Airports are boring

So, I navigated the parking garage- I’m in garage B right by the entrance- I will probably wonder where my car is later…

Waiting to check in… Airports are boring and the Muzak playing is making my eyebrow twitch. 

I feel like a 6 year old boy. I have investigated the bathroom, played with the hand dryer, and spun around in circles a few times…. Now what? 

New Heights?

Photo by Mark Larsen

There are many things in my life that I should probably regret. I don’t regret them though. I say it all the time, I am every thing I have ever experienced. Some of the stories are not much fun to remember, but they are my experience, and they color the way I view my world now.

This beautiful photo made me think of all the challenges I have faced throughout my life. I can be climbing up an expanse of heartache and wondering if I was ever going to reach the other side, and then out of no where, a sturdy staircase will appear. The best staircases are weathered with the experiences of others, and if I keep my eyes open, I will get to see a small sliver of their journey. This gives me hope.

It is far more likely that I will stumble across a staircase that is full of potential and possibility. All I have to do is climb. I do not have to know where all the landings are, and I do not have to know what is waiting for me at the top. I will probably meet other explorers on my trek, and some of them will have advice or help to offer. Some may need advice or assistance from me. The whole point is to be open to the possibilities. Even when I do not think I have anything to offer, I can give a kind word. I may have to stop and rest. The most important part of this journey is that I do not quit aspiring to continue the climb.

No one ever said it was going to be easy. No one is going to carry me up. I have to do the work. I may slip and fall sometimes, but it is up to me to get back on my feet.

We don’t know where our staircase ends. We have no idea how many flights we have to navigate. There may be gaps in the steps. Every now and then we may have to leap and put ourselves out there and risk everything.

Sometimes writing feels like a risk. I have stories that I want to tell. Perhaps my biggest fear is that no one wants to hear them.

Why is everyone losing their mind?

I am really getting tired of reading about Grey’s Anatomy on Facebook. This is getting ridiculous. Are people really that boring?

There are plenty of real life things to be upset about. I keep reading comments about petitions and other nonsense. Are you kidding me? Do people really need to waste their time with this? Come on people, get your priorities straight.

Something else, why are there so many medical mistakes in television shows? I am watching Sons of Anarchy again, and they are using PO Vancomycin for a guy who was shot. The doctor’s rationale? It will kill anything. Ummm. Yeah, no. The only thing they are going to treat with that is C. Diff. Give me a break.




I am beyond ecstatic. I got asked to do a guest post and I think it went shockingly well! This is the second time my words have been on someone’s blog, and I am so happy that others like what I have to say.

This has been such an eye- opening experience for me. I love writing. I have found something that makes me really happy, and it is proving to be so good for me. The problem is that I am becoming obsessed with it!

I want to write a book. I am beginning to get my thoughts together, and searching for the best way to articulate the message I want to present. This is often a challenge for me. I tend to veer wildly off course when I give myself any room to explore.

So, I want to leave you with this…

For anyone who reads my blog,

Thank you so much! I am humbled and thrilled when you enjoy my point of view. I strive to be honest, and to only share things that are true at that moment. I strive to be respectful, and to not waste anyone’s time. I enjoy feedback, and promise to take your thoughts as seriously as I do my own. I will consider what you have to say, and see how it fits into my view on the particular subject. Thanks for giving me room to grow and learn as a writer. I sincerely hope that I do not let you down.

Sincerely yours,

Lady Quirky

Tinder probably needs some tenderizer.

Okay, so you have probably seen or heard of Tinder. It’s the online dating app… well, I am not sure if it should be called dating…

So, this thing called Tinder. It is pretty easy to set-up, it syncs with Facebook, so you should have photos handy. All you get is a pic, age, and how geographically close your match is to you. How do you get a match? Well, you have a stack of cards, and you see the main pic. You can tap it once and look for more photos, and see a short blurb that the person wrote.

Now, for the fun part. You swipe right if you think you like them. You swipe left if you don’t. Now, if you swipe right, and he swipes right then you are a match.

If you swipe left, you never see them again.

So, it all starts off more like a meat-market, and I am not really sure where it all leads after that.

I do have some observations though.

  • Some men do not know how to choose a photo.
  • Why on earth would you not have a photo?
  • Spelling and grammar are important.
  • I tend to swipe left if you have girls hanging all over you. (That is weird.)
  • How is that some people manage to look like DB? Do they not see it?
  • This really is pretty shallow.
  • Wait. If we matched… now what?
  • People are crazy.

