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Wed, Jan. 8th, 2014, 04:50 am

Today was an interesting day. I felt more like the old me, the loud, extraverted, pre-illness version of me that I haven't seen in ages, which was weird because for some unfathomable reason my joints and muscles were seriously acting up. Normally the cold makes them feel better (it brings the internal swelling down), and the colder the better. And I maintained my good mood, even as everything kept falling out of sync.

Searching for my missing gloves and balaclava caused me to be running behind as I jetted out the door, and I still didn't have either. The drugstore closest to my house, due to some strange convolutions of metro construction, currently isn't all that convenient. You have to cross the street at the end of the block, walk back, then turn around and do the reverse to get to where the elevator is (and of course, the escalator has been out for awhile now). So despite my cane being absolutely frigid in the cold air, I decided to tough it out and wait for the other end of the trip, since I would pass right by the door of yet another drugstore. This way I wouldn't be late.

Only, as it turned out, that drugstore had run out of gloves. So I had to make my way to my appointment sans gloves, and for once the therapist was running late (this never happens) so I wouldn't even have had to rush. Usually if it isn't raining, I go hang out in a couple of bars afterwards, where I have friends who work. I'd also planned on meeting a friend for dinner near one of the bars. Only it's a long walk, in fact, it's my single long walk of the week, just a touch over a mile and part of it is uphill (which is actually easier for me than downhill). If I get too tired, there is a section in the middle where I can wait on a bus, and I have a couple of different places I will sometimes stop for an hour if I can't make it in one shot. And of course, plenty of painkillers well timed in advance, and an extra painkiller and muscle relaxer before bedtime so I don't wake up screaming in the middle of the night after I've worked my body hard during the afternoon. (I usually only take the lower dose of either before bed.)

There's another drugstore AFTER the strip of bars, about another block further, and I managed to drag myself there in one shot, but it was really tough. If my hands hadn't been burning with cold, I couldn't have done it. I just knew once I sat down I wouldn't want to go get gloves, and also that I'd need them for tomorrow morning (which is really later today as I write this post). Then I came back to my favorite bar, only to discover it was closed. CLOSED?! The bartender was late, out with a cold. I went to another place, hung out there for a bit, and got a message from my friend saying it was too cold for him to make it to dinner. Drat. Now I needed to figure out what I was going to eat. There aren't many food choices that aren't "Jade poison" in that area, and none of those sounded appealing.

I went back to my favorite bar again, this time it was open. Met some new people (yay!), got stuck watching Braveheart because nothing else was on and waited it out...I forgot just how LOOOONG that movie was. Spent the whole night there and ended up eating dinner there even though I can't/shouldn't eat their food, because of course it totally upsets my stomach. And I had a drink, too. (Actually, I had one drink in each bar, which is my two drink limit that my doctor's allow, and it was over six hours anyway.) Cabbed home.

ONE IMPORTANT FACT I FORGOT. If you hang out in my fave bar for any length of time, you smell a bit like fryer grease. And I was wearing the big hoodie and sweatshirt that I wanted to wear for my next day's appointment, only they STANK like fries. CRUD! I realized this the minute I walked in the door when I got home, and immediately had to strip my clothes off and throw them into the wash at 0200, which is why I'm still awake and just now waiting for my night meds to kick in. I'll only have time for a short nap before I have to get back up and be out the door again. UGH. But then I'll be able to come back home and CRASH HARD, thank goodness.

Also, something weird. My hands felt weird and chapped, and so dry, but when I put lotion on them they got all red and started to burn and actually swelled up. Some kind of cold air burn from exposure and dry air, I think. I ended up rinsing the painful lotion back off, and digging my old climber's salve out of a bin (apparently, the stuff is still good even though I haven't climbed since I got sick, it must have been six years ago). Thank you Joshua Tree! I've got it on the backs of my hands and on the lower halves of my cheeks and jaw. I've never experienced anything like that, not even when I went skiing, but my skin is much more sensitive to things than it ever was before.

I wonder what that is, exactly.

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