Saturday, March 2, 2013

Potty Talk

In Which our Heroine Looks for the Loo.
I am so sick of talking about Cancer and/or Medications.  This blog used to be fun—I used to be fun!  Occasionally, anyway.  So, another subject: Dreams.  As in, the kind you get when you sleep. Not about aspirations.  I’m going for the light-hearted here!  Seriousness is hereby declared out of style.
Some of the best dreams of my life are the “where is the toilet” dreams.  Yep, I know.  Highly applicable in the middle of the night.  All of these dreams deal with detailed architecture—because you see a lot when it is such a very long journey to the bathroom. 
Once I was aboard a space-ship  ( Star Wars style, but the elevator in the back is all Star Trek).  Pretty sure Captain Picard and Data were there.  I had to get to the bathroom on a lower deck, but there was DIFFICULTY with the elevator.   Unlikely that I reached my destination.  Make it so, Number 1.”
Then there was the locker room dream.  It is hard to find the single bathroom toilet within.  Lots of large, well-muscled girls that kind of scare me.  And that’s why I have to sneak to the bathroom.  Half-size locker for me (on the bottom level of course, which jams at a crucial moment), smelly towels hung on locker doors and benches everywhere, the sweaty sock smell that permeates every locker room since the advent of the Roman baths.  Reach destination but well-muscled people just keep interrupting me.  Also someone didn’t clean the toilet very well.
LDS church, Eva accompanying me, because she’s the one who has to go.  Toddler = hurry.  The nursery room takes up the whole basement, but for some reason random basket/volleyballs from the gym keep ending up there.  If the nursery is big, then the rest of the building is tantamount to the empire state building.  The hallways in this place have a lot of brown carpet that run half-way up the wall with a mauve colored paint above this.  There are teal armchairs and sofas in the oddest corners (ala LDS church foyer style).  The hallways are short and maze-like.  And there are men’s bathrooms everywhere.  In desperation I try one of those, but it turns out to be a maze too, just with more tile and towel dispensers.  Not sure if I ever reach my destination.  But I ran a lot, which has got to be good for the body.
There is the dream with the oddly circular building full of bureaucrats who keep passing me by, and who are terrible at giving directions.  The walls are vertical wooden slats (pretty nice, actually) and the carpet is a uniform gray.  The outer hallway runs full circle along the edge of the building.  There are various doors toward the interior, and I must find the room.  When I finally do, it is a very depressing bathroom indeed.  Gloomy with cinderblock walls (think soviet architecture) and dripping pipes everywhere, occasional mossy-mold.  The pipes are actually pretty cool because they twist everywhere, even diagonally across the huge space (think M.C. Escher).  But the toilets are everywhere, and you just can’t find the right one.  They are varying heights, some set atop many cinderblock steps so they look—yes—like a throne.  All are connected to an array of pipes (the lovely U-bend is especially present).  All are cold and yucky.  Destination reached, but too repulsed to go further. 
Fast food restaurant-style bathroom, has black and white tiles on floor.  Found easily, but there is the smell of French fries everywhere.  The stall doors are two or three feet off the ground and the toilets are very tall.  You feel like you are sitting in a highchair—if you can climb that high, which is gross because you'd have to grab the seat and hoist yourself up.  No sink apparent.  This is a problem as you are in a yucky fast-food bathroom.  It looks spick and span, but you know better.  Little germies are probably everywhere!  Destination reached, but can’t quite get up the courage to use said facility, because you need a sink in the room, dang it!
Bathroom with lots of stalls, a regular taupe-colored affair.  The toilets are normal, but the stalls have some serious problems.  Some are too high, some are too low.  How is a girl supposed to retain her modesty here?  Some are pretty good, but all these women keep stealing them.  Just as you approach, one of them comes wheeling in, cutting in front of you and slamming the door in your face.  So you finally find one that will sort of work—the stall goes up to your lower rib cage, and right now that’s the best you got.  You’re pretty excited, because you really gotta go, but then suddenly you are naked.  No modesty, no go.  Destination finally reached but to no avail.
Another black and white bathroom—very large—and communal.  There are toilets everywhere.  They sit back to back, sometimes side by side.  Very crowded.  But none have stalls.  There is a general rush to find the best toilet—shiny ones are the best.  People scurrying everywhere like ants.  I myself am stalling because I can’t figure out what to do—I like walls around me in these crucial moments, dang it.  Oh crisis!  Panic mounting.  Dream truncated.  I woke and found the bathroom adjoining my bedroom.

The Product of Chemicals

in Which there are Alchemical Changes.

I will make this brief.  The anti-epileptic oxy…whatever turned out be Public Enemy No. 1.  I have never experienced such violent vomiting before.  Four days after beginning it, I found myself on the phone begging my doctor to let me quit. Lamotrigine suddenly didn’t seem that bad—even with seizures added to it.  And Keppra was starting to look like a day-dream.  Ah, the advantages of hindsight.

