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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Hunger Games and Christmas Survival

A bit of the insanity of taking three little ones to visit a Santa display.....I'm not really as jaded as I sound! 

It's now officially that time of year again. It's finally December, the month I dread most. Why, you may ask?  

Well, I've long said that I think Christmas should be celebrated only every four years, like the Olympics.  After all, getting though the holidays is truly worthy of an Olympic event.  Your need of stamina is the least of the problems.  Remembering who should get gifts is the least of them as well.  

Anyhoo... that's the inside-my-head thing for the day!  I'm not proud of this feeling, I must admit.  However, it is what it is.  Truly, I must not be the ONLY person out there who feels this way all too often?  Does the word "humbug" ring a bell?  ;) 

It's been an unusual couple of days in a very nice way.  I'd realized that I'm probably one of very few who hadn't seen The Hunger Games - the original version - and  with all the press for the new installment of the planned trilogy, I suddenly started wondering if I was missing a huge global event, common to all.  I was suddenly reminded of the summer in camp when I (and my fellow campers) must have been the few in the world to have missed the moon landing.  To put me out of my misery (read: family feeling sorry for me because I'd just gotten home from the hospital) the movie appeared in my player. (Imagine the curses as I tried to figure out the newfangled system that I have yet to master, despite daughter-who-is-pitying-me trying to wrestle with the contraption.)  

Let me just say that to me (jaded soul that I am), the holidays also mean some pretty cruddy TV and so I realized that if I want to survive the holidays with any sort of sanity at all, I'll need to figure out how to watch movies on my "favorite mobile devices."  Yikes!  Seeing those words, "favorite mobile devices" put a chill through my body as I read this new way of watching movies.  But I've never cared for holiday specials which I find infinitely boring.  And I resent the fact that our favorite shows are held up.  Um ... Scandal anyone? Love, love, love the show.  (And the last few episodes have been fantastic!)

Back to topic at hand: I really loved The Hunger Games!  Yay!  (Daughter in the background finally said, "Exactly HOW long has it been since you've seen a movie?" getting a bit weary at all my oohing and ahhing.) The costumes were incredible.  Makeup: wow! The premise was gruesome, yes, but fascinating.  There's so much attention to detail.  I was hooked, right from the first moment.  The only thing that took me out of that world were thoughts where I wondered how a certain thing came to be, how it was treated in the book I'd yet to read.

And thus, a first-time experience: every five minutes or so I couldn't stop wondering what the full story was about this character or that, why life became the way it had.  I couldn't wait to read the novel.  Normally, I read a book and a couple of years later see the movie and, of course, I'm disappointed.  Or, if I see a movie first and then read the book, I wonder why the book had all this unnecessary information, background, plots. Too much clutter.

Thanks to Kindle I started reading the first of The Hunger Game series almost immediately and am now about two thirds of the way through the first book.  Yes, fascinating!  But I've gone a step beyond.  Suddenly I find myself putting down the "book" (it IS on Kindle so it feels funny calling it a "book") and watching the movie to the point where I am in the novel.  Bliss!  This is the first time I've ever "savored" a book, like hubs has a tendency to do.  Normally, I rip through books - especially since good old ME/CFS and fibromyalgia don't allow me to retain much and if I don't get a book down in one fell swoop, by the next day it is completely gone.  But with Hunger Games, I go back and try to figure out a scenario that fits the movie, book and my imagination until I'm in a good and satisfied place.

What's even better is that despite fibro-brain, I can understand all.  It's a young adult novel but I don't feel being catered to, being talked down to.  It may be in the same league as Ann Benson's novels, most especially The Plague Tales (taking place in the past as well as the future).  I've not read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale in ages, nor Marge Piercy's He, She and It  but I'm truly enjoying this first book of The Hunger Games and am not sure the aforementioned books are too far superior.  There are so many layers to the book as well as the movie.  Yes, I'm jaded when I hear about "coming of age" books but the moral issues here alone keep me turning things around in my head.  I guess you could say I'm interested in the "coulda, woulda, shoulda."

For anyone who wants/needs another few recommendations to escape the holiday madness, I also recommend The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldo about a time traveler between now and the 18th century.  Just the medicine aspect kept me fascinated.  I made the mistake of bringing one of the books on vacation with me - and had to end the book before I'd go to see any of the sites I'd so looked forward to.

