Sunday, February 28, 2010

Advice, given and needed

I posted this, today, in Richard's Clubhouse to a new member who has an astronomical amount of weight to lose.  She is saying all the right things, but the trouble with the printed word is that there are no emotions, facial expressions, or tones of voice to know whether she was just committing herself to a new path in life, or it was another way to beat herself up.

It seemed to me that my answer was blog-worthy, so here it is:

* * * * *

I have a question for you.  Is your confession here because you just needed to vent to take the next step, is it another way for you to beat yourself up?  Because the way i see it, you have nothing to apologize for.  You are where you are at, and to be angry or sorry or apologetic won't change it.  It's tough for us to understand what we've done to ourselves, and the "why" is incomprehensible.  I'm actually finishing up a book right now about my own journey that is not a "how to lose weight"  (we have Richard for that, thank you), but more about my own journey to self realization.  I still don't know why I got to where I got, or why I was able to turn it around, but the tale lends some insight into it.

What advice I can give you is look at your words without anger and self flagellation.  You have committed, today, to a fine course of action.  If you are really committed to it, you will still have days that you don't keep with program or that you make mistakes.  Instead of beating yourself up over them or walking away, try to look at them dispassionately, figure out the circumstances that led to them, and figure out how you can change your environment so that they don't happen again.

I had to give up a set of friends... eating buddies, if you want to know the truth.  There are markets that I cannot go into.  We have a Henry's market that even now I can NOT visit because they sell the best malted milk balls in the world in a bulk bin, and I can't resist them.  I control my environment by never allowing myself to go in, even though I know they are a spectacular market in every other way.  I started by forcing myself to do small amounts of exercise.  Then I built on it as I was physically capable.  I still have never claimed to like exercise, but Richard makes it very tolerable and I look on it as a one more necessary habit like brushing my teeth.  It is not optional.

But the biggest thing I did was stop constantly beating myself up, and I almost never think more than a day ahead.  I don't even set mini goals of 5 pounds, because for me, even that small commitment is too much stress.  I just do the best I can do with the program itself, and if I am doing it right, the numbers invariably follow.  As for goal?  I never set one, even as Richard pressured me to pick out a number.  Just as my starting weight was "just a number," so was that elusive goal, and the difference between the two just depressed me to death.  Instead, I would just tell Richard that I was working the program and that I would know goal when I got to it.  That system worked just fine for me.

Think about what you are doing, when you make mistakes, instead of beating yourself up or denying them, analyzing them and make changes to your life so you won't be exposed to the same situation that allows you to make them, and not worrying about the number... I think those may be your ticket to long term success.

And remember, it really doesn't matter how long it takes to get to goal.  I took 3 years, and I needed every single day that it took to make the emotional adjustments that were required to cope with my new reality.  I have never regretted a day of the time during the losing process, nor have I regretted dealing with the hard emotional work in learning to deal with  maintenance.  Time is on your side if you will only recognize it.

28 Posts in 28 days.  Today is day 28.

* * * * *

To the people who are so kind as to visit my blog, I am in a quandry.  I am looking at the nablopomo challenge for March, and since February turned out not to be hard to do, thinking about continuing for another month.  But I am not sure.

How many of you are reading?  I don't get a lot of comment back, even as I know that my posts are not necessarily open ended to evoke discussion.  Do you want me to continue?  Or should I go back to posting when I feel the need, and not feel the pressure of a challenge?

This is your chance, if you are involved here, to weigh in on the question.  Tomorrow is March 1.  That's when I will need to make the commitment.

Thank you for coming along on my February journey.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Good and Balanced Dinner

Eric came over for dinner and the evening last night.  Sadly, I was feeling so terrible that after months and months of a date drought, I was no good at all.  We slept and talked some, I made dinner, Eric having contributed by bringing some delicious curried eggplant and a salad that he made over, while I contributed marinated Swordfish Steak (bought on special earlier in the day), and Rice.  I was almost down for the count before dinner was over, ; Eric dealt with the dishes while I went back to bed.

We spent almost the whole evening watching the Olympics, I apparently slept a bit although mostly I was just in pain, and we finished the evening up with watermelon that I had bought sliced at the same time as the fish.

Eric was very sweet and patient; we had a conversation that we needed to have and we need to have more of them to be sure we're on the same page, but mostly we were just together.  It was nice.

The interesting thing is that the dinner was so healthy and balanced, and even as I felt so awful that nothing was going to help me, as I ate dinner, I could feel my body screaming with delight on a cellular level.  "What's this you're feeding us?" the cells were squealing?  "Real Food?  Not Crap?"  And I could feel almost a vibration going through them.

I did not feel the need to eat anything overnight when I awakened to let the dogs out.  This morning, I just wanted a little more of the swordfish and rice for breakfast, then took my pills, and when I get moving in a little while (waiting for the speed and the tylenol to kick in so that I have the ability to get into motion), I will eat a sliced apple. 

It was as simple as that.  One good meal leads to another.  The trick, for me, is to be able to prepare food in advance so that when I"m so tired I can't do it, it's already there.  Of course that's quite a good trick too.  In my other post, I mentioned how very tired I am.  It's not a normal good kind of tired.  Autoimmune tired is something that is bone-weary; something that you cannot fight and cannot function. 

I don't know how I'm going to get the strength to make my food in advance either.  But I think, based on the reaction that my body had to it, I'm going to need to think even harder about it, and try to figure it out.  I don't even like the junk I've been eating.  I just haven't had the strength to go to the market, let alone cut things up and cook them in advance.  I wonder if it's time to start buying pre-packaged frozen vegetables, and/or maybe hire somebody - a kid from my complex - to come and cut things up when I come home from the store.

Of course, going out and finding somebody also will take energy that I do not have.  I need to lay back down again now...  I can feel my muscles shaking just from the effort of typing this post, and I'll think about it.  Maybe there's a way...

