Wednesday, March 31, 2010

So I won't be taking THAT medicine ....

By the time John arrived home with the new prescription, I had spent considerable time researching it (thank God for Internet access ...).
Near as I can tell, I won't be able to use it the way I like to use a sleeping aid (just take it once in a while when I need to get ahead in the sleep department ...).
Nope.  Gotta take one every day, and it may be up to two weeks before I notice an improvement.
It is intended, primarily, to treat depression and anxiety, and it is used to treat the pain of fibromyalgia (not an unusual treatment plan).
Fair enough, but perhaps he lost sight of the fact that my fibro is quite nicely controlled with Lyrica (not totally, I admit, but that is not my "real" sleeping disturbance).
My sleep difficulty comes from the pain in my hips -- which has been definitively diagnosed as bursitis in both hips.  I cannot stay on either side for longer than two hours; hence I wake every two hours to change positions.
Since my doctor didn't telephone me directly before sending the new meds, he wasn't given the reminder of that little detail (I often have to bring him back to bursitis vs fibro during our discussions; he is after all, a very busy doctor and human, to boot).
Possible side effects of this new junk are, to name just a few:  nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, increased sweating, blurred vision, seizures.
Like I need any of that to start again?  I'm just coming out of that!  And I cannot afford any more weight loss.
Plus, once I start down that road, IF I develop a side effect that necessitates my having to stop it (and with my track record ...), I would have to go off it slowly to avoid withdrawal.
Did you hear me?
There is a chance of withdrawal symptoms from this stuff.
What do you suppose are the chances that I would like to experience that again?
My questions to my doctor when I see him next week will be:  What the hell were you thinking?  Were you paying attention to the information I sent you?  ARE YOU NUTS?
I know that he wants to help me get a night's sleep, but he obviously was thinking that fibro is the problem.
So, until I see him next week, the box will remain untouched (fortunately, we have excellent medical insurance so there is no real "out of pocket" cost to me).
These meds too will eventually be returned to the pharmacy for proper disposal, I'm fairly certain of that.

My Doctor's Office called ...

Apparently, he wants to send me a prescription.  Would I please call back and let her know where to send it?
This is obviously in response to the fax I sent last Friday giving him the update on my status (that he had requested when he telephoned me earlier in the week).
"What does he want me take now?" I ask.
"Umm, it's for an antidepressant, I think," she responds.
"Oh," I giggle, "so now he thinks I'm depressed does he?"  (I knew immediately that he was sending me something to try to help me sleep but I just couldn't resist!)
"I don't know," she says, "you sure don't sound very depressed to me."
I had to let her off the hook.  "It must be to help me sleep," I offered.
"Yes, maybe, it does say to take one at bedtime," she said.
I gave her the number of my pharmacy and John will pick up the prescription on his way home from the gun club this afternoon.
Who knows.  Maybe it will work and I'll actually get a night's sleep tonight.
I'll let you know.
Last night certainly wasn't very good.
Woke every two hours again.
But the sweats were back (had to change my pyjama top cuz it was drenched!).
Nausea was back (not severe, but does nausea have to be bad to be annoying?).
My gut was doing flip-flops.
I expect what was a very enjoyable vist with my angel and her family yesterday was too physically taxing on me after the long day I had had on Monday.
Don't get me wrong, my angel.
The outing did me the world of good, both emotionally and mentally.
And the meal was fabulous!  (Thanks for the leftovers, Angel -- saves having to make dinner tonight.)
But I guess my body just can't keep up with my psyche yet.
Damn! It better get with the program soon cuz I'm back and I have places to go and people to see and ...
I know, I know, I have to go slowly.
But surely to God a person can enjoy a social outing with very good friends without it having such a negative impact.
At least one damned well should be able to, according to the law of C. Bonnie!!!!!!
Anyway, I had to go slow and easy this morning to recuperate physically (which is why this post is so late today).
Plus, I had business to take care of before I could "play."
But I'm "recovered" again and I can prove it too.  (As long as you don't tell John what I did.)
Once he left for the gun club, I went and readied my car for my mechanic to come and get it this evening.
You see, there are some things that a woman just has to do for herself.
And one of those things is take care of her own belongings, like her car.
I went and emptied it and put the back seats down and put the protective liner in place so that the tires can be put in the cargo area to be transported to and from the garage without destroying the upholstery. 
Had I left the chore to the men, well ... I'm sure I don't have to describe to you female readers how it might have been done.
So my car is now ready and waiting (and I feel just fine, thank you very much!).
And when the car is returned tomorrow evening, I will let the men take the tires out of the vehicle, because I'm not physically capable of doing that, under any circumstances, ever.
But I'll return the car to its proper state the following morning.
Because it is, after all, my car.
And I know where everything goes.
There is a place for everything, and everything has a place!
Now, I'm going to rest again, because this is supposed to be a day of rest and recuperation.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It pays to have friends in important places!

You know you have a good mechanic when he calls for one reason (to chat with your husband) and the conversation takes a bit of a twist.
"Hey, Mike, would you be amenable to coming here one evening, put my summer tires in my car for me, then take my car with you to work to make the switch and ..."
"Yeh sure, Bonnie, when do you want to do it?"
We discussed various options, based on our respective commitments.
So, tomorrow night, he'll come here, he'll put the tires in my car (we certainly can't move those 19" suckers) and he'll take my car home with him.  (All I have to do is call him tomorrow to remind him to stop by here -- he has a terrible memory!)
On Thursday, he'll have the pleasure of driving my baby to work and feeling like a king (he always tells me that after driving my vehicles -- they also "go real fast").
The snow tires will be swapped, the oil will be changed, he'll fill the tank, and he'll return the car to me that evening.  He'll even wash it for me if I ask him to (which I might -- sorry Pauple, but you will get other opportunities).
Then he'll stop and chat for a while (maybe have a beer) before going home to his family (they live not too far from us).
When I was working, we used to do this sort of thing quite regularly, or I would call as I left the office and just stop in at his shop for my oil changes (or sometimes I'd stop on my way to the office).  He would always make sure there was a bay available so that I would not be delayed. 
Life is good when you live in the country.
It also pays to have friends in important places!

A long but rewarding day ...

Our trip to Ottawa yesterday was verrrrrrrrrrrrrrry long.
We left home at 8:45am and didn't get back here until 3:00pm.
Lately, that seems to be the pattern though.
Our first stop was at a bank for John to get info (he had a 9:30 appointment) that took all of fifteen minutes.
My physio appointment wasn't until 11:15am so we had time to kill.
We made a brief stop to exchange some clothing that I had bought in Carleton Place on Saturday, but we were at a branch outlet and I'll not be going there again.  The clerk was audibly and visibly annoyed with having to serve me.  I wanted to return three items and exchange two for the proper size.  I guess it was too much work for her on a Monday morning.  This wasn't my first less-than-positive experience in that particular outlet.  (When I got home, I telephoned my local outlet and spoke to the manager there to discuss the incident because I wanted her to know how much I appreciate the service I receive in her store.  She's holding my size for me of one of the items that I wasn't able to find in the "bad" store.  I've also sent a note to their head office explaining what took place because the service between the two stores is remarkably different, a reflection of management as far as I'm concerned. They can't fix that which they don't know is broken.)
Then we stopped to pick up John's turntable which he had dropped off for repair last week when we did our rounds.  He thought it needed repair but apparently it too just needed an outing -- nothing wrong with it and it does in fact work just fine, now that it's home and re-installed.
And we were still early for my physio appointment.
But that was OK.  The place was hopping busy but she was able to put me in a bed ahead of my scheduled appointment and get updated on my nightmare (I hadn't been there in three weeks).  She went very slowly as she placed the numerous needles, starting at the hips which are the most crucial points for me. 
Surprisingly enough to both of us, I was able to withstand the full complement of needles and I endured the treatment for my normal allotted time (although she timed me at the half-point to check, just in case I had to quit).
And again, just as it's approaching time to take those critters out of me, I'm ready to drift off to never-never land.  It happens every treatment.
So I'm truly back to where I was before the nightmare turned to night terrors.
Once the needles were removed, she was able to do some very gentle traction (again, I have not had traction in almost a month so we have to start slowly ...).  We'll resume the daily traction at home too, now that I'm well again (John has gotten very good at it).
I asked her if she has any tricks up her sleeve that we can try for my hips since I won't be letting the doctor give me any other narcotics (something with which she too agrees vehemently) and she said that she could try athletic taping on me.  It is used with some success on lots of her patients and might work for me, if I can tolerate the adhesive of the tape.  Of course, as she said, since I'm a redhead the adhesive might be a problem.  I reminded her that she had that concern about the adhesive of the TENs electrodes as well.  And I wear those all day long (and now all night long) with no difficulty.  Perhaps I'll have the same luck with the athletic taping.  But all we can do is try, which she'll do when I'm stronger.
One more trick to add to my arsenal, maybe.
Having got fixed up, we made a tiny bit of a detour and dropped in to see my little chickadee and Pauple (my beautiful boy was at school, of course).  It's been way too long since I've seen them and I needed to show her that her Mom really is back (it's one thing to tell her that ...).  We admired their handiwork in their kitchen (they've redone their cabinets and they look fabulous) and then we sat for a brief visit before we headed off to our next stop.  It will be another week before I get to see my beautiful boy again :( .
When I told them that our next stop was at the computer shop to return that router that we didn't need (the one they "lent" us last week, "just in case"), Pauple was amazed at the level of trust they have in me. I reminded him that I've been going to that shop since the the current owners were in diapers!  They really have become very dear friends and they knew absolutely that there was no risk in what they did.
We got to the computer shop and I collected my hugs and kisses, and I gave them back their router (it was funny to see him scan it back into inventory -- meaning that he took it out of inventory even tough we never paid for it; neat trick that).  We chatted for a bit about our wireless service vs DSL vs cable vs dial-up yada yada yada and how the big guy makes money off the little guy and we slammed all the appropriate corporate jerks.  Then I collected more hugs and kisses as we left, and I did my usual bad Arnold impression,  "I'll be baack!"  Their parting words were, "Wow, haven't heard that from you in a long time."
That was a defining moment for me.  That's when I really knew that I had been away to everybody.  And it felt sooooo good to be really back for everybody.
From there, we were finally headed home, with just a grocery stop en route but that was in Almonte so we kind of think of those stops as necessities.
We got hme and rested.  We were both totally pooped.
But I felt good.
I felt validated, in a way.
I had managed to put in what for me had been a very full day, in the scheme of things, and I wasn't a basket case.
I was physcially tired, but emotionally I felt rejuvenated.
After resting, I managed to do two loads of laundry (just as I might have done in the old days after getting in from a day of work).  No, I do NOT climb up and down stairs -- remember, I have a stair lift and I'm a master of multi-tasking and time-management!
We had dinner and watched a little television.
I cleaned the oven (automatic cleaning folks, don't panic!) and did the dishes (dishwasher!).
Gosh, it feels good to be back to a normal lifestyle and to work towards getting this house back into shape.
And I had no difficulty going to sleep (I had help though -- I took a sleeping aid).
So I only woke every three hours (rather than every two).  I'm still not convinced the sleeping aid has any particularly beneficial effect because I can't definitively say why I'm waking with such frequency.  I get up and go pee when I wake, but am I going pee because I'm awake, or am I waking because I need to pee?  I have to turn over when I wake up, and if that is the purpose of my waking, there is certainly no point in taking any sleep aid.  My physcial need to turn over is not likely going to change, no matter what I take, because neither hip can endure the pressure for a lengthy period of time.  I guess I just have to learn to sleep on my back.
Today, I will take care of the bookkeeping that has fallen by the wayside in the last little while and then I will rest because we are going to my Angel's place for an early dinner (late lunch, early dinner -- to allow an early come-home time).
It will be nice to get out and socialize with such good friends -- it's been a long time since we've been able to do that too.  When the invitation was issued last week, we weren't sure that I'd be up to it, but my Angel assured me that I could lounge on her sofa (instead of mine) and be served if necessary.
That's why I call her my angel!
We're both looking forward to the change of scenery and the visit with such good friends.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It truly is over!

I can't even begin to tell you how good it feels to be back in the land of the living.
Yesterday, I stayed down and rested for the most part, although I wanted to be doing so much more.
But I knew I had to rest (and my body let me know that I had to be resting).
Every time I did too much, I would get lightheaded and would have to sit down and put my head back.
So I know I'm still quite weak, physically.
But, oh it's nice to be back mentally and emotionally.
To know that I can function normally again.
To be able to think clearly.
To be able to joke with my husband again, the way we used to.
My perceptions were so badly clouded I don't know how John resisted the urge to take me out back and shoot me, really.
Of course, I couldn't see it then.
I couldn't see anything then.
But it's all so clear now.
That roller coaster truly started when I began taking Cesamet almost a year ago.  While the drug may have relieved the pain of my bursitis, and allowed me to physically do things I could not previously do, it really messed up my head.
But now, I'm off the roller coaster, and my head has cleared.
And while we know that Cesamet was the cause of my eating disorder, I still don't know for sure if it did any other damage to other organs.
I do know that I will not ever take that poison again.
Yesterday, I thanked John for sticking with me through the nightmare, and for loving me in spite of it.
It takes a special kind of person to do that, I think.
That's why they have detox centres, I guess.
So the family doesn't have to endure such hell while their loved ones dry out.
Because hell is the only word to describe what we've just come through.
And I can assure you, we'll not go through it again because there is no way in HELL that my doctor will convince me to try another narcotic to deal with my pain.  We'll simply have to find another solution.
Today, we head into Ottawa for a few appointments and it will be taxing on me, I know.
One of the appointments is with my physiotherapist and perhaps she might have a few more tricks up her sleeve that I might be able to try.
We'll also stop and return that router that we didn't need (it's always refreshing to visit my favourite boys at the computer shop -- they give great hugs!).
Then we'll come home as quickly as we can, and I'll rest again.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Roller Coaster ride is over

