Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I am embarrassed when I'm ill...

...and I'm ashamed to admit it.

It's been a full month of this flu-cold-whatever I've had, and I'd give a small fortune to SMELL SOMETHING.

Which reminds me of my favorite joke of all time


How do I smell? Who knows - I certainly can't tell...

I hate being sick, I hate feeling like I may have done something wrong to get sick (this is a constant fat-girl worry - that someone will say that anything bad that happens to us is because we're not thin.)

I imagine myself going to go to the doctor and hearing, "You have a hangnail. If only you had lost some weight this wouldn't be a problem..."

Which is absurd, but the whole judgemental thing gets a little crazed when one has had a sore throat for a solid month.

The throat has gotten REALLY bad this week (I'm a soup and tea girl), but the tests for RA, Lyme & Mono are all negative. I was actually SO disappointed that the mono test was negative, I feel certain that's what my body is telling me it has.

Full disclosure: I had Lyme really bad back in 1991/2, it took forever for me to get over it. My Lyme titer is at 9.5, because I've had it, but that's not high enough to mean I'm having a flare up.

The physician assistant told me they'd make an appt. for me with a specialist (Rheumatologist) but the soonest I can get in is Jan 11, if I want to see the person my doctor wants me to see, it will be Feb 1.

Wow, good thing we don't have that horrible Canadian system, I might have to wait a full 2 weeks for an appointment.
That was sarcasm.

Sitting up hurts, laying down hurts, but mostly in the evenings. During the day I'm actually pretty good (definitely under the weather, but it only feels like a bad cold)

When it gets to be 5:00 my fever goes up, the aches expand, and my ears ring like a dinner bell. What are we having? Soup.

Good heavens, could I WHINE any more?

And I'm not even the sick one! Gerry's been having pretty rough pain, it kept him in bed all day yesterday (with 2 cats and a dog for company.) He's been doing some work in the basement, fiddly stuff, but stuff that needs to be done, and he's been overdoing it.

We had to cancel our trip to the Mayo tomorrow for MM testing due to the blizzard warning. It's a shame because we're both a bit anxious to see what his M spike is doing right now.

I'm trying to use the down time to work on my Online classes, to get 2 projects set up for knitters and to write some patterns. I'm succeeding - partially.

Even though I'm starting with a class I've taught dozens (hundreds?) of times, putting it into a format that is clear in an online setup is a mind twist. I've made several more videos, my plan is to have a handout, video and lecture for every part of the class, more for some parts, less for others, and divide the class into 4 parts which the student can run through at their leisure.

One of the hard things when teaching an in-person class is dealing with the different rhythms of the students. I'm hoping this online class thing will help combat that by allowing everyone to work at their own pace, and offer questions in the discussion forum (and perhaps answer some by other students) as they arise.

Each person learns in different ways, so I'm trying to address that with the videos by demonstrating, using artwork where appropriate, writing the instructions AND voicing them. That way folks who learn by hearing, or reading, or seeing can all benefit from the video.

Here's a syllabus - in process - that I'm working on for the Online Combination Class.
I keep telling myself that a technological class like Combo Knitting will actually be more difficult to put together than a project class.

Part 1 - The Nuts & Bolts
I'll give you an overview of the three main knitting styles (Western, Eastern, and a variation which I'm calling Combination Knitting) and my theory of the worldwide spread of these styles.

I'll talk about whether you're a Right handed (English) or Left handed (Continental) knitter, why it really doesn't matter, and give you a tip to help you create better tension no matter HOW you hold your yarn.

Part I Source Material:
Lectures [Geography of Knit]
Videos [Geography of Knit, Setting Tension, Western Knit, Combo Knit, ]
PDF Handouts [Combo Knitting ]

Part I Practice: Student work will consist of listening to the lectures, watching the videos and reading the handouts. No practical student work is done in this portion of the class.

Part II - How Do YOU Knit?
We'll determine our own knitting styles (Western, Combination, some other variation) and examine how we form our stitches.

This will mean you'll have to watch the Western and Combination videos, knit a little bit, then determine what it is you're currently doing. (Mainly I want to know if you normally purl by wrapping clockwise or counter clockwise.)

Then we'll practice the Combination, (Eastern) Purl, followed by a row of Combination, knit to create Combination, Stockinette Stitch.

After working up a swatch of Combo Knitting, we'll discuss the pros and cons of Combination, and whether it will be an answer to your knitting prayers, or an insidious plot to force you to doubt your knitting chops. Hint: Both are pretty great outcomes, trust me...

We'll finish this part of the class with some Combination Ribbing and I'll discuss why this may be some of the nicest ribbing you've ever created. (And I'll explain how it is that I work my ribbing in the dark.)

Part II Source Material:
Lectures [Happy Stitches]
Videos [Stitch Orientation, Happy Stitches, Wrapping HOW?]
PDF Handouts []

Part II Practice: Student work will consist of working up a swatch of Stockinette Stitch in your own style, then continuing with Combination Knitting and a bit of Combination Ribbing.

