Sunday, December 31, 2006
President Ford's funeral will tie up the weekend. The most unfortunate side effect would have to be the loss of one day's mail delivery. Since it was not predicted, our bills may all arrive a day or two late. Didn't think of that, did you?? Neither did I, until I realized that I can't get bills mailed until Wednesday.
Today we are taking a short, happy hop to the Mall for a Dachshund Calendar. But of course! Discounted by half, maybe. I feel okay, but Husband RJ has a wicked sinus infection that's leaving him tired. Also a messed up night's sleep yesterday.
Happy, Healthy New Year to You All
With much love,
Monday, December 25, 2006
Tonight I must work. And I am glad to be still working, what with the layoffs and all. If it's anything like the wedding weekend, it will take me days to recover. I don't feel sick, just very, very tired.
Hope your Christmas was everything you hoped. Ours was.
Love to all.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I can't help but notice that they all have Google's Blogspot URL's. Guess that tells us more about Google than it does about them.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Yesterday was spent cleaning up the mess I made of the finances while I was too sick to even know I was too sick to handle them. Rapid transfers back and forth between checking and savings--literally back and forth--were made to assuage the situation. Today is Husband RJ's payday and we will reset back to normal. But yesterday was way too dicey for my tastes. Imagine thinking it would be necessary to take out a cash advance to correct a hell of an overdraught. (We've done that before. Not necessary this time.)
Which means we are constantly one paycheck away from bankruptcy. Our savings bumper is now gone. It's been a very expensive year.
Is it this horrible virus, or am I just pessimistic today?
For the record, I will never live down the silliness that was Friday night's return to work. And right now I am shunned as "Consumptive Connie," the woman who constantly coughs. I use and immediately dispose tissues while coughing, and developed the curious habit of handing people disinfectant wipes after any closeup work. Mucinex really worked for me, but not a cure, and not possible during, or even four hours before, work hours. But I'm still the only one sick from last week.
Except for me, only my poor parttime coworker on chemo has this awful thing. Hers is new in the last two days, and she believes she got it from her full-time job. She was out on doctor's orders when I came in, all infectious-like. She'd passed out at her day job. (Thank Goodness. I couldn't live with the guilt otherwise.) So you see, I'm actually doing quite well, in comparison with others. And this is all over the County up here.
My head is still humming. That is usually the sign of a low-grade fever, but since I'm constantly stuffed-up in the head, we have to wait and see.
And, oh yeah, one more thing.
Hope you are all well. I wouldn't wish this on anyone.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Went to work last night and giggled my way through the first three hours. Then came the crash, big time. Be warned. With this crazy cold, Mucinex is probably the best bet, but not great for anyone who needs to work.
Today my lungs are nice and clear, but my nose is chapped and sore, and my my throat is scratchy.
Beats the hell out of the torture I suffered the last three days. And that was "just a cold." RJ went to the doctor, who gave him a script for an antibiotic and a note to buy Mucinex.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Everyone is asking me if I got my flu shot. And I surely did, paying full price to get it early at the Guthrie.
So why am I the only one in the entire City of Elmira with a banger of a cold? The whole works: sore throat, chest pain, so much mucus at the back of my throat that I not only can't swallow, but I can't remove the mucus, either. Neither can I successfully blow my nose.
My boss sent me home from the paper last night. Oh, I used disinfectant wipes on everything I touched, and no doubt they sprayed with the Clorox after I staggered out. But I was unable to carry on the simple conversations necessary to put out a paper.
I could speak, but no one could understand me. We all gave up and home I went. Too sick to lie down, I played a video game until I was falling apart from exhaustion. Then I still spent the night trying to breathe past all the mucus. There is no question that I will miss another day today, but I can't call before mid-afternoon, or the people who need to know will never be told.
I just want, bed, sleep, and oblivion. Too bad lying down makes it worse. Nyquil here I come. The guys tell me firewater (aguardiente to Hispanics) and beer is much better, and I believe them. But, I need to get up later and call in sick.
So why am I the only one who's sick?
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Our brand-new BrideDaughter is putting on the feast with her new range, an aggregate wedding present. She will also be getting a new stand-alone oven.
BrideDaughter loves to cook.
Look for chubbier and chubbier pictures of pb as time goes on.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
If you're wondering why I am so blah lately. Grey, leafless, almost lifeless days here.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Shortly after I was diagnosed with MS, the American Red Cross notified me that my blood was no good. People with MS are exempt. Bad news for a person who had been giving regularly since age 18.
How do I give back to life what life has given me? Donate. But people with MS are also exempt from donating organs. Geez, Louise!
