Weirdness and Care

Yes, there will be vignettes later.

First, though, now that I’ve slept 12 hours or so, and I’m feeling more like myself, I’d like to present from my perspective the view of the last few days’ insanity.

First of all, it kept running through my mind “D*mn tedious waste of two days” in the voice of the A & E Pride and Prejudice mini-series character who refers to the Merryton Assembly as “D*mn tedious waste of an evening.”

You see, if I’d been alone when I collapsed in the shower (and according to Dan appeared to be dead) I wouldn’t have gone to ER.  In fact, experientially, from my POV, I fell asleep and had an hour long dream.  (Never mind that Dan says it was about a minute, because dreams like fairyland have no contact with the real world.) I was not in my dream but that is not precisely unusual for me, either.

I would have woken up, been surprised the water was still warm, got out of the shower, perhaps lain down on the floor a few minutes if my vision kept blacking when I stood up (this would not be the first time this exact sequence of events happened) then crawled back to bed for an hour, and then got up and resumed normal life.  The blog would have been a little late. By the time the guys got home from work, I’d have forgotten about it.  (Again, this is not the first time.)

This is why Dan dragged me to ER kicking and screaming.  Or it would have been kicking and screaming if I had had the energy to kick and scream.  No one was more shocked than I when the EKG showed abnormal “muddy” and out of kilter rhythms.  (Which is what they think happened.  They think it went out of sequence and got caught in a minor electrical loop which, fortunately, reset itself.  BUT it was set off and combined with a bunch of other stuff, which mostly amounts to “not enough blood getting to brain.”)

The thing is I have a strong feeling if I indulge my body and give consequence to its fits of weirdness, I’ll live in ER.  So instead I ignore what I can and stop what I can by sheer will power, and I don’t end up losing two days to writing, don’t worry anyone and things keep going.

Which brings me to my issues with being in ER and then in the hospital beyond the fact that I feel apologetic at increasingly more bizarre test results and like I’m somehow perpetrating a prank on the doctors and should beg pardon.

I don’t do well being taken care of, or receiving well-wishes.  Don’t misunderstand me, I’m deeply grateful for the outpouring of love and affection, and in a way it helped but it also made me feel self conscious and bad that I was worrying everyone and causing everyone to make a fuss, because I should not have let my body give way, and I should not be weak.

Perhaps we can sum it up with what dad used to tell me when I hurt my knee, when I was little, “Legionaries” (in the sense of Rome) “Don’t cry.”

I feel that the very fact I need care is a deep personal failure, and everyone I “put out” is someone I’m inconveniencing, and I shouldn’t be.

I realize, from an external point of view this is deeply screwed up, but I can’t stop feeling it just because I realize that.  And if I try to explain it to someone, I feel like I’m giving a wrong impression.  Like, for instance, I get the feeling that they think I shouldn’t be cared for because I don’t value myself as a woman and feel no fuss should be made, and no resources wasted on me.

Instead, the truth is I shouldn’t have to be cared for because I’m the Mama, and the mama (which in my head is still my grandma) holds the sky and the Earth together.  You can’t give way in those circumstances.  It’s unforgivable weakness. It’s deserting a post of honor.

Anyway, my medical emergency proceed as such things proceed for me: Increasingly stranger findings that lead to at least three different diagnosis, which means this was either “perfect storm” or “Wait, what?” and I should have kept the d*mn thing under control and not have bothered anyone.

Though, mind you there are a couple of things, one of them urgent, that were incidental findings to this.  Meaning, they didn’t cause the emergency, but one of them I should get seen really quick because it could lead to ah… serious issues.  Like death.  PROBABLY not, but possibly, over time. Yes, I’ll keep you appraised, since if it’s an issue, it will require surgery.

But over all this is a case of “Sarah allowed her body out of control and permitted her heart to have issues.”  For that I’m sorry, and I’m sorry for worrying everyone and giving so much trouble and fuss.  And I’m sorry for spending time not wring.

And yes, I’m aware this IS stupid, and that I really should learn to accept care.  But it feels like a breech in protocol when I do.  I’m supposed to be the one who cares for others.

ANYWAY…. several things to try to prevent this happening again:

I’m going to continue with the blog, but I’d like some more guest posts, please and thank you.  I’d like to write no more than 3 original posts a week.  I’ll be honest, part of this is because it’s eating my fiction writing.  BUT the eating of my fiction writing increases stress, and I need to bring that down.

I’m going to try to limit facebook to an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, and reduce the instances of hopping all over facebook getting in fights.  It’s addictive, yes, but the stress thing, again, and seriously, it’s not my job.

I’m going to re-center on my writing, because it’s fun and it reduces stress too.

These should help keep my stress to a minimum which will keep the autoimmune feedback to a minimum too.

I’m going to try to drink more water and sports drinks too, because I have a frightening tendency to get clinically dehydrated.

I’m implementing a series of supplements for my tendency to shed minerals.

I’m going to start scheduling a day a week to “do fun cr*p” preferably with Dan, but if he’s not available, it might amount to sitting around and reading.  There haven’t been any of those days in decades, and perhaps this is needed.

I’m following through on the medical weirdness, including the incidental medical findings.

And now please return to your scheduled insanity.  I’m going to nip over to FB for a few minutes, and then clean this place and write.  Because this has been a d*mn tedious waste of two days.




220 thoughts on “Weirdness and Care

  1. “Waste Of Two Days”?

    Maybe but we worry about you and taking care of your self means we don’t have to hire a necromancer to being you back to life.

    Note, it’s cheap to hire a zombie creator but zombies don’t write.

    We’d have to hire the expensive necromancer. 😉

      1. Lichs are no better than Zombies which is why we’d have pay much more to get Sarah brought completely back to life. 😉

        1. Well, duh. She can’t be a Beautiful (But Evil) Space Princess as a skeleton animated by dark magic.

          1. Even more horrible, she would start voting Democrat. It is bad enough to feel obliged to vote for what the GOP offers, but once you vote ‘Crat you never go back.

            On the plus side, her whirling in the grave might be sufficient to cause the faults of California to finally break away.

          2. I suspect that Dr. Lacy (Galactic Patrol) would still find her beautiful, but he had a thing for skeletons.

      2. There was fellow who joined our Animaniacs/Warner Bros. themed IRC channel back when who used the nick LichLord and tried (and utterly failed) to get everyone to acknowledge his Great Power. Seems he didn’t like being referred to as “Lichy Lich, the dead little lich kid.” It takes little imagination to see how his protests faired.

        1. Doesn’t the pronunciation of “Lich” something like, er “like” instead of like “rich” or similar?

          1. Checking Snerk Collar

            Yes, and something “interesting” happens to a certain nasty person. 😈 😈 😈 😈

            1. Well, Merlin is having a low-key love-affair but not with Nimue.

              Definitely not up to Nebular Standards. 😀

          2. There are two types of Weber novels: those in which things happen, and those in which things don’t.

            1. I seem to have always picked up the ones that don’t.

              The book stops, and I’m sitting there thinking, “WTF?” Well, except for “The Apocalypse Troll”, which rocked.

  2. You’re better and you’re back. Yay! I’m awed by your work ethic, seriously. You give new meaning to “writers, write.” And now I shall stop with the compliments in case I make you uncomfortable. Oh, look, a flying Gergenmyster!

  3. If need anything of ox (or minotaur, or….) just ask. That includes hauling stuff around LibertyCon (assuming I get there). Would offer to guest write here, but … ox slow. (Anyone not that coming?) Of course, if there’s a reasonable suggestion to deal with that… I will listen.

  4. Yes, I’m worried about you; no, you shouldn’t feel bad because we worry about you, we love you, it follows. Take care.

  5. I understand, we grew up while on different continents, with the same sorts of value messages. That being said, and I know you already know this, but, gonna say it anyway: Oaks may last damn near forever, but they last longer when there’s other oaks nearby to help break the wind. Even when it’s uncomfortable, you gotta take time for you, and occasionally, it’s ok to be the care receiver. I’m not nearly the prolific and proficient writer you are, but I will commit to at least a blog guest spot every two weeks, if you want it.

