So that’s where JFK was shot.

Hey ya’ll!

I just got back from Dallas! So fun. Loved the 80-degree weather in February!

Yes, I was there for a candy conference. Yes, I overdosed on sugar. Yes I have a great job.

Moving on, I got a chance to see the place where John F. Kennedy was shot. I confess, I forgot that happened in Dallas until the bus driver taking us back to the hotel from dinner said we could stop.

In a word, it was eerie.

I stood on the corner, and looked up at the brown book depository building and saw the window from which Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired those infamous shots. (The bus driver told us Lee Harvey Oswald’s gun still is kept up there for tours, although I did not have a chance to confirm that). Then, I glanced at the street, and pictured the car coming up the lane and the massive panic that followed. The infamous grassy knoll is now a reflecting pool and a monument, but it’s not hard to imagine the cheery parade crowd gathered there transforming into a group of shocked witnesses within the blink of an eye.

It’s a bizarre thing to stand where such a famous death happened. A death I’ve seen 1,000 times on TV and in old news footage but have no first-hand memory of.

I wonder what drew people to that parade that day. And how being a witness to such a tragedy changed their lives. I wonder if they could tell in the moment where the shots came from. I wonder if they instantly realized what was happening, or if, like with most sudden events, it took them a minute to process. I wonder what the people who stayed home that day thought when they heard the news. And I wonder how long it took for anyone in Dallas to be able to walk past that scene without crying.

In college I randomly ended up in a English class with a crazy teacher who thought the whole world was one giant conspiracy and so, of course, he was absolutely convinced that there was more to the JFK assassination than Lee Harvey Oswald.

And, instead of teaching us how to write, he spent the whole course making us study the shooting. Then, at the end of the semester each of use was forced to write a 15-page analysis of the situation.

I ended up putting the paper off until the last minute and because even I screw things up sometimes, I turned in a horrible analysis. I know. I know. Shock. Horror. Disbelief. Anyway, I guess it’s been long enough now and I’ve got myself a decent enough job these days that I can share with you that I got a D on that paper. Seeing as how people pay me to write now, I think everything ended well.

The thing was though, even though I put about zero effort into writing the paper, I do remember reading some of the background about the shooting, and I have to say, there’s a lot of strange stuff. If my college education memories serve me right, there’s discrepancies about Lee Harvey Oswald’s height, the eye witness reports were tainted by the fact that the eye witnesses had already seen Oswald on the news, and of course there’s the fact that Oswald was killed before he ever got to tell his side of the story.

So ya, I think maybe the JFK shooting might have been a conspiracy by the mob, the U.S. government, aliens or some combination of the three. (To be honest, I have some doubts about the moon landing too). (Seriously, why were there shadows in the footage, and where did the wind come from?)

Anyway, standing at the scene of the crime, right there in Dallas, Texas, I was hoping that I would gain some clarity about what actually went down. That I would suddenly see first-hand how it was all laid out and realize that either it must have been a lone gunman or that the assassination could have only happened if a group of people were firing shots.

Alas, I left more confused than I was when I started.

But I did leave with a different type of clarity. Staring at the spot on the street where the car was when the shot hit Kennedy, I suddenly felt the extreme significance of the event.

And it reminded me that death can happen at anytime, anywhere to anybody. All we can do is live our life so that when the final shots are fired, we can say good-bye without regret.

  • Share/Bookmark

That time I got food poisoning. Part two.

Editor’s note: This is the second of two posts. You can can read the first one here. Also, the following is disgusting. Read at your own risk.

So Sunday night I was home from the hospital, trying to drink 7Up and eat Saltine crackers and hemming and hawing about whether I was going to be able to go to work Monday morning. But by about 10 p.m. I realized that was probably not going to happen and I decided to notify the appropriate people and set out to get healthy enough to go to work Tuesday.

Except I still had epic diarrhea .



And so I spent all day Monday on the toilet. All. Day.

Like I would take a sip of Powerade, and I would have to run to the porcelain throne. Water? The Little Girl’s Room. A cracker?  The Lavatory. Cough? The Potty.

Needless to say, it was a long day filled with pure liquid shooting out of me.

A. Long. Day.

And just because we’ve already shared too much with this story, I might as well go ahead and tell you two more things:

1. It started to hurt after like the 27th time.

2. I was also riding the crimson tide the whole time and so, you know, that added a whole other later of suck to the situation.

By about 8 p.m. I had gone to the bathroom for about 14 hours straight and my stomach was cramping up (but not in the crimson tide way) (you’ll just have to trust me here that I know the difference) so I started to call around and see if there was an immediate care open someone. There was not.

So, at the advice of a Wal-Greens pharmacist, I tried to call the ER and see if they would just call in a prescription for an antibiotic that I could pick up. But because they are stupid, they would do no such thing. Instead, they told me that it was probably not bacteria related and that I would need to come in and get checked out I wanted help.

At that point I tried to tell myself to just stick it out through the night and see a doctor first thing in the morning.

