Monday, May 28, 2007

Mowed today. I didn't faint, but I did vomit three times trying to finish. I thought about calling someone to help me, but really, who is there to do so?

I had the surgery because I was having excessively long and horrible cycles. Last Tuesday, I started bleeding again, even though I was told I would not have a cycle as long as I took this shot every three months. The surgeon wanted my reproductive system to rest. By Friday morning, the cramps, nausea, and diarrhea started as well. Thursday, she gave me pain pills, which I started taking Saturday after I finished an interview for an article I am writing. So, I spent Saturday and Sunday pain free, but in a hazy fog.

I have lost seven pounds since Thursday. Really, I feel like I am right back where I was a few weeks ago with regard to dehydration and nausea and in the same boat as I was before the surgery. My frustration has reached new heights.

Kashi, my wonderful puppydog, has stayed close by my side the last few days. I think he knows something is wrong. Have I mentioned lately what a great companion he is?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Kashi!
Happy Birthday to you!

My puppydog is twelve today! Such a great companion he is...even if he is stubborn, intractable, and half-neurotic. He greets me with such enthusiasm and adoration each and every day. He curls up at my side each evening when I crawl into bed. And he is most willing to give me baths whenever necessary.

I still have the heat on today. I really cannot seem to get warm. The crazy thing is, though, that I started having night sweats. There I am in bed, lying awake because I am too cold to sleep, yet I am sweating all over my sheets. I am plumb flummoxed.

I also fainted again today. I was lying on the couch resting when Kashi asked to go out. I got up to go open the back door when everything turned black. I ended up whacking my head on the coffee table. This time, I wasn't doing anything strenuous. Double ARGH!

I did purchase some reading glasses. It truly is amazing how much better I can read with them! While perusing the selection, I decided that if I was going to be an old biddy who has to wear reading glasses, then I would just have to look like one. I found this pair that is a modern interpretation of the horn-rimmed glasses of the 50's. I think I look quite strange in them, but I added them to the cart. Now all I need is one of those chains to hang around my neck.

The other item I purchased was a new cane. Something that I have discovered is that the one I have (and use most reluctantly) looks okay, but is not that safe or very functional. I found one that has a better handle and is more of an aid for me. I almost left it behind, but the time I spent in the hospital and the difficulty I have had walking ever since, especially when the fatigue washes over me, has showed me that having a functional cane is probably a good thing. Of course, the best one would be one of those canes with a four-point bottom. However, those are just plain ugly and reek of infirmity.

So, I can see better and walk better...if only I would truly feel better...

Friday, May 18, 2007

I am freezing! I actually have the heat running right now to try and take the chill from my bones. Here it is, more than half-way through the month of May and I needed to turn on the heat. Of course, yesterday the A/C was running to stave off the heat. Personally, I think that my internal regulator mechanism has gone plumb broke.

Yesterday, I spent four hours at the opthamologist. The bad news was that she welcomed me to old age; I need bifocals. The worse news was that the blurred vision that I have been experiencing is neurological in nature, i.e., the MS is rearing its ugly head. She wrote a referral for a neurologist who specializes in this area, but he is not on my plan. I have been trying to decide if I should throw caution to the wind and see him, trusting that the money will come from somewhere eventually. The thing about neurologists and MS is that many of them just don't get the disease.

For example, optic neuritis is a harbinger of the disease. I have been complaining for a few years how painful it is to move my eyeballs up and down or to either side. When I mentioned this to the opthamologist, she looked askance at me and said," I thought that you told me you had not yet experienced optic neuritis." She then had me do this color test on which I did quite poorly. Hence, the passing of the torch to the special neurologist.

I will admit that I bawled my way through about an hour of the exam. I just couldn't accept that the change in my contact lens was so marginal (the glasses are a bigger change, but they will not be economical so perhaps they must wait awhile). I mean, she's telling me that according to the machines, I am almost as close as can be. However, when I look across a room, down a hall, or at street signs, things are most decidedly NOT the best they could be. I just do not understand how my eyes could be working and my brain be the part that is messing up the rather clear picture that I am apparently seeing. I was not ready for that bit of news. Not at all.

