Friday, October 29, 2010

Temporary Isolation

No, it's not like in prison or in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." I just had to be in an isolation ward because I had what the medical staff initially thought was the flu but turned out later to be croup. Some people think only infants and very young children can contract croup, but I am living proof that such is not the case. The staff has given me free access to cable and videos, my cell phone, and my laptop, but until today, I haven't really felt like doing anything other than lying around watching an occasional TV rerun. I'd never watched much Law & Order, but for several days reruns seemed to come up on my television screen, and I lacked the energy even to reach for the remote and change the channel despite my overall lack of interest in any of the Law & Order programs. I was so drugged up that I couldn't keep the different genres of L & O straight, and I'd keep waiting for Sam Waterston to pop up in the SVU version, or wondering where the he!! Mariska Hargitay was when watching an episode of the mothership variety.

Then they had to throw me a curve by airing an episode (I don't know if these were really airing or if some nurse had preseed an "On Demand" button to show L & O, thinking she was doing me a favor) where this Diane Neal lady was one of the killers. On the very next episode I saw, the old ADA (the one played by Bobby Flay's wife) had flown the coop and the previous killer, Diane Neal, had become the new ADA. In my drug-induced stupor, it was too much to follow. That purple codeine cough syrup is powerful stuff.

Psychiatrists are MDs, but they don't often deal with the common garden variety of childhood illnesses. My Uncle Steve called to talk to me. In my drug-induced state, God only knows what I might have been telling him. (I was probably about as lucid as that girl in the Youtube video who had just undergone anaesthesia for a dental procedure and was carrying on about flying with unicorns to the land of blueberries and then started doing some rap about Jesus.) When Uncle Steve heard my cough, he immediately hung up on me (common courtesy doesn't exactly run rampant in my dad's side of the family) and called the nurse's station. He told the nurses to get a pediatrician, and not one who's a child pychiatrist, into my room ASAP. He said I had either pertussis (whooping cough) or croup, and it needed to be diagnosed and treated. It ended up being croup, which was the lesser of the two evils.

I'm still in isolation for a couple more days, but my Uncle Ralph came to visit, and they let him take me out of the hospital to pick up take-out food and eat it on the beach. I had to wear a mask until I got out of the hospital, and then had to put it back on before re-entering, which I found mildly interesting. The medical staff doesn't particularly care if I infect the entire population of the city where my facility is located as long as the hospital's occupants (staff and patients) are protected from me. One of the nurses said it's just an outdoor versus indoor sort of thing, which is why we had to get take-out food and eat it on the beach as opposed to eating inside a restaurant, and I wasn't even allowed to go inside the restaurant with my Uncle Ralph to pick up the food. The doctor said breathing the moist ocean air would be good, and I have felt better since then, although I'm still a bit drugged.

My aunt Heather is coming tomorrow. I hope I get to leave the hospital for awhile with her as well. The other inmates text me and phone me and talk to me through the window of my room, but I'll be glad to get out of isolation. everyone who enters my room has to wear a protective gown and mask. I feel as though I'm Typhoid Mary.

Judge Alex was interesting today. The judge ruled that a young black woman had been attacked by a middle-aged and slighly off-kilter white woman who was the desk clerk for a hotel at which the younger woman was attempting to check in. The younger woman's eleven-year-old daughter was called to testify. This is significant to my situation in one regard: the eleven-year-old girl already has boobs! Judge Alex is trying to ruin my self-esteem by having girls as witnesses on his show who are significantly younger than I yet already have the beginnings of breast develpoment! What's the deal, Your Honor? Are you doing this on purpose? Is that one of the questions your production staff asks of potential litigants regarding their witnesses? (As in, "Regarding your daughter, whom you plan to have testify on your behalf . . . How would you classify her state of physical development?") Or do they just come right out and ask for bra sizes? Or do they request photographs?

In any event, Judge Ferrer, showing girls much younger than I who look much older is giving me a complex.

P. s. I'd like to give a shout out to Matt, Becca, and Marianne. Also, I'd like to give a shout-out to Benny, who has to be the cutest clown in history.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'll get a quick post in before I'm caught

The rule, they told me, is no computer for a week. One of the psych techs, however, temporarily left the cloest where my computer was stored unlocked. What if one of the other inmatse had gotten to it before I had? I'm just protecting what's rightfully mine. I've got to type quickly, so there will certainly be a buttload of errors, but I'll try to fix them later if what they said about having computer access after a week is true. I'm hiding in the bathroom in the dark to type this. If I'm not caught, I can possibly hide the computer somewhere and post again. Who knows what will happen if I'm caught? They can't use electro-shock or anything barbaric because my mom isn't leaving until Sunday. She had originally planned to leave Saturday, but plans changed. My dad is still working in southern California. He and my mom will fly home on Sunday.

