The state of my life

So my computer has been in the shop for a week now. They said I might get it back in as soon as a week and a half but two weeks or longer was more likely. I am not suffering overmuch, as I can borrow others whenever I like. But I can’t update Charley without the necessary files, nor can I listen to my music (no iPod), which kind of sucks.

Yesterday my father and I went to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. I hadn’t been since I was a small child and he hadn’t been in over forty years. We had not gone off anywhere alone together since April 2006, when he drove me from home in Ohio to my college in Arkansas after spring break. I had had to overstay my spring break then because I got sick with a sinus, throat and ear infection all at once and was incapable of travel. (I didn’t fully recover for about two months. I was sicker than I’d ever been in my life.) I was supposed to fly back, but missed the flight due to my illness, and Dad decided to drive me. Mom would have been with us except she was recovering from the same illness I had, and so we had to leave her behind.

Anyway, I’m glad we could take this father-daughter trip, and the museum was awesome. It was not too crowded, the exhibits were very interesting and stimulating, and all the staff and tour guides were extremely nice and helpful. I only wish they still had that giant heart you can walk through. It was the only thing I specifically remember from my visit at age six, and I was looking forward to seeing it again, but they got rid of it not too long ago. They do have this awesome coal mine exhibit and tour, though, and a very informative exhibit on all the high-tech stuff involved in modern farming, and a model train system meant to show how it works across the whole US.

I could have looked at that train exhibit for days. The attention to detail on the trainscape (is that a word?) was incredible. Besides, obviously, the trains, they had all these buildings and trees (some with fruit on them) and different vehicles (some with logos, like UPS and UHaul and the Postal Service) and pastures with cows and a sheep and of course loads of people, including fishermen, hikers, little kids playing ball games, people walking their dogs, people in wheelchairs, etc. The bodies of “water,” actually some kind of plastic I guess, even had plants and fish in them that you could see in the cross sections. It must be a nightmare to keep that exhibit clean and free of dust, though. The “grass” was made of some fuzzy material like velveteen and it looks like it would pick up dust very easily. And the whole thing was out in the open air, not in a glass case. A glass case could not be big enough to hold it. The trainscape was about as big as two or three large rooms. There was a rail around it, about three feet from the edge of the table, to keep people from messing with it.

After the museum we took a short detour through Dad’s old neighborhood. He grew up in Chicago, only blocks from the museum, and his old apartment is still there. He went to the same high school as James Watson, one of the guys who discovered DNA. While we were on our way back, Dad and I stopped in Fort Wayne to have dinner with my boyfriend. My boyfriend and my father like each other a lot and get on famously, but due to circumstances beyond their control (namely, my boyfriend and my mother hate each other’s guts, and Dad hardly ever goes anywhere without Mom because she’s so possessive), they hadn’t seen each other in about five years. A good time was had by all.

Today is not so good. I woke up several hours too early and with my ears hurting again. For about a year and a half, on a regular basis my ears (not the insides of them, but rather the tops and the backs of my ears, where the stems of glasses would sit) have hurt horribly for days at a time. I remember exactly when it started because I was hospitalized for depression for the second time. This was in September 2008. I kept putting my hands over my ears and one clinician who didn’t know I wasn’t schizophrenic, only suicidal, kept asking me if I was hearing voices. I was in there for three days and the pain, which started a day or so before my admission, suddenly stopped the morning of the day I left — I just woke up pain-free. One medical person I consulted recently about the pain (through an “ask the expert” website, $9 for the question) thought it was neuritis (inflamed nerves) caused by my glasses not fitting properly. That made sense, given the location and also this thing started around the same time that I got a new pair. So I switched back to the old pair — same lens prescription, just a different style of frame. It didn’t help. In any case, whether or not I wear my glasses seems to make no difference.

I think it is a migraine. My family is prone to them and for me there are two kinds: horrible violent headaches one side of my forehead or the other that are incapacitating and last hours, or a moderate pain (just enough to make you always conscious of it) pretty much anywhere on my head (indeed, it moves around, I remember once my entire cranium was sore, than lower down on my face near my jaw, then up around my left temple) that lasts days. I prefer the first kind of headache. They are hellish but they pass quickly and within eight or twelve hours or so you feel right as rain again. The second kind is not so painful, but it lasts so long and you can only function at 75% at the most, because part of you is always thinking about your head hurting. Over-the-counter meds don’t help. Last spring, after four days of pain, I couldn’t take it anymore and went to the doctor, and he gave me a shot of Demerol that took care of it. It felt so good to have my head not hurt anymore. This year, alas, I cannot afford that as I no longer have insurance. I am just going to have to tough it out — or commit a felony and get my mom to give me some of her headache medications, which are composite capsules with a lot of heavy stuff in them.

But I have plenty of reading to distract myself with (80 books read so far this year, and working on three more) and the headache will not last forever — it will only SEEM like forever. Neither will the absence of my computer last forever, and when I get it back I will go on an updating orgy.