What made me decide to write up this entry is finding out that something called fructans is to be avoided, too. Fructans are chains of fructose. And guess what kinds of things are on the list of fructan sources to avoid? Only my old fiends garlic, onions, and leeks. Also asparagus, artichokes, and... *whines* WHEAT. :-( Anyway, that would explain why my body no longer likes garlic, onions, and leeks. Though I haven't noticed any issues with wheat yet. But I'll see if I can find other kinds of bread I can have, to cut down my intake just in case. Because I have noticed that even when I was being my most careful, my #2 is usually still soft. Ish.
Something called glactans - chains of the sugar galactose - means no more hummus because of the chickpeas. But I've been avoiding hummus anyway because it usually has garlic in it. Also, soy products have galactans. A bunch of other stuff, too; stuff I never eat anyway. Like brussels sprouts, cabbage, kidney beans, lentils, and wax beans.
Not being able to have dairy means I have to take in vitamin D from other sources. Also, here's the odd thing, they haven't mentioned casein yet. Just lactose. I might buy some lactose-free milk and see if that helps. Though I can't have cheese. Does cheese have lactose? Okay, apparently it does, but aged cheeses have less. Same with a lot of goat cheeses. I may have to experiment, it may not be casein I have an issue with after all.
Apparently, adding fiber to one's diet may or may not help, and in some cases - like with diarrhea-predominant IBS - can make things worse. I've had mixed results with fiber, so that's something to look for. Looked into this calcium polycarbofil the doctor prescribed me. Apparently it's a synthetic polymer that can absorb a fuckton of water, especially in an acidic environment. I've been taking two pills of it in the morning and two at night, and still have soft stool. Not sure what that means.
OMG, apples also contain polyols, a form of sugar alcohol, which can cause diarrhea. >:-|
Gods, but there's a fuckton of info in here. I may have to buy a copy.
Oh yes, and diarrhea. Damned IBS.
I have sleep apnea, and so I was thrilled to get a CPAP machine at last, because its function is to help me breathe at night. (Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing in your sleep.) But when I got it, I looked at the hose with annoyance, and I was like, "This valve elbow thing is a permanent part of the hose. So if the valve fails, I'll have to replace the whole hose. Lovely. What jackass designed this piece of shit?" Because yeah, there was the hose, and this grey plastic nub thing, and then the valve elbow, made of clear plastic. And I did try to see if it maybe unscrewed or something, but no, it just swivels. So I shrugged and went on with life.
( Under the cut because it is long. )
IBS is giving me the kind of shits today that require staying within a couple minute's walk of a bathroom, and frequent re-hydration. And it's hot. It's fucking hot and sunny in Portland Oregon in fucking October. Where is the fucking cold and dreary weather we should be having? I already feel like shit, and the fucking evil yellow daystar blowing its radioactive breath down my neck is not fucking helping me.
Earlier, I was gonna say aloud to nobody in particular that I just wanted to hibernate until these symptoms were passed, like I do for headaches, but I can't, because if I did I would shit myself in my sleep. So I then amended to this: "Fuck it, you know, I feel like I just want to jump ship out of this crappy body like a sailor jumping ship out of a sinking vessel, and I don't even care what the new body looks like. It can look identical to the ugly damn thing I have right now, I don't care, I just want a body that works the way it's fucking supposed to work, without IBS and without headaches and without depression. Hell, I don't care if I got even uglier, I just want a body that fucking works.
The much more interesting one is a hummus salad dressing. Yes, hummus has garlic, but I can eat hummus without a problem. And this stuff is basically just hummus with water and canola oil added. And it's VERY good! Also got some hazelnut milk and some almond milk.
Oh yeah, and some triple-ginger cookies. Ginger is a digestive aid, so that might help. At another store, I bought some mint tea, for the same reason.
Unrelated to IBS, I also found at Trader Joe's some blueberry preserves. That's something I've never seen before, AFAIK.
