Wednesday, March 19, 2014

what is wrong with me? (other than my personality, sigh)

So!  I have been sick for over six months now, not with one thing, but with a series of things each following the other in lockstep.  Flus, colds, fevers, sinus infections, coughs, aches and pains...  The last few weeks have been marred by severe nausea, causing me to not work and to skip some social engagements I actually wanted to attend.

This week I developed a disturbing new symptom.  When I roll over at night in my sleep, I become so dizzy that the dizziness wakes me up and is painful.  During the worst episode of this, the room was spinning around me, exactly as if I'd gotten completely trashed and had what we called in college "the bedspins."  I had no alcohol in my system at all, though.  These episodes are completely miserable, and since my sleep is fragile due to severe insomnia, they are not easily overcome.

Meanwhile, my test results came back.  If you were to look at my blood alone, you would have to say, "Huh.  There is nothing wrong with this person."  No problems with the liver, thyroid, white blood cell levels, glycemic levels, cholesterol, etc..  My blood pressure is fine.  Evidently I have no ulcer, either.  Every hypothesis so far has been ruled out.

Friday, March 14, 2014

an idiot dreaming of the purple rain

Late at night recently Prince's people announced he was playing this weekend in the Bay Area.  Last weekend he did a couple of last minute shows in L.A., and presumably he felt like doing the same up in NoCal this weekend.  The tickets sold out within minutes, of course.

I figured that he was likely to add another show.  I looked at the calendar for the venue.  It was suspiciously empty for the next day.  Late last night I kept refreshing the calendar, and then the object of my desire appeared:  another Prince show the next night.  I felt ever so clever.  But the link to buy tickets didn't work.  I refreshed that many times.  Examining the site more closely, I found a link which said that the tickets for that show would go on sale at "12:00 pm Thurs 3/13."  Clearly that couldn't be noon on Thursday, because the show's existence wasn't announced until around 10:30 p.m. It must mean midnight on Thursday, I reasoned.  Everyone else went to bed.  I myself was exhausted but determined, having missed the amazingly wonderful shows Prince put on last year in San Francisco which everyone but me attended and bragged about on Facebook for weeks (I hate them all).  The Sober Husband unhelpfully joked, "Don't you know some poor person in Oakland who can go stand in line for you?"

"There is no line!  It's all online!" I snapped.  I took my laptop downstairs.  Around midnight I started trying to buy tickets.  Every few minutes I'd refresh the screen, but the tickets never went on sale.  Eventually I fell asleep.  In the morning I tried again, but it still wasn't working.  After I drove the children to school, I looked at the website again, and far from the tickets going on sale, the show had been taken off the listings.

"I lost a night's sleep for nothing," I told the Sober Husband over the phone.  "I am so stupid."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

oddly the same

Recently we were at a friend's home at the same time he was working on his application for disability benefits.  "I hate writing," he complained.  Additionally, he has limited use of his hands (the primary reason for needing disability), which made typing hard.  "Does anyone like writing?"

I couldn't resist.  I pulled up a chair and studied what he'd written.  "You need to really emphasize the pathetic parts," I said.  "You're leaving out so much.  And you've got to lead with the worst parts."  I sat down and rewrote the short essay, emphasizing the truly horrific facts in my friend's case.

On the way home, I noted to the Sober Husband, "It was just like applying to Lowell!"

San Francisco has one -- and only one-- academic magnet high school.  (There is also a magnet school for the arts).  Dreaming of a high-quality and free education, we had Iris uber Alles apply.  The process was not quite what we'd expected.  First, the application required a couple of essays -- and they were all explicitly aimed at establishing just how much Iris had suffered in life.  The application specified that essays should address issues the applicant had experienced such as homelessness, poverty, immigration, parents being jailed, etc..   Then later in the process, Iris was required to write an essay at her present school, while being proctored --- and once again the topic was what challenges she'd faced in life, aimed at drawing out stories of great socioeconomic suffering.

I think it's appropriate that kids who have had a rough start in life be given an advantage in getting into the special public school.  Bright kids who've faced so much adversity in life but managed to cope nonetheless deserve the very finest in life.  But yet it's sad that San Francisco has only the one magnet school for academic high-fliers and that the process is so one-note.   There seems to be something amiss if applying for an academic magnet school is eerily like applying for SSI.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

feline failures to perform

The last couple of nights my insomnia has been particularly intense.  Last night, as I lay awake in the wee ours of the night, I felt irritated that no cats were keeping me company.  Usually you can rely upon having one about, but lately, no.  "There are five cats in this house," I thought, "and where are they?"  None were pulling their weight, I felt.

At some point I padded quietly to the bathroom.  As I passed Iris's room, I heard the sound of multiple cats purring.  Evidently all five cats had chosen to spurn me for Iris.

It was hard not to take this personally.  "$#*@& ingrates," I thought.

