Sick

February 27, 2009

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who left supportive comments about yesterday’s entry.  I don’t know what I’d do without you guys.  When I don’t know where else to turn, I can always count on this community to be there for me.

A couple of people mentioned antidepressants.  I’ve been on a few different kinds, but the side effects made me feel even more depressed.

You know that saying “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy?”  Well, that doesn’t apply here.  I do wish that every one who has ever been insensitive to my ordeal could experience what I have to live with every single day of my life.  Don’t get me wrong.  I wouldn’t wish anybody a lifetime of this nightmare, but a week should do it.

I’m quite sure that I handle this situation far better than some others would.  I make a Herculean effort to keep the complaining to a minimum.  Of course, I am human, so I do have to let it out now and then.  But, for the most part, I think I’m pretty good at keeping my agony to myself.

Dealing with insensitivity is another thing entirely.  I shouldn’t have to bear that on top of everything else.  It is so demeaning and makes me feel undervalued.  It also pisses me off.

I didn’t do anything wrong.  I didn’t ask for this.  If anything, I should be commended for the tasks I do tackle, even though those things cause a significant increase in pain.

I am so sick of it all.  Sick of hurting.  Sick of putting on the happy face.  Sick of being made to feel that I am lacking.  It’s just so… sickening.

Song of the Day:  Sick and Tired by Everclear

I break every day
Stressed out in every kind of way
I am sick and tired of bein’ sick and tired
All I need and crave
Loud life with the power to fade
I am livin’ ’cause I keep it all in, keep it all inside
Yeah, I keep it all in, keep it all inside

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Slump

February 26, 2009

I have taken a nosedive into the depression pit and can’t seem to find my way out.

It’s been a long time since I’ve let insensitivity related to my chronic pain get to me.  However, I was recently treated to the most stunning display of insensitivity I have ever been subjected to. It really knocked me for a loop.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but here’s a quick review of some of my medical problems:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Fibromyalgia
Herbniated Disc in the lumbar spine with radiating pain
Pain in both legs (I have difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time)
Pinched nerves in cervical spine

Degenerative Disc disease
Intractable headaches

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chronic pain in shoulder blade area (especially on the right; that’s the spot that feels like a knife is stuck in there)

On top of all that, the nonallergic rhinitis is kicking my ass.  The Zyrtec and Fluonase aren’t helping.

The Mayo Clinic says:  “In addition to making you miserable, nonallergic rhinitis symptoms can interfere with your day-to-day routine, including work or school.”

According to emedicine, “Quality of life studies have demonstrated that the burden of rhinitis is not simply sinonasal but may be associated with impaired sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, concentration problems, and increased irritability.”

My quality of life was already in trouble, but this just might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. As Popeye said, “I’ve had all I can stands; I can’t stands no more.”  My sleep problems are worse than ever.  I wake up many times throughout the night, and when I get out of bed in the morning, I feel like a zombie.  By early afternoon, it’s all I can do to keep from nodding off at my desk.  The fatigue (physical and emotional) is crushing.

On to chronic pain… Believe it or not, there is a Fibromyalgia For Dummies book.   Author Roland Staud points out that FMS is a real medical problem that can be “debilitating and demoralizing.”   The same can be said for the insensitivity of others.

I have a pamphlet titled “But You Look Good,” from the Invisible Disabilities Organization.  It’s supposed to explain how extreme fatigue, pain, dizziness, cognitive impairments and other symptoms can be limiting, even though the sufferer may not look sick or in pain.  I keep one copy on the coffee table in my family room and another in my desk at work.  Here are some excerpts:

The truth is, most chronic conditions cannot be seen with the naked eye, but nevertheless are persistently keeping the person from enjoying life the way they once knew. For instance, a person can battle extreme fatigue and/or cognitive impairments on the inside, even though they may appear healthy and well on the outside. Just the same, a person can have horrible pain and/or dizziness, despite the fact that to the onlooker they may look strong and able.

Regrettably, a travesty occurs when the person not only has to contend with no longer being able to do what they love to do, but also has to battle for belief, respect and understanding.

People living with chronic conditions do not want to give up! They make efforts to laugh, smile, look their best and enjoy life, even though they know they will pay dearly for it. Because of this, we should not confuse their endeavors to live life and be positive, with assuming they are feeling well or doing better. Instead, let us commend them for their incredible courage, perseverance and persistence that make their illnesses and injuries seem invisible to us.
Wouldn’t that be nice…

Song of the Day:  Wouldn’t it Be Nice by The Beach Boys

I’ve got a few things I want to talk about, but before I get to that I’d like to post the Bucket List that’s going around Facebook.  I was tagged by Penny.  (This list, by the way, is not the same as Fifty-nine Out of One Hundred.)

