Saturday, July 31, 2010

IV Practice

Bent Needle Voodoo Doll Day

Haven't been posting much, have been very sick most of the week.  On Monday my primary care doc told me definitely "No More Traveling" but did I listen?  No.  I had a date with a client already set for a consulting type gig on Tuesday and had too many people depending on me to be there.  I got myself together, and my bosses had one of the programmers go with me to drive - thank goodness!  I don't know if I could've gotten back home otherwise.  It was a stretch just driving the thirty some miles from her house to mine that evening.

I ate a cup of cottage cheese at the client's cafeteria, and between that and the walking/standing all day must've thrown me over the edge.  I spend Wednesday in misery at home, not keeping fluids or medications down, and on Thursday gave up and went to the ER per my PCP's suggestion because of the dehydration.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am what they call a "hard stick" when it comes to drawing blood or putting in IV's.  Nurses always tell me: everyone says that and no one really is a hard stick, people just like to think so.  Nuh-uh.  I know so.  The local blood mobile banned me from giving blood after I threw their whole schedule off, and they didn't even get an ounce of blood out of me.  I have had phlebotomy centers send me out the back door because I had so many puffs of cotton and bandages wrapped around me they were afraid I would scare everyone in the waiting room off...and these were times when I hydrated before hand so they could actually find a vein!

I knew I was in for it when the triage nurse tried to get a vein for blood testing and gave up after one stick.  When I finally got back in an ER room I had six different nurses try to get an IV started, including a couple with an ultrasound machine looking for deeper veins.  They finally got enough out of semi dry holes to get the blood testing done, but I lost count at 12 sticks on trying to get an IV started.  They even went for the neck and the front shoulder area, but everything was just drying up on them.  I am still bruised and sore from the attempts.  It wasn't the nurses' fault, but it was a bad ordeal for me, it took two hours to get an IV started.  I was tilted head down, arms hung at odd angles, pumped my fist - nothing worked. Made me wish I still had the PICC line they installed when I was in hospital at the beginning of the month.   Maybe I just should have a permanent spigot implanted so I could just turn it on when needed and off when not.  I think they were using old bent needles to thread the IV.

The winner finally thought to use a pediatric IV start kit and went in through the underside of my wrist.  Woo Hoo! I'm gonna remember that trick! I try not to jinx the nurses or lab techs by saying anything - I let them pick whatever they think will work for them and go at it, but when they get to the third stick I generally tell them my average is three sticks, and I'm OK up to seven sticks - then I get sorta shakey/whiney. 

I got some fluids, felt much better (my kidneys had sorta stopped working) and then was told from the testing that all of my nausea and back pain was from a kidney infection and a complicated UTI.  It was 360 degrees back to where I had ended June - thinking I had a kidney infection except this time it really was!  It took two times getting the perscription for antibiotics straightened out (don't doctors ever read your allergy listing?) and I was home around eleven PM.  I get infections when I get dehydrated and it certainly has been a month of it, so I wasn't very surprised.

I was very very sick Friday, but am feeling some better today.  Have kept fluids down and actually eaten a little food that is actual real food!  I have got to travel out of state in another week, and will just have to be strong and bear with it if the medication just doesn't cut it.  I have this dread of being stuck in a hotel room in the kind of pain I have been in, or as sick as I have been feeling.  Hoping to heck the antibiotics are just what I need.  Gotta get back to work Monday - I certainly didn't plan on the problems I had last week.

My bosses are trying to hire another associate who can do more traveling and cover the part I am barely able to do now.  It is so sweet of them, and I hope I can hang on long enough to train whoever they hire.  I just can't leave them hanging without someone to take over. I am skirting the edge of hospitalization and racking up the medical bills just to keep working ($400 in ER copays in July), and am afraid of making my complex health situation worse to the point I won't be able to work at all.

I know it isn't good business sense for me to keep doing this to myself or for my bosses to try to depend on me.  I want to do the best I can, and physically just haven't been in the shape to even show up.  Augggggh!  And home just goes to pot.  I need desparately to do things around the house tomorrow, and am hoping I will be feeling so much better I can put out a spurt of super energy and actually clean.  Maybe I will be more positive and feeling so much better these last few weeks will disappear into dim memories of misery and my next few years will be fantastic!

