Caught in a one-way street…

I didn’t make a single post in the month of May and we’re already approaching the end of June.

Generally in the long stretches between posts, I start, revisit, abandon, and/or delete half a dozen drafts trying to come up with something to write that doesn’t make me want to bang my head against the wall.

This time around…

I don’t think I even really opened WordPress.

I’ve barely been writing anything.

I started this post over a week ago and this is as far as I’ve gotten.

I’m stuck in this weird paralysis with writing as of late. I can’t quite pinpoint what’s causing it, other than a complete lack of inspiration. (Okay, that and the horrifying state of the world. URGH.) I spend a large portion of every day staring at a blinking cursor in Word, but very few words end up on the page. And what I have written is just garbage. FNEH.

 

Listing…

1.) My nose surgery is scheduled for July 10th. I don’t have a time yet, as they don’t give you that information until a couple days before. I have a pre-op appointment on the 3rd and a post-op on the 14th. The anxiety is already high and it will spike exponentially when the time arrives, but it’s scheduled. And I only had one bad panic attack in the process. There’s a part of me that worries that I’m going to go through this and it’s not going to solve anything—as is my track record with just about ANYTHING health related—but I’m trying to remain realistically optimistic that I’ll be able to breathe properly through my nose when all is said and done.

2.) The new Stormblood expansion for Final Fantasy XIV is out. Bob is on vacation this week to play. This is what we do for vacation. We stay home and play video games. We don’t need fancy (stressful, exhausting, expensive) trips. Avoiding people from the comfort of our home for an entire week is our ideal getaway. (Though FFXIV is an MMO so there is actually interaction with real people while playing. They’re just on the other side of the computer screen.) More than anything, I just love having Bob all to myself for a week.

3.) Andy Grammer put out a new song. Ryan Star put out a new song. These things make me happy.

4.) Savage Garden’s I Want You video recently popped up on Youtube recommendations and then I followed the trail and ended up on their Affirmation video and was pummeled by a nostalgia freight train. That was the first concert I saw as an adult and it pretty well cemented my deep-rooted love for live music.

5.) This is a picture of an itty-bitty-teeny-tiny frog. We went to the in-laws for father’s day and there were literally dozens of these tiny little frogs hopping around the yard. So, so TINY. This little guy could sit on my thumbnail with room to spare. He was so tiny he kept stumbling on the rough surface of the patio as he hopped around. I wanted to keep them all.

(Spell check wants to change itty to titty and that amuses me because I am twelve.)

Setting it off again…

Oh hey.

It’s Sunday night insomnia.

How’s business?

 

I had my annual physical and walked out with orders for blood work, a mammogram, a CT scan of my sinuses, and a referral to an ENT doctor.

Blood work showed I have really low iron and need supplements, but this may be a factor in the monthly headaches that render me utterly useless for three days. Though I won’t know for a few more weeks if the added iron will have any effect. Here’s hoping.

I’m not concerned about the mammogram, as it’s now just a part of the annual fun because family history dictates the smashing of boobs under age 40. It hurts like a sonofabitch, but the whole appointment takes ten minutes and somehow having a strange woman handling my naked boobs is pretty low on the stress and anxiety scale for me. Go figure.

The CT scan and ENT doctor told me that my sinuses and ears are 100% normal, but I have a deviated septum. This is (most likely) the cause of my decades long struggle with sinus problems. Now I get to decide if and when I want to have surgery to correct the problem and have the possibility of being able to breathe properly through my nose for the first time…ever? I’ve decided the if—yes I will—but I need to figure out the when. Which means scheduling the surgery. Which means anxiety. Because surgery. And phone calls. And ME.

The ENT doctor told me most people don’t even know how they ended up with a deviated septum—some are born with it, some are the result of injury. I told him my theory and he told me I was probably right. Pretty much every single year in gym class I took a basketball to the face (and usually a volleyball too) because I went to school with a whole herd of assholes. I really don’t miss those people.

