Changing Times

Struggling this week. Few weeks left in my shortened semester. My first semester back in grad school. My last first semester. It’s been rough, tougher than usual. For all of us. Residency took all my energy last week. Now it’s time for writing papers. Now it’s time for sleeping less. Now it’s time for picking up slack from that weekend I went to the pumpkin patch or played board games with my boys. Now it’s long days at my desk, sore knees and wrists. Running to rummage something up for dinner in between workshop Zoom calls and more reading. Now the cold is setting in.

I’m not complaining. Geez, I know it seems like I am. I do recognize my situation is pretty good. All things considered. And I do wish other’s were just as good. I don’t want to complain. I don’t mean to complain.

The air is changing. The semester is changing. The world is changing. I want to think it’s all changing for the good. I want to feel that way, but I don’t. Not today. Maybe tomorrow. Probably tomorrow.

I hope your changing times are okay. Are hopeful and necessary. Are as pain free as they can be.

M.

Homegood’s Art

Listen, I like to collect art from every state we live in. Local art, fan art, and yes corporate, stuffy art from big box stores, essentially whatever tickles my fancy, though to be fair I’m partial to the homemade kind. Still, whenever I come across state art I stop and take a gander. There’s flea market finds, yard sale finds, Etsy artists, Instagram artists, printmakers at art fairs, and Homegoods. This is a story about Homegoods art and the city of Atlanta.

We moved to Georgia last April. April first to be exact. And by April 10th, we were completely unpacked, thanks to the help of my mother-in-law and some very handy movers. So by the end of April I was already shopping around for home accents. My first stop was Homegood’s. Duh.

While there I came across an adorable work of art, complete with the artist’s note on the back to try to make me think the artist was getting some sort of compensation for their work. Listen, I’m not going to pretend to know how the art world operates, but I’m pretty sure Homegoods/TJ Maxx is not offering artist in residence. Anywho, there I was face to face with something I thought would look adorable in my dining room:

Here’s why it caught my eye: The framing job. Perfect! And the cute paper. The signed work. The pastel colors (that were bound to match the new curtains I’d just bought). So I paid what I paid, maybe $40, and took my cute art home.

It took exactly one year of looking at this picture, of learning about our city and state, of having guests comment on how adorable it was before I realized it was racist as hell.

What’s that, you ask. Yeah, I said it, racist as hell.

Check it. From looking at this art you would have no idea that Martin’s Luther King Jr. was such an integral part of the city. There’s no John Lewis. No Civil Rights Museum. But, as Jackson pointed out to me one day, there are four golf courses, two of which I’m pretty sure we’re “Whites Only” well into the 1980s.

There’s also Stone Mountain. Fun. I wonder why they left the KKK hoods out? Artist discretion, I suppose.

There’s also the Tophat Soccer Club. Gee, thanks. And the airport. Really? There’s the airport and some white-ass soccer club, but you had nowhere to stick The King Center? We’re gonna go ‘head and celebrate Six Flags, but pretend like President Jimmy Carter ain’t from ‘round here? Okay, cool, cool, cool. I see you.

Hmpf. So there it’s been. Hanging on my wall. Until this week wherein I replaced it, finally, with something we can all get behind:

Now granted, this was an impulse buy. Just something to get on my wall until I wait for an artist’s rendering of Georgia or Atlanta (preferably a Black artist) to sweep me off my feet. But, the price was good and it matched my new blanket and I feel less gross about the whole thing. Even though I bought it at Homegood’s.

Oh, leave me alone.

M.

Ps… Don’t be a racist asshole.

Things are Getting Stranger

We finished season one of “Stranger Things” with Jackson last week and have moved on to season two, but we can only watch it during the day because he likes it, but also thinks it’s creepy. Sure, I feel that flow. So it’s been slow going, but he has developed a little obsession with Hopper, which makes sense seeing as Jackson loves the law. Police Chief Jim Hopper is his new favorite, but “Stranger Things” isn’t new at our house.

Way back in 2018, Jerimiah and I watched the first season with my mom when she was visiting. She also loved the show, and had asked to wait to watch the next season with her until she came back again. Well we forgot about it the last time she was here, so we’ve been stuck in this season one standoff for ages now. Back then Jackson was too scared to watch it BUT he had a little crush on a girl who liked the show and when he asked her what she thought he should be for Halloween that year, she said “Eleven” from “Stranger Things.” So this happened…

Yeah, that’s all of us dressed up for Trunk-or-Treat at Jackson’s school that year to impress a girl he never got the guts to “ask out.” Ho hum.

