Sunday, February 22, 2009

On My Own Two Feet

Thoughts go flying through my mind, at the speed of light.
I'm thinkin': why am I here?
Who am I supposed to be? 
Why do I think I need you?

They say "men think about sex every 30 seconds", 
How do they know that's true?
Maybe that's just men who are addicted,
The way I'm addicted to you.
It scares me that I love you, scares me that I care,

'Cause all I want's to be a rock star, 
Stand up on that lonely stage and
Sing about other peoples' problems.

My friends say "it's all a part of life,
and what are the chances of you
makin' it big in this sea of misfit non-talents?" 
I tell 'em, "Dependency's a bitch, my friends, 
and why can't you just believe in my dream,
the way that I believe in yours?"

I want to prove to the world that I can do everything I wanna do, 
Without anybody's help,
because I'm strong, brave and stable on my own two feet.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


She felt nauseas, bloated, uncomfortable, emotional.  It was unbearable.  She went to the hospital to be treated, where the doctor had her pee on a stick and leave the room without a word, hurriedly.  Young, waiting anxiously and terrified in the sterile hospital room, she waited for the doctor to return with her test results.  The moment the 30-something, beautiful, dark-haired lady doctor opened the door to the hospital room, Jennifer exploded into tears.  Dr. Marx rushed to her side and grasped the back of Jennifer's head, pulling it into her chest, as a mother would with her upset child, to calm her.  Jennifer was relieved to have such a sympathetic and compassionate doctor when the unknown was her source of despair.  

When Jennifer had calmed herself somewhat, Bethany Marx, PhD, said in an airy, angelic voice, "Jennifer, I'm sorry.  The pregnancy test came back negative, which means we don't know what is wrong with you.  We'll have to do some more tests.  You should rest here, and a nurse will be with you in a few minutes to take some of your blood.  Please, try to stay calm."  *bzzz, bzzz* Dr. Marx got a page, and Jennifer could see her precious doctor's shoulders tense with stress.  "I have to run, but I'll be back in to check with you shortly, and a nurse will be with you soon.  Don't worry just yet.  This could be something as simple and harmless as PMS."  Bethany sped out of the room.  

Left alone again, Jennifer's mind raced with worry for herself, for her small child, who she left with her brother for the afternoon, without giving him an honest reason for her need of an emergency baby-sitter.  She didn't want him to worry, after all.  Her anxiety built up and built up, as sand pouring through an hourglass making a small mountain of nervous helplessness within her petite, fragile frame.  Time passed, although she had no idea how much, and a cold-looking, hefty nurse walked in, with a domineering, no-nonsense air about her.  Jennifer's shoulders tensed with stress, adding to her physical symptoms.

In the West wing of the hospital, Dr. Bethany Marx stopped short in front of the small catastrophy that was unfolding before her.  She watched as stretchers came pouring into the ER, carrying a man after man, all about her age.  They were friends, coming from a private dinner, giving these stay-at-home dads a break for the evening, where their food had been poisoned, and they lay writhing in pain and discomfort.  Dr. Marx moved from father to father, lifting his head, as she had done with Jennifers, only this time, to administer a serum which would induce vomiting.  The poison had to be removed from their systems or they would die.  

When all the poisoned men had expelled the fatal substances from their bodies, Bethany sighed, releasing the tension in her shoulders, relieved that she would be able to go home knowing that she had saved the lives of 12 fathers whose families needed them.  Sitting down with a glass of water for a few minutes, Dr. Marx dialed the telephone number for the other side of the hospital, where Jennifer sat, once again alone and scared, awaiting the results of the latest test that had been done.  The hefty nurse had taken a liter of her blood by then, and was moving through a series of tests which had all returned a negative result.  "Dr. Marx here.  Has testing been completed on patient Jennifer Howard in room 6661?  Status report, please." Dr. Marx demanded from the nurse on duty at the desk on the East side of the sixth floor of the hospital.  After hearing what she needed to know, Dr. Marx sighed again, and began walking the distance of the space between herself and Jennifer.  

