Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Seven Christmas Colds

I'd rather have the swans a-swimming, of course... when I came down with a new chest-cold this weekend, Caroline asked me when was the last time I wasn't sick on Christmas; I didn't know, so had to look through the archives here to find out: it was in 2005.  I've been sick on Christmas seven years in a row, and eight altogether in the eleven years I've had a blog.  That's kind of amazing... no wonder I've got where I hate Christmas, it has become the Season of Suffering.

I should be used to it by now:  I've been sick more often than not for the last thirteen months. And I knew before I started on Christmas stuff this year that I wasn't going to be up to much, so we were able to keep it simple: a smaller than usual tree, one gift only, dinner in a restaurant.  It was actually really nice and almost hassle-free.

However, my depression has made even this much Christmas a trial.  Not only am I always sick on Christmas, I'm very often depressed as well.  This year, I not only lacked Christmas Spirit, I lacked any kind of joy at all.  "Mildly pleased" was the best I've been able to manage this month.  I've also missed four days of work so far just this month, on mornings that I just could not make myself get out of bed, or couldn't stop crying, or both.

The depression is pretty much my whole life right now, and I'm ever so tired of it.  I have an appointment with my psychiatrist in a few months, but we're tweaking my meds in the meantime (increase the Wellbutrin, decrease the Zoloft); also, I was able to see my new GP this week (my former GP, whom you may remember as Dr. McHottie, retired this summer due to personal issues), and he gave me some things to do to improve my health.

Exercise was of course the first part, as everyone always tells me.  Even if I'm so depressed I can barely breathe, if I can only make myself do one thing on any given day, that one thing should be to walk briskly for fifteen minutes.  It will improve me mood, as I well know (but knowing and doing are such different things), and might help some of the ache in my joints.  But he also prescribed a steroid nasal spray (Flonase is the brand name, I forget the generic name) which should get these interminable head-colds in order.

The main problem with my nose is allergies, and Flonase is an allergy medication (I think), but the good doctor felt that if I could get my allergies under control, I will be less liable to catching colds nasally.  I got the impression that the steroids "strengthen" the nasal passages as well as keeping them clear.  Or something to that effect.  It will also help with the sleep apnea, which will hopefully give me better bedrest,  The stuff is awful, though; it smells like acetone and turpentine, with a bottom note of model-airplane glue; but now I can walk around saying that I'm on steroids.

Well, that's really all I have to report on.  I'll probably pop in to do a birthday/new-year's thing, or I might not.  Either way, I will have a new picture near the top of the screen.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Picture Post: Utter Randomonium

I'm still not in the mood to write here, so here are some piccies to hold you over... random stuff found around the web, and some of it is really random.  And if you're still craving some words from me, please visit Lord Foxbridge Butts In to bask in my brilliance.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I have a tendency to start things in September, a pattern laid down by new school years and reinforced by my bipolar disorder... I always run a little manic in September.  Or maybe it shows up now because I'm expecting a new beginning, and...

Oh, who cares.  I get tired of analyzing myself, sometimes.  Whatever the reasons, I am in one of my Beginnings modes.  I was in one this time last year, and the year before.  It's fairly standard.

The depression I discussed in my last two posts continued to be a burden to me over the course of the summer, occasionally dipping into debilitating emotional crises. But I met with my psychiatrist late in August and have been building a new program for mental health ever since: aside from tweaking my meds, I am also diving into the deep end of the talk-therapy pool.

I started off with a depression support group, which at my first appointment turned into a private consultation as none of the rest of the group showed up.  I found it very cathartic, revealing some fears I am experiencing in relation to Grandmother, and discussing ways of working through those fears. The second meeting brought one other person into the group, but the group is going to be ending after the next meeting, as it is not very well attended.

The therapist who runs that group felt, though, that I would benefit from attending a social anxiety/phobia support group.  My fears of losing Grandmother, while perfectly natural, might be less debilitating if I had a larger support system of friends and social groups built around myself.  That made sense, and I know a lot of my other issues in life have to do with social phobia, my insane fear of rejection and my overwhelming sense of embarrassment in groups.

