Cat Birds

We have backyard bird feeders. Like most places in the US we struggle with European Starlings. Enter the mewing of cat birds. Cat birds are not particularly pretty. They are grey with a distinctive shape. Last year several cat birds took up residence in the maple trees near our feeders. It was entertaining to watch, because they would come out of the tree to chase the starlings away from the feeders.

On Saturday morning, I was editing Copycat Dreams outside on the patio. The assembly of birds were noisy. Suddenly the noise ratcheted up. I of course looked up to see what was going on. Two cat birds were fighting with six starlings. To my surprise the outnumbered cat birds apparently won, because the starlings left. But another sight caught my attention before I looked back down at my laptop screen… a mated pair of house finches had come to the feeders along with a downy woodpecker. All three were on feeders just above the cat birds. A starling gets close to the feeders and the cat birds go on the offensive.

They chased it off. But it completely ignored the smaller finches and the woodpecker. That’s kind of strange. I suspect it has something to do with aggression levels. Cat birds are aggressive. That is actually the reason they were named cat birds. According to Missouri Conservation, starlings are also aggressive. Personally, I prefer the cat birds to the starlings… especially since the stupid starlings and sparrows damaged our gutter guards to build nests.

It’s still strange to watch birds guard feeders from just one other type of bird. They don’t chase off the grackles or red wing black birds either, so there is something specific about starlings they dislike.

Every year I keep a log of the birds I see at our bird feeders. So far this year, I have not seen a single grackle. I have pigeons, sparrows, starlings, cat birds, downy woodpeckers, house finches, goldfinches, lesser goldfinches, robins, blue jays, cardinals, red-headed woodpeckers, chickadees, and what I suspect is a mutant ruby-throated hummingbird. I saw the same (or similar) hummingbird a few times last year. It’s red and black. I know what a ruby throated hummingbird looks like, I’ve seen hundreds of them. We get visited by a few other species of hummingbirds, but they look nothing like the hummingbird I’ve seen the past two years. This year I saw it up close while working and it is black, not green. It likes my irises.

Computer Elbow

Tuesday morning, I was hard at work on revising Copycat Dreams and noticed my forearm hurt. Now, I’m used to having pain in my right arm, but this was my left. I went to the “not doctors, but might have an idea people”; my mom and my best friend. No other symptoms, just an ache in my forearm closer to my elbow than my wrist and typing is making it worse… and now that I think about it, the inside edge of the back of my elbow is a bit achy too. This is not the kind of pain I’m used to. My right arm is sharper, but constant. This is achy and weird. It’s too high for carpal tunnel and probably not close enough to my elbow to be bursitis. So what the f**k is it?

Okay, time to do the unthinkable and open up WebMD’s symptom checker. As I do this my best friend texts me back “sounds like tennis elbow”. Uh okay, it’s been years since I played tennis and typing is more of an issue than moving my elbow. She responds “remember last year I wore that elbow brace for like 6 months. I was experiencing what you are experiencing and it was tennis elbow. It’s not like I play tennis either.”

WebMD returns results of symptom checker. Only one listed Tennis Elbow. Well okay then. I search treatments for tennis elbow when typing makes the pain worse and get a webpage for Mayo Clinic called Computer Elbow. I click it because it’s the Mayo Clinic and they know everything. On this page I learn about tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and something called Computer Elbow, which is tennis elbow triggered by working on a computer. Huh. I didn’t know that was a thing. How do I fix it because I have work to do and it requires a significant amount of typing?

The number one fix: rest. Well, that’s not exactly an option, I type for a living. Got anything else? Another search found me on a page about healthy physical writing habits and suggestions for “texters thumb”, “computer elbow”, and carpal tunnel. Several people said that after their forearm began hurting they rolled up a towel and used it to rest their forearms on while typing. Several even said the rolled up hand towel was more helpful than the expensive wrist rests they bought.

