Still very tired

So as I said, while I was dog-sitting for Mom’s dog Kinsey, I slept on the living room floor. This was to keep her company. When Mom is home, Kinsey isn’t even allowed in the house on account of the cat. I let her in the house in their absence but in order to keep her company, and also to make sure she didn’t poop on the living room rug, I slept there. And she slept on the rug next to me. No mess was made.

Kinsey only knows about feral cats and views them as wild animals to bark at and chase. Baxter, Mom’s cat, is terrified of dogs. There was another dog Mom had, Sadie, Kinsey’s housemate and best friend, who was a real sweetheart but VERY small animal aggressive. Sadie regularly killed the aforementioned feral cats and probably would have attacked Baxter. But Sadie died in February (old age) and Kinsey (who is quite old herself) has been alone in the garage ever since.

(Not trying to pass judgment on my mom here. Just stating the facts of the dog’s living situation.)

Long story short, I’m going to adopt Kinsey. Mom is okay with this. I took her to the vet’s on Wednesday, before Mom got back home, for a checkup and to see why she was pulling fur on her butt. She has a huge bald spot there. I thought it must be boredom but the vet says she has fleas and flea dermatitis. (Otherwise she’s perfectly healthy, very spry for a 14-year-old doggo.) I have placed an order for a crate and some other dog things from Chewy.com. Once the items arrive and Kinsey’s flea treatment is completed, she can come stay here.

I think I can get her to coexist with the cats; unlike Sadie, Kinsey was never small animal aggressive. She barked and chased the feral cats but didn’t attack, and she’s a big respecter of territory. At the vet’s office she exhibited no interest at all in the office cat that was wandering around, because she understood it was that cat’s territory and not her own. Whereas a feral cat wandering through the backyard at Mom’s is on Kinsey’s territory and fair game to bark at and chase. Obviously this will still be a delicate mission and the crate is primarily to assist with introducing Kinsey to the cats.

So that is why I slept on the floor while dog-sitting. There is no couch or anything at Mom’s house to sleep on, only a horribly uncomfortable chaise lounge with cushions only slightly less soft than rocks. The floor was more comfortable than that thing.

During my time at Mom’s I had a rather awful manic episode in spite of being compliant with my four psychiatric medications. By Saturday morning I’d been awake for 48-plus straight hours without relief and was very confused and hallucinating from sleep deprivation.

It was awful. Your body really starts to hate you when it’s deprived of sleep that long. My leg muscles stiffened up and ached horribly and I limped when I walked. My glasses with the special ultra lightweight carbon fiber lenses hurt my face and ears too much to wear. I tried to sleep; I lay quietly for many hours, but nothing doing. I was zinging out the eyeballs, higher than a kite, despite being 100% sober. It sucked.

At that point if I had not had dog-sitting duties I would have checked myself into the psychiatric ward, as this was totally a medical emergency, but who would look after Kinsey then? So I gritted my teeth and basically waited out the storm. Saturday during the day I started to come down and slept for four hours. Then that night I slept for five. The next night for six.

Also, on Saturday during the day — and through Sunday, up till that night — I began vomiting again because the world hates me or something.

Though I was sleeping again, I was still noticeably manic when I went to the psychiatric clinic on Monday to tell them what had happened. Talkingveryfastlikethis and jumping rapidly from topic to topic and abnormally cheerful. I didn’t have an appointment to see my psychiatrist until next month, but when they found out what had gone on they were all like, “Wait here, he will see you in ten minutes.”

He’s changing my medicines and advised me to see a gastroenterologist about the vomiting. This Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome thing is a matter of great concern to me and to my psychiatrist because obviously I can’t remain med-compliant if I can’t keep anything down.

I finally stopped puking on Monday and have resumed taking my medicines. I’m very tired from what happened from Friday to Wednesday and don’t feel up to a whole lot. I hope to resume website work tomorrow.

That is all.

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A pretty discouraging diagnosis

So last weekend I became horribly sick again. You know, less than a month after last time. The anti-nausea medications weren’t doing squat and I was afraid it was going to last forever like last time, I went rushing off to the hospital — the only place that was open over the holiday weekend. And they told me they think I have something called Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome.

