Good Nudes

I've had a couple of good days, pain-wise. That's good news. Of course, it's been somewhat muffled by an increase in my difficulty articulating. But that's very slight, and continues in the "just obnoxious" vein.

But further good news came from the nurse just recently: apparantly the bloodwork came back with lots of flags raised. This is good for three reasons.

  • It will mean a much easier path to diagnosis,
  • I feel somewhat vindicated in that this isn't "just in my head", and
  • I may yet have an episode of House modeled after my case.
(That's a joke, son. Laugh.)

I'm flying tomorrow, so I won't get a chance to talk to any of the doctors until Thursday, in all likelihood, but at least now I'm on a path to somewhere, as opposed to wandering aimlessly about the first layer of hell. :)

I'm really quite prepared for my trip tomorrow, so I'm planning on just finishing the handfull of dish-washing I need to do, and then relaxing for the evening with a piece of cheesecake I bought on my way home. It was a productive day at work: I didn't get done everything I wanted to, but I solved an unexpected, interesting problem at the end of the day (caused by a very naughty scoping problem with dBase), and problem-solving is one of the best drugs known to geekdom, so I'm still high from it.

I finished reading Mind Hacks (link below), and so I switched to reading Tao of Photography for real (again: link below). I'm really enjoying it, so far.

If I shut up right now, I'll even have time for a movie before bed. So... g'night. I won't be blogging for the next week, mind you... but I'll be seeing many of you in the coming week! Looking forward to it!

Political Observation

(Health update: tough weekend. Upper-body now aches about as much as lower, especially when stretched. Got my first abdominal cramp... wasn't that painful, but it has me worried about the "spread" of the cramping. I spent the majority of my time resting as a result. Still nothing major to report, though: it's just pain, and it's still managed.)

I often fume about Politics in the shower.

It is, perhaps, a particuarly bad habit: a nasty way to start the day (mad), and I often wonder how much of a "right" I have to a political opinion, really. But that's an observation for another day. At the moment, I just want to point out one "conclusion" I came to.

A prevailing attitude on the right, it seems to me, is If we don't do it, someone else will. ...The implication being, for example, if we raise minimum wages, then other countries will have an unfair advantage and they'll do better than we in the market. Put another way, if we don't pay shit for shit jobs, some other country will, and we lose.

The analogous attitude on the left, it seems to me, is no one else is going to do it, so we have to. The exmple here being, to use the above case, market forces won't give shit jobs living wages, so we have to accomodate.

My personal opinion? ...Well, of course, you all know me well enough that I don't have to say "the latter", and it's true, that's where my heart lies. But, deeper than that, I think the "right" answer is actually--and it pains me to say this--both.

I--personally--am a liberal. But I also believe that we have to make room for and find ways to reconcile the folks on the right to do the nasty things they do. They keep us moving forward, and we clean up the mess. It isn't easy, it isn't pleasant... but I think that's the only way that society as a whole can progress, ugly as it may be.

Man, do I hate saying that. The answer should be, take care of one another, not every man for himself. Sadly, it seems to be nature's way that either path leads to a dead end. Only both leads forward.


List of Symptoms

I don't think people are clear what I'm going through, based on some recent comments.

It's currently not too bad. As I keep telling people, I'm "fully functional", so keep that in mind as you read this. Also, my mental state is 100%. No fogginess, no forgetfullness (no more than usual).

I just spent quite some time looking for medical terms for my symptoms. There aren't any that I like, other than a few that are less than helpful... but I'll use those where I can, and describe things as I observe them everywhere else.

I'm going to use a 10-point pain scale. 1 is "no pain". 10 is "maximum pain"... the pain after which one goes into shock. It's moot to measure above this... getting a hot poker in the arm may not be as "painful" as disembowlment, but is it worth measuring at that level? No. You just shut down, there. I watched my wife reach that level during childbirth. It's not fun.