Now, I’m typing with a rolled up towel under my forearms and ordering an elbow brace. The towel is providing some relief, which surprises me. There’s also several stretching exercises listed as helpful. The Mayo Clinic recommends stretching the arms, shoulders, and wrists for at least 15 minutes before sitting down to type and taking “stretch breaks” every hour. 30 years ago, I used to think “I should limber up and stretch out good before cheerleading practice” but I did not have that same thought before typing class every day. Another suggestion was wearing a corset. At first this may seem like a weird suggestion, but in my twenties I understood the value of a good corset. Not to cinch in the waist or anything stupid like that, but for posture and support. I had far fewer back problems when I wore corsets more often and since computer elbow can be made worse by bad posture, well… Maybe I need to invest in some good supportive corsets again because losing the ability to type due to pain isn’t an option. The problem with a corset is that they look stupid under T-shirts, maybe someone should design a posture improving corset specifically for every day wear that looks okay under a T-shirt. Personally, I need one that reduces the weight and pull on my shoulders, straightens my spine, and allows me to breathe while not preventing my t-shirt from moving when I move.

Copycat Dreams and Codex Pandemonium Updates

I continue to self edit both Copycat Dreams and Codex Pandemonium. It takes me about 6 hours to edit a 3,000 word chapter (rewording sentences to remove passive voice and clauses, clean up ideas, and improve the pacing of sentences and paragraphs). Also as an FYI, both Copycat Dreams and Codex Pandemonium are over 95,000 words.

For the record, I despise self editing. I realize there are things only a writer can edit in a story, but I find self editing tedious and boring and sometimes struggle against the urge to delete massive swaths of the book or the entire book as a whole. And three days a week, I don’t have six hours between getting up and going to bed to complete an entire chapter as my mom is still doing dialysis necessitating I do more for her.

It does help that the weather is nice enough to allow me to work outside finally. My intention is to publish both books this summer, hopefully before my birthday in mid-August.

Lola’s Surgery

They successfully removed the benign tumor from the muscle in Lola’s back leg. This is the same side she has the bone spurs from her spine pushing on the nerves of her leg, which was part of the reason it had to be removed. Wednesday I got to work outside preparing Copycat Dreams for the editor. And Lola decided to come outside and enjoy the weather with me. The incision to remove it was much larger than we anticipated, but she seems to be doing well as I write this. The worst part for Lola seems to have been the waiting to drink afterwards. Due to side effects of the anesthesia medication she wasn’t allowed water from 8pm the night before her surgery until 6am the morning after surgery.

At one point she just sat and stared at her empty water bowl inside the basement as we watched TV. The first 15 hours after she came home, she stayed in the basement with me. We folded down the futon in the basement living room to sleep on and she woke me up at 5am and I filled her water bowl finally. She drank the bowl dry and then she went back to sleep. Around lunch time on Wednesday she decided after being outside, she wanted to go upstairs and she had no issues going up the inside stairs and it didn’t stress her stitches as much as I expected (I watched her closely come up, because if it had stressed them, I was going to make her stay in the basement again).

The Writing Update Everyone is Waiting On

The morning of Tuesday April, 18, 2023 after dropping Lola off at the vet for surgery. I came home to find Kelly freaking out and wanting outside. So even though it was only 53 degrees out, I loaded up with blankets and took my laptop outside at 8:17am and resumed work on Copycat Dreams. At 11:34 am, I wrote the words The End.

It’s about 97,000 words long. I hope to publish it in early summer 2023.


My neighborhood has stupid numbering, I know because my house and the person next door to me constantly deal with people who are lost. For example, both our houses face west on Road A. Our mailboxes sit out front of our houses also along Road A and facing west. Yet, both our houses addresses are not Road A. There is a road between our houses that we’ll call Cul-De-Sac B. Cul-De-Sac B is to the south of my house and the north of my neighbor’s house. Road A runs south into the neighborhood and the first intersection in the neighborhood is a four way stop where Road A meets Cul-De-Sac B and Cul-De-Sac C. Now Cul-De-Sac C and Cul-De-Sac B have the exact same numbers. Despite my house and the neighbor’s house facing Road A with our Mailboxes on Road A our street address is 1234 Cul-De-Sac B and 1236 Cul-De-Sac B. To add to the confusion our subdivision sits off a county highway DD and the house across the street to the west has an address on that county highway and their street address is 1235 County Highway DD, close enough to ours to increase confusion.

At least once a month someone knocks on my door looking for a house that is not mine. Sometimes they are wearing uniforms such as FedEx or UPS, but the majority do not. Some are delivery drivers for Uber Eats or GrubHub or InstaCart or Amazon (Amazon seems to give the option to their drivers about whether to use an Amazon branded vehicle or their personal vehicle and they do not wear uniforms) and sometimes those knockers are visitors to someone at that address and have never been there before. Once this lost person was a visiting nurse that wanted an address in Cul-De-Sac C, they were not wearing a uniform and my numbered Mailbox fit into the numbers on Cul-De-Sac C and the house they wanted didn’t have any numbers on it anywhere so they stopped by our house to see if it was our house they wanted (it was not). Once it was GrubHub trying to deliver a food order at 9:20 pm.

Despite this, I have never once thought about shooting the stranger on my front porch. Why do I mention this? Because a homeowner in Kansas City , Missouri felt they had the right to shoot a black teenager in the head… twice for ringing his doorbell. Hell, violent crime in my city is actually higher per capita than in Kansas City, Missouri and I’ve still never shot a stranger for ringing my doorbell. The case as it stands now is the homeowner shot the teenager through a glass door in the head and after the teenager was down he shot him a second time in the head. If he shot him through the door, that means it wasn’t as if the homeowner and teenager were having a conversation and the man had no clue why the kid was there and didn’t care. The teen had been sent by his parents to pick up his siblings at an address on 115th Terrace and went to the same house number but on 115th street. An easy enough mistake, it happens here frequently despite Cul-De-Sac C having a completely different name than Cul-De-Sac B which as outlined above, is my street address.

Shooting someone for coming to your door, even after dark, is not a rational or reasonable cause for shooting them, not once but twice, once while he was on the ground, trying not to die. Someone I was talking to about it said maybe the homeowner and teen had an argument and the teen threatened him. Uh, through the door? Let’s be real. I have a glass storm door on the front of my house and I’ve talked to people through it and even as a woman, I’ve never felt threatened through the door. Also, did the homeowner keep the gun by the door or did they have to go get it? Even my most paranoid friends do not keep a handgun next to their front door and since the kid survived, I’m guessing it had to be a hand gun used to shoot him. This means the homeowner made the decision to get the gun and then shoot the kid through the door. Missouri has stand your ground laws, but there must be a clear threat to one’s life and property. The teenager was not armed, so where was the threat? As far as I can tell, the threat was that he was a black kid ringing the doorbell of a white homeowner’s house because the kid was confused about the address where his brothers were. That is not a clear threat to life or property meaning a crime was committed by the homeowner and KC needs to charge him for it. To me, standing over someone you’ve already shot once and no longer poses a threat, shooting them that second time is clearly an execution shot. Also, I’ve seen pictures of the kid in the news, he is not a hulking kid, he’s skinny and looks like most scrawny teenaged boys, so even his size could not be considered imposing and threatening.

The Kansas City Chief of Police said they saw no evidence of the crime being racially motivated. Really? Has this homeowner shot white kids who came to his door? If not, I need to be given a reason why this specific teenager posed a threat in the homeowner’s mind, if it wasn’t because he was black. For me, I picture (my non-blood related) nephew Lorenzo getting shot; he’s black and he is a Spectrum service man, what would have happened if he’d rang the homeowner’s doorbell, would he have been shot trying to do his job because he got the address wrong? And let me tell you, Lorenzo is terrible with directions… My family and his spent one very long night talking to police because him and my nephew got lost trying to walk home and neither of them knew north, south, east, or west, or where the hell they were in relation to their houses despite having been to the theater hundreds of times. I can totally picture Lorenzo being called out for an emergency service call after dark and going to the wrong address… and that is enough of a crime for someone to shoot him and then ask questions about why he was there.

In other grim news, we are 107 days into 2023 and there have been 163 mass shootings so far. Also, gun violence is the leading cause of death for children and teens, surpassing car accidents in 2022, and that’s with the exclusion of suicide according to the CDC. I don’t believe we should lose the right to bear arms completely, but we do need to do something to stop the tide of gun violence. Personally, I think gun owners should be required to obtain a gun license before they are allowed to purchase firearms and in order to obtain that license they must undergo six weeks of psychiatric evaluation, because the majority of mass shootings are committed by people who legally purchased the weapons they use for the murders.

Not A Choice

I was unfortunately 10 when I hit puberty, it was dreadful, as only puberty can be. Last night, I got to thinking about it, because I was reading the news. Between the ages of 10 and 20, I never once thought “you know what, I’ve decided I’m going to be sexually attracted to men.” My preference is for tall, smart, men and the taller and smarter the better. I didn’t choose this, it just is. My husband can do calculus in his head and he’s 6’1″… and I find that incredibly attractive and I can’t tell you why I find that attractive, but I do. It was certainly not a conscious decision, I didn’t reach sixteen and decide my future romantic prospects had to be over 6 feet tall and capable of doing complicated math in their head. Since I don’t know a single person who “chose” traits they would find sexually attractive and many are significant than my own personal desires in a romantic partner, I’ve reached a conclusion. Society needs to stop treating sexuality as a choice. Sexuality is a genetic trait and biological imperative. People do not chose to be LBGTQ+, they just are, in the same way the majority of the population just is “heterosexual” and attracted to the opposite sex.

This was brought on by a news article about several country music stars calling for a boycott Anheiser-Busch because they have partnered with a TikTok trans star to celebrate her trans birthday. I’m all for it and if I drank beer, I’d stock my fridge with AB products because I think it’s great they want to celebrate someone’s trans birthday. She no more “decided” she didn’t want to be a boy than I decided I wanted to be heterosexual. Something in her DNA made her mentally female but physically male.

One of the stars is Travis Tritt, I was never big into country music, I prefer rock, but I am very familiar with country music and it is my husband’s preference. Should we boycott Travis Tritt because his genetics dictate he go bald, but he rose to fame on the premise of being an Outlaw Country star with long hair?

No, because that’s ridiculous. We don’t boycott people because they are going bald. However, because our society treats sexuality as a choice, we do punish the LGBTQ+ community even though all evidence points to sexuality being genetic.

Think about your own sexuality. We all have a person or two in our life of the gender we are attracted to that we occasionally think “Person X is great and I should be sexually attracted to them.” But kissing them would be like kissing your sibling, because no matter how much you love them, they do absolutely nothing for your libido. No amount of fantasizing about that person is ever going trigger sexual arousal, despite making a conscious and decisive decision that it should. If you can’t force yourself to be attracted to a person, then it’s not a choice. There’s something biological and most likely genetic (in you) that dictates you will never become aroused by that person. That is the reaction of heterosexuals to members of their own gender as well. you may love each and every one of your best friends enough that you’d kill for them, but you wouldn’t have sex with them, because they just don’t trigger any tingle in your libido. Hell if you’re like the fictional Aislinn Cain, then no person under the sun will ever trigger that tingle in her libido, and that is also not a choice, it’s a biological imperative for her.

Why would anyone “chose” to be different especially in something so decisive and dividing as sexuality? They don’t. Their genetic disposition dictates their sexuality be different than the majority who are heterosexual. Or it dictates that their mental gender is not the same as their physical gender, which is also not the majority.

Here’s the scary part for people who want to think of the LGBTQ+ community as an abomination; we don’t know what genes determine sexuality, most likely its a large combination of genes across multiple DNA strands working together and this means anyone can be born LGBTQ+. As a result, society’s current treatment of the LGBTQ+ community amounts to ostracizing people who have inherited the genetic combination that makes them lose their hair.

A Hemodialysis Guide

**Before I get a dozen messages about how awful sugar is, let me say my mom is not diabetic, she’s not even pre-diabetic. Her pancreas is working great. Her and I are more likely to suffer bouts of low blood sugar than high, but neither of us have it bad enough to be considered hypoglycemic either.

The dialysis clinic where my mom does her treatment three times a week gave me a book titled “A Caregiver’s Guide To Hemodialysis.” It covers things such as diet and exercise for dialysis patients. Their counselor has also called me twice to see how things at home are going, which is nice. I’m learning I have to meal plan better as well as make more stuff from scratch. For instance, cake mixes often use phosphate preservatives and phosphorous is one of the things we have limit her intake of, but here’s the thing, dialysis doesn’t just remove water and toxins, it can remove protein from the blood and weight loss is a common side effect. To combat this they recommend dialysis patients consume more calories via things like white cakes and fruit pies.

