Let’s pretend it’s Canadian Thanksgiving

It’s American Thanksgiving, so I thought I would take this time to talk about how I spent Canadian Thanksgiving 2019.

Admittedly this may seem like a bit of a stretch since I’m not American, but I wasn’t on this blog for Canadian Thanksgiving, so this will have to do.

Last year at the end of September, I got a really terrible cough. At the time, I didn’t think much of it–I’ve been prone to the flu and to croup and to bronchitis for my entire life. I was checked to see if I had pneumonia, I didn’t, so I went home and coughed violently for a few weeks. Just as it felt like the coughing was dying down, I started feeling some pain in my ribcage, and again, didn’t think much of it. I’m an active person, I was used to some soreness after having the flu or bronchitis, it was normal. I checked with my doctor, she said about the same.

The night before Thanksgiving, I went to sleep a bit uncomfortable, but fine. I woke up only a few hours later in tears from how much pain I was in. It hurt when I moved, it hurt when I breathed, it hurt when I lay down, it hurt when I walked. I had gone from “this is uncomfortable but bearable” to “oh my god what if I broke a rib” in what felt like record time. I don’t drive–not that I would want to be driving in that state anyway–so in the morning my dad drove me, with my mom as company, to the ER.

It was a long day. I hadn’t spent a lot of time in the ER in my life. I’ve gotten stitches three times but didn’t remember the ER well from those experiences; the first time I was about 6 and so traumatized all I remember is how much it hurt when I got stitches in the back of my neck, the second time I was ten and mostly remember my grandfather who spoke minimal english struggling with the doctor, and the third time at 22 I went to the family doctor instead. I certainly didn’t remember this much WAITING. Or this many STEPS. I had to get a number, and get a bracelet, and explain to the nurse what was wrong, and have the nurse check me over. And then me and my mom got shuffled into another waiting room further into the hospital, while my dad went to get me a croissant and some water.

The first waiting room had been relatively uneventful, but the second one was smaller and more crowded, so I had more of an up close and personal look at the other patients. I vividly remember a young woman there who was throwing up, over and over and over. Filling bags, filling boxes. It was so bad that I, who remember was in severe pain, actually stood outside the waiting room until she got moved to another room to get attached to fluids. I’m sure it was much worse for her than it was for me. I also chose this time to post an Instagram story about how I was spending Thanksgiving in the ER, completely without context. In my pain-and-waiting induced delirium, I didn’t see anything wrong with this. I realized it was a mistake when I started getting a bunch of worried messages from friends, worried I had broken a leg or my head or something. Did not think that through. But I did feel loved, so maybe that was something to be thankful for.

I finally got moved into another room where a doctor would be speaking to me. The one I got was fairly young–it’s a teaching hospital–and very willing to help and listen and ask questions. He asked very earnestly if I did any drugs (“I don’t even drink coffee”), felt around my ribcage (“yes it hurts in all of those places”), and was able to rule out a few things by looking and by doing some tests there in the room. He then sent me off to get X-rays done, which involved yet more waiting, this time in a very white hallway where no one was throwing up. I awkwardly changed behind a screen, they took my X-rays, and they determined that no ribs were broken and nothing was punctured. While that was a relief, I was still in a ton of pain, and I was getting both hungry and really, really tired of waiting, and I wanted to know what was wrong. I also had bloodwork done, which involved, you guessed it, much more waiting. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the doctors and nurses and the thorough job they were doing, it was just a very long day.

It was about 5 pm by then, and I had been at the hospital since about 10 am. The doctor from before and an older doctor came to speak to me; no surgery or instant fix was needed (good), but the muscles between my ribs were swollen and irritated from the constant coughing I had done in the past several weeks and that’s what was causing me so much pain (bad). I ended up leaving the hospital with instructions on what I should do to help treat it, and a prescription for three different kinds of medication for my tiny self to help treat both the swelling and the pain. There were large pills I would take twice a day, extra strength Advil I could take every few hours, and a very tiny, very strong pill so I could sleep. I would also be sleeping propped up on pillows for the next several weeks, and using hot compresses.

By that time, my mom had called my dad and he was ready to pick us up. Apparently the first waiting room had gotten more eventful by that time of the day, because he had seen a man come in who was bleeding from his penis, which I certainly missed. We went to pick up my prescriptions before driving to my aunt’s house where everyone, including my brother who had not come along for my ER adventure, was gathered for Thanksgiving. My aunt had kindly left us leftovers, so I finally got to have the turkey and gravy and stuffing and potatoes and pumpkin chocolate truffles that I had been waiting for. After the long, long day of waiting and discomfort, it felt more like a reward than anything. I was thankful, in that moment, to be able to be in a house full of family and friends, eating good food and moaning about my day.

So there’s my rambling story about how I spent Canadian Thanksgiving 2019 and how I learned the real meaning of Thanksgiving. Other than like, colonialism.

