Pat, I’d Like To Solve The Puzzle

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This week I’ve been taking care of stuff; taking care of me by walking to make myself stronger, taking care of medical records, taking care of clogs in my sinks and taking care of throwing out excess trash. It’s the medical records that sent into emotional pits, though. I was angry after reviewing a bunch of misinformation and it was rolling around in my head. But then I had an epiphany.

Back when I started having operations on my cranium, when my shunts were relocated from my back to my brain, my neurosurgeon remarked that my meninges were incredibly tough to break through. I don’t believe he’s ever noted that on my medical records, though. But his memory is like a steel trap so if I went back to him, he will probably be able to recall it with certainty. It certainly stuck with me. He said he had only seen it once before in his lifetime.

And then there was this published paper by Jonathan Kipnis where he explains that he and his team discovered lymphatic drainage vessels in the cranium. They weren’t known about before because when autopsies and dissections were performed, the lymphatic vessels were torn and destroyed because of their fragility. This paper was published in July of 2015; I traded emails with Jonathan in November of 2015. He explained that he doesn’t actually work with humans in clinical trials so he couldn’t help me, but after I connected the dots this week, I emailed him. I’m not sure I’ll hear from him.

Lastly, I have this mast cell activation disease diagnosis from Dr. Afrin. When I saw him in January, he told me that my outrageously high histamine level is probably what is making everything change and grow into scar tissue, including the tumor, as well as the tract along the shunt.

So here’s what I think is happening: Back in 2010 when I first started having the really bad symptoms, the meninges had already turned tough because of my high histamine levels, and the fluid can’t drain properly into the lymphatic drainage vessels like it normally would. That’s why I need shunts. The shitty part is that I’m allergic to the shunts. Just as an aside, this whole time I thought that the underlying cause was an autoimmune disease, but of course I had no idea what it would be.

So what now? That’s the question my mom asked. The tissue that has changed cannot be changed back. There is nothing on the market that I’m not allergic to. I’m at a high risk for aneurysm or stroke. This is going to kill me, there’s just no telling when. I mean really, who else do you know that is going through this? None of my doctors would be able to begin to guess.

Of course, I have to check with my doctors…but again, I’m the one leading them, not the other way around, which is almost always the way it is with rare disease. First I’ll see the neurologist and explain all of this to her, and hand her Dr. Afrin’s notes and Dr. Kipnis’ notes. I’ll see Dr. Afrin in August. After that, I’ll contact my neurosurgeon in Phoenix and roll this past him. I hope that he remembers that I was right about everything that I told him, even though some things took as much as 2.5 years to admit.

So for now I’m still waiting for my disability hearing. I talked to my attorney’s office and they called the person who sets the dates for the hearings, and they were told that hearings were being set for 18-22 months past the appeal filing. My last appeal was filed in February of 2016 (the initial filing was April 2015), so by the time I’m in front of a judge, I’ll have been waiting for nearly 3 years. Every state is different. I can’t get a rush unless I’m homeless, stage IV cancer, a danger to myself, or I have no access to care.

So I wait.  

How Much Do I Owe The Swear Jar This Time?

A couple of weeks ago I got the last of my fillings repaired as part of the bigger, year-long, multiple visits to the dentist that were caused by me clamping my jaw in my sleep because of the pain in my shoulder and abdomen. I also had to make sure that they marked in my chart that I had slit ventricle syndrome and the tumor because they love to tip me waaaaaaaaay back in the chair and it really messes with the pressure in my head.

There was a mixup with my appointment and they got me back much later than my start time, which caused me to have to call my transportation to pick me up later; unfortunately, transportation had to leave me until 2 hours after I was done, which caused the fluid to build up a lot, which means I was hella uncomfortable and my vision was cut down quite a bit. But before that, I had a weird/comical/maddening exchange with the staff in the back.