  • I sleep a lot. This week, it varied from 8 hours (and I woke up unsatisfied) to 13 hours (and I woke up wishing I could sleep more, but functional). When I'm awake, I feel tired... not to the point where I'm afraid I will spontaneously fall asleep. ...It takes me a good 30 minutes to actually get to sleep, because of discomfort and the need to quell the mind. I have used the word "fatigue" for this, and I think that's wrong.
  • My muscles hurt. This is called "myalgia", which is not to be confused with fibromyalgia. Right now, I'm at a 3. This is typical, though some days are a constant 4, but more days are a 2. So, at complete rest... it hurts, but not much. At rest, I will spontaneously get little throbs of higher pain, but nothing beyond a 4.
  • I get cramps. They are brief... I don't usually need to go through the "relax the muscle, then stretch it slowly" routine. They do hurt, but to varying degrees: from 4 to 6 on the scale. These "real cramps" happen about 1-4 per day. They're usually in the calf... sometimes in the thigh, occasionaly in the groin, rarely in the back, arms, hands, and neck. The rare ones hurt most. All cramps invariably cause me to shout out in pain, and I usually violently flinch.
  • Sometimes, I feel like I'm *about* to get a cramp. It comes in the form of a sudden, sharp pain, but not terrible: 3 or 4. I wince visibly. This causes me to flinch, to immediately stop the use of the muscle (say, dropping down a few inches in stance to shift weight from one leg to the other). Rarely, these "warnings" actually lead to a cramp. ...Like the other day, I was rushing down the hallway of our house, and got a "warning", so shifted to the other leg--which then gave a warning: I was doomed. Both calves cramped. Ouch. Anyway, these "warnings" are very frustrating, because they're not real cramps, and they happen very frequently (pretty much every time I stand up or sit down... sometimes when I'm just walking, often when I'm using my arms too much, and so on).
  • I have what I believe could be termed "perceived muscle fatigue". Meaning, when I'm doing something like... brushing my teeth... my arm will start to burn and I feel like I just can't continue the motion. Factually, I can, it just increases the pain. This is also very frustrating. It sets in within a few seconds, and the pain increases until I stop... depending on how long I hold it, it can reach up to a 5 or 6 on the scale (it holds there for as long as I can endure that level--which is high enough that I'm whimpering), but I have to be pretty determined to go much past 4. :) Resting for a few seconds allows me to have a second go, but I don't last as long... and it keeps getting worse. (As I'm typing this, in fact, I'm resting every half-sentence or so for a few seconds.) Note that this doesn't always happen. Sometimes, I can walk a mile without much trouble. I managed to "mow" the front lawn yesterday... but that hurt a lot (5). Sometimes, I'll decide to "check" how long I can hold my arm up, and I won't have any problems at all! ...It seems to be random, though some days are better than others. It also depends on what muscles I'm using and how easy it is to "shift" to other muscle groups to compensate.
  • I have joint stiffness, slowness, and a lack of agility which I still believe is best described as feeling like I just came in from the cold. It affects my typing speed, my ability to pick up small objects, shuffle cards, speak clearly (though people have been telling me I sound fine, so this may be more perceptual than real), tap to music, play the piano, brush teeth (barring the fatigue, above), and sundry other little things. Frustrating but not debilitating.
  • I'm cold. It's over 90 degrees today, and I'm perfectly comfortable wearing my fleece pull-over over my T-shirt, under which I have a second t-shirt. If you've seen the news, you know it's been about 100 degrees out lately... in that heat, I do take off my fleece. ;) But I almost never sweat.
  • Hypersensitivity of my hands and feet. I don't know what that's about. They're tingly, and I feel like I can sense every nook of my socks and every bump in the texture of the keyboard. This seems counterintuitive to the "clumsiness" that one would have coming in from the cold, but there you have it.
  • Hypercholesterolemia. Clearly.
  • Anxiety. It comes in waves. I usually get rid of it with logic within a few minutes--at most an hour.
  • Slight (and I mean SLIGHT) visual disturbances. I see things moving out of my peripheral vision much more than usual, I see stars now and then (just one or two), I sometimes focus more slowly than I feel I should, and I'll occasionally have a "throb" of vision, where--if I'm reading text, say--it will appear that a cluster of three or four words will "bulge" out at me, as if magnified. Kinda like a lens effect in Photoshop, or one of those "magnifying glass sphere" screensavers. ;) I don't think much of these: I suspect they are side-effects of tiredness, and they are MINOR. (Notice how I'm stressing MINOR.)

That's it. That's an exhaustive list of my current condition. Despite advice not to, I've done some Wikipedia digging, and I'm conviced that my symptoms do not match any known diseases well enough to self-diagnose any of them, because I do NOT show key symptoms of any of them--just these silly, piddly, side-effecty type things that could mean anything... and there are a girth of things to test. I'm glad that my neurologist has ordered such a swath of tests, since there's just a metric buttload of things that could be wrong, and it would be nice to exclude them.

I'm still not willing to discount environmental causes, and I'm still not willing to discount psychological causes. And if I were a betting man, my money would actually be on the latter, combined with something that's creating the hypercholesterolemia.

