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Showing posts from November, 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…

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!

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.  I…

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 abo…

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.

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-…

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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 ou…

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 alw…

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 tasteb…

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…

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 naturalbody, it is raised a spiritualbody. There is a naturalbody, and there is a spiritualbody.)  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 12:9New King James Version (NKJV) 9 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 h…

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 …

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.  Than…

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 …

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 str…

"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 jabbi…

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'…

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. …

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 goo…

We've come so far

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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 he…

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 m…

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 …

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.  …

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 wor…

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" …

I don't feel cheated

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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 …