Friday, November 30, 2012

Hug a Recipient Day

The handout went great!

I had done up about 70 or so regular Bibles.  I signed a Christmas card, "I'll be praying for you every day!  Heather and Friends".  I also put in a tract and stamped each Bible with church contact info (I have worried about my recipients getting sucked into something bad, so I'm really happy the pastor gave me a stamp).

I did that for ALL the Bibles.  Someone, a mother, sent me some money for "Bibles".  I prayed on it and was led to buy Kiddie Bibles.  http://www.biblicadirect.com/p-1417-nirv-childrens-new-testament.aspx   They are really great.

I had a case, 40, of them.  I also had about 5 Spanish New Testaments.  Since Acres Homes is predominately Black, I figured that would be fine.  I put in some Spanish Gospels of John (my aunt bought them, and I still have some left) just in case, but I didn't need them.

Then I loaded the 3 cases of Bibles onto the wheelchair, put the signs in the back (Ron has a smaller sign), loaded my reflective vest (aka my "garment of praise" Source

We had everything we needed, except Ron's cell phone, which he later discovered was missing.  Oh, well.

Our ride was right on time.  He's a nice guy, has a Jesus tattoo.  He took one look at everything and cheerfully asked what I was doing today.

"A Bible Handout" I replied.
"You picked the right place for it!"  Then I got to hear, again, about the horrible neighborhood.

I don't care.  God called me to go there, so I'm going.  I'd walk over broken glass to do a Handout.

We got everything strapped (which is also ghetto slang for carrying a handgun), loaded Ron, and off we went.  It was a straight trip.

Recipients hate the rain.  Normally, they'll open their window for a Bible, but not in the rain.  It started to rain.

Ron started yelling at God, and the rain stopped.  [laugh]  Whatever works.

I got Ron set up on the median, unloaded my 3 cases, and filled my shoulder bag.  Immediately, I had people asking for Bibles.

I can see why God had me get the children's Bibles - when the recipients found out I had them, they took them.  They were thrilled.  Bibles for me and other adults, and Bibles for my kids!  I was handing out 7-8 to each car until I ran out of Children's Bibles.

I had 3 different versions.  I had some HCSB - they are more of a butter yellow with taupe scrollwork.  I had some "Tree" NIV's - really pretty.  Then I had the basic blue NKJV ones my Pastor gave me.

A professional driver pulled up next to me.  She said "Give me one".  I offered her the blue one.  "No, I don't want that one, give me the yellow one."  I smiled and did so.  "Oh, and my passenger wants one too."  You got it.

Three people, that I know of, saw me, but couldn't get over in the traffic, hung a u-turn, and came back.  Three parked their cars and ran out to me, to get the Bible.

One guy was very, very, drunk.  He decided he wanted a Bible.  He almost stepped in front of a big rig so I told him I'd go to him.  As I got to him, he adjusted himself, then took the Bible.  God, I love my recipients.  I really mean that.

Everyone was so thrilled to find out the Bible really was free.  Ron said I should tell them about my sponsors but like I told Ron, they just take the Bibles and leave!  They don't hang out to talk!

Except for one - after Ron and I finished she found us and thanked me again.  I gave her a hug, and she asked a few questions about our church.  She seemed really interested.  Good.

I kept counting down, only have 10, only have 9, telling Ron my tally.

One guy pulled up.  "I've only got 5 left!  Today's the day!" He took it.

Another car, the driver said no, the passenger said yes.  Of course, in God's perfect timing when I had 2, my last car wanted 2.  All done!

I told Ron to wrap it up, right as a lady pulled up.  She was really upset.  "They're gone?"  Then I remembered I had a couple extra, just in case, so I gave them to her.  Ron kept holding up the sign and I had to take it away from him!

I only handed out the 5 Spanish - and I didn't have anyone else who wanted Spanish when I was out.  God worked it all perfectly, of course.

We were done!  I got Ron off the median and crunched up my boxes.  I got a snack from the gas station and we decided to take the bus home (our scheduled paratransit ride wasn't due for an hour).  We had done it all in about an hour.

As always, God sent hungry people ready for His word and I got to plant some seeds.  Now, praying for them every day.

That's when the lady tracked me down and I asked if I could hug her.  I have always wanted to hug a recipient.  Today was the day.

Not Forgotten

I haven't forgotten you.

I've been working on a Bible Handout.  I have about 100 ready to go.

Today, I go to the worst part of the ghetto, the street corner that makes even the cab drivers pale, with Ron, the wheelchair, the sign, and the Bibles.

Please pray, if you're inclined to do so.  Thanks!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Egg Timer

Today started off with an expletive, as I saw the time.  I'd forgotten to set my alarm and overslept an hour.  I had also had a post-traumatic nightmare involving a chihuahua.  I think it represented my in-laws, who had a vicious little chihuahua they coddled.  They would laugh when it bit people.

Anyway, I got up and Ron said "It's really cold out, with gusts".  I went on a fruitless hunt for the long underwear, which I failed to locate.  I was annoyed.

I barely had time for a shower and half my God Time.  I like to do my Bible Study and pray, but I could only do the Bible.

I did the pray part about an hour ago.

I dressed in my jeans, t-shirt, hooded sweatshirt, and "Big Blue" my long blue coat.  I used to have a really nice coat from Land's End, but someone stole it from the hospital after Ron's accident.

The way I see it, Big Blue keeps me safe and warm.  No one wants it.  It is clean and intact, but is clearly old and from a thrift shop.  It has nice deep pockets, I can store my fingerless wool gloves and a hand warmer with no problem.  Slap on an Army Surplus wool watch cap and I'm very toasty.

I can't quite zip it, but I'll lose the weight.  I even made a matching scarf in an alpaca blend.  Bubba cat loves to eat alpaca yarn so I had to work on it away from home.  I did and Bubba has no interest in the finished product.

Wool is great, albeit a bit itchy, but the mothproof on my surplus hats didn't take.  They got eaten up this last summer, leaving me one survivor.  Logically speaking, I only need one hat, but I was a little annoyed.

At any rate, when I stepped outside I felt OK.  Ron gave me a little money to buy some new long underwear, which is in the washer right now.

Ron dropped me at Starbucks, and went home, saving me 2 bus rides.  I ran to the Christian bookstore and located my Bibles, arranged to have them delivered, and bought some Christmas cards to put into Bibles for handout.

After that, I considered going to the dollar store but decided against it.  I went by McDonald's and got a couple hamburgers for dinner.  I stuck them in my giant tote bag and went off to Walmart.

I wanted one of the neon colored sweatshirts, possibly for my next handout, but they apparently only sell them at the one store.  I did get the long underwear and some navy sweatpants in my size.

How sad that I live in a world where the Women's sizes also come in petite.   While I'm 5'7, I have short legs, so I need the shorter length.  I had a pair of sweatpants in purple, but as I perceive it, the fashion laws say I can only really wear them with the matching purple top.  Kind of limiting.

I had no problem, before I got the pay cut, buying 2 purple hooded sweatshirts (different colors), a purple sweatshirt, and a purple sweatpants.  I adore purple.  I'll wear it, and I do.

I love having versatility in the jackets.  Normally I can just wear a hooded sweatshirt in Houston winters.

At any rate, I had a gap in the wardrobe - nice neutral sweatpants.  I got them.  They're in the wash with the long underwear.

I got some more Christmas cards (they were good, and very affordable), and that about did the budget.   What next.  Some walking, some bus riding, and I was at the location where I'd meet Ron to come home.

I had plenty of time, almost 2 hours.  I was sitting in the sun, what there was, and felt very comfortable. I was outside a big store with security cameras.  Ron would call it "probability estimating" - I wouldn't have a problem.

And I didn't, as I took out my Kindle and read half my book.  77 Days in September.  It's a very good book about a family after an EMP event.  You know I love my post-apocalyptic fiction.

For $4, it certainly entertained me.  In fact, things would get so tense I'd have to put it down, now and then.

So, I read that and drank my diet soda.  I got hungry and started eating a hamburger (I got 2 "values").  Right as I took my first bite, the phone rang and I saw the paratransit vehicle.  I waved and answered, somehow managing not to drop anything important, or choke, and got Ron unloaded.  We did a little shopping and got our ride home.

I was ready for a nap, but the Bibles were coming!   I waited outside with the cats.

The neighbor has wisely left the garage door in place to fool the homeowner's association.  I was worried about fire safety, but he has installed a large window on each "bedroom" (I peeked in the window when they were gone).  Good.  I don't have to worry about his kids roasting alive.  UGH.  That would be horrible.

They can get out the window.  In fact, today, as we pulled up I saw a latino guy climbing out of a window.  I told Ron "If I didn't know they were doing work, I'd take a photo of him and call the police".   I thought it was pretty funny.

So did the worker.

They find Baby Girl pretty funny, she tries to creep up on them, they startle her, and she runs off.  She loves it.   So do the guys.

