The Zen Pretzel Trick
Welcome to the insights, ponderings and meanderings of a forty-something punk-rock momma with secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis and trigeminal neuralgia in Portland. Rather than provoke thought, I prefer to poke it with a giant stick. 🌀
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Weird Tattoo Sighting
Update, and Bad Birthdays
I want to thank everyone for their kind replies and emails after the Caligula incident. I decided to make a complaint, and am now awaiting the slow-moving wheels of the corporate hospital machine to get around to dealing with it. I am considering seeing a lawyer. My pain is unbelievably worse since Caligula's cruel examination.
It couldn't have come at a worse time for me, to top it all off. The 24th would have been my mother's 51st birthday. The 26th was the 7th anniversary of her death.
And tomorrow is my birthday.
My birthday has never been a great time for me. As a kid, my father routinely forgot my birthday entirely. I was the only one of his kids whose birthday he couldn't seem to remember, which did come off as odd to me...seeing as my birthday is exactly one week from my mother's. I recall one year in particular, when he claimed to "feel bad" about having forgotten my 11th birthday, and wanted to make it up to me by throwing me a Skateworld party for my 12th. Now, Skateworld parties were the parties to have when I was a kid. I was thrilled.
The first sign that troubling was a-brewing came a few hours before the party, when my dad called and informed me that he could not attend: he had to work. He then told me that my stepmother and stepsiblings would also not be able to attend, as my former stepmonster had a headache. A lame excuse, but at least the party would be more comfortable for my mother without them there. The second sign that there was a problem came about two hours into the party...when no one had yet to arrive. I was sitting at a table set up for twenty with just my mom and my two sisters. "Mortified" is not even a strong enough word to describe how I felt at that moment. My mother was angry, and made several calls to my dad before she finally found out what had happened: my father had never mailed the invitations. They were still sitting on his desk at work.
My father never apologized for this...and he also never bought me a gift that year because (get this) the party was my birthday present.
The only thing worse than my dad forgetting my birthday was him remembering it. I remember the year I turned 14. It was actually one of my better birthdays; although Dad had forgotten again, my older brother didn't. He was newly home from his first stint in the Army, complete with a German wife. Both of them felt so badly about my dad's treatment of me, that they took me out to the mall. We had dinner, and we saw a movie (Rodney Dangerfield's "Back to School"). I was on cloud nine. My father, however, was seriously pissed. When we got home, he demanded to know why I was coming in an hour past my curfew. After my brother told him what we were doing, my dad stormed off. About a week later, my stepmonster throws a plastic bag in my lap. "Here, now you can quit your bitching." Gee, thanks.
The item inside was not wrapped. The price tags were still on it. And it was probably the very last thing in the entire galaxy that I ever would have wanted.
It was the ugliest pink dress I had ever seen.
Words cannot truly capture the essence of ugliness about this dress. It was a salmon-pink color (pink being then, as now, one of my least favorite colors). There were big, shiny buttons all up the chest from the waistline to the neck. On either side of the buttons were huge, accordian-like panels jutting out. The skirt of the dress was stiff and straight, and to top it all off: it had a HUGE bow on the butt. It was also about a size too small, particularly around the chest.
I hated wearing dresses, and I hated this dress the most. It was so tight across the chest, I felt like I could not breathe. And it was so batshit ugly, I couldn't bear the thought of actually having to appear in public in it. Which I did. Every Sunday, for church, for nearly a year. The nightmare only ended when I "accidentally" lost the hideous thing at the laundromat.
But no bad birthday compares to the my 24th. That was year where I spent the day before my birthday at my mother's funeral.
I wanted to come on here today and say some words about my mother, but I'm going to be honest: I'm just too emotional to do that right now. I don't think I would do her justice in the state I'm in at the moment.
Maybe, when my birthday is over, I can find the right words. Here's hoping.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Tin God Syndrome: The Caligula Tin God
Last night, I was in so much pain that I couldn't stand it anymore. I hadn't had more than an hour and a half's worth of sleep at a time in two weeks. I couldn't eat, could barely speak and had begun to panic. And I don't panic easily.
Enough was enough. Time for another ER visit: my first in almost six months.
So I went to the ER, waited for 2 1/2 hours to be seen...and in comes the Caligula Tin God.
