Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta health. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta health. Mostrar todas las entradas

martes, 25 de octubre de 2016

Cheese, bullied

   Every single time she ate cheese, she suffered from stomach ache and the most awful and embarrassing case of gas that anyone could suffer. As many people with the same problem, Lila had learn to ask every time she ate in a restaurant if the meal she was about to ask for had any traces of cheese. Some people did the same with peanuts and others with other types of food, but her problem was with cheese. However, she did have to see cheese ever single day at home as everyone else was able to process it normally, so they ate it.

 She really didn’t like to be a nuisance, a problem of some kind. She knew it was very annoying for other people when she had to ask for traces of cheese. And when people didn’t want to understand what the problem was, it was extremely embarrassing to tell them what would happen if she ate just a small piece of cheese. She would go very red and her voice would tremble and every person would feel awkward because it seemed she was over sharing when she was just explaining how awful it was for her to eat something that could even kill her.

 Lila had discovered her condition in high school. It was one of the worst memories for her to remember. When she was a very little girl, she actually loved cheese and her mother would always put some string cheese on her lunchbox because she knew how much she adored it. Lila would eat it very slowly; enjoying every single piece as if it was some kind of delicacy that only a few people had access to. Her friends always thought it was something very weird but they never said anything about it, at least not back then.

 Years later, when she became a teenager, she still had much love for cheese. But it was one day in high school when they were presented with pasta for lunch and she decided to practically cover her plate with Parmesan cheese. Her friends laugh and she did it partially to be funny. When a teacher noticed what she was doing, he told her she had to eat that whole plate of food if she didn’t want to be taken to the principal’s office for wasting food and playing with it instead of eating like all the rest of the students.

 Lila accepted the challenge and ate the whole plate. The teacher watched her do it as well as her friends that applauded her once she was done. It was one of those really cool moments in school when teacher get served when they’re being impossible and just ridiculous. However, only five minutes after finishing or so, Lila began to feel really bad. She felt as if someone with a knife was cutting her stomach from the inside. It was awful. She tried to resist the pain for a while but she finally asked her teacher for permission to go to the nurse’s office.

 And just as she did so, she farted. It was loud and clear and charged with a foul smell that filled the rather small classroom. Every single person there complained and laughed and booed her. She had to run away, having the door behind her open. Her body had betrayed her in the most awful way possible and, to be honest, she didn’t even think about the nurse when she ran out of the room. She regretted leaving her backpack. What she really wanted to do was to go home and never come back to any of her classes for the rest of the year.

 However, that was not possible. She wandered around school until a teacher saw her. Then, she almost ran to the nurse’s office and told her what had happened. Nurse Holly obviously wanted to laugh but tried not to and instead told Lila to lay down in order to be properly examined. As it was obvious, her stomach was bloated. That and the foul gad indicated she had something to eat that wasn’t very well received by her stomach. The nurse asked her to remember what she had eaten so they could know what it was that caused it.

 Of course, the huge bowl of pasta came to her head fast. Nurse Holly said it could be either the cheese or the pasta because many people in the world weren’t able to eat either of them. So she gave the girl a pill for her ill stomach and told her to remain there for a while until it worked. Then, she could choose going back to class or going home. It was only an hour and a half to go to the end of the school day so there wasn’t much difference, she said. She clearly didn’t know how embarrassed Lila was about had just happened.

 Her mother came to pick her up and she wasn’t very happy about it as classes would finish in only an hour. She told her daughter she could’ve resisted a little bit more and just come on the school bus as every single day. She was obviously not very happy about having to pick her daughter in school because it disrupted her schedule. She was a realtor, selling properties in the area to people that wanted to live in one of the most well taken care of area of the city. She made a very nice living, so her daughter interrupting wasn’t the best thing to happen.

 When Lila arrived home, she quickly ran to her room and closed the door. Her mother didn’t understand how embarrassed and humiliated she felt after what happened. She had tried to explain but her mother was too busy with her things to actually hear her daughter speak for a couple of minutes. So Lila would rather just be alone in her room and suffer her stomachache there without anyone that would make her feel annoyed or underappreciated. After all she was teenager in her most difficult years.

