Friday, June 29, 2007

Not another one!

Yesterday I woke up with a headache. "Oh, no" I thought, "Not another migraine!" The only "new" food I'd eaten - a few muffins from an oat bran muffin mix. It didn't have any of my trigger foods so I thought I'd be OK.

Yesterday was supposed to be "Walmart, work, Taco Bell, home". I made it to Walmart. Ron needed more 13 gallon trash bags. By the time I got to Walmart I realized a smart Heather would get herself a new 5 gallon pail & lid - just in case.

I just barely made it home before the violent, miserable, retching up my toenails ensued. Took a phenergan (I love whoever disovered phenergan), curled up in bed with my ice bag (thank you Ron!). Slept a couple hours. Woke up, sick again, another ice bag, more phenergan. Repeat.

I love my 5-gallon buckets. They're so trusty and dependable when I need them. Stalwart buddies, they're there to take the worst I've got to offer, a dependable prop when I need them most. I washed and sanitized the ones I used already.

Ron's pretty awesome too, I would have been miserable without his ice bag refills and phenergan resupply runs. Today I was supposed to get paid. That didn't happen. Naps, re-learning to eat again, and feeling like I got wrung out are the orders of the day.

We're going to have to save work-bank-food outing-home for Monday, and hopefully I can deposit a little something and go to Walmart Tuesday.

Still no books, either. That's almost worse than the migraine.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Heather spins up trouble for Bubba

Well, I still haven't gotten my 2 spinning books. WAAAAAH! Evil Heather says that's what I get for trusting it to the Postal Service, haven't I seen enough at the processing center? WHERE ARE MY BOOKS?

Thank you, I feel better. If you'll recall, a while back I got a top-whorl drop spindle, some wool fiber, and one spinning book. I did it. I have yards and yards of yarn wound onto the base of my spindle. So pretty and soft, so much potential, so many things it could be. Yummy.

And then Bubba (large black shorthair male cat rescued in 2003) got into my wool batt and dragged it all over the floor. He loves his batt. It's so enticing, so exciting, so wooly. He loves to bite and chew on the batt, rolling around on his back, all 4 paws jerking away at the fiber.

I just don't have the heart to remove the whole toy, so I'm spinning it up slowly. Then I'll buy some cheap stuff and put that in the basket, instead. He looks so cute.

Yay! I get paid on Friday. What will I get? Hmmmm. Probably something from Paradise. Bubba owes me about a half pound of Corriedale.

"Hell Trips"

Several of our Metrolift trips this week have been bad - "Hell trips". I don't mind waiting on a pickup; but I do mind waiting 2 hours when I have an imminent delivery, then a bunch of finger-pointing from the driver on how it's all our fault.

I'm the person who's waiting outside, knitting or reading. I'm outside 15 minutes before my pickup time, just like they tell me to. I see the ride, I wave at the vehicle (drivers tend to go in the wrong parking lot at work otherwise). I smile, I'm ready to go, I help my husband. The driver just has to - drive. It doesn't matter if the driver's late, I assume everyone's a nice guy/gal.

One exception saw me waving several times in the cold and rain - it was freezing, driving up and down the street right past us for an hour and it's cold and did I mention it was raining? When he finally deigned to stop he yelled at us for giving "bad information" -- he didn't get a smile. I told him I'd feel safer if my blind husband was driving than riding with him, but maybe he'd surprise me. We made it home alive and intact, so he did.

So I try to have a good attitude, but it gets old waiting, it messes up our plans, and that's why I call them Hell trips. My theory states that Metrolift doesn't want to make it easy for us to ride. They have to give us a bare minimum as required by law (they can't ride us around for more than 2 hours, for instance). But if they show up on time, smiling unstressed driver, straight trip, and pickup just when we want it, they'd be overrun. They've got a budget. People who ride alot drive up the costs, so they give us hell trips. If we have enough, we'll fix the car or call our son or daughter to take us places, instead of resigning ourselves to hell trips on Metrolift. [end theory] Unless you're us.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I'm rich!

Every now and then Ron and I ride with a driver who is absolutely convinced we are rich. "Ooooh, you gotta lotta money, huh?" said with a knowing wink. Combined, Ron and I take home about half what he makes, but he'll never believe it.

I am rich, in the things that matter. I have a loving God who cares about me, and a loving, supportive family. A husband who cherishes me and values me. Co-workers I like and respect, who feel the same about me. A quiet home in a safe neighborhood, good doctors I trust and respect, and two handsome kitties to sleep in my bed.

However, I take home about $600 a month. I've got room and board included since I'm married to the boss. My idea of a good time is reading a used inspirational romance novel (about a quarter at my local store), or maybe taking my knitting (cost, about 10 cents an hour) to Taco Bell and yakking at Ron. Our favorite date is "Burger King and Half-Price Books (for Heather), on her way back, Heather picks up some Falafel to-go for Ron; who sits, eats, and talks to Heather on the cell phone."

Oh, yeah. I'm a wild party animal. Oh, yeah, Saturdays finds me with the knitting in front of the Sci-fi channel on our awesome 20 inch low-def TV. It's no wonder that the burglary ring in our subdivision (several people were "hit") passed us up - our "stuff" wouldn't be worth the trouble to break the window. Even this computer was purchased used (off-lease) for $100. 99% of my clothes come from Wal-mart (jeans and t-shirts) and I even buy generic prescriptions!

I just have to laugh at guys like that. Money! Money! If I had enough money! Life is only good if I have lots of MONEY! Gotta get more MONEY! Guys like that, always obsessed with money, are the poorest ones I know. They're always getting sucked into scams, getting divorced, or working themselves into the hospital.

Money is the least of it. Sure, security is important. But God's not going to decide if you get into heaven based on your W-2's. The biggest concern, where I go when I'm dead, is already covered 'cause I got saved at age 8.

God's provided for us. We live below our means (spend less than we make). We avoid all credit cards. Ron has a $300 balance on one from some dental work, and he pays above the minimum every month.