      1. “I’m deeply grateful for the outpouring of love and affection, and in a way it helped but it also made me feel self conscious and bad that I was worrying everyone and causing everyone to make a fuss, because I should not have let my body give way, and I should not be weak.”

        Ms. Sarah, please don’t fell bad about worrying us!! We love and want you to know that we’re glad you’re OK!! (Also we’re happy ‘cuz you’re still blogging. What, we only love you for your posts??? Noooooo…. What makes you think that…? ;))

  6. Facebook.
    Not on it. Yeah, I miss a few things from family but hey, 50 years without it, why change what works?
    Twitter, I stopped paying much mind. a time eater like FB if one allows.
    I get notifications from one person so I keep tabs on them (almost a stalker, no?) and can lend my longest online friend support when needed, and lately she is not in much need. Good for her.
    I’ve gotten used to your posts, but I shall not be muchly put out if nearly everything for some time is guests and BFTP if it gets you well, and your writing writ. Considering this batch of reprobates can do 200 replies to a non-post, I think we can stay occupied with the occasional tickle from you.
    Take care.

    1. I realize the Zuckerface’s Book is a major marketing venue for writers these days, but from an individual user pov, I really don’t miss it when I skip it for a few weeks. Only close friends or family positing pics usually draws me back in for a peek.

      Curtailing the available time window for artificial arguments there seems like an all around good idea.

      And on guestage – I presume candidate posts sent in to your email which pass editorial review can join the queue?

        1. I automatically inserted an “of” between “initials” and “last”, and had one of those “Wait, what?” moments…

          1. Well, don’t forget that the Beautiful But Evil Space Princess is also a Female Dragon.

            While Female Dragons don’t go into heat, they can turn up the heat on those who annoy them. 😈 😈 😈 😈

  7. How very inconsiderate of you to show human weakness! Unsupportable! Inconceivable! Not to be borne!
    Now we have that out of our systems. Sarah, the fact is, time doesn’t just march on – it sometimes stomps all over us if we slow down in front of it’s progress(?).
    Yeah, you had a wakeup call. Mine was receiving – over the space of about 4 years – 8 stents. At this point another is going to void the warranty. You it’s time to decide what is important enough to continue doing.
    For me, I don’t mow the 1/3 acre yard anymore. I don’t lift heavy objects. Those long walks – eh! Out with ’em.
    The old guard dies, it never surrenders is pure hubris. Sometimes it is necessary to step back and let the young dogs have their day. Let them prove themselves, if they can.
    And meanwhile, we can catch up on our legacy to them.
    Be well, Sarah, and recover fully. And reassess.

    1. Legionaries may not cry, but they did report to sick call. Because that was also their duty. Hugs! Getting well is also a job, so take it seriously!

      And you know, it’s really not normal to pass out a lot, if we leave out the young and alcoholic. I’ve only passed out twice my whole life. Give your body at least as much care as you give the cats, kiddo.

      1. You know, I really hadn’t thought about that (it not being normal to pass out), but when I read your comment, I realized that, in fact, I have only passed out two or three times in my whole life (and come close a few other times). Every time, I was either ill, or recovering from anesthesia (I don’t drink, so can’t blame that). My youngest daughter has passed out several times, which I blame on her auto-immune diseases, although cause has never actually been determined since she has always recovered quickly, and has never done it in front of a medical professional. Interesting thought.

        1. Well, there’s also the case of Girls Who Just Faint A Lot. Usually because they’re not eating and/or drinking before going to Mass or cheerleading practice, and they aren’t the girls who can put up with fasting. But even then, most girls don’t actually pass out more than once, because it larns ’em. (Or somebody starts ordering them to eat and watching them do it.)

          We had somebody pass out pretty dramatically at Sam’s Club the other day, so I’m a bit unhappy with the existence of human frailty just now.

          1. Well, this guy “fainted/passed out” in an earlier morning class at college.

            He was giving a presentation (notes only) in front of the class.

            Besides the standard nervousness about getting up to give a presentation, he hadn’t sleep enough and skipped breakfast.

            It wasn’t me and everybody in class knew something was wrong before he actually passed out.

          2. There is also the subset SJWs with their fainting couches for when they get triggered, but I think we can rule that out here…

          3. This one did it twice.

            1. Nailed by hit-and-run drunk driver at the age of 5.
            2. Strangled by a high school classmate (by him twisting the neck of my sweatshirt) while standing in the food line in cafeteria.
            I’m now on my knees, head resting on the front of the serving counter. “Friend”, agitated, urging me to not tell anyone what just happened. There were only a couple dozen witnesses lookin on all the while.

            I don’t think he was headed for a STEM career.

          4. Wanna hear about dramatic passing out? I have two. Once, I fainted at a craft’s fair while I was having a caricature done. Took out the guy’s whole display. Second one, I was singing in choir on the back row (I used to be considered tall in school) and passed out at a concert and took half the tenors and altos with me. But I have auto-immune issues as well. Maybe it’s just a thing with us.

            1. Odd, I’ve got two, also.

              One I fainted while having a screaming argument with my mother’s mother, over something I can’t remember but at least half of the anger was because I’d just gotten out of a nice, hot shower and was wearing only a towel. And was about nine. (I am not in the habit of yelling at adults, especially not scary ones like mom’s mom, but it was quite important…and, well, I am my mother’s daughter and they had some high volume discussions.)

              Next thing I knew I was laying on the floor trying to figure out what happened and mom is trying to keep her mom from fainting right along side me.


              Second one I have no idea what happened, unless I somehow pinched the blood vessels in my knees. Went to church on base to pray the rosary, was in full on 20-ish “I gotta talk to you right now” mode (and had never prayed the Rosary before) and was kneeling and praying very intently, next thing I know the nice lady from two rows up is very tall and giving some strict orders about people backing away to give me air.

              Odd thing is, it feels exactly like when I blacked out during a fire drill “game” when we were putting on fire suits and some idiot smacked me between the shoulders and set off my berserk/can’t breath/FIGHT button. I hit a real jerk of a chief and didn’t even get to remember it. 😦

          5. I went through a phase of fainting a lot at around 20. Not because I wasn’t eating enough, and we never figured out what caused it. My blood pressure would plummet, and there I’d go.

  8. Get well soon and don’t be too proud to accept the care you need. We want you around for a long time! You have books to write and readers to entertain!!!

  9. Yup, truly deplorable of you to allow your body to get out of control, especially when your entire previous life has been a shining example of your ability to make that sucker do exactly what you want… OK, /sarc off; I know it’s not a rational thing.

    Have a couple of ideas for guest posts, will email you later.

    Meanwhile, why not consider making one of your posts a weekly report on “What I Did to Reduce Stress This Week,” so we can nag you if you revert to workaholism?

  10. If it makes you feel any better, your feelings about the whole situation are pretty normal. You express yourself much better than I do, but I’ve gone through the whole mess, too, and you are normal! 🙂 I didn’t end up in the ER (this time, though I did, briefly, a couple of years ago), but was almost totally laid up for several weeks after simply stepping wrong and wrenching my already-bad back. Other than being unable to meet my several responsibilities outside the home, I tried to keep fairly quiet about the situation until I was starting to feel a little better, because my mother, who lives nearby, isn’t driving any more. My two older daughters, who would have helped if they could, live two-thirds and all the way across the country, respectively, with Cedar in Ohio and her sister in New Hampshire. And Cedar had enough else on her plate already.

    As an aside, I have thought for a very long time that our current cultural norm of the nuclear family — with the extended family being scattered all over creation — is most emphatically NOT an improvement over the older cultural norm of the extended family all living near one another, if not actually in the same house, or at least on the same property. I’ll write a blog post on the topic, if you think it would be of interest (or preferably someone better qualified could do it), and then sit back and watch it be hashed out in the comments!

