Friday, October 31, 2008

Hello World!!!

I feel like I am back but I know I still have a ways. I can think and speak and the world does not seem so distant. I am quite delighted. I still have some tremors and whatnot going on. I managed to stumble in a drunk like manner a few times through my morning walk. It's about progress not perfection.

When I stopped my lithium yesterday I almost changed my mind. My gut told me to keep taking something that is already at a toxic level was insanity but then that voice of med compliance has been drilled into my head. Turns out I did the right thing. My PCP said my levels were slightly elevated but the on-call APRN I spoke with today said my levels were extremely high. I did the right thing stopping the lithium. I am to call my psychiatrist on Monday and not take any lithium until she tells me to do so.

I didn't have the day I thought I would today. I guess I had the day I was supposed to have, not the one I planned. Life is interesting like that.

I did address my issue with the no-call from the doctor on call yesterday. I was able to express myself and my concerns...something I wouldn't have been able to do yesterday. My head was significantly clearer today. Thank goodness!!!


I am looking forward to my upcoming house sitting gig. It will be a nice little getaway from the ordinary. I have some meetings scoped out. (2 miles each way...when opportunity knocks...) Going to different meetings is always fun. Barbara is going to bring me up so I can vote in Woodstock on Tuesday. Ann's picking me up Wednesday for the New Haven trip.

Life is good! Busy, but very good. Then things will slow down for a bit. That's just the ebb and flow of my life. I like it that way. I like the change and the unpredictability. It keeps me on my toes. It keeps me interested. Mostly, I don't have any choice about how life happens so I can either go with it or fight it. It just makes not sense to try to change the things I cannot change. I'm grateful today that I know that...well, most of the time. Nobody's perfect! LOL

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I really do try to be patient with doctors. My PCP is okay. I finally got hold of her and told her my symptoms. Thank goodness I had sent a copy of my last lithium level to her as well as to my psychiatrist. She had me promise to call my shrink because my lithium levels were too high. I suspected as much.

General weakness, tireness, mental fog, shakiness, blurred vision, dizziness, jerkiness of arms and legs, and not being able to eat without feeling nauseous (and a couple bouts of vomiting) are pretty classic symptoms. I so cold I feel like someone replaced my blood with ice water...cold from the inside with my fingers being exceptionally cold and white. Oh yeah, and I have this delightful rash from hell that itches so much I want to skip crying and go right to full fledged screaming. Yesterday when I damn near passed out was the last straw.

Funny thing is the symptoms started the end of last week prompting me to get my level tested on Monday. Do doctors even bother with that stuff? No one from my shrinks office called. Lithium is not something to play around with. I just kept getting worse and worse. To add to matters, I keep forgetting my afternoon bout half the time. I'd be in sorry state if I had been on top of that.

I called my shrink and left a message with her secretary with the note that if she wasn't in for someone to call me and tell me so. They do funny things like not return calls when a doctor is on vacation or out of town for days. The secretary called back to tell me my doctor was not in and would I like the doctor on call to call me. I said yes, my PCP said my lithium levels are high and I am in fact symptomatic I need to speak with the doctor on call. Was any part of that confusing? I think not. Yet, I get nothing. The freaking doctor on call just didn't bother to call me. NADA.

I did not take my afternoon dose, nor will I take my bedtime or morning doses. I have an appointment with my therapist at the same facility...and I aint walking in happy!!! If I didn't know to stop taking the meds till the level comes down...and there are many less on top of this thing than I...I can't imagine continuing to put more lithium into my system at this point. I just don't get it. How can I tell someone that I am experiencing lithium toxicity and get no response from the medical personel on duty? Yes, I used the term lithium toxicity, noted my elevated lithium levels on Monday's bloodwork and noted I was indeed symptomatic.

Lucy! You got some 'splaining to do!!!

This part of the state doesn't offer many options for mental health services. One is not an option, it's just what's available. I will find a way to make what is available work for me even if I have to raise holy hell to do it. Unacceptable is unacceptable!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hmmm...I knew dat!

The New York Times
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October 29, 2008

Calories Do Count

WHEN you’re young and tap dance for a living, you don’t have to think much about the caloric impact of your next meal. But when three performers who spent the day rehearsing for “Shrek the Musical” walked into a restaurant on 42nd Street recently, they saw on the menu that a Japanese-style beef bowl had 1,090 calories. They decided to head down the street for a salad.

“Counting calories is so 1980s,” said Rachel Stern, one of the dancers. “But when it’s right there, it’s kind of hard to ignore.”

