January 22nd, 2008


Why I spent my winter vacation...

…in Chicago and Minneapolis rather than in Chicago and Detroit.

First I guess I need to sketch in a little background. I believe most of you know I'm taking meds for clinical depression. Back in mid-July I told my meds-doc it seemed perhaps that my current SSRI was losing efficacy, but we decided to hang in there and see how things went. Well, for the past couple of months, things have been … less good. Yes, I'm sure a part of that is the seasonal thing, but it's likely that another part of it is I'm having less-good living through chemistry. So I went to see her again last Tuesday afternoon, the day before I hit the road, to discuss matters and to consider how to proceed.

Well. Hurum. Er. It turns out that even though paroxetine no longer seems to be quite doing the job for me it's probably best if we don't try to change to something else at the moment, since titrating off right now would take about five weeks and leave me rather high-and-dry and potentially maximally crazy-depressed right when things will be getting to their zaniest at work (the annual SEC filing deadlines coming up, as they do, in February through early April). She suggested that we could see if adding a mood stabilizer to the mix might help (apparently it sometimes does), although it will take me, interestingly enough, about five weeks (!) to ramp up to a potentially effective dosage. Further, since the fluoxetine seemed to have pooped out on me a number of years ago, while it sometimes works when one tries to revisit, it sometimes doesn't. Finally, it seems I've tried (some successfully, others not) every SSRI out there except one that won't have a generic until 2012 or so, which could be extra expensive. Blah blah blah woof woof. Drug neep-neep.

So. The drug and mood summary is that perhaps, if I'm lucky, maybe in five or six weeks I'll start to see some improvement, and in April or May I'll go back and confer more. And for now … well … I just gotta hang in there.

Well then. As you may remember, I ended up leaving Minneapolis not at dawn, which was my original plan, not around 8 a.m. after dropping Gavi at school, which was my final plan, but around the crack of noon. It … you know … took me a while extra to get it together and be on my way. In retrospect, it was probably the best I could have expected given, you know, my state of mind. State of mood. Whatever.

Had a reasonably pleasant, music-filled and law-abiding drive down to Chicago, stopping only in Janesville for gas and a Wendy's [more gas (Joke, Moshe)]. Aside: Was shocked (shocked! I tell you) to discover the tolls in Illinois were now in the $1 to $2 range instead of the 35¢ I so well remember.

Ran into the most amazingly bad traffic snarl at the next tollbooth after the junction with Highway 53 and bailed at the next (?) exit. Whereupon I discovered that I was less well-prepared than I'd thought, as some of the maps I had with me didn't extend to where I was and the others lacked sufficient detail—when Higgins Road funneled me into Milwaukee Avenue instead of turning into Touhy Avenue I figured out I was … Not Where I Wanted To Be. Rather south of where I wanted to be. Ah well. All's well that ends well, and I eventually arrived.

Then … well … you know the bit about discovering that my camera was non-functional. (And I appreciate the suggestions, indeed I do, but, well, that's not how it worked out.) What I later ended up doing for photos was to use the_leewit's point-and-shoot digital camera. More on that topic later, although I'll say now that it turned out to be a Growth Opportunity rather than a Bad Omen.

The story continues…

I phoned lollardfish, thinking I might get together with him, buttonlass, and buttonfish, but the logistics of that were somehow beyond what my wee little brain was capable of pulling together. And I realized that I somehow had forgotten to jot down docstrange and tezliana's phone number. Or unclevlad's. Or that of dr_whuh. Or … well, you get the idea. I just gotta plan better next time.

So, anyway, things turned out such that I ended up spending quite a bit of time left to my own devices. Turned out that spending that time gave me the luxury/opportunity to observe how I was spending a period of time in which there were few or no demands on me. And the fact is, I was finding it easier to sleep, or to roll over and go back to sleep, than it was to read or listen to music on my iPod or, you know, do much of anything. And it became apparent there was a very good chance that if I had gone to ConFusion, I would have spent much of the weekend in my room in bed trying to figure out a way to gather enough motivation to somehow make it out of bed and get myself dressed and out into the public areas to socialize or make music or whatever. (I have indeed spent more than one convention in this sort of state, and it is, shall we say, a suboptimal way to spend my resources.)

By mid-morning on Friday, I finally realized that the trip down had been pleasant and relaxing and had satisfied a lot of my "road jones." And even though I spent a lot of it sleeping, the time just vegging turned out to be some of what I'd been wanting out of a vacation/holiday. I was feeling happy and optimistic about the photos we'd done. So, considering the drive home as a kind of "frosting," I'd really already had as much vacation as I had been wanting out of my time off, and I figured some time at home with Susan and Gavi over the weekend would probably be much more rewarding that anything I could have hoped to pull myself together to do at this year's ConFusion. And so it was.