raybear: (Default)
On karaoke on Friday, I was all prepared with a long list, but the majority of my songs were not in the book. While not horribly shocked about all of the gaps, I was still bummed. But I managed a pretty long and fun set. (Songs with an asterik are ones on my pre-made list! I'm not revealing the unsung songs, but I did save the scrap of paper so the next time I order a custom disc, I can make more dreams happen.)

- **I Can't Tell You Why -- The Eagles
- The Jump Off -- Lil Kim (with [livejournal.com profile] dommeyourass)
- **Can't Go for That -- Hall & Oates
- To Be With You -- Mr. Big (with [livejournal.com profile] vfc, also when I called [livejournal.com profile] anjymama in honor of her birthday)
- I Know What You Want -- Busta Rhymes & Mariah Carey & Co. (with [livejournal.com profile] dommeyourass and [livejournal.com profile] blondestallion)
- Walk Away -- Kelly Clarkson (this was supposed to be Herman's Hermits' There's a Kind of Hush, but the laserdisc was skipping so I made a last minute substitution)

I feel like I'm missing something.....maybe not.

Today I went to a new dermatologist, who is part of Northwestern Hospital. Holy cow, that place is overwhelming and giant and a highly organized well-oiled machine. But my experience with the actual doctor and his 4th year assistant was very positive and while they were quick, I didn't feel rushed or harried. The new diagnosis is NOT discoid lupus, but instead guttate psoriasis. I actually have not done copious googling of this yet, partly because I have a head-cold and slept most of the afternoon away, but I'm sure I'll occupy myself at work between facebook games by reading about it. The little bit I've done, the pictures seem a lot more accurate to me, then when I was googling pictures of discoid lupus. It still is an autoimmune condition, but it also connects to the strep that I probably had to kick off this whole problem. I say 'probably' because I never got a throat culture. By the way, I will never, ever, ever again do doctoring by phone and let someone just call in a prescription and never go in for follow-up. Because part of my problem might also be that he prescribed the wrong antibiotics course for strep and so depending on my blood draw today, I might have to go on them again because the strep is still floating around my body not totally knocked out. Which would also probably explain why I got all flu and feverish a few weeks ago, why I haven't been as energetic in general (I was assuming change of weather/depression), why I have a cold right now. This also fits with the model that [livejournal.com profile] sugarsmile had hypothesized too, and I have an appointment for more acupuncture tomorrow. However, I have said before "this fits the model" and then it didn't, so really, what the fck. I don't know. I am following an episode of House to the T. I'm just hoping I've passed through the last commercial break and that this is not a two-part episode.

The doc wrote me a prescription for a giant tub of steroid cream. I haven't filled it yet, but the paper says "1 lb".
raybear: (red)
This probably isn't a huge surprise, but I really love Kate Bush. Well, I love Kate Bush's music. There is a documentary dvd something about her that's been on my netflix queue for years and it sometimes works its way close to the top, but I always bump it down. I think I worry it will be boring or tedious or she will somehow be even more weird that I already know her to be and will completely turn me off from her music. I have this with lots of creative mediums, when I get to know the artist exclusively through their work and not at all through their biography, and then I sometimes get scared to learn about their real-life at all and decide that really, its best to only absorb the art/music/words for what they are themselves and not know anything about the creator at all. Which completely contradicts the fact that are certain artists who I'm very intrigued and interested in not only their creative process but also their personal life. (This also reminds me of when [livejournal.com profile] wearemany visited and told me Chuck Palahniuk was gay and I was floored, even though I've read 2/3 of the man's catalog.) I'm a hermeneutics-relativist. I am also a big nerd because I just made up that term to describe myself. But that's not a huge surprise either.

I got home last night and felt super anxious about being home alone and no longer around people to distract me, so I watched a movie. Specifically I watched 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days which is maybe an odd choice to watch while feeling raw, but sometimes I feel like rather than distract in a light fashion, I'd prefer to just go all the way there and watch something brutal. And that movie is brutal, but not in the way I thought. I'd sort of been dragging my heels on watching it, kinda like I do with most movies in that category of 'should watch' but seem so emotionally pornographic and possible problematic for those reasons (e.g. Hotel Rwanda, Schindler's List, etc.) but this movie was not what I was expecting. I mean, its still wrenching, but for these different reasons, and it was powerfully done in ways that are not usually conveyed in films -- its not in the least bit histrionic, but its actually more painful because its really just staying in the moment of these people experiencing or absorbing trauma(s). I recently watched Michael Haneke's Funny Games, the american remake, and fck, that guy is brutal as a director. Brilliant, too, but at what cost? I don't know. But I'm realizing, oh maybe I like those movies. I mean, 'like' is a relative term. How can I say I 'liked' Dogville and Manderlay? Unless you defined the word 'like' as: I wanted to vomit then take a hot shower and/or kill myself afterwards but I can't stop thinking about the performances and ideas and stories AT ALL and I'm dying to talk about it with someone else who's seen it but I could never in millions and millions of years every recommend someone watch them. Then hell yeah, I 'liked' them. But anyway, 4 Months, etc. is intense but not nearly as assaulting as the other movies I've mentioned, and I appreciated the themes more and that it focused on a woman, on women, and that it wasn't totally misogynistic, which is often the problem with most brutal movies, they always seem to brutalize women unequally, which, even politics aside (which I don't think HAVE to be pushed aside either), creatively seems kinda lazy to me.

