Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Threat

Today I got a call from a client. She called to tell me some good news and bad news. The good news is that she has finally thrown her drinking, drugging, and verbally abusive hubby out of the house. The bad news, is that he threatened to kill her and selected acquaintances while he was being removed from the premisis.

One of these acquaintances just happens to be me. I recognize that he was probably drunk and/or high when he made these threats. But, I also know enough to take any threat seriously. I will be extra cautious for a while, but do not plan to let this disrupt my life.

I am concerned about his wife, but she is taking precautions to help ensure her own safety.

I just hope we don't end up on the front page.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Morning After

It is the morning after Thanksgiving and not too late to reflect on some of the unexpected things I found myself thankful for yesterday.

1. I am thankful that my daddy is still healthy enough to "host" Thanksgiving.

2. I am thankful that my little niece's parents are secure enough to let her wholeheartedly love her extended family.

3. I am thankful that I really love my in-laws and get along with them well.

4. I am thankful that my MG symptoms were stable enough yesterday to let me enjoy my Thanksgiving.

5. I am thankful for a group of online friends who really help keep me going through times both good and bad.

6. I am thankful for SSRI's that help keep my mind clear and able to focus on the good things.

Now, if I can just remember to be thankful for these things all year. :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Human Again

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors.

For me, these are four of the most beautiful words in the English language. And I am thankful that they had been invented when I first needed them back in 1994. I was in a black hole that I could not dig myself out of, even with good therapy and lots of prayer. It became obvious to my counselor that another component was needed. Hence, SSRIs became part of my daily routine.

As I got used to the dosage, I was amazed. Grass was greener. The sky was bluer. Or so it seemed. The fog that had been hovering over me for what I realized was almost my entire life was lifted. I could think clearly. My obsessive compulsive disorder became manageable. I could corral my thoughts before they spiraled out of control.

However, every now and then, I would need to tweak my dosage or try a new SSRI to continue to get these benefits. This fall, I noticed myself sliding back into the haze and decided to talk to my neurologist about an update. We decided to try the newest antidepressant, Cymbalta. This drug has the added benefit of helping control nerve pain.

At first, I was in heaven. My chronic achiness got better and my appetite declined. But, as a few weeks went by, I noticed that the depression had returned in full force and the obsessive thoughts were coming back as well. I dithered for a couple of weeks, trying to decide what to do. I was loving a break from the physical discomfort. But, ultimately, I could not manage the mental discomfort.

So, I talked to the doc again. She switched me to a pure SSRI called Lexapro. After less than a week, I can tell a marked difference. I feel like "ME" again.

Better living through chemistry?

You bet!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Those Caveman Commercials

OK, the gloves are off! Those commercials with the "sensitive" caveman have gone too far!

The latest one shows the caveman sitting on a couch in a therapist's office. He is his usual whiny self, complaining about the original commercial's assertion that getting a particular insurance is so easy "a caveman could do it." He begins to challenge the therapist with the thought of how SHE would feel if these people said something was so easy a THERAPIST could do it.

He does have a point.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Good Stuff!

OK, now that I have the previous rant out of my system, I can focus on the good stuff that DID make up the bulk of the trip!

1. Eating omelettes with Walter at the Holiday Inn in Nashville, TN. This man has been cooking for Holiday Inn for 24 years. His cooking and his cheerful presence are what keep me staying at this same hotel everytime I visit Nashville.

2. Meeting Teresa's cousins. They have encountered multiple family tragedies over the past few years, but this couple counts their blessings and they do what they can to cheer others. They opened both their home and their hearts to me and I am grateful.

3. The beautiful fall foliage that we saw in Kentucky and Michigan. Totally worth the price of admission.

4. Getting to meet a Weight Watcher friend in person. Sandy was warm and welcoming and let me have a glimpse into her life and work. She and her husband also introduced me to Greek food! Yummy!

5. Seeing my brother-in-law and his family. Dear me, where does the time go? I remember going to help take care of these children when they were babies! Now they are almost 18, 16, and 15. They are also nice human beings and that is a good thing to be able to say.

6. Seeing old friend Ruth again and being introduced to her husband, Bart. They introduced me to Antonio's, home of some of the best Italian food I have ever eaten anywhere!

7. Which brings us back to Nashville, where I got to record an "informal" CD of gospel songs and hymns for my little old lady card buddies. And, ONE more omelette with Walter.

Overall, a very good trip.

Hmmm...wonder when I can get back to Nashville?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Back to Reality

I am home! For the most part, I had a lovely trip, but I am glad to be back in my own space with my husband and my computer. I have made a vow never to leave home again unless I can buy a laptop to take with me.

This comes partly from my experience on Mackinac Island. To preserve the history of this lovely place, motorized vehicles are banned from the island except for a few necessary emergency vehicles. This is great, if one is able bodied.

However, I am not and I found myself "back in time" as far as disability friendly environs go. Island businesses are not required to meet ADA standards unless they are making major renovations. Public restrooms were poorly lit, up a hill, and unheated. Restrooms in restaurants were often down long flights of stairs or in the back of the building with tables crowded so tightly together, I could not get my walker through, let alone the scooter I had hoped to rent. The scooter renters, unbeknownst to me, decided to leave the island early. But, it would not have done much good in on the island in general. Things were simply packed too tightly together. Lunch at the Grand Buffet turned into a panic situtation as my walker was jostled by people trying to get to the buffet, nearly causing me to fall. There was one accessible taxi, but it could take an hour or more to get picked up. That is a long time for a weary MGer to wait in cold and wet weather. The indifference of many of the island merchants and businesses made me feel further marginalized.

I found myself spending the last 24 hours on the island staring at my walls in the tiny B&B room Teresa and I shared while she explored the island. My cellphone reception was practically nonexistant. There was no lobby to go to for people watching. I finished my book. And, although there was a connection in our room, I had no computer. I ended up eating chocolate and crying. After the first day, this charming and seemingly inviting place was largely off limits to me. I felt isolated as people must have felt before the ADA made handicapped access a requirement.

God bless my friend and traveling companion, Teresa. She gracefully agreed to forgo the last few hours on the island and drove us back to the civilization of Grayling, Michigan. One internet session and a hot tub dip later, I was feeling human again.

For once, I was glad to get back to reality.

But, next trip, I will have a laptop!

Mystery Meat

I have recently become reacquainted with a substance I have not voluntarily encountered since my school years.  Mystery Meat  I brought ...