Your Review View business Between Scripps H. and Tracy E. Back to your inbox Tracy E. Tracy E. San Diego, CA 27 4 Your review of Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego 1.0 star rating 6/16/2016 I've had a migraine for 5 days. The third night, after two visits to this hellhole, I tried to hangng myself because the pain was so bad and I just wanted it to end. Almost succeeded. These people are a joke. If you are in pain, even severe, they treat you like a criminal junkie. The only thing that helps my migraine is 2 mg of injected dilaudid (pill form come back i\up because of nausea and vomiting). All they gave me was toradol (when I told them it doesn't work, phernergan (which gives me severe restless legs, and reglan to counteract the phengern. I did get some sleep for the first time in days, but I woke up myself up pooping on myelf. excessively, and still had the migraine. Turns out reglan causes massive diahrrea. So I had to clean myself up, after no food for days, still with the worst migraine ever. Decided to go to out of network and went to Sharp. They gave me my shot, and after 2 hours, no pain. Screw Scripps. Their title "MERCY' is in oxymoron. They'd rather have people suffer and even commit suicide than risk an addition. DON'T GO HERE. If you have a network that accepts only this, go out of network until you can find a decent medical network that doesn't treat you like a lying piece of trash.
"Scripps H. Scripps H. Manager Block & Report Owner Scripps H.'s comment on your review: Hello, Tracy, Thank you for taking the time to review your experience. We are happy to hear you are no longer in pain. It is our mission to provide the highest quality service and medical care to our patients and we are sorry your experience at Mercy San Diego did not meet these standards. We value your feedback and would like to learn more. If you are interested in speaking to a patient advocate, please respond to our private message. We appreciate your time and look forward to speaking with you directly. Sincerely, Your friends at Scripps Scripps H. Scripps H. Manager One hour ago Block & Report Owner Hi, Tracy, Thank you again for reviewing your recent experience at Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego. We understand your concerns and would appreciate the opportunity to learn more and help, if possible. To speak with a patient advocate, please reply to this message with your full name and phone number; an advocate will reach out directly. Of course we understand not everybody wishes to have further communication, and if that's the case, we respect your decision. Whatever your choice, please know we value your feedback and have already shared your review with management. We wish you good health and a great weekend. - Your friends at Scripps
Tracy E. Tracy E. San Diego, CA 27 4 52 minutes ago What do you mean I am no longer in pain? I had to go back to my PCP who did did little to help me until I can get into pain management. I'll most likely have to visit SHARP again before I get to see the doctor on Friday, at $75 a pop, which I DON'T have. You wasted me five pairs of panties from explosive diarrhea, did NOTHING for my pain, gave me medication I said did not work and will probably charge my insurance for it, probably "prayed" for me, like so-called mercy-givers do, gave me not only restless legs but restless body from from the phenergen. Do you know what it's not like to not be able to stop moving when you have a severe migraine? My doctor couldn't even get blood from me today because I am so dehyadrated from not being able to hold anything down. I TRIED TO HANG MYSELF THREE DAYS AGO BECAUSE I COULDN'T TAKE THE PAIN ANYMORE. Unfornunately, I did not succeed. When my enrollment period comes up, I'm going to try to get as a far away from SCRIPPS "MERCY" as possible. I don't know why you're congratulating yourself for helping me with my migraine, but it was SHARP who did it, NOT YOU. And I'll probably have to go back to them before Friday, so thanks for exacerbating my poverty. Right now, I would LITERALLY DIE than darken your medaeival doors again. If your definition of mercy comes out of the middle ages, perhaps you should rethink your line of work because, right now, you're costing people sanity, sleep, relief, and EVEN LIFE. You're not my friend. If my head begins to feel it explodes, I'm coming to you, just so you get to feel the nice warm goodness of my untreated headache. I hate you.
Today was doctor day. I went to see Dr. Harrington at 11 and my new primary care physician at 2:30. In between appointments, I slummed at Starbucks and surfed the Internet, but only after I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and fell, seemingly to my death, only for the sidewalk to catch me - and my computer! Thankfully, the comp wasn’t damaged.
Anyone who tends to be mega-clumsy, has seizures, or is prone to passing out, needs to switch to the Mac because their computers are tough as fucking nails.
