Friday, February 29, 2008

Better than the Death Patch.

i was going to tell you how i'm on day 5 of the Death Patch, and about how sore i've been for the several days since i went off the other medication, but then i decided i'd rather show you these than whine.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are the GrandBrits. Much more fun, and definitely cuter. :-)


Euan & Elias.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Death Patch.

So i've successfully lived through day 1 of what i'm lovingly calling The Death Patch (Fentanyl.) i picked them up on Monday (where i managed to fit in a little trip through the wonderland that is the huuuge Michael's craft store nearby.) i nervously grilled the pharmacist.

"Um, do you know about the recall of the patches where they had cuts in them and the drug all poured out at once onto the person and they died?"

"Please repeat?" she said, looking quizzical.

"Well, i read a thing that said there were Fentanyl patches that had been cut and people died when they put them on."

"Ah!" she said, her face clearing into supposed understanding. "Don't cut them!"

"No--they got them from the pharmacy cut and didn't know, and they died. How can i be sure yours are okay?"

"They are okay," she said.

"Well, okay," i said, chewing my lip. "Where do i put the patch on my body?"

"I would put it on the upper arm."

"What if i'm wearing something with short sleeves? Can i put it somewhere else it won't show?"

She gave me a quick up-and-down and said, "Well, it needs to be somewhere there is muscle to absorb it."

i see the problem. Not a lot of visible muscle. "Okay."

i bled her for any information i could think to ask, and then read all the tiny print on the pamphlet that came with it when i got home. i didn't understand a lot of it, but i read it. Can't say i didn't make an effort to be an informed consumer.

Once i'd read everything as thoroughly as i could, squinting to decipher the itty bitty print made for very young eyes (mine are not,) i pulled a patch from the package. Out came one of those "tear here" sort of packs. Inside was a sandwich (except if you can't cut them you probably shouldn't eat them either) of clear plastic, a smallish clear sticky patch in the middle. Heeding the "do not touch the sticky side it's full of nasty chemicals" warnings, i carefully (and paranoid-ly) put it on my upper arm. i patted it off and on all day reminding myself of its presence.

But i have survived. It is now the second day. i am to change it each third day. We shall see. i am still hoping for some relief of the constant burning ache in my body.

My hubby worries about me being so forthcoming with this sort of personal information, the ins and outs of my medication trials. But i told him, "the few people who read my blog sort of regularly are either friends or family, and most of the others seem to have dealt with some sort of chronic pain of their own." And therefore i excuse my tendency for the therapeutic blog blurt.

The thing is, i find this journey down Drug Lane to be a fascinating one. Will this next one end up in a happy meadow where all things are sunny and good? Or will i just end up face first in another cow-pie, like the last 2 things i tried?

So, please feel free to walk along with me, just watch your step.

Monday, February 25, 2008

My inner Pollyanna.

Above: my dresser. Left to right, stack of books, read. Stack of books UNread, with sock on top that i for some reason have not put in the drawer directly below. "Miracle Ball Method" ball, which allegedly will cure all my ills, used twice. Empty bag from Christmas that once held chocolates. One of the many baskets in my life, this one containing half-read books, notebook, and various other stuff. Girls Night Out Fund pot containing 50 cents, and a small bottle of Purell that has come here to roost. In front, package of notecards, Christmas jingle bell, watch, and barrette. i did indeed hesitate at being this vulnerable. i love to organize, but can't seem to keep it that way.

i know disorganization isn't usually thought of as a good thing. i learned from my good friend Melimbo that clutter etc is a contributor to depression (she got that bit of info from one of her college classes. She's gone back to finish her degree. She are s-m-r-t.)

Anyway, Saturday i dumped an entire HUGE cup of coffee into my knitting that was sitting on top of the magazine basket next to my comfy chair. Did i mention it was a HUUUUGE cup of coffee? Fresh? full? With cream?

Well, after muttering several words not usually part of my vocabulary, i got on my hands and knees with a towel and started pulling the basket's contents onto the floor, mopping as i went.

"HEY!" i exclaimed to my hubby. "i just found the wireless mouse i've been looking for!" It had been missing in action for months, and i mean months.

i kept mopping and stacking--"OH!! And here's a crochet hook i've been looking for!!" Also MIA for a very long time--Christmas before last, maybe?

"What's this, though?" i asked hubby, handing him a smallish long metal piece with grooves in it. "Oh, that's part of an Easy Out tool," he said. i believe i responded something like, "Heh?"

It's not such a mystery how my things got into a basket next to my chair, i mean, there are at least two things i will never be called: too thin, and too neat. But a piece of Dean's tool? It's a mystery.

