Arlyn & Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

It’s REAL and I believe you.

Thousands of people depart to go on a cruise every single day. It’s a huge industry.

Would you want to take that seven day Caribbean cruise if you knew there was the distinct possibility that you could get off the ship and never be the same ever again? I don’t mean that the fantastic experience of seeing new and exotic places, ancient ruins and historical buildings has changed your outlook on life.

I mean you get off the ship and the world feels as though you never disembarked. The world continues to rock and sway just like the ship did, to the degree that you cannot walk a straight line and have great difficulty doing ordinary things like putting on your underpants or repeatedly bending over to do laundry.

Is this a real thing, or have I manufactured it to create a form of conflict a fiction novel?

I assure you, I’m not making anything up. I’ve created some awful tortures and gross deaths. This is so insidious that I don’t think even I could ever conjure it up.

It is called Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MDDS) and it is horrifically real. I know someone who is afflicted, and her story has inspired me to include the condition as a major underlying theme in my novel Arlyn: Adjutant & Apostle.

Many medical professionals have never heard of this, and will actually tell a patient it’s in their head. Some sufferers go to doctor after doctor, perhaps 8 to 10 physicians, before finding one who recognizes the symptoms and puts the mystery together.

Having the diagnosis does not mean it will go away, however. If you do a search for the term, you’ll find a study or two, and a website or two dedicated to educating the populace. The information is interesting but limited. The single greatest source of information, cruise lines, won’t cooperate in gathering information. Having the condition more widely known might hurt their bottom line, you see. It’s an unfortunate fact of big business to ignore that which may do them harm and hope no one notices.

The average sufferer is a woman between 35 and 55. Some may have had her period during the voyage, but the correlation is not proven. However, a girl aged 15 is noted, as is a woman nearly 70 years old. Men also get the condition, but in far fewer numbers. It also can happen from simple things like riding an escalator or an elevator, riding a train, though I did not find statistics on the frequency of those incidents. While we cannot point one single finger at the cruise lines, it’s impossible to ask an elevator to gather statistics on people who get off and the world is swaying for the rest of their lives.

If you really want to understand how horrific this affliction is, read the discussion boards. You will get a blunt and heart-wrenching view of daily life with MDDS, straight from the fingers of those who suffer it. Some have endured it for decades. Some were fortunate that it went away within a few months. It seems the longer a person has symptoms, the more likely it will be permanent.

See, there is no cure. There’s not likely to be one because there’s not enough work being done for it. There really isn’t much of any treatment either. Doctors try this drug and that drug, usually antidepressants. But if the syndrome is linked to hormones and hormonal changes (such as before, during, and immediately after a woman’s period), antidepressants really aren’t going to do much of anything.

Lying down helps some people, but makes it worse for others. People have to go to work. How can you go to work when you can’t sit up or sit at a desk? If the world is rocking so much you can’t sit up for more than a few minutes at a time, how are you supposed to drive yourself anywhere? Maybe the motion of the car might help, but that’s not certain for everyone who has the condition. Some sufferers are completely incapacitated and are disabled for the duration of their affliction. Might be half a year. Might be a year and a half. What if you’re still afflicted ten years later?

Sure, there are good days and bad days, but simply walking a curved path or watching a video of a person on a horse could change a good day into a horrible day. If it goes away, there is always the fear that it will come back again, at any time.

I was compelled to bring more attention to this vicious condition. I asked question after question of my friend, and she was as enthusiastic as I about spreading word of the ailment.

Once I felt I had what I needed, I stopped working on the last third of a book and went back to the beginning to edit in instances of the condition. I spent several days reading and finding places where it would assert itself, building slowly in frequency and intensity.

I believe I’ve created a compelling story. Certainly it is a topic not covered in any fiction book I’ve ever heard of. A search of Amazon for the name of the condition finds nothing more than album titles and a mention as a very small part of a much larger book about balance disorders.

There is an experimental treatment of subjecting a person to opposite motion from those that make them ill, with modest success; but it is years away from being available as a treatment. Then we have to talk about insurance even covering it. There is a billing code for the condition, but that says nothing about coverage.

Quite simply, there is no fiction story out there like this one.

There are, however, thousands of sufferers who have no hope for an actual cure. I cannot help them suffer less; but perhaps I can help others to understand better what those with the condition are going through.

It’s REAL and I believe you.

And you are not alone.

Arlyn: Adjutant & Apostle will be available to read on Halloween, 2017
To Purchase, Click Here

If this sounds like someone you know, please share this blog with them.

 

Winky the Blind Kitty

Winky 1 -- brighter

This little sweetie is Winky. She’s missing one eye and the other doesn’t see. She’s a young one, new to her disability and very frightened. As of this post, she’s at the Long Island Save-A-Pet.

Yesterday I took my daughter there and we handed out quilted and crochet blankets I had made.

My friend/SAP Volunteer who drove us there got this little girl out of her cage. She was so afraid that she was a fluffy lump in her bed, unmoving and uncaring. When my friend brought her out of the cage, her legs were fully pulled up, tail curled under.

