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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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It’s the little things.

So Friday my family went to Italy. The whole Italy trip is a complicated and dangerous subject, and I won’t get into it! You can’t make me! The bottom line is they all went and I did not. Which I thought I was totally over because after all I had six months to get used to the idea; they were going on my birthday (well, okay, two days before) and I was a little sad about that, but it’s not like I usually see my family members on my birthday anyway, so whatever. When they originally made these plans I hadn’t known we were going to move, so feeling set apart from them in our New New Jersey-ness didn’t help my feelings about the trip, and on my birthday I found that I was perhaps more upset about it than I had anticipated (read: wept until I thought I might throw up). And yes, I know, we moved two hours away, it’s not like we live in Alaska, OMG GET OVER YOURSELF, but wow, I felt sorry for myself that day.

And that night! I started losing my hearing! And by Monday morning my right ear was throbbing and shooting pains were radiating into my brain and also! Peeing felt like I was being stabbed in the pelvic region, and we all know what that means, don’t we, girls? So I call my nice New Jersey doctor, who calls in antibiotic drops for my poor ear and antibiotics for my poor bladder and I stagger around yesterday feeling like a steaming pile of dung, but as I pointed out to my husband, at least I can’t hear my screams when I’m trying to pee!

I woke up today fully expecting to 1) feel better and 2) there’s no #2, but in fact my bladder feels worse, and I went to see my doctor! And he says! That! I need another antibiotic for my ear because I have a more serious infection than he previously thought, and that it seems my bladder infection might be resistant to these antibiotics, and I really should see a female urologist as I get bladder infections if I look at a cup of coffee or if I even say the word “tampon,” and I’m sitting on the examining table hearkening back in my mind to my bladder surgery when I was ten, and please oh pleeease don’t make me do that again, and I want my mommy! But I don’t tell the doctor that! Because I think he would have climbed on a plane to go get her!

But then I was waiting in the waiting room (where you wait) for the doctor to provide me with yet another passel of prescriptions (does my local pharmacist believe that I have the clap? Oh, yes he does) and while I’m waiting, the man sitting next to me is talking on his cell phone about his medical problem. And he says, “I’m calling about my swollen bone.”

And I started to laugh. And I couldn’t stop. I’m hiding behind More magazine (because I’m not over 40 yet, but it’s only a THREE YEARS AWAY) and he keeps saying it. “I’m just not getting relief with this swollen bone. This swollen bone is really a distraction for me. I’d really appreciate it if you could get your hands on my swollen bone.”

He didn’t really say that last part, but my god—thank you, sir. I’m sure your condition is painful, but it brought me joy.

Reader Comments (81)

I also had bladder surgery as a kid. I feel your pain. I have striations in my urethra that cause tons of UTIs. I recently started taking 500 mg of vitamin C a day and now my urine is so acidic, it kills bacteria! That's right, move on bad boys, no infections in 8 months! Anyhoos, I hope it works for you if you haven't tried it yet.
May 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCara
My entire family went to Italy as well a couple of years ago. At the time, two of our adoptions weren't final yet and they couldn't leave the country. I stayed home and even my husband went to Italy! I felt bad at first, but counted my blessings that we had two more beautiful children added to our "forever family." Don't worry. You will get your turn!
May 31, 2006 | Unregistered Commentertallulah
Feel better sweetie and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :)

May 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChristieNY
Happy (?) birthday Alice! Total sympathies on the icky birthday stuff. My 16th - pneumonia and I made lasagna for my family...but dropped it taking it out of the oven because I felt so woozy from the pneumonia. My 21st - quit smoking on that day (stupid stupid stupid!) and my sister took me out to dinner with her new boyfriend but she didn't have enough to pay for both his dinner and mine so paid for his and made me pay for my own.

And thanks to everyone on the pee-after-sex tip - the things they don't teach in sex ed!
May 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterOogleboogle
I had to de-lurk to share my UTI solution: D-Mannose, mentioned in an earlier comment. A teaspoon every day and I haven't had one in 8 months, after having three of them in six months. Nothing else worked for me - not cranberry juice or pills, not vitamin C, not even peeing after sex (which I still highly recommend). I had raging UTIs that went from zero to screaming in about two hours.

I also keep Cystex handy just in case - it's an antibacterial pill with an analgesic and it's available over the counter.

Feel better soon, Alice, and happy belated birthday!!

May 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCMC
oh you poor thing! wow, you've had a time of it... but alas! all is not lost! the SWOLLEN BONE??? those moments are like little gifts from the universe that I can FULLY appreciate.

swollen bone?

damn I'm going to be thinking about this for the rest of the week.
May 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Charnas
for some reason, of all the funny lines in this post, the one i can't stop laughing at is "waiting in the waiting room (where you wait.)" alice, you are a funny bunny. thank you for writing. and happy birthday in spite of it all.
May 31, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlizpenn
I love that I can count on you to make me a) expel whatever beverage I happen to be drinking while reading your blog right out of my nose or b) pee my pants a little.

Hope the infections clear up rapidly, poor girl.

And Happy Birthday!!!
May 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTits McGee
My whole family went to England when I was a junior in college. They insist that they invited me, but I know that they didn't (hey, I was a college student! A free trip to England would have stuck out in my memory). It hurt a lot, and 23 years later, I still get pissed about it.

