Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Kicking off the New Year with more stupidity

Managed to spend a ton of money saving a ton of money at Williamsburg. Yes, I did manage to buy over $700 worth of clothing for less than $200 (well, at least at the price they tell you you were going to spend -right?). But, most everything I bought was around $3-5 per shirt and in fact, quite a few $1 items; with the exception of one tank/over-shirt that cost me about $50 - but it looks really, really good on me - so it'll have to be my date outfit (as if).

And I did spend another $50 for a laptop case with luggage handles/wheels... or more technically the insert and a luggage carryon case that I adore - so they pair together quite well and far below the average price of $125 for the laptop case with handles and wheels.

Spending the day in Williamsburg was great fun and my health held out - until Saturday evening - I managed to catch the stomach flu that was making the rounds in Cedar Rapids - I was sick as a dog for about 18 hours; and then I slept for another 18 hours. Thankfully, "a" was with his father and his dad just took an extra day off of work to keep him so he didn't get neglected while I was paying my respects to the porcelain gods.

But, it's the second weekend in a row where we've ended up spending time in the Emergency Room, as I ended up on an iv getting fluids since I'd become so dehydrated.

With harping from my beloved friend Phil, I also managed to get some pain meds out of the ER doc (since I couldn't keep the pills I was taking down)... and I have some very vivid and unusual dreams as keepsakes as a result. There was the one where my lover enticed me into becoming a voyeur, another where I used those skills to become a very good (although female chinese) assinator.. (and for some reason "A" still looked like "A" and he was in training to become a top assisin as well - lol!). And why, you ask, was I a Chinese assisin? I don't know, but I do know I took great pains to try to hide my femininity as well as used make up to look "american" ... and from there, the dreams receded to me being a princess in China involved in a coup as part of a Chinese Revolution; and then I was working with Lewis and Clark on some form of "mission" that involved going from Iowa to Illinois - but having started in Texas.... where the other "princess" from the deposed emporer's family was also located; and she ended up adopting several children and infants after a fire where their parents where never found... and I had been busy saving the circus from said fire... hmmmm... must have been some good meds??? Totally BIZARRO dreams.

But, I must say, that as long as I take it easy, I can hardly tell I was sick... do too much and it bites back, but on my drive home from Cedar Rapids yesterday, I took a couple of pit stops to rest and even stopped to visit with "A" and his new girlfriend. He's finally given up on the drama queen who has been leaving him twisting in the wind for far too long lately.

Back to work I go - hope to be back again and feeling more chipper all the time.

Friday, January 26, 2007

less pain

hey- ho! I've only taken four pain-killers each of the past two days ... hallelujah!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"A"s big scare

"A" has had two trips to the emergency room in two days. The first time, he got up from a nap on the couch to walk into his bedroom in his apartment - and he passed out and hit his head - or hit his head and passed out - nobody knows. They ran all kinds of tests and a ct scan to make sure there wasn't any head trauma - didn't find anything that they thought would make him pass out this was Sunday evening.

On Monday, he was supposed to follow up with the doctor - and about two hours before his appointment, he got really sick to his stomach, dizzy, etc... called the doctor's office. The nurse said to just go lay down until his appointment, but must have passed the note on to the doctor... as the doctor called him back in about five minutes and told him to get out of his apartment immediately.

Apparently, they'd missed in the ER the day before that his Carbon Monoxide levels were higher than normal. So, the doctor had him go to the hospital to get retested - and it was twice as high. So - he got to spend about five hours in the emergency room on oxygen until his levels returned to zero which is the mildest form of treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning - and it did help him feel much better.

I called the landlord - and left a message stating what had happened and that if I don't hear back from her, that I'd be calling the fire department to investigate. The fire department came by - and the gas company as well - and they couldn't find a single bit of a trace of carbon monoxide - however, "A" had only been in the apartment for 48 hours and no where else - and not even at work or in a car. Go figure... although once we started to discuss symptoms, etc... virtually everyone that came to visit "A" in the past several weeks were reporting head aches that would go away when they left. "A" also has been having recurrent head aches - and since he doesn't have a car and is only working about 3-days a week - he's the one who spends the most time in the apartment.

So, I made him stay at my house on Monday night - so we didn't get home from Newton ER until around 1 am... 30 minutes spent getting gas at a gas station that I will probably never, ever go to again - I'll save that rant for another day.