Wow, that took WAY longer to type than I expected, so I've really gotta boogie back to work. Eep.

Clean Bill of Neurological Health

I'm back from the neurologist, who says all systems are go.

The muscle problems, he says, all seem to be very clearly statin-related ADEs ( Adverse Drug Events)... but, of course, not this long off-drug. Thus, he wants to run some blood tests (a lot of them... he must have checked off a dozen or more), then test my muscles with his EGC or whatever that thing is called--sticks you with needles and shocks you and measures muscle activity.

That's scheduled for early August. Yes, that's really the earliest. I asked twice.

He will also "take a dictation of his findings and report that to my doctor", according to the receptionist, so I should hear back from him, as well.

So, for today, I was poked and proded and told to follow this and touch that and stand here and close my eyes and open them and stare at this and resist him there and so on and so forth... all of these tests are perfectly normal. Healthy, even.

So, I was right: the focus is on the muscles. Rest easy on the brain.

Why do young girls scream?

I've lived a sheltered life, so perhaps this is just a cultural phenomenon with American girls. I would be very interested in knowing, so if you have insight, please share.

But I do wonder: why do young girls scream--at the top of their lungs--when they are playing?

I must admit: it bugs me.

Okay, that was dramatic.

Okay, I've had some time to process the day's ups and downs. I've recovered from it.... sort of. More in a moment.

First, I got a call from Herr Doktor with Lipid levels. Yup: they're high. The numbers are 438, 170, 51, 353.

What they mean: well, I don't really know. :) The key number there is the LDLs... the 353. That's the highest the Doctor has ever seen.

The plan: wait. We can't put me back on Lipitor (or anything else) until this fatigue is figured out.

Which brings me to the second point: reality check. When I said "all in my head", I meant... well... long story. Let me explain.

The fatigue is real. It's "measurable". I sleep gobs, I could merrily sleep more. ...But that's not the fatigue I'm worried about: it's the muscles. They're fatigued, and seriously so... and I've never questioned that. I can measure it: hold out my hands, twist them in mid-air... I can get maybe 20 before they just fall to my sides. Real. Tangible. Measurable.

It's the rest of this crap... the stiffness, the aches, the pain, the coordination, speed, clumsiness... all words I've used recently: those I don't understand. They're purely psychological, and I think they're being emphasized by fear.

Fear of the cramps. I know they're real, too: I've seen them. When they happen, they are very visible: these big pinches in the muscle that make the affected area look twisted. They're quite ugly, frankly. ;)

The problem is: I don't know when I'll get them. I get these pangs of pseudo-pain when I think they're coming, and I don't know if those are real or imagined, and that's part of the problem. I'm the monkey in the cage, being given shock-therpay... but I don't know when or why I'm getting them.

That's literally causing me psychological damage. Literally. Because I don't know when these things will occur, I'm manufacturing all sorts of reasons to avoid what I think is going to happen. Like the stiffness, like the mini-cramps... the flinching... so on and so forth. I suspect these are defensive mechanisms.

At least, this is my current working theory. And I think it makes a lot of sense. It's rooted in science, which makes me happy. ; )

What's more, this gives me a new focus: let's figure out the source of this fatigue, 'cause I'm sure the cramps are a sife-effect of the fatigue (again: my theory is that it's simply a lack of aerobic energy cycles), and the randomness of the cramps are causing all manner of chaos on my poor brain.

So, I agree with the doctor: hold off on the cholesterol, 'cause we need to fix the fatigue.

In the meantime, I should probably just... take it easy. But not too easy, 'cause just sitting around is bad for lactic buildup, too! It's a matter of striking an appropriate balance.

Much to think about. ...But at least I've gotten a grip on things, again.

Sheesh. So much trouble, such a minor little problem.

Oh... right. Also: I don't have arthritis. (Nor a host of other auto-immune problems.)


I've felt very stiff all day... in fact, I've been touting this as a "down day".

Got home, started wondering "what does 'stiffness' mean, anyway". Did some experiements, focusing on my knees (which ache the most).

Full maneuverabillity.

Full stability.

I can jump.

I can run.

I can get up and sit down without any trouble, even quickly.

I can palpate the entire leg... I flinch in a few key places, but there's really no ensuing pain after that... it's like I'm flinching out of fear of something that doesn't happen.

So, shit, now I'm back to "nothing is wrong, I'm making this all up."

And it's driving me crazy.

