Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rip Van Winkle...and a bunch of other thangs.

I don't think I have ever been so tired as I get at times as of late. What is that about? I mean it hits with a swiftness i can't comprehend and lays me flat as if Stonehenge has landed on me. I fight it. I'm not a nap taker. I do not know how to take a nap. I can sleep for hour upon hour, but those short little naps...well, I just don't get that.

My Lyme test came back negative but I have a delightful little bulls-eye on my belly and my hip wakes me up at night giving new meaning to the term in-FLAMED! I could live without knowing that ugly, ugly feeling.

My surgeon will be fixing my hernia on the 27th of the month. YIPPEE! I consider that very good news cause when that puppy hurts, that puppy really hurts. That there is an end in sight is thing of beauty. Scared? Hell no! I am absolutely excited about the prospect of taking care of business.

That, of course, is the good news. The bad news is that it is still a very bad neighborhood in my head. In meetings, folks talk about that as being behind enemy lines. Well, duh! I am my own worst enemy and worry is like some covert agent that sneaks in and gains control of the grey matter between my two ears. Now mind you, it gains control because I hand over control.

MORE MEETINGS! That's just what the doctor ordered. Well, actually, no one ordered it. Experience has taught me that when my mind is against me and doubt, fear and worry start playing their games more meetings succeed in getting me to a better place...emotionally, spiritually and matter what else fails, more meetings work. I don't know why they work. I don't have to know why they work. I know that it works and that is good enough for me. Don't analyze, utilize!

I realized today that in the midst of life on life's terms, I am basically quite content with me and my life. The bumps in the road remind me that I am on a journey. Call it recovery or simply call it life. It can be a wild ride sometimes but it is most definitely worth it. I'm not trying to go around life today. There is only one way and that is through. Sometimes I go in kicking, screaming and leaving claw marks on things but all of it...the good, the bad and the ugly...has been worth it once I sit on the opposite shore and look back at where I have been and where I am at in the now. I am grateful that life is not always easy. That would get boring real fast.

I can certainly be my own worst enemy. Fear, doubt and insecurity plague me at times. And it is a truism that my troubles are of my own making. Fortunately today I know how to ask for help, how to get perspective and how to listen to voices other than the crazy ones in my own head. Hell, sometimes my instincts are right on these days and I can figure out what the next right thing is. Panic is not my regular default position. Hope is a phone call away or at the place where my fingertips touch the keyboard. Sometimes a deep, relaxing breath is all it takes. Sometimes a simple prayer or a quiet meditation bring me back to the present. I've learned to live Rule #62...don't take yourself so seriously.

When I don't get all caught up in my own head, I do pretty well. That is like way wicked kewl. Once upon a time, I couldn't imagine that was even a possibility. Life is very good today. MY LIFE IS VERY GOOD TODAY!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's been a while!

I woke up 'edgy' with 3:00 AM staring me in the face. UGH! Nuked some water for a Sleepy Time tea and made a PB&J sandwich. So, I figure a bit of writing and I will be ready to get back to the task of getting me some shut-eye. Let's see how that works out. LOL

Edgy. Well, at least I'm not downright anxious. It sucks to wake up in the middle of the night in the midst of an anxiety attack. Been there, done that. EWWWW! Let's just say, not my idea of a good time.

Then I am reminded of my dance with the psychotropic medication Seroquel. OMFG!!! So, I tell the shrink at the time I had had two...count them...two anxiety attacks in a 2-3 month period. I didn't want to be medicated, just wanted to keep him in the loop. Silly me thinking that was the right thing to do. He wants to prescribe Klonopin or Ativan or some such. I can't remember exactly what it was cause he said "X" and I heard BENZO. I explain to him, "Been there, done that, ABUSED IT!!!" He says with two years clean and sober I'm fine to take it. I DON'T THINK SO! Well then, try this Seroquel stuff...just what I need he tells me.

That little dance went something like this. FOUR DAYS! Four whole days I take the stuff...sleeping 20 hours a day with vivid, bloody, gory, grotesque nightmares and that was the good part of it. The four hours I was awake I kept wishing the Fuller Brush salesman would come knocking at my door. (Do they even do that anymore?) Well, here's the thing. I wanted one of them to knock on my door so I could drag them inside, dismember them AND THEN kill them. I would have settled for the Jehovah Witnesses I suppose. I just really wanted to hurt people.

