Saturday, December 17, 2016

Monterey Bay Aquarium - Victory Check!

My healing continues, friends. You know, I was homebound before I started on the Medical Medium journey. I couldn't go anywhere because 1) I reacted to everything in my environment and was too afraid of anaphylaxis; and 2) I just didn't have the spoons (energy). No gas in the tank. COULD. NOT. GO. Even the thought of taking a shower was just too much and I could barely manage more than one every 4-5 days. And while I am a conservationist at heart, 4-5 days without a shower is a bit much, you know?

So while I HAD a wheelchair, it really didn't get much use. I couldn't wheel myself around in it at home - that took way more energy than I had, not to mention it would have thrown my Ehlers-Danlos joints out of socket. And leaving the house was pretty much an imposibility. So mostly my wheelchair just sat around folded up in the garage.

And if you've been reading, you know that lately, I've been able to leave my house. I've gone to the Farmers' Market several times, the organic grocery store (smaller than a Safeway-sized store, which is still too much for me). I've been to the Portland Tram and the food carts and I even went to a Target! Although I had to wear my mask, use the mobility scooter, and leave after about 15 minutes. That vanilla scent they pump in plus all the plastics, lighting and petrochemicals they sell is just too much stimulation for my overworked mast cells.



But the point is, I've been able to leave. You might also know we've been traveling in our RV, which has given me more opportunities to go outside and explore new places and do new things. Like I went to a swimming pool - a chlorinated one even! And it was a lot for me, but I did it!

And yesterday we did a really BIG thing - because they were spraying, we stayed out of the RV ALL day - and that is a first for me, to not be able to rest - really rest - for the whole day. But we took my wheelchair, and thank goodness we did - I never could have done it without it. And my wheelchair got some REAL use for the first time!



We were in the Monterey Bay Aquarium for something like 5 hours give or take - we saw every exhibit - some of them two and three times. We spent quality time outside enjoying the ocean view and watching the pigeons and seagulls. We spent time at the touch tanks learning about tide pool critters. We held a hermit crab and pet a sponge and a decorator crab and watched the barnacles poke out of their shells. I didn't ever realize that barnacles were living critters. I mean I vaguely knew, but I didn't KNOW (if that makes sense. Probably not).


And of the places I've been in my wheelchair - which remember are few - the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the most ADA accessible place I've ever been. Accessibility didn't seem to be at all an afterthought there - there was nowhere I couldn't go, including the restrooms - which anyone who uses a wheelchair will tell you, is uncommon and hella important. They even had family restrooms if need be, and made sure we knew about them. At every turn, some friendly helpful volunteer would approach us and say, "Oh, did you know about this thing?" and it would usually be some shortcut so my husband didn't have to walk all over the place just trying to get me places.


They even had a special elevator for the otter exhibit, which was just the size of the wheelchair, and you could operate it from the inside or outside. And when we couldn't figure out the controls at first, a cheerful volunteer appeared out of nowhere and helped. And when there was a thing like a feeding, the emcee would say something like, "Look behind you. If you see someone in a wheelchair, please move and let them come to the front." I ALWAYS had a view of whatever it was. 


We all had a great time, too - the exhibits are some of the best maintained I've ever seen. All those tanks full of water were CLEAN. And not from chemicals, but because they just maintain everything so darn well.


I only smelled chlorine in one area, and that was the petting pool, where the rays were supposed to be available to pet, but all of them were about as far away from reachable as possible. I don't blame you, rays. (Yes, that is a cuttlefish, I know. I told you, the rays weren't having any of it.)

 There are SO many volunteers there, it's just amazing. And this - we were there on a Wednesday! And not just clean, but boy, do they kow how to set a mood. Each exhibit had just the right kind of lighting, music, ambience and it really created an EXPERIENCE.

The jellyfish - I cannot even begin to explain how much in love I was with the entire room of jellies. It was the most hypnotic, meditative, gorgeous experience being in that room. Had my son not been there saying, "Can we PLEASE go to the next thing now???" I'm pretty sure I'd have sat captive in bliss in front of any one of those tanks for HOURS. There is something SO incredibly satisfying about just sitting and watching jellyfish swim, and listening to that hypnotic meditation music, and it just felt like, "Yeah. I could come here and do this and just feel the healing happen in my soul."

I'm not even kidding you, whomever designed this exhibit is a freaking genius. Kudos and hats off and I bow to the brilliance that had you put those things together so perfectly. I was so entranced I forgot to take video, despite having two different cameras that were capable. I only took stills and I am kicking myself for it. I want to watch the jellies forever! #jelliesforever #bliss

What other exhibits? Oh, right.

We got to watch the feedings of the otters, the penguins, and the sharks. My favorite was the sharks, because 1) the divers had to go into the tank to feed them, 2) It took a long time because the sharks apparently had zero sense of urgency about being fed, and 3) the giant sea bass were like begging puppies hanging around the divers and nudging at them and trying to get in on the action. I never knew a giant fish could be so adorable. They totally reminded me of Muffins with the "If I just hang out right here in your space and stare at you long enough, eventually you will feed me," schtick.

The penguins, who by the way were from South Africa - um, did YOU know that penguins can live in temperate places? Even South Africa? I did not. And they are adorable. The more I get to know about birds - ANY birds - the more smitten I become with them, because oh my gosh, they have SO much personality and sass. The penguins like the humans coming like we like coming to see them, because for them, it's the human show. They watch us watching them, they seem to love the kids, and different ones will act differently, just like any other animals. Kiernen spent some time bonding with a couple of really mellow girls who were just chilling by the glass, which is again, closer than we've ever been to them. The penguins are his jellyfish.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention everyone's favorite cepholopod, the octopus. And can I just say my new camera didn't disappoint, because these two were NOT this visible with our human eyes. I was blown away when I saw these photos. #canonFTW

Again, mad love for these bizarre clearly alien creatures of the deep, I heart them so much for all the things they can do and how amazing they are. They were all napping when we were there, and also: Monterey Bay, why no octopus feedings on the schedule? I didn't catch whether these guys were nocturnal, and perhaps they are. But they sure are beautiful to behold. 

Mad props to the Medical Medium and all he has restored to my life by writing his books and sharing the information he has been given. I would never, ever have been able to have this day had I not found his book and started the celery juice and the cleanse. My body is coming back to health, I am healing and regaining strength, I am so much more capable of being out in the world than I was before June of this year. I am so grateful to this knowledge and for my ability to practice it. It just keeps getting better. 

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