Thursday, February 22, 2007


Me again. That old proverbial hole again. This is the first time that I've sat down at the computer since my last post. Which means that I haven't been paying bills either.. so I've done that first. I'm not sure why I'm the one in charge of the bills, but I've always been and now it's so routine that Rob just assumes that it's all looked after. Ooops. Better late than never.

Was at the doctor yesterday to see if he could help along the LTD application. Every time the case worker calls he says they don't have enough information to go on and grills me on what my symptoms/problems are that keep me from working. He has my entire medical record now.. what more than MS, Chronic pain and extreme fatigue does he want? I end up in tears, frustrated and humiliated after each phone call. Finally I told him that my husband would talk to him next time, so I had to wait for him to mail me a release of information/confidentiality form to sign (because my verbal consent wasn't enough for him and I couldn't just pass the phone over - good grief).

I also told the doc that a friend of ours, an RT has offered to fit me for a mask for R's grandma's C-PAP machine. Rob has noticed that I stop breathing in the night quite a bit. The doc jumped on that, said he's refer me to a sleep lab right away. Possibly that could be all that it would take to get back some energy. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Wouldn't it also be frustrating that it could have been resolved sooner if I'd only thought of this before?

I also need bloodwork drawn to check thyroid, etc. God, I'll feel stupid if I've just been putting up with the fatigue as another MS thingie if it turns out to be another totally treatable medical problem.

Oh, yeah, we've sold the house! We did some frantic (well, Rob did) fix-ups - new bathroom, fixed wiring and ductwork, new furnace, painting.. then put the house on the market. One day later, we had 3 groups come through and 3 offers over asking price that night. We accepted the best offer the next day. Now we have to be out by May 1. Homeless..

I thought our house might be on the market forever because of the granny flat, but apparently not. We plan to build, but won't even be able to lay a foundation until spring, so we're, well, screwed. We'll probably have to move in the R's parents in the meantime. Haven't told them that yet.. They have a large unfinished basement, so R is considering finishing it quickly and we'd use it as our own private family area. We'd still share the kitchen and sleep upstairs, but would have a spot to get away on our own. Maybe. We'll see.

We have an offer in on a little power of sale house that R thinks he can flip quickly. Its cute, just needs some touch-ups and a new kitchen. If we get it, we'll turn around and list it again in 3 weeks. R has some time right now with the winter slow down, and we might as well make some extra money if we can. I'm good for the paint/decor decisions, R does all the contractor work.

Best get the oldest ready for the bus.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Craving sunshine

I miss sunshine. Maybe it has a lot to do with the fatigue. Whatever the reason, it wouldn't hurt to start taking vitamin D. Didn't I read somewhere that a study was done on giving larger than normal doses of Vit D to people with MS and had a positive effect? I'd forgotten all about that until just this moment. Then certainly it can't hurt to at least take a normal dose of the vitamin.

Another day and I'm up and dressed and showered by 9am. That's an absolute miracle after the past few weeks. And I've been able to function almost normally for 4 whole days in a row. ~s~ I do feel like the exacerbation is waning, but I still need rest in the afternoon if I don't want to go narcoleptic in my soup.

Maybe I won't have to wait for the LTD. Wouldn't be great if I felt well enough to go back to work? I've been pretty much a shut-in since before Christmas. I crave outside interaction. I shouldn't say shut-in, because we have gone out to friends houses on occasion, I've made it out of the house a few times to do some necessary grocery shopping and of course Christmas shopping. I've also not left the house in 3-4 days at a time some weeks. It's weird, the way fatigue and depression feels like I'm imprisoned in my own body. As far as the depression goes, it's managed by meds for the most part, but a little shadow does creep through occasionally. The suicidal ideation only creeps in as a passing thought rarely. And my little voice of reason is working much better at beating the crap out of those thoughts. Wish it could beat the crap out of the gremlins mining for gold in my arm, but what can you do, eh?

Today it feels like they are attempting a new tunnel through my wrist and down into my fingers. And every few minutes one of the little buggers sticks a dagger into the side of my right breast. Brilliant. Cheers.

In other words, life as usual. I wonder if I'd miss the pain if it suddenly disappeared? It's been a constant companion for almost 12 years now.

