Monday, July 31, 2006

celebrity sightings...

now, i've seen a few celebs in philly through the years... whatshisface from "mr. show" at a coffee shop; the drunk guy from "party of five" at the fresh fields by the art museum; the princess bride when she was filming a crappy m. night shyamalan movie that my three-times-a-roommate was working on...

but today? well, let me just preface this by saying that today has been kind of a crappy day, including but not limited to a panic attack in the corner of the office conference room, crying on the steps of the crappy food court at liberty place, and running into stean's best friend on my lunch break. so, i'm coming back to work after lunch, and i get into the elevator at the land title building, and who should also be on the elevator but this guy, from that show "amen!", and as that imdb link shows, he's the boss for the welcome america program, which has its offices on the third floor of this building.


what the?!?!

a certain neurologist of mine, who will remain nameless, although i'm not quite sure why i'm being protective at this point, has now received FOUR phone calls from me in an attempt to speak to him about what's going on. have i spoken to him? NO. how many days has it been since i had a seizure? TEN. am i freakin' pissed off about this whole ordeal? YES.

but what really gets me is that one of the member of this unnamed neurologist's, whom i loved up until this point, staff just said to me on the phone, when i asked if unnamed neuro had an e-mail address to which i could send my questions, "he's just not good at phone calls. but he's good at e-mail."


jesus christ.

now, what i have to decide is whether, in this epic e-mail i'm about to send to unnamed neuro, i should drop terms like "liability" or "reasonable reliance".

Friday, July 28, 2006

odds and ends...

first of all, believe it or not, friends, i don't enjoy being a pain in the arse. so when i have to keep calling my neuro's office to try and get some questions answered, i feel like a jackass about it. but hey, it's been a WEEK since el seizuro and i still haven't talked to my doc. that seems a little... unprofessional? irresponsible? unnerving?

second of all, dried cranberries on ANYTHING are my new favorite food. sandwiches, salads, pasta, grains. try it! you'll like it!

third of all, i'm wondering if maybe my daily intake of my little grey and blue friend carbatrol may be too high. my sources tell me that i'm on the normal adult dosage, but it seems odd that i'm still feeling so bizarre. maybe i'm still adjusting? i'd just like the twitches and the shakes and the jerks and the confusion to go away.

fourth of all, holy effed up dreams! last night i dreamt that i couldn't type simple numbers into a calculator -- i lacked the manual dexterity and the brain-to-hand communicationability. it was rather frustrating. and the night before i dreamt that i lived in a ramshackle house that was falling apart all around me, yet i kept finding secret rooms with amazing treasures. awww, kinda like my body! um, ew?

and fifth of all, i've come to a sobering realization. this is hard for me to put up here, but i'm a strong woman and i can do this. so... i've realized... that... it is not my purpose to be the star wars trivial pursuit champion. i'm the girl who owns the game so others can prove how nerdy they are. but i am never to be victorious. like, ever. and this makes me sad. but i have other strengths, right? like, i have pretty eyes and nice hair. and i'm funny. i have a spectacular sense of humor. yeah. good enough/smart enough/doggone it people like me.

over and out.


ow! and i've got some accompanying eye tremors and left arm twitchiness, too.

i love when my brain freaks out on me.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

same same but different...

i can't quite think of the right word to describe what's going on in my mind these days. weird? drugged? altered? none of those really fits. mostly, i feel haunted. haunted by images of when i regained consciousness after my seizure. i keep seeing the faces of the EMTs, the lighting in my apartment; i keep remembering how completely afraid i felt, how i didn't trust anyone around me, how i just wanted it all to stop.

i'm back in that awful limbo space that i got to know so well two years ago. waiting for doctors to return phone calls. signing release forms. dutifully taking my pills when i should because that's the only certain thing i've got right now.

i feel really strange about putting these thoughts on this blog, too. before, its semi-public forum notwithstanding, my little posts felt very private. now? not so much. i don't want to hold back, given how forthcoming i've been here in the past, but i'm hesitant to let loose so much. and i'm frustrated by the feeling that now i have to find a balance.

i always bruise when i have needles stuck in me. perhaps it's the curse of my pale irish skin. i've got a nice purple mark on the back of my left hand where the IV was placed...... jesus fucking christ! i can't believe i had another seizure!!! i can't believe how little doubt was in my mind when i woke up with that headache that seizuresville was where i was headed. i knew. nothing could have been more clear to me. it had been over two years since the last seizure. and that feeling i had after the seizure? that was unbelievably familiar, too.

