Well, I did it. I survived the first year of being single. My first Valentines Day, first birthday, first wedding anniversary, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Years and finally my first year anniversary of walking out on the life I knew and loved. I did it! Wahoo, my year of firsts was over! High five for me! The joy of this realization was quickly followed by the thought that I was now heading into my year of seconds, and I was still single! Ugh! One of the ways I got through the first year was telling myself, “don’t worry next year will be different!” Would it really be different or was I still lying to myself?
January was a very tough month. While in New York for the Miss New York USA pageant, I got very sick. Like I didn’t even care to put on lipstick sick. I called my super doctor in Beverly Hills and asked for my usual miracle cure cocktail; antibiotics strong enough to cure an elephant size infection, pain-killers, steroid inhaler and the really good cough syrup. This man was a celeb doctor and he could cure anything in 24 hours. He told me he couldn’t prescribe a narcotic (pain pills and cough syrup) across state lines and that I really needed to see a doctor in New York. Blah, so annoying, I didn’t have time to see a doctor, I had a hundred things to do before the pageant and being sick was not one of them.
Thank goodness Jack was there, when I finally agreed to go to urgent care so I could get some meds it was 9 pm. Jack drove me to the urgent care and I ended up in the emergency room, where all the really sick people are. Soon I found myself waiting in the hallway on a stretcher with Jack sitting at the end of my bed on a chair trying to cope with his germ phobia by covering his face with his scarf; he looked a little like the paparazzi photos of Michael Jackson.
After a chest x-ray, a few tests, and a lot of waiting around, I found out I had come down with pneumonia, sadly it wasn’t my first time for that either and I knew what I was in for. There I was laid out on a stretcher and not even a cute doctor in sight! All I wanted were my drugs and to go back to my mediocre hotel (it was upstate NY, not many options). Jack filled out all of the paperwork and gave them my insurance info, I was too weak to write and he knew everything about me.
“Sorry ma’am, do you have another insurance card? This one is no good.” The admissions lady informed me as I lie in a hospital bed wishing I could just go home to LA.
“Excuse me, what do you mean it is not good. We have insurance; you must have entered it wrong! Fix it!” Jack said like the momma bear he was, his voice going into the higher pitch it reached when he was really getting angry.
The woman walked back and pretended she tried it again then walked back to the stretcher, she said, “I am sorry, this is no good” and shoved the card back to Jack.
“Where is my phone?” I said with as much energy as I could.
“Why?” Jack asked.
“Give it to me!” I snapped as I went into a coughing fit.
I started furiously texting my ex. “What the fuck? I am in the hospital and being told I have no health insurance, are you fucking kidding me??? After all the shit, you put me through and now I have to deal with this?”
He text back fairly quickly, acting concerned and confused. “What? Are you ok? What happened? Of course, you have health insurance!”
It was part of our settlement that he had to provide my health insurance for 18 months.
“Well, I am being told I don’t, you need to fix this and fix it NOW!” I typed back.
“I will fix it! ARE YOU OK???” He typed in caps.
“I am fine, just get my insurance fixed!” I was in no mood to fill him in on personal details of my life, nor did I want his sympathy.
I had to sign my life away to get out of the hospital without my correct insurance information, but to be fair I found out the next morning that I did have insurance. He had changed insurance plans when he changed jobs, and I didn’t have the proper card. But it was his fault that I didn’t have the right card, at least I did have some insurance though I would be paying off that ER visit for the next year.
We left the ER, went to Walgreens for the usual; prescriptions, Kleenex (the hotel tissue was shit), Gatorade, saltine crackers, cough drops and gossip magazines. The doctor said I had to stay in bed and couldn’t leave my room. What? How the hell was I going to do that when I had a pageant to produce? I had two days until the contestants checked in so I decided I would be totally well by then! Yes, it had been a rough year but I wasn’t in that bad of shape, I thought to myself. I was sure I would bounce back quickly; I survived the last year I could survive this.
As I lay in my hotel bed, which was only marginally more comfortable than the hospital stretcher, I found myself too tired to even operate the remote to turn the channel on my TV. Fuck, I really was sick! I have to admit I am not a good sick person, especially away from home. I didn’t even have anyone to send me flowers or that I could call and complain about how sick I was.
My business partner was nice about it, but he now had to take over my job and still do his- I could tell he was stressed. I was staying in my room in order to not expose anyone else on staff and have them get sick!
Our team had just finished Miss California USA the weekend before, and the New York pageant was going to be even more work, the staff in NY was green and I had spent months working on all the details with our team. I was beside myself that I ended up in the hospital, thank God Jack was there. Pageant weeks are like nothing else unless you work in production and then you get it. You plan and plan and plan and then it all begins and 100 things a day blow up in your face, you get 1000 questions from every direction, you have fire alarms that go off because someone tried to hand something from a sprinkler head, you have contestants trying to sneak out to see their boyfriend in the lobby of the hotel, you live on about 3 hours of sleep, have a phone and a walkie glued to your hand at all times, rarely get a meal and then, for me, suddenly have to be in full makeup and hair… while dealing with all of the above-mentioned fun.
As the days moved on, I wasn’t getting better. As contestants arrived, I told myself that I would stay in bed until competition night and then would feel better! Well, that wasn’t true either but after a couple of days the guilt and stress took over. I managed to take a shower and wash my hair; I had to lie back down after that. The simplest task simply exhausted me.
I finally made it the theatre where the pageant was being held and where my hair and makeup artist was- whew! Half way through the first show and after finishing a bit of filming I had committed to doing. I had to go back; I was too sick and people wouldn’t even come near me. I felt so awful for leaving everyone else with all the work and not being there to the level I should have. I missed almost all of it; I missed most of the weekend but I was doing the best I could.
At the end as sad as I was to miss the pageant, I was happy it was over. I couldn’t wait to get home. Knowing that producing two pageants back to back weekends was cruel and unusual punishment my business partner had decided that we would reward our key staff (only 5 of us) and take a trip to Paris when the season was finished. I had been looking forward to this trip for months. Paris is one of the best places on earth if you ask me, romantic, beautiful, old and full of wonderful food and wine!
Finally, I had something to look forward to!