Anyway, I hadn’t seen Dr. Harrington since September. It was my intention not to really get into anything, just get my prescriptions refilled, and be on my way. Considering I’d just gone through another horribleday without Aunt Tudi, I wasn’t in the mood to rehash crap. Somehow, though, he got me to talking about when the Parental Units broke up and what happened with me in the immediate aftermath. I’m tired of talking about that. When I go back to him, in July, I’m not walking down that road again. There’s no reason to go there.
The new doctor was very thorough and took his time. He concluded what I already had, that I had acute bronchitis. I’m on a 5-day regimen of prednisone, and he wants to see me again on Monday, if the cough is no better. I like him. He does have funny hands, though. They’re shiny and hairless. He’s not particularly shiny anywhere else, but those hands would gleam in the sunlight. I have already dubbed them Mannequin Hands.
I’m back at the house now, and thoroughly exhausted. I have not been out for so long since in the first of the year. Did I like it? Can’t say as I did, being a hermit and all.
Just when I was getting back into the swing of things here, I was “fortunate” enough to contract influenza. I actually started coming down with it in late February, but it didn’t get really bad until after the first of March. Just to give you an idea of how sick I really was, here’s a list of what plagued me throughout my time with Captain Trips.
- Got flu from people I live with on 23rd February.
- Body ache
- Runny nose
- Swollen glands at base of ears
- Constant cough
- Foul taste in mouth and inner odour
- Eye pain with green discharge
- Nausea and vomiting
- No appetite
- Difficulty keeping down fluids - probably very dehydrated now, because heart is pounding with minimal activity
- Dizziness and weakness
- High fever at first (103.2 on 2/25) and sporadic low-grade fever since, the latest being two nights ago, when the eye thing started)
I vaguely remember going to one of my doctors on March 3rd. Apparently, I was so bad off, she prescribed me meds, put me in her car, took me to the drugstore, went in and bought my meds, plus a load of OTC stuff to help me, then brought me home. I need to check and see if she paid for all of it with my card or if she used her own money. I hope she didn’t get sick as well.
My final symptom was getting an eye infection in both eyes, accompanied with another fever. There was one day when I actually had to fumble blindly to get a hot wash cloth in order to melt away the glue from my eyes after a couple hours of sleep. Even then, I couldn’t get my eyes entirely open. I looked like the banjo player from Deliverance. There’s no doubt it was conjunctivitis, and the Mother Unit took me and dropped me off at the ER so I could get some meds for it, because she didn’t want to end up getting sick again. But the wait was so long, and I was so weak from being sick for suck an extended period of time, I had to get a taxi back to the house. (The Unit was with Matt who had cut himself badly enough to need stitches. His left arm is still wrapped up.) I barely remember getting back to the house, and I found out a few days later that I lost my debit card. I’m waiting for a new one.
When I finally started coming out of my haze, I still didn’t feel like doing anything but staring at things, so I decided to re-binge watch Breaking Bad. I spent a few days doing that and just staring into nothingness, coughing and wheezing. Four days ago, I finished Breaking Bad and, even though I had watched the series once before, this time I’m grieving that it’s over. I’m just fucking bereft. I don’t know what to do with myself. I have some Walking Dead I could watch, but it’s like being offered a puppy after your dog of 15 years has died. No thanks, mate. I will never have another dog. Like that. It’s gonna take me some time.
My greatest regret about being so sick is that I promised Barry I would promote the latest Shriekback release. He sent me the information and whatnot to download, and I failed to do so because I was so out of my head with the Superflu. Now, I’m not sure where we stand on it and if it’s too late for me to proceed. I need to ask, but I’m ashamed. I’ve tried my best never to let the Shrieks down, and I’ve done so in spades this time around. I kind of suck.
I still have the cough, and I have no doubt I’ll develop bronchitis, because I always do. Hopefully, I can hold out on seeing a doctor until my appointment on 4/18 with my new primary care physician. I had to chance doctors because the one I had behaved extremely unprofessionally with me a couple of times, and actually failed to treat me for a UTI I had, telling me I had one, but not prescribing anything for it. The cardiologist she needlessly sent me to was the one who prescribed the antibiotics I needed. So I had to say buh-bye to that doctor. My insurance told me that the change in doctors was effective immediately so, if the cough gets progressively worse, I may call to see if I can be seen earlier. They have long hours six days a week, as well as a good walk-in policy, so hopefully it won’t be a problem.
