Friday, May 22, 2009
If the adjective is "wistful," the noun should be "wist," not "wistfulness." Fewer syllables are always better. (Yes, I know I'm an English professor, but I'm on vacation!)
It feels pretty weird not to be at WisCon this year, especially since two of my favorite writers, Ellen Klages and Geoff Ryman, are the Guests of Honor. Given recent expenses and my general exhaustion, combined with how much else I have to do this summer, skipping WisCon was a mature and grown-up decision (me? grown up?), but I still can't help wondering what's happening in Madison.
This morning, I read through some of the participant bios for the Narrative Medicine workshop I'll be attending in June. One of the professional chaplains who'll be there is also an Episcopal deacon. That gave me a real pang, since I've foregone both of those credentials. (I may yet do CPE sometime -- like, when I retire -- but I don't intend to revisit ordination.) Also, I'm a little nervous about how the ProChaps (TM) at the workshop will respond to my lowly volunteer status. This is not mature or grown up, I know, but the feelings are there anyway, given what a charged issue accreditation is in the field. I got a blog comment once from a ProChap informing me ever so sweetly that I wasn't even entitled to call myself a chaplain, since I'm not board-certified. Oy!
Yeah, I know: it shouldn't matter to me what other people think of me (and the good folk at the workshop probably couldn't care less). I've gotten a lot of lectures on this topic. Kinda ironic, since the people doing the lecturing seem to think I should care what they think about my caring about what other people think. Isn't there, um, a contradiction in there somewhere . . . ?
This afternoon, I cheered myself up by buying lavender and yarn. The woman who runs the lavender store has just gotten a six-week old golden retriver *PUPPY!* which is the cutest thing on four legs, even if it did try to eat my skirt and my hand. At the yarn store, I bought some Noro sock yarn to make myself a scarf, in colors that will go beautifully with the gorgeous cat pin Inez gave me at last year's WisCon.
Oh, a coupla new wrinkles on the medical front. First, the piece of putty covering the donor site for the gum graft popped off last night (the periodontist had said it probably would, although the one covering the actual graft should stay in place), so I've now learned that this procedure can be very painful indeed. I'm back on alternating Advil and Tylenol every four hours -- I haven't needed the Vicodin, thank goodness -- and my mouth lets me know about it if I'm only a few minutes late. And I'm back on a semi-liquid diet. Smoothies rule! Applesauce is good, too.
Which brings us to medical item #2. Longterm readers will recall my talking about how my father always choked on food and liquids; he had dysphagia from a stroke in 2001. He was supposed to be on a thickened diet, but hated it, although he loved applesauce and mashed potatoes with gravy, so we fed him as much of those as he'd eat.
For a while now, I've tended to start coughing when I drink water, because the water goes down the wrong way. I didn't think anything of it -- and didn't even notice that I hadn't been having the same problem with the smoothies -- until two nights ago at dinner, when I took a sip of water and started choking. Suddenly, everything clicked.
"Oh my God," I told Gary. "I have dysphagia! Have you noticed it? That I choke on water?"
"Yeah, you do that all the time. It's really alarming."
"How long have I been doing it?"
Since then, I've tried using some of the swallowing techniques Dad's speech therapists taught him (like tucking my chin when I swallow), and those help. I can't believe it took me this long to figure it out, though!
A lot of things can cause dysphagia, including the various autoimmune diseases that would also bump up my ANA. So I'll definitely mention it to the rheumatologist, although I still don't think I have any of those diseases. I called that office yesterday to try to make an appointment, but they hadn't gotten my paperwork from my primary yet. They'll call me when they do.
We're going to a barbecue tonight, although between my sore mouth and the fact that it's looking like thunderstorms, I'm not sure how long we'll stay. If we come home early, we'll watch some more True Blood, which we started watching last night on DVD and adore.