I'm looking to maybe buy some wool yarn off ebay; but I'm going to let it "cook" a few days before I go punching my debit card number into paypal. When I shop online, I use the debit card, and I keep a low balance in the account to avoid impulse buying. When I get paid, I break the cash into "Saved up for" items (like a medical appointment or a special purchase - currently putting up $15 a pay period for a new winter jacket), "This week" and "Next week". I only use "This week". Once it's gone, it's gone. Anything else has to wait until the next week. It works for me.

I love it when Ron calls me "His Economy Model". I have no problem buying a used clothing item (except underwear, ewwww) or book. I don't need to eat at a fancy restaurant. I'm happy riding Metrolift, reading my used books, knitting with my cheap yarn, and eating at Taco Bell.

I'm rich in the things that matter.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bubba's having fits

Poor Bubba is having fits in the window. We had a cool front come in, so we opened the windows that have screens. It's probably about 70-something degrees right now.

"I've" got Cardinals (the birds, not the team) in "My" Red-tip Photina (Cardinals and Red-tip, no wonder they live there). Unlike most homeowners or landscaper types, I prefer a more natural look to "my" hedges. I don't believe in butchering the poor things to quivering stumps, and ruthlessly whacking any vestige of nature. I HATE bushes like that. So I thin them out as needed, and confine them to a general area, but I don't hack them. I've had sparrows and the cardinals nesting in them as a result.

I love birds, always have, always will. I do feel bad for them because we have 2 alley cats. Ron and I can tell when Bubba's under the red-tip, frightening the birds - they scold him like you wouldn't believe. The mockingbirds love to follow Ron around after he mows, cherry-picking the tastiest bugs (I don't use chemicals, either). They'll dive-bomb Bubba as needed (which fills him with equal parts eagerness and annoyance).

I gave the birds a break today. Bubba is sitting in various windows, meowing at the birds, which scold him in return. Ron's asleep.

I got out my spinning goodies and gave it a try, but I feel very obtuse. The Knitty message board says "Only practice for 15 minutes a day" which is great advice. I'll do more tomorrow. The wool fiber I got (Corriedale) is pretty and cheap enough for practice. I like just petting the fiber by itself. It's very relaxing.

Bad news: I'm still "out" 2 spinning books I ordered. Frustrating! It doesn't matter what it is; home-care, bipolar disorder, or learning a new hobby - I've got my routine. Buy some books, read up, spend a moderate amount of money on starter stuff (if it's a hobby), and saturate myself with as much information as possible. Then (if it's a hobby) practice practice. I feel positively naked trying to spin with just one book! It's a good book, but it's only one.

I got some more Suave hand lotion today, the shea-cocoa butter kind. It smells so wonderful and is incredible. We have terrible foam hand soap at work, the antibacterial kind that's about as gentle as steel wool. Even Ron's using hand lotion. I'm really happy I got it. Sometimes $1 products aren't even worth a nickel, but not this stuff!

I skunked the driver

Riding the Metrolift paratransit service, you encounter various "types". The "Practical" an outgoing, no-nonsense female driver, she's the one who can eat a hamburger, talk to dispatch, and navigate hellish traffic in a downpour. The Talker, who'd have a seizure if they had to hang up. The older white guy, a little off-beat, but a really nice guy.

Today, we rode with a "Refrigerator". I have a theory that "Refrigerators" had a poverty-stricken childhood. They never had air conditioning, or, if they did, it was carefully rationed. They probably never got enough to eat, either, although "Refrigerators" tend to be average-weight. Their parents each worked 2 jobs to pay the bills and never had enough time for them, although they had loving homes. They are addicted to keeping their vehicle as cold as possible. To them, 60 degrees is ideal. They're the reason Ron always brings a coat when we ride, especially in the summer.

I've been getting devoured by mosquitoes at work. I tell Ron, he's broccoli to them, while I'm chocolate cake. I'm the best person to have when you're in a mosquito area, 'cause they'll all be biting me. The DEET stuff has been implicated in giving me migraines, so I avoid it. I got some herbal bug spray and sprayed it on directly a while ago, but I stank like some kind of vile wintergreen-lemon toilet bowl cleanser. It was toxic.

Today I had a new idea. "I know" I thought "I'll spray a tiny bit of the bug spray onto a washcloth. Then I'll rub the washcloth on my arms and legs." I'm one of those people who don't believe their loved ones. If Ron tells me I'm sweet and fun, I'm accepting, but I don't believe it. If a complete stranger says so, I'm deeply touched and I believe them instantly. So when Ron told me, "Heather, you stink!" I blew him off. Picky, picky. Besides, it's too late, our ride just pulled up outside.

As soon as I opened the door to the cab, I knew the driver was a "Refrigerator". The windows are tightly rolled up and the thermostat is set for "Max Cold" "High". The driver didn't say anything but I noticed he seemed to be sniffling.

About one mile into our ride, he turned off the A/C and rolled all the windows down. I didn't want to believe it. Did I reek so much that I forced a Refrigerator to turn off the A/C and roll down the windows? These are the guys who won't turn off the A/C if you BEG them to.

We went another block. I couldn't take it. "Is it me? Do I smell that bad?" The driver glanced at me in the rear view mirror, leaned closer to the window, and took a deep breath. "It's my allergies, I think I'm allergic." Ron's face was a fascinating combination of smirk and empathy.

"I'm sorry." I wailed.

I managed to find a couple of rubbing alcohol wipes in my purse (first-aid kit). I wiped myself down but it didn't help much. I told the driver I would never, ever use that stuff again as I got out of the cab at "our" Walmart.

A swift trip to the health and beauty section and I got some rubbing alcohol towlettes. I paid for them and stood in the store vestibule, wiping my arms and legs down with rubbing alcohol, trying to kill the stench. It helped but I still carried a definite aroma.

We went to work (a Metrolift driver was happy to receive a gift of the rest of the package of rubbing alcohol wipes). Stocked the machines, etc. I got pretty goofy from my pills so I sat on a milk crate in the stock room.