For the last few decades, the most popular diets were complex formulas that promised abundant eating with just the right combinations of fat, protein and carbohydrates. Now those regimens are starting to look like exotic mortgages and other risky financing instruments. And just like a reliable savings account, good old calorie counting is coming back into fashion.

“More and more, people are looking at calories in, and calories out,” said Dr. Terry Eagan, a Los Angeles psychiatrist, who for 16 years has helped people with eating disorders and other addictions. “I know some people want something that’s sexy and different and new, but there really isn’t anything new about weight loss.”

Evidence of the calorie’s resurgence is everywhere. The makers of Coca-Cola and M&Ms will soon print calories on the front of packages. Consumers, too, are paying more attention, like the diners who discovered that some meals at Applebee’s had more calories than advertised and filed a class-action suit this fall.

New Yorkers got a harsh dose of calorie reality this summer when restaurants with 15 or more outlets were forced to post the calorie content of food next to the price. The resulting sticker shock has brought parts of a great city to its knees, often to do push-ups.

The campaign has inspired lawmakers around the country to follow New York’s lead.

Restaurants and food companies are lightening recipes and portion sizes. Starbucks, for example, claims to have saved the nation 17 billion calories since last October by swapping 2 percent milk for whole. The 100-calorie snack is this decade’s answer to the fat-free SnackWell cookie, as more brands introduce tiny portions of things like Cool Ranch Doritos and Clif bars.

Dunkin’ Donuts recently added a low-calorie egg white breakfast sandwich, Così is using low-fat mayonnaise and McDonald’s large French fries have dropped to 500 calories this year from 570 last year. Quiznos is testing smaller sizes and less-caloric sandwich fillings in its New York stores. Cathy Nonas of the New York City health department said this is all a reaction to public-health pressure.

Restaurant corporations say consumer demand, not the threat of legislation, made them change. That’s why Yum Brands, which owns KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and other fast-food restaurants, will start voluntarily posting calorie counts for individual servings in its restaurants nationwide later this year, said Jonathan Blum, a company spokesman.

At Starbucks, a new set of “nutritional guardrails” were put in place over the last year not because of legal mandates but because customers wanted it, said Katie Thomson, the company’s nutritionist.

Products were reviewed for calorie and fat content. Bakers were encouraged to substitute healthier ingredients or, if that would compromise taste, to reduce portions, as the company did with its butter croissant. Starbucks also considered how much satiety items would provide, something increasingly important as people cut back on calories, she said.

For some establishments, having their menus exposed by the New York law forced some caloric housecleaning. At Le Pain Quotidien, which has 17 outlets in New York, several items were changed or taken off the menu, said Jack Moran, a vice president.

The popular quiche Lorraine was trimmed to 6 ounces from 11, with extra salad filling out the plate. Sweets like brownies may shrink, too.

But consumers who think smaller portions will mean smaller prices are likely out of luck. The prices on some of the chain’s newly slimmed down items haven’t dropped, but that doesn’t seem to be affecting sales.

“Everything we consider to have a good caloric rating is marching up the charts,” Mr. Moran said.

The Atlantic smoked salmon tartine, with 350 calories, was always a good middle-of-the-pack seller among the 15 open-face sandwiches that are a specialty at the chain. After the calorie counts were posted, it became a top seller, edging out the longstanding favorite, the grilled chicken and smoked mozzarella tartine, which has 690 calories and costs about $3 less.

Reducing calories is now a company-wide quest, and the chain is posting calorie counts in its restaurants in Washington and Los Angeles.

If reduced portion sizes remain popular with customers, it could help restaurant operators who have been bearing big jumps in food costs this year, Mr. Moran and other restaurateurs said.

Public health officials acknowledge that people rarely change their eating habits overnight, and that there is a lot more to good nutrition than simply counting calories. Still, they are trying to make sure consumers stay calorie conscious. Just to hammer the point home, the New York City health department earlier this month put signs inside subway cars pointing out that most people need only about 2,000 calories a day.

The number of calories in food shocked most New Yorkers, according to a September survey by the health department. A Starbucks blueberry scone delivers 480 calories. A Quiznos regular tuna melt is 1,270 calories. Wraps, the refuge for low-carb sandwich lovers, can top 800 calories. Bagels pack more calories than doughnuts. A large bucket of buttered movie popcorn has more than half the calories anyone should eat in a day.

Even people for whom nutrition is a way of life had no idea how many calories they were eating. Kate Adamick, a consultant who helps corporations and school districts improve their food, took a hard look at her Starbucks habit, which included bran muffins and chocolate cookies.

“Just because I work in the food world, I am not immune from this human tendency to self-delude,” she said. “I can look at a cookie that is the size of a man’s hand and think it’s only twice as big as a regular cookie, but it actually has the caloric content of four or five cookies.”

Posting calories on menus is a kind of Hail Mary pass for health officials trying to slow rates of diabetes and obesity. But it is catching on fast. California last month became the first state to require calorie counts, although that law is less restrictive than New York’s.

In all, nearly three dozen states, cities and counties have passed or introduced laws that would require calorie posting in some form. More are in the works, said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which frequently criticizes the food industry.

Two proposals moving through Congress would make calorie postings uniform nationwide. One, the Labeling Education and Nutrition Act, is backed by the restaurant industry and would give restaurants and grocery stores selling prepared foods a choice of labeling formats, including posters near the cash register or disclosures on the back of the menu. It would pre-empt tougher laws, like New York’s.

A second proposal, the Menu Education and Labeling Act, is supported by public health advocates and more closely mirrors New York’s law. It would not pre-empt more stringent local laws.

Of course, for the calorie’s comeback to be sustained, people who are not already focused on a healthy diet will have to begin paying attention.

At a Chipotle near Brooklyn Borough Hall, Daniela Castillo, 18, dishes up carnitas between classes at Brooklyn College. The customers talking calories, she said, are mostly women, and mostly slimmer older women. Men, especially the younger ones, just ask for everything, and often ask her to double the portions.

“I think it’s kind of a middle-age thing, counting calories,” she said.

People might be changing their eating habits, but some restaurant owners remain skeptical — especially those who have already offered lower calorie food only to see those items languish.

“We talk skinny and eat fat,” said Tim Ryan, president of the Culinary Institute of America.

And it has been that way for a century.

The first calorie-centric weight-loss guide, “Diet and Health, With a Key to the Calories” by Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters, was published in 1918 to great acclaim. Her weight-loss formula? Eat in 100-calorie portions, and no more than 1,200 a day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I can't believe how itchy my arms get. I just put on some Gold Bond cream..hydrocortisone has never worked for me. Got a bunch of bumps on my collar bone and left shoulder too. I hit them with the Gold Bond stuff as well. It really is incredible stuff...AND, SON OF AN ITCH, IT WORKS!!!

I have to plan for this house sitting gig as it has me in Willimantic on election day. There's a transit bus between Willi and Danielson that I could take, then grab another bus to Putnam so I can get picked up to vote in Woodstock. When I think of all the folks in walking distance of polling places who won't vote I just shake my head. This past year and a half without a car has really shown me how much I care about certain things. I rather enjoy that. Life lessons can certainly be interesting! Someday I will have a car again...just not today. I can wait until the time is right.

I managed to get out and walk today. I did 2.0 miles in 45 Olympic record there. It feels good to walk though at times I feel like I am fighting to put one foot in front of the other. Is this what they mean by trudging the road of happy destiny? LMAO

I ran into my godmother and her husband. I waved to him but he didn't recognize me until I walked up and hugged my godmother. It was a nice surprise to run into her. She was getting her coumadin level checked while I was getting my lithium level checked. Gotta love small towns! It did remind me that I owe her a visit. It's long overdue.

I want to get down to visit Aunt Ruth too. I haven't been to see her since before my surgery. Ah yes, the "to-do" list just grows and grows. Of course, I consider that a good thing.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

So Very Tired Right Now...

Every day it hits just before supper time. This ominous, heavy tiredness. UGH! Besides the physical tiredness there's a mental fog I can't seem to get through. It's an ugly, ugly thing! Things like reading and writing are a major effort. My brain just shuts off! It's the darnedest thing I've ever experienced. I'm going to get my lithium level checked tomorrow morning. It's not just because it is after my afternoon dose that I get all yucky. I feel weak. I could swear I've developed restless leg syndrome...omigawd, it's terrible what my legs do while I am trying to get to sleep. A couple of times it's felt like I had an anxiety attack and at times I have the coordination of a fall-down drunk. It aint pretty. But this has been going on for a bit now.

My denial had me putting off the blood work. Well, here it is in writing so its real. I have to take action. It's so important for me to tell on myself. It keeps me on track.

I went down to Willimantic to meet the dogs...Ruthie a Lab mix and Bailey & Grace the Beagles. They are a bit spoiled but a friendly lot nonetheless. They seemed to take a liking to me...or to my lap and my two hands anyway. It should be a fun gig. There are plenty of meetings in walking distance. Willimantic has a strong recovery community. And hanging with dogs is always fun. Well, there is a cat there but she is apparently rather reclusive. Of course, I am more of a dog person myself though I do enjoy cats too. Now for those directions...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Been up to Warehouse Point to visit Ashley. We went out to see "The Secret Life of Bees." I highly recommend it. At one point I thought Ashley was dozing...and she may well have been. She was extremely quiet. It was hard to get her to say two words in sequence. I asked open ended questions and got one and two word replies.

