Happy No-Faint-iversary To Me!

Today is a special day, Chronic Readers.

I have officially passed the threshold- I have been conscious for an entire year!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For 12 years, I have fainted, almost fainted, lost feeling in half my body/all of my body (hemiplegic migraines), and, on one memorable occasion, turned blue from lack of oxygen. However, from June 29, 2014 to June 29, 2015, I have not had one single, teeny weeny, itty bitty hint of any of that.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I haven’t really told anyone that this day was coming, mostly because I have semi-legitimate Chronic anxiety that the moment I said it out loud, my autonomic nervous system would hear and then shut down, wrecking my streak before it was a complete year.

I didn’t want to jinx it.

Oh, but now it is here, I am on Day 1 of Year 2 of complete consciousness, and nothing can make me cranky today, not one thing. I am annoyingly chipper today!

I am just so happyyyyyyyy!

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Clearly.

To celebrate this wonderful, monumental date in my Chronic life, I spent this past weekend doing something else I haven’t done in a really long time- we went to New York. My incredibly beautiful and talented cousin had a party to celebrate her high school graduation. A multitude of other incredibly beautiful and talented cousins also attended- there were so many of us it might as well have been a convention! 🙂

This was such a huge deal- I have not been able to visit in 9 very long, very lonely years because of one Chronic reason or another. Pretty much everyone I’m related to lives in New York, and to have spent almost a decade not seeing them (with the exception being 2 funerals they traveled to here, not happy circumstances) was awful. You just don’t realize how much you’ve missed people and how soul-crushing it was to have to see the pictures of an event (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.) and not be there yourself, until that cycle is broken.

Side Note: As the cycle is in the process of being broken, you may perhaps be overcome with emotion and have to have a tiny meltdown pity party in the hotel bathroom for 5 (ok, 15) minutes because you missed so much, but then you put your big girl panties on, show up at the shiny, happy party you’ve actually made it to, and allow yourself to be enveloped in the nice warm hug that is your family.

You remember how much you love people and how much people love you.

Then you get to go home with warm fuzzies and a deep desire to move to an Island that happens to be Long.

In addition to celebrating consciousness by traveling, I also celebrated by getting up super early so that I could do my run/walk podcast outside before the sun woke up. I’ve actually done this a few times in the past 2 weeks now, but it is also something I haven’t done in a considerable amount of time- both waking up before 8 am and exerting myself in the great outdoors. Let alone doing those two things at the same time. (Wait, actually, I don’t think I’ve ever done those two things at the same time…)

Plus, you know, I ate celebratory Chick-fil-A fries with my sister this afternoon because one must always remember to respect one’s condition (which happens to respond exceptionally well to sodium-filled snack time). I mean really, I didn’t get to 1 year of consciousness by magic. #RespectYourCondition #EatFries

So yes, lots of happiness and celebrating and saying YAY in all caps.

Also, lots of exclamation points.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel like maybe some of you who are POTSies might be wondering what magic pill I took to get here, and I’m sorry to say there wasn’t one. There was not one solitary thing that I did that allowed me to get to this milestone. It was a combination of things. For the past year, I’ve narrowed my “treatment plan” (in quotes because there is no actual medical treatment plan for POTS- everything is about as scientific as saying, “Let’s see if ____ does anything!”) to focus on things I can control myself. Diet, exercise, learning biofeedback techniques so that I can go with the flow of body symptoms and not be scared/overwhelmed by them, and making my own meditation tapes have been HUGE helps to me.

I’ve also taken a few chances in trusting myself, specifically believing that I can trust myself- that I do not need to be a totally dependent person for the rest of my life, whether that means dependent on my mom, sister, medication, or doctor’s opinion. For me, this means that I decided to figure out how to run safely (Couch to 5k podcast!) and that when my medication didn’t feel right, I worked with my doctor to get off of some (super hard) and now take so much less of others (kinda hard), and feel so much better because of it.

This 1 year mark did not fall in my lap. I worked so hard for it. As much effort as I put into it, I had a lot of help too.

I’d like to publicly thank my mom, cause she’s awesome. Thanks for being the first thing I saw when I came to 95% of the times I fainted. Thanks for pushing my wheelchair (Do I get to say, “you’re welcome,” to your biceps? No? Ok, never mind…). Thanks for scooping me off the floor, the couch, and the middle of the street that one time. Thanks for helping me sew the world’s heaviest weighted blanket so I could snuff out the tremors. Thanks for scraping your fingernail along the inside of my arm so that we could judge how long it took to get feeling back. Thanks for knowing what I was saying when I literally couldn’t say anything. Thanks for Niki-proofing the house. Thanks for trusting the dog’s emergency alert capabilities. Thanks for not crying as much as you probably should have/could have/would have. Thanks for understanding that there aren’t enough words in the English language, time in the world, or space in a blog post to say THANK YOU enough.

I’d like to publically thank my sister, cause she is also pretty awesome. Thanks for the piggy back rides, for never actually letting go when pushing my wheelchair down a hill (Again, it would only be fun for a second and then it would NOT be fun anymore!), and for making sure that my dress never flew up over my head. Thanks for laughing only when appropriate 95% of the time. I forgive you the other 5%.

I’d like to publically thank my dog, even though she can’t read this. I’ll tell her what it says. Thanks for telling mom and/or Sissy that, “Niki fell in the well!” You are way more effective than Lassie ever was. You also have the best, “Are you ok?” face in the world:

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The view from the floor.

I’d like to thank all of my friends and family who have never given up on me, no matter what I’ve missed out on, however many last minute cancellations I’ve had to make, whatever. Thank you for sticking around and accepting me the way I am. You make my heart burst in a good, non-medical way.

Finally, I’d like to thank all of my Chronic friends who’ve taught me so much, but most importantly that you can be a Chronic and a Human at the same time. I really wasn’t sure about that for a while, but I think I’m finally starting to get it.

To all of the Chronics reading this who are dealing more with setbacks than steps forward, I want to say I see you. I feel for you. I understand you. I have been where you are. If I have learned anything in this past year, it has been that I am so much stronger than I ever believed myself to be. I have a feeling you are too. I’ve been doing this whole Chronic thing for officially half my life now. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and it is hard. But there are good times, there are better times, and they will find you if they haven’t already. Hold on. The only “better” that matters is if you can say you are better today than you were yesterday. It is possible, I promise.

Thanks for listening, Chronic readers.

One last note:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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In which I get over myself pretty quickly.

Going to the beach is fun.

I like the beach.

Except for sand, because sand gets everywhere and itches.

Oh, and that pesky little detail in which I am allergic to the sun.

In case you’re just joining me, I have Polymorphous Light Eruption (PMLE), etiology unknown, which is a really fancy way of saying that if my skin is exposed to sunlight for any particular length of time, I end up with a bright red, swollen, sometimes hivey, and/or blistering rash and no one can tell me why.

So, you know, super fun.

After being formally diagnosed last summer and treated with steroids for my latest outbreak, I had to get down to business in trying to figure out how to live with such an odd quirk.

Ok, so calling it a quirk is totally minimizing the situation, because the more reactions I have, the more severe they get, and there was that one time where, in addition to my face turning bright red, my throat started swelling up when I was exposed to some seriously bright lights at the Clinique counter. See previous blog post entitled “That time I polymorphous-light-erupted at the Clinique counter.”

But, really, who wants to go around like a curbside prophet with an “The END is Nigh” sign when describing their symptoms? Not me. That would be depressing. Besides, PMLE isn’t going to end me any time soon as long as I continue to respect its strange and terrible power, so sure, let’s call it a quirk.

I’ve got a lot of those; it’s in good company.

ANYWAY.

Back to the story.

There’s a lot to do at the beach, and coincidentally, it all tends to happen outside. What exactly is a Chronic girl to do?

Suit up, of course.

