The Barf & The Blacklist

by Meghan Medford in ,


Dear People Who Are Judging Me:

I really debated whether or not I should write about this. My home is only a minor character in this story, and I'm still mortified by the series of events that led me here. But seeing as I've already written about stashing my credit cards in the freezer, stumbling down my flight of stairs and purchasing a sofa on the wrong credit card... I don't think this could alter any former impressions I've made upon you for the worse. 

We last left off with the refrigerator delivery from hell. It took almost a month, but the appliance supplier and I agreed on a floor refinishing company and a timeline for all the needed home repairs. Since the damage was so extensive, my entire second floor and staircase needed to be sanded and refinished - this meant moving me out of 75% of my home for three days. Even if my staircase was accessible, the fumes from the oil stain were so intense it literally made some of my indoor plants wilt. Like my fiddle leaf fig tree needed another reason to hate me and threaten death. 

But the appliance supplier was paying for a moving company to haul my furniture downstairs to store in my garage and I (at the very least) didn't have to worry about them ruining my home in the process - my walls and floors literally couldn't look any worse. 

Leading up to the day when ten movers and five floor refinishers would descend on my home, I started moving what I could and trying (mostly successfully) to label the million cords that make up my A/V system. You know, the one that was set up by the evangelical Christian man that literally talked to me for so long and so intensely that I thought he might want to re-baptize himself in my courtyard fountains? Typing that last bit just confirmed that my life is officially sad and weird. Because my TV and stereo had to be moved downstairs for the refinishing, I had the pleasure of putting the A/V system back together after the work was complete. And I was adamant that I was not calling "Jesus is my Homeboy" back for another round of conversations on his favorite passages in chapter Luke. 

Now no one is quite sure what exactly caused this, but the day before my floors were scheduled to be refinished and I was disassembling my A/V system, I got this strange pain in the left side of my neck. It was nothing like I'd ever experienced before and when I felt a muscle POP and the shooting pain that followed - I knew it was bad news. I could barely turn my neck from side to side but keeping it as immobile as possible only made it stiffen up and send pain from my skull to my shoulders. Because I'm still slightly embarrassed that I couldn't even walk down a flight of stairs without injuring myself, I decided to forgo any doctor's offices, take some Advil and try to toughen up and finish the rest of my work to prepare for the movers and floor refinishers the next day - hoping that it was just some sort of crick and would work itself out eventually.

But when I woke myself up in bed, crying in pain, at 4AM because I couldn't move my neck, I knew something was seriously wrong. Luckily, I live about a block away from a 24 hour minor emergency room and I was able to scuttle downstairs to my Jetta and attempt to drive without full range of motion in my neck, which is just as hard and silly-feeling as you would imagine. 

I made it to the clinic, sobbing as I walked in, and cried to the terrified nurse at the reception desk that I was paralyzed and I couldn't move my neck. I obviously have a flair for the dramatic. They whisked me back to a room where they immediately told me I needed a CAT scan just to make sure I didn't have any irreparable damage other than just a bad sprain of some neck muscles. Obviously, they knew I wasn't paralyzed, but they couldn't seem to get that through to the sobbing patient in the US Immigration Department t-shirt (an accidental gift from the Pakistani man that lived in my college apartment before me) and mismatched flip flops (yeah).

The CAT scan would have been terrifying on its own, seeing as how I'm extremely claustrophobic. But what made it even worse was the excruciating pain that was pulsing from my neck to my shoulders and I was unable to move or adjust any part of my body (like it would help). All the while a very cute male technician is controlling the machine, clearly judging me for my disgusting crying and mismatched flip flops. 

While I'm waiting for my results, they give me some pain medicine to help my muscles finally stop screaming at me. But thirty minutes later, I'm still crying and the nurse is still annoyed. In through the exam room door comes a shot of morphine and a muscle relaxer to make both my muscles and my mouth shut up. The medicine worked a little too well. Twenty minutes later I'm feeling loopy and carefree and I'm just staring to gain mobility my neck. Freedom! I was feelin' great. Forget paralysis, I'm healed! 