As far as I can tell,¬†Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome is the same kind of rubbish diagnosis that New Daily Persistent Headache is: it basically means “you keep puking on a regular basis and we have no idea what’s wrong.”

The doctor said my stomach, kidneys, pancreas, gall bladder, etc., were all “happy as clams.” Yet I keep throwing up and I keep having these spells of throwing up and that’s been happening for years now. I had a scope done five years ago and nothing untoward was discovered.

I saw my family doctor on Tuesday and they think the same thing. They’re trying to figure out what to do about it and I’m feeling very discouraged. They tried to get me to swallow an anti-nausea pill in the office and the mere thought of trying to do so made me puke again. (After puking, I swallowed the pill and kept it down. Go figure.)

I feel much better today, and was able to get some updates in, but the thought of this happening over and over and over and over again is very discouraging.

There are certain unpleasant physical sensations I can sort of put out of my head and carry on with life, but nausea’s not one of them. Furthermore, I am concerned about my medicine. I have to take four pills every morning and four every evening and that’s very important. I need to be able to take those medications and keep them down or, within a few days, I turn into a nervous mess and terrible things start happening. Once, like three years ago, I was throwing up almost every day for a solid month, and as a result could not take my medicine, and by the end of the month I’d slid into a terrible depression and the house was a tip because I was too depressed to clean it and I was a complete wreck as well.

So, I hope there’s something that can prevent this stuff from happening but I’m not optimistic.

On the bright side, I got a lovely email from someone working with the U.S. Marshals who complimented my work. I also had a lovely conversation with a lady who is trying to set up a database for missing Native Americans and wanted to know how it’s done, and I told her all my trade secrets.

General life and crazymeds update

So as you know, I had tummy troubles all last week and couldn’t do much of anything. Then on Monday I was feeling much better and I thought I’d celebrate with a tall frosty glass of milk. That didn’t end well.

After that I was afraid to put anything at all in my mouth which was kind of concerning because by then I’d been off my crazymeds for nearly a week. The very thought of trying to start taking them again made me panic.

I called my doctor’s office to ask for advice on how to resume regular eating, drinking, and medication-taking activities and the nurse I spoke to extremely concerned when she found out I was off my meds. She insisted I come in the next day for an appointment.

So I went, and they gave me some general advice on how to deal with it. They thought my extreme anxiety about the prospect of swallowing anything was probably related to the fact that I was off my meds. They said if by the next day I was unable to take them, I would have to come back and they would have to figure out something out to get them into me.

So the next day (which was yesterday) I was able to get my medication down in the morning, but in the process I spat pop all over my new silk shirt. I was not thrilled. Mentally muttergrumbling to myself about needing to dry-clean the shirt, I called the doctor’s office to tell them I’d taken my meds.

The secretary insisted I needed to be seen that day anyway, and I insisted I did not need to be seen because I had taken my meds, and round and round we went, and she finally transferred me to the nurse’s desk. I tried to explain to the nurse that the secretary had the wrong end of the stick, that since I had taken my meds I didn’t need to be seen. And she was all like, “Well, we’re all very worried about you and you seem agitated.”

“I’m agitated because my silk shirt has stains on it and I’ll have to pay for it to be cleaned,” I tried to explain, “and because there’s no reason I should be talking to you.”

“Well, you need to take your medication.”

“I just did!”

“You know it will take some time for it to start working again. You need to take your medication EVERY DAY for it to work. You can have a happy normal life if you just take your medicine blah blah blah…”

“This is unbelievable,” I muttered to myself. She heard me and thought I meant I didn’t think the meds worked. She started again on how great my life will be if I just take my medicine, and I had to explain that it was unbelievable that she was telling me this NOW. I’ve been taking psych meds since 2008 and I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011. I know all this stuff already.

Finally I got off the phone and suddenly felt really woozy. I had to lie down and sleep for like five hours. One of my medicines I take has a strong sedative effect if you’re not used to it, and I had missed eight days’ worth of doses.

