Monday, June 23, 2008

Surprises. Good ones.

Yesterday hubby and i went to church at our previously attended church, and had a lovely morning. Changes in the leadership of the church have made an obvious difference--there's a strong emphasis on being sure to teach the congregation, and beyond that to be sure the people understand what's being taught. And then the adult class we attended (and used to attend) has had a new teacher/co-teacher (not sure which, haven't been there in 3 years) and he was good! Intelligent, approachable, all the stuff i look for. That was "good surprise" number 1.

Good surprise number 2 was when hubby and i went to eat lunch out and ran into friends we haven't seen in a long time, with the BONUS of their daughter and her kids who are visiting for the summer from the midwest (sorry Jenner, i never get the state right!!!) She is the daughter of my good friend and boss Adele, who died of cancer in 1999, changing some things in my life forever. That was some walk we took together, Adele and i, she was diagnosed just as we were starting a church volunteer job together in June, and she was gone by Thanksgiving. If that walk was rough as friends, i can only guess at the surface of what her family went through... i remember saying to her hubby, "Boy this seemed to happen fast" and he answered with weary, sad eyes, "Not to me." He has since remarried an amazing woman who i loved watch being Grandma to Jenner's children. i'm pretty excited to get to see Jenner again since she has a whole summer here! And her kids are too much, too cute--her son has a great imagination and filled me in on his love of Legos and the possible scary stuff in the attic, while her daughter drew amazing little pictures that were quite good for a 7 year old. The first picture i saw was of a "BullDog"--it has horns like a bull, and feet like a bull, but it's a dog too ;-) There could be a future for this little lady down the road in the political cartoon arena... Wonder what she'd draw if i told her about our little "hot dogs"....

SO, Jenner! email me or something so we can set up a time to get together!! And i loved finding out you are one of the masses of 5 people who read my blog ;-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Ant Brigade.

Did you know ants can survive being microwaved?

i wasn't too happy to learn that bit of information. And the reason i learned it was because we had The Infestation of all Infestations. They were marching in from the kitchen's East wall--coming in one line, and splitting into two separate forces. i used my Lysol 4 in 1 to immobilize the troups, and Raid to make their entry and escape route unpleasant (well, deadly was the intention.) As i turned, full of the joy of my successful attack, to my dismay, what did i see but more ants looping the bottom of a cupboard on the North wall, clever devils. So again, i came in strong with my Lysol 4 in 1 with its Raid chaser--but further down the North wall more were attacking silently from the West end. While i took a break to reconsider my counter attack techniques, i put a cup of water in the microwave for tea, and lo and behold, little ant soldiers were scoping out the inside of said microwave.

"This oughta fry 'em!" i said. i mean, i know they're God's little creatures and all that, but death is a reality for all of us, right?

Pulling the cup out, i noticed the undaunted (though likely sterile) ants still marching around the edge of the microwave. Huh.

Adina cleans my kitchen/bathroom/family and dining areas every 2 weeks, so i asked if she would deal with the microwave for sure, telling her about the persistent ants. When i spoke with her later (should i tell this, Adina?) she said, "Ants die at 20 seconds in the microwave!"

In confusion i said, "Oh--it must have been because i had something else in there to absorb the waves..." To which she replied, cheerfully, "Well, if they are on a plate in the middle of the microwave, they only live to 20 seconds."

My hubby said, "So, a little experimentation, hmm?" Yes.

At the moment i've given up on the whole ant brigade, just immobilizing (with my Lysol) and relocating (down the garbage disposal) the troups as i find them, but i hear there's some great stuff in a bottle over at Home Depot that i can buy for my hubby to spray around the windows and foundation of the house (right, honey?) But what do i do about the 8 million little buggers in my yard?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

In honor of Father's Day!!

FIRST (and partly for my own amusement)

stupid things some people's parents have said:

The logic of this one has eluded me for years and years....OH! Maybe because there IS no logic to it.

"WHEN I SAY JUMP I WANT YOU TO SAY 'HOW HIGH?'" This used to drive fear into my heart when my father would say it, but now it makes me giggle. i'm sure he would have preferred a snappy salute and a "SIR!" at the end of the "How high?" Oddly, i'm pretty sure that neither myself or my siblings ever actually answered this request.

One of my personal favorites from a father of a friend:
"I WANT WHAT I WANT!!" Okay, you and every 2 year old in the nation--what makes you think you're special?

SECOND (and because i really really mean this and it's the real point of the post)

HUUUUGE blessings and kudos to all the men out there who avoided those sorts of inane statements, and who have instead provided loving encouragement and guidance. Not to say that you never raised your voice or got frustrated, i mean come on, we're all human...
So, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL THE GOOD GUYS AND ROLL MODELS OUT THERE! i hope you know who you are, and know how much we appreciate you. That includes you, my dear hubby.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

FENTANYL: The Withdrawal Experiment.

GOOD things about Fentanyl:
  • It's a cheap drug on my medical plan.

  • It's legal, thus keeping me from skulking around alleyways looking to score my next hit. (do we even have alleyways in Castro Valley?)
BAD things about Fentanyl:

  • Well, so far, pretty much everything.
  • Wearing the Fentanyl patch means you must not get overly hot or it will dump ALL it's medicinal goods into your system at once, causing major overload and some nasty symptoms. Ways to get hot? Have a fever. Work in the sunny garden, then get in the hot tub (with the patch carefully above the water line) to soak your sore muscles from working in the sunny garden.
  • Fentanyl sedates. EVERYthing. Your pain sensors, hopefully, but also your brain, your creativity, your internal workings, your....well, things best left unsaid, since this is a family friendly website. Plus, anybody who knows me is aware i'm already no Bundle of Energy. i've always worked at a lesser speed--clean part of the floor, sit down and read a magazine. Finish the floor, sit and read some more. Start on the kitchen tidying, sit down and have a cup of coffee and draw designs on a napkin. i always thought i was a bit lazy, but now it turns out i was "pacing." Who knew.
  • Fentanyl withdrawals are a bi----i mean, a trial.
i originally wanted to name this post "Fentanyl: treatment for pain, or an evil plot to kill my creative mojo?" When i said that to my hubby, i followed it with, "but i thought that was excessively long for a post title." He leaned back in his chair and said, "That's never stopped you before." i guess, given his proclivity for skimming, i would have had to do a skimmer's version of the title as well.
Just a brief overview of my withdrawal symptoms to date:
  • Very sick tummy, but on the upside i've lost some weight. Granted, it was weight i'd previously lost two years ago, but what the heck. i am getting tired of saltines, though.
  • Creepy feeling of crawling out of my skin. Hard to explain, worse to go through.
  • Excruciating pain on some days, for instance Wednesday being the worst i've had, worse than my most painful fibromyalgia day, 9 on a scale of 10, where 10 means "hospitalize me or shoot me with rhino tranquilizers, please."
  • Extreme anxiety. But then, the whole opiate experiment had that same effect. So, let's see: March, April, May, and now into June, anxious, anxious,anxious, and anxious.
  • Hypersensitivity to sounds. That also came along with the higher doses of Fentanyl, and again on the withdrawal path. Yesterday was the first day in months i'd been able to listen to music (well, besides American Idol, which goes without saying.)
  • Fits of temper
  • Personality changes
  • Zombie-ness, in varying stages and amounts.
So, as you can see, symtoms aaaaall over the charts! Dr God at the pain clinic wanted me to wean from the Fentanyl by dropping from the 125 mcg dose to 100, then 75 for 6 days, then 50 for 6 days, then just take the dive. When i did not replace the 50 mcg patch quickly enough i had a long bad day of withdrawal, so i decided to use my remaining 25 mcg for three days, then my 12 mcg for another three to slow down the process. i felt that i was Dr God's child being taught to swim by being thrown into the deep end and walking away. No support, no "this is what you can expect to happen" or "this is what you can do to cope." Just throw me in and head for Starbucks.

i grew up in Portland, Oregon, and puddles are more my size, so my plan was to wean off to the point that i could simply drop into a puddle at the end where i could still keep my head above water. If this withdrawal is a puddle, what the heck must the deep end be like???

While looking up symptoms of withdrawal at the beginning of this ride, i saw ads for private clinics where you could stay to withdraw. Basically they keep you unconscious for the worst of it. i see why it's no big deal for those actors who love their Oxycontin and such--when it becomes a serious problem, just spend a tiny portion of your fortune and check into a clinic! Virtually no pain and all gain, for a measly 10 grand or so-- BUT, if they had to go through the actual pain of withdrawing, they might think twice before popping them bad-boys again.

My state of discomfort is odd even to me. In the early days of fibromyalgia i remember trying to find a position for sleep. i arrived at sleeping on my back with a pillow behind my knees as the only way that didn't hurt. In these withdrawal days, i'm so crawly uncomfortable that i find myself in bed doing the rotisserie chicken: on my back for a few minutes, then my right side, then my stomach, then my left side, only to start the spit on its next rotation. NOTHing is comfortable! Sitting up is no better, even in my nice thrift-store LazyGirl chair, place of all comfort.

It's a curious state of being. Soon to be behind me. Then i can at least simply deal with the fibromyalgia pain again. Woohoo.

*OH--forgot to add the skimmer's recap: Fentanyl: little good, mostly bad, withdrawal is hell. There ya go, it's short, but you miss the clever analogies/metaphors--whichever they are, i can never remember. *sigh*

Friday, June 06, 2008


The lovely Brits below are Ellie, age 7 months; Euan, age 3 1/2; Elias, 5 years; and one more adorable Ellie for good measure. ;-)