These are my thoughts. They are not meant to make sense. They are my echo into the woods. I am the tree that falls, and it is here that I make a sound.
Most recent babblings

The history of babble of the modern psychotic blonde

Warps to others, warped and otherwise
Sanity Optional
Monday, February 28, 2005

Embarassing Moments

If you need a good laugh, go through some of these at Dooce's site. It's great, and it'll make you feel better about that one thing that most embarassed you: we've all got some awful story about bodily functions, body parts or foot-in-mouth.

Have fun :-)

Paranormal at its best

This is truly bizarre. Not the actual product, but the fact that someone would advertise it. There's a sucker born every minute.
Sunday, February 27, 2005

Good Vibrations

To answer a few questions and reply to a few comments from the last few posts:

Yes I am starting a new job. Tuesday. Tomorrow I will have a day to myself. I am going to take my wonderful son out to lunch, taking advantage because my new job will have me in a different city and I won't be able to take him out like this for a while.

Hypomanic? Ya know, I was thinking I wasn't, but I've played hockey three times this weekend and skated like the wind (or my version of it, which is kind of like an old man passing wind, but it sounds good the other way). Normally by this time (after the third time on the ice in three days) I'm quite tired, but I'm not. So hypomanic: very possibly. And that might well be the source of the weird buzzing fly thing the other day.

My sense of humour is usually self-deprecating, and as long as I have that, I'm ok. It's when I fail to see the humour of things around me that I know that I'm in trouble. That's when the paranoia is extreme and I'm like in the song "They're coming to take me away, aha, they're coming to take me away oho ehee aha to the funny farm where I'll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats, they're coming to take me away aha!"

Tomorrow I'm going to have to vaccuum. Blue, she of the evil-rabbit hunting, is a Shepherd-Husky cross and she has the two distinct layers of fur that Huskies have. And she sheds. Constantly. I have little tumbleweeds rolling across the hardwood downstairs sometimes (like now), and all I need is a squinting Clint Eastwood and a sound of spurs and it's a spaghetti western (and Blue'd be the one hiding under the wagon, shaking, the big chicken).

Oh, yes, and someone has asked me about the biopsy. The first thing is to go back to the liver doctor on March 15. Then she goes over the results of the blood tests, that horrid 24-hour urine sample I had to do (what a social butterfly that made me), and she's already told me during the last appointment that the biopsy is pretty much inevitable to either confirm there's nothing wrong or to confirm the results the other tests indicate. That would likely be within a couple of weeks of that date so hopefully by end of March.

So, I'm off to shower.

I'll talk to you tomorrow, during my languid lazy day of leisure before the new job starts.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Weird Wednesday

This morning at work I sent Rob an email entitled Weirdness. I told him that I kept hearing a fly, like a housefly, buzzing past me and flying into my hair and crawling over me. I kept twitching at my desk, flicking my hair (which is relatively long), and scratching at the places I felt it crawling. He said it sounded "BPish" (his word) and wondered if all was well otherwise. I told him yes and that I've been good with my meds and sleep lately, not sure what this was, but agreed BPish sounded like a good description.

The feeling wore off after about an hour and a half or two hours.

Now I meant to sit down and read blogs like I do at this time every night while waiting for Adam to come out of the shower, but I can't concentrate. This seems to be one of those nights where everyone's posts seem long and I don't have the concentration to read through it. Even when I force myself to concentrate, I find my eyes half way down the page in a moment, completely unaware of what I've just supposedly read.

Rob snoozed early tonight and is actually in bed. So I've taken my Seroquel and will go lie beside him and sleep. I am tired. Really. But the mind isn't.

Oh, and I have two more days left at my job. That's not stressing me in the slightest, just in case you think that's it. The opposite is true. I've been so happy all week just to know that my time there is winding down. We have inventory for the next two days so I will spend my time in jeans and sweatshirt, counting greasy and dusty equipment. But it's only two days and I'm outta there.

Sleep. Right. That's where I said I was going.

Ok.

So here I go.

Really.

Now.

Whine and cheese

I've checked my weight: I've gained another 5 freakin' pounds. I've actually been MORE active in the past week than I have recently, adding in an extra run in place of one of the bike rides in the basement. My diet has remained essentially the same.

