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!:

*** *** *** *** *** ***
*** *** *** *** *** ***

Puppet Vomiting Animated GifMannekin Hurlen!

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


%d bloggers like this: