baratron: (corrosive)
My last couple of posts were interesting for me, since quite a few people commented who don't usually say anything here. Indeed, I didn't even know some of them still read my journal. It's nice to know people are still reading, even if they don't have the energy to comment very often. Hi! *waves*

Long-term readers of this journal will remember that I used to have an evil gall bladder. Now I have a mostly quiescent gall bladder, except in three cases:
1) If I eat too much fat.
2) At certain times of the month.
3) If I take codeine.

(1) is easy enough to deal with - it's hardly the end of the world to avoid fat, especially since the amount I'm able to eat these days is enough for me not to feel hard done by. (2) and (3) are more of a problem. I can't stop having menstrual cycles (not without aggravating other health issues), and gall bladders are known to be affected by oestrogen. That's one of the reasons why it's mostly women and "fat people" who get gallstones - oestrogen is fat-soluble. And of course, the main time I take codeine is when I have period pain.

So last night was epic "fun" - trying to make sure I took enough codeine to deal with my evil uterus without simultaneously aggravating my evil gall bladder. Paracetamol alone was no use: it was wearing off in 2.5 hours, and you can only safely take it every 4 hours. (And only 4 doses in a day, which is "great" when you wake up with pain in the middle of the night). I can't take NSAIDs because I have an anaphylaxic-type reaction to aspirin and ibuprofen - severe wheezing and throat closing up. So opiates are my only option. Literally. I'm not even sure that I can use a TENS machine right now with the weird back/leg neurological thing I have. Not until the doctor from the pain management clinic stops being shite and actually gets back to me with a new appointment :/

Ahh, bodies. Especially bodies that are broken in multiple ways.
baratron: (Warning: Sick!)
Urgh. I feel so ill. Felt like I might be going down with something on Thursday and have progressed through the various stages of a cold ever since. Made the mistake of going out for dinner on Sunday evening, and since then have also had a raging fever and severe aching as well. Not happy.

Also, my laptop charger is now so broken that it only charges if it's in one very precise orientation. (The laptop and battery are both fine, I had them checked over by the Apple Store a couple of months ago, when this first started). Since a new one costs £60, I have emailed my university Disability Office to ask whether I can just buy it from the Apple Store (10 minutes away!) and claim the cost back, or if Student Finance England are going to be wankers and expect me to wait until one of their official Disabled Students' Allowance suppliers can get one to me. I rather suspect that the latter will be the case, and it's anyone's guess whether I will actually achieve an 85W MagSafe power supply for 15" MacBook Pro made before 2010, or whether I'll be sent one of the other wattages, or an 85W MagSafe 2 power supply, or... Who knows. (Also, I think I might need to fill in a DSA form for next academic year. I can't remember if I've done one yet).

Also also, I put in a repeat prescription yesterday with a request for 5 items, and only 4 of them were dispensed. There is no indication as to why the fifth one wasn't, it hasn't run out of repeats yet, and I even wrote in large, bright blue letters on the first page "5 items on form". It's megadose folic acid, which every so often I think I don't need, stop taking for a couple of days, and then have a horrible mood crash and end up crying my eyes out for several hours whilst wishing I was dead. I have 2 days supply left, so I need to ring the doctor's surgery and say "Oy", but I have no spoons left at all.

Also cubed, one of the Important Drugs on my repeat prescription is going to run out within the next 8 days. Therefore I need to make a doctor's appointment. Currently I am too sick to leave the house, and certainly too sick to sit in a room full of other sick people and swap germs. Urgh.

Also to the power of 4, I need to talk to my next-door neighbours about smoking right outside the front door, rather than passive-aggressively closing the window whenever smoke blows in :/ That definitely requires spoons :(

In happier news, I watched Dara O Briain's Science Club on BBC iPlayer yesterday and it's amazing. They report science news in a reasonably non-patronising way, and do lots of little experiments during the programme itself, in all areas of science. I'm mildly amused because one of the presenters is someone I knew at Imperial, a guy called Alok Jha. He looks absolutely the same as he did then, which isn't bad considering he's claiming to be 37. (I don't think he can be, since I'm sure he was a third year when I was a first year, and I don't think he would have gone to uni aged 16... But maybe I'm misremembering).

