Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Health

You are not MY doctor

When I had my medical crisis, I had some arguments with my mother about–well, many things. In this post, however, I want to focus on one thing. She has a brother who is a doctor. Maybe. even a heart doctor. He is the oldest of eight children in an Asian family. A very traditional family in which the boys are treated like rock stars and the girls are treated like shit–even by the mother (my grandmother). She had some strong internalized misogyny, which I have talked about at length before.

Anyway, my oldest uncle is self-centered, self-aggrandizing, and thinks he should get more than anyone else because he is the oldest son. When his father died, he insisted that his oldest son get a bigger portion of the pie because he was the first grandson. The daughters and granddaughters got nothing.

Same uncle, at his second son’s engagement party (which was a whole nothing thing), we all gave them money. I jokingly said I expected the same when I got engaged and this uncle said very seriously that I would no longer be part of the family, so I would not be getting anything from them. I looked at him and said that he would not be invited to the wedding, then, if we were no longer family. He had nothing to say to that.

Anyway. When I was out of the hospital, my mother told me that she had shared what happened to me with her brother. And he told her what he would have done if he were my doctor. Without seeing x-rays, or me, even. I told her I didn’t really care what ho had to say because of these reasons. She tried to say in Taiwanese culture, this was normal. Fine. Dandy, even. But I was not in Taiwanese culture and in my very American culture, someone who has not even seen me does not get to tell me what meds to take.

Then again, my mother lets her pharmacist prescribe things for her and my father without actually doing a check-up, so there’s that.

She got mad and defensive, but I didn’t care. I am not letting someone who hasn’t even examine me prescribe me anything. Oh, and he’s retired. He’s been so for a few years. So he’s not even up to date on the newest medical discoveries, but, sure. I’m going to listen to what he has to say about my heart–and not the doctors who kept me alive.

My parents have a friend who is also a doctor (and a major asshole). Apparently, he got my brother to allow him (let’s call him Bob) to see me. Bob told my brother that I was not going to recover. WHO LOOKS SILLY NOW, BOB?? I am not happy that he was allowed in, but there’s not much I can do about that. Obviously. Anyway, afterwards, when I was home, he made a ‘joke’ about people in my situation useally leaving the hospital by the back door (meaning dead), which I did not appreciate at all.

I can joke about me dying because it happened to me, but he cannot. It really is a ‘know your audience’ thing. And a ‘you are not a friend of mine’ thing. I really dislike this person. A great deal. He is insufferable. He is like the Platonic Ideal of smug cishet white man, and I have intensely disliked him since I was a kid. Funnily, I used to like his wife (Taiwanese), but during this last visit (after my medical crisis), she said several offensive things. I don’t know if she moved more towards the right or if she had always been this way, but I hadn’t realized it when I was a kid.

My brother’s new girlfriend was making comments about how the stroke I had didn’t affect the areas of the brain that control memory and spatial differentiation. Again. You are not my doctor. Granted, she was right about it in general. I had my stroke in the area of my brain that deals with motor skills. Gross I think? Maybe fine? Anyway. Not memory. But, she is not my doctor. She did not see my x-rays. She did not see my brain itself. So, while she knows in general how this works (she’s not a doctor at all, but does work with the brain), she is not my doctor.

I know this is a thing for people who deal with any kind of injury, disability, medical thing. Tons of people who want to offer advice or comments without actually knowing anything about the individual case. It’s worse when it’s people who are doctors or in those fields because they have general knowledge, which makes them think they know more than they do about your specific case.

You don’t know me. More to the point, you are not my doctor. If I have issues with what my actual doctors are doing, I will get a second opinion. Igf I had a good friend who was a heart doctor, I would be more apt to listen to them if they couched it in terms of what is to be expected in general. In fact, Ian’s dad is a doctor, and that’s what he did. His father, I mean. He told Ian that the signs weren’t good, but he wasn’t trying to tell Ian what my doctors should do about it.

