I'm down, would you like to kick?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

(Friday afternoon addendum: Since I finished typing this entry I have also gotten one large Tetanus shot and a parking ticket. I'm off to start drinking.)

Today has been one of those days. Or as my mother put it, "a Katie day." Ah ha. Ah ha.

Work was vastly uneventful aside from the twenty minute conversation I had with The Fiance trying to guide him through Whole Foods to the ingredients I needed but forgot to tell him about. Apparently that twenty minutes was like a teeny tiny fraction of the amount of time they spent there, and also, the entire refrigerator is filled to beyond capacity. Seriously, we're eating dinner out every single night, who is going to eat all of this? And more importantly, who is going to clean out the refrigerator when we don't? Oh yes, that would be me.

About one this afternoon I was informed that all 3 parades tonight were cancelled on account of the weather. Little did I realize at the time that it was because of a Tornado Watch (still in effect, as I type this) and the Severe Thunderstorm Warning. I think the National Weather Service captured the mood well with it's description:


Not dramatic at all.

Anyway, after work but before the deadly lightning storm I had an eye appointment, which is always fun because my eyes do not focus properly and as such it always takes three years of, "1 or 2? 3 or 4?" before we agree to just let me see at 20/40. We took the MIL because she wanted to walk down the street where the eye doctor was located, but of course, as soon as we got there it started to rain (her next suggestion was that since the parades were cancelled that we just go hang out in French Quarter. Excuse me whilst I start tightening this noose around my neck). So since we had to pay to park I opened my umbrella to keep us dry while we did the pay/ticket thing. Only, my umbrella, which is spring loaded, wouldn't open, so I grabbed it at the precise moment it spring opened and a small metal hook got stuck in my finger. Which caused it to bleed A LOT. I actually walked into the eye doctor holding my hand and a puddle of blood. Thankfully after a few minutes it stopped, but nothing like a little drama to set the tone for the appointment.

And unlike the previous 15 years of eye doctor appointments, today the doctor was not satisfied with the 20/40 solution, no today we found a solution that allows me to see at 20/30. The only draw back is that it's bifocals and I'm not 60 years old yet. BIFOCALS. And did you know that bifocals are the mack-daddy expensive-est glasses that one could possibly need or buy? Because they are. And it's super helpful that my insurance gives me a 20% discount on my glasses because now it's only like 400 dollars instead of 450. Just wait until I tell The Fiance that we won't be honeymooning because Grandma needs her glasses instead.

Again, not dramatic (or offensive I'm sure) at all.

And the day's not even over yet. I'm afraid to go to dinner. I just know I'm going to end up with food poisoning or an allergic reaction, or I'll punch the MIL in the face. You know, those things beyond my scope of control.

God Smiles on Us

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The MIL's flight got delayed, which means that we haven't had to deal with her yet, which means two less hours of her. So really it's only like 9 days and 22 hours with the MIL. This is all awesome since I feel like a pile of ass and I need a little extra time to put myself back together. She should be taxing into the terminal as I type this, which means that I don't have long, especially since I need to do something about the Anatomy Lab smell embedded in my hair and clothes (which disgustingly enough, my cat is infatuated with. Did I mention we're dissecting cats?) and the pile of acne where my face used to be.

I wanted to share my favorite funny MIL story before she got here, because I'm pretty sure I won't be able to top this, though to a certain extent, it's one of those have-to-be-there kind of stories, so bear with me.

I was at dinner with The Fiance and his parents one night and the conversation turned to tricks that young kids play on each other. The Fiance or his father, I'm not sure who, mentioned that kids used to tell others that if their hand was bigger than their face it meant that they were retarded. Now, the point of it was that you'd put your hand up to your face to check and see if it was bigger or not, and when you did that, whoever was being a bully would hit your hand so you'd hit your face.

It's important that I let you know that whoever was telling this story also clarified that the whole point was so that you could make someone hit their own face. It wasn't like they were being cryptic to try to lure us in, which is why it was so humerus when 10 seconds later the MIL goes, "wait, I don't get it, my hand is bigger than my face." And puts her hand up to show us.

And within a nano-second her husband reached over, smacked her hand and she hit herself in the face.

The Day After Today

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

So the mystery virus continues to be mysterious. The fever is lower this evening, but not gone and now my right sinuses hurt so much every time I take a breath in I feel like someone might be hammering a nail into my face (remember the MRI? The mystery grows). Bah.

I may have mentioned a few weeks ago that out of a good-natured part of our collective hearts, which also happens to be really close to the part that doesn't like to get in huge arguments with grown women who act like children, the Fiance and I will be entertaining his mother during Mardi Gras. For the next 10 days (honey, if you're reading this, just stop now. I told you I'd try not to complain about her, and this is how I'm going to manage that. So really, stop reading, I won't embarrass you, I promise. Mostly).

Ten days.

Did I also mention that embedded in her 10 day stay is my ONLY week of vacation for the spring semester of work? Or that she's obnoxious, often rude and oh yes, hates me? Well, that's not entirely fair, it's not that she hates me, it's just that she thinks that The Fiance should be out sleeping with as many women as he can so that he can get a trophy wife (yes, she said this). And also that I'm marrying him for his money (which by the way, honey, if you're still reading, which you shouldn't be, where is this money she's alluding to?). Oh and stunting his potential. I'm crazy clever like a fox, in case you didn't know.

So tomorrow she hops on her broomstick...er I mean airplane, and flies out here. If I was interested in finding the bright side I'd tell you that we're eating at fabulous restaurants every single day (Jacques-imos, The Palace Cafe, etc), but frankly, I'm not. Frankly, I'm trying to store up on patience because I know it's going to be in high demand. Also, I'm trying to rest because one of the things I may not have mentioned before is that The Fiance's mother thinks that my surgery was the "worst decision ever" made. (Yea, Hitler and the Nazis, that was bad, but this surgery, the worst ever). Subsequently, while she is here I cannot utter a complaint of any variety, whether it is being sore from limboing to catch beads or if I get any manner of headache because I will literally be as good as inviting her to give me and I-told-you-so lecture. No, I'm not joking.

And lest you were curious, no, there is no point to this particular blog entry. I just needed to bitch a little bit about this and make sure to set the stage for what is sure to be at least 10 amazing days of blogging.

Mystery Virus 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008


So the fever persisted last night, I went to bed at 9:30, only to be awakened at midnight for about an hour with indigestion (I ate a spicy chicken pizza for dinner) and then slept until I had to get up from work. About 10 minutes after waking up, I took my temperature and was wonderfully surprised to be a nice 97.5* That's absolutely perfect and normal. And all was right in the world. My throat did not hurt, it only burned every so slightly when I peed and I got ready for work.

I made it to about 2 in the afternoon before I realized that I just wasn't feeling well. I have been extra achy all day and my neck and shoulders are remarkably sore, but otherwise, I've just been tired. So when I took my temperature at 4pm, I wasn't really surprised to be staring at 101 degrees again. Except that there appears to be nothing wrong with me.

As of right now, with my currently 100 degree temperature, nothing hurts. Not my throat, not my bladder, nothing. I feel like I've been taken out back and beaten to the point of exhaustion and I have a couple of strange bruises on my legs that could corroborate that theory (any chance I could pretend like the huge outbreak of zits is from that same fictional brawl?). However, I am completely stumped.

What the hell is wrong with me? How can you be sick, but not really be sick? I don't know what to do with myself. My illnesses have always come with loads of definable symptoms and not always simple but definitely discoverable treatments. I googled my symptoms and of course all it came up with was Leukemia which is way too serious to joke about other than the fact that I'm certain I did not come down with Leukemia last night. So someone, point me in the right direction.

As of now my symptoms are:
Fever- but apparently only in the afternoon and evening (which I should add is pretty unusual. I can feel crummy at 10 at night and still be 97.6 degrees. Fevers are not normal). Ranges from 99 degrees to 101 degrees at any given time.
Sore neck- pretty attributable to the brain surgery two months ago (yesterday)
Fatigue- would go to sleep for the night now if I could get away with it.

And that's pretty much it. Anyone want to take a stab at it?

A Case of Death

Sunday, January 27, 2008

As I sit with my 100+ degree fever (this from the normally 97.6* girl), my only thought is whether I'm dying of a UTI or of a throat infection. Or, and I hate to even say this, a combination of the two.

More Mardi Gras fun another time. Must...go...whine...

Mardi Gras Madness take 2: The Private Parts Edition

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Well, it was a successful day of parades. I have so much to share that I'm going to have to break it down by parade, otherwise I'm libel to ramble uncontrollably and indefinitely.

Parade 1: Pontchartrain

We arrived just a few minutes early for the 1pm start and were able to snag a spot in front of one of the thousands of puddles lining the parade route after yesterdays downpour. I only stepped in said puddle a couple hundred times, so it wasn't too bad. The people next to us were superbly obnoxious thirty-something drunkards who were, well, obnoxious. And what I've learned is that the people you stand by at Mardi Gras make a huge difference in your level of enjoyment. But anyway, the parade itself was pretty good. We didn't get a whole lot of beads or anything particularly special, but it was entertaining. Oh, and two women began scrounging through the streets for beads. Literally picking them up out of the puddles (one of them actually rinsed a set off in a puddle, I gagged). They informed us (not that we asked) that they were collecting them to throw at the parade Hermes, which rolls next weekend. And I made a quick note to self that I would not be catching anything that came off that parade.

