Hard To Believe This is Me

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Over the years I have suffered a certain amount physical ailments for which medical doctors can find no cause. The better part of discretion will keep me from detailing my woes (what my beloved grandmother used to call the “organ recital”).

But suffice to say, 1) it’s been going on for a while, 2) ow, 3) four different doctors have said, “want me to write you a big script for liver killing pain meds?” to which I said “no thank you”.

After years of wailing and moaning, a friend suggested I try acupuncture. I figured what the hell, I had exhausted my options with regular doctors so why not try something different?

I am not completely sure what I think about acupuncture. I vacillate from “it’s utter bullmuffins” to “hey, there may be something to this.”

Actually, over the past year or so, I have gotten quite a bit of relief from having those little needles stuck into me. Whether it’s all psychosomatic or not isn’t my place to decide. I just know I feel better, and that’s all that matters.

Since I moved to a different city several months ago, it was untenable for me to visit the same needle sticker as it was just too far away.

At the end of last week I had my first visit with a local hokey-poker to see if she could pick up where the last guy left off.

During the course of this visit, the new gal asked me if she could use a technique in addition to the needles. I say hey, why not. Give it a shot.

The technique was called cupping. My first thought was “oh that’s nice, she’s going to hug me and gently cradle my sensitive places. How thoughtful.”

No, turns out that kind of cupping is best left to The Good Man. She meant taking these glass bowl looking deals, heating them up and plopping them on my well oiled back, creating suction.

Holy smokes it hurt. A lot.

I’d seen photos of celebrities with these big sucker marks on their back and shook my head and chuckled at the time, thinking “buncha weirdos”. And yet here I was letting this lady do the same to me. What I don’t really understand is how those lilly-sensitive spoiled celebs are able to put up with this “treatment” while I had tears of pain rolling down my face.

What have I become? Who am I?

I’m old, that’s what. The days of rubbing a little horse liniment on the owie places is over. If these painful glass jars can help me feel better, well, fine.

When I whimpered a little and called out for my mommy, she said “oh, is that too much?” and she lightened the suction a little.

Finally she removed those sea serpent suckers from my skin with a moist sound and said, “Ok, you’re done. By the way, you might want to mention to your spouse or significant other what happened here. They may be a bit shocked to see the marks on your back.”

Marks? Holy crap, I look like I was treated with a meat tenderizer. My whole upper back was a raw red with big round sucker marks scattered about.

I went home and whined to The Good Man who gave me good clucking sounds and lots of sympathy. Then he did the kind of cupping that I like and that made me feel a lot better.

The skin on my back still isn’t all that pleased but whatever happened last week between the needles and the jars seems to have helped. The pain is standing a little off to the side and I seem to be improving.

Hard to believe a little girl from New Mexico who once held up a hand and solemnly swore, “I believe in the future of farming…” Is now laying on a table letting this woo woo stuff happen.

But I am and this is me and I’ll be damned if this crazy stuff might be helping a little.

: shrug :






Now this is the kind of cupping I am looking for.




Image found here.




Because I Am Meaner Than You

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As time will do, when it passes by it takes little chunks of me with it. I know I wake up in the morning a lot creakier than I used to and there is swiss cheese where my remembering parts used to be.

This problem is true for both humans and animals.

And so it has come to pass that my fourteen and almost fifteen-year-old feline is having a few health issues. It’s not good, but it’s manageable.

What this means, however, is we have to give the fuzzy three different medications.

Now, this animal of ours, she does not like to be messed with. At all. The survival instinct is strong with this one, and fight not flight is her main mode.

This cat stands her ground and then some.

Many of you are probably saying, “nah, that’s just how cats are” and think about how squirmy your cat may be.

Be advised, our vet is scared of this cat. Let me drive that point a little farther in. A woman whose job it is to deal with animals in all forms day in and day out, and has been doing so for almost thirty years, has told us “you know your cat is especially wiggly, right?”

Wiggly. That sounds cute.

It’s not.

So back to these three medications. One is a drop we can put on a piece of food. Fine, that happens easily.

One is a pill. This involves prying her mouth open, which then invites a lot of biting, clawing and hostility. Occasional growling and meowing too. Once the pill is down many hostile looks are sent my way as I watch an animal plotting my death in her mind.

The third is an asthma inhaler. Delivering this medication is, to put it mildly, a rodeo. We watched videos online to see how to do this and every person who said “my cat fights it” or “my cats is extra squirmy” was the owner of the kind of cat I would love to have.

These people who think they have a wiggly cat have not wrapped an arm around Satan incarnate and tried to get the great horned creature to inhale and exhale a minimum of ten times with a rubber mask over its snout.

There have been times The Good Man and I have both tried to hold this feline beast down and administer the meds and haven’t been able to do so.

To be fair, my handsome and adorable Good Man is also a kind man. He’s a gentle soul, which is probably why he is able to put up with me.