March Forward, Faint Away

I saw Dr. Bluestone yesterday.  He was uncharacteristically not arrogant.  Very helpful.  Pointed out that all of my worst pain-points have moved from muscular to joint pain.  Apparently that is very significant, possibly something serious, and it's something that I had not thought much about.  He was also impressed by my ongoing Eyrthema Nodosum, my C-Diff, and other symptoms including fainting and breathing issues, that may or may not be related.  He says that the headaches are probably tension; I think he's probably right.  They started right around the time of the Miles and Anne crises.  He drew a lot of blood, and then sent me on to Cedars for my other lab work ordered by Dr. V-

When I arrived at Dr V's office to pick up paperwork, it wasn't ready.  New staff.  They asked me to first go to Registration for stickers to apply to it, then to the Lab.  Dr. V's assistant "Paul" decided to accompany me.  He didn't think I looked so good.  You think?  We got as far as the receiving window of the lab before I fainted.

The response dramatic and horrible.  Lab staff freaked and all came out to me.  Apparently this doesn't happen there often.  Somebody called the Cedars Crisis Team (I never knew they existed... where were they all the times I've fainted in Cedars hallways?) while Paul apparently ran for Dr. V- who was down the hall in his office.  He came with Paul and three nurses trailing.  The crisis team showed up; there had to have been at least 5 of them.  I"m not sure because there were so many people milling around the Lab's waiting room and I was the only patient there... I felt like I was looking into a kaleidoscope and shifting people were the result.  Then Security showed up.  Lots of security.  Needed to make "a report."  All for the exact same fainting that I've been doing for what now, more than three years, and nobody's cared to figure it out?

I finally got them all to go away once I was able to sit up against a wall except Dr. V, who remained behind to talk to me.  He wanted to call me by phone anyway, he explained, and figured this would be easier than phone tag.  He had spoken to my Therapist - said it was a "long" conversation - and is now finally fully convinced my issue is not depression.  Apparently so is Dr. Bluestone.  Bluestone, per Dr. V-,  told Dr. V- that he thinks something serious is indeed happening, that he has his suspicions that it's Fibromyalgia related, and that there is a new drug just barely available that he will investigate for me depending on the blood results.  I am to check in with Dr. V- on Monday and Dr. Bluestone on Wednesday.

At this point, Dr. V- thinks that since Dr. Bluestone says he has good leads, there is no need to admit me to the hospital next Wednesday.  Basically we're going to wait and see what the tests come back with.  Bluestone told me of a lot of autoimmune related options that he was considering, and I didn't inquire any further.  I'm just so very tired.  And very tired of it all.

28 Post s in 28 Days.  Today is day 27.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Six Truths of Life

Six Truths of Life

1. You cannot touch all your top teeth with your tongue.

2. All idiots, after reading the first truth, will try it.

3. And discover that the first truth is a lie and feel superior because they can do it.

4. You're smiling now because you're an idiot.

5. You soon will forward this to another idiot.

6. There's still a stupid smile on your face.

I apologize about this.
I'm an idiot and I needed company ...
And I know you have a sense of humor  and some teeth.  

Thank you, Adele, for making today's post so easy for me.

28 posts in 28 days.  Today is day 26.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

In Progress

Again I almost didn't post today, and then again, I thought what I should post about.  I promised you a snapshot of what I am working on for myself in Anne's honor a few days ago.

It truly is in Anne's honor.  She is very VERY ill, she is elderly, and she is confused for reasons of her own frail physicality at age 87, but more so for being mistreated where she is at.  Next week this time, I will likely be in the hospital (a story in and of itself), but Anne will have moved to new home and will be properly cared for.  I will finally be able to relax and focus on my own issues, hopefully resolving them too.

The reason that I know for sure now that this medicine pouch is being made for Anne (In her honor, sadly not to give to her...  Where she is going the advise no valuable jewelry, and besides it's a really BIG piece and would probably knock her over)  is that today when we went to visit her, she was again very confused.  She is acutely aware that something really bad is happening to her, but doesn't understand what and she apologizes for that and is more frustrated for just enough understanding to know that she doesn't understand.  The 'home' thinks she's fully gone mentally.

They are SO wrong.  She talks to me and even when what she says initially doesn't make sense or doesn't ring true, later - most of the time - it turns out that it is.  They are over-drugging her and she is stoned.  I am certain that this is a large part of her issue.

Anyway, two days ago I visited her.  I showed her the piece in progress then.  (Sorry, no pics.)  Today after she seemed so confused, I pulled it out of my bag today again and explained to her what progress I had made.  She fully remembered the piece and remembered that the things I pointed out to her were not there two days ago.

She is inside that befuddled body and her mind is still in there behind the wall.  I make the medicine pouch for Anne.  Medicine pouch, do your thing.  Please.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Closing in on February

It's the 24th. Four more days after today and I'm done with the challenge. This is the second time I've taken on the Nablopomo challenge and I think I'm going to make my post-a-day-for-28-days.  It has not been without it's own issues, though.  My personal life is in shambles, not because of anything that anyone has done, but because of situations outside of anyone's control.  My doctors are finally - at least for yesterday - listening to me; or at least one of them is and wants to hospitalize me, but I absolutely cannot go until after next Tuesday.

I had a huge argument about the situation with my Therapist today.  He feels very strongly that I am allowing myself to be used, that I am being taken advantage of, I'm a fool and that I should check in immediately.  He may or may not be right, but my own code of ethics will not allow me to desert the situation.  It will be resolved partially on Monday, in full on Tuesday.  I will check in any time after that, at my doctor's convenience.  I will check in gladly.  Part of the reason I have not been more regular about posting before February is because I just haven't felt up to it.  I've become weaker and weaker, and so terribly fatigued that even  Adderall cannot be depended on to keep me going through a day, but I suspect it's what's disrupting my sleep at night.  