My avoiding-the-sun-super-suit is as follows: Hat (baseball style or floppy wide brim); thin, long sleeve shirt; cooling towel wrapped around neck (dual purpose of being cold and covering vulnerable back-of-the-neck area; I had a pre-cancerous mole removed earlier this year from that area, so I feel the need to say CHECK YOUR MOLES and PROTECT YOUR SKIN); long compression running tights; socks pulled up over ends of running tights so ankles not exposed; sneakers; sunglasses.

The only skin you can see is my hands, nose, and mouth. I tend to tuck my ears under the baseball cap to keep them safe.

Want to experience pain and suffering? Polymorphous light erupt on your ears.

*Shudders at the memory*

So yeah. If I am at the beach and I am going out, this is what I look like. The backpack is a Camelback knockoff that holds 2 liters of water.

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It’s a good look, don’t you think?

I have a policy of not posting pictures of other people on my blog, but I wish you could see how adorable my older sister looks standing next to me. I cropped her and her adorable teeny bikini-wearing bod out. Her Malibu-Barbie tan is evidence of her lack of PMLE, lucky duck. The full non-cropped version of this photo is actually pretty funny looking-her in her suit, me in mine.

I concede. The great lengths that I go to in order to hide from the sun do not make for super attractive beach attire. I get that.

Thanks for staring, fellow beach goers, just in case I didn’t.

Whatever.

Really.

I mean it.

I think that a huge marker of becoming a grown-up is when you have reason to believe that other people are judging you/making fun of you/looking at you funny and you just don’t care.

I have said before that Vanity is my personal deadly sin, and I mean it. I like to look good and I tend to feel self-conscious easily.

However, I like to take care of myself more.

So, I had to get over myself right quick this beach vacation, because I was not about to spend one extra moment inside feeling bummed about my Victorian-era level of cover-up while everyone else went out and had fun.

We rented bikes. I never really learned how to ride a regular bike, but the bike rental place had what they called “low-rider” bikes, which were essentially tricycles for grown-ups. Meaning of course that they are now my favorite thing ever.

(!!!!!)

Let me tell you, Chronic Readers, I was a sight to behold, covered head to toe, blazing down the boardwalk on my trike bike.

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Go on, picture it. Giggle, because it was in fact the most HILARIOUS thing ever, and I laughed more than anyone else because I was having So.Much.Fun and taking care of myself at the same time.

Sometimes being Chronic cramps your style. You can choose to let that ruin your day or your beach week or whatever, or you can choose to let it go and have fun anyway.

I think from now on, I’ll always choose the latter.

 

Nic Note: Yes, in the above picture on the bike, I am wearing capri-style pants, and yes, I did soon regret them as I polymorphous light erupted in a perfect rectangle on each shin by the time our ride that day was finished. However, it wasn’t a particularly traumatic eruption and steroid cream is keeping it in check, so I’m all good! Some lessons you have to learn the hard way- long pants are an absolute must. So what if they get wet when you walk along the ocean later? Wet pants < PMLE shins. Now I know.

Resting Sick Face

Sorry to have been MIA, Chronic readers! I went out of town and managed to forget every power cord to every electronic device I brought with me- from my electric toothbrush to my computer. It was really quite the feat of brain fog. I’m back now though, and all charged up!

It has come to my attention that I have Resting Sick Face.

You may have heard of the internet meme “Resting B**** Face.” If not, read this: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/news/a41460/struggles-women-with-resting-bitch-face-understand/

Resting Sick Face is meme-able, I promise. It’s a combination of concerned, nauseous, and slightly overheated. I looked diligently through my photos to try to find evidence of this, however, I’m really good at only keeping photos in which someone has informed me that my picture is being taken, and so instead I am making Active Pretty Face, which is much more socially acceptable.

I totally have it though, and it is an Affliction.

In much the same way that ladies with Resting B Face are perpetually told to smile and are often felt to be stand-offish, Resting Sick Face comes with its own unique challenges.

“Are you ok?”

“What’s going on, Nic?”

“Drink your water, like, now.”

“Did you take all of your meds?”

To which I look up, relatively surprised, and respond, “Yes, nothing, ok, yes. Um, why?

“Because you look like something’s wrong with you!”

