Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Life (and death) Happens

I've been a bad blogger.

My intentions have always been good, but then I got depressed in February 2011 and then I got better and then a close relative was murdered and our world was turned upside-down.

It felt like there was nothing important to say except how devastating it was, how grievous the crime, how unimaginably complex and damaging a murder is to the victim and all who loved her.

But it wasn't right to write about it; she deserved some privacy. Everyone around her needed it. They still do. We still do, about this tragedy.

Now I might have something to say about other topics, including those darned books I keep writing. And getting an agent. And fearing success, failure, no time, too much time and the dreaded (but desired) writing group I'm about to join.

Then there is life: children graduating, getting bigger, not responding to medications to alleviate paranoia (that's another day). Summer break! OH BOY! oh boy.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Being a Curmudgeon About Chemical Change

A couple of months ago I realized I'd run out of my stockpile of asthma inhalers and had to get a new prescription from my provider. The little tubey things arrived in the mail with their red caps and I attempted to use them in the usual way: spray, suck, hold breath, repeat. And got nowhere. And frustrated. And wheezy.

I tried this again and again, until the canister was empty. My more sensible spouse said to call the pharmacy and complain about these useless inhalers and get them replaced. Smart woman.

Which is when I discovered that my life as an asthmatic has been altered. Turns out, these mini-red-capped inhalers are a new form of albuterol inhaler without any ozone-depleting propellants, the kind that gave all us wheezy people a headache when our inhalers were running out, but made it obvious that medicine was rushing into our lungs.

Apparently, those old stand-bys have gone the way of refrigerators with Freon (in fact, the propellant used in those old inhalers was a form of Freon), no longer allowed in America and probably banned years ago in Europe and Asia. And it sucks, literally.

Not that I want to destroy the ozone or inhale dangerous chemicals (though there was a time when I was using twice the recommended amount of Albuterol every month and was flirting with sudden death when I wasn't drowning in my own lungs from asthma--stupid me, living with cats). I just want my meds to work when I need them. And to know they're working.

You could taste the chemicals in the old inhalers, and the Freon shot that albuterol swiftly into the bronchial tubes; instant gratification is key when you're unable to breathe, as far as I'm concerned. It took me a bit to learn how to handle the new, spray powder inhalers that seem so insignificant, so weak against the overwhelming waves of asthma that overtake a person in the middle of an attack.

For me, the worst is when I have a head cold.

Before I figured out the new inhalers, and had gone through the grieving process, I went off to the local sundries shop and bought an over the counter inhaler, Primatene Mist, an old enemy of mine (my mad boyfriend in high school was majorly addicted), so I could get a hit of epinephrine in my system and breathe easier.

When I found them on the shelf, there was a label explaining how the product was being phased out in 2011 (perhaps they're off the shelf already), for the same reason my old inhalers were gone. I bought one and hold onto it, just in case, and almost wish I'd stockpiled the old kind of albuterol inhale while they were still available. I didn't know they were disappearing before it was too late.


Of course, any albuterol is better than some of the other ways to control rampant asthma attacks. When I get all out of control with pneumonia I'm given prednisone, which is fine as long as I want to spend all week cleaning the house from top to bottom 24/7 and alphabetising the larder. During high school, they routinely gave me and my friend Amy something called Theophyline, which I hope has been outlawed, because it did the opposite of anti-psychotics and made us literally "crazy teenagers."

I worked it into a murder mystery once.

Asthma is a strange ailment with strange attitudes about it. I've gone into the emergency room only to be told I'm not using my inhaler right and sent home gasping for air. I've gone into the same emergency room another time, and the nurse on duty gave me a nebulizer treatment while monologuing on the virtues of asthma medicines and how she could get so much done with so little sleep when she was taking hers. It was surreal.

They say seventy-percent of Olympic athletes use albuterol inhalers, so there must be some truth to the superman speed and endurance side-effect.

I have one of the old kind left, the white canister with the white plastic case. The canister is empty except for a slight spray of propellant, but I'm keeping it for sentimental reasons and so I can study the ingredients. Maybe someday there will be another version that gives the same satisfaction and quick results without the fluorocarbons or chemical aftertaste.