More Caveats for this Imbroglio

The word of the day today, I just noticed, is imbroglio. That's just so appropos.

I want to say two things.

First, I am once again feeling that pang of guilt: I feel like this is an excercise in self-pitty. I want an objective measure to report, not some fuzzy "waahh, it hurts more today" comment that really amounts to nothing. Unfortunately, such a measure is not feasible. How does one measure clumsiness, frustration, pain, stiffness? ...There are only subjective measures for these concepts. (I could potentially measure my typing speed, say, but that seems silly.)

Second, I am still holding on to the theory that much of what I'm experiencing is simply (or at least largely) subconscious. If that turns out to be the case, I'm going to be terribly embarrassed that I'm getting people worked up about nothing. To that end, all I can say is that the emphasis is on subconscious. I am not deliberately (at least, consciously) misleading anyone. But the sheer "fuzziness" of all of this makes the scientist in me rail against the whole process. As I said: objective measures are lacking. There's no hard evidence of any downward spiral. It's literally all in my head, manufactured or not: it's personal, and I'm trying to make it publicly clear when that's hardly possible.

So, please, be careful with your comments, because I'm feeling guilty about the amount of attention this is garnering. I feel I'm on the spot, here. Perhaps it would help if I reported less often and only on items of significance. Hmmmn.

I hope this makes sense.


Still Picking up the Calf

Well, I was hoping this weekend would bring another "up" day, but it didn't. Still, it was par for the course: just a little worse each day. (But just a little.)

Still walking, talking, working, typing. It's slightly more obnoxious today than the day before, but not too bad.

However, I am reminded of the story of the boy who went out to the barn every day after birthing a calf to lift the calf... eventually the day came that he couldn't, and he scratched his head and wondered how that was possible, given that he'd lifted it every day before then. Heh.

But we'll figure out what's going on before that. I've got a loooong way to go before anything is really "crippling".

In another effort to rule out environmental stuff, I've decided to change beds: I'm now sleeping in the guest room. It's noisier (front of the building), but the bed's fine. The dog is freaking out slightly about it (why isn't he in bed?!?), but we haven't had any massive rebellion.

On top of that, there wasn't any role-playing game this weekend, so I got a good three nights of 10-12 hours of sleep. That should help. Certainly feels good when I'm doing it. Heh.

Saturday was a designated "down day", and I listened to a whole lot of music, played with a whole lot of synths (slightly depressing, that, since I need freqent breaks: hard to edit patches with lots of interruptions). I have my sights set on Stylus RMX (so I can just lay down a few beats and go), and an upcoming synth called "Zebra 2", which just takes everything to a whole new level of ease-of-use and quality. Lacks the smooth silkiness of Albino, so I may want to have both in my arsenal, but I would certainly be "good to go" with Zebra 2 only. ...I'm going to see if I can put in the extra consulting time (I only need three extra hours) to afford it this month.

Anyway, that was a lot of fun. And I wrote some decent music, too.

Presently, I am finishing up lunch--one of Amy's organic "Bowls". I bought a bunch of Amy's stuff yesterday, and was thinking, "damn, these had better be GOOD at nearly $5 a pop!". Well, let me tell you: the pasta-and-tofu bowl concoction was GOOD. Yum.

Anyway, time to batten down the dog and head back to work. [salutes]

Over-the-phone left-a-message test results

So, this is just a message on the answering machine at this point, thus there are no hard numbers yet, but: my bloodwork came back. The key phrases from the message were "still nothing causitive" and "some of your cholesterol numbers are way up there", which he says is a "big time issue, but nothing we need to jump on today". So he'll be calling me back on Monday.

Something of a drag that there are no answers about the cramps. ...but the cholesterol was anticipated. The whole reason I started seeing the doctor again was to get back "on track" with the cholesterol treatment, given that the cramps were clearly not caused by the Lipitor... and my cholesterol was right where it needed to be after a month of being on it. ...I'm just a bit curious as to what the actual numbers were. Also, it's somewhat implied that the arthritis test came back negative, which is a good thing, too. ...Meaning, it's not Lupus (or a number of other possibilities). ; ) To be honest, I'm actually slightly surprised that it came back negative, since my joints have always ached to one degree or another (hips, knees, and fingers especially), and I'd assumed I'd just inherited arthritis. But apparantly not. Hmmmn.

More details on Monday (assuming I get the phone call).

A Second Wind Over the Mesas

Well, I didn't get to sleep after that post, and lay in bed suffering until about 12:00. All I could think about was the cramping, and secondarily how I could possibly explain it to a doctor. My anxiety level just kept going up and up and up, and I had the thought that this is like torture: I'm in pain and out of control of it.

