What do I want for Xmas? Why world peace and free painkillers for all in need of course.
I’m serious, since the doctor has altered and increased my dosage for the 3rd time in two months, we are in fiscal fear. I am having an last ebay auction of manga here, sets complete and rare, some yaoi and some stuff I have been holding onto like signed books, and cult sets that cost a couple hundred to buy they are so out of print. It ends Sunday so the manga can be posted and received before Xmas. Money is used for 1) Rent, 2) Medicine, 3) Drugs, then if there is some left, a night’s room in Seattle to go to Sakura-con. But will see. No more ebay sales until at least March or April if I am able.
I gave blood a couple days ago. The bad news is every single vein blew (the vein walls are weak), making all these nice round blood eruptions dotting all over the inside of my elbow giving me the drug addict look from 60 yards away. You can see how the branches of veins from the injection site, a wall blew on the vein, to the left, the right, below and above the injection. After the spurt which caused the 'needle injection infection' look, you can see the yellow of pooled blood under the skin. I told Linda I was coming in to the study to inject my next 'fix' into my eyeball or between my toes since right now all my arms are blown. That was a joke (the drugs part). What is more worrisome is where are they going to get blood next time? My other arm does not have a strong vein. Guess stuff changed in the months since the last blood tests.
I had some medical reactions from drug combos which had caused me to sleep and only be awake about eight hours a day. Now I am slowly getting better but the cell degeneration in my body is worse, as is the crazy Edema. I went to the doctors, and he asked me to take off my shoes and socks. Linda helped and there was one foot so large that it was like a soccer ball on the end of my leg, and my ankle couldn’t bend but the other foot was perfectly normal.
“Did I mention how each side of my body has separate circulation?” I said as the neurologist looked and then started taking blood pressure readings from both arms. Scientific method, I like that. Except my exposed feet had totally black toes in 10 minutes, like the black you see on climbers up on Mt. Everest for days. BLACK.
“Um…yes….um…” the doctor said staring at them before asking me to “cover them up.”
Then he checked my heart beat by using his hand to move my bra aside and nestling his hand around my breast with the listening device right by my nipple. This was an unusual place to hear my heart, but must have given him some added advantage because he pushed the bra aside to get his hand on the breast, I mean, listen to my heart four times in all. VERY rigorous exam.
He wanted to know what I write about, and he talked about migraine research. I mentioned how orgasms are one of the top ways to reduce a migraine for females. Which which is why, with Xmas rush, and relatives, and all the pressure, the tension builds and honestly, frequent masturbation will keep you from frizzing out, or help.
"Masturbation!" He was outraged, "A waste of an woman's orgasm (with me around!), you know! Heh...heh!" No I didn't since he was (even Linda agrees) clearly over 70. Oh God, time to check my heart rate AGAIN? I didn't know my breast was so good at conducting sound since he had to move the scope to many different spots.
The good news is I didn’t need to stay in hospital and he is taking the case, plus he is friends with Dr. Sacks (of the guy who writes the book, and the movie Awakening is based on), so he likes the unusual cases and is going to see if he can find anything on mine.
The bad news is there is no way to get IVIG in BC. This is because a guy with a name like Barry or Larry controls who gets IVIG for the whole province and his ego is somehow tied in to making sure no one gets any. I had heard another neurologist say, “Barry would never approve it.” but didn’t know what he was talking about. Apparently much like censorship or rating film boards, Barry only likes to give IVIG to the candidates he was taught to give it to, about 15 years ago. Now, it is regularly given for autoimmune diseases including Lupus and Neuropathy and helps people keep working and just stops the progression – the wonder drug. I hear from a neurologist that one guy has neuropathy so bad that they are completely paralyzed and only his eyes can move, but Barry still won't approve the IVIG.
This idea depresses the neurologist so he goes back to my breast. I try to cheer him up by telling him that the neuropathy is affecting one eye, much like the circulation issue. This perks him up and he plays with the light in the eyes thing watching one move slower than the other.
I leave there and give the peds blood station the hello kitty band-aids I got when I ordered gifts from Japan. I seem addicted to ordering gifts only to realize that I don’t have anyone anymore to give them to. Which kinda sucks when I have Hello Kitty with her friend saying, “I love mushrooms” inside a giant mushroom as stationery (seriously, what is not to love about that irony!). Last time I gave all the Hello Kitty and Anime stationery to an orphanage. Oddly, most of the stuff I get goes up in price until it is stupid price valuable, but I’d rather give it away than sell it. I have several boxes of gifts to give away, including a puzzle for a space/shuttle affectiano but it sits waiting.
