A couple months ago as I was about to begin writing again, my brother died unexpectedly. He was only thirty. We were close.
There is not a lot I can say, as writing about the day he passed is triggering. My life has changed drastically, and for the first time in my life I’m just speechless.When the time is right, I hope to write about the aftermath and invite you into my world of grief.
I’m grateful to have been surrounded by amazing friends during this time, and my brother’s visits in my dreams that give me so much comfort.
I hope you all have been well during this crazy time in our world. I resigned from my healthcare position to grieve and take care of my family during this trying time for us. I am just taking things day by day, moment by moment.
“So he emailed you?” my childhood friend Z and I can’t control our laughter.
“Damn a lot has happened since I last saw you” Z says.
I put my fish taco down. Oh how good it feels to go out again. “You could say that was the miracle I was waiting for” I say. “I’d say. Never thought that one was coming back” Z says.
“But he’s gone again so” I stir my seltzer.
“Shaz. You’ll love again. You are very pretty, successful, and caring” Z says.
I make a sad face. “I know” Z says.
In the midst of moping over Prince Player, my ex came back.
I never expected that to happen. We ended so angrily. I hated that I hated someone I once loved.
I read his email that day he decided to reach out. “I am trying to apologize. What would you like me to do?” he had written.
I sighed to myself. We used to write each other love letters via email. He remembered.
And then we had our interaction mentioned in the last post. After he ordered me a pizza, I wanted to see him. I appreciated his peace offering.
“Um hey…do you want to hang out now?” I ask.
And so it began. We watch Saturday Night Live and catch up on everything that happened in the last 6 months. We go out for about 6 weeks…and then I don’t hear from him again.
What the hell.
Z shakes his head.
“He’s such an interesting person full of surprises huh. One minute deeply apologizes to you and takes you out on all these dates even though he’s “not really a relationship type of person” and then just kinda ghosts you” he says.
“Yep” I say.
“And then Prince Player never responded to you…” he says.
I shake my head.
“Ouch” he says. “How is your heart anyway?”
“Fine. Ultrasound clear. EKG clear. Stress test clear. I have a little monitor now” I say pointing to my chest.
Z laughs “Jeez. How long do you have to wear it?”
“Just a few more days. Thank god it’s getting itchy!” I say.
“I bet. Hey, you doing ok now about the Prince Player thing now?”
I stare at my half eaten fish taco. Why don’t I remember these wraps on them have gluten my god-
I let out a loud sigh.
“Yes. It’s just weird. Like I’m not sad. But I’ll just think of him sometimes. Like when I saw Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton got married and I hear their weird song. Or when my friends from college ask to hang out. Or when I read these stories of how people who knew each other for a decade finally got married…”
“It wasn’t meant for you Shaz. You were doing way too much and you know it” Z says.
I make a sad face again.
“Shaz. The right one will make an effort for YOU”.
“Kinda like the other one did?”
“The other one did. But only in the beginning. We need consistency too!” Z says.
I hold my face in my hands. “I’m just doomed. I’ve been looking for a new job for like what a while now. I’ve been looking for a new partner for like what a while now. I’ve been-“
“SHAZ. Jesus you gotta stop” Z says.
“I’m having my Britney Spears moment!” I say.
“You’re what now?” Z asks.
“Ok I was watching tarot. Ok. And my favorite reader said Sagittarius’s are going through this moment where you know everyone has been thinking that they are fine but it is slowly being revealed they haven’t been. Kind of like what has been going on with Britney who is also a Sag!” I say.
Z laughs. “You’re nuts Shaz. Listen. You’re ok. Remember where you were two years ago?”
“Fuck me. That was my J.K Rowling moment” I say.
“Not even” Z says. “But you know what I’m talking about. You’re not there. You are in a much much better place now. The rest will happen, just like it happened then”.
“It only took like 7 months for it all to happen then. In 7 months I had a new job and home. In 8 I had a new partner. Now it’s taking a long time”.
“Bet it seemed like a long time then too” Z says. “Remember all those people who used to bother you and ask things like why you still don’t have a job?”
I look down. “Yea.”
“You’re not there Shaz. I know you’re not happy where you are, but you’re not at rock bottom.”
I smile. Kind of.
“And don’t forget the biggest thing-“
“I know I know. After that thing with my fiancee, I moved here after 8 months and told everyone I don’t have a boyfriend, don’t expect to have one anytime soon, and then the very next week I met him. And he was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Happiest 5 months of my life” I say.
“There you go”.
“Let’s hope by the next time I see you things are better huh” I say.
“It will!” Z says.
I guess all is ok like Z said.
It reminds me of a line from that theme song of a TV show I watched when I was little, As Told By Ginger:
It’s been a few weeks since I last heard from “Prince Player”. My Ramadan was so hard this year, all things considering. But I still count on that yearly miracle.
I meet with one of my childhood friend’s before the holy month ends.
“How are you?” he asks.
“Eh. A little numb, but I’m good” I say.
He looks at me and frowns.
“My life has become the saddest Rascal Flatts song ever written” I say.
“What hurts the most?” he asks.
I laugh. “Ok the second saddest Rascal Flats song”.
“Here comes goodbye?” he tries again.
I laugh. He’s good. They are both sadder than the one I was thinking of. “Winner at a losing game” I say.
We stare into the lake. Chicago weather is getting better.
“He hit me like a hurricane” I say.
“Luke Combs!” he says.
I laugh. “Yep. Prince Player really liked him”.
My phone buzzes. I gasp.
“What?” he asks shocked.
“My other hurricane…”
It’s my other ex.
I don’t believe it. I thought I’d never hear from him again.
“I gotta go” I tell my friend.
He hugs me, “be safe, everything will be okay soon”.
I hoped one day my ex would give me the apology I deserved. But after the surprising way he left my life, I didn’t know if he would.
When he calls I tell him he owes me a huge explanation for everything that happened, and an even bigger apology.
“I’m sorry Shaz. I wish what happened never did. I’ve felt bad. I know you probably hate me, but if you’re ever down to meeting up again and being friends- I’d appreciate that a lot”.
I roll my eyes.
“Have you eaten Shaz?” he asks.
“No” I say.
“What do you want?” he asks.
“A pizza” I say.
“Okay it will be there soon” he says.
I smile. “You ordered it for me?”
“Yea” he says.
He always did that for me. Wasn’t always heavy on the words like “Prince Player” was, but he always did tiny gestures like this to show he cared. And the way he made me feel…the way he made me believe in love again after “Prince Player”, “Scientist”, and my fiancee- unreal.
I remember memories with my ex. My ex, before he left, showed me good guys exist. The one that holds the door for you. The one that brings you food when you had a long day. The one that rubs your feet or back after a 10 hour shift. The one that will talk to you everyday.
I don’t know which was the bigger hurricane. Him. Or “Prince Player”.
“What is it Shaz? You’re making me nervous. Are you leaving us for another position or something?”
See I wouldn’t normally go to my supervisor’s supervisor. But this time, the problem got too far. And my supervisor’s supervisor and I are closer than myself and my supervisor. I had to solve this. Before my heart stopped working completely.
I stop pacing and sit.
“Would it make you upset if I did?” I say laughing.
“Yes!” my supervisor’s supervisor says looking shocked.
I nod. I explain what happened. And then when I get to my heart, I begin to cry.
My god this is so not what I wanted to happen.
“Take a breath” she says.
I do. And I continue.
“Hmm. Shaz I don’t think she meant it like that. That’s just the way we talk around here”.
My jaw drops. “Jackie. That’s not okay”.
She nods. “I guess we’ll have to work on that”.
Yea, no kidding.
That night I have my session with Don.
“Ah. I was waiting for the Prince Player plot twist” Don says when I tell him about the text.
I nod. I tell Don about all the other crap I’ve been experiencing. With my job and my heart. And my boss.
“Good for you Shaz! You finally did it” he says.
“I notice you didn’t say a lot about Prince Player in this session” he says.
I shake my head. “It’s my heart. I can’t fuck around anymore. I want to make this my number one priority”
“Did he even ask about why you went to the doctor before he sent you that text?”
I shake my head. I’m still scribbling notes of things Don has said throughout the session.
“Shaz?” Don says.
I stop writing and look up.
“FUCK. HIM.” Don says.
I nod. “I know”.
“Seriously. Talk about kicking you when you’re down” Don says.
“It’s not the first time that’s happened” I say.
Now he is shaking his head.
The next day, my boss wants to talk to me. Jackie has spoken to her.
“Shaz. What happened?”
Now I have to tell her everything.
“Goodness. Why didn’t you tell me?”
I shrug. “I tried… you weren’t listening”.
“Do you need a few days off?” she asks.
Jesus. Now I’m being asked this. Too little too late.
I tell her it’s ok as I’m going home soon anyway.
She says I’m a senior specialist and therefore I’ll have additional responsibilities than others, but admits she did give me extra over the last few months and will rearrange next month.
Then she gives me a hug.
Ugh, I don’t know how to feel. I’m so burnt out.
Over the weekend my friend Maria who left our team for the same reasons and is glowing in her new job texts me saying we’re going shopping.
I get chocolate covered almonds and organic gummy bears while she grabs healthy things for a new diet she’s on. She talks about how her husband is participating in it too.
“You have a good man Maria” I say.
“I do” she says beaming. “Speaking of which….” she raises her eyebrows at me.
“NO” I say.
“Oh no?” she asks.
“He didn’t want it Maria. I don’t know why, he didn’t want it. And if he doesn’t, well, neither do I. And I told him that” I say. I don’t know what she’ll say, I hope she doesn’t press.
“Exactly Shaz. It’s like ‘bye, nice knowing you!’ she says.
I smile. We can complain about my job all we can, but I made the bestest of friends. Friends that get me. Friends that empower me.
I hold her arm and we go buy our items. We get Dunkin to go as I am fasting for Ramadan.
It’s hard being a coffee addict during Ramadan. I have to drink my coffee at night since I can’t during my usual time.
But I’m just glad my heart medication has started to work and I’m able to fast again. Every Ramadan, I experience a miracle. And this year, I could use one.
“I’d be careful if I were you, you are walking on a dangerous path” my boss says.
I sit stunned. I stay quiet.
It’s been a hard year, for everyone, I get it. People are tired of hearing this, but it has been especially brutal for healthcare workers like me. Being asked to do 4 different jobs at a time- my normal job, plus 3 COVID jobs- it’s been dragging me down.
Over the last few weeks, I developed chest pain. I had a feeling something wasn’t right (besides my lady problems) these past few months, but when these chest pains right around my heart began- I knew I couldn’t stay quiet much longer.
I set up an appointment with my boss.
I tell her I’m overwhelmed. She asks my solution. I ask if we can rearrange/reassign some of my responsibilities to individuals who don’t have as much.
Then she says it.
“I’d be careful if I were you, you are walking on a dangerous path. Comparing yourself to others. Saying you have more to do than them. We all have a lot to do because of COVID. Your other coworkers have done this before, complaining about having more work than others, and I’ve watched their mental health go bad”.
I’m stunned. Doesn’t she understand that is exactly why I’m here? My mental health (and physical health) has already been impacted.
“Just breathe” she says.
I walk to the bathroom. Cry my eyes out. I don’t believe it. Two years ago I applied to over 600 jobs. All for this. I never expected to be treated like this.
Amongst this I manage to text “Prince Player”. I can see he is trying to care, but, it feels off. Not genuine.
That night my chest hurts again. Bad. I grip it. And lean on my couch. I have to go to my doctor. Something isn’t right. But where do I have time? I have a full clinic the next day. I pray to God for a way. The next morning I wake up, the nurse from the clinic I was assigned to calls early and says clinic is cancelled for the day. This never happens and I thank God. I call my doctor’s office and they get me in right away.
I wait in the exam room for the doctor. I go during lunch so it’s rather busy, I wait 25 minutes which is unusual. All throughout, I’m nervous. I’m hoping doctor will tell me it’s allergies or something- but, I just know it won’t be. I never had a pain like this.
“Shaz what happened?” doctor comes in looking concerned.
“I uh. I’ve been having chest pains. Around my heart” I say looking down.
Doctor nods still looking concerned. “Let me take your blood pressure and pulse” he says.
“Blood pressure normal. Shaz…your pulse is extremely high” he says. I nod.
He pats my back looking sad. “We have to do an EKG.” My eyes widen.
“It will help us see what’s happening. I’ll be right back. In the meantime, you need to display this part of your chest and this part of your chest so we can put the EKG stickers” he says pointing.
Oh great. Wrong day to wear the lace bra.
He comes in a few minutes later. He sticks on the EKG stickers and waits for the results. He shakes his head, “Shaz, your heart rate is very high…”
I chuckle lightly. “I’ll live right?”
Every time I see him, I always think I have something I don’t and he laughs saying- “You’ll live”.
This time was different, he stayed quiet.
He looks away “I don’t know. I’ll be right back”.
My jaw drops.
He comes back with a print out of my EKG. He sits down and goes over it with me. “Shaz. You have an irregular heartbeat. It’s dangerous. What’s wrong? Are you stressed too much?”
I tear up. Boss. Job. “Prince Player”. Lady problems. Mom. Dad. Brother. Dog.
I nod my head.
“You are very healthy. You are in good shape, good BMI, you exercise, you don’t smoke or do drugs. You are not someone that should be having this problem. So we have to find out why. I’m going to send you downstairs to the urgent care, they will do a blood test so we can rule out any heart enzyme issues or infections that can be causing this. Depending on what those say, we will proceed with more tests.
For now, you know this is serious. I am prescribing a medication for you to take everyday for the next 3 months to help stabilize your heart rate and chest pains”.
I stare at him. I feel like I’m going to pass out.
Doctor stops talking. “Are you ok?” he asks. I nod.
He pats my back again. “Start the medication tonight. I will call you tomorrow to check on you”.
I get dressed and walk into the urgent care. They have a wait too. Now might be a good time to text “Prince Player” my usual hello text.
Finally it’s my turn. The urgent care doesn’t have baby needles and I got rolling veins and I wasn’t super happy about the blood draw. It is what it is.
I drive to the pharmacy to pick up my new meds. They say it will take them half an hour to fill. Now would be a good time to call my parents.
I sit in the parking lot. I close my eyes. Tears running down my cheeks.
Will I be like my friend’s mom who passed away suddenly from heart attack in her 40s? Will I be like my dad who had a stroke without even knowing? Will I be like-
My mom’s blowing up my phone. I can’t deal with anything right now. It’s time to call them and them.
I call my dad first. “Hey Shaz! You are early today!” he says.
“Uh yea dad..um, my clinic was cancelled” I say.
“You should have told me. Stock prices were good today. Would have had you buy one if I knew you were free” I smile lightly. My dad has been teaching me about stocks and it’s making us bond.
“I uh. Had to go to the doctor dad…” I say.
“The doctor? Why?”
I sit for a minute.
“Oh hello baby. You are a good girl. Very good girl. I am talking to your sister” I hear my dog panting through the phone and my dad playing with her. I want to laugh, but I can’t. “Go ahead Shaz. Why’d you go to the doctor?”
My eyes well up. “I’ve been having chest pains dad.”
“Oh…” he says. “Ok and? What did the doctor say?” my dad is surprisingly calm about this.
I tell him the whole story.
“Hm. Well let’s wait until all the results come back right. We can’t worry ourselves more that we already are about this. And for the love of God Shaz, will you take it easy on yourself and RELAX this weekend?”
I smile. “Yea dad”.
“Drive carefully. Text me when you get home”
I hang up. Time for my mother.
Oh she isn’t having it. “You had this for weeks and you didn’t tell us??”
Well then, she and my dad must have switched places. She is usually the calm one and he usually panics.
“Shaz. You wanna come home? Take FMLA leave and come home” she says.
I roll my eyes. “Tell this to my boss”. She sighs. “It’s not funny Shaz. It’s serious”.
Yea I know. I go and pick up my meds.
“Is this your first time taking this medication?” the pharmacist asks.
I nod. “Ok. Take this once a day, same time every day. You may have side effects like dizziness, but do not stop taking them” she says.
I drive home. This sucks.
When I get home all my friends I updated about this are blowing up my phone. I have to nap, I only slept 3 hours the night before due to my chest pain.
As I am closing my eyes, I see a text come in from Prince Player. I just know it isn’t good.
Don’t do it.
Don’t do it.
Don’t do it.
I grab my phone. Oh my lord it is a long message…
My iWatch notifies me my heart rate is too high. I shouldn’t.
I skim the text.
