Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sca-roo Yooo

Dr. L:

I received your separation letter. Sorry it didn’t work out. All things considered, and I do realize you disagree, I do not believe that consumers should be bullied or badgered into submitting to procedures they do not wish to have, nor should they be forced to spend money that is earmarked for other—much more critical—expenses. I work incredibly hard in the course of my 60-70-hour work week; taking that into consideration, I believe I should be the one who controls how and where my carefully budgeted time and very hard-earned money are spent. This should never be dictated by someone else, especially someone who has no insight at all into my financial or professional situations. We’ll have to concede that our respective views on these points constitute a difference of philosophy that makes us incompatible as care provider and client. (See? I do get it.)

Since my insurance company tells me they actually don’t have any Primary Care Provider requirement for my plan, I see no need to hire a new physician at this time. Given that, I certainly understand that you may not wish to store my patient records indefinitely. If that is the case, feel free to send them to me for safe-keeping and I’ll pass the records along, should I someday require the services of a doctor. Otherwise, I’ll assume your office will hold onto the records until some future health care provider requests them.

Finally, I’ve included two articles I came across just this week—they seemed timely, all things considered. One summarizes recently-published study findings regarding regular check-ups; the other is about how doctors and women just can’t communicate with each other. I hope you find them somewhat insightful. I certainly did.


Ms. May Voirrey


It has occurred to me recently that I really need to get better about housework. I can't stand it and I try to be immune to the obvious, but it's catching up with me.

We have pets and that means hair. At this point, though, we have friggin' tumble-fur rolling down the hallway. It's quite impressive, actually. However, if we ever have drop-in company (no! no! no!), they're going to be appalled at the lack of housekeeping around here.

The bathroom is a little scary, but nothing that would upset the Department of Health at this point. The kitchen is good, but only because my husband takes care of that. We haven't had a dishwasher for two weeks, ever since our 2-year-old Kenmore, oh, caught on fire. We decided to spring for a Bosch, and it's taking so long to come in that, I swear to God, Sears is having it built for us and imported from Germany. There is no way in Hell I am going to wash dishes by hand (it's all I can do to put my dinner plate in the dishwasher), so my poor husband has had to abandon other tasks to manage the kitchen. The counter is always stacked with paper clutter--most of it mine. The only thing I hate more than cleaning is filing.

Anyway, this all occurred to me because I've been having to pull pet hair out from between the keys of my laptop--every day. If I can motivate myself to manage all of the clutter, maybe I'll vacuum tomorrow. That's maybe with a really big capital M.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


My husband is getting annoyed with the blogging. He doesn't really know what it is, but he does realize that total stangers on the Internet know more about me than the 3-dimensional people here. As the New Yorker cartoon so profoundly stated, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." Dog, of course, being a metaphor for whatever it is that causes you to feel inadequate.

My husband asked me what kinds of things I'm tapping off into cyberspace, so I said, "You know, random facts about my life." If he wants to know the truth, he has the link. He just hates to read.

Am I incoherent yet? Last night was another 4-hour sleep night, yet here it is 11:02 (58 minutes to payday), the Ambien isn't taking effect, and I'm wide awake. While I start to drift into quasi-consciousness, some facts to ponder...

  • I am the telephone customer service person's nightmare

  • I can competently fly a hot air balloon, but I don't do it anymore
  • I believe that religion makes people lose all sense of logic and taken in large doses, can cause a complete loss of rational thought. Kool-Aid is a whole other issue.
  • I swear so much when I drive, it sounds like I have Tourrette's Syndrome.
  • My mother's gifts baffle me.

My mom has this habit of catalog shopping and having things shipped here. The problem is, it's usually a knick-knack. We tried to gently and politely let her know to just stop the parade of useless Chinese crap. She didn't listen, so we took all of it and put in the guest room so she could enjoy it when she visits. She's getting the point. Well, we thought so. Today we got a fake-copper beverage tub on a stand. You know--for the entertaining we never do. I told my mom that we love her and we love the fact that she thinks of us, but it would be OK if she just sent us the page from the catalog. A picture is worth a thousand words and several feet of unused floor space. At least the tub is useful and it is not a knick knack.

Laptop sliding off my lap. Time for psuedo-sleeping to commence.


Almost Friday. Only 65 minutes until payday. I always have too much month and not enough paycheck.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Now I lay me down to, oh, screw it

I should just repost Sleep is Highly Underrated.

