Saturday, July 25, 2009


It had been a while, but I just wrote a short story. I mean short, it's only three pages long. It is in Spanish and it is based on the same episode I once covered in this blog post. Like the blog post, it is composed of memory fragments that have been fleshed out and fictionalized. I have submitted the story for publication in an online newspaper in Puerto Rico, and if it gets published I will post the link here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The breatless chronicles, day 205

Well, what do you know? The last couple of days have been great. I have slept well and have not experienced any major issues. I have not been struggling to breathe. There is hope for me yet.

I have been careful not to eat too close to bedtime and not to eat too much at night. I am trying to make breakfast and lunch my biggest meals so I am not too hungry at dinnertime. I am also more mindful of overeating. I am trying to minimize the effects of acid reflux and its effect on my asthma. It seems to be working.

I continue to do breathing treatments, but I need them less. I continue to do the corticosteroid therapy with the nebulizer, but only down to one per day as opposed to two. I have not needed the bronchodilator therapy for two days. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let's just hope it's not a train.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Music and Mood

Often, when I work from home I end up with a tune stuck in my head. Today it is the theme from The Piano, one of my favorite movies.

I had an appointment with the pulmonologist this morning. Since I already have prescriptions for the asthma and the acid reflux, he does not want to rock the boat much. But he prescribed a nasal spray to control the post nasal drip, and he wants me to do a sleep study to detect if I suffer from apnea or not.

I don't like 2009 so far. The first half of my 40th year has sucked badly. I am like a car that starts breaking down once the warranty wears off. I am worn down, tired and a little depressed from so many medical issues this year. I have had several panic attacks related to my struggles to breathe. I worry about being ill and giving an impression of weakness at work during the current economic situation. I find myself working from home more frequently, rather than venture into the office. It is easier to take care of my health if I have my medications and my nebulizer close to me. Plus, what I do can be done just as easily from the home office, and sometimes being home eliminates the distraction of chatty coworkers and unexpected visits, and allows me to focus on my job more fully. But the truth is that lately I am withdrawing more and more from contact with people other than my immediate circle.

Monday, July 20, 2009


It's Monday and it's a holiday in Puerto Rico today. July has several of them. I wish it was a holiday here, so I could get the day off, go lie on a beach and imagine the water is nice and blue.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Highlights of my day

In the morning I had this test done. I hate doing all these kinds of tests. They make me feel old and fragile, and I have to reassure myself that everything going to be alright and it's just a short test.

Then in the afternoon, this came out. And this, and this. Amazing how the same story can be presented in such different terms (judging by the headlines, at least).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Two weeks to go, buddy

For a moment, I thought of changing my name across all platforms (Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, wherever else I'm plugged) to Samantha Bell (as in Sam Bell). It would certainly match my mood.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Outside sources

I guess feeling especially down, anxious and/or desperate in the middle of the week is not such a strange ocurrence, as this blog post from The Awl on suicide rates by day of the week indicates.


Feeling better in terms of my asthma. I am regularly doing the breathing treatments my allergist prescribed. I am also suspecting that heartburn and its effects are the biggest challenge I have.

Not feeling so good in terms of mood. I was in a positive, hopeful mood on Monday. Tuesday was an OK day, spent working from home. The best way to describe my mood this morning is to say I feel as if someone had rubbed a balloon all over me, quite jumpy.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Beautiful Moon

We had a beautiful moon last night. I tried to capture it as best I could.


I have the moon on my mind a lot lately. Last Friday I watched the movie "Moon" with Sam Rockwell. It was great, an intelligent, thought-provoking, emotionally wrenching sci-fi movie. If it plays in your area, I recommend it.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

One thing leads to another


suggests we may be going down a dangerous path that could someday lead to this:

FYI: I did not come up with this by myself. Credit should be due to the commenter on io9 who made the initial connection.

Still ailing

On Thursday I bit the bullet and went back to my allergist, whom I had not seen since 2006. Of course she was not very happy with me disappearing and letting a regular doctor take charge of my allergy/asthma treatment. She ordered me to stop using three of the medications prescribed by the other doctor, and prescribed two others in their place.

One of the meds she instructed me to stop taking is Singulair, a drug for which the FDA has recently issued a new warning related to neuropsychiatric side effects. I got nervous about this, because I have been taking Singulair for a long time and I have always felt that it works. When I mentioned my concerns, my doctor said "well, it's not working now, is it?" How can I argue with that? I am not doing well lately with my asthma. And I have experienced some of the symptoms included in the FDA list.

Except that I now fear without it things could get even worse. I have not exactly been feeling peachy since I saw my allergist. I know the new breathing treatments she prescribed are having effect, in the sense that I feel my chest opening up. But the cough and congestion are not going anywhere, and my chest and throat feel sore. Also, I notice now that my esophagus feels funny.

I had a horrible night last night, waking up several times during the night and having pretty disturbing dreams, one of which starred my husband as a manipulating, cold and evil sociopath. It scared me greatly and brought me to tears.

I am highly emotional today. I woke up Gabe after my nightmare and subjected him to my list of fears for my well being. Others may consider my fears to be irrational or greatly exaggerated. He patiently listened to it all, then made me breakfast.

It is possible that today's outbursts have been a little hormonally-driven, but at this point I have no way of gauging whether they are sensible concerns or out of proportion terrors. Justified or not, these fears for my well being are very real. I can't stop thinking about death. I am terrified of dying and have cried my eyes out today. Teary-eyed even as I sit writing this, I am on the verge of falling apart, and remain convinced that the only thing keeping me from letting go, from relinquishing my reason and giving in to the siren song of hysteria is the thought of my girls.

Thursday, July 02, 2009 picks of the day

I hope no more celebrities die in the immediate future so that we don't miss a coup, war, or potential nuclear strike against the U.S.

Let's hope Michael Jackson left his brothers enough money to prevent a reunion tour

Let's show pro-democracy Iranians what they're fighting for by posting videos of our Independence Day binge drinking


If you have to make a list of your good qualities and a list of your flaws, which list is easiest to write? Which one is longest?


Death is on my mind a lot lately. Famous people keep dying. Billy Mays, Karl Malden, Alexis Argüello... I am sure I forget more.

I am not used to admitting weakness. In my mind I am invincible. But my health does not seem to be improving, and this exacerbates my sense of mortality and vulnerability. My respiratory system has never been this bad. I have had three bouts of bronchitis so far this year. I sincerely hope I do not catch the flu or all hell will break loose.
I have told Gabriel we may need to consider leaving Houston, that this city is toxic for me. But where to go? What is a good place to live, one where we can both find gainful employment? Wherever we go he needs to pass the bar exam before being able to practice. And I have twelve years of experience in my current company as a middle manager, plus good salary and benefits may not be so easy to replicate in the current economic climate.