Accidental Fudge

Updates Thursdays

Tag: health (page 1 of 4)

Getting Through

It’s been…a mixed week.

I didn’t write much, compared to the rest of the month (only two songs instead of ~1 per day). I am reminding myself that I hit my goal, and two songs in a week is still a lot. But after so much productivity earlier, it feels a little like failure.

We had a friend in town over the weekend, which was fun. It was great to see them and have excuses to eat at several of our favorite places.

Saturday, though. Saturday was less fun.

See, by Friday night the pain from my spasmed shoulder had moved and settled quite solidly in the back of my neck, and it was…a lot. Acute, throbbing pain that came in waves. So Saturday morning I called our clinic, and managed to get an appointment with my doctor for that afternoon.

At the appointment, my doctor poked and prodded a bit and let me know that it didn’t seem like I’d slipped a disk (something I was starting to get paranoid about), and that it was probably just a bad muscle strain. He gave me a prescription for muscle relaxers, and sent me on my way.

The muscle relaxer is a controlled substance, which meant I had to turn the paper prescription into the pharmacy – they couldn’t call it in ahead. The pharmacy on site at the clinic didn’t have it, so they called around to two or three other Walgreens and finally found one that carried it.

Here’s where things went awry. I should have headed straight for that pharmacy. Instead, I checked the store hours and decided I had time to sit with my partner and our friend at a coffee shop. (If you are thinking, “But Alyx, the store hours are often different from the pharmacy hours,” you are correct.)

When we finally made it over to the pharmacy, they informed me they were closing in five minutes, and that I should try a different pharmacy about a mile away that was open later.

This is where I made my critical error. I should have just handed them the prescription and come back to pick it up in the morning. Instead, I went out and called a Lyft to get to the other pharmacy.

It had been snowing, and the ground was slushy and slick. As I waited for the Lyft to show up, I took a wrong step and came crashing down on my left side…and on my phone, which I’d been holding in my left hand.

The phone screen was shattered all to hell, and I was now hurting in more places than just my neck. But I went to the other pharmacy, hoping things would improve.

Things did not improve.

After being casually misgendered by the pharmacist and waiting several minutes (during which time I was at least able to determine that I had insurance on my phone, so I made an appointment for Sunday to get the screen replaced), I was informed that they were out of stock.

Basically, this had turned into Alyxander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I grabbed a bottle of ibuprofen, took back my prescription, and headed home.

The day ended with delicious pizza, our friend was with me the whole time, and I was able to go back to the pharmacy that had it in stock first thing Sunday morning and get the meds, so it all worked out in the end. But it was still a really rough day.

I’m still sore – the muscle relaxers and ibuprofen are helping, but it feels like awfully slow going. Still, I’m proud of myself for handling things as well as I did given the circumstances (I wanted to cry and throw a fit several times, but didn’t).

Now I’m just trying to get back into my songwriting routine.

Here’s hoping this weekend is rather less eventful than last weekend was!

Sometimes Self-Care Looks Like…

We’re less than one week from Christmas. On Saturday, my partner and I will get up at an ungodly hour of the morning and drive to Minnesota, where we’ll spend a week with family. (Incidentally, there may or may not be a blog next week, on account of the holidays.)

As 2017 draws to a close, and I find my life in a relatively stable place overall, I am allowing myself some time to more closely examine the areas of my life that have long been neglected in favor of what felt like more pressing crises.

One of those areas is anxiety management. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so I’m no stranger to anxiety, but with the current state of the world, I’m finding the coping mechanisms I have aren’t sufficient. I’m also noticing where my anxiety is affecting other areas of my life – how it makes me shut down around conflict, how it destroys my productivity at work, how it keeps me from enjoying social situations that didn’t used to be a problem. I had my first visit with a new therapist on Monday. Sometimes in therapy in the past I’ve had trouble articulating why I was there, and what I needed, but this new therapist was able to sort of draw that out of me and help me frame my goals for therapy more solidly than I’ve been able to in the past. I think things are going to work out well with them.

Another area that I’ve been neglecting is more physical. There are a lot of aspects of my physical health that I am not great at paying attention to, but I’ve been having particular trouble with my knees lately, as a joint issue I was diagnosed with in high school has flared up again. It’s done this occasionally over the years, but now my right knee has been swollen and stiff for a month, and my left knee is getting sore from compensating for it. Thankfully, this time when it flared up, I made an appointment with my doctor right away, who referred me to a physical therapist. I had my first PT appointment yesterday, and it was kind of miraculous how much of a difference a single, half-hour appointment made. I have instructions to do some stretching exercises every few hours during the day for the next couple of weeks, until my next appointment, and it’s encouraging to see progress on the first day.

Sometimes self-care looks like finding a new therapist, even if the process of finding a new therapist is, itself, kind of anxiety-inducing.

Sometimes self-care looks like making that doctor’s appointment that probably should have been scheduled months ago.

Sometimes self-care looks like knitting selfishly after working on a rare unselfish project for a couple of months. I knit my nephew a sweater for Christmas, and while it was fun and it looks super cute and I think he’ll like it, there’s something immensely satisfying about working on a sweater for myself with tons of cables (which is far and away my favorite type of project to work on).

The holidays are rough for a lot of people, for all sorts of reasons. My own holiday is looking like it’ll be bittersweet – I get to spend time with all sorts of people I care about, which will be lovely, but my 15-year-old dog (okay, she’s my parents’ dog, but we got her the summer I turned 14, so she’s still my dog) is not doing well, and it’s almost certain that next week I’ll be saying goodbye for the last time. I’m already sad, thinking about it, as much as I’m grateful that I will get one last chance to see her. Sometimes, for me, self-care looks like blocking out some time in my schedule to process the feelings I don’t have space for, say, at work. Which is all to say that this is a time of year where self-care is particularly important, and that self-care is going to look different for everyone.

I wish all of you the happiest holidays you can manage, and I hope you all find ways to take care of yourselves through the rough patches.

Brief Bright Spots

It feels like it’s been a long week. In reality, I stayed home from work on Monday after waking up feeling feverish, and I’ve been spending a lot of time sleeping as I try to fight off this annoying cold that isn’t awful but just won’t leave. I’m still dealing with anxiety. But there have been some distinct bright spots in the week, so I’m going to focus on those today.

  1. We started putting up holiday decorations in our apartment. We have lights around the windows, and the (fake) tree is up. We still need to get the lights on the tree plugged in (we had to acquire another extension cord first – there’s a paucity of outlets in our apartment), and put the ornaments on, but that should happen in the next few days. I have complicated feelings about Christmas (it no longer holds particular religious significance for me, and the capitalist overtones of the secular side of the holiday are overwhelming and upsetting), but I do like the decorations, especially the lights. So that’s been fun.
  2. I found out my knee is not untreatably messed up. My right knee has been swollen and achy for a few weeks. Finally made it to the doctor last week, and while it looks like I need physical therapy (currently waiting on a referral), it doesn’t appear to be anything irreparable. So that was encouraging.
  3. I scheduled an intake appointment with a new therapist. My last therapist, who I adored, moved to Portland in September. I felt like I was doing mostly okay, but I’m recognizing that I’m still dealing with a lot of anxiety. I’m also finding, as my life in general becomes more stable, that there are areas of my psyche I have avoided dealing with in the past that are now coming to the surface, so it feels like a good time to find someone to process all of that with. I don’t know whether things will work out schedule-wise with this particular person, but I’m optimistic.
  4. I wrote a letter. I have this pen pal in Germany who I’ve been corresponding with off and on since 2013. He is a great pen pal and regularly sends me postcards, interspersed with occasional longer letters and some photographs he’s taken. I have been a horrible pen pal, and have maybe written to him once all this year. But this week, after receiving yet another postcard from him, I finally sat down and wrote him a proper letter. It reminded me that I really enjoy letter writing, when I actually sit down to do it. I am hoping to do more of this in 2018.
  5. Doug Jones beat Roy Moore for the Alabama seat in the Senate. I had not fully processed how much tension I was carrying about this until I got a text from my dad on Tuesday night announcing that Jones had won. It’s restored a little bit of my faith in our collective humanity, and has me feeling tentatively hopeful about next year’s midterm elections. I’m still disgusted that it was a close race and that the majority of white people (including the majority of white women) voted for a pedophile. In fact, 80% of voters who self-identified as white evangelical/born-again Christians voted for Moore. (Stats found at Washington Post and NBC.) White Christians, do better. Call this out. This is not just a southern problem – the whole country was complicit in electing 45. This is a white people problem, and especially a white evangelical problem. I found this opinion piece in the Washington Post really on point – worth a read.

All that to say that while things still feel pretty shaky on a global level, personally, I’m doing okay. Or if I’m not exactly okay, I’m finding ways to get there. And really, that’s about all I can ask for right now.

Anniversaries

November is a month of anniversaries.

The beginning of the month marked my four year anniversary of starting testosterone. The day after Thanksgiving was the three year anniversary of my legal name change.

