olympic fever, moving, and other medical conditions
it is no secret that i love the olympics. i've been pumping my fists in the air and shouting "eight-eight-oh-eight" for weeks now with glee. i know not everyone loves the olympics, and i also know that people might be surprised at how much i love them, considering how totally un-sporty i am, but, man,oh, man, i adore the olympics. i totally have olympic fever.
it occurred to me a few days ago that i think i love the olympics, particularly the summer games, so much because they remind me of a time in my life that is sort of my go-to all purpose happy place, which is summers spent in vancouver at my grandparents' house. i have these near-tangible memories of august mornings at the house on grant street in burnaby, with the warm light filtering in to gleam on the tiled floor of the family room and kitchen, the television tuned to coverage of the 1988 olympics held in seoul, south korea (and later the '92 barcelona games). i can hear bits of commentary about track and field, swimming, gymnastics, equestrian, and other events, as they co-mingle with the zing of lemon squeezed over fresh slices of melon, the omnipresent tinkling of the wind chimes on the porch, the glint of sunlight on the turquoise backyard kidney-shaped pool, and the comfort and ease of a whole month being cared for by my nana and grandpa. talk about gold medal memories. not to say life was perfect, but i've managed to take away the best and most shining bits, and carry them with me to this day, with great appreciation.
now that i'm older (i mean, holy cow, the '88 games were twenty years ago, yikes!) i can really pay attention to the events, the competition, the strategy, and the stories in a way that i wasn't capable as an 11 or 15 year old, or even in my 20s. i remember in 2000 i was stoked about the sydney games, constantly checking the webpage while at work at the ad agency (to the chagrin of my supervisors, who, for my ADD tendency to work at breakneck speed then unwind my brain with a crossword puzzle online before shifting back to the task of billing for movie ads in newspapers across the country--yuck--had the internet disabled
on my computer as punishment) and then excitedly watching the games at home on tv. of course, by '04 in athens i had housemate lqt to sit with an guffaw over the insipid and melodramatic coverage (favorite word: "dreamkiller!" best applied when a gymnast falls off an apparatus). but this year is different; it's more focused, more consuming, and maybe even more fun.
thanks to the wonders of directv, i have like a gazillion channels that broadcast olympic coverage, so i'm able to do almost 24-7 olympic watching. and thanks to dvr technology i can whiz through laborious replays, retarded interviews, and sports that i don't like as much (look, i enjoy beach volleyball, but two matches up to 21 points gets a little tedious; i'll take that at 3x speed, thanks). oh, and if you aren't watching on a high definition set, i'm sorry, but you just aren't seeing it. i swear, they are playing tennis in my bedroom. every incredible muscle on those hottie men swimmers' bodies is crystal clear, and it is increasingly tempting to want to stretch my arms out to the set to offer the women's gymnastics team hugs. don't get me started on how much i love the water cube...sigh. gorgeous.
anyhow, this is a really interesting summer for me. i've been going through a health-related crisis for the past several weeks--something that i've dealt with before with relative ease that ought not to have been such a problem, but i've been equally blessed and cursed this time with health insurance and having to be at the mercy of a system and of medical offices that, for various reasons, have not been able to provide me with quality care. i've filed grievances, been to the emergency room for an evening's worth of fun, been put on medication that is tough to handle, had appointments cancelled (sometimes three times in two days), shown up to two offices on two different occasions only to learn the office had to close unexpectedly and i was the only
person who didn't get contacted ahead of time, and had to make phone call after phone call and chase form after form. (before you think "stupid american healthcare and damned hmos, just know that the best people in all of this have been the people at blue shield.) it's meant that i've had to plan for time off from LAist, felt too poorly to go out much and enjoy myself, and have basically turned my own health into a full time job. for example, the teenaged girl who took my info upon admission to the er shaved two years off my birth year--nice to walk around with a wrist band saying in was under 30, but when the computers go to match that up with my insurance it's a mis-match and i get kicked to the uninsured pile, billed for hundreds of dollars, and have to make all sorts of phone calls to see to getting that one mistake righted. imagine if i were less vigilant or didn't understand english, and i received a bill for $500 for services--how many people just pay it? and how many insurance companies would seek to correct that? i've had to be available for appointments at all times (only to have them cancelled) and to have the order of my life and my schedule wholly at the mercy of other people's schedules--i can only get one procedure done when one particular doctor is in on two days of the week; my primary physician only works mon-thurs and last thursday didn't work, then was sick monday and half of tuesday, and, oh, did i mention what i need to get done is pretty urgent and time-sensitive? add arguing with the receptionist at my doctor's office (he is quite a character; filed a grievance against him, too, after he hung up on me last thursday) and the fact that my number one directive is to "keep as calm as possible" to keep my anxiety and blood pressure down, and... well, it's been quite the ride.
oh, and did i mention i'm moving?
after 9 years we're moving out of our apartment, so i've had to add finding a place, getting a place, organizing all the logistics of moving, packing, and in the coming days physically making the move to all of this. (the move is exciting and is going exceptionally well, and is something i am pleased and happy about--more another time!)
so it's all a blessing that i am finishing up a one-year teaching contract that had summer as my off quarter (with pay! with continued benefits!) and that school doesn't go back in until almost the third week of september. it's a blessing that i have wonderful housemates (whom i'm going to miss terribly once i'm in my OWN apartment!), and amazing friends, the support of the awesome family i have at LAist, and, of course, my (workaholic, bipolar) wonderful boyfriend to help me through all this. people keep telling me i'm handling this all well (even the insomnia, the nausea, the crankiness, the anxiety, and the emotional surges) and i guess i've got a little of that champion athlete spirit that tells me i simply can't give up. i have got to stick that landing and fight for the gold for team me. having the olympics to keep me company in all this has been great, and just a couple of days after they end the moving van will show up and the movers will haul my stuff to my new place, and my health drama should (by then!) be behind me, and i can really relax, celebrate, and enjoy the last few weeks of my summer break.