But the great thing is, in my disorganization and clumsiness, had i not spilled the coffee into the basket i would not have found those long sought for treasures.

Is that a bit too optimistic of an outlook? i'm sure the cynical bit will resurface soon.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

See what bags the old bag is making.

i don't know if you saw my friend Limbolady's comment about my bags she saw when she was at my house the other day. But i commented back that i'd put pictures up. So, as promised, whether you care or not, here are the bags i've been making! Please tell me what you would pay for something of the sort. i didn't measure them when i took the pictures, and now i'm sitting all cozily in my warm bed with coffee, so i'll guesstimate for you.
Above are all of them, made with square bottoms, as yet unlined, but i plan to line all but one of them.

Above, starting from the top one: this one is about 8 inches wide by 10 or 11 inches high. It's made with a variegated blues and greens yarn topped with a light green double folded 2 inch strip (to be stronger and more durable.) i've made eyelets to run a knit-cord of the variegated yarn through for a long strap. This way it can be thrown over your shoulder to be hands-free. The squared bottom means it holds more than you'd think.

Second are the two felted wool bags. The top one was made with a super chunky textured yarn in shades of pink and blue-grey. The top and entire back are made from a light denim wool, the heavy knit-cord is made of the variegated deep pinks. There's a button and loop closure on this one. It felted down more than i thought it would, so it's a smaller 10 wide by 6 or 7 inches high. So, it's cute but one of those "live and learn" projects! i tend to not use patterns as i love planning the pattern as much as making the project, so they're all some sort of learning adventure!

The bottom felted wool bag is the first one i made, and it has a variety of blue wool yarns making a subtle striping. It has a squared bottom, but i blocked it flat for the rounded bottom shape. It's about 12 inches wide by 9 or 10 inches tall. The straps on both of those bags would measure somewhere around 15 inches, i suppose.

Last but not least--i love this one--is my market bag. Made of cotton yarn for strength, durability, and not stretching as much as regular yarn, it's a larger bag made to throw over your shoulder at the farmer's market, grocery store, or simply to carry your multiple items on a shopping trip at the mall. The top is doubled for strength, and the straps are made in two pieces of more densely knit fabric tied together. The size on this one is more like 18 across by 15 tall, and hangs nicely from the shoulder. i've already washed this one once and it did great. i still want to take it on a test run. i have some organic cotton coming to try out on this pattern too. The bottom is squared off to about 4 or 5 inches deep. This is the only one that will remain unlined.

So, what do y'all think? (A southern "y'all" nod there to cousin Lea Ann.)

Oh--Skimmers. Sorry, i should have said you could just look at the pictures and ignore the rest. Anyway, hi hubby honey, and hi, Melimbo, if you skimmed this far.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Three Things Thursday.

i'm so excited! i actually have a totally alliterative title!

Thing #1 (wow, saying that just took me back to Dr Suess--which story is "Thing #1 and Thing #2" in? You know, with all the balancing fish bowls and dishes and such?) is, Yup, it happened. i subscribe to my own blog on Blogarithm, and sure enough, i got aaaaaaalll those posts i fixed the tags on from them. So now i know i was right to apologize. Abjectly.

Thing #2 is, THE GOOD NURSE CALLED ME BACK from the pain clinic (or, "the pain in the a** clinic, as my friend Julie dubbed it.) I'm referring back to my recent post of "Would somebody please send that nurse to charm school?" about my less than lovely dealings with The Bad Nurse. You should have heard me on the phone with her--i was actually with Adina at the time, so she did and can back me up, i was pathetic--gushing, "OH!! Anya! i'm soooo glad to hear your voice!!"

She had called to ask whether or not i'd received an answer to my last message. i had not. Hadn't felt like risking the chance that Nurse No Charm might answer when i called to say, "helloooo--you never called me back?" So i was thrilled, i was ecstatic, i was hugging myself with joy. "No, i never really got an answer back." So i told her where we were last, with me asking The Other nurse to check with Dr God about non-opiate pain meds. Anya read through my messages and said, "Oh, it says here that the doctor says 'there are no non-opiate meds for fibromyalgia, in spite of what the drug companies are advertising.'" i said, "Oh, i guess i should check again on the house phone and see if i missed a message--" to which she replied, "No, you clearly never got that message." "Oh. Well, it wasn't the most, uh, friendly experience with those calls," i said. She said a startled sounding "OH!" and giggled.

i asked her, "So, the doctor wanted me to try Fentanyl patches? Did you see the recent recall of those?" Apparently a bunch of them were sold with a cut on the edge, meaning the medication dumped out all at once on the patient, overdosing and, yes, killing them. She had. Apparently this isn't an issue for the nurses and Dr God. Hmm.

Regarding stuff like Lyrica, the medication currently being advertised for the relief of fibromyalgia pain, the down-low on that at the I'm in Chronic Pain clinic is that only the drug company themself has tested it, and the doctor won't prescribe anything until it has been tested properly by people not standing to make a fortune. Okay, i get that. (Yet he will prescribe something that has recently killed people. Not sure about that particular line he's drawn.) i mean, i understand that's what has happened with many miraculous drugs, they're great for weight loss, but, oh by the way, your heart may stop. Your liver may become a briquet. Suddenly they're being removed from the market. So, sure, i'm good with the "careful" policy.

Thing #3: Uh, i didn't really have one, but i was so happy-jazzed about the title, so, um, Hey! Did you hear the Nice Nurse called me back? Cool, huh?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

6 word memoir meme.

Main Entry: meme
Pronunciation: \ˈmēm\
Function: noun
Etymology: alteration of mimeme, from mim- (as in mimesis) + -eme
Date: 1976
: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture

i'd seen the word, wasn't sure what it meant. So i looked it up on good ol' Mirriam-Webster online. Now, this can only be a good word, as it began back when my hips were small and i was a lovely young bride.

This i bring up because i followed the blog-stream from Bookbabie's comment on my One good thing about the flu post. i waded from my post to her blog, and found this:

"As I read yet another book review of a memoir this weekend, my husband told me that I should write one. I said that my story would be much too short and rather boring so when I ran across the following book I decided it was just my speed. A six word memoir! Written by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser, Not Quite What I was Expecting: Six Word Memoirs by Famous and Obscure is a compilation based on the story that Hemingway once bet ten dollars that he could sum up his life in six words. His words were- For Sale: baby shoes, never worn. There’s a video on Amazon with examples from the book, it sounds like a fun read! I’d like to start a six word memoir meme and here are the rules:

1. Write your own six word memoir
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this
original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
4 .Tag five more blogs with links
5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!
It was actually a lot more difficult that I thought it would be, but here’s mine…

This too shall pass, I hope."

i continued down stream from there to visit the people she had tagged, so i could read their 6 word memoir memes. You can learn a lot about a person from 6 words!

-Lisamm at Books on the Brain came up with some rejects that made me laugh out loud, like:
Where the hell are my keys? and Stop crying and do your homework!

before she settled on this:
Searching for happiness in ordinary moments.

Sperlygirl (who looks like a very fun lady) came up with:
breathe in, breathe out... LET GO!

Fighting Windmills came up with this:
Just six? Can’t I have seven?

Wholeclothdesigns (she has a really cool ETSY store) said,
She likes forts, I still do.

i'd encourage you to click on their links, most had a photo to accompany the meme.

Anyway, i only stumbled in the blog stream a couple of times, which is pretty good for me, before i came back home and started thinking. My dog, Morris, helped me out in my endeavors by deciding he needed to go out at 5 am, even though he'd already gotten my hubby up at 3:50 am for the same trip. After 5 i couldn't get back to sleep, so the wheels started (rustily) turning in my brain.

i came up with ones about the state of my body:
Shouldn't i be thin? Guess not. And, Gray at 50? I'M NOT READY!

Then the state of my mind, with it's companion of fibromyalgia:
My brain's awake, my body's not.

i got philosophical:
My life is not an interruption. and, Live mercy, your soul's best friend.

Now, those were pretty good, i thought, but the first thought i had was the one that stuck with me, and tells my story best:

Can i be a cynical optimist?

i've always had the Pollyanna thing going: Look for the best in things!! But at the same time, i'm giving life the stink-eye, having learned that everybody does not want to play nicely. I'm a regular dichotomy, really.

SO: allow me to tag you: Tersie at The Road to Total Growth-Body Mind and Spirit, Jo at Bits and Pieces, new blog-friend Hinsley at The Oxygen Chronicles, and Betina at B-Happy, and Jen at These pretty things. If you'd like to play, remember to link back here and all that stuff in the fine print. ;-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Abject Apologies for Tag-full Tuesday.

i've long been jealous of blog title alliteration--you know, like Betina's "Three Things Thursday", Magistramater's "Fine Art Friday", stuff like that. So, in my desire to jump on the alliterative bandwagon, i'm grabbing today's title to offer my apologies to anyone who might keep track of this blog via something like Blogarithm, i'm really sorry if you get a million of my posts, since i want to go through the more recent ones and do some tag cleanup. So, if when i edit the post tags, you get every one of them, i apologize. Abjectly.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

One good thing about the flu...

