black and white and read all over....
a nun tumbling down the stairs,
a chessboard wrapped around a body,
a fool most of all.....
a perpetual beginner
amazed and puzzled
curious and captured
tormented and calm
trusting carnal knowledge
hopeful about craft
learning to yield
Hopes for the blog: offer up the wild intersectedness of lived experience and engage others in creative, expressive, perhaps irreverant, hopefully playful, and respectful encounters.... enact kindness create moments of pause for disclosure, discovery, stillness
Last Friday, I had a flashback to that television show..... Fear Factor. A show that places willing participants (usually in teams of two) in humiliating, terrifying and often gross situations. The team that manages to get through the terror and grossness of a given episode then gets to move on to even more imaginative ways to engage in terror and grossness. My flashback was to an episode where the "challenge" was to swallow bull testicles, boiled, I think. It was an effective discriminator.
How is it that I was drawn, implausibly, back to this experience of deep and meaningful revulsion? Perhaps a mention of my context at the time will explain it....
I am at a med lab, getting ready for an upper G.I. series. I 've had one of these before a few years back and the lingering memory of how long it took me to swallow the disgusting stuff that is required so that the techs can take great pictures of my insides still ... lingers. Back then, I took me a good half hour to get it all down, with much urging and gagging and puking.... and then three hours to track it through the GI tract and the lab was behind on all the procedures thanks to me. I am here again and in no mood for a repeat performance.
The cheery perky gal who will bring me into the examination room hands me a warm blue gown, and tells me everything off on top and leave the gown open at the back. Of course. She then returns and ushers me into the inner sanctum where I meet a guy who could be Herman Munster's twin brother who all involved are expected to address as " DR." Ok, then, pecking order established, Cheeryperky hands me two paper cups, one half filled with little white granules and the other filled to the rim with cold water. Toss the pellets in your mouth and guzzle the water, get it down as fast as you can, they say in tandem, an unwelcome chorus if ever there ever was. I am already wary, but I do it and as soon as the water enters my mouth and touches those vile little pellets, my mouth explodes with foam, as big and squishy as marshmallows but with the consistency of caulk, the thick icky foamy kind, not the neat fine white line kind, and I have to swallow it .... and all the while I am urging and gagging and almost puking, but I manage to get it down even though gulping and urging and gagging at the same time does strange things to my throat. Then DR invites me to lay down on my right side on the oh so warm and comfortable stainless steel table and another cup of water ( at least it looks like water) is placed unceremoniously in front of my face. Cheeryperky plunks a straw into the mixture.The plunk should have been a clue...Drink this down as fast as you can.... it's the halleluiah chorus again and so I get to it, thinking that this speediness might mean that this awful experience may not have to last three hours this time.... it is sooooo NOT water.... it is gross, a liquid with the consistency and taste of a blend of petroleum jelly and toothpaste and I am sucking this through the straw and swallowing it as fast as I can, and the urging and gagging thing is still happening..... and that's when the flashback hits me, that's when I realize that I could probably swallow those bull testicles... how wonderful that there is a positive transfer for this dubious urging/gagging/ swallowing skill....and then there are a series of X-rays and then I am sitting up and waiting for the good news about getting the hell out of here.....
... glad to have that little med lab adventure done. I will likely not follow up on the flashback, though. Sometimes, one just has to be realistic about what one is willing to swallow.
This past Friday morning I attended a blood donor clinic at my workplace. I haven't given blood in over a decade, partly because I had some mitigating health issues that kept me out of the blood pool for a number of years and partly because, well, other things kept getting in the way, like work and family and community service priorities..... all this is a nice way for me to say that I replaced it as a priority with other things that became priorities. I am a B positive donor ( please, no opportunistic comments about that..... as futile as this request no doubt is) and previous to my long blood donation sabbatical, was frequently called upon since my blood type is typically less available than other blood types. Long story short, I called in and re-registered myself and am back in the blood pool. I show up at the clinic and my lifelong borderline anemia is above the line ( whoo hoo ! ) and after all the question screens get done, I then proceed to a comfy reclining chair. There was a first time donor young guy on the reclining chair next to me and when the nurse unsheathed the needle before that lovely push into my protruding vein this young fella says, whoa, that's a really big needle! I had forgotten how big the needle had looked to me way back more than thirty years ago when I saw it for the first time. The nurse and I looked at this young guy and said, almost simultaneously, you hardly feel it .... but you'll feel good after!!
I did feel good after. I had also forgotten how fulfilling it is to give in this wonderfully anonymous and physically generous way. I will not be removing myself from the blood pool again. It's good to be back.