So that’s what’s been going on with me. This year has so far been chock full of uber-suck when it comes to health. I just hope I can get my shit together by September.
Things have been going on, so this may be a bit of an update from Hell, compared to my usually non-updates.
First off, my phone has been on the fritz for who knows how long. It’s not actually the phone, but the Cricket network. I went yesterday to try to sort it, but the folks at the store couldn’t even troubleshoot it, so they had to put in a service order, which means up to 72 more hours of no service.
Since the first of the year, my health has been shite. Recurring migraines with the most vicious nausea I think I’ve ever had, has beaten down my body more than I could have ever imagined. In the past month, I have lost 10 pounds, and spent three days in the hospital, thanks to these fucking headaches. I’m thinner now than I have been since I was 12 years old. It has gotten to the point where I can’t even walk to the bathroom, which is right beside my room, without my having breathing difficulties and a pounding heart. I feel like I am dying.
But, I might get to tick one thing off my bucket list before heading into the Void, if I’m lucky. Jeff Lynne is bringing ELO back to the American stage on September 9th, 10th, and 11th of this year, at the Hollywood Bowl. When it was announced, I emailed a bunch of people with a proposition that, if they could get the tickets, I’d try to arrange us a place to stay. My old high school friend, Andy, has always dreamt of attending a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, and he bit. We’re just waiting for the tickets to go on sale, if I can’t finagle them earlier than 1 May. The target day is September 10th, as that’s the best day for Andy. It’s also my birthday, which would be perfect.
Speaking of Jeff Lynne, David Bowie’s unexpected and untimely death made me come to grips with a truth I’ve known for a long time, but never truly verbalised, even to myself. I decided to accept it and to come out, to use the term in a wholly different manner. I wrote Barry Andrews and told him that he was the single most influential individual in my life, more so even than even the godlike Jeff Lynne and JRR Tolkien. I wanted him to know it, in the event either of us kicks the bucket. You should tell people how they affect you before it’s too late. It could be too late in the next five minutes. No one knows what each second will bring. No one.
A few weeks ago, there was a huge shake-up in the format of the Work in Progress that officially made it into a full-fledged novel in the works instead of a collection of short stories. I don’t even know what brought it to mind, guessing it had to be some kind of divine inspiration. The long and short of it, though, is that Flint steals the New Hive’s first - and currently only - relic, Cadmus Pariah’s Harming Tree. The story will revolve around Cadmus hunting down Flint, with possible help from Orphaeus Cygnus, and will include the stories and vignettes I have already written about the Harming Tree. As The Blood Crown was essentially a Vampiric Hope & Crosby Road movie in book form, The Harming Tree will be a bit of a book version of a hunt and chase movie, kind of in the vein of Mad Max: Fury Road and the like. I have asked Barry if he could drum up a photo of his harming tree, which is seen only briefly in the ‘Captain Cook’ video, and is obviously the benign inspiration, despite its name, for Cadmus’ dreadful tool of agony. It would be good to have a very clear image reference as I continue this mad journey into the Darkness. I need to jog his memory, though, as it’s been two or three months since I asked him. I’m sure he’s forgotten, and I keep forgetting to remind him. We are old as fuck.
And so we have arrived at the threshold of yet another year, four cycles after the long hoped for Alpaca Lips. In some ways, it has been an eventful year and, in others, things have barely changed. I figured I'd touch on the highlights of 2015, then throw some hopes (gasp, hope? Tin? NOOOOOO!) out for 2016. So, let's begin.
The first major thing that happened in 2015 came in February, when I was allowed unprecedented liberties to continue and expand my campaign to disseminate All Things Shriekback. I was elated, for I had watched for too long their greatness be swallowed up by the ever-expanding Internet, without the proper tools in my box of toys to make enough digital noise to be noticed. That changed prior to the release of one of their best albums to date, Without Real String or Fish. To my immense joy, this was only one of many releases by the band that I got to relentlessly plug throughout the year. It's been an honour to do what I could for the guys, and I will continue to do what I do until they tell me to stop!
In April, another wonderful thing occurred: I got to go up to Los Angeles to attend Jeff Lynne's Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony. Even though I didn't get to meet him - again! - I was still thrilled to be in the general vicinity of my spiritual and musical godfather, and listen to him talk a little about his career and how honoured he felt to be getting the praise and attention that has long been due the man. He's a genius, and I am overjoyed that people are finally catching on to this fact. It also heartens me that so many Millennials, particularly in the music world, are embracing Mr. Lynne and his music. That means that his legacy will live on through the generations, as long as humanity plagues this world. It almost makes me glad we're all still around. Anyway, also in attendance to the star ceremony, making speeches of their own about how groovy Jeff Lynne is, were Tom Petty and Joe Walsh. I caught this epic photo before the brouhaha began.
And it got even better later in the year, in November, when Jeff Lynne released Alone in the Universe, the first official ELO album since the release of Zoom in 2001. I'm currently listening to it for the first time but, hey! better late than never, right? 2015 was the year both Shriekback and the Electric Light Orchestra gave the world new music. If for no other reason, this year should be marked as a complete success because of this.
Shortly before I moved out to San Diego, my TV died. For a while, I was pretty miserable, until I got used to watching streaming formats online, like Netflix. It cut down on my viewing habits considerably, and I found myself focusing on just the movies and shows I personally found important and worthy enough to spend my time watching. Beginning in late 2014, though, my number one go-to place for instant entertainment gratification became You Tube. I discovered Alonzo Lerone, Garret John, and a host of other talents, visionaries, and creatives. In June of 2015, though, I stumbled upon a short film that completely blew my mind. It's what made me realise how grateful I am to no longer have a television. I probably would have never discovered such brilliance had I still been enslaved to the mediocrity that spews out of the boob tube.
When I first saw The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon, I had a reaction eerily similar to what I had upon seeing The Joker Blogs' Therapy Begins. I couldn't get enough! Impressed didn't even begin to cover it. The more I watched it and the related films on Richard Gale's You Tube channel, the more I laughed. As anyone who has known me since losing Aunt Tudi in 2011 knows, laughter is something I treasure above all other things. I credit anything that could cut through the grief and trigger laughter as holding a seed of the miraculous within its heart. The Impractical Jokers were the first to make what I thought was impossible happen. The Horrible Slow Murderer carried on that life-saving tradition.
I was so impressed with the undeniable talent in this short film and others on the channel, like the wholly unfunny and horrifying Criticized, I was compelled to learn more about the film maker and his posse. Employing the web search skills I learned in the Pit oh so very long ago, it didn't take me long to learn a good bit about the director and actors Paul Clemens and Brian Rohan.
Well, one thing led to another, and I ended up helping them with their Kickstarter campaign, after having the pleasure of discussing a few promo ideas with Richard one Sunday a few months ago. During this time, I've come to see that not only are these guys uber-talented, but they are also genuine, groovy, insightful, kind individuals. How could anyone not want to help people like this in any way they can?
While all this was happening, I was going to the doctor about my back pain, which seemed to be getting worse despite all attempts to reverse the issues causing it. The doc finally suggested that I look into getting an panniculectomy. Now, in South Carolina, no insurance, private or public, would cover anything considered cosmetic. When I got the gastric bypass surgery, I went into it with no pipe dreams of getting any excess skin removed. It was never an option, so I never entertained the idea.
When the doctor brought up the panniculectomy, I silently scoffed, but decided "what the hell? It doesn't hurt to ask." So, a couple of days later, I called Aetna and asked them if such a surgery were covered. They informed me that, if it were considered medically necessary, they would cover it, and all I would have to pay would be $264.00. I called the doctor, who referred me to Dr. Jason Hess. He took pictures, informed me that he'd gotten approval for surgeries with less severe pannus issues, and said he'd be asking approval for not just a panniculectomy, but also an abdominoplasty which, combined, are basically the human equivalent to being cleaned like a fish.
In two weeks time, Aetna gave the go ahead, and I had a tummy tuck and panniculectomy in September. I'm still recovering from it, but my back does feel better after no longer having to deal with 17 pounds of dead weight constantly pulling on my lower lumbar region. Also, for the first time in my life, I actually have a figure. I'm still not used to the new body. It's like living in an alien biological construct.
