Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Johnny and Doris - Part V - The End

He looked so small. Was he really that thin? With all the bruises on his face he looked entirely different. For Doris, that hit home with her unique and uncanny ability with faces. Even though John had only visited her twice, he had left an indelible impression.

A police officer entered John’s room and Doris stood to greet him.

"So you say he was mugged?" she asked.

"Yes Ma'am," the investigating officer said.

"I see."

"So you're his next of kin?"

"No!" Doris said, a little more forcefully than intended.

"So who are you then?"

Doris just shook her head.


She sat with him every day, every night. Every spare moment she had, she spent it by his bedside. He was now breathing on his own but he still hadn't regained consciousness. She had told Dr. Matheson about Stevie or what she knew of him, at least. He told her that they would deal with that later. "Let's just see if he can open his eyes first," he had said. "But it does explain the fact that there weren't any defensive wounds found on him. That's very strange for a case like this. He was either completely taken by surprise with no time to react or he didn't even attempt to defend himself at all. My guess would be the latter based on the extent and type of his injuries." Doris wept quietly when Dr. Matheson left the room.

Oh what to do with Johnny, she fretted. He couldn’t talk. He couldn’t tell her his story. Surely he had family somewhere, people who might be missing him? Strangely enough no one had filed a missing person report. She took to reading to him, anything to pass the time, any way to stimulate him into consciousness.

Fourteen days later, John woke up. Doris was at the hospital but had just left his room to get herself a fresh coffee and some air. When she returned, she was shocked to see him, wide awake and staring out the window. He tried to get up to greet her but was temporarily snared by his IV. Then he was gripped by his own weakness and flopped heavily back onto the hospitals pristine pillows.

“Hey Doris,” John spoke rather casually, “what are you doing here?” It seemed odd, she thought, that his first question would be regarding her presence in the hospital and not his own.

“Well kid, you gave us all a pretty good scare. Do you remember anything that happened to you right after you left the diner? You know, that time after you told me about Stevie?”

“You know about Stevie?” John asked incredulously? Obviously his memory was a little bit murky at best.

“I just said that you told me about him!”

“Oh, sorry…” John seemed to shrink backwards within himself.

“Hey, hey. Don’t do that. I’m not mad at ya. Just worried is all. Hang on, let me go get everybody; they’ll be so excited!” Perhaps almost as excited as Doris was.

Over the next few days, contact was made with John’s only living relative, Keith, who flew in from London as soon as he heard. He thanked Doris profusely for all she had done and the vigil she had kept at his bedside.

John ended up being let go from his job. Not for his failure to show up during his days in the hospital but for his entire career of tardiness in general. The mugging and John’s subsequent rehabilitation just gave the company a perfect opportunity to bid him adieu. Doris and John’s relationship was now cemented, however. She still visited him whenever she could, first in the clinic where he sent after release from the hospital and then in assisted housing where he was placed to live, as he could no longer fully support himself. Doris continued to read to him, only this time John actively participated and sometimes did some of the reading himself. With Doris’ help John managed to attain a suitable level of literacy and even picked up a part time volunteer job at a local community centre.

Doris continued working for the rest of her days at the diner. No one ever came in like that one customer, on another otherwise nondescript rainy fall day and that was just fine. In her eyes, no one could have ever replace her Johnny anyway.

And as for Stevie, he disappeared. John had several new doctors now and one of them had given him some medication to, as he said, “let Stevie be free.” It wasn’t that Stevie was bad and being punished, John was told, it was just time for him to go on his own. After all, John was now a man and Stevie was still a boy. It was just better that way. John was relieved but on some days he still missed Stevie. On those days, he would get out his watercolours and paint for hours…to remember all the things they liked to do and all they places they had visited during their time together.

Johnny and Doris - Part IV


"I think we can take him off the ventilator now."

"Are you sure?"

"Absolutely. He's breathing on his own...or at least he wants to."

"Wants to?"

"Are you kidding me? This guy's a fighter!"

“Well, he certainly came in looking like one.”

“Yeah, I know. How on earth he thought he could take on six guys, I have no idea! His tox screen was clear so I have no clue what was going through his mind.”

“The police questioned the other parties and they just kept saying something about him yelling for someone named Stevie?”

“Well, he’s got no ID. I don’t know but maybe ‘Stevie’s’ a relative?”

"Alright. Call that number, that should be open by now."


"Hello? Yeah, this is Doris... Who? I think you've got the wrong number...or at least the wrong Doris. Yeah? Uh-huh... Okay, okay let me see what I can do. I'll be over as soon as I can." Doris had no idea what was going on or why the hospital had called her. And a mugging? All they told her was that some John Doe had been found, barely alive, with her name and the name of the diner scrawled across a piece of paper in his pocket. She had no idea who it could have been but the nurse had been so insistent she felt she had to go. During all her years of service she rarely took time off so Lou was sure to oblige her on such short notice.

"Call Anne. I think she's at home today," Doris yelled as she flew out the diner's front door, the cheerful clatter of its tiny bells lost in the sound of the city.

When she arrived at the ICU desk she asked for the nurse that had called her.

"I'm sorry Miss...Miss...I'm sorry, what is your last name?"


"Yes, Miss Beckstein. We really had no other recourse. His wallet and ID were missing. If nothing more we thought you could at least provide us with identification." Doris inhaled deeply, "Okay, if you say so."

They walked down the hall and peered into the window of a private room that looked more like a laboratory than a hospital room. So much equipment! Doris had never seen anything like it?

"Well, here he is, Mr. John Doe." Doris stiffened at the task proposed to her. Okay, I'm ready, she thought, half consumed with fear, half battling an intensely morbid curiosity. She entered the door and approached the man on the bed.

"Oh my god...Johnny.."

"So you know him."

"Well, yeah but..."

"Alright, come with me." They returned to the desk.

"I'll need you to just fill out these forms..."

"What? Whoa, wait a minute...You said I just had to ID the guy."

"Well, yes...and now we need you to fill out these forms."

"Hey, I don't know this guy. He just showed up at the diner a couple of times."

"Oh. Okay, just a second. Let me speak with my supervisor." As the nurse turned away,

Doris called, "Hey, does this guy have a doctor?" This was the real beginning of

Doris and John's relationship.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Johnny and Doris - Part III

Stevie wasn't always so unwelcome. In fact, John kind of got used to him being around. John often had problems making friends. He had problems in school; he was different. Often found staring out the window or into a distant void--it seemed he was not often stimulated by his immediate environment. On the way home from school he would often become distracted. He loved climbing trees and would often be found in a nearby park well after dinner or bedtime in need of rescue. No, John wasn't particularly good with keeping track of time. He was often late for everything.