When I am thinking crazy and I know's pretty damn serious and pretty damn dramatic. Usually my crazy slips past me and I have to depend on others to explain the situation to me. Sooo, I call this quack up and he tells me that its not the medication, keep taking it I'm just having a psychotic break...and that's the end of it. HUH? Who the hell tells someone they are having a psychotic break, keep taking your meds and have a nice day? WTF...and am I the only one who should be medicated here?

I stopped taking the Seroquel against medical advice. I was scaring me with the breadth and depth of my state of mind, a state of absolute madness unparalleled with any other time in my life. By that point I was staying away from people, not that four whole hours of life was really a lot of time for human interaction anyway. A few days later, I felt a world of difference in my unscrambled brain. Voila! Problem solved. I no longer was having those violently bloody dreams. I was no longer agitated and just waiting for the opportunity to act out on that agitation. I was my reasonably socially acceptable self again, fit for human company and all.

Now this guy reassured me that it absolutely, positively was not a reaction to the medication but it was just a psychotic break. Have you ever had anyone casually mention that you just had a psychotic break? It was absolutely surreal. HELLO! Never had one of those before, so let's maybe explore this? Let's maybe not talk like I just had a freaking hangnail? Apparently there was no empirical evidence to suggest that this medication would cause this sort of reaction in any of the research even though my experiential evidence told me otherwise. I was totally and thoroughly dismissed.

This is the only time in sobriety that I went off a medication against medical advice. I'm glad I did. Even though I know many who have and are taking this drug with no ill effect...I'm not one of them. The experience paid off though. This guy's eagerness to push benzos on me alerted me to the fact that he had no business ministering to this addict.

Shortly thereafter I found another med provider, one whom I had a rapport with which served me well. We talked about my experience with Seroquel. She told me that though there was no empirical evidence available in the research there was anecdotal evidence to support my experience with the drug. It wasn't a psychotic break, she said, it was an adverse reaction to a medication. Then she advised me to put Seroquel on my allergy list. And believe you me, it's right there on the top of that list!

Funny thing (sic) is that I don't believe that side effect is listed on the adverse reactions for that medication still. It's been 5 years since my "Days of Seroquel Hell."

Odd that a little 'edginess' can trigger all that thinking, huh? Not really. When I woke up, Mel was lightly snoring next to me. It wasn't all that long ago that I realized she had changed back to the Mel I knew and loved. I think it was one of the medications she had been on that triggered all the wild thoughts that were triggering her crazy. Why do I think that? Well, since she's been off that one particular drug, she hasn't been as hostile, belligerent and confrontational. What a difference a med makes! Why the hell don't doctors know that?

Well, today I am grateful. My med provider listens to me and that makes a world of difference. I don't have to put up with those nincompoops who dismiss my experiences with a drug simply because they are convinced I'm just a crazy and couldn't possibly have anything valuable to contribute to my treatment process. Life is good and I am about finished with my cup of chamomile which is just about right cause I am getting wery, wery sleepy....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I keep getting these emails...

I've gotten some really raucous emails lately concerning immigration. It's somewhat understandable with the new law in Arizona and the climate of paranoia prevalent in the United States of America today. Still, it is disconcerting. It leaves me wondering about the nature of the American Dream and how we market it to the world. We push our standards and values on others as if they were the best and only values worth anything on the whole damn planet then we wonder why they would go to any length to live here. We fill ourselves with outrage at their unwavering desire to be a part of us after we have implanted that very yearning in their hearts. That is very odd indeed.

Generally speaking, I don't believe that Mexican citizens want to come to America to take advantage of our welfare system. They don't want good enough. They want to live the American dream. They want the American dream for their children. When I lived in Kansas, in my college years, I met a couple of fellows who came here to work. They lived sparsely so they could send money home. They worked in the local meat packing plant. I worked in that plant on the sanitation crew for a short while, mainly because the job offended my American sensibilities. They worked many 12 hour days and took odd jobs on weekends. The two shared an apartment hoping to save enough to go back home and live with their families for a while before having to come back to America to work yet again. See, there were no jobs to be had back home. What else was a father and a husband to do?

