My Upside Down Life – Not Even Kidding

My Upside Down Life – Not Even Kidding

This is going to be a short post. I’m working on my third book right now, and wanted to post this so people know I’m still alive, but y’all are getting the bare-bones facts for now.

In a very bizarre coincidence (that I don’t buy at all), it looks like I may have the same auto-immune disease my ex has. It’s not supposed to be contagious, yet I’m not the first woman to start showing symptoms about ten years later. It’s called ankylosing spondylitis. Maybe I don’t even have it, but my blood test shows I have some form of inflammatory arthritis, and it’s not rheumatoid arthritis because my rheumatoid factor is normal. Every symptom I have is pointing toward it being a type of psoriatic arthritis. I’ve had very mild psoriasis in the past, so I didn’t even go to a doctor for it. Just scratched at it for a while until it went away, the few times it bothered me. I certainly wouldn’t have expected to be one of the few people who develop inflammatory arthritis from it. Ankylosing spondylitis is very rare. And it’s even more rare in women, so I’m still holding onto the hope that I have something else. Something that isn’t going to cost $72,000 a year to treat (yes, really). For now I’m on a lot of pain medications, in addition to high doses of cannabis.

We ended up buying a dual-monitor arm system, with a laptop tray so that I can work in bed.  It’s taking me forever to figure out how to configure it, and everything has to be tightened into place. The end result, however, is me working on my back in bed. Nice life if you can get it, right? Well, I have somehow managed to snag my dream job. I can’t really complain. The pain comes with it, mind you, but I’m making it work somehow.

Dual-arm monitor supports for desk mounting

I have to say, I’ll be eternally grateful for the love and support I get at home. Both my daughter and my fiancĂ© are amazing people who make sure I’m fed and watered on a regular basis. They do stuff for me voluntarily, and always ask if I need anything. I feel like the luckiest woman alive despite everything going wrong with my body. It’s a topsy-turvy world out there, though, so the best thing we can do for ourselves is decide we really like being upside down.

My Latest Snuggle Buddy

My Latest Snuggle Buddy

I’m madly in love, I tell you. After months of aridity – more months than I care to count – I’m finally getting it again. Coffee that is. I finally got a new coffee maker, and the coffee to go in it, and I’m thrilled to death to be able to report that I had my first cup today. Wow, yum. That’s all I can say. It’s the perfect little doodad for me, too. Just look at the picture and you’ll see what I mean. It does a cup at a time, which is all I can drink usually anyway. It came with a mug, scoop, and permanent filter. It’s absolutely sublime. I’m sure the infatuation will fade eventually, but for now I will revel in newfound love.

My New Snuggle Buddy

Additionally I’ve had some other wonderful things happen lately, and maybe a not-so-wonderful wake-up call, or two. For starters, I’m working on this great project. It’s a video about rape prevention, protection and recovery. As usual I’m working with my friend and business partner, +Steve Kovacs, who is really pushing this project. It says wonderful things about him that he feels this is so important. It’s a multi-prong approach to dealing with rape. Not just for women, either. It’s for parents who want to teach their boys not to rape, and their girls not to engage in victim-blaming. It’s for anyone who wants to physically prevent being raped using techniques from a real expert (that would be Steve, since he’s a 9th Dan Black Belt in Minna Jiu-Jitsu, and the soke of that style), and it’s for anyone who wants to recover from rape.

So, in the spirit of having to be on film for certain segments of this project, I knuckled under and decided it was time to do the wild and crazy things I’ve been putting off. Such as dyeing my hair a crazy colour, growing my nails, wearing make-up, etc. I actually had to go out and buy make-up, because mine is long past any expiration date. The one thing I should have bought, and didn’t, was mascara. That’s the one you have to watch for when it comes to bacteria getting into your eyes. I think I’ve got a fairly recent one, however, so I’ll take a chance. After all, the colour I get never really changes.