The Headache has been behaving this week, just with some jabs/jolts lightening fast pain off and on.  The Belly is better today, so hoping maybe between the antibiotics and the fluid this week I am on the mend.  Otherwise was thinking I should just throw in the towel and give up working.  I am just very very discouraged at my inability to keep my ship afloat this month.  Very very tired too.  sigh.  Hoping for a great Sunday, and a great week next week and the week after!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Aftermarket Defects

Is It Too Late To Ask For An Upgrade?

Today has been better.  My pain is less, I am not taking any pain medication although at this time of night I start wishing to.  I was able to step up my consumption to semisolids, and some diverse liquids.  I was able to finish grocery shopping (tried to do two weeks worth at once since I don't know what the future will bring).  The pancreas pain on movement seems to be calming down, and if I remember correctly from past experience everything else should calm down too.

I think my Mom got supplied with a substandard pancreas for me before I was born.  I blame my Dad's family genes, but really they should have been sent back for rework.  The rest of my body is definitely outlasting some of the parts, maybe I got the durability of general health from my great-grandmother who died at 103, and the frailability of specific parts from the rest of the gang - a defective organ here, cancer there, thyroid dysfunction from them, diabetes from those, etc.  I certainly got short dumpiness from my father's mother's side of the family.  And my really annoying voice.  Heredity - you stink!  However, I have better eyesight than my brothers and sister, so I got lucky there!

I am finding it very hard to sleep.  I dreamed last night all night about going to a hospital in St. Louis with a couple of boys I grew up with - I think they sat in my row in the second grade.  Although we were grown up we were still in school, and the school nurse had sent us to this place. There were very high swingsets in the dark hospital garden and we could swing up up up into the light and then jump off and land in an above ground swimming pool on the other side of the garden wall.  We could see planes from the nearby airport flying overhead, and lots of stars (it was night) and dark green wild pasture all around us.  If we splashed too hard into the above ground swimming pool, it collapsed and let the water out, us with it.  The dream ended with me swooshed out of the pool to the ground.

Hoping to get sleepy soon, am trying my best. Don't want to get days and nights mixed up.  Hope to rest as much as possible tomorrow, so I can work Monday.  Readjusted my head buzzer, as it was getting a tad sore from the buzziness, maybe that will help.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bleh Bleh Bleh

That Kind of Day

We had good news today that my niece did famously well with her back surgery.  Her husband has stood up to the stress well too.  I'm relieved and glad, and  my sister is much more relieved, and has gotten to talk to her daughter several times today.  We don't think Shelly will remember it, but it sure was nice of her husband to dial the phone for her, as we are certain Shel is a little too drugged to dial it herself!

Not feeling very well today, still can't keep any food down.  It has been several days since I last tried, so I thought maybe today would be the magic day.  Nope.  Just Bleh Bleh Bleh back it came.  I don't think anything is actually digesting, even with the enzyme supplements.  I sure am glad I have fat reserves galore; starvation isn't really an issue as I can melt down quite a bit before you get to skin and bones.  I am still staying at one dilaudid tablet a day, but really could have used more than one today.  I guess I shouldn't force things by eating, but how am I going to know when it is possible or not?  Pancreatitis is just no fun.

Finished my last survey for the occipital stimulator study.  The study coordinator said another participant that finished today had the same excellent results I have had.  Yeah!  The only thing I have left to do is mail back the palm device the electronic headache diary was kept on.

Several people have asked me if I have to have the stimulator removed now.  Nope.  It's mine, all mine!  Permanently implanted with battery replacement surgery guaranteed for life.  Yeah!

Worked some from home today, some tonight.  Everytime I get the VPN up, my regular internet connectivity drops so it is making it hard to work on items that are emailed to me.  I have to write down the data, close the browser and then sign on the VPN.  Very frustrating, but at least I can connect.  Actually did a bit of programming today.  Hopefully it is not drugged programming.

Found an old MetLife ad about stress with Snoopy on it.  I am going to have to try to de-stress and get back on the happy track, maybe a little Snoopy happy thought mojo will kick start the process.  Lack of food is making me pitifully whiney.  The pain meds aren't even making me sleepy either, because the pain is sucking the life out of the medication. Tomorrow will be better - won't it??

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ice Cube Meals

Trying To Stay Hydrated

Went to my PCP yesterday, have another appointment with him Monday.  My feeling ill has him thinking that maybe I should go back inpatient to keep dehydration at bay.  He told me to just concentrate on keeping fluids down right now, to heck with real food for the time being.  I definitely don't want to go back inpatient as I just don't have the time to be there.  Too many things to do for work!

