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House of Pain

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

3:45AM - Keeping Up, Sorta

Major things that have happened recently are:
-we refinanced the house for 1.5 points less than we were paying, saving us nearly $50/month.
-got in to see a great, compassionate pain management doctor, who looked at my MRI films and immediately wanted to hug me, it was so bad. We tried an epidural shot to reduce the inflammation, and it worked for about two days, and then went back to being just as bad as before the shot, with a little bit more numbness in my toes than before the shot (or numbness that I noticed more once it had gone away, and then returned)
-got referred to a neurosurgeon because conservative measures wasn't going to fix the issue, and it's not recommended to keep getting epidural shots as the chances for worsening the damage being done by an obliterated disk at L5-S1 is high, especially if the benefits only last a couple of days
-got scheduled for lumbar surgery, not a fusion though, faster than normal because I am just lucky like that, for August 15, sooner if there is a cancellation. It's going to be similar to my previous surgery, with a few more orthopedic modifications to my spine to allow for the very advanced osteoarthritis and will include removing the facet joints that are growing spurs, and as much spine as can be removed to widen the spinal canal itself as it is closing itself up from bone overgrowth due to the arthritis.
-our air conditioner has gone tits up, shit the bed, etc. This happened while we were out playing Mutant: Year Zero (a table top RPG). We have a house warranty that covers the plumbing, foundation, water heater, water pump,the ac/furnace, and a couple of other things that I can't quite remember. Put the work order in Sunday about this time, and the service guy will be here tomorrow before noon. Meanwhile, it is hot as balls in this house that was never designed with the idea of not running the ac in temps above 70 degrees F.
-Carl was transferred from his cushy job of working in the store room, handing out tools and parts to working making paper on a paper machine. It's less pay, harder work, much worse working conditions, longer hours, and a rotating shift. The upside is there is So Much overtime available, unlike his former position.
-I almost forgot! I have been losing weight like someone sewed my lips shut. I am down to 214 pounds now. I had to buy a pair of shorts this evening. The first pair I tried were a 22. They fell right off. The 20s were too big, too. So, my husband brought me a size 18. They were roomy, but didn't immediately fall off.

Here's the thing: I'm not dieting. I am eating less, sure, but that's because The Pain has all but robbed me of my appetite. I have decided that once I get below 200, I will consider getting my knee replaced so that functions like I really want it to. Being lighter will definitely make the recovery easier, and the appliance last longer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

2:03PM - My Old Friend, Pain, And The Spoon Theory

I have been very lax about updating my journal. Duh. Facebook is easier, reaches more people, and this laptop is a piece of shit. (updating on my smart phone is a major pain in the ass, so there's that, too.)

Anyway, my back is playing up. I have had x-rays, an MRI, and seen my gp Doctor. Once again, I have herniated disks pressing on nerve roots, with the added bonus of severe osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis, with the accompanying bone spurs also compromising nerve roots. As I type this, I am in patient limbo acting like a football. My gp wants nothing to do with managing the pain, as my choices are narcotics or psuedonarcs that are all addictive. (I say I don't mind getting hooked again, I'll deal with the fallout once a real treatment plan is put into place).

Anyway, The Spoon Theory. Basically, it is a metaphor for how much energy a person with a chronic illness, or chronic pain, has in a day.

For me, the issue isn't about how much energy I have, but how much activity I have (and what types) before I trigger The Big Pain, for which at the moment, I have No Support. It also doesn't address the guilt that comes from relying on other people who have their own stuff to deal with for every day mundane tasks like driving a car, or shopping for groceries, or even something as simple as cleaning the house. Even preparing a meal for my family becomes a Sisyphean Task with the reward of hurting too much to even sit down and enjoy the meal I made. (Yes, folks! Chronic pain will destroy your appetite. Who knew?)

For me, my "condition" feels like I live in a crystal cage with no door. Those fragile crystal bars on my cage are very easy to break through, but they will cut me to ribbons if I do. Some days, the cage is nice and roomy, and I can fit quite a bit of my day-to-day inside those bars, with no fear of having to walk through those bars to get to the rest of my day. Then there are those days that the cage is only as big as my bed, and just to get out of that cage to so much as participate in my day, I'll need to bust through those crystal bars.

