Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Short, but not sweet

Does everything really happen for a reason? I try to tell myself that my trials and tribulations in life could be a gift. But some days that's a really hard sell. Looking back on my past I examine events that at the time seemed to be the end of my life, but in the end brought about great things for me. The most difficult time in my adult life, as I have mentioned before, is most certainly the realization that my first marriage was over and that I would soon be divorced. In April, I will likely post about the beginning of the end, but for now I will only describe the situation briefly. First husband, we'll call him Jackass for now, sat me down one day and revealed that he had been cheating on me with a 19 year old girl from school, and he was in love with her, not me. Not only was he cheating on me then, but it turns out he had been fucking other women on and off the entire 10 years we were together. The story gets worse from there, but I will save that for another day.

"Devastated" doesn't even begin to describe how I felt during that time period. I never thought I would survive that situation. But I did. And I am so glad I stuck it out, because I never would have met my current husband had I given up altogether. Plus, if I had not married Jackass, I wouldn't have come out to NY for grad school, and never would have met my dear current husband, who you have come to know simply as Husband. I am thankful for all that I learned in the first marriage and how it has truly made me a better partner in my second.

Now, I am trying to analogize that event to my current situation which is not having secured employment with a lala firm for the summer. To date, it is the most challenging and difficult moment of my academic experience (and believe me that's saying quite a bit given what grad school can do to you). When I am done here, I will have about $150,000 in student loan debt. That's a scary thought when you pair it up with unemployment. I have never felt so beaten down as I do at this time. So when I have the strength, I attempt to convince myself that this is how it is supposed to be for me. I fight brutally with my brain, arguing that there is something out there for me that will come, I just need to work hard and be patient. Most days, my evil brain wins the argument and I cry myself to sleep.

In the meantime, my level of stress has risen exponentially. What else comes with stress, besides the incessant chastisement in my head? Urinary tract infections. The women in my family seem to get them all of the time. Something about our anatomy makes us vulnerable to them. I speculate that perhaps we have shorter ureters than most women, but of course I don't really know that. Usually the pain sets in after a day of serious stress and way too much coffee. By the time I get home, I need to set up camp in the bathroom. With lots of meds, cranberry juice and pills, and a couple gallons of water, I self medicate until the pressure and burning subside. Unfortunately, that often just leads to a full blown kidney infection. Ever had one? They are loads of fun. And just to head off the assvice, yes, I wipe from front to back thank you very much. Oh, and yes, I pee right after sex. But, no, I have been unable to kick my coffee habit, which I know continues to aggravate my bladder. You would think that the guarantee of excruciating pain would keep me off the coffee, but no. Pain has never been a great deterrent for me. One indication that despite my over-education status, I really am just not that bright.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Faking it.

This is a significantly revised version of the earlier post.

I have Seinfeld on the brain today. While I patiently (yeah, right) wait for code egg white, I have invested a lot of time in watching all the old Seinfeld episodes via DVD. The show always sparks controversial discussions in our house. My all time favorite is the episode titled "The Mango", and it doesn't have all that much to do with mangoes actually. For those who don't have every Seinfeld episode cataloged in their head, the episode concerns a discussion of faking it. Specifically, women faking an 0r.g.@sm during ahem, you know. (Desperately trying to deter goo.gl.ers from finding me using some of these words.) There's a great scene where Elaine reveals to Jerry that she had faked it every time they were together.

This episode sparked some continued thought regarding another blogger's post that discussed what it meant to be a woman. There was some exchange regarding not feeling like a full woman if you couldn't either get pregnant and stay pregnant at all or even yield a child without intervention. I found it so interesting that so many women said they never thought that was what defined Womanhood until they found that they were in that position. Suddenly, it changed they way they defined their gender. While, I am not about to go into what is right or wrong about that thought, I still find it incredibly pertinent here because of the discussion I then had with Husband.

I told him about what I had been reading and then asked whether men feel the same if their boys (sperm) are challenged in some way to make conception more difficult. Would his status as a man feel threatened? (I'm aware that I'm not asking a man who has actually experienced male factor infertility so far, but I thought his response may tell me something anyway). He was quick to say that he would not likely feel any less of a man if he was deemed fertility challenged.

After some rumination, it became clear to me that males qualify their manhood not by making a baby, but, let's be honest here, by being able to enjoy a good "O". Alternatively, women, at times (I know, I know, I can't lump everyone together here, but stay with me on this one), assess their womanhood by their ability to successfully reproduce. Not ground breaking conclusions, but I find it intriguing nonetheless. So if we go back to the faking it issue, I can't help but make connections. You see, I have noticed that while men can and will grieve intensely about the loss of a fetus, women tend to carry a much greater grief (sorry guys, but I am just calling it like I see it). And while women can easily have great sex without the big "O", that seems to be the requisite goal in sex for most men.

I am sure that I have opened up a big can of "WTF?" with this post, but I am really curious what you all think. Are my generalizations way off? Do you have another theory? Any fakers out there? This is one more reason I love to blog. I get to talk about all the stuff that I wish people would discuss in the open.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Open mouth; insert foot.

I am frequently the first to absolutely lose it when some idiot sticks their foot in their mouth. I am a pretty sensitive girl, and don't take well to teasing or insensitive comments. I will roll them over and over in my mind, allowing them to attack me again and again long after the moment has passed. And yet, I am also infamous for my own foot in mouth maneuvers. When I drink, I say whatever is in my head. The fallout can be really ugly for both sides. In fact, I hang on to my insensitive comments and torment myself with them, convince myself that I am the meanest, rudest person alive.

Here's a few excerpts:
  • As I entered the lunch room of my former lab, I exclaimed, "Holy shit, what the hell is that smell? It wreaks in here!" At that point, the source of the smell became obvious. A very, very kind Chinese postdoc had heated up his lunch which consisted of some sort of fermented fish. Upon hearing my comment, he blushed and excused himself from the lunch room. He even apologized for his lunch giving the room its lovely aroma. I was mortified and equally apologetic for my comment. I begged him to stay and finish his lunch. He left anyway. I am such an ass.
  • I was standing behind a fellow grad student and friend of mine one Friday evening while hanging out at our favorite bar. Suddenly, I found myself staring at the top of his head. Without even a thought, I said out loud to him, "Hey, looks like you're losing quite a bit of hair up here." Silence followed when he turned around and stared at me, jaw on the floor. He finally says in his saddest tone, "I'm losing my hair?" Doh!! What the hell was I thinking? Oh yeah, I wasn't.
  • A few minutes after the midnight celebration of the transition from 1999 to 2000, I was happily chatting with then-husband's good friend, D. D was relaying a story to us and said, "...I'm a reliable and dependable friend, right? So I...". I interrupt with,"No you're not! You are a really really flaky friend actually." OK, so we weren't exactly in a legally approved state of mind, but still. I got that stare that says, "I can't believe you said that". What do I do to recover? I burst into tears, and my poor insulted friend ends up trying to console me.
  • For the grand finale, I recall making this statement to a fertility challenged friend upon finding out that her last round of IVF worked (granted this was about 10 years ago, way before I had a clue) and she was pregnant with twins. I said, "Wow, twins...well at least you're not having triplets." She was kind and didn't blink an eye. I later discovered, that actually she was originally pregnant with triplets, but one died not long before they made their twin announcement to me. If karma tries to balance out in a single lifetime, I am really in for it.
Am I the only one who has foot in mouth disease? Have any of you said something really insensitive to someone without thinking? Or am I the only asshole in the blogosphere?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Whoa!

Sorry I have been missing in action for awhile, but I am still among the living. I am back to class now as the semester has already started up as of Monday. While my mood went up a bit over the weekend, going back to school has completely tanked my mood.

I am surrounded by eager, ambitious, perky young students whose use of the word "like" is beyond excessive. Each student has grand tales of their trips around the world over Xmas break. Professors repeatedly assert that now that we are done looking for our jobs and have secured lucrative summer associate positions, we should be ready to concentrate on our classes exclusively. Do I laugh hysterically in the aisles or assume the fetal position right there in that beautiful, exclusive, all oak high back chair engraved with the University's insignia? Decisions, decisions. I spend my day on campus looking for places to hide between classes. The tears come whether I want them to or not. Luckily, unless you're a powerful or wealthy person, they don't want to know you in the first place, so nobody pays much attention to me anyway.

Then I got an email from my mom regarding my pregnant now 20-year old youngest sister. This sister was in CA for a month visiting my parents (sister theoretically lives in North Dakota, but she spends the majority of her time looking for warmer places to holiday). Here's an excerpt:

[J] looked really good, pregnancy agrees with her. Of course she really wasn't showing yet, but she had such a healthy glow.

A glow? Are you fucking kidding me? She's just barely 3 months along and already glowing? Fuck! If I manage to get pregnant, something tells me that there will be no glowing. Horns may grow out of my head and steam may come out my ears, but I think glowing is out.

Now, I should mention that my mother doesn't know we are trying to conceive. I really didn't want to have the whole medication discussion with her, etc. Plus, I wanted it to be a surprise. I think I am going to have to leave surprises to the hyper-fertile women, though. So I finally gave her a heads up. I feel so pathetic that I am not happy for my sister. I really wish I could be, but I am simply not a good person. I'm mean, bitter, and raging.

My other two sisters are right in line with me regarding happiness for our youngest sister. One sister got married one year ago and is frustrated that they can't yet afford to have a baby. The other sister has been pregnant twice before and chose to abort both times. Each pregnancy was unplanned and one was as early as 15 years of age. So the three of us seem to understand what is required to have a baby. And then there's the youngest. Whatever she wants, it falls into her lap. Since our parents were fairly wealthy by the time the youngest came along (I was around during the poverty years only), she has never been denied a single thing. She has 4 horses, and they built a new house and bought property so that she could keep them in residence. When she left home, they kept them all for when she visits. Me? Well, I wasn't even allowed to have a cat. We lived under very different regimes. This never bothered me until now. As I struggle so intensely, I have less patience for these differences. Petty? You bet.

So why is it that when my bloggy friends have good things in their life occur, like pregnancy or adoption or getting a good job or taking a nice trip, I am filled with happiness for them, but if a family member has good luck, I am the most bitter person on Earth. Any ideas for why this double standard or dichotomy exists? Anyone?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Touching insanity, the conclusion

And now the conclusion to my hospital story from yesterday...

Not long after I overheard the conversation at the nurses' station, the nurses began issuing the medications to the patients for the evening. Still sobbing, I stood in a line waiting for the dispensary nurse to give me two paper cups. One with my pills and one with water. By the way they were the exact same pills I brought with me from home. Here I am, locked away, theoretically protected from myself, all so that I can have a safe place to be while they tweak my meds. I had been there about 6 hours, and was still on the same meds. It didn't occur to anyone to ask me if I would need a sleeping pill, and in my near catatonic state, it didn't occur to me to request it.

