4-16-14 Stress Awareness Day!

Monday was gorgeous! There were green points sticking out of the recently raked garden, and when we got back home we had blooming daffodils and hyacinths. Today, we had snow on them!
I’ll admit that it’s mostly melted by now, although it’s still chilly, only in the 40s, not the 80s. And bless spring flowers- they don’t seem to have been hurt by the cold, although they are rather bent over from the weight of one and a half inches of icy snow! At this point the snow only persists where there is shadow.
During the fine weather we all felt a bit of spring fever, we wanted to get out, and get moving, felt out of sorts, and not quite balanced. And I realized that I’m going to have to stop using the whole pantry as a walk-in frige and start putting the milk and leftovers in the actual refrigerator. Well, it’s convenient in the winter.

This week has been pretty much about Kat being sick. Last week she’d had her cephalexin switched to clindamycin, and she started getting better- not fast enough for her, because you’re always wiped out after being sick and a run of antibiotics. I think it’s safe to say that a couple days with a fairly severe allergic reaction is also not good for you. The rash went from petechia (small pin-point spots) to scabs that looks like road rash as it’s healing. Gradually her appetite came back, which was a good sign. Another sign of recovery was when she felt up to getting out of bed. I remember the first day she was on the computer she was depressed by one of those very typical instances where someone (usually anonymous) says something egregiously stupid and nasty. I worried that maybe she should avoid the computer, but on the other hand, that’s also where she gets her interaction with her friends who are supportive.  (Not to mention that I’m hardly going to stop her.)
Then Sunday she was actually hungry, we’d been hard put to get her to attempt anything but Jello, soup and juice for nearly two weeks, but her tongue started tingling and getting numb, so she was worried about biting herself, so eating continued to be problematic. At suppertime she mentioned it and we noticed that she wasn’t able to smile with both sides of her mouth, we immediately got the “OMG- signs of a stroke” panic (unlikely at her age), but we checked all of them anyway. She hadn’t lost any strength in her arms, and wasn’t had any problem walking or speaking, so we figured we could wait until morning. First thing in the morning we called the doctors, but they couldn’t even get us in until late afternoon, and suggested we go to the emergency room. She also had problems with her eyelid on that side (same as the bad tooth), and her eye was very bloodshot Monday morning, probably from not having it close all the way while she slept. Also when she was awake, her other eye was constantly blinking- we figure her brain was getting the “eyes are dry-blink” message, and the left eye wasn’t able to blink, so the right eye kept trying. She found it annoying.
[Tangental datribe inserted here: Considering how much people complain about people using emergency rooms instead of going to their doctors, I think the system is now set up to use them that way, and am not happy about it. Another thing we’ve lost is that if you see the same doctor, they have a better base-line. With this “group practice” system, all they have to go on is other doctor’s notes, and we know they don’t have time to put in everything. The medical system needs fixing.]
So we went to the emergency room, stopping first at what USED to be an emergency room in Milford, but is now “Urgent Care”, where the nice nurses told us that they didn’t have a lab to do blood-work, so we should go on to the emergency room in Nashua. In Nashua, we saw a progression of, I think, six to eight different people including admitting nurse, triage nurse, the doctor, the pharmacist, and others, each of which had his or her own things to do, and mostly asked the same questions. I think that by the time Dr. Young got there, she’d diagnosed the problem as Bell’s Palsy from the notes the other ones had made, and simply had to confirm it officially. She did ask if Kat went outside much because they think that Lyme Disease might be a trigger. While they are not sure that it’s helped by corticosteroids, there is some correlation between an improved recovery with them so she prescribed a run of Prednisone, although she offered the option of not treating it, because people usually recover with or without treatment. I wonder if there’s a slight improvement with the steroids, how that compares to the effect of placebos, because they are pretty good too. Still, they don’t seem to be risky. Mostly they were concerned with protecting her eye. She’s supposed to tape it shut while she sleeps, use wetting drops, and wear an eye patch during the day. We picked up a couple of eye patches on the way home with the prescription. Since it’s Kat, she’s tricked hers out with a silk rose and lace.
Of course the next thing we did was go to the internet for as much information as possible. Acupuncture seems to show some help, although not enough that the medical/insurance establishment will recommend/ recompense for it yet. Still, we want to maximize chances for the fastest and most complete recovery, so I spent yesterday calling every acupuncturist in the area, trying to set up appointments. I figured the sooner you start treating it, the faster recovery will be. Also, I’m reminded of how well Ælfwine did with the Guillain-Barre Syndrome (another one dealing with nerves, and for which they have no idea what causes it, nor anything much they can do for it, except keep you from dying until your body recovers on its own), once he had improved nutrition. So Kat’s pushing vitamins and I’m trying to find my information on what vitamins are good for nerves. At least she’s not on 14 different medications as Ælfwine was!

