Checking Yourself

This is a quick post, and this is not about me.  (It’s a quick post because very late, for reasons I can’t divulge just now.)

Two days ago I was trying to come up with a theme for a blog in a group on FB and an Amanda (there are three of them and I can’t for the life of me remember which) said a good theme was “trust but verify” even yourself.

I normally don’t have this issue TOO FAR because I take no medications that could influence my mood.  Because of this, I don’t even take percocet until I’m at “pain screaming” levels.  I’m one of those people who look suspiciously at aspirin.  It’s how I was brought up, but also a wish to have my mind be my own.

However, sometimes books influence me.  Usually this influence is minor, like craving a certain food, or speaking with weird vocabulary choice.  (Lately Irish.)

But even when you’re not on meds, you can spin out.

The thing is when your brain is wrong, you won’t detect that you’re going crazy.  No, seriously.  It’s what you are thinking with that’s broken.  I’ve had friends spin out over post partum depression, or illness, or other stuff, that suddenly makes them paranoid or obsessed.

In my case, I went through a period when my hormones were off and I got PROFOUNDLY depressed.  Fortunately it was the “beige” and “do nothing” depression, so I wasn’t actively causing harm to myself or others, but I was passively doing so by lacking the ability to do/complete anything.  I knew I was off, but not by how much till it was fixed.

To a certain extent I’m going through that now, as I recover from years of illness (in large part also hormonal, but also chronic pain that kept me awake.  I’m still in shock at sleeping through the night almost every night, unless act of cat disrupts it.) and amazed at figuring out how “off” I was.

But particularly when you’re on meds and go out of control, sometimes people don’t realize how out of control they are, or how atypically they’re acting.

I had a friend who overnight decided I was her first and foremost enemy.  Yeah, eventually she got better, but the friendship will never be the same.

So, what can you do?

Well, if you starting in in a way you know you normally don’t/people tell you is not quite right, particularly if a lot of people who know you really well are telling you this?

Trust but verify.  If you’re under treatment consider if your meds stopped working/are having weird side effects.

If you’re not under treatment, check that you’re OKAY.  If you’re ill, even if it’s something stupid and minor, see if this can affect your behavior.  (Things do you wouldn’t believe.)

If you have a tendency to depression, figure out if you’re in the middle of it.

And if none of those, consider if you’ve been influenced by a book, a movie, an experience.  These are often of shorter duration, but I swear there have been books that left me… evil.  It’s the only way to put it.  And sometimes it lasts days.

Because your brain is what you think with, it’s important to make sure it’s not lying to you.

It’s also important to check with unavoidable reality.  I mean, maybe you think that your dog is trying to kill you, so observe carefully.  If he’s licking, not biting you, probably not.

So, trust but verify.  EVEN (Particularly) yourself.

And now I go because this week is unbelievable.  I’ll be back on track next week.  (And yes, this is also something that influences you.  When you have fifty things coming at you at once, you WILL do a great impression of an airhead.  Even if you’re not one.)

161 responses to “Checking Yourself

  1. “I had a friend who overnight decided I was her first and foremost enemy. Yeah, eventually she got better, but the friendship will never be the same.”
    Sadly, so did I, and it killed our marriage. She also got better, and we are again friends, for some values of “friends.” But I will never again trust her in the way one must trust their spouse to have a healthy relationship.

  2. That or a bear with a sore tail. When I’m already juggling too many balls, throwing another at me is a good way to get snapped at.

    • I do this, too. Generally it happens long past the point I should have said “stop, enough!” And sometimes, only sometimes, mind, I can get over that, laugh about it, and keep going farther and doing more than I ever thought I could.

      Most of the time when I overcommit, something gets dropped, though. Usually at the most inconvenient time, but there’s rarely a convenient time, is there? *chuckle*

    • Yeah, my response, too — can manage a group at a workparty as long as I can take their problems in turn, but when several come at me at once, I can get really … short with ’em. Fortunately, they mostly know me.

    • Reality Observer

      Then there are the days when you are actually juggling half a dozen live grenades – and it’s yet another one coming at you…
      All too many of those days over the last couple of months. I don’t know how I’m still getting anything done so far as writing goes.

