An Autocidal Life, Part 9: In Which Babe’s Babe Borrows Blood Baddies

A new grandma, almost killing her new grandson!? The brand new babe’s father, cheering her on?

Yes–That’s in THIS post 🙂

Murderous Grandma Matroishka Doll

But She Looks So Harmless!

(If you missed the beginning of our exciting and sometimes-gross-but-still-riveting story, here it is.)
He Got More Than Just Her Eyes

Where Babe’s babe almost dies.

First, let me introduce you to “before” Justin. Here he is at two days old:

Just in Lap 1 Babe had been dangerously food-allergic; she wanted to be extremely cautious with Justin. He was to be breast-fed only.
When Justin was exactly fourteen days old, and Joe’s parents came to visit, this was emphasized to them by Babe. Just before Babe herself, foolishly, stepped out of the house for her first breath of freedom in two weeks.

Little White Girl Thinking Duh

You Left Your MOTHER-In-Law In Charge With Your Brand New Baby!? 😮

Joe’s mother disliked Babe (as did Joe, unknown then to Babe). With Joe’s blessing–and with Joe’s dad Bruno proudly filming–Brunhilde fed Justin his very first bottle of formula.
Later, after a frantic race to intensive care, the pediatrician told Babe: “He was an hour from death.”

Newborn White Baby in NICU Iincubator

Justin was highly milk-allergic. Thankfully, once IV fluids were given, and the last of the formula cleared his system, he perked up.
Then, the hospital, just like Joe and his parents, ignored Babe’s instructions: They gave Justin more milk formula AGAIN.

South Park Those B-stards

Why would they do this? Were they morons?
Yes. Yes, they were.
They did it because they assumed BABE was a moron, and her family were morons, too.
The hospital doctors made the usual assumption specialists make of laypeople:
“They is dum.” And, in this case:
“There’s no milk allergy–That dim mother-in-law gave that dim baby a dim dirty bottle!”
But, when Justin got sick AGAIN, the dim doctors learned their lesson, didn’t they?
No. Remember who the morons really were:
Those super smarties gave Justin SOY formula next.

Keep Calm and Kill Those Bastards  

And they did that even though Babe was right there at the NICU, her recently-preggers Behemoth-boobs a mere room away. Plus, stockpiled in the NICU fridge, a truckload of Babe-certified boob-juice from her additional 12-14 ounces per each two-hour pumping session.
Thanks to the doctors at the hospital Cedars Sinai, just like Brunhilde and Joe, deciding they knew better than Babe, it was proven again that her fears were justified: Justin was highly soy-allergic, too.
By this time, little Justin’s system was just overwhelmed. Besides getting weak and deydrated from the soy, he got a horrendous rash from head to toe that looked exactly like a very bad case of acne.
Neonatal Lupus Baby
The pediatrician suspected neonatal lupus. She consulted a neonatal lupus specialist from Children’s Hospital, who agreed.
(ASNIDE: ‘Fess up: How many of you were thrown, even if only for a sec, by that “She”? Because when we see “pediatrician”, most of us are programmed to think doctor=male… 😐 )
A positive ANA test (remember that, from seventeen posts back in this neverending series?) lent support to the lupus diagnosis. The lupus specialist reported this back to Babe’s pediatrician, who shared this with Babe.
Yet, when Babe spoke directly with the specialist afterward, he pooh-poohed neonatal lupus to Babe.
Remember THAT? That lupus bible’s advice about keeping us ladies in the dark?

Frumpy Old Mushroom Women

But That Is the Old-Fashioned Way!

Modern Mushroom Women

Today’s Chic Mushroom Women Know Better.

Neonatal lupus is usually no big. It’s when a baby doesn’t have lupus, but has lupus symptoms because of time spent sharing mom’s blood.

Not all babies of lupus moms show symptoms–just as with adults, it is theorized that physical or emotional stress can bring these on. The symptoms almost always go away as the baby’s own blood supply gets going.  

Justin was okay, once Cedars got done messing with him. He went home after five days. He was pale, and weak, and sort of despairing-looking, as if he had barely survived some awful experience. Which he had.  

Meet “after” Justin:

Shell-Shocked Justin

Shell-Shocked Justin, Not Quite 3 Weeks Old

In addition to multiple “finger stick” blood draws each day from his heels (Babe counted up to thirteen stab marks in one heel before she stopped, crying), Cedars had administered a spinal tap, without anesthesia.

