Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Come on, Irene

Well, that was no fun.

Hurricane Irene was rather weak by the time she got here, and there are a few storms every year that have higher winds and so on, but because PSNH is such a lousy power company, we got to experience the first multi-day summer power failure in my lifetime. I now know that 60+ hour power failures also suck during the summer, not just the winter. I would have been content going to my grave without learning that, but what can you do?

You know how some people wistfully say they wish they'd been born in another time? Take away the power for a few days, and you'll cure most of their romantic longings for by-gone days. Everything is harder without power, and you really notice how much you depend on heat or cooling when you can't turn up the thermostat in the winter, or put on the air conditioner or a fan in the summer.  I like it hotter than most so it was only slightly annoying to me, but a lot of people suffered in the heat. Plus, you know how in the X-Files episode "Home" Scully told Mulder that he'd fall into a catatonic state if he's without a cellphone for two days? I'm not much better than that without internet access. Since age 18 the longest I've ever gone without checking my e-mail is five days - during, of course, a different power failure...

I feel bad for the folks in Vermont who had no warning that the storm was going to nail them - a lot of them will be without power for days yet, and some have had main roads go so they're inaccessable expect by helicopter...the scary thing is that I can imagine Portsmouth, NH getting cut off the same way if something nailed the bridge (you might be able to get out via route 33, though, I don't remember since it's been a decade since I traveled to Portsmouth weekly). It's hard to believe that this is the best we can do predicting storm movement in 2011. Hopefully they'll be back to normal soon, with roads repaired and the rest of the damage cleaned up.

"I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer. Is there something more than what i've been handed?" - Hoobastank, Crawing In The Dark

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tick-y Situation

So...back in mid-July I got what felt like the flu, with a temp of 103, extreme fatigue, chills, headache and muscle aches from neck to knee. In 48 hours I started to feel better. Temp went down, only my neck and head ached any more, so I figured I was on the mend. Oddly, my appetite disappeared just as I was starting to feel better that Friday.

But that Saturday I woke up and knew that I wasn't better, and wouldn't be for a while. See, I had a rash on my belly. And it had a faint bullseye for a few hours. Then it spread and swallowed the bulleye up. Mostly it was pink and purple, like my back was the time I woke up to go to the bathroom as a teenager and fell down the stairs.

It sure didn't look like all the pictures on the internet, but I had every single other symptom for lyme disease, so I forced myself to go to the doctor since I know that early treatment has the highest cure rate. The doctor looked at me for about thirty seconds, and said, yup, there's no point in even doing a blood test because that's what the non-bullseye rash looks like. Or rashes by that point - I got a dozen of them in varying sizes by the time the meds kicked in.

The doctor also said nine people came in in one day the week before, so apparently there's an epidemic of it in my town given there's all of 8,000 people here. NH has been between the #1 and #3 highest infection rate the last five years, so it's probably not too surprising...but in a way it is. I always spend a lot of time outside, and I didn't even see the tick that bit me.

I'm through with the antibiotics by now, and the only lingering ill effects are that I'm still more tired than usual (six and a half to seven hours sleep is no longer enough) and I'm still losing weight because my appetite isn't back to normal yet either. It's okay, I could probably lose 20 pounds before anyone got upset about me being too thin.

The moral of the story is this Boys and Girls: if you get "the flu" and then a rash, have it checked out for lyme disease. Only 40% of people get a rash that looks like the ones we're warned about. Apparently a lot of people never get a rash at all. Who knew?

"Lay me up, then heave-ho. You're sick and beautiful. Peel my bandage slowly, it's psychological. You're napalm with novocaine, A kite in a hurricane..." - Artificial Joy Club, Sick and Beautiful

Saturday, August 6, 2011