Friday, November 30, 2012

Things that Blind You

It is often easy to focus on the negative in any situation. At least, it seems pretty easy to me! I seem to always have bad stuff to say.

Today on the way home from the eye doctor, I was so annoyed with my oldest son, Mike. I took him with me because they were going to dilate my eyes and my last experience was less than joyful. I was nearly blind outside. He waited in the car. I was there two hours! I only saw the doctor 30 minutes of that. I was astounded as how long I had to wait. And let me tell you, the little Missy tech assistant who ran a couple of test before I saw the doctor needs to develop a personality! That woman was so rude. She rolled her eyes at me two or three times and huffed and puffed.

Once I was done, I was waiting to be checked out. I called Mike on his cell. I could see the car in the parking lot. I told him I didn't know how much longer I'd be but that I hoped it wouldn't be long because I was waiting to be checked out. Twenty minutes later, I came out, ready to go and he was gone!

I was standing in the parking lot with no coat and NO SUNGLASSES. It has been a bright sunny day and now was late afternoon. I called and he was at home! His place is just around the corner from this office. I flipped my lid. He was supposed to drive me home. I was so annoyed when he got there but then he was nasty because I was angry about being left. I told him to get out and I would drive myself. That made him madder and he was ranting at me. He made it sound as it were my fault. I finally had to tell him if he yelled at me one more time he could walk home. He's lazy and that never goes over well. Oh, he was just so ugly! I took him home and he wanted to slam my car door! Wait till he needs to borrow that car again.

For those who do not know a thing about Mike, this is not unusual behavior but it is not common. My guess is he's sleep deprived again. However, I do not tolerate it because that is is his choice but I don't have to be treated that way. He forgot who pays the rent I suspect. And tomorrow, when he's thinking about that lunch date we had... he'll remember.

So, I drove him home with the cheap sunglasses I have in the car from the last time. Since it was much later in the day this time I was all right, although it still wasn't any fun.  I started thinking how focused I was on Mike's nastiness. There is always something negative to blind you. It gets old.

On the way home I was pondering this. So, I turned my thoughts to the exam. The doctor said my eyes show no sigh of Plaquanil toxicity and I don't have to be seen for another 5 years. I just have to see my regular doctor every 6 months.

So, I said, "Thank you, God, for a good report."

Eyes Wide Open

I have an appointment today with an eye doctor. Yes, I had an eye exam a few weeks ago. My annual check up... did I blog about it? Can't remember. Anyway, they dilated my eyes then as they usually do.

They are sending me to a specialist to be checked for Placquanil toxicity. Precautionary at this point. This is the RA medicine I take and it can cause blindness  with prolonged use. I've been on it for about 5 or 6 years. So, if they find I have it, I have to stop taking it immediately.

Guess what? Today this new doctor will also dilate my eyes! My last experience was horrible so today, I'll take Mike with me and he will drive me home. I was virtually blind last time for hours. I had to drive in bright sunlight without adequate sunglasses. I stopped and bought some but they were not enough. My eyes were so dilated that there was no visible color, just two huge black pools. Freaky.

I shall let you know what happens.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

In the Still of the Night

I was headed to bed and decided to stop in for a quick post. I've had a long day and I'm tired but I still don't feel well and I don't know if I can sleep.

I saw my doctor today. Actually, my pain levels were a bit better but I went in anyway. She wants me to try Cymbalta for the pain. I'm leery of this as I never know what a medicine will do to me. There are only two medicines I can take for RA. One is Plaquenil  which I currently take, and the other is Methotrexate  a common RA/cancer drug. She wants to consider starting me on that but she's holding off because you have to run so many test when you take that one.

I'm allergic to sulfa and apparently, ALL RA medicines contain sulfa. What's that about? I'm surely not the only person allergic to sulfa. So, if those two medicines do not work for me what then?

Cymbalta has numerous side effects. My friend took it for 5 weeks and had to stop because she started bleeding from "everywhere" she said. It apparently is also a blood thinner. Wonderful.

I saw on the flyer about it that migraine medicines can't be taken with it. Ah, that's really nice as I have severe migraines and take a med for it when I have one.

So, while the doctor offered some ideas, there appears to be nothing they can do for me in reality.

I have to finish reading the flyer and check with the pharmacy to see if there is anything else I take that would conflict with Cymbalta. Do not assume your doctor knows this stuff. They do not always know. I've had more than one give me a med that can't be taken with another med I was on. I always ask the guys handling the meds. That's what they're trained for.