Babe heard his terrified screaming during that test through two sets of double doors and down a long hallway.

These posts are…difficult. They mean I must review the time of my marriage.
When I walked in and saw the unholy triumvirate smiling down at tiny Justin with that bottle of formula jammed in his mouth;
And Brunhilde looking up at me with the smuggest, most self-satisfied smile on her face;
And Joe giving a quick mini-version of the same;
I am not a skilled enough writer. I don’t have the words to encompass what I felt. Those two cared more for victory over me than they cared about the little human being held by Brunhilde.
Afterward, when I held Justin, he was logy [draggy, tired]. Later, my always-hungry always-crying boy wouldn’t feed, and he wasn’t crying properly: His usual ear-piercing screams were now the sounds of a weak, sick cat. He even refused water. THAT is when I called the doctor and told her what was happening.
I began with his cat-crying. She said “Get him in here NOW!! Don’t wait to call an ambulance–run lights if you can!”
My in-laws had come to stay for a week “to see the new baby”. Yet, instead of coming to see that baby in the NICU, they and Joe didn’t visit Justin until the evening of his third full day there. Joe denied this later, and I’m betting would still deny it today, but the hospital has the sign-in records that show the truth.
I, of course, was there every day, all day, and most of each night, holding and singing and talking to Justin whenever they would let me, and bouncing and rocking him so he wouldn’t cry.
I hated my f#cking in-laws and husband for not giving a sh#t about him. But they were simply being like most people today. Why go out of their way? I was doing that. Why should they?

Justin’s NICU release records reflect that the sole cause of all his troubles was an intestinal infection caused by inadequate bottle cleaning.
Thus, blame falls on non-medical folks’ incompetence, which follows medical prejudice, and lets Cedars off the hook for their threatening his life with their milk and soy almost-fiascos.

Below is the ending that the LAST post in this series should have had. I accidentally had it appended to the draft for this side journey. Oops. After a coupla’ days, I’m actually gonna wipe it offa’ here and paste it onto there and just pretend like it was always there. Y’all will just forget this ever happened. 🙄
He Told Her So
Where Babe’s doctor feels smug.
Babe’s lupus doctor was disturbingly unsympathetic about her severe arthritis pain, which was very different from his warm, sympathetic office manner on every visit before she’d told him she was pregnant. Dr. R. was clearly still irked with her for ignoring his advice–or rather, his orders. He took obvious pleasure in actually saying the words: “I told you so.” Babe had to go back on the drugs. She would have to stop breast-feeding her baby.
She was ashamed that most of what she felt was relief.
Study Questions: Would you have stayed on the drugs through the pregnancy?


An Autocidal Life, Part 8: In Which Babe Plus Babe Equals Trouble

A new mom, forced down on her knees!? A new baby, shoved under a bed!? A new grandma, accused of almost killing her new grandson!?
Oh, wait: That last one is in the NEXT post 🙂(If you missed the beginning of our exciting and sometimes-gross-but-still-riveting story, here it is.)
A Helpful Baby Doctor
Where Babe does not let nature take its course.
By 1987, Babe and Joe had been trying to get pregnant for two years. Babe had no problem getting pregnant. Staying pregnant was another thing.Her body had no rhythm: Flows from 5 to 9 days long, 26 to 42 days between them, periods two days after ovulating…Scared Hands-Up Twin Egg in Frying PanPoor Little Eggy. (This One Would Have Been Twins 😐 😐 ). No Time To Grab On!
Babe’s OB prescribed an ovulation regulator. But the day Babe was supposed to swallow the first pill, she knew she was pregnant again. She phoned her OB.“Bob, I’m two days pregnant. If I take this pill, it will abort the fetus, right? Isn’t there anything we can do to keep this one?”.“Babe, how can you possibly know you’re pregnant by two days?” A Little Pregnant Test StickWe Women Have Our Ways… 
Though not entirely convinced, Bob said there was something experimental they could try: A progesterone suppository.That two-day-old egg is 27 years old now.Study Questions:Wouldn’t that old an egg be rotten by now?
How DID Babe know? Does the toilet paper turn blue or pink THAT soon!? 😉
 Rotten Egg by Nagel PorcelainDoes This Egg Look Rotten To You? Off the Lupus Drugs and On to Adventure!Where Babe lets nature take its course.

Babe’s rheumatologist was not happy with her.