Caligula Tin Gods are of the opinion that pain is a minor concern. I stronly suspect this is because Caligulas have never been IN any chronic, debilitating pain themselves. Caligulas are also the first to suspect you are "drug seeking," because once again: they don't think much of your, or anyone's, pain. They look at people coming into the ER for pain relief as bothersome, crybabies and potentially, drug addicts. In any case, a complete waste of their time. And whereas other
The first thing Caligula says to me is that he's read my ER Cheat Sheet, and although I have requested not to speak...I am going to be required to speak so he can "rule out speech problems." He is also annoyed that the nurse didn't force me to wear a gown (pulling my shirt over my face at that moment was more than I was capable of). The interrogation (because that's what it is: Caligulas turn any exam room into a torture chamber) begins:
Caligula: You have a pain management contract?
Zen Angel: (speaking through a clenched, painful jaw) Yes.
Caligula: And what does it say?
Zen Angel: (wondering if he really DID read my Cheat Sheet, because it's written there in plain English) To come into the ER if my meds don't work.
Caligula: Your pain meds?
Zen Angel: Yes.
Caligula: Are you out of Oxycodone?
Zen Angel: No. They just aren't working.
Caligula: When did this bout begin?
Zen Angel: Two weeks ago, when I burnt my hand.
Caligula: Which hand?
Zen Angel: (wondering if this guy is a moron, as only one hand is wrapped
Caligula: How did that occur?
Zen Angel: My leg went out on me, and I spilled chicken soup on my hand. Second-degree burns.
Caligula: (in a condescending tone) Who told you that?
Zen Angel: My doctor, when she treated it.
Caligula: I see you've been to this ER before.
Zen Angel: Yes, but not for about six months.
Caligula: Where have you been going in the meantime?
Zen Angel: (confused) Nowhere.
Caligula: Which ER have you been going to in the last six months?
Zen Angel: NOWHERE. I haven't needed to. My meds were sufficient.
Caligula: I'll have to call around and check on that, you know.
Zen Angel: (flabbergasted) Go right ahead.
Caligula: Have you seen a neurologist?
Zen Angel: Yes, three.
Caligula: What are their names?
Zen Angel: I don't really remember right now.
Caligula: (condescending) And WHY is that?
Zen Angel: I'm in too much pain to think straight, Doctor.
Caligula: (rolls eyes) I'll have to examine you now.
Zen Angel: (thinking he meant the sort of exam I usually get: a few touches to the face to rule out trigeminal tumor or paralysis; painful but not unbearable) OK.
Caligula goes to a drawer and begins rummaging around. I am getting worried about what he intends to do.
Caligula: Lay back on the pillow.
Zen Angel: Why?
Caligula: (sighs) I have to examine you now. (pulls out a large tongue
Zen Angel: (horrified) I can't open my mouth wide.
Caligula: You have to.
Zen Angel: (begging) Please, don't do this. You have no idea how much it hurts.
Caligula: Well, that's what you get for coming in on a weekend.
Zen Angel: (thinking, what the fuck?) Please, don't.
Caligula: Open your mouth wide.
Zen Angel: I can't.
Caligula: OPEN YOUR MOUTH WIDE.
Zen Angel: (opening as wide as I can) This HURTS.
Caligula: (ignoring me) Say "ahhhh."
Zen Angel: (writhing in pain) AHHHHHHH!
Caligula begins taking the tongue depressor and painfully moving it all about my mouth, scraping my gums, tapping on my teeth and pulling my cheeks in many directions. I am in agony, and pull away from him.
Caligula: Have you even SEEN a dentist?
Zen Angel: (offended) Yes. I am in the middle of having all my teeth removed. It's on my Cheat Sheet.
Caligula looks at me blankly. I realize he hasn't really read it.
Zen Angel: I lost my teeth due to contaminated reservation drinking water.
Caligula looks at me in disbelief. I would elaborate, but the "examination" has left me curled up in a fetal position and crying my eyes out in pain.
Caligula: Sit up.
Zen Angel: (sitting up) Why?
Caligula grabs my head with both hands and begins SHAKING it back and forth, forward and back. He does this so hard, he makes my hearing aid feed back, which he ignores. He then begins tapping on my face, and only then proceeds to the usual facial exam that I am used to. By this time, I am beside myself with pain.
Caligula: I'll be back.
Caligula leaves the room. I am in worse pain that I have EVER been in from the neuralgia. I can't stop crying, and call my husband. He is pissed, and tells me he is on his way. I curl back up on the bed, staring in anger and horror at a little sign which reads: "Your comfort is of UPMOST importance to us! Please let us know if there is ANYTHING we can do to make you more comfortable!" I think to myself, yes, there are two things you could do: give me my damn shot, and then shoot Caligula.
