cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (domestic)
Sometimes my throat swells most of the way closed, which feels similar to the intensely sore throat that usually precedes the nasal congestion stage of a cold for me.

Not counting colds - I don't think it swells quite as much with a cold? - this has happened to me maybe an average of (I think) less than once a year for the last 12 or 13 years.

I'm fairly certain the reaction is caused by perfumes, but perfumes and perfumed cosmetics have so many ingredients that I can't really be sure which one(s). Lavender is a suspect, but I am exposed to lavender a lot of times when it doesn't happen (this could be because it's a small concentration and doesn't go in my nose and mouth enough, I guess). Most of the times have been caused by perfumed stuff actually on my face - the first time memorably by smearing a streak of Bath & Bodyworks hand sanitizer that hadn't fully dried on my hand accidentally on my cheek next to my nose, and the second-latest time by a Body Shop cream face cleanser with a billion ingredients. (The reason I suspect lavender is because the only time when perfumes weren't involved, it happened after drinking a cup of herbal lavender tea.) (My mom used to have lavender soap in the linens though, and I guess it made me sneeze maybe, but it never caused a big bother. That I know of.)

Anyway, I thought I was getting better at guessing but today I was almost certain I was getting sick, but then my throat started feeling almost all the way better so I guess it was an allergic reaction after all. Depressing. And maybe I should see a doctor or something about it.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
I want to find some kind of outside-of-the-house source of exercising to help make it into a routine that I would be more likely to stick to.

The main reason is that if knitting is the only real workout my shoulders get, the right one hates it and responds with cramps and agony. I can do something about this by limiting the amount of time spent knitting, adopting a good posture and relaxing the rest of the arm etc., and a lot of arm- and shoulder-stretching, but I think this would work better. Also everyone I talk to from [personal profile] perhael to my 10-year-old niece to my mom & sister is joining gyms and/or Zumba and/or yoga classes and talking them up.

I don't really want to invest the kind of money upfront that gyms and yoga classes cost, though, especially not right now when I'm in Bureaucratic Run-Around Limbo in my job-seeking plans. So that's gone on the Think About Soonish Once Two Incomes Are Again Achieved list.

However, my psychologist says he has the power to write a prescription for exercise for me that would require the public, city-supported gyms and swimming pools and things to give me a discount... I'm not sure if that would help me or not. The locals I know seem to use private ones, except my Amazonian Estonian ex-classmate who does weight training (lol, no). (Now I think about it, wouldn't The Amazonian Estonian be a good name for an album?)
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
On the Ashkenazi side of my extended family, 9 members in 3 generations have lived past 50, and of those 2 have died of breast cancer and another's been in treatment for a few years (male breast cancer in his case). Now we've found out my aunt is entering treatment for it too, and she's only 55.

Statistically, this is troubling. (Personally, my aunt's prognosis isn't bad and the rest of the oldies seem sanguine, so I'm not TOO upset.)

Thanks to my atheist great-grandparents, though, neither of my aunts were even aware that we're Ashkenazi, hadn't even heard the term -- and naturally, her doctor asked her specifically since it's a risk factor. (I didn't learn it from my family, either, even though my dad knows; I think it came up in the genetics chapter of high school biology... .) I said "I can't believe they didn't know that!" and my sister replied that she didn't either. =_=
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (crack)
... the shelf in our dish-drying cabinet spontaneously collapsed last week, sending the stoneware inside of my BRAND-NEW, ONLY USED ONCE slow cooker to fall on the edge of the sink and shatter, breaking several other pieces of crockery.

(The over-sink dish-drying cabinet is a universal Finnish convenience found in 100% of Finnish kitchens and kitchenettes that I have seen, and also a completely brilliant innovation which is incredibly useful even for dishwasher-having households. Unlike most amazing Finnish innovations, this one hasn't caught on much internationally - even the Swedes haven't picked it up, although an Estonian friend informed me it had been almost universally adopted there.

Ours, however, is ancient and the shelf supports of very low quality. This isn't even the first time one of the shelves has done this, just the most expensive one.)

Hopefully we can buy a new inside for the crock pot, but I've been busy since then as well as depressed by the event.