G'nite. At least it is Thursday tomorrow. Two more days to get through.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wrecked Week

I've had a horrible couple of days. My pain has skyrocketed to the point that I thought I was going to be sick last night and have to go to the ER. I never remember hurting this bad before. I've sent a message to my doctor's office asking if there was anything they could do but I haven't heard a word yet. I may not until tomorrow.

I'm so far behind in my word count for NaNo that it is impossible for me to ever catch up at this point. Even if I felt all right I don't think I could do it. I am working all week and by evening, I'm fairly wiped out. I had a write in last night and got a lot done but  the cost was high. I was very sick when I go home. I have another tonight but if things don't improve, I doubt I can do it. There is a final one on Friday evening unless everyone is finished.

Am I disappointed? I don't know. I don't think so. Things have been so bad lately that it is hard to feel bad about not winning. It would be nice to do it but I'm beyond caring now.

I haven't been blogging as much but I've been when I've been able, I've been working on NaNo. Blogging just hasn't been on my agenda. In fact, I wrote a post last week just before the holiday and forgot to send it. I did that today so there will be two post for today but actually there is only one. I told you things were crazy.

I'm going to work till noon today but I may go home and not come back the rest of the day.

Sleep on the Ledge

This has got to be one of the most hectic months that I can remember. And I have been more tired than I ever remember. I'm so tired all the time I can barely move and yet I have to move. I have to be at work by 8, get off at five and on nights I have a write-in I'm out the door by 6 and home again around 9.  I've slept late every day for the last several weeks. Fortunately, I've managed to get up and dressed and out the door in time to get to work, usually five minutes late. I don't know what's up with that. It could be the stress level is too high I suppose and my body and mind simply are not able to keep up.

NaNo is nearly over and honestly, it probably is over for me already. I don't see making even 20,000 at this rate. I just have no story and I'm so tired at night that I'm not really able to think enough to write. 

I know I say I'm tired a lot. It probably sounds nutty. But honestly, there is no describing this tired. You never feel rested. Always I feel as if I need to go to bed. It has been a long time since I actually woke up without having an alarm clock wake me up. I'm using two alarms now. Even when I've slept I'm only able to go about 4 hours before I feel like I need sleep. 

One more day this week and I will have 4 days off. I'll do some writing but I am going to try and get all the sleep I can and see if it helps. I will be spending lunch with the boys and my sister and Sarah on Thursday but after that, I'll spend the weekend alone.Each year I have hoped that some of the pleasure I always got at this time of year would return. This year I think I realized that it isn't going to happen. I do not feel there is a point to it. All the traditions I kept alive have disappeared and the effort to do traditional things for my own entertainment is simply not worth the disappointment. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving & Ten Feet

Thanksgiving Day 2012 started for me at 8:30 a.m. I more or less crawled out of bed. Well, I was upright but I was able to shuffle, in tiny small sliding steps to the bathroom and then to the kitchen. That is what passes for walking for me for about an hour a day. Gradually, I will be able to pick up my feet and actually move my legs forward from my hips,  hopefully without pain. Normal graceful steps don't arrive until around 10 a.m. every morning. I might or might not be able to put on shoes with a heel. That depends on if my feet don't feel broken. 

Today is sunny and the Weather.Com icon says it is 42 degrees out there. I am supposed to have lunch with my fractured family around 11:30 today at a restaurant. Traditions are gone. There is no family get-together for us anymore. We don't watch parades, play games or sit around laughing at each others antics. We haven't for a long time. I no longer cook lots of food and goodies. We will eat and return to our respective abodes. Becca and Sarah will go to her family for the rest of today and tonight. 

The year 2009, the year Jerry died, was a horrible year and every year since it has only gotten mildly more tolerable. I know everyone thinks, "Good grief, woman, its four years. Get over it already." It is easy for you to say. Unfortunately, the very nature of death is unremitting separation. You can never get back what you lost. For the ignorant and shallow I remind you to remember what it felt like to lose your favorite cell phone and you had no way to replace it for a week? Well, multiply that by a million years and you might come close to feeling what normal people feel when they lose actual people they love. If that is a stretch, you're a sad mess. I digressed there but I know someone will read this that just won't get it. 

I've come to hate holidays in a way I never dreamed possible. I am forced to remember years of family reunions where a hundred people surrounded me in this great big bubble and we laughed, talked and ate and laughed and talked and ate. We all went home and felt connected and we could deal with the next year because we'd do this again. And then they all died and it stopped. 