Here's an example of the beads that were being collected by the crazies:

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Parade 2: Shangri La

This one rolled right after Pontchartrain and it was also pretty good. There was a great moment when it stopped right in front of us and we got showered with beads. Also when the women next to us almost got run over by a tractor when they decided to go to the bathrooms across the street. Or I guess I should say that it was almost a great moment. Also, I learned that yellow fishnet tights make you look like you have hepatitis and that while wearing a green bra beneath a white leotard is a bad idea, not wearing a bra at all is worse.

Oh and someone dropped a really phalic looking balloon animal and I felt compelled to take a picture.

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Parade 3: Sparta

This was a night parade, so we'd had a few hours off. Usually the night parades bring a bigger crowd, but considering that it was ass cold again, I think that the turn out wasn't as good. Also, my whole evening was clouded by the fact that I had a terrible mervin the entire time and since I was wearing two pairs of pants and gloves, there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

We ended up standing next to an older Jewish couple (I only know they were Jewish because they kept talking about how that was "their" synagogue across the street) and they were spectacularly in the way. The husband was an easy 6 inches taller than me and stood directly in front of me, but instead of putting his hands up to catch beads he mostly just got hit in the face a lot.

No great pictures from this parade, and no spectacular catches either.

Parade 4: Pegasus

This one followed right after Sparta because a trailer shut down during Sparta and everything was stopped for like 20 minutes. Thankfully we had met up with some friends and passed the time talking with them. We again got to see the way that yellow fishnets cause jaundice, and got more examples of how cheerleading is actually torture both by the skimpy and never flattering outfits and the rather miserable faces that walked past us.

However, something amazing happened at this parade. Last year we caught all manner of things, beads, doubloons, underwear (yea, you're reading that right), but nothing like this. The closest I can get to this would be the Confederate Flag beads we got at Zulu (which is a little odd to me since it's an all black parade). Note that we've never worn these beads, but we keep them because frankly I don't think anyone would believe me without proof.

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(Also, there is possibly the greatest picture of The Fiance with these beads which he will not let me post. In fact, he so doesn't trust me with it that he won't send it to me, for fairly good reason. He looks like a crazy homeless person with beads, it's amazing.)

But this catch, oh this catch. The Fiance got it and triumphantly proclaimed that he had his one great catch for the year. And I have to say, I can't imagine getting anything a whole lot rarer than this.

(For whatever reason, this picture was replaced by a little video of a smiley face doing something wildly inappropriate. Well done, tiny pic...)

(the picture's a little blurry, but I think you'll get the gist). In case you were wondering about the texture, and I know you were, it's like a stress ball. Only with a nipple. Happy Carnival.

Blogging by number

Friday, January 25, 2008

1. First of all, you guys suck. No really, because I droned on last night ad nauseam about how much you all mean to me and since then I've had 200 people (not including my own visits) read here and I had precisely THREE people comment. Don't get me wrong, I love those three people (Hi Monk, hi NOLA (coffee would be awesome), Hi Kim!), but seriously, I confess to being a comment whore and now you're not putting out? That's just not okay.

B. The Psychiatrist turned out to be a lot better than I anticipated. I will be the first to admit that I went in there with low expectations (or I guess high expectations of failure to be more accurate) and the first few minutes where I waited in the hallway outside her office while she ate "lunch" (at 4 pm) were a little less than awesome, but it turns out that it wasn't as horrible as I had imagined. She said that the medication I'm on is "perfectly reasonable" and that there was no reason to go off of it. Ha, eat that primary care physician. I have to go back in 2 months, but she's not forcing me into therapy and she gave me mah pills so that's fine and dandy by me.

III. The first real night of Mardi Gras parades got cancelled. Well, not entirely, one of the parades that rolls on our route actually did it's thing, but did so in the freezing-ass-cold rain and we didn't go. There are at least 4 tomorrow on our route, so hopefully we'll get to see those.

Four. I have accidentally begun the transition from Katie to Kathryn. I did not intend necessarily to do this, though the Fiance insists that Kathryn sounds better with his last name, but now I'm getting it at physical therapy, my night classes and my shrink because I've stopped correcting people. I don't really respond to it as quickly as I do Katie since I've never gone by Kathryn a day in my life (minus all the times I got yelled at as a kid), but I guess it's not a bad thing. Does this mean I'm all grown up now?

Cinco. I've been trying not to tell this joke since Wednesday, but whenever my anatomy lab instructor started talking about the dissected cat's "rectum" I was literally compelled from somewhere deep in my soul to quietly say to myself and my lab parter "damn near killed 'em." And it makes me laugh every time I think about it.

Blogging Meme

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I got tagged by NOLA to do this Meme all about blogging. And even though I already wrote something today, I'm doing it now, because otherwise my blogging schedule for the week is off...kidding...mostly

How long have you been blogging?
Here since late April 2007. Though I don't talk about it much, I have another site that's much more G rated and much more health-centric. I've been writing there since mid-2005. (I'm not linking the other site only because it makes me a little more searchable, if you want the address, leave me a comment or shoot me an email- though I don't think I have the email function set up. I'll work on that)

What inspired you to start a blog and who are your mentors?
When I first started writing in 2005 I was looking for a community and for support for health issues. I was feeling alone and freakish in a world of normals and I needed people who understood, which is exactly what I got. I decided to start the blog as an offshoot of that because a lot of the time I had funnier stories to share and they just didn't fit into the tone or family-friendly nature of the site. Like, for instance, they don't like it when you call people fucktards. Incidentally, The Fiance didn't much like being called it tonight either.

Mentors. Hrm. Well, I've been reading Dooce for about as long as I've been aware of blogs. I channel a little bit of everyone I read, which includes the list to the right and many more. I don't know that anyone is my mentor, I'm a rebel like that.

Are you trying to make money online, or just doing it for fun?
No money because I just can't bring myself to do product reviews and frankly I'm not smart enough to add ads. Also, that's why I'm a teacher, because then I get paid the big bucks. Wait, no, that's why I'm marrying a medical student. Wait, no. Crap.

What 3 things do you love about being online?
1. Frankly, and this is terrible, I'm a comment whore. I love to read them and I'm probably responsible for 1/3 of my 23,000 hits because I check compulsively like 15 times a day to see if anyone has commented. I hope that didn't make you sad for me. Incidentally, if it did, you could comment, that might make me feel better.

2. The support that I get here and elsewhere. Knowing that when I have a day where I'm fed up with the world, or when I need to throw a fit or twelve about my hair, I can do it because that there are people here who are not only going to listen, but comfort me in my moments of total insanity. It's better than therapy. There are days where I'm barely holding it together and y'all are a big part of my ability to do that. This goes hand in hand with the people I've met. I thought it might be cheesy to make that my 3rd thing since it's like the exact same thing, so to all those who come here, who I'm too lazy to link, but who are probably mostly linked to the right of this, as well as those who don't have blogs but read and comment anyway, you're one of the best parts about blogging.

3. I love to write. I'm a pretty awful writer (don't try to tell me otherwise, I had to take remedial essay writing in college, I've made my peace with this), so it's nice to be able to write informally and spread my joy and optimism with the blogosphere. I love having somewhere to tell my stories, even the ones that aren't very funny and I would be lying if I said my life wasn't somewhat enhanced by those moments when I think to myself, "I have to blog about this when I get home."

What 3 things do you struggle with online?
1. Sharing too much v. sharing too little. I don't post pictures of my face right now because if my employer caught wind of the site and could definitively tie me to it, I'd be up a shit creek without a paddle. I'd say that she could make a pretty good case with the scar for proving identity, but at least I could argue that I hadn't revealed myself for everyone to see. On that same note, I have a pretty raunchy sense of humor (you can thank my better half for that, though frankly it's an improvement from the large stick I had up my ass for a number of years) and sometimes I struggle with walking the line between funny and just way too much information.

2. How to balance the funny with the serious. Some days I'm just not funny, but I've set a standard for myself to be funny, so on those days, like yesterday when I was feeling very anxious, I feel bad for not being entertaining. I feel like there's a certain expectation and some days I just cannot meet them. I also try not to make it too much about my brain, but for the past 8 weeks, the vast majority of my life has been focused on my brain, so it's difficult to separate myself from it.

3. I guess just finding the time. I try not to write when I would otherwise be hanging out with The Fiance. We have unspoken rules about the blog, which he reads, (hi honey!) though almost never says anything about (aside from saying that my nose blowing poll might have been somewhat slanted and lacking in some necessary background information...), and since we're both working all the time I don't like to take away from our time to write. But at the same time, there are only so many hours in a day and I certainly can't blog from work so I'm often haphazardly writing a blog from the kitchen whilst I whip up a masterpiece, or like tonight, I write while I'm soaking in the tub.

And while there's more to say, I'm just going to leave you with that mental image. Happy Friday.

(Oh and the linking...

Kim at Life After...

Lanny at My Langiappe

Monkling at her blog

Hallie at The Wonderful World of Weiners aka the best named blog ever

And anyone else who's interested, tag yourself, I'm always happy to add if you want to be added!)


