What I Packed for My Hurricane Evacuation

Asbury Park, October 28
My parents live on the water (1/2 mile from the ocean and on a lake), so I booked it out of there because I’d rather be stranded with the Boyfriend than my parents, who keep yelling at me to clean my room omg I live at home now and I'm 26 where is the wine
Anyway...the eye of the storm is literally heading for where I live now (sob), so I’m at the Boyfriend’s for the next three days. 
I predict this will be the ultimate test of our relationship so I have packed the following:

1) Noise-cancelling headphones for when he watches Dexter (now-I've been shushed twice for air-drumming to Billy Joel while typing this post)
2) All of my Hanson CDs to convert him into a FANSON or else this relationship is really over
4) His and her bottles of wine
5) Insulin in case I go all Stacy McGill during this bitch
6) Cosmo magazine (haha jk…it’s Glamour)
7) Duplicates of all my pills cos lupus don’t care bout no damn hurricane
8) A pill crusher to slip my Xanax into his breakfast for when I start to whine from inevitable pain due to life-threatening diseases that are the reason I AM NOT IN CALIFORNIA and AWAY FROM THIS DUMB STORM
9) 50 Shades of Grey in case I want to kill myself before the storm hits
10) Salt and pepper shakers because he’s lived in his apartment for 6 months and still didn’t have a set. SERIOUSLY.
11) Candles, in case the power goes out or I decide to get romanti--HAHA no.

Wish us luck/find me a new boyfriend for Wednesday!


A Life Worth Living

I sat alone in Dr. Kick Ass’s office, my ears
Hearing the clinical,
the scary,
the disease names
spun from Latin.

Words–things!– that pin me to this bed,
my chest tight with what ifs.

I have never admitted to feeling fear,
Not the way I do now,
Knowing I have so much more to live for.

I know now,
more than ever-
I don’t want to leave anyone

I will swallow these pills,
I will pump my body full of these toxins.
I will sit through extractions and screens and tests
and I will 
eat spinach raw.

Because I won’t...
I won't leave anyone behind.

(Photo credit: Katie McKnight Photography)



Xanax Dialudid Vicodin Fentanyl Klonolipin Prednisone Imuran Vfend Flexeril Diauludid again yes more, more I can’t think of, more in the bag beneath my bed, more in the notepads stacked on doctor shelves. More for the next time. More to scare me, to heal me, to fix this, to make things worse and better. More ways to go down, more ways to fly out, more ways to take a deep breath and say:

This is not me. These are not mine, these are my body’s.

(There is importance in that distinction.)


MY IV, Me and One Midnight Adventure

I wake up, startled and confused. Where am I? A quick look at my veins confirms the pumping I hear from the IV next to me. I'm back in the hospital.

The clock reads ten to 3, and the quiet tells me it's the middle of the night. Which night, I'm not sure.

I look at my phone. It's early Friday morning. I woke my mom, crying hysterically, at 3 am the night before. I came in for the swollen jaw I've been complaining about for weeks, but just last like last time, I was admitted for something else.


A term I'd only heard before on ER but a quick conversation tells me it's actually quite serious. But we caught it in time before it poisoned my blood and killed me.

I remember the shots of prednisone and insulin injected into my arm. My sugar was 515 before bed and I forced myself to sleep.

But now it's 3 am and I am starving.

Last month's trip to this very hospital taught me a few things; always stay in the new building, where the room is pimped out Cribs style, and raid the nutrition closet when the nurses aren't looking.

I unplug my IV and almost immediately scale it to shut the beeping up. I slam my fingers into the pause button until it quiets itself. It's just a short mission, old friend. We can do this.

I'm halfway down the hall before the sound of sneakers shuffling on rich, donated carpet alert me. I hop into a patient's room, a patient who did not expect company.

"Lady," he croaks. "What the hell are you doing?" He's so loud. I whisper back "The mental ward was full." He nods, and is about to call for the nurse when I hop back out.

The nutrition pantry is steps away, filled with cereal and cranberry juice and joy. I'd cut a bitch for some Rice Krispies right now.

With the coast clear, I grab onto my pole like I'm stripping for cash and shuffle toward the door.

I'm here! I made it! I go to to turn it!

And it's locked.

I'm here. And boy, am I stuck.



I miss California.

This line has ran through my head all day, as the air begins to bite, as my feet get and stay cold. Morning breaks and Joe opens his windows. It smells like the season, and it reminds me of one year ago, when I left New Jersey for California.

I lived in Los Angeles for only 9 months and planned to be there for longer. I was to come back after my sister had her baby in September and I ran my race in Denver. I had a ticket bought for the 24th of September but the plane I caught in Colorado was not bound for LAX. My ticket back to LA went to waste; I watched the plane board before I got on mine, just one gate over.

A month ago, I met Joe and knew immediately that going back to California was going to be different now. But I still wanted to; I still planned on it. Despite the strength of our feelings from the start, thinking otherwise was foolish. I had plans.

Two weeks ago, I watched my niece take her first breath and felt changed, too. Like staying here and being near her was imperative. Necessary.

And then, three days later, a new doctor stood in front of me, holding my blood work results–a thousand symbols I don't understand– and told me I had to stay here in New Jersey. That right now my health was too unstable to keep moving around; that I needed a team of doctors to handle my care; that there were lines to be crossed and tests to be done. I need comprehensive care, something I've let go of as I lost insurance.

For years, I have stretched out my denial as I have stretched out my youth.

I have moved constantly, traveled well, and bristled at the thought of leases or permenance. I have fit my youth in with doctor's appointments. I have given up a career and hesitated to start another. I have lived like I was healthy, like my body could handle another bruise.

But I need to take care of myself now so that I can live longer later. That's what my doctor told me a few days after Sadie was born, and a week after I met Joe and started picturing that longer life. A longer life I have never given much thought to; a life I have not planned for, for fear of jinxing myself, my health. But it's a life I want and deserve.

So now I am being forced to stay in one place. To sit still and get well. And part of me truly hates that I am not back in California, that I have lost my life there, if only temporarily. I hate that I will rely on my parents to house and feed me.

A year ago, when I was hungry for change and a different coast, I would be devastated. It would crush me, this step backward. In some ways, it still does. But when I hold Sadie or laugh into Joe's chest, it feels like a step forward, too.

So this time, I will do as the doctors say. I will stand here. I will be patient and I will trust my instincts to take me where I ought to be.

To thrill me, hold me, and push me closer toward the life I covet.