    Anyway, because I am responsible for the care of my youngest daughter, and will be responsible for her as long as I am physically capable, I do have to be a little more careful and hie myself off to the doctor when I have symptoms resembling a heart attack (which is what took me to the ER a couple of years ago, though, thankfully, it was not my heart). But I don’t have a much better opinion of the whole process than you do for the most part. Especially when auto-immune disease is involved, since most doctors know next to nothing about this rat’s nest of diagnoses and their treatments.

    1. tell you what, lets do point counterpoint on that, because while there’s a lot to be said against it, there’s also a bit to be said in support.

      1. Sure! I do know there is a lot to be said against it, especially in some families. I just see us older folks beginning to need help, while our children (and in some cases grandchildren) are struggling to manage all of their responsibilities and raise their own children, and can see so many ways that we could help each other, if only we weren’t hundreds or thousands of miles apart!

          1. This. My family is (as seems to be the norm) rather dysfunctional. As in had an incident with my father a few months back which damn near ended up with my calling the cops. (Yes, now that I am in my 50s I am finally beginning to be able to admit to having had a somewhat abusive childhood.) My one sister points out that the reason she and other sister have a decent relationship with the parents now is because they live hundreds of miles (or more) away from them. On the other hand we’re the ones with the children (who both have health issues), as well as the so less than exciting income (damn the PPACA) and without family help, especially getting kids to many various doctor’s appointments but also financial, we just couldn’t have done it.

            At least we finally figured out what was causing the arrhythmia which was waking me up at night. Numerous tests over five or six years to diagnose it as benign, and “have some Xanax”, and advice from the (now former) GP that “As you get older you get more aches and pains, and you just need to learn to ignore them” (with the implication that I’m a hypochondriac), and it turns out that it’s all because I take Prilosec. PPIs apparently mess with magnesium absorption which messes with the electricals, and for some reason very, very few doctors, even cardiologists, seem to know this although it’s really easy to find in the literature if you start looking.

    2. I grew up in that type of extended family setting you talked about. It has its good points and bad. In our situation, I had a cousin living to the right of us, my grandparents to the left, and an uncle across the street. Another uncle lived behind my grandparents (this is a semi-rural area, so it’s not comparable to today’s cities). I had TWENTY-TWO other relatives living within ten miles. My high school graduating class was 133: I had two first cousins, three third cousins, and a fourth cousin in that number.

      I wanted to experience more than that small area of central Louisiana, so I joined the Air Force. Met a girl in Denver I didn’t want to live without, and got married. Spent 26 years traipsing all over the world, frequently with family in tow. Trips back home were few, and short. I didhn’t feel comfortable back there any more. Actually got my dad out of Louisiana twice to come visit, but never for very long.

      I did stupid things in the Air Force, and I’m now paying for them. Both Jean and I are on the wrong side of 70, and medical concerns are climbing. Jean recently scared our PCM to death when her blood oxygen dropped to below 80 in his office, and she’s finally getting some care she should have gotten during the past 20 or 30 years. It would be nice to have our children live closer (one lives 60 miles away, one 600), but we can still take care of ourselves and Timothy. I don’t regret anything I did previously, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. It’s what made me what I am now.

      I’m glad Sarah has her sons, Dan, and her multitude of fans who would do whatever we can to help her out. I would love to have a magic machine that would re-set our old dilapidated bodies back to their “factory original” settings, but until then, we’ll just have to lend a hand any way we can, support each other, and keep going.

      1. Yes, pros and cons. My parents and my dad’s parents took up adjacent homesteads in the Interior of Alaska when I was a baby; during much of my childhood there, one of Mom’s brother’s also lived nearby, and sometimes her parents (both Mom’s and Dad’s parents had known each other for years before Mom and Dad got married, and had been in business together in rural Alaska). Later when we were back in Oregon, I had grandparents, my great-grandmother, and many cousins all living within a few miles of us (again, rural setting, a few miles from the central Oregon Coast — my great-great-grandparents homesteaded there in the 1870’s). Many were within walking distance for a bunch of sturdy youngsters. So I grew up with family around and helping one another, and sometimes getting too much into one another’s business. I missed that very much later, when I married a fellow I met at college, and he spent ten years in the Air Force.

    3. I’d like to see this blogpost myself.

      Several years ago, I had this idea to write a book about how things were done before we created our “safety nets” — the ideas being (1) sometimes we did well, or even better, without safety nets, (2) if there are things where we need safety nets (and mental illness may very well fall into this category), we should understand why, and (3) our governments are becoming very debt-heavy: it’s not clear how much longer our governments will be able to provide safety nets, so we need to be prepared with alternatives.

      I have done zero research for this book, but I strongly suspect that “extended family, friends, and church communities” is the answer to “what did we do before Social Security?”. It may also touch on “What did we do for mental illness?” and maybe a couple of other questions as well…

  11. I don’t do well being taken care of, or receiving well-wishes. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m deeply grateful for the outpouring of love and affection, and in a way it helped but it also made me feel self conscious and bad that I was worrying everyone and causing everyone to make a fuss, because I should not have let my body give way, and I should not be weak.

    Martha-itus– yes, the one who flew around cleaning up the house, making food, doing all the stuff that needed to be done when she was basically a dead woman walking, until scolded by Himself to sit down and get better.

    I know the feeling– my theory is that part of it is pride, and part of it is survival. I’m pretty sure if I let myself accept the help without shame, it would poison me. I wouldn’t be able to make myself do what needs to be done.

  12. Yeah.

    These stupid meat suits don’t realize that we don’t have time to get sick, injured, or old. We have too many people depending on us–or we used to–to be stuck in a hospital for days. Or take a day off. Or . . . not clean before we get back to work.

    I think mothers are the worse people at putting aside their responsibilities and taking care of themselves.

  13. *looks at third 20 ounce bottle of water for the day, three more to go minimum* Um, no dehydration isn’t a common thing, why? *schluurp* I hear you on insanity breaking out. Although at least today I’m a peripheral accessory, not the focus of the chaos (Blessed St. Mattis, hear our prayer 😉 ) At least for the moment. *taps wood*

    I’ll try to shoot something guest-post-ish your way. Any requests?

      1. Oh kay. I can probably come up with something. Maybe starting with “Flavors of History” and then wandering toward music or natural history or something.

  14. ‘I don’t do well being taken care of’ – don’t worry so hard. For all the good hospitals do, they don’t do a good job of taking care of anyone, especially not in an emergency, when they completely stop listening to the patients, run an exorbitant number of unnecessary tests (at great expense to the system), and never have doctors THINK (if they show up at all).

    But I’m with you on the weakness of letting your body do crazy things. I will never stop feeling guilty for being ill – I should have never been weak enough to let this happen to me. And I should be strong enough to fix it by willpower!

    Lest we bother the healthy ones.

    I hope, after all this, you get the right diagnosis. Sounds like you’ve already taken some good steps.

    I can’t wait for expert systems to ‘assist’ the physicians. The docs don’t think well under pressure, and instead use their ‘protocols’ which I’m very sure lost us my husband’s mom and an uncle who went in for ‘routine’ back surgery and a friend who almost didn’t make it.

    I’ve been coughing for a month – no obvious initial reason, no real worsening, no worrying symptoms – except duration. And have finally promised spouse to do something about it – call doctor’s office tomorrow. I KNOW it’s nothing (I wouldn’t ignore symptoms), and I will lose a heap of good time over it. If I were in rural Alaska, I’d just cough another month or two.

    Why is there no middle ground? Stay home – or ER – is too drastic. But the middle ground is an unbelievably boring slow slog.

    1. In the interest of comfort while you figure out what’s causing it —

      Vicks, of course. Or any other menthol rub to put on your chest or under your nose.

      If you have Asian pears around that you can stew with honey, or Asian pear jelly that you can glom onto (like in a Korean grocery, where they call the jelly “tea” and you put it in hot water), it is amazingly good for coughs and sore throat. And I speak as a paranoid singer-type.