He had strongly advised her never to have children (the lupus bible points to a disastrous life for lupus moms), and here she was, pregnant.

Now, he was telling her that she should continue her lupus drugs through her pregnancy.

“No way!” said Babe. “You don’t know what those drugs will do to my baby!”
My Mom Fights Like a Girl
Dr. R.’s mood changed from unhappy to really irked. Her previously-sympathetic diagnostic savior turned stiff with resentment at a patient refusing to follow his advice.

To be fair, Dr. R. truly cared about all of his patients. He was probably very concerned for Babe. But some of his sudden transformation still seemed like it stemmed from ego.

It’s Learning to Crawl Time—for Mom!

Where Babe gains an excellent perspective for baby-proofing.

Even off the drugs, Babe’s lupus almost entirely disappeared while she was pregnant. (Some lupus moms have the opposite occur.) However, because she kept having vaginal bleeding, both Dr. R. and Bob, Babe’s OB, sent her out on disability early to be cautious. A small price to pay for her first wonderful son, Justin.


Justin At 3 Months At Zoo With 'MomJustin, 3 Mos., Happy At Zoo With Mom


Part of the story of Justin’s birth is told elsewhere. But that other post doesn’t say how Babe kept calling “Give me back my baby” (he didn’t breathe for a very long time–the doctor was trying to fix that);

or how they put Justin on his tummy on Babe’s tummy at last and she was finally happy when she put her hands on his little back;

or how he pushed himself straight up on his arms and looked right at her, with his eyes wide open, and then all around the delivery room;

or how, a week after having Justin, Babe couldn’t walk.

Oh, she could walk. Just not for the first hour or two after she woke. The arthritis pain was so severe and the morning stiffness so bad that she was forced to crawl to her baby like a baby herself.


Crawling Like a BabyHow Babes With Lupus Crawl


Fresh Prince Carlton Crawl Races Across Floor Animated GifDon’t Feel TOO Bad For Me–Some of Us Get Pretty Good At It!


Even after she could walk upright, walking was slow and painful for the first half of the day. Everything was painful.

Study Questions:

Who thinks Babe should NOT have gotten pregnant?

Child Abuse

Where Babe jams her new baby in a dresser drawer.

Babe moved Justin from his crib to one of the drawers under the captain’s bed (open, of course). When he woke, all she had to do was reach down and grab him.

Pawing Through File Drawer Animated GifI Know I Put That Baby Here Somewhere…

She was scared that her stiff fingers might make her drop him, but she learned to lift with her wrists. When this became too iffy, Babe kept Justin in the bed beside her.

Changing his diapers was really challenging. Babe could soon no longer unpeel tapes. For the worst times, Babe fastened and unfastened Justin’s Huggies tapes with her teeth.

It didn’t help that little Justin had 24-hour colic. (Some of us are just Luck Magnets.)


Colicky Baby ScreamingI’m Sure Justin Wasn’t Feeling Very Lucky, Either


If he wasn’t feeding or moving, he was crying.

In the early mornings, Babe would stay abed and let him nurse to bursting until she could move.

Later she would try to rock him to calm his fussiness. The pain in her hip while rocking was brutal. Justin was happier (and he was worth it), but Babe was miserable.

Each afternoon, when Babe was finally able to really move, she would walk or jog him in a front carrier up and down the driveway. (Her neighbors thought she was insane.)


Sleeping Baby in Front CarrierSleeping. HAH!!


Study Questions:

Where was Joe through all of this?

How the heck did Babe clean up Justin’s backside during the times her fingers were really stiff? (Don’t ask!)


The next post will reveal the cause of Justin’s fussiness. He did not sleep through the night until over a year old.

Joe did not do one night feeding. None. There was a night I begged him to get up and just carry the baby to me because I was in so much pain. He refused. He said he was too tired and he had to get up for work the next day, whereas I did not. When I returned to work, I still did all the night feedings.

Part 9, In Which Babe Borrows Blood Baddies


An Autocidal Life, Part 7: In Which Babe Is Saved By A 15-Minute Miracle

A mystery: SOLVED! Women treated: SHABBILY! Bad medicine, and worse: BAD HAIR!
(If you missed the beginning of our exciting and gross-but-still-riveting story, here it is. It won’t take you long to catch up.)
A Helpful Rheumatologist—And a Diagnosis!Where Babe learns a name for what’s been happening.

The rheumatologist, Dr. R., had Babe hold out her arms and push against his hands with his hands.