I wore my hair curly today, both due to time constraints in the morning and because when it's raining, there's almost no point in trying to straighten or pull back my hair, I just end up looking like a tennis ball.

The Fiance (upon seeing me this evening): What's with your hair?

Me: It's curly. Why?

The Fiance: Um, was it, like styled earlier? Or crimped or something?

Me: ...

The Fiance: What?

Also, his mother is arriving in less than a week. Anyone need a house guest (me, not her)? I promise I'll be more well behaved than she will be.

Also known as Productive Pessimism

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I may have mentioned before about how I'm a little bit crazy. I believe there's probably a more politically correct term, but since I'm speaking exclusively about myself and not about a generalized group of people, I'm going to go with crazy. Or as The Fiance calls it, "bat-shit crazy." Because I am, and I'm at peace with it.

I do not suffer from extra voices in my head (I'd never listen to them anyway), nor multiple personalities, no, I have a good old fashioned anxiety problem. Realistically speaking there are only a few things that trigger the anxiety, but they're pretty highly irrational and for some reason this leads people to think I need help.

For example, if I was on the 2nd story of a building and you said something to the effect of "Katie, if you stay in this room you will develop a stomach virus and will vomit. But if you jump out the window right now you will almost certainly break at least one of your legs, but your stomach will be spared" I would probably have been two-thirds of the way out the window by the time you were finished (although that more begs the question of why you'd say something like that to me, but let's set that aside for the sake of the crazy). Yes, this is irrational, however, being aware of that and in control of it are two very different things. I am the mayor of the former and the latter is soaking somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle.

I have several more specific vomit fears (vomiting on someone in a small room/car, vomiting in public, etc), but I also have a rather legitimate anxiety issue with drunk people, which, in New Orleans, I'm sure you can imagine, is quite convenient. This fear is one I developed after being sexually assaulted by my then very drunk boyfriend (previous referred to as Drunk Hands McGee). Being around drunk people just makes my skin crawl and that makes me not very fun at parties. (And just think about the calamity that would be drunk people vomiting, that my friends is what we call Public Enemy #1)

Now this anxiety is not all bad. In fact, CNN had an article where they called it "productive pessimism" which I think is perfect. See, I plot out all the bad possibilities and then prepare for them. By worrying. And worrying about worrying. Such that I worry so much that I end up feeling like I'm going to vomit about 90% of the time which just keeps that circle of anxiety going around and around and around.

I take a pretty pill each night which keeps the crazy in check and then I have a prescription of faster (and shorter) acting crazy pills I can take when I've worried myself into a panic attack, and this works for me. I have no great desire to tackle these fears, frankly it's good for my waistline a lot of the time (ha, joking!). But as I mentioned before, my primary care physician isn't okay with it, so on Friday I'll be seeing a psychiatrist. Not a psychologist, no, we wouldn't want to get Katie into therapy, we just need to get someone else to write the prescription for sanity.

And can I just say how much I do not want to go? I've been to therapy a number of times and I always just feel like a big idiot the entire time I'm there. It probably doesn't help much that the last time I was in therapy I was recovering from an eating disorder and the therapist commented that I wasn't "THAT skinny." Yea, that's helping, thanks.

I envision Friday's appointment going swimmingly until I tell her that my anxiety is fueled by a fear of vomiting and drunk people, and upon her hearing that I fully expect her to laugh in my face and throw me out without any pills. And you can tell me that it's nothing that a psychiatrist hasn't heard, but I highly doubt that anyone has walked into a psychiatrist's office asking for anxiety medication due to a severe fear of vomiting.

RIP Heath

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dude, I cannot believe this

A picture is worth a thousand words

Monday, January 21, 2008

I came across my MRIs from last February when I was cleaning up my gigantic piles of crap today and I thought maybe you'd be interested in seeing a little of the inside of my brain. These are almost a year old and they were before I was a surgical candidate, so assume that everything managed to get worse in the timeframe between February and November. I took the liberty of adding a few notes, just in case you needed help.

Exhibit 1- I'm pretty sure this is brain genesis...

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Exhibit 2- why I don't sleep well at night...

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Exhibit 3- The mystery of my right sinuses. Every MRI I've had, dating back to 1997, has shown a complete blockage of my right sinuses. I think it's more of my extra large brain. You decide for yourself.

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Exhibit 4- Why my left hand sucks.

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Exhibit 5-And here's my extra brain, pre-decompression, in all it's long glory (if you look very carefully you can see my central canal dilation (aka pre-syrinx)).

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I hope you don't use dial up. Or I should say didn't, because I'm sure if you did, your computer would already have died.

Think Different

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I have been challenged by Kim to

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My first reaction was not one of happiness (sorry Kim, no offense, I swear). I am generally satisfied with the way that I think, or at least, I am happy enough with it that I don’t want to change because changing requires effort and I’m not big on that. So I shelved it deep in the back of my brain for the last day and a half. In that time I've had a few fleeting ideas- less cynicism (phsaw), being more open to new things (no thank you) or not worrying about what other people think (would you still like me if I changed?), but none that I really wanted to think differently about. And I decided if I was going to do this, I was really going to do it.

And then while I was writing an email to a mother of a college aged girl who had the same surgery I did, I found myself writing about how I’ve given up on trying to be “normal” because it was a lot more trouble than it seemed to be worth. And that’s when it came to me.

If you go back to any of the recent or older postings about my head and the surgery you will find them dripping with my jealousy over this idea of “normalcy.” I want it, I crave it and I think honestly, that desire is what is keeping me from being happy a lot of the time. (Yes, the headaches are lending a big, fat, helping hand, but if I wasn’t comparing my having headaches to other people not having headaches, I’m pretty sure a lot of the mental anguish would be diminished.)

So (drumroll), I have decided to think differently about being normal.

I believe that “normal” does not exist. That it’s a construct within our own minds to keep us working towards something- something that is not always good or not always attainable. I believe that I have become a prisoner to this quest for normalcy and that it has taken too much of my life and way too much of my happiness. I do not wish to be “normal” anymore, I just want to be me.

I am flawed. I have a bad haircut (yea, I’m mentioning it again, you wanna make something of it?) and the rest of my hair is almost always unmanageable. I’m underweight right now and even still I have the worst looking abs ever. I am short and I have squinty eyes that look like they're crossed in pictures. I have creepy long fingers and I bruise like a peach. I burp and I tell inappropriate jokes. But I am me. And I realized that I really like that person.

Another part of thinking differently required me to come to terms with something I didn’t want to come to terms with. I am not healthy. I’ve fought that for most of my life and the fact that I’m stating this right now really, more than anything else, represents a change in thinking. I’m not sickly, I’m not dying, I’m just not in a good state of health. And there’s no way to know if I ever will be.

I have a cranial malformation, my brain lives in my spinal cord and always will. The surgery didn’t change that, it just worked to make it easier to live with. I likely have a connective tissue disorder, I have incessant UTIs and kidney infections, I have low bone density, I have fibrocystic breasts, I have an anxiety disorder and I have struggled with an eating disorder most of my adult life (which oddly has nothing to do with my weight right now, fyi). None of those things are “normal” but all of those things are bits of what has made me the person I am.

If I try to change all of those things (other than the obvious ones that need to be fixed), or pretend like they don’t exist, what kind of example am I setting for my students? For young women? For anyone reading this who might be foolish enough to look up to me? Changing things that don’t need to be changed to meet some arbitrary standard is not living life- it’s trying to be someone you’re not and to me, that’s a greater tragedy than any health condition or life problem.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I don’t know if I’ll have a monster headache, if the ulcer I’m working on will perforate and cause me to bleed uncontrollably or if suddenly I’ll wake up and be cured of all that ails me. But I will not spend anymore time thinking about all the things I don’t or can’t have because of health or other issues. I will think differently about who I am and who I want to be. I will think differently about what it is to be “normal” and how much less important that is than just being me.

How will you think differently?

Mardi Gras Mania, part 1

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I got tagged by Kim to "think differently" and I am going to do that tomorrow, but I think that it's important that I share the Mardi Gras memories while they're fresh.

Tonight was the first big parade of the Mardi Gras season. Up until tonight I'd always told people that Mardi Gras was exceptionally family friendly because most of the parades really are. I've to date never seen anyone's breasts and besides the fight we were in with a crazy woman last year, there's hardly even any violence (that's another story for another time). Krewe du Vieux, is not one of those parades. It is satirical, donkey-pulled, with many large fake penii and well, a lot of grown up fun. People were rip roaring drunk by 5:30 (we actually saw one woman and I swear she was walking horizontally, it was amazing) and the parade walkers were hysterical.

First, there are a few things you should know about New Orleans and Mardi Gras if you're not from here or haven't ever been. The French Quarter is generally disgusting, I'm sorry, it is. You know the instant you step foot in its boundaries because the stench of vomit reaches up and slaps you in the face. I will admit that the vomit slapping was somewhat missing tonight, but that might have something to do with the fact that it was ass cold the whole time verses the last time we were down there it was a balmy 98 degrees. You can see how that enhances the vomit.