After work, Yay! Time to go to Burger King. I went out to the "Bus stop" and was bitten by several mosquitoes.

However, no other drivers were forced to roll down their windows. I'm sorry I skunked the driver.

Friday, June 22, 2007

I would be depressed

I've never had this experience until I started taking my pills; I can tell that if I weren't taking them, I'd be seriously depressed. This time (since I got upgraded to 900 mg of Lithium a day) it's even better. The only real symptom I have is not wanting to take a shower.

I like to take my shower at night and let my hair air-dry. Then, I use an elastic to pull it back into my trademark ponytail. But when I'm cycling into depression, I don't want to shower. I have to (pardon, my age is showing) like, force myself to shower. It feels so taxing.

I'm incredibly serious when I say, it's so refreshing to only deal with fatigue and I-don't-want-to-shower. Maybe a stiff joint or some digestive weirdness (very common with any depression), but that's it. Normal is very underrated. It's, (again), like, wow. This rules. I hope I do get used to this.

Since I'm a "rapid cycler" and my illness was undiagnosed for so long, I don't expect easy-quick fixes. I know it's very difficult to manage. But this makes all the hassles of getting my blood levels, prescription side effects, and financial hassles of my illness "totally" worthwhile.

I'd say the most annoying side effects are the dizzy spells. But they're so much better than being sick!

Onto other subjects, I had a great surprise on my doorstep today. My goody box from Paradise fibers arrived, and they got 5 stars in my book.
1. Excellent website, very easy to navigate.
2. Awesome customer service when I called with a question.
3. 800 number for when I did call.
4. Really easy checkout when I made my purchase.
5. FAST shipping.

I had a blast playing with my new toys (thanks to my pills, I could enjoy my purchase). I got over a pound of wool top, a spindle, and a sample card. The sample card has good sized samples of various exotic fibers like llama, yak, and cashmere. It also had some beautiful silk samples.

My favorite fiber is probably the camel/silk blend. Luxurious.

Bubba (my black cat) went wild for the sample card, literally. He jumped in the box, bit the fibers, and began licking them. He seems very partial to the llama.

I'm glad I didn't get any llama fibers.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Today was much better

Today was much better.

Ron was upset about a property tax thing. We made up; settled up, and it was $500 less than he'd expected to pay. We got some good BBQ today on the way home and had a good time with out buddy Chuck.

I got 2 of my Alibris books. I'm reading up on spinning with a high-whorl drop spindle (which I've ordered from Paradise). I got a confirmation email from Walton's (I figure God is allowing shipping delays to remind me that I'm still a bit manic). I can probably expect the Walton's in a week or two (fine). They have awesome shipping rates, very low. Yeee-haw.

Dr P called. From the questions, I gathered my (Lithium) levels were low. The migraine Sunday didn't help; if I can't take my Lithium the level drops. So, I did some research and found a compounding pharmacy that will, get this, make me a lithium suppository. They had some very appropriate questions (why? What do you hope to accomplish? "Keep my Lithium level from dropping when I'm nauseous from a migraine and can't take my Lithium"). They liked my answer and said, well, don't take it every day but they can get me something. Not only that, they're in the Metrolift service area. I also called Dr P and told him about these guys. Odds are, he can send them a lot more business than just me.

We did the "meter readings" at work today. Sales are pathetic! It's a good thing we live below our means, otherwise we'd be up the creek this month. On the plus side, the machines look very nice; full and appealing.

I know I was going to blog about something else but I can't remember what. So that's it for today.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Heather gets her blood test and whines on other topics

I finally got my lithium blood test. Thank you, Quest Diagnostics. They were great. As far as I'm concerned, the $60 was money well spent. I was especially happy when the technician made such a nice quick poke. No jabbing around and apologizing, no long owie... just wham. I looked down and the large tube was filling, then I'm done and out of there. The Daffy Duck bandaid was, however, a disappointment. It fell off and I had to get another bandaid out of my purse.

I didn't get a T-shirt or a snack. And they didn't even thank me for donating! Waaah! It all came together really well and I was very happy when I saw she drew the blood exactly 12 hours after my last dose. I plan to go there again for my next test and I'd tell anyone about my happy experience. It was a very professional, high-quality place. Only I would bring my own hamburger to eat afterwards, along with a 20-ounce soda to wash it and my pills down. If I don't take my lithium and lexapro with a good meal, I get really goofy. They have Dr P's fax number so I expect to hear from him in a few days.

Things I'm not happy about:
  • Where are my books from Alibris? They said I'd get them on or by the 20th. It's the 20th! Where are the books? I paid almost $15 in shipping! I'm going to get the spindle I ordered Saturday before I get the books I ordered 10 days before! They are not on my happy camper list. BN.com was better on the used books I think. Next order goes to them unless I get my books pronto!
  • Walton's hasn't processed my order yet. Which means they haven't mailed it. Which means I don't have the stuff in my disaster kit. Which means I'm not too happy with them, either.
  • Ron. He picked a fight with me today over something really minor. He's still sulking. He gave me a disk to read, I read it and typed back. He gave me another disk. My drive won't recognize it as formatted. Probably a good thing. It's like, whatever. [rolleyes] I think he's upset about something else and is using this as an excuse to "vent". I guess plenty of men are feeling this way about women in their lives too. That said, Men! AGH! I keep coming back to - Whatever. I hope he snaps out of it tomorrow. Times like this I wish I didn't work with him. He's not being a creep, it's just the pouty sulking thing. It. Gets. Old.

Nothing good on TV. I feel itchy. I'm tired but I don't want to go to bed. My shoulder was acting up earlier but the Salonpas pain patches did a great job. Yay Salonpas.

Yay Paradise Fibers who DID ship and sent me a confirmation email. Well, I think I'll go look at bn.com and see how my knitting bag fared in the washer. It was getting fairly grubby.

Things will always get better. If this is the worst I've got, I'm doing fantastically. Thank you God! I mean that.