Yes it is!
My head has finally come to a stop.
My body too.
Just yesterday I was wondering if / how I would know when this nightmare was truly over.
But I woke during the night, just as I always do, and I knew.
I could just tell that something was different.
And then it struck me.
Everything was right in my head again.
I hadn't taken any sleep aid last night and I woke every two hours, just as I had been doing when I was taking something, which leads me to believe that there really is no point in using the damned stuff.
Perhaps they might work now that the nightmare is over, I don't know.
That remains to be seen.  I might give them a try again some time in the future.  I'll discuss that with my doctor when I see him on April 8th because I know that it is important that I get a full night's sleep (Lord knows my body is begging for just that).
BUT, not once did I have to mop myself up when I woke, so the sweats are over now too!  And, that , my friends, is a welcome relief.
So now, all that's left to accomplish is to regain my strength.
My weight is down another pound and a half this morning and that is not good.  I really can't afford to lose any more weight so I will have to work towards preventing further weight loss.  (Oh Lord, it's been a long time since THAT'S been a concern for ME!)
Yesterday, I asked John to take me into Carleton Place to do a little shopping (I really needed to get out of here for a while and I had a few things I wanted to buy -- to get some stuff off my "worry wheel").  It proved to be too much for me, physically!  It helped emotionally, but my head was spinning by the time we got back.
I spent the rest of the day flaked out on the sofa again.  (I'm really starting to hate that piece of furniture!)
So today will be another day of rest and restoration because tomorrow we have to be in Ottawa again and it might take a physical toll on me.
And I don't want another crash.
I want to regain my strength so I can start taking control of my own life again.
As anyone who knows me can attest, I really don't do "dependent" very well.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Cousin Deb

Today, my cousin Deb would have celebrated her 57th birthday.
Unfortunately, she left us last October, during a brief stay in hospital.
Deb was the first of two daughters born to Joan, my mother's younger sister.
My mother and her sister Joan were as tight as thieves; sisters and best friends.
Consequently, as children, we spent a great deal of time back and forth between each other's homes.
Although she was three years younger than I, my cousin Deb and I drifted together, I think possibly because of our similarities as we both felt somewhat like the 'black sheeps' of our families, if you will.
Just didn't quite fit in.
So we stuck together.
And we told each other our troubles and our "secrets," such as they were for kids.
As children, that's what we did.
Once we hit our teen years, there wasn't the same amount of visiting back and forth and we developed different groups of friends and went our separate ways.
She moved out west for many years and we were never in touch through that period of our lives.
Eventually she moved back to this region with Richard and they built a cute little home and tucked themselves away in the woods on a beautiful piece of property.
It was only when her mother died in 2001 that we got in touch again and found out that we both lived in the woods, west of Ottawa, each having found life partners who had similar outdoor interests -- and we both loved the isolation of our respective living environments!
She was delighted when John and I drove to their place to visit and we met Richard and she and I were able to reconnect properly.
Deb Simpson, Richard Brown, and Bonnie Fowler    Oct 2001
Cousin Deb would visit me and we would have wonderful strolls down memory lane. She had great fun the time she visited during hunt week and it happened to be on a Saturday when the 'hootenanny' is held.
She would phone frequently and she always wanted to relive our childhood. We talked about how tight our mothers were and the fun we used to have on week-ends when all the cousins gathered for family picnics (there were many aunts and uncles and cousins ...).  And she brought up memories from our childhood that I hadn't thought of since our childhoold!
Often, John would take her calls, and once Richard became ill with cancer, John was able to offer her many hours of  counsel. (John had undergone treatment for prostate cancer a few years earlier, and she had numerous questions.)
She nursed Richard at home until the end because that's what he wanted, and it took a toll on her.
Cousin Deb missed Richard terribly; they had been alone together in their cabin for over twenty-five years.
And now she was there alone, without him.
She tried her damndest to move on but it just wasn't to be.
Her many health problems just worsened once her motivating will was gone.
And now, I no longer come home to a message on my telephone, "Hi Bonnie and John, it's just Cousin Deb calling to say hi.  Love you."
I held Deb's hand as she passed away.
She had been on life support until someone could get to the hospital to be with her as she passed.
Deb was taken to hospital the night before I left for Nova Scotia.
I had spoken with her on the telephone that evening, and she was not well. She promised to seek medical attention and I told her I would follow up from Nova Scotia.
Well, we know what happened to me while I was there.
On my return from Nova Scotia, I had several messages telling me that Deb was in hospital and had been since the very night I had last spoken with her.
I visited her in hospital as quickly as I could and she was her usual feisty self:  issuing orders and straining to see what was happening out in the hall. Deb worked in the nursing profession so she had to know what all the staff was up to.
The next time I saw her, she wasn't doing well at all. She had been moved to the Critical Care unit and it didn't look promising.
By the next morning, she had taken a turn for the worse and the next of kin question was asked.
Attempts to find her two surviving siblings were unsuccessful so I became the next of kin.
Which is exactly the way she wanted it.
That's why we had been on the phone the night before I left for Nova Scotia -- she wanted to make sure I had the name and phone number of the lawyer who had prepared her will, which named my sister and me as Executrixes.  (Did she know then how very ill she really was?)
When I spoke with the Doctor, it wasn't clear whether we could get there before Deb would decide to just go.  But we did get there on time.
And I held her hand, and stroked her hair.
And told her it was OK to go, that Richard was waiting for her.
I believe she had actually really left some time mid-morning that day, but the hospital staff needs to know, for their own benefit, that people don't die alone. So they had done everything they could to keep her 'alive' until we could be with her for her final journey. And I love them for caring so deeply for the strangers who pass through the revolving doors of the Critical Care Unit.
Cousin Deb left this earth, officially, at 5:55pm on October 14, 2009.
On November 1, 2009, Deb and Richard were put to rest, finally.  It wasn't a very large send-off; just a small, intimate gathering at what had been their home.  Present to say good-bye were a handful of her neighbour friends, and the few family members who knew she had passed: John, me, my sister Wendy, and one of our cousins (Deb's god-daughter) with her husband.  Cousin Deb actually hadn't wanted to have any service.
Later, her brother-in-law took their ashes (Deb had saved Richard's ashes for just this occasion) up to a favourite spot on their property where they liked to go for solitude.
So they can be alone together, again.
(Following is the obituary that never appeared in a newspaper. But I really wanted to place it, so here it is.)

SIMPSON, Debra Joan Grace, of Burnstown, ON, partner of the late Richard Brown (1947-2007), died peacefully at the General Campus of the Ottawa Hospital on 14 October 2009, with her cousin by her side, as she wanted. Born in Ottawa 27 March 1953, Deb was predeceased by parents, Robert Thomas Simpson (1925-1993) and Joan Grace Sharpe (1929-2001) and brothers Clifford Duncan George Simpson  (1950-2002) and Robert Thomas Simpson (1955-1993). Survived by siblings Norman Clarence Patrick Simpson and Linda Anne Simpson, Aunt Lilian Sharpe (Frederick, 1931-1994), several nephews, nieces, and numerous cousins.  At Deb’s request, cremation has occurred and her ashes have joined Richard’s in a private location.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Stop this roller coaster ... please!

