Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Health

I Can Fly! Oh, Wait. No I Can’t.

I was taking out the trash the other night, and it was dark out. I do it late at night, and my front light isn’t working. I went to check the mail, and I didn’t notice there was a huge slick of ice in front of my mailbox. I noticed when my feet went up in the air, and I landed on my knees and night elbow. If you ever want to feel completely in your body, just fall. You will be aware of muscles you never knew existed before.

The pain was sharply intense, and I’m saying this as someone who slept through a recent root canal. I couldn’t believe how much it hurt–and how quickly the intense pain went away. I admit I stayed on the ground for a minute or so, but I soon got back on my feet and checked all my limbs for possible damage. My right elbow was scraped with a little blood, my left knee felt puffy and sore, and my right knee ached a bit, but that’s it.

Nothing was broken. Nothing was wrenched, twisted, or dislocated. I kept an eye on it the next day, and while I was achy (especially in my left knee. My poor knees. They can’t catch a break), nothing actively hurt. My left knee still feels bruised and a bit puffy, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.

I bring this up for a few reasons. One, I’m still clumsy. I still fall on the regular, though not as often as I used to. Two, it wasn’t my fault this time. The last time when I fell on the stairs while doing the laundry (or more accurately, on my way to doing the laundry), it was my own damn fault for reading my phone as I was walking. This time, however, there wasn’t much I could do because I simply didn’t see the ice in the dark. It helps me understand that sometimes, things do just happen. Three, I instantly relaxed as I was falling, and this is something I’ve noticed in the last few years. Yes, I still fall, but I’m more able to do what needs to be done to minimize the damage. It’s not even something I think about–I do it automatically.

It’s the reason I walked away from my minor car accident with nothing more than a big bruise on my stomach (from either the seat belt or the airbag). It’s the reason I only have bruises and aches after falling off ladders or on the ice as I most recently did. It brings me a small measure of comfort knowing that while I may still be clumsy and fall from time to time, I don’t have to take maximum damage from it.

It’s a revelation to me as someone who’s been clumsy all her life. Yes, I’m working on being more observant and trying not to run into things in the first place, but it’s nice to know that when I make a mistake, I won’t necessarily have to pay for it (too much).

Almost Recovered

I am pleased to say that I’m mostly recovered. My flu/fever symptoms are gone, and my sleep is shite again (a clear indication that I’m getting better). However, I’ve been having the chills on and off over the last couple days, so I’m keeping an eye on it. My knees hardly ache at all, and going to taiji class yesterday really helped. I have to remember that gentle movement on the daily is a good thing, even if I have no motivation to do it at the time.

This is the problem with having depression. Even when I know something is beneficial to me and that I’ll probably enjoy it at the time–it’s difficult for me to actually force myself to do it. The inertia is strong within me, and I can sit on my ass for hours on end without even thinking about it.

On a side note, I did a testing of all the new Diet Coke flavors and live-tweeted it. Take a look if you want a good chuckle. They’re not all linked because I included pictures, but just trawl around that time, and you’ll find them all.

TL;DR: Twitsted Mango is the shizznit.

Oh. I just remembered tomorrow (today when you read this) is going to be Valentine’s Day. Here’s my valentine for you.

Minding My Mindfulness

Ed. Note: I am not starting my bad movie live-tweeting this week. In fact, I probably won’t do it ‘live’ when I do start it, but I’ll discuss that more in the first actual bad movie/live-tweet post. 

I like to pride myself on my multitasking abilities. I try to do two or three things at a time, and I find my brain going to bad places when I concentrate on one thing. It’s one reason I don’t like meditation even though I know it’s supposed to be good for me. Currently, I am eating breakfast, watching the Olympics, and typing this post at the same time. I have about one-third of my attention on eating, one-fourth on watching the Olympics, and the rest on typing this post.

This started back when I used to have really bad demons in my head, and I needed a white noise option to drowning them out. I found out that by splitting my attention in several directions, I was able to keep them to a dull roar. I used to read a book as I was walking home from school (not a smart idea. For the children at home, don’t do this!), so I guess that was the prototype to the current multitasking me.

My taiji teacher likes to say that we are not as good at multitasking as we think we are. While I might bristle at this, she’s right. The only way it really works for me is when the things I’m doing don’t really need my concentrated attention. Or, if one thing needs my attention, then the other things have to be suitable for background noise.

I bring this up because I fell on the stairs twice Friday night as I was doing the laundry. I was reading something on my phone as I walked down the stairs because of course I know how many stairs there are! I don’t actually need to pay attention, do I? Apparently, I do because I missed the last step two times in a row. When I went to put the third load into the dryer, you can bet I made damn sure not to be looking at my phone.

