Monday, September 19, 2005

"Did I just hallucinate that conversation?"

Okay, so if you have a chronic illness that affects your head and thinking you'll probably relate to this to some extent. If you don't have a chronic illness that affects your head and might find this completely weird and at least mildly entertaining.

So on Saturday I went to Providence to spend the afternoon visiting with two Lyme friends from the last Lyme Out Retreat, Barb and Jack. They're great people and it's amazing how comfortable we are around each other (or at least how comfortable I feel around them) after only spending a long weekend together at the retreat. We talked a lot during the time I was there (about 5 hours), a lot about Lyme, which was really nice (there's something to be said about being able to discuss past Lyme doctors with someone who has been to a lot of the same ones!), and some about other stuff. We went out to lunch where I ate too much (which for me right now is an egg, a few homefries, and a piece of toast) and later went out to Pastiche, a pastry shop that has really good sweets - I got a lemon mousse cake, very light and delicious.

It was at Pastiche, over our coffee, tea, and pastries that we started having some weird conversations. Conversations that, if overheard would make very little sense and seem completely idiotic. But conversations that make you laugh uncontrollably if you're a part of them and realize how completely insane and stupid they are, but still necessary and potentially able to turn a bad day around.

I believe we were talking about doctors (as we had been talking about a lot throughout the day) and Jack asked how Dr. Bock spells his last name. He guessed "Bach" but I told him there's another Lyme doctor in Pennsylvania who spells it that way but my Dr. Bock spells it "Bock". Then we got off on a tangent about how Jack thinks it would be cool to have Bach as your last name and then use your initials instead of your first and middle names - as in J.S. Bach (the composer). Yeah, so far the conversation doesn't seem that weird but bear with me.

Then Jack wanted to figure out how many possible combinations of two initials there could be. So, we turned to Barb (who was a math major in college) to help us figure out the formula, I whipped out my cell phone (it has a calculator on it) to multiply it out and got the result - 676. Then we had to figure out what it would be to get rid of duplicates of the same initials (as in J.J. vs. J.J. - or J1. J2. vs. J2. J1.) and came out with 650, a nice round(ish) number.

When we had figured all this out we took a second to think about it and realized how completely silly the whole conversation had been. That's when Barb came out with one of the best phrases I've heard in a while, "Did I just hallucinate that conversation?" Maybe it doesn't seem that funny to someone reading this, but you have to understand that we were in the middle of a pastry shop (a sit-down pastry shop, but still a pastry shop) trying to figure out all the possible combinations of initials to go with the last name Bach! It seemed hilarious at the time. And the idea that it was so ridiculous that Barb thought it could have been hallucinated just made it all the more funny!

The rest of the day there visiting with them was great and there were a lot of laughs - and we all know that laughter is the best medicine! "[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century; but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand." --Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger

If you've made it this far and still don't think it was funny, I'll leave you with a comic that you may find a little funnier.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Penguin Logic

I just had to post this:


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Trilogy

On today's agenda:
Swiss Cheese Anyone?
Is there a sign on my back?
Penguins can fly!!!

Swiss Cheese Anyone?

If any of you know what it's like to deal with a chronic illness that affects your brain capacity, you might find this analogy especially meaningful. My friend, Stacey, and I are fairly silly when we talk online and we have come to refer to our lack of thinking capacity as "Swiss Cheese Brain". Some like to call it brain fog, some call it short term memory loss. Call it what you will, to me the swiss cheese analogy makes a lot of sense - I know the information used to be there in my brain somewhere, it just seems to have had a hole poked through it and it just isn't there to be accessed anymore. (Alternatively, it can also be called "Spongebob Squarepants Brain" but I prefer the cheese because there's just something about picturing a cartoon character living in my brain that just doesn't sit that well with me.)

Anyway, now that I've explained all that I can go on to talk a bit about my trip to visit the swiss cheese brain co-creator, Stacey. She lives in upstate New York (near Ithaca, which is where Cornell University is - where both my parents went to college), a very rural town with lots of cows and fields and farms so it's a different kind of rural from my town which doesn't have that many animals but a lot of cranberry bogs instead. I visited Stacey and her mom (and her brother, although I didn't see him much) from Thursday to Tuesday and even though I didn't do much at all during that time I got very worn out and I need to spend the rest of the week recovering from it. Most of the weekend was spent lying around on the couch in their living room watching the limited number of TV channels they have, Friends DVDs (that I brought), or talking to Stacey and/or her mom.

