Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘dogs are having a great time’ edition

–       We are at my mother’s for the annual trip we do. My sister has a new mutt puppy who is so incredibly sweet. She and Sawyer and have been tearing up the yard playing chase; Sawyer loves to run and Gigi has never met a chase she didn’t like. The problem is that Gigi wants to play all the time and poor Sawyer, who is not an overly active dog, can’t seem to get any rest to save his soul. He tries to run down to the bedroom occasionally for respite. Secretly though, he is enjoying himself immensely!

–       My brother-in-law loves to watch boxing. I don’t get it and I find the noise offensive. I now have my noise-canceling headphones on and I’m listening to music.

–       Piper is also having a mostly good time. Maya[1] attacked her like a little viper last night when she came in. We have really clamped down on Maya today and she has responded well.

–       My sister is mostly holding it together. I just agree with her and all is fine. She really is stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place. Both her husband and our mother will not allow her to sit for any length of time. They treat her like a slave. She is volcanic in her behavior and no one is ever sure what might make her erupt. When she does go she spews vitriol everywhere and you just try to duck and not get hit.

–       My mother really cannot stand the dogs. She doesn’t even want them to play in her general vicinity. I asked her if she liked watching them play and she said no. I don’t get that. I love to watch the dogs play; sometimes it is better than TV.

–       The one thing I really don’t understand is why my mother is smoking while she wears oxygen. She complains about feeling crappy all the time and doesn’t get that she is causing herself all these difficulties. People can live a long time with COPD as long as they don’t smoke. She is not eating so when she catches something she literally has nothing to fight with. It worries me but I recognize there is nothing I can do about it. She is depressed and really has no interest in carrying on. She has never had to cope with any kind of health issues before and she is really not up for it.

–       The best part of this trip will be getting to see some really great friends in Calgary on Tuesday. We are going to the Cactus Club for dinner.


[1] The maltese we got for my mother late last year.

Pet Peeves: Facial Hair

I decided to take a break from the political blogging for a moment and talk about something else. Like a lot of women, I have facial hair. I have a very distinct ‘moustache’ on my upper lip and due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) I have developed very dark coarse hair on my chin and below. One of the symptoms of PCOS is hirsutism. Some of the meds I have been on for years for PCOS have tamed some of the hair growth. The hair on my arms has thinned markedly and I have very little hair on my legs or under my arms as I stopped shaving years ago as it irritated my skin. It simply was not worth it. The hair on my legs is so fine and completely gone in some areas.

For the most part I have dealt with my facial hair mostly by plucking the heavier coarser ones and leaving the rest alone. It bothered me that it was there but not enough to really do something about it. I also thought having it removed would be outrageously expensive (I was wrong and more on that later). I had basically come to accept my facial hair as just part of life.

Fast-forward many years to December 2007. Yes, the year of the plague. I was put on whopping doses of prednisone to deal with my pyoderma gangrenosum and colitis. One of the major side effects of steroids is hair growth. My once manageable, albeit hirsute face, had suddenly gotten worse and I needed to find a solution. I did not want to start shaving, as I believed this would only make matters worse. I had read some blogs that indicated that laser hair removal was quite effective. We had a place in the local mall that did it so Deb picked me up a pamphlet. Yet still I hesitated.

I went to get my hair cut next door to this place last week. I decided to go in and I made an appointment for a consultation. I went today. I had the consultation and then a treatment. It will take probably 4 treatments at $85 each to get really good results. The tech said the pigment in my hair and my skin type made me an ideal person for laser hair removal – I am quite fair and the pigment is quite dark.

She started with the upper lip and I could smell the hair singing – which she said was a good sign. The pain was bearable but I would not be able to take much more so we decided I would get some Emla for the next treatment so she could increase the power of the laser. The area on my chin and underneath was fine. There were only a couple of sharp zaps and the rest it just seemed hot. My other big concern was how red my skin would be after the fact. I suffer enough with autoimmune induced facial rashes that I was not really into looking bad for several days. Right now, a couple of hours after treatment, there is no visible redness and it does not hurt at all.

I am a happy camper! I go back in a month for treatment number 2. In the meantime I intend to maintain my hair-free face with shaving.