I'm not really a reader of science fiction but these books really do capture the imagination.  You might just thank me for these titles when TV is running the upteenth Christmas showing of Peanuts and/or the Muppets. And now, back to disappearing into the Games and avoiding the holiday madness for another few days! 

As always, I hope everyone's doing their very best - only better!  Ciao and paka.

Note: Sorry, I had the wrong link to Ann Benson's The Plague Tales. It's been corrected. Thanks! 

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  1. Hi Irene. Another post, which I read before heading off to A&E. Thank you! I had the feeling if I did not go today I would not go. Only spent four hours there this evening, lucky me! Have second line antibiotics and the doctor said if they don't work there's nothing else. They usually give penicillin and I have an allergic reaction to it. He said it will take longer to clear up because of the ME. Also more worrying ME stuff has arisen, but they can not deal with it as they deal with only what you go in for. They wouldn't be able to deal with it anyway! I did ask about a pneumonia vaccine and he said they don't do one here.

    Like your thinking of Christmas being celebrated every four years. I've spent a lot of those home alone and I've no idea where people get the energy from to do it all. The ones I've been involved in have been beyond exhausting! I've not seen/read the Hunger Games. I've also not seen 'Scandal' It was on here at some point and I missed it, meant to watch it then forgot about it as you do. Thanks for the book recommendations.

    How are you feeling yourself now? I hope you are able to eat a little at least. Happy belated thanksgiving. One of the things I am thankful for is your kindness, for keeping me sane and for making me laugh. Do you ever use google talk or is it mainly twitter? Take care, Alpa xx

    1. With my "near fatal" bouts of pneumonia, my docs had to search to find the antibiotic that worked...it was the fourth one that did it, if I'm not mistaken. And b/c of ME I was on it longer than the usual amount of time.
      May I add, Alpa, that in some circumstances it's best to not be hospitalized? I was able to be treated at home b/c I was so immune-compromised that my doctors feared that were I hospitalized, I could too easily pick up something nasty (read "fatal") in the hospital.
      Also: did they do a culture - it would help you get to the right antibiotic. I hope I'm not stepping over any line here, but please don't let your ME diagnosis be an excuse for the doctors. Yes, it's definitely harder to get over pneumonia when you have ME, but don't let anyone use that as an "excuse." Fingers crossed, Alpa, & more than a few prayers being sent your way for a speedy recovery. xx

  2. Hi Irene. Found out that the pneumonia vaccine is available here. The chances of my doctor approving it for me are minimal though. Antibiotics were not ok so went back to A&E again. The one I have now has penicillin in it. I've taken it before and it was ok, but now I react to everything! Anyway just to let you know and say thanks again. Hope you are as well as can be with all that is going on.Take care, Alpa xx

    1. Just curious: why wouldn't your regular doctor not ok a pneumonia vaccine, Alpa? I understand A&E not doing it because they are there to treat an acute problem. (Or that's how it's supposed to be on this side of the pond.) Do you think your doctor may simply be waiting for the pneumonia to be long gone before giving you the vaccine? (I hope so!)
      So sorry it took me ages to answer your comments, Alpa. I am once again using health as an "excuse"! It's been a rough week, health-wise. I'm so glad my GP had to cancel my appointment for today - for once it wasn't ME canceling! - and it was because of a sewage problem.
      To my family: I swear I was nowhere near the place. Just because I broke 3 separate toilets at "the major medical center" doesn't mean I'm responsible for every sewage malfunction in a 90-mile radius! ;)
      Thank you for bringing us up to date, Alpa. I most certainly hope you get better, and SOON! Thinking of you! xx

  3. Loved Hunger Games. I read all 3 books back to back (just a few months before the first movie came out). Interestingly enough, I was talking to a friend the other day about the movies/books and she also suggested I'd like The Plague Tales, so seeing you mention it just means I must download it.

    1. I hope you like it, Julie! I've recommended it to a few friends over the years and all enjoyed it. I just wish Benson would write a few more. There are more than just The Plague Tales but it's been so long since her last. Please let me know how you like it. (You CAN be honest, I can take it! ;)) Thanks for writing in! xx