During the ENT appointment, for the hell of it I brought up the gaddamn Phantom Smoke Stench. I really didn’t expect an answer, but he actually called it by name—Phantosmia—and told me that since I had the MRI and EEGs that reported my brain is 100% normal, it’s a sensory issue that there is no fix for. Most people only experience it for a short amount of time—not years like I’ve been dealing with—usually after illness or injury. Maybe someday I won’t smell it anymore. But I won’t hold my breath. (Because I’ll be able to breathe properly through my nose! I hope. I really hope.)

Life. Cripes.

 

My nose angles to the right and my nostrils are very lopsided and there are EIGHT light bulbs in my bathroom and that is highly unnecessary.

Things unseen…

Life…

Here’s the thing about life:

It happens.

Sometimes a whole lot of it happens all at once and leaves your mind spinning.

When life happens, I feel compelled to write about it. I’m a writer and writing about life comes with the territory. It helps me work through the convoluted mess that is my brain. It helps me remember when things happened. But the problem I often run into is that there are certain things that I want to do justice when I write about them. I want to be coherent and detailed. So I start planning and plotting, and that leads to over-thinking, and then I get overwhelmed, and then suddenly it’s months later, and WTAF how is it the end of April already?

So.

Life.

In abbreviated bullet form. Because if I try anything else, it’s not going to get done. And I need to get this done for my own sanity.

1.) Bob got a new job. He wasn’t looking for one, but an opportunity presented itself and he decided to pursue it. He’d reached a dead end for growth at his previous job and this new one has plenty of growth potential. It’s a similar position with a somewhat similar company, but a very different environment, and so far a much better fit for what he wants out of his place of work. There are a multitude of pros and cons, but the pros outweigh the cons, and even after the first week he was noticeably less stressed and run down. It’s been a full month now and so far, so good.

2.) My grandma died. She was 99—six months shy of her 100th birthday. She had seven kids, eighteen grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. She’d been on the decline for a few months and her mind was mostly gone. My mom called me on a Sunday afternoon to tell me it was coming and by Tuesday she was gone. The funeral was on a Saturday and we had beautiful, sunny, warm weather (In February! In Minnesota!) for being outside at a cemetery. The fresh air and sunshine were a great relief after a full Catholic service OY. Now Bob and I no longer have any surviving grandparents. And that really sucks.

3.) When I went for my annual physical, we discussed my allergy issue with raw produce and my chronic sinus inflammation. I got a referral to an allergy doctor and tested positive for eighteen out of thirty-nine common allergens. I am allergic to cats (no surprise, cat exposure = week-long recovery), dogs (!? that’s news to me), dust (and we have the dustiest house ever), and all things nature (ragweed, grass, trees, oh my!). I got validation on an Oral Allergy Syndrome diagnosis (it has NOTHING to do with eating organic) and was told DO NOT eat raw fruits and vegetables. I also tested positive for nut allergies and that’s an automatic EPI-PEN. And fun story—insurance does not cover an EPI-PEN, it’s $537, there is no generic, and it expires after a year. While I’ve never had a severe reaction to nuts (just the oral allergy issue), I’m still at risk for a life-threatening reaction. So either I spend a large sum of money on something I’ll likely never use (and throw it out when it expires) or I save the money and risk an unexpected reaction and be completely unprepared for it. (Either way, it’s still a trip to the emergency room.)

4.) I have more appointments that need to be made in the never-ending marathon of figuring-shit-out, and that involves making phone calls, and panic attacks over trivial bullshit like picking up the phone fucking suck. Panic attacks, in general, fucking suck.

5.) There is no shortage of family-related drama because toxic people are incredibly difficult to get rid of.

6.) The A/C in my car is dead and that’s a repair bill I don’t care to see. But warm weather is on the way, and a car with black interior is pretty much a one-way ticket to heat stroke for someone who gets overheated pretty much daily in the shower. God. Dammit. Joel.

7.) Writing is kicking my ass and as I’ve talked about ad nauseam—when the writing isn’t happening, everything else in my bad-addled brain goes to shit.