I desperately want to feel good again and although that is probably not possible, I'd at least  like to be feeling better and functioning as well as I was 2 years ago.  There's been a steady decline since the beginning of of 2008, an improvement at the beginning of 2009, but a decline again shortly thereafter.  I realized today that my recently-developed terrible food habits are probably a result of ongoing fatigue...  when I used to eat healthy, those days I strayed from program were almost universally preceded by a bad night's sleep and accompanied by fatigue.    Hello?!  Hello me?  That is my life these days.  I run on sheer nerve and drugs and as of late, on adreneline to get through the problems.  I wish I had thought of this sooner.  It rings true,even as it also sounds like excuse making.  I suspect it may be an excuse, but it's also very true.

As for the discussion at the Therapist today, we'll continue it... maybe next week depending on if I am in the hospital or not, or the following.  I have a feeling that the issue he opened up today may end up being really ugly.  At the least, we've never both ever raised our voices at the same time towards each other before, especially not him, but it certainly happened during today's session.  Both of us lost our cool, not just me.  That's a bad sign.

28 posts in 28 days.  Today is day 24.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Evolution and Lifestyle Changes

I posted this in Richard's Clubhouse earlier today, but I think it may be blog worthy too. I am shortening the names (except for Richard) to protect the identity of those involved.


You are experiencing exactly what every one of is is. You're definitely not alone.

The bottom line is that we all know "what" to do. The problem is that we don't know "how" to do it. The "how" is the lifestyle change. It is slow, it is difficult, and then when you finally get your house in order, your lifestyle such that you have adapted and are doing well at experiences something new. Something happens that rocks the boat and you have to figure out how to do it all over again. It's really hard.

Just keep coming around and chipping away at the change, one small step at a time. For me, I'm having tremendous difficulty even eating regularly let alone with health and weight maintenance/loss in mind right now. My lifestyle has changed radically to being a care-taker, something that I have done before, but never on this level. Coming here and talking about it instead of keeping it buried at home is a huge lifestyle change, and difficult for me. I haven't even begun to tell you-all what's really going on here in an all-encompassing way, but you know a little of it and that's a bigger deal than you can understand.

You can do it too. Just focus on the small stuff; the things that are easily achieved right now, and don't take too many of them on at once. Do them one at a time, and feel successful. As you accomplish the easy stuff, the harder things become easier because you don't have all the other things cluttering up "how" to deal with them. They later become small steps too. Starting off on this program and lifestyle change is a big emotional deal and most of us feel good when we begin. Then the real job becomes evident and we are way less excited. Those of us who stick at it evolve and become successful, each in our own time frame. Evolution, that's what it's really about, not burning down the house and finishing the task in one fast step.

Thank you for making your post. It's good to write this down and remember it myself as I am working my way through a myriad of crises, only some of which anyone here - even Richard - know about. Evolution. I remind myself too. The situation is evolving, and as it evolves, if I keep at it, I will evolve too and know what to do. The truth is, I already do know what I need to do on a practical level and I know how to do it too.

On an emotional level, I know what I need to do... establish emotional equilibrium again so that I can get closer to a healthy lifestyle. I'm not sure how to do it yet, but I will keep talking to you-all, to my real life friends (they are all aware of my weight and maintenance issues, despite Richard's accusations last night that we keep it a secret although I used to... goodness knows I used to think nobody knew - lol! ), my Therapist, Eric, and even Richard if he has time to listen.

The good news is that as I tackle the easy stuff... getting Anne into the home and Miles diagnosed and I need to talk to the vet about Sunny and I will shoot off an e-mail of desperation to my doctors shortly and will then go visit Anne to see what havoc that stupid nursing home is wreaking upon her life today, and then tonight, it's obedience school with Lucy and I will relax afterward by working on the medicine pouch again rather than a client commitment because not having the pressures of meeting client expectations but only working on something to please myself is what I need at the moment. I will take my sleeping medications early, and maybe even talk to my internist or get an appointment with him to discuss if there is another alternative that is stronger and will keep me asleep. All of this can be accomplished today.

Tomorrow, if I can keep the emotions out if it will be easy too. The movers are coming to take Anne's furniture to her new home. I will start the process of sorting through everything she owns, beginning with what was moved so that she cannot stop me after she is moved into her new home, and when that is done, finish up with the things left behind at her old apartment. I will change my Therapist appointment to hopefully Thursday so that I do not have to rush with the movers. See, again nothing is that daunting if I keep it simple.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Visit Anne. Work on her new apartment and her old if the timing is such. Walk the dogs. Hopefully get some kind of response from at least one of my doctors. Chances are at least my Internist will respond. Being very VERY good but not famous on a world-class level, he is more likely to listen, even if he cannot help, but he will try to help too.

Talk to my Therapist and see if he can actively intervene with my other doctors again to try and get them moving. Thank goodness I never gave him up as I became emotionally healthy. In fact, he's probably as valuable to me now as he has ever been in this whole process. He's less of a Therapist than a counselor and advocate at this point, helping me face down great unknowns and changes that scare me to death, and keeping me from saying or doing anything impulsive that will not be good for me until we hash it out and are sure of what direction I want to go in. I often wait when things with especially Eric pop up. I would have fled that relationship long before now if it hadn't been for my Therapist, and in Eric, I have found something really special and rare that I would be an absolute fool to give up.

Again, it's easy. Overwhelming when I look at it on a whole, but broken down step by step, not that big a deal. My client will wait. Anne's old apartment will wait. I can do this.

And for my eating? For just right now, I am officially declaring myself on vacation from program. I will eat what is available when it's available and make the best choices I can at the times that I am presented with them. If that means eating a lot of restaurant food and gaining a few more pounds in the next week, or grabbing crap from the market (I still refuse to go back to fast food), so be it. Maybe after the Anne and Miles thing are settled next week, I will be able to focus more on my eating. But right now, worrying about that is cluttering bigger issues that cannot wait.

Thank you M- for asking the question. I hope that you don't mind that I not only tried to respond to you, but tried to work out my own life for the next week at the same time. Maybe it will even be of help to you... who knows?

What I know for sure is that real life always comes back after the excitement - good or bad - passes and that's when the real work is done.

28 Posts in 28 Days; today is day 23.

Embrace Life

Thank you Kathy, for sending this to me.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ok, a short one here...

It's all so darned hard.  And I am still posting here daily too.  I don't know how.

We're moving Anne's furnishings into her new apartment on Wednesday.  We are hoping to get her things and affairs settled, and her into her new place early next week Time will tell.

Eric is trying to get an appointment for Miles at the doctor for earlier than next week.  I'd really like to see it happen if it's possible.  Miles is doing absolutely fine, but it would be a relief to know what the results of the tests were, and also that he's getting the best possible treatment.  Also, that would clear next week out to settle Anne into her new apartment.

I broke my glasses today.  Fortunately, I had to go down to Cedars anyway to pick up a prescription and the two year warranty on the ""Titanium", you just can't break it" glasses was only 9 months old.  Given that the gentleman who owns the store didn't even flinch when I showed up, I have a feeling that I may not be the first to break them.  And I did warn him when I bought him that I'd be back.  He thought I was kidding at the time, even though - while laughing - I warned him that I was not.

Lots of beading tonight.  Rather than work on anything for a client, I worked on a medicine pouch that I will probably sell if anyone is willing to put up that much money.  VERY detailed work, very slow work.  I needed something that would take my mind off of everything.  But this is going to be an extremely valuable piece, a very expensive one too.  Not something that just anybody is going to be willing to afford.  Might be good exposure if I can get it on one of my "celeb" friends for a TV appearance or the Red Carpet.  Sometimes those opportunities are worth the labor and effort of making this stuff.

Tomorrow I need to walk the dogs a long way.  Poor Lucy was into my beading the whole evening.  In the end, she got her nose in the wrong place and the very sensitive nose leather was accidentally stabbed by a Glover Needle.   If you don't know what that is, it's an especially dangerous sharp needle that pierces through leather like it's butter.  It hurts to have it pierce any skin, and the poor dog bled.  She hasn't been willing to come close to me since.  But I'm willing to bet that she will be back in the morning.  She's currently asleep on the sofa.

I am posting this just after midnight and back dating it.  I think, given the stress of the time, that will suffice.  I will post again tomorrow, probably with a pic of what I was working on tonight.

Hopefully a happier post.  Tomorrow will be the last stress free day until after the issues resolve.  The good news is that the major ones should resolve themselves for the time being next week.

28 posts in 28 days.  This is counting as day 22.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Creative Color

Today was the long-planned trip out to Newbury Park to The Creative Castle, one of my very favorite bead sources.  After all, it was the last day to use their 40% off one item coupon!  And I'm not missing that opportunity, thank you very much.

In all honesty, my most expensive item was a tool:  A bench block on which to pound metal flat. I had the little anvil; I had the hammer.

It was time to get the bench block. 

But of course, I noticed the rawhide hammer there, and I'm not sure what that's used for vs. the soft side of the hammer that I have, but I'll explore that mystery on another trip out.  I spent a lot of time with them, asking questions and having techniques explained.  And Corine was so kind as to save and give me a couple of Shelly Neimerow Mermainds because she loved my mermaid necklace so much (I'm not going to picture it here because I'm entering it into a  juried competition and I'm afraid if it's on line first, it may be disqualified), she thought I should have the chance to make another.  I will to, and then probably gift it to her for giving me the bead and teaching me the technique.

Janna, who taught me wire wrap, gave me a piece of "tacky tape."  I was going to buy some after she explained about it, but they were out so she gave me a bit from her own supply. 

I had planned to buy some pink beads (yes, for you Suzanne if you're reading), and some pink cord too, just in case I need it, and some of their plated pewter alphabet beads to experiment with, but then was so enamoured with their wall of seed beads in size 8 that I went wild.  There too, there was a special.  Buy 5 packets and get the 6th free.  So I bought 5 and then chose out a sixth.  Then I saw another color I couldn't live without, and another and another, so I bought another 5 and got yet another one free.  The same cycle happened four more times, and this is what I ended up with:

Lots of new colors with which to produce many beautiful items.

I spent more time out there than I had planned to; my scheduled trip to the Post Office will be delayed until the morning.  Fortunately, it's only Sunday today anyway.  There will be no effect on the delivery of this package.  And yes, Wilda, if you're reading, this one is for you.

* * * * *

Last night, as has become a tradition as of late, Eric, Gabby, & Miles came over for dinner.  Usually Eric brings along some take-out, but this week, I made pasta and my home made vegetable sauce.  I cooked regular pasta for the Splaver clan; for me, I decided to cook my Squid Ink pasta.  Miles was very intrigued by the fact that I was eating black pasta.  He decided that he would like to try some.
The verdict?  "It tastes just like regular pasta!"  I assured Miles that it was true, it did taste like regular pasta.  The reason for eating squid ink black pasta is for the coolness factor.

*  *  *  *  *

What is it with men?  They have a discussion about growing a mustache.  Immediately, they have to grow one, and they're not into delayed gratification.

And like father, like son.
* * * * *
I am not feeling well this evening, and in a serious way.  I thought about maybe abandoning the post a day task, but February is so close to wrapping up that I decided not to.  So I gathered the dogs, one of which was busy and did not want to be gathered.

I herded them to the front door to go outside, and discovered that there is a new dog toy in play.


That's right,  dogs now play with zip lock baggies.

And there's no shame in this crowd.  Lucy quickly laid claim to it.

28 post in 28 days.  Today is day 21.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I made it to Slimmons this morning.  Late, as usual.  I don't know what it is about me lately but I can't get anywhere on time.  Ever.  I missed about 20 minutes of Project Me and sadly I would have liked to have been there this week.  It was a smaller class than normal and I really miss the intimate conversations that Richard used to have with us before he got so hot again.  Now, usually Project Me has 30 to 40 people in it and Sweat is always over 100 strong.  I'd bet my bottom dollar that there were at least 125 people there today.

Anyway, Richard had already assigned and collected the "homework."  It was an interesting assignment.  He wanted to know what the characteristics of a friend are, and then had everyone write the names of two people down and what made them such good friends.

It has given me some pause for thought.  I am not going to write the names of my friends down... I am incredibly lucky that, in my middle age, I have suddenly discovered a multitude of people in my life who's presence I appreciate and would be lost without.  But the characteristics...  that I want to answer.

What is a friend?

Someone who is of like mind and purpose.  Someone who you can both laugh and cry with.  Someone who understands you.  Someone who you can disagree with, but get over it, and no grudges are held.  Someone with whom there is give and take, balance, and peace. And most important, we bring out the best in each other.

* * * * * *

Yesterday, I noted that Lucy might not want to go outside in the rain for her last trip "to do business" for the day.  In truth, she did not give me any problem.  I think that's because she remembered "The Drying Off Game" from the last time it rained.  Sunny has always liked it, but the last round of storms was Lucy's first introduction.

Oh, how she enjoyed it last night!  Even when I covered her entire body including her head and eyes with the towel and she couldn't see a thing, she wiggled and ran and jumped for joy.  Amazingly, she did not bump into a single piece of furniture.  Go figure.

28 posts in 28 days.  Today is day 20.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sustainable Progress

Despite the rantings of last night which I meant to take down this morning and just plain forgot, I had a rather productive day.  Eric called around 9; I had actually fallen asleep and been asleep for about an hour at that point, and although I was drop-dead tired and not really wanting to be disturbed, I wanted to talk to him desperately and I'm glad he called.

I got up shortly after that, took my medication, and got the day started.  Although I promised Anne that I was going to visit her today, I knew that it wasn't going to happen.  I just had too much of a build-up of things to do at home to leave, and so I surveyed m domain and made a plan.

Feed the dogs.  Lucy is quite willing to accommodate.
Sunny decided that he was not hungry.
I needed to address the dining room table.  Sadly, a project I never got to.
Not only did I have to do this basket of laundry, but another the same size, and an equal amount of laundry that I did yesterday that needed to be put away.  I amazingly got all of it done!
I addressed the pile I left on this chair last night upon getting home from Slimmons.  I had a fainting spell after class there and still wasn't feeling well when I arrived here, and so I put nothing away.
I need to do something with the earring tree that Mariko graciously sent me to display my earrings on.  I don't know where I am going to put it yet, so it's  still sitting on the coffee table.  But Anne's hamper - the purple thing behind it - is now better located and out of the way.
I needed to take this box of trash out, and quickly...
it has been sitting on my patio for days, rain was predicted today, and based upon the sky, it wasn't going to be long in coming.
But before taking the trash out, I needed to clean the patio...
Get to the back of the condo which meant taking the puppy gate down and letting Lucy finish up the breakfast Sunny did not eat...
And emptying out my studio garbage on the floor and picking through it because...
I had dropped an open container of push pins into it a few days ago and did not want to waste them.  I collected them in this different container that they will not spill out of and put them away.  Fortunately, the trash in my studio is very clean stuff... wire trimmings, cord trimmings, and deformed beads.  Nothing to be grossed out over.
Out to the dumpsters I went.  We do not have recycling here and that used to upset me, but it does not anymore.  I do not know whether the people are homeless or just very industrious, but early every single morning, there are a squad of them out going through the dumpsters of all the apartments and condos in my neighborhood - and there are a LOT of them - collecting the recyclables to turn in for cash.  I actually respect these people a lot.  They are doing good work and hard work, so I greet them with a smile when I see them.  They used to be surprised at that, but are now used to it and happy to see me and my dogs.
On the way back from the garbage, I checked out the laundry room.  BONANZA!  Only two machines were in use and the rest of them were mine!  I got all of my laundry in.  Meanwhile, Eric came over - I did not get pictures of him - and he worked on my web site and got my Contact Form on my Contact Page up and operational.  I even had a few people test it tonight and it works perfectly.  Now we need to figure out what information I want to collect on it and modify it to require the same out of the people who write.

