Friday, May 1, 2009

Me of the Day

Current Mood: Bleak.

Current Activity: Thinking of leaving the house. Maybe. Probably, no.

Incredibly Brilliant/Stupid: I was painting my nails (Pink! So pretty!) and had a thought...why don't we paint our teeth? Er...not pink, and not with Nail Polish, probably...but why don't dentists coat our every tooth with some sort of bright white, shiny substance that hardens and gives our teeth a layer of protection against cavities, acid, stains, etc.? I demand such a substance, hopefully before Diet Coke wears away the last of my natural enamel. If you are brilliant enough to make this happen, I ask only 15% of royalties.

And on to the Four Swine of the Apocalypse:

I believe I am all alone in wishing the media would talk more about swine flu - or whatever decidedly unromantic name it is going by these days. I want it to saturate life’s every moments. I want panic laden suburbanites to be duck-taping their windows, and every person over the age of sixty-two wearing government issued masks. Mostly, I want the government to be focused on what will happen next, not what happened a week ago. By the time any person in sick enough to get tested, they have had the illness and been spreading it to others for about ten days (the incubation period is about a week - longer than most flus.) Unless we start restricting people’s activity now, every single person is going to be sick in about…ten days. I except the government to catch on in approximately two week’s time.

My fear’s aren’t totally born of a sick desire to see the world erupt into chaos - most days, my life is interesting enough. I am, however, wary of everyone who notes that this flu is just another flu. It is, of course, but what makes pandemics so special is that they tend to be especially deadly - no one would have noticed or cared if hundreds of people in Mexico hadn’t already died from the thing. They kill hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people who otherwise would have, um, Not Died.

I work with an especially vulnerable population - the most vulnerable population, probably - and, odds are, we are going to lose a few of them to this. HIV-positive women with Hepatitis C and one lung who don’t get nutritious food and sleep on the streets…they are going to die. And yet the news will only say that there are ‘3 confirmed cases in the Lower Mainland of BC’…where? Vancouver or freaking Whiterock? The Downtown Eastside in a crowded hotel, or a farm in Aldergrove? Should we be getting our women proper masks, or stop serving communal meals? Should I stop going to work (I have allergies and therefore cough)? Tell Me What To Do You Useless Twenty-Four Hour Media of Ineptitude! Gah….

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Today, I unexpectedly stumbled upon a diary entry from almost three years ago - written as part of a failed plan to write daily and promote inner peace. It is, in my humble and self-deprecating opinion, the Best Thing Ever. Seriously. It oozes with angst, and then languishes in a cesspool of its own spittley rage. It is amazing...I present it here in its unedited, unabridged glory. You may disagree, invisible audience, and that is your right...however, doing so would make you a big Stupidhead. (Those pressed for time may skip to the last paragraph, which is especially awesome: "I remember living in a time when sexual favours were good for three, maybe four days of polite small talk...because God forbid I get something out of my sexual encounters besides urinary tract infections and pregnancy scares.") I rest my case.

I have come to a conclusion today which really, I’m surprised I didn’t reach a very long time ago. And that is this: I am crazy. Totally bat-shit. Breadbasket, if you will. Losing touch with reality. Suffering from a nervous collapse. Experiencing a culmination of mental illness. Crazy. I’ve discussed suicide at least once, burst in to tears about five times, and now I think I’ve reached a point where I’m okay with my self diagnosis. Well, not ‘okay,’ as that implies a degree of health or wellbeing, which I certainly lack. But, accepting. So I’m crazy. So I react to things in ways that normal human beings completely shouldn’t, and should probably be medicated. So I may never have normal interpersonal relationships or be able to live independently…assuming they let me live outside of a group home at some point before I turn 80. At which point I’ll be locked up anyways, because by then I’ll be old and have dementia or Alzheimer’s, probably. It’s this sort of optimism which is a strong indicator that I am suffering from mental illness. That and I’ve had a very crappy day, and when I have crappy days I assume that everyone in the world hates me and then systematically collect evidence to prove that everyone in the world hates me, because that’s a constructive use of my time. And also, I know that in reality my day wasn’t even that bad, but the fact that I also feel that it was so craptacular that my whole world and sense of self is collapsing, despite probably insurmountable evidence to the contrary which I can’t even perceive because I’m so crazy, is a freaking lot of evidence that…I’m crazy.

