Category Archives: Baylor Bears

A Timeline of Insomnia

Sometimes I can’t sleep because I can’t slow my thoughts. Sometimes I can’t sleep when I’m sick or in pain. Most of the time when I can’t sleep, it’s because I’m worried or anxious. In a short span of time — say, the last four weeks — I’ve battled insomnia because of all of the above.

A few weeks ago
7:00 a.m.
My phone’s clock got a little messed up (OK, fine, I change the clock to sometimes to get more lives in Candy Crush), and I dreamt that I had fallen asleep on the couch around 11:00 p.m., and then got up an hour later and washed up and went to bed. My husband actually woke me up around 7:00 a.m. and told me to go to bed, but I thought it was about 4 a.m. When he woke me up later to tell me he made waffles, I thought it was about 9:30. He came in again at what I thought was 10:00, and I finally got up after 30 minutes of dozing. The reality was that I actually got up at 2:00 p.m. That’s when I discovered my crazy swollen face.

2:00 p.m.
After I showered, I tried to eat the waffle my husband made for breakfast. Eating was incredibly painful. My face was crazy swollen. I had no idea what was going on. I finally palpated the swollen area, and immediately I whispered and gestured to my husband that I had to see a doctor. I’d lost my voice several days earlier, so communication was painful, in more than one way. He called around to try for an appointment, and finally I suggested a clinic around the corner from us by way of handing him my iPhone with the clinic’s info pulled up. He called, and they were ready for us and less expensive than the triage clinic he’d called.

5:20 p.m.
The doc at the clinic suggested that I fill my prescriptions at a Target pharmacy because the most expensive meds were heavily discounted there. The first Target was closing 7 minutes after we arrived, but the pharmacist called around for us. My husband got us to the next Target in minutes, and I had three prescriptions in hand — plus a chai latte — by 5:20.

6:30 p.m.
At this point, I hadn’t really eaten all day and had tons of drugs to take. My pain was awful, I was scared by the diagnosis and sad and miserable. Keep in mind, I could not speak — my throat was so swollen that the doctor ordered me to not even whisper for a week. My husband picked up some tomato basil soup for me from our favorite Italian restaurant (he’s not a total saint; he got himself a giant thing of lasagna, too!). I took my first round of meds and naively settled down with my soup.

I took one sip of soup and burst into tears. The doctor told me I had a peritonsillar abscess, which meant nothing to me. But attempting to swallow a savory soup with lots of pepper and flavor and acid with a raw abscess felt like I was stabbed in the ear with a downward trajectory to the throat. It’s just an area that can’t be soothed. The reality of my condition began to settle on me.

I tried to eat a couple of things, but everything hurt. I was bawling in pain, made worse by the fact that crying made my throat and sinuses hurt even more. Messy, horrible pain. My husband made me some mashed potatoes, which I could swallow enough of to get some food in my stomach with all the medications. I knew that I had to eat enough to take the meds. I also knew that I had to take the meds to feel well enough to eat.

10:00 p.m.
I went to bed, but an hour later I got up and took some cough medicine. Although it helped with the cough, it didn’t help me sleep. The next three hours I mostly spent obsessing about my situation.

I went to bed again, but spent the next hour making mental notes of which med did what to make sure I always have the optimal combination in my system. I slept for about 10 minutes, but I woke up coughing.

At this point, I couldn’t keep my mind off of three things, which kept me awake: The searing pain of that little rib muscle that is only used to cough on my left side that was overused over the last week, the painful swelling in the right side of my face and neck — meaning that sleeping on either side was uncomfortable — and the ever-present song stuck in my head when I wake up. The song changes, but the fact that I always wake up with a song playing in my head does not.

The next three hours went something like this:

Dun dun dun dun, dun dun dundundundun fight you bruins bold,
Go Bears!
Dun dun something something green and gold,
Go Bears!
Dun dun da dun Is the second verse different from the first?
Go Bears!
Are the rhymes the same, or is
Go Bears!
It just the one verse over and over?
Da da da dun, dun dun dun dun dundun dun dun DUN!
B-A-Y-L-O-R BAYLOR! BEARS! FIGHT!

(Here is how it actually goes:)

Yes, I woke up with my school’s fight song stuck in my head. With my alma mater on my brain, then I started composing responses to some of the nastier comments I read on Facebook about the whole Big 12 conference getting shut out of the college football playoffs. I saw a lot more vitriol than I care to consume, and part of me wanted to log on the next morning and come out swinging. So, in my mind, I retaliated in the same fashion that I replay a heated discussion or uncomfortable confrontation in my mind and get to say all the things I wish I would have said.

First on my mental list was to shut down the fan-bashing. With pointless, ill-conceived, and clearly an uneducated comment, an acquaintance of mine from high school took to Facebook to accuse the fans of the Big 12 for the conference’s “comical” out-of-conference games.