Getting the laundry in meant also stripping my bed and getting the sheets and duvet cover washed.  They were the last I had and were also dirty.  Note Lucy's toys all over the bed.  She regularly distributes them in bed at night, then leaves me to sleep with them while she slumbers in the living room on the pink antique sofa.
Note that Lucy does not approve of me disturbing her toys or her bed.  I think she's more concerned about the toys than the sheets, though.
I was actually smart today and put the quarter pouch on the mini-desk where it belonged between loads.  For once, I did not have to search the condo looking for it when it came time to dry.
Eric brought me paper goods almost a week ago now.  It was time to finally address them and put them away in the hall closet where they belong.
But here you can see why I've been avoiding this task.  It's actually not anywhere near as bad as it looks in this picture and will be able to be picked up quite quickly once I get to it, but I did not have the strength or fortitude to deal with it today.
So I moved my pitiful-poor supply of TP to the side (not enough to last me even a week with active Crohns in play) and got everything into the closet.
And here is my cleared out hallway.  Note the tiny bakers rack on the left.  Remember back when I was trying to figure out what to do with Cosmos's ashes?  Well, I realized that the bakers rack fit perfectly where he used to eat, and he is on the second shelf in the brown box.  I don't think about him every time I pass or even every day, but it's comforting to know that he is in his most favorite place in the whole world.  Where his food used to be.
I had thrown the cheap rug runners into the laundry too, and so I was forced to deal with the dirt that I had swept under them the other day.  I did not, however, move Sunny's bed, so the dirt under that remains.
I moved Anne's hamper and a suitcase full of her clothes to a less obstructive spot, behind my laundry cart which was just waiting to be filled with clean textiles.
I pulled them in, put everything away, and happily remade my bed.  Eric was gone by now, as you can see by his absence at the computer.
Here is another view.  Note the fabric bag on the floor behind the bed.  That is full of pictures from Anne's apartment which I scanned this evening and put into it's own blog so that Eric, Barbara (Eric's cousin), and I can identify the people in them via the internet and over the phone.  Then, this weekend, I will put copies into a notebook to take to the Convalescent Home where the OT people will use it to try and get Anne to identify the people she is seeing.  A waste of time because I know that she knows who's in the pictures and she will ahve a hard time telling them because of the stupid overdoses of sedatives that they are giving her to keep her quiet, but whatever.  
Note that Lucy wastes no time in scattering her toys around the condo as fast as I pick them up.
My towels put away.  I realize that this is no picture submission for Better Homes and Gardens, but they are actually quite organized if not pretty.  Solid bath sheets in the top cube.  Hand woven towels for the guest bathroom in the 2nd.  Small hand towels in the third.  And in the lowest, printed beach towels that I use at exercise class.
Washcloths on the top of the cube stack, and my underwear put in the appropriate baskets on the shelves next to it.
Even my shoes are all in the basket to contain them.  Again, not a pretty picture, but I know where they are and they are easy to go through and pull out whatever I want to wear.
 After all of this was accomplished, I had a long talk with Barbara about Anne's status, talked to the nursing home and interviewed her new caretaker, and then talked to Anne on the caretaker's phone trying to get her to cooperate, talked to Eric several times on the phone about a variety of things and issues, made dinner for myself (Salmon Salad), first responded to my e-mail and then talked to Beth on the phone, and finally talked to Eric for the last time today.

I did not get the kitchen or the bathrooms cleaned up.  That will need to wait until tomorrow after exercise class and my visit with Anne.  Then, once that is done, I need to make spaghetti sauce as Eric, Gabby, and Miles are coming for dinner.  If I get a better night's sleep tonight, I may try to chop vegetables and make the sauce in the crock pot in the morning.  That would be the smarter thing to do.  But it depends on whether I spend the night pacing again or if I actually sleep.  

I also, before going to bed, need to pull together everything I want to take to Slimmons in the morning.  Sue's Jewelry.  Richard's Box.  I borrowed all of it back to photograph, and need to return them to their proper owners.  I need to get my towel and water into my gym bag, and lay out my exercise clothes.  

Then I will let the dogs outside for the last time today - I think it's finally raining now so it may be a task to get them to go - and get into bed.

I hope that it's a good night.

Ramblings of an Insomniac

It's 3:09 am and I have had a bad night's sleep up until now. I've slept maybe 1/2 hour to 45 minutes at a time, then up to the bathroom, roll around in bed uncomfortably, and drift off only to jolt awake again. I think that the stress of the past several weeks is getting to me, and it's also combined with not feeling well and an attack of Fibromyalgia. I'm going to take some Tylenol right now. I'll be back in a minute.

* * * * * *

Ok, I'm back. i wish I could sleep. Insomnia is the enemy of those of us with autoimmune issues. That's why my doctors dispense sleeping aids so easily to me, but sadly the Ambien that served me well for so many years finally went awry and I was reduced to Clonipin, which does not work as well.  Lately, I've added a Xanax back into the mix (I used to take a Xanax along with the Ambien); the combination works better, but it is still not consistent and tonight is a perfect example.  I am tossing and turning and worrying about Eric and Anne and my own Mother who is not doing anything different than normal but being a bitch without even realizing what she is saying and doing and causing me agony on top of stress.

* *  *  *  *  *  * 

Back in the summer of 2006, I was desperately ill.  In lieu of being hospitalized, something that I just hate, Dr. V- arranged for a home health care nurse to take care of my immediate needs in my condo.  She was supposed to visit me daily, setting me up for steroid injections and giving me IV fluids on a regular schedule, but she chose to only show up every few days if that, rarely answered my calls (and even ignored calls from my doctors), and I ended up terribly dehydrated and unable to communicate well.  Somehow I had the paramedics in my home, Adele was involved, and they thought - because I was rambling on making no sense and they found my vast supply of untaken meds - that I was a drug overdose.  Adele set them straight, thank goodness, I was transported to Tarzana Emergency Room, and admitted into the hospital for treatment, rehydration, and testing of my heart to see if the situation had caused permanent cardiac damage.  I was lucky; it had not.  The nurse got away with what she had done, or more correctly had not done.  I turned her in to the California Nursing Board for review, but years later, in fact in 2009, the entire board was fired and replaced for not following through and doing their jobs.  But that's another story for another time.

For now, let it be said that before this incident, Mary - a dear friend and neighbor who has since passed - and I - who was on disability - would spend hours in her condo discussing our various maladys and whether it was worse to lose one's body first or one's mind.  It was a difficult discussion.  We were both failing physically, and were acutely aware of what was happening to us.  But if we lost our minds first, would we be aware of our failing physicality and still suffer for it, or would we be oblivious.  After the incident in 2006, I called her.  At that point, she was in a senior living center down in San Diego, and told her that I finally had the answer.  It was much worse to lose one's mind.  I knew what was going on around me, I knew what was being said and how they were misinterpreting both the situation, cause, and what would help me, but instead of being able to converse with the medical personnel, I was only able to mumble incoherent statements which they ignored.  It's terrible to know what will help and not be able to communicate it.

I spoke to my Therapist about it later; he told me that this is the experience that early Altzheimer Patients go through, and that's why they're so aggitated all of the time.  They know, they know that they're failing, and they cannot find the words anymore to communicate what's happening to them.  They know that they should know - that part is even worse, and they know that they are not taken seriously anymore but are subject to warehousing.  Later in the process when they've completely lost their minds, it's easier for them to just go with the flow, but the early-to-mid stage process is agonizing.