Next, anything that touches the ground in the French Quarter is to be immediately abandoned. If you drop your credit card, you call and cancel it. If you drop your shoe, you leave it and saw your foot off later. Really. One guy picked up a set of beads from the ground and threw them at me and I subtly moved away. I do not want vomit beads. Other than that, the only thing you really need to know is that generally speaking, the more you shout and dance and yell, the more stuff you get. And even though I wasn't feeling fabulous, I did some white girl dancing and some minor yelling. And it worked.

Usually our Mardi Gras booty consists of billions of beads and doubloons and a few other nick-nacks, not this time. The first thing I got was a bagel. A mini-bagel to be precise. We had been told that "golden bagels" were the prized toss at this parade (a mockery of the golden coconuts of Zulu, of which we got 3 last year, again, another story for another time), though this was just a good old fashioned cinnamon raisin. I did not eat it. In the chaos of the next 30 minutes of the parade we snagged beads, doubloons, cups, a stuffed green whale, two squirt guns, two fake flowers, temporary tattoos, a bumper sticker, condoms, a small package of surgical lubricant, a ring, a jello shot (which I also did not eat, but gave to a friend because hello, never drink something you didn't see made in front of you...) and two cat shaped suckers. I'm sure I'm leaving out many prized catches, but you get the gist.

But what I'm really excited about is THREE sets of glass beads. To me, glass beads are the shit. They are rare and I love them. I even got a set of black ones, which are even more rare and special. I'm stoked.

Stay tuned, the next installment of Mardi Gras Mania might include description of the Confederate Flag beads we came into possession of last year and the horrible picture that The Fiance won't let me post.

So's your face.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I am really starting to wonder if no one realizes that telling someone that they "look like crap" is not a compliment of any kind. I mean really, that's precisely what I needed to hear when I got to work today. Or what I wanted everyone to notice when I went out to a movie tonight.

Hi, I'm Katie, and I look like crap. (All together now, "hi Katie")

I'm trying desperately to put on a happy face and cover the worry, anger, frustration and sadness that has overtaken most of my mind this past week. I'm trying to smile and pretend like it doesn't hurt, but apparently an actress I am not.

I had made it 7 weeks with 1 headache. I was a miracle to everyone at work, I was an inspiration to other people in the same situation. I was a poster-child for this surgery, and it has all gone to hell in such a spectacular handbasket that I'm virtually speechless about it.

What's frustrating (besides people commenting on my state of fecal-ity) is that everyone wants to tell me how it's not that bad. You know what? It is bad, and I think that it's probably okay for me to be upset about it for a few days. It hasn't even been a week, don't I get a little time just to freak the hell out? I think so. Because if these headaches aren't benign in nature (like tension, stress related, etc), there's a short list of not-great things that might be causing them. And I can list every symptom I've been having and they fit neatly into the category of another brain problem that is commonly associated with gigantor brain surgery and it makes my stomach turn over every time I think about it.

I just want normal. I can handle a headache every once in a while, that's normal. I cannot handle waking up every day to splitting pain and ringing ears. I can't handle not feeling like I cannot hold anything in my left hand without embarrassing myself. I cannot handle this small black spot in my vision. I cannot handle looking LIKE CRAP EVERYWHERE I GO. I feel like I did all of this for nothing. Like I had brain surgery, lost 1/3 of my hair (I know, you're tired of the hair drama, get in line), missed 4 weeks of work and lost any hint of muscle tone I may have ever had because it was the only option. And I was teased with a miracle. I wouldn't be feeling this way if the surgery hadn't worked at all. I could've come to terms with this and moved on with my life, but to get 7 weeks of normalcy? It was cruel. I'd rather have not known what it felt like because now everything just feels so much worse. So much scarier and more unmanageable.

So hopefully this livened up your Friday night because as I'm sure you can see, everything is sunshine and daisies over here.

(Unrelated, how do you like the new template? I feel so much more mature.)

P.S. I love you too

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A few short weeks into my romance with The Fiance (who incidentally is walking around the house with a yellow thera-band tied around his head singing, "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me." How could I not love that?) we were driving to work when he looked at me and said, very plainly, "I love you too."

The prior conversation had nothing to do with love, nor had I said those three words of such importance, so I was perplexed at his exclamation. Perplexed and befuddled. And I really hid it well, being all sly-like.

The ten minutes after his innocent statement were filled to the brim with my rambling about saying "I love you" too early in a relationship and how I'd had bad experiences and really wanted to wait. And hoping that he didn't think I was being unkind, but rather just careful about not getting hurt. I went on and on. And on. I listed examples from my last relationship with Drunk Hands McGee and told him about how I wasn't even sure if I believed in love (I know, how he didn't marry me in that very moment I'll never know either) and really just dug myself a right pretty hole there. I was pretty close to the verge of tears because HELLO people, this was LOVE we were talking about and I was fah-reaking out.

He listened patiently, and with little expression showing on his face. I had visions of him dropping me off at work and never speaking to me again playing through my head. He was going to break up with me, I just knew it.

A few minutes of awkward silence after I finished my last lunatic-tic rant he looked at me and said, "Um, I meant that I love U2- the band that was playing on the radio. But that's good to know too."

And then I died. The coroner determined that it was death due to a foot being shoved all the way down my throat and out my ass.

What goes around, comes around- poll style

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

So, I'm going to do this poll really anonymously except to say that someone may or may not have earned the upcoming embarrassment by making a wise-ass remark after his football team won on Sunday.

The scene- a nice-ish restaurant. Nice enough to have the washable cloth napkins.

The question- is it appropriate to blow your nose in said cloth napkins?

The options-
a) hell no. That's all different kinds of wrong/unsanitary/just plain dis-freaking-gusting. You now want a list of all the restaurants we go to so you can bring your own napkins to them.
b) it depends upon the magnitude of the nose blowing. A little wipe is one acceptable, a full blow is not (erm, make that not dirty please)
c) it's perfectly fine. The napkins get washed anyway.
d) other- please specify magnitude of disgustion and/or okay-ness with nose blowing

Not that I'm saying that anyone I know and love does this, but if they did, would you think it inappropriate?

(I love that the whole reason for this poll was to move down the entry about testicles in case any wholesome reader from a site that I won a contest on hopped over for a visit. I'm not sure that snot's a whole lot better. Maybe I'll poll you on that next)

Trivial Pursuit of dignity

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

While playing a game of Trivial Pursuit (that I won):

The Fiance: "On the television show Beverly Hills 90210, who became angry when she found out that Kelly slept with Dylan?"

Me: "Oh! Donna! It was Donna! Donna played by Tori Spelling."

The Fiance: "Donna was never with Dylan!"

And then his testicles both died.

Something old, something new

I'm home again today, though am just about to leave for physical therapy. I decided to take The Fiance's reasonable suggestion to try a migraine med today since the nausea hasn't fully gone away and neither has the headache and it doesn't seem like quite a "normal" headache for me. And for 30 minutes I was blissfully painfree. It was a miracle. I sang the praises for Axert for 30 minutes.

And then everything started hurting. My arms, my neck, my legs, my HEAD, my chest, my face (I'm sure it was killing you). So I started with headache and stomachache and ended up with headache, stomach ache, arm and leg pain, neck pain and flushed feeling. Yea, that was a freaking bargain. Here Axert, I'll give you a dollar, now you can kick the crap out of me.

But at least I can say I tried it. Next time? Tequila and lime. I hear the headache from that doesn't usually start until the next morning. (Back to the funny tomorrow, I promise.)

Another headache

Monday, January 14, 2008

another day I'm not going to work. At least this one didn't come on until like 6:30 tonight. So I almost got a whole day of feeling sub-par rather than down right shitty.

Though, as an added bonus, either from the Advil eating at my stomach lining, the splitting headache, the incessant anxiety, or some combination therein, I'm also horribly nauseated. Because really, the only thing you need with a headache is to feel vomity too.

Is it tomorrow yet?

Observations from a stationary life

Most of the day thus far has been devoted to lying down and willing my head not to hurt. So far it's going alright, though the threat of a headache is there. And every 15 to 20 minutes I get a little pain, just as a reminder that it's lurking, ready to trash another day at any given moment.

Whilst I was trying to entertain myself in said stationary position, I stumbled across another online quiz, because really, I don't have much to do. It's called the Belief-O-Matic and through a series of questions about your faith ideals and beliefs, it tells you which religion you should belong to. Since I'm currently without religion (but not without faith, I assure you), I thought it might be something worth looking at.

The results (keeping in mind that I was raised, baptized, confirmed, etc as Roman Catholic):

1. Reform Judaism (100%)
2. Orthodox Judaism (88%)
3. Islam (86%)
4. Liberal Quakers (79%)
5. Sikhism (78%)
6. Bahá'í Faith (75%)
7. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (70%)
8. Unitarian Universalism (66%)
9. Orthodox Quaker (64%)
10. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (56%)
(in case you wondered, Catholic came up at #23)

I guess I can't say I haven't learned anything from my Jewish Fiance.