I do feel as if I need to figure out a way to apologize for the waterworks, for she was a rather kind doctor. She even made me laugh with all her old lady jokes. Because of how the MS affects my eyes, I cannot get bifocal contacts, so I will still need reading glasses with them. She told me I'd best go out and buy one of those silver chains to hang around my neck so I don't lose 'em!


I took a nap when I got home, then folded some laundry. After another bit of rest, I fetched the snippers and trimmed the crepe myrtle that is by the front door. It tends to obscure the pathway to the mailbox. In truth, it obscures the pathway to the front door. I am reluctant to trim it, because I don't like it being lopsided. However, it has grown high enough that what I had to trim could be balanced on the other side (I usually just duck beneath the branches while using the sidewalk, but visitors have complained about that as well.). I think I did a fair job, huffing and puffing my way through it. I really dislike how weak I still am. Truly, I do...

Fancy is finally doing better. I had a feeling she was wanting to lay some eggs. I put up a "house" for her (a tent made of old television guides), and she promptly moved in. For a week, she pretended that she was setting on eggs, but now she has several of them. I am fearful these will actually be viable, because she has most diligent about keeping them warm. Fancy is even turning them--something she's never done before. In fact, she's lost 10 grams (11%) of her weight in a week so dedicated is she. Madison has been serenading her much of the time. I wonder if he thinks that doing so is helpful to either her or the development of his children.

Of course, the plus side is that she has stopped plucking Madison's feathers. You see, I discovered that Fancy had been plucking feathers from beneath her wings. I saw that she was naked there and rushed her to the vet. Of course, I collapsed while there and had to call for help to get home. Fancy was quite peaked, so the vet gave her some antibiotics and vitamins to bolster her up a bit (she wanted to give me some; this was a few days before the second trip to the hospital for dehydration). I could tell that she was better, but she just looked like she was hankering for something. She then started plucking feathers from Madison. He has a bald spot on the back of his head and one near his right ear. She definitely wears the pants in this marriage.

Back to the eggs. If you remember (those of you who read often), she was laying eggs every cycle last year. This is dangerous since the calcium needed to form the eggs comes from her body. So, I took away the tents they loved so much and the egg laying stopped. However, she looked like that was what she wanted, hence the tent currently in the cage.

The vet swears that it is hormones that drives the cycle, not having a house. I countered that neither bird acts normal. After all, it took them a year to figure out how to have birdy sex (their skill is still lacking a bit). Consider the facts: I removed the house; no eggs. I replace the house; eggs. You be the judge!

It is rather cruel to just take them away. Normally, it is not a problem because she does not stay on them enough for them to remain viable. Now, her diligence has me worried. I do NOT want baby birds. I mean, they would be adorable...but if they couldn't figure out how to care for them, I would be the one stuck with feeding them formula every two hours. So, I have to figure out how long to leave them so that she does not become depressed, but not long enough to let them hatch. [Read here for an education on cockatiel breeding.]

So, Fancy is happy. Madison is singing. And Kashi is glad that I am home.

Me? I am ready for another nap...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mowed. Fainted. Frustrated.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I just cannot take a single breath without another blow. I came home to discover the hospital never called the insurance company to let them know that I was staying in the hospital past the out-patient surgery. Because of that the claim is denied. And even though the hospital was the one who made the mistake I am somehow responsible due to how my former employer's insurance plan was written (in-network coverage that is denied automatically rolls over to out-of-network care). The bill is $13,343.37 and does not include the individual bills from the surgeon and the four specialists who came to my room. They will come later.

This is unbelievable...

I can say, however, that God's grace has been overwhelming this evening. I bawled for two hours after my futile conversation with the insurance company before I could even start to pray. I have a small PR job that I have been battling to keep during the midst of my ill health. My first deliverable was a week late because of the hospitalizations. Tonight, I had two press releases and a media advisory to draft before a conference call at 10:00.

This evening, more so than in a long time, I have known the peace of Christ. I am not foolish to think the tears and frustrations are gone completely, but I do know that He is the only One who could have gotten me through this work tonight.

Praise Him!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Today, I got the boxes into the attic. I packed two of them with some things I wanted to keep, but really don't use all that much. This gave me a bit more space in the kitchen. I also took the opportunity to go through some of the stuff in the utility closet where the boxes were and came up with four more plastic store bags of things I could donate. Of course, I had to take another nap after that endeavor.