No one has forced medication on me. I have to go to group therapy,which is mostly bullshit, and individual appointments with my psychiatrist and pychologist, who are not all that bad. The rule here is that I and everyone else have to be in bed with lights out at 11:00 Sunday through Thurday, and by midnight on Friday and Saturday. If I can't sleep. it's my choice to ask for either over-the-couter sleep aids or precription meds, but no one forces me to take them. I have to stay in bed whether I can sleep or not, though. My psychologist recommended trying it without meds fro two days, and forcing myself to remain awake in the daytime no matter how tired I was, just to see if nature would eventually kick in and force a normal sleep cycle. I went along, but it didn't work. It doesn't work all that well with the meds, either, though. It's after 2:00 a.m. and I've had Lunesta, and I'm still wide awake.

We're not allowed to disclose anything that is shared in a group therapy session, so I won't, but I will tell you I've heard some things that are just a millimeter or two to the right of what you or I would consider to be lucid by ordinary standards. No one said I couldn't share anything that was said when I was being questioned or counseled individually, however, so I will share one thing. The RN who was filling out a questionaire for me during intake (that early, they don't yet know who is suicidal and who isn't, so they ask you the quetions orally so you don't stab yourelf with an ink pen or pencil. I suppose the patients could fill the questionaires out with crayons, but crayons grow too dull to use very quickly, and the hospital benefactors apparently do not own stock in the Crayola, Milton Bradley, or RoseArt corporations. Anyway, the RN was asking all sorts of random questions, most of them relatively logical, when all of a sudden, she pops up with, "Have you ever been angered because someone refused to acknowledge you as a deity?" I couldn't answer because I was laughing too hard. My dad (I had the option of getting rid of them for the questioning, but I didn't feel I had much to hide from them in terms of what the nurse was likely to ask, so I allowed them to stay)began to laugh as well. My mom became irritated and said something about how the therapy would not be successful if I did not take it seriously, and that my dad wasn't helping matters.

Then I said, "That's the root of all my problems in a nutshell. No one has ever acknowledged me as a deity!" The RN just stared at me at first, then she started laughing. Everyone was laughing hysterically except my mother, who was sitting there with a scowl on her face.

The nurse turned to my mom and said, "You have to admit that it's a ridiculous question to ask most people -- even the ones entering a psychiatric facility. I didn't make up the form. I just have to ask the questions."

I can see that the closet where my computer was stored has been left open again, and no one is guarding it. I'm going to save, then shut my computer down and quickly put it back. Then I won't have to worry about the consequences of being caught.

If anyone steals my computer while they leave the closet unlocked and unattended, I'll sue the ba$t@rds.

Thanks to Matt, Becca, Marianne, and others for support. Matt, my dad actually plays Scrabble more effectively when he's buzzed (his euphemism for in a drunken stupor)than when he's stone-cold sober.

Au revoir!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Still Waiting to Board

My flight should have departed about ten minutes ago, but they haven't even announced that first class is boarding, and of course we're not flying first class. That should have been one of my demands. I also wish I could have brought my golden retriever with me. My mom said that if one of their visits involves driving, she'll ask if it's permissable to bring the dog for a visit.

I expected to be mildly apprehensive, but not barf-in-every-available-trash-can nervous, which is what I am. Since the flight was held up anyway, one of my dad's physician colleagues with the military who has a security clearance is on his way to where we are right now with anti-emetic medications that are supposed to work immediately. I'll need them, because I may not be allowed to board the plane if I'm hurling even before the take-off. I can see the guy off in the distance in his Navy uniform, walking at a brisk pace. He can't get here soon enough as far as I'm concerned. The meds will probably make me sleep all afternoon, which will make sleeping tonight even harder, but at this point that is the very least of my concerns.

I hope my parents will at least allow me to go into the bathroom and use my laptop there into the early hours of the morning to avoid disturbing them in the event that I can't sleep, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. The meds are tablets that dissolve in your mouth and the taste, while not something I'd choose to eat on a regular basis, is not overly obnoxious. At least I didn't have to have an injection.

First class is now boarding. Then it wil be the peons, which includes my parents and me. I may post later at the hotel if I'm awake and able.


