The Fog

I could have burned my house down today because of this thing they call the ‘Lupus fog.’

I innocently began to boil eggs during the afternoon, and then absent mindedly left to pick up my son from school. Eggs on the stove, boiling away.

And they had been there awhile. It’s not as if I turned them on, forgot for a bit, and then remember. No…I turned them on and forgot forever.

Somewhere between home and school, I realized what i had done and grabbed my son as fast as possible, mentally went through all the people I could call to break into my house and turn off the stove, and sped home quickly.

A few blocks from home I approached the usual corner stop sign, looked cautiously and rolled through, and immediately saw lights behind me. I deserved the ticket, no doubt, but I also explained to the officer I had left boiling eggs on my stove and had been gone over half an hour. If he could just follow me home, write me the ticket at home, that would be swell.

The LA County Sheriff’s Deputy said ‘this will only take two seconds’ and proceeded to make me sit in my van and ponder if my house was on fire.

Once the ticket came to the window (which was well over two seconds) I asked the officer to accompany me home, fearing I would find smoke billowing out of my house and having a cop there might be a nice help. He skeptically agreed and tailed me back home.

I pulled up. I ran in. I found the eggs with half an inch of water left in the pot, boiling away just fine. I dismissed the cop (who probably thought I was lying now). And gave a sigh of relief.

But as I sit here, going over events in my head, I’m feeling helpless. I’m feeling like a senior citizen who needs supervision. I’m feeling like my ‘Lupus fog’ could mean next time the house does burn down. I forget to pick up a kid. Or worse.

I feel defeated by this inflammation that they are keeping from my brain, but maybe not well enough.

Thursday I undergo another series of shots to knock out this pressure. It has to work. It’s the third and last in the series to help relieve my pain and relieve the inflammation that was creeping too close to my noggin. But I have horrible fears it’s not working and that I will need a babysitter like a toddler needs constant supervision.

I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to forget a single thing. Ever. And I fear I’m not only losing that battle, but I’m endangering people and property in the process.

Maybe this was just a fluke. Maybe I just forgot like a regular person just forgets. But I can’t be sure. At least not yet. In the meantime, feel free to check on me and make sure I’ve turned off the stove, picked up my kids, and otherwise done what ‘regular’ people do. And I’ll be writing a check for that ticket, because thankfully money and my once clean record were the only things lost in today’s fog.


  1. God. This sucks. It sounds weird to say, “I’m glad you didn’t burn your house down but I understand why that is small comfort tonight,” but… you know, that.

  2. I blame lupus.

    But also, regular people do just forget, especially people who are worried.

    Hugs, bit yummy lupus hating hugs.

  3. I will gladly come be your live-in party time lupus-ass-kicking “babysitter”.

    I can’t make any promises that during our unicorn bell soundtracked dance parties that I won’t be the one to bump, nudge, slip, or trip into something that could burn the house down, but at least we won’t have to blame it on the eggs and it’ll be a great story to tell the svelte firemen. ::ehem::

    This sounds like such an intelligent and supportive idea. If you need me I’ll be packing my bags…

  4. I know the point is not the eggs, but if it makes you feel any better, I forgot about boiling eggs one time when I was still home. Turned on a movie. Almost 2 hours later I heard gunfire in my kitchen. It was the eggs exploding one by one. And I still didn’t remember! I had bits of exploded egg for 15 feet in every direction and nothing for lunch.
    Lupus can suckit.

  5. I do that all the time. Maybe not that exactly, but stuff quite like that. Also, steroids.

    When I had my last major asthma thing, I was in the hospital all new year’s weekend. Checked myself out 1/1, a Monday, but was on massive massive prednisone. It gave me highly acidic projectile diarrhea and made me crazy crazy. So on 1/2 I went to work b/c I had just started, had no sick leave, and would have been homeless if I missed even one day, so I went. I approached the intersection of Rose and Camino del Sol, knowing full well (having been warned by many coworkers) that a cop sits at that intersection poaching tickets off of people who enter the turn lane early (it’s a double yellow line up until the intersection). But I forgot, plus, I really had to go poo, and it burned. So I got the ticket, and I was totally guilty, but it never would have hurt anyone, and … well, it can’t compare to lupus, but I do relate.