I'm beginning to wonder at what point my brain will pop if I continue to get only four hours of interrupted sleep every night. My pdoc keeps saying my brain can't sustain this level of activity. Oh, yeah? I'm working 12 hours a day or more plus most of the weekend ever since I unintentionally started a nonprofit last month. I was already overwhelmed. What the hell was I thinking?

My only hope is to slip into a chemically-induced coma at a socially appropriate bedtime. It doesn't always work, but I am persistent if nothing else.

If this continues, maybe I'll start hallucinating. Cool. I've never had a hallucination in my life, even though I have all of the fixin's to create one, right in my kitchen cabinet of pharmaceutical delights. Oh. Wait. I shouldn't blow through all of the fun drugs now that I've been abandoned and rejected by my primary care physician. Asshole.

Why, it's medical tyranny, I tell ya!

I'm not saying that my life is mundane, but getting"real" mail is the highlight of my day. Usually. Yesterday was an exception as I got a letter from my primary care doctor--the very one who told me I'm fat and that my weight is the root of all medical evil.

It was a Dear John letter informing me that I am no longer welcome there as a patient. In fact, I am no longer a patient there at all. Now, what egregiously bad behavior could prompt a doctor to make this decision? Apparently, it was my unwillingness to submit to a wellness physical. Seriously.

It seems that he is adamant that all patients undergo an annual check-up exam. After my appointment a couple of weeks ago, I got a call from the office manager at the practice. This woman was beyond pushy about scheduling the physical.--a tenacious terrier who just wouldn't let it go. I finally had to say that I just wasn't coming in for an unnecessary roster of tests. She got snippy and said that it was a requirement.

Requirement? Wait a minute. Aren't I the customer in this scenario? Doesn't the doctor get paid to perform a service for me? I work incredibly hard for my money and I believe that I should get to say how and when I spend my hard-earned pay. I explained that I already have an annual exam at the gynecologist, something I can barely tolerate. While I'm there, they check my blood pressure, squeeze my boobs, take my temperature, and chat with me at length about my overall health.

In addition to this fun, I had the pleasure of having not one but two mammograms within the past six months. I have had blood drawn six times in the past 18 months (office manager: "Well, those tests don't include cholesterol." So? I'm a vegetarian.). The result of all of this medical attention has been: Nothing. I am fine. I am always fine. I have no reason to believe that tests with no specific diagnostic purpose are worth my time or money. There is no history of heart disease, stroke, cancer, or diabetes in my family. Come to think of it, I have no symptoms of any of those things. The only thing that seems to have been consistent is a certain degree of mental instability, and I won the genetic lottery on that issue.

I'm really not fond of going to the doctor. I don't even go when I'm sick, so why in the world would I go when there's nothing wrong? I don't understand this philosophy of arbitrarily poking around looking for illness when finding it is, at best, an improbability.

Oh. Wait. You don't suppose the doctor does this to generate income, do you? Golly, would they do that? Especially knowing that most insurance companies accept the charges without question? Oh, no way. That would be unethical.

In a timely bit of publishing, the JAMA/
Archives of Internal Medicine released the results of a study regarding this very topic of annual physicals. As it turns out, there is no conclusive evidence to back up my doctor's tyrannical demand that I and his other patients indulge his curiosity. I have actually printed out this article and I will mail it to the doctor tomorrow to help educate him. I'm sure he's been so busy giving unnecessary check-ups that he hasn't had time to catch up on his professional reading.

What is it about some doctors that makes them so arrogant and unwilling to trust their patients? My now-ex-doctor always showed obvious annoyance any time I said I had read about something or researched my already-known condition or even looked up my meds to see if discomfort I was experiencing was possibly a side effect, serious or benign. What is so wrong about a patient being educated and deciding which level of his or her own discomfort justifies spending time and money on a medical exam? I would think that anything that keeps well people out of the doctor's office is a good thing, not something to be sneered at.

There are enough alarmist hypochondriacs in the world, many of whom have been set into a state of panic by all of the information on the Internet. Not everyone can discern between, say, information from the National Institutes for Health and Joe-Bob's Big Medicinal Web Site of Holistic Healin'. More of us, though, have actually developed some sort of critical thinking skills and I believe we should be appreciated for that.