It's the Final Countdown

Since I'm still dealing with my usual insomnia issues, I may as well post.I am still getting credit in one of my courses for doing this, so it seems efficacious to wisely use time when I should be sleeping but am unable to do so. My parents and I will head off to the airport to travel to our central coast location in just over twelve hours. We'll spend the night in a hotel. My mom assures me it's a 4-star hotel with premium channels and wireles access. My last night of relative freedom for at least three weeks should be comfortable.

I presented my list of demands to my parents. They were fine with all of them, except that they said the doctor, as long as they were confident of his or her competence, still had the final say regarding my medication, if medication is even needed. They agreed that the doctor would have to listen to my concerns if the effects of any medications were bothersome to me, and they agreed that they would make sure the doctor listened to my concerns even if one of them had to make an extra trip to the facility to ensure that it happened. They also said that once my mother left the facility one week from today, each of them would call and talk to me twice each day unless I personally told them that their contact was excessive and requested fewer phone calls. Also, I'm still required to have at least two visits from close relatives each week. Those relatives have been designated as my parents, my godparents (who are also my aunt and uncle), and my Aunt Heather and Uncle Steve. If pseudo- aunt and uncle Jillian and Scott are in the area, they will be allowed to visit as well, but they're not designated as among the twice-weekly visitors because they live so far away. If any of my friends travel near my area and want to visit, they can as long as both my parents and I OK them.

Security in this place is fairly tight, so it would be next to impossible for the bad people, even if they got out of juvey and found away to disable their ankle monitors, to actually get inside, and even if they did, security guards are present twenty-four hours a day.

I'm nervous mainly because I don't know what to expect. I have a list of what I'm allowed to bring. I can have my own bedding from home, and I'm required to provide my own toiletries. They check out razors to female patients for approximately four minutes when they're showering, but I'm not yet in need of razors, so it's just conditioner, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste,comb, brush, lotion, and cosmetics, which I don't actually wear yet because my father thinks it would make me look like a pre-adolescent painted-up hussy. (I can wear colorless or very light lip glass, and if I look really pale before a choir performance for which I'm accompanying, the director usually puts a slight amount of blush on my cheeks so I don't look ill.) I may have up to ten books at a time, but because I have to bring some textbooks, I'm allowed fifteen. There's also a library there, but I wouldn't count on its being very well-stocked. I can bring a stuffed animal if the staff ckecks it out and determines that it neither contains contraband nor can be used to strangle oneself. Funny. Without reading that, it never would have occurred to me to use a stuffed anumal to strangle myself.

If some of the things I'm writing don't make sense, it may be because of sleep deprivation. My father says I'm showing signs of it. He would like to give me Lunesta or a similar sleep aid, but my mom says that it would take so much to be effective, and since I'm checking into the facility so soon, it would be better just to wait and let the doctors at the clinic deal with the problem. She also says they will get a better total picture of things if I have no traces of drugs in my system. I've been off Vicodin from my surgery for over a week, so I'm drug free except for beta blockers if my thyroid makes my heart beat too rapidly.

Tomorrow evening I hope to be enjoying myself at the hotel. I wish they would've sprung for a 5-star. but then, they could've found a Motel 6. so I will count my blessings.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm Just Killing Time

I was in the family room of my home with four of my friends. Someone had turned the TV to "E." "Keeping up with the Kardashians" was being aired. Inexplicably, no one changed the channel or even suggested doing so. We all sat there like observers of a train wreck, too mesmerized to look away.

My mother was working at school today and planned to work into the evening because she will be with me in my central coast location all of next week. She will work by computer from there, but she needed to make lots of preparations so that everything would go smoothly in her absence.

My father walked into the kitchen. He has the same speed-of-light metabolism that the rest of the family has, and when he's home, he eats almost continuously. I've described many of my father's characteristics in earlier posts, so anyone who's read more than two of my blogs probably already is aware that he is somewhat playing pool without a cue ball, but I don't know if I've ever mentioned his ability to totally tune out other things when something else is on his mind. His job is perfecting cures for leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, among other things, so more often than not, his mind is not focused upon what is happening around him. He chose the particular moment when he was in our kitchen, which opens into the family room, to actually focus upon what was happening in front of him.

"What in the hell are you fools watching?" my father demanded. Most parents don't curse at their kids in front of their kids' friends, much less curse at the actual friends, but mild swear words (by him; my brother and I are not allowed to curse in his presence) are fair game as far my father is concerned anywhere except at school or at church, where he miraculously manages to censor his vocabulary.

"It's called 'Keeping up with the Kardashians,'" my friend Megan explained. She's been around my house enough to be unimpressed by my father's vocabulary.

