Side effects and other fun and games

Oof. It don’t rain but it deluges. This time, I’m not talking about our backyard, but the state of the human suit. Headache mowed me down last night, then the pills I took to alleviate the thundering in my skull made me sick to my stomach. Lovely. Whoever designed my carapace should be severely reprimanded. Sloppy work, I tells you. Sloppy! To top it off, probably from the caffeine in the headache pills or whatever stimulant that goes with Sudafed, I can’t sleep–which is why I’m futzing about on LJ at 4:45AM.

I wonder if I’m getting side-effects from the recent increase in my Prozac. Headaches and queasy are pretty common SSRI effects, as is insomnia for that matter. Doesn’t make me feel any better, but it would explain some of it.


Skunk waking and more meds

Took a Tramadol to ease the wingstubs and it knocked me out pretty hard. All woozy now. *wobble* Wouldn’t even be up, except some fuzzy beastie who will remain Hobkin was hungry and would not be fobbed off by my “Mmm wha? It’s not breakfast-time yet . . . skunk, go ‘way. Shoo!” He’s now curled up beside me being all cute and cuddly, so at least I feel appreciated.

The doc decided to up my prescription dose another 20Mg (to 60Mg/day for anyone keeping track). When I tried to beg off any more monthly follow-ups, as I suspected, he said no, but he did agree to put off the next one by two months. Eh, better than nothing. And he did adjust the dosage so there’s a legit. reason for him to want to check-in with me. Thibbity.

fosteronfilm‘s brother will be arriving at Chez Foster this evening. Our house is still deplorably messy despite a flurry of vacuuming, tidying, and miscellaneous scrubbing. Both brothers have August birthdays, so I baked a cake. Think I’ll also bake some beer bread for tonight. Ain’t I just the domestic diva?


Writing Stuff

Received a 33-day “a good read and I enjoyed its strange originality” bounce from Strange Horizons with a “look forward to your next.”

Also queried Son and Foe about a submission after it passed the 30-day mark, and it seems my story fell through a crack or two and never got read. Happily, thanks to my query, it’s been found and is now being evaluated.

Many thank-you notes I need to pen to Critters folks. Instead, I think I’ll have a nap . . . snzzzzzz.

State of the Eugie

Wingstubs flaring up. Not good. It’s been a while since they’ve given me grief, so I’m somewhat taken aback by their renewed complaints. It’s made me look back over the last couple weeks–months even–and I’ve realized that I’ve been enjoying an uncommonly healthful period. Aside from the odd sinus headache and now this wingstub flare-up, I haven’t been hewn down by all the various ailments that usually plague me. It’s nice. Of course, I’m wincing as I type this because my arms hurt so much, but well, best to count one’s blessings late rather than not counting them at all, I suppose.

On that note, I’ve got another follow-up with the psychiatrist today. It should go without saying that I’m particularly sympathetic to the field of mental health and psychology specifically since I got both my undergrad and graduate degrees in it. However, I’m hard pressed to think of these visits as anything but a nuisance. Not to mention a bit trying on my already-strained pocketbook. I don’t have anything that I need to discuss with him–no mood swings, no suicidal thoughts, same ole same ole–or consult upon my general state of mental well-being, at least that he can do anything about. So basically I’m forking over the more-expensive “specialist” co-pay so he can refill my stupid prescription for Prozac, which I then have to, of course, pay for anyway at the pharmacy. I think I’m going to ask him if we can do away with these follow-ups and just give me refills without a visit. I suspect he’ll say “no” because they have to follow the dictates of my HMO, but I shall lobby fiercely for it. Blah.

fosteronfilm‘s brother is going to be swinging down here for a visit this weekend. He’s expected tomorrow, but he may arrive as early as today. We’ve been trying to get the house in some semblance of clean and tidy, but so far, our efforts have netted large, dense piles of disorder rather than a light sprinkling of mess throughout. Between Matthew’s Film Festival detritus and my Tangent and miscellaneous writing flotsam, we have filled our house with heaps o’ disorganized and seemingly random media.

And speaking of media and therefore media mail (smooth segue, huh?), has the USPS gotten really anal about cracking down on media mail fraud or something? The last couple times I’ve been in there with media mail packages to send out (review copies of stuff to my Tangent reviewers), I get grilled multiple times to verify “This is a book? You’re sure it’s a book? Only a book?” This, despite the lumpy, heavy, book-like quality of the envelopes I’m offering them, and the clear and boxy scribble by me in bright blue Sharpie of “BOOK MEDIA MAIL.” Not to mention the return label which identifies me as an editor and therefore one who, ostensibly, has a legitimate reason for sending bound material out and about. Do I look suspicious? Like I might be conning the USPS by mailing non-bound material for their cheap, cheap media rates? And if I was going to involve myself in the shady business of minor postage embezzlement, would I then go “nope, it’s really First Class stuff” after I’d gone to the effort of marking “BOOK” on the thing just because they asked me repeatedly? Delusions of “Closer” much? Grumph.


Writing Stuff

Got a nice review blurb from SFRevu for my story “The Tiger Fortune Princess” in the current issue of Paradox:
“Another very good story is ‘The Tiger Fortune Princess’ by Eugie Foster. Set in ancient China this masterfully combines Chinese legend and familiar European tales.”
–Sam Tomaino
Not huge piles of dissection and evaluation, but he liked it. Works for me.

Also filled out an application for the Speculative Literature Foundation Travel Grant. I asked them to help send me to China to do research on my YA novel. I find it very unlikely they’ll offer the grant to me, but I thought I’d try for it. Not sure how far $600 would get me, though, even if I should get it. Out of curiosity, I did some surfing to see if there were any other grants I could apply for as a writer. On that front, America sucks. Canadians appear to have grant opportunities sprouting hither-thither like weeds. I even found an appropriate grant out of Singapore, which of course I couldn’t apply for. But, while I found a couple American grants, they were very localized–Vermont and Boston–and thus I wasn’t eligible for them, and then there was the National Endowment for the Arts. To its credit, it does indeed offer a couple very phat grants, but aside from the incredibly fierce competition over them, and that I have to wait until next year before the next eligibility period begins where they accept applications (and I hope to have the damn novel done by then), what’re the odds of them awarding a grant to a genre writer? Zero? Negative ten? Foo, I sez.

In praise of GI cocktails

Had a very, very bad day yesterday. Apparently, the monsters that had invaded my GI system were lying in wait, lulling me into a false sense of complacency. Okay, I probably shouldn’t have had the cold pizza and the orange soda for breakfast, but it’s not like I haven’t done stuff like that before with no ill effects. Felt like a herd of camels was standing on my stomach while a tiny demon with razor-edged claws tried to tear its way out of my stomach lining. This happens to me occasionally. It’s rare, and usually I can head it off with a determined application of antacids early on–it’s like a migraine of the stomach–but this time I couldn’t or I acted too slowly. I’m cursed by really crappy gastro-intestinal genes. Both my parents have the most appallingly delicate stomachs. My mother gets motion sick if she looks at a boat–I’m not exaggerating–and my father is prone to ulcers. Anyway, the last time this happened (many years ago) I ended up in the ER after an ambulance ride. It’s the kind of pain that leaves you writhing on the bed, twisting and contorting from pain, when you wish someone would slug you, hard, in the head, so you could pass out.

Had my follow-up with my “behavioral health” doctor and almost canceled since I was in so much pain, but I figured, he’s an MD after all, he can prescribe something, right? Last time, all I needed was a GI cocktail. I got Matthew to drive me in, since I didn’t think I could manage it. My poor hubby was distraught, didn’t know what to do but hated seeing me in so much pain. Let me just say again, that I am really unimpressed by my psychiatrist. He was unable to prescribe me anything, as he wasn’t that sort of doctor. He suggested I go to the ER or the Adult Medicine department on the floor above, which is what I did. But exactly what sort of medical degree does he have that he couldn’t prescribe me or ask a nurse to mix me up a bit of Lidocaine and Donnatal in a Mylanta infusion?

