Category Archives: My medical drama

What really should scare you

This week, the United States carried out air strikes against Syria. This was in response to the dropping of sarin gas on a rebel held town. I will get to that but I have something else I want to write about first. You see, a number of people I know are worried that the U.S. air strikes are going to lead to war with Russia (it won’t) and are upset with me. While that is their right, their fears are misguided and are, in my opinion, in the wrong part of the world.

If war is what you want to avoid, you need to be looking at Asia. During the campaign, President Donald Trump made a lot of statements about China and its access to the South China Sea. During Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s confirmation hearings, he echoed those statements. This did not go over well with China. That government went as far as to say they would send nuclear weapons our way should be continue to meddle in their affairs. This is clearly scary and had me up at night worried about the possibility of war with China. When I was getting myself all worried, I found the graphic

This is a map of where China would send its nuclear weapons, should it want to bomb us.

This is from a Chinese magazine. Now I am encouraged by what looked to be a good meeting between President Xi and Trump so maybe we have come back from the brink of nuclear war with them but then you have Kim Jung Un.

Kim is unstable. That is not my opinion, it is pretty much everyone’s opinion. He has developed nuclear weapons and seems hell bent on developing a missile that can hit, well, us. If he can’t get it that far, he has Japan and South Korea to hit. This is incredibly scary because of how crazy Kim is. China could do something but they a, don’t want a unified Korea and b, don’t want more refugees crossing their border. Trump has made statements that we should give South Korea nuclear weapons, because more nuclear weapons always makes sense. This is a scary situation made worse by an American president with no real foreign policy. For his part, Tillerson responded to a missile test by saying, “We’ve talked enough about North Korea.” What the hell does that mean?

Speaking of Tillerson, we are now back to Syria. During the campaign, and other the last few years, Trump has said we should do nothing in Syria. Last week, Tillerson said that the fate of Bashar al Assad is up to the people of Syria. Several days later, 86 people are killed with Sarin gas. Many people believe that Assad was under the impression that he had the blessings of the current White House to do whatever the hell he wanted to his people. That is why I think the strike against the airfield was not a bad idea.

The big question is what happens next. One thing is sure, it won’t be war with Russia but what happens in Asia is anyone’s guess and that is the scary thing.

 

Fire is scary.

This is the closest thing that I can find to what may have caused the fire in question.

So, it was a Saturday morning. The time was around 9:30 am when I heard the strange noise. I went outside to see what was going on and noticed smoke all around the house. I was living in a building that housed three apartments. The heat hit me when I walked out of the porch.

I looked up and saw it; fire was shooting out of the upstairs apartment. My neighbor, Eliot, shouted that I needed to get out as soon as possible. I ran in and grabbed my cat and my computer and left.

I was not the first to call 911 but I did call. It seemed to take forever for them to come. The fire looked to be over the front part of the house but was moving fast towards the area over my apartment. It was scary.

My apartment had the porch.

The good news is that Eliot and Andrew had taken their cat to  the vet earlier that day. I do not think the cat would have survived the fire had he been there. The bad news is that no one was going to be able to live in the building until it was totally repaired. The person from the Gainesville fire department said that she believed the fire was started with a problem with the toaster oven. Wow.

When all of this was happening, the landlord came by with the man who did any repairs to the building. After being able to get some stuff out of my unit, I was able to see that there was no damage to my apartment from the fire itself. There was some damage due to smoke and water but not from the fire. I was ok, Squirrel was ok and most of my stuff was ok. That is all good and I am truly grateful that no one was injured or worse.

This is the room where the fire started.

 

But, then it all became a total pain in the ass. I went to stay with my mother. She had an air mattress and a study and that is where I was staying. My back hurt. I liked my apartment. I started dreaming about it.

She offered to get a different air mattress but seriously, there is a ceiling for how comfortable that can really be.

I started looking for apartments and that grew sad. Some that I saw were way too small. I was thinking I would just find something for the summer but then began to see that the place I was in probably will not be ready by the time I would want to move in.

The landlord’s insurance is suing the tenants’ insurance. The fire was on February 18. Nearly a month later and nothing has been done.

There was a vine growing through this crack.

Luckily, I found a new place. That is good. I was back at the old place and saw this. You can see out from the inside and there was a plant growing into my living room.

Now, my new place is about three blocks from the old place. I have much more room and a nice porch. I even have a nice fireplace for cold nights like tonight.

Fire can be great. This fireplace makes me very happy.

The new place is nice and I am glad I found it. If you rent a place, please get renter’s insurance. Fire is scary.

Squirrel on her new porch, sitting in her cat tree.

 

Don’t think about bears

Flickr - Furryscaly - Not a Hypnotoad

Flickr – Furryscaly – Not a Hypnotoad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)  This has no connection to my post but WordPress thinks it is.

Note:  I showed my scans and the report to someone.  I do not have a tumor or cyst.  I still need a CT to rule out some scary options but the things that were causing my panic attack yesterday are off the table.

 

I dare you to try it.  For the next five minutes, don’t think about bears.

Hard to do isn’t it?  The minute someone tells you not to think of something, that’s all you want to think about.  At least that’s how it works with me.

If you think it’s hard to not think about bears, try that exercise with brain tumors.  That’s been my challenge since yesterday.  Last week I had an MRI (with and without contrast) and MRA (same) done on my brain.  The initial report was that the MRI was normal but the MRA too unclear so more testing needs to be done.  Then I got a call from my neurologist.  She said in her message that it was “critically important” that she speak with me.  When we talked she said she saw something on the MRA that “probably isn’t a tumor” but more testing needs to be done.  I am getting a CT angiogram next week.

Someone told me, “Just don’t think about it.”

Yeah, that’s going to work.

Being uncoordinated can be fun!

Note: medical update is at bottom.

Central Park, New York City, Winter: The Skati...

Central Park, New York City, Winter: The Skating Pond, 1862 by Currier and Ives. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reader Emmawolf asked, “I love the concept of a favorite injury. Is this because the story behind it is your favorite?”  That got me thinking about my favorite injuries…  These are in no particular order.

That hip thing I mentioned.  When I was growing up, I used to spend Christmas in Minneapolis with my all too active family.  If I didn’t know better, I would think they were actively trying to kill me as many things they took me to do were things they did all the time but I did rarely.  Case in point, cross country skiing.  I would do it when I visited them but they did it daily.  They would always want to do the hardest trails, when I asked about this Roger told me “at least this isn’t the MOST dangerous trail, just snow plow if you cannot stop.”  The last hill of the day had a “most difficult” sign and was just before the parking lot.  You cannot “snow plow” on ice or on a 45 degree angle.  I wiped out to avoid crashing into an SUV.

We also did a lot of ice skating on ponds.  They were great but being natural, they had divits in them and were not smooth at all.  When I was about ten, I was skating on a pond and must have hit one but I went flying and landed on my hip.  It hurt like crazy.  I was sure I was bleeding.  I played it off like I was fine (more embarrassed) and checked it when I got back to the house.  The result was a bruise that remained totally black for more than a year.  Years later, an xray would reveal that I had chipped my hip at some point.  That’s the only time I hurt it so I am going with it happened that day when I was ten.

Why is it a favorite?  First of all, I loved ice skating.  I love all the sports I played with my family.  I plan to teach a friend to play tennis for that very reason.  Secondly, I was a total Tom boy and relished all my scrapes and bruises. It made me feel all tough that I never sought out medical help for this.  And lastly, it reminds me of a time when I wasn’t the medical oddity that I have become.  The main reason is number 1.  I miss being that active.  It inspires me to work towards being that active again.

My goofy injuries are just silly.  I have a scar on my left knee that, combined with my knee surgery scars looks like :].  I got it in a crazy ping pong accident.  Yeah, you read that right.  A ping pong accident.  Additionally, I have soldered my fingers together (twice), been knocked unconscious in wood shop class, dislocated my shoulder body surfing (was too focused on losing my bathing suit top to care) and just last night walked into a door going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  These make me laugh and remind me that life without whimsy is just not worth living.  Best part of these is that none really hurt because I was laughing so hard.  I was pretty good at shop class but whenever someone glued their fingers together, the teacher assumed it was me.  For the record, it was my high school lab partner, not me, who got her melted goggles stuck to her head.  I was the one who fell asleep in chem class and fell out of my desk but I never glued my goggles to my head.  At least not in high school.