I took him home on Tuesday -and picked up a carbon monoxide detector since it's probably that the CO levels were only raised intermittantly and had disapaited by the time they were testing it... I wanted to make sure that he gets warned if it happens again. Wish him luck, it's not something I ever want to have him go through ever again. I almost bought a second detector for my apartment - but they're about $40 and I can't afford to get a second one until next paycheck.

a little progress

OK - 3 weeks post-starting increased anti-depressant, sleeping pills and seeing a couselor...
1 week post-starting chiropractic treatment.

It's been one full week since I've had any mini-strokes; I'm not as completely tired when I get up in the morning... but am still in a ton of pain and very tired after a day at work. Not that I've had a complete day at work lately - I'm running around 5-7 appointments a week.

I've got some work to do tonight to do some catching up with work... but I was caught up as of Friday and figure I should be caught up again by Friday again this week -so that's pretty awesome.

I've got to do some running and see if I can find one of those inserts you put into your bath tub to perhaps use that until this summer, as I'm pretty sure I won't be able to put a hot tub in at this apartment. My counselor is talking to me about planning to move this summer so that I can get my waterbed back - since it does help with daily pain... and I do miss it and it could help me again if I had it back... so, probably this spring I'll start looking at duplexes for rent or similar options so I don't have to do yard-work but can still put in my waterbed, and perhaps buy a cheap set of washer & dryer and not have to deal with spending about $30-$40 a month on laundry.

Stay tuned - another post to follow about "A"s big scare.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A very late, long post

OK - am supposed to be doing housework today - but figured I could postpone working on it for at least 30 minutes by finally writing a post.

The week before x-mas was completely miserable, with a couple of trips to the hospital with chest pain that was radiating to my shoulder and jaw... just to be tested for the same things I always get tested for, told I was fine and sent home. Sometimes with better pain meds, and sometimes not. I was about as low as I could get. At one point, the only reason I was walking again was due to the morphine shots they were giving me for the pain. I know that there isn't any reason to hospitalize someone if they have pain and no treatment plan... but I was very angry that they weren't at least trying to rule out something other than the basic possible things that could be wrong with me and would just keep sending me home saying "they don't know what's wrong".

On Christmas weekend, my sister came and got me and we went up on Tuesday to Mayo in Rochester to see if they could figure things out. Only took sitting in the waiting room for one day before I got in. AND FINALLY, they started running new tests. Tests that hadn't been ran on me, like ever. They still didn't find anything seriously wrong with me (at least, nothing new). But at least this time I felt that they got past the initial thought of it could be the heart or the lungs and tested me for a TON of other things.

Since I've been putting off my mammogram for a while - we did that. They found something... and they spent 12 additional mammograms and a couple of ultrasounds to determine that it was a "normal formation" for MY breast. Assuming that the radiologist is probably among the best in the world -they are probably right. I don't feel great about not doing anything for a year (for my next mammogram) simply on the word of someone who is "probably" right. After all, with breast cancer - early detection is everything - and this "something" was at least as big as a quarter if not a dollar coin. My regular doctor is scheduling me for a follow up mammogram this summer - just to make sure, which makes me feel a LOT better about being proactive and not just trusting the word of a radiologist that I don't know.

I did see someone who specializes with people with clotting disorders. Due to the fact that my one time I clotted I had a "massive" pulmonary embolism - they recommend being on blood thinners for "life"... i.e., or at least as long as it isn't unhealthy for me to do so. Since I was already on it for a "trial" period, this just justifies staying on it whether it helps with the spells or not. And it is helping... I haven't had a spell for almost a week.

Additional plans of action ... which if you're not going to get a diagnosis, at least they came up with a plan of action to get me my life back - so I'm good with at least having plans.... right?

So, we start with upping my anti-depressant; starting me on sleeping pills so I can sleep at night; continue on warfarin - and it's A-OK to go to a higher testing point if it helps me. I've started seeing a psychiatrist once a week to help get me out of the depression. I've started to see a chiropractor - as per the doc's "there is NO WAY I am currently clotting" which means that the chiropractor shouldn't be scared to touch me anymore. She did insists on doing x-rays "just in case", but I did talk her into starting to work with me. AND, I get to go to a 3-week pain management clinic which is supposed to help me "deal" with the pain. The suggestion was that I might actually be suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder from the stress of having the pulmonary embolism. Who knows, who cares... anymore, I give up on trying to get diagnosed. If the best doctors in the world can't figure it out, I can't expect anyone else to either.

So, anyway - I get to go to 3 weeks of counseling, group therapy, and physical therapy to regain my life... they've had high success rates and work to get virtually everyone off of narcotic pain killers, which is something that I really want to do. I think the strong pain meds do contribute to me waking up feeling exhausted. I start mid-February... and they did think that I could possibly work some nights from the hotel, which means I don't have to take all of the time as PTO.

