David Bowie. Glen Frey. Lemmy. Scott Weiland. The sudden deaths of some of the most beloved musicians hit pretty hard and I wonder if these artists knew how much they’d impacted our lives.
For me, this last month has been a bittersweet reminder of a brilliant musician who received virtually zero mention at the time of his death.
Most people have no idea that Alice In Chains’ front man, Layne Staley, died around the same time Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes did. The press covered her passing extensively. Every channel, paper and radio station mentioned Lopes, while running TLC video clips and songs 24/7. Of course, Lisa died from a sudden auto accident while Layne died the typical rock star death at age 34 from a mixture of heroin and cocaine.
I’m not sure how many are aware that Layne Staley was dead for two weeks before anyone realized it.
When I learned of this, my heart broke. How is it possible that someone who touched so many could have gone unnoticed for so long?
“I wish I could just hug you all, but I’m not gonna.” –Layne Staley
Alice In Chains has been a profound and unique grunge rock band, instantly recognizable largely due to Staley’s voice more than their overall sound. When you hear a song by Tool, it’s obvious it’s Tool by their uniquely defined musical style. With AIC, it was more about Staley’s lilting vocals.
Alice In Chains (and Layne himself) was the true leader of the Seattle Sound grunge movement. They were Sleze in 1984, which morphed into AIC and later became the super-group Mad Season. They influenced and opened doors for Nirvana, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees and Pearl Jam.
Unlike much of what came out of Seattle, AIC was inclined towards rock in addition to alternative in genre. Their heavier sound, array of styles and soulful lyrics struck a chord within me, and I’ve never wavered in my love for them.
“Man In The Box”
I’m the man in the box Buried in my shit Won’t you come and save me, save me
Feed my eyes, can you sew them shut? Jesus Christ, deny your maker He who tries, will be wasted Feed my eyes now you’ve sewn them shut
I’m the dog who gets beat Shove my nose in shit Won’t you come and save me, save me…
What I know about Layne’s death is two things: Layne had two families; his blood ties and his band members. He was also a drug user and recluse with a mental disorder.
Anyone who has had to deal with a person struggling with any or all of these issues knows the tendency for that person to alienate everyone who loves them, which is often a harsh reality. We are hard to love.
I am speaking from experience, as an entertainer and someone who has experience in living with mental disorders. My father had one. I’ve inherited it. I’ve seen both sides of this kind of damage.
The fact that not one single person from his life noticed he was gone for two weeks shatters me.
Even if he’d told everyone to fuck off, just die, leave him alone – did no one love him enough to swing by and check on him? Bring him a meal? Pick up some groceries?
Nothing? Nothing at all?
“We started this band as kids, and as time has gone on, we’ve grown and are learning to accommodate each others’ differences.” – Layne Staley
There are lessons to be gleaned from losing Layne Staley. Instead of sitting back and judging the situation; blaming drugs, calling him a fuck-up, writing it off to “just another classic rock star death” or practicing Schadenfreude, we should view it as an opportunity to save someone else.
“When everyone goes home, you’re stuck with yourself. People have a right to ask questions and dig deep when you’re hurting them and things around you.” – Layne Staley
Dying alone and forgotten are valid human fears. Alice In Chains sold over eleven MILLION albums. Layne Staley touched an innumerable mass of people from all over the world. If this can happen to someone as known and beloved as Layne, it could happen to anyone.
“There are lasting consequences for using drugs. I’ll still be paying for my prior use.” – Layne Staley
Layne was introduced to what would ultimately be his cause of death by his own father at the age of twenty. His father was an opiate addict and used with his son. This is a harsh lesson to wrap one’s head around.
But my main reason for writing this is to make people aware.
Bandmate and best friend Mike Starr bore the brunt of the guilt regarding Layne’s death before he passed in 2011 from a prescription drug overdose. He was the last person to see Staley alive and the two had argued, with Starr storming out and Layne calling after him, “Not like this. Don’t leave like this.”
Reportedly, they argued over Starr insisting on calling 911for help and Layne threatening to sever their friendship if he did.
When someone we love pushes us away, perhaps there’s more to it and we’re unable to see what’s really going on. Maybe we shouldn’t LET them have their space.
People often push away as a test – to see if you’ll push back, to see if you care. It’s common for many to feel unworthy of love. It’s especially common for those with a mental disorder, since we tend to hurt those around us the most. We simply don’t feel deserving. We need you to push back.
Talk is cheap. Anyone can say, “I love you, you mean the world to me.” But can you show it? Will you do what needs to be done?
In Layne’s case, no one pushed back. He is dead now because of this fact.
It’s pretty fucking simple. If someone had physically removed drugs and needles from his living area, watched over him, fed him – he would be alive. He clearly wasn’t able to take care of himself. It was no surprise how sick he was to those around him. Mike Starr tried. But in these situations, effort doesn’t mean shit. Only results count. If he’d had cancer, there would have been help. But he had a mental illness where he turned to “self-medicating”, which is why Layne was cast away.
Kurt Cobain, who admitted he was manic-depressive (which is now called bipolar disorder), died in a not dissimilar way. His suicide note stated that his baby daughter would be better off without him in her life. “For her life will be so much happier without me.”