Anne, Eric's mother, is now going through those stages.  It may or may not be classic Altzheimers.  More likely, it's a series of small TIA strokes that is causing her diminished capacity, but whatever the reason, the progression has been relentless and an extraordinarily intelligent woman has been losing control of her world. About six weeks ago, she experienced a fall in her apartment at an independent living facility, was sent to the hospital, deemed fine from the fall, but through a series of serendipitous events of the most awful kind, found herself interred at a Convalescent Home.

At this convalescent home, they restricted her to bed and a wheelchair.  They do not let any of the patients ambulate on their own.  And because of this restriction, we have seen her body go from vital, active, and physically fit to weak and a danger to herself.

She fought the restriction, which is characteristic of her personality.  They first tied her into her bed and wheel chair, but did not aniticipate her ability to escape.  She does not have the use of her left arm from birth, and has always used her mouth to help her with tasks and situations that "normal" people would not have been able to figure out.  In the end, they have been drugging her - in my mind only for their own convenience - to keep her quiet and in place.  Even now, she resists, but only feebly, and her memory has gone from early stages of dementia only a few weeks ago to what looks like an advanced case of Altzheimers.  The home insists that this is the normal course of events for demented patients; I do not agree nor does Eric.  We know what state she was in six weeks ago and don't recognize the woman who we are presented with now.  We fully admit that we don't know what part of this has to do with the progression of the disease vs. what this home has been doing to her, but we also agreed that we needed to get her out of there and quickly.

Yesterday, we visited a place that specializes in Elder Memory Care.  It's a drop-dead gorgeous place where Anne will have her own studio apartment which will be furnished with her own possessions.  They are well versed in dementia in all of it's forms, and will provide her a home with escalating services as she needs them for the rest of her life, barring any physical complications that they cannot handle.  Eric put a deposit on the room; they are evaluating her at the convalescent home later today, and I will meet one of their staff at Anne's current apartment early next week and with their guidance on what should be brought along vs. left behind, will coordinate the movement of her home into this new setting.  Then Eric and I will figure out what to do with the things that will not fit and dispose of them appropriately. 

I was intensely relieved.  Eric, I think, was also relieved although he is horrified at what is happening to his mother.  He is also dealing with what could be a catastrophic health issue with one of his children - over which I am also upset - but with the kids like his Mom, I love them an awful lot and will do anything I can to help and provide for them, but they are not my immediate family and it's easier for me to react in a more clinical fashion.  Also, I have a history of going logical in the face of catastrophy.  That's how I got Dad's mechanically breathing corpse released out of Canada 10 years ago so that he could come back home to die.  Typically, I do what is necessary at the time and then fall apart later.

Is this what's happening now?  Am I unable to sleep because I am starting the falling apart process over Anne early?  It's too soon for that; we don't have her situated in her new home yet.  I am going to take the lead in that process because Eric needs to focus the majority of his attention on Miles and his problems.  I can't afford to have a stress reaction yet.

And if I am having the typical post traumatic stress reaction I have to family crisis, who is going to pick up the pieces?  Eric can't.  He's engrossed in Miles's issue, has Garrett coming home for another visit in a month which he is intensely worried about, and his other kids, although doing well, are challenging.  What I need is going to take time and effort and Eric doesn't have it to give.  I mean, he promised me a ring last November - the only extravagent thing that I will ever ask out of him - we got the process started and I took care of finding out what i needed to so that the artist could make it, but in all of the following months, he has never found the 15 minutes or so needed to seal the deal.  Even though he knew how much this meant to me and how much it hurt not to have this singular need met.  It just never got done and I am now at a point that I realize that I am never going to see that ring and have given up any hope on it, so I have stopped stressing about it.

But if he can't give me the 15 minutes that the ring would have taken, he can't find the time to see me in more than a passing way; we don't have dates or time to ourselves anymore.  I am not an important priority but instead just somebody who he does errands with.  I know that this does not change his feelings towards me; he loves me intensely, but I know also that i am still on my own in a fundamental way and cannot rely on him to be there in a way that I fear I am going to need soon.  I am feeling like I am falling apart and am completely on my own.  He is falling apart and I am doing everything I can to make his situation easier.  But I am paying the price even now with the continuing insomnia night after night after night, and it's going to get worse once Anne really is in a place that is conducive to her needs and I can relax on that front and focus on Miles along with Eric. 

Will it ever be my turn to be able to just relax and fall apart and have somebody there to pick up the pieces?  I have a feeling not.  I have a feeling that I will always be subjegated to other crises which I will do my best to mitigate the effects of, and that I will always get the short end of the stick.

This is what Richard was afraid of; what he warned me about.  And I responded to him that I was no prize either.  I am sick, desperately ill more so than he even understands, and Eric loves me despite this and many other failings.  But as I am up again tonight, in a lot of pain and stressed to the max, I wonder if love alone is enough.  Eric and I make a perfect team.  Our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other and i know that together, we can move mountains.  But what of us as individuals?  Am I meeting any of his needs on a basic level?  All I am doing is reacting to his crises and helping where I see fit.  Is this enough?

And is what he able to provide for me enough to sustain us for the long term?  Anne is not going to get better.  She may improve, she will be in the right place to be cared for appropriately, but she will never be able to be left independantly alone again.  Miles may or may not have serious illness that will require constant vigilence.  Garrett certainly is in a bad way and whether he is in another theraputic school next year or allowed to live at home again is anyone's guess.  Ethan is addicted to the electronic equipment in his home in a way that is beyond what most teenagers experience, and I forsee a big problem with that in the future.  Gabby is a fantastic girl, but she is a tween and will soon be a teenage girl with all that it implies.  Eric doesn't have a clue what that is going to be about, and it's trouble.