Not only are those bars fragile crystal that will cut me to ribbons, but they are coated in Guilt and Self Pity. Guilt and Self Pity will convince me to run face first through those bars and grin through the gouts of blood (pain, actually) and do stuff even if it means by 8 o'clock I'm so crippled I need help to get into bed.

To add to the whole thing, Guilt isn't just made up of not being able to do stuff and needing to rely on other people. The guilt is made up of medical professionals initially blaming my poor choices and lifestyle of being a fat, middle aged woman on why all of my joints are eat up with osteoarthritis (Yes, even the OA in my hands and neck are because I am a great big fat ass according to some people).

I did this to myself, and thusly am slightly less deserving of compassion as someone with RA, whose immune system decided to go gnaw on their connective tissues. (I don't believe for one fraction of a second that I am to blame for the OA. Even skinny fit not-old people get it, but they "earned" it through sports or some other Noble Reason.)

I have treatment goals, and life changing goals from all of this.

Treatment goals this time are radical spinal surgery to remove the arthritic facet joints, remove my spinal disks that are ruptured, and fully fuse my lumbar spine with screws, bone grafts, and rods so that the nerve impingement doesn't get any worse than it already is.

Anyway, this is what is going on right now.

Friday, May 6, 2016

9:41AM - I know you missed my whining

So, I am completely healed from my surgery to remove my gallbladder. Yay! I also finally have my hive under control, so long as I keep taking the various anti-histamines prescribed for me.

In other, sadder health news, my back is out. It's sciatica. We don't know for sure what is causing it yet. Right now, the doctor is assuming it's a muscle spasm and treating for that and inflammation. I have been "down" with this for almost a month. I have been treating it since last Thursday with no improvement, and some set backs.

This past Thursday, I awoke with a pain level of 0, and more energy and a feeling of being well rested that I haven't had in years. Carl is on vacation, so he had been getting Jessica out to school. I was feeling so good, I let him sleep.

As I was driving her to school, not even half a mile from the house, my back started it's bullshit. I ignored it, because she needed to get to school on time, and I had some scrapple to buy for breakfast. (been craving scrapple like nobody's business)

By the time I got home, I was in tears from the pain.

I haven't had a decent night's sleep since. I am up and down like a yo-yo. The only semblance of relief I can get is to stand up, or pace my driveway. Sitting is pure murder for longer than five minutes or so, and laying down is only good for just shy of an hour.

I need better drugs than tramadol, that's for sure.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

11:57PM - Day Two.

As expected, today was much more painful than yesterday. All of the residual anesthesia had worn off by the time I woke up and I had slept through my 4am dose of pain medication.

I have gotten caught up with the Pain Train where it's just twinges and a background stinging at the incision cites. My bowels have still not properly awakened, but I am not uncomfortable since I have really restricted myself to clear liquids and super soft foods in small quantities.

Carl remarked that my complexion isn't as ruddy as it usually is, and my eyes are starkly clearer than they have been in years.

It's funny how when a disease slooooooowly creeps up, you either get used to the symptoms, or don't notice them at all. The only way I can measure from my perspective how sick I was is by noticing how much less sick I am now. I haven't really done anything to improve my hydration, but my urine is so light yellow compared to the dark orange that it was.

The best feature of all of this is that when I go to sleep, I don't immediately awaken mid barf. I also don't waken from choking, and gagging, and retching, or feeling like my throat is going to close up on itself.

And to think, just going on the blood tests and the sonogram, there was no reason to believe that I was actually sick and not just fat and middle aged.

Friday, January 1, 2016

6:59PM - Amazement

I can hardly believe how much better I feel, other than recovering from having had surgery.

I have had a little too much energy, causing me to over do some stuff. I still feel great other than wishing my guts would wake up so I could enjoy this feast I am preparing. I will nibble carefully and relish the left overs once my guts decide I am allowed solid food again.

2:36AM - End of the Year Surprise

I received a call on Dec 30 about scheduling my gallbladder surgery. Initially, it was to be scheduled on Jan 7, which would have cost me a ton of money. I told the lady scheduling the surgery that I might not be able to meet the out-of-pocket costs since my deductible would be $2500 plus co-pays. I told her to go ahead and schedule me since I might be able to pull a rabbit out of my butt and have the money before the surgery.

