This story begins in a basement waiting room in Brooklyn. My boyfriend and I stare at our phones on a dirty looking love seat across from the reception desk. There’s no service, and cellphone games give me headaches, so I pick up an issue of Parenting magazine, even though I am not a parent and — thank god — this isn’t that kind of doctor’s visit. I’m not thirsty, but I drink a lot of water from the water cooler to occupy myself. It takes almost an hour before my name is called. The nurse is friendly, but she mumbles and I keep having to ask her to repeat herself. I am relieved when she asks me how much I weigh rather than making me step on the scale, but the anxiety rises again when she measures my blood pressure. The machine squeezes my arm and then releases it in slow puffs — panic, panic, panic.
Actually, this story begins on Christmas night. And the night before. And the night after. And all of the nights that I went to bed too early. This story begins with me apologizing. This story begins with my mother’s worried face. It begins with an unquenchable, inexplicable desire for sleep, which actually begins nine years ago when I was in 12th grade and became addicted to going to bed. Because that’s what this is really about. That’s the reason I am waiting in a cold doctor’s office, picking nervously at my nail polish, listening to the paper crinkle each time I move, and wanting very badly to pee.
I’m tired. I’m tired all the time. Keep reading »
Not only is Hillary Clinton creating a frenzy of 2016 election speculation and my favorite internet memes, but she’s also brought blood clots into the media spotlight. While the buzz has gone down, and you rarely hear commentators on CNN analyzing deep leg thrombosis anymore, the incident stuck with me. I, too, have blood clots.
In April of 2012, an unusual set of symptoms put my dear Bubbe, a retired oncology nurse, into a strange panic. She demanded daily, “Go see a doctor!”, as she was increasingly worried about my high fever, swollen glands and other symptoms that were unbeknownst to me as signs of lymphoma.
I, of course, remained completely ignorant of what my illness could be, only calling the doctor to avoid incessant nudging that had now spread to my mother. You’ll do anything promptly at the urging of two Jewish women.
It was only when my doctor told my grandmother it was not what she feared that I finally realized what all the fuss was about. I burst into tears and exhaled a sigh of relief all in the span of about five minutes in the waiting room, before I was strapped in for a series of precautionary blood tests. Keep reading »
God bless British programming for keeping us informed of all the things we need to fear in life. BBC Four’s “The Brain: A Secret History – Broken Brains” features a woman who suffers from a rare disorder known as Alien Hand Syndrome.
After receiving a special operation to control her epilepsy in which the band of nervous fibers connecting the two hemispheres of the brain is cut, Karen Byrne found that her left hand and sometimes her left leg, behaved on it’s own, as if it were possessed. The very brief explanation is that Alien Hand Syndrome is caused by a war going on in her head between the two hemispheres of her brain. Sometimes, Byrne can’t stop slapping herself in the face, to the point of injury, with her possessed hand. Sometimes, her hand does other naughty things. Keep reading »
Guernica’s Kristen O’Regan went undercover as a woman seeking a labiaplasty to investigate the world of vaginal rejuvenation, a field of surgery which is “relatively unregulated and frequently botched, as indicated by the staggering number of clinics that advertise discreet revisions of bungled previous surgeries.” One of her many disturbing discoveries was a that a procedure called “The Barbie”is growing in popularity:
Dr. Red Alinsod, a urogynecologist in Laguna Beach, California, claims that his most requested surgical procedure is the Barbie: a procedure that excises the entire labia minora. This results in a ‘clamshell’ aesthetic: a smooth genital area, the outer labia appearing ‘sealed’ together with no labia minora protrusion. Alinsod tells me he invented the Barbie in 2005. “I had been doing more conservative labiaplasties before then,” he says. “But I kept getting patients who wanted almost all of it off. They would come in and say, I want a ‘Barbie.’ So I developed a procedure that would give them this comfortable, athletic, petite look, safely.”
