Sunday, January 31, 2010

Arrows are not complicated directional systems, people...

I started writing a post about my dad and the argument we got into yesterday, just because it's been bothering me all night, but then he came in and apologized, and we talked, and it felt wrong to post a big rant after that.

Instead: run-on sentences, just for you!

No, really... how about just the highlights of what's going on around here:

- Yesterday, we went to IKEA, which I went to mainly so I could spend some time with SisterJ, who has been spending time with us lately on the weekends, and it makes me smile when she does that. (Thank you, 5-hour energy!)

- IKEA is a gigantic, multilevel warehouse filled with furniture, a complex maze of arrows, and lots of great organizational things that I can't figure out because I am design-ally challenged. I went looking for a table, and came home with four little tiny glass jars.

- I hate IKEA. It took about 4 hours to get through the gigantic arrowed store, and buy those 4 little tiny jars. With (No longer)Youngest Nephew, who spent a great deal of his time varying between complaint and repeated requests that we not 'ditch' him... I have never ditched him in my life, but this store certainly made me consider it.

- Actually, I would've liked to just roll into one of those model rooms and close the door, but there were, sadly, no doors.

- And about 3000 people.

- Who apparently do not understand that you are supposed to go the way the arrow is pointing, not against it.

- I am never going to IKEA again.

- Tomorrow I have an appointment with Zach, that I rescheduled from December. I am sore enough today to know that tomorrow's appointment is going to be torture (always the touching: why must you touch?), but I have to go, because we have not even talked about XMRV or the results from my last round of tests and I do not feel like waiting anymore.

- This reminds me of two things: A) I still haven't written that XMRV post (which means I never sent the info to Janice either: sorry Janice! Brain = not smart) and B)Tomorrow is February.

- What the hell happened to January?

- Here is the only thing worth publishing from that ridiculous rant I wrote:

He's also a real sweetheart, possessed of a great gentleness and a sincerity that seems out of place in the here and now (He shovels the neighbors sidewalks, brings them extra food, and takes out the trash for the older woman behind us, because "it's what neighbors do"... Do neighbors still do that where you live? If it was left to me, I would not even know the neighbors' names.) I don't want you to think he's a monster: I don't think that. He's my dad, and I love him - he's lived with mostly women his whole life (think: 4 girls, my mom, and before that he lived with his ex-wife, and before that, his mother) but he's still clueless enough to think that "Do you have your period?" is an acceptable question; he gave me (and anyone else who ever walked into our house) a classic rock education (I think he was never more ashamed of me than when I got a Beatles question wrong on Trivial Pursuit); he's funny and affable, and, although he too often starts sentences with the phrase "Someday I won't be here anymore...", I don't know what I'll do if that day eventually arrives. I love him a lot, is what I'm saying.

How about you guys: How's your week looking?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Blender brain! Update!

Last week was a strange week - Lil Girl stayed home sick (with a vicious cough), so as not to infect her infectious auntie; Dad stayed home sick, here, with pink eye or something, and wandered around the house a lot saying random things and aggravating me (perhaps unreasonably, but also: don't ask me the same question 17 times and expect me to be cheerful eversingletime!); and I couldn't see well for a large portion of the week, so reading and typing and watching tv and all those good distractable things that I count on were off the table, and my pain level was pretty high.

My pain seems to have platoughed, my eye is so much better now, and I even got to leave the house yesterday, which was a nice change of pace, as was a mostly cheerful SisterJ, who I miss when she's not here.

All of that backstory was supposed to lead into a meaningful blog post, but somewhere around the time that I started talking about my eye, I totally forgot what the point of the post was going to be.

So, let's just call it an update and call it a day, shall we?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Robocalls are a stupid invention.

Have I mentioned before that I live in Massachusetts? I'm sure I have: I'm generally proud to be from this state - We're at the forefront on gay marriage, we beat the rest of the country to universal health care, and we've decided that R's are a completely unnecessary letter of the alphabet: what's not to love?