The one pain that I didn't mind and couldn't really even call pain was L'Hermittes sign pain. It was kind of cool - any flex of my neck would cause electric shock type feelings to run down my spine and both arms and into my fingers. People used to look at me funny when I'd forget and bend my neck and get a particularly good shock and yell "Oooooh!" However, that only lasted for a month and was replace by a vicious pack of feral gremlins who made their home in my right arm and liked it so much they stayed. Yes, I know that makes me sound crazy, but its just something that my husband and I use as code. As in, if I look somewhat pained while we are out, Rob will ask, "Gremlins?" and if I say yes, then we cut it short and leave if I need to.

We have Mom and Robbie and the olds coming for dinner tonight. It's mom's birthday - or it was yesterday, but she was busy then. Rob will treat them to another small feast. He's been pouring over his cookbooks for something new to do to pork tenderloin. ~s~ He's really looking for an excuse to use his morter and pestle that I bought him for Christmas.

Oop, time to go, the kids are streaming in the door, back from church with Mom and Robbie. I don't do church myself, but having been brought up with it, I have no problems with my children learning about God. They can make up their own minds when they are old enough.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

I'm back in the saddle again

Thank you for all the comments!

As you probably noticed, I've been absent for a few weeks. You might say that a hole opened up and I fell into it. The fatigue suddenly just became overwhelming. And I mean that I was sleeping 18 hours a day. That, and my body has decided that if prefers to be stiff and spasm-y to nimble and agile. Not that I was too much that way before, but you know what I mean. The pain didn't help, but for once it took a back burner.

The last 3 days have been encouraging - I actually got out of bed in the morning and didn't return to it until bedtime. Well, sort of. Yesterday afternoon I was overtired and fell asleep in my chair while reading Charley a book, so Rob sent me off to bed for a couple of hours rest. Then I was up again and managed to stay awake until 1:00 am. I'm not normally a night owl - except in December, owing to the amount of time I spent in bed during the day..

We went upstairs to visit the olds last night (my grandparents have the upstairs apartment in our house) and break the news that we are putting the house up for sale. They took it very well, but are upset that they won't be living with their great-grandchildren any more. Mom is going to help them find either a seniors apartment building or a retirement home that has apartment style rooms. I was worried about telling them, but aside from some minor whining on Grandma's part (that's just grandma, she loves to whine) they were cool about it.

Now to figure out where we are going to live. We have a few choices: we could build a house on a lot we own and live in it, build on the lot and our in-laws move into it and we take over the farm, or buy the house next door to the farm, providing the owner comes down in price. I would prefer to buy the existing house, but he is asking a ridiculous price, as in nearly $200,000 more than he bought it for. Granted, he bought it as a bankruptcy sale from the bank, but it still isn't worth what he is asking. And he hasn't made any improvements. In fact, the house is looking tough and needs a lot of work. Fortunately I'm married to a contractor. Anyway, if he is willing to come down in price by $80,000 - $90,000 we would be interested. Given time he might, but depending on whether our place sells fast or slow, we might not have the chance to wait him out. The real estate agent has told us that he'll never sell it at the current price and his own agent has told him that, but that is the price he wants and he says he won't come down.

What else is new.. Obviously I'm not working right now. Having luck like I do, I'd managed to use up all my sick leave during the year (and we get 15 weeks) because of a few other relapses. So, since I couldn't hang on until Jan, when the full sick leave amount would have been restored, I am forced to apply for LTD and UI. LTD has a 15 week waiting period, which is normally covered by our 15 week sick leave, but not if you use it up in bits and drabs during the year. In the interim, I applied for sick benefits through UI, which has a 2 week waiting period from the time you apply and then a 4-6 week processing period. Sucks.

Rob's grandma died the first week of January. She was 96. I really believed that she was going to make it to 100. At 96, she was healthier than someone 20 or 30 years younger and her mind and memory was still sharp. She had a fast growing cancer, primary unknown.. it took 2 months from the time they diagnosed it to take her life. There was no wake or funeral, just a memorial service at the retirement home where she lived. It was more a review of her life, which really was amazing. Can you imagine having lived nearly 100 years and witnessing history that we have only read about. Think just of the inventions that have happened since she was born.. cars, planes, phones, computers.. not to mention countries made or fallen, wars fought, governments come and gone. It was incredible how many things she remembered and the detailed stories she could tell. I'm sorry that Charley and Molly had so little time with her. Molly doesn't grasp that she is gone. Charley is quite upset, she was close with G.G. (for great-grandma). If they had been older she would have loved to tell them her stories and they would have loved to listen.

Time for my nap. My neck is getting stiff, so I'll give it a rest for a bit.

It's beginning to feel like I'm getting back into the swing of things after effectively taking a month off. Rob, the miracle husband, didn't even blink, but picked up the slack and offered comfort when needed.

Forgive me if I jump from subject to subject with no segue. I write whatever my mind wanders to.

Until next time -

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Sleepless night, but house is going to be clean!

I hope this won't sound too whiny. Last night was excruciatingly painful. Not much sleep, hence me being slightly incoherent at the moment. I'm typing fast too so that I can get out of the way before the cleaning lady shows up. My mother-in-law pays for a cleaning lady to come every other week now, to save me the back spasms associated with vacuuming, bending, etc. I used to love cleaning. It's good for your soul in some ways. Now, I just stick to cleaning drawers and closets and stuff. Still satisfying.

Ok, so I'm a little anal retentive, maybe?

Did I say that I really love my mother-in-law? She is wonderful. So is my father-in-law.

Anyway, the last couple of weeks my normal neuropathies and the (brutal, at the moment) fatigue have had general body aches added for interest. You know when you have the flu, right at it's very worst and your body hurts so bad that you just want someone to put you out of your misery? It's like that. Then there are the stabbing pains up and down my spine. Not the L'hermittes kind of pain, I've had that before and didn't find it painful. Actually, it was kind of a weird feeling, every time I bent my neck it felt like an electric currant buzzing down my neck and spine. Not all that bad at all, except that my neck would get so tired from all the shocks that it felt like my head was just going to flop over onto my shoulder. ~l~ The weirdities of MS. No, there is no such word as weidities, but I like it.

Heat seems to help with the body pain somewhat, but I look absolutely ridiculous lying on the couch with all sorts and sizes of heated bean bag thingies stuck to me.

Going to get one of the damn things right now to put on my neck. Typing seems to be aggravating it.

That's much better.

Rob thinks that I should go back on my happy pills again. I agree. While I don't think that the current additional aches and pains have anything to do with stopping my sertraline, maybe I'd be better able to deal with it. Rob must get sick of the blubbering. He has never been anything other than supportive.. how do they do it, the husbands/wives/partners/caregivers? Granted, Rob and I are pretty pragmatic people, but he really just takes every day as it comes and doesn't worry about tomorrow (which, by the way, makes him a lousy bill payer, so I do that). It makes him a wonderful partner though. He listens to each new complaint, then hugs/rubs or just holds me until I feel better. He doesn't do the advice thing unless I ask for an opinion on something.. he cooks, gives me a break as soon as he comes home and lets me rest while he takes over the kids. Ok, he is perfect. Except he doesn't clean. Not a bit. ~s~

Where was I? Rambling again, lack of sleep and all that.

I phoned my manager at work to tell her that I wouldn't be in this week again. I only worked one day out of four last week, and will miss another 4 this one. I also requested the paperwork for LTD so that we can look it over and discuss it with the doc next week at my appointment. If nothing else, I need a note for work excusing me for the sick time. Much as I love working, I just can't go for a whole day (especially a 10 hour shift) anymore without rest. When I'm at home I often nap for up to 3 hours in the afternoon. And that after having slept in on days when I not feeling well.

Strange, after being a morning person all of my life, I'm no longer able to get out of bed in the morning. I used to be up at 5am, full of energy. Now I hate the thought of setting foot to floor before 9 or 10 or later, if not feeling well. Then another rest in the afternoon. And then I might start to finally feel human after dinner. Which is when we are all together as a family, so I'll take that.

Got to go. Cleaning lady is taking over the house.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Driving, birthdays and wrinkles

Had some excitement on the weekend. OK, well, almost had some..

Rob and I were on our way to his mom's 65th birthday party on Saturday night, him driving a few kms above the speed limit, as per usual. Hey, we live rurally. If you can't take advantage of almost empty rural winding roads, what can you take advantage of? Besides, he is a good driver, and really enjoys it. Anyway, on one straight stretch he pulled out to pass a car that was going a little too slow (ok, the speed limit), but when he looked over to pull back into our lane, noticed that the other car had sped up and wasn't going to allow him to pass. With a blind corner coming up rapidly and another car coming up behind us, there wasn't much other to do than to speed up to get away from the idiot driving the other car. We managed to get back in our lane before the corner, but we were going fast. Rob told me to hang on, because there was a lot of water on the corner (it's been raining here for 2 months now) and he thought the guy behind us was trying to run us off the road. I looked back and noticed that the headlights had disappeared, so we stopped holding our breath and drove on. We figured that he couldn't have gone in the ditch or we would have seen the headlights going all over the place, so he must have pulled over.