To me, that’s the difference. It’s one thing to offer general advice or counsel based on what you generally know. But to state with confidence that this, that, or the other thing should be done to a specific patient whom you have never examined in a clinical setting? Nope. So not here for that. It’s such a recurring thing that there’s a meme about being told to try kale and/or yoga no matter what your problem is.

It’s actually similar to when I was in a minor car accident and my mother kept telling me about all the people she knew who got whiplash from being in a car accident. I would tell her I didn’t want to hear it, but she could not help herself, apparently. By the way, I did not get whiplash.

Hm. Come to think of it, it might just be a ‘my mother’ thing. She does not trust herself on anything and will listen to anyone who states something with authority. Throw on ‘MD’ at the end of their name, and, surely, they must be the authority on all things medical! There’.s a complicated reason for that, but I don’t want to talk about it in this post.

The bottom line is that my medical crisis was handled brilliantly by my medical test. I got my heart and brain loked at three months after my medical crisis. I walked out of the hospital a week after I woke up and needed no rehab or physical therapy. None. Zero. I. Walked. Out. On my own two feet. Well, I was wheeled to the entrance, but I got into my brother’s car on my own and into my house in the same way.

In other words, my medical team knew what they were doing. They did not need any input from anyone else, thank you very much. Nor do I. Honestly. People can keep their opinions to themselves and just let me happily live my life.



Unmasking and taking off the bra

I don’t wear a bra. Ever.

I think I might have autism.

Bear with me because I think these two things are related. Tenuously, maybe, but related, nonetheless.

I also think I have OCD traits. This, too, is related.

Let’s start with the bra thing. I hate clothing in general. It all feels so restrictive and I am allergic to manydifferent kinds of fabrics. Hell, I’m allergic to so many things in general. Let’s go over them, shall we?

Almost every fucking flower/weed under the sun. So many of the manmade scents–almost all of them, too. The last time I had the allergy test where they infect you, I mean inject you with all the different allergens in your thigh, like thirty diffreent allergens, my entire thigh blew the fuck up. It became one giant boil, basically.

I also didn’t know when I used to get allergy shots as a kid that they were injecting me with poison. It was so utterly miserable. My arm would swell up every time, and I would be hot and miserable. And, again, I had no idea what was happening. If someone had actually told me why they were poisoning me, I would have been able to deal with it better.

And did it work? No. I still have allergies. I used to envy my brother for not getting the shots. I found out a few years ago it was because his allergies were too far gone for the shots to be considered effective. Ironically, his allergies are pretty much gone now while mine are just worse.

I’m allergic to mosquito bites. To gluten. To lactose. So many allergies (none life-threatening) to so many things.

Let’s get back to bras. I hate them. I have always hated them. I had a traumatic fitting incidence that left me in tears. It also made me hate my body even more than I did. I found that fitters telling women* to wear really fucking tight bras that crushed your ribs was common, which was what I went through. I wore 38 D. They told me I should wear 34 DD. It hurt like fuck. When I said I ended up in tears, I meant it literally. And I will never, ever, EVER allow a bra fitter near me again. Even if I were to go back towearing a bra. Which I won’t.

Ranodm fact: There was a study that showed people who did not wear bras had perkier boobs than those who did, but that was not conclusive. On the other side, there is no conclusive evidence that wearing a bra keeps the boobs perkier, too. And because there is so much push for women to wear them, I always feel compelled to stand up for the other side.

Even if boobs sag, so the fuck what? If there is no medical problem with it, then who the uck cares? Also, if there is no pain. Look. If someone wants to wear a bra, I am most emphatically not going to stop them or lecture them about how they should free the boobs. I would just appreciate the same courtesy in return. But the fear that they project as they frantically defend the bra is amazing. And tiring. Just chill the fuck out, ok?

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We need to talk about it

Let’s talk about menopause. I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m going through. I will get it checked out with my doc to make sure. But it clocks with what K went through with perimenopause and menopause. I wrote about it in the past post, but I need to expand on it more now.

We need to talk about non-men’s issues. That’s been true for all my life and even more so now Women’s issues. Nonbinary people’s issues. Agender people’s issues. Anyone but the goddamn men’s issues.