Part III - How To Fit Into a Standard Knitting World
We'll discuss pattern terminology, and when is the best time to use - or eschew - Combination Knitting.

I'll give you full translations of what the magazines and books mean when they tell you to K1tbl or K2tog, and help you understand that it makes NO DIFFERENCE which way your stitches are seated, as long as you knit them so they're happy.

Part III Source Material:
Lectures [Standardization & Art]
Videos [ ]
PDF Handouts [Translation Cheat Sheet]

Part III Practice: Student work will consist of listening to the lectures, watching the videos and reading the handouts. No practical student work is done in this portion of the class.

Part IV - The Fun Stuff
I'll give you some fun tricks, a couple of nice increases, some explanations about directional decreases and we'll finish by cabling without a cable needle.

Part IV Source Material:
Lectures []
Videos [Cabling Without A Cable Needle, Directional Decreasing]
PDF Handouts [Cabling Without A Cable Needle, Directional Decreasing]

Part IV Practice: Student work will consist of continuing your swatch, working the increases and decreases we learn, and then moving on to the cables.

Bonus Material
Video [Weaving In Ends ]

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Blogger Cindy said...

Hope you feel better soon. Gerry, too!

I've been fat my entire life and have had doctors blame my weight for just about everything. I don't feel guilty about it, though, I feel pissed off. As in, "Hey! I'm here because my throat hurts and I can see white spots. Just test and see if I have strep, okay? Last I heard, being fat didn't make anyone come down with a sore throat!"

Then I find another doctor.

For now, I just don't go to doctors because the only insurance I can get has a $5K deductible, which I can't afford, and I can't afford to pay $200+ for an office visit in addition to lab work fees and so forth. I just keep hoping that I stay healthy, which so far is working but is a really lousy way to operate.

Hmm, I was born, but not raised, in Canada. Maybe I can go back!

December 08, 2009 5:29 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

The class sounds WONDERFUL ! I can't wait to sign up ... regarding your self disregard ... disregard that negativity ... you are who you are and it's a wonderful person ...smart, creative, kind, generous and compassionate ... you can't be perfect !

December 08, 2009 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Sam said...

Thanks for sharing your progress on your online site. Very inspring. If you can get all that done and feel awful maybe I should stop whining and make some progress myself. I hope you feel better soon.

December 08, 2009 8:07 PM  
Anonymous dawn said...

I am sorry to hear you are so ill, especially since you are not the "sick one". I feel bad for Gerry, too, since I am sure he would rather hang out with you and the kids. I am very excited about your online classes and have already registered with ning.
As for the wait times, you are in the perfect storm. Staff will be taking off for a week or two for the holidays, patients are trying to come in because they are already off from work because of the holidays, and/or patients are trying to get as much medical care as possible before the new year and their deductible starts over. Rheumatology is also an undermanned specialty. I think even Canada has a 90 day goal to get a non-ermergent new patient in that they don't always make. Spain has a new program to get the wait down from 7 months to 1 month. I hope you are not still sick by your appointment but I also hope the doctors can find out what is wrong with you. Knowing the problem is half the battle.

December 08, 2009 8:16 PM  
Blogger Nita said...

The online class sounds wonderful and I'm ready to sign up. I've taken other art-related ning classes with work-at-your pace videos and loved them!

Though I've done western, eastern, AND combination knitting, there's always more tips to learn from an expert!

Has anyone mentioned fibromyalgia and myofacial pain for your constant sore throat? It can appear that way.

December 08, 2009 8:55 PM  
Anonymous twinsetellen said...

I'm so sorry you are so sick, and that Gerry is feeling so lousy, too. The class does look great - what a wonderful way to reach out to people who can't make it in person. Or who don't have time to take a class except in the middle of the night!

December 08, 2009 9:22 PM  
Anonymous =Tamar said...

I'm sorry to hear you are sick. I was once told that the standard test for mono is for the antibodies, and if you are one of the people who don't make antibodies to mono (thus are sick forever if not treated), you will always test negative. It turned out that I am one of them. I was also told that there is a real test that actually checks for mono itself, but of course it's more expensive.

December 08, 2009 10:14 PM  
Blogger ChristaGiles said...

Up here in Canada, I still had to wait a month and a halfish to see a specialist (weird skin thing, cleared up before I saw her)... so while just about everything is awesome, there are still waits.

And, I hear ya on the fat thing.. the great thing for me is that my Dr has never said anything - she sees me being active and happy, and thinks that's good. The sad thing is that I do sometimes get the message from a loved one, which sucks.

Get better, or at least diagnosed, soon!

December 09, 2009 12:03 AM  
Blogger Sue B said...

I have a suggestion that is so simplistic you may find it insulting, but please don't. When I get even a simple cold I get a bad cough for weeks afterwards or bronchitis. It's so bad the hubby has finally convinced me to take start taking his allergy pills when the coughing starts. And it works. We use the cheap generic Costco Allertec, which is the knock off of Zyrtec. Please try it for three days. It's $15 for a bottle of 100 and you only take one every 20 hours, yes I found it wears off 3 hours short of 24. Adjust your dose times accordingly. If it makes you feel better your body will get a chance to heal from some of the infections.
I love the idea of the online classes. I kind of taught myself to knit from the Stitch & Bitch book and it's great at basics but I'm ready to learn some different ways of doing things if it means I can get faster. Sue B

December 09, 2009 2:16 AM  
Anonymous marcia said...