Keep reading »
If you noticed slightly fewer baby panda-related posts on The Frisky last week, your eyes were not deceiving you. I was out sick, or I guess I should say “in” sick, because all I did was sleep, read Gone Girl, and sleep some more.
Because I’ve been a recluse from society and have no idea what’s going on — apparently Ryan Gosling sells knives on QVC now!?!?— all I have to tell you about today is my observations on the best/worst parts of being sick. Keep reading »
When I got my period for the first time, I cried. Hard. Just a few months before, while waiting to board to the bus to head to camp for a week, I saw a girl from my class bawling her eyes out. “What’s wrong with Becky?” I asked one of my friends.
“She got her period,” my friend replied solemnly. “She has cramps. And she doesn’t want to deal with wearing pads all week.” Keep reading »
I am writing this post for the most part as a response to Amelia, whose number two New Year’s resolution was to drink more water. But also, because I am passionate about drinking water. I like to refer to myself as a water enthusiast, although I am probably more of an aquaholic. (Sometimes I drink more than the recommended eight glasses a day.)
I grew up in the Arizona desert, where the arid air gives you permanent dry mouth and the tap water is undrinkable. Or at least, I had a conspiracy theorist teacher in middle school who spent entire class periods telling us how the fluoride in the water supply would kill us all. That’s when I stopped drinking tap water. Even if it wasn’t dangerous, it tasted like rust to me. So, I got into the habit of always carrying “safe” water on my person. My dad, a serious athlete, kept massive amounts of bottled water in the house, and I got into my water habit at an early age. How hydrated I am directly correlates to how good my day is going. If I didn’t drink enough water, chances are, it was a bad day and I was all tense and running around. That is a sad day in my world. Keep reading »
When I was in college studying in Italy, I got insanely, disgustingly skinny. My host mother fed us very little. I think she requested vegetarian students because she thought vegetarians ate less. Each night, she would stir a tablespoon of canned spaghetti sauce over a 1/2 portion of pasta, cigarette in hand, and when we were done eating (she never ate — she was the size of a mouse) she’d look at us with threatening eyes, shrug and say, “What else you want?”
I was just so happy to be there, so willing to assimilate into my new lifestyle, and always a little nervous about doing new things, that I was too timid to ask for more. After a while, I didn’t even realize I was hungry. And my stomach got smaller and smaller. I weighed about 120 pounds when I got there, a healthy amount for my 5’2″ frame. After a few months in Italy, since I didn’t have a scale, I can only guess I was down to about 90 pounds. It scares me to type that number out. So much. Keep reading »
It will never get worse than this.
I’m thinking that to myself as I rock back and forth on a toilet in a noisy bar. It’s Saturday night, a table full of my friends is wondering where I ran off to, and I have a potential date/booty call in a couple of hours. I’m sweating, I’m shaking and I’m trying to figure out what did it this time.
It, of course, is another horrific bout of diarrhea, one of the charming effects of irritable bowel syndrome. I felt it coming on as we walked to the bar, and made a beeline to the gas station across the street. I had to wait while the cashier bullshitted with a cabbie, shifting weight from one foot to another while cramps amped their way up my abdomen. Keep reading »
It’s that time of year. New Year’s Day is just a few days away, and that implies that it’s time to start planning for 2013. What do we want in the new year? What are our goals? What will it take to finally reach true happiness? Well, all of those things can include a healthier body, mind and spirit. Yes, we all know that most resolutions don’t stick. In fact, by the end of January, a third of us will have let our resolutions lapse. The reason? Our goals and strategies are often based more on willpower than on small, simple changes. So, to help you become healthier, happier and more fit in 2013, here are some New Year’s resolutions you can actually stick to:
1. Only eat when sitting down. It’s true, we tend to eat mindlessly and “graze” more when standing up. Sitting down encourages us to be present and eat with more focus–things that can prevent us from overeating.
2. Use small dinner plates. Using a smaller plate, research has shown, leads to taking smaller portions. If you’re trying to avoid overeating, this is a simple trick. Read more…