Daily Archives: October 31, 2016


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If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you know that I am currently rather pissed at the Huntsville CBS affiliate, WHNT, for their planned special tonight called the Dark Side of All Hallows’ Eve. In the ads for their story talk about Huntsville’s police department once having a special occult crime division. The ads also feature images of Jeffrey Franklin and comments about the crimes he committed on March 10, 1998. Jeffrey killed his parents before trying to kill three of his four siblings on that night. He also attacked the best friend of his 14-year old sister. I can tell you a lot about the night. More than a lot of people can. His sister was my friend. His sister’s friend was also my friend and on Yearbook staff with me; she talked about that night in class. My mom was the person who carried the medical records of his sister to the hospital. She stayed there until my friend was in the ICU. We went back to the hospital on a regular basis until it was time for them to leave town. From the start, Jeffrey was painted as evil by the media. Even when the evidence came to light that he had 10 times the normal dose of Ritalin in his blood twelve days after the crime.1 Even when people started mentioning that he was mentally ill. Even when the state of Alabama thought he was mentally incompetent from 1999 until 2001, and even though the state of Alabama has had him in the mental healthcare unit of the prison since his sentencing began, instead of in general population, he has been portrayed as this supernatural killer. That kind of stigmatizing attitude is damaging to the whole community and it needs to stop. Personally, I’m tired of reliving that night. It’s been almost twenty years and local news outlets are still pushing it. They keep trying to make a buck off of the suffering of my friend’s family. They keep trying to profit on the suffering of the people I grew up with, of the choir that we were in together, of me, of my mom. This has to stop at some point. I know that the story was shocking and gruesome and that it sticks with people. It’s stuck with me, too. At a certain point, enough is enough. I wish he hadn’t made the choices he did that night. I wish that a lot of things were different about that whole situation. But forcing us to go through it over and over is cruel. He had been in jail since the night it occurred. ↩

And then I fell down yelling, “Make it go away!”


Well, I’m anemic, but I’m not. It isn’t my iron that’s low.1 It’s my B12. It’s around 300 pg/mL right now, which is low for most of the world,2 but it’s not low according to American standards.34 Fortunately, the hematologist’s office realizes that those standards are messed up and that a person who takes monthly injections of B12 shouldn’t have a level that low. They also realize that the gastric bypass surgery and my family’s predisposition to the B12 deficiency makes me more likely to have issues absorbing it and maintaining high enough levels. So now I get to re-load on B12. That means 1 shot a day for 7 days, then 1 shot a week for 7 weeks, then 1 shot a month like I’ve been doing for years. Fun, right?5 The nurse practitioner also wants me to be checked out by a pulmonologist6 and, possibly, a cardiologist.7 She definitely wants me to undergo a pulmonary function test. She said that it could be that when I fell  at the pool several weeks ago, the water that I breathed in may have caused some issue in my lungs that I’m just not over yet.8 The other possible thing was the day that my dad put Clorox in the toilet. I didn’t think and I peed in a toilet bowl full of Clorox which led to a rather enjoyable release of chloramine gas.9 I coughed for days afterward and felt like something had scorched my lungs and throat.10 Well, technically, there are other possible reasons for my breathing to be so rough. I do have a history of severe asthma and severe allergies. Vitamin B12 deficiency itself can cause shortness of breath, but it’s a rare occurrence when it happens. Of course, rarities are my specialty.11 I need to go shoot up12 with some cyanocobalamin.13 The magic of birth control pills. ↩The low end of normal elsewhere is around 500 pg/mL. That’s where symptoms like fatigue, pale skin, dementia, etc. start occurring. ↩The low end of the American range is 200 pg/mL. ↩Bad standards. Very bad. ↩If you say yes, then there’s something wrong with you. ↩Lung doctor. ↩I guess because I have ongoing issues with tachycardia. Shortness of breath is linked with tachycardia. ↩Face-planting in the water is dangerous, yo! ↩Yeah, science, bitch! ↩A sane person might have gotten checked by a doctor after that experience, but I’ve never been a sane person. ↩As are face-plants, social awkwardness, and gourmet cooking; a lady must have an entire repertoire of mad skillz. ↩My thigh muscle. ↩Don’t call the cops. It’s totally legal. ↩

I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just a Little Unwell



For people who have known me since childhood, this isn’t an unsurprising revelation. It was when I first told them. My friends would always ask me why and it was difficult to explain. It wasn’t a religious thing. It wasn’t that I hated Halloween — I will always love Halloween. It was more a habit born out of a lack of safety in the neighborhood I had once lived in. Before I was 8 years old, I lived in a rather unsafe neighborhood. Gang fights on my corner were not unusual. If I was out after dark in our neighborhood, both of my parents were with me. My dad wasn’t typically home early enough to go trick-or-treating, and my mom did not feel comfortable taking me out without him. So we gave out candy to the few kids who decided to brave it. Usually, we were done by about 7 because it just wasn’t a big deal in that neighborhood. Right after my 8th birthday, my parents and I moved into the house with my grandfather. He lived in a safer neighborhood, so it would have been fine for me to go — I could have even gone without my mom. But I didn’t. I handed out candy. All of my friends who lived in my neighborhood seemed to come by my house, and I got to see all of their costumes. It was pretty awesome. I never felt like I was missing out on the fun. If we had candy left over at the end of the night, I could pilfer it. (We typically didn’t.) The only time I really went out trick-or-treating, I went as a chaperone for my foster sister. I was fifteen and she was twelve. We only walked down our street, but it was fun. I still didn’t get candy — since I wasn’t really going out for that. I did get some money from one of the neighbors. Instead of candy, he was giving out coins for people who could correctly answer math problems. I had always been in advanced math classes and was in Algebra II that fall, so racking up money was pretty easy. Regardless of where we lived, I dressed up every year until middle school and once as an adult at a church dance. One year I was a purple bunny. Another I was a ballerina. I dressed up in an antebellum-style dress the year that I discovered the movie Gone with the Wind. I even dressed up as a clown one year. My favorite costume was when I dressed up as Maleficent, my favorite character from Sleeping Beauty — actually, she’s my favorite from any Disney movie. My mom made my costumes and didn’t seem to mind that I always wanted to dress up in fun styles, even if I didn’t go out asking for candy. I’ve attended events that were Halloween-themed, as a child and as an adult. I’ve been to haunted houses and mazes, which weren’t all that thrilling. (I don’t get scared when watching thrillers and horror films, so that makes sense.) I’ve gone to autumn festivals at school. When I was 8, I had a Halloween party and three or four friends came over. It was actually the day after Halloween, which made getting food and stuff a lot easier. (Yay, post-holiday candy sales!) We had a cookie cake and used toilet paper to turn each other into mummies — you know, without the wire hanger up the nose and the organ preservation. (Yeah, I went there.) Being the day after also meant that we didn’t dress up for the party, which was probably a good thing since it was a rainy day and everyone had walked over. When I was 24, I went to a Halloween Young Single Adults (YSA) dance with other 18–30 year-old members of the LDS church in my region. I dressed up as a hippie that night and won the costume contest. I also lost one of my favorite earrings in the world on the side of I-65 that night, so there were good times and bad ones. I didn’t enjoy the good as much as I should have because I had already had a bad month — one week earlier, my friend’s car caught fire when I was in it, then I sprained my ankle later that night — so losing my earrings just added, for lack of a better phrase, fuel to that fire. RIP beloved earrings. Anyway, I digress. I know that for people who aren’t from the United States that missing out on something like trick-or-treating might seem like it isn’t that big of a deal, but it sort of is. It’s a part of our culture, especially if you’ve been privileged enough to grow up in a place where it is safe to go out. So not having that experience did sometimes make me feel like an outsider, but I didn’t really feel safe enough to have that experience — even when it actually was safe. It’s weird that I do sort of regret not having the experience. But I’m also okay with not having it. I guess that’s one of those complicated things about being an adult — coming to terms with the stuff that you experienced or didn’t experience when you were younger. But I hope that if I have kids some day that I get to take them out trick-or-treating or, at least, let them dress up like their favorite characters because I think that getting that night of fun and make-believe is really important. Happy Halloween.

I Never Went Trick-Or-Treating As a Kid