So I went to Louise and told her I wanted to donate my body. She, as a proper funeral home manager, did not approve of having the body damaged, quite possibly beyond repair. Also, it was likely that the remains could get hung up in the process and never be returned.
At the time, I did not tell her that the idea sounded even better. But there are a lot of details to handle even in the cadaver donation process.
So I'm visiting Robbie. Aunt Louise has since passed on, providing us all with a perfectly planned funeral. She was just beautiful in her favorite rose-red suit. No doubt the funeral was exactly as she directed.
That's what I want. Not to be laid out in my favorite suit, but instead to have exactly what I direct. A donation, a cremation, a service and a hell of an after-party. I am Roman Catholic after all, and this is the Twin Tiers. We must have NY State wines and locally brewed beer. And good food.
Because, after the Wonderful Wedding Weekend*, I now have a reputation as a hostess to defend.
*And once I am fully recovered from that Bacchanalia, I will post the party itself.
Friday, November 03, 2006
To that end, I refer you to mdmhvonpa and White Lightning Axiom. Go there for a smorgasbord of MS-related blogs.
I'm going back to bed.
(Yes, I know there is a new post there. It's what convinced me I am too tired to post.)
Thursday, November 02, 2006
The wedding weekend is over and I am finally feeling unwell. We knew it was coming. The elation has worn off and the return to the rest of my vacation was a let-down.
How can that last sentence make any sense? As a life-long student of language and cultures, it is a very specifically medical phenomenon. A Multiple Sclerosis phenomenon. The stress was masked by the emotional high, but it was there and doing its damage.
Yes, I am serenely happy to have added my daughter's love to our family. PappaDog is a great guy and we feel blessed. But we welcomed him ages ago; he's always been welcome in our home.
Yes, the ceremony and reception went well, exceptionally so. But they cost a fortune (for us and our kids) and now we all must adjust our finances, that were already overloaded, and Christmas is pretty much shot. Money-wise.
Yesterday I began to collect the clues of the cost to my physical and mental health. My out-going emails are getting mixed up, and I am simply not going to answer any for a while. The phone makes me jump, and I can't hear callers when I answer. A small, nagging headache points up the painful electricity at the back of my neck. I am literally dotted with tiny hives from the change in diet and a medicine patch is creating one big red rash.
My immediate boss, the one who writes the comics column, wisely insisted I take a week to prepare and a week to recover from the festivities. But not working makes me anxious. About keeping my job, about paying the bills, about dealing with Husband RJ, because I am underfoot at times I'm usually at work. Even about the blogs and my video games. Geez Louise!
Guess I'll go for a walk and contemplate the season. It's bright and sunny and warm. And I'll occupy my mind with counting blessings. That should tie me up the rest of the day.
See? I'll survive.
Just wished I felt well. Not feeling well is leaving me exhausted and weepy, when I should be still celebrating. I want to still be celebrating.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
While I bottled soda, I couldn't bear to drink it. Everything is perfectly clean, antiseptic even, but the ingredient listing was not lost on me. And this was just as corn syrup was being introduced in place of sugar. To this day, soda pop holds no temptation for me. But I loved coffee, and drank it in place of sweet drinks and milk.
Until I wrecked my stomach. The diet wouldn't allow caffeine, and soon I realized that I was--quite--sensitive to the stuff. All well and good, right? Wrong. Decaf made a worse mess of my gut.
Of course today we know that decaffeinated coffee is largely junk. Because the process requires huge amounts of natural coffee, the manufacturers use the worst grade of coffee that they dare to use. I was ruining my stomach with very poor stuff that resulted from processing huge amounts of bad stuff to start. And compound that with instant decaf, it's a wonder I could convince myself I was drinking coffee.
What to do? Trust me on this one:
I buy the very best decaf I can afford. After all, I am the only one who uses it; it lasts forever. And it's definitely worth the extra money. Hands down.
Right now there is Folgers Classic Decaf in my cupboard, both regular grind and instant. I have not carefully gone over the local stores for better, but I will when it comes time to restock. That may be months in the future.
When I'm out and about, Dunkin Donuts seems the best cheapie chain, but almost any of the Big Name coffee house companies that charge all outdoors will top DD. Finally, if you readers are ever in Elmira, New York, I recommend Kountry Krullers. Their fresh doughnuts and bagels put DD to shame. And their decaf coffee is always excellent. And everything they have is Kosher; they are the top supplier of rolls and bagels to our local restaurants, kosher or not.
Am I the only MSer who is sensitive to caffeine, or is it a regular part of the nervous syndrome?
Monday, October 30, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Mr. and Mrs. PapaDog having their first married kiss. Then we danced all night. I can't leave the house today because I can't walk and I'm hypoglycemic from the rich foods. So, all in all, it was a huge success. Pictures will follow.
Monday Morning Musings:
This was a relatively good-sized wedding with just over a hundred people. My family, his family, and their rather wide circle of friends. We are very fortunate that we've come to know many of those friends along the way.
The kids themselves paid for the Inn and the lodgings, as well as the beer and wine (Yes!). We backed them up wherever we could and paid for the reception and the rehearsal dinner (which was catered by a friend's mom, also as a gift). I was marginally involved with the process from the beginning. She made favors and placecards.
On a spiritual note: my little girl mentioned a while ago that there was a place that she would choose if we had the money. It was beautiful and remote. Apparently we have passed our "old house" genes to her. When she came to me this summer, she reminded us of the place and said they were going up to have a look, if only to get an idea of the "champagne ideal" they could shoot for on a "beer budget."
The owner was very busy with a wedding weekend and somewhat brusque with our baby. BrideDaughter mentioned her rather hopeless aspiration and left. A few days later the call came that there was a cancellation and would she be interested if they discounted the price? They would require a cash deposit.
I knew at once that Someone was working for us. My sister also told me that she had a premonitory dreams that our Grandparents were urging us on. This weekend my mother said she was certain God wanted a beautiful wedding.
Our newlyweds live in a very, very modest home. Only my son-in-law works, while MammaDog finishes her degree, which she must pay on her own. They scoured the area for a caterer that met the requirements of the Inn. A local mom&pop had suffered a devastating fire that ruined their facilities and are now working from a tiny storefront in town. They are lovely people. They turned out to be the least expensive of the good places, surprisingly so. I took a loan against my 401K, and paid in cash. They decorated the tables with simple hurricane-lamp style candles, nothing more. They also provided a three tiered chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.
Because the food was excellent and the setting itself was sumptuous, we were able to keep everything simple. We also eliminated anything that became a problem. As a result, there was no promenade through the autumn woods, and guests were driven by our groomsmen and their friends from the chapel to the Inn. Husband RJ and I chose to spearhead a return walk along the paved road, during which there was a sunshower and a rainbow leading to the Inn and the lake! We also eliminated the reception line; everyone was hungry.
The girls were crying (during the ceremony), but I never did. In fact, I behaved like a Precinct Boss, hitting the tables and urging everyone to party hearty. Our photographer is a neighbor, as well as the mother of the best man. Her services were also a wedding gift. She kept the studio-style shots to a minimum and was good natured throughout the evening. Many people brought those cheap, disposable cameras and we provided some to non-photography partiers.
Sunday would have been a day of rest, but VeggieGirl had a health scare, when an ugly node appeared suddenly on her leg. After six hours in the ER, which RJ and I shared, three hours apiece, we were relieved to find out it wasn't a blood vessel ready to burst, but a badly infected (staph) ingrown follicle. My girls get very curly hair from Scottish ancestors on both sides. She will need to rest a few days, so I will enjoy her company. It was the first time I felt like crying all weekend.
Would I do it all again? I'd better. VeggieGirl is next, but not in the foreseeable future.
Praise the Lord.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Thank goodness I have MS. It gives me an excuse to stop scrubbing carpets and floors for a while. The Massachusetts guests begin arriving today. BabySister and her hubby will check in to help with last minute details. BrideDaughter, who is also MammaDog, will work with VeggieGirl to prepare favors and placecards tonight. They will be making candied apples, wrapped in cellophane and tagged with name cards. BabySister will assist me in hemming my pants.
Sure do hope we finish the pants before we finish the bottle of New York State wine...
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I never thought much about them, because I thought they were all in my head. You know, the "feelings are not facts," sort of thing. So many of the other MS bloggers talk about numb digits and numb patches that I am beginning to conclude that they do exist.
The amount of stress that I enjoy can often be quantified by the number of numb patches I currently experience. Right now, I have patches in my inner thighs, outer thighs, knees and my left little pinkie. Also my cheeks, the ones on my face and the lower portions of my lower portions.
The BrideDaughter stopped by today to fill me in on her current crises. Not enough money for alcoholic libations during the reception that we are footing. To put it very mildly, I am conflicted over this one. We are already shelling out over $4000 for the reception, and I had left the alcohol up to her. Most in my generation and older will not drink past the toast, because the wedding is a 45 minute ride from Little Pond. We do not wish to attract the attention of the local smokies. On the other hand, we don't want to lessen the party atmosphere with an announcement that the host is out of wine. (Unless of course, budding Messiahs happen to be present. In that case we will prepare some extra large vats of water.)
Other crisis: the expected trouble between the various (divorced, separated, feuding) families is already raising it ugly head. Spite, innuendo, misunderstanding are all meeting together where these kids are getting married: surely hilarity will ensue. I told her everything will work out, that weddings are always like that, kissed her and sent her on her way.
