Wednesday, August 3, 2016

~ Numbers Game (A Game That Can Get Your Ass Kicked)

Look.  I think I look fine for my age.  Aging is not something I concern myself with.  My eyes pop open in the morning I'm surprised and pleased.  Surprised because the ol' adage of tomorrow never bein' guaranteed is one that's always held, to use and old advertising term, top of mind awareness.  So, yeah, everyday I start from a winning position. Me: 23,721, Grim Reaper: Fuckin' O BOOM.  And pleased 'cause no matter the mundanity o' the day, sumthin' weird is gonna happen.  #Adventure  #Blessed

I have greys.  I do not care.  I mean, enough to do anything about 'em.  Comb them.  That's what I'm willing to do in their upkeep.  I can't even fathom driving someplace special, waiting for someone, sitting still (having to have forced conversations, if I'm being accurate, having to resist the urge to tell some random asshole to fuck off, etc.) having someone painting my hair for, what?  An hour?  4?  I donno.  To what?  ...Make some people who I don't know, or give but the most minimal amount of shit what they think about me at all (let alone my locks), think I'm younger?  Nope. 

There are, what every face cleanser or lotion-potion commercial tells me are 'fine lines'.  (In my head I call them fiiiiiiiiiinnnnne lines.)  Again, when I notice 'em they feel like, suck-it-I'm-still-alive-lines.  (shrugs)  So I don't really get how they are things to be ashamed of, or uncomfortable with. 

I am, however, a stone cold freak.  I get that.  And I made my peace with that long ago.  (No judgement, or shade.  Do you.  (Aggressively and with zeal.)  I swear, I don't begrudge or belittle the bottle beauties I know.  It's just not for me.  If you have to invest four hours, how many times per year?  Let's say 5.   Multiplied by? 15 years?  That's 300 hours.  I have 300 hours to give to hangin' with friends, or family.  Or snugglin' in bed.  Or giggling.  Or being kind.  Or making and executing a plan for world domination.  The hue of my hair?  Nah. 

I feel like I'm not particularly touchy about getting older.  Again, the only way to avoid it is to die.  So, ya know.  Those are the options?  Cool, then guess who's never gonna be bitchin' about another day above terra firma 'cause of a wrinkle or a sag.  Pluh-eze. 

In a way I've always kinda felt super non-touchy about age.  Exhibit A:  I lie about my age.  For about two decades I've been telling people I'm (depending on the day) 5-7 years older than I actually am.  My great-grandmother lied her ass off about her age.  (She made herself younger.)  So much so that it was a family joke.  Like, no one really knew how old she was when she died because she'd told so many different versions to so many various people and places.  ...I figure if I look decent for my age, I look specfuckin'tacular for bein' the nearly decade older that ya think I am.   (...And now you know the exact effort I'm willing to do in the name of age vanity.  Ageanity?  I'm willing to do a minor amount of math and commit a venial sin.  That's it.)  I'm just sayin', people uneasy with age and aging aren't uppin' the ante.  Generally.

To tell ya the truth?  Everything (aka: the BBGSOP [my standard operating procedure]) was workin' fine.  I'm getting more advanced in my aliveness, but I've not felt like the world was really taking notice.

Or that I'd made some Official shark jump over to the old side.  (Sure, I've been ma'am'd, but never Ma'am'd.)

...Everything was workin' fine.

Yep.  Right up until the other day.

I'm at some doctors appointment.  Somehow Labor Day plans were being discussed.  I mentioned I had an Our Lady of Bad Catholic Kidz H.S. reunion.  With a reeeeeeal quickness she chirped, "your 54th?' 

It's not my 54th.  She didn't say 54th.  ...But she did say the exact year reunion I'm going to.  And I was immediately, and completely PISSED OFF.  Frankly, I'd never considered if a long ass Q-tip could be used to shank a chick.  But here we were.

Later I consoled myself by telling me that she said this specific number because she has my medical records, which I presume in addition to a whole buncha medical gobbily gook also includes my age.  Or perhaps it's near her 54th reunion and she assumes we're in the same age range.  But the possibility that on sight I look like I should be having my 54th?  Well.  Now we're going to have to fight.  So I guess it's a good thing there's another doctor around the corner.


Dear Medical Professionals,
Watch your words whilst wearin' that stethoscope 'round yer neck.  It will make a good garrote if I want it to.
~ BBG 


Thursday, July 7, 2016

~ Dry Brushing

If you're not familiar with dry brushing, you're about to be...

