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I got a look at my medical records a couple of days ago. Upon admittance to the emergency room, my blood pressure numbers read: 207/113. The doctors and nurses were aghast and dismayed that I had somehow put myself through DAYS of those numbers before I sought medical help.

I'm beginning to finally realize those numbers mean something, and that if every doctor and nurse looks at those numbers and then sputters, it's probably a bad thing.

I don't know if I was as close to death as I could have been. My chart did read that there was worry about "AHF", or "Acute Heart Failure". One by one, each of these things wouldn't mean terribly much.

Put them all together? Well, my generally well-stacked life of Tetris suddenly becomes a seven story game of Jenga - and I've always had shaky hands.

I have had two states of being over the last week. Two and only two.Subtlety is not the name of this game. )

I suppose writing about all this medical bullshit isn't a bad thing. It's a day by day account of my stability, medications, new symptoms, etc. All things nurses and doctors like to have on hand about their patients.

We still can't get my blood pressure reading down further than 160, but it's a hell of a lot better than 207. But I'm hopeful. The meds, my relative youth, and a stubbornness that wouldn't let me die even I decided to stick my head a into a bag of methane....

Well, what else is there to do, except live until you don't? Cest la vie.
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I have developed the most bizarre aversion. Laying down makes me panic and hyperventilate. Not in the whole "If I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep" kind of way. (Because, seriously, if getting in and out of bed is what does me in, giving up the ghost is probably a good idea anyways.)

Jesse says it's likely a trigger to the episode I had in the hospital, the one where I couldn't breathe and was inconsolably hysterical. It makes sense. I am trying to stack my pillows high, as laying down at an angle isn't quite so scary, and I am also trying meditation and breathing exercises. It still takes several minutes to drag my heart rate down into anything resembling a normal breath.

I had no idea that a person could be scared of breathing.

Jesse suggested I put in a call to Dr. Cannon about getting a stop-gap, as-needed anti-anxiety med. That's probably not a bad idea. I just hate calling doctors and asking for new medications. There's a part of me that is, was, and will forever be paranoid about being labeled a "drug seeker." (Even though logically, no doctor could truly diagnose me as 'drug seeking' because I haven't SEEN a doctor in 20 years in order TO be diagnosed. Still, the worry is there.)

I am on a very low dose of Clonodine (.1 milligrams), which is a beta blocker, I believe. (And different from its oft used cousin, Klonapin.) It lowers the heart rate and is calming. But I can only use that when I wake up and when I go to bed. I do not want to have to mess with an anxiety med that's a sedative, either. I'd way prefer the beta blocker, but I'd also prefer one that didn't risk dropping my heart too low. So we will see.

Argh, this is maintenance writing. I was up at 3:30 AM - and have been waking up at 3 AM for days now. At least I get to see the sunrise. I'm hoping to get back to work this week. They are holding my job for me, but I'm still nervous. It would be just my luck to get a job with health insurance just in the nick of time to keep my kidneys from exploding, and then lose the job that gave me the insurance to treat my explodey kidneys to START with.

Jesse had a hilarious misheard phrase yesterday. I can't remember what I was talking about, but he turned around, tilted his head and said "Existential exhaustion? Is that what you said?"

That was not what I said, but it was incredibly apt. We both had a great laugh about it.

Made the mistake of taking a super hot, super long bath last night. Not only did it wind up giving me a headache, but it made the muscles I was trying to relax tighten up even more. Once I felt my heart rate pounding, forcing the breath out of my lungs in ragged gasps, I figured it was time to get out. Took another few minutes to literally crawl out of the tub and then I had to call to Jesse to dry me off.

You guys are giving me incredible support and information. And god, do I need it. In the hospital, it was easy enough to walk that fine line and feel better. Armies of doctors, nurses, professionals, etc, who were trained for this. OUT of the hospital? Much, much harder. It's playing this stupid game where the slightest move left or right plunges me into some kind of unpleasant consequence.

Take warm baths to soothe the swollen muscles of edema - but not TOO hot. Eat some sodium and protein to settle your meds - but not TOO much sodium and protein. You can totally have sugar, as you're not diabetic, but all of your favorite treats includes shittons of dairy. Get out of bed and walk around, do some physical things to help ease the edema, but for God's sake, do NOT expend so many spoons that you wind up nearly passing out or crashing entirely.

Jesse has taken the brunt of my immediate care. He has been the one researching, digging out the do's and don'ts, all of the meal preparation and cooking. I need to step up to the plate and begin being my own advocate. It's not fair to place all of this on Jesse's shoulders.

So with the resources you guys are giving me (and YES, Michael! When she's up for it, I would LOVE to email her about her experience!), it's giving me a jumping off point in learning how to care for myself.

Speaking of edema, I cannot believe how much weight and pressure I've put on. Damn near 30 FREAKING POUNDS in the last month. I'm on diuretics, drinking water, and they say it'll take a few weeks to go away. At one point, my face was so swollen I barely recognized myself. It felt as if someone had replaced my head with a soccer ball and glued googly-eyes onto it.

I look and feel extremely pregnant. When I go out, I get knowing smiles from other women. That is, I suppose, nice, but it's a good thing they can't read my mind, because it's going "HOW DO WOMEN DO THIS FOR 9 MONTHS?!" Seriously, every movement is impeded and I marvel that the human race continues to breed at all. I'm pretty sure I'd just have belly dived down the stairs at this point.