She felt that I could probably be very successful, since I have in the past been socially phobic but managed to become a sociable person, but then lost the knack for it, rather than having been asocial my whole life.  Having once overcome the fear, I can look forward to finding ways to overcome it again.  I didn't fully realize how small my world has become in the last few years; I knew that I had pushed away or lost track of most of my friends, these last few years where it's been very difficult to reach out beyond myself to connect; but I did not really think about how that was feeding my depression, how it was keeping me from building better coping mechanisms.

I am also, at the same time, starting a therapy group for gay men.  Though I don't really think my depression and my sexuality are all that much linked, it is nice to be around people you don't have to tell you're gay (I am still not used to that... I used to be so obvious, but now I get older and tireder, and now that straight men are more allowed to be feminine, I find myself having to say it aloud).  Anyway, I'm looking forward to having a forum in which I can discuss things that are bothering me.

My chief hope is that these two groups will help me to feel safe in groups again, and I will be able to rejoin AA, which I have not been able to attend very much in the last few years as the social anxiety made those rooms uncomfortable and upsetting to me.  I miss AA a lot, the people I knew there and the serenity and joy I used to get from the program.

So that's going on, and as I've learned in the past, doing something for my mental health is beneficial to my mental health regardless of the efficacy of what I'm doing... the mere act of doing something helps drag me out of the depths.  These last few weeks, though I cannot say I am in glowing mental or physical health... in fact it has been like pulling teeth to get up some mornings, and between my allergies and an intermittent headcold I've been kind of miserable... I have not felt depressed (and by 'depressed' I mean weepy and suicidal) since I met with my psychiatrist and launched into all this therapy.

Also, almost entirely due to the hypomanic episode that started two weeks ago, I have started a new writing project.  It came to me in a flash late on a Sunday afternoon at the end of August, the idea of creating the character Lord Sebastian Saint-Clair, Viscount Foxbridge, a young gay dilettante in 1930s England who becomes involved in various mysteries and investigations due almost entirely to his inquisitive nature and his ability to mix in every level of society.

The project has been intensely gratifying, and intensely stimulating.  The amount of research required to recreate an historical period has been incredible fun, and informative as well, completely occupying my mind these last couple of weeks.  I am planning to turn it into a serial novel, publishing it on its own blog as I usually do with my writing.  I'll probably be using this project when NaNoWriMo comes around, starting a new story or two during November to see how fast I can write.

The most interesting aspect is that I'm not planning ahead much.  The first story, "The Problem of the Prancing Pole" was begun without me having any idea what the problem was going to be, who the murder victim was, or who the killer was.  It was more like reading than writing... up until the last few pages, I didn't even know who the killer was; it was terribly exciting to figure out an appropriate solution from facts I'd established without an end in sight.

Now I've started on the next story, "The Difficulty of the Diplomatic Dutchman," which so far involves some papers stolen from Baron van der Swertz, and will later on encompass a sticky-fingered rent-boy, perhaps a prostitution-and-blackmail ring, maybe a murder, possibly something to do with the contents of the missing papers and perhaps not... I have no idea, and am looking forward to finding out.

I am also starting to backburner-cogitate on later story possibilities, utilizing characters I've introduced in passing so far: Lady Caroline Chatroy, the daughter of the Duke of Buckland; the Marquis de Mazan who has not been seen yet except for his name; the Tenth Earl of Vere, and his sister Lady Emily Saint-Clair; the Argentinian waiter Emmanuel and the hotel manager Paul Delagardie; and of course I'm going to have to drag Bunny Vavasor, Lord Foxbridge's best friend, into a nasty mess to be sorted out, all the while furthering the romance with Scotland Yard Sergeant Sir Oliver Paget.

Much of the fun comes from making oddball references with the names.  Paul Delagardie, for example, was the name of Lord Peter Wimsey's maternal uncle in Dorothy Sayers's novels; the Marquis de Mazan was one of the subsidiary titles held by the Marquis de Sade; the Vavasor family is featured in Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels, and Bunny is the name of A.J. Raffles's sidekick; Count Gryzynsky was the name Julie Andrews' character adopted in Victor/Victoria.

Unfortunately, the hypomanic episode has already left me flat, and I've been finding it difficult to continue.  But I'm going to keep plugging away because it gives me something interesting to think about besides how awful I feel at any given moment.  But if you haven't yet, go visit Lord Foxbridge Butts In and have a gander; and please do tell me what you think, I rely very heavily on feedback to keep me moving forward.