i'm trying to figure out the best way to deal with this. i've gone with the sleep-a-lot-and-cry-my-eyes-out route, but that doesn't do anything but remind me of how scared i am. and if i'm to take my own medicine (does that count as a pun?) here, i can't get worked up about things that i don't know anything about. i haven't had the big conversations with my neurologists. there may not be big conversations to be had. the CT scan was normal. i need to keep reminding myself of that.

deep. breaths.

charmingly, my cats have been extra special affectionate lately. they either know that i'm feeling a little out of sorts or they're getting tired of living in this tiny apartment and hope they can persuade me to take them back to our nice 1-br in pittsburgh soon. soon enough, kittens. soon enough.

but now? it's bedtime. "the gateway" was supposed to call me, but she's behind schedule. i'll just rest my eyes until the phone rings. or until the morning. whichever comes first...

just like sartre's "no exit"...

my left eyelid keeps twitching, my lips are dry, my fingertips are numb and tingly, i swear my brain is moving, i keep catching myself grinding my teeth, and i have "come on, eileen" stuck in my head.


during today's weekly case review meeting, when it was my turn to talk, and i obviously was having some trouble coming up with simple words, one of my co-workers said to the group, apologetically, "she's medicated."

yes i am.

high times...

side effects for the meds i'm on right now, according to
Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, or unsteadiness may occur as your body adjusts to this medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: chest pain, swelling of the ankles/feet, trouble breathing, fatigue, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, persistent or severe headache, fainting, trouble urinating, change in the amount of urine, decreased sexual ability, unusual eye movements (nystagmus), vision changes, hearing problems, mental/mood changes, pain/redness/swelling of the arms or legs, numbness/tingling of the hands/feet, sun sensitivity, joint pain, hair loss.

Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: persistent nausea or vomiting, severe stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes and skin, dark urine, swollen glands, persistent mouth sores.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

that first paragraph? uh huh...check! it's like i'm high. stoned. i should enjoy this, right? well, being high at work is pretty gosh darn frustrating. nobody wants to be the intern that stands in front of the fax machine like an idiot because she can't remember what she's doing there... eh, at least these people are all very nice and understanding.

my shift on the intake phones is tomorrow. that should be a barrel o' monkeys. i'm operating in serious slow motion mode these days. i really hope i adjust to this stuff soon.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

raising the bar...

billions of good wishes of brilliance and genius to all of my friends who are taking the bar exam today and tomorrow! kick lots of ass and be amazing lawyers!

deja vu...

i sent daniel on his way this morning, on the chinatown bus back to DC to resume his week with his friend. i cried. i always cry when i say goodbye to family. cry like a baby. but today's cry was especially sad for me -- i wasn't just saying farewell to my little brother, i was saying farewell to a security blanket, to a sense of stability. yesterday morning i cried and cried in my apartment. daniel was taking a shower. i sat on my bed and cried. i'm tearing up now. i've got a bruise on the back of my hand from the IV, i'm losing my sense of taste because of these meds, i feel practically useless (almost a liability!) at work. this is weird, friends.

and it's all very very very familiar.

but i thought this was over! i thought this was behind me! i've done this already!

logic says i should be able to do it again, right? but oh good gracious, no.

and i'm so hesitant to write this here, on my blog. this blog started with a couple of seizures. but back then nobody read this little site. now? i've got a modest readership. in the hospital friday, the docs asked me "about when" my last seizure occurred. "about"? um, it was march 23, 2004. march 23, 2004. i will never ever ever forget that date. it changed my life. do i now have to remember july 21, 2006?

i wish i could adequately describe how it feels to wake up from a seizure. i hope you never know how it feels firsthand. i came to, there were three people in my apartment, keith and the two paramedics. i couldn't remember keith's name. i recognized him, but i didn't know from what. i didn't know what they wanted me to do. they wanted me to go somewhere? but i didn't want to. i didn't know if i could trust them.

i was fucking hysterical. a goddamn mess. terrified.

and i didn't settle down until they got me to the hospital, into a room in the E.R. i don't remember the IV going into my arm. i don't recall being moved from the ambulance gurney to the hospital bed. but it happened. it all happened. fuck.

i'm not sure what was worse -- those moments when i woke up, confused, disoriented, scared? or the few seconds before i lost consciousness? because i knew i was gonna have a seizure. i knew. there was no mistaking it. i was twitchy, my brain was racing faster and faster, it got more and more difficult to hold on to a thought... i could feel it coming and i could do absolutely nothing to stop it.

i still feel sore, my muscles ache even five days later. i'm on some serious medication -- 800 mg of carbamazepine a day; 400 in the morning, 400 at night. it makes my skin tingly. it makes my tongue feel dull. yuck.

my handwriting sucks. my signature looks like someone else's.

chronic? terminal? adult onset? these are the terms that are cycling through my head today.