He hates seeing his own cat suffer this much. He and that damn feline have been through a lot together, they are like survivors of the wars and he feels it is a betrayal to do this to her.

So the wet work, as they say, falls to me. May I point out the many scratches on my arms, legs and chest?

But I seem to have sorted out how to get the meds into the beast. I have tried many approaches and for the moment I have something that is working. I’m sure that smart cat will figure out a counter attack, but for now, I’m doing it.

Last night as I held that damn asthma mask on the cat and she was actually kind of still (because I had her in a wrestling lock that Rowdy Roddy would be proud of) and breathing, The Good Man looked on in amazement.

“How…how did you do that?” he asked, perplexed. “I don’t understand how you can give her the meds and I can’t?”

I replied simply, “It’s because I’m meaner than you.”

And it’s true.

As a woman of New Mexico, I have worked cattle, horses, sheep and pigs (and on one weird day, turkeys).

When you work livestock you learn more than a little about giving meds to an animal who would rather you didn’t. And how to do it without hurting yourself or the animal.

And how to grit your teeth and be a little mean about it because ultimately it’s being kind. I hope we can get this feisty cat to feeling better.

I have to admit, I admire her survival instinct. Now pass me the Neosporin.





What?!?!




Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.




Dealing with My Affliction

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As mentioned yesterday, last week at work included a roomful of auditors which meant that we not only had to be on our best behavior (for a whole week!!), but we also had to entertain these auditors for the duration of their stay.

When my Boss Lady informed her very own team of minions that we were each expected to attend a dinner with the full audit team, I replied, “But I don’t wanna eat dinner with auditors!”

Not to one to be easily swayed, she replied, “Well you’re gonna!”

And so I did.

Wednesday night last week we went to a local, popular and well Yelp-ranked dining establishment. It is an old warehouse converted to an eatin’ place, as is so hipster cool these days.

I found myself seated right next to one of the auditors, a pretty decent guy from Chicago. Conversation was formal and challenging at first. We were both very guarded.

The fare at the restaurant was simple and good. Not great, but got the job done. Thankfully they had a nice wine selection which helped lubricate the conversation over dinner with a bunch of stilted business folks.

At the end of the meal, and full of enough wine to matter, we were all chatting like old friends. As plates were cleared, dessert menus were plopped on the table in front of us. Since it was a busy night in the warehouse food place, the waiter asked us to share dessert menus because they were running low.

Chicago and I leaned in to look over the selection of sweet treats to end the meal.

Since I’ve had to concede that I actually *do* have lactose intolerance (despite all my best attempts to ignore it and pretend otherwise), looking over the dessert list has become a bit more difficult than has been in the past.

I have to be more thoughtful about my choices.

“So, what are you thinking about having?” Chicago asked.

“Well,” I said, “I’m not sure. Maybe that berry crumble?” He looked at the listing then sat back in his seat and sighed.

“Berries not working for you tonight?” I asked.

“It’s just that…” he faltered. “You see, it’s served with ice cream. And I was recently diagnosed with lactose intolerance.”

“You too!?!” I asked, way too over-excited to find someone else with my gastro intestinal dairy related woes.

We lamented together. He told me that he really misses milk, especially a big glass of cold moo juice with a stack of chocolate chip cookies. I lamented the loss of a late night cereal snack. I told him I’m using almond milk these days and he shook his head, “Yeah, that’s ok. Not like the real stuff though.”

“Yeah,” I couldn’t help but agree. “And I miss ice cream. Oh, wait!” I said, then dug around in my purse and withdrew four Lactaid packets. Enough for us both.

So we both got sort of happy and turned back to the menu and looked again. “Maybe that ice cream…” he said.

It was my turn to sit back with a thud. “As I am sure you have also discovered, Lactaid is an imperfect solution. I don’t know about you, but it helps a little, but not that much.”

“Yeah,” he agreed. And then we both looked sad.

Then Chicago reached out and turned over the menu to the coffee and aperitifs section. “You know,” he said, “We could solve this problem by skipping dessert and having a glass of port.”

My eyes widened and I said, “You. Are. Brilliant.”

And so we did. Two glasses of ten year tawny port were ordered and consumed and I felt nary a tummy rumble after.

Later, without even knowing it, The Good Man was also pleased with my choice.

Because lactose intolerance doesn’t just trouble the afflicted. No, it impacts loved ones too.

I guess I’m learning to live with this terrible, awful affliction.

Good thing I still tolerate wine okay. *grin*








Image found here.




Very Good Reasons

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Whew, and wow, and holy cow and other explicatives.

So here I am, back here at the ol’ blog and oh-so-happy to be back.

This past week was the first time I’ve ever taken a break from My Fair New Mexico in the six years I’ve been at this game. It was really hard for me to step away. Really, really difficult.

Writing somewhere around a thousand words a day about whatever is on my mind is what keeps me sane. Well…as sane as I can be. Which isn’t much.

Here’s the low down on the time away:

As ya’ll know, I’ve started a brand new job, in fact I’ve been here just shy of four months. Still a total newbie and trying to make a good impression.

