Thursday, December 31, 2015

It's almost a year since I started at the library. It was February, I think. Here is THE most fantabulous thing about the gig. You get a 15 minute break? And you can run upstairs and GET BOOKS. 

I know. 

Something for everyone/Two for me!

I LOVE that.  Also there's someone there named Anne and we were both surrounding an unsuspecting person and  I said: Hey look! An Annwich! 

And we thought that was Very Funny. 

You don't get that everywhere. 

Lots of days, you have parents executing those Teachable Moments. Which is kind of sweet and nice (if there's not a line of 200 angry people behind them) but today, there was a Dad and a kid. And the kid was getting a whole bunch of DVDs and the Dad was getting a book and Sierra, my co-worker, was lovely-making sure everyone was attended to properly and the Dad said," Now, what do you say to the lady?" 

He thought it over. 

The child yelled: I



Hmm, I thought, my New Year's Eve sentiments exactly. 

Happy 2016!!! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Colonoscopy on the 13th Floor

Warning: If this bottle enters your universe, 
it does not mean you are going to the cinema. 

Were you worried? Okay, based upon what you went through, I was concerned about the outcome. 

What do you mean 'concerned about the outcome'? You didn't have any symptoms, right?


I was relieved that only one small polyp was found and it was extracted for pathological analysis. I'll call late next week. You know our anniversary is coming up. 

What are we gonna do for our anniversary?
Go back to Kinderhook and get our drink on. (Editors note: This probably means one beer and possibly an appetizer. Woo!)

Okay, what else. 

I was impressed by the nice people in the GI lab. Nurses. They were all nurses there. In the GI lab on the 13th floor. I forgot to mention that to them. 

What were their names? 

Let's see. The one-I didn't get her name. Sherry. Maria. Kim. Janet. There was another one too. Were those all the names I mentioned earlier? 

I don't know. 

You put all that down? 


This man has three pensions. 

Maria, Kim, Sherry and Janet. Sherry put the IV in. She was the one who said about the restaurant. What was it? Gaetanos


How did you find the prep. How was the prep for you?

It worked. I think the main thing is a light meal. A light last meal. If you had like a 20 oz Porterhouse steak? That would be going through your system a lot different than a small bowl of easy-to- digest pasta. 

So you think they should have suggested that?

I forgot to mention all that stuff. Like what I went through? 

Like what?

Like what to expect on clean-out day. Number one. If possible-for SURE-stay home. Have lots of toliet paper available. Expect your evacuation system to act in a way you've never seen before. 

Like what do you mean?

As far as the depletion of solids to water and all the different colors.  


What other advice would you give someone?

Overall it's really a very, very safe and recommended procedure to assure a healthy colon. 

I'm just wondering right now, when was the first colonoscopy done.....(drifts off)

Remember when you asked me who invented macaroni and cheese?(drifts off)

So you're 53, right? 
So are you. Was that YOUR first colonoscopy?

What made you wait three years?
Getting the green light from the VA. The thing was, when I turned 50 in 2012, my other VA primary care provider didn't suggest it.

Who did?
My newest one at Hines did.

So it wasn't because of me?
Of course not. No.


Can I have your oranges?

Of course. 


Friday, December 25, 2015

We now return you to a life-already in progress. 

Last night, I worked on someone who was dying. I did not want to do it. No really. I absolutely didn't. When it appeared that there was no way out of it and believe me I tried, I thought okay, maybe there's something~experience-wise~I can trade because I do know a couple more things about not feeling good, right? (It is remarkable what people ask their massage therapist. We all went to school the equivalent of two days a week for one year. It was not med school.) 

Interestingly, I'm running into more and more people who've spent unexpected time in a hospital. I think that's the gift of getting your arse out of bed. Getting out and talking to people. 

One cancer lady was almost excited to share the highlights. When she found out and was she sitting down when they told her. Who was with her. Where the cells were found initially and then, where more were unexpectedly found which changed the game entirely for the worse. What she thinks about the whole experience. How she got through it. Boom. 