I have seen a couple of people I know, and a couple of people I know are MARRIED! Come on guys, we live in a pretty small town. Does your wife know that you are on Tinder, and only looking for “Fun, nothing serious?” You are a jerk. Why is it that some men just do not seem to take marriage vows seriously?

Tinder is weird. You are probably not going to have an emotional connection and get all tender unless you spend a lot of time on there, however maybe it is just a numbers game. I can see why it was initially for hook- ups. Not sure what else it is good for.

Don’t worry, there will be more matches later, I just finished swiping left a bunch of times.

So, what is proper Tinder etiquette? If you see a friend or work acquaintance, should you swipe right?  I mean, what if they swipe right on you, and you never match?

So far, I think I have always swiped left on people I know. I cannot figure out what the intention of Tinder is… are these supposed to be people who I would like to hang out with? Or people I want to HANG Out with? I am just not sure. I guess I will keep playing on here, seeing whether I meet interesting people. I will mostly swipe left.

Although, what would happen if I always swiped right? Would that mean that I am open-minded? I suppose that could be an interesting experiment. Let’s see what will happen if I only swipe right. Maybe I will learn something.


Right and Wrong and Shades of Gray

As I get older, I am finding it more difficult to self- righteously judge others for their actions. I am seeing a disturbing pattern of people responding the best way they know how (or perhaps even the only way they know how) and trying to find the middle ground. More importantly, I find myself searching for the flaw in the system that led to the trouble in the first place.

The past few days I have been mulling over responsibility within hierarchical groups. Whether we want to admit it or not, our society remains a hierarchy. There are vulnerable people who look to leaders to guide and protect them. This places the burden of responsibility on our leaders.

Remember the movie Flight? I took my son to see it in the theater, and aside from the opening scene, I am so glad I did. It gave me the opportunity to discuss professionals who are held to higher standard of ethical conduct. We discussed the importance of ethical behavior when you are responsible for other people’s lives. It did not matter that the main character of the movie saved many lives, and that no one else could have pulled off the miracle crash landing the way he did. He violated the rules. Do you forgive someone for violating those rules just because he did a reportedly better job than someone else would have done?

Airline pilots are held to very strict standards and the events that took place in Flight are highly unlikely, however it did serve as a handy metaphor for an ethical dilemma for my son and I to discuss. It gave me the opportunity to try to explain public trust, and how you are held to higher standards of conduct when your impairment could jeopardize public safety.

Teachers, medical professionals, law enforcement, transportation workers, and the armed forces are just a few of the professionals who are held to these higher standards. There is a reason we do background checks on people who want to enter these professions. We are hoping to weed out some of the corruption. We are hoping to decrease the chance for tragedy.

I may be a little naive, but I sincerely believe that most people enter these professions with good intentions. I do not want to change my stance on this. I need to believe in the basic good nature of people, and that these professionals want to help.

Sometimes, being of service is a difficult endeavor, and frequently these professionals are subjected to horrors beyond imagination. There is nothing to shield them. This is when they are most at risk for secondary trauma, burnout, and compassion fatigue. There is a whole theory based on this, and there is a scale to measure Professional Quality of Life.

It is imperative that we support our professional caretakers so that they can continue to care for our society. It is time for someone to walk into the gray zone, and offer support and understanding, so that finally there can be healing.

Furthermore, we have to hold our leaders accountable for their lack of protection for the individuals who work on the front lines. We need to have more strenuous reporting and follow-up for the first responders. We need to facilitate a healthier work place, and promote open communication. Instead of telling people to just do their job, and get over the stress, we need to let them have time to debrief and be honest about how traumatic situations affect them.

Secrets are like poison, and while it is understandable that you cannot tell just anyone, everyone needs a safe place and a reasonable sounding board. Everyone needs somebody sometime.

It’s okay. It’s a dungeon anyway.

Okay, it’s not this bad…


I have not decorated my office. I took my already framed BSN and hung it on the wall (my MSN is still safely ensconced in the cardboard tube it came it), put a sugar skull penny bank on my desk, and filled the desk drawer with pens and other random things from my pockets.

Today, they asked me if a new person (who really does need an office much more than I do) could have my office, and if I would not mind moving somewhere else. Of course I don’t mind! It’s a terrible office. It resembles a sauna in the winter, and a walk-in beer cooler in the summer. The walls are a hideous shade of blah, and there is an ancient wall paper border near the ceiling. Well, part of one. We tried to pull it down, and just ended up making the mess worse. (oops.)