Also, completely unrelated, is there really a show devoted to Meter-maids? Are there that many people involved in "Parking Wars?" Sure, I hated the parking patrol when the apartment I lived in was heavily patrolled and I was completely incapable of remembering that I couldn't part on the right side of the street on Tuesdays and the left on Thursdays (what, I only lived there 2 years). I'm fairly sure I paved about 1/3 of the Los Angeles freeways with those 45 dollar tickets (which double in cost ever month you don't pay them, fyi), but I never really gave a crap about the parking people because it was my fault. As it is your fault when you let your meter run out. It's not a difficult concept. Buy a watch, look at the time on the meter, come back later and put more money in.

I think if you leave me here long enough, I might be able to figure out world peace.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

(For those interested, I did stay home from work today and I'm currently doing everything in my power to stop this headache hangover from becoming a headache. I'll update later, for now, this entry is still exactly how I'm feeling about this crap.)

When I began this website, I had no intention of making it all about my health and honestly I've tried really hard not to do that. I have another site where I whine about what hurts and what's not good, and for the most part, that works for me. But right now I need to vent and I need to use stronger language than I do on that site. If venting and/or swearing are not your thing, just stop reading now.

My head hurt yesterday. A lot. Lots of pain and it hurt until I fell asleep for the night. I had a terrible night of sleep, and woke up feeling like I had a headache hangover, which is not too abnormal the day after a headache. Just one of the many pleasurable sides of this. Then, at around 4 this afternoon, got slammed with another headache. I tried for a good hour to pretend it wasn't there. To blame it on being hungry, or neck positioning. But I knew all along that I was kidding myself. This is a good old fashioned back of the head, classic Chiari headache.

And it's just not fucking fair. It's not. Because I went through this surgery, I did everything I was supposed to. I took time off work, I recovered slowly, I'm still not lifting anything heavy. I'm doing physical therapy. I just don't understand.

I knew all along that this surgery was not a guaranteed cure for these headaches. Hell, it was hardly a suggested cure. It was merely the last option. And it has made my quality of life immeasurably better. I'm not denying that or trying to make light of it. But my head hurts so damn much that it's clouded my ability to see the good.

And the pain isn't alone, no, it comes with a real healthy dose of arm numbness, jello-y legs and a big heaping pile of freaking the hell out. Because everytime the headache surges I ask myself 42,000 questions about why it's happening. Is my pressure high? Did something happen with the duraplasty? Is this just the beginning of the decline? Have I experienced all the days of feeling good that I get? And what the hell did I do to get here? How did this happen? Why did this happen?

And yes, I realize, this is a headache that I'm talking about, not cancer, not death, not some uncurable tragic condition, but the pain is unreal. It's like the whole back of my head and down my neck is in a vice. And with each heartbeat the pain and pressure surge, so much that I can see my heartbeat in my eyes. This is not a run of the mill headache. It's a reminder of the life I have led for several years. It's a flashback on what I thought I had moved past. And it feels like a warning about how freaking wrong this could all go.

So what do I do? Do I not go to work tomorrow? Chalk all this up to overdoing it? Do I call the doctor? Do I run to an urgent care center and beg for an MRI? Do I research Intercranial Hypertension until my already bulging eyeballs pop right out of my mother fucking head? No. I stay home and fret because none of the other things I've listed will help.

I know that staying home from work won't be the answer. I know that calling the doctor will, at best, get me an appointment Wednesday afternoon. I know that an urgent care will just be one giant bumblefuck of an experience. And quite frankly, my brain is not doing so well with the reading right now. So here I sit, wanting to scream out in frustration and knowing that even if someone hears me, there's nothing they can do.

I just don't know what to do or where to go. I don't know how to pick up the pieces of my shattered delusions of good health. I just don't. And I don't want to. I want to tape it all back together and be the way I was last week, hell, the way I was two days ago.

I don't think it's unreasonable to want to feel well, but clearly someone else does. If this is a part of a grand plan or if this is supposed to be some way of showing me how strong I really am, I'd really like someone to explain it to me, because it sure as hell doesn't feel that way.

More super than the bowl

(eds. note: MOTHER FRICKING PIECE OF MONKEY CRAP. After the game ended The Fiance looked over at me and said, "now you can go blog about it." ah- ha. ah-ha. Just wait honey, you'll get yours.)

Today is the Cowboys v. Giants playoff game, which, you may or may not know, is perhaps the biggest game of the season in this house. You see, I was raised on the Dallas Cowboys. My father was raised on the Dallas Cowboys, it's a legacy thing (our family is from Texas/Oklahoma). I have been a true fan, even through all the years of craptastic seasons, and it's about time we finally got our shit together.

The Fiance is a Giants fan. His family is from New York and he really likes losing. I mean, he really likes Eli Manning.

So for better or for worse, one team is going to the championship game next week. The only question is, will it be the Cowboys beating the Packers next weekend and earning me the 40 dollars I've bet my uncle, or will it be the Giants winning, effectively making everyone I know's life a little less pleasant?

I think you know which team to root for.

Contents Under Pressure

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I mentioned on another blog (in a comment, not another one I write) that I might write an entire blog without correcting the typos that result from the 8 bajillion brain farts I have each minute. And since I have a headache tonight, the second one since the surgery, I thought tonight might be a good time to do that. However, upon reading said typoed blog entry, I realized that no one would be as entertained by that as I would (what else is knew, I know), but also that reading a blog entry completely devoid of the letter A might be more challenging for people with properly functioning brains. So I'm not gonna.

And I toyed with the idea of sharing another dating story from the early years with The Fiance, but decided I'd rather do that another time, when I'm feeling funnier, or something. So instead, I'm going to challenge you to beat my jacked up brain at a test.

JustSayHi - Science Quiz

Good luck. And remember, cheaters never prosper.

Delurking Results

So the breakdown went:

The following states/countries had one visitor delurking: Alabama, California, Canada (by the way, I've had 307 Canadians visit!), Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, New Zealand (which took me forever to figure out because I couldn't figure out which state had a postal abbreviation of NZ...), North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The following states had 2 visitors delurking: Missouri and Minnesota

And the winner, with 4 delurking visitors: Illinois

I'm going to give links to three possible charities from Illinois, and anyone is welcome to vote on these. Whichever gets the most votes wins (see how I'm sucking you into commenting...). And do let me know if you have another Illinois charity you'd like to nominate, I'm open to suggestions.

1. Y-me National Breast Cancer Association Illinois Chapter

2. Special Olympics I can donate directly to the Chicago team

3. American Brain Tumor Association This organization happens to be located in Illinois also

So pick and comment and let me know and I'll shoot one of these three great charities a small donation in all y'alls honors.

Thanks for playing!

Being Betrothed

Friday, January 11, 2008

I made it all the way through the day today without realizing that 1 year ago today I got engaged. I have many times made fun of how easy it is to remember our engagement date (it's 1/11) and somehow, I um, didn't remember. I also did not realize that we passed another milestone earlier this week- The Fiance and I have now been together for 3 1/2 years. I'm sure most people don't celebrate half-anniversaries, but somehow The Fiance and I have only managed to spend one regular anniversary together so we usually do a little something on the halves.

It occurs to me that I've never shared the story of how The Fiance and I met, so hold on tight, you're going for a ride down memory lane.

I had just returned from a semester abroad in Athens, it was the summer between my Junior and Senior years in college and I had found need for a summer job. After getting hired at an overnight camp in Los Angeles (applying while in Greece), two weeks before the job began I lied to them and told them that due to a broken ankle I wouldn't be able to work there (you'll see why that's important in a minute). I just decided that overnight camp was more responsibility than I wanted and I started searching again. I found out that one of my closest college friends had gotten hired at a swanky day camp in Beverly Hills and suddenly I knew my calling. I had never gone to camp, so I am not a hardcore outdoor person, but camp in BH? That I can do.

I applied, originally for a job as a swim instructor, and ended up getting hired as a counselor for the youngest campers (ages 3 1/2 to 4). I remember mentioning to my friend who had referred me that maybe this was where I'd finally meet a good guy.

After the first night of staff training I knew I was home. I loved it and was excited for more. The second day was long, we were there from like 8 in the morning until 9 at night and the second to last thing on the agenda was a game of Capture the Flag. I readily admitted that I had never played capture the flag (hi, I'm a girl, only have sisters, we don't like to sweat), but I jumped in and tried.

My job was guarding the flag and I took it very seriously. We won the first game and were in the middle of the second one when a huge wave of sprinters (did I mention the entire CSUN track team worked at camp?) came upon the flag area. Behind the sprinters was a non-track star, who if I had to guess probably weighed a good 250 pounds. Said 250 pound guy came flying to the flag and instead of getting out of the way like any other 130 pound girl would, I stood my ground firmly. Until he slammed into me and broke my ankle.

(Do you see why I'm afraid of lying? It never ever works out well.)

250 pound guy was not The Fiance. Once my ear-piercing screams were heard, the camp EMT was sent over and that's when my knight in shining armor appeared. He was the EMT, I was the clumsy new staff member with the broken ankle. Is there a better match in the universe? And after getting me up to a bench with a bag of ice, he sat alone with me and the 250 pound guy who hurt himself in the collision also, and kept me company with all kinds of stories and tails of wonderment until my sister came to take me to the hospital (I drove a stick shift at the time and also couldn't walk with the broken bone, and partially shredded ligaments and tendons).