“God Am” Dear God, how have you been then?
I’m not fine, fuck pretending
All of this death your sending
Best throw some free heart mending
Invite you in my heart, then
When done, my sins forgiven?
This God of mine relaxes
World dies I still pay taxes.
A lot of things aren’t understood about mental illness and suicide, but I can tell you one thing for certain; No one wants to die. They simply don’t want to live in the state they are in any longer. There is a vast difference between wanting to die and not wanting to live. When someone is suffering from something that goes with them no matter where they are and affects everyone around them badly, sometimes they hold on to a belief that the only way out is death.
Layne’s death is extremely sad on so many levels. Wasted talent, wasted youth, but mostly it’s a constant reminder that our society doesn’t seem to care about the mentally ill. It’s felt we are disposable, to be shamed and anything that happens to us, it’s likely deserved. I’ve seen this attitude in everything from drug overdoses to police beatings.
No matter what we give to the world, it really doesn’t matter.
Or does it?
Push back. Prove me wrong.
“Every article I see (about myself) is dope this, junkie that, whiskey this – that ain’t my title. I don’t do much else but stay in my hotel room. Music is the doorway that has led me to drawing, photography, and writing. Music is the career I’m lucky enough to get paid for, but I have other desires and passions.” –Layne Staley
My hope for whoever is reading this is to have you recognize signs. When someone we care for is ‘acting out’ or being reclusive, maybe we shouldn’t take it so personally, get so angry or give up so quickly. Think of the bigger picture; that you love this person. Despite what they’re doing, saying or how they’re acting, they need you.
When most people join a gym, they’re told a towel is mandatory and then sent on their merry, clueless way to screw things up for the rest of us.
I think I can safely speak for everyone when I tell you that there’s nothing worse for gym regulars than sharing with newbie’s in January. Not because you’re new; aside from fighting for a parking spot, most of us are happy to have more like-minded individuals around who share our passion for fitness. (If you have a good recipe for chicken and rice we can use, we’ll probably love you even more.)
Where you make our gyms a living hell is your utter lack of etiquette. Hopefully, many of you get educated and decide to stick around. Personally, I quite enjoy seeing people achieve success.
But you won’t make any friends without knowing the REAL rules. Do you really want to be the person known as, “Oh, God…here comes that asshat again” ?
Gym etiquette is NOT just wiping shit down. That’s way down on the list. Here are the top 10 cardinal rules your fitness center probably won’t tell you.
Gym etiquette #1: If you use the free weights, PUT THEM BACK. Your mom doesn’t work here.
Gym etiquette #2: ASK to work in. Do not just jump on equipment, especially if a there’s a water bottle, bag, phone, towel, keys or person anywhere near the item you wish to use. Someone could be super-setting. It’s RUDE to do so without asking first.
Gym etiquette #3: Do not SIT on equipment between sets. Do not sit on equipment while on your phone. Get the fuck outta here with that crap. It’s not your personal office chair.
Gym etiquette #4: Do not lift dumbbells AT THE RACK, thus blocking everyone else. Common fucking sense. Step back. Way back. #Hog
Gym etiquette #5: Try to avoid working out directly in front of someone who is already using the mirror. It’s called checking form. Form is more important than weight when working out. (It’s not what you lift/do, it’s HOW you lift/do it.)
Gym etiquette #6: Did I mention re-racking your weights? Oh, I did. Well, fucking DO IT. This means YOU, Leg Press Guy Who Leaves Plates Fully Loaded And Then Just Walks Away. #Cunt
Gym etiquette #7: Too much cologne, perfume…cigarettes…just don’t fucking STINK. Being on a packed treadmill section near you is absolutely nauseating. It can also be quite dangerous for those who have breathing issues and trigger asthma attacks.
Gym etiquette #8: Wipe down equipment consciously. WOMEN DO NOT WANT TO SIT ON WET FUCKING SEATS FULL OF CHEMICALS! #YeastInfections!
Stick to wiping handles and sweaty backs. I’ve been working out a long, long time…back when no one wiped anything down in gyms. In those days, we never heard of anyone catching anything – and I’m an admitted germ-phobic (with several auto immune diseases) who eschews shaking hands in lieu of a fist bump in a business where that is a no-no. No one is catching the flu from sitting on the ass-end of a gym seat cushion unless they’re licking it right after someone else has already licked it. Don’t wipe it and leave it wet for the next person to sit on. Fucking ick. #fungus #CrotchRot #AthletesCrotch #JockItch
Gym etiquette #9: Do not judge others’ workouts. They could be working around an injury, disability or simply doing the best they can. #SomeDaysItTakeALotOfCaffeine #LikeAWHOLELOT
Gym etiquette #10: Do not judge fit people as vain – or heavy people as lazy. We are all in there for the same reason. Everyone wants to get healthier, better ourselves and have a nice, hard stomach and ass. Probably not in that order. #AbsAndBootyForDays
I’m not going to touch upon socializing during workouts, hitting on others, grunting/yelling, dropping weights or wearing almost nothing in gyms. This kind of stuff has been going on forever and always will. It’s a gym. If you want silence, conservative clothing and no sexual undercurrent, go to church or find a place to jog alone. Otherwise, you’ll need to accept, adapt and wear a “fuck off, leave me alone” face with music blasting in your ears. Complaining about these issues is akin to bitching about the amount fur and dander at the local pet store where you pick up your feed. Animals are allowed in pet stores. Tiny shorts, weight clanging and grunting are allowed in gyms. Just because you are now there doesn’t mean you get to change the rules.