Oh.

Sorry?

13 years of Chronic Life will do that to a face?

I guess this is just my face now, as unfortunately, Olay does not make a cream for this.

I guess the root of Resting Sick Face is that a lot of the time, there is quite a bit of internal shuffling going on in my insides. It is my understanding that non-Chronic people are not nearly aware of their automatic bodily functions as a person with a broken autonomic system is.

For instance, can you feel your blood pressure? If someone asked you what you thought your heart rate is right now, would your guess be accurate? I am accurate within 1-2 points on both fronts, because my internal systems are LOUD and they have let me know for the past 13 years exactly what they are up to, all day, every day.

So, yeah, I guess that would show up on my face.

As you can imagine, the more this gets pointed out to me (Thanks, Mom), the more I dislike that this is my face’s natural position. I do not want to look worried or pained all the time. I have one giant crater of a wrinkle right next to my eyebrow that I can do nothing about because I am going to guess that I would be the 0.01% who is allergic to Botox.

Is there Resting Happy Face? Who are these people and what are they thinking about? Though, full disclosure, I’m a Northeastern city girl. If you have Resting Happy Face, chances are I will cross the street to avoid you, weirdo.

Maybe there is nothing I can do about Resting Sick Face. Perhaps someday, my insides will quiet down just enough that I can settle into a life of Resting Everything’s-Fine Face. Or maybe I should make a new life goal in which I cultivate Resting Serenity Face. Like, you know, how people look when they leave yoga class or a meeting with the Dali Lama or something.

What can you do if you find yourself in the presence of someone with Resting Sick Face?

Well, it’d be nice if you politely inquired if everything is all right, especially if you don’t know the person, because it might be Acute Sick Face, and it’d be nice if you could help them out in the event of a heart attack or something.

But if you know the person and ask 25 times a day if they are ok, they will simply shift into Active Annoyed Face.

In that case, go about your business.

Or, you know, feel free to tell a joke, if Resting Sick Face bothers you, because no one has Resting ~Anything~ Face when they are laughing.

For instance, What are you if you are in the bathroom and you are not American?

European. (You’re-a-peein’…get it?)

Problem solved.

Triple Crown Dreams

I want to be a racehorse.

I feel like there is nothing more beautiful, nothing more sublime, than to be a creature that is built for a purpose, that gets to fulfill that purpose, and that gets to do it with such grace and power.

Did you watch the Belmont Stakes on Saturday night? Did you watch American Pharoah (the horse with the misspelled name) win the Triple Crown, the first to do so since 1978? Did you witness the most beautiful sub 3-minutes in recent racing history?

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I mean, just look at how far behind the other racers are- INCREDIBLE!

I did and it was magic.

I am not a racing buff. I do not know anything more than that the Triple Crown is made up of the Kentucky Derby in-where else?- Louisville, Kentucky, the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York. I do not know the rules, or any of the intense minutiae of detail that goes into an actual horse race.

But, man will I watch for the horses.

They are so beautiful, so majestic, these creatures. All that rippling muscle, that pure unadulterated desire to run, the burst of kinetic energy that they exude as they break free of the gate.

The thing I love about horses, about racehorses, is their ability to run, but it’s more than just that. That freedom of motion, of expressing themselves and what they were created to do makes me want to be just like them. I see a racehorse, or even the stately mounted Capital Police force in Washington, DC, and I want to emulate that power, that upright posture, that strength, that grace, that beauty.

Seeing American Pharoah win the Belmont wasn’t an event for me, in that I flipped on the TV just for that 5 minute span of time from lining up at the starting gate to finish line. I didn’t have a party, didn’t bet (should have?), and didn’t have company besides Suki who wasn’t all that interested. I had a feeling this horse would win. Every other year or so, a contender may have come along, but this one horse in particular seems built of magic. He ran ¼ mile in 24 seconds. He finished with an incredible (for racing) distance between him and the second place challenger. For nearly an exact 2 minutes and 26 seconds, I sat transfixed, watching this beautiful horse do exactly what it was supposed to do- what it was made to do.

