In the last blog post, I discussed the challenges of writing a thesis while trying to take care of my sinusitis. This is a continuation of my summertime blues.
Right now outside my home, I hear the mild pitter-pattering of raindrops on the street. This is a very good thing because Houston has not seen much of our friend Rain for the past several weeks. The heat and humidity has been sweltering with more days of 100-degree heat. (I have no idea how to convert that to Celsius for you non-Americans and am too sluggish to look it up.) I recently took a girls’ trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and while the days were hot, the nights were chilly, reminding me of that beloved Californian climate. But in Houston, it’s never cool during the summers. At night, it still feels like I’ve nestled into someone’s dank armpit.
You would think the humidity helps with the sinus issues, but since my last post, I’d finished two weeks of antibiotics and six days of steroids for the sinus pain/inflammation, and still, my head gets random throbs plaguing me mostly in the middle of the night. I have been talking to my PCP and two neurologists (Dr. Greenberg of the NMO Center in Dallas and Dr. Hutton, a MS specialist Dr. Greenberg had referred me to for local care). There have been guesses from migraines to cluster headaches to sinus issues to occipital neuralgia–from what I understand are mysterious shooting pains throughout the head caused by nerve damage and treated by neck injections–and that ever blasted shingles. Right now, my bet is that it’s a more serious sinus issue (which means I need to see a ENT) or cluster headaches (which means I’m screwed).
Dr. Hutton, whom I visited for the first time two weeks ago, ordered me some routine MRIs at the end of the month since I hadn’t had films taken of my brain and spine since 2007. He thought it’d be a good idea just to monitor how my nerves and plaques are doing. My goal now is to get them to scan my brain and sinus cavities while they’re in there anyway to save time and energy. Keeping my fingers crossed for a proper diagnosis of this ruthless head pain.
In the meantime, my creative writing projects have been trudging along rather slowly. Recently, I started writing for Houston Press‘s food and drink blog, Eating Our Words. The Houston Press is an alternative weekly like New York’s The Village Voice or the San Francisco Bay Guardian. I love to eat, cook, and talk food, and I love to write, so this was naturally an opportunity at which I jumped. But with the twice-a-week deadlines, my writing time is quickly being overtaken by food blogging.
I’ve also still been reading–I finished my first novel in Braille (woo hoo for me!): Anne Tyler’s The Accidental Tourist. I found the book very sub-par and was surprised upon finishing it to learn that it won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a Pulitzer finalist in 1985. Whaaa…? My husband told me that if I’m going to scorn such critically acclaimed writing, then I’d better win that Pulitzer with my future book. I say critics don’t know everything.
Either way, I’m proud of myself for having achieved my goal of reading an entire novel in Braille. That 352-page paperback translated into Braille became three three-inch binders. It took me two months to read it, which isnt’ bad considering one in four Americans don’t finish even one book in a year. But of course, as a writer, this is slow. My goal is to one day read Braille as fast as I used to read print. With practice comes perfection. When I started The Accidental Tourist, I was reading one page in eleven minutes. By the end of the novel, I managed to increase my reading speed to about six minutes a page. Next on my queue from the National Library Service is Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, which I’m embarrassed to admit I have never finished. Hopefully by the end of this novel, I can shave down my minutes per page by half again.