WARNING!!

True!!

My replies:

1)   Thank you!  But I now look like a hippo.  I looked much better with color to my cheeks, no bags under my eyes, and no mysterious bruises or rashes.  (Or I should just hand them a pic of me at my wedding and say “this is what I REALLY look like”…oh and I got married 8 months ago).

2)  Does everyone have to do a countdown prior to heaving themselves out of bed every morning?  I think not.

3)  Yes.  And there are starving children in Africa.  Your point is?

4)  I wish.  Why don’t you snap out of being an a-hole.

5)  Maintaining my sight and staying out of the hospital  is a full-time job.  And since I no longer have health insurance, me staying out of the hospital is saving YOU money.

6)  No you don’t.  There isn’t anything to watch on TV (pretty much anytime of day), there are only so many websites you can visit, and there are only so many positions your body can tolerate for a given period of time.  Eating in  bed also has its drawbacks.

7)  I wish.  If I go out in public, I risk getting sick.  If I sit in the sun for longer than 5 minutes, I risk some serious sunburn.  If I do the wrong type of exercise, I run the risk of breaking a bone or snapping a tendon.  If I walk further than I anticipated, I risk not making it back.  Again, keeping me OUT of the hospital is saving YOU money.

8)  That’s great.  And do they walk on water?

9)  Right.  If you had pain like this, you would be in the ER.

10)  I’m a nurse.  Your point is invalid.

This is the flu that doesn’t end..

Lambchop.

Lambchop.

This is the flu that doesn’t end,
Yes it goes on and on my friend!
Somebody infected me, not knowing what it was,
And it is lingering forever just because,
This is the flu that doesn’t end…

Sorry for putting that song in your head (for those of you who know what its from). This is the longest I’ve felt ill with a cold/flu in a number of years (well, since the H1N1 debacle of 2009).

I felt better yesterday, and possibly did too much, so maybe that is why I feel like hell today.

I can breathe, which is always a plus, but I feel so sluggish and sleepy. And I stopped the NyQuil two days ago.

I took a three hour nap in the middle of the day. I haven’t done that in least a month or so.

And there is still a lot of pressure in my head, judging from the constant ear popping.

I am also experiencing a sore throat today, which is rare for me since I had my tonsils ripped from my skull 10 years ago.

I already feel sick 24/7 as it is.  I despise feeling “extra sick”.

I’m also pissed that I was doing so well with the exercise almost everyday for two weeks.  This illness has stopped that momentum dead it its tracks.

I have the desire to do yoga.  I have done some stretching in the last week, but I haven’t gone to yoga class or done a structured yoga video since Feb. 15.

The good thing is that I got to skip my weekly dose of poison due to the immune system implications.  WOO HOO!!

So, hopefully I feel better for the rest of the week and I can get back on that exercise plan.

Oh and my “healthy” eating took a break too.  I wasn’t actually eating ANYTHING so I put the diet on hold.  I have been eating oranges everyday (some times more than once a day) because I know the vitamin C helps.  The added folic acid can also help as well.

I am still drinking mostly water, but I have slipped in terms of sweets (I felt well enough to make my famous peanut butter chocolate chip cookies yesterday).

I hate these carb cravings and I’m actually counting down the days to my next eye appointment.  With the increased dosage of methotrexate (15 mg given SC q week), the docs are hoping that the inflammation in my eyes (and hopefully the increased pressure) will decrease.  If that happens, I might be able to taper off of the steroids completely.

Even though I’m putting in the effort, I feel that I may not see any kind of results with the weight until I am completely off that medication.  My fingers are so puffy I can no longer wear my wedding rings 😦

I’ll continue trying.  That’s about all I can do…right?

Captain Tripps

© Spartak | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Spartak | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Despite all my efforts to stay relatively virus free for the past 8 months, the inevitable happened.

I believe I have the flu.

Yes, I got my flu shot. Yes, all my family members got their flu shots. I even got the pneumonia shot.

But from what I have been reading, this years flu shot isn’t “matched” very well. The “flu shot” combines three strains of influenza virus that the CDC anticipates seeing during the next flu season. They start the formulation six months BEFORE the vaccine hits shelves. Occasionally, they guess wrong.

The CDC (and doctors) always say “if you get the flu shot, and subsequently get the flu, you will probably have less severe symptoms”. Still doesn’t make me feel any better. Although I could imagine needing to be hospitalized if I didn’t get the flu shot. I’m still able to type, and that, to me, means that I’m not severely ill.

I do want to clarify that I received the flu shot in October of last year. And that the flu SHOT (which is a killed virus) cannot GIVE someone the flu. The flu mist, on the other hand, is a live virus and can infect someone with the flu if they have a lowered immune system or other illnesses.

I am very good about hand-washing in this household, because of my lowered immune system. I guess I am just shocked that I got it, even with all of my precautions.

The last time I had the flu was in 2009. I contracted H1N1 two weeks before the vaccines came out. That was a doozy. I literally laid in bed for two weeks. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t do anything. I’m surprised I didn’t land in the hospital. But I had a ton of first hand experiences to share with my patients (after I got well, of course).

This one doesn’t feel like H1N1. I just feel awful. Body aches, low grade fever, nasal congestion and cough.  Chills too, can’t forget that one.

I do have a call in to the doc to see if I need to do anything else.

Not having health insurance really changes the game when you are sick. I can’t just go in to the doctor’s office and have a rapid flu test done and get tamiflu. The office visit is near $80 and I don’t even want to know how much the tamiflu costs out of pocket.

So I will just vegetate in bed. I hope this doesn’t get worse from here on out. And that I don’t infect Sunshine.

I didn’t get this from the little petri dish that is my child. Nope. It came from the other petri dish, my husband. He works at a local community college as a tutor, so he is face to face with the public everyday. He is just finally feeling better after almost a week. And he is very, very healthy.

Ick. Now I’m hurting. Back to bed I go. Maybe I can sleep it off.

Sunshine Knievel

© Ragnarock | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Ragnarock | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

 

I think I have sprouted more grey hair.

Yesterday was another BEAUTIFUL day here in central Texas. Like most children, Sunshine loves to play outside. She is of the age where I do feel comfortable letting her go out and play throughout the apartment complex, with frequent check ins.

My apartment complex is like Munchkinland. The child:adult  ratio is probably like 3:1. We live smack in the middle of it, right next to the playground.

Sunshine is a social butterfly. She pretty much knows everyone. And I know most of the parents in the complex. I usually feel comfortable that she is safe. Until yesterday…

Sunshine came home close to her time to come in for the night. Again, she was not wearing her shoes (I have no idea why this child refuses to wear shoes). I instructed her to go back to her friend’s house and gather her belongings and return home.

So I wait on the porch…I wait some more…and then I had to go inside for a few minutes to do something pertaining to dinner.

I come back out to see Sunshine climbing up on one of the platforms of the playscape at the playground…WITH ROLLER SKATES ON HER FEET!!

I have no idea how I made it down to the playground that fast. I was in my “lounging clothes” (read a ratty tanktop and shorts, no bra and no shoes. That is probably where she gets the “no shoes” thing) and had to literally scream over the din of children playing to prevent her from going down the slide with roller skates on.

I made it just in time. She was about to put her roller skated foot on the sliding board when she turned and noticed me. Thank goodness.

Now, I am a nurse. I used to work in pediatrics a decade ago. I have seen kids with broken bones, long hospital stays because of injury, adults with traumatic brain injury. But even that knowledge isn’t needed to know that riding roller skates down a slide is a bad idea. Especially with no helmet or safety equipment.

When she (carefully) came down to semi solid ground, she got the full wrath of Mama.

“What were you thinking? Who’s skates are these? You were supposed to come right back! WHAT ON EARTH WERE YOU THINKING?”

Sunshine: “I don’t know, Mama, it looked like fun”.

Be still, my pounding heart. I then gave her the usual Mama response: “do you know what could have happened?”

Sunshine: “Yes, Mama, I could have cracked my head open”.

Me: “You knew this and you still wanted to do this?”

Sunshine: “Yes, Mama. Because Lucy cracked her head open and she’s fine”.

Apparently Lucy is the rightful owner of the roller skates. Perhaps that is why she was allowing other children to partake in her “roller skates of doom”.

