So of course I’ve been ill

Had to drop out of sight for a bit because my stomach decided to make my life miserable again. These episodes happen without warning and there’s nothing to do but lie in bed groaning, run back and forth between bed and toilet, and desperately drink as much fluids as I can to try to stay ahead of dehydration.

The only thing that seems to reduce the nausea is lying perfectly still. Even the amount of movement necessary to read a book (holding it up in front of my face, turning pages etc) is enough to start my stomach complaining again. At least it meant I could catch up on some Netflix shows I guess?

After days of unrelenting misery and being unable to keep anything down, on Monday afternoon I finally gave up and went to the hospital. They gave me the standard treatment: IV fluids and anti-nausea meds. Which worked… sort of. I was no longer puking but still felt pretty nauseated and uncomfortable. I didn’t start to feel properly better until Wednesday.

It’s all extremely frustrating to me cause this is an ongoing thing, off and on for years now. It was four years ago I got diagnosed with Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, a diagnosis which isn’t terribly helpful because no one really knows what CVS is or what causes it or what treatments are consistently effective. My online research indicates it may be tied to migraine headaches (which I also used to have but haven’t in like 20 years) and my medical history indicates my own case may be tied to the menstrual cycle (because I experienced relief when I went on the Pill — alas, I am no longer experiencing that relief). It might also be tied to my autism thing. A lot of people with autism have stomach problems and no one really knows why.

I’ve had my stomach scoped on multiple occasions, and had them look up the other end as well and they couldn’t find anything wrong. This sucks.

It’s not just the discomfort and inconvenience. It’s the fact that I obviously can’t stay on my psych meds when all this is going on. And terrible things happen when I’m off my meds.

Remember this one time when I had to go on a medication that made me have such bad tremors I couldn’t type properly or even climb stairs without clinging to the rail for dear life? (The tremors went away gradually as my body got used to the medicine, but it took some time.) The reason I had to go on that med is because I had a psychotic break out of nowhere and went stark raving mad. I was basically out of my mind, babbling nonsense, talking to people that weren’t there, etc. Thank goodness for those tremors interfering with my ability to type, or I would have posted some REALLY weird stuff online and caused some concern. The psychotic symptoms gradually receded and I experienced longer and longer periods of lucidity as the medication started to work for me, but it took weeks before I was really normal again.

The reason I had that psychotic break is because my psych meds (which I’d been taking per the prescription) suddenly stopped working. Sometimes they just randomly do that, but if you don’t stay on your meds consistently and keep going on meds and then going off meds nilly-willy like I’m basically doing right now, it’s much more likely to happen.

Right now I’m on a great med cocktail that works great for me, but only if I can actually swallow the pills without bringing them right back up again. And I’d rather not have another psychotic break. And I’d really rather that vomiting these episodes stop because they’re kind of ruining my life.

Yeah. Everything sucks.

But I am back on my med cocktail and I am going to update today. I am still very tired but I’ve got to get back in the saddle and stop being a useless slug.

Oh, what I would do for a good night’s sleep

I haven’t really slept well since I was about twelve years old. That was when the bipolar thing got going and interfering with things.

For me, the issue isn’t so much falling asleep as staying asleep. I can go to sleep fine but many times I wake up after only three or four hours, no longer sleepy but just as tired as before. When it comes to sleep, 4+4 is not equal to 8.

I mean, it’s not always as bad as that. But right now it is. Unless under the influence of something, I can’t sleep a night (or a day) through. It would be nice if I could. Like, right if you offered me a choice between $100 in cash or going to sleep for like twelve hours straight and waking up feeling rested, I might very well pick the sleep option instead of the cash.

Of course it interferes with my work. My brain gets stupid. I find myself struggling to understand the articles I’m trying to summarize, making ridiculous mistakes, writing sentences that don’t make sense, writing in “Idaho” when I meant to write “Iowa” and so on.

Instead I find myself doing stuff that is a lot more passive, less intellectual labor. Like reading. Right now my thing is finding and posting insane and gross medical reports on Reddit. (Imagine squatting to pee and then 50 centimeters of your intestines suddenly falls out of you. Further imagine that you actually make a full recovery from this. That’s my kind of story.)

Then I feel ashamed and beat myself up for being lazy. But it’s just very hard to get anything productive done.

Yeah. I’m tired. Bipolar disorder sucks.

I’m sorry. I feel like I’m failing everyone.

I hope all of you are doing ok

You guys are very kind, with the nice comments and the donations and everything. I don’t say that enough.

I was 23 when I started this blog. I am 36 now. That’s a very long time in Internet Years. I wouldn’t still be writing this blog if it weren’t for the readership/comments. I don’t have to do much comment moderation because most of the time you guys are respectful, even in disagreement.

So I hope you all had a good holiday weekend and that you are as happy as this crazy world allows you to be. I hope you are all staying safe and will never go missing.

Sorry guys, my stomach has betrayed me again

Yeah, so between like Sunday night/Monday morning and yesterday I was, for the third time this year, laid up with some pretty bad nausea and vomiting. My prescription anti-nausea meds didn’t work. Things started to improve by Tuesday evening, but then at like 8:30 a power outage put paid to my plans to at least put up my missing person of the week, and I sat there in the dark and silent house until the power finally came back on at 4:30 a.m.

I think my stomach is better now — it’s been like 18 hours since I last puked — but I am getting seriously concerned about the increasing frequency of these episodes.

This happened before, you see. Readers might even remember me talking about it; for like a year or so, EXACTLY every three weeks I would be stricken with nausea and vomiting for days on end. Of course a specialist was consulted but he couldn’t find anything much. These episodes abruptly ended after I started taking hormonal birth control so I suspect it was a hormonal issue. But, well, I’m still on the Pill…

It is quite awful. I can sort of detach myself from pain, even quite severe pain, but nausea is not something I’ve ever been able to put out of my head. You just lie there thinking somebody up there really hates you.

And it’s all especially concerning in light of the medications I have to take for the bipolar thing. The situation snowballs. If I can’t keep anything down, I can’t keep those meds down, but if I go off them for very long at all the consequences are not good. For example, I’ve had like three hours of sleep in the last 24, despite being quite exhausted, and I’m pretty sure it’s because I was off my meds for several days in a row. I finally was able to restart last night.

Anyway.

I am going to try to put an update in, since sleep doesn’t seem to be on the menu. Might as well try to get something productive done.

I apologize for my absence before.

Not all forgetting is bad

I was raped on June 16, 2009. I was beaten, choked, held against my will for two hours, and during that time sexually assaulted. It was horrific.

I’ve written about this online before, starting right happened and then through the investigative process and recovery. It was pretty awful. The entire month of June would be ruined, every year, for quite a few years. And even after the horror of it started to fade, it would still hit me sometimes. A scene in a movie. A face in a crowd. And then the whole experience would slam into me.

After the man who did it was deported to Sudan and the story finally felt over, things improved. I stopped thinking about it so much.

And the other day, I was looking at the calendar, and suddenly thought, “The anniversary of the attack. I missed it. I forgot. Cool.”

Three cheers to forgetting.

The Uvalde police are really bothering me

I’ve got nothing to say about their horrific bungling of the massacre in Uvalde that hasn’t already been said by someone smarter than me, really. But the lack of courage and empathy shown by those cops (who aren’t cooperating with the Texas state investigation into their failures, who have repeatedly made statements to the media that were later proven to be untrue, whose chief has said he won’t answer families’ questions till the families “quit grieving”), and the rampant dishonesty and impunity they’ve showed is very troubling to me.

Because my job kind of requires me to depend on the honesty of cops. Most of the information I get on the missing persons cases, comes from police. I don’t have much of a choice there.

So many times I’ve heard from families of missing people saying the cops don’t care, they tell untruths to the media about missing persons cases, the cops didn’t investigate the case and the family has had to do most of the legwork themselves.

I’m doing the best I can but I find myself sitting here wondering if I’m part of the problem too. And I don’t know how to fix it if I am.

Yesterday was not Tuesday

Yeah, so I put up the missing person of the week yesterday cause I spent the entire day under the mistaken impression that it was Tuesday. It was not Tuesday. It was Monday. My apologies.

And my brain is still broken apparently cause I just took the trash to the curb under the impression that today is Wednesday and trash pickup is tomorrow. It is not Wednesday. Oh well.

I haven’t felt very well lately. I know what’s going on — I’ve just hit the depression cyclce in my bipolar-ness, that’s all — and I know that nothing is really wrong, that all the problems I am worrying about were the same problems I had last week and the week before that, that this terrible feeling will eventually cycle back up. But it doesn’t make me feel any less terrible. My feelings don’t care about the facts.