I find a measure of peace in having the house back to normal after the month of dirt and being in chaos from the basement floor replacement project.

I really am not a person who cares to live in disorder...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

So much has happened that I genuinely do not know what to write, how to explain how I feel about it all.

A part of me wants to document each and every moment, while the rest of me wants to forget forever what has happened. I went into the hospital for day surgery and embarked on a journey of ill health that just doesn't seem to want to end. I was in a horrible hospital twice. The first time I was there, I had three different asthma attacks where I had to use my own inhalers. The third was the worst, and I ended up in pulmonary arrest. I stopped breathing. Just before, I was struggling for air while three hospital staff stood around and debated whether or not I had asthma since it was not in my chart...even though I had told both the pre-admission nurse and the admitting nurse that I did. If I had not brought my own medicines to the hospital, I would have most likely died.

For three days, I had no sleep. For 11 days, I was not able to eat. I lost 20 lbs, but have gained back 5 of them. I was so weak, which combined with an MS flare-up, made it difficult to walk. I have missed so much of my temporary job, lost out on a second interview for a permanent job, and lost a tutoring job that was quite lucrative.

I was in a hospital that was clearly battling transfer-of-care issues and was clearly not safe. I made a decision to leave on my own because of the egregious care, but the criticism I have received from those in my life for doing so has hurt far more than being treated so poorly by those who were supposed to be looking out for my well-being.

I am still tired, still weak, and still ill. The last visit to the pulomonologist ended up with her suspecting I have pulmonary hypertension. Of course, the main tests to confirm that tentative diagnosis use iodine, and I am allergic to shellfish. I wanted to talk about my asthma, about what happened in the hospital, but she is more concerned with the sinkable episode I had there (that is what they call fainting these days) and the shortness of breath I experience whenever I exert myself, such as with inclines, stairs, or carrying heavy things. I desatted in her office (my oxygen saturation dropped while I was there), and she practically acted as if I were going to keel over right before her. I can understand her concern, but I just don't care anymore. Fainting does not bother me. Neither does huffing and puffing.

Instead, I want better control of my asthma, because I am tired of waking up coughing or launching into an attack at the merest wisp of smoke wafting my way, I want something that will note that I am asthmatic so that medical personal will not dispute that again, and I want to know what four drugs I was given the day of the surgery so that I can never have that combination again.

Enough of that, though, because the tears start falling again when I think of how scared I was and how horrible I felt with phone call after phone call of questions that criticized my actions and doubted my condition.

I did managed to clean the house today for the first time in a month. When B was here to help out and then later W, I cringed at how dirty it was. The broken vacuum cleaner didn't help. But worse was the inches thick layer of dust, the dirty laundry, the filthy floors, the less-than-clean bathrooms, and the general grossness of my home.

Of course, I had to stop twice for naps in order to get the job done. I vacuumed alone for over two hours and sucked up six canisters worth of dirt, dog hair, and other undesirable stuff from the floors (Despite the rather dire financial situation I now find myself within, I broke down and got a vacuum). The dust is gone. The floors are clean. The bathrooms are clean. The laundry is done. The kitchen is clean. The dishes are done. The basement beds have been remade. The only task I have left is to move the boxes I had been collecting to the attic since I won't be moving any time soon. However, I did not attempt this yet because I am not sure I have the strength to hoist myself up through the opening while standing on the ladder.

Yesterday, I slowly moved all the books and the bookcase that was still in my living area back to the basement. I figure that it will be next to forever before I get my shoemolding (quarter round) put down, and having the living area so crowded drove me crazy. While I did manage to get everything down there, I had to spend the rest of the evening on the couch recovering. This morning, I put the books into the case. I also put out the photos and dresser items back out for the same reason. At least the basement looks almost back to normal.

Although the grass is doing a mighty job of growing, I am currently spared from mowing the lawn because my blasted lawnmower broke at the beginning of this week when I tried to attack the eight-inch high prairie that was my yard. I finished with the weed-whacker, but since I used up the rest of my line, I won't be doing that again anytime soon. I couldn't find another electric mower locally, so I ordered it from Amazon. I fear the grass will be quite high before it arrives in a week or so...