ONE TIME. I got to use it ONE FUCKING TIME.

I hate this kitchen.

In other culinary news, I'm now eating nothing made with milk or milk-derivatives including yogurt and cheese (except pizza), although I haven't given up (lactose-free) butter for baking and (lactose-free, partially) butter spread for sandwiches. As a result, I now

  • keep paying 5€ for lunch like everyone else, but being forced to eat a SERIOUSLY shitty salad [INGREDIENTS: iceberg lettuce, sparse out-of-season cucumber and tomato chunks; topping: oil and vinegar that isn't even balsamic] because the vegetarian option's main ingredient at the school restaurant is cheese, or, to add insult to injury, the veggie option is literally ROOT VEGETABLE PUREE SOUP which is basically baby food, one of my favorite dishes and extremely easy to make without anything animal-related whatsoever, but Finnish people just love to fill it up with milk for NO REASON.


  • can smell that things were made with milk. I was never able to do that before. I don't have the greatest nose, obviously, but it was a surprise.


  • know that coconut milk over granola is actually pretty good, but the texture is weird.


  • have discovered a new favorite oatmeal topping, namely peanut butter, coconut milk and sugar topped with banana slices.


  • have been thoroughly repeatedly traumatized by the sheer overwhelming quantity of "paleo"-related pseudoscience that comes up when you put the words "vegan" and "recipe" together in the Pinterest search box. Which is perhaps ironic, since the basic paleo diet, from what I understand, is quite positive towards meat.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (godlike)
The problem with treating seasonal depression with sun lamps is that you're supposed to use them near the beginning of your day - in fact I've read before people recommending not after noon - and this requires that you are awake in the morning.

  • My current class schedule is only on T/W/Th, and


  • [personal profile] waxjism is currently only going to her work practice placement, which is Monday afternoon and Wednesday morning, and skipping her classroom hours, which are currently focused on middle school level math.*

    *Literally. Like, converting percents to decimals to fractions and doing basic arithmetic with them.


  • [personal profile] waxjism watches NHL hockey games live in the middle of the night every day and consequently sleeps all day every day except the aforementioned M/W


  • Today, for example, the sun was up only between 9:06 (>30 min after my classes start, more than an hour and a half after I have to leave in the morning) and 16:21


  • To throw my internal clock and my brain even more out of whack, I was sick for the last 1.5 weeks of class in December and the first 2 weeks of class in January as well as part of Christmas break. In that time I got behind my classmates, missed the essential orientation sessions for the new semester schedule, and failed to clean anything in the flat, which started looking EVEN MORE like the wreckage of a raucous party and/or small tornado than before.


So not only is it impossible for me to be awake in the morning of every day apparently, it's also impossible for me to even be awake at roughly the same times every day. If I imposed a strict sleeping schedule on myself of going to bed and getting up as if I had class every day I'd probably end up with insomnia in the four-day weekend part, and also I'd basically never see my wife.

If I sleep till the middle of the afternoon and then turn the sunlamp on for a few hours, I'm worried it will have me staying up even later.



And unrelatedly, eliminating milk from my diet has gone great EXCEPT that my parents sent a bunch of my favorite flavored cocoa mixes from the US in their holiday present packages, and even though they are the kind made with water and not milk, I have noticed stomach upset after drinking them - something that wasn't apparent before when I was consuming milk from other sources. Apparently the dehydrated milk in them retains the qualities that my digestive system dislikes. But giving up mint and raspberry cocoa entirely?!?!?!?!? - So it seems like the only alternative might be learning to make them from scratch so I can make them with a milk substitute, which is obviously much more trouble than making them from a mix. :(


But again unrelatedly, this time on a very positive note, my parents gave me a Crock Pot for Christmas! So now I need to get some recipes for it - I've never had access to one, and reason to acquire them, before now. Very excited. I only have one, which is my favorite chicken dish for Thanksgiving/Hanukka.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (studying)
Since the beginning of December I've been sick like three weeks. (There was a break in between! Two different colds, and the second one turned into a sinus infection that stuck around for more than a week after the cold was over.)

