It takes an introvert to know an introvert, or does it?

Guy lying on floor says: "I have an Introvert Hangover. I'm totally exhausted from too much human interaction.

During our PALS visits at the university last week, Jelly became quite tired early on, as she often does. Despite the chaos all around her–other dogs, exam-fearing students–she lay down and fell asleep. I apologized to the student petting her at the time, telling her that Jelly often finds the visits exhausting. The student responded, “Maybe she’s an introvert.” Kids these days. They’re so smart.

I’d never really thought of Jelly as an introvert before, which is odd because I am one myself. Introverts like their alone time. They may also enjoy being with others, but they can find social interaction draining. Extraverts, on the other hand, are energized by spending time with others. They leave the party wound up rather than needing a nap. Most of us are ambiverts, falling somewhere in the middle.

Sometimes I compare myself to my extraverted friend, Ms. Bubbly (it’s Dr. Bubbly to you, but Ms. has a nicer ring to it), who is at the other end of the spectrum from me. She’s constantly running from one social event to another. I don’t know how she does it.

Ms. B always invites me to the frequent large social gatherings she holds at her home. She understands when I politely decline each and every time. She knows I’ve always found such get togethers overwhelming.

Later this month, Ms. B will be hosting her annual Hanukah party, which I have already declined. I need to save my limited social energy for two engagements we’d previously scheduled for the nights following. This means I will not get to eat any of the 12 dozen latkes she has ordered for the occasion. (You read that right: 12 dozen. She has a lot of friends.) The authentic latkes alone spur my motivation to go, but my introversion still won out. That and the potential for bruising from having to battle the crowds to get to the latkes.

Ms. B and I often go for coffee after Sunday yoga, a sign that introverts do not avoid all social interaction. They may prefer more intimate gatherings, and they enjoy solo time to regroup occasionally. When we go out, Ms. B and I have lovely visits during which we catch up on each other’s lives. I relish this one-on-one time.

I can manage small groups, so long as I don’t overdo it. Two major social engagements last weekend necessitated a day on the couch. My introversion long predated my leukemia, so I can’t blame my health. If I hang out with you, whether alone or with others, and my eyes start glossing over after a time, please trust it’s not you, it’s me.

Now that I think about it, I realize that Jelly hasn’t fallen far from this introverted tree. She prefers small groups of dogs, cowering in the bushes when larger packs approach. She, like me, assesses any situation fully before jumping in with four paws. And just as I enjoy my alone time, she is fine to amble the off-leash park on her own, stopping to greet only the most fragrant of dogs. When she is overwhelmed by a group, she does exactly what I do: she avoids the situation altogether, or she lies down and takes a nap. Like mother, like daughter.


A poor facsimile of a latke

Hanukah poster with menorah, latkes flying out of frying pan, dreidl and bottle of oil

I am pleased to report that J. is thoroughly enjoying her beer Advent calendar. J. is not drinking her beers daily–I may indulge my addiction to chocolate almost every day but she does not drink daily–because sometimes the day’s beer does not go with what we are having for dinner. Turns out that just as wine is matched with food, so is beer. We teetotallers are so ignorant.

The Advent calendar was such a success that our friends bought one too, although finding a second was not easy. It turns out beer Advent calendars are hot this year, and calling around revealed that almost all were purchased within days of being displayed in the liquor stores. Here’s my super-shopper tip for the day: find out the date for release of the Advent calendar, and buy it that day. For your efforts, 24 days of praise will ensue.

My pleas for a chocolate Advent calendar unfortunately fell on deaf ears, so I ended up buying one for myself. Maybe J. didn’t buy me one because she was trying to respect my Jewish faith. Or maybe I didn’t earn one since I don’t really understand what Advent is. This leads to my second seasonal super-shopper tip: chocolate Advent calendars are a dime a dozen, even after the start of the Advent season. Buy your chocolate advent calendar after the start of Advent. Stores never seem to run out of these calendars, the chocolate won’t yet be stale, and the price will be a steal. If you end up having to open more than one little chocolate door per day, you’ll manage to choke down the extra little chocolate, I’m sure.

Enough about Advent; Hanukah is quickly approaching. Tomorrow at sundown, we will light our menorah to mark the first night of the holiday. I will face away from our nondenominational, dog-ornamented Christmas tree to light the Hanukah candles as I sing the prayers and J. hums along. Thus will start my 8-day reprieve from Christmas. We will celebrate our version of this holiday of dreidls, chocolate coins, and of course latkes and other deep-fried foods. Where is a good Hanukah jelly donut when I need one? Oh that we were still in Israel, where I’d be able to find those donuts hot on every street corner.