Stevie kept him company when no one else was around, which was most of the time. John's mother was a bit of an absent figure for him, working three jobs to keep her two sons clothed and fed. A myriad of babysitters were often present in the home. A frequent rotation of several different girls was often employed due to John's demanding care requirements. Maybe that's one reason why John rarely made it home on time. He never really cared for them. He only liked Keith, his older brother.

Keith was great and John idolized him. He wasn't always around though, being seven years older and he always seemed busy. He was involved in so many clubs at school and when he wasn't spending time with his friends there, he was playing lots of sports. Yes, Keith had lots of friends. John wasn't jealous though. He had Stevie.

Stevie often came up with lots of games to play. Some of which resulted in John getting into trouble. Like the time when they painted pictures on his bedroom wall of all the things they liked to do together and all the places they wanted to visit. Or when they decided to play "buried treasure" with nearly all of John's toys, digging up holes in the backyard, dropping the toys in and then creating a type of pirate's map to recover them all. Yes, Stevie was a lot of fun.

Sometimes he had to disappear though. John would be fine for a while but would inevitably miss him. When it got really bad, Stevie would always return. Usually with another fun game in which they could indulge.

Now things were different. All throughout high school (or rather until John's final year) they stayed almost completely intact. Right up until one game became a little too serious. Stevie had convinced John to steal a car. It was one of the new driver education cars parked at the school. John had seen all his peers learn how to drive and it was all they ever seemed to talk about. However, John’s challenges with school and learning automatically disqualified from the experience regardless of his ability.

These things disregarded, Stevie swore to John he could do it. And John wanted to do it. Badly.

The attempt did not go well. John managed to get the car started but in his excitement and confusion, he mistook the "R" for a "D" and sped directly into a rather large oak tree just in front of the parking lot. In a panic, he managed to shift the car into reverse but then, spun around and in further panic, shift back into forward gear and become airborne over a small embankment. When he came to, the police were there. No charges were laid but John was told, rather forcefully, that he would never be able to drive a car--ever.

Stevie got a little angry. In fact, it was the first time John and Stevie had ever had a fight. John tried to reason with him, tell him that it wasn't such a big deal after all. Eventually Stevie acquiesced. After that, things didn't seem quite the same between the two of them. The older John got, the more childish Stevie behaved. And for longer periods would he disappear. But when he returned, things weren’t always so pleasant for John.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Johnny and Doris - Part II

The days ran into weeks and soon it was November. The city's landscape was now a permanent grey. John's world had not changed much. As he passed the neighbourhood park he saw some children playing with a kite. I wish I was a kite, he thought, only no string!

He'd been back to the diner several times but Doris never seemed to be there. He hoped she hadn't quit. He liked her. She seemed smart but not mean like the other smart people he had met in his life. He rounded the same corner that he traveled almost every day to work only this time, he passed his workplace to go to the diner, in search of Doris, yet again.

It was a Saturday and the place was jam packed. However would he find a seat! John waited patiently for his favourite spot, the seat closest to the ordering station, the one closest to Doris.

Doris heard the faint tinkling of the diner's doorbells over the din of the breakfast crowd. Immediately she recognized him. She never forgot a face. Years in the diner industry taught her to be good with faces. Not only did it mean better tips but it was also important in case any funny business happened. Several seats became available but John remained standing, nodding politely, albeit awkwardly, to anyone else who wished to skip ahead of him for their meal. Eventually, the mother and young daughter who were in John's desired spot got up to leave.

"Well, look who's back!" Doris beamed, "the fastest eater in the west. How are you?" John gave a stilted smile back. "Fine, thanks."

"So, what would you like today? Even though it's still breakfast time we still serve our lunch menu. Whatever you want, we got."

"Do you have any eggs?"

"Do we have any eggs?" Doris' throaty laugh filled the room. "Well, yeah. I think we could find some. What kind?"

"Scrambled," John said decisively. He felt happy. Stevie had been good lately.

"So what's your name, kid?" Doris had been feeling good lately too. Not for any particular reason, if only for the fact that work had been steady and tips had been good. And maybe for the fact that later tonight she was indulging herself in a bottle of wine, a warm blanket on the couch and all the Harrison Ford she could handle.


"Well then Johnny, can I call you Johnny?"

"Sure, " John shrugged. It reminded him of his brother. He used to call him that. He missed his brother. Why'd he have to move all the way up to Canada and then all the way to London? He said it was because of his job but John still worked in Brooklyn. Right around the corner from where they both grew up.

"Great. Pleased to meet you, Johnny." Doris extended her hand. John took it slowly.

"Pleased to meet you...Doris," he said, staring at the lily adorned plastic nametag she wore.

"So Johnny, tell me about yourself." The breakfast rush was beginning to slow down.

"I work."

"Oh yeah? Good for you! What do you do?"


"Oh yeah? Where do you that?"

"Just up the street." John fell silent. Doris stared at him for a few seconds, laughed to herself and

shook her head. Turning to pick up her next order she refilled John's coffee cup before heading to

the kitchen.

As soon as she returned, John's face had shadowed. Just like that, she thought.

"Doris, has anyone ever talked to you and you didn't want to listen?

Doris raised one eyebrow, "Kid, are you serious? That's a good one. Yeah, sure. What are you gettin' at?"

"Nothing," John dismissed her.

"Hey, Johnny, are you okay? Someone giving you a hard time?

"Oh no!" Johnny said. "Stevie would never do that. He gets a little annoying sometimes, that's all."

"Who's Stevie? Your little brother?"

John started laughing so hard he almost fell off his stool but then, magically straightened. "I never thought of it that way..." He was now staring off into the distance, a slight melancholy present in his eyes.

Doris was mesmerized by John. She couldn't quite put her finger on it. Maybe it was his childlike manner despite his lanky, almost gawky frame. He couldn't be much older than 25.

"So who's Stevie?" It was almost like talking to a child!

"He's the voice in my head."

"Oooooh..."Doris nodded. Of course! This guy was a nutcase. But he seemed harmless enough. "So what's he tell you?"

"All sorts of stuff. But he's so young! He doesn't know anything!" John retorted back in a surprisingly abrupt and loud tone.

Edit: Apologies for the formatting; Blogger's being cranky.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Johnny and Doris - Part I

I wrote this very short story several years ago. Cleaned it up a bit for posting here. It's a bit long for one installment so will be done in several. Thank you.

Leaving the building, he realized he had forgotten his umbrella. "Damn It! It sure looks like it's going to pour."

A diner was a block and a half away. As John entered trying to shake himself dry, his stomach growled. He glanced at the menus hoisted high above the long grills, deep-fryers and stainless steel counter space. Perhaps they had an all day breakfast or maybe just a coffee and a slice of pie. Sure, that was easy.

John waited patiently in line. When he arrived at the front, his eyes locked with those of a thin and weary woman, maybe 20 years his senior. Her name tag read: "Doris" and had white lilies patterned above the plastic pin that indicated her identity.

"What'll it be?" she sighed.

"What kind of pie you got? Fresh."

She threw him a long stare just to see if he was being sarcastic. Instead, she saw John's rather focused expression, like he was awaiting news about the current rainstorm on the radio, hanging onto the forecast as if he had plans later that afternoon to go sailing of play baseball in the park.

"Apple and blueberry, if you want cherry, you come tomorrow."

"Apple'll be fine," John nodded as he took a seat at the counter nearest to the ordering station, gingerly removing his soaking jacket to avoid dampening a nearby customer. Doris brought him his order and he ravenously dug in to the pie like he hadn't eaten in days. Then he slurped back his coffee and wiped his mouth along his shirtsleeve.

"That was impressive," Doris smirked. John returned her cheerful advance with only a blank stare. Doris straightened in demeanor. This guy was kind of strange. She had never seen him in the place before. They kept a pretty regular clientele. In this part of Brooklyn there were lots of places to choose from so Doris liked to think of all her regulars as family. Not that she wouldn't treat any newcomer like this guy any differently, it was just harder to joke around and gauge their reactions and this one was a prime example. "Can I get you anything else?" she inquired politely. John shook his head.

"How much?"

"Two eighty-five."

With that, John threw a crumpled two dollar bill and a handful of change on the counter and left. It had stopped raining and he could now walk safely home without his forgotten umbrella.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Like Toys

I'm a big gadget fan.

Yes, even if they sometimes mystify me.

Alright, I'll try and stop and get off the Apple Train but I am consumed. My little poll isn't helping me. It's current results are sitting at an even 50/50. I think part of the problem is that I'm not used to spending large quantities of money on myself. I've never really had any money so I have always lived a rather frugal existence (barring hypomanic spending sprees that have resulted in ridiculous amounts of debt--and regret--later.)

I have a terribly impulsive habit of buying things and then letting them sit to gather dust. Will this new "toy" encourage me to pursue more creative outlets of days long past? Can I make it into a useful tool?

There are (and have been of late) rumblings and eruptions in the workplace. I am trying not to think of losing my job. I'm not leaping over the edge into catastrophic thinking but surely you live in a bubble if you think that your job is safe at all in today's world. My MacBook would surely help me if I needed to go back to school and (eek!) think of pursuing a career in Nursing again. Or something else. Or it could perhaps just amuse me as I lay in bed completely depressed that I had lost my job. Or it would again gather dust because I would be so distraught I would not be able to move.

Anyway, enough of that talk! I am reasonably sure that my job is safe...for now at least.

I emailed a friend of mine, my "Mac Guru" for his advice. I haven't heard anything back. I will surely need his assistance. He helped me the last time, well, actually the last two times I bought old PowerBooks and loaded me up with all that I needed and got me up and running. They were both second hand machines so virtually useless. He's a whiz and I'm a dolt so I will need him.

But speaking of some "non-technical" toys, I bought a couple a while ago.

The first was a Newton's Cradle. I've wanted one for years! It's really cheap though. I want a better one! Again, perhaps I am too frugal. I don't know who likes it more, the cat or myself. Probably me because I have a slightly longer attention span? Granted, with this sort of thing, since it's a real "stim" toy (i.e. self-stimulatory behaviour) I could play with it for hours! I love watching the motion of it, staring at the shiny metal balls and hearing the steady click-click sound that it makes.

The sound reminds me of a metronome we had in the house as a child. I loved that metronome. I can not play the piano but my sister managed to teach herself when she was younger (lucky girl!) No one else in my immediate family plays but somehow she managed to aquire some innate musical talent. She can also play guitar but she hasn't really touched either in years.

I get upset with my Newton's Cradle, however, because it won't keep going! I never want it to stop. I become transfixed but I need to keep setting it in motion again and again. Because of this fact, I try to play with it only when I am alone. I fear that my obsession with it will drive anyone else around me and it completely bonkers. I was tempted to bring it in to work but that would not be a good idea for several reasons. Apart from the point previously mentioned, I already have too many other "toys" on my desk and in now looking around...well, it's always in a complete state of chaos. It would only add to the mounting clutter--just not a good idea.

I also bought a Mancala set. If you take the time to read about it in the link, this game is very old. I first played it while on vacation with a friend and his children in Antigua many years ago. It is deceptively simple but you can try to employ strategy. I've taken to actually setting it up and playing it by myself to try and see how to strategically "win" this game. It's a little difficult, however as there are variations as to how you can actually play the game.

I used to play chess as a child. My father taught me when I was young as I was curious about it. When I was about 10-12(?) instead of playing and running and jumping about the schoolyard with all of the other children, I had two other boys that I used to play it with when we had breaks from class or "recess." Yes, I was an absolute geek. But when we all advanced to a new school, the two boys went off to different ones and I lost my chess mates. And at home, things were growing more and more out of control and it seems I had lost my father as a chess mate as well. I've never played chess since.

As for games now, I will play anything that has to do with Trivia. You can't keep me away from it. I may not have a clue or sometimes I may score well but it's always fun.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Karmic Retribution?

I just had a wonderful, long talk with an old friend of mine.

Years ago, I was fired from a job for being "mentally ill." Of course, this was not the reason they gave but no matter, we all knew that was the truth. I had chosen to be open about my illness--I had no recourse. I had been hospitalized twice; I had even been visited during one of them by my Manager and Supervisor (much to my horror!) I believed they were trying to be supportive. Maybe at the time they were. I do not know.

I had no means for litigation--I was broke! I was close to living on the street as I had to barter my last month's rent by painting and doing some odd job work in another unit in the building lest my landlord try to evict me. I chose another "free" route via the government to seek what was owed to me.

I was "vindicated," I suppose. I did not receive the full settlement I was entitled to by law but I did receive a portion of it. That was all they were willing to give and I could have rejected it but I couldn't face going through the entire process again. It was too lenghty and too upsetting.

The company could have appealed everything entirely but they chose not to. I guess this means that in doing so, they were admitting that they were in fact liable and it was a case of "wrongful dismissal." I did not receive any apologies, however. The victory seemed hollow.

And it was truly brutal facing my Ex-Manager (who was now also my Ex-Friend,) my Ex-Supervisor, the head of Human Resources and the completely ridiculous lawyer they had hired all by myself.

Anyway, I had not spoken to this friend of mine in a long time. He still works there. Many changes have taken place since I left. I have found out that Ex-Manager/Friend and Ex-Supervisor had "been removed" perhaps due to performance issues and one has failed miserably (Ex-Supervisor) in a new position. I have also found out that the company has lost the contract where we all worked and will probably never get it back--it was worth a lot of money. I have also found out that over the years, several other people have deluged them with other wrongful dismissal claims.

I wonder how they made out?

Call me a bitch but I am still bitter to the core about this. I was treated horribly and the things I was asked to do, the way I was made to "behave" after I came back to work at this job--it was sickening. I was trying at the time to figure a way to get out but apparently that decision was made for my by a bunch of ignorant, discriminatory, unfeeling assholes.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

And Speaking Of Impulsiveness And Decision Making...

I was drooling over MacBooks while bored at work today. I have taken to sitting up at night working on my obsolete PowerBook where equally obsolete pieces of writing reside. Well, some of the pieces are still useful, I have found. Also slightly out of date but useful is some of the software on the machine.

I mentioned this to my partner when I came home and she simply said:

"Well, you can afford it. Buy it!"

Perhaps not the sort of encouragement I need?!

Now the first order of business would be the ability to transfer my entire iTunes library from PC to Mac. I believe this can be done? And then presumably, my current iPod should work? I believe at time of purchase, when you specify for Mac or PC the only reason is for the software. Otherwise, the unit is the same?

Forgive me for I art technologically dumb.

I hate the PC we have at home. It's a Dell which should be reputable but it has been buggy since it was first purchased.

So what do you think, everyone? Should I get a MacBook?

To Assume Or Presume, That Is The Question?

These words are used almost interchangeably in every day parlance but there is a subtle difference.

To assume is to take for granted, as proof, with or without having the facts; to presume is to do the same on the basis of probability or belief--perhaps even based upon future revelation of fact. To look at the Latin prefixes, a- means without and pre- means before.

I tend to assume a lot. Well, sometimes? Alright, hard to measure but I try not to. However, I find myself doing it, even if I don't like to admit it.

So many times I find there are so many unknowns and I am constantly grasping at straws, reaching for answers. I've always believed that I was a patient person and I do believe that I can be but some people have proven me completely wrong in this respect. Of course, I haven't liked it. How often do we like to be proven wrong about ourselves?

I can also be incredibly impulsive and yet at other times, I can labour over a decision that seems like an eternity that most people would make in a split second. Very simple decisions!

I used to have such a "clear vision" of myself. Was that the hypomanic, energetic, frenzied version of PA who never doubted anything? And if she made any "assumptions" then, was she right, was she wrong? Was she so absolutely filled to the brim with confidence that it didn't matter?

Now having grappled with the diagnosis of Bipolar for many years (and for a few less years ADD) things are more complicated. Unpredictable mood swings, impaired judgment, medication rollercoasters and living in a constant state of flux can set you up for a permanent state of readiness for "assumption."

Also, when you are a trauma survivor and you have little to no memory of your abuse you are practically born to assume. You have no one to ask so many questions to! Really important ones! Well, you can but they are not always the right people. The people that I need to talk to, the people that hold the keys to all the secrets are not accessible to me.

This leaves the mind to wander...and unfortunately to assume. I try not to let all of the above pervade my life too much in allowing my thoughts overwhelm me but I know that I am only human with a very overactive brain. I need to accept that as well.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Least Favourite Work Task?

Oh crap. I have been asked to put together some sort of "social function" for work. I am not good at this. I positively loathe "event planning." I am the furthest thing from a social convenor imaginable! My decision making skills fluctuate obscenely but in this area they are virtually non-existent. Ugh.

The majority of times I don't even like to attend social functions (work or otherwise but especially work) but can and will when necessary. Depending upon how things move along, I may even (eventually?) enjoy myself but it really depends on a lot of factors.

This is going to be ugly (probably not so much the attending, just the preparation.) And I don't think I have a lot of time. Shit.

Some People Are Just Mean?

Some symptoms you can alleviate and some you just can't?

I've met a lot of mean people in my life and well, I don't think their stripes will ever change.

Edit: There was a hyperlink here but the NYT archived the article. So for those of you that do not have online access to read said archived articles, here is the story:

Further Edit: You know, contrary to popular opinion(?) PA does have a conscience and you know, I just can't bring myself to post the damned copyrighted article!

So I will give you a choice. You may either link to the NYT and just type in your personal info to access it (it's free, no biggie) here. If it doesn't take you directly to the article it is called "About That Mean Streak of Yours: Psychiatry Can Only Do So Much"

Conversely, someone else on their blog has posted it so if you wish to engage in illegal copyright perusal, you may read it here. They apparently have more chutzpah than I do.

This post has obviously been more stress inducing than intended for me. Maybe time for a yet another blogging break?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Psych Hospitalizations: The Good, The Bad...And The Slightly Out Of Control? - Part I

When I had a psych consult earlier this week, one of the questions posed to me was, have my previous hospitalizations been helpful to me. On balance, I would say yes. I do advocate hospitalization whenever you are in crisis, absolute dire straits, suicidal or in danger of hurting yourself or anyone else.

I've been thinking of how to write about my hospitalization experiences for a long time now. I've had five, in total. I've thought over and over how to make it all cohesive and coherent but I'm not sure if I can. That might be okay as when you're inpatient, you may not be all that cohesive and coherent yourself.

So I think I'll just give it a go. Be forewarned, this will be long and will contain some can I describe it...intimate, graphic, ludicrous detail? However, this blog being what it is it should not surprise you.

Hospitalization #5: Cutting - Medically Helpful Yes, Psychiatrically Helpful No

I had self harmed for the second time and required stitches. I knew that this would result in me needing to be admitted to the psychiatric ward but there was no way around it. The cut was bad. And really, I was in pretty rough shape. In retrospect, I think I had been cycling all over the place and had pretty much reached a peak. I knew the drill since this was number five. I packed a bag with all of my essentials, called a cab and off I went.

Now I had not been hospitalized in several years. My how things had changed! I was stitched up in the ER by a decent enough doctor who was certainly not unsympathetic. She wasn't overly kind but at least she didn't treat me in any negative way. I was seen by the Head of Psychiatry early in the morning and he actually remembered me from previous stays. This was kind of impressive but I really didn't care. I just wanted to get out of the ER.