Then it got down to like -17° C (it was in the -12 — -14° range last week) and I didn't want to run errands, so I ran out of the tea tree oil that I need for my face before New Year's and was out of it for more than two weeks before I dragged myself to the mall to buy more. (And it has a short shelf-life, so it's not a good idea to stockpile! I could buy a bottle in advance, maybe, but no more than that. As it is I run out around once per month. The bottle is only 10 ml.)

That was enough time for my face to break out in three places, ugh. Fortunately once I got the tea tree oil, its power to heal zits more quickly was still in effect. I'm sad about the red scars, though. Those are still gonna last for a long while after the zits heal.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (face!pie)
I have had a couple of cases where I accidentally ate small amounts of milk since intending to go off it - cafeteria/coffee shop situations where I absent-mindedly judged something safe and only afterwards thought it could've been made with milk after all.

However, I've had several breakouts since then that seem out of proportion, to me, to have been caused by dairy. My skin was clear briefly, a couple of weeks ago, but since then it's been a case of a new breakout every time one heals.

On the other hand, they're also healing WAY, WAY faster under the influence of tea tree oil, which also is the best topical anaesthetic I've ever felt for them (and there's also fewer of them). Sometimes mine are so painful as to be actually distracting, but tea tree oil absorbs quickly into the skin and then numbs them, sort of the way Carmex does to cracked lips but with a completely different (albeit stronger) smell.

Anyway, my dairy hypothesis is weakened, but I haven't given up on it yet because reaction times for breakouts can be quite long and giving up dairy can't actually hurt, and potentially has digestive benefits as well as skin benefits, so. Not going to stop yet.

I also spent ages online trying to find out a way to get tea tree oil from anywhere other than The Body Shop, but without any success. There are various sources, far more available in the US, but it seems hard to judge their quality, since apparently essential oils counterfeiting (and synthesizing) is a big deal. The Body Shop, unlike the leading US healthfood store brand, packages the oil according to the guidelines of the Australian producers, in tiny opaque bottles (sunlight damages the chemical makeup), but against their guidelines, doesn't mark their bottles with an expiration date (according to the growers, the shelf-life even sealed in a dark container is around 6 months). I'm inclined to think that's because they ship to their stores and then leave the stock on the shelves forever, because it definitely looks like my store has had a whole case and nobody has been buying them but me. So I suppose it could just be that my last few bottles were old.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (godlike)
I posted last May that I was giving tea tree oil face swabs a try for chronic acne. I had tried benzoyl peroxide before and given up on it due to the side-effects, and there was some evidence (link at the link) that their efficacy was approximately equal.

Well, as of one month ago my face had cleared up completely. Like, for the first time since puberty, there was not one single actively inflamed pimple on it.

However, I made two changes at the same time actually:

  • Swabbing my face with ~7 drops of 10% tea tree oil (from the Body Shop) on a cotton pad after washing it. Not completely regularly - it varies between every two days to twice per day. After this, I usually apply a small amount of unscented hypoallergenic noncomedogenic moisturizer, but sometimes I'm in a rush or forget.


  • About 1 month previously I had cut milk products out of my diet, not just lactose-free ones. -- I still consumed yogurt and small amounts of parmesan, but I've since read that many people's stomachs respond more favorably to yogurt and hard cheese, so I'm not alone there.


Now, I'm not allergic or heavily lactose intolerant. Eating even a lot of regular dairy isn't actually painful for me, just uncomfortable.

But it was easy to try low-lactose and lactose-free products, which are readily available here, and with my other food sensitivities having mostly gone away I was easily able to discern the difference. Then last summer a friend who has more severe lactose intolerance said she had noticed increased wellbeing when she avoided dairy entirely. I decided to give it a try in the spirit of scientific inquiry.

That was the result after perhaps six weeks or so. After a while I thought I really wanted some cream cheese and olive bagels, and bought some lactose-free cream cheese, which I ate most of in the space of a week. And the week after that two new breakouts appeared, on my forehead and my earlobe. I threw the rest of the cream cheese out and the breakouts healed pretty quickly, which has also been the case ever since I started using tea tree oil.