The perfect world:

I go to the liver specialist who tells me that there's nothing wrong with my liver that coming off the valproic acid won't fix. And Dr. J., he of the height-challenged psychiatry genes, agrees to take a chance and put me on Topamax, which reverses every pound I've gained since going in the hospital in September 2003. And within three months I'm back to my fighting self.

What I fear will be reality:

I go to the liver specialist who does a biopsy, who determines it's some autoimmune disease completely coincidental to the valproic acid. So I remain on that medication plus she prescribes a corticosteroid for the autoimmune disease which causes even further weight gain. They then have to widen the doors and reinforce the floors of my house and I become agoraphobic and then I'm on a special edition of Geraldo in four years as the largest woman ever in existence.

See what happens when I think too much?
Saturday, February 19, 2005

Child and Adolescent Bipolar

There was an article recently in the Washington Post about the increased rate of diagnosis of children and adolescents with Bipolar Disorder. This article has engendered a bit of discussion in my little blog world.

Synergy mentions her sympathy for children so diagnosed. Shrinkette posted portions of a response to the article by an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington who doubts the veracity of all of these diagnoses.

I found the timing of all this to be highly coincidental. And I'm posting a copy of an email I sent to shrinkette as an explanation why.

You know by now that I have bipolar disorder. I don't advertise it: it's not something that is going to get me brownie points with a lot of people.
I'm slowly learning not to be ashamed of it, which I think is important. But I still keep the diagnosis close to the vest with most people, including a good chunk of my family.

It's interesting timing that you posted what you did regarding children with BP. Last night my 13 year old son out of the blue asked "Am I bipolar?"

I was shocked. I asked him why, where was this question coming from? He explained that a boy he goes to school with, Chris, is bipolar. I asked if Chris takes medicine, and he didn't know. So I tried to explain the details of bipolar symptoms. And believe it or not, I struggled to put them into terms that would both satisfy him and protect myself. I was loathe to have him see me as damaged, just in case he found out that I too am bipolar.

So I hit on a solution. We googled "bipolar disorder questionnaire" and came up with a good one I've seen (and used) before at http://www.dbsalliance.org/. We went through the questions carefully, and the questionnaire said that he did not appear to have the disorder. I then gave him a verbal example of manic pressured speech and he said "That's Chris."

We also went to another website: http://www.bpkids.org/. A statistic appeared there that a study had shown that 59% of adult bipolar patients believed that their symptoms had first appeared during adolescent or childhood. I did NOT read to him the statistics about the likelihood of the inheritable nature of the disorder. I am not going to allow him to label himself with something that may very well never be.

I'm writing this to you for two reasons:

1) My son had heard of a diagnosis and was wondering immediately if the same applied to him. Teens conform. But there's also a "cool" thing about being different. I'm wondering if there's an element to my son that was kind of hoping he was bipolar, so he could be set apart, be unique in a VERY unique way. When I explained to him about the negative thoughts, thoughts of self-harm beyond your control, I think he cooled to the idea. He asked me if I'd ever thought that way and I told him that I did as a teen (I wasn't going to tell him how frequent that happens to me now - he'd worry himself sick).

Teens are caught in a tension of wanting to strike out on their own and still needing the security of conformity. That can result in some very strange behaviour when seen through a parent's eyes. How many families are using the diagnosis as a straw to grasp, not to be cool, but to explain why their teen is no longer that nice young man they could take to church a few years ago? Doctor doctor, there's something wrong with my son! He never listens anymore and is depressed when I force him to stay in his room as punishment.

2) My son can also be pretty irritable. So I also believe he was looking at his mood changes in that direction and wondering if he did have BP. Then, after we'd turned away from the BP diagnosis, he said that his father (from whom I've been divorced since he was a toddler) is really irritable too. "Did I get that from my dad?" he asked. I said "I believe you LEARNED it from your dad. I think you watched your dad all your life and have learned a specific pattern of behaviour." He agreed. And I reminded him that no matter why he was irritable sometimes, it is important for him to monitor that behaviour and not to place it on the shoulders of others. "It's not fair for you to treat other people badly because you have difficulty not getting irritated. It is within your control."

I know that as a bipolar patient that I cannot rely on my disorder as an excuse for behaviour. I am not making light of the childhood BP patients: I am one of those 60% who did exhibit signs as a late teen. But how many are using it as an easy out for bad behaviour and/or bad family dynamics, rather than face an equally difficult problem of a difficult kind head on? Medicate rather than discuss?