She was surprised by how challenging that turned out to be.

She lay down while he lifted up her legs to see how far they stretched. (Even though her hips hurt, Babe’s legs stretched far. Babe is naturally flexible.) He checked out her feet.

Massaging Babys FeetJust the Way His Mommy Had Taught Him

He pressed gently on different parts of her body to see if any other places hurt. She said “No”, or “That’s a little tender there.”

He felt Babe’s neck (she had trouble turning it to look behind her when she drove), and thumped and listened to her chest. He asked her if her chest had been hurting and whether she had shortness of breath, or trouble going up flights of stairs.

Dr. R. told Babe that she was in a lot of pain: That she had “fibromyalgia” and “pleurisy” and “pericarditis” (aches when poked, inflamed lungs, and an inflamed sac around the heart).

Babe has often been told she has a high pain tolerance.

When It Goes On Sale the Next DayWitness Here Her Super-Human Lack of Tears or Trembling

The doctor spent the most time with her hands. He looked at her fingernails and the tiny blisters under the skin of her fingertips. He felt her knuckles, and looked at how her fingers bent. (Babe’s right pinkie looks a bit like the diagram below, and her ring finger was just starting to bend, too.)

Swan-Neck Finger DiagramThis Finger-Shape Is Called “Swan-Neck”. Guess Why?
My Swan-Neck PinkieHow I Love Ya’, How I Love Ya–This Is MY Dear Ole’ Swannie.

Dr. R. asked Babe if she got tired around 2:00 p.m. (How did he know the EXACT TIME!?) She said yes.

He asked her if her hair had been falling out. She said it hadn’t, even though you could see two small bare spots over her right ear. (She wouldn’t admit to any man that she was going bald.)

He asked her if she bruised easily. She showed him her piebald legs.

Surprisingly, all of this–the (clothed) physical exam and the questions–happened quickly. After a total of only about 15 minutes in his office, Dr. R. told Babe that he suspected she had “systemic lupus erythmatosus”–also called “S.L.E.” or “lupus”, for short.


Sigourney Puzzled“Lupus, Doctor? Is that like cancer–something dangerous, growing inside me?”
(This is exactly what I looked like when I was 30.)

This was 1986. Babe had never heard of lupus, and neither had anyone else she knew.

Except, it later turned out, a childhood friend of her sister, who had lupus. And Babe’s own mom, who’d kept her diagnosis to herself, while Babe had been going through all the fun she’d had. Good one, Mom! >:D

Lupus is named after the Latin word for “wolf”, because it turns you into a monster.
(Okay, that’s not what the medical texts say, but it makes more sense than their explanation.)

Amputate Sore Throat Insanity WolfDoctors Get Lupus, Too

The doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory, Naproxen (500 mg./2x) to reduce the irritation from all the body battles, and a sort-of immune activity interruptor, Plaquenil (200 mg/2x), to help bring peace to the body battle world. He also told Babe to get lots of rest.

He ordered labwork which later showed that Babe’s “ANA” and “anti-DNA antibody” tests were positive. She had antibodies to her own DNA? THAT was very nasty to learn.

Twirling DNA Animated GifAm I Not Beautiful?
Scissors Animated GifIt’s a FACT I Love Me Some GACT!*Guanine, Adenine, Cytosine, Thymine

Many autocidal conditions can cause a positive ANA test. Lupus is only one of them. A positive anti-DNA antibody test is more strongly indicative of lupus.

But you can have lupus symptoms and never show a positive result on any autocidal blood test. What does that mean? It means you have lupus, and diagnostic tests aren’t yet sensitive to your flavor of lupus.

Study Questions:

How can you even live with antibodies to your own DNA?

When to Ignore Your Doctor

Where Babe ignores her new doctor’s advice.

Babe was dumbfounded when, at her first visit, Dr. R. very firmly directed her NOT to read up on her disease. He said that it would only worry her unnecessarily.

Of course, Babe ignored this patronizing nonsense, and went to Private University’s Medical Library the very next day to try to gain some familiarity with lupus.

Woman Atop Book Pile Animated Gif“Give me a B! Give me an O! Give me lots of O-K’s! Yaayyyy…Liberries!”

Study Questions:

Do you think Babe’s irritation was justified?

Quick Research Synopsis

Where Babe learns a little about lupus.

In one afternoon at the library, this is what Babe learned:

• That lupus rarely kills, but can make you tired and hurt a lot and feel like doo-doo a lot of the time.