So it dawned on me that I really needed to get my mind off of it, and I decided to turn on the light and read my book. At the moment, I'm working my way through the last third of Mind Hacks. But the book wasn't by the bed, and I didn't have the energy to get up and look for it.

Instead, I grabbed The Tao of Photography. ...And boy, am I glad I did. It was exactly what I needed: a reminder that there is no suffering in the present moment: I was dwelling on the future (explaining to the Doctor) and the past (when there wasn't pain). I felt so much better just after a few pages that I put the book down and fell almost immediately to sleep. Perfect.

I know that kind of talk rubs some of you the wrong way, but I think "mindfullness" is something that is scientifically sound. In a nutshell, it's basically saying what I just said: suffering is relative. By filtering your thoughts to simply what you are currently perceiving, and dwelling on them instead of on the comparitors, you can dramatically reduce your perceptions of desire, regret, and (basically) stress: you just are what you are. It takes some practice, but it works. Demonstrably. (And, in my personal experience, quite well.)

That said (and feeling better), I have a few observations:

I was worried (in the Hypochondria post, below) that these cramps were only pseudo-real... I'm now convinced that they are very real. I'm dwelling on them, yes, and that's making them worse... but they're real. Unfortunately (or not), they are also less than fully predictable.

My "neurological" symptoms (slowness/clumsiness of hands) are slightly better today. In fact, there's no hypersensitivity except for one spot on my right foot that's been particularly bad for a few days (the center of my heel). I don't know about my speech, no one is around to test it on. On the bad side, muscle fatigue is so thorough that typing is still painful after a few lines, and I still need to pause frequently to let my forearms rest.

I haven't lost weight (I'm 180 lbs)... but I've lost a lot of fat. Where's it going? Okay, don't laugh, but I'm now convinced: it's going to my muscles. My calves, bicepts, shoulders, and thighs are all perceptibly "bigger" than they were a month ago. ...So there's a positive side to all this cramping.

...Now if only the fatigue would go away, so I could see if there's any actual strength behind them! : D ...I try to test it, but they burn after just a few seconds of use.

Alright, now I'm going to be late for work.

Sleepless in the Sandias

Okay, I was too quick to attribute my trouble sleeping "Retless Leg Syndrome". It's similar: I'm compelled to move my legs, and I cannot fully sleep. But it's also significantly different: one, I'm also compelled to move my arms. (This is known to happen in some RLS cases, though). Two, it's less of a "creepy-crawly feeling"... more just an inability to attain a sleep-state. Three, I can quell the need to move by using a relaxation technique. (This is just impossible with RLS.) I just can't convert that relaxation to sleep (nor to autohypnosis, which is frustrating, 'cause I sure could use some). And four, I don't feel any urge to stand up and walk around... just to shift position.

I was just experiencing it now (I woke up to it after 2.5 hours of sleep), and decided to stop fighting it and have a little ice-cream (no sugar added!) and type it up instead. : )

I suspect, given the timing of this, that it's simply sleeplessness as a side-effect of the Sudafed I'm taking. This is the third night I've had trouble, and I've been on Sudafed (well, generic) for three days. (BTW, I'm assuming it's also causing dryness of the mouth.)

I hate taking extra drugs when I'm trying to pay attention to symptoms! But I have to admit, my ears are hurting a lot less.


Anyway, the larger-scale update: Today, I gave up on the whole "screw the cramping" thing: I have reached the limits of my pain tollerance. The lack of sleep last night (I'm guessing, conservatively, that I had about four hours) really took it's toll today. Today was also an off-site, all-day workshop for my job. I was fatigued, my muscles were touchy, and I didn't want to move. Unhappiness ensued. : ) I was probably a lot meaner than I needed to be at the meeting--and there was plenty of opportunity to be critrical, since we were doing "Strategic Planning", and they were looking for a lot of input.

My solution to the problems of the day was to retire around 6:00 tonight. ...But here I am.

One final thing to add: posting about all of this is starting to bother me. It feels like I'm whining unnecessarily, it feels like I'm feeding into the self-paranoia, and I'm generally feeling otherwise self-conscious and self-critical.

But I promised updates, honesty, and transparency. So, I'll keep it up, but part of that is noting that I'm not enjoying keeping it up. : D So there!

Okay, I don't want to lose much more than 30 minutes of potential sleep-time to this stuff, so I'm retiring. Wish me luck.