Everyone say "Happy birthday" to my dear ex-girlfriend [livejournal.com profile] artremis tomorrow, because she's awesome, and I have failed to get a card to her due to the aforementioned sickness and blergh. She likes bunnies, knitting, coffee, and plushies, so if you can find pictures of knitted bunny plushies drinking coffee, that might work well.
baratron: (Warning: Sick!)
We went to a wedding last night. I enjoyed it more than any other wedding at which I knew no one (the groom is an ex-work colleague of Richard's), and possibly more than quite a few weddings at which I've known almost everyone. Except I got poisoned by dairy, & am rather too ill to sleep.

It could be worse - I might not have been suspicious, in which case I'd have eaten the whole dairy-containing thing instead of a few mouthfuls. And it might not have been such a hot day, in which case I wouldn't have been routinely taking "friendly" bacteria capsules every few hours. (Gods only know what my belly would be like without all the Lactobacillus I've swallowed). Still, my insides are upset & they're making me grumpy.
baratron: (corrosive)
I was going to eat this frozen macaroni "cheese" thing for lunch. It's one of the only vegan ready meals that exists which is also close enough to food for me to be able to consider it. But I opened the packet and it had a 1.5 cm thick layer of ice crystals on top. This wasn't promising. Hacked that off, and found the pasta and sauce underneath was all freezer-burned. Tried to cook it anyway but it's completely dried out and inedible.

Obviously, my mum can take it back to the shop and complain, but SOMEONE has fucked up the storage of the frozen food somewhere along the line. I'm suspecting it's the shop where she bought it because I've had dubiously slushy, obviously melted and refrozen ice cream from there before. Bloody "health" food shops that can't manage to keep their freezers at the right temperature :/

So now I'm eating a bag of crisps and an apple and pretending this is lunch. My back and left leg hurt too much for any kind of cooking which involves more than sitting on a BEKVÄM stool while stuff heats in the microwave. Can't even manage pasta or rice today since I can't bend down to get a clean pan out of the cupboard or reach up to get a bag of carbohydrate product out of the other cupboard... Life would be so much easier if I didn't have all these food intolerances - but the Chronic Fatigue Clinic specialist (an immunologist) reckons they're due to the chronic fatigue anyway. Urgh.

Have to go to UCL for a conference tomorrow & Wednesday. Not looking forward to an early morning. Well, I'll get there as soon as my leg lets me.
baratron: (science genius girl)
I'm feeling well enough to restart my PhD again this term. Spoke to Philip on Friday about changing my project to something more manageable with my physical limitations, and that actually went remarkably well. I'll write more about it when it's all been approved by the Graduate Committee.

There are various Things to deal with this term: the Graduate Symposium and the Retreat, both of which terrify me. I still don't know how exactly I'm going to get to Mill Hill for something that starts before 10 am, or how I'm going to manage for a whole day in a strange place without anywhere to go and collapse if necessary, but I'll work that out later. The Retreat is in Cambridge and involves an overnight stay, and is no doubt fully catered, which fills me with utter horror. I have a long-term phobia of Other People Controlling My Dietary Intake. It started when I was a teenage vegetarian and people thought I would eat chicken, or chilli with the pieces of meat fished out (eww). It's only got worse as I've developed quite genuine food intolerances. Traces of dairy make me really very unwell in the digestive department for an alarmingly long time.

Perhaps in preparation for this, I am doing something on Wednesday which terrifies me. They picked six random students and invited us to lunch with the visiting speaker at College. I'm not sure if it was random or if they looked for people whose work was vaguely relevant to hers. I wrote back and said that it isn't that I *can't* go, but that I have lots of food intolerances; but apparently there is no prebooked menu, and you can choose anything they sell. So I agreed to go because I've become way too good at avoiding things which make me anxious. At a time of mental health crisis, it's reasonable to avoid extra stress, but in the long term it isn't healthy - you can't get through life by avoidance.

I will no doubt regret this decision multiple times between now and Wednesday afternoon, but what is the actual worst that can happen? That there's nothing I can eat apart from a bit of salad and fruit? No one ever died from missing one meal! I have to keep my fears in perspective.
baratron: (aibo)
I'm at BiCon, and so are my allergies! Woke up 4 times in the night wheezing & feel like death. I blame the one, very thin pillow, which is still too low even after having some clothes shoved under it, & too smelly despite having been double-wrapped in a spare pillowcase I brought from home. I also blame the duvet of doom which must contain all the dustmites in the world, and the ridiculously thin sheet separating me from the mattress & who knows how many years' worth of student secretions?