And for those of you who are all, “Why didn’t you call a doctor earlier in the day, when things are open?” I just want to say, “Because.”

Moving on. So there I was trying to figure out how to make it through the night, and my stomach was crapping up hard core, and I was crying and whatnot and I was seriously considering giving up on life. And I kind of totally hit the end of my rope here. So, I called the ER again, and  of course she just kept telling me to come back to the ER.

So I did.

And I had to stop to use the John at a random hotel on the way there, but I made it.

Then, I waited more than hour to get a room and then I waited another 40 minutes or so to see a doctor while only covered with a sheet because they apparently ration blankets in the ER. (Note to Illinois residents: Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora is a horrible hospital. Never go there).

When the (cute) (but dumb) doctor finally came in, he was all, “So ya, umm, I think we should get a stool sample.”

For those wondering, basically they give you a little upside down hat thingy to put in the toilet and tell you to do your thing (which wasn’t hard, seeing as how I was going every three seconds) and then a nurse has to come collect the little upside hat thingy.

I felt kind of bad for that nurse.

Also, I was a little worried because of the crimson tide and its potential for messing up the sample, but I was told it would not be an issue.

Then, I went back to my bed and my sheet and I tried to hold some water down.

By this point, my mom and grandma had swooped down from the land of Bryon and were at my bedside, and I love them so much for it. (I also want to point out here that my mom and my little sister [both of whom ate nearly the same food as the same restaurant at the same meal] also had the same symptoms as I did this whole time, only less extreme. In case you were wondering why I assumed this was food poisoning).

Anyway, I drank a few sips of water, didn’t throw up (which wasn’t really an issue seeing as how I had been taking anti-nausea medicine they’d given me the day before), and the doctor came in and said it’d be a few days to get the stool sample results back, but that in the meantime he was going to give me two antibiotics.


I was told I that it didn’t seem like a bacteria thing. And that I needed to come.

So I basically just wasted six hours of my life to be told that they were going to do the very thing I had asked them to do over the phone.



At this point, I was just all, “Give me the stupid meds.”

The doctor also gave me a shot in my butt for the cramps and told me to take an over the counter diarrhea medicine called Lomotol. But he kept cautioning me to only take one a day so that I could get whatever the heck this was out of my system.

“So, only take one,” he would say, and I would nod. And then he would follow that with, “Just one. Only take one each day. Don’t take more than one.” And I would nod. And then, I promise, he would add, “Make sure you take just one.” So then I said, “So I should take ten?” And he looked at me in a way that said, “Dammit, I knew she wasn’t listening.” And then I laughed and then he got it.

I hope he got some sleep shortly after treating me, because the dude needed it.

Anyway, we hiked over the 24-hour Wal-Greens across the street from the hospital and got the prescription filled and sked where the Lomotol was.

That’s when we found out you need a prescription for Lomotol.

I was wondering why I had never in my life heard of that drug.

Stupid doctor.

Luckily, the pharmasist was able to call the hospital and hook me up with that. And I made my way home. I spent the next 24 hours trying to, umm, well, “stop pooping”, as Chris Traeger might say.

But Wednesday morning I was still way too weak to go to work, seeing as how I could barely bath myself so I did as much as I could from home. By Wednesday night, I thought I was doing better, and I was really excited to see that only about 90 percent of the stuff coming out of my body was liquid now.

Thursday morning I attempted to drive into the office, but I only made it an hour because my legs were shaking underneath me because I was so weak. So I only stayed for an hour and then I drove back home and took an hour nap.

And at about 3 p.m., I called the hospital to see if they had gotten back the test results from the stool sample yet and they had and you know what they told me?


No. Seriously. Guess.

After all that poop and vomit and stomach cramps and poop, I promise you they said the following, “Everything came back normal.”

I’m thinking about  following up with an primary care doctor tomorrow.

  • Share/Bookmark

That time I got food poisoning and rode in an ambulance. Part One.

Editor’s note: This post is disgusting. Read at your own risk. Also, this is Part One of the story. Tune in tomorrow for Part Two. Read Part Two here.

Like I can only assume is the case for most stories about food poisoning, this one started with steak tacos.

And I’m more than a little pissed about that because steak tacos with corn tortilla shells, cilantro, onion and some lime juice used to be my favorite food in the whole wide world. But now, I kind of want to throw up just writing that last sentence. Dammit.

Anyway, so ya, I ate some steak tacos with my mom and my sister Saturday afternoon at this Mexican restaurant near Rockford. And then Saturday night I kind of threw up in my mouth a little bit one time and I was like, hmm, that’s weird. But I brushed it off as a fluke and went on my merry way back to Aurora.

When I woke up Sunday morning to get ready for church, I realized it was not a fluke. Not at all.

As soon as I got out of bed I headed for the toilet and there I sat for about an hour straight. Pooped out everything I ate for the last week. No joke. Then, I got off the toilet for about three minutes before realizing I need to sit my butt right back down.

For another hour or so.

