Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Birch swings no more

During our last exchange, Alex Birch and I were having a very emotional debate on the soc.sexuality.spanking Usenet newsgroup about terrorism and the requirements for a liberal society. Try as we might to stay on topic (i.e. spanking), politics is never far from the list of current discussions on the newsgroup. That particular discussion did not end with any sort of agreement between the two of us. Indeed his conclusions left me in despair. Had I known it was going to be our last conversation, I sure as hell would have talked about something far more cheerful. Far more related to spanking.

We never had the pleasure to meet in person, though I always assumed we probably would at some point. When I was better and could get on a plane and go to England finally. He and A. would talk about football and the Midlands and we'd all talk about spanking and his library of out-of-print spanking fiction.

Not that we had the lengthy, ongoing Conversation that he and Mija had. I've only been reading and posting to the newsgroup for eight years (on Saturday), making me a newbie compared to them. While I'd read plenty of his posts on SSS, we didn't really interact all that much until he was setting up his wonderful blog in 2005. As I had -- at least in his mind -- already mastered blogging on Blogger, he asked for my help, earning me far more gratitude from him than was worth my certainly earnest, if not always helpful, assistance. After that I felt more comfortable talking with him both on the newsgroup and in email, though it had dwindled over the last year or so, as have most of my other correspondences, due to illness. Meaning that I didn't know about his illness...

I can't imagine the newsgroup without him. The stories. The arguments. The jokes. The arguments. The encouragement (scolding?) each and every summer to do your part in the annual Short Story Contest. The arguments.

And where will the spankosphere get its fix of out-of-print spanking fiction and pictures of spanking models from the 1970s?

I hope he's somewhere with a sassy lass across his knee, giving her the hiding they are both enjoying.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"The naughtiest person ever"

So now that the stomach flu that had me throwing up so much I broke a bunch of blood vessels in my neck is over, and whooping cough (or mycoplasma pneumonia - my doctor wasn't sure but it responded to the second antibiotic he put me on) is over, and moving into my new ginormous one bedroom, brilliant-view apartment (but not the unpacking) is over, it's time for me to do some blogging already. And I thought a nice Nurse K. anecdote might be a good way to get back into the swing of things.

As many of you know, I'm on the blood thinner Coumadin after I developed blood clots in both lungs three years ago. Because Coumadin is a rather dangerous drug, I have to get my blood tested frequently (by Nurse K) to make sure I'm not going to bleed to death or start clotting again. She (or rather a machine that she uses) measures a number called an INR, which for me should be between 2 and 3.5 (i.e. therapeutic range).

For the first two and a half years we had a hard time getting my INR to stay in the therapeutic range. But then they learned a handy trick: they had me take a daily Vitamin K supplement (if you really want to know the science behind that, email me). Once I started taking the Vitamin K, my INR stayed therapeutic for 16 months -- until last week when I broke my run of perfect INRs with an INR of 4.1 (which meant I could bleed too easily).

Why it suddenly jumped up is complicated, but most likely involved three different supplements of which I had recently changed doses (Coumadin interacts with over 180 different foods, medications, and supplements -- a real bitch), as well as the fact that I lost some weight over the last two months from being so sick. While I wasn't really bothered about the potential for bleeding (it was still unlikely), I was annoyed that I was going to have to start going in for more frequent INR checks again. As much as I love Nurse K., and as much as my entire social life at this point consists of Twitter and seeing her and my acupuncturist (yes, my life is that pathetic), it takes a lot out of me to go to the doctor's office once a week instead of once a month.

But return a week later I did. As I sat in the exam room with her yesterday, she asked me about those supplements that I was supposed to stop.

"I was a bit naughty..." I said with a wince. "I kept taking the higher dose of the CoQ10 because it's helping me so much."

"Yes, you are very naughty," Nurse K. said in a mock condemnatory tone. "You're very naughty, Michelle. You're the naughtiest person ever!"

I sat there blushing and giggling like I do when A. tells me I'm naughty. Indeed had he been there, A. would have teased me mercilessly about just how much I was blushing and giggling.

The fun ended there, however. She recorded my CoQ10 dosing. Took my INR. This time it was too low: 1.8. And that was probably a result of me being naughty for real: I took some extra Vitamin K to compensate for what I thought might be the decreased clotting time effect of the CoQ10 even after Nurse K told me not to do that last week.

I think because I was naughty for real, she stopped teasing me. "At least you're being honest -- that's the important thing." And she returned to typing in my chart.

I suppose having to return in a mere week (rather than in two) is a fair punishment for my arrogant defiance of her instructions.

And if I'm lucky, maybe Nurse K. will tell me I'm naughty again.