We were a big hit, but I did have to explain the Eggo connection to him because again, he’d NEVER watched the show.

Fast forward to 2020 and he’s like, “Ohhh, now I get the Eggos!”

Cool.

Anyway, I wanted to be Marv, Harry, and Kevin from “Home Alone” this year. But then Covid happened and well, it’s not like we are going trick-or-treating anyway, so I let him do what he wanted and guess what he wanted?

Yeah, that’s Chief Hopper with a (fake) cigarette dangling from his mouth while he decides if he’s gonna crack open another beer or get to work. “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation” my 12-year-old has taken a liking to saying, “Coffee and contemplation.”

So there you have it. The Halloween costume has been created, once again, and he was headed to being all dressed up and nowhere to go. That is until we got a great idea! But this is a long post and my fingers are all burned to shit from ironing patches on shirts and coats and what not, so I’ll tell you about that another time. For now, enjoy some more pics of Chief Hopper.

M.

Missed Connections

I was tasked with writing a Hermit Crab Essay in class this week. My professor suggested we don’t give it too much thought, don’t belabor it (we have a ton going on right now) so I didn’t. I sat on my front porch, felt the cool wind blow, and wrote for fifteen minutes on my phone, then copy and pasted this mess to the message boards. Then I thought you all might like it too. I hope you do. Remember, it’s not all terrible right now. We still have words, and art, and Craigslist Missed Connections, and funny Hermit Crab Essays about the things we cherish the most in this life.

M.

Craigslist Missed Connections

Atlanta Metro

Posted 10/21/20

Respond to: BasicBitch@basicbitch.com

I’d just left my therapist’s office, and decided I needed a kiwi. I was looking for any reason to be happy after crying for forty-five minutes. I decided on a kiwi. I drove to Kroger as the wind picked up and the small drops of rain started. This time of year isn’t my favorite. The cold, the rain. On top of what we’ve been through already. It’s all too much. 

I hurried inside the store while struggling to get my mask in place properly, and shielding my hair from the rain drops when I caught the first glimpse of you up ahead. I stopped dead in my tracks and the memories came rushing back. 

I’d been dreaming about you for months. In all my hopes for happiness, for normalcy, you were there, always just out of reach. This realization came to me quickly, brought me back to reality, forced my feet to slush faster through the puddles now forming. I sprinted past the pumpkins on display on the haystacks outside, grabbed the first cart I could find, not even bothering to sanitize it, and ran toward produce where I saw you again. 

You were there, right near the caramel-covered apples, but you weren’t alone. You never are. This time you were with a petite, blond woman. She seemed frail and cold, wrapped in a grey scarf, rubbing her hands together to warm them before wrapping her hands around you. The sight sent a shocking sensation through me, like when you get a lidocaine shot at the dentist and they accidentally hit a nerve. The sight of you hurt, but it was worth it.  

I’ve been a mess, honestly. I’ve been stretched to my mental, physical, and emotional limits this last year. My therapist says I need to look for positivity, wherever, whatever that is. She says I need to stay optimistic that the future will hold goodness, and I want it to hold goodness. But now, more urgently, I want to hold you.

I watched you walking with the blond woman, further away, back toward the deli, so I followed. I’m not sure why I did it, I just did it. Moved my body without thinking much. My therapist’s words echoing in my head, desire pumping through my veins, propelling me toward you, but for what? You were with her. And I didn’t dare get too close. I stayed well over six feet away.

And what did I expect to happen? Did I think I’d be able to snatch you away from her? Did I think I had some possession over you, some agency that she lacked? Was I more deserving, would I treat you better? No. I know I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. Plus, this damn mask. How would I…? And in a Kroger of all places. 

So there we were. So close, yet so far away. I’m sorry I wasn’t brave enough to make a move. I’m sure next time it will be different, but for now I sit and wait for word from you. I sure hope you’re the goodness I need.

If you were in that Kroger last week, if you were with the woman in the grey scarf. If you were that tall, piping hot pumpkin spice latte, please write back. You know who you are. The one in the white cup with PSL written in sharpie on the side. I’m waiting. 

