Tiger, Tiger – an explanation

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Photo via VisualHunt.com

Hi everyone!

Yes, I know. I don’t usually post on weekends. But I’m sure you’ve all noticed my blog has been consumed by the story Tiger, Tiger. There’s a reason for that.

I’m attempting something that’s been done before, but I don’t really care. I’m doing it in my own style – I’m attempting to post a novella/novel on my blog. You’re getting it in small chunks as I progress through the story.

It’s going to be a little boring in places, and I’m sorry for that. You’re getting the first draft, as you do with just about everything I post here. My plans are to edit/revise/rewrite it and then post it for free on Smashwords in its entirety (since it’s already been up for free on my blog – I’m not going to charge people for it).

I just thought this would be a fun exercise. If you don’t want to read Tiger, Tiger, then just ignore the Monday through Friday posts. I’ll be posting on the weekends as well now. I won’t be doing my usual drabbles. I don’t want to deal with the hassle of trying to come up with something that takes me out of the universe of my current story, entering somewhere else, and then having to try to go back in.

What I will do is post some non-fiction posts. Some random recipes, some discussions on what’s going on in my life, fun things I find on the web, things like that. So there is a break from the story to give you guys a rest once in a while.

If you have any topics you’d like me to cover, leave me a comment. If you want to complain about Tiger, Tiger, feel free. But be warned I’m probably going to ignore you unless it’s a suggestion on how to fix areas in revisions. Then I’ll make a note of your comment and continue on.

I love you all. Thank you for following me, hanging out, and enjoying my stories. It means a lot to me. Now…off to get Manas and Lilavati into even more trouble!

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Relaxation

 

Boiler bay 2

Photo taken by me at Boiler Bay in May 2017

I’m making this brief since I can barely think right now. I’m calling my doctor’s office and seeing if I can move my appointment from the 30th up to (hopefully) today. If not today to ASAP. The pain in my legs has increased to the point where it woke me up at 2:30 AM. I’ll update this post later with what I learn from the doctor.

Wish me luck!

Update – Well, I was told to go to the urgent care clinic because the computer systems were down. That was a waste of time. They told me I needed to see my primary care doctor. So I staggered to the reception desk (Tims had to support me because of how much pain I’m in) and got the first available appointment – which is tomorrow morning at 8:45 AM with a check in at 8:30 AM. At least it’s better than 8/30/17 at 9 AM, which is when I was originally scheduled. I’ll do another post as soon as I know what my doctor suggests. Continue watching this space for further updates.

Update 2 – The doctor increased my Gabapentin. I’ve been taking it for a couple days now. The pain is lessening but I’m not happy with the side effects. I’m lightheaded and disoriented all day. I take them every 8 hours and I take them three times a day 4:30 AM, 12:30 PM, and 8:30 PM. Since I was already taking my usual meds at 4:30 and 8:30, that wasn’t too hard. But the 12:30 one was. I ended up having to set an alarm on my phone to keep myself from forgetting. I’m hoping to be well enough by Monday 8/28/17 (this is actually Sunday…I haven’t updated because I wasn’t feeling too good on Friday and Saturday) to take over my usual cooking duties. Which would be great, since we need more bread.

Adapting to life

Random Ramblings #2 – The Health Episode

Hi everyone. You may have noticed I missed yesterday’s post. That was mostly because of the eclipse here in the US. I was excited for that and really wasn’t paying attention to anything else. I was also dealing with another issue, one mentioned in the YouTube video I linked above. It’s my second vlog episode, and one where I actually break down. I don’t do that often in anything public, least of all something that’s on the internet. But I felt it was important to get out my message, and that’s part of it.

What’s so important that I had to say it when I was so emotional? I went to the ER for a screaming headache and the fact that my legs felt like someone poured gasoline (petrol for those of you not in the US) on them and lit them on fire. They were so much on fire I wanted to scream. They still are. The Nurse Practitioner treated the migraine but really didn’t say much about my legs other than that the pain was most likely a “form of neuropathy.” When I talked to my primary care doctor, she agreed with the assessment. When I talked to my vascular surgeon he agreed with the assessment, even though neuropathy typically sticks to the feet and hands and is more common to someone with diabetes.

No, I don’t have diabetes. I don’t even have pre-diabetes. My A1C number (that’s what they look at to assess your likelihood for diabetes) is at the low end of what’s considered normal. It’s not too low though, so there’s nothing to be worried about. But now I have a problem – what exactly is wrong with my legs, and is it permanent? I hope it’s not, but if it is, I’ll have mobility issues for the rest of my life. This is something that I don’t look forward to, since I have more than enough health issues that are going to last me for the rest of my life. I don’t need one more.

