Very eventful four days--actually, the whole week is a blur. Conference last Monday (mixed review); strange Tuesday; Eastern Star and other things on Wednesday; biopsy Thursday; Dr.'s call (qualified "all clear"), Assistant Dean's call, and graduation Friday; drive to Buffalo for Weaselmas on Saturday; drive home and missing Haakon's fabulous party on Sunday; brunch with Ruth and Phil today, and soon leaving for OES rehearsal; tomorrow is in-service--wash, rinse, repeat Wednesday and Thursday; OES "Big Deal"Tuesday night; 3 meetings (including President's thank-you lunch) on Friday; drive to Long Lake on Saturday. I'm tired just thinking about it.
What really tore it, though, is that on the 23rd I have a second biopsy. Other breast. The fun never ends. Which I really can't move since it is already as late as the doctor is willing to go. He understood why I wanted to do it then, and since this is more of a "let's make sure it's the same as the one in the left" and not "Oh my God, we'd better find out what this is!" But since the one on the left was a tumor, albeit benign, and not something cysty or calciumy or scarry, he wants to be sure. Okay. Got it. I would rather be safe.
So, called the Commissioner of Jurors. When she understood it was a non-elective procedure, she was quite helpful. New start date is July 2. I'll take whatever, whenever. Apparently there are a couple of trials scheduled for July, so it's likely, and that would be lovely. July or August would be perfect for me.
In other news my students today were stunned--stunned I say, when they realized we only have two more classes for the Tuesday/Thursday schedule. We have 5 for the Monday/Wednesday/Friday crowd. As Jubal Early would say, "Does that seem right to you?"
Tonight Duchezz and I work on her letter for OES, because our Matron and Secretary couldn't do their damn jobs themselves, I grade, she collapses, since she got in from Amsterdam (NY) last night at 1 AM--they made the "Big Announcement" about her state position to our District. Now the endorsement letter goes out, and in October, barring something really wonky, her name will go forward in the uncontested ballot. And then life gets interesting, because, gee, it wasn't before.
Okay, time to get back to work.
Coming in at Number 1 (as in "the worst") would be collapsing on Runestone Hill in so much pain that the only, the ONLY possible response was to scream. And cry. And scream. Rhiannon flew up Runestone to Chirugeons, and Kyle of Clan Kyle (who was many things, but a competent chirugeons was one of them and while the good he did does not mitigate the bad, I don't want anyone to forget there was some good), who thought I was having a bad trip, called Portersville Ambulance to come and take me to Butler. They took me to Butler Memorial Hospital, where they waited until the alcohol in my system reached a low enough level, then shot me full of Demerol, upon which instant the phrase "Demerol is my friend" entered my vocabulary. We got home around dawn.
Coming in at Number 2 is the night I hemorrhaged so badly that Morguhn and Rowan had to drive me through a snowstorm to the hospital. It was back in the bad old days when my uterus was trying to kill me, and after I picked myself up from the floor from being unconscious, and drenched in blood, I staggered up the stairs to Morguhn's room, woke him and Ro up, and we talked. They called my doctor, who had us come to the hospital. They wanted to give me two units of blood. Then they tried to talk me into one unit. I asked Morguhn what he thought, but, well, for someone who wanted to be a doctor he was pretty useless in that situation. So I said no, they admitted me. I don't remember if it was one or two days--blood loss affects the brain. This only comes in at number two because bleeding to death is strangely peaceful, whereas nerve pain is excruciating. I long ago accepted that I'm one of those who would do just about anything to make extreme pain stop. Not strong. No apologies.
Which brings us to Number 3,
( last night. )
Which brings us to today. I need to go to campus to get papers to grade, but otherwise I think all the plans I had are shelved until I don't feel quite so wobbly on my pins. And, except for the oatmeal, I think the leftovers from yesterday are going into the freezer, or elsewhere, to be someone else's issue. My suspicion is that my old sensitivity to tuna and beef is back. Or it could be that there was just too much roughage in the soup, between the apples and pumpkin, for my body's comfort, since I had a more mild occasion of the same sort a couple of weeks ago when I had both baked squash and applesauce. But, I'm taking no chances, and assuming both played a role. So it's a drink lots of fluids and eat clear soup day for me. And maybe I'll pick up a banana. I hate bananas.
By the way--the soup was delicious.
I haz a coed. (No, not co-ed: get your mind out of the gutter!)
Which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't the last week of my summer class when the stuff really hits the oscillating blades. Oh well--perhaps it will be gone by Pax, or when I go to the belated 80th birthday party next week. Here's hoping.
