Fabamy's Blog

Crazy life of a CenPho comedian & socialite

Community. August 13, 2011

Filed under: The kidney donation — fabamy @ 11:44 am
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The past few days, I’ve seen some things said about community. Or lack of it. People who don’t feel a sense of community are usually those who don’t deserve it. You have to be a good person for a community to envelope you. You have to GIVE to get.

Living in CenPho for 6 years now, I’ve always felt a sense of community. Familiar faces in the grocery store, the cashier at the local mini-mart, and groups like Yelp have shown me what community it. Out of that, I’ve become involved in branches that stem off everything else.

In comedy, there are a few different communities. There is a LOT of drama, but I’ve found a niche of people I enjoy performing with/for and I consider that a community.

Yelp has to be the first real community I have become involved in since moving to Phoenix 9 years ago. I’ve been a Yelper for 5 years now and have met some amazing people. During the kidney testing & surgery, Yelpers who I had never met came to fundraisers. The Community Managers showed support by helping to promote our events. Why? Because it’s a great community. Sure, there are assholes in that community, but does 1% really matter against 99%? Nope.

Facebook has shown me community as well. I’ve been getting friend requests from other kidney donors for the past several months. We’ve built a community by sharing ideas on aftercare, things to be aware of, and giving each other a pat on the back. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but to have support from perfect strangers with the bond of saving another life built another community.

I’ve never been to India and I am not a religious person, but thoughts and prayers were sent my way. Hinduism is a very spiritual religion and I felt it, from a billion people, from half a planet away. Community.

And then there’s the monster community-builder for me: Twitter. Getting messages & follows from people around the world who heard our story, just because they wanted to show support to a stranger who did a good deed. You don’t have to donate money to our cause to show support. Showing up at a fundraiser and enjoying good food & entertainment are support enough. Believe me, seeing a friendly face made me get through terrible days more than once. Random, anonymous donations came in. How could it NOT be a community???

And then, there is Phoenix, and most importantly, the group of food enthusiasts & restaurant owners who came out in droves to show what community is. A restaurant I had never eaten at brought me food the day after I got out of the hospital. Three restaurants donated proceeds to our cause, and they didn’t have to. It’s a tough economy and the F & B industry is suffering, yet these people felt they had to do something. Countless products & gift certificates have been donated. By people I don’t even know personally.

As I write this, I am crying so hard I can barely see the screen. If it weren’t for ALL the communities I am so freaking lucky to be a part of, I wouldn’t have gotten through everything. It was an incredibly tough journey & I had to hide a lot of the pain so that my new brown family didn’t have to feel badly. My healing process was cut very short because of one thing: community.

So, if you feel there is no sense of community out there, you need to take a look at yourself. Blaming the outside world, constantly, is just proof that you have no idea what community is and you probably don’t deserve to be a part of it.

Community.

 

Saturday’s testing was HORRIBLE…but the fundraiser made me feel not-so-alone March 2, 2011

I had more testing done this past Saturday at the Mayo Clinic.  I went in thinking I’d give a blood sample, pee in a cup, and be out of there.  Nope.

I was led to a hospital room.  “Um, what are we doing today?  How long is this going to take?”   I was concerned on time, because my birthday dinner with friends was that evening as well as the fundraiser at FnB in Scottsdale.  “Oh, about 2 hours,” replied the nurse.  I stopped walking and started crying.  I was frustrated that I hadn’t known about the length of time, and when she told me I’d have an IV in my arm the whole time, I just felt…alone.  I’ve been going to all my tests by myself because I really don’t want people seeing me pee in a cup and I don’t want to inconvenience anyone.  I had the IV (not attached to anything) stuck in my hand and had to drink 20 ounces of water in an hour.  When the hour was up, I had to go pee in a bowl, and they had to measure it.  THEN, a sonogram was done on my bladder to make sure I peed properly.  Then, blood was pulled through the IV.  Again, I had to drink 20 ounces of water and wait 45 minutes the second time.  Pee in a bowl, sonogram and blood.  I was in a hospital bed.  I was alone.  I cried.  I watched serial killers on the TV.  I also had to fast for 4 hours before the test, but since I slept in a little, I didn’t have time for a real meal and it was now 3pm.  I was HANGRY, crying, frustrated and felt really, really alone.  Finally, it was over.

My birthday dinner was nice and I got to catch up with friends I really don’t get to see too often.  It was at FEZ, my favorite CenPho spot, and I was surrounded by good people.  I was also very anxious about the fundraiser, which was to start at 10pm.  I knew it was going to be emotional, but I had no idea who would be there, if ANYONE would actually show up.