 She didn’t really want to go to school the next day but her parents said that food poisoning was not an excuse to miss more than one day of school. And they were so strict that missing an hour was for them the same thing that missing a full day. So Lila had to hop in the school bus in the morning and from that point on she felt every single look on her. She could even hear the laughs and jokes but she tried hard not to care or, at least, not to be aware of everyone for the rest of the day. She just wanted every class to be fast so the day could finish soon.

 However, that rarely happens in high school. Her first subject was History and, for her, there wasn’t a more boring assignment. She normally wandered off in that class, drawing doodles on her notebook or passing little notes to her friends, normally talking about some boy or mocking the teacher. But this time, she wasn’t included in that activity. She noticed when one of the girls turned around, looked at her as if she was garbage and then passed the note to another girl sitting beside her. That felt even more humiliating that the fart.

 Her social life went in decline since that awful day. So much so than the following week, Lila didn’t have someone to sit with her at lunch. And then, the jokes got meaner and they weren’t whispered anymore but yelled in the hallways and everywhere a large crowd was inspired to laugh at her and imitate the sound of farts with hands and arms and mouths. It was very humiliating. Lila tried to talk with the principal but he dismissed her saying that she was imagining things, as people didn’t get bullied in his school. And then it became clear to her: she wasn’t the only one.

 Many others were bullied in school. Of course, not for the same things as her, but it did happen and more often than the school would admit. They teased a boy for being gay and a girl for not dressing “fashionable” enough. And of course, they teased people for being fat and others for being poor. So Lila decided to punch back and tried to talk with every single one of those who had been insulted, pushed around and called names. She wanted them all to be with her in order to do something that, she thought, would make things change.

 Her mother had sold a house to a very renowned news anchor and she had become friends with him. Lila convinced her mother to let her talk to him and her mother, seeing how insisting she was, accepted. The man thought it was a very important local subject and assigned someone to it. A week after, everyone in the city knew about how bullying was going rampant in schools for the stupidest reasons and how no one was doing anything to help. The report had serious consequences and all because of a plate full of cheese.

sábado, 9 de julio de 2016

Juno V

   Collecting ice from the rings was very dangerous but also one of the many things they had set up to do on the mission. The Juno V crew knew their responsibilities by heart and every one of them knew everything about their ship and their list of duties. They also knew how to fix the microwave if it broke or how to properly grow food in the small compartments where doctor Wood worked all day every day. Not that anyone thought he would leave or something, but rather he had told him how to do it.

 He was a botanist, one of the best, and had accepted to be on the mission because he wanted to test many of his theories and what better way than in a mission to Jupiter and its moon. It was the perfect place to make tests and try to execute every single one of his theories in order to know if they were accurate. His results would prove essential for the advancement of botanical technology on Earth and in other space missions.

 Wood had tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes and apples growing on his small farm. Well, it wasn’t really a farm because of the dimensions of the laboratory and of the food but he enjoyed calling it that, it made it seem less advanced, more grounded. After a few months, he was able to feed the other five people of the ship with his vegetables and they enjoyed their salad thoroughly. It was much better than eating one of those dehydrated meals they had in stock. No one complained about sizes or portions because they understood the difficulty of the whole thing.

 One of the astronauts that spend a lot of time with Wood was Brooke Stone. Ms. Stone was in charge of the telescope and everything related to the observation of the bodies they were studying such as Jupiter, Europa, Ganymede and Io. She love to spend her day taking pictures of them, trying to not only make them functional for work but also a bit artistic as she thought science lack a little bit of that sensitivity only real artists had.

 When she was younger, Brooke wanted to be a painter or a sculptor. But her parents did not encourage that at all. They were very accomplished scientists and believed the only art that made any sense was music and even if Brooke wanted to be a musician, they would have thought it would’ve been a waste of her time and their money. So throughout her childhood, she was convinced to become a scientist like them.

