Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Two updates, one major, and one semi-major:

1. MySpace is Really Run By Space Aliens Who Have NO Regard for Human Relations

Somewhere around last Sunday, feeling finally resolved and at peace about how to put all the Anthony Crap in my past, I felt confident enough to go check my mail in MySpace and not worry about wanting to stalk/check, because frankly, I'd had enough of him and everything to do with it that I could stand. Additionally, he'd made his profile private after the Mandy Debacle and that gave me a big sigh of relief that some random lonely Friday night down the road when I wasn't feeling strong, I would not be able to do a little bit of cyber-ex- stuff to make myself feel better ( who feels better after those things? I want to KNOW. I sure don't, dammit. ). But I logged into my inbox and saw, via an old email of his sitting in my box that he'd made it public again, much to my panic and chagrin. AGH! Just when you thought it was safe to avoid your ex because he spends months out of the country....THAT'S when they invent this noxious website.
Of course I went into a full on panic mode. I didn't want to shut my page down, because dammit, that would be saying I didn't have a right to be there. I didn't want to lose all my old emails from him, ( an idea hotly contested by my friends, 50/50, across the board; but frankly, to me, they're like old journals, which I always keep. A moment in time, captured. I don't neccessarily read them all, ever again, but I WANT them. ) or any of my other emails, either, and when you shut down your page, you lose EVERYTHING. I just wanted the temptation to check to NOT be there. Because even if I kept that page open, I'd have a direct *click on* link to his page whenever I wanted it. If it wasn't there, I'd have to go through nine kinds of rigamarole to find it again, and by that time I could have done something to HELP myself, instead of just *click*.

But as with all things, I've discovered, the threats from the outside world are rarely as big as the ones within our own heads. I can't keep the outside world safe; I can't ask it to do what I want. I can only do what I can do for myself to keep myself safe, and that's that. Except I tried to go in and get all my emails out ( leavng the option later to shut down the page if I wanted to. I hardly ever use it anyway, and as the titular header implies, am growing to hate it ), but because of ther way their matrix is set up, the ONLY way to do it is to select/cut/paste every.Single. Email. I ever wrote.
Given the idea that even checking his page was sending me into paroxysms of anxiety, I DIDN'T think my having to open alllllllll the old letters, read them, and select/cut/paste them into a file on my desktop was a good thing for my mental health. Hell, even thinking of it sent me into a crying fit. (Emotionally exhausted much, Jessica?). I tried some alternate ideas, like having Kit change my password so I could leave it for about 6 months untill I felt ready, and that lasted a whole hour before I felt so....wrong and weird about it I had to ask her to give me the password back. I don't need a babysitter, I need help solving the problem at hand. ( Clearly, I need help with something....).

R attempted to help by trying to contact MySpace directly ( or as directly as possible) and ask them if there was some sneaky way to get all the emails out in a bulk file, so I wouldn't have to read them all. Here's what happened with that:

Okay, first i sent a simple question to MySpace asking if it was possible to store all of a person's e-mail files in one big file, possibly convertible to a text file. I got a response that was entirely a boilerplate answer: basic how-to-add-and-remove-friends stuff.
So I sent another request in, basically the same question, and I got a response that said

That issue is currently being resolved. Please be patient.
Thank you,

What issue? How is it being resolved? ARRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!

My sentiments, exactly. So much for tech support....
Finally, I asked DR if I could PAY her to go in and cut n' paste all of them ( 150, no less!!) and put them in a compressed word file and send them to me, whereupon I would tuck them into a nice little place on my hard drive and live happily ever after. I was less than thrilled to be asking one of my oldest and dearest friends to essentially go in, peruse my courtship with Anthony close up and then sit there for what would certainly be several hours worth of work getting them out of that place. I even threw the I-Ching about it and all it said was that if I was wise I would do what I had to do, ask for help, and quit whinin' ( essentially, anyway). So I sucked it up, and she did it, graciously.

It's funny, the second I had a solution to the problem, I just didn't care anymore. I realized, like I said, this was in ME, not out THERE. And if I'm ever going to move on, I have to address my need to check/stalk in the first place, after all. Some of it is normal ex/breakup crap, I'm sure. Some of it was wanting to know he was still alive ( as opposed to shot and killed, given his job). Some of it is crappy self-defeating behavior, which we all have in relationships, and which is on us to figure out what it's about. That's what I pay the shrink for, so rest assured, she'll be hearing the whole story.

But it's really comforting to know that I don't have to cope with that kind of proximity, and possible temptation, right now, nonetheless. It just makes things a ALOT bit easier for me, even as I work on my garbage, and lord knows, I appreciate any perk like that right now. Hallelujah, and praise Whomever!