Yours Forever, 

Kroger Woman in a Black Mask

Adventures, Babies, and So Much More

Today is one of my best friend’s birthdays. She’s turns 30-something. Listen, I’m not gonna throw her age around, mainly because it is so far less than mine that I am a little peeved about it, but the important thing is we have known each other so long, that the two young women who met, well before their brains were finished developing, even before one of us could legally drink alcohol, are so far from those two young girls now, yet somehow still need each other, that it’s remarkable and a little sad, because the fact of the matter is, we have never lived further away from each other than we do right now and that’s saying something since most of our twenties were spent in the same town, usually under the same roof, and now here we are miles and miles apart (1800 miles to be exact) and some days that is really bad because some days, many days in the last year or so, we wished we could be nearer, drinking wine on my back deck, or sitting on her couch watching “90-Day Fiancé” while we hide from the world and watch the kids play around us. Ho hum.

Okay, enough about the sadness, it’s Melody’s damn birthday! Last year I was in Tucson to celebrate with her, remember that? Remember back when we could fly places, Mel? Here look:

I’m not in the picture because I’m taking the picture (which we know I love to do, you can read more of that trip and my love of snapshots here) of the girls’ day we spent in the Sonoran Desert last year, going to wineries and generally wrecking havoc on our livers while we laughed under the high desert sun. Oh, the memories. I so wish we were back there again today, Mel.

But alas, you are there and I am here and this is us. I know this year hasn’t been the best one for any of us. I know it’s been a struggle between deaths, and sickness, between learning to navigate losing parents and learning to navigate the terrible unknowns of the world. But sandwiched in between there have been good times. Like getting to see Nashville this summer, or the videos of Bexley learning to walk, or the games nights with the Squad, or the Facetimes just to vent to each other. It’s a crazy world we live in, but it’s also a beautiful world, and as we have grown into the mommies, the wives, the women we have become, we have realized that, slowly but surely.

So today, on your birthday, I want to thank you, friend. Thank you for the lessons of life you have taught me. Thank you for listening to me when I don’t think anyone else will understand. Thank you for always thinking of my kid, for loving him as fiercely as you love your own. Thank you for pushing yourself to see my side of things, for always being down for whatever adventure I want us to go on (and haven’t we gone one some)! Three cheers for Mardi Gras, and Tijuana, and Nashville, and all the other places and times we have fought with each other (wasn’t there some petty shit on a beach on the Mississippi Delta?) Who knows, we’ve always made up, that’s the important part, and we always will. Because friendships like ours are built to last, because women like us are built to last, to get through the turbulence of life, and back round again to the things that make us whole. Thanks, friend, for always helping to make me whole.

I love you, and I hope you have the happiest of birthdays. Let’s drink wine via Zoom with the Squad one day soon. Kisses to the babes.

M.

Pictures for posterity (PS…Thanks, Kasey for always being along for the ride! And at times, Rachel, Julie, and Jerimiah)

The Hike

Jackson took us on a “hike” yesterday evening. He discovered a new trail with his friend Bella a couple of weeks ago that was “way far away.” Way far away, is really just behind our cul-de-sac and he’s been wanting us to go “exploring” out there with him so he could go further out, so we harnessed the dogs and took out about five o’clock last night.

We only made it to the end of the cul-de-sac before our neighbor Mary (who’s just come back from seven months in Germany) stopped us to say hello, tell us she loved our yard signs (BLM and “Bernie, Ok Fine Biden”) and to warn that there is a mother coyote and her babies living back there somewhere. Cool. Cool. Cool. Thanks, Mary! (Side note: she also said she came back to vote “him out” and it was so different being back in the US where no one takes Covid-19 seriously.) Have I mentioned how much we love living in the brightest blue spot in the South?!

Anyway, we trudged off through the woods then, with Jackson and Duke leading the way, while I slapped at mosquitos and tried not to step on Winnie, who is so afraid of everything (she’s literally a 60-pound 8-month old puppy 🙄) that she kept running between Jerimiah and me every time she heard a twig snap.

Jackson was dressed, of course, as Police Chief Hopper from “Stranger Things” because we just finished the first season and he’s obsessed, and also he knew we might need the protection of the law, especially when we reached the “creepy, energy place that has a fence around it” like in “Stranger Things.” We were all, “Oh sure, okay. (Wink, wink).” Until we got to the fence with barbed wire and we’re like, “Oh damn, yep, that’s like in the show. Weird.”