In Other NewsTM, I spent almost the entire weekend around people and I think it was sort of necessary because I was kinda freaking out after going to the doctor on Friday and he told me his assessment of my rash is that I have discoid lupus, which is essentially lupus of the skin, which is essentially my immune system is attacking my skin, which means I'm causing the rash myself. I'm mean, quasi-metaphorically speaking, as is my thinking on a bad day/hour. Its not confirmed, he took lots of blood to have myself tested (also for systemic lupus, which is generally what people mean when they say 'lupus'), and I still have a dermatologist appointment for next week (at a different place than the I-Don't-Know-What dermatologist of two weeks ago) and I suspect they will skin biopsy as well. But honestly, it kinda feels right. It explains the non-responsiveness to all antibacterial and antifungal type treatments. It explains why it receded when I got sick, then came back stronger after (because my immune system was too busy fighting the flu to fight my own skin, thanks). It explains the face rash on my nose and cheeks that looks completely different from the rash on the rest of my body. It explains the intense flares of it after being in the sun. It explains why it seems to be doing lots better after applying steroid cream once and doing lots and lots of moisturizing -- I had been letting it dry out last week because I thought the dampness was making it itchy, but drying turned out to make me feel more miserable. So now when you see me in person, I will conceivably smell like coconut, because I am in love with rubbing that isht all over myself to get rid of the dryness and smell delicious in the process. Its also nice to have found something that makes me feel more pleased about my body and not so dissociated, which is what has been happening the longer this rash has gone on. So, who knows maybe in two weeks I'll be writing on here again saying, wait, no, its not scarlet fever, nor fungal infection, nor discoid lupus, its _____. But I sure hope not. Because as scary and troubling as discoid lupus seems to me in certain moments (there is a small but not statistically insignificant risk that is could lead to systemic lupus), its certainly not as bad as other things. It will probably involve lots of topical steroids and maybe even oral ones for a short period to make this outbreak go away, and then just ongoing monitoring/prevention.

I am excited to someday soon have back that 35% of my brain and emotional energy that seems to currently be permanently devoted to this problem. I'm glad that at least I care enough about all of you to not turn this into a total rash blog.
raybear: (Default)
I had this minor meltdown last week, and it just happened because sometimes those things happen, and I keep waivering between writing about it and not wanting to write about it, mostly the latter, except when I'd come here, I didn't know what to say instead. But now I have some stories to tell. And some other minor bits at the end.

So. My rash. Not scarlet fever. Its still here. It started to maybe heal (drying up, peeling) but then it got worse. And so I decided to try vinegar because I thought it might be fungal (and years back I had this mystery scaly patch on the top of my foot that didn't heal with over-the-counter antifungals or prescription steroids but did go away after a few days of swabbing it with kitchen vinegar). It seemed to be helping, some. But hard to tell. It also made me feel pretty disgusting, the thought of being covered in a fungal infection. Why is that so much worse than bacteria or viral? It just is. Finally, today I caved and called the dermatologist that [livejournal.com profile] dommeyourass uses. I called at 8:30 am, they said, how about 10:00? Ok.

I show up at just past 10, its an empty office. DYA warned me this guy is perpetually one week away from retirement and so is his assistant, I would guess. I fill out a form, which is this 1/2 page sheet of new patient info that was possibly copied on a mimeograph machine. But whatever, I overhear him talking isht about McCain and his tax plan, so I'm fine with it.

He points me to exam room one, which has all these leather seats, like, the metal bucket seat style with leather upholstering. He tells me to put my stuff in one, but sit in a specific one across from him. There's no actual exam table. There is a stack of his self-published book on Dickens references. He asks me about the rash. He tells me to take off my shirt and stand up. Then he tells me to pull down my pants. I start to kick off my shoes, and he says "you don't need to take off your shoes, just pull down your pants." Um, ok. I do. "Pull down your shorts." I.e. my boxer shorts. "Um....uh......" He waves me off, "just do it! I need to see!"

Well, okay then. I pull down my boxers. He pauses, looks, says "where's your....." trails off then says, "ok, turn that way." He inspects some more, then says I can put all my clothes back on.