So that's what's up with me just now.  Hopefully I'll have energy to check in with you sooner than November 9th, which seems to have become the pattern here.  I don't like neglecting this diary too long, it leaves these big holes in my own memory of my own history.  And that just won't do.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm Done Sulking

Well, not completely done, I reserve the right to sulk again whensoever I choose, and I have a feeling I shall so choose fairly soon.  But I'm done for mood has tended fair more often than not the last couple of weeks and I am feeling a little more like being a part of life.

There's nothing much going on that's worth writing about, though.  I'm not as depressed as I was when I last wrote, nor as sick as I have been for the last several months; but I'm still very low on energy and not very interested in being around people... which is OK, particularly in comparison to what came before, but doesn't give me a lot of interesting things to discuss.

I've been doing more reading (Dr. Shrink says to turn off the computer a half-hour before sleepytime), doing lots of crossword puzzles (a hobby I've neglected the last few years), and playing with The Sims 3 (I knew it was only a matter of time before I succumbed to that particular temptation).  I've been wanting to write, but not having any feeling of what I want to write; I've been not wanting to go out, and so have not.

The Maw is doing better; though I still can't comfortably wear the temporary dentures, I've become quite adept at talking without teeth, and eating a larger variety of soft foods, and holding my jaw at the correct angle so I don't look toothless (one of the worst things when you have no teeth is the urge to close your jaw completely, which makes your face fold up in a particularly unattractive manner).  The sinus infection has finally cleared up... just in time for allergy season to get underway, so they're still giving me some trouble, but nothing so bad as the infection.

And I guess that's pretty much all I have to say at the moment.  Toodles!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Eff it All to Aitch

I'm feeling really crummy, and have been feeling really crummy for quite a while... not continuously, but often enough that the non-crummy days are vastly outnumbered and cower below the surface of memory, making not a peep.

I think it may be coming time to change medications again.  The depression has become increasingly acute in the last months; I initially attributed these downswings to my other health problems, and the usual Vernal Equinox swing that I get every year during February and March.  But I haven't had any major health crises (except for a severe chest cold) in the last month or so, and March has come and gone and taken April with it, and I'm still fluctuating.

Contributing to this fluctuation is The Maw, my new catch-all phrase for the variety of things going on in my mouth.  I had all my extractions done Friday before last (the end of April), and while I was fairly well braced for pain and discomfort, was not even remotely prepared for the frustration of trying to talk with no teeth, the incredible discomfort of wearing temporary dentures that don't quite fit right, and the discomfort/frustration combo of trying to talk with my temporary dentures.

Neither was I prepared for the sinus problems that attended on so many extractions, one breach so big I can shoot water through my nose with it; with so many fluids going through my sinuses (which are supposed to be a closed system), it's no surprise that sinus infections have come and gone and come again.  Between the pain in the sinuses and the pain in the gums, it's no wonder I'm getting depressed... pain is depressing.

And then there's an issue of nutrition: even with my dentures in, I can't chew anything... if it's not soft enough to be mashed against my hard palate, I can't eat it at all.  And though I have never been a big fan of eating hard apples or munching on corn-on-the-cob, I am suffering mightily from not being able to eat cheese and crackers, hamburgers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, steamed broccoli, or Clif bars. I'm pretty much limited to soup, pudding, ice-cream, yogurt, canned fruit, and canned ravioli.

The only really nutritious foods I can get down are V8 juice and meal-replacement shakes... and of course, if given a choice between a bucket of rice pudding or a big glass of V8, or between a dish of ice cream or an Atkins shake, guess which one I'm going to choose? And so since I'm eating more sweets than anything else, the increased sugar and lack of nutrients are messing with my moods, as well.

Not having a car has been a little depressing, too.  Though I really do enjoy taking the bus to work and back (most of the time, when they run on time), but it's oddly emasculating to always be a passenger in other people's cars.  I have for a long time been very skillful at making myself the designated driver in any situation... "Let's take my car," has been my perennial suggestion pretty much ever since I started driving ten or so years ago.  Part of it is a control issue (I don't like how other people drive), and part of it is an independence issue (I don't like having to rely on others for my needs), but it's a lot more deeply ingrained in my psyche than I thought it was.  I'd prefer to not go places than to have to ask for a ride to them.