"What is it about?" my dad asked.

"It's a reality show about a rich family," my friend Krista explained.

My friend Tyler gave his take. "I don't think it's actually reality," he opined. "I think it's all staged, and it's really bad acting."

"Then why in the hell all you all watching it?" my dad exclaimed. "It's a beautiful day. You could be outside playing football or soccer."

I pointed to my leg. "Do you really want me playing football or soccer yet?" I asked him.

"OK. Then you could be playing Scrabble or doing something productive," he amended his earlier suggestion. Any normal teen would probably die of embarrassment if his or her father suggested that his or her group of friends play Scrabble for entertainment. I am beyond that. My father is so far into the ozone layer that suggesting Scrabble as an activity for my friends was one of the more normal recommendations he's ever made.

Ordinarily I might groan when he said something so lame, but I knew it was pointless. "We're watching the rest of this episode, and then we'll think of something more productive to do with our time."

So my father made a peanut butter sandwich and joined us in the family room to watch the rest of "Keeping up with the Kardashians."

"What are you doing?" I asked him.

"I'm sitting in my own recliner [when he walked into the family room and stood next to his recliner, my friend Rafael took the cue and moved to the sofa so my father could have his prized chair] eating a snack."

"Wouldn't you rather eat it somewhere else than watch such an asinine program?" I asked him.

"No. I'm comfortable here. I'm sure I'll lose a few IQ points before it's over, but I have enough to spare." I've also never shared that humility is not a trait of which my father is in abundant possession.

So "Keeping up with the Kardashians" got to the point where Bruce Jenner and his wife, the ex-Mrs. Kardashian, had this huge obviously staged fight about who would get to put what in the garage that culminated in Bruce Jenner taking an air mattress into the garage and sleeping there. I'm sure he got off the air mattress and resumed his normal activities as soon as the cameras stopped filming, and, for that matter, it probably wasn't even nighttime, but no one believes reality TV anyway. "Who is that guy? He looks familiar," my father asked.

It's Bruce Jenner," my friend Rafael answered. "You know. The guy that won something in the Olympics a long time ago.'

"I know who Bruce Jenner is," my dad responded. "He won the gold medal in the decathlon in '76. Has he stooped to this garbage? And who did his plastic surgery, anyway? That surgeon should be sued for malpractice."

Megan explained to my dad that he was actually seeing an improved version of Bruce Jenner's plastic surgery, because a previously done cosmetic procedure had been botched to the point that it had to be repaired. "I just can't believe the depths to which he's sunk," my dad muttered.

From that point, we got to hear my father's critique of every single thing that was said or done for the rest of the program, and there is much to critique when watching "Keeping up with the Kardashians." The only time he shut up was during the commercials. He said this was one of the few shows he'd ever seen that was worse than the commercials. He said he was sure it was just like being a non-football fan watching the Super Bowl. My friends thought he was hysterical because they don't have to live with him. I was mortified. After the episode ended, someone switched the TV to some college football game. Apparently CAL was being massacred by USC, which caused my father to swear a blue streak. The guys stayed in there with him and watched football games, while the females went to check something out on my computer. The guys were waiting for the Giants' game to come on.

My father has, among other things, a tendency to stereotype. After the females reappeared, he looked around the room. Looking at each of us, he finally set his eyes upon Rafael. "Hey, Rafael," he asked, "Do you know how to cook Mexican food?"

"A little bit," Rafael answered.

"You've got to be better than anyone else here, " my father declared. "Cook something. Use anything you want in the fridge or freezer or pantry. Alexis can be your sous chef. Just don't let her cut with sharp knives or anything like that. She's already messed up enough as it is. The last thing she needs is to cut off any of her fingers."

I gave my dad my middle finger behind my back where several of my friends but not he could see. He asked what they were laughing about, but no one was sufficiently disloyal to betray me.

Rafael made steak fajitas, which were really good. He told me he didn't have any idea what the hell he was actually doing, and that it was a miracle they turned out edible. My mother came home as we were all eating. I knew she would be hungry, so I had put away a bit of food for her. She sat down on the couch next to my dad's recliner. He tried to tell her about "Keeping up with the Kardashians" and how he wished he had more time to monitor our television viewing habits.

"They're almost seventeen, John," my mom said. "As long as it's not porn, I'm not sure it's worth worrying about."

"I will say one thing," my dad sad. I was quite sure that before he was finished, he'd say more than one thing, as he was particularly verbose this afternoon and evening, but I listened for what he had to say. "I will never again complain about that Judge Alex guy. Those Kardashian people make him look like Einstein."

