Category Archives: Around L.A. and in My Head

The Dr. Made me Wear a Mask

Okay,
I’m flipping out. My health has not been in order since December 26th, 2007.
I had 2 what they said were sinus infections this year and was thrown on antibitotics. Weirdly, my sinuses never cleared up and I was left with nasty coughs and horrible retching and choking on my own fluids and eventually coughing so hard I would vomit – oh yeah and asthma attacks. I had this…the entire month of January into February.

I saw 3 doctors – one of them in England. My doctor here was not available so I saw the doctor on call. I told her that I’m a health nut and if another person tells me to take Emergen-C I’m going to commit murder. I take Esther-C daily whether it’s flu season or not, tons of vitamins (not a multi-vitamin – they are empty), I use a neti-pot for nasal irrigation and I eat right, careful to avoid meat at all costs (but plenty of protein) and I don’t eat any dairy that’s been shot up with hormones. I sleep more than 8 hours a night and I work out 5 days a week. I wash my hands to the tune of Happy Birthday with hot soap and water and I get acupuncture.

This is just to point out that I’m your above average healthy person. I normally get sick once a year for five measly days, if that. This year I didn’t get a flu shot and I was wondering if what I had was some flu or what? I found it odd that I kept seeing doctors and wasn’t able to get well. I have never been sick and unable to work for TWO MONTHS before. I found it shocking.

My doctor on call found it an opportunity to be condescending. She actually said to me, “Do you know that laying down can make the post nasal drip run down your throat? Have you tried sleeping propped up?” She says this to me as I sit there, like a zombie, in front of her. I hadn’t slept in two days because I couldn’t even sleep propped up or standing up the coughing was so incessant. Do I know that shit drips down your throat when you are horizontal? OF COURSE I DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I asked her if airline travel three times in four weeks was a bit excessive in this season and does she think it NOT a good idea to give me more antibiotics since it ruins your immune system? She just stared at me.

Finally, this week I get back from Dallas. I’m looking forward to seeing Neil, a person I haven’t been well around for TWO MONTHS. I’m looking forward to seeing my girl-friend and her husband as we’re going on a weekend vacation with them. I haven’t socialized in TWO MONTHS.

I get off the plane from Dallas and within two hours I’m vomiting and have a fever of almost 100. I cancel a show I have to do that night at the UCB Theatre and I go to bed. The next day I feel a little better but then get socked with a 102 fever and an inability to move, open my eyes, feel anything but pain.

Neil drives me to the doctor and nearly cry every time we hit a pothole because my head hurts. I look mentally ill in the waiting room. I know I do. I’m in pajamas and have a wool cap over my eyes to shield myself from the light. I’m drenched in sweat. The doctor on call swabbed my nose and gave me a flu test.

What’s this? There is a flu test? Why the hell didn’t anyone ever flu test me before?
She says I have the flu but she can’t explain why I’ve had post nasal drip for 2 months. She gives me a mask to wear and says I’m highly contagious and I have a smart flu that keeps reinventing itself (like Madonna!) in my body over and over and over. That’s what has been happening, most likely. She prescribes TamiFlu – which kicks the virus’s ass but is not an antibiotic and I go home and sleep for 3 days.

As you can see, between the housebound-ness, the travelling and then getting sick routine I’ve been on and the fever and the aches, I’m in a shit mood.

The point of this blog is to let you all know that TamiFlu is out there. Your doctor can swab your nose and see if you have the flu. Don’t take their shit and stop with the antibiotics unless neccessary. And also – ouch. My back hurts. Going to lie down now.

Act as if I am Maddox Jolie-Pitt

I was prepared to go apeshit on the flight to London. It is a long flight. I have over production of adrenoline problems which leads to panic and I have asthma. Panic. Panic. Panic. Especially in new situations.I told Neil that it’s important for me to “act as if” as in…act as if I’m not afraid to fly. It’s not genius psychology but it’s the best that can be done in desparate times.So, I told Neil that if I’m panic-ing to remind me that I need to act as if I am Maddox Jolie-Pitt, that little bad-ass kid with a mohawk who owns this world. He jets to Cambodia on a Tuesday and picnics in France on a Thursday and to him, it’s all the backyard. Me, I didn’t take my training wheels off until I was nine.