So with all that going on, life is just one long moaning sigh.  But this, too, shall pass (it had better!)  I am getting a little more accustomed to the toothlessness and dentures, which have basically required me to relearn speech from the ground up (lots of consonants have had to be moved to entirely different portions of my mouth than I am used to); and I should be getting my permanent dentures around the end of August, which are guaranteed to fit perfectly, allowing me to chew and talk sensibly and all that jazz.  And I'll get another car in the next couple of months, as soon as I can save up a bit (meaning I'm going to have to cut waaaaaaay back on the shopping) so I can at least go to the grocery store when I want, if not take road trips.

Well, that's all I have to say at the moment.  See you next time!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Little of This, a Little of That

Things have been kind of weird lately...busy, sleepy, sickly, in pain, and involved in other things...hence the lack of blog posts. But I feel like updating today, and maybe gaining some perspective from it.

The biggest piece of news, I think, is that my poor Miss Jane (my first new car, a 2002 Ford Focus SE) has dropped dead; there's a design flaw in that model of Focus, where the "valve seat" (which is the bottom of the chambers that hold the pistons, I believe) cracks or, in my case, simply falls off the engine block; the only repair available is to buy another engine, at a cost of at least $3000 (more than the down payment on a new car) and only lasts a year or so longer since it has to be an engine from another 2002 Ford Focus, which will contain the same flaw.  And since the model is ten years old, and the flaw never manifests until well after 90k miles (on average more than 110k) there's no recall available.

And of course, I haven't the money to buy a new car... nor even an old car.  I mean, I might be able to save for two months to afford a total beater that rattles like a dying whale and smells of old upholstery and french fries, but I'm not really into the idea of driving an old beater again after having had a new car.  So I've decided to become a public transit user.

Winter is of course not the ideal moment to get into the habit of taking buses and trains, especially with the utterly epic rainstorms we had last week; and the walking from home to the bus-stop and from bus to BART and BART to work and work to bus and bus to home is no fun in the rain when I'm not feeling my best to begin with; but after getting used to the timing of it, I find I rather enjoy it.  There are always people to look at, after all, and it gives me lots of mental downtime... I can listen to music, and even read, but most of the time I just sit and look around me without thinking about anything in particular at all.  It's quite restful, in its way.

So pleased am I that I decided to apply for Commuter Checks through my employer, so I can buy my transit card with pre-taxed dollars, having $60 taken out of each paycheck so I can load my Clipper Card with an $80 bus-pass and $40 worth of BART fare (I find I only need to take BART in the morning, though I can take two buses home... a matter of timing and of avoiding high-school students) and reduce my taxable income a little bit further.  So even if I do get a car (and I will have to have a car sometime, I won't be able to live in my neighborhood indefinitely without one), I will continue to commute to work on public transit.  It will save me a fortune in parking fines, I'm sure, not to mention wear-and-tear on whatever kind of vehicle I end up with.

Which left me with the question of what to do with Miss Jane.  Since she's essentially irreparable, I figured I'd just have her towed off to a wrecking yard to be squished.  But then I realized that I'd have to clean all of my junk out of the car first, which delayed my decision-making long enough to find out that I can actually sell her for parts.  There's a place called Pick-n-Pull here in Oakland (it's a chain, actually) that I have visited on a number of occasions with my sister, back when I was driving beaters; they have loads of broken-down old cars that you can go into and scavenge for parts.  So I requested an online estimate, and they offered me well over $300 for the carcass.  It's rather an ignominious end for an old friend, but I think of it as donating her organs to vehicles in need... and getting a nice little bonus for my troubles.

In other news, I have finally launched the process of having my teeth replaced by dentures.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I was able to apply for a credit account to pay for it, so I can get the work done first and then make convenient monthly payments instead of having to save up and pay for them up front.  I had two more teeth pulled a couple of weeks ago when they became painful, and they started taking molds (a vile process) so that I can have a temporary set of teeth available before they pull the rest of them.  I have to wait another week for the first set of molds to be completed, and then have a second fitting to make sure they look right and feel right before the manufacturer mills the product; then another few weeks before they start extracting.

I am going to have to time it just right... after the last two extractions, I was in so much (and such prolonged) pain that I missed two days of work and was virtually useless during the week when I did manage to get to work... the last tooth pulled had breached my sinus, which got infected, and then allergy season started, and the hole was really deep and didn't heal as quickly as other extractions had, and I was just a big old mess.  So when I go in to have all of my teeth pulled at once, I want to be sure that I have time to recover before returning to work, and then a light workload waiting for me when I do return.