I’m fucking sick of it. I’m fifty-two years old, and my god, can we please act like it’s almost 2024? Which means not centering men. That doesn’t seem like a big ask, but apparently, it is. I’m fired up because I am, I think, going through menopause. And if I’m not, I’m experiencing symptoms that have been consistent with menoapause.

Which I didn’t know, by the way. Sure, I’ve heard of hot flashes, but that was about it. The only reason I knew anything about the symptoms before now was because K had talked about it with me when she went through perimenopasue and early menopause. She had hot flashes so bad that she had to turn down the thermometer. She was a heat person. She grew up in Florida and loved the heat. Once menopause hit, she was hot all the time.

As I mentioned in the last post, I had no problem with my period. Or rather, my one problem was that I never knew when I was going to get it so I had to carry pads with me almost all the time. That was no big deal, by the way. It  was a mere inconvenience more than anything else.

K did mention it when she started having symptoms. I was sympathetic (see what I did there?), but I couldn’t relate, obviously. I started perimenopause and was not thrilled with it, but it still wasn’t that big a deal.

Now, however, if it is menopause, my god. This fucking sucks. And when I talked to K about it, she confirmed everything I said. A month or so ago–and, yes, I am going to get graphic in talking about my period–I had a gush of period blood heavier than I had ever had before. In like six periodes aggregate. Honestly, I had never seen that much blood come out of me at one time.

I had to ask K if that happened to her. She said that yes, it did. Oh, the excess blood as your body clings bitterly to the possibility of having a baby. Why did no one tell me that the ovaries did not go quietly into the night?

This seemed like it should be basic information that everyone who gets a period should have. Yes, I know better than that, but hope springs eternal. I thougtht bec;ause my period was so mild, so would menopause. If that is what this is!

Today, I’m feeling decent. Not tired. But I’m flushing and a bit achy. I. Don’t. Get. Sweats. Ever. Wait. To be more truthful, I get sweaty when I do exercise from time to itme. But just walking around or existing? Nope. No sweating. Hardly at all. Unless I’m in extreme heat, which I fucking hate.

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Menowhat? Menopause!

Roughly three years ago, I started having what I thought were menopausal symptoms. Before I get into that, let’s talk about periods. People understand them very little in general, and what is seen is that women get them every month for a few days. The symptoms include cramps. That’s about it. This was what I was taught in sex ed forty years ago, and I dearly hope it’s changed since.

What has been my actual experience with my period? It started when I was nine. I was wearing white jeans and, yes, the result was horrible. I could not wear tampons comfortably, no matter how ‘ultra-slim’ they god. It hurt. It was uncomfortable. I was always aware i was wearing one. So I quit. I started using pads and what a relief. I never went back. Yes, at first it felt like I was wearing some kind of weird diaper beacuse they were so thick and bulky. But over time, they got thinner and thinner, and now, they are barely noticeable.

In addition, I have never had a problem with my period. I almost feel bad about admitting this because so many people with periods have such a rough time with PMS. But, here’s my reality. I got my period every third or four months for three days. It was light on the first day, medium to heavy-ish (never truly heavy) on the second day, and almost nonexistent on the third. I had to carry pads with me almost all the time because I never knew when I was going to get my period. My only sign was a coppery taste in my mouth and my boobs were tender.

That’s it. If my period had been on a regular timetable, I would have no issues with it at all. Oh, and when I was having sex, it was much more regular, but still never once a month. It was more like once everythirty-five to forty days.

When I was getting my period three times a year for three days at a time, I asked my doctor if I should be concerned about it. I mean, I had had it hammered into my mind that I was supposed to get it once a month. I was supposed to get cramps, terrible mood swings, and want to eat my weight in ice cream. None of that was true. I barely even noticed I had it.

Then, a few years before I ended up in the hospital, I started getting it every month but extremely light for like two days. Then it went away completely and just when I thought it might actually be menopause, my period would show up again. I figured I was in peri-menopause and shrugged my shoulders.

