19 Reasons Why I’m Happy

  1. Tomorrow is my birthday. I’m almost ridiculously excited about it, though I can’t put a finger on exactly why. I’ll admit that ever since I realized I wasn’t going back to Bryn Mawr this fall, I’ve been concerned that tomorrow would be difficult. It was supposed to be the first day of my senior year as well as the birthday where I reunited with all of my friends after over a year of being away for summer and study abroad. Now neither applies for me. But instead of feeling bittersweet about tomorrow, or even dreading it, I’m out right excited.
  2. This was my Saturday.

This may – and probably should – seem like a bizarre, counterintuitive, even disturbed reason for happiness. A day spent in the emergency room spent figuring out what to do with a stubbornly clogged feeding tube is never fun. However, it was a remarkably less painful experience than it could have been. We went up to the Feather River Hospital in Paradise again, as that’s where my gastroenterologist admits and we deal with most tube issues. The recently re-done emergency room provides an excellent set up, with a comfortable waiting area (genuinely!) and well-equipped private rooms in the ER. (I’ll appreciate whatever I can get, of course, but I am very much grateful for not having to reside in the hallway watching gruesome gurneys roll past while I’m nauseated.) I received excellent medical attention and the ER doctor quickly communicated with my GI to develop a plan of action. Moreover, every time I leave that hospital, I remark about how incredibly nice and happy everyone who works at Feather River is.

The best part: despite some fears to the contrary, I didn’t have to have my tube replaced! The radiologist managed to unclog it under x-ray. (Fun fact: They can now sometimes do bedside x-rays. While the openness of my tube had to be determined in an x-ray room, a tech was able to check for placement in my ER room with a rolling machine. I was impressed. Granted, she said she was only able to do it because of my size, or lack thereof.)

  1. Food, glorious food!

Very cautiously, I’m beginning to eat again. After a week of non-success followed by non-consumption, I started nibbling yesterday. (I actually started nibbling Saturday night, unsuccessfully, but I don’t want to talk about that.) It’s working, for the most part.

2. Reason 3 means that I should be able to spend some extra time untethered today.

3.My neighbor and friend Kerstin visited yesterday with her two adorable little girls.

Amaya wants the world to know that we’re twins because we shared a chair for this photo. And the 75 other attempts at a photo.

4. It looks like I’m going to be able to eat on my birthday. I set that as my goal when I first stopped taking in food by mouth, though I’ll admit that it was often expressed more as a desperate plea than a plan. It looks like it will actually work out.

5. My mom and I think we’ve figured out a way to make a cake I’ll enjoy without aggravating any of my myriad of allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities. I’ll update you on how that works out.

6.Amaya made me this fish decoration, which now brightens up my pump. Isn’t it pretty?

7. Ella joined in on the fun with a card. (And she’s writing! In German!)

8. My cat Duchess (and yes, she thinks/knows she is exactly that) has mostly gotten over her initial fears of the pump and the tube sticking out of my face and now likes to keep me company. As she’s doing right now.

9. I’ve taken to heart Ani’s suggestion about revisiting favorites among the childhood classics for reading material and I’m loving every minute of it.

A well-loved copy.

10. My new medicine is helping, thankfully.

11. Today feels like it’s going to be a good day. Fingers crossed it works out!

12. I’m talking to Dorothy! Love this girl.

13. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my parents are simply amazing.

14. I’m managing to write fiction again. Just a tiny bit, and without really going anywhere, but feeling up for it at all is incredibly important to me. I have a friend who talks about how there are things we hold as fundamentally true about ourselves and how difficult it can be when one of those things is shaken. This is one of those things for me, and having it come back fills my heart with delight.

15. I’m happy I have this blog. I’m happy I have this outlet to express what I’m going through and this way to record it. I’m happy I’ve received so much support.

16. I’m grateful for my ability to navigate the medical system. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a family with the resources (which include intellectual, emotional, and temporal) to see that I receive the best possible care. As hard as everything is at times, it could be so much harder. I truly think of this every day — what if we couldn’t afford to pay for medications not covered by insurance? Or even frequent co-pays? Or insurance itself? What if I didn’t have family members with schedules flexible enough to enable them to spend days in the hospital with me? What if I didn’t have the ability to research my condition myself and seek comfort in my findings?

17. I feel like I sometimes complain a lot on this blog, which really doesn’t capture how I feel 95% of the time. This is a place to vent, a therapeutic outlet, and somewhere I’m confronting what’s going on in my life. But the thing is, I’m happy. Some of it stems from the fact that I am generally more of a happy person than not. But some of it’s because I feel comfortable in the knowledge that things are going to be okay.