Monday, June 18, 2007

That which doesn't kill me...

Saturday was awesome. Really, a wonderful day. I went shopping at Walmart, made my deposit, and came home and purchased the stuff I've been wanting for a while. I even got my nifty new-to-me digital camera from Mom and Dad! For dessert, I had a delicious treat, sugar-free cherry pie filling on top of sugar free vanilla ice cream. Ron loved it too, he licked the bowl clean. All in all, a very good day.

Sunday we had planned on going to work, then Burger King, Half-Price books (for me, while Ron's at Burger King), and Ron wanted to get some falafel to go from the deli that shares the parking lot with the Burger King. It would have been a lot of fun.

However, the cherries in the cherry pie filling? They were dyed with Red #40. For some reason, I didn't check the label. DUMB DUMB DUMB. Red #40, Yellow #5 and anything to do with nuts, are all migraine triggers.

Yesterday, I was laid up with a horrible kicker of a migraine. Every time I turned or adjusted my position even slightly, it felt like I was getting mule-kicked in the head. Thank GOD I had my trusty Phenergan suppositories. Head-on Migraine is good product, too. It definitely helped.

Ugh. 20 hours of hell, then once I'm upright, I had to go to work. More trying to get my lithium level circus - it looks promising though. I couldn't get my levels today because I didn't take anything yesterday, being prostrate with the migraine.

Now I'm home. I'm going to take a nap and eat safe things today.

Tomorrow, we're going to work, then do all the stuff we wanted to do Sunday.

That which doesn't kill me, makes me stronger.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Last night

Generally, I am a Fox TV fan. I like most of their nightime dramas; interesting, not trashy. Characters that don't try to be quirky, they just are - intelligent TV. Even when I was suicidal, the "King of the Hill/Simpsons" block at 6 PM was a lifesaver.

Last night, I watched "Standoff". It's a very good program. I like the "regulars" and the story lines are all different. I don't feel like I'm watching the same program over and over. I'm not going to "spoil" the episode.

One of the main characters was a Paranoid Schizophrenic with paranoid delusions. In many regards, he could have been me. And it's SAD. It's sad that anyone has to go through this. I've never felt like I could trust my brain, as far back as I remember. When my Dad built us all a tree house (I must have been about 7), I was afraid to use it because I had delusions my 4 year old "little brother" was going to kill me by pushing me out of the tree house. When I'd tell people; they'd look alarmed and do the "Oh, Heather! That's not true!" Of couse I knew it wasn't true but tell that to my brain. I've always felt that way, can't trust my brain, have to make sure...

Well! The Mail Lady just delivered my New-To-Me digital camera! THANKS DAD!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

"You don't have to be a cat forever."

I earned my title as the "Junk Food Queen" today by purchasing $180 worth of candy bars and stuffing them into the snack machines.

My derigeur bipolar update: Today I was supposed to get my lithium level tested. I stayed up late last night so I could take my Lithium as late as possible (midnight, as it has to be 10-12 hours since my last dose at the time of the test). I took a nap in the afternoon. Got up 6 hours later (that'll make me manic, alright). Had a great trip to Sam's Club. Nice driver.

Got the candy bars. Went outside. Another nice driver and good trip. Left Ron outside with the candy. Ran in, got the cart, loaded the cart, went in. We got to work late so we didn't have long before our next pickup, to go to the hospital. Stuffed candy bars into 2 snack machines. They look good. Snack 2 can shut down if people hit it, so I decided to invest my time in machines that won't go "Out of Service" if they smack it a few times (hey, if I were a postal worker I'd beat up a few machines too). I'll get snack 2 tomorrow. I'm such a geek. If I only have 36 candy bars of, say, "Mellows", I will allot 12 candy bars to each machine. I'm a vending geek, yes I am.

Maybe I should rename this, "Heather Knits, the Vending Geek". Hm. I got most of what I needed to do, done. Happy. (8 hours of no Lithium) I want to go shopping. Starting to talk A LOT. Can't shut up. Other than that, OK.

Fast forward 2 hours. By the time we find out that the hospital can't do outpatient blood testing, at least for me, uninsured (screams of frustration), I am WIGGING OUT. You know me, I'm a positive person. I'll phrase it this: I was not hostile. I did not have delusions. I was not paranoid. I "seemed" fine to passers-by. Other than that, I was in bad shape.

I have never been so happy to swallow 2 lithium capsules in my life. Doc says, 900 mg a day, don't care how you do it. I figure, one regular "Lithium Carbonate" (fast-acting, in my humble opinion) and one "Extended Relief" - my phrasing. I got really queasy later but I don't care, I'd do it again.

Ron has to get recertified by his doctor for metrolift anyway so he says he has it all set up for both of us on Monday. He's a good guy. He doesn't want to see me go through that again.

UGH. It's a miracle I didn't kill myself before. I don't see how I did "it" without medication. Today was ghastly. It was a good day, but MAN am I sick!

I SO need my pills. How can anyone with this illness reject medication? I have just about every side effect in the book; I understand that but for me my illness is a thing of terror, disgust, amazement, and pity.

Last night one of our local TV stations had a program on hurricane prepardness. I didn't know this; most hurricanes that "get" Houston form in the Gulf within 2 days of striking. Yike.

We had a lot of waiting around today. I mentioned the stuff I plan to get from Walton's to Ron. He agreed and he's curious about trying some of the items in the "Sample pack". I'll probably order them Saturday.

When we got home today, I was very queasy and had some unpleasant side effects. Ron always tells me, in a loving tone of voice, "You don't have to be a cat forever." We had a cat who'd get sick and he'd always tell her that while stroking her. He does the same with me.

So, I'd just gotten home. VERY unpleasant time in the bathroom (there, you guessed). Thanking God that my prayers of "Not in the cab, Lord" are answered. "I wish I could do something for you." Ron laments.

