Day 199: I Have Returned Fairly Triumphant

This has been a very trying time but, through research, I have learned a lot.  A PSA for anyone suffering from immune system disorders/diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, if you are having any kind of dental issues…an infection in the tooth or pulp and are facing a tooth extraction, make sure your disease is under excellent control, that you’re not in a flare, and touch base with the physician that is managing the disease or disorder before having it done.  And, after the procedure, if you feel a flare coming on, immediately get in contact with your doctor to see if there’s something that can be done to at least lessen the effects of it.  In my case, doctors will not prescribe prednisone because I am a Type 1 diabetic as well and those 2 things do not play well together.  I have a couple of other issues related to my RA (erythema nodosum and De Quervain’s tenosynovitis) that are currently causing intermittent pain and the only thing that could mitigate them is Prednisone but neither of my doctors’ will risk prescribing it to me.  So I just have to deal with it.  Do not take your immune system diseases for granted when you have any kind of infection because they will be impacted by it.  Most of the time, we tolerate the effects but sometimes we cannot.  I basically lost about 9 days and I now feel a bit disconnected from just about everything so I am pushing myself to get back into the groove and to reconnect with the people and groups that I have missed during this fun time.  I feel some trepidation because of the disconnect that I’m still experiencing.  It’s all on me because the people in SWW and ROW have always been so kind, welcoming, supportive, and loving.  It’s just a matter of jumping back into it all.  I always feel a bit awkward after an absence, whether it be my groups, work, or family.  Just writing this has been a very good therapy session.  Anyway, I just hope that this post might help someone avoid a flare like I had because of the tooth extraction.  We all have to look out for each other.  I’m glad to be back and am ready to start writing about writing once again.  See you tomorrow!           

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Day 198: Things Are Finally Getting Back to Normal

Well, the area from which the cursed tooth was extracted is finally starting to actually heal from the trauma so that is a big plus.  It was actually pretty painful through last night.  Unfortunately, and this is something of which I was totally unaware, dental trauma can exacerbate Rheumatoid Arthritis and cause flares…and this infection and extraction did just that.  I didn’t realize what was happening at first but as it continued to get worse and worse, I started doing some research and found a lot of information about it.  Probably the only thing that would stop this in its tracks is prednisone and since I’m a diabetic that’s not going to happen so I just have to hope that the Plaquenil will do its job after the tooth trauma has completely died down.  I am having a hard time typing, walking, standing, and I’m also suffering from fatigue.  I’m miserable.  But I feel a bit better than I did yesterday so maybe I’m on the mend.  Whether I am or not, I still have to be at work since it’s the end of the month.  Well, my finger joints are starting to complain so I’m going to close for now.  Hopefully, I’ll feel a bit better tomorrow. 

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Day 197: Just Checking In

I’m still a little dopey because of the pain meds but, all in all, I’m doing pretty well.  The extraction itself was actually no big deal.  They spent about 10 minutes getting me comfortable and hooked up to the blood pressure machine that checked my BP every few minutes, beginning the nitrous oxide, and then applying the topical anesthetic.  Dr. Spingola began injecting a ton of local anesthetic because of the lingering chronic infection.  That took about 5 minutes.  As soon as I was really enjoying the nitrous and after the local had done its job, he began to, as he put it, tease the tooth out.  A minute or so later it was done with only the tiniest twinge of pain.  He cleaned up some of the nastiness that the infection had left behind then lightly packed it with gauze while I was receiving oxygen to clear the cobwebs from the nitrous.  His assistant explained the contents of the care package that they were sending home with me after which, I left.  I had left the house at 7:55am and was home at 9:10.  The pain hit about 3 hours later when the local completely wore off.  It was bad but not nearly as bad as I had expected.  I took a pain pill and went to sleep for a few hours.  The pain meds managed the pain fairly well but didn’t knock it completely out but from past dental experiences, I know that it could have been so much worse.  As it got later, the pain did increase and I wasn’t able to go to sleep until after 3:00am.  Today, the pain has been much less…a bit more nagging rather than sharp pain.  But it’s increasing now that it’s later in the day but it’s still not too bad but I don’t think I’m up to getting on SARK’s SWW call tonight.  Dr. Spignola is a miracle worker.  I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to him if I ever need his services again.  I’m glad that I went with the nitrous rather than sedation because that would have definitely been overkill.  And I’m proud of myself because I didn’t have a complete meltdown before it was done.  I was nervous and felt dread but no meltdown.  For me, that’s a huge thing because of my major dental-phobia.  I think of the reason I didn’t go off the deep end is the fact that I had the initial evaluation appointment on Monday and he pulled the tooth on Wednesday so I didn’t have a lot of time to get crazy about it.  Well, I think that I need a nap since I only got about 4 hours of sleep overnight and the pain pill is making me very tired.  I do think that by tomorrow I’ll be operating at about 90 – 95% though.  I might not even need pain meds after tonight.  Fingers crossed!          