Above: me as i looked, reclining in my sickbed wearing my tiara. i found this on in a pretty funny blog post.

Well, after a week of eating an ounce at a time, i've lost 7 pounds. It was a lousy week, it was one of the roughest weeks i've had in recent history, but i lost 7 pounds. That part was good.

i was looking back at what i ate all week, and if i could just manage to eat about 600 calories every day for the rest of my life, maybe i could lose another 7. As opposed to my usual eating, not perfect but certainly a bit more than an ounce at a time, i could only manage to eat an apple and 7 Triscuits all day, then maybe a piece of toast for dinner. Amazing. Of course, i did manage some therapeutic chocolate here and there.

ANYway, this brought some other thoughts to my mind:

There are things i don't like about myself, like, i don't like my weight, i'm not crazy about my wrinkles, but i'm good with myself. Here at 50-odd years old (some much odder then others) i'm actually okay with who i am.

(This could be longish, so you Skimmers hang on for the recap.)

Wind back to January of 2001--my mother died of cancer in Nebraska, and i received the call in California. This call came from her lawyer, as she had not even told me her cancer had returned. Then the deluge of treasures started coming. Stuff like her hand-written will outlining her Replacement Loved Ones and the possessions she wished them to have. i was the only of her 3 birth children still in contact, she had alientated my sister and brother years before. So for me she saved her special comments, designed to make sure i knew i'd been a bitter disappointment to her. i, along with the lawyer and my aunt, received the long pages written to each of her children outlining the many specific ways we had each disappointed her and ruined her life. Then followed the albums of family photos and framed family pictures and such, each with sticky notes attached. These told me things such as "you children killed the mother I was" and other words to hold near and dear to my heart in her absence.

i went into a hysterical tailspin and became a Frequent Flyer at Kaiser's Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Clinic. i remember the first day i spoke with someone there. i was sobbing, "But why could she love those other people, and not me?" The nurse spoke of our expectations of our mothers--"We expect our mothers to love us, and protect us. That's a nurturing act--from here, to here," she said, gesturing from an adult height down to a child's height. "Those others she can relate to from here to here," she said, gesturing from an equal to an equal.

i knew my mother had replaced us with more acceptable children in her new and improved life in Nebraska, but i'd never understood. That day started a 5 year trip down Mental Health Road. A really valuable trip. A trip i hope never to need to repeat.

But from that day of a new beginning, i came from a place where i doubted every single thing about myself, even things i was sure of. i was pretty sure i was a good mom, a kind person, but if the person who is supposed to love you more than anyone in the world thinks you are a disappointment, it's hard for someone like me to know who to believe. But the nurse that first day told me, "You have a very good chance to have a great second half of your life."

i wanted to believe her, desperately. But i couldn't see a way to that place that day. And now seven years have passed. In that time i've been able to pull together the truths of who i am as a person before God. The things He's gifted me with, the person He's grown me into, the kind of woman i knew i was, i've been able to accept--i've learned to silence the voice of my mother that lived in my head. i was finally able to sort out what i knew of myself from what my mother had me believing. And i'm finally good with me. Not with everything about me, but with me.

But i'm still happy about the seven pounds.

Skimmer recap:
Mother. Cancer. Dead. Bad stuff. But now i'm good.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Would someone please send that nurse to charm school?

Since this is my place to whine (and you can't stop me!) i feel the need for a good whinge (British word meaning "to complain or protest, especially in an annoying or persistent manner." The Free Dictionary.)

i've spoken of the Chronically In Pain Clinic at Kaiser before. Previously i've dealt with a delightful R.N. who soooothes me and makes me feel like i might live. If she is cream, the other nurse is vinegar gone bad. She sounds bored when speaking to me on the phone. She does stuff like she did today where i was talking to her and saying "i really don't want opiates, they seem to have bad side effects for me--is there not something else the doctor can try that isn't an opiate?" Her answer was "well, they use Motrin." Her explanation being that the doctor is known for treating pain by getting a good level of opiates in a patient's system and keeping it that way. But what if said patient does not want said opiates in her system? Let's just say, they make parts of her system which should be on the move think they're doing a charade of the movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Not good.

i recognize i can be a bit of a babbler, so my hubby The Skimmer says. But i think i was just trying to give Nurse No Charm the important details to take back to the doctor. As i am saying, "call me back on the house phone," she suddenly says, "I'm hanging up." "Whaa?" i say, though i should be used to her Non Charming ways. "I'm hanging up now," she says, and laughs. "Oh." i say. What else does one say in that situation? i'm a nice person. i've know enough other people from the not-a-nice-person pool to recognize that i try hard to be kind and polite and such. The part of me that wanted to dip into that other pool wanted to say, "So sorry to bother you!" (or something equally junior high.) But the nice side won out.

