Music

When given a choice during my sickest years, I would always choose whichever option was most familiar to me. New experiences take effort whether it’s becoming familiar with the characters in a new TV show, navigating a different route to a destination, or trying a new recipe. I didn’t have the brain power for any new information to stick, so I stuck with what I knew – and this also applied to music.

There was a stretch of several years where I only listened to one band: Black Sabbath. You might think that’s a pretty small group of song to pick from but it gets even better: I only listed to the 1980-1996 era of Black Sabbath. I’ve always had a preference for their rarely-celebrated later years for some reason. When Ozzy Osbourne was fired in 1979, Ronnie James Dio took over for a bit, then there were a few unstable years before Tony Martin finally gave the band some stability as he remained singer for their final decade of existence.

did shake thing up from time to time… sort of. I rarely listened to the studio albums. I instead listened to live performances after discovering places online where they could be downloaded. These came from several sources of varying quality: soundboard recordings that were broadcast over the radio or TV, high-quality audience recording, and barely listenable garbage. There were dozens of recordings available for each tour with usually at least one high-quality recording. This allowed me to change things up from time to time without leaving my comfort zone.

Music was part of my nightly routine during these years. I would take my sleep meds on an empty stomach, have something to eat, then once I felt drowsy enough I’d pop a CD-R into my nearby stereo and listen on a low volume until I fell asleep. Music wasn’t really something to enjoy during this time of my life, it was just something to fill the silence.


My enjoyment of music and the desire to explore new songs had a brief boost in my early 20s. There was a period of about three years or so at this time of my life where I would drink alcohol as often as it was available to me. By then the Adderall wasn’t working as well and I had constant muscle pain from years of trying to live like a healthy person. Alcohol was great at numbing the physical pain, allowing me to get through physical activity from standing up through a concert to sex. What I enjoyed most about booze though were its psychological effects.

Stimulants make you cold and unfeeling but when I drank I was able to feel. I could laugh, cry, become angry, passionate, etc. It didn’t matter if they were positive or negative emotions – feeling anything at all made me feel like a human being for once.

Getting drunk was my way of self-medicating before I understood the science of how and why I enjoyed it. Have you ever had a few drinks (or more) and really enjoyed a song? Picture the stereotypical drunk girl at a party, what is she doing? She’s up on the table dancing her ass off telling everyone around her “THIS IS MY SONG!” What about the booze causes this effect?

The neurotransmitter GABA is partially responsible. Altering the amount of GABA floating around in the brain will dramatically alter the way a person feels. Prescription drugs that increase the amount of GABA in the brain are used to treat insomnia (Restoril, Halcion), anxiety (Xanax, Valium) and used as muscle relaxers (Lyrica, Baclofen). Alcohol also (indirectly) increases the amount of GABA in the brain. That, combined with its short-term effects on other neurotransmitters like dopamine, makes music sound great.


I stopped drinking years ago when the aftermath stopped being worth the couple hours of pleasure, and spent the next couple of years finding myself listening to Black Sabbath live shows again.

I stopped using Adderall for most of 2014 which allowed my brain to bounce back slightly. As long as I didn’t take it every day anymore, it was one again providing me some energy and flooding my brain with dopamine. A year or two later I discovered Baclofen which increases the amount of GABA in the brain and noticed something interesting: Music sounded better than it ever has before! This feeling was similar to but very different than the way I enjoyed music with alcohol and fortunately a lot better.

The first time noticed this, the first time I really felt music in a long time, was when I heard the song “Arizona” by the Scorpions:

My favorite part of this song is the guitar lick that happens shortly after 1:05. I can’t describe the feeling this song gave me with words beyond saying it was euphoric and I was nearly brought to tears. I make the alcohol comparison because I imagine that’s the closest feeling most people have had to get them to relate to this, but it this was a truly different and better experience.

I frequently got sidetracked for hours when a good song would become more important than whatever I was trying to achieve at the time. I revisited old favorites, bands I discovered in my teens but hadn’t listened to since. I explored new bands in my usual genres of hard rock and metal. What surprised me most though was that I found myself enjoying genres I never explored before!

I moved from rock, to pop, to funk, to jazz, to classical, to ragtime piano. Each time I discovered something new, I would branch off in several different directions and couldn’t keep up with myself.

Home listening is just one part of the music experience. I plan to write about attending live music in the audience as well as performing live music myself in the future.


Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture is so badass it has a cannon in it (at 5:00)


I saw P-Funk live last year and it was incredible.


Everyone knows this one, but I didn’t appreciate it until recently.


For whatever reason I enjoy songs about paranoia, so the “Are we under their control?” line really works for me.

Things On My Mind – 1/26/2018

We’re a few weeks into 2018 and the things I’ve done so far are incredible, but it has come at a price and I don’t know if this level of activity is sustainable.

When 2017 started I thought I was ready to crank things up to the next level. I had things I wanted to do, ideas… I wanted to finally take a shot at stand up comedy, play music at different venues, start writing in a regular and organized manner, look for part-time work, and many other things. I still had a pretty good year, but I had to postpone a lot of those goals when some health setbacks occurred. One year later in 2018, I’ve gotten those issues under control and am armed with more knowledge and tools in my arsenal to take that next step forward. I’m almost where I wanted to be last year.

All the things I listed above, I’ve been doing. I’ve been having a lot of new experiences in new places with new people, and with new peo ple comes new opportunities. I have some exciting plans later in the year that have given me that kick in the ass to get to the gym to try and get my body – a body that still spends many hours a day laying in bed in front of a laptop – in better shape. Every day I get up, head to the post office to ship out my latest eBay sales, work on some wild mild music idea (like trying to figure out which genre of music I’m going to play drums over a medley of next), do some cardio and lift weights, meet with friends, and discuss plans.

It’s really taking a toll on my body. For the last few months, I’ve been able to maintain a Mon-Fri schedule, and sleep through the weekends to rest up. At first, I would start getting pretty tired by Friday… then Thursday became difficult too… and now this week, I was already feeling exhausted on Tuesday. The symptoms of exhaustion have been nearly constant, and as soon as things start wearing off around 9pm-11pm I have a couple of choices: take more meds, or drive home before the dizziness gets worse and interferes with doing so safely. There have been a couple occasions so far this year that it gets to the point where extra meds don’t even help and all I can do is lay in bed. This would be fine if I could just sleep it off, but I can’t sleep well until these meds get out of my system.

I didn’t start this blog to bitch about fatigue, you can find that in plenty of other places on the internet. The exhaustion I’ve been feeling is a positive thing, it’s the result of doing so much. I can live with the daily fatigue and there are ways I can distract myself from it. Staying engaged socially helps a lot – I might be tired but I can remain in a good mood if I’m in the right company. My worry though is that I constantly feel like I’m tiptoeing on the edge, that hour I’m just a decision or two away from rendering myself unable to stand up or drive home.

One thing has remained a constant during the last few years… if I have a symptom that’s really bothering me or I’m not happy with the way I’m feeling, I can figure something out if I set my mind to it.

Next week, I’m going hunting for answers.

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Things On My Mind – 1/20/2018

I’m typing up all the thoughts in my head without rereading the post or editing. Enjoy the ride.


People enjoy hearing storing of overcoming life’s obstacles, so I share them when they happen and I have a pretty good one at the moment.

I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed feeling shitty as much as I did the past 48 hours. I did a lot this week so last night I hit my limit and started having exhaustion symptoms. When this happens I get dizzy, sweaty, nauseous, and have trouble thinking clearly. Standing up is like tipping over an hour glass and I only get 30 seconds on my feet before I start vomiting. I can usually feel this coming – I basically start feeling milder versions of all these symptoms. I can avoid vomiting by heeding the warning and laying down and staying hydrated.

Last night, an exceptional night of music was coming to an end at Rick’s when I started feeling this coming. There was a problem – I was totally out of food at home and needed to go shopping. I decided to try and get it done anyway because I was going to be either equally tired or worse the next day. I had about 10 minutes left of shopping to do when exhaustion moved into its next stage and for a few minutes I thought I was going to puke in one of the aisles. I tried to speed things up and finish. My cloudy mental state led to a couple of unusual purchases, like a boneless frozen turkey (I didn’t see the chicken breasts I was looking for, and it was close enough). I usually use the self-checkout but I looked for one with a cashier so I could lean on something for a few minutes but none were open. I could tell that I was visibly exhausted, and employee noticed because as I approached the open self-checkout station, she saw me and asked “Would you like me to ring you up on aisle #?” It gave me a minute to lean over and get some temporary relief from the discomfort. I sat in the car for a minute to make sure I could drive home, and I did. After laying in bed for a half hour I put the groceries away the only way I could: by sitting on the floor next to whichever drawers I was putting food into at the time, spending 30 seconds here and there on my feet because that’s all I could do. After another short rest, I realized there were some other things I needed to do so I put together an environment of distractions to surround me while getting it done. I threw on a Macho Man Randy Savage documentary and had a chat with my brother, keeping me occupied.