Later this month is the missing persons event in Wisconsin that I go to. Obviously the event in 2020 was canceled, and last year’s was a virtual event, so I haven’t been since 2019. I am really looking forward to this one, not only cause it’s been a few years but also because this is the first time my husband will be accompanying me to one of these events.

It’s on April 23, at the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Maybe I’ll see some of you there.

I hope all of you are doing well.

Taking a rain check

Yeah, so I’m sick.

It was a massive Weekend of Suck. Horribly sick on Saturday. Horribly sick on Sunday. Maybe I’m not horribly sick anymore, I’m not sure. I thought I was better yesterday at this time but then I became horribly sick again later in the afternoon. No, it’s not covid. My husband took me to Urgent Care for medical attention and they gave me a covid test and some medicine.

I’m talking about “going back and forth between bed and bathroom for two days too miserable to care that both you and the bedclothes are soiled” sick.

My kitten, Viola, has developed a persistent peeing-in-the-hooman-bed problem. (I do not need advice. We are working with a vet and trying to fix the issue as quickly as possible.) She peed on me 3+ times over the weekend and I was too sick and exhausted to care.

Right now I no longer feel sick, but I do feel very tired. And I can’t even go back to bed because I finally felt good enough to get up and start washing all the bedclothes down to the bottom sheet. Right now the first and second loads of bedding are in the machines and the bed is covered with piddle pads cause I’m not sure our mattress protector could hold a large direct hit from Viola.

Anyway, obviously I got no work done over the weekend and I highly doubt I’m going to get any work done today. I MIGHT go out and pick up a prescription refill if I feel good enough.

As far as the Vehicle Change goes, the change is now integrated into the letters A, B, E, I, O, Q, U, V, X, Y, and Z. I just finished B before I became sick.

Home again, exhausted

So I was away for a bit cause my dad to have his thyroid gland removed at a hospital several hours away from our respective homes and I went with him to help out. Everything went fine in the surgery but they made him stay overnight, basically cause he’s old. So I had to stay overnight in a nearby hotel. They don’t let you camp in the waiting room anymore cause covid.

Dad has, or had, an extremely indolent form of thyroid cancer. So minor that for the past ten years he’s left it untreated because it was not causing any issues at all so why fix it? But the cancer did eventually start messing with his thyroid hormones so they decided to yank the whole gland out, cancer and all. As it had (still) not spread, no further treatment is necessary. Just replacement thyroid hormone medicine.

I’ve got a vested interest in all this because there’s a significant chance the same thing is going to happen to me. Dad’s cancer is caused by a genetic issue and there’s a 50% chance I’ve inherited the bad gene too. And if I did, there’s a nearly 100% chance that I too will get thyroid cancer, unless I have my thyroid removed before it can get sick. In fact, as this illness usually occurs in young people, I might have it already and might have had it for years, like Dad did.

Dad’s cancer is so ridiculously wimpy and pathetic that I’m not terribly concerned about my having possibly inherited the cancer gene, but I need to have a screening done anyway.

In other news, a woman is threatening to sue me for supposedly libeling her father, which I really don’t understand because the woman and the Charley Project are pretty much in agreement as to the facts of the case. In fact I’m not 100% sure she’s even actually read the casefile cause she’s wasting her time emailing me the story, the details of which I know already, having already written them all on the Charley Project. Sigh.

You’d be surprised how often this sort of thing happens.

In the Nguyen family case there is news: they have identified Stephanie, the mom, but there’s no indication as to what happened to either of the two kids. I don’t see this as good news; in fact from my perspective it’s almost worse than finding nothing at all.

The family is still stuck in limbo, wondering if the kids were in the car when it went in, or if she did something else with them. It seems likely that they WERE in the car and are still in the river somewhere. But there’s no proof of that. The case might remain unsolved forever.

I’m exhausted. I didn’t get much sleep or eat much of anything while I was gone. I came home to the discovery that our new kitten, Viola, had made a mess, and I was almost too tired to care, but I cleaned it up.

See y’all tomorrow.

Books of 2021

So I read exactly 200 books last year. On the evening of December 31 I realized I’d gotten up to 199 books so I grabbed a collection of quotes I had lying around on my Kindle and read that. Squeaked just over the line.