Aaaaand thoughts like that are the reason I don't have children.

It's nearly 7:30 AM. Maybe I can go back to sleep now. I've got to get my schedule wrapped back around my work hours, lest I make for myself an even more miserable time later.
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Summer used to be my favorite season. Even in Arizona, where the sun literally liquefied the asphalt on the road, I was madly in love with summer. Moving to the Midwest, where they actually HAVE seasons (other than just "hot" and "holy shit my face is on fire") summer still remained my favorite season. I donned every combination of Daisy Duke shorts and ridiculously tiny tank tops I could find. I loved the oppressive, inescapable press of the heat. I felt the natural, spiraling power of Nature as she raced upwards. If it got really hot for a week or two, well, that was okay, too. It WAS summer, after all.

And then one summer, it got really hot for three weeks. And then the next summer, it got really hot for a whole month. And now there is this summer, which is the hottest summer on record, because EVERY YEAR is now the hottest on record.

Summer is just not fun anymore.

It makes me wonder how on earth I managed to do half the shit I did as a teenager. I walked 10 miles barefoot on the desert highway. Not because I couldn't afford shoes, not because I was fleeing an unsafe situation. I just decided to take a ten mile walk on streets were puddling from asphalt to tar. I think I was trying to prove something. It apparently wasn't all that significant, as I don't remember what I was trying to prove.

I wonder how on earth I managed to dress in black long sleeves for most of my adolescence. And yes, I know the Bedouins wear black as well, but they have flowing black garb, whereas I covered every inch of ripped up lace, leather, and skirt in heavy jewelry.

But then, teenagers are teenagers. When you're aiming for a specific image, practicality goes right out the window. I'm glad to be well past that age. Black lipstick looks ridiculous on anyone over the age of 16 and besides, black clothing collects waaaaay too much cat hair to wear as fashion standard.

On news of the sick and not-dying: I need your guy's help with food. Recipes. I've got me a new renal diet. (AHAHAHA "RENAL" SOUNDS LIKE ANAL AHAHAHA!).

Franklanguage, it occured to me the other day that vegan food is a good place to look for non-dairy, low sodium stuff. What do you do for your diet??

The strangest, most surprising aspect of this is finding out I need emotional support on how to adjust to a new diet.

I swing from elation at being able to try new foods and then crash into outright hostility about being limited. Food is way more emotionally complicated than I'd given it credit for. I was like - "Cut down on salt? Sure! No biggie! Cut down on potassium and phosphate? Well, I guess I don't eat a whole lot of bananas anyways. WAIT A MINUTE I HAVE TO RESTRICT DAIRY AS WELL?! WHAT KIND OF WORLD IS THIS?!"

And then someone reminds me that this is my world and if I don't start treating it with respect, I'm gonna lose it. And by "lose it" I mean die.

So let's not die.
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I miss the sunrise. Work and necessity has taken me away from my morning hours. Those moments that slide nearly unnoticed over the horizon, making the colors shift so subtly that one can barely remember when it was black, dusky purple, or cerulean.

After the schedule destroying hospital stay, I'm up before the sunrise. I will watch it with joy.

Things, of which seem never ending:

* I have chronic kidney disease. I was like, "What's the chronic part mean?" Chronic means incurable. I have some kind of kidney disease.

* And it will never, ever be cured. I can quell the COPD thing (OOOOH BOY HOWDIE HOW SMOKING IS NOT FUCKING ATTRACTIVE ANYMORE), I can eat better (OOOOH BOY HOWDIE HOW THAT'S AN ENTIRE POST ON ITS OWN), but I will never, never be without badly damaged lungs and a limping kidney.

*I thought I was not afraid of doctors. I was wrong. )I have to be okay with time being its own master. I have to be okay with how short a thing it is, that we could live it so long and yet not understand it. I have to learn how to be okay with this.

""Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really.

How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five time more. Perhaps not even that.

How many times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."

- Brandon Lee, a man who knew a few things about life, death, and what we can only imagine in between

And this morning, this morning I got see my sunrise.
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I keep trying to write these informative posts, but my mood is swinging so hard that little revelant winds up tying my words together. It's also hard to stay sitting up. Hard to...realize that I really did this to myself.

I don't get the timeline. I was an alcoholic junkie,but quit that shit right out before I was 20. Doesn't that count for something? Well, no,because I kept right on smoking.

The kidneything is in part of decades of eating waaay too much Excedrin Migraine. But as I told everyone, it's that or I can't fucking hold down a job. It's shoving handfulls of OTC meds down my throeat so I don't vomit three times a week at work. I had no medical access, but I DAMN SURE had bills to pay.''

THere's not much I'm able to write rightnow. I'm either twisting in the hospital bed, or else cowering in the corner of the bathroom, sobbing forsomeone to take the pain, the nausea away.

Forget smacking my 17th self. If I had known I was going to have migraines like this, I'd just have saved myself the middle man and put a bullet in my own head.
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So I've had a migraine for several days now. It veers back and forth between "If I close my eyes between calls, the world won't spin" all the way to....hallucinations.

Let it be said here that I have never hallucinated, at least not since I quit drugs. So that's a solid 15 years of trusting that if I see it, it's real.

