Monday, December 31, 2007

Take two cats and call me in the morning

Today I hardly know I'm bipolar. A few side effects at work, but Ron is always very kind and considerate. Someone I know at work was asking a LOT of questions about the nature of depression and antidepressants. He is a very nice guy, but obviously depressed. I would love to think he may get some "Help" if he needs it thanks to me. It's nice when I feel like God is using my illness for a higher purpose.

Yay! I got an email from Paradise Fibers. I won their "Product Review" contest and now I have a $20 gift certificate. That's a lot of wooly fun. I'm going to consider what I'd like for a bit before I redeem it. I'm definitely thinking the navy blend merino and maybe some sari silk yarn. I could make an awesome throw pillow.

I was considering what to do in the living room; Ron likes to sit under the ceiling fan but currently that's where I have my chair. I think I"ll get a 6-foot long sofa and run it parallel to the windows (at a 90 degree angle to the front door). I'll move my chair so the back faces the front door and shift the TV slightly. That way, I've got a "Lazy lay-down spot", under the fan, that isn't "my" chair. I got some space bags today and I plan to use them. I'll sort out the too-small clothes by size, and have each size in its' own space bag. I can toss the bags in a closet or under my bed. All organized! The majority of "My clutter" is mainly too-small clothes. I also have a lot of craft stuff but it's manageable. I already have that all sorted by craft.

Ringing ears. Cool. [side effect]

We went to work today, Ron was having a bad morning, he was just really aggravated at God. He said he slept OK so I left him alone. I had a good gossip with the sandwich guy, who's very nice when you "get" him. I helped Ron by putting the sandwiches in the food machine. We had such an awesome assortment of submarine, wedge, and bun sanwiches; in a variety of delicious flavors. I would have been happy to eat any one of them. I just had to call the owner of the company and thank her. She was thrilled. I believe in letting people know they're doing a good job. If they know what you like, they can do it again. I borrowed that from Dale Carnagie - he did more to improve my social life than years of counseling. People actually like me now.

We weren't looking forward to work tomorrow. See, Ron and I live out in the county. That means fireworks. I love fireworks, we have half a table full just waiting for tonight. Our neighbors will keep us up well past midnight making it sound like a war zone. We love that, but we'd need to get up at 5 AM tomorrow just to get the milk delivery. OUCH.

About 9 AM today Ron told me he had called the milk man and rescheduled the delivery. We just need to be at work between 10 and 1 on the second. Yeehaw! That means we can sleep fairly late tomorrow.

We did make one small trip to go to work. Ron set the coffee machine on "free" today; we'll need to turn it off tomorrow. I love that I work for a generous man. He will not tolerate manipulation, but he's a good man.

Yesterday when I went to get fireworks I received the discouraging news that they didn't stock the Saturn missle rockets. You light one fuse and 25 rockets go up in the air, one after the other. The rockets are about half the size of a pencil. As each one lights, you hear a loud whistle and a BANG as the rocket explodes. They are so much fun. We got some other "Light one fuse, things go up in the air and go BANG" type items.

Today, while I was "out", I saw a fireworks stand. I walked over to the stand. YES! They had Saturn Missles. I got an even dozen, some firecrackers for Ron, and this thing that looks like an ammunition belt. It has 1,000 firecrackers on one fuse. I wish I could upload video. It's going to make a LOT of noise.

I felt like I was shopping at a fancy boutique. "Hello, I'm looking for something in a Saturn Missile, but no artillery shells (they scare the crap out of me). What have you got? Oh, does it have a report? Any screamers?" The helpful salesclerk makes suggestions and we carefully select the explosive enjoyment. I find it so fun. I'm spending money on items I'm going to light on fire. They will make a lot of noise, flashes, and bangs. Then it's done.

Now I'm feeling a little guilty about the money I spent. Once I make my deposit, I think I will set up the auto-deduct for Salvation Army and Doctors without Borders. They do GOOD work; God's work. I'm not rich (I'm wearing $10 jeans right now), but I certainly won't miss $20 a month.

In the past, I've actually gone manic for charity. One year I gave so much to a women's drug rehabilitation program that I got invited to their donor's dinner. Now, I can donate $10 a charity, per month, two charities, and be satisfied. Yeah.

Last night, I watched a pretty intense horror movie "Pitch Black". It isn't something you want to see right before you go to bed. I had about an hour before I needed to get to sleep, so I went straight from watching Riddick battle aliens to making a batch of sugar cookies. The cookies are delicious. I love all the different sides of my personality. I don't know anyone else like me.

When I got home today, we set up the fireworks on the kitchen table. I decided I'd better get my nap early, before all the excitement. Bubba the black cat was lying in my bed. He was off to one side, so I had an easy time sharing the bed with him. Once I got settled, though, he left. I was a little sad but at least I had Puppy, my stuffed toy dog. I felt something climb up in bed behind me. It's amazing the cats don't give me screaming fits with all the scary movies I watch. I turned over. Frosty was sleeping on the closet side of the bed. Awww. So cute. Mommy loves you. I lay there, reminding myself that I always fall asleep for my naps. I felt something else climb up into bed, on the other side. It was Bubba.

We slept like that for 2 hours. One cat on each side, I felt so honored and cherished. I slept great, too.

I'm going to watch "People suing each other" shows for a bit, then the Fox comedy block. Then I'll wake up Ron and we'll make some noise!


Saturday, December 29, 2007

I got the message; I love my pills

God has a way of dealing with me when I start having pity parties about my side effects. Today's a classic example.

We didn't work today; we'll go in to work tomorrow. So it was just Walmart and home. I forgot to get a can of green chilis and some yeast (bread yeast). I was pretty frustrated with myself; but I was somewhat depressed and foggy. I was ranting inwardly about stupid side effects. Why me, Lord? What did I do? Now I have to go BACK to the store.

Ron reminded me that he was going to Starbucks. I can walk to a Randalls (a high-end grocery store) from Ron's Starbucks. He added me onto his trip and I took a nap once we got home. I woke up when my Lithium alarm went off 12:44 PM, time to take dose #2. I was lazy, though, and I didn't take it until 2 hours later. I believe in honesty; that was stupid but I won't lie. Especially in light of what happened later.

We got a good trip to the Starbucks and I sat with him for a little while. He's sad that they're done with the gingerbread loaf. I brought some of my lemon-c0conut drop cookies and Ron enjoyed eating them. I, stupidly, had eaten nothing for hours. I left and went to the grocery store.

Even though I STILL hadn't taken dose #2 of "Big L" (lithium), I felt distant and scattered. I tried some hand sanitizer at Bath and Body works and added a headache to the mix. Ugh. I wandered the same aisles over and over again, trying to remember: molasses, cream cheese icing, (I plan to attempt gingerbread cupcakes with icing for Ron), small can green chilis, and yeast (in case I want to try some yeast breads). It took about 20 minutes to get my items because I was foggy.

I bought a cheese danish and ate it when I got back to the Starbucks. I took some Tylenol for my headache and my dose of Lithium. About 30 minutes later, I felt like I had fallen down a hole, where everything is soft and cuddly. I used to be very anxious, but my bipolar stuff helps with that tremendously. I love my pills.

We got picked up about half an hour ago. The driver had some other clients. One was in a wheelchair and then we had a young woman (early 20's) with a baby and young boy. They were all related and I assume the client just had 3 "Companions" down on her trip. The driver got off the van and I gave her the candy out of sight of the other clients. I was really glad I'd done it that way later.

I was glad I'd taken the Tylenol because the wheelchair client had a definite aroma of urine and BO. Not fun, especially since I was practically seated in her lap. Her daughter, the young woman, was chattering.

I realized she was manic when I had to interrupt her to give directions. Once, she started to shush me and then realized she was in the wrong. So I'm riding along, torn between pity and disgust. This poor young woman, ignorant; mother of 4, pregnant with baby #5, unmarried. Unmedicated. I wondered if she knew she was bipolar and what the people in her life thought of her illness. They must realize she's ill. The woman spoke of how her daughter actually prefers living at her aunt's house to her own mother. Of course, I thought. If a child has a choice between two caregivers; one bipolar and unmedicated, and one who is "normal"... no question who they'd pick.

I never saw my own mother when she was very manic. She'd be more at the WHEE stage, not the compulsive stage. I watched this woman, barely taking a breath as she spoke, compulsively talking talking talking. Both Ron and I were dying to scream "SHUT UP!" When we got home Ron offered the driver a soda. "Oh, I'll have a Dr Pepper" she piped up. "It's only for drivers, I can't afford to give them to everyone." Ron replied. "But I'm pregnant!" "Sorry." The driver closed the door and drove away. I could have told him it would go like that, but I suspect he did it just so he could tell her "NO!". I'm glad she didn't see me give the driver candy. It is awful to watch a grown person begging but she would have. I would have said, if you're pregnant you shouldn't be drinking sodas or eating candy. They're not good for the baby, but I know you can't think that far when you're manic .

Look at all the crap I ate over the last couple years. I gained 50 pounds easily. Now I've got to deal with the consequences of the bad eating choices. Did I care at the time? No. Did I know I was hurting myself? Yes. Did I care? No.

That's why I've got a newfound appreciation for my pills. I need to respect them more. They are saving me from acting exactly like that woman (except for the pregnancies) on the van today. I'm just a couple of doses away from a major mania.

Thank you, God, for my pills.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Good news and a recipe

Hoo-yeah! I took a B-50 vitamin last night. I was thinking about my nutritional research, that most people with mood disorders have mega-deficiencies of B complex. So, I thought, it won't hurt me to take a B-50 (ALONG with my mood stabilizers and antidepressants) before bedtime. I was right. I felt a lot better even before I fell asleep and great today. I just had a couple of groggy "Pillow" hours where I felt like my brain was full of glue and everyone was speaking another language. Ron said I was a big help anyway and I told him I always love to hear it.

We had the microwave repairman come out. $352. OUCH. We do have two commercial microwaves up and running, but OUCH.

Dr Pepper made their delivery. I got my case of Diet Dr Pepper bottles because my husband loves me and wants to spoil me. After work we got BBQ. Yum.

When we came home I had a GOOD nap. I was flat for about 2 hours (my usual nap-time). I'd rather need a nap than be sick and delusional. Ugh.

