Ticked / La Garrapata

La versión español está después de la primera foto.

I told this story in August 2017 about my experience with Lyme Disease, but when I went to share the link yesterday, I discovered the post, although still on blogger, was not on WordPress. So here it is again.

WHILE LIVING IN WHAT WE called “the country” in Guilford, Connecticut in the late ’80s and early ’90s, we were always working outside in our gardens. More than half our property was wooded. We also regularly went hiking, spending a lot of time in nature. And we were in the heart of what was at the time Lyme Disease country — just a hop, skip, and a tick-jump from the town of Lyme, Connecticut, where the syndrome, Lyme Disease, got its name.

Lyme Disease is transmitted to humans by ticks that are carried on other mammals, such as deer and birds. The tick is commonly known as a deer tick. If you’re interested in learning about it in detail, check out the information on Wikipedia here. Most people who are bitten by a tick do not contract the disease. I was not so lucky. It’s a longish story with a happy ending.

Lyme Disease isn’t readily diagnosed because the symptoms vary and resemble so many other illnesses. Mine started with severe pain in my head. Not a headache. Severe pain. Thankfully, I can’t really remember it well enough to describe it, but I know it was awful. I didn’t sleep even a moment for three days. On the third day, a dull and constant ache appeared in my right shoulder.

Since my sister Dale had brain cancer when she was 26 before dying of bone cancer at 29, I of course thought my turn had come. I kept the thought to myself.

I went to my doctor after the second day. He did a bunch of tests. So, all I could do was wait. San Geraldo’s mother was visiting and we drove down to New York as planned to visit The Dowager Duchess, who gave up her bed for me. They went out to theatre (my aunt Lilly used my ticket) and I went to bed. After a while, incredibly, I slept. I woke up in the morning rested and pain-free. I was elated. I walked into the kitchen to announce the good news and San Geraldo looked at me and said, “What’s the matter with your face?”

‘The face I’ve always had and had never really been happy with?’ I thought.

“Nothing, it’s as perfect as always,” I joked.

“One side is drooping.”

I looked in the mirror and saw he was right. Bell’s Palsy, I thought. The Kid Brother had it. But then I thought again, ‘No, just another sign of a brain tumor.’

My mother insisted we pose for a photo together. I knew exactly what she was thinking.

Click here for the rest of the story.

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Conté esta historia en agosto de 2017 sobre mi experiencia con la enfermedad de Lyme, pero cuando fui a compartir el enlace ayer, descubrí que la publicación, aunque todavía estaba en blogger, no estaba en WordPress. Así que aquí está de nuevo.

MIENTRAS VIVIÁMOS EN LO QUE considerábamos “el campo” en Guilford, Connecticut, a finales de los 80 y principios de los 90, siempre trabajábamos afuera en nuestros jardines. Más de la mitad de nuestra propiedad estaba arbolada. También íbamos de excursión con regularidad, pasando mucho tiempo en la naturaleza. Y estábamos en el corazón de lo que era entonces el país de la “Enfermedad de Lyme” (en inglés, Lyme Disease) muy cerca de los pueblos de Lyme y Old Lyme, Connecticut, donde el síndrome recibió su nombre.

La Enfermedad de Lyme se transmite a los humanos por las garrapatas que se llevan a otros animales, como ciervos y aves. La garrapata se conoce comúnmente como garrapata de venado. Si tienes interés en aprender más, haz clic aquí. La mayoría de las personas que son mordidas por una garrapata no contraen la enfermedad. No tuve tanta suerte. Es una historia larga con un final feliz.

La enfermedad de Lyme no se diagnostica fácilmente porque los síntomas varían y se parecen a muchas otras enfermedades. El mío comenzó con un dolor severo en la cabeza. Afortunadamente, no puedo recordarlo lo suficientemente bien como para describirlo, pero sé que fue horrible. No dormí ni un momento durante tres días. Al tercer día, apareció un dolor sordo y constante en mi hombro derecho.

