Friday, December 5, 2014

War Pigs. The Movie.

I began the film War Pigs with a big head. I had just shot a film for the church where the crew was wonderful, everyone was fun and silly and we laughed from sun up to sun down and had a dance party on our last night of filming. It was practically an Abilify commercial. I thought I could do no wrong. A ha. A ha, ha, ha.

The night before our first shooting day I slept an hour. The second night I slept about 4.  The next day I was so loopy I feel off a rock and sprained my ankle. The third day was what we lovingly called "Mickey Day".  And I got Rourked. Hard.

For the record the guy is super sweet. He was respectful, funny, charming and kind to me. The first thing he asked me was how long were my teeth in jail. He wasn't ever mean or rude or raised his voice. He made some crude jokes but at my age I would've been offended if he hadn't. It was the requests. There were a lot of them, a lot of weird them, and because our fitting was happening the night before his one and only filming day there were, shall we say, time constraints. I basically stood in line buying merchandise at 1:30 am at the Super Walmart with one lane open, a cashier who was enjoying his first day on the job and a woman throwing a fit from her Jazzy Power Chair because she didn't know her billing zip code and her card was declining.  I went home and did cast laundry, altered Mr Rourke's pants, fixed his jacket and boots and then crashed for 45 minutes. The next day I was a zombie. A literal zombie. I was a shell of flesh covering internal organs that had ceased to accomplish their designated functions. There was some drama as per usual that day and there was more last minute scrambling in my department before we even got off the first shot, I even got a flat pulling into the location for hell's sale. Just trying to keep up with our chaotic shooting schedule was one thing but there was an impromptu photo shoot scheduled for that day no one in production was told about and so my wardrobe kept ending up there instead of where it was supposed to be, and since we were in a horribly haunted five story building I think I burned off like 3,500 calories before noon hauling ass as quickly as possible from creepy room to even creepier room.   My ankle became the Hindenburg.

Noon. It couldn't come fast enough. I was so excited to finally be able to lay down and sleep. We were in the Masonic Temple and there are couches literally everywhere. One room had seven couches. I told the first AD where I would be, took off my walkie and picked one to sleep on. I had no sooner laid down when a woman with a fluffy round hairdo hovering just over a lace collar looked down at me and said, to the greasy man next to her, "She has her feet on the couch!" And the greasy man came closer and she said it again.  "Her FEET are on the COUCH." Now, to my discerning eye these were not precious couches. They were not white silk, they were not velvet, they were not linen. They were leather and they were old. The man yelled at me, "Get your feet off of those. Don't you know those are 100 year old couches?"  Now...I am 42 years old. I am not, in that case, a child. I'm not even a young lady. I am a grown up. An adult. And these people just spoke to me like a child.  Like an annoying child. But all I had done was lay down on a couch. I said, "No, of course I didn't know that. Just like you don't know that I haven't SLEPT IN THREE DAYS."   And when I got up I shot over my shoulder, "You could have asked me NICELY!" And then I began to cry.

I do not cry. Well, I cry at sad movies. I get choked up at commercials about parenthood.  But I don't cry when my feelings are hurt. I get super angry and talk to myself when I drive home and then vent to my family and friends. But I was a hollow shell of my former self so I cried. (My favorite part is coming up...) I have no where to go so I sit in the wardrobe trailer and cry. One of our poor PAs comes up to me and just goes,  "uuhoooh." And walks backwards in the opposite direction.  Now, he had gone and had custom boots made for Mickey, we had managed to totally nail that request in no time (cause we rock) so I womaned up and went back inside, everyone was eating still. But the 1st AD sees me, gives me a huge hug and I lose it all over again. He and the 2nd AD conspire and get me into the honey wagon and buy me an hour. I can't be on set like this, I'm useless as long as I am inconsolable, so it makes sense. I call my therapist. I had just started seeing a therapist. I tell the receptionist I'm losing it and I need the good doctor to call me back ASA friggin P. But like my second birth story, I sat with the phone on my chest, crying and waiting for a phone call that didn't come. And boy, was that JUST what I needed right then, to be reminded of my best day ever. (Yay, that is my favorite part of this story.)  I can identify clearly that it was around this point that my psyche splintered.