Speaking of delusions, my antipshchotic is going generic tomorrow. YAY! Now, I love Janssen pharmaceuticals. They make a very good product, Risperdal. They made over 2.5 BILLION. With a B! On the product last year! Billion! B! Illion!

I won't feel guilty about buying the generic product at all. They've made enough money, I think! They've made at least $1000 just off of me in the last year. OUCH.

When I called my Wal-mart pharmacy, they said they didn't have anything in the computer yet. I hope they will put it in sometime tonight and they will have the generic available tomorrow. I can't tell you the joy I'll feel when I can afford my own medications. I don't made much, and $250 would eat up almost half my take-home. I could manage $90 or so, and hopefully it'll get even cheaper because the Lexapro goes generic in 2012.

Earlier this evening I wanted to try something new. I wanted to bake some Cornbread muffins with sweet potatoes. I love unsweetened sweet potatoes. I love cornbread. Why not marry the two? Why not? I also wanted it to be healthy so I put in some soy flour. If you hate the idea you can just use 1/4 c regular flour instead. Ron ate one and he didn't notice at all. He said it was "Very good".

I am thrilled with how well they turned out. They're a little spicy but I love them.

Sweet potato Cornbread muffins
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Makes 12 muffins

Dry ingredients:
3/4 C whole wheat flour
1/4 c soy flour
1/4 c Splenda
1 T baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/8 t cloves

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup unsweetened mashed sweet potatoes (I can get them canned, but you may have to cook and mash them yourself)
2 eggs
1 c milk (I use instant milk and rehydrate it)
1/4 c vegetable oil

Stir together dry ingredients. In another bowl combine wet ingredients (beat eggs before adding). Mix well, then add to dry. Stir together only until smooth. Don't overmix. Pour into greased muffin pans and bake 12-15 minutes, or until brown.

Turn out onto bake rack and cool. Enjoy!

Yum! Yum! Yum! So good with butter. I am going to love a couple of these, first thing in the morning, with a glass of soy milk. They are perfect for taking my Lithium. I have to be careful to eat "enough" that I don't get sick, but not too much. These really fit the bill.

What's the deal with milk, anyway? I can't drink it or I get lactose intolerant symptoms AND a migraine. If I bake it into something, I'm fine. Huh???

I'm more excited about my pill going generic than I was about Christmas AND my birthday combined.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I'm OK, really.

Sometimes, every day's a battle. Some days it's a bloody, brutal mess. Inside my head, I mean. 99.9% of the population would run screaming from what's in my head on a bad day. I call them "bad thoughts". They may be delusions, paranoia, fear, obsessions with God-knows-what, bad memories, beating myself up over dumb things (why did I say that at the party 12 years ago?), or my personal nightmare, the suicidal impulses. Shudder.

I'm depressed again. Again! I get so weary of the battle sometimes. I get tired of side effects, shaking hands, foggy thinking, and when was the last time I went a week without having to take a nap or taking a swig of Pepto? I get strange pimples on my belly, arms, and legs from the lithium. I love my "Big L" but it's a harsh drug.

On a day like today, I ask myself how much worse would it be off the pills, and I thank God I've got my 5 best freinds every day (3 Lithium, 5 mg of Lexapro and a Risperdal). I'd be dead without them, no doubt. Worst of all is the nagging suspicion that I signed up for this. I have a horrible image of myself looking through "life descriptions" and telling God "I want this one, I think it will challenge me." Or I doubt that I'm as strong as God seems to think I am. Maybe God's the personal trainer, forcing you to run another lap when you feel like you're about to vomit. And you do, and then he tells you that you just beat your own personal record. Yeah. You're happy, but still.

So what do I do? I certainly don't sit around feeling sorry for myself. Let me tell you, no one else wants to hear you're depressed, either. What can they say?

I have my own personal mood scale. It goes from +10 to minus 10. If I get worse than a minus 4, then I'd call my psychiatrist. We'd adjust my medication and I'm sure I'd feel better. If it's not that bad, I have a couple of things I like to do. First, keep busy. Busy work is great for the brain. The way I work, if I'm doing something I don't have a lot of RAM left to be depressed. My operating system is busy trying to get that hard mineral crud out of the toilet bowl. I copied some recipies out of cookbooks yesterday. An index card, hanging off a cabinet, is a lot easier than trying to prop open a 1000+ page paperback cookbook. If I just sit I'm going to get in BIG trouble fast.

I try to do nice things for myself too, like baking (latest interest) something I'd enjoy eating, or maybe making something to give as a gift. Ron loved the chili cheese cornbread. He tore a big chunk off the bread while it was still cooling (he knew it was "his"). Tonight I got an inspirational romance novel out of my stash, ran a tepid bath (a hot bath makes me very ill from side effects), and drank a couple cans of cherry cola diet rite. Then I took a shower, washed my hair and all. I unwrapped a nice new bar of soap and got rid of the scrawny looking sliver I'd been using. Little stuff like that goes a long way for me.

One way I can tell I'm getting depressed, other than "I don't want to get online" is when I feel like taking a shower is worse than running a marathon. It's just so grueling, it seems. The bath, book, and soda were all good "carrots" to get my into the bathtub and then the shower wasn't bad at all. I just need to let my hair dry a little before I go to bed. I hate sleeping with wet hair. It's just going to get yanked back into a ponytail so the "style" doesn't matter but wet hair on my face? Ugh.

I have a good life. I remind myself of that repeatedly. God needs me like this. Why? Who knows. I like to think we at least reach some Metrolift drivers with a good example of "Christian Fruits of the Spirit". That sounds like a gay alternative rock band. I'm bad. Still. I hope I do reach them with "This is what loving Jesus is about: loving your neighbor as you love yourself."

That's my most difficult commandment. Loving myself. I see myself as this weak, backfiring, sickly, pain-in-the-butt, expensive (medications), food-intolerant hassle (no one is telling me this). It's hard to see myself a God's valued, cherished, daughter. I am; but I always have to tell myself. I don't know.

Tomorrow won't be bad. I get up at 7, then we go to work. We receive the Dr Pepper order and I'll "help" Ron put it away. Helping consists of sitting on top of 2 milk crates and identifying the sodas as he unloads them. I watch him rotate the stock and stack them in order (Diet Dr is closest to the door, while Big Red is the farthest). If I'm manic, sometimes I'll unload the whole pallet by myself. 80-some cases, weighing 18 pounds each. It's excellent for burning off the manias. Tomorrow, I'll just sit. He insists on doing it, says it's the best way he knows to burn fat. OK. He's the boss. I'm not going to fight him.

Tomorrow I may be fine. The nice thing about my depressions - they tend to last about 2 weeks only. It's been about a week already with it getting a little worse in the last couple days. That's one thing that really baffled the emergency room staff; it's not related to anything. I had a good Christmas, it isn't Christmas. It's just my brain, in it's odd little orbit, decided to rotate to depression.

I'd like to think, in over 20 years of depressions, I've learned a thing or two about handling them. No pity parties. Stay busy; but do nice things for self. Tell Ron I need extra TLC. Be patient and kind to yourself; and remember, it's only a couple of weeks.

I'm OK. Really. I can hardly wait for my next mania.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas! ALL items are free!

We got the postal workers 2 new microwaves. They've been a big hit; when they mention the microwaves we wish them a Merry Christmas (hey, without them we're homeless, and I never forget it). We also put the coffee machine on "free" Christmas eve.

How does it work? Well, we have a switch inside the machine. We flip the switch, and it announces "All Items are FREE!". It's a good feature for the vendor, we've accidentally left it on "free" before they upgraded it. So, we like to leave it on free at least once a year.

We went in early Christmas eve. "Only rich people get today off" stated our Sandwich lady, if we wanted our delivery we had to go to work. Same deal with the donuts. I made her (sandwich lady) another loaf of banana bread. When Ron told her, she was so happy I could hear her exclamations over the phone. Her delivery guy loved everything I made, I'm thinking some pumpkin bread and cookies for him next week.

I'm still manic for baking, I might as well use my powers for good. I'll bake bake bake and give most of it away. God knows what it'll be next time. I just have to accept that God made me this way, I'm well controlled with medication, and I might as well roll with my illness instead of fighting it and getting angry. Yes, I'm "not normal" but God didn't want normal when he made me. He needs me like this, a source of constant amazement to me.

I made some cookies to give away (along with candy) to our drivers yesterday. A HUGE hit. I'm glad I did it.

Back to work. The machine is on free. We did this at the end of the night shift. Everyone was a little manic, the holiday rush is over, thank God, they're free at last. When they found out about the free coffee life got even better. It was sad to see just how exhausted they were.

First guy: He's putting money into the machine, in spite of the scrolling "All Items are Free!" message on the display. The machine refused the money and spit the coins out into the coin return. "It won't take my money!" he moaned when he saw me. I asked him what he wanted, he told me, and I punched it up. He gaped at the coffee cup as it was filling until I pointed at the display and said "Merry Christmas!"

The second guy stopped me right after I finished the "pull" (taking the money out of the machine, rubber-banding it, and putting it into a bag). I was a little nervous talking while I had that on my arm but he was very serious as he asked me his question: "I heard you have free coffee. What about the hot chocolate? Is it free too?" I re-emphasized that ALL items were free and wished him a Merry Christmas. Poor things. Poor, poor babies! So tired!

Before we left I refilled the cream, sugar, and coffee cups. All items are free as long as supplies last, or tomorrow morning, whichever comes first.

We went to the mall (I find it funny that my favorite mall store is the dollar store). I found some stuff I wanted at the dollar store, and Ron and I ate a good meal. I am OUT of driver candy bags! They didn't have anything I wanted at the dollar store so I'll have to improvise tomorrow. After the mall, we went to the bank. I "Ran" the money at work so we just had a straight deposit. I thought.

When we got to the bank Ron told me he'd be happy to pay me early, as long as "You don't spend it all by New Year!". I agreed and Yay! I got paid. Tomorrow we plan to go to Walmart after work. I can get my driver candy bags and other stuff. Not much, though.

I got a nice spruce-scented candle at the dollar store and I'm burning it now. I feel very festive, but not too festive. I got an awesome loom set (one triangle, one square) from Mom and Dad. I'm loving my lovely new kitchen light ballast from Ron and he's thrilled with his gift card.

All I've got left today are family phone calls, some laundry, and maybe a little TV. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Well, Ron got the flu, poor baby. He had a fever of 101.7 for about 2 days. My naturopathic books tell me (and even the Merck Manual) to leave a fever alone. Your body will kill off a lot of virus particles with heat. If you take a fever-reducing drug, you're basically prolonging your illness. Ron didn't want to infect anyone so we stayed home 2 days until he had a normal temperature.

The first day I took our "local" bus to Krogers. We have 2 Krogers near our house. One is an "OK" Krogers, but I don't trust their meat or perishables for various reasons (I have my reasons). We usually end up going to that one, which is fine, they have the tea and the canned sugarfree sweet potatoes that I enjoy.

I don't have my own Metrolift, so no Ron = No trips. Work didn't need us, as it turned out. I still had plenty of products in my snack machines and we were able to handle all the stocking in a couple of hours today. Ron and I got some much-needed rest and he healed up without complications.

I can take the bus and I am familiar with this other Krogers. I went there and found some adorable little cake pans and some little loaf pans too. Walmart doesn't have the little cake or loaf pans, so I snatched them up. Ron's birthday is coming up in a few weeks and he loves "Orange cake" (more on this later). Now I can make him a lovely little cake, with filling. It won't make him fat because it'll be a mini-cake.

While I was there, I also got some instant milk. I got a horrible case of salmonella food poisoning, at a restaurant, the day we bought the house. I got so dehydrated, I lost 15 pounds in 2 days. I wanted to die. Ron had to get out the commode chair. Enough said. As a result, I am pretty lactose intolerant. If I just look at a dairy product, I'm going to need the bathroom. Urgently.

"Maybe I'm over that." I thought. "I won't be going anywhere tomorrow, I think I'll make a glass of instant milk at home and see what happens." I wanted to get instant milk so I can prepare a cup or so as needed, to do my baking. I don't see the purpose of buying a special bottle, when even the milk we sell at work retails for 80 cents for one cup. I bought the instant milk for 2 dollars or so, it makes 3 quarts' worth. That's plenty.

I called Ron, found out he wanted Popeye's red beans and rice, and got him his dinner. I caught the bus home, repaid Ron the money he loaned me (chicken, yes, but I'm not making him pay for my cake pans). I made some oatmeal muffins (not bad, not fantastic) and half a cup of instant milk.

The next day, Ron had a fever of 101, and I had a whopper migraine. I've eaten the rest of the batch of muffins with no ill effects, so it's got to be the milk. Yike.

That makes:
Chocolate (took me many migraines before I accepted it)
Milk (but I'm OK with yogurt, what's that?)
Nuts (or even nut oils)
and Artificial colors

All migraine triggers. Ron was really sweet, I just took my phenergan, curled up into a ball, and got out the ice pack for my head. He left me alone for hours, I got up, ate a little, took 900 mg of Lithium all at once (I am not getting manic on top of a migraine, it's hell - been there!), and went to bed early. I slept about 10 hours and still woke up tired!

I was pretty groggy at work but Ron praised me for being a "A really big help" and "Couldn't have done it without you." That's always great to hear. Ron still wanted chicken so we came home, and got some chicken later.

The orange cake? I got manic for baking around Ron's birthday about 10 years ago. I told him I wanted to make him a birthday cake. He said, he wanted an orange cake. I looked around in the ready-mix aisle. Nothing. The first cake I tried to make from scratch. It used egg whites for leavening and I didn't have a mixer. It looked more like a 2-layer pancake when it was done. Ron ate a little but not much. He loved my from-scratch frosting, though.

I bought a box of lemon cake mix from the grocery store, added orange extract and some orange zest, and baked it according to directions. I made the icing he liked and fixed it up for him. Half the cake was gone in a day or two. I threw out the "flat cake" which Ron said was a good effort and evidence "I tried".

Other years I was depressed, manic for something else, he didn't want a cake, or we were fighting. This year, I've got mixers, two recipes, and some cute mini cake pans. I might even make his and hers, lemon for me (all the cake mixes have artificial colors) and orange for him.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Eight Days

Last week I got a little manic for baking. I used up about 5 pounds of flour making various banana-nut, pumpkin-nut, and sugarfree breads. I also mastered a good lemon sugar cookie recipe. Surprisingly to me, when I mention "Lemon Sugar cookies", everyone goes "Mmmmm". I thought they'd be something only a few people would like. Most of the loaves I made were the "small" size, or 3-to-1 regular loaf size. At any rate, I could split the batter between 3 small loaf pans and get three nice loaves.

Ron had fun tasting and licking various beaters. I can't eat any nuts at all, or I'd risk a terrible migraine. Nothing, and I mean no food on this planet, is worth 12 hours minimum of agonizing pain, with a minimum of 12 hours horrible, wrenching, vomiting into a bucket episodes (down to the heaves style). No food is worth that. Not even chocolate, which I can't eat either.

So Ron ate the nut breads, pronounced them delicious, and ate them cold out of the fridge, too. I was happy, he's a good taster and very honest in his opinions. He's no Gordon Ramsey, but he will tell me "I don't like that, it's too dry and it needs more sugar". No complaints, just happy gobbling.

I ate a fair amount of the lemon sugar cookies, especially after I started adding the lemon zest to the batter. TASTY! My size 22 jeans are still falling off? Huh? After the cookies?

I have a little trouble with my hands shaking, so pouring the extracts was pretty awkward. I ended up spilling a fair amount all over my hands and into the sink, but I believe Wal-mart has a lemon extract powder I can measure dry. I don't have problems with that. I do notice a little trouble with the very fine motor coordination on my hands, like picking up a pill between my thumb and forefinger, or measuring liquids into a teaspoon. I accept it; being sick is not an option. I'd be dead by now if it weren't for my side effects.

This depression crept up on me, in part because I was still interested in the baking. It wasn't until I realized I hadn't been online for days, and didn't really want to get online, that I was depressed. I get so frustrated that I just can't have the same day-to-day, but I remind myself I like that I live a passionate life. I like that I get really INTO my interests, that's the definition of a mania "Intense interest". It's my definition. I have many, intense, interests. I enjoy that. Overall, I enjoy who I am and I accept myself.

I get frustrated at my illness and the fact that it's bigger than me. The only way I can function is my 5 pills a day. Those 5 pills carry a boatload of side effects, but I need them. If I stop them, I'd die. One or two more nasty depressions and I would have made a very serious suicide attempt. The plan I had was a sure-fire dead.

I love spoiling people and making up bags of driver candy. I love watching Ron or a friend when they take a bite of one of my baked treats. I love my life.

I hate my illness at times, and the side effects can be frustrating. I always tell Ron, it's the later-onset disabilities that bother people the most. Ron hates the fact that he has a basically useless right arm. I hate the fact that my hands shake, foggy thinking, and fatigue. We both remember happier times when things weren't this way.

Most everyone on my Christmas list has already gotten delicious baked treats. The milkman was so touched, he gave me a hug. By the way, we (Ron and the milkman) negotiated a better delivery time for all of us. Yay!

I'm going to lick this thing. I've got God fighting my battles, and an army of little lithium friends to take the load. Thank God. Literally.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"Let's take the bus"

I had a very satisfying and productive day today. Bubba (alpha cat) still has his "cold" so he slept with me last night, poor thing. He sneezed a lot but he seems lively and he's got a good appetite today. We had a good cuddle all last night.

I was tired today because I stayed up late watching "Tin Man" on Sci-Fi. I don't regret staying up. Is it my favorite movie ever? No.

I finally got my $5 refund from "Lousy herb company". When I got home today, the GOOD herb company, these guys, already had what I'd ordered in my mailbox, and I only ordered it a couple days ago. That's some awesome service. Here's the link: I will be using them again.

Work was busy. We are almost completely out of Coca-cola. It's insane. We're going to Sam's Club to get more tomorrow morning before work, then we'll take it in and stock it directly. Then, I'll get the milk.

We got our donuts too and that went well, the sandwich guy was very nice and I got a gift card from his boss! Yay!

A very sad note, both the big wholesaler (Vistar) and the donut company are both open and delivering on Christmas eve. Isn't that sad?

After work we went to the Starbucks next to our primary care doctor. She is a very kind and compassionate woman. She liked my medic alert bracelet and EVERYONE liked the candy. She was so efficient I was done an hour and a half before our pickup time. She wrote a prescription for the generic Amoxicillin, so the whole thing, visit and all, only cost us $54. Ron said "You cost less than the cat!" [grin]

I gave Ron a hard time all day, telling him he needed to buy the cat a vaporizer. He kept protesting, but I could see him wondering if it would help. We both agreed we're glad we're only cat parents. I can't imagine nursing a sick child!

So I'm sitting there at Starbucks with Ron, prescription in hand. Our pickup isn't for an hour and a half. We're just off 1960. So is our Walmart.

"Let's take the bus, Ron."
"Alright!" He grabbed my elbow and hobbled off.

It went great. God very kindly held off the rain until AFTER we got indoors. We arrived 20 minutes before our pickup would have been. We don't know how far they would have ridden us around, either. I was glad we did it and I told Ron "I'm happy to ride any bus up to 86" An express bus runs near our home, I tried navigating there once, and it was food for a horrifying panic attack. I've never done it again. The express buses are all numbered above 100. Hence, my little joke. Ron was thrilled he could be more independent. It was funny, we saw several Metrolift cabs. They kept recognizing us and honking. Very funny.

I got my antibiotics, we both got lunch, Ron gave me a little extra spending money (which meant I could buy more driver candy), I read him the list "Lots of green beans, how many do you want, 6?" and off I went. He bought me some more decongestants, cough drops, and tissues. Nice guy. I got what I needed and our ride was one time. Yay!

It got even better when I found my Chinese patent medicines in the mailbox. I hope my herb books come soon.

Walton's already debited my account so my dehydrated foods have already shipped. I doubt I'll need them but it's nice to know they're waiting. I have an extra bag of cat food, too.

Once I got home, I took a great nap (with Frosty), and woke up feeling "better". I've been feeling so run down and tired I've forgotten how good healthy feels. I'm going to figure out some tonic herbs I can take to keep my immunity up and when I'm recovering from an illness. I need to be kinder to myself.