Then, about six months ago, I started to get my period every few months. Very light for the most part, but one day, it was heavy (for me). And just when I thought it would never come back, it did.

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Introducing fear

Before my medical crisis, I had no idea what pneumonia felt like. Now that I do, any time I feel anything close to it, I worry. But also, it was such a unique feeling, anything compared to it is lesser. Which is both good and bad. “It’s not walking non-Covid-related pneumonia” is a pretty easy bar to clear, but that doesn’t mean that what I have is not something to worry about.

I feel like I did when I got the Covid shot. Not quite as bad, but the same symptoms. Chills and sweat, alternating. Fatigue and body aches. None of the more classic ones such as cough, runny nose, etc. I am sniffing more than normal, but no runny nose.

It could just be the crud. I am going to pick up a Covid test to see if it’s that. I will be both peeved and annoyed if it is Covid. Peeved because I just got the booster. Relieved because then I would at least know what it was.

I just took the test. It’s snowing out. That makes me happy, but it’s not going to stick around long, I have a feeling. But it’s certainly pretty and makes me feel very wintery, which I appreciate.

The test is fairly easy. It’s just swab the inside of the nose and then test it. Wait fifteen minutes and you get results. But you can mess up each step along the way if you don’t do it pproperly. And it’s fairly easy to fuck it up. I bought two in case I messed one up and also so I can test in a few days even if I’m negative with the first one. The only thing I had forgotten from the first time was that the ‘test tube holder’ was the package itself. Which I ripped open. Fortunately, I could craft it into a stand so it was no big deal.

I have taken a test before and tested negative. I know that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily negative as false negatives ar ea thing. This test is negative as well. Not even a whiff of a pink line for the test line. I will try again in a few days, but for now, will assume I don’t have it.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have something. Yes, Covid is a big worry, but there are other things, too. I don’t think it’s the flu given that from what I heard, it hits really hard. Maybe a bad cold? But it doesn’t feel like cold symptoms. That’s why I think it might be menoapause. I asked K about her symptoms when she had it, and she said it was exactly as I described. Body aches, fatigue, chills, and sweats. If I don’t feel better by Monday, I’ll see my doc.

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Would a diagnosis be worth it?

In the last post, I talked about how I had basically found ways to work around my own brain. I don’t know if I have autism and/or ADHD, but the signs are there. Or at least they would be if I let myself react instinctively rather than  how I have learned to deal with them. I have so honed my reactions that they are almost instinctual to me. That makes it difficult to say what my real response would be.

For example. I have a constant commentary in my head that I would never voice out loud. I learned at a very young age that no one was interested in what I had to say. Not really. Well, i shouldn’t say that no one was interested, but that most people were not interested. I would actually go further and say they were upset/offended/bothered when I did voice my opinion.

Wow. I’m reading a list of things that a non-male person with autism–well, ok. It’s about women. I’m AFAB so it relates to me, but I take issue with the fact that the article I read pathologized AFAB people who did not feel that they were women.

That aside, holy shit, I fit almost all the ‘symptoms’. They even include hyper-empathy as a possible trait. Also, hyper-focus, naivety about social interactions, and an uncommon interest in sex. By the way, I felt like some of the traits/symptoms were laughable. They said that someone who was straight, gay, transgender, or nonbinary could be autistic. Um, that’s basically saying anyone can be autistic. They also said someone who was asexual could be autistic as could someone who was hypersexual. In other words, come the fuck on with covering all the bases.

The point is, I am fifty-two years old. I have been on this earth for over a half-cetntury. I have found ways to deal with my weird traits and issues, but I never considered that I might be autistic. I knew it ran in my family, but I never once thought it could be my. Why? Because the symptoms/traits were foreign to me. “No empathy.” Well, nope. I have an overflowing of empathy. It was fornced upon me, but it was there.

Another was “No eye contact”. I didn’t like eye contact, but I knew that it was expected. I could do it, but at a cost. “Self-stimulation”. No way in hell I was going to do that. I knew better than to even try. I was a girl* and I had to sit quiet as a mouse. My father believed that children should be neither seen nor heard, especially a girl child.