Dung Beetle Sisyphus Animated GifAt Least It’s Not Uphill

• That it may hit women more often, but may hit men more seriously.

• That many doctors today think of lupus as a disease that develops around age 30, but that doctors way-back-when knew that often lupus patients shared childhood characteristics:

– emaciation-like thinness
– easy bruising
– extreme clumsiness.

• That since the widespread use of steroids to treat lupus, some doctors have confused side effects of the drugs with symptoms of the disease (leading to the sadly ironic: “Uh-oh, her symptoms are getting worse—better up the dosage!”)

Prednisone Poster.
Side Effects Poster.

• That many doctors use a standard checklist to decide if a patient has lupus, but the list they use wasn’t intended for that.

Wrong Checklist.

Their misuse limits the scope of what they look for, and causes many missed diagnoses.

(The checklist was developed to choose patients for research studies. It was designed to include only those patients who displayed multiple of select symptoms. It was never intended for clinical use in deciding which patients do and do not have lupus.)

Old-Timey Docs Did It Better?

Some of the old-timey, pre-widely-used-steroid-era doctors claimed that they could often diagnose lupus instantly, the minute some of their female patients walked into their office, just by looking at…

…their hair! What gave it away, you ask?

The way the hair in the front center would not fall evenly–one strand jacked out unevenly. How about that?

Mary McDonough Hair Strand 1Mary McDonough, Actor With Lupus, As Child
Mary McDonough Hair Strand 2Mary McDonough, Actor With Lupus, As Adult

My college ID card shows long hippie hair with one jacked-out strand like the second photo.

Women Are Not Mushrooms*, Lupus Docs!

Where Babe learns about the lupus “bible”.

What an education Babe had about doctors and their attitudes toward women with lupus.

Lupus causes damage by the body’s defenses attacking the body–any part of the body.

The original lupus “bible”, written by Edmund Dubois [you would think “doo-BWAH”, but he said it “doo-BOY”], is one honkin’ fat book–all those pages are needed in order to fit the host of ways each part of the body can be affected.

But when it comes to letting women know what to be aware of, Dr. Doo-BOY doo not need many words. He uses about seven of those hundreds of pages. Here is a one-line summary of what doctors should feel free to tell their female patients:

“Not much! We don’t want them to worry their pretty little heads off.”


A Pretty Little HEadIt’s Too Late For This Female. One Thought Was All It Took.

The “justification” given for this is that the disease itself can cause psychological effects:

(1) through pain and discomfort;
(2) through stress; and
(3) through direct action (inflammation) of the brain;

and we don’t want to stress these poor little delicate ladies any further by letting the light of truth shine upon them, since stress aggravates the disease.

* “mushrooms”–Keep ’em in the dark, feed ’em sh#t.

Study Questions:

Isn’t this how doctors used to treat patients with cancer?

Or, is this a sexism thing?

Better! Thank You, Helpful Docs and Researchers!

Where Babe starts to feel better.

Just two weeks after beginning on the Plaquenil and Naproxen, Babe was in heaven.

(No, that doesn’t mean the lupus killed her, Carlos. o_O Think: WHO is writing this story? 🙄 ) It means she felt WAY better.

As the pain from the pleurisy and pericarditis continued to lessen over the next few weeks, Babe was amazed at the amount of pain she had been having and had gotten used to.

It was so wonderful to be almost pain-free! Bonus that she was no longer breathless climbing stairs, and she could hold onto the steering wheel.

Her life was back on track. <==(I SHOULD be ashamed of this link blatantly promoting an overlong totally-unrelated prior post of mine of which I happen to be fond)

Back On Track Path Through Trees

Part 8, In Which Babe Plus Babe Equals Trouble


Dr. R. comes across as a jerk. He was the complete opposite. He was personable and warm. I could tell he cared about me. However: It’s a d#mned good thing I ignored his advice, because I specifically asked him:

“Are there any dietary restrictions that go along with this?”

“No, you don’t need to worry about that.”

And at the library that day, I learned he was WRONG! It turns out that there WAS food that I should have been avoiding, and that, if eaten in massive amounts, can induce lupus symptoms in even non-lupus folk: Alfalfa sprouts! They contain an amino acid which can trigger lupus symptoms. Back then, this wasn’t widely known even “in the field”, but this layperson with access to a top medical library at a top medical institution learned it by doing her research–I was reading stuff from the 1940’s and 50’s, and stuff just released in whatever-the-month-it-was 1986.

As a (now) sunny southern Cal gal, guess what I’d been topping off my whole-grain turkey-and-‘cado sandwiches with? 😮

Part 8, In Which Babe Plus Babe Equals Trouble


An Autocidal Life, Part 6: In Which Babe Becomes a Magnet!

By the time you reach the end of this post, you will have learned how
^^’ ooky someone’s life is.
🙄 You: “Dang! SO glad that’s not me!”
😀 Me: “You’re welcome!”
(If you missed the beginning of our exciting and gross-but-still-riveting story,
here it is. It won’t take you long to catch up.)
Getting High on Life
Where Babe gets a little fever. So what.
By the end of every day, Babe began running a fever.
The Bee GeesMake It Stop! It Burns! It Burns!! 
Not a big fever–just 99 or 100 degrees. The more tired she was, the higher the fever.
Young Asian Girl With FeverMy Bottom Lip Pouted More 
Along with the temperature rise came what Babe called her “full head” feeling–because that’s exactly what it felt like–like her head was full of something.
(No. Not something good, Vanessa. 😮 Go back and study Parts 1 through 5 😎 and come back tomorrow.)She got used to it. You can get used to almost anything.

Barfing, But Barely


Babe had always had the baby-barfs. If she ate something sweet first thing in the morning, and then bent over to tie her shoes or pick something up, a small amount of breakfast would gently roll back up her throat. Icky.

Duh: So she avoided sweet breakfasts. She didn’t like bear claws or waffles anyhow. (I know! Hard to believe!)

Bear Claw CookiesTHESE Bear Claws I Would Eat–COOKIES!! Num, Num, Num!!

But now, the baby-barfs started happening even when she didn’t eat sweet things. They happened even when she wasn’t bending over.

No big deal.

Study Questions:

Why is this chapter here?

First we get BLOODY vomit, rages, and floor-spitting, and then THIS?

Swallowing, But Barely

Where Babe has trouble eating and drinking.

She was choking!

Babe had been swallowing her tasty tuna salad, when suddenly her throat had clamped entirely shut in a very painful spasm. She waited it out—what else could she do? The spasm released.

Babe decided she must have just done something weird, like timed her swallow wrong with her breathing. So, she very tentatively tried to finish getting the mouthful down, with a little tiny sip of a swallow.

No good–her throat clamped tight again, and the pain was truly terrible!

Painful Swallowing in Older ManUnlike Ads Aimed At Doctors, This Post Shows MALES With Mysterious Pains, Too

Doctors call it “pharyngeal spasms”, or “dysphagia”
           [fuh-RIN-gee-ull]         [dis-FAY-gee-uh]
Probably because “choking” is too hard to say.

Babe learned to take smaller bites. Sometimes, the spasms happened anyway. They hurt like a son-of-a-b-tch.

Trouble Swallowing Your Pride“There’s nothing wrong with your throat. Lots of people have trouble swallowing their pride.”

Study Questions:

Isn’t this a sign of cancer?

Shouldn’t Babe see a doctor?

(Raise your hand for why she didn’t.)

Napping, and HOW

Where Babe gets sleepy. Again. Big deal.

Babe was losing energy. Every afternoon, right at two o’clock, she had to take a nap, immediately! It was actually a nap emergency–she literally could not keep her eyes open, and fell asleep the instant she shut them.

Nap Emergency At Work Guy On FloorBook Feels SOFT…Ah…It WILL Be Soft Soon, After Its Drool-Soaking.

Babe would sneak into her office, lock the door, and collapse across her desk, waking in a puddle of drool. It was odd and scary and weird to her (not to mention gross), and she was really worried that her staff would find out.

Bart Sleeping Animated Gif(Note the Still-Short Haircut)

Study Questions:

What is so bad about needing a nap?

Doesn’t Bart look so cute?

Huffing and Puffing

Where Babe gets short of breath.

Stairs began to be difficult for Babe. She got so out of breath she would have to stop halfway up and struggle to get enough air.

Daleks Facing Obstacle of Stairs“Drat.”

Often she had a sharp ache deep in the center or side of her chest. She pretended this was due to a return of her childhood asthma, thanks to the L.A. smog, but she really knew it wasn’t asthma. Unlike childhood, she didn’t wheeze once.

Study Questions:

Does an asthma attack always involve wheezing?

