Sunday, July 05, 2020

Absent Seizure...

A couple of weeks ago I had an absent seizure. My neurologist has been telling me I have these periodically, although he couldn’t tell me how often, and I couldn’t tell him either because I’m not aware of them - until the other week.

I was watching The Blacklist (17th time, now). I know the show really well now, and so on this occasion I was watching a scene where I know the dialogue almost word for word - how on earth Spader reckons he can read a script once and retain it right away is beyond me - I’ve watch the series so often and am only just now being able to recite some of it! Anyway, I digress.

So, I was watching this scene and I suddenly became aware it had skipped a whole chunk of story, a least a couple of minutes. I thought maybe it was a streaming thing, so I set it back to when it jumped and it played just fine.

I hadn’t continued crocheting either, I was mid-row of a patterned crochet piece and hadn’t progressed further along the row. This is another way I know it didn’t just lose concentration - as I’m wont to do. When my mind wanders my crocheting continues on auto-pilot.

Basically, mid-stitch my brain had entered an electrical blizzard and my body had frozen in place while time ticked on. Weirdest experience. 

Anyway, I thought it was worth noting the first time I was aware I’d experienced an absent seizure...

Monday, May 18, 2020

Only players...

The subject of friendship came up for me recently.

I can't say I have any close friends now and that's okay. It's okay because I came to realise that all my adult friendships had been built on a shared contempt of a third party - either an individual or group. I had been part of a lot of back biting, fault finding, and general bitchiness. Yes, there was support and there were people to share joys and sorrows with, but truth be told most of the conversations I participated in with my friends were about the shortcomings of other people.

I'm quite ashamed of that.

I was never part of that sort of thing at school. Usually, I hadn't been at any school long enough to really know who the cool kids, and the rejects, and the rebels were. I didn't get bullied and I wasn't a part of any bullying culture. So, I guess as an adult I enjoyed being part of something, part of a group with drawn lines of battle.

The thing with battles is that there are always turncoats, double agents, dictators, and power corrupts. It corrupted me. I would find my place by the side of the top dog - or bitch - and from that seat, I'd look down on the unclean and judge them. I was never actually the top dog myself, I was always part of the support crew. I was an enabler.

It poisoned me and wasn't good for my soul. When, inevitably, I found myself on the wrong side of the battle, I felt hurt, and I got angry (I'm definitely a fight, not flight sort of person). What I didn't acknowledge was that I'd happily pushed other people onto the wrong side of the field, myself, because I felt it was my right to put people in their place. I was proud of not pulling punches, I told me it meant they always knew where they stood with me and they did, but it wasn't something I should've been proud of.

As Red said...

I don't really think I know how to make friends, or even really how to be a friend. Maybe I'm antisocial? 

Whatever the case, I'm quite content, for now, to let that world be. At least until I figure out what friendship really is and how it really works.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

That Keto life...

Determined not to join the ranks of people who will be putting on a little extra weight this COVID-19 season (let's face it, it can be very had to resist the pantry when you're stuck inside all day, every day), I've jumped back on the Keto wagon.

I know this works for me, but for some time now - say, three years - I haven't been able to stick with it. Honestly, the stress of having to go to work everyday had a lot to do with it. Getting out of the house is stressful for me. I would comfort eat at my desk, and sitting all day, it was bound to cause weight gain.

I've always been an intermittant faster - well before I even heard the term. I have skipped breakfast since I can remember - and been told off for this natural inclination more times than I can count.

So, with a combination of a very low sugar diet and intermittant fasting (20:4 most days), I'm starting to fit better into various clothing I've missed wearing.

Side effects?

For me, no bad side effects - I bullshit you not.

I'm sleeping better and most days I don't need a nap (I was getting to the point that I was more asleep than awake during the day. I would literally nod off at my keyboard, and my blood sugars were good, my iron was good, I was in pretty good shape). I am just don't have that mid-afternon slump, anymore.

I'm not getting hunger headaches or blood sugar drop headaches - I am still have the occassional eye strain headache, and have had a cluster migraine in the time since I started.

No cravings.

No hunger.

I'm not putting any pressure on myself to do a set number of carb grams, I just eat foods very low in carbs (well, I did get a bottle of Bailey's for Mother's Day, but I'm only sipping my way through a shot glass full each night as a treat).

My head is clearer, which goes hand in hand with not feeling sleepy all the time, I guess.

Maybe I'll come out of these strange times healthier than when I went into them? That would be good.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Reddington has statin toxicity..

Some time ago, I wrote about Reddington having an illness (not news, I know) and that I thought it might be somehow related to Vascular Dementia because of the storyline with Samar. After episode 7.18 though, I'm convinced he actually has statin toxicity.

Here's why... Statin toxicity can lead to, amongst other things, the following;

1. Type II diabetes - remember him injecting himself back in season 5?

2. Muscle pain - which might explain his non-stop drinking.

3. Heamhorragic anurisms - Dembe tells Red he keeps putting himself in more and more danger;

4. Congnitive issues, such as alzheimers - might be why he and Dembe are always playing mind-stimulating games.

Statin toxicity is adversely affected by, among other things...