Stacey also has Lyme and NCS (dysautonomia - autonomic nervous system dysfunction), she sees the same doctor as me (which is how I got to her house - we both had appointments on Thursday so I just went home with her), and she and her mom are very understanding about everything. It's so nice to have a good friend like that who has been through so many of the same things as me. I spent a lot of time sitting up and talking to her mom (because Stacey was doing pretty well and was off with friends some of the time) about all kinds of things. Among the topics was very often discussions about my less than desirable outcome of my doctor's appointment on Thursday which made it easier to deal with. (If you want to read about my doctor's appointment, go to my caringbridge site and click on "journal history" at the bottom - it's in an entry from Saturday September 10th.) All in all, it was a good weekend.

Is there a sign on my back?

Okay, for some reason I feel like I attract guys that are either really annoying or really creepy (bordering on stalkerish). I won't name names but I want to talk about my latest experience with one of these guys. Over the weekend at Stacey's I met her boyfriend, Austin. He's nice enough (although only 17 so I felt like I was really old around him - Stacey is 20) and it was fine hanging out with him a little bit. On Sunday we hung out with Austin and two of his friends, Rob and...well, someone else (there comes the aforementioned swiss cheese brain). Rob is the one who I swear was flirting with me for most of the day. It was okay at first, but before long it became apparent that either he was just trying too hard or he's inherently an annoying person.

His idea of ways to impress me included: making up Shakespeare-like passages, speaking in fake foreign accents, speaking Japanese, trying to get everyone else to stop swearing around me, and then when I said I really didn't care if they swore (and really don't like people thinking they have to tiptoe around me) he started swearing loudly in the car. If it weren't for the fact that he was very obviously trying to show off and thinks he's the greatest person these things wouldn't have bothered me as much. But one of the biggest things I hate is someone trying to casually show off how great they are and how much they know. Needless to say, after a whole afternoon of being around him I was ready to get away.

So, seriously, do I have a sign on my back that says I only want guys to flirt with me who are really annoying or in some way just not "normal" (or at least not normal enough for me to like them). It has now been about 2 1/2 years since my last relationship and it would certainly be nice to meet someone who wasn't a stalker, excessively annoying, or someone who doesn't like me back. Someday...

Penguins can fly!!!

Yes, it has now been discovered that penguins can fly!!! Of course, they have to be in an airplane. So, this penguin flew home from New York yesterday and not only was I a flying penguin, I turned into a green flying penguin. The flights weren't that bad, but it seemed that flying coupled with not eating much (or maybe eating too much) didn't agree with my stomach and I wound up being pretty nauseous. I managed through the flights and was trying to keep drinking a lot and took Zofran as much as possible, and kept my bottle of vomitusheel (homeopathic nausea med) in my hand for most of the flights so I was still in one piece when I got off the plane. I was pretty dizzy and faint but I recovered.

Not only was I a penguin before I got on the plane, but I turned into more of a penguin during the flights. Or at least my feet did. I was wearing sandels which I guess was a mistake but I wasn't counting on there being freezing cold air coming out right onto my feet! During the first flight (from Syracuse to Dulles) it wasn't unbearable but I was pretty uncomfortable and just wanted to find a place to put my feet to get them warm. It was the second flight (from Dulles to Providence - yes, seems rather odd to fly down to Washington only to fly back up to Providence but I'll take it to get a cheap flight) that was really painful. About half-way through the flight my feet were numb and starting to hurt. I just wanted a blanket or something but Independence Air doesn't have blankets unless you buy a blanket/pillow set for $10 (you then get to keep them) so I just had to deal with it. I will remember for the future, though, to pack a pair of socks in my carry-on luggage in case it happens again.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

So much for planning

So, I made that list this morning. I crossed off what got done and you can see just how far I got with that. And no, it's not because I was so sick I couldn't get out of bed. I made the stupid mistake of calling my boss to see if my check from last month was there for me to pick up. She apparently didn't know I was back from Maine yet and when she found out I was home she asked if I could come in for an hour or two while she went to pick up her husband from the rehab hospital where he's been since getting both his knees replaced about two weeks ago. If it was for something less important I probably would have said I couldn't, but if I didn't go in her husband was going to have to stay for another night in rehab and I didn't want to be responsible for that.