Eventually I fell asleep, only to be awakened by the insistent attentions of Coconut, our largest and neediest cat.  Coconut pushed against me until I petted him, and he walked on me, crying.  It was hard to feel excited about this, though.  Coconut was clearly thinking of breakfast.  Affection was a means to an end.  I accepted it, though, reaching down to stroke his silky fur.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

medical hypotheses

I saw a new medical practitioner, who thinks that there is probably a combination of things going on with me, likely some but not all of the following:  (a) ulcer, (b) vitamin D deficiency, (c) diabetes, (d) anemia, and/or (e) thyroid problem.  Her top bets are an ulcer/vitamin D deficiency combo.  I'm skeptical about the vitamin D theory (I go into the light; I drink vitamin D enhanced milk in my coffee) but willing to swallow some supplements.

On Monday I'm having a large amount of blood drawn for labwork, but we did the ulcer test already (but the results won't be back from the lab for weeks).  I was fascinated to see that ulcer tests are done by breath nowadays.  Long, long ago in the eighties I was tested for an ulcer, and I had to drink a lot of barium and have a series of x-rays taken while I was cavorting about topless and embarrassed.  Nowadays there's still a drink involved, but it's relatively tasty.  "It tastes like Crystal-Lite.  Lemony," said the tech, and she was right.  Not at all like the thick, nasty barium solution which solidified in my gut and caused me to feel as though I'd swallowed a cannonball.

The entire ulcer test was charming, as opposed to its eighties forebear.  First I had to wait until a full hour had elapsed after the last thing had gone into my mouth (I'd had a glass of water upon arrival at the office, injudiciously as it turned out).  Then I took a deep breath, held it, popped the cap off a little mylar bag, and then thoroughly exhaled through a spout, filled the bag, and capped it.  Then the tech carefully watched me drink the faux Crystal-lite down through a special straw (I am not sure why the straw was important, but it was included in the lab kit, and the tech made a big point out of searching for it and having me use it).  Then after exactly fifteen minutes, I took another deep breath, held it for over four seconds, and then filled up another mylar bag.  So much nicer than the old barium days, which no one would have described as charming.

What would really be charming would be a functioning immune system.  While I was at the doctors, I also got a tetanus shot, which the tech tried to talk me out of on the grounds that it is risky to get vaccinated when one has a depressed immune system.  I took it anyhow, because I'm going through training offered only once a year for wildlife rehabilitation work, and I have to get a tetanus shot by the end of the month or I'll be dropped from the training and will have to wait a full year for another chance.  There's no reason to think waiting another couple of weeks is going to mean a drastic improvement in my health, so I ignored the well-meant advice and got the shot.

Today, the day after the shot, I dragged myself to my training despite feeling ill, and the class  was full of sick people who'd evidently done the same:  a room of coughing, sneezing, feverish looking animal lovers forcing themselves out of bed.  I looked about and thought, "Good luck getting healthy" about myself.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

six months sick

For over six months now, I've been sick.  Not with one ailment, one precise disease, but with a multitude of little ones, each one following on the previous one's heels.  Over that six months, I've felt almost healthy one or two days each month -- each time thinking, "Hey!  I feel almost all better!  Maybe I'll go to the gym tomorrow", only to wake up feeling sick the next day with something new.

Colds, flus, viruses, low grade fevers, aches and pains-- each illness seeming too unimportant for a doctor's visit, none seeming to require a prescription be written.  For the past three weeks, it's been consistent nausea, headaches, and weakness.

And... I'm gaining back weight, my once amazing gym-toned muscles are turning to flab, and I'm bored and boring.

Holed up at home, my existence is somewhat Proustian at the moment, but I don't have his admirable cork soundproofing.  Marcel vanquished the street noises of Paris, but I'm hearing San Francisco tear up the sidewalks in my neighborhood.

Meanwhile my doctor quit and moved away (this is my second good doctor to do this, following on the heels of my long-term, beloved dentist).  I'm trying a new medical professional out tomorrow, but it feels ridiculous to go to the doctor with such a nebulous sort of problems.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

humiliating wishes

Recently the Sober Husband asked me what I want (which he could give me, of course; if I could have anything, it might be an improved immune system, outlawing veal, ending testing on rats, a Chinese crested dog, or a houseboy).  Pondering this led to a conversation with Iris uber Alles.

"There are two things I want, but I'm too embarrassed to tell you.  It's really pretty humiliating.  You're going to make fun of me."

"Now you have to tell me!"

"You're going to say I'm too materialistic.  Well, the first one is a vintage trailer."

Contemptuously Iris spat out, "Everyone knows that!"  It's true that over the past few years, I've spent a lot of time looking at what I call "trailer porn", and I went so far as to leave a note on a beautiful little vintage Scamp begging the owners to call me if they ever want to sell it.

I carried on, but lost my courage.  "I can't say the other one.  I can't."

"There's been so much build-up, you have to say it!"

Finally, after some pressing, I admitted to wanting a browlift.  "My eyes are the main good thing about me."  I'd like to get rid of the bags under my eyes and tighten up my sagging brows.

Iris reacted with surprise.  "Honestly, I don't think you need one.  You're not aging badly like [name deleted] or other people your age."  

"But look."  I demonstrated how fabulous I'd look by pulling back my brow.  

"I'd get the trailer."

However, in the end what the Sober Husband probably has in mind is more along the lines of buying me a bag of jelly beans or taking me out to dinner.  While I'm dreaming, I should probably imagine myself post brow-lift, looking bright-eyed and merry in my darling vintage trailer.