One word summary: ouch.

Bad day. Woke up sore, cramped all day long... at the end of my tolerance of the cramping.

Just want it to stop. Either my ears are improving, or the cramps have distracted me from them, 'cause they aren't bothering me as much today. That's something.

Spent all night taking care of paperwork. ALL NIGHT. From 4:30 to 9:00, non-stop, did it while eating a microwaved lasagna, even.

Still not done! Close, though. One more bill to pay, one more stack of papers to go through. Aiiie.

...Bad day.

Sleeping now.


So, I've had a "not-an-ear-infection" for a few weeks now (Dr. tells me it's a sinus infection that's just got my eustacian tubes clogged). It hurts. And as of today, the rest of the body is aching in that lymph-node-y, "dude, you're sick" kind of way.

And the muscle cramps are seriously starting to get old, man.

But I'm not beaten yet. ;)

Got in a little consulting tonight. ...I'm not sure why I put it off this weekend: I really enjoy Perl. Sure beats the day-job Visual dBase crap.

Okay, I lied: I know why I put it off. ...I would rather be doing music stuff, that's why. Or drawing. ...As cool as Perl is. ;)

Ouch. ...I just hiccuped. Damn ears.

Eww, 1kBWC, and, of course, Health.

My house stinks.

No, seriously. We've had humidity of over 50% for several weeks now, and the roof leaked this weekend, and despite my best efforts to clean it all up... the result is: it stinks.

And little did I realize just how much faster food goes bad with humidity. Being that I'm alone in the house (and there's only so much I can eat per day), the food's just dropping like flies.

On top of it, I'm still really tired (and just want to sleep, dammit), my muscles are all saying "okay, enough with this cramping experiment, can we go back to being slow, please?", and I haven't noticed any improvements with speech or typing or teeth-brushing. ...Though at the same time, I've noticed that things like shampooing/drying/combing my hair, shaving, and (large) stick-twirling are all unaffected. (But I can't twirl a pencil.) Weird. Despite antibiotics, my ears are still totally clogged and they hurt every time I yawn (which is every few minutes, argh). So... "sucks-to-be-me" continues. I'm trying, though! Really.

I played two rounds (= one game) of 1kBWC this weekend. Three player game. ...It holds up with three players, but there is much less time for art, so things are a little sloppier in that respect. Plus, all of us were tired, so it was kinda low-key. But it scratched the itch. I had a couple of cards to be proud of: "You Walked The Pattern" (could have been better), "Object of My Desire" (very cool card, one of my best), and "Colored-pencil Porcupine on a Leash".

And, adding to the rectoclops collection (I ended up with a LOT of blanks and not much time to fill them): Rectoclops Siamese Twins, Fat Rectoclops (drawn the same as usual, but adds "trust me, it's a porker"), Stick-figure Rectoclops (a line), Rectoclops Barkeep, Rectoclops Judge, Rectoclops Spaceship With Nacelles, Rectoclops Manacotti (a parallelogram in perspective, mimicing another series of "manicotti" cards) and Rectoclops in a Mirror. Oh, and possibly my favourite ever: Non-euclidian Rectoclops. They make me chuckle. I learned that one of the other players secretly hates rectoclops... and yet he was still amused by these. (Tooting my own horn, these were good.)

Highlights from other players? Hmmmn. Some really nice artwork in a few cases, but sadly nothing leaps to mind. "Princess Sparkle Pony Spaceship" was a chuckle... I later edited it to give it nacelles in the shape of unicorn horns, since he'd neglected to give it a horn, though. And there were a few other very cool-looking spaceships. IMHO, the "destroys cards of type foo" style of card is getting really old.

I played a wee bit of Continuum this weekend, too. Enjoyable game concept! One of the more flavor-ful players was absent, so things took a decidedly more serious tone... and two highly ADD players were there instead, so the game didn't move fast. Still, the GM rocks, so it wasn't all lost.

Actually, the 1kBWC game had a lot of references to Continuum, and they were all quite amusing... including a little drawing of a stick-figure mime kissing a picture of a big butt. Heh. Long story.

There's something of a "mini-theme" with stop-watches... the original card is up on flickr, and one of the players had drawn a "What Time Is It Card", the effect of which was going to be something along the lines of "Create a new card that duplicates the text of something or other"... but, ironically, he ran out of time drawing it (this is ironic, because the next incarnation of the "Time's Up!" card says "Stop a player who is currently drawing, and take the unfinished card. Finish it."). ...The unfinished version ended up in my hand, but before I could complete it, Another player played a "swap hands" card, and it ended up in yet another player's hand... and that player went silly on us, and turned it into "Create a new card that depicts a rectoclops". She played it on me. "Non-euclidian" was the result.