I’ve set another appointment with my primary care doctor to see what she says, what tests I need to take to find out what this is, and how I can treat it – if there is a treatment. I’ve had to make some adjustments to my life, though at first I thought I’d lost the ability to do one of the things that makes me really happy.

I thought I’d lost the ability to cook and bake. Both of those require me to stand on my feet, and my legs just couldn’t take it. It was suggested I could sit in the kitchen and direct people, but that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to have my hands in everything. I wanted to chop, stir, knead bread, mix pancakes. I wanted to do everything when it came to the cooking.

So, thanks to my wonderful friend Deborah urging me not to give up on something I love so much, I came up with the idea to turn the table that serves as the “island” in our kitchen into my work space. With some help, I cleared it off and got rid of most of the stuff under it. I tucked a stool underneath for me to sit on and voila, instant work area. It got its first test yesterday morning, and it worked fairly well. I still had to do a lot of standing and walking, but that was mostly because my original breakfast plan got scrapped due to not finding a couple ingredients. But if I plan carefully, I shouldn’t have to worry about standing at all, except to pull things out of the oven and to drain things in the sink, like pasta. This makes me very happy.

What I’ve learned through all of this is humans are very adaptable creatures. We constantly adapt our surroundings to suit us. And if that doesn’t work, we adapt to that as well. We know we can do things that will make our lives easier, or at the very least more livable. We are remarkably resilient and can do a lot of stuff.

So when life throws a curve ball in your direction, don’t let it stop you. Roll with it and adapt to the situation. Figure out how to deal with it and move forward. Go ahead and have a good cry if you need to. An emotional breakdown is okay. I’ve had a few since this all started. But the next step is to keep moving beyond them. Keep moving forward. That’s the only way to survive.

Mini redecoration project #1

Finished project

Picture taken by me 8/15/2017 with my Nexus 5

So, I decided I was tired of not having a lot of color in my life. The majority of my clothes are dark. As you can see, the walls in the room are painted a pale blue, but it starts wearing on you after two years. Tims’ desk, which you can see the corner of on the left side is a kind of cream/light beige thing & is really boring to look at. You can see the couch in here. Do I have to say anything more about it? And before you ask, no we can’t move either thing out & replace them. One, no money. Two, they don’t belong to us. My desk is mine, bought with my own money.

So, while I was in Corvallis yesterday for medical reasons, I decided I was going to do something fun. I picked up two rolls of Duck tape – one violet & one a dark rose (according to their packages, at least.) I covered the top of my desk and the keyboard tray. This is the result.

I also covered my pen holder and Reidar’s treat container, which you can just barely see behind my water bottle. The pen holder is what’s holding my fidget cube. The pen holder is pink while Reidar’s treat holder is purple. Hey, they had to match my desk.

The little yellow stuffy who looks like I’m trying to mutilate him is Desk Duck Bunny and he’s holding all my ponytail ties that I keep taking out of my hair and never returning to the bathroom and the Scrunchie I use to keep the knot I put in my hair up so it’s off the back of my neck. This way I don’t have to go looking for them in the morning. (I don’t bother with the mirror in the morning if all I’m doing is a ponytail, a basic braid, or my little twist/knot combo.)

My next goal is to do something with the mouse pad. I could replace it, but I don’t really want to. I’d rather DIY it with something cheap. I thought about putting Duck tape on it, but figured my mouse wouldn’t really work on it well and when I ran it around on my desk for a few minutes, discovered I was right. I’m considering pink or purple puffy fabric paint around the edges, both to make it match my desk and to keep me from running off it when I’m playing Sims 4. 😉 Either that or a metallic one, possibly gold or silver. I’m leaning towards silver since I’m not a huge fan of yellow gold. I own one piece of jewelry that’s Black Hills gold and that’s pretty much it.

We’re doing some big demolition and remodeling in another room. They’re going to put shelves in there with some of the scrap wood. At least that’s what it sounds like. I’m hoping we can get some shelves built in here that are next to my whiteboard. That way I can buy a can of spray paint, paint it some pretty color, and put them up on the wall. They’ll serve a dual purpose – help me clear off my very limited desk space (what you couldn’t see is the small TV tray holding my second monitor and the rest of the stuff I keep close at hand that’s constantly getting knocked off) and continue my goal of mini redecoration projects.