So, 2015 saw me become a bit of a California stereotype in that I got plastic surgery and began "hobnobbing" with Hollywood directors and actors. Folks, don't expect that, if you're thinking of planning on moving to California. Bear in mind that I live in the Twilight Zone and have no idea how shit like this happens to me.
One more cool thing that happened this year actually happened this month. After over a year of struggling with it, I finally had a breakthrough in my arduous Wacom education. I still have a very long way to go before I consider anything I do with the tablet worthy of pride, but at least I'm finally seeing results from what I have so far learned. This is the result - the best representation of how I see Cadmus Pariah in my mind's eye. I plan on making this a full body picture, not just a floating head of death, but I thought I should make note that my obvious learning disability when it comes to digital art has at long last had a wee chink taken out of its seemingly impenetrable wall.
There have been some unhappy things to happen this year - conflicts with Matt, friends falling prey to illness, seriously fucked up news on the family front, among other things - but I am choosing not to focus on that in this year-end post. There is nothing I could write here that would change any of these things, and I frankly don't want to give the bad areas of 2015 any more power than they already have. I would prefer to give energy to more positive outcomes in those categories in the coming year.
That being said, here are some things I'm hoping to see happen and/or make happen in 2016.
- Friends and family beat the odds and kick all manner of ass with some insane Health Fu.
- The Presidential election does not turn out to be a disaster of mega-Fascist proportions.
- People collectively reject the status quo and embrace a higher vibrational state of being.
- There is full disclosure on extraterrestrial life and activities, as well as extra-dimensional life and activities.
- Jeff Lynne plays a concert in San Diego and I get to attend.
- I can eventually feel as comfortable riding the buses in San Diego as I was riding the ones in Los Angeles. LA makes a lot more sense as far as layout is concerned. Or maybe that's just me.
- Yoga becomes a part of my everyday life.
- Barry Andrews has more delightful written and musical works of art in store for the world.
- I complete my latest book and maybe even publish it.
- The filming of Ginosaji goes smoothly and is a low-stress joy for all involved.
- I get to go to the desert to gaze at the Milky Way at least once in 2016.
- I and those I love are surrounded by non-toxic individuals and that we can continue to expand the influence of beauty, creativity, common sense, and divine madness.
- The Alpaca Lips finally happens.
Here's hoping everyone has a fantastic new year. May it be visionary in every way.
I am kind of freaking out right now. At the age 5, I was enrolled in 1st grade, at which time I was swiftly and truly schooled by my classmates. I was not normal. Period. I wasn't allowed to dance to music like I'd always done before, without getting called names and being laughed at. My teacher gave me a time out for not being able to recite the Lord's Prayer, and when we were supposed to play games that called for teams, there was team A and team "Shit, she's the only one left." It was apparent, in no uncertan terms, that nothing about me was normal. And since my family moved around a lot, I wasn't normal at any school, so it had to be me, not them. I was given the advice to ignore it and they'd eventually go away, but they didn't. This ended, for the most part, while I was working at BMG, when I finally lost it on some asshole at J Records I was forced to work with. I had one more incident of bullying behaviour just yesterday, and I reacted viciously. To be honest, I can't remember everything that happened there, but I think I just on that thin line that separates verbal confrontation from physical altercation. Thirty-two (non-consecutive) years of bullying boiled up in my body, and I just fucking exploded. But I'm not here to talk about bullying. It seems I've done a lot of that since I've been on the Internet, and finding others like myself. The Island of Misfit Toys is a real place on Teh Intarwebz, located a little further north-west of Dr. Moreau's Island, and separated from Fantasy Island by the Sea of Dreams (yes, we can see y'all from from our winders). Enough of that, though. Let's get down to bidness.
I'm here to talk about feeling paranormally different since waking up on the 14th. The doctor said he removed 17 pounds of excess skin, fat, and other crap that wouldn't have ever otherwise gone away. I'm talking about hearing the nurse softly say in my ear, "breathe deeply", and then I woke up with parts of my body that have always been part of me since I began to gain more weight than other kids my age, at four years. The midsection of my stomach is mostly flat, but the lower part, the part that hangs down to your thighs when you stand, and makes you think that you have no lap whatsoever when you sit down - - well, it is gone. Totally fucking gone. Working on my computer has even changed, because my stomach was my prop, so I could work on my writing, promotions, and blogging while Smidgen curled up on my chest or upper abdomen. Now, I'm having dificulty trying to find a decent computer spot, so I can write this. I feel as though, if I were back east with the friends I have, I would hear them whisper about me not being me, reinacting one of the earlier scenes of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.