So right now I’m waking up around seven or eight, doing whatever for a few hours, taking my medication at ten a.m., passing the heck out, not waking up for four to six hours, and then doing whatever for a few more hours until it’s time to take my nighttime dose at ten p.m., after which time I pass the heck out again.

What FUN.

There’s no way out but through, unfortunately. Once I get used to it again I’ll function normally.

Stupid stomach flu.

Trying to act human again

Been kind of flattened much of last week from a stomach bug. Cue the Zofran, and struggling to eat, and Michael going out and buy me Gatorade, which I call Gatorgag because I can’t stand the stuff. He forced me to drink it anyway and I started to feel better.

Today is the first time in almost a week I’ve been at the computer again. Going to resume acting like an actual person instead of a nauseated slug.

That is all.

How this autistic woman grieves

So Michael and his mom and I all went to the visitation together and that was all right. There were lots of people there of course, and lots of floral arrangements.

I told the boys that I had no words for them except how sorry I was. I talked to Brendan’s wife a bit and suggested there were probably online support groups for young widows with children and maybe she should check some of those out.

The accident was not as bad as I had feared. I mean, it sounds dumb to say that because Brendan is still dead, but I had been afraid he was in bits or something and he wasn’t. Turns out the auger grabbed him by the arm and pulled so hard that his head slammed into the side of the machine and his neck snapped. He died more or less instantly. Open casket.

Then after we left, we met up with Michael’s dad, David, and we went to Pizza Hut and then everything somehow went very wrong.

David started teasing me about something or other and then the gears in my head got kind of stuck and I couldn’t think and I got very upset and couldn’t talk right and I started rocking back and forth holding onto myself, trying to keep myself from melting down, but it was already happening.

I had this urge to start knocking over plates and glasses and stand up and upend the table. I wasn’t angry, I just had to get the tension out somehow. I didn’t want to make a scene so I went to the bathroom to try to calm down and wound up making a scene in there instead. Screaming and moaning and throwing myself around the room and slamming my head into the tile wall over and over. Full-on meltdown.

I never want these things to happen. I don’t want to do those things and the whole time I was hitting my head I was crying out “stop” and “no” because it hurt and I didn’t want to do it.

After a bit, my waitress came into the bathroom — I don’t think it was to investigate the noise, I think she just had to go.

She already knew someone had died, because she had asked us earlier why were we dressed up, had we been at a party, and we explained we’d just come from a funeral visitation and she’d been like “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. Our specials…”

She asked me if there was anything she could do to help and I said no and to please leave me alone, and she went out and told Michael that his wife was in the bathroom freaking out, and Jane came in and got me and said we were leaving. It was the middle of the meal. Pizza shoveled into boxes and everyone getting their coats and leaving and me feeling miserable and embarrassed and guilty for inconveniencing them and ruining what was supposed to be a nice dinner.

Everyone was very nice about it. It would have felt better if they’d been mad at me.

I still can’t really understand what happened. What happened in the bathroom feels like it happened to someone else altogether, not me.

I felt really awful over the next few days, didn’t even want to get out of bed. I hadn’t had a meltdown like that in ages and I had started to think that maybe they wouldn’t happen at all anymore.

Then suddenly it happens and I’m reminded once again that I’m broken in a way no one can fix. And I ruined Michael’s family’s dinner and scared the pizza lady and acted like a two-year-old in the bathroom and I am still really embarrassed. I feel like I can never go back to that restaurant ever again.

My head STILL hurts horribly and aspirin etc. isn’t touching it and I’m afraid to seek medical attention cause I don’t want to have to explain what happened. They might lock me up or something. It sounds really weird and scary and I’d have a bit of a time convincing everyone I’m not actually a danger to myself. The pain will stop eventually. God knows I’ve had worse headaches than this.

Ima just go and resume my normal existence, work on the website some more — I’m on the home stretch, down the last 1,000 cases, woo!

