A Pandemic Diary: Stay home and keep your distance. Please.

It’s been roughly two months since we started social distancing, working from home, wearing a mask, staying home. And everywhere, the calls for opening back up the economy become louder. Because not as many people are getting sick after all, right? It’s as German virologist Christian Drosten says, “there is no glory in prevention.” For now, in my workplace, things are staying the same. The school decided early on to close until the end of the school year, and IRead more

Interview: Nigel Horwood, Author of “Wrestling with the Octopus”

Tell us a bit about yourself: When and how were you diagnosed? In October 1977 I was at college and started having to make frequent dashes to the bathroom. When I eventually plucked up the courage to see my GP he put it all down to “nerves”. It wasn’t until he went on holiday, in July 1978, that I saw a locum. He took one look and sent me to a gastro consultant. Within 3 days I was in hospitalRead more

A Pandemic Diary

  Gradually, over the last week, the reality about COVID-19 has seeped in. A week after I started a new job (I am a long-term substitute teacher at a local high school), school was closed, and instruction was switched to online. I was bummed out, because I actually really enjoyed working with the students and teaching again, as teaching is something I like to do, and I something I am good at. I guess this is a fast-track to learningRead more

COVID-19 and IBD

COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind. My family in Germany is safe, but there are areas that have seen big outbreaks. Three hours away, in Seattle, there has been an outbreak. And people with Chronic Illnesses, often taking immunosupressants, are wondering whether they should go into panic mode, buy lots of toilet paper and disinfectant, or go about their day as usual. Probably all of it? The news on TV, Twitter etc. are not exactly helping, so I was happy toRead more

Fitness instructors: Stop saying these phrases

I like exercise. I haven’t always liked it, and I have written about why. I am far from being an athletic person, but going to yoga and barre and running occasionally are fun and contribute to my overall feeling good. I have also observed a noticeable shift from how fitness instructors introduce themselves. Instead of drill sergeant attitude, instructors in the places I go to tell you to listen to your body, don’t overstretch yourself and do what’s good forRead more

My 2019 Lists

It’s the last day of 2019. I thankfully was stable health-wise, so there isn’t much to share about my health year. I can share books, podcasts, and TV shows that I consumed though, in the hope that they may be entertaining to some of you. Books I’ve read (sometimes re-read) and enjoyed in 2019: “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman. I read this with students, and truly enjoyed it, especially the outside perspective on the US, from 20 years ago. “TheRead more

New Year’s Resolutions for People with Chronic Illnesses

If you’re anything like us, you probably spent a good chunk of 2018 dealing with your chronic illness, adjusting to new developments and learning from the hard knocks along the way. We’re not big believers in New Year’s resolutions, but we like to make lists and bring visibility to chronic illness, especially of the invisible variety. These New Year’s resolutions are an accumulation of some insights and hopes for the new year. We know that different conditions require different handling and that not all of these resolutions will work for everyone. We all have different experiences and life situations and that’s cool! But we want to share these resolutions to show solidarity, help allies support friends and family and let others with chronic illness know: you’re not alone.Read more

WHAT’S IN MY BAG: Protest Edition

This saturday, March 24, I went to the March for our lives. I had been back and forth about going, because quite honestly, I don’t like crowds, I was worried about violence, I worried about restrooms… Then, I pushed myself, and I am glad I went. I can assure you that standing outside in Portland in March is fun, but I was in great company- my neighbor and her sweet, sweet daughter came too.  Also, it was the first timeRead more

Here’s why people who “don’t look sick” use the disabled toilets

  This one is for the bathroom police, that is, those who feel compelled to tell others that they can’t use the disabled stalls, because they don’t deem them disabled. One would think in the year 2018 and with 117 Million Americans suffering from a chronic disease, this shouldn’t happen anymore, but it happens. All the time. It has happened to me (and ended badly for the other person), it has happened to friends of mine, and while I don’tRead more

Dear Public Restrooms….

I wish… …you were clean, all the time. I would happily pay a quarter every time just to have that assurance. I am not even asking for a self-cleaning toilet.  Alas, I am taking clorox wipes with me wherever I go. … stalls were sound and smell proof. Seriously, what is this metal wall in between business? It’s bad enough for me to know that I can make these sounds, does the world need to know? …if you don’t haveRead more