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Day Three of the flu shot

Day Three of flu shot. Well, two-and-a-half, really. I got it around four on Thursday and as I’m writing this, it’s one in the afternoon on Saturday. My teacher has Covid and had to cancel the class today. I was glad because I’m exhausted. My arm is a bit sore, buthere is barely a welt.

It’s the level of fatigue that only happens when I’m sick. I had to curtail my morning Taiji/Bagua routine because I don’t want to push it. It’s frustrating. I had just gotten back to doing everything and now, I have to pare it back again.

Today, I did all the stretching because I had a hunch that class would be canceled. And i did the Fan Form, the Eight Palms (Bagua) with DeerHorn Knives, bot only one way (usually do it both ways), and the Double Saber…I think? Suddenly, I’m not so sure. I did the Sword Hu-li Form (dancing sword form) which is just me moving the sword as I want to. With internal music going.

Now, I just want to sleep. I’m watching the Early Access Retry Elden Ring episode and have ordered Thai. This is my Saturday Ritual. Taiji class, Thai, and Retry. No Taiji class, but the other two still stand. It’s a meaty episode at nearly two-and-a-half hours.

I’ve been doing a run loosely based on Aunty Finchy’s run. I gotta say, it’s been so fucking hard. He’s a dex man, and I am…not. Neither dex nor a man. Plus, he spreads his points all over the place, much to the constertation of a lot of fans. A lot.

I peeked at the Facebook page last night, and, boy, do people have a lot of opinions on what Rory should and should not do. A. Lot. WHich is fine in the, well, everyone has opinions sort of way. But it gets pretty depressing when it’s RORY YOU HAVE TO DO THIS YOU STUPID IDIOT sort of way, which is so many of the comments.

The big ones are the insistence that he not use spirit summons on boss fights, which is silly and honestly just wrong. The boss fights are made to have spirit summons in them and while you can do the boss fights without them, it’s adding unnecessary difficulty.

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The body will do what it will do

Day Two of the flu shot. And, yes, I am going to be doing areport on it, much as I did with the Covid booster. I’m very tired. My arm is sore, but not bad. And not a welt. I can’t stop holding my breath yet because it was the night of day two for the Covid booster when it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Last night, I was pretty tired and went to bed early. I woke up really tired. I did manage to do my whole Taiji/Bagua routine, but it was a struggle. And I just want to take a nap. Which would be ok except I had a solid eight hours last night.

It’s been a while since I had a flu shot. The reason why is because of how I react to these shots. And the fact that I never had the flu. I mentioned this in yesterday’s post.

I get why I need to get the shots, at least from a theoretical point of view. It’s like insurance. Except in this case, there’s no guarantee that it’ll be the right shot. That’s the reason I stopped getting the flu shot, by the way. It made me feel so shitty and then I never got the flu.

Yes, I know that’s the best outcome. I’m not disputing that not getting the flu is a good thing. It just seems like a waste plus it’s hard on my body–and to make matters worse, it’s not as if the vax prevents you from getting the flu (or Covid).

This was what I didn’t understand for years. I thought if you got the flu shot, you would be innoculated against getting the flu. No, it’s if you get one of the six strains that the shot was prepared for that year, you would suffer the effects much less (presumably). Same with the Covid vaccination. It mitigates the effects if you get one of the strains that it’s innoculating you for.

I feel really bad for my Taiji teacher because she was trying to get her booster, but could not get in. I can empathize because I was planning for my own booster shot. I could not get into my pharmacy until the first week of December. I wanted to get it a week before Thanksgiving. Cubs had a spot open in a few days from when I was planning it, but for the Moderna rather than the Pfizer.

I was going to get the booster on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. Then, the flu shot the Tuesady after. Then, my brother’s Thanksgiving feast Friday night. That WAS the plan, which failed miserably.

I think that’s one thing I’ve taken away from the experience. It’s ever-changing. I can’t rely on what happened the time before because it’s ever-changing–like the virus itself.