"You paid mortgage so I have a home and a bed to lie down in. You paid the electricity to chill my nice cold Sprite Zero. That's what I really need."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"296.6"

I was reading my lab papers (I go for my Lithium level test tomorrow) today. I think "we" may need to up my lithium some more, last night I spent hours online looking at meat sticks. Yah. Glorybee, who sells the most delicious hard honey candy with a soft honey center... mmmm. That's easy. I love their products and I have a terrible weakness for honey. I am thinking of buying some candy for my doctor's staff. And one tiny bag for me...

Anyway, I looked at my papers. My "Diagnosis Code" is 296.6. Being a curious little booger, I just looked it up.

"296.6 Bipolar I disorder, most recent episode (or current) mixed
Manic-depressive psychosis, circular type, mixed" What does it mean? First of all, Bipolar, well that's where I go too fast or too slow. Type one is the most severe form.

"In some people, however, symptoms of mania and depression may occur together in what is called a mixed bipolar state. Symptoms of a mixed state often include agitation, trouble sleeping, significant change in appetite, psychosis, and suicidal thinking. A person may have a very sad, hopeless mood while at the same time feeling extremely energized.In some people, however, symptoms of mania and depression may occur together in what is called a mixed bipolar state. Symptoms of a mixed state often include agitation, trouble sleeping, significant change in appetite, psychosis, and suicidal thinking. A person may have a very sad, hopeless mood while at the same time feeling extremely energized. "

(source- National Institute of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/bipolar.cfm )

Sounds about right for me. Mind, I'm not too wild about the word "Psychosis" but how else to you explain my ongoing urges to stockpile food and build a fall-out shelter? I didn't just "think" people were out to get me, I knew it. When it comes to psychotic symptoms, I'm more in the "delusion" category. I have strong beliefs, I know they are strange, improbable, or just plain wrong, but I can't NOT believe them. I can't get them out of my head!

All that said, my illness is very well controlled with my medication and some basic lifestyle changes. I try to aim for a quiet, predictable routine, regular sleep-wake cycles, avoid alcohol completely, always get 8 hours sleep, stay away from most medication (antihistamines will make me very manic - freaking out! No sleep for days! Stockpile! Disaster is imminent!), and avoid stressful situations if at all possible. Fortunately, I'm able to do that, thank God, but if something happened to my husband I'd have to go on disability. Like Dad always said, cross that bridge when I come to it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Macadamian"

I believe in honesty. A couple hours ago while I was at a cookie shop I overheard something that aggravates me to no end.

Ron and I used to run a deli. We sold Macadamia nut cookies, chocolate chip, and oatmeal rasin (we'd buy them at Sam's Club and repackage them).

"I want one of the Macadamian nut cookies, too" I heard.

Macadamia is singular. Macadamia. "Macadamian" is NOT A WORD! It just makes you sound like an ignorant SLUG!

AGH! I just had to get that out of my system. I used to have such a hard time getting the cookies and handing them over to the customers without saying "It's Macadamia cookies." Or saying "No. We don't sell Macadamian. We only sell Macadamia cookies." But even before my pills, I'd bite my tongue and hand them over with a smile.

STUPID
STUPID
STUPID

Thank you. I needed to get that out of my system.

Hey, I used to call basil "BUH-sil". It's not the bad English that aggravates me, it's SLOPPY English. I'm not a grammar or English expert by any means.

"Macadamian"
AHH!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Llama hat

I told Ron about my idea for the llama hat. He loves it. He has a vivid memory of being spat on and menaced by a llama when he was a little boy.

I told him that, when I'm proficient, I'd like to get some llama fiber, spin it, and knit him a hat. "You'll be nice and warm while you think about a naked llama running around somewhere." He loves it; more than I'd hoped.

I already ordered some used books on spinning from http://www.alibris.com. I'll have a few days to read them, and then, after I get paid Friday (and make my deposit), I'm going to get some fiber and a drop spindle. I love learning new things. It will be a lot of fun spinning my own yarn. I get to enjoy it several times over, during the spin process, dyeing (I have ideas of doing indigo over a natural gray), and knitting it up into a warm and cozy product.

I think I'll use my first batch to knit myself some legwarmers. It doesn't matter if they're a little "Rustic" - I think it'll add to the charm. I hate cold legs in the winter.

In the meantime, I have all the fun of selecting delicious fibers to spin. Paradise http://www.paradisefibers.net/ has some great products in my price range, and some gorgeous custom blends. They even have a "Lavender Heather".

Yummy.

"What are you?"

One of the worst questions I ever received came in a letter. My childhood friend had looked me up and was curious about my life. He was happy to hear I was happily married, gainfully employed, and a homeowner. The gist of the question was "What are you? What are your religious beliefs? I've heard you talk about prayer."

I was very discouraged. I am a Born-Again-Christian-Jesus-Christ-as-my-lord-and-savior-confess-repent-forgive-all-my-sins-love-God-love-your-neighbor-as-yourself-keep-the-commandments Christian. OK?

Agh. My spiritual gift is not evangelism. My spiritual gift is nurturing. I feel I put it to good use. God sees what I do and knows my heart.

I just had to get this out. I never want to hear that question again.

"Drink Responsibly"

My brain was damaged by alcohol before I was even born. It has a couple of names, FAS, ARND, but the result's the same. http://www.come-over.to/FAS/FASbrain.htm For a while after I learned of my diagnosis, I was furious at "Big Booze".

"They ruined my life before I even had one. How dare they? Someone should file a class-action lawsuit!" To some degree it's true. I'm a Born-Again-Christian and God has a way of letting me know when I need an "attitude adjustment".

Mine came as I watched a 300+ pound customer buying a couple of sodas and candy bars out of our vending machines. How dare I sell such damaging items! Couldn't I see I was ruining that man's health? Sugar is addictive and destructive. Don't I know how many people die of obesity-complications every year? Well. They're adults. They're making their own decisions.

God forgive me, our best customers are the fattest customers. We offer healthy options; flavored waters, diet sodas, healthy snacks but they'll never sell as well as a Coke and a Snickers bar. They choose to buy the unhealthy items, knowing the risks. They're just not eating responsibly.

