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Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I have been very quiet as of late because I have been in bed for the last four weeks with an unknown ailment.

I'd originally thought it was some sort of virus that I was having a hard time shaking off. I had a low fever and severe chills, was fatigued, and didn't have much appetite. Twice it happened that I felt better for a few days and declared myself well, only to lapse back into fever and chills. The second time that happened, nausea and upper abdominal pain was added to the list of symptoms. Since viruses don't tend to get worse after several weeks, I finally went to the doctor. 

My blood tests came back normal, with everything in the usual range, including white blood cells. An ultrasound was ordered to see if my gallbladder was causing problems, but it, along with my liver, pancreas, spleen, and kidneys, were all normal. A urine cultural ruled out a kidney infection, too. It seems that the next step is to send me to the GI doctor to get my stomach scoped. It is incredibly hard to be sick for a long time without some kind of diagnosis--it wears on you nearly as much as the symptoms themselves--so I'm hoping I have an answer soon.

I've felt too sick to do much of anything besides read in bed, which is rather discouraging, especially since the holiday season is upon us. I didn't mind so much that I was far too nauseated to participate in Thanksgiving--I'm a vegetarian--but I have minded that I haven't felt well enough to prepare my Etsy stores for Christmas. I had intended to have all of my Mouse items moved to my macro shop and all of my items titles rewritten by the end of this month, but that project has stalled. I also haven't felt up to offering Christmas cards as I usually do (I typically have several friends and family members who order cards from me) and I haven't been well enough to put together a calendar, either. My store isn't my main source of income, thankfully, but it's a bummer not to have it functioning at its best during the holiday season.

I've also been frustrated because I haven't felt well enough to write. I have a massive blogpost that is just a few short paragraphs and a revision away from completion that my mind has been nowhere near agile enough to finish and I'm not going to be well enough to write a mental health post I had planned for this week, either. The other day I read through some of my older work with the thought of submitting one of the pieces to a writing contest, but I haven't had the energy to follow up with that and it made me feel kind of down, too, to see what a talented writer I used to be. I know people feel this blog is well-written and I take pleasure in making it so, but as I've mentioned before, this sort of writing is, for me, just an extension of thinking. The kind of writing I used to do was an art form. Now, thanks to migraines and migraine medication, my mind is smaller, slower, duller. I can get away from feeling that way about it when I'm well enough to immerse myself in my photography, but when I don't even have the energy to watch movies or shows and must take all my solace from books, my mind is vulnerable to feelings of loss.

As I write this, I am wearing a long-sleeve shirt, a thick sweatshirt with the hood up, a scarf, and a long, warm bathrobe despite my fever. It will be a relief to get back in bed in a moment with its three blankets and the warm presence of my cuddling dog. My food intake for today has amounted to one cracker and a small handful of tortilla chips. Lunch, should I ever feel hungry for it, will likely be rice and Jell-O. Not surprisingly, I've lost weight. I'm feeling heartily sorry for myself and with good reason. I'm hoping that in the next week or so I'll have a diagnosis AND a treatment and am trying to banish the ghastly possibility of still being sick at Christmas.

I've adapted to the constraints imposed by my migraines, but to be sick AND disabled? I'm finding it to be a hard slog.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October in Pictures

October is a grand month for taking photographs. Here's what it looked like in my neck of the woods.

An early frost had killed off most of the vegetation at our community garden patch...

...but one stand of sunflowers survived.

Poppy pods.

We grew all of these buttercup and acorn squashes in our community garden plot. We also grew the tomatoes in the background, but not the bananas!

The funny spiky fruit of a dogwood tree.

Because summer heat and dryness lasted into the second week of October, many of the usual indicators of autumn were late in coming. These shrubs were some of the first to turn.

This maple in an exposed spot also provided some early color.

When the rains finally came, the mushrooms soon followed!

The katsura leaves change early every year, so they had all already fallen off the trees when the long dry spell ended.

The arrival of autumn painted the hydrangeas in colors of great complexity.

This creek runs behind the stable where I ride horses. It was there where, for the first time, despite spending 26 autumns in the Pacific Northwest, I saw the salmon returning to spawn for the first time.

Sockeye salmon turn red and green during spawning season.

The photos don't do any justice to the experience of actually seeing them in the flesh.

It was amazing to see these big, bright fish swimming in the creek and to know that they'd survived years in the ocean before returning right here, the place where they were born!

Fallen leaves give this bench a desolate air.

I've been grooming Drifter on the weekends while building strength to start riding again. The other day Syd seemed very sleepy--and was sporting some nice braids!

I discovered the reason for his fatigue attached to his stall door: he had been busy winning ribbons in jumping events the day before!

I got to spend a four-day weekend with my collie friend, Mr. Gorgeous!

His winter coat hasn't grown all the way in yet, but his summer haircut has grown out enough that he looks very handsome once again!

He spent some of his time keeping an eye on the squirrels...

...but he spent most of it sleeping. Mr. Gorgeous has developed some arthritis and it was bothering him during our inclement weather. He prefers to laze away the days now.

We HAVE had quite a bit of rain.
Nary a drop fell prior to the 11th, but it rained enough over the next 20 days to qualify as the 10th wettest October on record.

And wind, too, though this stiff breeze brought sunny skies with it.

As late October set in, leaves rapidly changed color everywhere, including the leaves of this ivy...

...the ones that fell into this pond...

...and leaves of this smokebush plant.

And October was ushered out at last with this gruesome grinner!