    • that’s been me. in a beige fading towards black funk, and very over stressed at work. I’ve been like one of those “plates on sticks, twirling around while the juggler tries to keep them all spinning” kind of skits. I snapped about something while having to stop work to explain something, then go find something else, then yet another plate falls … I snapped.
      Boss mentioned that I needed to change. it was “just too much stress” (As he has about three times mine, I took it to heart) ” try not to worry about it. We can’t fix everything right now”
      So I can’t change anything at work, but I just put up a new plate when I can get to it, stopped rushing and still manage to keep close to done on time, even doing two people’s workload in my job, and having duties from other’s jobs that have been fobbed off on me.
      Now if I could just get my subconscious to relax as well. I’ve been dreaming a lot. Normally I don’t recall a thing. lately it has ALL been work related, and when I wake, it feels like I’ve not rested at all.
      My mind is trying to kill me, I’m fairly sure.

  3. I work in wood and metal often with power tools. I shoot guns which are simply power tools with a long reach. I reload ammunition which requires the handling of dangerous components.
    There are times when I know I should not be doing any of those things. At those times it’s just prudent to sit quietly and watch TV or read a book.
    IMNSHO any competent person should be the best judge of their own capabilities and capacities at any given time. And that includes recognizing that you are too tired, hungry, out of sorts, drunk, or incapacitated to further trust your own judgement.

    • Generally, yes. But how many of us are truly competent persons?

      This is why it is so valuable to have friends and family to provide additional gyroscopic stability to the whirl of thoughts in your noggin.

      It is also why it is important to observe the entourage of associates surrounding any political or social leader. Everybody, and I mean everybody gets a wild hare occasionally. Most people have somebody to tell them “That’s one idea that’s a stinker.” But the more “important” a person becomes, the fewer people who a) can be trusted to tell them when an idea stinks so bad it can clear a room and b) can be trusted to have the personage’s best interests in mind.

      “Successful” people acquire their own gravitational pull, they acquire lesser people eager to bask in their glow, to orbit their stardom and share its benefits. They seek to orbit closer and will ingratiate themselves by agreeing even (especially) when they have no idea whether the star’s wobbling unevenly or spinning smoothly. They tend to shape the room to their personage — we see this in small scale at cons where Beloved Author enters a room and immediately becomes the conversational center.

      Political leaders experience this even more, which is why it is important to note what precautions they’ve engineered to tell them when an idea is a room clearer. It is also one reason why it is valuable for such people to have a religious faith that reminds them that they, too, are mortal … and accountable to a higher authority.

      A few years back, there were a number of articles about Tom Jones, who was coming out with a Gospel album (Praise & Blame — quite good if that’s your sort of thing, quite surprising if your awareness of Jones is merely his Vegas stuff) and one article discussed his friendship with Elvis. Jones provided Elvis with something he could not easily find: a friend who was big enough, secure enough in his own self that he wasn’t seeking to get himself a boost from Elvis’ gravitational field. Elvis was surrounded by people who, when Elvis “cut the cheese” wouldn’t hesitate to praise the bouquet. What he needed was somebody to say, “Wow, dude – light a match.”

      When you find yourself surrounded by people who adore you it is a good idea to remember their judgement is tainted — it must be, if they put up with you.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        Generally, yes. But how many of us are truly competent persons?

        This is why it is so valuable to have friends and family to provide additional gyroscopic stability to the whirl of thoughts in your noggin.

        This is why those Snickers commercials resonate with a lot of people. One can get into a state which causes them to act very differently than normal, and can’t see it until their behavior has caused harm.

        • Funny you should mention those Snickers commercials. One thing I learned after being diagnosed with Type I Diabetes was that the first thing to be affected by low blood sugar is your brain. Thus, if I’m about to go into hypoglycemic shock, I’m the last person whose judgment can be trusted on the subject of whether I’m about to go into hypoglycemic shock. Thus, much like those Snickers commercials, I need someone to say, “Zsuzsa, you’re not acting like you. Drink some orange juice or soda or something that will start your blood sugar moving back up.”

          • I gather there are dogs who can be trained to recognize when you’re “in imminent danger of systems failure.” Such symptoms as impending diabetic shock or epileptic attack can apparently be identified by these dogs with sufficient time to warn their companion before repercussions become concrete.