I told the counselor during one of our calls when she mentioned making white cake without a cake mix that I’d learned to bake bread in the last few years and she told me I could bake anything, if I could bake edible bread. I have yet to make a cake from scratch, I don’t think it will be a huge problem, except… I found a recipe for blackberry marble cake in one of the dialysis cookbooks the clinic gave me. Mom and I both love blackberries and it looked very pretty and yummy , so I’ve set my sights on making it Friday. But as I read the end of the recipe I noticed something odd. It said to ice with homemade blackberry frosting, but didn’t have the frosting recipe and wait… I have to make my own frosting? I feel I am competent enough to make a cake from scratch, but frosting, I’m not sure about. This is partly because I don’t like frosting, I scrape it off pieces of cake or cupcakes I eat and put it on the side of my plate. And no, I really do dislike all frosting; I don’t like buttercream frosting, regular frosting, or cream cheese frosting. I will eat glaze and the reason J doesn’t like my cakes is because I will make fancy glazes (I make a cherry rum glaze that is amazing) for them, but I won’t put frosting on them and he doesn’t care for glaze.

Tuesday was Pi day, so I made an apple pie from scratch. I used homemade apple pie filling and made a butter based pie crust. It turned out well, which is something of a miracle because I struggle with pie crust (I have trouble getting it the right consistency).

I successfully made pie crust and I’ve successfully made cinnamon rolls and several types of bread, surely I can manage frosting… Especially for blackberry marble cupcakes…

In writing news, we are still trying to find a new routine in our house (for everything) and I’ve had much less time to write since my mom got sick. Adjusting to having acute and traumatic kidney failure has zapped her energy and she’s lacked the energy during the day to let me sit in my office uninterrupted to write while she takes care of our dogs. I’ve only managed a few thousand words this week as a result and am hopeful I can get a significant amount of time over the weekend to write.

In April, Lola has a biopsy. While my mom was in the hospital at the beginning of the month, I noticed a knot in the muscle of Lola’s right leg (this is the bad hip leg). She was scheduled for her yearly vaccinations the following week and the vet examined it to the best of her ability at that appointment and we scheduled Lola for a biopsy April 18th. If it’s a benign fatty tumor (which is our hope), the biopsy will turn into surgery to remove it, because it is deep in the muscle tissue of Lola’s leg it will prevent her from using that leg if we leave it. If the biopsy reveals it’s cancer, we’re looking at something totally different (and worse) based on it’s location.

Flushing Taxpayer Money Down the Drain

I always thought Republicans were trying to cut down on wasteful government spending, that’s why they oppose Medicaid, SSDI, and even SSI for the elderly. Apparently this is not true of Republicans in Florida who have decided they should waste taxpayer money silencing critics of government officials. I’m not going to discuss the violation of the First Amendment this bill proposes. Instead I want to discuss the costs, because this is going to get expensive fast.

The proposed bill requires bloggers to register with the state of Florida before they can write and publish blog posts about elected government officials in Florida. As of yet, the ambiguous term “blogger” is all that’s used without any criteria. So this could mean bloggers like me as well as professional journalism blogs like Fox News and CNN.

I don’t know how many blogs my readers follow, I follow about thirty and two of them are like mine, mostly about writing, but occasionally stuff about the world pops up. A few weeks ago one of them had a post on Putin’s rise to power in the Soviet Union/Russia that I enjoyed, but the following day the post was about homemade sugar cookies v. commercially produced ones. The point is, as it’s worded now, even my blog would be required to register with the state of Florida, because I might randomly decide to write a post about Florida elected officials taking on Disney.

Registering a blog is going to be like registering anything else; it’s going to generate lots of paperwork, and someone has to review/approve?/file all that paperwork. So now we need staff and lots of it, because there are hundreds of thousands of blogs, some like mine and some dedicated to politics and some just dedicated to news that will need to register with the State of Florida. Not to mention it is going to need to be the job of certain people to read all those thousands of daily blog posts, dedicated readers are now needed in the Office of Blogging Affairs. And because it’s an office and probable a division of state agency, it will need supervisors, managers, peons, and possibly in house legal counsel, because there are going to be a ton of legal issues that immediately spring up.

Also, the task of finding the blog posts can only be partially automated. Google Keyword monitoring is great, but for example if I don’t place tags on this blog post, it’s not going to get noticed by Google despite my using terms such as Florida Elected Officials. Meaning the office will need internet scrubbers who scour the internet looking for blog posts about Florida Elected Officials.