Yesterday at work, I swore that I saw man pass directly behind me. Not only was there no one there, there was no one there on the entire floor. Just me, myself, and my seeing shit. Okay, I thought, "Maybe someone IS here and you're just really tired." Occam's Razor and shit.

Then I came to be very grateful that no one was behind on the highway, as I nearly slid off the damn road to avoid a dog. A dog that turned out not to be there.

And of course, I'm beginning to experience the flashes of geometric shapes in the corner of my eyes. This part is well documented by the medical community to be a basic symptom of a migraine. But dogs and dudes that just disappear?

Never had that before. There is nausea that prevents me from eating much of anything at all, which just makes the head pain worse, which then feeds into the next several hours of nausea. I wake up and my heart rate jumps 130, though after an hour it goes back down to 120. (That's my usual resting heart rate. Yes, I know that's bad.) The head pain comes in like a vice and only occasionally drops to semi-functional levels.I get viscerally cold, to where I'm wearing a hoodie AND suede jacket at work, but my head is burning to the touch.

Despite this, I do not have a fever. I don't understand it.

Call in sick! Go to a walk in clinic! Strong arm your doctor into an emergency visit!

Yeah, but I kinda don't want to lose my job. Turns out earlier, while I was just discovering that hey something is really wrong here, I'd eaten up all of my sick time. I've eaten up most of my personal business days. I have vacation days, but I can only use them when the time off is available, to which in a building of 300 employees, is a desperate race to garner.

And I really need to keep one day open, as two of my cats are senior cats, and animals rarely die on a convenient day off.

So I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. I will go and plead with my lady doctor to make it stop, make it feel better, do something, anything, to remove this very painful fatigue that's washed over me. I will know that doctors are not miracle healers and that diagnosis is a long, slow process of elimination.

So, yes, new shit is happening. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow.

At least it's not cancer. That much we know. Small blessings.
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If I could go back in time to my 17 year old self.

(1) Bitchslap the cigarette out of my 17 year old mouth. Bitchslap the OTHER cheek when my younger self goes "WTF?!".

(2) Tell everyone that Donald Trump is a viable presidential candidate. Watch people double over in laughter before collapsing into a silent, horrified disbelief. This would be far, far more shocking than any teenage satanic image I pushed in high school.

(3) I'd sit myself down and try to explain the difference between "nice" and "having manners." Just because you're saying 'Yes ma'm/ No sir' does NOT mean you are NOT an asshole. Try to be nicer and less an asshole.

(4) And I think in the end, the ONE THING I'd really want to tell myself would be this: You are going to be okay. Yes, it's gonna hurt for a good long while. Yes, it's going to impede some forward motion in the years to come.

But eventually, it's all going to make sense. The question will shift from "WHY DID THEY -" to "HOW DO I -". The confusion will ease. The guilt will ease. You'll never believe that time heals all wounds, but you'll believe that you don't need to be cured in order to live.

You'll get through. You will be okay and you WILL get through.

I didn't know all that at 17. Didn't know ANY of that. What kid does? I'd never change my addiction, meeting David, etc. Events like those shaped vast swaths of my identity over the years, and I'm not sure who I'd be without them.

But a few words? A couple of girl-slaps to emphasize my point about not dying of emphysema? Oh hell yeah. Those I'd in a heartbeat.

I'd also probably torture myself about wanting to stop 9/11. That would be hard to resist, no matter what any time travel narrative is being played out.

What would you guys tell your 17 year old selves????
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1) YES, Harvey, SALT. And edema? SALT. It turns out that somehow, rather miraculously, Jesse's and I's diet is super low in sodium. That's wierd, because poor people food is CHOCK FUCKING FULL OF SALT. Pat mentioned that we usually don't have much food to eat anyways. That probably makes a difference.

2) Been salting my food the last couple of days. It's helping the headaches, which (good guess, Harvey!) have been very present and very out of control.

3) Could also be in part that I spend, bare minimum, forty minutes in a car with no AC in what is currently well over 100 degree weather. Somedays, when the errands demand I run them before everything-closes-at-five-pm, I will wind up in the car, which has to reach easily ***120** degrees (49 degrees Celsius!) for hours.

**EDIT: I just found out that a car sitting in direct sunlight in 100 degree weather climbs up to 150-170 fucking degrees. No wonder I feel like dying, I feel like puking, I feel dizzy, I want to sleep, oh god don't touch me, I can't breathe, ice pack and water and four hours of straight sleep, I've got a fever, etc, hits. Jesus, let alone when I'm doing errand running for hours straight in the hottest part of the goddamn day.***

4) More water. More salt. Will be seeing my doctor next week.

5) I made the mistake of traipsing into my own morbid, creepy self the other day. Kansas City has had an accident. A terrible, senseless, tragic accident. A ten year old boy was decapitated on what was supposed to be our crowning achievement. The world's tallest slide, to the surprise of no one, turned out to be very, very unsafe.

6) There were pictures. None of the body (parts), thank god, but pictures of the slide only moments after the accident. So much blood pooling in the water. Two cover tarps in the water, not one. So much fucking blood. That alone was enough to make me feel queasy.

7) What's worse is that the kid had at least a few seconds of free-fall before the netting and metal caught his neck.

