Executed Today entry from a few days ago

On the tenth I had another Executed Today entry run: Elifasi Msomi, a sangoma who killed fifteen people in South Africa in the mid-1950s. His was a literal devil-made-me-do-it defense: he claimed a tokoloshe, an evil spirit in Zulu folklore, offered to help his career if he obtained the blood of fifteen victims.

Of course to us nowadays (and to the Apartheid authorities back then) it’s stuff-and-nonsense, but in Msomi’s culture the tokoloshe was very real.

In other news, the headache medicine the pain management doctor prescribed is actually working. His idea was one that literally no other medical professional had thought to try in the storied six-year history of his headache, and I’m delighted by the results: it gets rid of the pain and, after the first few times, it didn’t make me feel the least bit different.

ET yesterday: three alleged rioters

I had another Executed Today entry run yesterday: three men who were alleged to have participated in a riot and machine-breaking in Nottingham. I think this entry is a good example of how well Jason (owner of the blog, aka the Headsman) and I work together. I submitted an entry about the hangings, and then he added the information about the motivations for the riot and how dubious the evidence was against the three condemned, which made the entry much better.

Some other things: after two postponements, I finally saw the pain management doctor about my headaches. I was impressed with him, actually. He told me he had “no idea” what was causing my headaches and then he was like “because of your symptoms, I get the idea that Treatment X might work. Or it might not. We don’t know until we try. So I’ll write the prescription, and next time you get a headache try Treatment X.” I’m supposed to call the office to report the results. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, they’ll try something else. Frankly, it’s nice to hear a doctor admit he doesn’t know what the answers are.

Yesterday and today I spent some time in purging cases from Charley — notably from New Jersey. I went over the entire state and removed a bunch of outdated cases. I also got some additional information on some of them. Stephen Davaris, for example, was declared dead last May, a presumed suicide. His family has actually kept in touch with the people who found his bag washed up on a beach in Ireland. I was struck by this because I’ve actually been to the Cliffs of Moher, in January 2003, about two and a half years before Davaris is presumed to have leaped to his death.

I was going to update yesterday but in the evening the internet unexpectedly kicked it and didn’t come back on for ages. I should get something up today.

It’s 11:20 and I’ve squeaked some updates in

There isn’t much today, I’m afraid. I hope to do more tomorrow.

I’ve been had a horrible grinding pain in my head for about forty hours now. This morning I called in a refill request for my headache meds to the doctor’s office and heard a new message on the prescription refill line: “please allow five business days.” I was desperately hoping this was just as CYA statement, but it seems they meant it. At any rate I hung around waiting all day and the prescription never got called in to the pharmacy.

The pharmacy recommended I go to the hospital. This I would have done, were it not for a dinner I was obligated to attend, on pain of domestic disharmony. I gave up, went home, got cleaned up, went to the dinner and managed to be pleasant and sociable. Michael told me I could go home early on account of the headache, but I still didn’t get home till after ten. Squeaked five updates in. He’s still not home. I’m not sure where he’s at; surely the restaurant will have closed by now.

Christ, my head hurts. And no sign of relief till tomorrow morning at least. And maybe not for another four business days, who knows? But hey, I suffered like this for A YEAR AND A HALF STRAIGHT at one time. I can handle this.

(A funny thing: my computer says it’s over an hour later than it actually is. Orville’s only problem — and this has been happening since I first got him in 2014 — is that his clock runs fast. I will occasionally reset it for the correct time, and within days I’ll be noticing it’s faster than it should be. I’ve never had a computer with that problem. I consulted Jamie The Computer Guru, who sold me Orville, and he says it’s probably a hardware problem and not worth the expense of fixing.)

No med side effects, yay — and other stuff in my boring life

I had previously said I might have to drop out of sight for a bit because I was taking a new medication and might get some bad side effects until my body grew accustomed to it. Well, I’ve been taking it since Tuesday and don’t feel any different physically or mentally: no muscle tremors, no loss of balance, no problems with concentration, no nothing. Yay! Dr. Bruno said it was a “very gentle” drug and I shouldn’t expect side effects; I’m glad he turned out to be right.

I just hope it works. Psychiatric drugs often take weeks or longer to become fully effective. I’m not sure why. I’ve been feeling anxious and miserable all autumn and I’m frankly tired of it. Of course my life has been kind of stressful these last two months. The car wreck, conflicts with Michael’s mom, etc.

Today I started physical therapy for my back (again). Ever since that horrible episode last month my lower back has not been right. I’ve had back pain before but never in this particular spot — the very, very bottom, basically right where my spine begins. Whenever I have to bend over, or twist, or sit down, it hurts. Sometimes it hurts bad enough that I will wince visibly and gasp out loud. So it’s PT again for me.

They did the evaluation today and said my range of motion is pretty good and so it my general strength; the problem is just the pain. They’ve prescribed some gentle exercises to begin with and we’ll go from there. Three times a week for up to six weeks. I go again on Monday. I told the physical therapist about how I have back pain a lot because I spend too much time at the computer working on my website, and gave him one of my business cards. Like most people, he was curious about it, and I gave him the rundown of how it works.

Let’s see…what else. Not much really. I got a new office chair. My previous chair broke after a whopping one year and four months of use. It was really cheap and I suppose you get what you pay for. I like the new one much better; it’s much more comfortable. I’m hoping it will last longer. I purchased the two-year warranty for it, which I suppose guarantees it will break on Day 731. (Speaking of the chair, I don’t understand Facebook. When I posted a photo of the chair on the Charley Project’s Facebook account, it got a “reach” of 3,560 people. Which is a much greater reach than most of the articles I post on there about missing people. Go figure.)