Recovery really, really, really sucks!
It is such an up and down ordeal.
You think you're OK and you are.
For a while.
Maybe even for the best part of a day.
And then something occurs that your brain can't quite process.
At when it's over, you're reduced to tears.
And then the breakdown happens.
Anything can cause a meltdown.
Yesterday, mine came as a result of a simple telephone call, followed by my need to drive myself to the massage therapist.
And I literally didn't know what to do to adjust my car for my driving needs (John has been doing all the driving for the past while so my car was left in his driving position).
It took every ounce of my focus ability to drive the few kilometers to my therapist (three straight lines!).
But I made it.
And the massage was wonderfully physically therapeutic.
But emotionally, I was a wreck.
I got back in the car, and the tears started again.
What the hell is wrong with me?
And when is it going to stop?
I drove home, slowly, but at the posted limit (others passed me in their urgent need to get to where they were going) and when I got here, I sat down and bawled.
John came home and asked his usual, "How are you?"
Of course, he saw that I was crying, and asked what was wrong.
When I told him that the drive to the massage therapist was obviously too much for me, he said that will come, eventually.
It has been a while, after all, since I've been driving.
Then I told him that I couldn't even figure out how to adjust my own car for my driving needs and that got me sobbing through my laughter, because, "How stupid is that!"
So he tells me that I'll get better, really I will.
But my question was, "But how am I going to know when I'm better enough to drive -- without driving?"
I know, I know, all will happen in its time but oh it's taking too long.
It feels like I'm taking one step forward and two steps back.
I'm up, I'm down, I'm up, I'm down again.
The tears start from nothing, or they start from the slightest, silliest little thing.
Everything overwhelms me now.
I used to manage a very busy MP's office (and still had a busy, fulfilling life), without blinking an eye!  And now I can't manage to readjust the seat in my car without falling apart!
Fortunately, John has a good understanding of what's happening so his patience is remarkable (and he swears he still loves me!).
I've become increasingly unsteady on my feet, requiring me to now use my cane in my home.  Is that another indicator that I really should be getting that walker that my physiotherapist has suggested?
Slow and easy is practically a foreign concept for me; I mean, I've heard of it, but I'm used to juggling many tasks at once at break-neck speed.
And, as my little chickadee -- the one with the BA in Psychology -- explained, perhaps the fact that the tears are so upsetting to me is because I'm not, by nature, a "cryer."  I've always taken whatever life's thrown my way in stride, and just gone on with my life no matter what, and now that control has been taken from me, through no fault of my own.  Perhaps I'm having difficulty accepting the loss of that control.  Mama didn't raise no dummy!
As I think about her words though, methinks it's more the loss of dignity than anything else; not knowing how to deal with the incompetence that I'm having to confront; fearing the loss of my competence and independence, actually.  What if it never comes back?
Thank God I have a loving support system to help me through this because I certainly couldn't make it without them!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So I'm not "completely" recovered yet

I guess I'm not quite completely recovered yet.
Yesterday really took a toll on me.
Last evening, I had another meltdown and I also experienced repeated cold sweats during the night (not nearly as severe as the ones I've been having but they obviously aren't over yet).
This morning, I woke with a headache again (the neurologist warned me that I could expect that to continue for a while yet).  Tylenol #1 took care of it nicely though.
So, evidently when my doctor said it could be up to another week, he knew of what he spoke.
That means another few days of "workstation on the sofa" for me.
And John won't let me violate that (can you blame him?).
He's really been very good about this ordeal and it can't be easy to put up with this nonsense.
Let me tell you this:  I cannot for the life of me understand why a recovering drug addict would relapse once they've gone through rehab.  Anyone who goes through withdrawal once cannot possibly want to experience it a second time! 
I get that an addict doesn't truly have control over their addiction, but the cure is seemingly worse than the curse.  And we know that the curse can kill (witness all the famous people who are now in the ground because they abused drugs, many of them after repeated "successful" rehabs).
Here we are, ten days after the last Cesamet capsule  was ingested, and my body is still objecting to its absence.  And I wasn't abusing the drug; I was taking it precisely as prescribed! 
Enough about that.
Today, I am staying down again, wearing my TENs machine and just trying to recover from yesterday.
Tomorrow will be more of the same.
Just better.
Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I love you, Tomorrow,
You're only a daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay aaaaaaawaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yet another update

So the neurologist called me into Ottawa for no particularly pressing reason.
He just missed me I guess!
Actually, he wanted to discuss the blood results he had received from the Colchester Hospital resulting from my seizure incident last October (he had requested the numbers because he needed to confirm for his own satisfaction that the seizure was of a "metabolic" cause -- it was!).
We had a  lovely discussion as he explained that he saw no reason to make any changes to my current treatment plan (good thing for him after what I've just come through).
He was quite interested in, and apologetic for, my Cesamet withdrawal story so we discussed my difficulty with pain management (he was shocked to learn that I've just lost a month of my life to this exercise) but he didn't seem at all surprised to learn that the TENs unit gives me as much relief as it does.
For obvious reasons, he chose not to conduct any examination of me because, as he said, "None of my findings today would be valid, under the circumstances."
He agreed that I should be cautious about any narcotic medication in the future.  I told him that my doctor has been trying to push the Fentanyl Pain Patch on me for several years but I've always argued against it.  He nodded in agreement when I told him that there is no way in hell the doctor will win that argument after this experience! 
Our next stop was at my friendly computer supply shop (gosh I love my boys) and you know how the tooth never hurts when you get to the dentist?
Well, the router ain't broke when it gets to the shop!
Yup, nothing wrong with the damned router.
They hooked it up and voila! Just like that, it goes on line, finds "Fowler" network and goes to town.
Enough to make your teeth rot!
We had a nice visit though.
Talked about Ann Coulter and her hate-mongering incite-to-riot antics (just for the fun of it -- Google her name and see what you get!) and a whole lot of other stuff.
John researched the next computer he's going to buy.
Without spending a penny, we left there with our old unbroken router and a new router (just in case our old one decided not to work when it got back home again).  Here's the deal:  if our router works, great; if it doesn't, we have one to replace it.  Either way, we'll be back on Monday next week (I have to go in for physio anyway) and we will either pay for the new router or give it back to them, unopened.  How's that for trust?  See why I love my boys so much?
Then we came home (with a grocery stop en route).
Got home, plugged in the old unbroken router, hooked it up, everything appeared to work as it should but it just wouldn't see the internet.
Picked up the phone, called my buddy, he talked me through release and renew, and voila! everything's right in Fowler wireless internet land again!  (We'll deliver the unopened router on Monday.)
It was a very long day for my first outing in two weeks.
But I am encouraged because I now know absolutely that I am recovered and I just need to continue resting until my strength is back to where it should be.

Quick Update Again

This will be quick because I don't have a lot of time this morning.
I do feel much better again, although I didn't have as good a night as I had hoped for.
My sleeping meds are doing for me what they should but you can't have everything.
I am still waking every two hours in a sweat, and hopefully that will resolve itself soon.
But I do feel remarkably better in spite of lack of sleep.
Today, John has to take me into Ottawa for a medical appointment with my neurologist (his office had called on Monday saying that he wanted to see me for a follow-up from my late January visit and she was holding this morning's opening for me, so I took it).
John is taking me because, obviously, it wouldn't be a good idea for me to underake the 45-minute drive on my own just yet.
Since we'll be in Ottawa, we'll also drop in and visit our computer supply shop and get a new router (I left my buddy there a message yesterday to let him know we'd be in so he could have one waiting for us, and I'll make sure he gives me a road map of what I have to do to install it since my brain isn't quite up to capacity yet).
So with any luck, our wireless network will be back up and running at least by tomorrow (I will probably need to rest once we get home so chances of my being able to fight with the installation today are slim, although I know John will be itching to get it going).
At least I'm experiencing hunger pangs again, which delights John because he's hankering for a good meal again. I do still have go easy on the food intake because my stomach still can't handle anything too heavy yet, but that is coming along too.
I know I'm better because I'm making coffee in the morning again (and enjoying having a cup with my morning newspaper) and the news stories are really pissing me off.
So, as both my little chickadee and my husband have called to my attention, I must be recovered because I'm b****ing again (my words, not theirs).
Guess they have to take the good with the bad, or the bad with the good, whichever.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Update

My doctor called at 7:10 am (talk about prompt!).
His assessment is that I am in withdrawal from Cesamet and it could be, possibly, up to another week before I am completely over it (this, in spite of the fact that it is now fully one week since the last capsule was ingested!).
He told me to continue as I'm doing and each day will get better (which it is) but I have to go slowly.
He suggested that I start introducing solid foods, very slowly of course, to see if I can handle it without inducing nausea.  (I have been managing solids at breakfast the past couple of days, and soups for lunch and dinner, so that is good progress.)
He is terribly concerned about my pain management and was relieved to hear that the TENs unit gives me as much relief as it does.
My reaction to the Codeine was in all likelihood a result of the combined Cesamet/Codeine.
To add to the mix, I deveoped a headache yesterday and this is the first time in over two years that I have had a headache of any kind!
His instruction is to try Tylenol #1, which contains a lower dose of Codeine than my current supply of Tylenol #3 or Codeine Contin, as a test to confirm that I can tolerate it now that I am off the Cesamet.   (If I cannot tolerate Codeine, I am in very big doo-doo because I cannot tolerate very many pain meds.)
John has gone to the pharmacy to get some Tylenol #1 for me.
I am to send the doctor another fax on Friday morning (just one page please) to let him know how I'm progressing and he will telephone again that afternoon.
He expects by then that I will be much more improved.
I sure hope so!
For now, that's all folks.  I'm going to lie down again.

Very Quick Update

I AM ALIVE so please, my readers, don't be panicked at the lack of postings.
Our router suffered a fatal blow on Sunday morning so our household is without its wireless network and we are depending on sharing one computer which happens to reside in the office.
That office is downstairs and I don't come down here often (it's too cold right now while I am on the mend).
In any event, I am resting and trying to build my strength back, which is happening all too slowly to suit me.
My doctor will be calling me at 7:00am this morning to advise me as to how to proceed from here (I sent him a three-page missive yesterday detailing what I've been through in his absence and explaining that I've been reluctant to bring any new players into my health care plan for reasons that should be clear to anyone who knows my history).
I will post here again at next opportunity.
And yes, we will get a new router and get our wireless setup back and running as quickly as the resident nerd is back on her feet.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another Setback

I'm getting supremely discouraged.
I had been feeling so much better yesterday and I really thought I was well on my way to recovery.
Apparently, I thought very wrong.
John made a fabulous chicken noodle soup for dinner last night and I actually ate it.
And the soup was no sooner in my tum-tum than the nausea hit again.
I mean, I hadn't even left the dinner table when the waves started rolling!
So, back to the Gravol -- this can't be good for me.
Surely, if I have to rely on Gravol every day for five days running, there is something seriously wrong!
I managed to shower (now there's a feat for someone with limited energy let me tell you - thank God for strategic grab bars!) and get myself off to bed, suitably wired with the TENs machine.
No waking in the middle of night in dire pain this time! No sirree Bob.
Woke at 1:00am, sweat pouring down my body, pain tearing through me.
Battery had died.
Note to self:  Always start with a freshly charged battery before going to bed with the TENs machine.
Once I got that issue resolved, I settled down again for the rest of the night.
Sort of.
Still need those dreaded pee breaks; and I do still have to change position, which requires my being awake. So use of the TENs machine might take a little tweaking but it does show promise because I did sleep much better last night than I have in the past while.  I'm still on the wrong side of the sleep equation though.
But when I woke this morning, I felt not bad.
In fact, I had suggested to John that we might venture out to Walmart to pick up some things we need to replenish supplies that are getting low around here.
One can dream, can't one?
Didn't take long to find out that I was dreaming in technicolour!
The nausea announced it's presence before I even finished reading the morning.newspaper.  Another Gravol.
By the time I had brushed my teeth, I had used up my energy bank.  John brought me an Ensure.
Looks like I'm facing another day of  "workstation on the sofa" and I'm getting truly discouraged.
Suffice to say, John didn't get his 'Saturday breakfast' today.  He actually made the baked oatmeal this morning, which I was unable to get into me.  I also couldn't get a piece of dry toast into me so a Gatorade made up my breakfast.
Within a half hour of that breakfast that wasn't, I was in the bathroom with yet another diarrhea attack.
I have since tried to eat a bowl of custard but it just wasn't happening.  No can do!
So again, here I sit, a pathetic whiff of a thing who is only 'normal' as long as I am reclining on my sofa with my head supported by a pillow because I don't have the strength to hold it up.
When I do get up, the sweating starts.
If I take a phone call, I can manage a few minutes of conversation before the sweating starts.
And when the sweating stops, the chills start.
There appears to be no happy medium.
My body's entire balance is wonky and obviously, whatever I'm doing isn't resolving it.
I now have to agree with John that if this doesn't turn around, and soon, I will have to let him take me to hospital because it simply cannot continue.  But I'm really reluctant to go that route.
If I thought for one minute that the doctors' guesses would be any better than mine, I might be a little more willing to bring in medical intervention. But I don't have that faith because my experience has been that all they do IS GUESS and if they guess wrong, with my history, they could administer something that would cause me more harm than good.  I'm just not very anxious to "try" any more.  I want results.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Did I Mis-speak Myself?

Yesterday, I reported that I was back.
Recovered, with the exception of needing to get back my strength.
Not an unreasonable conclusion, under the circumstances.
I do feel sooooooooo much better than I have for the past week.
Both emotionally and mentally, that is.
And I understand that physically my body needs time to recover from the barrage of abuse that it has just undergone.
I went to bed last night confident that today would be an even better day.
Woke at 1:00am in unbelievable pain.
So I hooked myself up to the TENs machine and settled down on the sofa to try to read for a while.
Yeh, right!
I huddled under several blankets and battled the increasing nausea.
John woke at 3:00am and came looking for me, wondering why the hell I was back on the sofa (why not, isn't this where I live now?) until I told him that I had had to put the TENs machine on.  It's difficult to wear the unit in bed because the electrodes are attached to my hips and mid-thighs, with the radio-control clipped to my waist band.
We determined that yet another Gravol was called for and I decided to try sleeping in bed with the TENs attached to me -- couldn't hurt to try!
And it worked!  At least I now know that I can go to bed nightly hooked up to that unit and sleep, painfree.
I finally drifted off again until 6:00am.
But when I woke, it didn't take long to realize that today was going to be another difficult day.
How did I know?
Because again today, I didn't want coffee -- two days running!
And anyone who knows me, knows that if I don't want coffee when I wake up, I am one sick puppy!
So John made me some tea, a piece of dry toast, and brought me a bowl of jello.
The jello and toast went down, but the tea sure wasn't happening.
All I got from drinking the tea was more nausea.
So another Gravol was taken, and I stayed in bed while I read the newspaper.
Having wrestled this latest bout of nausea into submission, I crawled out of bed.
And ten minutes later, I had no energy left.
So here I sit again, at my makeshift workstation on the sofa.
When will it end?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'm Baaaaccckkkk!!!

Wow, that was one hell of a haul!
But I think I can safely say I'm out of the woods.
I spent the best part of the day on the sofa again today.
But I woke this morning feeling much better than I have for the past several days, albeit still very weak.
And while I initially thought I was totally out of the woods this morning, it didn't take me long to find out that I was jumping the gun just a wee bit.
By the time John got up, I was already flanked out on the sofa, wrapped in blankets, shivering, having already had my first diarrhea attack.
So I stayed put, and as the nausea hit I popped yet another Gravol and opened yet another ginger ale (oh, the calories!)  Like I need to worry about calories at this point in the game!
Fortunately though, as the day progressed, I did improve.
My gut settled down quite nicely and I drifted in and out of sleep throughout the day.
By 3:00pm, it was abundantly clear that I was "back" (just ask John!) and I was itching to do things around here.
Except physically, I'm just not up to it.
I don't have the strength; only the will.
So I have to be patient and let my body recover from the brutal attack that it has been through.
It will recover as long as I allow it the time it needs to get back on track.
So the housework can wait a few more days (even if my head doesn't want to leave it).
I have a few more canned television programs to get through and several books to occupy me (there must be permanent imprint of my butt on that sofa by now!) so perhaps between them, I'll keep my mind off all the other stuff I want to be doing.
Easy is as easy does.
The important thing is, I'm baaaaaaaccccckkkkk!!!!
Now I've got to go lie down again (not up to doing the jig quite yet).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Coming out of the fog, again

The fog is slowly lifting.
The nightmare is slowly ending.
I have lost exactly four pounds since Sunday.
You read right.
Four pounds from Sunday last to this morning; that is only three days.
One is not supposed to drop weight that quickly.
I know I wanted to lose weight; but not this way, and certainly not this much.
But since Sunday, I have taken in very little and put out mucho.
Everything goes right through me, in liquid form.
Today again, I am as weak as a kitten.
The cold sweats are letting up, a little.
John is keeping the house so warm he can hardly bear it.
And still I'm shivering under blankets.
As the sweat is pouring down my body.
But I now have my TENs machine back (it had been in for repair since last Wednesday and only just yesterday arrived in the mail -- what a delight it was to receive it!) so I'm wearing it and finally getting pain relief.
Yesterday, by supper time, I was able to eat something and John was quite optimistic that I was finally turning a corner.
I had, at that point, had two days of the .5mg of Cesamet and was to have taken that dose for another two days, taking the final capsule today (remember, I had been planning a celebration for today -- yeh, right, like that's going to happen).
But I figured to heck with it.  It was only half a mg and I had been reducing so gradually, what more harm could I do by simply NOT taking those final two doses?
So, I made the decision to stop the Cesamet and did not take yesterday's dose.
I guess my body had different ideas.
On my way to bed, I had taken a gravol again to combat the nausea but I woke during the night desperately in need of something for the pain, it was absolutely unbearable.
And then the sweats started.
And then the chills.
And then the call to the bathroom.
And the diarrhea flowed like water.
When it was over, I made my way back to bed and curled up and passed out again.
When I woke this morning, I didn't feel at all rested.
All I felt was weak.
And when I stepped on that scale and saw the numbers I damned near freaked.
How the hell long does withdrawal last anyway? 
I mean, I've told my body it's not getting anymore of that poison.
Message to body:  Get over it; I'm not giving in!  You are getting no more.  End of the road!
Now, John insists that in addition to the withdrawal, I have picked up a flu bug.
I don't know how to assess that because I don't feel the way I usually feel with a flu bug (and I have had many).  And he says that if this goes on much longer, we will have to go to the hospital so they can put on an IV and get some nutrition into me (I have an appointment with my doctor on April 8th and even if I were to call for a appointment with him now, I likely wouldn't get in much sooner than that anyway).   I suspect that he is away right now anyway.
I argue that I'm getting nutrituion into me:  Ensure; Gatorade; jello; dry toast; tea.  I don't want to invite another seizure so I'm making damned sure that I protect my electrolyte balance.  Problem is, everything is going right through me.
And then my cleaning lady arrived this morning (and oh, the house needed her attention!!) and she tells me that there is a nasty flu bug going through the region.
She suggested that if I were to go to the hospital, presenting with the symptoms I have, they would simply diagnose flu and send me home.  And she said that the hospitals are asking people to stay home when they have the flu because there really is nothing they can do for them.
But the flu bug that is making the rounds (Norovirus) already visited me at the beginning of the new year -- why would it come back, am I a particularly welcoming hostess?
As I sit here, at my makeshift workstation on the sofa, I am feeling much stronger now than I was this morning.
But I'm not up and about doing anything; and I can put my head back frequently to rest.
Earlier, I went downstairs to the office to take care of a few details and by the time I made my way back upstairs, I had had the biscuit.
So my energy bank is extremely low.
I expect I will sleep the afternoon away, just I have every afternoon this week.
Eventually, I have to turn the corner and start going in the other direction.
I'll let you know when that happens.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Is it Depression or Just Abject Frustration?