If you don’t understand any of the above-mentioned terms (super-setting, form, RE-RACK YOUR FUCKING WEIGHTS, etc), Google it. The more you learn, the better.
Despite what your facility may tell you in order to keep profiting each month, gym etiquette is not just about wiping down equipment. It’s about paying attention to what/who is around you (even with ear-buds in), being considerate and cleaning up after yourself.
These rules are fairly ‘common sense’, but common sense is so rare lately, it’s now classed as a super power. Don’t take offense. This is for your own good. These 10 Gym Commandments are meant to help you on your quest to be successful. After all, people are keen to complain about anything and everything these days and you’re not above having your membership revoked without refund if someone decides they don’t care for how you conduct yourself.
If this offends you, then you’re probably the exact person who doesn’t belong in the gym, doesn’t play well with others and you weren’t raised…you just grew up.
Let’s not be ignorant douche bags. We all have to share space.
Ps. Think about that chicken and rice meal. Seriously. We could use some new options over here.
April Hunter is a national level NPC Fitness & Figure competitor, professional wrestler, former Met-RX & Extreme Nutrition spokes-model, Playboy & comic book model, full-time student, coffee snob, road rage enthusiast and world renowned potty mouth. She uses the C-word as liberally as you use butter on your biscuits.***
***…Which you shouldn’t be eating, since biscuits are useless, crappy (deliciously evil) carbs. But the butter is just fine.
See more of April on Instagram @realAprilHunter, www.AprilHunter.com and Twitter @AprilHunter. She’s also on Facebook.com/AprilHunterOfficial and AprilsScentSations Soy Candles.
I realize I’ve been AWOL for a bit. I’ve moved and with drastic house renovations, a psycho neighbor, horrific HOA, contractor rip off, and worst of all…2 of my pet chickens suddenly died. It’s been a mess and has taken all the energy I have just to exist and deal with daily routines. But things are starting to smooth out a bit now.
So, I did something different. My friend Hubert asked me to be on his podcast to discuss many of the things I write about on this blog.
I realize I’ve been AWOL for a bit. I’ve moved and with drastic house renovations after buying a fixer-upper (and having far more to deal with than originally thought!), I’ve been incredibly unlucky to have a psycho neighbor (who lives to harass and report me to the city and HOA for blocking his view into MY pool with a fence and shed), horrific HOA (threatening me over the aforementioned shed. Yes. A shed. It’s to be my writing office, but they feel it’s “too large”. It’s not. I feel it’s likely they’re just close with my psycho neighbor), a contractor rip off, and worst of all…2 of my pet chickens suddenly died. It’s been a tragic, stressful mess and has sucked all the energy I have just to exist and deal with daily routines along with this daily bullshit. But things are starting to smooth out a bit now.
So, I did something different. My friend Hubert asked me to be on his podcast to discuss many of the things I write about on this blog. I’m posting it here in case you’d like to listen to it.
“Thoughts and Opinions with Hubert O’Hearn. Writer, wrestler, model and candle-maker April Hunter discusses her career. In a wide-ranging conversation, we first talk about bi-polarity and the prejudices faced by those with mental illness. Then we go on to wondering why women’s wrestling isn’t promoted more, how April became a candle-maker, and finally the ins and outs of internet dating!”
I applied to Full Sail University this summer for a bachelors degree in creative writing for entertainment (TV, Film, Radio). I’ll be starting in 6 weeks. Fairly excited about that!
If you’d like to see me in person, I’m on Shine Wrestling in Ybor City/Tampa FL Oct 2nd. That’s broadcast worldwide on PPV on wwnlive.com and on the ROKU channel World Wrestling Network. Info: ShineWrestling.com
I’m on Lake Collect-a-Thon in Mt Dora, FL Saturday September 19th. Info: https://www.facebook.com/LakeCollectACon
You can also visit me on Third Friday in Safety Harbor (Clearwater) FL on each…wait for it…3rd Friday. I’m there with my uniquely scented organic soy candles (www.Facebook.com/AprilsScentsations), so come out and say hi!
Oh, and it’s my birthday on September 24th. I don’t know if I should totally no-sell it and ignore the entire thing or go all out and celebrate the fact that I survived another year. I suppose that’s the conundrum associated with being bipolar. It could swing either way, right? 😉
If you’d like to spoil me, here’s Amazon Wishlist! Be prepared…it’s super sexy. Well, it’s sexy if you find candle wax, fruit trees and standing desks hot. I sure as hell do.
A couple more reno photos. It’s amazing what some flooring, paint and tile can do.