Today she saw her “regular” doctor, Dr. Mozumder, who only added that she should massage her face to keep the circulation going, and use the eye wetting drops every hour. She also went to the dentist, who says that the bad tooth that may have started this whole mess is going to have to come out, and gave her the name of an oral surgeon. She went to Dr. Edwards because Dr. Roy (our local dentist) is going in for open-heart surgery next week, so Cindy is moving everyone to later. Sadly, Willow also seems to have broken a tooth Sunday night, when we didn’t have much energy left for sympathy, and she has an appointment as well, tomorrow, I think. Meanwhile, I’m taking Kat to another interview with another acupuncturist tomorrow in Peterboro’.
I am wiped out just doing all the research, calling, and fielding the responses, which seem to me to be coming in far too gradually. Willow’s driving her around. We’re trying to keep her from pushing herself and slowing her recovery. I actually got to feeling so overwhelmed that I took Willow and my friend Cathy’s advice and cancelled the CTCW planning committee meeting that was scheduled for last night. Willow warned me that canceling things was like Heroin, you could become addicted to it because it feels so good. She was right, so I cancelled tonight’s New Normal show as well. I hadn’t been able to find a guest, and was stressing over that, and I know the ones that I do by myself are not as good as the ones with someone to interview. Except for technical difficulties, I’ve done them every Wednesday for almost two years now, and I suppose they can live without me for one night. I even thought about cancelling out speaking at Beltaine, but I know that I’m just feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. The last thing I want to do is get rid of things I enjoy. (I tried to say e lim in ate but my mail program crashes nearly every time I spell check something, which is a really bad thing for me!)

I probably should try to get into more active, outdoor things. I raked off the strip of garden beside the house, and started on the herb garden; I’m about half way through, have extricated Willow’s rosebush and most of the quince. It was REALLY hammered by the plow this year; I should probably trim it back severely.
I got a lovely huge blister which broke, and his healing now. I might not even have noticed except that Willow and I are washing the dishes these days while Kat’s down. I tried the gloves, but I don’t like not getting the feedback one gets with bare hands. You can tell if something is still slightly greasy, or has a tiny bit of stuck food with bare hands, as you can’t with gloves. I am pretty sure that it’s not using gloves that makes my fingernails start to flake like an old horn spoon, but I still can’t deal with it.
I have to admit that I mostly did this to myself- I stayed up until 4 a.m. Saturday night putting letters into my website. I’ve now got all of the 2007 letters posted. I’m afraid I got “sucked into” ruminating on the past. Then Steve came up on Sunday and he brought me all the letters he could find in his computer. There are over 800 of them, although admittedly many of those are probably “Ælfwine updates”. Still, there are a few that go back to 1998. At that point most of them were going out in the mail. Only Lisa & Steve, Raven & Bella, Dan, Ekke and Anna, and James & Janice were getting them by email at that point. (The reason I had 2007 was because I’d started posting those on LiveJournal.)
I am very tempted to post the oldest for the curiosity, but before I can do that, I have to figure out where it goes in the 1000 slots I’ve assigned for the letters. I started posting them in March at 1000 (this will be 1004), and the old ones are inserted in reverse order. I’m leaving slots for ones that are clearly missing, and first letter of January of 2007 goes back to 638. In theory, that’ll mean 2006 is about from 590 to 637, and about 50 a year would mean that July 1998 should be around 163, leaving me about 3 more years worth if I can find any of them anywhere. I’m a bit dubious because I think those first years were probably stored on 5 inch floppy discs, which have probably deteriorated even if I can find them. Anyway, I’ll have to block in the weeks before I can post the old letters, and that’s how I ended up staying up until four last weekend. My slow recovery from that insult is reminding me what a bad idea THAT is.
I was also excited because I found some old pictures on Flickr and Photobucket that I’ve lost from my computer over the years. I love that with electronic pictures they’re easy to share, and that you can find out immediately whether you need to re-take the shot. And I suppose they don’t stick together if they get wet the way physical pictures do, but still, when you have a picture- like when you have a book rather than an e-book, you’ve got it. While he was in the hospital, Ælfwine wrote his memoires, but we never saw them. They were in a computer, and I’m not sure what happened to it. That’s frustrating.