Monday, July 24, 2006


i feel like a zombie. this medication makes me feel like i'm living in a cloud. and i don't like it at all. not one bit.

at least my brother is here. why does he have to leave tomorrow?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

a little too familiar...

...well, here we are. back where things started. and i'm less than pleased about it all.

thursday night at about 3:30 or so (that's friday morning, for you sticklers), i woke up with a really ugly headache. this wasn't just any ugly headache, either. it was accompanied by the brain-racing, fear-drenching anxiety that i recognized as the pre-seizure aura. so i woke up keith, told him that i thought i was about to have a seizure (and thankfully, he had heard some of my back story so this wasn't entirely out of the blue), and then tried my damnedest with my last few moments of consciousness to tell him where my clothes were so i wouldn't be indecent when the paramedics showed up. yes, friends -- these were my waning thoughts: put. on. clothes.

anyway, i did in fact have a seizure. i was unconscious for about ten minutes, and when i came to, i was a wreck. there were strangers in my apartment (the paramedics), i recognized keith, but i couldn't place his name for the life of me. i was nothing short of hysterical. scared, shaky, confused, disoriented. somehow they got me down the stairs (the goddamn elevator wasn't working in my building...again) and into the ambulance. i was pretty much a mess in the ambulance, too.

the weirdest part, the part that differentiated this seizure experience from the one two years ago, is that i knew what to expect. even though i was completely confused and scared, on some level i knew that this was what happened with seizures and that it would pass, i would regain my normally functioning consciousness. so, even though i couldn't remember my name, my birthdate, my address, i knew i would be able to soon. and i did. once things settled down a bit, i started feeling normal again. things were okay. just incredibly fucked up.

in hospital news, i had a CT scan done, and the scan was normal. the neurologists worked me over pretty good, and except for some post-seizure balance issues, i was totally fine. so that's good, right? still, i don't know what to make of this.

i want to write more, but i honestly don't have the presence of mind right now. my friend lisa made me stay at her place last night, which was really really kind of her and i'm glad i did it. except that i literally slept for sixteen hours. i'm back on anti-seizure meds, for the forseeable future, and that sucks, because they make me feel slow and sleepy and dizzy. my entire body is sore from the seizure and i managed to bite up the side of my tongue.

what the fuck is happening to me? what the fuck?!

but the really weird thing is that i don't want to be by myself. even though i know i'm medicated and i'm going to be fine, i'm a little nervous being alone.

at least daniel will be here for a visit tomorrow. it will be very good to have my brother around.

more later. i'm going to try and make some dinner now.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

mass hipsteria...

oh holy crap! so much to blog about, and so little battery power left...

i've now gotten two requests from my adoring public to post something on my blog. and by "adoring public" i mean sandy and mark. actually, neither of those requests were really "requests". if memory serves, sandy called me boring and mark said i suck or that i'm lame or something like that for not having posted since (gasp!) last tuesday!

so here i am, blogging from my friendly neighborhood hipster coffee shop (my old neighborhood, back when i lived in the gayborhood), aghast at how put together these hipsters are, how much effort it must take to look so much like they just. don't. care.

oh, they care. they care a lot.

anyway, lotsa stuff going on. most notably, i haven't had a cigarette in six whole days! of course, my desire for a cigarette right now is nothing less than profound, which makes me feel a little sad. i'm trying to use this dependency as fuel for my, erm, lack of fire. i will own my addictions! they will not own me! roar! sigh... yet, six days is somewhat impressive, on some level, by certain standards. and you gotta start somewhere...

my little brother is coming to visit me this weekend! he'll be up this way to see a friend of his who lives in Our Nation's Capital, so i enticed him with the chinatown bus and his nip/tuck DVDs to come spend a day with his sister. he'll be here sunday afternoon through tuesday morning. this makes me very happy. antics will ensue.

more proof that i'm losing my mind? this morning on my weekly intake phones shift, i spoke to a woman whose landlord is trying to evict her because he claims that there has been drug activity around her apartment. in writing up my notes from the phone call, i wrote the reason for the termination notice as follows: "elicit drug use". of course, my boss called this to my attention. and she laughed at me. she said, "way to spell 'illicit' there, kid." she's lucky i like her. and that she holds me by the balls with her ability to write a bad reference for my future employment pursuits. sheesh.

i think john malkovich is sitting across the way from me here in this coffee shop. not really, but i'm going to believe that it's john malkovich.

and the only reason for the title of this post is because from where i'm sitting, here at the vortex of the last drop and dirty frank's (aka, 13th and pine streets), the only two words that even come remotely close to describing what i see before me are... mass. hipsteria.

