Guess who got vaccinated!

Got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine today and I am so happy to have that taken care of at last. Two more weeks and I’ll be pretty much immune to covid! (Though I do expect they’ll be coming out with annual booster shots.)

I highly encourage everyone else to get the shot, whatever kind is available to you the quickest. Especially if you will be doing any traveling. I’m going somewhere special in June (more about that at a future date) and I am so glad I’ll be fully vaxxed and not putting myself or anyone else through unnecessary risk.

Just a followup from my last post

So I haven’t made an appointment with my primary care clinic, but they did leave a message for me on MyChart, which is an online thingy where patients can interact with their medical people and view their medical records. They said they want to try prescribing some supplements and try to re-test my blood after ten days of taking the supplements, and see if the situation has improved. I said okay.

I’m just really glad I don’t have to change my psych medication. That could have been potentially disastrous.

Also, I got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine a bit ago and it’s just two weeks until I can get the second dose. I experienced no side effects other than having a somewhat sore arm for a day or so. They say it’s the second dose that can really slam you.

I love all of you and thanks for the support. Stay safe.

So I might have something catastrophically wrong with me, or I might not

I take a bunch of different medications for my bipolar etc., and some of those meds can mess with things they’re not supposed to mess with. No, I’m not sure of the details, but the result is that every few months I have to get blood drawn so they can check it for levels of this and that and the other thing and make sure it’s all normal.

I got my blood drawn last week and then the next day I got a rather frantic call from my psychiatrist’s office asking me, more or less, why I wasn’t dead. Apparently according to the lab work, I’ve got catastrophically low sodium and potassium and what have you. They told me to make an appointment with my primary care person pronto.

I was mystified because I did not have any symptoms; I felt absolutely fine. But I dutifully saw a nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office on Monday morning. He asked me all sorts of questions about my heart and did some basic neurological tests and couldn’t find a single thing wrong with me, and was strongly inclined to believe there was some kind of mistake, but ordered another blood panel and an EKG just in case.

I felt a bit better after that… until Monday afternoon, when I had a phone appointment with my psychiatrist. He said that it was indeed possible to feel fine and still be basically at death’s door from messed up blood levels. He said that per last week’s blood work I’m at risk of a spontaneous heart attack. Like, my potassium is supposedly so low that my heart could just… quit. In fact, when his office had called me last week, the message had been garbled: they were supposed to tell me to not bother with making an appointment but to go straight to the ER.

So yesterday morning I went and got the EKG and got blood drawn for labs. I anxiously waited all the rest of the day and into today to hear from someone about the results but nothing, nope, nada. I called my psychiatrist’s office earlier today and they said they don’t have the results yet. So basically I have no idea whether I’m fine or whether I should start writing my will.

For most of my life, this situation would not have bothered me too much because life was not any great thing for me anyway. Severe depression does that to you; even when I was pretty much functional and life was bearable, I was pretty apathetic and a little in love with death. But in the past year or two, for the first time in, like, literally ever, I’ve been happy. I’ve been happier than I’ve ever been, newly married, enjoying myself.

And I’m afraid if last week’s blood test WAS right, they’re going to have to change my medications. And I really don’t want to, because I know a lot of the reason I’m finally happy is because the medications have been working so well. I really don’t want to mess that up, and spend possibly years trying to find another combination that works as well as that.

It’s coming on four-thirty so I don’t think I’m going to get my test results till tomorrow at the earliest. My friends keep texting me every couple of hours to ask if I still feel okay.

I am okay. But I really want to know what’s going on.

[UPDATE: I did hear back from my psychiatrist’s office, after closing time. The blood levels on the second test are still low but he doesn’t think the medication is causing it. He told me to get back to primary care about it.]

A lost pet reminds me of some the issues that come up with missing persons

So last week Michael and I managed to misplace our elderly cat, Carmen, and we didn’t realize it for a few days. We felt horrible about this—both the fact that she was lost and the fact that we didn’t notice for some time.

It’s not that we don’t care about Carmen. We absolutely adore her. The main reason we didn’t notice she was missing was because she is a cat. The dog follows me from room to room, always. But like most cats, sometimes Carmen doesn’t want to hang out with anybody, and will go off and hide somewhere in the house out of sight.

Also, there was kind of a miscommunication between Michael and I. Each of us just sort of assumed the other had seen Carmen at some point. It wasn’t until late one evening when we were playing with our other cat, Aria, and one of us was like “Hey, I haven’t seen Carmen in awhile, when was the last time you saw her?” And both of us had to sit and think really hard to remember the last time. Then we got very worried very quickly.