I guess you had to be there.

Health: The Day After, and other news

Well... a day of "let 'er cramp" has led to A) trouble getting to sleep (two hours of Restless Leg Syndrome... GEE, I wonder why), and B) Quite the collection of knots in the muscles this morning.

Taking it in stride. ...I'm going to see what happens if I just continue down the path.

Briefly, since I'm working: there was SO much rain yesterday that the vent in our bedroom (which runs a line from the cooler, over the roof, to our room) leaked quite badly. Dried that up as much as I could... I'll be out to unclog the roof as best I can later.

I am SO Addicted

(Speaking of psychological problems...)

I just need one hand, man. Just one hand!

C'mon, man... I need it, man. I need it!


As of this writing, here's what I believe about my "condition":

It's a combination of three things.

  1. Bad blood. I don't know what that means, and I don't know how serious it is, but I list it first, because I think it's the starting point for most of this, and it's the only thing for which I have medically-provable evidence. It could be linked to my high cholesterol (for those who don't know, the last time I had it measured, I was at about 280): we will find out this week, because I just had a lipid panel taken today.
  2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This would explain the trouble typing and keyboarding and other fine-manipulation problems... though I am not experiencing the standard "shooting pain" associated with it, I think that's a factor of #3. Several people have suggested this already, and I've railed against it, citing the fact that I wear braces, I do stretches, I change tasks... I'm paranoid about it. ...But that could be exactly why I am experiencing none of the typical pains of CTS, but the typical nerve-damage symptoms.
  3. Hypochondria. This explains the fatigue, trouble walking, trouble speaking, and "severe pain".
Here is what I (think I) know about hypochondia: it's a form of chronic worry. There are some who think it's a form of OCD: you keep checking yourself for symptoms. A typical case of hypochondria will involve "latching on" to a particular diagnosis and insisting you have that problem, and despite any evidence to the contrary, you'll continue insisting that's the problem... but I know that, so my suspicision is that my subconscious is cleverly not allowing that to happen, but is instead latching onto these vague, un-measurable metrics, like pain and fatigue and "slurred speech" here and there.

This morning, I awoke as I usually do--with my calves warning about cramping. Finding a bit of resolve, I decided, fine. Cramp. Screw you. I got the cramp, I took it, I continued on. ...And, to my surprise, what I've found on "the other side"... is pretty much the same. The muscles continue to complain... but they don't get worse. I haven't had another cramp, yet, despite contiunued "threats". They're definitely tight muscles... but so what?

Alright, it could be that I'm having another good day... another "Air Show Day". (I recently went to see the Thunderbirds at the AFB, and didn't have any trouble being on my feet for most of the day.) We'll see. But even if that's the case, I'm taking advantage of it. ...well... other than the fact that I just took a three-plus-hour "nap", heh.

Now. ...All that said, my wife woke up this morning with--guess what--a leg cramp! So, there could very well be some environmental factor contributing to this as well. It could be, say... a gas leak, a weird microbe in the air filters... I dunno, any number of minute things. But at the moment, I think that I have been way too focused on myself for way too long that hypochondria can't be a factor here. I mean, last night I was watching my own eye changing dilation, and thinking, "oh, shit, that can't be normal"! ...C'mon.

So, what does this mean for you, dear reader?

I don't know. Should you question everything I say? Should you coddle me? Should you push me? Should you caution me? Should you ignore me? I honestly don't know. I have promised you all that I would be honest and transparent, so that's all I'm doing right now.

Yes, I realize that I could be falling into the opposite trap, where something really is wrong, and if I operate under the assumption that it's subconscious, I might end up pushing myself too far and really doing more damage. So I'll be cautious. But as of this writing, that's what I believe, and until I get some hard evidence, I'm not going to feed into it any more than I already have by writing this big long post that I'm making everyone read.


I have a high opinion of myself, and that includes my subconscious self. It's capable of making me feel pretty shitty.

Fortunately, if it is somatising (which, I gather, is the "PC" term for hypochondria), that's also something that a Neurologist can help detect and treat. So I'm not changing my plans to see one. (Not to mention CTS!)

My health

Some of you know that I'm not healthy. Some of you don't.