However, I would like, very much, not to be living in Massachusetts this week, as there is a big Senate race on right now, and the candidates - what with their commercials and 9 Robocalls a day and their constant bickering - are both driving me up a wall. Also, for some reason that is completely unclear to me, a Republican has a pretty good chance of winning Ted Kennedy's old seat. In a state where there are 3 registered Dems for every registered Republican, it boggles the mind. As Stephen Colbert said last week, this is definitely a sign of the coming Apocalypse...

And, of course, it gives us a prime opportunity to screw up the rest of the country, because if the Republican candidate wins, he'll be #41, thus blowing the Democrats' "super majority" (not that they've been able to accomplish anything with the super majority, but still). So goodbye health care bill: we've got ours, so the rest of you can just suck it. That seems like some great Massachusetts liberalism in play right there.

Anyways, I don't usually go off on political rants here, because, well, I have to defend my hippie-commie-liberal-pinko ways enough in person, so who wants to start something here, but I have to write something, because this kind of stuff makes me stressed out. I have to not listen to any of it, because attack ads (from my candidate, especially) and obviously, horrifically untrue statements (which I have to say have been more from the other side this time) make me want to throw up. It's like when I was younger and somebody would start picking on somebody else or my parents would start screaming at each other - it wasn't my fight, & you don't want draw attention to yourself, but you kind of wish you had the courage to just step in and say "Shut it! You're wrong, and you're mean, and there's no damn reason to be... Now play nice or walk away!" Play nice or walk away: why is that such a hard concept for people? Especially politicians? (And is it any wonder teaching kids to be nice to each other is something that attracted me so much?)

And also? Calling people 72 times in one weekend is not going to convince them that you understand their problems and will be there for them. It will convince them that you have no fricking clue what it means to be a human being, and that electing you is not their best decision. If you were smart, you'd start reading Facebook: more than half of my Massachusetts friends spent the day complaining about the calls they've gotten this weekend: either the number or the attitude of the callers themselves (pushy, much?)... I'd say every single status update today was either about the snow/ice or these calls. Ah: the phone rings again, I kid you not. And it's nearly 9 at night. I wish my eye was better and I could just read a book, shut off the whole rest of the world.

Let's see if I've unpacked my Firefly dvds, shall we?

I would tell any Massachusetts readers I have not to forget to vote tomorrow, but I think there's a slim chance of that happening.

I'm going to try to bribe my sister and her husband to vote, instead.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I lied...

about it being my last eye post. Sorry, but I thought I'd give you just a quick update: I have an infection on my cornea. It's a little bit abnormal, but the optometrist said it probably has something to do with my piece of crap immune system, and prescribed an eye drop I have to put in once every hour for the next few days, and then I go back on Monday. For my favorite-est of things: more eye drops (this time pretty colors - they make me cry yellow tears) and bright shiny lights directly into the very sore eyeball! Yay. Am wicked excited. But - today's drops have at least numbed my eye, so that I can talk to you nice people without turning the computer screen down so dim that I couldn't read it if I wanted to. Bonus.

Also, the optometrist seemed surprised that it had taken me so long to come in, which, I know ~ we've talked before about how, for me, having a strange-ass chronic illness (or multiple strange-ass chronic illnesses) makes it difficult to distinguish how real a problem actually is, but I have to say this fits right in there - it was something in my eye! Like an eyelash or something... How could that be a real problem? Everybody gets things in their eyes, and those things go away, right? And, ok, yes, I knew it was serious when it was still so sore a few days later, but that's why I bought the eye wash, and, when it didn't get better, that's when I called the doctor. I don't know: it seems reasonable both ways to me, even now. Who knows?

Anyways, the point is that ouch. My eye hurts. Especially when there is light, which is ALL THE FRIGGING TIME. My family grows more and more convinced that I am not really ill, but am, in fact evolving into a vampire. I am not entirely convinced that they are wrong.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's been about a week and a half,

since I've been here, and I apologize for that.