'Nother guy going in for surgery soon. Because this is not his first time at the surgical rodeo, we cracked up laughing about how you even have to detox from Miralax. There's comedy everywhere, no?

We had actually reached some variation of euphoria earlier in the week and believe me when I say-it was not without a bit of underground worry-this euphoria thing, but we were sitting at Loyola waiting for yet another blood test(un-huh) when I realized we had reached the other side. Like, hey, wasn't it just a few months ago, that we were sitting here at the Einstein Bagel cafe silently freaking out but pretending that everything was perfectly okay? 

I remember P being Very Mad about the Everything bagel having too much of Everything on it(if you've ever met him, his emotionometer rarely goes to Very Mad except possibly when he's watching the Bears lose which happens way too often Cutler) and here we were, splitting an Everything again and he seemed to enjoy it. 

Whoa, huh?

So here's where we're at: SO much better. Probably maybe even an 83 on the 1-100 scale. Did my first entire day at my most strenuous gig which-even if you don't count the before and after ibuprofen-is pretty incredible. Really. A moment of silence for that. 

Got up to three massages in one night where I used to do five in a row. (What was I thinking? Oh yeah. ECS. Empty Checkbook Syndrome.) But my end of the dog walking needs hard core improvement. Gonna work on that. 

I found a favorite, favorite, favorite thing at the library. Monday mornings-thanks to the indulgence of my co-workers-I get to roll one of those library carts up to the second floor and collect Multiple Copies. There's this feeling you get within the stacks. I can't describe it without sounding like a complete maroon but I try and pull authors that I like. It gives me the feeling of  the publishing/PR power of a AAA battery. (I know that sentence is awkward but I'm only an 83.)


On the downside. I'm still negotiating the dots. All those blood tests pointed toward HSP and not JUST vasculitis which is a gigantic bummer because I'm back on the 'It's 4 in the AM and my eyes won't close' Prednisone AND have to be tested regularly for the next buncha months and yesterday, when I saw our personal Jewel Osco pharmacist-okay she's not really just ours-but we completely appreciate her-Kristy-I TOLD her I planned to only roll by with my grocery cart in 2016 and wave. 


I've also been commanded to start taking calcium AND Vitamin D and my secret plot to get rid of that Omeprazole stuff completely backfired and I had to start that process all over again which is why you might have seen me eating 27 cough drops. It's like having stalagmites growing down your throat. Not cool. 

It's a funny thing. 

I hate taking pills and all of the topics I really enjoy discussing the least AND the one area I feel most kinda-like protective of is what got opened up in 2015. 

I guess that qualifies as personal growth, huh? 

Anyway, anyway, anyway, the dying person retained a sense of yu-mah.  And one thing I know fer sher from my lung cancer fighter/high school friend Susan was that she was still laughing a day or two before she exited the planet. I mean like laughing. So, I did a little comedy. 

Not right away and not even a little bit mean, but I thought what this person needs is not me making him feel anxious, right? (Or 'mirroring his anxiety' as they say on the couch). We spoke of New York City and yams. I was like..ooh yeah your people are so uppity you call them 'yams'. And he laughed. 

He had trouble 'keeping things down'. (I don't think I've ever officially had that problem. Where can I get it?) The only thing he could tolerate was a bite of a banana. And I was all like, oh no. Bananas are bad. They plug you up. (See my med school happening here?) Where it's at is: sweet potatoes. 

I used to grocery shop for a 90-something year old lady in Manhattan. It was my assignment from the minister at the Lutheran Church. I could hardly turn him down, right? He called me. Plus the grocery store was exactly across the street from her place and around the corner from me. 

On her list was always Entemanns Pound Cake and Sweet Potatoes. I don't remember the rest.  

So I told the dying person how to bake sweet potatoes. Tell me the microwave version-the person asked, as I worked on their feet. Oh god you can't be microwaving these things, I said-cuz I am Betty F'ing Crocker all of a sudden, right? And the smell! You'll miss the nice smell! And the warm oven!