            I can conceive of methods to train a dog to spot hypoglycemic shock but there seem to be clear ethical issues with training dogs to spot an epileptic attack.

            • I know of a man who had a cat who could, and would pat his face when his blood sugar was too low.

            • It has been fifteen minutes since I read your post and I’m still drawing a blank on the ethical issues. What’s your reasoning?

              • The elements required to train the animal are to induce the condition, get the animal to recognize the condition and train the human to recognize the animal’s recognition. (See above: it does no good for the cat to pat your cheek if you don’t understand why.) The first step is thus to find an animal capable of spotting the impending systems failure, then to reinforce that by training the animal to warn of its imminence.

                Inducing and treating hypoglycemic shock is relatively simple and safe. Doing as much with an epileptic attack is rather more problematic.

                • There are people who suffer multiple epileptic seizures in a day that are really difficult to control.

                  • I don’t know about the ethical issues, but fact is, they do. I’ve known several people with service animals trained to warned them when they were going to have an epileptic seizure, including a friend’s child daughter. Which I remember her saying required training each elementary teacher her child had how to recognize what the animal was doing.

        • Yes. I have a collarbone that pops out of place and somehow impedes blood flow to my brain. Motivation goes away, and I get frustrated with myself for getting nothing done. If I’m really lucky, it dawns on me what is happening. If not, it goes on till I mention it to my wife, who says, “Have you checked your collarbone?”

      • Could I first just have the ‘room full of people who adore you’? Just for the experience? Just for a little while?

        It must be nice.

    • You should be, but: An ex-boss was a instrument flying instructor, illustrated a lot of points with flying stories. One had to do with flying high enough w/o oxy that you’re suffering from anoxia – but you don’t have the judgement (b/c anoxia) to know you are. A fair number of people have suffered from this…

      • Reality Observer

        Which is why other people are vital. For instance, if I am ever in severe pain, everyone in my family has instructions to prevent my receiving codeine or any of its analogues – it puts me into such a paranoia that I should absolutely, positively, be literally in restraints.

        Since the pain involved has to be, as Sarah puts it, “screaming in agony,” I obviously can’t be trusted to tell them myself in that situation.

        • Ouch.

          I know a woman who can’t take it because it makes her wired, but you’ve got it much worse.

          • Reality Observer

            It was a strange thing – I had it two times as a youngster (managed to break each arm). Just put me into a comatose state.

            Then my internal chemistry apparently changed sometime between when I was 15 and… 24? Seriously wrenched back, and I had the paranoia.

            Same exact formulation and dosage – Tylenol 3 in all cases.

            Of course, it could have changed again, but I’m not about to try any experiments to find out.

          • I’ve heard of the wired reaction to codeine before, which might even be an acceptable side effect, except it is usually accompanied by a total lack of pain relief.

      • That’s why the AF sends everyone on flying status to an altitude chamber initially. I presume, annually for those remaining on flying status.

        • Civilian pilots can arrange to do this as well.

          They bring the whole chamber up to mumble-mumble thousand feet (20ish if I recall) with everyone on O2, and then have individuals take off their mask and perform some simple task (toddlers games, such as blocks-into-correct-shaped-holes, are popular) so everyone can A) see how stupid you get, and B) the individual can hopefully experience and recognize some of the onset symptoms, so they can do something if they encounter this while actually aviating up in the wild blue (such as descend back to where ther’s air, or turn up the O2 supply knob, etc.)

          The experience of going stupid like that is not something one easily forgets, plus often it feel really good – you get giddy and goofy. For me, once I get back on O2 and afterwards when I get out I get a headbanger of a hangover, so at that point I’m not so giddy anymore.

        • Divers and pressure tanks. Raptures of the deep can do strange things to your mind. In training class for my license, there was story of a diver with bends undergoing treatment in a tank. He was okay but the nurse, in there with him to monitor him, started doing a strip tease.

      • Yep. I was just about to say that myself, but instead, I’ll just leave this video here for people to watch:

        “Four of spades, four of spades.”

    • Uncle Lar-

      I use powertools a lot, and we are in the middle of a major home expansion/remodeling. So sometimes when I come from work I just camp out on the couch – and my wife stops and looks. (Did I mentioned I am doing all the electrical, plumbing, and finish work?). I just tell her I am not allowed to use power tools today. Sometimes she understands. 🙂 It helps that this is a rare occurrence. BTW – anyone work with PEX and have advice on best way to connect fittings?