Back in 2012, and I think also back in 2011, I had sleep studies done to see if I had sleep apnea. They were ridiculously expensive and Medicare wouldn't pay for them. I had another one around the beginning of this year, too. I finally managed, though, to get the info I needed. My sleep doctor ordered a CPAP for me back in January, and Medicare told me I had to get yet another fucking sleep study they wouldn't pay for, before they would pay for the CPAP. Which is really stupid, because I had all the information already; my blood oxygen goes down to 70% without a CPAP, when I sleep.
But my coverage has changed since then. I got on a program that pays my Medicare premium for me, letting me keep an extra $100 per month (which came right in time! I would have had to move out if it hadn't!), and at the same time I had them increase it from A to A and B.
A month or two back, it occurred to me that there might be different rules now I had better coverage, so I checked with Medicare, and sure enough, they will pay for my CPAP. The only requirement now is I have a sleep study every 7 years. (Plenty of time to either cajole them into paying for it, or saving the money to pay for it myself.) So Dr. Hagen re-ordered the CPAP for me after I explained everything that had happened, and I got a call yesterday from the place that has them. I go in on Thursday to pick it up and get shown how to use it.
I also had to go to my shrink to get refills of my anti-depressant pills. While I was there, I asked about female hormones, since I had found you could get them in pill form. She referred me to Crystal at the same clinic, whose job is to look up stuff like whether Medicare will pay for stuff or not, like she did to find out about the CPAP for me. Crystal later called me back with a number to call. I called that number, and got instructions on how to begin. In order to see the people who are apparently the only people in Portland for hormone stuff (at least who take Medicare), I will have to change my Medicare to “Med Advantage” and my Medicaid (which I had not known I had at all) to “Family Plan,” before I could even come in to see them. Which, she said, would not entail any premium increases.
When I told Brooke about possibly getting on hormones, one of the things she said was to think about if I wanted to change my legal name. Which, I admit, has been a tricky issue for me for a long time. I started going by a shortened form of my Traipahni name (Fay from Fayanora Ahnabahn Tahlahmorgk) almost 15 years ago because no human names really clicked for me, not even the name I would have had if I had been born a genetic girl (Cassandra). For a while, I have wondered whether I would stick with my given name, or go with some form of my Traipahni name. I even considered “Fay-Anne Aura Arts.” I know I want to keep my last name; it is uncommon and it suits me, as I am an artist. I've never had an issue with my last name. My first name, yes, but not my surname. My only issue with going with something like “Fay-Anne” is becoming F. Arts rather than my current T. Arts.
I was thinking about it today, while signing a check, and had the sudden thought of “maybe I should keep my current initials at least.” Which led almost at once to another possibility: Tempest Alexandria Arts. (Inspired by Meriel Tempest, the name of Lyria's daughter.) The name instantly struck a chord that no other human name has before. So now I'm wondering, if I were to change my legal name (which I would like to do), if I should go with that. The only issue is, all my friends know me as Fay, even offline ones. So I've been thinking about things like Tempest Alexandria Fay Arts, Tempest Alexandria Fay-Anne Arts and the like.
But there's another possibility: I could change my legal name to Tempest Alexandria Arts and be known by two names, one human name and one shortened version of my Traipahni name (like I already am); be known both as Tempest and as Fay. (But never as “Tempy”; I associate that with Temperance Brennan of the TV show “Bones.”) This makes a lot of sense to me, since on Traipah the Ah'Koi Bahnis, at least in some cultures, tend to give their kids “nest names,” those kids later choosing an adult name for themselves, but still probably being known by friends and relatives by both names. Of course, with a cool name like Tempest, I wouldn't mind being called by either name.
But yeah, I really like Tempest as a name. It reflects the chaotic side of me, the powerful and wild Shao'Kehn side of me. And at the same time, keeping a feminized version of my given middle name honors my dad's choice of names for me, and the history behind it. (But I could never do the same for my first name; I dislike all versions of it, for myself.) Ha! And really, changing it from Alexander to Alexandria gives it a different historical meaning as well, referencing the Library at Alexandria. (No jokes from the peanut gallery!)