Thanks for the note, buddy! I never would have thought of that on my own. P.S. You watch too much ESPN.

Thanks for the note, buddy! I never would have thought of that on my own. P.S. You watch too much ESPN.

Because it’s us, the fans, who made the rule that disallows a conference championship, which then led to being force-fed a season-long “one true champion” campaign, only to have feckless conference leadership refuse to back any one team and present co-champions?! The fans are frustrated, and I’ve seen otherwise lovely people get nasty for all the world to see because of it. If I were the least bit confrontational, I’d share with this individual — who clearly watches too much ESPN and knows too little of the Big 12 fans and its conference rules — a more educated perspective, but I’m passive aggressive and take to my own blog, which no one will ever see. At least I can hopefully sleep better feeling vindicated to actually write it down instead of only obsessing about it instead of sleeping.

The next day
5:30 a.m.
More medicine, and then I checked my Twitter feed to distract myself from anxiety about the swelling in my throat that was beginning to impede my ability to breathe and swallow. I read the Our Daily Bears blog and checked the Baylor subreddit, too, because both are usually pretty chill, but I saw I accidentally read one TCU fan’s comment about how “unlikable” Baylor fans are for “storming the field after every win as if they didn’t expect to win.”

In these quiet morning hours, I mentally composed another confrontational message (again, I’m too non-confrontational to say these thoughts to the offender, but just passive aggressive enough to immortalize them for my own jollies on my blog). In calmer moments, I wonder: Shouldn’t other fans accept school traditions they don’t get? I mean, Texas A&M (with all due respect to my niece and many alumni friends) still observes 100 percent of their anti-University of Texas traditions, despite the fact that they will never play UT in any sport ever again. No one cranks about that except me giving my niece some fair natured teasing!

For the record, bitter old horney frog: We’re not “storming the field” like we didn’t expect to win, we’re observing our traditions. We begin the game with students on the field. We end the game with students and fans on the field. In my day, we went onto the field to pray with Coach Teaff and the football team after the teams play their school songs. Then the Golden Wave Band plays the Tennessee Waltz, which is really beautiful to hear on the field.

Before any other cranky horn frogs can bitch about us “storming the field” to hear an irrelevant song, let’s review some more facts. Baylor University was chartered by the Republic of Texas, those very folks who were grateful to and benefited from the volunteer army from the great state of Tennessee. We get to play the damn Tennessee Waltz to honor the volunteer army the same way we play the national anthem, so shut it. C’mon down to the field and give it a listen, because you will agree that it’s beautiful to hear.

Also, why so mean and bitter, horny toad?! The Baylor-TCU rivalry is long-standing, and to my mind, friendly. We invented homecoming for y’all, after all. Granted, traditions are SO MUCH MORE FUN to observe when you win. But you know that, too, horny frogs! You’re just as marginalized as Baylor is as small church school. Baylor and TCU have a lot in common, now more than ever. Let’s be friends and build the Big 12 up instead of tearing each other down.

Noon
Two rounds of meds in, the day is easier. My symptoms are reduced, but the pain is not. I sleep. I’m a slave to my next round of meds.

Twenty-five hours later
I’m more confident about what I can eat. Eventually, I sleep sitting up. Laying down is too uncomfortable.

Later
I tried to sleep on a pillow, but it was too painful.

Eighteen hours later
The swelling has significantly reduced. The antibiotics are awful, but the peritonsillar abscess is definitely reduced. The Baylor fight song is finally gone from my mind, and I’m able to focus somewhat on other things.

I nap.

Later, I sleep again upright on the couch.

Three days without significant sleep. I don’t recommend it. From now on, I’m going to the doctor sooner instead of waiting because meds help. Sleep is crucial, and I’m grateful for the help that allowed all my healing sleep.

Twelve days of Christmas
Despite my illness, I dragged myself to stores to buy gifts for my husband. I wrapped them over several days. I had stocking stuffers, but honestly I was too sleep deprived and sick-tired for an all-out Christmas.

Once I felt better, I baked with the idea of distributing baked good to our families. Too bad I had no energy to pack or ship my precious baked goods to Jeff’s family. I didn’t factor that energy need into my plan to shower my husband’s family with lovingly made treats.

I was lucky that my family decided to celebrate our Christmas in the new year. I was super happy that my first married Christmas would be at home, alone, with my husband. His cousin’s family welcomed us on Christmas Eve, and sharing the evening with their whole family was wonderful before we attended a gorgeous candlelight service at church. We are incredibly blessed!

Happy new year
My husband had insomnia recently. I talked to him about anything happy I could think of until he finally drifted off. He’s a much better sleeper than I am, so it seems odd that he needed my help!