Fui a mi médico después del segundo día. Hizo un montón de pruebas. Entonces, todo lo que pude hacer fue esperar. La madre de San Geraldo estaba de visita y condujimos hasta Nueva York como estaba planeado para visitar a la duquesa viuda, quien me cedió su cama. Salieron al teatro (mi tía Lilly usó mi boleto) y me fui a la cama. Después de un tiempo, increíblemente, me dormí. Me desperté por la mañana descansado y sin dolor. Estaba eufórico. Entré a la cocina para anunciar la buena noticia y San Geraldo me miró y me dijo: “¿Qué te pasa en la cara?

¿La cara que siempre he tenido y nunca había sido realmente feliz?’ pensé.

“Nada, es tan perfecto como siempre”, bromeé.

“Un lado ha caído”, me dijo.

Me miré al espejo y vi que tenía razón. Parálisis de Bell, pensé. El Hermanito lo tenía. Pero entonces pensé otra vez: ‘No, sólo otro signo de un tumor cerebral’.

Mi madre insistió en posar para una foto juntos. Sabía exactamente lo que estaba pensando.

Haz clic aquí para ver el resto de la historia.

Our place in Guilford.

Nuestro hogar en Guilford.

1990. The imperfect face.

1990. La cara imperfecta.

1977. After Dale’s first cancer diagnosis and just before her surgery. Kermit the Frog says it all.

1977. Después del primer diagnóstico de Dale y antes de su cirugía. Kermit el Rana lo dice todo.

A deer tick, actually the size of a sesame seed.

Una garrapata de venado, en realidad del tamaño de una semilla de sésamo.

Lockdown Day 18: What’s He Got in the Case? / Encierro Día 18: ¿Qué Tiene en el Caso?

TUESDAY NIGHT PASSED without my reaching The Kid Brother. So, I’ll try again tonight. I might try a bit earlier than usual since I can’t imagine he’s working today.

Like all of you, I’ve had lots of time to think lately. And even more these past days having my fat ankle to contend with. So many stories are coming to my mind. Some are classic Kid Brother. In the late ’80s, we took The Kid Brother and The Dowager Duchess to see the revival of the musical “Cabaret” in New Haven, Connecticut during its opening run before it went to Broadway. After a few days with The Mother and The Brother together, I was burnt out and had lost much of my sense of humor. The Duchess had been difficult and The Kid Brother had been tense. One of their usual visits.

The Kid Brother tends to mutter and comment throughout a film or television show, so it was no surprise when he did the same during this live production. I had to keep hushing him. In one scene, the character, I think Ernst Ludwig, is seen exiting the stage with a suitcase. I was a bit tuned out at that point and wasn’t completely engaged in the details. The Kid Brother, in a stage whisper, said, “What’s he got in the case?”

I whispered, again, “Chuck, you can’t talk during the show.” We continued to watch, he continued to mutter comments, and I continued to touch his arm to quiet him.

When the final curtain came down and there was a momentary hush in the theatre, The Kid Brother declared in full voice, “I’d still like to know what he’s got in that case!”

By the way, Ernst was smuggling cash. Click today’s sunrise images and maybe you’ll find some. I’ll be here with my foot up. Life is a cabaret.

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EL MARTES POR la noche pasó sin que yo llamara a El Hermanito. Entonces, lo intentaré de nuevo esta noche. Podría intentarlo un poco antes de lo habitual, ya que no puedo imaginar que esté trabajando hoy.

Como todos vosotros, últimamente he tenido mucho tiempo para pensar. Y aún más estos últimos días teniendo que lidiar con mi gordo tobillo. Tantas historias me vienen a la mente. Algunos son clásicos Hermanito. A finales de los años 80, llevamos a El Hermanito y La Duquesa Viuda para ver el renacimiento del musical “Cabaret” en New Haven, Connecticut, durante su estreno antes de ir a Broadway. Después de unos días con La Duquesa y El Hermanito juntos, me quemé y había perdido gran parte de mi sentido del humor. La Duquesa había sido difícil y El Hermanito había estado tenso. Una de sus visitas habituales.

El Hermanito tiende a murmurar y comentar a lo largo de una película o un programa de televisión, por lo que no fue una sorpresa cuando hizo lo mismo durante esta producción en vivo. Tenía que seguir callando. En una escena, el personaje, creo que Ernst Ludwig, es visto saliendo del escenario con una maleta. Estaba un poco desconectado en ese momento y no estaba completamente involucrado en los detalles. El Hermanito, en un susurro, dijo: “¿Qué tiene él en el caso?”