Okay, I've thought about it. Unless I think of something better, I really really like Tempest Alexandria Arts as a new legal name.
~ ~ ~
I went to Norco and got my CPAP today! My appointment was at 3. I got there at 2:30, the guy wasn't ready til about 10 or 15 minutes after 3, and it was almost 4:30 when we finished. It's a lot smaller than I thought it would be. The machine, the mask, the tube, the power supply, and a couple other things fit in a bag like a smallish camera bag.
The thing almost seems to read my mind. With the CPAP at the sleep study, I kept struggling because the thing would blow air in at a constant rate, which made it difficult for me to breathe; I kept having brief panic attacks and having to rip off the mask to breathe right. But this one is awesome! This one pumps more air in when I inhale. There's air going in all the time, just more when I need it. And it's so LIGHT! I barely felt it. I almost fell asleep in the chair while using it there, even though there was no water in the humidifier.
She prescribed me some Metamucil. I don't know how that works, when I've never had constipation, but it seems to be working so far.
I also went to a podiatrist, and found that the reason my legs hurt when I walk too fast or walk wrongly, it's because my legs don't bend as much as they should. My achilles tendons aren't long enough, apparently. Which makes sense; my little sister Tara had it even worse; her tendons were so short that it hurt her to walk ALL THE TIME. She had to have surgery to lengthen them. Me, I just need to do stretching exercises that the physical therapist showed me.
And they seem to be working. I did the stretches this morning and after that, I could walk twice as fast as I've been doing lately, without pain.
Which is great. I've been slowed to a plodding almost-waddle lately. I miss being able to walk fast.
As usual, I had to fight the urge to vomit all the way there. Once I got there, though, I managed to put myself in the right state of mind to get rid of the stomach twisting and the gag reflex going off every minute or so. I was bearing up pretty well, though definitely feeling off, for most of it. But then we got to the refrigerated section, and I got about three times worse or more, and began having to fight the urge to vomit again. And I started getting a headache. Something in the refrigerated section of Winco makes me very ill when I'm there. I think it might be the refrigerated air from the freezers and stuff, but kengr thinks it might be the... I forget if she said sub-sonics or super-sonics, but probably sub-sonics, because "super-sonics" would have given me an image of Super Sonic from the video game, and it didn't.
Oh, something else I noticed while in the refrigerated section of Winco, that I failed to notice last month but I remember now that I've noticed it: Pi was reacting badly to whatever it was, too. He was irritable, hissing and snorting and making faces. He kept shaking our head, too, like he was trying to shoo away an irksome fly. I remember he was acting in a similar manner last month at Winco, too. So it seems he and the body have been aware of this a lot longer than I have. I wish I could remember back farther, to see if Pi was irritable those other times too, but I can't remember that far back. I only remember last month because I figured out part of the problem last month.
Anyway, after we got out of the store, I immediately began to start feeling better. My stomach went back to normal and I stopped feeling like puking, after a few minutes. I still have a lingering almost-headache, but I took some pain reliever for it. I'm feeling mostly normal now, for me.
Another possible piece of the puzzle: I was at Whole Foods earlier today, after putting away the stuff from Winco, and Pi was sniffing the air in a bemused fashion. He told me without words that the air in Whole Foods wasn't bothering him. Of course, we weren't there long, and we didn't go into the refrigerated section, but thinking about it, Trader Joe's refrigerated section doesn't bother me either, and I've been there for long periods of time before. Same for the refrigerated section of Grocery Outlet. So maybe it IS sub-sonics? Anyway, we went to Whole
I guess one way to find out for sure what the issue is, would be to go to the refrigerated sections of other stores (like FredMeyer's), even another Winco, and see if the same thing happens. If it's just that one store, then it probably is some effed-up machine noise bothering me.