At lights out, I found myself in a little twin bed, in a room by myself, with about 4 other empty beds. Bars, placed on the inside, protected the small window which afforded a cheery view of a gray cinder block wall. Next to the door of the room (which I was told never to close), there was a one inch deep sink. So I guess drowning myself in the sink was out. My room had a single toilet, and I was intensely grateful for the full door that granted privacy to its user. Apparently, we were trusted not to drown ourselves in the toilet water. I guess even suicidal patients have their standards after all. We weren't so lucky in terms of a mirror. Now, you know why mental patients always have fucked up hair do's. It can't be helped.

They did allow me to have my blankie. I had gotten the then-husband to resurrect my childhood blankie from storage and pack it with my pajamas and clothes. They did not, however, give me the books he packed for me. Now, I'm a fairly creative person, but I don't think even I could make paper cuts an effective method of suicide.

In the absence of sleeping pills, there was no sleep in sight. There were no clocks in my room, so I am not exactly sure how long I laid there listening to the silence. At some point, I must have finally fallen asleep because of what happened next.

Even sleep brought no peace or rest. My real life nightmare followed me into slumberland. In the dream, I was locked in the psych ward of a public hospital (OK, so in my dreams, I'm not that creative). I was in bed and a large male orderly walked toward me. He lunged at me, clawing at my blankets and pajamas; I was convinced that I was about to be raped. I can still feel his fingers around my throat. The next thing I remember is trying to scream. Suddenly, my screams became real and so loud that I woke myself up. I continued to scream, at the top of my lungs, until I realized it was just a dream. No one came to check on me. What I am guessing was about a half hour later, a man who looked surprisingly like the man in my dream peaked into my room shining a flashlight on my face. Petrified, sobbing, and shaking, I decided right then, that this had gone on long enough.

Just before the nurses changed shifts, a female technician came into my room with a male orderly to draw blood. She had the kindest face, but the pity she exuded for me was palpable. I did my best to look like a "regular" patient though. I even attempted some light banter with her in my efforts to appear normal. In the early morning hours, I had decided that the only way out was to feign normalcy and sanity. Hard to tell whether my mood really did swing up at that point or if this was me in crisis mode. Suddenly, I felt smarter than everyone else within a 30 mile radius. I was convinced that I could outsmart the doctor, if one showed up, and anyone else who got in my way. The crying was over.

There was no way I was going to spend another night there, so I started analyzing my options. First, I examined all of the eating utensils and decided that if need be, I could kill myself with a straw. And since no one seemed to need their plastic sporks (you need to be more than crazy to eat that food), I was collecting those as well. Then, I coerced a nurse to let me have a pencil. I did a quick inventory of the vital arteries that could be skewered with a pencil, and felt comforted by the potential of my new tool. While the other patients busied themselves with their attempts to kill themselves slowly with tobacco, I was making big plans.

Around noon, the 7 or so patients assembled in a small room for a group session. Excellent. This is not the place for people who resort to being caregivers in place of taking care of themselves. Group session was where I completed my transformation from crazy grad school patient to knowledgeable, compassionate, empathetic caregiver. When I can't deal with my own problems, I like to work on other people's. I think the nurses may have figured out my plan of conversion from that, because about a half hour later I was whisked into another locked office. A psychiatrist appeared. Before I even had a chance to tell him that I would be signing myself out and how I knew my rights, he was trying to convince me why I couldn't be released to the public at large. Not for one moment would he concede that I could leave voluntarily. I knew better. One thing I did manage to do in the night was read, and reread over and over again, the patient's rights statement given to me upon admission.

Next, they hauled in my husband to let him know I was trying to leave. He later confessed that the doctor tried to get him to convince me to stay. Little did they know, this guy was spineless and rarely contradicted me to my face. In the meantime, I tootled around ministering to the other patients like I worked there. I should mention that my husband had a meeting with the doctor for over an hour. I saw the doctor for a grand total of 5 minutes.

I finally walked through those locked doors in the late evening. I walked away and vowed never to return. It was over, for now.

I would like only to reiterate one fact, this is MY story. Each experience of hospitalization, for whatever reason, is unique. Perhaps if I had stayed, I would have eventually met with a good doctor for a meaningful period of time. I will never know. What I do know is that I would have found a way to escape, whether they released me or not.

Touching insanity

This is the post I was writing last Thursday. It's a real downer, just to warn you. But I needed to share it, because I don't talk about this at all with anyone except Husband. It's too painful and shameful to share with anyone but you all.

I've been reading a lot of birth stories in the blogosphere lately. I don't have a birth story of my own, but I do have a hospital story that I need to tell.

In my depressed state, I have been doing a lot of thinking about hospitalization. As all of my doctors know, I am 100% against being hospitalized. I am sure that somewhere out there, someone has had a good experience with hospitalization for depression or mania, but I am certainly NOT one of those people. I would rather be tied down to my couch and force fed Vegemite, than be hospitalized, again. One sure way to convince me to kill myself would be to put me in a hospital's mental health ward.

DISCLAIMER: As a bipolar blogger, I have a reader or two who also suffers from a mental illness. I don't want to deter anyone from choosing to be hospitalized, it is a wise choice. But, this is the story of MY experience, and is NOT the experience of all.

So here's the story of my hospitalization...

In April during my 1st year of the 1st marriage, I was in the depths of depression, completely incapacitated. I only left the house to go to my therapists office. I had not yet been properly diagnosed with bipolar, so the docs were still trying standard antidepressants on me. I was on my 5th med, and nothing was working. (Coincidentally, it's the same antidepressant I am using right now, hmmm.) By then, I had already made one weak attempt. My then husband caught me in the act though, and I cried for hours from the embarrassment. Still in grad school, I couldn't bare the thought of not finishing my degree just because I couldn't drag myself out of bed. I felt trapped and saw no way out, just like so many others before me.