Today I woke up after a decent amount of sleep hoping it was enough to hold off the fatigue but I got that feeling of impending exhaustion again at 6pm. I had plans with friends at 8pm that I was really looking forward to. I kept my plans, but took some precautions. I got a ride there and back in case I became too dizzy to drive home safely. I made it. I ended up drinking a shitload of water and taking a lot of Adderall. The physical energy it provides is the first effect to wear off after 4-5 hours (the other effects, mental energy and wakefulness last for a good 20h) so I had to keep re-dosing to postpone the crash and it totaled a large (but safe) amount. I had a great time playing music and having laughs with friends. While the feeling of lingering exhaustion never left me, staying engaged socially prevented it from being an obstacle. I eventually did hit that point where I needed to stop, but when it finally happened, we were all sitting on a couch playing a game so I didn’t have to stop doing what we were doing and everybody was heading home a half hour later anyway.

Exhaustion aside, even though by now it’s been a couple years reconnecting with old friends and building a larger social circle than ever before I still don’t take moments like this for granted. Every few hours I at my surroundings and think “Whoa, this is my life now? I have many of the things I wanted all those years?” I don’t mean to harp on it, but it was only a few years ago that it still seemed beyond my reach and in fact many of the things I’ve been doing I couldn’t even imagine.


I have some interesting things on the horizon. Coincidentally, several opportunities to play live music have landed on dates this week and next so music-related brainstorming and preparation what’s currently occupying much of my time.

A couple days ago, I attended an open mic in Providence that featured some of the most unique and talented performers I’ve ever seen. I checked out all the open mics in the area last year to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything and while I met a lot of nice people, none of them were worth returning to. I guess all the exceptional people have been in Providence all this time. It took place in a small art museum with wooden floors and walls which provided a unique environment with lots of reverb. There were a few dozen people there and each performer got 5 minutes, keeping a quick pace. Get a load of this, I saw:
• Musicians playing a wide variety of instruments (a couple of which I’ve never seen before)
• A guy that played the banjo while singing in an odd Mongolian folk throat style
• A few comedians including a man that was deaf until age 40 cured by a cochlear implant. He looked like Barney Rubble and told a lot of self-deprecating, morbid jokes and was hilarious.
• A female duo named Fanny and Dani, an accordion player and vocalist who sang a medley of songs in French. They were my favorite. Actually, they’re going to get their own paragraph:

When I started taking Baclofen 2-3 years ago, the GABA it flooded my brain with caused me to enjoy music to such a degree that I was nearly moved to tears. The only way I can explain this that will relate to many people is by comparing it to alcohol which also fills you with GABA – if you’ve ever really enjoyed a song after drinking it’s due to a similar thing happening in the brain, it’s why people love to sing and dance after a few drinks. Anyway, I started to really feel music emotionally again for the first time in a while. I began to appreciate many genres that I never did before like classical, ragtime piano, and funk. I explored this new feeling as often as possible, I listened to all the bands I’ve ever loved and all the new bands I had discovered. I don’t enjoy music any less than I did during this time, but I haven’t had that euphoric feeling where my eyes start to water in at least a year. While these two were playing, I got that feeling again and it took a little bit of effort to avoid becoming visibly emotional.

I took a brief video with my cheap phone that I posted on my personal Facebook page:


People have been telling me for my entire life that I’m hilarious and should take a crack at stand up comedy. I always thought about it but considered myself to be more witty as in, I’m good at saying funny things spontaneously to comment on situations that occur in front of me. Creating the situation yourself from scratch in a stand up act is a different entirely. Plus, I don’t even enjoy stand up comedy. Much like TV and movies, when I’m medicated I’m too stimulated to enjoy sitting still focused on a passive activity like that and otherwise I’m too tired too follow it. Regardless, last year I decided that I was going to give it a shot but as 2017 started, it was one of the many goals for that year that sleep apnea derailed.

Although that forced me to wait, I started writing down any thoughts I had that with potential to be turned into jokes. I’ve written many things down since then, but it’s very similar to the way that I used to come up with riffs and jingles but rarely came up with full songs – I ended up writing down a lot of half-jokes, funny observations, and jokes with deliveries that were yet to be determined. While listening to these comedians at the Providence open mic, I was in my head brainstorming and connecting the dots to finish many of these jokes. What I’m getting at is, this open mic experience came along at the perfect time and is the perfect venue to give comedy a shot myself. I’m going to return in a month and try it for the first time.