I wanted to get a haircut, too, but chose a six-pack of beer after a hard day’s shopping, rather than walk several blocks to the hair place. I was already worn out, and hey, The Beer Store was right there (yes, it’s actually called The Beer Store here in Ontario, Canada). I hadn’t had beer in so long. Sadly, six beers were only enough to get me mildly tipsy, despite the fact that I rarely drink. I have a very high tolerance for alcohol for some reason. Probably the Irish and Scottish in me.

I chose Manic Panic’s Hot Hot Pink for my new crazy colour. I’m not stripping it first, so it will come out sort of a raspberry colour I think, which really isn’t extreme, but I’ll get there eventually. I’m personally angling for bright purple, blue or green at some point, but I’ll surf through all the colours at some point.

I was a little confounded and depressed by the whole make-up thing. I mean, even the regular, drug-store type stuff like Revlon is getting expensive. $17 for an ounce of a substance that’s actually supposed to look invisible – also known as foundation. $70 later, and sans mascara or blush, we left the cosmetics department. Ugh. Still, it’ll be fun to play dress-up.

I’ve finally managed to set up my shot appointment again, too, for those ultrasound-guided injections into my hips. Took weeks of calling, but I finally got bumped way ahead on the list. I already had an appointment for July 3rd, but they cancelled, so by rights they had to put me in ahead of the pack. Yesterday I saw my doctor for a physical for the first time in about 4 or 5 years, and went through the whole deal. I also got my tetanus shot, and all the bloodwork, plus a liver function test and a check on my B12 levels. I’ll probably have to go back in once more to get my vial of B12, along with some needles, but if I have to go in there for the shots I’ll never stay with them consistently. Other than that, assuming my results are relatively normal from the tests, I won’t have to go back to my family doctor for years again, and I’m fully up-to-date on everything. Yeah, baby!

I’ve been put on Tylenol 3s, since I was taking far too many Tylenol 1s. This will save my liver a lot of aggravation, and hopefully I’ll notice fewer issues with my blood sugar. She’s also sending me for an x-ray and ultrasound on that knee I hurt in March. This was the first time a doctor has looked at it. I know, I’m terrible, but not being able to get down the stairs at the old place meant not getting to the ER when it would have made a difference. And then I procrastinated even though I knew something was still wrong with it.

There were two things from Friday and yesterday that I wasn’t exactly thrilled with, but I maintain my positive attitude anyway. The first is that it looks like our 15-year-old cat has cancer, but she’s still healthy and probably has a lot of life left. She goes back in a couple of weeks for a check-up and possible testing. I don’t think surgery will be viable, since they would have to remove her mammary area pretty much completely, along with spaying her to get rid of the hormones. The vet said the tumours tend to come back pretty aggressively if they miss anything, though, and it’s very hard to get it all. Plus she’s not exactly a kitten anymore, so I’m not sure if we’ll put her through surgery. We’ll decide when the time comes. As I said, she’s still acting completely normal, and the vet said she seems healthy and active, so we’re not borrowing trouble.

The other item that wasn’t great was my weight. I’m heavier than I’ve ever been in my life, and I can’t fool myself into thinking it’s muscle these days, so I need to get a lot more serious about that exercise plan I mentioned in my last post. If I average out what I’ve done since my birthday, I’d say I’ve been getting some pretty loose exercise a couple of times a week. It’s not enough. I can still do sit-ups, touch my toes, and boogie to the music – I just don’t look as good doing it. So, it’s time to do more than a little yoga and a few sit-ups. I have to build up some muscle to start burning up my stored energy (also known as fat).

Still, things feel really good for me today. Knowing most of my issues are being taken care of, and that I’ve gone ahead with the plans I made for my life this year, makes me feel positive about pretty much everything. And now to celebrate, I think I’m going to snuggle up with that adorable little coffee maker again, and possibly wheedle another cup for myself. The first one went down just a little too smoothly.

Lying on My Back Isn’t as Fun as it Should Be, but I Still Feel Great!

Apparently I need to learn how to walk again. It’s become my arch-nemesis. I used to be an athlete, and I never injured myself as badly as I have just walking. A few weeks ago I slipped and did a number on my knee, but it’s not the first time I’ve caused major damage when I should be safe from myself.

This, of course, is the reason I haven’t been around lately. I’ve barely been on Facebook, and that only because I finally bought a new smartphone. I hate typing on the damn thing, because a touchscreen keyboard really sucks. I prefer actual keys so I know what I’m pressing. Still, it’s a temporary phone until I can afford the BlackBerry I really want. I had to cave and get a cheap Sony phone to tide me over, but at least my daughter will like it for the PlayStation aspect when I turn it over to her.

I’m finally back in a chair, instead of lying on my back for all the wrong reasons. I had to have my knee propped up, and was on crutches until a little over a week ago. Even now I’m really careful about what I do with that leg. Twisting it, or letting it go into the locked position, is something I avoid at all costs. Life doesn’t stop because you’ve got a funky pin, however, so I’ve got no choice to get moving on things.

Speaking of moving, the landlord was sympathetic enough to let us stay another month because there was no way I could move like that. Now we’re struggling to find an apartment, but a lot of that has to do with me hating that kind of thing. I have to force myself to spend just one day making all the calls I need to make. I’ve got a great list of places to call, at least. Technology is awesome. You don’t even have to go anywhere to see what a place looks like. You can weed out the ones that are completely unsuitable. Some sites have walk-through videos which are even better than pictures.

So, hopefully in less than two weeks we can get our butts into a better apartment. I don’t even want to talk about why this apartment is so terrible. It’s embarrassing. Let’s just say we’ve made friends with the mice, but there are other friendships we’re not willing to consider.

The great thing is, I’ve suddenly started feeling really good again. I had to rebook a specialist appointment because I couldn’t get down the stairs of my building, but on May 14th I finally see one of the best surgeons in Canada. I have hope in sight. My life is just over the horizon. I’ve tried to live as much as I can in my current situation, and keep my spirits up, but it’s not easy when you feel like everything wonderful has been taken from you. Now I feel like everything wonderful will be mine again, and the appreciation and anticipation are enough to get me off my butt to move my life forward again.

I haven’t been myself for a very long time. Now I’m gulping down the air and my mind is bursting with everything I’m going to do. There are things I’ve been doing already. I didn’t just lie down and die or anything. I mean, I was writing, I’ve been producing The Kovacs Perspective for more than two years now and taking it in a new direction with my partner, and I’ve been planning my future and looking forward to a time when I would be pain- and drug-free. When I say drugs, I’m talking about prescription and over-the-counter, not illicit. Not that I’m pure there, but it’s been many years since I delved into that goodie bag. A lot of people smoke pot to help with pain, but it has never helped my pain and I hated the way I felt on it so I don’t bother with it.

It’s kind of like the air is fresh, even when it’s not. I’m gulping down a mouthful of freedom I guess. I’ve been feeling trapped in my life, even knowing it was temporary. Knowing the cage door is about to open is a heady experience.

Whatever you do in life, appreciate every advantage you might have. If you can walk, be thankful for where your legs can take you. If you can hear, be thankful for the music that can fill up your life and the voices of loved ones. If you can see, relish the beauty of the world, whether it’s by reading an amazing book or watching a sunset over the water. No matter what has happened to you, what you may have lost, remember the things you still have. That’s the only thing that’s kept me going the last few years, having to wait to regain the full use of my body and mental faculties (which have been dimmed by the medication needed to handle the pain). Well, my ferrets have been a huge help, too, so I can’t forget them. They make me laugh when nothing else is funny.

One of the hardest things to deal with when encumbered by something that restricts your life, and especially something that causes chronic pain, is the emotional toll it takes. Most people suffer situational depression, and I’m no exception there. The problem is, if you tell your healthcare provider what you’re feeling the first thing they want to do is stick you on anti-depressants. I’d like to know how the hell they think that’s going to help. I mean, situational depression is not a chemical imbalance, so treating it with chemicals will do what, exactly? It’s just going to screw with your own brain chemistry and add a chemical imbalance you didn’t have before.

That was a lesson I learned when my ex started going through all that with his physical condition. It was severe, painful, caused irreversible damage to his body, and he was understandably miserable. Suddenly the doctor assumed he was going to attempt suicide, and then they took away the pain meds he needs so badly, which of course only made him more miserable. I mean, really! Talk about a stupid way to handle it. Getting rid of the pain is the only solution that works, not allowing a patient to suffer unnecessary pain.

So I never mentioned the frustration, despair, etc. I’ve got a lot of emotion locked up inside me now, waiting to be let out. I intend to use it to propel me forward. Back into the life that was delayed for so long. I’ve still got a bit of waiting to do, but I’m already cutting back on the pain killers. I can stand pain for a while, just not long-term when it starts driving me crazy, and as soon as my injuries are repaired I want to be able to get back to my life. I don’t want to have to wean myself off the drugs then, because that would only delay me further. The drugs I take affect my ability to think clearly, and to me that’s almost as intolerable as the pain. I have an affection for my strange little brain, so I’d like to get back in touch with it as soon as possible. My concentration has been shot, and there have been some projects I’ve put on the back burner because I just can’t deal with the steep learning curve right now. I’ve got new software to learn, and courses to take.

Still, I can only be grateful and appreciative that there’s an end to the misery in sight for me. There are too many people out there who know they’re stuck in their situations for the rest of their lives. They’re forced to make the best of it and fight off the inevitable depression. I think I could cope with almost anything except permanent pain, though I’ve dealt with pain most of my life so maybe I could cope with that, too. I just don’t want to have to, and it looks like I’m going to be one of the lucky ones. Plenty of reason to smile and feel good about the future opening up before me.

Hypocrisy in the Crafting World – Hobby Lobby is Run by Twits

I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to get on my metaphorical horse and joust with idiots again, but…I have to. I just have to. I’m pissed off, and the odd Facebook status just isn’t going to cut it for me.

Today Hobby Lobby in the United States won in Supreme Court the right to refuse to cover birth control for their employees, supposedly based on their religious beliefs. By law, with the relatively new Affordable Care Act in place, certain types of employers must provide prescription drug coverage, along with coverage of certain medical devices. Hobby Lobby refused and sued for their supposed religious freedom.

Point one. Corporations are not religions. They are not people. They are legally-defined business entities in existence for the purposes of for-profit practices. Period. They do not have religious beliefs. They do not have feelings in any way, shape, or form. Now, I have a bit of experience in business, so I’m pretty familiar with what it means to run one. I didn’t choose to incorporate my business, and simply registered the company name. Still, my company, a sole-proprietorship, would never be used to tell people what they are allowed to do with their own bodies. As much as I might like rules and regulations in some ways, because I’m anal-retentive that way, in other ways I’m very much the rebel. The thought of anyone telling me what to do, especially with my own body and reproductive choices, is enough to steam my clams so to speak. The first person to try something like that with me would be walking funny, male or female, because I’d be kicking them in their own parts whichever set they happened to be carrying on their person. They try to control my body, I try to control theirs – rather unpleasant for all concerned.

Point two. Birth control is not always used for birth control. There are a very large number of women who are on birth control for medical reasons, such as endometriosis and migraines. Very real, and very debilitating medical conditions. So, these women are now to be denied coverage for these very necessary medications, unless they decide to make exceptions under those circumstances. However, therein lies another issue – the issue of medical confidentiality. These women would have to open up their medical records enough to show that they need these drugs to control their conditions. Now, as a business-owner and former HR employee with a multi-national company, I have always felt that I needed to remain one step removed from the medical insurance provided to employees. I do not want to know what they are being treated for. I really do not want to know. Billy could have gonorrhea, and Carol might be HIV positive. This is none of my business, unless their illness interferes with their work and they can no longer do their jobs to the standard they were hired for.

Point three. This is where the first part of the hypocrisy comes in. Hobby Lobby invests in multiple pharmaceutical endeavors, which encompass pretty much everything they told the Supreme Court was against their religion to support. IUDs, Plan-B, and actual medical abortion to name a few. I’m not kidding. The mutual funds they invest in for the company are involved in all of those activities. So, the religious grounds fall a little short there, don’t you think?

Point four. Part two of the hypocrisy. They didn’t decide to fight coverage of Viagra. Um, excuse me? You can help men with their erections, which is in no way medically necessary, but you refuse to cover birth control pills that can enable women to live healthy lives? You believe anyone who has sex should be willing to have children? Hmm. Okay. So what about maternity leave? I guess that’s a non-issue since they’re not required to pay for it down there. However, when an employee does leave because they have a baby, that costs a company money. Even if the employee comes back within three weeks, they still have to have other employees cover the shifts, or hire on temporary help. It’s a costly disruption from an employer’s perspective. If the employee chooses to leave permanently, it’s even more expensive. Hiring and training don’t come cheap.

Point five. The United States was supposed to be a land of religious freedom. For people. Not corporations…people. This decision means an infringement on the religious rights of the employees of this company. They’re being told that the corporation’s religious stance is more important than the beliefs of its employees. When I myself do not believe I should be telling anyone what they may, or may not, do with their own bodies (me being an actual living human being), there is no way a  company should ever have that sort of influence. The managers can set rules of conduct to be followed during work hours and on work property. They cannot tell employees what to do otherwise. If the VP of marketing wants to have a three-way or six-way which involves jumper cables, a circus clown and a banana, she can do that. The religious beliefs of the company do not enter into it, even if a lot of other things might. If the dock supervisor wants a frenulum ladder piercing, that’s entirely up to him, even though I really don’t want to see it (however much fun it’s supposed to be).

Point six. This could also come under the first point, but I’m keeping it separate for the purposes of detail. The whole idea behind incorporation is to separate the personal from the business. It protects the business owner from a certain amount of financial risk. The corporation is meant to stand alone as a separate entity. Not a religious/sentient one – just separate. If a company gets sued, the owner doesn’t have to lose his house, basically. Now the way it works here in Canada is if you pierce the corporate bubble/veil by interfering with the business in a personal way, such as dipping your hand in the company till for personal expenditures, you as the owner suddenly lose corporate protection and open yourself up to personal litigation. Now here comes Hobby Lobby looking to have things both ways. They run a corporation to protect themselves legally, but then impose their personal beliefs on the corporate entity. Talk about having your cake and eating it, too.

Point seven. If you want to run a business, then run a business and keep your nose out of everyone else’s. If you want to run a religion, then you register as a non-profit religious organization where you’re no longer allowed to make those kinds of profit. Oops. Suddenly things get sticky. That’s not to say religious groups don’t bring in lots of money, because we all know they do. There’s a great deal of profit to be had with most of them, and operating your own cult and setting up as a guru of sorts will get you all kinds of fun stuff. In some cases a lot of sex with a lot of different people, along with the tons of money people sign over to you. Hmm. Methinks it’s time to become a religious leader. Then again, I think I’d have a very hard time keeping a straight face while touting the wisdom of The Great Gazoo or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

When Life Hinges on Chairs and Toner Cartridges

I didn’t fall into a black hole, though it might seem that I must have done. I wasn’t despairing about my current circumstances, or feeling depressed. The closest to that was exhaustion. You see, my life apparently hinges on a properly situated chair, and obtaining toner cartridges. Most of the delays I face at the moment are because I’m unable to print. Sound ridiculous? Let me explain. You see, Revenue Canada owes me a lot of money from back taxes. In order to file my returns I need to print the forms that need to be filled out. I can’t do them and submit electronically because I’m too far behind on them and can’t create a log-in, so they all have to be done in hard copy.

So, I ordered toner cartridges for a really good price from eBay, and idiotically forgot to change my address on there, so they got shipped to my old address in another city. It’s a huge rigamarole for me to get there, but my ex went to pick up his mail and got the cartridges after they’d been sitting there for weeks. I finally was able to arranged for my daughter to pick them up from him, since she works very close to where my ex is living now. Well, he was late getting home and they missed one another, which means waiting even longer to get them.

You may wonder why the money is so necessary. Well, I need to get a car. I need one very badly. I have to be able to get to doctor’s appointments all over the place, and I need to be able to run errands. My injuries are such that I’m not even supposed to be walking, yet it’s a 30-minute walk for me to get to my family doctor – never mind the specialist I see in another city. Buses are a huge hassle, especially when you need to walk several blocks to make connections, or they don’t travel where you need to go.

Another reason I need money, especially after yesterday where we had three blackouts, is because my computer is dying a slow and painful death. Well, painful for me anyway. It becomes agony for an impatient person to have to wait for a laptop to chug along and do something that should have been accomplished in a microsecond. My poor laptop has been subjected to a fair bit of stress. A lightning strike dinged my LAN cable input, so I have to use wireless now. The blackouts have messed up my sound through my speakers, and they killed one of the connections that involve my battery charging – so if my laptop is accidentally unplugged, or the power goes out, it just shuts off. I have no battery backup. Never mind the fact that it’s about 6 years old now, and you might as well brand it an antique. Computers this old are laughable.

A new computer means being able to do my own online show, too. I’ve got big plans for it. Check out the Aberrant Rain page on my personal website if you’re curious as to what it’s all about. For that matter check out my website in general, and don’t forget to bookmark it! You can find the home page at www.rainstickland.com. Welcome to my strange little corner of the world.

So, you see, I haven’t been entirely unproductive. I just haven’t been doing any writing really. I did write one piece for a new website I’m contributing to, called The Simple Keys. It’s a piece I’m rather proud of actually, and something I’ve been meaning to write about for some time. It’s called, “Don’t Just Survive…Thrive! Rape and Abuse Don’t Have to Destroy Your Life.” It’s subject matter that’s pretty important to me on a very personal level, and I’m very open about what I’ve gone through simply because I want to give hope to someone else who may not have healed from their own experiences.

The biggest reason I haven’t been writing is because I haven’t had a proper chair set up with my desk to be able to sit up and write. My laptop has been on my night stand so that I could lie in bed to use it. It’s not laziness that has me in bed, in case you’re not familiar with my previous blog postings. It’s injuries. I’ve got major damage to my hip joints that will require four separate surgeries within the next eight years. Good times.

I spend a fair bit of my time heavily medicated, which is another reason for my writing hiatus. I have to switch things around all the time because some drugs lose their effectiveness, while others cause damage to my liver. Thankfully the liver is an organ that heals itself if it stops getting pounded by something. I’m on a good drug now that’s non-narcotic. It’s a neuropathic pain reliever. It helps with the pain in my nervous system, dulling the pain signals that go to my brain. It doesn’t get rid of it entirely, but it makes my life a hell of a lot more comfortable.

I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to contribute to my blog all the time anymore, though I will certainly try to add to it far more regularly than I have been – which has been not at all for about three months now. Some people wondered if it was the presence of a new man in my life, but it wasn’t that. He’s very encouraging when it comes to my work. He’s not possessive of my time, or threatened if I’m focusing on other things. Besides, he’s well aware that I’m crazy about him, so insecurity will not have a foothold there.

Finally I have managed to get my old chair set up in my bedroom in such a way that I can write properly again. I’m in as comfortable of a position as possible, though it may take some getting used to. The last few weeks have been a bit of a horror show for me when it comes to pain, and we had a cold snap that made it even worse. It was hardly encouraging to my writing. I was getting ideas for a number of pieces, but just wasn’t able to bang them out on the keyboard. Well, hopefully I have resolved that issue and will be back in fighting form. At least for a while.

To be honest, I’ve been feeling somewhat discouraged about my current physical situation. You see, I finally got to see an orthopedic surgeon, but it turned out he no longer does surgery at all, and he never did hips. He didn’t even know of any other specialists that do. Most of the orthopedic surgeons he knew worked on shoulder injuries. Well, he is in a wealthier city, and those wealthy people do need to be able to play their golf games. I, on the other hand, live in an economically depressed city, seeing as I’m somewhat economically depressed myself at the moment. Apparently there are some world-class surgeons here who work on hip injuries. Yippee…except that it may take a year for me to get in to see them, and then be put onto a waiting list just for my first surgery. We’ll have to see what happens there.

When you’re fighting to get proper care, you’re in constant pain and living on drugs, and you can’t get around to your appointments without a great deal of struggle, after a while you just get tired. I’ll bust my butt for months to get somewhere, make a little headway, and just get worn out from it all. Then I just kind of give up for a while. I simply can’t keep fighting. I don’t think anyone can fight all the time. Especially when you get one piece of discouraging news after another. I got excited when I finally got in to see a specialist about my hips, and it was a huge let-down to find out he couldn’t help me at all. Not only that, but after some research and finding out it was going to take many more months just to get in to see someone who could help me, I just had to take a break from it to some extent.

I think I’m back for another round of struggle, though. I’m not entirely certain, but it seems as though I’m starting to get a few things done again. I did manage to make my bedroom conducive to working and writing, which was a huge deal for me. It isn’t easy to do housework of any kind when all you want to do is curl into a fetal position and moan, never mind moving furniture around. Still, it had to be done if I was ever going to get moving with my life. Maybe after this I’ll be in a lot of pain again for a while. Who knows? At least I’ve got things set up for myself, though.

I used to write a blog posting every single day. I liked having that outlet, I guess. It wasn’t just about personal stuff either. I wrote a lot of opinion pieces on various political and social issues. I don’t want to be one of those people that are screaming about things all the time, though. I need to be more positive. Are there things that need changing in the world? Sure there are. Are there things that piss me off? Absolutely. The problem is, yelling about it just makes everyone mad. Yelling at someone for it doesn’t change any minds. I decided a long time ago to approach things from a different angle, so when I write pieces now I’m going to try to write about what I think the solution is, or just outline possibilities. I have no problem with detailing the issues I’d like to see resolved, and spreading out the bits and pieces of them so that we can all look at an issue from various angles. I think that would be a much better approach than just getting upset and making everyone else either upset or defensive.

Nobody knows what the future holds, of course, so I can’t say for certain where I’ll go with my work, or even where I’m going with this blog, but I’ll certainly be writing a lot more in the near future. One thing I should note, however, is that I intend to do a lot of fiction writing. That means I need to be in a slightly different frame of mind. My postings on here will likely reflect that. I’ll be doing research on subjects that pertain to the new book series I’ve started, which means my curiosity will compel me to delve far deeper into a topic than I need to, as well as meandering onto other topics that pop into my head. I’ll be sure to find out a whole bunch of weird and interesting facts that I just have to share with everyone.

My new fiction series is going to be about demons, but in a new and intriguing way. I don’t know about all of you, but I’m starting to get a little bit tired of seeing the scads of books and movies in the vampire genre. Sure, I would love to stop aging and be immortal, but it’s not bloody likely (pardon the pun), so I think we probably all want to move on to something else for a while. Anyone who reads fiction probably isn’t looking for a lot of realism, but the same subject does get tiresome after a while.