And then, a miracle happened. Someone cancelled for the 31rst. The last possible day for me to avoid a huge bill. The time of day was less than ideal for having diabetes (1 pm check in) but I was elated! I called all of the people that needed to know about such things and had them arrange to be my support team.

As I expected, I got a call in the morning from the surgeon himself asking me to get down to the hospital post haste. Carl rose to the occasion and helped me do the pre-op scrub down, and then we were off.

I had my gallbladder taken out, it didn't cost me anything out of pocket, and I should start feeling better in a couple of days.

There was a couple of surprise findings, though. For one, my liver is much much bigger than the surgeon expected based on blood tests, images, and other factors. And secondly, those same tests all said I didn't have gallstones, but apparently I had the kind that don't show up on sonograms. My poor gallbladder and common bile duct were just eaten up with these clear, stones. I have been ill for a while, and any time I complained of the symptoms I was having, I was brushed off.

And now, I am just waiting for my guts to wake up from the anesthesia so the fluids I've been sipping to alleviate the dehydration will leave my sore stomach and actually rehydrate me.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

6:50PM - So That Was Christmas

Yesterday was really nice. I got spoiled by my family and had a nice relaxing dinner with Dad and his new wife, Kay. She is really bringing out the best in my Dad. I am glad they are happy.

Tomorrow is International Ella Maria Young Day. Celebrate it by worshipping images of me, sending me tribute in the form of cash, or at the very least by raising a glass in my honor and some hell along with it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2:14AM - I have missed our little talks.

So, since my last entry, there has been stuff.

My knee has gone back to worse than it was before the surgery, which was an inappropriate surgery given the level of damage that I had done. Oh, well. It works for the most part. I'll go in for the replacement surgery when I can no longer walk at all.

Carl got laid off back in October, which lasted 10 days. We were OK since he was still owed a week's vacation, so he only lost 2 days pay. Immediately after he was called back, the mill went into maintenance shut down. That meant 12 hour days with no days off for about 20 days.

While all of that was going on, I was continuing my quest for improved health. See, I have been having a lot of weird symptoms of gastric reflux like choking, retching, and pain in my stomach, but very rarely any heart burn. This has been going on for a while so I just assumed it was all related to smoker's cough.

So I saw a gastroenterologist for the digestive issues. His first and best guess is that I have a bad gallbladder and GERD. I had an upper GI scope, which proved the GERD, but no reason for it. Then I had an abdominal ultrasound scan to see what state my liver, gallbladder, and pancreas are in. That showed that I have an enlarged liver, and possible sludge with no stones in my gallbladder. Then came a battery of blood tests that tested me for just about everything short of my IQ.

That's where it got terrifying. All of the liver function tests were dead normal. I tested negative for ANY auto-immune disorders. I was also negative for Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B antibodies.

I am positive for Hepatitis C antibodies.

Holy shit.

I was straight up terrified. I scoured my past for ANYTHING (and ANYONE) that could have put me at risk. I was terrified that I had given the love of my life HepC (it is rarely sexually transmitted, but it happens).

So, I had to take another test that measured the amount of virus in my blood. Waiting for the answer was brutally agonizing.

There was ZERO (not just trace, or too low to count) virus in my blood. The doc figures (who called me personally on his own time to give me the results) that I had the virus a long time ago, then my immune system kicked all of its ass, and kept its mug shot on file should it ever make the mistake of ever trying that shit on me again.

Unfortunately, it means that I am excluded as an organ and tissue donor on the very off chance there could be a rogue microphage just hanging out. It also means that extra precautions above universal precautions have to be done for surgeries.

While all of that was going on, another test for my poor, battered gallbladder was ordered called a scintograph. It's where you get injected with a slightly radioactive dye that is processed by the liver and passed into the gallbladder. They time how long it takes to leave the liver and fill up the gallbladder, then you are injected with a hormone that makes the gallbladder empty itself. Then it is timed on how long it takes to empty and how much it empties, etc.

My liver took longer than average to empty into the gallbladder and the gallbladder didn't even try to empty in the hour it was given to try to. The wonderful gastroenterologist recommended that I have my gallbladder removed and referred me to a surgeon.