At this point, I realized that I was probably not going to make it to first service at my church, so I called Pastor Wes and let him know that I thought maybe I had eaten something bad, but that I was going to try my best to get to second service.

Then, after laying in my bed for about 10 minutes, I thought to myself, “Self, you’re feeling a little better. Just go ahead and hop in the shower and get to church.”

So I did. Because I’m an over achieving idiot.

Standing up while showering turned out to be a little too much for my body though, and as soon as I stepped out of the tub I started feeling extremely sick.

And then my hands started going numb. And then my feet started going numb. And then I suddenly found myself wearing only my underwear, on my hands and knees in front of the tub. And then I started FREAKING THE F OUT! And then, my fingers started to curl under so that they were bent in toward my wrists and I lost all control of my hands. And then I started FREAKING THE F OUT!!! EVEN MORE!! And then I was like, “Holy crap, I’m going to die basically naked in my bathroom. Like Elvis. Er well, he was on the toilet, wasn’t he? Oh, who gives a crap right now CRYSTAL! YOU ARE GOING TO DIE HERE IN YOUR BATHROOM WITHOUT ANY CONTROL OF YOUR HANDS!!! HOLY SH*T! What if I’m having a stroke? Is that even a symptom of a stroke? Oh sh*t. Oh sh*t. Oh sh*t.”

Seeing as how I was home alone and scheduled to be at church all day, but had already called said church, I started to calculate that the soonest someone would find my body would be Monday morning.

And then I was like, holy crap CRYSTAL. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER.

And then I made my way over to my cell phone, which was on my nightstand, and I called 911. I had to dial with my knuckles (note to cell phone makers, touchscreens kind of suck for that) but I got through.

Then, I pushed the speaker phone button and tried to tell the woman what was happening.

Except then I realized that my tongue was numb. So I was trying to tell her to, “SEND HELP!” But instead it came out more, “STHED ELP!!” And she was all, “Ma’am, what’s wrong? I can’t understand you.”

And I was all, “STHED ELP!” And then, you know, I started vomiting all over my nightstand and my bed, which didn’t really help the communication situation. Also, diarrhea was shooting out of me. Into my underwear. If you were wondering.

And the 911 dispatcher was all, “Ma’am, can you tell me where you live? What is your address?”

And I was all, “THEW. THEW. THEW. FOUR. OAKRIDGE DRIVE. ARRRORORA!” And then I vomited some more. And some more diarrhea come out.

And then she was all, “Ok, I’m sending paramedics. It’s 2225 Oakridge Drive?”

And then I vomited some more. And then I was all, “THEW. THEW. THEW. FOUR!!!” And she figured it out

I knew though that I needed to tell her my apartment number because there’s like 15 units in my building, so I shouted, “APARTMENT 14!! (Yes, now you can stalk me. Because before this, all you had was Facebook).

She seemed to glean what she needed and after a few minutes I finally stopped throwing up and some of the feeling started coming back into my hands. And the woman asked if  I was able to unlock my door for the paramedics and I did. And then I realized that there was diarrhea in my underwear, so with all the strength I had in my body and with all the coordination I could manage with half-numb hands I set out to put on some clean underwear and a tank top. Which I somehow did. And I even managed to throw the dirty underwear in the garbage can before the 15 paramedics, police officers and firefighters started to file into my apartment. Best. Achievement. Ever.

Of course, there was nothing I could do about the vomit in the bedroom, but, eh. You win some. You lose some.

When help arrived, I felt like I was half dead, and I could barely lift my head, and they worked with me to calm my breathing down and told me that my hands and feet and tongue were numb because I was hyperventilating and my body had too much carbon dioxide in it.

WHAT THE WHAT??!! WHAT? I have never heard of such a thing in my entire 28 years of life. Gray’s Anatomy, ER and Doogie Howser all failed me. Never had I seen this symptom from a patient on any of those medical shows.

Once my breathing started to return to normal, the paramedics said they wanted to take me to the hospital because everything had come on so suddenly, and I was like, “Umm, OK.” So they put me on a stretcher, loaded me into the ambulance, stuck an IV in my arm and drove me to the hospital.

My mom, my sister and my sister’s dad were told about the situation and came out to help. When they finally go there, my sister walked around the curtain and gave me a look that said, “You look like crap.”

Then, I got up to give a urine sample, and while in the bathroom, I noticed that I did in fact look like crap. And when I came out, I was all, “I look horrible.” And my mom was all, “Yes, yes you do.”

About five hours and a slew of tests later, I was given anti-nausea medicine, told I probably had food poisoning, and sent on my merry way.

Of course, when we got back to my house, there was still the matter of cleaning up all the vomit by my bed. And because my mom and my sister are angles in the flesh they took care of it for me.

I love them.

A lot.

I was still having epic diarrhea, and I was still too weak to even hold up my own cell phone, but I thought things were looking up. I was wrong though, of course.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Two of this story, where I tell you how I ended up back in the emergency room and I detail the process of giving a stool sample! YAY!

UPDATE: Read Part Two here.

  • Share/Bookmark