He called me the next day to see how I was, a week later we were carpooling to and from work, two weeks later we were dating. And of course, 3 1/2 years later, we're still living happily ever after.

delurking- contest style

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It turns out that today is National Delurking Day. Trust me, wander around blogs and you'll see that I am in fact, not making this up.

So if you've never signed the comments, today is your day. And if you sign them all the time, well, it's your day too.

Since October 1st I have had:

805 New Yorkers
789 Minnesotians
406 Californians
394 Louisianians (and only like half of those are my own visits)
389 North Carolinians
373 Illinois-ians

And while I could go list all 46 states and their visitor count (except New Mexico, New Hampshire, Vermont and whatever state is right above Utah and Colorado, as they have been black-listing me, probably for my excess of wittiness), I know I can't think of enough people to account for these statistics, so how about you sign the comments and get yourself recognized. I'll even make it worth your while with a little contest.

Since today is payday, I'm going to offer a donation to a state specific charity to whichever state has the most people delurking today (January 10th) through tomorrow (January 11th). So go sign. No, you don't have to list a real name, you can sign in anonymously, just make sure you leave the state you live in so I can keep a tally.

Let's try. It could be fun. For me, at least.

Silly Southerners

Okay, I have been thinking about this most of the day and then I figured with as many Southerners or Pseudo-southerners that visit, I should be able to ask here and find out if I'm totally nuts.

There is a well known street in the French Quarter here in New Orleans called Chartres Street. I have lived in this city for a year and half and have been operating under the assumption that this word is pronounced like Shar-Tres. Seems logical right? I mean, it's the french quarter, things should be, I don't know, french-y.

Then today someone at work was going on and on about this new place on "Charters" street and I could not for the life of me figure out what she was saying until I asked and then they all laughed at me. I mean, I get that french words are mispronounced (the one I live on is pronounced pretty oddly), but they can't really be serious, can they? My linguistics professor in college called me "the laziest speaker [she'd] ever met," but even I didn't jump straight to Charters. Sometimes I feel like everyone is speaking an entirely different language.

So here's the question (I'm not willing to find one of those actual poll inserts and deal with that, so you'll have to leave a message in the comment section): How would YOU pronounce the world Chartres?

a) Shar-tres

b) Char-ters

c) Other (specify please)

The Verdict

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The verdict on the "spitting stitches" is that, well, they're spitting stitches. They're going to spit out until my body stops rejecting them. They're not crazy unusual, but they're not normal for neurosurgery either. I am told not to be concerned about the fact that the same kinds of stitches that are busting out of the back of my head are also holding a cow's heart patch on the lining of my brain, but I also don't follow directions very well, so I continue to be concerned anyway because, um, it's the lining of my brain and I think it justifies some good concern.

The hand weakness is perplexing and he really doesn't know how to explain it or really what the best course of action is. There's a good chance things are still just swollen in my head and that it is irritating a nerve. I did have hand weakness before, so the swelling scenario fits nicely. He said to let physical therapy torture me a few more weeks, unless it gets markedly worse, we'll wait and watch (which seems to be the doctor mantra. I got told that by a doctor just yesterday, ironically about something I wasn't even worried about until she told me we were going to wait and watch). If it's not better in a few weeks I'll go back for new radiographic studies to see if we can figure out what's going on. In the meantime I'm going to try not to drop my (fixed) computer.

I am having a very difficult day, and as glad as I am that he was not gravely concerned about my hand, I'm still concerned and I'm not doing even a slightly good job of not being that. I'm pretty sure it's about 97% hormones and 2% anxiety disorder and 1% not getting enough sleep last night, but regardless I alternate between wanting to cry and wanting to just sleep for the rest of my life.

Here's to hoping that tomorrow is better. It's got to be, right?

(and the blank post below this is my computer being stupid. It's fixed, but now everytime I go to the "edit" page here, my browser crashes. And one of the 12 times it crashed before I was able to type in a real post it posted a blank post, which I cannot delete, because the browser keeps crashing. Pretty awesome, huh?)


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Today was a day of health setbacks and I'm just not in a funny mood at the moment.

I won't bore you with all the details (because it goes far beyond the brain and I'm just not feeling that share-y), but the most disconcerting problem is that my hand strength, particulary my left hand, has decreased dramatically over the past week or two. When I went in for my physical therapy evaluation at 10 days post-op, my hand strength was 50 (units of pressure) on the right and 25 on the left. Today the right was 20 and the left didn't even register, but the physical therapist called it "maybe almost 5." This is not a good thing, especially since my left arm was severely impacted by the chiari before the surgery, and it seems it's taking more of the hit of whatever's going on right now too. I actually dropped the 2 pound hand weight at physical therapy, even though I was focusing specifically on gripping onto it. Something is not right.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon, both for the "spitting" stitches and for the hand problems. If you believe in a higher power, I would more than appreciate you calling on them for me. I'm trying not to let this get me down, but I'm scared and I'm unsure of what's next in this never-ending journey.

Welcome home

Monday, January 7, 2008

I'm back in New Orleans. I was greeted first by my loving Fiance, then the cat, who made dough on my throat in the middle of the night, a huge stack of laundry I left for myself to fold, a hospital bill that equals an entire month's pay for me and the first day back at work, wherein a student asked me, in all seriousness, if the doctor had to cut all my hair for the surgery and if that's why it is shorter. Yea, he was super concerned about the split ends hanging down during surgery.

And the fricking stitch still hasn't come out, nor have the two more that are poking out above it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play Mario Galaxy until I drop because I don't feel like unpacking or folding laundry or cleaning or addressing Save the Date cards or paying bills I don't have the money to pay (hell, I don't feel like paying the ones I do have the money to pay). I'm going to enjoy my football prompted minimum day.

Go LSU (but really only because you got me out of work)!

Stitch Watch 2008

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I'm covering up the Meme I just posted to let you know that there's another stitch hanging halfway out of my head and driving me so freaking crazy that it's taking all my self-control not to just reach back and yank it right out. I have been advised not to do so by several people.

So, that makes 1 1/2 stitches that have come out, 3 more visible and like 200 that are yet to be determined. I can only imagine how much fun we're going to have.

Month Meme

Saturday, January 5, 2008

I got tagged for this Meme by NOLA a while ago and only saw it in the comments yesterday when I was reading through them to pick out questions to keep myself amused. I mean to answer them, yes, that's it.

Anyways, here are the rules and just know that if you're reading this and you have a blog, there's a super good chance you're tagged for this, because, 12 is a lot to link to. In fact, it's 4 more than I could link to.

1. Mention the person who tagged you and create a link back to them (did it, hi NOLA!).
2. Copy-paste the traits for all the twelve months (look down...more...more...).
3. Pick your month of birth (did it).
4. Highlight the traits that apply to you (did it...took days because bolding is more difficult than it needs to be).
5. Tag 12 people and let them know by visiting their blogs and leaving a comment for them (hrm, sorta did it).
6. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve done it!

My birth month is:
MAY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Strong-willed and highly motivated. Sharp thoughts. Easily angered. Attracts others and loves attention. Deep feelings. Beautiful physically and mentally. Firm Standpoint. Needs no motivation. Easily consoled. Systematic (left brain). Loves to dream. Strong clairvoyance. Understanding. Sickness usually in the ear and neck (dude! did you see that?). Good imagination. Good physical. Weak breathing. Loves literature and the arts. Loves traveling. Dislike being at home. Restless. Not having many children (yet). Hardworking. High spirited. Spendthrift.

Yea, some of these are a little personal horn-tooting, but there are certainly some that fit me to a tee.

For the linkage...

The Queen
Is it Morning Already?

Okay, that's only 8. I suck. Tag yourself if I missed you.

Here are the months...

JANUARY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Ambitious and serious. Loves to teach and be taught. Always looking at people’s flaws and weaknesses. Likes to criticize. Hardworking and productive. Smart, neat and organized. Sensitive and has deep thoughts. Knows how to make others happy. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Rather reserved. Highly attentive. Resistant to illnesses but prone to colds. Romantic but has difficulties expressing love. Loves children. Loyal. Has great social abilities yet easily jealous. Very stubborn and money cautious.

FEBRUARY: Abstract thoughts. Loves reality and abstract. Intelligent and clever. Changing personality. Attractive. Sexy. Temperamental. Quiet, shy and humble. Honest and loyal. Determined to reach goals. Loves freedom. Rebellious when restricted. Loves aggressiveness. Too sensitive and easily hurt. Gets angry really easily but does not show it. Dislikes unnecessary things. Loves making friends but rarely shows it. Daring and stubborn. Ambitious. Realizes dreams and hopes. Sharp. Loves entertainment and leisure. Romantic on the inside not outside. Superstitious and ludicrous. Spendthrift. Tries to learn to show emotions.

MARCH: Attractive personality. Sexy. Affectionate. Shy and reserved. Secretive. Naturally honest, generous and sympathetic. Loves peace and serenity. Sensitive to others. Loves to serve others. Easily angered. Trustworthy. Appreciative and returns kindness. Observant and assesses others. Revengeful. Loves to dream and fantasize. Loves traveling. Loves attention. Hasty decisions in choosing partners. Loves home decors. Musically talented. Loves special things. Moody.