Anyway, I took 1.5 mgs of klonopin which if you know anything about klonopin or panic disorder or 9.5 hour flights, that is NOTHING. I took 2 mgs once just to take an elevator to the 40th floor of a building.What I’m saying here is I’m working through my anxiety and can enjoy life. Even as I type this, I have a nagging cough and I can’t breathe. Guess what, if it gets bad enough I’ll wake up Neil who is snoring and we’ll take a taxi to some London hospital. Big whoop. I’m safe in this world. This is huge for me.

Also I’m in London to perform and tape a TV show – that is meaningless and matterless to me because what’s on my mind is panic and death and that trumps doing 15 minutes worth of men/women/shit jokes. But I’m in bliss.THE FLIGHT rocked my socks. The stewardesses were so nice. They all reminded me of Maggie from “Extras”.

I moved to an exit row for take off and felt like I had to act normal in front of the stewardess who was strapped in in front of me and facing me. So, I acted normal. Then I played PONG on the plane computer TV thingy and then read a magazine and then fell asleep. I woke up and the plane was silent and dark and I took 5 pillows and 2 blankets and my stuffed animal and went to the front of the plane and stretched out across five seats and fell asleep for four hours. The nice stewardess woke me and said, “Your boyfriend is worried about you. He thinks you had a freak out.” So, I went back to sit with Neil and the nice stewardess gave me a hot egg and cheese croissant with tea and a freaking chocolate cheesecake.

When I had to get off the plane, I almost cried. 9.5 hours is not enough.I am a world traveller. I am really over this fear of flying crap. Next stop………………somewhere far away (on someone else’s dime. I’m still broke.)

Uh it turned out to be a big whoop

I wrote in my last blog, that pink cloud haze of loving England two hours after I landed, that I felt my cold coming back and if was sick, “big whoop” I would just go to a hospital.

Okay. I have been sick since December 26th. I’ve had a day or two of respite here and there. I NEVER get sick. I am one of those people who looks down on others for being sick. I am a health nut. I do mass amounts of Esther C, neti pot, all kinds of vitamins (not a multi-vitamin, that is not as potent). EVERYTHING. Trust me. I’m on it. I’m not even listing the other shit.

So, I got a sinus infection and had to use antibiotics which as you know weaken your immune system, I had to fly to Florida while on antibiotics. I also have asthma and then that made my bronchial cough worse. Then I flew to Europe still not having recovered from the 2 infections I previously had.

I spent the entire trip in England coughing up nasty yellow phelgm. I didn’t sleep one night. I kept saying that to my fellow comedian travellers and all but a few of them would look at me and say, “Yeah but how are your sets going?” Who fucking cares how my sets are going? I have not slept in 72 hours. I got advice like, “just drink coffee.” I was hallucinating from sleep deprivation and dry heaving from breathing trouble. It was a nightmare.

I saw Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster and then took a 2.5 hour double decker bus tour which was nice but I used an entire box of tissues during that ride. I had the mother of all asthma attacks (haven’t had asthma attacs in years) in the hotel and was convinced I was going to die when even my inhaler didn’t help.

I went to the medi centre and was given more antibiotics for a sinus and bronchial infection. I was taking cough syrup, nasal crap, and just coughing to simply keep breathing. I could not take a breath without exploding into cough seizures – even with codeine cough syrup.

Yet, everyone had their advice. Have a throat lozenge! I mean, God those British are nice. Literally strangers on the street were handing me lozenges but I tend to get a tad defensive about health care. If I’m wheezing and miserable trust me the lozenge and Emergen-C has not worked.

Ugh. I made it through and managed to stop coughing 20 minutes to get through the TV taping. The make-up guy was horrified at my red, raw and peeling skinned nose – we just gave up trying to cover it after a while.

Every night I went to bed at 11pm and lay in bed until 7 a.m. when I heard the trains in Victoria station start running. I literally would not sleep that entire time. I listened to This American Life podcasts and watched CNN all night. I used a sleep mask, codeine, herbs, hot milk, meditation, nothing. Up. Up. Up. On Los Angeles time or possibly anxious about sleeping and not breathing.
Usually around 8 a.m. I would fall asleep until noon.