I know many people who couldn't give up dairy for the sake of acne. My mom has food sensitivities that she aggravates constantly and she always says it's worth it for the food. On the other hand, she's had to have surgery a couple of times on different parts of her digestive tract since I was in high school, and she probably still thinks it's worth it; but I definitely wouldn't. Then again, if you haven't had the kind of chronic acne I've had then perhaps the amount of relief in question is hard to conceive of. And really, compared to other people I know who do have it, mine was rather mild.

(Of course, in a scientific sense, I can't separate the two potential causes here. No idea what would happen if I'd dropped dairy without any topical treatments. I do have an idea, from the months between may and august, that the other way round results in very slightly less acne that heals notably faster, but is still a significant pain in the butt.)
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (she's so refined)
The first time I became aware of being allergic to anything except metal (infection after ear piercing at age 7), I was in college and I accidentally got a smear of Bath'n'Bodyworks juniper-scented hand sanitizer on my face. Half a day later, my throat had swollen so nearly closed that I felt it rubbing against itself on the inside whenever I swallowed. It lasted almost a week, I think.

The next time that happened was years later, but it's become more frequent with time. Today's reaction is at least 2nd since the start of 2013, for example, but I'm pretty sure it hasn't even happened a total of 10 times in the last 12 years. The severity varies, presumably depending on how much of the allergen is involved. It's never been worse than the first time or caused any trouble breathing, but it is about equally painful to the sore throat portion of a cold, sometimes worse. It's constant for a few days and varies from slightly less irritating than a typical PMS headache to "AUGH I HATE EVERYTHING".

The only time it's happened that didn't involve a scented product actually in contact with my face, it was from drinking a lavender herbal infusion. Even though using lavender-scented soaps have never irritated me to my knowledge, lavender oil is my prime suspect for that reason. I'm aware that it is often used as an ingredient in other scented products, without necessarily being represented on the label, and it was also the second ingredient in the second-to-last product that caused an outbreak (a tea tree oil mask from the Body Shop in June).

I've also noticed my nose becoming way more sensitive to odors as I get older: not that they smell stronger, but that they're physically irritating, with like a kinda burning sensation or instant sneezing; and then I panic, fearing another one of these throat-swelling reactions. This is usually due to somebody near me, or in the elevator before me, wearing too much perfume.

Among other things, this has engendered a burning hatred of the way products everywhere are scented, both from second-hand contact and because I now prefer to buy unscented things JUST IN CASE, even though the vast majority of scented toiletries don't cause any problems, but finding unscented toiletries varies from impossible to difficult. And also it has led to me probably glaring at strangers in public who have obviously been bathing in perfume.

I know people take stuff like Claritin daily if they're allergic to dust or pollen or w/e and I know people take some other something if they're, say, allergic to cats and coming to our place for a party. But is there an OTC medication you can take *after* your allergic reaction? Because I can't see taking preventive measures for such an unpredicatable and infrequent occurrence.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (determined)
Acne runs in both sides of my family. It's a drag.1 I'm 30 now and I still deal with it. I'm a little disappointed that it hasn't mostly vanished yet with age the way it did for my dad's sisters; but on the other hand, there are far worse cases out there.

About 6 years ago at [personal profile] isilya's recommendation I made a longer (1.5-2 year?) attempt with the acne.org regimen (gentle face wash and a thick layer of 2% BP followed by optional moisturizing 1-2x day). I knew from high school that BP had made a slight difference, so I made what is for a disorganized person like me a truly colossal effort and did it, even though the whole routine took at LEAST 25 minutes per day. This was long enough to see an improvement, but also to see the maximum amount of help it could offer, which was not enough to be worth it to me, because besides the huge time suck, the procedure was actually pretty uncomfortable and had super annoying side-effects (mainly ruining things with bleach stains from accidentally touching clothes or linens with my face or neck within less than ≈1.5 hrs of the routine).

Then I read online last week that some studies have shown 5% tea tree oil comparable to 5% BP, with fewer side effects2.