She was a lost soul and I could see it. She had given up. There was no joy normally present in a kitty. There was no life in her.

I spent about two hours with this scared baby in my arms. She was so afraid she curled up in my arms and lay her head down and wouldn’t budge. My friend had been concerned she was going to try to jump out and onto the floor, but I knew she wasn’t going to go anywhere. She couldn’t see the floor to know how far down it was. She didn’t know what the room looked like to know where to run and hide. No, she wasn’t going to be going anywhere.

With the last crocheted blanket over her and my arms around her, we sat on a bench for a good fifteen minutes to half an hour while my daughter petted her face and head and talked to her. Then I started walking around with her so she could hear different rooms and smell other animals. Those ears slowly started turning this way and that. Eventually the head perked up when she heard a voice she knew, so we went to that person to say hello.

Whichever way her head turned, that was the direction we walked. We smelled numerous other kitties, but they were mostly all sleeping. It was ticky nap time.

I went to the front entry where there was another bench and sat. Within seconds, the head was up and the ears were moving and that nose was-a-goin’!

WINDOW!!!

She knew what a window was, and actively listened to the cars and sniffed and sniffed at the cool air wafting in (it had started to snow on Long Island), and turned her head toward the door whenever someone came in. She remembered there was life outside that lonely cage.

She made no motion to leave my arms but did adjust herself a couple times, pulling herself a little higher over my elbow. I was happy she did that much. Would have been delighted if she’d tried to jump down, or even just purred. But…another day. Recovery happens in baby steps and just perking her ears to actively listen and turning her head to notice noises and be interested in them was huge enough for one day.

When it came time we had to leave, she went back into her cage…and straight to the blanket my friend/SAP Volunteer had put in first. It had her scent on it. My scent as well. Familiar and comforting and hers.

When I checked on her a few minutes later, and took a minute of video, her head was still up, her ears were still up. She was so markedly better that my heart was glad for her.

Sometimes, saving a soul isn’t about throwing money at a shelter. Sometimes it’s being held close to feel the warmth and heartbeat of another animal. Sometimes it’s just being held firmly and kissed and talked to and shown familiar things.

Sometimes, it’s just knowing you’re really not alone.

Quilts for Kittehs & Puppies

I have, in recent years, been giving away all the blankets and baby sweaters, cotton caps, scarves and drawstring bags that I’ve crocheted.

I’ve given them to the Ronald McDonald House of NYC for the children. I’ve given them to a nursing home for the residents. I took my daughter to the RMH twice so she would understand what it meant to give on so personal a level.

But that second time, one of the women working there was so snooty as she was coming in the door, telling my child “That’s right you stay there” that I’ve never gone back.

And then the nursing/retirement home. I learned that one of the employees took one of the blankets I’d made. I didn’t make them for employees. I made them for residents. So no more of that.

Having this pile of fabric, I’d thought to make quilts out of it. But who to give them to? Meanwhile, I helped my daughter (now just about to be 13) to finish her first quilt. A doll-sized piece for one of her stuffed animals. And I thought to myself…self, that would be a perfect size to go in a cat carrier when taking an animal home from a rescue center.

And I know someone who volunteers at a rescue center. Save-a-Pet out on Long Island. It’s not far. Postage shouldn’t be too horrible.

EUREKA! A new passion was born.

I had some triangles already cut and was going to make myself some head wraps out of them. I pinned them together to make rectangles, sewing them on the machine, pinned them to batting and cut it out. Cut out a larger piece of purple gingham left over from the bolt I’d bought for my daughter’s big blanket (now finished and only 13 years old when I did finish it!). I used the outer edges, rolling them over and over and securing to the top/batting layers to make the finished edge. Through the machine all around to secure them and then random meanderings around the middle to create the quilted effect.

Within a day, I had four little quilts finished.

They’re too small to be of much use to people but perfect for going inside the cages. I packed them up and shipped them off. My only stipulation was that the blanket an animal had with them in the cage when they were adopted should go with them to their new home. That way, they would have something of their own, something that smelled like them, when going into this brand new world where nothing would be familiar. If their own blanket with their own smell on it was under them in the carrier, they’d be more likely to be calm during the trip home. Then at home, they’d already have their own bed, wherever it was put…or dragged. They’re highly portable for the enterprising kitty.

I received pictures last night, and video, and it seems the first batch are a terrific hit. I’m simply delighted. I can see in the videos how exciting it is for the animals. They’re playing with the blanket, tunneling under, playing catch that thing with a hand sliding underneath. Such complete appreciation for this small bit of comfort.

quilts with kitties & puppy

Now I have another three on batting waiting for backs. Eight more tops sewn together. And about twenty more pinned or rolled together ready for the machine. But I need more batting. I will be having more as soon as I finish a blanket for my proofreader. But it’ll only be enough for four or five, I’m sure. I’ll have some more when I finish a quilt for myself. But, again, only four or five blankets.