For the last month and a half, I have been cycling off of Lamotrigine and going back onto Keppra.  The change in dosages is much more abrupt this time, every week stepping down 100 mg per day.  I’ve really been able to see the effects that come from such sudden changes.  At first it was up on Keppra: hard physically and emotionally.  Then down a step on Lamo: a bit better both physically and emotionally.  Another step down: better physically, BAD emotionally.  Next step: better physically, absolutely wonderful emotionally—possibly somewhat manic: lots of action and not enough sleep, happy but so very tired.  Next step: physical effects nearly gone, slightly less happy.  I can literally feel the Keppra settling into my system.  Lamo up and downs gone and the incredibly stable, but ever-annoyed me making a comeback.  Forget history, forget tradition, forget culture—I am a product of my chemicals. 

And through it all: terrible insomnia.  Most of the time I get to sleep around 2 or 3 am.  It’s kind of like living in a happy little fog.  Sounds like something Bob Ross would say.  I am gaining the greatest respect for people who deal with this as a mental illness: the depressed or bipolar who are constantly tweaking their medication.  Rough stuff.  I would probably rather go through brain surgery again than go through a couple more years of these alchemical experiments.   

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hello Dizzy

 in Which our Heroine Airs her Dirty Laundry .

On Thursday morning I had a seizure, a facial tick that went down into the neck.  Clearly my new anti-epileptic is a massive FAIL.  So now I must set my medicinal pal free where it can fly in the wind, (much like dirtly laundry hung out to dry).  Mine erstwhile medicinal friend was also messing with my ever-erratic emotions way too much—now that’s some grimy laundry for you, kind reader.  Goodbye lamotrigine, and good riddance.

Enter oxy… something. Ah, here it is: oxcarbazepine. (Who names this stuff? It’s ridiculous). Another anti-eppiletetic, eteleppic, epliteptic, epileleptic.  Try saying it three times fast.  Ready, set GO!

So far I am really, incredibly, unabashedly, furiously dizzy and off balance.  I am an adept when it comes to walking into furniture.  Thus far my wonky combination of lamotrigine and oxy-something seem to be a 24/7 thing rather than the previous 3-4 hour torture that has been my life every day from 11 to 3 pm.  I hope that I will feel better when current archenemy No. 1 is purged from my system.  I will know in four months time.  If that doesn’t work then I will begin, or possibly go back, to a different medicine.  Or perhaps a combination? Up and Down, Up and Down.  I have always loved roller coasters. 

It’s rough, and I will tell you truthfully that this has been an eventful, frenzied, confused, out of the ordinary, awful week for these and other reasons I cannot articulate at this time.  But I will survive, prevail, triumph over, keep my chin up, fight the good fight, and continue on.  Think of how much I’ve already been through.  Nothing can stop me now.  Except that I have to wait another six months to drive legally.  Nevertheless, I continue on with optimism, though it be at a slower pace.  Kind of like fresh, white, clean laundry blowing gently in the breeze in a quaint mountain valley.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas 2012

In the which our Heroine Backtracks to Prior Events.
Santa came a few hours early this Christmas.  He did not use a chimney.  The doorbell rang.  I opened the door, and then closed it again.  Like on TV when the character can’t believe what they’re seeing so they shut and open again just to make sure it wasn’t a figment of their imagination.  Well, there was no such confusion or romance in my reaction (but isn’t the parallel funny!).  It was cold, and I had a bag of bread in my hands (PBJ’s commin’ right up!) and I had to put it down because there was no way I could hold it and all the gifts at the same time. 
Yes, I said gifts in the plural.  You know, in general, giving has some sort of limit, but this easily crossed the line.  The persons/Santas in question remain anonymous despite my many cognitive efforts. 
Take it from someone who has time and time again proven that she is terrible at gift giving, these presents were good.  And they, combined with those of extended family and friends, were ALOT.  Christmas morning came and there were still more for my girl to unwrap.  Eva was rolling in the splendor of so much wrapping paper.  She was clearly experiencing new horizons in toy-play.  It is clear that she is still experiencing this as she has neglected all other and older toys in favor of the new.  I don’t think she’ll ever go back.
I was not soliciting for charity in my last post, but it came anyway—and in such incredible generosity.  We felt this charitable love from other unexpected and fantastic presents on our doorstep that evening—again, really good—from good friends who spilled the beans the next day (surprise! Thank you Hendersons and Rappleyes), to a delicious pumpkin pie.  Of course, the expected gifts received in trade far exceeded my own miserable presents.  I feel the largesse, but cannot seem to produce it.  Except for mine to Eva, which of course lay at the heart of my sarcastic “anger” toward St. Nick.  Due to the benevolence of others, I was able to take credit for the other big favorite of the day: A box of Disney Princesses with multiple changes of clip-on dresses.  How could a three-year-old girl not love these?
And so, to the Santa’s in my life, I raise my glass (of left-over eggnog) in salute.