APRIL: Active and dynamic. Decisive and hasty but tends to regret. Attractive and affectionate to oneself. Strong mentality. Loves attention. Diplomatic. Consoling, friendly and solves people’s problems. Brave and fearless. Adventurous. Loving and caring. Suave and generous. Emotional. Aggressive. Hasty. Good memory. Moving. Motivates oneself and others. Sickness usually of the head and chest. Sexy in a way that only their lover can see.

MAY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Strong-willed and highly motivated. Sharp thoughts. Easily angered. Attracts others and loves attention. Deep feelings. Beautiful physically and mentally. Firm Standpoint. Needs no motivation. Easily consoled. Systematic (left brain). Loves to dream. Strong clairvoyance. Understanding. Sickness usually in the ear and neck. Good imagination. Good physical. Weak breathing. Loves literature and the arts. Loves traveling. Dislike being at home. Restless. Not having many children. Hardworking. High spirited. Spendthrift.

JUNE: Thinks far with vision. Easily influenced by kindness. Polite and soft-spoken. Having ideas. Sensitive. Active mind. Hesitating, tends to delay. Choosy and always wants the best. Temperamental. Funny and humorous. Loves to joke. Good debating skills. Talkative. Daydreamer. Friendly. Knows how to make friends. Able to show character. Easily hurt. Prone to getting colds. Loves to dress up. Easily bored. Fussy. Seldom shows emotions. Takes time to recover when hurt. Brand conscious. Executive. Stubborn.

JULY: Fun to be with. Secretive. Difficult to fathom and to be understood. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Takes pride in oneself. Has reputation. Easily consoled. Honest. Concerned about people’s feelings. Tactful. Friendly. Approachable. Emotional temperamental and unpredictable. Moody and easily hurt. Witty and sparkly. Not revengeful. Forgiving but never forgets. Dislikes nonsensical and unnecessary things. Guides others physically and mentally. Sensitive and forms impressions carefully. Caring and loving. Treats others equally. Strong sense of sympathy. Wary and sharp. Judges people through observations. Hardworking. No difficulties in studying. Loves to be alone. Always broods about the past and the old friends. Likes to be quiet. Homely person. Waits for friends. Never looks for friends. Not aggressive unless provoked. Prone to having stomach and dieting problems. Loves to be loved. Easily hurt but takes long to recover.

AUGUST: Loves to joke. Attractive. Suave and caring. Brave and fearless. Firm and has leadership qualities. Knows how to console others. Too generous and egoistic. Takes high pride in oneself. Thirsty for praises. Extraordinary spirit. Easily angered. Angry when provoked. Easily jealous. Observant. Careful and cautious. Thinks quickly. Independent thoughts. Loves to lead and to be led. Loves to dream. Talented in the arts, music and defense. Sensitive but not petty. Poor resistance against illnesses. Learns to relax. Hasty and trusty. Romantic. Loving and caring. Loves to make friends.

SEPTEMBER: Suave and compromising. Careful, cautious and organized. Likes to point out people’s mistakes. Likes to criticize. Stubborn. Quiet but able to talk well. Calm and cool. Kind and sympathetic. Concerned and detailed. Loyal but not always honest. Does work well. Very confident. Sensitive. Good memory. Clever and knowledgeable. Loves to look for information. Must control oneself when criticizing. Able to motivate oneself. Understanding. Fun to be around. Secretive. Loves leisure and traveling. Hardly shows emotions. Tends to bottle up feelings. Very choosy, especially in relationships. Systematic.

OCTOBER: Loves to chat. Loves those who loves them. Loves to take things at the center. Inner and physical beauty. Lies but doesn’t pretend. Gets angry often. Treats friends importantly. Always making friends. Easily hurt but recovers easily. Daydreamer. Opinionated. Does not care of what others think. Emotional. Decisive. Strong clairvoyance. Loves to travel, the arts and literature. Touchy and easily jealous. Concerned. Loves outdoors. Just and fair. Spendthrift. Easily influenced. Easily loses confidence. Loves children.

NOVEMBER: Has a lot of ideas. Difficult to fathom. Thinks forward. Unique and brilliant. Extraordinary ideas. Sharp thinking. Fine and strong clairvoyance. Can become good doctors. Dynamic in personality. Secretive. Inquisitive. Knows how to dig secrets. Always thinking. Less talkative but amiable. Brave and generous. Patient. Stubborn and hard-hearted. If there is a will, there is a way. Determined. Never give up. Hardly becomes angry unless provoked. Loves to be alone. Thinks differently from others. Sharp-minded. Motivates oneself. Does not appreciate praises. High-spirited. Well-built and tough. Deep love and emotions. Romantic. Uncertain in relationships. Homely. Hardworking. High abilities. Trustworthy. Honest and keeps secrets. Not able to control emotions. Unpredictable.

DECEMBER: Loyal and generous. Sexy. Patriotic. Active in games and interactions. Impatient and hasty. Ambitious. Influential in organizations. Fun to be with. Loves to socialize. Loves praises. Loves attention. Loves to be loved. Honest and trustworthy. Not pretending. Short tempered. Changing personality. Not egotistic. Take high pride in oneself. Hates restrictions. Loves to joke. Good sense of humor. Logical.

The (Questions and) Answers

Friday, January 4, 2008

Okay, so I realized I had let a lot of questions (actually, in retrospect, not a lot, but some) in the comments go unanswered. I don't know what the proper protocol is for answering comment questions, so I'm going to do a post and answer them now, because, well, I've got time. I also noticed in the course of reviewing the comments that NOLA tagged me for a Meme type of thing a few weeks ago and I totally missed it, so I'm going to do that tomorrow, though I'm pretty sure I can't come up with 12 people to tag for it. So we'll see, but here goes nothing...

Question: Back on December 11th, Kim-d asked, in reference to mint M&Ms being the greatest thing ever, "Yes, but have you tried the Cadbury **Solid Milk Chocolates~with A Crisp Sugar Shell** yet?"
Answer: Yes, I have tried them. Chances are if it comes in chocolate I have tried it (try and read that not at all in the dirty way, mkay?). However, they pale in comparison to my now completely unavailable Mint M&Ms. :(

Question: On December 18th, Maxie asked, "I haven't watched the show (The Price is Right) since Drew Carey took over, is it any good?
Answer: Yea, it'll do in a real television pinch. If you have something else on tv worth watching, watch it first, but Drew is really good about making fun of the contestants a little bit and that's always something I've done, so it makes it feel a little more edgy.

Question: On December 21st, Kim-d, asked, "have you run into your new neighbor Brad yet?"
Answer: Unfortunately, no. I did see his pink covered buildings in the 9th ward, which are very pretty, though a long way from being live-able in. It's a nice effort, but in my very humble opinion, given that all the Projects are being torn down and with the rate of homelessness being so incredibly high, it's a small drop in the ocean of needing homes for families.

Question: On December 27th, The Ex asked, "So, like, everything is going fine since the surgery?"
Answer: Spitting stitches aside (by the way, have an appt wednesday with neurosurgeon. His nurse seemed totally unconcerned, but she also didn't listen to a single syllable I said, so who even knows what she thinks I'm coming in for...) things are going really well. I have had one headache in 5 1/2 weeks, which is literally on the scale of miracles. The surgery did exactly what we'd hoped it would do. It has helped with so many of the neurological symptoms I had (though it's becoming apparently that hand strength is still suffering and for those who speak medical lingo I will always have an upward Babinski, a fact that The Fiance finds wildly amusing and one that he loves to show people (try not to make that dirty either...)). I don't want to jinx anything, but everything is so much better than I even imagined.
It's not all daisies and roses, I do have a lot of neck stiffness and I get sore very easily, but when you compare that to the daily headaches pre-surgery, well, it's so far beyond worth it that I don't think that saying it was worth it is nearly strong enough. There's no way to know if the symptoms will come back or if I'll need further treatment, because these waters we're in are not nearly charted enough. Some people need more treatment or acquire other conditions post-op, some go on to live perfectly normal lives. We're going to wait, see and hope that I'm the latter.

Question: On January 1st, Kim-d (it's apparently the Kim Show today) asked, " By the way, how WAS that bruschetta? The Best Ever?"
Answer: No, however, it was pretty good. The vegetable dip was terrible, the cake was just so-so and the lack of mashed potatoes was terribly evident and bitched about by all. If there's anything I can count on my family for it's bitching.

Question: On January 2nd, My most frequent reader (though, side note, New York now has more hits than Minnesota, so I apparently have an obsessive New York stalker...Monk? Or is it someone else?) and several emailers asked, "Why did [future mother-in-law] go registering with you?"
Answer: I hadn't planned on answering this question initially, but I feel I should probably clear the air a little. It's 100% my fault. Ditto with the wedding rings. She asked if she could come and considering that the last time we told her no she called her son a "disappointment as a child" I just didn't want to deal with it and I said yes. I came to find out that The Fiance was preparing to tell her no when I said yes, and boy do I wish I could go back in time and let him do that, but alas, I cannot. I somehow thought that it would be easier to have her there than to deal with her tantrum (and I don't use that word lightly either). I have since learned that I was very wrong.

You might also be interested to know that because of that very same cataclysmic incident of us telling her no and how it ruined a whole lot of everything for a while, we agreed to let her stay at our house for Mardi Gras. For 10 days. In our house. During my only vacation time for the whole spring semester. Be prepared for what will be 10 days of intense ranting because frankly, she eats at my soul and if I don't get to complain about it somewhere to someone my eyes will bleed and my head will spin and, well, that's just messy.