      -John

      • The Other Sean

        Do you mean the choice between the pricier but easy quick-connect fittings vs. the cheap fittings that must be attached using the pricey tool? If so, I’ve no advice, but would be interested to hear opinions on the subject, as I’m renovating a 66-year-old Airstream that needs complete replumbing.

        • Yeah, that – also manufacturer of the tools. When I learn stuff I will let you know (being held up by a structure issue).

          -John

        • Feather Blade

          I would say it depends on how many fitting you need. If the cost to buy all of the easy-but-expensive fittings exceeds the cost to buy the cheap fitting and the tool, then go with the tool. (… provided that the cheap fittings are exactly as reliable as the expensive ones, of course)

          It would be simple enough to graph those lines and see where they intersect.

  4. One of the symptoms of onset of Diabetes Type II is increased irritability. Now, i did not experience this, and anybody who says otherwise is a dirty, lying, rat fink and obviously biased against me, but I am assured that it does happen.

    Learning of this symptom caused me to ponder the degree to which our conceptions of ourselves is based on a false premise: that we are consistent, independent personalities. I suspect women, having gone through teen hormonage, are less susceptible to this than are men, but I doubt many of us are actively conscious of the degree to which we are little more than transport mechanisms for a colony of gut bacteria, much less the degree to which those bacteria affect our thinking.

    • I probably observed the effect; however, since ‘increased irritability’ is the symptom it would be difficult to tell the difference in me.

    • Short fuse is one of the symptoms when I start to go towards depression. I have a temper, but I have learned to control it from young age, and most times I do it well enough that people seem to think I’m phlegmatic rather than temperamental. I either control it or if I fear I can’t I leave the situation, and one way to control it is not to engage if something like a debate looks like it is starting to heat up.

      So when I get where I start actually snapping at people, or my cats, I know there is something wrong because that has always been something Just Not Done, as far as I am concerned. Or when I start to feel like hitting something if any small problem gets on my way. Or crying, which for me more often tends to connect with anger rather than sadness or fear (or else fear makes me angry…) so if I start crying I’m probably getting pretty close to hitting something, or somebody, too.

    • Re: the degree to which we are little more than transport mechanisms for a colony of bacteria: one fun fact that I learned after I started seriously working in computational biology is that the number of bacterial cells living in a typical human body outnumbers the human cells in that body by about 10 to 1.

      So if you’re ever feeling like you’re all alone, just remember that even within your own body, you’re a minority.

      • If half of them are good for you, at least you have a lot of friends…!

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Chuckle Chuckle

        There was a story about a man who was “invaded” by intelligent bacteria. Nice people actually as they “gave” him a vote in what happens with his body. Of course, his vote was one against a billion bacteria. [Evil Grin]

        • He should have demanded a cell-for-cell vote (One Cell, One Vote!) with himself as proxy for all cells of his body.

          That way he would only be outvoted 10:1.

        • Sounds like midichlorians to me.

          Treating the Jedi with antibiotics….

  5. I didn’t realize how much chronic pain – the kind that made my wife cry because I would moan in pain while I slept (poorly) – until the doctor gave me meds to knock enough of the edge off so I could actually get decent rest.
    It had the opposite effect of pepping me up as my natural energy levels returned when I didn’t have to deal with the pain. I eventually resorted to using the pills to work and suffering the rest of the time. Baumgartner in his book “Willpower” called it ego depletion. An apt phrase.
    So, I’m in constant scan-mode with myself. If I start getting too far off the rails, I make adjustments. My wife is a huge help as she sometimes recognizes it first.
    Sarah, glad that you’re seeing light at the other end of that tunnel. It can be a long journey.

    • Pain. Getting increasingly worse for 20 years. I had NO CLUE. I thought I just had insomnia. then I got painkillers for a short-lived complaint and I asked the doctor if they had a soporific effect. She said “no” and then checked stuff.
      Anyway, six months later I’m stopping sleeping ALL THE TIME and I still feel a little odd.
      So, yes, constant checking of myself, too.