8) Decapitation is supposed to be a rather quick way to go. But I can't stop imagining just how terrifying his last few seconds must have been, hurtling through the air. To die like that, to know just long enough that something very bad is happening and that you can't stop it....it's one thing for an adult to go out like that. A ten year old kid?

9) I had been thinking of making plans to go on that ride. It's only a few miles away from here. Instead, I've spent most of the last two days feeling as if I want to upchuck everything I've eaten in the last decade. I should not have looked at the pictures.

10) Both Jesse and Pat do not want to hear me talk about this. It makes sense, in that my need to talk through grief and fear about death and violence is very creepy. I thought that if I just ignored it I would stop feeling so sick about it.

11) I'm still sick about it. So I'm talking about it here.
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1) I have been a whiny, whiny, motherfucking morose bitch lately. Thank you guys for putting up with it.

2) I have managed to gain almost 20 pounds in three weeks. While I did go through a week where I had a 20 ounce soda everyday, this weight gain in such a short time seems statistically improbable.

3) My ankles are swollen. My ankles have NEVER swelled before, even when I was 15 pounds heavier than I am now. My face is puffy, puffy and springy in a way that weight gain has never done before.

4) Ergo, it is less likely actual weight gain and more...edema? A mixed up and backwards hydration system? My body deliriously trying to give me the middle finger?

5) "Things fall apart, the center cannot hold." Love that poem. Do not love the way my body is taking that literally.

6) Could be worse. Could be on fire. That would make anything worse.

7) We have been busy at work. So, so busy. Over 300 calls in three days last week. Well over 150 calls yesterday. I look around my little cubicle ant farm and realize there are several empty seats whereas two weeks ago, they were mostly full.

8) Turn over is a bitch.

9) There are posters at work that say "What are you working forward to? I do not know how or why, but I know that is somehow grammatically incorrect and it's driving me insane. I am well versed enough in the English language to recognize an off-sounding phrase when I hear it, but not professionally trained enough in the English language to pinpoint WHY it's off.

10) So why is that phrasing so...wrong?
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I'm going to have to quit smoking. This isn't me being sardonic. I'm really, really going to have to quit smoking.

But not today and not all at once, says my doctor. Thank god.

I'm borderline COPD. Emphysema. Chronic lung disease. The shit that leads to very unsexy oxygen tanks and heart attacks. If arrested before it takes hold, the effects can be mostly reversed. If not arrested?


We did a breath test yesterday, where we figured out how much oxygen I am getting out of my breathing. I had to push really hard to get an 88% oxygen level reading. 85% is what one is diagnosed with COPD.

The "comfortable" breaths for me? Where I didn't have to push or cough or wheeze? I was getting 73% oxygen. The norm should be nearly 100. No wonder I feel like crap. I'm literally suffocating myself.

Duh, of course, what-else-did-you-expect rings the chorus. What other end did I think smoking two packs a day for ten years might have? But I can stop this and I can stop the oncoming train. I can do what I do best, and that is to get the hell out from under the piano 2 seconds before it's dropped from a 15 story window.

She said she doesn't want me to go cold turkey. I was so relieved I nearly cried. A two-pack a day smoker has a much better chance of staying quit, she said, if they can get it down to a pack a day to start with. Made sense.

So now the trick is to cut back. She wants me to back at a pack in two months. Quit entirely within six months.

This is a more daunting task than one would assume. Giving up something entirely is, in its own way, almost easier. But I don't want to cold turkey and I don't want to get COPD. So, if the doctor says cut back, I cut back.

Smoking is a part of my entire day, it marks nearly every ritual, it is beyond comforting, and let's face it, I fucking love smoking. I enjoy the hell out of it.

But "hell out of it" just might be what winds up happening if I'm not careful.

The other thing we found out is that my electrolytes are out of whack and I'm slightly anemic. This, she said, was likely more a result of the diet of decades of poverty. I'm taking a multi-vitamin and she's going to see what else I can do, outside of spending huge chunks of my paycheck on extremely perishable foods.

Here's the bitch of it all: We still don't know why I'm losing my hair. COPD can cause hair loss in advanced stages. I'm not in any official stage yet, let alone advanced. My thyroid levels are normal. I'm not diabetic, pre-diabetic, or anything of the sort.

More tests, she said. I asked her if I should just plan on losing most of my hair by the time we figure it out. She looked at me, pained, and said that with how fast I'm losing hair, that in the meantime...yes.

I do have some small level infection, blood in my urine. Kidney and liver functions, however, remain steady and normal. I have an antiobiotic and Vagisal. Bring it, bitch.

A doctor's office is so different than a minute clinic, which have been my only medical excursions for 20 years (and then only a couple of times, as I always have to borrow money to pay for that.) A minute clinic's purpose is to get your symptoms under control and move you out.

Doctors do what they can to figure out what's causing symptoms. It's a big difference. I'm still kind of shocked.

So I have the chance to stop something before it kills me. I have the chance to bring up the stupidly delicate balances of chemicals and hormones in my body. These are good things.

I'm still going to be my losing hair, though.

One thing at a time. I don't have to climb a mountain all at once. I've just got to grasp the handholds right in front of me and haul myself up. Just what's in front of me.

Besides, Halloween is coming up. Maybe I can get some decent quality kick-ass wigs.
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So I had this long, rambling post about my medical issues. Really long, superfluous, and sorta boring. Nutshell:

* My doctor and her office is awesome. Totally put me at ease. They were super patient in explaining things, as this is the first doctor's office I've walked into in 20 years.

