Remember Drizzle?

Love,
Rachel

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rain's Advocate

   'Pocketful of Sunshine' and 'Walking on Sunshine' both emphasize the link between  positive things and the sun. If you say you had a rainy day, it is automatically an indicator that you mean you had a bad day. But why? Of course, people don't like to be wet when they are walking to work in the morning, going outside, etc. Still, the rain is not going to just stop, and if it did we'd all be wishing we hadn't complained about our curly hair and wet clothes. I mean, I understand why the rain can be annoying. But the sun beating down on us can be just as bad. 
   Since the rain is not going to stop, why not enjoy it? It is so much fun to spin around and dance in the pouring rain; it makes you feel like a part of the earth rather than an addition. (By the way, if you have arthritis, rain flares it up, so I can understand the hesitance there.) Even so, from now on, I am rain's advocate.
  So I think I have arthritis in my hips. Today was a bad day. No, today was an awful day. No, today was one of my worst days ever. I have had so many teachers help me this week. I'll abbreviate to keep this short.
Thank you to...

My Language Arts Teacher
My School Guidance Counselor
My Spanish Teacher
My Science Teacher
Dana 
   
   I saw Stacie! It made my day absolutely perfect. 

Love,
Rachel 







   

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Twilight Sleep

   Everything is so much greener now. Looking out the window of my kitchen, bright green trees overlap each other, soaking in the sunlight. I thought about this today as we read a poem about summer and a poem about December in language arts. It compared fallen leaves to cornflakes and snow as sugar. I'll never eat my cereal the same way.
   I had my injections done. I was excited as we pulled up to the hospital but nervous and slightly anxious. An IV was placed into my hand (ouch!) and they covered my legs with some orangish-brownish stuff before they sedated me. It was conscious sedation, and let me tell you, I felt those needles. I have two red dots on my ankles and three on one knee and two on the other. I don't really like to think about the fact that they went deep into my joint and I watched it happen. So I guess it was somewhat traumatic. Still, I was bubbling over with hope. One of the nurses (or maybe one of the anesthesiologists?) taught me how to make my breathing line change by taking different types of breaths, so I had fun with that and monitoring my heart and blood oxygen levels. 
   I was very slow to wake up from my 'twilight sleep'. My friend Amelia would tell you that I was probably in a daze. That has been happening a lot lately. I'm just kind of out of it, just daydreaming. Amelia gets the biggest kick out of it; I always snap back to her laughing and smiling, which, in turn, makes my day better. Luv ya, Amelia!
   When I woke up, I was crying. My parents later informed me that the first words I said were, "I felt it,". I can believe that. 
   So far, the injections haven't really done anything, at least not with the pain. But results vary, and my pediatric rheumatologist said that it may take a few weeks. So I'll be patient. 
   My arthritis has been awful since the injections. At least, the pain has been awful. Maybe it's because I switched off the medication that made my stomach hurt? The soreness from the injections has passed, but they still hurt a lot. It is very frustrating, as I was hoping for quicker results. I will remain patient though. I admit to being scared. Scared about what will happen if the injections do not work for my pain. At this point though, the weekly Methotrexate shot/ oral steroids will be nothing compared to arthritis pain. I still have my biggest flare-ups during science. After all the walking around of the day, I start to really feel the effects. They always hurt, but it is most definitely worst in science. Late science-mid first elective, really. As much as I try to hold back tears, they escape like little prisoners breaking free. I think they are sometimes the only outward sign of my pain. I think people have found it hard to believe that even when I'm laughing, smiling, and having a great time I feel like collapsing. Always. Anyway, I do not want to cry mostly because I want to walk down the hallway without teachers and other students stopping me to try to intervene. Of course, everyone has beautiful intentions. Also, my tears are abnormally cold (well, at least I think they're colder than normal tears) and I do not like anything that involves cold and wet except rainy winter days. I do love rain, I love it even more than sunshine, but it makes my arthritis worse. I guess I'll have to wear a space suit next time I feel like splashing in puddles and making my hair curly.
   My would-be math teacher (it's complicated) and social studies teacher stopped me in the hallway the other day, witnessing my tears and hoping to help. They offered to let me stay in their classrooms, take my stuff, etc., but I refused. Now I know I'm stubborn, but this wasn't really a stubborn issue (at first). This was me wanting to be able to walk down the hallway, carrying my own stuff, feeling "normal". My would-be math teacher tried to take my lunch box for me, but I entwined in with my arm and kept the firmest grip possible with arthritic fingers on it. (I guess that's where my stubborn qualities came in.) Finally, she settled on just walking me to class. 
   I haven't seen Stacie in over a month, and - no joke - I am going absolutely crazy. I need her. We're like sisters. I also miss the other patient, Philina. The three of us laugh for what seems like eternity but ends in a moment. Six days until I see her again! May 12th will probably be one of the best days of my life!
   I have the urge to run. I sincerely hope to get there soon.
   I have always thought that the best type of literature is the type that doesn't end. The type that you can apply to your life, create your own ending to, and use as soil as you sprout. Literature that leaves thoughts unspoken, ideas hushed, voices quieted, yet understandable if one thinks hard enough. So I hope that my blog does exactly that. Leaves open lessons, thoughts, and ideas without a clear blueprint. 

Love,
Rachel