P. S. I edited the title of this post on the advice of a friend. I had previously called it "Killing Time," meaning that I'm killing time waiting around to start my sentence or whatever one cares to call it at my facility. A person advised me that it could be taken to mean I plan some sort of killing spree, a la Columbine. Of course nothing could be further from the truth, and I thank the reader for pointing out to me the double entendre nature of my earlier title.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My List of Demands

As my regular readers (my few online friends, my few real-life friends who are aware of this blog, and my parents' spies who monitor the site for content) know, I'm transferring to an in-patient facility soon to treat my PTSD due to a recent unfortunate incident involving plagiarism, physical and sexual violence, a brick propelled through my bedroom window, and a few other minor occurrences. Since the incident, I've had trouble sleeping. I don't like to be in my bedroom. I don't even want to be in my house, but I don't want to go anywhere else, either. It's a tough choice when you have to be somewhere but there's nowhere you really want to be. My mother has a doctorate in psychology, so she contacted a colleaugue for advice. The advice was to deal with it sooner rather than later. This means I'm going to the loony bin Monday morning.

My mom, my dad, and I are flying to the central coast of California (I'm not supposed to mention the specific city anymore. In fact, I'm supposed to go back and change blogs where I've made references to it, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.) My mom, dad, and I will stay in a hotel on Sunday night. Monday morning, I will check into the funny farm. My mom will be with me until Saturday. My dad will be working in southern California next week, so we'll see him most days if not every day. My brother will stay at my uncle's house. Little brother is throwing a hissy fit over not being allowed to stay home alone, but my parents don't want to come home to a trashed house that reeks of booze, so it's a losing battle for him.

I've been told that I must stick it out at the facility for two weeks. After that, I've been told, if I find the conditions intolerable, I will be allowed to check out, and my parents will look for other in-patient or out-patient options. My mother will be there with me for the first week so: A)there's a limit to how horribly the staff will treat me; B)sneaking out would be incredibly difficult, so I won't even attempt it. The next week is a different story, however. My mother keeps telling me that she's talked to enough people that she knows it's nothing like "High Anxiety" or "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," but hearing it from my mother and actually experiencing the place are two entirely different things. I'm confident that, if the situation is so horrid that I cannot tolerate it for the two weeks that have been mandated, I can find a way out. I'm not giving away any secrets here, but I have a few contingency plans in place already in the event that escape becomes my only option if I wish to retain what little sanity I have left. In the meantime, I'm coming up with a list of demands that must be met in order for me to stay for longer than the two weeks my parents I have mandated that I stay no matter what. I'll post my tentative list. Please feel free to respond with any additional suggestions you may have.

Alexis' List of Demands to Be Met is She is to Remain in the Nuthouse

1. The food absolutely must be edible. If I were required to subsist solely on what is served at my school cafeteria, I would have died a long time ago. We have a closed campus, which means that only a select few privileged individuals are allowed to leave campus for lunch. The rest of us have a choice of eating garbage or bringing food from home. Most of the stuff that is served at the cafeteria would have been rejected by members of the Donner Party. While this sounds like hyperbole, I assure you it is not. If one were to check the contents of the trash cans in our cafeteria after lunch, the contents would consist almost entirely of brown bags and ziploc containers. I'm not sure how the cafeteria brings in enough revenue to be financially solvent, as even the football players, known for laziness, brown bag it like the rest of us. The state must surely heavily subsidize our "nutrition" program, because no one with any choice or even half od a brain is paying for the refuse the staff tries to pass off as food, and very few students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Free or reduced lunch eligibility is based on a sliding scale taking into consideration both family income and the number of family members in the household. With ours being an upper-middle-class community, that leaves mostly Mormons, who often have between six and twelve kids in their families. Even though their parents bring in decent salaries, the sheer number of kids their parents have qualifies them for free or at least reduced lunches. With ours being an upper-middle-class community, mostly Mormons utilize the free or reduced lunch option.

So if I can't have meals brought in, which is the case for the most part, the food damned well better be something I can stomach. I'm already called Anorexis, and not because I try to stay skinny. I will look like an Auschwitz detainee (no offense is intended to those whose relatives suffered and/or perished in Nazi concentration camps; I'm being literal here)if the food selections are so limited that I cannot get at least one decent meal a day.