My own mother is mentally unstable, bipolar with a vicious tongue and doesn't understand what she is doing to herself and those around her all the time.  She is isolated and alone, mostly due to her own personality, but does not understand it.  I am the only one who interacts with her and every interaction I have, she causes me great distress and pain.  And when she is finally at the point where Anne is and I have to take care of her affairs, then I will be saddled with Lisa, a nightmare beyond belief which I will not expound upon here right now, but she is the sister who isn't, a psychotic horror who weaves stories so compelling that people believe her until they get to know her and how crazy she is, and I don't want to see her or have anything to do with her for the rest of my life, but she is my future.  I am stuck traveling down a path that I did not ask for and do not want here.

Can I even do all of this?  I don't know.  What I know is that I am up and sleepless these days night after night after night.  That this is the first time I am putting my fingers to the keypad and expressing my worries, and don't even know if I am making sense or not.  But even if I am not, what I am feeling right now is a terror of what the future holds.  I don't see it as one of sunbeams and lollipops.  I see it as something where I am only here to hold other's problems at bay or react to crises in the best way that I can, and that's about it.

It's a very dismal prediction of the future, maybe something that only a sleep-deprived person at 4 am could dream up, but no, I have a feeling that it may be the truth.  The lack of a ring on my finger or even one in progress is a materialistic warning of my fears.

28 posts in 28 days.  It's too early in the morning for me to even know what day this is.  So what? 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ok, So I Lied

I did. I lied yesterday. I promised a full post today, but so much has happened and is still happening even at this late hour that I'm too exhausted to write about it, am on pins and needles waiting for Eric's call, and then am going to fall right into bed. The rest of my laundry be damned. I'll do it in the morning.

I'll also likely post something tomorrow. For those of you who keep stopping by, I'm sorry. All will be revealed, and you'll understand what has been going on and why I've been less than dedicated to keeping you in the loop.

For now, at least i kept my promise to check in here daily during the month of February.

28 posts in 28 days. Today is day 18.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Too Tired to Type

I can see the increased traffic at my blog since I've undertaken a post a day for 28 days.  Oh, if you only knew how much I appreciate your interest.

For just today, though, I'm too tired to write something funny, insightful, or even dour.  So instead, I'm going to leave you with a YouTube video that I particularly enjoy, even so many years after it was made.

Thank you for visiting; I'll be back tomorrow with a real post.

28 posts in 28 days.  Today is day 17.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mount Olympus

Is anyone out there as uninterested in the Olympics as I am?  I couldn't even work up any interest in watching the opening ceremony, which usually has me on the edge of my seat.

NBC is loosing millions, or maybe even billions on the television coverage, so maybe I'm part of a pack.

There were all sorts of theories tossed around on NPR today why the ratings are down... delayed broadcasting, twitter, facebook and the like showing the sports either live or shortly afterward, pre-empting the network.  But I have my own theory.

I remember a time when the Olympics were every four years.  The summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics were both held in the same year.  That, to me, made them really special.  I knew that after that year, I would have to wait four long years before seeing a spectacle like that again.  Then, for their wisdom or maybe it was the allmighty dollar calling, the Olympic committee staggered the summer and winter Olympics so that there is now some kind of Olympic competition every other year. 

Given the long build-up - like six months - of qualifying competitions before the games themselves, it seems like there's hardly any time between Olympic games.  Never mind winter vs summer sports.  I wouldn't watch any of them on a regular basis.  None of them are that interesting.  But when there was no broadcast of Olympics for four years, then I was glued with interest to the TV for both the Summer and Winter games.  It was so interesting then.

Was it the inexperience of youth that called me, or is my theory that the games happen too often to be special correct?  Or do you agree with the NPR coverage that the internet has made TV coverage obsolete?

28 posts in 28 days.  Today is day 16.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What Kind of Business?

If "the dog" had it's way, it would all be monkey business.

I woke up late - what's new? - made the first of three motivation bracelets I intended to complete today, had a fantastic conversation with my good friend Claudia, then went rushing out the door to meet Eric at the bank.  I took a big step today.  I officially opened up a business checking account.  It scares me.  It makes me feel like what I am trying to accomplish is real.  Gulp.

Did some shopping - yup, we were out of dog food again - then came home and worked on bracelet's #2 and #3.  Somewhere in there, I also framed out the Credits and Clips tab on my website.  Most of the links don't work there yet, although you can see - once again - my part in Richard's Infomercial (hint:  I'm at the beginning of Part 2) and my profile on the Hand Embroidery Network, which you've also heard about maybe a bazillion times in the last week.  They were easy to link because I had everything on hand and ready to go.

But through out all of this work, and trust me, it was a  LOT of work, there was Lucy.

Mid afternoon, I had left the front door open so that the dogs didn't bother me while I was trying to work; I could hear Lucy barking in the distance but was so involved in my own issues that I did not realize how disruptive she was being until Richard - our complex manager, not Simmons - came to ask me to bring her inside.  I did so, intending to walk her soon, but got diverted and we didn't go.  Let me tell you, she  let me know about it.

First she brought her pink toy to me.

  The process of getting my attention is to squeak it at a furious rate until I look up and acknowledge her.  When that didn't work, she got up and started banging it on my knee. 

I should have taken her out, but I had so much to do!  I didn't.  And then there was Richard's Chat! which I needed to attend.  I did, and then when that was over, I forgot about going for a walk, and even feeding the dogs.

Well, they did not stand for that.  They forced me up to feed them, but as soon as I did, I was back to work, and I did not realize how the time had passed until way past 10:30pm!  I thought about taking the dogs out then, but I know that Eric will be calling soon and if I'm not here, he'll worry.  So I decided to do this blog post so that I am keeping up my commitment here, and then call Eric.  Then I'll take the dogs out.

But Lucy is relentless.  She is bored.  There are toys scattered all over the condo.  I have a lot of picking up to do before going to bed.

28 posts in 28 days.  Today is day 15.


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