      Traditional Medicinals makes a very good herbal tea called Throat Coat, which is also good for what ails you in both soreness and coughing. And of course there’s always mint and peppermint tea. (However, check for interaction with any meds you’re taking. Especially don’t drink a lot of peppermint tea if you’re prone to kidney stones. Also it can bring on periods faster, so no drinking it while preggers.)

      1. On coughing, I have frequently had a really bad cough that lasts forever. This has been going on pretty much my entire life — I had pneumonia as a baby, and suspect that was the start. In winter, I used to always, always get sick nearly to the point of pneumonia, with a deep racking cough that scared everyone who had to listen to me and which lasted for months. Then we started taking vitamin D3. I HIGHLY recommend it, if you aren’t already taking it. High doses, too — up to 10,000 IU per day, or 50,000 IU per week.

        1. This is relatively recent – about a month – but I do take a lot of D3 anyway. If I go to the doctor it will be because husband is tired of listening to me (and I’d take HIM in a flash if he did this).

          The difference: going to the doctor is a tiny expenditure of energy for the hubby – he’s normal. For me, it’s the energy of a day or two, and it’s usually not just the one visit. I’m afraid they’re going to want a chest X-ray and other tests ‘just to rule out…’ but I am getting rather tired of listening to myself, and I wonder if the OTC meds are really that innocuous.

        2. A couple of decades ago, I acquired a persistent cough and asthma. The usual meds didn’t do much, until after 16 months or so, I developed full-blown pneumonia. The antibiotics to deal with the pneumonia managed to kill the low grade sinus infection (low enough grade to be missed by everybody, including my very good allergist) that was the cause of the entire mess. I’m allergic to mold, and a trip to Chicago in July–in a hotel with wonky A/C–gave me the perfect overdose of mold spores

          We had a water leak in the kitchen this summer, with an impressive amount of mold. I think I’m getting ahead of the sinus issues, but this has been a wet autumn, and I’ve had to do a lot more work outside. If The Persistent Cough returns, I’ll have a discussion with my current doctor.

      2. I use the sugar-free menthol drops, and the sugar-free pectin drops – they help some. And checked that the cough suppressants and expectorants don’t have a rebound effect (nothing documented), so use them when necessary. I’ll try the Vicks – I think we have some. I don’t like hot liquids, and try not to leave the house, so no special shopping stuff.

        Thanks for the advice – I wish I could do some of those things!

        And if I’m pregnant, the world has problems.

        1. Osha root thins bronchial mucus and makes it easier to cough up whatever is bothering you. Just stick a piece about the size of your pinkie nail bed into your cheek and inhale the aromatics. Warning: tastes like crap and so will your sputum. ‘-P

      3. Thank you so much! A night and day with the Vicks – and haven’t coughed once.

        I promised hubby I’d call doctor if I coughed – and I haven’t. Just breathing a bit of it on my chest helped. So no huge time-wasting doctor stuff.

        I figured that it wouldn’t stop a cough from lung cancer (I checked – don’t have any of the other symptoms, but will keep an open mind if cough comes back), nor would the menthol rub stop a cough coming from pneumonia or something, so it wouldn’t hurt to try.

        No need for anything – I’m not coughing today. If I need the rub for more than a day or so, or the cough comes back, I will be a responsible grownup, but so far so good. Thanks again!

    2. > expert systems

      If you have a few dollars to spare sometime, snag a used copy of Michael Crichton’s “Five Patients” from one of the used-book sites. Yes, that’s the same Crichton who did “Jurassic Park.” He was an MD at Massachusetts General before he went off to Hollywood.

      Crichton’s book details medical care as it was in the 1960s when he was at MAG, and then moves into some “future” scenarios – telepresence, waldos, computers. Most of them would have been expensive but possible when he wrote the book in 1970; they’re all trivial now… except for the dogged determination of the medical industry to resist change. And that was back when they were theoretically more concerned with their patients than with liability.

      1. Sounds interesting – and the medical industry hasn’t changed. I don’t know if they listened better then, but they had fewer things to offer.

        I’m off doctors wherever possible, after massive fails in things like weight loss and treatment for CFS and failed spinal surgery. I’m just enough of a hypocrite to hope they’re there when I really need them, but, man, it is a waste of time so often for me.

        1. No insult meant to current and aspiring MDs in the diner: there’s a Dutch folk rhyme that roughly translates as follows:

          In winter thy chest keep hot
          Thy gut fill to excess not
          Keep thy back door open well
          And tell the doctor to go to h*ll

          (Hou uw borst in winter warm/Vult matig uwen darm/Hou de achterpoort goed open/En laat de dokter naar de bliksem lopen)

    3. I’ debating whether to post this, because total downer and possibly alarmist, but here goes anyway:

      If your cough is bad enough that prescription cough syrups don’t work, and there is no viral or bacterial cause… have them screen you for lung cancer, even if you have no risk factors and aren’t “old enough.”

      I know, I know, that’s the first thing WebMd will tell you, that everything’s a sign of cancer.

      On the other hand, six months of coughing with no cause was my dad’s only symptom, and they wanted to test him for exotic fungus when he hadn’t left the US in years, before looking for cancer occurred to them.

      1. Yeah. Have thought of that. Will call tomorrow. But I also know of coughs which just linger, and I did feel slightly unwell at the beginning (as if my always-on immune system was fighting something off – I usually feel ill for a day or so when that happens).

        I don’t expect it will be anything, but a month seems long enough to clear things up. Rats. And I thought tomorrow would be a good writing day, after Sat. and Sun. with little time and no progress. Now I have to waste time on phone calls and leaving the house doctor visits. Double rats.

        1. I caught some kind of cough in 2011 that lasted for three weeks. I coughed enough that I ruptured part of my abdomen.

          Hopefully I can get that fixed next year, after the knee replacement. Since healthcare became so “Affordable” a few years ago, our deductible moved from $250 to a third of our annual income… anything that’s not life-threatening has to get batched.

          1. I am sorry you coughed so hard!

            It’s been about a month, and it’s only a few bouts a day – not continuous. Continuous or as hard as you describe would have sent me to the doctor.

            If I go, I’ll feel like a fool, because I’m only going because of duration. Maybe if I breathe the vaporrub all day I won’t cough, and won’t have to call. So far, so good – but it’s after 10 and I just got up – went to sleep finally after 4AM, but not because of coughing. Don’t know WHAT kept me awake. I don’t cough while asleep.

  15. Glad to hear you’re home and have a plan in place to prevent a repeat.

    Regarding electrolytes and sports drinks, my doctor suggested pickle juice. I don’t know if you can get it in Colorado, but there is a company here in Texas that sells pickle juice in bottles, no pickles required. My grocery store stocks it with the sports drinks. It has the benefits of sports drinks without all the added sugar.

      1. I have my own problems with sugar, but I recently read of a study (mice) which associated aspartame and a high-fat diet with weight gain, and neither the control groups,normal diet (no gain), nor the high-fat diet without aspartame groups (slight gain) showed as much weight gain.
        I am thinking about eliminating diet sodas soon, but then what would I mix my rum with?

        1. I don’t drink aspartame if I can help it. And mostly, truly, I just drink water. Sports drinks are for when I ABSOLUTELY cannot get hydrated otherwise. And honestly, I’m not sure artificial sweetener helps the awful flavor of that stuff.

          1. One of the things I’ve wondered about sucralose (that’s the “left-handed’ sugar, right?) and cellulose (a wood-derived additive to make low-fat stuff seem more creamy — because it’s not digestible, it’s considered zero-calorie) is just how valid is the assumption that the body can’t process these things?

            I could imagine, for example, a person who just happens to have an enzyme that permits them to process left-handed sugar as if it were right-handed sugar, which would have serious implications for people using it to avoid weight gain, or even if the person is a diabetic who needs to regulate sugars.

            As for cellulose, is it really outside the realms of impossibility for a person who may have eaten a few termites (even accidentally) to be able to get sugar from cellulose? (I’m supposing here that termites can digest wood because of bacteria in their “guts”.)