So there began my stay. I wasn't sure how long I would stay but it quickly became evident that it would be the minimum 72 hours. The nurses were locked behind some kind of fishbowl and were completely inattentive or rude. And I don't say this with any ill-tempered patient judgment. I love nurses! I wanted to be one! It is just plain fact. No one could get any sort of help if they needed it. You couldn't even ask a simple question. You were routinely ignored. This was not the psych wards of days gone past!

So I actually took it upon myself to assist patients in need. Oh it was sad. One poor soul couldn't even cut her food she was so distraught! She asked me to and I thought, well shit, half the time everyone's so damn depressed they don't want to eat, the least I can do is help the poor woman out!

I met a young-ish (slightly younger than me) man with Schizophrenia and we seemed to get along. He was terribly awkward and shy but he was somehow drawn to me and eventually we began to dialogue a bit. So one evening, we went and talked in my room (after I had stolen a bunch of scientific-type magazines to try and read from "the lounge.") We were promptly interruped by a nurse who told us that men and women weren't allowed in each others' rooms! What the...? We were just talking. What on earth did they think we were going to start doing? We departed to the "the lounge" where they told us we had to go but with everyone else congregating there and banging and clattering, he withdrew and no longer wanted to talk. Very helpful.

They did try to "stimulate" us with crafts and some type of art therapy. I was so bored out of my skull I thought I'd give it a try. And I was curious. I'd never done this while hospitalized as it was simply never offered. Well the crafts were a bloody joke. Something about making things called "happy boxes" or something with ridiculous cartoon quotes inside. I turned mine into something that looked like an acid trip/horror movie prop. I don't think the group leader was amused.

The art therapy was kind of interesting, however. We were asked to draw "how we felt at that moment." Then, if we could we were to try and explain the drawing to the class. Oh dear. I'm the sort of person that can't really draw a straight line with a ruler. Most people drew stick figures representing themselves. Not me. I came up with something that was actually kind of impressive. In a freakish sort of way. Rather abstract and morbid. I don't know if I impressed everyone or shocked them or a bit of both.

Anyway, after running around doing a whole lot of nothing, I decided to leave. My psychiatrist there was not willing to discuss any treatment options other than what he had already decided in his mind so I was out of there as soon as I could discharge myself.

Postscript: In reviewing this, I've decided that I will post each hospitalization separately as otherwise, this entire piece is going to be way too long for everyone to read.

My Psych Hospitalizations: The Good, The Bad And The Slightly Out Of Control? - Part II

Hospitalization #4 Overdose - Medically Helpful Absolutely, Psychiatrically Helpful Somewhat

I suffered my second and worst overdose and the last thing I remembered was opening the door for the paramedics. The next thing I remembered was waking up in the ER hooked up to several pieces of equipment many hours later. This obviously necessitated a psychiatric stay.

When a bed was ready for me, I was wheeled up to the ward and there I lay in that bed for several days. I did not eat much. I just lied there, thinking of what I had done. No one visited me. I don't remember any of the patients. I don't remember any of the nurses. It was like they were all ghosts.

At the end of my 72 hour hold, my psychiatrist asked me if I was still suicidal. I answered him directly that yes, of course I was. I always would be. That is what it is like to have Bipolar Disorder. It is just something that I would need to learn to live with and to manage.

He asked me if I wanted to go home. I told him yes and was discharged.

My Psych Hospitalizations: The Good, The Bad And The Slightly Out Of Control? - Part III

Hospitalization #3 Voluntary Walk In - Medically Helpful N/A, Psychiatrically Helpful Definitely

I had a friend (from hospitalization #1...wait for it...) actually drive me to the hospital (and take care of my now deceased cat and apartment) as I felt that I was starting to lose it. I waltzed right in to the ER and stated something to the effect that my meds weren't working and that I needed help. I was told that "they were full" and there was nothing they could do. I didn't relish doing this but it was time to pull out the "crazy card." Apparently my "cry for help" wasn't loud enough.

I started crying, not really yelling but basically anything I could do to get their attention and indicate that I needed help. It worked and I was sent in an ambulance to another hospital. I was actually quite angry that I had to go to such lengths but it was worth it.

Catching yourself before you actually go into crisis, I find, is extremely rare. I don't know how I managed to do it but I somehow did. I've certainly never been able to do it again.

This hospital stay was the most relaxing ever. The ward was quiet, I just stayed in bed and it was almost like being on holiday! Since I was not suicidal I didn't have any ward restrictions, I could go outside for walks if I wanted, it was spring so the weather was nice so I did indeed go out for brief spells and sit in the sun.

After a week, I felt much better able to cope with everything.

My Psych Hospitalizations: The Good, The Bad And The Slightly Out Of Control? - Part IV

Hospitalization #2 Cutting - Medically Helpful Absolutely, Psychiatrically Helpful Toss Up

This cutting was very bad. It required surgery as I severed 3/4 or my median nerve in my wrist. All of the doctors were amazed that I did not hit any major arteries or veins. As a result, I was placed on a surgical ward and not on a psych ward. I did have a volunteer "minder" to watch me. I guess I must have been placed on some sort of "suicide watch?" I don't really know as I was so completely out of my mind on either Morphine, Demerol or both I didn't care. I do recall once that I did get up to use the bathroom and he started to follow me.

"Do you mind?"

"I'm supposed to keep an eye on you?"

"I have to go to the bathroom. Are you required to watch that too?"

Minder returned to his seat and awaited my return from the bathroom. Which was forthcoming and since I am still here he did a fine job of keeping me from killing myself.

This was a strange stay. I don't even recall speaking to a psychiatrist and I was never moved to a psych floor after the surgery was done and I had a few days of recovery time. Again, I was simply given the option to go home. Maybe a psychiatrist came to speak to me when I was all pumped up on the pain meds and I don't remember! HA! If so, I wonder what on earth I said! I do remember trying to talk on them and oh...I was making absolutely no sense at all. They just kept shooting me up and then gave me a self-administered unit... I don't even know if I needed that much medication but I wasn't going to say no to it. Not in that state of mind.

Probably the best part of that stay? The nurses! The nurses on that surgical floor were just the best. So kind and thoughtful. Always checking in on me and actually talking to me. They really made the stay so much better.

