Pass the zinc, please.

I’m getting sick. Well, maybe. Like a good zinc cold product consumer, I started sucking on a lozenge at the first sign of illness – last night when the dull headache that crept in during the day never morphed into a migraine like I feared, but instead gave way to a crushing fatigue, and just a bunch of “off” sensations.

“Off” bodily sensations have become the norm for me post-flox, sometimes caused by ingesting a disagreeable food or substance, or breathing some chemical or whatever. Sometimes I wrack my brain trying to figure out what caused it, and sometimes I do…but sometimes it remains one of life’s mysteries.

Last night I realized this current “off” feeling meant I’m getting a cold. When I considered that my son has had a cold for the last 2 days and has likely left all manner of germs all over the place for me to touch and transfer to my own body, I put two and two together because I’m smart like that, and popped myself a nice zinc lozenge.

Now I’m at work continuing my zinc lozenge regime, hoping for the best, and hiding the fact that I’ve brought this possible illness into the workplace. I mean, am I contagious if I’m zinc lozenging the fuck out of the germs? I don’t know. But I’ve got to eat and pay bills, so I intend to grace my workplace with my germy presence and soldier through my workday for the duration of the illness, unless I become too physically weak to get out of bed.

I mean, I’ve had enough practice working through illness during those 2-3 years of near-daily, intense flox symptoms. Somehow (who knows how) I managed. I worked through neuropathy that left me with burning, tingling, and numbness in my limbs and face. I worked through pain that left my body feeling twisted up like a pretzel, and stabbed repeatedly in various muscles and joints. I worked through migraines that rendered my brain practically a vegetable, making my eyes feel crossed, my mental processes slowed to the point where I should have been huddled in the corner of the room drooling on myself. But I didn’t do that. I performed all of my work duties with miraculously few mistakes, all while smiling at people, trying to pretend I didn’t want to die every second of every day. After all, what would have been the use in complaining? Very few people believed I was suffering, anyway.

My point is, if I can handle that, I can handle working through this possible cold.

I feel it, too. Or rather, my body’s response to those little germy fuckers trying to invade my body. Guess what, germs? You can kiss my ass. Unlike days past when illness sensations would trigger PTSD from my floxing, I refuse to become stressed out over your possible presence. Who gives a shit if I’m sick? If I’m prescribed antibiotics that might fuck me up again? If I can’t take normal cold medicines for relief, or nap for hours and hours during the daytime to hasten recovery like normal, non-floxed, non-MCS people, because my nervous system is shot and medications trigger neuropathy flares? Who gives a fuck? This is nothing to get upset about.

I’m saying these things to remind my dumbass PTSD brain that acquiring the common cold is not the same as descending into the unrelenting hell of possibly permanent flox and MCS symptoms. Colds go away. Just think about ocean waves or some shit, and stop worrying.

Secondly, I’m reminding myself that I am strong. If you had told my younger self I would survive that flox/MCS hell, I never would have believed you. See, I thought for many years that I was weak. Frail. Physically and emotionally. Well, guess what? I am many things in life, but weak and frail I am not.

Also, I am well aware that most people in the world would consider this blog the ramblings of a neurotic person. Seriously – just considering my posts objectively, they do seem insane, like something out of a sci-fi movie.

“She thinks an antibiotic fucked up her DNA, and now she’s supposedly allergic to everything? What a nutjob.”

I know that’s what some people think of me, which used to bother me quite a bit. But you know what? It really doesn’t anymore. I don’t need anyone else to validate my adverse drug reaction, or my unacknowledged, invisible illnesses, or any single goddamn other thing that has happened to me the last 6 years..or ever. I know my own truth, which is all the validation I will ever need…EVER. Times infinity plus one, as little kids might say.

See, I’ve figured out that I’m strong enough to withstand people’s doubt. Yes, it hurts to have my experiences dismissed. It’s even downright traumatizing when doctors, the people in charge of my healthcare, do it. But there’s an aspect of their dismissal that can no longer touch me, because my wellbeing is no longer dependent on the approval of other people.

I don’t know why it ever was. I mean, I’ve spent my entire life feeling shunned, not fitting in with the vast majority of people. If an alien ship appears to retrieve my spirit when my body kicks the bucket someday, I will not be the slightest bit surprised.

