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  1. organized candy, managing stress

    My former supervisor went to Germany and asked me if I would like him to bring me back anything, and I asked him to bring me back something that most Americans would find odd but most Germans wouldn't: It is Haribo "Color-Rado" candy. "Haribo Macht Kinder Froh": "Haribo Makes Children Happy" (I don't speak German, he wrote the translation on a post-it note). Here is what came in it: When I was working for him, I would make a lot of excel spreadsheets with extensive color-coding as a way to visually represent large amounts of information by zooming to like 50%, and some of them looked a little like this. The picture is a little blurry, but I had already eaten all the orange and yellow gummi bears when I realized that. After I got back from my trip home a few weeks ago, I worked very hard at my volunteer position and got super stressed and decided to quit and to definitely not do any more work even if they wanted to pay me. It's a part-time position not related to my (also part-time) paid work. It's a coordinating-type position, involving corresponding with a lot of people, although almost exclusively via email with occasional videochats. But it also involves developing procedures to handle complex stuff and then handling it. Then they offered to pay me (which I hadn't thought was possible). And I thought, well, maybe I would be more motivated to get better at the stressful boring stuff if they were paying me. Which has turned out to be true, but it's still stressful. I feel like I'm always taking longer with everything than I should and failing to respond to people in a timely fashion and not being responsive enough to volunteers and arrgh. Maybe if I do enough of this I will develop composure. I'm already at least 50% less panicked about things than I was a week and a half ago.
  2. The Holter monitor does records your heart rate as well other things, and they normally give people a handout to fill out to record what you were doing and when (I made my own since the one they provided had very few time slots). The way it's interpreted and written up is focused on abnormal heart functioning; the information may be in there but a cardiologist interpreting the information and writing up a brief report for the GP may not look for or comment on it. My short report said that mine was basically normal and that my reported events didn't correlate with any arrythmias. When I asked at the place that did my Holter monitor, they were willing to give me a print out of what they called the "trace", which turned out to be a small number of pages with a snapshot of the recorded data at some of the times I'd recorded stuff, including beats per minute. The trace was not sent to my GP and he didn't ask for it (and didn't see the list of activities I gave the holter monitor people either, although he told my psychiatrist that my high max heart rate was due to "stressful events" when I had actually spent the day relaxing at home). The article is: Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome: the Mayo clinic experience. By Thieben et al.
  3. Happy anniversary!
  4. I'm at home (my family's home). My father and stepmother have a hot tub. I've spent large chunks of my vacation in the hot tub. I told my husband that I'm sure we could fit one in the bedroom if we just rearranged the apartment a bit more. I've been reading some stunningly bad urban fantasy, even worse than what I read the last time I was here. Like, I think I could write this if I had a bigger library of cliches and snappy phrases and worked well while too drunk to care about consistency beyond the sentence level. But I could probably write something substantially better without cliches or alcohol. It's inspiring. Some interesting family stuff has happened, some good, some bad, some worrying. I'm still thinking about what to say about it. I also have (good) health stuff to write about but it's hard to think where to start. So in lieu of anything substantial, it's 1980s time! I can't find all of them, and I think some of this batch may belong to my sister. Points to anyone who can name any of these. Super bonus points to anyone who knows how you go about getting the redhead ponies in the middle (which are duplicates).
  5. Apologies for kind of leaving you hanging on this. I've been out of town visiting family and only intermittently at a computer. If you have that specific problem, it's easily diagnosed or ruled out. (I didn't get a tilt table test, but it may have been because I came in with my holter monitor printout with my notes on it plus several printouts from a personal heart rate monitor I bought.) It can be difficult to get to someone who has sufficiently current, relevant medical knowledge. Do you have a cardiologist (you mentioned you have a beta-blocker)? There are some dysautonomia specialists, but I think many people see a cardiologist. Not all cardiologists are knowledgeable about relevant things. Mine gave me some suggestions for treatment that were helpful at the time (drink lots of water, wear lightweight kneehigh compression stockings); the reason I had the big improvement I had was that I went back to her and said I was considering trying ones that went higher up or were at a higher compression level, and she was ok with it, and I did. If your GP has been willing to humor you so far, you could try asking again. GPs can be dicks about things (mine was, and presumably still is, I haven't seen him since he was willing to refer me to a cardiologist to get rid of me). I don't know much about other specialists or other routes to diagnosis. The Dinet site I linked to above has various resources and a forum that you might look into; if you do read the forum, keep in mind that autonomic problems can be caused by many things and there are people there with a very wide range of underlying problems. There is also a Mayo Clinic article that I can't find a free version of. As a side note which may or may not be relevant, many people report having been given Holter monitors that came back normal, because cardiologists check for electrical abnormalities of the heart. This was my experience and it was a kind of "am I really losing my mind" one.
  6. If you think it might be an issue I would encourage you to follow up on it - treatment has had a huge effect on how I feel, in ways I didn't even think were possible. Like, I look back at most of the rest of my life and think, I was exhausted and shaky and sick all the time, even when I thought I was doing really well, and a lot of the problems that I thought were anxiety were actually tachycardia and shakiness caused by being upright for too long. I don't think it's like that for everyone though.
  7. Cute glasses! What a crappy appointment (and meds screw-up). Ack. That's kind of weird that he's so focused on your weight and that he would tell you he's going to prescribe medication to you for weight control without you having expressed any interest in it. A little creepy, even. I didn't know there was a medication specifically for middle-of-the-night awakenings - I'll have to mention that to my husband.
