How You Doin’ Now?

After I hit “publish” the last time I realized I had left a lot of stuff out. Minor stuff really, but I tend to over share, and the last post was getting pretty long thanks to the details of the interstate meeting. This one got pretty long, too, so imagine how long that last one would be if I had remembered to add all of this onto it!

I forgot to mention that I emailed CF at the end of last month. Sorry, Sophia, I wasn’t completely stealth mode. I reminded him that his spousal support obligation was $XXX and he was $700 shy. I asked him if he planned on paying the rest of that or if he was going to continue pretending that he didn’t have a job and was sending all he could. Shockingly, I have heard nothing from him! He continues to send his self-modified child support, though. We shall see what happens later this month.

Turns out I am going to have to put my dream of being a singer in a rock-n-roll band on hold. Perhaps indefinitely. I finally bit the bullet and went to the doctor to see about my high blood pressure. I kept telling myself I just needed to lose the weight. After all, back in 2015 after having a few higher than normal readings I was right back to normal once I lost 25 pounds on the divorce diet. Only it’s not so easy when you’re working full time and you love to sleep which means you don’t have time to make a sensible breakfast for yourself, or pack your lunch. Yes, I know I should do it in the evening. Sometimes I do. But most of the time I don’t, and I usually don’t have the time to make it the next morning. I know- excuses, excuses. Yes, so until I stop making excuses and actually start losing the weight I decided to do the practical thing and see my doctor.

Fun fact: One of the most commonly prescribed medications has a side effect in about a third of the people who take it. It produces a lovely chronic, hacking cough, or as my PA likes to call it, a dry cough.

At first I thought I could deal with it. I even thought, in the beginning, that my body would adjust. No. Your body doesn’t adjust. It’s trying to expel the kinins in your blood stream. Even better? The cough doesn’t magically go away the minute you stop taking the medication, which seems a damn shame because it sure as hell started the day after I began taking them.

It got so bad my voice was hoarse from coughing, I would practically squeak when I talked, and when I tried to sing I would either cough or sounded God awful! Again with the squeaking. After about 6 weeks of it I said, “Enough!”

I still cough more than I would like. I still have my moments where my voice is squeaking or hoarse, but it’s definitely less now.

I know I’m never going to become a famous singer. I don’t even have any real plans to join a band anytime soon- if ever! But I do love to sing. And the mobster thinks I have a lovely singing voice. He likes it when I sing to him.

It is getting better very slowly. I don’t cough constantly while I’m singing. I can even occasionally sound decent. Most of the time though my voice is hoarse and I can’t reach many notes. I’m crossing my fingers it eventually comes back because I sure do miss singing along and not hurting my own ears.

This is something I didn’t think I’d ever be doing again. I’m donating plasma. I donated a few times back in my college days. I was dirt poor and needed money. They paid pretty well for a poor college student and I had a mad crush on one of the phlebotomists. I thought my plasma donating days were behind me but there’s a center not far from us and they paid out something like $175 for your first three donations. It was my daughter who actually talked me into it. She went twice herself until they fucked up her blood test and told her she had tested positive for the hepatitis C antibodies. They scared the crap out of her and it cost me around $500 to verify that she did NOT have the antibodies and it was a false positive. Nevertheless, she is now on a permanent ban list.

It turns out there are quite a few people I know who do this. OK, I know two. One is a woman who works with me. She uses the money as her grocery money. I also have a friend back in Utah who does it. I don’t know what we were talking about but she told me, unprompted by my own plasma donation story, that she was doing it to help pay for her daughter’s tuition. Her daughter is a freshman this year. At the time I had only gone four or five times, and hadn’t been back since May, right before I left to go to Virginia. I started back up in again August and I go twice a week. I’m putting that money towards Christmas. Even if it doesn’t fully cover everything it will be a huge head start.

I think it’s awesome that CF and Harley are living in a big 5 bedroom house with a gas fireplace, living it up and making sure they and her kids never go without while I have a big ass needle stuck in my arm for 45 minutes twice a week so that I can afford Christmas for my kids. There. I said it. Let’s move on.

It’s a lot different from what I remember. Back in my college days they would weigh you first thing when you came in. Eventually they would call you over to have your vitals taken and your finger pricked. Then you would go back to the big room and sit on the hard plastic chairs and wait for your name to be called. Then you would go back (or rather, through the door frame), sit in the big chair and wait to get poked.

Now you walk up to a kiosk and answer 25 questions. You sign in with your fingerprint. Then you go stand in line to wait to get your vitals taken and your finger pricked. They weigh you there, too. After that you immediately go stand in another line to wait for a chair. There is no big waiting room. There are very few chairs and those are generally used by the new donors as they wait to complete all the steps before being able to donate.

The biggest change is that everything is done with a machine right at your side. Before they would hang these IV bags- one for the saline and one for the blood. They would have to monitor you and then when you had filled a bag they would have to take it back to the centrifuge room and separate the plasma from the red blood cells. Then they would bring it back and put it back in you and then you did it all over again. Now it all takes place right beside you.

I think the chairs are upgraded now, too. They have a curve to them.

The other big change is how they pay you. I used to get a check. Hell, I worked at the grocery store in the plaza where the plasma center was located and I cashed many of those checks back then. Now it all goes on a debit card.

And of course, there are the phones. When I used to go many moons ago I would bring along a Soap Opera Digest to read. I’m sure other people would bring books so they could study. I might have, too, at one point. This afternoon I looked around and everyone was scrolling through their phones. I did see a guy on his computer the other day, and I’m sure there are other people who just sit there. Still, even on a really busy night when I’m waiting 30 minutes to get my vitals taken and then another 30 minutes standing in line to get out on the floor and into a chair, I only spend about 2 hours there. I had one disastrous donation which took me 88 minutes but usually I’m done in anywhere between 43 and 55 minutes.

My plan is to go through December. I’m not sure I’ll continue in January, although I may go back in the spring. My mom will be gone from the end of December through most of March, maybe even April. Picasso still doesn’t drive (his permit expires next month) and I will be the one picking him up from his various after school activities. The center is only open past 5 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I could go on a weekend day but I’m usually gone a weekend or two a month so you can’t donate as often. They give bonuses for six or more donations so I try to go twice a week in order to maximize the money.

Finally, my Pokemon addiction is still in full swing. I am now a Level 34 (out of 40) and slowly gaining points towards reaching Level 35. I have surpassed the mobster. He was a Level 28 when I started, I believe. I caught up to him within about a month. We were neck and neck once I caught him. I leveled up to 32 before him. A day or two later he leveled up and passed me by something like 200,000 or 300,000 points. But, being the scrappy (and slightly addicted) Pokemon player that I am I gained on him, and eventually Leveled up to 33. I’m pretty sure I was halfway to achieving Level 34 when he reached Level 33. Then I leveled up again and I’m now over 500,000 points (out of 1,250,000) in. I’m hoping to reach Level 35 within the next week.

I know what you’re thinking. “How in the hell did we go from infidelity, betrayal, cousin fucking, and your destroyed life to all this mind numbing talk about Pokemon?” So thank you for listening and indulging my ramblings. I’ll be back to talk about infidelity again real soon.

4 thoughts on “How You Doin’ Now?

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