Torn between FIVE Men! Me?–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–February 1995, Part 7

Sharon and I plotted to go to The Brady Movie, which had just come out in theaters, with Krafter and Stimpy on a double date.  But before we could say anything about it, Stimpy told me (totally oblivious) that he just saw it with his good friend Misty, a thirtyish gay man.

Misty was a sweet guy, and also flamboyantly gay, at least online.  I loved playing with him in tele.  Fortunately, he and Stimpy were just friends.  But dang it, now our scheme was ruined.

On Saturday, February 18, Krafter drove Sharon and me in his minivan to his house.  (Stimpy didn’t have a car.)  We watched MST:3K there, sitting on the pillow-filled, white couch in the immaculate living room, watching a big-screen TV.

I sat close to Stimpy on the couch and kept inching closer.  I forget what else I did, but it was obvious to Sharon what I was doing.

****

I couldn’t believe how quickly I got a reply from Cugan: within a few days of sending my letter.  I showed his letter to Catherine, who read more into it than I did.

She thought the line, “If you cannot find someone [to drive you to the next SCA meeting], let me know, and I’d be happy to help,” and his phone number, to be signs of interest.  I hoped so, but didn’t want to read in things that might not be there.

We were both impressed to find that the universe actually favored me: Cugan was a conservative Christian, a Lutheran (Missouri Synod).  I asked Catherine if that was compatible with Nazarenes, because I’d had quite enough of religious friction.  She, a member of ELCA, said Lutherans are probably the most compatible denomination.

I planned another letter, hoping to start a correspondence that may lead to more than friendship.

****

On the night of Monday, February 20, I went online and found Stimpy.  Somehow, the conversation turned to dating.  I don’t remember if he noticed me coming on to him on Saturday, but he might have.  I asked if he wanted to be considered my man, and he said okay.  I wrote,

“I just got out of a bad relationship only a few months ago, so I don’t want a serious relationship yet: I’m scared of it.”

This is one reason why I pursued several guys at once: If the heart is so divided, the rejection of one will not hurt, and none will be able to wound it with mistreatment.

It gave me the chance to find out what each guy was really like, to find a compatible one, and to weed out deceptive ones like Peter and abusive ones like Phil.  I even flirted with Stubby, though he had an online girlfriend.

Stimpy wrote, “I’m not going to push you, and it’ll be nothing you don’t want.”

We agreed that we could see other people.

That same night, Catherine called and asked, “Do you want me to call up Cugan and get some information out of him?  I’ll say I’m doing a poll on who’s married and single in the shire.”

I didn’t know it for quite some time, but she was actually direct, asking him what he thought of me.

Soon after I logged off TCB that night, the phone rang again.

Catherine said, “I just talked to Cugan.  You know what?  He thinks you’re cute.”

Of course, here I was in Heaven because Cugan thought I was cute, but also ambivalent because I’d just asked Stimpy to date me.

I knew it was okay to date them both if they both wanted me.  I’d never played the field before, despite wanting to with Peter at times, so it intrigued me.

After I told Speaker of my agreement with Stimpy, I still called myself “your Nyssie,” but Speaker wrote, “No, you’re not my Nyssie.  You’re Stimpy’s Nyssie now.”  I tried to tell him it wasn’t exclusive.

And I also wrote to Brad from the Superbowl Party.  I never had three guys interested in me all at once before.

If I got serious with any of them, I’d have to give up the other two–and give that one a chance to turn abusive.  Brad was more a pen friend than a boyfriend, though: We were writing to see if we wanted it to go farther or not.

****

On the night of either Friday the 24th or Saturday the 25th, Krafter hosted a “Python-a-thon.”  He invited those whom he considered to be the nice and cool users of TCB.  So Avenger and Lima were not there, of course.

Sharon and I were invited.  An engineering student named Franz was there; either I or someone else called him Znarf.  He was one of Avenger’s favorite targets.

I believe Stubby was there, too.  A few others were also there, mostly guys.   Krafter showed Monty Python movies: The Holy Grail, The Meaning of Life, and Life of Brian.  I’d never seen The Meaning of Life before, and it was quite a treat.

