Takin’ that ride to nowhere

This entry is coming out in slow stops and starts. But I’m determined to post it, eventually.

(Written: 10 April, 2013 – 12 June, 2013)
I love when Emily gets to come and visit, but I always hate it when she has to leave. Multiply that by a thousand-fold when I seriously doubt I’m going to be able to travel up to Canada this year (or heck, anywhere, really) and that makes me miserable. It doesn’t help my mood any that we’re just a couple of weeks away from when I normally would be heading up to visit her, AND that The Headstones have a show scheduled in Toronto on the first night of my summer break – aka the first night I would be in Toronto, if I could afford it. I’ve priced flights multiple times, hoping against hope for some sudden magical super low fare sale, but that hasn’t happened yet. I’ve also gone over my finances repeatedly, trying to find a way I could make it work. I went over my budget yet again after the concert announcement, but nope. Still no luck, no extra money is hiding anywhere.

What really bugs me most, is that this will be the first time in at least 17 years that I haven’t traveled somewhere (I want to say 21 years, but I can’t for the life of me remember if I went anywhere in 1995 or not). Yeah yeah yeah, sure, I went to Oklahoma with Emily when she was here in March, but that doesn’t count as ‘travel’ to me. For me, traveling has to be more than 3 hours (180 miles) in distance. Why? Well, growing up, my grandma lived in Shreveport, Louisiana. That’s a mere 3 hour drive, and we’d go out to visit her usually once a year or so. That was never “travel” to me; I mean, it’s about an hour drive for me to get across the D/FW Metroplex and that feels like a trip down the block. Three hours is just a jaunt across town. So I don’t count most of southern Oklahoma/Arkansas or northern Louisiana when I think of “travel”. 😉

Some people might take for granted getting to spend time with their best friend; but then those people probably don’t live almost 1,430 miles apart like we do; and have lived that far apart the entire friendship. I absolutely cherish the fact that I’ve been lucky enough to spend as much time with her and her family as I have. We’ve celebrated birthdays together, taken dual-family vacation to Niagara Falls; I’ve spent Christmas with her and her family, and celebrated Canada Day with her, watching fireworks over the Vancouver Harbour with her. No, there’s not really a point to any of this – other than the fact that I’m nostalgic over past vacations since I don’t get to travel anywhere this year, and I loved every trip we’ve had.

(Written: 25 July, 2013)
I was already grumpy while on Mass Break at the beginning of the month, because I wasn’t able to afford to travel; and then I came down with a nasty sinus infection. I spent almost all of 2+ weeks in bed, yet getting very little sleep since the coughing and congestion would continuously wake me. Granted, I was glad I wasn’t traveling while being that sick, but at the same time it just rubbed salt in the wound: I couldn’t travel, AND I couldn’t enjoy the time off in some other way. To top it all off, on the very last day of Mass Break, I ended up taking a spill that led to some pretty spectacular bruising. Thankfully most of the bruising was hidden, so I didn’t go back to work looking like I’d been beaten senseless. (I’ve been having more intense bruises than normal lately, but I think that ties into some medical stuff I haven’t yet rambled about in here. I’m not that worried about it, but I still need to remember to call the doc and double-check my thoughts. heh.) Mostly, though, I’m still just despondent over the lack of ability to travel. Being able to get away, the feeling of freedom and escape (even if brief), the chance to relax and unwind and forget about everything else, the lure of the open road, beckoning me to drive… there’s an intoxication in that, that just can’t be replicated by anything else. And I miss it. Desperately.

I know this entry is all over the place, so I’m going to stop it here so I can figure out a title lyric, get it posted, and start work on something new. Something, hopefully, a little more cohesive.

Our house was our castle and our keep, our house in the middle of our street

Pretty much, my entire life lately consists of doctor visits. I think I average out to about one a week for the year so far. As I’ve written before, my pain levels stopped being “high but tolerable” some time last year, so I started going to a rheumatologist in hopes to figure out what the hell is going so we can fight back properly. The pain levels have still been increasing, so now I’m needing much better pain management than I’ve had in the past. I’ll be asking about that next time I’m in the doctor’s office, most certainly.

Outside of pain and doctors? Well.. there really isn’t much outside of that. Work is the same old ordinary work. And in the non-work hours, I don’t do much of anything, since I physically can’t. So yup, my life pretty much sucks. But I’m here, and am trying to find ways to combat against that. I miss having more of a life than I do now.

I guess the main thing I am doing when I’m not goofing around with Facebook games is spending time house hunting. Mom & I are finally going to move, really and truly this time. We don’t have to worry about selling the house; our neighbor wants to buy it. I spent a good bit of time googling what needed to be done to sell a house without a realtor, and downloaded the contract templates from the Texas State Realtor Board’s website. Now mom & our neighbor just need to have the inspection, settle on the price and fill out the paperwork before taking them to the title company, and possibly a real estate lawyer to finalize it all. Nice and easy! If only finding our new house was that easy!!

Mom and I are both incredibly picky, and it takes a lot to find a house with all the features we need/want. With my knees, I really need a 1 story house (and that’s one of the reasons we’re moving out of the current 2 story). Mom wants a townhouse or condo – fine by me – but most that we find that have enough space for us are 2 story, with both/all bedrooms upstairs. I would be okay with a 2 story townhouse, if there was a bedroom on the main floor for me, but we haven’t found one yet that is nice/is in our price range/hasn’t been sold right before we find it. I’ve also been spoiled rotten with our current house because we have HUGE bedrooms, the kind you rarely find in houses anymore. So it looks like I need to have 2 bedrooms when we move – 1 for use as an office, since my desk/TV/etc won’t all fit in these tiny rooms and leave room for my bed, too (or vice versa). Mom automatically “gets” the living room, and can set up her computer there if she doesn’t want to have it in her room.

We’ll also have to make sure that there’s space for Bennett (my hedgehog), and of course plenty of space for the cats and all their accessories. Mom wants a small yard or patio – just enough room for a patio table, a grill, and bird feeders. We both really want a garage, but we are willing to compromise on that – as long as the parking is immediately outside our house, and (preferably) covered. But a garage truly would be best – as I said, we’re spoiled. 😉

On top of all that, we need to make sure we have somewhere Emily can sleep whenever she comes to visit! And that is exactly what she’ll be doing in one week’s time. Only 6 more days until she arrives! I’m definitely looking forward to her visit, and it’ll give me reason to be out and about and doing things. Or, well, trying to do things. I do admit to a slight fear of being insanely exhausted and of my pain levels being stupid and impeding fun, but I’m determined to try to push through and have fun, dammit! 😉 Pain already gets to rule enough of my life as it is – I’m refusing to let it rule over vacation too.

Lions, tigers, and bears, OH MY!

I know, I know, I’m a bad girl. I haven’t been using LJ much lately. It gets all my twitter entries, but that’s about it. I have a desire to write.. but then I get frustrated and never do. Feel free to smack me, throw things at me, whatever you deem necessary. 😉

Let’s see. What’s been up in my world? Lots of doctor’s appointments, mostly. Literally at least 1 a week, since the first full week of April. Ten (11, but really 10 “real” appointments) doctor/dentist visits total … so far. I still have more to come before May ends! Some were pre-planned/good visits. Like my 3 appointments to get the Supartz injections in my knees. One was a total waste of time – the gyn appt I already detailed here (password protected). Four of them were with my heart doctor, as was the “extra” appointment I mentioned. The remaining two appointments were with the dentist – one a pre-planned cleaning, the other an emergency appointment. Upcoming appointments include follow-ups with the knee doctor and the dentist.

The knee appointments weren’t too bad. Three weeks in a row of going in to get an injection in both knees. The shots can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to cause noticeable improvement, so I’m not expecting much yet. Right now, my knees aren’t causing much pain, but they are pretty crackly. The left one especially likes to go snap, crackle, and pop on me. They also feel unsteady, like they could just bend backwards at any moment. I’m hoping this passes pretty quickly, and the injections start to take effect.

The heart doctor – well, as I’ve mentioned before, I have extra heart beats. Due to being unemployed at the time, I wasn’t able to have my annual heart ultrasound done last year. I called up and made an appointment to have the ultrasound – even specifically stated I needed an ultrasound. I go for my appointment to find out that it’s only an office visit. Grr. The doctor decided he wanted me to wear a holter monitor again, to see how my PVCs were doing. So I had to go back a week later to have my ultrasound done, and to have the holter wires attached. The ultrasound looked good – the “mild leakiness” of my mitral valve from my first ultrasound 2 years ago has decreased – it’s only “trace” leakage now. That’s a good thing. The heart walls are slightly thick – mine are at a 1.0, and .9 is typically the high-end of thickness for women. But, that thickness hadn’t changed at all in the last two years, so that’s also a good thing. After my ultrasound, I had the holter attached, and had to endure 24 hours of unbelievable itchiness from those danged adhesive pads. Thankfully, nothing incredibly insane happened this time while I was wearing the monitor! My “extra” appointment was the next day – I just had to drive up to the doctor’s office the next day during lunch to have the wires removed and turn in the holter monitor.