 She didn’t resent them or anything like that. If anything, she was pleased to be there, taking pictures of the chaotic weather of the gas giant, a very long distance away from her parents. They had a very tense relationship and she realized it worked best when they were separated instead of being in the same room. She loved her moments alone, which she used to draw, sometimes copying the picture she took.

 The adventurous one, the guy who took a step forward to pick up the ice shards with a robot, was called Alexei Ibaraki. His mother was Japanese so he had these different features that made every single person turn around to look at him. Not only was he very daring but he was also very attractive and interesting. He was one of those guys that always has a story to tell or that has that ability of making anything they say into something extremely interesting, even if it really isn’t.

 Alexei was also a model, besides an astronaut, and was used frequently in campaigns done in order to encourage children to study the sciences and getting interested into it. After being sent to Mars on a routine flight however, he became also the poster boy of several brands that wanted him as an imaged. His face was connected to beer, butter, insurances, banks, toothpaste and even condoms.

 The truth was he enjoyed that work but he loved to be in space doing work that was more important than selling beer to people that were already going to buy it. As he operated the hand of the robot that collected the ice from Jupiter’s rings, he realized that’s what he wanted to be doing his whole life. He wanted his actions to be remembered instead of his face. Alexei was tired that people only looked at him for his beauty and not his brain and wit.

 Carmen Nyongo, the medical chief of the ship, was very aware of the crew’s problems. She was not only a certified physician but also a psychologist that loved to spend at least thirty minutes which each of them every two days to check on their mental health. This was determined by the agency as something very important as they were going to be very far from home in a place where no one else had been before. They needed some support and Ms. Nyongo was an obvious choice.

 She had worked for years in military hospitals were she proved to be simply the kindest person ever to come in contact with all the soldiers and astronauts that needed her help. She loved to listen, since she was a very young woman. She liked telling her friends what she thought of the world but she much rather listened to them and their dreams and what they had inside their heads.

 Carmen thought people were extremely interesting and that’s why, after medical school, she got a masters degree in psychology. She thought it was essential to get to know about mental health in order to prevent and help people with their physical problems. She was not your average doctor but she had proven, once and again, that her methods made a lot of sense, to her and her patients.

The most frequent one, of course, was the captain. Her name was Katherine and she had been born in the Australian outback. Her parents still owned a big ranch there, where they had some of the best cattle in the country. With all the money they had won with that, they had built up a very good life for themselves and their two children. They rarely went to the ranch anymore, but it had been that place that made them who they were now.

 They lived in beautiful homes and went to the best school. When Katherine said she wanted to be an astronaut, her family didn’t say a word for or against it. They just supported her with money for every single expense she had to make to turn her dream into a reality. So she studied abroad and came back only on the holidays. From then on, the relationship with her parents was kind of broken, not really deep.

 They were not very sensitive people, any of them, but she would have loved more kisses and hugs in her life. She would have wanted to feel some kind of interest from them, but the only thing they did was giving her money and talking to her about it all the time. And when they weren’t they were busy. So when Katherine met Carmen, it was just a natural thing to become a very frequent patient of hers, even before the mission started. She just wanted to come to terms with the fact that she wanted recognition and she was never going to get it, not from her parents at least.

 The last crewmember, the one who made everything work properly, was Alejandro Obregón. Different from his captain, Alejandro had a very difficult life and had to raise himself to the place he enjoyed today. He was the happy father of a very intelligent young daughter. He loved his wife, whom he had met in a fast food restaurant after training in the astronaut academy. She was studying in a nearby university and they hit it off right away.

 They both had a very strong personality, the kind that made them being a little overdramatic but always effective in public. They didn’t mind being looked in the street as if they were crazy. They didn’t mind anything else than their love for each other. They also had in common that they supported a lot of good causes, maybe because they had received so little over their lives.