So there you go. I'm going to close my eyes and use the sound of the rain to pretend like I'm home and not still in California, listening to a certain family member bitch about having to drive me to the airport and carry my luggage into the airport for me. Because you know, I should be able to lift 60 pounds by now. Because, as she put it, "it wasn't *that* major of a surgery" and of course, you know, it's not like the incision is opening up and rocketing out stitches or anything.

Waiting Game

Thursday, January 3, 2008

After hours of googling, it would appear that I have "spitting stitches" which are exactly what they sound like. There are at least 4 more that are visible. Ick ick ick ick.

I'm waiting (and waiting and waiting) for a call back from the neurosurgeon. Hopefully he'll be unconcerned but still willing to take a look on Monday. It's so easy to keep my mind off of this given that I have so much to do. Oh wait, no, that's the opposite of what's going on right now, which is nothing. A big, heaping pile of nothing*. Except worrying. Trust me, there is plenty of that to share if anyone needs some.

*Except the America's Next Top Modelathon on VH1. God bless Tyra Banks.

It's bad.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Yea, two posts in a day, I know. Whatever.

So I'm not having a great day. I may or may not have dropped my computer again (which brings up a few worries about my hand strength because there was no reason to drop it, I didn't trip or having anything else in my hands, just one minute it was in my hands, the next it was on the ground) and well, it's bad. The left side of the monitor is not really connected anymore. The computer still turns on, but I have to make sure that the bottom is well supported, otherwise the left side sags down a bunch. It's bad. Seriously.

So I called the computer company and fibbed a little bit. See, I paid an arm and a leg for my warranty, but somehow it doesn't cover dropping computers. It's bad. And I lied, which is also bad. I'm not going to disclose the particular lie I offered because it's really bad, but let's just say that I've got myself all set up in a firy ride straight to hell. It's really bad.

And then, because karma has a way of doing this, about 2 minutes after I got off the phone with tech support I scratched my incision and this came out.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

In case you can't see it's a stitch. Which is interesting because The Fiance said a few days ago that it looked like there was one near the surface and then he decided that maybe it was a hair follicle instead because there were SEVERAL of them down the incision. Which is bad because now it would appear that it's actually a bunch of stitches pushing to the surface. Those absorbable stitches that you're not ever supposed to see. All along the incision. Pushing their little way out. It's bad.

And I'm 2000 miles away from my neurosurgeon.

Did I mention that this is bad? Because it is.

An open letter to Pottery Barn

Dear Ceramic Farm,

I don't like you. I didn't want to register with you. But because there were no plates of the "proper" material that everyone could agree on at the other places we registered we were forced to go to your store. And while everyone and their mother (well, actually not everyone at all, just their mother) insisted that we go to Crate and Barrel, I insisted that we go to your crap-fest of a store. Not because I like you, no, but it just didn't seem to make any sense to register at a store that we don't have either in New Orleans or in the city where my entire family resides. But hey, that's just me.

So we went to your store and we actually found some plates we liked and we asked your perky but highly unknowledgeable sales-person if we could start our registry. She professed her ignorance about registries and gave us to a "manager." Though I use the word manager very loosely because I'm pretty sure she couldn't manage algae if you asked her to.

We waited for FIFTEEN minutes to get the paperwork and then after filling it out, waited at least another FIFTEEN minutes while your "manager" entered the information into the computer system. When she finally finished what I can only imagine was a pointer-finger typing festival, we got the gun and registered.

We took our "gun" (and I use that loosely too, because it doesn't have bullets, otherwise there would be at least one less person in my life now) and went over to our dishes, which naturally, in the 16 piece set, didn't have either a scan or a skew number listed anywhere. So your "manager" looked it up, after spending 5 minutes trying to tell us to register for each plate separately and everyone would just magically buy an even number of place settings. She then gave us the skew and assured us that it would be online.

We picked out a few other items so that our whole registry wasn't just your dishes and then we left. The next day I logged into my account to modify my registry (read: to re-register for the things that we actually wanted rather than the ones that we were required to register for) and imagine my surprise when my account password didn't work. Imagine my greater surprise when I sent you an email asking for my password, only to have to tell me that my email account isn't in your system.

Imagine my even greater surprise when The Fiance called and discovered that the only information in the system was our names. Just out of sheer curiosity, how exactly did you expect our gifts to reach us if we DIDN'T HAVE A SHIPPING ADDRESS? And moreover, when I finally got into the registry, I found that those dishes, those ones that we opened up this God-forsaken registry for weren't even FREAKING AVAILABLE ONLINE.

I'd just like to take a moment to tell you how much I appreciate you adding to my craptacular morning of registering. I mean, what could be worse than spending the entire morning having everything I picked up criticized and put down? Oh that's right, spending an hour doing that at your store AND THEN HAVING IT NOT WORK RIGHT.

In closing I'd like to tell you that I'm closing my registry with you, but the future-mother-in-law offered to buy all the dishes in person (I'm thinking mostly because she doesn't trust us to pick out new dishes without her there, because if they're not porcelain the whole freaking world would come to a screeching halt) so I'm not. But I'm going to be sure to bitch about it a lot, as often and publicly as possible because then I feel more indignant and self-righteous.

So there. Take that.

Not-even-a-former PB Shopper

Reflected and Resolved

I had intended to write this entry last night, but I was swept up with family obligations and didn't have the chance. The Fiance went back home today and ordered me to bed-rest, so I'm finding myself with tons of free (and much less fun) time to do the things I've been intending to do.

2007 was a trying year.

It was my first calendar year with a real full time career, one which I discovered that I, um, well, hate. But in that hatred was also a chance to change my future and in that way I'm thankful for 2007 because I'm now really on the way to something bigger, something better and something different.

It was a year filled with a great deal of physical pain and challenges. By fall, the headaches were almost constant and it was truly more normal to wake up with a headache than to wake up without one. But at the same time, 2007 was the year we finally did something about it. This will forever be the year where the headaches stopped. And no, there's no way to say that this is a permanent fix. My symptoms could come back tomorrow and there would be nothing we could do, but for the first time, I am living without pain and 2007 will always hold a special place in my heart for that.

It was the year I got engaged to the most amazing person I've ever had the privilege of meeting. Despite the fact that I've treated him like a steaming pile of crap lately and that we've hit a bit of a rough spot, I am still thrilled for everything that we've shared this year, even the fighting because it's time that I've gotten to spend with my best friend.

As far as 2008, there is much to look forward to and much planned.

In 2008 I resolve to try more things, to step outside my shell and accept that failure is an option but not the end of the world. In 2008 I will start a new job, one that is completely foreign to me. I have no idea if I'll like it or if I'll be good at it, but it's something that I have to try or I'll regret it the rest of my life. I will voluntarily leave the comfort zone of a job that I'm good at and embark on something different and new.

In 2008 I resolve to procrastinate less, though I'm not starting that one until tomorrow. I have a horrible time with procrastination and what could take 10 minutes takes three and a half weeks for no other reason than that I just can't get myself to pick up the phone, or write the email or send out the stinking Save the Dates. So I resolve to try a lot harder to get on top of my things because I've learned that it doesn't just affect me when I put things off until the last minute.

In 2008 I resolve to be more tolerant. Not necessarily of rude and crass crazy people who swerve in front of my car or of the people who let their kids walk around in nothing but a diaper in a nasty store in December, but I resolve to let the small things go. To stop nagging, to stop being so picky, to stop being so unnecessarily grumpy about stupid things. I resolve to try and let the people in my life be who they are and act how they want to.

In 2008 I resolve to be me again. I think through the course of the chronic headache pain, full time jobs and part time grad school I lost bits of myself. I want to be the happy person that I know I am. I want to smile more, laugh more and just enjoy the things I used to enjoy. I will seek help for the things I've learned that I can't deal with myself, even when it means jumping through 800 hoops to get it. I want 2008 to be the year where I get my emotions, anxiety and dare I say it, moments/periods of depression under control and become the person that I know I am, that I am inside and that I want to be. I'm not proud of how I've let myself fall apart, but I want to be proud of how I put myself back together again.

In 2008 I resolve to change, both for the better and for good.

End o' the year poll

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The blogger group that I'm in is asking everyone to link to their favorite post of the year and I can't decide. I'm finding myself to be much less funny than I remembered, but I narrowed down to 5. So leave your vote in the comment section (by the way, I know that 100s of you are reading this every day, I could even list the cities you're reading from, so just this once, sign the comment section? Puh-lease? It's been a bad week, I need positive feedback). And I will return to regular posting tomorrow with hilarious tales of the past few days. And yes, the wedding is very much still on.

Without further ado...the poll...

#1 - a long post mocking my step-sister...because I'm that kind of nice...After you read this...

#2 - a very serious entry about Katrina 1,051,200 minutes

#3 - an enlightening post about the inabilities of those with external genitalia...Men are from mars

#4 - a less than enlightening letter to the customers of Walmart...Open letter to the customers of Walmart

#5 - and the recent rantings of Communistic Christmas...Christmas Communism