Beyond those three things, I haven’t decided what else I want to do. If you have any suggestions for inexpensive (read that: something that’ll cost me less than $40 total to implement) ways to liven up my space or my room, let me know in the comments section. It can’t be anything major since this isn’t our house and as of yet we don’t have permission to do much at all in our room. But anything to help liven things up a bit for me would help greatly. Oh, and nothing a terrier could chew up, because he will.

The heroes of the medical profession

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Photo via Visual Hunt

I know a lot of you hang around because of my little fiction drabbles – which aren’t always as short as I intend – but I’m going to talk about something else serious today. Then perhaps tomorrow the drabbles will resume. I want to talk to you today about the heroes of the ER – the nurses.

The first people on the scene when you get into the ER aren’t the doctors. They’re the nurses. They take your vital signs, listen to you as you explain your situation, clean up the blood and/or vomit and/or urine/feces as they listen, and note a general assessment in your chart. Then they go off to tell the doctor what’s going on.

They check on you regularly and if they think the doctor is being too slow in doing something for you, they’ll ride their ass until they come in and talk to you. Once that happens, treatment begins. But it isn’t the doctor who does the actual treatment. Once again, it’s the nurses. They’re the ones who stick the IVs into you, who put catheters in places you’re rather not have one, who console you when you hear about all the tests you’re going to have to go through, and administer any medications the doctor thinks you need right at that moment. They’re also the ones who try to make you feel better with a good bedside manner – which many ER doctors don’t have.

The nurses are the ones who check on you after you’ve returned from being wheeled out for getting x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or whatever tests you’re being given that will take you out of your spot in the ER. They’re the ones who keep you updated on what’s going on. And again, they’re the ones who push the doctor if they think they’re taking too long.

Of course, if the ER is really busy, you might not see your nurse as often as you’d like. But they will make sure you’re checked on, even if they have to beg one of their coworkers to check in on you. They want to be sure you’re safe, cared for, and as pain free as possible.

When the doctor gives their final diagnosis and comes up with a treatment plan, they’ll come in and give you the bare details and then leave. It’s the nurse who brings up the discharge plan and explains everything to you in detail, answers any questions you may have, gives you whatever warnings are needed, and wishes you well. The nurses are the ones who tell you if you have questions to call and if it gets worse to come back. The nurses are the ones who follow you to the door to make sure you’re well enough to leave, and if you can’t walk, they’ll get a wheelchair for you and take you out to your car.

Even outside the ER, nurses are the ones who do the bulk of the work. In a hospital setting, the nurses outside the ER do a lot of what the ER nurses do. In a doctor’s office, they’re the ones who take your vitals, ask you what’s going on, get notes for the doctor, and then they’e also the ones who administer any shots the doctor wants you to have and explains what the doctor wants you to have done if you have questions.

My brother is a trauma nurse. My ex-sister-in-law is a regular hospital nurse. I was a CNA for a few years, who are the right hands of nurses outside of the ER. Be nice to your nurses. For the most part, they genuinely care about you and want to make sure you’re healthy and happy by the end of your visit. And if that’s not going to be the case, they’re the ones who are there to grieve with you, to comfort you, and to show they care and want to ease your burden as much as possible as you go through this terrible time.

I’m not saying doctors don’t do anything. They do a lot. General practice doctors are a lot more hands on, and work hand in hand with their nurses. A lot of them keep their nurses in the room with them to be an extra pair of hands and to explain things when the doctor can’t. But in a hospital setting, doctors have very little time to deal with patients as they often have twenty other patients to attend to – oftentimes more. So they are stretched very thin. That’s why they rely on their nurses to get things done.

Nurses are heroes. Remember that. Nurses are heroes.

I love you Mom

Melissa Mom Alissa Maegan Shandra

(This picture contains my older sister Melissa – who passed away from cancer in 2016, my mom – who passed away from cancer in 2003, my niece Alissa – who is Melissa’s youngest daughter, my youngest sister Maegan – who is mentally disabled and will never be able to live on her own, and my niece Shandra – Melissa’s oldest daughter.)

My mom. I still have so many conflicting emotions about her. My childhood wasn’t great living with her, but those two years before her death were amazing, and those are the ones I’m choosing to focus on more and more often now. She was so excited about my Katie being born. She so desperately wanted to be there. But her doctor told her that wasn’t going to happen. She went from diagnosis to death in three weeks – stage 4 stomach cancer that would have been discovered if her asshole doctor had just listened to her instead of brushing her off, telling her to “get a hobby” and that she was “depressed.”

