on my walk home yesterday, i took a different path than usual through the vondelpark. and saw what looked like CHICKEN OF THE WOODS, otherwise known as SULPHUR SHELF. yum. i didn’t look too closely, because there’s nothing that looks remotely like it (that’s orange like that) and i didn’t have a knife with me. i didn’t want to bring attention to it. i’ve found it here in the netherlands 2 other times so far. the first time was in maastricht, where i found 2 patches, picked one, was stopped in the park by a park maintenance guy, who told me that it’s poisonous (yes, but only in some people), and the next day both trees on which i’d found it had been mercilessly chopped.
the 2nd time was also in the vondelpark, about a year ago, but when i went to pick it up less than an hour later, it wasn’t there anymore. so i was very nervous it wouldn’t be there this morning. but it was!!!!
i didn’t take a picture, because i wanted to be quickly in and out of there, but here’s what it looks like, for those who don’t know it. delicious sauteed with butter and salt.
yum yum yum. i can’t wait for dinner tonight!!!!
i’m feeling very good… this week i decided to try and understand my finances a bit. my colleague who does the accounting recommended her financial guy, and i called him. he was just over to get an overview of our situation, mortgage, insurances, etc. etc…. he’ll contact me next week with his recommendations. it would be cool if i’ve got anything i could invest now, with the market so low. then i could be rich!!! 🙂 kidding, kidding, but it’s nice to be trying to get a handle on another of these confusing life things. it’s important since i don’t have any kind of pension yet, for example.
so. this morning i went again to the allergist. it turns out i reacted to:
- Cats – shit. i love cats. fortunately, this was a pretty minor reaction, since i’m sorry, but i’m NOT ABOUT to stop having cats in my life.
- Nickel – duh. i’ve known that for about forever. i now have big blisters on my back from it. thanks.
- Calendulacreme – shit. this is my new moisturizing lotion that i’ve only been using for a couple of months, and have been very happy with. Since beginning it, i’ve had FEWER skin problems. argh.
- **Cocamidopropyl betaine – apparently a common ingredient in many toiletry products, including my toothpaste. i have to go through and throw out/ give away a ton of things. The doctors were pretty happy about this one, as it might be my real problem.
i was really angry at them, though, because after giving me THIS list, i asked if i could also have a list of what all they tested. they DIDN’T test for the things the dermatologist specifically wanted to know about: OTHER types of metals. i haven’t worn anything with NICKEL on my skin since i was too little to know better, but DO wear a good amount of silver, titanium, and a little platinum. this had been requested. they chose, "in their expertise on likely causes" not to test these things now, because there wasn’t enough space on my back. so now i have to wait again until september, and do this again.
another whole week of discomfort and no showers. thanks, assholes. thanks for listening to your patient, again. hell, thanks for listening to your patient’s other doctors, again. fucking hell.
in the last series of doctor visits regarding my skin problems, it was decided to have me get full allergy testing. today was the first day. i got to the VU medische centrum at 8:45, had a coffee in the brasserie, then up to dermatology by 9:00, for my 9:10 appointment. sat in the first waiting room until 9:30, was seen into an appointment room, interrogated by two assistant doctors, who then brought in a head doctor briefly, who said, "ok, then we’ll go on with everything." then back into another waiting room for about 20 minutes, then told that because they wanted to test so many things on me, it would require more than fits on one back, and we’d do it in two batches. waited a little more, then shown into a dressing room, to remove shirt & bra. then a nurse applied patches all over my back.
i’m not allowed to take a shower. no sweating. on wednesday i’ll go back, they’ll remove these ones. then thursday we’ll put on the other ones (which will involve pricking), then monday i’ll go in again. then various followups with dermatologists.
these ones include my food sensitivities. as a result, i reek of garlic. not kidding. the whole room smells of it. my colleagues can smell it. and my body is reacting. my wrist and neck (and various parts of my back) itch, there’s a horrible taste in the back of my throat, and i keep sneezing and coughing. i have a post-nasal drip that wasn’t there this morning. so, basically – yep, looks like i’m allergic to something back there.
yikes. i feel pretty crappy. it will be interesting to find out which things i knew already, or suspected, and which ones i’ve never suspected. they’re doing a full general one, plus various ones i mentioned contact with while we did the questionnaire.
today i learned that the netherlands is one of the world’s largest producers of mink. i drive around a lot, or have done, and i’ve never noticed any mink farms… what does a mink farm look like?
i have just been reading about the european mink, and learned that it’s endangered. it’s also been threatened by farmed (american?) minks being released by animal rights activists in europe. they try to help, but they’re releasing the wrong animal into the wrong environment. or the right animal into the wrong environment. oops. you’ve got to feel pretty stupid about worsening the problem like that.
anyway. i go back to work now. i’m sure it’s obvious, but i haven’t fully researched. my readings today have consisted of a brief article in the dutch news, followed by a quick reading on wikipedia. i’m busy… time to finish up the first project of the morning, so i can get on to the much more interesting but lower priority 2nd project.