            While I’m not necessarily opposed to using these things in general (cellulose is particularly useful for making sure pre-grated cheese doesn’t become a big lump of non-grated cheese, for example), I can’t help but wonder to what degree we’re playing with fire with these things, even if it’s for a tiny percentage of the population…

            1. Support of this:
              baby deer will starve eating alfalfa–they’re like famine victims–and if cattle are left foraging without grass around (generally they’re jerks that ran off during gather and then got stuck in the snow) you’ve got to pour enzyme paste on the hay or they’ll starve with a full belly, about half the time, too.

            2. While I’m not necessarily opposed to using these things in general (cellulose is particularly useful for making sure pre-grated cheese doesn’t become a big lump of non-grated cheese, for example), I can’t help but wonder to what degree we’re playing with fire with these things, even if it’s for a tiny percentage of the population…

              This is actually a huge argument against the FDA making “food guidelines” and such– just say “this is generally safe,” or “this is generally not safe.”

              We flatly don’t know what normal is. (Insert my usual rant about B vitamins, ability to get them from diet, and body functioning “normally.”)

        1. I used to be a Cokeaholic. The local bottler started adding Stevia back in ’08, and I wound up going cold turkey. Stevia supposedly tastes sweet to most people; to me, it’s extremely bitter.

          I spent a couple of evenings chasing twisty little passages on, which is amazingly non-informative when you’re looking for specific information… it turned out that the company applied for a label variation, so they could substitute Stevia for sugar without changing their nutrition labels. So the “240 calorie” can you just drank is only 120 calories? Hey, no problemo, it’s all legal. Except the can is loaded with Stevia, and they might as well have cut it with drain cleaner as far as being able to drink it.

          Just about all carbonated drinks have Stevia in them now, and so do most fruit juices.

    1. Aye, pickle juice if nothing else is readily available. “Rennie Gatorade” I’ve heard it called. And it follows the (old Gatorade) rule of, ‘the better it tastes to you, the more need it.’

      1. There’s also Sekanjabin a medieval gatorade made by using 1 part honey, one part water one part vinegar, add mint or other spices, boil down to a simple syrup, then rehydrate to desired strength as you will. Literally lasts forever, and replaces all the electrolytes just fine, but tastes good.

        1. Ooh. *intrigued* Shouldn’t there be salt in there somewhere though? The vinegar doesn’t seem like enough….

          1. there are salts in most vinegar and in honey (not sodium chloride, but other salts) We use this in the SCA, where we’re in 70LBS of armor, and bashing each other with 5 LB swords at full speed/full impact. (you tend to develop a sweat)

        2. Several recipes, and several variations of the name, but yeah it works really well for hydration and (IMHO) tastes a bunch better than Gatoraid.

  16. Um, Sarah, I’ve been getting your blog in my email for some time now. This may be a bit presumptuous for a first post here but I did notice you didn’t mention any regular aerobic exercise. If I might suggest Leslie Sansone’s videos. Her program is remarkably easy to follow yet quite effective. The wife and I discovered her over a year ago when a PA tried to suggest she was diabetic. I’m now in better shape than when I was active duty, sad to say.
    Just something to consider. Cheers.

      1. I need to get out more myself – the weather is in the nice phase here (“brisk” at the very most), and the neighborhood is at least tolerable.

        No treadmill desk for me, though, unless I can find one that I have to work to power the electronics… I get focused in and I can forget to breathe.

  17. Take care of yourself. This post could have been written by my mother. It sometimes takes her a major scare to remember to keep track of the important things like water and food (she’s gone to the hospital for malnutrition before because she just didn’t prioritize eating enough despite cooking meals daily). She hates attention and being the one cared for. She’s made it to her 70s though and we want her around for longer. We’d like you to stay around for a good long while too.

  18. Sarah, I read this to my wife (who is also a fan). By the time you started in on “indulging your body”, she was yelling, “Preach it, Sister!” and “Damn straight! SOMEONE finally gets it!” See, she argued with her doctor one time who said “your iron levels are so low we can barely measure them – you should be unable to move.” Her response was “I don’t have TIME for the hospital, I have work to do.” (as they were dragging her to the ER). So, as you can see, you are NOT the only one with this particular worldview. Wife says – “I try to picture that day of fun as medicinally therapeutic and a prophylactic measure to avoid system failure”. We both wish you the best!

  19. My last trip to the ER, I had to be dragged bodily out of work by my husband with my boss shouting she wanted a doctor’s note. Several hours and 2 bags of fluid later, I thought the doctor was going to blow a gasket when I asked for the note. I’d already argued him out of admitting me and I made the bad decision to tell him I had to be at work in about 10 hours. The note said I was restricted to bed rest for the next 48 hours

    Seeing as I’d called my husband to bring me something to stop the vomiting because I was *that* dehydrated, I think getting some sleep and skipping the lipstick for my next shift was a good compromise.

    Now, I’m sick again and my new boss sent me home early because I mentioned I had gone in to get a strep culture on my way in to work because I wasn’t feeling well. I like the new boss.

    You seem a lot like my mom, who refuses to admit anything’s wrong until the last minute. I found out my dad was confined to a wheelchair when my mom called and asked for a ride to the hospital because she was having kidney stones. It was her second time having them. The first time is how we found out she had a tumor on her kidney.

    Seems like it’s a mom thing. You spend a good portion of your life beating your body into submission so you can take care of the people around you and it takes a lot of trauma to admit that it’s time to let them take care of you.

    1. Yep, it’s a Mom thing. Although it can be a Dad thing, too. It’s the years of having to drag yourself out of whatever (a warm bed, a warm bath, or a good meal). Because you’re the only one able to take care of the right now thing (usually kids, but can be other family, or work, too).

      I’m trying to hold back, really, on Sarah. Probably I’m a bit more testy because I was seriously considering digging the bungee cords out to hold my own wife down a few weeks back, after her abdominal surgery.

      (No, you don’t want to have me around when I do the full-on “Dad thing.” Ask my kids…)

  20. While back a machete skipped off some wood, traveled a weird arc and left me with a slice that would obviously require stitches. First thought after realized the bleeding was controllable: “Well, this screws up the afternoon.”

    So have a little understanding of the mindset.

    1. Dad once bounced a chainsaw off his foot, cutting it rather well.
      “Damn, ruined a brand new pair of shoes”
      No stitches because he didn’t go to the doctor.

      1. In Justice O’Connor’s autobiography she tells of seeing her rancher dad treat an injury by snatching up a piece of baling wire, heating it in the fire and cauterizing the wound, with his only expression being irritation at the need to do it.

        Say what you will about her jurisprudence, the lady knew and appreciated toughness.

        1. Dad lost an index finger in the Navy. He was bumped into and split it lengthwise on a horizontal mill, so I guess the chainsaw damage to the topside ball of the foot was small potatoes.
          Grandpa, though, once pulled a bad tooth with a pair of needle-nose pliers, with, according to dad, just a slight wince while he took a few minutes to work it loose and out.
          Dad tried it once (“The old man did it, how bad could it be?”) Once he stopped seeing stars, he got up off the floor and drove to the dentist.

          1. <IThat's what it was!!! Her father used the baling wire to cauterize a bad tooth.

            Per Wiki:
            She was born in El Paso, Texas, the daughter of Harry Alfred Day, a rancher, and Ada Mae (Wilkey). Her sister was Ann Day, who served in the Arizona Legislature. She grew up on a cattle ranch near Duncan, Arizona where she had to change automobile flat tires herself in dangerous environments. She later wrote a book with her brother, H. Alan Day, Lazy B : Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American West (2002), about her childhood experiences on the ranch.

      2. In Eisenhower’s autobiography (“At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends”), he mentions an accident he had that caused an adze to go into his brother’s foot. The response was, “Oh, Dwight! Right through my new store-bought socks!”

    1. Well, I would be! (Or astronomy, if Stephanie can find the time. Or forensic science, even. Come to think of it, there are a ton of experts just laying around the place…)

    2. geology as it affects your cultures for worldbuilding. BUT just geology as it affects culture. My ancestors came from mountainous regions. then there are desert peoples…

  21. Sarah! You are NOT to be sick! so get well, dammit! 🙂

    Sounds like you had atrial fibrillation, or something similar, and have been having these episodes for some time.

