Embracing My Inner Vampire

Punk Muse by Annette Wagner, 2012

Ok, its official. I’m a vampire now.

You scoff? Ah, but you might just want to read on as there are aspects of this situation that make my state of vampire-ness necessary. However, the “necessary” word is usually a good indicator that one must beware of being too serious so you are forewarned – I am embracing my irreverent self as I write this.

Lets begin at the beginning. When I was a child I lived five miles outside of town on a small ranch with apple orchards on one side, and a large berry farm on the other. Our land had several redwood groves, cottontail bunnies galore, and a creek with a flourishing population of tadpoles and crawdads – which sometimes made it home into places my parents did not always approve of.

Sounds idyllic? It was in many ways. There were horny toads and wild berry bushes and huge mud puddles when the sprinklers in the orchard went awry. In those days, it was perfectly fine to go down the hill to the creek and return hours later filthy and scratched and wonderfully tired from playing in the willows and creek and trails – unless of course you got skunked which is never recommended.

There were also the necessary parts of running farms and ranches – one of which was crop dusting the berry fields. The neighbor would call on the days they crop dusted and we would close all the windows and stay inside, watching the small plane as it swooped down over the fields and let loose with the smoky mist of chemicals. We could smell it inside even with the windows closed and the smell lingered outside for a day or so.

I’ve wondered for years about those days and what impact those exposures to chemicals had on us. All my life I’ve had ups and downs in my health. Repeated bouts of flu in high school. Sinus issues. Mold allergies. Severe sensitivities that resulted in loosing the ability to eat lots of foods. In the late 1980s, I found a doctor that helped me unravel things and get my body back to a place of balance.

However, in the last few years my health has gotten slowly whacky again. Doctors and energy workers tell me I have a “lazy” immune system – it overreacts and under reacts in its own particular way. It has been struggling with too many rounds of antibiotics over the years and stress and environmental factors to the point my body has developed rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

The official diagnosis is a form of Primary Immune Deficiency. My immune system is anemic – it does not consistently produce enough IG. IG is an antibody and when your immune system does not create enough, you get way more infections then a person with a healthy immune system would get – which puts a load on the rest of your body and over time creates more problems.

The treatment is one I’ve had before. Many years ago when the allergies were very bad, I received monthly transfusions of gamma globulin, IG, for two years which brought my system back into balance. What we didn’t know then, and know now, is that people with this condition need to have IG added to their system for the rest of their life. My body will never produce what it needs at a normal level.

I know it will likely come as no surprise to hear what my Muse has to say about these treatments. After all, IG is a blood product – one I am immensely grateful for. It comes from people like you who donate their blood. I see it as a gift of pure unconditional love helping me live a healthy life.

My Muse? She has been snickering for months now. She LOVES vampires and repeatedly points out this is a blood product that I can’t live without and therefore I must embrace my inner vampire self now that I have begun treatment. I point out I can Iive without it, just not as healthily as I would like to. This only makes her snicker more. She tells me I am in denial of my inner vampire self.

I tried giving her the evil eye and she laughed out loud and showed me her fangs. Fangs! She grew fangs just to annoy me. Sigh. She even suggested I paint her with fangs. Not.

She pointed out to me that I own more than one vampire costume. And have even dressed up as one for Halloween with my daughter. Somewhere in the costume bin there are even vampire teeth. So perhaps this whole vampire thing is not so far-fetched?


I admit that my artist self is considering the whole paint a vampire thing. I mean what really makes you read a person as vampire? Is it just the fangs? Maybe the odd or pale skin color. Some say there is dark shadowing around the eyes or even whitish eyeballs. The other characteristics are not very paintable: inhuman speed, ability to smell and hear really well, only awake at night – though the night thing does add ambiance.

However, do not for one moment think I am painting some damn caped vampire ala Bela Lugosi. That is just not happening. Regardless of snickering muses with fangs. Even if I grow fangs, I am not painting a vampire in a cape. Too cliché.

Hmmm. Growing fangs would be sort of fun though, wouldn’t it? Grin.