So, I gathered my small family around me and the bubble shrank but we still got together. Sometimes we went to my siblings and we had a bigger bubble and everyone laughed, talked, and ate and felt connected. And then they all splintered off and moved away. I moved actually. So I gathered my small family and we had our own special holiday with each other. We laughed, watched the parades, I cooked and we ate. We played games while Jerry slept in front of the ball games. And then he died and the world shrank even smaller and I realized I couldn't get through the next year.

We've tried to maintain a holiday tradition. The year before he died we began to go out so I would not spend days preparing and cleaning up. I could have a day off. We continued after Jerry died. My sister misses the old way and every year wants to go back. She even volunteered this year to cook. I realized that I didn't really care anymore. 

This year, my son and his wife have divorced. Three people I love dearly are now splintered and drifting away. I look at Sarah and I realize she will never know those hundred people family reunions. She won't know the smaller ones where my siblings and our families get together and enjoy being a weekend of laughter and good food. She won't even have a small family joining hands to give thanks for a year of good things. Maybe years from now she will have a family and she can read some of my stories about what it was and maybe she can recapture it. I hope so because there is a lot of joy back there. There was much to be thankful for and to celebrate.

Why such a depressing blog? Because I want you to think about what you have surrounding you. I want you to look around that table and think. Turn off the cell phone and think about the faces you see surrounding you. Really look at them. Talk to them. Laugh at unfunny jokes today. Tomorrow it won't matter. 

I realized what was important seconds too late. Thanksgiving weekend 2009 was my epiphany. Every year, I remind myself and I re-post that moment for any who may pass this way.

".....I sit in a room that is approximately 9x10. The realization came to me tonight that all that matters of all that we do or say can be found within ten feet of you. And we usually stay close to what we love. But we don't notice it. It is silent and we don't really notice. Unless at some point it disappears. A void opens up.

I suppose the answer would be to look around and see what is within ten feet of where you sit right now. Reach out and grab it. Don't let go. If you do, it will begin to drift away, beyond your reach. Until you can't reach it anymore."

If you do nothing else today, look around and whisper prayers of thanksgiving for all that you have surrounding you. Give sincere and prolific thanks for the blessings of people who love you. Tell them you love them. Thank them for giving you their time, love, and countless hours of frustration, laughter, and you. Tomorrow, you can go back to your cell phones and endless shopping for a bargain. Today is the best bargain you'll ever have and once it is gone, you can't get it back.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Prayers of Thanksgiving

Lots of my Christian friends have been doing the 30 days of thanks this month. I didn't elect to do it because I made another commitment and have limited my posts and time spent here. 

In my personal life I try to pray a prayer of thanksgiving everyday. On bad days I may pray a prayer of thanksgiving several times a day. I joked once that when I get in a hot shower I spend the first five minutes  of it saying Thank you God, for hot water. I may have said it jokingly but it is not a joke. I do it. If you hurt like I do, you pray the hot water never runs out. 

So, while I haven't posted a daily "thanks" post every day, I'm thankful for every day and this is how I generally pray on a daily basis. 

"O merciful and Holy God, 

Thank you another day of life. Thank you for every blessing and every trial. For through both you show us your care. 

Forgive us for our sins. Bless our nation with honorable leaders who exhibit integrity and honesty. Bless our people with a desire to seek truth in all our ways and demand integrity of those we have placed in charge of this nation.

Bless those who disagree with my beliefs and forgive those who belittle me for them. Forgive me if I have returned their actions in kind and help me not follow that path. Remind me if I stray and teach me good manners.

Keep me focused on right principles and help me to live what I believe without shame or fear. Give me the courage and strength to stand in the face of challenges to my faith and my character. Help me to always speak truth without shame, regret and without apology.

Let the love of God shine forth in my life. Remove all obstacles that block or dim that light. 

May I spread peace wherever I go. Let peace flow out of me to those who walk beside me. Let it follow in my wake to those who stay behind. And let peace flow ahead of me to those I have yet to meet. 

And let every word be established in the earth.


Making Sense

Sometimes making sense of things just doesn't happen. Believe me when I say this. I've been doing it for years. You start in one direction only to end up somewhere else is the most frustrating experience but trying to figure out how it happened is a waste of time.

I've been writing a long time but before I could even write I was creating stories from the Sunday comics. Mama said I'd sit on the look at the pictures and "read" the story. Once I started to write, I'd write stories. At 14 I wrote my first novel. No, I don't still have it. Lost in a move long ago. But I've been writing things a long time. So it shouldn't be that difficult for me, right? Sigh.

I started this NaNo as I have the last six - not knowing what I was going to write. Well, five actually. One year I actually knew in advance. Anyway, generally I don't know. This is the first year it ever scared me. Crazy, right? But here I am 11 days in, nearly three days behind on the word count, with a story that I am not enjoying.

All right, I've got all the advice. It isn't bad advice. I just don't want it.

Change the point of view. This is a hideously painful process. I did it once and while it was the right thing to do, now is the absolute worst time to do it. The ensuing stress is not helpful at all.

Kill a character. While I agree Jim should be killed, once you start killing characters you don't know very well you inevitably find you actually need them later. I'm not into zombie novels so I'll hold off on the murder for just a bit.

Put a polar bear in the story. This actually works, by the way. I've done it. But alas, there is no logical reason to put them there and it would only create further road blocks to go around.

Add another character. Well, this is going to happen at some point but I don't really know what the story is about and so I don't know who to introduce. I already have half a dozen folks wandering around with no purpose.

Give them a purpose. Easy for you to say.

Start a new story. This isn't as far-fetched as it sounds. Um.. maybe it doesn't sound far-fetched to you. Anyway, I might but I'm not eager to do so. I mean, think about it. I've got a story that is stalled and I start a new one, that I also know nothing about, and it stalls. So I start another...well, you see my concern.

To tell you the truth, I'm tired, really, really tired. I think I'm in the middle of a fairly rough fibro flare. I simply want to lie down and rest all the time but I can't. I have to go to work and push through the day and by the time I get home, I'm so exhausted I can't move. I push through everything. After about three days of that kind of activity, I lose my ability to cope and control of my emotions. And I am plunged into a depression that takes days to overcome.

I don't think my writing is improving now. In fact, I feel like it is regressing. When you can't think clearly for days at at time, communication becomes basic and there is a huge problem coming up with the words to express yourself.

There is a part of me that whispers, in the dark when I'm about to go to sleep, that I should just stop writing. Forget the whole thing. Let it go. I'd eliminate a plethora of stress. Besides, I have other talents I can use that I don't struggle with as much.

Stop writing?

How about I stop breathing.



Saturday, November 3, 2012

Another Weekend Done Done...

It simply flew by! The whole week simply went by so fast I couldn't even see it, let alone remember it.

I've had a lot going on. I nearly backed out of everything on Wednesday. We had another family crisis and we were just feeling the pressure from it. I had no idea what I was going to write for NaNoWriMo and that was due to start at midnight on Wednesday. When I went to bed that night, well before midnight, I still had nothing.

I went to work on Thursday. I had sent out prayer request to every person I knew who I felt would pray for me and I don't mean just a "God bless Dixie" prayer. I really needed someone to fix this mess I found swirling around me.

Thursday at work a phrase I'd stumbled on the night before in my stress induced haze began to take shape. So I spent breaks building on it and I was pretty happy by the time I got to my write-in that night.

Spending time with other WriMos is always energizing. I have a really great group this year. They're smart and witty and just interesting to be around. There were four of us there and it went well for me.

I felt a bit better and some of the family chaos ended and we've made some decisions on how we're going to handle future issues. David will probably move home soon and try to put his own life back together. I'm sorry for this. I just can't fix other people's problems anymore... I guess I never really could.

So, I'm at the end of day 3 of NaNo and I'm about 800 words from the daily count. It isn't where I want to be but as of today, I really hate the story so I'm in a bit of a pickle. It is hard to write what you hate. Once you've invested 5000 words in something you really do not want to have to start over. And honestly, I like the opening scene of the story. But there's no place to go and that is a bad thing.

Tonight, I've got Sarah spending the night. She's been here all day and that's a nice feeling. She went to the morning write-in and was just so good. The afternoon we had a few runs to make and we spent time watching Scooby Doo videos we bought. At the moment, she's been doing some drawing, writing and watching some dinosaur videos. I've done a bit on the story but I'm basically at a stand still.

I got an email today from someone who told me not long ago I used to be the most optimistic. I emailed back and simply said there is nothing to be optimistic about. To be honest, I have no idea who he's talking about. I don't recall ever being an optimist! I've always been the first one to say that the world is not going to get better. Life is going to get harder. People are going to get worse.

Now I'm going to try and get 800 words so I can put the thing to bed.