And when I got home, I realized the instructions I had given him were completely wrong. (I told you I didn't go to Medical School) I said an hour at 375. There are far superior instructions and methodology.  Duh. 

So, Christmas Eve I ran over to The Jewel and scored three small yams. I re-appropriated Mary Next Door's Santa Christmas bag and I wrote out the exact instructions for baking sweet potatoes AND included a piece of foil for the drips and I chased the whole business down to my massage place so the front desk girls could pass it to the dying person the next time they met.  

Made me feel really good. Like maybe an 890 on the 1-10 scale. 


Sunday, December 20, 2015

People pull me aside and say: So. 

(long dramatic pause)

How are you feeling?

And I think to myself, Dude, do you not see me functioning? Holymuthaofjayzuz. Was I not just balled up in the shape of a comma so many weeks ago? 

But maybe that's not what they're really asking. Hmmm. 

Most days I feel like 80 out of 100. And I think that's pretty amazing. (We are three months out and you don't touch normal till 6.) Other days, I'm probably at more of a 78 BUT! Everything has changed. 

Naps are non-negotiable. (I learned that from my friend Alice. Sunday afternoon naps. So brilliant.) I am watching more teevee which is probably horrible on some level but at night when it's all done, I just throw my arse in park and say hello to Blue Bloods. I can't watch anything bloody or violent. I just can't take that stuff in. 

My head seems to have come back properly. And I didn't realize how great and powerful those drugs were(I don't mean great like: hey great! I mean great and powerful like Oz.). And how long it would take to get that stuff out of my system and how I knew when it was gone. That might have even been last week. 

I went to the Economy Shop. That's Oak Park's two days a month sort of Thrift Shop except it's in an old sort of a mansion and every room supports a different Oak Park cause. I had been waiting to go on this spree for a long time. I went after work on Saturday. I was overdressed heat~wise and the room I was headed for was upstairs and it was hot. 

I was looking for men's shirts. They have really nice ones. They're 3 bucks each. I got 4. Drag them to the dry cleaner, roll up the sleeves and you are good to go. So, I am squished into this corner, sweat is rolling down my face and this jackass of a woman insists on putting herself between me and the wall and she steps on my foot. 

I was like, HEY. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? And my old self might have let it drop? But no. I guess I'd never understand a person like that. Her need for a used overcoat was so urgent that she had to walk on my foot. 

Oy yoy yoy.

We took a cancer field trip this week. 

The place is called Wellness House. It is Very Far. We were driving there(I have to explain. Remember me needing to read every cancer book on the planet? That phase is over. It's gotten a little scary. I read a Chicago Tribune op-ed piece by a woman who's doctor gave her something like "six months-ish". That was the exact quote from her doctor(nice, eh?) and guess what? When she heard that? She was feeling fine. Holy shit.) and any of this stuff kinda makes me just a little bit edgy now but we're driving to go to our orientation. They only have them at the weirdest times. Tuesdays at 5:30 and Wed at 9:00. And I say(as a sort of a self protection thing) well, First Of All. This is Too Far

We live in Oak Park and this is in Hinsdale. And actually, the most hilarious this is from where me and P live? Hinsdale is the opposite end of the human spectrum. Like we come out of a one bedroom condo on the third floor in a 1930's non-elevator building and these people have gigantic mansions and those would be their garages, ya know what I'm saying? Crazediculous. 

We find the place. We're too early but we go in anyway. They are both charming and delightful. The place is like a Hallmark commercial. Big Wreath. We get a tour-it's just us and the lady asks me if I can make it down the stairs okay. I was like....uhhhhh I had to do 3 flights of stairs The Day I Got Home : ) Anyway, she shows us the exercise room and if it wasn't over an hour away, right? But there are two classes I'm going to try and get myself to. One is Deep Hypnosis cuz that just sounds super cool (especially March 19 called:When People Share Their Drama)and the other is a Post-Treatment Networking Group. I signed up and now I just have to do some work maneuvers in order to get there. 

We had to go into this special room. I think they called it: The Nook. For me-it would be a perfect room to deliver bad news. Pillows, soft lighting, beige. We were talking to this woman who was in charge and we told her that P called himself a 'Comfort Keeper' as opposed to a Caregiver because we saw it on teevee and we thought it was HIGHlarious. Comfort Keepers are actually people you hire to look after your people. It's the name of a business. But this lady-in The Nook? She just latched on to the loveliness of that sentiment and we were like, noooooo. We say it because it's FUNNY. 

So maybe a trip to Gilda's Club is in order, oui? 

I had to go for an X-ray. We are still up against that five dollar parking nonsense. But we got smart. We went today at 3:00 while the Bears game was on. P dropped me at the curb and took the car across the street while I did the X-ray alone. #winning. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Things that Hurt

I'm looking through the Christmas newspaper ads and I say, Hey, do you think I should get (boss number 2) something? (I've looking at the Target potted amaryllis bulbs for 10 bucks.) And P says(in a Very Serious and Bossy Non-Negotiable Tone): You cannot afford to. 


Things that are Hilarious

I was doing errands on Sunday and I bumped into Brendan. He has a glorious wispy manbun and formerly performed as one of the Weird Sisters in Chicagoland but description-wise, I had you at manbun, right? He says: It's good to see you! And I say: It's good to be seen! (And I really mean it. Ahh the sweet joy of doing your own errands-in your own car-taking your own time and all of that, right?) 

And he leans in-very seriously and says: So. What brand did you have?

Oh. Mah. Gawd. I nearly fell over laughing. Here-he was referring to which kind and location of cancer. It was So Funny.  

Lately, I have new appreciation for people who simply ask the questions and no time at all for hideous jerks who prove themselves too weak to even try. 

Affordable Care Act.

Today is the last time to sign up. I did some pre-investigation by making calls and talking to people and I thought I had it narrowed down to getting an HMO through Loyola. I'd have to do everything over there. Which is fine. It's like 8 minutes away or something like that. And they have new stuff equipment-wise. As far as I could tell. 

Well, good fortune smiled upon me. I waited on hold for 22 minutes with the affordable care act guy and I got the most patient fellow. He had to read miles of script but as we went-he asked me-do you know the difference between a co-pay and coinsurance? And okay, I really did not. Not like so I could answer on a quiz show or something. So we went through every concept. 

My first instinct to get a Bronze plan because it appeared cheaper-was way off. It kind of came down to being willing to take a Silver plan-which is actually twice what I've been paying this year(and where-I lamented-is THIS going to come from?) but in terms of cost-let's say per visit? Is actually closer to doable. 

January is coming. Let's see how this goes. 


Last Saturday(12/5).  Monumental. 

I wore jeans for the first time since September 15th. They were not 100% comfortable. They're not-in my opinion-100% actual jeans. They have some sort of stretchy crap within them. But I've been completely black-panted (when I was not grey-sweated which was the home version)~pants-wise since the beginning of back to work so it must Mean Something, no?

(I returned to my full bra wardrobe some weeks ago. While it was also monumental-I didn't think it warranted a whole blog post because that would be creepy.) 

This week was called: turning up the heat. I am back to all three jobs-(not full force tho) and this week was about turning up my output. 

Do I want to do 2 extra hours at the library on Thursday-yes. Do you think you want to do a full day of massage Christmas Eve week-yes. (That's the bills answering even before I have a chance to think.) So, I found myself ready to go out to the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators meeting last Thursday night all with my coat on and everything all of a sudden realizing what a bad idea that was-sort of exhausted. And I'm not even back to all of my hours yet. 

Wow, huh?

The Long Process of Getting Over Oneself

So mysterious. 

There's a little piece of paper floating around my desk and it says the following: Biopsy-Vasculitis. 2nd bio-no HSP. No urine test. 