Twenty minutes go by: twenty minutes of the worst pain I can recall ever being in. I am nearly hysterical. Finally, the door opens: it is not Caligula, thankfully, but the very sweet and understanding nurse who first spoke with me.
Hallelujah, she has my shot.
Nurse: The doctor spoke with your regular doctor, and ordered your shot. It's Morphine and Phenergan. Is that all right?
Zen Angel: YES!
The nurse then gives me my shot, and tells me she'll check on me in 20 minutes to see if it's working. She never does. I don't think this is necessarily a shortcoming on her behalf, as it was a shift change and the new nurse didn't seem as on the ball as she was.
My husband arrives. I am so relieved. The shot has just kicked in. The pain isn't gone, which is unusual as Morphine usually does the trick. I strongly believe that it would have, had not Caligula put me through his diabolical "examination," which might be against the Geneva Conventions. I'm not sure. The pain is, however, bearable...and I can finally get some much-needed sleep.
That is, if I can ever get out of the hospital.
The new nurse comes in twice over the next half-hour, to let me know that Caligula had STILL not typed up my release forms. My husband is getting more and more pissed off.
FINALLY, the new nurse comes in with the forms. A single sheet of paper, with several typos. I don't even have to sign the freaking thing.
We dash out of there and head home. I slept most of the day, thrilled to be able to do so. The pain came back around 7PM. I am unwilling to go back to the ER after my horrific experience, but I don't know how much longer I can hold out. Hopefully, until my doctor's office opens at 8AM.
Now I am left with a connundrum: I very much want to complain about Caligula's treatment of me, which is very much contrary to the hospital's policy on pain management and treatment. I was left feeling humiliated and violated by Caligula's behavior...and that's saying a lot, because I've run into a shitload of Tin Gods in my time, and haven't felt violated by one in this manner EVER. But this time, I do. I feel...attacked. He did everything in his power to make my condition WORSE, to worsen my pain and agony, for no fucking reason whatsoever. When the pain DID come back, it did with a vengeance I haven't ever had to deal with before, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Caligula is to blame.
My problem is, I need this ER. Badly. There are times when I simply cannot wait for my doctor's office to open. I need relief NOW. And I'm afraid to rock the boat. I'm afraid that if I complain about Caligula, the next Tin God will simply refuse to treat me at all. And I hate, hate, hate that I have to feel that way. I hate that I have to worry about such a thing, that I can't simply expect to be treated humanely for a legitimate, chronic illness referred to by nearly every medical authority as one of the WORST pains known to mankind.
And I hate Tin Gods, for putting me in this position in the first fucking place.
I haven't yet decided what to do. I'm leaning towards making a complaint anyway, because although I worry about rocking the boat, I am MORE worried about running into Caligula the next time I need a shot.
And I'm worried about the next patient, who comes into the ER needing relief and finding only the inhumane hands of this bastard Tin God.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Nutbag Parents: Toddler Killed So He Wouldn't Be "Gay"
By BEN MONTGOMERY
Published: Jul 13, 2005
TAMPA - Even though the boy would shake and wet himself, his father, Ronnie Paris Jr., would box with the 3-year-old, slapping him in the head until he cried because he didn't want his son to grow up to be ``a sissy,'' the boy's mother testified Monday. Others corroborated Nysheerah Paris' testimony as the prosecution built its case during the first day of the capital murder trial of Ronnie Paris Jr., 21, accused of abusing 3-year- old Ronnie Paris until the boy slipped into a coma Jan. 22.
He died six days later with swelling on both sides of his brain.
``He was trying to teach him how to fight,'' said Shanita Powell, Nysheerah Paris' sister. ``He was concerned that the child might be gay.''
Even Sheldon Bostic, who was Ronnie Paris Jr.'s Bible- study friend, said he warned the father several times not to play so rough with his son.
``He really did what other fathers do - slap box,'' Bostic said. ``He always said he didn't want his son growing up to be pushed around.''
``Did Ronnie use a term for that?'' asked Jalal Harb, an assistant state attorney.
``He didn't want him to be a sissy,'' Bostic said.
The prosecution's witnesses portrayed Ronnie Paris Jr. as a man who wanted more of his wife's attention, who complained about not having enough sex since the child was around and who openly questioned whether the boy was his.
Witnesses also testified he lost his temper when the child was ill. The boy was sick often while in his parents' care.
In 2002, the Florida Department of Children & Families placed little Ronnie in protective custody after he had been admitted to the hospital several times for vomiting.