I’m sure London is great and has great food and museums but I missed most of it. I get the picture though. I must stop travelling to cold places in the dead of their winters. I’m the luckiest girl in the world living in Los Angeles and I go to Boston and England in December and January – what a friggin idiot. I hate snow. I hate cold air. I hate weather. I want to go somewhere tropical. You hear me God? Of course not. You’ve disconnected my line to you, jerkface.

The World’s Most Perfect Food

My biggest fear is becoming homeless and forgotten left to wander the streets with tuburculousis. I know this most likely won’t happen but in a way homelessness is the ultimate most extreme result for the types of problems that I have, such as lack of funds, lack of job, own nothing that appreciates over time, no plan for the future and a very up and down career path. Luckily, I’m of a relatively sane mind and I have hordes of friends and family.
Lately, I have tried to be of service in a sort of overacheiever overdrive way, volunteering days with the homeless and just going above and beyond trying to tithe when I can’t make ends meet. I realized I really had to take care of my own needs first and then when I’m abundant I can help others. So I had to scale back on my community service.
On the other hand, that doesn’t mean I can walk around ignoring homeless people, which I usually do because it’s convenient for me. When I’m driving around and someone randomly cuts me off or flips me off or expresses disgust that I share the road with them, sometimes I can get really sad thinking, “I bet that person would like me, if they knew me.”
So, as I ignored a homeless person yesterday I realized that I’m doing what I hate – just ignoring humanity right in front of me. I think that I can get caught up in perfectionism with my humanitarianism. I think the most important thing is not to treat homeless people like shit and ignore them. It’s that simple. I’m not looking to be a hero or save a life. I know a lot of homeless people are drug addicts, etc and I don’t always like to give money but I can buy them a muffin or at least make eye contact. They’re human beings. I don’t do it to make myself feel better it’s just simply the only thing to do because it’s the right thing to do.
I’m not doing great financially right now and just this morning I was sort of getting creative on how to buy some coffee. I went to a 7-11 and saw a homeless woman outside. Her cough sounded like death drowning. I saw a banana and since it was cheap I figured I’d get a smaller sized coffee and use the rest to buy her a banana. I assumed she was hungry and if she WAS going to use all of her money for drugs – she still had to eat. This isn’t a moral judgment situation – it’s just God awful to let someone starve because they’re a drug addict and can’t choose in their right mind between food and getting high.
I asked her if she wanted a banana and she was so excited. She said, “Do you know the banana is the world’s most perfect food?” She started telling me all the vitamins and minerals in a banana. She said that she goes to Sears everyday to watch Dr. Phil. She said, “I watch Dr. Phil to get tips and learn something. Do you?” I said, “Yeah, I’ve seen him.” And she didn’t get pissy like, “Yeah you rich woman with a TV. Fuck off. I have to go to Sears to watch daytime television.” (That’s how I would behave if I were homeless.)
Anyway she said that yesterday Dr. Phil said that if you were stranded on a desert island with only one food – a banana would be the perfect choice. Then she added that this parking lot was her desert island. She laughed. Coughed. And then she said, “I haven’t eaten since 5pm yesterday.”
If I hadn’t eaten since 5pm yesterday I’d be throwing a holy tantrum, snapping at everyone in the name of ‘low blood sugar’ and if someone handed me a banana on an empty stomach I’d throw it at them.
So, what was important for me to see was her gratitude and it was important to note her gratitude was NOT AT ME. I’m not a hero for buying a fucking banana. She was just grateful to eat and not ashamed to accept help.
That was just good for me to see. I’m really short on gratitude right now – intellectually I know to be grateful for all the opportunities I have every day to survive but I’m not always connected to that knowledge. I tend to get ashamed and angry when I have to ask for help or have others buy something for me or work some stupid side job for the day just to pay a bill. Simple gratitude and simple human connection is really just pure grace.

The Little Penguin That Could

….Something that weirdly inspires me, a little image that I keep in my mind is one from March of the Penguins. I love that movie. I watch it anytime it’s on TV. It’s so charming and actually really sad. It moves me more than any real family story with humans. It was on TV last night and I rewound my favorite part (which is 10 seconds long) about a dozen times and re-watched it.

Anyway, this one part shows the chicks starting to play on their own, starting to come out from their mom’s underbelly and walk and stand on their own. Morgan Freeman narrates that “some need a little encouragement.” And big penguin nudges little penguin. Little Penguin trips a little on the ice and regains her balance and then pauses and then…………God this is so cute it tears me up the Little Penguin puts her wings in a little victory V and makes a squeak.