Today would have been my mom’s 78th birthday. I often think about how life would have been different if she’d survived her cancer. Would we have lost our kids? Would we have ended up living on the coast? Would I have tried to commit suicide in 2013? Would she have abandoned us if we had lost the kids like the rest of our families did at that point in our lives?

Of course, the answer to all of these questions is “I don’t know.” I’ve been asked how I can love my mom after all she did to me. Well, I can honestly say my childhood wasn’t all bad. I do have a ton of happy memories from it too. There was a lot of uncertainty and fear growing up in my parents’ house, about whether my mom’s mental illness – though none of us knew anything about bipolar disorder back then – would cause me problems or not, but we had a lot of fun too.

Like cooking lessons. On her good days, those were a blast. She was teaching me how to make chocolate chip cookies and had to run to the bathroom. I was 10 I think. She told me when the timer went off I was supposed to pull the cookies out of the oven. Except she forgot to set the timer. I realized this and decided to help. I looked at the recipe, saw it said 10 minutes, and then set the timer – it was one of the ones where you twisted the dial past 10  and then you could sent the time. I watched the timer and when it dinged I pulled out the cookies.

They were burnt. I was horrified (and a little scared – mom’s nature being what it was back then) that I was going to get yelled at. Mom came out and looked at them, then looked at the timer. “I didn’t set the timer, did I?” I explained what I’d done. She just laughed and showed me how to do it properly. And that the recipe said 8 to 10 minutes and that 8 minutes was almost too much in our oven. She usually only put them in for 6. She threw away the burnt cookies and we carried on.

Then there were the camping trips. Oh the camping trips. My dad was a workaholic when I was growing up, but when he took his vacation in the summer, we did two things – went to visit my grandparents and went camping. My visits to my grandparents were never comfortable, but that’s for another post. Let’s talk camping.

I think being outdoors was soothing to my mom. She loved camping, going for picnics, going fishing, doing anything she could outside. On our camping trips, we’d go to one of our favorite campgrounds in two cars. Up until I was probably 14 or 15, dad would be driving the old pickup he bought in the late 60s packed full of our camping gear while mom brought me and my little sister in the second car behind him, along with spare gear, most of the food, and whatever else we thought we couldn’t live without.

She and dad would set up the tent, and once I was strong enough to help, I’d help pound in tent stakes. We’d get the canopy up over the table in case of rain. And when I was a kid, it rained a lot more than it does now in southern Idaho. At least it seemed to me it did because just about every single camping trip we got rained on.

We used an old gold pan (the type you use when you go panning for gold, not one made of gold) that had it’s bottom sealed as our wash basin. We washed dishes in it. We washed our hands and faces in it. Water was boiled, first on a charcoal grill we packed with us, and then on the Coleman gas grill we started carrying because it was lighter and cheaper to pack around. Cold water was added to make it easier to use for all of us.

Dad would cook, we would eat, mom and I would do the dishes, and then we’d all scatter to do whatever during the day – usually hiking or playing in the river. We always seemed to manage to snag the campground with the path right down to the water. It was my parents’ favorite spot.

At night, after dinner, we’d gather around the fire pit that dad would have lit before dinner, and tended while we ate. It would be just about right. We’d talk for a bit and then dad would break out the makeshift skewers that had been a part of our family for years – wire hangers he’d bent and twisted into long metal rods with a twisted ring and the end that we held. We’d roast marshmallows and talk and laugh. Maegan always took her marshmallows to my mom to eat, and mom would dutifully eat them. After four or five, she’d tell my sister she’d had enough and Maegan would give her skewer to dad, who burnt off the residue and set the skewer aside for the next night.

After thatwe’d light the lamps – kerosene with the little sock like burning wicks – and play cards, Yahtzee, and everything else we could think of. Then I’d read, mom would write (she’s the one who fed my interest in becoming an author), Maegan would be put to bed, and dad would do whatever it was dad did. Sometimes strum on his guitar, before his hands got too bad. Sometimes whittling. Sometimes just sitting back with his feet by the fire pit, watching me and mom.

Then there were the rare times we made it to the coast. Oh, the smiles on my mom’s face when we got to do that. I remember one time, I think I was still in Job Corps but I can’t place what I was doing or when exactly it was for sure – memories being what they are, but I do know it happened because my dad has pictures, we went to the coast while I was living in Washington.

