Tuesday, October 25

Posted by Laurel Garver on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 14 comments
Giving a name
Since I last posted, I've had some pretty weird stuff happen. One I suppose is mostly positive--I at last know WHY I've been so run down for the past seven months. I've been diagnosed with anemia. Really severe anemia. Severe enough that I had cravings to suck on rocks and got winded just going up stairs. So my doctor has put me on a crazy-high dose of iron that's like swallowing barbells (okay, maybe not quite, but it is 50 times more milligrams than my trusty One-a-Day contained).

I have to say, it's a huge relief to give my general bleh feeling a name. And even though I still get winded and cold too easily, I have hope again. Because naming the illness put parameters around it. It stopped being some amorphous malaise that could eat my life. It's just a mineral deficiency.

Taking a name
The bad weird thing was having my wallet stolen out of my office. I work on a college campus on a floor with both classrooms and offices, so it's not hard for a pickpocket to slip through the crowds unnoticed, pop into an unlocked room, grab and go. (Believe me, I now lock up even when I use the drinking fountain.)

In hours between when the thief took my wallet and I noticed it was gone, he or she had run off to do a little shopping spree in my name. With my accounts, my credit. One bank flagged the fraud attempts immediately, the other let one charge go through, which I now must dispute.

Among the many calls I had to make to stop the fraud was a call to the credit agency Equifax. They now have flagged my name, so that would-be thieves can't use my name to apply for credit and ride my good reputation as someone who pays bills on time.

The $10 they took from my wallet could never hurt so much as their potential power to destroy my name. (I think there might be a good shapeshifter plot in this story somewhere, for one of you paranormal fantasy writers.)

Both for good and for ill, names are powerful. Names contain and define.

It's something to keep in mind when we write. Nothing is quite so chilling as a widespread plague that no one can name; a good name lost is far harder to restore than a lost fortune.

How have you seen the giving, withholding or taking of a name used powerfully?


  1. I hope you start feeling a little more spritely now that you're getting some iron! I know what it's like to feel lethargic all the time ...

  2. There's a bright side to this! You are encouraged to eat lots of delicious red meat! YUM. (unless this is not something that is a bright side for you. In which case, I'm sorry, sacred cow) I hope you feel better and I'm sorry they threatened to steal your good name.

  3. Well thankfully it is just a mineral deficiency. An easy cure. Just make sure you stay on top of it.

    So sorry to hear you were picked. It is so sad that we have feel we need to lock up EVERYTHING. As long as we keep it in perspective and not fear it.

    Names are very powerful. I don't envy parents when the time comes to name their little ones. It does distinguish us.

    Funny you should mention an unnamed plague. I have one of those in my first fantasy novel... I did call it "The Dreaded Something." Fun, right? Perfect for an mg fantasy.

  4. Wow, Laurel, I'm so sorry about your wallet. Identity theft is truly something to be afraid in the world today, isn't it? It's good that you were so on top of things.

    Anemia isn't fun. My mom has always been anemic, and I know it doesn't have to be severe to be exhausted all the time. You must have been in tough shape. I'm glad they diagnosed it. Hopefully it won't take too long to start feeling better.

  5. Thank goodness you discovered what was ailing you and it's something you can quickly fix. Sorry you haven't been feeling well. I hope you're back to your old self soon.

    I'm also sorry about the wallet situation and all the stress that went along with it. Hope you win with the credit dispute and continue to keep the thieves from using your name or credit.

    Thinking of you...

  6. Jessica: it was the cravings for rocks that was more disturbing. I was seriously worried about my mental health. LOL. The rock craving is called pica and it happens when anemia is severe. So I'm not crazy, I'm ill. It's only been a few days, but I a bit less foggy at least.

    Melissa: Yep. I'm making meatloaf tonight! Yum! On the downside, I'm laying off yogurt and ice cream for now (boo hoo) because calcium blocks the absorption of iron.

  7. Michael: I want my energy back, so believe me, I'm on top of the supplement regime.

    My office is on a very urban campus in a bad neighborhood, so I should have been more paranoid all along. Live and learn.

    Naming children is a big responsibility for sure. We had it down to three choices before my daughter was born and it still took some deliberation after seeing her to choose!

    The plague idea popped to mind from Frank Herbert's The White Plague, a classic SciFi novel I read decades ago.

  8. Shannon: Thankfully I never carry my social security card, so it would be hard to apply for credit, but I didn't want to take any chances. Looking back, the anemia signs were there for a long time. I wish I'd gotten to the "enough is enough" point sooner.

    Jamie: Thanks for your kind words. The credit card dispute is just some paperwork, hopefully not too big a deal.

  9. Hope you're feeling better!

    The name thing makes me think about the line from Shakespeare, "Deny thy father and refuse thy name ..." where the enmity was based on family and name.

    There are also cultures where the names of the dead are never spoken; I think there may be cultures where people never even speak their own names?

  10. Sorry about your wallet! But I"m glad you know why you've been so tired. That's not fun.

  11. I agree - naming something helps you gain control of it and feel less lost. Hope the iron pills work well!
    We had a similar theft at our office only a couple of weeks ago! The worst part is, it's rather obvious that it must have been someone who works on this floor, but we still haven't figured out who it was...

  12. Jenn: Thanks. I get the sense that recovery is kind of slow--the more anemic, the slower it goes.

    R&J is a classic case of a name defining. And yes, the Lenape tribe (my daughter's current social studies unit) were in the practice of each person having a secret name no one else knew as well as a nickname everyone else used.

  13. Laura: Thanks. I'm glad I don't carry much cash as a general habit. We'll see how the pills go. A HS friend has been suffering the same thing and it's taking her months to recover.

    Deniz: Spooky! That must make office dynamics really tough!

  14. I have anemia too. If all asleep typing at the computer? What kind of iron? I found picolinate iron was the best, but it's more pricey. Best to you.

    Life of Lois