I hope you feel better, and happy belated birthday!
May 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLiz
I get UTIs all the time, but I've found a product that really seems to help (and within a day). It's called D-Mannose. It's a simple sugar in a pill form. The UTI bacteria adhere to the simple sugar and are eliminated in the urine. Take one or two after intercourse if that's your trigger. It's expensive, but better than multiple courses of antibiotics. My doctor has had me use a quarter of a Cipro tablet after intercourse and that works well too.
May 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
My fellow Gemini,I too have never been so lonely as for my upcoming birthday, but the "swollen bone" made me laugh harder than I have in days. Thank you. And happy belated birthday.
May 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLori
As a comforting note, imagine how bad you would have felt if your distressing ear condition kicked in while you were on the plane! I know someone whose eardrum ruptured in similar circumstances.

Also, being ill while in a foreign country with foreign tongues and the most apalling approach to driving I had ever seen is not fun either.

I hope you get better soon.
June 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNia
do you think you have interstitial cystitis? I don't know what it is, but they thought I had it in my early 20s. I didn't; I was just neurotic about my bladder, and upping my water intake to 8 glasses a day flushed out my plumbing and made the problem go away.

I know we're supposed to "just let it go," but that's unrealistic. Make a friend write the entry and you post it. Your public deserves to know.
June 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Keyishian
Sorry, Amy, my family is more important than my public.
June 1, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteralice
Alice! Happy belated and enjoy being on the other side of 40 (while you can!)Hope that you are all better soon! I just can't get into that More magazine--and I am over 40! Just makes me feel like a geez-AH. Which I am, but do not need to be reminded of...
June 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJaycee
And you should have felt sorry for yourself. We need to mother ourselves a lot of the time because no one else will.I'm glad that your day included an insane laughing fit. Great for body and soul!
June 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBeverlee
WOW, sorry you are in pain but I'm cracking up over here. And that guy needs some serious help with his bone.
June 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLeta
Brown furry balls and now swollen bones. What's next?! Who KNEW New Jersey could be so exciting? :-)
June 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJustAnotherMom
I wasn’t going to pipe up on the topic of bladders, but since somebody already mentioned it…I have the dreaded Interstitial Cystitis another commenter mentioned. It’s not exactly common, but I will say your case looks a little suspicious, particularly with the whole "just looking at a cup of coffee" causing problems (that’s me too) and recurrent bladder pain. IC is basically a constantly pissed off bladder because it’s inflamed and some of the lining is gone. It’s an immune disorder, and other things tend to go along with it: anxiety, fibromyalgia, allergies, and a host of other sensitivities. I started taking antibiotics last fall, which seemed to clear it up—but it was temporary. If it’s IC it’s going to keep coming back. I didn’t realize I was triggering it with what I was eating (diet is key to eliminating symptoms), but I figured it out pretty quickly since two other members of my family also have it. Here’s a little tidbit many people don’t know…if you have a bladder infection, pure cranberry juice can be a good thing. If, on the other hand, you actually have IC, it’s one of the worst things you can drink—it’s like an acid bomb. Anything acid, including vitamin C, is really bad news…because it goes right to those spots where the lining is trashed. You could try the IC diet and see if that helps. If it does, you may have your answer, and you’ll have relief immediately. In any case, it can’t hurt.

I sure hope you feel better soon. I guess we’ll be the ones drinking watered-down tea at Blogher.

As for Italy, I think we can safely assume Alice wasn’t kidding when she said she doesn’t want to talk about it.
June 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAngela
I am so sorry you didn't go to Italy.I would have bawled my eyes bloodshot, eaten my weight in ice cream & Kit Kats, and felt even worse after it was over.I extend to you my strongest sympathy on the ear and pelvic issues....nobody understands that unless they have them!!!(I'm dealing w/ ear stuff now....)I am SOOO sorry you had to deal with that anyway, but to have to deal with that ALONE!That breaks my heart.Just know you are NOT alone - and have such good company here....I would love to have been a fly on the wall of that waiting room - "Mr. Bone Problem" cracked me up...well, the mental pic of you laughing behind that magazine....laughter does make it all better doesn't it?Hang in there and thank you for bravely sharing....Happy Birthday too by the by - I'm new to your writing so it reminded me that we are the same age - those 3 yrs scare me a little as they creep up...

June 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa M.
I missed out on Italy with my family last year! We must be twins!

There is no sorrow to match watching them all happy and joyful and excited while you sit grumpily in the corner feeling sorry for yourself. I know. I feel your pain. Let's eat gelato.
June 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaylabean
oh my god. my swollen bone- that just pulled me out of any self pitying and made me laugh my ass off. thank you for sharing your bad day and comic relief. hope you are feeling better.
June 2, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkimblahg
I laughed so hard I spit out my gum. Swollen bone? As in the hard calcium enriched things in your body? They swell? Seriously? I hope he wasn't talking about his you-know-what. Cripes. I'm still laughing.
June 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDana
I'm glad Leah was first to mention the peeing in the shower after sex - I thought of it but was too sissy to say it... think I did tell my daughter, at least.

Also - it sounds nutty, but I haven't had to get medical treatment for one, single ear infection once I made it a habit to sing in the shower - hard on the family, but better for the eustachian tubes or something...

Happy Birthday Alice!

June 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie in Austin
Another Interstitial Cystitis sufferer here. The 'coffee' thing makes me suspicious... Research it and see what you find, then talk to your Dr. I am on heavy-duty antihistamines (possibly for the rest of my life) and if I avoid coffee (URG), tea, raw onions and citrus fruit, I'm usually okay.

Have you tried Uristat or AZO Standard for the burning? WARNING: Wear a pantyliner (sweet jesus I'm telling a stranger on the Internet to wear a pantyliner) or it'll stain your panties AND NEVER EVER EVER take it on an empty stomach.

Feel better!
June 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

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