I require four times the amount of numbing medication because my sodium channels don’t process pain meds correctly. Both of the teeth we worked on were in my upper jaw, so I ended up being numb up to my forehead. When they sat me up after I was patched up, they told me I could walk to Walmart down the road (as if! No way am I giving them my money!). I said no. They said I could then walk somewhere else. I again said no. They asked me why. In the best way I could with a very numb tongue/lips, I said, “I can’t theecuz oth wuth wrong with ny vrane.” The assistant, who was none too bright, said, “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOUR VEINS??” I said, “No. Ny vrane. Vrane.” And I pointed at my head. The assistant dentist asked what was wrong, and I said, “I can’t do anyfing vat vill nake ny vlood mressure go umph. I cood have a stroke and nigh.” The assistant dentist asked what the doctors were doing to help. I said, “I can’t fine anyvun who vill take ny case. I’n lergic to da shuns. I need to fine stuff I wone vee lergic to.”

Then the dental assistant piped up and said, “Well, I don’t blame the doctors. I’m sure they don’t want to feel bad if it doesn’t work out for you.”

I shot her a look and said, “I cood die wifout helf. Da pressoo keefs goin’ uf in ny head and if I can’t get sunfing in to work, it vill kill nee.”

Without hesitating, she said cheerfully, “Well, I can see both sides.” Like we’re debating whether to have fish or chicken, instead of whether or not it’s better to kick the bucket to spare doctors’ feelings. She stuck with her “too bad for you” attitude.

At the end of December, my case was referred to the top neurosurgeon in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area after it was discovered that my brain had literally collapsed under the pressure, as well as started growing a tumor from the scar tissue that was left in from a previous shunt that is now about the size of a quarter. I know he got the radiology report that listed all of my symptoms. I know he got the impressions from the neurologist because he seemed to answer her question about whether I’m overdraining.

His reply was that my brain was fine and the tumor was no big deal. He also said the shunt isn’t overdraining. Now I’m not allowed to see him either. 

Here’s the deal: I know I’m not overdraining. If I were, I wouldn’t have high opening pressures every time they do a lumbar puncture. The overdraining assumption is strictly my new neurologist’s misunderstanding of slit ventricle syndrome – she’s trying to make my symptoms fit, instead of paying attention to what’s going on. Second, the brain tissue around the shunt and the tumor is turning to jelly. This isn’t normal and it’s a big deal. Third, the tumor is causing measurable cognitive damage. Fourth, and I’ll show you pictures, but my ventricles disappeared, and my brain has literally collapsed.

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I have new insurance that started on February 1st that comes with an advocate and a care coordinator, so I’m waiting for them to contact me, which is the norm. I smell a lot of research in my future for trying to figure out what I can try for the next shunt system, and I’m not looking forward to it, but I also know no one else will do it but me.

Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?

My parents’ generation were the product of parents who lived through the Great Depression. My grandparents had to be creative with their resources; the flour companies started making pretty prints on their flour sacks once they figured out that mothers across America were using the sacks to make dresses. Re-purposing so that nothing went to waste, our grandparents were also guilty of turning their yards and barns into trash heaps. They were fearful of throwing anything away in case it would be needed in the future.

My parents’ generation, the baby boomer generation, turned around and said to their kids, “I’m going to give you everything I didn’t have,” which really meant that they wanted their kids to have new stuff. This started a trend of some of my classmates actually having cars being purchased for them, or having college tuition being paid for them, and by middle class – not wealthy – parents. Credit cards also started circulating heavily and regulations became non-existent, making it incredibly easy to rack up debt.

Now my peers are struggling to make ends meet and are in debt up to their ears while still providing cars and tuition and pocket-sized computers to their children as if they are staples, not privileges.

There’s a lot of talk about going back to basics and scaling back, while also teaching our children about how to manage money and understanding the consequences of debt.

I’m in a different kind of quandary, however. I need to figure out how to be poor. I mean really, really poor, in the current system – not what it was, and not what we wish it would be.