It's a difficult line to draw because the sand keeps shifting.


I meant what I said to shrinkette. I am not making light of those children who are so diagnosed. But the rise in its prevalence seems to echo the rise in the ADD diagnoses 10 years ago: every "problem" child was ADD. It was the thing to do to explain why Johnny was so difficult to handle. But once you label someone, you cannot take it back. You cannot unring the bell. Let's be sure that before we commit these children to a lifetime of potentially health-altering drugs (I say as I have images of my upcoming liver biopsy in my mind), let's be sure that we're sure.

A door closes and a window opens

Adam got his letter from the school for the arts on Wednesday. He didn't get it. The letter is pretty standard, saying that the reasons for not getting accepted are as varied as the students who applied. They also applaud the courage of the applicants for putting their talent on the line in such an important arena.

At first he was pretty closed mouth. Can't blame him really.

But we talked yesterday. During the interview they asked him what he would do if he didn't get in and he told the truth. He said that he would go to Rick Hansen, the high school in our area, which has its own computer animation department, the best and largest in the Greater Toronto Area. We had gone on an open house tour of that school three days before Adam's audition. They asked him at the end of the interview if he had any questions and he asked if they had an animation course like Rick Hansen does. No, they said. He could take a course in digital photography and learn to animate it on his own time.

So, I said yesterday: I don't think that his not getting accepted was a shot at his talent but rather a confirmation of how multitalented he is. Example: his portfolio and another students lay side by side. The committee, who has 700 applicants for roughly 220 spots, has to make some difficult decisions. The two portfolios show the same talent and artistic drive, but they note that Adam has another outlet. The other student, if they don't get accepted, has no other artistic outlet whereas Adam has the animation, something he's been taking in computer camps since he was about 6. So, they give the spot to the student who isn't as broadly talented as he is. He agreed with me. And I'm dead serious about it: I really believe that's why he didn't get in.

On a similar topic: a friend on my Saturday night hockey team has a copy of Flash (an animation program normally selling for $2500) that Adam wanted for Christmas but that I told him I just couldn't afford. She's getting me that copy (hopefully) tonight. Then I can install it and have it set up on Adam's computer just in time for him to come home Monday after school (he's at his dad's all weekend). What Adam wants to do "when he grows up" is to either design computer games or to do computer animation for movies. So I think that it's serendipity that he's now got this path open to him.

And the new Flash programme's not going to hurt either :-)
Monday, February 14, 2005

Specialist Appointment

I got in to see the liver specialist today. She's a really nice woman, quite young (the older I get the younger everyone else is).

She took a brief history. I mentioned to her the bit of a disagreement my pdoc and I had regarding the potential causes for the elevated liver enzymes, fatty texture and enlarged spleen. I told her that he said he didn't believe that the valproic acid was causing the trouble because it wouldn't cause an enlarged spleen.

VINDICATION!

She explained that the spleen filters the blood and the blood flows from the spleen to the liver, and from the liver up into the heart. She said that some people, like me, have scar tissue on their liver. That scar tissue causes blockages for the blood flow from the spleen, causing the blood flow to back up, causing in turn the spleen to become engorged with blood. So YES, if the valproic acid is causing the liver trouble, it certainly can be causing the enlarged spleen as well. (take that you stupid little man)

She has given me a requisition for a number of more indepth blood tests, and some repeats of the other ones to see if the levels have altered. I also have to do a 24 hour urine sample (boy, am I going to be the belle of the ball carting around a huge tub of urine. But hey, I do know some people who are into that...don't ask. That test is going to take some scheduling - no leaving the house). I have an appointment to see her again in a month to go over the results.

But she also prepared me that it is very likely that I will have to have a biopsy on my liver. She said it's not as drastic as it sounds: they use an ultrasound to ensure proper placement and it's done with a needle - takes a microsecond in and out she said (I thought, must be some damned big needle). She said then I would go home and rest for the remainder of the day. That's likely to take place in about 5-6 weeks from now.

