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Friday, February 5, 2016

Only the Beginning

I feel like celebrating. A few minutes ago I finished the grand outline and timeline for the Beest book. This was much more involved than I ever expected it to be. 151 years of an adventurous life is a lot of territory to cover. I now know more about Victorian life, Kipling, colonial India, Irish history, WW1, pre-Depression NYC, HP Lovecraft, WW2, post-war France, and a host of other characters and local histories I may never use again. There's still more research to go (I don't think there'll be an end to it) but most of the time-consuming slogging and major decisions are done. Notes are organized, a binder with 600 blank pages awaits. This is it.

Now comes the fun- and terrifying- part. I'm just as excited to face it as I am scared to mess it up. This is stupid pressure to put on myself. I can tell other people to screw off, but haven't mastered telling myself to shut up.

However, as I fed the looseleaf pages into the binder rings, a flurry of confetti flew from the page holes. It's time to celebrate.

Friday, January 15, 2016

2 Weeks in, 3 Deaths Later...

What a year so far. We've lost Lemmy, Bowie, and just yesterday, Alan Rickman. US politics are even crazier and more full of greedy fools and liars than usual. Climate change is happening and the powers that be sit arguing like idiots. We continue to fund killing and oppression overseas while people die in our own streets of things we should be fixing. Things like homelessness, disease, hunger, gun madness and mental illnesses. It looks like 2016 is just like every other year.

But I have good news. The CT scan with both barium swallow and IV contrast went off without a hitch on Wednesday. The radiologist, Emma, was fabulous. And last night, Dr. McDreamy House called to say it was all fine. No abnormalities. Stay on the soft foods for a while and avoid the things that irritate diverticula, and all should be well. I almost jumped through the phone to hug him. I'll go through with the endoscopy and colonoscopy just to underline it and make sure nothing was hiding, but for now, WOOHOO!

I slept like a rock last night.

There's more to say, but the day has many things in store and I must run. Just wanted to stop by and give an update. Enjoy the weekend, be kind, celebrate the good.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Doctor McDreamy House and the Gut of Mystery

After 3 weeks of super drugs to kill the infection going on, there still be pain and swelling. This means that Weds. I have a CT scan with both contrasts, IV and oral. Joy. And that will be followed with a colonoscopy and endoscopy on Groundhog's Day. I have the gallon jug with the powders to be mixed for that already. Double joy. There was a surprise in that my doc pushed through Medicare to get these tests done immediately as possible. It could've been up to 2 weeks' wait, which would've pushed the 'scopies into later in February. That's a minor miracle.

The good parts of this are that I'm dropping weight, my white blood cell count is close to normal, I'm eating regular foods (though slowly) again at last, and I have a great doctor. He's really engaged in what goes on. He calls when your blood tests come back. He's thoughtful and almost House-ish when he sits there thinking. I like watching people think. He looks at things as puzzles and he's curious to solve things.. He's also funny, but that brand of humor you know people don't often get. Beyond dry, deadly understated and at the same time endearing. We hit it off. That's a rare thing in medical care these days. I really lucked out getting him. However this goes, I know I'm in good hands.

He's easy on the eyes, too. Nursey stories are of every woman around swooning in his presence, and a very jealous, loud, 'show up and claim her man' wife. I could see that. But the sexiest thing about him is his mind, to me. ;)

I'm not speculating on what this could be. There are too many possibilities to even think about it. When the test results come back, we'll know better. I do feel better after the keflex/cipro/flagyll round, and it's not nearly as bad. It's just not good. At all. As I'm losing weight I'm seeing how swollen that side is, so there's concern. But we'll know all pretty soon.

Meanwhile, I'm gathering the notes and draft portions together to write the Beest book and get it done.

Mare got very bad news and we may not have her throughout 2016.

It doesn't seem to me that my parents' generation was so sickly as mine, at this age.

Billy is okay, still isolated, but coming along.

I haven't heard from Strider in weeks. just hope she's okay.

Everyone abides, especially Beest, who's become an attention whore.

As for the bigger world, it's still spinning, however unhealthily. There's no energy these days to get very political. Pain and stress go together and I don't need additional amounts of either right now.

How is 2016 treating my blogosphere family?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Closing Time, 2015

These holidays are going about 50/50, but the good parts are just as good as the lousy are lousy. Which is a rare thing. Usually everything puddles in the middle, or the lousy outweighs all either by frequency or importance of the said suckage part.

Not that there's a lack of suckage, from relationships to health, there's plenty. But there were some really cool moments through it. Billy and I had a chat about the first time we each hit someone, inspired by last Sunday's football schoolyard fights. The surprise, the adrenaline rush, all of it. I can't think of any time before when we shared something like that.

And I realized that every time I got in a fight, it was because some ass was bullying someone. And always being the biggest girl (and with 3 violent older brothers) I was ready to go, and stupidly fearless. What's some kid my age compared to any of my almost full-grown brothers? Johnny was teaching me karate when I was 4 fergodssakes. So not a lot of fear. I subsequently had my ass handed to me several times because I never backed down. It's a Brooklyn thing. With all the changes and places in life and people I've been, I'm so that Brooklyn girl at war with at least 1 brother at all times. And I could never win, up against them. JesusH, nothing can drive you crazy like family can.