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Day 196: Dread

I have to have a tooth pulled tomorrow and the dread is creeping up on me slowly but surely.  It actually isn’t as bad as was afraid it would be though.  I’m actually coping pretty well in spite of my dental-phobia that has been a part of my life for 42 years.  I was actually a bit surprised yesterday that I chose nitrous oxide over anesthesia.  I chose it for a couple of different reasons.  Rick is not up to the hike from the parking lot to the doctor’s office that he’d have to make and I thought that it would probably take longer…and be more expensive…for them to arrange the extraction with anesthesia.  I want this tooth out.  I’m tired of the pain and chronic infection that became acute this past weekend.  Thankfully, there were 4 clindamycin capsules left over from something and they knocked the infection back down to chronic.  I picked up my prophylactic dose of Amoxicillin earlier today and will have to take those an hour before the procedure.  I’m kind of worried about a dry socket since this tooth is on the bottom.  I got dry sockets when both upper wisdom teeth and another molar were extracted and that’s not supposed to happen.  I am the queen of “but that’s not supposed to happen.”  I’ve gotten used to it.  I saw my PCP today to follow up on my blood work.  I was talking to him about what I thought was diabetic neuropathy on the outside of 1 of my thighs and he told me that it was actually pretty common.  I told him that I didn’t want to be common…I wanted to be special.  He then told me that it was a very special uncommon thing.  I love that man.  He is 1 of the best, most caring doctors that I have ever known and I’ve had some truly great doctors.  I think that he also has the secret to endless youth.  He is my age but looks like he’s in his early 30’s.  I’ve been seeing him for at least 12 years and he hasn’t aged a day.  And he always has a smile on his face and is in a great mood.  I leave every appointment in a much better frame of mind than I was in when I came to see him.  But back to my tooth…I’m not sure what my downtime will be after he pulls it.  I figure that I’ll be out of work tomorrow and Thursday.  That’s a tough way to get some time off!  I hope I’m up to the SARK mentoring call on Thursday night.  I hate missing them.  Because of my tooth pain, I’ve been a bit hit and miss in our Facebook group but now that I’m getting my tooth yanked I will be in it more often.  Yea!  Well, it’s time to get out of here.  I’ll let you know tomorrow how I feel after the tooth thing.      

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Day 195: Time

Time is a strange thing.  Sometimes you can feel it ticking away minute by minute and when you look up at the clock you’ll find that your internal clock was in keeping with the “official” external clock.  Other times, not so much.  How many times have you looked up at the clock, expecting it to be a certain time and it’s actually an hour earlier than you were hoping it would be…like when you’re at work and you want nothing more than to go home?  Or when you’re out with friends, having a wonderful time and you suddenly realize it’s 1:00am and you have to get up early for work the next day? Time is definitely relative. If you’re having a great time, it seems to rush by but when you’re bored it drags by so slowly.Remember when we were kids and Christmas was a month away? It might as well have been a year away. But the last month of summer vacation before school reconvened might as well have been a single day. My mom always told me that time seems to go by faster the older you get and i have discovered over the last few years that she was right. I think that it’s because of the whole relativity thing. When you’re young, you have your whole life in front of you so you don’t feel rushed to accomplish things. Whereas, at my age, the finiteness of time is so very real. You begin to realize that if you’re going to accomplish the things that you’ve dreamed of then you’d better start busting your ass to get them done.That’s how I feel about my dream to be published. If I don’t finish Rapture in a relatively short time, its publication will never happen.That’s a lot of pressure and it’s a bit uncomfortable. So I have to keep reminding myself that my time hasn’t run out yet and just keep writing and believing in myself. My time on earth has always been finite…it’s not something that just happened. So, in reality, my 59th year is really no different than my 29th.I’m just more aware of time’s passage. And that’s not a bad thing.

