Category Archives: health

Mastering the Art of Self-Diagnosing: A Cautionary Tale

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There’s always something going down in the body department. It’s  constant pain in the ass it is to be alive, that’s for sure. If you are lucky, there might be maybe a couple of days in any given year where nothing is noticed, all orifices are clear and everything is copacetic and in reasonable working order. Most of the time some kind of alarm is going off and for me, the list reads as such:

A motherfucking hangnail!

Annoying mouth canker, a crusty bitch of a cold sore in the corner of the lips

A stiff neck crick, a delicate tenderness underneath the wing part of the right shoulder-blade, hurts to back out of a parking spot

Throbbing headache, double vision, halo vision…hallucinations of a faerie-type-being or ghostly apparition coming from behind as if out of nowhere, whispers sweetly in my ear “don’t sweat it,” but sweat it anyway

Peripheral-only vision, a stubborn floater that doesn’t actually “float” per se, but sits in the way in plain sight, right in front of everything important making it impossible to read anything on the Internet

Stiffness in previously broken big toe, shooting pain in the foot arch, comes and goes

Itchy vagina

Sore lower back, throbbing tailbone STILL from that drunken bike spill in 2003

Scratchy throat the morning after eating Krinkle-cut Kettlechips, hurts to swallow

Flaming butthole, churning stomach, cramps, bloating…

Super farts!

No bladder control whatsoever, I’m sure we’ve talked about this before, this is only going to get much, much worse

Creaky knees

Slippery grip

Night sweats, emotional distress, insomnia

Impromptu nosebleed!

Ass cheek chafing, strange butt rash

Tender titties,  achey ovaries, Aunt Flo left the building 6 months ago but left her pet fish, Mojo and Moodswing, and they fight in public

Tightness in the ribs due to inflammation of the organs (prolly)

Heartache, memory loss, ennui, no interest in socialization, huge interest in BBC when the moon is full, no appetite, voracious appetite, angry self-inflicted flesh wound

Gluteal muscle strain, HURTS TO SIT ON TOILET

Charlie horse in the middle of the fucking night!

The Fear first thing in the morning

Excessive sneezing second thing in the morning

OCD hair twirling (chews hair but won’t admit to it, shhh)

Poop smells “chemical”

Poop formed itself  “in a weirdly shaped ominous symbol of Satan”

Poop is Pantone’s Colour of the Year!

Recurring dream of teeth falling out

Tiny white bumps on arms

Giant hives everywhere there is hair, including head, armpits, pubes, and eyebrows, tongue too big to fit in mouth, swollen cheeks, after touching a peach at the Farmer’s Market, would be scary if face didn’t look sooooo comically funny

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I file these things in the back of my head so when I go for my annual checkup, I have something to tell the doctor. She enjoys my stories and in particular, my Yelp review of my colonoscopy. I will probably not tell her about my hangnails or my full moon activities (never mind, yes, I will) but! I will stress my insomnia and anxiety hope to gods of benevolent pharmaceuticals she finally gives me some drugs once and for all. Jesus Macauley Christ, I am the only adult I know who doesn’t have a prescription to some Xanax-type drug in order to cope, holy shit. A couple of weeks ago, Bob gave me one of his magic pellets, miraculazipam, and yes, please, I should have my own stash. I fell asleep easily, like I normally do, at around midnight, woke up at 3 a.m. like I normally do BUT! this time I didn’t toss and ruminate about sheep inventory for 3 sweaty, pillow-beating hours, I FELL RIGHT BACK ASLEEP IN A FIVE SECOND FINGER FAP OF A LAMB’S TAIL. And! This is the clincher: Woke up at 7 a.m. without The Fear. Sign me up, Dr. McC. Please.

