Jan. 19th, 2011

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Word Count: 339
Word Count to Date: 7165
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Word Count: 215
Word Count to Date: 7380
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Packing up ye olde kitchen boat. That's not even a thing. But finally, Ruy is doing something that resembles packing and I could not be happier. Really, I could not. Also, in an odd state of affairs, Pegasus is licking my injured toe.

Oh yes, the injured toe incident. Well, yesterday wasn't the greatest day. I mean, Ruy and I went out and went places and picked up things and bought stuff for Europe, but as for packing, well, not much happened in the early part of the day. In fact, after coming home and puking my guts up from carsickness, I hauled a shit-tonne of boxes downstairs to our storage locker to finally get them out of the way. This, of course, involved going down their once to discover that Ruy had given me the wrong key to the locker, once again to bring up the trolley, another to bring down a load of boxes (and rearrange the *entire* frigging locker, which was pain-inducing), and a final one to bring down another load of boxes.

I hate carrying heavy things, and Ruy, well, let's face it, Ruy has kind of done fuck all in this move. I've been asking him all month to help me pack, to help me move things, to help me do just about anything, and he just... doesn't. Packing is something I loathe, moving is something I loathe even more, but to be made to do it all by myself? That's just unfair.

At some point between moving one set of boxes, rearranging the storage locker, loading up a new set of boxes and going back downstairs, Pegasus waltzed out the front door of the apartment. Imagine my surprise when I opened the door to take a new set of boxes downstairs, and there's my little kitten sitting outside the apartment. I have no idea at what point she got out, nor how long she had been out there, but I had to take a moment to collect myself and fuss over her.

Boxes got moved, eventually, when Ruy got home. Ruy got around to vacuuming out our storage and bunny room, eventually, and I scooped three litter boxes and then went to take out the garbage. The garbage got taken out, but when I came back into the building from the parking garage, I managed to catch my toe under the door. Cracked the nail pretty good, and ended up with a huge blood blister on a big toe, and fuck, did it hurt. This, of course, did not stop me from packing, but I did manage to rip off part of said toenail two days later, in another box-related incident.

What have I learned from this? I have learned that I have to do everything myself if I want it done in a timely fashion, Ruy is no help whatsoever in packing, this thing is neverending, and even when I try to clean out some of the damn piles of mess, I manage to grievously injure myself.

Word Count: 504
Word Count to Date: 7884
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Wow. I'm so behind on this getyourwordsout thing that the following set of written words won't be a stream of consciousness, as much as the whole consciousness tumbled out of my head and onto the page. I am now 12000 words behind, give or take. At this rate, whatever I'm writing about today, I'm going to be writing an entire treatise about it. Okay, here we go, I'm going to pick 12 topics and write 1000 words about each. Because that is totally as easy as it sounds, right? Right. Okay, I'm going to write about gastroparesis (what better topic can I expound about right now, anyway, other than packing, which I just flat out refuse to talk about anymore because it angries up the blood?), coffee (because I'm sitting in a Starbucks writing this), Alanis Morrissette, the colour green, chairs, my hair, what I think of lactose intolerance, the time Ruy and I went to Tofino, what has become of my hometown, what I really think about Twitter, things I would or would not like to learn the history of, and my utter fascination with grocery stores. There, that's 12 right there. Some of those are going to really need to be stretched out, considering that I came up with almost all of them by looking around Starbucks and hoping for an idea to strike me. I mean, chairs? Really?

Word Count: 231
Word Count to Date: 8115
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So, we begin, with gastroparesis, a subject that is, unfortunately, both near and dear to my heart. Gastroparesis is the partial paralysis of muscles in the stomach, making digestion anywhere from difficult to impossible, depending on just how paralyzed the stomach muscles are, or possibly just how many of them are paralyzed. Does the stomach have more than one muscle? I don't know, and damn if I'm going to go all the way to Wikipedia just to look this up, when I could just as easily pad out this piece of writing by wondering out loud (on paper. electronically). If the stomach muscle(s) are paralyzed, then any food you put in had better either be pre-digested, or very liquid in nature. You see, part of the stomach's job as an organ in the body, is to mush itself all around when food goes in, and pass the "no longer food bits," as I have taken to calling them (I'm pretty sure the actual term is chyme, but don't quote me on that), on into the small intestine, where stuff happens (and by stuff, I mean nutrients are absorbed).