He asked how my pain was doing, and I told him I had quit taking the oxycontin because all it did was kill the background pain (which is considerable) and the BIG PAIN The Belly causes wasn't effected at all by it.  I couldn't tell if the confusion was from being sick or from the medication, and since it only worked about half as good as it should, I quit taking it.  Since the confusion stuck with me, I guessed it was from being sick.

He now has me taking dilaudid instead, which is killing the pain.  I cannot take it at the frequency he prescribed or I would be knocked out, but just one pill a day is helping the pain tremendously.  I am trying to work from home (got the VPN connected today - they had made changes unbeknownst to me) as best I can.  I am resisting taking the medication until I can't take The Belly pain anymore, and then I'm taking it and after that I am trying to go through a big glass of ice chips.  Other liquids right now are coming back up.  The ice chips seem to tell The Belly it has had something to eat, and numbs it at the same time.  This is still an iffy proposition since not all of it is staying down, but I am looking much better today than yesterday.

Since I am trying to keep the fluids in me, I haven't hardly even been eating my saltines - these last few days have been really yucky.  I'm bumming.  On the up side I am losing weight!  But my face feels puffy - weird - maybe it's the dilaudid.  And if I am rambling on in my posts its probably because of the dilaudid.  I don't feel over drugged (probably because the pain is soaking the dilaudid up) but I am still feeling very confused. My thoughts are disorganized, and generally that is the only tidy thing about me.  In fact I'm think I'm just going to blame everything for the next few days on the dilaudid.  I need a good scapegoat!

I cancelled my appointment with the A-Team this week, as I am just too sick to make the drive there, and rescheduled for next month.  My PCP told me to not to worry about the physical therapy for a while until The Belly calms down.  My study coordinator Lilly at the Cleveland Clinic called and I won't have to go back to Cleveland for my final visit.  Yeah!!!  She is so nice I will miss getting to talk to her now and then.  I am to do a phone interview tomorrow for the end of the study and will mail the headache diary back to her.

My niece Shelly is having major back surgery tomorrow.  This will be her second back surgery - she has some sort of hereditary degenerative disk disorder.  Tomorrow they will put in three artificial disks in her back, which should relieve some of her pain, so I am praying for a great surgery, and a quick recovery.  She lives in a third story walkup apartment with her husband and pets, and it worries me how she will get back to her home.  She said she will get an ambulance to take her home if she could not do the steps.  I hope she does.  Her husband will take good care of her I know, but sometimes you just want to see that someone you love is OK.  My sister, her mom, is more nervous than Shelly about the surgery. I am sending calm vibes her way!

Going to sleep soon, my parakeets are softly ringing their bells in their covered cage - their way of saying time to go to bed!  Hope you all have a pleasant tomorrow, if not - blame it on my dialudid!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Phoning It In

Not my Best Effort

Went to work today, and was able to be productive for five hours, but how productive I don't know.  I am so sick feeling I am confused.  My physical coordination is off too, so my brain is definitely not in synch with the rest of the world.  I feel like I cheated, and went to work and didn't work.

I was productive, but the day was sorta in a fog.  I even ran over a curb on my way home, on a route I have driven a thousand times.  I can't think, even this evening, not sure what to do about this - its a new difficulty.  We are in the middle of a new install (AGAIN!) and I don't have time for this nonsense.

I worry about work, like it's my business.  I know my bosses know what they are doing and I know they can perfectly well get along without me or my input.  I am so glad they hired the new trainer, because that means they need me even less.  I am the weak link in their chain and as sick as I feel, I don't want to be the link that breaks the chain - I would rather just let them mend the chain around me then cut me out.  They have people that can do what I do and do it better than I am capable of at the moment.  When I feel like I did today, just going through the motions - even getting some things done, I think they would be better off just replacing me.

I see my PCP tomorrow afternoon, and the A-Team on Thursday.  Not sure if anything medical remains to be done that I have not done already.  Tonight I am ready to throw in the towel, call it quits, run for the border, retire prematurely.  I would except for two things - 1) I am not independently wealthy and 2) I wouldn't leave my company in the lurch.  Things are not as they should be as far as training others on what I know/do.  Just a little more and I think they will be able to fly away on their own.  And as for the independently wealthy part, I could work at a job closer to home, or try to consult - have done it before, can do it again - just with every body part in revolt I hate to start a new endeavor, and it would probably be 18 months to see if I qualify for permanent disability.

I just need to suck it up once more, splash cold water in my face, eat a couple more saltines, go to bed and go to work tomorrow.  One bad thing about an inflamed pancreas - its kinda smooshy and ouchy and the more I move the more it hurts regardless of how little I eat.  I think I will just gird up the pancreas and push onward regardless!

Dreaming of Opalescent Windows

Sleeping the Day Away

Very tired, am just posting before I go to bed - have just been up a few hours.  I slept last night and all day today until night had fallen.  I vaguely remember my sister coming over and people talking, but mostly I was dreaming about a house with opalescent windows.

The windows were in a semi round room full of furniture due to go to auction (I think I got the scene from a recent Antiques Roadshow episode).  They were around the wall on the curved portion floor to ceiling rectangles of milky opal light. You could almost reach out and grab the light as it sparkled by. It was a peaceful room and I guess I needed to stay there because I dreamed and dreamed and dreamed about that house and room.  In my dream it was in a small town near where I grew up, but of course the landscape had changed and there were several of these huge houses on the main street and I could not find a familiar house where an old friend grew up.  How in the world do you identify a place specifically in a dream when nothing really looks like the place you specify?

I've graduated up to having a little more food.  Am still not taking any pain medication.  The Belly is reluctant to eat, and The Headache has not been cooperative today.  I don't think it likes over sleeping.  Have turned the head buzzer on high and have taken my faithful antidote of phenergan and benedryl a couple of hours ago, just not sure I will make it to bed soon, although I feel extremely tired.

Read a little more about radiation induced lumbosacral plexopathy (The Legs) and it seems the progression I am having is normal for this type of problem. I have an exacerbation of pain and dysfunction, and after recovery am worse than before the exacerbation.  I am going to talk with my PCP about prognosis - I have tried everything and nothing has really helped the functionality.  The myofascial release and PT excercises have helped my flexibility, just really haven't done anything yet for endurance and pain.  Maybe I'm just too impatient. The problem is very difficult to distinguish from diabetic plexopathy and mutiple sclerosis, except for the bladder scarring/dysfunction and proctalgia which seem to be distinct for radiation damage.

I have felt very under the weather today, hoping tomorrow will be better!  Good night all!  Hoping you all had better weekends than I.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Showers of Saltines

At Last Something To Eat!

Woo Hoo!  All is looking up in my dreary world of nothing by mouth except ice chips and medication.  I have graduated to real fluids and SALTINE CRACKERS!!!  No Fat Saltines at least bring a bit of salt and flavor to the feast.  Had a little lemonade with ice chips too!

I stayed home almost all this week.  I need to be at work, but finally realized after the ER doc giving me a talking to that if I didn't rest my body I was going to end up back in the hospital.  I would do almost anything to avoid that!  Not sure if anyone has been hospitalized for pancreatitis out there in blog reader land but it is a combination of the most boring experience I have ever had and the least rest I have ever had.  You basically get the worst food in the world when you can finally eat because you always start with a liquid diet, and you are sick enough and drugged enough it is difficult to concentrate or read.  They did issue me some ear plugs to use so at least I could sleep a little bit,  because the noise and turmoil get to me.

I called today and cancelled my trip next week to Cleveland to finish the study.  My study coordinator (who is the sweetest lady in the world) said she would see if I have to reschedule or if I could return the diary through the mail.  The study sponsors have to OK it.  I told her I just couldn't face traveling so soon.

I am having trouble staying awake.  This is getting especially dangerous for driving - another reason to stay off work this week.  I have been having to pull off three or four times in a 45 minute commute to sleep five or ten minutes before I can drive onwards.  Very unusual for me - it was happening at longer distances where I had to drive over an hour, but now I can't seem to be able to drive more than short distances before I have to sleep.  This is without any pain medication in me, not sure how bad it would be if I tried it with pain meds.

Going to bed now, and hopefully sleep in again tomorrow.  I have been able to go all day today without any pain medication and still eat a tiny bit.  Am ready to dig in and get going at work next week!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pancreatitis Continua

Fed Up With Belly Problems

A disappointing week for me.  The pancreatitis continues to plague me with stomach pain and a particular kind of headache you get with pancreatitis plus my struggle with dehydration continues.  My leg problems persist and Dr. SassyPants who was so optimistic a month ago is now not optomistic at all.  I am going to delay my appointment with Cleveland Clinic because I am just not well enough to travel by myself, and my driving assistant who was going along is not able to drive this next week either. 