I think about them when the topic of undocumented workers come up. Then I think about my family history and I look at current immigration standards. What would you do as a young father and husband in their place, in the place of the many who cross the border illegally every day? What lengths would you go to so that you could insure a decent future for your family?

I am not saying that open borders would be a good solution. But I can't say that I believe we have a decent, humane system in place right now. I don't know what a positive resolution to this situation would be. However, there are some things that I do know.

When my great grandparents came into this country at the turn of the 20th century, they had no special job skills. My great grandmother was fleeing the potato famine that had hit the poor in Ireland hard. Two of my great grandfathers came here from Canada to work. They were common folk. They found jobs in local factories, the factories that were full out producing American made goods at that time. We all know those factory jobs are gone though the demand for unskilled labor remains in other areas...domestic, agriculture, horticulture, etc. The difference is that when my great grandparents came it was not a long and expensive process to gain admittance to the United States of America. It wasn't a process that all but excluded unskilled laborers. America was really the land of opportunity where an illiterate immigrant could dream the American dream for the next generation of his/her kin. The opportunity and the dream no longer exist. We welcome immigrants...doctors, lawyers, scientists and all sorts of other professionals. The unskilled laborer dreaming of a better life for the next generation has been squeezed out of the process. I believe it is the unskilled immigrant laborer that made America great. It was their hunger for and their enthusiasm in pursuing the American dream that spurred on a nation. Perhaps it is not unlike the enthusiasm American youth display in dreaming of being the president some day. It exhibits hope, ambition and a drive to succeed that replenish national spirit and propel us forward to a better and brighter future.

My question is not, "Why do they insist on coming?" My question is, "Why don't we recognize the potential national treasure we are disregarding?" I can't help but wonder what we would have lost if immigration was as selective when my great-grandparents came to this great country of ours as it is now. What is so wrong with being common folk in a nation founded on the principle that "all men are created equal?" We have lost something very American in this process of selectively seeking the "right kind" of immigrant. Most of all, we have lost the ability to see what positive contributions can be made by those who will go to the most extreme measures to ensure a better future for their children. I suspect we have lost the hunger for the American dream, so secure in living it, that our distaste for those who still possess that gnawing hunger sickens us.


Friday, March 12, 2010

MANIA 101...well, hypomania 101

I bought one of those expandable book thingamobobbers for the top of the fridge to put my cookbooks in. It was practical. The bookends keep moving sending a cascade of books downward. This has scared the tar out of the cats on more than one occasion now.

So, I start putting the book thing in place and the insulated carafe plummets to the floor dislodgine a magnet along the way. Well, I was working on the top of the fridge so I figure it can wait, right?

Finally, I get all the cookbooks set up in their new home. Voila! (Yes, I took French in high school.)

I get down to try to retrieve the carafe that has fallen behind the bakers rack when I remember we need a couple of nuts for the bakers rack sooooooo, I grabbed my gadget box. You probably have one too. It's that place where you put all your gadgets, gizmos, screws, nuts, bolts and whatnots until there is a need for them. Yuppers! I got me one of those too!

Well, I only had one nut...not the three that I needed to fix the rack up right. But wait, while I was in the magical gizmo box low and behold, I notice that I have the child safe locks for the cabinets. We don't have kids mind you. What we have are two Siamese cats that insist on getting in the cupboards and waltzing around on my pots and pans. GRRRRR! Sooooo, I set about installing the child safe locks under the kitchen sink. The first one goes on easy...and I don't have to add the second piece cause someone left that from the before time (before we lived here). The other side had the catch piece so I figure all I have to do is screw in the lever piece and I am good to go, right? Wrong! The holes were not lined up for the thing to work! DOUBLE GRRRRR!

Finally, I have success. Those feisty cats will not be getting into the cupboard under the sink any longer and with any luck they won't figure out that they can get into the same space via the other cabinets. Of course, they are smart. I suspect it will come to that sooner or later. For now my pots, pans and bakeware are safe from the cat paws (and god only knows what they stepped in, on or about) invasion.

Now, I've noticed that the gadget box is in disarray. parts are loose on the bottom and my system for sorting and separating leaves much to be desired. I got right to work on that with great efficiency. Woo Hoo!!! Task completed.