8.) We spent $537 on the damn EPI-PEN.

Are we faking this…

1.) The thing about getting a tetanus shot every ten years…you have plenty of time to forget how much they suck. Over a week later and I still have a nasty bruise and a welt from the shot. But now I don’t need another one until the year 2026. WHAT.

2.) I went in for my annual physical and came out with three more appointments. We got new insurance as of the first of the year, so I guess we’ll find out how well it works. Or doesn’t.

3.) My maternal grandmother had breast cancer in her young 40’s. By current guidelines, close relatives should start getting screened ten years before that age. Which means I get to have mammograms every year from now on. It’s a bizarre thing to have some strange woman yanking on and smashing your boobs in a big machine, but it takes ten minutes and that’s it. Sure it hurts a bit, but hey, early detection and all that, right? (Scans came back fine.)

4.) Bob’s been playing the new XCOM2. He’s been having so much fun playing it, I just want to squeeze the hell out of him for being so gaddamn nerdy and adorable. So I do. Also, he’s been naming his soldiers after my story characters because our marriage is just that nerdy. Ben and Marina are now slaughtering aliens instead of each other.

5.) I’ve managed to trap myself in a constant BUT WHAT IF loop on my latest writing projects. I’m still plugging away on Parker, Alison, and Tyler, but the rest of the Stephen Tyler monstrosity refuses to shut-up and let me work on just one story at a time. SHUT IT, BASIL.

6.) I’ve been tweaking style sheet settings, adjusting sidebar widgets, and reworking some pages—rewriting the about page, et al—and despite the fact that looking at code now makes me want to drive sporks into my eyes, I feel mildly accomplished. I still need to ask Bob to help me somehow get the now playing field back in my metadata with this theme, but I seem to only think about it when he’s not home or in the middle of the night when he’s sleeping, and then…Etch-a-Sketch memory kicks in and…lather, rinse, repeat.

7.) We put plastic over our bedroom window because the damn thing is 79-inches wide and covers most of the wall and is drafty as all get out. Our bedroom is consistently ten degrees colder than the rest of the house and, while I love penguins and polar bears, having my bedroom cold enough to keep them is not my idea of a good time. The temperature is still colder than the rest of the house, but it has made a significant difference.

8.) Putting plastic over the window left us with the dilemma of whether to keep the blinds open or closed—they’d be inaccessible behind the plastic—so we opted to leave them open and hang curtains to block the nighttime show for the neighbors. They’re nothing fancy, but they do a good job at blocking the light and insulating the window, and we’re hoping to also gain some benefit from them come summer when our bedroom is consistently ten degrees HOTTER than the rest of the house. Western exposure for the win. Or something.

9.) We don’t really do Valentine’s Day, but Sunday morning I woke up to critters staring me down, professing their love. Because we are grown-ass adults with no kids and my affinity for stuffed animals provides us with endless hours of entertainment.

Right About Now…

Last week temperatures were in the 60’s and low 70’s with low humidity. The A/C was off and the windows were open and it was hoodie weather and it was awesome.

This week the temperatures are back up in the high 80’s, hitting 90, and the humidity is thicker than thick.

Happy September, kids.

Ugh.

Anyway.

I have hope that someday Andy Grammer will headline a local venue that is NOT standing room only.

Oh wait.

AG is playing TWO FREE shows at the Bandshell at the State Fair. (Last night and tonight.)

(Granted the Bandshell is very small and the AG crowd is large, but there is actual seating to be had there. GA seating is still seating.)*

When I found out this was happening, Bob and I had a conversation about actually going to the Fair this year. We’ve been twice since we’ve been together. We’re not big “fair people” really.

And then, in my infinite grace, I busted up my toe[nail] and that put the kibosh to any Fair plans we might have had.

The damage is minimal and the actual break was not nearly as low as we initially thought, but since the broken piece has come off, things are A LOT more sensitive than they were when they were still [mostly] intact. Too much weight on the toe and/or too much walking causes too much regret. A simple shopping trip ends up being a rough gig. I would never survive the Fair with it.