As of the 17th, my partner and I have been together for seven years. It’s been a wild, wonderful ride, and one I don’t intend to get off of anytime soon.

And on this day, four years ago, Accidental Fudge was born. What started as blog about the adventures of transition has morphed into a blog about the adventures of my life in general. I can still count on two hands the number of Thursdays I’ve missed since I started this thing, and that, to me, feels like a significant accomplishment.

I don’t have a whole heck of a lot to write about this week, but I wanted to take a minute to thank all of you who stop by every week to read what’s on my mind. This is a pretty self-indulgent blog, and I never really expected to have any sort of audience. There aren’t a lot of you, but there are a lot more than I expected, and I appreciate you.

In the spirit of what this blog has become, let’s wrap up this post with a handful of happy things from the past week, shall we?

  1. I wrote last week about my general distaste for Thanksgiving/Black Friday. I do, however, like to support local spots on Small Business Saturday. This year I went to four or five different shops in my neighborhood and the surrounding area, and got about 80% of my holiday shopping done. It was exhausting, but I also had fun.
  2. On Monday, I went to see Thor: Ragnarok with a friend. I was not expecting great things, but oh my god, it was wonderful. It’s hilarious – basically slapstick with swords and explosions and superheroes. And there’s gothtastic Cate Blanchett, and…yeah. It was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  3. Yesterday, I took a sick day because I was completely exhausted when I woke up, and felt mildly feverish. Which sounds like a not-so-happy thing, but I slept a ton and had a really relaxing day, which means that I’m feeling 90% better today.

Unproductive

I’ve had a pretty unproductive week. 

Last Friday, my office mate called off with strep throat. I spent all weekend feeling off, and after work on Monday, finally bit the bullet and went to urgent care. 

I don’t have strep. I do, however, have a sinus infection, which explains why I’ve felt a low-key sort of miserable for a couple of weeks. 

I got antibiotics and a nasal spray, and I’m starting to feel somewhat better. But between my sinus infection and the fact that my office mate has been able to come in for all of two hours so far this week, I’ve not been feeling especially motivated to get much done.  

I definitely have work I should be doing. And I’m getting some things checked off the list. I feel like I’m avoiding some of the big items, though. I hate how mushy sinus infections make my brain. It’s hard to focus, and hard to prioritize what needs to get done first. 

I can’t believe it’s November. In light of the new month, here are a few things I’m grateful for from October:

  1. Hotdish Monday. My partner and I have a cookbook called The Great Minnesota Hotdish, and we’ve instituted Hotdish Monday as a standing part of our meal planning routine. It’s lovely, cozy food that pairs so well with the cooler weather. (Want to see what we’re making? We have a hashtag on Facebook and Instagram: #hotdishmonday.)
  2. I managed to get up at my first alarm the entire second half of October. As someone who has always struggled with mornings, this feels incredibly significant. 
  3. The cooler weather makes me want to hibernate (and eat hotdish), so I’m grateful that I have friends who are better at planning hangouts than I am. They keep me from becoming totally reclusive and remind me that I have the best chosen family. 

Resisting Misery

It’s a pretty miserable day in Chicago. It’s raining hard: streets and sidewalks are flooded, and despite my umbrella, my pants are completely soaked after walking the four blocks to the bus. It’s so dark it feels like I’m heading to work at 5am instead of 8am. This is quite possibly my least favorite weather to be out in. 

On top of that, I’ve been inexplicably nauseous for most of the week. I don’t know if it’s anxiety or a stomach bug or something else entirely, but it’s been annoying and exhausting and demotivating. 

Still, I’m trying to push past my inclination to succumb to the miserable weather and my miserable stomach and get lost in a sea of misery. I don’t know how much of it is optimism and how much is pragmatism: there’s life that needs getting on with, and misery isn’t really conducive to that. 

So here are a few happy things that have happened this week:

  • I got to have a Skype date with my best friend and catch up for the first time in too long. We’ve both been busy lately, so the moments when we get to connect feel particularly special. 
  • We went to a preview reading of The Civility of Albert Cashier. Chicago folks, you want to go see this when it premiers here in September. It’s an incredible (and true!) story, with a great cast and music by our friend (and folk musician hero) Joe Stevens
  • I’m finally getting a new work computer! This seems like a silly thing to be excited about, but I’m the IT guy and my computer is at least five years older than the computers of most of my coworkers who I’m assisting. It should’ve happened months ago but kept getting pushed off. I’m tentatively hopeful that this new machine will freeze less often and be a less frustrating user experience overall. 