Yesterday was a profoundly bad day for me.
Actually, bad day would be an understatement.
I'm guessing that the realization that I had to stop taking Codeine Contin was a tough one to swallow for me (although it will make swallowing my pain med cocktail that much easier, since the mitt-full of pills will be reduced by one more honking big tablet).
The jet massage tub did little to help with the throbbing hip pain.
The crying only made my desperation worse.
John's assurances that he wasn't going to dump me -- we took vows of 'for better or for worse, in sickness and in health,' remember? -- just made me all the sadder because he didn't sign on for a life with an invalid wife who would have to rely on him for everything.
Oh, I was low to be sure.
The bath did, however, render me into a complete need-to-sleep state.
So I crawled under the covers and slept for I don't know how long.
And woke to overwhelming nausea.
And blues so blue that even singing the corny blues couldn't cheer me (if you play it backwards his wife comes back and the dog doesn't die ..).
Something bigger is obviously going on and I don't have the answers. I'm sure, though, that the medical community has a pill for what ails me!
At least I'm not itching any more; once the rash developed I stopped taking the Codeine Contin so the last one I had was on Saturday morning.  The rash is still evident but that will disappear entirely with time, as long as I don't ingest anything else that my body can't handle.
And since I'm not taking the Codeine, my bowels are making their way back to normal, except my gut is responding to the sudden removal of Codeine with 'withdrawal' symptoms: diarrhea and nausea.  But feed me the wrong thing and the nausea easily will pass over to the vomiting side of the check list.
Gravol and ginger ale are my friends right now.
As I got out of bed to (quickly) make my way to the bathroom, I discovered that I can't quickly make my way to the bathroom:  my hips won't let me!
I did make it, but I was in excruciating pain by the time I got there and I was mad as hell!
And the tears started again.
Not because of the pain, you realize.
Rather because I was oh so frustrated with the situation and what it all really means.
I stood at the bathroom sink, leaning on the counter with one hand while using the other to brush my teeth, tears streaming down my face as I tried to swallow the reality that I am disabled.
John came upstairs looking for breakfast and he saw that I was hobbling my way back to bed with the ice packs.
"'I'm afraid you're on your own for breakfast this morning," I cried.
"Are you not feeling any better this morning?" he asked gently.
  "What are you doing tomorrow?" I asked him. "I need to go into Ottawa for physio and I think you should come with me."
"Oh? Are you not up to it?" he queried.
"Well, I might be physically up to it by then," I replied. "But emotionally, no.  And I think you should be there when she gives me the instructions on how to use that stupid walker."
"So you figure we're there now do you?" he asked.
"We're there now alright," I said.  "I can't walk from the bed to the bathroom without great difficulty and I can no longer fool myself.  I'm at risk of serious injury if I don't do something about it because obviously, this is not going to get better."
And the tears flowed, like a river.
He tried to console me; he says whatever changes we have to make around here, we will make.
But the changes we have to make will be quite substantial.
Because our house is small.
And to make a clear path for a walker in a smal home requires removal of many pieces of furniture that most people take for granted.
Try it.
Envision how many items might have to be relocated in your home to allow someone using a walker to safely move about the place with ease.
It might not be too onerous for someone to make these changes for a day or two if someone who uses a walker were to visit them.
But we have to make the changes for the rest of our lives.
I'm not just visiting.  I'm here to stay.
And it's easy for someone else to say, "It won't be that bad, it's just a walker, " when they're talking about someone other than themselves needing that walker.  Would they feel that way if it was they who needed the walker, I wonder?
The nausea and diarrhea I'm experiencing today are quite likely a result of having stopped the Codeine Contin so abruptly.  But I'll have to ride the wave on that one.
As to the Cesemet, yesterday was a difficult day.  My body might have been looking for its hit all day yesterday.  It was the first day that I was only taking .5mg -- and I was taking it with my bedtime meds so I didn't take any Cesamet yesterday morning.  I'll take the last capsule Wednesday night.  But I expect that my body would prefer to have some every twelve hours.  Too bad, so sad; have to ride the wave on this too.  My doctor approved this schedule of dose reduction and I'm getting off the damned stuff.
Fewer than 3% of users experience the 'eating disorder' that I did with Cesamet.  I wonder how many also experience the dizziness, dry mouth, memory problems, mental/mood changes, and whatever other effects this stuff had on me.  Clearly, Cesamet caused numerous changes in me and hopefully things will settle down once the poison is completely out of my system.
So now I'm off to research, on-line, various models of walkers.
If I'm going to have to have one, I want a cadillac.
I always get the best.
Because I'm worth it.
Everyone knows that!
In the meantime, am I depressed or am I just frustrated beyond measure?
I wonder, how does someone differentiate one from the other, reallly?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Question of Severance Pay

There appears to be a public outrage about a group of people who are being terminated from the Ontario Ministry of Revenue and being taken on strength by the federal Canada Revenue Agency.  The change in their employ is happening because Ontario is implementing a federal harmonized sales tax later this summer.
It seems that the public -- because the media is telling them so -- is viewing this as an absurd payout, apparently because the persons in question are not truly changing jobs; they're not even changing physical locations.
But stop and think about it for a minute.
If your employment ends with someone, you are entitled to severance and that severance bank is not transferable to your new employer.  It is payable to you by the employer for whom you put in the time.
Should this group of people have been simply terminated and were really out of work, their right to that severance would not be questioned.  They then would have been free to accept new employment anywhere they chose, including with the Canada Revenue Agency, at some future date.
Why, then, is anyone questioning their right to their severance pay now?  They earned it with the Ontario Ministry of Revenue and they will no longer be employed by that Ministry.
Their severance bank with their new employer, the Canada Revenue Agency, will start at zero on the day they begin their employment with that Agency.
Should they forfeit whatever severance they had earned with the Ontario Ministry because the optics don't look good?
They are, after all, entitled to their entitlements.

Changes to This Blog

I have been forced to make some changes to the settings for this blog.
Comments are an important part of a blog, and in fact I would prefer that more readers would leave comments, but few actually do.
And I would really llike to make it as easy as possible for readers to contribute their thoughts on a post they read here.
But spam is everywhere and robots are insidious.
You may have noticed that a gobblygook comment was left on a recent post, and now there is another silly one that was left on yesterday's post.
My previous setting allowed anyone to comment without moderation by me on any post in order to encourage participation, and I had set three days as a reasonable outside limit before my 'permission' would be required to post a comment.
What this meant was that if you were reading my blog and you went back more than three days, had you wanted to post a comment on an older post, you still could but it first came to me by way of e-mail and I had to "accept" or "reject" the comment.  This eliminated a lot of the spam that tries to get through and it certainly took care of the robots that infiltrate blogs.  But unfortunately, the spammers and the robots have gotten a little more current in their efforts and they are now attacking my blog within that three-day threshold so their nonsense is being posted and I can't remove it!
So, I have now changed the settings back to the highest security I can put on it -- which unfortunately will make legitimate readers jump through extra hoops if they want to leave a comment.
Now, everyone will have to go through the stupid word verification exercise just for the privilege of posting a comment on my little old blog, and their comment will first have to be accepted by me.
It's the 'accepting' and 'rejectiing' part that I find offensive.  I don't like the perception that I would be cherrypicking which comments should be posted, as though I'm only going to allow those comments with which I agree.  That is not the case:  I only want to weed out the comments that are not from legitimate readers.
So please, all you readers out there in blog land, do leave comments.  I'm sorry for the extra inconvenience you have to go through in order to do so, but please do participate in the discussion if you feel so inclined.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Here we go again!

So now we have the proof we need:  I can no longer take Codeine Contin.
Yet another pain medication taken out of contention for my use.
Tomorrow, I'll be making the last reduction in my Cesamet dosage -- going down to .5 mg a day for the next four days.  I've been planning a celebration of sorts for Wednesday, March 17th, since it will be the last day I'll be taking that poison.
But remember the itchiness that I've been complaining about since shortly after I re-introduced the Codeine Contin to my regimen?
If it was related to the drug, it was either going to settle down as my body became accustomed to it, or it was going to worsen as I continued taking it.
You guessed it.
Today, I'm scratching away, as I've been doing every day for the past two weeks.
But this time, as I was trying to get some relief, I could feel the bumps across my back.
Into John I went, where he was workng on some photos and using his bright lights.
Could he see anything suspicious?
"Yup," he says, "you've got a rash all over your back!"
"A rash like hives or just a rash of red bumps?" I asked.
"Oh no, it's hives alright."
So I looked up the pharmacology for Codeine Contin:
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects:  constipation; nausea; sweating; itching; dry mouth.  (There are others, but I've only listed the ones I've been experiencing, some of which I knew to expect but the nausea, sweating and itching were news to me.)
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:  depression; difficulty urinating; hives or skin rash. (Not usually given to depression, I was beginning to get very concerned about my  mental state.  And my famous thimble-sized bladder has been somewhat reluctant to give up its holdings lately.)
Interesting though, it doesn't mention bruising as a side effect and I'm again collecting bruises that would give anyone the impression that I'm a seriously battered woman.  This morning, I woke to a lovely shiner in my right eye -- it looks like I slept with my glasses on and the nose pad was pushed into my face with horrid force.
Now, the really curious thing about this development is:  I've been using codeine in various forms for all my adult life, without difficulty.
I mean, codeine is in many prescribed products.
Hell, I carry Tylenol #3 in my purse for those now rare occasions when I get a headache.
I have always tolerated codeine very well.
And now, after we establish without a doubt that I can't tolerate Cesamet, it turns out that I can also not tolerate codeine?
The next three weeks are really going to be a challenge.
I finish the Cesamet on Wednesday; I can't take Codeine Contin any more; simple Tylenol certainly doesn't do anything for me.
All that leaves me with is my trunk full of non-invasive pain management tools:  jet massage tub; acupen; TENs machine; shiatsu massager; ice packs; stair lift; walking cane; and I guess we move up the calendar on that dreaded walker!
My April 8th appointment with my doctor is going to be a shocker for him.  I sure hope he doesn't throw his arms up in frustration when I bring him up to speed on this one!  Fat chance I'll be able to convince him that I don't need that pain patch now.
John's reaction was, "What are we going to do with you?"
I offered that he could take me out back and shoot me but he didn't seem to like the sound of that idea.
So I went over to him, and hugged him as I said, "If you want to trade your wife in for a new model, I'll certainly understand."
He hugged  me tightly and assured me that he'd keep the old model but  it is oh so frustrating and difficult to deal with.
Ain't that the truth!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Psychological Battering

