Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Mucho Insomnia

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mucho Insomnia

I feel content today but wish I could sleep. I know it was just one-something in the morning when my eyes fluttered for the first time today. I gave up tossing and turning at 3:30. We have pool therapy at 10 a.m. today.

Last night I met my friend Shaena at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants after work. When I worked at the clinic in the offices above her a few years ago, we would sometimes go there with our coworkers for margaritas. Sometimes I really miss working with living, breathing people in an actual office. Then again, I enjoy not having to put myself together to the degree I used to every day anymore. I still put makeup on, roll my hair, and don clean clothing, but most of the time I don't encounter a soul except for my family or the UPS man. My cat is the only one who gives me any static anymore while I'm working. It's nice to make my own schedule and wear my fuzzy spa socks all day. Transcribing requires using one of two foot pedals underneath my desk, and I don't think I could transcribe with shoes on anymore if I tried.

Last night every corner of the restaurant was packed, which was a mystery to me on a Wednesday evening. Even the tavern across the parking lot was beginning to fill rapidly with the Budweiser and hot wing crowd. I squeezed my Jeep into a skinny spot and hoped the cars with the long doors flanking me on both sides were waiting for their drivers to come out of the laundrymat or the ladies' gym and not the tavern. I saw Shaena drive in, jumped into her SUV, and helped her locate another skinny spot to park in before we followed the scent of steaming fajitas into the building. As luck would have it, we didn't have to wait. We procured a booth in the restaurant bar underneath a television set playing a pre-recorded, distant soccer match that nobody feigned interest in watching. This particular bar is fairly small, featuring maybe five carved, wooden booths, a couple tables, and a set of tippy bar stools. The room is decorated in colorful tile randomly implanted here and there in nearly featureless walls. It feels a little like a cross between the Golden Girls set and a cheap resort, but it's fairly clean. There is a rope of white lights sloppily draped behind the collection of bottles lining the bar's mirror, and the waitstaff is predictably surly. I wish I knew more Spanish (then again, maybe not). The food is great. There is always one guy getting drunk on the same stool at the bar who stares at us when we come through the door. The face on this man changes each time I'm there, but he's always there haunting the place. I imagine he's one of a collection of car salesman from our tiny auto row down the street, beaten down after a day of chasing families around the lot and asking them what it would take for them to drive a brand new SUV home. I used to see the same phenomenon at the Italian restaurant across the highway before the displaced ex-truck stop kitchen took over there manufacturing hubcap-sized pancakes and stomach-busting, 12-egg omelets.

We ordered the drinks on special (kiwi margaritas) and embarrassingly impressive macho burritos. They have the best margaritas in town. Sadly, I left only three paltry bites on my steering wheel-sized plate while Shaena ended up packing half of hers in a neat, Styrofoam cube. It was a great dinner, although nothing is ever spicy enough for me. I should carry a supply of hot sauce in my purse. Even standard hot sauce isn't hot enough for me. The tables next to us were pushed together to accommodate a boisterous group probably in their 40s. Shaena briefly ceased speaking and reported that a man was depantsing himself just outside the floor-to-ceiling window for the amusement of the diners trying to enjoy their chimichangas. He eventually staggered in to join the big group for drinks and dinner. He was obviously trying quite hard not to interrupt us but just couldn't help himself and peppered our conversation with obnoxious comments, yelling that we needed to pipe down and laughing so loud I winced.

It was nice chatting with Shaena. We talked about the crazy days we spent together in our teens and early 20s back in the day. We talked about muscle cars, white Levis, guys with combs in their back pockets, and how we used to magically roller skate with the grace of Olympic athletes after a few shots of cheap whiskey. In short, we laughed ourselves sick. We also discussed our families, where we are in life, and how we got here. Overall, it's clear that we are very lucky women to live the lives we do. It's great to have the friends I have who have been with me on this crazy ride for decades now and continue to stick by my side, even when it's undoubtedly quite difficult to be friends with me at times. I know that I am. Amazingly, they have never given up on me. Not once. I felt like a new woman by the time I walked out the door.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007, will be exactly one year since the diagnosis of Williams syndrome changed my life forever. It happened at approximately 2:30 p.m. I am trying not to think too much about it, but I find it impossible to prevent myself from doing so. I know what songs played in the car that day and what we ate. I can barely remember what it felt like to live without WS now. It's too painful and pointless to try, anyway, as there is no going back and there is no cure. I have witnessed some of my other friends on line reaching this milestone and attempted to try that feeling on like somebody else's clothing, but it doesn't seem you can fully understand it until you reach that day yourself. I'm very happy and excited to get past Tuesday, but the day itself brings a very bizarre mix of positive and negative emotions. I'm definitely feeling edgy. One moment I'm laughing, and the next I just want to be alone. In fact, I have felt a lot like being left alone in the past couple of weeks. Then there are the times I surprise myself by reaching out and calling a friend like I did yesterday. I'm lucky that there are people who are genuinely glad to hear from me, will happily meet me somewhere with very little notice, and don't mind drinking margaritas with me, even though they're still wearing scrubs after a long day at work.

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Anonymous Shaena said...

You are the one person that has been in my life for almost two decades now that can make me laugh until I cry and snort some sort of beverage out my nose each and every time we get together. You are an amazing and very talented gal and I am grateful to have you in my life. I will always be there at a moments notice...amazing how a kiwi margarita and a big-#@! burrito puts things in perspective and rejuvenates the soul, or was it the endless laughter?

Love you! Shaena

6:29 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

I'm glad I didn't embarrass you too much by writing about you. This is an odd time in my life, and I just can't make it alone.

I love you, Slappy!!!

P.S. I think I'm losing my touch. You didn't shoot anything out your nose last night. I'll try harder next time.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

Next time I a mmeeting you there yuo know how I love Margaritas and shooting fluid from my nose. I feel like I already know Shaena and why do I think we would be rouble all together. GO TO SLEEP your comments on my blog keep coming earlier and earlier and I am EST...

I love you :) Glad you have your friend when you need her that is so very special. Take good care of her Shaena :)

8:37 AM  
Blogger PASLAY'S FROM IDAHO said...





4:22 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

Sorry, I had to laugh at the remark about how much you didn't leave on your plate...

I'm so glad you have friends to be there for you and love you.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

So glad that you have the ability to reach beyond the hurt and reach out. Going through, unfortunately, is sometimes our only option.

May this Tuesday be marked with joy. I encourage you to see every blessing...magnified x 5!

9:42 PM  
Blogger Rose said...

It is so great to have friends who will be there for you. But don't wait too long to go out for yourself too. You need the break too. Take a day a week or every other week to pamper yourself too. It will just free you up more to love and cherish your little one with much more vitality and strength.

8:02 AM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

Sounds like you had a great time - minus the loud drunk guy bursting into your conversation. Other than that - WHITE LEVI'S!!! AHHHH!

I'm sorry you're going through emotions about the 13th. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be. I'm a 'date' kind of person too. I remember everything at each date at each time. I hope you can turn it into a positive day instead of harping on it too much. I know, easier said than done. My prayers and thoughts are with you.

The one date I have problems remembering is March 17th for some STRANGE reason. Hmm.

Enjoy your weekend! And I can't wait to go to the Mexican restaurant I plan to tonight -you described the one you went to exactly like the one here! (or are they all the same????) hehe!


8:33 AM  
Anonymous Aspen said...

Nancy, that sounds like every restaurant in New Mexico. You must come see me! We might even find something hot enough for your taste. And boy do I love those margaritas, wish I could have had a toast with you!


4:19 PM  

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