As I’m writing this it’s 6:40AM. It’s not uncommon for me to stay awake this late into the morning when I’m planning on resting on the following day. Tomorrow I won’t have the ability to accomplish the things important to me now and in fact they won’t even be important any more, I’ll be too tired to care. I stay up late to cling to every additional minute that I can keep this momentum before slowing to a crawl and eventually starting again on Monday. The other reason I do this is so I can easily fall asleep without Temazepam. I didn’t have Temazepam in my arsenal until recently, and it’s no coincidence that I haven’t had to deal with any sleepless nights recently. Seroquel works partially in the opposite way that Adderall does – it blocks dopamine, which along with norepinephrine floods your brain when you take Adderall. That sounds like Seroquel would make for the perfect drug to get some sleep on these days and while it is indeed pretty good, it isn’t enough to work reliably. During the many years that I took Seroquel to sleep (along with Trazadone, a gentler sedative) I just accepted that insomnia was a part of my life, something that occurred at least monthly, sometimes weekly.

Here’s the problem (which I mentioned earlier). Adderall has three stimulating effects that help me function: physical energy, mental clarity, and wakefulness. The physical energy wears off after 4-5 hours, but the other effects last about 20 hours. See the problem? The rest of the world is going to keep living on their 24-hour clock without caring if I slept or not. If the day was 30-something hours long this health puzzle might be half as difficult, but in order to live a 24-hour day I have to do this constant push-and-pull with my energy level. I wake up tired and I go to bed wide awake every day. This led to a built of guilt for many years before I really understood how these meds worked and realized that expecting to sleep the way most people do was unrealistic. Once I understood this, I gained the freedom to do one of two things: I could explain it to people that expected me to go to bed at a decent hour and make them understand too, or if that didn’t work I could disregard their criticism because I couldn’t meet their demands even if I wanted to. You can’t go to bed early with amphetamines in your system, only later.

The original point I was leading towards but got away from is that the other reason why I stay up so late on my last day before a couple days of rest is that by waiting so long after my last dose of Adderall, Seroquel puts me to sleep reliably.


Perhaps I’ll write more of these “Things On My Mind” posts in the future. There are always things on my mind, but today’s situation was perfect for spontaneously writing out all of my thoughts. I’m very stimulated and the gears are turning in my head yet I’m too exhausted to do much else, and I had a very eventful week full of new memories and ideas.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to sleep for a couple of days.

The Importance of Environment

Think about the way your dentist’s office smells. When that smell is in the air, how does it affect you? Do you start to feel anxious or uncomfortable like you Would rather be anywhere else? Does it trigger memories of previous appointments, maybe that one time when the dentist poked the wrong spot and stabbed you in the gums?

Our environments have a much stronger influence on our feelings and behaviors than we often realize. Even when we’re consciously aware of some of a particular environment’s effects, there are others at play that we don’t realize. Personally, if I’m trying to accomplish something, the worst place I can be is the spot I wake up in every day: my bedroom.

I’m very comfortable in my bedroom. I have a large bed with plenty of room for both my 6’1″ 200lb body and my laptop. Distractions are few and far between living on a quiet street surrounded by trees which muffle most sounds emanating from the nearby highway. Inside the house is equally quiet, as I live with my quiet, predictable parents. To get even more comfortable with my surroundings, I recently covered my plain white walls with images that excite and inspire me:

posters
I’ll write about my walls in this blog at some point, but for now you can read more in this Reddit post.

However, laying in bed in front of my laptop is the way I spent most of my time during my worst years. After spending so many years feeling like crap wasting time on my laptop while laying in bed, I’m now conditioned to do exactly that: feel like crap and waste time on my laptop whenever I’m laying in bed. I browse Reddit, check Facebook, and search YouTube. The only productive thing I regularly do while laying in bed is my daily moneymaking routine which usually consists of an hour’s worth of whichever marketing jobs are available for the day, earning me a few bucks.

It’s hard enough dragging my ass out of bed on days when I feel relatively fine, but if I’m behind on sleep or otherwise dealing with additional fatigue it can be a real challenge. I started becoming aware of the fact that I subconsciously look for any excuse to stay in bed a little longer, fooling myself into thinking I’m being productive. For example, I have a set of tools I developed to complete those aforementioned marketing jobs more quickly and efficiently – I’ve made buttons to copy-and-paste email addresses and social media links, take pictures of the screen, etc. If I think of a way to improve that program by adding a new feature or improving an existing one, I can stay in bed for another hour while I write some code.