    • Constant pain doesn’t have to be intense to get you down. It just has to be constant.

      There’s a very apt joke: A man with a toothache goes fishing. As he stand in the boat to cast, he falls and winds up hanging upside down from the side of the boat with his testicles caught in an oarlock.

      A rescuer said, “Wow, that must really have hurt!”

      To which he replied, “Well, for a few minutes there my tooth didn’t bother me a bit.”

  6. > And now I go because this week is unbelievable.

    It might be interesting – later. But is yet another reminder that Reality is under no obligation to make sense to us, though we do try to make sense of it.

    And right now my diagnostics tell me: Go sleep.

  7. The influence from books? I equate it to Star with the Phoenix Egg in Glory Road. Personality imprints. And fortunately it’s superficial.

    • Heh. I find that every time I re-read Moon I start dropping articles and inserting Russian words into my conversations.

      • Clockwork Orange. Now that will mess up your vocabulary.

        I’m already a wreck from the ‘low-carb’ nonsense my doctor and wife have conspired to inflict on me. Another thirty pages and I’ll be out of books on top of that. If you hear about a hostage situation involving someone demanding french fries at a Barnes & Noble, that’ll be me.

        The odd thing is, I get a lot more done when I’m in a really crappy mood.

        • Ruffin-

          Sorry to hear that. I did the low-carb stuff to myself and it has been working – down 25 pounds in 120 days (and 30 points of cholesterol down) – but I think these things are very different when you do it to yourself or when it is done to you. Have you read “Why we get fat” by Gary Taubes? I read that then decided to go this route. But I don’t think it works for everyone. (It didn’t work for my wife she only lost like 4 pounds and that was it – but I think the problem was she still snacked too much – but she has her own way for losing weight that works.)

          Stopping the sugary drinks was hardest – I have been a soda fiend since I was a teenager, and when I was off the soda I was on the extra sweet iced tea (I would make it myself). Getting rid of those things was hard. And candy has been harder – I have little kids and they still want the candy and we don’t deprive them. Knowing its always there in the cabinet is quite annoying. (I complain to my wife when she leaves it on the counter – at least out of sight helps some.)

          If you want someone to commiserate to – or at least email – take my handle and it is at ymail with a com at the end.

          -John

      • The Good Earth infected my internal monologue with a tendency to start sentences, “Well, and…”

        Jane Austen exacerbates a pre-existing tendency toward compound-complex sentences.

        I think I hit these in combination once….

        • I tend to start sentence with And in my fiction.

          I blame Lord Dunsany.

          • The Other Sean

            He’s safely dead. He won’t complain.

          • I used to avoid starting sentences with “And.” I blame my English teachers for that. Fortunately, I grew up and realized that they had no idea what they were talking about and now start sentences with whatever word I feel like.

            • The English teacher habit I had to break was breaking paragraphs at dialog.

              “What do you mean by that?” she said. He shook his head.

              “No one knows what is happening,” he said. She scowled.

              “You can’t possibly mean that.”

              • We were taught that you should begin a new paragraph every time a different person spoke. Most novels seem to follow that convention.

                Of course, growing up in half a dozen school systems across the country, I learned early that every publisher’s English textbooks had their own One True Way. Which usually wasn’t followed by the texts themselves…

                • the rule doesn’t apply to action tags. Consider them part of the the speech.

                  Alas, I have seen published novels that follow it.

              • What’s funny is that recently Ringo (iirc) said to do that, because doing otherwise was “Burying the dialogue.” Actually, I think he was referring to having dialogue start in the middle of a paragraph.

                • You obviously want to break sometimes. If you have more than one sentence before it, it’s probably not an action tag.

        • I read a lot of Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Norman when I was young. Either of them could form a page-long paragraph containing a single sentence… for a while I thought of using “Maser of Semicolons” as an online handle.

      • Reality Observer

        I just start talking to the computer. And thanking people with “Bolshoyeh spasebaw!”

        Fortunately, I’m not out in public all that much these days.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      That was what I immediately thought of when I read this line:

      … I swear there have been books that left me… evil.