When I was at Walmart today, I saw the cutest little pet coats.  I loved the leopard print parka.  I could tell Baby Girl would need the XXS.  They didn't have it.  I called Ron and told him how much I wanted to dress her up in a little sweater or coat.    She'd look so cute running around the yard.

Ron said "Your egg timer is going off!  It's your biological clock!"  I laughed so hard I almost wet myself.

He told me I'd have to buy one for Bubba, but we don't have enough money for the hand surgery I'd need.

All in all, a pretty good day.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Wellbutrin and applesauce

Ugh.  Heartburn.

How did it start?  Well, the last time I went to the grocery store, I got some unsweetened apple sauce.  "This will be nice and mild, to take my pills in the morning" I thought.

And that's just what I did.

I had gotten up at 2:30 AM, it's delivery day.  I got up, did my God Time, and took my pills.  Our ride came.  About 10 minutes into the ride I realized I had made a horrible mistake.  I was desperately queasy.

You know me, I'm an extrovert, and I'm chatting away at the driver, who's fairly new.  She gets to telling me about her last job, driving the septic truck at the airport, pumping human waste out of airplanes.  She cheerfully went into a lot of detail as my poor stomach lurched.

We were almost at work, though, so I figured I'd be OK.  I did get one attack of "the sweats" though so it was pretty close.

We got to work and I checked the machines.  Yup, it was pretty quiet.  I stocked a soda machine, that's about all I could do.

Ron had made a mistake arranging our pickup - too soon.  I called the sandwich delivery guy and begged him to come early.  He wasn't sure and I said "I know you'll do you're best.  I'm so sorry about this" and he came an hour early.

He is a wonderful guy.  I am definitely getting him something for Christmas.  He is very accommodating when we have a transportation screw up.

I did make sure to tell him I was very sorry and it wouldn't happen again.  He was fine with it.

In the meantime, I'm alternating between vicious nausea and intense hunger.  I tried eating a few snack items, which didn't sit well.

The customers loved the decorations, santa hats, and the lights on Ron's wheelchair.  We did get a request for flashing lights on the wheelchair.  I'll see what I can do.

We finally left and went to the bank, depositing enough to cover both sandwiches, and sodas.  After the bank, we went home and had a short nap.   The kitten did a "necktie" with Ron, stretching out on him from his chin to his waist, purring.  Ron wanted to go to the Egyptian place, but only if I felt up to it.

Getting up, I felt OK, so I told Ron we could go to the Egyptian place for lunch.  About 5 minutes into that ride I got really queasy.  AGH.

Never doing Wellbutrin and applesauce again.  AGH.

I had put my pills into a little ziplock bag, in my jacket pocket, to take with my lunch.  When we arrived, I couldn't find it.  I'd put it in the other coat.

Ron happily ordered his Shawerma with pilaf.  I considered the menu and decided to try the Kibbe.  It is a cracked wheat patty, fried.  Inside the patty one finds meat, pine nuts, and spices.

Ron tried a bite, and made a face "Tastes kind of green."  He was right.  I could only manage one bite and my stomach revolted.  Happily, the Kibbe had only cost a few dollars.

I had wanted to see if I liked it.  Answer: NO.  I also learned that Ron and I loathe pine nuts.

I quietly got rid of it.  I didn't want the owner to see it with only one bite, when she cleaned the table.  I had also ordered pilaf, I stuck with that for a while, eating a plate full of delicious, nutty rice with little brown things in it.  I don't care what they were.  It was good.

It also did a good job of settling my stomach.  I ordered some Chicken Samosa, got it to go.

I was able to eat it, later, at home.  The kitten was thrilled when I accidentally dropped a piece of chicken on the floor.  She seems OK with pretty much any straight meat scrap.

I ran an errand, buying some generic "pink bismuth" (Pepto) and a few other items Ron wanted.  As I came out, our ride pulled up.  Perfect timing.

Then we went home and I had a real nap.  When I woke up the kitten was beside the bed.  I picked her up and put her on top of me, lots of petting and a nice snuggle.

On Thanksgiving, I opened up my dutch oven and discovered an awful mess.  I had been storing some sprouting seeds in the pot.  It looked like the entire contents exploded, leaving some kind of crusted, rusty, mess.

I looked it up on Google (don't you love Google?), and learned "Steel Wool and Elbow Grease", so boy did I scrub.  I finally got it clean and decided to wash and season all my cast iron (I have the dutch oven, two skillets, and a skillet lid).   I did that.

Boy, it reeked.  Horrible smell.

Still in the house, days later.  I hate Febreeze, it gives Ron and I horrible allergy attacks, but I'm so desperate I might even get some.

On the plus side, all the ironware looks great!




Sunday, November 25, 2012

Greatest failing

Both cats decided to sleep with me, last night.

I suspect my wool blanket had a lot to do with it.  Bubba likes to sleep on the afghans, and Baby Girl likes the wool blanket, right in the center of my body.

I mentioned this to Ron and he said "She loves you, that's why she slept with you".  I told him, no, it was the blanket, the heater vent, the room, and the proximity to Bubba-cat (she's his biggest fan).

"Heather" he said "You need to learn how to receive love.  That's your greatest failing."

Wow.  I need to think about that.

I'm certain he's right.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I'm not that good a Christian, yet.

I realized, today, I'm battling a lower-grade depression.

In some ways it's worse than the full blown no-energy-for-a-shower depressions.  This is more like an insidious flood.

I try to be real: happy families make me depressed.  When my meds are off, happy families make me angry.  I think people can draw their own conclusions on that.

The first house:  My neighbor, next door, is going all-out-to-the-wall constructing living space in the garage.  He's done a lovely job.  Just a few days ago, it was rebar on the garage floor, then a foundation, now he's installing windows and carpet.

It makes me sad.

I never wanted kids, still don't.  I should probably go into detail.

I suffered a lot because my mother wasn't able to mother.  From what I heard, her neglect went to the criminal level.  I suffered a lot of pain as a result.  I don't have those happy, formative, "playtime with Mommy" memories.  I have memories of wailing in terror as my alcohol-soaked, manic, mother came into the bedroom and plucked me out of my crib.

I love my children more than that.  I have, what I believe were a couple of miscarriages.  I didn't seek medical care but the symptoms were there.  If so, then I have kids waiting in heaven.  If not, I'm sure God has unwanted kids in heaven.  Or, something beyond that.

"I don't want to fail my kids the way my mother failed me." I recently told a medical professional.  She nodded.

So, I'm not angry because I want the kids for myself, or even the loving, handyman husband.  I'm angry because I never had the childhood where my Dad dropped everything to play with me.  I'm angry because my mother was so terrible, I preferred the neglect.  I'm sad because my best parent, as a toddler, was a cat.

Anyway, I knew I was "having trouble" and assumed it related to the work next door.  I have taken longer naps and had a harder time starting up again after I do.

I realized, tonight, it was depression.  Personally, I'm happy for the neighbors.  I was scared to death when I thought they were moving.  I'm glad they are figuring out ways to stay put, and expand.  I wish them nothing but happy lives.

Now we reach the second house.  Mine.  I battle mental illness, every day.  It feels exhausting some times.

Ron is a slave to alcohol.  He thinks he is the master.  He is blinder than blind because he thinks he is in control.  And he's not.

The alcohol calls all the shots.  He told me recently he is drinking Everclear.  As if that wasn't bad enough, every time he has some he quotes "The Everclear  Song" at me.  "Beer just makes me fat, whiskey makes me nauseous....the answer's crystal clear, the invisible intoxicant, called Everclear".

He has made some adjustments.  He realized, he drinks when he is already drunk and unaware.  He thinks he only had one drink and discovers he had a whole flask (about a month ago).  He concluded he could prevent that by keeping the alcohol in the front of the house.  He has to be sober, or nearly so, to walk that distance.

Trust me, I've seen enough blackouts to know.  Ron can't walk when he's having a blackout and I just leave him on the floor.  It's all I can do.  Al-anon would probably want me to put a blanket on him but I'm not that good a Christian, yet.

He has also concluded "I take a drink, don't feel anything, have another one, and wake up on the floor. Maybe I had better time my alcohol consumption."  So, he has one drink an hour.

How big is that one drink an hour?  [head in hands]  God only knows.  Ron takes a drink right off the flask.

He is trying to master it.  He's realizing he has a problem, but I often, bitterly, think he will never admit he is an alcoholic.  He knows the location of an AA, not far from the house.  I told him about it in the context of "I went to some Al-Anon meetings".  When he's ready, everything is lined up.

I am sure some nice person would love to give Ron a ride to AA.

Other than leave, there's not much I can do.  Even Alanon says "don't mess with the alcohol".  So, I don't, anymore.

One day, before medication, I stabbed a wine box to death, after putting it in the sink.  I liked that a little too much.  I'd paid for it, Ron got drunk on it, and got ugly with me.  I let him find it the next day. Oh, the look on his face... but that's a "bad".  Don't do that.

Another time I took a bottle of beer and threw it on the floor of the garage, also before medication.  Then I had to clean it up.  Not fun, and confirmed the "You're the one with a problem, not me" perspective for Ron.

So, I have set boundaries.  Ron has revealed enough to me recently to realize he is dead terrified of me leaving him.  I'm sure a lot of you are thinking "You couldn't figure this out on your own?"

Somewhere between "Thank you for giving Baby Girl her ear mite drops" and "I have to tell the pastor you need to teach a soap making class after church tomorrow" he told me he loves me, he values me, he respects me, and he couldn't make it without me.

I believe I can get a lot of truth out of him when he's drunk, for good or for ill.  His filter is completely off and everything he thinks comes right out, good or bad.  Does it change anything?  Not really; but it does confirm the fact that Ron is very sick.

Everything I read, everything I hear (and I have spoken to some experts in alcohol abuse) says "He has to hit rock bottom for himself, realize he has a problem, and want to fix it.  Nothing you say or do can make that happen."

You may remember, 2 years ago I did sign him up for the show "Intervention".  I think, if we'd gone that route, he would have gotten help.  But that's not what God wanted for him.

Instead, he's passed out in the bedroom, a TV dinner beeping in the microwave, about to fall off the bed.

God's made it clear, clear enough to me, I'm to stay, set boundaries to protect myself.  Keep the bug out bag ready if needed.   It's not what I want, of course.  But it's what Ron and I both need, for now.

Does his alcohol abuse make me a better Christian?  In some ways it does.  I am more motivated to share my faith with others; because I know other people out there are hurting like I do.  I know they need God as much as I do - but they don't know how to reach Him.

Living with Ron has taught me to be more loving, patient, and kind.  To put aside my needs sometimes in order to serve someone else.

[I know some people think that I "enable" Ron by simply living with him.  I enable him to live on his own.  Yes, I'm guilty of that.  I enable him to stay out of the system.  He wants to live independently and I enable that, by reading his mail, buying his groceries, feeding his cats, and cleaning his toilet.  

Do I enable him in the drinking?  No, he get out of bed on his own, goes to the liquor store on his own, and brings in the alcohol on his own.  He stores it on his own, prepares it on his own, and drinks it on his own.  I'm not involved in the process in any way and he has reluctantly accepted that.]

Living with Ron has taught me, I have to give Ron to God.  I have to let God work on him.  I need to focus on pleasing God, instead of pleasing Ron all the time.  Sometimes I'm going to piss Ron off, and that's OK.

The important thing, for me, is making God happy.  God wants me to stay with Ron, He's made that clear, so here I will stay.  I trust God will give me the grace and other things I need in order to do so.

Friday, November 23, 2012

20

Nat Geo is having a Prepperthon today - one episode after another "Disaster Preppers".

As you may know, the expert evaluates each prepper at the end of every segment.  I started thinking what he'd think about me and Ron.

I should back up a little here.  I read an article on food storage recently, and the author, a typical stay-at-home-stand-by-your-man-wife-Mom-and-prepper, cheerfully advised me to "Make sure my husband has plenty of calories.  He'll get hungry doing security patrols, and hunting for game".

I had to laugh.  Ron can barely take out the garbage.  He can't hunt.  He can't patrol.  He can barely get to the bathroom.  I love him dearly, but in a survival situation he could only be seen as a massive liability.  I quoted the line about hunting and security, and Ron laughed so hard he almost fell out of bed.

Can't you just see it, me pushing Ron on the wheelchair as he holds the cat carriers in his lap, "Bugging out" to our new location?  I'd be shocked if we made it to the nearest freeway.  Someone would shoot us and eat the cats.   Probably us, too.

Which brings me to my liabilities: I don't drive.  I don't shoot.  I've never hunted, killed a chicken, or dressed game.  I am extremely dependent on medication to stay alive.

Without my meds, I'm dead, and I'm probably taking you with me.  I don't have any illusions.

Which brings me to my assets: I do know a little, about a lot of things.  I've made my own soap, candles, and incense.  I made my own homebrew alcohol (1994), and boy was it strong.  I know a little about herbal remedies and have made my own tinctures, salve, and teas.  I enjoy canning my own food.  I have gardening skills and a small "seed bank".  I'm not afraid of hard work.  I'm fat, but in good overall health.  I'd like to think I'm a good cook when it comes to basic items.  I like working with small animals.

I have made a few preparations for disaster, which I don't reveal- "I'll just come to your house and take it" being the usual response.  I may have brain damage, but I'm not an idiot.  I learned to shut up "right quick".

An easy example: if you drink soda, rinse and fill the 2 liter bottle with water.  Voila.  That keeps you alive for a day in a grid-down situation.

You may know, on the show, the reviewer gives them a score between 1 and 100.  I'd be shocked if Ron and I got a 20.

I wonder what things he'd suggest, things I could actually do.  That would be interesting.

With Fries - or, my spellchecker has a nervous breakdown

I'm on a roll tonight, looking at my notebook of "Things to Blog About".

Today's is "With Fries".

You may or may not know, Houston is a huge melting pot.  We have dozens of different cultures.  Over 25% of the population was born outside the US.  Over 90 languages are spoken here.

We have fantastic cuisine.  Ron and I intend to try a Pho house soon.  I've heard very good things about it.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pho

We recently tried Shawarma.  It's delicious.  Ron actually ate a leftover one on Thanksgiving morning. He likes the chicken, best.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawarma

I love Indian food.  Saag paneer, dal, tikka masala, mango chutney, naan, and my favorite, samosa.  I have to be careful, though.  Some cultures enjoy an atomic heat in their samosa.  I almost died!  It was so hot even Ron couldn't eat it!

We can't forget "Mexican" food.  Our favorite establishment is an actual, Mexican, taqueria.  I've always told Ron, you can tell it's authentic if they sell the "funny" meats.  I love a good quesadilla, fajitas, tacos, you name it.  About the only thing I don't like is the pico or guacamole. 

Ron likes things like chilaquiles, and machacado.  Which brings me to our point.

Ron and I enter the Taqueria.  He orders the machacado breakfast.  It comes with the main dish, beans, and french fries.  Yup.  Every breakfast comes with fries, even the authentic ones I can't pronounce.

Ron and I enter the Shawarma shop.  He orders the shawarma (I'm stuffing my face with samosa).  The plate arrives.  Shawarma neatly rolled in pita bread, with french fries.

Only in Texas!  French Fries with the ethnic food.  And, no matter the culture, they always have ketchup on the table.


Chili, a whine

Every now and then I get an idea for a blog, forget, remember, and forget again.  Either it ends up lost for good, or I finally type it out.

I'd like to talk about chili.  As you know, I live in Texas.

As you may not know, I have yet to find a decent Texas Chili.  [shudder]  Horrible, greasy, things, all of them.

When Ron and I lived in California, we had a surprising selection of chili, some name brands, and some local.  Our favorite was Stagg Steakhouse Chili, no beans.  Ron liked the hot version.

I'm more of a mild kind of gal, hard to believe, I know.

It was delicious, meaty, bean-y, if we ate the bean versions, satisfying, filling and non greasy.  Which begs the question, if California can provide a good chili, why can't Texas?

We've eaten them, they are all so greasy.  The Wolf gave us both heartburn.  Store brands were awful, and the Austex was like eating a can of chili-flavored bacon grease.  Yes, they were meaty but they were too heavy.

Maybe my tastebuds just got spoiled, living in California.

As He Laughed

Something funny happened today.

Ron and I have a satellite location, at a Christian bookstore.  They asked Ron for a soda machine, for the break room, and Ron arranged it.   We've been stocking it for a few years now.

We had a problem with the changer mechanism; and had to have it replaced.  So, today, we decided to do an inventory.  I know they want their soda during the holidays.

We went in and went to the back.  We need 4 cases of soda.  I went out and got some Christmas decorations at the Dollar Store, and lunch for us.

I came back, waving at everyone as I went to the break room again.  I sat down, gave Ron his food, and began eating.

All of a sudden, I heard a voice calling my name.  As you may know, I do hallucinate at times so I thought I was hearing things, but it kept calling my name.

"Heather.  Heather!"
"Yes?"  {Is it You, Lord? }
"Help yourself to the cookies on the table!"  {What?} "CLICK"
I realized the intercom had just hung up.  Someone had called me from the front of the store.

For a moment, though, I thought it was God!  [laugh]

Ron teased me relentlessly - he knows I may hear things that aren't there so he kept telling me he didn't hear it.  As he he laughed.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ask

I am happy living with an active alcoholic.  I leave him to God.  I pray for him, love him, which means setting boundaries, and ask God to help us with good communication.

I am happy living with a blind man in a wheelchair.  I know God will give him a new body one day (1 Corinthians 15:44
It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.)  I also value his spirit above the envelope.  It's just a husk.  He cherishes and values my contributions, every day.  