The skin doc called and I called back and she'd left that message for me. The good news was that I didn't have to run back to the hospital for another urine test. It costs me a chunk of time as well as the five bucks to park. How are the spots on my legs-well, they're leaving for sure. That prednisone is some nasty breakfast. I'm on the ones tho. Three days of 4, three days of 3, three days of 2 and this Thursday will mark the last 1/2 and the stitches get pulled. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye. 

I was at the library standing next to my friend Leigh Ann who's entire house burned down. She has served as such a gigantic example to me. I kinda laughed to myself-ya know-here are two people just after worst case scenarios and we're still here. 

Go figya.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Predisone steals your post-midnight sleep by dipping it's long fingers deep in the moonlight and slathering all that on a Triscuit accented with a tiny slice of grape tomato-for color. 

You will be awakened by the gigantic crunch and unable to close your lids for the remainder of the REM cycle rendering you a tired jerk unable to even mentally negotiate the gigantic bills that keep rolling your way. 

The nap is the only available white flag. 

Surrender, Dorothy. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Let's start here: I am feeling so-oh-oh-oh much better than I did. Phew. 

Honestly and seriously. I'm almost at that point of appreciating exactly how crapified I felt so that I can be being so not there any more, ya know? Almost. 'Cuz that would be ridiculous. 
A to P: I'm thinking of donating my body to science.
P to A: There's nothing left inside for them to look at. 

The University Level 

It's brighter on the University Level. There are nicer pictures on the wall and overall it seems a lot cleaner. I am in La Grange. Missing yet another shift of work. Damn. 

They've booked me with the next available. Her assistant is Norma and Norma is new. But she's got a nice kind of walnut colored manicure and I admire it and we're off and running. She collects my metadata thus far and I change into a gown and since I'm alone, there's no one to amuse me, so I look at my clothes hanging on the hook and wonder how they got so frighteningly grimy around the edges and what my Mother would say about that. Decide to go to WalMart on the way home and score some new threads. 

Something anyway. 

Interestingly, the next available is a pediatric dermatologist so once again, I'm listening to a baby scream in the next room. He screams. He stops. He screams again. Good brakes. 

The doctor knocks once and flies into the room. She looks like Pam Dawber from Mork and Mindy. We squint at each other wondering if we've met before but nope. And off we go. 

She performs the most subtle full body visual exam I've ever witnessed. She says she thinks I have Henoch-Schonlein purpura which ironically usually occurs in children.  I have this feeling had she not been a pediatric doc-this wouldn't have been at the top of her mental rolodex so I take that as a good omen.

(The reason I can even begin to remember the name is that it has the same initials as this disorder(?) or classification known as Highly Sensitive People. Some members of my family think they're highly sensitive but maybe they're just Prime Ministers of the Chump of the Month Club. Who is to say?)

If it's okay with me, they're going to take a biopsy. Now, ya mean? I ask. Yes. Right here? I ask. It's like a mini-surgery right on the table. Which is where I stop gathering intel and start keeping myself really calm. Where is P with his legal pad? 

Pam Dawber decides on an area where she's going to cut. She asks if I have any preferences. I'm like, uh, have you seen the rest of my poor body? I'm not really worried about it. (Really-I'm just making more mysteries for the scientists of the future, right?) She picks a spot on my right thigh and she takes a purple marker and draws dots around a tiny area. This is a good place, she says, because you can watch it. Umm okay. 

She leaves the room and the nurse goes into action. Wiping things and getting needles ready and getting me ready and surprisingly-injecting me. You'll feel a big pinch and then some burning. Oww says me. Sorry says her. 

The doctor returns and is also surprised to find me numb. We are good to go and for her-that means cutting and for me-that means not looking. She says it hurts less if you don't look. 