  8. That sounds pretty obnoxious. I usually need to drink more water than I want to, but at least I still get some feeling of thirst. I've done the phone alarm thing in the past though. Salt can be bad for you but dehydration's pretty bad for you too. Maybe the tradeoff is something you could ask a doc about? (pdoc or gp) The only other suggestions I can think of are all about making water more entertaining to drink: - A tiny bit of lemon juice. Your mouth is slightly more acidic than water is and making water more acidic makes it taste better, IIRC. I've also gotten citric acid in little packets that I think advertised themselves as imitation lemon juice or something similar. - Mess with the temperature. Cold water, hot water, lukewarm water. - Carbonated water. (The cheap stuff, don't drive yourself broke with Perrier) My husband has a machine that makes carbonated water out of tap water and I use that, but you can also buy club soda (or whatever it's called where you live). - A small amount of lemonade or fake lemonade. I used to use the store-brand version of Crystal Light because Crystal Light tastes bitter to me for some reason. - Some people put slices of cucumber in their water although personally I prefer to keep my salad out of my drink (and my drink out of my salad). - Herbal tea.
  9. Wow, look at all those onions! Two months ago I was walking down the street and someone had set out a huge stereo cabinet with a turntable and a radio that they didn't want anymore. It was in beautiful condition and I really really wanted to take it home, but it was quite large (like, the size of a large desk, though shorter). I think we could fit it now with the apartment reconfigured, but there was no way we could have fit it in at the time.
  10. funding disappointment / relief

    Well, I won't get to find out whether rickrolling the funding committee would prevent us from getting funded. ): We were applying to be a subproject of a big project, and the big project initially accepted us and then later changed their minds (after my supervisor submitted an initial budget, so I guess they thought we would cost too much). I put in a bunch of work and a lot of stress and I don't think I want to do that same level of effort/stress again. My supervisor wants to rewrite it and submit it again elsewhere. At least my mini-essay is done. On the up side this means that I don't have to work on the rest of the application when I go on vacation in two days and go home to see my family. Really looking forward to that. I have a volunteer position (unrelated to work) that was going to involve stuff I enjoyed (designing and documenting work processes and software) but now mostly doesn't, for reasons that include the coordinator not realizing how many details needed to be handled plus a miscommunication over the position involving my working on "documentation", which I thought meant the kind of documentation that you read that explains things to you, and he thought meant me corresponding individually with a bunch of researchers to get them to update him on their progress (i.e., "documentation" of their projects). I did get to do some of what I think of as documentation, and technically there's the opportunity for me to do other things, but all my available time for volunteering isn't enough to finish up the stuff that I don't like doing. So I'm going to try to finish up this one last round of communication, and let the coordinator know later tonight that I'll be stepping down. I've been thinking about various alternatives for a couple months and haven't come up with anything better. But it's really nice to think about being done.
  11. I posted a comment here but I don't think it came through - did you get anything? It had links in it, maybe it got caught in a spam filter?
  12. I didn't know that about canning jars! If I'm lucky enough to have someone give me something jarred I'll make sure to treat the jar well and return it to them in hopes they'll do it again. (:
  13. Oh no ): I'm so sorry to hear that. I hope they figure things out quickly.
  14. Last night I made injera (Ethiopian fermented delicious spongy flatbread). I Teff flour grains are very tiny, way tinier than wheat grains. You can get teff flour in a grayish brown color that turns brownish-purple when cooked (like above), or in a lighter color, like I've had at restaurants. Restaurants here (U.S.) also often use part wheat flour. This is my third try at injera, using this recipe. My first try involved burning the batter to the bottom of two pans before realizing I should use the pan that doesn't conduct heat very well. The second try involved the batter molding (ewww). This try came out great! There was a really big difference between ones that were more pancakey and ones that were light and slightly crispy, with the latter being more delicious. The trick was picking up the pan and rotating it around so that the batter would spread out. Went to DBT group tonight. One of the buses I normally take to DBT group passes through a tourist destination, and the signage is not very good. The bus stops at the same location regardless of whether it's inbound or outbound, and people usually get on the inbound bus and then realize they wanted to be on the outbound bus and get off immediately. I'm starting to wonder whether I should just announce where we're going and where the other bus goes when people start getting on. I don't know if that might irk the driver. **gross-out alert** Our DBT group therapist has one outfit that she wears with a large (like 3" x 1.5") very dark blue-black plastic pendant in a pseudo emerald cut (rectangularish). The pendant is strung on something invisible so that it looks like it's not on a necklace at all (or maybe she glues it to her chest? I don't know). Anyway it totally looks like a giant blood blister. If it were any color other than blue-black it would just look glamorous and classy. Well, maybe not if it were a dark red. **end gross-out alert** I have to go finish writing what is basically a mini-essay to submit with a funding application for a project that I will be on if it gets funded. I find it weird that they ask us to do this and it's hard for me to believe that what goes in a mini-essay about why we're qualified for the job could make much of a difference to a funding committee, My husband (who has more experience with this) says that they're usually not taken very seriously. I hope that funding committees pay a lot more attention to concrete plans and budget justifications, but I could just be being naive. Anyway, I've been thinking about that and wondering what it would take to actually get a project not funded on the basis of a mini-essay. Sex? Drugs? Tax evasion? Typing the whole thing in Comic Sans? Embedding a video so I can rickroll the funding committee? Who knows?
  15. The alcohol made me wonder about vasodilation/vasoconstriction (it vasodilates at lower doses and vasocostricts at higher doses). The hot water does too (vasodilates). Both can be involved in migraines/headaches, which can act like sinus pain. I have a recently dx'd autonomic problem that is worsened by vasodilation, and some people who have it have problems with vasodilation in their legs but cerebral vasoconstriction. The defining feature is tachycardia on prolonged sitting or standing (vs laying down) and not sinus pain, but I thought I would mention vasoconstriction/vasodilation/autonomic issues as something you could bring up with your GP, since GPs generally don't think or ask about it (or in some cases know anything about it). Mine: