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Whatever I could finish on the sewing and other projects has been done. Well, except for the bits I've saved to work on next week, since I'll set up camp this weekend, come back to Cleveland to work during Peace Week, then return to Pennsic for War Week. (Some year maybe I'll spend the entire two weeks on-site.) The van I've borrowed from friends is mostly loaded, the last-minute odds and ends are being rounded up, and I'm going to try to get a good night's sleep tonight, although I'm generally like a kid right before Christmas around this time.

Tomorrow night is Zero Night, and I will be partying on the battlefield at Cooper's Lake and then sleeping in the van until it's time to get in line for Troll (event check-in, for those unfamiliar with SCAdian lingo) in the morning.

Pennsic or bust!
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It's Independence Day here in the States. Enjoy!
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Well, make that way behind. Need to clean the tent canvas, reorganize the totes I use for hauling stuff to Pennsic, fix my turnshoes, find my other boots, and finish three dresses I'd begun last year and then abandoned in various stages of construction once I picked up some other, higher-priority projects. (This, in addition to the other three that had never made it past the planning stage until last weekend, when full prep mode set in.)

The good news: I will have to re-pattern and re-cut some of the pieces on the partially-finished dresses, because I've lost weight since I first started them. They're fitted gowns with laced closures, but if I just went ahead with them in the size they are now, I could lace them up tightly and they'd still be too loose. Not a problem I mind having at all, but definitely going to make more work. The bad news: I may have to replace some segments entirely, and I'm not altogether sure I have enough of one particular fabric to do it. So I might wind up parti-colored or parti-patterned whether or not I was originally planning on it, since I could replace some of those segments with a matched jacquard. And if I'm smart, I'll make the redesigned gowns a bit on the small side, because with laced closures I can alter the fit and I'll get more use out of them before I have to start looking at taking them in again.

Just another day in the life of a costumer, I guess. Time to hit up Jo-Ann Fabrics and see what looks good.
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No, really, it's okay. This is normal. Just your plain old garden-variety, happens-every-year pre-Pennsic Panic! The one where I look at the calendar, look at my project list, and look at my fabric stash and garb closet and realize...

OH MY GOD, I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH GARB FOR WAR!

Pennsic War begins in six weeks. I wonder how many dresses I can sew between now and then? Might be a good idea to order some saris just in case. It gets pretty hot and muggy there anyway, so having more Indian garb isn't a bad idea...
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Right; so another month of being too busy to really write anything beyond the science fiction I'm committing at the command of my Muse. She's pretty insistent when she gets going. Not that I'm complaining.

What's with the weather??? This is May; the middle of it, in fact. And it's supposed to be showers in April, bringing flowers in May, isn't it? Yet we've got drizzle and fog and chilly dampness. Ugh. I like a good thunderstorm and some warmth to go with it, and I won't complain if a weekend has that (at least not usually). But this other stuff? Not what I wanted for my weekend!

Oh well. I've got cats helping me do things around the house (for certain values of "helping") and I just bought a variety of coffee I hadn't tried before, so it's all good. Laundry is washing and drying, the dishes are done, got some sewing to do and I just found Disc 2 of my West Wing Season 1 set, so I think I know how I'll spend the next few hours. Maybe after that the sun will come out and it will warm up so I can get outdoors and head to the Metropark or something, because I'm getting antsy being cooped up indoors.

Shopping

Apr. 19th, 2011 08:36 pm
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Some people enjoy shopping. I endure it.

Well, perhaps I should qualify that. It depends on what I'm shopping for, how much money I actually am planning to spend, and whether I'm shopping alone or with other people. I can browse all day in a bookstore, especially in the company of another bibliophile or two. The same goes for poking around in kitschy little specialty shops with like-minded friends whose tastes run at least somewhat parallel to my own. Hunting for vintage items in secondhand stores is fun too, especially with someone else along. And if I'm ever given an unlimited credit card and turned loose in IKEA...

But yeah. Basically, shopping with friends can be a social event, even if I don't buy anything, and that makes it fun. Shopping alone, for stuff I need? Bleah.

I treat it like a mission: get in, get what I need, get out again with minimal time and effort. I can't stand spending hours in a store or a mall by myself, just browsing. Unless there's something specific I've come for, I won't even go there. So it was with some surprise that I found myself actually enjoying my latest trip to Target.