Things you have done during your lifetime:
( ) Gone on a blind date
(x ) Skipped school
( ) Watched someone die
(x) Been to Canada
(x ) Been to Mexico
(x) Been to Florida
(x ) Been to Hawaii
(x) Been on a plane
(x ) Been on a helicopter (in Kauai, Hawaii)
(x) Been lost
(x) Gone to Washington, DC
(x) Swam in the ocean
(x) Cried yourself to sleep
(x) Played cops and robbers

(x) Recently colored with crayons
( ) Sang Karaoke
(x) Paid for a meal with coins only
( ) Been to the top of the St. Louis Arch
(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t.
(x ) Made prank phone calls
(x ) Been down Bourbon Street in New Orleans
(x ) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose & elsewhere

(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
( ) Danced in the rain-naked
(X) Written a letter to Santa Claus
(x ) Been kissed under the mistletoe
(x ) Watched the sunrise with someone
(X) Blown bubbles
(X) Gone ice-skating

(X) Gone to the movies
(x ) Been deep sea fishing
(x ) Driven across the United States

( ) Been in a hot air balloon
( ) Been sky diving
(x) Gone snowmobiling
( ) Lived in more than one country
(x) Lay down outside at night and admired the stars while listening to the crickets
(x ) Seen a falling star and made a wish
(x ) Enjoyed the beauty of Old Faithful Geyser
(x) Seen the Statue of Liberty

( ) Gone to the top of Seattle Space Needle
( ) Been on a cruise
(x) Traveled by train
(x ) Traveled by motorcycle  (It wasn’t exactly traveling, but I have been on motorcycles, as a passenger.)
(x) Been horseback riding
(x ) Ridden on a San Francisco cable car
(x ) Been to Disney World (Actually, it was Disney Land in CA)

( ) Truly believe in the power of prayer
( ) Been in a rain forest
( ) Seen whales in the ocean  (I’ve been on whale watches, but didn’t see any whales.)
(X) Been to Niagara Falls
(x ) Ridden on an elephant  (I have a picture of that experience, but don’t feel like digging through thousands of photos to find it.)

( ) Swam with dolphins
( ) Been to the Olympics
( ) Walked on the Great Wall of China
( ) Saw and heard a glacier calf
( ) Been spinnaker flying
( x) Been water-skiing
() Been snow-skiing
(x ) Been to Westminster Abbey
( ) Been to the Louvre
( ) Swam in the Mediterranean
() Been to a Major League Baseball game
() Been to a National Football League game

On to the next item… The last time I saw Dr. What Do You Want Me to Do, he referred me to an allergist because of my frequent problems with runny nose and sneezing.  I went for allergy testing yesterday, and it turns out that I’m not allergic to anything.  I do, however, have a deiviated septum.  I also have nonallergic rhinitis, which means that I am very sensitive to irritants such as dust and odors.  Changes in weather and chronic health conditions can also trigger nonallergic rhinitis symptoms.  The Mayo Clinic notes that this condition can make you miserable.  It sure does.  Lucky me.

In other news, we are going to pick up our new car today. Our current vehicle is a 1995 Chevy Cavalier.   It’s getting to the point where we are putting more money than is fiscally responsible into a car that is fourteen years old.  So, we looked for the cheapest decent car we could find and decided upon a 2009 Hyundai Accent, ranked number 17 out of 35 in affordable small cars by US News & World Report.  The color is charcoal grey.

We’re going to have to be even more creative in our budgeting now that we’ll be adding a car payment to our monthly expenses.  Our car insurance has gone up,too,  but it’s not as bad as I had feared.  Daniel called around (including Geico), and the best deal we got came from Liberty Mutual.  They also offered us a better deal on our home insurance, so we switched that over, as well.  Wish us luck!

Besides picking up our new car, we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with take-out food.  I don’t want to go to a restaurant because they’re too crowded and you get the bum’s rush on holidays such as this one.  Take-out Chinese will do nicely.  Not having to cook is a beautiful thing.

After dinner, I will snuggle up with my sweetie, savor my Lindt Lindor Truffles,  and watch a romantic episode of The Sopranos.  We don’t have HBO, so we’ve been getting the DVDs from Netflix.  We’re almost at the end, and I have to say that I can see why the series was so popular.  I’m really loving it.