“I wasn’t looking to get back with you I just…”
“I don’t know what to do”
Oh no. Over the last month I really tried to show him how much he means to me and how I wasn’t giving up…but if he is, what was the point? Part of loving him, is letting him go if he wants to be gone.
I text back. I tell him I’m good whichever way he goes.
I can’t compete with his other priorities in his life anymore. I tried.
My heart can’t do it anymore 😦
He doesn’t respond. In the evening I watch Shark Tank and go to bed.
I have a dream that one of “Prince Players” exes is texting him. And when it comes to choosing between us, he chooses her. And then he calls me. I am hearing it ringing and ringing and ringing…
When I wake up and realize it was just a dream and in my real waking life my doctor is calling me.
“Hello?” I say half asleep.
“Shaz. It’s doctor. Your blood results came back. They are good. No enzymes or infections” he says.
Well hey that is great.
“Obviously. We need to figure out what’s going on. Rule out other stuff before we conclude that it’s stress. In the meantime take your medication, I will see you in one week to rerun the EKG and order some more tests. No stress, please” he says.
“How are you feeling on the medication? Any side effects?” he asks.
“No I’m just really tired” I say.
“That will happen unfortunately. Since the medication slows down your heart rate, it happens. I will keep checking in”.
When we hang up, I think about the dream I just had. I remember telling “Prince Player” about one of my other anxiety dreams a few months ago and he said something cute like, “well thank goodness dreams don’t come true” then.
I go back to sleep. The next time I wake up is when my brother calls.
“How’s your heart?” he asks sadly.
Sigh. Didn’t he hear. My heart is broken.
to be continued
P.S- If you haven’t watched the new documentary “Dancing With the Devil” by my favorite artist, I highly recommend ❤
“He’s fine Don, come on, I ain’t all holy water” oh my god I just quoted my favorite Scotty McCreery song.
I can see Don scribbling hard.
“You can’t convince me he’s not the one for me. So help me help him” I say after Prince Player misses our phone call and I hadn’t heard from him again for a few days again.
“Alright… what do you think you should say?” he asks.
“I’ll say…’You ok love?'” I suggest.
Don nods, “That’s good”.
“But then he’s going to say yes and that he was tired” I say.
“Empathize with him. How do people empathize with you when you’re feeling sick?”
“They say ‘Oh sorry Shaz. That must be so hard for you’ ”
Don nods again, “Well there you go”.
I sigh and take my own notes. “You’d think being the chief of planning a vaccination for an entire population was harder than this” I say.
Don laughs “I gotta tell you Shaz. I don’t know many people who would do this for someone. Like this s tremendously nice of you. I mean, he seems to ignore you like this often. Do you like this behavior?”
“No, but I like him” I say.
Don goes right for his Starbucks Espresso shot.
“I am right there with you!” I say taking a large sip of my Gatorade.
He laughs “You sure do come prepared”.
“I know how it looks Don. But I’m glad to have him back. After he left me last time, I felt there was so much I could have done to prevent that outcome. But I was giving up, and thus that made him give up” I say.
Don gives me a look, “Shaz. I guarantee you that is not how it happened”.
“Ok ok whatever. Maybe not. But if this happens again, I want to know that I tried my absolute best” I say resting my head on my Gatorade bottle.
Don nods slowly, “Let’s agree that you absolutely did and are doing that right now”.
“I’d just rather have him in my life than not. I don’t care about the obstacles. He is worth it” I say.
“Shaz. Are we going to have a situation like your last boyfriend?” Don asks.
I run my fingers through my hair. Ugh.
My ex was amazing when I first met him. He loved me longer and harder than anyone else. Always taking me out on dates, sometimes twice a day. Cuddling me the way I wanted to be. Buying me gifts. Meeting my friends, introducing me to his. Kissing me when I cried. Listening to our favorite country songs. Doing everything with me.
But after he left suddenly after 9 months, I blamed myself. I thought he left because he felt I didn’t value him enough.
This proved to be wrong. And after Prince Player left, he tried to seize the opportunity and get me back and manipulated me with his most recent ex. It was so, so, so bad.
I told Don then one of my favorite quotes, “When you won’t get rid of someone bad for you, God will give you an obvious sign that you need to. And it won’t be pretty”.
So that is what he is asking me about.
I snap back to reality.
“That was really bad. But I believe Prince Player is different” I say.
“Ok…good luck. If you want him, continue doing what you’re doing. Supporting him, loving him, and being patient with him” Don says.
I feel better that night. But my mind circles the next morning on what to do. Should I give him more space and wait or reach out now.
Now or later.
Now or later.
Now or later.
Omg just stop it, I tell myself. It’s been almost 72 hours and player is my lover and I want to know if he is alright and if he is still feeling what I’m feeling.
I text him.
He responds immediately. We talk. It’s nice. I think we are done for the day, but later that night as I’m setting up my alarm for my clinic shift the next morning- he texts again.
This time he opens up about how he has been feeling.
I’m sad he is feeling that way, but happy he shared with me.
I remind him how special he is and that I’ll stand by him- no matter what.
Our communication resumes and I am happy. It pauses here and there and I still don’t know when I’ll see him physically again, but, I’m ok.
It’s hard sometimes.
I wanted to talk to player last night but fell asleep before his response came in.
I wanted to text him when I saw it in the morning but then I got caught up in my very busy clinic shift.
I didn’t estimate this.
Being a frontline health care worker during the pandemic, being sick, being far away from family, and being in a long distance somewhere in between whatever with the love of your life who is struggling.
My chest hurts so bad. I hold it for a sec.
I turn to my associate.
I text player after my last patient. He responds and we talk briefly. Then nothing.
One of the first traumatic experiences in my life was getting my period. You know those rare stories you hear about girls that have awful cramps and vomiting at the “time of the month”? Nice to meet you, I am Shaz and I am one of them.
Since I was 10 years old, I’d miss two days of school a month because of this thing. Weddings, birthday parties, family events, awards ceremonies also. It was awful. I remember one time I heard my aunts say “lord please don’t let Shaz be on her period this day!”
I feel bad for my mom, dad, and brother who had to support me during these times. Whether it was listening to the awful howling of me in pain, leaving work and having to pick me up from school early, or running to the store to get me more pads because my heavy bleeding made me go through all the ones we had.
It was rough. “I feel bad for you…not us” my mom said before my procedure. “All that pain you went through and are going through now, it’s not about us at all”.
When I was 18 and in college, my parents finally agreed to put me on birth control pills. Of all the things they were liberal about, they were conservative when it came to reproductive health. The adjustment took a year and it was rough, but after that first year- I was vomit free. And I only got periods 4 times a year!! HALLELUJAH. I still got mild cramps, but they were rarely severe or included vomiting and plus I didn’t get many periods. No more missing school, work, or special events. It was awesome.
Everything was going great until what happened last year. Last year, my pills totally started to fail. Not only when it came to period symptoms, but period timing. I thought cramps were bad, well I guess I didn’t realize there was something worse- 6 week long periods!!!
You know what happens next. This happened a few times, I found out I have PCOS and Endometriosis that contributed to all these symptoms, I had a breakup and had a cyst that ruptured, we tried another pill that worked miraculously for almost a year and that also became ineffective and my wonderful specialist Dr. Davis finally convinced me to get the IUD.
So that brings us to about two weeks ago:
Two weeks ago it’s the day before my IUD procedure (yes I’m calling it procedure because due to my two conditions it was high risk for me). I have gone another weekend with Prince Player not texting or calling. We were supposed to talk a few days before my procedure so we can decide when he can visit. Obviously, it wouldn’t be good for him to come while I am recovering. So no calls no texts.
Until the day before. Player says he is stressed, but wants to be here for me during this time. This is incredibly sweet and so unlike him. I love it…
On the afternoon of, he texts me right before. He reminds me I got this and says he wishes he could be there for me to take care of me. It’s really sweet.
When I get to Dr. Davis’s office, I sit in the procedure room. This is very different that the exam room. They play nice pop music and stuff and the lighting is different. I just need to get this over it, why is Dr. Davis taking so long?
After 12 minutes, Dr. Davis enters.
“Oh good. Let’s do this Dr. Davis. You’re gonna make this as painless as possible for me right?”
Dr. Davis looks me dead in the eye. “Let me get Nurse Karina for you so you can squeeze her hand”.
He leaves to grab her.
WHAT THE EF. THAT IS NOT A GOOD SIGN!!! Plus I cannot stand Nurse Karina!!!
Karina and Dr. Davis walk in. Ugh.
“Shaz. You know Nurse Karina. She is tough and you are tough so this will go good”
Jesus. Mary. And Joseph.
“K Karina. Let’s do this” I say holding out my hand. She smiles under her mask and holds my hand with both of her gloved hands.
“Cough Shaz” Dr. Davis says.
“Cough? Ok” I do a light cough. And I feel that piece of whatever it is pop right inside me!!!
“OH MY GOD” I say through clenched teeth and squeezing the hell out of Karina’s hand.
“Just breathe honey” Karina says.
I hold my stomach. I can’t feel the lower half of my body.
“You did great” Dr. Davis says smiling after the procedure. “Thank you Karina” he says.
Karina leaves. I get up slowly.
I look at him with tearful eyes.
“It will be ok Shaz. Hopefully this will help” Dr. Davis said.
“I am about to start throwing up right now” I say.
“Let me leave. I will be back in 5 minutes to check on you. I’ll send Karina too” Dr. Davis says.
I take off my mask and puke a little in the trashcan. Thank god I’m vaccinated. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing this if I wasn’t.
I lay back down on the procedure table. I text Prince Player.
He texts back right away. He is so sweet.
Karina walks in when I’m taking a drowsy selfie for Prince Player.
“Here is some water for you” she says smiling.
“Karina, listen that ain’t gonna help. I will throw up more. I don’t feel good” I say.
“Do you have a low pain tolerance?” she asks.
THIS PERSON. OMG. WHAT???
“I have more pain tolerance than the average woman. But I have Endo and PCOS that gives me a lot of pain” I say for the 100th time. She reminds me of the nurses in school who didn’t believe me when I was complaining of menstrual cramps.
She nods “Drink the water though”.
Ok yea whatever.
She leaves and I try my best to get up.
Oh my Jesus this hurts like hell. I clutch the exam room table and lean on it like I’m doing a plank standing.
Dr. Davis walks in.
“Good you’re standing” Dr. Davis says.
I stare at him with my mask dangling down the side of my ear. I prop it back on.
“Don’t you see what I just did?” I ask.
I point to my vomit.
He nods. “Feel better?”
He got me there. “A little bit…” I say. “Hey do you have drugs?”
“If you’d like I can give you some narcotics” he says.
“You should” I say.
“Ok but it would knock you out…” he says.
“Fine then don’t” I say.
Dr. Davis laughs. “You’ll be sore for just a bit. Take 3 ibuprofen every 6 hours” he says.
Oh lovely. My last dose was only 1.5 hours prior, so I have 5.5 hours to go.
“In the meantime walk around a bit, it may help” Dr. Davis says leaving.
Oh my Jesus. What is wrong with people.
I walk around a bit and drink the water Karina gave me.
I vomit 5 times. I walk to the nurse’s station.