( You probably don't care about this stuff )
More book and movie reviews soon, I hope.
baronernst gave me these as my seven words:
Taking a page from my friend Ben, I'm going to do them one at a time.
This is tricky. Which kind--physical, mental, emotional, spiritual? Are they really different? That could be a whole series of journal entries all in itself. So, I'll take it in parts.
One of my earliest memories is of laying in my bed, late at night, and my mother rubbing my legs. I was laying on my stomach, my eyes brimmed with tears, wanting the pain to stop, wanting to sleep. The doctors told my mother it was "growing pains" and "dance classes will help." So was born my first love, my first dream--to be a ballerina, because Momma took me to dance classes--and I was good.
And the doctor was right on one score--it did strengthen my legs, which he thought might be part of the problem. But the pain continued. And so did the dancing. Until we moved. It lasted about a year, but soon Daddy got tired of getting up on Saturday mornings to take me to dancing class. Momma got me up, got me dressed, but we just couldn't get him out of bed more than half the time. So, ultimately, the dance teacher told my mother I was no longer a student at the school.
Having legs that hurt became a background noise to every day. I was told I was lazy--if I did more they wouldn't hurt. I was told I was fat (I was not svelte after 3rd grade, though by today's standards I wasn't heavy at all if the children I see in stores is a gauge), and that's why my legs hurt. Whatever. I sucked at gym, but give me a marching band, a show, and I was out there running, and kicking, and whatever it took. Did I mention "kicking"--as in "high kicks," as in Can-Can kicks? Yeah. Those.
When I was 15 we were doing Carnival in our local community theatre. I was a "Card Girl" and part of the chorus, which meant the chorus line. We were rehearsing, I was kicking, and felt something..."click." Not the good kind. Maybe I should have warmed up first, maybe nothing would have changed it. By the next day I was limping because I was having trouble picking my foot up. By that fall I had to walk with a cane. I spent most of the next 10 years with one. And pain. Debilitating, horrible pain. Where sleeping is out of the question. Where sitting is torture. Where pulling open a door brings tears to the eye and causes spots to dance before them, as prelude to falling into unconsciousness from the pain--which I don't know why I ever fought, since it would have meant at least a moment or two of relief.
But I was young, and no one really took it all that seriously. And my parents were a bit distracted, what with my brother being rather the center of attention since he was dying in slow, excruciating stages.
Once I got a job, and health insurance (thank you, Syracuse University), and some gumption, I went to an orthopedist, who sent me to a neurologist. They found out what was wrong, but said (and still say), that the odds of fixing it are not as good as the odds trying to fix it will cause paralysis. So I persevered.
And then there was the "girl pain." The "doubled-up in bed can't move" variety. And when that hit at the same time as the other peaked I, to this day, don't know how I avoided even thinking about blowing my brains out so it would all stop. That "pain tells you you're alive" crap is just that--crap. It tells you you're in pain, that you're broken, and that breathing is the hardest thing you've ever done. And you. keep. on. breathing. You don't let your body control your life, you get the hell out of bed, and go and teach your classes, and take notes in your grad school courses, and get the damn Mid-York Weekly out on time because the boss is on vacation and it's your JOB!
As time went on, by my 30s, I was in brain numbing pain most of the time. And along the way I alienated people, or did things that led them to think I was a whiny little entitled caricature from some novel, because people in pain are often, despite the best of intentions, not very nice to be around. It's not an excuse--it's just a fact.
And then my womb tried to kill me. And we made it GO AWAY.
And my back got better.
It's now no worse than it was in my teens and 20s. Which means it hurts every day. Which means I'm doing a careful balancing act between the pain in my back and the pain in my stomach from the NSAIDS. It means sitting hurts, and bending is a challenge. And walking is a careful piece of stagecraft where I try to give an appearance of normalcy to my locomotion, when in fact I don't walk like other people do since I'm partially paralyzed from the hip down on the right, and have been since 1973. But all the world's a stage, you see, and we are merely players, who strut and fret our hour and are gone, so the acting isn't really all that special.
Pain isn't all that special. I really can't imagine life without it. Perhaps it's a failure of imagination.
(And now you know why I'm only doing one at a time--hell, I've got the other varieties of pain to get through yet!;-))
Ping's allergies tend to be more skin related (I think, among other things, he's allergic to Timothy grass--not good when you're the same height as the grass). But in the spring, he gets a bit runny eyed. So when his eyes were runny last week, I didn't pay particular attention. But Sunday it looked like he was squinting with his right eye. I asked Duchezz to look at it, see if she could see something wrong (I couldn't see anything specific), and thought nothing more about it. Last night I had my face buried in a book, so didn't notice anything.