It’s been a bit of an off week. My partner got sick at the end of last week with a nasty summer cold, and while I never developed all of his symptoms, I definitely got the fatigue side of it (along with some sniffles and a sore throat). It meant weekend plans had to be canceled, and I missed work Monday. I still feel like I’m a few steps behind in everything, I’m still tired, and I’ve had a pretty persistent headache that has not been helped by whatever the weather is doing here in Chicago this week. 

That said, it hasn’t all been awful. There is a certain sense of relief that comes with being forced to slow down. On Monday, since I stayed home, I was able to craft and watch movies and play some guitar and take naps, and that was all a nice break from the stress of work. 

This week at work has seen the (mostly expected) onslaught of complaints about the new project that we launched last week, mostly by people who didn’t read their (many) emails about the changes that were coming and then found themselves scrambling to catch up. It’s frustrating, but again, not exactly unexpected. I’m now trying to pick up the threads of other, smaller projects that were put on hold as we pulled together the final details of the big project, which has been a challenge, since I’m still not feeling great and the persistent headache has made it hard to concentrate on anything for very long. 

I’m looking forward to the weekend, not for any particular plans, really, but just for a chance to hopefully kick the rest of this cold. Right now I feel like I could sleep for days. That’s not an option, but even a couple of extra hours here or there might help.  

Inhale, Exhale

I’ll be honest, I’m really not sure what to write about this week. The world continues to be a scary place full of bad news, and that continues to be overwhelming. So I think I’m going to fall back on my usual I-don’t-know-what-to-write-about strategy, and give you a list of three good things from the past week:

  1. Knitters are the best people. A bunch of our knitting group got together for brunch over the weekend to celebrate someone’s birthday. There was good food and an adorable baby and lots of reminders why I love these people so much.
  2. I found a new therapist. I had been going to someone else, but they weren’t really up for helping me through my anxiety around the current political climate, so I ended services with them a couple of weeks ago. On Sunday I met with a new therapist that I think is going to be a much better fit.
  3. I took a day off. Granted, it was because I was feeling pretty miserable (I’m on round two of this horrible cold), but it felt good to listen to my body and take some time to get extra rest and just relax, particularly in the midst of what is turning out to be a pretty packed month.

Pushing Through

The post-holiday plague that I managed to come down with last week is continuing. I didn’t make it into the office at all last week. I worked from home Thursday, Friday, and Monday; I made it into the office on Tuesday, but just barely. I’m definitely improving, but it’s slow going.

Monday night, I had a gig. By the time I got sick, it was too close to the gig to try to get out of it, and I really wanted to go, anyway. I practiced over the weekend, and prayed I could get through the 25 minute set without going into a coughing fit.

It started off a little rocky. I felt shaky, and not just from the usually performance-induced butterflies. But as I continued to play and to sing, I felt myself falling into a groove. The longer I pushed through, the easier it got to keep going. By the end, I felt pretty good about how the whole thing went. As soon as I sat back down to listen to the rest of the performers, of course, I felt completely wretched. But what I want to focus on is the idea that doing the work is what makes the work easier to do.

I feel like this is going to be an important lesson to remember as the year wears on. There is no pretty picture to paint about the political landscape of America right now. There’s a lot of work to be done. I feel totally overwhelmed by it. But if I can just push through and take the first few steps toward sustainable action, the sense of overwhelm will, if not lessen, become easier to deal with. Just like practice improves ability at anything else, forcing myself out of my comfort zone repeatedly will expand what’s included in my comfort zone.

I’m not saying that I’m doing a good job of applying this lesson right now, because I’m not. But it’s a thing I’m going to work on. I hope you’ll join me.

Welcome to 2017

It’s a new year, and one in which a lot of things look scary and uncertain. And I’m sick. I’m writing this on Wednesday; I’ve missed two days of work and I can’t breathe through my nose. Not exactly how I wanted to start the year off.

Still,  it hasn’t all been terrible. Here’s a short list of nice things that have happened in the last week:

  • My partner and I had a low-key New Year’s Eve – we had ribs and mashed potatoes for dinner, and then spent the rest of the evening playing Scrabble, drinking wine, and watching a movie. It was a lovely way to ring in the new year. And I actually made it past midnight, which hasn’t happened the past couple of years.
  • I’ve gotten a lot of knitting done. This is often the upshot of being sick and missing work. I finished the sweater I agreed to knit for my coworker’s kid, and started on a blanket for my nephew, whose birthday is coming up in a couple of months.
  • As much as being sick is no fun, I’m trying to see the bright side of it, like the fact that I was able to catch up on a bunch of sleep and get some much-needed time to myself (even if most of that time has been spent in a sort of feverish haze).

 

 

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