Just another day in paradise...

"Erections, Ejaculation, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness" -Charles Bukowski

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

How I came to California

As you probably know, I am not originally from Southern California (not many here are). I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. My best friend forever has been Le. I have had friends for longer (not forgetting you Hot Momma), but when Le and I met at a church youth group twelve years ago we were immediate friends.

Shortly after we met, Le’s mom was doing the “eagles out of the nest” thing and Le was looking for a place to live. She and I found a crappy little apartment, one side facing a golf course… the other side, the freeway. This place was rotten. One of the neighbors stole my checks that were delivered to our broken mailbox one time and went on a spree of check cashing, prior to my knowledge. (Always pick your checks up at the bank, never have them mailed.)

I almost lost her friendship over a boy that I was dating, who spent too much time at our house. (Yikes, premarital sex, no! I was a heathen.) She gave me an ultimatum, him or her… This was the one and only time I ever made the wrong decision. She moved out. He moved in. She and I remained in contact and hung out… and a year and a half later when I came to my senses and kicked him out, I called her bawling… promising that I would never do that again. I have upheld my promise. Boys come and go, but your girls are forever.

She and I have had many amazing times over the span of our friendship… from considering “quality time” the taking of naps together… to her flushing my living frogs down the toilet one summer while I was in Germany. (She told me they had died. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that the truth came out.) Le, over the years, has become not my best friend, but my sister.

Nearly five years ago she moved to California. I had no idea what I was going to do without her around, but was very excited about her new opportunity. I stayed up one night and made her a scrapbook of our friendship in about 18 hours (never before, nor ever again will I do such an endeavor). Since then, she said that if the house ever catches on fire, that will be the one object she grabs.

When I returned to Portland from studying in France, she really pressured me to move down to So Cal with her. I promised her when she came to visit in March, that the following January I would move down with her. I never really meant it… life often gets in the way of promises.

April 17th, 2003 I received a phone call that changed my life. Le’s sister told me I had to get to California immediately to say good-bye, Le was very sick and they didn’t know what the problem was. She was given 48 hours to live. I caught the next plane out. I have never sobbed so uncontrollably, nor felt such a loss… my closest sister was dying and I didn’t know how I was going to continue my life without her.

(forewarning: icky graphic) While Le was visiting me in March she developed these huge red bumps in her armpits. I began to tease her about what a dirty girl she was. The pain grew so intense while she was visiting that she couldn’t even put her arm down. She went to Urgent Care in Oregon where they cut them open, drained them and packed them to prevent them from filling again. When she returned to California her physician said that normally they would have just had surgery to remove them, but they seemed to be healing nicely so she continued her antibiotics and let them heal.

The bumps healed externally, but they never did internally. The infection got into her blood stream and created two different bacterial infections in her blood. This caused an abundance of problems, including abnormal bilateral pneumonia (this was when SARS was very big and they thought she might have that), her body went into septic shock causing her organs to begin shutting down. When she got to the hospital she had a twenty-eight percent blood-oxygen level (it should have been one hundred). If she had arrived to the ER thirty minutes later she would have never made it out of there, and the phone call I received would have been much different.

I walked into the ICU on my first day in California and at the hospital, and peered through the glass sliding doors protecting her fragile body from anyone outside. As I scrubbed my hands I looked at my kindred spirit lying in that bed hooked up to so many tubes I didn’t know where they began nor where they ended. I dressed putting on the gown, footies and hair cover noticing my best friend, mistaken for Cameron Diaz more times than I would ever want to remember, lying with a machine taking breathes for her. I placed an eye shield over my face as her older sister told me I needed to stop crying. We couldn’t upset Le (she would still know) nor her father in the room.

I stood back, scared to approach the bed. How do I make her laugh when she’s not even awake? How can she tease me for wearing my glasses if she can’t see me in them?

Le developed spontaneous quadriplegia when an abscess they hadn’t discovered running through the interior of her spine pressed against her spinal cord. She was rushed to surgery. They fixed it and she was able to again move.

I was scheduled to return the Wednesday following my arrival. I postponed it. Le began to get better. She could breathe alone and she could speak. There was however many more problems the doctors had yet to find. She would be better… but nobody knew how long it would take nor what the process might entail.

I called my mother and told her I wasn’t coming home. Le wasn’t better and nobody had the time I did to be with her. I wasn’t working and was just taking a few classes in school at the time in Portland. My mother and grandmother went to my apartment and packed it up, leaving everything in storage while I ordered a cot for Le’s room.

My first five weeks in California I lived in Mission Hospital. After a couple of weeks one of her nurses asked me out. Le encouraged me to go. He picked me up in front of the hospital and dropped me off at the Emergency room doors. I went to Le’s room and we giggled about it. I almost had my Le back.

Le got better. She and I stayed in various places throughout the hospital. From ICU, to the floor room, where I would beg her every night, as we lied in bed laughing, not to cry the following morning. She would in turn cry every morning. I would have as well. It really fucking sucked.

Le, after a couple of weeks and a few more stories that would merely take more room, was released.

She and I both returned to her apartment where we, with our third roommate, would have middle of the night bongo-drum-panty-dancing-living-life impromptu just-because-it’s-Tuesday-and-we-can-celebrate parties. Le and I have since returned to the frivolity provided to us by friendship and time. I called her the other night (she has a new boy and is being flakey with me) and told her what a bitch she was.

