Saturday, October 27, 2007

When will it end...?

My last entry concerned my lingering medical issues and an unfortunate experience with a severe allergy to a medication I had been prescribed. Thankfully I can report that the treatment to counteract the allergic reaction was successful and I am back to normal on several fronts. Unfortunately I'm still not in the pink. My system has been thrown so out of balance that I've had trouble sleeping and am listless. Further, the rainy weather triggers my dysequilibrium so I'm not only feeling crappy, I'm off balance as well. I'm really sick and tired of being sick and tired. It's a depressing state of affairs.

On a brighter note, my son reached a milestone this week when he celebrated his 18th birthday. During the week, I cooked a very special dinner, made apple empanadas (with homegrown apples, of course) and baked a chocolate cake. We also went out to a nice dinner one night at one of our favorite Italian restaurants.

You think your worries are over once your kids reach the age of maturity. That may have been true a generation ago but not so today, at least not in NYC. Life here has become so expensive and competitive that young people can't become independent as easily nowadays. In many cases, their medical insurance converage ends when they turn 18 or 19. Getting a job is harder than it ever was. Kids nowadays can't afford to move out if they want to live in New York. That means they stay at home, continue living pretty much as they always have, but they do it at a much larger scale. I love my kids but quite frankly I look forward to the day that they grow up and leave. Looks like that day is still a long way off, especially since I've still got a child in high school.

In my rich fantasy life, I am an empty-nester, living (finally) in a tidy, well-kept home, tending to my garden, enjoying my crafts and free to get away for a weekend at a moment's notice. In my real life, I'm just a sick and tired woman who is still raising kids for the next umpteen years.

Life just ain't fair.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and all ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I can't make this stuff up...

For two months now, I have been suffering from a laundry list of ills that is becomming more bizarre by the moment. I will try to describe this in as few words as possible.

At the beginning of September, I discovered what I believed to be an abcess on my upper left gum. This diagnosis was confirmed several days later by a dentist who said the problem had to be dealt with by an oral surgeon. In the interim he prescribed an antibiotic to help treat the infection. I made an appointment with the oral surgeon for the following week. The day before the appointment I received a call from the surgeon's office to inform me that the appointment had to be pushed back because of a death in the surgeon's family. I was prescribed more antibiotics to carry me until the following week.

When I finally saw the surgeon, he lanced and drained the abcess and advised me that he would have to perform surgery to get to the root of the problem (literally) and advised another round of antibiotics. The following week, he performed surgery, ordered me to return in a week's time for a follow-up and gave me more antibiotics to prevent re-infection of the surgical site.

If you've been keeping track, this makes four weeks of continual antibiotic use, more than anyone should have to endure. This extended use of drugs created an imbalance in my digestive tract by killing all the beneficial fauna in my intestines, causing chronic diarrhea, intermittent fever and nausea. Here's where it becomes really interesting.

After nearly two weeks of non-stop diarrhea, I saw my private doctor who prescribed a drug to counteract the effects of the antibiotic and restore balance to my system. After taking it for two days, I developed an allergic reaction to the medicine in the form of intense itching, scratching and large blistery hives appearing all over my body. It turns out that I am a member of a very very small group of people who are allergic to this medication (vancomycin, in case you're interested).

Allergic reactions to orally administered vancomycin are very rare, very severe and commonly known as Red Man Syndrome because the skin turns bright red as if it were sunburned. Neither my doctor nor my pharmacist had ever encountered such a case, although they had both heard of it. My doctor said my reaction is so rare, she could write my case up for presentation to the medical community.

Right now I look as if I was attacked by a hive of bees. My eyelids are nearly swollen shut and the blisters across my body are frightful. Thankfully the condition is not permanent, is easily treatable and doesn't leave any lingering ill effects. I have been in constant contact with my doctor who is monitoring me closely. I'm taking Benadryl to counteract the intense itching and redness and have been prescribed a mild steroid to deal with the skin eruptions.

As of this moment, I am truly too grotesque to be seen by others. No, I am not exaggerating here. My son saw me early this morning and the look on his face was one of utter fright. My husband can not believe what he sees. As if my own medical woes aren't enough, during this same two month period, I have had to deal with health issues concerning both my mother and my daughter. Thankfully they have both recovered from their respective issues.

I can only hope that when my particular concerns are resolved, it will be the end of my travails and that I will have no further medical issues in the near future. Keeping fingers and toes crossed here.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and all ways,
Gitana, the Creative Diva

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Long and eventful is the only way to describe the day I have had today. I don't think there is any way to relate the tale other than to just launch into it.

I awoke after spending three days and nights nursing a low grade fever and an annoying case of diarrhea. I say annoying because it was not in any way debilitating but it kept me tied to the bathroom at least 20 minutes out of every hour. It didn't affect my appetite, just my bowels. I checked my email (between bathroom breaks) and while doing some online research for my thesis I discovered that some friends of mine had made it to the hallowed halls of YouTube and were featured dancing and drumming at the 2nd BiAnnual Bomba Research Conference in Chicago that took place Labor Day weekend. I had wanted to go but couldn't afford it and now I'm envious. Well, at least I've got some suitable candidates for my research interviews.

As if I have nothing else to do, I decided to create another blog. As I have mentioned in previous postings, I am an artistic creature whose creativity takes many different forms. I am currently designing specialty note cards and greeting cards and have successfully completed my first custom order. My new blog, called The Creative Diva, will be dedicated to my artistic endeavors and the creative process. As soon as I have it more fleshed out, I will provide a link on this page for easy access.

Later in the day, my gastric distress had abated somewhat so I spent the afternoon in the backyard with my husband picking apples. He was unusually industrious today (a fact that he will surely not let me forget until this time next year), and he decided he wanted to tackle our huge apple tree and bring down some of the beauties growing in the upper branches. This adventure ended with one pair of shorts split down the back seam (his) and one crate full of over 120 apples weighing just over 50 pounds. I don't have to tell you that I immediately started peeling apples for a pie and calling family and friends to come and take some. Between peeling apples, cooking dinner and stewing beans for future meals, I spent 5 hours in the kitchen, darting back and forth from the television during commercial breaks once my Sunday night lineup began. Those of you who watch Sunday night TV know what I mean.

Then came the capstone. My husband, who for some reason forgot he had had dinner, made a comment about wanting to eat. I immediately countered by telling him to put on his shoes and take a walk with me. (For those of you unfamiliar with this scenario, read my August posting entitled "Of Ice Cream and Summer Walks".) After an initial reaction of horror, he decided ice cream might not be a bad idea after all so we all decided to hit our local "Taste the Tropics", an ice cream parlor that serves all manner of creamy delights in authentic tropical flavors. As the hour was late, we abandoned the television and bolted for the car in the hope of catching the place while it was still open. As we rolled up to the store, an employee was locking the door from the inside but the inner lights were still on. We honked the horn to get his attention and I made pleading gestures from my window. The employee rolled his eyes and signalled us to enter. We cheered, piled out of the car and into the store, as gleeful as kids scoring forbidden treasure. This entire chain of events, from concept to storefront, took only 10 minutes. Amazing how motivating a sweet treat can be.

Later, as we slowly drove home contentedly licking our confections, I couldn't help thinking how happy we all felt and how this one simple, spontaneous act of caprice will probably be something we would remember fondly for many, many years. It was a great ending to a pretty darned good day, gastric issues notwithstanding.

Like I said once before, sometimes ya just gotta MAKE your moments.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and All Ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva