Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Keeping The Faith

My current version
of snake oil
So I finally Googled my stomach pain symptoms (I hadn't before because I didn't want to inflame my natural hypochondria, although really, I was already imagining the worst, so why not?), and it looks as though I have sludge in my gall bladder (not to be too technical or anything). Lemon juice, LOTS of water, castor oil compresses, and lecithin supplements are recommended. I've spent half my day in the kitchen and the other half in the bathroom.

So. Much. Fun.

But at least I have hope that someday I might be able to eat somewhat normally again.

Today, Susie and I went out to buy some challah for Rosh Hashanah. Now, remember, Susie is the youngest child in our interfaith family. Many years ago (20, to be exact), we belonged to an interfaith families group at a local synagogue. I took Theo and Anna (and David, but he was only a baby) to a challah-making workshop there. We even had a picture of Theo in the local paper, working on his little braided loaf.  Over the years since, we've colored in placemats for Chanukah and kids' Haggadot for Passover. We've spun dreidels. We've made hamantaschen.

What I'm saying here is, I've made an effort to ensure that the kids are aware of their heritage on both sides of the family - Catholic AND Jewish. And when my parents were alive, this was easy - they'd visit and celebrate the Jewish holidays, etc., with us. I was really rocking the interfaith lifestyle, is what I'm saying, even if I did complain a lot. (Hey, you try navigating 2 major holidays every December. It's not for the weak, I'll tell you that.)

I hadn't realized, as the older kids left, and my parents (aka the Jewish side) passed on, that I was missing the mark. Not until today, that is, when I said to Susie, "It's Rosh Hashanah! Let's go pick up some challah to dip in honey." And she said, "What's challah?"

Yeah. Major Jewish parent fail. Oy vey.

Excellent for

All the way to the bakery, I alternated between mentally chastising myself for my shortcomings as a parent and reminding myself that, hey, I have 2 adult children who are currently living IN ISRAEL. I'm not sure you're allowed to average out the religious upbringing of your offspring that way, but it will have to do. The long and the short of it is, Susie is growing up in a completely different family than did her oldest siblings, and I need to accept that.

But first, let me beat myself over the head with this mezuzah some more. It just feels right, in a Jewish guilt sort of way.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Cheese...

I have to drive to the dentist in 20 minutes with the kids. We used to be able to walk there, but then our pediatric dentist had the nerve to move her office further away. Some people only think of themselves, you know?

Anyway, Susie's still annoyed at me because I made her get braces back in July (she NEEDED braces). The poor kid cried herself to sleep the first night she had them on, saying she didn't like having things in her mouth. So, yeah, if you enjoy feeling like garbage over every important decision you make, then parenting just might be right for you.

In the meantime, I have an appointment for a crown that I've had to cancel twice, and now I just don't want to go at all. I sort of lost my dental momentum, you know? Also, I'm tired of spending money, and for the life of me I don't understand dental insurance rates. When someone says they'll pay 40% of an unspecified amount, it doesn't really matter how good you are at math, you can't figure out the answer. And believe me, I AM good at math.

Susie ate this in front of me. She's mean.
I'm still eating low-fat so I don't set off those stomach pains, and really, this is a very unsatisfying way to live. I try telling myself that I've been allowed to eat what I want for 54 years, and that's a pretty good run. But that still doesn't make me any less sick of grilled chicken. I threw caution to the winds today by putting the chicken on a bed of lettuce and sprinkling that with a tiny bit of feta cheese and a teeny amount of Italian dressing.

I know! I'm wild and crazy.

It didn't taste that good. What's worse, I felt really old, chomping on my flavorless healthy meal while avoiding the back tooth that needs a crown. And the first person to tell me to use low-fat dressing is getting blocked (I mean, if I can figure out how to do that). I swear, I will not go gentle into that dark night.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

I Miss Ice Cream

Look at that - I survived an entire day without having a medical problem. I ate semi-normally (no fat, but still), I managed not to pierce my body with rust-covered pieces of metal, I exercised and ran errands like a normal person...

I'd kill for a Heath Klondike bar, though. KILL.

My preciousssss...

You know what bothers me? I've been pretty much starving for over 2 weeks, so you'd think some of my pants would at least be hanging a tad loosely on me. Is that too much to ask? I don't think so. But no, nothing's changed on this body of mine. Maybe I'm just losing weight on the inside? Is that possible?

The doctor last night at Urgent Care called me "young lady." It was disconcerting, to say the least. I can't even remember the last time someone called me that. Actually, it doesn't matter WHAT age you are, "young lady" always sounds condescending. So I punched him in the nuts.

LOL, no. Just wanted to see if anyone was actually reading...

The other day, I took one of the old ladies I work for to the supermarket to pick up glucose strips and Lean Cuisines. She has a small chest freezer in her garage, so I followed her in there to see if she needed help putting the frozen dinners away. I noted the presence of what seemed to be several large spiders and - not being freaked out much by spiders, believe it or not - I moved in for a closer look, to make sure she wasn't harboring a dangerous species in there. Also, I'll admit, to take a picture, so I could freak out Brian, who most definitely does NOT like spiders. Ha, ha, I thought, he'll hate these.