At some point that night, when everyone else had gone home and left Sharon and me with Krafter and Stimpy, somebody mentioned the SCA.  Krafter said he thought about joining a local group, but then he met a member who didn’t believe in bathing or modern dentistry.  (I later found out who he meant.)  He didn’t want to join anymore.

Sharon and I stayed over until the next morning.  No, there were no orgies or improprieties.  🙂  I cuddled up with Stimpy on the couch, and eventually fell asleep.

Sharon, Krafter and probably Stimpy watched late movies they found on TV, such as the re-make of The Fly with Jeff Goldblum.  I was asleep when they turned it on, and since I couldn’t stand to ever see that movie again, I tried to go back to sleep.  (I had to see it in my Sci-Fi Winterim class freshman year; it was gross.  😛 )

After that, whenever I saw Stimpy online, I usually typed “cuddle stimpy,” and he typed “cuddle nys.”  This called up the actions, “Nyssa is cuddling with Stimpy” and “Stimpy is cuddling with Nyssa.”

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

End Times and Christian Zionism

To find a good interpretation of Revelation and other End-Time prophecies, you must look at the Church’s accepted traditions, not newfangled ideas (such as a Rapture before the Tribulation) which popped up in the last few centuries.  One good source is the Orthodox Study Bible.

Challenging Christian Zionism shows how Christian Zionism hampers the peace process in the Middle East.

A review of Left Behind,Fundamentally Unsound” by Michelle Goldberg, has a similar philosophy.

Glenn Scherer argues that “Christian right-views are swaying politicians and threatening the environment.”

This link from the Presbyterian Church (USA) describes Christian Zionism and includes many links on the subject.

This page from Cornerstone Magazine explains how Christian Zionism demonizes certain nations and disrupts the peace process in Israel.

This Catholic website explains, in the “Interpretation” section near the end, how the prophecies of the Beast have been fulfilled in the first century, in the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire.

Catholics, as well as many other Christian denominations, also believe in amillennialism.  Amillennialism would explain why John the Baptist and Christ kept saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

It was also the traditional interpretation of the Church: Though a few early Church Fathers and writers believed the Millennium was to be a literal thousand years, this was not the dominant belief.  In fact, it was rejected at the Second Ecumenical Council (p. 627-628, The Orthodox Study Bible).

This site describes the various interpretations very well.

Eastern Orthodoxy rejects dispensationalism.  Here is an Orthodox writer’s view of premillennial dispensationalism.

Here is the Orthodox view of Revelations.

Also see Left Behind–What is Rapture? by Dave Elfering.

And The $666 Question: How to Interpret the Omen? by Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos.

And, on page 13 of the June/July 2006 issue of the Orthodox Observer, “Revelation Also Speaks to Contemporary Christians” by Fr. Angelo Artemas.

 

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

Dialogues
The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

 

Furious at the Judgment on Nonie’s Morning Sickness (My Five Wives)

This is NOT something you can ever understand until you have walked that mile. Morning sickness is not the same, and I don’t want to hear about how “bad” it was to vomit a couple times a day over a month or so.

I don’t want to hear about only “being able to eat crackers”. I would have given my right hand to keep down crackers most days.

These are things I am not supposed to admit in polite conversation – but HG is not a polite illness. It is callous and horrible and takes women and babies from our lives.

This is NOT morning sickness. This is not a pregnant woman being a drama queen or lazy.

This is not something a few crackers before getting out of bed can fix. Or ginger. Or what ever else is in the normal bag of tricks for morning sickness – I tried them all.

This is a truly debilitating illness in every possible way. I hope that next time the world hears of a mother suffering from HG their advice will not be “suck it up.” –Mama Bice, HG: More than morning sickness

I go trolling the Net and Facebook for comments on TLC’s polygamy shows, “My Five Wives” and “Sister Wives,” hoping to find fans discussing things that get me curious.

But instead I find so much judgment that I can’t believe it.  People keep seeing all these dreadful things that I just do not see when I watch these shows.

They make all sorts of horrid pronouncements about the character and behavior of the various people on the shows.

I just don’t see those things at all.  I see happy people going through the normal trials of marriage, but multiplied because of all the wives.  I see normal people with normal behaviors.

I don’t see weepy, sad, whiny, mean women at all.  I see normal reactions by women with various temperaments, to situations which are unusual for most Americans, probably edited for the screen to make situations more “dramatic.”

Remember, drama keeps viewers.  Normal, day-to-day stuff which does not cause anybody to weep, would be booooring, and viewers would run away in droves.

I believe the people who post those things are just “hate-viewing” the shows.  I believe they are queen-bee-style bullies, mean girls, because of how viciously they react whenever somebody calls them out for what they say.  Remember, the people in the show can read what they write.

I believe these commenters just plain don’t like polygamy and are seeing things that aren’t there, because of their biases.

But the latest judgment and ridicule has just gotten to me so much that I had to blog about it.  Especially since it revealed to me just how much ignorance is out there on severe morning sickness.

Nonie on My Five Wives is suffering from morning sickness.  We are told that it is debilitating and severe.  None of the wives or the husband appear to judge her on it.  They are the ones dealing with her, after all, not the viewers, yet none of them has complained about it.

My heart instantly went out to her as she dragged through the day.  I thought her behavior was understandable for someone who probably feels like she has stomach flu that lasts for months.

Yet so many people around the Net are calling her a “drama queen” and accusing her of being lazy, playing it up for sympathy, that sort of thing.

Well, excuse me, have you EVER had to deal with this?  Not just bad morning sickness, but hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)?

HG is NOT just “morning sickness.”  Women who get this are NOT “drama queens,” “lazy” or “playing for sympathy.”

The term has not been used on the show, but I have posted about it on their Facebook page.  Nonie’s behavior makes me strongly suspect that’s what she has, especially since the other wives don’t judge her for it.

Also, none of the commenters know, either, if it’s HG, since the name has not been used.

But “severe morning sickness” has been used, the term those of us who have had it (but without knowing the proper term), would call it.  Without knowing for sure, those commenters should certainly not judge her.

I do NOT see her “whining” about it “constantly,” as many have accused.  I see someone struggling just to keep her head up.  Her head is probably dizzy, and most people would also struggle.

I am impressed because she at least gets dressed and brushes her hair; obviously she is skipping makeup.

My fury at people’s bizarre cruelty, led me to Google the Net for more about HG.  Princess Kate has dealt with it; people even mocked her in the media, even though she was hospitalized for it.

Charlotte Brontë DIED from HG.

I missed this during Princess Kate’s first pregnancy, since I don’t watch The View, and was so far removed from my own experiences (in 2003) that I wasn’t paying attention.  But The View was inundated with angry messages after trivializing the princess’s condition.

Other sufferers of HG also complain that their plight is trivialized by others: family, strangers, even doctors and nurses at times.  Because HG is so rare, and most women experience morning sickness, people apparently think you just throw up and then feel fine.  That these women must be whiners, or not want their babies, or they’re lazy drama queens.  That anyone can just deal with morning sickness along with a job, other children, housework, etc.

Wrong-o.

Warning: This is graphic, because I see other blogs about this are just as graphic, if not more so.

HG is so severe that your “morning sickness” never goes away.  After you throw up, you still feel sick.  Nothing stays down; eventually, you start puking up bile because there is nothing in your stomach.

You begin to starve, and lose weight rapidly.  If you are not treated early, you can end up with an IV pumping in fluids, and taking expensive medication usually used for chemotherapy nausea.  Which upsets your insurance company, who begins paying for less and less of it.

How do I know this?  Why am I so upset?  Because I went through it myself.

When the first bout came on, I thought it was stomach flu.  I spent all my time on the couch, unable to hold my head up.  I could barely take care of myself when my husband was not home.

Multiple times vomiting per hour went on for days, even after nothing was left in my stomach.  The slightest movement of my head made me sick, so I was afraid to move.