We didn't know at the time that he had tried to cut the blind corner to get closer to us. Instead, he hit head on a van that was coming from the opposite direction. We didn't know, because we were well past the corner at that point and he hit them just at the beginning of the corner. He hit friends of my mom's that were on their way in to watch the Santa Claus parade with my mom and Robbie (her partner) and our girls. Robbie managed to be the second car on the scene, because he was also on the way into town to meet my mom, who was already with the girls. Robbie is a retired cop, so he sussed the scene quickly and had fire, police and ambulance dispatched. In the meantime, the driver of the car phoned his mom and asked her to come to the scene and say that she had been driving. Luckily Robbie was there to say otherwise.. Turns out the driver has a police record a mile long and was driving with a suspended license and no insurance.

While at the party, we noticed the flashing red lights, so Rob had phoned a friend to listen to the police scanner to find out what was happening. In the meantime, another friend heard that friends were involved and phoned another friend, who in turn phoned someone else, who in turn tracked Rob down at the farm, so we knew what was going on before the guy with the police scanner even phoned back.

Ok, I know I mentioned before that we live in a rural community, but in case you haven't figured it out, it's pretty close knit. I've lived in this community for 28 years, but I'm still "from away". If that gives you any indication. I'm accepted, as everyone eventually becomes a fixture and a character in the community as a whole, but they never forget that you weren't born and raised. However, I did marry one of the born and raised, so I'm in.

So the girls missed the Santa Claus parade, mom drove to the hospital behind the ambulance. Everyone is ok, but bruised and sore. Tammy's (passenger in the other car) seatbelt came undone in the crash and she was flung about pretty good.

We told Robbie that it was most likely the same driver that had tried to force us into the ditch. At first he warned us not to say anything because the police might try to blame Rob for trying to race with the other car. But once Robbie heard that the driver of the other car gave a statement that a truck passed him and splashed oil on him, which made him cut the corner. Where did he get the oil from? So Robbie asked that Rob give the police a statement, which he did. It was water that was splashed on the car, but only after he tried to run us down.

In the end, the other driver was charged with reckless driving and driving while prohibited and something else to do with trying to get his mom say she was driving. Wonder how he was going to explain her car parked close by. But then, he doesn't seem like NASA material.

The rest of the weekend was uneventful. Rob's sister and her husband and his dad were up from NYC for the birthday party, and kept the girls well entertained. They've offered to take the girls for a few days over the winter. They live just 40 minutes north of NYC, in a beautiful little valley area that looks like cottage country in Georgian Bay. There's a great swimming reservoir nearby, parks within walking distance, a small river that runs through their backyard and a small ski hill for winter entertainment. The girls loved their week long visit in the summer, I'm sure they'd enjoy a week of skiing and tobaganning. And we might enjoy the week off too.

Molly (the 3-year-old) looked at me today and asked why my eyes had cracks. I told her that I was getting older and they were wrinkles. Apparently she equates old with death.. she threw her arms around my neck and sobbed that she didn't want me to go yet, I was her favourite mommy. ~s~ I told her that I was her only mommy, and that I wasn't going anywhere, that cracks were something that everyone gets after they have children. Then I went and looked in the mirror.

I didn't think I had that many wrinkles. Until today. Tomorrow, I switch moisturizers.

She also brought me a wooden spoon and said, "Mommy, dese are dust (just) for soup, not spanking little kids bums, right?"

What do you say to that? I just hugged her and said of course not, baby, then gave her a big hug and kissed the top of the curls. God, I love those curls.

Guess one of the grandparents must've been frustrated one day and reverted back to the old wooden spoon threat of my childhood. I'll have to talk to mom about that. I know it's just a threat, but it seems to have weighed heavy on Molly's mind.

Back to my coffee and the chocolate bar that Rob so nicely brought me back after curling.

Such a boring Canadian sport, eh?