It's the same thing with alcohol. Big Booze is no different from "Ron and Heather". They offer a product for people to enjoy. They don't want people ruining their children's brains prenatally, binge-drinking frat house deaths, or getting into DUI wrecks. They want to sell enough product so they can pay the mortgage and send their kids to summer camp. "Big Booze" doesn't want to hurt people. Even the heartless can say of course they don't it's bad for business but I always like to take a positive view.

I find it encouraging that all the ads I've seen for alcoholic products strongly encourage people to use them in moderation. They show a portion size. For the hard stuff, that's 1.5 ounces. They show people only having a 1.5 ounce portion while voice-overing the need to drink responsibly.

I forgive them.

My mother certainly didn't know what she was doing. In fact, the night she died I had a dream. She came to me and just surrounded me in love and regret. "I'm so sorry, Heather." she said "I love you" I could literally feel the depth of love she had. "I didn't know I'd hurt you! Please forgive me!" It was very easy to say yes, I forgave her, and meant it. I know that experience was a gift from God. We both needed that closure.

Some people shouldn't drink. My mom was one of them. Anyone with FAS shouldn't (we have an 80% addiction rate to alcohol and hard drugs). Certainly no one with bipolar disorder, or, I'd say, any mood disorder. About half the people who commit suicide have alcohol in their systems.
  • Alcoholic mother
  • Fetal Alcohol brain damage - hardwiring me for alcohol addiction.
  • Bipolar disorder, same.
  • Alcohol interferes with mood-stabilizer drugs. I didn't spend 25 years of my life in misery, only to get "straight"; just to throw it all away.
  • When I'm depressed, I have strong suicidal impulses. It takes a lot of energy to fight them and the last thing I need then is lowered inhibitions.

I cannot drink responsibly, so I'm a teetotaler.

It's easy. I grew up hearing from my stepmother (thanks!) that I coudn't drink, I'd ruin my life. I drank a little but it screws with my moods and puts me in an unhappy "Mixed" state of agitation and depression. UGH.

Ron, my husband can drink responsibly. He had some trouble with portion size until I showed him, 5 ounces of wine. Once he saw and accepted that we moved onto the harder stuff. He purchased a "dose cup" 1.5 ounce "shot glass" along with his spiced rum. He realizes that it saves him a lot of money.

Everything in moderation.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Hot enough for ya?

UGH. I know my pills make me sensitive to heat but all I want to do in this post is whine. Now I know heat indices of 100's are bad, but they didn't used to be this bad. I actually used to like days like this. SHUDDER.

Good news! For most of today I felt exceptionally clear and sharp. I don't always trust my "feelings" so I told Ron and he agreed. I felt like I was a big help at work today and we both got a lot accomplished. It's nice not to feel so medicated. I'm always going to take side effects over symptoms but I'm glad they're both abating.

YAY! I got my debit card. Tomorrow I turn it on. I was going to make a deposit but the bank's only open in the afternoons - DUH! I'm glad the bank's inside my Wal-mart. I need to get some more Lithium later on this week anyway. I'm planning what I'd like to get.

It's funny; I thought of another thing I've noticed. As I was planning my purchases (some used books on hand spinning and some supplies for same), I really had very little desire to buy all the survivalist crap. I feel fine about it. Besides, the bad hurricanes always come in August and September (I hope I don't regret typing this). So, I'll probably get the dehydrated sloppy joy, taco stuff, and some other meats, then a couple months later get the rest. No hurries, no worries.

It's nice to realize I don't have to carry the burden of my illness around anymore. The pills can take it. I used to be such a prude about any kind of psychiatric (wow! typed it right on the first shot - I AM better!) medication. I had a very derisive attitude. Not anymore!

That's it for now, sports fans. I gotta call my dad, and watch "Ice Spiders" on Sci-Fi. Ice. What a lovely concept.

Friday, June 8, 2007

"How much money do you have left?"

Well, my cocktail of drugs (5 pills a day now) is obviously working. Today, someone we know was just having an awful day. I gave him $5.

I told Ron later and he agreed with my sentiment/reason for doing so. God didn't put me here to be selfish. He did ask me "How much money do you have left?". $70, I told him. Ron was blown away. For me, it's an amazing feat, especially when I'm manic. It's a good thing I always shunned credit cards. I get paid legally, has to be Friday, but it will probably be earlier - Ron's a nice guy, the bank is always busy on Friday, and I hate shopping on paydays. UGH. I'd rather go hungry.

My only real vestiges of mania are:
1. Feeling extra chatty and outgoing.
2. Shopping online, but not spending (Thank God for Lithium and a $40 balance on the debit card, which has yet to arrive anyway).
3. Some odd dreams. Last night, it involved a tornado, then I had to fly somewhere but before I could fly I had to get a blood sample off myself - had a big syringe. I always have "Say what?" - headscratching reactions when I tell other people about my manic dreams. Personally, I think the tornado represents my illness; the effects can be very similar. It comes along, destroys everything you care about and throws you for miles.

Oh, some random thoughts for today. If I didn't believe in God, and I knew without a doubt I could do anything I wanted for one day, the world is stopped, I can get into any building I want, I could keep anything I took, no one would be hurt, and all merchandise would be replaced? First thing, I'd go loot a couple year's worth of Lithium and my other psychiatric drugs. Then some Revolution for the cats, a couple year's worth. That's it. I find it funny. I won't break Commandments of course. God's taken great care of me.

OK, how about this: If Lithium and my other drugs went over the counter, you just had to show ID, and it was cheap, like $5 a thousand, I'd go buy a couple years' worth right off the bat. I like that a lot better.

Where is the Kozy Shack Sugarfree Tapoica? I am going into withdrawals. I'm a little autistic in that regard, I like to eat the same thing over and over for months, same time, channel, and food. I WANT MY PUDDING!

That's it for Random Thoughts.