Once this is posted I'm going to go file our online accounting report. Gotta keep the boss happy!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It's beyond whining, I'm sniveling!

Well, well, well. Maybe it's my Panothetic acid, the Siberian Ginseng, or the fact that Ron made the doctor's appointment but I know what I've got.

Today my nose started running, and it was greenish-yellow. I started coughing up same. So. Sinus infection! I sound awful, but my head doesn't hurt. I'm somewhat congested but it's not too bad. Just the stupid COUGHING is old. I'm pulling muscles coughing! I went through two packages of portable tissues!

On the postive side, I'm getting the crud out of my body. That's got to be a good thing. My routine is working; I just sound awful. Even the worst case has me going to my doctor on Monday morning.

Ron was very sweet to me last night and today. If I didn't know better, I'd swear he read my blog. He's been awesome. I'm pretty clear on what I need "Pat me on the back and tell me I'm a poor baby.", so he knew what to do.

We went to work this morning, I filled them up, Ron did the same, and we came home. Then we went and got Ron some fried chicken. He loves fried chicken. I really felt awful for the employees at the chicken place, it seemed like all the customers had nasty attitudes. It made the deli look like paradise. I thought we had it bad, but that was probably "Good behavior". {shudder} Thank God those days are done for good.

I really have a very good life.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I took my pills but I still gave someone the finger

AGGH. It was an odd and aggravating day, especially considering I had the day off! I still have the stupid cough, cough, cough. It's been 2 weeks now.

Ron complained about it and I said if it bothers you so much, make the appointment yourself. I hate going to the doctor. It's bad enough that I'm insane without my 5 pills a day, I take them. I endure the side effects. The last thing I want to do is go to another doctor and get some pills that might make me freak out. I live in horror of just that. I had a horrible October, 1998 that is my benchmark for "terrible". Compazine make me incredibly paranoid and manic, it was literally weeks before I could sleep more than an hour at a time. Anyway, he called and made an appointment for Monday. I love her, she's a great doctor. Bags of driver candy will be given. I just hate going to the doctor. I hate being sick.

Then I had to hear several times today, just how incredibly annoying he finds that cough, it's embarrassing to be out in public with "the cougher", called me "Typhoid Mary" several times, and why can't anything "fix me" like I'm some alleycat. UGH! I have heard him ranting about my cough for FIFTEEN years, everytime I get the flu I get a cough for a couple weeks afterward and the only doctor who could fix it gave me Claratin, which makes me freak out now. You can understand my position, I hope. I'm grateful he isn't addicted to fantasy football or internet porn, overall he's a wonderful husband, but I wish he could see my poitn of view.

If my doctor can give me a good, inexpensive antihistamine that won't make me flip out, I'll take it. No side effects would be great, but I'm willing to tolerate some if that's what it takes. But don't bitch at me because you don't like my cough. I don't like it either! It's not like I'm cultivating it!

I even went to the Vitamin Shoppe today and bought some B-50, Panothetic acid, and Siberian Ginseng tea bags. I tolerated them all well, that's why I like herbalism and nutrition. Siberian Gingeng is good for balancing the immune system, it's said. We'll see. It doesn't hurt.

I made an order with an online herb shop a week ago, TODAY they send me two emails telling me they are out of stock on the main thing I wanted, the throat/cough tea, sorry, they'll ship the rest in a DAY OR TWO? Hello, you got my money a week ago! I checked. What are you doing with it, online gambling? If I told my customers they'd have to wait a week before getting their candy bar, they'd be livid. I will most likely not use them again. The prices were very low, but it goes to show I will get what I pay for. I am not using their name. I only put names of good companies.

Like American Medical ID. I was told I'd get my stainless steel medic-alert bracelet (it seems wise to have my condition and medications on my arm) after Christmas, but lo and behold, here it is today. I'm wearing it now. I love it and it's worth the money. Here they are:

Well, it's the link that worked for me. Let me backtrack to tell you about the finger incident. This morning we had 2 trips. One was "Going to Starbucks", which is really "Ron goes to Starbucks while Heather walks across the strip mall to Academy sports". At this particular Starbucks, there are only about 3 "good" parking spaces in front of the store. One of them is a Handicapped space. We used it when we got out of our Metrolift.

Ron got his coffee, and I went to Academy (with a stop at the Vitamin Shoppe). I really wanted one of Academy's small cast-iron saucepans. They were about $6 the last time I went (easily over a year ago). They don't carry them anymore! I got a little skillet instead, and a long-sleeved t-shirt with dancing santas on it.

Nya Nya! I wore sandals today! It got up to 80. GOD, I love this town. I truly do. Tomorrow it will be even warmer, too warm to wear my new t-shirt. There's always Monday, and Ron said it will be "Cold, with highs in the 50's" on Tuesday. [grin] Like I said, this is MY town.

Ron called me as I was leaving Academy (I am so tired of typing that word!), to tell me they'd moved up our pickup. Could I get back in 5 minutes? I did it. Then I got Ron, the package, and my other junk outside.

I want credit: When the ruddy, over-fleshed driver pulled up and parked crookedly in the handicapped spot, I pretended I didn't notice. He bounced out of the car and walked off with no apparent disability. Now I know he could have MS or something, he did have a hang-tag, but when you see a blind guy waiting outside to be picked up, it seems to me, since he could walk so well, that he could have parked somewhere else. I was "good", and I did nothing.

When our yellow cab metrolift pulled up, he had nowhere to park. Ron can't walk very far. The driver had to block traffic for about one minute while I stuffed Ron and myself into the vehicle. Some creep pulled up in an SUV behind our driver. HONK, HONK. I glared at him.

Again. HONK HONK. THEN I gave him the finger. Our driver pulled some fancy maneuvers and gave the other guy enough room to pass (he's a lot kinder than I would have been). I'm not sorry I did it.

I'd do it again. Then I gave our guy a bag of driver candy.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Push my button, it's easy. Or: Bullshit!

Ron was watching CNN last night. He watches the news a lot. I don't so much. Right now, I've got the weather channel on. I'm more of a - I'll go into my TV preferences in another post.

Anyway, someone was on antidepressants, "snapped" and shot up a mall, killing several people and himself. Some commentator said "Well, depression is anger turned inward." Ron came out to get my opinion.

Once the flames died down, I explained. I actually did a bit of research before I started this post, and I'm not the only one who's angered by that statement. Before I type anymore, I have to explain something. I have a loving family. They were baffled and infuriated by me at times, saddened by my depressions, and fearful of my next manic phase. They wanted to help. But I never doubted anyone's love for me, from my brother and sister to my dad, mom, and stepmom.

I had delusions at about age 7, and was manifesting clinical depressions by the time I was about age 10. We had just moved cross-country, so it was "understandable". But I settled in, made some freinds, kick the depression for a while only to get whalloped again when I least expected it. I'd droop, I wouldn't eat, I wouldn't bathe. You had to force me to go about the daily living activities.

So my Mom and Dad put me in a support group. It was explained to me that I was depressed, that depression was "anger turned inward" and I had to release the anger inside or else. My mother had neglected and abandoned me, my dad put me in day care, he remarried, and her kids and I went through an adjustment phase. I remember one day, an early mania from about age 8 or so, when I went around doing something "Bad" to every one of them, like putting rocks in their shoes. I reveled in it, then when they asked me why, "I dunno". Manic.

Another time I was overcome with a pure, clear high that made me feel invincible. I was intoxicated. I "acted up" quite a bit that night and I think my parents blamed the sugar. A memorable time was the time I rode recklessly on my bike (remember I'm invincible) at about age 11. I crashed it and ended up in the ER. I have a scar on the underside of my chin.

No one was ready to see it, though. So, I had to learn to express my anger and I wouldn't be depressed. I had so much to be angry about, poor thing. They weren't beating me with rubber hoses, raping, and starving me but that's how the professionals acted when they heard "my history". I'm a lot more than a victim, I'm an overcomer.

I got worse, of course. I got so depressed I'd wander around like a zombie, my eyes blank. My parents got worried, and the doctor said "Let's put her on antidepressants." We went from "Depression is anger turned inward" to "You have a chemical imbalance, Heather."

6 weeks after starting the antidepressants, I "turned myself in" to the school guidance counselor with my bottle of Prozac. I told him, I was going to "do it" today but I prayed about it and God led me to go to him. I ended up in the hospital.

Even though I'd sit in place for hours, frantically crocheting, everything was "fine". I didn't want to kill myself anymore, ergo I was "better". They kept me on the antidepressants and I went pretty wild. See, antidepressants, by themselves, will really hurt a manic-depressive. It makes them uncontrollably manic (which I believe is what happened to the shooter yesterday), with disastrous results. I would cycle a couple times a year. When I got depressed I'd get suicidal again, but I hid that from "the experts", friends and family. Nothing worked, did it? I'd tried. I thought it was all my fault I was sick. I blamed myself for being a sick, weird, weak, freak.

When I was manic, I did and contemplated terrible things. The ones I can share: shoplifting, stealing coffee-kitty money from the school office, stealing books from the library, and "going after" boys. I never did anything, they were gentlemen or uninterested in "my charms" but God, I could have gotten pregnant or diseased! The antidepressants just cranked up the volume knob on my manic behavior. I was happy to get rid of them at age 17, but I got severely depressed a few months later.

It's ironic that when I met my husband, I was cycling from a winter depression into a springtime mania. He thought I was a lot of "fun" - and I wan't the law-breaker I'd been on the antidepressants.

For years I believed medication could do nothing for me, and my depressions (I never acknowledged the manias, even to myself) were just something I'd have to deal with. Sure, I get suicidal a couple times a year. I know, I'm "wierd".

No, I'm bipolar. I tease Ron, and tell him "They've got pills for that". Thank God they do. I would be dead by now otherwise. My husband was willing to put himself in a nursing home to get away from the person I was when manic. He even got himself a caseworker! How tragic.

Now, people always comment on us, the "Happy couple". They love the driver candy, the smiles, and the genuine love we share.

Saying "Depression is anger turned inward" blames the victim. Depression is a chemical imbalance. I'm very proud of the fact that I am a good example for medication. A friend told me recently he's started on an antidepressant. He didn't know he could feel this good, and no side effects! "I thought I was just weak but you showed me otherwise."