And here we are at our first problem. Well, not exactly our first, but the one I'm going to talk about first, because we just got there in our little "chat" about digestion. And by "we," I mean "I, my metaphorical readers, and Lisa, my actual reader - HI LISA!" If something goes wrong in the small intestine, like, say the villi along the walls of the upper small intestine get flattened or something as nefarious, the small intestine doesn't absorb all of its nutrients, and malnourishment happens. Yaaaaaaaaay, malnourishment! I mean, no, boooooo malnourishment!

In the case of celiac disease, which we were never talking about, but now is as good a time as any, the protein known as gluten, specifically that found in wheat, rye, and barley, is considered a poison by the body. As such, when gluten comes into the small intestine, it flattens the villi, which would otherwise be absorbing nutrients. If this goes on for long enough, the villi get really quite flat, nothing gets absorbed, and everything races through the rest of the intestinal speedway, ending in... unfortunateness of the bowels.

Now, one could go on for years with this bowel unfortitude, because doctors will simply diagnose it as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which can be caused by, you know, just about everything under the sun, up to and including stress. If you could just go on with your life, but avoid all stress, you'll probably be right as rain again. Maybe. But how much of a catch-all is IBS really? Well, 3 in 100 Canadians has celiac disease. And those are the ones that actually *get* the diagnosis. So, how many more are suffering, but think it's just IBS? My guess is at least 10 percent. And that, metaphorical ladies and gentlemen and Lisa, is a big number. Kind of.

If you should, however, develop other symptoms, such as stabbing pain in your upper right abdominal quadrant, you may just be lucky enough to actually be diagnosed with something. I went through innumerable tests, at least 3 different prescription drugs *and* got a bonus diagnosis of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), before I was sent for a plenitude of blood work. My doctor, as a bonus, threw in a test for the antibody Immunglobulin-A tissue transglutaminase (shush, yes, I did take great pleasure in typing out all those big words). You know, just in case. Because we all just kind of assumed it was ulcers.

In a normal person, their IgATTG count should be below 20. Mine was over 200. Hooray! A diagnosis! Except, wait a minute, *what*?! Generally, a score this high is enough to say the diagnosis is highly likely, but in order to say for sure, one is generally sent in for a gastroscopy to see if you do indeed have flattened villi. However, up until you go in for that gastroscopy, you cannot start a gluten-free diet, and therefore feel any better. My mother moved heaven and earth to get me in for a scope *before I actually saw the gastroenterologist for the first time*, but it was still a summer I didn't enjoy very much.

The results, of course, found that I had celiac disease. That was 3 and a half years ago. And this treatise isn't about celiac disease, it's about gastroparesis. That whole thing was just a bit of a tangent. But a very informative tangent, I would say.

So. Last March (March 6, 2010, if we would like to be precise, and when you spend this much time in pain, you're really all about precision), I accidentally ingested an almond. An innocent little almond. However, since I am in fact allergic to almonds (and peanuts, I have since found out), this almond was not so innocent. Instead, it sent me to violently vomit my guts up for 90 minutes straight. This? Not pleasant. The following week, where I was in and out of the emergency room with severe abdominal pain? Also not terribly pleasant. The part where I would vomit up anything I ate that week? You guessed it, not pleasant. The last time I went to the ER (14 days after it all began), they told me it was likely just the flu. The... two-week flu, where I don't get any better, and don't have any other flu symptoms. You know, I get that ER doctors have to make fast diagnoses, and they aren't always right, but something about it being 10 and a bit months later and having an *actual* diagnosis, makes me want to return to the ER just to punch the man in the stomach and ask him if he still thinks it's the flu. Bastard.

I will save the 8 months before I finally got in to see my gastroenterologist, that I spent in excruciating pain, the gastroscopy that I was *entirely awake for* and thus traumatized about, and the number of times I have thrown up in 10 and a bit months, for another time. Perhaps never. Somehow, reliving it all sounds like a bad idea. Thus, I will leave you now with the knowledge that I am going to get coffee. Get coffee and then talk about it. Get coffee and then talk about it length.

I really hate tomatoes.

Word Count: 1064
Word Count to Date: 9184
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It was a warm summer afternoon when I discovered coffee. At least, I think it was. I mean, maybe I had had coffee at some point before, but I really don't remember it. What I do remember is a warm summer afternoon, a day on which I had arrived early on campus for my psychology class, and was thirsty. Why I thought coffee would quench my thirst is entirely beyond me, considering it is both a diuretic and dehydrates you (possibly because it's a diuretic). But that's beside the point. That was the day I had my first mocha frappuccino from Starbucks. And it was good.

