Agnostic Medicinal Enthusiast

October 21st, 2019

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The other day I had a highly disturbing thought. It was this: “I feel pretty good today.”

As soon as I dared think it, it got very nervous that I had wretchedly jinxed myself. I tried to backtrack and think about all the ways in which I still felt kinda shitty. Anxiously thinking about my thinking is a particular specialty of mine.

Sure enough, by nightfall, I had a UTI.

UTIs are a thing that send me into a death spiral of woe and self-pity and genuine panic. I forget that I felt like a relatively normal, albeit sleep-deprived, person as recently as yesterday and can only think thoughts like “Will my urethra feel like it’s being stabbed with a hot poker for the rest of my life?” and “What if this is not really a UTI but a rare untreatable condition no one else has ever had?” and “Maybe with that last UTI I had, I finally spawned a super-bacteria inside my body that is not treatable with antibiotics.”

It’s bad.

The good news is that I got right on it this time. When my doctor hadn’t called me back in the first two hours of the day, I walked over to the office and demanded they take a cup of my pee. I mean, it’s a block from my co-working space, so I don’t consider that 100% psycho.

The receptionist was not that into me. But she did finally allow me to pee in a cup, and then the nice doctor gave me some pills. 

If you’re thinking of giving me a lecture on the miracles of cranberry juice, let me stop you right there. I have interstitial cystitis, which is a fun bladder condition that occasionally acts up and turns anything citric or acidic into agony urine. So I can’t do cranberry juice at these times. Also, cranberry juice had never worked for me. Ever. And trust me, with these Puritan Cape-Cod-settling genes,  I can drink a whole entire bottle of unsweetened cranberry juice in a day without even flinching.

Instead, I go with a full battery of remedies across the spectrum from Western to Eastern to New Age to witchy. My current “medicine bag” contains homeopathic remedies, tinctures that must be held under the tongue, pharmaceuticals, and more. Then there’s the alkaline water. It must be alkaline. Oh, and let’s not forget the hot water bottle, which I used as I presented at a school board meeting the other night, no questions asked.

Of course, the best remedy for a UTI — or any malady, for that matter — is rest. I am not really the “it’s a sign” type, but when my body revolts like this, I have to think it’s telling me to slow down. That’s easier said than done, though.

This morning, on my way to my second of three school-related meetings amidst my busy workday, I ran into the co-op to get a birthday gift for one of my daughters’ teachers, some car lunch, more alkaline water, and another bottle of D-mannose, one of the prescribed supplements.

Rushing, I accidentally bought a bottle of loose white powder instead of pills. Rushing, I ripped the cap off the moment I got back to my office. Rushing, I  jammed my fingers inside while simultaneously reading my email. The powder went everywhere. It looks like a 70s discotheque bathroom in my office now.

Another reminder to slow down, and I will… right after this next meeting.

What I’m listening to:

Armchair Expert: Dax Shephard interviews Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California’s new (and first) Attorney General, on a major epidemic that hasn’t gotten a lot of airplay: childhood trauma.

What I’m reading:

This nerd-riveting article in the New Yorker about whether machine learning and natural language processing will have the chops to replace writers like me anytime soon.

Also, I just re-read The Handmaid’s Tale in two days in preparation for reading Margaret Atwood’s latest book, which just co-won the Booker Prize for 2019. I hadn’t read this book since high school and am reminded of why I loved Margaret Atwood so much as a young female reader.

I also figured out that at this rate, I have like a $2k-a-year book-reading habit. Luckily, this speed-reading is an anomaly and I often get books out of the library.

What I’m working on:

My AI startup client in Sweden, Peltarion, launched a partial website revamp that more lucidly explains the use cases and solutions made possible by deep learning. Check out, for instance, pages on customer sentiment and the retail industry.

Another client, Strivr, a well-funded VR startup based in California, also relaunched their website with a lot of stuff I’ve collaborated on writing, including the main pages of the site as well as a lot of supporting assets! This was a heavy lift, and I’m so excited to see it live. 

A weekly blog I write for Helpshift: Turn Detractors Into Promoters With In-app NPS Software.

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