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3 Dreams: 11.21.14

November 21, 2014


Something was going on with my heart. I visited a male cardiologist. I was wearing yellow and white; I was relatively happy and excited and feeling pretty good about myself — I was bouncing gently as I sat on the exam table. The cardiologist was pleased.

Then there was a test that the cardiologist thought I should take, “just to be sure”. My results were 354, but they should have been around 58. There was a lot of gobbledygook talking at me after that point. The only phrase I remember clearly was “evidence of long-term nerve damage”.

He suggested I take a different test, later. Part 1 would cost $72; Part 2, $200. Insurance probably wouldn’t cover either. But this one was really important that I take because Reasons.

All I really heard was “long-term nerve damage”. I was in shock.



I was at school, and I was old enough that it must’ve been college. Classes let out for the day, and with a group of other students I got on a bus. Only after I’d been on the bus for hours — in fact, right before we reached our destination — did I realize that we were not heading to any place I’ve lived, but to the University of Iowa, in Iowa City.

I then thought to myself, “Hey, R lives in Iowa City! I’ll tweet them, and see if we can get together!” But during the long bus ride, I’d somehow acquired a jacket for my phone that made it open up like a book, so there was a much larger screen. And when I got to the Twitter interface, there were all sorts of visual details I’ve never seen before, and didn’t need. Yet whenever I tried to type in the letters of RG’s handle, my fingers kept hitting other icons on the screen, instead of the letter keys.

The bus pulled into the parking lot in front of a building on the University campus. All of the passengers but me disembarked. A new set of students, all in wheelchairs, boarded the bus. Then the bus turned around and headed back to Maryland.

I texted Spouse to tell him I’d been having an adventure, and would be home late.

I also realized, “Now I’ve been to Iowa!”



I found myself on a sandy beach, that I had apparently reached through a wormhole. There were no other human beings on the beach with me. I just wanted to look around, relax, and write.

But somehow I got mixed up with a group of people who were staying at a beach house nearby. All of them were somehow enslaved by a humanoid alien. Even though I didn’t know any of these people, or the alien, or anything about their world . . . I somehow came to the attention of the oppressing alien, and they started physically threatening me: with being set on fire; with being raped; with somehow turning my body inside out. This alien could fly, and had other powers.

I should have been terrified, and I was scared. But I realized very early on that the oppressive alien had some physical weaknesses, and that others in the house knew what they were. I kept trying to find out what they were for myself, so I could defend myself, if it came to that.



I have only met with a cardiologist once: to discuss the results of a nuclear stress test. Which were normal.

I don’t think I’ve ever bounced while sitting on an exam table at a doctor’s office. (If I have enough energy that I would want to bounce, I stand up and walk around.)

When I tried to recall if I had ever worn a yellow and white outfit, the image that immediately popped into my mind was a yellow and white plaid dress I wore as a little girl. I think I wore it for school pictures one year. It was pretty to look at, but the fabric was rough and scratchy, so I didn’t like wearing it. (My mother thought I was being too fussy.)

Someone I know recently mentioned having “long-term nerve damage” because their parents wouldn’t accept them saying they couldn’t do certain things. I don’t know any details.

Four years ago, I did have a doctor’s visit that was like this one, in the sense of getting news so unwelcome that I didn’t hear anything else. I understood my gynecologist to be telling me I was going to die, soon. I’ve lived my life differently since then.



I’ve never been to Iowa. When I lived in Chicagoland, I dreamed of going to … Iowa. And I easily could have.

The job I had right before I met Spouse had a field office in Ames, Iowa, because of Iowa State University. I was friendly with a bunch of people from that office (who came to visit our office, but I also spoke to them on the phone or by email a lot). I kept trying to figure out how I could go visit them there, but since I was just the receptionist, that wasn’t ever going to happen. Receptionists do not take business trips.

I could have just driven over to Iowa one day. But in the family I grew up in, with the people I knew, doing something like that was … crazy, unheard of. Probably dangerous too. Popping in to Iowa, just to see it, was, literally, unthinkable. So I did not ever do it. Then I got married and moved far away (and grew up, and got rather more adventurous), but now Iowa is much too far away to just drive over there.

R is a grad student at the University of Minnesota, not the University of Iowa. But T is a grad student at the University of Iowa. (I know them both from Twitter.) Besides both being grad students, what do R and T have in common? They’re both poets; both people of color; both (at least) bilingual. Both are creative and original thinkers. Both are well-versed in navigating cultural barriers that many other people don’t even notice exist.

I admire the way each of them write, very much. I believe they are many years younger than I am, they’ve faced all sorts of challenges I haven’t, and they’re also way better writers than I am. It’s humbling.

Iowa as a Holy Grail of sorts? But maybe it represents things I could easily do, but don’t. There are definitely things like that, writing things even. Chesapeake Bay. My sense of smell. My synesthesia.



The beach in the dream had sand dunes. So it resembled both Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the Michigan Dunes (both places I visited, and loved, many times as a kid), and … Chincoteague? Which has much smaller dunes.

I come alive when there are people to care about. They might not be human beings — if there’d been crabs on the beach, dolphins or jellyfish in the water, that could’ve been enough.

I need the complexity of social interactions. I need stuff I don’t understand, but stuff that can, with diligence, be figured out (at least somewhat).

I need a cause. I have strengths, and know (somewhat) how to use them. Now, where can I put them to good use?

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