Although I’ve had a great deal of anxiety about getting laid off and getting married, this new year signified something in my mind, like I should have resolved all my own unanswered questions and single-handedly created a family budget, complete with joint accounts and easy-to-use envelopes that would make Dave Ramsey weep with joy. Instead I’m still struggling with some questions I’ve asked myself and trying to figure out how to be married financially. A couple of nights ago, I couldn’t stop thinking about these topics, and therefore didn’t sleep until about 5 a.m.

Being that tired definitely affects my work, so I’ve set some new goals for myself about sleep. If I’m feeling anxious at 11:00 p.m., that’s a sign that I’ll be wound up at 1:00 a.m., which means sleeplessness or fitful sleep until morning. If I have any resolutions this year, it’s about addressing sleep. Without good sleep, I can’t be productive. Without being productive, I cannot bear myself.

Doing the unimaginable

During the last 18 months or so, I’ve really enjoyed a new professional challenge that I’ve nicknamed “Think Big.” After four years at a technology startup, I’m still retraining myself to think big instead of focusing on finding free resources. The difference in the mindset probably seems subtle, but I try to approach everything the way my friend, who was part of an improv group, told me they think: Always say yes! Actually, she told me “always say ‘yes, and…'” Instead of worrying about how to get by with a little, I push myself to think big! I want to do the unimaginable!

I think I was late to realize that Baylor football coach Art Briles was great inspiration for a Think Big campaign. To me, Baylor football started to turn around, and that was fun and exciting. And then we won. And then our quarterback won a Heisman trophy! I went from a casual Internet score checker, to a partial watcher of the few games that were televised, to a sit-up-wait-what?! fan. Historically, I’ve followed women’s soccer and basketball more closely than football since I graduated. But Coach Briles joined the Baylor nation and said he wanted a Big 12 championship and to bring Baylor football back to campus. Saturday night, he did.

Image

I had tickets to the game against University of Texas, but I didn’t know it was the Big 12 championship game! I knew it was the last game in Floyd Casey stadium, and I have so many memories of games in that stadium! I’ve been more sad to see it go than excited for a new one, but that’s just nostalgia and habit talking. I need to think big here, too!

I expect to see a lot of big things next year. I plan to make a lot of big things happen next year.

Baylor defeated by OSU in the saddest game ever

First of all, who wants to go to the TCU game with me this weekend?! Seriously, I want to go, but I’d prefer not to go alone. I’ll do it if I have to, but I’d prefer to got with someone.

Secondly, I don’t have many thoughts about Baylor’s lose against Oklahoma State University. On one hand, we haven’t defeated OSU at home since, like, 1939. On the other hand, we’ve averaged 61.5 points a game this season. As a Baylor Bear, I haven’t been this confused since my freshman or sophomore year! When I talk about Baylor football these days, I’m using words like “historically” and “recently.” I’ve seen a lot of comments online about “Old Baylor” versus “New Baylor.” So, this concept of the way Baylor used to be seems to be fairly widely accepted.

I don’t have pictures of the game in Stillwater, OK, because I wasn’t there for the beat down. Thank God. But I saw a tweet from Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty that brought tears to my eyes:

Baylor quarterback is too awesome for words

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty tweets after first lose of the season

Sic ’em Bears! We are with you! It takes a lot more than one historically impossible game to turn us off. I wish I could tell Mr. Petty how proud I am of his hard work.

As a side note, I have been enjoying the fleece blanket I made immensely! Stadium or couch, this cold weather makes the super-soft fleece perfect for curling up under!

I have some music and recipes to share, but I’ll do all that in separate posts so they don’t get buried in my Baylor rage.

Sic ’em Bears!

Baylor beats OU in the best game ever.

I’m not a sports writer, but I am a proud Baylor Bear. I attended the much anticipated football game between ranked Baylor Bears and conference rival Oklahoma Sooners at Waco’s Floyd Casey Stadium; it was more than I could have hoped for. It was an incredible experience.

Background: I attended Baylor from 1991 to 1995. We had J.J. Joe and Santana Dotson and Coach Grant Teaff! Until we didn’t. My perception of Baylor football is that a slow, sad decline into some slow, sad years began in my junior year. Meanwhile, other sports like soccer, softball, basketball, and baseball had a lot of success. This being Texas, football gets a lot of publicity and attention. When Art Briles started a slow and steady turn around of the football team, I enjoyed the growing success!

This year is the last year for Baylor’s Floyd Casey Stadium, in which all my football memories of college are set. The very last home game in the Case was sold out in July or August, so I got tickets to the next-to-last home game, hosting Oklahoma University. This season has been phenomenal, but the naysayers are pointing out how our season has been easy so far, how few conference games we’ve had thus far, the teams left to play historically beat us …. All true.

