Unintended and Unwelcome Interruption

I have not written/posted recently, and my commenting and reading others’ posts has been limited of late. This is not by my choice. I hope to get back into it soon.

I tend to let myself get distracted, and I tend to let things get in my way and stop me from moving forward. In little ways and big ways. “Let me get through college, and I can begin life,” I once thought . “Let me get a better job, and I’ll think about that aspect or next step in life.” Not wanting children, I did not have that clock ticking in my head, and I’ve taken too long with other things I wanted in life. What is that cliché about life happening while you make other plans? Yeah. I know this about myself and am certainly trying to change my ways. So, I keep thinking, let me clear this thing, or these things, up, and I’ll get back to my routine. Well, that is bad thinking.

My first, current major obstacle is a new health concern. While it does not seem to be cancer-related, it is still a serious concern. A UTI that just would not go away is not really a UTI. But I still have troubling symptoms and now need an urologist and more tests. I’m not happy to say the least. Logically I understand having cancer that one time does not give me a free pass on all future health concerns. I will likely encounter heart disease, blood pressure medication, and kidney troubles—all more common in my family than cancer—before I die. I just don’t want them yet. Can’t I just breathe free a couple more years please?

I’m on pain medication which makes me fuzzy—a big obstacle to writing. On top of that, of course I want to obsess and worry about the upcoming doctor visit. I have managed to avoid reading up on likely diseases on the internet—and that is not because I have great willpower (explanation coming, just keep reading). So instead I fixate on preparing for battle with this new doctor.

I’ve struggled with this not-really-a-UTI for a month now and so my frustration is high. My cancer experience left me very distrustful of doctors, and I feel like I’m in a bad place again. First, as this blog has documented, a very large tumor that appeared on a mammogram image was failed to be diagnosed. Then, in the middle of treatment, I picked up Staph during my lumpectomy. The PA that worked at the cancer center where I was treated, who is supposed to diagnose and treat all the cancer patients and our whiny complaints about side effects, really dropped the ball with me. She kept insisting I had shingles, when a quick internet search told me my symptoms were not in line with that illness. The whole time I was supposed to be prepping for radiation—being mapped and marked, and instead I was delayed in moving forward with treatment. I kept walking in to the center every day—the medications prescribed were not working, when I was told that my rash should clear up in a few days. Finally, after about the fourth or fifth day I was in the examination room again, pointing out that the rash was actually getting worse and that PA walked out on me, claiming I’d not given the meds enough time. The radiation oncologist happened to be in the room, and took a sample of the pus coming out of one of the bumps (it looked like my torso had come down with severe teenage acne). Few days later, well, what do you know? Staph. The PA did not even apologize or admit her mistake when she told me over the phone my real diagnosis, and to get to the pharmacy for my new, correct medication.

I will never forgive her for that. One would think the false negative mammogram would’ve taught me the need to be alert, to advocate for myself as a patient. I think the cancer diagnosis itself rocked me so hard I did not learn that lesson then. But I learned it hard the day I learned I had Staph that will pop up in a rash on occasion, forever. Medical professionals are NOT infallible and make huge, sometimes horrible mistakes. During cancer I was ashamed to think I’d not known my body well enough to know something as major as cancer was wrong. I thought that made the doctors think me sort of stupid. Never again. I know my body now. I push and advocate hard for myself. I NEVER enter a medical facility without my “cancer bag” full of discs, documents, and my laptop to take notes. I gird my loins and make the medical professionals listen and HEAR me. I have to. My experiences have taught me this.

 

Friend or Enemy?
Friend or Enemy?

The second obstacle causing my blogging absence makes me think I am crazy. In the good ol’ days, the classic Murphy’s Law problem was: car makes weird noise, owner takes it to mechanic, and car stops making the noise. The modern version of this scenario is played out with a laptop. My primary, work and fun laptop keeps, just….disconnecting from the internet at random, or at inopportune times. Right in the middle of writing a comment, or a long email. And all that was written is just gone. Forget researching my current medical concerns online. I keep hauling the machine to a local computer repair business. The damn thing is fine they tell me. They played online games all day with it, and it never disconnected once. Must be the ISP or network, they tell me. Except it isn’t, because my crappy, tiny backup laptop I use to access my business documents connects just fine. So does my smart phone. If an ancient piece of crap, mini-laptop and brand, spankin’ new phone are connecting, then it just ain’t the ISP. I report this to the computer fix-it guys and I get the glassy, “oh, she’s crazy” look.  I only hope this post I’m writing makes it onto the internet. We’ll see.

I love the internet. I see so many wellness and airy-fairy blog posts encouraging folks to disconnect for a few days. Modern society, kids especially, these articles claim, we just spend too much time on electronic devices.

