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The rheumatologist has got it narrowed down to one of the blood disorders and about halfway sorted. Apparently I probably have a form of pernicious anemia? And since the tests for the common parasites came back negative, it's probably autoimmune. The part where my body is attacking it's own cells and being really low on a bunch of vitamins 'cause it's having trouble absorbing anything causes a lot of the pain and fatigue I've been getting. So one B-12 injection and 50,000 IU of vitamin D later and I feel a lot better and should get to feeling normal within the week as far as being tired all the time goes. A lot of the pain will clear up, too, but it's possible that not all of the pain will go away immediately. We'll have to wait and see on that.

Aren't you glad it's never lupus? 'Cause I totally am!

In other, more egg-on-my-face news, I don't have the antibodies for celiac. And the symptoms that made me try going gluten-free (anemia, hormonal disturbance, migraine, HAIR LOSS) all line up with the intermittent acute period of pernicious anemia. And any rough dietary transition might have affected my immune system, possibly enough to throw it out of the attacking-itself-with-knives stage, so it got better. And I took that coincidence as confirmation. That still doesn't explain the dramatic drop in incidence of migraine, but if gluten can be a migraine trigger without you being gluten intolerant, more investigation into this is required.

So tonight, I am  investigating. With croissants. I will be at Le Madeleine at 7:30 tonight to investigate their pastries. :DDDDDDD

Even if it ends in pain, it will be glorious!
While standing at the counter to get food, I discovered that this hip pain feels better standing. As long as I take baby steps and don't bend or twist at the waist, everything feels okay. I'm now typing this list at the bar above the kitchen counter. Less pain makes me want to sleep, though . . . crap. Okay, cold pack tucked into waist of shorts, less pain but also swelling relief with sensation that keeps me awake.

According to Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, the best planning for disasters are the ones where you imagine the worst possible scenario: that you plan for things to go so badly wrong that reality consistently undershoots your predictions of disaster. I'm turning my feelings off and this is about to get dark.

I'm not going to consider the expensive but purely temporary diagnoses on the disaster list, because those are just a matter of getting loans from family and then paying them back. If it's Lyme disease or Trichinella then I'll be out of work for a week or so, and have lots of medication expenses, but should be okay afterwards if I am careful with myself.

Hypothetical situation: I find a different form of employment with fewer movement requirements until I get a diagnosis. I make less money than I need to be able to support myself fully, but eventually get disability to supplement that, and am only partially supported by other people for a few months.

Hypothetical situation: No diagnosis comes forth and I continue to hurt. Being unable to get a different form of employment, I continue working through joint and/or bursa pain until I get a diagnosis, but the damage I do to my joints in the interim becomes either too costly to fix or permanent dysfunction. Unable to continue working, I go on disability permanently.

Hypothetical situation: I continue to hurt/lose mobility. I stop working but cannot apply for disability without diagnosis. I am unemployed and receive no income. Unable to support myself I must rely on family to support me, possibly indefinitely.

Hypothetical situation: With no diagnosis, no work, no disability, and being in constant pain, I become bitter, irritable and horrible to be around. I begin to lose support from family and friends, first emotional, then financial. I become unable to fulfill social obligations and either introvert myself into silence or actively push people away as relating becomes an irritant. I begin making self-destructive choices as I lose core facets of my identity.

Hypothetical situation: It's lupus. Given my family's high incidence of cancers and heart/blood pressure conditions, I react badly to the probability of dying young and go batshit insane. Considering my history of violence, I am institutionalized and live out my existence in a mental health ward until I either adapt or kill myself out of boredom.

So, I'm going to be strategizing my way into these scenarios, making lists of things to do, and getting set up to implement the solutions.