Currently trying to decide whether to get up for the 11.30am session or go back to bed until the 2.30pm slot, & whether I'm going to the accommodation office here to see if they can give me another pillow, or just into town to BUY a new, clean one!

My poor lungs. My poor itchy eyes. My poor sinuses & itchy nose :(
baratron: (richard)
I have been terrible at writing anything in livejournal recently. In some ways I'm feeling better than I was over the summer, in other ways I'm feeling worse. I think my chronic fatigue and associated low grade depression is being replaced with winter allergies, snot, and seasonal affective depression. (Yes, the tag that seems to say "sad" because livejournal lowercases everything is actually SAD. Although SAD makes you sad, so I suppose it works nonetheless).

I will try to update this thing at least with the various posts that I've been meaning to make (over the past few months). But "try" is the active word, because my energy levels are too low for most meaningful communication. I can manage irc most nights, but anything more is difficult. 10 minute phone calls are okay, but not so much the sprawling 45 minute phone call I had this evening with a friend who just wasn't getting "I need to go now" despite very clear direct communication :/

Anyway, Richard is going away first thing in the morning, and won't be back until next Tuesday, so I'm feeling quite anxious about how I'm going to manage. Quite apart from being my partner, he is also my primary carer, and I rely on him a lot more than he realises. Also, I am not the sort of person who can cope with being alone for more than a few hours at a time even when totally healthy - well, as healthy as I get. My mum will be around, but lovely though she is, she tends to be a bit of an energy vampire - which is the last thing I need! And then just to make things REALLY difficult, my sleep patterns are messed up again. I was doing okay on the being awake in the morning and asleep at night until, as ever, I got ill and had to sleep a lot more. Now I'm back to waking up around 5pm and not being able to fall asleep before 7am. ARGH!

I can't decide whether I should try to do chronotherapy to push my sleep patterns back to "normal" for my timezone, or leave myself on this pattern. The argument for pushing it forward is that it'll be easier to be social with local people if I'm awake at more normal times. The argument for leaving it be is that chronotherapy is DIFFICULT even with someone there who can help you arrange food, etc. Trying to do it on my own would probably be A Bad Thing. Plus, a lot of the people I talk to online are either nocturnal like me, or in timezones that are compatible with 1am-4am chatting. I don't know a lot of people who are around from 8pm-11pm.

Blah.

So if anyone feels capable of providing some company, I'd appreciate it. The house is a really bad tip at the moment, as is typical for people with depression and no spare energy, but if you can cope with that, let me know. I might even be able to drag myself into London some days, it really depends on how my work goes (if it goes).
baratron: (pikachu)
Haven't written anything here in ages. This is because I successfully achieved my goal of spending the Easter long weekend doing nothing but sleeping and playing Pokemon :)

Oh, there was some other stuff. Went shopping for trousers, my least favourite thing ever, and achieved 5 pairs that fit - including the first pair of jeans I've owned in years! Managed this by picking up every size 18/20 pair of black trousers in Marks & Spencer and analysing it by the two essential criteria of "Is there enough fabric to cover my arse?" and "Will my fat thighs fit in this?". Then took something like 12 pairs to the changing room. Discovered that in some styles the 18 Short isn't just cut down in the legs like you'd expect, but also in the arse region (what?), so I have several pairs of 18 Short but also 2 in 18 Medium. Bought multiple copies of the trousers I really liked so I don't have to go shopping again for a few more years, yay.

Also: taught a few students, delivered leaflets for the Liberal Democrats, signed the nomination papers for the local LibDem councillors (!), saw Tim & Peter and gave Tim his birthday present. Ran out of antihistamine and discovered that it really does work! (itchy, sticky, miserable eyes with bizarre watering followed).

Did not do anything towards tidying the house courtesy of Richard being at work on Saturday and paintball marshalling on Sunday (and therefore sleeping on Monday). Just as well I hadn't planned to, eh?
baratron: (squid!)
Argh. Didn't manage to get what normal people consider sleep last night. I managed to fall asleep multiple times, but each time I only stayed asleep for about half an hour at a time. Kept waking up because I was too hot/ thirsty/ snotty/ itchy/ needed the loo, or because there was too much noise... Am still incredibly snotty and itchy, and feel like death warmed up.