My Psych Hospitalizations: The Good, The Bad And The Slightly Out Of Control? - Part V

Hospitalization #1 Overdose - Medically Helpful Yes, Psychiatrically Helpful Yes

Well, we've reached the long end of the road folks but hang on to your hats. This ride gets a little bumpy. This overdose wasn't as bad as my second but it was significant enough. I did not lose consciousness but I did become very sick. Activated charcoal was used and that seemed to do the trick. But I had taken the pills dry (i.e. with no liquids--I had been driving) and developed a nasty case of thrush. And of course I would need to be admitted to the psych floor.

I was so scared. I had never been admitted to a psychiatric part of a hospital before. What would await me? But I was so sick and tired and completely a wreck that part of me just abandoned myself to the idea of whatever fate awaited me.

I was there for two weeks. For the first three days I was kept in a state of "detox" and literally did not move from my bed. Except perhaps to get up and go to the bathroom I just laid there and slept. I did have a few visitors but apart from that, they would bring my food, I would let it sit. I just laid in a ball.

The ward was noisy and large. This was a big hospital. I would try to shut the door but I was sharing the room with two other women. It was impossible to get any rest, any peace.

Finally on day three, the nurse stopped bringing me food. She told me that if I wanted to eat, I would need to come to the dining room like everyone else. Nice ploy. Trying to get me out of bed, are you? I wasn't all that hungry, maybe a little bit but I was thirsty and I wanted my juice! I waited until everyone had finished eating and it was quiet and I snuck into the dining area. A few people still remained. I grabbed my tray and picked at my food, drank my liquids. A fellow patient asked if she could have my dessert. I gave it to her. A loud voice called over:

"Hey, we won't bite, you know!"

I big smiling face looked at me. I tried to avoid eye contact. He laughed. "It's okay. Really."

And so began my "adventures" at this particular facility.

I spoke to this man as I continued to pick at my food. He was nice and made me feel more at ease. As a couple of days passed, I felt more confident and began leaving my room. I would always be met by him and he started introducing me to other patients. Pretty soon, we had a whole motley crew of us wreaking havoc.

We ranged in ages from teen years up to about mid-thirties and we all really got along. The man who I first met was kind of our "ringleader" and the one who liked to sort of act as a pseudo-father figure to anyone who needed one. I certainly didn't but I allowed him to assume a "protector" role regarding me if it made him feel better.

Some of the things we did? We snuck beer into the hospital and a few of us got drunk. Some of us had off ward privileges so we could smoke in an indoor smoking area but otherwise, you had to go outside. Well, it was the dead of winter so a lot of the time, we'd just smoke in the stairwells. As for others? I'm not really sure but there were a few fights on the ward. Mostly verbal altercations. As for me? Well, a few friends came and took me out for dinner and I got drunk and came back and fell asleep in "ringleader's" bed with him. It was innocent, we were just talking and I passed out! This next part...well, this was not so "innocent."

I became romantically involved with another patient during my stay at this hospital. We also saw each other briefly when we were discharged as outpatients but the relationship did not last. I didn't want to do it though! In fact, I fought it from the get go but this woman really got to me and being completely unstable...well, what can I say? Except: I do not recommend trolling for dates in a psych ward.

There was other zaniness. One "regular" to this ward was growing pot (and smoking it) in "the lounge." He also--and I have no idea how he did this--stole unbelievable amounts of medical/surgical supplies from the hospital and hid them in his room! How he managed to get off the ward and do this unnoticed is unfathomable! Another cute thing he did was run around and steal afghans for all of the women on the floor because it was winter and he didn't want us all to be cold. Once caught, we had them all taken away as they were made by some women's auxilliary or something. And yes, stealing is bad.

What's the phrase? The lunatics are running the asylum?

Ah yes...and another: Never as good as the first time.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Finding A Muse For Blogging

Do you ever dream of your blogging life? That is to say, while you are asleep. I have said here that I don't remember my dreams very often but lately I have been dreaming of blogging. I have also said that I wanted to try and use this blog to help me write more creatively. The following piece is based on a recurring dream that I had over and over as a teenager.

Speaking of other "dreams," in my 20s I fantasized of becoming a "great writer" and eventually being published. I entered a Publishing Program in a university and the first thing I was told was that if you wanted to become a writer, do not enter the publishing world. I see.

I fear that I have suffered a bit of Hypomanic Hope-Extension over the years. It is similar to a physical condition that I sometimes experience as the result of taking my medication: Orthostatic Hypotension. With, OH, if you rise too quickly, your blood pressure drops and if you're not careful, you may fall and hurt yourself. With HH-E, if you are in a somewhat altered state of mind and believe that you are greater than you really are, your hopes may be somewhat dashed and again, you may be at risk of falling.

Nonetheless, I am still trying to be "inspired."

Here is the what would would greet me regularly upon awakening. And for those curious about dream detail it was always in black and white.

He called to me from high above the cliff top. I stared into the sunlight attempting to discern his shaded form. He beckoned me closer to him with the wave of an arm. I slowly walked in the heavy, thick sand toward the mountainside and began climbing. It was treacherous as I reached for any piece of abutment I could grasp. A slab of rock that jutted out or what remained of a long lost root of a tree.

Wasted of breath and damp with sweat I was greeted with the warmest of smiles. He was older than I had expected. Perhaps as old as my grandfather? And certainly much larger than the tiny speck I had seen from down by the shore! Not overly tall but slightly rotund. We did not speak but only stared into each other’s eyes. Nothing changed except his smile, which seemed to only feel more enveloping as it slowly crept further across his face

Finally, he broke away from my gaze and looked up toward the sky. He raised his hands toward his mouth and uttered something inaudible to me. I followed his eyes to the clear, cloudless sky and within seconds a gull came soaring over our heads. The man turned back to me and smiled his same smile. The gull disappeared.

I stared at him, slightly confused. The man began to laugh and shook his head. He repeated his act, raised his head skyward, called again, silently to the air and again, the gull returned. This time, I stared a bit longer at the gull in amazement. What was this power, this magic? Who was this man? I turned back to him to now show him my pleasure and satisfaction and to in fact, say thank you but when I did, the man was gone. I spun around and looked everywhere but could not find him.

I was being called, yet again but this time from back down on the beach. The man was now standing where I originally was when he first summoned me to him. I carefully climbed down to meet him, as I desperately wanted to see more! When I reached his side, he again lifted his head back and called to the gull. I waited and with certainty the gull returned.

I watched it float effortlessly above us but after a few minutes, its flight changed course and it plunged directly into the ocean. I stood stiff with horror. I waited. Endlessly. Finally, I saw something shimmer in the water, not merely the bright sunlight’s reflection but movement. It was something round. First one, then several figures. And then they all grew larger. They became the bodies of SCUBA-clad divers and in their arms they carried a young woman.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Well, Someone Took My Request Literally (i.e. I Will Blog For You?)

