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
Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Benefits

There's another benefit to the new job. Rob and I now work about a mile apart. We commute sometimes together (though not all the time because of the demands of his job: he sometimes works quite late), and today we decided to have lunch together. It's a great treat. I know some husbands and wives who do all they can NOT to spend time alone together. I had that the first marriage. It's so nice in this one to really enjoy each other's company.

We discussed, in part, the change in my medication. (I finally told Rob Saturday because of something that happened at my hockey game, something we both decided was about 90% just being legitimately pissed off and about 10% a bipolar reaction). It's been almost two full weeks now since I made the adjustment in my dosage and I've noticed definite changes. It is noticing these changes that I realise what the medications had actually been doing. A lot of it seemed to be dampening my emotions and motivations, all for the greater good and safety of all concerned of course (hmmmm).

I feel more like my old energetic self. I've gone running three days in a row, and before that I ran every other day for three days. Haven't run that much in months and the body's not that much the worse for wear. My sex drive, which unmedicated is, well, difficult for most men to deal with, has returned somewhat, though certainly not to unmedicated levels(it had been just on autopilot earlier, remembering to have sex like I remembered to take medication or balance my chequebook). I'm putting more into my jewelry. I've been baking. I feel happier. I feel. The fact that the snow's melted and my spring bulbs are starting to sprout doesn't hurt either. I also said to Rob that I don't want the medication to always deal with things for me, that I want to be able to deal with things and think things through on my own. He paused and said that I do need the medication to help me cope and not to get carried away, but he's supporting this experiment 100%. He's also made me promise that I would talk to him before doing any further unilateral changes to my medication.

Rob and I talked and he's told me he's keeping an eye, making sure that nothing gets out of hand, that, in his words, I don't reupholster the house again (just before my hospitalisation in September 2003, I spent literally thousands of dollars on upholstery fabric to reupholster two chairs and a chesterfield, and I had never upholstered anything in my life...just one of many things I did while manic).

So, so far, so good on the adjustment.

Hope all is well with you.
Friday, March 25, 2005

Artisan

Bipolar Creative has a personality test she took.

Apparently I'm an Artisan. Guess that jewelry website, the paintings etc, weren't all for naught.

Some excerpts of my "personality profile":

"[Artisans] love working with their hands. They seem right at home with tools, instruments, and vehicles of all kinds, and their actions are usually aimed at getting them to where they want to go, and as quickly as possible. Thus Artisans will strike off boldly down roads others might consider risky or impossible, doing whatever it takes, rules or no rules, to accomplish their goals". That was me in a nutshell before medication. Still is to some extent: taught myself to drive a standard transmission, taught myself basic carpentry, enough to make a sofa table and a hall table with a hidden hinged cupboard for the dog's leash and brush, and anything in this house that is broken or needs to be installed, 99% of the time is done by me.

"Artisans want to be where the action is; they seek out adventure and show a constant hunger for pleasure and stimulation". Sounds like most bipolar I people I know.
"Above all Artisans need to be free to do what they wish when they wish...In the Artisan view, today must be enjoyed, for tomorrow never comes." I'd agree with that about 70% of the time.

Interesting. They could break it down further for me if I was willing to pay $14.95 USD. I'll pass on that. This was enough to satisfy my curiosity.

Cool.

OK, I 'splain

First off, I have to say that any kind of "bump" I may have alluded to last night in reference to Susan's suicide is non-existent. It is gone.

Second, Fran. Don't let the presence of lesbians deter you from getting involved in a fantastic team game. Your fiance can attest to the comraderie and fun that comes with the game and believe me, they (the lesbians) have better things to do than mess with us straight chicks :-).

Third, the meds.

About a month ago, my pdoc suggested cutting my meds in half. This was in response to the higher liver enzymes. His suggestion threw me into a panic, because I was starting a new job in about two weeks after that and any changes in my meds would come to roost right at that time, so if the reduction was a bad idea, I would be showing up at this new job in very bad form indeed.