It's over in a flash and we're talking medication. How do I feel about Prednisone. I feel like I don't like it and I don't want it. I don't really know what it is but this pill factory! You should see my counters. Amber bottles everywhere. Ya know what I'm taking? Only the Prednisone and only for so many days because This Has Got To Stop. (Except for my beloved ibuprofen but I'll get to that in a minute.) 

Prednisone is used in extreme cases and my ankles in their current incantation are extreme. 

I won't show you pictures. You're welcome. 

We had Thanksgiving and then we went over to Mary Kay and Bob's for dessert because Leni would be there too. It was lovely and sweet and I reached down and scratched my calf because it was itching like a mutha and we got home and we're sitting on the couch and I say, Jeez my legs are itching. And I pull up my pant leg and my leg looks like Zombie-Pub- Crawl-A-Go-Go. 

No. Really. It looked like someone had taken a red house painting brush and splattered my entire leg universe with raised red itchy spots. Kah-ray-zee. 

I mean after all this, right? 

I ask the doctor-is this from stress? Stress does a lot of things she says, but it doesn't. do. that. 


Then they wrap me all up and ship me to the next room for all of the tests. Things have gone from: "Call this dermatologist-it's going to take a few days to get in to see him because there's not a lot of dermatologists around." to:"STAT". 


There's a urine test that I haven't studied for so I have to sit and drink two glasses of water. And then the blood tests. Like 5 of them. With Norma. Who is new. 


I tell her they had trouble finding veins in the hospital. After her first unsuccessful attempt, I say, hey if you have to go find an old-timer, I'm not going to complain. She goes and finds a woman who is from another country and has had enough of my nonsense before we've ever met. 

She admonishes me. Do not tell people you are a hard stick because you are not, she says. And you're scaring them and you're scaring your veins. 

She finds a vein somewhere in the underworld of my left inner elbow and for the next five days, I sport a mark that looks like a giant splat of cheap Avon lipstick on my inner arm.

My ankles-mostly the right one but the left doesn't want to be excluded-are raw and swollen and sore. If this is arthritis? I'm not playing. 

Symptoms of Henoch-Schonlein Purpura continued...

Arthritis. Joint inflammation, involving pain and swelling, occurs in approximately three-quarters of cases, particularly affecting the knees and ankles. It usually lasts only a few days and does not cause any long-term, chronic joint problems.
One night, I got home and I couldn't come through the door. My gym shoes were cutting into my swollen ankles. P rolled me my rolling office chair and that's how I got into my house. 
It was bad. 
But I Prednisoned and ibuprofened and sucked it up and I was surrounded by Fezziwigs. (You remember Scrooge's cheerful boss?) My two favorite library supervisors listened to my nonsense and actually found me someone who had been down Prednisone Lane so I could ask a lotta questions and I went hobbling off to the library's Staff Day(You think I'm going to let this nonsense stop me from eating my fancy sandwich and a real Coca~Cola? I think not.) and found myself surrounded by helping verbs in the form of my co-workers. Me humping around on this stupid stick-I'm not even very good at it. 

I did two massages on Friday night and I stood for just more than half of my shift on Saturday and today-I'm just trying to trust my directions-which is always hard for me to do but the cane is back in retirement and I didn't take it along on last night's long walk/maiden voyage with my new, handcrafted, glow-in-the-dark, reflective, hand-knitted by my elementary school friend Beth, pink hat so I think we're not out of the woods completely but the smell of pine is fading fast. 

The dermatologist wanted me to return to the Primary Care for an ankle X-ray but I refused and when you start to turn down yet another test which would cost you yet another day of work? You know you're feeling better.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Self Portrait

It's been 2 doctors since we last spoke. The hard of hearing dermatologist was like a visit to Willie Wonka. We got there, did the paperwork, waited and then this super cool woman-probably a nurse/office manager kind of a person? She actually read what I'd written down in terms of medical forms! I know! That's crazy but usually they don't-so you're starting all over when the nurse types your info into the computer and then you go through it again when the doctor appears. Dollars to doughnuts-it's all about overbooking-the key work here being 'dollars'. Duh. 

(Figure 2-P on the exam table. Nurse in far right lower corner. Me in chair facing east and Dr on stool facing west.)

The nurse was extremely sharp also quick witted which is good because when you have a visit from A and P, we are there to brighten your day. "Steroid cream? Is that going to give me a beard?" and like that. We squished into this little exam room. Me, P and she. There was a tiny stool in the corner and P was gonna sit there but she said-no. That's where I sit. So she puts him sitting on the exam table. Like way up in the air from where I was sitting. 


If you have never had one P. J. O'C. accompany you to a doctors appointment, I'm afraid you haven't lived. He begins misbehaving as soon as the nurse leaves the room. He puts down his dutiful yellow legal pad and fancy pen and walks all over the place touching stuff and pretending he's going to rifle through the cabinets. And in a gruff (yet lovable) voice I said," Grantley. Cut it out. Get over here by me." Exchanging his name for my beloved dog who might listen to me had she been invited along as opposed to P. but okay probably not. 

Okay so. I have the paper robe on the wrong way. (I lost the will to care about modesty a long time ago.) Everybody comes in. The doctor does not smile or introduce himself. He starts giving orders about how I should stand so he can get a good look at this car crash of a skin event. 

(Have I mentioned the pain and swelling of my ankles had me back using the rat smasher of a cane? I don't really have the rhythm of walking with a cane down but additional stability was completely appreciated.) 

The nurse begins to shout things at him. It appears that he can only hear from the left rear-hey I'm not judging-it's just Really Weird

He says I need to be 'seen on the University Level'. Which hospital did I prefer. We said Loyola. He seemed pleased because he was the head of the dermatology department for over thirty years. Or something. Don't quote me. Doctors offices make me nervous and stupid. Thus the legal pad and the man who carries it. 

His nurse was able to score us a 9:00 appointment the very next day. 

That night we had bowls of buttered mashed potatoes for dinner. Tidings of comfort, if not joy. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A woman with shiny, black, long, Cher-sorta hair and big white shades walked next to an older man using a red walker. She carried his library books. They were strangers up until the time of her offer. He came to me and we talked about being on the other side of assistance. The department of acceptance. And how the experience of falling apart only gave you even more compassion for the next person. 

Uh huh.


"It was great to see you. You look better than Facebook led me to expect. A very good thing."

Here now, the news:

My affordable care act became unaffordable. Actually, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois dumped my plan(who was surprised by that?) and in it's place is offering something nearly three times the price so, one of today's chores is to contact the surgeon and find out what the commitment is in terms of follow-up appointments and what his 'negotiated rate' is because it might just be cheaper to pay him cash and get the crappiest unaffordable care act plan and go back to Walgreen's Take Care Clinic for everyday needs. 

Ain't that some shit.

As they say.

There's a physical problem that has me limping. Glimping. Grimacing and limping. I know, right? Went to see Primary Care last Friday who could not identify the cause. She sent me to the doctor I'm seeing this afternoon. He's supposed to be Very Hard of Hearing but Very Good.<eye roll> I'll probably be saying goodbye to Primary Care at the end of December. 

The 10th rat was pulled out of the base of our kitchen cabinet  very dead, very bloated and very smelly. We had all the end of November windows open so we could breathe without choking. (I thought it was the downstairs people who insist on smoking a very low quality weed.) But it was all kind of like the cancer removal process, right? You have to get it out but you might catch a head cold from having the window open. And Oh. The strain on your relationships a bad head cold or 10(expletive deleted)rats can have. You have no idea. 

On the other hand, P has determined we can sleep with the bedroom door open which after five or six weeks seems really strange. Strangerous. 

Oh and this was really good. I had to throw out my past. The rat brothers got into my filing cabinets. Blood, droppings, rat dental floss, rat thongs-all over everything. I scored some neon green Mr Clean rubber gloves at the Jewel and threw everything out. And I got to this certain point where two edges met-all the time thinking some sort of rodent might be popping out at any time-I approached each drawer with the end of the broom handle. You grasping this scene conceptually? Out pops a grey-and I watched terror juice pouring into my hands-wadded up t-shirt. Holy Muther of Jayzuz. I almost heart attacked all over the place. And then I just watched my fingers tremor. 