(Though this won't look like it at first, this entry will eventually circle around to something positive, to something based in my spirituality.)
I'm prone to headaches, sadly. I have been for as long as I can remember. Well, I call them headaches, but really, they're migraines. I have to hit them with the maximum safe dosage of pain reliever as soon as I realize I'm getting one or else they bloom into full-fledged fatherfucking migraines; IE sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, even vomiting. And trust me, letting it get to the nausea stage is pretty much a guarantee of vomiting. Vomiting while your head is in the middle of a full-on migraine is such a horrible experience that I would not wish it on my worst enemies; however much pain and agony you're in before you puke, that will be magnified ten times with every spasm from your stomach.
I remember a time when a simple Tylenol would prevent the migraines from coming. Now the only OTC thing that works is Advil Liqui-gels, or off brand of the same thing. Liquid-filled gel capsule pain relievers rush the relief to my head fastest, and even they aren't fast enough to catch every headache in time to prevent energy-sapping agony. (The solid pain reliever pills are worse than useless; no matter how quickly I take them, they don't work fast enough to prevent me puking them back up later.) Luckily, I don't get these headaches/migraines every day, every week, or even every month. But I usually get at least one or two every month, though some months I don't have any.
Since most of my headaches seem to come from neckaches that I get when I wake up in the morning, I thought for a long time (and still wonder on occasion) if it's the way I'm sleeping. But I sleep the same way every night, and it doesn't happen every night/day, so I dunno. The best theory I have, thus, is that I get them at random, and that they're somehow caused by my clinical depression, since I've been depressed all my life.
Anyway, this is such a matter-of-fact part of my life that under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have even thought to make this entry. But for the last week, I'd been suffering neckaches/headaches every fucking day for a week, which aside from being painful and sucking away my ability to do things, also pisses me off because I don't really have the money to be constantly buying pain relievers. But I always make sure I have some around and in my purse, in case another fucking headache shows up.
Part of what makes the money side of the headaches so annoying is the pattern: I wake up with a neckache, take pain reliever because I know what's coming, the headache begins while I wait for the pills to take effect, then subsides. Then starts to come back in 5 or 6 hours. More pills are then needed. If another 5 or 6 hours passes and I'm still awake, more pills will be needed. Usually that's when I go to bed, or close enough. Then, if I'm lucky, I'll wake up fine the next morning. Less lucky, I'll wake up with an "after-headache," which is stiffness in the neck and a sensitivity in the head that means I shouldn't eat any greasy foods or over-exert myself.1 Unlucky, I'll wake up and the pain will have come back again. So we start the cycle over again for that day.
Well, that cycle had been happening to me every day for a week, getting very fucking irritating. Even worrisome, as I began to fear it wouldn't stop.
So this morning, I woke up to pain. Took two pills, but they were being slower than usual. I think it was because the pain was mild enough, I risked taking just one pill at first, and only an hour later taking another. Which, in retrospect, was a mistake; with my headaches, I have to overpower them with two pills at once or I might as well not take them at all. It's happened often enough, my being optimistic about 1 pill and then regretting it, that I should know better by now. So a few hours after taking the first pill, I was worried because the pain hadn't gone away; it wasn't getting any worse, but it wasn't going away. Not even for its usual temporary leave. I was worried that it was going to become a full-blown migraine, since the stuff I was carrying with me on my visit to Lilla was making my neck and head hurt from over-exertion (which is relative, and easy to achieve in an already-pained state.)
With these worries in mind, I decided to pray to Jiijiinis and Alorno, my deities of health and healing. And, for some reason, it started coming out as a song. I was singing a quiet prayer at first, and then when I got off the bus and began walking to the next stop I needed (to get on a different bus line), I sang more loudly. I kept up the song-prayer, rhyming things on the fly and repeating most of the lines I'd come up with, which included telling Jiijiinis and Alorno that I would praise their names if they helped, and then doing so.