Now, we’ve found a blog post that mentions the Governor of Florida. Someone has to check the registry (this should be simple) to determine if the blog is registered with the state of Florida. If it is, what happens now? I mean several people have spent time scouring for this blog post about the Governor of Florida taking on Disney and it’s a known entity doing the writing, let’s say it’s unfavorable and the blogger clearly supports Disney’s right to autonomy (not unlike Vatican City in Italy)… Okay, what now? What was the point of all of this? Florida can’t fine a blogger for voicing their opinion that Disney has a right to autonomy regardless of how the Florida governor feels about it, so what was the point? The bill says “This will require all bloggers to expose their funding” … Yeah, right. The registered blogger says no one paid for the article and they do not directly earn income from their blog, not even from advertisements.

Florida decides said blogger must be lying. They can nicely ask for bank statements and tax returns, but there’s no way, I would turn over that information just because someone asked for it. The blogger is like me and refuses their request even though they asked nicely and offered to buy them a sundae with a cherry on top. This means the Office of Blogger Affairs has to work with the Florida Attorney General to get a subpoena for the blogger’s financial records and if said blogger lives in Florida that’s fairly easy and uncomplicated. But they don’t, they live in Seattle, Washington. Now, Florida has to submit paperwork to the state of Washington explaining their reasons for waiting said financial paperwork and then wait for Washington to decide whether to accept said paperwork and allow their own agencies to gather that information and give it to Florida.

Here’s the thing, Florida has no jurisdiction over citizens of Washington (or any other state), giving the State of Washington the discretion to serve or not serve said subpoena on one of their citizens; and given the entire basis of the subpoena violates the first amendment and that neither the crime or criminal is wanted for a violent offense, Washington may very well decide Florida has no basis for their subpoena and ignore it completely. Should that happen, the only recourse Florida has is to sue the state of Washington in federal court. However, given the autonomy of states in the US, even if Florida sues in federal court, they are likely to lose and still not gain access to those financial records, what they have done is waste a lot of time and money trying to prove that a 30 year old guy in the State of Washington is a paid subversive because he has an opinion that Florida’s governor is a tyrant.

Thousands, probably more like hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds have been spent trying to prove that Joe Blow in Seattle, Washington who dislikes the Florida governor is paid to dislike him and here’s the thing, he’s probably not. This bill makes me think Republicans only want to save tax dollars from beneficial programs to allow the money to be used to silence critics of the government, which is a constitutional right of every American.

Food Poisoning

The last couple of weeks have been very stressful. Emotionally and physically as we all adjust to a new routine now that my mom is going to dialysis several days a week (we hope to be able to cut back or even stop in the near future as her kidney post-stent is functioning well). As a result, I’ve been forced to eat more drive-thru meals than normal and stress lowers the immune system… Wednesday there was an incident. I dropped mom off at dialysis and came home and began fixing myself lunch and then mom called… twenty minutes into her dialysis appointment “I’m ready to go.” Uh, no… that’s impossible, even on a great day dialysis is a two hour ordeal. You, can’t be ready “ready to go.” So she put on the tech and the she explained they were unable to get any pull from Mom’s port, none, zero, zip, nadda, absolutely nothing. This happens from time to time. The tech is telling me this as I pull my lunch out of the air fryer and set it on the table. Hm… I guess I won’t be able to eat that. I run back into town, knowing that Thursday or Friday, there’s going to be outpatient surgery to fix the port issue. More stress.

I pick mom up and we run through a drive thru for a cheap burger, because it’s almost 1:30 pm and I’ve yet to eat lunch and I’m feeling a little off. I eat as I drive home. Not ideal, but at least my blood sugar and blood pressure will stabilize and I won’t pass out while driving. Get home and the nephrologist calls, they want to do blood work bright and early Thursday morning and the port replacement bright and early Friday morning. Got it.

Fast forward 14 hours… I wake up and it’s 3:36am… and I don’t know why I’m awake. I go check on mom, she’s snoring. Neither dog is moving about. And then I felt my stomach clench… I dash to the bathroom and barely make it over the toilet as my stomach clenches into the tightest ball it can manage. I spend most of the next three hours on my knees in front of the toilet as my stomach is determined to rid itself of everything I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. At 6:30 am, I ask J, who has been dozing for the last three hours because even with the door closed and in another room, he can still hear me throwing up, if he thinks his mom would be willing to run my mom to get blood work done, because there’s no way I can manage and then I head back to the bathroom to expel all the bile that’s built up in the previous ten minutes of my life.