My solution to the problem of my room is simple: get the hell out of it. Not only do I bring my laptop somewhere else, but I have a separate user account that I log into while using my laptop out in the world. This account looks like a fresh install so there are few desktop icons and no programs that start automatically to minimize distractions. I originally created this account to use when I do the Rick’s Music World open mic livestream each week. I wanted peace of mind knowing that I could leave my laptop unattended without my personal files being accessible. Over time, I realized that this account is also a great way to separate myself from my routine.

The library down the street has free WiFi and quiet rooms that can used for up to two hours per day. I’ve yet to explore any other options, but there are plenty: libraries in surrounding towns, restaurants like McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, local cafés, etc.

The only way I was able to write this blog entry was by getting myself out of my unproductive environment.

A Reminder To Myself To Always Challenge My Limits

The last time I tried to be active for three days in a row (by active I mean waking up at a decent hour, taking stimulants so I can function, and leaving the house), it didn’t go so well. After the first day, I went to bed hoping to rest up and recharge, but I didn’t get as much sleep as I needed. I was hoping that I could catch up when I went to sleep after the second day, but instead I woke up after only three hours of sleep. After tossing and turning for an hour, I recognized that I was definitely not going to be falling asleep again so I started my day.

I can handle one night of insufficient sleep, but any subsequent nights leave me in very rough shape. Lack of sleep amplifies all of my symptoms: brain fog thickens, every muscle of my body aches, nausea increases, and an overall feeling of severe discomfort comes over me. This is precisely what happened the last time I tried to be active for three days in a row. Making matters worse, the third day was a Thursday. That evening, I went to the open mic at Rick’s Music World like I do every Thursday to run the Facebook livestream and see all of my friends there. Usually, socializing with everybody and playing music can take my mind off of my aches and pains while I’m there, but on this particular occasion there was nothing I could do to distract from the discomfort. I knew that I looked as miserable as I felt, which really had people worried because everybody at Rick’s is used to seeing my at my best when I’m there. This unpleasant time was the worst yet of several bad experiences I had attempting to stay active for more than two days within the past few months at that point. Much like touching a hot stove, we as humans learn to avoid things that hurt us. During the last couple of months, I made sure to get lots of sleep and rest between my active days. I’ve mostly been getting as much as I can get done one day, resting the next, and repeating, with a few double-headers here and there.

Although it’s human nature to avoid things that have caused us pain in the past (and those who are constantly sick learn to do this even more than the average person), one of the most important things I’ve learned over the past couple of years is that I constantly need to be challenging my limits. Sometimes our situation changes but we don’t realize it because we’re still playing by the old rules. I have lots of memories of certain scenarios causing me pain and discomfort: things like travelling, standing up in the same spot for long periods like at concerts, and car trips causing nausea and muscle stiffness. These memories caused me to avoid a lot of things for a while. After getting myself a bit better, I’ve tried to overwrite those bad memories with good ones and I’ve achieved that in many situations.

I reflected on the changes that I’ve made over the past couple of months and figured that I was due to give a three day streak another try… and guess what? It was a success. I’m writing this at the end of day three. Yesterday was a little rough, but I still accomplished what I set out to do. I wanted to go to some thrift stores and look for some things that I could flip for a profit on eBay. I called up my friend Laurel to see if she wanted to come with me, thinking that socializing might help distract me from my aches, and I was right, it worked. I went to bed last night hoping that I would not wake up after three hours as it happened last time, and I fully expected my body to demand many hours of sleep. I was pretty sure I was going to wake up at 5pm. To my amazement, I woke up at 2pm feeling totally rested and ready to face the day!

This experience just reinforced everything I already knew in the first place. Any time I suspect my situation has changed even just a little bit, I need to re-evaluate my limits and see if I can push the barricade around me a little bit more. I got a lot accomplished during these three days, and I hope I can repeat this experience soon.

I considered using this post to explain the pros and cons of keeping momentum for several days in a row like this, but that’s a post for another time.

What Sick People Are Sick of Hearing (You’re Probably Guilty of It)

I want to talk about something most people don’t think about and it’s something most people are guilty of without realizing it. If you know anyone who is sick – either chronically or temporarily – it’s something you’ll want to read.