2. I must have access to a piano for two hours each day. The wardens can pick the hours I play. I don't expect to be allowed to pound away at 3:00 a.m. and keep all the other inmates awake. I can't even do that at home. I just need some practice time, both for the purpose of maintaining my skills and for the stress relief it provides to me on a daily basis. Furthermore, if the piano provided is not sufficiently in tune, I must be allowed to bring in a piano tuner in the first week and have the piano tuned at my own expense.

I have a digital piano that I could bring with me, but the staff is concerned that I or someone else might attempt to strangle ourselves with one of the cords. (This alone makes me apprehensive about the place even if I had no other reservations.) A staff member could observe while I played the digital piano, but they apparently don't want to be obligated to watch me and/or my equipment that closely, even for two hours each day. That is actually a good sign. Maybe I will not have some psych tech following me around taking notes about everything I say or do for twenty-four hours a day.

I play the violin, but I won't even ask to bring it. If the wardens are worried about the digital piano cords, the stings on the violin and bow would have them positively pilfering the patients' anti-anxiety meds.
Furthermore, I'm not that passionate about playing the violin. If the truth were to be known, it actually causes me more stress than it relieves. I haven't really been formally instructed in how to play it correctly. We've always had one around the house because my mom plays. I started playing around with it when I was younger, and was able to achieve a not totally repulsive sound after only a few tries, so my mom gave me a crash course in the basics. I use it only when violin accompaniment is needed for some performance, and I'm usually very nervous that I'll screw up the whole time I'm playing, although I've been fortunate enough that such has not happened yet. In any event, I won't list the violin as one of my demands unless I want to put a few extras on my list just for the sake of having something to give up in negotiations.

3. I want to get my learner's permit for driving on my first trip home for a break. My brother was allowed to get his learner's permit after I had my accident in April, and he will get to take his test for his actual license in just a few weeks. My parents think it will be pointless for me to get my learner's permit because opportunities to practice will be too limited. I don't agree. If I schedule the initial driving lesson with a professional intructor for that firt week I am home, I then will be able to practice with my parents or one of my aunts or uncles during any of my time off. My Aunt Victoria is actually the best driving instructor in the family. She doesn't freak out as easily as everyone else does. My uncle Ralph isn't bad, either, except he has been known to fall asleep while the student driver was driving even if when it was only the driver's second time behind the wheel. Ralph and Victoria also live in an area where traffic is limited. Lastly, the permit is good for an entire year. Sometime between six months and a year from now, I will be ready to take the actual driving exam. As it is, I'll be almost seventeen-and-one-half at the very earliest by the time I get my license. That seems long enough to wait.

4. I want all of my medical records tranferred to this particular booby hatch so that I don't have to go through another eating disorder evaluation. A medical professional typically takes one look at me and automatically diagoses anorexia even if he or she doesn't say it aloud. I've been evaluated throroughly, and I do not have anorexia or any other eating disorder. Granted, I am a picky eater and I do have a growth disorder. This combination is less than ideal. Furthermore, I have a small stomach and do better with frequent small meals than three major meals a day. I will admit that I don't have a great appetite or a thorough appreciation of food. Still, I'll eat enough to stay healthy if I can, instead of having three large meals each day, eat the three meals but eat a bit less and have snacks -- even nutritious ones -- throughout the day and evening. If this facility cannot accommodate my health-realted dietary needs, it's not the right place for me.

4. I want a regular cell phone so that I can call my friends even if I can't have texting privileges. A long time ago, my parents were changing cell phone plans, and the last I heard in the discussion was that the plan they had selected had unlimited texting. I did a great deal of texting that month. The unlimited plan I had believed my parents had opted for was not the one ultimately chosen, but no oe bothered to let me in on this dirty little secret. When my parents got the $600.00 bill for my text messaging alone, not even counting the basic charges, they, as unreasonable parents often do, totally overreacted. I still was provided with a cell phone, but it was the kind that parents usually give six-year-olds, with a few buttons to call mommy and daddy on their cell phones, the home telephone number, the school, my aunt and uncle, and 9-1-1.

That's been well over three years. As a condition of entering this place, I would like a cell phone with at least calling privileges to my friends. I'm even willing to post a bond of up to $1,000 out of my account to which I actually have access (the vast majority of my income goes into an accoun that i won't have any access to until I'm an adult) so that my parents aren't out any large sum of money if I grossly exceed my allotted minutes.

5. I demand Internet privileges. I'm going to request two hours per day, but I'll drop down to an hour if I cannot get my way by any other means. I don't care if the computer is mine or the facility's, and I don't even care if a staff member watches every single site I access or keystroke I type while I'm online.