We determined Carmen was definitely not in the house. Once we worked out the only time when she could have gotten out, we felt horribly guilty, as days had passed since then. We went outside with flashlights to look for her, but couldn’t find her in the vicinity. (The neighbors caught me crawling around trying to get under their porch; fortunately they didn’t shoot me.) There didn’t seem to be much point in searching further in the dark.

We tried to figure out what to do from there. Michael was absolutely devastated and basically broken. He just sort of sat there staring off into space with tears running silently down his cheeks, saying Carmen had to be dead, a coyote had surely gotten her by now. He pretty much couldn’t do anything.

I was upset but pretty calm about it. I Googled “how to find a lost cat” and started doing everything Google said to do. What the internet said indicated there was hope: it said most indoor cats who accidentally escape are probably fine, just freaked out and hiding nearby, even if several days have passed. I put some kibble and treats on the steps, like Google suggested, and left messages on online groups for the local area (Nextdoor, etc), then couldn’t figure out what else to do until daytime, so we went to bed. And somehow we were able to sleep. It was like 3:00 a.m. by then and we were super tired.

When I woke up, the food I’d left out was gone. I still couldn’t see any sign of Carmen but I started poking around again, looking under our porch and the next-door neighbor’s porch again, rattling the cat treat jar and calling for her. Then I turned around and suddenly there she was, sitting in front of our door, uninjured but complaining bitterly and looking extremely sorry for herself. She was none the worse for wear, just hungry.

Carmen says the outdoors sucks: it’s cold and scary and lonely and there’s no food and no litter box. 0 out of 5 stars. If she could type she’d leave it a really bad Yelp review.

I realize that a missing human child or spouse or other human family member is a whole order of magnitude different than a cat. But all of this kind of reminds me of the things I’ve read about how families deal with missing persons.

A lot of times the family doesn’t realize a person, even if they’re a child, is missing for awhile. It doesn’t necessarily mean the family doesn’t care. Each parent thinks the toddler is with the other parent, it’s assumed the teenager spent the night with friends, the adult was occasionally out of touch for weeks at a time and always resurfaced alive and well, etc. And each person in the family handles the situation differently, just the way Michael and I handled the issue of Carmen differently.

Stay safe, everyone. And keep an eye on your pets.

Good news from my house, just about the only good news I’ve had so far this year

Early this month Michael got his first dose of Moderna’s Covid vaccine, and yesterday he was given the second dose. In I think two weeks he will have 95% or greater immunity to Covid and I can stop worrying about him so much.

As far as how his body handled the vaccine, he didn’t feel any different after the first dose. The morning after the second dose he felt achy and super tired, to the point where he went to work late. This was probably his immune system revving up in response to the vaccine, and is a small price to pay for protection from getting that awful disease. He felt better by afternoon.

My father and my mother have had their first doses as well. No idea when I’m going to get my own vaccination. As a healthy young adult who doesn’t need to work outside the home, I’m pretty much at the bottom of the priority list, and I’m fine with that. I am not really worried about getting Covid myself, just worried about getting it and then giving it to someone at higher risk than me, in particular my loved ones.

I am hoping that everyone who can be vaccinated, will be by the end of this year. Though sometimes it feels like there’s no end to this.

Wedding pics just dropped!

I know you guys had asked to see some of the pics from my wedding, and they have finally arrived! Now, there are exactly 299 of them and I’m not going to post them all, but here’s some of the highlights.

Me and Dad going up the aisle:

Us all at the altar:

Michael sliding the ring on my finger:

Michael walking me down the aisle at the end:

Us leaving the church after I got rid of that scarf the priest made me wear:

Masks were required at the wedding for everyone (except the priest I guess, and also one lady in the back at the groom’s side) but once the ceremony was over and almost everyone had left the church we took some mask-less photos. So here you go:

Me and my bridesmaids:

Me alone, smiling at my bouquet:

Michael and I at the altar:

Us at the church door:

Us in silhouette so it looks romantic:

The photographer was Taylor Ford; look her up if you’re getting married in Ohio or Indiana and want her to take pictures. I think they turned out really well.

At the beginning of this dark winter, I beg my readers to stay safe

The coronavirus is raging in my part of the world. Local hospitals have warned they’re close to becoming overwhelmed. Four of my father’s 22 students have been sick. Two of my husband’s (it still seems strange to call him that) students as well. He was not told he’d been exposed till six days after the fact. Fortunately he got tested and was negative, but if he had caught it, he could have been spreading the disease around everywhere he went for nearly a week. The lady at the management office who collects our rent has been sick. (I haven’t laid eyes on her for months; I’ve been exercising social distancing by putting the rent in the box on the office door instead.)

I am appalled that so many people are not even bothering to exercise the most basic precautions. And that, when well over a million people are dead and nearly a quarter-million of them are Americans, when the president himself has had it and his chief of staff has it now, when multiple members of Congress have had it, so many people are still convinced it’s a hoax. I can only think these people must be very misinformed.