I still stick around in some online chats related to the game I used to play/moderate and have developed and maintained friendships from people around the world. I began talking to one girl shortly before she was diagnosed with cancer. She’s a young girl in her early 20s, and it sucks to have to go through something like that especially when you’re young. She knows my health situation and that I find all health and illness topics interesting, so I told her to keep me up to date with the experience. We spoke off and on, she told me about all the shitty things she had to deal with – physical discomfort and the mental challenges that go along with some of the procedures… the cancer’s effect, the drug side-effects, uncomfortable preparation for exams and operations, etc. After talking for several weeks she thanked me. She told me that she spoke to many people about her situation, friends and family, but talking to me was so refreshing. It’s not because of something I did, but rather something I didn’t do: I didn’t tell her “You’re so strong, you’ll get through this!” “Keep fighting, we’re all behind you!” or anything like that. I listened and replied in a very matter-of-fact manner about the realities of dealing with such a thing: it sucks. I didn’t insist the future was bright, because when you’re going through such an ordeal you’re concerned with the here and now. She told me that my reaction was so refreshing because everyone just kept telling her to get through it and fight hard. On top of her existing pain and discomfort, comments like this also made her feel like she was letting people down by not being stronger throughout the ordeal. I explained to her that I reacted this way because I had gone through the same thing myself many times over for as long as I’ve been sick. When you’re sick or otherwise uncomfortable or in pain, people feel like they need to do something about it. In my experience, that means that they do one of two things: The worst of the two is they’ll offer stupid advice, suggesting you try something that either would have no effect or something that you’ve obviously tried when the problem first started. To give an example of each, one person suggested I try chicken soup to cure my ME/CFS symptoms, and another suggested that I try getting more rest. The other less ridiculous reaction people have is to offer verbal support: things like “You can do it! We all believe in you! You’re so strong, you can beat this!” Unless you’re the only person they’ve ever spoken to, they’ve heard this dozens of times already ad nauseum.

Often when somebody talks about the issues they’re having they just want somebody to listen and understand the things they’re going through. Personally, when I bring up the fact that one or many of my symptoms are really bothering me, all I want is for somebody to know that it sucks. That’s all I need. The pain or discomfort will pass, I already know what I can do (if anything) to help, but for now I just want someone to understand what I’m going through.

Sometimes I feel obligated to let people know that I’m not feeling well because I can tell that the discomfort is affecting my behavior. It hasn’t happened as much in recent years, but especially during my teens when my illness was just starting to take off I would frequently have people misread my body language. People would ask me why I was mad or sad when in fact I was just feeling sick. After so many years of this, I learned to explain myself before there was a chance for people to make any assumptions.

If you’re reading this and have been guilty of the things I mentioned in this post, don’t worry about it, most people are. You don’t need to apologize to anybody or even feel bad about it. It’s just one of those things most people haven’t realized or ever thought about. Just keep it in mind for the future and you’ve done your part.

Sushi

I went to PAX East today. It was awesome, and maybe I’ll write about it more later, but some pain just subsided and I want to sleep now.

During my teens I had a few years where I dealt with severe abdominal pain pretty much daily. It was the least favorite time of my life and it’s the symptom I’m most afraid of returning. Almost all of my memories of taking the train into Boston were during these years, I saw a stomach doctor in Mass General for a while and spent a lot of time on that train in awful pain. Since feeling a bit better, I’ve been replacing memories of things I associate with bad moments with new, good memories. Part of why I wanted to go to PAX was to do just that since I took the train in. It was all going according to plan, until…

My stomach was a bit off when I woke up, and a little more off after a churro and pretzel at PAX. The group decided to stop off at a sushi place afterwards and I had been meaning to try sushi at some point anyway, so I took this opportunity to do just that. Big mistake! When I got home, the pain really started, and it felt a lot like it used to during those years. I had a few types of pain back then, one felt like food was grinding against ulcers in my intestines (doctors claimed they couldn’t find ulcers, but oh well), and another felt like my intestines were filling up with gas to the point where they were stretching so much they were treating. That’s the type of pain I got tonight. It started about 5 hours ago and I’m just now finally farting out the rest of the tension. I vomited a bit earlier that helped as well.

Luckily, my sick sense of humor finds the irony here funny. As long as I don’t get this kind of pain again any time soon, I’m good with this. PAX was still amazing, and I don’t even regret trying the sushi. Now if someone asks if I’ve tried it and I say I didn’t like it, if they try to argue with me I can tell them it caused this stomach pain! I plan on taking a trip into Boston soon to see an old friend, too, so that can be my opportunity to finally replace those bad “train into Boston” memories with some good memories.