Unfortunately we are not fryers, either of us. We do not heat large vats of oil and cook food in them. We do not fill our frying pans half way up for shallow frying. According to the story of Hanukah, not enough oil lasted 8 long days, and so that is the guideline I follow.

I will make my grandmother’s latke recipe as she recited it to me, almost. I’ll grate the potatoes into cold water, drain and wring them dry, mix with grated onions, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and assemble little patties. Then I will put them on a greased baking sheet, brush them with oil, and bake them. Consider my method a cooking compromise. With enough sour cream and applesauce on the side, I’ll hardly be able to tell the difference.

That’s not really true. Even if I fry them, they won’t hold a candle to Bubi’s. Nothing will.




The Ten Commandments, Dog Edition

The Christmas celebrations started this week with a pot luck at our PALS team leader’s home. How generous of her to invite our pooches to join us. Yet the closer the date came, the more my anxiety rose.

During PALS visits, the dogs’ contact with one another is limited. They are to be leashed and under our control at all times. Jelly loves these other dogs, and is tortured she can’t frolic with them on site.

What was I thinking bringing her along to this lunch, then? Without a doubt she’d be overwhelmed with delight. All the new sights and sounds and smells and unleashed friends! Before we left, I read her the riot act. I couldn’t have been more clear. This is what I told her:

  1. Thou shalt not jump on the couch, repeatedly, despite consistent scolding. This is not the retirement home.
  2. Thou shalt not inspect any counters looking for food that someone has forgotten to place out of your reach.
  3. Thou shalt not consume any detritus in the host’s backyard.
  4. Thou shalt not steal any food from unsuspecting people’s plates. Similarly thou shalt not select the target most vulnerable to such a theft.
  5. Thou shalt not become preoccupied with other dogs’ privates. This includes but is not limited to unwanted humping.
  6. That shalt not spend excessive time inspecting thy own privates. Thou shalt save that for home.
  7. Thou shalt not rifle through the host’s laundry, nor transport any soiled undergarments for all to see.
  8. Thou shalt not howl in the house, rendering the group unable to hear one another.
  9. Thou shalt not instigate play with thy friends during the meal. (See Commandment 7.)
  10. Thou shalt not mark the luxurious deep pile carpet in any way.

Despite her briefing, Jelly broke most of these commandments over the course of our visit. Why didn’t I consider that she’d shame me? Why didn’t I leave her at home?

The carpet proved especially appealing. While we chatted in the living room, Jelly scooted her nether regions along the length of it three times. God bless the gracious host who believed Jelly was “marking her territory”, tastefully reframing Jelly’s wiping her butt. Needless to say, I left the lovely get together with my tail between my legs.

Ms. Team Lead and I crossed paths today at another PALS visit. Because occasionally one apology, however sincere, is not enough, again I begged forgiveness for Jelly’s  misbehaviour at the party. I asked Ms. T.L. if she’d like Jelly’s doggie allowance to pay for carpet cleaning. “Oh, not to worry, that was nothing,” she responded graciously.

What did she mean, exactly? After we left, Ms. T.L. discovered a dog had peed voluminously on the basement rug. Thankfully, the carpet’s Scotch Guard made clean up a breeze. She attributed this misdemeanour to another dog in the group. I’d have been more likely to assume it was Jelly’s doing–past ill behaviour is the best predictor of future ill behaviour–but maybe it wasn’t.

Did Jelly keep her unseemly marking to the living room? No one will ever know for sure. Jelly has not had accidents indoors for years. Sure, she can heed those commandments; she simply chooses not to. I can assure you, she didn’t get that from me.

Terrier on bed with sign around neck: "I stole a little girl's ice cream at the park."

A story without a fairy tale ending

Cover of Hunger by Roxane Gay

As the year nears its end, I become excited about the publication of the Top 100 book lists. One book on every list I’ve seen is Hunger: A memoir of my body by Roxane Gay. When I am a grown-up writer, I want to be Roxane Gay. (Sorry Gabrielle Zevin, you’ve been usurped for now. I still love The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, though.) If you’re interested in reading Hunger, know that it’s not an easy book to get through. The author bares all in her writing.