About a week and a half ago, I had a follow up appointment with the liver specialist. She said the enzyme tests were still high, but that they had come down some. She was initially going to order the liver biopsy, but after some discussion, she agreed that she would wait six months and then redo the tests and see how things were. If at that point the levels were still elevated, off we go to the really big needle (that's how they'd do the biopsy: a huge needle injected into my liver from the skin that pulls out a chunk. I would be awake for this...great).

Then I started at my new job.

What a difference an environment makes. The old job was a very punitive place. I was a day late on a quotation because of work load and I got pulled into the president's office where I was told that my performance was unacceptable and that the following day we were to meet again and I was to provide a list of reasons why this happened and what steps I was going to take to ensure this never happened again. My confidence was shot. And for someone as prone to paranoia as me, I was looking over my shoulder a lot. I was working with products I had received little to no training on and was almost constantly foundering, but trying to keep a good face on it for customers (and Jim, if you're reading this, you know what I mean by that).

The new job: within 8 days I was pulled into the office of the president and was told that they usually don't say this until after 3 or 4 weeks, but he has never seen someone hit the ground running so quickly there before, and have such a positive impact on the company. He said he knew I was knowledgeable, but never realized I was THAT knowledgeable and was very impressed. He said he'd spoken to several others in the office and they agreed with his assessment.

My confidence is back. I have pulled things together that have been new and fresh and have visibly impressed the man I report to indirectly (who was my old boss about 3 years ago at another company) and the sales manager I report to directly. I come home more relaxed. I can't remember the last time I had those "bad thoughts" drop in (strike that - last night was a bit strange when Rob and I discussed the funeral). But I am far more stable that I have been in my recent memory.

SO

I decided last Thursday to change my medications very slightly. I usually take 500 mg of the valproic acid (likely the culprit in my liver issues) both in the AM and at dinner. I decided to take the full dose one day, just the evening dose the next, the full dose the following day and so on. Please remember that I also still take my Seroquel, and there are published studies that imply that Seroquel can be used for some people as a monotherapy for bipolar disorder, meaning it has not only anti-psychotic capabilities but mood stabilising ones as well. So I'm not hanging myself out to dry.

I have noticed in the past week a little more energy, a little less sluggishness. I have gone for more runs this week than I have in at least the past three months. The motivation is there where it wasn't before.

My plan is to do this for two weeks. After two weeks, honestly assess my behaviour and moods. I will discuss it then with Rob, asking his opinion. If he finds that the two weeks have shown evidence of moods swings I was unaware of, then up the dosage goes again and I keep it there. If the dosage change has shown no ill effects, I continue, and discuss it with Rob every few weeks to see how it goes.

Oh, yes. There is one added reason I started thinking of this. The money. I have no prescription coverage at my new job for three months. That's just how it works. Doing this with my meds will help them last just a little bit longer. My last bill from the pharmacy for this batch for two months (another indication that the pdoc thinks I'm more stable - the appointments are getting further and further apart) - the bill was $435.00, the bulk of which was for the Seroquel.

So, please don't worry. I will continue to blog to vent, and if you see any evidence of instability, please don't hesitate to kick me in the butt. But I'm into this experiment one week and I really am feeling stable. A good compromise of my old energetic self and my post-hospitalisation calm.
Thursday, March 24, 2005

I don't understand

I don't think it will come as a big shock when I say that a lot of women who play ice hockey are lesbians. There is a woman on my Sunday night team whose partner committed suicide Sunday. She (the partner) had been suffering from advanced fibromyalgia for years and just couldn't take it anymore. She was 47.

I couldn't go to the funeral because of time and geography limitations (it was clear on the other side of Toronto at 6 pm, just not feasible, and Rob's on vacation so he went for both of us). Rob gave me details on the whys and wherefores of the service. He seems to have the impression that my teammate might have known that her partner was going to do this.

I asked him, what would you do, in her situation. He said if he was in that constant pain all the time for that long, he just might do the same thing.

I sat in thought for a while.

Then I asked: why is okay for someone to do that when it's physical pain but not okay when it's mental? There was no judgment attached to the question. It is pure curiosity. And his response? "I don't know. I don't know that it is ever OKAY to do it at all".

This is officially my first bump in the road since adjusting my medications on my own last week.

