Friday, 26 February 2016

Death by a thousand paper cuts....

"Angioedema is a ... type of swelling that affects deeper layers in your skin, often around your eyes and lips." - From www.mayoclinic.org

I had my first allergic reaction as described above when I was 5 years old and my body finally said "no" to Aspirin - baby Aspirin at that! It was the severe kind, where one's tongue and throat swell as well as the lips; and spending most of your life knowing that you can react like that to a common drug gives you a healthy respect for pharmaceuticals.

Conversely, I'm also a huge believer in better living through chemicals, at least if a medical professional is proffering said chemical. While my teen friends were experimenting, I was the poster child for "just say no". But I wimped out on menopause with 6 years of HRT, and agreed instantly to anti-depressants to go along with talk therapy when I needed them.

In the intervening 50 years since the Aspirin incident, I discovered that Ibuprofen was also out of the question following a similar (though less severe) reaction to that. Which left me with the "safe" anti-inflammatory, Naproxen.

For the past week, I have been dealing with my fifth episode of angioedema since October. I can no longer blame Naproxen for it since I haven't had a tablet since January 4th and the pharmacist I talked to on Monday assured me that it would have long ago left my system.

This time around, I swear my lips made me look like the love child of Angelina Jolie and Mick Jagger, though other people said it wasn't that bad. But the corners cracked and the swelling was crooked, as if some untrained plastic surgeon had gone to town on my mouth with a vial of Juvederm! If I wasn't careful, the blood would trickle from the left side and one would think I was a vampire who'd just had lunch.

Have you ever cut your lip while licking an envelope? Imagine that times 12!

Hot beverages are out of the question, they sting too much. I caused many a laugh in my office by putting a straw in my cup of coffee. The natural acids in fruit are painful - every piece went on a fork and placed on my tongue so I could eat anything other than bananas.

The lactose in cream sauce stings, as do salty things - I found myself rubbing the salt off the bag of almonds in my desk drawer in order to have a snack.

Hot meals had to cool, cold meals had to warm....

I've finished a tub of Blistex Medicated, a tub of Aquaphor and most of a tub of Vaseline Lip Therapy. 

9 days out, my lips continue to crack and bleed and I have to soak a washcloth in warm water to exfoliate off the peeling bits twice a day.

There was one upside; a coworker complimented my beautiful full lips when I made a remark about the gorgeous lip gloss she was wearing.

With any luck, some of the fullness will last after the pain recedes; and this will be my last episode of angioedema.
  

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Heartache tonight...

I was 13 years old when I heard "Desperado" for the first time.

There was something about the plaintive vocal and it's final line about allowing oneself to be found by love that resonated; words that continue to have meaning in my life well over 40 years later.

It was the start of my love for the music of The Eagles, a love that time has not diminished. No other band has captured the pain of heartbreak and loneliness more than they did in only eight studio albums. Yes - 8! All other albums are compilations.

But those eight albums produced some of the most iconic music of the 1970s - no one can deny that. The haunting opening notes of the title track of "Hotel California" are proof enough of the band's ability to catch your ear and hook your heart and take you on a journey to places you never thought you'd go.

Unless you're a single person who knows the words to "Wasted Time" by heart:

"You never thought you'd be alone
This far down the line
And I know what's been on your mind
You're afraid it's all been wasted time"

*****

I only got to see them play live once, on a magical, hot summer night at the amphitheatre at Ontario Place in July 1996. It was the day before I moved to Ottawa.

Despite being two years into the infamous Hell Freezes Over tour, the band were in perfect sync, and the music still held onto your heart. At the end of the encores, as the crowd filed out and my uncle and I remained in our seats, I remarked to him that if my plane crashed the next day, I would die happy because I had finally seen my favourite band play.

Now it will never happen again with the death of Glenn Frey yesterday.

I have few words to describe how much his body of work with The Eagles and as a solo artist have meant in my life, this blog entry just scratches the surface.

The Eagles' website posted the lyrics to Glenn's song "It's Your World Now" that closes out their last studio album Long Road Out of Eden:

"The curtain falls, I take my bow
That's how it's meant to be, it's your world now"


But for me, it's the title of another song from the same album that captures my feelings at the moment:  "What Do I Do With My Heart".