I was feeling very ill Monday, stayed home Tuesday with some severe pain and nausea went to the ER Tuesday night - found to be dehydrated, finally got fluids and got home around 1 am Wednesday (arrived at the ER at 3:30 PM Tuesday).  My lipase levels were normal which was good but I needed liquids.  Doctor orders were to go home, rest, TAKE my pain meds, take more nausea medication for at least one more day, and if it still persists go to my regular doctor. Already feeling dehydrated again this evening, even trying to take in more fluids.  Took the oxycontin and my other meds, just feel sick in an odd way.  I've had pancreatitis make me feel this way before.  Sigh. Last time it was this bad it took eight months to resolve.

The Headache has been on the edge of taking off  maybe because of the headache I get when I have pancreatitis.  It is sticking with me well past the hospitalization - not sure why - and it is over the whole head, just worse on the left side.  The fluids last night helped some of the pain, so it might partly be a dehydration headache also.  The inability to eat is sticking with me well past last week also, not feeling too whoopy without any real food either.  Very tired yet can't sleep, except when I try to do something that needs my complete attention (like driving) then I can't stay awake.  I think my mind is in Reverso land, everything the opposite of what it should be.

Dr. SassyPants plans for my treatment disappeared Monday.  I was rather stunned, but again he has probably read the eval by the physical therapists by now, and I reported that the epidural actually seemed to make my legs worse (weaker - having problems getting up from squatting or sitting on the floor) and my urinary incontinence much worse.  He suggested yoga or aqua therapy to keep me limber, and when I said my concern was I was to be at a hospital site in August and wanted to be able to stand and do the work even with the travel he said not to count on being able to do that.  In fact he said I may not be able to do much of anything soon with The Legs, since problems have seemed to accelerate this year. 

He encouraged me to see the pain management doc and get evaluated for a spinal stimulator to see if it can help the pain. He said no more epidurals, and did not mention the botox in the piriformis muscle again. I am upset and at a loss, because it seems I am back to square one again - except it is three years later from the first time I tried to get help and the disability is much worse.  No return appointment - just a referral to a book on pain and how it effects your body - not sure if I need a book on that - think I already know too much about it already!  Guess it means you are not going to get any better by any means of modern medicine.

I missed my appointment with the pain management person Monday because I was befuddled and forgot (Dr. SassyPants through me off my stride and the dehydration was starting to make itself known) I rescheduled for Wednesday and missed that because I have been very sick today.  Hope I can make a third appointment and keep it.

I am sick enough tonight I can't think very well, and am just doing this post so I can take up some time without thinking about hurting - but then what do I write about but how much I am hurting.  Doesn't make sense but I am feeling very confused.  A dark cloud is hanging over me the last few weeks.  I actually broke down and cried for a while yesterday when the pain was at it's worse.  I am not sure what to do, and as confused as I am not sure I should even be trying to make plans until I feel a little better.

On a side note, the Skunk eradicator device just turned out to be a Skunk Amusement device.  My sister watched two skunks stop and look at it - they seemed to bob back and forth looking at the little red motion detector light, then popped it a few times with their hanneypaws, milled around, stood on their back legs and swayed to the rythm of the red lights, then went right back into the hole under her porch.  She said it was like a little video game for skunks.

Diana Lee has posted her blog carnival for this month, and it is a great source of information about summertime and migraines.  Check it out at Enjoying Summer Despite the Heat at Somebody Heal Me.  Great advice in many of the posts about how to handle being out in the summer time heat while suffering from migraine disease.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Buzz Kill - Occipital Stimulator No-No

WeedEater from Hell

Tried weed eating my yard this weekend in order to help out with the maintenance.  I used a gas powered weedeater rather than my light weight wimpy cut one blade of grass at a time regular electric weedeater.  I was only able to get about 15 minutes of weed eating in until The Headache interrupteth.

It seems the vibration from the weed eater completely conked out or negated any buzzing sensation from the stimulator.  Not sure if the same area at the top of my neck where the occipital region is at was being directly buzzed by the little gasoline weed whacker, or if it just confused the nerves in the region, but for about thirty minutes after I realized something was wrong and quit terrorizing the grass I thought I was back in no stimulator land hellacious agony for good.  The pain was as bad as I remembered.  I just tried to breath through it and remained calm.  It did fade, but took several hours to get back to the normal low level I have become accustomed to.  Ouch!

