Why Can’t We Just Say “Life Sucks?”

When someone asks me how I am doing I usually say” okay.” ” Good” works too in a pinch, “doing well is always a favorite”; a real crowd pleaser. I ‘ve tried the honest, or blank, neutral face and the politely depressed pout too but that just turned people away. Some people just don’t REALLY want to know how you are simply because they don’t care or they have their own stuff to deal with. I  don’t want to confront or ambush innocent people nor do I want pity (ok, I admit sometimes I would like a little pity).

When someone asks me how I really am I refrain from saying  “life sucks,” even though at the moment (or for the last two years) it has. Why?  Is it just not polite enough? Is there some filter we need to uphold appearances even when life is giving us a beating? Do people not want to hear the truth? If someone told me that their life sucked I would be more than willing to listen, to advise, if appropriate, to help them feel better.

There’s: Unemployment. Health and Safety problems. The Economy. The BP Oil Spill. Cancer. AIDS. All illnesses. Death, Dying and Despair. The Environment, the World at large, Fighting, and Abuse. There’s also Terrorism, Uncertainty, Crime, and Fear. In addition there are the “ism’s” : Racism, Sexism, “Religiousism” and” Ageism”. I know we can’t dwell on these things because we would never again want to leave the “relative” safety of our homes but once in a while why can’t we acknowledge that we’ve gotten a raw deal, the short end of the stick, even the much wanted last piece of milk chocolate that someone just popped into their mouths with a  greedy, toothy, lopsided grin.

I know it’s not polite to use the “S— word but it feels so appropriate. Life stinks doesn’t pack a punch. “Life is life” sounds too esoteric. “Life is” sounds like a Philosophy 101 class. Maybe that’s why I have this blog to vent because it isn’t appropriate to tell the truth, or to tell the truth the way I want to. Life can be difficult at times. Let’s leave it at that.

Would I Survive No Internet for a Whole Month?

003/365 – I’m blogging this.

I would have to be driven (I couldn't drive myself because of my trembling hands) to an Internet Detox facility. Once there, I would be trying to escape through every window, door, basement or attic. I am now addicted to Plinky.com and to writing on my blog.I feel anxious at the thought of not having my computer and I am not happy that I feel this way.

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My Weirdest Pet Peeve

Toenail Clipping Action

I’m gagging just thinking about the answer to this question. What comes to mind immediately are toenails. Big, ugly, yellow or perfectly fine toenails being clipped in public. I have seen it on the train, the subway, in an office. I just have to hear the clip-clip sound of the nail clippers and I feel nauseous. People: just as there are inside (thanks, Barney) and outside voices, there are certain things you just shouldn’t do in public. Please!

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Paging *All Doctors: Check Your EGO At The Door

Dear Doctors,

Before you enter a patient’s  exam room, where they have probably been waiting at least twenty minutes, stop, pause, and check your ego at the door. This should be standard procedure; but unfortunately it isn’t. There should be a confirmation box needing  a signature for “Check Ego?, next to the automatic Purell dispenser, to assure quality control.  *While the title is catchy I do know I cannot accuse all doctors of doing this but the ones I DO know (and you know who you are) are definitely in need of lessons in humility, humanity and sensitivity training. The bad part about it? Certain doctors just do not care. Full disclosure.

Two days ago I had an experience with my pompous, grandiose, full of himself, doctor who shall remain nameless.   Many of you have heard about this person before. He is an excellent doctor, scratch that, he is an excellent DIAGNOSTICIAN.  He charges exorbitant prices and he does NOT take insurance (insurance, what is that? what is it for?  Me take insurance? Ha Ha! ) but he is very smart, I’ll give him that. Is that really enough? Do we have to pick expertise in lieu of great beside manner, can’t there be a combination? That said, he is so out of touch with the “real world” that it is insulting, aggravating and utterly demeaning. Unfortunately for me the deck is stacked; I need him, he does not need me; and he knows it.

I had been to a local doctor (one who takes  insurance) and the doctor I saw asked me to have Ego- Dr.  fax her some information.  A reasonable request, I thought.  I thought wrong. When I e-mailed him, he flipped out and as an old friend used to say ” had a serious nutty.” I’m talking a crazy outburst in print.  I’m serious, he was FURIOUS. “He should fax her?? ABSOLUTELY NOT.  “If she wants to call him he would try to talk to her but he will not answer specific questions.” The questions she asked, were so innocuous, I have no idea why he made such a fuss. Perhaps he realized that he was dabbling too extensively in my case, acting as Head Dr. of Everything.  He also mentioned that “if I chose to see a doctor in MY INSURANCE PLAN, so be it. His implication was clear, without saying it, he made it known that he felt “You get what you pay for.”