    Do you ever get a fluttering sensation in your chest, that only lasts a few moments? that would be A-fib.

    Per new research, A-fib can result from thyroid too high OR too low. (about 40% of the time due to being low)

    Low thyroid does tend to make you shed minerals, but generally this will stop if the dosage is high enough to truly normalize T3 levels at the tissue level. (Which may test higher than the average doctor likes. Myself, I need to be slightly above reference range to be truly well.)

    If things persist, get checked for hyperparathyroidism (occasional late stage consequence of Hashimoto’s). Info:

    Now, feel better, and be well, hear??

      1. A-fib IS a weird electrical thing. Heart gets wrong signals, or jumbled signals, so flutters instead of contracting.

        I strongly suspect your thyroid med is underdosed. Should be at a level to shut down your own thyroid gland entirely to avoid triggering antibodies. Also if you’re using synthetic, you might want to try natural thyroid and see if it controls the problem better (it often does, and can mitigate an occasional problem with poor conversion). You may also have to apply a large stick to the doctor to get him to do that; it’s become unfashionable, kinda like formula beating out breast milk.

      2. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the autoimmune variety of hypothyroidism. I have this thanks to no doctor recognising the problem for so long that it had progressed all the way to a second acute phase.

        Common progression is:
        subclinical hypothyroidism => untreated long enough always becomes clinical hypothyroidism (often not diagnosed) ==> untreated long enough often becomes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis ===> symtoms include psoriasis and other autoimmune attacks (joints, eyes, certain blood vessels), and notably, irritable bowel syndrome and migraines.

        Along the way some organs can develop “fibroid tumors” (masses of thyroid receptor tissue to try to scrounge enough thyroid hormone) notably uterus and parathyroid glands.

        Further, low thyroid sucks calcium out of the blood (deposits it in arterial walls and joints) which can cause irregular heart function. And then the parathyroid gland goes nuts trying to replace the low blood calcium, which it does by sucking it out of the bones and teeth ==> osteoporosis and adult-onset tooth decay.

        If the parathyroid gland has developed a tumor, it can continue pumping excess calcium even after the thyroid side is fixed (and the symptoms, other than blood calcium levels, are *identical*), and that too can cause irregular heart function. The heart’s electrical system is extremely dependent on correct levels of blood calcium.

        Recent study found 17 out of 17 parathyroid tumor patients were positive for Hashimoto’s antibodies, meaning a prior serious thyroid disturbance even if it was presently normal. (About half of thyroid cases do normalize within about five years. But because untreated is so likely to progress, it should never be just “watched”.)

        I read the Journal of Endocrinology, so you don’t have to. 😀

    1. The parathyroids regulate calcium levels (or so I was told when I had a suspicious one removed). I have occasionally claimed that the surgeon who cut my throat to do it didn’t go deep enough…

  22. I share your mortification of being fussed over. I would rather be dead.

    OTOH, have some consideration for Dan, hey? During the last few years my parents were alive I had to “suit up” and head out to join one or the other of them in ER, she having fallen, he having heart issues, and I can tell you there is little so tedious and boring as having to sit attendance on family in the ER. Perhaps Dan differs from me in this respect, but I find it exceedingly difficult to put aside my customary moroseness and maintain a facade of positivity under the best of circumstances, much less amongst a bevy of beeping monitors, attendants and other inhabitants of such facilities.

    So rest, eat well, schedule regular appointments with people who poke, prod, measure and otherwise mortify the flesh and try to follow their stupid recommendations, if only so Dan doesn’t have to repeat such vigils more often than absolutely necessary.

    Oh, and if shy a guest post or otherwise in need of blog fodder, feel free to throw out a topic sentence or a news article and say: Discuss!

    Or you could, you know, just put up silly cat pictures/videos.

    1. Dan and Greebo, who yesterday slept as close as he could to the bed without getting on it, because he’s not that brave… And who sometimes cried in the night to be sure mom was there.

      1. *big eyed trying-not-to-cry look* Oh, poor Greebo!

        I mean, I feel sorry for Dan and the boys, too, but they can understand…animals are different.

    2. I used to see a lot of “Discuss!” on engineering and programming forums. Someone would post some specific topic, then “Discuss!”

      Woof, woof. If they needed help with their term paper, they could just have asked instead of playing Topic Fairy.

  23. Welcome back! I don’t know how to tell you to get used to not being able to do all you want to, but I can tell you it took years and years for me to accept it (several chronic issues, boring).
    But now that I have (forced to retire at age 73 because of health issues), I find that the world – surprise, surprise – gets on quite well without me controlling everything!! Or attempting to anyway.

    Anyhow, love your writing, either books or here, so do all the things you mentioned you need/plan to do, and hopefully by next year you will be feeling MUCH better ALL the time. Please note that next year will be here very soon.

  24. …because I should not have let my body give way, and I should not be weak.

    At the same time you should respect that your body is perhaps correct when it tells you that your desired limits and its functional limits are two entirely different things.

    I feel that the very fact I need care is a deep personal failure…but I can’t stop feeling it just because I realize that.

    Welcome to being human. That you suffer from frailties is human. That your thinking is a complex and at times contradictory thing is human. That you are a stubbornly independent human who struggles against your frailties, strives against the odds and does not want to pick the public’s pocket or be a burden on friends and family in a world of voices that promotes victimhoods makes you an exceptional human. This is part of your charms.

    We love you because of and in spite of who you are.

  25. Regarding your impatience with the frailties of the flesh, consider what you would say were this happening not to you but to a best friend.

    Then be your own best friend — worst enemies are easy enough to come by.

  26. I feel apologetic at increasingly more bizarre test results and like I’m somehow perpetrating a prank on the doctors and should beg pardon

    Think of it this way… you’re making things interesting for them by providing plot twists.

  27. Back in the Middle Ages, didn’t they used to think that illness was punishment for sins? (My roundabout way of saying you are being Medieval, Sarah!)
    People get sick, it’s not always preventable. What’s important is getting well again. Prayers for your recovery.

    1. Older than that.

      Look at the Book of Job (in the Bible not the Heinlein novel).

      Job’s “friends” were so very sure that Job’s misfortunes were punishment for some secret sins.

    2. Less “during the middle ages” and more “basically any time that Jewish and Christian teachers didn’t hammer it through folks’ heads that it isn’t how it works,” at least if you define sin to be “did what a god says you shouldn’t.” (Let’s see, there’s the Book of Job, there’s Jesus flatly informing those guys that a dude wasn’t blind because of his or his parents’ sin, I’m sure there are other examples…..)

      Second only to “my lack of success/bad luck/this bad thing must be due to THAT GUY OVER THERE, BURN THE WITCH!” in my very minor exposure to history and humans blaming stuff.

      1. Shucks. Putting the Christian Scientists to one side, there are plenty of people today who will tell you that sickness is punishment for sin. Except that isn’t quite exactly how they phrase it. They will say you sinned by smoking cigarettes, or by drinking too much (too little) alcohol, or by not eating enough kale or staying on a sufficiently low fat/salt/carb/calorie/food diet or something, anything you have done they imagine you ought not have.

        Everything must have a cause and there is never a shortage of people to advise you on your errors.

        1. Preach it, brother.
          *pats pregnant belly* You would not believe how many people can’t grasp the difference between “lowering risk” and “magically makes it so nothing will go wrong.” Had a nurse dang near kiss me when I rather stoically told her I understood you can control risks, not outcomes, when she was trying to figure out what level of conversation was appropriate during an ultrasound. (I am not happy about that, but I understand it. Some folks do ‘everything wrong’ and have perfect outcomes, some folks do ‘everything right’ and…don’t.)

          My nephew was born with club feet– a large chunk of the reason that his parents divorced is because his father simply could not accept that this was not caused by anything that my sister had done. It might have been associated with the shape of her womb, but most aren’t, and there’s nothing you can do to change the shape of your womb and it might not even run in families…..

          Magic talisman. “I do this and then there’s no risk.”

          Hm… maybe I’ll send in a post on that….

    3. “You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen come to us because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.”

      — Marcus Cole to Dr. Franklin, Babylon 5, “A Late Delivery from Avalon.”

      1. “What man who has lived more than a score of years desires justice, warrior? For my part, I find mercy infinitely more attractive. Give me a forgiving deity any day.”

        – Priest to Yama, “Lord of Light”

      2. We tend to want “fair” for ourselves (i.e. no worse for us than anyone else), and “justice” (enforcement of the common moral code) for others.

    4. That’s a perennial. The Iliad opens with the question of who’s responsible for the disease that hit the Greeks.

    1. *snerk*

      I bet the epithet they wanted was “knight in shining armor”.

      Ah, idiomatic nuances.

  28. Sarah, when your overstressed body starts making its own demands, it is not self-indulgence or betrayal of your duties to pay attention, any more than it is to selfish to pay attention to a leak in the plumbing or a blown fuse in the wiring in your house in order to prevent greater damage. I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you are not Supergirl. At the risk of channeling Count Rugen, I dare to suggest that you seem to have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, and the someday it’s going to get you into trouble is already here. We mere aging mortals are obliged to take care of ourselves first in order to enable us to take care of others. Tell your sense of guilt to take a hike. Clinical symptoms of heart trouble are not moral failings, and trying to stave them off with an effort of will is about as effective and sensible as eyeglasses for a toothache.

    1. I’ve been trying to compose a post to tell Sarah pretty much this, and you said it better than anything I’ve come up with.

      Sarah! ^^^ That! When the Mama gets sick, it’s her turn to be babied by the family the same way she does for them. That’s what family is for. Kick the guilt trip down the toilet and flush it.

  29. Tidings of comfort and joy. (‘Tis the season.)

    I’d offer to guest blog but I don’t think what I blog about fits well for this fine establishment. I wouldn’t want to bore to tears, as my average of four readers per day suggests I might tend to.

      1. Please consider contributing a guest post here, for three reasons.

        1. We can always use it as an occasion for mocking you.

        2. Given our ability to wreak havoc with such scant material as a notice that there will be a post later, it isn’t likely you would do serious damage here with a single blog post. So, what’s the worst that could happen; Sarah gets a day off.

        3. The problems you have experienced may simply be a matter of those three factors cited as most important by realtors world wide: location, location, location

        4. It is a great opportunity to conduct an experiment on how many people can count to three.

        5. The alternative might be a blog post by my on considerations for evaluating federal tax policy. Think of the good you could do for this blog by saving it from such a discussion!

        1. > 1. We can always use it as an occasion
          > for mocking you.

          I’m in! I’m good at snarking and derailing topics, too!

        2. Plus, for those who cannot legitimately get them by other means, rejection letters.

          Dear Sir,

          Your post entitled ‘Puppy Kickers Fellate Goats’ does not meet the needs of According To Hoyt at this time. We prefer that posts on said topic be in substantial compliance with the Sad Puppies V Joint Strategic Trolling Planning Directive, particularly the Supplemental Memorandum on Coordinated Baiting. We look forward to hearing from you further on future proposed posts.

  30. Just caught up on what’s been happening. Prayers continue!
    My own mom and I both have heart “stuff” going on right now. I’m glad you’re home and have gotten some good sleep. Please do take care of yourself. My mom sadly drove herself into serious medical problems by ignoring her own bodily needs. I’m joining the ranks of those thankful that Dan took you in.

  31. Sports drinks have lots calories. That you don’t need.

    Caffeine is a diuretic and can wash out valuable salts.

    Aerobic exercise (getting up and walking around) is good medicine. With your heart issues a pulse meter is a great idea.

    Beware supplements not recommended by a competent physician. They can cause more problems than good. The competent physician part is the tricky part.

    I recommend a good timeout for mindfulness and a cognitive behavioral approach to dealing with weight, and your general approach to denying serious health problems and conventional wisdom in dealing with them.

    1. On caffeine– yes, caffeine can dehydrate you. However, big comma, they haven’t been able to support the notion that caffeinated drinks are any less hydrating than others.

      They were able to establish that if you normally drink coffee, go cold turkey for a week, and then drink two and a half double-mochas worth of caffeine, it makes you go pee.

      Is the “washing out” comment from the increased through-put associated with drinking a lot of coffee? (…I think I just copied my mom’s explanation for why I couldn’t just drink LOTS of water to be hydrated in the summer, and had to eat some salty chips too. Heh.)

      1. I note that one factor in high blood pressure can be drinking a lot. Of water. I suppose it’s likely to help if you want to elevate it.

      2. “If you normally drink coffee and then go cold turkey for a week” — apart from hydration questions, ouch.

        1. Both coffee and Cold Turkey Whiskey are diuretics, right?

          (Forced for the joke, but it occurs to me that the distillers of Wild Turkey are missing a great niche opportunity by not offering a Cold Turkey blend.)

    2. I think you’re confusing sports drinks with energy drinks.
      The sports drinks I refer to are the horrible concoction of salt and minerals you wouldn’t drink on your own if you weren’t crazy or didn’t really need it.
      I have always shed minerals, accounting for the corroding of any metal in contact with my body for any amount of time, and also for the mineral incrustations on my lenses when I tried to wear contacts.
      I’ve found that if I am tired/dehydrated the sports drinks are the only way to compensate and get me functional. Water doesn’t cut it.
      Because of the often mentioned carb-trigger to the eczema portion of my autoimmune (which will set the other one off if sufficiently advanced) the sports drinks I drink are zero calorie. And please do trust me I don’t drink more of them than strictly needed. Even when I’m in need, I can barely tolerate the taste.
      Caffeine is not responsible for this issue. Yeah, true, about a year ago I was up to three pots a day (yes, you read that right) to compensate for continuous brain fog. But as my doctor gets close to adjusting my thyroid, I find I often have half a cup in the morning, and I’m good. (On medical advice, I took a lot of decaf in between, to stop the withdrawal headaches, but now I don’t need to, and I don’t like the taste of coffee. I was up to maybe a cup a week ago, because it helps with breathing when asthma is bad and I couldn’t find my inhaler.)
      On common sense advice: I’ve been advised to increase my salt intake to double. I’m not immediately sure how to do this since I’ve always liked my food extremely salty, and already add about double the salt to my portion that I cook with for my family. I don’t want to increase calories, and I can’t have carbs. Yesterday I had half a can of olives, but olives have carbs. If the increase in salt is common sense medical advice I’m doing my best to follow it.

      My weight is not involved in this issue. I know it seems weird, but it really is not. In fact, insofar as it’s low blood pressure and low heart rate that caused the problem, I suspect if I weren’t way too heavy already, they’d tell me to gain weight. They did scan my arteries and they’re like the super highway of blood, not even remotely clogged and (which I knew before from surgery etc) over-engineered for my body size.
      My weight too doesn’t respond to “common sense” — I spent fifteen years increasingly restricting my diet and exercising up to four hours a day while gaining weight and being told I was lying.
      Turns out it was hypothyroidism. Unfortunately my first attempt to fix that flooded the system with RT3 and caused me to gain 20 pounds in two weeks. I am now the heaviest I’ve ever been, and I don’t know if it will ever get resolved. Since I can’t do a hell of a lot about it, I eat a mediterranean diet modified low carb, (because carbs set off the auto-immune), try to keep it to reasonable amounts, and exercise about an hour or two a day usually aerobic, walking.
      I will confess that for the last month I haven’t been walking that much, and maybe as the thyroid gets close to “right” I’ll be able to lose weight once I do it. So far I’m not gaining, which is a great boon.
      I haven’t been walking because I’ve been dealing with massive auto-immune issues that turned breathing/and/arthritis.
      The proximate cause of this debacle was an auto-immune attack, set off not by diet but by my apparently stressing over a family member’s surgery. I TRIED not to stress, but by the evening of the surgery I was in full blown attack, and it spiraled from there. The fact this family member has now coded under anesthesia twice probably contributed to the stress. (He didn’t this last time though.)
      The extended cause of the debacle is that my doctor, who has been our family doctor for 15 years, was forced by the Obamacare regulations to join a hospital-associated practice. This in turn makes it so that we’re attended mostly by NPs. This particular NP (The other one we deal with is rather wonderful) gave me steroids to bring the autoimmune under control (indicated) but neglected to inform me they had a dehydrating effect. So I got dehydrated without realizing it, and also apparently shed way more minerals than I thought.
      My issues with self-care are serious, mostly because I hate to take time off to deal with myself, but they are in fact none of the ones you assumed.
      It is a rather strange thing to assume all this about me, since at least half of it is impossible due to my issues with carbs, about which I have not been exactly silent.

      1. Your discussion of needing salt reminds me of my Dad talking about how he’d occasionally pop a salt crystal taken from the water softener and suck on it. In retrospect, he had problems with high blood pressure (which seemed to be a major factor leading up to his strokes), so it might not have been the best thing for *him*, but I think he was talking about his habit in the context of how inane the Government’s War on Salt has been.

        (And, my Dad’s high pressure issues notwithstanding, the more I learn about salt, the more I’m convinced that the Government’s War on Salt is indeed inane.)

        I don’t necessarily bring this up as a suggestion for something you ought to do, as much as it is an idea that you can consider. In practice, I’m not sure how it would work out: I personally *hate* softened water, and this is the only way I’m aware of getting rock salt, so if you don’t have a water softener, I’m not aware of how to get chunky salt crystals in bags smaller than 20lbs; additionally, I’m not sure how well you would tolerate sucking on salt crystals. I’ve done it myself (it’s fascinating how clear a salt crystal can become!) and sometimes I’d dissolve it completely, and sometimes I’d have to spit it out because I find it too salty. I don’t do it so much anymore mostly because I don’t have access to water softener rock salt.

        Which reminds me: one of the reasons I recently read that makes the Government War on Salt inane, is the fact that people naturally and unconsciously regulate their salt intake: so if a given individual consciously tries to cut out salt, he’ll unconsciously seek out salty foods in response. How weird is that? People have natural biological regulator for a life-sustaining chemical!

        1. “unconsciously seek out salty foods in response” – there’s a common advice on how to determine if you’re getting enough salt: Eat a potato chip. If it tastes salty, you probably are getting enough; if it doesn’t, you needed the salt, so keep eating them until it does.
          Probably doesn’t work for everyone, but does often enough to be useful.

  32. All I’ve got to add is to just let the stuff remain right where it is. Everyone else has already said it. It’s okay to be sick. It’s not a failing. It just is. So stop already. You don’t have to give us a blog every day. If you want something posted there’s dozen of folks that can fill the bill until you’re better. Or the BFTP posts are always interesting. The only thing we want from you is a Sarah that feels well and rested.

  33. I collapsed in the shower (and according to Dan appeared to be dead)

    It has been my impression that husbands tend to react somewhat strenuously to finding their wives appearing dead in the shower. Why this should be is beyond my comprehension.

    I blame Mr. Hitchcock.

  34. Yes, there will be vignettes later.

    Trudging alone through the snow he thought to himself, ‘It is almost Christmas.’ He enjoyed the season, the camaraderie, the food, the worship. He walked on. He came upon a grove of pines. One was the perfect tree. ‘This would please her. I’ll come back later.’

    There was no later.

      1. Good. I am glad to hear it. I had hoped that you had been better occupied, and it appears to have been so.

  35. Sarah, this Tuesday next I will be at the neighborhood Red Cross Blood Drive and shall donate a pint in your name.

    That should confuse them.

    “This wallaby wants to donate a unit of whole blood.”

    “That should be fine. What type is the wallaby?”

    “A negative.”

    “Yes, I’ve noticed that already, but what type is the wallaby.”

    “Doctor, the wallaby is a negative.”

    “Well, Nurse, we can all be a bit of a downer from time to time, but what type is the wallaby?”

    Repeat as necessary until struck.

    1. I used to donate and have my gallon pin. Unfortunately the mad cow thing put an end to that.
      My dad, like Mr. Heinlein is AB- and until he was in his seventies got awakened sometimes in the middle of the night to go donate to someone with his blood type who’d just come into hospital.

      1. Ah … yes. My Daddy is also AB-. That last is why, although the second child, he was the only one of his siblings who survived. (His mother had negative blood.)

      2. All of us but Sib got blocked from donating by the Mad Cow follies. Interestingly, the military doesn’t seem to be worried, because all the guys I know who had been stationed in Germany could still donate to military hospitals.

        1. I don’t think it’s a real thing. We didn’t eat much beef growing up, and what we ate came from ex-work-cows, not from factory cows fed other cows. This sort of blanket prohibition is nuts. Europe is not a uniform place.

          1. IIRC, the biggest risk was with folks who ate cow brain, no matter the source. It just catches the meat sources that folks who grew up poor but aren’t now because that’s who thinks brains and scrambled eggs are comfort food.

            Nothin’ wrong with Arby beef, though. 😀 (Ex-work-cows.)

          1. I give blood through the military system. For about three years I was locked out due to a deployment to the med. Then they changed their rules about when, how long, and where you ate, to be more practical for their supply and for their situation. It had nothing to do with being sued, they just looked at the practicality (IE everyone in the military except the very REMFist of REMFs(they don’t even qualify as fobits, because they never leave CONUS) deploys to either Europe or Asia, and most of the two or more termers have done both.) of saying over half of our sources can’t donate, because over half of the military has been in Europe, and looked at probability of infection…

            1. They still could only do it because they knew we can’t sue. Doesn’t even have to be any real risk- the risk is “can someone make a jury want to be nice to them enough to take mad money from us.”

  36. “I’m deeply grateful for the outpouring of love and affection, and in a way it helped but it also made me feel self conscious and bad that I was worrying everyone and causing everyone to make a fuss, because I should not have let my body give way, and I should not be weak.”

    I don’t know if it will do you any good, but it was very helpful to me, when Minikami sensei proved to us that “If the will fails: shame. But if the body fails: no shame.” It doesn’t make life any easier for our husbands as we insist on soldiering through when we probably should not (running a state-wide library conference whilst enjoying both bronchitis and pneumonia. One can always hit the emergency room after the conference is done, yes?*) but once we do collapse? No shame.

    As for the prayers, and the out-poured affection, they do the prayerful one and the giver far more good than they do YOU. Rejoice: in your collapse you are an occasion of for grace for the good folk who care about you.

    God speed, Mrs. Hoyt. We will continue to pray for you & your family.

    (*Note, I am NOT advising this as a wise course of action. It’s not. An ounce of prevention, pound of cure etc. etc. etc.)

    1. Anent “soldiering through” … the phrase should give one pause: it’s only for life-&-death situations, theirs AND yours.
      My lady wife has much the same tendency to push herself, and I have to remind her upon occasion: you can take it easier for a couple of days now, or a couple of weeks later. Is it REALLY that important to do all of what you’ve planned?

  37. Apparently people who will sing a Capella have other unsavory habits.

    Words flail me.

    HT: Power Line

    1. “Now I’m the model of a modern myth that’s magical, a veteran with venison…?”


  38. You not alone there. I’ve always been the person that didn’t want to inconvenience anyone, even if I was actually sick. The only reason I went the doctor last year when I had the flu was because I went home for the weekend, and my mom forced me to.

  39. Vignette day; Writers were aghast. There was no Word.

    “The Beautiful (but Evil) Space Princess forgot,” simpered one.

    Another muttered, “Maybe she’s ill.”

    “Hush before Proctor hears you,” snapped Head Writer. “She is infallible and indestructible. Problem’s our netmail server. Search her site; I’m sure it’s there.”

    Result: NO SUBJECT.

  40. BbESP is uncomfortable with good wishes? OK…

    [bad German accent] You vill take CARE off yourselff, unt you vil LIKE it![/bad German accent]

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