if the acronym fits

Two years ago, I wrote about the collectively bunched panties of the people in my neighbourhood regarding the social housing in the area. A new facility is being built, and people are freaking the fuck out – “NOT IN MY BACKYARD!!!” they’re literally screaming, then turn around and are SUPER OFFENDED when someone says they’re going all NIMBY. It’s hilarious to watch, if only because it’s fucking disgusting and I want to burn them all to the ground. Figuratively, that is. I do not condone the burning of selfish assholes who are more concerned about their property values – in Vancouver, where the average stand-alone house is worth close to 2 million – than human lives.

So, the new situation: a house was purchased a few blocks over, and is being converted into a small halfway house for teens. It’ll be staffed 24/7, and house no more than 5 patients at a time. The ages range from 16 – 18, and all residents have been through detox and rehab – it is a literal halfway house, to help them readjust to normal life. Residents cannot leave the property unless they are accompanied by a staff member.

Here are some comments from the petition (of course) that went up to protest the facility (everything is [sic]):

This city staff have approved many site or addiction house around our area with out resident agrees. This city staffs stripped our human rights “freedom of choice”,who we can live with; mental illness people? Drug users? Drug dealers around? It is time to let all of these residents stand up , we want our Human Right back ! We want freedom of choice! We want this city staff know what residents want!

My niece lives in this area and should not be subjected to such sites on a daily basis. Horrendous idea.

We want a safe neighborhood for our kids. No more drug/mental health related facilities please!

And here’s what’s been going on behind the scenes in the community email thread. The bolded comments are just the best:

The children in our home area are too heavily weighted with these “social problems” I think the city should spread the issue around the city. These addicted kids should be in an area that is more isolated, not near transport, pot stores, and temptations. A more nature filled location where they can hike, exercise, focus and learn how to behave in a “normal society: anger management, deep psychological help.

The city is just bullying our neighbourhood, they got away the homeless shelter despite massive response against,now we have begging at all the intersections, begging outside the shops, petty crime but they assured us that all would be well.  then park the next outcry and many against, they just went ahead, . I used to see many little ones with their families at the jungle jim play set at <name> park on hot days and evenings, now it is virtually abandoned, it is 40 ft from the front door of a mental health/addiction facility. What mother is going to take her kids to play there?

I am completely opposed to the use of <address> as facility for recovering youth addicts. There are many reasons including;

  •  The wrong zoning,
  • Lack of proper public notification
  • A neighbourhood already forced to deal with very large shelters and the issues they bring (and they do)
  • Proximity to an elementary school

There are even more reasons but please do not call NIMBYISM one of them. I take great offence when this term is thrown around when we are trying to have a rational discussion on this issue.

But of course it is so easy to call us NIMBY’s as a red herring to steer the conversation away from the real issue – pathetic public consultation.

BTW, <name> Liquor Store is opening up on the <address>, in the <name> condo.  In the same block, you have a massage parlour, two marijuana dispensaries and a liquor store.  One can smoke pot, have sex, and drink booze all in a one block area.  What’s our neighbourhood becoming?  We need a clean and safe neighbourhood!

I too spoke to <name> at the CoV.  Poor woman.  Fielding lots of calls.

I told her there are lots of families that would love to live in such a nice house! Would the CofV considering buying them one, too?

I told her if I was a neighbour and this happened?  I would be so pissed off.

It doesn’t improve OUR neighbourhood or land value, or provide our kids with other kids to play with.. Or babysitters to help around the ‘hood.  

BUt the really really important thing?  It is across the alley from the <housing>… a no barrier, low income (no income but assistance) housing project.  The dope can be tossed over the fence.  This is NOT the place for this house.

Find a farm. 

I absolutely Do Not agree with the statement that we are acting NIMBY and take offence to that.

I think this neighbourhood is doing it’s fair share to “give back” to the community.

Please let’s stop concentrating it this way and spread these facilities across Vancouver in a more thoughtful manner, if you truly believe that “It takes a village”.

Such beautiful sentiments. Such an incredible display of humanity. Definitely not NIMBYism, how dare you call it that? I simply want the filthy undesirables to not be in my back yard, is all. Is that too much to ask? What about my HUMAN RIGHT? Won’t somebody think of the children? But not those children. I mean MY children. The good ones.

Put all the bad ones on a farm, where I don’t have to look at them. Or think about them. Until I or someone I love needs help, at which point I will scream about the lack of services and housing.

Fuck these people. I’m so disgusted with humanity right now, and it’s not even 10 am.

down south

Ed and I moved into Sparta in December of 2009. It’s been a great home for us, and we’ve had some excellent times here – but now that we both work from home, it’s become a bit cramped. We’ve idly been talking about looking for a bigger place for some time now (me with the “LET’S MOVE NOW” and Ed with the standard “in a year or two”), but things just sort of happened: we did some math, looked at the market, toured some neighbourhoods, and the next thing you know, our piggy banks are hella empty and we have a lot of scary, official-looking documents covered in signatures.

This all happened really fast (like, the span of maybe three weeks), but we found a place that met all of our requirements:

  • Big (+765 sqft over current home)
  • 3+ bedrooms (actually has four)
  • Many toilets (4 of them!)
  • A deck we can actually USE holy crap I will be able to go outside but stay inside
  • No pedestrian-controlled crosswalks anywhere in sight
  • No horrible upstairs neighbours with stompy feet and elephant offspring
  • Double car garage
  • Corner unit (neighbours on only one side! wooo!)
  • Greenery! And a community garden!

It’s a townhouse in a new development outside of Vancouver, surrounded by green space and with a friggin’ creek running through it. We’re going to have a YARD. That someone else has to mow. It will be glorious.

As excited as I am, there are definitely things I will miss about Sparta and Vancouver. Among them:

  • Being able to say “I live in a McDonald’s parking lot”
  • Living above a rub n’ tug (it’s for the best – we never used it because Ed is squeamish)
  • Out of milk, eggs, or $9 pints of $4 ice cream? The gas station across the street has what you need.
  • Having an address that says “Vancouver”
  • The mailman, because it took 8 years but we FINALLY have an understanding about the fact that I do not go outside and he will be bringing me many things and also we are always home (except when I forget to tell the post office to hold my mail, and he’s ringing me in the middle of the night because I’m halfway around the world)
  • Getting free passes to the PNE each year for the inconvenience of other people
  • Proximity to Deacon’s Corner, Scandalicious, and the good Dennys

There’s a list of things I WON’T miss, but I am not posting them because I need someone to buy our place. :D

I am still a little torn over the loss of my Vancouver address, but this is slowly changing. Don’t get me wrong – this is not one of those obnoxious “Dear Vancouver, I’m breaking up with you” posts. If anything, I’m taking my own advice. It’s true that this city is unsustainable, and if we want more out of our home, we had to look outside the central Vancouver area to one that actually has additional perks beyond those listed above. Yes, I will miss living a ten-minute drive from my friends, but it’s not like I’m moving to Connecticut: that ten minute drive is simply now a 30-minute drive. Oh no. We’re actually in a better position to see our friends regularly, because we’re not the only ones with a new address and the group has instituted a regular date night (which has been a smashing success and means we get to see people far more regularly than just “whenever it happens”).

Some habits die really hard, though: I try not to think too hard about the fact that we’re moving to Surrey. Not regular Surrey; nothing will stop me from stressing that we live in SOUTH Surrey. Not Stabbin’ Surrey. We’re west of the 99, like 5 blocks outside of White Rock. Totally different. I doth protest a lot.

I haven’t started packing yet, but I’ve made an excellent spreadsheet. We’re getting rid of a lot of our stuff to prepare for the move and eventual staging of Sparta (if you’re in the market for any furniture or Pac-Man lamps, let me know), and I’m going to have to pack up almost all of my stuff to made this look like a nice, normal home in which no crazy Peter Pan horders live. Should be totes easy. I have just under three months to pack, purge, sell, or donate most of my belongings. When we return from Ireland, we’ll have three weeks to deep clean the place, then stick it on the market. Ed’s confident that we won’t have an issue selling – Sparta is a corner unit with the second biggest floor plan in the building, has two bathrooms, upgraded closets, and comes with storage and two parking spots. Those are all excellent things. Hopefully someone will give us a lot of money for them, which we will give to the bank because we are responsible like that.

Okay, now I’m just rambling and stressing myself out. There’s so much to DO.

 

it’s not lupus

I have too much sugar in my blood
I have insulin resistance
UH! Type 2 Diabetes!

I have too much sugar in my blood
I have a broken pancreas that isn’t creating insulin
UH! Type 1 Diabetes!

Type 2 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
UH! Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA), aka Type 1.5 Diabetes!

We always joke around that it would be just my luck to end up with a super rare and complicated disease, one that requires Dr. House-style intervention. Gill is convinced I have some sort of super-betes, while Ed has been telling me I probably have both kinds, aka Type 3.

So, about that ..

Let me catch you up on what’s happened since my last update. I’ve been feeling better, but my blood is all over the damn place (literally and figuratively). I was told to get myself some peein’ sticks, and they’ve been showing that the bad news is all up in my everything – basically, I’m consistently in the “get to a damn hospital” range. Sad!