Dad huddled in his windbreaker with the camera while mom, Maegan, and I ran down to the edge of the water. It was a gray, windy day with a light, misting rain. Pretty normal for the coast, actually. We laughed, dug for sand dollars, and just had a great time. Mom’s grin was the biggest as we held up our finds for my dad to take our pictures. She laughed, ran around with me and Maegan, and was so happy. I loved seeing her like that.

A friend of mine, right after mom’s funeral, offered to paint a portrait of my mom from any photograph I could send her (she lived in Australia at the time.) Dad picked one from that trip, with mom laughing and the wind in her hair. I sent it to her, and about 3 months later, we got a package back from Australia. Inside was the photo we’d sent, and an incredibly well done portrait of my mother laughing. My dad kept it up on the wall until he remarried. I’ve told him when he dies I want that picture. He’s agreed I can have it.

He knows I’m not the one most hurt by my mom. My older siblings got that. I’m nine years younger than my next oldest sister and there were three older than me. (It went Clayton – my brother, Melissa – who passed away last year, and Amy – the one who’s closest to me in age among my older siblings…and she’s the one who’s nine years older than me.) But he knows that I bore the brunt of things so my little sister, who wouldn’t have understood any of it, didn’t suffer what I was. He knew I took the abuse my mom would have put on her, which in turn made me a bit of a bully towards Maegan at times because I didn’t think it was fair I had to do this for her, but in the end my protective nature towards my little sister won out and I continued protecting her for as long as I could.

When I moved out for good (or so I thought), when I went to Washington, I was terrified. Not only homesick, but because I was still Maegan’s protector. But at that point I was so lost in my own life, I didn’t realize my mom was already changing. I didn’t know that she was already seeking help, that she’d been reading a lot and had found out that my diagnosis of bipolar (when I was 16 – I was 22 when I went to Washington) was quite possibly her problem too.

My dad told me she found someone who listened to her and started her on a string of medications that at first made it worse, but within six months, they’d gotten her cocktail right and she was a whole new person. She could laugh, live, love, and wasn’t afraid of hurting her children anymore. Unfortunately, cancer took her before we could get to know this new mom better.

The others said their goodbyes but I don’t know that they ever really forgave her. I know they didn’t say that they did, even though she asked them. I was the only one who said I forgave her, though at the time I didn’t know if I really did. I don’t know that I have completely yet, but I am learning to let go of the negative and remember the positive. More and more I’m remembering the laughing, happy woman from my past, and not the abuse I grew up with. My thoughts are no longer focused only on that.

So, once more –

I love you Mom. Happy birthday! I miss you every day.

Goal Post August 2018

Pretty Tree

(Photo taken by me of a flowering tree in our yard – no clue what it is though.)

Hi everyone! Racing the Wind will be back tomorrow since you’re all interested (I hope) in the outcome of the contests between Eridan and Angharad. But as this is August 1st, it’s time for the goal post. Yay!

Let’s look at last month’s goals and see how I did. *cringe*

I will blog every weekday, unless there is something going on. If there is, I’ll post a brief explanation of my missed days on the weekend. This way I don’t have to try to get a full post up on the weekends, which oddly enough can be even busier on the farm than the weekdays.

Okay, so this one didn’t exactly turn out like I hoped. Not only did I NOT blog every weekday, I also didn’t post my brief updates on the weekends. *sigh* I’m going to get this blogging thing figured out eventually.

I’m going to post a vlog once a week, a gaming video at least once a week, and do a stream at least once a week. I need to get my digital presence back up and moving.

So, no vlogs, but there’s a reason for that. My phone has been giving me fits for the past month and within the last week or so it has finally crapped out. I can barely make phone calls on it. I can’t record videos and upload them to YouTube since I can’t connect to our wi-fi and I’m not using data (it’s expensive through my phone provider)…if I could even get a signal. Our house doesn’t lend itself for getting any kind of signal. The gaming videos are picking up, though for a while I couldn’t even bring myself to do them. I’ve got a bunch recorded and I’m posting them every day so far. I’m going to do more as I can and keep scheduling them out as far as I can. I managed my first stream last Saturday at 7:30 PM PDT. I’m rather proud of myself on that one. I haven’t touched my Twitch account in months.

I am going to start being more active on Twitter, since I’ve all but vanished off of it lately. It doesn’t do me much good to ignore a good social media platform if I plan on developing relationships with friends and finding fans.