18. One of the oddest things I’ve garnered from this week is a deep sense of security. The events of this week (and, yes, getting Reglan out of my system) have taught me that much. I’ve always known I have people who love and care about me, but I’m seeing now exactly what that means. I don’t have a cure or a magic bullet to heal my stomach, but I have medications that make me feel better and ways to feed me and, most of all, I have people who will make sure I get those when I need them. My parents, my doctors, my friends….I feel grateful beyond words.

19. This is my last day as a teenager. This is difficult to write about without resorting to cliché, and in particular cliché that can give the wrong impression of me. I was never a mall goth or a rampant Holden Caulfield quoter (though Salinger has been a favorite!) Aside from some more irrational moments of teen angst, I generally survived my teenaged years with the solid understanding that this, too, would pass. I didn’t feel so much that nobody understood me as that I just really wasn’t cut out for being a teenager. I didn’t have it bad; there’s no underlying trauma, no deep secret misfortune, or even receipt of high school bullying. (It’s pretty easy to avoid high school bullying when you, you know, don’t set foot in a real high school at any point during the four years….) For the last three years, my technical teenagerhood has been rather technical, anyway, as once you get to college things are different. (People dismiss the comparisons to Hogwarts as frivolous, but there really can be an arriving at Hogwarts feel to starting college.) I’ve grown into my own style. For the last year or two, many of my friends have been out of their teens, anyway, and we’ve begun to progress into the dinner party stage of life, in our own casual way. But there’s still something of a relief at having survived this decade intact and a sense of having arrived as I greet my twenties.


13 thoughts on “19 Reasons Why I’m Happy

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May it be a wonderful year. 🙂

    So you never went to a public high school? I know you traveled, but what were your studies like? (I am inordinately interested in all possibilities, as I have a homeschooling 7th grader and am spending a lot of time dithering over whether she should go to PV or continue homeschooling or what.)

    • Thank you!

      I did independent study through CORE Butte Charter School (technically it was still Camptonville for the first two years), so quasi-homeschooling, but technically I did graduate from a public high school. (Which was mostly relevant for admissions to the UCs, as I had A-G approved courses.) I did a lot of my studies independently and with my parents (homeschool-style, I suppose!), and worked with tutors for some and took a few college classes. I also took a few classes through the charter school’s center in ninth grade, but basically exhausted the offerings that year. Those classes met once or twice a week and were sort of hybrid between independent study and not. I was able to stay in communication with my teacher at CORE while I traveled and since we always maintained residency in California, I remained enrolled in the school even when I was overseas. If you have any questions about my experiences, I’m more than happy to answer them. =) It was a great experience overall and I think I learned a lot from it.

      • Aha, you belonged to CORE! I’m familiar with it, though we belong to the other charter, South Sutter. It doesn’t have onsite classes, and allows much more freedom in curriculum choice than CORE does these days. It’s only been around here for a few years. Yes, I have many questions!

      • Yeah, I have heard that some of what I was able to do might be more difficult these days. I also had an amazing, and flexible, lead teacher, and I think whom you work with is crucial in terms of flexibiliy. If you ever want to, you can email me at whimsicaldesperation AT gmail DOT com.

  2. I love it, 19 reasons before you turn twenty 🙂 You look happy too, in your photos! I’m really curious about your birthday cake, can’t wait to see it! And your Wizard of Oz copy is beyond cute. Reminds me how much joy illustrated books can bring.

    Here’s to years and years and years of increasing health, continuing happiness and eating lovely food – not via a tube!

  3. Such a beautiful post! You have so many reasons to be happy and I’m glad that you’re embracing every single one of them.
    Happy (almost) Birthday!! I hope your day is filled with family, delicious food, happiness, and presents- of course! You deserve it. (:

  4. What a lovely post! I just found your blog! How cool you spent time studying at Oxford! I’m so sorry for your health troubles, you seem to take it all in your stride. A lot of us could learn from your attitude!! 🙂

  5. Happy birthday Jordan, and welcome to the non-teen years. May you have at least 4 more 20s (that would be 100 years = first 20, then next 80–I think my math is correct?). Love, Uncle Steve

  6. Happy Birthday!! I’m so glad you’re starting to feel better, and of course, cats always help us heal. It’s been said the purring of a cat makes people happy. We just got a new little one. He’s adorable.
    I love the idea of reading childhood classics. I still have all my Nancy Drew books and I’m in my thirties. Chronicles of Narnia is another great one too.

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