November 2006

22 Nov 2006 12:05 pm

I’m on my very own episode of House, only without the caustic doctor.

✓ Internal Medicine
✓ Ear, Nose, Throat
✓ Infectious Disease
✓ Dermatology
✓ Ob/Gyn
✓ Urology (long story)
✓ Dentist
✓ Neurology

Down to the last specialist—neurology. At this point, I’m sick of being sick. I don’t want to be sick, I want to be well. I don’t want to be some sort of medical frequent flyer (the neurologist used this term about my visits to my PCP. Fantastic.) I want to be a normal person (as normal as I could get). I want to work and fence and, you know, live my life. I’m sick of doctors and tests. I’m sick of tests that render normal results (I know, I know, it’s a good thing, but you get to a point where you want something to come out and say ‘it’s me! i’m the problem!’)

The issues is that my symptoms indicate a wide range of causes. Fever, swollen lymph nodes, malaise, headaches in one spot of the head, vertigo. So then there’s a bunch of theories. (We’re on to the white board now):

Sinus Infection
Bladder Infection
Skin Infection
Ear Infection
TMJ Disorder
Tooth Abscess
Somewhere in the Body Infection
Lyme Disease
Thyroid Problems
Lymphoma (Hodgkins and Non Hodgkins)
Other autoimmune disorders
West Nile
Unknown Virus
Other causes of craniofacial pain
Irritated trigeminal nerve

So we do tests to knock off one theory after another.

✓ Course of antibiotics
✓ Pretty much any blood test you can think of
✓ Urine Test
✓ Head CT
✓ Brain MRI
✓ Neck CT

Only odd imaging think were the matching extra white matter on the right side of the brain in both the head CT and brain MRI:

panorama   panorama

We’re down to the last three and the neurologist and whatever else she could think of. I saw her on Friday for an hour. An hour. I don’t even see my shrink for that long. Question after question. Poking and prodding. More questions. Doing all those little tests that make you think you’ve been stopped for DUI. Balance checking (which is weird for a fencer, we tend to have really good balance in the first place). More talking. She said I have a big uvula and asked if anyone had told me that before. Um…no, no, they hadn’t.

Do you say thank you to that or feel embarrassed when you’re told that?

She really thought it was my thyroid and kept looking at the labs and thinking the numbers would change. Nope. She thought my blood sugar was a bit high on my last test, so she ordered a fasting blood sugar. Fantastic. Another repeated test.

So after all this, she came up with three theories:

  1. By far her favorite theory—that the dentist irritated the trigeminal nerve when he injected the novocaine.
  2. Somehow I sprained the muscle that connects to the occipital notch at the back of the skull (there’s two. it’s the one on the left.)
  3. That it’s actually migraines. Atypical, but migraines nonetheless.

Right. So then she starts pondering a plan of attack.

Muscle relaxer. Then there’s a glance at my chart and the neon orange ALLERGIES sticker and that’s I’m allergic to Skelaxin, a muscle relaxer. So she trots out of the room to speak with a pharmacist, who agrees with her that due to the severity of my reaction to Skelaxin, there’s a high probability that I’ll have the same reaction with any drug in the muscle relaxer class.

Muscle relaxer

Valium. “Have you taken Valium before?”

“Yes, it made me cry.”

There’s a long pause and you can see that she’s trying not to laugh. So I say, “It’s okay, you can laugh. Dr. T— did.”

Laughing ensues.


Five day course of steroids. It would get the nerve inflammation to go away for good. Another study of my list o’ medications. She wonders aloud if it would adversely affect my moods. Another trot out of the room, this time to ask my PCP what she thought. She comes back in, obviously a bit dejected. PCP really thinks that it’s too risky to use the steriod treatment because of it having a high possibility to trigger a manic episode.

five day course of steroids

An injection to block the occipital nerve.

“Um…I really want injections.”

She didn’t really feel comfortable with them either.


More thinking. Finally, she comes up with a bunch of ideas to use together:

Physical therapy
Weaning myself off caffeine
Not having anymore artificial sweeteners
More regular exercise (two hours fencing three nights a week is apparently not enough)
Not taking tylenol or naproxen
Putting heat pads on the back of my neck

I see her again in a month. I need to see if I can still have splenda. If I can’t, pretty much all I can drink anymore is water. Plain ol’ water.

artificial sweeteners
Tylenol and Naproxen

…and there will be much discord and gnashing of teeth.

13 Nov 2006 11:20 pm

I took this series of photos at one of the more recent tournaments I photographed. The bout between these two fencers was exciting and highly emotionally charged. Anyway, I thought I’d share.

Self Defeat—


11 Nov 2006 03:37 pm

So, every month, Nathan and I trek up to North Conway to have my sister cut our hair. Yes, it takes two hours to get there. But hey, it’s my sister and we get to go to the North Country. Anyway, last time we went, I finally toted my camera (the good one) and tossed on the prime lens (50mm fixed f1.8) since it has a slim profile and allows the camera with the battery pack to fit nicely in my bag.

We also had time for me to keep stopping on the way back. So now I’ve got evidence as to why the drive doesn’t suck.

First of all, we get to see Mount Washington—

The first place I pulled over is a small overlook just outside the shopping outlet area offers views like this—

And this—

This too—

…wait, no. That’s just my husband once again wondering why he married a photographer.

But that’s not all!

We keep driving and pass a couple small lakes that tend to have glass for a surface instead of mere water. It’s around sunset, so we’re treated to views like this:



even the leaves on the trees that’ve passed their peak have something to offer.

and post-sunset, there’s still some views left—

…so that’s why we don’t mind driving all that way and back.

Oh, and the wonderful company of my sister. That too.

Here’s the whole set.

07 Nov 2006 01:44 am

From this post at TrekBBS:

If TNG were redone like Ron Moore’s nuBSG—

  • Wesley would be older and be Picard’s son.
  • Riker would be an alcoholic with a slutty wife (played by the Minuette actress)
  • Worf would be a sleeper agent for the Romulans.
  • Data would be destroyed frequently, but downloads his program into new bodies. He is also accidently responsible for the destruction of the human colony he was discovered on, but none of the crew know this.
  • Troi would be black and have a crush on Wesley.
  • Tasha Yar comes from an abusive past and would see Picard as a father figure. (Hmmm…NuBSG’s Starbuck IS a grittier Tasha Yar)
  • Geordi would be white. Because Tyrol is white.
  • Dr. Crusher would be a chain smoker.
  • Q would only appear to Picard. We’d have no idea what Q is.
  • Lwaxana Troi would be president of the Federation.
  • O’Brien’s wife Keiko would be a Romulan.
  • Guinan would be killed on an away mission early in season 2.
  • The Borg would be the creation of humanity, possibly by accident. And they have a plan.

Hell yeah that made me laugh. And laugh. And then laugh some more.