Saturday, November 26, 2016

Dear 2016,

So far, it's been a hell of a ride.  We had a nasty election year that sees some potentially good results, I've lost my thyroid, and gained a diagnosis of a chronic disorder I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life, and done a hell of a lot of research on health disorders (Hashimotos, thyroid hormone levels, adrenal fatigue, and chronic fatigue syndrome/fibromyalgia). 

I've experimented with changing up my research paper/persuasive writing class, and found out that one of the four major styles of research citation has no information on how to actually do it, and another is dying out of usage.  I've found that teaching the research papers is a major pain in my ass.  Overall, in other words, two semesters of experimentation is an utter failure.

I've also found that calling roll is a good way to gauge student understanding, and make sure they're where they need to be in the terms of writing their papers.

We have lost a LOT of major acting and musical talent, this year. 

Thank you, 2016, for trying to make up for everything that's gone wrong, by removing an evil bastard from the land of the living.  I'm glad to hear of Fidel Castro's passing, even if it happened two or three months ago, and it's only just now coming out.  I don't care about the when, just the fact that he's finally dead. 

However.  That said.

I'm seriously not certain that it was worth the collateral damage. 



Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

In spite of everything that's gone on this year, we've been blessed.  All of us.  We still live in a nation where there isn't open warfare in the streets of every city, or tanks in the countryside (despite the efforts of a few absolute fucktards who seem to forget where the guns actually are).  We are, for most of us, sheltered, fed, watered, and clothed sufficiently. 

We still have friends and family surrounding us. 

And what's more, we still, unlike the poor sods in Venezuela, have hope.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Product review: knitting loom

Full disclosure: I've been knitting since just after I turned thirteen, so almost twenty-five years.  Started with a pair of stainless steel size 8, and worked through scarves, blankets, and into socks, sweaters, hats, and other things.  I've used size 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, 11, 13, and 15 needles, in straights, double pointed, and in circular. 

I've been knitting long enough that I can carry on most patterns without paying attention, and have been able to do that for the past fourteen years.  Current projects include a blanket in seed stitch, a washcloth in cotton yarn in seed stitch, a sweater, and a striped scarf in school colors.  The small projects get stuck in my purse, while the larger ones reside in a backpack or next to my recliner. 

Recently, I got curious about knitting looms.  I didn't want to waste a lot of money on one, so I ordered a Boyle brand small long loom.  It has 26 pegs (for 26 stitches), and is a narrow rectangle a bit under nine inches long by about an inch wide.  I read the included instructions, and got started. 

Once I got the hang of it, it was dead easy.  Stupid easy.  Anybody can make something on the knitting loom.  It's quick, too, satisfyingly so.  I've seen these things in many different sizes in stores, from little round ones the perfect size to make a preemie baby's hat, to long ones almost big enough to do a sweater in the round.  I'd say you could probably knock out a hat in a few hours worth of work.


It does require that I pay attention.

The knitting loom functions by wrapping yarn around the pegs, and making sure you don't miss one, and that the yarn doesn't come unwrapped.  Then, you push the first set of loops down, and wrap a second.  After that?  Take the little hook tool, snag the bottom loop, pull it over the top and off the peg toward the back. 

That takes paying attention to the yarn, to the loops themselves, to the pegs, and to the hook (which is sharp enough to smart if you're not paying enough attention and jab your finger with it instead of what you're supposed to be doing). 

And for someone that's been knitting so long that it's an autopilot fidget?  Not so much fun as it otherwise could be. 

That said, the product itself is great: it's sturdy, it does what it's supposed to do, and it makes knitting go super fast and really simple. 

And, if you shop around, you can find one to try for between five and eight bucks, so you're not out a lot if you hate it. 

There's also the factor that if you've never knitted at all, this is a really easy way to make some of the things you've always wished you could make. 

Still learning my limits...

So, apparently, some of my symptoms that I laid at the doorstep may not be related to thyroid disorder.  According to my doctor, I am bordering on hyperthyroid numbers.  I should not be having the issues I'm having.  The fatigue, the constant low-grade pain. 

So, the doctor threw out a potential diagnosis: chronic fatigue syndrome.  I researched it, and some of the symptoms kinda-sorta fit.

She also offered me a prescription of Cymbalta. 



Hold the fuck on.  I am NOT depressed.  I'm angry and frustrated.  And even moreso, at this point because the 'scrip I was offered would have exacerbated my current symptoms. 

So.  Chronic fatigue syndrome: it's the annoying younger sibling of Fibromyalgia.  Some docs have posited that CFS can be alleviated or reversed by graded exercise.  This has not been my experience.  If I manage to stay within my limits, I'm okay.  If I push the limits even a little, I'm not okay, and I'm not okay for DAYS. 