Another ET entry, and stuff

I had another Executed Today entry posted, this time out of Botswana:¬†Kedisaletse Tsobane, who was hanged on September 19, 2008. He had killed his ten-year-old illegitimate daughter, supposedly to get out of paying child support. But the judges aren’t sure that’s the real reason he did it, because

a) Tsobane had not paid any child support at all since the girl’s birth, and no one seemed to be pressing him particularly hard to start doing so.
b) Even if he was under pressure to start making payments, he was only obligated to pay the equivalent of $4 a month, and I calculated that his total debt was only $480. Tsobane could afford to pay this. Botswana is one of the most prosperous nations in Africa and has a per capita income of nearly $18,000 annually.

So, although Tsobane’s actions were clear enough, and he confessed, the case is still a bit of a head-scratcher.

Anyway.

I did not get picked to serve on the jury. I have not had the world’s greatest week; my bipolar disorder has been kicking my butt and I’ve been having suicidal thoughts and stuff, to the extent that the people at my psychiatric clinic thought it might be best if I went to spend some time with Dad. He can stay with me and keep me safe, he’s a calming influence, and Mom got all the sharp knives in the divorce settlement.

I saw my psychiatrist, Dr. Bruno, yesterday. He’s taken me off that medication that’s making me fat and put me on another drug that doesn’t make you fat, and which might improve my mental state as well. We’ll see.

I returned to Michael that same day. We had missed each other a lot and it was so good to see him. I have been doing some behind-the-scenes Charley Project work today. Updates will resume tomorrow.

It’s been awhile

It’s been awhile since I talked about myself on here. I know some of you don’t like it when I do, but some of you do, and the others can skip this entry if they like.

I’m up for jury duty this week. They’re selecting a jury for a criminal trial and I’m in the pool; selection starts tomorrow. This will be the first time I’ve ever been considered for jury duty. Until it’s over for me, I’m staying at my mom’s, which cuts my courthouse commute time to 20 minutes, down from like 50 minutes if I was with Michael. I’m writing this on my cell phone. While I’m at my mom’s there is of course no Orville and therefore there will be no Charley Project updates, alas.

Michael has a new job that he likes so far. He’s working long hours but making more money. We hope to be able to return to Poland, perhaps as soon as next summer, or maybe the summer after that.

I was rereading some of my old blog entries and the comments, from the time when I was raped. It’s striking to me how many if not most people would rather never speak to someone again than apologize to them.

The very first person to accuse me of making up the story of my attack was someone whom I thought of as a friend. We’d emailed each other many times and she was a regular blog commenter. Just two or three days after I blogged about the rape she wrote me to say she knew I was lying. I was extremely upset. I offered to show her a copy of the police report (weeks before I made the same offer to any interested parties on my blog). In fact I was unwilling to wait for a copy of the report to be mailed to me and paid something like $60 to take a taxi across town to pick one up on-site before I left Virginia. She refused to look at it. Then she accused me openly on my blog, telling me she respected my Charley Project work but I should be ashamed of myself for making up the story.

In the eight years since, there’s a good chance this woman has come to realize that I wasn’t lying. I think the strongest evidence in my favor is the article I found about Rollo’s arrest for raping another woman four months after me, a crime that corresponded to my own in almost every particular: he was homeless, he was black and a foreign national, met her on the bus (dunno if it was the same bus as me but it stopped at the same park-and-ride), offered to walk with her through that same patch of woods, and jumped her just like he’d jumped me. All of this was reported in the article about his arrest, months after I shared the details about my own victimization on my blog.

The only real difference between the two attacks was the choice of victim. I was a stranger. But in the October attack, he was stupid enough to go after someone he knew slightly, and so he was identified immediately and arrested. Thank goodness.

Yet my former friend — and for that matter all of my other accusers — never apologized for misjudging me and asked for forgiveness. It’s kind of sad because I had liked being friends with her. I don’t know why a person would decide it’s better to just avoid me for the rest of our lives than admit they made a mistake.

Although I think about Rollo every day still, the attack doesn’t usually affect me emotionally anymore. Sometimes it does — seeing the movie The Accused (an excellent film btw, I highly recommend it) had me sobbing and hyperventilating — but only rarely. I used to have intense violent fantasies about what I wanted to do to Rollo. Now I’m no longer even angry with him; in fact I basically don’t feel any more emotion towards him than I would towards a rapist whom I read about in the news, who had nothing to do with me. Is that forgiveness? I don’t know.