Okay, now that I’ve updated everyone, and gotten back in touch with my writing identity, I think I need to rest up for a bit. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, and everything I’ve been doing to get ready for it has tuckered me out! Back to playing games for a while tonight, and then I’m going to sleep. I hope everyone is doing well, and that life has been treating you kindly so far in the new year.

Hypoglycemia and Hepatotoxicity, or Excuses Excuses

I’m afraid that, despite how long it’s been since my last post, this will probably be a short one. I’ve been going through some health issues that have prevented me from writing. To start I have been in a lot of pain, so I’ve been spending a lot of time lying down which is much less painful on my hip joints than sitting up. Anyone who has been following my blog knows that I am awaiting surgery for labral hip tear injuries, as well as joints that have become misshapen and need to be re-shaped surgically.

In addition to this I started experiencing near-constant low blood sugar issues, which can be very debilitating. Now, for those who don’t know, hypoglycemia (literally translated as low blood sugar) is not a disease in and of itself. It’s always caused by something, and there are numerous things that can cause it. Many diabetics experience it because insulin levels are very difficult to control, and too much insulin causes low blood sugar. I’m not diabetic, however, so the reasons I’m experiencing low blood sugar have been unknown. Through my own research, and after discussing it with a nurse at my doctor’s office, the current determination is that my liver function is impaired because I’m ingesting too much Tylenol (acetaminophen). The dosage of gabapentin (a neuropathic pain reliever, rather than a narcotic) prescribed by my doctor at my last visit was too low, so I had to continue with my Tylenol Ones.

I have not been experiencing symptoms of hepatotoxicity per se, but generally a fair bit of damage is done before the symptoms become clear. Generally the liver swells up and there will be tenderness to the touch that can be completely missed. I know because I’ve been through it before. I was sent to the hospital a few years ago, very suddenly I might add, having had no symptoms of liver impairment. My family doctor discovered the swelling of my liver upon examination when we discussed my Tylenol intake. Of course, considering my general level of pain even on a good day, I’d never notice a tender liver even if I got slapped in the face with it. Thankfully no one chose my liver to do that with, however. A couple of pokes from my doctor was enough to tell me there was an issue.

The joyful note to this is that the liver is the one organ that can regenerate itself quite nicely. Once you’ve stopped poisoning it, it’s content to get on with rebuilding itself. In fact, partial liver transplants have become the thing nowadays. They can put a piece of a liver into someone and it will grow into a full liver. The donor who loses a piece of theirs, will actually grow it back. Wonderful organ. It has to do with stem cells, and the identical mechanism that is used by salamanders when they grow back a tail or limb. Science is currently looking into ways for us to regenerate our other organs, which will be a step in the right direction rather than having to do transplants. Unless you have a faulty liver to begin with, there’s quite a bit of damage you can do to your own before you hit a point of no return. Since no one has any idea where that point is, however, it’s not advisable to push it. Believe me, the feelings of having your liver not working properly, and the symptoms of low blood sugar, are nothing that anyone wants to experience on a daily basis.

So, what are those feelings and symptoms? Well, with low blood sugar there’s blurred vision, full-body tremors, sweating, headaches, etc. Those are the mild and moderate symptoms. Severe ones include seizures, coma and death. Not a state I recommend to anyone. Impaired liver function, before you get to the jaundice and swelling and bloated abdomen, are things like nausea and exhaustion. You can imagine that I don’t spend my days in a state of comfort right now.

All’s well that ends well, however, as I’ve got my follow-up appointment on Tuesday at 10 AM. I’ll get the increased dose of gabapentin and have acetaminophen out of my life for good. I still have to take some of it until then, but I’ve cut it back drastically. Taking it makes me feel pretty sick now, so it’s a toss-up with juggling the pain issues. I can’t take NSAIDs at all, so aspirin and its ilk are out of the question for me. The even better news is that I will likely have my first surgery scheduled pretty soon, and that means I’m on the road to no longer needing pain relief at all, which is exactly where I dream of being. My life awaits!!