Let me back up. I had a root canal last Tuesday, and the process itself wasn’t bad at all. I had a nice nap, and it was done before I knew it. They gave me pain meds and scrips for more pain meds and antibiotics with instructions on how to use them. When I told my dentist it wasn’t bad at all, she told me to wait until the Novocaine wore off. I did, and it still wasn’t bad at all. I dutifully took the antibiotics, but I didn’t need the pain meds.

I was fine the next day as well. Then, that night, I started feeling feverish*, but not bad enough to take the pain meds. I felt like I had a low-grade flu the next day, and my mouth ached. I still didn’t take the pain meds, but I definitely was not at optimal health.

I mention this in relation to my tripping because my sleep has been really shitty since my root canal. Shittier. Why? Because I have to take the antibiotics every eight hours, and my sleep is so weird, it’s hard to take them on a rigorous schedule. Ideally, you take the pill at the exact same time for maximum effect, which meant setting the alarm to get up at five to take the third pill of the day.


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Canal of the Root Variety

I’ve been  dealing with dental issues in spurts, and I just had a root canal today (yesterday by the time you read this). It wasn’t bad (it’s the third I’ve had, the first with this dentist), but I have an insanely high pain tolerance, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. It was booked as a two-hour procedure, but I felt as if my past root canals took half an hour. This time, I would have said it was about an hour, but nope, it was two hours.

You want to know my secret? I sleep during the procedure. No lie. I did the same when I got tattooed. There’s something about the steady drilling/pressure that puts me right to sleep. Granted, I had Novocaine this time, but I could still feel the pressure. Also, when the nerves were actually being removed, it did hurt, but it was like a distant hurt. I know I fell asleep because one of the times the assistant asked if I was OK, I jerked awake in time to hear her question.

There you have it. My lifehack tip to making it through a root canal. Now, I’m bundled up on the couch (by the way. I didn’t realize it was going to be so cold today or that I would have to run and get antibiotics after the root canal, or I would have actually worn a coat), Shadow on my legs, watching a video of First 4 Figures talk about making this amazing Sif statue. I have drugs if I need them, and we’ll see how the pain is once the Novocaine wears off.

The State of My Mind

It’s time to come out and say it–I am depressed. I’ve alluded to it before, but now I’ll just say it. I’ve been low-level depressed for a few months, and I don’t know why. I think it’s partly because of the anniversary of Raven’s death, partly because of being physically sick (though maybe I got physically sick because my depression lowered my immune system. It’s hard to say), and partly because it’s just how I roll.

The thing is, in the past, when I was depressed, it literally incapacitated me at times. I remember losing countless hours to depression because I simply didn’t have the energy or the wherewithal to do anything other than sit on the couch and stare into space. It was chronic, and it was serious. I honestly didn’t think I’d make it out of my twenties, and it’s still somewhat unbelievable to me that I have. There were periods of higher activity, but in general, I was barely functioning.

Now, I am doing the things I need to do. I am productive every day whereas in the past, brushing my teeth was an accomplishment. In addition, the depression isn’t a part of me, and it’s really strange to feel it coming at me from the outside. Back in the day, I felt as if I was just a ball of depression and it was the only thing that defined me. Now, it’s more like an annoyance such as an ingrown toenail. Persistently there, infected, but not paralyzing me.

In addition, when I had chronic depression, I was numb most of the time. I’ve described it as being frozen, and I couldn’t identify an emotion if my life depended on it. I was really good at pretending emotions, but it was because I’m adept at quickly reading other people’s emotions. It was a bitter irony that for many years, I felt other people’s emotions more intensely and immediately than I did my own. I had no idea what my own emotions were as they were buried under layers of depression.

Now, I have emotions, and sometimes they’re out of whack. I have anger issues, and while I normally keep an iron tight grip on it, when I blow, it’s quick and ugly. It’s difficult because I don’t know all my triggers–well, to be more accurate, I know the broad topics in which there are triggers, but I don’t know exactly what will set me off. After years of not being allowed to express my anger, I still have difficulty expressing it appropriately. It’s all or nothing, and the times it’s all are terrifying to me.

I’m also feeling a lot of sadness. There is no specific reason, but it’s there. I’m grieving, and I don’t even know why. I’m sure part of it is Raven–I’ve been missing him intensely lately, but that’s not all it is. It’s also the feeling that I’m wasting my life and if I die today, what do I have to show for it? I have put so many obstacles in my own way, I feel defeated before I even take a single step.

