Gallbladders! Who needs ‘em?

As I get older, I start to realize that I can’t do whatever I want with my body and have it love me unconditionally. During my last physical, I got my first ever test for cholesterol that resulted high enough for the doctor to advise me to limit my diet. I really didn’t think much of it. I’d been looking into doing a keto diet (which is high fat/protein and extremely low carb, and is apparently very good for you) but never took any of it seriously. It also didn’t help that I’ve been a bit overweight for the past few years and have been fairly lax with exercise (I do walking and yoga, though).

Fast forward nearly a year, and I’m in the emergency room with the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life, stabbing through my entire upper abdomen and spine. I seriously thought I was dying, and my boyfriend was none the wiser. After a few rounds of vomit, an IV for fluids and morphine (praise be to morphine), and an abdominal ultrasound later, it was determined that I indeed have gallstones, and one of them is currently stuck in the neck of my gallbladder.

Awesome.

It was roughly 3am at this point, and the on-call surgeon was contacted but since my gallbladder was still intact and not in danger of bursting, I was sent home with prescriptions for vicodin and zofran, advice to severely limit my diet, and a strong recommendation to follow up with my primary care doctor.

About this restricted diet? No fatty foods (really no fat at all), no spicy foods, no alcohol, and no caffeine. So really, nothing good. The worst part has been the no caffeine, by far. I’ve been living off of saltines, rice, blanched veggies, and the occasional piece of chicken, and my body could not hate me more for it. All the carbs have me bloated and I’ve even developed a nagging headache, and with the added stress of moving in a few days, everything that doesn’t trigger my gallbladder DOES trigger my IBS, so I suffer anyway.

Two days after my hospital visit I was sitting in the doctor’s office where they took my vitals and talked to me about my very limited options: either continue to follow a heavily restricted diet and follow pain management whenever I get attacks (which I have a 50% chance of getting within the next year…no thanks), or just have my gallbladder removed completely.

I didn’t even have to think about it. I opted for surgery. So I have to wait for the referral to get approved now, but the sooner this little bad bitch is no longer a thorn in my side (quite literally),  the sooner I can get back to eating the foods I love.

And more importantly, drinking coffee.

(I’m also pretty dead set on following a fairly strict keto diet after this, which is actually supposed to help lower high cholesterol levels, amongst other he alth benefits).

The price of being a woman

I’ve been saying it for years now: rape culture exists, women are objectified, misogyny is an every day problem. I’ve been labelled a man-hater by those who don’t want to admit that they’re part of the problem. Even in the wake of the tragedy in Isla Vista, CA, this past weekend, people (men, mostly) are still refusing to believe that this is the result of a culture that objectifies its women and promises them to men at a young age and then tells them there’s something wrong with them when their “nice guy” tactics aren’t having women throw themselves at their feet. Even though the Killer Who Shalt Not Be Named On This Blog left a clear manifesto that stated the reasoning for his killing spree was because women weren’t even giving him the time of day – let alone sleeping with him – and there were men who were (unknowingly) getting in the way of his conquests… even with all of that information, people are still refusing to believe that these killings were fueled by misogyny.

“Mental illness” is being thrown around, as a way to excuse what he did. In reality, there are many mentally ill people who don’t go out and kill people, and there are legally sane people (notably Jeffrey Dahmer) who do go out and kill people. Mental illness isn’t an an excuse nor is it the cause.

This is also being hailed as an isolated incident, and that’s grossly untrue. Men, find the women in your life. Be it your mother, your sister, your girlfriend, maybe your teenage daughter. Ask them if they’ve ever been harassed or assaulted by a man. The answers may shock you. Personally, I’ve dealt with guys like He Who Shalt Not Be Named On This Blog on a near daily basis since I hit puberty. He manifests in the men who catcall you (or grope you in public) and expect you to take it as a compliment. He manifests in the droves of lonely dudes on internet dating websites who put too much effort into messaging you, only to lash out at you with insults when you’re not interested or fail to respond. He manifests in that predatory guy at the bar who won’t take no for an answer, and who only leaves you alone after you declare your status as another man’s propertyBecause they respect you more as some other man’s property than as your own person who just isn’t interested in them. These aren’t isolated incidents. These are every day men that women have to deal with in nauseating amounts. They put their desire to interact and date with us over our personal comfort levels and our disinterest and then cry about being labelled as potential rapists. And for those of us who try to speak out about it, we are met with droves of men who feel the need to separate themselves from the rest with “but not all men!” when in fact, they are exactly like the rest of them. And if they spent more time calling out their fellow dudes who exhibit creepy, predatory, and objectifying behavior as they did whining about “misandry,” maybe we could actually enact a positive change in our culture.

Anyway, I digress. The slaughter of this past weekend is NOT an isolated incident. Many, MANY men lash out with insults and threats of violence when faced with a denial. Women have been blamed for men’s shortcomings since the beginning of time, and men are taught that we owe them our attention and affection simply because they exist, when we really, actually, don’t.

So men, while it may be a blow to your fragile ego, remember that women don’t owe you shit. You are not entitled to their attention or their body, no matter how nice you are to them, how many gifts you’ve given them, or how betrothed you are to them. Even being married for 50 years doesn’t entitle you to someone else’s body, because long gone are the days where you could buy your wife from her family and women were considered property, not people. And while it may be frustrating to be lonely, while you see everyone else around you getting into relationships and finding love and sex, no hurt feelings ever, EVER justify hurting someone else. You will get a lot further with women by respecting them and their space than you ever will by taking what you want and leaving casualties.

Other relevant articles:
A comic on the double standards faced by men and women, or “why I need feminism”
Why It’s So Hard For Men To See Misogyny
The Price of Toxic Masculinity
Not all men: How discussing women’s issues gets derailed
An open letter to privileged people who play devil’s advocate

Gardening for Dummies

It was a decision I’d made at least months before I moved – I wanted to start an herb garden. I’d bought a copy of Herb Gardening for Dummies and pored over the basics, and was pretty set on starting up my own herb garden once I moved and got settled.

Just days after I moved in with my boyfriend and one of our mutual friends, the boy and I took a trip to Home Depot to get some around-the-house necessities and tools (the previous tenants of our house left it a wreck), and while we were there I picked up some Miracle Grow seed starter soil and a handful of Burpee seed packets.

The next morning, I was out on the back patio bright and early, appropriating the boyfriend’s work gloves to use as I dug into the freshly opened bag of soil. I planted sweet basil, parsley, chives, cilantro, and a slightly-out-of-place-in-an-herb-garden jalapeño plant.

While – you can see in the photo – everything else has sprung up and is doing quite nicely (the chives are out of control!), the jalapeño has yet to even germinate. After asking around on the internet, it turns out my sunny windowsill isn’t quite warm enough to help my pepper plant germinate. So I’ve moved it to the computer room, where the heat given off by our combined computers makes the room about 5-10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house at any given time. Keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll sprout soon and it’s not just me being terrible at having a green thumb!