Kidding. Again.

I received an email over the weekend with a link to some research (or as stated from the outset, a hypothesis) about Paternal Age and Schizophrenia. There's a wee bit about Autism in there as well. The person suggested that I have a look at it and perhaps blog about it.

Well, I'm not sure what to say other than a) it was interesting b) I have always loved genetics c) I am not an expert and d) I suppose I am always happy to satisfy what small reading public that I have.

I have also survived a rather long psychiatric evaluation today and am rather exhausted.

So perhaps I will just throw out the link and see if it engages any interesting discussion or debate. Perhaps you, dear readers, will be able to stimulate me further.

If interested, please read about it here.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

For -byrdz-...And Any House Fans...

Hey, I don't "dedicate" posts to just anyone! I'm kidding... Listen, I'll dedicate a post to whomever wishes. Just send me an email! I need all the inspiration to blog I can get, believe me.

So -byrdz- commented on my "Earworm" post below about what the theme song was for House since my last MP3 was that damn song that keeps appearing all over the place on medical dramas. Blame Grey's Anatomy for carrying the torch.

So anyway, I tried to help out with my pithy response that it was "Teardrop" by Massive Attack featuring Liz Fraser from the Cocteau Twins on vocals. I've really liked both bands for years.

So in honour of that, I'll now host that song. Looks like I'm starting a trend of hosting medical drama "theme" songs. Oh dear. That is not a good sign.

Gastro Update

Well, I went to see my gastroenterologist yesterday. I went alright. Considering my "doctor anxiety" I was actually feeling quite fine about it. He seems like a decent enough guy and I really want to get moving with all of this.

For those of you not up to speed, after my first consult, he had sent me for some bloodwork and an x-ray. I was kind of unimpressed as I knew I needed more. The x-ray was not discussed (I knew it would reveal nothing) but the bloodwork was mildly interesting. Hemoglobin normal (as were Thyroid, Glucose...can't remember what else was ordered) but some mild "abnormalities" showed up with iron and inflammation markers. However, they weren't off the scales so nothing to be alarmed about?

I have indeed lost more weight. More than I actually thought I had. About the same amount that I had lost in several months, now over the course of a few weeks. That appears to be a bit of a concern? We both agreed that the cumulative amount is rather high for someone who is not actively trying to lose. And yes, I suppose losing weight so rapidly is also...well, perhaps indicative of something? Who knows...

So an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy with appropriate biopsies have been ordered. But not for another two months. Oh, how I wish it was sooner!

I came home and told my partner. She positively hit the roof about the weight issue. She told me I an "gaunt." I am not. I am not emaciated. I am thinner, to be sure but I am certainly not gaunt.

She has taken it upon herself to start buying me Ensure for sustenance. Or at least she said she would. Eating is troublesome, yes. I am currently trying to choke down some oatmeal as I write this. I tried to explain to her that sometimes, oftentimes eating hurts! She is mad at me for not eating. I am trying. I don't want to fight about my medical conditions and appropriate treatments...I'm too tired and I feel I need to pursue things on my terms. I know she cares but last night when I was simply trying to express my feelings--well, there was some dissent.

So anyway, that's the scoop for now.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Writing: Bipolar

So as I've been in a bit of a blogging "funk" lately, I dug out my ancient Mac PowerBook last night to look at some of my old writing.

For those of you Macheads out there, you'll get a laugh out of this. It's a 5300cs. Basically a glorified typewriter/paperweight these days. With the emphasis on the "weight" part. It's not even fit for an internet connection. It still cranks away, though. It only froze on me once and gave me one disk error when I transferred this to a floppy disk to move it to a PC to place it here.

Yes, a floppy disk. Who uses those anymore?! I had to scavenge my desk at work to even try to find one!

I should try to rescue what's on it before it dies altogether although I think I have most of what's there in hardcopy form somewhere in the house?

Anyway, I wrote this a a few years ago. I can't quite remember when. I'm not sure if I like it or not. But it was written at a time in a place to capture a moment so here it is. And I have a thing for water. I just realized that as it also came up in my "writing assignment" from Cathy's "I Shall Not Waste My Days In Trying To Prolong Them" here.

I found something else, a fairly short story that I had started but it needs some further work so I think I may post that in the future as well.


Battling the ocean is what it’s like. Inside your body. The waves crash up against you inside. That almighty, amorphous sea that has lived for ages and shaped the earth now fills such a tiny space that is you and it is now up to you to try and tame it. That is what bipolar feels like. That same force that has moved icebergs, created continents, slain dinosaurs and destroyed battleships is now your own Demon.

It “feels” like the waves of the ocean inside you. As your moods shift, you have a “high tide,” and a “low tide.” At times there is a palpable, physical, internal force as you try to resist the internal change. And sometimes you can even get nauseous. A seasickness perhaps? For you feel it coming.

I can it feel it coming. I know the struggle. Sometimes I resist and sometimes I welcome the waves crashing in like old friends. This is bipolar. This is my bipolar. An endless ebb and flow. An endless cycle, older than all its sufferers.

Ever more it will take in its wake.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

My Gift To You...

Have you ever had an Earworm? They vary in contagion and duration.

I've got a relatively bad one now courtesy of so far, Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs. I wonder where else it's popping up?

Why does the current selection in rotation on MP3 Of The Moment (see my right sidebar) appear on so many medical dramas? It must have something to do with the line in the chorus and title, "How to Save a Life" but if you really listen to the song, it has absolutely nothing to do with medicine.

Anyway, see if you can get the damn song out of your head. And it's Top 40 type stuff. Not even my genre!

Friday, February 2, 2007

Wolfden Bar And Grill: Epiosode 7

Well everyone, here is my "contribution." I apologize in advance. I sincerely hope that no one is offended as well; I'm still not sure as to my level of "offensiveness" in some situations with people. All is meant in humour and as I am a little "offbeat,"well, I guess I'll just let you all decide.

Since I don't really know most of you--in fact, the majority of you I know absolutely nothing about, my main goal was to ensure that everyone got at least a mention in the story and that something was relevant to you? Sort of? Maybe? Some of you were just named.

Also, I don't think I really advanced the plot. If anything, I think I regressed it. Again, apologies...especially to Pamela who is next in line.