Now even my nose is a numb patch.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
For men, Florsheims would be my choice--If anyone were asking--for a mens shoe that is good for the foot.
When we lived in the DC area, Husband RJ was nearly crippled by his cheap shoes--eveything including the bloody socks. We walked into a good shoe store and explained the situation. He was properly fitted for Florsheims. These are now very, very hard to find, but David Taylor is another good brand that's less costly.
The trick is to go to a very long established shoe store with a very old, old employee, from back in the day when they knew how to fit shoes. They measure six ways to Christmas and feel the shoe with their hands when it is on the foot of the customer, who must be standing up.
This works for women too. I learned it when my kids were little and Panosians was the place for that sort of service in Elmira, NY. The ladies taught me a lot over the childhoods of my girls.
Fit is everything. The shoe must fit exactly, so the available sizes must include all the letters (A to E), not just narrow, medium and wide. And all the sizes, including the half sizes. When the shoe properly fits, then we don't need to wonder if our feet are being damaged.
The employee will also use a shoe stretcher for the trouble spots that are customer specific, although you can do this yourself at home. I don't want to say "saleperson" when talking about the fitting professional. The difference is huge. A real fitter will not sell you a shoe if you aren't properly fitted.
The cost needn't be horrifying, either. I'd say $70 to $90 would be a fair price for either mens or womens shoes. Not too bad for a shoe you will wear until the whole world is sick of looking at them, including yourself.
A properly fitted shoe ought also be good for dyeing. For that you need a leatherworker or a cobbler (a shoe repair place). You can dye the vinyl shoes yourself, but leather dye comes only in neutrals now, and needs to be mixed.
I have shoes that feel really wrong, but that's dysaethesia. At the end of the day, I remove the shoes, and if there is no redness or hot spots (that I can feel with my hands) then the shoes have done no damage. Feelings are not facts, although it pays to make sure the foot is okay. Like anything else with MS we have to be good observers.
Too much work? Not for a shoe bug.
Monday, October 09, 2006
I had to respond. Me and my big mouth and big opinions. But I do have some experience worth sharing here. I just didn't start with it. The best I have to offer is recent experience.
My Blogsister, Karen of Scottsdale, has another facet of the discussion, in the comments. Like it or not, I have an opinion on that, too.
Two Words: Space Shoes
Way, way, way back in the 1970's I worked for an orthotics-prosthetics place run by a man and his son who were practically born to the business. Back then, only the Beautiful People would consider Space Shoes, because they had to be ordered through a doctor, with a prescription. I don't think that is the case anymore.
Google "space shoes.". They used to be very expensive and I would bet they are quite pricey still. Some people can actually go through their doctor and their insurance or MedicAid will pay much of it. It wouldn't hurt to ask.
When considering the cost, keep in mind that they will simply last forever. For me, fancy shoes always last until I am sick of looking at the outdated things, years and years. I don't wear them often enough, but I do keep and do wear them. Because my feet are such a problem, I spend enough to buy what fits exactly. Comfort doesn't exist in my feet. Dysaethesia does.
Caveat: Be sure to specify--and stress--that COSMESIS is very important to you. Otherwise you will get shoes that match your feet, with some companies. I would love to believe that they know better now, but it was quiet a sticking point back then. If you don't get what you want, send them back for reworking.
They won't be Nine West, but they will be adorable. And quite smart!
Saturday, September 30, 2006
But next we will blogroll the more active-type bloggers. Those that like to tour their own towns, as do I. Watch this space...
Saturday, September 23, 2006
This appears to be the case in many marriages. Even in my own family, one spouse left the other because MS broke their family. Not a good outlook for me.
My father told me a few years ago that he held my husband in high esteem because he stayed with me after the diagnosis.
Naturally I couldn't leave well enough alone. One day I cornered RJ, and asked him why he stayed, knowing how it would turn out.
It may just be his recognition of my survival powers, but it is most certainly a testament to my Other that his answer was simple and instantaneous.
"Just thought I'd hang around and see how it all turns out."
Silly me. No one "knows" how it will turn out. The journey is just as important as the destination.
Sometimes he is so wise it scares me.
Once I could see better, the crud around the cats' dishes became obvious. So I grabbed a brush and scrubbed at it.
Once I was down on my hands and knees, I noticed the entire floor really needed cleaning. So I swept it, to get ready to mop.
Once I started sweeping the corners, I noticed that the appliances need cleaning, especially down near the floor. So I wiped the outsides of the appliances.
Once the appliances were clean, I noticed there were fingerprints everywhere. So...
Here's where I caught myself. Already tired and I never even got to mopping the floor.