Why on earth does anyone want to live in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles Smoggy SunriseAre You Kidding? Get a Loada’ That Gorgeous Smogrise!

Stiff Fingers

Where Babe can’t make a rude gesture.

Most mornings now, Babe’s fingers were swollen like puffy sausages. She could close them only part-way, and couldn’t hold anything.

Sometimes, they moved in little jerks and pops, and ached terribly.

Other times, though, it simply felt like the air resisted her. Then, it was kinda fun squeezing the invisible force–like when you push same-pole magnets together!

Magnet PinkieCame in HANDY At Work, Too! 🙂

Sometimes, Babe’s middle finger would lock closed, and she couldn’t force it open. (She became a more polite driver.) Usually, after a couple of hours, and a very hot shower, her hands were much better.

Babe didn’t think much about any of this, because the same things had happened to her mom (Babe’s mom had needed surgery to unlock her fingers).

The day Babe had trouble holding the steering wheel, though, she decided to see a doctor.

Woman Driving With Gloves and Straw SunhatEven Gloves Didn’t Help

She made an appointment with a rheumatologist at the famous Cedars Sinai.

Study Questions:

Is Babe eating something bad before bed?

Is she making too many rude gestures in her sleep?

Part 7, In Which Babe Is Saved By a 15-Minute Miracle


Googling “pharygneal spasms”, I found attitude:

(1) Cricopharyngeal” spasms are blamed on hysteria, and patients demeaned as hypochondriacs (even though food allergens can trigger the the spasms). My spasms weren’t these, since sources (e.g. ) say:

– the patient senses a lump in the throat,
– the pain is mild,
– it disappears when food swallowing is attempted.

(2) Johns Hopkins does list causes other than hypochondria, but buries these WAY down, and manages to sneer at patients:

Judgmental Version:

“Dysphagia refers to a patient’s perception of difficulty in (swallowing). Patients typically describe … a sensation of food ‘sticking’ in the throat or chest. They may also use the term ‘choking’ … to describe the same feeling.”

My Version:

Dysphagia refers to a patient’s difficulty in swallowing. Patients typically describe food sticking in the throat or chest, or a feeling of choking.

A good clinician will take care to find whether the feeling is a mild sticking or a painful choking, as the difference may be clinically significant.
Part 7, In Which Babe Is Saved By a 15-Minute Miracle

For all y’all who were disappointed at TWO puke tales so far with nary an animated gif–HERE you go!:

*** *** *** *** *** ***
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Puppet Vomiting Animated GifMannekin Hurlen!

Part 7, In Which Babe Is Saved By a 15-Minute Miracle


An Autocidal Life, Part 5: In Which Babe Lives La Vida Telenovela

Before this post is through, there will be love, marriage, cursing, spitting, and…MURDER.

(If you missed the beginning of our exciting and gross-but-still-riveting story, here it is. It won’t take you long to catch up.)
Oooo…First, Babe Gets All Hot and Sweaty
One night, Babe woke up in a puddle.

Asian Eye Night Sweats

You’d Better Not Be Laughing To Hear I Sweat the Bed.

At first, she thought she had wet herself, but it turned out that she had sweated so much that her perspiration had actually made a puddle on the all-foam mattress. And she was still sweating. (At half the age for hot flashes.)
Then she got the shakes until her teeth chattered–probably from the fever. It reached 104, just like when she had the pinpoint rash. Joe sat by. There wasn’t anything he could do.
From that night on, although the high fever didn’t return, Babe continued to get night sweats, often waking in a cold, wet pool.

Study Questions:
What is wrong with this girl?
Why do you think she doesn’t she see a doctor this time?

Get Ready…Here Comes the Action:
She was being stabbed! Babe saw the knife go into her chest when her killer punched it hard through her breastbone. She felt the horrified shock of seeing it sticking out of her body. She felt the pain worsening.
Every single night, for the next year, Babe was killed repeatedly in her dreams. Some people say you can’t die in a dream. Wrong.
She’s driving a car, flooring it, madly changing directions, but it’s no use: They catch up, and shoot her through the glass.
She’s racing down a cement-walled stairwell so fast she’s scared she’ll trip. Her heart is pounding so hard with fear and panic, she wonders if her chest will burst.
No use. They swing around the landing above her and open up on her with a machine gun. It hurts so much!
Even while she sees her blood pouring out of her chest–even through her tremendous pain–she’s focused on her heart, still pounding wildly. But slowing down quickly now… Stopped.
Miami Vice Tough Guys

Someone’s Dream-Weavers Watched WAY Too Much 80’s Television

Of course Babe didn’t go to a doctor! She didn’t want to be labeled crazy.