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Day 194: Easter

Easter is a time of rebirth and renewal so I feel that it is the perfect time for me to do both.  Something has been stirring inside me for a month or…it’s not unlike being in labor and waiting to birth something.  It’s had to gestate until now so that it can emerge fully formed.  I’ve been feeling restless and have been nesting in preparation for its arrival.  I won’t say it’s a “new” me, just a more realized version of myself.  I can’t say that it hasn’t caused me some anxiety because this honestly feels like a “do or die” thing.  I’m not ready to let my dreams die nor am I ready to let my physical health further decline.  It’s just time.  I’m making my stand and I’ll be damned if I will back down ever again.  Sometimes the hardest battle we have to fight is within ourselves.  I have just been existing for far too long and now it’s time to live, create, enjoy.  It’s time for me to become ME.

Happy Easter!    

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Day 193: Magical Writing Haven

I love my Magical Writing Haven even though it is a bit cramped.  I am still struggling with the thought of getting rid of all of my card making stuff but I really need to do it.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve made anything.  Plus, to be honest, I’m not that good at it…especially when you consider all of the money I’ve sent on supplies, dies, embossing folders, accessories, etc…  All of this should belong to someone that has a passion for it.  I would keep the papers, punches, stamps, inks, and embellishments because I can use them for other things but the rest needs to go.  I will either sell it or donate it to a senior center.  I will never get back even close to what I have spent on it but sometimes lessons that we learn come with a price tag.  It will open up some room in my haven so that’s a big plus.  We have a city senior center a couple of miles away so I’ll probably call them next week to see if they’d be interested.  Or check with a couple of friends that might like everything or maybe even my granddaughter, Rachel.  I’ll sleep on it.  I’m just excited to think of the space that will open up in here. I’ll have to do some rearranging but that will be fun too since I can do so much with that space.  1 thing about my haven that I love is the big window that I face while writing.  The photo at the top of the page really doesn’t do it justice because it doesn’t show its full width or the true range of colors that I see when I look out of it.  The left side of the photo is washed out because of the angle of the sun that’s shining on it so you can see all of the greenery on that side.  You can see my Winnie-the-Pooh characters that are dancing in midair on the window.  They make me happy.  And there are some dead vines that crept in between the storm window and the interior window last fall.  I kind of like them so I haven’t removed them yet.  There is a bigger window to left that overlooks the back yard which is on the east side of our house.  The view from the window in the photo is the side yard.  It’s on the south side of the house.  It looks a bit like a jungle with all of the trees, shrubs, and vines.  In our yard, we actually have grapevines that are really old and they are as thick as a tree trunk.  I love this acre on which our house sits.  The bad thing about having this view is that it sometimes distracts me from my writing because I’ll start watching the birds and squirrels.  But it’s good to daydream.  But right now I need to go start some laundry then get back in here and work on the Micromovements that are going to keep me on track and then write.        