Hogwash, I say. I spent more than the first half of my life not connected to the internet. I love it here on the interwebz and I’m not leaving. Here, I laugh my head off as Justin Timberlake offers me a special holiday gift in a box. My president is Kevin Spacey/Frank Underwood. My spiritual leader is George Takei. My pets are Grumpy Cat and Moon Moon. I was having a rotten day a few months ago and was roaming my Tumblr dash and found a disco version of the “Jaws”. If I’d never had stumbled on that, I wouldn’t know I needed it, but I know it exists now, and yes, I need that stupid version. I also love to access the recoding of Freddie Mercury’s isolated vocals of “Bohemian Rhapsody” whenever I want, because for me it represents one of the truest forms of beauty I’ve ever experienced. No, I will never disconnect from the internet for wellness. For me, wellness IS the internet.

So writing a post has become tricky. I can write it, but when I go to post, well, whoops—off the internet my laptop goes. It seems to be doing better today, so I’m risking a post. If you are reading this, I was successful and will resume my rant-y posts as soon as I can!

 

I’ve Fallen, But I Got Up, Sort Of

A couple of days ago, I experienced a modern catastrophe. I dropped my smart phone in the toilet, effectively ruining it and causing the need for an over-night replacement (thank you, year ago me, for getting insurance which mostly covered the cost of this). A few hours after that, my laptop imploded or something….the hard drive went haywire, and since I only purchased the darn thing about 9 weeks ago, it is covered by the manufacturer….so sending it back to the makers…fix it bitches!! All that is well and good, but I was left without internet connectivity for 24 hours. It was scary.

Funny thing is when you deal with the customer service or help desk reps of the various companies that support your product’s issues/problems, they seem to think you live in a big house with a picket fence, a computer with internet access in every room.

Yeah, right. Hey, I am a house/pet sitter; I live my entire life out of bags–luggage and laptop bags. I do not have a land line, or more than one computer. I do not even have a tablet or ipad thingy. I need to live light, simply, without having too many things to track. I know folks with iphones, ipads, laptops, AND home computer(s). Too much for me to carry around…smart phone and 1 laptop are my limit! But this idea seems to confuse the customer service reps. One guy kept trying to send me an email to expedite my repair process, not understanding my access to email and a printers were quite limited at the moment.

I griped about this at this guy, only to hide my real fears. 24 hours without being able to connect was scary. I cannot even remember a few years ago, driving even 30 minutes away, not to mention further, without having a way to call someone if I had an accident, a problem, a disaster. I mean, I used to consider the hour or so I walked a dog sacrosanct, I would have never used a mobile phone during a walk…that was time to be one with nature, all that crap. Now, I worry that I may fall in a ditch, get hit by a car or something, so I carry my phone with me, I can call 911 if need be.

When did I get so paranoid, turn into such a scaredy cat? Why is this such a big deal, I mean, I endured cancer, loss of connectivity should not scare me, but it does. Why?

My theory is the dual threat, both kind of health related. For starters, modern life means being connected all the time. Think about Facebook and all those social network apps, so one can tell friends their likes, locations and everything else, at all times. I still kind of have a hard time with the fact Google+ and Facebook only want my real name, and sell their product to me with the concept of letting my friends know what I think about every page on the internet I visit. Seriously? I don’t want all my thoughts, likes, locations revealed every single moment (odd thoughts coming from a blogger, I know, I know).

But then I think about safety. If I were to get kidnapped or something, my phone can reveal my location…does this not make me safer…and make the plot of the upcoming film The Cell pointless? I think about, especially, those life alert commercials  Remember that old commercial ages ago, with the elderly person lying prone on the floor screaming “help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”? That commercial is still sort of around, in combination with one featuring an elderly lady saying “all senior citizens should have Life Alert”. I’m not sure if these ads are for the same product or different ones, but the idea, the concept being sold is this: you can remain independent (as in, not having to move into an assisted living facility, for instance), yet, you have the ability to get help if age causes an accident. You, consumer, can have freedom AND security at the same time! Believe me, I get it, I will get Life Alert when the time comes.

The second threat, is sort of related, for those of us not quite senior age, but living with health threats. Cancer wrecked my sense of normalcy; I have an unnatural sense of being under constant threat. I know, logically, that cancer will not jump out from behind a tree and “get me” while I am walking a dog. But I was irrationally fearful of just that for this 24 hour period. Insane!

Of course, getting the replacement phone in my hands, while a relief, then sent me down a rabbit hole of trying to remember all the apps I had and how I set everything up on my phone in the past year, which is a special hell for cancer patients still struggling with memory issues after chemo! I feel like some old fart complaining about change and new technology. But the truth is, I like new technology, and I am not really averse to change. It’s just soooo hard to remember how I had it set up, and how to do it. And don’t get me started on the fact that I’ve had to purchase a tiny netbook for back up since my laptop is dead and all my files are on a flash drive…infuriating to have all your info with no place to plug it in to read it! I have not quite made the leap to storing all my stuff in the cloud…but even if I did, I would have to seek out a machine to open said files–yes I could use my smart phone, which is too tiny to read, OMG, I AM old. And speaking of tiny, I am typing this post on the tiny netbook, because, I tried, I really did, to hand write my thoughts to post in a week or so. But I discovered the past few years of typing everything has rendered my already horrible handwriting absolutely unreadable.

Argh, I hate change. Wait, what? OMG, I AM OLD.

OMG I hate it!