My exam on Thursday is scheduled for the morning. Even if that means starting at 11 am or 12 noon, it's going to be a challenge with my current state of snot. Where has it all come from? I'm already taking eye drops, a nose spray and an antihistamine. Gah.
baratron: (goggles)
If this is disjointed, bear with me. My brain isn't working too well.

Today the itching has been so bad that I decided I can't possibly go on as is. I didn't have a rash for all the months I was on 200 mg of carbamazepine, but I developed one within 6 weeks of increasing the dose. (The usual timescale for such things is 3-8 weeks.) What I wanted to do was keep going at 300 mg and see if the rash went away, but I just can't stand it, and it's too long until the blood test results will be back on Thursday or Friday. I really can't express what it's like to itch, itch, itch the whole time so that concentrating on anything becomes almost impossible.

So today I only took 200 mg. I figured that I'd have a couple of days of relative sanity before severe SAD and inability to use brain came back, which would be enough time for the purpose. I totally forgot about my menstrual cycle. Which would be why I've spent the past couple of hours sitting here reading fanfic on the internet and crying my eyes out.

ARGH!
baratron: (scary)
Went to the London Vegan Festival on Sunday. Saw [livejournal.com profile] friend_of_tofu, [livejournal.com profile] alextiefling and [livejournal.com profile] darkfloweruk there. IT WAS VERY BUSY! So much so that when I arrived (3 pm) they were having to count people in and out of the venue due to having exceeded capacity. Wow. Got some amazing (bilingual!) maple syrup chocolates from hipo hyfryd, some less than 1% fat but still tasty fake meat from Yagga, and various other odds and ends. Was somewhat taken aback that none of the people selling cakes had BOXES to put them in. Am I really the only person who could drop £10 at a time on cupcakes to take home and share with all my friends? Next time, will be armed with reusable plastic tubs.

Currently feeling a bit eurgh. Basically ok but snotty. Not sure if I'm going down with some virus or simply have a lot of allergies at the moment. So, the Alanis Morrisette-style irony is that I desperately need to clean my house, because it's dusty as anything and I am severely allergic to dust mite poo, but am in the worst possible state to tackle such a chore because I'm already all wheezy and sticky-eyed. Think I will be fluttering sticky eyelashes at Richard tonight and saying "Wuzzie, can you do some vacuuming please?". (Wuzzie contributions to housework haven't been happening so much lately because he is still trying to work two full-time jobs. Hmm.)

Am having a minor attack of wibbling and flailing because I have an interview at Birkbeck College at 6pm on Thursday. The timing is awesome, because even given how exhausted I've been the past week or so, I will be properly awake by then. Also it is with the member of staff that I got on fantastically well with at the open day. Nonetheless, it is still An Interview and thus still Scary, and I still have Fear that he will ask me chemistry-related questions to which I go "Uhhh..." and look like an idiot. Should really get offline and do some revision...
baratron: (cn tower)
Thanks to all who commented on my last post. Visit to the doctor yesterday [0] went extremely well, far better than I could have imagined. I have an actual diagnosis!

One of the reasons I like my GP is that he's ridiculously experienced in all sorts of areas of medicine. He has a "special interest" in psychiatry and knows more about psych meds than any of the psychiatrists I've ever seen, but he's also worked on other things as well. When he does eventually retire completely, it will be impossible for me to ever find someone else that good. He's involved in the training of the new kiddy doctors that come into the practice, but there are certain things that it's hard for a person to teach. He's probably the only doctor I've ever met who is able to totally adjust his way of relating to patients based on his perception of the patient's intelligence and knowledge. I managed to train him out of patronising me years ago, and we have interesting conversations about biochemical modes of action of medicines rather than the "this is how your lungs work" type explanation that I get from everyone else. (Sometimes, even after I explain to them that I have a chemistry degree and tell them everything they were about to tell me. Grrr.)

Anyway, it turns out that I have a really rare form of asthma. h-l is weird - we all knew that already, right? Turns out my lungs are weird too. What I have is called bronchorrhea (with optional extra o in British English), which means extreme overproduction of snot, where "too much" is defined as more than 100 ml per day. I laughed a lot when I read that online and looked at a fifth of my 500 ml bottle of water. That's about the amount I produce from cycling up a steep hill.