(human sacrifice! dogs and cats living together!)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

opposing counsel, part two...

i entered my very first appearance in municipal court today! i officially went on record with philadelphia municipal court as yet another bleeding heart advocate showing up to represent a loser of a client. yet, it feels pretty good.

oh, what was the appearance about? well, all i did was show up and agree to a continuance requested by the plaintiff's attorney. easiest court appearance ever.

gotta start small. crawl before walk, blah blah blah...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


because i refuse to accept that i'm getting older and stupider, and i'm really depressed by the fact that my intellectual peak may have been skipping the fifth grade, i've been scouring my past to try and determine what is to blame for the fact that i just wrote a letter with a GODDAMNED MISPLACED MODIFIER in it! i've come to the conclusion that it is, obviously, either the two years of torture-by-brainbleaching that has been law school, or it's that year and a half i spent on anti-seizure meds.

yep. the good times are over. i'm damaged goods.


Monday, July 10, 2006

supreme wednesday!

guess what i'm doing on wednesday after work?!?! i'm going to a taping of the WHYY NPR program "Justice Talking" at the national constitution center. and i'm bringing my good friend paula with me. just to make sure that everybody's jealous, here's the topic:
The Roberts Court: What Can This Term Tell Us About the Future of the Court? (SOLD OUT!)
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 5:00 PM at The National Constitution Center
Each July, in cooperation with the National Constitution Center, Justice Talking asks constitutional experts to review the highlights of the Supreme Court's term. This year, with the appointments of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, the Court has undergone its most significant changes in over a decade. Join us as our distinguished panel helps us understand how the new justices will change the balance on key issues like executive power, states' rights, abortion and gay rights, and gives us insights on the future direction of the Court.

Our special guests for this live event are: Joan Biskupic, the author of the book “Sandra Day O'Connor” and a long-time Supreme Court journalist; Richard Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law and the director of the John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics at the University of Chicago; and Kathleen Sullivan, the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law and a former dean at Stanford Law School.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

week eight...

i've been in philadelphia now for eight weeks. and in six weeks i'll be on my way back to pittsburgh. i thought that by now i'd be looking forward to going back to school, getting back into classes, missing my life on the other side of the state. but the truth is that i don't want to have to go back, that going back seems somehow like going backwards.

it's sunday. i already have plans with friends every night this week. this is what i want my life to be -- a job that makes me happy, even when it gets frustrating; a paycheck that i earn (as opposed to money that i borrow); friends to see in the evenings; a city that feels like home. i feel like a real grown up these days.

ugh. i'm so bad at transitions! all day today for some reason i've been thinking about things from my past that i need to let go of. to some degree i feel like i've got to complete an obstacle course in order to move forward.

but maybe this is a good sign? maybe my feeling so frustrated and impatient with having this final year of school ahead of me means that i'm on the right path? somehow this makes sense to me right now, on sunday night. but i don't have the wherewithal to try and explain it.

i dunno. there's something about this summer that is entirely self-indulgent and fantastic, and yet the self-indulgence and fantasticness seems totally worthwhile. like a three-month retreat.

oh, and i'm going to quit smoking. soon. on bastille day. i'm nervous about it.


last night, citizens bank park hosted a real clash of the titans -- the phillies v. the pirates! which pennsylvania team rose victorious from this magnificent MLB match-up? the phillies!

this was my first visit to the fairly new citizens bank park. it's pretty nice. but the view from the cheap seats at citizens bank park ain't got nothing on the similar view from PNC park. ah, PNC park... how i miss you this summer!

also, viva la italia!!! they didn't need to headbutt any of the frenchies to win the world cup.

obsession confession...

i know i know i know that i have cited as one of my reasons for wanting to move back to philadelphia after graduation that i don't need a car here. and i've also said many many times that i'm in no hurry to be a car owner again. but OH. MY. GOODNESS! have you seen the new volkswagen rabbit ads??? they might make me a little swoony...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

in the not too distant future... should look like this!