I started this at the beginning of the month. I really did. And then…….I kinda quit. Facebook is much easier to engage with people on. Conversations happen much quicker and it’s easier to follow them.

I’m going to finish chapter 3 in Into the Flames and at the very least start chapter 4. If I finish it, that’ll be a bonus. But I at least want to get it started.

Well I did that. Then I scrapped that whole version and started over with the book. My characters gave a new shiny idea for their story that fits with their personalities better. So we’ll see how this one goes. I have reached chapter 2 with it, so I’m having fun.

I will do 20 minutes of yoga every day and go for a walk at least three times a week. My goal is to get down to 200 lbs by the end of the year (I’m at 240 lbs right now), so I need to get my ass in gear and get moving.

*sigh*

I don’t even want to talk about this one. Not only have I NOT done any yoga, but I’ve gone on maybe three walks the entire month of July. I’ve also regained 10 lbs, so I’m up around 250 again. I doubt I’ll get down to 200 lbs by the end of the year now, since a healthy weight loss is around 8 lbs a month. I just fell off the bandwagon.

So…THIS month’s goals.

1. Blog every weekday. If I miss a day, oh well. Life happens. Shrug it off and move on. Also on Fridays post a goal update so I can hold myself accountable. (I’m lazy and this should be a good motivation for me. Though I may not get one posted on the 4th…that’s our big grocery trip into Salem. If I do get one done, it won’t be until late in the afternoon/evening.)

2. Get back on Twitter for an hour every day and limit my Facebook time to one hour a day. I seriously spend way too much time on Facebook, and that cuts into my work time. So I’m going to see if I can cut back on all my time wasters.

3. Continue working on Into the Flames. No set chapter goal this month. This is a whole new story to me with the same characters so I’m working slowly to make sure I get everything down. Of course, this is a first draft so it’s definitely not perfect. We’ll have to see if I continue liking it or if I’m going back to the other version.

4. Vlog once a week, post YouTube videos weekly (daily if possible), and stream every week (if possible). My phone problem will be solved (hopefully) on Wednesday. A kind friend (from Facebook XD) is mailing me her husband’s Nexus 5. He upgraded and it was never used that much anyway. So as soon as it gets here I’ll get a vlog up. My weekly streams are tentatively scheduled from 7:30 PM PDT to 8:30 PM PDT on Saturday nights. It may change, I may add more. I don’t know yet. We’ll have to see.

5. 20 minutes of yoga every day, one walk every day, and whatever other physical activity I can get in. Also, cut back on my food portions and cut out soda completely. I sit too much on my butt at my computer. I know it. I need to get out and do more physical activity since that’s one of the contributing factors to my weight. I also eat too much. I know this too. So I’m going to cut my portion sizes down. I also have to cut soda out completely. I keep saying I’m going to do it, and then I go and buy a 1 liter Mountain Dew when I’m depressed. I’m going to force myself not to do that because going cold turkey is the only way I’m going to stop myself from drinking it.

So that’s it for today’s post and this month’s goals. Anyone want to take bets on how much of this I’m going to actually accomplish? *grin* I am DETERMINED TO SUCCEED!!!!!!!!!

Why we can’t have nice things (aka why Alison can’t get the dental work she needs done)

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Photo via Visual hunt

So, I had a visit to the dentist this morning. I had a tooth that was breaking apart that I needed to get pulled ASAP. I’ve been putting it off while I paid down the balance on my last dental bill, but it was to the point I couldn’t wait any longer.

I went in and my dentist – who is AWESOME – looked over my teeth and said he’d pull the broken one and the one next to it since my ultimate goal is to have all my teeth pulled and dentures fitted. I agreed, as long as we could do it as an emergency extraction which is $99 for cash only patients – aka those of us who don’t have dental insurance.

The dental assistant/hygienist talked to the front desk person and came back to tell me that the $99 emergency extraction was only for new patients, and as an existing patient I’d have to pay the full price of $101 for each tooth. That’s $202 to get two molars pulled.

I couldn’t afford it. I have to keep my balance under $300 to maintain the kind of payment plan I have with them so I told her that they just needed to pull the broken tooth. She said she’d go let the dentist know. I wasn’t happy. I really wanted both molars out simply because it meant one less trip to the dentist, which I don’t like anyway.

The dentist came back and told me they were still pulling both teeth, but he’d only charge me for one. He said it would take him an extra 10 seconds to pull the second tooth and he didn’t see any reason to make me go through another visit just to pull one tooth on the upper left side. He told the dental assistant/hygienist to mark it as the first one as a regular extraction and the second one as a provider write off. He said he didn’t care what corporate said. It was his time he was being paid for, and he wasn’t going to waste it making me suffer.

So I got two teeth pulled for the price of one. My mouth is extremely sore right now, and I’m waiting until the numbness fades a bit more before I try to eat something so I can take some Tylenol. But talking to the hygienist/dental assistant, she showed me my treatment plan. I still have a long way to go, and it’s still going to cost me almost $4000 in the end to do what I need to.

Let me point something out real quick – that’s $4000 AFTER I pay off this current extraction and the rest of my earlier balance. That includes all extractions and the dentures. I also want to point out that I’ve already had four teeth pulled. The first was $99 because I was in pain. The other three were the $101. I’ve also had x-rays twice, which are around $180 each time. So I’ve already paid a little over $400 to my dentist. I still have the rest of the balance from the last visit as well as the new balance from this to pay off. That’s going to bring that total up to a little over $600.

Now, I’m on Medicare with Medicaid paying the deductibles for me. Which means I don’t have dental coverage. I did some checking on dental insurance. For the kind I’d need to get the work done I have to have, it would cost me approximately $100-$180 per month as a premium. I can’t afford that. And that was on the low end that barely covered my needs. The really good plans can run you upwards of $300+, if you’re lucky.

I don’t understand why medical, dental, and vision insurances are so fucking expensive. Well, yes I do. It’s because the US utilizes a for-profit insurance system instead of universal healthcare. With the insurance companies out to make as much money as they can while paying out as little as possible, low income to the middle class have to pay so much that it’s almost impossible to get good, comprehensive coverage.

The US Senate wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act without offering us a replacement. They want to take insurance away from almost 11.4 million people. They want to end the Medicaid expansion, which would mean I’d lose my coverage there because I make too much according to the normal federal guidelines. So that would mean I’d be forced to pay all of my deductibles for Part B and Part D Medicare on my own. That would remove an additional $300 from my already extremely limited funds. I would then have to find a supplemental insurance coverage plan since Medicare really doesn’t cover all that much anymore. Which would cost me even more, cutting even deeper into my fixed income.

This is bullshit. Comprehensive coverage – medical, dental, and vision – should be provided for everyone. These are necessities for a good quality of life, not to mention life saving at times. Yes, I realize my taxes would probably go up a bit if we did implement a universal healthcare system here in the US (once my husband’s business starts generating income we will be paying taxes.)

You know what? I’m okay with that. I’m okay with keeping everyone in this country healthy. I’m okay with spending more to help those who are unable to pay exorbitant medical bills due to financial hardships.

People say that with universal healthcare there will be long waits for providers. Like there isn’t right now? In order to get into see my regular doctor, I have to put in a request at least 2-3 weeks in advance of when I want to see her. If I don’t and call for an appointment out of the blue, it could take a month or more before I can see her. If it’s serious enough, they tell me to go to Urgent Care or the ER. Neither of those are cheap, and can often lead to a lot more problems for me.

And specialists? Ha. I had to wait four months to get my first appointment with a neurologist even though my seizures had kicked back after being controlled by medication for 4 years. The hematologist and vascular surgeon I was told to see? The vascular surgeon took three months and the hematologist took a month. The sleep doctor I’m supposed to be seeing for the fact that there’s a chance I have sleep apnea? Four months. So don’t tell me there’s “no wait” with what we have now. Our whole system is fucked and no one seems to care.

I don’t like doing political rants on my blog very often, but right now, call or email or fax your Senator and tell them to tell Mitch McConnell to go fuck a light socket. We deserve insurance. We deserve healthcare coverage. And those like him who are too wealthy, too pampered, too sheltered to give a fuck about the rest of us? They need to go. ASAP.

Goal Post July 2017

 

celebration-fireworks-firework

Photo via Visualhunt

Another month has passed. It’s July. Yay! *does a happy dance…and hurts her back*

*coughs* Geez I’m getting old. 😉

So, let’s get down to it. Starting with last month’s goals and a bit of a progress report.

