Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Whinge Blog.

I must be doing something right then...

So I'm exhausted. Yes, I know, that's my chief complaint these days. I've been packing it in early too. I've been averaging more sleep than my usual four to six hours per night, but I'm still exhausted. I've been getting up early every morning too, and it's been back and forth at the hospital. I'm sure you don't want to hear about this, because it's not pretty. I'm going to apologize up front for the sound emotional honking I'm about to perform as I give you this update on Doug's father.

Let's back up a bit to yesterday. The doctor informed my mother-in-law that my father-in-law had honked twice last night, and there was possibly another bowel blockage and he may have to undergo another surgery to repair it. They decided to stop his feeds because they were not going through his bowels properly due to the presumed blockage. Bad news. Also, when his restraints are loosened for P/T and O/T, he takes swings at nurses and other hospital staff. (He actually hit a nurse the other day.) And the other night, he told one of the nurses that he didn't want to do this anymore. That broke my heart. Today was a different story. They gave him Reglan to help his bowel, and apparently he is doing better. When I saw him today, the vent was on standby and he was breathing on his own, which is good. He also hasn't had to undergo dialysis for several days.

My father-in-law is doing so much better today, in fact, that my mother-in-law informed me that the doctors/nurses were thinking of sending him off to a nursing home already. Now, my mother-in-law has all of this hope at the thought of him leaving the hospital. I don’t think he’s ready. He’s still in the ICU, he’s still on the vent part of the time, yesterday another bowel blockage had been presumed, but not investigated, (and the story was different today), and obviously, the hospital may not think he’s ready because they haven’t discharged him yet. And don’t get me wrong, I know it sucks that he’s here in the ICU and that she can only stay with him from six a.m. (she goes in for the second visit at nine a.m.) to nine p.m. every single day, but every time my father-in-law shows improvement, my mother-in-law assumes he’s going to get better. That’s the problem. He’s not going to get better. He’s going to be moved to another facility, he’s going to improve for a while, but he’s still going to have dementia, and he will be back to the hospital again soon enough. It's a pattern that has developed since 2010. First, it was his bowels. Next was muscle degeneration, which is common with Lewy Body Dementia. Right now, it’s his kidneys and bowels. Next time, it could be liver failure, or heart failure! And this is going to continue until the end! This is the mess we’re going to have to go through repeatedly, and I’m already at the end of my flipping tether, and it seems like it’s too soon in the game for me to be at that point, but I am. I don't want to watch him go through this! It sucks, for lack of a better word; it sucks very badly!
I’m also upset that the hospital is apparently ready to ship him off to the nearest skilled nursing facility, do not pass go, do not collect $200.00. And the skilled nursing facility is going to make him undergo grueling physical therapy that his body is not up to handling, and they’re going to see that, and they’re going to tell my mother-in-law that my father-in-law is not benefitting from physical and occupational therapy, and that insurance will no longer cover it, and that they have to make other arrangements! It’s the same bloody story! I’ve read it before! Same chapter, same few pages, and it’s a children’s book because it has pictures! I don’t have to read the story, I can just look at the pictures and know how it's going to end! And it’s NOT the hospital’s fault because there’s not much they can do for someone with dementia, so they send him somewhere else, probably knowing he’s not really ready and that he's not going to have a full recovery, but the nurses and doctors and other staff need to deal with the patients they can treat, and that's how it is, and there's no need for an apology. Still, that doesn’t make me feel less frustrated and angry about the whole situation. My mother-in-law will have renewed false hope, my father-in-law still won’t receive any real help. It's sad and it's terrible, and I want to collapse to the ground and throw a ruddy tantrum, but that won't solve anything. Somebody help me make some sense of this! 
I don’t mean to be on the whinge about it. If I don’t calm down, I’m going to give myself a migraine (stress is one of my migraine triggers) or worse, ! Okay…calming down, happy thoughts, happy thoughts, picture things that make me happy. Honestly, the only thing that would make me happy right now is ice-cream, a funny book or a movie (and it can’t just make me chuckle, it has to make me guffaw), and sleep. *sighs* I did get my ice-cream, and I ended up passing out on the couch once I got home, but no laughter.
I'm tired. I'm going to go work on my book. It's been severely neglected since my father-in-law's hospitalization.
Sorry for whinging...seems to be my mantra these days.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This is a perfect picture of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and what it does to a person. Now I make fun of myself and my OCD. I do. And that's okay. I"m just being honest. What really gets on my nerves though is when someone says they're so OCD and is referring to being well organized. It's not just about that, it's a sick and sadistic need to be organized, or something bad may happen to you or a loved one! It's bloody torture! It can eat at you and eat at you all the livelong ruddy day! You can't relax. You can't break free from your routine. You're stuck, knowing that you can't go to bed or leave the house unless your shoes are put away, or you've checked every single knob on the stove, and you've walked an even number of steps, flicked the light switch a certain number of times, or washed your hands properly. And it's not even about that. It's about the vicious cycles of thought patterns and processes that are the worst, the voices that tell you you're not good enough, you're not perfect enough, you never do anything correctly, you've slacked off, you've gained too much weight, and so many other unwanted messages being sent to your amygdala (the part of the brain that examines and processes fear). The amygdala processes those thoughts as real fears, rather than temporary emotions, which stem from the conscious mind. That's OCD, plain and simple. But, let's look at it from a medical standpoint. (I know, I sort of went there already.)