You're not weak. You're imbalanced. You don't blame your car when a wheel is out of round, and you shouldn't blame yourself.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Neti pots and Mai Men Dong

Sounds X-rated, doesn't it? Mai Men Dong? It isn't.

See, I hate going to the doctor, unless it's my psychiatrist. Him, I need. I need the prescriptions. Maybe part of it is the fact that I'm already taking 5 pills a day. That's a lot.

I still have a persistent dry cough, the "hack" Ron calls it. It's allergies. The coughing gets A LOT worse anytime I get near a cat. Yup, I'm allergic to my children.

I don't want to see my primary care doctor for allergies. She'll write a prescription, and if I'm unfortunate, I'll have a bad reaction and freak out. It's happened before, once I was given compazine and I had a 3 week manic bender. Ron thought he would have to "Put me away".

If I have average luck, it'll work somewhat but I'll have another side effect or two to add to my list (did I already mention I'm on 3 pills that ALL cause side effects?). If I'm "lucky", the medication will be cheap, no side effects, and it'll work well. But I hate the whole process. I just do. It makes me weary.

I'll keep taking my vitamin C. It's helping, and I noticed my gums finally stopped bleeding. Apparently my meds use up a lot of vitamin C. I can take over 6 grams a day before I reach my "tolerance" (diarrhea), and it's compatible with my prescriptions.

So I'm trying some home remedies. I got the Neti pot when a health food store went out of business. I mix 1/2 t of sea salt (no iodine) with distilled water and stick it up my nose. Yeah, I stick the spout in my nose, with my head tilted to the side, and rinse out my "cavities". I must add that a lot of "junk" came out (clear junk which confirms allergies). My nose felt great, actually, once I got over the initial ACK and EW and then all the nose-blowing after the "procedure". The solution doesn't irritate the membranes and even though it was a little warm (God forbid you're going to do this, you want tepid), I wasn't too uncomfortable. Except for pouring 8 ounces of saline solution into my sinuses. Ack. Ew.

I'm also going to strip the bed and wash all the sheets in REALLY hot water. I'll soak them first, then wash. No fragrances, either. That should eliminate the "Cat Dander in my bed" part of the equation. Clean the air filter. Keep using the Neti pot. Ack.

If that doesn't work, I'm going to order some Mai Men Dong. It's supposed to moisten dryness, nourish the Yin, and make the Qi behave. You know what? It works. AMAZINGLY well. The last time I had a nasty dry cough like this I did my research, got some, "decocted it" (cooked in the crock-pot overnight, strained and drank), and within a day or two the cough was gone. Good stuff! It's a lot better bet than a pharmaceutical that might make me freak out. It even tastes pretty decent.

If THAT fails, then I'll go see my doctor.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My brain buddy

Debra Lafave got arrested. Fox News Reported: "According to a police report, Lafave spoke with her teenage co-worker numerous times about family problems, friends, high school, boyfriends and sex.

As part of her probation, Lafave is to abstain from contact with minors under 18 years of age"

I have bipolar disorder too. I never had sex with a younger man, in fact my "naughty boy" was 19 years older than me. He said I was pretty wild, too. I hope I still am. Anyway, she's got an illness.

I like to think, she was sitting at home, taking her pills, not drinking (it screws with the pills), keeping a stable schedule. She did everything she could to manage the disease to it won't manage her. We'll never know that, but I'm going to assume she was pretty consistent in following her routine.

Well, I'm going to compare myself to her for a moment. I am religious about taking my medication faithfully. I even talked to a compounding pharmacy and my psychiatrist about getting some lithium suppositories (during a migraine). However, even I have problems, setbacks and "relapses".

That's the nature of the illness, it comes back. Again and again and again. It's persistent. One feature with me, I always have a lot more energy, an unusual amount. Then I start talking. I don't shut up. I can't shut up. Ron calls me the "Yakinator" and he lets me know "You're doing it again." That's why I call him my brain buddy. He helps me confront my illness when I'm still in denial about my symptoms. It's not that bad, I think. Yes, it is. He tells me, right before he tells me to SHUT UP!

Then I call my doctor, get a Lithium level, and do whatever the doctor says with regards to my medication. I get better.

I hate to think Debra doesn't have a brain buddy, or she didn't listen. Because this is all probably due to her being a "Yakinator" because she was getting manic.

I'll be praying for her.

Bed 2

No headache today! See, I know I'm an optimist because I'm ALWAYS looking for the positive.

Today, a funny little story about making assumptions. This morning we had a driver we've ridden with several times. He's extremely professional, very clean cab, very well groomed and polished. In short, a guy you like to see in your driveway.

This morning it was extremely cold. Last year on really cold days, I gave out some cheap pairs of "magic" gloves to some drivers. They were a tremendous hit. Generally, the drivers who got them were more "bread and butter" practical types. Not the sleek and well groomed persona of this morning's driver.

It was extremely cold by Houston standards (mid 30's). I told myself I'd at least offer a pair of gloves to my first driver on the really cold and miserable days. I handed him his candy, along with the gloves. He thanked me, then he kind of stared at the gloves for a minute. "They stretch." I told him. The driver said, Oh, that's how they work and tried them on.

Not only did he leave the gloves on throughout the whole trip, but he asked me where I bought them. I gave him "Directions" to the accessories department at Walmart and told him about how much they cost. He was still admiring them (and eating the candy) when he dropped us off. Silly me. I thought "A nicely tailored guy like that wouldn't be interested in these gloves.", but I was wrong, I'm happy I was wrong, and I'm getting more gloves tomorrow.

Our milkman was "late" by the other vendor's standards, but "On time" by ours. He said that if they keep complaining, we may end up on someone else's route. Ewwwww. He told me he doesn't want to give us up (meaning me and Ron). I thought that was very sweet and it's no problem for us to get the milk a half hour later. Ron and I are leaving them in God's hands.

We had a short day today, just work and home. The vending machines continue to look great. Ron accidentally stocked the pineapple soda into the $1.25 row and not the $1 row. I fixed that; we put 5 bottles out (along with 3 kinds of Crush) in "Food 1". I hope they sell; I want to provide a really nice selection of merchandise.

Ron just woke up and asked me about the mail. Nothing important to him but I got my PDR for Herbal Medicines! Yay! Just a word to anyone who may want to ship a hardback book through the mail: Don't put it in a bubble envelope. The envelope will tear. It did, but I bought a used book and I don't care about minor cosmetic issues. I'm really happy I got it, it's an excellent book. I might get some more copies for my doctors (Primary care and P-doc). Used, it was only $9 with shipping.

One nice thing about Metrolift - I can get good restaurant reviews. It's been my experience that Black people are very choosy about their food - they're pickier, in a really good way, than white people. I ate at a BBQ joint that had an excellent review; I found it pretty bland and so did Ron. A Metrolift driver wouldn't have eaten there or recommended it to anyone else.

When Ron found a "new" BBQ place a couple miles from the house, I was highly skeptical, but all the drivers love it. When Ron mentions the place, they practically lick their lips. The first thing they say is it's good. Then they mention the monster-sized chicken fried steaks. How delicious they are, and what a treat we can expect.

We're going tomorrow. I just need to make sure they don't use peanut oil, then I'll dive in.

I found my little photo book in my tote bag and it got me thinking about the photos. When Ron was hurt (almost 5 years ago) he had about the worst head injury a person can have (DIA - diffuse axional injury, where the brain actually twists and breaks all the connections). He was not expected to "have a good outcome". Obviously, God had other plans.

I didn't get to make any life-or-death decisions because we were only shacking up at the time. I told him it would happen that way if he ever got hurt, but he wasn't ready to commit. His father elected "heroic measures" - do anything to keep him going. Surgery, life support, you name it.

When people found out he was blind before the accident, I got treated pretty badly. How dare I let this poor man wander off into traffic! How dare the guy who hit him run a red light, I think now. By the way, I saw [the guy who hit Ron] again today. He's a nice guy. Really.

So, I felt like no one really knew Ron. It felt like they didn't want to know him. I kept getting asked if I was sure I wanted them to do everything - it made me scared to go home. I was exhausted, I'd been up for a day straight under the most stressful conditions imaginable. After I left, I went the wrong way. It took me about 3 hours to get home on the bus. I remember thinking I wish I could show them the Ron I love. I'm convinced God put this thought in my head, "Well, then, bring the pictures."

Every now and then, I'd go manic for photography (disposable cameras) and I'd take dozens of photos of Ron at work and play. I'd get two copies, give one set to his mom, and save the other set. When I got home, I selected about a dozen of my most favorite, and put the rest in a photo album. When I want back to the hospital ($40 cab ride, ouch!) I posted them everywhere. I put them on the headboard of his bed, the foot of his bed, and I had a great one of Ron grinning that I taped onto the vital signs display. You coudn't go to his bed without seeing a couple great photos of Ron. The nurses put the photo album at the note-taking stand at the foot of his bed.

Before, they'd referred to Ron as "Him" or "Bed 2". Everyone (medical) loved the photos and wanted to see the album. I'd explain "Ron riding a horse in Galveston" and "Ron checking the change banks on the vending machine". The social worker took them to a meeting of the ethics committee. I'm convinced those photos really were a turning point in his medical care - they made the staff see the man I loved and not just bed 2.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Devil Cabs and driver candy

For about 3 days in a row, I woke up with terrible headaches. I'd beat them back with asprin (either generic alka-seltzer or ecotrins), eat enough to hold my pills (I've learned I have to eat at least 1.5 cups of food with some protein and/or fat), and take the mood stabilizers. Like some horrible ghoul, though, the headache would return. NOT FUN. I'd chew a Tylenol Gotab and soldier on - generally with increased Lithium side effects.

Thank God, when I woke up today, they were gone. I'm ovulating around now so I'm prone to more headaches as a rule. But no headache today, thank God.

I can tell what kind of day I'll have by the amount of driver candy I end up toting along. I give one to every driver we have - so one bag per trip. Am I getting a delivery? They get a bag too. Today, I brought a record total of 6 bags. One for our 4 AM ride to work, one for the sandwich guy, two for the wholesale delivery guys. That's a funny story.