Here are the preceding episodes:

Part One by Wolfbaby
Part Two by Cathy
Part Three by Smalltown RN
Part Four by Willow Tree
Part Five by Dr. Rob
Part Six by JIP

So without further adieu...

Talk about spinning rooms. Who’s idea was it to start pouring all that Jagermeister and Tequila? And did someone put a copy of Crocodile Dundee into the DVD player? That is the most ridiculous portrayal of Australian “culture” ever! Or maybe that was just a dream. After force feeding us that much alcohol (was it just alcohol?…quickly surveys room to do clothing check—eyes Willow Tree furtively…) was this JIP’s vain attempt to try and stop the coup by the “BloggERs, Booze and Brazillians” cartel? By some weird form of hypnosis via B-Movie followed by Fire and Brimstone oratory to try and think that we’d actually been spirited away in some space-time warp to Oz? Did they really thing that the cartel was that obtuse?

Well, maybe they were but that remains to be seen.

Patient Anonymous was the first to wake up. She’s an early riser—sleep issues. Everyone else was in various states of disrepair, strewn across the bar.

Mysti and Pamela’s paints, brushes and tarps were still askew against the wall. They had decided to “fix up” the Wolfden a bit but it seems there was some debate about exactly what sort of paintings should appear upon the walls. Wolfbaby didn’t care. As long as everyone was “happy.” Happy? HA! There had been near warfare breaking out over that too! Some religious inspired frescoes? Dreaming Again was happy to offer her opinion on some suitable ideas but others leaned more toward landscapes or impressionistic works. And others, even still to something completely modern and/or abstract. It seems no one could settle on one theme so thankfully there was lots of wall space in the Wolfden. It might be the most bizarrely decorated place in the history of bars. Period.

“The Writer’s Corner” inhabited by Pearls and Dreams, Karmyn and Susan lay in tatters as well. Not sure what was happening over there. Ipanema spent a lot of time with that crew. She was the Chief Proofreader. She was smart and insightful. Fallen Angels and Jungle Tart would also frequent the tables conveniently joined together for maximum area for lots of spirited discussion and debate. Unfortunately that meant that not a lot of writing got done.

Patient Anonymous set about making some coffee for everyone. No doubt they needed it. Heather was the first to wake up. Patient Anonymous asked her how she was feeling.

“A little oysgeshpilt,” Heather said.

“Got in himmel, I know what you mean!” Patient Anonymous responded in kind.

Cathy raised her head and stared at them strangely.

“It’s Yiddish,” they both said in unison.

Patient Anonymous was concerned, however. Only she knew why The Laundress wasn’t speaking. She felt truly terrible about it and was trying to figure out how to rectify the situation but was very embarrassed to tell the cartel.

You see, she thought she had perfected the technique of “The Painless Brazillian” and The Laundress had agreed to be a “test subject.” But it seems that Patient Anonymous needed to go back to the lab and “touch things up a bit.” Things hadn’t worked out quite as planned with The Laundress. As a, sort of, gift of apology, Patient Anonymous mail ordered some anime and had it sent to the Laundress as she too is a fan but the distributor messed up and sent some really bad hentai and now The Laundress seems to be rather afraid of Patient Anonymous. Somehow, Patient Anonymous was still determined to make things up to The Laundress, however. It was all just a big mistake!

As people slowly began to rouse from their various states of consciousness, Patient Anonymous hurried back over to her area of the bar with Dr. A, Dr. Rob, A Difficult Patient and Smalltown RN. She pushed aside all of their bar glasses, laptops, gadgets and gizmos and laid her arms across the table in a business-like manner.

“Guys, I know you’re all really hungover and we’ve got to get back on track with the whole takeover thing and all of that—that is if you’re still into it…I mean, I’m kind of tired but…”

She paused.

“…can we talk about some of your ethics training here? It may not apply since Willow Tree isn’t a medical professional but I’m actually quite concerned about what he’s done. I mean, do we even know if any of these women wanted to get pregnant?! It’s like some kind of “cyber assault!” And I’m rather worried about Beth. What if she’s next. I know we’ve got some other very pressing things on our mind but I just can’t stop thinking of all of these pregnancies! I’m a little upset. And by the way, do any of you guys have a prescription pad handy…?"

EDIT: MOOFIE! *SLAPS FOREHEAD* I just went back and looked at the list and I forgot to insert you into my piece. Please forgive me. I stink.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Warning, Estrogen Filled Post Ahead...

Well, that was a brief hiatus. I swear, this blog is rather reflective of my life right now: confused, chaotic, without direction? I thank everyone for their comments, emails and support of late. Some have said to rest, some have said to keep blogging, some have just "been there" and commented. And people are still out there, frighteningly enough, reading this! I still don't know what to do. So I guess I shall keep living (and blogging--or deciding about it) day by day.

So I woke up with a real clanger of a headache this morning. At first I thought it was a migraine as it hurt that bad and I had good old "shovel neck." Did one of these two guys try and "whack me" while I was trying to sleep?

My period should be here. Any.Minute.Now. But more on that later. It made me wonder...oh dear, could this be some sort of PMS-induced migraine? Oh shit, I hope not. With my wacky noodle, what next, Catamenial Seizures? Good thing, one of the meds I already take (Clobazam/Frisium) seems to be the drug that's just the ticket for that. If you're in the US, try Diamox/Acetazolamide as apparently that has shown some promise in this area and Clobazam isn't FDA approved.

Now my period can be quite the prima donna. Oh, I know she's coming. I have plenty of warning signs alright. But she always keeps the audience (me for the most part) impatiently waiting with no respect at all. But as a longtime subscriber to all of her shows, I can't ever seem to get my money back.

I will sit in the front row, as I always do, surrounded by many other women. Sometimes there are a few gents there as well but they are usually bored to tears or asleep, snoring loudly. Finally, at long last, she takes the stage! Her performance is always terrible, horrendous! I don't understand how she gets such rave reviews the world over! She is called a "gift," a "miracle," "something everyone should be proud and honoured to have bestowed upon them!" I slump down in my seat a bit longer until I can't stand it any more.

I remove myself and waltz out to the box office in the foyer and demand (yet again) my money back for this so-called "performance." I am treated like a lower-class frump for not appreciating the prima donna's beauty and grace and all of her ethereal and natural qualities. I scream at the box office attendant (for I do now feel like a lower class frump as I have become irritable, bloated and in pain ever since the prima donna first set foot on stage.) It's of no use. I can not get my money back. But as I storm out the door, I feel a tap on my shoulder. The ticket agent slaps in my hand my next month's passes to the theatre to enjoy yet again, my prima donna's next appearance.