The only problem areas of the whole production are that the gadget box is on the counter still, the carafe is still trapped behind the bakers rack, I have a stray magnet and some tools on my stove and my mind is already racing onto several other projects. I want to race to the hardware and get those bolts for the rack AND some hinges for an entirely different project.

I do concede that this level of mania does make me very productive. However, there is a down side as well. There are really only 24 hours in my day too!





Monday, February 22, 2010


For most of the world 4:44 AM is the middle of the night. For me, it is the middle of my pain...yet again. I took an Ultram a little after 3 AM and it has kicked it down a notch but the uncomfortableness and the sleeplessness abound. I was lying in bed thinking and since my thinking (especially when I am like this) is an oxymoron, I thought I would get up and put it in 'writing' to help me clarify some things.

This pain is getting really old. It seems to be related to my monthly cycle. I suppose I should be grateful that for most of my life I haven't been troubled by pain during my period. I can actually count on one hand the number of times I've ever had cramps...well, up to the point that this all started and I don't know that I would classify this as cramps.

I feel tired and washed out, yet restless with just an annoying amount of insomnia. Nice touch, eh? With the Ultram in my system, the feeling in my groin area is nothing short of weird...and my right shoulder and arm hurt too. Those two things seem to coincide a lot though I don't think they are related but I aint no doctor.

Last Wednesday and Thursday were rough days...physically, emotionally and socially. I had started on Tuesday and was flowing like the mighty Mississippi (an overnight pad every hour or two). I guess it is little wonder that I felt, and still feel wiped out physically. I mean, on top of being anemic to begin with, losing blood like that is bound to do a body bad.

I was edgy, irritable and emotional Wednesday, Thursday and Friday...and I knew it, was aware of it for the most part. So I went about my business like nothing was wrong with me adding more stress to the mix. That wasn't so bright to say the least! I was impatient and frustrated before I picked up the phone to make all those lovely calls where one is traditionally put on hold and otherwise challenged. Whatever was I thinking? Oh yeah, I wasn't doing that whole thinking thing so well.

Thursday at my doctor's office I felt myself escalating emotionally. Oh hell, escalating emotionally doesn't really describe it. I was on an emotional rocket bound for the outer edges of the galaxy when I realized where I was at emotionally. I did not make it out of their in an exactly graceful manner but I did make it out of there.

I spent Thursday afternoon and Friday doing a little thing I like to call hibernating. It's something that I have to do at times. Some have suggested it is akin to isolating, but I don't see it that way.

I was in overload mode. But it is more than that. There are times when dealing with the world is just too much. It becomes almost physically painful to be in social situations. I can't really describe it to others except to liken it to the physical reaction of my eyes to too much sunlight. If you are photosensitive then you know what I mean. The sensation is not really dissimilar.

Thursday afternoon I spent in my bowl chair with a blanket over my head and a cat and dog on my lap. Why the blanket over my head you ask? Well, I was in the middle of what I call my dry migraine. Now you are wondering what the hell that is, aren't you? It is my way of describing a state where I have my migraine symptoms minus the headache...hypersensitivity to light, sound, smells, touch while physically feeling like a rung out dish rag while my brain is incapable of holding two thoughts together. My first 'dry migraine' happened some time in my twenties, maybe before. I might not have known what to call them before that cause I wasn't diagnosed with migraines till then. With a dry migraine, unlike a traditional migraine, sleep is hard to find.

I have been getting a lot of headaches lately but since I am anemic and headaches can be a symptom of anemia, I discounted them as something I would have to put up with until my iron level came up a tad. I did get some relief when I switched from my new glasses back to my last pair of prescription glasses. For a while that helped though some days I notice that these glasses aren't quite up to par. Then again, on most days they seem to be exactly the strength I need.

My opthamologist had told me to wait at least six months after my surgery to get my eyes checked as eyesight was known to change after the surgery. I waited over 8 months. I suspect the thing to do is call and make an appointment to find out what the hell is going on with my peepers. UGH! After Thursday's debacle, I really don't want to see another medical professional...EVER!