Think I'll blog instead.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
"PAGES LEFT!!!!?????" Then the phone rang.
"Why aren't you messaging?"
"Huh! We have been, all night." One doesn't waste words with that guy. We call him Mr. McGrumpiFlick, if you get my drift.
"It isn't working. Reboot it."
"But we are getting your messages!" MMGF muttered some more, but I'd already started to hang up, and I decided not to stop.
Boss asked what was up, and I told him. He, too, looked at all the messages on the board. We hadn't noticed that they were staying highlighted, even after we opened them. The phone rang again, and since it was MMGF, I said nothing but instead handed it directly to Boss.
After a short explanation, he hung up, amused. "MMGF said he was afraid you forgot how to use the system." He knows I have MS. I was not amused. I am instant messaging because Boss does not know how to initialize the system. We have instructions, but he lost his (read forgot where he put them) and doesn't remember how.
I got a message from the now re-booted system. "WELL!!!" Presumably because I hung up.
So, because I have MS, everyone assumes I can't remember anything. But I took note that Mr. McGrumpiFink didn't say anything to my face. He knows I'd tear him a new one. And I can pretty much guess what he calls me.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Today a little note arrived from MSF, who apparently helped our local chapter. We were funded by a chapter in Florida, I thought. Of all places, I thought. Good people are everywhere, aren't they?
They are one in the same, I guess. Good people? Heck, yeah! They even promise not to pester me with multiple mailings.
The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation can be found here. I am throwing this out to anyone who wished they had some other support. I personally will be checking in with the website now and again. In fact I will use their sign-off.
"Wishing you a brighter tomorrow."
Thursday, September 14, 2006
One more dwarf planet has been added to our mapped solar system. This should soon become routine. Keep in mind that these dwarves have gravity, and could become possible landing sites for explorers.
That in itself ought to make each and every "planetlet" a point of interest for space speculators.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Maybe it was my imagination, but my shot hurt less today. Could it be a brand-new layer of baby fat to shoot?
In my forties, I injected my abdomen, because there, well, my fat was my friend.
But with the fifties, that abdominal fat disappeared, to be replaced by a lovely layer of lard around the waist. Strangely enough, it hurts a lot to shoot there. And stays sore a lot longer. The love handles, previously non-existent, are soft, fluffy and have become premiere injection sites.
This weekend more than ever. Naturally, I have stepped up my walking routine. Dog or no dog.
There's got to be at least 10 pounds semi-circling my waist. Good thing I return to work tonight.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Bubba hissed and spat at Ellie, who poked him in the (considerably good-sized) belly, sending him into the wall. The computer went dark.
Swearing a mighty oath, I cursed the little darlings. Self-preservation kicked in, and the two ran, shoulder to shoulder, into the living room to escape my wrath.
Took it as a sign from Heaven: popped a cold beer, and settled in for a few hours of saving the world in Final Fantasy VIII.
Three-day weekends rule!
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Don't know when I can take it back to work, but it definitely is helpful. I can go shopping for more than one hour!
Still don't though. I hate shopping.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
I don't know if this is a first, but it's the first blog that is almost exclusively podcast.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
Where does that leave me? "Relieved." It's wonderful to be able to empty my bladder. That simple action has been impossible for well over a decade, maybe longer. So in that sense, I'm "flushed" with victory.
But the process still leaves me fretful and reluctant to take it to work. I start work completely comfortable, but progress to worry as the night goes on. Drinking less water doesn't solve it: a completely private restroom would. There are none to be had at the paper; turns out the remotest ladies room is frequented by others who would have privacy! I wind up "evacuating" in a hurry, in both senses of the word.
In short, "when Nature calls" me, there is no easy answer.
It's my "number one" problem. I'll keep you posted.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Simply put, the International Astronomers Union says a planet:
1--is round and
2--revolves around a star.
So old friends Ceres and Charon, and new friend "Xena," are all planets, according to the new rules. Ceres is in the asteroid belt, Charon is a twin to Pluto, and "Xena" is a nickname for 2003 UB313, larger than Pluto, but much farther away from the sun.
Many argue that the agreed upon definition will make for many more planets. I'm thrilled; we need a firm definition, even if it makes for new planets.
The IAU suggests that we separate the planets into our usual, classical planets and "plutons" will be the descriptor for the others. Beginning, of course, with Pluto, always a hotly-contested planet-contender, plutons are all quite tiny in comparison with the classical planets. As far as I'm concerned, that's that.
Don't you just love picking up on the new terminology?