My point? If I can survive a lifetime on the outskirts of life, the subject of people’s frequent ridicule, I can survive their disbelief in my experiences, and their erroneous judgments about my mental state. I don’t actually care anymore, because I’m strong enough to stand on my own. I guess that’s another unexpected gift my health issues brought me.

My goodness. Who knew that a simple cold virus could lead to giving myself a pep talk about inner strength? I guess I’m my own life coach now. My own foul-mouthed, sometimes snarky asshole life coach, but that’s okay – this style works for me. If you don’t like it, don’t ask me to be your life coach. I wouldn’t be good at it anyway, since I don’t like telling other people what to do. There would be a lot of, “I don’t know – you should just do what you want”, which seems a little wishy-washy for a life coach. But what do I know – I just started this gig today.

Anyway, I have to go because it’s time to dig out another zinc lozenge and get back to work. I hope the zinc helps. Just because I can handle having a cold without succumbing to the troubling, PTSD ghost of illness past, doesn’t mean I WANT to.

Last Will and Testament…or Something

(Wherein I refer to death-related topics as casually as I would refer to making sandwiches, all while cussing like a sailor. Don’t read if such things upset you.)

If I ever make a will like a responsible person, I’m putting some morbid shit in that thing.

Actually, I’m not thinking of a will – I’m thinking of something like an after-death plan. Is that something people do? I mean, people who wish to be cremated instead of embalmed and buried (as I do) probably should have a document stating their wishes, right? Is that part of a will? Or are wills just instructions on how to distribute people’s material and monetary accumulations to their loved ones? (For fuck’s sake, now here’s another Thing I Need to Google. I should probably do so before publishing this post, so as not to display my ignorant stream of consciousness for all to see, but I’m not going to.)

ANYWAY, I doubt I will have much to leave anyone besides the contents of a cluttered apartment resembling a slightly more aesthetically pleasing set of Sanford and Son. (Have fun sorting through this hoarder’s oasis, future recipient of my junk!) But I do have some things I’d like to happen upon my death.

First, as I mentioned, I would like to be cremated. I’ve told both my son and my boyfriend on numerous occasions, “Chemicals gave my body enough trouble while I was alive; I refuse to be pumped full of them when I die.” I realize I would no longer be adversely affected by chemicals as a dead person, but it’s the principle of the thing, okay?

Secondly, I would like my body to be examined for flox-related abnormalities. Specifically, I would like to be cut open in the places I specify and checked for torn or ruptured tendons and cartilage damage. I would like for someone to notice evidence of excessive wear, and wonder some version of the following: “Hmm…why does this sedentary, slug-like person have the joint and tendon damage of a lifelong marathon runner? That sure is odd.” And I can state in my will, or after-death plan, or whatever: “Because of Cipro. Nasty drug, huh?

Of course, if I do live until the ripe old age of 90 (god, I hope not), my tendon and joint destruction will probably just be blamed on age. UNLESS they resemble the tendons and joints of a 140-year-old instead of a 90-year-old – in which case, maybe someone will notice.

Who am I kidding? Even if I can have these things checked after I die, nothing will likely come of it. I’m just imagining a scenario in which I have the last word in an argument with all the naysayers in my life who refused to believe that Cipro harmed me. I mean, what would be the point if I’m dead? And I’m increasingly wondering what the point is while I’m alive. I find myself caring less and less as time goes on. Don’t believe me? Fine. Take all the prescribed Fluoroquinolone drugs you wish, you fictitious amalgam of all the skeptics in the entire world. Take a crapload of FQs and continue to think I’m crazy, because of course you’ll be one of the lucky ones who can take FQs without adverse effects. I don’t even care anymore. (Actually, I do care, but I’m feeling too cranky and cynical to care out loud right now, so I’m pretending I don’t care.)

By the way, all of today’s cheery thoughts were brought to you by this other, preceding thought, which went something like this: “I’m glad I’m somewhat healthy again, but really wish my body felt as young as my physical age.”