I did tell you about doing that, didn't I????

I'll explain more tomorrow. My Seroquel's kicking in and I'm having trouble staying conscious.
Sunday, March 20, 2005

A lot of Buts

I've read several articles about the depths of persistent vegetative states, and of the history of the Schiavo case. If you're not sure what I mean, here's a brief overview.

The persistent vegetative state is not a coma. Someone in that condition is in a no man's land. They can laugh, smile, or scream. They move. They blink. But if you tried to poke them in the eye, they wouldn't have the reflex blink that we all would. But they have recordable asleep and awake states. But again, if you ask her, Terry, blink once for yes and two for no, she wouldn't. They do not consistently respond to commands (meaning, it may appear they do once, but it is coincidental).

I asked my son what he would do. He said that if you cannot appreciate the kind of life you have, then why live it. Pretty succinct. I know he's not referring to insensitive clods who don't appreciate how good they have it in life. He's specifically speaking of people in states like Terry, who apparently unable to appreciate and respond to her environment.

I agree. But I was also thinking yesterday evening as I was driving to hockey:

When I was in that horrible mixed state for a few months in summer/fall 2003, I know the horrible images and thoughts that were going through my mind. But I was operating on auto pilot and NO ONE KNEW. NO ONE KNEW. NO one could see inside and see what level of mental instability was there.

What if Terry is aware but is unable to respond?

That would haunt me. It's a horrible decision to have to make: to potentially let her suffer in a purgatory of nothing, or to let her die, while she is aware but unable to say "stop".
Friday, March 18, 2005

Freedom of De Press

Michele and I've been talking.

She's right, you know.

We're living in the Jerry Springer era. Everyone is waiting for their 15 minutes, even if they have to debase themselves and their families to do it. They want to have their Tammy Faye Bakker makeup running, to claim they're on TV.

Scandal has always been newsworthy. That's why public hangings were a form of public entertainment for the poor in England. They'd troop down to the Old Bailey and watch the famous, infamous, and those too poor to afford a large enough bribe fall to their deaths.

But in the era of lightning speed exchange of information, we have become remote from the reality. We see the chair being thrown into Geraldo's face and breaking his nose, and there's a vicarious thrill for some, but we never see the pain, the blood, smell the fear and anger, because of the cold separation of the television screen. We watch the farce of Michael Jackson in the courtroom, see video of his strange house, and can sit back, safe and secure, never having to face the child accuser, never having to feel the vibe of the courtroom, because we're watching on CNN.com, fed to us via cable modem, faster than we can mock it.

There was a David Cronenberg movie a long time ago called Videodrome. This is an oversimplification of the movie but, the main character (played by James Woods ) is given access to this special (I remember it as being sort of secretive) television show that were essentially snuff films. He has a woman in his life, played by Deborah Harry, who is a masochist. He is drawn to this show, and caught in this tension between wanting to look and needing to look away. Deborah Harry ends up in a snuff movie, and he watches her die, not knowing if it is really real anymore. (His life had become a series of hallucinations and mental contortions for reasons too strange to go into). But what I remember is the draw of the television in his life. It controlled him, his mind, changing him.

We are caught like him. We demand daily celebrities and tire of them quickly. We've learned that sex and violence sell (look at the WWE) and the corporate world is soulless: it offers up tantalising cubbyholes leading to stardom for the weakminded and starstruck. So few make it, and those that do, we tire of so fast.

We make issues like gay marriage important because we feel insecure, under attack from all sides by the world that we ourselves have helped to create: we buy the products advertised with the sexy women, we eat the food sold by the steroid taking athletes, we play with the toys pimped by convicts.

The press takes it and runs with it because that's what now sells papers.

And we buy it.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Liver & Onions

I had the follow up appointment with the liver specialist today.

The blood tests are still abnormal, but have improved from last time. And they are just a shade over the high side of normal. We had a bit of a discussion hashing out a couple of things (a good discussion, not like those with my pdoc - this doctor actually listens to me), and the end result is that we are NOT going to do a biopsy just yet. She wants me to do a follow up blood test in six months and see how things are going then and if they are still elevated then, THEN we do a biopsy.