The rest of the film was a mixture of sleeplessness, disfunctionality, clashing egos and sub-zero temperatures. How's that for a cocktail? Mix in that we were behind schedule and perpetually covered in Fuller's Earth and walnut dust, smelling of smoke pots and you have one quality situation.  Now, I am leaving out a whole lot of stuff that frankly, is probably not for public consumption. Probably not for private consumption either, probably best to forget.   But I will write it down in my journal so that after I'm gone my grand kids can read it and say, "Jeez, grandma. Those were 100 year old couches." 

Monday, November 18, 2013

41 Going on 14.

My entire life I have been blessed and lucky to have good, close friends.  I still have a box full of notes, creatively folded pieces of paper that were secretively passed back and forth in long, lingering class periods with the excitement of knowing that we could be caught at any moment.  I usually come across this box and read these poorly written notes every five years or so.  It always brings some measure of ennui but more so the older I get. I always had intimate girl friends in High School to pass notes with, but when I graduated my best friends were a group of guys.  Once I began cycling and rock climbing it was a natural progression.  I never had a close relationship with my father and I was nursing a hefty heartache at the time so I really needed male acceptance.  I maintained those male friendships until I got married and Brett laid down the law.  I always loved and appreciated all of my friends but I also took them for granted.  It was just something that came easy to me, to love and appreciate people and to have time to be with them.  Most of these friends from my youth I am in touch with via the Internet now.  Not all of them live by me, not all of them have kids and spouses.  Mostly we live radically different lifestyles and maybe have different religious beliefs, especially since I've come back to church in the last 9 years.  I feel like that coupled with distance has put a big, fat wedge between us although I really, really wish it didn't.  When I got married, I inherited a big group of amazing new friends but they are all Brett's, really, and that is the kind of spot I find myself in now.  I have been blindsided by the fact that in my 40s the one thing that is radically different from my 20s and even my 30s, is the ability to make and keep close friends.

I get it, I do.  We are all busy.  No, we are all super busy.  We all have families.  We all have blogs.  We all do and say stupid things on Facebook.  Especially me.  Which makes me wonder if maybe people who would like to be friends with me don't think we'd connect because of where I stand on certain issues, or because of certain things I've written.  Maybe they assume I'm always working and it's true, I have periods when I work so much that I don't see my own family sometimes for weeks.  (With the except of Sunday.)  But not always, I do have some time off sometimes.  And I can take a phone call or a text.  But as it stands now, when I do end up getting together with friends it's always under planned and somewhat rigid circumstances.  Dinner parties, Birthday lunches, Bad Movie Nights. And I love all of these things.  I love them.  But I miss having people just stop by.  I miss hanging out and laughing on the phone and I miss talking about my every day experience with someone.  I miss light gossiping.  Hell, I miss heavy gossiping.  And I miss being close with people.  Really being close.  Knowing what people are afraid of, who they are intimidated by, who they think is cute, what they want to do when they grow up. I guess there just isn't anything to talk about anymore except politics and sex and no one wants to be engaged in those kinds of incendiary convos.

I also think to some measure, at my age, it can be hard to connect because you've been burned by people before.  I've been burned by people. They've let me down and broken my heart.  They haven't shown up for me or they've shown up for me begrudgingly which makes me feel bad, like I was putting them out. Sometimes people only want to use me for favors. Which is fine, but sometimes they use me but don't reciprocate, like ever, and so I worry that maybe people feel that same way about me.  Maybe they think I don't reciprocate enough. Sometimes I feel like the people that I would like to hang out with wouldn't like me back and sometimes I feel like the people who would want to hang out with me would drive me crazy.  It's like an 'Attack of the Fourteens' all over again.  That's a term a dear childhood friend coined back in college before she became a witch and moved out of state.  (See what I mean?) So basically for a decade I've felt like my close friends were the people that I work with, and after hanging out for 18 hour days, none of us really want to see one another after work.  Most of us just enjoy a really good working relationship and that's all.

If you have a dear, close friend, if you have someone to talk to that you can be completely open with that doesn't judge you and only laughs at your faults, if you have a friend that calls you just because they were thinking about you or pops by your house or takes your kids when you want to just watch Dr Phil for an hour, you're a lucky person.  I know people like that but we only connect anymore on Instagram when I like the pics of their urban farming measures and they like the pics of my pugs. By the way, thanks though, for liking my pug pics.  And P.S. if you can't tell, what I'm trying to do is pass you a note that reads something like, "I'm tired of liking you from afar.  Be friends IRL? Check yes or no." 