    • Polliwog the 'Ette

      I re-read Agatha Christie’s Sad Cypress as an adult and realized that, when I’d read it as a kid, I had internalized the completely dysfunctional dynamic if the engaged couple without having the experience *to realize* that the dynamic was dysfunctional and that the guy was a selfish jerk. I hope the effects of books are usually temporary, but in my case temporary was 20 years.

      • Interesting. I got it, partly because AC actually did a pretty good job of conveying it. Interesting.

        • Polliwog the 'Ette

          As an adult I found it very clear that (other than having to go through a murder trial) the heroine had had a lucky escape. Unfortunately, I probably did damage to my own marriage because I hadn’t understood that to begin with. We worked past that, but given that we only had 16 years together before my husband died, I wonder how many of those were harder than they had to be emotionally because I was basing my behavior on a bad model without realizing it. I know AC’s first marriage was very unhappy and did sort of wonder if she was literally writing what she knew.

  8. My foster son literally shattered his left leg in a motorcycle accident two weeks ago Saturday and underwent repair surgery yesterday. He reacted VERY badly to Morphine and they’ve changed his pain meds and he’s doing OK today. I’m on my way to the hospital to visit him this afternoon.

  9. I don’t look good in checks — how about if I polka dot myself instead?

  10. I learned a neat trick when in pain and no drugs are available. You CONCENTRATE on the pain. You bask in it. You think very much about it. It goes away! It’s counter-intuitive, I know, but it does work.

    Another neat trick when it is a mere headache, is to pinch the skin between the thumb and the fore-finger. Maybe these are only placebos, but they do work for me.

    • Thinking and feeling pain are two different processes; using up the brain power doing the first means less for the second.

      Listening to stories actually decreases the pain felt. Tested by brain scans, I believe, in a pediatric hospital.

    • Birthday Girl

      Not so much concentrating on it, but _letting_ it hurt and _surfing_ the pain got me through childbirth without meds. Don’t know how to express that notion articulately. And lotsa prayer, too.

    • If the pain goes away when you pinch the web between thumb and fore-finger, that is a sign that you have a migraine. Least that’s what a quack told mom.

      • See above hack. But thank you. There’s some debate whether I have migraines or vascular cluster headaches, and I’m in the middle of a mild one now. Squeezed the web between thumb and forefinger, and it reduced the pain. Released and it returned. Might be placebo effect, though.

        • It can be difficult when you get *both.* Mine used to be darn near crippling some fifteen odd years ago, but since I moved, changed jobs, lost an ex, and so on, they’ve been… less.

          Less often, mostly, less intense sometimes, but they no longer hold my life hostage while I deal with the pain as often.

  11. One of those things I learned on my way out of adolescence, if I find myself thinking “is it me or the rest of the world” I need to really consider the “me” option.

    • Reality Observer

      Unfortunately, as you get older, you realize more and more that it is the rest of the world.

  12. If there are books that leave us, even if temporarily, evil, then it stands to reason that there are also those books, and movies, and songs, and other things that leave us good. Finding them is a right trick, and I imagine trying to write them even more so.

    Which raises the question. Have you ever written something that upon review you recognized as evil, and then deleted/destroyed/burned it?

    • The Other Sean

      I tend to realize right after I hit post. Like right after that Hugo thing. Since then I’ve paused before hitting “Post Comment” and similar buttons.

    • Koontz has a knack for writing the ‘good’ books. Life Expectancy is probably the best of these. I dare someone to read it and not then see the world as a place ultimately good and decent.

      “Where there’s cake, there’s hope. And there’s always cake.”

  13. Wayne Blackburn

    Speaking of changing: During her last two years, my mother went to the hospital a few times (maybe 6-8 times) and generally stayed for a few days at a time. While she was there, she was frequently afflicted with delusions and paranoia, telling us about how she was planning to escape, or how she had been foiled in an escape attempt.

    One friend, who was also a nurse, blamed it on the changed dosage of one of her meds, but later on, I realized that it was probably all brought on by the simple fact of being in a different and strange environment from what she was accustomed to. I am not sure anyone else believes me, but I knew my mother probably better than anyone else, including my father. I’m almost certain this was the cause.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      Oh – while I don’t remember the drug which our nurse friend blamed it on, I do remember that it was NOT one likely to have any psychotropic side effects at all.

      • Not doubting you, but urinary tract infections are known to have psychotropic effects, and they are common in older ladies.