We are currently trying to get a larger chicken run built that’s fully covered. There are a lot of hawks where I moved to. Not safe to have her out. I say “her” because we lost our others from mysterious illnesses. It was absolutely gutting. They’re pets, not just chickens…but losing Daisy just absolutely destroyed me for a while. She was my ‘happy place’ and I loved (still love) her very much.
All that’s left is one tiny shellacked eggshell and an unplanned $2500 in vet bills. Yeah. We tried to save her at an emergency clinic. After she passed, her blood tests revealed kidney disease. Delilah passed 2 weeks later from blocked crop. Daphne is doing well, so far. Just lonely. I’m not yet sure what to do about it. Chickens are fantastic to raise, but heartbreaking. It’s an odd mix of rewarding mixed with apprehension.
This has been a lot of sadness and an energy drain as well. It just seemed like we were getting kicked while down non-stop. I’m just tired. Mentally and physically. Drained tired. Where cappuccino does absolutely nothing for you kind of tired.
I’m trying to overcome everything, fight back and learn how to use a ‘velvet gloved fist’ with everyone I’m dealing with regarding all the aforementioned annoying issues. I’m also trying to get caught up on work, promoting, making candles and yes…writing blogs.
So. That’s what’s been going on.
More soon. With me strength, luck and fortitude. I need it.
Enjoy the podcast and especially the swanky entrance music. 😉
Some have asked me about this fitness related subject, so I figured I’ll answer it here, too. Would everyone benefit from eating more raw veggies? Of course.
Should everyone be a vegetarian? Of course NOT.
Some have asked me about this fitness related subject, so I figured I’ll answer it here, too. Would everyone benefit from eating more raw veggies? Of course.
Should everyone be a vegetarian? Of course NOT.
Vegetarianism is something that people seem to think is “the way”. Or they feel guilty because they can’t do it. Thing is, it’s not meant for everyone. That’s not me trying to make people feel good; it’s a fact. What I mean is this: not one diet (eating way of life) works for everyone. Some do very well as vegetarians. They are mostly of the blood type A and AB. These two types are more evolved, so there are far less people with this blood. If a blood type O tried to be a vegan, they would probably get very sick-or die. Type O people have a lot of stomach acid (which is meant to break heavier foods down), so they need meat and fat. They are best on a Paleo diet, which is one full of fish and meat. If they don’t eat correctly, the acid will cause problems.
Type A blood has little stomach acid, so meat is difficult for them to process. If they do eat meat, they get all kinds of digestion issues. I’m type O; I can lose weight on bacon, avocado and burgers, but have to avoid the buns and potatoes. (Naturally, bread is my kryptonite.) These are just simpler examples to help people understand. It gets much deeper, with lectins, etc. But it’s also why you don’t have to feel guilty for not being a vegetarian (aside from the fact that you were given meat-eating teeth), nor does anyone have a right to feel superior because they don’t eat “flesh”. (Although I kind of ‘get it’ when I see those horrific factory farming videos.)
Every American should watch some of these videos. We vote with our dollar$, so choose wisely, as every action causes a reaction. The one we don’t want is more sick food, factory farms and sick people. I am clearly not saying “don’t eat meat”. I am advising people to make conscious choices when choosing their food; know where it comes from and how it was raised. Local. Organic.
Exceptions to the eat-for-your-type rule: people who are battling certain illnesses, like cancer or Crohns. I highly recommend as much a raw green vegetarian diet as possible. One that neutralizes PH levels, so little to no fruit. When the body is fighting something and trying to heal, giving it the right tools are imperative. Easy digestion also allows its limited energy to go where it needs to be focused. (Gerson Diet.) There are always exceptions to every rule…except for driving too slowly in the passing lane.
If you don’t know your blood type, there are inexpensive testing kits available. However, most people probably have an inkling of where they fall. If you listen to your body, you innately know what you feel good after eating and what agrees with you.
If you eat right for YOU 80% of the time (80/20 rule), you’ll look better, feel better and likely avoid or cure yourself of annoying health issues without really being restricted at all. No matter WHAT you are eating, be sure to pick quality over quantity and know where your food is coming from. Hopefully, not packaged or factory farm. Icky! And, really, really bad for you and your family.
Remember this – (and watch a few YouTube expose’ videos on various farms, such as Perdue chicken and Smithfield pork) – we get our energy from what we eat. If we’re taking in sick and infected calories, how can we possibly be well? If you want to feel good and be healthy, take in good and healthy food. Pay a little more for clean meats and veggies on the front end, or pay a lot more for damages created on the back end. It’s a choice. Good luck!
On a side note, with the rental market being so great right now, I’ve decided to lease my little townhouse, which is paid for. I’m in a neat, historic part of Clearwater, Florida and rentals are in high demand. I’ve been careful about my credit and was able to get a house (with a pool! No more kids splashing my books or smokers ruining the supposed “zen” that community pools don’t provide) about 10 minutes away with a monthly payment slightly LESS than my rental will bring in. It just seemed like a smart thing to do. My grandfather always said to invest in real estate; it’s a non renewable source and this world certainly isn’t getting any less populated.