Peds love the band-aids and so next time I will bring in the Hello Kitty cold masks I have ordered for them also from Japan.So next time we can afford gas/petrol to drive to the hospital I am taking them, and they are really looking forward to them. Peds nurses are cool.
I end up missing my meds because I didn’t want to drink or take meds before the blood tests or neuro tests, so I miss three of the four heart pills. The delay in taking Lyrica for nerve and seizure disorders ends up with me having several seizures, which make me a bit ropa-dope. So later, very confused, and also with blue fingers, my Lifeline phone tells me “It is TIME to press your life line!” I do, and fail. And fail. I simply don’t have enough strength to press the button. The button is recessed so I am not able to push it down with my teeth. But I finally hit it.
“This is life line…do you have chest pain?”
Me (post seizure and brain of swiss cheese): “Yeah, I do, how did you know that? Is that why I had to call you?”
Lifeline: “Ms McClung, are you okay?”
Beth: “Probably not, I mean, do ‘okay’ people have their phones talk to them? Oh wait, look at that, my elbow is purple, that’s kinda odd.”
Lifeline: “Are you sweating?”
Me: “No, I don’t sweat, it is part of my ‘thing’”
Lifeline: “Are you clammy?”
Me: “Still don’t sweat. I do change different colors, kind of like those mood setting lamps they have in offices to sooth you.”
Lifeline: “I think you are in distress, do you want an ambulance?”
Me: “I don’t know. How do I know that? Didn’t you just ask the questions to figure that out?”
Linda takes the phone, after they keep asking me different questions and I am confused and it is 4 am and I keep saying, “I don’t KNOW.” Which is the truth, at this point, I don’t know if I am in South America, or if I am that assassin who slices off my marks’ heads and trades them in for $5,000. I don’t know why I have these alternate odd memories of being an assassin and working as a maid or setting up different hits and then taking off the head and double wrapping it in plastic inside a duffle bag. It is a pretty good job, actually. I get to do a lot of different jobs, though only for a week or so, waiting for the right time to take my mark down (steel stylus through the ribs into the heart and a little squiggle twist, just like they used to give for lobotomies – presto, one dead guy – now, time to take the head).
I pass out. Then there are guys standing there asking if I need an ambulance. I tell them that I told lifeline I didn’t know, and why did they send the ambulance? The senior guy calls off the REST, which is the second ambulance and the fire truck which are coming (to take bits of me?). We talk and I tell them what my blood pressure will be, and we talk about the local pyromaniac, and it turns out one of the Medics lived right down the street from him. I am not sure how much my neighbors enjoy this conversation at 4 am.
The next day I talked to Lifeline. A guy calls me. He wants me to use a box where there are straws and I need to puff and sip into them. This is because I have to push the button, which is recessed and I don’t have the strength to do it (either by biting, using my thumb knuckle or index finger of the right hand) normally much less after a seizure or during a stroke. I don’t think this is going to work, and ask: What do users with degenerative diseases do? He thinks they stay in bed and have the puff and sip box (larger than a box of cigarettes) by the bed. I do not want to spend days in bed. I cannot do as much as before but I can get out of bed, and wheel to the study. I can even get dressed and put on earrings, despite the knowledge I am not going out – this is the femme rebellion against an illness that steals life away: earrings, Satsuma Body Butter (Yum!), lip gloss, Linda braiding my hair and a push up bra.
I sleep a lot on Saturday, and on Sunday we get up early and match and stamp. I got to match from the three new postcard books I got from Amazon, and one from a Ghibli of Oga and other artist for Studio Ghibli (Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s moving Castle and others) shown in a limited exhibit. The exhibit had a special postcard set, I found a set online, waited for it to go on sale and bought it for $40 (16 postcards). Why? We need medicine and I spend $40 on 16 postcards and shipping from Japan. Because these were high quality art postcards from a great artist. This postcard of Porco Rosso, free in the sky ('A pig's gotta fly'),available no where else, which once sent I will likely never get or see again, if I can send this to the right person, just might make the difference between solitary sadness and the feeling of knowing that they are special, and will always be special. It is stupid isn’t it, to exchange food and a little more security this month for a belief that not just getting ‘a postcard’ but finding the RIGHT postcard for the right person can make a difference in how they feel, and feel about themselves.
I think some days that like Don Quixote, I have spent too much time in reading and believing that my mind had ‘dried up’ as I believe that all scullery maids are princess’. But I do believe. And while I often fail in matching the 'right' card at the right time, but when I do, it matters and I am, for a time, worthy to be living a life of service...for a time. So with Linda and Cheryl’s help, we matched postcards collected over the past two years, and stamped them,. I was in the study writing postcards for hours until they had to cool my spine. You see, the effort to write so much was overheating my spine with the amount of signals it took to try and move my hand for many hours (due to ‘dead end’ circuits, the body ends up sending huge amounts of signals in order to get one through, so that the hand and arm and fingers can move). I ended up passing out from the heat coming off of my spine, but they helped cool me and I continued. And over 60 postcards get sent out that night.That was a good thing. I hope the postcards will help people at Xmas time, which can be a lonely time.
Saturday is punky, my face is grey says Linda. I have conversations in bed but can’t see. Typical. This pisses me off, so when I do see I try to go for a walk (the nature of not feeling means no matter how high the blood pressure, heart beat or lung pain, I don’t feel it, or my feet or ankles, so I use a walking stick and sort of bounce around, leaning up against things. I make it outside purely on adrenaline, because truth be told, I am having my period and so is Linda and so emotions are high (like how C-4 sometimes goes ‘bang’ high). Whoever said women shouldn’t be president due to periods is WAY off, as only some/few women (like me) want to kill people and only on one or two days a month, as opposed to an entire government department of guys dedicated to war.
I pass out, or so the stains on my clothes tell me. I keep losing consciousness but Linda and 15 strangers offer to help, I think 14 of the strangers think I am drunk and passed out. I have several small seizures. This only adds to the ‘drunk woman’ look. I hope this means more people will talk to me in the future, as drunk and passed out is far friendlier than scary disease woman. Somehow, I end up at Starbucks. Starbucks is much like going to the hospital: I sit in the wheelchair that arrived with Cheryl and they stop me falling out of it until I can talk again and there are machine noises and beeping. I decide to steal the chocolate bits out of the top of Linda’s Hot chocolate and miss, ending up with whip cream all over my face, having totally dunked myself in her cup. I am sure this will add to my ‘drunk’ rep.
Some readers think that I am an attention seeking addict. I know this from the various comments which are left anon about me getting a ‘fix’ and such. Ironically, these are people I have probably worked through the night to send postcards to, and still do. (sarcasm) Yes, I am an attention seeking drug addict, who is only awake a few hours a day, never gets to go out, has the windows covered to keep out the construction noise – I find spending my time indoors talking to no one the best way to get attention. And the patches work great, except that they leave burn/blister marks where I have them, so my arms and back are covered with those.
The doctor I have treats cancer patients and other late stage/pallative patients. I think those who judge me as some sort of drug junkie would see all of his patients, those dying of cancer as ‘addicts’ or ‘getting our fix’. If someone really has the time to believe or worry about such things, that after two years the desire to not be in pain=drug addict. Because apparently the idea is I could hand my medical file to a doctor (in a city where waiting lists to have a GP are in the hundreds PER GP), have him examine me for 40-50 minutes for four times and each time he up my pain medication, even over my protests the last two times just because I just tell him, ‘gosh my back hurts’ (I don’t tell him that, I tell him about waking up with my teeth clenched so hard that they make cracking noises like ice, but only because he asked, and he nodded as this is something he has seen before, this pain symptom). He is an odd doctor, I explained how I am used to being in pain and now that I can see straight instead of through the red filter of pain haze where no jokes ever make it through (I laughed on Friday, almost hysterically, I haven’t done that in two years). He keeps trying for me to not be in pain. What a strange doctor.
The Fentynal is supposed to be on Pharmacare, but the doctor said that they will take months of tossing it back and forth. I didn’t believe it but Linda said it is true, as he sent in the form right away (a Pharmacare exemption). After a month they told him they needed a detail about if I had tried codine. I had, and he sent it back the next day. Three months later. He says if they keep sending it back asking for details each time, then it never gets an exemption. Even if it does, they never pay back the costs of the Fentynal you buy while waiting for them to decide. You can’t apply if you haven’t bought and are using the patches. Cancer patient often die before they get the exemption. It is a cost cutting game. People lose, but the government wins in saving money. Sad.
I have learned that I really only understand three time periods: Before (when I can remember things from being able bodied), ‘What I know’ which is either all yesterday or this morning, and NOW. So everything that is told me that I remember about costs, or problems covering pill costs, or medication costs, or food costs, it is all in the ‘What I know’ and I feel it all like it was told to me this morning. I do not know that one financial problem may have been told to me six months ago and another last week. I just know them all in ‘What I know.” And I try to figure out how to get a job. I kinda hate NOW because it is filled mostly with money stuff related to medical costs from ‘What I know’. We can’t afford batteries, we can’t afford the phone, we can’t afford condiments for food, we can’t afford multivitamins anymore, we can’t afford the pill, which was keepin Linda and I regular and also lessened mood swings. Because we are married to each other, we can’t get them for free, indeed it is really expensive. We can’t afford the B-12 I need, but it was a gift (thank you). We can’t afford the vitamin D and the Fish oil (to make my veins stronger to stop them from bleeding out all over like mine did. I want beef jerky for Xmas, because I can’t afford that either. We can’t afford hair cuts, and mine has tangles which will serve as nests for small birds come spring time.