You can read more about it here

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessive-compulsive neurosis; OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions).
Often the person carries out the behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts, but this only provides temporary relief. Not performing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is more common than was once thought. Most people who develop it show symptoms by age 30. ***I was showing symptoms since the age of three.***
There are several theories about the cause of OCD, but none have been confirmed. Some reports have linked OCD to head injury and infections. Several studies have shown that there are brain abnormalities in patients with OCD, but more research is needed.
About 20% of people with OCD have tics, which suggests the condition may be related to Tourette syndrome. However, this link is not clear.


  • Obsessions or compulsions that are not due to medical illness or drug use
  • Obsessions or compulsions that cause major distress or interfere with everyday life
There are many types of obsessions and compulsions. One example is an excessive fear of germs and the compulsion to repeatedly wash the hands to ward off infection.
The person usually recognizes that the behavior is excessive or unreasonable.

Signs and tests

Your own description of the behavior can help diagnose the disorder. A physical exam can rule out physical causes, and a psychiatric evaluation can rule out other mental disorders.
Questionnaires, such as the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS), can help diagnose OCD and track the progress of treatment.


OCD is treated using medications and therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be the most effective type of psychotherapy for this disorder. The patient is exposed many times to a situation that triggers the obsessive thoughts, and learns gradually to tolerate the anxiety and resist the urge to perform the compulsion. Medication and CBT together are considered to be better than either treatment alone at reducing symptoms.
Psychotherapy can also be used to:
  • Provide effective ways of reducing stress
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Resolve inner conflicts

Monday, April 9, 2012

Birthday, Among Other Things...

My husband took me to see Titanic in 3D! For those of you who haven't seen the movie, and I can't imagine anyone who hasn't, here is a brief recap of the film.














It was still just as intense as before, with a little bit more footage added. The part where the boat split, which wasn't focused on in the original film, was beyond intense. They added a scene there. I swear, my heart stopped when I saw the ship crack down the side. WOW.

We also saw Wrath of the Titans, also in 3D. There are no pictures or I would have shared them. I know, I can already hear the comments. "You saw what?" If you're as interested in Greek Mythology as I am, then you can appreciate my premise. But allow me to assure you that I do not believe in Greek gods, or Titans. I find the stories interesting, but they are just that...stories. Zeus's son, Persius, who killed the Cracken, just wanted to be a normal guy, a dad raising his ten year old son. That was all. But of course, something happened that prevented him from this. It wasn't the best movie in the world, but it was definitely 3D worthy. Oddly enough, it made me long for the old Clash of the Titans movie, with the mechanical owl, and Medusa, and the lousy special effects, which were great back then. A classic is a classic, no matter how lame it may appear when compared to newer movies with better special effects.