* Her money is on all this being a thyroid problem. They'll be running lots of tests, though, to check for lots of things.

* She wants me to switch birth controls due to Lamictal and high-dose estrogen playing less-than-nice with each other. She suggested Mirena and other forms of birth control. I told her Depo obliterates my periods and that's mostly why I use it. She said that other forms can "lessen" or "lighten" periods.

* Sorry, no way, Jose. Not a chance in hell. My periods produce vomiting, pain so overwhelming that I can barely walk, and calling out of work several days a month. Anything that even flirts towards that is completely unacceptable. I can't afford to call into work every month and I can't mentally afford to plan for being utterly incapacitated for a week out of every month.

* Any suggestions, guise?

* All this made the push towards me settling on the sterilization thing. I'm going to do it. I'm at the very last hurrah of my childbearing years. Every year that passes finds me wanting children less and less. This says something.

* It drives me insane that many men (and this included David, who loooooved to bring this one up) insist we can bear children into our 40's.

* We can. But the body doesn't like sharing itself after a certain age, and with those latent pregnancies come ever increasing risks to both mother and child, up to and including death.

* I'm also becoming increasingly concerned about my ability to obtain an abortion if I did get pregnant. The political climate in America (and in the good ole' Bible Belt of the Midwest) is not-so-slowly chipping away at productive rights.

* So, now that I have viable insurance, I'm going to do it. Funny thing is that as I've been turning it over the last few months, the "what if's" just...went away and all I was left with was an overwhelming sense of peace, relief, and stillness. A calm that drove itself to my core.

* I've learned to trust the decisions that make me feel calm. This is such a decision.

* Oh! And I painted my nails a couple of days ago. Lest that sound like simple vanity-preening, one of the effects of whatever is going is that as I'm losing hair, I've also lost the strength of my nails. Even five coats of polish would see them bending at the slightest pressure.

* Decided to file them into high oval shapes. Less to bend, less to put pressure on. It worked and I've finally been able to do one of my favorite forms of self-care: Painting my nails as if they were a goddamn Lisa Franke folder.
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So here's the big fear: I go to the doctor's office, they do all the prepwork or whatever it is that doctor's do...and everything comes back normal. I go to the doctor's office and what I hear at the end of it is "This is stress related. You have to reduce your stress levels."

And I go "Okay, but I'm already (1)working out (2)eating better, (3)allowing distraction time with video games (4) meditating, (5) and writing. What else can I do?"

Because I'm afraid I'm going to TRY and do everything right and somehow mess it up. Which, if I can't reel in the stress of this job, means I am definitely doing something WRONG.

I'm almost hoping it is something seriously physically wrong, because then at least it's not my fault. If it's cancer or a thyroid issue or something, then that means that there's something outside of my control, instead of it being "Teressa just doesn't know how to deal with hard work without freaking out."

I mean, I know call center work is hard. I handle, on average, 100-120 calls a day. At least three of them a day are irate callers (yelling, calling names, berating) and several more callers a day are curt and rude. There are several hours a day in which the calls are literally back to back, without even a THREE SECOND pause between calls.

I keep hearing "Don't take it personally", "let it roll off you". So I do. Or at least I try. And I get frustrated because it's super easy to let one or two people calling you names roll off your back.

It's a hell of a lot harder to handle when you know you're going to get that at least 15 times a week.

There's no better jobs out there than this. Great pay, great benefits, close to home. My coworkers and managers are AWESOME.

So something is wrong with ME. I feel like I'm running out of things to do to help myself, which makes me feel defensive and defenseless. And the cognitive dissonance *itself* that I'm reaching is really beginning to stress me out.

Pat was very nice and took me headband shopping. Claire's was having the best sale - 3 for 3 on headgear. So now at least I've got something pretty to stick over the bald spots. For now, anyways. Even with two headbands and some pretty hefty side bangs you can still see SOME scalp. But with the headphone on at work, between the two or so headbands on my head, mostly covers it.

It's really sad when that's the good the news of the day.
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* Time to go get on the treadmill, Teressa.

* I don't WANT to get on the treadmill. That first mile suuuucks and it hurts a little.

* But Teressa, don't you love how awesome you feel afterwards?

* Yeah, but it takes EFFORT to get there and I just want to stare at the internet and play video games. I'll feel awesome with that, too!

* You know what isn't awesome, Teressa? Losing your hair. Losing your fucking hair.

* Okay, I'll go. But wait! What is this I feel? Anxiety about leaving the house? We can't go work out, I'll have a panic attack!

* You are 35 years old, Teressa, and blessed with the meds and treatment plans that give you tools to get out there. Your anxiety is no excuse.

* Alright, alright. I'll go workout. But I'm not going to like it!

* You weren't put on this earth to "like" everything, Teressa. Now go be a goddamn grownup and get on the treadmill.
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So, aside from THAT, I've discovered a great reason to keep working out. Well, Jesse pointed it out and it was AWESOME.

Part of my daily stress comes from not having alone time. This is a 500 square foot studio, with no door that shuts outside of the bathroom door. When you have two people living in what essentially is a single room, alone time is very, very hard to come by.