Oh, and the carpet? It is maroon, which is oddly appropriate for this space. You get the sense that you have been marooned to the middle of the building, far away from any sign of sunlight. Personally, I would prefer to be marooned on a desert island (well, only if it has a 5 star resort handy with cabana boys to bring me free frozen fruity drinks.)

So, I suppose I am going to say goodbye to my little office sometime in the near future, and I will move to an equally awkward space in the building, at least I did not have to pick the closet. I remember when I started this job, one of the super exciting parts was that I had an office! I felt like a real professional. It took me months to spend more than a couple of minutes in it. It’s lonely and isolated. I really have never been very fond of the room anyway.

However, there is a very small part of me that is a little sad. I no longer have my very own office. Maybe my new space will not have that terrible phone that I do not know how to use. That would be a big improvement.

I do reserve the right to whine about this turn of events, and make the new guy feel guilty at least once a week. Perhaps he will make a gesture of good will, and buy some flowers to brighten up my new corner of the world. (That may be a hint, a certain nurse practitioner who shall remained unnamed, would really like for someone to buy her some freaking flowers.) After all, I am giving away my dungeon.

borrowed from this page.


Medical Advice From Dummies

Okay, I am not calling any specific person a dummy. (Well, I might be doing that, however that is totally not the point.)

I am noticing an alarming increase in the number of internet experts in the world, and in our conspiracy theory soaked culture, we are at the mercy of every armchair diagnostician who cares to impart their great wisdom and prescription for health.

Okay folks, give me a break. I am so tired of reading people’s swill. All of these self-appointed experts who have “done my research,” are actually perpetuating a cycle of misinformed self-righteousness. The exact thing that they accuse the medical establishment of doing.

This article was sitting quite proudly on my Facebook newsfeed, and caused me to waste two hours reading the comments and trying to figure out what on earth all these people were applauding. She was quoting old sources, and most were not from peer-reviewed journals. (I cannot believe I am linking this to my blog- THIS IS NOT ACCURATE- PLEASE, DO NOT USE THIS AS MEDICAL ADVICE- OR EDUCATION!)

As healthcare providers, we seek to provide safe, effective, and accessible healthcare. Evidence Based Medicine means that your doctor is adding to their knowledge base with continuing education, in order to take the best care of you and your family. They collect information about you (the patient) and use those findings to seek answers.They also understand the difference between correlation and causation.

Social media is a dangerous place for sick people. I see things that make me cringe every day. Just look at your newsfeed and read the comments. I feel certain that you have seen this scenario. Someone posts that they have been diagnosed with cancer. Immediately, there are a plethora of well-meaning supporters.

  • You can fight this!
  • Stay strong.
  • My cousin’s aunt had a friend’s husband’s cousin had that EXACT cancer, she beat it by eating the placenta of a virgin. Or some other equally absurd “cure.”
  • Take this vitamin,I do. I did not get cancer.
  • Go to Mexico and get peach pits- they are proven to cure cancer. The FDA wants to hide the cure, so they can sell you chemotherapy.
  • Ignore that doctor, you can beat this if you try hard enough. No one dies from cancer.
  • Read this website- prayer cures everything!
  • Your flu vaccine gave you cancer.
  • Eat organic vegetables. No meat- vegetarians don’t get cancer.
  • Avoid gluten, it gives you cancer.

The offensive thing about all this well- intentioned advice is that apparently, there have been a lot of patients out there who had crappy doctors. They were not treating as a whole person, and their doctor LIED to them! Hid cures! They have been getting money under the table for years! They want you to be sick! Then, they have something to treat! Give me a break. Do people seriously continue seeing doctors who they think that little of?

Most people use anecdotal evidence as their go to for sharing what they understand about a disease. Imagine sitting in a doctor’s office and being told you have cancer. Are you still comprehending everything that comes out of the physicians’ mouth? When you try to tell people about the diagnosis, can you remember everything he said? Probably not. So, what do you do? You go home and google. (I go home and google too. It does not make you a bad person.)

Here is an interesting piece about anecdotal medicine that I think nicely sums up the fallacies of these experiences. Every situation is unique, and it is dangerous to assume that one person’s story of a cure is applicable to you, or even accurate. I hear people say all the time that such and such or so and so saved them. Great! I am so happy you found something that worked for you. That does not mean that it will work for everyone. 