So, my plans went down the toilet from there. My choice of whether or not to shower was gone (I really needed a shower but I could have squeeked by for another day if I was just running errands) so that took a bit of energy. I decided very quickly that I couldn't work AND run my errands, so they have all been pushed until tomorrow.

Now, what really got to me was that I told my boss I wasn't feeling very well when I talked to her on the phone (she asked how I was feeling so I was being honest). When I got in to work she apparently remembered me saying I wasn't doing that well and came out very quickly with the dreaded words, "Well, you look good!" I get that a lot - the double edged sword of having an invisible illness or disability. It's not that she said it that bothered me, it's how she said it. She didn't say it the way most people do - trying to make me feel better and as a compliment. When she said it, it sounded more like she didn't believe that I was really feeling horrible. Now, I have worked at the same place for over 5 years, I've grown up taking classes there, my boss has seen me through some really rough times and knows that I am not just going to "get better" all of a sudden, but somehow today I felt like she's sick of hearing that I'm not feeling well. She obviously had no idea how much I had sacrificed to go into work for just an hour and a half - I rearranged my whole day and basically made it so I wouldn't be able to do anything else or I'd be running myself into the ground to go in and work for a measly hour and a half.

So, that was my day. And now it's time for bed.


Monday, September 05, 2005

A horoscope, a pillowcase, and some errands

This was my daily horoscope that I received in my e-mail:
"Today is an excellent day for you, ANNIE, in which you should be able to ground your emotions and find a greater amount of stability in your life in general. As you walk down the street, be conscious of the earth below you. Plant your feet firmly on the ground and realize that you are a living part of this great planet. You are a product of the Earth herself. Do not separate yourself from Mother Nature. You are her daughter - respect her."
That's a horoscope I could really use right now - a reminder to ground myself and connect with the earth. It's so hard to stay grounded, especially when the world makes as little sense as ever. I am dealing with a lot of uncertainties, mostly related to my health, and it's hard after a while to constantly have these questions swimming around in my head. I wish I had some disease that was easy to figure out, easy to treat, or at least where the treatment is fairly easy to decide on. It's just so hard to deal with a disease that isn't well known, isn't widely accepted as a serious illness, the treatment is tricky to figure out, insurance companies don't feel they need to cover all the treatments, and just generally sucks.

Enough about health stuff, that's not what this blog is for. I've been sitting here for the last few hours trying to figure out what else to write here, but I'm having some trouble thinking of anything. I'm watching Kathy Griffin on Bravo, which is pretty darn funny. I need to start watching funny things on TV more often. Most of the movies I get from Netflix are dramas. Right now I have "Hotel Rwanda", "Runaway Jury", and "Waking Life". I haven't watched the last one yet but my sister and brother-in-law both really like it so I thought I'd get it. But, they're definitely not comedies. I need to put some more funny movies on my Netflix list.

I just have to say that I just got a package in the mail from one of my "Lymie" friends, Debbie. She had told me that she was making something for me but I had no idea what it was and I certainly didn't expect what I opened. She embroidered a pillowcase with gorgeous purple flowers on the end. It's really beautiful and amazing that someone would do something like that for me! I'm so touched and amazed and just...pretty speechless about it. Now I need to go get a new pillow to put it on - my pillows aren't worthy of such a beautiful pillowcase. Debbie, if you happen to be reading this, thank you so much. You are amazing and you really made my day!

My agenda for the day is:

  • Take a shower and get dressed (pretty sad that this has to have it's own bullet)
  • Go by work to see if there's a check waiting for me for last month (and see if anyone has signed up for my theater classes)
  • Go do my laundry
  • Go to CVS (to pick up some things for my trip to Stacey's this weekend)
  • Go to Wal-Mart (also to pick up things for trip to Stacey's)
  • Go to the bank (to get money for trip to Stacey's and deposit check from work, if there is one)
  • Go to the post office
Whew! Quite a day of errands, but thankfully they can all be done in a fairly small area - two towns to visit and minimal driving if I get all of it done today. The gas prices being so high are incentive to get it all done in one errand-run. We'll see if I hold up long enough to get it all done. The shower is actually the most optional thing up there so I'm not sure if that will happen, but everything else should be doable!


A Start...

I decided to start a new blog separate from my Caringbridge page which is mostly for health-related stuff. It's nice to have another creative outlet to post randomness and get away from health stuff for a while. But I won't make this a long start. I will post randomness again soon.