I need to buy batting. And I need to pay for postage. And then when all of these materials are used up, I need to buy more fabric, more batting, more postage.

If you would like to donate cash, I’ve set up a GoFundMe account and also have a Donate button through PayPal. You can easily access whichever you would prefer to use on the Charity Work page of my website.

If you would like to purchase materials for me, I’ve made a Crafts Amazon Wishlist with fabrics and batting. I prefer a batting that’s made of recycled bottles and the size I prefer to work with is only $15 plus shipping. And I found a bunch of high quality quilting fabrics as low as $1.49 a yard! Postage for the box with the first four was about $6. It was between 1 and 2 pounds. Projecting ahead, between 3 and 4 pounds will be nearly $8. So that will quickly add up as I continue on. My initial investment has been only that first postage because I already had the fabric, the batting, the thread; but from now on, I’m having to buy things.

It’s such a worthwhile project. I cannot afford to throw wads of cash at charities. But I can offer my hands and create some comfort for the creatures who find themselves in such an unfortunate circumstance.

Surviving Yourself During the Plague

If ever there was a period in time that most brightly highlights the difference between Introverts and Extroverts, now is that time.

We’re dealing with an unprecedented plague that has caused our local and state governments to declare we must stay home.

Introverts: I’VE BEEN TRAINING FOR THIS MY WHOLE LIFE!

Extroverts: NNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

I’m not going to laugh at you. This is the hardest thing extroverts will ever have to do. You’re not allowed to be yourself.

What is the secret to surviving days and weeks in endless isolation?

First, to quote Zombie in Wreck It Ralph, “you must love you!”
What does that mean? Very simply, it means that you have to be friends with yourself. You have to be comfortable with your own company. If you cannot stand your own company, you’ll drive yourself up the wall.

I have noticed that a fair number of extroverts cannot stand to be alone with themselves. They never made friends with their own presence. Extroversion, for them, isn’t so much about being an outgoing person as it is using the company of everyone else in order to ignore (or hide) the fact that they can’t stand being in their own company.

Second, you have to be able to entertain yourself.
Another thing I’ve noticed with a fair number of extroverts is that they continually seek other people to provide input and stimulation for them. They don’t know how to create it for themselves.

If they had siblings growing up, they didn’t have to entertain themselves. There were other children to play with or fight with. They had someone to do things with. For the eldest, that first year or three when they were an only child isn’t even a memory. It wasn’t enough time to develop self-entertainment skills that would carry them through life.

As an only child and an introvert, I had to learn to keep myself occupied. No one was there to entertain me. I had to find things to do. Preferably things that didn’t get me into trouble. I remember 2nd, 3rd grade, having marathon Barbie play sessions, with my entire collection spread out around me on my bedroom floor. I learned  to play some multi-player board games alone. Scrabble, for example, and when I was a teenager, I started playing double-rack versions with 14 tiles instead of 7, to make bigger words.

This is, in my teen years, partially where my writing career came from. Writing can be a wholly occupying pastime and the hours fly by. Write that novel you always promised yourself you would write if you could ever find the time. You have time. Time is now.

At the moment, there are tons of museums, castles, even caves, that have virtual tours. Get lost in one or all of them for a little while each day.

You can find art classes. All you need is as pencil. Maybe a pen.

Third, you have to find your release valve…and USE IT.
Recognize when you’re stressed and find something that allows you to blow off some of that steam now and then. Find a video game (or five) that occupies you and lets you release stress. Blowing up the digital things and killing the digital enemy can be quite therapeutic.

I go out for a walk and do my shopping when I’m having a particularly difficult day. Lemme tell ya, dealing with unemployment after working so hard to GET a job in the first place, is mega-stressful. Trying to upload documents required for SNAP benefits, when the app continually errors and won’t upload documents, and is now down for maintenance, when all these 50 documents are due TOMORROW, is beyond mega-stressful.

We don’t want to fight with our partner or housemates. That doesn’t help anything. There has to be a safe way to release it.

I used to be a store detective, walking the grocery store endless miles looking for shoplifters. During times of stress, going to a store and walking around it a few times is calming. It helps me to let go those stresses.

Seriously “take a walk” is a perfectly valid option. We are allowed to go out for “solo” exercise. So take a turn around the block. Or just go from corner to corner a few times.

In conclusion, to survive the isolation of the plague when you’ve never had to be isolated in your entire life, you must first accept and enjoy your own company. Second, find ways to keep yourself occupied. Last, find and use your vent valve so you don’t go off the deep end.

I’m not saying you have to like it.

I’m saying you can do this.

Lightbulb! It’s all about the Migraine!

Last night, I used a new sex toy. A vibrating clitoral suction thingy. Slipping it over my vulva, using fingertips to be sure it was in the right place; increasing the speed; wondering “how will I know if—WHOA MAMA!”

I may have spoken the name of a deity. I don’t recall, I came so hard.

What I do remember is the instant, as in one second of stimulation instant, full body orgasm that clenched every muscle in my skull. It almost felt like a seizure. I have had one of those before. In my twenties, I dropped a hit of ‘cid with my first husband. The sex was mind-blowing. Literally. I had a mild frontal lobe seizure.

Through the rest of the night (last night, that is), I felt that same lingering sensation in the front of my brain, across my forehead, around my right eye, etc. I also felt the onset of a migraine headache. Waking this morning, I had the nausea, the weirdness behind my right eye, some facial tingling, dizziness (particularly with motion of either myself or a scrolling computer screen).

What I hadn’t realized was that the migraine had actually been building up for days. Technically speaking, I’d been experiencing the migraine itself for several days. It just wasn’t happening as pain in my head until this morning.

Today I stumbled across an article on Facebook that listed a number of symptoms and factors that contribute to migraine headaches. I don’t usually read these things, as I’d never considered myself a migraine sufferer. A headache a few times a month, sure. A migraine a few times a year, maybe, usually associated with my menstrual cycle. Others suffer far more, with multiple days in a row and half the month ruined with their agony. I’ve had some bad ones in my lifetime; but not enough that I felt I qualified as “a migraine sufferer.”

I started to read this article that was a list of stuff. I like lists of stuff. As I went from item to item, I realized how many of them I was ticking off. For one aspect or another, I was ticking them all off. Every single one. Things I’d never even considered migraine symptoms were put into focus and context in a matter of minutes.

My neck pain, without any headache, was a symptom of a migraine? My first husband liked to crack my back and neck. Sometimes he’d have difficulty with my neck and wouldn’t stop. (yes, I know it was a stupid thing to let him do…I can’t go back and change it) I know he messed my neck up. I can’t just turn my head to look at things sometimes, but have to turn my shoulders as well. I attributed all my neck woes to him. Then I read: Our necks often hurt before our heads do.

A lightbulb went off in my head.

Then I read: Sometimes we can’t stand being touched…because simple touch is perceived as painful. There was mention of not liking the water from a shower on the scalp. Well, I can’t take a shower too soon after waking or the water feels like a cheese grater. My head is the last thing I get wet because I don’t like the water to land on the top of my head. Face, okay, but not the top. I will often block it with my hands, directing the water in a single big stream rather than two hundred tiny streams, or collect water in my hands to splash over my head.

The 60-Watt lightbulb became a Halogen headlight. I was on to something serious.

I dug deeper into the website (Migraine Again) and found a description of an “abdominal migraine”. And all those symptoms fit as well, particularly right that moment as I was reading. I’d been fighting through what I’d thought was an IBS flare-up, or a reaction to a dairy product like sour cream. I’d recently had a couple episodes of eating sour cream (as dip or on a baked potato) and then having a particularly bad stabby pain in my left side. Cheese doesn’t do it to me, but it seems previously opened sour cream does. Sluggish system, stomach slower to empty, digestion all but halted. Yep. Described how I was feeling to a T. The night before reading all this, I’d taken a laxative before bed, hoping it would get my gut moving again…it had worked the previous incident a few months back. It all made even more sense.

The migraine in my head had been triggered by an extremely powerful orgasm; but I’d been fighting an abdominal migraine for days. Had fought it several times in the last half year. I’d been suffering abdominal migraines most of my life. Oh Em Gershwin!

I backed up to start at the beginning of the first article, and began to pair symptoms up for better discussion. These types of articles always duplicate items, making them unnecessarily repetitive.

  1. Super-Sensitive Senses
    Strong smells are nauseating. Perfume, foods, other odors (or phantom smells no one else detects)
    Sensitivity to light; photophobia
    Annoying sounds; sensitive ears/ringing in the ears
    Tingling in various places (one side of the face)

Yes to them all, most of my life. I’ve always had a strong sense of smell, found certain strong odors nauseating. The smell of fish is horrible for me. People at the next table in a restaurant always seem to be ordering fish. It’s something I can smell half a restaurant away. It’s disgusting. Turns my stomach.

Floral perfumes poured on too much. Cleaning products will offend my nose and also burn my eyes.

Sensitivity to light. I’d always thought it was just related to my alopecia. It is a by-product of my condition. But added in with all the other symptoms, it becomes merely one piece to complete the larger puzzle.

Tingling, especially on one side of the face. As I type this, I’ve had that tingling off and on around my right eye and cheek all day long. My eyelids have been twitching. There’s been pressure off and on. That’s where the head portion of my migraine seems to be settling this time.

Annoying sounds. Loud sounds. I absolutely hate loud sounds for a time after I wake up, yet that is always when my mother seems not to be able to use her indoor voice. Sounds don’t often startle me. They hurt. They hurt my ears, my brain. It’s like the soundwaves themselves hurt my body with the same cheese grater effect of a shower.

  1. We don’t yawn because we’re bored or tired.
    Lack of oxygen.
    yawning is one of those subtle warning signs of a prodrome (the first of four phases before the pain starts) in which the brain is begging for more oxygen.