I needed new pants for work. More to the point, I needed new pants because the only two pairs of good dress pants that had fit me for a while were now too big. Not just a little loose, but way loose. Baggy, even. And for some reason, while I did hang onto various pairs of smaller jeans and pants, I couldn't find the box with the pants in it. Only the jeans.

So I went shopping. Couldn't find what I really needed in thrift stores and eventually got tired of trying. Conceding the issue, I headed for Target. With a smile on my face, despite the prospect of added expense. Spent money I really hadn't planned to spend on clothing, and enjoyed it. Oh, I know I'll probably find the box with my smaller dress pants now that I've bought some, but that's okay.

It was a fun experience. Next time, I might even bring a friend.
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I don't spent nearly as much time on internet discussion boards as I used to, but every now and then I'll still chime in on something or other. Got into an argument on one today, over the subject of health care.

Seems some folks still don't understand that not everyone has health insurance through their employer, and that if you don't have employer-sponsored coverage, getting your own can be hideously expensive. It's even more expensive if you have any sort of pre-existing condition, if you're female, or (shudder) both.

While I don't particularly agree with the method used by what is popularly termed "Obamacare" (a moniker I abhor for a variety of reasons) which primarily drives business to the insurance companies -- I'd far prefer a system more akin to Canada's, which removes the profit element altogether -- the fact remains that every person deserves and needs to have health coverage. Everyone is at risk for illness or injury; that's a simple fact of life. Even the healthiest among us can get sick, and it's entirely possible to suffer an injury in the course of daily living or while engaged in activities intended to increase or maintain one's level of physical fitness. As someone who has experienced all of the above (and who managed to inherit a defective gene besides), I'll be the first to tell you that there is no sure-fire way to guarantee the avoidance of health issues for the entirety of one's lifetime, no matter who you are or how healthy your personal habits may be.

That's why the whiners who go on about "personal responsibility" and "socialism" annoy the crap out of me. These are the people who complain that they shouldn't be expected to help foot the bill for someone else's health needs. When asked whether they have health insurance and pay taxes, of course they nod and say yes. Then where do they think their premium dollars go, I ask them, and who do they think currently pays the bill for the uninsured who obtain their care at expensive ERs in the absence of insurance and a personal physician, and who often cannot pay the bill?

The question garners a blank look nearly every time I've asked it to a person's face, and quite a lot of vitriol when asked online. The fact is that these people are ALREADY paying the freight for other people's healthcare. That's what insurance does: it spreads out the cost of treatment across the entire pool of insured persons. And guess what? Your tax dollars help to fund the hospitals who treat even the uninsured. Not to mention the fact that this second item helps to drive up the overall cost of care, especially to those forced to pay out of pocket because they lack insurance. (Insurance companies negotiate better pricing for themselves and their patients. It's all about the power of the purse.)

Seriously, shouldn't this sort of basic understanding be taught in schools? It isn't rocket science, people.
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I got my ass kicked tonight.

I'd signed up for the privilege, too. The road back from all the injury crap and the aftereffects thereof is definitely not one I've expected to be easy or short, but thus far it's been surprisingly enjoyable.

Tonight, my trainer bumped my routine up a notch. Ow. But I'm not really complaining. After all, I did ask for it. When you've had a period of enforced inactivity in your life, I think once you get back to being able to do physical things, it's such a relief that you can't imagine ever wanting to just sit again. I know I can't. I have a friend who will never get out of his wheelchair, so having been able to leave mine behind is an extraordinary blessing. And at least I always knew my time on wheels would be temporary. But it does seem to have permanently altered my attitude, in some very good ways.

In any case, I busted my butt tonight. My legs haven't been this sore in forever. I'm still focusing mainly on them to get the strength and stability I need to compensate for the bits that are missing or damaged in my left knee. There really isn't anything I can't do even right now, but the goal is to reach the point where I don't have to worry much about re-injuring anything. I already went back to dance classes a month or so ago, and that hasn't caused me any issues, although I do find myself being extra-careful with moves that put torque on the knee. I'd like to get past that to where I know the knee can take pretty much whatever I ask it to. And Joe (my trainer) says I'll be there soon if I just keep working at it. I'm lucky, at least, in the fact that my right leg doesn't seem to have any lingering issues other than some occasional stiffness in the ankle. I can work that out with a few moments of stretching and rotating it.

I'd like to start working as hard on my upper body as I am on my legs, but right now my shoulder is still painful, so until that gets resolved I'm babying it and concentrating on my lower body. No biggie. I've got time to do this right. I already knew this coming summer wouldn't be a bikini season for me, and that's okay. Next summer will be a different story.

Don't get me wrong; I know I'll never be a size 2. Don't want to be that tiny anyway. For one thing, I haven't the skeletal structure for it and in any case, real women are supposed to have hips and boobs! I'll be happy when I can again wear the pair of size 6 jeans I keep hanging in the back of the closet, a legacy of my pre-injury days. Not for reasons of appearance so much as for the fact that my body felt best then. I was never a competitive athlete of any sort, but I was athletic in terms of my physical condition, and I'm working toward being there again. I've got the cardiovascular portion even now; I can walk for miles, even on steep hills, without tiring and do some pretty energetic and protracted dancing without getting short of breath. Those are good things. Biking is coming along, though hills do wind me a bit more than I expect for some reason on a bike and I want to get to the point where that no longer happens. The expense of the YMCA meant I didn't keep up my membership there, so I don't go swimming like I used to, and I miss it. But all the other stuff I do at my current gym mostly makes up for it, except that I do miss getting in the water. Oh well.

But oh, my aching legs. Time to hunt down the muscle rub, the aspirin, and a heating pad. If I still had the Y membership I could just go sit in the whirlpool. Now that's what I really miss!
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But it's all good this time. Not making a road trip this weekend, but that's because I just got some time-sensitive work altering mundane clothing and SCA garb for a couple of people. So I'll be sewing all weekend, but hey, it's extra money. Never a bad thing!
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Blogosphere, how I've missed thee!

Been writing a lot of fiction, which has been eating both my brain and my free time. This isn't a bad thing, mind you, but it hasn't left anything for this journal lately. Today, however, I'm fighting a head cold, which seems too have sent my fiction Muse running for the hills. So here I am. (Hack, cough, achoo!)

Surprisingly, it's pretty warm out today. It's surprising because this is March in Cleveland. Dare I hope that spring is actually going to come this soon? *crosses fingers*

Between fiction writing and the costuming work I'm doing for myself and for a couple of friends, I've kind of settled into a busy routine. This has its good points and a few bad ones. It's good in the sense that I can work, hit the gym, come home and begin cranking out whatever portion of whatever project I've chosen to work on that evening, and that takes me right up to bedtime. It's bad in the sense that I fear falling into a rut, which is something I always try to avoid. Routine is good for some things, but I don't want it to completely take over my life.

I might go out of town next weekend, just to shake things up a bit. See something different, do something different, just for the hell of it... a road trip for pleasure this time rather than for business. I just hope the weather holds.

Road trip!

Mar. 14th, 2011 08:26 pm
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And I even get paid for it.

I do tech installations and troubleshooting for a company that provides costing terminals for printers and copiers (our primary clientele is made up of law offices). Well, work decided to send me to Buffalo yesterday. That's kind of weird, because I'm based in Cleveland and my territory is supposed to be limited to a 100-mile radius of there. Someone must have either gotten sick or quit or something. In any case, I got up super-early to drive from Cleveland to Buffalo, in the wake of a snowstorm. They'd originally wanted me to go on Friday, but with a storm forecast I'd said no, it would have to wait until Monday. Driving around the southern and eastern shore of Lake Erie in that kind of weather is something I'd prefer to avoid if I can. Not that I haven't done it before, but all things considered, I wasn't willing to do it on this occasion.

So I rolled into Buffalo in mid-morning, well in time for the first of two service calls I was to make. Found the building I needed, then went to locate coffee and something to eat. It had been years since I'd driven through downtown Buffalo during business hours, and people's driving and parking habits simply amazed me. Twice I encountered vehicles whose drivers simply double-parked them in the right-hand lane of a two-lane street, without even turning on their flashers, and got out to go into this or that building. Unreal.

Anyway, the first service call was the service call from hell. Obviously, I want to do the best for the client, but when the client is clearly unprepared to handle their own end of what needs to be done, there's only so much I can accomplish. I was there for nearly two hours, and still couldn't get the equipment to work because of problems that were the client's responsibility to handle. Ugh. Good thing I had some downtime between the two appointments to regain my equilibrium.

The second service call was as easy as the first had been difficult. I was in and out in under 45 minutes, and everyone was happy.