I discovered the practice in this Buzzfeed story I stumbled on and read for, well, no real reason.  Now two things you should know;  1)  I have a terrible lotion ethic (how much so?  Enough that I wrote a post about it.  Lamenting Lotioning 5/15) and I probably only tried this because I already had the only item required.  Basically, if the effort level to try something is zero and it could produce an tangible goodness in my life, I'm willing to give it a whirl.

Now I'm the kid of two police officers;  I'm somewhat skeptical of pretty much everything I'm being led to believe.  While I don't live in Missouri I need to be shown, ya know?  Admittedly my expectation was low on this endeavor.  (...I'm sure this won't make any sorta reeeeeeal difference...)

I was promised soft skin. 

What I got?

Well.  The day after my second episode of dry brushin' I'd already recommended it to a friend.  (If you didn't check the link that I learned from) Here's the drill:
  • Get a brush like this:

  • Brush your limbs (apparently it's important to go from feet/hands up towards your heart.  Reason?  No fuckin' clue, I just followed the directions as they were laid out.)
  • Lotion post shower
  • Live your life and prepare to be consistently shocked by how impressive your epidermis feels

Fact:  Last night I woke up several times during the night.  Each time before getting back to sleep I found myself Jimminie Cricketing my legs together because the level of smoothness was that incredible. 

My friend, LEM's experience/feedback? 

If your skin is of the sensitive variety I wouldn't engage in dry brushing daily.  (I'm a 3x a week-er.) 

Soft 'n smooth skin (better circulation, blah, blah, blah) isn't the only benefit.  I'm one of those sticklers for stubble free gams.  It seems like I'm getting an extra day out of my leg shaving.  Even those last few shaves before it's about time to switch to a fresh blade. 

Dry Brushing:  Do.  It.

Dear Next Week You,
You're welcome.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

~ My First Cat Fight

Twitter told me that Saturday was #Caterday.  Honestly?  I don't have one fucking idea of what Caterday is or might entail. 

I can however tell ya what my Caterday involved.

1)  Cat scat
B)  Feline vomit
III) Words with my neighbor  
Sorry you have to see cat scat.
Welcome to a portion of my world.

Some of you are asking yourself, 'does BBG have a cat?', the answer is no.  Which makes the how and why I have a * #Caterday story * all the more befuddling.  But here we are.  Funny.  That was pretty much my waking thought as I opened the slider to the deck to kick off the day.  Crisp 'n cool morin' air greeted me as I stepped out to set about H2O-ing the plants of BBG HQ.  I was also greeted by a pile of cat shit in one of my flower pots.  For.  The.  Second.  Morning.  In.  A.  Row.  ...Here we are...  

I looked right and spied with my eye a puddle of cat hurl.  Naturally, I was infuckingfuriated.  Like, still in my pj's and I'm police knocking (aka: not a polite 'n dainty knock) on your door, infuriated.  I went over intending to ask Kooky McBean to help me with something at my place and when she got here giving her a baggie to pick her 'outdoor cat' shit up and clean its sick.  She was home.  I know because it was her I'm-feeding-feral-cat-noise on her deck that woke me the hell up in the first place.  (She went in when I heard me open my deck door.)  Unless she possesses the magical powers of Samantha Stephens she didn't leave in the three seconds it took me to walk out my front door and knock on hers.  In fact, I could hear her clankin' around inside as I rang the bell.  She didn't answer.  I went to my other attached neighbor who sits on the condo board, she came over to witness the ramifications of Kooky McBean's defiance in complying with the law forbidding feeding, harboring feral cats Still in my jammies.  Did I mention I was fuckin' furious?  Fact:  You know you're angry when you can't even don a bra before mixin' it up.  

Again, sorry you have to see
cat puke.  At least you don't
have to clean it.
For the second day in a row I picked up cat scat from my impatiens, and commenced to cleanin' cat puke from under a chair.  Otherwise known as exxxxxxactly how I wanted to spend my Saturday morning.    

Quick question.  Do you know what's in wild cat shit?  Yeah, neither do I.  But I'm bettin' whatever badness it is isn't healthy for you to be dealin' with.  So I'm sure as shit someone who's immune system is incapable of successfully fighting off bacteria and virus doesn't have any business cleaning up after wildlife.  I'm guessing never has a doctor ever advised that a cancer patient or bone marrow recipient should up their exposure to deer dung and fleas and ticks.  So yeah, it's gross.  But it's also more of a danger to my health than is necessary.  (Not to sound like a girl who needs to be put in a bubble.  Life is risks.  Ya simply can't mitigate every danger.  Out in the world that seems fair.  But in the confines of my own personal space seems like something that I should have pretty absolute control over being a safe place.  I for sure ought to be able to walk on my deck barefoot, no?)