I am happy living with a damaged brain.  I know God is using it for his glory.  

2 Corinthians 12:9

New King James Version (NKJV)
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

I've got the power of Christ resting on me.  I don't need a perfect mind.  

I am happy living without a car, or the ability to drive.  I have planted many seeds of evangelism among my drivers and other passengers, on public transit.  I couldn't do that in a car.  

I am happy making a low-income.  God has used it as an opportunity to shower me with His blessings. I may eat a lot of lentils, but my needs are covered.   Timothy 6:8
And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.   - I've got the enough food to eat and clothes for work and home.  I'm happy.  [I'm also thrilled my church isn't one of those "fashion show" churches]

I am happy, serving others. It's what God's called me to do.  Galatians 5:13
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Colossians 3:23-24

New King James Version (NKJV)
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 


[I've talked about this, it really angers me when I see "evangelists" giving themselves exalted titles and importance - we are servants.  If we title ourselves, it should be, simply, "servant".   I'm a servant.  I serve God, my husband, my vending customers, and others.  I'll go wherever He sends me.]  

I am happy, without children.  God didn't call me to that.  He may give me some children in Heaven, He knows what would make me happy.  It doesn't matter.  I have a lot of spiritual children I helped.  That's what matters.  

I am happy, in a life many would find difficult; because God is with me always.  Always, God is with me.  He wants to be with you - you just need to ask.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rabble Rousers

My lithium level blood test is due any day.  I am eager to see if I got into the magic range of .5 to 1.1.  I calibrated my phone to notify me of email updates on the hour.

After reading one, I scoffed and made a rude comment.  I was standing next to Ron at the time.

"What?"
"Oh, I got a comment from a Rabble Rouser".
"A what?"
"I didn't tell you?  They're a gang of internet bullies who've been following me around for four years."
"Well" Ron responded "Don't they have lives?  They've got nothing better to do?"

That, my friends, says it all.

That and the fact that I can't abide bullies.  I was bullied a lot as a child, as a teen, because I was "different".  Wow, they teased a cripple almost the point of suicide.  I'm sure that will be a high point for them on Judgement Day.

As a result, I can't abide bullies. On more than one occasion, either Ron, I, or both, have intervened when we discovered gangs beating a single person up.  That's a fair fight, getting in a circle and kicking someone when they're down.

Kind of like posting links to your little message board when I'm having hard times.  Yeah.  I have a dashboard.   I have access to all kinds of data.

When you read a particularly rude or unkind comment (except for Mark's), it's them.  People don't realize writing has a flavor, one I can recognize.

It is my hope, that while they read my blog, they can assimilate some faith in the process.  I don't need any kind of vengeance, and frankly, I don't want it.

Like Ron said, who follows someone around for years like that?  Someone without a life.  I can barely keep up with two message boards, the blog, and my Facebook.  I feel sorry for them.

They are so eager to tell me how to live my life.  They come into my house, my blog, and post hateful, mocking, comments.  Maybe they think I am so lonely I'll take even "bad breath".  No, and like I told Ron, I post the comments so people can see who they are.  

And, like Ron said "They don't know me" (I mentioned how eager everyone is to throw him out like an old sock).  They don't know US.  They can look at my photos, read my words, and get a glimpse, perhaps, but they aren't living my life.

I just thought I'd let you know, I know you're there.  I am praying for you every day.  I am commanded to do so.  I hope you can meet Jesus in a real and meaningful way.

You don't believe it, but Judgement Day is coming.  Do you really want to stand before God on your own, or covered by Jesus' sacrifice?  Because, without Jesus, we all deserve hell.

And I wouldn't wish that on even a Rabble Rouser.

The other question

I just covered one of my big questions about humility and self-esteem.

Here's the other one: Where does enabling end, and caregiving begin?

Well, I have chosen not to play the alcoholic games.  It's hard sometimes.  I admit I have played all those roles, and if you're a long time reader you've seen that.

Last night Ron got a little sloppy, rude, and ugly.  This morning, he asked why things had been moved in his room, and I plainly told him "You got a little sloppy last night".  He wanted details.  Instead of getting out the adjectives and exclamation points, I told him the basic facts.  "I heard banging and yelling in your room".

Ron got pretty defensive until I made my point (with a little silent prayer).  "I don't care about last night.  You say you can handle it, so handle it.  I'm just saying, however much you drank last night, cut it back a drink tonight."

He thought a moment, then agreed.

Caregiving, not enabling.  Thank you, Lord.

Humility begin

How We Cope part Three is live, up and running.  Good.

I wrote the first article, hoping to encourage other high-functioning-fall-short-of-"normal" FAS adults.  It's a very difficult position, some will outright refuse to believe I have brain damage, and yet I do.  I can't live up to every expectation.

Tests don't lie, and I tested borderline practical intelligence.  That's OK, not horrible, but not good either.  Certainly not able to drive.  Certainly able to have a wonderful quality of life.

Happily, this depression is far better managed at Doc's higher dose of antidepressants.  They do get me a little manic in the morning, you should see me work!  [laugh]  Ron doesn't mind, and he's the one who has to live with me.

I've already gotten some compliments on the article.  Well, it's not me.  I didn't really do anything except fling my problems at God, trust him, and do my best to obey.

Which brings me to a question that's been floating around for a while: Where does a healthy self-esteem end, and humility begin?  

"You can't accept a compliment" I was told, again and again, as a teenager.  "Just say thank you".  They actually "worked" on that for a while.

For now, I have chosen to say "Thank you" and give the glory to God.  I think that works well.  I think that pleases God, which, as we all know, is the #1 goal.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How We Cope Part 3

I've done a series of articles on FAS.  However, I left off in 2003, right after Ron's accident.  The web mistress has asked me a few times to do updates, so I finally wrote one tonight.

I'd gotten an email from a FAS dad asking about us, so I thought it was the right time.  Here it is:


itle: "I signed up for that"

*Ron and I left you back in 2003.  He was in pretty bad shape, partly paralyzed in addition to being blind, with a head injury, and dependent on me for all his care.  His family disowned him when I refused to place him in a nursing home "Do you want to kill him?  A bullet's a lot more merciful!"  

Ron and I had had the talk years before, after his uncle had a massive stroke.  "Give me a year" he asked.  "If I'm doing better and I know you, please stay, but if I don't, feel free to walk away.  I wouldn't want you bound to me like that."  I tried to tell his family; but they weren't willing.  

The final straw for them had been the meeting with the social worker, when she told them they'd have to step up, helping me out for hours a week, every week, until Ron died.  They were not interested in signing up for that.  

I was pretty volatile myself, up one day, down the next.  I was overcome with crippling depressions one day and full of optimism the next.  I tried to use "the energy" to my advantage, and it helped a lot with the caregiving.  4 hours of sleep for a week straight?  No problem.  I had no other help but a ride to the Walmart super center once a week.  

Someone from work left books on the doorstep, which I appreciated.  We didn't have a TV.  

My computer was my lifeline; I joined a head injury support group and got some valuable advice.  One woman came online one day and said she was finished.  Her fiancĂ© had called her a vile name and she was done with him.  

"I didn't sign up for this" she posted bitterly.  

"I did" I thought.  

Ron gradually emerged from a haze of delusions and confusion to realize he'd been in an accident.  He went back in the hospital with a critical, life threatening complication.  He had more emergency surgery and pulled through.  

I found it very interesting, sometimes Ron would have delusions, thoughts that weren't true, like "The hospital is really a restaurant".  You can imagine his horror when they asked him to use the bedpan!  He was furious.  "You don't do that in a restaurant!"  

Everyone else seemed to think it was a big deal, but I had thoughts like that all the time.  For a long time, I was convinced my sister's daughter was really mine, even though she looked just like her parents.  Or, I'd be overwhelmed with apocalyptic thoughts of pending disaster, paranoia about my neighbors, etc.  This in addition to my constant companion, depression, and those high-energy days.  

I'd learned talking about the Bad Thoughts made people upset, like Ron's other caregivers.  They treated his delusions as a very serious problem.  I figured they'd fade off like mine always did, but I didn't say it.  I'd learned not to talk about it, it just upset people.  

Ron pulled out of that and we began thinking about going back to work.  We were getting a small check every month.  

In the meantime, I was taking some very good advice: "Take a day off every week and have fun".  So, I'd run to the thrift store, buying clothes or books, and bringing them home on the bus.  Sometimes I'd take Ron out on the bus and we'd have a fun little day out ourselves. 

The first time it happened, one of our regular bus drivers pulled up to the stop.  There's Ron, his head covered in scars.  In a wheelchair.  He is obviously partially paralyzed on his right side.  He's covered in road rash scars, evident because he's wearing shorts.  The open-heart-surgery scar peeked out from under his t-shirt.  