All in all, I had a nice birthday weekend. I had dinner out twice. I ate way too much. Then, we went out to Applebee's after Easter Services yesterday. I broke down and got comfort food, Three Cheese Chicken Penne, which I didn't eat all of, so I'll be having what's left for dinner tonight. After that, I'm going to have to go back on salad. I've eaten way too much in the last week!

Easter was nice. I compromised and wore a more colorful dress. I told Doug the only reason he didn't want me to wear the black dress was because he didn't want the new guys he was training on the screens at church to think I was emo. He laughed and tried to assure me this wasn't the case at all. I think he's lying... *wink* Services were lovely. Unfortunately, I was very tired, and my Double Shot wasn't working. I wanted to concentrate on the service, but I spent most of it fighting to stay awake, despite the fact that I got more than enough sleep the night before.

As for my father-in-law, I don't really want to talk about it. I don't know what's being done. Doug and I only get second hand information from his mother, and she does well to remember half of what the doctors and nurses tell her. I fill in the blanks as much as possible. For example, when she says something like, “They gave John a medicine in his IV that started with this letter.” I’ll run through the list of meds that start with that letter, and she will stop me when I get to the correct one. It’s like medical mad libs with her. We also found out that my fnl got one of his restraints loose and hit a nurse! My mnl told us two days after it happened! It was one of the nurses we like, a young man named Peter. So you can see that we get bits of pieces of the information on my fnl's prognosis over the course of two days, and some of the updates may not even apply to what's going on with him now. I feel bad that Doug and I can’t be there 24/7, but we have our own lives in the middle of all of this chaos. The whole situation is just stressing me out. I don't mean to seem stroppy. I'm just at a loss for words. It's difficult to watch because our hands are tied. I know it's extremely difficult on Doug, seeing his father like this. Especially today. 

My fnl had a very bad day when we visited this morning. He was crying. He didn't know who we were. The nurse kept asking him what hurt. I wanted to bloody scream because I know that he cannot provide her with an answer. I am in no way upset with the nurse. She was trying to do her job by taking care of the patient, my fnl. I guarantee she has no idea that my fnl has dementia because my mnl told them he had "mental problems." I have mental problems. I have OCD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, both of which are mental problems. There's a vast difference between mental problems and dementia. If someone is asking me what hurts, I can provide them with an answer. My fnl couldn't even speak properly when Doug and I visited him a day before the surgery! And yes, I'm getting frustrated. That's why I wanted to throw an all out fit because he can't speak for himself. That's why I didn't want to talk about it, but I ended up going there anyway. This whole thing is stressing me out. And that's probably why I nearly fainted on the way to the elevator. My apologies for being on the whinge.

Right now, nothing has changed. My fnl is still on the vent. He has undergone a tracheotomy or tracheostomy, choose whichever one is correct, which is supposed to help wean him off the vent, but they haven't even tried yet. He's still getting feeds, but not through an NG tube. My mnl doesn't know if it's IV feeds or if it's through some other means, perhaps a g-button. She just said, "It goes directly into his stomach." No explanation. No elaboration. My fnl is still undergoing dialysis sporadically. They check his creatinine levels to determine whether or not he needs dialysis that day. That's the only thing I know for sure. That, and the fact that he's not showing any real improvement.

That's about it. I apologize for the fact that this post ended on such a bad note. I have several days worth of writing on deck, and I must get to work on it straightaway. Then, I'm going to take a nice long hot bubble bath and go to bed early.

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tired Tuesday.


I had so much to do yesterday that I barely made it to eleven o'clock last night!

Doug had the day off, so he asked me to pick his mom up and take her to the hospital for the nine o'clock ICU time slot. I am not a morning person, but my husband deserves a day to sleep in. Tuesday is his only day that he doesn't have somewhere to be in the morning. Every other day, he has to be at work, and Sunday, he has to be at church to take care of the media during both morning services, which is four, almost five hours of work. I understand why he wants to sleep in. So, I agreed to go pick her up and take her to the hospital. Unfortunately, I got an entire half hour of sleep on Monday night, I rush out the door at 8:30 yesterday morning, original sized can of Starbucks Double Shot in one hand, and a bottle of vanilla frappucino in the other. I cranked up the music and sped off, downing the double shot as I go.