The problem is, I'm still trying to find my limits.  It's really hard on days where I wake up feeling okay: on the one hand, I want to get shit done; on the other, I'm afraid to do it, because I don't know how much I can do without getting laid up with an extra helping of exhaustion and low-grade pain following me through the next three or four days, sometimes bad enough to impede minimal function. 

And further research into the antidepressant?  It does not alleviate symptoms of depression caused by either hypothyroid disorder, or CFS or Fibro.  Antidepressants can, in fact, exacerbate all of the aforementioned conditions.

I have found some things that help, somewhat.  A daily maintenance dose of Aleve helps with some of the discomfort, and I've found, ironically enough, that I wake up feeling better after I've had a bit of a drink before bed.  Staying within my limits, and not doing too much even on days I'm feeling pretty good. 

Other than that, there's nothing to be done.  I just have to deal with it.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I ordered ice cream, but will try to tolerate what was served.

I've been back on campus since the election, since I teach MWF mornings.  I had an equal amount of gloating in class...and outright terror.  Not anger.  Terror. 

Some of my students are terrified that President Elect Trump is going to do what Democrats have been saying he's going to do: deport everyone with brown skin, make gay sex illegal, roll back rights sixty or seventy years by making birth control and abortion illegal...

Thing is, he can't.  He literally cannot do these things.  Not legally.  All he can do is make sure that immigration laws are enforced, borders are guarded, and actually do the fucking job he was hired to do. 

He does, however, have the precedents set by his predecessor, which aren't good, but...

He legally cannot deport people in this country who are here on a student visa, work visa, or working their way through the process to immigrate.  Nor does he have any intention to. 

He, as President, cannot make law.  He cannot make gay sex, birth control, or abortion illegal.  Nor does he have any intention to. 

He cannot declare war.  He cannot sign treaties.  He cannot do anything, legally, that the current POTUS has been doing for the past eight years, and everybody on both sides hate him enough that he won't get away with trying.  

What he can  do is work with congress to sign laws placed before him.  He can defund executive branch government offices, should he so choose.  He can assess the state and direction of the nation, and suggest things for the legislative branch to maybe think about doing to fix a perceived problem, or right a wrong. 

The things that a president, any president, can and cannot do, must and must not do, are all laid out in very plain language that takes a lawyer to misunderstand.  Same as the responsibilities, duties, and acts forbidden to the legislative, and to the judicial, branches.  

It's all there, in the contract between the Federal government and the American people that he must swear to uphold and defend in his oath of office. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

FFOT: a few complaints

Fog.  Fog can fuck right off with the burning hatred of sane drivers everywhere.  We've had fog for most of the mornings this week.  And when I'm on the road in the mornings, it's come to the point where the sun's not quite up yet, so the fog's thick, and not going anywhere. 

Which leads me to my next complaint: what kind of absolute fuckwad drives without their lights on, pre-dawn?  And what kind of even bigger mouth-breathing maggot-brained shit wit does this in pea-soup fog that you can't see the next set of stop lights a block away, or even the fucking brush on the sides of the fucking road?

And that doesn't count the fuckers who not only have no clue that you DON'T FOLLOW THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU THROUGH THE FOUR-WAY STOP, but are so busy texting that they DON'T NOTICE THEY NEARLY T-BONED THE PERSON WHO HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY until brakes screech and horn blares, then has the fucking audacity to SMILE AND WAVE as they go through anyway. 

After I pick the kids up from school today, I'm hiding in the house for at least the rest of the day. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Frustrating, part 2

So, I got home from work, then called the doctor's office yesterday.  Went to voice mail.  Hung up.  Noted the messages blinking, and found one from the nurse that the doc wasn't happy with my numbers, and was reducing my dose.  The way she put it, though, was incredibly unclear, so I called back, left a message asking for a call for clarification, then went about fixing the first food that had passed my lips that day (by that time, it was damn near 1:30). 

Halfway through my lunch, I got the call back, the clarification, and made her read my blood test results to me over the phone.  My TSH is low by the old classification, but my T4 within acceptable levels. 

Yes, I said by the old classification.  When I got my first diagnosis when I caught pregnant with the pixie, I went into research mode to figure out what things meant.  Before 2003, the normal scale was .5 to 5 for TSH.  After December 2003, the scale was SUPPOSED to have changed.  The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists have been pushing since then to have the "normal" range for TSH lowered to .3 to 3.0. 

Most labs have not changed what they define as "normal."  I do not know why.

Nor do I care.

My TSH is within the new recommendations, if below the old ones.  I am NOT willing to reduce my dosage when I only barely feel human, and still have most of the nastier hypo-thyroid symptoms no matter what the fucking numbers said. 

I found the article written, and am planning on taking it to my doctor.  I will highlight the relevant section before I put it in her hand, and direct her attention to that section. 

I cannot function at a lower level than I am and keep up even as well (that is to say, poorly) as I have been. 

I am going to be transferring back to my old doctor, costs be damned, if the new one is not willing to update her fucking knowledge.