This afternoon when I got home he really seemed to be favoring it, so since it was daylight, I took a look. It looked like there was a blister on his eye, and I freaked. I called the vet, and they got me in within an hour (AMAZING!). Of course, by the time I got there the "blister" had been proven to be a big gobbet of eye-goo, so I was beginning to feel a bit foolish, but he was still not opening the eye all the way most of the time, so I thought the vet wouldn't laugh at me too much.
So we got in and the vet looks at his left eye. I'm thinking--"Uh, Doc, it's the right eye with all the goopy stuff around it and only half open." Note to self--we go to this doctor for a reason.
Point the first. I was right, there is an ulcer on his right eye. It's smaller than I thought, but there (and he let me see it--using a cool green dye and blue light; almost like an episode of CSI, without the bodily fluids "ick" factor). Asprin, Benadryl, and a topical eye drop with lots of good medicine, 4 times a day for 4 days, and he should be okay. With that.
Pigmentary keratitis. Basically, dark pigment is spreading throughout his corneas, worse in the left eye. It's probably related to how hard it is for pugs (and French terriers, and bulldogs) to distribute moisture fully over the whole exposed surface of the eye, which leaves it vulnerable to multiple damages and infections. Untreated, he will go blind. That's the left eye. Until the ulcer on the right eye is healed, we can't be sure about that one.
So, on the table, is a little pile of meds for the Ping. Half a baby asprin once a day, to reduce the inflamation, which is aggravating the ulcerated eye. Benadryl three times a day, since it's likely the ulcer is because he was scratching at the eye because it itches. Neo Poly Dex Ophthalmic for the left eye, because the Dr. thinks an infection is behind the PK. Refresh liqui-gel drops (the same med my ophthalmologist told me to use when the cyst in my eye bothered me) to be applied every night at bed time to help lubrication.
The only med NOT on the table, that I wish was, is the tranquilizer for the Meirwen-mama.
But tonight there was ball chasing, and dinner eating, and now he's stretched out beside me snoozing (where I can put my hand on his leg to stop him from itching at his eye). I suppose having him sleep on the pillow beside my head is totally out of the question. *sigh*
(with apologies to JMS)
Grumpy ophthalmologist is grumpy. Didn't dilate (pressure is better as measured by other means so not this time). In the meantime I need to get tested again for the belladonna reaction because a bit down the road I will HAVE to have the dilation for other reasons. Well, at least the occasional vision problems have a name now. That's something, I guess.
There are things I need to do, things I want to do, only some of which cancel each other out, so there's that. I've breakfasted, which my stomach is telling me isn't the smartest thing I ever did--apparently wrong things. Oh well--that's why I've got the big bottle of meds. And of course the piece of certified mail that came on Saturday doesn't have anything to do with the state of my stomach.
The furnace is working--that's a plus. And the bill was about half what I feared. On the other hand the side-by-side still isn't working right. But the refrigerator part is, and that's the essential part. The freezer part is a luxury. The repair people are baffled--what is going on with it "is not possible"--so I guess we'll just cope.
Alrighty then. As my friend would say, "Time to put on pants" and get the out-of-house things done.
Today started by losing a battle with my bathrobe (clearly, it is smarter than me), and being so physically challenged that I have been forbidden to go near knives or stoves for the rest of the day. So, I'm sitting on my nice, safe (I hope) bed, watching the Bears, and getting ready to write out Christmas cards.
One lovely thing was discovered, though. The Vatican has announced that Hildegard of Bingen will be canonized, and she is being named a Doctor of the Church, which puts her in the same company as, among others, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. She is only the fourth woman so recognized, and given her revolutionary position on any number of issues, I find it heartening, not to say remarkable. So my joy today comes primarily in connection with a woman who has been dead for nearly a millenium. But it is joy.
Yup, some of them did. I know it wasn't their work, but I can't prove it, so I have to accept it. I HATE that!
Oh, well. I had some truly lovely people this term, believe that all of them learned something, and have come to accept the limits of what I can do without the student's full cooperation. And the limits, even with that cooperation, when you really are starting with some students who are damaged, limited, or otherwise ill-suited to the tasks of higher education in general or the demands of the subjects I teach. So I pay attention to who they are, how they grow, and what they need that I can provide, and just let the rest go. But if anyone ever doubts how much teachers agonize over the grades they give students, I invite them to take my stomach right now. There isn't enough Maalox in the house (which of course puts any adult-beverage options out of the options list, too).
Perhaps a couple of days of mindless Christmas-themed Regency era novels will help. We can hope.