I'm all for that.

So, I'm also going to do my damnedest to drop some of this weight in the interim. I have been using the medication as a bit of an excuse sometimes, but it's taken away some of my tendency to obsess, and as a result my eating habits have slipped now and again. That hasn't helped the medication's tendency to add on weight.

With that being said, I'm going to go change my clothes (the doctor's appointment was at such a time in the afternoon that there's no point in going back to work and it's a lovely day outside) and I'm going for a run. Wish me luck: it's the first run in a few weeks.

That sound you hear is my nylon covered thighs whispering together frantically.

I'm off.
Monday, March 14, 2005

Pictionary giggles

I had a decent day at work. Rob stayed home today, getting over a nasty bout of stomach flu that hit him in the middle of Saturday night. Adam's off for March break. So when I left work for home, I called and said I was leaving, speaking to Adam. I asked if he knew what was for dinner and told him I was hungry.

I drove the 40 minute commute and got home starving. Adam says, "No dinner for you, I'm making macaroni for me, then Rob's cooking for you guys."

I was hungry and still off my course from the blip of the weekend.

Rob eventually made dinner: a chicken and rice dish I'm not a big fan of but he loves it. I ate half a portion then went to go ride the bike downstairs. On the way, Adam asked if we could play a family board game tonight. I said yes, after my bike ride.

I rode for 40 minutes, needing the time to unwind. Why was I so wound up? Stupid things: I was hungry, and normally I would've had dinner ready for Rob right away. I had to wait. No big deal, but since I am still trying to get steady again, my brain made it into one. Both Adam and Rob knew I was "off", both separately asking for hugs and massaging my shoulders, trying to physically impart some peace.

I finished the bike ride and we decided on Pictionary as our board game. It's the Junior version, bought long ago for Adam. The rules state that when there's only 3 players, one draws for both the remaining players. The game is rather short. Before each picture we would give a clue.

Rob drew first. I won handily.

Then Adam drew. I won handily. One of his words was bulldozer. The clue was "Starts with B". He drew a square, then a rectangle, joined by a long rectangle, and I got it. Rob was flabbergasted.

Then I drew. One of the words was cow. The clue was "on the farm". I drew a circle for the head. Adam got it. Rob made a big deal out of it, in a funny way that is. He drew these little circles saying: "cow, cow, cow". Adam and I were laughing. Then another word was "Funhouse". The clue was "at the fair". I drew a right angle, about to draw the house and Adam said "Funhouse". Rob's eyes nearly fell out of his head. He drew a right angle repeatedly, talking in a voice like he'd swallowed helium, saying "look at me, I can draw a funhouse". Then he'd look at us in mock disgust, saying, "man, I just don't see it. Stop using your trippy mother-son psychic stuff here, k?" The final word, for Adam to win the game, was rattlesnake. The clue was "things that bite". I drew what was meant to be its head, looking like an just-slightly elongated letter C. Adam got it. Rob drew a cow and a rattlesnake in a funhouse, just as I drew them, so it looked like a circle and a C sitting on a right angle. Then he murmured "bloody conspiracy, just because I'm not a blood relative..."

Adam and I were laughing so we were crying.

I needed that. And they knew it. They take care of me so well. They are great, both of the men in my life.

A blip

Friday, Saturday and Sunday: each day, for a different reason, my medication and/or sleep and/or eating schedules were disrupted.

It showed: by Sunday, I was driving to my hockey game in near tears. From nowhere. And checking the speedometer on my car, wondering what would happen if I just drove into the car in front of me at that speed. Wondering what would hit me first, the steering wheel or the dashboard.

Playing hockey like that will do one of two things: I will get off the ice at the end wanting to almost literally kill someone, or I will feel much better, like the high pressure steam line has been vented. Yesterday, I came home feeling better. 95% myself. I'm striving for 100% by the end of today.

I made sure I took my Seroquel on time last night and I've taken my meds this morning. I need to get back on track. And I know I can do it. It's not a major upset, just a blip.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005

My pDoc is a moron

I ranted at him last month. Not that he heard me from the internet, but hey, I ranted.

Tonight I had my next appointment.

He asked me how the new job was going and I said fine. He said, "You were worried that you wouldn't be able to cope, that things would be overwhelming for you".

I looked at him, unbelieving that he didn't remember the extent of our last conversation.

"No," I said, talking as I would to a child who wasn't listening, "I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to cope if you cut my medication in half, as you were suggesting. I was concerned how that drastic a reduction in medication would affect my behaviour just in time to start this new job".

"Oh. Right," he said. "And why was I going to cut your medication again?"

You're kidding me, right? You can't be this stupid.

"Because of the fatty infiltration in my liver," I said in a near monotone (it was either that or shout at him, and that would do me NO good.)

"Oh. Right," he said. "Did you see someone about that?"

"Yes. I saw Dr. J. up the street and she's done some more extensive tests and said I likely need a liver biopsy. I see her on the 15th to go over the results of the tests and discuss the biopsy if necessary."

"Oh. Okay."

So then he asked his usual "have you had racing thoughts, pressured speech, spending sprees". To each question my answer was a brief "no". I trust him as much as I would trust a necropheliac undertaker. I'm not giving him any ammunition. I will have to be right off my freakin' rocker before I admit any instability to him.

"Do you have any questions or concerns you want to address with me?" he asked. This surprised me somewhat: I don't remember him asking me this before. But my answer was still a short "no".

The only positive is that he's given me a script for 2 months, the first time he's had a gap that long for me. I then told him that if the liver doctor decides that the valproic acid is a problem, then I will be in touch with him and if necessary take the half dosage he had suggested until my next appointment.

Obviously he doesn't listen to me, and obviously he keeps very poor notes. How did I get stuck with him? I remember him telling me once that he originally started out studying to be a GI doc, specialising in bowel disorders. I guess that's why I get such shitty treatment from him. We go with what we are comfortable.
Sunday, March 06, 2005

It Can't Happen Here

Thursday, four RCMP officers were gunned down in the line of duty in Alberta.

This is not New York City.

This is not Detroit, or South Central Los Angeles.

We haven't had this kind of loss of police life in 120 years. Since the frontier days of the Northwest Rebellion. Google it if you want. It's old Canadian history we learned in Grade seven or eight.

This was in a small town in rural Alberta, where these men were neighbours, likely played hockey or curled with or whose kids went to school with everyone in town.

About six months before my hospitalization in September 2003, a young girl named Holly Jones was murdered in Toronto. I immediately, in my grandiose fashion, decided I was going to be a police officer to ensure this never happened again. I went through several stages of testing and was finally turned down. I was at the time devastated - it sent me into two months of mixed state hell, ending in my hospital stay.

I see these men and women who risk their lives and laugh at the thought I believed I could be one of them.

They are a breed apart. They are selfless, giving to their community because they believe it to be the right thing to do.

There are a whole host of international headlines.

I hope the families of these men can take some small comfort in knowing that there is shock round the world at such a heinous act from this man. But I would think that now, there is little comfort, just loss and pain.

My thoughts are with you. We will not forget them.
Saturday, March 05, 2005

Laugh Out Loud - It's good for you!

This made me laugh out loud!
Friday, March 04, 2005

What a breath of fresh air

The first week at the new job has been a wonderful change. I actually had people asking about my life - do you have kids, are you married, etc. At the old job, people do not interract, except for this little clique of three or four people. They don't volunteer information (even just simple things such as where do you live: I was told "Toronto"...great answer. 3 million people live in T.O. I'm not going to stalk you, you stupid woman). At this new job, people are considerate, laid back, and friendly.

I have *some* work to do but of course, being the first week, it's a little slow while I get adjusted to the whole system of the place. I'll be doing a little bit more of the marketing here and working with my old boss, who is fantastic. The only reason I ever left where he was before was that he was transferred to a new department and his replacement was a doofus.

Tonight is power skating, and then hockey Saturday night and Sunday night as usual. Monday is the next appointment with my stupid pdoc. I'm not looking forward to it. I never do. But we'll just get it over with.

Hope all is well with everyone out there.

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

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