Unfortunately, I need to see this doctor a few times a year for my auto-immune disease/thyroid illness.  I am considering looking for a second opinion and more importantly, some sensitivity. This man is well-known in his field,  however, he is not well-known for his “bedside manner.”  When these magazines come out with their rankings of” BEST DOCTORS” who is filling them out? Other doctors?  Which leads me to think that it might be a little biased.  Maybe they should ask patients and ex-patients their opinion to get a clearer view.  A great idea: ex-patients, that would be ideal “why did you leave the practice of Dr. So and So?. Please explain. Now that is a survey I would read with relish.

Apparently the phrase “First do no harm” was meant merely in a physical way. Some doctors should think about their actions and take responsibility for them. A person is not just a symptom, we are multi-faceted people who deserve YOUR respect as well. A doctor who treated the whole person? That to me, would certainly deserve the title of BEST.

No Cheesecake Left Behind (A Foodie Blog)

Last night, on IM, my friend described the delicious sounding cheesecake she bought at a store and I have been obsessing and craving it ever since. I have to have it. No, I do not want any kind of cheesecake, just the one she described in detail. It was a cheesecake with a graham cracker crust, fresh fruit (sorry, I am drooling) and covered by an apricot glaze.  A sweet apricot glaze! Now, I need this cake. I must have it, I’m a foodie and proud of it. There’s just one problem, she ate it in another country and when she casually laughed and said “Gee, I should have saved you a piece” I did not take it lightly. Do not toy with my cheesecake and dessert emotions. Certainly you should have saved me a piece, in your mind if nothing else. Do not taunt me with tantalizing details of the sweet, syrupy, jam-like apricot glaze, or the lush richness of the cheese-cake itself. It’s not fair.

Do not underestimate me. Whereas I know that I cannot have that same cake, I am fully aware that there is a restaurant called “The Cheesecake Factory” that I will go to within a few days. Nothing can stop me. Why can’t people describe an amazing array of fresh vegetables, or a chopped salad with such enthusiasm? Generally, they don’t and I don’t blame them. I eat my vegetables because they are healthy and they taste alright but I would never describe them in detail or dream about having them the next day.

Sigh. It’s not right. Our home life and health are in total disarray so Sunday night is my time to look forward to. On Sunday night I always have to love (most times I have to downgrade it to like)  my dinner. It’s a 40 plus year tradition starting back to grade school. Sunday dinner was supposed to be fun, eaten at a cheap restaurant or getting take-out. Nothing was expensive but it was the excitement of every Sunday afternoon that was charming and in our family, growing up, extremely important.  When I was growing up, of course, we always disagreed but eventually we all would be happy in the end. Sunday night was the bridge to going back to all school years, then work, then life in general.  “I have to love my dinner” is a refrain well-known in my family.  It is the one time of the week, that special meal, as the saying goes “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”It’s one for all and all for one (whatever the heck that means, I have no idea).

So, cheesecake friend, I will not go down without a fight. I will trudge ahead looking for that perfect cheesecake that is moist and dense and has fruit on top. As much as I am ready for the search, I know, deep in my heart, that I may not find that apricot glaze she mentioned in passing. That hurts.

The Alaskan Fuzz

Moose says, “Don’t vote for Palin”

"Hey, Joey, did ja year?" said Sam. "Hear what?" asked Joey inquisitively. "AH gee, said Sam, "it's about the Palins, who else?." "What now" asked Joey sighing heavily. He thought to himself, enough with the Palins already, that's what everybody STILL talked about these days and he, himself had it up to here with them. "Turns out that Bristol and Levi are engaged" said Sam…he paused. "Again." "Oh you have got to be kidding me, is that a joke?"asked Joey? "Nope" said Sam "read about it in magazine." "HA HA HA, who is going to believe anything that you read in a magazine!" Joey said jovially. "Well this time supposedly it's true, if they actually go through with it" said Sam. Joey asked" What changed his mind? They called it off once already?" Sam smiled crookedly and sighed "word has it that Sarah is considering a run for the presidency in the future and they all decided it would look better if the kids finally got married." "Are you kidding me?"asked Joey? "You can't be serious, I Thought we were through with all that nonsense" said Joey. "No, said Sam, this is nothing I would joke about, I'm afraid it's true." "Well, said Joey, didn't like her then, don't like her now, nothing is going to change my mind. She scares me." "Don't you know it" said Sam, she scares me too."

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The World Would Be a Better Place If…

Jelly Doughnuts

we could learn from all our mistakes and start all over again. free of weapons, free of hatred, free of violence and wars. we should try to understand people, one person at a time and see what it's like in their world. no more greed, no more crime, random acts of kindness as a norm and raspberry filled jelly doughnuts for free.