  • If you have books, movies, or TV shows that have a disabled character and realistic representations of that character's strategies for dealing with the disability, can you recommend or loan them to me?
  • I will be searching for blogs and internet resources, but if you have specific recommendations for that then please link me to them.
  • If you have real world experience with organizations and governmental procedures relating to disability, please tell me your story so I can get some idea of how the people I know and understand have reacted to this and can maybe use your experience in place of emotional wisdom that I don't yet have.
  • Hugs are always welcome.

The general stuff

I'm not at work right now because my hips hurt. That sounds so lame, doesn't it?

I'm not used to being fragile, so it does sound pathetic to me. But I'm not supposed to have fragile checked in the enduring traits ticky-box. I keep having to change the ways I think of myself, long past the revelations and self-explorations that I expected to sort this stuff out. I knew a certain amount of updating would be needed, but I didn't think this much work would be required. Then again, I wasn't planning on acquiring *another disability*, so I guess that's fair.

I've had an invisible disability that I've been training myself to be functional with since my teens. And now that I've gotten a hold on mostly being able to take care of myself even when depressed, it's time for another huge problem? I may be getting ahead of myself. Only 3 out of the 5 most likely options are permanent conditions, and 1 of those can have long dormancy periods between flare-ups. It still feels like a massive betrayal to not be able to take full steps right now without hot flares of pain. And it's not just that it feels personal, it's that this wouldn't be fair to have happen to anyone.

I have more skills now about controlling factors that can be controlled and not letting myself panic into the helplessness that lies beyond my factors of control. I am apparently NOT better than I used to be about being dependent on other people, and that's currently my big emotional challenge. I hate the feeling of having to need people, because what if they don't want to be needed right then? What if my reliance is sometimes welcome, but always a burden? How will I stay on the "worth it" side of the cost-benefit ratio in my social situations if I have to rely on others for the things I'm used to bringing to the table?

I know there are answers, but right now everything feels big and threatening. I'm going to turn my emotions off and start doing my disaster planning now that I've felt my way through my feelings for a while, and then I will try to get some real sleep that isn't dozing propped up on the couch. I may have to start planning for all available worst-case scenarios, just so I have plans in place and don't have as much lag between something going wrong and knowing what to do about it.
As a necessary part of raising children, we have them do necessary things: eat, sleep, get in the car, go to the doctor's. But how those necessary things are presented to the child create huge differences in the tone of the relationship. If you tell your children to do thing but refuse to tell them why, they learn that questioning authority brings trouble where ceding the right to self-determination maintains peace. Children to whom these needs are presented as informed choices and parental recommendations learn that they themselves are also a source for the decisions about their lives. That control also comes from within.

Children raised with an emphasis on obedience to parental authority rather than trained in decision making and self-reliance are being handicapped by our cultural assumption that love and respect are meaningful in a context where only one person has that sense of agency. In most cultures, parents believe they model respect by showing respect to other adults and then yelling at their kids for not being respectful to other adults. Parents are then surprised when their children get in trouble for yelling, despite having modeled that to their children directly. Because of our cultural assumptions about the agency and personhood of children the double standard is not obvious.

Obedient children are expected to make the same decisions for themselves that parents would make for them, but without understanding how those decisions are made. And when the child has a reasonable disagreement or an uncomfortable question they can be over-ruled, sometimes to the point of physical discipline. If a someone decided to spank me in a grocery store for putting too many sweets in my cart, I would be within my rights to press assault charges. Children don't have the legal rights needed to do that. If our parents give us information and patiently wait for our decisions, we learn that communication and patience can produce family harmony. When our decisions about our bodily autonomy are respected we learn that our decisions are important to our parents even when we have a disagreement. There are a lot of decisions that are going to get a parental over-ride, even for respectful parents, but making a point to only do so when the child's safety is concerned and making a point of explaining when the child is being allowed to make a decision that the parent doesn't agree with will show that parents are trying to respect their child's decisions.

