Friday, February 17, 2012

Long Week And A Couple Of Mini Reviews

Sorry for sort of disappearing this week everyone. It's been a long, mentally draining week. I've been really happy with my finances. I got my $1000 emergency fund saved up and then poof, there it went. On Saturday of last week, I went to start my car and it wouldn't start...needed a new battery. Then Monday, I got a call about my MRI scheduled for Tuesday saying that it would cost me $775, so that pretty much blew the entire emergency fund :/ So now it's back to square one building up the emergency fund which I'm slowly but surely doing.

The good news is, I got my MRI results back and there are no masses or anything like that. I do appear to have some severe sinus issues though which I didn't even realize and some of my sinuses are completely blocked, so the doc is recommending an ENT. As for my neurologist though, I think I'm in the market for a new one. This week has been one of the worst in a long time for my migraines. I went to call in my medication and the doc said no....that he'll fill it, but not for another 10 days. I'm not going to go into my meds here on the blog, but I'm on the lowest dosage of my pain meds possible and he gives me a very limited amount of them as it is. In a bad week, I can easily go through my prescription in 7-10 days. And of course, the insurance company won't approve more than nine pills a month of the more effective triptans. I know I'm speaking alien talk to most people at this point :p But needless to say, I need to find a doctor that actually understands the pain of migraines. So I've pretty much had a week of constant migraines with no medication to give me any relief. I've considered going to the ER or an urgent care place, but with my emergency fund gone at this point, that's not really an option with what my copay is with my insurance. I have to say our healthcare system just blows.

BUT! I did want to get some reviews out of the way because I have read a couple of really excellent books over the last couple of weeks!! The first was Twenty Six by Jonathan Kemp, sent to me by the publisher since I loved his first novel, London Triptych which was short listed for the first Green Carnation Prize. The second was Ninth Ward by Jewel Parker Rhodes, which I read because I really like the author and because Vasilly was hosting a read along of it!

Twenty Six by mister Jonathan Kemp is, as I said, a wonderful book. I'm repeating myself here, but I discovered him after learning that his debut novel, London Triptych, was on the short list for the first annual Green Carnation Prize, a new book award for LGBT novels. Twenty Six has an LGBT theme as well, but is quite a different book. It's a set of short stories, or rather short vignettes; one for each letter of the alphabet. This is a book of erotic stories, so let me forewarn you that if you're not one for graphic depictions of sex, specifically gay sex in this case, this may not be the book for you. This book is so much more than just erotic stories though. In a way, it's a dictionary of sex, an exploration of love between two men, two people, a case study of sexual encounters. It presented so beautifully too, with haunting passages that surpass what we so often assume will come with the term "erotica." There's deep meaning to this novel too. Like I said, it's really an exploration of the topic. Some stories are beautiful, some disgusting, some full of passion, some kinky, and some...well just sexy. Here's a little snippet of the types of gems he gives us throughout this short piece: have these occasional intense orgasms that tear themselves out of you like a birth, leaving you fragile and bereft. It's like a near-death experience, you explain, and one day, you are convinced, it will kill you. This little death - this savagery that tears us momentarily from our bodies - will one day gather up it's strength and fell us. Just as no man can know another's death, so we each remain isolated in our pleasure, this delicate shell of nerve-endings acting like a barrier, a boundary, against which the world dissolves."

And then I read a children's book :p The children's book is Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes. I have to admit that I was really hesitant to read this little novel. I LOVE Jewell Parker Rhodes ever since reading Voodoo Season, but I really really really hate Katrina books. And I knew that this was one of those. Katrina is still a touch subject down here in New Orleans. We're sick of hearing about it to be honest. We still hear it every day and we don't like to read about it. So I was weary of reading this book. Well I should've known that I was in safe hands with the beautiful Ms. Rhodes. Wow what a fantastic, magical, haunting and healing little book.