Also, I’m still fighting a relapse, and my sleep is shit, and everything is difficult. Here is the latest The Mazzy Show; she never fails to make me smile.

Sniffling and Moaning

I. Am. So. Tired of being sick. I know I have to go to the doc, but I’m not good at making doctor appointments. I am thrilled about the snow, which is appreciable. Anywhere from nine inches to a foot, and I’m hoping we get more in the near future.

I have the sniffles and a lump in my throat that I can’t get rid of, no matter how much I swallow. I’m hoping it’s allergies and not the continuation of My Year of the Neverending Cold.

Here is a video that makes me appreciate Michael Bolton in a way I never thought possible.

The Mind/Body Connection

I’ve been depressed for the past few months. I’ve written about it before, but I’d like to expand on it a bit. I lost my Raven over a year ago, then a month later, I got really sick. Sicker than I have been in quite some time. I started getting better, then went to the doctor for a different reason, and got really sick again. that started months of sickness, and it happened again this year, starting a few months ago. I didn’t think of it at the time, but it might be because I’ve been thinking more heavily about Raven since the anniversary of his death.

I also have to check my thyroid because my levels were off last time. I hadn’t had to adjust my meds in years, then I did last year. Then I got sick and didn’t re-check my levels, so I need to do that. I just have an unthinking bias that going to the clinic makes me sick.

I started getting depressed, and I realized it was definitely from outside of me. There’s nothing in my life to make me depressed, and at least I can see it’s not intrinsic to me. Weirdly, though, it actually makes it more difficult to deal with because it feels out of my control. I’m struggling with feelings of hopelessness and despair, and I’m sure it’s partly because of the insanity that is our national politics.

My sleep has been even shittier than usual lately, and I can’t tell if that means I’m recovering from my sickness or not. Usually, the healthier I get, the worse I sleep, but this feels more psychological than anything else. I’m hoping to power my way through it somehow, but I’m not sanguine about it.

In honor of the upcoming Lunar New Year, here’s Maru doing the Lion Dance.

Kung Fu Fightin’ This Cold

I am still fighting off the third round of this cold, and it’s wearying. Not only on my body, but also on my soul. My body doesn’t know its own mind. I’m tired all the time, but I cannot sleep. This should indicate I’m getting better because I have a long, sordid history with sleep that doesn’t allow me to sleep decently no matter what I try. It’s actually one of the things I like best about being sick–I can get a decent amount of sleep in one stretch. I know I’m getting better when I’m unable to sleep more than six hours.

I’ve been practicing the Long Form alongside the new Medium Form, and it’s surprising how quickly I’ve forgotten the sequence of the Long Form. Scary, really. Once I check the list, it all comes flooding back to me, but I’m afraid of losing it forever. I will say that I like how streamline the new Medium Form is. It’s clean and concise, and there’s absolutely old fat. However, I don’t want to lose the Long Form, so I’m still practicing it.

I need to get my thyroid meds checked, but I’ve been dragging my feet over it. Rightly or wrongly, I associate going to the clinic with getting sick as the last two times I went, I got horribly sick. Anyway, I’m tired. Here’s the Tiny Hamster and friends having a Tiny BBQ on Independence Day.

Sickness of the Mind–and Body

I’m on the mend, and it’s not been a smooth road back to recovery. I have the sniffles right now, but I’m hoping it’s just because Shadow was sleeping on me during the night. Every time I’m sick, there is a moment when I feel like I could either get better or get worse. It’s an actual definable moment, and I felt it yesterday. I know I’m getting better because my sleep is getting worse. For whatever reason, my body decides that the only time it will allow itself to get the appropriate amount of sleep is when I’m sick. Side note: I heard neuroscientist, Matthew Walker, an expert on sleep, on NPR. He’s a big proponent of getting eight hours of sleep a night, which is an anathema to me. He was saying how if you get much less than that, your chance of catching a cold is (and since I was just listening, I may not have gotten the percentages exactly right) three to four times more likely. In addition, if you’re not well-rested before getting your flu shot, you only absorb 50% of the antigens.