On the return trip, I got off the highway in the northern part of Chautauqua county, the county where I was born and raised. Took a nice scenic drive through rural western New York to Jamestown, where I met up with an old friend I hadn't seen in nearly a quarter-century and went out to dinner. That was fun. Driving through my old hometown was interesting, though. So much has changed! Some of the changes seem to be improvements, while others I'm not so sure about. Well, everything changes, I guess.

Got home late in the evening. A phone call from my friend Jilli in Australia kept me entertained for part of the trip; thank goodness for the speakerphone feature on my cellphone!

I wonder if they're going to send me to Timbuktu next time?
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Went with my friend Theresa last night to see Jerry Springer: The Opera at the Beck Center. Absolutely hysterical. And that was only the protesters lining the sidewalks outside, bitching about how the show was terrible and blasphemous and likely to cause terminal halitosis in anyone foolhardy enough to even poke their head into the theater, let alone stay for the show.

Some people really need to get a grip.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Theresa is dating the actor who plays Satan -- this is entirely appropriate for her, I joked -- so we had free tickets for opening night. There was a good crowd, and the entire production was excellent. Yes, there were definitely elements that would have grossly offended many highly religious people, but I thought they were funny as... well, as hell. You really can't have a thin skin and watch something like this, but if you aren't easily offended, you'll laugh. The show pokes fun at everything from religion to television in general to the particular type of people who either watch TV shows like Springer's or are guests on them. It's uproariously funny, so if you live in the Cleveland area and aren't bothered by strong satire, want a good laugh, and/or possibly want the chance to thumb your nose at the cultural naysayers who will probably continue to picket the Beck throughout this show's run, go and see it.

We went out afterward and I ended the evening by getting in possibly over my head... well, no, but I did have to make a commitment. Theresa's an actress herself -- come to think of it, at least half my circle of friends are theater people, which I suppose isn't surprising -- and has threatened to maim me if I don't do theater again one of these days. Now Gil, her significant other, has jumped onto the same bandwagon. They extracted a promise that I will endeavor to do so within the next two years, even though it's been eons since the last time. Watch this space.
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My Muse has been very good to me lately. I have three fiction projects going, and thus far she's been giving me some great material for all of them.

Now if I could only find more hours in the day to actually write!
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Everybody has the 'Cleveland crud' lately. That lovely upper-respiratory gunk that develops in mid-winter from a combination of cold outdoor air, dry indoor air, and whatever combination of germs may be floating around is a royal pain in the arse.

It's only early February but I'm ready for spring already, despite knowing it will probably fail to arrive for nearly three more months.

I really need to get the hell out of this part of the country. I like having four discrete seasons, but does the longest one have to also be the one I like least?

I know where I'm going, though, and I have since around Christmas. Well, not precisely as in what city, but I know what state. Maryland. I'm going back to college again as soon as I can, and there's a school that's part of their state university system but offers its degree programs online. I have a friend whose mother was a math instructor there at one point, so the school comes highly recommended. I can take classes without the class schedule interfering with a normal full-time day job, and finish my degree without the usual scheduling hassles I'd get trying to do it in a bricks-and-mortar environment. The fact that they're part of the state university system means that while I could theoretically study from anywhere, my tuition will be far less if I'm a Maryland resident.

So that's where I'll move to. Oh, sure, I'll have to live there a year before the tuition break kicks in, but that's okay. I'll be better off in many ways than I am in Cleveland, and I'm getting tired of this town anyway. Going someplace new appeals to my sense of adventure at this point. I know a few people in Maryland, mainly in Rockville and Baltimore. My friend Jeanne used to live in Baltimore, too, although she's back in Cleveland now. The near-DC area appeals because of a couple of old college friends who live there, though it's pricey; on the other hand, Baltimore appeals too, based on things Jeanne and the others have said, and the fact that I have some friends currently living there as well. All I know is that as long as I'm in a good-sized city (or the 'burbs of a big one) and have a good job and a decent place to live, the rest is gravy.

So that's another decision to make as circumstances allow. The list keeps accumulating, but I'll get it all sorted out. Go, me.
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Personal trainer evaluated me at the gym, then designed a fitness routine to get me started on the road back to where I belong. I said, "I'm not afraid of a little pain, so don't go easy on me."

Ow. I'm sore.

But you know what? It's a good kind of sore. Way better than a lot of other pain I've had in the past.

I can do this. Yes, I can.
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I don't do New Year's resolutions.