I hadn’t known of her previously, but Roxane Gay is a respected author of both fiction and nonfiction. She is also morbidly obese in what she justly calls a fat-phobic society. She was gang raped at age 12, after which she gained weight to keep herself physically and sexually safe from others. Dr. Gay views herself as a victim rather than a survivor of her rape, and acknowledges she has not healed from the trauma. She suggests people stop judging the obese without knowing their story, and realize that fat [her word] people have other attributes too.

Dr. Gay, who has a Ph.D. in technical writing and is currently a professor at Purdue University, acknowledges years of self-loathing, challenged relationships, and discomfort in her own body. Her frankness about her life is both uncomfortable and enlightening. She described the profound effects of an emotionally abusive relationship in a way that still haunts me.

She speaks of the all-too-frequent judgement and the difficult situations that she experiences. Strangers censure what she places in her grocery cart and deride her as she walks down the street. Well-meaning friends patronize her by sharing their insights about food, nutrition, and weight loss. Professional colleagues cannot hide their surprise when, after corresponding on line, they first encounter her in her physical glory. Imagine realizing you’ve been provided a chair for a reading that will not comfortably support your body, and worrying the whole time that that chair could break.

This book helped me to imagine what being obese would feel like in a society where thinness equals beauty. Is anyone truly above judging people based on their outward appearances? I know I’m not.

Near the end of the book, Dr. Gay described an ankle break that resulted in a hospital stay, and her community of support’s unexpected rallying around her. Despite all her self-loathing, she realized how many people love her and would miss her if something were to happen to her. I was reminded of how moved I was by my own troops’ tremendous support of both me and J. when I was deathly ill in the ICU. I also recall how much I appreciated the teary hugs I received when I was finally sent home. I too felt that I would have been missed had I not survived.

I can’t say reading this book will be fun, but you too could scratch an insightful read off your Top 100 list. Like me, you may find that Dr. Gay’s insights stay with you. When I’m next on an airplane and the fattest person walking down the aisle takes the seat next to me, I’ll think about this book, and I’ll make as much room as I can. Do unto others and all….


Volunteering is not without its risks

Jelly on floor with several hands petting her during PALS visit

‘Tis the season for extra volunteering shifts. We are on the University of Calgary team that visits campus monthly to help the students manage their stress. This week, the last week of classes before exams, we have three visits. Students wait for up to an hour for 15 minutes of heavy petting.

Jelly loves going to the university because the students will sit on the floor with her and let her lick their faces with abandon. They don’t even seem to mind her shedding all over their black yoga pants.

I also enjoy these visits. They remind me of how glad I am that I’m no longer in university. I must have been a nervous wreck dealing with all that academic pressure. Also, I’m thrilled that so much of Jelly’s hair is left in the university meeting room instead of in our home. Forget about trying to brush your dog; join PALS and the students will do the job for free.

During today’s visit, Jelly was looking especially adorable, and we haven’t even brought out her Christmas costume. Because she was so endearing, as I’m sure you’d agree if you met her, many students wanted to hang out with her. When I encouraged them to fondle her very soft ears, they couldn’t help but be smitten.

Of course Jelly was the subject of many photographs today, some selfies with students and some solo shots. One young woman moaned, “Who can resist those puppy dog eyes?” That seemed like a rhetorical question to me–all canines have puppy dog eyes–but I stopped my inappropriate self from addressing this with her.

Another student, whom we’ll name Emily–Emily is the most common girls’ name in the year this student was likely born–seemed especially enamoured with Jelly. She took a few shots of Jelly lying down with her tongue sticking out. Forget the puppy dog eyes; who can resist a napping dog sticking out her tongue?

While she was visiting, Emily texted her mother, “This is Jelly,” attaching a picture. She then added, “I want her for Christmas.” Emily’s mother, bless her soul, responded with a happy face emoji. Thankfully, she did not promise to wrest our dog from us to give to her daughter for Christmas.

Just to be safe, I intervened as well. I said, “Ahem, Emily, you do understand that I am Jelly’s mother (shhh, she needn’t know I’m not Jelly’s favourite mother), and that I might pose a barrier to your taking her home?” I hope we cleared that misunderstanding up. Emily and I parted on civil terms, or at least I think we did.

I will have to keep a close watch over Christmas, however. Is it possible that, rather than coming through our chimney to deliver gifts, Santa will send an elf down to steal Jelly and take her to Emily’s home? (Do elves commit thievery to fulfil children’s wishes? I don’t know. We didn’t cover this in Hebrew school.) You can bet I’ll grab that elf off the shelf (or the mantle, in this case) if I catch him tampering with my family. Some boundaries are not to be crossed.