He was returned to his parents Dec. 14, five days after his third birthday. He had been with them six weeks when he died.
The defense tried to shift the blame to Nysheerah Paris, who testified she was so scared someone would take her baby away that she never called police or her caseworker to report what she perceived to be abuse by Ronnie Paris Jr.
It wasn't until Feb. 1, four days after little Ronnie was taken off life support, that Nysheerah Paris told police of the alleged abuse. She is charged with felony child neglect and faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
She testified that she witnessed Ronnie Paris Jr. being rough with the child several times, including once when he ``slammed'' the baby against a wall because the child was vomiting.
But she said she didn't take the baby to the hospital immediately after the incidents.
``I just didn't want my baby to get tooken away from me,'' she said. ``I thought he was going to make it.''
Kenn Littman, an assistant public defender, asked Nysheerah Paris why she never reported the alleged abuse.
``You thought that the cops were gonna put this on you if you didn't say anything?'' Littman asked.
``Yes,'' she said.
I am absolutely, completely sickened by this shit. The child was THREE YEARS OLD. It's ok to be a "crybaby" when you are, in fact, a BABY!
Holy mother of pearl, these people should BOTH be forced into the ring with Mike Tyson for a few hours. Or days. With ketchup on their ears and NO protective gear of any kind. Maybe then they'd know what it's like to be slapped around by a maniac who is twice your size.
Burn, Baby, Burn
Burn, Baby, Burn
Well, this is what a second-degree chicken soup burn looks like, about 12 days into healing (I took this photo a few days ago). It actually extends all the way to my pinkie on top, and around to my palm near my thumb. Fun, fun, fun.
It IS healing well, though, and while it still stings a bit, the pain has been replaced by some pretty fierce itching. I keep it covered and am trying to avoid the temptation to scratch the hell out of it...
I am also under doctor's orders to keep it dry and clean....so no major housework for me (not to mention the fact that with the horrible heat wave, I can barely move anyway). While this, in theory, is quite nice...in reality, it's driving me batty. Jonathan is working all the time, covering for those on vacation, so pretty much no one is doing the heavy housework. My house is beginning to remind me a bit too much of what my mother referred to as her "liberation period," when she basically stopped doing housework after the divorce because my dad was such an unbelievable neat freak. That was a LONG four years...
Between my broken toe, my burned hand, my horrible face pain (a la trigeminal neuralgia) and the MS heat sensitivity turning me into a sloth...I haven't been accomplishing very much with my life lately. And that depresses me. I know it's silly, I know I am supposed to be resting and that doing too much right now would actually make me sick---believe me, I learned my lesson four years ago when I was incapicitated because of a near-miss with a heat stroke. Still, lying about all day in front of the air conditioner, reading books with the kids and watching way too much History Channel International is really starting to get on my nerves.
I used to love summer. When I was a kid, summers were the absolute best. Remember that? The pure, unadulturated joy of summertime? I do.
My childhood summers were split up into two parts: the half with my dad, and the half with my mom. The half with my mom involved days spent at the pool, swimming and checking out the cute lifegaurds (admission was 50 cents, and another $1.50 would get you a soda, hot dog and bag of chips). Friday nights were dances at the community center, or movies. I won a dance competition there once. I kept the certificate on my wall for years.
The half with my dad usually involved road trips to visit family in Tennessee, Florida and of course, the rez. People who go to Cherokee now, as tourists, are seeing a whole different city than the one I grew up in. The trappings that you find there now: the concerts with big-time comedians and country/western stars, the tourist shops, indoor plumbing....none of that was present when I was very young. We've come a long way, baby. And although I would never want my people to be poor again, like the were in the old days...I sometimes feel homesick for the Cherokee of my youth. For the roadside arts & crafts stands we'd put up to lure in the few tourists who would make the journey back in those days, for the big field near Mountainside where we'd play and dodge mosquitos, for the "busy" days of fishing for crawdads and running races and playing pranks. The last time I went home was several years ago...and it didn't feel like "home" to me anymore. And I cried for that. But you really can't go home again, time marches on, and all those worn-out cliches that are worn-out because they are true...