It really seems like she thought in her brain, “Yay! I’m not afraid! I just needed a little push! Victory!” If she was a human she’d totally be on the cover of Wheaties.

I like to think of that little penguin at least 574 times a day and Neil is already sick of me saying, “Who am I?” And then putting my arms in a victory v.

I’m starting to be scared off my ass about flying to Europe (12 hours non-stop) this month. It’s something I’ve avoided my whole life and this is the first year that I’m willing to try – to be scared for that long on a plane and leave the country. I have lots of anxiety around actually being in a foreign country, like I’ll die for no reason – you know how it goes. Nonsense!
I will not stand for anything but victory! Wheeee! Flap my wings!

I love to fly and it shows

I have flown a lot in the past few months and beginning next week I’ll be flying every single weekend in October to a different part of the country – all for good things in comedy and then more flying will resume in Nov and December. Good God.

I never thought I’d enjoy flying so much. Now, I look forward to the flight sometimes more than the trip. I love the limbo of flight. I love being above the clouds and in the clouds. I love looking at America out the window all divided up into neat little squares. I love people bringing me orange juice every hour.

My psychiatrist, the person who prescribes my meds so I can fly is an interseting fellow. He has about fifteen minutes to see you and has to recap in his mind and looking at his notes what your story is. Keep in mind he sees about four patients an hour and I only see him once a month.
He never remembers that in my recovery from fearful flying, I never once had a problem trusting pilots. In fact, any time I hear of a sleep-deprived or drunk pilot, I just can’t believe it. I mean I accept that these things happen, but trust me, I trust pilots.

He said the other day when I told him that my fear is dwindling and now I just take the minimum amount of meds so I don’t get antsy and panicky (I still don’t exactly enjoy sitting in a plane for six hours – it gets a little edgy) he says, “Well, you’ll realize soon too, the next step will be that you can trust pilots and that turbulence is natural.”I always say, “I know. I never feared that.” But he’s off and running demonstrating with his hand how the wind flaps on the wings in certain air pockets cause blah, blah, blah. I smile and nod and wait for him to sign his name on the prescription.

What I notice about not being completely zonked anymore on a plane is that I have very Restless Legs on flights and yet I hate standing up and stretching. I’m one of those weirdos that once I’m in a position, eye mask on, blanket on, pillow around neck, ipod on, TV on, magazine in hand, I will not get up. For anything.

Anyway, seems like I’m a growing and changing person. And when I think about it, half the stuff that concerned me recently and that even appears on my album seems dumb to me now, whether it’s funny or not is not my argument, but it just doesn’t feel like “me”. I’m having a hard time understanding why rock stars get bent out of shape when you don’t have their first albums. If I make more comedy records, I’ll demand that everyone leave my first one alone.

Of course, the little worm in my brain creeps up that now that “I love to fly and it shows” (remember that old Delta slogan) that that is when I’ll board the flight that will accidentally zoom off into outer space and explode and everyone at my funeral will get to comment on the irony – but at least they’ll have something to talk about besides the weather.

Suck it Homeland Security

So, last time I flew I got to the airport two hours early but that wasn’t enough. The line to check a bag, even WITH the quick kiosk thingy was at least 2 hours long at JFK.
So I was faced with a choice. I had bottles and bottles of skin creams and various lotions and shampoos and make-up. Nice stuff, not to be found at a CVS. But I HAD to get on that plane.
So, I ignored the sign that said, “Please remove all liquids and put in a little baggie and make sure you only have 3 oz bottles.”
I just put the whole suitcase on the x-ray machine and prayed that they would look away when they saw my bottles hidden under my sweaters. (Sweaters are x-ray proof, right?)
I decided that if they had to throw that stuff away I would let them. Even though I couldn’t afford to replace all the make-up at once. It would take another year, maybe I’m being dramatic but I feel like it would take that long, I’m only working part-time right now.
Anyway, I bravely decided I’d throw away all of my things just to get on the plane and get home to L.A. And I didn’t have to. My suitcase went through the screening thing-y just fine. No one said a word.
Phew!Good thing I’m not a “bad guy” or an “evildoer”. Someone would have lost their job.