So there you have it. We took a nice long “hike” on what we think is sewer easement land, stuck behind our cul-de-sac and a creek/lake we had no idea existed and right before a creepy energy compound secured with fence and cameras. Not weird. Not weird at all. Ps… we saw a dead raccoon, but no coyotes.

As usual, enjoy the pics from our little adventure.

M.

Is Today Wednesday?

I keep thinking, as the weeks go by, that I will remember what it is like to be in grad school. The skills I learned the first time around might come back to me as suddenly as Cinderella losing her slippers at midnight. But alas, there is no pumpkin turned coach this week. No tiny mice running around behind the scenes helping me out. Well, there was a dead mouse in the basement, but that’s a different story better saved for a different day.

Today I’m confused about what day it is. Today I’m trying to keep track which poetry book I’m caught up on, which craft essay is due first, and whether or not I’ll sneeze and fart at the same time on one of my many Zoom calls this week. It’s a lot.

To top it off, Jackson is in the middle of MAP testing. Virtually. Jerimiah is in the midst of budget season, and we have the holidays around the corner. Sometimes it feels like I’m running but not getting anywhere. I’m the treadmill of life I suppose. The damn treadmill of life.

I hope you’re making ground today.

Oh, it is Wednesday.

Make it a good one!

M.

Bone Thugs

Bone bone bone bone, bone, bone, bone, bone, bone, tell me whatcha gonna do, when you need some new china, what’s the difference between bone and porcelain, who will judge you if you ain’t got either? Tell me… okay, it only works if you know the song “Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony so if not please listen to that and then come back here so we can talk about how I need, nay want, some family heirloom china but didn’t come from a family that could afford family heirloom china so now I have to buy my own and I’ve been living deep down in a rabbit hole of the differences in china and did you know bone china is actually made of bone?

Are you back? Did you listen to Bone Thugs? Are we on the same page now?

Bone china is only legit if it is made from approximately 30% cow bone ash. So yeah. If you’re family has heirloom china and it’s bone china it’s straight up made from the dead bodies of cows. Also, aren’t you a vegetarian, that must be weird for you. Also, real bone china, like the real deal stuff, the old stuff, probably had a little human bone mixed in there. Man, could you be so lucky?

To be fair Josiah Spode the Second (yeah, that’s a person) developed the six parts bone ash, four parts china stone, three-and-a-half parts clay (or was it his dead Uncle Clay?) recipe back yonder in the 1800’s. And for some reason today, in 2020, I want, nay NEED, a set of it. Probably because pandemic.

Now I don’t want the kind of bone china I can get from a trip to the Macy’s at Lenox Square, both because I try to stay away from Buckhead and because I want vintage shit. So it’s a tad harder.

I’ve been perusing Craigslist and people want a lot of money for their family heirloom china. Like Jerimiah was all, “Both the car and truck are getting new tires,” and I threw one of my $16 Fiestaware salad plates against the wall and screamed, “That’s my bone china money, bitch!”

I might have a problem when it comes to dinnerware.

I emailed this woman on Craigslist about a Fiesta platter the other day. She had three for sale for $75 (steal of a deal!) but I already have one of the platters so I only needed two and she was all, “I’m only selling as a set.” So I online stalked her social media accounts to see how much of a bitch she really is, like is she a Trump supporter, and she isn’t so I didn’t make a separate Craigslist post titled “bitch woman who won’t piece out her Fiestaware platter collection.” Look, IDGAF. You don’t jack around with Fiestaware and it’s not even BONE.

Do you see where I am? Like, mentally and emotionally? Do you see it? Is it clear? Is it a little translucent? Does it have a 24-karat gold edge? Is it scalloped? That’s where I am.

Send help.

M.

I Miss Eating Out

We haven’t been to eat at a restaurant since March 11th. That’s seven months of cleaning up after we cook (or occasionally order delivery). Seven months. What I wouldn’t give to walk into a small road-side diner and nibble on some fries, the big, fat, greasy ones that only a roadside diner has. With the ketchup bottle you squeeze, and the endless Coke from a fountain. Ho hum.

What I really wish is not to go out to eat, but for other people to stop it. That would be nice wouldn’t it? I’d also wish other people would stop hosting parties, promoting gatherings, going to sporting events, clubbing then going to see their grandparents the next day.