“Karina can you get the doctor please?” I ask.
“He is doing a exam for another patient” I say.
“Ok please tell him I threw up 5 times” I say.
Karina looks in shock (she should have listened to me) and nods.
Dr. Davis walks back in.
“So how do you feel now?”
“I’ll admit I feel a teensy bit better after vomiting all that out. But I can’t feel the lower half of my body. It hurts so bad. I think I will call my Uber soon, I have to lay down”.
Dr. Davis nods. “Ok. I told you about your recovery. Now about sex. You may start having sex within 24 hours”.
I smirk. “Believe me. That will not be happening”
“Next week though maybe” Dr. Davis says.
I raise an eyebrow. Well then.
“You know how to reach me. Call me if anything happens. I need to see you soon to check that it’s in place and do an ultrasound. You can schedule that appointment when you’re feeling better” Dr. Davis says.
I nod. My Uber arrives.
I planned my outfit so well. I kept my dress on the entire time, and I didn’t put my leggings back on because the lower half of my body hurt too much. I had tall boots on too so I wasn’t too cold in the 30 degree Chicago weather that day.
The Uber ride is so uncomfortable with the tremendous pain. I want to puke again. I pray in my head to help me hold it until I get home. Somehow I make it through the 18 minutes. For once I am happy it is not a chatty driver. It is a driver going at good speed to get me home, not evening knowing my situation which I thank god for.
When I get home I realized I see I soaked my giant maxi pad. I feel like I just birthed a baby.
I throw up twice again.
I change into a new maxi pad and a nightie. Again the nightie will ensure my body is not crushed.
I just want to go to sleep but I’m hungry. I order what my parents used to get me when I had bad cramps and vomiting. Chicken McNuggets with honey, fries, and Apple juice. After eating that I feel so much better.
Thank goodness for Uber and Uber Eats honestly. If this was the olden days, I would have needed a lot of friends to support me through this time.
After eating I sleep. I feel crampy again when I wake up, and again have soaked my maxi pad. Good news is it is time to take my second dose of meds. I do so and sit down on a step stool for a while, sitting in that position makes me hurt less. Throughout the night and days in recovery I do it when I feel crampy. My friends who have had babies tell them I’m reminding them of postpartum.
Prince Player is amazing, checking on me through the night and next few days. I send him selfies and my progress, he tells me I’m cute and is just so supportive. He is finally there for me when I need him the most.
It’s hard when he vanishes. Or when he says he will call or text but doesn’t. But I try not to get anxious about it. I know anxiety will slow down my recovery time, and I know where my player sits in my heart. If I don’t have one in his, that is just a problem for another day.
Right now, I’m getting through my lady problems. It’s been about a week and a half since the procedure now and I’m feeling a lot better. I think as the doctor said, this will help a lot and I can catch a break real soon.
Dr. Davis’s question makes me remember Prince Player the rest of the week.
It’s hard. I’m so disappointed things didn’t work out.
On Friday, I do my usual Friday post work-quarantine routine. I watch Shark Tank 🙂 That Friday I had loads of laundry too.
In between late night laundry, I see my phone light up. I put everyone except my family on “do not disturb” through the period of my illness for extra rest and recovery so I think it’s one of them.
I nearly drop my phone when I see Prince Player’s name.
I put down my laundry basket and lay on my bed.
Prince Player says he is sorry and feels bad about the way things ended, and he hopes I’m doing well.
My jaw drops. This is it.
This is the moment I was hoping for.
I told myself in Prince Player came back, I’d do everything I can to make it work. As last time, it felt like I was giving up.
I tell him my life hasn’t been the same since he left.
He admits the same.
We talk and Prince Player reminds me of memories from our weekend together. Some of those memories I forgot in the process of my healing.
While I like discussing the memories, I don’t understand why we are if Prince Player doesn’t like me.
That’s what he said when we broke up right? “Yea I don’t feel the same way”
Unless of course…he changed his mind.
It’s getting late. I tell him I’m happy he messaged and to let me know if his mind has changed about us.
He says he will.
We don’t really stop talking, it becomes clear he has and is on the same page as me.
Prince Player is faster in his communication now. Instead of saying he isn’t sure about his future with me, he says things like “we’ll figure things out babe”. I’m really hopeful it will actually work this time.
Except. On weekends.
On weekends it’s really hard to reach player for some reason…
“Oh Shazzzzz” my therapist Don says when I have told him the story of player coming back.
I snap out of my beautiful daydream and all the conversations I had in the last few days with player.
“WELL WHAT IS HE DOING ON WEEKENDS SHAZ?” Don asks. I don’t blame him. He’s hearing this for the third time now.
I laugh “He is resting. He is a hard working professional like me!” I say shrugging.
“So? You’re fucking Shaz. You should be more of a priority to him!” Don says.
“Well ouch…” I say.
You can always count on Don to give me a reality check. As much as I hate when he does that, I appreciate how he always thinks about the present and forward and not my past like other therapists have done.
“Shaz. You are in the busiest career right now. You are sick. You have maybe more trauma than him from what I know. And you make time for him and everyone else” Don says.
“I know. But he’s going through a lot. We don’t know what he’s going through” I say.
“Shaz. You’re doing it again” Don says.
“What? You’re the one that told me last time I need to be more empathetic to his situation! When I was waiting on him to get back to me after two days and I told you I don’t have time for this- you said I need to make time…”
“I think you misunderstood Shaz. At that time, it seemed like he was making an effort to really be with you and change. But the story he told you when he saw you, plus now him leaving and coming back after 3 months…now that’s just shady. Where has he been these last 3 months Shaz?” Don asks.
