northwestmagpie: (It's Not Hell But You Can See It From He)
Holy shit, brothers and sisters. It's not that bad outside - about 75 degrees right now - but it's hot as hell inside. I've got the window cracked for fresh, cool air, and I'm definitely buying a fan tomorrow. The house has no A/C, not even a swamp cooler; given my hatred for swamp coolers, though (noisy, moldy-smelling, ineffective POSes that they are), I would sooner have a lady's fan at hand. (In "things your electronics may be trying to tell you," my screensaver shows the pyramids at Giza. No, dammit, it is NOT that hot.)

Phoenix has been having cookie-sheet weather (temperatures last week were at a high of 119 degrees), and I've given thanks that I no longer live there. People can exclaim, "Oh, it's a dry heat!" all they want - yes, I know, I experienced that dry heat for 15 years. What's so fucking wonderful about dry heat? You want to know what else has dry heat? A kiln. A crematory. Wildfires. I'd sooner live where the temperatures drop by 10 - 20 degrees by nightfall and I can actually relax and get some sleep, than in a place that will roast me alive if I try to enjoy the daylight, and continue the job while I'm tossing on sweat-soaked sheets.

June is fired. June is not only fired, it is fired without references; I'm having security guards box up its things, and will probably press charges for drunk and disorderly conduct, destruction of property, and anything else that'll stick. I and several other people lost cats or had our beloved furballs stare death in the face. (I will one day have to draw a picture of a cat staring down Death, with a caption reading, "Go ahead. You've got eight more tries.") One friend, who has been in counseling with her husband to save their 20-year marriage, was informed by said husband that he wanted a divorce . . . and then found the duplicitous asshole had filed papers back when they first started counseling. One thing I'll say: finding out that unpleasant little fact had the effect of galvanizing said friend to set fire to the marriage and wish the asshole the best of luck living with himself. (He's the kind of passive-aggressive narcissist who whines about hurting her but insists this is the best of all possible solutions. In that, he's right - getting rid of him is going to be the best thing for her life, sanity, and overall health.) Another friend is having car issues. If I sat down and made a list of all the things that have gone wrong in June, I'd be tempted to just say the hell with all of it, and stay in bed throughout July.

And the hypercalcemia is taking a toll on me. One of the symptoms is fatigue; I am beat most of the day no matter how long I sleep, whether or not I take a nap in the evening. Writing this has drained me. I ache, and (sorry for the TMI) constipation is making me miserable. I don't take calcium supplements, and my doctor has said that it doesn't matter how much calcium I actually eat; cutting that out would be a drop in the bucket compared to what my spastic little parathyroid glands are shooting into my system daily. Thank God the surgery is on the 25th.

Now things promise to be a bit wacky. My friend Kel has insisted that she'll take me to the hospital and back. (Yeah, so not driving myself to surgery and back. The whole bit about being drugged to the gills before they slip the knife in made me reconsider that idea.) Annika, my housemate, has insisted she's coming along and staying with me. And Charles, our housemate, has also insisted he wants to come and visit. Meanwhile, my surgery is scheduled for 8 in the morning. They're going to all be there . . . my crazy little tribe of Goths and geeks.

I so owe you a post on my home life, because none of you currently have any idea why it is I'm terrified. ;)

And finally, to wrap this up, Stefan says that the salmon season up around False Pass has been fantastic - which heralds a boom season at Port Moller. This likely means he'll get his full set of hours this season, instead of cutbacks; he'll be tired and cranky as hell when he gets home in September, but he won't be scrambling to find part-time work to round out a rattling bank account this year either.

You know . . . I may be tired, but this was actually fun. I think I will tell you guys the story of the Black Rose Bar & Grill sooner rather than later.

Night, darlings. Love you guys.

Rabbit!

Jun. 1st, 2013 07:51 pm
northwestmagpie: (At Peace)
Rabbit!

Happy June, everyone. And now for the part where I give you a rundown of what's going on and why I haven't been around.

I don't have healthcare coverage, but I needed to get my metformin refilled anyway. Nearly 18 months without it had to do some damage, and I was feeling a slew of things: tired, achy, brain-foggy, more exhaustion, more aches, and somewhat blurry vision. So I went to Tacoma Family Medicine and had bloodwork done.

Surprise, surprise: my A1C was 8.5 (not 8.1, as I'd first believed), and other than an HDL of 10 points than it should be, everything checked out fine. But at 10 p.m. that night, I got a call from the hospital. My calcium levels were elevated, and my doctor wanted me to check in to the ER right away. I didn't hesitate--and neither did Stefan; we drove to the ER, where I had seven vials of blood drawn, including one for an ionized calcium test. I sat there for six hours, effecting killing any chance I had of being able to go to work the next morning (April 30), because I was just so exhausted. And Stefan was worried sick. At one point he put his arms around me and said, "You don't get to leave me. I just found you."