As children, most of us navigate a hostile environment where adults have the right to deny our bodily autonomy and can choose to not invest in communicating with our fumbling attempts to grasp and articulate our needs. As children, our decisions are not respected and open conflict often ends in violence; many of us learn to not respect the judgement of our parents and other adults because that respect is never modeled to us. When we don’t fundamentally respect other people’s ability to make decisions, any insecurity we have about getting our needs met can make us feel emotionally justified in manipulating them into what we believe is best.

When we get used to manipulation rather than openly asking and communicating to meet our needs through negotiation, the familial relationships we form are warped by our mutual lack of respect for each other’s agency and by the lack of knowledge of each other's needs. We do not become practiced at articulating our emotional needs to others or to ourselves. We do not become practiced at listening to others during conflict. When we have disagreements, we get over them less easily than our peers in respectful relationships, and we are more prone to fear and resentment which further breaks down our willingness to talk openly of our needs. Without communication, our relationships become inauthentic and feel fake. By our teen years we may begin to project that feeling of fraudulence onto our other relationships, even onto all relationships.

As miscommunication continues, our parents begin to know us less well, their ideals and standards for us can become unrealistic, and we internalize those standards and either berate ourselves for our inability to live up to them or use them as proof that our authority figures are out of touch and not to be trusted. We rationalize misdeeds and become less capable of being honest with ourselves, loosening the fundamental pin in our rationality. We learn to hide our judgements so that they can never be used against us, but in refusing to explain our minds we are also refusing to acknowledge miscommunication, substituting our beliefs about someone's intentions for their real, often very different, intentions. Without rationality's touchstone of our experiences resembling reality, all access to understanding is handicapped.

In contrast, respect-oriented children who learned patience, disagreement tolerance, emotional authenticity, and identification and communication of their needs are better prepared to have stable relationships of every kind. These children, some teenaged friends of mine, are more articulate from more in-depth communication, more responsible than their peers through long practice at decision making and discussing the consequences of those decisions. They are more trusting, but also have very clear boundaries for danger and disrespect. They are more emotionally adventurous, but also more practical and realistic about emotional attachments.

Our culture of disrespect starts basically as soon as kids learn to talk. Respect is fundamentally trusting others to make decisions for themselves; it's not making decisions that aren't yours to make. Obedience and the enforcement of obedience are kind of the opposite of that.

[Please add commentary if I've missed something obvious, discussion and respectful debate are always welcome here.]

The anniversary of his death is this weekend. Time to emo until I can stand to be human again.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.


Embarrasment Squick

Ghost and I had a conversation about TV shows that hit my embarrassment squick and why, and I came to some realizations trying to explain it to him. I can watch Community with no problems, only have passing blushes for Coupling, Big Bang Theory with some squirming, can no longer watch It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and can't do even the first episode of Parks and Recreation without feeling like I am going to die of squicky shame.

And here's why: when other characters accept and deal with a socially inept character's quirks and faux pas it reminds me of how my life is now (post-social anxiety) and when they look at the inept character like they're crazy, ostracize or berate the character with no understanding or acceptance, it reminds me of having social anxieties based out of wanting so desperately to not be terrible at relating and connecting to people. And failing.Collapse )
I think that's why almost all Aspie females have social anxiety issues. We grow up with this expectation for us to be able to get along, and we're taught to judge ourselves and accept negative judgements from others based on that Procrustean metric. We're not socially inept, we're rude bitches; we're not disabled, there's somethingwrong with us. If we can't do it right even when we're trying so hard then we must only have the power to hurt. It warps the way we see ourselves until we have a crippled sense of our own agency. That's what an embarrassment squick is for me. My feelings of powerlessness are still there even if I'm not that person anymore.

late but not never

In the week that I have been avoiding the internet, I have finished my first anime music video. It is Coldplay vs. Mononoke the TV series.

You may now praise me.


Originally posted by boosette at WARNING: Purina pet food has started making pets ill
Originally posted by issendai at WARNING: Purina pet food has started making pets ill

My coworker John told me that his cat was seriously ill--throwing up, lethargic, refusing food, dropping weight. The previously healthy 6-year-old, 15-pound cat had lost a third of her body weight over the last few months. The vet couldn't find anything wrong with her. Blood tests were clean, and she didn't have any known illnesses. Yet she was a few days from organ failure.