And every time my ass was kicked it was always by a guy. I never lost a fight with a girl.
Not that any of the above is to be proud of.
Just very Brooklyn.

Billy surprised me with a new Dell computer for Christmas! Hooray! Then Fedex and UPS kept delivering more things. It's like an appliance store in here. Billy was on the phone trying to straighten it out for an hour with people he couldn't understand. Finally he got some help. They're supposed to come get them...

There's a saturation point thing happening. I have so many people in my life, and that's a curse and a blessing. I also have a nasty health issue going on. And I'm getting anxiety about not working on Beestbook for 2 weeks now while this has been shitty. I'm supposed to not get stressed, my ass. It's the once-a-damn-year holidays and I'm eating buttered white rolls, water, clear broth and yogurt. Again, my ass.

Oh right I had 2 hard boiled eggs today too.
Well, maybe I'll get down to a size 14 again.

See? Not all bad.

Beest understands Brooklynese. Must've got it while living with my father's family in the '20s. I hear it in her accent. She's icy cold at times and then the sweetest, most loyal cat other times. She's never really bad. In fact, sometimes her sweetness annoys me. She's working out her PTSD just like me, is all.

It's been a year of finding truths. The DNA tests Billy and I took showed I'm Irish, we both extract from the Melanesians way way back, and we are not Native. Billy is almost entirely British (we had different dads) and I'm more Western European and British than Scandihoovian. So all the stories and even the family trees are wrong. Our great-grandfather wasn't half Mohawk  But I'm 5% Irish! Woohoo!

VT foodstamps sent me a letter. It arrived the 24th and said I had to call and be interviewed by the 27th or lose my foodstamps. I got thru in time, but if others weren't home in time to call, or their letter was delayed, they're going to have to go thru the whole process again. The office was closing from the 25th until Monday the 28th. Low, sleazy trick, Shumlin. And a third time, not get stressed, my ass.

I'm so happy to say that the coffee table is getting outta here. There'll be a bench with storage, that's an inch higher, a slim rectangle instead of this huge oval and peep can sit on it. Finally! Yay for function!

In all the days alone, I can't bring myself to work on the book, but I'm still writing.
Writing a lot tends to make one think a lot. Trying to get to the heart of matters is a slow, clumsy process. But if you take deep breaths and forgive yourself sometimes, it gets better. Nobody's perfect.

My New Year Resolution is Have More Fun. That's been my resolution for decades, and too many years lately I've broken it. Not this new one. Dammit.

Next year, Christmas in New Jersey!

I wish you all the best you can stand, that at least one big dream comes true, and that you give and get all kinds of love.
Happy 2016!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Come Softly, Darling

The gastro guy was not the ogre I'd feared. In fact, he was quite intelligent, quirky and efficient. And I say that because he was nice, and came to the same conclusion I did. It's diverticulitis. 10 days of antibiotics and antifungals and this infection should be done. It's a bit miserable that it comes at the holidays, but such is life. I'm just happy to know there's an end to the pain in sight.

I began the Cipro and Flagyl today. They are vile and pure chemical nastiness. I've heard stories of what they'll do to me. But the last day of them is New Year's Eve and 2016 will, with luck, be chemical-free. 

Diverticulitis usually leaves diverticulosis in its wake. Not an infection, but a finger-wagging nun of an issue. Diverticula stay riled, once riled. Dietary changes should become permanent, with rare excursions into regular food. No more nuts, seeds, berries, beans, peas, corn or anything small or hard that can become stuck and start irritation that leads to infection again. Goodbye to many things I've enjoyed cooking, or eating raw. No high fiber stuff, no bits of dry herbs floating in things, just what's smooth to the system so the little easily-offended buggers don't wage war.

But there is still much that's okay. Ice cream, yogurt, any soft dairy, really. Meat, fish and poultry that's whole and cooked to softness. Veggies and fruits cooked to softness, or pureed. White bread, macaroni, white crackers, noodles, mashed potatoes. Even cheesecake (sans crust) and smooth puddings. I certainly won't starve. In fact, this may be a good way to lose the dozens of pounds I've gained over the last 15 years of gimpdom.

There is a chance it's not diverticulitis, but the only way to know that is to do the course of drugs and see what happens. If it's not gone when I see him on January 6th, further tests will be done. I'm trying to not think about that.

The good thing is that I'm a cook. This is going to stretch my skills and imagination. I can't lazily throw a handful of dry herbs into a pot anymore. Fresh herbs will have to go into a bouquet garni. No more quick stir fries, no more refried rice. No more beans on toast. I'll miss crunchiness in general. Food will have to be cooked slowly and thoroughly. But that shouldn't be a problem once I don't feel like the Wreck of the Hesperus. As a bonus, I got to give 4 shopping bags of food to my Gal Friday, who can certainly use it now that Christmas has wrung her purse dry. And there'll be more when I get into the sideboard where the dry stuff is stored.

I'm also pretty delighted that the last two encounters I've had with medico types have been good and productive. My gastro guy is a little weird and his office looks like a college dorm room, but he's bright and engaged. We even bantered a bit of Python. I can work with him. That's a rarity in my life experience.

So for now I'll just go with the flow. It's not so bad. Lasagna is still on the Christmas menu; so long as the tomato sauce has no seeds it's fine. If I couldn't have cheese I'd be much pissier about it all. :)