A Jolly Holiday

May 26, 2008

First things first. I’m thrilled to report that I got the ink stain out of my jeans! The rubbing alcohol got rid of most of it, and hairspray took out the rest. Thanks for the great suggestions!

In other news, I’ve been having a really good Memorial Day weekend. It started on Friday with a trip to a thrift store with my cousin, Kathy. I got two pairs of paints, an L.L. Bean denim-colored linen jacket, an Eddie Bauer top, a hardcover book and the game, Pictionary (in like-new condition) all for the grand total of $11.50. Kathy and I topped the day off with a meal at a Middle Eastern restaurant.

The next evening, Daniel and I were invited to a lasagna dinner at my aunt’s house. (My mother cooked the lasagna, but her place is too small to host a gathering.) Somehow, the conversation turned to the Little Rascals, and then to Eddie Murphy’s SNL impersonation of Buckwheat. Too funny.

Yesterday, Kathy and I went to Rhinebeck to see the movie, Alexandra. We had lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant. Everything on the buffet is a gastronomical delight.

Today, we’re having a barbecue. Only a few people have been invited, and the food offerings will be simple – hamburgers, hot dogs, and my renowned potato salad. Tomorrow (I’ll be off work again, thanks to a give-back snow day), I’m hoping to relax. I’m also looking forward to a break from the itching, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon, even though the prednisone prescription runs out tomorrow.

Oh, I wanted to show you my new glasses. (They’re pretty similar to my old ones except that the new frames are black instead of brown.) This pic was taken on Friday, and I got my hair chopped off on Saturday (same style, but shorter in the back and on the sides), but I haven’t had a chance to take another photo, so this one will have to do for now.

I’d better get a move on. There’s a pile of mulch in my driveway that needs to be spread.

Song of the Day: Jolly Holiday from Mary Poppins

Inka Dinka Doo

May 23, 2008

During a faculty meeting yesterday, I was using a pen to scratch the maddening itch I’ve been living with for several days now. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I happened to look down. Naturally, the pen wasn’t capped. My jeans are ruined (and they’re my favorite pair, of course).

Can I scream now?

Song of the Day: Inka Dinka Doo by Jimmy Durante

Ditch the Itch

May 22, 2008

Dr. Elizabeth was very nice. She paid a lot more attention to me than Dr. What Do You Want Me To Do does. However, she was not able to identify the nature of my rash. All she could say was, “You have something, all right.” Uh, no shit, Sherlock.

At least she didn’t refer me to a dermatologist. Instead, she wrote prescriptions herself. One for Allegra, one for Prednisone, and one for a very expensive cream (not covered by my insurance). She also told me to buy Zyrtec, which is now sold over the counter, and is also quite costly.

I wasn’t able to start the Prednisone until this morning, so I haven’t had any relief yet. Let’s hope this stuff works. I truly cannot stand the itching for much longer.

I wanted to switch to Dr. Elizabeth as my Primary Care Physician, but she’s only there on Wednesdays until 2:00, which would make it damn near impossible for me to see her. I can’t take off from work every time I have to see a doctor. Also, medical situations pop up on days other than Wednesdays, so there’s no point in making the change. It’s a shame because I really liked her. Sigh.

Song of the Day: Cure For the Itch by Linkin Park

Not A Pretty Picture

May 21, 2008

The rheumatologist recommended that I see my primary care physician about the rash.  I have an appointment this morning.  Luckily, Dr. What Do You Want Me To Do is booked too heavily to see me, so they put me in with a new doctor, who just happens to be a woman.  That’s my preference, anyway.  If she’s any good, I’ll switch over to her.

Unfortunately, I don’t expect that she’ll be able to do anything about the rash, other than refer me to a dermatologist.  I can’t wait much longer to get some relief from this god-awful itching.  The swelling is getting worse, too.  I’m a mess.  See for yourself.

Song of the Day:  How Will I Cope With That by THE HIVES

Rash Bash

May 20, 2008

About a month ago, Penny developed a small lump on her right flank. After growing a bit larger, it erupted and scabbed over. I decided to just keep an eye on her before taking her to the vet. (Those visits are expensive!) When a few more bumps appeared on her head, I had to give in and make the call. She was seen yesterday, and the diagnosis is dermatitis caused by seasonal allergies. Sheesh. I’m supposed to bathe her twice a week, using a very pricey shampoo and leave-in conditioner.

