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That Sounds Made Up

On a holiday Monday, when your face suddenly swells up on one side and Benadryl doesn’t help, you end up at the ER.

I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something, but Benadryl didn’t make the swelling down and I realized it hurt.  When I tried to eat dinner it became excruciating.  My first thought was What the hell is wrong with me now?  Allergic reactions don’t hurt!

Sure enough, I ended up at the ER.  When I went through triage, the nurse told me it was probably an abscess.  When I got back to see the doctor, who was hilarious and it hurt like hell to laugh, I learned that your saliva glands can get stones (like your kidneys and gallbladder).  The medical treatment, gently massage face once in a while and eat sour foods…

First, a saliva gland stone sounds like a fake thing.  However, my symptoms were spot on for it and I had to eventually just accept that I was a freak.  Second, the doctor was surprised it was my first one ever… having Sjogren’s Syndrome is one of the risk factors as is having dry mouth from medications (and I take Clonazepam which causes chronic dry mouth – this is why all my teeth are breaking on things like pudding). Third, treating it via hyper-salvation that happens when you eat sour things and facial massage, doesn’t sound like a real treatment for anything.  Finally, the doctor recommended sour candies and sauerkraut.

Feeling the need to understand what the hell a stone in the saliva gland was. and how it was going to come out, I googled it. I DO NOT recommend this.  Images pop up and they aren’t pretty.  Turns out it is totally real and the recommended treatment is to make yourself hyper-salivate and massage your face to try to get the stone out… when it’s in your cheek like mine is.

And after reading up on it, even I’m a little surprised I made it 37 years without ever having one before.  Saliva glands that do not function fully or properly (like with Sjogren’s) creates an atmosphere where calcium solidifies and becomes a stone… As I write this, I’m trying to convince myself to eat a cranberry/spinach salad with balsamic dressing because it was tart and that’s what I was trying to eat when I decided I absolutely needed to see to be seen for the pain.

The good news, they didn’t tell me that a urinary tract was the cause of my face swelling up.

American Ripper

I’ve heard theories before about HH Holmes being Jack the Ripper. I have mostly ignored them. So when American Ripper started, I went into it with a formed opinion.

My husband and I watched every episode and after each, I found my opinion unswayed. It wasn’t the different killing styles, it wasn’t the probability that Jack jumped the ocean (I knew about the Brown murder in New York before the show), it wasn’t even the idea that Holmes was unavailable to kill… it just always seemed to convenient to blame Holmes for the Ripper murders.

I haven’t checked with my husband to get his opinion. He isn’t the true crime buff that I am and I’m not sure he had ever heard of HH Holmes before we started watching American Ripper.

I’m still not convinced that Holmes and Jack are one in the same… but I’m a lot less doubtful. There was a single thing that seriously caught my attention and gave me a little bit of doubt about my devotion to them not being linked.

Among a trove of pictures that once belonged to Holmes, there was a tin type photograph. And it came back as a 64% March to the single known photo of Elizabeth Stride – one of the Ripper’s canonical victims.

That is a really high percentage match for two antique photos of varying styles. Having the composite sketch from the 13 eyewitnesses to the Ripper murders also look very very much like Holmes helped, but that photograph astounded me.

Why on Earth would Holmes have a tin type photograph of Elizabeth Stride if he wasn’t Jack the Ripper? How would he even have gotten it if he hadn’t stolen it off her body upon her death? In Victorian times, it wasn’t unusual for a lady to carry a photograph of herself and tin type fits with the era and social status of Ms. Stride.

It definitely opened my mind a little to the possibility.


Monday I went to the chiropractor like I’ve been doing for nearly 2 months. Got an adjustment, got home, everything was fine.

Then I notice Monday night my back hurts.

Tuesday I awoke to a horrible migraine… like I haven’t had in months.

That night, my mom notices that the right lumbar area of my back is swollen. WTF?! It has never been swollen there before. And wait, the pain is still there.

Thursday night, it is still visibly swollen. I can’t get any of my doctors to call me back. And it still hurts.

This is not one of the areas I have been having pain or swelling in. It’s been my right hip, butt cheek, and thigh, not my back… he didn’t do anything different Monday than the previous 80 visits or whatever. What on earth is going on with me?!?