To my surprise, by the time the next bus came, the pain was retreating. By the time I got to Starbuck's, the pain was gone. It's now been 11 hours since I took the first pill, 10 since I took the second, and I haven't had to take any more. And in case the full meaning of this escapes you, let me add: this is highly unusual for me. It's been over a decade since a single max dose of pain reliever has actually ended a headache without being paired with a nap or an overnight sleep. Best news: I feel better than I have all month. Not by much, but still, enough to finally get around to doing dishes and taking out the trash, which I'd left for over a week because of energy issues.
So yeah, anyone who says magick isn't real can bugger off. Because today I used magick to end a week-long headache!
There was something even more noteworthy about the healing prayer-song I did today, at least in my opinion. While it's not the first time I've sang a prayer (nor the second or third, etc), it resulted in a realization that made me feel like a dense dunce for a moment.
You see, my spiritual path is that of the Yahgahn culture of my scifi planet Traipah. And the Yahgahns have a sacred language called Yahgahnii, in which they do all their prayers and rituals and so on. And I have known for almost 15 years that Yahgahnii is a language intended to be sung, a musical tonal language.2 And in all that time, I only in the last year began to start doing prayer-songs. And only today did I think, "Hey, maybe I should make a habit of doing prayer-songs." I can't believe I'm so frakking dense that it takes me that long to have those kinds of thoughts! Sheesh.
Update: Headache frequency has returned to normal since then.
1 = If I eat greasy foods while I have a full headache, even if the pain reliever is managing it, I feel worse, and get nauseous much faster.
2 = I know almost nothing about tonal languages, so I've never made any real attempts to construct Yahgahnii for my own use; I use a mix of Trai'Pahg'Nan'Nog and English.
On the topic of headaches, I've recently confirmed something I'd long suspected: that solid pain reliever pills are useless to me. When I start feeling a headache coming on, I need to hit it with two of the liquid-gel variety of ibuprofen, because the solid ibuprofen doesn't work fast enough. I had long suspected that, but a couple weeks ago I decided to get a small thing of the solid ones because they were only $1, and I figured maybe if I took them soon enough, they might work. But no. The other day, I felt a headache coming on, so I took two of the solid ibuprofens. It developed into a full-blown migraine: sensitivity to lights and sound, nausea, the works. I managed to not puke, thankfully. As if migraines aren't bad enough, puking when you're in the middle of one makes the head feel like it's being napalmed. You feel better afterwards, but it's not pleasant.
That's another reason I don't understand getting drunk: puking. Puking is something I avoid at all costs. I get enough acid coming up into my throat doing damage as it is without tossing my toys and candy all over everywhere. (The real fun is being woken up from a sound sleep gasping desperately for breath because acid has decided to leap up one's throat while you sleep. This happens most often if I'm on my stomach, so I try to avoid sleeping on my stomach, but sometimes it happens anyway. About the only thing to be done is to try to catch my breath and then take a bunch of antacids. If I could afford those pills that cut down on acid production, I would use those.)
Also in related news, I think I may have figured out the cause of some of the headaches. Either they're tied in some way to the depression I've had all my life, or they occur when I am feeling overwhelmed (I have a very efficient inner system by which I can ignore such feelings until they have built up enough pressure from being bottled up. It's something I'm working on correcting), or both.
Back to alcohol... then of course there's the fact that alcohol smells like a sewer, tastes about the same, and then there's the spectre of losing control of myself. It's one thing to let Shao'Kehn take over for a while in ritual, but I don't know what I'd be like under the influence of alcohol, and I don't care to find out. So yeah, alcohol is not for me.
And yet some of my characters drink, and even get drunk. (Granted, the most recent was Ah'Koi Bahnis getting drunk on caffeine, which does to them as alcohol does to humans, but still.) I guess that shows my characters are their own people. :-)