Penny’s not the only one with skin problems. I’ve been trying to deal with an unbearably itchy rash for several days now. At first, I thought it was hives. But, after taking a closer look, I wasn’t so sure. The rash is less defined than hives, and widespread over both arms and legs. There is associated swelling. I am reminded of a sausage ready to burst from its casing. Or Ball Park franks. (They plump when you cook ‘em.)

I dropped by the health office at work yesterday and asked the nurse for her opinion. She held her hand above the rash on my upper arm (that’s where it’s the worst) and said it felt hot. She doesn’t think it’s hives, and said it looks more like an allergic reaction to medication. Oddly enough, the only medication I’ve taken recently is Benadryl (as a sleep aid). Wouldn’t it be something if a medication that is taken to relieve itchy rashes caused my itchy rash?

The nurse recommended that I see my doctor. I just happen to have an appointment with my rheumatologist this afternoon, so I’ll show her the rash and see if there’s anything she can do. I’d really rather not have to make an appointment with Dr. What Do You Want Me To Do if I can help it. Wish me luck!

Before I go get ready for work, I’d like to point you in the direction of a new blog created by my friend, LeAnn. Check her out. She’s good people.

Song of the Day: I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Diana Krall

M R Ay Yi Yi

May 16, 2008

When I got home from work on Wednesday, I called to schedule an appointment for the MRI of the cervical spine. The secretary said they could do it that evening at 6:45. Getting it over with as soon possible seemed like a good idea to me, so I agreed to go in at that time.

I sat in the waiting room for half an hour. At one point, I couldn’t help but overhear a phone conversation in which the secretary told the person on the other end that they were running behind schedule. I went up to the desk to find out how much longer I would have to wait, and was told it would be at least another hour and a half.

I was in too much pain to sit there that long, so the secretary offered me an appointment for 7:00 the next morning. I told her that I had to be at work by 7:40, and she assured me that I would make it in time. I took the appointment.

I arrived at the Imaging Center at 6:55 a.m. No one was there. The technician finally arrived at 7:03. He apologized for being late, and ushered me inside. He said that he had to turn the machine on, and he’d be ready to take me to the MRI room in a few minutes. My stomach was in knots because I knew there was no way I’d be on time for work.

The scan commenced at 7:15 and ended at 7:35.  I was ten minutes late for work.  In my nineteen years of being employed by the school district, this was the first time I was tardy. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but it did make me tense, and that’s not a good way to start the day.

I should have known better than to expect anything to go right. It rarely (if ever) does.

Song of the Day: Gone Wrong by Blue October

A Mother of a Week

May 11, 2008

Boy, was I glad to bid a not so fond adieu to this past week from hell. Getting smacked in the face by a rake handle set the bad karma ball rolling, and it was all downhill after that. One bad experience involved shopping for eyeglasses to replace the ones that broke in the rake incident.

I have a really hard time finding glasses that look halfway decent on me. Consequently, I tried on just about every pair of frames in the place I do business with. (Naturally, the style I broke has been discontinued.) It was very discouraging. Everything I looked at was extremely expensive (plus, I wear Transitional/Progressives, which jacks the price up even more). To add insult to injury, none of the frames were the least bit flattering.

Still, I had to get something. The spare pair I’m using distorts my depth perception. Finally, I settled on a Banana Republic frame. I’ll probably be even more dissatisfied when they come in than I was when I tried them on because the prescription lenses will allow me to see more clearly just how bad they look. (It’s difficult to accurately judge how glasses look when you need glasses to see with!)

I’ve also been dealing with some work-related crap, but I don’t want to talk about that. I’m trying to not give the petty nonsense that goes on in that place too much power over me.

Yesterday, there was a big get-together at my sister’s house to celebrate my nephew’s 16th birthday. I made the mistake of telling my family about the rake incident. For the rest of the day I had to endure wisecracks from my father, brother-in-law and nephews about how “stupid” I am.

It might have been stupid if I had noticed that the rake tines were facing forward when I was walking over to turn the hose faucet on, but I didn’t. It was an accident, not something I did intentionally. To call me stupid repeatedly, and to make jokes all day long about something that caused me physical pain and financial hardship (i.e. the expensive replacement eyeglasses) was cruel and hurtful.

Still, I should have known better. Certain members of my family make a sport out of calling people stupid. Personally, I think they are the stupid ones.