That was a week ago. She's fine now. The solution was... to stop feeding her Purina cat food.

When John told me that, and said that friends of his had the same problem with their cats and Purina cat food, I looked into it. Holy shit. Take a look at the consumer complaints about Purina cat and dog food. This exact same problem has been an issue with Purina pet foods since 2007, but since this summer, the rate of complaints has picked up drastically. People who previously had to problems with Purina are reporting issues. Comment after comment sounds the same:

I've been feeding my three cats Fancy Feast canned food Chopped Grill Feast for many years. They have always devoured their meal and licked the plates clean. Last week, I noticed they did not want to eat much and went from plate to plate, ate a little. Next day, none of them would eat it. I kept trying new cans. What they did eat made them vomit and one cat was lethargic for days. I refuse to buy any more of this food. It's very scary. I don't know what is wrong with the food, but I fear it has toxins in it. I switched to another brand and the cats are fine now. Did anyone else experience this?


My dogs have been eating Purina Dog Chow (green bag) for about four years. They used to eat only Iams, but due to financial issues, we had to go with a cheaper brand. The last bag I purchased was about a week and a half ago. My 14 years old Labrador has vomited about 5-6 times and my German Shepherd has vomited about 4 times. Something is wrong with this food! The food has a kind of metallic smell to it. It just does not smell right. I'm taking it back to the pet store. I am changing my dogs' food, it's just not worth taking the chance to save a few dollars.


We purchased a large bag of Purina One Salmon dry cat food to give to a needy pet owner. She emailed us a couple of days later ,to say that there were maggots, lots of them with what looked to be like strands or webs with more dead gnats or flies, pieces of web in the food and "shells" of gnats or flies in the bag. Cats would not eat much of the food and, fortunately, they did not get sick. The store had noticed this problem in other bags and was willing to swap out.


I purchased a 34 lb bag of Purina One Smartblend dog food every three to four weeks for my two Labradors. The last bag I purchased seemed fine until I noticed a new infestation of little black bugs. Upon further inspection through the contents of the bag, I noticed clusters of white "eggs" adhered to quite a bit of the food. Some of these clusters contained larvae in the process of hatching. I immediately threw out the remaining contents of the bag but did save samples for my vet.

We went out of town last weekend and had friends dog sit for us. We originally attributed their lethargy and random vomiting to separation anxiety. Although they are doing better, I am still concerned and will be watching them closely. As stated, I saved samples of the infested dog food for our vet in the event that anything results from this issue.


I recently switched to the Friskies Poultry Variety pack (32 cans) that says it must be used by August 2013 (12281789 09:31 lo61237) sku (050000454242). I have 5 cats and feeding them this food, I noticed some of them throwing up. There's nothing in it but liquids, no hair ball, no food, nothing. My cats range from 8 weeks to 13 years old.

I switched my own cats to Purina a couple of months ago, and their coats look so much better than they did on the old brand of cat food... but Buffy has started vomiting stomach liquids. Purina and Fancy Feast are off the menu. Permanently.

I have no idea why this isn't news. But if you're feeding your pets any Purina brand, please don't wait for media confirmation that something is going on. Stop feeding your pets Purina immediately.

Want to get even with the Salvation Army
for discrimination in Jesus' name?

Click here to find out how!

Time Lord Meme

Your job is now your Time Lord name. The last digit of your phone number is the current regeneration you are in. The nearest clothing item to your right is now the most notable item in your current wardrobe. The last person you texted is your current companion. Your favorite word is now your catchphrase.

I am the Therapist; the 3rd me wanders about fixing tragedies in a red plaid dressing gown. My companion is elucreh who asks me what things are, and part of my reply always includes the words "made of awesome".

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