Hello out there!
So last time I wrote, I'd just had the worst UTI of my life. The week after I finished the course of antibiotics, I managed to kill a batch of yogurt AND four loaves of sourdough... I have to wonder whether the Cipro somehow extended to the good bacteria I was trying to work with in the food. I threw out the yogurt, made the family eat brick bread for the week, and tried again a few days later. My fermentation mojo came back, thankfully... but that was really weird.
One of the things that I have found makes me relax faster than anything else is deep, warm water. This turns out to be one of the best treatments for fibromyalgia, and I wonder if I've been self-soothing myself through this condition for years with my desire for hot tubs. One of the ways it is diagnosed is by "tender spots," and I have had a dozen times in my life when chiropractors, yoga teachers, lovers, and massage therapists, all trying to help me, have pressed on one of those spots and inadvertently sent me into paroxysms of pain. We've just laughed in the past about how crazy sensitive and "goosey" I am, but now looking back, I can see that I've been favoring those spots since high school.
Sadly, there is no way to set up any kind of a hot tub or deep water container for me to use in this house (believe me, I have tried and tried to figure it out; if you have any brilliant ideas, bring 'em on!). The only way I can become fully immersed is at a spa or someone's home... and it's kind of socially odd to ask to take a bath at people's houses (this is also a source of extreme jealousy for me... I have several well-off friends with large homes and deep tubs, and when I say something about how lucky they are, often times I hear something like, "Oh that thing just takes up space. What a waste!"). So I go to King Spa, a Korean bathhouse that opened right after we moved here. It's $25 a visit, although sometimes I can get $15 passes on Groupon. It's not optimal... I really need this relief daily, and just before bed, so it can relax me and I can lay down without pain; having to get dressed and drive several miles can often undo a lot of the good the soak does, but at least it can take the edge off when my joints have been screaming at me for days.
A few weeks ago, I used one of my passes and had a lovely time. But just a few days later, I came down with an ear infection that has now been going for four weeks... and Cordell pointed out that the bladder infection set in a few days after the last time I went there. Now I have to wonder whether I am somehow immuno-compromised, and picking up opportunistic infections at the spa. I know the place is clean... they clean it constantly while we are there, and shut it down for a few hours a day to do a total cleaning... but two-for-two is not a good score. I'm trying to clear up the ear thing before I go back and give it one more chance... but if this avenue to hot water becomes inaccessible to me, I don't know what I will do.
We moved all of us to a family practice doctor close to our house, and associated with the closest hospital. But on my first trip to see him, the assistant dropped the height measurement device attached to the scale onto my head, which REALLY hurt (and caused a lump!)... then got defensive and nasty at me, never saying "I'm sorry" or "are you OK?" I know this is a normal human reaction, to get defensive and try to deflect blame when you do something dumb, but you'd think a healthcare giver would a) have a better grasp of how to use her equipment without hurting people, and b) a tiny bit of empathy for her injured client. So the visit got off on the wrong foot. Then the doctor came in and immediately prescribed weight loss (my needs involved management of fibromyalgia, migraines, sleep apnea and psoriasis), even before taking a history. He had no knowledge of current obesity science (specifically, that short-term weight loss of more than 10-20 pounds rebounds to a higher long-term weight gain in nearly all cases, and that weight cycling is associated with all kinds of diseases in the long run), and no interest in educating himself. So... he is clearly not a good match for me.
Fortunately, we were able to change our health insurance enrollment to a PPO after January 1, which will give me a lot more freedom in choosing an empathic, HAES-friendly care provider who is familiar with fibromyalgia and comfortable with a wide range of body shapes and sizes (got any recommendations?). Ultimately, I have a fantasy that Blue Cross will somehow pay for a way to get a tub in this house... maybe swap out the downstairs shower for a Japanese-style soaking tub? Yeah... not holding my breath, but a girl can dream.
So these repeated infections have made me very wary of any long road trips. Additionally, money is, as always, tight. So we've jettisoned my grand plan of driving out to California and Washington for Christmas, which is also making me really sad. I haven't seen my dad since May for a quick visit, or Julia in over a year; Clay hasn't seen my dad since my mom's memorial a few years ago, and Cord and Linc haven't seen him in over a year. I'm unreasonably jealous of Bill and Linc, who will go see his parents and sister (which they are VERY kindly paying for), and I'm not proud of it. If things are better in the spring (both health- and money-wise), maybe Linc and I will try to head out then.
I've been keeping the ear controlled with hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, and isopropyl alcohol, which is what doctors would prescribe anyway... but I'm probably going to have to suck it up and go see Dr. Clueless soon for a proper debridement and either steroids or antifungal drops. When it's not hurting, I've been working on trying to do things that will bolster my mood: I found some Nia videos online and do them a few times a week, along with yoga (but I HATE doing it where people can wander in and see, and we have NO place to do it where the noise does not wake up someone, so doing it very early doesn't help much), meditate, take a walk, help others (Linc and I have a weekly meals-on-wheels-type route for a local senior center), and make stuff (three little baby girls needed booties STAT!). I really threw myself into making a nice Thanksgiving dinner, challenging myself to go as scratch as possible (homemade ricotta, stocks and ice creams), and I think it worked out well... no complaints from the eaters, at any rate.
I'm hoping to do a nice Christmas for us, too. Bill and I decided to hit the savings account a little so we could do a few nice things for the people we love... I don't have the time to really pull off much knitting, and I think everyone is sick of knitted stuff anyway (and if you are NOT, and are wishing for a certain knitted thing, TELL ME SOON!). But I can bake, and decorate, and wrap, and I hope to do a little puzzle party for my lady friends when Bill and Linc are in Washington.
I need to find a way to pull myself off of Facebook and the Internet more... it's way too easy to just fall into the wash of images and ideas and stories that flow by endlessly (not to mention catchy music and kitten photos). I haven't done any calligraphy or painting or sewing or beadwork in weeks... I feel like I need some kind of jumpstart. The tools and materials and time are all here, but the creative spark... the juicy motivation... the step into flow is missing. When I'm in pain, it morphs into feelings of uselessness and depression. Any brilliant ideas from all you amazing creative types out there?
Anyway, thanks for reading. Sometimes I think LJ is dead, but there isn't anywhere else I can put this, so here it is. Sorry for being such an Eeyore today... still, writing anything is better than just mindless surfing, right?