Since I'm a coffee addict, I'm not big on energy drinks. But, when I'm that tired, I'll break down and have a double shot. It's expresso and cream, not a carbonated drink loaded with taurine, ginseng, and God only knows what else. I used to drink an energy drink called BAWLS. It tasted like strong Sprite, and I could work out for hours if I had one before aerobics class, but they stopped making it, or perhaps they just don't sell it around here.

I arrive at my mnl's around 8:45. The first thing she asked is if I'm drinking an energy drink. No, not really. Then, she goes on to ask if those energy drinks are healthy and if Doug should be drinking them. I don't go there. I just say, "I don't know," because I'm tired, cranky, and manky, and if someone starts asking me a bunch of questions, it can get ugly. The subject gets dropped, and we get on interstate. I downed my frappy. We got there in ten minutes, and I dropped her at the door. I decided to go in and see my fnl. I was already there, I had several other things to do before I could go home, and I wanted to see how he was.

My mnl was talking with the nurse when I got up to the fourth floor. I walked into my fnl's room. Usually, he's covered up, including his hands, which are still restrained, and for good reason. If he could move his hands, he would pull the tubes out. He always waited until my mnl went to sleep, and he would pull his NG tube out. Chances are, he would pull his vent out too. Where he has dementia, and the fact that he used to be a small engine mechanic, once he pulls the tube out, he will try to work on it with imaginary tools, or he will connect it to the other things he pulls out or off of him. Then, of course, the nurses have to put the things back in, which he HATES, but you can't reason with him. Yesterday morning, his hands were uncovered, so I could see that his hands, his right hand anyway, was swollen. I spoke to him and told him I was there. He's still had his eyes shut, but he moved around.

Usually, I'm in there with my husband and my mnl, and I'm the one telling them to leave him alone and let him sleep, explaining that he might be in pain, he needs his rest, and I certainly wouldn't want anyone to bother me if I was able to sleep through pain. I also stress the importance of not touching him or holding his hand very tightly due to swelling from IV fluids and dialysis. I don't touch him or get in his face, but my mnl insists on doing so. I say hello to him incase he's awake and he hears me, and I leave a few minutes early to let my mnl have the last ten minutes alone with him. Doug usually goes back to the ICU waiting area with me if he's there.

I stayed with him from 9:00 until 9:20, and I tell my mnl that it's 20 after nine, then I go to the ICU waiting area, giving her the last ten minutes of the half hour time slot. I checked my Facebook messages until she comes back. Then, we made our way to the cafeteria and sat down over a couple of cartons of Fat Free chocolate milk. I stayed until ten, then I left to run my errands. I made it home around eleven, and I was awake, so I sat down and got online for a bit. I transferred some files over from my book, then took a half hour nap. I was up to an entire hour of sleep.

I needed to pick up a tote bag for my mnl, so Doug and I went to the mall. I went to Old Navy and got her a lunch bag, and a small tote bag, and then, since I had birthday money, I perused the clearance aisle.

Seriously, I HATE SHOPPING. I am a hunter gatherer. I go to the store, buy what I'm there to purchase, hardly ever straying from the list, and I go home. Most guys would love that! My husband likes to look at things. I'm the one sitting there on the benches by the doors with all of the other husbands who are waiting on their wives to get their shopping finished. It's hilarious. They look at me like I'm crazy until they find out what my purpose there is. Like them, I am waiting on someone. That's the common denominator. Unlike them, the person I'm waiting for is in the electronics department.

Anyway, I find this shirt that I have been looking for in my size. I'm not an exact size. My shirts consist of XS, S, M, and a few L's. My jeans/dress pants consist of 3's, 4's 5's 6's, and S, or M. I have a few L's in those two, but mostly in my pajama pants. The baggier, the better. The shirt is a medium. I found a few more things, which took me a total for five minutes, and I go back to the fitting room and try them on. The shirt fits, that's the main thing I wanted. The jeans also fit. The tee shirt, which I found out was 49 cents, fit, and the other shirt fit. The two pairs of pants I found fit, but I didn't like the way they looked. I made my purchases, and we headed to Deb to peruse the clearance racks there. I knew they sometimes had totes for a good price, and I found a huge tote bag for cheap. I got it for my mnl too. So now she has two totes and a lunch bag, that way she can carry the things she needs with her while she's at the hospital.

