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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Squeaky Pig Gets...the Bacon?

There's a form of positive reinforcement, where a person is rewarded both for reaching a goal, and for cracking on with it. I have heard it referred to as "Giving the kid the M&Ms"... which sounds like a fabulous idea for this kid. I'm not entirely sure, by the way, that it's ever been truly used on me... given a pack of M&Ms in 4th grade, I had to give an average of the colors in a 1993-era bag of M&Ms before being allowed to indulge. This just allowed me to organize colorful food. Ok, I learned mean, median and mode, too, but frankly, I was thinking of other things.

I did find an interesting lady with tourette's, one very fabulous Touretteshero, who also manages, in her tics, to give such poetic soliloquies as, "Be as ancient as a fish and as wise as a guillotine". Jess, you should write fortune cookies. She has a system in place. When she goes tic-free for 24 hours, she gets a decorated rubber squeaky pig. As much as I like and adore her collection, especially "Pig in a Wig"- dressed quite nicely in 18th century threads, I'm not really a piggie person. I love the snub-nosed little pink buggers, but in thinking up a system to keep me crackin' on, and motivate me, it wasn't a rubber squeaky pig that made my heart beat more quickly.

A friend asked me if I'd be upset if I didn't reach my goal, and thus missed out on what little trinket I'd decided was my reward. Truthfully: Yes. But I've decided on my first "pig" so to speak, and might very well turn it into a theme- (For a while, I was searching half-sarcastically for a Cthulhu teddy bear. They exist.)

I've loved HP Lovecraft and the like for many years. So I was delighted to see this beautiful little graphic novel, Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom, about a little boy, his pet, Spot, and his epic journey. I had yet to decide, when I lost out on my goal at nearly 7 weeks, exactly what my time perimeters were, but 2 months is my first hurdle.
In response to my friend's worry, I've decided that it is time to buy myself something nice. And work on the next goal as it comes. I have to work on my attitude, too. And I gave myself a lot to worry about, after I worried that I had nothing TO worry about. Ah, c'est la vie. Actually, I decided this: I need to be patient and kind to myself, and not keep being frustrated by all the goals I set up for myself to jump.

So for now, I'm giving myself some time, hopefully finding a somewhat mindless pursuit that I can do without analyzing, I'll enjoy the Roman Art History & Latin classes I'm working on, and simply get engrossed in the beautiful artwork, etc.

I can analyze later.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Seven Polish Plumbers Plumbing

I hope to meet a Daily Mail writer in my lifetime. Just so I can shake their hand and give them my honest and heartfelt thanks for their accidental humour.

What would it be like, on those occasions where I am stuck in recovery stage and have run out of reading material and have begun swearing at yet another cross-stitch pattern... (Huge confession: I like crafts. But I have a deep and abiding hatred for cross- stitch.) and I couldn't open up an article on Polish plumbers plumbing?- and driving up house prices. (Tell your friends! I'm here for all of your home improvement needs!)

Thank you, to the Daily Mail, for reminding me to be bikini ready, but not go out IN said bikini. I now know the only way not to "flaunt" is to wear a ski jacket to the pool.

Love, a devoted foreign git.

*Recovery mode: The time post seizure when I can easily be mistaken for a rather slurry, foul-mouthed drunken sailor, and when I'm apt to come down with any cold or flu that comes my way. As of Saturday, I'm 7 weeks seizure free and I'm hoping to keep myself strong and get stronger. Currently, my record stands at 8 weeks, and I'm attempting to beat that and give myself positive reinforcement. Recovery Mode lasts about 2 weeks, except this time when I came down with a good flu not long after and am only just getting full strength and energy.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

For Lovers, Plague Victims, Bee-Keepers and Me...

St. Valentine tends to get his name cursed and misused quite often.

Sappy and beautifully, wonderfully inappropriate little cards run riot... er, are mailed in abundance- how nice that for once, I don't seem to be supporting the USPS single-handedly.- or are hand delivered.

But it's not just about making people uncomfortable, Hallmark getting money, or silk panties.

In third century Rome, abuses of power abounded. It was after Nero's reign, after Caligula, who may have been epileptic himself, and long after Marcus Aurelius, great speechmaker, in the second century- the second-last of the Nerva-Antoine Dynasty, whose steady hand on the wheel left an empire woefully unprepared for Commodus, a loose cannon. The Valentines were early Christians who ran afoul because of their faith, and because they fought against marriage laws disallowing men of the soldiering age to marry. So, there's that love connection. Nothing as romantic as strobe lights, champagne, silky panties, or a sweet card. There was a festival of love, for Hera, not Venus, which involved swatting the person you adore and sounds a lot like the Polish Dyngus Day celebrations post Easter. Polonia, having been conquered by the Romans, might have simply taken Lupercalia, added a Christian spin, and kept the swatting. Just as we did with Lupercalia, but usually without swatting a boy or girl to say "I love you."