1. Having untreated hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, liver disease, and kidney disease (might explain the fluctuating weight - sorry Jimmy if that's not the case, good excuse though. You're welcome).

2. Heavy alcohol consumption (oh my, yes - but again, also a good way to dampen muscular pain).

3. Vigorous exercise (okay, not so much of late, but certainly when he was in training back in the Academy (statin intolerance can be genetic - could have been trigger early, though not as common as the damage caused by taking statins for a heart condition or high cholesterol).

4. Having type I or type II diabetes (this is a catch 22 as statin toxicity can also lead to diabetes).

5. Excessive cranberry or grapefruit juice intake (As referenced in episode 7.18)

6. Drug interactions, namely with medicines used to treat HIV, antibiotic medications, antidepressants, medications used to suppress the immune system, and medications for irregular heart rhythms (who knows what medications he took, especially after his cosmetic surgery to remove burn scars as much as possible).

7. Major trauma or surgery (lots of that in his life, all sorts, bullet wounds, dying in Marakesh, dying after a boat he was in capsised, being burned, car accidents again and again, need I go on?).

Tonight's show was portentuous to say the least.

Unfortunately, due to the who COVID-19 situation, the season was cut short by three episodes, so next week will be the last until goodness only knows when. Will we have a 25 episode season 8 to make up for it? We shall see.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

The Blacklist: What if Lizzie isn’t Masha?

I’ve been ruminating on two things I heard or read some time ago.

The first was when Exectutive Producer Bokenkamp posed the question, ‘Who would be most invested in a child’.

The other is the constant message that Lizzie would never be able to forgive Reddington if she knew the truth.

To the first, the obvious answer would be a parent, and Reddington would be that person.

The second question - what would Lizzie never forgive Red for? - isn’t at first obvious. What could be so horrendous? She’s already forgiven him for turning her life upside down, for ruining her marriage (because she was happy to live that lie), for killing her foster father, for impersonating her biological father, for trying to kill her mother, Katarina. 

For so many things.

Reddington asks Liz  ‘What if everything you’ve come to believe about yourself is a lie.’

Knowing Lizzie as we do now, to find out she never was Masha, that she was used to take Masha’s place in order to protect the real Masha for some reason, that she was put in the path of danger from childhood, and that Reddington had some part in that decision - even though he has watched over her all her life...  now THAT would be something Liz would find ultimately unforgivable.

There are probably a thousand holes that would need to be plugged for this to work and I haven’t tried to find them or plug them, but it’s an interesting thought.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Blacklist 3s

I was watching The Blacklist last night (yes, again), and suddenly I realised everyone seemed to live in apartment 3. True story! Red, Katarina, and Ilya all live in apartments number 3. I had to go back through season 7 and a bit of season 6 to confirm this, but I wasn't imaging it. I checked Liz's apartment door when I realised the apartment opposite her's - next door to Katarina's - was number 2 but the number on Liz's door had a rounded number so couldn't be a 1 or a 4...

I went back through several seasons and discovered that when Tom and Liz moved into their apartment (the one Liz lives in now), it was number 4a, but then later (as in season 6-7) it somehow became apartment 6...

The 3s co-incidence doesn't end at Red, Katarina's, and Ilya's doors though. The motel room where Liz confronts Red with the results of the DNA test Cooper ordered... number 3. The apartment Louis T. Steinhil - a.k.a. The Illusionist - lives in... number 3.

But those are just door numbers.

Katarina is number 3 on The Blacklist.

That's a lot of co-incidence.

While I'm waxing lyrical about my current favourite series, I've had another theory growing in my mind.

What if Reddington, Ilya, and Constantin are all brothers? All three have been Russian agents (assuming my theory about Red being a sleeper agent who entered the naval academy as Raymond Reddington is correct. I'm still thinking Dom (rest his soul) is Reddington, Ilya, and Katarina's handler, but what if he was Constantin's as well. This theory came about because both Constantin and Katarina were Rostov's before they married. It is implied by Red when he, Dembe, Frankie, and Dom are at Dom's place that Dom is a Rostov. This happens when Red tells Frankie she has stumbled into a family feud and the Rostov family is quite eccentric. So, Dom and Katarina and Constantin are all Rostovs. I doubt very much the show runners would be going down the path of incest - god I hope not, anyway. So, then Red, Ilya, and Constantin are all Koslovs? What if, for some reason Dom took the brothers in and then trained them all along with his daughter, Katarina.

So, you might ask why Constantin would change his name? Maybe because Koslov is as common as Smith in Russia, but Rostov is a far less common name, and Constantin had his sights on a prestigious life? Maybe he wanted to turn his back on his own family for some reason (maybe they were traitors to their country, or poor, or somehow shameful to him and he wanted to distance himself?)

The three brothers all loved Katarina, which would have caused some tension. Both Constantin and Red's DNA tests were deemed to make them Liz's father, but Constantin's was much older - so, from when DNA tests weren't as sophicated as now, and then it would be conceivable that he might be mistaken for Liz's father because he and Red are brothers.

Red and Ilya speak of Ilya 'letting Red down' because Red wouldn't give Ilya's truck back when they were children. Ilya repeatedly reminds Katarina that they pledged themself to each other when they were 7. Red is also sick and could possibly have the same sickness as Constantin because Katarina is relieved that the illness Constantin has is only passed from father to son - she would be relieved if she knew either Constantin or Red were Liz's father. If you're wondering why Red would suggest Crisper as a cure for Constantin but still be looking for a cure for him, then maybe Red tried Crisper but it didn't work for him.

Dom tells Red, after Red finds out Liz turned him in and landed him on death row, that he (Dom) forgave Katarina because she was his child. Red reacts badly to this and starts to walk away. Dom asks him where/why he is going and Red replies that he knows how to hurt people he cares about, he wanted to know how to live with it. So, obviously Red is hurt and he believes Dom cares about him. Certainly, their relationship seems familial - though tense at times, which is normal in a family - just ask Liz.

If Dom took in the 'Koslov Brothers' Red and Dom would have possibly developed a father/son relationship, but then of course, Red became a double agent and while Dom was able to forgive Katarina when she became a traitor - because she was his child - he couldn't forgive Red for doing the same thing after becoming a naval officer.

Viewer numbers have consistently declined over the 7 season, and it has been implied that season 8 will look into Donald Ressler's story. This seems to be moving away from the central story. With COVID-19 interrupting tv production, season 8 might not even be aired later this year. I do worry that The Blacklist might be chopped before we get to the bottom of the main mystery.

Friday, April 24, 2020

May we live in interesting times...

2020 has definitely been a red letter year so far.

In early March I had another cardiac arrest which landed me in hospital for three days this time. Silver linings? We know the Defibrater + pacemaker works. Also, we know the medication wasn't working. Clouds - well, there is the cardiac arrest in public this time, which is scary. Luckily by 'public' I mean at work, so I was sorrounded by people I know and trust. Also, the medication didn't work which means I had to change to the other medication most often used, and that medication doesn't have the added benefit of warding off migraines, so the migraines are back.

Still, I live to die another day.

This COVID-19 is a riot, isn't it? At least Australia is doing much better than other countries. The lockdown seems to flattening the curve. It will be interesting to see how the lockdown lifting will be managed. I suspect it will need to be done in ebb and flow stages, just to keep the pressure off our medical system. It's not going to just disappear, it will mutate and perhaps that will lessen the impact on humans, but viruses don't just disappear. So, it will always be a matter of managing it.

Human behaviour has been fascinating during this time. A lot of people panicked, and they were highly criticised for doing so by the general public. The so-called 'blue collar workers' were able to show their important contribution to society, the fact that without them, society simply wouldn't run. Big business was shown to be very vunerable, and not as useful to everyday survival as food and shelter and medical institutions. Yes, a lot of people have been laid off, which is also a very big problem. In the wake of all the new unemployment a lot of people who scorned people on social security have come face-to-face with just how unaffordable the level of financial support really is. In fact the Government was forced to increase the fortnightly payments so people could survive on them because there would have been hell to pay if everyone had to live like the people in our society 'living it large' on unemployment benefits.

Then there is working from home. This is where having a white collar job pays off. For those of us who do a lot of paper work, taking our work to our home office (aka my bedroom) has been relatively easy. There has had to be a crash course for many in various computer programs and web-based collaboration, which can only be a good thing. My clients, who are mostly in their 90s have learned many new skills in the past few weeks. It has been challenging but also stimulating and self-affirming.

Personally, I'm loving the lock down. I am an introvert with agoraphobia, so not only have I destressed considerably but, I'm pretty much a social hero for adhering so stringently to the lock down rules.

Oh and all the parents 'homeschooling'. I put the word homeschooling in quotation marks because it really isn't homeschooling. It's remote learning. The teachers are still doing the work, organising the curriculum, being available to students all day long. Yes, parents are having to supervise their kids, but when kids are home - certainly primary kids - they need supervision anyway. It's much more like helping kids with their homework.

Aside from the fortune of having kids in highschool and upper primary school - which makes them more independant - because of my experience with actual homeschooling, I not having to do anything new. Mind you, I have motivated kids (thank goodness Erik and Luey have finished highschool because they really were not academically inclined). A case study out of New Zealand after the Christchurch tragedy showed the kids there - who didn't go to school for months - actually didn't 'fall behind', but rather scored better on tests when they returned.

Then there are all the people who used to lament not being able to spend more times with family. They must be thrilled now!

I would love to see this become a reboot of our society and attitude, especially regarding individualism, being reassessed. One can live in hope because, as Reddington said, 'Without hope, we are hopeless.'

Let's be better than hopeless.

Absent Seizure...