To be sure, progress has been good for my people. The water doesn't rot your teeth out anymore (making me among the last to have to deal with "reservation rot"). If you need to see a doctor, chances are, you can (and without having to leave town to do it). Tourism is good, and jobs are easier to come by. I don't hear stories anymore of people without heat or running water. Not in Cherokee, anyway...many other reservations are not so fortunate, I'm afraid. But as I said...progress has been good for the Cherokee, for the most part. But at the same time, I can't help but remember when a friend of my grandfather's years ago, when all the progress was in its beginning stages, remarking in a sad voice that "It's looking more and more like Pigeon Forge 'round here." Meaning, it was becoming more of a tourist town than an Indian town. Now, I want to be very clear on this: I'm not saying that it's a bad thing. I'm just, I don't know...missing the good ol' days, I guess. Getting older.
Literally, getting older. My birthday is next week. Which is probably at the root of all this running down Memory Lane. And all that running has tired me out. Good night, y'all...
Nutbag Coach Pays Player to Hit Disabled Teammate
Some people are scum. Others are the kind of scum that scum scrapes off the bottom of their shoes. This coach is one of the latter.
Coach Allegedly Paid Player to Hit Disabled Teammate
Man Accused of Having Boy Hurt So He Wouldn't Have to Play Him
By ALLISON SCHLESINGER, AP
PITTSBURGH (July 16) - A T-ball coach allegedly paid one of his players $25 to hurt an 8-year-old mentally disabled teammate so he wouldn't have to put the boy in the game, police said Friday.
Mark R. Downs Jr., 27, of Dunbar, is accused of offering one of his players the money to hit the boy in the head with a baseball, police said. Witnesses told police Downs didn't want the boy to play in the game because of his disability.
Police said the boy was hit in the head and in the groin with a baseball just before a game, and didn't play, police said.
"The coach was very competitive," state police Trooper Thomas B. Broadwater said. "He wanted to win."
He was arrested and arraigned Friday on charges including criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault and corruption of minors. He was released from jail on an unsecured bond.
The alleged assault happened June 27 in North Union Township, about 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, authorities said.
The boy's mother asked state police to investigate her son's injuries because she suspected Downs wanted to keep the boy off the field, despite a league rule that required each player to participate in three innings a game, Broadwater said.
Eric Forsythe, the president of the R.W. Clark Youth Baseball League, said Downs had two daughters on the T-ball team.
League organizers investigated accusations against Downs before the T-ball season ended earlier this month but could not prove that he did anything wrong. If Downs is convicted of any crime, he won't be allowed to be a coach next year, Forsythe said. The league is not affiliated with Little League International.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Sorry I haven't posted in so long...the burns on my hand are making it hard for me to type. They are healing well (and itching like crazy), but in general I have felt absolutely horrible for the past week or so. The Clumsy MS Moment just set off a domino effect of symptoms and pain. I've spent the last few days desperately trying to get some rest...and rarely succeeding.
Anyhoo, I hope to be blogging more soon, have no fear....
Monday, July 11, 2005
NDN NEWS: Plastic Shaman Indicted
Friday, June 24, 2005
By The Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY -- A grand jury has indicted a self-proclaimed "medicine man" for lying about being an American Indian tribe member and illegally consuming and distributing peyote in religious ceremonies.
The indictment came a year after the Utah Supreme Court unanimously ruled James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney, 61, could not be prosecuted under state laws for including non-American Indians in ceremonies.
Mooney's wife Linda, 51 and Nicholas Stark, 54, of Ogden, a fellow member of their Oklevueha Earth Walks Church, were also named in the federal indictment.
Mooney claims to be a member of the Oklevueha Band of Yamassee Seminole Indians and formed a church under that membership in 1997.
He openly uses and distributes the hallucinogen in religious ceremonies, which is allowed under federal law by members of recognized tribes.
However, federal prosecutors say the tribal membership Mooney claims was fraudulently obtained. Court documents say the tribe revoked it and asked him to stop using their name in connection with his religious activities.
The Oklevueha Band is not a federally recognized tribe and does not use peyote in its religious ceremonies, according to court documents.
James and Linda Mooney were arrested Thursday morning near their Spanish Fork home by Drug Enforcement Agency agents, while a summons was issued for Stark Thursday.
Linda Mooney was booked at Davis County Jail, and James Mooney at Weber County Jail on Thursday evening to be held until the arraignment.
The Mooneys face 13 counts of conspiracy to possess peyote with intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute peyote, distribution of peyote and possession of peyote with intent to distribute. James Mooney was additionally charged with one count of attempted possession of peyote with intent to distribute. Stark was charged with one count each of possession of peyote with intent to distribute and possession of coca leaves.
The Mooneys are scheduled to make an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sam Alba today.
The maximum penalty for each count is up to 20 years in federal prison, except for the possession of coca leaves, which is a misdemeanor. The penalty for that charge is up to one year.