Of course humans are more complicated. It’s harder for us to know exactly our purpose is or how to find that special something that puts us right in the zone where you just know you are where you’re supposed to be. There are some things though that trigger me to wonder—am I doing things with my life that make me feel alive the way a racehorse looks/feels alive when it’s doing it’s thing? Am I spending enough time following through on habits or hobbies that make my mind light up, my heart race in a good (nonmedical!) way? When I see horses, I wonder.

 

Does nature, in any of its forms, inspire you to hold on and dig deeper? Is there a creature or act of nature that makes you stop and wonder about your bigger purpose in life? I’d love to hear about it ❤

Young Adult Fiction Grows Up

High up on my Top 10 unrealistic fears list is that whole “You’re stuck on a desert island and you can only bring one _____” idea. Usually it’s posed as a question in social situations, a way to get to know people you’ve recently met. Which is fine and dandy, just please don’t tell me I can only bring one book on this desert island excursion.

I love a good series. I’m the type of person who gets so entangled with a book’s characters that I want to know what their favorite colors are, where they like to hang out, what they do on weekends. I don’t want just a glimpse into the life of a character for 300 pages. I want to know what happens after, what happens later, what happens next.

When I was actually in the age group that Young Adult Fiction is intended for, 13-18 roughly, my 3 favorite authors were (are!) Meg Cabot, Ann Brashares, and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and their respective series of The Princess Diaries, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and The Alice Series. Published on a more-or-less yearly schedule, I would head to my local Barnes and Noble on the anticipated release date and carefully select the freshest copy of the latest novel from my YA author friends. I would go home, lock myself in my bedroom, and emerge 3-4 hours later, slightly hungover from my binge-reading session. I have a tendency to devour good books, and these were good books.

Sure, Meg Cabot and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor had other books and series in print at the time, and I would happily pick those up at the library to tide me over between additions. However, there was something special about these particularly 3 series- mostly that their heroines were roughly my same age, and due to the yearly publishing pace, we got to grow up together.

All good things must come to an end though, and there is nothing like the sadness of getting to the last page of the last book in a series. It’s a trend in the YA community to publish trilogies, something that has only increased in popularity. Usually though, the trilogy takes place over a shorter time period- one continuous year or so, and the feeling of finishing a trilogy is more akin to finishing one really, really long book. Finishing a series that has aged with you is like saying goodbye to your friends at the end of high school- your lives are going to change now, and you aren’t sure if you’ll be as close any more. Welcome to the real world and the harsh reality of what will now be sold to you as “Chick Lit”, most of which is junk. #SadButTrue.

Except… What if your favorite authors loved their readers just as much as their readers loved their characters? What if your favorite authors decided to tell you what happens after, what happens later, what happens next?

These 3 particular authors did just that for their series. It’s like a present I didn’t even know I wanted, but can’t imagine not having now that it’s here.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: Ann Brashares

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a series of 4 books that center on the friendship of 4 friends, Lena, Tibby, Carmen, and Bridget. They find a pair of magical pants at a thrift store that fit all of them despite their body type differences (the pants are magic, remember?) and they send them to each other along with letters as they spend their first summers away from each other. The series begins the summer before sophomore year of high school and book 4 ends the series with the summer before sophomore year of college. The fourth book was published in 2007, and while the series felt complete, is it ever complete when you’ve come to know characters well?

In 2011, Brashares published a 5th book- Sisterhood Everlasting that picks up 10 years later. Not to give any spoilers, but the basic premise of the book is incredibly sad, but also incredibly realistic. Throughout the first 4 books, Brashares dealt with how friendship grows and changes, and in this “bonus” book, she doesn’t shy away from that, instead choosing to lead her readers through the unthinkable-what if friendship doesn’t last forever? Can it be found again? It’s everything that Brashares’ original fans, now also adults, could hope for.

A new movie is in the works based on Sisterhood Everlasting and will star the original cast (friends in real life!). Hopefully because they aren’t trying to cram 4 books into 2 movies this time, it will be better than originals, released in 2005 and 2008.