She was saying that there is definitely something wonky going on, but it is far too early to know if it's the valproic acid or something coincidental that just appeared due to the valproic acid tests. She said a lot of liver diseases have absolutely no symptoms and are discovered by accident, kind of like this. She mentioned that "You're still a young woman, and for some reason, quite a few of these diseases seem to be more prevalent in young women". But she's definitely not ruling the valproic acid out, especially in light of the weight gain. She said that is one of the reasons that the liver biopsy will be important: there are some things that there are just no blood tests for. The biopsy will allow her to see how long things have been going on, to what extent the scarring or fatty deposits are, what else may be present, etc. This is the only way she'll see it. Not excited at the prospect of the biopsy, but it's better than nothing, not knowing.

So I've got another month of limbo. But there's forward motion, we're moving toward a target. And that makes me feel better. I can't stand just sitting still. Must be the manic in me.

I'll keep you posted.
Sunday, February 13, 2005

How Bipolars Think...Ok, How I think

Shrinkette found my last post (my open letter rant to my psychiatrist) a learning tool. That pleases me. I'm glad that someone can take my situation and benefit from it.

It brought to my mind how bipolars think. Then I realized it's foolish for me to assume all those with bipolar disorder think the same. I know that's not true because some of those I know with BP are predominantly predisposed to depression. Then there are the odd ducks like me who are rarely depressed and the pendulum seems to only go in a tight arc between stability, mixed states and mania.

But I also realized as I started to write this that sometimes what I describe as what I think is actually what I feel. Emotion and thought tied together as conjoined twins, inseparable. When things go well (not manic: stable), thought is crystalline, computation and decision making is rational and logical. It is hearing a radio tuned in to the right station, no static. The signal from my brain is clear, easily deciphered.

When it isn't, things happen as they did in the pdoc's office. I described it as white noise and at the time that is exactly what it was. Static. The radio station that is my brain was broadcasting but something was interferring with the reception. No clear signal. Nothing getting through but confusion, pandemonium. And without clear direction, oh so many things can go wrong. Trying to concentrate, trying to hear words, words in my own language, phrases that are meaningful, trying to pick them out from the static wears at me, like trying to swim through oatmeal. And my inability frustrates me, and then fear sets in the longer I try to swim against the confusion, fear of drowning in a sea of myself, unable to communicate to others that I'm even swimming at all.

And then, there are the days that the radio station is not broadcasting white noise, but instead is almost deathly quiet. My ears strain to hear something recognizable, and the body goes through its daily motions in the absence of other instruction. Then there, in that gap of silence. Did you hear it? A whisper. What did it say? I don't know. It is on these days that things are the most dangerous. It is on these days that I rely on the feeling engendered by that whisper rather than the true sense of what was said, and that feeling carries me away. Those are the days that I spend fighting with myself as I cross over that railway track on the way to work not to just deliberately stall it, to not drive into that bridge abutment, to not bring that knife out again. Those are the days that I look beside me in traffic and know he's talking on his cell phone to the man behind him about me. And the policeman on the corner? Yes, he's watching me and reporting on me. Thankfully, those days have been rare for the past six months or so.

Sometimes I actually think I'm lucky to be the way I am. I genuinely believe (sometimes) that I am more creative, I am POSITIVE that I am more spontaneous and can be incredibly funny. I try to remember this on those days that the reception from my little radio station isn't as clear as it should be. I try to not mourn too much the memory I've lost: I used to remember verbatim conversations, now have trouble remembering that I've spoken to someone at all. I try very hard to not be a victim in this - everyone has tragedy and difficulty in life and I could have been given a much more difficult burden in life.

At the end of it all, I know I have a good life. If nothing else, life with me is never boring. And I have to remember it that way. If I can just remember to remember.
Saturday, February 12, 2005

Open Letter (RANT) to my Psychiatrist

WARNING: THIS IS A LONG POST AND MAY CONTAIN SOME PROFANITY.

I really wonder about you.

I came into the office Thursday, and you were late, as usual. So I waited the 1/2 hr you were behind and got into see you. You mentioned that you received some test results from my family doctor and seemed a little surprised that you did. You're the one that referred me back to him for the tests because of the elevated liver enzymes. But maybe I just misread your tone. But I told you that my family doctor was sending me to a liver specialist because of the results on the ultrasound.

Oh? What did the ultrasound show? you asked me, with the results in the file right in front of you.

It showed, I said, a spotty texture of my liver which is consistent with a fatty liver. And Dr. P, my family doctor said that it's likely due to the weight that I've gained since being put on the valproic acid. He knows how active I am and that the weight is a side effect of the medication. Dr. P knows, though, that he's not a liver specialist and is sending me to one to get a second opinion on the results. And, I said, my life is basically in limbo, waiting for the three of you doctors to decide what is happening and where I go from here.