They were also prompted by this thought: “My fucking neighbors woke me up at 7:00 on a Saturday again…don’t they EVER sleep in?” I mean, I had grand plans to spend the morning with a delicious cup of coffee, writing a profound essay about the unexpected gifts of illness, or some crap like that. Instead, my coffee gave me a stomachache and didn’t even wake me up. As a result, I am far too cranky to ponder anything that doesn’t allow me the freedom to express the snarky, irritable side of my personality at this moment. So, since nothing profound is coming out of this brain of mine today, I said to myself, “I know…I’ll write about what I want to happen when I die!”

Oh, also? This is unrelated to anything in this entry, but a few weeks ago I bought an awesome pair of boots online at a huge discount – something I NEVER do, but justified it as an early birthday present to myself. Well, I opened the package today, and they’re too small, and I can’t return them. So instead of enjoying this rare treat, I’ve acquired a task and an errand: listing them on ebay and going to the post office to mail them once they’ve sold. I have an unreasonable hatred of mailing packages. Like, to a ridiculous degree. I don’t even know why. Or maybe I do: it’s because mailing things confuses me. I have no idea what to charge the ebay buyer for postage in advance, and no idea how to properly wrap and package this stupid box. Because of this, the boots are probably going to sit in the corner of my Sanford and Son apartment for god knows how long, mocking me and collecting dust. Maybe I should just put them in my will. Or my after-death plan. Or whatever. It’ll go like this:

  1. Cremate my body. No chemicals!
  2. Check my body for Cipro damage. (Wait, that should probably go first. Reverse the first two entries.)
  3. Give this pair of awesome, vintage boots to some lucky recipient who will either love the crap out of them or not mind going to the post office to mail them to someone else.

See, my needs are pretty simple. At least, my after-death needs are. I wish I could say the same for my pre-death (otherwise known as life) needs.

Side note: I have no idea how someone this confused and stressed out over mailing a package functions as an even remotely independent adult. Let’s just file this under “Mysteries of Life”, shall we?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to attempt to salvage the remainder of this day in spite of my desire to complain excessively and throw things through windows. Wish me luck!

Our Gift to You

The Great Controversy book, with bonus shot of my injured thumb.

The Great Controversy book, with bonus shot of my injured thumb.


Several months ago I received this book in the mail for free – a generous deed for the good of humanity, I presume, as apparently mine is one of many souls in the world currently in need of saving. Rather than adding another piece of trash to the landfill, or donating the 500th copy to Goodwill, I decided this book was a collage-maker’s dream with its strange and unique phrases. So I kept it, and began removing these choice phrases from the confines of the pages with my trusty exacto knife. Kind of like excising tumors, only in reverse: removing the good parts from the cancerous mass. After two or three hours, an inadvertent poem formed.

Note: no offense intended to any religious folk out there. I really don’t care what beliefs people adopt in order to ease the harshness of their earthly lives (most people would deem my own beliefs utterly wacky, I imagine). I’m just not into the hellfire and damnation variety of religious propaganda. Or proselytizing – even passively, as with a book appearing in my mailbox. When that happens, I’m going to make collages and/or cut-up poetry out of it. I’m sorry, but that’s just how it’s going to be.

Our Gift to You

Splendid churches
infected with
finite minds
choosing darkness…

What indignation
intermingled with
the uplifting of humanity!

What must be the fruit of
independent thought
that are in the graves!

The lightning flashes,
leaving the darkness
more dense…

Anticipating the loneliness,
when the luxury of the world
becomes inadequate.

(This detestable rottenness
in their pursuit of pleasure.)

Time was short
to little groups gathered,
in costly and fashionable attire,
for less worthy purposes.

and did they know it?
and did they feel it?

The discord which
would have manifested
its own peculiar dress
to the whole universe,
from fear rather than from love.

I desire to live!
cries the lost soul
darkened with the smoke,
the terrible destruction of life.

(So strong was this feeling
to enter the divine.)

Should we be surprised that
his heart was broken?
Blotted from existence
in the midst of
the falsehood uttered
for the good of the human mind.

The influence of
a higher state of existence
filled with love:
the souls of all men
would have lived forever,
away into the bliss.

Spirituality is called
the serene joy,
an inspiration,
a love of the world
(the whole wicked world).

The same spirit that
would often linger
with the masterpieces
of the seasons,
to the blue skies,
the entire universe,
the whole state of existence…

These are everywhere,
these writings of love.

So precious a talent
in their true light,
can alone comprehend
the perplexity of the universe.