Doug took me to eat a late lunch. At this point, I was starting to feel like I only slept for an hour, but I had a meeting to go to around seven. I stopped by the house to pick up the tiny laptop, and headed to the church. After the meeting was over, we went to visit my fnl.

My fnl was the same as he was before, eyes closed, unresponsive, and laying there in bed. My mnl talked to him and tried to wake him up, despite my protests. She said he squeezed her hand earlier and opened his eyes when she asked him to. Doug said hello, as did I, and I took a seat in the chair until the last ten minutes.

Once my mnl returned from the visit, we all head to the car. I leaned back and slept...UNTIL...Doug starts asking me where I want to go eat. That's when the sleep deprived rage came out. I'm nearly in tears as I tell him I really don't care. So he goes to Arby's, where we almost wreck into some red car, who is trying to back up, and we aren't even in the parking lot yet. To make matters worse, the red car pulls into the driveway. Doug pulls in behind him, and the red car tries to back up AGAIN! No sleep for me! We order the food, and we head home, hoping we don't run into anymore stupidity on the road.

I got home, ate half of my sandwich, and passed out on the couch. Doug and my mnl kept waking me up, so, the cranky version of me asks Doug to put me to bed. This was around eleven. He walks in with me, I change into my pajamas, run to the loo, and go to bed. I'm so tired I'm in tears. I lay down, laptop next to me, and sleep. Doug leaves to take his mom home.

For some odd reason, I wake up at midnight. I got on the computer for a few minutes. Doug came back home, surprised to see me awake. I looked at him and said, "I'm going to have a dekko at my book." He smiled and said, "Okay." He knew I was going to fall asleep with the laptop on my lap, fingers poised, ready to type. And he was right. I ended up laying my head on his shoulder, and that was it. I crashed into a deep and dreamless sleep. I'm guessing Doug had to put away the laptop, put it on charge. The next thing I know, Doug was taking me to the bathroom. I must have asked him to, and I was grasping for Tylenol in the dark. I asked him what time it was, and I think he said six, but I don't remember clearly enough. I took the Tylenol, my head was pounding, got a drink, and went back to bed. I remember Doug putting his arm around me, and then, it was one o'clock this afternoon.

I woke up. Doug was gone. There was a dull ache in my head. When I reached for my mobile phone and saw what time it was, I was shocked. I got twelve and a half hours of sleep, not counting the sleep I got in the car, and the sleep I got on the couch. I was shocked. I had set my alarm for eleven. My alarm tells me how much sleep I will get when I set it. Usually, it says something like, 4 hours and 21 minutes, or 6 hours and 1 minute. That's about what I average per night. I got double, almost triple, my average amount of sleep! It was like paradise!

Now before the lectures begin, I understand the importance of sleep. I understand it a great deal. I've done the research. The problem is I'm an insomniac workaholic perfectionist who is consumed by the book I'm working on. I've got until October of 2013. That is my goal for the first book. That's all the time I have. Is this an unrealistic goal? I don't think so. I've got 80% of the work done. I just need to finish the transfer, the editing, and rewrite some things from memory, and I do have an eidetic memory.

Here's the thing. A few days ago, I had this gut wrenching fear that just overtook me. I don't know if it was what somebody said, or what? It was just one of those things that made my heart stop. What if I fail? This thought came suddenly out of nowhere. What if I do all of this work and I fail? What if my dreams don't come true? Where the heck is this all coming from? I'm an excellent writer! I know this! I've written since I knew how to write! I have stories and poems and even books that I've written, I don't have them in my possession, but I wrote them! I was published in a church newsletter in 1998! The church didn't believe women had any business behind the pulpit, but even that preacher, who hated my guts, recognized that I was an excellent writer! He handed me the national newsletter and said, "Do you think you would be interested in writing for them?" I was floored! I said, "Absolutely." That was the only time that man ever told me he had confidence in me. If someone who didn't think very much of me as a person can recognize my talent, then why the heck can't I? *sighs* Maybe it's because I'm under stress, sleep deprived, exhausted, whatever the case may be. I don't know. Failure is not an option here!