(Possible Cat-aclysmic Cat Scat Fact
I googled to find out if cat shit posed any particular dangers. 
And discovered that essentially my neighbor is doing
everything in her power to kill me this.
[The word you're searching for is 'biohazard'.])

This has been an ongoing, and super fucked up situation.  Here's when it started.  So while (Spoiler:  Lame and intended pun alert!) crappy, and a cat-astrophe, not particularly (sadly and irritatingly) unusual conditions.  But #Caterday took a turn y'all.  Things turned legit unusual.  Ya see, after I picked up feline fecals and hosed (bleached and scrubbed) down the former belly contents of a cat wildling, I returned to the 'bidness of doin' me, which a lil' later in the day included caulking a place at the deck screen door.  Yes.  I'm minimally handy

Whilst BBG DIY-ing I heard Kooky McBean come out on her deck (Fact: Caulking is a pretty silent project, I know she had no idea I was out there too.)  Next thing I know I hear "Excuse me" come out of my mouth.  Between the slats of the 6' separating fencing between us I see her freeze.  Then I'm like, um, "I can see you".  I ask if she could come over because I'd like her to attend to her cats* scats.  Once she flat out denied having any other than the two she says she has inside, I became oh-no-you-fuckin'-didn't angry.  Ya see, the local BBGville city code enforcement has already visited, observed and photographed the conditions at Kooky McBean's.  She has received several written notices for her to comply, she has not.  The case has been turned over to the city prosecutor.  By all rights that--  all of the things above should be the crazy part of this tale.  Tail?  Nope.

* I'd estimate that since Kooky McBean created this cat circumstance there have been 4-5 batches of new cats.  The last time the BBGville city code enforcement visited to observe her status in complying with the law he took a photo showing 4 kittens on her deck being housed and fed.  So which free range cat of hers?  Who the fuck knows.   

Yeah.  I said, "housed and fed", as if that's a reasonable phrase to turn when discussing wildlife.  I have to say a lot of things that sound ridiculous.  Imagine the trauma of having to say things that aren't actual things.  I know people think I'm just putting incongruent words together when I explain the situation;  'Outdoor litterbox''outdoor cat bed''outdoor scratching posts' all make it sound like I'm the crazy one.  Until you see it with your own eyes and realize that what sounded wacko is exactly the reality of the ta-doin's.  
Why yes, you are seeing an 'outdoor scratching post'
and an 'outdoor litterbox'.  The Rubbermaid-y tubs?
Look closely.  They're cat houses.  The one with the
brick on the lid faces her kitchen window so she can
watch the cats.  Serenity now.  

As Kooky McBean lies (that she has no outdoor cats she's tending to) about her roll in this concat-enation, she shares this crazy nugget;  '...And you shot and killed my kitty and I called the police on you, they have a report...'  And that's when it sinks in, 'holy fuck.  I'm in an actual cat fight.'    (BBG Confession:  Ya know, I feel like this is happening is a thought that crosses my mind waaaaaaaaaaay too fuckin' frequently.  Like, more often than it seems to be a running internal commentary of others.  I guess I chalk it up to the fact that I have an abundance of weird ass shit in my life.  #Blessed) 

Obviously, I did not shoot and kill a cat.  Those who know me know that this, of course, never happened.  Strangers, you're hearing a one sided story, you can come to your own conclusions, but I assure you the peeps who know me have already realized that if I had a twenty-five cat problem I would never kill 1 cat.  I would have devised some sort of Ocean 32-ish/Rube Goldberg-y plan to have killed them allThat's how you solve a problem.  Having 24 cats roaming your outdoor space is no improvement of circumstance. 

This marks the first time I've been accused of redrum.  It was a real seminal moment.  So while I'm pissy at the actual situation I simultaneously find myself kinda super amused at the fact that this is the current reality of my life...   BBG:  Accused Murder

Fact:  I have not ruled out the possibility of acquiring a tear drop cheek tattoo. 
Gladys Kravitz.  Always Remembered.