Back in 1995 when I took the road trip around the U.S. to pick a new place to live and ran out of money and said, “Okay, Albuquerque!”, I was poor. I landed with $100 and slept on someone’s futon for a month. But I was also able-bodied and picked up two jobs and moved into an apartment within a few weeks. I still had times where I lived off of $10 a week for groceries, but this is a little different. This is finite.

I sat down with the financial planner at my bank and figured out the rest of my bills for this year. However, I’m really stressing about my bed. It’s sagging and I can feel the springs poking through even with a thick foam topper – really bad for my fibromyalgia – and it’s only a year and a half old, and I’ve worn through it because I’m in bed for about 20-22 hours every day. Sleep Number is running a sale right now through September 11th and I could replace this bed for about $1100 including their least expensive base, and that would take care of the springs issue and would probably last 6-10 years. Do I buy it? Or does buying it now put me that much closer to eviction next year? If I’m evicted, what am I going to do with the bed? If I get housing at some point down the line, I’m going to need it again, uncontaminated by mold/dust/dander because of my mast cell disease.

I’ve had alopecia since the age of 3, and I lost my hair completely 14 years ago. There is a 30% off sale going on right now, which would give me a considerable discount on the wig I usually wear. Should I get that instead of a bed (it’s much less expensive)? Should I just give up on wigs now anyway because if I’m evicted next year for non-payment I won’t be able to afford them anyway and I don’t deserve to be so vain?

I have enough in my account to get me through to November of 2017. I’m a worrier by nature. All I can think about is, what am I going to do if I get turned down for disability? I mean, I hope the disability hearing happens by November 2017, because I filed for it in February 2016, and they are running 18-22 months behind (but just in case I have my senator flagging this case as “congressional interest”). Priority housing is given to people who are verified as disabled or who have children; if I am not verified as disabled (because I don’t have a diagnosis) and I don’t have children, I won’t have enough “points” to qualify for housing. All of my friends and family have pets and I’m deathly allergic, so moving in with them is not an option.

I’m concerned about both my mom’s health and my mom and step-dad’s financial stability, and my step-mom’s husband’s health and their financial stability. I’m concerned about my sister’s health and her family’s financial well-being. I’m concerned about my brother’s brand new baby who is due in the next few weeks and his little family’s financial stability. I recognize that they all have grave concerns of their own while they try to shield me from them and simultaneously try to take care of me. Certainly none of them can afford to pay for another adult’s living expenses.

I receive notices from friends telling me that I should support certain causes. I’ve said repeatedly that I don’t have any income and I won’t for at least another year, if at all, but they take “income” to mean working income. They just assume that I receive disability, even though I’ve said repeatedly and clearly that I’ve been turned down for disability numerous times. It wears me out to worry about being homeless, and I’m pretty overwhelmed by all the stuff I have to do to further my own cause since all of the offers of help were not really followed up on except by a select few, and it’s humiliating that I have to repeat myself to be heard.

This weekend I had a former fuck buddy hit me up out of the blue after years of silence to try to give me shit about moving back to my home state, mocking me about my claim that I was done with snow and cold when I moved to Arizona in 2003. I told him that I was pretty fucking sick and had stumped 54 doctors so far and could no longer live without assistance; he said he was working on three hangovers and he was sorry I was sick. He loves to talk about how he’s tired of welfare assholes, and I’m sure he thinks I’m one now too. We can’t even really have a conversation with each other anymore because in his eyes as well as in the view of the government, I have no value.

So where is the class that teaches me to navigate being homeless on the streets in a snow state? Do I get a free map to all of the soup kitchens? Where’s the best place to stash my cart outside while I warm up and surf the net in the library? How do I make a shank?

Amateur Hour: How Vanderbilt/NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Network Failed Me

Earlier this year, I worked for four hours sorting and copying approximately 350 pages of medical records to send to Vanderbilt University in Tennessee when the coordinator for the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Network notified me that my case was being sent there for review. I divided everything by year and specialty. I inserted notes and highlighted everything that should be of special interest.

I took it as a bad sign when I received an email that was poorly written, and rightly so:
I need you help with some missing records the UDN has requested on you. We are missing the records from the Movement Disorder Neurologist and  also labs associated with Thyroiditis Workup are not complete. Please request these records be faxed directly to us at *********** or **********. We cannot move forward with reviewing your case until we have these records. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.” They weren’t actually missing the records from the movement disorders neurologist; the EMG results were included in what I forwarded to them. (Special note: capitalizing random words is an elementary mistake in and of itself and certainly doesn’t belong in official correspondence.) I wrote back and asked what needed to be obtained for the thyroid workup because I was going in for an appointment in the near future and could have tests ordered. However, I didn’t hear a response for weeks. Their suggestion to contact them with questions was not sincere because they didn’t respond to repeated calls or emails for three weeks total. I went to my appointment and guessed what they would want ordered, then forwarded them the results.

It didn’t matter, though. Last Thursday July 14th I received a letter in the mail from the head of the team saying that after a “stringent” review of my case, they were turning me down. They decided that because I have a strong history of autoimmune diseases that I must consider myasthenia gravis.

Here’s the problem, though: I considered myasthenia gravis already back in 2010, and again this year, and it has been ruled out by tests including the painful tasing of my face in April. All of those notes and tests were included in my paperwork. The 53 doctors who have seen me so far have positively said that I don’t have that. I also say I don’t have that. I have not found any documented cases where patients have received a working brain shunt to move CSF to relieve the symptoms of MG. I have hundreds of pages documenting my numerous symptoms and surgeries, and instead the Vanderbilt team chose to tell me to go back to the U of MN doctors (who, by the way, told me to go away and not come back) to get treatment for MG because “they would know how to treat me.” I am not allowed to appeal this decision or have any other team look at my file. The UDN door is forever closed to me now.

The next two paragraphs I’d like to address to that team directly:

Fuck you, Vanderbilt, you backwoods amateur cocksuckers.

This is what I don’t have: myasthenia gravis, lupus, MS, normal pressure hydrocephalus, communicating hydrocephalus, Creutzfeld-Jakob, IgG4 proliferation, scleroderma, pseudotumor cerebri, diabetes, secondary tremors, tumor, chiari malformation, or rheumatoid arthritis, among other things. After seeing so many doctors and going through hell and having to research A LOT on my own, Vanderbilt, your suggestion makes me think that my file landed in the hands of a beginner’s group. I’m way ahead of you, by years, and I didn’t even finish my medical degree. Every single one of you needs to go back to studying onion skin cells under your 10x microscopes because you obviously can’t handle the hard stuff.

As I feared, Vanderbilt chose to give much weight to the three doctors in the circle jerk at the U of MN claiming I had some sort of “facial weakness” that would imply MG and completely ignores the issue with the cerebral spinal fluid, which in turn ignores the vertigo, fatigue, slurred speech, numbness, and cognitive problems. It would also imply that I implanted a shunt for the fun of it – because I want something that I’m allergic to that causes a shit ton of pain in my body. It also means that they completely ignored the notes that indicated that my symptoms subsided when I had working shunts. Now I am back to the starting point, meaning no one knows what I have or how to help me. (Please note: I am still going through testing for the mast cell activation syndrome and I am watching the results slowly trickle in; my guess is that I’m going to have to repeat everything because nothing is extraordinary in the outcomes at this point.)

I also still don’t have disability money coming in. My hearing won’t be set until about a year from now, but my chances are only about 10% in my favor at the moment because I still can’t get a diagnosis or the NIH to work with me. I’m not being dramatic, I’m being realistic. My attorney would tell everyone the same thing.

If you have read this post in its entirety, thank you. I’m not asking for advice; that’s not how I operate. This is just one of those times where the Carousel of Crap feels extra shitty.

