Archive for September, 2010

Awaiting your alleged reply…

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Wrote what for me is a very calm and civilized letter to a reporter. Said relative politeness is probably due largely to the fact that I’m cutting way down on caffeine and therefore feel pleasantly sleepy.

Said letter:

To: Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times

I’ve been reading the Times’ articles about the Pope’s visit to England with interest. I enjoyed your piece on Saturday; however, I noticed that you described Nick Clegg as an “avowed” atheist.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed that there’s a tendency for writers to describe Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and other members of other religions simply and matter-of-factly as members of those religions. As a rule, however, atheists are “self-described” or “avowed” — or the person in question “claims to be an atheist.”

I’m touchy on this point because it seems to imply that (unlike other people) atheists don’t know our own minds. I don’t know if you’re familiar with a Protestant idea that there are no “real” atheists — that deep inside, people who claim not to believe in a deity “know” the truth and are simply denying it. This idea seems to be getting around. I can’t remember the last time I saw the word “atheist” without some descriptive preceding it.

In the same article, you describe Tony Blair as having “converted to Catholicism.” It would have been perfectly accurate for you to describe him as “claiming” to have done so, since you probably weren’t there for the process and therefore have only his word to take for it. But he is granted the full dignity of having done what he said he did — even when you threw doubt on his spirituality in the next sentence.

I hope you’ll consider letting atheists be just plain atheists the next time you need to write about one. Thank you for your time.

We’ll see if he replies. This is a huge ranting peeve of mine. I’d fear for my life if I ever introduced my friend the minister’s wife as a self-described Christian — although I have at least one friend who would probably laugh her ass off if I ever presented her as “an alleged Catholic.” Still. I don’t know why the word “atheist” is a bigger punch in the face than any flavor of theist is — why do so many writers feel the need to soften it up (or water it down) with an adjective?

My husband suggests that maybe journalists who glue a descriptive on the cover like that are afraid of being sued if they get it wrong — because somebody who isn’t an atheist might take being called one as slander. Which is so depressing that I may just have to go get some caffeine in its purest (by which I mean best and kindest) form. Chocolate, here I come.

Leftover coffee muffins

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

So I’m having the most hurl-a-riffic week ever. I’m deeply grateful that the weather is staying cool and misty, because there’s nothing like being hideously nauseated on a nice hot day to make you lose what’s left of your will to live. Or your determination not to kill everyone who doesn’t feel as lousy as you do. Okay, maybe that’s just me.

(There will be muffins. Just let me bitch here for a minute. Or skip ahead — what do you think, I can see you from here?)

So far I’ve had biopsies and cameras up the hooha. The imaging all came back completely consistent with the endo I suspect is there, though endo generally can’t be seen via such ultrasound technology. Fibroids are not uncommon, but they’re more common in women with endo, and I’ve got at least one. And my right ovary, which has been paining me, has a cyst — and cysts, especially on the ovaries, are very not uncommon with endometriosis.

My doctor’s response? Well, fibroids occur in “40% of people.” (Really? Uterine fibroids, in 40% of “people”? I want to hear from the men who are coping with these, maybe get some tips. Unless by people she means women, which is an interesting reversal of the usual attitude.) I shouldn’t be worried. And the cyst on my ovary is “very small,” “perfectly normal,” and will be absorbed by my body in the natural course of things.

By very small, she means 2.8 centimeters. Which I thought was bigger than my actual ovary. And as for being absorbed — okay, I get how functional cysts work. But here’s the thing. In the course of the past year or so, I’ve had images taken of that ovary at one week, two weeks, and (this time) three weeks into my cycle. The only time they haven’t taken a picture is when I’m actually having my period. It’s always looked like this. At what point is this absorption supposed to happen? And why is the doctor saying that it’s nothing at all in the same tone that the last doctor said that it was a dermoid cyst? I’d be a little less confused if everyone would stop speaking in absolutes, when they still can’t tell me why the hell I feel SO BAD ALL THE TIME.

The doctor also graciously added that irregular bleeding and other symptoms can be the result of hormonal changes that occur as women get older.

First of all: really? Don’t make me describe some of the bleeding I’ve been having. Suffice it to say that the next procedure I’m having is a camera up my arse. That’s perimenopause?

Second: if my symptoms are a function of age, why have I been having them for years?

Third of all: How FREAKIN’ OLD does this woman think I am? I’m 42, for hell’s sake. Yes, things change when you hit your forties. I’m not going to be pulling as many of the all-nighters (work- or play-related) as I used to be able to. I’ve resigned myself to not being as limber as I used to be. I have to touch up grey on a regular basis. That’s the kind of stuff I expect to find waiting for me as I screech into my forties.

Spending every day either nauseated or in pain or both? Screw you, lady.

She really seems to hate the idea that I’ve figured out what’s probably the matter with me. Everything that supports the idea that I have endo, she seems to be dismissing. I am SO sick of dealing with doctors.

I’ll be seeing her again in several weeks, after the bootie camera episode. She’s expressed a reluctance to do the minimally invasive surgery which is the only way to diagnose (and, in many cases, remove) endometriosis, but too damned bad. Everything I’ve read and every endo-sister I’ve talked to has confirmed that this is the next step to take. Especially with the symptoms I’m manifesting. I want to know what the hell is going on in my body. I want to know how far the damage extends. I want to stop feeling like barfing all the time — or, if nothing helps and that’s just something I have to live with, I want to be able to say to myself and everyone else, “This just goes along with the disease I’m living with.”

Because I really think I could cope a lot better with this if I knew what it was. There’s something crazy-making about living like this. I want to know what the hell is going on.

So anyway, I made some muffins today. I’ve been drinking frickin’ herbal tea for hell only knows how long, but this morning I woke up so nauseated that nothing sounded good at all, especially a cup of sad little plant pieces. By the time I felt able to eat or drink anything, around one o’clock, coffee sounded lovely. It’s bad for chicks with girl-part troubles, but I’ve been good and it hasn’t helped at all, so screw this. I made some coffee.

Not a lot, but still too much. I always make a pot of tea and then have about three tablespoons of it. I made “three cups” of coffee (according to the measuring thingy on the side of the machine, anyway) and, after sipping some, ended up with more than I’d started out with, practically.

I need to bake on a regular basis to keep up with my son, Growth Spurt Lad. I hate throwing anything out. So I made a batch of muffins out of (among other things) some of the leftover coffee. They smelled good. They tasted good. They’re barely caffeinated. Here’s the recipe.

2 cups flour (I used half all-purpose and half cake flour; you can use any light-colored flour, including oat and King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour, which is awesome)
1/2 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
dash nutmeg
dash mace
1 egg
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 c. coffee
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease standard muffin tins.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and spices. Whisk together remaining ingredients; fold into dry ingredients until just moistened. Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake for about 15 minutes.

Guaranteed to sweeten up even the bitterest day.

Things I’d rather listen to than Justin Bieber singing.

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

1. The double-rainbow guy seeing a triple rainbow.

2. Actual sheep being slaughtered à la The Silence of the Lambs.

3. A “tea-party” Republican explaining what he thinks of Obama.

4. Grandpa in the bathroom after an evening at the Burrito Barn.

5. Dane Cook talking about his penis.

6. Someone on the bus telling me what he dreamed last night.

7. My child husband being menaced by wolves Republicans.

8. My neighbor’s two-year-old playing with the latest addition to her scary-noise-making toy collection.

9. All the neighborhood dogs responding to #8.

10. The blood rushing from my body as I embrace sweet death in order to escape hearing Justin Bieber sing.