Now that I have expressed some of my opinions about internet medicine… What about the asshats who try to influence you and your medical decisions?

stolen from:


I have ADHD. I was not diagnosed as a child, and have a complicated educational background as a direct result of no treatment. Now, I am a Nurse Practitioner with an excellent college track record. My son, who is so very much like me, was diagnosed earlier. We knew what to look for. We are not on the same treatment. What worked for me, did not work as well for him.There is no miracle solution, and we have had to utilize tools including medication and dietary changes along with behavior modification.

There are asshats (this dude is a huge asshat, he also dismisses celiac sprue as fake, and I feel certain he is an expert) who judges me for my choices regarding my family’s medical care. They did their research! ADHD is Bullshit! ADHD is invented by pharmaceutical companies because they don’t want to cure cancer or AIDS. My only problem is that I am lazy. Don’t worry, I am sure they will loan me their tinfoil hat. It’s exasperating. If only I were a better mother, I would have sought their advice prior to seeking a professional. Obviously, I failed to google the disorder.

The stigmatization of seeking medical care has become rampant in our holistic- organic- supplement inhaling- DIY- self made man society. (I do believe there is a role for complementary medicine, however it should not replace sound medical advice.)

Frankly, it is none of your damned business. It is a private matter, and it should be left to the patient and their medical team to evaluate. There are a multitude of factors that must be considered, and a proper risk- benefit analysis should be performed. In other words, are the potential benefits worth the potential risk? This should include any treatment options vs. not treating.

As a reasonable, responsible, and rational person you have an obligation to be an informed consumer. This is contingent your ability to discern the validity of your sources. If you honestly believe that your healthcare team is corrupt and seeking to harm you, then you have an obligation to seek care elsewhere. If you feel that your provider is inept, you need a new healthcare provider. It is not rocket science.

Do not use the guy down the street who once knew someone who had a friend who ___ (fill in the blank.) Find a professional.

Here are some tips (mostly for the guy down the street) for offering medical advice:

  1. Just Don’t. (They need to choose a medical professional and seek their advice.)
  2. Tell long stories about how you know exactly what they need to do.
  3. Offer the website for the new miracle cure.
  4. Invite them to your prayer circle because you have provided many cures.
  5. Judge their lifestyle choices and condemn their morality.
  6. Gossip about others personal medical condition, and create an action plan for intervention. They really do need your help, they just don’t know it yet.
  7. Actually, just go back to #1 unless you are an expert (actually, a real life medical professional whose opinion was sought)

Come on people, stop being ridiculous. Stop sharing misinformation. Above all, stop assuming you are an expert because you read something on Wikipedia, Web-MD, some blog, or Fox News. Give me a break.

The hardest extubation

Sometimes people go to a hospital, and we cannot save them.

That is one of the worst parts of my job. The toughest thing is when it is one of your people. This story is one that I have hesitated to write, but I think it is time. My biggest fear is that I will be unable to fully convey what this woman meant to me.

In May, 2011 I am graduating from graduate school. (Well, we were walking then, we still had a summer session of clinical work to do.) I have a great weekend. Angela comes from California, My friend Aneta, who I had not seen in years comes from New Mexico, and we all have a great time. Angela and I stay up all night after my party Saturday night talking. So, the next day after I take her to the airport I am in dire need of sleep.

I did not realize that I had never turned my phone ringer back on. When I woke up later that day, I have missed several missed calls and voicemail from my friend Stacy. She sounds confused and lethargic (encephalopathy sucks.) Then, the last two messages are the worst. Steve (her husband) and Christopher (her son that is a year younger than my son,) have left messages asking me where I am, and that there is something wrong with her. I call their house and get the answering machine. I figure that she is either okay, or that they have taken her to the hospital. I have to be at the hospital early on Monday for clinical time, so I jokingly tell myself, “Worst case scenario, she will be in my unit in the morning.”

The next morning, I walk into the unit, look at the patient assignment sheet, and there is the worst thing I can imagine. Stacy’s name. I am instantly pissed. What is this all about? I look at the monitors, she is stable, so I wait to go talk to her. I am confused and hurt. I do not understand what is going on.

We meet at the opposite end of the unit for rounds. We methodically go through the unit until we are at Stacy’s room. I stand back out of the group. I am not sure of what my place is here. Am I her friend? Am I a nurse? Am I a student? What the hell is my role?

Finally after rounds, I go in to talk to her. I ask her what on earth is going on. She says she did not take anything. She had been complaining of vague stomach pain for several weeks. Nothing too serious. Steve has brought her medicine, and there is the proper amount in the bottles. This was not an overdose or suicide attempt. Now, she is in liver failure. I feel guilty that I did not know that immediately. I just assumed the admitting diagnosis was accurate.

Unfortunately, there is not a lot to do for this. We consult specialists, and they come and offer their best advice. I am not aware of how sick she is. I tell the nurses to please call me if anything changes. I tell them that she is one of my best friends, and that she is like family to me. I go home, do some homework, and fall into bed exhausted. I leave my phone right next to bed, with the ringer on high.

The next morning, I walk into the unit and she is on a ventilator. Things have gotten so much worse. She was having seizures, and was not able to protect her airway. I am furious that no one called me. I cannot say anything for fear that I will make people mad. After all, I still work with these people. I spend a lot of time biting my tongue. Stacy’s friends and family are crowded into the waiting room. I am struggling to maintain a professional demeanor.

These people have known me since I was a (for lack of a better word,) troubled teenage punk. Now, I am updating them on the condition of our friend, My “Momma Stace.” I am confused and desperately hurting. At one point, I go into the break room and have a minor meltdown. This is one of the most stressful events of my life. I am terrified.

I go home and I am sick. I have rarely felt so helpless. That night I do not sleep. Finally, I give up and get dressed in jeans and a baseball cap. I go to the hospital. Every one is gathered outside her room. She is desperately unstable, she is no longer breathing over the ventilator. Her blood pressure is being supported with high doses of vasopressors (and still falling.) It is my worst nightmare. Once again, no one called me. I only got there by chance.

I am frantically trying to ascertain what is happening, and I am trying to wrap my brain around the situation. I knew this was a possibility. Fulminant liver failure is serious. There is not much you can do once the liver is that sick. She had every major organ system failing. We are losing her.

Now, Stacy had been my confidant many times. We had an understanding. She said she would never want to be in the situation that she was in. She would never want to be kept on machines if she was not going to survive. Her death is imminent. Her husband and her family are at her bedside. I have to be honest with them. I have to tell them that she is dying. It is hard enough to admit it to myself. I know she would want the tube out of throat before she dies.

Her husband asks me what happens now. I tell him that we can wait for her heart to stop, and start CPR, and do the horrendous code blue that has no chance of saving her. We can leave her on the ventilator, but make her a DNR- which means we will not do CPR. The last option, the one that I know Stacy prefers, is to stop the machines, and let her go naturally. This option is the scariest one to choose. It feels so final. It means that you are accepting the inevitability of losing your loved one.

After he and I talk in the quiet waiting room, I go back into the unit to stand guard. I feel responsible. I feel like if I loved her, I would do something to save her. There is absolutely nothing to do. We are doing everything, and she is still dying.

Steve tells me his decision. We have to call the physician, and get orders to change her code status, and remove the machines that she is hooked up to. I am reeling at this point. I want to run away and go home. I never want to step foot in this building again. I am seriously considering switching careers. When it is time to remove the tube, I go to head of the bed. Just like I have done so many times as a nurse. She is wearing sunglasses that we bought in the gift shop to hide the scleral edema  that comes with this kind of devastating illness. I do not take them off.

She is no longer here. She has no brain function. She has no reflexes. Her pupils are fixed and dilated. I am still so careful when I pull on the tape that secures her ET tube in her airway. I do not want to pull her hair, or rip her swollen skin. Once the tape is loose, I lean over and whisper in her ear. I am telling her goodbye, I love you, and I am so sorry I could not save you. Once the tubes are out, and I see that she is not going to breathe, I walk outside the door, and Jamie immediately hugs me and I start sobbing.

It does not take long for her heart to stop. She never takes a single breath and she was already hypoxic due to the ARDS that prevented us from oxygenating her. Once she is gone, someone hugs me and tells me that she is in a better place. I am incensed. No, she is not. THIS is the place she wants to be. She wants to be here for her son. She wants to be here for her husband. She wants to be here for me. However, I say nothing. I go downstairs and sit on the curb. I am crushed. I do not know what to do.

One of my favorite cardiologists pulls up, and he knows that it must be bad. He knows her condition was grave,  because I had asked him questions earlier that day. He gives me a hug, and I am undone all over again. I tell him that I hate people, and that they are assholes. He just agrees with me, and offers that perhaps they are just trying to provide the only comfort they can.