Jesse pointed out that working out nightly, with just me, my music, and my footfalls on the treadmill, could be part of me taking alone time.

If I look at it that way, working out gets easier.

It's also easier that I'm not doing it for weight loss. I do have a goal (2.5 miles a walk), but that's because that is about what it takes for me to feel that "runners high."

Cutting down on sugar is turning out to be the hard part. I'm trying this thing where I only indulge every OTHER time I want to load metric-tons-worth-of-sweets into my throat. Harder than I thought it would be.

Habits will form, though. In time. In practice.

You guys are so awesome for your suggestions. Disgruntled, I'm going to try those beats things tonight. I've heard that they are super effective.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
So, post-workout, trying-your-suggestions-brain-mushy-but-happy question:

Once I've hit an accelerated heart rate for a few steady minutes, and about 25 minutes on the treadmill, I begin to feel...emotional. Really emotional. Like, if I weren't in public, I might break down sobbing kind of emotional.

It's not because I'm in pain or sore or anything. At that point, physically, I feel GREAT. It's a completely emotional response to high physical activity.

So, like, what's up with that?
quirkytizzy: (Default)
So I used Jesse's phone and got the insurance thing worked out. I have a 1,200 deductible. I've paid out 100 of it so far, but it turns out I have an HSA card to help with that. I had to call and have it reissued. That will take a couple of weeks to get here and then I can set up an appointment.

I tried guessing what the doctor's visit would go like, the things he or she would recommend.

DOCTOR: Quitting smoking will help.

ME: Ahahaha, yeah right, no way. What's next?

DOCTOR: Your diet could use some work.

ME: Good point. I am a sugar fiend. I can cut down on sugar.

DOCTOR: Do you exercise?

ME: The only exercise I get is walking to and fro on my cigarette breaks at work.

DOCTOR: You need to exercise more. What do you do for stress relief?

ME: Uhhhh, I smoke cigarettes? And that's pretty much it?

DOCTOR: Erm, yeah, so you should totally work on finding other ways to relieve stress.

So on and so forth went the imaginary conversation in my head. Because regardless if this is a medical issue or a mental health issue (and it's probably both), the ONLY THING I currently am in control of is what I do to my body or mind. And that means identifying and learning stress-control techniques.

So, I'm totally open to diet and exercise advice now.

I told Jesse last night that while I loathe exercise, it sucks a hell of a lot less than losing my hair. I climbed onto the treadmill last night, at a walk of about 2.5 miles. I pulled out my old Pilates video. I have a workable workout schedule - treadmill 3 times a week, Pilates alternating three other days. Something manageable but that also does something.

No matter what the medical issue is, I realized that my stress is seriously exacerbating the condition. I've never been good at stress relief. I don't even notice I'm bottling it, at least not until my lovers and friends point-blank tell me I've been acting like a raging bitch.

A lot of people work out to relieve stress. If it's something a lot of people do, then I can damn sure try to do it, too. I don't need to go balls-the-wall about it. Even a few times a week should help.

The reigning advice for stress relief seems to be that a person should quit their stressful job, buy a ton of self-help books, and take up painting as a hobby.

For those of us who do not have the financial freedom to quit our jobs and renovate entire rooms with wall-sized canvases, we must find other ways.

Jesse also suggested meditation. This is good advice. It's easy enough to tailor most meditation exercises to be godless, so my atheism shouldn't be a problem. A belief in the Divine is not nesscary to quiet the mind. I need to find an ideal time to meditate. Evenings, I am exhausted and just want to sleep. Mornings are filled with cleaning and writing.

But surely I can find ten minutes a day to soften the noise in my head.

I've always been a ridiculously psychosomatic person. The smallest bit of stress always seems to manifest physically. And if my body usually signals stress with cold sores, lack of good sleep, then my body discarding its hair in droves is DEFINITELY A SIGN OF STRESS.

Regardless of the condition, I can do this in the meantime. So....

What do you guys do for stress? For diet? For exercise?
quirkytizzy: (Default)
* I'm losing my hair. A lot of it. I have to put my hair up now or else the bald patch (about six inches long and three inches wide) on the back of my head show. Putting UP my hair will become problematic soon enough, as I'm losing hair along the earlines, too. Pulling the hair up will soon reveal THOSE patches, too.

* GO TO THE DOCTOR! Okay, I can go to the doctor. But I don't have the money for the deductible. Just going to a minute clinic a few months ago, even WITH insurance, cost me 100 dollars. (Out of a 200 dollar bill.)

* Okay, so just CALL a doctor's office and see if they can give you an estimate. I can call them, but I've got 20 minutes on my phone and being on the phone with the insurance company/doctor's office will likely while away much more than 20 minutes.

* So, okay, wait till Friday (payday) and then buy another phone card and then call the doctor and THEN schedule the appointment and THEN save the money for a few weeks to GO TO the doctor. Okay, I can do that. And in the meantime, go to work and really hope that the thin hair I have left stays in the ponytail so I don't flash the inches long, inches wide streak of baldness.

* I asked one of the managers if I could wear a bandana in the meantime. I can only do so with a doctor's note. I don't think she believed just how badly I am going bald, as I've been too embarrassed to show her.

* I'll show her Thursday when I get to work. Maybe they will acquiesce to it if it's visible enough. Which as of yesterday, is fully visible.