Now I must find a new doctor, but I'm in no hurry. I think I'd like to lose 50-60 pounds before I submit to the humiliation of another insensitive physician's scrutiny. Personally, I think the doctors should have to interview for the job. I wonder if they read Craig's List?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sleep! I must sleeeeeep!!!!!

God, insomnia sucks.

Can't we all just get along?

I recently watched a program about octogenarians who achieved fame and success in their lives. The interviewer asked each person to finish the sentence, "If I were in charge of the world..." I was pleasantly surprised at how many of these people--actors, musicians, politicians, writers--said, ..."there would be no war."

I agree. If it were up to me, there would be no war. People world inherently abhor the very notion of hurting one another. There would be no torture, no abuse, no horrors of war.

There are far too many unintentional ways to suffer. I want to live in a world where cruelty is always unacceptable, period.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Why don't you hate yourself?

I've been thinking lately about self-love and how I don't have any. I never have loved myself, probably because I can't even find a way to like myself. My personality has a hundred dorky defects, but my body...

I hate my body and can't think of a time--even in childhood-- when I felt otherwise. Weight = horrible, body shape at any weight = horrible (I was, quite literally, born with a big ass. My mother loves to tell this story and how the obstetrician commented on it). Hair = bad. Skin = blech. Overall appearance = humiliating evidence of the cruelness of nature.

I'm lucky that there are people who like me, but I am not among them. I have a hard time finding anything likeable.

I want a biological redo, from brain to cracked heels. Then, I would like a new personality and an emotionectomy. I want to be focused, disciplined, very quiet, free of brain anomalies, and invisble in front of mirrors.

Anyway, I can't imagine how I got this way, but I'm sure it's because I'm a moron who makes all the wrong decisions. I can't imagine how it's possible to not feel this way. How do people achieve that? Why aren't most people like me? What is it about them that makes them comfortable with themselves and why don't I have whatever quality that is? I'm not alone in my dislike. I don't think there are very many people who like me. Why is that? Oh, because I'm a fat, awkward, dork. Sigh.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What you hear

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

--May has spoken

Monday, September 10, 2007

I used to be funny

I used to be funny, but lithium got hold of my sense of humor and ran it out of town, along with half of my best vocabulary words and puzzle-solving skills. In place of that, lithium left me more fat than I'll ever need. I'm not sure this was a fair trade.

I keep thinking it would be nice to have one day in my life where I could wake up, go through my day, and turn in at the end of the evening without once ever having had to remember that my brain is gooey and I have an illness that is not only deeply stigmatized, but scares people on principle. Ah, wouldn't that be swell. Alas, taking medication kind of negates the willfull suspension of disbelief in this case.

It's a cold, gray rainy day today--much like a late October day on the East Coast. The kind of day that prompted me to move to a sunnier, drier climate.

Would it be OK if I just ran away from home and parked my butt on a beautiful, secluded beach somewhere? I only have $22 in the bank right now, so unless I ride my bike, I'm not going anywhere. Besides, running means leaving everything behind, and it would suck if my husband got stuck with my financial obligations. Nobody should inherit that disaster. See? I can't even fantasize about my own freedom without being smacked down by responsible thoughts. Can anyone be more boring that this?

On an unrelated note, earlier today, I had to walk to the other side of the building where I work, and to get over there, you have to go outside and then back in through another door. There was a cop car parked at the curb, maybe eight feet from the door. I froze. In order to get in the building, I had to come within a few feet of the side of the cop car. I couldn't make my feet move. Finally, I just turned my head and concentrated on the brick wall of the building, went in the door and didn't look back. It took another minute for my heart to stop racing.

I need help.

Truly anonymous

I'm not sure why I keep my thoughts here, in a blog. I should be filing these things on a flash drive or in a 3-ring notebook. I'm pretty sure my words live in total obscurity, a cyber spilling of my soul that remains totally anonymous and unread--wherever.

I thought writing would make me feel better, but it hasn't. There are five people in my life who know about this blog, and three of them told me, "Tell me when there's something there I should read. I'm just not going to remember to check in and read your blog on my own." As far as I know, the other two people have totally forgotten about the existence of this portal into my brain.

If a blog goes unread in cyberspace, does it exist at all? More important, do I still have to proofread?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Please make it better

Pushing through life. Effort. It takes so much effort to get through the day lately. I'm exhausted. I'm sad. Really sad. I don't feel well physically. I think I've made a more-than-reasonable attempt to clean up my life, but I'm still not getting my return on investment.

A while back, I got a pedicure and the nail tech was gonzo Jesus-happy. She had just read the latest Oprah-endorsed inspiration fest, The Secret. She insisted that if I would just accept Jesus into my life (sorry, not taking any deity applications right now) and focus on what I want to bring into my life, it would happen. If I just click my heels together three times and understand that I have the power, all will be right in my world! Norman Vincent Peale was right!

Um, it's not working. Despite the doctors, the therapist, and the ungodly amounts of medication, I still have bipolar disorder. I keep visualizing my brain being free of this defect, this burden, but I must be doing something wrong because my hard work and eager anticipation of positive results has yielded nothing so far. Nothing. OK, minor improvments, but not enough to declare the effort a success.

I'm tired. I'm sad. I'm so fucking busy, I can't seem to come up for air. How many people have said to me, "just keep busy. Don't think about yourself so much. Find something worthwhile to do." I believe I fit the definition of busy. I'm sure I'm doing things that are worthwhile to someone. I'm still sad, though. Still exhausted. Still finding it hard to connect with the world.

I went to the doctor a few days ago. I've had a sore throat for three months, but last week it was so bad, I could barely swallow. I felt like I was being poked in the neck with a sharp stick. I felt that perhaps it was just going to go away, but when it didn't I finally admitted it was time to see my family practice guy.

Here's what happened. He told me I'm not sick, but I am fat. He checked my neck and said it wasn't swollen, it was just fat. The doctor told me to exercise. I told him I'm too exhausted to exercise. He told me I'm not exhausted, I'm depressed. And fat. He was really focused on the fat thing. I pointed out a weird and uncomfortable skin eruption covering my throat and part of my chest. The doctor checked it out and said it was a fungal infection that I got because I'm fat and that if I weren't fat, my skin would stay cooler and not be so prone to rashes.

The doctor went on to tell me that I need to exercise. Not just exercise, but put in an hour a day of "heavy, sweaty intense aerobic exercise." This is equivalent to telling me I should make the trip up Mount Everset on a daily basis. I explained to the doctor that he had given me the same advice about four years ago. At that time, I joined the YMCA and literally tried to work my ass off. Instead of just envisioning a better me, I worked. I put in 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer every day. Every once in a while, I cooled off by putting in another 30 minutes on the rowing machine. Four days a week, I grunted my way through Body Pump classes. When, after 18 months, it appeared that my new body wasn't emerging, I sought the services of a succession of personal trainers, but to no avail. Eventually I realized my body wasn't going to change, plus I had to accept that I had been soundly defeated by my moods, and I commenced a life on anti-depressants and mood stabilizers.

I have no empirical evidence that vigorous exercise, positive thinking, or psychotropic medications will change my body for the better. Could my diet be better? Yes, but in my own defense, my diet is better than that of most Americans. I eat too much fat and sugar but I believe I would feel even worse without these things. I don't eat fried food, snack foods, meat, most dairy products that contain fat, donuts, bagels, chips, fast food, or much crap at all. I do, however, hear the siren's song of chocolate, peanut butter, cheese, cookies, and low-fat ice cream. These things bring me comfort.

I hate exercise. I don't enjoy it and never have, no matter how positive an attitude I've tried to maintain, no matter what activity I've tried. In my opinion, exercise ranks just one notch above algebra and eating portobello mushrooms. I have been known to just burst into tears in the middle of a workout because I was that miserable.

The cherry on top of this mess is that I am homely. I'm not plain, I'm not just unattractive, nor are my looks unique or a little off. Fat, ugly, really bad hair, little eyes, huge forhead, acne, little chin, and a weird shape. On top of that, I am depressed, prone to irrational mood swings, a compulsive talker, and often a flaky idiot.

I have tried to pursue a life of self-improvement, but age just makes me even worse every year. So, can somebody else please fix this for me? Take these burdens and make them go away. Knock me out and wake me up when I am no longer fat, ugly, awkward, or afflicted. I can't do it any more, even if it is against medical advice to give up.

Giving up is looking pretty appealing right now.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The mushroom conspiracy

Once upon a time, I ate meat. I enjoyed hamburgers, bacon, turkey, chicken, ham and the occasional lamb chop. As time went on, though, I found that my body seemed to be rejecting meat. I ate meat in increasingly smaller amounts, but continued to have severe digestion problems.