Everyone who knows me knows this. The idea just seems silly and pointless to me. I mean, how on Earth is January 1st some magic date when you can make a stronger commitment to something than you could on, say, September 20th, or June 3rd? Oh, sure, there's the whole idea of starting a fresh new year, beginning with a clean slate, etc. But if you can show me someone whose slate is actually clean on January 1st, I'll show you someone who's never had a utility bill, car payment or revolving charge to worry about.

In any case, I don't do the annual resolution ritual. But I am making some promises to myself this year. I've been formulating them since before Christmas; actually, since the day in November when I realized my dad would be going from his most recent hospitalization into a nursing home because his physical and mental needs had finally outstripped my ability to meet them and I had to admit to myself that I couldn't do it anymore.

I've spent four years as a full-time home caregiver. Four years of increasing responsibilities, and decreasing social and intellectual life. I don't regret doing it, because someone had to. As the only child, there was no one else to do it. And there's a part of me that feels vaguely guilty about the sense of relief that washed over me once I realized that I could hang up the accoutrements of that job and move back into the normal everyday world of most middle-aged adults: gainful employment, a steady paycheck, a daily commute, and time spent with other adults who have full command of all their faculties, both mental and physical. A social life. Some private time, too. Because I don't have children, I'd been accustomed to more of that than some of my peers before I took on the task of caring for my father. And while I didn't mind giving up some of it, I really do crave a certain amount. Everyone needs that now and then.

I know I really shouldn't feel guilty. When you spend all your time taking care of others, who takes care of you? I need all those things I've just mentioned. I also need some time to finally take care of my own mental and physical well-being.

Perhaps a year into my stint as a caregiver, I managed to injure my left knee rather spectacularly. Surprisingly, I don't even recall exactly how or when I did this, and suspect it may in fact have happened in stages. I did several small things to that knee over time, culminating in an inability to walk without limping, sometimes rather severely. Now, I happen to have the pain tolerance from hell, and kept telling myself to just "walk it off". I even went camping like that, hobbling all over Cooper's Lake Campground in Slippery Rock, PA and ignoring the pain in my knee because dammit, I was having fun. Someone else was caring for Dad for a few days and I was taking some badly-needed "me time" with friends and the outdoors.

My friends made me promise to see a doctor when I got back. One GP visit, one MRI and one visit to an orthopedic surgeon later, I learned that I was the not-so-proud owner of a completely torn ACL and a partially torn meniscus. The surgeon said I didn't need surgery, and opted to send me to physical therapy instead. No objection from me. So for weeks I attended my PT sessions, did my exercises, swam in the pool at the YMCA, and took anti-inflammatory medication. I lost the limp and most of the pain, and was discharged from PT just before Christmas with permission to "return to normal activities". Hah. My normal activities involved keeping house and caring for an elderly man with dementia who required supervision and quite a lot of help with tasks. I'd never actually stopped doing any of that. But it was nice to know that I now had permission.

Not quite a month later, I was taking a walk. I'd been told to make sure I got regular exercise to keep my knee in shape. You don't have to tell me twice; I pretty much have to get out and do something like that every day or I don't feel physically right. It can be hard to do that when you need to supervise someone else who can't go out and do that with you, though. But on this day, Argues_With_Objects was home with Dad, and I went walking. It had sleeted and snowed over the preceding several days (Cleveland winters, yay) and as I made my way along the sidewalk in my suburb's business district, I chanced upon a patch of very icy sidewalk in front of an antiques dealer's shop. The shop owners hadn't bothered to do anything about the ice, not even salt, and down I went with a broken right ankle. I felt a snap inside my Timberland boot and knew I was in trouble.

At the ER, the ankle was x-rayed, strapped into a backslab (temporary) cast, and I was given a set of crutches and the diagnosis of a broken fibula. Now, I'd used crutches before, when I'd sprained an ankle in college. But back then, I'd had one good leg that was willing to do the work along with the crutches.

I didn't have that this time. Clearly, my left knee felt it was too soon to be asked to do that much work, PT notwithstanding. I barely made it into the house and up to the second-floor apartment that AWO and I inhabited (Dad's was downstairs, and he and I routinely spent most of our waking hours together in one or the other) before collapsing on the couch. "I don't know about this," I said to my best friend Samantha, who'd accompanied me to the ER and home again.

"You'll be fine," she said. "It just takes practice."

I soldiered on, even venturing back out with her to our SCA meeting that night. By that time, I needed the distraction. The next day, I went back to the same orthopedist who'd just discharged me from PT for my left knee, to get the ankle put into a proper cast. "You again?" he joked.