i mean, isn't it her job to help get this settled to everybody's satisfaction? This cartoon i found today sums up my present state of being, given the fibromyalgia, the achy flu and snotty nose i have and the difficulty breathing that earned me a breathing treatment at the doctor's yesterday:

i am getting very close to grumpy. i realize i don't deserve special treatment, but how about just some good ol' fashioned kind treatment?
i feel somewhat pathetic, and perhaps spoiled by the people skills of the Nice Nurse. Perhaps i really am just the dog below--

Sunday, February 10, 2008


How does a person who aches pretty much 24/7 know when they have the achy flu? Why, when they ache even more than usual, of course!

My hubby has been sick for the past 2 weeks--he spent the first one feeling like he was going to be sick, and the second one carrying out his flu destiny. Somewhere in there he apparently shared with me, as i woke up yesterday morning with a definite case of the "oh my gosh i really hurt" flu. My oldest daughter and her husband had it several weeks back, and commented on how they had to keep the ibuprofen flowing, since if it lapsed at all, they suffered greatly. Their eyeballs hurt. Their eye sockets hurt. Their fingers and nails and everything else hurt. i thought, well, i probably wouldn't even notice, since my body aches daily anyway. But guess what?? I NOTICED.

Fever and chills in the night. Hard time breathing. Fun stuff. But my sweet hubby decided to treat me with the healing properties of Ghirardelli chocolate with caramel. i may still hurt, but yum!

i'm hoping my version of the flu subsides more quickly than hubby's did. i was hoping to go shopping on Friday for daughter Corinne's 28th birthday. i mean, i have my priorities!!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A conversation.

At our dinner table:

We were talking about "when we were young"--you know, back when i thought my tummy was too big, my hips too wide..... * S I G H * You know, those days when young couples are actually tempted to take Polaroids in skimpy lingerie. ( Not saying i did! Or didn't. Just saying.)

Hubby looks across the table at me--"How would you feel about taking pictures now?"

i respond, "That ship has sailed," thought a moment longer and added, "and come back carrying a whole bunch of freight...."

We laughed longer than we have since we didn't (or did) take those pictures.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Going home.

Last night i dreamed of my childhood home.

Usually when i dream of it, i am young and very small, standing next to the side of it, staring up. It looms large and dark and surrounded in gloom, and i am uneasy.

Last night, i walked up its front porch steps as an adult, and the weather was bright and clear. i used a key to open the front door, admiring the old door from my childhood, and remembering how much i loved that big covered porch as a child. i entered the foyer and looked around. It was a house between owners, and i was looking at it like a prospective buyer but thinking, "i want this house back."

It was much as i remembered it when i first saw it as a 5 year old child--furnitureless, but with great bones. High ceilings, lovely bay windows, and hardwood floors mellowed with time. When i was 5 it was a great huge house with the promise of newness. By the time i left at the end of high school, it was broken and shattered, and so were we.

But last night i walked into it as if to reclaim it, take it and make it what my child-self had seen at 5. Fill it with good life, and honor the beauty of its bones, as it should have been.

Then i was seeing it from the rear of the house as if a dollhouse, the floors and rooms open to view. And there i could see the separateness of the family as we lived in my later years--my father, alone and in his own world in the front room, he and the incessant speaking of the television in the background; my mother sitting in the kitchen, staring into space, elbow on the table, smoking her cigarette with a certain grace like a 40's movie star. And me, i would be in my bedroom, reading or playing the guitar, or writing. Three separate people living in one house, but each alone. This is what i saw in my dream.

i can't honestly pretend to know what that means--i mean, i see the shift from anxious child to calm adult. i see the awareness of that beautiful house as simply the place where the players lived out their lives, making choices for good and for evil. i hope it means that at 54 i can continue to move forward in my perspective of my childhood to a place where it does not hold parts of me in fear.

i do know that when i came downstairs this morning, basket of laundry in my hands, that walking through the yet undone living room waiting patiently for its sheetrock and paint didn't bother me as much as usual. It's still a place where we have lived and laughed and had Christmas with little children. It's not been all good, but i don't suppose anything is, but we've tried and grown and learned and hopefully moved closer together as family rather than farther apart.

i think our struggle to remain connected as family is part of what defines us. In my childhood, there were great struggles against each other, and then great periods of silence. i think that's why i'm happy with the sounds of children playing around me--it soothes me.

But it was good to see that old house again.