To be perfectly honest with you I had trouble focusing in on the remainder of what she had to say as the copkid in me drifted off on a logic stream of;  ...Wait.  So you are actually floating the notion that one day I just decided it was a good idea to discharge a firearm.  In quiet suburbia.  From a condo (where neighbors, nay witnesses are literally 12" away?) . Like it's something I/anyone could get away with doing completely unnoticed by every Gladys Kravitz in the 'hood?  And that I would have bet my freedom on authorities not noticing that a/or many(?) bullet hole(s) came from, um, right next fucking door?  The most rudimentary logistics of your story don't even add up, Kooky McBean...

I've always suspected Kooky McBean to be a loon, but that was based solely on her actions.  In all these years I'd never exchanged more than a few words with her until #Caterday.  But hearing her claim that she filed a police report on me confirmed to me that she is, in fact, bat shit crazy.  (P.S.  Lady, I know you're lying otherwise the police would have knocked on my door to investigate a shooting.  The ease and quickness of this recognition is what makes you saying it seem so extra crazy.  You are a bad neighbor AND a bad liar.)   

I'm not proud of what I'm about to disclose.  It's a, it-had-to-be-this-way, but-not-by-my-choice, kinda thing.  Once I could get my fat fingers to type in the right code I started recording the conversation (which seems like a misnomer when describing an interaction where one party freezes and pretends not to exist...) with Kooky McBean because based on my suspicion that she was a kook (hence her codename) I felt it in my best interest to have a record of the involvement.  Frankly, there's no behavior too bizzar for me to put past her.  Even in the moment I felt like a bad person because honestly?  People ought to be able to have a conversation, hell, even a confrontation with another without it gettin' 'Tube'd or 'Chatted, ya know?  But, also, honestly, both parties have to be able to be counted on to be reasonable.  Meanwhile, absolutely nothing I know about Kooky McBean has ever led me to believe that 'reasonable' was in her repertoire, so I kinda felt as though I had no real alternative to video-ing evidence of the exchange.  So as Kooky McBean tells me from her mouth hole that she has no cats other than what she contends are two indoor/pet cats--  (which I don't know, or care if is true?  I couldn't give less of a fuck about what goes on in the confines of her four walls that doesn't effect me.  Two cats?  Or two hundred, if they aren't causing me to alter how I live in my own home?  Live long and prosper.)  ...But as these words are coming out of her mouth cat-egorically denying her involvement,  I hold the phone up over my head and scan her deck-y surroundings capturing a cathouse (not a euphemism, an actual outdoor house for the cats), an outdoor scratching post and outdoor litterbox.  Nope.  Not feeding 'n harboring free range cats at all.  





I know I'm supposed to love thy neighbor.  She's made that impossible.  I'm currently just tryin' not to hit her in the head with a brick hate my neighbor. 

Update:  In the past seven days I have had to clean 5 cat scats and 3 cat vomits, each time having to take ebola-like (a la universal) precautions (a 99 step procedure including: latex gloves, changing into shoes that can only be worn out there [but can't be left on the deck, because, cats.] bleach, double bagging, a through washing when I come back in trying not to contaminate the inside of my digs, etc.).  Despite the nice days I haven't been able to sit outside..  Doing so would require bleach washing furniture (anything I want to touch), by a miracle not ruining my clothes with bleach spots, waiting for it to dry (while keeping an eye on it to ensure a cat didn't climb all over it while it dries)  ...Wouldn't you hate your neighbor?


Friday, May 6, 2016

~ Learning Lupus

There's a line between TMI and keepin' it 100. 

As with many lines in life (having fun/getting arrested... boozin'/throwing up...  working hard/not playin' enough...  eating one cookie/eating.  All.  The.  Cookies.)  I, like everyone, sometimes struggle to find the balance.  While I'm pretty sure this may cross the line and violate HIPPA rules.  (Joke.  HIPPA only applies to others, not self disclosure.) I don't know another way, so here we are--

I told ya I'd share what I know about Lupus, and I don't like to be a liar.  Plus if it sheds a lil' light on what the fuck Lupus is for those fortunate enough to be ignorant of it, win/win.

