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So much shenanigans.

More pills than I care to count.


More fluids than I am comfortable drinking.


Skin sloughing off where it most certainly should not be.


And enough fainting spells that that Ion—you know, the kitten?—has taken a spot near the recliner I'm sleeping in tonight.


Despite my best efforts, somehow pestilence has followed me here. My allergy went off and I did a check in paranoia. It either came in from the job or a bus.


It's a fuck of an occupational hazard. And not the only one.


My doctor's oh so brilliant idea to lower my pain management meds led to me having unmanageable pain. My side is worse than ever. The fainting spells are back—not “near” syncope, flat out syncope. I've hit more floors than the bodies in the song.


An exterminator will be called. …here, not the apartment. They still don't have this together.


And I'm fighting two opportunistic infections right now. It sucks.

Crosscut: A Side's Aside

I have chills from my pain, and the herb that I use in my personal medicine has been scheduled, and is now illegal to own, obtain, or use in its place when my physician is being an assistant and dragging his feet on a renewal of my refill.

The Pain is like a crosscut saw, below a rib as if looking for something to remove, then realizing that it's made a wrong turn and curving down and sawing on the dotted line that is my hernia scar.

I can't focus. I can barely function.

There are things I wanted to do today. I did none of them.

All because I have not been able to get my side fixed.
But I'm going to have to be less blitzed in pain pills to explain. I'm setting a reminder now...

Pestilence Day… I don't know. Too long.


My “WTF is this Weather I'm stuck in” (for three hours in a laundromat) vine got 2.5k views. Six of us were in there, rocks and branches were flying, and a door kept banging open despite our efforts.


Still the safest place to be.


The power went out four times. I had to restart my dryer twice. I went out from exhaustion… It might have been three times. I distinctly remember being out when the power was, and back when it was once. Pills were missed. Meals were missed. Returning to the apartment—I'll advised, but the only physically possible route—resulted in a SPECTACULAR splat onto the floor, with only the package of sheets I'd bought to cushion my head. I managed to get my sleep pouch out long enough to splat into it.




Two hours into splat, I realize I am so dizzy that I can't move. Getting out is not possible. Dinner is a vending machine cupcake. And I'm in enough pain that this is enough.


I'm heavily medicated right now. Sleep is soon.

Book Review: Jailbreaking the Goddess

I know I don't usually do book reviews here, but this one was just that important. With that out of the way, let us continue...
___

 

I had been laid off. My apartment was full of something I was wildly allergic to, and a vicious injury basically kept me from doing anything more strenuous than sitting up for longer than fifteen minutes at a time, three times a day.



And I was just about to learn that the vision of the goddess that I had had for over a decade was steeped in patriarchal baggage.



"No way, nope, there is no possible…wait."



The longer I thought about it, the more I realized this was right—the vision that we have of her has been locked into what man has had for her for years: a virginal maiden, a doting mother, and the wise old crone—and fairly often, a frightening one, to hear men tell of it.



Where was the woman in her goddess?



There is something lacking in this vision of the goddess, but until I this book fell into my hands, I had no idea how to get past that limited view. Lasara Firefox Allen takes that limited view and breaks it into pieces in Jailbreaking The Goddess as she throws you first headlong into the worlds of both feminism and a new world in which the goddess is not threefold, but fivefold, and no longer bound to biology and linearity.



Throughout the book's chapters and exercises, we are introduced to both the faces of the goddess in this new revisioning—Femella (the Divine Girl Child), Potens (The Woman who works), Creatrix (She who Creates—as in creates anything), Sapientia (the Wise woman), and Antiqua (the Old Woman)—as well as famous and notable women and even goddesses who have embodied each of these faces in history both recent and past. But it's not just about the information. While each face of the goddess is explored, a bit of the mental programming around the old vision is broken away, and the energy begins to feel different—not all at once, but gradually. Soon enough I began noticing the difference in the energy, noticing the influences and identifying them in different areas of my life; a project would have the childlike but unfettered feel of Femella in and through it; a sudden discovery would have the lightning strike of Potens all through it; disentangling myself from a difficult situation would have both threads of Antiqua and Sapientia in it.