The caveat: I bought a fixer-upper. I loved renovating my villa and wanted to do that to make it truly mine. Plus, the only way I can afford something in a decent area is to go that route. I *thought* I was getting a minor fixer upper at a good price in a great neighborhood.
Once the sellers (who didn’t have a real estate agent and were complete jacked off asshats to deal with) vacated and we closed, I learned there were many more issues to deal with than just wiring and bringing it up to date. The husband had fancied himself a handyman and pretty much half-assed everything he touched. It all has to be adjusted, ripped out or just replaced, from floor to fireplace, pool lining to closets, bath vanities to appliances. The house was built in 1985 and most of it is still in 1985. The one one bathroom has a that classic long, yellow (-ish) vanity and an awesome wood grain toilet seat. I was quite sad to see that go.
When I say everything needs replacing, I mean everything. Hinges. Doors. Appliances. Electric and light plates, which are brownish from age. Kick ass pool-table-green carpeting in every room…and bonus! Outside in the pool area, too! Speaking of, the pool lining was absolutely shot, along with cracked tile. Landscaping. Cleaning. Hauling away the former owners large trash items they couldn’t be bothered to clean out. (They did leave a swanky fondue set I found at the very top of a cupboard I was sanitizing.) Closet doors. That in itself was a shocking expense. The entire place has those old, 8-foot bi-fold metal doors, most of which don’t stay on their tracks. 8-foot doors aren’t made any longer, so this means I have to have headers put in every room and hallway to get 6-foot wood doors.
To make matters worse, one of the contractor crews screwed up a lot. They put the flooring in wrong, broke door frames, messed up the baseboards and gouged the hardwood floor they’d just put in.
Additionally, the headers they’d built were a) the wrong size and b) not secured. They will crack or fall down if a closet door is hung. I haven’t been able to get them to refund me (they wanted “pay as we go”) or cover damages. I haven’t gotten any response from them at all, except that they believe they are “still owed” for labor. I wish there was room for all the photos here. I could probably do a better job than these guys with a YouTube tutorial and a one-day class at Home Depot.
Not only is everything they touched screwed up, there is actually more damage now than when they started. My other contractor (who was was doing things they don’t, like paint and had worked for me on my villa) told me some of the things he saw them do-and it’s been heartbreaking.
Between the sellers and the contractor, the amount of arrogant fucktards in denial about how shitty their work/attitude is stuns me. I also didn’t get an apology from anybody. I handled things well and stayed calm. (I’m on the good meds now.) Note: saying “I am sorry” goes a long way, as does “thank you” in life. Some people were raised; others just grew up. My (amazing) real estate agent (Marcia Simeone – highly recommend in the Tampa Bay area) was the only thing that kept me from gpong on a murdering spree in quite a few situations. I believe I said, “FUCK THEM. Seriously. FUCK. THEM!” more than normal. Which is a lot.
Everything about this house has been a nightmare so far. I am praying that changes soon.
I have my hands full and it’s been stressful. I tend to cry over frustration more than anything else and many tears have been shed. I unwillingly liquidated much of my parents fund that they left me. My renters are in August 1st, and I am just now getting new people to start working on it, along with doing many things myself.
I am exhausted. Emotionally, physically…I am just tired. With time running out. (And money.)
My day goes something like this: I head to the house. Work. Clean. Because they left it a dump and I have no idea how to dispose of the large trash items, such as random sheets of wood, garage shelves of stuff, stacks of (icky) cement pavers or giant cases of aquarium light bulbs. I come home, sweaty, dirty and gross and take a shower. Eat. Try to answer a few emails. Walk the dog and feed the cat. Go to bed. This project has been consuming everything lately, as I’m on a deadline. If I had any money left over, I’d invest in Juan Valdez, because with the amount of coffee I am drinking, it would be nice to receive a little profit at the end of the year. With perfect timing, I also got my hospital bills from the wasp sting. $671.85 for a 5 minute ambulance ride? Excellent. They should have at least served me Starbucks. A big-ass fancy latte, not some shitty plain coffee.
On the plus, I did something I’ve wanted to do for ages: I bought a shed. Not just a shed, but a little ‘cabin’ shed. which will be my writing area. If I’m putting money into something, I’ll make sure I use it. I’ll get a tiny table for a desk, portable air conditioner, ceiling fan, mini fridge and coffee maker – and no internet in there. It’ll be heaven. I have a difficult time writing at home with all the distractions. I always feel like I should be cleaning, working or returning emails. Then there’s Facebook and Twitter…shutting all that out should help. Expect my first masterpiece a year after moving. Or beat me about the head and shoulders at the first appearance you see me after that date.
I didn’t want to be a wrestler when I grew up. I wanted to be a writer. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, yet I’ve never gone anywhere with it like I know I could if I truly applied myself. It’s disappointing. And I’m tired of disappointing myself.
I had no idea I’d almost died on Memorial Day. I planned on a good workout, some pool time and a movie. None of that happened, because while I was watering the plants on my porch, a Yellow Jacket stung my right calf.
I had no idea I’d almost died on Memorial Day. I planned on a good workout, some pool time and a movie. None of that happened, because while I was watering the plants on my porch, a Yellow Jacket stung my right calf.