P had stuffed the corner with an old rag. Once your fingers stop shaking, you have to laugh. 


This book was very helpful to me. 
Surviving After Cancer-Living the New Normal by Anne Katz.

This book was kind of sweet but not too sweet. 
Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman. 

The cookbook. 
Cook for your Life. ( Altho I really appreciate the correct spelling of her first name and her mission of fantasticness-I'm gonna keep looking. 

And my best cousin said she read that this is supposed to be good so I requested it from the library.

The Dog Lived (and so will I) by Teresa J. Rhyne


: )

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Phone Call
What did you do today?
I went to work.
The library?
You're probably the oldest one there.
You're probably the oldest one who has that job.
I guess so.
So you're back full force at the massage?
No. I'm only doing one and I come home and my back hurts. 
Yeah well, they chopped my abs so my front support is weaker.  I'm trying tho. It's not like I'm sitting at home doing nothing. 
So I have to go to a different doctor because my primary care can't identify the rash.
Can't you just put a little talcum on them?
Uh no. I can't. This is all over my legs like the measles. 
Did you eat something? Did you wear dirty shoes?
Dirty shoes? My shoes aren't dirty. 
Did your condo government get anything done?
Not really. I would never buy a condo again. It's too hard. Too many personalities. Nothing gets done. 
What would you do? Rent?
I guess so. 
Your blah blah blah blah blah blah and blah blah blah* is going to end up with the most everything of all!!!!! 

(Right here* is where I stop listening. I've recently removed that person from my family tree-twigs and all.)

How's the rats?
Mmm we think we still have one. He wants to be our roommate. He found some empty weird package of sugar in P's stuff and so we went to Dunkin' Donut's and it was like, You want some sugar, you a-hole? So we taped some sugar packs to a couple traps and we're just waiting. 

I didn't realize it was the end of the month and I have to pay bills. 
How's that going?
I don't know yet. I haven't started. I better get going. I'll call you tomorrow. Stay outta trouble. 
You too. 


Friday, November 27, 2015

I wonder if I'm discovering something new here. I looked it up.

Grace- a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace.

 'Course then I had to look up: Sanctification. "The generic meaning of sanctification is 'the state of proper functioning'. To sanctify someone or something is to set that person or thing apart for the use intended by it's designer. A pen is "sanctified" when used to write." 

And someone's life. What. about. that?

I've just begun to notice that my stomach (digestive system) has turned into a hard core stress-o-meter. When I'm in the wrong place, my guts-if you will, and you don't have to-won't permit me to stick around. 

I had heard there were studies relating the digestive system to being it's own thinking/feeling system of expression or emotions or something like that?

I asked the dietician about it and she said, yeah. It's very exciting. But we don't know more because there's no funding.

Uggh. Pink Mop Syndrome. 

Oddly-but not really-I've done one whole lotta cancer cure fundraising. One time it was a breast cancer walk and we got to the end in a rainstorm and the only promotional booth still open was the one that had pink mops. Pink mops are to breast cancer as: ____________. 

You tell me. But there are no blue mops-as far as I can tell. Cuz blue mops won't sell. I noticed in the calendar of events at the wellness place? There's no support group for this goo. 


Thanksgiving. The agony (of the exposure to your gene pool) followed by the ecstasy-which is the part where you take off those ouchy shoes and you put on your sweatshirt and you walk over to your friends place and they get their little elf forks out because they know your eating skills are a little whacked at the moment and they tell jokes and funny stories and you talk about bad terrible middle eastern food and the possibility of finding good middle eastern food and you feel as if you've been tucked into an internally bubble wrapped envelope of grace. 

Or something. 

More of the latter, less of the former. Yo. 

#what it is.