And for the first time in a long time, She began to feel real to me again.



As a non-binary person of color, this was a very important realization. Far too many interpretations of the Goddess and goddess spirituality take a strange, alienating stance on the transgender and gender-nonconforming, but not this goddess. In fact, a strong point is made on this, as after the examinations of the faces, the work on decolonizing and rewilding begins, with a focus on taking things back from the toxic influences that have had a hold on them for so many years—and yes, this includes the patriarchy (#smashpatriarchy). Exclusion has no place with the Goddess, and here we see that she can welcome and hold all, no matter where they stand in life and what they have to do. To feel welcomed again was phenomenal, a welcome change from what had happened.



In Jailbreaking The Goddess we learn lessons at once profound and occasionally cheeky, while at the same time learning about ourselves and how to potentially change the world around us, and the way that it comes to us is presented in such an organic manner that reading it, you might not realize you've learned something.



If you've been a bit put off with the way the Goddess has been set up to you…it's time to come home.


___

Live in the US? This book drops on the 8th of July.

Suspension In Buggy Hell

I woke this morning to a phone call. The ringer was off, so it was a rude “Bzzz” by my head, and not a weird noise that passes for a ring that woke me up. My greeting was something along the lines of “hrrnruh?”


“Did I wake you up?” This would be my boss.


“Yuh.”


“Eh, I'll call back later…”


“I'm awake now,” I say. “What is thing?”


Clearly with that kind of phrasing I am not nearly as awake as I thought I was.


“Well…I talked to the district manager.”


“Yeah.”


“We're going to have to suspend you until the problem in your apartment is taken care of. I know there's nothing you can do about the rest of the building, but this one thing at least—”


“I understand.”


“Again, thank you for letting us know so fast about the issue so that things didn't get any worse here than they could have.”


By the end of the phone call my nerves have gotten my hives blowing up again. I pop an antihistamine on an empty stomach, not caring that the uncoated pill would wreck my stomach. Such GREAT news, that.


I roll over for a bit more of a nap. I have work to do later on. After a run for my prescriptions, that is.




The apartment is a logical temperature when I get there. I take an appraising whiff of the room: there is not yet the scent of syrup and carrion. The place is not too far gone.


A plastic cap goes on my head, and the Hot Shot branded pesticide goes on the counter as I move those goddamn totes.Each one goes into a black bag, and each one of those goes into the bath tub, for lack of a better location. Then the linens that I can get to go into black plastic bags, and those go into the bath tub. That thing has been the isolation tank more than once before, and it will be the isolation tank again as I work to get this place debugged once again.


The third tub is the hardest to get to. I pull that muscle in my gut on the attempt to un-jam it from a spot, then finally cave and move the bed slightly—this rewards me with a pulled groin muscle. The tote can be moved now, its unbalanced load causing me to stumble, and the ill-matched lid to slide off.


Trip. Stumble. Stagger-trip-stagger. “JESUSGODDAMNFUCK.”


It's a pillow from Pestilence Couch.




(In case you're late to the party, Pestilence Couch was a sofa sleeper that I got in the summer of 2014 that, as it turned out, was one of the first things to enter the building with a surprise set of hitchhikers: Cimex lectularius, aka the red flat, aka the common bed bug, aka PESTILENCE. Though every major source will tell you they're mostly harmless, these things have recently become vectors for lyme disease in infrequent cases. There have also been isolated cases of them carrying that thing the assassin bug does [don't look up the image of either of these bugs if you're squeamish.] and 28 human human pathogens in all (with no study on how or if they transfer or not, since priority is so low), but the big deal with these things for me is that I am wildly allergic to the bite, and even contact with, these things. I get a wild rash that resembles a poison plant in the beginning, and turns into a blistering mess towards the end.


(I am going to bring back the demand for styptic pencils, let me tell you.