You read through the results and then said, do you drink?

No, I haven't had a drink in 10 years or so.

Well, there's a test we do that if people show a problem with their enzymes and they say they don't drink, we do this test and your results are consistent with someone who drinks.

(are you calling me a liar) I don't drink, I repeated. You looked at me patronizingly. (don't do that)

You nodded and said well, we would have to consider what alternatives we have.

Now, I had asked you a few months ago about Topamax as a possible alternative, that I was sick of this weight and was willing to try something different. At that point you said no, that you knew Topamax to be a less effective mood stabilizer and wouldn't prescribe it. So, I figured knew what was coming when I asked: what alternatives do we have to the valproic acid?

Lithium, says you.

I said that I understood lithium to be equally hard on the liver.

No, no, not the liver, you said. The thyroid.

WELL! I said. THAT's JUST what I need, throwing my hands in the air. Another 30 lbs! You were pushing my buttons, whether you knew it or not. You'd started the engine cycling. But I doubt that someone with their head so far up your own ass would realize what you were doing, what effect you were having.

You seemed shocked by my reaction. Understand this: I keep myself in tight control when around you. I have for the last year and a half since you wouldn't let me out of the hospital til I conformed to your treatment program. Deep down I don't trust you to not sign me back in again. Your shock was exhibited by your increased fidgeting. You never sit still. Are you bipolar too? Or do I make you nervous???

Well, you said, there are two other drugs: Topamax (?!@?!?!?) and Lamictal (a bottle of which was RIGHT ON YOUR DESK IN FRONT OF ME). But I don't know a lot about them (your fidgeting increases) and don't prescribed them very often at all. (So, you don't want to prescribe the medications not because they don't work but because you don't know about them....what about learning?)

I said well, if the valproic acid is causing my liver problems...

You interrupted: I doubt that it's the valproic acid.

Why?

Because it wouldn't cause your spleen to be enlarged as well.

WHAT!?

Your test results show moderate (technical word for spleen enlargement). That wouldn't be caused by the valproic acid. I've NEVER had a patient with those kind of results so I really don't think it's the Epival.

My head was immediately full of static. White noise. I couldn't think, I couldn't concentrate. DONT YOU UNDERSTAND? Do you NOT realize how people like me think? Do you NOT know that this kind of information, and dropped on my head in the manner you did, will make me obsess on it until it is all I'm thinking of, to the detriment of most other things including sleep?

So, you said. What do you want to do with your medication?

white noise
can't think

I don't know. You have to understand that I'm also starting a new job on March 1. I can't have myself be unstable. I need to be sure I'm on an even keel.

What do you want to do with your medication?

white noise white noise white noise

I turned my head to look out onto the dark street below and watched the snaking line of brake lights heading up the hill.

I'll tell you what my suggestion would be, you said. Let's cut the valproic acid in half (WHAT?!?!?!?) and see how you are.

white noise gets louder and panic drops in from the sky - meds in half means i'm gone

My leg starts jiggling up and down, my fingers tapping against my knee. Wind it up baby, you're winding me up. And somewhere I think you know it too, you dusky little leprachaun. You were pushing my buttons because I'm not fitting into your mould of a good compliant patient. My body isn't reacting to the medication the way all your others are and you don't like being wrong.

What do you want to do with your medication?

white noise STOP white noise
dammit I'm scared

The panic was getting worse but I knew I had to say something. I measured my words and tones carefully, like a conductor trying to slow down a runaway orchestra. I could feel the tears in my throat, backing up and up. I could feel myself vibrating inside like a tuning fork, ready to get up and sprint out of there.

I said slowly, not looking at you, looking around from wall to corner to wall, unable to rest my eyes: Put yourself in my shoes. I am starting a new job. I got that job because I WOWED them. I was rational, stable and calm. I have made my decision to change jobs based on logic and a rational comparison of environment and finance. I have never done that before in my life. My husband was pleasantly surprised. He is even PROUD of me. (tears threaten) *I* am proud of me (my voice cracks). I cannot give that up. I have fought too hard for this.

I look at you and you're just staring at me, not saying anything. Then:

So, what do you want to do with your medication.

ARGH!

I put my face in my hands and bowed my head. I CAN"T THINK, I said. I was coming apart and I was trying so hard not to let you see it.