Most people know about the connection between sleep (lack thereof) and susceptibility to illness, but I didn’t realize it was so stark. He is an evangelist about getting eight hours, but I had to leave before I could read the tips about how to get better sleep. I know the usual, don’t use electronics before bed (which is not something I’m good at), don’t stay in bed if you can’t sleep (I don’t actually sleep on the bed), don’t nap (which I normally don’t). The last, he explains in an article I looked up is because if you nap, you won’t be able to sleep fully later. Which makes sense, of course, but it’s the wrong way around. Most people don’t nap with the intent to wreck their sleep later–they nap because they are so tired, they simply have to sleep. It’s a vicious cycle, and simply telling people to sleep more at night isn’t going to work. Dr. Wheeler knows that, which is one reason he despairs. Being sleep-deprived is such a badge of honor in our society (in many societies), that many people won’t get a good night’s sleep because it would make them look like slackers.

The thing is, I’m not against sleep because I think it’s immoral–sleep is against me. I’ve never been an early to bed, early to rise type. I never went to bed before midnight, even when I was eight or nine. Dr. Wheeler also talks about how criminal it is that school starts so early, and I agree. He said it would be best to start at ten, but that probably won’t happen. Even when I had to get up early, I could never go to bed before midnight–ever. In my first year at college, I had a 7:45 a.m. class. I rarely went to bed before four in the morning, and on those days, I was a mess. I remember one morning, I got up and couldn’t find my alarm clock. It was a portable one, and it was nowhere in the room. I opened the mini-fridge to get a Diet Pepsi (I drank six a day at that time), and there was my clock. I was continually sleep-deprived, and every time I went home for the holidays, I would sleep for fifteen hours the first day I was home. Then, I’d get as sick as a dog for the rest of the stay. So, yeah, I know about the link between sleep and the immune system.
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Behind the Veneer of Health

I am fat. I am not zaftig or big-boned or padded or anything like that. I am fat. I say that because I don’t think fat is a negative word as it simply describes a state of being. I want t reclaim it as it were, and besides, it takes the sting out of it when it’s hurled at me. Granted, it doesn’t happen as much as it used to, but it’s almost amusing when it is. As Margaret said (paraphrased), “Why do they think fat dyke is an insult? To me, it means I’ma gonna eat fried chicken and pussy. That’s why I bring the Wet-Naps.” I can’t find the clip any longer, damn it, but I swear it exists. I’ve successfully neutralized the word, but I’ve had less success in actually being OK with being fat.

I have documented my long history with body dysmorphia and eating disorders. I have been painfully thin and grossly obese, and everything in between. Right now, I am technically at the latter stage, and I hate it. I rarely talk about it because I don’t want to feed into our society’s obsession with fat phobia, but I cannot deny it in my own head. I know how sick I was when I was anorexic, and I can see in pictures from that time that I was unwell, but a part of my mind wants that again. My thighs not touching. Wearing a size zero. Being stereotypically hot even  if I didn’t recognize it at the time. By the way, it’s a part of my EDs that when I’m at my thinnest, I don’t feel sexual at all. I think it’s because I’m so focused on food (I would look at pictures of desserts for hours–it was my porn) and because my brain is so starved, I have little room for anything else. In addition, anorexia shuts down nonessential functions, which, sex is, biological imperative aside.

I want to find a happy medium between where I am now and anorexic, but I’m not sure I can do it in a healthy way. The second time I slid into disordered thinking, I had started with what I considered to be a healthy plan. Sure, it was rigorous, but it was nothing like the first time I fell into it. As the months went on, however, I slid into more disordered thinking. I don’t know if I can diet in a healthy way, and I know that dieting isn’t the optimal way to lose weight, anyway. Which, let me be clear, is the reason I’m contemplating a diet at all. I can give you all the argle-bargle about it being for my health, but that would be a lie. I am very clear it would be to lose weight, even if it’s only in my own brain.

I keep coming back to changing the way I eat. I don’t cook, but it’s not as if I can’t. I can. I just don’t care for it. The endless prep and the mounds of dishes. Ugh. Add to that the fact that I’m now dairy-free and gluten-free….Come to think of it, that’s a good reason to start cooking–so I don’t have to rely on others to prepare reasonable repasts for me. I’ve thought about doing a cooking for dummies (me), gluten-free, dairy-free version as a YouTube show because cooking shows are popular.

I know that I need to exercise more as well, but I’m chary because of my obsessive nature. I can easily talk myself into doing twice as much as I had planned on doing and to slowly increase my exertions to the point of ridiculousness. I always move the goalposts when I set my goals, and I don’t know if I can stop myself from doing that. I also hate all exercise except taiji and dancing, so there’s that as well. I used to walk four and a half miles a day, and I hated every step. Sit-ups, push-ups, hated them. I did enjoy weightlifting, and I need to get back to the taiji weight set once I’m completely recovered.

I’m tired now. Here is an adorable video of Maru and Hana being hand-fed cat grass.