I’d always thought it was just because my sinuses were swollen inside. I’d forgotten to take my allergy medicines, perhaps. I certainly do that often enough.

  1. We can be a bit reluctant to commit. Want to be dependable but don’t want to make promises we can’t keep.

I am forever saying maybe to parties. I RSVP maybe so it’s in my list and I can see it’s coming up, and make the final decision the day of the event. If I don’t have a date lined up, there’s not much reason to go. The loud noise of the music is annoying, especially when it’s music I hate. It’s dark, but the lights that are present are over-bright and hurt my eyes.

Most of all, I don’t know if I’ll be having tummy issues or not be feeling well. I don’t know if I’ll be too achy in a thousand places. I won’t know until that day. I might be feeling fine when I wake up and then become achy and ill by evening.

  1. We’re freezing.
    Sensitivity to temperature changes/cold.
    cold hands/nose; hot/cold flashes

All the yes. I wear a sweater almost everywhere. I feel a chill when no one else does. I wear three layers when it’s 50 degrees out. I’d rather be sweating by the time I get to my destination than be freezing the entire way because I didn’t wear that third layer. My nose will be freezing cold while everyone else is comfortable. I sometimes need three blankets to stop feeling a chill when trying to fall asleep, though the heat is set at 72 degrees. Or I’ll suddenly feel overwarm when no one else does, and need to take off the sweater for a while to let myself cool.

  1. Sometimes we can’t stand being touched.
    Allodynia —
    in which ordinary touch feels intensely uncomfortable and actually painful.

ought I didn’t like to be touched because of the sexual abuse I endured for years as a child. (more on that later)

Discomfort when being touched is also a migraine symptom??? Seriously? By itself, I wouldn’t believe it; but taken into context with all the other pieces of this particular puzzle, they all seem to fit tighter and tighter together.

  1. Our necks often hurt before our heads do.
    Jaw pain

I’ve already gone over the neck pain part. The jaw pain was a bit of an anomaly, until I remembered that I’d had some weird pain in my right lower mandible two nights ago. I’ve been having it off and on for years, but never associated it with anything other than the rotting tooth in that spot. I had the molar removed last year. I still get the pain. Today I woke up with the migraine that had been accumulating overnight.

 

  1. We’re not drunk or drugged. It’s an aura.
    Confusion; thinking of words; vision changes; flashes of light, blind spots and other vision changes or tingling in your hand or face.

All day long, I’ve been struggling with a word here or there. Makes working on a book difficult, lemme tell ya.

The “aura” with vision changes. I don’t necessarily see the zigzag lines, but there is weirdness to my vision. Lights have a harshness to them. I see things that aren’t there.

I covered tingling in the face in another entry above.

  1. Scrunched up face; furrowed brow. It’s not anger.
    It’s a physiological response to pain in the trigeminal nerve that’s acting up around my scalp and behind one eye.

Squinting against the harshness of light. Squinting because there’s discomfort in the face, around the eye. Makes my resting bitch face look downright evil, I suppose. Doesn’t help that the eyelids are twitching away in their own Morse code alphabet. I sometimes wonder what message they’re sending, and to whom.

  1. Sometimes the world feels like it’s spinning.
    Dizziness
    hypersensitivity to motion (ourselves or other things; scrolling on computer)
    motion sickness

I’ve gotten motion sick in cars and on busses my entire life. I prefer to take a train rather than get in a car most times, just to avoid the motion sickness.

I lie down sometimes and the entire room rocks and spins. Sometimes it goes away before I fall asleep. Sometimes it doesn’t and the room starts up again when I wake up enough to turn over.

I’ve found in recent years, that I’m becoming more and more sensitive to motion. Bending over too quickly. Scrolling up and down a computer screen too much. I did an intense inventory overhaul a few months back, and had to pace myself to avoid making myself dizzy and sick from the constant motion of the screen. A train rolling by me can throw my balance off and make me dizzy.

I had wondered if I was developing Meniers. My mother has had it since I was a small child, and all of my triggers are all of her triggers as well. There is obviously cross-over of symptoms and triggers, so it’s something I’m going to want to look into further.

  1. Food Triggers, foods being nauseating (for me, fish in particular)
    On the other hand, strong cravings for trigger foods

I’ve mentioned sour cream triggering pain in a particular spot of my abdomen. I’ve mentioned strong odors nauseating me. I cannot stand anything pickled.

I do, however, get cravings for certain trigger foods. Aged cheese. I love cheddar, brie, Havarti. I love pepperoni pizza. Chocolate. Truffles, darks, salted, with caramel. Coffee. The smell of a wonderful French Roast. Komodo Dragon is just heavenly. I don’t know that any of these things actually trigger a migraine in me. I don’t really care if they do. I won’t stop eating/drinking them. They’re worth it!