I Heard The News Today

I woke up this morning to a message that was sent to me around midnight telling me, “I know you were friends with Bart [not his real name]; just wanted to let you know that he died after a confrontation with the police Wednesday morning.”

I wasn’t awake to chat back and forth, so I had to do some searching of news articles when I saw the message. There was actually quite an extensive write-up as well as video clips so I was able to get a complete picture from the law enforcement’s viewpoint of what happened.

The hard part was seeing pictures of his dwelling and recognizing the side of his building. Bart was so proud of everything that he did to fix his place up. I still remember walking through his door and smelling his split pea soup.

Bart and I weren’t close friends; in fact, the person that notified me of his death had known him decades longer than I had and was the reason we had become acquainted. But we had gone to the Renaissance festival as part of a big group, and we always ended up attending the same get-togethers. Bart was friendly and jovial, though he definitely had issues with drinking too much. He also could not control his impulses or anger; this certainly fed into a never-ending cycle of joblessness and financial uncertainty.

From what has been published in the stories online, he got a DUI on Friday night and was sent home in a cab rather than sent to jail. On Saturday night he drove by a deputy and shot him and prompted a manhunt/search. On Wednesday morning the sheriff’s department knocked on his front door and he shot himself.

The county sheriff is proclaiming this man to be an obvious participant in the bigger war on cops. I’m calling bullshit on this. Bart was in an all-out war on his own life.

Did he drink to get drunk? Always. He couldn’t get together with a group without drinking. When you’re middle-aged and you’re drinking every weekend (and I am guessing for him, every day), it’s obviously a problem. He tried his luck with dating, but he was always stuck in his 20’s there too, referring to women as girls and only taking pictures with the pretty random strangers with their boobs propped up, never really being less than insulting. Bart was a smart guy and had loads of certifications and degrees in the tech field, so he should have had no problem with landing well-paying jobs. In fact, when I was laid off, I visited his place and we chatted about our resumes and wages, and I was quite impressed with his in both areas – he could have afforded to buy my house two or three times over with his salary. But Bart had done and said so many crappy things in his workplaces that he had been blackballed in his current state, and finding work out of state was proving to be just as difficult.

The friends who were much closer to him had relayed stories about how in recent years and months, he would suddenly become angry and take off, or disappear for hours. If they were all out of town for a trip and following each other in their cars, Bart would somehow manage to leave the caravan and insist on his own route and get completely lost. He would become belligerent if anyone tried to reason with him.

Not that this means a whole lot, but he and I used to debate his support of Trump as a presidential nominee. Bart definitely had prejudices against people who were anything except white middle-aged American men.

So here is this guy who is doing everything he can to make his own life as terrible as it possibly could be – ruled by alcohol, void of love and understanding, built on a foundation of fear and ignorance. He shot another human being because he wanted to blame someone for something. He shot himself because he saw no other way out of the pit he dug.

I have a hard time thinking about him no longer being on this earth. I saw the destructive behaviors in him, but Bart was mostly friendly towards me – maybe because I didn’t have a long or involved history with him, or because I knew exactly what to expect. I hope that now his soul is finally at peace. I think about this often, especially since death seems to be around me a lot more this year, and I wonder if souls review their lives and their lessons like I think they must. (I hope that Bart can see the humor in me saying that my wish for him is to finally understand why Trump would make a terrible president.)

In fact, I wish I could interview all of the people I knew who crossed over in the past ten months and ask them what they have learned. What were they surprised by? What was the biggest reveal? Was it all worth it, taking on this human body and signing this contract?

The Remains Of The Day

Yesterday I was picked up by the short bus for back-to-back appointments at the health crisis center. I was the only one on the bus and so I felt comfortable chatting with the driver, unhindered by eavesdroppers or joiners. First I asked if he was a Prince fan. Hey, why not? He didn’t look to be much younger than me, and it’s still big news around here since it’s Prince’s home base. Rumors are still flying and spreading like wildfire. How did he actually die? How will his estate be handled? Will his family completely melt down and will it get ugly like it so often does when there is money involved?