But I think I'm going to skip the long explanations that explain nothing, really, and just say: my brain has been tired, and I have not felt like ordering it to work. Which is fine, really, except that all the posts I wrote in my tired head during the past week are now gone into the ether, and I have to come up with something to write because we all know the longer I go without posting, the harder it gets to post.

So, onto today's post:

Did you know that my most popular post, the post that gets the most comments and hits (at least one a day, I am not kidding you) is this one? 42 comments, as of today. Apparently, something I thought only I was careless enough to do (accidentally getting gel deodorant squirted into my eye) is pretty damn common. The number of people who find me after Googling "got deodorant in my eye" is very high... that search is, by far, my biggest referral.

I'm not entirely sure I'm happy to be known on the Internet as the girl who got deodorant in her eye, but I'm glad that I'm not the only one. I'm also happy to let people know that, while I have no medical training, and cannot guarantee anything, all of the people who searched and found me after getting deodorant in their eyes, at the very least, saw well enough to type. So, while it stings worse than shampoo or most other things you may have accidentally got in your eyeball (I will refrain from judgement here), it will probably get better relatively quickly. If I remember correctly, my eye was fine after a few hours, and only red for a day or so.

Not like this week, in which I did absolutely nothing whatsoever to my damn eye, and haven't been able to see clearly for three days. I also can't keep the eye open any length of time and have taken to wearing my sunglasses inside the house. Although today, I just shut off all sources of light - I am typing this on it's darkest setting, and occasionally peeking behind a piece of paper to check for misspellings - and confined myself to a dark room. Where I couldn't read or write or watch TV or any of the things I usually do to distract myself from my normal pain, so guess what kind of a week I have been having? (*And, oh, how this is its own post, readers: distraction as pain management technique, and how the loss of those distractions is like flaying yourself raw and then swimming in the ocean.)

I honestly have no idea what got in there, because it has felt like a little crumb of something is just under my eyelid, but I don't see anything. I thought about going to the doctor, but what do I say: "My eye hurts, but I don't know why?" I am giving it until tomorrow to straighten up, though... if it ain't better/improving by then, screw it, I'm calling. And then, of course, my eye got all red and weepy (sorry - disgusting, I know), and for whatever reason when my eye gets watery, my nose starts to run, and ALSO, the more I blow my nose, the more my face gets all broken out, so now my nose and one eye are all red, and I've got little cuts all over the place, so basically I look like I've been fighting with a very angry cat that I am also allergic to, or something. Tres attractive, I am sure.

On the plus side, I can't look in the mirror, because it hurts to open my eye, so there's that.

I think it was at it's worst this morning, though, because it hurt so bad I actually did something about it. I sent my dad to the store for some Visine (even though it gives me a rash on my skin, I would deal with that for an eye that functions), and he brought home an eye wash/eye cup thing instead. Have you ever had to do this? The directions are simple and straightforward - fill cup with solution, put cup on eye, tilt head back, OPEN EYE AND ROLL IT AROUND with the solution pouring right into it, empty cup, pat eye dry.

Simple, right?

Except that you are talking to the only person in the history of my optometrist to learn how to put contact lenses on by finally being allowed to do it without looking. I was in my 20s, and it took 3 lessons. Because the guy who was giving the lessons kept saying, "You have to look at your finger when you're putting it in your eye!" and "I have taught 4 year olds how to do this, now look at your finger!" That approach did not work for me, so finally I said to him, "How about if we try it this way?" and I looked in the opposite direction and snuck it in my eye while I wasn't looking and then blinked a few times: voila! Mission accomplished. (Off Topic - this is also the way I taught myself how to swallow pills: put food/drink in your mouth first, then slip the pill in, and act like it isn't there and just swallow your food/drink. Easy peasy.)

So the whole, open your eye and swish the water around in it, thing? Not my cup of tea. Basically I wound up having to tip my head back, and then blink really fast for as long as I could. What? It seems to have helped, so why knock it?

