Showing posts from 2008
The Ice Storm

I know this ice storm in New England was potentially lethal for everyone, but the past few days were harrowing for me. I turned 40 on Wednesday, and on Thursday night the power went out – and stayed out for almost 48 hours. The temperature was around 15 degrees Fahrenheit or less at night and for much of the day, and my life turned into a Jon Krakauer novel very quickly. With multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) everything is inaccessible (so if you’re an EMT, firefighter, hospital worker, M.D., nurse, or shelter worker, think about this). Calling 911 is generally out of the question, emergency rooms are full of toxic cleaning chemicals and scented people, and the carbon monoxide from generators or the toxins from wood smoke can be particularly dangerous or lethal (and hotels: forget about it). Because I was weak and sick going into the outage, I was suddenly like that guy in Into the Wild – picture the end of the movie version of the book – who has eaten the poison…
The candidates are talking about it, the pundits are talking about it, everyone is pointing fingers and assigning blame, but it turns out Billy Joel was right – the epicenter of the problem is somewhere near Allentown, PA. Yahoo News reports that Elizabeth Feudale-Bowes, aka the woman in "the bubble," is causing real estate values to tumble in her neighborhood, creating a ripple effect that is scarring the whole nation.

Feudale-Bowes lives in South Whitehall township in what looks like a modern steel-and-porcelain shed, not so different from what you would pay a hefty sum to purchase if you were buying it from a hipster shed company such as MetroShed. Granted, her accessory dwelling has a little bit of a 4-H agricultural tent feel to it, but the environmentally-safe 160-square foot residence is more aesthetically pleasing than most safe dwellings I have seen (and certainly most dilapidated sheds). Paranoid neighbors are terrified that Feudale-Bowes living space is "…
Mayor Ray Nagin reports that the "storm of the century," Hurricane Gustav, is bearing down on New Orleans. Are we better prepared this time?

Time reports: "Stung by the images that flashed across the world, including the photo of an elderly woman dead in her wheelchair, her body covered with a blanket, officials promised to find a better way."

I remember that image too – the wheelchair, of course, is what got me. Not only the wheelchair, but also the appalling lack of recognition of disability issues in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I heard reporters talking about race and class and sidestepping the disability issue. I remember another image of a man with no legs on a rooftop. The newscast cut from that image to one of a reporter saying quizzically, "Why didn't some people leave?" The reporter, of course, drew no connection between those crazy stragglers and, say, the lack of legs.

So what's the plan for Gustav? "This time, the city…
This image symbolizes me moving my blog from MySpace, which I just did (mostly)! My life also feels like this picture most of the time. Not because I'm able-bodied enough to hitch up an oxbow (or, in this case, yoga strap) and pull several tons of steel, and not because I'm actually doing the preposterous maneuvers in this picture, but because of ME/CFIDS and the fact that most of the time I feel like I'm lying beneath the steel.
Corkscrewed! Me and My Lyme!

Just when I thought there were no other ways to be pathogenically screwed, I have been corkscrewed.

I have spent most recent months in what Pamela Weintraub called, "the gullies of sleep so black that, except for the nightmares, I thought I might be dead," except for me most of this was waking sleep. It's hard to describe the vacuity of my days and nights, except to say this much illness is like losing time while being exceptionally present to it, not a bit dissociated from the torture.

On November 1, I received a diagnosis of Lyme disease in addition to my other ailments, and my latest Western Blot test was positive, indicating the spirochetes have taken hold. With Lyme compounding the already-debilitating brain dysfunction of CFIDS and MCS, my writing has become flat and pragmatic when it comes out at all. One doctor noted "Dead Creativity" as a common personality change of Lyme, but the cognitive problems go beyond that. As A…