But I'm looking forward to it.  I am vain enough to want straight nice-looking teeth, though my one crooked tooth isn't that big a deal and nobody but me notices it; and I'm not so vain that I can't stand the idea of false teeth at age 44...after all, both my parents and my sister had dentures long before my age.

And speaking of vanity, my project to snazzify my wardrobe continues apace.  I never go out anymore without something around my neck, either an ascot (or more likely a large scarf tied as an ascot) or a necktie; I usually wear shirts with collars, most with cufflinks, with either a v-neck sweater or a waistcoat, and though I occasionally will go back to my old layers of thermal tee and sweater, I still dress the neck up with a cravat and stick-pin at the very least.

My latest craze is pocket-squares, I bought an enormous lot of handmade Italian silks in a couple dozen different colors and patterns, and have been coordinating them with my neckwear... though very little of my winter clothing has top pockets for squares, since I don't wear a lot of blazers at this time of year: I'm pretty much in my big black raincoat all the time now.  But I do have a very nice herringbone wool overcoat for the non-damp days, and when spring (or what passes for spring) actually arrives, I'll start back into the blazers and go hog-wild with the pocket squares.  Maybe even launch into boutonnieres.

On the other hand, I'm starting to wonder about my lower half... I'm still wearing khakis and sneakers on a daily basis, and they sort of undermine the dapper look I'm going for.  But I can't wear just any kind of shoe with my balance problems and joint pain; and I don't like wearing slacks, as they tend to be either too thin or too scratchy of material, and have to be dry-cleaned instead of thrown in the laundry. During this cold weather I've been gravitating toward corduroy to keep my legs warm, and they do look a little more dressy than twill, but I only have a few pairs, and most of them are jeans-style.

Oh, well, I'll cross that bridge later on.  If you're interested in keeping track and seeing  how I'm doing, I've started documenting the more appealing outfits by taking pictures and posting them on FaceBook; if it's a really great outfit, I post it on Pinterest, too.

Pinterest is my latest obsession.  A coworker turned me on to it, and though on my first visit I wasn't terribly impressed, seeing mostly pictures of cute animals and overly-precious baked goods, subsequent visits caught my interest with men's fashion, really interesting DIY projects, art, architecture, home decor, and of course beautiful young men in various states of undress. 

If you've never heard of it, Pinterest is a place to share (pin) things in which you are interested (hence the name).  If you're interested in home decor, for example, you can browse the Home Decor category and see things that may inspire you, and that you may wish to pin to your own board; and while you're browsing around on the rest of the internet, you might see something that you'd like to share, and you can pin it to your board with a link and picture to share with fellow "Pinners" and have handy for reference.  You can also pin things into different categories than the one in which you found them...for example, I find things on the fashion pages that go into my beefcake category, or something in an art board that I end up placing on my elephant-enthusiast board... thereby exposing the image to more people.

The interface is image-driven, so if you're interested in things which do not have some kind of visual representation, you probably won't find much to detain you; but if you like crafts, or cooking, or fashion, or any visual or visible art of any kind, I encourage you to visit.  I get a lot of great clothing ideas there (the pocket-square obsession had its genesis on the Men's Apparel boards), and I get to pin things that I've seen online and want to buy or copy sometime in the near future.

One of the best things about Pinterest, for me, is that it's easy-in/easy-out.  You can spend an hour or so browsing, or you can spend a minute checking on the pinners you follow or glancing over a favorite category.  There's nothing there that you have to become engaged with, as there is on FaceBook or other places I visit regularly.  It's the perfect visual respite while doing data entry or waiting for something to download.

So what else...Oh, yes, the CPAP machine... as I posted last time, I have been diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea, and so before prescribing me a CPAP machine at a great deal of expense to Kaiser and to myself (since my plan only pays 50% of "durable medical equipment," or DME) they gave me a loaner to try out for a couple of weeks to see if it works.

At first I was very excited about it, since it's a very nice machine that warms and humidifies the air before forcing it into my nose, and since the mask that comes with it is extraordinarily comfortable.  I had fantasized about being able to get a full night's sleep without waking up three or four times, as I've been doing, spending the appropriate amount of time in REM sleep, and having oxygen-rich blood pumping through my system and restoring my tissues to a more youthful vigor.