      • I know from experience that antihistamines make me depressed. And I spent decades on them… I wish I could have those lost years back.

        Oh, and the allergy symptoms the antihistamines were supposed to be mitigating went away when I got off the pills. After a couple of weeks of serious withdrawal, though.

        I kept thinking of Pohl’s “The Space Merchants” after that.

    • The Mother-in-law had that happen the last couple of times she went into the hospital. It could have been a bit of everything mentioned contributing to the whole — adjustment to her medications, urinary tract infection and the unfamiliar surroundings, people and routine. Once we got The M-I-L back to her apartment, on her schedule and through her anti-biotics she would improved greatly.

  14. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I recently ate some stuff I shouldn’t have. I realized it over the weekend, when it was taking me too long to bounce back from a social activity, and I flat out could not get a moderately simple task done. I seem to have recovered pretty well. I’m more or less back to normal, or at least functional, sleeping and eating.

    I also have mild pain insensitivity, a desire to avoid painkillers, and a tendency to wait for discomfort to go away. This can be a problem with mineral deficiency induced muscular problems.

    • The problem I have with most painkillers is that they either just put me to sleep, or if I’m awake, they don’t really kill the pain; they just dumb me down so I don’t really care any more. And then I’m BORED because I’m so zonked I can’t read.

      Boredom trumps pain; I usually do without during the day and only take painkillers at night.

  15. Alas when your mind plays tricks on you, it can be nearly impossible for you to figure it out. We’ve dealt with relatives slipping in and out of dementia, basically nothing you can do but take away their potential implements of destruction–cars, guns, etc. I also know someone well who is bipolar. Several times we’ve helped her suss out that her meds need adjustment. Currently though it’s like talking to a liberal. Some con artist convinced her she has won a lottery prize of $260 million dollars, if only she continues to pay this fee and that fee, and another $20K for something else. She’s completely lucid on every other topic, but insists it’s her money to lose if she does. She even acknowledges it might be a scam, but refuses to let it go.

    Trying to reroute around her mental blocks, I asked her what an 86 year old woman who’s fairly well off needs $260 million dollars for? She insisted she wanted it to give to her church and pay off her progeny’s mortgages even though those said progeny insist she’s being scammed.

    • I still remember the time a woman posted online that the cell phone bought because of her mother’s condition had just proven to be worth the price, and fun fact: given an ambulance and an elderly woman refusing to get in it, the police will need a court order to put her in it, barring her having emerged from the building with a weapon in hand (and she and her sister are Real Glad they removed anything the mother could use as a weapon).

  16. Post is late . . . because Sarah won the Powerball last night and has been changing address, phone number(s), cat’s id tags, et cetera before sneaking over to claim her prize? *ducks and runs*

  17. I earned the “check yourself” T-shirt several years ago for sleep apnea. It’s easy to miss the warning signs, since boring meetings in darkened rooms really are sleep inducing, and I thought I had a really tiny bladder… My SO (now my wife of 14 years) told me “something was wrong”, but I didn’t believe it. (Not uncommon, I’m told.) OTOH, I had a tape recorder, a handy microphone, and the inclination to sleep with the damned boom mike on me.

    The resulting tape scared the crap out of me, and I went through the process as soon as possible. (Complicated by the discovery of a bunch of other chronic, but mostly fixable problems. These resulted in a round of heavy antibiotics and introduction to Type II meds and procedures. Whee.) Once I finally got the titration study at a sleep lab, despite being hooked up to loads of sensors, I had the best night’s sleep I’d had in years (decades?). I need to repeat some of the process to get a new machine, since my prescription predates electronic health records, and clay tablets don’t scan worth a damn.

    • It is claimed that the most common cause for diagnoses of sleep apnea is spouse nagging about snoring. In my case the spouse complained about breathing cessation, as if that were something anyone regularly needs to do.

      • Hog noises at night are the #1 symptom of sleep apnea.

        In my case, it was so bad it triggered a mild heart attack.

        BTW, you can get clip-on O2 sensors for about $20 on Amazon now. The one I bought ten years ago cost over a thousand dollars.

        • Reality Observer

          The wife went through that. Thankfully, it sometimes turns out to not be what you fear – hers was nasal polyps. Had those removed, and we both slept much more soundly.