To the man's credit, he just kept going in the face of my unexpected junk being directly eyelevel. To my credit, I didn't freak out or burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. I didn't even bother with an explanation. I mean, what more can you say after fcking showing your business like that?

Then he gave me his diagnosis: "I don't know WHAT it is." Then he proceeded to type out the prescription on this Apple IIE computer and print it out on a dot matrix printer, the kind with the strips along the side, and he busted out his straight edge to tear the sheet in half -- one copy for me, one for the file.

"What is this your prescribing?" A steroid cream. I'm supposed to pick one area of the body and apply it twice a day for a week. He suggests my arms. The rash is ALL OVER. It is spotting all over my back, belly, legs. It is concentrated in certain areas, like my arms and lower back and part of my belly, but still. So, I'm supposed to use this for a week, and hopefully it will work and when I come back he'll look and prescribe more if it does. If not, he will scrape one of the red dots off and send away to have it biopsied.

Hell, no. I mean, whatever, he could have fcking scraped off one today and sent it off if he wanted, I wouldn't have minded. But don't tell me you don't know what it is (he thinks its something something psoriasis, even though I've never had that before and it just happened to appear while on these antibiotics?), but then you prescribe medication for me on a lark? Don't get me wrong, I appreciate his honesty. But when I pulled up to the store with the pharmacy, I decided to leave the piece of paper in the car and not even fill it. Instead I remember, oh yeah, I have a friend who's a health practitioner now and she made an appointment for me tomorrow and called me today and I told her the story of my rash unfolding/spreading and she had ideas of what it is and how to treat it. I felt so relieved and taken care of and happy that I have good people to call up, if I can just remember to do it. So tomorrow, I'm also getting acupuncture for the first time. I've had no aversion to it, just never had an opportunity before to partake.

I bought myself Trader Joe's ice cream chipwiches as my treat after the dermatologist. I ate them on the couch with DYA while watching episodes of 30 Rock.

Then on the way to work today, I got a flat tire. Which sucks and is inconvenient, but I wasn't too worked up about it. I've been lucky to make it through the whole summer without one, which is somewhat miraculous given the ridiculous unavoidable potholes and massive strips of asphalt missing on Milwaukee Avenue (which is what finally burst this one). I was also not too far from a train station, so I parked my bike and made it to work relatively on-time. I had this idea of patching it up after work and riding home, but that is probably somewhat insane of a scheme, given its dark outside. I'll probably just bring the bike on the train and do it in the morning in the yard.

There's another piece of today, which includes reconnecting with an old and dear friend/mentor of mine via Facebook that even thinking about gets me all misty and choked up but that story will have to wait, I have to finish some work projects. But there was one line she wrote in her message to me that has just been sustaining me all afternoon and evening. And that is a pretty amazing thing, I am still almost working to really hear it and let it sink in. I've been thinking so much about the devastation of people and loss, I needed a reminder of the other side of the coin.

Also, after [livejournal.com profile] drood and my work crush suggested the new itunes for the "Genius" feature, I'm hooked. Its like Pandora with your own music collection!
raybear: (sword)
I walk into work and my officemate is freaking out. "They need you downstairs, there's a HUGE project, they need to know your skills, it's due by 8 am, they need to talk to you, blah blah blah." Ok. I log into e-mail, I see that there's a power point presentation project. I wander down to the 12th floor, and every person possibly involved is not at their desk. So I come back to my desk and see that there's an e-mail about a birthday party in the main conference room for one of the namesake partners. So while my officemate is freaking out about whether she will "have to work overtime, I didn't want you to be lambasted, they said they would be busting heads if it wasn't done by 8 am, blah blah blah", I'm getting smoked salmon and cotswald cheese and roast beef mini-sandwiches and pouring a glass of champagne while talking to the person about the project, who is eating a piece of cake. I don't understand false emergencies and making everything a Big Deal. I mean, I have anxiety issues, but damn. We work at a place that is feeding us snacks and champagne and cake and no one is bleeding. What's your damage, Heather?

Today I called a 24 hour nurse hotline (my doctor's office is closed on Thursday) and discussed my rash. Based on all these fun things like the size of the dots, whether they turned white when I pressed them, and the symmetry of the placement on my body, and the circumstances in which it appeared, she said it was strep rash. That my fever and swollen tonsils two weeks ago were probably had strep throat, and the bacteria in that causes strep rash in some people because of reactions to the toxins, something something. When I had strep throat when I was 13, I had a rash after that too, and she said that probably means my body is just predisposed to it. So, no West Nile Virus for me. But of course I hung up the phone and googled strep rash and do you know what it is? Scarlet fever. That is way more literary and awesome and makes me feel less freakish about my rash. Just please, no one try to burn my velveteen rabbit in the leaf pile tonight while I'm sleeping.

I always think I don't like carrot cake, and then I have a slice of good carrot cake and I realize, damn, I really like carrot cake.

May 2010

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