I'm just glad it's resolved. After Dawn did it, I emptied out my trash bin and that was that. And it was a little weird and emotional, but mostly, I was relieved. I don't get to know if he's still alive or not, but that's something you lose when you date someone who works in the kind of job he has, when you fall out with them. And it's not like any of us really know what happens to our exes when they leave our lives; that's part of the deal. A hard part of the deal, but how would we move on otherwise? Exactly.

And I still have my page on MySpace. So I can take my time deciding whether I want out without it depending on Anthony or not. Which makes me feel like I have some power back, and that I truly am happy about . Gotta love DR. She rocks!!

As for MySpace....they SUCK. Nobody but aliens would devise a plan so widespread and nefarious as to hook a bunch of total strangers together and keep them so utterly distracted by NOTHING, and then make them impossible to unhook by means other than the most annoying and time-consuming methods. As we sit at our computers now, leaving Sparkle comments for our "Friends", they're taking over small towns and villages and insinuating themselves among us. Just wait and see.

2.) The Yuppie Flu, Even Though Now They're Just Called Retirees

I'm sick. Master P had sent me over for a few random tests, and recently and one of them came back positive. It seems I have Epstein-Barr - once again. Goddammit!

I had it in 1995 and it was the worst thing ever. Literally, I could barely take care of myself. It's not like the flu at all; more like a case of malaria, where you're stuck on a cot in the back part of the Sub-Saharan tent you've been housed in, left to die. I wish I could be exaggesrating, but I am not. It was a big thing for me to move from the kitchen to the living room, and then to the bathroom a couple of times a day, the weakness was so awful. There's this short period where you've got the URI symptoms, but those go pretty fast. Then it's just the bone-crushing fatigue and reoccurring fevers and inability to sleep properly and some sort of weird delerium where even concentrating on "Oprah" is a chore you can barely accomplish. This lasts, by the way, for at least 3 months.
And then there's the "recovery" period, where for at least 6 months, you're tired all the time- not bone-crushingly tired, but just sort of "dammit, I need to get some stuff done, and I am just so tired and I can barely do it" tired. This is usually the period where the doctors start looking at you funny like "hey, you're over the acute phase, snap out of it!!!". Fortunately for me, my GP at the time was also a homeopath, and he pretty much saved me from it becoming chronic , in a form like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or hepatitis, or just, you know, hunkering down in my system waiting for a rematch.

However, it contributed to, I believe, my developing a fun little disease called Interstitial Cystitis later that year. Commonly only seen in older women ( like about 50+), I got it at 26. It's not communicable, and not genetic, and so....I personally think the illness settled into my immune system that way, and left me with an incurable disease. (I've been lucky, though. I haven't had the problems most women with the illness do- no constant pain or problems with intercourse, etc. )

But on to now:
First, you can look here for a better description of what EBV is, how it works, how testing works, and what the general medical community thinks of it.
And now, allow me to translate:
Well, when you have it acutely, it shows up as an infection with antibodies. That's what happened in 1995. I was retested after about a year and had no acute infection antibodies anymore, just evidence of the recent infection ( also an antibody test, but a different one).
I was very lucky, as I mentioned. A couple years later I got tested again just to be sure and still the same results. Same two years ago when I was in the hospital. All clear.

And when he ran this test, he ran a secondry test with it, looking for "chronic infection" levels. Those were clear, so it's not been chronic, nor has it been reactivated ( so the prior tests were right). Its a whole new infection. "Acute" the lab said. I want to go to an infectous disease doctor to see some other things, because there are a bunch of tests they can run to see what might happen, how your clinical picture might develop etc, and possibly cut those off at the pass.
Not that Western medicine, as the CDC says, knows what to do, neccessarily....

In another part of the picture, my titers ( the levels of the disease in my blood) were so low, Dr. thought that maybe the lab was "half a bubble off". The brackets they use are from 0.99 to greater than. My levels were 1.19 . I'm supposed to be retested this week and see what's up. Suddenly, though, everyrthing makes sense: I've felt like, every 2 weeks or so for the past 3 months, I've had to "shake something off". I sleep and sleep and sleep, and then I feel okay, and then I'm tired, for no reason. Then it starts all over again.

Anyway, what helped me the first time was acupunture, and homeopathy. Of course, there's no insurance for that. Mom will pay for acupuncture about once a month, ( although I'll need more than that) and I don't know how I'm going to pay for homeopathy. That's notoriously expensive. I don't have a homeopath here; I had a really good one in STL. I'm sure I can find one here, but it's the $$. There is no other treatment, in the Western medicine world. Of course.