The only signs that she ever had that horrible trauma experience are the scars that she wears proudly down her neck and back. They have made more of a significant impact than any tattoo that she ever would have ever gotten, will have ever made. No longer roommates, we see each other much less frequently recently… I still tease her that I am sure that lack of oxygen in her system caused brain damage…

That, my friends, is the (long story) of how I came to live in California.

21 Comments:

  • At 1/18/2006 08:45:00 AM, Anonymous circe said…

    OC, what a wonderful story and you are the kindest, most precious friend a gal could ever have. And yes, guys come and go, but gal friendships remain forever....
    I hope she continues to live a healthy life and you both continue to enjoy an everlasting friendship. :)
    ((hugs))
    circe

     
  • At 1/18/2006 10:03:00 AM, Blogger Lizzie said…

    Wow, that's quite a story. What a great friend you are.

     
  • At 1/18/2006 10:57:00 AM, Blogger Dirk the Feeble said…

    They let you into a church youth group?

     
  • At 1/18/2006 11:01:00 AM, Blogger ocg said…

    Circe and Lizzie- A friend in need is a friend indeed. You would have done the same, given the time...

    I really didn't write it for the pats on the back (although thank you) but it will explain some other stories that might come up in the future.


    Arm- What can I say, it was a great place to meet guys... who doesn't like the Christian girl who puts out?!?!
    ::dodging lightning::

    Kidding!!!

     
  • At 1/18/2006 12:13:00 PM, Blogger Sizzle said…

    this is a great story for many reasons, most of all because it shows how true friendship wins out every time. your friendship with le seems incredibly special. you are both lucky!

     
  • At 1/18/2006 12:45:00 PM, Blogger Yossarian said…

    good friends are hard to come by and even harder to get rid of...

     
  • At 1/18/2006 12:59:00 PM, Blogger JimmySam said…

    That is why you are everybody's best friend, love.

     
  • At 1/18/2006 02:43:00 PM, Blogger ocg said…

    Sizz- She is luckier than I… hee hee

    Yoss- You should try being my friend... I never let go…

    JS- I was not, by any means, omitting you from my friends-forever list!

    But thank you, I love all of my best friends… and would have done that for any of you…

     
  • At 1/18/2006 03:22:00 PM, Blogger Yossarian said…

    AH HA!!!!...now i know why i like you so much...you have that stalker-esque way about you that i enjoy in all of my ex's....ha ha ha just joshing you...

     
  • At 1/18/2006 03:44:00 PM, Blogger ocg said…

    Yoss- I prefer it not to think of it so much as "stalking" per se, but rather really really really loving them enough to never. let. them. go.

    ;-)

     
  • At 1/18/2006 04:41:00 PM, Blogger hot momma said…

    OCG, I am so proud to call you my forever friend. And I think it's good for people to see (another) side of you...

     
  • At 1/18/2006 04:47:00 PM, Blogger ocg said…

    Thanks HM, YOU, my dear, are truly fabulous...

     
  • At 1/18/2006 06:42:00 PM, Blogger Yossarian said…

    were you ever in a movie called "wedding crashers"? i think you were that crazy girl that stalks Vince Vaughn. except she likes to have sex and role play...which is nothing like you...oops...

     
  • At 1/18/2006 07:48:00 PM, Blogger Paul said…

    I'd like to hear the story about when you went to Vegas. Do you have one of those?

     
  • At 1/18/2006 09:16:00 PM, Blogger ocg said…

    Yoss- Let us not forget,it was all an act and they found out they were meant to be...

    (collective sigh)


    Paul- Do I know you? Why do you want to here that story?

    ;-)

     
  • At 1/19/2006 05:36:00 AM, Anonymous brackfry said…

    wow- trying to come up w/a written reaction, but only 3 words that keep popping up are compassion, human, and love. Underneath all this OC/sex 'jibber jabber' (Mr T) you very much have a human, compassionate side- and certainly know how to love someone (be there) when they need you. I (we- friends) saved a stranger's (and his kid's) life once- seemed no big deal at the time but i'll NEVER forget it. Quite a story of yours- to good health, good friends, and all the best- Props and good morning- JRL

     
  • At 1/19/2006 06:09:00 AM, Blogger Heather B. said…

    That was a great great story...

     
  • At 1/19/2006 06:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is one of my favorite posts you've ever written. Excellent story and writing.

    This entry was definitely more you than OC Girl.

     
  • At 1/19/2006 07:29:00 AM, Blogger ocg said…

    Brack and Anon- shhhhhhh… I do not need people to not that I am not OCG and that OCG is merely a part of me…

    Brack- Umm… ‘jibber jabber’? what are you trying to say???
    ;-)

    Heather B.- Thank you very much. I really do love your new blog and Pam Greer and everything about it…. so awesome… I def have blog envy…

     
  • At 1/19/2006 08:17:00 AM, Anonymous brackfry said…

    Umm, err, uh, I dunno- Mr T. said it in a commercial once and i thought it was funny- like some of your other stories :). Speaking of funny and Mr T.-- supposedly he is coming out w/a GPS system for cars (like w/his voice)- imagine the comedy... "hey, you's LOST, FOOL!", or "I said LEFT, SUCKA,"-etc. Cant wait- JRL

     
  • At 1/19/2006 08:31:00 AM, Blogger ocg said…

    Brack- I like ‘jibber jabber’ and am afraid it might be a little too appropriate for me… urg.

    I would absolutely LOVE a Mr. T navigational system… “I pity the fool… turning right here”… brilliant!

     

Post a Comment

<< Home