It used to be that every June, for pretty much the entire month, my head would be filled with blood-soaked thoughts, those aforementioned violent fantasies. It bothered me intensely. But those thoughts are no more. This past June 16, the eighth anniversary of the rape, I nearly forgot entirely. It wasn’t until like 8:30 p.m. that I had a sudden moment: “Hey, today’s the anniversary. I was with him right now, this very moment, eight years ago. Huh.” Then I just went back to what I was doing.

For me, that’s recovery.

In other news: the article they interviewed me for in June is still stuck in editorial limbo. Nothing to do but wait. I am sure the two reporters are just as anxious as I am for it to come out, cause I think they’re freelancers and won’t get paid till then.

I’m glad they interviewed me in June and not July. By July I had gained 15 pounds very quickly, for no. hecking. reason. The shirt I wore on the day I was filmed no longer fits; in fact half or more of my wardrobe no longer fits. I can’t figure out what happened; I’m neither eating more nor exercising less than before. Most of it is in my stomach and Michael’s dad momentarily suspected I was pregnant. (I know I am not.) I’m not fat, I’m not overweight or even close, but now I weigh more than I ever have in my life.

There’s another reason I’m glad the interview happened in June: in late July, two tiny scratches, one on my cheek and one on my chin, got infected with horrendous results. This was even after I had put Betadine on them — the very first time Betadine has failed me!

The chin scratch turned into a crater an inch across, weeping pus, and the cheek one became a rock-hard abscess the size of an egg. Like an idiot I broke open the abscess myself to try to drain it, and at first nothing came out at all, but a few hours later yellowish goop started leaking out of the hole I made and the non-abscessed part of my cheek turned bright pink and started swelling up really bad.

I called my doctor’s office and explained the situation and the receptionist was like, “She can see you August 9.” Which was like twelve or thirteen days out.

“Um, this is a really bad infection,” I said. “I can’t wait that long. I really need to see her sooner.”

“Well, do you want the August 9 appointment or not?”

“No.”

I called a dermatologist and, by some miracle, got a next-morning appointment. I think there must have been a cancellation or something. He looked at my face, winced, had the nurse take samples from both wounds with Q-tips and diagnosed a probable staph infection.

I walked away with antibiotic pills, an antibiotic gel, and advice to not mess with breaks in the skin anymore, particularly if they’re infected. Oh, and a bill for $70. My insurance doesn’t cover dermatologist visits.

Fortunately everything healed up just fine and without even any scars, but for like a week and a half I didn’t want to go out cause I looked so gross. Thank goodness for modern medicine — in another era, or in part of the world, the infection might have eaten my face away.

Speaking of my skin, I’m trying a new cream for my melasma now. It’s called Meladerm. You apply it twice a day, preferably in conjunction with an exfoliating lotion and a strong sunscreen. Meladerm is cheap ($50; many melasma treatments cost hundreds) and very highly rated. It is supposed to start making a difference within weeks, with full results within a few months.

It also comes with a money-back guarantee if you don’t see any difference within 30 days of purchase, but I can’t take advantage of that. I bought the Meladerm just before the nightmare skin infection, see, and I couldn’t start to use it till the sores had fully healed. I started the treatment I think 13 days ago. It makes my face feel a little numb right after I put it on but that’s the only side effect.

Thank goodness for modern medicine. Without those antibiotics that infection might have eaten my face away or something. Or at least left highly visible scarring.

Can’t think of much else to say here. I’m reading a book called The Day Will Pass Away: The Diary of a Gulag Prison Guard: 1935-1936. The introduction says it’s a very important historical document, as there’s basically nothing else like it that has survived. We don’t even know how this diary survived; the author, one Ivan Chistyakov, was killed while serving in the Red Army in 1941, after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, and the only info we have on his life comes from the diary itself. It was anonymously donated to a Moscow historical archive in the eighties.