Alas, the reality was something of a let-down.  For while I was quite comfortable wearing the thing while I was awake, and enjoyed having the air blown into me, I found it impossible to sleep with the mask on: every time I moved my head, the mask slipped and air came blowing out around my face... sure to wake up even the deepest sleeper.  If I tightened it enough that it wouldn't slip, it pressed against the flesh around my nose and made it harder to breathe.  And finally, the pressure of the forced air (it doesn't breathe in and out like a respirator, it maintains steady pressure) requires you to push your exhaust breath out of your nose, which was surprisingly painful to my inner ear (forcing air into the eustachian tubes...a word I'd always loved until they started hurting); and the pressure on breathing out made me instinctively open my mouth to get the air out more easily, which results in short-cirtuiting the air pressure and sending all the air out of my mouth instead of into my lungs.  It's a very strange sensation, blowing a continuous stream of air out of your mouth (plus it gives you a nasty case of cottonmouth).

So the CPAP is apparently not for me.  Maybe if they have a kind that has variable pressure or something, I might look into that, but in the meantime I'm just going to have to do what I can with other remedies.  I have found, for example, that cleaning out my nasal passages with a saline rinse and then sniffing a Vic's Vapo-Inhaler before bed helps me breathe a great deal easier at night.  A half-dose of allergy medication is also extremely beneficial, and makes me drowsy as well.  And I am planning on getting a larger bed (this one, in fact), which might also help, as I don't think I'll wake up every time I turn over as I do now on my rather narrow sofa.

Well, that's really all I can think of right now... or rather, all I really want to talk about today, though there are some other topics I could explore, changes in my home and work and social life.  But I have gained some perspective from the above: I have an awful lot going on, no wonder I'm so dazed and vague!  Maybe I can be a little bit kinder to myself about it.

Until next time, don't take any wooden igloos!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

You and Your Bright Ideas!

The strict diet detailed in my last post turned out to be ill-advised, ill-timed, and ill-making.  I plunged into a particularly nasty depression on Thursday evening which weighed me down like a ton of urine-soaked turds; it got worse and worse until Wednesday (yesterday) when I suddenly wondered if the depression and the diet might be related.  Considering that I started eating normally at once, making two peanut-butter and honey sandwiches (for medicinal purposes, you understand) and having a good snack whenever I got hungry, and now feel miles better, I think I can safely say that the diet definitely caused the depression.

Or rather the weakness caused by the diet sparked the depression and fanned its putrid flames.  I don't know what I was thinking, starting a crash diet when I am still fatigued from the hepatitis.  I'm already physically weak, so I shock my body with a sudden decrease in portions, sugars, and fats?  How did I think that was a good idea?

Of course, I don't plan to go all the way back in the other direction and start eating doughnuts and cookies all day every day, either.  I will continue to make smarter food decisions, eating lots of vegetables and going for the slow carbs (such as whole grains) instead of the fast carbs (such as refined flour and sugar) whenever possible, but not cutting fast carbs completely.

And I absolutely have to pair that smarter diet with plenty of cardio exercise... for weight management and for my depression and for my fatigue.  Daily gym-visits after work are called for, I think.  I can start slow, twenty minutes at a low resistance level on a machine, rather than try to jump on for forty minutes at level 5.  Then I can work my way back into a more regular routine.  But I can't put it off until "tomorrow" as I've been doing... if I don't feel like going on Wednesday, I can't wait for Friday, I have to go on Thursday and Friday.

Which means I have to change my clothes a lot.  I don't much like changing my clothes.  Especially now that my clothes are so much more complicated than they used to be.  With a t-shirt, a sweater, a scarf, a beat-up jacket and a cloth cap, I could just stuff my clothes into my gym bag when I changed; but now I'm wearing dress shirts and vests and blazers and shaped fedoras that have to be hung up and treated carefully.  I always get out of them as soon as I get home, hang them up and get into my PJs instead so I don't get them too frowsty too soon... which isn't very different from changing at the gym, but I have clothes racks and hat racks at home from which to hang my nice things.

I guess I could go back to the crushable clothes, but I've spent so much money on this new look (especially the hats... I spent $95 bucks on one of them, but I look so dashing it was worth every penny) that I am deeply reluctant to let it go.  My cufflinks collection has grown by leaps and bounds, I occasionally rock the ascots, and I have just started in on stick-pins; what will I do with all this stuff if I go back to my schlubwear?