        • Hog noises at night are the #1 symptom of sleep apnea.

          Like a revving Harley without muffler … that keeps stalling out. 😉

    • I’m just started on treatment myself. Weirdly . . .less sleep, better rest. Machine gets some getting used to.

      • I thought the CPAP machine was going to kill me… it felt like I couldn’t breathe with it on.

        It turned out I’m sensitive to CO2, and the mask I had was trapping my outgoing breath so I was breathing enough used air to trigger the “can’t breathe” reflex even though I was actually getting plenty of air.

        After I figured out what was going on I drilled a small hole in the mask to flush air through it. No problem after that. The later masks I got were a different kind that already had large vents made into them.

        • Every so often my sinuses shut down completely, rendering my nose cone attachment from the air compressor abso-effing-lutely useless.

          Saline spray seems the most useful deterrent. While I have had people recommend cocaine as alternative treatment, I’m sure that if I took even one sniff, it would bore me terrifically, too.

        • If your mask doesn’t work for you, it’s worth checking out alternatives. I went with a nasal pillow system years ago, and replaced it with a different vendor’s last year. Cost was about $120 without insurance. (FWIW, I’ve been happy with cpapman dot com for supplies and such. I’ll probably buy a new machine from him. He’s been around a long time, and retail medical equipment vendors are scarce here in Deepest Rural Oregon.)

          I still have minor trouble with the nasal pillows irritating my nostrils, but aloe vera is my friend, and masks don’t like my face. The facial hair doesn’t help, but razors and I really don’t get along…

    • Feather Blade

      The only reason my father even got tested for lung cancer is because his wife was complaining to her therapist that his coughing (3 months and nothing helped it) was making it impossible to sleep.

      Some days I wish she’d complained earlier.

  18. I’ve been the friend on both ends of that equation at one point or another and no, the friendship is never the same even if it is capable of being salvaged.

    I also remember throwing something at my husband because someone in a book did something stupid and awful and completely out of character. He wasn’t the one I was mad at but he was convenient and he forgave me when I explained what I’d been reading when he’d interrupted me. Well, that and an apology helped, I’m sure.

  19. “Trust no one — not even yourself.”

    [Joseph Stalin]

    😉

  20. richardmcenroe

    I blame my Mick DNA. I can write a rolling, paragraph-length sentence that is a wonder to behold…and then I have to remind myself great-grandpa made it off Ellis Island and reached for the box of periods.

  21. When in my early 40’s due to some heart stuff I ended up on a beta blocker. One of the side effects is depression. I learned that I don’t get depressed, I get even. I was ready to get into a knife fight anywhere anytime with anyone for any reason at all. Nasty stuff.

  22. While playing Frisbee soccer The Spouse, then in mid twenties, went up and came down … all the way to the ground. By the time the doctor saw The Spouse whatever was wrong was no longer easily detectable.

    After a couple more rounds The Spouse’s fellow players, who carried The Spouse home yet again, said I should not let The Spouse out to play until fixed. This time the doctors found torn ligaments and cartilage when they operated. Then time spent with rehabilitating exercise that resulted with an irritation to Achilles tendon which almost separated. Crutches for months on end. And the muscles started to contract, effecting the back, which took to spasming.

    Several years later pain had become condition normal. When we finally found a way to address the problems The Spouse observed ‘Oh, what I thought was pain was actually sheer agony.’

    Life can be a bear. Be careful. You may get to a point where what you think is normal is really something that should be addressed … if only you can find the right way to do so.

  23. I’m fine. I asked my dog, and he reassured me.
    Wonder when he learned to talk…

  24. I’m afraid that when Sarah finally recovers completely, she’ll have enough energy to do that same insane LibertyCon schedule again, and have energy left over.

    Be Afraid.

  25. This probably my ADD, but I’m reminded of a friend who lost a technician contest because he forgot to verify the leads to the multimeter he was using were OK.

    As far as books and movies influencing person, that reminds me of what Paul said about “whatsoever things are lovely whatsoever things are pure think on these things”

  26. The Other Sean

    I went to the restroom and checked myself in the mirror. Yep, I’m still here. I’m also still visible in the mirror, so clearly I haven’t turned into a vampire. 🙂