I’m so bored. No, really. Bored in a way that is just unfixable. I walk around from room to room, wanting something, or looking for something to do, and I never find it. There is nothing on TV. I don’t want to sew. I don’t want to knit. My book just isn’t that interesting. I’m not hungry. I don’t even feel like cracking that bottle of unchilled white wine. If boredom were thirst, I’d be parched. And nothing seems to quench it.

I just spent an hour over at dooce.com reading archives. I’ve been reading from the very beginning for about 4 days now. But I can’t stare at the computer anymore. It’s making my eyes and my head hurt in that special way that only happens when there is a big ass smudge on one of the lenses of my glasses.

I’d better be careful, or I’ll end up blowing the $200 in my paypal account on stuff from Etsy. God knows I don’t need any more stuff. And I’d probably buy something that would need to be *made into* something else. So it would probably sit in the sewing room untouched like the 15 or so unfinished/unstarted projects in there.

Bleh. Feh. Meh. Whatever is your pleasure. I’m gonna go wander aimlessly from room to room some more.

So I get an email the other day from my best friend from high school. She’s the one who just got married. Remember? The one that Alexis was the flower girl for? Anyway, in the email is the link to my arch-rival Tiffany’s flickr page. The link was supposedly there so that I could go check out the photos that she took at the wedding. But I know that the real reason it was there was because somehow Tiffany brainwashed Sarah into sending me the link as a way to say “Ha ha bitch, who’s the best friend now? *I* got to take pictures at the wedding”. Yeah well… you’ll get yours!

And if that wasn’t bad enough. I find myself in one of the pictures on the FRONT of her flickr page. In fact, I’m in the picture that is the image to click on to get to the wedding photos. There I am in all my drunken glory (and oh am I a mushy idiot when I’m drunk) hanging on Sarah’s stepmother with my left boob practically hanging out of my dress! Oh, and my arms look fat. And WHY am I always the person who is practically horizontal in pictures?

Tiffany, I will get you for this.

For the last four mornings, we’ve taken to dropping Alex at the door to her school rather than walking her all the way to her classroom. While it’s a bit of a relief – and a lot less hassle – to not have to park the car on the street, get everyone and all her stuff out of the car, and schlepp across the drive to get her in the front door, it still makes me sad. My little girl is growing up! I know that it’s my job to make her independant, and I love seeing her accomplishments, but sometimes I miss the tiny baby she once was.

She still cracks me up. This picture was taken after she was AWFULLY quiet for a good while. And you know what a quiet kid means… I can’t believe she did this herself. It’s adorable and probably one of my favorite pictures from the year. (BTW, when she finally took the boots off, we discovered she had her tennis shoes on inside. Ingenious!)

When we were on vacation and walking down a hall one day, (and I know this story is just NOT going to be what it was when we were there) she was pretending to be a robot. She was walking with her arms straight out in front of her and her legs sort of shuffling along. “I am a ro-bot” she kept repeating. If that wasn’t funny enough. All of a sudden, she stops in the middle of the hallway, and with her arms still sticking out and moving up and down slightly, she does a 360 turn and continues on. I didn’t know she had such a vivid imagery of robots!

I swear, we’ve got to get her watching Nick instead of Sci-Fi. She might grow up thinking she’s a dalek or something. The kid loves the weirdest shows. Stargate SG-1 was her favorite, but now she settles for Atlantis. She also loved Dr. Who (which she called The Doctor and Rose), Smallville, and – wait for it – football?! Yeah, that last one… totally her grandparents doing.

Note – None of these are from my current employer. Because while there are surely a few silly things about them, it’s overall a great job, and I don’t want to be fired.

1. While quitting with 4 days notice makes them angry, citing the page in the employee handbook says that they are an “At Will” employer pisses them off to no end.

2. Employing business majors to contract as programmers will get the job done poorly – for a million or so bucks.

3. Forcing your employees to use 10 year old technology stifles their learning and therefore employability by other companies.

4. It is more important for the systems administrators to censor what websites you visit than to actually maintain production systems.

5. Doing good work – on time and under budget – is no substitute for schmoozing with the boss.

6. Creating a shell company and contracting dead people to your current employer is a great idea – as long as you don’t get caught.

7. Placing stickers with guns Xed out on every window and door will only make your employees laugh.

8. Perl is not supported. (wtf?!)

9. http://www.thedailywtf.com

Ok, so as I’m writing this, I realize that I learned all of these things during a nearly three year stay at an employer in one of the armpits of the world. I’ll have to see if I can come up with a more broad list, spanning more employers.

In late 2004 I got my last flu shot. I say my last, because I will NEVER get another after what happened next.

Shortly after getting the shot, my family and I went on vacation in Florida. I was sick with flu like symptoms the whole time. You know, fever, achiness, etc. I also had some tingling in the palms of my hands, which I was attributing to a fall on my bike. It really wasn’t the best vacation, and when we got home, it was practically Christmas. I was so tired, and felt so weak.

