attention, big-girl shoppers

That doesn’t mean people looking to buy big girls. Though price-per-pound we are one hell of a bargain. No, what I’m talking about is big girls that need to buy new clothes.

Because I’ve been making a half-assed effort to lose roughly half my ass, assisted by pharmaceuticals that make me pee like a fish, I’m smaller. Two full sizes smaller. Too small to get away with wearing most of my usual clothes.

The are-these-pants-too-big test consists of removing my trousers without unfastening them. If they slide down easily, it means that I’m one stairway misstep away from disaster. And they’ve gotta go. With shirts, it’s a look in the mirror to see if “are you having a baby?” is a legitimate question.

So now I have to shop. I freaking hate shopping. I see no sport in it, just varying levels of unpleasantness culminating in a distasteful frenzy of raw consumerism. Bleh. But a girl can’t go to work nekkid. Not when winter’s coming in northern Iowa.

Thank you, internet.  I can sit at home and have the plus-size fashion world come to me.

And what it’s telling me is that fat women are tramps. One would imagine that we are all sitting on heavy-duty stools on street corners or dancing in gentlemen’s clubs on reinforced poles (Playtex girders, anyone?). Really, just because I have triple Ds doesn’t mean that one of the Ds must be open to the public. Yes, my cleavage will support the storage of keys, lipstick and a cell phone. But having a neckline low enough to show that is like leaving the zipper on your purse wide open.

Just to the left of slut mode is utter infantilization. What makes retailers think that large women are appropriate venues for cartoon characters? How does having Tinkerbell or Hello Kitty on my chest reinforce my professionalism? Worse yet, “Juicy” on my ass? “Overabundant” would be more accurate (and there’s room for all the letters), but what the hell is the point?

And what’s with the 70s fabrics? Back then the funky patterns were supposed to be inspired by LSD.  Now I think designers are just high. I don’t usually discriminate on the basis of color, but seriously, unless you’re an autumn leaf there is just no reason for orange.

The quest continues for dark pants and light shirts that won’t make me look like part of the catering staff. With no words, no slut factor and no cartoons. They have to be somewhere.

the mind wanders…

during a sleep study. The hours-long hesitant highway to slumber is littered with random thoughts of increasing peculiarity. Come. Stroll with me down the laborious path to dreamland.

Breathe in. Breathe out. This sucks. Breathe in. Breathe out. This totally sucks.

I should have probably tried reading. Reading would have made me sleepier. Because I’m not sleepy. The straps on this damn thing are itching my neck. And the mask feels like a slo-mo punch in the face. Gawd, how do people DO this? When I open my mouth air shoots out of it. Like a dragon spitting fire. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Am I comfortable on my right side? I think so. I don’t think I need to turn over yet. I need to cough. Good thing I’m wearing the nose-only mask, so the nurse won’t have to come clean the damn thing every time I cough. That would be gross. What would you call someone who has to do that, a “phlegmologist”? Gaahh.

Wonder what the sensors look like when I cough. I bet I could spell something with coughs. Nothing more complex than NIN or MIMI, but I bet I could do it.

My nose is whistling. And it’s not like I can blow it. Sniff? Okay, jet-propelled sniffing sucks. How do people DO THIS?

I think I need to roll over. Crap. Okay, finger sensor out of the way, shift chest band, belly band…is that thingie coming off my leg? Crap, it is. Hope she doesn’t have to come in and redo that. I told them I don’t have restless leg. Hell, maybe I’m a rockette in my sleep. You’d think my thighs would be more toned, though…

Okay, turning over… hair out of the way… how many sensors ARE there? This thing is pinching my ear. Miss Fishback in first grade used to pinch our ears. That woman had a grip. Bet she could actually lift a kid that way. Wonder how much weight your ear could actually hold before it let go…

Okay, turning over… ow. What the hell did I pull? Okay, pillow… dammit, the finger sensor cord is under the pillow. Hope the sensors don’t actually record thoughts. I’d have a page full of pungent and poignant profanity. Ha! Pungent, poignant, perfidious, primordial profanity. P P P P P.

Crap. I have to pee.

Do I really? Bladder check without preconceived notions: crap, I really do have to pee. Okay, the nurse said to just say her name. Nancy? Was it Nancy? I had two friends named Nancy in college who were inseparable, and when people found out that both their names were Nancy they would always ask if they were sisters. Like their mom had no imagination.

Teresa. That’s her name… Teresa. Not Nancy at all.

the ticker is apparently tuckered.

And the final diagnosis is? Drumroll please…

Heart failure.

Yes, though the first set of tennis balls is barely worn out on the feet of my walker, and my Rascal, Jitterbug and LifeAlert are still on backorder, I’ve been diagnosed with heart failure.

Dr. Google says heart failure is “a condition in which your heart can’t pump enough oxygen-rich blood to meet your body’s needs. When your heart doesn’t pump efficiently, blood may back up into your lungs and other tissues.” (Actually, that’s by the Mayo Clinic, to whom I was referred by Dr. Google, my primary care search engine.)

Awesome. So what has caused this? (Besides, of course, a lifestyle that makes “sedentary” look like a hyperactive triathlete.) “Congestive heart failure often results from damage caused by a heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes or other conditions.” I don’t think I’ve ever had a heart attack, and I assume this is something a person would notice. My blood pressure has always been nice and low. And I’ve been tested for diabetes several times and come up short (just short, but short nonetheless). So I’m guessing I’m in the “other conditions” category.

I’m heading in for another sleep study to see if that “other condition” is sleep apnea. Have you ever had one? Electrodes attached all over your head, neck and chest (especially annoying ones pinch your ears), a microphone taped to your lip, restrictive bands around your chest and abdomen, more sensors on your legs and a hand, a Darth Vader mask strapped tightly to your face, and an unfamiliar bed. Oh, and a very nice nurse telling you to ignore it all and fall asleep naturally. Cuz that’s gonna happen.

In the meantime, I’m on horse diuretics (truly – they give these to racehorses), so I’ve got Secretariat’s urinary output. Which isn’t quite as fun as it sounds. Since the diagnosis was not fibrosis, I get to stay on the poison I’m taking for psoriasis, at least for now. After decades of having all blanks under the current medications column, now it’s more like Walgreen’s loading dock.

Heart failure feels like a giant serving of tired, with a side order of worry and a little dread for dessert. And a big glass of “oh, crap” to wash it all down. When you can feel every beat of your heart in your chest, it’s excruciatingly difficult to not wonder which one could be the last, even without a morbid imagination.

On the up side, you couldn’t ask for better motivation to eat better. I’m already down about 35 pounds since February, and too small for the biggest pants at Walmart. So for those keeping score at home, it’s only 75 more until I get a BMI in the healthy range.

Hey, everyone has to aspire to something.