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Day 192: Plans

Every day I PLAN to write a blog post and to either write or edit something.  In 194 days, I’ve missed 2 or 3 days due to illness/self-care or taking care of Rick so I feel really good about that.  But writing and/or editing hasn’t gone that well.  I am extremely frustrated by that.  I am tired of failing at something that really should be 2nd nature to me.  I love to write, it’s just the getting started part that gets in the way.  There are a few other things in my life that are also begging for change so I am about to embark on a Donna redux.  The 3 main things that I’m looking at changing are writing daily, getting healthier/losing weight, and reducing my spending/debt while saving more.  Basically, I want to be in control of these things rather than letting them control me.  I tend to eat and spend when I’m bored, upset, or depressed.  And, it’s a vicious cycle.  I’m bored so I mindlessly eat too much or impulse buy things I don’t really need so I become depressed and I self medicate by eating or spending more and so on and so forth.  You’d think that the fact that I know this would be enough to make the needed changes but, it’s not.  Logic and emotion are 2 totally separate things and they don’t always play well together.  Well, I’m going to work on getting them to cooperate.  SARK’s Micromovements will play a part in this whole thing.  I’ve been working on that by trying to come up with a way to possibly get all 3 of my issues on 1 Micromovement wheel.  I would like to substitute writing for spending and overeating.  Get bored – write.  Rather than reaching for a bag of chips – grab a pen and notebook instead.  But I know that it won’t be that easy which is why I need the Micromovement wheel and ways to get things down to 5 minutes, or less, chunks of activities.  The genius behind Micromovements is based on the fact that you do anything for 5 minutes.  It gives you a sense of completion and success.  If I tell myself that I’m going to write for 2 hours a day but end up only writing for 10 minutes, I feel like a failure and the next day I might think that there’s no reason to even try because I’m already a failure.  But if I plan to write for 5 minutes and end up writing for 15 minutes then I am an all-star so I’m more likely to write the next day and the day after that.  So I am going to really fine tune my wheel and add rewards for each thing I complete…just not food or a new electronic toy.  I’ll let you know how it goes!           

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Day 191: It Looks Like We’re In for an Exciting Day Here