The Adult Medicine receptionist was a bit confused as to what to do with a walk-in since I didn’t have an appointment. She kept trying to tell me that “you can’t see a doctor because you didn’t schedule an appointment” and I told her, “yes, I know I don’t have an appointment, but I was here for a follow-up appointment and I just want to see a nurse or physician’s assistant who can give me something for the pain since my alternative is to go to the ER. I’m here now, and in a LOT of pain.” This dialogue was repeated several times (while I’m barely able to keep myself from doubling over in pain) until finally she stuck me into the waiting queue. An agonizing time later, I got to see a triage nurse who tched at my breakfast choice and checked my vitals before finally getting me the GI cocktail I needed. Nice take-away-my-pain woman. Nice. *pets*

I fell into blessed sleep once the cocktail took effect. My ordeal left me shaky, stomach-wise. Had a bowl of plain, white rice for dinner, and then a bit of pasta several hours later when I started feeling hungry. My insides are making gurgling noises now, but it’s so much better than the alternative.

For my own future reference, a GI cocktail consists of:

10 ml of Viscous Lidocaine
10 ml of Donnatal
30 ml of Maalox/Mylanta

I wonder if I would have been able to get faster treatment if I’d been able to ask specifically for it. When I was talking to my psychiatrist, I wanted to tell him “I just need this, dammit” but it had been so long since I’d been in the ER, I couldn’t remember what they’d given me, although I knew it was pretty straightforward. Now I’ll have the recipe. Wish I could get Lidocaine and Donnatal OTC so I could quell the pain as fast as possible next time.


Writing Stuff

I’m excusing myself from Club 100 yesterday. Gut-twisting agony is not a good writing productivity aid.

I did, however, sign up to be a mentor for Absynthe Muse because I want to do some paying-it-forward, and I wish I would’ve had a writing mentor when I was younger. I might have stuck with it then if I’d had an experienced pro to encourage and steer my craft, and walk me through the process of marketing.

White blood count down

Got a phone call from my Rheumatologist’s office yesterday. I was at the interview, so wasn’t there to pick up. Didn’t notice the message light was flashing until after lunch. I don’t like phones, so I had fosteronfilm call them back. My doc folks typically give Matthew a hard time, saying that they’re not allowed to talk to him about me–even though I swear I filled out a form thingy giving them permission to do so–but my Rheumatologist’s staff are cool. After a brief check pause, they told Matthew why they called.

It seems that the lab work I had done revealed that my white blood count is down. This could be due to the Imuran, in which case it’s bad. Quite bad. I’m going back in for more lab work in a couple weeks–having them leech out more blood–to determine if it was a fluke or a real concern. If my count remains down, they’re going to have to pull me from the Imuran. I’m very unhappy at that possibility, not that I’m joyous about taking Imuran or anything, actually the stuff terrifies me when I think about it, but we just got all my medications leveled out. The prospect of starting another med, risking allergic reactions and other side-effects, perhaps even a flare-up, is a depressing one. Thought I’d managed to get on an even keel. Although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Been under a lot of stress. Of course my stupid human suit would freak out.

Writing Stuff

Received payment for “When the Lights Go Out” today. In pounds sterling, even, and currently the exchange rate between pounds and dollars is pretty sweet. A nice little pick-me-up.

My folktale is now up at Critters. Three crits this morning (including one from wistling, thanks!). It’s being well-received thus far.

Mostly writing

Had a follow-up with my Rheumatologist today. Same ole same ole. Amazingly enough, traffic was actually not terrible.