So, what happened, you, nonexistent audience who I’ve created to take the form of an empathetic listener because I’m the saddest person in the world, ask? Well, I will tell you. I suppose the repeated crying episodes all began when I spoke to the Canadian Student Loan Service Centre lady on the phone. She was rude. And also, she had a French-Canadian accent, so even if she wasn’t trying to be rude, she sounded rude. It took me a good two hours of searching on the stupid hardest-to-use-website-in-the-world to find the right number to call, and when I called, she was rude. And then she referred me to the stupid Canlearn website, which I can’t log onto, because I don’t have an valid account number. Even though I have an account. And I was told that Ontario student loans and Canadian student loans don’t speak to each other, so even though I updated my address with one, it didn’t update on the other, so a loan document was sent to my old address, where my aunt decided NOT to forward me my important government loan documents, or return them to sender, but instead just kept them. Which meant the student service centre had no idea I didn’t receive them, and refuses to believe I didn’t receive them, so started taking payments out of my account. Without informing me. And now I have to send them documents and check for outstanding interest which has accrued on my loan during the two month period it’s taken for all this to occur, even though I have irrefutable evidence that I’ve been a student, and therefore interest free, that entire time. And then I went back to the OSAP website and it put at 24 hour lock on my account and I have no idea if it was the French lady or just my stupid computer but it was very upsetting. And even though the $170 dollars which has already been taken out of my account, and the maybe $75 more dollars that I’ll have to pay in interest is not that big deal at all, it’s still was apparently the worst thing ever to happen to anyone ever, so of course it ruined my whole day. Which was gorgeous and sunny outside and everything. And I was so upset I didn’t even want to call my mom to talk about it because I didn’t want to cry to her on the phone. I contemplated calling my aunt to yell, but I didn’t want to appear crazy, because why appear crazy to others instead of just letting the crazy fester on the inside. So instead I took a shower, cried in the shower, got faint because I’m completely neurotic and am apparently supposed to take to my bed every time an overworked underpaid government employee isn’t entirely courteous to me on the phone. And finally I got dressed and did some chores, including buying text books, because if you’ve just lost a lot of money to the government, spending $200 on inflated textbooks for university courses which will systematically sap your spirit over the next four to eight months should really lighten things up. And now I won’t leave my room because I don’t want other people to see me cry, which I am doing, repeatedly, even though I’m watching a comedy. On my computer, because my fucking bitch of a roommate is in the next room and I don’t want to run into her in the commons area. I said hi to her this morning and she just stared at me and went into her room. Or maybe it was last night. Really, I don’t care. Except I completely do. What is her PROBLEM? Seriously. What? Gah.

Oh, and my not-boyfriend totally blew me off on MSN this afternoon when I really really needed some human contact. I said hi, he said ‘Hi!!!’ and then stopped talking to me. For two hours. Which, okay, he was setting up his new computer. But then he said about three words and then just stopped talking, again, except permanently this time. Which sucked. I gave him sex. Twice. Like, 36 hours ago. 48, tops. I remember living in a time when sexual favors were good for 3, maybe 4 days of polite small talk. He didn’t even make me breakfast. And I totally need to get something from his office, but I won’t ask him to open it for me. Because god forbid I get something out of my sexual encounters besides urinary tract infections and pregnancy scares.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Me of the Day

Current Mood: Placid and Inanimate - the way I imagine a lump of grey plasticine must feel, or a sea sponge.

Current Fear: The Swine Flu Pandemic of Death, of course. Also, bald eagles. Their appearance on the horizon always makes me want to lock my puppies insides, lest the flying death raptors eat their fluffiness. This is actually my greatest fear in life.

Thoughts on Pandemic/Apocalypse: If we’re all going to die, could we please have a nicer sounding illness that Swine Flu? The Spanish Influenza was a classy sounding illness, as was Cholera. Even ‘the pox’ has a succinct, stalwart tone. I would have been proud to succumb to any of those horrible, disfiguring illnesses. Mexican Swine Flu…Not so much. I suggest we rename this illness, stat, before we’re all too dying to care.