And, I probably need to find another primary...not because I was an ass during my visit with my primary (but I was). The system at Generations is that a patient can only discuss ONE thing at a time with their doctor. More things = more visits. Lacking a medical degree, I have no basis upon which to figure out what symptoms/issues are related and therefore should be discussed at any given appointment. There are things that I keep putting off cause of the 'one thing only' rule.

The short list goes like this:

1) That mole that used be clear but is now brown...

2) My right shoulder, elbow, arm pain that has reduced my range of motion...

3) The stiffness on waking or after I sit too long that makes it difficult to get going...

4) My face and lips are frequently puffy and swollen in the morning...

5) Where my shins are sensitive to touch (shaving is painful) but don't hurt otherwise...

6) Thursday we discussed the sores on my tongue (two types) not the refill for the Ultram that I needed for the groin pain. I took my last Ultram at 3:11 AM this morning instead of taking 800 mg of ibuprofen on an empty stomach.

And in addition to the medical stuff, I have other business type matters to take care of. I asked my case manager at United Services for help. I knew that I was too stressed to tackle it all on my own. I am my own worst enemy AND my big mouth is not my friend, not your friend...hell, mostly it just aint friendly when I am stressed. Her advice to me was to keep doing what I am doing, keep making those phone calls and give her a call if I need to talk. WELL, THANKS FOR NOTHING! And I have therapist if I need to talk and lots of sober and sane people to vent to. I'm not sure how helpful having a case manager is. What exactly do they do again?

So I am working on a multifaceted strategy that goes something like this:

A) I will limit my business/professional type calls and appointments to one a day to help me manage my stress levels. Too much time on hold or dealing with bureaucrats does not bring out the best in me.

B) I will enlist the aid of friends to sit with me when I make those calls or have to attend those appointments so I am not left solely to my own devices.

C) I will NOT go to medical appointments alone.

D) I will make lists for my doctor's appointments.

E) I will make a list of 'things to do' and prioritize that list so I do not put my self in more than one stress inducing situation on any given day.

F) I will try to take care of 'business' in the morning when I am at my best mentally, emotionally and physically.

G) Before proceeding with any 'business' I will do a spot check inventory of my emotional state and try to realistically appraise whether I should even consider proceeding.

H) I will start a journal of my emotional/physical states so that I can document where I am at, changes, etc. and try to use it to identify patterns and triggers.

I) I will come up with an exit strategy to be used in those times when I feel myself escalate emotionally (that I can practice) so I use it to get myself out of difficult5 situations as the need arises.

I feel inadequate for having to do all this. I feel like I have failed in some large measure. I expect that I should just be able to handle life like the 'rest of the world' but I am not the rest of the world. I have bipolar disorder. I am frequently outmatched at life. My moods and emotions overwhelm me at times. I have to have a solid, workable plan cause left to my own devices I will get swept up in a tidal wave of emotions and carried out to sea. I have to think things out in advance because when I escalate emotionally rational thought is lost to me. I hate losing control like that. I don't like the consequences to those around me...or to me for that matter. Pretending it doesn't happen is NOT a viable option. I know it happens. The most logical and reasonable course of action is accept it and work with the assets that I do have to offset the liabilities that I possess. I don't have to like...I just have to do it!

Well, that's my story and I am sticking to it! I may amend the process set down here as time goes on, but I think it is a good starting point, a decent strategy. I will tweak it as necessary and do welcome any suggestions to that end.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm still tired and the headaches persist but I do manage to get done most of what I want to get done. That is indeed a blessing!

I have to run a few errands this afternoon...unless I hear from Miss Linda about visiting Sue in Hartford. They did a biopsy when they put the stent in her pancreas and found cancer. If they are letting her out today we probably won't visit but there is no word as of yet. DOCTORS! See, it's not just mine that are like that. Please keep Sue in your prayers.

I am going to check at TJ Maxx fro some flavored decaf coffees. They have a lovely selection when they get them in. Shhh! Don't tell too many people or my supply may get seriously depleted rather quickly. Hell,I'd even go to the regular retailer for those coffees IF I only knew who the regular retailers are. I suppose I could track them down but shopping at TJ's for them makes it more of a sport to get there when there is a new supply come in. So today, the game is afoot! LOL

I have to get some boxes. Friends have lots of suggestions for me. I hear tell a couple of the box companies in Putnam will give up boxes...irregulars/ and printing errors I am guessing. Now to get up there! There are some tasks for which the transit bus is really not especially conducive. Schlepping loads of cardboard being one of those things.