Writing Stuff:

– Mailed my A-OK note off to my Cricket editor as well as a requested author’s note to suffix the story. 186 more words at a quarter a word is another $46.50. I love these folks!
– Sent a query off to Carina and heard back from her that, while she had plucked my second story from the last batch of slush out for further consideration, she decided it really wasn’t a RoF story. BFoD is on the way. Oh well, it still means I’ve got two pieces on Shawna’s desk.
– Did a major overhaul on the story that languished at The Strand for a year and a half, and in the process lopped off 1.8K words! Woof. I hadn’t looked at it since I sent it to them and I found a lot of good cuts. Out it goes again, hopefully sleeker, smoother, and more attractive to editors.
– And ooo! I heard on the Rumor Mill that Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine issue #14 with my story “Body and Soul Art” is out! Can’t wait to see my contrib. copy (and get paid)!

A sick day for me

My headache is still in evidence, and it’s turned into a harbinger of flu. Blah. Staying home today. Going to curl up on the couch with chamomile tea and court Mr. Sandman.

Writing Stuff:

In between naps, and riding the jitters from Sudafed, I managed 500 words on the “Island Love Story.” It’s done! It’s raw, in dire need of a rewrite, but the story’s down from start to finish. It logs in at a whooping 10K manuscript count (around 8.9K word processor count). This one’s going to be a hard sell. But I’m at zero draft! Rah.

Also sold another reprint of “Second Daughter” to the new market Story Station. This is my second reprint sale of this story, my third sale of it total. Sweet.

I asked the editor when to expect a contract, and he said that they don’t have contracts (!) and if that affected whether I wanted my story published by them to let him know immediately. I responded by emailing him a standard contract–almost identical to the one I wrangled up for the previous reprint sale actually–and asked him if he had any problems with it. I haven’t heard back from him yet. I’m a little anxious, but I really do feel strongly about contracts, even if they’re just simple, down-and-dirty ones. I would like this to work out, though, as there are so few children’s lit markets.

Weird Night

Had a strange night. I think the weirdness was mostly due to the Clonazepam, which is doing precious little for my wing stub pains, so I’m contemplating going off them. I’m paying too high a price in loopiness in the AM, and disturbing dreams in the PM.

Had some very vivid and unpleasant dreams of which I can only remember flashes. I seem to recall carting a baby piglet around in my arms and being very concerned that people would think he was a wild pig and wanting to take him away. And then getting caught in a dimensional rift and ending up in a universe where all these tiny Japanese schoolgirls didn’t want to share their high-tech Sony gadgets with me. Peculiar.

Woke up at 3:30 in the morning feeling like I’d just been shaken awake. Of course, I hadn’t, so I checked my email. Fired off a couple correspondences. I’m actually a little concerned that I might not have been coherent in those emails.

After my brief bout of wakefulness, I was overwhelmed by sleepies again, so picked up Hobkin and fell back asleep until my alarm went off (interesting that my alarm doesn’t seem to wake the little fuzzwit).

This morning was spent guzzling coffee in the hopes of shooing some of the cobwebs out of the noggin. Limited success on that front.

And ow. My wing stubs really hurt.

Writing Stuff:

Heard from the Writers of the Future contest people. “Gifts Not Asked For” was a semi-finalist, a.k.a. Honorable Mention. That’s my second semi-finalist story with them, so now I’ve got a matched set to go with my quarter-finalist kudos. I just can’t seem to get any further with these people, and as soon as Cricket publishes the stories they’ve got of mine, I’m knocked out of eligibility. I think I should just resign myself to the fact that I’m never going to make it to the money rounds.

Received an email from the Blasphemy anthology editors/publishers. Progress is once more being made on getting the thing in print and out to distributors. Finally. They said it’s going to the printers in the next few weeks, so it should definitely be out in time for Dragon*Con.

Did a couple critiques on Critters. That’s sort of like being productive . . .