(only, my legs probably shouldn't be visible underneath...)

it is with great sadness...

...that i must report that i didn't make it to the foreigner concert for the fourth of july.

yes, i know. you're all terribly let down. as am i. i was all rarin' to go. so was drew (who even went so far as to go on a search for a red, white, and blue do-rag for the occasion). but certain friends of mine in NJ, whom i'll just call "j" and "c", got all wussy and didn't want to have a cookout and didn't want to go to the show. so, for drew and me to go, we would have had to take the trolley into center city, take PATCO out to jersey, then walk 2 miles to the park. and the weather was threatening rain all night.

so we didn't make it. and we were sad. we had to make due with 3 six-packs of lager and star wars trivial pursuit. happy birthday, america!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

cross swords...

GO SEE WORDPLAY!!! it's a nerdy dork's dream come true of a movie! and will shortz is my new hero!

aw shucks...

last night, a cute boy told me that i had "possibly the best smile in the world."


Monday, July 03, 2006

philadelphia freedom...

i just had a super fantastic excellent amazing weekend with two of my favorite people -- krista and paul! there were adventures and oohs and ahs and a helluva lot of the philadelphia freedom.

for example...

friday night there were lots of mussels and belgian beers at monk's. and then more drinks at fergie's.

saturday we got breakfast at 10th street pour house, then walked through various historic philadelphia sights, then went to the constitution center. we had to wade through various "free mumia" protests and various "welcome america" happenings, but we made it to the constitution center, all ready for the freedom! and the liberty! and the justice! for all!

instead, however, it was a big ol' propagandist, revisionist history piece of crap-ola. ugh. friends? do NOT go to the national constitution center. it will only make you sad. and whatever you do, do NOT purchase a membership. even though it's only $25, it's not worth it. sure, they give you a pocket constitution and a pin that says "enter as a visitor. leave as a citizen." (which krista said should be the slogan for the new immigration bill), but the place is a holy hell hole with a rose-colored glasses view of american history. yikes. yikes yikes yikes!

however, there is one redeeming characteristic. and no, i'm not talking about the signers' hall, where there are life size sculptures of all the signers of the constitution standing around. i'm talking about the various comment boards through the museum. these boards have questions posed on them, and post-it notes for visitors to add their two cents. for example, "do you feel that justice is available to all?" one commenter wrote, "not for the unborn". so what did i write? "not for the undead, either." another board said, "what makes you feel free?" krista wrote, "the NSA". and the good news? the constitution center will record our comments to keep track of "public opinion." oh, goody!

from the constitution center, we walked to reading terminal market, got some sandwiches, then wandered around a bit more. something i learned over the weekend is when on vacation with two urban planners with a camera, expect there to be lots of pictures taken of plazas, parks, city signage. nerd-o-rama!

saturday night was the source of the real philadelphia freedom: the fireworks at penn's landing! cece peniston and the ohio players provided the pre-pyrotechnics entertainment. but what was really perplexing was the music that accompanied the fireworks. erm, um, uh... tunes ranged from "surfin' USA" to a beyonce knowles song to "somewhere over the rainbow" to, erm, "three times a lady" (?!?!) to "lucy in the sky with diamonds". and, of course, true to form for all philadelphia events, we heard the soothing sounds of elton john's "philadelphia freedom". oh yes. good thing, too, since i've done way too much bitching about that song to krista, and if it hadn't been played, i'd have looked like a big ol' liar. so, thanks, philly! thanks for the freedom!

also, i might have been a bit of an ass saturday night at sugar mom's. warning to all -- don't lean on emily's bar stool. she gets testy. thanks to k & p for putting up with my shenanigans. and thanks to krista for voting me "most likely to become the crazy old lady who writes letters to newspaper editors and various congressmen". how true it is...

k & p also brought me my star wars trivial pursuit game. drew and mark may be the only people in this city who will play with me, but i owe mark an ass-whoopin' anyway. and ain't no way drew knows more than i do. let the games begin!

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY, EVERYONE! to my friends in peaks island, maine? i wish i could be there for the big feed and the parade! to my friends in pittsburgh, enjoy the fireworks at the confluence! to my people in mississippi, i hope they'll still do the fireworks on the hurricane-katrina'ed beach. and to everybody everywhere, hooray for liberty!

and i even said that last part with a straight face! i mean it.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

to my favorite paper plate snowboarder...

happy 40th birthday, donny!