I second the allergy thing. Mine have
been constant this year what with the temps going down/up/down/up -- we need a good deep freeze. Of course I'm in SW PA so it may be different where you are.

The classes sound wonderful -- I'm tempted!

December 09, 2009 6:52 AM  
Blogger Roobeedoo said...

Sorry to ehar you are both feeling bad. Re Gerry: can't you have the blood taken locally and sent to the Mayo for testing? It is so important to stay in touch with your M-spike.

December 09, 2009 8:50 AM  
Blogger badmomgoodmom said...

I went to see three rheumatologists before I found the right one for me. Of course, the right one had the longest wait. But his staff had to book a very long appointment (hence the wait) so that he could do a thorough new patient exam and interview. Now that I am a regular patient and the appts are shorter, waits to see him are not long.

Often, the better, more thorough doctors just book further out for new patients. I'd suggest seeing more than one. They each may see something that the others miss. Do get tested for the HLA-B27 gene marker. They checked me for RA, lupus and lyme disease, too. But it turned out to be HLA-B27. And that explained my family history of immune disease.

December 09, 2009 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Jan said...

Hope you and Gerry both feel better soon!

The class sounds great! I'm particularly interested in Part III, how to fit however you knit into the rest of the knitting world's standards. I use what I believe to be your method of combination knitting when the ribbing or cabling needs to look really nice; otherwise, I'm a wrapper from the right hand, purling clockwise.

December 09, 2009 12:02 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

I just signed up for Stefanie's shawl class from Jan 17 - Feb 7... PLEASE o pretty please ...schedule your class from Feb 8th or so ... I am afraid I couldn't do both at the same time ... just a selfish request I know but I thought I would give it a try !

December 09, 2009 2:17 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

On the fat thing -- I had one doc tell me that but he shut up when I reached out and prodded his belly. Unless the doc's in super shape just remember who you are (a heck of a lot more well known that s/he) and ask if that's really germane or just an opinion. MD does NOT equal major (or even minor) deity.

love the idea of the on-line classes.

December 09, 2009 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sorry you are having to cope with this illness. Feeling crummy makes everything harder. Your online class sounds great -- I've wanted to take your combo-knitting class but the timing never worked out. Just wondering about the sign-up form requiring a birthdate. What's the reason for that?

December 10, 2009 7:37 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Sorry you and Gerry are not feeling well. What you're suffering sounds suspiciously like my own auto-immune issues right now. I would not rule out any of your suspicions, even if your doctor initially did.

What kind of dog is that with Gerry? Gosh, from that position in the picture, it looks just like my "Lucy," a new Black Lab that I got from the South Central Los Angeles dog pound. I've never had a breed dog before... it's weird to keep stumbling into other dogs that look just like her.

Stay warm and I hope things improve soon.

December 10, 2009 11:44 AM  
Blogger BERMD said...

If you have not seen this already, I thought you might enjoy it. Yet another take on the creativity of stitchers:

Best, BER

December 10, 2009 3:46 PM  
Blogger kristi said...

Feel better, the lot of you!

I am so excited to hear that you are starting out with the Geography of Knit -- I'd love to hear your ideas about this. Every once in a while, my inner anthropologist rears up, and this is her current fascination. I find it so interesting that even when I teach a new knitter who swears up and down that she's never held a pair of needles, I can see that she has (or has at least seen it) and likely some of her family history!

December 11, 2009 8:28 AM  
Blogger kristi said...

Interestingly, I find that knitters whose families come from Mexico tend to knit Combo/Continental! Brazilian knitters knit like the Portuguese, with the yarn tensioned around the neck. Along with the language, they got the knitting style, and kept it. Australians tend to knit like the Victorians, with that daintier pencil grip...

December 11, 2009 8:33 AM  
Blogger maxine said...

If you have never done it, I can't suggest strongly enough that you need to investigate accupuncture. email me if you care to discuss it further. I am as wussy as one can be about needles and docs and I go regularly now and it's a thing of beauty.

December 11, 2009 9:03 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

Hello...you sound a wee bit like me ...after all the tests you mention and lots of chronic tonsilitis/sinusitis and along with fattening thyroid probs, I ended up with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. It's a sucky diagnosis as there is not much they can do to help but it might be worth discussing with your doctor.

P.S. I was also tested for all the mosquito borne diseases...

P.P.S. Thank you for saying your bit for knitwear designers everywhere!

December 13, 2009 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Tammy said...

"I'll talk about whether you're a Right handed (English) or Left handed (Continental) knitter"

Annie, I'm a left-handed continental knitter, formerly a left-handed English knitter. I'm confused as to why you refer to left-handed knitting (from the right needle to the left needle) as continental knitting. If you have some time, I'd love to hear your thoughts.


December 31, 2009 11:53 AM  

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