6. I absolutely must be allowed to watch "Judge Alex" each day that it is televised. I don't care who else doesn't get to watch what they want so that I may be granted this privilege, but it is absolutely non-negotiable. I don't care if it is DVRed it and I have to watch it at another time than when it's actually shown as long as I'm allowed to watch each episode on the day it's televised.

7. I must be allowed to use my own shampoo and conditioner. The stuff that hospitals provide is usally the equivalent to using Ajax to wash one's hair. I have no reason to assume that any products this place provides will be of any higher quality. Perhaps this facility doesn't even provide basic toiletries and everyone brings his or her own stuff, anyway, If so, all the better.

8. I must have some input into the drugs, if any, that I am forced to take. I'll try basically anything they give me once, but if the effects are too adverse, I want the right to a change in medication, or at least I want the doctor who is prescribing to listen to me when I tell him or her why I don't like the drug or drugs.

These eight items comprise my list of demands. Can anyone think of anything I should add, either because I genuinely need it or because it would make a good bargaining tool? If so, please let me know. I plan to present this list of demands on Saturday.

Buenos noches for those of you who are insomniacs, as am I, and good day to those of you who read this post later.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Made it through a Day of School

For tthat matter, it can be said that I made it through the day without incident. My friend told me that the teachers talked in all my classes about not staring at me or causing me to feel self-conscious.

Lunch was a different situation, because I don't suppose they could convene the entire student body to tell them not to stare at me. No one said anything rude, though, so it was OK. I sat at the table where my friends usually sit. I noticed the tables on both sides of me were filled with large males I recognized as being mostly football players. It made me a bit uncomfortable, as the plagiarist had been on the football team before the incident and before the expulsion proceedings started.

I don't know how long an expulsion hearing takes, but it's not a quick procedure, as the Board of Trustees are involved, and the plagiarist's rights of due process have to be observed. His parents are now claiming he has a learning disability that must be considered. If plagiarism were his only offense, they might have some basis for their claim, but once he came into the bathroom, exposed a part of his body that should not have been exposed, then kicked me hard when my physical response of throwing up altered his state of arousal, almost any claim they'd care to make regarding learning disabilities is moot. And, most importantly. it's preserved for posterity, courtesy of one of the girls. His parents are now trying to claim that because videotaping is illegal in CA schools without express written consent of parents, the videotape is out as evidence. I don't think their objections will hold up even in his school case, but the rule against videotaping in schools has no standing in his criminal case, so all they're really doing is buying time, for which they're paying an attorney by the hour. I believe the district pays a flat fee for representation, so I don't think they're actually costing the district anything by coming up with bogus motions to jam up the works.

Anyway, it made me slightly uncomfortable to be surrounded by this guy's former teammates until an assistant coach came over to my table and told me that they were there because the head coach had told them that if anything at all were to happen to me, they would pay for it in the form of extra conditioning. They decided it would be safer to surround me than to sit wherever they normally sit and hope no one was stupid enough to throw food at me or trip me. It probably would have been OK anyway, as thugs and
"mean girl" types aren't really the norm at my school. It's fairly seriously academically oriented.Most people are more worried about getting into Stanford or Cal than about harassing anyone. The thug and his bimbo friends were in the minority. It's not totally a preppy school. Theew probably isn't a school in the nation where there aren't at least a few mean kids, with my ex-prom date being among them, but even the jocks are usually trying to maintain decent GPAs.

I was able to hobble from class to class safely enough. Someone must have emphasized hall safety, because other students mostly gave me space. Teachers were, if anything, too nice to me. While this is hardly a thing about which to complain, I really want to be treated normally. There's not really even time to address that this week. When I come home for one week out of each four, and when I come back for good, I'll have to try to find a way to make it work.

My statistics teacher gave me a test, which I assumed was a maek-up test, during that class period. As it turns out, it was a comprehensive end-of-the-year final. One extra credit question was included, so my score on the test was 105%. I think the teacher did this more for himself than for me, but he told me that I didn't need to worry about assignments for the rest of the year, but that I would need to do a final project, which could be done easily enough wherever I am. He gave me a card with his email address and told me to email him once I have a proposed topic, and that I should probably email him weekly with project updates after that.