Obsessives everywhere are making mountains out of molehills

First a few brief updates:

  1. The three wise men may need to consult a wise woman for directions if that errant package is to arrive before Christmas.
  2. Dr. Blood Lite tells me my platelets are continuing to improve. This means that any excessive bruising I am experiencing is all of my own doing.

Now that we’ve cleared those matters up, I’ve a new focus for my fretting: Advent. I don’t know what Advent is. I’m Jewish, after all. My research revealed that Advent lasts for four Sundays each year, ending on the last Sunday before Christmas. This means that the length of Advent varies each year depending on when Christmas Day falls. This year, Advent starts December 3 and ends December 24.

2017 Craft Beer Advent Calendar boxThis information begs another more important quandary: when to give J. her 24-day Craft Beer Advent Calendar if Advent is only 22 days this year? Do I give it to her on December 3, knowing she’ll still be opening little cardboard doors well past Christmas Day, or do I give it to her today, December 1, so we can recycle the empty box with all the other Christmas refuse?

Am I the only one who sees the problem with a 24-day Advent Calendar irrespective of the length of the actual Advent period? Probably. A normal person would be excited that they’ve scored two extra beers. Also, I’m imagining daily beers does not quite capture the meaning of Advent. Daily chocolates maybe, but not beers.

I made an executive decision, based primarily on my excitement and inability to delay J.’s gratification–this is truly the perfect gift–that I would give J. the calendar today. While she was showering, I dragged all 15.4 kilograms of beer (it would have been lighter with only 22 beers) to the living room, where I placed it underneath our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. Then Jelly and I left for our walk.

Why did I vacate the premises? Normally I’d want to be there to witness J.’s glee at finding a gift, but this morning, I assumed the role of secret Advent Santa. As expected, I received a text not long after I left: Thanks Santa [insert Santa emoji here].

When Jelly and I arrived home soon thereafter, I was glad to see that J. had opened the first cardboard door and her first beer was cooling in the fridge. Had I given the calendar to her this evening, the beer would not have been chilled for her to imbibe tonight.

This time-of-day issue sound easy but it was not. My internet search revealed considerable debate over whether people start at Door 24 or Door 1, but I don’t care about that. Trust me that J. will find every single beer–she is not by nature a wasteful person–in whatever order she chooses. I found nothing about what time of day one normally opens each door. So I let the chilling factor guide me.

J., if you are reading this, please be aware that you have two more days to buy me my chocolate Advent calendar–we all have our vices–if you can tear yourself away from the beer. Purdy’s has one this year, although you may need to buy two since theirs lasts only 12 days. Thanks sweetie.

Can you keep a secret?

Oy to the world countdown to Hannukah calendar

I admit it, I missed Giving Tuesday this year. I volunteered Monday at Canadian Blood Services, and tomorrow I’ll go to a PALS visit at the retirement residence, but today I did not much of anything at all. I did make J. dinner for the first time in forever, but that doesn’t really count.

All this sleeping has been cutting into my holiday shopping time. It’s beginning to look a lot like Hanukah–okay, maybe not, there’s no escaping the Christmas music–but Jews can dream. It’s 14 sleeps until Hanukah, which has me obsessing about what to get the woman who has everything. (She has me. What more could she want?) Here are but a few of my quandaries:

  1. Why did I insist we exchange gifts for each of the eight nights of Hannukah? I can’t be creative for 8 nights in a row. Plus, if I stop at eight gifts, there’ll be nothing for under the Christmas tree.
  2. Is this the year I secure a secret Visa, so everything I buy J. does not end up on our joint credit card? How else can I keep my purchases from J.? Last year I used cash, but those young sales clerks did not know what it was. This year, I’ve tried to debit, but mastering this new skill set has been a challenge.
  3. Am I the only person under 80 who’d rather go to a real live store than do my shopping on line? I want to see what I’m buying and walk out with the goods. Is that a sin?
Stuffed singing matzo ball in a bowl of soup, says Happy Hannukah

A stuffed toy: singing matzo ball


After a recent experience on Buy Nothing Day (which happens to coincide with Black Friday), I may have to rethink my gifting strategy altogether. I went shopping at the mall with all the old people. Where was everyone else? Home shopping on line, I imagine. I immediately found The Gift, but in the wrong size. (Yes, J., I was seeking an article of clothing, but that’s all I’m saying.) I approached a bored clerk.

