Archive for February, 2006


Sunday, February 26th, 2006

here we are, two weeks later, and not under, but over a hundred dollars more to the vet to solve the feline fecal troubles I seem to be housing. Vets aren’t so much people people…I guess that’s why they got into animal medicine instead of people medicine. My new vet (the woman who got stuck on Rira duty today) was very uncomfortable around us (the people) and kepy consoling herself with big deep petting of Rira’s head. It made her able to talk to us and write things in a very sloppy (I guess all docs no matter the type of patient have sloppy handwriting) left hand scrawl on Rira’s chart. I think it’s so funny that Rira has a chart. 
Anyhow, she found it rather peculiar that Rira was deaf. Did I meantion she is deaf? Well, here: she’s deaf. She went deaf about 2 years ago after (this is the only thing I can think of around that time) a brief sneezing cold. Since she is part Siamese, she already had a loud whiny meow, and post hearing loss, well, it only got louder…which brings me to the reason this particulat entry is being written. 
Courtland is currently crouched in the entry hall of our apartment, hovered (very unergonomicallly) over his laptop. Minutes ago he was following Rira around with his iSight and recording her whiney-ness with it’s microphone. Interesting…it gets better (or worse, depending upon if you have ears that work or not). 
He recorded her half-whine/meow into Garageband, and is now EDITING it. Because we don’t hear enough of her in every day life…. He has looped it and listened to it several, okay, maybe a HUNDRED times now, and I have no idea what he’s trying to do. Now he says in frustration, “I just can’t make it sound good.” ???!!! I think the only way to make Rira’s voice sound good is if I had a Babel fish and the translation from her voice box to my ears sounded like Sean Connery politely asking if he might have a drink.  
Oh Gawl! Now he has tweaked it so that she sounds like she is in a cave, under water, drowning, and rapping…while doing a seagull imitation. I hurt. 


Saturday, February 11th, 2006

Life with a purebred cat is interesting. They are so pretty, yet so dumb. You wonder if you made the right trade… I inherited my cat. Rira is a persnickety purebred Chocolate Seal Point Himalayan cat, complete with papers and a finicky stomach. Her first owners had her declawed on advisement of their vet after a couple close encounters with their daughter’s eyes. I don’t think they or I would ever consider declawing another cat, but since it’s done, I have to say Rira may not have survived this long with me with more sharp pointy things at her disposal. 
I have a temperature foot. This is the foot I throw on top of my covers while I sleep to regulate my heat. It works well…unless you have a cat who thinks your temperature foot, if it happens to peek over the mattress, is the enemy. Poor Rira…and poor my foot, but one night, a few years ago, my temperature foot was ambushed, and it instinctively kicked (rather violently) trying to escape from it’s attacker. I woke up to pain and the sound of my cat hitting the opposite wall of the bedroom.  
Evidently, her tooth stuck in my foot and the kick kind of sling-shotted her elsewhere. I was half asleep and enraged, so I not so kindly threw her into the bathroom and tried to go back to sleep, but for the throbbing pain coming from my foot. When I finally turned on a light, I met the cut that would become the scar I would wear for a few years, and I realised that Rira had no clue why she was in the bathroom. Cat’s being the wonder-brains that they are, I’m sure she was thinking (if she thought), “I was thrown against the wall and then she locked me in the bathroom. I must remember not to hit the wall anymore.” 
I am writing about Rira right now because I am waiting for 2:15 when I will take her to a new vet (new because the old vet is over an hour away since I moved) to address the current ailment which is how she got her nick name: DiaRira. Yes, my cat has the runs. She’s thenthitive.  
Rira used to suffer from this condition regularly until I found a food that wasn’t too harsh on her poor purebred system. Over the past few years I haven’t had to take her in for much more than vaccinations and teeth cleaning, so I guess she wanted to make this one worth the wait. 
Let’s just, for the sake of our stomachs, say that there is blood involved and that worried me, so instead of trekking to Port Costa to learn how to knit and get hyggelig with my Danish family, I get to transport DiaRira to the vet and give someone lots of money to make her bowels shut up. 
Just thought I’d share. 


Saturday, February 11th, 2006

My friend Gonzo. This is the nickname that has befallen my lovely CPAP machine; not because it is blue and likes chickens, but because when I put the mask on, I look like Gonzo, or a water faucet. Pick one. I don’t care. I hate it no matter what you call it. Yet I love it…such a conundrum. 
I went to bed tonight at about 11:30. I woke up at 2:30 and felt like I was suffocating. Well, actually, I felt like I couldn’t get a breath of fresh air. I tried to keep Gonzo on, but I think once you have a notion that something is suffocating you, the overwhelming urge to tear it off your face overrides the little voice inside your head saying “But this is good for you.” Makes me wonder if the guy from alien would prefer a CPAP machine every night for the rest of his life or the suck-face alien one-time encounter. 
See, I am getting melodramatic. I’m pretty sure he’d choose Gonzo, since the face sucking alien encounter ended so poorly. You know, my first forray into gopher via UNIX led me to a site that listed many a piece of movie trivia. It was alphabetical, so one of the first pieces of trivia I learned on the net was that when the alien exploded out of the guy’s stomach, none of the ship crew members (except the guy of course) knew what was going to happen. There was just one take to capture the genuine shock and horror when it happened. I think if I had been one of those crew members I would have kicked the director’s ass for scarring me for life. But that’s just me. 
The second piece of trivia I learned was that in Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spielberg wanted the actress in the crypt full of snakes to scream, but wasn’t getting what he wanted so had someone actually throw a real snake on her shoulders. The movie was then cut to make it look like Indie had accidentally knocked the snake onto her. 
That was my first adventure into things you can find online. It was 1992. Neither of those facts turned out to be completely true…but I believed them for a long time because “I found it on the net.” How many times have you heard that one? 