From the day I started this gig, I was told that there was this really Big Deal coming up at the end of April. The big deal is an audit.

A big whopping audit that looks at our department top to bottom. The review includes our systems, our files, the cleanliness of our socks. All of it.

At the end, the head office decides if we get to keep doing what we are doing, or if we are so out of alignment that every project we do requires executive oversight and approval. (there have been entities that have failed the audit in recent history)

Yeah. This is a huge deal. Basically if we failed the audit, our department would face massive cuts, and being the new person on board, well…make your own conclusions.

Only a tiny amount of GIGANTIC stress.

On top of that, my own sub-team had a massive project due on Tuesday of the same week and one of my (senior level) employees was just not getting her job done. Worse, she seemed not to care one whit that we were going to miss the project drop-dead deadline.

Missing the deadline would mean incurring the wrath of the Chief Information Officer of the company, a formidable person. At four months of employment I am still on probation, so incurring the CIO’s wrath now wouldn’t be a good look for my future here.

And so I was worried. Really worried. Walk the floor at two in the ay em kind of worried. I was getting little to no sleep, working very long days, and filled with massive amounts of stress and worry. This of course, just a short week after The Good Man and I had finished moving to a new town. So no stress there either. *harumph*

To make the long story short, we passed the audit. Yay! And after some yelling and application of heavy doses of guilt my employee finished the project (just barely), so we dodged that bit of unpleasantness from the CIO. I did get a good butt chewing from my boss for letting it get to the very last minute.

So by the end of that week of hell, more precisely by Friday about 10:30am, I was sick with hundred degree fever and sinus pressure so bad I thought my head was going to pop like a kernel of corn in a frying pan.

Brutal. Just simply brutal.

From Friday until yesterday I haven’t even been on the planet. Between fever and Theraflu I think I went on some sort of vision quest. I may have seen my spirit animal, I’m not sure. And the Theraflu dreams. My god the angels and gargoyles that haunt my fevered mind.

Today I am mostly back. Running at about 80% perhaps which is a damn sight better than where I was last week, but still not good.

And so, my dear and loyal readers, that is where I was when I urgently posted on April 30th that I wouldn’t be writing on the blog for a while.

It made me sad to have to post that and walk away.

Let’s not be apart like that again, ok?

Ok.






Image found here.




Old Tradition, New Problem

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The human animal was made, for better or worse, with a pretty good capacity for both memory and a lot of nostalgia. That may be what separates us from other species.

For me, almost every holiday over the course of a year has a tradition. Something, usually food related, that I feel I must do or ingest in order to properly celebrate. The connection usually relates to something that happened when I was a kid and having that food, the preparation, the tasting, the memories, evokes good memories for me.

I’m very driven by food related memories.

Examples include Cadbury eggs at Easter, a hamburger over a grill with burned edges for Fourth of July and a big pile of stuffing with gravy on top for Thanksgiving.

Getting my drift?

And then there’s Christmas. There are plenty of happy food memories we all have at Christmas. For me it’s tamales (how much do I miss living in New Mexico where neighbors and coworkers would give me tamales at the holidays?), Biscochitos, and mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls

And there is one more thing I really love in the month of December: Egg Nog.

Oh lord how I love Egg Nog.

I don’t generally like fluid milk, but add the cream back to it and I’m totally on board. I mean, egg nog is basically milk, cream, sugar and eggs with some spices. That’s it.

You wouldn’t normally tip back a container of full cream and glug glug it down…except at Christmas where a spicy glass is like a mother’s hug. I can drink glass after glass of the stuff.

Totally unhealthy, but what the hell, it’s the holidays! Wooo!

Oh wait.

Yeah, one small hitch. I’ve recently developed a wee bit of lactose intolerance.

When I cried to my doctor to fix it, he simply chuckled and said this happens to a lot of people as they age.

Awesome. Thanks, pal.

I recently read a great article in the Australian online magazine, “The Peach” where the author speaks bluntly of her lactose intolerance.

I found one paragraph completely describes how I feel about it:

Lactose intolerance is very much bowel related which makes it an awkward allergy. A peanut allergy can make you go into anaphylactic shock, sure, but you won’t crap your pants in the meantime. A bee sting can make you swell up like a pumpkin, but here’s hoping you won’t let out a giant fart on your way to the emergency room. There are so many life-threatening allergies out there, so I am extremely lucky to have one that simply makes me bum-sick…

Source.

Yeah. But still…..

Lactaid is certainly helpful, but it’s a very imperfect solution. It makes the issues less, but does not alleviate them entirely.

Which means after slugging down two glasses of Egg Nog for dinner last night (not with…FOR) about an hour later my darling spouse was treated to some rude behavior from my lower digestive tract.

Just don’t let my chestnuts get too close to that open fire, if you know what I’m saying.

And I think you do.







Image by -rentnarb and downloaded royalty free from Deviant Art.