Speaking of loving, go on and kiss the girl (or guy, whichever the case may be).

HAPPY VALENTINE’S Day!

Reading: Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Song of the Day:  My Funny Valentine by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart

Simba the Diabetic Cat

February 9, 2009

Originally, I mentioned this experience in the previous entry.  Then I decided that it deserved an entry of its own, so I removed it from the list of Twenty Five Random Things.  Stefani saw it before I deleted it, and made reference to it in the comments section.   Hence, this explanation.  Anyway, here’s the story.

When Leigh was working at a local veterinary clinic, she adopted a diabetic cat.  He is currently living at The Ex’s place while Leigh is away at school.  The Ex was visiting his brother in Chicago, and Leigh’s boyfriend was in NYC at the time, so there was no one who could give Simba his insulin shot on Saturday.

I didn’t think I could do it, but I did.  (I am so afraid of inflicting pain, I couldn’t even turn the key to Leigh’s palate expander when she was going through the braces stage.)   Leigh talked me through the procedure over the phone.

First, I had to roll the insulin bottle in my hands.  Then I stuck the syringe into the bottle and withdrew four units of insulin.  Next, I pinched and lifted the flesh on Simba’s thigh, inserted the needle and pushed the plunger.

Rebecca was there (she’s too squeamish to do the deed herself), and she said this was the first time she saw Simmy get his shot without making a sound.  Even Leigh was impressed.  She said that Simba always yowls a bit during the injection.   It was such a relief to know that I didn’t hurt him.  In fact, he was actually purring!

While we’re on the subject of animals, you have to check out this video clip.

Amazing.

Song of the Day:  At the Zoo by Simon and Garfunkel

Twenty Five Random Things

February 8, 2009

Sasha and Stefani did this  (on Facebook), and so did Mary.

Here are the directions:
Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you. (I don’t do tags, but if the spirit moves you, go for it.)

1. I have never taken a picture with my cell phone.  Truth be told, I hardly use my cell phone at all.
2. I enjoy games like Taboo, Pictionary and Scattergories, but I’m not much of a card player.
3. I rarely remember my dreams.
4. I love shoes.  Unfortunately, I can’t wear pretty shoes or boots (not for long, anyway) because I have hammertoes.  I had surgery (one of the most painful experiences of my life) to correct the problem back in the eighties, but it was a flop.
5. I hate to cook.  I used to enjoy it, but after forty years in the kitchen, I’d love to hang up my apron (metaphorically speaking; I don’t actually wear an apron).
6. I prefer dogs over cats.
7. I count when I’m brushing my teeth – 15 seconds for each quadrant, inner and outer.
8. I blush easily.  It’s a curse.
9. I’m part Polish (on my mother’s side) but identify far more strongly with my Italian heritage.
10. I am a ravenous reader.
11. Music has always been a big part of my life, and my tastes are rather eclectic.
12. I am a crybaby.  Seriously, it doesn’t take much to get the tears flowing.  Being an empath doesn’t help.  (See more below.)
13. I have a potty mouth.
14. I am addicted to Kitsch in Art jewelry.
15. I don’t like flavored coffee, and I drink my coffee black, no sugar.
16. Watermelon is my favorite fruit.
17. Red is my favorite color.
18. During my pregnancies, I craved sour things, like green olives, lemons and vinegar (which I drank from a spoon).
19. I have body image issues.
20. I have a bit of an inferiority complex.
21. I have serious bed head when I get up in the morning.
22. I have been in menopause for quite a while, but I’m just starting to experience night sweats.  It’s so bad I’m considering giving HRT another try.
23. I’ll be 55 years old in August, and I’m not feeling very good about that.
24. I have an unnatural fear of praying mantises and eyelash curlers.  It’s a good thing my eyelashes are naturally curly.
25. Many of my clothes come from thrift shops and clearance racks.  A co-worker recently told me I could earn a good living thrift shopping for others because of my sense of style, and talent for separating the wheat from the chaff.  She made my day.

Back to number 12.  I wrote an entry on this topic on February 4, 2003, during my days at Diary-X.  It was one of the few entries I was able to salvage.  I’ll repost it here.

I t doesn’t take much to make me cry.  I’ve always hated that about myself, but, try as I might, I just can’t seem to help it.  I guess I’m just a crybaby.