Ninth Ward is the story of young Lanesha, who was born with a caul over her face and was birthed by Mama Yaya, a nursemaid to Lanesha's mother who died during child birth. Mama Yaya took in Lanesha to live with her and raise her as her own. Mama Yaya is a special kind of woman though. She sees things, knows things. She has a voodoo altar in her home and is really all things of the essence of New Orleans. Lanesha is special herself. At her young age (I believe she's twelve in this novel), she's able to see ghosts. Always has been. And she frequently sees the ghost of her mother. Mama Yaya has helped her hone her gifts. But neither can be entirely prepared for the storm that's brewing and coming their way.

Ninth Ward tells the tale of two generations of beautiful African American women experiencing Hurricane Katrina in the worst hit area of all, the Ninth Ward. For those who don't know New Orleans well, the Ninth Ward is an interesting area. It's an area most known for it's projects, poverty and violence, but in my opinion, it has some of the most amazing people in it as well...and I wish more people knew that side of it. These are people that know their neighbors...people who still jump rope on the streets and have barbecues together and check in on one another. That wasn't shown on the national media coverage and it just broke my heart to see what happened to that part of town.

We all know what happened during Hurricane Katrina, so you can imagine that this IS a rough book. But Rhodes shines some light too and gives us a lot of hope and some beautiful characters to keep with us.


DesLily said...

ohhh baby boy.. I am soo sorry about the migraines and pain pills. I almost hate to have said that because you have to be sick of people saying they are sorry while you sit there in pain. I couldn't agree with you more about our healthcare system..and it begins with non caring doctors. Some hand out meds like candy (because they don't really care to investigate the need) and others don't hand out enough because they don't try to imagine how bad the pain is. they used to be come doctors because they cared and wanted to know and help every one of their patients....not any more. Far and few between..don't give up. keep searching for that one that cares. (and I don't mean one who hands out meds just to shut you up..but one who never stop digging for what will really help)

sorry for going off..
glad you are reading some good books here!!!

Amanda said...

I hope that the ENT can help figure out why you're getting the migraines in the first place! And that you find a good new neurologist. If you can find the root and deal with that first, then you won't have to worry about meds, and without meds, that'll probably help take care of other issues. :)

ps - I'm glad to hear someone else say you're tired of hearing about Katrina. I'm not in NOLA and I *still* feel like it gets shoved down my throat from time to time.

Kristina said...

Oh I definitely know the pain of a migraine. I get those pretty often too. I've been very lucky in the fact that regular old ibuprofen will fix it if I can catch it in time! I hope you get a new doc who understands the pain!! I'm loving following your financial progress and it encourages me to start my own, I'm getting ready to get the book!
By the way, I tagged you =)

Kailana said...

Well, your health care system is just crazy. How do you people live like that? I don't think I could. I think the country needs to rise up and demand a fairer system instead of the money-making scam you currently have. Just my thoughts...

Chris said...

Mama, Hey dear :) I couldn't agree with you know that. I get so sick of non caring doctors myself. I just don't get it. Why get into this profession if you don't care? Better yet, why specialize in treating something in particular if you don't really care about treating it? I see it at my job..people who are counselors yet make fun of people with mental health issues. If you're that burnt out, then just leave the profession and find something that makes you happy!!

Amanda, That's what I'm hoping too! That I'll get some answers from the ENT and hopefully get some help with the migraines through it...that would just be wonderful!

Kristina, That's so awesome that your migraines can be handled with ibuprofen!! I so wish I could say the same. And thanks for tagging me too :D I'm excited!! Gonna do that in a sec :D

Kelly, I SO agree with you! it is crazy!!! I think Obama has tried to do more than any other president as far as health care reform but people have just shot him down left and right. Let me tell you, I've considered moving to Canada just for your health care :p

Adrian Weston said...

Thanks for the lovely review of Jonathan Kemp! And the medical stuff - just makes me realise how lucky we are in Britain to have a genuinely free medical system .I can't even begin to imagine what it's like having to pay for health care in that way. It's really shocking in a so-called civilised world