U.S. Attorney Paul Warner said in a written statement the government protects peyote use as a religious sacrament, but will prosecute "drug dealers engaged in the distribution of a controlled substance."
Kathryn Collard, a Salt Lake attorney who represented the Mooneys and Oklevueha EarthWalks in Utah courts, blasted the DEA and the U.S. Attorney's Office for what she described as a witch hunt against her former clients.
"I think it's the drug war run amok," she said. "I think they do it because they can. They have the power, they have the money, they have hundreds of attorneys and all kinds of people to do their bidding."
Labels: Native American
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Shout-Out For Portland
My fair city of Portland, Oregon was named one of the "18 Perfect Towns That Have It All" by OUTSIDE magazine (Aug. '05 issue, page 92). From the article:
"What would be total fringe in other cities approaches the mainstream here...Portland is a magnet for...college-educated, twenty-and-thirty-somethings looking for a progressive urban lifestyle...Portland has 227 parks, including Forest Park, at 5,000 acres the nation's largest urban wilderness...(Portland has) almost 270 miles of street lanes and paths (for biking)...On average, Portlanders spend more on reading material, watch more indie films and grow more wildflowers than their countrymen. Portlanders drink better beer than most, too, with 23 microbreweries within city limits. The arts, performing and otherwise, are booming, and the 11 farmers' markets help locals eat local."
I love this town...
I Am a Doofus
A big, clumsy doofus.
All day yesterday I was having a pretty bad MS day. Muscle
spasms & aches, trigeminal neuralgia acting up, terrible fatigue, the whole works. I was taking it in stride, however; since my pregnancy with Eden, such days are few and far between.
And then I had another Giant Clumsy MS Moment.
For those of you who don't know what a Giant Clumsy MS
Moment is, let me enlighten you....
These are moments when, due to one symptom or another, I actually end up rendering physical harm unto myself. For
example, when I was tending bar years ago and, when reaching
for a bottle of Full Sail Amber Ale that had rolled under the backroom fridge, most of my right side turned to Jell-O out of nowhere, causing me to collapse and dislocate my thumb. Or the time I was reaching for a can of tomato juice from a top shelf in my kitchen and dropped the huge thing right on my hand...breaking a bone. Or the time I was on an Amtrack train and had a horrible muscle spasm in my leg whilst walking to the bathroom...causing me to ram my foot
into a wall and severely stub my big toe and break two of the little ones. Those are just a few examples...the less embarassing ones. Hey, I may be a clutz...but I still have my pride...
Now, on to last night's Giant Clumsy MS Moment...
The very-grouchy baby (who did NOT want to go night-night and
made sure everyone in the house knew it) was finally asleep. The
two older kids had cleaned up the arts & crafts mess and were snug in bed. Jonathan and I decided to kick back, have a glass of wine and put in the DVD of "King of the Hill," Season Four. All was going well until I realized it was time to take my evening meds...and I hadn't yet eaten that day (some of my pills simply canNOT be taken on an empty stomach, which I have learned the hard way).
And so, I went into the kitchen to make a nice bowl of soup. I popped it into the microwave, waited two minutes, took it out and proceeded to carry it the two feet to the kitchen table.
And then...SNAP! My leg turned into rubber, and BOOM! I began to falter...
...then WHAMMO! My left hand broke the soup's fall.
Most of my hand is now swollen, red and blistering. The pain is UNREAL. Nothing I have done in the five hours since the Giant Clumsy MS Moment has curtailled the agony: not soaking my hand in cold water, not soaking it in milk, not applying a cold compress, not prescription pain meds, not topical lidocaine...nothing. The only thing that has even moderately been helpful has been wrapping my hand in wet, fresh-from-the-freezer washcloths. And that only works so long as the washcloth is freezing cold. I mean, at temperatures that would make a polar bear put on a sweater. I am basically using two of them: one in the freezer getting cold, and the other on my hand warming up. I switch them out every 15 minutes or so. Big fun.
I have tried to sleep, but it simply can't be done. So here I am, typing with one hand (this post has taken a silly long time to be typed up as a result) and having another glass of wine in the slim hopes that it will help...and if not, well, it's still pretty damned good wine. And it's been a LONG time since I've had wine, much less good wine. And dammit, after all this, I freaking deserve it.