The Alice Series: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

The Agony of Alice was actually published in 1985, 4 years before I was born. Despite this, by the time it was given to me by my librarian friend when I was in 5th grade, it was still very relevant and exceedingly relatable. I inhaled the 10 or so following books already in print pretty quickly and set about waiting patiently each year for a new one…for the next 15 years. Yep. There are a whopping 25 books in the Alice series, plus 3 prequels written in the early 2000s. The story is really simple- Alice is a young girl living with her dad and older brother following the death of her mother from cancer. They move to a new house and a new school district right in time for Alice to start dreaded middle school. There’s no magic, no epic battles (unless you count middle school/high school, which I do!), and nothing particularly out of the ordinary, yet the books are so readable because you’re either going through something similar or have been there before, whether it’s being awkward at a party, going on your first date, etc. Strangely, these books are on most Top 20 banned book lists, right up there with Queen Judy Blume for their frank depictions of growing-up-as-a-teenage-girl. Some people call this “thematic elements”, but most young girls call it “life,” so we need a character like Alice to make it all ok. Naylor hinted for the last 2 or 3 book tours that the end was near- she is 82 now and deserves a break seeing as Alice is only 1 of her dozens of characters and series. I was worried to read the last book, with it’s promise of telling me the story of the rest of Alice’s life from age 18 to 60, but I was not disappointed. Did I wish each year could have been a stand-alone book? Of course, but that’s only proof of the incredible character Naylor made and her ability to connect to her readers.

Disney Channel made a TV Alice movie once. I only watched 5 minutes of it before realizing it was not really a good depiction of the story I loved. Oh well! The books are always better aren’t they?

The Princess Diaries: Meg Cabot

The idea to write this post actually came from the fact that I made a pilgrimage to Barnes and Noble yesterday (my first in a long time-did you know they barely sell books any more?) to pick up Royal Wedding, Cabot’s Princess Diaries now-the-heroine’s-a-grown-up book. I originally picked up the first 2 PD books way back in 2001 prior to the release of the feature film starring Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway. I like to read the book before seeing the movie, it’s just my style. Full disclosure: I love the movie, but I love the books more, and the 2 are absolutely nothing alike. They only seem to share a bare-bones basic outline, with Movie #2 coming out of nowhere (none of that was in a book, ever). There are 10 PD books, again each released steadily from 2001 to 2009. Meg Cabot also had the bright idea to write a number of companion books, which are short and adorable and are the reason I am so good at writing thank you notes (See Princess Lessons 2003). She even wrote a romance novel as Mia- in the PD books, Mia wants to be a writer and has a book published…and so the “actual” book was published concurrently with that PD book. Amazing marketing skills, that Meg Cabot. The 10th book, again, wraps things up nicely and seems final with Mia graduating high school and moving on to college to pursue that writing career. But there can always be more… I haven’t finished the new one yet, but having been convinced over the better part of a decade that Cabot can do no wrong, I trust that this new story will be a welcome addition to my collection.

 

Is there a book or series that you have always loved and wanted to know what happens next? Did your author write a “bonus” book that gave you some answers? Are you familiar with the above books? Want to have a total fan-girl chat about it with me? Leave a comment here or on Facebook!

So bad it’s good TV

So last week I mentioned that I was a little under the weather, that I was “acute sick”, and so my thought process for blog writing was a little scattered. I fully intended on skipping one day of running to sleep in and then being back in fighting form over the weekend.

Except now it’s Tuesday, and I have one heck of a case of bronchitis.

My general physician spontaneously retired last Wednesday, and as I haven’t had a chance to replace him yet, I ended up at my friendly neighborhood Urgent Care center where I wheezed and mimed my way into relaying to a very nice Russian lady doctor that I cannot breathe, I cannot swallow, and I can barely even hear-I am underwater in air. A thorough investigation of my facial orifices resulted in her cluck, clucking at me and exclaiming, “So veddy much inflammation you have!”

Yes, so veddy, veddy much.

She rattled off the remedy: antibiotics, prescription strength cough medicine, steroids.