After a while, I go back upstairs. Her family is gone. I walk into her room and shut the door. I sit beside her bed, and don’t move. I do not know how long I sit there. I am not leaving. I know what happens next. We prepare the body to go to the morgue. I hate that part. I will spare you the details.

I do not want any of this to happen to Stacy. So, I sit there. Finally, Tracy walks in and convinces me that it is time to go. She promises to take care of her. I finally go home. I take several days off that week, and stay home until after her funeral. Several of us spoke. I agonized over what to say, and if I had it to over again, I would do it better. My mother helped me arrange for flowers, and I had a ribbon placed on it that said, “My Friend.” She was MY friend. I was bereft and inconsolable. My life had a huge gaping hole. I did not think I would ever feel joy again.

I have struggled with this situation for years. I have read about liver failure and I have experienced regret and sadness. I have grieved for my dear friend a lot. Whenever I have a patient with this condition, I feel sick to my stomach, and I am bombarded by the grief all over again.

You see, Stacy was a very important person in my life. She had been a high school english teacher, and she was helping me get through some of the books that I had missed by not finishing high school. She would discuss them with me, and she helped me process what it was that made the book “important.” She and I had been close for many years. She and Debbie were two of the small number of friends that I had to come to my baby shower. She was very much a mentor, and a confidant. She had seen me grow from an obstinate, rebellious teenager into a responsible (mostly) professional.

She was one of my closest friends. We talked almost every single day. She was the one person I wanted to talk to about my grief and she was gone. I was also hurt that my coworkers had not called me when she started to do worse. They had promised me that they would, and I felt betrayed. It took me a long time to forgive them. Her friends and family assumed that I had been called.

I finally realized that the nurses were busy trying to take care of her. I had no justifiable reason to be angry. So, I forgave them.

To this day, I still tremble a little when I am removing the tape that is securing someone’s life support. My heart races, and I have to take a deep breath and banish the thoughts of that night. I have to focus on the task at hand, and not allow it to be about my grief. That is my responsibility, and it is the best way I can honor her memory.

Writing is the other way I pay homage to Stacy. I imagine that she would have been one of my biggest supporters, and likely would have been willing to offer grammar advice and maybe even some editing. She invested a lot of time and effort in my growth with language. She listened to me prattle on and on about whatever paper I was writing. She wanted me to succeed.

It took a while, but I think it is getting better. I am no longer a student, and I work in the same unit I worked in when she was my patient. Stacy would not have wanted me to give up on my dream of this position. She would have wanted me to be every thing I ever dreamed of and more. I owe it to our friendship to be the best person I can.

I have managed to find joy. I am very happy in my life. There are so many things that I still get excited about. I love a great many people, and I have a group of wonderful friends. I have a family that loves and supports me unconditionally. I have a job that I love. I am learning to write, and I am obsessed with it. I love the process. I want to do more. I want to live my life to the fullest. I cannot allow myself to become bitter and unhappy just because I am sad that my friend died. That would be selfish.

This is one of the reasons that my profession is so difficult. We eventually run into a situation that is personal. One that we cannot escape. We know the course that these situations often take, and we are facing a helplessness that is brutally painful. It can cause you to question your worth. It can make you doubt your abilities. It takes effort, time, and patience to work through all those feelings.

If you are lucky, you find peace on the other side of grief, even if it is after the hardest extubation.

On our traveller perception of a place & finding alternate stories

This left me with a strange wanderlust- and reinforced my love of words and writing, and the power of simply telling the story well.

Road Essays

It was mango season in Egypt. The stall-holders of Souq al-Tawfiqiyya swatted flies away from the fruit piles with colourful feather whisks while spraying jets of water onto the fruit so that the mangoes’ blush-tinged skin glistened slickly. The heat within the narrow street market was nearly unbearable despite it nearing dusk. The fecund tang of over ripe produce hung in the still air. Cairo’s summer temperatures cocooned the entire city like a blanket, smothering us into a fug of indolence and idle loitering. We shopped in slow motion; picking mangoes up, smelling them, putting them down lazily, and waddling to the next stall to feel and prod again. Even the haggling was a half-hearted show, me and the vendor sighing as we carried out the pricing-battle to keep up the appearance of caring.

We were all waiting for the dark when the ripple effect of the Nile’s cooling breeze…

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