My left calf was stung two weeks ago. While it took forever to heal and itched like a ma’fucker, I didn’t have any real issues, having been stung many times before with no problems.
This day was different. My throat tightened, the right side of my body went numb, my eye swelled almost shut, and I lost vision. My entire body broke into burning hives (even the palms of my hands and feet, mouth, tongue and throat). Being an ‘idiot wrestler’, I usually tough everything out.
Me to Chris, as I’m frantically scrubbing my leg with alcohol: “Um, I should probably mention that I don’t feel very well. I feel kind of weird.”
Him: “Do you have Benadryl? I’ll go get you some.”
Me, bending over like I’d been running: “I don’t think I can breathe. You might want to hurry.” He ran out to the corner store, but before he got back, I knew I was way past allergy medication. He attempted to speed me to the emergency clinic (with him swearing at the slow driver in front of us. At least Florida is consistent!) and I honestly had no idea how bad it was.
I am largely in denial about my own mortality. I believe my own gimmick; that I’m Super Woman. Big Red. The Prize, April Hunter. A Viking warrior, ass-kicking my way through life. Moments like these, flashes of reality, crush me.
When I arrived to the emergency clinic, they took me immediately. Or mostly did, as I was in the process of passing out during check-in. I received a series of injections: epinephrine, steroids, more Benadryl . Wash, rinse, repeat. After several doses of everything, my body broke out into more hives, my tongue swelled and my blood pressure dropped. We were informed that they were calling an ambulance to have me rushed to the ER because it was getting worse. (As ‘rushed’ as one can be in this beautiful healthcare system we have, complete with staggering wait-times and gigantic bills, even with insurance.) I’d just gotten on Blue Cross at Christmas, but had never used it. I vaguely remember looking at the doctor and then Chris and being worried. “I don’t know if I can do that…is an ambulance covered?”
“The ambulance is covered.”
Rushed Defined in the USA:
-The ambulance took 32 minutes to go 8 minutes down the road. Fortunately, I was stabilized right before they’d arrived.
-Upon arrival, you must check in with name, social security and insurance card before anyone does anything for you. I’m fairly certain they hand you two Tylenol and dump you off the gurney sideways if you’re missing any of that information. After all, you can’t be “denied treatment”.
-You are informed there will be a $250 to $5000 deductible to pay, depending on your insurance coverage. You’ll still be surprised with fat bills, which you’ll have to submit again and again to your insurance company and spend hours of your life trying to argue off.
-A US hospital has been known to charge up to $800 for an IV that is 6 liters of salt water. An ambulance ride is approximately $750 for 5 miles. By the way, that Tylenol pill will cost you $15.Each.
-Only once you are checked in are you treated. By a nurse, who doesn’t give a shit. The one who does give a shit comes in later. She is an absolute sweetheart, and you kind of want to stuff her in your purse and keep her. The doctor arrives about an hour after that.
I was given a bunch of injections and, of course, the aforementioned $800 saline IV. To be fair, it was a lovely IV. A designer brand…from Italy, I think. Haute couture.
If you’re a walk-in, bring a book. Or three. While I was at Quick Care Doctors Express, a woman checked in to have her wrist stitched up after sitting in a hospital emergency room for four hours. She’d tapped out and decided that bleeding in her car was better than waiting another four hours.
I’ve been treated for emergency and non-emergency issues in Canada, Japan, Germany, Jamaica and England. I’ve never had to wait as long as I have here, with the exception of once in Alberta, Canada.
In England, Germany and Jamaica, the doctor came out to treat me; I didn’t have to go in. Let me just state for the record that house calls are awesome! While in Toronto, Canada, I was treated for a shattered nose (from an elbow to the face, and I still have issues breathing to this day), but they also x-rayed my ankle to confirm it was sprained instead of broken from the previous week of wrestling in Mexico. Furthermore, they did it gratis. The wait time was about fifteen minutes. Being American, I did have to pay a bill, but it wasn’t much. The company I worked for in Canada covered it.
Some things should never be for profit; healthcare is one of them. There is no amount of money a mother or father won’t pay to save their child. That’s why it’s completely wrong, and the USA is the only country doing it this way. Clearly, we are a country of laws and capitalism, not ethics.
The question is : why do we tolerate it? Is it because we think there’s no other way? Do we believe the lies we’re told about how other countries have “horrible” socialized care, where you’ll die while waiting? Currently, the socialized healthcare we do have, like the VA and Medicare, is mostly crap…so we think if we go that way across the board, it might all turn to shit? Is it because we think that we can’t afford it? That’s laughable. Every other country can afford it, but we can’t? Yet, we’re still #1 in cost per person for some of the worst care in the world. This makes absolutely zero sense. None.
Perhaps, it could be that we’re simply stupid and ignorant as a country? I feel we fail to “Question Authority” (a saying from when I grew up) and see what is really going on – that we are being taken advantage of. Each and every single one of us is being taken. We are being lied to by Pharma companies who run/own the media and congress. These companies are in bed with our FDA, which is why our food is so contaminated. Our foods are banned in other countries. Much of what we eat is considered toxic. This is why we’re sick. No other nation is as ill as the USA. Not even third world countries.