No more powerful weedeating for me.  I may just get some of those children's blunt end scissors and gnaw the grass off with that - it's faster than using my electric weedeater.  Maybe I can just chew it off like my dogs do when they are sick at their stomach - make The Belly behave at the same time!

Overall, feeling better today.  Got some no-fat cottage cheese and new tomatoes from the garden in my stomach and I think the pain is not too bad.  Going to see if I can get by without any pain medication at all tonight.  I am totally caffeine free now for three weeks, so thinking about staying caffeine free for awhile to see if it helps both The Belly and The Headache.

Did what any self respecting woman does when she gets down in the dumps, got a new hairdo this weekend!  I'm adventuresome with hair dressers - rarely see the same one 2x in a row, and almost never get the same haircut 2x in a row - kinda like haircut roulette.  What the hey, it'll grow out in three months anyway!  My hair is very limp and straight and my pictures were starting to look scary with the wacky hair, so it's smooth and sleek and short for a few weeks anyway!  Decided while staring at the ceiling and getting my hair washed that Wal-Mart should dedicate some maintenance workers to clean the roaches and beetles out of the light fixtures in the hair care area - might make you a little more confident on the cleanliness of the food in the store.  I guess you can tell I go to really high priced salons when getting my hair cut!

Took time to shear my poor old dog Bingo so she got a new hairdo too!  She wouldn't let me comb her underfur out this year, maybe just too achy and old, so I cut her hair with clippers.  She was much happier outside this afternoon.  She is definitely a winter loving dog, and summer is hard on her.

I'm tired, but got my work project done - except there didn't seem to be more than one facility in the download I got Friday afternoon, and there should have been two, so I may have more work to do Monday.  Sigh.

My sister said she had a neighbor come by and tell her she had skunks under her house - FOUR skunks they saw run across her yard and under the house.  I found an motion detecting Skunk eradicating electronic high frequency alarm and got it for her, we'll see if that deters the determined Skunk family.  OMG if she had one skunk two years ago, two skunks one year ago, four skunks this year - they are redoubling each year! That would make it eight next year, and the year after that my sister will have to install gas masks for visitors...scary!  Here's hoping the nonlethal skunk screamer will keep them away.  After all - it had a picture of a skunk with a circle and a line through indicating no more skunks!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you Shalunya

I was nominated (along with several others) for The Versatile Blogger award by Gypsy Shalunya last week.  She was very sweet, and said I do a great job expressing myself.  I am sure (due to my tendancy to add comments to other peoples blogs - sometimes when I'm half batty on medication) that there are a few that wish I was a little less obsessive about expressing myself!

There are rules to getting and accepting this award, so I waited a few days for the required reposting for gaining this honor.  I wanted to do it justice utilizing a sounder mind than usual!

Rule #1:  Thank the person/blogger giving you this award.

Thank you, Renee, my brave Gypsy traveling blog friend.  You are always kind and thoughtful while fighting the effects of having a congenital brain defect called Arnold Chiari Malformation.  The name alone is enough weight to carry around without the life changing issues that the problem causes, along with the "cure" that isn't really a "cure" for all the problems it creates.  Hoping you are feeling better with Hubby in Korea!

Rule #2:  Share seven Things about yourself

1.  I love to take tests.  I am good at taking tests because they are a bit like a puzzle and a bit like trivia.  For this reason, I love school - mostly the test taking part.  One of my true God-given talents that unfortunately is not very useful in the real world.
2. I believe some people go to college to get an education, and some people go to college to get a degree; a few people (if they are lucky) get both.
3.  I am extremely bull-headed and unfortunately extremely logical.  I struggled with faith for years because #1 you must be willing to believe the unprovable unconditionally and #2 you must accept the fact that your own willfullness can be a hindrance to #1. I try to practice my faith every day in every action.  Some days are better than others!
4.  I am not an intuitive person, so I work hard on trying to simulate intuitiveness.  Sometimes I am not very successful.  My sister is very intuitive and artistic and I have envied her that talent all my life.
5.  I have a strange sense of humor and when I laugh I actually cackle.   My voice is loud, annoying, piercing partly because I have partial hearing loss.  I can do something about loud, something about piercing, but the annoying part is beyond my ability to change.  Sorry Migraineurs, you would probably want ear plugs around me.
6.  I grew up on a real farm in the Midwest.  Not a hobby farm by any means.  I think it was located at the end of the universe because we didn't have very many neighbors.
7.  When my health was better and I had more money I LOVED going to auctions.  The excitement of the hunt rather than the nabbing of the prey was the attraction.  I have substituted this with going thrift store shopping for the adventure of the unknown.