I am already familiar with tea tree oil dating from my sojourn at Crunchy Aunt's house in 2003-04. It's an effective, pleasant topical anaesthetic (and antiseptic, although I haven't measured its effect on germs personally). Until last week I had more or less given up on acne products - for a few years I've mostly just applied tiny dabs of mint toothpaste gel3 as an anaesthetic to extra-painful inflamed zits, the ones that sit there throbbing distractingly on the skin, which are the worst part for me.

I figure that since my skin is tough, the worst that can happen is very mild skin irritation and it's far more likely that it just won't help. Even if it's less effective than BP, as long as it does make some difference the lack of bleach-related and thin-layer-of-gel-on-your-face-that-can-later-come-off-related (tea tree oil basically absorbs into the skin without leaving a residue, not even an oily one like moisturizer) inconvenience would make it worth it. Even if it turns out to do nothing for me after six months or so, I'll still be slightly better off because I'll still have discovered The Body Shop's tea tree oil face cleanser, which I really really like (I have literally NEVER found a face cleanser that I really really like before: I'm sensitive to perfumed shit, which makes the land of face and body cosmetics a miserable jaunt into NONE OF THIS IS FOR YOU AND YOU WILL PROBABLY GAG IF YOU EVEN WALK INTO OUR DEPARTMENT OF THE STORE MUAHAHA - though kudos to Finland for having a couple of dependable domestic brands of unscented shampoos, shower gels, soaps, and moisturizers).

Oh, I should mention though, on the off chance that anybody has a sensitive nose and is suddenly thinking about tea tree oil - it has a really strong smell in its concentrated forms. Like, tea tree ointment4 or moisturizing mask, or even the facial cleanser, have a definite, rather penetrating, planty-medicinal odor that some people hate and some people like, but it's nothing that's going to knock you back into the wall. You don't have to write home about it. You can get a whiff, form an opinion and then quickly move on. It wouldn't necessarily influence your decision whether to buy a product one way or the other. I am slightly warmer than neutral towards it, without loving it. But if you open a bottle of the 15% solution? WOW. I put it on Wednesday night and then lay in bed awake for half an hour wrinkling my nose. [personal profile] waxjism walked into the bathroom like 20 minutes after me and shouted "WHOAAA!" So, like, don't do that without cautiously sniffing the tester in the store or something first.






  1. Two of my contemporary cousins with slightly worse cases had several teenaged years of Accutane, the antibiotic that has been the popular Big Guns treatment; ten years later they're pretty much fine. But that has side-effects that make it still pretty hotly debated, so I think I'm still glad that my doctor was more cautious and prescribed a face cream with benzoyl peroxide that didn't actually help significantly.


  2. Although the medical trials with 5% oil found no significant side effects, I've seen anecdata about severe skin irritation caused by using it in a higher concentration. The Body Shop's oil, which I bought to try out because it was easy to obtain locally and a small, relatively cheap package, contains 15% tea tree oil. I'm planning to dilute it, but in its present form it was not a skin irritant to me, either. On another note, it can be poisonous if ingested in large quantity, and apparently can even cause symptoms when applied topically to animals? Although I have to admit I've put my own tea tree ointment on the cats and formerly on the dog for small cuts, needle trackmarks and rashes respectively without noticing any effect on them, so again, it might need a much larger concentration to do that. My ointment - typical for a healthfood store product - doesn't have any information about the concentration of the active ingredients in it even though it makes antibacterial claims on the packaging.


  3. Obviously, that doesn't work for like, going out. You can't wear toothpaste on your face under makeup. It's more of a Saturdays and before bed thing. I understand some people quite like drying spot treatments, though. I haven't tried any, but I don't rule out the possibility. If you know any brand names to suggest, they probably won't help me unless you're European because the EU has all kinds of laws that NA doesn't and also different brands of most OTC stuff in any case.


  4. Or lip balm, which I have owned before, and which I find really bemusing now that I know it's poisonous, because uh, even if lip balm has less than 1% of what you would need to be poisonous, it's not like you NEED it on your mouth, we have plenty of medicated lip balms that are perfectly effective already on the market...


cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (i am the others)
I made a big batch of rice and vegetable stew last night with a dash of taco seasoning (chili powder, onion and garlic, oregano, cumin, paprika, black pepper, sea salt). It also contained a dash of cayenne that was meant to be a very small dash, for just a hint, but my dashing skills appear to have been compromised at the crucial moment.