Me:  One month hospital free.
February marked the first month since November (the month I was diagnosed with Lupus, aka: The Loop) that I hadn't been sent to the hospital.  I was stoked.  ...Look at meeeeee, bein' a healthy girl again...  #Hubris  Also, I was chuffed because I already knew I'd be hospitalized in March, so, yeah, a month in a row was in fact a big deal.  I had been scheduled for surgery on March 28.  The kind you can't walk up steps for 2-3 weeks, or pick something up when you inevitably drop it on the floor, or lift anything heavier than 10 lbs.  With that in mind I decided it was time for gettin' *surgery strong* (Yes.  I sloganed my own slicin' open.)  so I could recover and not be a pain in anyone else's ass be independent 'ol me as fast as humanly possible.   I started by upping my walking.  I was routinely hitting 2, 3, 4, (a few times) 5 thousand steps, heading towards the 10,000 steps per day ''they' recommend 'cause I'm a badass.  (I know 2 - 5k doesn't sound like a lot to some, but it wasn't that long ago that if I was walkin' 100 steps I was feeling like a marathon winner, so, suck it.)

It was awesome.  I felt like I was gettin' stronger and healthier and, well, normal-ier.  As in the BBG norm of, I do what I want, bitches.  (Instead of, I by a fib of omission, went to the grocery store but didn't mention it to anyone because it would have been considered too much and/or unreasonable.)  Physically, for the first time in months I felt like I could breathe deeper (not 'normal-normal' [aka: a full and/or pain free breath], but more so than I had been capable of) and without the amount and frequency of pain that had accompanied oxygenating since November.  It's hard to describe what it's like to have breathing be painful.  Even as someone who's had asthma since I was young, it's a sensation that is practically indefinable.  Imagine being given the rules of not hyperventilating while at the same time not being able to take any level of a deep breath for the next six months with the threat of bein' hit with a cattle prod if you do.  That's kinda what it's like.  They were heady and exhilarating days, my friend.

Until I started having chest pain.  I wouldn't have admitted it at the time, because I didn't, but it was pretty substantial-ish pain.  And that's said by a girl who once slid  --a term I may be using in it's loosest possible definition--  into second, collided with the second baseperson hurting my knee, back and wrist, decided the pain wasn't enough to not play the next two innings.  As catcher.  'Cause knees, backs and wrists are not integral to that position.  And then determined that driving a manual transmission'd car to the hospital to get looked at was a viable, nay, reasonable option.  (Result:  Broken wrist and one funny ass story.)  Naturally, I assumed I'd pulled a muscle.  (I assume everything that doesn't have a direct [A-to-B] cause 'n effect is probably just a pulled muscle.  Like.  Always.  It's my patented go-to move.  [...Now if you need medical advice?  I'm wickedly awesome at my layperson triaging and recommendation givin'.  Like so good I could provide references.])  The feeling between my heart and shoulder was very specific and pinpoint-y.  The feeling in my chest made me feel like I had to hold my breath to lie down or bend over as a coping mechanism.  Mom ordered me to cool my jets.  And while I don't generally respond well to bein' told what to do I recognized that this was sound and probably, even though I hated to admit it, reasonable orders from my RN (ICU experienced) mother.  Guess what?  After several days?  A week?  I'm bad with time.  The pain in my chest lessened, dramatically.  

By this time Mom had me reporting in my vital signs on the reg.  My heart rate was higher than my norm (in the 120's [at times in the 130's and 150's/beats per minute] when my usual is 70-80 bpm) while my blood pressure was lower than it historically runs (120 - 110's over 80 - 70's, my usual, became 89/52 type pressure) those clues concerned her.  Not me.  I was still convinced I was fine and the newly abnormally trending numbers were flukes and I'd be ready to climb Mt. Everest any old day now.   (The power of the mind to skew is undeniable.) 

I started to try to run a temperature.  In my mind, nothing of a big deal, 101.7, two afternoons in a row.  I took two Tylenol each day and my temp went away.  Problem solved.  ...Or so I thought.  (And then I learned something new about the Loop)  Apparently, being on 'roids (steroids to try to control the Loop) means your temperature is artificially kept low so running any degree of higher than 98.6 is a bad sign for Loop-ies.  Seven months ago a fever would have meant nothing to me, now a few tenths of one-hundreds is the sign that something may be trying to kill me.  A quick morning trip to my GP (general practitioner) and I was dispatched to the ER.

They found that I had a good amount of fluid around my heart and lungs (heart = pericardial effusion, lung = pleural effusion *).  For some reason I'd imagine lots of folks think, 'oh, fat girl, of course you have heart problems', but the truth is I've never had such issues (nor high cholesterol or blood pressure).  Aside from allergies, asthma, a congenital kidney defect and subsequent problems, and bein' generally klutzy, I've always been as healthy and as strong as an ox.  I started my campaign angling to go home from the moment I arrived, trying to finesse each doctor as they entered my room, assuring them that I was fine.  That the pain had been much greater before when I was increasing my activity (before being told to cool my jets) than it was currently.  And each time, as if they deduct points from physicians if patients die on their watch they all essentially laughed at me as they scribbled 'do not pass go, send to cardiac care unit'.   