Hopefully I will shake it off. Like I said, I'm not as sick this time. Just randomly every few weeks or so. No, no clue how I got it, as it's only transmissable by saliva ( so they think?) . I don't even know how I got it the first time....this time I asked if Tony could have been an carrier, since he works near 3rd-world conditions and his company's not good with the vaccines, and there's no vaccine for EBV ; he gets sick from the crap in the air there because it's full of fecal material( as I described before). Dr. said, maybe, but to quote him, "hell, eating out in LA is a risky deal since we're so 3rd-world too. One idiot who doesn't wipes his mouth and doesn't wash his hands..... " well, you see what the CDC said. Nobody really knows.

Not happy about this development, because it's not good news. However I am not utterly convinced it's the end of the world yet. (No, you can't get it from me unless I spit in your Coke or I break into your house at night and lick all your spoons. ) I'm still going to live my life. I'm just going to have to take extra care of myself for awhile, find some funding for yet ANOTHER thing in my life I cannot afford, and hopefully it will go away like it did the first time.

I need a vacation. Hey, wait...

3.) Perks of Knowing The Right People, or My Brother Grows Up and Finds His Compassionate Side

(Yes, I know this is THREE things, but I thought I'd save it as a surprise. It was to me!)

My brother ( 11 years younger than me, believe it or not!) was a rotten child. Cute, funny, smart as a whip, sure; but spoiled and pretty incorrigible. When he was in 8th grade he stood up in Catholic school and said he was an atheist and why did we all believe in God anyway? ( You can imagine how that went over. I thought my mom was going to DIE.) Things didn't go much better after that- he quickly got on the 5-year plan for graduating high school and couldn't hold a job to save his life. The Spoiled and Incorrigible parts of his personality started manifesting as Surly and Demanding, if not plain old Aggressive from time to time. The only reason I could stand him was a.) I didn't live there anymore, and b.) I told him flat out once when he got up in my grill with his angry bullshit that if he ever talked to me that way again I'd have him on the doormat with my heel against his throat, and not to even THINK about treating another girl like that as long as he lived. (After a short sulk and a cigarette, he apologized, and the message apparently stuck,because no problem has been had since).

Other than that , though, we comiserated on our parents' collective insanity and collaborated to overthrow their holiday madness every year. We got along. We had our talks, and are tight. Not close, but we kind of "get" each other, basically, and don't have any long-standing resentments or problems. I figure he's got his own road to undoing what my parents called "parenting", as it was radically different in some ways from what I went through ( the age diff and all) , and it's harder on him than my road was, in some ways. Still, I understand- he's gotta fight it out in himself untill he's tired of fighting so much and figures out a different way to live, just like I did. So I tend to cut him a wide swath in the "responsible adult" arena, and don't expect much from him in terms of expressions of affection, etc. ( He didn't have very good role models.)

However, in the past two years, he's somehow turned into Somebody Else. He got a job, moved out from my parent's house, got his own place, a dog, and a LIFE. He's kept said job for about a year now, with no incident, the dog is well, he's got a band that's not doing too badly, and is actually dating women in a fairly respectable manner. It's like this pod person came along and replaced my Shiftless Little Brother with a Genuine Decent Grown Up.
To evidence this massive turnaround, I got a call from him the other day saying that he'd found some decent airline rates to fly me home on ( he works as a travel agent). I was excited, but explained I had no money, and unless I felt like hitting up Mom and Dad ( which at the time, I just didn't; *sigh* ; it gets hard enough to hit them up for money as often as I HAVE to to pay my bills as it is. NOW who's Shiftless? Ah, how the tides have turned....) I probably had to pass. Thanks anyway...

You'll never guess what that little fucker did. He went and asked his boss if he could transfer his free yearly ticket to me to come home. Of course, they said no, company policy, blah blah blah. But instead of sitting there and towing the company line, he wrote them this sob story letter about how I've been sick and my parents worried and no money and god knows what else, and they CAVED, and gave it to him to give to me.

Yes, really. I know. I almost fell over onto the linoleum when he told me. Could NOT believe it.

What inspired this sudden and rather far stretch into something so demonstrative, I have not one clue. ( I said to him, "What? You couldn't think of anywhere to go yourself?" ) Of course he's playing it off like it's No Big Thang, but frankly, I'm floored. And really TOUCHED. My little brother! Goin' to the mat for his sis! Just because.

The whole thing makes me wanna tear up a little. *Snif*. ( Hey, I'm serious, now!) So anyway, I will be going home for ten days at Christmas, ( the Holiday I Loathe, but hey, I won't be here, at least!) and I am looking forward to it like it is the last dollar bill at a bachelorette party.

Sigh. Sometimes good things happen for no reason, just like the bad shit. THANK YOU, "Finally! A Repreive!" and "Keep it comin'" , that's all I've got to say! Amen to that, sister! Woo hoo!