Please, wear a mask in public. Wear it so it covers both your mouth AND your nose. Your nose is directly connected to your lungs, and if it the mask isn’t covering it you might as well not be wearing it at all. I know masks are a pain in the butt, I know they’re inconvenient and annoying and make people get acne and their glasses fog up. Wear a mask anyway.

I really don’t want more people to die. Especially you. I don’t want to add your obituary to the online coronavirus memorial I’ve been adding to since April.

I hope everyone is well and their families and friends are well. Michael and I are enjoying these first weeks of married life. We used some of the wedding gift money to buy our first marital furniture, a lovely mid-century modern dresser we snagged for a song on Facebook Marketplace after our el-cheapo pasteboard dresser literally fell apart. We’re trying to decide what we can do to celebrate the dog’s upcoming sixteenth birthday. Probably something involving chicken nuggets.

Please stay safe.

I confess I’m a bit startled

I was just writing up a case for the Charley Project when I discovered that the woman in question is friends with my cousin. Facebook friends, anyway.

That’s never happened before. I’m a bit creeped out to be honest.

I don’t think I’m going to ask my cousin about it. We were never close and I haven’t even seen or spoken to this cousin in years. I doubt they know anything about the case. They may not even know this person is missing. It’s not a high profile case and it was only recently reported although the woman disappeared over a year ago.

Well, I’m married now

Hi all. I updated today, as I promised I would. The wedding was on Saturday and today is the first day in awhile that I haven’t felt absolutely dead on my feet. I had to spend two nights in a row sleeping on my in-laws’ couch.

I was a total bundle of nerves before and during the wedding ceremony, terrified that I’d make some ghastly error and ruin the event somehow and everyone would be mad at me. It was a Catholic ceremony and I’m an unbaptized heathen–Michael is the Catholic one–so I was not at all familiar with the rites and stuff. I would never have got through it without his whispered cues.

My dress was quite conservative in my opinion: not short, not strapless, not super tight, no see-through parts, no cleavage. But it wasn’t conservative enough for the priest, who insisted I wear a scarf over it. I spent the entire ceremony fussing with that scarf, terrified that it would slip off in front of God and everyone.

Fortunately the ceremony went well and the scarf didn’t fall off. And now Michael and I are legally bound to each other and very happy for that. We’re having fun calling each other “wife” and “husband” all the time.

I really appreciate all the kind well wishing comments from readers. I’m sure Michael and I will be very happy together for the rest of our lives. After all, we’ve been together for eighteen years already.

Once the photographer sends us our pics, I’ll put up a few, as some readers have requested.

Happy 35th birthday to me

Today was my 35th birthday. Crazy to think that I’ve been keeping this blog for twelve years; I was only 23 when it started. I can look at the writing and see myself growing up and my opinions on things changing. I’ve gotten a lot less judgemental over the years, I think.

Michael and I are getting married in three and a half weeks. October 31. We’re just about ready. My dress is at a tailor’s for alterations; fortunately it just needs a few stitches here and there. My mom is sewing me a blue garter for my something blue. The astrakhan capelet I ordered online to wear over the dress when I’m outdoors (it’s likely to be cold and damp) is antique, so that’s my something old. Everything else is new. I just need to borrow something.

I’m looking at this wedding as a celebration of love’s triumph. Both our families, and common sense, had indicated that he and I should not be together. But here we are. We outlasted all of them and they’ve had to admit they were wrong about us, that we belong together.

We won’t have as big an attendance as we would have wanted, because pandemic and all. But there will be guests, and we will have it broadcast online too for the guests who choose to attend online. We don’t have a honeymoon planned; he’ll be right back to work on Monday. Someday we’ll do a honeymoon, go back to Poland maybe, once the United States isn’t a giant leper colony anymore. At present no other country wants us.

Oddly, though I am scrupulous about masking for both him and me, I no longer worry about Michael catching COVID-19. I do understand that he fits the profile of someone likely to get very sick if he does catch it, and that it could kill him. But the thing is, after awhile you just have to stop worrying about it. Either it happens or it doesn’t.

The worry sinks below the surface of your mind and is replaced by other, more pressing ones: We will get our mandatory “Catholic Marriage” and “Natural Family Planning” classes done in time for the wedding? Will a second Civil War break out in November? Is it just my imagination, or does my car engine sound louder than usual? Why have three blood draws in a row said I have critically low sodium levels when I feel fine?

I hope to spend the next thirty-five years with my husband, as happy with him, and he with me, as we are now.

Everyone: vote, wash your hands, wear a mask over your mouth AND your nose in public, and keep yourselves safe.