Do you want to talk to your husband? you said.

husband....yes.....safety, sanity, security....yes

I called on the cell: no answer either at work or on his cell. I called home. Adam said Rob wasn't home yet but immediately knew something was wrong from my tone of voice. I said nothing and that I'd be home shortly.

You then repeated your suggestion about cutting things in half.

DID YOU NOT JUST WATCH ME FOR THE PAST TEN MINUTES STRUGGLING???? DID YOU PAY ATTENTION? AT ALL? DO YOU SEE ME? AM I HERE? DO YOU EVEN SEE ME SITTING IN FRONT OF YOU?

I struggled with the white noise, but with the thought of Rob being able to help me, I was able to push it back a bit.

What if you and your husband come in and we talk about it, you said.

Ok....that's good, I said. But I need the prescription today. I am almost out.

Ok, you said. Then let's cut it in half.

NO NO NO NO
WHY CAN"T YOU LISTEN.

I took a deep breath, trying to control myself.

I can't do that. I can't take that risk with my new job.

You gave me a queer little smile and said, yes but you're risking things if you STAY on the medication as well.

Thanks for clarifying that, you turgid little man. I'm either on medication and risking (further) damage to my liver (and now my spleen????), or I am lowered/off medication and risk damage to a fantastic new job I'm starting in two weeks.

I said: if I lower the medication now, it'll just be hitting me in two weeks, just when I start the new job. I can't risk that.

You're risking it the other way too, you said.

I know, I know, but I can't risk the other. I don't know what else to do. Put yourself in my shoes, I said again. And if we find out that the valproic acid is causing this, then I am willing to try a new medication whose side effects we don't know rather than have the other two options, neither of which are acceptable.

So, you wrote me the prescription.

Do my husband and I still need to come in?

You and your husband talk about the dosage. If you want to change it, come and we'll talk. But it's very important you get that gastro consult immediately, you said.

Thanks for the parting shot out the door, Napoleon.

As it stands, Rob and I figured we'd be several weeks getting a specialist appointment. That's the way things work here.

I got called at work Friday. I have an appointment at 11.30 Monday morning. This Monday. It surprised me a great deal to get one that fast. I'm trying not to read anything into that, telling myself that just because it's fast doesn't mean that there's some urgency to my situation. Most of the time, it works and I believe myself.

But my visit with you Thursday has me keyed up and strung like a tightwire, Dr. J. And when Rob finished listening to my explanation of the appointment, he is now also in my corner. Whereas before he told me to be patient with you and to trust in your expertise, he now is pissed at your arrogance (your constant habit of going "sure, sure, sure" while I speak is very rude and demeaning - you really aren't listening to me) and he would like me to speak to Dr. P the family dr about getting a new pdoc.

I've done some reading on all this (even though Rob tells me I'm just making it worse for myself, I can't help it....obsess obsess obsess), and I realize that there may be a need for a liver biopsy to determine the extent of things there. That doesn't please me in the slightest and makes me more nervous for disrupting things at the new job (drs appts etc).

But I'm away from you now, for another month. I have my family and my life, my very active life, to keep me occupied, trying to stay positive and away from the I felt Thursday.

I hope that you felt even a little nervous or bad about your behaviour. But I doubt it.
Thursday, February 10, 2005

Angry

This'll be short. I'll explain later. But I saw the pdoc tonight. He has a copy of all these tests that my family dr has done and drove me to distraction during the appointment.

He doesn't believe it is the valproic acid causing the fatty liver. He says it must be something else because my spleen is enlarged as well.

WHAT?!?!?

He said, oh, didn't your family doctor tell you?

The appt went down hill from there.

I'm frustrated, worried, and unsettled. I just vented to Rob, who has decided he really thinks this pdoc suffers from small man's syndrome (he's a good three inches shorter than me and I'm about 5 ft 7 inches).

Now I play the waiting game for the appointment from the gastroenterologist. My life is in limbo till then.

If anyone wants me, I'll be hiding in my closet, where there are no stupid doctors.

Food for thought

This just makes me wonder: what does a depressed rat look like and what does a happy rat look like.

I have to say it:

I smell a rat.

The Power of Radio

Last few posts have been about people falling through the cracks, bureaucracy, difficulty and the overall stigma of mental illness.

