Currently Listening To: Crystal Method, "Community Service."

Currently Reading: Jan Bondeson, Buried Alive. A reread of a book dealing with mankind's fear through the centuries of being buried alive, and the lengths mankind went to in order to try to avoid said fate. A big, warm hug of a book.

Actually Bondeson has a great dark sense of humor and often the book is really funny, God help me. The old German woodcutting of a doctor administering a tobacco-smoke enema to a corpse (using a really, really long pipe) to test it for signs of life? Hilarious, in a very sick way.

(Hey! Could that be where the expression "Don't blow smoke up my ass" comes from?)




















Things Moving On.

I don't know why the hell I seem to be on a twice-monthly update schedule. But there it is.

So. First off, thanks to everyone who wrote offering condolences about my dear Cleo. We're all doing better than we were, but the week after her death was particularly hard. I can't think of anything to say that doesn't sound utterly trite, but it's still hard to believe she's really gone and it still hurts to think about it all. So I won't belabor things.

Last week, I developed the Martian Death Cold I manage to get every damn summer. Colds suck but for once I didn't really mind the excuse to stay home from work and sprawl on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket and watching "ER" reruns and feeling disgustingly sorry for myself.

Today Bill and I met with a new neurologist, who will remain pseudonymous due to an embarassing incident involving my last neurologist, a relative of his, a web search engine, and my old entries that used his real name pretty frequently. That's not why I had to find a new neurologist, but it caused us to part on a little bit of an awkward note and I do feel badly about that, because he was a good doctor and a nice guy.

I'm constantly having to remind myself that the way I see this journal is not how Joe Random Guy Who Might Be Named In These Pages could see it. When I write here I feel like I'm having a conversation with a handful of friends. Joe Random Guy Etc. might see his name and feel as if I've purchased full-page ad spaces in all the world's newspapers to broadcast comments about him. And when you get right down to it, he's probably closer to the truth than I am.

(Honestly, that's part of why I haven't updated quite as often. I'm not stupid and I always knew that anyone could find this journal at any time, but having that fact come home to roost a few times recently has really spooked me. I don't want to write about work in more than the most general terms; I don't want to write too much about my family or friends; I don't want to write about random people I deal with ... gee, there's not a whole hell of a lot left, is there?)

Anyhow. End of MetaDigression. My previous doctor was leaving the area and his office had already stopped accepting my insurance plan before he gave notice. I'd been willing to pay the fee for a standard visit as long as he was there, but now there wasn't much reason for me to stick with the old place. I felt some sort of strange attachment to that office because that's where I went when I first developed MS symptoms and I felt like I'd been through a lot with them and come through it beautifully with their help. But that's life ... all about the change, isn't it?

The new neurology center is only about five or ten minutes away from the old place, but a world away in terms of the size and the staffing. A large, loud TV in the sizeable lobby blasted a special health-related CNN station at us. "Anything and everything you like to eat and enjoy doing is BAD for you! Coming up -- a new segment on why you're killing yourself just sitting there watching TV like that, ya slob." It made me long for the places that blared soap operas and game shows at us. Before I met up with Bill, I'd bought a bottle of that new fruit-flavored "vitamin-enhanced" water that Kelly Ripa hawks on TV. The stuff tasted like cold watery watermelon lip gloss and I probably wouldn't buy it again anyhow, but HealthCNN devoted an entire segment to how thunderingly stupid and useless -- and often highly caloric -- such products are.

(I really didn't need to be told that, of course. I'm just strangely susceptible to TV advertising anymore. I keep buying Vanilla Coke because, and only because, Chazz Palminteri keeps assuring me it's really refreshing and tasty, even though my brain tells me it tastes like ... well, like shit. Shit with a weird artificially-vanilla aftertaste, at that.)

Let's call my new neurologist Dr. Jones. If someone gets here searching for a neurologist named Dr. Jones, you can relax -- I'm definitely not talking about your Dr. Jones, okay? She's a very nice woman and after a lengthy consultation in which I surprised myself by just how well I was able to reconstruct the whole MS saga from its beginning to the present, she did a brief examination and told me I was doing really well.

And it's funny how little else there is to say on that score. I remember how hopeless I felt two years ago, how sure I was that the world as I knew it was pretty much over. These days, the whole MS issue is basically "Oh yeah. That thing." It's something that's always lurking in the back of my mind, of course, and some days the anxiety preys on me a little more than usual. I went through a phase about a month ago when I was unusually prone to tripping, which is something a lot of MSers complain about. I twisted the hell out of my right ankle, and I couldn't help but fret a little about what the sudden spate of falls meant. But then I just started paying more attention to where I walked. End of tripping problem.

And end of MS saga to date. I'm knocking on wood as I write this, but I still haven't had a major exacerbation since the last one two summers ago. And if there's ever been a year where I'd be likely to develop one, this would have to be it. New house and all the associated hassles and stress, the death of a pet, and one of the most beastly hot summers in memory ... and I'm still fine. That's something to hold in my mind and make me happy when it feels as if everything else stinks.

The next entry.

Previously, in Insomniaville...

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