Friday, January 23, 2015

If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all...

Well, this winter is being difficult. Not the weather so much- that hasn't been too bad. But life has been very difficult.

First, ZIPPY DIED. I was really distraught, but there was nothing to do about it. We took her in because the front end was acting really weird. Turned out that the main bar that holds everything together was broken- one bolt was holding it together, and only partway. A good jolt or vibration would have left me with no steering at all. And the costs to fix her- if we could get the parts- would be far more than she was worth. And she would still be a 33-year-old car. So with heavy hearts, we donated her to the Humane Society. Wanda got a tax credit, and hopefully someone else will be able to get some use out of her.

That was in November. Then in the first week of December, I had a doctor appointment in Beaverton, and I borrowed Wanda's truck to get there and back. I was exhausted- Lydia and the girls had just gone home from Thanksgiving, and I was still exhausted. I love them to bits, but the girls really take it out of me, and I was completely out of spoons. I fell asleep at the wheel, drifted, and hit two parked cars. I was ok- one scrape, but the truck was totaled. I cannot possibly express how awful I felt about that. (Still do.) And it left us without wheels.

So Wanda dipped into an account (oh, I really felt bad about that!) and bought a little car for herself- a 2013 Toyota Yaris. Very cute little thing, silver, and she named it K-9 after the 'tin dog' in  Doctor Who. Then we got me a used Volvo wagon, 1998, with half the miles of Zippy. Gas, not diesel. Sort of a rose bronze color. I stuck an 'Allons-Y!' sticker on the back, and named it Alonso, so I can say "Allons-Y, Alonso!" Yes, I am a geek.

Lots of money spent, in large part my fault.

The doctor's appointment I was returning from when I wrecked the truck was a gynecological oncologist, specialty surgeon. I'd been having some weirdness, and my gynecologist determined that the endometriosis had returned. With a vengeance- I had a good-sized mass. She decided that she wasn't comfortable doing the laproscopy herself, as it looked like it was going to be pretty involved, and a specialist would be safer. (The oncologist later told me that the gyn was a rockstar for referring me to him- there was no way she would have been able to do it, and she would have had to back out and call him in anyway.)

So I had a robotic laproscopy. They took out a large mass, the size of my fist. There were a number of smaller masses, and further 'flecks' of the endometriosis all over. The surgeon said that it looked like a bomb had gone off. They had some difficulty getting the big mass loose- it was wrapped over the ureter on that side. They eventually got it loose. They also had to re-open the vaginal cuff (where my cervix used to be) to get one of the small masses out, and so that was re-sectioned and resewn. In all, the surgery was difficult- he says he'd rather dig out cancer than deal with endometriosis- cancer is a lot easier. And it took about twice as long as they'd thought. But the biopsies came back clean.

That was the 10th of December. Recovery has been difficult- a lot longer than I'd thought, and more painful. I'm just now getting on my feet, and they said it will be about May before I'm really back to normal. Joy.

Now just to make things really fun, I developed some serious pain at the back of my neck and down my left arm. I realized it wasn't going away, and Sharon Rose (massage therapist), who is also a rockstar, told me something was wrong and I needed to see my doctor. So I went in. My doctor was booked, so I saw the intern, who thought it was a bad rotator cuff. I went to Twelfth Night that weekend, and was miserable- couldn't dress by myself, was on pain meds, slept through the court I wanted to be at, and missed a lot of the event. (Did see Phil and Annie though, and that was nice, :- ) I went back to the doctor that Monday, as it became clear that it was not the rotator cuff when the pain started going to the right arm also, and my hand started having intermittent numb spells. They decided that it was a bad disk in my neck and sent me for an MRI. That showed a bulging disk and inflammation, but the person reading it didn't think that it was bulging enough to cause a problem. Well, I beg to differ!. He may not think so, but my body sure does! So back to the doctor I go. They want to send me to the pain clinic, but I think that is really just palliative, and I really want to fix what's wrong. I'm not sure how persuasive I can be.

I did discover that a somewhat contentious Laurel meeting isn't so bad if you're on hefty pain meds. Need t remember that. :-) )

So basically I'm living on pain meds, watching the clock, and having to do without if I have to drive or otherwise be awake. It sucks. It's no way to live. And very depressing. Very, very depressing.

I took the twins to the ball Friday night at Twelfth Night. Made them little Italian Ren outfits- pint bengaline with bows down the sleeves. They were too cute for words. Unfortunately, Lydia and I were so busy with child management that we forgot to take pictures! And it seems that no one else got any either. But they had fun dancing, and they got to meet the king. He was very sweet to them, and I think they will remember it.
 Next month, over Valentine's Day weekend, James and I are going to the coast for the weekend, by ourselves. No events, no meetings, no 'honey-do' projects, just time for us. I can hardly wait. I'm really hoping that the streak of bad luck is over before then. I really need a break.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Update from July Coronation-

I just want to put up a few pictures of Ursel's elevation clothes here, partly because I can't get them to load into the files at the 12th c Garb Yahoo Group...

Over her linen chemise was a gown of palest green silk (think light celery green), with long tight sleeves that ruched up. Over that was a gown of green brocade, cut in the manner of the Germans (basically like the clothes in teh pictures in the Gospels of Henry the Lion of Saxony
. The yoke and a band around the hem were done in a lovely peacock blue silk, which also lined the maunche sleeves. Laurel leaves were appliqued around the yoke.

On to the pictures!

 The yoke, with narrow trim and appliqued leaves.

Not so great picture of the hanging gown- the color is sort of off there- should be much warmer.

And several shots of Ursel, during and after the ceremony-

I haven't been able to find a full-length shot of her- if I get one, I'll post it.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The New Doctor?

So, I did it. I called Care Oregon and arranged to transfer clinics. I looked on their website and found a doctor there who's a likely suspect.

  • Specialty: Internal Medicine
Clinical Interests: Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease, Diabetes Care, Hypertension, Thyroid Disease  

"I believe in a holistic approach to patient care - emphasizing the role of social, mental, and environmental factors influencing health and wellbeing."

This has distinct possibilities. He specializes in several things that are major issues for me, and he's an internist, so he's more likely do have the background to offer the close attention my problems need.

He's Indian, has been here since 2003. I don't know if there might be communication problems; on the other hand I think I might be better than most at handling them if they arise.

So I'm meeting him for a new patient appointment on the 24th. I suppose I'll see then if he's a good fit.

In the meantime, I saw a Gynecological specialist Friday about the bleeding issues. She had some labs taken, and she's going to consult with some colleagues. She said we might need to do a biopsy and/or excision. There is a nodule, possibly just scar tissue, but possible a recurrence of the endometriosis. 

And according to her, I should have been getting progestrone as well as estrogen, to keep the endometriosis down, but I haven't been. Less than happy about that.

So life could be interesting medically for awhile. When hasn't it been?

Any guesses as to how very tired I am of all this?

In other news, it has been HOT. Lay-around-and-sweat hot. Naturally, I have a deadline and am spending a lot of time in the studio, which is naturally in the attic. We have window unit A/C, but it is still pretty oppressive. And I HAVE TO finish this stuff...

It's going to be FABULOUS though. I might get some pictures later today and put them up. My phone gets lousy color, but I think enough should come through to offer an idea of what it looks like. I'm pretty happy.

So it's back to my iced tea, and upstairs to work. I have no fingerprints- the handwork has erased them. As James would say, time to rob a bank!

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Non-Writing Life

Just to add to the guilt of the day/week/month/years... Three writing projects on the hard drive, in various stages of production. One of them up to about 30k words. And they feel good. But why can't I summon up the self-discipline to get any work done? It occurs to me that the oomph probably went the same place that the sewing energy went. Maybe the depression? About all I can do is sleep and watch videos. And do doctors stuff.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Need a Doctor!

Yes, I've been watching Doctor Who again. Went through a bunch of the old ones (I think Tom Baker was AWESOME), and then the reboot. I'm down to Tennant's last two episodes, and almost hate to watch them, because I hate to see him go. He was so...  he so caught the spirit of the Doctor. Mercurial- lighthearted one moment, deadly serious the next,ebullient, or deeply introspective...

And damn sexy to boot! I think it's the eyes. And the maniacal grin. (Yes, I'm besotted.)