Now, on to house decorating.
I should be grading placement tests. But I console myself that I have been virtuous and graded film papers, and EN 101 in-class assignments, and did laundry. I should also be organizing my room, packing for the New England trip, balancing my budget, and working on the solution to the national debt problem.
At the very least I should be reading one of the books I have on loan, or the TV show I taped, or clipping the cat's claws.
Instead I've been tooling around on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon.
I have lots of thinky-thoughts going on right now--about friends having babies, and friends having cancer, about the thinning of my skin (both the actual [related to the passing years] and the metaphorical), about absent red-headed men, and the spaniel I miss, and the grey cat I long to hold again. About mommy food cooked by Momma, and Daddy's dry humor. About the extremely fertile womb, with no endurance, I was born with. About the sisters and daughters of my heart, and chosen family. And how I miss the time not so long ago when here was a community of many voices, with real things to say, instead of a place where the voices moved to the shallow end of the pool (yes, Mark Zucherberg, I'm talking about you).
But I'm tired, and my eyes hurt right now, so I think I'll just get out the eye drops the ophthalmologist gave me, and head to bed. Tomorrow is time enough to save the world.
Partly I'm just fighting this low-level exhaustion that I can't seem to shake. I think I'm fighting some sort of under the surface infection, the kind that doesn't manifest as a fever, but saps energy. And I'm heartily bored bored bored with my restricted diet du jour. Oh, I know I'm whining--it isn't like I'm lactose-intolerant, or gluten sensitive, or have Crohn's, or have Diane's problems with food, or even diabetic. I'm not even fighting my occasional flirtation with hypoglycemia. No, none of that. But it is still annoying, and despite my best attempts, I still should probably buy stock in Pepcid, or Tums, or something. Is it too much to ask to be able to drink a cup or coffee, or have a beer, or a piece of chocolate cake, or some cheddar cheese, or something other than ultra lean chicken or pork loin? Apparently, yes. Oh, and my "whine" has to be "wine-free." I hates it master.
There's also this profound frustration with some of my work tools, namely my computer. In the highly technology dependent world that is 21st century higher education, a computer that actually performs as requested is a necessity. Ever since the computer virus hit my laptop, and it got reconfigured, it hasn't worked right. At first I thought it was me, so I tried to compartamentalize things pretty strictly, to the point of using different browsers for different functions. Everyone else I know thought it was crazy, but when I went into IT today the techs have compartmentalized functions on various browsers, too, so maybe not so crazy. But when the damn thing wouldn't save to my hard drive, when saving things on campus "looked" like it was on the C: drive by was really on the remote server, when documents became inaccessible when I was home, though they appeared to be present...I had had it.
One of my former students is on the IT staff, and he took a look at my computer today. He was sure he knew how to fix it, but as we talked he got more and more...puzzled looking. I don't like it when the IT staff looks puzzled. So, he tried something pretty drastic (not the most drastic, but drastic). When the computer finished rebooting he looked at it, got really worried looking, and said, "Oh--looks like your profile's been corrupted." Suddenly I felt like an Afghan man who's been told his daughter was caught alone with a boy. And I'm not even teaching The Kite Runner yet. So, they have my computer. Sergey thought it would be fixed this afternoon, and said he'd send me an email. As of half an hour ago, no email. I wonder if they're exercising the nuclear option, and, if so, when can I expect a usable computer at work again. At home I use my phone and my Nook for the most part. I try not to use the broken Dell laptop (as I am right now), running Windows XP, running Office 2000, because the virus protection is out of date, I can't afford right now to renew it, and, frankly, I don't want it to break. (Yeah, I know, but the computer I want, configured as I want, will run more than a grand--Apples aren't cheap--and the new phone has to come first.)
So, whiney girl is whiney. I'm going to go grab a Tums (damn M&Ms!), make myself some tea, feed the puppies, and buckle down to some grading before Sons of Anarchy comes on. Because, heaven knows, I want to send myself off to sleep with something "cheerful." Sometimes I despair of me.
She gets back Sunday evening, then Monday morning heads off to Albany for the week for work. Then we go to a wedding (happy dance). This is going to be weird.
Okay--stabby pains in the forearms and in shoulder sockets say "Stop typing, moron!"
I'll listen for a change.
Except, I'm doing my annual walk to raise money for breast cancer research this Sunday--here's the link to my page. I'm well under goal, so if you have a spare dollar or two, I'd be grateful (seriously, I'd be jazzed if I made my goal with folks giving $1 a piece!)
Here's the link to my donation page. My thanks to anyone who can help.
- Pennsic was...not as horrible as I feared.