I know what you’re going to say; “Xanax is addictive, blah blah, Big Pharma is evil, blah blah, unpronounceable chemicals, blah blah blah… try rosehip thistlewort and wild boar dingleberry dust from the Wiccan Farmer’s market or you can get it on-line for $400 USDs per gram plus shipping. Yes, holistic bitch, whatever you read from the Food Babe’s blarf must be true. Or! I can get Valium or one of its sexy cousins, and guess what, yo? There’s no chemical I can’t pronounce, I am that articulate.

But you know what? I am really bad at going to the doctor and probably will just let it all slide, like my inflamed organs that I am going to cure with tumeric tea, which I have yet to buy, much less brew. I am a lazy Wiccan like that. Yes, I really do wish dried herbs would trump chemo to cure cancer, but it just won’t. I will google but with circumspection. I have learned the hard way.

So here is the cautionary tale that I should share with you before you self-diagnose, like I do, and fail to read instructions, because who reads instructions:

Last year, during the Victoria Day holiday weekend, I had an ear infection. I’m a pro at these and you do not need to know what exactly caused it. I’ve had them a million times before, I know the drill. You don’t bother calling your actual doctor because you have to pay for parking. It’s Canada, land of socialized medicine, you go to a drop-in clinic, you get probed then you get a prescription for whatever putrid discharge is putting a damper on your day. For some reason, I was probably drunk like patriotic Canadian should be on May Two-Four, I thought: “Oh, no clinics will be open, but didn’t Dr. Oz have a show on home remedies, like onion and garlic are natural antibiotics?” Yes, I was really thinking this through thoroughly, I type sarcastically. I did not google for confirmation like a sensible Wiccan would. I just went into the kitchen and peeled out a sliver of garlic and gingerly placed it in my ear and went back to drunkytime holiday activities. Well, in no less than two minutes, there was a burning sensation that aggressively took over the pain sensation which in my mind means it’s working, like the way Vicks Vaporub clears out those petrified snot barnacles….dat smell, yaaaassss.

Stoically I kept it in a little longer until I was yowling in pain. I took the clove out. THEN I googled. It’s garlic-infused oil, not garlic that you are supposed to use. GARLIC INFUSED-OIL, AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. Even had I read it first, I still would have stuck the clove in there to save time. What, really, am I going to marinate garlic in oil and not get to put it on lamb kebabs? Why would Dr. Oz not warn people: DO NOT STICK A CLOVE IN YOUR DUMB FUCKING EAR, YOU COULD POP OPEN YER EARDRUM. Btw, did you know you can remove a plantar’s wart with a clove of garlic? You know how salicylic acid (sound it out, Food Babe, take your time: sal-i-sil-ic) barely works, I’m not naming any brands, those fuckers stay around forever unless you go to a doctor and pay for parking and whatnot…trust me: garlic vapour will excavate a hole beyond your skeleton and down through your family roots find its way to the first amoeba that ever walked the earth. It’s that strong.

The next day, I went to a drop-in clinic. I did not say a word about what I did but , the doctor on duty gave me ear drops for 7 days. The whole thing went awry. The pain was gone but  I can’t even describe what was happening inside my ear….oh, yes I can, it was like stinky cheese fondue from another country where the cows eat cabbage. It was disgusting and amazing at the same time. Then some lady who I now actively hate at my gym overheard me talking to someone and she chimed in and said her son had the EXACT SAME issue (I don’t think so) and he went to such-and-such a clinic, I won’t point fingers (oh yes, I will), and he got his ear “pumped out” and it was fixed right away. I am such an idiot for not going to my actual real, beloved associated-with-a-reputable-hospital pay-for-parking (suck it up) doctor straight away, but I went to this other clinic instead. I looooove having my ears pumped out and the other doctor wouldn’t do it even though I begged her. For a good reason, it turned out. This doctor was insane, he wore blue shiny, silk suit and spoke no English. He irrigated my ear, old school-style, which cleared it out and confirmed that yes, there was a hole but now  it was probably even bigger, and some of the fondue went back inside my head. It was most wretched and the party lasted for days.