I met with Diabetes Man at the hospital on Wednesday for some education. The plan was to learn all about diabetes and how to treat my specific kind of diabetes, but .. well, we don’t know what kind it is. My blood and pee don’t make any sense. I need to take the official “What Diabetes Are You” Buzzfeed quiz, but that can only be requested by your family doctor, which I do not have. Without that diagnosis, I can’t get the insulin I seem need, without which – and this was stressed to me a number of times – DYING WOULD HAPPEN. Which is weird, because Type 2 diabetics – which we all assume I am because look at me – don’t typically require insulin. It was all very complicated and I kept cracking bad jokes that didn’t go over very well because Diabetes Man was too frustrated by my enigmatic nature to appreciate my acerbic wit. We made a deal: I would test my blood at specific times in the day and my pee first thing in the morning and text him the results, and he would confer with Dr. Awesome to find out why the former would say I’m fine when I am so clearly not fine in the slightest and also what do we do with a problem like Kimli (I like to imagine there was singing).

Cut to yesterday morning. Blood is stupid. Pee is stupid. Every goddamn thing is stupid and also I am exhausted. I texted my numbers to Diabetes Man, ate some Cheerios like a toddler, and tried to work. Around 1pm, Dr. Awesome called me.

So, about all those crossed wires and completely opposite advice/diagnoses from Dr. Awesome and Dr. Nice Shoes ..

No one told Dr. Awesome I had been admitted to the hospital. 

Dr. Awesome called me last Friday afternoon, before I was discharged from the hospital. I had assumed the call was because he had been brought up to speed on wtf is going on, which was the wrong assumption to make: the timing of the call was a COINCIDENCE. He had no idea I was literally on a hospital bed at that moment. Complicating matters even further (because me), the whole opposite diagnosis thing was because he wasn’t looking at the results from my overnight stay – he only had info from the week prior, BEFORE I went into DKA.

Still with me? I barely am, and this is my life now.

Having cleared that up, Dr. Awesome said I needed insulin, and I needed it ASAP. Ed drove me to the doctor’s office in North Van, and I was formally issued some insulin pens and instructions on how to stab myself with them. He also talked about my actual, current test results, which are showing weird things that make him think I’m actually a Type 1.5 diabetic – which is a real thing that actually exists and is not just a cute joke we’ve been making – AND that all of this *might* be due to an undiagnosed bout of pancreatitis (which would explain the high red and white blood cell count from the first blood test that started all of this shit). It’s too early to tell, but if my pancreas bounces back, all of this might go away. It might not. In the meantime, I’m on a tiny daily dose of tummy insulin to make my body process the sugar in my blood (like it’s supposed to do when it’s not being a fucking slacker). What comes next? Your guess is as good as mine.

None of this is officially official without the test, but all signs are pointing towards Type 1.5 diabetes. There’ll likely be a ton more back and forth as things get sorted out, including the medication aspect: we’re not sure if the peanut butter was making me sick at all, as it could very well have been coincidentally timed with my descent into DKA. I don’t know. What I DO know is that I’ve had to cancel my trip to Seattle for next week, because if the insulin isn’t doing the job and I start feeling all acidic again, I have to go to the ER immediately .. and call me crazy, but I just don’t want to try out American healthcare at this point in my life.

I’m super glad we’re getting somewhat closer to a diagnosis/solution, and that Dr. Awesome and Diabetes Man are both helping me through this. Still, it’s hard not to throw myself a little pity party now and then – it’s been a rough month. I was really looking forward to going to Seattle, and I’m tired of feeling like a ticking time bomb of rotten cells. I’m worried that I’m missing too much work for appointments and emergency consultations. I feel guilty as hell because I screwed up Ed’s birthday weekend, his actual birthday, plans he had yesterday, and potentially work-related stuff for next week. Every little twitch and twinge makes me think I’m about to drop into a funky fresh coma of phat death. Stresses: I have them.

Not sure what I’m going to do with all the character this is building, though.

peanut butter jelly time

Well, that was fun: last Thursday I ended up in the hospital overnight because my blood had turned to acid.

Acid_Spit_Xenomorph

literally me

Here’s a handy timeline of all the bad that went down over the last two weeks, starting with the second blood test:

  • Tuesday the 16th: have blood drawn again. Pee in a cup for good measure.
  • Wednesday: get a phone call. “YOU’RE TOTES DYING! GET THEE TO A NUNNERY HOSPITAL!”
  • Wednesday night: you got the beat(us)! Take these meds, which every single person with diabetes takes with no issue. They’re foolproof. Also, change everything about your life and never enjoy food again.
  • Thursday: be sad. Dr. Awesome’s office calls and wants to see me on Friday. I’m probably in trouble.
  • Friday: Dr. Awesome doesn’t want me to take the ER meds. He wants me on two drugs: the one suggested by Dr. ER, and a new experimental secret science drug that totally won’t lead to super powers. Instead of taking a whole series of new pills, Dr. Awesome prescribes me a combo pill that contains both the common drug (peanut butter) and the new one (jelly):
ahXvG

life has never been so convenient and unnecessary

I started taking the new drug on Friday. By Sunday night, I started to feel sick: crazy nauseous, full-body ache, throwing up, total brain fog. I figured it was just my body adjusting to my new lifestyle of no fun, because that’s a thing that actually happens. I was assured by the internet that yes, this sucks, but it will definitely get better.

It didn’t get better.

By Wednesday morning, I wasn’t able to keep anything down – all food and liquid was being expelled from my mouth in Exorcist proportions. I hadn’t been able to work all week, except for some emergency edits – and they took me forever, because I just could. not. think. Everything was so hard, both physically and mentally. I was in dire shape, but still assumed it was a keto flu that I’d eventually get over, and the PB&J pill would settle me down. I was taking the PB&J twice a day – 2x500mg to start, then ramped up to 2x1000mg after 5 days.

Thursday was scary. I don’t remember much of it. Ed had called Dr. Awesome’s office to find out if I was supposed be all dying like this, but didn’t get an answer so he called the BC Health Line to ask a nurse. Nurse said “hospital time!”, so he loaded me into the car and took me to the ER. I was seen almost right away, which means I was probably in really bad shape – again, I don’t remember much.

I spent the night in the hospital. They took all of my blood so many times I lost count, as well as checking my blood sugar every hour. The doctors were confused as to how peanut butter could cause all my symptoms, because it’s the drug everyone uses – and even better, when Ed explained I wasn’t just taking peanut butter but peanut butter AND jelly, there was more confusion: they’d never heard of jelly, let alone a PB&J pill. Clearly, it was the jelly causing all my problems.

My blood was tested, and they found I was supercalifragilisticketoacidosis: the medication had done such a good job of removing sugar from my blood that it turned it acidic, and I can only assume it was eating me from the inside out.

I was put on an IV to combat my dehydration, insulin to fix the lack of insulin in my body, and kept overnight so they could harvest my blood while I slept. Twice during the night I had to be woken up and given juice to drink, because my blood sugar was too low.

In the morning, Dr. Nice Shoes (he had nice shoes) came by to explain what happened: I was having a bad reaction to the jelly, so I should revert to just taking the peanut butter. After they were satisfied I was more or less stable, I could go home. In the meantime, here is some yucky breakfast and we will take more blood.

I fell asleep at some point, and woke up to my nurse and Dr. Nice Shoes standing over me: they weren’t going to leave until I started eating my yucky lunch. I still had absolutely no appetite at this point and what felt like bricks in my stomach, but Ed showed up with Diet Coke so that helped me choke a few bites down.

Dr. Nice Shoes suggested I fill my original prescription for peanut butter when I got home, and take it according to the original instructions. I should be feeling better in no time, and get back to doing whatever it is I do when I’m not busy dying. HOWEVER!

Dr. Awesome called me up and was all “wtf” “I know, right” “how we gon’ fix you”. He wanted to go in the other direction: don’t take the peanut butter at all, but just the new prescription for jelly only. I confessed my trepidation: I don’t ever want to feel like I did that day and other songs from Blood Sugar Sex Magik (pun actually not intended, but that worked out quite well didn’t it). I was worried about taking jelly, because the hospital is certain that it was the culprit for my near-death experience (2017 edition). Dr. Awesome disagreed!

What to do. I told Dr. Nice Shoes about Dr. Awesome’s advice and my subsequent fear of jelly. He understood the hesitation to prescribe me peanut butter because of my stupid heart, but stood by the “jelly = bad” and diagnosis left me with a couple days’ worth of peanut butter to take until my jelly came in. They gave me 1000mg of peanut butter with my lunch, and some to take home in a delightful doggy bag. I didn’t know when the jelly prescription was going to show up, so I halved the peanut butter dose to make it last longer.

Then I got sick again.

Saturday afternoon we had a late lunch with friends to celebrate Ed’s birthday. I started feeling really weird before we left the house, and by the time we got to the restaurant I was completely out of it. My insides felt all weird, I was nauseous, and I could feel myself getting dumber by the minute: my brain just couldn’t even. I had a hard time forming sentences, and had to pause mid-thought to remember what I was saying. IT SUCKED. What the fuck! I was supposed to be all better!