Walking back up to the apartment (after finally locating her shoes) Sunshine looks up at me and says: “I’m probably grounded aren’t I Mama” Me: “Oh yes you most certainly are”.

She also was treated to an earful of stories from me and my husband. Apparently he was a daredevil too, and once snapped both of the bones in his left forearm while jumping from a swing into a pile of leaves when he was 10. His arm broke his fall.

Hopefully, she learns from this, and I don’t catch her trying to prematurely grey my hair again.

Snowed

OMG this is so awful. I feel so fuzzy and dizzy. I’m in an effing blizzard right now. I understand the need to up my meds, but I don’t have to like it.

© Bee-nana | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Bee-nana | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Due to the inflammation that is STILL plaguing my left eye, my methotrexate dose has been increased to 15 mg per week. I have never been at this high of a dose, but because of my incredible response to the leukovorin, they decided to give this dose a try.

Right now, I can barely keep my eyes open. I am typing with extreme difficult, so this post may be short. I feel so dizzy, so fatigued. A tiny bit nauseous. I truly hate this medication. I wish my immune system would behave so I can get off these meds.

I was in severe pain Friday night into Saturday. I don’t know if I’m just going to hard with the exercise, or if this is normal for someone with fibromyalgia. My right wrist was throbbing yesterday. 8/10 pain. I briefly wondered if I fractured something during my overzealous exercise.

I have been doing “yoga cross training” with some videos I found on youtube. The leg workout required me to be on all fours for 20 minutes. I think I will rethink that motion in the next week.

There is no way that I’m doing anything worthwhile in the next 24 hours. Full veggie mode. With lots of deep breathing and hopefully sleep. Its better if I sleep through it all.

But Sunshine is coming home and my husband is feeling sick too. I have a fun day ahead of me.

<3 Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is more than just a holiday with overpriced flowers and candy (and stuffed animals)

http://www.stockfreeimages.com/

© Costa007 | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Fifty some odd years ago, my father decided to make his debut on this day. Twenty five years after that, my parents decided to get married. And this morning, my cousin’s wife delivered their baby girl.

So Valentine’s Day is serious business in my family.

In a way, its easier. I don’t have to remember two other dates on the calendar. My parents made that easy on us.

I gave up years ago trying to find the Hallmark card that says: Happy Valentine’s Anniversary and birthday Dad!

So I usually get a birthday card and an anniversary card. Along with a card for Sunshine and my husband. Good thing Hallmark had a special going today.

And this year I actually have heart wrapping paper. Courtesy of my neighbor. So my Dad gets his gifts in holiday appropriate paper this year, rather than the leftover Christmas paper he usually gets.

Most years I shop way ahead of time, but since I rarely go out of the house now, I resorted to shopping today.

I joined a long line of men who were all staring at the rows and rows of Valentine’s Day cards. Most of them were well picked over (the cards, not the men). I could practically see the gears moving in their heads (the men, not the cards).

I was unable to find the elusive, all encompassing birthday/anniversary/Valentine’s Day card. I couldn’t even find the correct envelopes. But the ones I found should suffice.

I don’t know why cards are so meaningful. For the price of a pretty Valentine’s Day card, I could buy a book for my Kindle. For the price of a dozen roses, I could buy a ton more books (maybe even some off the bestsellers list). So I’m not too big on the material good thing for gifts.

But my husband actually likes the romance and the cards and the gifts. So I appease him.

When I was first dating my husband, he was shocked that I didn’t “demand” flowers, candies and a gift for these types of holidays. He had never been with someone that just enjoys his company.

We aren’t doing anything major. He worked all day, I volunteered at Sunshine’s school. I am making him dinner, however. This isn’t new. But I am making one of his favorite things. Something that I don’t normally eat. So that should be special.

I still prefer a night in with him either watching movies or listening to music. Or just having a wonderful conversation with him. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Happy Valentine’s Day Y’all!!

Yoga

© Seema_illustrator | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Seema_illustrator | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

I am on my third day in a row of doing yoga. I don’t know why I just started with yoga to begin with.