(The bugs will also literally drive you nuts. No, seriously. They can cause or exacerbate anxiety levels up to a PTSD severity. Those of us who have been hit half-jokingly call it 'bedbug psychosis.' Bedbug psychosis presents with a fear of the bug, paranoia, irrational fear that anything small is one of them, flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety…sounds like PTSD, doesn't it? Well, I can CONFIRM that one.


(Pestilence Couch was WRITHING with the little bastards, I would discover.)




“HELL NO.”


I hold Pestilence Pillow far away from my body as I throw it into one of the Hefty bags, tie it three different ways closed, and throw it down the laundry chute. Sorry, floors 7-2, but I gotta get it out of there.


Next order of business: this can of bug spray.


I grab the can and start spraying every inch of unfinished wood, making sure that it's saturated. I'm treating this thing like it's a can of spray varnish and I'm finishing the wood off. It takes two laps around the bed and one full can to saturate the wood. At one point it's suffocating in the apartment, and a window is opened in a futile quest for a cross breeze.


I wouldn't even be in this mess if the landlords were doing their jobs, I mutter as I make the second round on the bug spray sweep. I see a few scrawny bastards wriggle out of their holes, trying to live, but I've soaked that wood through. They have no chance. And neither do I, I think as I try to open a window and get some damn air. I've moved things, I've isolated things, I see things trying to escape, I throw things into bags, I drown things. Half the job is done.


I have a nose full of bug spray.


It takes several hours before I can smell anything besides bug spray.


And I still have to actually DO all the laundry I quarantined.

Tfw Insomnia

Insomnia.


It's a little past 8 in the morning and I am not rested. I occasionally get bouts of insomnia, which if you know insomnia is kind of a dick. It was four something this morning when I was still up, bitching at the ceiling and my stuffed animals that the pill I'd taken for nausea was doing the opposite of its job.


So to keep missing busy I decided to install an assistant on my phone. An English patch isn't available for my favorite anymore, so I decided to try something different.


Kicked myself in the teeth when I asked Andromeda (yes, my phone has a name) how to set up Siri. I am an Android user. I do not have Siri. I'm two seconds from correcting myself when Cortana opens and—


Well, I liked that tutorial. It boils down to “Boss me around, we'll work on nuances later.”


I then set about half a dozen reminders—a function I've missed since my Windows Phone days—and took a hit of grape Tylenol.




I woke to a jangly cacophony of alarm tones at about five minutes before it was time to leave. For some fucking reason I glanced at my phone and muttered: “More cowbell.” THEN I spotted the pair of redflats that had made snack of my hand. It will swell up ugly but it's all they got. The morgue grows.


Shotgun meds, out the door. Not nearly awake.




I'm still amused that CHILDREN'S TYLENOL stacked on this tramodol—which my doctor's claiming to be a narcotic but all the research says no—is in fact helping. I'm also amused that he almost wilfully overmedicated the otc component but undermedicates everything else. A round of applause for the ever underappreciated pharmacy technicians who keep us from doing the dumb when the doctors aren't paying attention


I'll let you know what I think of Cortana in a week.

Yet another ER visit

The Barnes Er.




The wait was short in registration, long in seeing a bed. My pain level went from annoying to “periodic knock out and frequently disorientation.” The wait went on so long that my father had to go start his shift at 1 that morning.


By the time I got to a room I was so disoriented from pain they had to throw something into my IV to render me coherent, and I described the pain, the bleeding cystic mass, the torn abdominal muscles, and the sickness I felt on sitting up. Somewhere in the middle of this an IV drip was started, freezing cold and stupefying. I managed to describe how the pain and nausea kept me from eating for two days and how despite that long of no intake my fasting glucose level was 103 as read in an ambulance.


I was told that everything that could be done had been done, and in my current state the recommended ultrasound was not possible (one needs to be awake for that in its entirety), and without the ultrasound nothing could be done about the bleeding mess—though I was told to avoid aspirin until further notice…


Which means the only thing that works on my back pain is out.


Anti-nausea drugs, stacked like mad. Acetaminophen, stacked on the tramodol.