They are predicting for today and tonight the worst storms that we’ve all year.  Severe thunderstorms, baseball-sized hail and, of course, the ever-present possibility of tornadoes.  If I were at home, I’d be a bit trepidatious but thrilled because our house was built in 1956…4 years before I was born…and it’s down in a little valley so I know it’s a strong house and just a bit safer since it is in the valley.  But I also know that if an F5 tornado hits, unless you’re in a cellar or reinforced room, you’d definitely better get in your bathtub and cover it up with a mattress and pray.  I remember when I was back in grade school and the weather got bad, we’d get beneath our desks and cover our heads.  Of course, all of the classrooms at our elementary school had 1 whole side of the room that was windows so I don’t think that the “duck and cover” system was going to work too well in the event of a serious tornado.  I have a very healthy respect for the storms we get here in Texas but I have very rarely panicked because of it.  My mom, on the other hand, would freak out while dad was calm and collected.  My mom was an alarmist about anything that was outside of her comfort zone and that’s really not a good thing for your children to witness.  She always took everything to the absolute worst possible outcome.  When we were both in grade school, once a week after picking us up…because we’d get snatched by some perv if we walked thru all of the safe neighborhoods to and from school..we’d stop at the convenience store and get a coke and some candy.  1 day my 6 or 7-year-old brother said that he wanted to work in a convenience store…because they had cokes and candy and Slurpees and gum, etc…and instead of just saying something benign she told him that someone would come in, rob, and shoot him dead.  Pretty much any possible career paths we mentioned as children were met with her standard, “you can’t because you’ll die a horrible death” spiel.  That woman could find a way for someone to die no matter what they were doing.  And it wasn’t just die…it was die a horribly painful death.  Fortunately, my dad was the voice of reason but the damage had been done and the die cast by the time I was in junior high.  My mom was basically 1 fear filled pinata.  There were so many things that I wanted to do when I was younger but my mom had caused me to be afraid of everything.  And if she couldn’t fill me with fear about something, she would guilt the hell out of me so I missed out on so many opportunities.  She had the apron strings tied very tightly to us and she never loosened them.  I went through 4 years of JROTC in high school and moved quickly up the ranks.  In my senior year, a Marine recruiter began trying to recruit me.  Hard.  He’d show up during my ROTC class, he’d call my home, and then he made the mistake of showing up at my house 1 day.  My mom totally jumped his shit and told him in no uncertain terms that he was to leave me alone and stop recruiting me.  I never saw him again.  I’ve looked back over the years and thought that I would have excelled in the Corp.  The discipline, camaraderie, the mission, the travel, the education, and, of course, being able to retire relatively early and start a 2nd career.  At 17, I wanted to go to work where my friends were working…fast food or retail.  Nope, I’d get killed by armed robbers.  I wanted to go away to college for my freshman year…nope, I’d be abducted and, you guessed it, killed.  After my second year of junior college, I was offered a scholarship at the American University in Washington, D.C. but my mom guilted into turning it down.  Where would I be now if I’d gone?  Most of my life is made up of the where would I be now if she hadn’t projected her fears and guilt upon me.  The 1 time that I defied her was when I decided to leave my abusive 1st marriage.  I told her for the 1st time that he was abusing me and that I was looking for an apartment.  Her response was that I couldn’t leave him because then who would look after me?  WTF???  I had a full-time and 2 part-time jobs and was the main breadwinner of the house.  She went on…if I lived alone in an apartment, I’d be raped and killed so I needed to move back home.  Nope to that.  I had gone from living with my parents to being married so I wasn’t going to go backward.  I was finally ready to spread my wings and fly.  And I did.  I weathered figurative and literal storms all on my own.  I did stupid things and took risks and lived to tell about it…well, a lot of it.  Some of it will never be told so only the others involved know about those things.  I lived on my own for almost 8 years, dated a lot of different types of people but never got too serious with any of them but remained friends with most of them, partied a little too much, came and went as I pleased, and, basically, grew the hell up.  I always say that I was doing in my late 20’s and early 30’s what most people had done in their teens so I was a bit smarter about the things that I did so I didn’t end up making too many stupid mistakes.  At 31, my mom and I made peace with each other after 30 pretty contentious years.  And she told me later that she was proud of me and who I’d become.  I had proved that I didn’t “need” anyone to take care of me.  I began to understand her better as time passed.  She was raised in a time when women were more submissive and they were wives, homemakers, and mothers.  They were dependent upon their husbands.  They were the “weaker sex.”  Well, bullshit to that!  She actually started bucking that system as she got older.  It was fun to watch.  And, the thing is, my dad actually respected her more when she did that.  She got a job.  She didn’t worry as much about having dinner on the table the second he walked in the door or cooking an elaborate breakfast each morning.  Dad began to do some of the cooking as well as other things that mom had always done.  And when Mom’s Alzheimer’s got really bad, he took care of her.  He’d go get her every day from the assisted living center and bring her home so she could be with Radar, her beloved German Shepherd, and be in more familiar surroundings.  He’d cook and then feed her.  He’d help her in the restroom.  He’d comb her hair and dress her.  He worried about her constantly.  If you’d known my dad say 25 years before this, you would have never guessed that this would have happened.  I wish that mom could have been cognizant of this change in him even for a day.  My dad was pretty lost when she finally passed.  WOW, I’ve kind of taken you on a long trip through my life and it all began because of the impending storms.  I guess that a lot of things happen because of impending storms.  Well, hopefully, this will be a day of intense but not tornadic storms.  And no baseball-sized hail pounding my car and our roof.  Plus, if there’s hail then there’s a good chance that there will be some tornado watches and warnings.  So, fingers crossed!                                                          

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Day 190: It Seems As Though Yesterday Didn’t Happen

I didn’t feel too well on Sunday night and then I woke up feeling terrible yesterday so I stayed home. My gallbladder was on a rampage so there was both pain and an upset stomach. And I just felt awful. I didn’t eat anything and I slept all day long. I did drink a Pepsi and took Pepcid though. I didn’t do a blog post because I just wasn’t up to it. I went to bed early and slept through the night. I feel better today and even made it to work. I’m eating bland right now though until my gallbladder is happier. I’ve had issues with it since I was a teenager and have had flare ups off and on since then. But it’s been pretty calm for quite awhile…that is until I started using Victoza for my diabetes. It has been wreaking havoc on my gallbladder since I began injecting it. I’ve finally decided that I don’t want to deal with it any longer. I don’t want my gallbladder to cause problems with my pancreas or liver. So, I’m done. I’m going to talk to my PCP about whether I should have my gallbladder removed or not. I worry about developing gallstones and then having to have it removed the old fashioned way which is major surgery rather than the easy way that they do it now. Enough of that. I’m going to go to bed early again tonight. I’ll be back tomorrow.

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