When I first got sick, in 2005, while I wasn’t able to go to work, I went to yoga class three times per week. I have always continued to use some of the concepts I learned during that time.

Sunshine had a Girl Scout outing this past weekend, and it was to a local yoga studio. Sunshine also likes yoga, and I used to catch her doing just like Mommy in her crib. You would see her little tush on the video screen doing downward facing dog.

So after I went to the yoga outing with Sunshine, I decided to go on my own.

I didn’t have any available time until this morning, so on Monday and Tuesday I did my own yoga at home.

I followed a video I found on youtube, and it kicked my butt.

Maybe I shouldn’t have clicked on the video that said “yoga for weight loss”.

It was an amazing workout, and I felt ok enough to do it again the next day.

And this morning, finally, a “gentle” yoga class. I’m not too sore this evening, although I am exhausted. The difference between “gentle” yoga and regular yoga, I’m finding out, is that the instructor takes it very slow. The different poses are less taxing, and she allows ample time to ease into them. Also, she gives suggestions for modification of the poses if health conditions won’t allow for the full pose.

In now way was I shortchanged by doing “gentle” yoga. The instructor was focusing on the hips and core today, and I seriously felt my left hip loosen for the first time in years. Probably since the last time I did yoga. And its almost 12 hours later and my hips are still loose.

So I’m feeling muscles I didn’t know I had, but this is a “good hurt”. Its low level. I’ll stretch out before bed again.

I’m planning on doing a “yoga cross train” tomorrow for my arms via youtube.

Hopefully I survive that one too 🙂

Adventures in Parenting

My parents have recently pointed out the notion of karma. What goes around, comes around.

freeimage-1835755

© Isky | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Sunshine has been “grounded” for the past two days.

On Tuesday, Sunshine woke up complaining of a headache. No fever, no nausea or vomiting, but she was very vocal that her head hurt and she “didn’t feel well”. I get migraines, and I know they are genetic, so I gave her Tylenol. When deciding whether If I should send her to school, she said “Mommy, I think I need to stay home. My head hurts bad”. I told her if she stays home from school, she doesn’t get to play outside with her friends. My Mama law is: if you are too sick to be at school, you are too sick to play outside.

She stayed home. And wouldn’t you know it, when the school bus passed by with her friends on it, she magically recovered and threw a fit because I wouldn’t let her play outside. Her friends came over and were asking to play with her, I had her answer them and tell them what was going on.

Then yesterday she was grounded as well. Her kindergarten teacher uses a “smiley face” system to indicate behavior in the classroom. In her folder yesterday, there was a note with a “straight” face that informed me that Sunshine misbehaved in class, was throwing things at other classmates and was very rude when a classmate fell.

Mama’s law with behavior? If you can’t behave at school (or in public in general), you do not deserve to play outside or with friends.

After about a 30 minute tantrum, she calmed down. I’m fairly surprised at myself, the whining, the crying, the flailing didn’t faze me at all. I calmly repeated what happened, and why she was being grounded. I then discussed with her the things she can do to modify her behavior. I reiterated that she isn’t “bad” that she just had a rough day, and she will get a chance to change her behavior tomorrow.

At the end of the evening, when we had “Mama-Baby time” (it refers to the time we have when my husband is at work, we usually lay in my bed and watch movies before bed), I asked Sunshine what she has learned in the past few days. She said “I will never lie to Mama, and I will behave in school”.

Its hard to know what to do. As a mom, I love my baby so much and I want to make the bad feelings go away. But at the same time, I am responsible for raising a child. Along with my husband, we are responsible for molding her into a good member of society. We are responsible for teaching her right from wrong, and that her actions have consequences.

I also have the added issue with the possibility of Sunshine acting out due to her inner turmoil regarding her biological father. She has never had a “bad report” from school until right after he missed her birthday.

I am taking her to see someone next week. Like I discuss in Bio Dad, I am her mom, I have no experience with what she is going through.  Despite my nursing background, I am not versed in child psychology. My parents are still together, and so were my in-laws (until my mother in law passed right after our wedding). Together, we might not have the skills to understand what she has going on in her head. But I am willing to discuss the situation with a professional, and working with them and Sunshine to help her through this time.