After school today I went with the choir director into a small recording stufio. We recorded full accompaniments and individual parts for about thirty different songs. The director plays well enough to plunk out individual parts if the kids aren't getting it. We'll try to arrange it so that I can be free for the fall and winter concerts. Any other performances and final rehearsals my mother will cover for me. We're not sure about the pay situation, but since I am a classified employee of the district and I opted for salary protection due to disability, I'll probably receive something like 80% of my regular pay. If the district tries to stand in the way of my salary protection compensation, the director said that I can charge far more than my usual hourly rate for the recordings, which took nearly six hours to make. Also, my mother can charge for her services, which she ordinarily wouldn't. Either way, I'll come out of it financially OK.

I can now take four steps independently on my weak leg. The scar is looking pretty good. The other scars on my leg -- the ones from the infection lesions that look like large cigarette burns -- are fading with the use of Mederma. A dermatologist looked at them while I was still in the hospital, and he thinks they'll fade completely, and probably within a year. In any event, nothing about my scarring should be noticeable enough that it will subconsciously affect the judges' scoring of my dives.

I realize that this post has been incredibly uneventful to the point of being boring. I only wish my readers could comprehend just how truly wonderful it is to have a boring life right now, even if only for a short time. Next week it's off to the loony bin. My mom gets really upset when I refer to it in that way, but it is what it is.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back to school tomorrow for a week

It almost seems pointless to go back just to transfer to my new "facility" in a week, but parents and doctors feel it will be beneficial, sort of like facing my demons before they grow proportionately larger in my mind. I still have to keep the leg wrapped, because incidental direct contact with it would be excruciating. At least it's a "B" day, which means I have APAIS. Advanced Placement Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies is the course where we sit on our buts for 93 minute or however long it is just being geniuses. At least I'll get to watch "Judge Alex." I'm wondering how the secretaries, assistant principals, female teachers on prep periods, and others have managed to justify watching it at school in my absence. Probably they watched it every day (even the days APAIS didn't meet) so that they could fill me in on anything I may have missed in my absence. I did actually miss one day's worth of episodes, so maybe they can help. I heard that a couple of them have even received Certificates of Excellence from the Gavel Quest competition. Dear readers, if you live anywhere in the U. S, but especially in the State of CAlifornia, these are YOUR tax dollars hard at work.

I'm not really afraid. I've been assured by faculty and administration that I will be protected at all times in the unlikely event that any of the thugs still incarcerated have friends who are out to get me. I'm still actually more afraid of being trampled by the mobs of students hurrying to avoid tardies, as I'm not very steady yet. I'm still on crutches even though I can now take three steps on my weak leg totally independent of my crutches or any other balancing or support aid. Come to think of it, if the thugs' friends were smart, they would run into me during passing times and claim it was an accident, but none of them are likely to be that clever. Additionally, since I thought of it, I'll request protection in getting from one class to the next. Maybe I'll even ask to be transported via wheelchair.

I haven't yet forgiven the principal for his role in accusing me of plagiarism. He said he was trying to be fair and treat us equally, but I don't really see how the plagiarist deserved fair and equal treatment when he had been caught cheating on numerous occasions. The thug is too stupid even to cheat successfully, much less to string a coherent sentence together on his own. The simple fact that I turned the paper in a year before he did should have been sufficient cause to exonerate me without my even having been questioned. The next issue, and my parents are willing to fight on my behalf for this one, is that my current class standing is #1. As long as I maintain A's in all classes, including the university ones, for which I'm supposed to receive school credit as well, there should be no grounds for taking the honor away from me. I don't care anything about giving a valedictory address. Everyone 4.0 and over is considered a valedictorianm but only one valedictory address is given. I couldn't care any less about giving a speech -- all things considered, I'd prefer to give that honor to someone else-- but I want credit for having graduated #1 in the class if my GPA remains the highest. My attendance at a facility for treatment of PTSD is the school's fault, and I do not deserve to be penalized. Incidentally, little brother now holds the second highest GPA in our graduating class. That gives my parents some leverage and credibility in arguing on my behalf, since, if nothing changes, the honor would go to my parents' other child if I were not to receive it. Twin bro might actually like giving the valedictory address.

So I'm bedding down fairly early tonight with the hope that I will not be too exhausted to drag myself to school for the privilege of being gawked at. Even in a large school, secrets can't be kept. The sexual component of the attack is common knowledge on the street. The only OK thing about it is that my high school is sufficiently academic that few if any of my peers would think it was funny. One other good thing is that I have so many built-in medical excuses, from the cracked ribs abd bruised kidney from where the plagiarist kicked me to the recent re-injury from the girl stepping on my fracture to the surgery that I can pretty much call it quits for the day at any time of the day I want. Who's to say my pain isn't real? Tomorrow, however, I'll probably stick it out if only for APAIS.

I hope you all have pleasant Mondays.