Alas.

Plans to finally see AG at home, foiled once again.

We’ll always have Red Rocks, Andy.

OH—apparently I’m going to have to watch the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars. I have never watched that show. I have never had any desire to. But yesterday Mr. Grammer announced he’s going to be a contestant on the next season and NOW I HAVE TO WATCH THAT.

Because Andy Grammer.

Always.

(Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah) by Andy Grammer)

*After seeing his picture from last night’s show…I’m kind of glad we’re missing out because HOLY FUCKTON OF PEOPLE. My crowd panic spiked just looking at it. JEEZUZ.

Too many nights…

Schools were closed yesterday because there was a windchill of twenty below. Actual temperatures were around minus two.

It’s interesting to me how things have changed in the almost two decades since I was in school. I grew up in a district that was ALWAYS the last to close school for anything. Snow had to be deep enough on the roads that buses could literally not get through. And if it was cold, the only way things closed was if the governor shut down the entire state. When that happened the temperature was minus twenty and the windchill was minus forty.

Now they shut down if they think the windchill might get into double digits below zero.

Except Burnsville. They’re still the last to close. But even they were closed yesterday.

I don’t argue that sub zero temperatures are dangerous, but I think they’ve been jumping the gun on school closings—and subsequently complaining that they’ve used too many snow days. Kids these days can’t be exposed to anything that might make them uncomfortable. It might hurt their feelings.

Anyway.

Speaking of face-splitting cold…

Wind burn from said face splitting cold?

Or allergic reaction?

I’m assuming the former, but would not be the least bit surprised by the latter.

This is what my face looked like most of the day yesterday. It cropped up sometime in the middle of the night after I woke up. I was sitting at my desk and noticed my face felt hot and my eyes were burning like I’d been doing a lot of crying. I went to investigate in the mirror and found bright red, puffy, blotchy cheeks.

I had no idea if it was a delayed reaction to the painful (face-splitting cold) wind we’d been subjected to post grocery shopping or if I was having a reaction to something.

Considering my face reacts dramatically to practically anything that touches it (Thanks Proactiv Solution!) I would not have been the least bit surprised it was an allergy. But I didn’t have any other symptoms to suggest allergy. Especially one that severe. My money is on the wind. It was really fucking painful. Shockingly so.

The redness and swelling tamed down by the end of the day and seems fine now.

And despite getting the same exposure I did, Bob had no visible reaction to the wind.

Go figure.

My face is just special apparently.

Just gonna stay here…

As it turns out Nurse Brain and Dr. Brain are not on the same page. It turned out to be a good thing, but I could have done without the added stress of misinformation in the first place.

When I first talked to Nurse Brain, she told me the EEG was clear and found nothing, but Dr. Brain wanted me to go for NEUROPSYCH TESTING.

‘Scuse me?

A doctor of said testing was supposed to contact me but hadn’t, so she had to investigate as to why. When she got back to me she told me that I hadn’t been contacted because I needed to establish care with a psychiatrist for my ADHD.

Again…’scuse me?

Nurse Brain told me she would call PNC mental health to line up an appointment with a psychiatrist for me so we could get this taken care of as soon as possible. She ran into the same problem I did the last time I tried to get [back] into Park Nicollet mental health—NO APPOINTMENTS. So she planned to call back on the following Monday morning during their four-hour window when appointments were available to schedule. That morning she called me to tell me they had appointments available but they needed ME to call because they had to ask me personal questions.

Fantastic.

Also bullshit.

When I called the only two questions the woman asked me were my name and date of birth.

Nurse Brain had told me that when I gave them my name, they would pull up my file and see the notes from Dr. Brain and they would line me up with the proper doctor.

Again…bullshit.