Until then I will use the red-cap mini-inhalers and push/suck/hold/repeat, and hope for results when I need them. They're what I've got for now.

Whining over.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Procrastination Walks

Last summer I walked four miles virtually every day. I couldn't get any writing done (creatus interruptus occurs constantly with three kids), but I could successfully bribe one of the two teens to watch junior for sixty minutes so I could attempt to maintain sanity.

Then I wrote a first draft of a novel in October, and then another in November. Needless to say, no exercise happened during those months. And then it was December and I was domestically-inclined, decorating and ordering online from Amazon when I wasn't attending meetings of IEP teams or some sort of therapy.

It is January now, and so theoretically I should be writing. Instead I have done a lot of cleaning out drawers, giving to Goodwill, getting stuff hauled to the dump and scouring vintage stores for end tables and comfy chairs, since our basement pair of armchairs finally bit the dust. And now, running out of things to clean out (if I'm desperate I can start on the storage in the eaves), I'm begun walking my four miles a day again.

This is, of course, what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to exercise, get my heart rate up, and tone my butt enough to keep up my reputation for a decent ass. But whenever I start writing, things like exercise and, say, seeing anyone in addition to my nuclear family, goes out the window.

Not that I've been socializing at all unless forced to. I'm into isolation big time. I'm hoping this is because I'm incubating before an incredibly creative period, in which I will edit the hell out of the two aforementioned novels and finally find a publisher for the trilogy. It could work that way. I've mostly modelled my creative process along "incubate, incubate, incubate, do!" lines.

Meanwhile, walking is ideal procrastination. I get to listen to a book on audible while walking my butt off (literally), and anything that allows me to listen to a book is a good thing. I'm creeping my way up to crows and wolves and sixteen-year old biology buffs with a thing for werewolves.

Hope I get there soon.  

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Entice (Need)

Chances are, you're not reading this for the book recommendations

I can't help myself anyway. I know, it's been a month, shit has happened, good stuff galore, holidays, anniversaries, lots of food and scads of stop-motion animated holiday specials. There are things to riff on intelligently, or maybe just amusingly, or to hear myself speak.

But in the meantime, I have to tell you about this book, Entice, the third in the Need series by Carrie Jones. I just finished it on audible and I can't wait for book four. Werewolves, pixies, Norse gods--what's not to like? The heroine becomes a hero, good characters die, there are prom dresses. So, if supernatural Young Adult is your thing, this is the series for you.  

While I'm at it, the last Vampire Academy book rocked, the latest Morganville Vampires was sweet, and I've got the sequel to Beautiful Creatures sitting on my desk next to me. Once I get back to writing my novels, I have to give up the YA habit, so I'm stuffing myself with sequels while I can.   

Monday, December 06, 2010

Comedic Timing

It struck me last night that once again my spouse was going to be away from home, and that perhaps I should be preparing for this. Stocking up on orange juice, seltzer water, Twinkies and ice cream. Things you need when you're at home sick. Thank heavens for instant Netflix or we'd really be in trouble when flu season hits.

But then I said aloud--my mistake--"maybe we won't get sick this time" and from behind me I hear--deadpan--"We will." My daughter chiming in with perfect comic timing. And unerring accuracy.

She woke up feeling awful, and the little guy saw that and started complaining about this and that and I just kept nipping at his heels until he was out the door, in the booster seat and we were on our way. I'm taking my chance on getting the phone call from school, but it seemed better than fifty/fifty when we walked in, so it was worth the risk.

I'm thinking the daughter is still sleeping... and it is after noon.

It was about this time last month that we were all struck down, and about a month before that, so there is certainly a precedence set not only on illness striking while my spouse is away, but upon the first week of any given school month. The small kid's missed nine days so far this year. Sigh.

But I love the humor in it, coming out of our daughter's mouth like a Vin Diesel one liner: "We will." I don't love that she was right. And we may have to keep my spouse at home for the rest of the school year.