The driver pulled up and opened the door, gaping at Ron in horror.  "What happened?"
I looked at him, deadpan.  "I caught him with another woman."  

We went back to work, Ron in the wheelchair now.  You should see him pulling the hand cart behind the wheelchair, as he rolls along in the wheelchair.  He is able to walk very limited distances, but an allergic reaction to an antibiotic gave him severe neuropathy - standing and walking are very painful for him.  He gets around as much as he can - and he can "walk" around the house.  

Yes, we bought a house!  It is very modest but it's ours and we love it.  I love working in my garden, and we're right off the bus line.  

We signed up for paratransit, I ride as his "care provider".  We've met a lot of interesting people.  When I'm by myself, I take the bus.  The drivers tend to get very nervous when they see Ron "walking" towards us.  He wobbles and drags his bad foot, in addition to being blind, but he gets around.  

Ron, by all standards made an amazing recovery but I was getting worse.  I was always irritable, angry, battling flocks of Bad Thoughts, paranoia, depression, and those high energy times weren't so fun anymore.  I felt like I was in a car with no brakes, headed for a cliff.  

In 2006, I had a series of massive, suicidal depressions.  I couldn't handle the thought of another one.  Ron was desperate - his sweet Heather had turned into "Heather the Hatchet" and NOTHING made me happy.  

In desperation, he called adult protective services on himself.  "I can't take it any more.  I'll give up everything, the house, my cat, everything.  All I need is a bed and a toilet!"  

"Oh, we can do that"  the caseworker replied.  She put him on a waiting list for an assisted living facility in a horrible part of town.  

Happily, I "came out of it" for a while and he changed his mind.  

Tired of fighting, I finally went to my doctor about the depression.  My faith had carried me far, and when I prayed I was led to tell her everything.  Her eyes bugged out about halfway through the Bad Thoughts and she left the room.  

"We're going to need to hospitalize you".  What?  I had to work tomorrow!   I begged and pleaded, in tears.  I just needed an antidepressant.  Sure, they hadn't really worked before but... 

They finally let me go home, IF I agreed to go to the emergency room and undergo an evaluation.  "If you don't" she warned me "I'm sending the police to your door".  

Gulp.  I went.  

I had depression, everyone said that.  When asked if I had bipolar disorder, the mental health professionals and assured me I wasn't.  Again and again, "You're not bipolar".  

Until September 1, 2006, when I was.  I cried in relief as I heard wonderful tales of medication, stable moods, and happier living.  I wanted them that second.  

However, it took me 2 months to find a doctor who dealt with uninsured patients and bipolar disorder.  My sister told me that lithium had worked for our mother, so I made a mental note.  

I thought for sure Ron would run when I told him, but he took me out to dinner.  He couldn't be more supportive.  

When I met the doctor, I told him everything.  I asked for lithium.  He brought out samples!  "Take one of these every morning..." he trailed off as a frantically tore through the packaging and gulped it with my soda.  "And one of these, too...  You'll do very well, Heather."  

Within 2 days, I knew I needed lithium more than I needed the air I breathe.  The noise in my head abated, I could live again.  

According to the experts, I am bipolar, type one.  I have mixed episodes (up and down at the same time); I have psychotic features (Bad Thoughts).  I am a rapid cycler, I switch from one to the other every few weeks.  The good news is I never have to deal with the current mood for long.  

"Heather," my doctor told me "I can't eliminate the ups and downs.  My goal is to level them out, enough so you can have a good life."  I do.  Ron's thrilled.  He got his wife back, and even uninsured I can afford my generics.  

I just got a lithium blood test today; I'll be getting them, and taking my medication, for the rest of my life.  I'm well aware the quality of my life is directly linked to my medication.  

I never drank to begin with, so I think that's one reason for my success.  

My faith has really grown through this whole process, and I now do "Free Bible" handouts all over Houston.  You may see me one day, standing on the corner with my Free Bibles sign.  

I'm Heather.  I have FASD.  I'm "crazy".  I can't drive.  I'm married to a head-injured blind man in a wheelchair.  And I wouldn't trade my life for anything.  Thank you for reading my story.  

Want more?  I have a blog at (you're already here).  

"You've got a hands full, there"

The easily offended may want to skip this post.

So, there we are, Ron and I, with an acquaintance.  I'm joking about elder abuse.  "Ron," I told him "When I beat you I never leave marks!"

"That's right" he whined pitifully.

How did we get there?  Well, I needed my blood test.  So, I waited until 10 PM to take my lithium.  I ate my reheated value burger, purchased for the occasion, and swallowed all 4 capsules (I take them all at once, one time a day).

[The ideal is to take the lithium level 12 hours after the last lithium dose]

Then I went to bed.  I got up about 7 and did my God Time (you knew that was coming), shower, TV, etc.  I dressed in a purple t-shirt, matching purple hoodie, and jeans.

Ron was up all night reading a "spicy" talking book murder mystery/romance.  He had huge black circles under his eyes as a result.

We got a ride to the Starbucks.  Ron has a good time waiting while I walk over to the lab and endure the jabbing, slapping, etc.  And that's what happened, I got Ron his skinny latte with 8 splendas, please, and set him up next to the bathroom.  I put his coat over the back of the chair so no one would take it if he had to "go".

I set off to get my blood test, properly hydrated.  I was really dreading the stick.  The last 2 tests were awful.  It took forever, hurt a lot, and then you may remember, last time they filed my test under the wrong name and I had a heck of a time getting my results!

So, I walked in.  New gal.  I noticed a sign on the door "If this office is closed during business hours call this number immediately!"  OOooh.  Someone was slacking on the job.

I paid up and got my blood test, she did a fantastic job.  I don't have a speck of pain.  She filed it under MY name, I checked on the receipt.  She explained I might have to wait until Monday, which is fine.  As long as I get it by Friday I'm good.  The test - 12 hours exactly after my last lithium dose.

I tried to call Ron but he didn't answer, so I went to the pet store and got some "healthy treats" and a larger litter box.  I'd bought some round tubs, about a foot in diameter, at the Dollar store, when we adopted Baby Girl, but she was having a hard time fitting into them.  I had 2 full-size litter boxes already, so I just filled them, but we needed a box in Ron's room.

I got the box, and some healthy treats.  One was a soft jerky treat.  Baby Girl likes them, but not Bubba.  He actually spit them out.  I got the Innova treats, which were very popular last time.  Unlike the "Kitty Crack" they don't have corn syrup, so I like them a lot better.  Bubba likes the Innova treats.  I won't tell them they have vegetables.

Ron likes to feed them the better treats, if possible.  Bubba is pretty old and Baby Girl is still growing.

I walked out with the litter box and the treats, and headed off to Starbucks.  When I got there, I noticed Ron was talking to one of the pet store employees.

We are nearly certain the guy has FAS.  He has a lot of the features, inappropriate comments, overly friendly, poor sense of boundaries, etc.

As I walked in, the guy was asking Ron how the got "the black eyes".  Ron said I was beating him, in a pathetic and quivering tone of voice.

That's when I walked up and said "When I beat you, I don't leave marks!"
"That's right!  I forgot!" Ron whined.
"Don't forget again, or I'll punish you!"
[quivery voice] "Yes, Ma'am."
We laughed.

I then told the guy Ron was up all night reading his hot and spicy murder mystery (talking book), which led to "How does the talking book machine work" and all.

"Boy, you really like purple" he commented, looking at me.

"Yes, I do.  That's the great thing about being married to a blind man!  I can wear purple every day!  I can decorate however I want!"  Ron was laughing.

I forgot about the guy on the laptop, behind me.  He actually has the same computer I do.  I kept doing double-takes, thinking "What is he doing on my computer?"

I explained, "My Dad gave me that exact same computer, last year.  I keep thinking it's mine!"  We both laughed.

As I balanced the litter box, Ron holding onto my shoulder, and began guiding him through the store, Laptop man spoke again.

"You've got your hands full, there!"
"Yes, I do!"  I grinned.  "But I've had him for 20 years so I'll keep him!"


Monday, November 19, 2012

Stimulants

Ron and I have some interesting conversations, as we walked.

We walked a lot, to the bus stop, to the store, you name it.  We walked MILES together.  Next year, though, we'll reach the depressing milestone of "Ron has been in the wheelchair more than he was out of it" (at least in our married life).

Speaking of, I saw the driver today (the man who ran over Ron).  I always hate Mondays for that.  Since my lithium (mood stabilizer) is at a good level, I didn't get all rabid, but it's depressing to remember the days when Ron got the deliveries on his own.

So, we talked as we walked.  Ron walked, using his long white cane in his right hand, holding my right elbow with his left hand (I still wear my bag on my left shoulder, to keep the right arm free).

One day, we got to talking about drugs.  Illegal drugs.  Ron lived in California during the 70's and 80's, and he saw a lot of drug use.  One day, a guy came up to him at the bus stop selling LSD.  I can't imagine that.

"People used to smoke pot while waiting on the bus" he told me "You could get anything."  I won't divulge what Ron might have done, that's his business.

At any rate, Ron had seen a lot of drug use.  "Ron" I asked him "If you saw me using something illegal what do you think I would have used?"

He thought a moment as we walked a long, then came back with a surprising answer "Stimulants".  I was very surprised, but, recently, I've been thinking about his answer.

He's right.  When I'm depressed, I consume a lot of caffeine.  When I'm manic, I consume a lot of caffeine.

It's legal - but it's still a stimulant.

I don't need to do that

I already mentioned I am basically doing TV dinners for Thanksgiving.  I'll open up a couple of cans, jars and boxes, throw the stuffing in the microwave (I hope I have enough butter), and there's dinner.

I have a suspicion, though: do you think the "Average" American wife and mother is rated on the complexity of her Thanksgiving Dinner?  For instance, my adoptive mother used to put on a spectacular spread, feeding up to 40 people at one meal.

Just the baked goods were enough to make me drool, she always did a huge turkey, homemade glazed  ham, homemade gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole,  made from scratch yeast rolls, family recipe cream pie (if you want, I'll give it a post), pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and lovely cookies and fudge.  We used to eat ourselves sick, every year.

My Dad literally blew out his gallbladder a few years back, after Thanksgiving dinner.  It's funny now.

I did the dishes.  All the dishes.  [laugh]  I used to love to get the little crunchy bits of fat out of the turkey pan.

Now, as you know, my mood "bounces".  I may be up, lots of energy; Ron's going to get a nice dinner with turkey, ham, gumbo, dressing, etc.  Or, I may be down, and Ron gets a TV dinner.

So, I see all these ladies on Facebook, posting elaborate menus, and I think "I can't do that, this year".  I feel bad for a second, and then I think "I don't need to do that".

I like to think I am a thankful person.  God has been very good to me in so many ways.  He has provided so amazingly for us in so many ways.  I praise Him for that, daily.

Sometimes I feel very different: I'm not the woman, with the kids, cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  I'm the married woman with two cats, eating a huge handful of crazy pills with my Thanksgiving dinner.

Ron and I may do a Bible Handout, but I need to pray on that.

Accurate result

I should have known the depression was coming: when I took my nap today, BOTH cats slept with me (Baby Girl slept on the floor, next to my bed).   They never do that.  Bubba won't let Baby Girl on my bed so she sleeps next to it.

Oh, I hate the depression.  Hate it with a deep and abiding passion.

I also hate toxic symptoms, which I had all morning and a little just now.  I've been taking OTC painkillers for the last couple days, between headaches, my cycle, and all.  The painkillers raise my lithium levels.

Normally I don't have a problem with a dose or two, but a couple days, consistently?  UGH.  I was running into things, dragging my left foot, and battling a roaring attack of the stupids all day.  I also had trouble finding words for things, but I didn't have any "Go to the hospital" symptoms like falling down, acting drunk, vomiting, et al.  I've told Ron what to watch for and what to do.

Ron asked "Can you go to Walmart?"  It was a good question.  I managed to make it there and get my supplies: stuffing (Ron adores stuffing and will eat the entire portion at once), gravy (Ron adores gravy), a nice cat food treat (chunky chicken cat food), some canned fruit cocktail for my dessert, and sugar free jello if I feel inspired and want to make a mold with the fruit cocktail.  I also got a lot of soda.  I finally found their generic Diet Dr Pepper.

My love for Diet Dr Pepper is legendary.  So much, Ron buys me my own case of bottles every month.    He knows a bottle of Diet Dr is the perfect love offering.  I will always squeal with joy.

I was OK this morning.  We went to work and got it all done.  It was a pretty quiet weekend.  We paid the other vendor for our soda order.  I got the sandwiches.  I called the former Hostess route salesman and told him about Metrolift - he sounded pretty interested.  I also told him I'd be praying for him and his family, every day.

Sometimes it is clear to me that God wants me to make a referral to someone (that happened with my church, and interestingly enough it's the guy who gives us rides now).  I'm glad to do it.

I didn't get to finish my God Time this morning, I kept hitting the snooze button.  At some point, I need to strip the bed and wash my sheets.  Ron's, too if he'll let me.  He's always in bed at home.

Well, if I had his problems I'd be in bed, too.

After work we had a good ride to Walmart and I got my shopping done, didn't spend much, and went home.  I put up the Thanksgiving food:  Ron has a TV dinner, extra turkey and gravy, and stuffing and gravy.  I have turkey and gravy, peas (I love peas), stuffing, gravy, and triple cherry fruit cocktail for dessert.  The cats have their favorite: Special Kitty Chunky Chicken dinner.  I also got chicken and liver dinner, because Bubba loves liver.

When I cook an entire turkey or chicken, I always sautĂ© the liver and give it to Bubs.  He adores it.  A few years ago, Bubba actually stole the turkey neck and dragged it off.

My cats are animals, a bunch of wild animals, straight out of the alley.

I was pretty happy with my selections, and waited in a very long line to check out.  I have a great objection to those self checkout things.  For one, I hate the talking thing - ugh - it completely fries my brain.

Secondly, it takes jobs away from people who could be cashiering.  So, I'd rather wait in line and support a real human with a  real life, even if they're sullen and coughing all over me.

Not that mine did, today, but she was in a pretty bad mood.  Well, it's not easy to work at the super center during the holidays.

I was feeling pretty off, but I still got Ron some deli chicken and potatoes.  He kept plying me with potatoes, which I thought was sweet.  I got a couple of double cheeseburgers at the McDonalds, one for now, one for later.

I just felt so off, I figured I wouldn't have any energy to cook, and I need to take my lithium later tonight for an accurate result.  I can just warm up a hamburger in the microwave and be done with it.

I ate my hamburger, some of Ron's potatoes, and felt a little better, but when we got home I put up my stuff and went straight to bed.  I felt Bubba walking over me to "his" spot (lower left corner), and when I woke up I saw the kitten sleeping on the floor, by my bed.  They're very sweet.

I still feel kind of disconnected from my body but that will pass eventually.  I just hope I don't have all the drama I did with the last blood test, they had me processed under two different names!  Ugh!

I'm just asking God for an accurate result, whatever that is.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

We've come so far

I should have known better.

I bagged up wool blankets, two of them, in a zippered vinyl pillowcase with a handful of mothballs, storing it in the laundry room.  I would have thought the pillow case was airtight, apparently not.  The whole laundry room reeks of mothballs.

I wanted a good fragrance in the laundry room.  Instead, I'm stuck with the fragrance of naphthalene.  Typing that reminded me I needed to do laundry, and when I went in the laundry room every vessel in my head constricted.

A shout out to Shout gel.  Good stuff.  I love it; Ron is messy and I end up treating a lot of stains.

After I put up the wool blankets, I played with my new air freshener.  I got a can of the piney stuff.  I love it.  I refilled my plug in warmers and turned them up, filling the house with pine fragrance.

Then I ate a loaded-with-MSG Cup of Noodles for dinner.   On Day One of my cycle.

Not surprisingly, and in spite of the painkillers I'd already taken for cramps, I woke up with a headache.  I wanted to go to church, Ron skipped the last 2 weeks, so I took my headache pills and climbed in the shower.

The shower sort of worked.  We got to church and had a good time.  Poor Ron had to listen to me singing "Revelation Song".




I make a joyful, but not very harmonious, noise unto the Lord.  I find it interesting, God says in particular "Psalm 98:4  Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises." (NKJV)

God doesn't mind!  So, I sing away.  Ron kind of cringes a little, sometimes, but God love him, he understands.

Today I was standing there in church, Ron at my side, thinking "We've come so far".   A year ago, he was having regular blackouts and called the police because he lost his keys, then screamed profanities at the officers for a solid 10 minutes because they refused to arrest me.

A year later, he's asking if I had his Bible, shared a little in my God Time, gave me some good news about finances (Tmobile gave us this month's service for free), read his MP3 Bible while we waited on our ride, told me how much he loved me, and couldn't do it without me, happy about going to church, went to church, participated in church, helping me plan my next Bible Handouts,  cleaning the litter box, helping me when I told him I had the migraine, very solicitous overall.   He's also incredibly appreciative, which means a lot.

People wonder why I stay - and this is why.  Ron can't do this on his own, but if he lets God get behind him he's an amazing husband.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hopeless Optimist

A few days ago, I noted, with alarm, the neighbors cleaning out the garage.  Oh no, I thought.  They're selling.  I had horrible visions.

This is the large family - kids kept coming in my yard, running around, yelling outside my windows when we were trying to sleep - until I wrote a letter revoking permission for children to enter my yard.  Not only that, Ron had a spectacular blackout a week later, and spent hours raving outside at the top of his lungs. link After that they avoid us.

See, and you thought it was bad, having an alcoholic.  Not always!  [laugh]  I am a hopeless optimist.

So, I'm standing there, thinking "Oh, crap, they're moving.  Just when we all had things sorted out!"  I wanted to cry.  I had horrible visions of vicious dogs barking outside my bedroom, all night long.

However, today, I heard a lot of noise early in the morning.

This is a good example of how the mania works - or just my illness in general.  I was already awake, I woke up on my own.  I had done my God Time, and thinking of cornflakes for breakfast.

I heard a lot of equipment noise, cutting, stuff like that.  I got annoyed, because it was 7:30 in the morning and he might have woken me up.

But I'm already awake, I kept reminding myself.  How stupid, huh?

As we left, I had my moment.  They were laying rebar in the garage and getting ready to pour foundation - he was turning the garage into living space!   It makes sense, with 5 kids already, maybe it's time to expand, and 200 square feet are 200 square feet.  That's two bedrooms, giving him 5 total, if he wants.  Or, it's a really big playroom for the little ones.

I'll remind you the middle boy likes to pull boards off the fence, and they have pit bulls on two sides of their property.  That's a bad habit.  If a kid goes reaching in my yard, I want to bite him.  I'm sure that applies to the dogs (I mentioned this in my letter to the father last year - not wanting to bite him but you have pit bull "neighbors" and your kid is pulling boards off the fence).

I am a bit selfish.  I have seen some bad garage conversions, in lower income neighborhoods.  In fact, it seems, the more conversions, the worse the neighborhood.  They are usually poorly done and obvious.

However, the guy is a contractor.  He has two lovely large windows he's apparently using, so it will look professional and designed.  I hope.

I'm one to talk, really.  I live in an orange house.  I'm one of those "Have to get a letter from the HOA before I do the home repair" people.

Since my kitten is very curious and loves to visit, I decided, wisely I think, to LOCK HER UP in the house today.  No cat door.  I don't want her tracking up his foundation, getting hurt, or distracting someone and causing him injury.

It will be interesting to see how it turns out.  If nothing else, they're staying.

Begging for a mania

Boy, Ron's in a dour mood.  Current events have him very depressed.

And, boy I wasn't much of a treat myself - very irritable.  Which is why, after reading the first line and realizing I was in trouble, I took my medication early (a few hours).

I should add, I don't do anything my doctor hasn't told me to do.  He said, if I'm having a hard time, it is OK to take my lithium a little early.  He just wants all of it, in me, every day.

I realized "I'm in no shape to blog, my blackness will just feed and grow, I need to take my pills and lie down for a while."

So, I ate a big bowl of cornflakes, shared with the kitten, and laid down for a while.  Sure enough, I had the "flight of ideas".  It's like a big swarm of bats got loose in my head, and they're flying around, screeching, and it's hard to think.

"Boy" I thought "Manias can really suck.  Maybe the depression won't be so bad after all."  I'm about due for depression.  

Of course, a week into the depression I'll be begging for a mania.  But, for now, I'm about done with mine.

I did get a lot of purging, organizing, and cleaning accomplished.  I did a lot of laundry and found places to store it.   I played with the kitten.

Ron laughed pretty hard this morning as I ran up and down the hall (about 20 feet), dragging a cat toy, screeching "Git it!  Git it!  That's MINE!"  She loves "That's mine" as I yank it away.

Ron was right, the kitten's a lot of fun when I'm manic.  But no one, including me, can operate at that energy level for long.

I'm glad I have the lithium on board.  In fact, one problem I've had is trying not to do everything.  I want to do everything but I don't have a lot of focus.  And I have to be careful, moving things around, I don't hurt myself.

Ron needs a strong back at work.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Death of the Twinkie

So, Hostess is going bankrupt.  I imagine that means that means my former vendor, a guy also named Ron, is now unemployed.  He's a father of 3.  I worked with him for years.

As our business declined, I went from a weekly delivery of almost $100, to every-other-week and $50 a delivery.  Early this year, he said he had to "drop" us, Hostess was forcing them to only accept stops of over $100 each.

We went through a lot together, Ron and I.  I know he was making deliveries before my diagnosis, so I think I worked with him for about 9 years total.  I made a layette when his wife became pregnant, and made his family an afghan after their home was destroyed after Hurricane Ike.

Now he's out of work, one of the 18,000.  I still have his number, I'm going to call him tomorrow and tell him about Metrolift.  "Delivery" jobs are pretty similar, and he has a CDL (commercial driver's license).

Not only that, I know another man.  He used to work for Hostess.  He's got a pension with them.  Will he continue to get his pension?  I think they're set up in such a way that he will; I certainly hope so.  He is caring for his disabled wife and son.

I never ate much of the pastries.  Chocolate is a huge migraine trigger and I never liked those little donuts.  This is heresy for the South, but I don't like honey buns.  I have never been a big fan of the cinnamon roll - except the ones Walmart used to bake.  Oh, those were delicious, and they fell apart as I ate them.  I always liked to start at the edge and follow the strip, around to the center.

We use Cloverhill pastries since we were "laid off" from Hostess.  They are a good product, good quality, good price.

But they don't make Twinkies.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

That's a NO

It's been a busy day.  Sitting here with my *dry mouth* feeling a little whiny about side effects.

I got paid today, but need to spend a third of my paycheck on "healthcare".  I need a lithium blood test and a doctor visit.  I don't mind paying for them.

I don't know what healthcare will look like, for me, in a couple years.  All I know is I am WELL qualified for Medicaid.  I have zero assets, except the house, which would about break even if sold.  All our equity got eaten in the recession.

Maybe my blood tests will be free.  Maybe whoever I am seeing for the bipolar disorder, will want more of them.  Maybe not, cost cutting and all.  I only get a couple a year as it is.  I only see my doc a couple times a year, in my opinion, all I need to do.

Doc has referred to me as "very stable" and enjoys having me meet with the residents.  I find that a good compliment.  I am pretty articulate and very open about my illness.

I got up early and went into work.  We did it all.  Sales are better, thank God.  One of the guys told me they are calling more overtime, which means better sales.  God bless Christmas.

Ron paid me and even had money left for more inventory.  Yay.  We got some papers off to Austin so we can get our money back for the hotel.

We got everything done, and went off to our other location.  It had a bad coin mech and was ripping off the customers.  That's a NO.  I will tolerate a lot from a vending machine, but never that.

He tried to repair it, but it needed to be replaced.  So, he did.  Ron and I got some lunch and came home.

I took a nap.  I had a very interesting dream.  I was a cleric in a medieval world, madly in love with my fellow (male) cleric, and married.  My husband had been lost in a battle far away, and I knew he was alive - married folk on this world had a connection, physical and mental.  When the connection was broken both parties would know.

Married couples, when married, each developed a matching sigil on the palm of their left hands.  When the marriage was dissolved or one party died, the sigil immediately disappeared.  So, I knew my husband was alive.

My husband, in the meantime, had fallen madly in love with a peasant woman who saved him, and had fathered a couple of children with her.  Our children (twins, a boy and girl) were in their vocations (a scribe and a soldier), we had been separated for many years, about 20.

In the meantime we were each in love with someone else.  My partner loved me, but was unaware I returned the feelings until I was attacked by an enemy (apparently clerics could assist in defense of the castle).  My defenses down, fighting for my life, he saw me.  That was forbidden, to see inside someone's soul without their express permission, but he did.  He fell even more in love, realizing I loved him deeply, but I was married.

However, my husband, having that emotional connection, knew I had come near death and decided to visit.  He had been hiding, ashamed.  He came to the castle with his family and I went out to meet him.

I knew, wherever he was, he had been very happy.  I also suspected he had another woman.  But, since I loved my guy, I was OK with it.

He walked up to me, immediately dissolved our marriage, turned, and married his concubine.  She'd had a tough life, engaged to be married, but gang raped and impregnated instead.  She had her first child on her own and lived a difficult life until she found *him* near death.  Pretty hard to hate her.

However, in the dream, I went up to the tower, crying.  We did a lot of the rituals on the tower, to protect everyone, and keep everyone healthy.  My coworker came up with me, consoling me, and then proposed.

I wasn't sure it was God's will until He gave a dramatic sign of His approval.  He put the sigils on our hands, the right hands (apparently clerics had a different "wedding" hand, and clerics could marry other clerics), along with another sigil indicating "God's Blessing".

We got married and everyone had a big feast.

I told you I had interesting dreams.  No, I don't play any online games either.

Ron says he has never heard of someone like me, with detailed dreams.  At least this was a good one with a nice happy ending.  The others can be pretty grim.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is wrong with Ron?

I don't mean mentally, but I'm sure some of you wonder about his physical issues, so I'll share it.

Ron was already blind when we met, totally and completely blind.  In the mid-90's, he was tested and found to have pretty severe nerve deafness - it's inherited.  So, he's about 50% deaf in addition to 100% blind.

If he'd fathered children, they, also would have had nerve deafness in addition to being blind.  People really wonder why he got fixed?