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Trying to manage my fears

This is the first day in two weeks I’ve been able to do a full Taiji/Bagua routine. And it feels really good! For the past two weeks, I’ve been doing portions of it because of my reaction to the booster shot. In the first few days after, I mostly did stretches and warm-ups. I was exhausted, and I did not want to make things worse.

I slowly started adding weapons back in in. One at a time. This was probably four or five days after I got the shot. I really, really, really did not want to overdo it.

Today, for the first time in two weeks, I did all the things I normally do in my daily routine. All the stretches, warm-ups, and weapons. And it felt so good! That means Sword Form (right side)–

Gotta interject. I got my flu shot. I was going to get them on the same day, but thought better of that plan. In fact, when I went in a month or so ago to get my wasp bite checked out (it was infected), they asked if I wanted to get my flu shot and my Covid booster. I said sure. My doctor told me not to because I was already fighting off an infection, and my immune system was stressed enough. I had to do the full ten days of antibiotics for that mess. And my finger didn’t really get back to normal for about a week after.

Two weeks ago, I got the Covid booster. The Moderna instead of the Pfizer. It’s supposedly good to mix them up, probably so you can catch more variants. I have no scientific backing for this, but I believe that’s why I had such a bad reaction this time.

My plan had been to get the Covid booster a week before Tthanksgiving. Then, I was going to get the flu shot the following Monday or Tuesday. My brother had his Thanksgiving feast Friday night, and I figured it would be enough time to recover.

I was so wrong. So very wrong. I had never had such a strong reaction to one of these shots. I mean, I’ve always reacted to them, but not like this. It was mostly the welt that stayed forever. Which is annoying, but not a big deal. Usually, it was me feeling like shit for three days and then it getting better by day five or six. A week of being tired was pretty much it.

This time, it was so much more. It was horrid, and it never occurred to me until Ian mentioned it that it might actually be something other than a reaction to the shot. Which, it could have been–but it wasn’t.

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Feeling like a brand new person

I had to skip my brother’s Thanksgiving Day dinner last night. I had hoped that it being a week and a day after I got the shot, I would be better in time to go. I reinstalled Lyft so I could catch a ride if I went. It was at four, but they were eating at five-ish or so. When I called my brother to let him know I wasn’t going, he was so disappointed. He sent me a picture of the GF/DF bread he was making, and it looked delicious.

The woman he’s dating is GF/DF so there was several dishes of the sort at the dinner. I know he really wants me to meet her, and I really want to meet her as well. Plus see my niblings. And actually be able to eat food. But I felt like shit and did not want to maybe spread something. I had assumed it was a reaction to the vax, but Ian had pointed out that it could be something else. He was thinking pneumonia because that was what I had back in 2021, but it could have even been a cold or something else.

In addition, because of my shitty immune system, I did not want to be around others while not at my best. I did not want to get anything else, thank you very much.

I told my brother I would go if I felt better in the next few hours (I called him around 1:30 p.m.). I did not feel better and emailed him to confirm I wasn’t going.

Then, around seven or eight ot night, I suddenly felt better. By a wide margin. If I had been roughly fifty to sixty percent earlier in the day, I was at eighty percent by that point.

Today, I had a Taiji class at noon. Last week, I stayed through the meditation, which was roughly half an hour. This time, I stayed twice as long and did the first section of the Solo Form. And the chi gong. And the my god. My brain just completely stopped before coming up with the name of the posture/movement of the single posture drill we did. It’s Repulse Monkey. I did that. At the break, I felt decent, but I did not want to overdo it. So I left the Zoom call. It was the perfect amount of Taiji.

I will say, though, it’s in a church. There was a special event this week so the class was in a different room. During meditation, I could hear shouting and yelling (by the pastor and the congregation). It seemed to be a call-and-response situation. It was not a very relaxing way to meditate, I’ll tell you that much. One of the newer students is an immigrant from Eastern Europe. She had a very negative reaction to all the shouting and yelling because it reminded her of her youth. Not from chuch, but just from being in a communist country in general. She said that church should be peaceful and loving. why did there need to be shouting?

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