On my big outing to the therapists I revealed that I just couldn't hack it any longer. I had a plan and I was going to put it into action while my husband was at school, an hour away. My therapist refused to let me go home while she made arrangements for hospitalization. Her experience told her that our local hospital was not a good place for mental health, so she put me in a hospital about a half hour away.

In the meantime, I felt some misguided peace at being taken care of. Thus, I walked to a really nice restaurant, a tapas style dining establishment, to have lunch while she made the arrangements. I kept thinking of it as my last meal, and now that I look back at it, that meal was the first thing I had enjoyed in months. Sitting in the restaurant, I kept thinking about how all of the other diners had no idea that I was certifiable and about to go to a hospital ward where they lock the door behind you. There was something very amusing about this scenario and it was all I could do not to laugh hysterically while I ate my lunch. (That definitely would have clued them in to my situation.)

By late afternoon, Therapist got my husband to come get me and drive me to the hospital. I quietly wept as he drove, otherwise we were silent. Admission is through the ER and that's where you get to justify why you should be put away. It was the only time I would get to see a kind medical professional during my stay. The good doc questioned me for about 30 minutes before an orderly showed up to escort me to the proper ward. I clung to my husband for dear life. I wanted out of this whole plan, and yet, that no longer seemed to be a choice. All of my decisions were being made for me at that point.

After they took away everything I but the clothes I was wearing, showed me around, and issued my bed, they told my husband he had to leave. And that's where I lost it. I was intensely attached to my husband back then. So I watched him walk away that day and heard the door click behind him. I am sure he could hear my sobs from the other side of the hospital and in the parking lot. I was alone.

Now, perhaps you are thinking, that there were plenty of medical professionals to facilitate my transition. Nope, not a single one. No nurses, therapists, doctors, friends, technicians, or orderlies. No one. Another common misconception is that mental patients wear pajamas and robes all day. Nope, not even close. At this hospital, they require all of their mental patients to wear their day clothes and to be active. The other weird part was the other mental patients on the ward. They stared at me like I had two heads, like I was the only crazy person there.

Perhaps I was, but I was still terrified of the other patients. Two adult middle-aged males were trying to manage schizophrenia and addiction. The other 4 patients were female and either teenage or much much older than me. They were dealing with addiction, depression, and anorexia. Quite a mixed bag.

Until lights out, I just paced up and down the hall, sobbing into a wad of tissue. During one of my marches past the nurses' station, I overheard a conversation between two of the nurses. They were talking about me...

"Did you see the new girl in here?"
"Oh yeah, I hear she's even a graduate student from *** Uni.vers.ity! Interesting, huh?"
"She must be really, really messed up then."

I was mortified that they were talking about me like I was a specimen. And what the hell does being a graduate student have to do with anything? What the fuck? I was already painfully ashamed of where and who I was, and this little conversation didn't help matters.

I will continue this story in another post, as this has become too long as it is...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Because I need to laugh, or something.

It's been a heavy week for my blog, and I think we all need to laugh. I can't guarantee that you'll laugh, but these things make me giggle a bit. Husband frequently accuses me of cracking myself up. He's right. I think I'm pretty funny sometimes. Funny looking too, actually.

So here's some rather funny (more the strange than the haha) about me...
  1. I pee with the door open. Most other things I do in the bathroom I do with the door closed, but for some reason I forget to close the door if I'm just peeing. Husband is totally grossed out by this bad habit of mine. I tell him, "Hey, I'm only peeing, what's the big deal?" His answer: "It's not the peeing, it's the wiping." Me: "Oh...I see your point."
  2. I have a blankie. It's not the same blankie as when I was little (I finally retired that one in college), but it serves the same function. And it's not nice and soft, it's crocheted from cheap acrylic yarn so the blanket is pretty scratchy. That's what the first husband used to call it, "Scratchy". He used to hide it from me, so he wouldn't have to sleep with it next to him. What an ass he was.
  3. I used to go places where it was customary to exist without attire. (Oh, Lordee, I hope that phrase was innocent enough not to bring certain goog.l.ers my way.) In particular there was a spa in Napa that I would go to with the first husband. Absolutely lovely natural hot spring that forbade any romantic displays of any kind, and it was strictly enforced. It was a very family place actually. Plenty of kids and babies. You always had to sit on your towel, and I found that comforting. The spa offered its patrons a string of beads to wear around the neck as an indication that that patron did not wish to be spoken to. Husband cringes when I talk about wanting to go there again. He loves his clothing and wants to keep it that way.
OK, so maybe none of that was actually funny-ha ha. It was all just strange. It's my way of scaring away my readers. If you can handle this, then you can handle tomorrow's post. Stay tuned... (Feel free to comment with a funny-strange or ha, ha. Like I said, I need to laugh, and you may need to laugh as well, after tomorrow that is...)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Feeling hugged

In my entire life, I have never felt so loved and supported by so many incredible people as I do now. The fact that I can feel loved is a big step for me today. It gives me the light I need to see that there is a way out, even if I don't know the path yet. I am so grateful for each and every person who commented and encouraged and hugged me yesterday. The feeling of comfort is profound. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

Husband came home promptly yesterday and saw me through the minutes until I could take a super (but safe) dose of Seroquel. Once asleep, I could find some rest and peace to give me the relief I so desperately needed. Husband had to pick up some friends from the airport very late last night, after I was sound asleep. When he got home, he whispered that one of the friends (a gentle man from Brazil who is my scientific brother because we were grad students together under the same advisor) insisted on seeing me before he returned home. Sneaky guy, my husband. He knows I will rally to see this friend.