  1. We predict storms better than the weatherman.
    Temperature changes
    B. High humidity
    C. High winds
    D. Stormy weather
    E. Extremely dry conditions
    F. Bright lights and sun glare (again with the light sensitivity)
    G. Barometric pressure changes — sinus pain – off and on, constant, weather related

Again, all the yes. I can feel a storm coming in when it’s half a day away. Sometimes my face hurts so much that I wish it would finally explode off my skull so I can feel better. The pressure and pain are immense and there’s seemingly no relief.

  1. Fatigue when it’s over. Feeling washed out rather than relieved.

You’d think that after a hard tummy episode like I’m experiencing that I’d feel relieved, feel better. But I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow, almost hung over from it and the pain in my head. I already know it. I’ll need at least until the day after to shake it and be recovered.

  1. Psychological symptoms related to emotional neglect and sexual abuse.
    Emotional Neglect

This is the tough one. The same page linked to a “test” regarding emotional neglect. Do you feel/think this, that, or the other. I answered yes to nearly every question.

Sexual, emotional, and physical abuse are known to create a predisposition to headaches. I have amnesia during portions of my childhood. Times when the tape recorder of my mind paused and did not record for a while, and started again at some point.

Most people think migraines are just a bad headache. Turns out it is so much more. The pain in the head is the least of it for many.

It all adds up to one thing.

It’s time for me to see a Neurologist and get a formal diagnosis (whatever it may be) so I can find out if anything can be done about all this.

Changing the Impeachment Narrative

It’s time to change the dialogue about how the Senate is going to handle the Articles of Impeachment.

We need to stop commenting, that “the senate is held by the republicans, so of course they’re NOT going to impeach”. That is a self-fulfilling prophecy of negativity. Those senators can look at any discussion thread and throw up their hands and say “well, see, they EXPECT US to let the Carrot in Chief off the hook! They EXPECT US to vote against Impeachment. So, okay, fine. That’s what we’ll do!”

Stop that! TURN IT AROUND!

Put their feet to the fire.

I DEMAND that the Republican Senators look at the Articles of Impeachment as if Barack Obama was on the other side of that document.

I’m talking directly to you right now, Republican Senators of the United States of America.

How would they vote if it was Barack Obama on the other side of that document?

How would you vote it it was Hilary Clinton facing of Articles of Impeachment?

That’s how you should vote.

You would scrutinize that document with the finest of fine-tooth combs, looking for every single charge possible to find Barack guilty.

If that is the standard you would espouse against a Democrat, then that is the standard you should uphold against the Carrot in Chief.

I, as a member of the voting public, demand it of you.

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RISE…and Farewell to a Friend: Grief in the Cyber Age.

My newest book, RISE (volume 9 of my Kingdom Key series) is finally released…and I am feeling a sense of relief.

A few weeks back, I was around page 200 of my final good tweak before publication. Saturday morning, the date not important, I was fiddling around and looking at my Facebook feed. I saw the face of a friend, a photograph tagged, with the letters RIP in the post.

What a way to find out, you know. But in this day and age, in one’s FB feed is how we find out about the demises of a great many people, celebrity and friend alike.

It was a shock. She wasn’t “just” a friend. She was also one of my proofreaders. The one I referred to as my editor. Whenever anyone reads one of my books produced in the last five years, they are also seeing her work. They are seeing points she fought for and won. They are seeing her suggestions in action. Not as in “do this here, do that there” but as in “yes, they are violent when they have sex…but they are still lovers”.

That’s exactly what I was doing during my last tweak. Sure, I make the hot parts hotter; but I was also looking for ways to illustrate how much the trio of main characters love and respect each other. I was adding in tender moments here and there. I was taking my editor’s advice.

Her death sucked the wind right out of my sails. My eyes wouldn’t stop leaking. I’d be okay, then see something else about her in my FB feed and cry again. Such a heavy sadness permeated me for several days in a grief I’d not known in years. Few deaths reach me like that.

I needed a month to get through the 200 pages that should have taken me a week. I was a month late publishing. I’ve never been very good with my self-imposed deadlines, but this was worse than ever I think.

As she lived in Texas and I’m in NYC, and not rich, I could not attend any services. I can’t help clean out her apartment. I was hoping to get back the shawl I’d made for her; but that’s not likely either because of distance.

So what do we do when the normal things that help us get through grief aren’t available to us?

I kept on working at the book, whittling away one paragraph at a time. I changed how I worked too. I killed a computer about a week after she passed. For about a week, as I needed to earn another paycheck before getting another, I worked on my tablet. I had saved books to One Drive. It was a pain in the ass, but I could still work. I took it on the bus with me, on the train. I sat with it in hand while watching television.

I wasn’t going to let the book suffer for my sadness. It deserved the same attention that any other of my works has ever gotten.

No one can know the ways in which I have been grateful to my friend and editor over the years. I sometimes have really bad anxiety attacks. Two years ago, I was holding in all knowledge that I was leaving my husband. I didn’t want anyone to know anything until I’d done it. The day I started looking for a place to live, I broke my silence and confided in her. After the appointment, after I’d looked at a couple places, I was walking back to the train and Whoops! there it went. Full blown panic attack on 23rd Avenue and 31st Street, on the corner across from the steps up into the train. I called her and she didn’t hesitate to help me through it. She was the calm in my storm that day, one I needed in the worst way.