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
The cell was out of service. Had been for two weeks. Out of service does not make it dead. It makes it a very expensive clock/calculator/phone book. By 7:00 I wondered about the car and called Goodyear. No answer. Didn't check my cell for messages because I never follow up. My OGM is to call my home number. So I walked the four blocks to Goodyear, where the Tracker was neatly locked away inside the building. When I tried to call Husband RJ, I learned the phone was useless. Returned on foot to the paper, where I called home and left a message for him that was never returned.
Last night was hellacious. Working alone with glitching software made for an busy, anxious night. So naturally I lost all sense of potty-training. No car--no quick exit. No RJ--no face-saving white knight. No cash (wedding planners are broke and debt-riddled)--no taxi (who wouldn't want me in his cab, anyway).
Just a bathroom stall and a packet of wipes. Took a half hour to make myself reasonably presentable, albeit faintly stinky. If the people sharing the floor, and those stopping by, noticed, they said nothing.
A coworker drove me home at midnight. I grumped at Husband RJ, who was blissfully asleep the entire four and a half hours, and went to bed.
Cripe. I can survive anything.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
She fairly sputtered: they couldn't okay anything without tests. Later, she backpedaled a tad, saying that she may have been part of the Associates when we had those problems. Immaterial detail to me; every office has good cases and bad cases. MS almost always makes me a difficult patient.
She repeatedly insisted she wanted only to help. But further tests that would be scheduled way in the future would not help me now. I could find the equipment on my own, if necessary. The GPA gave me a long, patient explanation of the procedure. I told her I already knew; it had been recommended to me 10 years ago. She wanted to know by whom: after the Associates tested me, they told my neurologist that there was nothing to be done for me. Furious, he promised we would try various drugs until one worked. He also suggested a catheter. GPA left the room.
When she returned she gave me a prescription for antibiotics; I have a UTI. No surprise; I always do. The nurse and I made the lesson short and sweet and I returned home.
It's going to be a long haul on this one.
On the one hand, I already last a lot longer between toilet trips. On the other hand, that could simply be the antibiotics. OR the Oxytrol patch for incotinence.
One more log to keep on my condition; no wonder blogging it all comes naturally.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Right now I am again dealing with an exacerbation and resultant depression. Not coincidentally, one of the worst recurring stresses of my life is again making an appearance. At present I am unable to detail the stress, which is not work related, but at least I have tools to help.
Blogging is one of those tools. Not just writing, but also reading blogs. This blog, in particular, is especially helpful. I read it daily, addictively. The writer is that good. Recently she opened a thread of commentary, usually verboten, and now closed.
Many people say they've thought of going into the psychological sciences, either as a practitioner or in research. Not me. The inner strength required for that work is not one of my gifts. What psychologists are especially good at is listening and relating. That is the sort of thing found at Intueri.
If you are dealing with mental illness, bookmark it. When you are strong enough, visit. Sometimes it's disturbing, other times it's inspiring, but it is always a bit of a surprise.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
All with the nasty thing impairing my vision. Boy, do I hate growing old. Because that's all it is. Old age, I've been assured by the opthamologist. It will eventually succumb to gravity and slide down.
Will it? Does anyone know from experience? The stupid thing looks like a starburst, or a tin pieplate with way too many cuts in it. Or even, (dare I say) an anus. Having raised two children, both born naked and needing plenty of attention down there, I've seen enough to know one.
It's not dangerous, and I need not fear it. But it's a real pain in the eye. Figuratively speaking, of course.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
So we were expecting the worst. For me, six full hours of non-stop, mind-boggling brain teasers. What happened to the advertising, and how can we fix it? For my immediate boss, four or more hours of how can we avoid all the problems we had this week? For graphics coworkers, how do we pile fifteen pounds into a five-pound sack, while our clients are poking holes in it? For weekend worker, seven and one-half hours of watching the unfolding trainwreck and reporting to all sides of it.
Icing on the cake? The circulation manager/physical plant supervisor had to personally bring in the niche product that was forgotten in Central. He's a wonderfully burly guy, the sort who watches your back, and you are glad it's your back he's watching.
In the end, we'd solved a huge boatload of troubles, and yes, that will bring the crescendo down to a screaming roar. Intermediate fixes buy time for true redirection and actual solutions. And there were chicken wings for everyone. At midnight, however, nobody in our department wants them. But the gesture was a lovely one, and Warren went up miles and miles in our esteem. And those who were called in to load and unload the publications (on such short notice!) surely did them justice.
Sometimes a bossman just needs to throw on his sleeveless jersey and pitch in, tossing encouraging words in passing. Result? The happy demise of the stuffed shirt image. We back-room production guys despise "suits."
We are still not satisfied with my morning paper, though. Ah, well. Little by little.
Maybe now I can begin to heal from this nasty exacerbation.