Mostly my books were about the Holocaust, true crime and history. There were only a few novels. I got really interested in the Jonestown tragedy and read six books about it, including a few by survivors, and learned it was not what I thought it had been. The Jonestown victims weren’t brainwashed cultists, more like terrified concentration camp inmates. And many of them didn’t want to drink the poison but were forced to do so.

If you want to learn more about it I particularly recommend Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman (who was one of the survivors from the airstrip) and A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown by Julia Scheeres.

Some other notable titles I read last year, in no particular order:

Fred & Rose: The Full Story of Fred and Rose West and the Gloucester House of Horrors by Howard Sounes. It was very detailed and had some interesting insights into the relationship between Fred and Rose themselves. The 25th-anniversary afterword also had some shocking info that hadn’t been released earlier because legal stuff.

Somebody’s Mother, Somebody’s Daughter: True Stories from Victims and Survivors of the Yorkshire Ripper by Carol Ann Lee. Peter Sutcliffe’s victims are basically seen as faceless “prostitutes” in the media, but this book makes them into real people again, and debunks a lot of myths about the case. Netflix did a limited series on the case that I would recommend in conjunction with this book.

The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper’s Victims by Robert Hume. He did original historical research into the victims’ lives, instead of just going back and repeating the same stuff a thousand other JTR books have said. I don’t necessarily agree with Hume’s conclusions about the victims’ lives, but I loved learning about their lives and was impressed by how much information he was able to dig up.

The Kindertransport: Contesting Memory by Jennifer Craig-Norton. Another mythbuster. The Kindertransport was an organized effort to bring about 10,000 children, mostly Jews, out of Nazi Germany to the safety of Great Britain. Most Holocaust books emphasize how grateful the children were for the opportunity and how the UK offered themselves as a sanctuary when no other country would. This book, however, gets into the weeds of what the Kindertransport kids actually experienced, and it was not all sunshine and rainbows after their arrival in the UK.

Wearing the Letter P: Polish Women as Forced Laborers in Nazi Germany, 1939-1945 by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab. I had known that Germany forced a lot of Polish people to become slave labor in German factories and on farms during World War II, and that these people were frequently mistreated, but I hadn’t realized until I read this book just HOW bad the Polish slave laborers had it.

They Went Left by Monica Hesse. One of the few novels I read this year. It’s about an eighteen-year-old Polish-Jewish girl who was just liberated from a concentration camp and is trying to find her younger brother. It was definitely a page turner and I liked the author’s use of an occasionally unreliable narrator: the girl was so traumatized by her Holocaust experience that she had a nervous breakdown and sometimes can’t tell what’s real and what’s not.

John George Haigh, the Acid-Bath Murderer: A Portrait of a Serial Killer and His Victims by Jonathan Oates. I don’t know if there was ever a full-length book written on Haigh before, but I appreciated the depth of detail in this one. I also liked how he looked into the victims’ lives also. Before I read this book I knew basically nothing about them, except their names.

Absolute Madness: A True Story of a Serial Killer, Race, and a City Divided by Catherine Pelonero. The story of a fairly obscure serial killer in Buffalo, New York, who turned out to be… not what people expected him to be. It’s kind of told in real time as the investigation progresses, so you don’t really know much more than the police do, and you follow them as they chase dead ends.

Mud Sweeter than Honey: Voices of Communist Albania by Margo Rejmer. Before reading this I knew very little about Albania and less still about what it was like there during the Communist era. This book, an oral history, was definitely enlightening. I had read quite a bit about Stalin’s Russia and knew THAT was not exactly terrific, but Stalin’s Russia was a paradise compared to Hoxha’s Albania. Hoxha’s Albania had a lot more in common with North Korea than it did the Soviet Union.

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. Please get vaccinated for covid. If you have already been vaccinated, please get a booster. I don’t want any of my blog readers to die on me. Whether you are vaccinated or not, please wear a mask if in a public indoor place. And not a cloth one; a single layer of cloth isn’t going to provide much protection. Surgical masks are cheap and widely available. I myself wear KN95s, which are not as cheap but provide a lot more protection.

My husband and I are doing well. We have a four-month-old kitten; we got her at the animal shelter in November. Her name is Viola and she is adorable and loves snuggles. We walked into the room where the kittens were and she flung herself against the side of her cage and SCREAMED at us until we agreed to adopt her.

Oh, and a heads-up: in mid-January I will be absent for a few days. My dad is having surgery and I have agreed to drive him to and from the hospital (it’s like three hours one way) and to take care of him after the surgery until he can see to himself.