So now the kitchen smells strongly of cayenne and needs to be scrubbed and aired out. I don't have time for that, though. (I'm running out of time to finish knitting a birthday sweater for my sister-in-law.)

After eating the stew my tongue felt numb, which I've now been told is a symptom of a food allergy, and I realized it wasn't the first time I've felt that. I suspect one of these spices is the source of the allergy, which would make sense because I frequently react to spicy food in varying degrees of severity, but not always; and I think the numbness thing can easily be camouflaged behind the tingling and burning that very spicy food produces anyway. I don't know which of the spices it was, though I can probably rule some out, leaving cumin, chili, cayenne, or black pepper.

Now I don't want to eat any more of the stew, and I made enough for like a week. It's a tragic waste of cooking effort and leftovers.

Possibly unrelatedly (it could have been caused by a piece of black pepper corn: that's happened to me plenty of times before...), I woke up with a particular sore spot in my throat, like a spice burn, not like a relapse of the cold I had last week. I suppose it could just be that the stew had too much cayenne and I burned my tender flesh with it or it could be the allergy again, but either way I've been eating buttered toast and bananas and sulking because I want a banana cream pie milkshake but I don't have the vanilla icecream, cookie crumbles, and whipping cream I'd need to make one. Instead I'm drinking blackcurrant and assam tea with honey, and contemplating mint chocolate cookies.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (this is awkward)
I went to my oldest extant friend's wedding last weekend in San Francisco and heard two conversations that were weird/disturbing and related to weight. (I don't know why I posted this on Tumblr first last night? Maybe because I got distracted in the midst of uploading my photos of the trip...)

In case weight/weight loss/overheard mild fat-shaming or whatever is triggery )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (studying)
I'm going to turn 30 in a few months! In the last... maybe... five years or so, I've noticed the feelings/symptoms associated with my periods changing slowly and gradually.

(Note: I am not and have never been on birth control or any other medication that affects hormones... to my knowledge.) (Another possibly less relevant note: my genetics are around 30% sturdy Polish Catholic peasant and another 40% Ashkenazi Jewish and the rest is European and UK Immigrant Soup.)

  • I've always gotten cramps, although for years the pain was only in the small of my back (now it's front AND back!). When I was 15-17 I took 800-1200mg ibuprofen at a time for ~3 days (when I was 19 and suffering from Bad Psychiatry aka Horrible Medication Side Effects, I was too nauseated to eat 80% of the time and one time I consequently got too much ibuprofen too fast because empty stomach/ibuprofen don't mix, and it was such a standout unpleasant experience, even in a year full of nausea, that I never take ibuprofen without at least like 2 slices of bread now, if not a full meal and a full 8 oz of liquid). Nowadays, the cramps are like ½ to 1½ days but sometimes more intensely painful.


  • Hormonal headaches are now a part of the proceedings (sound and occasionally light sensitive but not really bad enough that I feel comfortable calling them migraines?). When I first started to notice them about 5 years ago, they typically arrived at least a full day after the cramps. Nowadays the headache frequently arrives on day 2, but the worst headaches are still after the cramps.


  • For several years I've been craving fatty food for the first four days or so - this frequently results in eating an entire bag of potato chips at a time, which always leaves me feeling gross and slightly queasy. This month I bought two avocados instead, which are definitely more expensive than even the most expensive chips, but way more satisfying when eaten for breakfast (in the form of guacamole) two days in a row.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (lol yep)
It seems to be the time more than the amount of sleep. Like, it doesn't matter when I go to bed, if I get up in time to get to school at 8:30 I WILL be completely exhausted and require a nap just to fortify myself enough to eat dinner.

I wish everything happened 2 hours later. Coincidentally (?), at this time of year, 2 hours later would make midnight fall halfway between dusk and dawn...
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (say my name bitch)
I seem to have slept like an average of 18 out of 24 hours the last week or two. It really feels like the armpit of the year. You wouldn't think the midwinter solstice is already past.