In the consult, he agreed that my gallbladder needs to GTFO. He doesn't think that it will solve all of my issues and wants me to consider a gastric bypass, since I have too much belly fat for the fundus fold to be effective (it would very likely undo itself from the pressure of the belly fat).

I do not want a gastric bypass. I know more people who have died or experienced negative life changes than have had success from that surgery. I am not a good candidate for that drastic surgery. My relationship with food is decent enough. I have been counting my calories for the last couple of weeks, and it is a rare day if I eat (and drink) more than 1500 calories/day.

Now I am just waiting for the surgery to be scheduled hopefully before January 1, since I have reached the maximum out of pocket for this year.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

8:32PM - Setbacks are all a part of it, right?

I have had a really good day, for the most part. Great mobility, almost no pain, and I was able to forgo the Norco pills. I even managed to drive Jessica to school this morning with only mild discomfort, but not really pain. Like I was having to get used to how my knee is arranged now as far as its position in space, and how it extends itself to push the clutch in. I can say this: getting in and out of the car is SO much easier than it was before the surgery. I no longer have to boost myself up and lean all over the passenger side to put my left leg out now. I think I actually got a little dewy cheeked over that.

And then, I tripped over my own feet on the way to the bathroom and though I didn't fall, I managed to "plant" my left leg and twist my knee in a way it isn't supposed to twist. I didn't just cry because it hurt so bad, which it did, but because I was mad at myself for thinking I was in the clear for walking aids.

I now know that until I get to the occupational part of the physical therapy where I relearn how to walk without a limp, I will need the walker to keep a steady gait. It just seems so silly to use it since I don't need it for support. I am seriously just pushing it in front of me like a grocery cart. Sometimes, I don't even need to let it touch the ground. The simple act of carrying it in front of me keeps my gait steady. I don't understand how that works, and I guess I don't really need to understand it for it to work.

Meanwhile, I have taken a Norco, iced my leg, and sat the hell down again. I am going stir crazy being glued to this couch and not doing stuff.


Carl just now helped me do my home exercises. The hardest ones require me to completely straighten my knee and try to press the back of my knee into the bed, and the worst one of all requires me to bend my knee as far as I can, then with a towel, bend it even further. I actually screamed like a little bitch while we did that one. It didn't hurt only when I bent my knee, but when I unbent it to bend it again. I could actually feel my knee cap grinding on my femur and shin bones, and sometimes getting stuck in the groove. I can tell you that I am convinced that there is absolutely no cartilage left behind my knee cap or where the knee is supposed to glide over the leg bones. It felt like sandpaper being ground into the tendon holding the knee cap in place and seriously, that exercise can straight up eat a bag of dicks (though I'll keep on doing it until I can bend that knee all the way again.)

Current mood: aggravated

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

10:16PM - Peace

Today was my second physical therapy appointment. There was very much pain and whining on my part, but not once did I hold back. I completed every set of exercises I was set to, some more easily than others.

It would seem that I have been avoiding bending my left knee for so long, I have managed to shrink the tendons holding my knee cap in place. Now that there is nothing impinging on the joint itself and, theoretically, it should freely bend as well as the right knee. In practice, though, not so much. I have improved since Monday, but demonstrating that improvement is literally excruciating. I'm talking involuntarily screaming in pain excruciating. I need to get the soft tissues that remain in that knee limbered up and prepared for a partial replacement. I will work as hard as necessary to make that happen. I want to be a model patient, displaying my strength and willingness to get better.

My physical therapist is a sweetheart, and as well as being a great cheerleader and emotional support when my instincts tell me to "DON'T DO THAT, IT'LL BREAK!" she is also good at giving reality checks, like reminding me that I had almost all of the cartilage removed from my knee as well as quite a bit of bone remodeling not even an entire week ago, so It's Going To Hurt. She comforted my ego by telling me that I am recovering a lot quicker than most of the patients she sees that undergo similar procedures.

Again, I am determined to make the most of the opportunity to be well that I was given. Carl has gone to a lot of trouble to take care of me, and try to fill my shoes while I recover. He has done an outstanding job of it, to the point that I sometimes feel like I am malingering and should be back at it already.

He bought me a neat thing that I wish I had had last Thursday, and that is a huge cold pad. Like, it covers my entire leg and feels like heaven when I've pushed the PT homework too hard. It is so much better than the sad little ice bag I was sent home with, that's for sure. Now to figure out how to get the insurance to pay for a TENS machine to use at home... and also be sure not to "experiment" with it.

My dog Trouble has been acting odd concerning my leg. Like, he is constantly sniffing at it, and will sometimes chew at it like animals do for fleas. He hasn't pawed at it, much. Mostly because I stop him immediately when he tries to scratch at it, since he likes to pick on the sorest part.

The last time he acted like this, Dad had cellulitis in his leg that he didn't know about until the skin became discolored. The physical therapist checked my leg for infection and said it looked good, so maybe he's still able to smell the betadine they soaked my leg in pre-op.

Anyway, my leg is getting stronger every day, I fall in love with Carl more and more every day, and if I compared this journal's entries Before Carl and After Carl, I would be able to believe that it had been written by two different people.

Monday, August 17, 2015

9:46PM - Physical Therapy

I got to start physical therapy today, and it was just a slice of wonderful. I got a massage, some stretching exercises, an ice blanket for my leg, and the tens machine. Ohhhhh, the tens machine.

I was a little set back, though. I thought I was doing a good thing by pushing myself to become as independent of walking aids as possible as soon as possible. I was actually doing a bad thing, since with a cane I have a really bad limp if I try to walk faster than a glacier. So, back on the walker for now. I can really book it on the walker, though, with no limp.

Right this second, I am having some pain. About a 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. I haven't elevated my leg as much as I should have done today and the ace bandage has been off for most of the day. Also, there was a lot of stretching to what felt like the breaking point. I learned that there isn't any way the teeny tiny therapist could possibly break the tendons she was stretching, so I relaxed and let her stretch my knee to the point of excruciating pain. The more stretch now, the better the outcome of a knee replacement will be later. Apparently, all of the tendons and ligaments are "splinting" to protect the surgical "trauma" and need to be re-educated.It took quite a bit of effort for the therapist to get my leg to straighten at all. Bending my knee was an even bigger challenge.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

11:55PM - The Third Day

I have been tooling around with just a cane today. I just have to remember that an hour is the outside limit of sitting on my butt.

I am facing a decision about my knees. Having just had the arthroscopic surgery on the left one, for an outside prognosis of two years before I'll need a replacement. The right one needs surgery, too.

I don't know if I'm interested in going through two surgeries when one will suffice. The factors are my age (I'm considered too young for a replacement, even if the damage to my joints warrants a replacement), whether insurance would pay for a replacement if every single other option hasn't been exhausted, and just how long I would have to be in a residential rehab hospital.

anyway, I'm getting tired. I'll probably type more tomorrow.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

5:10PM - Return of the Queen

Dad has loaned me his old laptop computer since he doesn't really use it any more, and I am in serious need of a computer.

As a result, I can one again enjoy my livejournal and actually type instead of try to get a thought out of my head one letter at a time.

A few things have happened since I last posted. For one, my home owner's insurance decided that I needed a brand new roof. Not just new shingles, but a new deck as well. That would have been upwards of $13k. That is more than 10% of the current value of my house. So, I said "Shit on that noise!" and got a different carrier that isn't so fussy about the age of the roof so long as it is not going to blow away in the next storm. We still need to have the roof reshingled, with a new ventilation system. It's just not going to cost more than my car to get it done, and that's even with the higher priced and better quality architectural shingles.

Another thing that happened is I had knee surgery on the 13th. It was "just" a laproscopic procedure to remove the meniscus that was shredded and to remove some of the bone spurs, cysts, and shredded articulate cartilage. At best, if everything goes perfectly, this has staved off getting a knee replacement in a couple of years. At worst, I'll be back again next year getting a partial knee replacement. Either way, it is a good feeling that I have found a surgeon that actually believed me when I told him that whatever was going on with my knee had very little to do with my weight, and more to do with an old injury. The first surgeon I went to was convinced my weight was the sole reason my knee hurt and as a result, had very little interest in helping me.

My recovery has gone smoothly, so far. Yesterday was the most painful day, and it was partially my fault for trying to skip a dose or two of the Norco pain pills. I woke up feeling great. I didn't need the walker to get around so long as I was careful how I stepped. Then, after everyone got up and I sat down, my knee blew up like a party balloon. And then, the pain. At its worst, it was at least a 7 on the "pain scale." It took several doses to get caught back up with the pain train, lowering my pain level to its usual background of a three or less.