You think you’re getting my bag?  Ok, you are but I am going to injure myself first!  My right index finger is crooked because it was broken when I was struggling with a mugger to keep my bag.  The strap broke and he took off.  I took off after him and caught him.  He threw some dirt at me (note: this means he had no weapon, I should have pounced).  Bitch, stop following me!  Me: But you have my bag!  He then hit me with something, probably my own bag and I woke up in the street (concussion number 6?).  I ran in the direction he had been going in to find a cop sitting in his car at the end of the street.  When I told him what happened he said, are you sure you were attacked?  PSA of this post, sarcasm does you no favors in this situation.  I responded, No, I normally walk around with my face covered in dirt.  It’s the latest fashion trend, straight from Paris and Milan  Seriously, he was not amused.

This reminds me that I do stand up for myself when I need to.  And that I am an idiot. Never chase someone who just mugged you.  There’s a time and place to be a hero, that isn’t it.

Medical update:  I was hoping  to have real news about the scans I had today but I don’t.  I had MRIs and MRAs (magnetic resonance angiogram) done of my brain today.  I hoped they would give me some information but they refused.  I have to wait to talk to my doctor next week.  Oh, and I know that headaches + seizures + vision problems + language issues can = brain cancer.  I also know that this is really, really, really rare.  I only mention that because of the number of times I have been asked, You don’t have a brain tumor do you?  I sure hope not!  I also really don’t think I do.  If there is anything on my brain that should not be there, I should know early next week and will post something as soon as do.

PS.  Thank you, social media.  I have a tendency to keep to myself when I am upset about something and recent events have only made me want to do that more.  I mean, who wants to be out and about while they are having seizures and trouble speaking?  Not me.  By opening up here, I have received some amazing support and it has inspired me to not give into my hermit instincts.  That has made a huge difference.  Thank you to everyone who has read my posts, responded to my tweets and generally made me feel a whole lot less alone and freaky.  It has meant more to me than I ever will be able to tell you.

Je ne parle plus anglais.

This is me kissing the Blarney Stone. When one kisses it they are given the “gift of gab.” Yeah, until recently, I had that. Oh, and that’s the crasher squirrel with me.

My recent brain issue has caused me a lot of trouble communicating.  As this is not only my favorite thing to do — communicate I mean, I write, I talk (a lot), I read — this has been troubling.  Along with the memory problems, nothing has scared me more than waking up unable to talk or write.

I feel like one of the patients on that show, Mystery Diagnosis.  People on that show have baffling symptoms that force them to go to multiple doctors before, sometime decades after the first symptom appeared, they are cured.  Usually really bad symptoms are prefaced with “Nothing could have prepared them for what happened next…”  My life has felt a lot like that lately.  First, it was seizures, then the realization they had been happening longer than I had thought and may be the cause of other problems (memory, speaking, writing), then I started having massive headaches that started in the morning (when I was asleep) and gradually faded during the day, then it was visual problems (only my left eye but it can be nearly impossible to see out of it when it is bad) … Every day was starting to make me worry about what troubling new thing would happen next.

I don’t know if it is a symptom of whatever is going wrong in my brain or the stress of this all but nothing could have prepared me for what happened the other day.  (You don’t know this because you cannot see me but I mean that in a little tongue in cheek kind of way, that’s what people in comedy call a ‘call back.’)

My cat — Little Cheddar Jameson — is a stressed out feline.  He gets very upset with the mirrors or other reflective surfaces in my apartment and has taken to waking me up between three and six in the morning fighting with one in my bedroom.  I have taken to responding by yelling at him.  The other day was no different only when I yelled at him to stop I yelled, “Tu es de la merde!  Tais-toi!  Je doit dormir!”  This didn’t seem odd until I went to fall back asleep and all of my thoughts were in French and I could not think of any English words.  Not a single one.

Now, one of my next thoughts was that I really need to work on my French vocabulary because it has been a while and mine is pretty limited right now.  I resolved to practice it more.  And I will.

Eventually, I fell back asleep and when I woke up, things were back to normal but that was very, very strange.  So now, if you run into me on the street and I am either very quiet or speak only in French, you know why.