  6. Lu@masmom says:

    I get this kind of fog from my meds. Not to the same degree, but I get it. It sucks feeling like you can’t be responsible for the most simplest of things. All I can say is keep holding on, keep doing the best you can with what you’ve got. I will be thinking about you Thursday and hoping for the absolute best. Keep digging deep Erin. xoxo

  7. 🙁

  8. When it comes to brain fog (3 years of meno fog … I feel so sorry for you).. timers are your best friend. Egg timers in the kitchen that you set to go off every couple minutes so you don’t forget something on the stove -or in the oven- before it burns. Timers on your phone to remind you to pick up kids, go to appointments, etc.

  9. I’m sorry. If it makes you feel any better, my dad has burned up about five tea kettles the same way and he has no excuse whatsoever.

  10. Namaste Erin, you are in my thoughts and meditations every sunrise and sunset. You are the bravest woman I know. I have a close friend, a psychologist, that has advanced Lupus and all she can do is lay in bed and cry. She has completely given up, when I read her your blogs, she just says some people are born warriors, I believe that you are indeed a warrior in more than one way, before Lupus a warrior for truth, with lupus a warrior for honesty, what must be excruciating commentary on the state of your journey.
    I wanted to tell you how very much I appreciate your being here, engaged in the battle for a more compassionate world and the sacrifices you are making.
    Your family is beyond strong and set the bar very high for support and love. You are very fortunate to have that type of support, When I went through treatment for Liver cancer several years ago, my 3 children never left my side. not one of my 5 siblings ever even called. Not whining, it put things in perspective for me.
    I deeply admire your courage, if there is anything I can ever do for you to be of any assistance, know it is yours for the asking.
    It is an honor to know you and to share space and energy with you.
    Namaste, peace be with you and your family.

  11. Fogspinner says:

    If this makes you feel ANY better, I have totally done that, and I have NO excuse!

    Only I came home to a house FULL of burnt egg smelling smoke that billowed out the door when I opened it, and found the pot on the stove with the eggs ON FIRE inside. All I can say is, I thank god the only clean pot I could find was a canning pot, so it totally contained any fire.

    Oh and PS burnt eggs STINK and it takes forever for that smell to wear off!

  12. I have been going through perimenopause for about 6 mos now. I feel like an idiot. My Memory is shot, forget things like boiling pans, but also forget the rectangular thing that opens is called a door. My husband finds it amusing when I say, “you know..that thing we put food bakes and makes cakes,” because I cannot remember the word “oven” All this to say, maybe you are as real as the rest of us. Hang in there.

  13. I’m really mad yhat he didn’t let you off with a warning. Not awesome, Awesometown!

  14. *hugs*

  15. I bet your oven has a timer. If it doesn’t, there are apps for that. or get a kitchen timer.

    Also, if your record is clean, go to traffic school. I think you can do it on line now. It will save your insurance rates plus you won’t have to take the test at the DMV.

    p.s. According to Martha Stewart, the way to make perfect hard boiled eggs is to cover the eggs in cold water and bring to a rolling boil over medium heat. Then cover, turn off the heat, and let sit for 12 minutes. Immediately rinse under cold water.

  16. I have Hashimotos’, an autoimmune disorder that affects my thyroid. I am very familiar with Brain Fog. it can be frightening when you know your brain is not working right. Before my diagnosis I thought I was literally losing my mind, or was clinically depressed because all I wanted to do was sleep. I was beyond tired all the time, I couldn’t sit for very long without nodding off.

    Then the excruciating pain started in my hips and knees which turned out to be rheumatoid arthritis, another autoimmune disease. (Apparently, having one autoimmune problem puts someone at risk for others.)

    I can completely empathize with what you’re going through.

    I’ve been on meds for nearly nine years now, and can say it does get better. It’s a long process, but I believe it will get better for you too.

  17. That totally sucks. That cop sounds like kind of a jerk, but he probably hears a lot of stories that are made up. At least he did follow you home.

    As someone who is ridiculously absent-minded WITHOUT lupus as a valid reason, I have burned many a pot. I have to agree with everyone who suggested a timer. That beeps LOUDLY. Timers are awesome.

    Also, do you know your neighbors? Do you have their phone numbers? The very first thing I would do if I were afraid my house might be on fire would be to call my next-door neighbor. I have all of his numbers saved in my mobile phone, and he has mine. We have a deal worked out to watch each other’s property. When he’s on vacation I call him once in a while and let him know his house is okay, etc.

    Even if you don’t really get along with your neighbors, they would probably be willing to work out a reciprocal arrangement like that. ESPECIALLY if you told them this story and explained the lupus fog situation.

    I’m, also friendly with and have the number for my city councilwoman (who lives a mile away) and several local firefighters. I figure these are generally good people to get to know.