I found this fascinating and refreshing. We are more than our illness. We are sometimes "spot on".

What a great concept. I wish someone would pick it up here. The statistics are heartening.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Lethargy

Rob and Adam are at the Raptor's game tonight. Rob's boss got free tickets from somewhere so off they've went. I'm really not a fan of basketball and I don't mind staying home.

This afternoon at work I was suddenly struck with a fatigue so heavy I thought there was an invisible flannel blanket thrown over me. My movements were slower, my thoughts, I just wanted to put my head down and close my eyes.

I've made a quick bite for the two of them, and I had some left over pizza from last night. And I feel no better. I really should go downstairs and ride the bike a bit. It will pick me up. But I really feel quite slow. This is one of the very rare times for me where I'm not either manic or neutral. If I stay here staring at this damned screen any longer I think I might cry.

I think it's a boomerang from the little rant I had the other day about the liver crappy tests and such. What winds up must slow down.



I'm off to ride the bike. Even 15 minutes is better than 15 minutes of self-indulgent lethargy here. Then perhaps make some jewelry while I watch CSI. Goals are good. Let's see if I can meet them.

Later

Early Release

This article describes a scary situation that I think has the potential to happen almost anywhere.

Wherever bureaucracy wraps its cold fingers into health care, and every country in the world has this to some extent, there exists the possibility of numbers taking precedence over people.

They comment in the article that there are people who end up quickly back into the mental health system because they stopped taking medication, not because they are discharged too early. Why can't it be both? Speaking from experience, leaving the hospital even when you're ready to, you leave quite fragile. If you are released before you really are ready, you will not have the skills, support or understanding to ensure medication is maintained. This will then mean you slide right back to dangerous behaviour (either to yourself or others).

We've all mentioned this on our own blogs in some form or another. But I will repeat it.

I am tired of the stigma that is attached to mental illness. And I weep for those who fall between the cracks because the bureaucracy controlling health care can't get beyond the age-old perception that mental illness is really a character flaw rather than a physiological condition no different than diabetes or MS.

But I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen.
Monday, February 07, 2005

Doctor's House Call

My family doctor phoned me at home tonight. I had a series of blood tests done and an abdominal ultrasound about 2 or so weeks ago because of elevated liver enzymes that showed up in the blood tests my pdoc does every few months.

The family doctor said he was waiting for my ultrasound results to come back and they were the last thing. He said all the blood work he did (which was far more extensive than the pdoc's) came back normal. But the ultrasound shows that there is something with the texture of my liver. It's "spotty", consistent with a "fatty liver".

The doctor said that normally there's nothing to be concerned about with that, but he's not a liver expert and wants to send me to one. He will forward all the test results to the liver expert who will then determine if it is likely the Valproic acid that is causing this (and likely causing it through the 30 lb weight gain it has caused) and also help determine if I need to come off the medication. He said that he knew I was a little reluctant to reduce my dose because of the relative stability I'd found but that we'd maybe have to monitor my blood every month rather than every three and see if the levels change. And if they do, then we decide if I come off the Valproic acid.

I told him I'm seeing my pdoc this Thursday and he said that he's faxing everything to him so I should bring it up during the appt and let the pdoc know that I'm going to be seeing a liver specialist to rule out anything more sinister and to get a second opinion on whether or not staying on the Valproic acid would be detrimental.

He said he knows how active I am so he's pretty sure that the "fatty liver" is coming from the weight that I've put on and he knows that it's a side effect of the medication. I said yes, and that my lovely vain brain thinks that the only positive thing about potentially coming off the Valproic acid would be hopefully returning to my normal weight.

I asked him if I would continue to get the blood tests, albeit more frequently, through the pdoc and he said no, now that he's involved, he'd like to continue to monitor things. I have to then make sure that I go to his office on a monthly basis to get the requisitions and the blood tests (thankfully, there's a lab attached to his office).

Rob looked at me when I told him all this and said, Don't let it get you all worked up. I was indignant and said of course not. But of course he's right. I am bothered that my weight has surfaced in this way and that despite the fact that I run (although I have to admit that with the cold weather I've been riding the stationary bike in place of the run - but I ride for 40 minutes at a time, hard), I run or ride the stationary bike every day, I play hockey essentially three times a week (my power skating class is like a good hard hockey game) and I weight train a few days a week. And my weight doesn't budge. Something else you have to know: I was chubby as a child and have always been "big boned" (I HATE that expression) until I was about 23, then I got into shape and was a head turner. Even as a bigger girl, I was always in proportion, was told I had a Marilyn Monroe figure. I used to get followed home by men in cars - stupid things like that. But this weight came on with a resounding thud as soon as I went on this damned medication. It's so frustrating. And to now know that I'm going to have to face a total stranger of a doctor who's going to tell me I have to lose weight when I literally try to work my ass off every day - it brings tears of frustration and shame to my eyes.

