Accidents

14 people were killed too close to home*. But I’m not going to talk about that.**

 

My grandmother is still in the hospital two weeks after being in a car accident. It has been one thing after another, and it’s strange seeing an elderly patient developing infections, dyspnea, and edema like a textbook case except this is your grandmother and she is supposed to live to be a hundred.

She’s going to be fine, though (and this is not just a granddaughter’s optimism).

Being confined to four walls without korean dramas or WWE for distraction has left her with too much time on her hands, though. When the steady stream of visitors leave for the day, she is alone with her thoughts, and lately they have not been her friends: Why is this happening to me? Am I ever going to get out of here? Is this how I’m going to die?

I imagine her assessing her body for signs of reassurance or, more likely, concern. Her heavy chest and shallow breaths from bruised ribs. Soft wheezes like a slowly deflating balloon. Swollen belly, thighs, hands (I used to have such pretty hands! she tells me) with taut, fluid-logged skin. Her hips and arms are flecked with purple-red bruises – battle scars from the accident and unsuccessful blood draws.

She woke up at 2am yesterday with her eighty-year-old heart beating faster than a jackhammer. I was scared, she said. There was no one here and I was scared.

So tonight, I sit by her side and stroke her arm until she stops moaning, reminding her that she’s not alone. I think of Danika leaning over Levi’s crib, her hand lingering on his little back after he finally slips into that tenuous space before dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Shouldn’t anywhere be too close to home for a mass shooting?

**Except to say, we keep waiting for the world to change without actually making any changes.

Accidents

42. Podcasts

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I’m status post a 10 hour round trip solo road trip, and feel like it’s my duty to give a shout out to these podcast friends who kept me company along the way.

I lean toward podcasts that tell a story and really delve deep into someone’s life or teach me something new. Nobody wants to feel like they’re wasting their time when there is so much amazing content out there, whether it’s in the form of music, TV shows, podcasts, or audiobooks.

So to all the commuters, dishwashers, and dog-walkers, here’s a few that have helping me learn/laugh/think:
 


Warning: very NPR-heavy as their content and production is just so good. I swear they don’t pay me (because they have no money).

 

1. Invisibilia: Alright, alright. I was late joining the bandwagon, but it’s good for a reason. It is “a series about the invisible forces that shape human behavior.” My favorites were “Secret History of Thoughts” – the segment on “locked-in man,” and “How to Become Batman.”

2. Death, Sex, & Money: I just devoured these little 20 minute forays into other people’s lives. “A podcast about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation,” Highlights included, “Cheating Happens,” and the interview with Ken Jeong, who had the sweetest things to say about his wife.

3. Call Your Girlfriend: “A podcast for long distance besties everywhere,” Ann Friedman (of pie chart fame) and her bestie, Aminatou Sow, chat about smart girl things and help you realize it’s perfectly acceptable to talk about your period, diva cups, and the presidential debates all in one phone conversation.

4. Magic LessonsIn case you didn’t realize, Elizabeth Gilbert (my eat, pray, love hero) wrote a book expanding on her TED talk on creativity (I know you’re thinking, “real original!“). It might be a marketing scheme to sell more books, but if you’re like anyone I know and are made to create, it’s a wonderful listen.

5. This American Life: Because duh. And also because how much do I love Ira Glass.

6. Planet Money: Finance in general is a topic that both terrifies and fascinates me because I know so little about it. “Pay Patients, Save Money” was a really interesting take on one company’s approach to battling skyrocketing healthcare costs.

 

It’s not a definitive list, but it’s a good start, I think. My commute is 3x as long since I’ve moved, so please let me know if I’m missing out anything!
 
 
 


Photo: Woods Canyon Lake. I caught a fish.

42. Podcasts

13. Unlucky 

Riots in Baltimore

An earthquake in Nepal

I don’t know how the world keeps spinning.

I don’t want to say that these things should put our lives in perspective. That we should count our blessings we weren’t born black or on a hillside overshadowed by Everest.  Let’s not cheapen what’s happened by trying to relate it to our own lives.

I’m not an expert on civil rights or disaster relief; I have nothing new or unique to add to the conversation. But I did read two things about the riots in Baltimore that have helped me see it’s about more than burning cars. And this, regarding Nepal and lessons learned in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.

I don’t believe anymore that things happen for a reason. Freddie Gray should not have been injured and left to die in police custody. Six thousand (and counting) Nepalese men women and children should not have died trapped under rubble. Where are their reasons?

Bad things happen. But I don’t want to stop there. I don’t want to accept that. But I also don’t want to post a link soliciting for donations to either cause. Because while we can put our money where our mouth is, money can’t change minds.

All I know is, black lives matter, poor lives matter. All lives matter.

13. Unlucky