* Why am I losing my hair? Could be stress. Could be an immune disorder. My nails have also become so weak and brittle that I've just sheared them at the quick. The "stress" rash I've had is flaring up. Could be lupus. Could be cancer.

* Hell, could be the bubonic plague for all I know. I have googled the world of information and absolutely every piece of advice ranges from DUH to WHAT LIMB DO I HAVE TO SELL TO TEST FOR THAT DISEASE.

* It's just too broad of symptoms for any diet or exercise or holistic advise to be useful. Please don't give me diet and exercise advice. I'm working on revamping the diet and am taking my old phone and putting music on it so I can go workout.

* With most things in my life, the whole "just ignore it long enough and the uncomfortable symptoms go away" thing worked. And maybe it never really "worked", but without insurance, it was all I had.

* Now I'm paying 100$ a month for medical insurance and I have neither the phone minutes to set an appointment nor the money to pay for the visit.

* And if I can't afford a doctors visit, I sure as hell can't afford a good wig.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
* I forgot I made a purchase with this card. I knew I had the bill, but I just kept forgetting about it. Can you waive the late fees? *I check the late fees* Well, ma'm, I can see you that you're six months overdue on this card. I can certainly waive the last month's worth of fees if you'd like. I want to speak to a manager. I want all of the fees waived. I mean, I just FORGOT to pay the bill! *me, stifling giggles* Alright, ma'm, one moment.

* I bought some shirts with my card and then closed the card. Then I made some returns. Since they couldn't put it back on the card, they gave me a gift card to the store. I don't want the gift card. Can I just send the giftcard to you guys and then you can send me cash back? *me* I'm afraid we can't do that, ma'm. If you can get the store to take BACK the gift certificate and put it on your card, we can mail you a paper check- I want to speak to a manager. This is SO inconvienent that you guys can't refund cash to me. *me, stifling giggles* Alright ma'm, one moment.

* This job is proving to be endlessly entertaining.

* I've been trying to read through the Technomage series of Babylon 5. It's slow going. Really slow going. I'm on page 60 and so far all that's happened is Galen is nervous about his initiation. Waaay too much time spent on describing scenery. It's B5, so I'm gonna keep going, but geeeeez. I've yet to read a BAD book concerning the B5 universe, however, so here goes more reading today.

* There are a lot of nerds at my work. They all seem to be Whovians, though, which leaves me a little adrift. I like Dr. Who. It's not my nerd-de-coup. I put a Kosh action figure and a B5 poster on my cubicle. First person who gets the references gets a cookie.

* Or spoo and a cup of hot jala.

* Jesse thinks my rash might be gluten intolerance, as the disappearance of the rash after I broke up with David coincided with a drastic change in my diet. My rash came back about the same time Jesse's and I's diet switched exclusively to the one product freely available at food pantries: bread.

* NOOOOOO! I don't want to be gluten intolerant. EVERYTHING has gluten. I don't want to overhaul my diet! That's a lot of work! I don't want to be a hipster! That's a lot of latching onto the gentrification of LOOK AT ME I'M SO SPECIAL EVEN WHAT I EAT IS OBSCURE!

* I don't....want to wear long sleeves in the middle of summer. So I'm giving myself 3 weeks relatively gluten free to see how this goes.

* Broke my own rule and wandered over to David's twitter, to find he is talking about how I abused him. WHAT?! ANGER! RAGE! MUST DETAIL ON LIVEJOURNAL ALL THE WAYS HE ABUSED ME!

* Pause. Annoyed. Do I really need to do that? Do I really need to convince anyone?

* Shake my head. I can be angry. I can also think of his memory, roll my eyes, and go "Alright, ma'm."

* Alright.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
So when I go to Planned Parenthood later to get my Depo Shot, I'm going to ask about their sterilization treatments. I've been kicking this idea around for a few years now and while I can't afford to have it done NOW, I want to get more information about it.

The inner conversation goes like this:

* I'm tired of birth control. I want something permanent.

* But what if...that small, nearly infinitesimal, tiny, WHAT IF...I change my mind and decide I want to have children?

* You're almost 35. Your healthy childbearing years are nearly over. So why not get sterilized?

* But what if...

* You're almost 35 and you've never wanted children. All you've ever wanted is more CATS. Doesn't that tell you something, Teressa?

* But what if...

* The chances of having an unwanted pregnancy are WAY HIGHER for you than the chance of you regretting not having a child. You know this. Isn't it best to play the odds?

* But what if...

* Just ask them, Teressa. No decisions need be made now. Just ask them.

And yes, there is the IUD, which grants birth control in 5 year chunks. But (1) I've heard horror stories about godawful periods on the IUD and (2) The idea of a foreign object being literally implanted into me creeps me out like no other.

I have no physical ailments or difficulties (outside of age) that would otherwise require sterilization in order to ensure my health and long life. This would be a purely emotional choice.

But what if...but I don't WANT to live with "what if" anymore, especially if the "what if I want to have a child" is SO MUCH SMALLER than the "what if I get pregnant and can't afford an abortion" what if.

But that one itty bitty what if...I'm trying to play the odds here, what's more likely to happen (that I'd regret pregnancy far greater than I'd regret NOT being able to get pregnant), but I'm...just...that what if, y'know?