Never Know Who You’ll Touch

I don’t blog about my struggles with anxiety, migraines, PCOS, or chronic pain to complain, whine, or rant (although that does happen from time to time).  I also don’t do it to make people feel uncomfortable or sympathetic for me.  I do it to remind people they have to talk about these things.  They can’t keep them bottled up forever or eventually they explode.

I’ve said before that the only “real person” in my books is Malachi Blake.  For the purpose of this post, we’ll just call him M.  When M and I were in school (he is a handful of years older than me), he called me one night crying.  His best friend had committed suicide.

I didn’t know his friend all that much, just a few words here and there.  The guy was nice and polite around me.  He was also one of the most popular high school boys around.  I have no idea why he put up with M enough to be his best friend, but that is another thought for another day.

The point is, it wasn’t expected.  There were no warning signs as far as anyone could tell.  He just went home one day after school and killed himself.  None of his friends or family had ever suspected he might be suicidal or might be dealing with things he didn’t think he could handle.  It was tragic in so many ways… It left an impression on me.  Not because I really knew the guy, but because I couldn’t believe that with so many friends and a close family, that he wouldn’t have a support network to help him deal with whatever life was throwing at him.

We still don’t know what that was either.  There was no note, which is fairly common.  No explanation as to why he would do it.  No indicators that he had been thinking about it.  There was just this great big gaping black hole of questions.  Over the last two decades, I have often wondered about the what-ifs… if he had just talked to someone about it, been willing to open up about whatever the problem or problems were would it have been different.

From my own experiences with life, I have learned that we are often worried about burdening people with our problems so much so, that we keep our lips sealed.  Or we are embarrassed about them, so we say nothing.  Or we are so afraid of how people’s perceptions of us will change that we bully ourselves into staying quiet about it.

So if candidly discussing nipple hair on women or how my ass check can swell up from stubbing my pinky toe can reach one person and make them feel less alone or help one person start looking for the answers they need in their lives, then it’s worth it.  For the most part, I don’t care what the world knows about me and I feel I must talk about those sorts of things… just in case there is someone reading my words that might get a little help and comfort from them.

Seriously, H?

I went outside to have a cigarette. Noticed a couple of spiders were lurking around the back door.

Thought 1) I wish Lola was out here with me.

Thought 2) what is Lola going to do if a spider falls on you?!

Sometimes, my logic is impressively faulty.

Nerve Damage

I’ve said before that I have what amounts to nerve damage in my back caused by my hips being out of socket at birth and probably in utero.  Causing some problems with my hips and my pelvis.

Since the injections are a short term fix that have to be redone every couple of months, we have decided to try ablation of the nerves. In simple terms, they are going to use radio frequency waves to burn the nerves in my lower back and therefore stop the pain.

I’ve been trying to avoid this.  Or the next step, surgically severing the nerves in my back for permanent relief of the nerve pain.

However, I’m a little concerned about it.  I have been told it is very painful.  And I can only hope it works.


The Move – an update

We moved to a nice little subdivision outside the city limits of Columbia, Missouri called Sun Valley Estates.  At night when I go out for a cigarette, I hear owls, foxes, and dogs instead of the endless stream of car doors and people that I used to hear.  It’s a little noisier on weekends, but that’s to be expected.

Surprisingly, a few neighbors have even stopped by and introduced themselves.  I have never lived in a neighborhood where that was the norm.  I feel safe at night and don’t take my stun gun out with me for Lola’s wee hours of the morning trips outside.

Lola has adjusted to the house pretty well.  It has stairs, a first for her, and they still kinda bother her, but she’s getting better about them.  She’s even happy in the house and she’s figured out the fenced in backyard is so that she can be outdoors whenever she wants and so she can play Frisbee and ball until her lungs can’t take it anymore.

As with any move, there were some unexpected expenses once we moved in.  Not all my book cases survived the move… they were just pressed wood cheapo cases that I bought when I got my first job, so I’m not surprised, but I have over 15,000 physical books and they have to go somewhere… However, this time, my husband was nice enough to buy me solid oak cases to put in my office.  I’m waiting for them to come in (they had to be ordered) and then I will be able to take pictures of my office to share.

