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Madrid, Madrid, Madrid

Updated: May 12

Day 2: I have to be a responsible adult and get on with it.

I may be in the city but my internal clock is still in the country. Fully awake at 5:30 am and all of Madrid is asleep with the exception of a top floor flat that is awake as I am.

Blood work at 9 and other random test, yes Lupus Sucks.

American Embassy at 11 and my morning is gone.

Ticket purchased for Nixon in China at the Opera and evening is booked. All the hours in between, I will make it up as I go along.

The Mad Scientists

Having an incurable immunological disease that has left my heart broken- pericarditis and myocarditis. My lungs without air-pneumonia twice and Influenza A. Requires me to avoid direct sunlight when UV is higher than 4- skin lesions appear similar to 3rd degree burns and not to mention the multiple short circuits in my brain that have me lose consciousness when highly stressed does not stop me in my tracks. Going to a specialist does.

There are cardiologists, neurologists, dermotaligists and the list goes on. They poke, they prod, they question. I get attached to wires, liquids are drained from my body, inspection of my nude 5 foot 4 frame done by strangers. Placed in a pod to look into my insides and lastly a ultrasonic device pulsing over my right kidney covered in cold slimy gel. I always feel like some lab experiment.

Today was nephrologist and hematologists. I am still amazed that ten years ago I may have not known one from the other. They were all "OLOGISTS" to me, a specialist in the medical field I had no need for. But having knocked on deaths door several times already and trading in life lines, going straight to a bloodsucker to retrieve multiple tubes of blood seems like a quarterly thing on any given year since diagnosed. But the nephrologist is what I fear most today. I tried, desperately, to avoid having to go trying to reschedule or delay my appointments, the medical team did not want to hear of it.

The thing about this disease is at first glance I appear to be fine but when not feeling my best is a sure sign that something is wrong and my own body is attacking me aiming to destroy.

After six tubes of blood were drawn, ultrasounds were done, the doctor resumes with an on going list of questions. Repeated several for affirmation to my answers that may have been a bit deceiving.

How are you feeling? Fine- I bent the truth.

How is the pain? Manageble- It was at that moment.

How are you resting and sleeping? OK- Naps count as rest and sleep.

How is your diet? Healthy- I down right lied, I often forget to eat.

And now I wait for the results.

My Fellow Americans (A public service announcement.)

The staff at the American embassy is there to help you,.

Your needs are not more important than the queue before you or the one after you. We are all equal, unless your life is in danger.

Got to my appointment on time smooth entry after security, had priority entrance, it all felt great until the door was opened and the scene unfolded.

Frantic American who was the victim of a pickpockets sobbing hysterically because she did not have her passport, any i.d. or money for that matter... Stop crying, it's ok, they are there to help you.

Cocky American waiting near the queue, ushering people to where she thought they needed to be when too close to her. No need, everything is well organised and signs are clear, we can find it.

Person raising his voice- upset and complaining about the process of general paper work. Be prepared, don´t become distressed if you do not have the documentation needed, it is simply because you did not read the instructions of process. Try again.

No you can not have your mobile with you.

Why do people insist on complicating the simplest of tasks?

I was in and out in thirty minutes.

...and God Bless America

The Shy Actor

Reached out to an actor virtual friend of mine before reaching the American Embassy to meet.

During the pandemic he created a literary series on social media reciting passages by Spanish literary masters, poetry and contemporary writers.

He was my scheduled afternoon story time with a poetic voice that filled a part of the long days of isolation. His company through a screen for however long the reading was removed all sense of fear, uncertainty and at times hopelessness. Words floated in the air and I would be shrouded with calm from beginning to end with every word he spoke.

I always admired his acting on the small screen and public theatre. His five year world renowned television series made him recognisable to the masses, but he caught my eye in a small role in a biopic series before he became a household name. How he effortlessly dominated the scene with a few words amongst very well established thespians left an impression on me. Throughout the years we have had e-mail exchanges, our one true connection via wi-fi- our love for theatre.

We agreed to meet at Opera an hour before a casting call he was to go to. My intention was to personally thank him for being so generous of his time, but truth be told, I really wanted to meet him in the flesh.

I have never been known to be starstruck by someone and the shy actor was no exception.

I waited in the shade under the opera billboards as he approached the square. He has a very distinguished look about him and I spotted him immediately. His dark blue summer linen sports coat and his trademark summer fedora, the brim grazing his dark sunglasses. Timeless and classic.

I do not know what he was expecting but he did not pick me out of a small crowd, so I approached him and to his surprise, there I was.

Meeting with him I felt the ease of meeting with an old friend I have not seen in a long time.

Greeting with the customary two kisses, one on each cheek, he had a nervous laughter and stared to the ground in shyness then up at me with a smile. His smile won me over. He is real, he is not this overconfident actor, although handsome and talented. I have seen him portray roles older than his real age, however he did appear younger than he actually is.

We searched for a bar tucked away from the beaten path behind the Royal Opera and sat for an iced coffee. Conversation flowed without difficulty, his kind eyes attentive to every word I spoke once he realised I was not there to talk about his television series. I wanted to know about him. What is in the works after I missed two critically acclaimed theatre performances he was casted in due to my scheduling and distance. But as with all artistic projects mum´s the word. He asked questions, had curiosity of things I do, where I am from etc. Our encounter left no time for silent pauses when mutual interest was apparent.

I felt valued after feeling so vulnerable in the morning.