This morning, Husband called and told me to get dressed and shower because he was coming to get me and bring me to see my Brazilian brother. I wasn't given a choice, it was a strict instruction. I had no intention of doing anything at all today. I was going to resume the fetal position and watch the movie A Bug's Life. Apparently, that's not in the schedule Husband has prepared for me.

As a reassurance to all of my beloved friends out there, here is what I promise you when I'm in the danger zone...
  • Husband knows my password for email and this blog, so in the event that something bad happens and I can't post, comment, or email, he will post something to update you all on my, uh, condition.
  • I will go back and read all of the comments from yesterday's post to remind myself of who is giving me virtual hugs.
  • I will always call Husband and Therapist and Psychiatrist to fill them in on my status. Always.
  • I will not kill my husband just for looking at me. :p
And, now, to the following people, please except mad hugs from me. I owe you all my life and then some...
Thank you! I love you and am so thankful for you all. I will survive to post again, I promise.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Not the post I wanted to write

I have another post that I was drafting this morning, but I am not happy with it yet. Instead, I am writing this post, that I really really don't want to write.

I am a puddle that wants to evaporate away, sublimation would be fine too. I know that I have been depressed for a few days now, but was hoping to go on an up swing soon. I think this roller coaster is defective. Seems that I am stuck in the down position. Not enough momentum to come back up.

Some time ago, I set up the list of links ("When it really isn't funny anymore") to the right of this post in case any of my few readers needed help. I did this just after Veronika lost her son. Turns out, that I am probably the first to need it and use it. Perhaps I subconsciously set it up as a safety net for myself.

Nothing is working though. All motivation is lost. I am worthless. I called my therapist and my husband. They are all on red alert at this point. I am still on the fence as to whether this is akin to the red terror alert set up by our omnipotent government, or if the alert is closer to a code at a hospital. Either way, duck and cover. Husband is on his way home, even though I really don't want him to see me in my puddle form.

I keep thinking of my quest to have a child and how I am not exactly a suitable parent. Shouldn't a parent have something to offer their child other than mental illness?

How do I get through the next minute, the next hour, the next day? I just cannot see the other side right now.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Inspirations

Inspired by Jenny F. Scientist over at Natural Scientist, I surfed over to the Public Health Image Library for some visual stimulation. I am a big fan of what I call, micro-photography. So to add to the information from yesterday, I searched for pictures of the little bastards of whom I wrote so fondly. This is what I ended up with...

Straight from PHIL's mouth:

This photomicrograph reveals bacteria adhering to vaginal epithelial cells known as “clue cells”.

“Clue cells” are epithelial cells that have had bacteria adhere to their surface, obscuring their borders, and imparting a stippled appearance. The presence of such clue cells is a sign that the patient has bacterial vaginosis.

Isn't it pretty? (Thanks Jenny!)






I read a lot of amazing blog posts during the day and am inspired by every single one in one way or another. If I had the time or energy, I would mention all of them. Today, Aurelia at No Matter How Small pinned down the meaning of blogging for me. She tells a great story at the end about which I can't stop thinking. I highly recommend heading over there and checking it out. Thanks Aurelia, I needed that.

OK, now I am going to crawl back under the down comforter and resume the fetal position.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Just because you're paranoid...

"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not watching you." -Kurt Cobain

Warning: lots of discussion about bacteria, vaginas, and various forms of bodily excretions.

Sometime ago, I blogged about bleeding in between periods all of a sudden. Well, actually, it's just during and after sex. Some of my blogger buddies as well as pretty much everyone else I told said "that's normal, no worries". I worried anyway. I had never had this problem before, and now that we were trying to conceive it became an issue.

Granted, I am hyper-paranoid. While off my meds, worrying has been taken on as a new art form for me. I really, really need my meds, so any thought of extending my stay here in Crazyville (due to an inability to conceive) is quite literally terrifying. It's not just an uncomfortable way of living, as so many seem to believe. It's a constant fight to stay alive. I wish I was exaggerating. Lately, I just want to curl up into the tightest ball and fade away into oblivion. I don't want to freak you all out with the "S" word though. That's not quite where I am at, and believe me I would know, as I have visited before. No, I just want everything to go away, especially me. Laziness keeps me from being proactive on this idea though. So please don't worry or send an ambulance. I will survive to post again, I promise.

Back to being paranoid. I finally landed an appointment with a new OB/GYN for yesterday. Initially, I thought I was being ridiculous for going to see the doctor for such a little thing; I was sure he would laugh me right out of his office when I told him that we had been trying for only a few months. He never laughed and took me quite seriously. Once I listed all of my symptoms, he was quick to confirm that I do in fact have a valid concern. I am sure that some of you know the result, but I will outline it anyway because who can resist writing about sex, cooters, and fishy odors.

Here's the run down... Bleeding with intercourse, Husband notices a funky smell coming from my nether reaches after a romp, no conception despite carefully timed frolicks. After a brief ride in the stirrups, I had my answer. I may be paranoid, but there was still something fishy in Cooterville. Bacterial vaginosis. Just rolls off the tongue doesn't it? Turns out the bad bacteria doesn't do so well in my acid bath of a vagina, but once semen enters the room, it's party time. The more basic semen neutralizes the acidity, and the bacteria multiply exponentially (at least somebody is reproducing in there). Those bacteria rage on and make a chemical that results in the same smell as the fish department in our low end grocery store. Not only does it turn my stomach, but that fishy chemical is killing our precious sperm. Bastards!!!!