Monday, June 24, 2013

One Year Ago. Life After I Could Have Died.

I can't believe it's been a whole year and I've only written a couple of blog posts.  I was thinking about all the posts I have written, many of the posts in the beginning, about having moles removed or being humiliated on Pictionary. The levity in them seems to have disappeared along with my desire to write. I kinda wonder what changed.

I know that dealing with an autoimmune disease has been one thing.  First of all there is the fact that it just isn't considered an actual thing by really anyone.  It's funny, I was talking with a guy I know about it and I explained how it's just like Lupus and he said, "But Lupus is serious." And I said, "Exactly." It has a different name, but it is the same thing.  Same dog, different leg.  My autoimmune system attacks my body.  I know, I absolutely to my soul comprehend that I can not expect anyone on the planet to understand what I went through for so long throughout my life before I finally found a way to sort of cope and then begin to feel better. I remember hearing about things like Epstein Barr and thinking it was all in people's heads and they just needed to buck up and quit whining.  I was that person so I get that person.  I still don't really talk much about it other than maybe with other people who have it or the people I work with as a means of helping them maybe understand why I am the way that I am, somewhat tired, caffeinated, and a tad forgetful.

We also had a solid year of working through Brett's depression.  Now, it's not really my story to tell, it's his illness, so it's his story.  But my story is that it came at a time when I really wanted someone to take care of me, but he needed someone to take care of him, so we both just sort of took care of ourselves.  Which figures since we married late in life and we were used to being independent and alone.  This is not to say that I in any way blame him, it's just a fact. I will also say that he's done a better job of taking care of me, and of being understanding, than some of my friend's husband's would have been and there is nothing wrong with any of them except that they are selfish manholes. And my husband has not only kept a job and a marriage during his depression but he's advanced and gotten promoted repeatedly which his doctors were entirely baffled by.  Never happens.  It's cause he's cool like that.

Then with the heart failure.  And the feelings that come afterwards are hard to describe.  They told me, repeatedly, that you go through depression after a heart event.  It is a well documented fact and heartily recognized by the medical community.  Every single one of my doctors and my Visiting Teacher all made sure I was very clear that it was a real thing.  I wish they hadn't.  I knew what depression was, I live with someone with it, and what you feel after a heart event is not the same as depression.  It is a total re-calibration of your life.  In the beginning, things feel hyper-colored and important.  Things that maybe don't really matter so much.  Everything that actually is important has meaning three layers deep.  I can only akin it to being a walking, talking exposed live wire.  I reality-checked in frequently with my dear friend David who has had multiple open heart surgeries and he's only in his thirties.  He knew.  He got it.  Thank heaven.  I found that, yes, I didn't want to work, but not because I didn't love my job anymore. I was healing. And I could sort of tell I was still not 100% yet and I was also emotionally off-kilter.  I knew I could look fairly normal for short periods of time but that I wasn't normal.  (Kind of the story of my life.)  I turned down films, short films, music videos...I mean, fun stuff.  Stuff I would not normally hesitate for one second to do.  I've stayed at home more over the last year than I have in my entire life which is a huge risk in my industry because the fear is real that they will one day just stop asking, if you keep saying no.  But the re-calibration included being with my family more.  And thankfully my husband had a new job that meant that I could.  God is good.

Last week I went into the ER for more tests.  I've been passing out.  So I did a Tilt Table Test.  Seemed basic.  You get an IV and attached to a butt ton of devices and then lay down on a table you're strapped to for about thirty minutes.  Then they tilt you back up to a 70 degree angle and you sit there.  No big deal.  But once I was vertical and I began to get light headed and I couldn't move,  I started freaking out and I heard myself say, "I'm dying, I'm dying," and then at some point I passed out.  The rest of the day I felt incredibly nauseous and sort of freaked out all over again.  I was wondering why on earth I should be given so many opportunities to experience a loss of consciousness. It felt like the bastard brother of the blackouts I had during my AV Block, only slower and more diabolical because I couldn't move my arms or legs at all.  I can only assume it's pretty close to what it feels like to die from blood loss or asphyxiation. Maybe someone I know will finally snap one day and strangle me and I will be familiar with the process.  Maybe they will strangle me with one of my new compression stockings I'm told I have to wear.  I can only hope so because heaven knows I'd rather die than wear these hideous things.