They weren't spiders.

I spent the next 5 minutes in that garage trying not to scream, as my client fussed over how I put the Lean Cuisines away, and promising myself I wouldn't set foot in there ever again. Because CRICKETS - large, dark crickets were on the walls and the ceiling. Everywhere I turned my head, I saw a cricket. Just sitting there, waiting to jump in my hair when I wasn't looking.


I most emphatically do not do crickets. I wrote a semi-hysterical email to my client's daughter, letting her know that I would no longer be able to put things away in the garage freezer for her mom. I'm sure my supervisor is thrilled I did that.

Turns out, judging from how unimpressed he was with my story, Brian doesn't mind crickets. Maybe I'll have him help her.

[Klondike bar image: Klondike]

Friday, September 15, 2017

Like Aesop's Fables, Only No Animals

The doctor called me Wednesday and informed me I had high cholesterol. And I was all, "Um, okay, so, uh, does that cause intermittent severe stomach pain?" and it was her turn to go "Huh?" So I had to remind her that I had gone to see her for really bad stomach pain and that she had run all sorts of blood tests for all sorts of enzymes and all.

Sheesh, am I the one with the MD? No, I am not.

So then she looked at her notes and looked at the other tests and said, "Oh, everything looks perfectly normal here! Liver, pancreas...all that. So we'll see you in 3 months for another cholesterol test. Try to eat low-fat."

Whereupon I had to remind her that I was barely eating AT ALL. So she said to wait for the sonogram that she had scheduled a whole week later to see if anything came up. Apparently, she is not too concerned about my nutrient intake.

So yeah, my budget health insurance is working out just great, y'all.

But that's NOT what I came here to tell you. I came here to tell you about the dangers of self-righteousness. You see, one of the townhouses in my neighborhood is a rental, and it's being renovated between tenants. So the contractors doing the renovations left a huge pile of flooring remnants and boxes next to where we leave our trash cans twice a week for garbage pickup.

The stuff sat there all week, irritating the heck out of everyone, until today, trash pick-up day. And the garbage guys didn't pick it up, because really, they're not supposed to pick up any trash that isn't bagged and the contractors should have disposed of that stuff themselves.

So I went out there this evening, filled with self-righteous indignation over the mess, and started carrying all the trash back to the house it came from. I made sure to dump it in the front yard, right next to the For Rent sign.

Because, yeah, I can be petty sometimes.

This is useful
The job took a while, because it turns out some of the boards were old pieces of shoe molding and baseboards, complete with sharp nails sticking straight out. I marched back and forth with those boards, feeling mounting satisfaction as the pile in the yard grew higher. That'll teach people to mess up our neighborhood, I thought smugly.

I was almost done, just cleaning up some plastic debris and cardboard boxes, when it happened: I stepped on a rusty nail in a tiny piece of shoe molding that I had missed. Because my beloved FitFlops have really thick soles, only the tip of the nail got into my foot, but still - RUSTY. So now I get to pay $30 to go get a tetanus shot at Urgent Care tonight.

Moral: Vigilantism doesn't pay.

[Rusty Nail Chart: Wound Care Society]

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Near Death Experience

I haven't blogged in a week, because I was waiting until my stomach didn't hurt, because I was sick of whining.

My stomach still hurts.

I spent a while on Tuesday lying on my bed and wondering whether or not I should go to the ER. The pain felt like one of those female heart attack scenarios one reads about in the Health section of newspapers. Then, being lazy, I decided to wait 2 hours. If I weren't dead by then, I'd know it wasn't a heart attack. I'm scientific like that.

So that worked well, as in I was still alive after the experiment. In pain, but alive. Felt better Wednesday and Thursday (whew!), started to get my life back together, and then was laid low again Thursday night. Get this - I actually went to the doctor on Friday. I know, crazy, right? She ordered all sorts of blood tests - liver enzymes, pancreatic enzymes, I don't know what all - scheduled a non-urgent sonogram of my innards, complimented my knitting, and sent me home.

I spent the next four hours or so imagining every dire gastrointestinal scenario possible and sorting my yarn into projects I wanted to complete before I died. There were the fingerless mitts I had promised a friend, way back in April; another pair of mitts to use the yarn another friend had brought me all the way from Italy; a couple of baby hats for the grandchildren I'd never get to meet...

Deathbed Knitting

You know, I'm thinking no one does maudlin as well as me.

At some point, my Sensible Friend (who knew I'd been dealing with stomach pain) thought to call and see how I was. I told her about the multiple fatal illnesses I had diagnosed myself with and she said, essentially, "Oh, pooh, it's probably pancreatitis. I've had it, and I'm still here. Hurts like crazy, though."

She's a good friend. I'm still knitting those baby hats, though.

So here I am, Sunday, and still in pain. But, hey, that's only when I try to eat something, so technically the pain is avoidable. I mean, who needs food, anyway? Not me, apparently...


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