As you can imagine, I was absolutely thrilled that the doc had an answer and a prescription for me. Husband looked mighty relieved as well. I think he's terrified that we will have to do a semen analysis. I don't blame him, if I had to come to orgasm at the doctor's office to check my fertility, it would never happen. Too much pressure.

Here's the drawback to my new med, no drinking. Crisis. Apparently, my med has that same sneaky little ingredient that they give to alcoholics to keep them from drinking. Just one sip of alcohol and I will be a regular visitor of the most valuable bowl in the house, the porcelain one. Oh how I love my wine with dinner too. Plus, no sex for me either until the infection is gone. Horny and sober, how will I survive?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

It's hard to be my husband.

This is definitely going to be filed under the label, "Posts My Husband Hates". So hopefully, I will remember to warn him about it before I actually publish it. In case I forget, I will apologize deeply to him now...but I'm writing it anyway.

I am convinced that for most things my husband and I do together, his preferences tend to dominate the arena. Not that I don't get to do what I want, I do. But, as those who have lived with someone before knows, compromise is essential for peaceful living. And, I get a lot out of giving to him (not just giving in to him). So ultimately, I will lean to his preferences out of pure selfishness; let's face it, I lean to make myself feel good. No doubt I shouldn't whine when it's really my choice, but on occasion I get a bit torqued when I perceive the tilt as being a little too steep.

So last night, I started in on him, poor guy. Our Netf.lix had arrived and one of them was a horror film. In fairness, he chose this film for the other category it was in, court room drama, which he knows I like very much. Unfortunately, I hate horror films, they give me nightmares. I can handle gory, but I don't sleep well after scary. Once I got a whiff of the horror element, I was none too pleased with his choice. I complained that ultimately we watch more DVDs that he enjoys than DVDs I enjoy. He was quick to protest.

Now that I was rolling, I added that his preferences are honored with a greater frequency than mine...not that I minded, but still. Admittedly, I was out of line, but I kept going. I asserted that if we sat down and quantified the situation, my point would be obvious and quite factual. While we couldn't count up all of the meals, snacks, music, and other entertainment that were chosen mostly based on his preference, we did have access to our DVD rental history via the handy, dandy Internet. And so the tally began.

Here's the score over a period of just over 3 years...
  • 264 total movies rented and counted
  • 175 movies that we were both willing to admit we would watch even if the other wasn't around (66%)
  • 37 movies that I claimed, and Husband refused to claim (14%)
  • 52 movies that Husband claimed, and I wouldn't watch on my own accord (20%)
The final result...a 15 movie differential between the two of us over 3 years of renting. Not exactly the dramatic stats I needed to justify my claim. Sure he gets greater number of DVDs than I do, but it's not the type of favoritism about which I was clamouring. At least we've got the numbers...

...now, why was that important again?

It really is hard to be my husband.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Details

A few days ago, I posted about the fun I am having searching for a summer job. It seems that leaving out the details, to maintain some anonymity, resulted in unecessary confusion. Since then, I've done a lot of thinking about whether it's really so important to keep my identity hidden. As I have discussed in another post titled Outting Myself, I am especially concerned that a potential employer, fellow student, or university staff or faculty will stumble upon my blog and connect the dots to figure out that it's me. While I'm not ashamed of my mental health issues, I am not convinced that the "typical" person is capable of separating my diagnosis from my person. Despite this possibility, I think I will go ahead and include more details. Otherwise, I'll never get the most out of my blog. I need to be completely honest, somewhere. Strangely, even though I've never met most of the people who comment on my blog, I implicitly trust them, I trust you. Yes, my nightmare may actually happen, but I think I need to trust myself to deal with it and overcome the potential discriminations or assumptions.

Therefore, here's some more details about me that may or may not be relevant...

As I have mentioned, I am a student, specifically, I am a la stoodent (think leegle), full time theoretically. Hopefully you can figure out what I mean even with the camouflage spelling to deter googlers. Also, I'm hoping you won't hold that fact against me. My undergraduate degree in biologie, specifically plants, is from a UC school. I moved to upstate NY from Northern California to get my next degree, a Ph.Duh. in molekular biologie. After I finished that degree, I knew that research wasn't for me anymore. Sadly, while I no longer enjoyed the work, I wasn't too bad at it and still loved science. So while sticking around for a postdoc, I did some serious soul searching to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. In the meantime, I went through my divorce with my first husband which nearly took everything I had in me.

I finally settled on my current field of interest. Ultimately, I want to be in intellektual property (pa.tents, copyrite and the like) for biotek. While I thoroughly enjoy studying this stuff, I have been unable to unlock the secret to success on the exams, of which there's only one per semester and it is the only thing your grade is based upon.

In this professional area, there is a very set way of applying for jobs. The summer after your 2nd year is crucial for future employment. Most students secure a high paying firm job in their favorite city for the summer, and that usually turns into a job offer for after you graduate. We all began the process at the end of Summer 2006. Then, most travelled all over the country during the Fall for the "call back" interview, after the initial screening interview. I landed 6 call backs; this was lucky since I was only applying to the few firms in my area (not a big city) and in my narrow field of interest. I was thrilled with my prospects and had, what I thought to be, great interviews.

And that's where I was wrong. Actually, I have no idea where I failed in this process, the list of possibilities is too daunting.

So now, I am in the no man's land of leegle employment. It's ugly and evil. The little firms will hire once they know their summer needs, but that doesn't happen for a few months yet. I have been scrambling to come up with options, choices. Now, I am looking at in-house counsel for biotek companies, not-for-profit resurch organizations, etc. I am totally alone, as I don't know any other student who failed their Fall employment search as I did. Depressing.