I can't say that I am back to normal because it's still an ongoing thing, all of these health issues, and they seem to point to the fact that I am now "that" buffalo in the herd. The wounded old buffalo.  The one in the back.  I'm sort of priming myself for an early departure.  I mean, I'm not even 40 and the amount of pills I have to take counts as a meal. There is something magical though about knowing that every one of your days in the present is actually a day that you are only borrowing, because a year ago a bunch of smart people got together and bought them back for you.  There's an odd peace in that.  And an incredible amount of gratitude.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Nothing Doing.

So its been a whole lot of nothing going on over on this blog, amirite?  I've been busy shooting stuff and being a mom, as per usual.  The kids got to do a Hogle Zoo spot recently and the spot we shot last year for Lagoon comes out soon.  It is so beautiful it's not even funny and I feel super lucky to have been asked to have my family participate.  Julian Acosta is a genius DP/Director.  That dude will make a weepingly gorgeous film one day, you mark my words.

Anyway, there is a new post up on http://otherpeopleproject.blogspot.com and it will give you some idea of what's been going on in my world, if you don't follow me on Instagram and you have no idea what I've been up to.  On a personal level, frankly, I'm not feeling much like talking about my life right now which is unusual for me.  I'm just sure I have a reason why but I can't imagine what it is.

Oh. And. IRON MAN 3 AMIGOS!  I can't wait.  Cant. Wait. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

In Defense of Intuition.

As a small girl I had odd experiences.  I would just "know" things.  I would know who would win Miss America, I would know which horse was going to win the Kentucky Derby, I would know when something bad was about to happen.  These were not guesses, these were full on impressions.  Information would just appear in my head, like I had spontaneously downloaded it.  It happened time and time and time again.  I told myself that I was mad, that I was stupid, that there was something wrong with me.  And there were enough people that supported this fear that I believed it for a long, long time.  It can still be a struggle not to discount impressions that I have.  I have a scar on my forehead as a tiny reminder.  I ran into a log not long ago because I ignored an impression that I had that I should turn around and abandon our hike up the face of Bridal Veil Falls.

Shortly after I began dating my first serious boyfriend at the age of 18 I began to have very powerful feelings we should break up.  I have since heard this particular feeling described as "The Pit".  I think it very accurately describes it.  I had a sinking feeling, like a weight or an anchor right in the center of my person.  Not excitement or anxiety or butterflies in my stomach, it wasn't that.  It was something dark and awful and undeniable.  I tried to break up with this particular boy on multiple occasions because I had this "pit".  When I told him I wanted to break up I was forced to defend my decision to break up with him but could say nothing more than, "I have a bad feeling."  I adored him, I was crazy about him, we got along great.  There were no apparent issues.  He made the argument that it was illogical and my decision was based on fiction and I had to agree.  It was just a feeling.  But the feeling persisted and I told him so.  He never respected these feelings or my decisions to break up so each attempt on my part fell flat.  He'd laugh at me and my illogical argument and then talk me into staying together.  It's not like I took much coaxing.  We dated for a year and around the time we were fully and completely and ridiculously in love,  a girl he dated came home from her mission and reminded him that he was late for their eternal marriage.  I can not understate how devastating it was for me.  For years I was just...lost.  I married a nice person who was so very wrong for me as a direct result of this one relationship.  I left the church because of issues that arose (that were MY fault) as a direct result of this one relationship.  I made 100 bad decisions based on the outcome of this one relationship.  He married and graduated and lived happily ever after, his life went on unaffected.  Mine was thrown off track for over a decade, in fact in all honesty I still struggle because of this one relationship.  I got the warning because I needed the warning.  What I wanted to do wasn't what I should do.

When I was in college a very nice boy started asking me out.  We went on a walk one night and my family dog came along accidentally.  I didn't feel it was important to go back and put him on a leash because nights in my neighborhood are dead as door-nails.  I now live on that same street.  The entire walk I had this horrible feeling and kept hearing a whisper, "Go pick up the dog."  I finally decided to stop pushing the thought into the back of my mind and as I approached him a single solitary car doing about 90 hit my dog.  I saw it happening and I tried to wave to the driver to stop.  It was just like in the movies, you see the car, see the dog, instantaneously calculate trajectory and speed and you know where and when they will collide.  His head hit the bumper and it took him a half an hour to die.  There were no vets open at 11:00 at night and there was no way he would have lived long enough to get him to one even if they were open.  I prayed he would hurry up and die and I said I was so so sorry.  The dog died in front of me, in my arms because I didn't listen.