 Alejandro would always go to marathons supporting any type of disease, would march in the pride parade and would protests in front of police stations or administrative building. He was all about causes and its effects on people’s lives. He really believed everything could be better for everyone. And that’s why he had become an astronaut: he thought that a future where everyone was equal had to involve that final frontier and he was going to be one of those who brought it closer to every other person on Earth.

lunes, 15 de junio de 2015

Torture

   He was tied to one of the tubes coming out of the wall, tied with a very thin but resistant rope. He had attempted to free himself from it the first few days but he realized soon it wasn’t going to break. His clothes had been taken from him long ago an the only thing that reminded him of the past was a scar he had on his left calf, one that he had gotten while playing with his parents in his family’s farm a long time ago. It felt like a whole life ago because every single day memories appeared to vanish, a handful at a time. This was aggravated by the fact that he didn’t know on what day he lived and how much time he had been “living” in that basement, with the vermin and the insects that came and went, probably waiting for his body to finally succumb to starvation and thirst.

 But amazingly, he held on. Someone with a bag with holes in the head came in with dry fruit everyday, just a spoonful of it, and a bottle tap of water. That was all he got for the day and it made him feel each day more miserable. Even more when he remembered everything that he had eaten before, with his family or by himself: burgers, pizza, meat, pork, fish, vegetables, fruit, bread, candy, soup, pasta… It hurt his stomach to think about all of that but it helped him too because if he still remembered all of that it meant that his mind wasn’t all gone yet, it meant his essence was still in that frail and sick body that he didn’t recognize anymore, except for the scar.

 It was that scar that made him go on too. Because it reminded him of things and the only way to take that away would be to chop off his leg but it didn’t seem as if they were going to go to that extreme. What did happen was that once every so often, he guessed that once a week, he was taken from his basement to another basement or some other room in the same basement, and was also tied there and tortured. They would cut him, kick him, punch him, beat him with a stick or grab his head and push it into a big pool of water they had in that room. It was awful because it lasted for a long time and because his torturers never spoke a word, not even to yell at him, so it was even scarier than one would think.

 It was strange but, when he would come back to the basement where they kept him tied, he felt home. Maybe that was because he really didn’t remember what his actual home looked like. He didn’t remember if he had a family of his own or just his parents or even if his parents were still alive. It was like trying to solve a puzzle with half the pieces missing. He just couldn’t remember and that frustrated me. When they tortured him, he sometimes asked for the truth, he asked them to tell him who he was and what his life was like before this happened. But they never told him a word. Not even his name, which he had lost a long time ago.

 Another thing he didn’t remember, unfortunately, was the reason he was being held there, if there was an actual reason and if he even knew what it was. He felt he did knew, he felt he even knew who was behind all of it but after trying for days and nights, he just couldn’t remember. Was it possible that the people that held him hostage were putting things in the water he drank for him to forget everything? Or was it just a natural effect of being deprived of freedom for so long? Another thing he missed was the sun and the wind and the colors. He remembered all of that still but there was no natural light here, no soft wind to caress one’s skin and the only colors were white, black and grey.

 It went on like that for a long time, maybe even years, until one day they just stopped putting the dry food and the water in his cell. After a while, he just knew he was going to die. Maybe they had given up on him giving any information and were just waiting for him to drop dead and be done with it. When lucid, he imagined they had other prisoners and that maybe they thought at least one of those knew whatever it was they thought he knew. He wouldn’t be the last one to be tortured that was for sure. The thought made him feel uneasy but strangely not annoyed nor sad. Because if he died, he would finally be free. He never imagined to go out alive of this one and to know the end was near was actually almost a happy thing. He was trying to prepare himself for it and just concentrated a lot on keeping the remaining memories inside and not give them the satisfaction of taking them

 One day, after no sessions of torture, they took him to the other room and id what they had done before. They even brought an electric device and electrocuted him with it. He finally felt his life leaving him behind but then they stopped and tied him to a chair that appeared from nowhere. He was dizzy and wanted to die soon, he just wanted them to leave him alone and go away. If he died, he wanted to die alone and not with a couple of men besides him with bags on their heads. But then the door opened and another person entered the room and this person didn’t have a bag on his head. It was a tall man, wearing a tailored suit and a hat. He stood in front of the tortured man and just stared, with no expression on his face.