Sorry for all of the misspellings, but I am trying to trick the search engines, if that's possible with my limited knowledge of the web and computers. Also, so sorry for the boring nature of this post, but I needed to complete the story of my hunt for employment. Hope you survived it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Woe as me Wednesday

I had big plans to have lunch with a friend today. I love hanging out with her and was looking forward to being propelled to leave the house. As we only have one car, if I don't have anywhere to go on a particular day, Husband just takes the car to work instead of having me drop him off. Keeps me from wandering around town and spending money. So I haven't left the house for 3 days because I haven't had the car. Unfortunately, we had to cancel the lunch for the day for other reasons, thus Husband took the car again. So here I sit staring at my "to do" list and thinking that I should change it's name to a "to don't" list.

Priority One is to work on finding a job for the summer. Sadly, just the thought of looking for employment, sends me into fetal position, drooling on the couch. I have no confidence left. I just can't bring myself to go through and come up with a list of firms to send resumes. Plus, I have to write cover letters which sing my praises and tell them why I would make a great addition to their staff. No praises come to mind and I have no idea why anyone would want to add me to their staff. I'm stuck. I have an appointment with the career counselor, Ms. Ina Propriate. I have grown to hate this woman, but maybe she will have something to contribute. Gotta start somewhere, I suppose.

In the meantime, I have been cleaning like I've never cleaned before. What a pathetic life I have at times when cleaning and organizing are the only things that hold my attention for any duration of time. Otherwise, I sit on the couch, twitching my head in different directions the same way a bird does between hops among the branches while surveying the scene. It's a bit of the manic in me leaking through. That and the pot of coffee.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Things that make me go....EEEW!

Get ready, this is a gross one. Now, you can't say that I didn't warn you ahead of time.

I came home from my therapist appointment this morning and ran straight to the bathroom. I had to pee, really, really badly. I made it just in time. While contemplating my timely arrival, I looked down and saw something that made me go eew. Apparently, I missed a crucial detail this morning when getting dressed. My underwear, at the site of where the crotch should be...well, there wasn't a crotch left at all. It was still connected, but only by the strand of elastic that runs around the right leg. I went to my therapist's office and ran errands all while crotchless!!! Sure I had the remnants of underwear but they weren't really functioning as underwear anymore. I can't believe I didn't even notice that I was walking around in string underwear that were never intended to be string style. Now, I know what your are thinking, " a person who blows out her underwear with the power of her own cooter may want to have some tests done; the threat of infertility may be the least of your problems." Well, in this case, the dog is the one doing the creative alterations. The Jack Russell Terrier frequently gets a hankering for my underwear...usually when they are lightly seasoned. Then it hit me that maybe I was wearing crotchless AND dirty underwear. To my great relief, they were clean, whew. So it seems that I failed to notice that this pair had been made into a pooch snack when I threw them into the laundry this weekend. I am considering keeping them around as a decoy, perhaps then she will be less likely to go after the ones that are still in one piece. Although, it probably wouldn't be effective as a decoy if they were clean.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

How it is.

"Suffering is wanting things to be different than they are."
- by: I have no idea, so how about Anonymous.

Knowing that definition doesn't actually make me feel better, but it does seem to shift my thinking quite a bit.

Friday, January 5, 2007

More medication, please.

During the two week wait, I drive myself bonkers, more than usual in fact. I just can't seem to convince myself to relax and give it the full year I am supposed to give to the effort of trying to conceive. I am acutely aware of some of my blogosphere friends and reads that would likely laugh me out of the web for wallowing in sorrow in only the first few months of trying. Only a few people understand by personal experience, the incredible challenge of going off your meds. My mind feels a bit clearer in some aspects, as a result of dropping so many of my prescriptions in order to increase my chances of conceiving a fetus without neural tube defects. However, in so many other ways, my mind, including emotions, thoughts, organization, logic, is intensely disturbed and clouded. It's painful. Every failure each month guarantees an extra month of this same pain. My husband gave me in my stocking an awesome magnet to hang on the fridge. It's one of those Anne Taintor creations with the words, "More medication, please." Love this magnet, and the words have stuck with me. I would really really like some more medication, please.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

I forgot clumsy

6. Clumsy

I forgot "clumsy" on my list of themes from yesterday. Husband thought I should add it. I had never considered clumsy to be one of my life's themes, but he's right, let's face it, it is. I am forever clumsy. My father used to tuck my long hair into the back of my shirt so I wouldn't dip it into my food during meals. I was never allowed to eat or drink anything while on any carpeted surface of my parents home. I should own stock in Resolve for how much I buy the stuff. My husband's favorite clumsy story is the one about the first time we met. It's a classic example of my clumsy theme.

My husband and I met at a local festival here in town. There is no purported reason for the festival other than the interesting fact that it is usually held after all of the students leave for summer break. My town is a college town so the departure of the students can be bittersweet. For all intensive purposes, despite my current status as a student, I consider myself a "townie". Some use this term with derogative implications, but I wear the townie badge with pride. After all, this is the longest I have ever lived in one town and I tend to feel like I belong here. Anyway, it wasn't but a few months after my first husband and I separated when the festival occurred. So, I was doing just about anything to keep my mind off of the divorce. Thus, I took up a friend's offer to go to the festival for the day.