According to the store’s computer, The Gift was somewhere in the store, but it was MIA during a physical search. The sales clerk checked another location on her computer and found The Gift there. Another extensive ground search at that store revealed that this item too was nowhere to be found. I then learned that “the computers are sometimes not up to date (???)”, and was informed that The Gift was available for on-line ordering. The clerk suggested I take a photo of her computer screen to facilitate my ordering.

Was I was being punished for shopping on Buy Nothing Day? Or for deigning to shop in person?

Hannukah stuffed dog with menorah on its backI made the purchase reluctantly on line, using our joint credit card. Then I reminded J. of our strict no-checking-the-Visa rule in December. The Gift is now in transit but it has headed east province by province before being redirected west. Hopefully three wise men will drop it off on their way to Bethlehem.

In the end, my efforts to ensure those store clerks were not replaced by computers were all for naught. All roads led to my need for a secret Visa. Of course J. has had one for years. Search me what I’ll find under the Hanukkah bush.




How to survive a jump off the cliff

Whoops! I guess I’ve been misspeaking by calling my CML drug chemotherapy. The daily medication I’m on is not technically a chemotherapy. My tyrosine-kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are actually called targeted therapies. They stop my CML-causing genetic mutation from producing leukemia cells, and they really work. At last count, there were very few of these deadly cells hanging out inside me.

The only problem with TKIs is that they have side effects that can render them intolerable for some patients. I’ve had few difficulties with the medication–I barely notice I’m on it–with occasional exceptions. While it effectively inhibits my cancer cells, my TKI reduces the production of my white cells and platelets as well. That’s why my white blood count is much lower than it used to be, which is not a bad thing. It’s the TKIs’ platelet-lowering effect that is proving to be problematic of late.

When my liver was misbehaving a few weeks back, Dr. Blood Lite was concerned about my lack of platelets. There just weren’t enough of those sticky cells swimming around. This makes me vulnerable to bruising and bleeding. I had noticed small changes that I had attributed to the perils of travel. I always come home bruised from vacation, mostly due to my clumsy suitcase handling. This time I was covered in black and blue, although I hadn’t had any major incidents like falling or walking into walls. I must have been going through a sensitive period.

My bruises started healing upon my return, and indeed my platelet counts had risen when last assessed. Over the past few days, I may be having a little backslide, however. One bruise I can attribute to yesterday’s gruelling dolphin pose in yoga class. God did not intend for my body to mimic the dolphin. Dolphin pose puts a lot of pressure on my elbows, so the bruising is almost expected.

Only this morning’s repeat blood test will confirm whether my platelets have tanked again. If they are low, Dr. Blood Lite may insist I suspend my TKIs for a few weeks to allow my bone marrow a reprieve. As he said, my drug has been working so well that a few weeks off should not be a problem.

A drug holiday is not a problem for him, I’m sure, but how about me? If you were on a medication that was keeping you alive, would you want to tamper with it? To me, this feels like bungee jumping with a faulty cord. Oh, and a deadly fear of heights. I know rationally that a break from my TKIs will not make my leukemia cells proliferate wildly, but I’m not always rational at times like this.

If the doctor suspends my TKIs, I will take that leap of faith since I trust him with my life. I will close my eyes and jump. I may know that I’ll be fine with a short reprieve, yet I’ll feel better once I can resume treatment again. To me, it will feel like being back on solid ground.

In the meantime, no more dolphin poses for me. Better safe than bruised.

woman bungee jumping in midair

Consent by any other name is not so sweet

One of psychologists’ core ethical principles is maintaining appropriate boundaries with our clients. We all define appropriate boundaries in our own way, but there are certain immutable guidelines. Here are mine.

I do not spend time with clients outside a therapy session, either on line or in person. This means not being Facebook friends, not going for dinner together, not meeting up for the latest exhibit at the art gallery, and not signing up for the same yoga class. If a client ends up in yoga with me, that’s different; as long as I don’t orchestrate our co-attendance, and we don’t have an unplanned therapy session during savasana, I have not violated these rules.

To take this one step further, any ethical psychologist does not engage in a sexual or romantic relationship with a client ever. Some might consider such a relationship permissible after the therapeutic relationship ends, but not me. If you can’t figure out why that shift in boundaries would be inappropriate, I’d suggest you not become a therapist.

