September 27, 2011

Lurchers and lurgies


Look, look!  Blogmom has been CLEVER and put the auction/sale in a sidebar –>

So anyone who has been out saving the world or discovering faster-than-light travel or a cure for vampires* and hasn’t been round to Days in the Life recently **, please go check out the Preserve the New Arcadia Bells Sale/Auction!  Please!

 * * *

Hellhounds ate their supper last night too although Chaos had to skulk and slink and act like he wasn’t going to—and for all I know he was seriously weighing the alternatives and ultimately might not have, because he is, as we know, a fruit loop, and the fact that he is still demanding lunch and dinner EARLY, and this despite the fact that he has eaten supper two nights in a row now, has nothing to do with anything.  And if you found that sentence hard to follow, welcome to the world of living with hellhounds.  It’s just a good thing they’re cute.

            I had a friend, let’s call her Luna, visiting today.  This is someone I’ve known for about twenty years—which is to say more or less from the moment I moved over here.  And she’s from Maine.  Irony Alert.  But we had friends in common and she has taught the odd McKinley novel*** and one thing led to another, even if the leading is made more complex by the 3000 or so additional miles my emigrating appended.  Still.  We have managed to meet up a few times.†  I picked her up at the Mauncester train station today and then we drove to the edge of town for a walk by the river.  And there, as hellhounds and I often do when we’re walking ways frequented by other human beings, we met a Hellhound Fanatic.  First she spoke to the hellhounds, which was all good to them††, and then she spoke to Luna and me, telling us about the hellhound she had once been possessed by, and how friendly and charming and affectionate and beeeeeeeoooouuuuuutiful it was . . . and how hellhounds are among the most ancient of dog breeds and we know this because they show up on medieval tapestries and so on, no doubt because their beauty catches the eye of many artists.†††  Yes.  It is very nice talking to you, madam, and you clearly have the right idea about hellhounds, even if you seem to have forgotten that they are also nightmares in fur with enigmatic attitudes toward food and a perfection of obstinacy that Plato would admire.  And I thought:  if I ever find myself in the dreadful position of not having a hellhound of my own . . . I will be exactly like this, stopp(eth)ing one in three and holding them with a skinny hand.‡   I often imagine having more critters‡‡ but . . . I really don’t want to imagine the assembled multitude not including at least one gorgeous, long-legged tuck-bellied large-eyed hellhound.  But ask me again the next time the current crew go comprehensively off their food.‡‡

 * * *

The lurgy continues to ebb‡‡‡ although I am disgracefully hoarse as a result of catching up on about a decade’s conversation with Luna and I’m not sure singing tonight is on.§  I can feel the ME tapping its fingers thoughtfully but at the moment it’s not making any hostile moves.§§  CathyR tweeted me this a few days ago: :  ‘Chronic Fatigue, Surrounded by Uncertainty’.  Yep.  That’s about it.  I appreciate the low-key tone of the article—it’s a big improvement on most of the stuff that was circulating when I first went down with ME/CFS, shrieking and name-calling about wimps and yuppie flu—and I particularly appreciate the suggestion that ‘there is an emerging consensus that CFS/ME is not a single illness’.  Don’t mind me, I’ve been saying that for over a decade. 

            But as long as that is the case, I think CFS/ME (or ME/CFS) is rather a good name for it:  apple/banana like the man says, because at the moment we can’t be clearer about what we’re talking about.  And I wish they would stop suggesting that a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise is good for everyone.  It isn’t I’d already had a lot of (psycho)therapy by the time I went down with ME, so the concept of as it were handling yourself rather than just living your life as if all your bits, physical, mental and emotional were reliable, was old news.  Once I began accepting that I had ME and that I was going to have to learn to cope with it—and it was the acceptance that was the big bad deal—the learning to cope was grim, nasty and infuriating but relatively straightforward.  I didn’t try cognitive therapy§§§ and I’m sure it can be very useful for someone who hasn’t before had to look at themselves as a Rube Goldberg contraption.  But the graded exercise thing MAKES ME NUTS.  And as a long-term and more-or-less public sufferer of ME I feel responsible for repeating that graded exercise presented as a treatment for ME makes me nuts.  As a rule it is a frelling frelling bad idea.  ME is all about learning NOT to drive yourself, for pity’s sake—it’s about listening to what your body wants, not what your intellect (or your boss, or your doctor) tells you you’re supposed to want.  Cognitive therapy is about coping.  Graded exercise is essentially about forcing.  Do not go there.   Or if you insist on going there . . . go very very cautiously, and the moment your body or your energy level says um, I’m not really liking this very much, LISTEN.  NEVER MIND THE EXPERT OR THE CHART OR THE PROFILE OR THE WHATSIT.  IT’S YOUR BODY.  IT IS, FURTHERMORE, YOUR UNIQUE BODY.

            Okay.  Stopping now.  And I’m going to go very delicately over to the piano, and if my still rather lurgy-ridden body says no I’ll go to bed early.  

* * *

* This last could be taken a number of ways 

** And for anyone who is new to this blog, that’s a muffin with fangs.  You figure it out. 

*** shock horror, yes, very odd 

† Once at Dysart’s Truck Stop which is where I first encountered the concept of cinnamon rolls as big as your head.  

†† Mostly I am glad they believe that All People Are Good People.  Mostly. 

††† And a few doodlers. 

‡ There will certainly be a glittering eye.  I hope to escape the long grey beard. 

‡‡  No, no!  Nooooooooo!   

‡‡‡ Hey, you know, maybe they won’t.  Maybe one of these times will be the last time.  Maybe . . . maybe this was the last time!

^ If you want to live with hellhounds, I recommend indestructible naïveté as a coping mechanism.+ 

+ See below.  I’m good at coping mechanisms.  


§ I can still play Os Frelling Justi over on the piano a few hundred million times in preparation for Thursday.  Not to mention that Nadia is expecting to sing it with me helpfully next Monday.  I think I’ll run away to Spain.  I want to see Gaudi’s Barcelona. 

§§ It usually does boomerang after I get over something like flu or a head cold.  This assault is often worse than the original ailment.  Such fun. 

§§§ Although I did go back in to straight psychotherapy to learn to ‘forgive’ myself for having ME.  I have told you many, many times that self confidence is not one of my strong suits, and even while I knew the lazy whinger who can’t pull herself together view of ME was bollocks it was still dismayingly hard to resist.


Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.