And then there was Today. I woke up stiff and weak in the left knee, but not so painful that the trip to the kitchen to make coffee was like self torture. The swelling is almost all gone, except for a knot on my thigh right above my knee, which is currently being iced and elevated.

So. I plan on keeping up with my journal while I have this laptop. It's so much better than DramaFace (facebook).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

9:48PM - It Is Finished.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am now a homeowner. The loan for the house I grew up in was signed, sealed and delivered at exactly noon e.s.t. today. We have achieved half of our American Dream.

The other half is living long enough to retire, and being healthy enough when we do retire to actually enjoy said retirement, instead of just sitting around waiting to die.

On a down note, this is my last night with my Dad's computer. Now that we no longer need it for applying for a loan, Dad wants his toy back. I'll miss it, but not as much as I thought I would. I am considering replacing it once we are done remodeling the office, but nothing fancy.

Anyway, I have a new video game I want to go play until I have to leave in thirty minutes. I'll still be able to post from my phone, it's just not as awesome on that tiny screen with the virtual keyboard. My typing style is rather unconscious, like, I know where my fingers are supposed to be, and the words just come right out of them like I am thinking the words onto the screen.

Dad has been typing longer than I have been alive, and he still needs to hunt and peck. Thank you, Typing Shark and Yahoo! chat room Pagan Lake.

Current mood: grateful

Sunday, May 3, 2015

11:07PM - Generally Untitled, wherein I whine about my knee

This weekend was the 52nd Annual Shrimp Festival.

We wanted to attend, but couldn't. See, my knee just won't cooperate and respond to the current treatment of taking prescription strength Aleve twice a day and that's all.

I can do yard work, house work, drive a stick (though not without some pain and discomfort), but I can't walk for any distance greater than about half a block. Some days, if I can manage to not bend my left leg at all, I kinda forget that my knee is very bad, and will attempt grocery shopping without a ride on cart. Unfortunately, I never make it more than half way through the store before the pain starts making me question my own existence.

It's not just pain in my knee, though. The pain starts in my knee, but within minutes my entire left leg, from my waist to the bottom of my foot, is just SCREAMING in pain. Nothing stops that pain train once it leaves the station. I could at that point sit, but the pain would still be there. On a scale from one to ten, after the initial spike of a serious 9.5+, it settles into a seven. That's just three notches down from screaming and writhing on the floor.

And nothing but waiting it out makes it stop.

I have no idea what's causing this issue. I've gone about a year ago to see about my left leg, was prescribed physical therapy and a cortisone shot. It worked at that time, for a little while. I had even almost forgotten about that time. I had an MRI of that knee done, and there was some tiny meniscal tears, mild osteo-arthritis, and signs of early rheumatoid arthritis.

It didn't hurt as much then or as frequently as it does now, though.

Sometimes it hurts so bad now, for so long, that I sincerely wish that my left leg would just fall off so I could get a prosthetic limb and go about my life, business as usual.

I don't generally cry about pain. I'll bitch and moan, sure, but not actual tears.\

Last Sunday, I was working on the garden, stumbled just right, and my knee bent. Dude, I cried and yelled so hard, it hurt so much, I actually got dry heaves. It wasn't JUST that my knee hurt more than anything I could remember. It also meant that I couldn't keep on doing something I was seriously enjoying. I loved the feeling of building the garden. I had just started that day's chores. I was heartbroken, not that it hurt, but that I now couldn't get dirt under my fingernails.

The last time I got really sidelined was in the sixth grade. Our school had a spring field day, where we competed against each other in track and field events. I was signed up for almost every event, representing my classroom. One week before we were to have Field Day, I broke all of the bones in the arch of my foot. All of them. Not a single one was not broken like a green twig. How I did it was so stupid, I can't believe that it happened. I was babysitting the neighbor's kids, and we were outside playing with their puppy. I was wearing flip flops, because of course I was. I just happened to step right into a mole hole, didn't notice it as I was chasing the puppy around the yard, and my foot stayed there while I tried to keep on going. There was a sick crunch, and suddenly I couldn't put any weight on that foot at all. Called my folks to come check it out by the fence, and even before Dad could get to the fence, my entire foot turned black.