Here’s two selfies I took yesterday. I’m wearing makeup in the pictures; I don’t wear makeup that often but yesterday I was feeling kind of rotten so I thought I’d try to cheer myself up. It did feel nice to look nice. I think I like that shade of lipstick — it’s mauve, I guess. I seem to do better with pink shades than red ones. You can see my natural hair color here, a sort of ash blonde or light brown.



*waits for whoever-she-is to comment and tell me I look an old hag and my turtleneck is tacky*

Another med change pending

It seems like every time I get my crazymeds changed, I am unable to do anything for awhile, either because I get incredibly fatigued or because my fine motor skills (and some of the gross ones) go to pot.

Well, I saw my doctor today and he’s changed my medicines again. I’m stopping one of my medicines and starting an entirely new one tomorrow, one I’ve never had before.

It had to be done, and perhaps this med change won’t cause any major side effects. I’ve read all sorts of horrible things about it online that make me nervous, but I know if I call the office and voice my fears they’re going to be like “take it anyway, your doctor gave it to you.”

So if I disappear for a week or so, that’s probably what’s happened. But hopefully it’ll be a smooth transition.

Okay, all fixed

The Charley Project website is back and open for business again. I got an email from my host saying there’d been a DDoS attack and it took several hours to fix.

As for me, I might have finally gotten used to this medication adjustment that’s been kicking my butt. Yesterday my coordination was completely shot and I was afraid to drive anywhere and I had a very hard time even typing. Today all is well.

I’m feeling very autistic today

I had mentioned on an entry two days ago about how I’m was still having problems adjusting to my medication change. Well, problems continue apace. I’m spending like sixteen hours a day asleep, and the other eight either half-asleep or wishing I was asleep. I’ve just gotta wait until I get used to it (again).

On a related note: I was formally diagnosed with autism in 2008, just after before I turned twenty-three, although several people in a position to know what they were talking about had suggested it before. I’ve improved a lot since then with the help of medication and therapy and so on, and some days it’s like I don’t have it — I can’t tell I have it, and other people can’t either.

But not all days. The last two days I’ve been feeling exceptionally autistic and I’m not sure why. The best I can guess is because I was off my medications last week. The very reason my psychiatrist increased that one medication that’s now making me tired is because he says it’s good for preventing meltdowns.

I posted something on my personal Facebook page about all this, and I thought I’d share (most of) it with you, for educational purposes. I’ve actually added a few details to this blog that weren’t on the FB post.

Although autism has become much more well-known over the last few decades and it’s by no means rare, a lot of people still don’t know much about it. So, some people might learn something from this entry. Anyway:

When I say I’m “feeling autistic” I mean this: I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism nine years ago. Some days other people, and me too, can barely notice that that there’s anything wrong. Not today. Not yesterday either.
I feel really autistic today, and last night too. Been stimming much of the time, unable to tolerate the slightest frustration, freaking out at noises, afraid to try anything, incredible anxiety, hyperventilating, etc.
I’ve had two meltdowns in two days. Fortunately I was alone both times. My meltdowns are incredibly embarrassing to me, especially if other people see them, even my nearest and dearest. I am incredibly ashamed of my behavior because I will act like a toddler: screaming, crying, throwing myself against walls, even throwing objects and, on rare occasions, doing harm to myself. It’s very concerning to people who don’t know what’s going on, and very annoying to people who do know what’s going on.
I genuinely cannot help myself. And afterwards it feels like a storm that passed through, or as if it happened to someone else and not me.
As far as I know are only three ways for laypersons to stop one of my meltdowns:
1. Fix whatever problem caused the meltdown in the first place. For example, a big meltdown trigger is when I can’t find something. If that something is found, I calm down quickly. Same with noise — a noise that’s loud enough and in the right pitch and lasts long enough will trigger a meltdown, but I will instantly relax once the noise stops.
2. Distract me with some totally unrelated thing. L. headed off the start of a meltdown in a restaurant once. They always begin very rapidly. and within like two minutes I was slamming myself back and forth between the booth and table, over and over, hyperventilating, barely able to talk and definitely unable to listen. And so L. deployed the unstoppable weapon of…cat pictures. I mean, one minute she was like “please calm down, people are staring at us, they might throw us out” and the next she whipped out her phone and showed me pictures of her cats and started talking about them, their names and the toys they played with and stuff. I stopped thinking about whatever it was that was upsetting me (I don’t even remember what it was) and relaxed and we began a conversation about cats. This was a great idea on L.’s part, very clever, all the more so as she had no prior experience with my meltdowns.
3. Ignore it and wait for the meltdown to burn itself out. This is better than saying “stop that” over and over, because I CAN’T stop and it just exacerbates the problem when someone keeps asking me to do something I cannot do. But the whole “waiting” thing isn’t that great an idea because, without intervention, these episodes can last an hour or more, and I can really hurt myself and/or damage property.
Autism sucks.

Ed Dentzel’s podcast with the interview for me has gone up. I’m reluctant to link to it on my blog, though, until I’ve listened to the whole thing. (Stupid, I know. It’s not like I don’t know what I said.) So far I’ve listened to about 45 minutes of it. I hope to finish tonight. It’s great so far, although it doesn’t tell much that longtime readers of this blog wouldn’t already know.