Tuesday, February 7th, 2006

I woke up this morning with a little bit of a sore throat and realised my chin strap had moved (as usual) overnight and my mouth had been open. This is why I bought Courtland these really cool ear plugs that conform to his ear. I don’t know that he has slept this well since we met. 
Anyhow, the point I am making here is I recognized the sore throat. We’re well acquainted. This is the sore throat that I had pretty much every day of my life since…well, at least high school if not before. I used to wake up with the worst sore throats, and it would be so painful to swallow… I would ask my mom in my hardly there scratchy voice if she could call in sick for me, and then, by noon, I would feel better and go to school. 
This continued through college and into my work life until a year ago when CG diagnosed me (just by looking) with sleep apnea. So, I just realised that I really did have a sore throat every time I woke up in the morning! I wasn’t a complete wuss trying to hide from the world. I really did feel like poop! I even thought there was something wrong with me, and it made me sad. I mean, who wants to wake up sick every morning? Or at least feel like they are sick? Not I. 
I know it looked like I was faking it. I even thought maybe it was a psychological sore throat. How awesome to find out that I really do have the potential to be a healthy human being, and that I might have been one all along, save for the whole not breathing when I sleep thing. 
I also know now that my lack of sleep contributed to all the various little bugs that would throw me into a world of hurt, stuffy noses, and coughs. No sleep equals lower immune system. I’m surprised I wasn’t more sick. But it does not surprise me now that every cold I got blew into something horrendous like bronchitis or pneumonia. I am also on my way to being convinced that all the physical ailments I have lived with could probably have resolved themselves sooner with a little sleep. 
This is not to say that I am not unlike Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas, all stitched together, but that perhaps I would have healed a little faster with that thing people call oxygen. 

It's for the greater good…

Saturday, February 4th, 2006

I am tired.

Have been since the ’80’s.

Where to start? Well, the beginning would be nice, but trying to decide where to put the beginning is hard.

I was born in 1973…no, too far. Although, part of the story goes back to my maternal grandfather, but I’ll just sprinkle parts of that in as needed…like salt. Season to taste. What does this story taste like?

At the moment, this story tastes like insomnia and braces. Let me begin…

I have a receded chin. No big deal. My family (mainly Dad) has, for a very long while, referred to my lack of chin as plural chins, since when one does not posess a strong chiseled jaw, all the body fabric that would have housed said jaw just kind of hangs out down there.

I say no big deal because I know it’s not an unusual thing, not because I never wished it was different. Actually, it used to be slightly different.

When I was 13 I got braces. I think I was 13. I’m trying to imagine my Freshman yearbook picture and I cannot. At last! My high school memories are fading (Sometimes I think my brain houses the most annoying trivia that no one else seems to remember). Anyhow, back to the braces…

I have pictures of my face pre-tinsel, taken by Jock Sturges when I was in ballet. I had a chin. One chin. Yes, I weighed nothing, but I definitely had a stronger jawline. What happened? Braces happened. I had 2 teeth pulled and my teeth moved backwards to eliminate my buck-toothed overbite, and somewhere around age 14 I became the chinless, sleepless one. Or, if you are my family, I became the multi-chinned lazy one.

I slept through the SAT’s. Not THROUGH through. I answered some questions. I just couldn’t stay awake to finish most of the sections, so towards the end of each one my scantron involved much unwanted pencil marks and some drool. This happened all 3 times I took them.

I was a lazy high school teenager. Put me in a car, plane, bed, chair…you name it, I could nap there. I was lazy before that. I have always been tired, but who isn’t? When I was in summer camp (CYO Camp Armstrong), I remember finishing my lunch, putting my head down, and being awakened later by my counselor – in the middle of the dining hall. Summer camp dining hall is a zoo. It’s loud and bright and abnoxious. I slept through it.

Fast forward a couple decades to about 2001. I’m still tired. If anything, I’m more tired. Self diagnosis: Lazy. Insomnia has plagued me all of my adult life, I just figure I’m tired because I don’t sleep well. So I start with Ambien. Since my insurance company won’t cover more than 14 pills a month, I try other meds. Trazadone. Elavil. Sonata. You name it, I probably tried it. I also tried exercising until I dropped, but no matter what I did, I always seemed to wake up 2 hours later, then every 20 minutes for the rest of the night.

It is a well known fact in my family that I am a violent sleeper. Mom used to say I did ballet in my sleep (that means I kicked). Over the years I have figured out that I am a little bit of a snorer as well, though nothing house-shaking, and much of the time, I would wake up mid-snort and think to myself “Oh man, it would suck if I was a snorer! Good thing I always seem to wake myself up. Maybe I’ll train myself out of it.” I thought that I woke myself up because of the noise. I was wrong.

Come to find out, under a year ago, that I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Got the Stanford sleep study and all that, and according to CG (my awesome doctor), I’ve had this all my life. I also have a deviated septum…which I really don’t know much about except that if I push my finger against the tip of my nose and make a snout, I can breathe better and look like a pig at the same time. It’s fun.

According to my sleep study, I stop breathing on average 38 times AN HOUR. My blood oxygen level dips a little, and 15-30 second later I wake up to breathe.

That being established, I am going to take a break and maybe catch a few zzz’s. It’s 3:45am, and I ripped the CPAP mask off my face about an hour ago after going to bed around 12:30.

Sleep. Breathe. Sleep. Breathe. I dislike that I have to choose one over the other.