I had a baaaaad feeling the night my now ex-sweetheart cheated on me.  I held his arm and begged him not to go out with his friend that night and I even cried because I felt so strongly about it.  He told me I was being crazy and emotional because I was pregnant.  In the recently spoken words of my mother, I have paid a dear price to learn one particular lesson over and over again.  Because of these experiences and more, I listened when I felt I should quit my job and quit college even though I was single with two young children.  In prayer I was told that even though it was illogical I should not continue my education because I wouldn't need one to do what I would be doing.  Exact words I downloaded into my head, I wouldn't need one to do what I would be doing.  Two weeks later I began working full time in film.  It went from something I did four times a year to four times a month in the blink of an eye because I listened to inspiration, I listened to the spirit.  I listened when I was told when I would meet my one and only.  I knew the week I would meet him, I knew what to do to find him and I knew before I opened the door on our first date that he was the one.  My thoughts when I opened the door were something along the lines of, "How many times do we go out before I tell this guy he's gonna marry me?  How does THAT come up in conversation?"  I still hear people say, "There is no ONE right person for everyone, it's silly to think so." and I just shake my head.  I think it's sad not to believe that magic can exist for some people.  But I digress...

I have believed myself a freak my whole life because of this gift.  I don't tell people about these experiences usually and I still feel a certain amount of shame and embarrassment.  I mean, if you get a miraculous gift from God it's usually something more socially acceptable like a truly beautiful singing voice or the ability to hear and memorize music instantly, not the gift of being able to look at someone and know where they should go to college. (1992.  Met a co-worker, shook her hand and heard, "BYU Hawaii" clear as a bell in my head.  She got her degree and met her husband there.)  Now these are anecdotes to you, the reader.  But they are real and sometimes painful experiences to me.  I have learned to listen to them every single time or I will be sorry.  Sometimes I have been very, very sorry.  Other times it just seems impossible.  For example I just KNEW this house was ours even though it didn't belong to us, it belonged to friends that swore they would never sell it and we had just barely bought a house up the street.  It took years for it all to actually come to pass, but here we are living in this house that I just KNEW was to be ours against all logic.

I could keep recalling other "supernatural" experiences but that's not why I wanted to write this post.  The feeling I want to mention is my impression not to immunize.  Right now a whole lot of people I know are getting really upset at those who chose not to immunize and are calling them names on the Internet.  It's become a thing today I guess.  And I won't delve into what they are saying but it feels purposefully hurtful and mean spirited and one guy went so far as to say he was done being patient with us idiots and another mocked anyone who's feelings might be hurt by being called stupid and unthinking.  I am that person who's feelings might be hurt.  I felt that after my daughter's infant shots I should not continue with any more immunizations and I didn't know why.  I felt my son was fine to continue with his shots but I had a "feeling" not to continue to immunize my daughter.  Just a "feeling".  I made a big decision based on a feeling.  I knew the risks, I knew the benefits, I knew logically what the consequences could be.  And I had to have faith in the feeling.  I still must.  Even though people are calling me stupid.  My friends are calling me stupid.  I think I was right to make this decision when she was little.  I am actually amazed by how right on I might have been. I mean, I made the decision years before I knew about my auto-immune disease and years and years before my sister was diagnosed.  I had this impression way before I ever even heard the name of this crazy auto-immune disease that has most likely been passed on from female to female in my family for the last four generations.  Do I know that this was the reason why I felt like I shouldn't immunize?  No.  I can't prove that.  I don't know why I felt I should not immunize.  I suspect this could be why but I do not know that this is why, I just have faith enough in these feelings and promptings because of past experience that I continue on in faith.  Like a lot of us crazy Mormons tend to do in our illogical support of the miraculous.