The guy admitted he wasn’t much of a Prince fan. Our conversation wandered around the world of entertainment, and he talked about how dissatisfied he was with staying hooked up with satellite TV, but he kept it for sports. But then he said that he really didn’t enjoy watching any sports either. I asked him if he liked to see games in person as opposed to seeing them on TV and he said he kind of did, but he couldn’t afford to go to games. I asked him if he liked to go to shows like theater or dance, and he said he’d rather be burned alive. He also didn’t really “get into” movies or music.

A 20-minute bus ride isn’t really the place to offer life coaching. I also can’t make people feel what I feel, which can’t necessarily be put into words. A sense of urgency, maybe, or finality? It could be that my bullshit meter goes off a lot more than it ever has before. What I wanted to tell him is that he needs to find his joy. I cannot say this loudly enough, though, but this cannot be confused with finding his next fix. So many men are stuck in this cycle of seeking thrills and the adrenaline wears off and they are onto the next conquest while constantly feeling empty and wondering why they do. Where is their humanity?

Before connecting with The Saint Paul, I talked to a few men through OKCupid by text and/or phone who made excuses to play stupid games with me or not respect boundaries. I changed their identifiers in my phone to start with “Asshole ______” and programmed my phone to automatically send their calls and messages into my spam folders. I don’t even think about these folders unless I get weird calls like I have been for the past three days from recruiters based on resumes I put out in the universe over a year ago when I got laid off of my job in Phoenix before I had my last surgery. I went to update the blocks and thought to myself, “I should check my spam folder.” Lo and behold, there were some messages.

The first was from the Christian asshole who had no respect for my boundaries, and who previously tried to bait me into talking to him again by randomly telling me he had arrived at his hotel room. This time he just said, “Hey stranger how are you?” Of course, it’s been almost three months since we’ve texted, and we never even talked on the phone – but by God, he’s not gonna give up!!!! Answer, bitch!!!

The other two were from the last guy I talked to on the phone and texted with before I met The Saint Paul who abruptly said he met someone and cut off all communication after he tried to sext, which I guessed to be a lie since he was constantly logging into OKCupid still when I had an account before mine was deactivated. After two months of silence, he sent texts saying, “How have you been? Just wanted to say hi.” Gawd, please – I am not new. He didn’t “just” want to say hi. We were not casually keeping in contact and staying friends. He’s trying to keep his options open in case whomever he is currently trying to bang doesn’t work out.

I resisted the urge to reply to both of these messages because really, neither one of them deserve a response. I really, really like this phone I purchased on New Year’s just for this blocking feature alone.

There are a couple of great lines in this song by Sean Rowe that I think applies to these guys (and really, listen to the whole song because it fucking rocks): “I’m a man, I am the world, I’m a man, I am the Lord” and “He puts out the lights and jerks off alone.”

I can’t save everyone. They need to figure this shit out.

Le Petit Mort

I cried a lot yesterday. I never used to – it was a bragging point for me, that I would shed tears once a year, tops. But yesterday I started by spending an hour on my counselor’s couch recounting my dehumanizing neurologist’s appointment on Tuesday with big, fat tears rolling down my cheeks the entire time. It actually took me days to process what happened in the visit, and is the reason why I still have to write part two now.

I barely got five words out before the tears started. They were angry tears. I’m pissed. It’s not just that the doctor was a dick – because he was – but it’s that his actions could affect my life for the next few years to come. It’s not an exaggeration. I’ve been through this before too. When I had my very first shunt placed and experienced abdominal pains from day one, the neurosurgeon and general surgeon passed me back and forth for a couple of months and blamed each other for causing me pain before finally throwing up their hands and telling me that it was my imagination and there was nothing wrong with me before they had to do a large cut on me two and a half years later and discovered my abdomen was grossly inflamed from an allergic reaction to the shunt. Two and a half years before they admitted there was a problem.

