Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Strange (Old) World... - February 26, 2006

Ok, I can't lie.

I could say being home is hard.

That the adjustment is difficult.

That the memory of the ship is a painful one, and I wish I was back there now...

But like I said, I can't lie.

The ONLY reason I want to go back RIGHT NOW is becuase I miss my cast mates so much. (And I really do.) It makes me sad to think about them, yes, because we have so much fun together, but thinking about the tiny ship, my miniscule room, and my aching back as I roll into my top bunk... no, don't miss all that ship stuff so much. Just the people.

To be honest, being home is wonderful.

I've spent time with my dad cutting up a tree that fell across a path in our property, I watched my cat wander around the house for an hour and then took a nap with her in the sun, I've cleaned and reorganized Levi's apartment while he was at work (perversely, that's actually really fun for me...) I've had dinner with my dad and made friends with the Chinese waiter, I got to hang out with my best friend Cindy at the dog park with her puppies and then at Lowes (where they dont' know how to work those fork lift things... beware...) and I have gotten to spend every waking moment (when he's not at work) with my favorite person in the world, Levi.

And he's also incredibly greatful for my unexpected return.

Like two-dozen-roses greatful!!

(They were waiting for me when I got home in a vase, although a little wilted because he had gotten them a few days earlier, during his first flush of excitement after he had first heard I was coming home. Trust me, I didn't mind. They were still beautiful!)

He's also kind of sad too, because he knows how badly I want to finish this contract, and the fact that I'm leaving again in a few days to start physical therapy in Chicago. But he knows it's what I have to do... me not being able to dance is like him not being able to sing, I explained to him.

So on Wednesday I get to start my new adventure in PT (also known as Physical Therapy.) And you'll never guess who I get to do it with...

The Reverand Jessie Jackson.

(And my sister..)

But yeah, THE Jessie Jackson. He tore his ACL in his knee like my sister and is getting therapy RIGHT NEXT to her. Literally. On the next table over. They see each other every day. In fact, yesterday he asked for her email.


My life is hilarious.

So, off I go again, on another adventure.

I feel a lot happier now that I'm firmly on the road to recovery. I had let myself get into such a negative, sad place on the boat because of all of the pain and waiting around. I had a realization recently, though, that I'm completely in control of my attitude and of this situation. As Levi says, it could be a lot worse. I could have really damaged something, but instead, I'm going to start looking at this as an opportunity to strengthen myself, to get myself not only back to where I was, but further.

I am completely in control of my attitude and how I'm going to deal with this situation, and from now on, I'm going to tackle this and more, with a much more positive outlook.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Home again, home again... - February 23, 2006

Well, I'm on my way, at least.

I'm in an internet cafe in the Grand Caymens.

My flight isn't for another two hours, so me and another guy who is getting signed off (who is German and has an unpronouncable and hard-to-remember name) went back to the city to have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Did you know that there's over 100 locations of that place all over the world? Fascinating...

Anyway, I woke up so excited to see Levi that my tummy actually hurt.

Good times.

So home for a few days, then Chicago for as long as it takes to get me all better.

My cast was so sweet and really sad to see me go.

So was I.

Leaving the ship on the tender boat, I looked back one last time and actually felt a pang of something related to home-sickness.

I guess we'll find out in a few weeks if it ever really was my home, and if it will ever be my home again....

Monday, February 20, 2006

Trapped - February 21, 2006

Well, I'm not going home tomorrow- who knows when I'll get to.

Thursday, at the earliest.

Now that I know that I'm going, I just want to go. I'm really looking forward to seeing my family, my kitty, and of course, Levi.

Especially since he'll be taking care of me for the next 4-6 weeks.


But right now, I'm in limbo. And I have to watch everyone do the shows I worked so hard on for six weeks and now can't perform in.

This is some sort of perverse torture....

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Goodbye Rhapsody, for now... - February 19, 2006

Well, the doctor in Galveston confirmed it.

A sprain.

2 weeks of absolutely no work.

4 to 6 weeks of physical therapy.

And a one way ticket home.

~ ~ ~

Hopefully, I'll come back to the ship after therapy, but it's really not up to me. I told Dee, the dance captain, to relay the message to the casting agency that I ONLY wanted to come back on THIS ship during THIS contract period- but I guess I don't have much to bargain with.

A sprained back is no good to a show...

So I'm going home for a few days to see my family and Levi, then I'm going to go to Chicago for therapy for a week or two. (And I get to see my sister, a big bonus) The therapists up there really know how to work on dancers, so I'll be in good hands. Hopefully Levi will come up for a few days too- the more people to take care of me (and my ailing sister, recovering from knee surgery), the merrier, I suppose.

~ ~ ~

I wanted to thank everyone who has been reading my blogs, and those who have responded with encouraging words. I loved signing on to see that people were not only interested in my weird life, but really cared about me too.

I'll be ok, and I'm bound and determined to get back on the ship after I'm healed, and I'm sure therapy will provide some funny blogs, so the adventure is far from over.

It's just been put on pause for now.

So stay tuned....

Friday, February 17, 2006

Diagnosis - February 17, 2006

I'm so sick of being sick.

I'm so fed up with the constant pain and immobility.

I would NOT do well as a parapalegic, I know that much.

~ ~ ~

So, after a week and a half of near inactivity, I set out today in the wild alleys of Cozumel to see a doctor.


Well, we should start at the beginning...

~ ~ ~

Last night, my manager came and told me that if I didn't go to the flying rehearsal tomorrow morning, I would be banned from flying for the rest of my contract. Horrified, I told her that I had the doctors appointment, to which she stared at me and said "Well, it is what it is." She promised to do all that she could, but she said it was out of her hands.

So last night, I got to worry myself to sleep about whether I would be allowed to fly, which is something I've been training for, looking forward to, and falling in love with for about three months now. I was crushed at the possibility.

This morning, I went to the doctor and hoped they had booked me an afternoon appointment so I could fly, and once again, to my horror, it wasn't- it was for that morning. I burst into tears, feeling the dream of becoming an amazing aerialst slipped away. The nurse asked what was wrong and my manager explained the situation, leaving out the fact that I would be doing something very hard on my back. (She called it 'training') He said I could go for an hour, so I squeezed in the rehearsal, and I think (but am not sure) they'll let me fly.

Anyway, a port agent came (an hour and a half late) to pick me and another sick person up to go to the doctor. We drove around Cozumel lost for a bit, and I got to see some of the destruction from the last hurricane. The tiny concrete houses were in shambles, some tacked together with corrugated metal, but the poverty there was apparent, and clashed with the gauche flamboyance of the 'strip' in front of our ship, which was gorged with overstuffed American tourists.

We found our doctors office and sat around for about three hours. Then, I got an x-ray from a machine that looked straight out of 1963 and met with the doctor. He asked me questions in broken english and told me that I had actually suffered a back sprain and not a muscle spasm. He said I would be ok, but didn't mention any therapy or anything that I should do to heal.

Then we looked at my x-rays....

And looked....

And looked....

He seemed perplexed and when I asked what was wrong, he showed me my own spine.

~~ Looking at the inside of yourself gives you the most actue sense of vulnerability... ~~

At any rate, he pointed at my saccral region (or my lower, lower back) and pointed at something that looked like a vertebrae, only it was attached to my hip.... and it was sideways.

"I don't know what that is." he muttered. "And you have scoliosis." he said, tracing the soft curve of my spine.

Two things I had no idea about.

So, he referred to a spine specalist, since he's an orthopaedic doctor, and has only been in the field for ONE YEAR.

Yeah. Mexican doctor, one year of experience, no therapy suggestions- this was going really well. (At least he was very nice about everything...)

So I re-boarded the ship expecting to go though rehearsals slowly like I had been doing, only to be stonewalled. "Nope, you're unfit for duty." my manager told me briskly. So, teary eyed, I watched yet another run of "Piano Man" with two other people in my parts.

~ ~ ~

I'm so tired of the pain.

I'm so sick of all the beauracratic run-around.

Todrick put in his two weeks notice yesterday. So another boy is leaving.

I'm starting to think that's not such a bad idea...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane? - February 14, 2006

Well, I guess every adventure story needs some drama...

As we all know, a so-called "donkey kick" has taken me out for the past week or so. I've been on pain killers and muscle relaxants, and getting gradually better. (Slowly but surely)

Now, I have an appointment with an Orthopaedic Doctor in Cozumel. (Yeah, they're sending me to a doctor in Mexico... shady? Yes.) And my doctor on board said he might send me home.

Ok, now it has to be said that part of me does want to go home.

A lot.

I left a lot of things I miss back in Florida. Levi, my family, my cat, the steady sensation of being on dry land instead of on the water and my equilibrium....

But another part of me wants to stay so much.

I came here for a reason. I was sent here to learn something about life, about myself, about my art.

Now, it all might be cut short.

I guess if he sends me home, though, it's for good reason. They don't just send people home for no reason. It would mean that I have a serious problem and need therapy to fix my back. Everyone keeps saying it's not worth ruining my career in dance just for one contract on a ship. Everyone keeps emphasizing that this is my instrument and I have to take care of it.

But it's up to Dr. Whoever in Cozumel, Mexico, I guess.

So say a little prayer for me, one way or the other.

(Oh, and I have an eye infection, so pray for that too!)


So maybe I'll see be seeing you soon...

(Unless my eye infection gets worse. Then I'll only see you in mono instead of stereo....)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Watch your back.... - February 8, 2006

So, this story involves a 'donkey kick.'

And, for the dancer-illiterate, before I begin, I must clarify what, exactly, a 'donkey kick' is.

It is NOT:
A) A mammal with four legs, fur, and a grumpy disposition.
B) The newest fashion craze sweeping the nation
C) The latest virus sweeping the internet.

It is, rather, a dance move involving your hands on the floor and your body weight on your hands, your legs kicking out in both directions, and landing quickly.

This, in a nut shell, is a donkey kick.

And this, in a nut shell, is how I earned my first major injury.


We were rehearsing at 9:00 pm or so in the gym. We're having really, REALLY long days right now, from like 10 am to 10 pm, and one day from 8 am to 10 pm. Anyway, we were learning this really intense theme night dance to "We will rock you." There's a really physical sequence in it involving jumps, splits, and, of course, a donkey kick.

Well, it's really hard on your back, to say the least. I had been fine all night, and we were going to run it one last time, and Heather, our choreographer asked us to do it "full out" (dancer for: as hard as you can) So, I did.

And when I came up from my last donkey kick, a small native man jumped out from a bush howling with rage, stabbed me in the back with a long, sharp, silver spear, and darted away with alarming dexterity.

Well, that's what it felt like, at least.

In actuality, I stood up and went to our final pose, and felt a very, very sharp pain in my lower back. Heather asked if I was ok, to which I groaned "noooo..." and she told me to lie down. So I did.

And found that I couldn't get back up again.

So I started crying. It was such an extreme pain, and I had never been injured before, so I started freaking out. As usual. *ahem* Aaaanyway...

They kept working, with few people noticing me in my little micro-cosm of pain. Todrick asked if I was ok, and Mike looked concerned. Todrick saw my tears and said "Awww, honey, you're making me sad!"

Yeah, I was making me sad too. *sniff*

Anyway, Heather kept working, and then noticed my absence, asking where everyone was. Todrick murmered "Well, Selena's still on the floor..."

Then began the 'very special episode' of ER or something. Everyone rushed over, being the sweetest cast on the seas, like they are, and were really concerned. (Gotta love 'um) I thought if I just laid still for a little I'd feel better soon, but Heather insisted we call 911, which we did, and I was quickly wisked to the medical center, where the sleepy looking doctor prodded my back for a moment and gave me some muscle relaxants and pain killers.

Then the credits rolled and I went back to my top bunk *scoff* and hauled myself in.

*applause, applause*

I'm feeling slightly better today. (About a 6 on the pain scale, down from a 7.5, if you're wondering)

We think it was just a back spasm, and it's nothing serious, but I dont' think I'll be in the opening night on Friday, which stinks. I dont' think they'll send me home (I hope not!) because they're already sending one dancer home, Mike, for his hip injury, so that stinks.

But I kept a positive attitude the whole time. (After the little freakout/pity party earlier with the crying and whatnot) I just thought about my best friend Yadhira and what she went through with her injury, and Jeremy, my flying trainer who broke his neck cliff diving and was told he shouldn't have survived, and only four months later was a beautiful aerial artist, and my amazing sister who just tore her ACL and was told she'd be out for six months but she says she gives it three at the most.... I look at all of that and realize how lucky I am.

And how strong I can be.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

All Aboard! - February 7, 2006

Well, here I am. On the majestic Rhapsody of the Seas.

Majestic? Well, I wouldn't go THAT far...

Anyway, our office run (where we show the office staff at Royal Caribbean that we do, in fact, know these shows) went really well. My favorite part was that I got to spend about four days with Levi visiting and seeing everything that I was doing, so that was awesome. I felt really insecure about our first show, Rock on Broadway, and my nerves were really getting to me, but Levi gave me a little pep talk in between the two shows, and Piano Man was fine.

My parents came, which was really nice, and so did Cindy, my best friend, with her new puppy Sebastian. Unfortunatly, the drive down took 5 hours instead of 3.5, and the puppy pooped in the crate during the show while we were gone and he was at our apartment.. oh well. He was cute enough to get away with it. It was so awesome to have her there, though. (Cindy, not the puppy. He was cute, but I'm really glad Cindy was there.) Apparently the drive back was bad too, but I haven't been able to get the full details on that yet... now THAT's a best friend. A girl who would drive five hours both ways to see me dance for a few minutes and grab dinner with my family. She's awesome.

Ok, so now, ship life. What you've all been waiting to hear about.

Well, to begin, everything looks the same in the crew area. It's all white metal walls everywhere. We can't go into the nice passenger area unless we're dressed up. (There's lots of funny rules like that) My room is MINISCULE. I mean TINY! Unreal how small it is. My roommate Robyn almost cried when she saw it. Really, really small. And I have the top bunk. Yuck.

We're also dancing about 10-12 hours a day, which is also a yuck. It's just for the first two weeks, but it's INTENSE, to say the least.

But it's not all bad. The people on board are nice. It's more of a UN than my rehearsal period was! Everyone is from the Phillipenes, Puerto Rico, Russia, Canada, etc. etc. But they're all cool. The theater is really nice too. So there's many positive points.

We're in Key West today. The boat isn't rocking much now. Sailing out of Galveston on our first night and day, though, was really bad. I didn't get sick, but felt very ill. It rocks you to sleep at night, though, so that's nice.

Well, that's all for now. Even though I could type a LOT more about ship life, I have to go eat before MORE rehearsals. (That's right, from 8-10 pm we have rehearsals. YUCK!)

I miss all of you, and dry land, already!