Thoughts? Suggestions? Personal experience? I never do anything major without running it passed you guys first, and this decision is DEFINITELY a major one.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
Dawn approaches slower and slower with each passing week. Fall and then winter will soon be here. This used to bring with it a quiet dread, one that grew louder as the nights grew longer. But the last winter, alone and with you guys, kept the darkness outside from growing inside.

I'm not afraid of winter this year.

This job is doing what I thought it might - I'm losing weight. 10 pounds down in a month. I'm absolutely jazzed that, since I am exercising more, I can eat more AND still lose weight. I'm at 150 pounds now. On someone as short as I am (five foot flat), ten pounds makes a noticeable difference.

Though I gotta lay off on the soda. I've kind of been going buck-wild on that one. I just get so excited that I can drink it, now that it doesn't seem to put 3 pounds on me immediately. While 10 pounds in a month is fast, it's slower than the 7 pounds I lost in a week of depression last month. Slow weight loss is happy weight loss. Slow weight loss is healthy weight loss.

I dig healthy. Eventually the weight loss will plateau. It will stop and stabilize. I figure another 10 pounds or so till it does that. Again, that's healthy. Healthy is awesome. And seriously, I can eat fast food again. I LOVE FAST FOOD. I would eat it five times a week if I could. Typical American tool, I know. But now I can eat it a couple of times a week and not worry so much.

The last time I lost weight due to a job was in 2009, right after I left Pat and re-applied to work at Super 8 again. Between the manual labor and the fact that I was eating only about 1,000 calories a day (and that much only because my friends and lovers were buying and making food FOR me) I dropped like 40 pounds in three months. DO NOT WANT to do THAT again. Drastic weight loss is not my friend.

Besides, I don't have a lot of money left over to buy new clothes. I did, however, keep my old skinny clothes. I will not throw away my bigger sized clothes as I get smaller, either. Weight loss gurus will tell you to throw away all of the clothes that don't immediately fit. Poor people know better.

The mislabeling thing was resolved at work. Or at least enough as to where they figured out it wasn't all me. Huge, HYUGE relief. I do, however, seem to have a problem with following directions, in that I follow directions in a very literal sense. This sounds like a good thing. It's actually NOT.

I was told to go through a particular section of the warehouse and clear out the empty boxes. And so I did. Turns out it was just a BOX of empty of boxes he wanted me to clear out. The box of empty boxes FOR that side of the warehouse, NOT the entire side of the warehouse itself.

I apologized. Turns out that while it makes a little extra work now, it'll save us work come inventory time. So I got lucky on that one.

Another gal told me to get a sheet of scrap paper on "the top" of the shelf. So I did. Turns out it was the top of ANOTHER shelf I was supposed to have gotten the paper from. Stuff like that. I just need to start asking for clarification, even as I'm a little worried it'll come off looking neurotic.

Better to look neurotic and get the job done right the first time, though. That much I know. It did produce several minutes of heavily missing my old boss at Super 8.

Donna and I worked together for almost the entire 8 years I was at Super 8. Hell, I even trained her - both for the regular housekeeping AND for Head Housekeeper. (I hated the Head Housekeeper job and was very happy to give it away). We were close. She was the only coworker I've ever disclosed anything to. So she was privy to the particulars of the way my brain works.

And she worked WITH me on it. She knew there were days in which she'd have to be very, very specific about the tasks for the day ahead. She knew there were days in which she'd have to outline EXACTLY, PRECISELY, where to start and where I was to stop. She knew this and was never upset, frustrated, or otherwise put out about it.

Which is unusual, as even I recognize that it is not my job's job to adjust to how I work, but rather it is MY job to adjust TO the job and how it's run. But it worked out well, as she knew that I would be just as efficient and work just as expediently, even if she had to approach my work a little differently.

I miss that. Greatly. There is no disclosure at this job and likely never will be. It's just not that kind of place. So I worry that my whacky brainwaves come off as...well, whacky. I'm not going to get the option of being understood here. And in its own way, that's fine, as again, it's not my job's job to BE understanding. I have to understand IT.

So I'm going to be asking questions, requesting clarification, direct specifics. A lot of it. Especially in cases where I think to take a large project literally. They probably usually mean it literally.

Buuuutttt I'm gonna ask from here on out.

I really, really like this job. A part of me even wonders why other people can't seem to hack this sort of job, manual labor aside. Pat says it's because people generally crave intellectual interaction from their jobs. Warehouse work - and manual labor in general - requires very few brain cells. It's physically repetive and doesn't engage the brain. That's why I like it. It leaves my brain free all day to think about other things. And I WAAAY prefer a job that wears me out physically rather than mentally.

But other people often prefer it the other way, he said. That they not only crave, but need that mental stimulation, that mental engagement. That made sense, in as much as I can intellectually understand it, at least. Pat was sort of awed that I've managed to "side-step" how mentally boring this kind of work, but the truth is, I just like having the extra time TO think. Or the extra time NOT TO think.

Either way, I get the option. And I love that about this job. There is a strange and simple kind of beauty, of Zen, one gets from working a job that puts you on autopilot. Where muscle memory takes over and the mind just disengages. Sure, a few times I've found myself wildly bored with matching product numbers from page to shelf, but those are rare moments.

Besides, it's warehouse work. There's ALWAYS something to do, even if it's just pushing around a broom. Warehouses get dirty fast.


quirkytizzy: (Default)

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