- The North American Festival of Wales was...unexpectedly...revelatory? Lovely to spend time with two dear friends, or as one of them would say, "my mates," being all Welsh. The revelatory part was when my body pointed out, in no uncertain terms, that the maintenance of the public appearance of calm and strength (with the occasional venting in this forum not withstanding) when in fact I was, and am, living in a constant state of quite the opposite, has always had profound consequences. That on top of the meds I must take daily has left my stomach severely compromised, so, when I abused it rather dramatically that weekend, it rebeled. I'm in for a long haul of taking care of it. I can't do much about some of the sources of stress, but I can at least control what I put into it so that it doesn't have those things to deal with as well. God--I MISS COFFEE!!!!!!!
- School has started up. Again I am blessed with some really lovely people, but they are so intellectually lazy I may very well lose it at some point and tell them off.
- My boss continues to be wonderful. Actually, bosses. And we still don't have a contract. And the county really tried a bone-headed maneuver with the college's funding, but fortunately the State of New York sent a lovely attorney to explain to them in very small words, so they understood, that their plan was not tenable. Dodged that bullet, we did.
- Hands have started to go west again.
- Work computer and IT have managed to make me regret yet again that we don't still do everything with dip pens and chapbooks.
- Three years. But then you all know that.
- I enjoyed the last SCA events I've gone to so much that I may just stay! Thank you to everyone who made Summer's End and Harvest Raid such wonderful events for everyone.
- Not reading as much as I'd like, or should. I need to remember the advice I've given others--read for pleasure 10-20 minutes each night before turning off the lights. Note to self: playing Sudoku on the Nook is not the same as reading. *sigh*
- And with that, good night my friends.
Bought vegetable plants to put in when the raised bed gets made, swapped out the cold weather clothes for warm weather, did my syllabus and tentative assignment list for the class that starts tomorrow, and made dinner.
A reasonably productive day, though the weekend as a whole wasn't as productive as planned.
Tomorrow the summer semester begins, and I see if the changes I put in place are any that I'll carry through to the fall.
I've been watching the marathon set in a galaxy far, far away today, and I hope that ending with Ewoks tonight will be better than last night ending with Littlefinger's knife at Eddard's throat. I so hate what Martin does to the characters I love.
Until I went upstairs to go to bed.
Who knew that moving a curtain from out of the front of the fan could have such dire consequences? In turning away from the window, pivoting on the leg that has for the last 38 years done 90% of the work in supporting me, moving me, etc., the same leg whose hip and knee joints have been seriously grumpy for the last month, apparently I "did something" contrary to the preferred physics of that limb. While saying out loud, "Oh, that's not good" I managed to stumble to the bed, and having already taken all the meds I could, I just crawled in and hoped for the best.
Not much sleep happened, because, well, there was this pretty intense pain thing going on whenever I moved. When I got up this morning it quickly became evident that anything other than being fairly stationary, with hips and legs at the horizontal, wasn't very wise.
The good news is I've managed to get a good chunk of the book I'm currently reading done, and I was able to knit yet another dishcloth (which we desperately needed since the last time I knit one was before Morguhn died).
In a few minutes I'll watch the most recent episode of Game of Thrones, then head to bed. With any grace, tomorrow I will be able to get back to my regularly scheduled life. At least, as my friend Angus said, "It is Sunday, when we are encouraged to live as our dogs do--sleeping, eating, and getting our tummies skritched."
In my case the tummy skritching looked a lot more like watching Harry Potter and Star Trek movies, but it works for me!
- I find myself wondering whether there's a hill of beans difference between an iTunes download or a physical CD. If we're talking the difference between analog LP and digital download, hell yes! There's a quality difference. But do I really need to pay the extra cash to get an "excellent condition" CD or is the iTunes download, for $3 less, and burn a copy to CD to play in the car, good enough? Waffle.
- Ooooo! Waffles. Definitely want waffles. Too bad dinner will be leftover meatballs and couscous. That's not WAFFLES!!
- -18 last Friday. 52 today. Yup--I live in Central New York.
- I miss my friends.
- The cold has, predictably, taken up residence in my chest. This makes me unhappy, in fact profoundly so. My current Dr. is the one I've had since I was 16 (his first year of private practice). For the most part, I'm really happy with him. But he's in Hamilton--not really convenient either for where I live or work. Need to get a Dr. in Utica, but I HATE THEM ALL, PRECIOUS. *grrrrr* If I had a Dr. in Utica I'd have called him/her today. I must resolve this issue. :-(
- I have terrific friends.
- Okay, need to stop typing. Hands hate me. Ta!