These are some of my impressions of the the Nov. 7, 2013 game experience, in which the Baylor Bears smacked down the Oklahoma Sooners.

The tailgate was INSANE. There’s no way I could capture the whole of it on camera. We walked all over the place and saw all kinds of areas. Mostly Baylor fans, but plenty of Sooners were included. There was a line to get into the game. Like, 20 minutes.

While standing in one of the lines that wrapped around the end zone to enter the stadium, I spottThe Baylor Line (freshman) piling into line the field. I walked over to take a picture of this “Just Say NO” sign, and they posed for me. They were so friendly. It was great! They waved, I waved, they cheered, I got emotional.

2013 Baylor Line lining up to, um, line the field

2013 Baylor Line lining up to, um, line the field

They were so friendly. It was great! They waved, I waved, they cheered, I got emotional.

The line to get into the Baylor-OU game


The line to get into the Baylor-OU game

Baylor fans were requested to wear black, and they did not disappoint. The stadium was a sea of black with a few ribbons of Sooner red. The team wore black helmets, jerseys, and pants. Cheerleaders and Songleaders were in black and gold. I wore my black-on-green-on-black shirt, and my boyfriend wore a Back in Black shirt.
I tried to capture some images of the sea of black from my location fairly deep within Sooner territory:

Baylor Beats OU

Baylor Beats OU

I think that was in the third quarter, but I’m not sure. But look at that sea of black on the home side! I have several images of the student area that really overwhelmed me. I hope those kids appreciate how awesome their football experience is now — and from what I saw, students are there to root on their team all the way!

That Good Ol' Baylor Line

That Good Ol’ Baylor Line

I’m not sure when I took this, but apparently the Baylor Line ripped off their gold jerseys at the first touchdown, and used their jerseys as growl towels for the rest of the game in their black shirts. The gold was awesome! Way to go, Baylor Line!

The Golden Wave Band was incredible! I wish I could find a link to it, but so far no one has posted the tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces. It was as good as the phenomenal Ohio Buckeye band videos that have gone viral this season.

A quick note about sportsmanship: I’ve heard that Baylor fans are the most hospitable, and I was determined to be friendly to everyone I met. A few Sooner fans were more trying than others. We started out in the wrong row, which is actually an easy mistake to make when you walk up one aisle but your seats are on the other, but a Sooner mom instructed her kids to push me out of my seat. Despite my meek attempts to show her my ticket to figure out the seating issue, she simply yelled at me to MOVE! because they have all the seats from 26 on! A nice Baylor couple pulled me into an empty-ish seat by them and checked my ticket. He figured out where our seats really were, but they were occupied by another couple, so he helped them into their proper seats, too. We ended up next to a Sooner brood including three adults and three kids, including their three-, four-, and five-year-old sons, all packed into only three seats in two rows. I played human jungle gym to some of the worst behaved and least-parented kids I’ve ever seen. As the kids constantly climbed back and forth between the two rows, they stepped all over my suede boots, kicked me, climbed on me to get from one parent to the other, pushed me, pushed each other, spilled Sprite everywhere, and tripped and fell more than once when I was the only adult catching them and picking them up while their parents watched the game; it was all I could do to keep it together when the mom at one point turned to me and said, “Is it windy down there, or does your kicker just suck?” My response to her: Shrug. What I said later in reply after recounting this to my boyfriend: Yes, he sucks as much as the rest of the OU team.

The Baylor fans were just as I remembered them: You need a hand getting to the aisle? Ask somebody! You almost trip? Someone will catch you! Someone needs to use your shoulder to get by? They can grab it! We help each other, even Sooners. I sat pretty deep into Sooner country, and the only negative comments I heard were from Sooners. I’m so proud that I was able to be gracious, despite the annoying neighbors, and that my Baylor family was super-kind and gracious to me while sorting our seating error.

We got down onto the field after the game, for which I’m grateful. It’s my last time at Floyd Casey Stadium, and I have many memories there. I can’t wait to go to a game in the new stadium, but last night was an experience of a lifetime.

Sic 'em Bears from the inzone

Sic ’em Bears from the inzone

Random:

I'm gonna leave this ice right here on the field...

I’m gonna leave this ice right here on the field…

Also random, for Vickie:

For Vickie: Foot on 50-yard-line of Floyd Casey Stadium

For Vickie: Foot on 50-yard-line of Floyd Casey Stadium

In celebration, we checked out the bears today (I’m elderly and I still think of it as the Bear Pit), and both ladies were out, but sleeping. It was great to see them! Sic ’em Lady! Sic ’em Joy!

One of the Baylor mascots

One of the Baylor mascots

Sic ’em Bears!

Way to beat K State!