When Bethany entered 6661, Jennifer was sitting straight up, staring at the wall in front of her, looking terrible.  She hadn't slept in 32 hours, but then again, neither had Bethany.  Her frightened, on edge face, impulsively flicked towards Bethany when the door opened, expecting to see the hefty nurse again with another inconclusive test result.  She was relieved to see Dr. Marx standing in the doorway.  Her shoulders relaxed slightly.  This was someone she could trust and who cared about her.  "Dr. Marx!  Thank goodness!  What's wrong with me?  Do you have any ideas yet?"  She pleaded with Dr. Marx.  
"I'm sorry, Jennifer.  We don't know yet.  We'd like for you to stay overnight for observation, while we run some more tests.  We will keep working on this until we find out what's wrong.  If you'd like to call a family member or a friend to have them bring some personal items for you, there is a pay phone down the hall, or you can use your cell phone in the designated areas."

Jennifer's heart sunk with this news.  She would have to explain to her brother what had happened, and ask him to take care of Ethan for the night.  The phone rang.  It rang again.  "Hello?"  her brother said, questioning.  He did not recognize the hospital's number on the caller ID.
"Tony?  It's Jen.  Don't freak out, ok?  I'm in the hospital.  I didn't want you to worry, so I wasn't honest with you earlier when I asked you to take care of Ethan for the day... I'm ok, Tony.  But, they're doing some tests, and they want me to stay overnight...No, Tony.  Please, don't tell Dad.  I don't want him to worry unless there is something to worry about.  Would you mind stopping by my place and picking up a change of clothes and a toothbrush for me, and bringing them down here?  I'm in room 6661... Thanks, Tony...I love you, too.  Goodbye."
She hung up the phone, and thought of Ethan.  A boy of 4 years would not understand this.  He would be more upset than anyone.  She could not avoid it, though.  She needed Tony to take care of him, and to bring her things for the night.  

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Making a Dent

Stream of consciousness:

Sometimes I find myself losing focus on whatever I am doing, and falling into a deep, intense, miserable contemplation of all the problems and sadnesses that exist in this world. I think about all those people who are less fortunate than myself, and my heart goes out to them. I wish there were something I could do to assist them in the plights that often they have created for themselves. What can I possibly do to help them all? Can I even make a dent?

After discussing this very topic at length last night with Andrew, we came to the conclusion that this is not just a "me" or "him" thing; it seems that our generation has a common desire to do more with our lives than just work to put shelter over the heads and food on the tables for our families. We want to change the world. We want to make it better for those who have less than us, and for our children, who will (hopefully) have more than us.

We began with a simple analysis of the "great men" who came before us, and the techniques they used to make themselves so "great" in our eyes, and to make their world (and ours) better. President Abraham Lincoln was our starting point. He was rather miserable in life, knowing that many needed help and that he had the power to help them. Even through all his workings and helping others, there was still much to be done. The question then became: can we, in our lifetimes, make enough of a difference that we can feel good about ourselves and what we're doing?

My answer to that is: no; we can't. The effects of Lincoln's acts were not fully felt during his lifetime, and (it can be argued) are not fully felt even today. We cannot know the "great" effects that our life's work will produce in our lifetimes. Posthumously, so much happens in the world. Today, racial prejudices still exist; yet they are much improved from Lincoln's day, when slavery was first abolished. If Lincoln could see us today and the effect that his work made on our world today, how would he feel about it? Would he be awed by our progress? Or can we even call it progress? In moving forward, and advancing scientifically, and technologically, we have also created new problems for ourselves. It's a vicious cycle of solving problems only to find that in so doing, we have made new ones for ourselves.

Is this so-called "progress" really "progress"?

It is certainly a question I'll be pondering for a while. If you've got an answer, I'd love to hear it.