In other news though, I'm shopping for a new Primary Care Physician. I've been with Judy Becher for 14 years or so, and in general have been happy with her. She's a good doctor in general, a solid GP. The problem is, I'm not ordinary. I think she's out of her depth, dealing with someone who has multiple, interlinked problems, and chronic diseases. She's let things slip that should have been attended to, and stuff happened. For instance, my creatinine levels were elevated for quite some time, and nothing was done- in fact, I didn't even know about it until my rheumatologist said something. Now I have Chronic Kidney Disease. I asked the nephrologist the other day, point blank, if the creatinine levels had been addressed when they first went up, or even as late as a year ago, would I be seeing her now? And she said flatly No.

Well now.

It turns out my platelet levels have been up, to Bad levels, for quite some time. I'm having weird bruising issues. Trying to get a referral to see a hematologist. So far (ten days after dr visit) nothing is forthcoming. And after a terrifying and weird bleeding incident (I had a hysterectomy 20 years ago- so why was I bleeding?), I was told I'd get a referral to a GYN specialist. Nothing happening there either.

Needless to say, I'm not happy.

I called Care Oregon Monday and asked about how to get a new PCP. Got suggestions and some names to look into. So I get to doctor shop.

I'd much rather just get David Tennant to be my doctor!


So, the new pavilion was built- and turned out great! I was biting my nails as we put in up, but it worked perfectly. I haven't had a chance yet to paint the poles, or add the painted borders, but I will. Then it will look even cooler.

The internal curtain worked well too, though it was a bit dark inside. However, it kept the bed area quite cool,which was really nice. And gave us a tiny bit more privacy.

David and Lydia and the twins came out for a day trip that Saturday. They had a blast- especially the girls, who had a chance to run around in the grass, and chase Tadhg and Morrghan's boys. Sadly, I didn't get pictures.

We had a birthday party for James, who turned 50 on May 16th. I'm having a hard time thinking of him as 50, until I see the silver in his hair (the result of working with middle-schoolers, certainly). And then I look in my mirror...

I'm working on clothes for Ursel, who is being elevated to the Laurel at July Coronation. I'm also doing vigil baths for she and Suvia both. It will be a busy weekend!


Ok, lest you think that all I do is hang out online (I have got to remember the close the Facebook tab instead of leaving it open), I actually have been working. Have stuff going upstairs, when I'm up to moving about. Otherwise, reading, and writing.

Current reading:

_Charlemagne's Courtier: The Complete Einhard_, edited and translated by Paul Edward Dutton.(Broadview Press, Ontario, Canada, 1998) (Just finished this, in fact)

_The Carolingian World_, Marios Costambeys, Matthew Innes, and Simon Maclean,(Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2011)

_Carolingian Portraits: A Study in the Ninth Century_ Eleanor Shiple Ducett. (University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor Michigan, 1988)

_Franks, Burgundians, and Aquitanians and the Royal Coronation Ceremony in France_ Elizabeth R. A. Brown; Transaction of the American Philosophical Society, Volume 82 part 7. (The American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1992)

_Lex Salica: The Ten Texts With the Glosses and the Lex Emendata_, J. H. Hessels, H. Kern, eds. (Elibron Classics, London, UK, 1880)

No fiction, except for the stories in the New Yorker (just finished the summer fiction issue and my head is in a really weird place). Maybe later in the summer.

In my copious spare time, of course. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Guess where Zippy is?

Ok, so this is not a picture of where she is. It's just a picture from Google. But she is back in the shop...

She has a disturbing noise in the front end- one that really can't wait. Our regular guy is closed at the moment- he's moving his shop, but at the last minute there was a problem with the new site, and he is without digs until it is resolved. And he sounded pretty peeved about it.

So we started the search for a new shop. Adam suggested one on Glisan, so we went there, but they don't work on diesels. Bugger. But they suggested a guy down the block who does, so we went down there.

So he's going to look at the front end, check the brakes, and investigate the rear end to see if it can be bumped up a bit. She is sagging, and when I put gear in her for Egils she'll be really dragging her sad little ass. So she needs help.

I really hate being without her though. Marooned. Kinda sad how attached I am to a car.

Been working on the pavilion. The roof is almost done, and the curtains for the bedding area will be done shortly. I'm hoping to have the roof done shortly, and then a couple days of dry weather to add another layer of waterproofing to it.

It will look a bit like this, only, well, fancier:

It will have a bit of an overhang on the front, and fringe all around the edges of the roof. I plan to paint borders on it, and the poles will all be painted and decorated. I also plan to make a Frankish windsock:

I'm actually getting kind of excited about this!