I did do one thing with this book that I’ve not done in quite a number of years. I made a dedication page. I couldn’t tell you the last book I dedicated to any specific person. Rise is, dedicated to my friend and editor. Another step away from grief.

Having finished the book — FINALLY! — and gotten it published is the closing of a chapter in my life. There’s one more in the series. I’m going to have to finish it without her mild scolding.

Suddenly, I miss that mild scolding.


My Kingdom Key series can be found on this page in the USA Amazon store: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074CF9399

Not in the USA? Not a problem! Just copy the product code ( B074CF9399 ) into your country’s Amazon search bar.

Rise will be on that page in a few days. Until then, you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B082M9YZFK

Again, copy/paste the product code if you’re outside the USA. B082M9YZFK

I Think Anti-Vaxxers have Munchausen

I have begun to think anti-vaxxers have a version of Munchausen syndrome.

For those of you not familiar, Munchausen is a “factitious [contrived] disorder imposed on one’s self, formerly Munchausen syndrome, a type of mental illness in which a person repeatedly acts as if he or she has a physical or mental disorder when, in truth, he or she has caused the symptoms. Munchausen syndrome is a mental illness associated with severe emotional difficulties.

Munchausen parents make up an illness in order to get sympathy and attention for themselves for having a sick child. It’s considered a form of child abuse. Therefore, it is a crime.

Anti-vaxxers garner attention for themselves by intentionally neglecting a vital part of their children’s health care. They try to make themselves out to be victims when the state says “nope, can’t do that. Vaccinate or home school.”

I saw today a post by a woman who had taken a picture of her son, between 6 and 8 years old, holding a big card his classmates had all signed for him. Because his mother won’t vaccinate him and he cannot attend school with them.

She posted how horrible it is that the lawmakers caused his heartbreak.

No, sugartits. YOU caused his heartbreak.

In order to puff up your own ego, YOU have caused this to happen. By refusing to vaccinate him, YOU intentionally caused your son to be so emotionally hurt.

You made this bed all by yourself, to serve your own self, and it’s your son who is lying in it.

No one forced you to not vaccinate. No one held a gun to your head and say “Don’t you DARE vaccinate that child!” That was YOUR decision. YOURS alone. Your son isn’t capable of making that decision himself. He’s 6 to 8 years old.

He was counting on you to do the right thing and you didn’t.

Instead, you took his picture and paraded his hurt for others to gawk at, thus getting more attention and sympathy for yourself.

That sounds an awful lot like Munchausen to me.

“What’s your personality type?” he asked…

People are forever posting their myers-briggs letters. I don’t personally think it means anything. An episode of Adam Ruins Everything explained that the MB thing was conjured up by a bored housewife and her mother in her kitchen. They read the Jung stuff and said “We can do this better!” and they made the shit up. And people ate it up with a spoon.

For all the crying about NOT being pigeon-holed into d/s or bdsm roles, those same people really are quick to slip themselves into these 16 neat little boxes.

Then there’s me.

I think it’s not nearly that neat.

The letters can change on a day to day basis depending on how I’m feeling that day. Just like that bdsm test some people take so seriously, answering just a few MB questions differently completely changes the outcome. In one, I’m 85% submissive. Answer a different way another day and I’m 90% dominant.

E or I?
Extrovert or Introvert?

Well, there’s this thing in the middle called an AMBIVERT, and I’m one. I can be outgoing and talkative. I am good at multitasking but I also sometimes like to do one thing at a time. Depends on what needs doing.

I think we’re all like that.

I don’t see what being an introvert has to do with preferring to do one thing at a time. I don’t see why an introvert can’t also be an excellent multitasker. I don’t see why an introvert can’t excel at a fast pace. One has nothing to do with the other.

T or F?
Thinker or Feeler?

Thinkers tend to make decisions using logical analysis, objectively weigh pros and cons, and value honesty, consistency, and fairness. Feelers tend to be sensitive and cooperative and decide based on their own personal values and how others will be affected by their actions.

Put side by side, those two give me another serious WTF? moment.

Would not a person who is sensitive also be interested in fairness and consistency? Can not a thinker, in weighing the pros and cons, also consider how others will be affected by their decisions?

S or N?
Sensor or Intuitive?

Sensors are realistic people who like to focus on facts and details, and apply common sense and past experience to come up with practical solutions to problems.

Intuitives prefer to focus on possibilities and the big picture, easily see patterns, value innovation, and seek creative solutions to problems.

(rubs hands together) Now we’re really going to ruffle some feathers.

What about the intuitives line says they’re not or can’t be realistic? Things that are “possible”, that are subsequently enacted, are realistic. If they work, they are practical.

What about the sensor says they can’t see the big picture or patterns?

Using common sense and past experience can lead to innovation and creative solutions.

J or P?
Judger or Perceiver?

