Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Oil. Me.

My friend, TA, was diagnosed with a chronic illness a number of years ago. She's controlling it, with a lot of success, largely by exercise and a very low fat diet. Back when she first started doing this I was at a restaurant with her. Near the end of the meal she offered me the last 2 shrimp from her plate saying that she'd had enough fat for the day and knew she couldn't eat them. This has remained burned in my brain as one of those how-do-they-do-that moments, along with people who are double jointed or walk across hot coals or know how to get out of a relationship when it isn't good for them. Never understood it, and part of me probably didn't believe that she actually could "know" such a thing.

Changing my tune.

I now seem to have a chronic thing that can't be glorified by the name illness. It's more of a chronic annoyance. Or a chronic kick in the pants.

I am chronically dehydrated. You'd think this would a. not be that big a deal and b. be pretty easy to fix.

Well, yes. And no.

I found out about it because I was having trouble with my eyes, I was afraid my eyesight was being damaged. Eye doctor said he couldn't find anything and I should talk to a sinus guy. So I found a sinus guy. And he explained that I had a sinus infection because I was dehydrated and the inside of my head was essentially cracking and peeling which he advised putting a stop to.

I did my best.

And I found it annoying.

I stopped taking the lovely allergy and cold meds that make you sleepy and not stuffed up. Many thousands of humidifiers were purchased and filled and refilled and tended. Many thousands of gallons of water were drunk. Every. Fucking. Day. And as a result many thousands of trips to the potty were made, thus turning me into the person I hate who has to stop mid commute to pee. This is NYC, we walk, we take public transport and we don't have public bathrooms. Having to pee is a weakness, and you all know what Darwin taught us about the weak members of the herd! And last but not least I started washing out the inside of my head regularly. This is a process too gross even to be exploited for internet interest.

And I seemed to find balance.

But then it wasn't so much winter anymore and I was feeling better. So I didn't fill the humidifiers as often and I drank water but I wasn't all freaky about being certain I got every last drop of the daily 3 million gallons and I did occasionally indulge in an alcoholic beverage and not ruin the buzz by chugging 4 large glasses of water afterwards. I felt OK, I'd commence the head rinsing whenever I felt symptoms start to recur. It was a nice system. Not too restricting and yet I wasn't in horrific pain, a sweet deal.

Then there were a couple of days where I had this weird cold and the blahs. A week after I conquered that my ear started to hurt. And then REALLY hurt, it was distracting and awful and OTC pain meds weren't even touching it and I was just waiting for the part where goo oozes out of your ear and you can't hear and the muscles of your face start to twitch.

Then I remembered, I have health insurance now!

So I convinced the nurse at my doctor's office to get me an emergency appointment the next day and went in. Verdict? Dehydration. Which had caused the skin inside my ears to crack and peel and bleed and get all fucked up. Since the bones that vibrate and make you hear stuff are very close to the surface they were now close to being exposed and so every time I moved my facial muscles I pulled on the cracked skin and cause more pain to radiate out from the bad place.

The cure? Drink more water. OK, that wasn't the only thing. There were ear drops and also, I should probably oil my ears.

What am I, the freaking Tin Man?

Finally I am coming to the conclusion that I really do have a chronic problem. I'm realizing that I'm going to have to start being more methodical about how I take care of the problem and I'm going to have to actually start listening to my body on this score. I think I'm finally understanding how TA did her fat calculation party trick. With a few false starts I may be able to learn it.

I'm not great with doing stuff that's good for me though. I really don't want to know where this annoyance will crop up next, though, if I'm careless.

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