How many days it lasted I don’t recall, just that I had to take unpaid leave from my job because I couldn’t handle anything: food, smells, even walking to the bathroom.  I could not take a shower without getting sick.

I could not do housework at all.  I’m not a lazy housekeeper: My diligence has been noted by many.  I can’t stand lying around all day, either.  This was forced on me by my condition.

This is like the worst stomach flu you have ever had, which had you crawling on the floor, camped out in the bathroom, or lying in your bed, never letting up even right after you have just vomited.  Only it does not go away in a few days.

Would you call someone a slacker, drama queen, or whiny for staying in bed all day for the stomach flu?

A package of Target clothes arrived while I was sick.  Even the sight of that made me sick.  I’d think of the beautiful clothes inside, and feel sick.  I was forced to return them, because even saving them for later was impossible.

As the days passed, I began thinking, “I’m so hungry!” in plaintive cries, because I had no nourishment.  I lost weight rapidly.  I even thought about abortion, even though I oppose it, because I feared my life depended on it.

My doctor took me seriously, and when all the other remedies did not work (I even threw up the Emetrol), he prescribed Zofran.  Almost immediately, I recovered enough that I got up and cleaned the house.  The next day, I went back to work.

Far longer than you’re supposed to get morning sickness, I still had to take the Zofran.  I would try to get off it because it was getting harder and harder to get the insurance company to pay for it, and without insurance it would be $500!!!  But then I’d start puking again, and have to go back on it.

The symptoms finally abated later in the pregnancy, in the fifth month, I believe.  I went off the Zofran and did not vomit again.

But I still often felt nauseated.  Even the newspaper and computer smelled so weird that I could not be near them for long.  I kept thinking I smelled a gas leak, even though professionals came in and confirmed there was none.

Fortunately, though, I was well enough to keep up with the housework and other things.  My mom was surprised at how much energy I had in my final months of pregnancy.  If not for early intervention, things may not have gone so well.

All the symptoms finally went away after the birth.  My son was large (10 lbs 6 oz), but healthy, so I have no complaints about using Zofran during pregnancy.

But there are many women for whom even Zofran and other medications are not enough.

This is no laughing matter.  This is not just weak women who can’t deal with morning sickness like everybody else does.

Nobody made fun of me or accused me of whining, so this is not personal.

My anger is for the sake of the many women who have been treated like “It’s all in your head, you princess, so get out of bed and make dinner for your hungry kids.”  (And, well, the effects of heightened smells can often make it impossible for a pregnant woman to cook.)

Some other websites and blogs on this:

Like Ressler, she now had other children to care for. But she was so sensitive to smell — and scent was so distorted to her — that she could not bear to be near her daughters.

“Their skin smelled like old, and their breath smelled like Korean food,” Kemp remembers. “Their diapers sent me over the edge.”

She abandoned a looming book deadline, hired two babysitters to cover the hours when her husband was at work and sequestered herself on the third floor with a 24-hour IV nutrition line.

Every night, she says, her family “ate sandwiches in the basement. They were not allowed to cook anything. If they cut an onion, I could smell it three flights up.”

…Kemp gave serious thought to terminating the pregnancy. “My doctor told me, ‘Some people abort at this stage. If you can’t take any more of this, you can abort.’”

After spending time on message boards filled with fellow sufferers — some of whom had terminated, others who did not — she decided to continue with the pregnancy. –Lisa Belkin, Kate Middleton’s Pregnancy Sheds Light on Rare Condition

 

Given the Gawker mandate to be glib and ruthless, whether or not they know what they’re talking about, I won’t pretend to be shocked by a dashed-off remark in Monday’s post on Kate Middleton’s pregnancy:

The Palace also reported that Kate was admitted to the hospital today with “hyperemesis gravidarum,” which is what they call regular old morning sickness when you are a princess.

Nor, for more or less the same reasons, was it surprising to watch the ladies of “The View” dismiss the duchess’s condition with a flurry of bubbly interruptions, ignoring a nurse’s earnest response to Barbara Walters’ half-hearted question about whether HG is serious:

“It can be,” the nurse said sheepishly. (In an open letter to the duchess, HG sufferer Betsy Shaw gives Kate “permission to slap” Walters.)