Thankfully, my mother-in-law is willing to take my mom to get bloodwork done. And I spend a few more hours going back and forth between lying in bed and being on my knees in front of the toilet. By 10:30 every muscle in my abdomen aches as does the corresponding muscles in my back and it’s shifted from my stomach to my intestines. By Thursday night, I don’t know whether I hurt more from lying in bed or from being sick, either way I am miserable… The very smell of food sends me rushing back to the bathroom. And by Friday morning, my digestive system had cleaned itself out so well I could have done a colonoscopy with no further prep necessary. But I feel a little better, until I try to eat a plain saltine cracker, which sends me back onto my knees in front of the toilet and then back to bed.

At 2:30 pm on Friday I call my doctor’s office and ask the nurse to call me back. By now, I’m positive I have food poisoning. The nurse calls and we discuss my symptoms and she says “yep, sounds like food poisoning…” But I’m the only one sick, so it had to be that stupid cheeseburger on Wednesday afternoon, because we all ate the same thing for dinner. If the diarrhea and vomiting continue into Sunday I need to go to Urgent Care and make sure it isn’t one of the big, bad forms of food poisoning… Friday afternoon, I’m lying in bed thinking I’m not going to live until Sunday, so that’s okay. She recommends I try drinking vanilla Ensure or Boost, so I have my sister bring me some after she picks up our mom from her port replacement procedure and then dialysis.

Wake up Saturday and I feel a little better and for the first time in days, my stomach growls. I get adventurous and eat about a third of a biscuit and immediately regret it. I keep it down, but I sure feel like I’m not going to. I open a Vanilla Ensure and I get about half of it down… then Lola flips her pan over, this is her sign that she wants food. The smell of even dry dog food is nauseating, but I manage to get both her and Kelly a little food and then I go lay down for a while. But I am feeling better and I’ve made no trips to the bathroom because of my digestive system thankfully.

I keep getting asked “how did you get food poisoning from Place X.” 364 out of 365 days of the year, that cheeseburger does not make me sick. Chances are if J had eaten it, he would not have gotten sick. Wednesday was week 2 of dialysis for my mom, that is stressful. We are all out of our routine, that is stressful. I have an anxiety disorder and tend to internalize stress badly even on good days. Add to it the fact that there was something wrong with Mom’s dialysis port and there’s a little more out of the norm stress. In the previous week, we’d eaten a lot of “on the go meals” as we made trips to the hospital and I was being forced to alter medication taking allowing me to drive and driving is painful, forcing all my internal systems out of whack. Someone asked if I was going to report them to the health department… Probably not. I looked up my city’s health rating system and they consistently make good grades and as I write this on Sunday, I know that part of the food poisoning was my own body’s inability to fight off an infection due to external and internal stress and that had I eaten that burger two days earlier or a week later, it’s unlikely I would have gotten sick.

I do feel better; proving it wasn’t one of the “big, bad ones” such as salmonella, e. coli, or botulism. Besides, to prove food poisoning from a restaurant means going to the doctor and giving samples. I once told my primary care physician if a stool sample was required of me, they’d have to knock me out and go into my intestines and take it. I’m fine with blood and gore, but regular/common bodily excretions, even my own, not so much. I can pee in the cup on demand and I can change a baby’s wet diaper, but I gag thinking about anything besides urine. In the last seven years, I’ve gotten better at dealing with baby spit up, but when my nephews were young, if they spit up and I saw it, I’d have to run for a bathroom because my stomach would empty itself.

The timing of this bout of food poisoning was atrocious. I mean there’s never a good time for it, but I’d just learned the following two days were going to be busy. Mom needed bloodwork done and then there was the port replacement procedure on Friday morning followed by dialysis and I was too sick to deal with either. Also, my sibling was out of town on Thursday which is why we needed to rely on my mother-in-law to take my own mother to dialysis. I am so very thankful she wasn’t busy and was willing. My sister rushed back on Thursday morning so she could take mom to her procedure and then dialysis on Friday.