The problem with this neurologist now is that he is saying that I have spasms in my face, and that I just need to stretch my muscles. He’s going to put that on my records too – and the records are going to the NIH and Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt will either take his word as gospel or dismiss his diagnosis and study me, and I have no idea which way they will tilt, but if they decide not to accept my case, it could mean YEARS of more testing before they will consider my case again.

The most insulting part of the visit with this douchebag is that he spent more time demanding to know why I wasn’t on antipsychotic meds. I am having some issues with word recall, which apparently he views as a clear sign of being psychotic. Well, that and I have this condition that no one can seem to name up to this point. He performed physical tests including forcing me to fall, all the while holding onto my hips to assist me to the next starting point because my legs shudder and I list to the right during any physical activity and I wasn’t allowed to use my cane. Then he had the balls to tell me that I was just having facial spasms. I couldn’t believe it. I said, “But you were holding me up because I couldn’t stand!” He acted as if I didn’t say anything.

This neurologist gave me the standard statement on my discharge papers saying basically “don’t come back.” I don’t make this up, people – it was there in writing. The list of doctors who will let me through their doors is tiny at this point. I would have to go through the effort of finding all new doctors to try this all over again if I wanted to get another referral to the rare diseases unit if Vanderbilt denies me this time.

I’m not crazy. I just need doctors to set aside their preconceived notions and overinflated egos and listen to me, because I have had six years of this, compared to their one hour with me and my pages of documentation that they won’t read anyway.

I sat down on Thursday night and wrote this to the doctor and his nurse. I don’t think it will change what goes in my chart but I wanted to say it anyway:

Regarding Dx of Facial Spasm:
Just to be clear, my primary dx should NOT be functional facial spasm. I am preparing documentation to submit to the NIH through Vanderbilt and I would like it to be accurate. My symptoms have always followed the same pattern, in this order: vertigo, fatigue, slurred speech, uncoordinated walking and then ptosis. Every shunt revision has been performed after all of the symptoms have presented indicating that the shunt has clogged or broken. My shunt has been clogged since it was placed on May 11, 2015. The symptoms resolve when I lie flat, which is why I don’t have permanent damage on an EMG (and why the test was unnecessary). When I lie flat, I can feel the fluid move away from the area that it’s pressing on, as if an orange peel is slowly being removed, and the pressure is relieved from my brain. That is why my eyes open and all of the other symptoms resolve. When I am upright, the fluid pools and the symptoms return. I demonstrated this in person on Tuesday, including laying flat as well as turning my head to the far left to open the shunt to drain off fluid so I could open my eyes fully.

The printout regarding functional facial spasm does not address CSF pooling in the brain or how doing stretching of facial muscles is going to help pooling of CSF in the brain. Since I have to travel hundreds of miles in the near future to continue research on my medical mystery, it would be helpful if my records were as accurate as possible and did not contain information that does not apply to me.

Thank you.”

Next week I’ll see my primary doc and will find out if I stirred up any shit or if I have been completely ignored.

What a difference having someone who loves me and who is in my corner makes in my life, though! The Saint Paul is like my hallelujah clouds during a shit storm. I promised not to spill all of our personal details, but there are things that I feel are safe to share. The Saint Paul has a big brain and is humble, which makes me weak in the knees. He’s also a good listener. I mean this in a very specific context: If I say that I need to be touched in a certain way, he doesn’t try to correct me and say that “every woman likes” what he’s doing and he’s not going to change it. Instead, he listens and makes the adjustment, and the reward is that I don’t have to fake anything and do the crab crawl backward.

I don’t know if he noticed last night but my eyes were leaking. It was for a much different reason than 12 hours prior when I was parked on my counselor’s couch, but it felt infinitely better.

When Life Hands You Lemons

Another article has been posted on Patient Worthy! The picture is of lemons from my tree in Phoenix, something I dearly miss. My body is rebelling and my dates are in retrograde. Where’s my unicorn??

