Happy Halloween!

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Whether you’re going to a Halloween party, haunted house, trick or treating, or just staying in and watching a Halloween marathon ( I did that yesterday, and Michael Myers terrifies me just as much now as he did the first time I saw 31 years ago), be safe, but have loads of kick-ass fun.

Whether you’re dressing up as something funny and goofy, or scary and morbid, or slutty and inappropriate, have loads of kick-ass fun. If you’re going out and not dressing up as anything, you’re kinda boring, but still, have loads of kick-ass fun, (if that’s even possible for bland people who go out on Halloween, and don’t dress up).

As I wish everyone a safe Halloween, please remember to keep the day safe for your pets, as well. Little kids ringing the doorbell all day, shouting for candy, can be extremely stressing for animals.

And if your pet doesn’t want to wear a costume, please don’t force it.

I once tried to dress Phil, my pit-bull mix, as Superman. That didn’t go very well. But I didn’t force it, even though I really wanted him to wear the costume because he looked frickin’ adorable in it. But when I saw how much the costume bothered him, I took it off him. Yes, while begrudgingly removing his costume, I may have mumbled something to him about how all the other well-behaved dogs in the neighborhood were wearing costumes like their mommies asked, and how I didn’t see why it was such a big deal for him to suck it up for one day, but still, I didn’t force him to wear one.

And I have never attempted to dress him in silly costumes ever again. Although, I do throw the threat out there, when he’s being a naughty dog, that I will do just that.

I’ll calmly say to him, “Remember that time when mommy tried to put that Superman costume on you, and you really, really, hated it?”

Suddenly, I have a well-behaved dog again because he remembers. He will always remember the horror of what was the Superman Halloween costume.

Yes. I have found a way to use Halloween to my advantage in getting my dog to obey me. Don’t judge me cuz it works!

Happy Halloween, Everyone!

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Photos courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Michael Myers Versus the Needle.

I have a condition that requires infusion treatments called IVIG (Intravenous immunogobulin) treatments. No big deal. I sit in a chair for four hours with an IV stuck in my arm as a clear, gunky-like liquid substance slowly drips from a bag, through a tube and into my body. And for the next four weeks I get my life back (thanks to the healthy individuals who donate their plasma so people like me can enjoy some semblance of their old life).

Developing a life-changing illness (and there are many) can happen so quickly you feel you were teleported into this new life of constant blood work, invasive medical examinations, tests, doctor appointments, surgeries, hospital stays, pills (lots of pills), because you can’t remember how you got here. “Wasn’t it just yesterday that I hadn’t been to a doctor in over five years.” Um. No. Those days are over. And it doesn’t matter how young you are. If your body no longer works the way it’s supposed to, you see a doctor and you see them often.

Being diagnosed with a disease (any disease) takes you to a scary and lonely place.  I was never alone, but I was often lonely even though I had no shortage of family and friends calling me and offering their help, support, their love and their time. But still I felt a profound disconnect to the healthy people around me when I was the only sick person in the room.

A person with health can only empathize so much. Though my family makes me feel safe when I am at my sickest, they can’t look in my eyes and know, really know, how I feel the way another sick person can. The condition may not be the same, but the doubts and fears are.

I had no idea how much I would rely on other sick people to make me feel better because the first time I walked into the Infusion center I almost cried. It was a room set up in the back of a doctor’s office. There wasn’t anything spectacular about this room. It was a slightly-larger than regular sized room – emphasis on “slightly.” About eight or nine reclining chairs lined the walls in a circle. We sat next to each other with just enough space between us for a small table and maybe a handbag. There was no privacy. I could see each person and they could see me.

I almost cried and not just because of the lack of private space, but because the room was filled with sick people. Though I’d been sick for a while, denial allowed me to believe I was really a healthy person suffering from temporary set-backs. But I was there that day because my condition was getting worse, and yet I was still lying to myself. “What am I doing in the same place with all these sick people? I don’t belong here.”

But I did, and soon I realized how much I needed that place. Needed those (sick) people. After almost four years I have developed close relationships with my nurses and other patients who have become familiar faces with names and shared stories.

That place makes me laugh even when I want to cry. Like the time a woman (now known between my nurses and me as “The Screamer”) walked in. I barely noticed her… until she started to scream. Whatever her condition is, it doesn’t affect her lungs. That woman can scream. I couldn’t see her face because two nurses were sitting on either side of her, holding her down, but her feet were flailing. And those screams.

I turned to my nurse. “What are they doing to her?”

My nurse sighed deeply and said, “The same thing we do to you. They’re starting an IV.”

An IV? A simple needle? But those were “Michael Myers is in my room and he’s trying to kill me!” screams.

From then on whenever my nurse says to me, “Hey Alicia, ‘The Screamer’s’ coming in today.” I smile because no matter how sick I may feel, there’s always something to look forward to. More screams, please.

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Photos courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net