If I'm good, why am I worried about failure? And, if it's not okay to fail here, why is it okay to fail in other areas of my life?

My other dream, most of you know, is med school. That's a thirteen year commitment, and it requires hard work, determination, dedication, and so much more. I have health issues. I'm not the healthiest person by any means. I'm a chronic migraine sufferer. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and I sort of have panic disorder. I say sort of because I used to have panic attacks all the time. I've had maybe three in 2011. (So far, in 2012, I came close to having one, but that was it.) I'm a perfectionist, I'm afraid of getting fat, and because of my OCD, I have some strange and irrational fears. Recently, I discovered that some of the odd fears I have are shared by many people. Sorry, I won't talk about it, but I will say that it's good that I'm not the only one. So you can see, I have so many reasons working against me.

People have asked me, "Are you sure you want to do this?" Yes, with all of my heart, I do. And there are people who have told me they don't think I can make it. A few of my friends are like, "We're definitely going to have to pray for you." I'm glad they will because I'm going to need it. I know I can make the grades. I can do the book work, the research, all of that. Those are my strong points. It's the rest of it I'm worried about. I've got to give it a try. I don't want to be sixty years old, looking back, wondering if I could have done it.

Despite having OCD and knowing I may very well not be able to handle it, someone told me not to let it stop me. She reminded me of the scrubs character, and said if he could do it, (even though he's not a real person) that I could. And I'm sure there are doctors out there with OCD. She has no idea how much it meant to me.

Bottom Line: I can't fail my first dream, because my second dream depends on it. Publish the books, get the money, go to med school. I can do this...

I think...

I think I need more sleep...

Monday, April 2, 2012

April Has Arrived...


April arrived yesterday, with a bang for me, anyway. I'm still recovering from my migraine. I'm doing a little better, just exhausted. And I have good reason. This first two weeks of April are just jam packed full of events.

The first thing that happens for me this week is my birthday! 


And since I'm getting older, I have a feeling we're going to need the fire department on hand. *lol* For those of you are wanting to know how old I am, I am going to be nice and tell you. I'm 29 for the 6th time. It's up to you to do the math.

I was born on a Tuesday. My mother says I was due on April 12th, which was also a Tuesday, but she jokingly announced that I would be arriving on the fifth, and was accused of doing something to force herself to go into labor. April 5th was also her father's birthday. He had died several years prior in a tragic work accident. I was also born on my mom's neighbor's birthday. The neighbor was like a grandmother to my mother. Her name was Kate Leffingwell. She was a very nice lady. She left us in August of 1995.

People always talk about birthday wishes, what they want for their birthdays every year. I have so many things going on that I'm not certain what to wish for, not that making a wish while blowing out the candles has some magical power. I don't know. First and foremost, I want a healthy, happy year. The biggest project I'm working on is my book series. My goal is October of 2013 to have the first book ready. I've decided to be mean and do the prequel last, like V. C. Andrews did with the Flowers in the Attic series.

But in order for my dreams to come true, I have to get out of bed. *smile* I am exhausted! But, the sooner I recover from this migraine, the better, so I can resume working on my book!

The next big event is Easter!


I thought this picture was lovely! I love to make centerpieces like the one above! Doug and I don't do anything special for Easter, really. We color eggs. I know, pathetic for a couple who has no children, thus no excuse to color eggs, but it's fun. I get real creative with it and draw designs on the eggs and write messages to my husband. It's fun. It's tradition for us.

And of course, we go to church for Easter, but not just on Easter Sunday. I sort of have a dress. I hate dresses, but I usually wear one on Easter Sunday. This year's number is a little black dress, simple, tasteful, elegant. I may wear a string of pearls to class it up a bit. Black and Gray are my favorite colors.