I have known people since high school, at the very least, who have either needed caffeine in order to function (there was this girl in my psychology class who got very angry if she didn't get her thrice-daily coffee), or used it as an aid in staying awake to study/finish projects/get through university. I have *never*, and I mean *never* understood that drive. It could be because caffeine has always affected me either too much or too little. I didn't drink a lot of Coke or Pepsi growing up, but when I started drinking it in university, I discovered that Pepsi had the reeeeeaaaaaaallly annoying habit of keeping me so awake, I couldn't sleep no matter how tired I was. I remember one night staying up and being bone-tired, but *completely* unable to yawn. And I remember really wanting to. I decided at that point that caffeine was not for me.

Then, I developed low iron stores, somewhere around being diagnosed with celiac disease, and I started drinking coffee drinks. And discovered the genuinely annoying trait that I could drink a coffee and almost immediately take a nap afterward. It continues. I spent a weekend at the Sanctuary Experience this past summer, plying myself with caffeine, and still managed to find a need to conk out for a nap in the middle of it all. Literally in the middle of it all. On the floor, outside the main room.

I'm drinking a coffee right this minute, and I can feel my eyes kind of closing, and my body going "Come on, you know you want to be all horizontal right now. Come on, just lie on the floor. Nobody will mind." But before I can give in, common sense kicks in, and goes "Uh, dude? No sleeping at Starbucks. You are not a homeless person." Except I don't think I actually call myself dude. I call other people dude. And wow, I have typed that word a total of three times, and it has lost allll meaning. I hate when that happens. It's like when you look at the word "visit," and decide it can't possibly have that many Is in it, it just can't! But it does, and you have to deal with how unfortunate that is and sit and ponder all the reasons why you can't possibly grab ye flask. Okay, I'm babbling.

Back to coffee. Except, no, wait a minute, my phone has gotten up and wandered away. *pauses to look for it* Nope, just buried in my purse.


Coffee. I cannot stand black coffee. I don't understand quite why anyone would want to drink something so bitter and disgusting. I need milk and sugar to make a cup of black coffee even semi-palatable, and even then, blarg. You won't ever catch me with one of those coffee-maker things, with the coffee grounds, and the water. Somehow, I'm just spoiled enough that I will only drink *espresso*. In tiny amounts. And it had better be surrounded with enough sugar that I don't know there's coffee in there.

I say all this, and there's a multitude of reasons I shouldn't even be drinking coffee, and half of them are stomach-related. I'm lactose intolerant, and my coffee needs to be milky in order for me to look at it without raising any eyebrow right through my forehead. I have Raynaud's Phenomenon (which would be a cool name for a band, you have to admit), which means that the blood vessels in my extremities (fingers and toes) vasoconstrict. By vasoconstricting, they go numb, because what I'm saying here in fancy words, means that my circulation is poor and caffeine doesn't help. It also means I get cold incredibly easy, which is a funny thing to say as I sit here inside this Starbucks with these freezing cold fingers, shivering because I can't get warm. I have gastroparesis, and while coffee itself is good as a motility agent (it moves things through), it hurts like a motherfucker to drink it. So, I mean, coffee is delicious and everything, but it's still going to end up being puked up in an unpleasant manner, my fingers will still end up numb, and everything short of the coffee sensors in my brain will hurt.

So, really, I should take up tea-drinking. I mean, it's one-half of my ancestry's national pastime (that is, it's the national pastime for one-half of my ancestry, not it's one-half of the national pastime for my ancestry), and it tastes good. I do drink tea. It just isn't what Starbucks is known for. They don't call it Starbucks Coffee for nothing. Well, that, and the acid from the tea tends to absolutely *flambée* my insides, which makes it not quite such a good idea after all.

In conclusion, I need to give up all pretense and start drinking water. Just water. Which I do already, but I could always stand to drink more of it. At least water doesn't eat away at your stomach lining like a pernicious hamster. Hmm. Unless it's a particularly bad morning, and even the water won't stay down. Still, nothing dilutes stomach acid better than water. I wish I was drinking water right now. Just a nice, tall cup of ice water. Somehow, I think it would sitting easier on my stomach than the coffee is right now.

Word Count: 1000
Word Count to Date: 10184
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