THANK YOU SUE! She knows why.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

"Suicide by Heather"

You've heard of suicide by cop, where someone will brandish a weapon at police just to get killed. Ugh. Well, I just experienced a wasp who chose "Suicide by Heather". He/she/it got into the house. I tried to persuade it to leave. I even opened the hot garage door and waited patiently, coaxing DUMMY to leave. No, it wanted to fly at my head and make me scream, then head towards my "dearly beloved" blind, shirtless, husband down the hall. That was it, I said "I guess you want to die, then.", shut the garage door and got the spray. I am such a softhearted person that I actually felt sorry for the accursed thing writhing on it's back in the window sill.

Ron, don't put your hand in the window!

Regarding the birds, Bubba brought me two dead ones this morning. They were quite plump and juicy looking, I'm surprised he didn't eat them. I don't recognize them, and as Polly (my aunt) says, maybe he's God's bird population control agent. The baby mockingbirds are OK; Mom keeps dive-bombing me when I head over near the yard.

Ron calls me the "Snackinator" because I am very interested in the business and always looking for an edge in our vending business (new, interesting products to lure in customers). Most ideas I've had worked out great, with the notable exception of the mint chocolate chip cookies. The chocolate chips were GREEN. Green cookies + postal workers = lousy sales. While we were at my doctors' yesterday, we noticed a delicious sweet maui onion chip. We bought a bag (purely for market research) and they were TASTY. We called the company and allegedly a rep will meet with us Tuesday. Good quick callback, good product, lower case count.. we may end up switching to these guys!

I think it's WEAK that it took several phone calls today to find a place that would do a lithium level blood test. Our primary care office, they don't do other doctors orders. Sorry, but Dr P got my $50 and that's all I'm handing out. Dr's Clinic? We want a what? Please hold... forever. It continued for a while and I told Ron, call Memorial Hermann. They are an awesome level one trauma center in the Texas Medical Center.

They told us it would cost us $23, and we can drop in anytime during business hours. No wonder I love them so much. I mean, society should be BEGGING to help us (bipolars) take our pills, you know? It shouldn't be so painful to take care of business. [rolling my eyes] But noooooo.

So, boo-hoo. We have to eat at the delicious cafeteria (I have to take my pills after the blood test, and I have to take them with food, don't I? [wink]). They have the best shrimp po-boys in the world. I'd ride down there just to eat the food. Good mini-pizza, too. Plus Ron can go yell at his buddy Tracy from Physical Therapy. Ron's first clear memory after the accident is of begging Tracy "Don't let Heather drop me!" Hey, I only dropped him once. We won't mention the time I forgot to put the brakes on the wheelchair.. or...

I feel a lot better today but my hands are shaking enough that I won't be knitting. That's OK. It's better than being sick!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

"Grandfather waves"

Today I went to go see my P-Doc (aka Psychiatrist, the MD who deals with my brain). He's an awesome dude, I love him to death.

This morning, we went to Ikea, had some breakfast, I did a little shopping (accidentally bought a FLAT sheet instead of fitted, agh!). I got some organizer stuff, came home, good trips. Went to see my Doc. Pretty obvious to me and Ron all day that yeah, I'm still pretty manic (even on the reduced antidepressant).

We ate at the wonderful deli in the building where my doctor has his offices, and the Doc had some great recommendations for me:
  • Increase my Lithium.
  • Get a Lithium level blood test.
  • Keep taking reduced antidepressant.
  • Increase antipsychotic (which works awesomely).

I call him in a week, and see him in about a month. My hands are shaking a little more and I didn't eat enough with the 600 mg dose I took with "dinner" but I am very happy. I already feel a lot better and that mental "itchiness" and compulsive talking is gone.

So, tonight I get on my knees and thank God for my husband, my doctor, and living in a time when we have the pills to manage my illness (and the fact that I can afford the doctor and the pills).

And the title? Well, the Doc says "Sometimes you don't have regular mood shifts, you get a monster 'Grandfather' wave that really tries to pick you up or pull you under." He was happy I sensed this was "out of order" and called him.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

"I don't tell you not to see"

This happened on Sunday, the 3rd. We're at work. Ron wants to change a "Flavor Strip" on our soda vending machine ("Soda 3"). It's a good old Vendo, very reliable. However, the Lipton just wasn't selling.

Ron had me get the "Flavor Strips" (the label that goes behind the clear plastic button you push to get your soda) for our Vendos. I read off the flavors and he decided he's going to put 7up instead.

We go into the breakroom. It's not very large, maybe 15 feet square. A TV is mounted on the wall in one corner, and our soda machine is in the other corner on the same wall. The TV is turned up extremely loud, and Ron (who's 30% deaf - nerve deafness) starts complaining and asking the guy to PLEASE TURN IT DOWN! The guy, with maintenance, isn't exactly warm and cuddly on the best of days, and today's no exception.

Ron asks him to turn it down again, this man is on a break and we have to work there (turns out later the guy was even off the clock!). No response, so I walk over there and turn it down myself. A commercial break passes and then the man gets up and turns the television even LOUDER. The other postal worker in the room gets up and leaves, sensing the imminent wierdness.

We are still working on the machine and we have a limited amount of time. Ron asks the guy why the TV is so loud. The man starts yelling. "Ron, are you blind?" Yes, he is, but what does that have to do with the TV? The guy keeps yelling "Are you blind? Are you blind?"

Cue strange music... this is beyond wierd and into schitzophrenia (sp). I am looking at the guy with an alarmed and twitchy expression no doubt.

"Are you blind, Ron? I don't tell you not to see, do I?" What do you say to that?
"So don't you tell me not to hear!"

I got Ron the hell out of there and Ron called his boss. He made a good point. If the guy is that deaf, he needs to see an audiologist (hearing doctor). If he's that deaf, they need to reevaluate his work assignment and make sure he isn't a danger to the other employees.

Me, I think TWO people in that room should be taking Lithium. Or something!