Rule #3:  Nominate 15 other Blogs for this award and let them know.

This is a hard one, because some of my fellow bloggers have beat me to the gun on a few of my favorites.  I will do as many as I can think of.  Some are in my blog roll at the left, and some not!

1.  Fred Walsh Photos Fred takes the most marvelous wildlife photographs, absolutely stunning!
2. El Conde Sydney  The Gypsy Voice of the Universe!  Can I say more?
3. Rudy's Beat The most endearing family and the cutest kid in the universe bravely facing medical challenges.
4. Jann the Overcomer Jann is working tirelessly to cure breast cancer that had returned with the help of NIH and NCI.  I try to send good thoughts, prayers, and vibes her way and bad ones towards her cancer.  One strong lady!
5. Dachshund Strong Ness is the mother of a daughter with intercranial hypertension, and has a son in the service, and both she and her husband struggle with health issues.  She is always in my prayers, loves dachshunds, and is a thrift shopping buddy!
6. God Whispers in the Wind A spot where my friend JBR posts inspirational religious readings.  I always find something uplifting here!
7.  Following Frodo Gord is a minister in Canada surrounded by ladies in his family, a wife and three daughters.  Thought provoking posts with a modern take on Christianity.
8. InnerDorothy Sue inspires me to keep on going as I see her take on her headache and battle it each day.  She also has a beautiful kitteh a great husband with MS, and two wonderful sons!!!
9. MissWoogoo  A plug for my niece who makes lovely recycled paper beads!
10. Mrs. Mullenix A young wife with the same headache condition I have, hemicrania continua.  She is a great writer and makes me laugh quite often!
11. Not Plain Jane Spins her own yarn, makes delightful socks, a published author of knitting patterns, shawl maker - inspiring blog!
12.  The Singing Chef Raaga from India has some of the most beautiful and delicious recipes.  Some are quite exotic for the Midwest, but many are delicious takes on ingredients I have at my disposal.  Especially love her cakes!
13. Win Lose or Blog Mindy Watching Mindy go on a wonderful blogging journey of healthful weight loss.  Looking for pointers each time she posts.  Verrrrry funny lady!  Please follow and encourage her!
14. Switching Granny's Stuff Techie older lady, has MS so doesn't post very often - quite the  Apple fan!
15. Karrantz Fotos Antiguas Shows vintage photos that are of a time far enough past it will not be like that again.  Love it when they post a new batch to look at!  Don't understand a word they write.

An honorable mention for Nick Cage As Everyone because every day is a better day with a little more Nick Cage thrown in.

Boy - This was hard.  I follow a diverse bunch of blogs, but just picking 15 was very hard.  I tried to pick some that are not on my blog list, but all my blog list favorites are honorable mentions also.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Princess of All Things Pancreatic

Pain Pain Go Away Come Again Another Day

I have tried to work the last two days - was able to do 8 hours plus Thursday, but only did around four hours Friday.  I have some work to do this weekend which should more than make up time - I am trying like heck to do eight or more hours a day.  I tried to eat today, and while I am not as shakey the pain has been somewhat overwhelming. 

The oxycontin tablets (10 mg 2x dly) are helping to take the edge off the pain, but I have what I call pancreatic spasms which this dosage just doesn't touch.  I guess I will cut off eating for another couple of days and then see how the pain is when I try to eat again.  At least I have enough pain the oxy is not making me woozey or drugged feeling.  I am delaying the morning dose until I come home from work, then if able I take the second dose around one or two in the morning.  Don't seem to have much luck getting to sleep so that is OK.

On the up side I did get a lot of work done the last couple of days.  I won't have to travel for work until the second week of August which is a big relief for me.  I am hoping the pain will be much less by then.  I may have to break down and go see Dr. Gnome, but just not looking forward to the trip.

My kingdom has shrunken down to what The Belly commands.  The pancreas speaks and I come to attention.  Having trouble sleeping because of pain and also because the pancreas hurts less when I sleep sitting up - a hard trick to do without a hospital bed.  Right now the pain is pretty much on the severe side - I am hoping that it subsides soon.  Maybe the sitting up part is why I have gotten so much done at work the last couple of days.  Feels better than reclining!