I could mention being on Corbie’s Fire through Spirit show last week. She was looking at what made things like Elfquest and other fandoms/fictional series, or the SCA such powerful influences in people’s lives. I’m not sure that it isn’t that the people who have romance and chivalry in their souls gravitate to things like that. Like iron filings to magnets, they are drawn in if they come into their orbit, whereas people who aren’t vibrating on that frequency just wander by and don’t even noticed they’ve been near the opportunities for creative expression and social interaction. My theory anyway.

I haven’t read much this week, or rather my recreational reading was re-reading (the last part of the Little Colonel series), and while I enjoy it, I don’t actually count it as reading. I continue reading Myths, and the other encyclopedias I’m working through a page at a time, and the books on white slavery. There is nothing wrong with recognizing that your workers are a resource- if you think of a resource as something that is to be appreciated protected, and maximized. I think just about every system I’ve heard of that works well does so because it takes care of it’s workers, and values them. If you look at your resources as something to be exploited and used up, whether they are people, or things, you are essentially “killing the goose that lays the golden egg”. It’s not just immoral, it’s a bloody stupid thing to do! Interestingly, more masters in Colonial America worked and starved their indentured servants to death than they did their slaves. There’s a bit of that “disconnect” we see in some of the policies today that says that “they got themselves into this, it’s their responsibility to deal with it”, that ignores the whole idea that when the parts of a system are healthy, the whole system benefits.
I ordered a bunch of Mickey Rooney films from the library when he died- probably too many. I figured I wasn’t the only one who’d want to remember him, but apparently I got my dibs in first and have 5 of them. I’ve watched Little Lord Fountleroy, in which he only has a bit part- he was 16 then, but he’d been acting for 10 years at that point! I also watched Words and Music, the story of Rogers and Hart. I love their music, a lot of stars played themselves, and the story was satisfying as well.
That’s about it, going back to my base level of what goes in this letter- things I’d share with you if you came to visit, I got down to the last of my Sparrow Chocolate baking for the funeral, and so I figured I could find it on line. Not finding any (even on the Sparrow website), I ordered another type of Dutch processed cocoa- fair trade, organic. It smells nice, but if you compare it to the Sparrow (top one) it’s pale and wan. The bottom one is the Hershey’s I got when I worried I’d run out during the holidays. They say the Dutch processed is less bitter, I’m not sure I’ve noticed that, but I like the taste better. I’m going to continue to look for more Sparrow. When I was buying it at the wholesale place, it was cheaper than store cocoa powder. I’m finding it in 8-12 oz packages for $20-30. I have been spoiled. (It’s much cheaper for 15 metric tons- I think that’s a bit more than even I want.)
I have to admit that as show time approaches, I’m feeling a bit disoriented knowing I’m not going on. But oh well. I should go to bed early. If it’s this hard, it’s probably a good thing for me to do every so often.

Tchipakkan
You may have heard “I never met a chocolate I didn’t like” but I have. Oddly, while I like a lot of chocolate candy, especially dark chocolate, and I love warm chocolate chip cookies, and forbidden chocolate ice cream, I don’t much care for chocolate cake, fudge, brownies, most chocolate ice creams and many chocolate candies. I love good cocoa, but most people don’t make it very well. I do like chocolate, and would feel awful if I could never have it again, and I am quite aware that I have an addictive response to it (if I try a bit, I’m apt to binge),  but it’s not the over-the-top I’ll eat anything with chocolate (chocolate dipped bacon, … really!?) that people talk about.

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