After the CAT scan results came back with a big fat negative for other major issues (or paralysis, obviously), they told me it was just a bad strain of several muscles in my neck and shoulders - most likely caused from extreme stress (who, me?) and an unfortunate twist of my neck. The combination put me in excruciating pain. They prescribed me a more mild pain reliever and a muscle relaxer and gave me instructions for the next few days on some easy neck exercises. They sent me on my way - not hiding their giddiness to see my mismatched flip flops flapping down the hallway to the exit door.

But you see, when you take morphine and a muscle relaxer, it turns out you aren't legally allowed to leave the ER clinic in your own car - they make you leave with someone else in the driver's seat, for very obvious reasons. Now I was feeling good and all, but I was not about to walk the block or so back to my home at 7AM while high on pain medication. So I called an Uber. 

A few minutes later, a very nice man in a Honda Civic shows up and asks me how I'm doing. How do you think I'm doing? You're picking me up at an ER. 

I give him directions to my home and we start the three minute journey. But as we're on Patterson Street, I start to feel nauseous. It is 7AM after all, and I have nothing on my stomach but a muscle relaxer pill and a shot of morphine coursing through my veins. 

"Can you pull over, I think I'm going to be sick", I say with my hand over my mouth, literally trying to keep the fluids contained in my body, where they belong. "We're almost there", he says, visibly terrified that a homeless-looking girl in an immigration t-shirt and matted hair is going to barf in his spotless Honda, "Can you make it?"

"I'M GONNA THROW UP", I scream as I throw open the back passenger door and empty my muscle relaxer and glass of water onto the pavement. Meanwhile, the driver still hasn't stopped driving - even with my door still slightly open. He guns it, makes it to my street and asks, "Can I let you out here?". More of a statement than a question, seeing as how he'd already put the car in park and was making his way out of the car to assess the damage of my unexpected.... expulsion.

I would have been more mortified if I wasn't all hopped up on a pain medicine, but I was still amazed that nothing made its way inside the newly vacuumed upholstery of his Honda Civic. I casually give him a $20 bill, tell him a car wash is on me, and apologize before I start walking the thirty yards to my town home complex. I didn't turn around to look, but I can only imagine the dumbfounded expression that was most definitely slapped across his face after I casually sauntered my way home - like nothing weird had just happened at all. 

I thought I was in the clear - I made it home! Although I'm probably black listed from Uber now, but at least I can kind of move my neck! As I'm walking to my front door, movers are filing out of my home with furniture, and floor refinishers are sliding past them with drop cloths and giant sanders. I had completely forgotten about my floor refinishing this morning after my debacle at the ER. Seeing as how I couldn't go to work today on these prescriptions and my hotel wasn't going to be ready until later this afternoon, and I can't drive, and I'm most likely blacklisted from Uber  - where was I going to go this morning?

But then it hit me - another wave of nauseousness and I started seeing spots and feeling dizzy. Before I began to faint, a floor refinisher came up to me and caught hold of my arm, yelling something in Spanish to one of the movers. Probably something like, "Who let this random homeless girl in the gate? I think she's going to faint. Are those mismatched flip flops?

The appliance supply company rep rushed over to me quickly and told the movers to also move me (and they thought this job was only furniture..) to my couch that now sat nicely in my empty garage. I lay there for a few hours, in and out of restless morphine-induced dreams, as the movers continued to haul the heavier furniture pieces over my balcony and the refinishers got to work with the heavy duty sanding on the floor directly above me. 

That's really where the juicy part of this story ends. My mother drove in from Austin later that morning to take care of her invalid daughter, we convinced the hotel to let me check in a few hours early, and I went back to work the next day - with a sore, but infinitely better-feeling neck. I'm sure I was the highlight of the moving company's day and the butt of several jokes that morning, but on Wednesday, my floors were done and I basked in the beauty that are silky-smooth wood floors and oil stain fumes. 

So there you go, If you were looking to feel better about yourself - you're welcome. You may not be blacklisted from Uber, but I have shiny new wood floors.