And finally: I spent the entire day today thinking it was Wednesday. I made and canceled plans accordingly (and said "tomorrow, Thursday" at least twice). It is not in fact Wednesday, at all. I Fail. Fail, fail, fail.

Steve the Brain Tumor - Part 1 of 2

About a week before my neurologist’s appointment, the television began talking about my mother.

I was neither hallucinating nor paying attention - I was engrossed in stalking ex boyfriends on Facebook. The show was Mystery Diagnosis - basically House, minus Hugh Laurie, which isn’t especially captivating or enjoyable for anyone except diehard hypochondriacs. It was on in the background - I am terrible at turning off appliances (and will start caring about carbon emissions when I start forking out for utilities. Yes, you can judge; I do, too.)

I finally looked up when the woman noted that she had weird ‘spots’ on her MRI which weren’t diagnosed as anything. Huh. My mother had waited a full year for an MRI and had the exact same experience- no diagnosis, spotty brain. She had crippling arthritis, transient numbness, and for six months had been confined to a wheelchair because of horrible pain and weakness in the lower half of her body. Doctors had shrugged incompetently. The woman on the television? Pretty much the same thing, except no wheelchair - her arms had been affected more than her legs. ...Interesting.

Finally, the woman on the TV learned that she had a genetic illness (Cavernous Angioma) which caused malformed blood vessels, which were situated throughout her brain and spine. From time to time, these raspberry-shaped ‘spots’ leaked blood or hemorrhaged completely, causing severe pain and disability in various parts of the body. I looked it up - it seemed a clear match for my mother's condition, which has yet to be diagnosed as anything at all (though one doctor thinks it might be MS but probably isn't...Yay, medical systems that work.)

It did not escape my notice that I, too, was having some neurological problems - namely headaches and my weird pupils - and that my mother’s new illness was entirely genetic.

And with that, Steve the Brain Tumor became Steve the series of raspberry-shaped malformed blood vessels, oozing and exploding throughout my brain. I was giddy with pride at my deductive prowess. I called my mother to tell her the good news - well, sort of good news.

And then I prepared for my neurology appointment - doctors like to be the ones making the diagnosis, so I knew I would have to be subtle.

(Part two to follow shortly)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Drowning at Life

I never was a strong swimmer.

I failed as many rounds of swimming lessons as I passed - yellow once, orange twice, red somehow passed on the first try, maroon failed once, et cetera, all the way to my Bronze Cross. (This was before the system reverted to numbers and lost a great deal of its mystic charm.) My mother described my pace in the water as ‘leisurely,’ and it was anything but - it was grueling. I had no upper body strength, and my legs had yet to mature. I clawed at the water and got nowhere. I kicked with everything and barely moved. The other children, taller and stronger, would glide past me, making it all look so effortless. I kicked with all my might to keep my head above water in the shallow end.

If ever there was a perfect metaphor for suicide, to me that’s it: my seven year old self, kicking and kicking and never being able to touch bottom, then slipping underneath the chlorinated water of my neighborhood swimming pool.

There were lifeguards, of course, in the metaphor and in real life. Drowning children are not to be tolerated - and if I were in enough distress and showing signs of imminent death, I would be removed from the pool and toweled off. I could cough and sputter and blow my nose and wipe my eyes, and then, obediently, I would be placed back in with the other children. Intervention was only as long lived as it took to ensure my safety and get me back into the water.

If I was prevented from drowning and kept in the water, eventually I would learn how to swim.

I wanted to swim so badly and could not understand why, for me, it seemed an impossible task. Eventually, I grew to hate it; I just wasn’t any good at swimming. I couldn’t reach the bottom, and my body wasn’t strong enough to master the strokes. Why the hell should I keep swimming?

The answer was an unconvincing ‘Because I said so.’ Lessons were prepaid, quitting was blasphemy.

The other children gawked at me when I told them I wanted out: But swimming’s so fun!? The lifeguards agreed.

And I kicked, and I sputtered, and I inhaled water with every breath.

If you can’t touch the bottom, four feet might as well be an ocean of depth. And if you’re too weak to make it to the side, fifteen metres may as well be the Pacific. I kicked and I clawed for breath, for life, and then the water rose up past my eyelids.

Being saved from drowning was torture.

(...And somehow, eventually, I did learn to swim.)