Tadhg and Morrghan and their boys will be camping with us, and Ayla also. And David and Lydia plan to day-trip with Teh Girlieez, and I'm really looking forward to having the girls there! Phil and Annie also plan to be there, but if their household shows up I'm sure they'll be camping with them.

In other news, I have a headache that WILL NOT go away. Not sure what to do about it- I really can't afford another session of massage right now. But we will see. It may become a real necessity. Heaven knows I don't want more meds...

***BREAKING NEWS*** The mechanic says that he should have Zippy done Thursday, Friday at teh latest! The total is $$$$, but needful. The front end was pretty much shot.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Struggles Past and Ongoing...

Ok, it's a fair cop.

Earlier last night I finished watching Stephen Fry's two-part thing 'The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive'. And it shook me up a bit. Well, maybe more than a bit.

I was diagnosed when I was at school. '95 or therebouts. Got on the medication merry-go-round then because I had to, just to cope with daily life. It's been a wild ride since.

Mostly I struggle with the depressive end of it. I'm Type 2, so the ride isn't as bad as it could be, but it's still seriously unfun. I managed to get through for quite some time, mostly by sheer force of will, but not long after a traumatic breakup, in fall of '98, I had an abrupt manic cycle, and a subsequent crash. The breakdown, hit hard, and I never really recovered. It completely torpedoed my academic career.

I'm still struggling, 15 years later. I've gotten pretty good at recognizing the up cycles- they terrify me and I do everything I can to even them out, but the fact remains that underneath it all, the depression has never really ebbed. If you poke me just about any day, I'll likely say that I'm about a 3, on a scale of 1-10.

I'm having to deal with other medical issues too- the fibromyalgia, cardiac stuff, chronic asthma, thyroid problems, arthritis, high blood pressure, and now, chronic kidney disease, in part the result of the meds I've had to take to treat the manic-depression. I'm on a rather frightening amount of meds, which I have to be very careful to take at the right times, in the right ways.

Really, it's not a pleasant way to live.

Stephen remarks at one point in the film, after admitting to more than one suicide attempt, that he realizes that he really doesn't want to kill himself, he just wants to be dead. I can identify with that- but I don't really want to die- I have a lot to lie for- a man I adore, children I love dearly, and granddaughters, friends I care for deeply, a church and social life that means a great deal to me. But I will admit that there are times that I wish I could just go to sleep and stay that way. I've been in a lot of pain in a lot of different directions. I can't take basic analgesics anymore, and the heavier stuff makes me groggy and morose. The anti-depressants don't help that much, and the side effects aren't worth it. And we're having to scale back- and probably drop- the lithium, because of the kidney issues. So I'm kind of stuck.

I'm not functioning very well right now. Just sort of 'getting by'. And barely that. I can't seem to force myself to write, which is frustrating, because that is good for me. I have craft and sewing projects that are years behind. I bite my nails till they bleed. I've found myself pulling at my hair again (doesn't help thaqt the white is a different texture and it drives me nuts). I can't hold a job. Getting to church Sundays sometimes takes herculean effort. About all I feel like doing is sitting here, watching QI reruns, a bit of Netflix, hanging out on Facebook, reading email. I try to get down to see Teh Girlieez once a month or so, but that saps my energy so badly I usually end up sleeping for days afterwards.

Sleep is a problem. Either I sleep too much (exacerbated by fibro and arthritis flareups) or I can't sleep, like now. I feel like a zombie, and I know it doesn't help AT ALL.

Seeing the pain that Stephen deals with- and the people he interviewed- really woke me up to the state I'm really in. I'd been telling myself I'm 'well managed'. I'm not. Time I was honest about it.

At the moment, I don't know what to do about it. The meds aren't cutting it. Therapy doesn't really change anything. It feels good to watch cartoons, or QI, or Doctor Who, or the Marx Brothers, but the warm fuzzy doesn't really last.

I really not trying to whine, or attention-seeking. Really. Just trying to be honest. But I have to say, I don't know where I'd be without my loved ones. And I don't know that I'd survive without the medical care I've got. And I have to say, in no uncertain terms, that if any of you feel similarly, GET HELP.

I may never 'get better'. This may be good as it gets. But I figure that every day I spend above ground is a good day, and that's something. For now, it will have to do.