Friday, July 28, 2006
But. They began repairs on the AC. That is to say that the building super is on vacation. This is actually a good thing, because the word is that the AC wouldn't be fixed by him; he would simply file a report that it can't be fixed without those parts they need. But.
My boss (yes, the one that went total jerk on me the other night) went over everyone's head and said I was playing the ADA card. The person in charge of the building super said he would see to it that it's fixed. That brought in our departmental boss, who's been stalled up at Central, doing Our Lady knows what. He used to be the building super, and apparently has some real chops. He cobbled a repair, just for little ol' you know who. It's not wonderful, it's still not real cool, but it's not hot and muggy any more. In fact the worst hot moments last night were courtesy of menopause.
And you can bet they will effect a complete repair. Been there, done that. It didn't happen like before because the Advertising Boss is now in charge of us. (This sort of nonsense cycles in and out every few years, with the change in regimes.) They always come to ask if I need any "accommodation." It never gets done, and I will point that fact out to them. It's been over ten years; they should have done something by now, and they simply haven't. Only now I am keeping score: should they come to me to ask, I have an errand list for them. We can start with bars around the toilet stalls; I will need them when I learn to self-catheterize.
I may have to go to Human Resources for that one: wouldn't pay to advertise the sordid details. I'm looking forward to that: maybe they will recognize the ADA card.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
I am now exacerbating, with almost overwhelming dysaesthesia in my feet to my knees, my hands, that strange electric feeling in my neck, loss of hearing and increasing incontinence. I mentioned it to my boss, who exploded, telling me to sue and be damned (or some such).
I was up all night changing protection, to keep the bed dry.
Tonight I will ask for a status report. If the place is not making some sort of progress, I will need disability time.
There's another lady who has MS, and I think she just disappears when there's no AC in her department. Just quietly falls out of sight.
I'm thinking I won't go quietly. They've had more than ten years to adjust and provide accomodations. I'll be damned if I'm going quietly. If Mamma ain't happy...
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
I do not yet use a catheter. In the early years after my diagnosis, my dear Dr. Bhat suggested it because I work and was constantly in the bathroom. I simply went all the time, and I was still wetting myself on a regular basis. In spite of spending a fortune on pads, guards, everything.
Well, I finally began using incontinence drugs. Detrol, and Ditrophan, I think. And they worked. A lot of the time. But the side effects were striking. Never having been constipated in my life, I was amazed to find myself dealing not only with painful-looking, bleeding bowel movements (with no feeling, I could force it as much as I was able--and you should see my abs under the middle age spread), but also regular bladder accidents.
Finally I'd had enough and gave up the drugs. But they actually had helped some. And now, some twelve years after initial diagnosis, I am still not getting much accomodation at work. The bathroom is adjacent to my workspace, but I still must go all the way around the building to use it! Talk about needing a clue. I can practically hear them flushing the toilets, but I have to race around the other side of the floor to get there. And I don't often make it, these days. Any added stress makes it worse, and we are in the middle of a traumatic transition.
So when I came across my baby BlogSister Pearlie's post, I began to feel that a cusp was approaching. She also was coping with the concept. I wept at her reaction; it was my reaction, too. And I read the comments to see who else was facing this decision. Cathy, wonderful and caring, detailed her own experiences. We emailed a bit, and I began to read her blog, Cathy's Rants and Ramblings.
Cathy recently emailed to tell me she's posting on Self Catheterization. If you are thinking that you could never do this, if you are thinking the whole thing sounds insane, it is not. Cathy is proof otherwise.
I remember being catheterized during a medical test. Everything in the post rings true. Unfortunately, so does the nightmare scenario at the hands of an incompetent nurse. In two weeks I will once again broach the subject with my neurologist; this time I will be more amenable to the whole thing. I am long overdue for some relief.
It would be nice to stay out of the ladies room for more than one hour at a time. And make it through a day without an accident, protection or no.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Our new boss was making inquiries: Why are there so many employees? Too much overtime. He seems to be all for more computers, but against the employees to work them.
He asked again why there were so many of us. We are three. There are seven nights a week to man, and ten publications to prepare. He happened to be there when all was running well, and we seemed idle. Actually we shifted to other duties; I went to advertising and my immediate boss turned to work on his comics collectors' column. We left the weekend person to his usual duties. We would simply not be there on a normal Sunday night.
New Boss would know this if he had ever come up to our workplace on any work night. Then we would seem undermanned and overworked. This may be alleviated with the new configuration, but we will still be working on advertising and layout preparation. We also compose the classifieds, and insert obituaries and other directories.
This person showed up for the ceremonial fluff, driving to Johnson City with the publisher. It insulted and demoralized us to have him come through, questioning our function and necessity. Up at JC he would be smiling for the photographers recording the launch. We will not see him again for months.