Susurré, nuevamente, “Chuck, no puedes hablar durante el show”. Seguimos observando, él continuó murmurando comentarios, y yo seguí tocando su brazo para calmarlo.

Cuando cayó el telón final y hubo un silencio momentáneo en el teatro, El Hermanito declaró en voz alta: “¡Todavía me gustaría saber qué tiene en ese caso!”

Por cierto, Ernst estaba contrabandeando efectivo. Haz clic en las imágenes del amanecer de hoy y tal vez encuentres algo de efectivo tú mismo. Estaré aquí con el pie en alto. La vida es un cabaret.

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You Turned the Tables on Me / Me Diste la Vuelta

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

I RECENTLY SHARED photos of the new look of our dining room here in Fuengirola (in its first and third iteration) along with pictures of the dining rooms in 6 of our 13 other homes over the years (click here). I found photos of 4 more from our past, plus version #2 of Fuengirola. I’m still searching (for more photos, not for more homes — at least for now).

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RECIENTEMENTE COMPARTÍ FOTOS del nuevo aspecto de nuestro comedor aquí en Fuengirola (en su primera y tercera iteración) junto con fotos de los comedores en 6 de nuestras 13 otras casas a lo largo de los años (haz clic aquí). Encontré fotos de 4 más de nuestro pasado, más la versión numero 2 de Fuengirola. Todavía estoy buscando (para más fotos, no más casas — al menos por ahora). NOTA: En inglés, otra forma de decir “me diste la vuelta” es “volteaste las mesas”.

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How To Make Strawberry Jam / Cómo Hacer Mermelada De Fresa

La versión español está después de la primera foto.

IN 1986, SAN Geraldo and I moved from Washington, DC, to New Haven, Connecticut. San Geraldo had grown up “canning.” It was unheard of in my family; that’s what country folk did.

Since we were now living close to “the country” and had lots of farm stands nearby, San Geraldo suggested we make strawberry jam. He knew exactly what to do. When the jam was all cooked up and ready to go into the jars for preserving, San Geraldo gave me a taste.

“Wow!” I exclaimed. “That tastes just like strawberry jam!”

San Geraldo roared with laughter and said, “What did you think it would taste like?”

I phoned my parents. My Mother The Dowager Duchess (before she was a dowager) answered.

“You won’t believe what we just made,” I bragged.

“What?” she asked.

“Strawberry jam!” I said.

“From what?” she gasped.

“From strawberries!!!”

The next year we moved 15 miles west of New Haven to a more rural location in Guilford, and we got serious about canning. For 150 years, Guilford had been hosting an agricultural fair. We canned peaches, tomatoes, Kosher dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, and a variety of jams. And, every year, we won lots of ribbons and purple rosettes (for best in show).

Even our Kosher dill pickles tasted exactly like Kosher dill pickles. I still can’t believe it.

(You thought there’d be a recipe, didn’t you?)

GRLCanningCBZ

EN 1986, SAN Geraldo y yo nos mudamos de Washington, DC, a New Haven, Connecticut. San Geraldo había crecido “enlatado”. Era inaudito en mi familia; eso es lo que hizo la gente del campo.

Como ahora vivíamos cerca de “el campo” y teníamos muchos puestos de granja cerca, San Geraldo sugirió que hiciéramos mermelada de fresa. Él sabía exactamente qué hacer. Cuando la mermelada estaba cocida y lista para meterse en los frascos para su conservación, San Geraldo me dio un sabor.

“¡Guau!” yo exclamé. “¡Eso sabe exactamente a mermelada de fresa!”

San Geraldo rió a carcajadas y dijo: “¿A qué crees que sabría?”

Yo telefoneé a mis padres. Mi Madre La Duquesa Viuda (ántes de ella era una viuda) respondió.

“No vais a creer lo que hicimos”, me jacté.

“¿Qué?” ella preguntó.

“¡Mermelada de fresa!” Dije.

“¿¡¿De qué?!?” ella jadeó.

“¡De fresas!” le dije.

El año siguiente nos mudamos 15 millas al oeste de New Haven a una ubicación más rural en Guilford, y nos pusimos serios con respecto al enlatado.