Mel has a test tomorrow and another on Sunday at DKH. Her MRI showed lesions and some other irregularities. They are trying to determine the nature of those lesions, etc. They could be old...from previous TBI or they could be new. The tests will hopefully tell us more. Please keep her in your prayers.

I read an article about Haiti today...the looters and the gangs. Sad. But, human nature sometimes looks like inhuman nature...(The Holocaust). It seems to me that the worst of times brings out not only the worst in people, but also the best in people...(Miep Gies). The best just doesn't make front page headlines in the paper. Why do we focus so much on the negative? Could that be human nature?

To see so many human beings left to their own devices, resorting to survival mode is sad. It does remind me that human beings are not that class above the animal kingdom...we are just another part of it. That reminds me of the book "Ishmael" which was a very good read for those of you who might be interested in such. If you have delicate religious sensibilities all wrapped up around organized religion, it will probably offend. Dare to be offended! You may have an eye opening experience. It definitely took me to new horizons.

God Bless Haiti!

Just took my multi-vite, my iron and my sublingual B-12. I am hoping today is a good day. Every two or three days I have to toss my cookies. I highly suspect it is the iron supplement. I've switched it from night time to mid day after my lunch. It says to take with food if stomach upset occurs but I gotta tell ya, offering ammo to some lunatic with an automatic weapon would be akin to doing that some days! I eat. I take my supplements. My stomach cramps up. I kneel before the porcelain princess...sometimes sooner, sometimes later! UGH!!! There are definitely better hobbies!!!

I am thinking of switching back to a chewable multivite and pulverizing my iron pill. I've discovered that chunky things don't necessarily settle well. Anyway, that's my next move if things don't settle down before I buy my next bottle of vitamins. Besides, the chewable multivite tastes pretty darn good!!!

Today I am experimenting with my old glasses. Sometimes the view from the new ones has been 'odd' to say the least. I am thinking they might be too strong and that could cause the headaches. My opthamologist had suggested I wait at least six months after surgery to get new glasses and I did. I am thinking that perhaps the 8 months I waited was not long enough for my eyes to adjust to where they are at now. I'm not sure what weight loss has to do with eyesight but I suspect whatever it is, I got blindsided (pun intended) by it. I'll try to remember to post about how this works out.

Ah well, things to do, places to go, people to annoy. You know me. I gotta be up to something all the time. Have a good one!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I wish cast iron was palatable!!!

I have been so tired for so long. I'd love to have energy again. I'd love to wake up anything but still tired. I'd love to NOT have a pounding, throbbing, annoying, 'please make it go away' headache every day, all day long. I'd love to rip off someone's head and shit down their neck...just for fun but I don't have the energy. Now that's misery!

What's the best way to serve cast iron? Does anyone have an iron flavored crow bar I can suck on?

Even though I am irritable as all get up I wouldn't consider spitting nails cause if I had iron in my mouth I'd be wanting to hold onto it.

I am zapped. I am wiped out. I am so very tired of being so very tired. I have 0 energy...zilch, nada, none!!!

There are things I want to do. I just can't get'em done. I just can't get there from here. It's maddening! It's frustrating! It's pissing me off...ROYALLY!!!

Reading is taxing my physical limitations. It is hard to watch TV with my eyes open. I get hungry but it's so much effort to cook. Hell, getting my cereal fixed in the morning is too much to do sometimes. Caffeine makes me more irritable but does nothing for my energy level or my alertness.

Writing is so hard. Typing aint the worst of it. It's that trying to figure out what I want to say and how to say it to make sense.

I watch my favorite TV shows hoping that they will be over soon so I can just close my eyes. I go to meetings and they seem to drag as if time is standing still.

I want to do so much but I feel like I am molasses trying to climb uphill at twenty below. It's fighting me. I feel like I am losing the battle without any real fight from within me.

It's bedtime for this Bonzo. I'm gonna wrap myself up in between warm blankets and surrender to sleep. I'm too exhausted to fight it anymore. Tomorrow is another day, another battle, just more of the same till the iron level kicks it up a notch.

Can I have barbecue sauce with that cast iron skillet?