Out of all the symptoms and general crap associated with this disease...the Giant Clumsy MS Moments are---for me, at
least---the most aggrivating and infuriating. They come out of nowhere---no amount of "being careful" can prevent them. Sometimes, they happen in public...which makes you look like either a drunk, or an idiot (or worse, both). Often, they have impeccable bad timing, happening right at a time when you really can't afford to cope with a badly-sprained ankle or broken wrist. Doctors (especially ER doctors) often think you've either taken too many painkillers (prescription or otherwise) or that your significant other is abusing you...both of which are pretty offensive assumptions when you get right down to it (and yes, I know that domestic violence is very real and doctors need to be proactive to protect the victims, and that drug/alcohol addiction is likewise very serious and doctors need to be proactive there as well...but come on, man. When you have a disease like MS, Giant Clumsy Moments are just that: Giant Clumsy Moments. Don't add insult to injury).
Giant Clumsy MS Moments also have a way of making you feel like a huge doofus. I mean, for the love of Pete...I couldn't carry a bowl of soup from the microwave to the table without getting second-degree burns!
I am a doofus with a burned hand wrapped up in a washcloth with two parrots doing the hula on it. But hey, every cloud has a silver lining...
...after all, the next time my mother-in-law insists that all I need to "cure" my MS symptoms is a good bowl of chicken soup, because it "cures everything," I can tell her that it most certainly does not...
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Stroll Down Memory MEME
I've been tagged by my beloved Fizz...so here goes....
10 Years Ago:
I was trying to patch things up with then-boyfriend, now-husband Jonathan, after a short seperation. We would be successful (obviously) a few weeks later...and have been together ever since. We were still living in Dayton, and my mom was briefly living with me after HER break-up with a shithead boyfriend who is, in my opinion, pond scum. We spent much time consoling one another over ice cream and oreo cookies. I would turn 21 in two weeks.
Five Years Ago:
Wow...let's see. I have absolutely no idea what I was doing in July 2000. We were living in our old Shitty Apartment...I think maybe we were on vacation in Ohio in July. Not sure.
One Year Ago:
I was doing much what I am doing now: trying to stay out of the heat and taking care of my kids...the only big difference is that Eden, who is now definately a toddler, was still quite definately a baby.
Housework. Lots of fun.
Rested, mostly, as I was having a serious bad MS day. Every muscle in my body aches and burns. I watched the "Cash in the Attic" marathon on BBCAmerica. I also spoke on the phone to my friend Amy and IM'd at length with Fizz. After I put the baby to bed, I'll be doing arts & crafts with my oldest two kids.
Outlet shopping, and weather permitting, a trip to the park with the kids.
5 Snacks I Enjoy:
Soft pretzels & nacho cheese; yogurt; popcorn; granola; ice cream sandwiches.
5 Bands I Know the Lyrics to Most of Their Songs:
Prince; Indigo Girls; Kate Bush; Depeche Mode; The Cure.
5 Things I Would Do with a $100,000,000:
Get some kick-ass doctors; move to England; start my own record label; travel; buy a big, gorgeous house.
5 Locations I'd Like to Run Away To:
London, Glastonbury (U.K.), Ireland, Italy, Las Vegas (but only for a week or so).
5 Bad Habits I Have:
I procrastinate; I talk too much; I ignore my doctors when they tell me to take it easy; I write phone numbers & notes in paperback books; I'm always late to pick up prescriptions (Walgreen's must hate me---they have to send me half a dozen of those "your prescription is ready to be picked up" phone messages before I actually get the damned things).
5 Things I Like Doing:
Singing, writing, blogging, dancing and getting tattoos.
5 Things I Would Never Wear:
A thong (particularly one sticking out of the top of my jeans), a bikini, a 'wifebeater,' a shirt with a butterfly collar and pants with words on the ass like "cute" or "hottie."
5 TV Shows I Like:
AbFab, Cash in the Attic, Hell's Kitchen/Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, History Detectives and Law & Order: SVU.
5 Movies I Like:
Pump Up the Volume, Monty Python & the Holy Grail, Smoke Signals, Thunderheart, Bowfinger.
5 Famous People I'd Like to Meet:
Anne MacCaffrey, John Lydon, Prince, Tommy Chong, Graham Greene.
5 Biggest Joys at the Moment:
My husband, my children, my friends, my spirituality and my health (even in the shape its in, it could be SO much worse).
5 Favorite Toys:
I don't really like "toys" per se. So I'll go with "possessions." The celestial dish my mother gave me, my Valentine Book (long story), the antique Japanese vase I inherited from both sides of my family (long story), my family photos and the "engagement ring" my husband gave me when he proposed (another long story).