Bronchorrhea is a common symptom for 70% of asthmatics but usually only in severe asthma attacks that you're hospitalised for. Generally, the only people who get it on a daily basis have serious lung diseases like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and basal cell carcinoma. Something that causes damage to the cells of the lungs. I'm sure I don't have lung cancer because I've been snotty like this since I was a baby. So I am just a freak. Read more... )
baratron: (flasks)
Regarding this post, a letter to my GP about my asthma meds.

What I wanted to write:
I am writing to complain about the way that various members of the practice have become obsessed with trying to reduce my asthma medication. I would like this letter to be formally added to my medical notes so that I no longer have to waste my valuable breath repeating myself.

What I actually wrote:It's four pages of A4, you have been warned. )
baratron: (flasks)
WHY are my doctors permanently obsessed with trying to reduce my asthma meds? My asthma is good BECAUSE I'm on the dose I'm on. It's not a shockingly high dose for a person of my age and size - in fact, it's quite a low dose for an adult.

I'm annoyed because a) I went swimming on Friday for the first time in ages, and for possibly the first time since I was at school I could swim into the deep end of a chlorinated pool and not run out of air and panic, which impressed me greatly; and b) the dose I'm on is still not quite enough for me to cycle up Kingston Hill without almost dying of a snot attack. I'm especially annoyed because my doctor decided to change the drug without consulting me, so I now have an inhaler containing a drug which stopped working for me when I was 19. My asthma is very much worse than it was when I was 19, so there's no way it's going to work. Gah!
baratron: (blue)
I am a million, trillion, zillion years behind with livejournal. Or about 10 days. Same difference :)

Stuff in my life is generally "ok". Richard had a birthday! We went out for delicious curry at Joy with [livejournal.com profile] hatter, [livejournal.com profile] mjl, [livejournal.com profile] otterylexa and [livejournal.com profile] rowan_leigh & [livejournal.com profile] fluffymormegil, who we don't get to see enough. Sadly, the sekrit surprise guests [livejournal.com profile] hiddenpaw & [livejournal.com profile] sangluna couldn't come due to stock issues. I bought Richard a The Sun Is Trying To Kill Me sweatshirt from J!NX, and also their Disobey hoodie, and my mum got him the most excellent heavy metal t-shirt in the world ever. To my disappointment, it does not feature hexavalent chromium, but many other heavy metals are represented in true metal font.

Had an asthma & allergy review which was spectacularly boring. Apparently I do absolutely everything right, and there are no other drugs they can give me, so I'm going to have to live with my current level of chronic snot forever (or at least until they invent something new). This is really quite depressing. People without chronic snot can almost certainly not understand how debilitating it is (it's like having a cold or hay fever, with all the head stuffiness and confusion, and itchy nose and ears and sinus pain, and irritability due to itchiness; only it never goes away, and never gets any better). I'm ridiculously allergic to dust mite faeces and sulphur dioxide, and also slightly allergic to pollen, mould spores, various scents, generic PM10 and ozone... there is no season in which I am not constantly snotty, and I'm sick of it :X

I have a new printer which is revolutionising my work environment. It's an HP Officejet which can print and photocopy in full colour double-sided, and has a sheet feeder. It takes less than a minute to print a quantity of material which would take my crappy HP home printer over 15 minutes. It is very sexy. Bizarrely, I bought it through PC World's business division, and got to pay £70 less for it than it would have cost me to buy it from the regular store. Apparently businesses are heavily subsidised compared to home users. New HP-branded ink cartridges were around half of the home users' price (or about what I normally pay to get my existing cartridges refilled). I wish I'd known this - ooh, four years ago when I started being self-employed :P

The tricycle may actually be ready to ride tomorrow. Hooray. Have been exhausting myself walking everywhere. Excitement will be postponed until I know if the repair worked.
baratron: (test tube)
It is officially the week with the crappest air quality in the UK. This is something that I, of all people, know only too well. In 2003 I wrote a master's thesis on the statistics of air quality, in which I analysed the hourly air quality reports from seven sites in the DEFRA air quality automated monitoring network over as many years as data was available. I looked at PM10 and ozone from all seven sites, and PM2.5 from the two sites where it was available. PM10 is primary pollution produced directly from combustion, specifically particles smaller than 10 micrometres; and ground-level ozone is secondary pollution, produced by photochemical reactions on primary pollutants in sunlight.