However, get this: Medical Profit is a huge part of the American GDP. Healthcare is one of our top grossing earners. Our slogan could be this: “Illness-The Only Thing Left That’s Made 100% in America.”
So, let’s recap… Contaminate the food (check), people get sick (check), charge a fortune to keep them alive (check), and rake in fuckloads of money being a completely parasitic system (check). Get it?
Avoid this by opting out. Go certified organic, locally grown, free range and grass fed. (To those of you who will now quote the show ‘Bullshit’ to me about how organic was found to not be any different than standard stuff; if you’re getting your dietary advice from a Penn & Teller show, you have issues.) Yes, you’re going to pay a little more on the front end for quality food and preventative care (such as a gym membership, massage, supplements, yoga, etc…), or you’re going to pay a fortune on the back end. Remember, every bite of food you eat will either nourish you or kill you. It’s your choice.
If we total the money being taken from our paychecks for insurance, payment deductibles and co-pays each year, we are probably paying more than some of the higher taxed countries are who have quality healthcare included for their tax dollars.
I’ve been denied care in a Connecticut emergency room without health insurance (after being unceremoniously dropped by Blue Cross Anthem for being a wrestler) when I broke two vertebrae in my back. But legally, I wasn’t “denied care”, because a nurse gave me two painkillers before sending me home. She’d assured me nothing was wrong and I’d be fine. Turns out, she was wrong. Not only were the vertebrae broken, but my tailbone disc had ruptured. I ended up going to Canada for real treatment I could afford and zero wait time, since I elected to pay in cash.
My ex, who was Canadian, was appalled at our system. He just couldn’t believe that ballsy, outspoken Americans were willing to put up with something so crappy, subpar, and expensive. He could never understand why we would jump up and fight over guns and God, but roll over and take it up the ass with no lube when it came to our own healthcare. Quite frankly, he was right.
Two different doctors told me that I almost died last Monday, and that they rarely see a reaction as bad as mine…that I was lucky. If I’d waited a few more minutes (fuck you, slow driving time thieves), or had gotten stung twice, not so much. Thank God I chose Quick Care and not the hospital. To those who might find themselves in the same situation one day, perhaps skip the ER if you want to live. I was also told that since my reaction was so bad, next time it’ll be worse, so I probably won’t make it to an emergency room on my own. Go big or go home, right? (Totally my catch-phrase on this one.)
Eventually, I was allowed to leave with a prescription for two epi pens and a variety of other medications.
However, more fun ensued the following evening when I headed back into the emergency clinic with complications. That wasp was killing me! Literally. (And financially.) My lower leg and foot were hot to the touch, hurt and had doubled in size. I have a high pain tolerance and of course, waited too long once again.
I had a skin infection from the sting site called Cellulitis. “When can I work out?”
Doc: “Not for a while.”
Me: “Define a while.”
Him: “At least 4 days.”
Ugh. I’d skipped the gym all holiday weekend, too. I’ve missed too much gym time this year between pneumonia, bronchitis and now this. I was told to sit on my ass with my leg elevated, and take more medications. I won’t lie; this fucking sucks.
You know what pisses me off? I didn’t even get to kill that wasp. Chris killed its entire family, Frank Castle Punisher style. I suppose that will have to suffice. I left the decimated wasp nest on my front porch as a warning to all others.
The fact that I was so close to dying still hasn’t sunk in. My blood pressure dropped and my heartbeat nearly stopped, too.
I’ve managed to survive much in life:
A highly, abusive ex who tried to strangle me on his way out. (The police broke in to the apartment and tasered him multiple times before taking him to jail).
Bad ring accidents; including a broken back which brought on an asthma attack so bad that I didn’t think I’d make it through.
Multiple battles with pneumonia.
Traveling to foreign countries alone (especially during the Bush era, when everyone hated Americans. I got sent into a dangerous area of Paris “for fun” when I had asked for directions).
One near plane crash during takeoff.
An accidental med overdose as a kid.
Living with a bipolar father.
A wrist cutting. (Hey, I inherited the bp gene. Kind of comes with the territory.),
Falling out of trees/off bikes with alarming regularity (sans helmet).
Working in retail at Christmas.
All of that, only to be done in by a stupid insect?!?
I knew moving to Florida would kill me. On the plus side, at least there’s no death tax here.
I shudder to think what the hospital bills are going to be.
This is where I should say how grateful I’ve realized I am, but to be honest, I was grateful before this. If I had died on that day, I’d have been fine with it. The people I love know I love them. I’ve been places and done things. I’ve lived. I feel lucky on most days, with the clear exception of that Monday. So, I’ll just say thank you for being fans and friends – and if I should have the ironic death of having been through so much shizz in life only to kick the bucket from a fucking bee sting, feel free to have a laugh for me. I know I sure would!
In the meantime, I am sitting around until I finish the antibiotics catching up on Game of Thrones. Silver linings…
Onto the positives…
Thank you to Doctors Express in Clearwater, FL. You’re all awesome.