5 People To Tag:
Angel (Give Me Something To Sing About)
Pixie (Garden of the Red Faerie)
Bonnie (Punk Rock Mommy)
AGFH (A Girl From Home)
Vanessa (Just Another Righteous Babe)
Friday, July 08, 2005
My friend Emma is safe and sound. Thanks to everyone for the prayers...
And my prayers are still with those in London. God be with them all.
Urgent Prayers, Good Thoughts, Glows Needed
Many long-time ZPT fans will remember my talking about my best female friend, Emma. We've been friends for over 14 years.
Emma is in London, and I haven't been able to reach her yet, either by phone or email. I am worried sick.
Please, any prayers you can spare for her safety would be greatly appreciated. She has twin sons who need her, and friends who love her.
My thoughts and prayers are with all in London.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Sorry I haven't been posting much lately...life has been catching up to me. So I thought I would drop a few lines here to discuss what's been going on in the real-life world of Zen Angel.
On Saturday, my best friend Fizz and his boyfriend stopped by and we hung out for several hours. We had a fantastic time. Fizz gave me the cast recording for "Spamalot" as a gift (is it any wonder I love this guy?). It was the first time I had seen Fizz in person in nearly a year, and the first time I'd ever really spent any time with the boyfriend, "M." M is, to my surprise, a really nice guy. After they left, I just marvelled at how much I enjoyed his company. I really think he's "the one." They just seem so...compatible. It didn't hurt that my kids liked him, too...or that he brought me a daisy. All in all, a great night. I need to stop being such an hermit. Having a social life again would do me some good, methinks.
Yesterday, Eden had another outbreak of allergic purpura. I've written about that here before: it's a rare condition that makes her break out in a rash that looks like little round bruises on her feet, legs and back. It also makes her run a fever and get tired and cranky. I've basically spent the better part of the past two days nursing her and comforting her. Tonight, it looked as if most of them are fading, but I'm going to call and check in with our pediatrician anyway. Allergic purpura is usually not serious, but it can lead to kidney failure, so you have to keep an eye on it. This is the third or fourth time she's had an outbreak. Recurrances are very common, although most kids grow out of it by the time they are five or six. This has been the most mild outbreak yet, but I still hate to see her so miserable. Not to mention the fact that all this constant nursing has just wiped me out completely. I feel like a dish rag that has been rung out one too many times.
Tonight is the fourth of July, of course, and we are doing: nothing. Wren is still deathly frightened of fireworks. Even sparklers are totally outside of her comfort zone. And the baby is sick, so we're homebound. You can see the fireworks from my neighborhood, anyway, should we feel so inclined. Hopefully, the Redneck Asshole Neighbors across the street won't be setting them off until daybreak again this year. It makes the next door neighbor's dog freak out and bark like mad, and the noise from the fireworks, redneck party and dog is a bit more than I want to deal with right now. Yee haw.
Health-wise, I'm feeling the effects of the heat of summer. The MS-related fatigue, which I haven't had much of since becoming pregnant with Eden, seems to be back. I feel as if a giant weight were crushing me down. I literally have zero energy. I wonder how much of that is a consequence of all the nursing, though. It's probably a combination of the two: the heat and the constant breastfeeding. In any event, I'm not up to much right now. At least the pain is at a bearable level. I haven't taken anything stronger than prescription-strength Ibuprofen since Saturday (hurray!).
Hopefully, I'll be back to more regular posting here (and on BAD BABY NAMES) soon. Until then, happy 4th, everyone.
Friday, July 01, 2005
Well, for the first time...I've been tagged!
So, here are my answers (thanks to Punk Rock Mommy for tagging me):
1) NUMBER OF BOOKS I OWN: I have no idea. At least 200.
2) LAST BOOK I BOUGHT: "King Arthur: The True Story" by Graham Phillips & Martin Keatman.
3) LAST BOOK I READ: When I'm not feeling well, I re-read some of my favorites. I've had a shitty week, so the last book I (re)read was Mary Stewart's "The Wicked Day."
4) FIVE BOOKS THAT MEAN A LOT TO ME: The Bible, Catherine Christian's "The Pendragon," Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Mists of Avalon," John Lydon's "Rotton: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs," and Leonard Peltier's "Prison Writings: My Life is My Sun Dance."
The five people I am tagging:
Fizz (In Defense of My Existance)
Angel (Give Me Something to Sing About)
Ron (The Rat Squeaks)
Pixie (Garden of the Red Faerie)
Tesco (Blank Forever)
Looking forward to reading your MEME's....