 The hostage was too tired to keep his head up, so he just let his head hang there, looking at the wet floor. This appeared to go on for ages until of the men sat him down straight again and slapped him hard. The hostage opened his eyes but he was to week to stay awake anymore. He felt it was time go but they wouldn’t let him. He was about to protest when the suited man said a word: “Tom”. The hostage felt as if they had sunk his body in ice. That name meant something, something very close to him. He mumbled but couldn’t form a proper sentence. The man in the suit, however, ended the moment by nodding to his men who took the hostage back to his cell.

 Tom. Who was Tom? Was he Tom? That single piece of information was invaluable and yet he had no idea what it meant. But it wasn’t important because no name would give him the freedom that he wanted. To be honest, he didn’t even know if he wanted to free anymore. Death seemed so attractive, fast and good at that point. So he put Tom, however that was to a side, and just lie there to die, closing his eyes and trying to lay on the floor as comfortably as he could. His wrists were bloody because of the rope and his face was bloody from several punches on his eyes. He would close his eyes and just go away, leaving every piece of this shithole called world behind. That was home for him now.

 But then, he heard something in the distance. It felt like a small tremor and he was certain screaming followed it. But maybe he had imagined it. He was in a basement and there was no way to hear what happened far above. He closed his eyes again but another tremor hit closer and then the door burst open. Two men, now with no bags on their heads, came for him. They took him from the armpits and dragged him through a long corridor that ended on a metal door. The door opened to a long staircase that was covered in snow. The men dragged him all the way up. There, other prisoners were being rounded and some men had rifles. They were going to execute them. They had had it with them and they were going to die now. He seemed to be the last one so the man put the prisoners in a circle and pointed at them He closed his eyes and breath slowly.

 But then another tremor. It was an explosion, a bomb. It hit the nearby part of the building, scaring the executioners. They were distracted by the collapse of their bunker, now on fire and breathing black smoke. Bu they remembered they had prisoners and shot a couple of them before some other men came. There was a fire exchange, time during which he really tried to die because he didn’t want to become someone else’s prisoner but the fight ended fast. The new men helped the survivors up and took them to a truck nearby. The truck left the place and they all fainted from exhaustion.

 Days later, the former hostage woke up in the bed of a hospital. It was night but he could recognize, from deep in his memories, the sound of that machine that poured a health serum into his bloodstream. His eyes were not working great but he noticed a window and he saw some lights outside, buildings. Voice could be heard from the other side of the door and then a bunch of people busted in, the lights went on and he suddenly had two nurses and a doctor all over him. They checked every single part of his body. He cried a bit, but they didn’t notice. He cried because he was free and that had been impossible.


 After a while, everyone left except for the doctor. It was a woman. She spoke gently and explained to him what was right and what was wrong with him. But that didn’t matter anymore. He was finally dying, slowly and in peace. He saw the woman leave in a hurry before his eyes closed and he could only hear the sound of a voice. It was a nice, warm voice that he knew he loved and cherished. It was Tom. He remembered. And then, he left this world to see Tom again.

lunes, 20 de octubre de 2014

Beauty

Flora Summers was a psychiatrist. She worked in a facility, the biggest in the country, that treats different types of disorders.

She decided to study this field as her grandmother suffered from senile dementia and had died during her last year in high school. She loved grandma and the ineptitude of the people in understanding her condition had been essential in the decisions Flora made from then on.

Now over forty, she married a gynecologist and had a young son. She watched over her mother with great care as the probabilities that she would suffer the same illness her grandma did, were very high.

Everyday, she was in charge of watching over the patients in ward C. In the mornings, she made her rounds, checking them out, talking a bit, watching over their diets and recent behavior. She had lunch in an office with a window towards the patients dining room as she liked to see them in different kind of situations. She thought that was pivotal in understanding their diseases.

One day, she realized Thomas, a patient suffering from depression, had been moved to ward D. Ward D was reserved for those that were deemed "untreatable". She hated to go to that place as the people that attended the patients there were rude and did not treat anyone well.