And back to the karma: my parents recently toasted to karma at dinner last night. They are tickled to see me dealing with Sunshine’s issues (not the dad thing, but the temper tantrums). Like they told me when I was younger “I hope you have a kid that is just like you”. And it happened. She is me and my brother mixed into one. And my brother is a hell-raiser.

Sunshine is due home in three hours, we will see if she managed to behave today.

Thank you Big Pharma!!

Yes, it really does work.

When I lost my insurance coverage at the end of November, I tapered myself off some of the medications that are outrageously expensive. The big ones being Lyrica and Treximet. I thought, perhaps, I might do better off the medication. And that was a bad idea.

Drug viles containing money

© Donnarae | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Apparently, I need these medications.

In the past, I have done a “drug holiday” from some substances, namely when my former husband removed me from his health insurance a few months before the agreed termination date. That was a nice wake up call.

So I was familiar with how much money these medication actually cost. At that time, I was able to get some medication assistance from a local charity.

This time, I looked into the prescription assistance programs advertised online. In particular, I went to PPARX.

I just typed in the medications that I am having difficulty obtaining (Lyrica, Topamax, Treximet) and some basic information and their search engine found several programs I could apply to. Filling out the forms online also helped me with hand cramps.

After making copies of my financial information and obtaining a new prescription (and some other paperwork for the Lyrica) I mailed the forms. Less than two weeks later, I started getting mail.

For the Treximet, Glaxo-(whatever they are calling themselves these days) sent three months worth of the medication. And considering that my migraines have increased significantly in the past few months, this delivery was very welcomed.

For Lyrica, Pfizer sent a three month supply. Directly to my door.

And the Topamax? Well, that’s the only one I haven’t been able to secure.

These programs do work. I will start back on the Lyrica tonight and maybe I can start feeling better in a few weeks.

I’m no longer worried about my next migraine. Although I monitor every headache and try to trace it back to a trigger, I no longer have to play the “ration” game. I no longer have to attempt guessing at what the head pain means. And since I get different types of headaches that can bloom into a day spent in bed, this is a wonderful development.

Migraines, for me at least, are mainly left sided…encompassing the entire left hemisphere of my head. The pain can be throbbing (including my eye, ear, skull and neck into the shoulder) or it can be one localized spear of pain, usually at the junction of the skull and neck.

Right-sided migraines are a doozy. When I start feeling that kind of “hum” on that side, I run to grab the meds. Right sided migraines have sent me to the ER on several occasions.

I used to have visual auras prior to the migraine onset. I used to see zigzags, confetti, fireworks. But since my eyes exploded last summer, I can no longer differentiate between the pars planitis and the migraine disturbances.

I am very happy that these programs exist. And that they work.

Ow!!

Image

© Razvanjp | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Wow.  I am in some pain.

I asked my husband to go with me to the gym yesterday to show me how to not kill myself when working out.

He goes to a boxing gym, and has been taking high-intensity, boxer-centered classes for the last year.  He goes to his gym at least four times a week.

Maybe that was my mistake.

He was showing me how to do lunges and squats and I realized I am insanely weak.  Eight months of steroids has taken a toll on my body.  Not that I was Ms. Muscle to begin with, but I noticed a significant difference.

And then after discussing these exercise plans of mine with my dad, he got upset and said “you are on steroids, you are going to snap a tendon”.

Fantastic.  So I looked it up, and even though I knew that muscle atrophy was a complication of long term steroids, I wasn’t aware that there were actual cases of tendon rupture.

And today I woke up in immense pain in my legs.  I don’t think that I ruptured anything (or I probably wouldn’t be walking), but I have been in immense pain all day.  Nothing is helping it.  Not stretching, not a hot bath, not meds.

I have an email into a friend of mine that is a personal trainer, and hopefully he can help me out.  I do plan on going to the gym tomorrow (granted that I can walk) and doing the cardio.

I guess overall I have to go VERY VERY slowly.  Not everyday, and work up to more intensity.

Anyone out there know any websites I can visit about exercise and steroids?  The only sites I’ve been able to find only confirm what I already know.  I’m looking for some specific, gentle exercises that won’t kill me and won’t “snap a tendon”.