Posts tagged with "health"

Father-Son Bonding

I called my dad on his birthday this week. After the divorce I would never call him, special occasion or not, simply because I needed to distance myself from the situation. He did call me on mine last year though, which reestablishes a sort of precedence and ritual, and he actually thanked me for the call.

We made the usual small talk, about work and home.

Mercedes Benz SLK 55 AMG 2006

He told me he bought a car: a 2006 Mercedes Benz SLK 55 AMG hard-top convertible with 18″ rims and 7-speed-automatic transmission. He’s going to keep the Beemer for winter driving. It filled my heart with quiet joy when he said I could drive it the next time I visited him. Not so much because he was letting me (for I was always allowed to drive the Sportline 300CE while living at home), but because I could tell in his voice that he wanted me to try it.

I asked him if there’s any history of colorectal cancer in the family, which the doctor wanted to know at my last appointment, to which my dad answered, thankfully, no. He shared with me his own health concerns, the medical terms of which he only knows in Chinese. These are things I avoid asking about when I visit him, as he pops some pills from a bottle kept with the dishes in the kitchen, and I realize that I’m learning more about my dad than ever. It’s not so much out of a need for privacy or avoidance of embarrassment, but simply out of convenience, as these topics would never get brought up.

It’s strange to bond with him in this way, only after so many years of leaving home.

I remember him trying to teach me photography when I was younger, but he soon lost interest, in both photography and me1. Maybe it’s the distance that makes us appreciate each other more, and it wouldn’t be the same if we lived in the same city.

In a way, I’m glad to have the relationship now, and I’m able to forget that I’ve never had it for most of my life.

  1. As such, all my photography is self-taught, aside from one trick used to zoom a lens towards the subject so that the edges are blurred that he showed me at the Statue of Liberty. []

On Isotretinoin

I recently started a course of Isotretinoin, a strong medication used to cure severe acne by altering DNA transcription. For some reason, my acne has really flared up in my late twenties. I would get huge cysts on my face that would last for weeks, not to mention the hyper-pigmentation that would last even longer after the cyst went away. Needless to say, it was making me very anti-social when I was talking to people and felt like there was a huge distraction on my face.

I was referred to a dermatologist, who gave me a prescription for “full strength” (according to my body weight) to see if I could handle the side effects. The pharmacist asked me if she made a mistake because they don’t offer a dosage that strong, so now I take a combination of two dosages.

Due to the potency of the medication, there’s a huge list of side effects. The scariest is the mood changes. I’m supposed to stop the dose if I start experiencing:

  • changes in my mood such as becoming depressed, feeling sad, or having crying spells
  • losing interest in my usual activities
  • changes in my normal sleep patterns
  • becoming more irritable or aggressive than usual
  • losing my appetite
  • becoming unusually tired
  • having trouble concentrating
  • withdrawing from family and friends
  • having thoughts about taking my own life

As a person who’s suffered from suicidal thoughts in the past, this was quite a frightening proposition. I asked my friends to be aware, just in case I don’t notice any changes in myself.

So far though, the only side effect has been extremely dry skin, especially on the face. The lips have been the worst; I can’t eat or drink anything without applying a thick layer of moisturizer on them, otherwise they peel like mad.

There’s also a drying of mucous membranes. To relieve the chapping, I’ve started smearing Vaseline in my nose.

Prior to this, the only time I used Vaseline was as a sexual lubricant.

Now I get aroused every time I breathe in.

The Weight Issue

With a tone of genuine concern, as if I was being consumed by some disease, Abdallah told me he noticed I was getting thinner. Perhaps this is true. I was recovering from an episode of IBS, and controlling my food intake. Maybe its my sets of narrow, flared pants I’ve been wearing lately on Julie’s suggestion1.

Louise tells people I don’t eat a lot, which is true only when we’re out 2, and is also the only time she’s seen me eat. It makes me even more ill at ease when I’m already feeling unattractive, as if it was my fault and I wasn’t doing enough about it. Others will comment about the size of my waist, or make a passing remark about how they wish they had my metabolism.

I try to take it all in stride, but it’s not easy when the subject is constantly brought up.

According to my doctor, I’m average weight — the average being a range, with me being near the bottom. I know this, but it doesn’t make it easier. Bronwen once told me that I have a weight issue, and after thinking about it for a while, I realized that it was true. Even though it’s something I can joke about, it’s still a source of self-consciousness, leading back to memories of my parents telling me that no one will love me if I’m this size forever.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get over it.

  1. Her theory is that baggy pants do nothing to hide thin limbs and make skinny people look even skinnier. []
  2. Usually because I don’t like to be too full when I’m out. []

Unsuprising Inevitable

Somehow, Aaron talked me into a doctors appointment for a general physical examination, something I’ve been avoiding for years now. Turns out nothing is wrong, as far as the doctor can tell, and I opted to skip the blood test. I brought up some issues I thought I might have, but he waved them off as being fairly normal. I wasn’t too nervous because everything in my life seems to be going fine, so some bad news wouldn’t have hurt (as opposed to before, where it would have been another problem added to my list). I was looking forward to some bad news actually, as if conveniently having it now would mean that I’d be free for another few years.