It bugs me no end when people think he has super senses.

He had back problems, so bad he had to delay his graduation from high school.  Fortunately they don't aggravate him, probably because he is sedentary.

Then the accident.  In very short order, he had a collapsed lung, a lacerated kidney (a really common injury in trauma ICU), a badly broken leg that required surgery,  and a ruptured subclavian artery.  He required emergency open heart surgery on the artery.  He also had an "Extremely Severe" head injury.

About the only good thing you can say about the head injury, his brains are still in his head.  He had intra-cranial hemorrhages - basically 3 "bleeding" strokes - in his brain.  He also had a DAI, a diffuse axonal injury - basically the whole brain twisted, breaking millions of little wires, at the time of impact. He remained in a coma with a very low coma score for 3 weeks.  He took months to recover "normal" thinking, and was pretty slow for about a year.

As a result of the stroke, or as Ron says "A stroke on my right side", his right side is hemiparetic.  Essentially, it is very weak and feels numb to him, "like it fell asleep" on his entire right side.  He is not considered to be severe, but if I had to guess it's more of a moderate-to-severe.   His right side is also far colder than his left.  He has a terrible lean to the left when walking, which makes him sway alarmingly, terrifying everyone and making them shout at me to "help".  He's been getting around like that for 10 years, and he doesn't want the help.   They don't believe me, get up and help him, and he says no thank you.  Then they get it.

He could walk about 1/4 mile after his accident, with difficulty, and hanging onto me as kind of a living walker/balance.  I'd help keep him level and provide support.  It's a good thing I'm in good shape and 20 years younger.

A little after this, he developed a spectacular hernia and had that fixed with a mesh.  He also developed blood clots in his bad leg which put him in the hospital and got him a clot filter to prevent a deadly clot.  Fun, fun.  One reason I do try to get him to "walk" as much as he can.  He probably spends less than half an hour upright at home, every day.    He moves around a little more at work, but not much, and normally in the wheelchair.

His left hand had ongoing arthritic issues.  It wasn't a problem because Ron was right-handed.  Until the stroke.  As a new lefty, he started using the hand a lot more.  He's had 2 surgeries on the left hand, trying to keep it functional.  

So, I think I'm pretty caught up.

Ever wonder about my health issues?  Well, not much, thank God, other than being crazy.

I started getting migraines when I was a little girl.  I tend to get severe, vomiting ones for 12-48 hours at a time.  The only thing that helps is phenergan.  That helps me rest and get over it.

I had severe reactions to tripitans, the usual drug.  I can't take them at all, and when I did I had such horrible chest pain I decided I'd never do that again.

As long as I have my trusty 5 gallon bucket and a place to lie down, I do OK.

I also got a lot of bladder infections when I got together with Ron.  Happily those are pretty much gone.  I am just very careful.  I had one this year, and it was miserable.  Because I have the chronic dry mouth I'm always drinking a lot of water.

Back in 2000-2001, I developed a very nasty, bleeding cyst on my right ovary.  When they took it out it was about half a centimeter.  I have a dermoid cyst on my left ovary, last I heard about 2 mm.  They couldn't find it during surgery, and "We did a lot of cutting".  Good thing I didn't want kids!  So, I still have the ovary and the cyst.  It has a very small chance, 2%, of becoming malignant one day, but I don't worry about stuff like this.

I ride the Houston freeways during rush hour.  That's how I'll die!

My blood pressure and blood sugars are all good.  My last blood test showed all the organs were working fine.

Happily for everyone, I enjoy being physically active.

I don't feel cheated

Rites of passage.  One of my Facebook friends was talking about them; how important it is for her son to have his rite of passage, getting his license.

It got me thinking about my "rites" and how few of them I actually had.  I went to kindergarden, so "first day of school" - did that.

8th grade graduation - no.  I was in the hospital for depression and forced to attend summer school when I got out.  Boy, they really dumb it down in summer school.  They had a ceremony at the end of summer school but I didn't know, and I was completely depressed anyway.

Getting a license: NO.  I don't drive because it isn't safe with my brain damage.  It also isn't safe with my medication, with impairs my reflexes.  I am always walking into things and falling over chairs.  I shudder to consider the vehicular equivalent of "falling over a chair".  I always knew it wasn't going to happen.   I wasn't upset about it, the way I saw it I had to be safe and keep others safe too.

Besides, I've always lived in busy suburbs with good public transit.

Which leads me to buying a car.  That, I actually did.  Here it is:
It was a little darker blue.

Here's how it happened.  A friend of Ron's, who is also bipolar, but didn't know it at the time, was manic.  He bought the car on the way to the junkyard because it had a blown head gasket.  He fixed up the engine, pretty much.  He forgot to replace the transmission seals so it leaked a lot of tranny fluid.  For a non driver, I can tell the difference between transmission fluid and antifreeze.

Anyway, he didn't have any parking, so he sold it to me for $300 because I could drive, if I wanted to, and he would teach me.  He changed his tune pretty quick.

Looking back, I do feel kind of guilty.  I had the car for years, and I used a parking space at the apartment.  The problem being: we didn't have assigned parking.  We had 11 units in the building, multiple drivers and only 8 spaces.  I used up a "good" space for a car I wasn't even driving.  I do feel bad about that.

I sold it back to Ron's friend before we moved.  He then sold it to someone else who got so many parking tickets they impounded the car.  I got a letter, saying as a previous owner of the car, if I wanted it I could redeem it for $1200 in tickets.  I'm sure it was resold.

I hope they fixed the transmission seals eventually.  It was a nice car, didn't get much mileage.  Ron and I used to sit in the car sometimes and talk.  It had nice fuzzy seats and it was fun to dream, but I always knew it wasn't safe to drive.

So, there's "my" car.  What about Prom?  Well, my junior year I was completely depressed (I take comfort in the Bible verse about God restoring the years the "locusts have eaten" Joel 2:25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten," NKJV).  I think one of my male friends had hoped to invite me, but I was definitely deep in the swamp of depression.  

He invited a wallflower friend of mine, instead.  They both had a great time.  

Senior year, I was dating Ron.  Can you imagine what would have happened if I showed up with Ron?  Chaos.   We opted out, although it would have been fun.  

I would have discovered, quickly, that it's very difficult to get Ron on the dance floor, but once he does we both have a good time.  I hope to see him loosen up a bit more in the future.  

I didn't get high school graduation, either.  I talked about this - the special ed program "held me back" because they lied about my "visual difficulties" and said I needed a special computer to function.  They held me back for equipment.  Nauseating.  

So, everyone I know is off at college and I'm back at high school.  Horrible.  However, I counted the days until my birthday (about a month of school) and the minute I was "legal" ran off with Ron.  The special ed program did NOT get their computer.  Boy, were they pissed.  They were also stuck with a nasty little dropout statistic.

They actually found me at work one day and I told her where to go.  I was completely disgusted.  Then my boss asked her to leave [giggle].  What a wonderful boss.

However, that left me without a diploma.  While working nights, 3 years later, I took all the tests and averaged a high percentile, getting the GED.  Oh, and the fanfare as I took it out of the mailbox!

I did call Dad and presented him with his own copy and frame, of the GED.  I wonder if he still has it.  It's not what he'd hoped, he told me once he hoped I'd be an engineer or something, but he loves me.

So, I had the first day of school, buying a car, now for the wedding!

Ron and I lived in sin for over 10 years, until his accident.  He flat out refused to marry me because he wasn't ready to commit.  He had every excuse in the world, and I knew if I pushed him on it, he'd tell me to walk.   Being a good little jello, I stayed.

[grin]  However, a few months before Ron's accident God made it clear Ron would soon demand to marry me.  I laughed.  I could believe I'd have a little house (I never liked the big ones anyway, and Ron and stairs?  [shudder]), but I couldn't believe he'd want to marry me.

Along came the accident and all my trials because we weren't married.  Sure enough, as God promised, Ron demanded to marry me, and we did.  We had a lovely little wedding, very small, short, and intimate.  Then we went out for BBQ.  You should have seen the faces in the restaurant when Ron and I walked in.  They were gaping.   We had a lovely reception, good food, everyone ordered what they wanted, and we had the party room.

I had a nice little honeymoon, we took a couple days in Galveston.  Ron's social security settlement had come in; we could have done something fancy but wisely opted to save our money.

Ron bought me some simple furniture, and we BOUGHT A HOUSE!  That was probably the most challenging and the most fun of it all.  What a moment, when I put the house keys in Ron's hand.  He almost cried.  So did I.

Of course I was stricken with a horrible case of food poisoning that night, delaying the move for 2 weeks, but we got here over 8 years ago and we love it.

So, I don't feel bad about all the things I missed.  I focus on the things I have.



Torbie on my feet

Two days in one, again.  I got up at 7 AM (late for me) yesterday and we went to Walmart.  I finally found a canister for the dry cat food...