I keep waking up during daylight hours, feeding the pets, then dropping back into bed just to close my eyes for a minute because it's freezing or I woke up in mid-dream, and then waking up like 3 hours later and it's pitch black outside again.

I'm going stir-crazy inside, but it's actually less pleasant outside: right around the freezing point, windy and damp and slushy.

Someone in Wax's family gave us slankets - what are those called... snuggies? for Xmakah (yesterday. And our presents from my family aren't here yet, but I'm informed that they have been mislabelled so the tag on Wax's is going to say it is intended for my great-aunt, but it actually is for Wax). I think they may be mocking us, not that I mind. Those two additions bring the total blankets on or near the sofa to six.

This is an accurate representation of how we have spent our leisure time over the holiday, except that I sort of decreased the amount of yarn, knitting needles, and crochet hooks in the middle of the sofa:

cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (o noes)
This month's presents from my reproductive system: a whole 3½ days of hormone migraines and a pimple on my lower lip that's radiating so much pain despite several applications of aloe that I keep forgetting I don't have a canker sore and a tooth falling out. It's like extra-SUPER-powered pain for no logical reason - much like a hormone migraine in fact.

Apropos of which, I know that often hormone migraines can be ameliorated by taking painkillers a few days in advance, but in practice I have never managed to be organized enough to keep track of which day that would be because that would require planning ahead and I frequently don't even know which day of the week it is. Perhaps some sort of alarm system on my calendar, but I'd be stymied again by the fact that you can't buy more than like 30 pain pills at a time in Finland and they're ridiculously expensive. I stocked up on ibuprofen when I visited my parents, but I didn't bother with aspirin or acetominophen/paracetamol.

Now trying to decide what to watch while I attempt to finish crocheting these fingerless gloves for my sister. All that's left are the thumbs. (I hate the thumbs.)
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (<.<)
I went back to the ER today, according to what I thought were the directions of the previous ER doctor, but then, his English was pretty bad, so I might be wrong. I already knew that the hairline fracture in my left elbow was healing quite well because of the fact that it hasn't been too painful.

A different doctor was impressed by the range of motion and strength I have back already in the wrist - I didn't actually tell him about the quantity of illicit typing I've done in the past three weeks via contorting myself into a variety of ridiculous positions to put my keyboard within a foot of my neck, but I think it's probably been good PT as the original doctor emphasized the importance of using the hand and fingers constantly while the elbow was immobilized. So I am now entirely sling-free, and have been told to bend my arm a lot, and that I should gradually regain the ability to straighten my arm all the way out, but probably not for at least two or three weeks. It is still a little tender at times, so I am probably going to be trying to be cautious about the amount of typing that I do at first, but right now I'm just deliriously happy to have the sling gone.

(I already went back through all my last 3 weeks' delicious bookmarks, looking for the ones I left partially or wholly untagged because I didn't want to type at the time. It wasn't even a whole 100 bookmarks, yet I feel like I've read the entirety of the Captain America/Ironman AND Thor/Loki fic out there in that time. :( Dammit, movies that are recently out or not out yet!)

siiiiiick

21 May 2011 07:12 pm
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (o noes)
I am sicker right now than I've been in aaaaaages, unless you count full-blown panic attacks (I haven't had one of those in over a year though; most of mine are limited-symptom attacks). This seems to be just a flu with fever and cough, but I don't think I've had one of those in the last ten years. It's the same bug Wax is recovering from right now, evidently, so I know what to expect, more or less.

On the other hand, I think I'm too sick to answer email. I can read it, but I can't seem to gather the energy required for more than a few lines at once. Sorry bout that if you're waiting; just give me a few days.

And speaking of a few days, even though the fever came on HARD the night before my interview Friday (causing me to shiver so hard I bundled up in more blankets than I'd use at -25° out), I think it went okay, though not perfectly. I will be hearing from them Wednesday at the latest. I did have to walk there and back at +13° C up a steep hill, and that no doubt contributed to my misery the rest of yesterday. But I did have a sort of good feeling there.