A week later I had to go in to get the results of my holter – this time around I had @ 17,000 extra heart beats. (The first time I had the holter, it was over 14,601 extra beats.) He gave me another type of medication, since the only thing the first one did was make me fall asleep. I was on that medication for @ two weeks, until I had my follow-up appointment on last Thursday. I started w/1 week on a half dosage, and then 1 week on the prescribed dosage. After a week, I was supposed to double that again. (And keep doing that a few times, till I was taking about 4x the dosage on the bottle.) This medication doesn’t make me drowsy, but it does make me incredibly dizzy. Dizzy enough that I was starting to be afraid of driving. I mentioned this to him, multiple times during the appointment, but he wants me to just stay on the meds, and try to increase the dosage again. As dizzy as I’ve been, I don’t see this working out well. It was only a minor dizzy on the half dose, but was pretty nasty on the full dose, more vertigo than just disequilibrium. The doctor seemed to dismiss that the dizziness was related to the meds, even though it states right on the prescription bottle “may cause dizziness”. I do have Ménière’s disease, though, so there IS the tiny possibility of it being a very highly coincidentally timed Ménière’s attack. I doubt it, though, since I don’t have any of the other symptoms I typically get during an attack. But, to be sure, I’ve decided to stop the medication for now, and let it work it’s way completely out of my system. Once the dizzy spells have ceased, I’ll make attempt #2 at taking the meds. If I end up dizzy all over again, then it is definitely related to the meds and we’ll have to try a different med, again. I go back to see him in 3 months to follow up on how I’m doing with the meds.

As I stated before, the last 2 appointments were with the dentist. The first one was just my 6-month cleaning, so it was no biggie. I also knew it would set up more appointments, but that didn’t happen at the time. On May 2nd, while eating lunch, I took a bite of my Subway sandwich, and the top left cuspid flared with pain. But, the sandwich was extremely cold, and it felt like more than just the one tooth hurt – so I dismissed it as biting into an almost icy cold chunk of meat. That happened once more while I ate, and that was it. No more pain … for a few days. At work on the 5th, I was snacking on some honey nut Cheerios. I bit down on one, and BOOM! Intense pain flared in that tooth again. While Cheerios are crunchy, they aren’t particularily hard, so I knew it was the tooth starting to act up. But it only hurt that once, for just a few minutes. I figured it’d be okay, and I could call the dentist later in the week or something. Wrong. After work, mom & I had pizza for dinner. I took my first bite, and intense pain blossomed in my mouth. The kind of pain that literally has you howling – loudly. After the pain settled, I attempted a second bite (just to test it) and ended up screaming loudly in pain again. I tried to take it, and attempted to eat without using that side of my mouth, but it didn’t work well at all.

After leaving a voicemail for my dentist, I ended up running off to Walmart to get some severe pain Orajel. Mom went with me, and found this stuff called Temparin to use as well. (I have holes in both of my upper cuspids, so we figured if I could fill it, I could maybe be in less pain until I could get into the dentist.) It hurt like Hades to put the Temparin in because the tooth was so freaking sensitive to any kind of pressure, but once it was in, and combined with the Orajel (and a hydrocodone ma gave me), I was able to get the pain under control to where I was even able to eat and drink. The next morning, after the hydrocodone wore off, the pain was barely controlled with the Orajel. Lucky for me, though, my dentist was able to get me in before lunch time. Two hours and a root canal later, I was back to work. The tooth had become abscessed, hence all the extreme pain. They didn’t do a 100% complete root canal – after drilling out the diseased part of the tooth and injecting it with meds, they decided to leave it open, and they will seal it when I come back in to get the crown. That way, if the infection doesn’t go away, they don’t have to do a lot more work to get in and work on it. So, I have my temporary crown for now, and go back in another 2 weeks to get the permanent one. I’m going to schedule the appointment for my other cuspid then — I don’t want to risk that getting to the same super pain point before I have the needed root canal on it, too.

So, yes. As I said, that’s pretty much been my life the last month & half – doctors and dentists, oh my!