Thursday, October 30, 2008

Aging while being sick (and during an election cycle)

Hello Kitty Pumpkin! Truly awesome.

Happy Halloween Eve! (For those of you I haven't emailed: You must check out The 7 Types of Pet Costumes.)

I’m barely making my once-a-month post… My friend Mick left me a comment on my last post (which had to do with the fall festival): “Please post a new page before a 'snow festival' starts.”

Ha ha, very funny. Hey, at least it’s not time for the cherry blossom festival yet! So would you forgive me?

A couple of days ago, I found my second piece of gray hair. For the first one, which I think I found a few months back, I had this visceral reaction to pluck it, although they say you shouldn’t do that. I realize a lot of folks get gray at a younger age, so I shouldn’t gripe about it, but it was so shiny and silver among my brown/black hair it shocked me a little bit. Yes, I plucked it again. I blame this one on the election season.

(You know you’re being too obsessive when you’re incessantly checking Google News & & & on top of your regular NPR programming, and you’ve read one too many article on and The New Yorker magazine. I usually don't mind my limited exposure to The New Yorker to be at my Bostonian therapist’s office -- although their endorsement for Obama presidency was one of the most eloquent prior to Gen. Colin Powell's, which also referenced a beautiful, haunting picture in the magazine. The “election season” has gone on for waaaay too long, and the suspense is killing me. I'm bad at sitting still... as I'm too sick to volunteer, I’d like to go into a cryogenic freeze chamber and come out Wednesday morning.)

I always hoped to age gracefully. We live in a culture that’s obsessed with youth, but I always believed with age came wisdom, and along that reasoning, that aging must be a good thing.

Except I don’t feel particularly wiser, than, say, when I started becoming sick about two years ago. For that matter, I don’t feel particularly older, either. Having been sick and spending much of my time in bed and various clinics has felt a little bit like having been in a glass box -- like the one depicted by mimes. I’m in there, and my life is paused, while I watch everyone else outside, living their lives and moving. Friends have had babies, loved ones passed on, and here I am, kind of in the same place, in the same old glass box.

Behold: squirrel mime.

Of course I’m probably feeling like this because I’m writing this with my left hand while getting my nth (who can keep the count?) anti-viral IV, which I’ve been getting weekly. Since this summer my lovely & chronic Epstein-Barr viral infection (a.k.a. mono) seems to have flared up, with accompanying tonsillitis to boot. I don’t know if my Vancouver jaunt was premature, or if it was the combination of that with other summer activities, but according to the key witness (a.k.a. husband), “It was a steady downward spiral for a while there,” a bit like Sarah Palin’s approval rating.

Fortunately, not my throat...
The Wiki picture of tonsillitis. Yikes!
My white spots are much smaller now, thank you.

My white blood cell count is now in the low end of acceptable range, but not high enough to fight off my infections, and my natural killer cell count is… well, let’s just say they apparently barely exist.

I also got my most recent mercury test result back, and the news is mixed. It’s gone down a little bit from before (yay), yet it’s still twice as high as the upper limit of normal range (boo). And I have high levels of lead and tin (why?!). Having been a good student most of my life, getting back bad test results feels like failure, like I’m not a good patient or something.

I know I shouldn’t feel that way. Although I still get low fever every time I move around a little bit, I’m definitely doing a little better than I was in September. I can drive myself to my appointments instead of taking a cab. So who knows, maybe soon, my glass box can turn into a mosquito net, from which I can step out.

In the meantime, I need to gain back some weight. (I used to have a roommate in high school who weighed something like 95 pounds at 5'7", and she was always complaining she couldn’t find clothes that fit. I was a little chubby back then and I thought she was a bitch for complaining about such things -- 20 years later, I feel her pain. Hey, maybe I am becoming wiser. This illness is teaching me empathy!) If you’re in the area and want to go grab some prime rib shabu shabu or BBQ ribs (sorry, my vegetarian friends! Sometimes a girl needs pure fat before winter), give me a holler. If you’re not in the area but want to help boost my natural killer cell count, go vote for Barack Obama (just kidding… well, not really).

Obama '08 - Vote For Hope from MC Yogi on Vimeo.


すみません m(__)m )


Ruth said...

Great post, Aya! I send you encouragement and love! You and Ben need to get together and chow down, because he needs to fatten up, too. He's growing taller but not heavier. Too much movement, I guess.Feel better, and here's to your mosquito net!

Aya said...

Thank you for your love and encouragement, Ruth... I send you love back! I'm feeling (not physically, but mentally) a lot better today, as I got to see a bunch of cute kids (and a dog) in various costumes. The mall nearby (like two blocks away) hosts trick-or-treating.

Ben does seem to be growing up like a tall weed (but much cuter)... we should share some fatty meals.