I don't think we all are given the same gifts.  I think some people are given keen minds and are able to judge their paths for themselves and God says, "Sweet, cool with me."  Like my friend Julia.  And then some people are given keen minds and judge their paths for themselves and God has to step in and say, "Yeeeeah, that's not for you."  Like me.  God guides me, a lot.  I don't know why.  I don't think it's because I'm stupid, but maybe it is.  Maybe my whole life I haven't been getting enough blood to my head due to my AV Block so God steps in to assist.  That would suck for me.  I'd like to think it's because I'm an intuitive person who is trying to be a logical person 100% of the time the way the world tells me I should be but when it's not the right path for me and I'm making an error I require course correction.  I need "the way hedged up" for me, in the words of my patriarchal blessing.  Maybe it's because I was raised by wolves and I was given a really strong guardian angel who's talking in my ear.  Doesn't matter.  At any rate, I'm cool with the gift of revelation.  I need it in my life, it's a part of who I am and a principle of the religion I choose to belong to.  It takes a lot of humility and attention to nuance to be obedient to it.  It's a gift that I now have come to appreciate although I have had to defend it both internally and externally. But I guess having a weird gift comes with a certain price.  Today, that price feels like maybe it's a few people that I thought were my friends. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

FAQ's.


The single most frequently asked question is how I got started working in this business.  It's been asked of me so many times. At least once per shoot for the last 13 years. I know what people really want to know when they ask.  They want to analyze my story for the probability of it happening to them. Like if it turns out I'm just a normal girl with a relatively normal level of talent or natural aptitude for my profession maybe they, too can one day have this career.  I assure them I never went to school for what I do, I have just made my way through by luck, God, reading books, and learning a lot while on the job.  I inform them my mother was a makeup artist but that my boyfriend gave me my first real jobs.  See, nothing special.  They like that answer.

I used to not want to be what I am, I wanted somehow to work for the FBI.  I read a lot of books over a three year period, a lot of books.  And for about three months I was in the UVU Criminal Justice program.  But I quit.  People ask sometimes why I quit and went into film instead. I warn you you may want to skip to the next paragraph.  I quit after I read a case study where Prosecutors secured a conviction based on a toddler's footprint found inside of a pedophile's closet.  On the ceiling.  How does a child's footprint get on the ceiling?  The accused had restrained a child and placed him on the top shelf of his closet.  The kid had done what all small children do, he had struggled in a compact space.  It may have even been out of boredom that he put his foot there.  What I do know is that I couldn't stop thinking about it. He had no idea that it was so important that he place his foot there.  Who had the brilliant wherewithal to look for a print on the ceiling in the closet? It became really painful where it once was clinical. I had an 18 month old.  I knew I could never work a case involving a child.

One time on set I was talking with a guy about a book by John Douglas he was reading.  I told him about how much I also had liked it and gave him some other book suggestions.  He asked me if I ever noticed anything that all serial killers had in common.  I blurted something out and later really thought about what I said.  I said that they all feel sorry for themselves.  And it's true.  You know who is the victim in their minds?  They are.  They are victims of fate, of their parents, of circumstances the other person has put them in or just of...life.  They want to regain control, they want to make people pay, they want to not be pathetic.  I think feeling sorry for one's self is an evil sin.  But it's also my greatest struggle.

Here is the biggest question I've gotten lately.  The 64,000 dollar question.  What happened?  No one can believe that someone like me who appears perfectly healthy goes to work one day and then ends up in the hospital in the cardiac ICU for five days, right?  I had to have known something was wrong, right?  This time they ask because they DON'T want this to be able to happen to them.

What happened is that I laid down to go to bed on Wednesday, June 27th and felt my heart pounding.  I could feel the rhythm and it seemed off sometimes, which is not odd for me in it's self.  I have had mild arrhythmia throughout my life, no biggie.  The pounding was also not odd because I was weaning off caffeine.  I had only had about 4-6oz a day for a week but on that day I had a 24oz Coke Zero so I figured more caffeine than usual = pounding in chest.  No biggie.  I went to work and felt some mild chest pain.  Some light headedness.  Some nausea.  But the swamp cooler was broken in the studio so I blamed the heat.  I took some Excedrin.  I don't know what made me but I called my Doctor.  The Nurse there has my same Auto-Immune disease and we have bonded over it in the past so I reminded her who I was, the girl with Hashi's, and told her my current symptoms.  She said to go immediately to the ER.  I was kind of surprised.  I was expecting something like, come in on Monday and we'll get you an appointment.  She said something that struck me really hard, she said that what I was feeling was either everything or nothing. I asked her if I should drive myself to the ER and she said yes. I went to my friend, Jed, who is producer of the series I'm on and I told him what was going on.  I had also called my husband before I called the doc and told him I felt off.  Anyway Jed had enough professional experience with crew safety to know to tell me not to ride it out but that the most important thing was to be OK.  He told me to get out of the studio and go immediately to the ER.  For some reason I knew I had to.  No logical explanation for it at all.