I got some 'crutch lessons' while I was there, had the crutches adjusted better for my admittedly insignificant height, and went back home, where I proceeded to lose my balance several times and nearly fall as my left knee refused to cooperate. Eventually I did fall, my head narrowly missing the edge of the dining-room table as I went down.

"I really think this is going to be a problem," I said. Another conversation with the doctor ensued, this time by phone, during which we agreed that the risk of compounding the injury with another was too great. I would have to use a wheelchair while my ankle healed.

Take a normally highly-active person and put them in a wheelchair for several weeks, and it's a sure-fire recipe for trouble. I was stressed, depressed, annoyed, fidgety as all-get-out, and figuratively climbing the walls. On top of that, I developed complications.

I'd had a blood clot in my right calf several years earlier, and spent not quite a week in the hospital while it was treated. No testing was done at the time to determine the actual underlying cause, as I'd been new on my job and my health coverage hadn't kicked in yet. The attending physician surmised that the clot was the result of a combination of a muscle strain and the estrogen in my birth control pills, coupled with exposure to secondhand smoke and the fact that I was 37 years old. Now, after spending several weeks confined to a wheelchair with my right leg encased in a cast from just below the knee to the beginning of my toes, I developed a clot in the thigh. This time I had full insurance, and while I spent another week in the hospital getting the clot dissolved through the magic of intravenous heparin, the same doc ordered a series of tests, including a genetic assay.

Turns out I'm a mutant.

No, seriously. I have one bad copy of a gene that codes for a clotting protein called fibrin. So half my fibrin chains lack a specific spot where they can be cleaved by an enzyme designed to help the body break them down and recycle or eliminate them. A simple but erroneous substitution of one amino acid for another on the chain leaves me with a higher-than-normal level of fibrin circulating in my blood, and hence, at a higher risk for clots.

Thing is, a broken bone can also lead to a blood clot, even in a person with completely normal genes. So it was still a toss-up as to what the real cause was for my particular clot.

I came home from the hospital minus the cast and the wheelchair, and wearing a walking boot on the injured ankle, armed with a walker and, yes, crutches again. The physical therapist who'd worked with me on stair-climbing skills before my discharge was nonplussed when I responded to her instruction to put my good leg forward in going up the stairs with the question, "Which one is that?" She consulted my chart, eventually decding that the one with the recently-fractured fibula was the "good" leg, a situation completely opposite from what normally would have been the case. That was interesting.

I also came home with prescription anticoagulant medication, warfarin. (Frighteningly, this same chemical is also a major ingredient in commercial rat poison.) Some people can take it and feel just fine, but I'm clearly not one of them. Over the next almost six months, I endured waking up every morning feeling like I was eighty years old instead of forty-three going on forty-four. Three rare but possible side effects of the medication I was on are reactive hypoglycemia, auto-immune disturbance and joint pain, and in someone who already has had joint injuries, that last one represents a real problem, even with my high tolerance for pain. I suffered all three side effects and barely made it through the physical tasks of the day, keeping house and caring for Dad. I got no exercise, and no relief from the pain because you can't take aspirin, ibuprofen or other NSAIDs when you're on anticoagulants. Tylenol does nothing for me, and while I was offered some of the opiate-based pain meds, I refuse to take that stuff on anything resembling a regular basis. So I just had to live with constant pain.

My weight shot up, my mood hit rock bottom, and I was miserable in every possible dimension. I finally went to the doctor again and demanded a better way. "I won't keep taking these for the rest of my life," I told him. "I'd rather risk another clot. This is a quality of life issue."

Thank goodness for doctors who actually listen to their patients. We had a long talk, and he decided that because I'm so very in tune with my body and my health -- I'll recognize clot symptoms early enough and get myself to an ER if I have them -- and because I normally eat a diet rich in foods that are natural anticoagulants, like garlic, capsaicin and other things, my clotting risk could be minimized by a combination of diet, exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle. Basically, the very same things that had most likely prevented my having a clot prior to the age of 37 despite my risk factors. There's actually every reason to believe that I'll never have another clot, as long as I take care of myself and follow basic, common-sense precautions like not flying coach, and not sitting around on my butt for hours on end. None of this is difficult.