Huge thanks (big time!) to those who have sent things off my Amazon Wishlist ( http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/258GQWZANXBQ3/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_ws_CUhAvb0YTKWPE ) . Unfortunately, we don’t get rich in wrestling or modeling unless you’re at the very top tier. We are more often than not in trade; content for time. Comic books for our image. Photos for our day of work. It matters more than you know when fans are sweet and supportive. I am very thankful to those who go the extra mile.
I realize I haven’t updated my blog in eons. I’ve been writing, but not FINISHING. Much has been going which that has consumed energy like a vampire; a 5-week ComicCon tour, house hunting and Chris’ bipolar meds being all kinds of fuckity, to name a few of the higher priorities.
But one of these things is that I got baby chicks! At a Shine Wrestling show in January, a friend found a rejected hatchling. She couldn’t keep it due to her extensive cat collection, so I took her home. I’d always wanted chickens one day…just not THAT day. I was a completely clueless chicken (pullet) owner. But things have a way of working out. Her name became Daisy (we hoped it was a ‘her’) and I believe she may be a (bantam) Easter Egger. They’re called that because their eggs are in shades of blue, green, red and yellow. For the first 24 hours of her life, she wasn’t kept warm (unless she was tucked into my boobs), so we didn’t think she’d survive.
But, she did. Chickens of that breed roam around Ybor City. On Google and through talking to others, I’ve learned about heat lamps, Chicken Math, medicated feed and what the term ‘broody’ means, among many other things. The first time I had to reach into a bag of (delicious and nutritious) meal worms, I’ll admit I was extremely grossed out. Now, it’s no biggie.
We honestly had no idea if the little fuzzy yellow ball of cheeping sweetness was a Daisy or a Duke. This became a problem. Where I live, Roosters are illegal and I’d gotten insanely attached to the baby chick. She perked up when she saw me, responded to her name, answered back if talked to, came when called. She also couldn’t stop looking into the mirror I’d put into her brooder (box), which meant she was lonely. I learned she should not be alone, so we got two more chicks from a farm that were show quality silver and gold laced Wyandotte breeds that were slightly older, as that was all that was available in our area. Delilah and Daphne weren’t as warm and fuzzy as Daisy is. They’d been treated as livestock, not pets for the first several weeks of their lives and it showed. The new girls were skittish and hand-shy. It took a lot of work to get them used to us, but they’ve adjusted to a degree. They’d fall asleep in our arms, while we rubbed their necks each night. Daisy turned out to be 100% female (thankfully!) and 100% pet. She loves being picked up and petted. As soon as she sees us, she starts chattering. If you’d told me that chickens make great pets, I would have laughed. But, they do.
I can’t meditate. I’ve tried. I’ve even gone to classes to learn. Clearing a bipolar/ADHD mind is nearly impossible. But watching those chicks play, scratch, interact with each other and chirp away is just about the same thing as meditating. I am able to shut the world out, clear everything and just take them in. It’s strange how calming they are for me. The world quiets, my thoughts stop racing, and it’s just them.
With all this, I have come to a conclusion : chickens = happy.
And they haven’t even started to lay eggs yet. Can’t wait!
Big thanks to Micheal Patry, Danielle Dadamo and Jennifer Dunham for editing my questionable grammar! And thank you to Chris for being the first to read everything and the first to help with it…no matter how honest it is. 🙂
“The World Is Blessed Most By Men Who Do Things and Not By Those Who Merely Talk About Them.”
This is from my Grams daily word cards and very appropriate, considering what’s going on today around us. Many people complain about the world on Facebook and every other social network. I think we can all agree that bitching doesn’t do shit.
Talk isn’t just cheap-it’s free.
Here’s my question to you: what are YOU doing to make your country or this world a better place? For real. This is a legit question. If you were to die tomorrow, how many people would think that you made the world a better place? No one? Just your family? Can you say that you help or inspire others, give back, will leave this earth a slightly better place than before you were on it? Because complaining on Facebook and reposting sordid news doesn’t do any of that. I think it would be amazing if those who complained put some of that energy into improving things. Or making someone smile. Or, just shut the fuck up and go to the gym. Put all that anger into cardio and you’ll be svelte in three months.
You don’t need to comment or write me back. Just think about it. I’ve hit my limit with complaining and I’m betting that you have, too. Perhaps right now is a perfect time to reevaluate and ask what it is that WE do to make things BETTER for others.
Sometimes you have to be told the same thing over and over again until you finally get it.
So, it’s Christmas time again. Tinsel, rain, cold, a new Call Of Duty. For some of us, an excuse to drink muld wine, eat mince pies, see people we’ve not seen for a while.
For others, and maybe a lot more than we’d like to think, long dark nights, poverty, loneliness, heat bills that can’t be paid, constant refreshing of Facebook or Twitter Interactions pages to see if anyone has been in contact. Noticing the amount of people whose profile have shifted from ‘Friend’ to ‘Add Friend.’ on the quiet. Frankly, it’s going to get really nasty for the next few months. I’ve already seen people switch from ‘Flakey’ to ‘More Than Wobbly’
In short, we are approaching the time of S.A.D. I don’t really know what to tell you beyond the…