Today is Guy Fawkes' night, which commemorates the Gunpowder Plot. Depending on how you look at it, we are celebrating either the salvation of the British monarch from being blown up, or the plotters' valiant attempt to destroy the Houses of Parliament. I suspect which depends on your personal opinion of the monarchy and our British Parliamentary system. We celebrate by lighting bonfires and exploding fireworks. The celebrations generally last from the Saturday before Guy Fawkes' to the Saturday after - and this year, Diwali falls within this time, causing even more fireworks to be set off.

The thing about fireworks, and especially bonfires, is that neither of them are particularly good for air quality. Great quantities of PM10 and sulphur dioxide are produced by bonfires, as well as other noxious pollutants depending on what people choose to burn. (Plastics and rubber should never be burned on a bonfire.) The average urban level of PM10 goes up from 50 micrograms per metre cubed to well over 100, and may spike as high as 600. 100 micrograms per metre cubed is the warning level for asthmatics and other sufferers of respiratory diseases, greatly increasing the risk of asthma attack and hospitalisation. This increase lasts all week, and the weather becomes terrible as a result. PM10 are cloud condensation nuclei, which cause water vapour in the air to form as droplets. As a result, we get lots of mist and fog at ground level, and a lot more rain. Sulphur dioxide has an albedo effect that leads to cooling, and the temperature drops along with all the fog. It is unlikely that we'll see much sun all week.

I hate this week. I have to be careful about opening windows or going outside. I have to take far more asthma and allergy meds than usual just to function. The cooler temperatures and damp weather play havoc with my joints, and the lack of sunlight makes me want to crawl into a hole and die. The fireworks look pretty, but hardly compensate for all the rest of it.
baratron: (flasks)
So, as part of an ongoing effort to replace the cleaning chemicals in my life with alternative cleaning chemicals from more natural sources, I switched from Carex Sensitive handwash & shower gel to one by Ecover. Coincidentally, having bought these things, Ecover & the Vegan Society had a fairly public falling-out, the result of which is that Ecover is officially no longer vegan. I'm not sure I care about the veganicity of my household products, but I do care about the environmental impact of them. However, the Ecover has turned out to be No Use for me because, for the first time ever, I have itchy, flaky eczema all over my left hand & wrist, and really irritated arms. This is annoying, because while I've technically had eczema for years, it's never manifested to this degree before.

So I need to find a new shower gel & handwash. I would prefer it to be at least vegetarian, and the chemicals in it should be natural source plant extract type things (or at least nature identical). I also want it to not give me itchy bloody eczema! I have ridiculously sensitive skin, though the majority of things I react to are either animal-derived (lanolin, casein) or common allergens (latex, rue). I'd also prefer it to have as little smell as possible, or food-type smells. (Flowery fragrances make me nauseous, but cinnamon, vanilla & cocoa are good.) I don't care about cost, within reason. (£5 is the most I'd expect to pay for a normal-sized bottle of shower gel.)

Help?!
baratron: (introspection)
On Tuesday, I went to see the new nurse practitioner at my GP's surgery for an asthma check. I obtained a new prescription, took it to the pharmacy, and exchanged it for three inhalers. This is very important in the story which is to follow.

On Wednesday, as I was packing my bag, I found myself entirely too low in spoons to estimate how many of each particular drug I should pack for a 10 day trip. (Some of my pills are once a day, some twice a day, some three times a day, some as and when required - way too many different variables to work out on not enough sleep.) So I overpacked everything - if I thought I'd need two strips of tablets, I packed three. In particular, I thought it was likely that my sodium cromoglicate nasal spray would run out halfway through the trip so threw another one into the bag, and I knew that my Flixotide inhaler was going to run out, as I take 4 puffs a day and it was reading "15". To put my mind at ease, I grabbed one of the new inhalers and packed it in my other bag, so that I'd have a Flixotide in each one in case one of the bags went missing. This is also very important to understand.

Last night I got back from the wedding and noticed the Flixotide I'd been taking was reading "3". By the time I'd actually taken it, it was down to "1". I was too exhausted and brainfried to figure out where the other inhaler was, but I told Richard to remind me I'd need it in the morning. Then I went to bed. For some reason, the room was hard to breathe in, despite it being supposedly a non-smoking room. We figured the airconditioning unit was dirty and/or blowing air from the smoking rooms into the non-smoking rooms, and opened the window instead.

