Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Being Sick Is Boring. I'm Sorry.

Larry drove me to the doctor this morning (because I was still too hysterical and hungry to be coherent on my own) and I explained to her that I still couldn't eat without pain. So she said, "Okay, we'll do a CT scan, just to rule the scary stuff out. Just drink these 2 HUGE bottles of barium first."


So that was hard. I choked down most of the first bottle, but only half of the second, because I thought I was going to start puking up all my hard work if I drank more. And I did the CT scan, which was totally easy and space age, except the iodine stuff they put in you, which feels really weird. And then we waited around for an hour for the results. We were sitting there, each of us looking at the news on our phones, and Larry said, "You know, you have the best ideas for dates."

Finally the doctor called us back in and said everything looked normal. So she's sending everything to the specialist and in the meantime is treating it like an ulcer, although ulcers don't just pop up out of nowhere - usually you're having stomach/indigestion problems for a long time first. Which I wasn't. Go figure.

Larry drove me home and I took my proton pump inhibitor drug, like an old person, and then gingerly ate half a turkey sandwich (hey, I lost 6 pounds since the last doctor visit. I'm HUNGRY) and a few grapes. And then I had a stomachache. I ended up sitting around all afternoon, reading a book that is a true account of a person's stay in a TB sanatorium, because I really know how to cheer myself up.

The author is the same person who wrote the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, by the way.

I don't sit still very well, so I also took a walk. In the awful humidity that insists on hanging around these parts, even though the leaves are turning and it is SUPPOSED to be fall.

Yeah, I'm cranky. And hungry. Since lunch I've eaten a small apple and a spoonful of ice cream. It was medicinal, because I figured the dairy might soothe my theoretically ulcerated stomach. It's science, people.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Starvation Diet

Do you know where 4 weeks of intermittent stomach pain and lack of sleep and food get you? It gets you well nigh hysterical. Don't worry, I'm going in tomorrow again to see the doctor. Now I'm thinking it's an ulcer, which is distressing but way better than all the other possibilities running through my head earlier this evening.

What an awful, awful day. And I miss food.

So, yeah, I probably shouldn't even be blogging, but old habits die hard. I can't even remember what I did this weekend. Yoga, probably, and knitting, like all my other weekends. Wow, I really like to change things up around here.

We sent Susie away on an AHG (Catholic Girl Scouts, essentially) camping trip, which should have been fun but - according to her repeated tellings - was not. Something about stinkbugs and spider-y cabins and a hike to nowhere. Yet her troop leader tells me she was the life of the party all weekend. Go figure.

Actually, there's something different I did this weekend - the AHG troop needed an extra driver, so I drove a bunch of the girls to their campground. It supposedly has treehouses, but they are in reality tiny elevated cabins. You know, because camping isn't inconvenient enough, so let's make people drag ALL THEIR GEAR up a steep flight of wooden stairs.

These particular cabins had built-in wooden bunks, wide enough to sleep 3 or 4 girls. And here is where my Jewish upbringing PTSD kicked in. I took one look at those multi-person wooden bunks and thought, "Auschwitz."

Being Jewish is special.

So, anyway, I left my daughter with her friends at a place that reminded me of a concentration camp. Weird parenting moments for the win!

I saw a Google Maps car today,
in case you thought my life was boring

I'm rambling. My stomach still hurts and I'm scared to eat, because if the pain gets worse, I will freak out. And, if the problem does turn out to be an ulcer, that means my go-to migraine remedy (Excedrin) will no longer be a viable option, as it has aspirin in it, which unfortunately has a tendency to eat holes in one's stomach.

I am not exaggerating here when I say that, without my Excedrin, I cannot manage life. I am panicked. Also, hungry - have I mentioned hungry?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Random Friday

Tomorrow, I get to drive. Rachel has a dentist appointment, that we can no longer walk to. Then one of my elderly clients has a hair appointment. After that, I am transporting 5 tween girls to a weekend camping trip over an hour away. And then I am driving straight back home, because nothing in this world could induce me to spend the weekend camping with a bunch of tween girls. NOTHING.

All in all, I'll be in the car for over 4 hours. In a perfect world,  I could get somewhere exciting in 4 hours. But that's not what is happening here.


Random photo: I made these
Idea: Could we just stick Kim Jong Un and Trump in a room and let them fight it out? They obviously have issues with each other, and the rest of us just want to get on with our lives.


Looks like it's a random thoughts night. That's okay, no one looks at this on a Friday, anyway.


I'm already dreaming of Halloween candy. That's normal, right?


Good news! I'm off the hook for planning something amazing for Larry's 50th. He just found out he has to travel for work and will be away for the big day. Whew! I told him we'd make his traditional cake and send him photos of us all enjoying it without him. I mean, he'd want to know we're thinking of him, right?


And that's all I've got. Feel free to be random in the comments, you lovely anonymous weekend readers, you!

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...

Monday, September 04, 2017

The Sound Of Music, Annotated

Okay, that weekend went by in record time. I spent it recovering from whatever the heck was wrong with me last week, and working at the yoga center, and entertaining visiting family, and taking tweens to the mall, and seeing Anna off on her next overseas adventure. Also? Our local movie theater was showing "Sound of Music" this morning on the big screen, so of course I went. Susie was the only kid who accompanied me, because Rachel is too cool for such things now.

I've said it before, but "Sound of Music" on the big screen is absolutely magnificent. If you ever have a chance to see it that way, GO. And if you are really lucky, you won't be sitting in front of a person who is eating movie snacks loudly, constantly, like a pig at a feeding trough.

I wasn't that lucky, unfortunately. When this person wasn't slurping and chomping and rustling his popcorn, he was offering not-so-astute commentary on the movie. When the Captain and Maria (spoiler alert!) share their first kiss, Mr. Popcorn Snorter said to his companion, "He must be at least 20 years older than her." When we were treated to a full-screen picture of a huge Nazi flag covering a building facing a plaza where soldiers are goosestepping along in fine Third Reich fashion, he announced, "The Germans have taken over."

You know, because that was so hard to pick up on...

Picnic chickpea salad
But I still managed to enjoy the movie because, hey, absolutely magnificent. Afterwards I had to rush home and get things ready for a neighborhood BBQ, because I always seem to be in charge of such things. It might be the Jewish genes, I don't know.

What I DO know is that I am finally sitting down by myself this evening, reveling in the solitude and looking at my wreck of a house. I don't understand how grown-ups who are socially active manage their lives. I haven't been able to clean much of anything all weekend (aside from basic kitchen chores, of course); there are myriad details of my life that have fallen through the cracks; in short I feel completely discombobulated, simply because I had a few outside commitments over the past 3 days.

So how do people run for political office, say, or even volunteer on campaigns or join protest marches? How do they manage to hang out with friends, or pursue interesting hobbies, or hold down full-time jobs? When do they get their laundry done?

Just wondering...