“I’ll take the antibiotic,” I said.

She looked at me like I had 4 heads.

“No, you need to take all of them.”

I really didn’t think it was that bad. I tried to tell her as much and instead ended up coughing so forcefully I nearly hyperventilated.

“I mean, you go home, take Tylenol if you want to cause your head hurts, you have a symptom,” she says to me. “Or you go home, take all of dis (gesturing to her prescription pad) and you actually get better, yes? I think you do dis.”

Yes, yes, I do dis, I just didn’t understand clearly before, I thought they were options– I mean, my ear canals are swollen. Sue me. I mean, it’s never just a cough and sniffle for me you know? A girl gets overwhelmed.

Oh, yeah. And no running. Because you kind of need to breathe for that.

How many sources of oxygen will you steal from me before you are through, Bronchitis, you monster????!!!

I have to press pause on my medical transcribing class too because I can’t hear very well from the inflammation/clogging, but somehow I am not as upset about that break.

What on earth am I supposed to do with myself for the rest of the week?

Enter: The Best of The Worst TV, Sick Day Edition.

The Kardashians Let’s get the obvious out the way first, shall we? There happens to be a lot to catch up on. I’m not going to lie and pretend that my marathon viewing session yesterday was my first Kardashian rodeo. I mean, I have a chronic illness that regularly incapacitates the thinking portion of my brain. And ok, I kind of love it sometimes. I gawk at their makeup application like I feel like I would gawk at a space alien- pure fascination. And this whole Caitlyn Jenner bit? Amazing. It only took a decade for this reality show to actual start showing some reality.

Teen Mom Having watched Sixteen and Pregnant when it first debuted nearly 7 years ago and having pow-wowed with my friends about it endlessly, I feel a strange interest in paying attention to this season of this show as it follows the “OG,” original girls- Maci, Caitlyn, Amber, and Farrah. Full disclosure: I fast forward through the Farrah parts and most of Amber. But Caitlyn (and Tyler) and Maci are incredibly watchable. It’s weird and cool at the same time to see them as “grown-ups.”

Married at 1st Sight Have you heard of this? Ohmygosh watch it. A group of “experts” (how many “quotes” can one blog post have?) chose 6 people for a social experiment, which is really just an arranged marriage for the purposes of reality TV. They agree to be matched and to marry their match…at first sight. Will they make it to the end of the 6 week experiment period having sustained a wedding, honeymoon, moving in together, celebrating holidays, and getting back to normal day-to-day life in only 42 days with a total stranger? Will they decide to stay married or get divorced? Engrossing, let me tell you.

Unreal This show just started on Lifetime last night and let me tell you, it is SO BAD which means of course that it is SO GOOD. Don’t you hate it when that happens? Like, I’ll tell my blog that I watched this show, but in real life I’ll be all, “Well, I had bronchitis, and I didn’t want to miss any important plot points in that new Ken Burns documentary, so I had to watch this instead…” Essentially, it is a fictional show about a made-up Bachelor-esque reality show. But instead of following the Bachelor or one of the contestants, it follows the feminist producer (just go with it…) who had a meltdown during last year’s finale and is now on some sort of penance-apology tour to get her job back even though she hates it. She happens to be really good at manipulating people, and her boss needs her, so in a part blackmail, part I love it but I hate it move, she starts work on the new season. Having watched approximately 1 episode of the actual Bachelor/Bachelorette show, I can say this seems like pretty much what would actually be happening behind the scenes-because really, how else would you explain it?

Soap Operas I have absolutely no idea what is going on, but it is SERIOUS and people are PASSIONATE about what is HAPPENING right NOW because there is a HURRICANE and the EVIL TWIN of your ex-lover just showed up to CRASH your wedding to your SOULMATE and now everything is RUINED.

Telenovellas The same as above, but in Spanish, and with probably better acting.

Of course, the above are the best of the worst. I didn’t put the Housewives franchise on the list because jeez, I’ve already got a headache ok?

What do you do when you aren’t feeling well and can’t do anything else? I’d love to hear from you!