In short, I wish people cared about complete strangers a little more. I wish they had the willpower to not put others at risk. I wish they could say, hmm, sitting in a small, badly ventilated place with my mask off for several hours seems like a bad idea. I don’t want to risk it.

Maybe if more people hadn’t been to a restaurant to eat in the last seven months, we wouldn’t be so much worse than we were back in April. Maybe there wouldn’t be 215,000 dead people. Man. I hope your date night, or your football tailgate, or your 25th wedding anniversary was worth it. Because if you’re doing or have done those things, you’re only adding to the problem. And we are all adding to the problem in one way or another.

Stay safe and sane, y’all. Wear a mask. I’ll be dreaming of diners…

M.

Read news and wear a mask and stay home. It’s not that hard.

Raynaud’s Disease

If you’ll remember my Dr. Dickhead story from the other day, you’ll remember one of the diseases I was diagnosed with was Raynaud’s Disease. It’s sounds scary, but it’s really not, especially if I have the stand alone version of it. The stand alone version means that your small arteries contract sporadically and restrict blood flow to certain parts of your body. See, it sounds scary. But for now it’s only happening in my toes and fingers. But I can happen in other, more important parts, like your heart and your deep veins. Which is why answers are still needed.

So what does it mean when the vessels spasm? I get very, very cold. My toes will go numb, I’ll lost feeling in my fingers. In fact, I have slippers that you can microwave for two minutes then stick on your feet to help. Well, I had them. Winnie decided to chew one up this week, so I’m patiently waiting on new ones from Amazon.

The problem is, if I don’t warm my feet quickly, they will turn blue, then purple, then white. Then it’s bad. It can take an hour to regain feeling in my toes when it strikes. Keeping the symptoms at bay are most important. The problem is, it isn’t just a sudden gust of cold air that can make it happen. Stress is a factor.

Yeah, you guys know how great I am at handling my stress! Ha! So over the last year this has been happening to me several times a week, some weeks it happens every, single day. It’s more annoying than anything else, but now that my family is used to it, they act quickly to help out. Warming my slippers, or grabbing me gloves. Sometimes I read with gloves on, while I am sipping hot tea and it helps my hands. Sometimes all I can do is sit on my feet until I regain feeling.

So there you have it, Raynaud’s disease. It’s a thing. If this happens to you, you need to see a doctor quickly. Don’t wait two years like I did, assuming it was normal and you were just getting old. Bleh.

M.

Saturday at the Farm

We visited a friend’s farm last weekend. It is called Butts Mill Farm, and it is out in Western Georgia, near the Alabama state line. Our friend’s parents own it, and it’s less of a farm in the way you are imagining, and more of a family-fun farm, complete with peddle cars, number boats, and miniature horses that you can pet and feed and fall in love with and try to convince your husband to let you bring one home and get denied. Which is bullshit, but I just want you to be aware before you go.

Well, maybe you’ll have a nicer husband.

I digress. We had an excellent time at the farm, and not just because we visited for free and were fed pizza for lunch (although, bonus!) Yes, our friends are that nice. But really it was because we adore these friends and their family was so super nice, that we even got a super-special tour of their big collection of vintage cars and truck, which Jackson LOVED! Whew.

We got to play in a creek that has swings you can set in and watch the whole day go by. We got to feed goats, and go inside an antique Grist Mill. We got to ride a horse (well Jackson did, for the first time mind you) and play all day. Jackson was happy to be with his buddy Bella, whose grandparents own the farm, and Jerimiah and I were happy to hang with other adults and carry on conversations and not be inside our house. It was sort of the perfect day. Not too hot, overcast most of the day, and did I mention the 12-year-old rescued Macaw named River, who was just a delight, until he started screaming at me? Wow. It was a good day. Here are the pictures and trust, if you ever find yourself around these parts and wanna go check out the farm, let me know. We are always in for a trip out west.

M.

Dr. Dickhead

I met this crazy rheumatologist, let’s call him Dr. Dickhead. I met Dr. Dickhead several months ago by a referral from my doctor over some scary test results. This is his story.

I moved to the Atlanta metro area last year, and had yet to go to an Emory facility. Then a couple of months ago I was referred by my PCP to Emory at Decatur Rheumatogy, that’s when I met Dr, Dickhead. I was referred based on a very high ANA test result along with debilitating joint pain, among other symptoms.

The first hurdle was simply getting an appointment with Dr. Dickhead. I called for a week to try to get an appointment, and kept being told (when someone answered the phone) that someone else would call me back. On the third call to a woman at the front desk, they told me that someone named “Kim” was who I needed to talk to. They confirmed that they had received my pre-appointment paperwork and said she would call me that day. I never heard from her. I chalked this office up to chaos and decided to call the Emory hotline to help me find a doctor. With the help of that hotline I secured another appointment with a different doctor, but they could not get me in until November.

My doctor believed I needed seen before that, so she took matters into her own hands and called Dr Dickhead’s office. I received a call the next day, wherein I was told that they called and left a voicemail (they had not) and basically told that I just have just missed it (I had not). Then “Kim” made the appointment with me.

The above situation was a small inconvenience compared to how I was actually treated by the doctor himself when I got to my first appointment. 

As soon as Dr. Dickhead walked into the room with me, he began to berate my doctor, a women it would appear he doesn’t know, and complain that it was like, “pulling teeth” to get my pre-appointment paperwork. I had already confirmed two weeks before that they had received it, not to mention the fact that the day my doctor’s office sent it over I called the office several times to talk to someone to confirm they received it. They had.

After he finished his tirade on my doctor’s office and how horrible “offices like that” are, he asked me to tell him about my symptoms. At this point I was shocked. I wasn’t sure what he meant by a doctor’s office “like that,” but was increasingly feeling like as a white male, he didn’t appreciate or understand my very female, very female originally from the Middle East, doctor. Ahem.

But I was stuck and thought he was the only one who could help me, so I proceeded to tell him my symptoms, but he immediately stopped me. He did this several times throughout the appointment, both stopping me to tell me he “didn’t care” about one symptom or another, or that he was “all done” listening to me.

I’m not sure if he’s had other women complain about him being rude, with a horrible bedside manner and slight bend toward masochism, sexism in the least, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he has. He had me so upset and flustered I started to forget all the things I needed to talk to him about and I transposed the dates of my first symptoms. He berated me for not remembering the exact dates, which added to the confusion, not to mention that was one of my symptoms, a brain fog that hasn’t lifted like the joint pain, no matter what I try.

But he didn’t seem go particularly want to hear about my symptoms, rather he wanted to tell me how I was feeling and should have felt. He kept mentioning that “as a man” he can only do one thing at a time, so when I would remember something that he wanted to know he would shush me if he was writing. Like, actually “shush” me. Then make that “I’m a man” joke like I was supposed to forgive him because his gender doesn’t know any better. I was starting to think I was on one of those shows where a person with a camera pops out and tells me I’ve been punked.

He all but told me he didn’t believe any of my symptoms, although he several times repeated, “I believe you, I believe you.” I’m not sure what that was about, but I didn’t care whether or not he believed me–I had already been diagnosed from the symptoms I was discussing with Raynaud’s Disease, by my doctor. Of course I’m sure he didn’t believe her capable of diagnosing me…

He eventually told me that there were over 100 auto-immune disease that he had to “cross off the list” and test for, but that we would find out what was wrong, though he told me more than once that my very high ANA test was probably a “false positive.” When I asked him why I could be in so much pain then, he said it was probably an overreaction of my immune system. Isn’t that why I had a high ANA then? I asked, confused at this point and he said, “doesn’t matter.” Kinda felt like it mattered to me though, seeing as I’ve been rendered almost completely immobile several times over the past three months.

Eventually we got to the current symptoms (I had to think back over the last several years) and I started to tell him about the joint pain, the swollen blood vessels that have appeared on my legs, the weird skin problems I have been having and then I said a word that apparently was like a knife to him, “steroids.” I explained that on my original visit to Urgent Care, and then to my subsequent visit to my doctor, both medical professionals had prescribed steroids to help ease the pain, and he went absolutely bananas. Like, he fucking lost it, y’all.

He stopped taking notes, he told me that anything I said “after that point” was not important and was just symptoms from the steroids. He ranted about how horrible they were and that that explained my test. When I informed him that I hadn’t taken them before that test, he flipped out again. Threw his pen down and made a big show of it, arms up, like a child. That’s when I assumed he was a Trump supporter.

I assured him that I had these symptoms before I took the steroids and he said simply, “No you didn’t.” The problem was, I did. I mean, I know I’m just a woman, Dr. Dickhead, but I’m not completely ignorant.

He then did a physical exam, wherein he told me I had no symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease (something to do with swollen arteries in my toes and fingers that he looked at with a small magnifying glass of some kind) while he told me that “Big Box Clinics” were horrible and asked why I even went to one. I tried to explain that I had experienced suddenly swollen joints with a fever and they were afraid I might have Covid-19, so my doctor wanted me to visit an Urgent Care first to be tested. But of course he didn’t hear any of that, as he was still saying that “steroids are bad” and any doctor who prescribes them are horrible.

At this point, as you might imagine, I shut down. He never even let me tell him other symptoms. He asked me to tell him more, but I was nervous about being berated more, and I didn’t know what he wanted to know as the main reason I was there, aside from the ANA test results, was for joint pain, which he told me I didn’t really have. He then told me he would run bloodwork and that bloodwork would “show him the truth,” which I took to mean that I was a liar.

The last thing I asked him was whether or not I should take the other steroids that had been prescribed to me. I had another pack to help ease the pain I was having and he laughed and said that it would skew tests (of which I would have no more) and that I should never take steroids “unless you have something that requires them.” I asked him if I should stay with the physical therapist and he said, “Do what you want.” I said it didn’t seem to be helping, so I would stop. The last thing I asked him before I was ushered to the lab for bloodwork, was how I was supposed to help ease the joint pain and Dr. Dickhead told me “to suffer.” And so I did.

That’s brings me to my follow-up last week, three weeks after my initial appointment which seemed long, considering the lab said he would have my results in 3-5 days. I was there for an hour before I saw him, meanwhile I overheard him talking to a male patient in the next room (where he seemed very nice and cordial). As an aside, that office has very thin walls. At first I thought it was because Dr. Dickhead has a shrill, loud voice, but then I heard the women at the front talking about all sorts of things (one woman, “Kim” was mad that they had let her teenage daughter participate in a mock election at school. “Why would I want my daughter to be involved in that?” She wondered to someone. The other person replied, “Isn’t she 14? Won’t she be voting in the next general election?” To which “Kim” replied, “I told her she didn’t have to vote, that’s her right.” So yeah, that’s the kind of people working at Dr. Dickhead’s office.)

When he finally got to my room, Dr. Dickhead told me that I did in fact have Raynaud’s Disease, this as I said, I already knew. He also told me that I was an “interesting” patient and that he could diagnose me with more, or run more tests (because I had some “interesting” finding) but that he wasn’t going to do that.

He told me I could have CREST Syndrome, or a couple of others, but that I probably didn’t. He didn’t schedule any more tests, he didn’t do as he promised (crossing more tests off the list to find out what is wrong with me) and he didn’t answer my questions. He basically said, “I’m telling your doctor you are fine.” Then wrote my paperwork and told me to take a baby aspirin every day.

When he asked if I had questions I had a few, like why was I still experiencing joint pain? He said, “I don’t know, I’m done.” Then when I asked if these auto-immune diseases, the ones he said I may or may not have, could impact other symptoms I am experiencing, including the aforementioned swollen blood vessels, the reddening skin, the ulcers, the gastrointestinal issues, etc. He said, “I’m not taking responsibility for any of that on.” Then he said goodbye.

My whole experience mad me so upset I wanted to scream. Instead I wrote a strongly-worded email to Emory (I won’t hold this one experience against Emory as a whole) and asked what I do now.

I have an appointment with my doctor in a few weeks, and I plan to tell her all the awful things he said about her and her office, but I still have the appointment with the other Rheumatogist in November, which I would like to see because I honestly have no idea what to do next. Do I need more tests to cross out more diseases? Do I need to watch for any other symptoms? Raynaud’s can stand alone, or be the first symptom in a string of other, bad diseases like CREST which can have negative impacts on your cardiovascular system.

I’m honestly still shocked and in awe of what I went through with a “medical professional” and one that represents a place like Emory. I had heard such great things about Emory, and I was disappointed, but most of all, I was shamed, made to feel like a liar, made to believe what I was feeling was not real, made to think I was sort of crazy. Not to mention the fact that I was repeatedly talked down to, from the receptionist to the doctor. My best experience throughout that whole ordeal with with the lab next door (LabCorp). The calmed me down that day, when I felt like crying. 