Pavle, the owner of FnB, had come forward a couple weeks ago and said he’d do a fundraiser.  I let Kirti take care of it, as I had a trip out of town, work, and comedy.  Boy, were those two ever organized!!!  Pavle had asked a lot of local business owners to donate goods and gift cards to the raffle.  When I got there, Kirti was organizing everything and I was completely awe-struck at the people there.  People who I had been interacting with on Twitter and Facebook for over a year, most I had never met before face-to-face had come out to show their support.  A few times that night, my eyes welled-up and I realized that even though we had never physically met, I had a LOT of friends there and a LOT of good people still do exist in the world.

I will be out of work for 3 – 4 weeks, of which I do not get paid.  I have not been at my job long enough to get short-term disability, nor do I qualify for FMLA.  It will be unpaid.  I have some vacation time, but not enough to cover the entire recovery period.  The generosity of not only Pavle for donating part of the proceeds of that evening, but of all the people who donated from their businesses and pockets was amazing.  I am so thankful to be a part of such a FABULOUS community!!!  I am not going to be afraid to ask for help, even if it’s just to have someone come over and watch a movie.  I will not let myself think I am inconveniencing anyone.

After feeling so alone in the hospital all day, and seeing all those people there, I cried the entire drive home from the restaurant.  I’m NOT alone.

 

A mammogram, psych test, Sweet Republic & Hana Japanese

Today was what I’d call “easy” in the long line of tests I’ve had to undergo to donate my kidney.  This time, I had to go to the Mayo Clinic on 134th St & Shea in Scottsdale.  I should have packed a lunch – THAT is how far away from home it is!  I live on 12th Street.  This was on 134th.  You can do the math!

Today, I was scheduled to have a mammogram and psych test.  I was so very thankful that nothing involved needles!!!!  I got there and barely sat down in the waiting room when they called my name.  The mammogram wasn’t painful at all and I hope that women read this and know they don’t have to be scared because of that.  My boobs got squished, very gently, between two plastic plates and they took a picture.  The whole process of adjusting my boobs and turning to the side a couple times took all of ten minutes.  So, girls, get your mammograms!!!

The psych test was easy as well.  I’ve taken a lot of personality tests over the years for job interviews and such.  I was reading the questions and felt badly for the people who would answer them truthfully about suicide, reckless behavior and anger issues.  Luckily, I have NONE of those.  Doing yoga for over 10 years has really helped me to get a handle on emotions, as well as not drinking or doing drugs now for almost 7 years.  I wasn’t paranoid about answering any of the questions.  The doctor even went over my answers with me.  Apparently, I’m very confident and have a lot of friends to turn to.  Yup.  That’s me!

On my way back, I decided to stop at Sweet Republic, an ice cream shop in Scottsdale.  I don’t get to the area very often, but I know the owners and we bump into each other around the Valley at different places.  I hadn’t been to their shop in months, but I buy their ice cream at the Downtown Public Market.  It’s divine and they make it on site.  Anyway, I figured I would treat myself to a little cup before heading to dinner with my friend Alexander for sushi.  I had been craving it for over a week!  As I was about to pay for my little cup of heaven, they insisted on me not paying.  They were contributors to the fundraiser the other night and I started to cry right there.  I was sent home with quite a few pints of delicious Sweet Republic ice cream.  Thank you, Helen & Jan, for your kindness and generosity.

Next stop: Hana Japanese.  Boy, I really needed some sushi.  And I *really* needed time with Alexander.  I realized a few weeks ago that with all the comedy I was doing, I was missing out on time with my friends.  I’d flake out on events and gatherings either because I had to perform, or I was too exhausted from performing too much that I’d stay home.  Hana Japanese is in my neighborhood and though I looooooove sushi, I am not a pro.  Alexander IS a foodie and his job is to write food blogs, so I knew I had chosen the right guy to go to dinner with.  And boy, did we have dinner!!!!   I got to try a shitload of stuff that I don’t know how to pronounce or even what fish it came from, but I am stuff to the gills. (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA get it?  Gills?  Fish?  HAHAHAHA) Laurie, the owner even gave me a few gift certificates for the next fundraiser.

I am overwhelmed from the support that the community has shown.  I am also extremely grateful for all of my friends who have offered to help me out while I’m recuperating.  And without Kirti, I don’t know what I’d do.  Yeah, she stole my kidney, but I also gained an extension to my family in the process.

 

 
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