As calmly as my Dad could, he grabbed me, put me in the car and told Mom to call the neighbors and to bring the girls over to our house.

I didn't once cry from the pain. Instead, I cried when the doctor said I was to be completely off my foot for no less than a month. I explained my plans, and he said "No, Ma'am. No Way, Jose'. Nothing doing. You are going to have to sit this one out, sorry. You can't even walk, never mind run, jump, and all that other stuff. Here are the crutches, be careful on them."

I can tolerate many things. Being told to not do stuff in the spring time, as the earth awakens from her slumber, is pure torture to me. I cannot STAND to be sitting around. I have things to do, and dammit, I'm going to do them.

Except, of course, walk through downtown Fernandina Beach for Shrimp Festival this year.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

7:23PM - Bow wow

So, I now own a dog.

I did not exactly seek this dog out, but I have known him since he was a puppy.

At first, I wasn't sure about this arrangement. I explored the dog's options for an optimal life for him. See, we are flat broke, and prospects of not being flat broke are slim (come on, Mega Millions!) Dogs are not cheap to keep healthy and well-fed. They are a serious commitment, even more so than a cat.

So, we thought about the options.

Option One: we keep the dog and pray he doesn't ever get sick.

Option Two: we place an ad (or several) selling the dog for around $200.

Unknown Option Three: we keep the dog, and Dad and Kay are responsible for vet bills and medications the dog should need, since it was Dad's dog to begin with.

We went with Option Three. And I am glad.

And now, for the irony. See, way back about five or six years ago, my little sister got this brilliant idea to buy my Mom a new Pomeranian, since Mom's beloved Rascal had to be put down at the age of 18 years. Mom was lonely, Dad was still working, and she really loved Rascal and he kept her really good company. She had also just had to put down her 19 year old cat, and she would often complain about just how empty the house felt with them gone.

Mom didn't really want a dog to take care of. Not even a little bit, and I warned her AND Dad to think really long and hard about saddling Mom with the responsibility of raising and training a puppy. Especially another Pomeranian.

Nobody listened to me.

So, they found a puppy mill (that I warned them was a puppy mill) with champagne Pomeranians for sale. They wanted a tea cup sized puppy. I told them it takes two years to know if a dog is going to be toy, miniature, or tea cup sized, BUT THEY DIDN'T LISTEN. They forked over $500+ for Trouble, with the guarantee that he would never weigh more than three pounds.

Holy fuck, of course I was right. Trouble weighs in at a little over 18 pounds. He is not fat. His features resemble more closely a Spitz than a Pom Pom.

All of that said, though, Trouble is now my dog, and I love him very much. He's not the dog I pictured having, but he's the dog I do have. By the time Trouble reaches the end of his lifespan (18 or so years) I will DEFINITELY be done having dogs.

Monday, April 13, 2015

12:06PM - Hmmph.

Turns out, I am a doormat. Who knew?

My Dad has made the decision to return his dog, Trouble.

Trouble is a 5 year old Pomeranian. He's a beautiful dog, sweet natured, intelligent, loyal. He just couldn't adjust to apartment living. He needs a yard to play in and people to keep him company.

In other words, he needs a family with a stable lifestyle and a fenced yard.

Right now, he needs to see a vet for his itchy ear, to get some medicine to make it stop itching.

Dad also abandoned his cat, Mr. Cat. Mr. Cat is of undetermined breeding, with a big ol' floofy coat prone to matting. Mr. Cat *hates* living with other cats, and is so high strung, he won't let me tend to his mats, which have become painful at this point. I am sure a professional groomer could take care of the problem, but they like to get paid. I have barely enough money to keep everyone's bellies full this week, never mind the "frivolities" of animal care.

And, of course when asked about sharing the expenses, Dad turned out his empty pockets and played poormouth.

Other things going on right now include me having intractable pain in my left leg. Saw the Dr. for it this morning, and her prescription was prescription strength Aleve for two weeks, and lets see if it gets any better. Dude, I've been doing that for three weeks, and it's just getting worse!

Part of the problem is I can't do narcotics off handedly. They must be a last resort, when every single thing else has failed. I'm sure next is physical therapy, followed by images, and orthopedic consultations. The conclusion will no doubt be "your knee is fuckered with arthritis and needs surgery. That'll be $25,000 please."