My massage therapist tells me that I'm too thin.
Isn't that encouraging?
According to Dr. Oz, I am now at precistely the 'perfect' weight for my height.
Perhaps not the perfect weight for a woman of my height given my age.
I mean, after all, I am getting on in years.
You might recall the exchange I had recently with a member of John's skeet club, wherein I discovered that certain persons were obviously of the impression that when I retired four years ago, I had attained the wonderful retirement age of 65 years. I was in fact 56 years old at the time.
One can only imagine the psychological toll that had on me: at 56, I was presumed to be 65 years old?
Earlier this week, I had been explaining to my physiotherapist why I didn't like having to use my cane all the time.
"I find that people treat me differently when I use my cane," I said. "They talk to me as though I'm my grandmother."
"Yes, isn't it funny how that works," she said. "If a peson in her 20s is using a cane, it's assumed that there is an injury or some such thing. But someone our age uses a cane, or walks with difficulty as you do, and it's assumed that they are quite old. ... Hey, you ARE a grandmother!"
"Yes, but I'm not MY grandmother," I retorted, "and that's why I don't like using my cane!"
I was relating this story to my massge therapist, and we were getting quite a giggle out of it, when I was reminded of other "cane-related" incidences.
Almost a year ago, I had gone into my local Bulk Barn to buy some goodies and it just happened to be on a Wednesday. As the cashier rang in my purchases, she informed me that it was seniors' day so I was saving 10%. I didn't question it since she worked there; she should know how these things work. Forever after, my little chickadee would give me her Bulk Barn shopping list since I qualified for the discount, and I would go into my local outlet on a Wednesday and without question, I'd be given the seniors' discount.
More recently, as we entered her local Bulk Barn outlet and my little chickadee was telling me that I could go through the cash for her to get the discount, I noticed the sign that indicated the seniors' discount applied at age 65! I was horrified. We went through the cash, and I was not given the discount. Obviously, since I'm not 65, I didn't push the matter.
The difference between the two outlets? I always use my cane at my outlet because of where it is situtated (it involves a lot more walking). I did not have my cane when I was with my little chickadee at her local outlet. Obviously, the cane makes a difference in how I am perceived by others!
More recently, in fact just two days ago, I was at my local pharmacy. I was questioning the price of a product and asked if it ever came on sale. The clerk, trying to offer me price-saving hints, suggested that I could save an extra 20% by coming in on seniors' day.
"Sure," I thought, "As long as I have ny husband with me to make those purchases for me on that day."
You guessed it. I had my cane with me.
My point here is:  I am six months away from my 60th birthday.
I will not accept that I look like I'm already 65 years old.
But when I use my cane, it is assumed that I am my grandmother.
Not that I am A grandmother; that I am MY grandmother.
And that offends me
It is a battering that my psyche is having great difficulty dealing with lately.
And somehow I'm supposed to get my head around using a walker in my home?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Is it hormonal????

Had a most interesting experience yesterday.
I was telling my physiotherapist about the difficulties that have been keeping me from sleeping of late, one of which is serious night sweats.  She naturally suggested menopausal causes.
Not having had any symptoms for several years, I assured her that I was well past that.
She was surprised that I was 'over' it because, as she put it, she's been suffering from hot flashes for well over fifteen years, having started experiencing them in her mid-forties.  And she said that her mother, who is in her 80s, is still having them.
Her point was, if a woman suffers with hot flashes in menopause, do those hot flashes ever truly end?
That led us into a discussion about the distinct difference between hot flashes and night sweats, because they are very different indeed.  And what I've been having are very definitely night sweats, not hot flashes.
We talked about the fact that our ovaries are shrivelled up to nothing by now (she is all of three months younger than I) so why wouldn't our bodies have properly settled down by now?  We did hit on the cyclical nature of these things though.
Anyway, having decided the problem wasn't menopausal, we opined that whatever is happening, it is a recent development and could be a response to the removal of Cesamet (ie withdrawal symptoms); could be a drug interaction (I started taking Codeine Contin before I finished taking Cesamet); or could be explained by any number of other possible factors.
I left her office and went about my business, stopping in to see a good friend before picking up my little chickadee to drive her home from work, and then I headed home.
That put me coming home at precisely the time of day that I used to commute from work when I was using the van service.
And suddenly, I realized that I was turning the heat down in the car.
But it didn't help.
I lowered the heat more.
It still didn't help.
Lower still.
Did I need to turn on the damned air conditioning?
In March?
Then I had a sudden flashback to what life used to be like for me when I did suffer from hot flashes.
And oh I recall how I those hot flashes would hit.
Every day, without fail.
Same time.
You could have set every clock in the nation by me.
I remember how uncomfortable it would be to sit on that van of fifteen passengers, sitting cheek to jowl, everyone bundled up for winter weather, burdened with their briefcases.
Eventually, I learned to take my coat off before settling in for the ride home, and I would always try to grab a window seat.
Because as the clock approached 4:00pm, I knew what was going to happen.
When it first started happening, I had thought it was just too hot on the van.
But no one else had sweat pouring off their brow.
At that time, it had been some ten years since I had suffered my first bout with hot flashes.
I figured my body was just taking a last kick at the can.
That was ten years ago.
After telling my physiotherapist that 'I didn't have those anymore,' I have to say that what I experienced on my drive home yesterday could certainly have been a hot flash.
And the time of day was bang on.
So now I have to revise my assessment.
Because what I had in my car yesterday was a hot flash.
And I think I have been having hot flashes, I just didn't recognize them as such.  And they don't happen  every day, but when they do occur, they are at the same time of day.
Around 4:00pm, I have a 'sweating buckets' episode.
And during the night, while I'm sleeping, I have night sweats.
Exactly the symptoms I suffered with menopause twenty years ago.
Exactly the symptoms I suffered again ten years ago (John used to call me a furnace because of the heat that emanated from me when I slept).
So I guess I am going through menopause again now.
And I would appear to be on a ten year cycle.
Either I'm on a ten-year cycle, or the Cesamet kick-started some wonky responses in my body.  (I'm not yet prepared to discount that last point as a possibility.)
Whatever the cause, it can stop any time now.  Both the hot flashes and the night sweats.
Last night, I took my sleeping aid again (I was, again, too far behind in the sleep deprivation department).
So, I only woke twice but both times I was sweating profusely.
I do, however, feel better rested this morning so I'm prepared to face the day.