August 5, 2011

Something to accompany the pictures of last post

It’s much harder to blog about things that went well. That’s my excuse for not writing much lately. Flagstaff is incredible, the weather is a temperature so perfect that my body doesn’t even register it, and I’m no longer alone all day every day.


What is there to write about? My boyfriend came to visit me with his fractured elbow in a sling. Although I found his left-handed motions awkward and funny, I enjoyed the chance to help him out with day-to-day things that are hard with one hand, like picking up heavy things, carrying laundry baskets and opening bottles.

Despite the broken arm, and my better judgment, my boyfriend and I tried to experience Arizona’s outdoor pleasures. It turns out that my ability to whine about anything was more of a hindrance than the broken arm. We drove to Sedona and took a short, hot hike on Wilson Mountain—named for Mr. Wilson who was gobbled up by a bear at the turn of the last century. We slid down steep rocks to Oak Creek. We even took a scenic route by Red Rock High School to get an up-close view of the thunderstorm moving into Sedona, at which time I became jealous of the Red Rock school district and paranoid about getting struck by lightning. Closer to Flagstaff, we explored a hike trail near Mormon lake that I renamed “1000 Ways to Break an Ankle.” I’m not exactly an outdoor enthusiast, but I do my best to keep up with a guy with one arm.

When we weren’t out trying to break other body parts on the cliffs of Arizona, we took turns winning Scrabble until he figured out the “Bingo” rule (if you can play all of your tiles in one turn, you get to add 50 to your total score). After that, I had to fudge on the rules if I wanted to come even within 50 points of his score. For some reason, my background in English doesn’t translate into creating a crossword puzzle on the spot. The wine didn’t help either.

My roommate and a few guests also arrived during the week my boyfriend visited. Stress. Having been alone for several weeks and then suddenly being surrounded by people was a shock to my system. They were all very friendly and wonderful people, so my stress soon melted into much needed social interaction.

I also got to share more than I planned with my new roommate the day after my boyfriend left. After two afternoons of severe stomach cramping, fatigue and mild headache, I decided to get a professional opinion. Well, decided, as in I began crying in my roommate’s car while I was on the phone with a family friend asking about walk-in clinics. The decision was made for me, really. I can’t imagine how terrifying for my new roommate to have me crying and clutching my abdomen on her third day in Flagstaff. Bless her heart, she put in the address of the clinic to her GPS, drove me there, and sat with me in the lobby as my stomach churned and gurgled.

As I sat on the doctor’s table I expected that all of my internal organs were complete mush and that I would need some scary procedure involving a transplant. To my delight, I was diagnosed with altitude sickness, an affliction common to hikers and those who move to high altitude cities like Flagstaff. The doctor said that the pain in my stomach was most likely due to dehydration caused by the altitude, and that physical exertion and the Scrabble wine were exacerbating the problem. At this altitude you have to drink a lot more water than usual. Seriously? That’s it?

Seriously, one Gatorade and a couple glasses of water later, I was feeling better. I just needed to know what was wrong to fix it!

There's no real moral to this story. I had a lot of fun and I got altitude sickness. Welcome to Flagstaff.