The scheduling woman picked the first available appointment—October 21st—and scheduled it for me with a random doctor. When I mentioned the neurologist notes about being treated for ADHD I got a very noncommittal and unconvincing, “Oh yeah, he can do that.” Sure he can legally prescribe narcotics for me, but does he actually KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ADHD? Not all psychiatrists are equally educated on these things.

But what do I know?

I took the appointment and waited for my follow up with Dr. Brain. I asked Bob to come with me so he could ask questions if my brain shut down on me like it always does when faced with stressful situations.

Bob and I spent the time leading up to my appointment questioning whether or not this was the right path to continue on. Neuropsych testing? What does that even entail? (A google search yielded plenty of results that really did not sound like the correct plan of action in this case.) How much is this going to cost us and since it would be with a doctor outside of PNC would the insurance even [pretend to] cover it?

We decided we’d see what Dr. Brain had to say about it and make a decision from there.

When we finally got to my appointment, she told us the EEG was completely clear. Even when I was experiencing the smoke smell for several hours there was not a single change indicating seizure activity or anything else. Even my bout with extreme dizziness and nausea while playing Minecraft indicated no abnormal activity. She told me that people who are predisposed to seizure activity have “electrical markers” in their brainwaves to indicate potential problems. I had none of that. My brain is clear.

This is great news—there is nothing seriously wrong with my brain.

It’s also incredibly frustrating because I still have no answers.

She did say I could try checking with an ENT to see if they find anything, but it’s highly likely they won’t.

She never mentioned neuropsych testing until I questioned about Nurse Brain’s information. (Nurse Brain was conveniently absent—a different nurse was on the clock.)

Apparently Dr. Brain doesn’t actually think I need the testing. It’s really expensive, it takes hours to complete, and it’s likely the conclusion they will come to is that I have ADHD—which I already know.

At my first appointment with Dr. Brain, I mentioned my problems with absolute horseshit memory. I said I didn’t know if it was just ADHD or if it was something else. She said it was more than likely the ADHD because I am way too young for dementia problems. She reiterated this fact at the follow up and said that getting treatment for ADHD would likely treat the memory problems. If I still had the issues to the same extent while being treated, then it might be worth pursuing neurospych testing, but as is it’s not worth it.

I’m glad we agree on that.

So unless I end up pursuing the testing, I’m done with Dr. Brain and the neurology department.

When I got home from my appointment, I logged in to my medical chart online and cancelled my psychiatrist appointment. I don’t believe (and Bob fully agrees) that a new psychiatrist is what I need right now. Yes the ADHD problems are an absolute bitch, but I don’t have a lot of faith that medication is the right path—at least not right now. There are other things I (or we) want to explore for now. Things that might not treat the problem directly, but will lead to other things that can.

I’m just gonna go smear peppermint oil around my nose to mask the gaddamn smoke smell.

It’s like five AM…

Actually at this very moment as I’m typing this it’s 6:21AM.

But song lyrics as post titles and all that…

I finally have my follow up with Dr. Brain next week.

You know…TWELVE WEEKS after my EEG.

But let’s rewind…

I got a bill for the MRI (from March) and 2/5 of the 5-day EEG. Because Park Nicollet’s billing system makes a whole lot of sense. Bob took it away from me before I could open it and hid it until he could take a moment to look at it first. His reaction was…not quiet.

Neither was mine.

Also mine was punctuated by expletives and rude gestures.

As I do.

I don’t think I need to repeat how I feel about Federated Insurance.

So I had to call the clinic and figure out who I was supposed to talk to. I ended up leaving a (most likely incoherent and ornery) voicemail for Dr. Brain’s nurse. She called me back hours later. (And then again…several times…over multiple days…kill me…)

… the EEG was completely clear. Even when I hit the big red button because I was smelling smoke. This is exactly what I was expecting to happen.

… It should have only taken 3 weeks for me to hear back from them. But they “have no way of tracking when results come in and who’s been contacted” so OOPS. Apparently nobody has a piece of paper and a pen at Park Nicollet Neurology.

Also “hasn’t [doctor I’ve never heard of] contacted you?”