I am very pleased that I remained so calm and didn't go "Mama Bear" on him. I tend to be fiercely overprotective when I feel Ron is being threatened.

CUCKOO! CUCKOO! I saw the guy at work today and we made a big point of ignoring each other.

"He wants to see you"

AGH. My day started out pretty well. I discovered two active, unharmed, baby mockingbirds in the kitchen. First time ever. The cats brought them in through the cat door. I locked up the cats and scooped up the birds, placing them into a bowl. They started peeping at me, little mouths open wide enough to hold a grape (God only knows how long the poor things had been there before I woke up). I didn't want to put them out on the lawn, so I brought the bowl into my computer room. I booted the PC and logged on (dialup). Googled "rescue baby wild birds". Got a boatload of good links.

Get this, you feed baby wild songbirds - moistened dry cat or dog food. I'm here to say, they were digging it. They'd gulp it down and peep for more, climbing over each other to reach "Mama Hand". It's a beautiful memory I'll cherish. My links said that since they are fledged (full coat of feathers, which is how I recognized they're Mockingbirds), just put them out in the tree. Actually, they said if they just fell out, put them in the tree, if a cat brought it home it's as good as dead. I'm stubborn. I put them out anyway, I couldn't keep them, not with the cats.

Next thing I know they are running around on the lawn, Mama is feeding them, happy ending. They were gone (all 3) when I got back so I assume they're "moved". Poor Mama bird must have been so freaked when she saw her "Babies" being carried off my 12 pound housecats.

Not something that happens every day. But by the time I was a couple of hours at work, I realized I was getting manic - or rather more manic. I couldn't shut up talking and I just feel really itchy, inside and out. I wondered if I should call my doctor, and finally decide if I'm manic and I think I need to call him, then I should. My beloved Bipolar Survival Guide told me I should. God knows I don't want a horrible freak-out episode like I did in Oct, 1998. Ugh. That's my boogyman of bipolar "episodes". I wasn't hospitalized but I really should have been, it was terrible.

So a couple hours later, and some aggravation with a paratransit ride, later... the doctor calls back. His assistant told me to cut back on my antidepressant and "He wants to see you, we have some openings tomorrow."

I don't want to go. I don't want to be sick, damnit! AGH! But I'm going. I hate being sick.

I'll post on what he tells me tomorrow.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

"Hurricane Dip"

Well, it's the second day of hurricane season. My sister in Florida is making her "Hurricane Dip" and preparing for possible power outages, and I made a great discovery at Walmart! "My" Wal-mart had the 5-gallon bucket lids! I have about 8 or so buckets... they're handy for everything from scrap yarn storage to "barf bucket" during my more hideous migraines. Now I've got the capability to store over 40 gallons (I also have some other containers) of water should we experience a disaster. Of course I'd wash them out with bleach and air-dry before using them to store water, duh.

I also reopened my internet debit card account. I plan to get some stuff from Waltons http://waltonfeed.com/ in a week or two just to finish off my kit. When I'm finally, finally done I'll get some instant soy milk at Whole Foods. Ha, it would be ironic if I were killed in a disaster and the looters got my kit. And yes, I took my pills today. I've only been a little manic.

I remain hopeful, though. Our Paratransit driver actually asked me what she should have in her "Hurricane" kit and seemed willing to prepare in advance. I refer to it as a "Hurricane" kit in public because people don't like to think about disasters in general. In CA, it was an "Earthquake" kit.

Well, I'm off. I'm curious to see how the Jello instant pudding with no-sugar-added-soy-milk turned out.

Friday, June 1, 2007

"I don't want to use you"

Wednesday at work, we had a transportation screw-up. Only 1 hour at work, and I had to help Ron stock the machines, unload 2 pallets, receive a large soda order, and help out with other things. I suggested to Ron that I handle the more "active" job of unloading the sodas. I can manage the mania better if I'm active or engaged in something, otherwise my thoughts run wild.

"I don't want to use you." he replied. Trust me, I told him, I'm doing us both a favor. So I offloaded all the bottled soda and about 60 cases of canned soda; all in the period of 15 minutes. I tell you, I earned my pay.

I love that my medication can help me go from a manic, rabid, paranoid fight-picker to a calmer, more capable (albeit hyper) person. Days like today, when I slept 10 hours, went out to eat, came home, slept 4 more hours, and I'm still tired - well. I remind myself it's a trade off. I don't want to be sick.

This morning, in fact, I had a nightmare. I was at a retreat with some other people. Somehow we missed the bus to come back home. I was stuck hours away from home and my roomate left. That was all OK. Even when the retreat manager told me I had to check out of my room. My biggest concern? I didn't have any money to buy breakfast so I could take my Lithium. I remember begging and pleading, I have to take my pills, I don't want to be sick. Then I woke up.

It had been about 13 hours since my last dose, and I tend to get "sick" if I go more than 14 hours. It's funny how my brain works to remind me "It's pill time".

I haven't really been able to focus on my lace knitting and I'm a little tired of my shawl, so I'm working on "Happy" for now. Things can only get better.

I'm glad I don't have a credit card, I would have had it smoking yesterday! I'm considering reopening my "Internet debit card" account but I'm going to think about it for another couple days. I tend to buy odd lots of lots of items related to my newest interest.

My next-door neighbors are moving. I'm going to miss their dog. Isn't that terrible? They had the cutest little min-pin who loved coming over for treats. She's a little escape artist. I got a little weird with them about a year ago (Before Medication) so I feel a little awkward every time we interact. I'd love to tell them why I was so odd in the past but I think they would just totally shut down... and now they're loading the big-screen into the pickup truck and moving. They were renting the house. I am curious to see if the owner will sell it or re-rent.

Thankfully the new people, whoever they are, will only see medicated Heather. I hope they like cats. We had one odd-ball (the homeowner's wife!) who threatened to kill them because "They keep looking at me."

Hm.

I wish there were a test

"Stop bothering me or I'll hit you. " Ron shouted.  Alarm bells began to ring.  Lately, Ron has been threatening physical vi...