I know that later this week Prepress will be very, very busy, as usual. Mr. Bossman will not climb the stairs to see us sweating out (literally; there is no air conditioning right now) the details that make things seem to run so smoothly when the functionaries come for their self-congratulatory rites.
They are so disconnected that they cannot see the seeds of hatred they are engendering. At a time when NewBoss should be bringing us all together to work as one unit, he left us hissing with disgust and seething with resentment.
What a damnable shame.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Okay, I understand about the wheelchair, since my BlogSister was researching them for a purchase. And I understand about the woodsy road and turkey sitings, although goodness knows I never saw a turkey when I was actually out hunting them. This area is lousy with them otherwise. And Ellie isn't my dog; she's my GrandDog. Still, I watch the Dog Whisperer a lot: Ellie requires a lot of leadership.
In the heat of the summer, I can catch a glimpse of foxes and sometimes coyotes, on the way to the Arnot Mall. I take the scenic route: what everyone else calls the "back way." It relieves stress for me. But what's with the puppy-napping?
I've got to stop working so much overtime. It's messing with my mind, and exhausting me, both body and soul.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Pearls and Dreams: not a positive post
Just go there. And read the comments, because other courageous individuals are gathering to offer solace and good, solid information. Not just for my Pearlie. Thanks especially to Cathy, whose detailed narrative is such a comfort to me. My day is also coming; it's been suggested once. I reacted similarly, and the doctor answered likewise. Amazing.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
On Friday July 7, 2006, Chemung Valley Multiple Sclerosis Association will close its office. Due to funding problems we are unable at this time to stay open. The day to day expenses of running a Non-Profit Agency have left us to this decision.So we are not supported by the United Way. Apparently, fighting Multiple Sclerosis, and assisting its patients is not a worthy cause. I have heard that MS is an orphan disease, and it certainly feels that way right now. For years I have sent donations (to an organization that is supposed to help me!) and supported their raffles. All my UW donations have been specifically marked for the CVMSA, nothing else.
The United Way is dead to me now. Can't wait till they come knocking.
I'll just hand them a copy of the letter.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
So link on over to RangelMD for this week's rounds.
This little number reminds me of Dr. Bhat, best neurologist. Period.
And our own Womens' Health Center at the Arnot Hospital sounds a lot like this post. And read the comment section for more.
Guess I've been lucky a couple times in my life. Not always so. Some of the awful stuff reminds me of earlier years, and some pretty thick-skulled, low-skill providers. Soured me on medical professionals for a good long while.
Now I'm especially hardnosed. I don't pay them to be sweetie-pies, but I certainly don't pay them to treat me badly. I get what I want, or I get away from them. Not a lot of room for compromise anymore.
Works for me. So far.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
This mottled meatloaf is a representation of our entire household this July 4, 2006. The top paw is actually a hind leg! The overcast day would be perfect for outdoor activity if everything weren't so buggy from the flooding. Elmira is flood-free but the floodplains got it in spades, thank the Lord for their continued cultivation. No walking near the river these days. At least until the bugs give it a rest. Gotta work tonight, so it's down for a nap. One more shot below.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Except for a wet basement that remains spotty with what I guess is condensation, we are unscathed.
The problem is along the Susquehanna, and not my beloved Chemung. After the Great Flood of 1972, caused by Tropical Depression Agnes, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed dams and levees, culverts, sluices and other flood diversions that have worked rather well.
When I came to Elmira College that fall, the dormitories were a mess, having been used by refugees who pretty much trashed them. (Actually they left them in about the same condition that they are left after every school term.) But the area was buggy outdoors and moldy indoors, and that is what we are experiencing now.
Some workmates fled homes that were completely covered. But!
But except for those diehards who hung around having "flood parties," those who were displaced took their belongings with them. So, unless they owned the home, the setback is temporary. I'm afraid the property will be devastated. A flooded river has enormous pull. Many homes will have floated downstream. The rest will need extensive rehabbing.
We heard about the flood parties. Alcohol and firearms. To kill the pain and shoot at the junk floating on the flood. Sort of the middle finger at all the misery surging around them.
It's hard to imagine the mess just a couple miles away. The sun is shining, the breeze is gentle, and the chores need our attention before the holiday. Everyone I care about is safe and has refuge. We will have to help with donations of time, energy, clothes and empathy.
Not sympathy, empathy. We've been there before and will probably go there again. We will help them pick up, rebuild, and move on. Big shoulders to cry on, too, I guess.
Hope the Army Corps of Engineers is up to the job of taming the Susquehanna.
(I completely forgot that this was going to be a medically-oriented post. It's getting too long, but let it stand. More later.)