My eyes well up. I just know player. He needs space sometimes. He really is better now. I just know it.
“Shaz I didn’t mean to rain on your parade. I just saw you happy last time, after he said all these nice things. And then he left. And you were really sad. And now he’s back. Saying nice things again. What tells us the same thing won’t happen again?”
“He’s better now. He sounds like it…” I say.
“I don’t know Shaz. You are very ambitious, caring, and reliable” Don says. He goes on to say that player doesn’t sound like any of those things and it’s going in one of my ears and out the other. He can’t convince me.
“That is the love of my life you are talking about. And he is all of those things. Or at least he is doing his best to be” I tell Don.
Don stares at me. “Well Shaz. I don’t know him. And I’m not you so I can’t personally feel your feelings about him and stuff. But if you feel strongly about him, then continue- but with caution”.
Oh my god I am so mad at Don. Why would he say that about player.
After my IUD procedure (which I’ll discuss in the next post) I get a lot of pain. The pain triggers my long gone anxiety up again.
And when player vanishes on weekends…it triggers a lot of flashbacks. Flashbacks of player in college when he said he was coming over, but didn’t. Flashback of player in Boston, who came to see me but didn’t want to be intimate or spend much time with me when he did. Flashbacks of all the pain, trauma, and grief I faced since knowing player. And how he wasn’t really there those times.
My head spins.
I lay down and shut my eyes.
He is here now, more than ever before. And that is what matters.
“Look on the bright side Shaz. It’s now a year since we’ve been on the frontlines of a major pandemic!” Maria says.
I smile. “Yea. That is awesome for sure. I’m so proud of us girl”
She laughs. “Shaz…I’ve been meaning to ask you something… are you sick again?”
I face her. “Why do you ask that?”
“You look a little pale. Your hand is cold. You keep holding your back…”
“Yep” I say.
“Oh no. How long with the bleeding now?”
“Like…3 weeks” I say.
“I know. What bothered me is this lower back pain. I never really had it before” I say.
“Oh my god! Remember that’s what Kim had and it turned out she was pregnant?” she asks referring to our other coworker.
I laugh and massage my back. “Yea but it’s not that. I took a test and it was negative”
Maria shakes her head. “All your scares Shaz. It’s always right after these boys take off”
“I know right. PCOS sucks. I can’t tell if I’m having a period, spotting, withdrawal bleeding, a cramp, or whatever so I never know what’s going on”.
Maria sighs. “Have you told your OB?”
I nod. “I got an appointment with him later this week.”
“I’ll pray for you my friend. Everything will be okay” she says squeezing my hand.
We get back to work.
The next few days I am tired. I hope the doctor can figure out what’s going on. This is just too much to handle.
The day finally comes and my favorite nurse is on duty. She does my ultrasound and says everything looks as it usually does, nothing new. So that maybe we should do a different one, one that will look more closely at my “lady problems” as Prince Player calls them. But that she has to consult with the doctor first.
A few minutes she and the doctor comes in.
“What is happening Shaz?” the doctor asks.
“You tell me” I say.
“Well. We’re gonna do this other ultrasound that will take a closer look. Fair warning it’s a little uncomfortable. You may feel lightheaded. Cramping. And may bleed a little more. Stephanie, get her a pad just in case please” he says motioning to the nurse.
My jaw drops. He nods. “It’s just another precaution we have to take. We need to rule out things so we can figure out what’s happening.”
I sigh “Alright” I say. Dr. Davis has been amazing. Never in a million years would I imagined I’d agree to a male OB, but after my cyst ruptured and he took good care of me- he is the only one I will see!
“So how is everything?” Dr. Davis asks as he prepares.
“Fine” I say shrugging.
“Yea, you still with the partner?” my eyes widen.
Oh my god he is asking about Prince Player. I keep forgetting about Prince Player not because I don’t miss him but this is just how I cope with heartache. So it takes me a moment to remember who he is talking about.
“Um no” I say.
“Yea I remember he was a new partner. Or rather you hadn’t seen him in a few years, and then you did?”
Oh my goddd.
“Yea. We’re not together anymore” I say.
Dr. Davis nods. He doesn’t squeeze answers out of me and that I like.
And then the ultrasound begins. Good grief. I am positive this is what labor feels like.
I have tears rolling down my cheeks.
“A little cramping, almost done Shaz”
“And done. Stephanie let her get dressed and send her to the consultation room please” Dr. Davis says.
I get up from the exam table. “Umm..”
“Are you ok? Dizzy?” Stephanie asks.
“Yea..” I say.
“Ok sit for a moment. Take it slowly once I go. Yell if you need something, I’ll be waiting outside.”
When I’m dressed Nurse Stephanie takes me into Dr. Davis’s office which is not an exam room. I’ve never been in one of these.
“What’s happening? Am I dieing?” I ask.
Dr. Davis laughs. “No, have a seat” he says gesturing to one of the two chairs in front of him.
“Well what is it? Am I pregnant?” I ask. Dr. Davis knows as much as I would love to have a baby, I don’t want one right now. Especially after the way “Prince Player” ended things.
Dr. Davis laughs again, “No. There was no baby in the ultrasound”.
I sigh. “Phew that is really good”.
Dr. Davis nods. “I wanted to talk to you because that second ultrasound was normal. There were no polyps or anything that indicated anything beyond what you’ve had all these years which is PCOS. So now the question is. How do we stop this bleeding”
“Yep” I say.
“At this point we have explored almost every oral contraceptive out there. It doesn’t seem like your body is responding to those well. Even the last one we put you one, worked for a solid 9 months- and then just stopped”.