To lighten things up, I’d like to share a few photos with you. Two years ago, my daughters gave me a small lilac tree for Mother’s Day. Much to my delight, it bloomed this year. Hurray!

I keep this next picture propped up on my desk at work. It amuses me, especially when students say things like: “You met Flavor Flav??” I kid you not. Quite a few students have asked that question, despite the fact that Flavor Flav’s side is in black and white while mine is in color.

Speaking of Flavor Flav, this student borrowed my gansta clock for a school play she appeared in Friday evening. She was adorable.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

Song of the Day: Mother by Pink Floyd

Things just keep going from bad to worse around here. For starters, we had an appliance repairman come in yesterday to fix a few things. The arm on the refrigerator’s ice maker broke off about a year ago, which means that it was constantly making ice. We had to empty the tray twice a day.

The repairman replaced the arm, but, when I checked this morning, I saw that it’s still not working properly. The guy had warned that this might happen, and, if it did, the whole icemaker would need to be replaced. Wonderful.

Next on the list was the dryer, which has been making a loud noise for quite a while. Unfortunately, Mr. Repairman didn’t have the necessary part, and will have to come back this afternoon. Finally, he took a look at the sink in the upstairs bathroom to see if he could stop the drip. He couldn’t, and will bring a washer when he comes back today. If that doesn’t work, the faucet will have to be replaced, along with the refrigerator’s ice maker. Cha ching.

To top things off, I stepped on a rake and got smacked in the face hard enough to break my glasses (and bruise my brow bone). I thought those things only happened in cartoons, but this Youtube clip (along with my own mishap) proves otherwise.

One good thing happened yesterday. I received a call from a nurse at the surgical center as a follow-up to the procedure I had on Friday. I told her I’m afraid to go back for the next procedure because it was such a horrible experience. I remarked that they should put people out for these things. She said that they used to, but insurance companies won’t pay for it anymore. Bastards. I should have known.

She went on to say that some patients opt to pay for the anesthesia themselves, and advised me to ask about it when I called the doctor’s office to schedule the next series of injections. I did that as soon as I got off the phone with the nurse, and was told that the anesthesia costs $137. I would gladly pay that.

However, I might not have to. The woman I was talking to said that the Worker’s Comp carrier should cover it it, and a call for authorization will be placed. Why didn’t somebody tell me about this before? Oh well, at least I won’t have to suffer through that mind-numbing pain again, provided the Comp carrier agrees to pay for the anesthesia, that is.

Song of the Day: Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar

Queen of Pain

May 3, 2008

I went for the lumbar injections yesterday. What a ghastly experience. I wasn’t expecting it to hurt as much as it did. Honestly, the pain of the last injection took my breath away. It was really bad.

During the last injection, the doctor said that I would feel it going down my left leg. I felt it going down my right leg, and told him so – twice. All he said to that was “yes.” WTF?

Daniel picked me up after the procedure. When I got in the car I told him that I felt like crying. I then proceeded to do just that. It wasn’t so much because I was in pain (although I certainly was). It was more because of pain in general. It’s sucking the life out of me.

I can barely deal with the pain I’ve been experiencing on a daily basis. Having to put up with additional pain is getting to be more than I can bear.

And these injections did cause me additional pain. I was in agony yesterday, and I continue to be in agony today. According to my discharge instructions, this is “not uncommon, and should decrease in 1 to 2 days.”

I did a web search to see if others found the procedure to be as painful as I did. This site satisfied my curiosity. One person said, “Initial deadening injection was not painful. Next 2 injections were uncomfortable. The last injection was excruciating. I screamed.”

Another wrote, “My very first lumbar epidural put me in bed for about a week. The second lumbar ESI wasn’t as painful, and I was a nut to agree to another one. My third one nearly made me pass out.”

I’m supposed to have the procedure repeated in six weeks. The mere thought of going through that again makes me tremble. If it helps, I guess it will be worth it… maybe.

As for the shoulder blade pain – Dr. Bones called me on Monday with the MRI results, which were normal. I told him that I had done some investigating on the Internet (even though I know some doctors don’t like that – too bad!). I went on to say that many online sources indicate that pain in the shoulder blade is often referred from the neck. He agreed, and announced that I now have to go for an MRI of the cervical spine. Oh joy.

I’m going back to bed. It hurts too much to sit here.

Reading: Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillps (I LOVE this book! It’s a hoot!)

Song of the Day: King of Pain by Police