I called my husband and told him I was leaving and going to the ER. He told me to go to Timpanogos in Orem because we know we are covered there. I got in the car and began to drive from the studio in Sandy on 90th S.  This is when it got dicey.  I began blacking out while operating a vehicle.  Not 100% losing consciousness but something like it.  And I was at the point of the mountain.  My first thought was, I can't hit someone.  I can't take some family out.  I called Brett and said that I was losing consciousness in the car and that he had to drive me.  The miracle is that I was not half a mile from his new office building.  I pulled into the lot, saw my husband, pulled into a spot access from his car and hopped into the passenger seat in under two minutes. The ride down to Orem however was the longest half an hour that has ever existed in time.  Time is a construct, I know that now.  I kept having the near blackouts.  I was hysterical. I kept thinking that I was having a panic attack and making this all happen.  If I could just calm down I would be perfectly fine.  I knew that they would tell me to eat a banana and drink some sports drinks to replenish my electrolytes and they'd send me home.  I knew this whole thing was going to be embarrassing.

I get to the ER and I'm still blacking out.  They hook me up to stuff and get an EKG.  They take blood and urine samples.  Dr Dahl, the cardiologist, who btw looks like a kindly farmer, tells me I have elevated heart enzymes.  Not to full heart attack levels but it's concerning.  They order an Angiogram.  This here is where we pause again.  I'm on the table in the Cath Lab, with a bunch of like, drop cloths on me and one is sort of over my face.  I just grasp that some serious stuff is actually going down and I start to cry.  I'm not exactly scared, I'm not exactly anything.  I'm thinking about my kids and I'm grateful and I'm weirded out and I'm confused and I'm afraid it will hurt.  I wake up and they say it's good, no blockages, I did NOT have a heart attack (which they already pretty much suspected) and they will watch me overnight then I'll have an Echocardiogram then go home the following day. I don't eat a thing and I barely sleep two hours. My lower back sort of hurts.  My husband comes the next day a few hours before they are set to release me.  My best friend is on her way over, too.  I begin to black out again.  This time I am wired up like Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein.  They can sort of see what is happening and what is happening is that my heart is stopping.  A bunch of people appear in my room and Jules shows up.  I tell Brett she will freak if she sees this and he should go out and talk to her.  They have a guy with another EKG machine come in and hook me up to more stuff but there isn't room enough on my torso to place more stuff.  So those sticky rounds are now laying on top of other sticky rounds and I'm a big mess. They can see what is happening and this is where things for me reach a hazy place.  I am sure you can imagine why.  I mean, I'm dying.  I remember the nurse saying to me things like, "Stay with us..."  Which by the way really works.  That's why they say it.

I remember Julia came in.  I remember they introduce me to an asian Doctor they are all very excited about having and I remember being drilled.  Not literally he just asks me a lot of questions in a very "direct" manner that makes me feel like maybe I'm being water boarded. His name is Wang, pronounced "Wong".  I am told another Wang named David is coming to see me and my EKG results.  I now have an Electrophysiologist coming to see me and I should be excited because he's amazing. I am no longer going home.

I get a temporary pacemaker because my heart is not beating.  I hate the temporary pacemaker, it is a whole lot of wires hooked into a long plastic thingy that is shoved into the artery in my neck with a wire in my heart.  My heart is not in rhythm. It hurts like a lit charcoal briquette is in there.  I am now being told more details about what is happening and the funny part is that every nurse and doctor that happens through has the desire to tell me what is going on.  I like to hear them each describe things in their different ways because from time to time someone will say something extra or put something in a new way and it helps me learn.  But it's also kind of confusing.  Basically there is an electrical issue.  The thing telling your heart to go Lub, Dub isn't doing it's job.  It's going ..............Dub? Twice a day they have to test me to see if my heart will begin beating.  They turn down the voltage on the temp pacemaker and my heart stops beating.  I lose-ish consciousness.  It's as if normal sensory input is a 10 and I go to a 2.5.  Not total 0 but not good.  And it lasts for mere seconds but...it happens.  I hate that so much I cry when they tell me they have to test me.  They kindly begin to make the tests quicker.  One nurse even tells me she's going to lie and just not do it at all because it's cruel.  I continue to not eat or sleep until Sunday and my back is now killing me.  I figure out it's my kidneys over producing because of an enzyme that is a side effect from all of this.  I am drinking multiple 2 liters of water per day.  My husband says that he has been trying to not talk to me about any insurance stuff but that he has to now because I have to move to UVRMC.