“So it is time we consider the alternatives I’ve told you about Shaz” Dr. Davis says.
“Oh my god no not the IUD” I say.
“That is one. We could also put you on the shot. But the shot you have to come in every 3 months, and you will experience breakthrough bleeding for the first couple of months. At this point- we aren’t comfortable putting you on that with the amount of blood you are already losing”.
I nod. “With the IUD, wouldn’t I get a period every single month?” With the pills I’ve been on the last few years, I only got a period once every season.
Dr. Davis nods. “Yes but they will subside after some time. Plus as it stands right now. You are actually bleeding more days than you are not”.
“That’s very true” I say.
“It’s not a decision you need to make today Shaz. You are also welcome to just stop taking the pills you are on now and see if things naturally get better. But it would mean you are not protected…”
I hug my purse. “Oh yea we don’t need to worry about that. I won’t be having sex any time soon” I say remembering my poor heart and Prince Player.
Dr. Davis looks at me “But, I know long term- you might want to be”.
I shut my eyes. He is a good doctor.
I nod. “Let’s do the IUD. If I stop the pill I’ll get horrible cramps and heavy bleeding, that’s what happened in the past. If I stay on it nothing will change and I’ll keep getting these prolonged bleeds. The shot we ruled out. You’ve been telling me about the IUD for a year now so let’s go with that. It’s worked for patients you treated with my condition right?”
Dr. Davis nods “Yes it absolutely has. But remember, not every body is the same. We won’t know what happens until we try. I wish I had a solid answer for you.
I nod. “How bad will this hurt?”
“It’ll be similar to the ultrasound we just did. But, you’re tough” Dr. Davis says.
Yes thank you 17 years of horrible menstrual cramps.
I laugh, “Ok but that pain I just had in there was awful!”
Dr. Davis nods. “If you’d like Shaz, we can pre-medicate you”
I nod fast, “Yes, do that”
Dr. Davis laughs and makes notes. “Ok, got it”.
Dr. Davis shrugs. “Some women are able to drive back to work and go about their normal duties. Some woman need recovery time for a day or a couple of days due to cramping”.
My jaw drops. “Ok soooo. That’s gonna be me! Which means I need to come here on one of the two days I’m allowed to work remote. But you are only here once a week on alternating days, so that may be hard….”
Dr. Davis smiles and nods “Let’s look at my schedule. We could always try another provider”
I shake my head, “I only trust you”.
Dr. Davis laughs, “Ok. You have clinic every other day right, leaving the day after each available? I think I have an opening a week and a half from now”.
It works with my schedule and we confirm.
I drive home still in pain. When I come for the procedure in a week and a half, I’m definitely going to Uber.
I take the rest of the day easy.
I think about Prince Player.
I remember him so well when people bring him up. I wish we could be together. I wish I knew what he was up to. Haven’t heard from him in three months.
“How are you? Really?” my friend and good coworker Maria asks.
We are both vaccinated now so now we can resume our coffee breaks in my car. Too bad I’m not wearing my mask, it’s hard to lie.
“I am so sad” I whisper.
“I am really sad”.
She nods again.
“What happened?” she whispers.
“Why are you whispering? No one else is here!” I say laughing.
“Sorry! You were whispering so I thought I should too!”
“So… what happened?” she now asks in a normal tone.
I look down. I folded my hands. “I don’t know” I say.
“Whatever it is trust God” she says as she has been saying the last two years when it came to my family, relationships, and job.
“But why would God keep throwing Prince Player into my life only for him to leave every time he does? Hmm? This is like…almost a decade now!”
She sips her coffee, “Maybe he’s meant to stay. Eventually…”
“I don’t know, I told him it was my last hurrah with him” I say.
She raises an eyebrow. “Did ya really mean that?”
I suck in my cheeks. “No…”
“Then why’d you say it?”
“Because he does this every time. He comes in, swoops me up, loves me harder than before- only to leave me the next week” I say.
“It sounds like each time he does come back, he is better though right?”
“Yea… but I don’t know if he’s coming back this time. He said he doesn’t want to communicate with me anymore” I say.
Maria laughs. “Shaz. You and I know that’s a lie. He just feels bad because deep down he knows he really does love you, but something is preventing him from going through with it”.
I nod. “Yea I know”.
“Give him some time. If it’s meant to be he’ll come back. If not, there will be better Shaz. I promise!”
I stay silent.
Maria holds my arm, “See I’d normally tell you to go find someone else after he’s dragged your heart like this. But it’s written all over your face and heart how you feel about this one”.
“What do you love about him so much Shaz? You didn’t really tell me much about that like you did with your ex” Maria says.
I look up. “Well for starters, he’s really cute. Just like me. He admitted our babies would be super good looking!”
Maria nearly spits out her coffee. She laughs. “Oh my god Shaz. What else?”
I laugh too. “Ok ok I’m kidding! Well he is, but beyond that… We just. Go well together. It’s like, I can tell what he’s thinking when I’m in his presence. Even when we are far I can too. And he can read me pretty well too. He always listens to me and takes my side on everything. Like I don’t know anyone who is more “Team Shaz” than he is. In college whenever I was nervous about a class or something, he’d always encourage me and tell me I’d do great. And he’d be the first to congratulate me. And every time I look at him, I don’t see 26 year old Prince Player- I see 17 year old Prince Player. Like I remember the first time I saw him. And our first time alone together. He was walking me home on one of those crisp fall Chicago days. I do not have an ex in the world I have gone back to this many times. “Heart” I did a few times but not as much as this. My last one I went back to just once and that was enough. And this one. Oh my god he’s just a part of me. And our weekend together three months ago, just reiterated all of this. I will never understand why he left”.