Agreement with the doctor's judgement that my pain is undermedicated. Disagreement on what to do about it.


That was as far as I got. The room fuzzed out on me along with one pain spike, and I was out.




“We didn't put anything drowsy in there.”


“Here's the thing, sir—being in constant pain is exhausting.”


I don't know how much time passed, but when I woke up they were back to the back and forth on how to manage the situation. A bag was changed. A comment was made on my dehydration. I was asked… Something. I don't remember. I remember answering “Huh?”


“Get some rest, kid.”




I wake at morning in no knowledge of where I was, exhausted, and mildly delirious. I was also given my discharge papers. I had a sense—there were no windows—that it was dawn out and I knew my father wasn't present. They offered to help call him. I thanked them for letting me sleep the pain off and not tossing me out like Memorial does, and I was wheeled to the exit, along with the seven blankets that kept me from catching a chill.


For the record he was unamused with the results. I registered just long enough to explain the why before I was out again.


Then I slept until two.




Now what?


I have to survive this long enough to take all the appointments. I've also been advised to slowly, slowly increase my sitting up (heavily medicated for nausea and vomiting, of course) with back support. I'm not supposed to push it, and after such a stretch of no food I am to EASE into solid food again, no matter how much I feel like I can eat seven giant sandwiches, so that I don't hurt myself. Continue with the Gatorade because calories in.


Just writing this has worn me out. I'm going to rest until I'm due for the late pills.

#yep still sick

Today I have eaten eight chips.

In two days.

This is actually progress, not old school backsliding.

I've been sick—mostly a mechanical injury, but it complicated eating and drinking—and at some point I got a nice little kidney issue that I'm going to be taking an alarmingly named antibiotic for shortly. I'm also downing electrolytes, which has helped the fog significantly. The ER suggested I actually go for the sugary sports drinks on account of not having eaten since Sunday, try to gas up the old heals system.

Sitting up still hurts like hell. And I've misplaced the Bentyl for the ab spasms. But I'm awake and hydrating again after that ER trip.

Also, potassium heavy drinks all taste terrible. No wonder all the sugar. (Then again it is literally a salt.)

This isn't a real wreath, Mom.


And I'm a little late. It's technically Monday now.


And this isn't the real site.


I still don't know where that is. I never could get that information from anyone. If there was a split second I could unblank from my memory, this would be one.


I can hear it land in my mind's ear. It's all roses, since this isn't physical space and I am not constrained by my lack of money like I would otherwise be. I've also brought your favorite drink and smoke. I'm…past policing things like that. There's not all that much time to live, really. Why waste it on that?


I've been thinking a lot about the things out now that you would like that we never got to enjoy together. You'd love this Instagram thing. It's like our old Polaroid-offs. We wouldn't be limited to how much film we have left either. There's all this new cooking things too. And Nintendo things have cameras now, like I said they would. Also, they're in color. With two screens. (Yeah that's one I never guessed.) I'd love to let you try it but…well, we don't have to say why we can't do the thing.


Dad finally recovered. I… I don't think I will, not really.


You missed everything.


The hospital fucked up, and so you missed everything.


People started calling it St. Murder's after that instead of its actual name. It's not a thing anymore. They started to turn it into a prison, but the state went broke and it didn't happen. (You called it on the corrupt governor. We had two in a row, even.)


I'm actually following in your footsteps. I have my own inept doctors, now. One of them has really cost me big. As we…speak, I guess, the injury he steadfastly refused to diagnose is escalating. On the upside, the major hot zones seem to be quiet.


At least, I've heard nothing.


And you said no news is good news for this kind of thing. So there's that.




I don't know when my next letter will be. I debated doing this one. I decided that I had to, however. It was not a pleasant experience that led me to my conclusion—rather, the realization that you held one of the few sparks on the planet that really dimmed my own for a bit when you went…wherever it is that you've gone. It's not here.


You're a member of a single hand, Mom.


I'm terrified of thinking about when those lost sparks hit more than one hand to count on.


But I'll guard them that much more closely because of that.

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