It was an up day for me at the time, in fact, looking back, I was probably hovering in the realm of hypomania. Nevertheless, I was having a great time and felt very energized by the street music, the arts, crafts, and herds of people. My friend and I saw a friend and her husband while they were listening to a local band perform. After some chatting, I finally noticed that the friend and her husband were towing behind them a friend of theirs. I had no idea who this guy was, and in my mood, I decided to find out, pronto. Oh, boy was this guy cute! The first thing to draw me to him was his necklace which consisted of brown wood beads of uniform size with the main bead being a ceramic fish. Then, his t-shirt caught my eye, a Phish t-shirt.

In the same way that you can tell certain things about a person when they have a Grateful Dead sticker on their car, you can read certain things into a person when they wear Phish paraphernalia. For those who don't know who the hell I am talking about, Phish is a music jam band with a similar following as the Grateful Dead. With my first husband, we used to follow Phish around on tour. We were never the cross country followers, but we did coincide our move from California to New York with Phish's tour along the same route. We also were one of the die-hards that sat in line in our car on a Florida highway for 12 hours just to get into the Phish concert for New Year's 2000. 12 hours to travel less than 30 miles! So, when I saw his t-shirt, I knew we had something in common, something fun. It would be my "in".

Somehow, we all agreed to meet later that evening at a local beer bar. Another link- he likes beer, I like beer. So far, so good. I was feeling especially sparky that day with my overalls on and a slightly tighter shirt than normal. When we all met at the bar, we were all feeling pretty lively from the day's festival. We all ordered beers. Now this is where the details become important. The bar is set up with benches and long tables and therefore, even if you aren't at the same table as another person, you can still be fairly close to the person sitting on the same bench or in the same row. In my high mood, I was busy telling stories to entertain my friends and this new guy. It should be noted that a full pint of beer was sitting in front of me on our table, and I am not sure whether I had already drank one or not, but I was definitely not inebriated. When I tell stories, I use my hands to an annoying degree. This tactic gets me in all sorts of trouble. So as I told the story with my hands, I inadvertently, clumsily, knocked the entire beer over, spilling the whole pint onto my overalls. I was soaked in beer. Because I do this kind of thing all of the time, I was prepared to laugh at myself.

Sitting there covered in beer, I am laughing with friends when the girl sitting diagonal from me at an adjacent table leans over to the friend across from me at our table. The girl asks my friend if she could try to keep me under control. Now this is where you have to picture a tiny waifish college girl foolishly telling a friend of mine to keep me under control. Oh boy. Apparently, some of the beer I spilled all over myself must have splashed up and dotted her table. Crisis. Once the three women at my table realized what this girl had just said, we just stared at each other while I schemed. I have to admit that the three of us are sizable women. While not fat, we were tall, large boned, sturdy women. I would like to think that most skinny, waif-like girls wouldn't risk picking a fight with three women of our stature, but apparently we were sitting near an exception to my assumption. One female friend finally leaned over to the waiflet to ask her to repeat what she had said. On that note, I promptly got up from the table, went into the bathroom, and unrolled a hefty number of paper towels. Upon my return to our table, I slammed down the paper towels on the waiflet's table and said, "Here you go", and then sat down at my table. The laughter was difficult to suppress, but we continued on with a rather fun night. And no, I didn't go home with Husband-to-be...

...well, not that night anyway.

That was Husband's first impression of me. Good one huh? I am so smooth!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

And then the silence

Back to the silence. The house is almost completely silent today. The two dogs are curled up with their Christmas presents. Cusco, the German Shepherd, received a stuffed moose that crinkles and squeaks. Fee, the Jack Russell Terrier, got a stuffed penguin that squeaks when under attack. They love their new friends beyond any hopes I had. I am in usual blog position, propped up by the overstuffed loveseat with my legs resting on the bench that serves as a coffee table. Plus, my coffee mug, a Santa mug today, is never far from reach.

And now, I don't know what to do. Lots of stuff I am supposed to be doing but not a lot of stuff I want to do right now. In fact, there isn't anything I want to be doing except sleeping. The list of stuff that I am supposed to do over the break is too long, and seems to grow longer everyday. Number 1 on the list is to look for a job for the summer. Bleh! Instead of being productive, I think I will just sit down and write a list of all of the stuff I am going to do...tomorrow. Yeah, that's the ticket. Tomorrow will be busy, I swear.

In the meantime, I am putting off seeing my therapist for another week. Usually, I find it difficult to get through a week without seeing her. Now, I just don't feel like talking about it all. I have said everything that's rattling around in my head and I am sick to death of listening to myself. I feel that my relationship with my therapist has gone a bit stale after almost 10 years on her couch. However, I do know that every thought I have towards my therapist is really just a reflection of myself. What I mean is that I am stale with myself. When I get frustrated with her, I am really frustrated with me. Sound like psychological bullshit? Well, perhaps it is but that doesn't make it any less true.

So I am feeling very listy today, and think I will satisfy my urges with a list. This one's a bit odd, I know. It's a list of my themes, stuff that seems to be highlighted as I go through life. In my story, a theme can be almost anything, even people. Here's my list so far...
  1. Rain: almost all of the most memorable moments of my life consist of rain in one way or the other, I just feel so nested when it rains.
  2. November: other than the fact that this is my birth month, all kinds of stuff happens to me in November every year, plus I have a strangely high number of friends who were also born in November
  3. Elephants: can't really describe this one, they just keep coming up
  4. Fire: I gravitate towards it, not in the arson style, but just when it happens to be around, I need to be near it.
  5. China: nope, not the delicate tableware, but the country. everything I love seems to have some relationship to China. I've never been there but would love to go, preferably with someone who is from China.
There are more, but they elude my mind right now, so maybe I will add more later. For now, I will go back to doing absolutely nothing. OK, I will at least be blogging, because it's not on the list.