  1. I will be blogging (as much as I can) 5 days a week. That means Monday through Friday, unless something’s going on in my life. Then I’ll make up the day I missed on the weekend.
    Okay, so as you can tell, I didn’t exactly do well with this one. I’m going to try to do better this month.
  2. I’ll still do my little bits of fiction, but expect goal posts at the beginning of the month, updates on my health (both mental and physical), updates on my progress on whatever novel I’m working on, and the occasional post on the farm. I’ve also started streaming video games on Twitch and I’m recording videos for YouTube on the same, so I may post one post a week as well on those. I’ll also be referencing my personal vlog from time to time.
    So this one went a little better. I’ve done a lot of bits of fiction. You’re looking at the goal post for this month. I didn’t do a health update, though I’ve been going through a lot. I don’t have a lot of answers yet, so I’m waiting to discuss those until I have more information. The gaming videos and streams…will pick up eventually. Life has just been very busy lately. Same with the personal vlogs. I’ve only got my phone to work with, so it’s often difficult to manage everything.
  3. As you can see, my blog look has changed. I was getting bored with the old look and I wanted something new. Change is good – even if it can be scary at times – and I wanted to do something new.
    Still playing with some more new ideas for various things. I’ll update you as I go along.

 

So, here are the NEW goals for July:

1. I will blog every weekday, unless there is something going on. If there is, I’ll post a brief explanation of my missed days on the weekend. This way I don’t have to try to get a full post up on the weekends, which oddly enough can be even busier on the farm than the weekdays.

2. I’m going to post a vlog once a week, a gaming video at least once a week, and do a stream at least once a week. I need to get my digital presence back up and moving.

3. I am going to start being more active on Twitter, since I’ve all but vanished off of it lately. It doesn’t do me much good to ignore a good social media platform if I plan on developing relationships with friends and finding fans.

4. I’m going to finish chapter 3 in Into the Flames and at the very least start chapter 4. If I finish it, that’ll be a bonus. But I at least want to get it started.

5. I will do 20 minutes of yoga every day and go for a walk at least three times a week. My goal is to get down to 200 lbs by the end of the year (I’m at 240 lbs right now), so I need to get my ass in gear and get moving.

 

I think that’s enough to keep me busy for this month. Everyone enjoy your day and I’ll be back with another random post tomorrow!

Not “just a toy”

Fidget cube

This is a fidget cube. In fact, this is MY fidget cube. It has multiple sides and multiple ways of engaging my fingers and my mind. To be specific, let’s turn to the description of the cube itself. “It has sensory tools on all sides: an on/off-style switch, gears, a rolling ball, a small joystick, a spinning disc, a “rubbing stone”, and 5 buttons.”

The reason I’ve been wanting one since I first heard of them is because of their intended purpose. As per the description I found: The cube is intended to provide an easy way to occupy one’s hands and other senses, particularly for self-soothing.

I suffer from anxiety and PTSD. They can be pretty bad, especially when I’m out in public around a lot of people and/or loud voices. I have a tendency to start wringing my hands, picking at my skin, or pulling on my hair when I get frazzled and that causes serious damage. I’ve actually made myself bleed several times because of it. The cube, which is compact enough to fit in the pocket of most of my jeans, gives me something to work with my fingers so I don’t start wringing my hands or doing anything else to hurt myself.

A lot of people are turning these into toys, giving them to children (and even some adults) because they’re novelties and causing problems for those of us who need them for the self-soothing properties. It’s the same with fidget spinners. Fidget spinners were first created in the 1990s for a similar purpose – they were designed to help people with ADHD, autism, or anxiety release nervous energy. Yet they too are being seen as toys, as games for everyone to play with instead of being recognized for their original purpose.

When I was in the store where I got my fidget cube, I watched a rather large family getting fidget spinners. I listened as the children talked about how they were going to practice until they were better than their friends so they could win the bets they made and get candy from their friends. Their mother, who was with them, was encouraging this. I was appalled by this flagrant disregard for the fidget spinners’ true purpose, and then I realized that this was perfectly normal anymore.

People turn therapeutic devices into toys for children all the time. Then they get banned because someone does something stupid, and those of us who are helped by those items are left with nothing to use.

I wish people would understand that what you see as a nonsense toy is actually a tool for many of us to keep us sane, to help us not hurt ourselves, to keep us from passing out from panic or to make sure we can focus on what’s going on around us.

So when you see the next biggest “fad,” do some research. She if there is another purpose behind it. I’m not saying don’t buy it. If you want it, and can afford it, by all means go for it. Just keep in mind that there are people who use the device for something other than just amusement. (Because I will admit using my fidget cube is fun, which is part of what helps alleviate the anxiety.)