Study Questions:
Do you think this girl IS crazy?

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage
Where Babe gets headaches, hip-aches, and pees a lot.
Babe and Joe got married in 1984. Whoo-hoo! For their honeymoon, they went on a three-week truck-camping trip up the California coast and back down its middle.
Right away, Babe was having terrible difficulties:
For some reason, she had to pee several times every night, which meant climbing over the truck liftgate and stumbling around to squat in the dark and cold.
She had trouble balancing when she first woke up, which made it challenging to miss her feet.
Girl Has To Pee In the Woods While Camping

Like This, But In the Dark.

When she woke each time, her eyes were swollen, and so dry that her lids stuck to them.
Much of the time, she had the most horrible headaches she could imagine–far worse, even, than the awful ones she’d had upon first moving to California.
On top of that, whenever she sat or lay down, her hips hurt deep inside, in their very core. The camping mat didn’t help at all on the corrugated truck bed, and no position brought any relief.
Babe often lay awake silently next to her happily-snoring new husband, suffering for literal hours in the most unbearable pain.
Each day, while Joe was driving into the rising sun, Babe’s head felt like it was a delicate glass shell barely containing her entire self comprised only of her headache. She turned her face away from Joe, leaning it against a pillow on the truck window.
Only rarely would the intense pain from her seated hips distract her by reminding her that they happily lay in wait, in case her headache chose to step aside.
Babe didn’t want to spend their honeymoon complaining to Joe, so she didn’t. She wasn’t being brave:
Babe hid her pain like an abused kid.

Study Questions:
Do they make violins small enough?
Does Babe’s martyr complex ever make you wanna pop her one? (C’mon: At least give her a good shake?)
Silent Movie Drama Queen Martyr

Just SEE How I Suffer So.

Her Crowning Glory Abdicates
[when a ruler gives up her/his throne]
Where Babe imitates a dog.
In 1985, Babe and Joe bought a fixer-upper house in a very rough neighborhood (with an eye to profit).
The house’s previous owners were far from clean. When Babe had first swept out the rooms, she’d been disgusted at the huge clumps of the wife’s long black hair.  Yuchh!!!
What goes around comes around. Within weeks of moving in, Babe was waking up with her own hair on the pillow. Lots of it.
It was summer, so the newlyweds made jokes about how Babe was shedding like a dog, but Babe wondered what the heck was going on. She was starting to get a little worried.
When she next got crusty, peel-y, scabby things on her scalp, even Babe thought she was gross. Where each thing fell off, it left a small bald patch.
She tried different styles to cover the bare spots , but finally gave up and cut it all short. It was a new look for her, but definitely fit the neighborhood.
Bald New Look

Babe’s Bald New Look

Study Questions:
This girl is only STARTING to worry?
Does she seem a little slow to you?

You're Just Getting That Now Slow-On-The-Update

“You’re just getting that now?”…..(First Draft’s Version: “No sh#t, Sherlock.”)

Leave the Room, Kids—Psychotic Alert!!
Where Babe imitates a son of a dog.
Apparently, fate didn’t want Babe to get too comfortable. Along came a new symptom to keep the gods amused:
Fury! Babe had always had a temper, but now, when she lost it, she’d use the “f” word ten times in as many seconds.
This just wasn’t her. She began to refer to this as the “F*ck Index” of her health. But that’s not the really bad part.
During these wild periods, Babe had a scary urge to do something she wouldn’t admit to anyone: To spit! Spit right on the floor!  
Asian Woman Spitting Indoors

Let Me Just Say The Internet Is One D#mned Impressive Place.

What was HAPPENING to her? The feeling was so strong that she sometimes had to give in. Then, embarrassed and afraid, she’d cry while she wiped it up.
Between the murderous nightmares, the cursing, and the spitting on the floor, Babe was positive she was going crazy.

Study Questions:
Show of hands: Who agrees Babe should pack her bags
and head for the cracker factory?

Children Raising Hands

You Even Got the CHILDREN To Go Along? That’s Just Cold.

I admit I exaggerated for effect: Joe didn’t really snore.
Part 6, In Which Babe Becomes A Magnet!


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