I had a terrible headache most of yesterday so I took all my lithium in one, 900 mg dose last night (my doctor says it's OK on occasion). I didn't sleep well last night - I didn't fall asleep until well after 9. We had a 3 AM wakeup. As soon as I woke up, I took my pills.

So they hit me pretty hard. I could hardly walk straight and I'm sure the gossips would be talking about my "drug problem" if I hadn't made a point of telling them all about my illness and the medication. I stagger out to the dock when I hear the wholesale truck has arrived. I see two gentlemen, who happen to be black. They look like the driver and his assistant, so I chase after them a little and say, "Hey, this is for you!" They were very touched and appreciative.

Driver Candy. They are mail truck drivers. They don't work for my wholesaler, and I gave away "his" candy. Fortunately, he was a new driver and he didn't expect the candy and he didn't see me "treat" these complete strangers. I'm glad I did it, they obviously "needed" it. But I do feel a little sheepish.

I got EVERYTHING! Yay! Pineapple soda! Iced Lemon Cookies! CHIPS! Oh, I needed chips so desperately. Ron and I had a total of 7 hours at work, and I did it ALL. The snack machines look wonderful. I would love to get a quarterly review right now, they look that good. I have an enticing array of tempting treats to please just about anyone. Yay! I'm so thrilled I got it all done.

I have to add something really quick. My customer base is all adults, mostly 20-50. Postal Workers. We sell a lot of caffeinated sodas, salty snacks, sandwiches, etc. Oh, and the coffee machine. I sell things that aren't healthy. I have two kinds of peanuts and pork rinds but that's it (for the low-carbers) and if you're low-fat, I've got some animal cracker cookies. The low-fat chips don't sell. Everyone's an adult, they have the ability to make their own choices.

I do not think, however, that schools should sell any of the crap I do to children. It's one thing to provide Mountain Dew and Cheetos to an adult, but selling it to children is child abuse. They should have fresh, whole foods available. Not this processed crap that I can't even pronounce. I think it's prostitution, the payoffs between the soda companies and the schools. They are destroying the health of children to make a dollar. Whores.

That said, let's go back to work. So, I gave a bag of candy to the sandwhich delivery guy. When he called Ron to tell him he was coming, he grilled Ron about how many hours we planned to work today. That's just him. When I gave the driver the candy, he looked at me with a sardonic expression and said "Are you trying to send me to the dentist?" Let's contrast the complete stranger, the mail truck driver, who expressed such sincere gratitude. I wished I could take it back and give it to someone who'd appreciate it. I don't expect anything more than a "Thanks" but I didn't even get that. No wonder I'm irked.

Now, it's Walmart time. I'm all done with work by now. I need more lithium. I got really shaky on the way to Walmart. Hello, I need to get some no msg snacks. I got really wobbly. I'm pleased with how I handled it. Ron and I went to Mc Donalds and I got chicken nuggets with honey. No "sauce", just plain delicious honey. Tasty! It brought me up to a rational level again so off to get my pills.

The lady in front of me in line was obviously manic. But she was picking up her pills so let's hope she just ran out, going to take them and get back on track. I gave 2 bags of driver candy to the clerk. One for her, one for the pharmacist. They were really busy so I'm glad I did it. So was the clerk.

Then we came home, but Metrolift rode us around for an hour first. I was glad I'd brought an ice bottle (soda bottle filled with water and frozen) to keep my meat and salad cold. I like the fact that Ron fell asleep, and I offered the driver a hamburger (we got some to-go), in addition to HIS driver candy. No attitude or sniveling, just some aimless chatter.

I came home, took a nap, and did some laundry. Now I'm here. Tomorrow won't be difficult, just a couple of hours at work and then home. I have some delicious ham and steak just waiting to be cooked up.

Oh, and the devil cab? The other day the cab number was 666.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Cleaning the bookcase

I have an aura photo we had taken at a health fair. Ron was nice enough to go and we were curious. Turns out we had a full spectrum between us, which is a good thing for a couple. That was over a decade ago. I think it's "cute".

I'm not afraid of "alternate" things like aromatherapy and herbalism, but it's hard to avoid the new age philosophies as well. I'm a Born-Again-Christian. The Bible has pretty strict regulations on dealing with mediums and such - don't do it.

I try to balance my natural curiosity, Biblical values, and common sense. I've also come to some conclusions.

I'm going to be getting rid of several books. They're part of a series I enjoyed. The lastest book covers a topic that I find incredibly painful. I prefer to let the past stay past, dead and buried. I decided not to buy the book. I sat down and looked at the rest of the series. It covers some witchcraft, wiccan, etc. The extra-marital sex just clinched it. It's not a series I'm exactly proud to have on the shelf, and looking at them reminds me of the book I didn't buy because it would hit way too close to home.

Because of this decision, I'll have more room for some new herb books. I'll be glad when they're gone and I can forget about it. I was told I am "remarkably self-aware" so I feel I've done a decent job of healing, buy why reopen old wounds?

I'd rather get more herb books.

I love Houston

When I logged onto my ISP (I use dialup), the usual ocurred. A pop-up or two, quickly closed, my AVG updated itself, and my "Welcome Screen" appeared. It seems a San Diego suburb has been rated the "Safest" town in America.

Good for them. I'll never forget the day I moved out of California. See, "We Gotta Get out of this Place" had been my theme song for a couple of years beforehand. I loved Redwood City. It's a beautiful little town, just the right balance of developed and unspoiled. It had the best "Setup" of any place we've lived. Just two blocks to the transit center, commuter train station, two large grocery stores, drugstore, and giant bookstore. A few more blocks and we had the Post Office, City Hall, restaurants I still miss, the community college branch, and an awesome thrift store. Everything was close by. It was terrific.

However, I was paying $1000 a month to live down the street from a crackhouse, and the sex offenders, at that time, were paroled to a residential hotel that rented rooms by the week. Eek. Plus, I'll take heat and humidity. When I'm cold, so is everyone else. Not so in California. Generally, by the time I got warm everyone else was wailing about the heat.

So, I love Houston. The first time I set foot into the town I felt a bone-deep connection. When I look at the skyline of downtown, I'm so overcome by emotion I have to blink back tears (even on the mood stabilizers). It's visceral. I just love this town.

We've had some adventures. Our stockroom (BAD postal workers! Very Bad!) was burgled several times. We had endless petty theft as well, until we got the padlock. Our home was robbed once (the infamous naked wife incident), and Ron himself was robbed by a policeman while he lay bleeding to death in the road after his accident. We had/have a serial killer in Acres Homes - not close to us, and I don't fit the victimology. We've got 4 million residents, some of them are bound to be bad apples.

I still love it. We live in an international town, it's amazing how many various races and cultures come together here, to form a fantastic gumbo of humanity. Where else can I learn to say "Have a nice day." in Ethiopian, Farsi, Urdu, and Uzon (Nigerian dialect)? Where else can I find a Vegetarian Indian food restaurant, or an all-night NY style deli? No matter what your "style" we've got an apartment complex for you. Some of them even have valet trash pickup, or beg you to please move in with your large dog.

When Ron was hurt, he was taken to a world-class trauma center and treated like a king, even though he didn't have insurance. I never felt he was shorted on the quality of his care. Everyone, even the medical students, was kind and informed. They cared.

That's what it comes down to for me. In Houston, they still care. When Ron was in the wheelchair I very seldom had to open a door. Everyone was happy to get the door for us.

I love this town.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The current nightmare and my dream for the future

Imagine this. You're uninsured. You've got a terrible sore throat and a deep hacking cough. You go to the local "Doc in a Box" clinic - the one that only takes cash or credit, and makes you pay before you see the doc.

When you first get there, you notice the plexiglass barrier between the receptionists and the clients. A large man sits in the corner, wearing a gun. Then you're told "Oh, we're sorry. You need an appointment to see someone, even if you're very ill. The wait time is about 3 weeks." You reluctantly make the appointment and hope to God you feel better. That office was awful.

Unfortunately, you don't get better. In fact, you're coughing up blood by now. Someone's sent you a list of items to bring to your appointment. You'll need your birth certificate, social security, proof of residency in the County, and pay stubs. Lots of pay stubs. You can pay for your care, you just need to see a doctor. Why are they treating you like a criminal?

So you get back to the doctor's office. You see people leaving in tears because they only have kidney stones, not pneumonias. The doctor's office is only treating Pneumonia and heart attacks now. If you have any other illness, you're SOL. They're the only doctors in town who will deal with uninsured clients.

You get treated like a loser as you attempt to fill in the paperwork. Wierd, scary people stare at you. You can't even use the bathroom without being accompanied by the gun-toting security guard. You just want to get better. You'll pay as much as you can, but everyone's making it impossible for you.

That, my freind, is the County Mental Health system. I get irate when people go on about how the crazy people don't want help and won't take their pills. If you had to go through that, just to be evaluated, would you ever come back if you could help it?

Thank God I didn't have to. My aunt found me Dr P, who takes uninsured patients (I pay cash before I see him, just like I do at the medical clinic). I pay for my care, and I pay for my pills. But what if, God forbid, I coudn't?

I'd have to go to the county mental health clinic. I did. It was hell. Here I am, already sick with mania. I can't sit still and I can feel the damned bugs crawling on my skin. I'm hyper and anxious and some kid pulls the fire alarm. Ha ha. You would have to be insane to want to go back to the county mental health clinic, assuming you had the wherewithal to get the necessary paperwork together in the first place. It was AWFUL! I knew I could DIE from my illness and I didn't want to go back.

Here's my dream. It's just like what happens at the regular medical clinic. I call and I make an appointment. A kind person answers my call and asks about my symptoms. I tell her and she makes a note. She tells me the date and time I can come in.

I come in early and I'm given a 1-3 page questionare (sic). I detail my symptoms and my medical history. I go to the desk and turn it in. While I'm there, I pay cash, or I swipe my "National Health Insurance" card. The receptionist smiles at me as I sit down again. I don't see a menacing security guard with a gun. Soon, my name is called, I speak with a doctor, and I walk out of there with my medication. My National Health Insurance covers my medication. I'll go back every month for a refill and checkup.

I truly believe that people want to be well. They know they are "sick", they hate it, and they want to feel like they're in control of their minds again. But if you make the process of applying for help, getting evaluated, and obtaining medication a difficult, painful, prohibitively expensive, and humiliating process then we'll continue to have "incidents" where "crazy people do crazy things".

I can dream. And I will.

I'm a hypocrite!

I don't like this cough. It gets worse when I'm around the cats, ergo allergies. I just remembered the Nasonex and got into it. That stuff isn't cheap, $100 a month, but it does work. 2 squirts up each nose ought to help me by tomorrow.

First of all, I have to state a fact that's going to put the whole rest of this post in perspective and honestly, make me look like the hypocrite I am. I drink about 12 cans of diet soda a day. Minimum. I hardly ever drink plain water. It's got bubbles, artificial color, scary sounding preservatives, and artificial flavors.

Today I had an alka-seltzer. I put it in 4 ounces of tap water. I can't remember the last time I had water before that. So. Having said that, I'll proceed.

I don't like to take antihistamines, I feel they overload my liver (remember all the sodas) and they're "toxic". You can tell I lived in CA for 15 years. However, they work. At least Claritin worked on the allergies, but made me manic.

Most everything except the stuff in Nyquil cough (doxy-something) and Benadryl make me freak out big time. I'm talking paranoid, up all night, survivalist mode benders. I like to avoid that.

The last couple weeks, I've noticed my gums bleeding in the morning when I brush my teeth. Obviously, I need more vitamin C. Fact: My Lexapro depletes my body's supplies of Vitamin C. I'd rather take Vitamin C than be suicidal again, that's a no-brainer.

Huh. My nose already dried up. Nasonex is good stuff.

Anyway, "insane" people tend to need more B vitamins, for instance (based on my research). I can't take a lot of herbal remedies for mood because they will interfere with my prescriptions. Sorry, prescriptions are going to win.

It was very awesome to discover, for instance, that I can take vitamin C, up to 4 grams, with my Lithium. If you're taking Lithium, you'll have to do your own research, but my Pill Book and the pharmacist both agree that Vitamin C won't hurt Lithium. Yay. It does help with the allergies and my gums finally stopped bleeding.

My immune system is out of whack, that's what allergies are. The immune system goes insane, attacking innocent cat dander and mold spores instead of actual viruses or bacteria. So, what kind of "Mood stabilizer" can I get?

Excuse me, FDA warning here. I'm not a doctor. Ron calls me his witch doctor. I am not saying these products can diagnose, cure, prevent, or treat anything even though it's what I believe.

Here's what I decided on:
Stash Licorice Spice tea. Licorice root regulates the immune system. Technically, it's an adaptogen. It raises what's too low, lowers what's too high. Think of Adaptogens as mood stabilizers. They keep things from getting too far out of line. Krogers grocery store sells it. I like to support stores that sell "My stuff" like licorice spice tea so I always buy a box when I go. I drink it, too, and it's delicious.

Siberian Ginseng tea bags by Now. Same principle. It's an excellent adaptogen and criminally cheap too. I got it here:

Essiak tea. It's good for detoxifying and balancing the immune system. I got one box of the tea (also by NOW, who won a quality award for good manufacturing), if it's good and I feel useful, I'll get more.

TLC Cough and Throat by NOW. It's got good ingredients to soothe your throat and quiet a cough. I got two boxes. It has ALL the stuff I highlighted in my herb books as being good for coughs. And so affordable!

Last but not least, half a pound of vitamin C powder (only about $5). I hate choking down big pills. If I can dissolve it in water and drink it, I'd rather.

I'll let you know how it goes.


Well, I just can't have a dull day. Yesterday, in the midst of running around and excitement of making deposits, catching Metro, etc... I ate something yellow.

No! Not the yellow! I didn't really think of it when I ate the cheese-sauced roast beef (with bacon) but I sure noticed today around 11 AM when I developed a nasty headache. Mike, who works for the other vendor, was mopping with some Lysol. Whooooeeee. I thanked God for my chewable Tylenol Go tabs, chewed it, and the pain abated somwhat.

I'd rate today's headache at a good 4 on a 1-10. For me, that's hardly worth mentioning. The only real impact it had was that Tylenol affects my lithium levels, increasing them and causing me more side effects. Whine whine.

This morning Ron came to me and apologized. He stated that he'd woken up sitting on the toilet with a vague memory of me yelling at him. He had come into the "computer/exercise" room and spoke to me, then he started groping around on the floor. I asked him, rather shrilly, what he was doing. Looking for my trash can, he replied. He needed to urinate.

Shrill is probably an understatement of my reaction. I thought he was drunk, and I reacted accordingly. I was outraged and devastated. He was definitely groggy and slurring his words a bit. I told him, go urinate in the toilet. He insisted he needed to (violate my) trash can. I told him, NO! Go pee in the toilet! He complied and told me he woke up on the toilet.

"So what happened last night? All I remember is you yelling at me and then I was on the toilet. I did what? You're kidding me!"

So, he sleepwalks. I have a long history of sleepwalking myself. In fact, I usually wandered off in a strange place looking for a bathroom in the middle of the night. Other times, I'd have hysterics until someone found me my glasses. I'll talk up a storm, too. One night, my stepsister talked me into eating a snack, making a sandwich, and leaving a note on the table for my parents to find in the morning. Once I almost fell into a ravine looking for a latrine. The last time I can prove I sleepwalked was a few years back. Our house is all one level with a sliding glass door in my bedroom. A previous owner installed a heavy iron burglar bar type gate that locks in place over the entire sliding door. We always left it open. I woke up one morning and my legs hurt. I looked at my feet and saw they were dirty, and my legs were scratched up. I'd gone sleepwalking in the backyard. Ron locked the burglar bars so I can't get out the back anymore. The window is large enough for me to escape if we ever had a fire. At first I felt like an inmate but I've decided now that it makes me feel safe. If I can't get out (without breaking a window), no one can get in, either.

Ron always thought my sleepwalking was "wierd" so I don't doubt him. It's not something he'd want to admit to doing.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I do want to add something to my other post, if I ever feel "unusual" in any way, and it's not managed by my medication, of course I'll call my doctor. I could tell him "I want to kick some ass" and he would get it, deal with it, all better.

Speaking of ass-kicking, it's union election time. We have about 1100 Postal Workers at our plant. One guy died over the weekend, heart attack. He was so sad. He never did anything nice for himself, always so gloomy and unhappy. Now he's dead. I hope he was saved, and I hope he had a decent insurance policy so his widow is OK. He was a postal worker so I'm sure he did. They have pretty tasty benefits.

So, union election time. I've been there for 6 years, and I've seen a few elections. At first they are very nice. You see an incredible assortment of flyers with promises to change, or promises to keep up the good work.

As the flyers become multi-colored and begin sporting photos, it begins to take a darker turn. The incumbent party does their best to remind you of the challenges they've overcome and the battles ahead, while reminding you they're on your side.

Now's a good time to remind you I'm apolitical. I don't care who wins, as long as they don't beat up "my" vending machines and they treat my husband with respect. [You do not ever want to dis my man. You will bleed.] I'm just an impartial observer here. Someone at the plant is going to read this so I feel compelled to state it. I don't care.

We generally have two parties, the Apples and the Oranges. I'm going to say the Apples are the incumbents. So far this year, very clean campaign. My only complaint is that a few of the people on their slate just state "Vote Bob Dole for Treasurer. Apple party. Endorsed by Apples". What are you planning to do? What is your track record? Tell me something about yourself. It's wonderful you got the Apples' support but they can run a bit thin.

The Oranges are already starting to make the usual personal attacks and "Unlike the current administration, I plan to ...." A few elections ago, the Apples managed to "steal" a candidate from the Oranges. Boy, that was a mess. You would not believe the personal attacks after that!

But my favorite line from an election-time poster: John Doe was forced off the ticket after he was "set up and framed for striking his supervisor. It was all a plot of management to get him off the party."

Set up? Framed? Striking a supervisor? I asked around, yes, the man actually HIT HIS BOSS in front of witnesses. Only at the processing center.

Even at my worst, I just thought they were conspiring against me. I kept a log or two of "Insults" but I never, ever, considered HITTING MY BOSS.

Even when it's Ron!

"I need to take an antipsychotic"

It's funny. Ron and I were relating the "Ron had to take the cat to the vet all by himself" story. A funny story, I think, with all the goodness of humanity coming to the rescue of poor terrified Bubba in his carrier as Ron inadvertently slams him in the door.

"You took your cat to the doctor but not your wife?" Nope. Interesting story - I hate going to the doctor. I don't mind my "Brain tune ups" as I view the visits with my psychiatrist - mainly just side effect and mood reporting. But I hate going to the doctor.

Before, I used to go as often as I felt I needed to. Sore throat? Persistent cough? Doctor. I've had a persistent dry cough for over a week now but I won't go to the doctor. I figure either, it's bronchitis and antibiotics won't help (My Merck Home manual says so), or it's cat allergies and I'm not giving up the cat. Benadryl helps at night, I'm sleeping fine, so no worries. Before, I wouldn't have been happy until I had an antibiotic, something guaranteed to kill the cough, and assurances that I'd be fine, really. I used to be a real pain in the ass.

That said, I realized something over the course of two days. Monday we went to Walmart. I think I needed light bulbs. I noticed a very obese man with a walker, the kind that has a seat. He needed it because he would have taken up the whole bench if he'd sat on it. He was obviously waiting on someone, I assumed his wife. She showed up, and they left the store.

Ron had called MACS (Metrolift Automated Call in Service) to check on his ride. He told me our ride was only a few minutes away. I went outside. Mrs Big was outside, talking to the cabdriver. The cab clearly displayed the Metrolift card. God, this is humilating but I hope this will help someone.

So, Mrs. Big is interrogating the driver, I come up on the tail end of "But where's our ride? Aren't you here for (Surname)?" The driver shook his head and looked at me. I recognized the driver. I asked him "Are you here for (my surname)?" The woman gets a real attitude with me, I get snippy back, and it culminates in my saying "Like I told you, he's here for us." as I marched around the van. GRRR.