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Overheard at My Own Funeral

Strawberry marmalade

"Sniff, Sniff" Wailing and Crying heard in the forefront. "She was so nice, and kind to people" remember that time she took her young son (wailing louder) to the diner for blueberry pancakes and she taught him random acts of kindness by paying an old lady's check?" "Yes, sniff sniff,I do remember. "There was one odd thing about her though…." gasp "What" the lady said trembling, "She always ate her pizza with jelly on top." WHAT??? "Yes, she used to eat scrambled eggs with jelly, preferably strawberry, once in awhile grape, and cheese with jelly" she loved jelly or jam. She ate it on all kinds of odd things…

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On Being A Patient, Again

I never stopped being a patient, not since my thyroid went out of wack 3 years ago, not since I was told I had Fibromyalgia (and then told it was a “lazy diagnosis”)  Not since the prednisone, the hospitalization for eppiglottitis the 24/7 cough that would not go away, not since I was sent to the Pulmonologist, the ENT  the addition of 5-7 different medications. Not since my stint in the packed emergency room with an overnight stay in the hospital with the worst pain I have ever had in my life.

Here I am again, world! Stuck and pissed off with yet another chapter to my ever-so-boring and relentless saga of pain, chronic pain, auto-immune diseases, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, lack of energy and tonight,  a really bad, horrible, disgusted and angry, almost-in-tears mood.

The latest is that my Synthroid level ( TSH) is very, very low, too low said the doctors.  To those in the Club of Thyroid Disorders out there, (COTD- I made it up but it works) I know you will understand. The T4 is perfect. One doctor, the evil endocrinologist (lower case on purpose) sent a prescription (albeit the wrong prescription) in the mail telling me (no, writing me) he was surprised with my numbers but I should reduce the Synthroid medication (buzz word) to 50 mcg. First I was at 88, then 75, now 50???   That’s like telling someone who has the flu, to get up out of bed and do somersaults while standing on their heads, backwards.  I’m down enough people, now this? It makes no sense.

I wrote to my Guru Dr. in the City who handles the type of Autoimmune Disease (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) as in***THYROID DISEASE  to tell him. He suggested that my” Endocrinologist” do a simple TRF blood test and he guessed I might have something called Secondary Hypothyroidism ( I know, I could so be on Gray’s Anatomy with the amount I’ve had to learn and remember.)

Here’s the problem. The nasty, dull, mean-spirited endocrinologist (lower case on purpose again) who I am going to DUMP as soon as I find a new one, refuses to talk to me on the phone. Just for a couple of questions. “No, come in”,  he said. “I just want to ask him a question” I pleaded to his nurses “No, come in.”  I’m seething. First of all I have never heard of a doctor that won’t take a phone call for a question (I wasn’t demanding to speak to him at that moment) and that absolutely refuses to return a phone call from a patient. Second, he knows about my Guru Doctor in the city since I have copied him on everything. (Do you think this could be a terrritorial thing?)  Third, he did not believe that I had, indeed, a note from my Guru Dr. to suggesting he test me for TRF (whatever it is). No. What? You heard me. No. No phone call, no question, no way, no how. “It is too difficult to explain on the phone” the nurse parroted. Are you kidding me? I had one question about the blood (yes, in the lab in the office) test and a simple thought: wouldn’t it make sense to test the TRF level FIRST (as my Guru Doctor said) then to start on a regimen of a new medicine that could take 4-6 weeks to kick in? Isn’t that throwing the donkey in front of the carrots? (or whatever that stupid expression is.) Not to mention, I do not want to go back to a doctor that treats me with such disrespect (and he always has). I know he doesn’t know that the fifty dollar co-payment would be hard for our unemployed selves. I understand that, but, a 30 second phone call?

Well, you know what the answer is I’m sure. “No”. So here I am, calling new Endocrinologists (one is on vacation until the 20th, the other does not return phone calls) waiting to make an appointment. Oh dear Lordy, Lordy, it’s July and the doctors (at least the ones I’m trying to reach) are on vacation, and of course you cannot leave a message.

I have that creepy, queasy, angst-ridden feeling in my stomach. What now, I ask? I can’t reach any doctor AND short of sending an “I BEG of you” message to my Guru Doctor (which I will do anyway in the early a.m.) I will be sitting home in a flurry of frustration and anxiety. I will be sitting on my bed, fed up, confused and furious and yes, a little scared too. A little courtesy, perhaps DOCTORS?? Yeah, right.

I feel totally helpless and demeaned. I feel anxious and confused and ignored. Does anyone understand this?  Is this the time for an out and out binge on sugar- laden treats?  Can I run and hide from my anxiety for a few minutes with cookies and chocolate,  and that sweet powerful surge in energy? This doctor says Yes. Absolutely. Starting Now.