Her lack of sophistication never ceases to amaze me. She told me she had the newest PSP, which would be #3. She actually has the original PSP. She could identify the cd's of the 2 & 3 as not what she was using. She couldn't point out the mall that the cinema was in even though she had been there on numerous ocassions. It was like she had never been there before when in fact I was the one who had never been there before. I wonder how she is going to get by in the world, outside of a sheltered environment.

I got back in time to go to the karaoke portion of the ESSC event. Sober events are so kewl. And yes, all ye bucket list folks, I did it! I got up and sang an old Donna Fargo (stop laughing) number, "You Can't Be A Beacon." I was god-awful for sure, but I enjoyed myself. It was sort of a flashback moment for me. I remember that nun when I was in second grade telling everyone to stop lip syncing and then telling me TO lip sync cause I was so bad. Why someone would do that to a kid is beyond me! I guess today counts as my revenge.

The wind is driving the rain. I can hear the wind chimes every now and again. Every so often lightening illuminates the sky. It's peaceful yet powerful. I'm here with the two cats, the sisters. One or both will sleep on my bed with me. There's a calming effect hearing a cat purring. Nothing quite like it really.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What's in a name?

After finishing "The Bucket List" and sending it out I realized that I've had quite the collection of nicknames. Eggbeater, Suzy, Little Suzy, Buckwheat, Clyde Kadiddlehopper, Screw, Puppet, Sues and Pizza Sue, SueBear. There have been others as well. I find it interesting that I have had so many monikers. Oh, and there were two pseudonyms I used along the way as well. I figure those don't count they were something I dreamed up for anonymity and not something anyone ever called me. In point of fact, most folks wouldn't recognize me in them.

I can look back and see how each name came from and defined a part of my life. They are all a part of my story, my history...a part of me and who I have become. Every step of the way was necesary though today I cringe when someone uses the "Z word" in reference to me. UGH!

I am very tired today in a "my brain is foggy and I am groggy" kind of way. I've been getting to bed later than I like (though not so late) and sleep has been elusive. My hips scream at me when I lay on my side. Somewhere between my hip and my ribcage there is a gawd-awful ache when I sleep on my left side. Then I have to put up with feeling jittery at times during the day. It's not from caffeine cause I haven't had but two cups of coffee since my surgery and my tea is decaf. I think it's from being tired. Tired never used to hit me like that but then again, cold has taken on a whole new meaning in my life.

I'm working on working on it. I grabbed a winter jacket at the thrift store and I am dressing in layers. I need to get off the computer earlier so I can relax and get into mellow mode. When I am working on something or searching for information I get more than a bit obsessive-complusive. Of course, that's just my nature. I can get very intense which is not always a bad thing except when I get away with myself. I'm working on it, by golly!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Bummer, no Comic favorite font. Oh well! This one will do.

I just wanted to get started on this blog, cause if I keep putting it off I will forget about it. I know me all to well. I'm working on my character defects but it is gonna be a lifetime job.

Made two meetings today and I am feeling very positive. I got down to Danielson for their Tuesday Night Daily Reflections meeting. It was good to see the old gang again. Carrie was there. She's coming back yet again. My heart went out to her but I steered clear of her path. I can't help, I can only do damage. I'd love to see her on track with her sobriety, but I can't do it for her. It does help to remind me that but for the grace of god, there go I. That was too close to home for me.

I still have a bit more paperwork to get ready for tomorrow night's Alkathon meeting. It's nothing major. I can bang it out in a half hour or less. I organized all our agendas and minutes and whatnots in a binder. Up till this point there has been absolutely no record keeping. That has led to lack of transparency and work being done again and again cause no one knows what was done before. That was like a double PhD in inefficiency and disorganization. Tsk! Tsk! It's just no way to operate...period. So, I am feeling pretty good about accomplishing that. They should have known that making me secretary was gonna set me about organizing. It's what I do.

Jeanne and Beth set their wedding date...December 13th. I'm excited for them. It will be interesting watching their plans unfold.

And here is an interesting (and unrelated) tid bit...I am now viewing Pepcid and Centrum chewable as snack foods. LOL At first, I didn't especially care for the intense orange flavor of the Centrum but it seems to have grown on me. It's a hell of a thing...I lose my taste for chocolate and pick up a liking for Centrum. Behold the marvels of modern medicine! I think its great, but I do have that odd sense of humor going for me. Good thing, huh? LOL

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ta dah!!! A new beginning....

Here it is. The new blog. Let's see how this works out!