Unlike the information cited in this otherwise sparkling article on Atlas Obscura, the Valentines were not killed in the third century by Claudius. Well, not the Claudius most people think of... evidence might point to Claudius II, who died after 2 years on the Imperial Throne, of plague.
AtlasObscura: Curious Facts About Valentine's Day

This isn't a "Shout a lot, show people the original meaning", sort of post, not to end with.

In this case, I'm hoping to compile epilepsy related (Inappropriate cards, welcomed.)greeting card slogans.

"I'll bring the champagne, you bring the strobe light"- works for any day of the year.
"SEIZE the day"- sadly doesn't work with " Carpe diem." And Latin has wonderful, colorful phrases, like the loosely translated "I don't like the look of those sows' udders" and "The man who inspects the saddle blanket instead of the horse is stupid; most stupid is the man who judges another man by his clothes or his circumstances."

There are some,slogans that, "Have a sense of humor!" Aside, I couldn't bring myself to take past my brainstorm stage.

Due to the bee-keeper connection, a few honeys got bandied. As well as a "A plague on..." 

I will be playing with ideas. Personally, I happen to like "A day for plague victims, lovers, dreamers, bee-keepers... and me". 


Friday, February 7, 2014

The Cliff Notes Guide to Seizure Types

Like fine wine and grapes, or even bananas, epilepsy has many faces, varieties, and disguises.

I don't usually use WebMD- I find it a sort of terrifying tool. And Dr. Google is the LAST physician that I need. However, all tools have uses- Good and bad.
This is a slideshow of varying epilepsy types and beautiful images of the nerves and brain.
Epilepsy: A visual slideshow

This beautiful video of a talented musician gives a well-done illustration of absence seizures.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Push Me, Pull You, and/or, Putting an End to Shame

How to be a caregiver/ how not to be a dick- I can't stress that more strongly, unless I put it in bold, italicized, dark red 60- point font.

1) I am not Flash Gordon when I feel something coming on. As much as I get accused of leaving people in my dust if I'm walking with them, I become rather shaky and a bit jerky in my walking movements.... Do the robot!- I find it very annoying, and occasionally painful when someone pulls me by my arm or pushes from the back. Some do this... and the shove to look around you- whereupon, you're against a wall, and thinking unkind thoughts like, "Bitch! Ask me to move or to sit for a while!" - without any conscious thought or malice. It's my responsibility to say, "I don't like that," to the pushing/ pulling, or, "I need to sit a moment,".

2) Don't ask if your friend or family member is going to have a bit of a problem, or a seizure, in a hushed, shamed voice like they just told you that they find hedgehogs listening to industrial metal with headphones to be relaxing, or like they admitted to a serious crime. I am not the most shameless person. And during my mini episodes, (8/7 central on Hulu!) I am apt to be very snippy right back. Whereas, in my "normal", I'll just be a snot.
This is also why I tend to avoid people when sick. I'm a lousy, meanly-sarcastic brute who delights in using newfound cusswords- NOT crosswords, although I love those, too-  of all nations, because I found that it tends to be a distraction/ pain reliever. There's great relief in Catallus' epic set down, which begins with "Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo, ".

(Because Catallus means puppy, and he did tend to write love poetry, my brain seizes (no pun intended.)on a lovestruck, mischievous puppy snarling.)

Basically? Just carry on, avoid putting pressure on a person... It's one thing to say "You shouldn't be stressed," another to avoid BEING a stress. Physical force is sometimes painful and scary. Sometimes, if a stranger hugs me, it might be scary for me, not comforting, now's not the time to talk about manners. Sometimes, a person I know well- no, it always is... using force and grabbing, pulling, and shoving is scary and I'll be too shocked to do anything. This stress will lead to more symptoms.

3) if I can't hold onto anything because my hands shake, shame won't make that go away.

ETA: do NOT speak over them. Do NOT speak FOR them UNLESS THE SITUATION *ABSOLUTELY* CALLS FOR IT. In a normal conversation, people like to voice their own opinions, likes, dislikes, and anticipating is not listening. This behavior also serves to tell the person, "You are not capable, and I don't like what you say, so you will be a breathing ventriloquists' dummy." If they can't speak, then you must. Before an emergency, discuss what needs to be said, to paramedics, doctors, and\ or cops.
*Understand that "please stop" and making the patient feel guilty is harmful. 
*Understand that the patient is a human being with real feelings. Not JUST a patient. 
*Overprotective behavior is just as harmful. If I am feeling well, I might love a walk in the snow,  a hike, a trip, or bungee jumping. Being scared to let them, and making predictions and wringing your hands... Will not aid them in trusting you or feeling protected. It says "You can't."