I have an appointment with Dr. SassyPants on Monday.  I do hope I don't have to put on the huge pair of paper shorts again.  With all the pancreatic pain going on, I may put my pursuit of leg pain fixes on a back burner for a while.  I am sick enough I don't want to be poked, prodded or exercised at the moment.  I am even thinking of postponing my Cleveland visit for the end of my trial.  Not sure if I can abide the travel.

Going to try to go to sleep soon.  My petunias are blooming, my tomatoes are ripening, and the weekend beckons - needing a good pick me up, so maybe gardening this weekend will do the trick!  I am becoming obsessed with the belly pain and I need to actively distract my mind.  My weekend work project should help also.  Behave Body!!!  Depose the malicious pancreas cartel and get back to normal (as normal as I ever am!).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Life's Not a Teddy Bear Picnic

Using up one of my allotted Self Pity Days

Very sad tonight.  Not sure if it is the pain, the futility, the medication, the fatigue, the hunger, or the insensitivity of my family that is making me use up one of my precious self pity days.  Could it be a combination of all?  Yes indeed it could.

I am tired to the limp rag stage of fatigue. Didn't work today because of pain and medication for pain.  I cannot sleep due to the pain (even with oxycontin 2x daily) and am contemplating just not taking any pain medication tomorrow so I can work.  My bosses have been wonderful, but I feel I am letting them down too.  I am going to have to shrug off this mantel of guilt and just do what I am able to do, and ignore the rest.  I guess I will see how far I can push myself with no food, very little liquids and no pain medication.

I was selfishly counting on a little concern on how I was doing when I got home, rather than insistance on instant return to shuttle driver and provider of all needs.  My mother tries, but she is getting to the age where I am truthfully more concerned about her wellbeing when I am gone.   Just feeling the loneliness and isolation of chronic illness through a cloud of pain, nausea, and fatigue.

My bosses and friends have been great, and I am sure my family was much more supportive than I am remembering in the deep darkness of the night.  Just worried where the future is going to take me.  I was much sicker much longer this time, and was released without really having my issues resolved, mostly due to the fact that all the consulting physicians were on vacation during the 4th holiday and I needed to get back home and back to work.  Going to work tomorrow and Friday and just take it as it comes. 

Was told I would need to go back to Dr. Gnome in St. Louis again.  I can't even face the thought of the drive for the appointment and then the logistics if anything had to be done.  Too much to do this summer for work, no time to take for non emergency treatment.  Ah well, I will go be sad for a while longer, as my self pity day is not done yet, even though my family would think I was being self indulgent and selfish.  Yes I am, and I have given myself permission to be so today.

The teddy bear picnic song and dreams were a theme throughout my hospitalization this time, maybe because I was so hungry!  I kept having drugged dreams about the teddy bear picnic, maybe wishing I could go out in the woods in disguise and have a picnic with the teddy bears!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hospitalized (AGAIN)

The Belly Revolts

Last Tuesday went to urgent care on my lunch hour because I felt really really bad.  Much pain in the midriff, was hoping it was maybe a kidney stone.  You know your life sucks when having a kidney stone is a GOOD thing!

Unfortunately it was my pancreas, with my lipase levels in the thousands so off to the hospital I go.  Luckily our client had delayed their install for this week, so I don't feel quite so bad about being sick.  Everytime I think I can just work work work like a normal person, something happens.  Big BIG sigh.

It is now Sunday July 4th - my favorite holiday of the year - and I'm stuck at the hospital, having snuck off my floor to use their very bad public kiosks to try to post something.  Can't upload or download a picture so I will illustrate later.

No food, lots of erping, lots of pain meds, a couple of nice neighbors in my room but I'm bumming.  Life could be worse.  No bad news about the pancreas, no reason for the lipase elevation, the lipase doesn't seem to want to lower very fast (my average stay for this is three days and its been six already and just hoping I get out tomorrow).  I'm blaming my trip to Cleveland as I did get a little dehydrated and they had to install a picc line instead of a standard IV because I was too dehydrated.

I did have two little cans of tomato juice today so WOW!!!  I think I'm headed down the road to recovery!  I'm going to pull up my bootstraps (or little grippy socky straps) put on my happy face, pray The Headache doesn't act up (The Legs already are) and go view the horizon this evening to see what big fireworks go off around the big city of Springfield.

Hoping all you US citizens have save and fun Fourth celebrations tonight, and if you get it a great day off tomorrow.  Eat something grilled for me!!