( *  Funny.  I don't look any medical shit up.  But I do look it up so you can have the proper explanation and not my half assed BBG version.  [You're welcome]  There hasn't been one thing [condition, ailment or symptom I've experienced] included in this or my first post about the Loop life that the cause of the ta-doin's hasn't been attributed to
one thing;  lupus.  Lupus is evil, y'all.)

So.  There.  I.  Was.  Honestly?  Feeling like everyone was going overboard.  It seemed like a lot of fuss over something that didn't seem dire (less than 'ideal', yes, but 'oh, holy fuck?'  Nope.).  Looking back I suppose I should have been quicker on the uptake considering how many and how often baby Docs (interns, residents, fellows [and 'real' doctors]--  it's Big 10 teaching hospital) were brought 'round to see the sights learn from my weirdo complicated case.  But I didn't.  So I was surprised the first time one of 'em told me I was having a Lupus flare.  Mainly, because when I was diagnosed it was (aside from the splenic infarct and my blood tryin' to kill me) all about hot, swollen and difficult to use joints.  My reference point for what having a flare was that I would always be tipped off by my joints.  (When I was diagnosed I entered the ER having somewhere between 'trouble' and 'great difficulty' using my walkin' joints [knees, hips, ankles].  Within 3 hours of my arrival I could no longer walk unaided.)  That would be my hint.  Reality?  Wrong.   As I learn more about it, I can not count on joints for signaling things are goin' off the fuckin' rails, apparently my hint may also be hey, you're heart is tryin' to kill you.  ...So that's reassuring.

Oddly, I feel like I could do anything (another false lead by the 'roids).  But actually doing things ends up with increased chest pain.  (Fucked up fact:  Due to Lupus damaging my heart I can now hear my tricuspid valve.  It makes an audible [to me.  Me!  Which is, ya know, unsettling and super not fuckin' cool.]  'click' when I'm doin' less than stellar.)
Fact:  'Roid rage is real, yo.

After about a week I had been given a massive enough amount of 'roids to move enough fluid off my heart and lungs to reliably not die (and it not be some Docs direct fault  [Dear Doctors,  I love you.  But I am on to you.  ~ BBG]) and released from the CCU.  In the span of literally a couple of days the 'roids increased my weight by 16 lbs and turned my face from a place with cheekbones to a big, puffy, round, circle space.  (Yes.  'Round' aaaannnnnd 'circle' seem redundant in one sentence.  THAT's how 'roid-y routund my face is currently.  It requires multiple descriptors.)  I know it sounds vain to even mention such a side effect in the midst of tryin' to stay alive.  Noted.  But the speed of such noticeable and demonstrative changes has been (Sorry, Not Sorry Pun Alert:) in-yo-face disconcerting in a way that the secret shit happening inside isn't.  Perhaps, it's not vanity, but the fact that it's such an substantial (and honestly, jarring) sign that things aren't goin' great, which is generally in direct opposition to how I prefer to live, and be seen in life, that makes it even a blip on my radar, ya know? 

Yesterday I knew what to do with blush.  Today I can't even find my cheekbones.

It's becoming obvious that 'how I prefer to live and be seen in life' are whimsical luxuries of days past.  The priority now is morphing into simply staying alive.  Which sounds overly dramatic until your cardiologist tells ya the Lupus has permanently damaged the sack around your heart with scar tissue that doesn't pose a 'fill' problem, but does cause a 'pump' problem. ...Oh.  Ok.     

We have 22 internal organs keepin' us alive.  Lupus is already attempting to pick off 2 of 'em.  So the future looks bright.  One of which has happened whilst under pretty extreme medical oversight and treatment.  How extreme?  I've had more than 40 doctors (medical tests, lab work, et al) appointments in the 63 week (working) days since the beginning of the year, that means on average I haven't gone 2 (week) days in a row without a medical appointment in 2016 (and that doesn't even include hospitalizations factored in). 

Funnily enough with all of that I still have to actively remind myself that I'm not well.  Again, the power of the mind to shape one's reality...  I've been forced by circumstances to adapt to certain aspects of not being healthy.  No boo hoo-ing.  We're all forced to adapt to the sack of shit we each must carry in life. 