Well, I suppose a solution will present itself eventually.  I guess I can keep a hanger in the car and change there instead of in the locker room (which I don't like doing, anyway, despite the flashes of bootie and peen one gets in there...the smell is awful, and I hate being seen unclothed).

In other news, my fatigue has been given a better excuse than just the hepatitis and the depression (as if they weren't enough): in his quest to figure out what all is wrong with me, my doctor ordered a sleep study for me.  These days the equipment is portable, no overnight in the hospital with sensors all over your body... it's just a sort of wrist-watch affair you wear with different kinds of sensors stuck on your index and ring fingers.  You can do it at home, and it's completely unintrusive.

But it turns out I have moderate sleep apnea: I stopped breathing twenty-four times per hour.  That's once every two and a half minutes or so.  Since I apparently don't wake all the way up when this happens, don't exit the REM state every time, it isn't giving me the awake-all-night problems; but it does keep me from getting as deep of a sleep with plenty of restorative oxygen carrying nutrients to my depleted tissues... and I do wake up during the night, which always bugs the hell out of me.

I have a feeling that some of this has to do with getting rid of my queen-sized bed in exchange for a couch in my room.  I did it because I was sleeping on so little of my bed that it seemed a waste to keep it; but if it's contributing to the apnea, or just to the waking up at night, I may have to go back to it and keep it cleared off so I can spread out and roll around easier.

Well, we shall see.  In the meantime I am going to pursue the weight-loss (with exercise, and a little bit of diet) and indulge in a few home remedies for the apnea, and do what I can to keep myself happy.  And no  more stupid system shocks... even with diets that worked in the past when I didn't have hepatitis or sleep apnea on top of all the fat.

Though, on the plus side, I did lose seven pounds and an inch of belly.  So it wasn't a complete waste.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Little Less to Love

So I've started back onto my diet, the one that worked so well two years ago but which I completely discarded as soon as a good depression came along.  But with all my illnesses lately, and the ongoing fatigue of the hepatitis, I've decided that taking more positive steps to improving my health and my self-image is the way to go.  And part of that is to get rid of my belly and improve my circulation... and the only way you can do those is through that dreaded duo: Diet & Exercise.

Those as remember all the way back in 2009 (or those who are willing to read the archives), the diet consists of eating a 250-calorie meal every two hours, avoiding fats and carbs, and drinking water or herb tea whenever I feel peckish but it's not time to eat.  Actually, that time I did 200-calorie meals, but I had more weight to lose and a metabolism-slowing antidepressant to work against, which this time I do not; last time, I lost fifty pounds in ten weeks, but this time I'm only looking to lose thirty pounds in the same amount of time, so I can be a little less Draconian in my calories. 

I decided that Chinese (or rather Lunar) New Year was the best time to start, getting off to a good start in the Year of the Dragon (the most auspicious of years).  It's very encouraging, during the dark moments of agitating hunger, that I have done this before, and successfully.  Knowing you can do it is different from thinking you can do it, and that extra little fillip of knowledge has been very helpful this week.

For my next step, I have to get back into the swing of going to the gym three times a week.  Which means that I have to keep gym clothes available, either by maintaining a gym bag or just keeping a change in the car.  To do that, I'm going to have to do a lot of laundry, since the clothes I wear to the gym are also the clothes I wear to bed, and so I tend to run out when I've been sick or depressed for any length of time.

I also have to be extra careful of my back when I exercise, since it's still weak from the injury in November (and I haven't been doing my physical therapy exercises with the regularity that I should).  I have another PT appointment tomorrow, one I've kept putting off and rescheduling because I feel ashamed that I haven't been doing my exercises; but I do want him to see if there's anything else I can be doing that I don't have to do regularly for it to be effective (like a magic potion, or fairy sweat, or something).  Plus my therapist is as cute as a button, which always makes a visit a little more pleasant (and a little more worth the thirty-dollar co-pay).

Not much else going on, I'm afraid.  But I'm looking forward to feeling better... I don't expect that I will be quite back in form until the hepatitis passes, but I can certainly make some improvements before then that will make the return of my liver to full functionality even more pleasant.  And getting back into my thin clothes will be a treat.

Speaking of treats...