Durante 150 años, Guilford había sido sede de una feria agrícola. Conservamos melocotones, tomates, encurtidos de eneldo kosher, encurtidos “pan y mantequilla”, y una variedad de mermeladas. Y, cada año, ganamos un montón de cintas y rosetones púrpuras (por Mejor de la Exposición).

Incluso nuestros encurtidos de eneldo Kosher sabían exactamente igual que los encurtidos de eneldo Kosher. Todavía no puedo creerlo.

(Pensaste que habría una receta, ¿verdad?)

RibbonsCBZ
1988 Best in Show, our blueberry lime jam. It tasted exactly like blueberry lime jam. Really! / Mejor de la Exposición, nuestra mermelada de lima y arándanos. Sabía exactamente como mermelada de lima y arándanos. ¡De verdad!

I Had To Change

SOMETIMES I MISS THAT TEDDY BEAR.

Shortly after I was diagnosed with, and began treatment for, clinical depression (see previous blog post), San Geraldo and I were on the move again. It was our third move in our five years together. From Boston, Massachusetts; to Los Angeles, California; to Washington D.C.; to New Haven, Connecticut.

I was doing well and didn’t seem to need any talk therapy. The antidepressant medication had done the trick. After about a year on the medication, I independently decided I was ready to go drug-free. I phased off the meds and continued to do well. However, over the course of the next year, without really realising it, I had begun to give myself those pep talks again to help me face the days. Finally, more than a year later, I had another major crash. I found a psychiatrist in New Haven and started back on Sinequan. He was a Freudian psychiatrist (so, let’s call him Sigmund) and hardly spoke. But that didn’t really matter to me. At first, I just wanted to talk and cry. But, after a few weeks, the medication levelled off my brain chemistry again and I was back to this new life I had been learning to live. I was no longer crying and only went to Sigmund for weekly med checks.

Since Sigmund didn’t talk, he didn’t help me to understand my condition any more clearly. I still thought I could get to a point where I wouldn’t need to take medication. So, I went through another cycle of about a year and half without medication before another crash. And I still wasn’t learning.

By the next crash (yet another), we were living in California (having moved from New Haven after 1-1/2 years to Guilford, Connecticut, and then to San Diego five years later where we celebrated our 12th anniversary). I found a psychiatrist who truly changed my life permanently (although I still had my stubborn moments).

When I insisted I didn’t need to be on medication forever, he asked, “Would you say that if you were diabetic?”

“That’s different,” I argued.

And thus began my real education on the “illness” called clinical depression. I’ve read that clinical depression is one-third each biological, brain chemistry, and inherited traits (if broken into quarters, the fourth would be hormones). Maybe an oversimplification, but my depression I’m sure has been partly a result of my childhood and later-life experiences. But many children have suffered much more troubled childhoods. And many adults have suffered much more painful lives. This is simply the way my brain responds. There’s nobody and no thing to blame. Besides, I’ve looked hard into my life experiences and, finally, there’s only me to face the result and survive it.

SORRY. I’M EVEN BORING MYSELF.

I know that physical activity is important for me. And healthy mental activity, too. But those alone are not enough. Unless there is some new revelation in the treatment of clinical depression, I now accept that I will likely always be on medication to treat it. And that’s fine with me. Sometimes, the medication may need to be changed or adjusted. That’s also fine with me. Yes, I do have some challenging times, but they’re nothing like those crashes I used to have. And, as I think about it, I probably wouldn’t give up my experience of this depression. Now that I’ve survived it, at least. It has played a large part in forming the person I am. I’m sure it’s where my humour was born. It taught me to be more honest with myself and with others. And it has certainly taught me to appreciate this life.

I’m still learning to forgive (myself and others) and to forget what doesn’t do me any good to remember. But, as long as I’m being honest, I haven’t forgiven everyone. And I haven’t forgotten everything. OK, and I can still be bitter, sarcastic, and acerbic. But not all the time. So, what the hell.

Many of you were very moved by my recent revelations and I’m so grateful for your support and understanding. But please don’t cry for me. I’m here to entertain you, enlighten you, charm and inform you. (Ain’t I grand?) I’m not here to depress you!

The truth is…