Hello Tremors, My Old Friend

Valentine’s Day is 80% Off

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I’m going to do a little update on Walks with Wood (https://thesickandthedating.com/2015/06/10/hello-world/) because as I stated before, I snoop to keep track of exes. Though he and I no longer live in the same state, he did try to contact me out of the blue at the end of March of 2015 because he wanted sympathy for driving drunk without his seat belt and crashing his car (and his head in the process).

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Diamond Dust Necklace (I’m assuming. He claimed he spent “a lot” on it.) WwW gave it to me on Feb. 11, 2015.

So this is their post confirming one year:

WWWandOphelia

The last time we saw each other was February 28th when he showed up late and drunk. Either Ophelia has no idea there was an overlap, or she has forgiven him because he is a project to fix. Either way she has not had it easy; he told me his friends assumed that I was ugly without even meeting me. That didn’t exactly endear them (or him) to me. Maybe they are kinder to her because she was already part of the circle.

In other news, Walgreen’s has all of their candy on deep discount. Unfortunately, just like my love life, I am being forced to clean up my diet before it maims or kills me, so no sugar, soy, gluten or dairy. Welcome to February 15th, where the chocolate is 80% off, and so are the relationships.

You Spin Me Right ‘Round, Baby, Right ‘Round

Okay, I admit it: These words together make absolutely no sense to me. However, they keep popping up as a successful search phrase that someone is using to plug into a search engine and then be directed to my site:

“fragile handle with care name that porn”

No, it’s not two phrases – “fragile: handle with care” or “name that porn.” It’s all of those words mashed together. I suppose the fact that I am posting the phrase to call attention to it is also going to lead that party back here a third time, but seriously, weirdo, that’s messed up. A phrase that is normally used to ship expensive art work doesn’t normally immediately precede a phrase about porn. Porn isn’t fragile. I actually dislike a lot of porn that’s floating around because it always looks like the women are in pain. They do their best to hide their discomfort and disgust because they’re trying to make the big bucks, but at the first sign of acting, I lose my lady boner. Maybe it’s not the naming part you need to worry about, Anonymous.

I got another voice mail from Nashville. His voice sounded all hang dog, like “Gosh, I’m real sorry.” (Make sure you say that sentence in your mind with a twang, so all of the words are at least two syllables – “ree-yawl”). Oh, wait, that’s what he actually said. Then he followed that up with, “I know I didn’t call you (“yee-ooo”), I just got real busy with work and all (“aw-wall”).” Nashville ended the message saying he wanted to talk to me. Now I’m just flat out irritated that he is going back to his original lame excuse. Did he think I wouldn’t recognize it? Did he think I’d forget that I know he has a minimum of 3 days off each week, and which days those are? Now I know I can’t call him back, because I’m going to talk to him like he’s a flat out idiot, and he’s not going to like it. Oh yes, I’ve made grown men cry, usually because I don’t take their shit.
Lastly, I got a text on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning at about 12:30 a.m. from Hidden Creeper (https://thesickandthedating.com/2016/02/04/crouching-tiger-hidden-creeper/) saying, “Sweet dreams.” Wednesday night at about 9:30 pm I wrote back, “Thanks, you too.” He must have been waiting for my reply, because it took him two seconds to respond with, “Good night babe I want to see you :|”

Here’s the problem with technology: it’s a lot easier to analyze the shit out of everything that appears in front of your face in writing instead of having to improvise with someone in person. I had already established that he does not respect women’s boundaries since he couldn’t honor my repeated requests to not be addressed as “cutie.” Now he’s calling me “babe” as if we have actually exchanged bodily fluids, when in reality, I’ve never met him. Also, he’s making it sound like we had a couple of dates and he is now pining for me. Sorry, Hidden Creeper, your texts and phone calls are now going to be hidden from me permanently (unless I’m looking for entertainment, then I’ll peruse my spam files).