Thus, if I am a client’s therapist, I can’t also be his employee or his best friend or his soccer coach. This philosophy is clearly foreign to the entertainment industry. Daily of late another idiot confesses under duress to behaving in a sexually inappropriate manner with one or two or 60 people over whom he has had power. These abusers’ power lies in their potential positive or negative influence on that person’s career. Maybe I can educate this industry to end these long-standing abuses of power.

The Harvey Insights

  1. If you are in a position of power over an individual, whether as a movie producer or a mentor or a coach or a boss or a teacher or a parent or a therapist, do not engage in a sexual relationship with that person.
  2. If the object of your interest is 40+ years your junior, let’s assume there is an inherent power imbalance. In other words, date someone your own age.
  3. If you hold meetings in your hotel room and forget to wear clothes, your behaviour may be construed as sexually improper.
  4. If your ungentlemanly sexual behaviour is the talk of the town, be aware that at some point the police may get involved.

If it is too late for you, and you have already made gross (in all senses of the word) errors in judgement, consider that the following are not valid excuses for your behaviour.

The Life-Is-No-Longer-a-Bed-of-Roses Excuses

  1. I was drunk and I can’t remember abusing you.
  2. I was confused about my sexual identity at the time.
  3. I have a sexual addiction. (Sorry, folks, there is no such thing as a sexual addiction, and thus no treatment for this fictitious ailment. Sexual addicts are people unwilling to admit to their propensity to abuse others sexually.)
  4. I thought she consented. (Have you already forgotten that 40+ year age difference and the inherent power imbalance mentioned earlier? Perhaps you’re suffering from age-related memory loss. You might want to investigate that. Oh, and stop flattering yourself.)

Finally, consider that not saying yes may mean no. If you put on your reading glasses, you might better be able to read between those lines, fellas. Don’t miss the oh-so-subtle signs of your subordinate’s fleeing screaming from your hotel room.

Quote: It's not consent if you are making me afraid to say no

The princess and the pee

Red basset hound licking woman's face

We’ve been home from our international adventure for two weeks now, and my post-vacation fever is long gone, but my mellow yellow phase seems to be hanging on. I don’t quite feel like myself, although I feel like I should by now. I’ve been dabbling in yoga and walking the dog, and Jelly and I have been PALSing around, yet when I’m at home, I am crashing.

I don’t want to admit that I’m still unwell. I tell myself my symptoms are all in my head. Maybe jet lag is hanging on. Maybe I’m depressed because our trip is over. Maybe I’m overexerting myself during the day. My blood test results were almost back to normal, so I don’t have reason to feel so crummy. But I do feel crummy. I can’t seem to make it through the day, and sometimes not even through the morning, without a nap.

Yesterday, for example, I took the dog to the dog park so she could eat sticks (why else do dogs go to the park?), I came home briefly, whereupon J. and I headed to the grocery store. We were home by 11 a.m. and I felt like I’d been up for hours. As I sat down to script my Monday post, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Before I knew it, I was talking to the couch.

Annie: Hi Couch.

Couch: Hi Annie. Short time no see.

Annie: Ha ha. Hey Couch, I was wondering, would you mind if I lay down for a bit?

Couch: I was actually hoping for a little alone time today. You’re seeming a little needy lately. How about talking to Bed instead?

Annie: Are you crazy, Couch? If I go to Bed, I’ll have to admit that I’m still sick. Bed is where sick people nap. I’m not sick. 

Couch: All right, but could you take the other end today? My right side is stiff from all this laying about.

Annie lays down on the other end of the couch. Within minutes, she is out cold, completely missing who said yes to what dress. About an hour later, she is awoken by the pitter patter of poorly trimmed dog nails.

Jelly: [Licking Annie’s face, which is at perfect Basset height] Hey mom, whassup?

Annie: [Firmly] Back to your bed, Jelly.

Jelly: [Whining] But mom….


Jelly sighs and then briefly returns her bed, whereupon Annie promptly falls back to sleep. Within minutes, Jelly is back up and pacing.

Jelly: [Urgently] Mom, pretty pretty please, could you take me out? I really have to go. I’m gonna have an accident. Please mom!

Annie: Jelly, sometimes it’s not all about you.

And so Annie dragged herself off the couch, put on her coat, and took the dog out to piddle. So much for the nap. And Couch was relieved to finally have some alone time.

As you have probably gleaned from this story, I’m not quite myself yet, even though I expected to be back to my normal by now. When exhaustion is my sole symptom, I struggle to accept that I am sick. Would I be more kind to myself if I had a cold? Maybe not. My denial runs deep.