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Archive for February, 2008

I had a Pharmacology exam Tuesday that I was 100% sure I failed. I guessed on half of the questions- not the kind of guessing where you narrow your choices down to two, but full-stop-have-no-fucking-clue guessing: “Question One, uhh….A!” Afterwards I drowned my sorrows in a pint of Guinness and called it a day. I checked my score on WebCT today. I ended up getting the same grade as my first exam- an A. WTF?

Last week I was incredibly sick- strep throat and sinus infection. I’ve never been so mind-numbingly ill in my life. I couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe. My worst day- Wednesday- I had a coughing fit in the kitchen and when I opened my eyes, my hands and nightgown were covered in bright scarlet blood. At first I thought I was coughing up blood- my lungs had been on fire all day. But the blood was pouring out of my nose- it puddled on the floor and stove, and my hacking sprayed blood all over the cabinets. It took twenty minutes to control the bleeding, or half a box of tissues. It was weird to see this bright, opaque blood pooled on my stove- smooth and red against the black.

One of the strangest side effects of my illness was the complete loss of taste. For three days, I tasted and smelled absolutely nothing. Tastes are still dulled even now. I have an ultra-sensitive nose and palate- I can pick out flavors and smells that no one else detects, and I have an incredible memory for scents and tastes- not only can I remember individual scents and pick them out in a perfume or food, but odors conjure vivid memories for me. The flowery smell of orange rind floods my mind with the memory of the Giardino degli Aranci in Aventino, Rome, a secluded fairy-land of a park with a breathtaking panorama of the city. I remember a former friend describing the perfect orange juice in Chicago restaurant, and happily paying $6 a glass for it. I remember greedily gobbling up three oranges late one night, their fragrance intoxicating, juice running down my chin as I cut supremes of orange directly into my mouth. Odors can elicit such bittersweet memories, so exquisitely painful in detail. So to be without smell and taste was bizarre. I ate food and marveled at the texture, at the temperature. Even though I couldn’t taste, I still didn’t look at food as “just” sustenance, but as an experience. I thought maybe without taste I wouldn’t still be addicted to food. But eating familiar foods elicited that same flood of memories that I longed for it. It’s so strange, the hold that food has on me- even without its inherent quality- flavor- I’m still in love.

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New Perspective

I am a different person than I was two weeks ago. I’ve had a lot things change concerning school, all of which are bad. For one, I no longer can receive Stafford loans- I am at my limit (which is $23,000 for undergrad degrees). I didn’t know this until nine days ago. Secondly, I was misguided by a financial aid officer and signed up for an expensive DVD/online class for a grant that I am not applicable for, and now have to pay tuition for the class (two days after I signed up for the class, tuition reimbursement for dropped classes dropped down to 40%). So, I have to figure out a way to come up with $1,200, pronto. If I would’ve stuck with my instinct (not sign up for the class) I would owe a measly $300. I’m still angry about this.

I have had to come to terms with just how much money I will owe at the end of my schooling- about $40,000. I’ll have a B.F.A. and an A.S.N. I won’t be debt-free until I’m 35 (from school debt, at least). My loan payment will be close to $400/month. The first few years of nursing, I can expect to make $25-30 K/year. Add that one up in your head.

I am so full of regret that I feel like I could spit it from my mouth like venom. I am so angry with myself for messing my life up so badly. About 50% of this debt I could avoided. I made the wrong choices, the easier, more exciting choices- vacations, material items, working less, buying more- instead of the practial choices. For example, at 18 I thought that getting an art degree would be a wise career choice. WRONG! I chose an expensive Catholic school instead of I*** because it was smaller and less intimidating, instead of putting on my big-girl pants and dealing with it. WRONG! At 22 I used bonds my grandparents saved my whole life to go to Europe for a month, instead of using it for tuition- WRONG! At 23, I blew through 8,000 on two holidays and a bunch of shit I didn’t need, instead of using it for tuition- WRONG! Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I understand now those middle-aged guys who talk about “the good old days” with that misty look in their eyes. They regret wasting their opportunities, their youth, their innocence on such idiotic choices. I regret wasting money, wasting my youth on the wrong career path, on wasting two years of my life being depressed, on being too fat to enjoy my beauty. Now I am getting wrinkles, grey hair and I’m so, so angry at myself. My heart aches. I was wrong.

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