(Sack of Shit Definition:  Shittay stuff that befalls us that we have the choice to either let kill us/drag us down/fuck us up/steal your youness, or adapt to. 

What differentiates this shit that's happening from one's sack of shit is that usually shit that's happening allows for ya to change its course, reverse it, alter its outcome or mitigate its severity or life impact--  stuff that depending on things in our control might/likely provide you with an opportunity to sit that shit down, move on from, ignore, overcome, put behind ya, etc., whereas one's sack of shit is a permanent, unchangeable, and no matter what you do can never be put down or improved.  It's always with you, like an invisible weight.  Everyone carries a sack of shit.  You might not see it or know what it is, but it's there.)

I'm adapting to the fact that I have to change my, 'it's probably just a pulled muscle' inclinations, and that my SOP of walk it off/suck it up mindset is no longer pragmatic, or in my best interest.  I wish I could report that realizing that it's easily lethal makes it an easier change to make.  It does not.  But I'm tryin' to get right with making the mental switch that everything isn't an acquiescence towards hypochondria but a step towards stayin' alive in the new norm.  Having to acclimate to paying attention to what I'd normally consider non-acknowledgement worthy minute health changes, feelings or statistics is hard.  But when the prize is not losing an organ, or your life, it's a game who's rules I must learn to abide by in lieu of the standard BBG rules.  (Apologies.  That was probably more of a reminder for me than a learning about Lupus for you.)    

I'm discovering that the Loop requires a lot of adaptation, concessions and yielding.  Frankly, waaaaaay more than I'm comfortable with.  ...Not that what I'm comfortable with matters one flyin' fuck in this situation...  Acknowledged.  (Life never promised to be 'comfortable'.)  Like it has insidiously impacted my innards I notice it impacting almost every aspect of my life.  More on that on a different day.  (There's only so much Debbie Downer-ing I can involve myself in on one day.  Today I only have it in me to detail the physical impact.)

Before I conclude this episode of Shit You Probably Didn't Know About Lupus, I'll leave you with a couple of last who-knew's?...

Fun Facts:  Another tip off to a Lupus flare I can tell ya about is hair loss.  (Yeah, that happens too.  Not to a bald-y degree, but enough that I thought I'd noticed that there was an overabundance of hair in my brush each time I used it [like the pulled muscle thing?  I just continued on by workin' with the;  I'm sure I'm just bein' hyperaware of something therefore it seems like more is coming out than normal than when I'm 100% not paying any amount of attention to how much/little hair is in my brush, ya know?  [...Again, power of the mind to position things so that you don't have to go on a murder spree...] , and that my Mom unprompted asked if my hair was fallin' out.  So, noticeable enough.) 

You can kill me.  Because of the drugs used to try to fight the Lupus, which in my case means the attempt to keep the Loop from jackin' up the rest of my organs, ya know, the other 20 that have yet to stage a coup and try to kill me, I'm now immunocompromised.  The med is also given to organ transplant patients so that they won't reject their transplanted organ(s) and lowers one's immune system to the point that kinda everything*, including (yep) you poses a danger.   

* A few 'everything' examples;
  • Plants/flowers/mulch - they carry microorganisms that can cause infections 
  • Foods (a surprising number of foods)
  • H20 water (when unfiltered or unbottled) and ice.  As an added bonus swimming in standing water (lakes, ponds, hot tubs)
  • People who have had live vaccines (MMR, rotavirus, flu (nasal spray), chickenpox, shingles, smallpox, typhoid [oral only] and yellow fever) or are experiencing colds, infections (skin, respiratory, strep, etc.,) or are in any manner contagious
  • The actual fuckin' sun (As a extra special perk, also indoor lighting)
  • Crowds, buffets/salad bars, mani's/pedi's, public gyms
  • short if it poses a threat to someone being treated for cancer or someone undergoing a bone marrow or organ transplant, it's now something I must be cognizant to avoid for the rest of my life.
  • Johns Hopkins recommendations for the immunocompromised

Generally, I don't discuss the details of other people, but to underscore the importance of the danger I know someone with Lupus who got what at the time was thought to be a super minor infection.  Within a day or two was sent to the hospital, that day was operated on for necrotizing fasciitis (nec fasc) and spent weeks in the ICU trying to save their life.  More than a month was spent in the hospital once the flesh eating-ness had been stopped due to the havoc wreaked on their overall tenuous Loopie health.  It then took more than two years (yes, 2 YEARS) for the wound left from the margins needed to be cut (to stop the nec fasc from spreading) off to heal.  The person nearly died and the event stole more than two solid years from their life.  They still have complications due to that super minor infection after several years that have passed that dictate how time and energy life gets spent and still necessitates numerous doctors appointments and medical oversight to manage.   