No. I haven’t heard a damn thing from anybody and that’s why I’m talking to you now.

… In a nutshell, the EEG was clear so I need to see two more doctors. Because obvio—WHAT?

… And then my brain exploded negating any further need for any of this nonsense.

I’m turning into my mother. She’s notorious for medical afflictions nobody has ever heard of.

But you know. Whatever. Clearly I’m not committed to figuring this out anyway.

Instead I’ll just let Emerson Mouse take selfies with my phone.

Because he’s way cuter and fluffier than all of my f-bombs and other loud expletives.

You know what else is way cuter than this train wreck?

Bob.

Always.

Also Marc Roberge.

Sink or see it through…

I trailed off mid-sentence while talking to Bob because I got distracted by the bright green light on the power supply under his desk.

This is my brain and welcome to it.

In the past few months, I’ve largely detached myself from the internet so I have little to no idea what’s going on in the world. If I didn’t have a pack of pills to count down every four weeks, I’d have absolutely no concept of where I am on a given day. I’ll spend a few minutes here and there skimming my usual haunts, and then I have to shut it down because I want to start stabbing people in the eye with rusty sporks. I get about ten posts in on Twitter and I’m done. I mark most all blog posts in my feed reader as read without even looking at the titles. I gave up on Facebook well over a year ago (oh ye gods no moar). My sanity needs the break from the unfathomable idiocy of reality.

Funny thing is, since I made the decision to NOT go back to Dr. Psych Condescending Ass and reevaluate my current need (or non-need) for mental health professionals, my anxiety levels dropped off to almost nothing. Or at least down to the normal-for-me levels that are mostly manageable with music and cuddling stuffed animals my husband. There are spikes, but it’s usually a specific cause and short-lived.

I spent the better part of…two?…years practically killing myself with stress over going back to a psychiatrist. (Trying to find one. Trying to make a phone call.) My anxiety was sky-high (and then some), which was driving my depression to dangerous levels, which was obliterating my ability to focus on ANYTHING, which was sky-rocketing my anxiety, which was…trapping me in a vicious cycle of misery and self-loathing. When I finally mustered the mental fortitude to call and make an appointment—and came down from the resulting panic attack—I thought I would feel better. I’d scaled the first hurdle. The appointment was made, going wouldn’t be a problem.

I didn’t feel better. Not in the least. I spent two months with a constant pit of suffocating dread wreaking havoc on my gut. And then it was an absolute shit-show with a TERRIBLE doctor.

I fully expected recovery from that experience to be a long one. But aside from the times when EVERY shitty experience I’ve had in my life slams down on my brain at once (Oh hey insomnia, how’s business?) I’m okay. (Compared to where I was six months ago.) And also aside from the fact that I can’t focus for shit. Which is really nothing new, but when the depression and anxiety are at low levels, the lack of focus is like a glaring, flashing neon sign right in front of my face at all times.

So I fixate…
…on absorbing music.
…on writing.
…on cuddling with stuffed animals my husband.
…on everything I should be doing, that needs to get done, that’s not getting done.

I have no idea what’s going on in the world (except the World Cup fucking christ, talk about beating dead horses and we all know how I feel about dead horses). But I haven’t stabbed anybody in the eye with a rusty spork, so…little victories.

Also…our house has become a constant game of Tonberry shenanigans.

Yesterday I opened the bathroom door to this in the hallway.

He conquered Caboose.

Because WE ARE ADULTS.

Ambulatory Electroencephalogram…

My first neurologist appointment was nothing like I expected.

I fully expected to go in, explain the phantom smoke stench, and have her stare at me like I’m insane. Then tell me since the MRI and EEG found nothing, there is nothing to be found.

Neither nurse nor doctor stared at me like I was out of my mind when I told them I smell cigarette smoke that isn’t there. That’s the kind of thing they hear all the time. They didn’t try to explain it away by telling me obviously real smoke is coming from somewhere like everybody else does. Nor did they try to tell me I’m manifesting it myself because I’m repressing some memory or holding some grudge from my childhood. (*ahem* Dr. Psych Condescending Ass)

It’s not WEIRD to the neurology department.