After the first of the year, I attended my karate school’s first class of the year. Now, I’d been going to the same school for over 3 years, I should have known better than to go to the first class of the year. It’s ALWAYS a killer. The next day, I was so sore I could barely walk upright. I held off on karate classes for a couple of days, and then went back for more (torture, that is). This class was different. I felt like I was moving in molasses. I couldn’t jump, I couldn’t run (as hard as I tried). It was awful. I was supposed to be the most senior person in that class, people were supposed to look up to me, but I was fumbling around like I weighed 500 lbs.

I let it go, and continued to go to class. But it only got worse. 3 weeks later, I was visibly limping. I figured it was time to visit the doctor. I saw my GP. She wasn’t overly concerned about the weakness and tingling, but more about the frequent migraines and she ordered an MRI. It came back normal. (I have a history of epilepsy and migraines, so normal is a huge relief.) She also recommended that if the tingling and numbness didn’t improve I see a neurologist. There were none in her group, so I was left on my own to find one. My first thought was to find the guy who treated me for seizures in my teens. I found that he had retired. The next step was to find a list of candidates in Austin. I started with a fairly large clinic in Austin, and chose the guy based on his photograph.

When I saw him, he immediately told me it was some sort of polyneuropathy, but he would have to do tests to find out which one, and how to treat it. His first course of action was to order a DNA analysis to determine if it was one of the hereditary neuropathies. It took 3 weeks to get the blood drawn and another six before the analysis was done. When he received the results, he called to tell me I had none of the *known* markers for hereditary neuropathies.

Ok, think about that for a minute. Known markers? If it’s not known, how do you know there are others?

Despite my confusion over this, he told me there was nothing he could do, and that it would probably progress slowly. At this I jumped. I was already limping and dropping my feet regularly. I was falling often. I could no longer run, jump, kick, or jog, and now walking was starting to look iffy. I was even having trouble opening jars and lifting my (then) 2 year old. I told him this. He was very audibly alarmed and told me to come in immediately.

When I got there the motor tests that he did showed I was MUCH weaker. I couldn’t even walk on my tiptoes. I couldn’t even STAND on my tiptoes.

He changed his diagnosis. He asked me if I’d been sick, or had a flu shot before these symptoms appeared. I confirmed both. He came back with “Guillian-Barre“. Now, I knew all about this syndrome, I’d been reading for weeks about nerve damage and neuropathies and possible causes. I nodded. He told me the course of action was to give me a weeks worth of IVIg. This involves sitting in a chair hooked to an IV for 8-10 hours per day.

After the first day of treatment, I was visibly better. My limp was better. I felt better. Over the next few weeks I got better, and then worse. I had to have a second round of IVIg. Six weeks after that, I was bad again. I switched doctors. The new doctor told me that he didn’t think it was your typical Guillian-Barre, that it came on too slowly, and was lasting too long. But he thought it was a related condition called CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy). This is basically the same as Guillian-Barre, but in a more mild form, and chronic instead of acute. More than likely, I would be having battles with it for the rest of my life.

Both Guillian-Barre and CIDP are auto-immune disorders. They both cause a person’s immune system to attack the peripheral nerves (nerves other than spine and brain) and remove the myelin sheath surrounding and protecting the nerve. Think of it this way, if your nerves are like electrical wires, and the myelin is the plastic coating around them. If you run electricity through a wire that has been stripped of it’s coating, a portion of the electricity is lost to the air. Some of the noise makes it through, but it’s not full strength. This is exactly what happens to the signals your brain sends to demyelinated nerves. Part of it is lost to the surrounding tissues because the protective, insulation is gone.

The difference is, that Guillian-Barre often progresses extremely quickly (like in 4-5 days) and that it often causes respiratory complications that lead to breathing tubes and many many months of rehabilitation.

So, getting the flu shot in late 2004 not only gave me the flu (despite what the CDC says about that being impossible) it gave me the wonderful gift of lifelong nerve damage. Granted, if the first doctor hadn’t farted around for 8+ weeks, I might not have had permanent damage, but still, thanks for the warning!

The CDC does mention on thier website that Guillian-Barre is a possible side effect. But they down play the severity of the disease. On the other hand the CDC also says on their website that the flu shot should be had by people who are at high risk for complications from the flu. Those people are infants, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. Um, let’s see, that’s not your average 30 year old joe on the street.

It enrages me to hear commercials telling people that they MUST get a flu shot. Bullshit. It pisses me off that employers post signs around the office about Flu Shot 101, and I’m sure they didn’t mention the possibility of Guillian-Barre or other (more long term) auto-immune diseases. (I’ll have to find someone who went and see what they actually said).

I’ll also tell you that I’ve not had a flu shot since 2004, and I haven’t had the flu since then. My husband, who is mandated to get a flu shot by the military, gets the flu every year. In fact, he’s getting over it as I write this.

Bottom line, do your research. Make an informed decision about that immunization before you get it.

Oh and PS — seems that the new HPV vaccination, Guardasil, is causing Guillian-Barre symptoms as well. There have already been 8 deaths in the US related to the injection. Just something to think about.

← Newer PostsOlder Posts →