Judgers tend to be organized and prepared, like to make and stick to plans and are comfortable following most rules.

Perceivers prefer to keep their options open, like to be able to act spontaneously, and like to be flexible with making plans.

Okay…but being spontaneous doesn’t mean rule breaker. And following the rules doesn’t mean can’t be spontaneous. You can make a plan and yet have that plan be flexible. You can be flexible while still being organized and prepared.

The whole thing is bullshit.

What’s my personality type?

I am an

E I T F S N J P

The order of those letters will change from one day to the next. Sometimes from one hour to the next. I bet they will for you too.

Why?

Because we’re human beings.

Not hypothetical pigeons dreamed up by a bored housewife in her kitchen.

“I’ve Never Assaulted Anyone!” Are you sure about that?

A guy said: I’ve NEVER once raped or abused anyone…

Are you so sure?

There are a lot of people clamoring about “enthusiastic” consent, and if the woman isn’t enthusiastic about it, then it’s not really consent.

So…

Did a woman reluctantly give in because you joked about having blue balls and badgered her into it? Do you know what badgering even sounds like to a woman? I doubt it.

How do you know you didn’t?

Did you call a woman a cock tease because she said no?

Did you ask a woman ten times over the course of ten weeks and she finally said yes?

Has a woman ever avoided you for months after having sex? It’s probably because she really didn’t want to but you made it seem like she had no choice.

I’m not saying you absolutely did this.

But can you absolutely say you never did?

It can be so subtle that dudes don’t even know they’re doing it.

So, sure, YOU don’t think you ever have…but if I asked all the women you ever fucked, would they have a different story?

When is a deal NOT a deal? When it comes from Spectrum.

So I got this junk mail from Spectrum regarding their new mobile phone service. You may have seen one yourself.

$45 per line per month for unlimited data or $14 per line for 1 gig each, to be shared. Oh, and you HAVE to have their internet service. If you don’t, you have to pay $20 more and limited this and that.

We have 3 phones. So that would be $42 (plus taxes, let’s say $50 a month) for a total of 3 gigs.

If you go over your shared gigs, however, they will charge you another $14 PER LINE for one more gig each. I asked this specifically, and had to repeat myself three fucking times to get her to hear me. She actually had to find that information out.

So if you go over your data allotment by so much as a quarter of a gig, you will double your phone bill. We did go over our original 3 gigs this last month, by .14 of a gig.

Not a big deal if you only have the one line. Like I said, we have three. So that turns $50 to $100, just because my daughter’s phone keeps turning off the wifi and she forgets to turn it back on.

Now that would still be saving us upwards of $35 a month, give or take a few bucks. Our average bill is about $135, and we get a 3 gig + 3 gig free, plus whatever our rollover was from the previous month. We had 10 gigs with this last bill, a very nice cushion.

So that still MIGHT be worth it…if we can use our existing phones.

Here’s where the deal turns sour.

The fine print says equipment is extra, and does not say anywhere that you can use existing phones. Because you cannot.

You have to buy their phones. For Galaxy, the lowest they have is the Galaxy 8. One phone is $500.

We have three phones, so would have to spend $1500 to buy new phones in order to save $30 a month on our bill. If we kept carefully to our 3 gigs, it would be $80 saved per month.

You can pay for those phones in monthly installments of $25 per phone, by the way. So Spectrum wants you to GO INTO DEBT to them to the tune of $500 a pop.

So we’d have to pay $75 dollars more to save five bucks. We would be in debt to the tune of $1500 for at least three years before starting to see any actual savings on this plan.

No thanks. We’ll stay with ATT. I’ve had an account there for over sixteen years and we can buy phones for under $200 when needed.

I will, however, be calling them to ask what they can do, since Spectrum CAN give me this $42 a month bill. (eyebrow waggle)

Couldn’t hurt.

My First Mammogram

I had my first mammogram on July 27, 2018.

I can’t say how any other facility does it; but the Lennox Hill Radiologist place I went to was really very quick and easy.

I didn’t wait around forever with 20 other women, like at the hospital clinic. No waiting with my boobage hanging out. Didn’t hang around at all in the gown. She showed me where to change into it and she was waiting for me to take me directly in.

The “bar” that squishes the boobies was clear plastic with a rounded edge. It didn’t squish very tight, so really wasn’t much more than a little discomfort. There was a foot pedal to control its descent and how much pressure she applied. She didn’t have to manually lower it, thus removing the potential that it could be dropped on my breasts.

The side of the machine digging into my ribs was the worst part; but that only lasted for a few seconds, so really was not a big deal either.

The technician was very professional and patient, clear in her instructions to help me place my arms properly, and proceeded quickly but without rushing.

I think I was in the xray room all of ten minutes.

If you’re putting off getting a mammogram because you’re afraid it’ll really hurt, please don’t.

Bonus: They have online access to your pictures. I sat in the comfort of my own home for about half an hour looking at the xray pictures of my boobies. It was fascinating.

Double Bonus — No issues were found. I’m good until next year.