My problem had a name: Pancreatic Enzyme Deficiency. The solution was to stop eating meat. I can tolerate fish a couple of times a month, but no more. I would skip it entirely, except I might die of food-texture-deprivation; besides, I need the Omega 3s.

Being a vegetarian is not that difficult, nor does it require as much imagination as most people think. There are plenty of things to eat and soy is my friend. A typical week at my house includes yogurt, pasta (including tortellini, ravioli, and lasagna), pilafs, eggs, Boca products galore, eggplant, soup, bean dishes, and plenty of fruit and vegetables. I expect just as many choices when I eat out, but I rarely find it. Instead, I am faced with the reality that is The Portobello Mushroom.

I can't stand portobello mushrooms, let me just get that out there. My loathing aside, I still find it frustrating that in the world of The Forgotten Vegetarians, that one, token meatless dish at most restaurants is something featuring these mushrooms. Why? Why can't there be a nice pasta dish or vegetarian soup? I crave those things. Other people crave those things. I can honestly say that never in my life have I felt a hunger pang and thought, "Wow. I could really go for a big slab of fungus on a bun. Or marinated. Or grilled. Or served over rice." Blech.

I believe the portobello mushroom lobby is working in cahoots with the restaurant industry to convince the chefs of the world that vegetarians not only loooove these mushrooms, but they're really the only thing we expect to eat when we're away from home. God knows, I won't eat them at home.

People, we must rise up and fight this fungus proliferation. We must demand more choices. Woman does not live by portobellos and salad alone! Speaking of salad...Have you perused the salad menu lately? Chicken tortilla salad. Cobb salad. Chef salad. Chicken with roasted tomatoes salad. I always thought I could count on salad as a backup meal, but when did chicken become a vegetable? I know chickens are stupid, but they're not vegetables. I would also add that people who eat chicken are not vegetarians.

Let's squash this mistaken belief that vegetarians live on portobello mushrooms. Freedom from the fungus!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

One more reason to hate my body

I don't think I'm imagining this, and that's worse than if I were. I seem to be emitting some bizarre, hard-to-define body odor. Nothing helps.

I smell like dirty laundry. Sometimes I just smell like toast, but mostly I smell bad. I hate my body to the fuckin' core already, so it seems unfair that it found a way to be even more repulsive.

I have impeccable hygiene. To address my problem, though, I've stepped things up a bit. I now shower with anti-bacterial soap. It's anti-bacterial hand wash, actually, and it contains extra cleansing grains that "pop" additional anti-bac ingredients onto the skin when you lather up. I scrub myself tingly in the shower due to my fervent desire to exfoliate any remaining cells that might decay on my skin and contribute to the weird, weird smell.

I use a potent antiperspirant/deodorant, and I use anti-bacterial super-drying powder on any part of my body that might sweat. Outside of myself, I am diligent about doing laundry. I won't wear anything twice, even if I only had it on for a couple of hours and I did nothing during that time. With all of the laundry I'm churning out, I dread seeing the next water bill.

On the plus side, my husband says he doesn't smell a thing. He insists I don't smell like anything at all, whereas I find the smell of our bed sheets to be almost intolerable after sleeping on them for only two or three nights. I read somewhere that taking medications like the ones I do can actually not only make your olfactory senses hypersensitive, but also skew the accuracy of your sense of smell. Oh, God, is it really all in my head?

Just to be on the safe side, I started taking probiotic supplements earlier this summer. I read somewhere (OK, many places on the Internet) that if your intestinal homeostasis is disturbed, your body doesn't break down food or toxins very well, and scary smells escape through your skin. My gut has calmed down, but I don't smell any better.

To my horror, I just read that many anti-depressants, as well as more complex drugs like Lithium, are known culprits that can trigger this weird condition. It means people think you're not only disturbed, you are also too off-kilter to tend to your own hygienic responsibilities. Ack.

I am so gross. I just become more disgusting with every passing day. I may be forced to become a recluse in the interest of shielding the world from the many things that are just too unpleasant about me.

It doesn't seem fair that in trying to find therapeutic ways to make myself more tolerable to be around, my body continues to find ways to sabotage any attempt I make at being socially acceptable. Forget normal.