That has created a rumor mill. So, to address that, here is the elephant in the room:

I'm not feeling well. At the moment, this is marked by:

  • Fatigue. Without 8 hours of sleep, my day is ruined. With 12 hours, it's okay. At any given time, I'm tired and ready to go to bed.
  • Muscle Tightness/Cramps. This has been causing me a lot of pain. It feels like I've run a marathon, and I'm too tired to move muscles. When I do, they say "STOP, or I'll cramp!" ...If I don't stop, or if I move too quickly to begin with, they do cramp, which hurts a lot. Yes, weird. The worst muscle groups are the legs, so getting up, sitting down, and walking are difficult, but possible. I can walk LONG distances for a LONG time without stopping... but I need to do it slowly, and it's uncomfortable--sometimes painful.
  • Some potentially neurological problems. I have difficulty articulating some words, some of the time. It's not reproducable. I have trouble typing: many more typos than usual, much slower, more fatigue in so-doing. I am having trouble focusing, lately: my eyes feel tired, like they don't want to coordinate. For most of these, the best description I have found is that it's like I've been out in the cold for a few hours, and I've just come back in: I feel... slow, stiff, and sloppy.
  • Strange Bloodwork. My red-count, white-count, and sodium levels, as well as two or three other levels that didn't mean anything to me, so I forget their names, are all low. Lower than "normal". But only slightly. For example, if "normal" is 35-50, my level would be 34.5... It's bold and flagged on the report, but only just barely. Yes. Weird.
I don't know what's going on. People who have limited information are worried that it's something serious... but there's nothing saying it is. At the moment, all these effects are really mild: I couldn't walk into an ER in this condition, and it's debatable whether I would even get looked at seriously in urgent care. At the moment, I'm just keeping in frequent touch (biweekly) with my usual doctor.

Nothing has been eliminated. It could be Lupus. It could be MS. It
could be heavy metals. It could psychosomatic: nothing truly
"measurable" has developed. It could be progressive, it could be
benign. It could be side-effects (there's a word for it which I
forget) from plain old infections (I work with Pharmacists, and one of
them just suggested this yesterday--apparantly one can get
neurological side-effects with some fancy name because of some
auto-immune behaviours). If that's the case, the antibiotic I was
just put on yesterday should clear things up in a few days, or it might
require more serious antibiotics for a much longer course. I'm getting
a test for arthritis this weekend, and that will
(strangely) rule out another host of possibilities, which include some
auto-immune problems, like Lupus. We're still avoiding the whole
"cancer" thing, because none of the usual cancer flags (like weight loss) are there.

Personally? My mind changes. I've gone from thinking it was
somatising to thinking it was a side-effect of something I was taking
to being absolutely convinced it was MS to (presently) thinking it
probably has a lot more to do with my *blood* than neurons: what it
feels like is that my muscles are just absolutely fatigued: like they
cannot get any more oxygen, and so they're cramping (by using
anaerobic metabolism), aching all the time (from the lactic acid
buildup), and then just refusing to work properly (thus the slurring
and difficulty typing, etc, etc). To me, that just makes the most
sense... but my knowledge is very limited.

That's news from the horse's mouth.

Of course, we're all hoping it's something benign, and of course there
is risk that it's something more serious. Neurology is very hard to
diagnose, which is why I'm seeing a neurologist on the 19th. Unless
something develops between now and then (antibiotics fix things,
bloodwork is more telling, condition crosses the "serious" line), the
likely outcome of that appointment will be an MRI, which should fairly
quickly rule out a whole lot of other stuff.

Speculation before then is nothing more than speculation, of
course... which is the path to the dark side (speculation leads to
worry, worry leads to fear, fear leads to anger, anger leads to
burning up in lava and wearing a shiny hat that makes breathing sound
effects for the rest of your life).

So stop the cycle as early as you can! :)

I'm in a good state of mind, and to me, that's the most important
thing right now. I'm feeling very positive. If I come out of this
with new limitations, that's something I can deal with: I'm a firm
believer that everyone has limitations, and as such, the limitations
we have are somewhat arbitrary. As long as I'm able to appreciate
what I have, I have something powerful. And at the moment, I see
nothing to worry about in that regard! So, honestly--*whatever* this
is--I can handle it. This doesn't have to be negative: this could
even make me a better person, in a lot of ways. For example, I've
always wanted to... slow down.

Of course, knowing what's going on would bring an additional layer of
comfort that I would greatly appreciate. ;) So I'm looking forward
to that, too.

That's the most honest answer I can give.

All is well with me.