We managed to move and unpack in just 5 days (with the exception of some of my office stuff).  And before anyone starts to lecture me, I am very aware this means I overdid it every day.  I’m paying the price now.  My hip has begun to give out on me, I fell down a few steps the other day and hit the trim around the front door, scraping the crap out of my arm.  I’m having back pain, which is unusual for me, even when there is something wrong with my back, it’s usually my legs that bother me.  Today, I was in so much pain, I actually took time to sit down and cry.  But I have an appointment with my pain management doctor tomorrow and I’m hoping he can help me find some relief.

Most importantly, it has plenty of room for family and friends and dogs to come hang out.  I have an office.  My husband has a dart room.  There’s an extra bedroom that I am waiting for my mother to lay claim to for some kind of hobby or interest.  Our kitchen is 10’x14′!  I am in love with it and have enjoyed cooking every night just because I have enough room to cook whatever I want.  It’s been amazing.

The Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse

I recently watched a documentary called The Keepers – it’s part murder mystery, part discussion about sexual abuse.  I have always believed that there should be no statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims.  The big criticism of victims of sexual abuse is that they rarely come forward within the statute of limitations.

However, unless you’ve been a victim, you really can’t understand why victims don’t speak up sooner.  You can teach your children to come froward, but abusers are smart and manipulative and they can make sure a child holds their tongue for a long, long time.

I know, because I am a survivor of sexual abuse.  It happened when I was seven or so.  My parents had divorced, my father remarried, and I gained a step-sister.  My step-sister became my abuser.  She would repeatedly tell me “If you tell anyone, you’ll get in trouble.”  I was one of those kids that was actually afraid to get in trouble.  Not because my parents were harsh disciplinarians, but because it meant I had broken the rules and disappointed my parents.  If she had used anything else in an attempt to keep me quiet about the abuse, it probably wouldn’t work.  But she didn’t, she knew my weakness and used it against me.

I was in my late 20s, almost 30 before I ever told a soul about it.  One day, talking to my mother, I told her about it.  Of course, by then, nothing could be done about it.  By then, I had made my peace with it and worked through it in my own way.

That doesn’t mean I don’t understand.  I was embarrassed: how could I believe I would get in trouble for telling my parents what she was doing?  I was ashamed.  People who have been sexually abused are stigmatized in our society.  People who live in silence are treated even worse.  For the most part, my mind blocked out most off the memories associated with it.  I didn’t repress them, I have always remembered it happened, I just don’t have many of the details – a perfectly normal thing to happen to abuse victims.  It is very easy for victims to blame themselves just as much as blaming their abusers.

Which is why I think we should remove the statute of limitations on sexual abuse.  We are forcing victims to admit to the abuse while they themselves are still trying to figure out what is going on.

Taking the Bus & Dick Pictures

My first job in high school was a department store.  I worked the floor, making sure the shelves were stocked and orderly, helping customers, etc.  I hated the job, but I learned really fast that customers aren’t always right, no matter how polite you are…

When I interviewed for the job, the manager asked if I had any medical issues that might impede my work.  I confessed to having scent triggered migraines and was promptly assigned to Health and Beauty.  I’d been there about 4 months, when said manager came in to buy lotion.

She walked down the aisle opening the bottles and smelling them.  Then she’d just put them back on the shelf without screwing the lids back on… That was my job!  After the tenth or eleventh bottle, I ask her to please stop, I’m starting to get a migraine.  Something in my tone must have pissed her off.

She called for the manager on duty and told him that I was racist because I wouldn’t let her sniff bottles of lotion to find the one she wanted (we were both white, just FYI).  Then she dumped a bottle of lotion on me… something that smelled heavily of flowers.  I got really angry, asked the manager on duty if I could run home, shower, and change and was told I had to wait until we had cleared everything up.  The manager that was shopping started laughing and called me a crybaby so I told her to take the next bus to Fuck-Offville and was fired on the spot.  I have never worked retail again.

I thought of that incident when I was trying to figure out what to do about my migraine yesterday.


***IMPORTANT!***  I get a couple of dick pics a week, unsolicited to the HJ inbox.  Normally I respond by pointing out I’m not a romance writer.  From now on, anyone who sends me dick pics will be featured in a blog post.  Please stop.  I have a husband if I really want to look at male genitalia.

C Patt

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