The lesson here is that I should never, ever doubt Dr. Awesome, who is called that for a reason. He was RIGHT: it wasn’t the jelly that was making me sick, but the peanut butter. Because I just have to be a special fucking snowflake, the drug that works on millions and millions of people with no side effects turns me into a drooling, acidic moron who can’t do food of any kind. Well that’s just fucking SUPER.

I stopped taking the peanut butter, and am now taking a small dose of jelly each day. I only have a trial supply, so if I’m still alive by the end of next week, I’ll tell Dr. Awesome and see if he can refill the jelly prescription for me. I’ve been off peanut butter for a day and a half, and I definitely feel better: not nauseous for the first time in a week, able to eat food and keep it down, and can do math again. I’m still pretty tired and weak like kittens, but I can see the end of the tunnel (and not in a morbid death way).

If I am going to have diabetes, I apparently am going to have the FUCK out of diabetes.

pbj

scared. 

February 5th, 2015. That was the last time I felt as awful and as helpless as I do now. It was the day before I landed in the hospital and finally had a diagnosis for how I’d been feeling – I was so, so scared. I couldn’t get out of bed without almost passing out from the effort. I couldn’t do much more than cry, with the occasional break to throw up into the sink. It was hell. 

I’m in that hell again. It’s day five after starting new medication to deal with my blood sugar, and the day the dosage doubled. I’m nauseous all the time. I have no energy. I had to go downstairs to get the mail today, and the effort made me throw up. Ed keeps imploring me to eat and I’m *trying*, but I can barely choke things down (and usually throw them up again shortly afterward). I know there’s an adjustment period to lifestyle changes, but this. fucking. sucks. It feels like I’m dying all over again, and that isn’t hyperbole – I know what almost dying feels like. It feels like this. 

My blood sugar is down almost 11 points, though – instead of the danger zone, I’m high normal. Yippee. Totally worth feeling like death for a week. Can’t wait for this to be my entire life: feeling awful, sobbing and vomiting (sometimes at the same time!), and no potatoes. Or rice. I’m fucking Asian and Irish. This is so racist. 

I just want to feel like I did a week ago, before I made all these changes for the “better”. 

for the horde

I cleaned out the pantry tonight. This was actually scheduled before I learned that all food will kill me dead, but because of that the cleaning had extra gravity. I filled three large garbage bags with expired food, partially eaten snacks, and sauces of questionable quality. Any food that was still good but unopened will be donated.

I’m slowly but surely making my way around the house, purging as much as I can in preparation for the move. The condo will go on the market when we return from Ireland, and I’m a little concerned about how the hell we’re going to stage it when everything I own is chaos. Part of my summer plans will be to clean out my storage locker, then start packing away some of the items that scream “unspeakable horrors happened here” as opposed to “raise your babies in my Lady Cave!”. I’m still trying to figure out how to hold a garage sale – Ed suggested I post everything I have for sale, then hold an open house for anyone who might be interested in stuff. I could do that. Remember when I gave away all those bags? Yeah, there’s a lot more where that came from.

I’ve posted before about my tendency to hoard food. I’m still doing it, and my brain still works the same way – if there are no snacks in the house, all I want to do is stuff my face with them. If they’re everywhere, I don’t need them. They just have to be available. It was surprisingly easy to empty out the pantry of 90% of the bad food (the only pang of regret I felt was for the unopened bag of sea salt caramels but even then I’ve had the bag for over a year and never ate them), but I kept a few things to ward off my cravings. They’ll likely get tossed out untouched when it’s time to clean the pantry again, but that’s okay. They’re there, and that’s all I need.

Before I became some sort of hunched, pantless hermit, I worked in an office with other people. I used to frequently ply them with candy: I’d buy a bag of something I wanted, eat one or two, then give the rest away. I brought home my stash of candy when I left the office, and put everything into a drawer and forgot about it other than to add to the stash every now and again. Part of the pantry purge included bagging up all the candy hidden around the house to give to my friends, because someone might as well enjoy the stuff I can’t. Even with my hoarding habit, I was a little shocked at the final almost final roundup:

IMG_1611

one cat + one cat butt + a metric shit ton of candy

The loose, wrapped candy filled 3/4 of the bag Dilly is sitting in and is heavy as hell. What the fuck. The people who visit my house have failed me: why did you not eat all this? You’re going to sit there until you clean your plate, young lady. Diabetes for everyone!

I found two more small stashes after I took this picture. They’ve been added to the bag. Is this normal behaviour? I can’t tell.