In July, after two months of garlic-induced, cheese-reeking deafness, I finally went to my real doctor and paid $4.50 for parking. I got referred to and ear specialist who never asked what actually happened but probably has her own juicy 50 Shades of Pus book to write. I fell in love with her during the time she spent probing my canal. She babied my ear like it was her own for months., monitoring the hole, vacuuming out the fondue (which was developed into more like a delicious poutine over time), making sure I was keeping it dry, so it would hopefully close on its own. It almost healed but never did entirely. The solution I chose, if I ever wanted to swim again, was to operate: Slice a skin graft from the back of the ear, and seal the hole with the flesh and hopefully everything will be restored, hearing-wise.

That was two weeks ago, I’m still kind of deaf but now my ear feels like it’s going to pop any minute, kind like being on an airplane, so I’m chewing gum, like my mama told me, long before the Internet and Dr. Oz fucked me over. And never stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear. That’s what she keeps saying. LOL. As if.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Internet’s Cheap Tips for Health and Beauty

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So I changed the title of this blog the other day, partly in a fit of rage and also because I want it to be less localized in this fucking shithole city of Toronto that I plan on escaping as soon as the kids leave and the dog dies…and be more of a citizen of the World Wide Internet, to attract a broader audience who gets me. I started it a few years back as a real estate blog…you know, showcasing pretty little over-priced pimped-up houses and twee local businesses destined to fail in the gentrified Stepford neighbourhoods that no one can really afford to live in because of our modern day fixation of wanting the same shit as everyone else, GRANITE COUNTERTOPS, I’m looking at you. Over the years, the blog evolved to something else entirely, which has been me talking to you about every else besides granite counters. Fuck them and their stainless steel appliances. Heated floors, seriously?

Onward: Last month I had my annual checkup, and while everything was reasonably A-OK, my doctor did call me to say she wanted to retest my “bad” cholesterol because it was “borderline.” She gave me some number that I promptly forgot. Yes, I can remember my old crush, Sweaty Man’s, license plate number from 1998 but I forget the important ones, don’t even ask about my chequing account.

“What does that mean, borderline?” Me, clutching my wine-stained blankie, like suddenly my world has come crashing down for having too many nuggets of cholesterol in my bloodstream that I didn’t even know I had two seconds earlier.

“It’s a tad higher than I would like to see. Did you say you’ve been eating cheese over the holidays?”

“Yes…,” I have been eating cheese constantly, not just to celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus, c’mon.

“Well I’d like to get you re-tested in a couple of months….also, how many drinks would you say you’re having per week?”

Of course I lied. I don’t even remember what I said because you can’t really toy with that doctor, my lie crushed me. You know the old joke about how you’re only an alcoholic if you drink more than your doctor, who drinks like a sailor on shore leave…that joke is from the 1950s when your doctor kept a bottle of Canadian Club in his drawer and smoked a cigarette while he gave you a prostate exam. Well my doctor is a Lilliputian size triple 0 (she shops at Gap kids!) who would probably throw up if she drank my Monday intake.

I lied to her then but I am on a mission now. I’m down to 5 units a week! No more bacon! And cheese! Also, I looked up on my beloved Internet ways to improve one’s health all around. I am super sceptical when people tell me about herbal remedies. Like some crazy bitch told me to take Primrose Oil when I had a case of the sadz. Fuck, I am depressed because I am unemployed, celibate by circumstance because nobody in this bullshit city gets me and I am all alone AND NO AMOUNT OF EXPENSIVE URINE WILL CHANGE THAT. Come on.

Although one thing that did stand out was the power of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV fo’ short from here on in). I know, I know, junk science, old wives’ tale blah blah blah. But! as I transform into a wise old bat, I am more and more into the folk remedies and a simpler way of life. You know, lots of things are making me sneeze and giving me patchy rashes these days and I have that daughter who nips at me in righteous socially aware buzzwords that are sounding less like gibberish each day: GMO* MONSANTO* ORGANIC* LOCALLY SOURCED* SUSTAINABLE* SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION WHORE.