If you're beginning to get the impression that Lupus isn't just a funny sounding disease, you're right. 


Thursday, March 17, 2016

~ It's A Great Day For The Irish

I. love. St. Patrick's Day.  It hands down is the highest of BBG holy days.  But truth be told?  While I've celebrated like a mother fuckin' boss, I've always felt the pang of bein' an Irish outsider.   

This is at least six-10 of my annual tipsy St. Patrick's Day conversations:

   Drunken stranger/new best friend: Are you Irish?  (generally followed by a laugh o' mockery)

   BBG:  No.  But I'm the most Irish non-Irish girl you've ever met*

This is usually followed by my laying out supporting assertion details.  Including, but not limited to the fact that my H.S. was the home of the Fightin' Irish.  I like to weave craic into conversations.  I love a man in a kilt.  My love of bagpipes.  My propensity for using póg mo thóin.  (kiss my ass in Gaelic)  And that it really pisses me off when people use St. Patty's as opposed to St. Paddy's.  (Although in fairness it does serve as a quick tip off to who is a poser and/or straight up dumbass. [Thank you for hints, world.])

Claddagh:  The hands signify friendship, the heart love and the crown loyalty

...But I've always felt like an Irish interloper.  Like, as much as I enjoyed the day, it wasn't rightfully mine to celebrate.

That was until shortly after last years St. Patrick's Day, when my Mom received the ethnic make up portion of the DNA test she had taken over the winter.  My love of St. Patrick's Day suddenly became Waterford crystal clear (and rightfully mine, bitches.  Sorry.  O'Bitches.) when it was determined she carries a 30% Irish genetic make up, by extension making this lil' BBG at least 15% a product of the Emerald Isle. 

My surprise, and glee at the news was immeasurable.  The idea that this St. Patrick's I would be able to fully, and without feelin' like an imposter, get my shenanigans on was an actual mind blower.  For eleven months I've been looking forward to St. Patrick's '16 with the anticipation and zeal of a virgin awaiting their first penetration.  In preparation I've started referring to Éire as 'the motherland'.  Quasi obnoxious and 100% true story.

Recent health issues will preclude me from celebrating in the style I desire and am accustomed to.  Which for clarification is perhaps best summed up by a comment a former co-worker once turned whilst recounting being at the same place I was St. Patrick's-ing one year a long ass time ago;  "...aaaaaaaannnnnd that's when I thought you were getting arrested."  (BigBoy shoutout)

The Paul Harvey-y rest of the story?  Unlike 99.44% of reasonable people one of my tipsy ideas of a good time has always been gabbin' with the po-po.  On this particular St. Patrick's Day there were a couple of off duty city officers who showed up at dusk to the outdoor tent shindig.  Naturally, at some point I found myself chatting with the boys in blue.  About what?  I can't accurately say.  But we'd shared some giggles, I may have told them how to do their job when I was the one who pointed out a car driving the wrong way up a one way street next to us.  Somethin' along the lines of '...well, ok, dumbass, but between the two of us I'm the only one who's noticed a car goin' the wrong damn way up a one way street.'  #AlwaysClassy  (He laughed and super sheepishly walked over the offendin' motorist to turn him around.)  Surprisingly, "......aaaaaaannnnnnnnd that's when I thought you were getting arrested" wasn't even about that.  Nope.  I remember the other officer, who I had not tipsily called a dumbass, and I shared a laugh about something I'm sure was quite inappropriate ridiculous.  Sometimes when I'm in the cups I have tendency to get a lil' handsy.  Not grope-y, but I'm probably gonna touch ya.  Especially if you're cute.  And sportin' a Glock and badge.  The laughter caused me to poke said officer in the chesty-belly area in jest.  Which because his hands were in his coat pockets this in turned made him lose his balance and he started to tip backwards.  By instinct, and with my cat-like reflexes I reached out grabbed him by his front (coat) zipper and pulled him back to true vertical, thusly saving his life, or at least so goes my version of the tale.   

It's true I probably won't be in danger of being at a level of revelry where anyone thinks I am this close to goin' to the hooskal like a hooligan.  I will be enjoying this St. Patrick's more than I ever have before.  (Hope you do too.)  Sláinte!

* Things I never have to say again.

Other St. Patrick's Posts:

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