I have no idea whether Kate has HG or not. But the fact remains that it can be a brutal, crippling condition that goes largely ignored and untreated, partly due to its overlap with ordinary pregnancy sickness and partly to our attitude toward suffering and the suffering of pregnant women in particular.

…Some days are good. [My wife] can have a conversation, manage a strained laugh, maybe even take a walk. She’s still nauseated at every moment, but maybe she makes it through the day without vomiting. Which does happen.

Other days, and these tend to be strung together, she can barely sit up, and just the effort of having a conversation makes her shudder and rush to the bathroom, retching all the way.

Even the quality of the vomiting is different. Violent and persistent, it can often resemble drowning, particularly when it becomes so painful and scary that it’s interrupted by moans and cries.

Last month, I forgot to eat breakfast before taking some vitamins and found myself over the toilet. After a few terrible minutes of nausea the pills came up and I felt better almost immediately. A few minutes of nausea.

One of the cruelest parts of HG is that vomiting provides zero relief; you feel just as bad as the moment before. –Evan Derkacz, True Story: My Wife Has HG

 

Less than a week after Thanksgiving, I ate the last meal I have eaten up to this point. I was seven weeks pregnant. Three days later, I was hospitalized for 11 days.

During my hospital stay I was given IV fluids and several of the medications most frequently prescribed for HG — Zofran and Reglan — through my IV.

One day after several nurses attempted eight times to put in a new IV, the doctors decided to give me a PICC line, essentially a permanent IV in my upper arm, since it was obvious I would need long-term IV hydration and medication.

Although I was still unable to eat more than a few bites of food at a time, and only occasionally would they stay down, I was discharged.

Now at home I receive home health care where a nurse visits several times a week to check on me and change the dressing on my PICC line. I am also on a pump that gives me a continuous flow of Zofran through a subcutaneous needle inserted in my stomach.

Because I have a strong needle phobia, my husband has to stab me with the needle every other day, as well as administer the different bags of medicine and fluids because I am too weak to change them myself.

I have two daughters, ages 4 and 19 months. HG has taken me from them, although they do not understand why. Mommy lies in bed all day and cannot play with them.

I can barely muster up energy to read a book before bed with each of them, although I try to do at least that to stay close to them. –Alexa Davidson Suskin, What it really feels like to have HG (I especially recommend this article because she goes into graphic detail, far more than I did, about what exactly is suffered)

 

Just because you’re a duchess doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to be miserable. Pregnancy is a blessing, yes, but no one can feel blessed when they can’t keep even a sip of water down.

Be patient with yourself. The gratitude will return and that baby will know you love him or her, despite all your misery.

It’s perfectly normal to feel like tearing the eyeballs out of every well-meaning, yet clueless, person who advises you to eat crackers, drink ginger ale, try Sea-Bands, crystalized ginger, lemonade, gentle exercise, etc.

It’s also normal to be haunted by thoughts about termination: Hearing your doctor tell you she can make you feel more comfortable but cannot actually take the HG away, the only thing that can make it go away is to not be pregnant, can be a heavy, heavy burden.

Take the drugs the doctor offers and try your best not to feel guilty about it. We all feel guilty about it. And know that many of us who have survived HG report back that, despite our worst fears, our babies are perfectly normal and fine. Just fine. — Betsy Shaw, Dear Kate: I feel your HG pain

 

Most affected women have numerous episodes of vomiting throughout the day with few if any symptom-free periods, especially during the first three to four months. This leads to significant and rapid weight loss, dehydration, electrolyte disturbances, and nutritional deficiencies often requiring hospitalization.

If prolonged or more severe and not treated promptly, these can lead to kidney or liver damage. Numerous complications, some of which can be life-threatening are possible without adequate medical intervention. –Her, Diagnosis

 

Also, this website has information and support forums for HG sufferers.

This episode of Dr. Phil describes HG.  I missed this when it aired, however, because I no longer watched the show in 2007.

 

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