I should mention we've been a little emotional with each other since January; a mutual friend died after a 3-year battle with cervical cancer in February, and we went to see her when she was placed in hospice care the month before. To see this lovely, vital woman, who literally lit up any place where she was, lying like a baby bird in a nest of thermal blankets in that hospital room, shredded us both. To see the man who loved her at her memorial service sit quietly, looking like one of the walking dead, was gutting. Here we are, in the second year of our relationship; I don't want to have to step into a hospital room and know he'll never leave it.

So I was a little relieved when the doctor who ran the tests exclaimed, "I don't know why you were brought in here." My calcium levels had already dropped slightly, and my EKG was practically perfect - something else that relieved me, as I was terrified they'd diagnose me with heart disease or congestive heart failure like Mom.

Then I got the test results. All that bloodwork? It revealed one thing: I have hyperparathyroidism.

Some of you don't remember that I have a thyroid node, semi-affectionately nicknamed "Get This Thing The Hell Out of Me," or GT3HOOM. I wrote about it under the Xanath LJ account. Well, the node is probably 4.5 cm at this point; it's as large as a jumbo-sized hen egg, and my doctor, Dr. Bedarev (a wonderful man who has the second most adorable Russian accent next to Walter Koenig's Pavel Chekhov), thinks the node may have put enough pressure on the parathyroid glands (four rice-sized glands on either side of your throat) to cause them to overproduce hormone. Here is the Mayo Clinic's list of symptoms for hyperparathyroidism. Here's a quote from that article:


When calcium levels in your blood fall too low, your parathyroid glands secrete enough PTH to restore the balance. PTH raises calcium levels by releasing calcium from your bones and increasing the amount of calcium absorbed from your small intestine. When blood calcium levels are too high, the parathyroid glands produce less PTH. But sometimes one or more of these glands produce too much hormone, leading to abnormally high levels of calcium (hypercalcemia) and low levels of phosphorus in your blood.



So a surgical consultation has been scheduled for June 7th. I'll be going in for an ultrasound so they can locate the parathyroid glands, and inform me what to expect with regards to the surgery. I've been told the risks are uncommon, but as one of them is "damage to the nerves that control the vocal cords," and I love to sing . . . I intend to tell the surgeon, "Hey, listen - while I appreciate you're going after tiny glands there - don't slip."

Stefan is more nervous about this than I am. I am either too worn out or too cynical to really see this as more than a procedure I have to go through. I'm not borrowing trouble before it comes, but neither am I ignoring the possibilities of what could occur.

# # # #

May in Washington is much like May in Chicago, with a couple of stark differences. The first is that May in Washington is still chilly and rainy, whereas the snow tends to be gone in Chicago by then, and the warmth a little greater. The second is that while the flowers run riot in May in Washington, the temperatures do not create unbearable humidity, nor is it a case of one fine day followed by weeks of sucky weather. This is not the case in Chicago. You get, on average, maybe 2 or 3 days of good weather before the blanket of moisture wafting off Lake Michigan wraps around you and smothers you in heat and the odor of dead alewives. Or so I remember it.

And let's not even go into May in Phoenix. It's already in the triple digits there. This is the month when Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project managers rub their hands with glee, because they're the only utilities in town and EVERYBODY is going to crank the AC just to survive.

So. Spring in Washington has one unusual event, or at least it's unusual to me: in May, the cottonwoods release their fluff. It hasn't been odd to drive down the freeway (in my case, I-5) and see golden-tinted pod fluff descend on the road like fuzzy dehydrated snowflakes.

The joyful thing is that I can watch this stuff twirl and float on the breeze without any ill effects because, as yet, I'm not allergic. (Star jasmine? Yeah, that stuff kills my sinuses. Cottonwood? Nope! Bring it!) But friends here have groused about the trees having tons of arboreal sex. And not just having sex, but indulging in an activity that should be confined to porn sites.

Could be worse, but by the time spring rolls around here, I've had enough of snow and sleet. I've discovered I still love stormy weather and snow, but not a whole frigging year of it.

# # # #

You know, it's been hard getting back into the swing of this. At least now that I understand why I'm so tired, it's been less a matter of, "I'm too beat to write; lemme just fiddle around on the Net," and more, "Look, just take a nap, and when you're rested, write." So last night, when I came home, I went to bed. It was 6:30. I woke up around 11:45 p.m., fiddled around on the computer, and conked back out around 1:00 a.m. I woke up at 11:00 a.m.

I guess I really needed the sleep . . . but, damn it, I hate sleeping my weekend away like that.

This thing can't come out of me soon enough.

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