I don't like it. And I hate doing this - I rarely ever do - but why me? What have I done? I mean, I try so hard to be a decent person, my whole life. And all I have got is one challenge over another piled on - childhood sexual abuse, teenage depression (which was likely my first BP episodes), drug abuse, alcohol abuse, a very bad marriage, bankruptcy, getting kicked out of university and losing my scholarship, and this diagnosis.

All I have is Rob and Adam. And they're more than I deserve.

OK>.....get a hold of yourself girl. Deep breath. Self pity is not allowed. It is not constructive and when you sit and think, you know you've had some wonderful things in your life. EVERYONE has had issues, tragedy, difficulty. You're no different and no better or worse. So stop making this into some stupid federal case and relax. Wait and see what the doctor said and don't be so damned paranoid about a doctor you haven't even met yet. You don't even have the APPT yet for pete's sake.

Relax....now I'm off to do some crunches before bed.
Sunday, February 06, 2005

Ok, Sounds like....

I got up at 7 am this morning (yes I know it's Sunday) to be the time keeper/scorekeeper for Rob's Sunday morning men's hockey league. Then we came home, I made lunch, made a necklace, we went to the hardware store to get a new light socket for the laundry room (sorting clothes in a dark basement does not make for clean laundry), checked out the Adidas store that's going out of business by my house (what a mess, looked like Shaq's closet exploded in there...we got outta there quick), made dinner, packed my bag, left at 5, got to the arena at 5.30, played a very fast and hard game of hockey from 6 to 7.15, got home at 7.45, made a sour cream lemon bundt cake (very yummy and only 28% fat), had a hot bath to get the layers of hockey sweat off, did a load of laundry and vaccuumed, and it's now just turning 9 pm.

Time to take my Seroquel.

Who wants a bet that it doesn't work tonight....

Rollin' rollin' rollin'...keep them doggies rollin'...I don't know the words....RAWHIDE!!!!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

For those that are interested...

See my other blog, Individual Beauty, for some pics of my latest editions to my eBay store. At least you'll see what I've been up to when not blogging or being a mom or wife or playing hockey or working....boy, that makes me sound kinda busy....

Ok..off to hockey now! :-)
Friday, February 04, 2005

Canadian Humour

This was sent to me via email today. This is pretty typical Canadian humour.

The Olympics in Canada 2010

Now that Vancouver has won the chance to host the 2010 "Winter Olympics", the following are some questions people the world over are asking!!!!! These questions about Canada were actually posted on an International Tourism Website.

Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

Q: Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Ca-na-da is that big country to your North . . . oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Canada? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada? (USA)
A: Only at Thanksgiving.


Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegetarian hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada, but I forget it's name. It's a kind of big horse with horns. (USA)
A: It's called a Moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Medical Bankruptcy

A study has been done that shows a huge proportion of US bankruptcy claimants have medical bills as either the main cause or a contributing factor behind the bankruptcy. They also said that about 75 percent of those had insurance at the beginning of their illness and/or that the insurance only covered catastrophic illness and not the ongoing or less severe conditions they needed covered.

I admit, politics are not my forte. I'm pretty much apolitical when it comes to supporting a party - I go with the guy who seems to make the most sense, not because he is with one party or another. But I'm confused.

Why is it seen as socialist to have universal health care?

Our system here, unfortunately, gets bogged down in who pays what costs (federal vs. provincial) and the rising fees of technology have created waiting lists sometimes months and months long. It's far from a perfect, I readily admit that.

But, speaking as a person with bipolar disorder, and knowing some of my American counterparts who have stopped taking medicine because they just cannot afford it, how is this healthy for the community at large? Doesn't it make sense that the community take care of its members, even if it is paying higher taxes to help ensure that all members are included and "no soldier gets left behind"?

I need to understand this better.

Copyright © 2005 Blondzila (because no one else would own this).

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