ACV (apple cider vinegar! did you forget already?) is supposed to help lower cholesterol, decrease belly fat (Dr.Oz says so it must be true), help alkalize the body (do I care? so does red wine by the way), and helps decrease the appetite because it’s so fucking foul, you want to pucker up your pie hole and run out of the kitchen, never to return. It’s supposed to promote all over good health which is worth a try, especially since it’s cheap, and all you need is a couple of tablespoons diluted in a glass of water to shoot back first thing in the morning.

So I’m on Week Two of ACV regime. You have to get the organic, raw cider, Bragg brand, because it contains “the mother,” with all its enzymes and living bacteria. I know it sounds very “Alien” but I just do what I’m told, I don’t question. Contrary to what those bitches on the Internet say, I have not gotten “used to” the taste. Every morning it is a tortuous swallow-ordeal, I’m not a gulper but I am learning to be now (dudes, call me!). It burns going down but I will say, I feel virtuous afterward, like I have sedated all the screaming candida and stifled out their raging inflammation shindig for the day.

So far, ACV has made me pee a LOT, like a ton. This is good, I am a water hoarder. We live in the first world where clean drinking water comes out of taps in any given lavatory…Evolution, I’m talking to you, why do you bloat us so? Don’t answer that, sodium, you troll motherfucker. Salt, too little and you get goiters, too much and you blow up. Whatevs.

Also ACV has made my poop stellar, according to the Bristol stool scale. Every morning, rather than plopping out angry inconsistently messy clumps, it slides out stealthily in the shape of a snake. If they weren’t my own babies I’d be afraid of them.

I’m trying this out so you don’t have to, I will let you know next month if my cholesterol count goes back to a proper lady-like amount.

More crazy ACV action, and I am diffident (don’t judge just yet!) to tell you is that I have joined the “no-poo movement.” WTF? is that, you ask: It turns out there are people in the world who don’t use shampoo, of any kind, any time, any how. Shampoo and styling products, with its sulphates and silicones, tampers with the hair’s natural ability to be its own magnificent crowning glory. Half the time my hair is lank, limp, and stringy, and when it’s not, it’s out-of-control and flyaway. And then I have to put shit on it to make it look less puff-tard. It’s a vicious and frustrating cycle.

My son Freddy is a card-carrying member of the “no-poo movement” since last summer. Aside from the fact that he is lazy and hates showering, his hair is curly and needs a place to go that only styling product can make happen, or so we thought. A few of the kids at his summer camp job are on the no-poo bandwagon, not because they are savages but because they are neo-hippies, and their manes are soft and shiny. Yes, they are young and swim in fresh water lakes, but there still must be something to it. Freddy’s hair is in a perfect natural pompadour that you can run your fingers through and mess up a bit and it still looks good.

So I googled: Should I bother to use shampoo? And I got all the answers I wanted from The Hairpin’s dirty hippie, Lauren O’Neal “How To Quit Shampoo Without Being Disgusting.”  For cheap and lazy hos! In a nutshell:  Wean yourself off shampoo by washing your hair with a paste made of baking soda and water and then rinse with ACV (apple cider vinegar, you forgot again?), a couple of teaspoons diluted in a bottle of water. There is a period of 2 to 4 weeks where you suffer through a period that looks like you have bathed in Kraft Italian salad dressing but soon enough your natural oils will come through in a more tempered fashion and you won’t be such a greasy, frizzy mess, and you will be shampoo-free and no longer a slave to the system.  Huzzah!

What’s with the picture of Mona Lisa, you ask? Those eyebrows are a vast improvement aren’t they? Just a reminder that we will never let the inner hippie overtake our aesthetic sensibilities because that would be just awful.