My eye is still puffy and red and hurting, but it's getting better, I think.

This concludes my second - and hopefully last post about stuff getting in my eye (and if I ever figure out what it was this time, trust me that I will avoid that substance like the eye plague it truly is). Enjoy the rest of your day, and I'll try and come up with something less gross for tomorrow's post.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

"Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open,

and rules are flexible -- the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family." - Virginia Satir

If you've been here for a while, then you know that I don't do New Year's Resolutions. I never really did, because I know how my brain works: I spend a lot of time coming up with resolutions, figuring out ways to accomplish them, figuring out ways to avoid accomplishing them, and then feeling guilty about breaking them. It's a vicious cycle that takes place approximately 742 times throughout the year, so I don't need an extra, mandatory date to create issues for myself.

Instead, taking a cue from Spoon Theory creator Christine Miserando, I pick one word that I try to focus on over the course of the year.

In 2008, the word was closer.
Last year, even though I didn't declare it here, the word I kept coming back to was breathe, especially since the year started off with us not knowing where we were going to be living, and then I spent 4.5 months in limbo at my Grandmother's house. Reminding myself - when I felt like I was accomplishing nothing, or that I was wasting time - that all that was absolutely required of me was breathing in and out, was a great help.

This year, I've put a lot of thought into a word that actually A) means something and B) will be easily applied (see cycle of resolutions above if you were wondering why it has to be simple). Some of the contenders were Truth, Choice, and Balance, all of which were good, but none of which seemed to be the perfect choice.

The word I came up with is Worth.

Looking at the definition of worth, I was pleased to see its roots are from Middle English, meaning to "become". Nowadays, it means the quality of something, the value of it. Something's equivalent. Something that is "good or important enough to justify" ie "advice worth taking; a place worth visiting". It can mean "excellence of character" or the esteem it deserves/garners, its "usefulness or importance". It's not just about monetary or material riches, but wealth of a different sort as well.

This year I'm going to focus on what things are worth, in a real and honest way. I'm going to think about what things are equal to, where excellence is actually found, and whether or not I'm truly valuing that excellence.

I need to be honest in ascribing worth - to things (Am I holding on to junk? Am I stockpiling things instead of valuing what I already have?); to people (Is it really worth another argument? Am I giving certain relationships their due or shortchanging them?); to time (What am I really spending time on vs what I want to spend time on. What is my time worth to me - and how can I show other people it's value?); to everyday actions (Is the taste of what I am eating worth the consequences for eating it? Is staying up all night typing the best way to be worth something in the morning? Since I know I won't take my pills regularly if I don't fill in those little days, isn't it worth it to fill in those little days even though I hate that job?); to the type of person I am trying to be (Am I trustworthy? Am I worth the effort it requires to be my friend? Am I sharing the true me with people who have proven worthy, or am I holding back?)... There are a million areas I need to look at in my life, a million places I could be putting what little energy I have to better use. So I'm going to try to be constantly asking myself... Is this worth it? What is this worth?

I think that living with chronic illnesses is all about asking this question - that there's so often a give and take, that there are so many reactions for every action. And, after a certain point, it gets overwhelming. It's scary, having to think every little thing through. It's frightening not knowing what the consequences for certain things will be. But that's not just living with a chronic illness, that's living. Period. So I have to stop being so passive about certain things, I have to start accepting the fact that the way I live - in the here and now, and the day to day - is my life, and I want to be doing as much of the choosing as I possibly can. So I need to start deciding what things are worth, what I am worth and how I can be more worthy.

It's funny, because I find that these keywords, or themes, or whatever you want to call them tend to stick with me. I still find myself asking "Does this bring me closer to my goals?" "Am I remembering to breathe?" has become almost a motto at this point. So I hope that focusing on the worth of my efforts & actions will become second nature to me by this time next year.

That seems as good a goal as any.

Definitions for worth via Merriam Webster dictionary &