So far, ok.... I'm not quite so worn out every day. Still not "me" but better than I've been for over a month. Talking to the psychiatrist.... not perfect, but it's good to get some things off of my chest. It's just that she feels that there probably is something still physically wrong and she doesn't know if she can help me if my depression is due to no one being able to help me figure out what's really wrong with me and "fixing" it. Ah well, it's just awesome having a third-party non-involved person to vent to sometimes... and just getting some negative things out of my thoughts and into my words and just hearing them... seems very therapeutic.

Work has been awesome. And I got caught up from almost two and a half weeks on PTO within 5 days... way cool. I've read my manager's review, although the "ratings" haven't been set yet.... and mostly it's stuff that people I have been working with have written for her to use in my review... all very positive. Would love to get an awesome bonus and/or raise...!

I've post-poned filing for bankruptcy... not sure if it's good or bad. The lawyer wanted me to file before we know what kind of bonus I might get to try to ensure it's not part of "expected income"... but with brand-new medical bills piling up, I've been putting it off so that perhaps they can be included in the bankruptcy... probably a very bad thing to do - but what's a person to do? I'll probably be hitting the maximum amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses by mid-March this year.

Which brings me to one more suggestion that I have that I'm going to put past my doctors.... hot tub - home therapy.... if I can convince them that it's of great medical benefit, it would be covered by insurance (if we fight hard)... and if I'm not psat my maximum for out-of
-pocket costs - then I'd only have to pay 20% of the cost - if I'm past the maximum, it would be free... but then I have to get the ok to have one on my deck at the apartment... I might settle for a tub mat that aerates the bath tub - but it's SO not the same as an ever-ready hot tub. Well, who knows? It's worth asking for! Only this time, I'll buy a small one so it's moveable and I don't buy one that I end up having to leave for the next tenants!

Well, instead of house cleaning, I might have to go lay down for a while, maybe get a power nap - as I'm beat. Who knew typing was so exhausting?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

another meme

Bear with me, a bit loopy from the drugs they used to knock me out for a scan...

1. FIRST NAME Penny
2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Yes, a bloody dog
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? last week
4 DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Not really
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LUNCH MEAT? roast beef - sliced thin
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Probably
7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? a health journal
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Nope
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Not on your life
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CEREAL? If I'm not behaving? Capn Crunch Berries, when I'm being a good grown up - Honey Bunches of Oats with a TON of raisins
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No, my current tennies don't even have shoe strings right now
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Used to be - totally not anymore
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ICE CREAM FLAVOUR? Pfish food
14. SHOE SIZE? 8.5
15. RED OR PINK? Red
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVOURITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? flabby waist/poor skin/complexion
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Phil
18 . DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Sure
19.WHAT COLOUR PANTS and SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Blue jeans; grungy purple & white tennies
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO? Disney channel in the waiting room for the cardiologist
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOUR WOULD YOU BE? Amthyst
23. FAVOURITE SMELL? A clean, sexy man
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Hotel to make new reservations - that we might end up cancelling
25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? Hair/eyes
26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Yes
27. FAVOURITE DRINK? Baileys and Buttershotts; although am interested in picking up a Baileys with Caramel added
28. FAVOURITE SPORT? To watch on tv? Football, to watch in person - baseball, to play - ummm.... follow the 3 yr old
29. EYE COLOUR? Blue-grey
30. HAT SIZE? um - normal?
31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Yes
32. FAVOURITE FOOD? Thai Summer rolls - yummmy; then crab ragoons
33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDING? Happy ending
34. WHAT COLOUR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? White with green ornamental stitching
36. HUGS OR KISSES? Both - but if we're talking about the candy - then hugs
37. FAVOURITE DESSERT? home-made chocolate cake with the new whipped frosting
38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Nobody
39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? My mom
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Mayo Patient pamphlets
41 WHAT'S YOUR MOUSE PAD? Blue one with mega-jell wrist rest for work support
42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Nothing - had Christmas with the family on New Years day - got home (well, my sisters) at 10:00 pm and straight to bed as we were getting up at 4 am to return to Rochester today
43. FAVOURITE SOUNDS? Childs Laughter
44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES? How about Doors instead
45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? Paris or one of the little towns on the east coast of England
46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? tying a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue
47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Monticello, Iowa - same building where the night I turned 30 the night I worked at the college on the former hospital - and on the maternity room floor - the same EXACT time my mother was teaching another class at the college in another room... although we both finished and left before the hour of my birth. Too eerie.