There are times during the day that I would pay ten times that much just for a moment without pain, or at least long enough to get all of the things done I want to get done in a day that don't involve limping, whimpering, or sitting on my fat ass as it just gets fatter from all of the sitting.

Current mood: doomed

Saturday, April 11, 2015

11:50AM - Security

Right this minute, I am happy.



My heart is near full to bursting with just how glad I am to be who I am right now.

My one and only real wish is that the people who have loved me and that I have loved in return, but have passed from this life to the next, could see me now.

When my Aunt Dot passed, I was married to a miserable man who visited his misery on me and my entire family. I was usually hungry, frequently ill, and always over worked.

When my Mom died, I had at least married Carl. She and Dad walked me down the aisle to show the world that they not only approved of my choice, but welcomed him into our family with open arms. I was, however, still living in substandard housing, making decisions for survival that would have ensured that's all I did, was survive. I still didn't have access to health care, and my view of the future was very dark.

Now, however, because of what Aunt Dot and my mother left behind, I am safe at last.

The wealth that Aunt Dot left allowed my parents to modernize their home.

The broken heart my mother left in my father left him to seek out comfort and love one last time, which he found in his new wife Kay.

If my father had never wanted to leave his old life completely behind, I would not have a secure home to live in, with comfortable, sturdy furnishings and a yard I can take pride in. (Yeah, it's a fuck ton of work, but stuff I love to do anyway, for as long as I'm physically capable doing)

Current mood: content

Thursday, April 9, 2015

10:44PM - Lawn Tractors and small lawns

So, I am in the process of buying my Dad's house. He has left me a Great Big Ol' Lawn Tractor. Like just... HUGE.

Thing is, the entire property is a shade less than a half acre, with a decent sized house, and two decent sized out buildings. That tractor could easily mow 10 acres with one tank of gas. He bought it brand new late last summer, for just over $3000.

I don't want that much mower for this yard. It's just too much, really. It took me a grand total of 30ish minutes to mow the entire yard, all the way from the road to the back fence. It is a double bagger, and I only managed to fill one bag, two thirds of the way up. It's such a behemoth that edging the yard is mandatory as it just can't get close enough to the edges to make it a monthly, instead of weekly, job.\

So. What I was thinking of doing was, after we finally close on the mortgage and sale, taking the tractor back to where Dad bought it (some mower dealer up the road) and seeing if I could do an even trade for a power assisted push mower.

I don't know if it would use less gas, or have better results. I just feel guilty as all hell, tooling around the yard on that thing. I hear the neighbors all mowing their lawns, and that shit takes all fucking day long.

I just hopped on my tractor and had that shit whipped out in less than an hour. Like, as my husband and child were cleaning up after supper, I was out mowing the lawn during my smoke break. Shit was that casual.

What kills me is, growing up Dad would bitch, and whine, moan and groan to anybody that would listen that he had to mow the lawn on his riding lawn mower. There was more yard then (fewer out buildings), for sure, but really? dude. You're riding on top of a mower, which is doing all of the work. It was *my* job to edge the lawn, with an electric Weed Whacker.

I just don't get it, really. Why did he feel the need to buy such a gigantic lawn tractor? It seriously ONLY mows the lawn. No tilling, dethatching, toting trailers like wagons, toting lawn rollers to smooth out mole tunnels.

Just mowing. And being noisy. It's got being noisy down pat.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

2:26PM - The Learning Curve

I have worked my fingers to the bone teaching myself how to do office stuff on a computer.

Things that would have taken an experienced office drone maybe an hour at the most, has taken me six hours of trial and (mostly) error.

I don't even know if I formatted things properly, or sent files that could be used by the recipient for the purposes intended.

In other words, I have lost a whole day to loan paperwork that I would have rather spent either looking for a job, doing yardwork I'm way behind on, or keeping up with the laundry and housework. I would have loved to have had time to get dinner prepped and ready to cook when I get everyone home.

The one saving grace I had was I had time to clean the kitchen really well while Jessica was getting ready for school this morning, which has freed at least an hour of cooking time, so that we might actually end up eating dinner some time before 8 tonight.

Current mood: frustrated

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