Dr. Brain asked me questions, took notes, and ran through a series of pseudo-tests…follow my finger, touch your nose, walk on your toes, close your eyes and hold your arms out…she also checked reflexes, used something similar to a tuning fork on my feet to feel the vibration, and poked me in several places with a pin…and…other things that escape me right now.

She did tell me there was nothing found on the MRI and EEG.

Then she told me she wanted to do an ambulatory EEG.

The label 72-hour EEG is misleading.

72 hours is three days. This test takes five.

That’s 120 hours.

But you’re actually wired up for four total days, which would be 96 hours.

But 72 hours it is.

In pictures.

Because coherency is in limited supply.

It’s a whole lot of (awful, awful) smelly glue to attach 27 wires—25 on your head, 2 on your chest.

I wore tank tops and a lightweight hoodie all week. And a hat to cover the wires when I left the house.

Broadcasting my Rooster Teeth and Ryan Star love all over the damn place.

Soon enough EVERYTHING ITCHES and sponge bathing is NOT bathing.

Also it was Hell Week so that made it all SO MUCH MORE FUN.

But at least the wires are colorful?

I had to push the button whenever I had “an event.” In most cases that would be a seizure. In my case it was whenever I smelled the gaddamn phantom cigarette smoke.

I smelled it (for hours) on Tuesday night and again on Wednesday afternoon.

I have never been so bloody excited to smell that shit in the entire five years I’ve been [knowingly] smelling it.

Considering I was willing to bet cash money I wouldn’t smell it at all the entire time I was wired up, I was okay with smelling smoke twice in five days.

Sheep was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to push the red button because the “head box” was taking up his spot in the bed.

Each appointment was at the same time every day. I was wired up on Monday. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I had to go in, have the data downloaded, the batteries in my “head box” swapped out, connections checked (and re-glued in a few places halfway through), leeds refilled with fresh conductive gel, and given a sheet to record my activities for the day, including when I “had an event.”

Nothing reiterates just how little you do in a day quite like having to write down what it is you do all day.

By day three the receptionists didn’t even need to ask my name to check me in and by day five they spotted me coming out of the elevator.

Also, on Day 5, you get free parking.

Application took about 2 hours. Removal took about 30 minutes. They soak each leed with acetone (yes, nail polish remover) and do several swipes to saturate all of the clumps of glue. The spots where leeds were glued directly to skin were rough and red (because I have FANTASTIC SKIN) and the chest leeds left plenty of goo behind (and red, angry skin).

The tech gave me a small, fine-toothed comb to use when I finally washed my hair. I didn’t waste any time getting in the shower when I got home. I’d been sponge bathing for four days. It looked like I was covered in flakey dandruff and when I took the braids out, my hair looked like a bad crimp job. I shampooed twice and followed by two rounds of conditioner. I ran the comb (Sloooooowly) through my hair when it was full of conditioner and pulled out plenty of chunks of glue and a fuckton of hair. I lose a lot of hair on a daily basis as it is. It had been braided and glued in place for five days. I lost a rodent-of-unusual-size worth of hair in one shot. I thought I was going to have bald spots. And that’s just what I was able to collect. I can’t even imagine how much more ended up down the drain.

ISH.

Anyway.

I survived not showering for a week but I’m not in any hurry to do it again.

And while I’m not holding my breath that this test is actually going to find anything, I hope it will tell me SOMETHING.

In addition to 2 smoke episodes, I had an un-killable headache for most of the week and I woke up constantly every night. (Just like every night.)* I also got horribly nauseous and dizzy playing Minecraft for 30 minutes.

SOMETHING should show up SOMEWHERE

Right?

If it doesn’t…

I don’t even know what the next step would be.

*EEGs are ineffective for diagnosing headache disorders because they don’t read deep enough, but they are used to figure out sleep disorders—which I would not be the least bit surprised to find out I have some form of.