I’m sharing today because I learned a valuable lesson: I won’t be letting anyone treat me that way again, there are too many other nice people in this world. And please don’t let anyone treat you that way either.

Let’s stand up for ourselves, shall we?

M.

Vote

Have you voted yet? I have. Jerimiah and I mailed our ballots in at the end of September. Then we used Georgia’s “My Voter Page” to ensure they were received and approved. We used the USPS and guess what?! Nothing catastrophic happened! All is well over here. Very well, in fact. I just read 538’s new report that turns Georgia into a “True Toss Up,” which I don’t have to tell you, is amazing.

Meanwhile, I’ve reminded all my close friends and family to have a voting plan. I’ve shared the shit out of voting “Cheat Sheets” like this one:

And if you’ll remember I sent my junior senator a nasty little email detailing how I’ll be doing my best to vote her ass out of office. Crossing my fingers for a run-off.

So yeah, things are busy, busy here in Georgia. People are amped up to vote from Marietta, down to Peachtree City over the Perimeter to Stone Mountain, the ATL is turning out, y’all! We are striving for a government, local, state, and federal that looks, thinks, and loves more like us. So I guess watch yourselves, Georgia and the rest of you. Would hate to see y’all left behind.

Vote.

M.

What the What?!

I feel like all I write about is going to the dentist. Probably because as a writer I write about my life and my life is just a series of times in between my next horrific dentist appointment. What gives, y’all? I went to another dentist visit yesterday, this one was with the Endodontist. What the heck is an endodontist, Missy? Great question, so glad you asked. Endodontists have additional training that allows them to focus on diagnosing tooth pain and performing root canal treatment and other procedures relating to the interior of the tooth. The experts say that in many cases, a diseased tooth can be saved with endodontic treatment. I’ll give you two guesses what I have?

If you didn’t know, like I didn’t know, some root canals can fail. The very first one I had when I was 20 years old has failed. Thanks Heartland Dental in Leavenworth, Kansas. Now sometimes it isn’t the dentist’s fault, things just happen. In my case though, well it would appear that the root canal was never actually finished correctly, and here I am two decades later paying for it, figuratively and literally (about $1,000). They didn’t actually pack both roots. Bitches.

Nevermind all that, have you or have you not ever had lidocaine accidentally shot into a nerve in your mouth?

If you have, you probably just grabbed the area in which it happened, involuntarily. When I asked Jerimiah this question he make a pucker face, tilted his head to the left, and tried to remember. No need. If you need time to think about it, the answer is a big no. You don’t forget pain like that. The pain that feels like you stuck your tongue into an electrical socket. Right after the first jolt yesterday the endodontsit asked me, “Does it feel like your were shocked?” Yes, yes it does. Then she told me that she must have struck the nerve. What she didn’t tell me was when the needle came out the shock came again. Fun times.

Turns out, are you ready for this, the diseased tooth was infected and had to be packed with penicillin and I had to be put on a course of amoxicillin and pain meds after she drilled down into the old root canal, dug around, and pulled out the stuff. Which by the way, smelled of rotting flesh and infection. Sort of like what you think a dead body that has been left in the sun and half eaten by lazy house cats might smell like.

Christ, that might be enough for today. I’m sorry you read this. Consider it a cautionary tale, per usual.

M.

Falltober

Fall hasn’t hit Central Georgia yet, but I was feeling optimistic with the storms we were having over the weekend, so I made chili. Then we ate it in the air conditioning. It’s humid as hell today, y’all. Damn you, The South! But we pressed forward and pulled out the Halloween decorations last night. Jackson has been slowly inching into more “spooky” things lately. We certainly aren’t ready to watch “Halloween” let’s say, but we’ve almost finished the first season of “Stranger Things” and we are considering that a win. He’s so sensitive to that kind of “spookiness” though, that we have to watch the episodes during the day, quickly followed by an old episode of “The Big Bang Theory.” Ha! Working on it.

So last night we put on some Halloween music (mainly “Thriller” and the “Nightmare Before Christmas” soundtrack and we got to work making things “spooky” for #SpookySzn, but you know, only a little spooky.

Hope you are all full in Spooky Season, or in the least, able to eat some chili.

M.