I spent large portions of several years of childhood home sick from school, before I figured out a) food sensitivity and b) the fact that I get debilitating abdominal cramps if anything, including elastic or the waistband of tights, digs into my belly. I watched Singin' in the Rain every time I was home sick, so when I decided to watch it today and Wax threatened to put on her headphones, I muted it and put on the closed captions instead. And proceeded to loudly call out and sometimes exclaim angrily over every minor rephrasing of the spoken lines. I think they do it to make them fit better, but sometimes they really destroy the sense of a line, or even ruin a punchline. It lifted my spirits a bit, but all the recitation can't have been good for my throat, which is just now about as irritated as I get by reading canon inaccuracies about TOS or Sherlock Holmes.

Cat report )

Also is 4 years old too young for button eyes? I'm making Coraline-inspired ragdolls for the niecephews.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (um excuse me)
So far I've been taking Effexor for a month or so, and it has given me reason to be cautiously optimistic. It has two really noticeable side-effects which are... not exactly bad so much as irritating and piquant, respectively.

I. Appetite

[personal profile] waxjism lost a bunch of weight on Effexor. What happened to me is that I can't go more than about four hours without eating (but I can't then eat a big meal - it's impossible to get through a 24-hour period on one giant "dinner" and one very small snack-sized "breakfast", like I did most of last summer when I wasn't on any meds). Eating multiple small meals is supposed to be more healthy anyway, but the medication enforces it.

I get so hungry that I can't concentrate on anything after 4-5 hours of no food, even if I've been drinking tea or even popping occasional candies in my mouth all along; and if I start to overeat, I feel faintly nauseated. (When presented with half a delicious pizza on the ferry from Sweden, I only was able to eat about 2/3. Last summer I'd've eaten the whole thing and then lain in bed moaning that I hate feeling full.)

The problem is that I hate being interrupted in whatever I'm doing to stop and eat so frequently. Eating is usually a chore for me, with exception only for the times when I get to eat one of my very favorite foods. Also I'm kind of lazy about preparing food. It's just not practical to cook that often so for the past month I've been eating tons of single servings of oatmeal or egg noodles or open-face sandwiches, which is about the right size of meal. But that's a really boring diet. I think the long-term solution may require that I plan what I'm doing in advance and cook and divide the food up in portions. :( But I really suck at planning, like, really.

II. Sleeping & Dreaming

The doctor asked if I have a history of insomnia, which I don't, so clearly Effexor has known sleep effects. It doesn't make it any harder for me to fall asleep, weirdly. But what it does seem to do is make it much easier for me to wake up. When I first started I would wake up very briefly about a billion times per night, at what I think was the end of each sleep cycle, before falling right back to sleep again. Now the short wake-ups are starting to blur together into a routine, but I still notice them.

Also my dreams have been startlingly vivid, and not just that, but I think I'm maybe not dreaming as... deeply, because I keep having dreams where I'm apparently struggling to remember that I'm dreaming. This results in a lot of dreams where I have to exert an effort to remember that I can control the dream, and these efforts sometimes work and sometimes don't as I sort of get distracted and forget that I'm dreaming. Also I keep waking myself up by physically mirroring the movements that I made in the dream, or even that one time when I woke myself up by speaking, which are both things that have never happened to me before. Last night I dreamed a witch was trying to drag me out of a fairy tale cottage's open door into a sinister alternate universe and I woke myself up by kicking [the witch] quite vigorously three times. I felt my foot bounce back onto the mattress, which jolted me awake!
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (sad)
I spoke too soon the other day about the sore throat not being a cold symptom! As of the middle of last night I officially can't breathe through my nose. Sudafed (& its ilk) aren't sold OTC in Finland and I just took the last leftover from my wife's last prescription. FML.

Also, right before my alarm went off, a really sweet Finnish receptionist called to postpone my shrink appointment this afternoon because my shrink is sick too. (They try so hard and earnestly to communicate in English ♥) I'm to call back on Wednesday for an update (at which point I'll have to demand a new Effexor scrip right away, since Wed. is the last day of my current one.)

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