I heard the usual "Well, I never." attitude that I feel comes with some people. I hate them, and I don't care if they know it. They act like the world has to stop what it's doing and tell them everything they want to know Examples: "How so I sign up for Metrolift service, because I'm too dumb to copy the phone number painted on the side of the vehicle." Or "I don't care about your schedule. I have a cell phone, and there's a pay phone right over there. You have to drop everything, make Heather wait, and find out where my ride is because I'm too lazy to pick up a phone and dial an 800 number. I know it can take up to 5 minutes but I don't care. Everything revolves around me."

See, I'm being very honest and open. Ron was embarrassed and felt I had used the voice on her. He hates the voice; he says it conveys that I believe they are an incredibly stupid life form that shouldn't be sharing my air. Generally, when he says that, it's exactly how I feel. I don't care if they get their feelings hurt because I don't fall and worship at their feet. I could care less what they think of me, I really don't care. I see them as a pimples; unavoidable and incredibly annoying. Get it the hell out of my life, I'm not kissing their ass.

Not to mention, this vehicle was a Windstar minivan with a wheelchair area in the back. It's got comfortable seating for 4, crowded seating for 5 average people. The driver had already picked up 2 other clients. Seating for 2 more. She (Mrs. Big) actually thought he was there to pick up both couples. Her giant husband, her overweight self (she outweighed me by a good 50 pounds), myself (low 200's), and Ron? No way in hell, even if the cab had been empty. The only vehicle that guy would fit into was a large white van (the kind with seating for a good dozen or so).

Yeah. I had an attitude. I wasn't ashamed to say it. I didn't care that she knew I had no respect for her or her husband. Sorry, I don't. I didn't appreciate her snippy attitude and refusal to give up when she knew that guy wasn't her driver.

So. That was strike one. Strike two was "And I'm not sorry either!". I really couldn't see Ron's point of view, how he might have been embarrassed. Now I can understand Ron's embarassed and he hates it when I do that. So, don't do it for them, but maybe tone it down for him.

Strike three happened on Tuesday morning at work, when I realized I was spoiling for a fight and I really, really, wanted to kick someone's ass. I really did. It was painful, almost. I wasn't to the point of baiting people but it wouldn't have taken much to set me off.

That's when I realized, I need to take an antipsychotic (I had been taking my usual dosages, but I always keep extra medication in my purse). I hunted down the Risperdal, took it (.25 mg), and hid in the stockroom until I started to feel a little floaty.

I could even deal with customer complaints and mandates that I must stock this unsellable item. Ron was awfully happy to know I saw the problem and addressed it before it became anyone else's problem. I may be nuts but I hate acting nuts. I don't want people to "understand" either, to me that would be the worst thing of all. "Oh, poor Heather. She can't help it. She's bipolar, you know."

I'm not itching for a fight, either. It's tough to realize I really don't have very good control of my brain. I have more control than I used to, but it's never easy to admit "I'm insane. If I don't take my pills, I'll hurt myself or others."

It's hell. I wonder how many people go off their pills because they can't stand the idea that without medication, they're insane.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Frenzy - or come shop with me

Being sick, I didn't go out for almost a week. I used up my groceries. I have learned that there is such a thing as too much vegetable soup. If I eat another spoonful this month, I'll scream.

However, I needed something to help kill my cough at night when I'm sleeping. The cats needed more num-nums (canned food), Ron needed groceries, and I was itching for a trip to Walmart.

I have never gone shopping on Black Friday. I worked it a few times and the shifts were hellish. So, a decade after I got out of the retail game Ron and I decided, we're going in. We decided on 6 AM to 7:30. It's early, but not the 5AM early-bird-special-sale early. The regular sleepins are going to wait until later to come in. It ought to work.

So, for the first time in a week I donned something other than a nightgown. Remember my pants falling off? They kept trying to do it today, too. It got kind of embarrassing.

Our ride was a little late picking us up but I was ready and waiting with a bag of driver candy. I also gave him a pair of the magic gloves, he loved them. The magic gloves stretch to fit. A lot of Houstonians don't have a pair of gloves but when you're a driver in the cold... you wish you did.

We had a great ride in with him. The Super-center was packed. The Deputy on duty at the door did a double-take at Ron's "No eye holes" ski mask, until he saw the long white cane. I grabbed my list and dove in.

Surprisingly, it wasn't that bad. I was able to buy a soda within a minute or two - when I shop I like to have a bottle of Diet Dr Pepper in the cart. I guess you could call it my co-pilot. It sits right up there next to my list on the plastic clipboard. I've got my wavy brown hair back in the ponytail and I push my glasses up with my index finger as I chew on my lower lip. I'm probably talking to myself as I make my choices, too.

First on the list, cold remedies. Ron wanted the classic nyquil, I went for the generic cough and cold nightime formula (it has an antihistamine, cough suppressant, and tylenol). I've actually pulled an abdominal and a neck muscle coughing, so the painkiller will help. I got them, more vitamin C, etc. I turned the corner between linens/toys/hardware and quickly backtracked. You couldn't have paid me to take that aisle! [shudders]

I took a quick detour over to the craft department. Now that was quiet! And they had the blue skein of Red Heart I've been needing for Cole's blanket. No one is safe, if you're related to me you're getting an afghan.

I headed over to the Women's department, hitching up my jeans yet again. Speaking of... it's the busiest business day of the year. Maybe they have my - ah, hell with it. I have been wearing size 22 W. [I'll wait patiently for the screams to fade].

I got a pair in the 20W. Yay! I bet they fit, too. I could fit my whole fist in between my waistband and my waist, with plenty of room to spare. It will rock if/when I get out of the Women's department. Do you know how hard it is to find Petite waist 22 W jeans? For $10, God bless you Walmart... It's almost impossible.

And at Walmart you've got to take what they've got and a "Women's" size with a "Petite" inseam, which sounds kind of schitzophrenic now that I think about it, is not always readily available. Especially the cheap, $10 pair, which I love. But Yay, they had them. In the dark rinse. I'm not picky, really I'm not, I just want size 20W Jeans with a Petite inseam, that won't make me look like a dork, and the Dark Rinse for $10. If you can, please.

And they had them. God bless you Walmart.

The Grocery section? I wasn't surprised to see they were out of "My" soda (Cherry Cola Diet Rite). They only stock about 4 cases at a time anyway, I can deal. Ron got a wine box, because he's not stupid with the wine, I'm happy to say.

I got the other groceries on my list and only saw one other person (scanning something at the check a price thing) until I checked out. I only had to wait a minute or two in line and them BAM, I'm out of there.

And our pickup was early, so we didn't have to wait forever either. Yeah!

Thanks again for the Jeans.


I wanted to like it. I really did. I saw the ads on TV and I was filled with hope... Disaster prepardness website. For Texas. Don't be stupid, be ready. That's my motto, but you get the point. You know me, and if you don't I'm easy to know. Read my posts, I'm WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get). An opinionated woman.

I really commend the Department of Human Services. It's a wonderful idea. But it's incredibly clunky, cumbersome, and slow (for me on dialup). It takes over two minutes to load each page, each page has a checklist with maybe 8 or 9 items? Come on!

So far, I've had everything except the plastic sheeting, and I could use garbage bags in a pinch for that. Let's see if two cat carriers (one per animal) and 7 extra pounds of cat food is adequate. Yup, I even have the "current photo" - and Ron and I plan to have the boys microchipped as well.


But it's not a total dud. It does get the information out there in a semi-useful fashion.

I give it a C. After all, I do need the plastic sheeting.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A hobby is a lot better than a mania

It's obvious by now, if you've been following me (or you know me) that I have a lot of varied interests. One of the saddest things about my hobbies and interests was the way my disease perverted them.

I don't mean I did perverted things with a ginger root, I mean I couldn't not think about them. I would obsess over every little crumb of detail. I'd spend way more money than I could afford on supplies, only to watch them gather dust as I crashed into another doorbuster depression.

It's nice to rediscover my old freinds again, with my new freinds (the mood stabilizers) on board. I bought a used copy of the Herbal PDR. I had one in California but it got lost in the move. I wish-listed a few more herbal books at Alibris. I intend to buy my own bottle of Olive Leaf, some Panothetic acid, and maybe some powdered vitamin C. And that's it. How pleasant and peaceful! I could get used to this! I can just enjoy my interest without it dominating my every thought. Wow. It's beautiful.

Same with nutrition. I'm definitely interested in becoming as healthy as I can, limiting my drug's toxicities, and living a better quality of life. I enjoy making my own fresh vegetable soups with organic ingredients, prepared to retain flavor and nutrition. I like knowing "I'm doing myself a favor by eating this delicious meal I selected". I also like not hoading vegetables I'll never eat, or letting wierd meats rot in the fridge because I've lost my nerve.

Once we clean up the backyard, I plan to get back into gardening again. Most people who know me will recall I went pretty manic for gardening back in '06. I plan to clean up my little plots, plant some veggies we'll eat, and spend 20 minutes a day tending it - not the hours a day I was compelled to before.

I just gotta be careful I don't get overheated, that would be bad. Good thing winter's coming.

I think Tom Cruise is a lousy actor and I don't find him cute

I'm an X-generation heretic. I think Tom Cruise is a lousy actor and I don't find him cute. He's too smug, it makes me want to kick his butt. Not kiss it. I think Nicole Kidman has more talent in her baby toe than he could hope to get in his whole life. I also feel sorry for his poor girlfriend, trapped into his cult crap. Sad for her. He, I see as a pathetic, weak, overblown ego. I've been meaning to share that; I'd rather date the elephant man.

As a teenager, my tastes were an obvious lead-up to the man I married. My biggest crush had a receding hairline, paunch, and bad knees but he was so kind and sweet. My Secret Admirer? He had a cleft palate and loved the fact that I saw him. One of my best friends had cerebal palsy with quadraparesis (all limbs were weak), but he was smart and funny. I loved Sean Connery, but my favorite actor ever was: Fred Dryer. He was definitely rugged-looking. It was just one of those visceral things. I think Denzel Washington is mighty attractive too.

It's not surprising that when I met a bald, average-looking (he thinks he's ugly, which I find very sad), blind guy with a receding hairline it didn't bother me. I'm glad I chose him. I love knowing that I have a big hand in those laugh lines.

Good news about the van

Several years ago, #6 bought a 13 passenger van.  Now, the mother drives a minivan and the father drivers a pickup truck.  They occupied the...