I cry when I’m angry.  I cry out of frustration.  I cry when I’m moved.  I cry when I’m depressed (although there are times when I’m too depressed to cry).  I cry from grief, and sometimes I laugh until I cry.  I shed tears of joy, and tears of compassion.  I cry when my feelings are hurt.

Yesterday morning, I cried while watching a lame deer in my backyard.  It was one of eleven, and I stood at the door spying on them as they foraged for food.  When I spotted the lame one, I was filled with pity for it, and tears formed in my eyes.  I had to force myself to turn away.

On Sunday, while listening to music, I was stopped dead in my tracks when an old Joe Jackson tune, “A Slow Song,” came on.  I used to love that song, and hearing it again sent shivers down my spine.  It made me cry.  It wasn’t so much the song itself; it was the memory of the song being special to me.  It was the memory of younger days.  Days when I went to see Joe Jackson perform at an intimate local nightclub whenever he came to town.  Days that were exciting and filled with fun.

Similarly, I wept when I watched “To Sir With Love” a couple of weeks ago.  As soon as I heard, “Those schoolgirl days of telling tales and biting nails are gone,” I broke down and cried.  In fact, I sobbed.

That song and that movie brought back so many memories.  Memories of 1967, and of being 13 years old.  I wore big, dangly earrings, and had a gamine haircut  just like Lulu.

That was the year my grandmother took me to San Francisco.  Haight Ashbury thrilled me beyond measure.  That was a time when I was fascinated by hippies, and The Haight was their Mecca.  That was a time when I was in love with The Beatles, and in love with life.  I had so much to look forward to.  Remembering that young girl was a very emotional experience for me.  So I cried.  Oh, how I cried.

As much as I get down on myself for being so sensitive and emotional, I am starting to think that it sometimes takes courage to allow ourselves to feel bad or sad.  In a society that promotes the power of positive thinking, many of us learn to suppress our negative feelings. However, repressing emotion doesn’t strike me as a very healthy practice.  It seems to me that denying our feelings only makes for a longer period of recovery.  So, as Lesley Gore sang, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.” So there.

Song of the Day: Random by 311

Nineteen Ninety Nine

February 7, 2009

Sam tagged me (on Facebook), so here goes. (I swear I did not manipulate my answers or my ipod!)

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Put your iPod or other music player on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!
4. Tag friends who might enjoy doing this as well as the person you got this from.
(Do it if you want to; don’t do it if you don’t want to.  It’s as simple as that.)

IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY?
Fire It Up (Modest Mouse)

WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
Dig That Crazy Chick (Sam Butera & The Witnesses)    [If the shoe fits…]

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?

Love Me Two Times (The Doors)      [Heh!]

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
Working Class Hero (John Lennon)

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?

Take Me to the Hospital (The Faint)      [That’s too funny!]

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
When Your Mind’s Made Up (from the movie “Once”)

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Watching the Detectives  (Elvis Costello)

WHAT IS 2+2?
Darkness on the Edge of Town (Bruce Springsteen)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
Sax and Violins  (Talking Heads)

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?

This One Goes Out to the One I Love (R.E.M.)

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?

I Want You (Marvin Gaye)

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?

Feuilles-O (Simon & Garfunkel)

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Killing the Blues (Robert Plant & Allison Krauss)

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Jigga What/Faint (Jay-Z and Linkin Park)        [Hah!]

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Fitter Happier (Radiohead)      [Hee!]

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Pennyroyal Tea (Nirvana)

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
Papa Was a Rolling Stone (The Temptations)     [Bwahahahaha!]

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?

Evil and a Heathen (Franz Ferdinand)      [I have interesting friends!]

WHAT’S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?
Phantom Limb (The Shins)       [That is pretty bad…]

HOW WILL YOU DIE?
Wanna Be Startin’ Something (Michael Jackson)     [(Shouldn’t that be wanna be ending something?]

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET?
Exo-Politics (Muse)

WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
Until the End of the World (U2)     [(Umm, yeah, that’s a real knee slapper…]

WILL YOU EVER GET MARRIED?
A Slow Song (Joe Jackson)

WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST?
Ave Verum Corpus, K618 (Mozart, performed by the Berlin Philharmonic)

DOES ANYONE LIKE YOU?
Little Eyes (Yo La Tengo)

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?

Dude Looks Like a Lady (Aerosmith)

WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW?
Dream A Little Dream of Me (The Mamas and the Papas)     [“Phantom Limb” would have been a good answer for this one!]

WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
1999 (Prince)

Song of the Day:  1999 by Prince

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