This is why ‘NOW’ sucks and why a doctor talking about extending my life depresses me. I am supposed to be happy when all I think of all day is how, on Fentynal, tramacet, tramadot, Lyrica, pot, codeine and aspirin with tension every week the rent is due eating stuff from the freezer, and the dinner of rice crispy squares I had tonight (go rice crispies!) and soup last night. All the tension Linda has had about money from the last year I remember in a big BLAMMO, like it happened an hour ago. I have that memory and feeling every day, every morning and afternoon. I just want us to be able to be as well off as when we were students for over 10 years, and could have a pizza every now and then. Back then I would work an extra job, until I had 2 or 3 or 4 jobs if needed. Now if we have a pizza, that means no thyroid medication for a month. Just a life where I can live peacefully, with caregivers (Linda is meeting with the manager as I am being moved to ‘critical’ in care), while Linda job hunts and then we spend evenings together.
Linda said she is going to write a blog post on Girl’s Gotta Fly so check that out tomorrow. If would like stuff, please let me know, because the problem when I don’t hear from about 50+ people in months is that it really limits my gift giving, which sucks. I buy the gift, then Linda reminds me that we haven’t heard from them in a year or two.
I got Linda her music box from Kiki's Delivery Service, and she liked it, though it wasn’t Xmas yet, it had been a rough week and I wanted her to know that I love her. And now I make sure to thank her each night: "Thank you for taking care of me today." It matters, what she does.
And Cheryl, I gave her one of her presents (Linda has another one coming, so does Cheryl – I got them when I had money from the last manga sale). Know a person and you know the present. Cheryl likes guns, and while buying her an actual GUN collection would be difficult and illegal in Canada, I was able to get her mini-replica guns from a Japanese Hobby store where you can add clips and scopes to the six to ten different assault weapons (including a AK-47). Cheryl was very happy, “Oh a blah blah automatic SLR with grenade launcher! It has been years since I shot one of these..” Cheryl reminisced.
I thought, and hoped, she was joking. I know she was a law enforcement ranger and ‘secured’ facilities after 9/11 but a GRENADE LAUNCHER? No, she wasn’t joking. Turns out some law enforcement people like to collect guns, and shoot them – imagine that. She like them. That made both of us happy. I imagine maybe Xena warrior princess is now sporting an assault weapon, but I certainly hope the figurine character from Yotsuba!! Isn’t playing with guns, no no, leave the AK-47 for Hello Kitty! As my grandfather used to say, “Guns aren’t a toy. You could seriously hurt someone. That’s why you have to be 10 or 11 at least before you shoot one.”
But honestly, for Xmas, besides world peace, what I would love for Xmas is home stability – so Linda doesn’t have to try and do everything on her own: for example, a couple someone’s to help pay for the Lyrica, which has to be ordered every 2 months. Without it, I have, on average, 15 seizures a day and nerve pain. Which isn’t the ‘good workout’ pain. Some to help pay for Linda’s anti-depressant and anxiety med (when your caregiver, who has 4 of the top 5 stresses possible outside of war going all the time and she DOESN’T have her meds, it is very scary for the helpless person). And help to pay my OCD and anti-depressant med (it took me 8 years to find the right one, and without it, well, I start stabbing things through myself, or I did before – it is for people resistant for SSI) which is ordered every months or so here - I used to take 4 mg, I am not sure what Linda gives me now, I think it might be 6 mg or 8 mg under doctor’s prescription – on a side note, it has been found helpful to reduce pain in over 45% of people with fibro. Also the patches, which I am not sure how much they are, but Linda would (her email is Linda.mcclung at shaw.ca), as the doctor changed the frequency from 3 days to 2 days, meaning a 50% jump in the amount of patches we need for a single month.
Am I embarrassed to say, “If you want to give an Xmas gift, please give pain pills or anti-depressants, as the thyroid med is covered by Pharma-care.” Sure. But having a life where I and thus Linda think about his and only this from morning until night sucks worse. There are lots of stuff we could do with apple juice and cinnamon and cloves. Or watch movies from the library.
If you do buy a Xmas gift, or set up with Linda to help sponsor a medicine, please let her know YOUR address, so I can send you a present. I send presents not just because it is bonding or polite (though it is) but because I want things to be where they can be happy, with caring people.
Linda is here, so much for a short little update.
4 hours ago