Spring is beautiful. I love seeing the kids enjoy it for sure. Easter egg hunts are so fun. My mother has a picture of me that was in the paper, where I'm probably just around one, maybe two, depending on when Easter was that year, and I'm wearing a little white dress and matching bonnet, carefully navigating my way through some tulips. I have the article in my baby book. I assume I was on an Easter Egg Hunt. I'll have to scan it, but it's a black and white picture. Not as pretty as the thought of a toddler walking through colorful tulips may sound.


Just one time, Easter has fallen on my birthday. I thought that was so cool when I was little. I was still a little tomboy, but I was so excited that when my mother took me shopping that I selected a pink and white dress with a matching hat because Easter and my birthday were the same day! I loved that dress.


This picture sort of shows some the designs I draw on the eggs prior to coloring them, but for the life of me, I've never seen black egg dye. Black and white together are so elegant.

And, finally, our last big event for the first two weeks of April is Friday the 13th!


Many of you are wondering why I would celebrate such a thing. It's just another day that happens to be labeled as bad. Doug and I had our first date on Friday, August 13th, 1999. So every time a Friday the 13th rolls around, we go out, just because our first date was on a Friday the 13th. We still celebrate on August 13th, if it occurs on a Friday or not. And no, we don't watch Friday the 13th with Jason on it. I tried to watch those movies when I was a teenager, and I was bored out of my mind! *lol* My mother said Salem's Lot would change my life. I slept through it when I was a teenager, then again when I was an adult. But The Exorcist really scared her. It wasn't the scariest movie I have ever seen, but I can see why it upset her so.


A month that begins on a Sunday will always have a Friday the 13th. Since we have one this month, we will also have another in July. Seriously, it's just another day. Jason does not live. Black cats are just that, cats that have black fur! I used to have several black cats that were so sweet. Walking under ladders and breaking mirror are dangerous, and common sense says you shouldn't walk under a ladder or mishandle glass! Thirteen is my favorite number because that was the day I had my first date with Doug. It's just another number, more or less. Maybe not to him or me, but it is.

That's about it for now. I need to give my right arm/hand a break. I'm going to find a snack and relax.


Have a great day!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


My month did not start out the way I was hoping it would...


I've been sick with a migraine all day today...

I got up at seven, and we took my mother-in-law to visit my father-in-law in the hospital ICU. She goes and stays there and visits every three hours. And the ICU hours are weird anyway. It looks something like this:

ICU Hours:

6:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.
9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
12 noon to 12:30 p.m.
3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
8:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The only ICU visit my mother-in-law doesn't attend is the 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. slot.

Doug and I drop her off for the 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. visit, and she stays there until after the last visit, the 8:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. time slot. Then, we take her home or she stays here on our couch. This schedule has been going on for almost a week now.

After we drop her off, Doug drives us to church. He is the director over the entire media production that occurs during service. He usually works both morning services, so he has to be there at 8:30 a.m. every Sunday morning. I am not a morning person, so I will usually drive back home, have another coffee, and get ready. Unfortunately, this morning's routine didn't work out.

As I drive home, I literally forget which way I'm going, and I end up on the other side of town. I assume it's because I'm not awake. I turn around and head for home. I crank up the music. I'm doing okay. I pull into my parking spot and stop the car, grab the keys, set it to lock, and get out. That's when pressure and dizziness hit me like a ton of bricks. I somehow make it into the house and sit down. That's when the vision loss occurred.

For those who have never had a migraine, they're evil. They're horrible, evil, and cannot be reasoned with. My migraines, however, mimic strokes. And since some of you have asked me to describe the anatomy of one of my typical migraines, and the fact that I sort of have my wits about me, I'm going to give it to the old college try.

It usually starts out with an aura. Sometimes, I recognize the auras, other times, I don't. My auras consist of, and these are in no certain order;

1. Deja vu (I've done this before.)
2. Vision loss
3. Foot cramps (The debilitating kind that make me drop to the ground and cry.)
4. Memory loss (I'll be in the middle of something and not remember what I'm doing, like when I was driving home this morning.)
5. Intense shoulder pain
6. Aphasia (I will know what I want to say, but another word will come out, usually a related word for me. For example, jacket may be coat, and coat may be paint. Other times, my speech is slurred, and what I'm trying to say makes absolutely no sense at all.)
7. Unexplained Fatigue/Weakness

I've had foot cramps for two days, and mild shoulder pain off and on since last night. I attributed it to stress, being on my feet (a mile walk to the ICU for two time slots), and not getting enough sleep.

So I make it inside, and I sit down on the bed. And I text Doug. I try to keep it simple because I know the further into the migraine I get, the worse my text messages become. I stretched out and tried to focus on something, and that's when the vision loss began. This usually consists of total vision loss in one eye. (Sometimes, I'll have sparkles in my vision, where everything will glitter. It looks pretty, but it's a sign of impending suffering for me.)

Once the vision loss occurs, I need to get somewhere and lay down immediately. Vision loss is followed by one sided numbness, in which the right or left side of my body will go totally numb. I can't use any part of the numb side of my body. I can't even walk without assistance. One time, I could not swallow, which scared the heck out of Doug. This is also the phase where nausea, photophobia, and phonophobia will happen. I rarely have nausea or phonophobia, but I always have photophobia.

Once the numbness stage is over, the intense head pain sets in. I lay in bed and wait for welcomed unconsciousness to overtake me. And when sleep comes, the worst is usually over. For this, I am grateful.

Whenever I wake up, which can be as long as eight to twelve hours later, whatever side was affected by the migraine is quite wonky, uncooperative, and sometimes doesn't work at all. It can range from weakness, to pain, to useless. I'll have to use my other arm/hand to do everything I need to do, and my foot/leg will be weak and sometimes drag. I also can't wear my floppies (flip flops to the natives) after a migraine. These after effects can last for up to three days before I regain full strength/use of the affected area.

Because my migraines are intense and mimic strokes/TIA's, I'm supposed to make a trip to the emergency room to make sure I haven't had a stroke. They also check for seizure activity and other neurological issues that would or could cause these or similar symptoms. I'm usually given a clean bill of health and sent home.

Unfortunately, going to the emergency room is not always convenient. Doug works and goes to school full time. He has responsibilities which often means I have to fend for myself. If my symptoms are severe, he will drop everything to take care of me. We have to determine when we both agree that I should go to the emergency room. If I have a new symptom, such as the swallowing issue, we go to the ER. That's a given. The first few times I had nausea, since it rarely occurs, we took a trip to the ER. My first experience with phonophobia, we went to the ER. If my symptoms/after effects last longer than usual or are more intense than usual, we will go to the ER. I will sometimes panic, which doesn't help, and Doug will have to try to calm me down. This is often futile. Today's migraine was not ER worthy.

Forgive me for being all over the place. I'm still a bit clapped out.

I sent the text message to Doug. I stretched out in bed, covered myself up, and shut my eyes, waiting for the dizziness to stop, waiting to hear the message tone indicating that Doug had received my text. He knew what was going on. He asked if I made it home before the migraine hit, and I managed to reply with, "sort of." He was just glad I made it home and was safe in bed. The problem was that I had the car. Driving with a migraine is quite dangerous. I said I would try to sleep it off. I was experiencing extra fatigue/weakness today, and was able to go to sleep before the numbness really got to me. Doug called me several times to check on me and make sure I was okay.

Thankfully, I slept through the worst part of it, and woke up at one. Church was over. I let him know when I was leaving, and he allotted a certain amount of time for my arrival before threatening to send out a search party. He prayed, I prayed. I made it to the church, crawled into the passenger side of the car, and slept until he was finished shutting down the media equipment. He spent the afternoon taking care of me. He got me a venti nonfat chai tea latte. He brought me some glazed donuts to munch on, then he took me home and put me to bed. That's where I've been ever since. He stopped in to visit his father. I feel bad that I couldn't make it to see him today. I didn't even work on my book today. I just don't have the mental capacity, plus my right side is affected, and it hurts to type. Most of my typing was accomplished with one hand. Thank God I'm ambidextrous! If not, I would be in serious trouble...

Anyway, I'm still feeling ill, but I made it through. It wasn't the worst migraine I've experienced, but still not ER worthy. I always wonder in the back of my mind if I will be so lucky next time...