This morning I woke up with my nose, ears and sinuses completely blocked, and head all foggy from not breathing properly. I spent 15 minutes clearing my nasal passages out with Olbas oil and saline and rebreathed my own exhaled air to get my carbon dioxide levels up. It was really important that I got all my allergy and asthma medication in correctly. Well, you can guess what happened. Couldn't find the new inhaler in any of the damn bags, and it's prescription-only, and I didn't even know for certain if the drug was available in Canada. Argh.

Cue the expertise of [livejournal.com profile] zedrikcayne's cousin Lorenzo, who is a local, who drove me first to a 24-hour pharmacy, and then to a walk-in clinic. It turned out to be the work of minutes to actually obtain a prescription for the inhaler (called Flovent in Canada) from a Canadian doctor. However, vast amounts of waiting around were necessary to get to that stage. It cost me CAN $50 for the doctor's time, and $41.06 for the inhaler, none of which I can claim back on my travel insurance, as it doesn't cover pre-existing conditions. And I was so lucky to have had access to a local with a car, because I'm not sure the hotel staff would have been able to help much at all. But we missed hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] nooks, [livejournal.com profile] annb and Henry, and caused inconvenience to [livejournal.com profile] geminigirl and [livejournal.com profile] zedrikcayne, and all kinds of inconvenience to Cayne's cousin, who was a total stranger.

I am eagerly awaiting getting home, so I can find out whether that spare inhaler is in fact sitting proudly in the middle of the living room floor, or if it did go missing in transit. Because if it's the former, I can kick myself, but if the latter, it's really not my fault.
baratron: (bunches)
I had this great plan to get caught up on livejournal and email this evening. Then I got distracted by a book, and have been trying to combine chatting on irc with reading it. It's sorta working.

Was in an awful mood this morning. Had two nightmares, one after the other, and woke up mumbling about tarantulas. I must have been in quite a state, because Richard went out and bought me breakfast without being prompted. I felt like crap. When I'd finally got dressed and walked round to the bus stop though, the workmen working on the house on the corner were outside with the radio on loudly. And they were playing "Somewhere in my heart" by Aztec Camera, and one of the men was singing along. It's one of the few songs that never fails to lift my mood, and it was all I could do not to stop and join in.

Okami has suddenly got very, very hard. Oni Island was more of a drag than a pleasure. Fortunately, the game has that wonderful feature whereby it's able to adjust the difficulty level to the ability of the player. You have to repeatedly race against a scrap of paper (!) called Evil Being Tobi, and I noticed that the fifth time I had to repeat the first race it was easier. After that, I started paying attention to the amount of time Tobi took to run the racecourse, and after the third attempt his time increases, and goes on increasing until finally you manage to beat him. (For me, it took 5 to 9 attempts on each bloody racecourse, and there are something like 10 of them, making this area of the game ridiculously slow. If it wasn't for the game varying the difficulty because I sucked, I couldn't have got past that at all.) Why can't all games do this? It's so frustrating when you're unable to complete a game that you've paid money for simply because your coordination or ability to press buttons rapidly or depth perception isn't fantastic.

Tree sex season is annoying me muchly. I have itchy eyes and a runny nose all the time. I'm reminded of when Richard & I went to a lecture about "planting an allergy-free garden", and Richard condensed the whole thing to "have only lesbian plants". It does make sense: hay fever is caused by pollen, so if you only have plants that are exclusively female, rather than ones that have both male and female on the same plant, you reduce the amount of pollen in your garden. I just find the idea of lesbian plants hilarious.
baratron: (me)
It seems not completely surprising to me that yesterday I woke up violently panicky and my left ankle was so swollen that I spent the whole day limping around at half my usual speed, leaning heavily on my stick. My physical and mental health is linked pretty closely. Nor does it surprise me that today I woke up panicky and my nose was full of dust and itching. The link between panic and chronic hyperventilation exists for many people.

Yesterday's main panic was related to the fact that the doctor's appointment I've booked with my doctor (who is impossible to see at the best of times) was for "Friday 20th March", a date that does not exist. There is a Tuesday 20th March and a Friday 23rd March this year, as well as Friday 20th April. The practice computer says I am due a med review before I can have any more repeat prescriptions, and in addition I need to see my doctor this side of going on holiday. So I was really quite worried that my appointment was actually booked for April. But it isn't, it's on Tuesday. Hooray.

Stuff I need to see the doctor about. )

Meals this week. )

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