Once I was free of the drugs, the hypoglycemia vanished. My joint pain leveled off and finally disappeared as well. I was still faced with the momumental task of getting back to where I'd been before all of this happened, however, and with the constant need to look after Dad, I had almost zero time available to exercise. Housework won't do it alone, no matter how healthy my diet is. Not to mention that the medication I'd been on can interfere with thyroid production in some people (apparently this is part of the autoimmune effects) and it doesn't always return to normal once the medication is discontinued. I know I've had several of the symptoms of hypothyroidism since then, but when you're constantly busy taking care of someone who can't even really function, you tend to just muddle through and be grateful for whatever level of functionality you may have that allows you to do so.

But that's all changed. Now I don't have to take care of anybody but myself. I've got time to track down what's going on with my own health, and I'm going to get it straightened out. I was what one of my friends referred to as "disgustingly healthy" before I got hurt, so why should I settle for anything less than that now?

Also, while it isn't a New Year's resolution, I've purchased a gym membership. I'm going to make this happen. It may take a while, since pushing too hard too quickly could well result in yet another injury, which I don't need. But I don't mind taking the slow route, as long as it gets me where I need to go.

Time to go buy a new combination lock and some sneakers. Oh, and a coffee mug I can take to the gym.
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Had a surprisingly productive discussion with Argues_With_Objects, who took things better than I'd anticipated. Looks like we're not so far from being on the same page after all. Okay, so maybe it isn't exactly the page we'd once thought we wanted to both be on, but at this point, I think it's probably going to be the healthiest one.

That's important.

Time to get some ducks in a row. Changes are a-comin'.
coffeebuzz: (Default)
Survived Christmas. Have no idea yet what I'm doing New Year's Eve. Not even sure it matters. I have cats for company, wine for my drinking pleasure, a bunch of editing work to do on the new story I've begun writing, and no great desire to brave "Amateur Night" on the roads with inebriated drivers all around me. Unless I change my mind in the next 48 hours, it's likely I'll be ringing in the new year in the fashion of hopelessly dedicated pixel-stained peasants everywhere. And that's not a bad thing.

Now where did I put that corkscrew?

...

Dec. 22nd, 2010 05:18 pm
coffeebuzz: (Default)
Sometimes you just have to say, "I tried."

Sometimes trying just doesn't cut it.

And you know what? Maybe sometimes, that's okay.

In fact, sometimes that may be the best thing that could've happened. If you'd asked me that three months ago, or six, I might have said otherwise. If you'd asked me even at the beginning of this month, I might not have been able to articulate it yet. But I'd have been thinking it.

Now I can say it, and that feels good. The next step will be saying it out loud, and making it understood. Hopefully that won't be as hard, nor take as long, as just reaching this point did.

Holidaze

Dec. 19th, 2010 06:49 pm
coffeebuzz: (Default)
I swear, if I see one more holiday commercial, I will scream. Seriously, does anybody's house really look like that at the holidays? Really? Three Christmas trees, and you aren't picking pine needles out of every nook and cranny of your home -- and possibly your person -- for the rest of the year?

I don't really have anything against the holidays. I worked retail at the mall during Christmas season in my college days, and after enough of that, you'd expect me to never want to look at another gold-edged red bow or piece of tinsel again. But I was a hopeless sucker for holiday decorations when I was a kid, and it never really went away. Not even twelve-hour Saturday shifts filled with Muzak-mangled carols could beat it out of me. (Really, there probably should be a telethon for people who can say that.) Even changing my religion (I no longer identify as Christian and haven't for about seventeen years... yes, that vibration you feel is my mother spinning in her grave at 78 rpm) didn't make it go completely away.

But the commercials have gotten even cornier since I was in college, and I swear there are more of them. Well, to be fair, there are more channels for them to be on, too. After all, I started college... *counts*... *grimaces*... well, a long freakin' time ago.

The holiday season, like wintertime in Cleveland, often seems to go on forever. At least the holidays end by New Years day, though. Winter will end sometime around the first of May, most likely. But Christmas-oriented commercials showed up right around Halloween this year, even ahead of the snow. Is it just me, or did they used to wait at least a little bit longer?

Whatever. With any luck, this will be the last winter I spend in this town, and maybe the last Christmas season here too. Nothing against Cleveland, but just like the commercials, there's a decided paucity of substance here anymore. Rip off the wrapping paper and the boxes are empty. The economy certainly doesn't help, and I'm ready for a change. Stay tuned for 2011 to be an interesting ride.

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