So my husband started a new job.  Hence, the new office building previously referred to.  He hadn't been at this job two weeks even.  Our old insurance covered us until the 30th and it ended at midnight on the 1st. Our new insurance kicked in and we were no longer covered at Timpanogos so we had to leave, stat.  So I got strapped with my temp pacemaker and my ports and my catheter and bag to a gurney and taken by ambulance to UVRMC.  I was put into bed and already I was more comfortable.  The beds do this inflatey thing that was much more comfortable.  No you don't understand, right now, in this moment in time that means the entire world.  Imagine a bed being as important to you as your annual income.  IT's that big of a deal.  There are no meals, there is room service.  I call in an order when I am hungry for whatever I want.  I am scared at first I will not be doing it right but I am assured two things, one: I get to eat whatever the hell I want because I didn't have a heart attack and two: I'm not being charged for how much I eat.  So now I can look over the menu for a half an hour just like when I'm pregnant, and think about how everything will taste in my mouth and whether or not this will make me want to throw up.  I eat weird stuff.  I only want to eat weird stuff.  Cheesecake and shakes mostly.  I gain weight in the hospital. They tell me that's normal.  Turns out because of the insurance issue we have to actually pay the remaining deductible on the old insurance plus our 20%.  They also claim we were not covered on the 30th at all so they claim the 30th and first part of the 1st is not covered and we have to pay for these days out of pocket.  We also have the new insurance's deductible plus our 20% as well.  I'm guessing the total will be in the ballpark of "Holy, Holy Crap".

They waste no time and schedule me for my pacemaker surgery for Monday, July 2nd because my heart never picked up beating on it's own. (In the words of my friend Daryn Tufts, "So the rhythm did in fact, get you..")  I get the thing implanted and everything looks fine.  Sort of.  I heard a few things described to me in different ways.  I heard that my heart was enlarged, too big, twice the normal size and that it looked like "there was something in your heart muscle".  So I am scheduled three more appointments and an MRI.  The Pacemaker I am given, the Medtronic 3000B, is compatible with MRI machinery.  Kidding.  About the name.  It's just made by Medtronic but it sounds comic bookey and fun the other way.  I am released the same hour the Alpine fire hits and so as I leave the hospital we can see this huge cloud that looks like a nuclear bomb went off in front of Timp.  I get to my house and have never been more excited to see my dogs and kids.  My house is super dirty though because of the damn fire ash being dragged around by the dogs and kids and I find out my girl's ears grew closed because she and dad couldn't get her earrings back in when they tried to change them for the children's parade.  This upsets me.  This?  But I took her for her 8th birthday.  She was getting baptized and it was a milestone.  My mother pierced my ears with a needle, twice, because she was too lazy to take me to the mall and get it done professionally.  My ear holes are ripped because of it.  I did it the right way because "I'm a better mom".  But I wasn't here to put in her earrings, so now all her pain and careful cleaning for two months and her new earrings we just bought her the day before I went in to the hospital, all for nothing.  Poor kid has to do it all over again.

I'm grateful for my husband and my friends who really showed me they loved me by coming and being there for me, texting, calling, leaving me Facebook messages, bringing me treats and magazines and Sonic shakes and so many flowers.  I am beyond blessed and lucky.  My patriarchal blessing says that I am blessed with the association of those who love me, and I am.  Even my father stepped up and came every day to the hospital, checked in on my kids and post ponned a trip to Iowa by a couple of days to be sure I was all right.  My mother was super sick her own self so she just came one day, on Sunday but we had a great prayer together and it was really awesome.  That lady can say a prayer, let me tell you. I am grateful, I am. To the core.  I am also confused and worried and freaked out.  I almost died.  My cardiologist is the kind of guy who just blurts things like that out.  "You know, you almost died in your car."  That's what happened.

So now, today, I'm watching Bones on Instant Netflix and trying not to feel sorry for myself.