    I am thinking about you all the time and hoping you will feel better soon. (Seriously. I had a dream about you last night. (No, not THAT kind, Aaron.) And in my dream you were at BlogHer and you looked better and you were WALKING everywhere. And winning arguments about politics. Let’s hope it comes true.)

  18. Not to diminish the severity of your condition or the hideous side effects of your medication, but this could have happened to anyone and has, in fact, happened to me. Fortunately, I was home, but I did manage to let the water completely boil off and I ruined a $100+ calphalon saucepan. At least neither one of us burned our houses down.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ll find ways to compensate and adjust.

  19. That cop stinks. Two of my uncles are cops and they’d never be like “oh hey, your house might be burning down but just hang on here dude.”

    My 16 year old sister turned on the wrong burner in the kitchen, the one the brownie pan had been resting on, and the brownie pan exploded. Five minutes earlier I had been in the kitchen.

    Kitchen stuff sucks.

  20. Been in the fog – it sucks. I love my kitchen timer for sure. I ticks pretty loudly too, so if I carry it with me as I wander the house I remember the stove is on as well. Anyway, last time I was pushing through the fog I developed a paranoia about the stove for much the same reason. I’d go to bed, and get up 3 or 4 times to make sure it was off. I couldn’t remember for sure if I’d already checked it that night or if I was remembering checking it the night before. Nothing like that to make you feel like you’re losing your mind, huh?


  21. Ah hell,fucking Lupus!

    Not that this is at all the same but when my twins were about 3 weeks old and I was very sleep deprived I put water on to boil to sterilize some things and then promptly fell asleep. When I woke up, I immediately remembered and ran to the kitchen. The water had boiled all the way down and the pan was just starting to get all white and smoky. I flipped but was thankful I caught it before I burned the house, with my brand new babies in it , to the ground.

  22. I was just going to write *hugs* then the phrase “lupus is stupus” came into my head and it kind of made me laugh. Even though it totally is. stupus. Stupid. Whatever. The bottom line is, I just wanted to give you an internet hug and take away a teeny bit of the suckage.

  23. As a frequently maxed out single mom I finally figured out a trick to keep me from burning down the house. I always put the stove overhead light on when I’m cooking, and only turn it off when ask the burners are off. Before I figured that out I had a couple of close calls. Fortunately none involved speeding tickets. Sorry you had that extra little FY from the universe today. Hope the comment love has more than made up for it.

  24. Just adding my voice to the chorus of ‘It can happen to anyone”. And what is it about boiling eggs that makes this happen?
    I remember when I was young my mother forgot about eggs on the stove (a gas stove!), to the stage where they exploded all over the kitchen, and it happened more than once. The only excuse she had was 4 kids.

  25. Hello Erin,

    I’ve lurked but I’ll come out now. I originally found you b/c of some random, uh, I mean high brow, conversation you were having with my super-friend @shuggilippo.

    Anyway, I finally decided I need to comment because I’m reliving a part of my life I never thought I’d see again. My uncle had lupus – back in the early 1990s. He had his share of ‘the fog’.

    And the jerk cop you had today was probably the cousin of the one who arrested my uncle when he sneezed and accidentally put a deodorant in his pocket when he got a tissue. Yep, arrested for shoplifting. We jokingly called it SWL – Shopping with Lupus.

    It’s a good thing for that cop, though, that you do have lupus or you’d probably have demonstrated your best Chuck Norris impression. Instead, he got the evil eye. While you’re resting, maybe a side job making voodoo dolls could prove lucrative.

    Do the best you can. And if you only have one spoon for the day, use it to shoot frozen peas at people!

    My best to you and your family,

  26. I’m going with you just forgot. It happens. It causes wide-spread panic but it does happen.

    My father once decided to reheat some tomato soup. We were all home. When he was done my mother was minus a pot and had to get 2 new burners on her stove. He melted the pot onto the stove.

    Still amazes me.

    Stay strong sweetie.

  27. I’ve done things like that before and luckily, my house has never gotten on fire! I also had a crazy experience with leaving an egg and it exploding everywhere… Yeah not so good!!

    Krissy @ Mommy Misc…”

  28. i’m really thankful to you for blogging so bravely about your journey.

    you’re in my thoughts.

  29. aww jeez, that is just plain sucky.

    Some of us live our lives that way, with no excuse at all – but we know and expect to be forgetful. and we’ve learned to employ some good coping strategies that work some of the time. and the rest of the time, well, we just deal with the consequences.

    In your case, regardless of the cause, this is different and frustrating and scary. and that sucks.


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