A week later, Thomas's room was taken over Rudy, another young man. As psychiatrist of the ward, she had to interview the patient so they could now what kind of medication, diet and treatment he should follow.

When he entered her office, she couldn't help being sad: he looked like a ghost, very pale with big dark circles beneath his eyes. He had beautiful eyes, the color of honey. She started by telling him that. She had read he suffered anorexia and depression had already kicked in: he had attempted to kill himself twice.

The boy wasn't very talkative. Not uncommon to be honest, except in those with diseases like persecutory delusion. He looked at his hands all the time, answering only in "yes" or "no" and sometimes just shrugging. When he left, she realized it was yet another one of those cases, the kind you never knew how to solve or how it would end as they depended highly on the patient and their surroundings.

The days passed by and Flora tried harder to make Rudy come out of his shell. She had been sent information about his school and other activities and had even visited his parents. No, she didn't blame them although it was clear he had never felt like he could talk to them, as they only found out about his condition when he committed suicide the second time.

After that, she summoned him every other day to talk and she started, after having read every piece of information, with a blunt question:

 - Why did you tried to hang yourself?

This time, he looked at her, nervous.

 - I have seen many patients that have attempted to take their own lives but hanging is quite  uncommon.

Then he talked, the words just poured out as if she had said a magical word. He told Flora that he wanted people to feel bad for him been dead, even his parents. He wanted all to see him as miserable as he was.

Over the course of many sessions, Rudy told everything the doctor already knew and more. She had learned he was a TV fan, watching all shows and watching all kinds of movies with his friend Robert. He said he loved candy and specially ice cream. Flora told him she could bring her some next time but that threw him over the edge and she had to call a nurse to calm him down and take him to his room.

Rudy was visibly upset by something and had decided not to eat. But what was it? Flora knew that he had a profile in many social networks, that he didn't liked sports and that he had just finished high school. So, what was wrong?

In the next session, Rudy told her he was sorry to have lost his temper but that he didn't like to talk about food. Flora answered they had to, as that seemed to be a part of the problem. She told him he had anorexia and depression, and that the combination was hard to live with.

Flora asked him to give her his hand and, with a bit of hesitation, he did: she pulled up his sleeve and made him look the marks the cuts had left there.

 - That was the first time, yes?

He nodded. Next she asked him to take off his shirt and take a look into a mirror on one of the corners of the room.

 - What do you see?

He knew what she meant: the skin covering the bones and little more. Rudy did not say a word. He pulled down his shirt and cleaned off a tear from his face.

 - Do you see a healthy person or an unhealthy one?

Rudy answered he saw a fat person, a person no one wanted to be with, someone that felt ashamed. Flora told him she was going to change his diet a bit as he needed many vitamins and nutrients to be healthy. He didn't care.

On the weekend, the doctor thought of Rudy while watching her son play in the garden with her husband. She thought of how awful it would be if her son felt like Rudy, misplaced and ugly. She was brought to reality when the phone rang. From outside, her husband watched her cry and went in with their son.

Months later, she continued to work in the facility but had also started a venture of her own: at least once a week, she would visit a school or a college's auditorium and then just talk with young and older teens. Her subject: the destructive beauty standards in our times.

As it happens, the day of Rudy's burial, his parents approached Flora and thanked her for her help. They told her that Rudy wanted to get better but just couldn't. His sister, a young and beautiful twelve year old, talked to her after her parents just couldn't do it anymore. She told Flora they had found things in Rudy's laptop: apparently he had been bullied as he had uploaded pictures all round and he had been attacked for being "ugly".

Even more, he had written somewhere he felt bad because of what he saw all around, the beauty standards that were impossible to follow and that he had felt more and more guilty because he wasn't like everybody else wanted to be.

Now Flora knew why what happened, had taken place. She had decided to make something for her community and started the talks, to teach teenagers not to feel obliged to be something they weren't and to love yourself. She always said "being healthy is not the same as been skinny or muscular. It's about loving your body and doing the best for yourself".

Now, she really felt she was helping people and not only keeping them safe or sane. She thanked Rudy for this and always made sure her son knew he could talk to her.