Last night I was stricken with a somewhat severe attack of IBD -- not so severe that a transfusion was required, but severe enough that a transfusion had to be considered. If you don't know what IBD is, consider yourself fortunate, and we'll leave it at that.
Matthew was working. There would have been little he could have done to provide comfort to me, but the case was serious enough that I needed someone to be at home with me or I needed to check into the hospital. As the responsible adult that I now am, I consulted my local gastro man. (I have one in the southern part of the state whom I like better, but it was more practical to consult the one who was within driving distance.) He asked questions and asked about vital signs, which I had taken. He said that I had an hour in which to find a competent adult, ideally one with some medical background. If I was unable to find someone, I would need to be transported to the local hospital.
I telephoned Sophronia, but I knew she had planned to head home about seventy-five minutes away. Even if she came back, she wouldn't be there within an hour. Sophronia made a few quick phone calls, and within fifteen minutes Cool Guy and Kal Penn had both shown up. Sophronia told then she was also on her way, and she and her younger sister did arrive about ninety minutes later.
We have a large condo, and there were plenty of beds for everyone. The maid service had just been there Friday, so linens had all been changed. I was still at the acute stage of needing to visit the bathroom with little notice when they all arrived, so I was moved into my parents' room, as it has the quickest bathroom access. It has an opaque sliding glass door that opens into the main living area. They opened it so that I wouldn't have to be totally isolated. Sophronia made Koolaid, which is best under such circumstances for keeping me hydrated. Cool Guy called the G-man for instructions on when and how much pain killer and other medications I should be given.
Someone turned on mindless TV reruns, which were probably the best possible viewing. I didn't wish to be updated on presidential politics. At midnight Matthew got home. He got his guitar out and called Tim, to whom I'm still not speaking but will allow inside my apartment to play his guitar. He offers the advantage, as well, of being a licensed physician, as opposed to the rest of us flunkie medical students (and one mere high school student).They turned off the TVs and played requests. They all ate, but they were considerate and ate things that weren't so pungent as to make me even more sick just from having to smell their food.
Celinda, Sophronia's 16-year-old sister (the one whose closet I raid from time to time) is a high school senior with all credits completed for U.C. admission, so she spends her day at an elementary school campus serving as an assistant. She had wild stories for us. A parent showed up and measured the depth of puddles on the campus, then called the District Office to complain that, with puddles three inches deep, children were at risk of drowning. (This is a K-6 school -- not an infant and toddler program.) Celinda was manning the front desk and was the person who first had contact with the complaining mother. Celinda's response to the mother was that it was a "natural selection" issue -- that any child of at least five years of age who lacked the resourcefulness to rescue himself or herself from the depths of a three-inch puddle was probably looking at a poor prognosis for life in general. She cited something from Darwin's writings on "Natural Selection." At that point the principal walked through and took over. He told Celinda after the fact that while he agreed in principle with everything she had said to the mother, it probably wasn't the best P.R. move and that the school would fare better without headlines in the Chronicle alluding to natural selection as our school's method for dealing with deep (albeit 3-inch-deep) puddles. The district sent maintenance people to drain the puddles to a safer lever, which was an act of futility, as rain was falling hard at the time.
A child made it into the office at one point to speak to the principal. How there were not enough checks and balances to keep him out of the office so that a lesser authority but one equally qualified to handle such a problem, wasn't given license to do so, is anyone's guess. My guess would be that the kid used the classroom's bathroom pass to allow himself out of the classroom, then took it upon himself to let himself into the office. The boy said he needed to speak with Mr. X. Mr. X was standing at the counter and asked the kid if the issue was private. The little boy (a first-grader) said it wasn't private, so Mr. X asked what was the concern. The child reported that another boy had said the "W" word to him. Mr. X thought for himself , then whispered to those of us standing nearby, "What's the W word?" Not one of them knew. So Mt. X asked the little boy, "What's the W word?"
" 'What the fuck' " the child answered boldly.
"Oh," the principal replied. "You don't want to say that. I'll talk to him."
"Now?!" the child responded. "Do you want me to go get him from class?"
"No," Mr. X responded. "I'll talk to him later when I get to it. And next time tell your teacher about things like this instead of lying about needing to use the bathroom so that you can come to the office and tell on someone."
Five minutes later, two mothers came to the office to complain about a single teacher. Mr X's first question was, "Have you spoken to the teacher himself about your concerns?" Neither parent had. The principal said he had a few minutes and would listen briefly to the mothers' concerns, but that he expected them to schedule two separate conferences with the teacher before the concerns were brought again to his attention or to that of anyone in the district office or on the governing board. Then if the teacher was unable to explain the situation and to ease their concerns, he, the principal would be happy to hear them out -- individually, not in tandem.
One mother's concern was that the teacher had supposedly stated that the lady's kid would never make it to college. The principal plucked the cumulative folder from the office next to his and glanced at the writing and math samples the previous year's teacher had placed there. While a great deal can happen between sixth grade and college, he said once the mother had departed that he could certainly understand why a sixth-grade student who consistently misspelled both his own first name and the word the, and had, at sixth grade, mastery of neither multiplication nor addition facts and, further, had been offered access to testing in order to rule out any possible learning deficits or disabilities, might not be considered to be on the fast track to college or university. The parent had declined because she insisted the child was doing "just fine" and that he demonstrated mastery of all these skills at home. It was just a "school problem" in the mother's eyes.
Principal X dismissed both mothers after scheduling separate appointments for each of them (they really wanted to take the teacher on together, but the principal refused) with the teacher. Then, out of curiosity, he picked up his telephone and dialed the classroom extension of the accused teacher. "I'm just curious," Principal X expressed. "Did you tell Mrs. Y's son that he would never be admitted to college?"
The teacher paused for only a second. "I can assure you, " he responded, "that not one time this year have I even used the word college and Mrs. Y's son's name in the same sentence."
I have two comments in regard to the stories Celinda shared (which briefly took my mind off how much my stomach hurt: 1) Regarding schools (and especially parents of schoolchildren), they're caught in a rapid downhill spiral; as the children in school today will be in charge of the medical and assisted living facilities when we're all old, we are all, therefore, screwed; 2) Where was Principal X when I was in school? I would have loved him.
Cool Guy asked if it would help if he rubbed my tummy. Slut that I am, I took him up on the offer, and it did actually help to some degree. (It's one of those things that, in theory, Matthew could have done, but he wouldn't have offered, nor would I have taken him up on the offer even had it been made, due to the creepiness factor. I haven't yet received my DNA results (the saliva was too degraded to be tested in my initial sample) but, to the best of my knowledge, there shouldn't be much if any of that Appalachian or Ozarks indigeneity in there. I do have a question about that which has yet to be answered: Does the test detect consanguinity between parents or grandparents? THAT would be something interesting to know about, though I'm not sure I'd share the knowledge with just anyone) My abdomen hurt just as much before when Cool Guy stopped, but it felt better while he actually was rubbing it. When the action slowed down, he eventually rubbed it enough that I was able to fall asleep for almost two hours.
IBD sucks, but I'm stuck with it. Some day they'll find better ways of treating it, but for now, I watch what I eat and try to manage stress levels (which isn't easy with people such as The Cunt continually dogging me), and I have transfusions and, as a last resort, cauterization or more invasive surgery. I don't trust any of the medications currently on the market to control the condition, so I manage it in other ways. Sometimes people my age spontaneously grow out of this. If not, a decent medication may ultimately become available.