I told you I would talk about Dark

Like a lot of people, I have consumed a lot of Netflix this year. I’ve never been a binge watcher–I genuinely cannot sit myself down to watch more than like three hours of television at a time–and having more time didn’t change that. But I’ve still managed to get through a decent amount of content. Of the shows I’ve watched, one of my faves has been a German Neflix series, Dark.

The description on Netflix for this show reads, “A missing child sets four families on a frantic hunt for answers as they unearth a mind-bending mystery that spans three generations.” I don’t think that does it justice. It’s a well-acted, well-crafted, grounded, riveting, tangle of a sci-fi mystery. It’s one of those shows I can’t even describe much without spoilers, so I won’t say too much here. But I will say that it involves one of my favourite things: time travel.

I’ve loved time travel since I was a kid watching Back to the Future and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure with my parents and reading “A Tale of Time City” by Diana Wynne Jones and “A Wrinkle In Time” on repeat. I’ve loved it through Doctor Who and About Time and Fringe and The Umbrella Academy and Primeval and countless other books and tv shows and movies in the time since. I’ve loved multiple variations of time travel in multiple genres for what feels like my whole life.

I don’t know what it is that draws me to time travel. I do love history and I’ve been a history nerd since I first started reading. There are a lot of time travel stories that get very historical, going back in time to known eras and even referencing real events or artefacts. But that’s not every time travel story. I love puzzles and mysteries; there’s something so satisfying about putting pieces together, having that “aha” moment, and watching a well crafted story unfold. But that’s not every time travel story either. I love science, and space, and the logistics I might not totally understand. But not every time travel story has those either.

Maybe it’s the possibility I love. I love that I can go into a time travel narrative and not be sure what kind of time travel I’m going to get (will it be a closed loop? Is it butterfly effect? is it more contained, or far reaching?). I love that there’s so many possibilities narratively–things can happen that you could otherwise only dream of. I love stories that take scientific or mathematical theories and push them just a bit further into speculative reality, and I love stories where it’s all magic or handwaved away. I love stories like Doctor Who where every person and place and event in time and space is up for grabs, and I love stories like Dark where it’s all wrapped up in the history of one small town.

To get back to Dark, there’s not much more that I can say other than I love this show, and I’m sadly not even getting paid to say it. I finished the series last night and today drew up a whole time travel related chart. This show has literally turned me into the red string pepesilvia meme.

If this is something you’re interested in, I would absolutely recommend it. There are three seasons of about 8-10 episodes each, and it’s available on Netflix both dubbed and with subtitles (unless you are seriously seeing impaired, I would highly recommend the subtitled version, the actors are so good and also you can convince yourself that you are learning German.) I should warn that Dark lives up to it’s name–it can get really damn bleak, and there are realistic depictions of death, violence, and suicide. But if you can handle it, I would give it a try this winter. Maybe you will even feel as strongly about it as I do.

This is the title of my first blog post

I don’t think it’s controversial to say that the last year has been hard for a lot of people.

It’s November and I’m still trying to find a way to get through it with everything intact. I’ve had to keep telling myself that it’s never too late to start working on doing so in earnest. It’s come in fits and starts. Most of the things that have made me happy have been books and music and movies and tv shows. Walks in the park when I feel like doing so. Sitting by the lake downtown once or twice. Getting the energy to do a good workout.

Lately I’ve been trying to actively work on making my own joy–even when it’s the little things–, and also on trying to push myself–even in ways that may seem small. Wearing a cute outfit that makes me happy even when I’m not going anywhere, not just my rotating cycle of leggings and oversized sweaters. Dressing up for Halloween even though I had no plans (stay home kids) and doing a photoshoot in the park. Learning dance choreography just because I thought it would be fun. Posting a video of me doing said choreography on instagram even though it gave me major anxiety to do so (I can’t help but think I’m not good enough, or did terribly, or look silly. I thought about deleting it for hours afterwards. But I didn’t.)

And now, writing a blog post.

I have been told I should start a blog for years, but never did. Among other things, I didn’t think I had anything to say. I still don’t think I do, not really. It feels weird to say that, especially since I can usually talk anyone’s ear off and can give an opinion on anything and everything. I am a champion of thinking and overthinking. Maybe that overthinking is why I always felt like I wouldn’t know where to start. Would I need a theme? Would I hate it later if I felt married to a certain theme or structure? Did anything I wanted to say mean anything?

But sometimes you have to take your own moments of joy where you can find them, and share those moments. Maybe that will include me raving about how much I love the Netflix show Dark, which I’ve been watching the past few months. Maybe that will including rating the Hallmark movies I watch too much of every Christmas season. Maybe I’ll talk about space, or superheroes, or how much I miss dance classes. And maybe writing about any of this will mean being constantly worried that no one cares, or that I’m weird, or that I’m boring. And maybe that’s okay too. If I can’t push through feeling like that for a blog, how can I push myself outside of one? How can I make my own joy?

So hi, I’m Sabrina, and I’m probably going to stare at my screen for twenty minutes before I press publish. And that’s okay.