Yesterday, Apple released its newest OS, OS X Mavericks. I dutifully updated my desktop and my notebook, then discovered that because I upgraded them, I could no longer run the Server software to connect to dragon.org remotely for administration. I had to purchase a whole new version of the server software to connect to a server actually running the older version. At some point in the near future, I will upgrade dragon.org, but I found it very inconvenient.
With this new upgrade came a slew of other software updates from Apple. On top of all of those, there was an iOS upgrade for my iPhone and iPad. Even more crazy was numerous other updates to the iOS apps on both my phone and tablet. I spent hours updating and upgrading. In the end, it all feels almost exactly as it did before it all happened. Lots of tire spinning and nothing in the end that is tangible enough to pat myself on the back for. I did decide to try Safari again, after having switched to Chrome because of various frustrations. We'll see how long I use Safari before it reveals an annoyance that is just too much to forgive. I do like the new iCloud Keychain option and have already started to use it.
On the other hand, I got my new stereo installed in my car. I'm pretty happy with it, other than some iPhone software that has external display options won't work with the iPhone 5. I do get hands-free Siri use, which makes me happy. The display is pretty and, overall, it's a great system. It is a Kenwood DDX470. I've got to get accustomed to the new system, but I'm already loving it.
Autumn is my favorite season. Apparently, I am the rule, rather than the exception. Studies show that more people love the Fall than any of the four seasons. Phoenix is like a weather yoyo in the Autumn. We get a nice temperature drop for a week or so, and temps spike back into the 90s for a few days, then back down again. It's been fairly cool here, in the 70s and low 80s, the last few days. I am especially thankful for the cool down, because my new vestibular migraine symptoms are often triggered by heat. I've been able to walk in the Desert Botanical Garden for a few hours and not suffer from vertigo, which is a great thing.
I always keep a window for Sparta, Wisconsin in my weather app, since that is where I am originally from and my family is there. I peeked at it yesterday and saw that there was a day next week that has an expected high of 39 degrees. A part of me is very thankful to be in Arizona, and another part of me really misses the weather of the great Midwest.
I've been working on the web design for artofnosh.com, my site for culinary evangelism. I've pretty much got the basic design down and now I need to work on some content and manifest some sort of graphic content. I also need to work on populating it with my own content. I have so many ideas, it is hard to decide where to start. I have some photos of a recent braised pork that I want to put together as a how-to. I also want to write an article expressing my vision behind the site, getting people back in their own kitchens.
I really want to keep up with this blog. I've started a blog on dragon.org so many times, I lost count. I just don't think about it and it goes un-updated. Wish me luck!
On August 2nd, I went to my doctor to finally address my carpal tunnel symptoms (more on those later). He did an exam, and found that I definitely had the symptoms, but suggested a cervical x-ray to rule out cervical reasons for my symptoms. I drove about 2 miles to the lab, and had them do the x-rays. They didn't manipulate me in any way, however, when I left there, I had a severe headache centered in my upper cervical spine. Then I noticed that my lips were numb. The next day, I had to return to the doctor's office for a fasting blood test. I told the nurse about my symptoms, and she said that the doctor was booked for the whole day, and I could try to make an appointment for the next few days. I went home, and the symptoms became worse. My whole face was numb, as well as my hands, and a mild vertigo with dizziness and euphoria. I started to freak out a little bit. I called the doctor and it was recommended that I visit the emergency room.
So, I went to Phoenix Baptist Hospital. I spent hours, had a CT scan with the iodine dye injection (woo baby). I was pretty dehydrated, as well, so they gave me fluids. In the end I got a diagnosis of dehydration and possible anxiety. I also had a consult to see a neurologist. I couldn't get into the neurologist until October 4th, so I was a little concerned about waiting that long with these symptoms. The symptoms came and went for about 5 weeks. They didn't interrupt my work so much at the time, and the worst symptoms showed up on my days off. On the 9th of September I started having pretty severe symptoms, and they stayed constant through the next day. I had to leave work early on the 9th and had to call off on the 10th. Working in the hot kitchen seemed to cause the symptoms to be much worse. Sitting in a cool, quiet room quieted the storm of symptoms pretty quickly. The next day, I had no real choice but to go back to the emergency room. This time, I chose St. Joseph's Hospital because they had arguably the best neurology clinic in the Western U.S.
They hooked me up and started a barrage of test. I had blood tests, two MRIs and lots of poking and prodding. They admitted me overnight and continued to review and search for what was causing my symptoms. At one point in time, the neurologists were doing their rounds, and I had five of them in my room at one time. I was describing my worst day of symptoms to them. I had the day off, and the world was spinning around me. I heard the mailman deliver the mail, so I went outside to get the mail. It was extremely bright outside, as Phoenix tends to be, and I noticed in the very periphery of my vision was strobing migraine spots, which I hadn't noticed before. When I said this, all five of those neurologist had the light of realization spread across their faces. It was amazing to see.
So my diagnosis is "migraine aura without headache" and "vestibular migraine". They assigned a movement disorder specialist to me, and now I am working with her to get my stuff under control.
Unfortunately, I had to resign from my job because I can't work in the kitchen with nearly constant vertigo and dizziness. They tell me they would be glad to hire me back, even at a higher position, when my issues are resolved. It is apparent that my symptoms are triggered by heat, and physical and mental stress. I am on some medication that takes 6 weeks to build up in your system, and in the meantime, I am at home, trying to stay calm and cool. The symptoms are mostly with me, but have improved noticeably in the last 2 days. By "improve" I mean I have actually gone a few hours here and there with almost no symptoms. This is a nice change from the constant storm of the last 2 weeks.
So, for now, I have to consider what I might have to do if it is determined my current job is too physically stressful to manage my condition. I have to consider a creative way to utilize my culinary education, which might involve food writing or something similar. The future is a little cloudy, but hopefully I can come out in a much better place, physically and emotionally.
And... regarding those pesky carpal tunnel symptoms... I haven't had any tests or anything for them yet. I have bought two wrist splints to wear at night and the symptoms are much better. The hard part will be getting used to wearing the splints at night.
I've been helping out friends and friends of friends with various website design and hosting for a while now. Most of it is non-profit, but I do enjoy helping them out. With the new server, I am able to make things even better for them because with newer technology comes newer and more flexible tools. The unfortunate thing is that many of the WYSIWYG editors are made for Windows and not Mac. While I have a Windows PC, I prefer to use my Mac for most design work. I've had to purchase an editor that works only on Windows for my website templates because there is a distinct shortage of tools for my Mac. I've installed a software called Artisteer. It's pretty nice for designing Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal and other templates. They have a Mac version in beta, but it does not work well at all, so I am running it on my Windows machine.
I also like to use Adobe's Kuler site and iPhone app to select a color palate. With the iPhone app, I can select a photograph that I really love the colors and the app will search the photo for compatible colors and I can use the color codes in my web design. How cool is that?! I am going to start working on a new design for this site. I just need a little inspiration to get things rolling. Maybe a trip outside with my iPhone camera would help.