On 14 September whilst waiting to be rolled back to the operating room, I was lying on my back with my elbow and hands touching the mattress, or I had my fingers interlocked on my midsection, and my elbows just dangled at each side. If I wanted to put my arms at my side, then my elbows could touch the mattress, but my fingers wouldn't meet. I couldn't do both and I never could. It was just a fact of life for me, even after the gastric bypass surgery in 2004. Now, my elbows can rest on the bed and my fingers can interlock at the same time. The Mother Unit was amused that my discovery of this amazed me so much. I know that doesn't sound like much, but when you've never been able to do it before, it's kind of a thing. The effect on my lower back was nearly instantaneous. A lot of that pull is gone, which was the main purpose for asking to get the procedures in the first place. Total success, right there. Despite currently feeling as though I have been thrown into the Iron Maiden at an Iron Maiden concert, my back already doesn't hurt as much, and I'm hoping the pain will continue to wane as I heal. I can feel the difference in my knees as well.
Psychologically, the immediate effect has not been as positive as I would have liked, but that's not the doctor's fault. Everything he did was exactly the procedures he signed on to do, and he did them expertise. The thing for me, though, was that I went to sleep in the body I'd had for around 32 years, and I woke up a stranger to myself. I'm not doing as well as perhaps I should in respect to mentally catching up to the physical tranformation. There are differences you would never think of, such as, seeing my own "cho-cha" (thank you, Missy Elliott) for the very first time in my entire life. Only a few hours after the surgery has over, I learned the women's cho-chas were supposed to look like this. It is still quite a surprise, because most laypeople or medical personnel would never think that such a change would be shockingly phantasmagoric. It's as though the doctor pulled everything up. From now on, whenever I see some crazy person in the park talking down her/his pants, I'm going to wonder if they had a panniculectomy and abdominoplasty. Such a shock to the visual senses is bizarre and unsettling. On the other hand, I might be that homeless crazy person taking to her own privates sooner than later.
I was told that the surgery took hours because the doctor wanted to be as thorough as possible while he was working. Based on some of the surgery pictures he'd shown me during our consultation, I have no doubt he was thorough. In fact, I think he did more than was authorised, probably because he knew I might need it down the road. I was already dead to the world, so why not? After a little bit of online research, what little time I've been online, I'm thinking that that extra something was some liposuction, considering I have two balls that catch the bloody water draining out of me, and bruises that just won't quit on my lower stomach, thighs, and cho-cha. Everything is relatively level now. I had fatty bits on my back that are gone now, too. After all this heals I will appear to be, more or less, like someone carrying a few extra pounds, but nothing people would gawk or throw vomit fat jokes in her direction.
My entire dieting life, I was told to chant the mantra "there's a thin person inside me that yearns to get out!" I was conditioned to dislike everything about me that anyone could see, while striving to look like the ones who are always at the front of the line to get their kick in before the day over. I was filled with a hell of a lot of animosity by the time I was approved for gastric bypass surgery, so much so that I had before and after pictures taken in the event someone told me I looked good. My plan was to whip those pictures out and ask them what they thought now! Over a time, especially when Aunt Tudi's health started to decline, I just grew weary of my verbal fight with society, and just gave up on avenging the evil so quantumly ingrained in us all by this mockery of our exsistence.
But, the other day, I was told it was good to see me, a "much thinner" me. I didn't say anything then, because I've been feeling like every hell imagined in every dimension that could currently be calculated by any Physics Academic, and to be perfectly frank, I did not want to be in a tiff, or what have you. Now, I'm a tad concerned that, in my heart, I know I may throat punch anyone who has ever known or seen me prior to the surgeries, but still comes out with that programmed bullshit, especially if they refer to having surgies to assist me lose the weight that was killing me as "taking the easy way out." I am not above going all Jack Torrance with an ax on any motherfucker who crosses that line, and thanks to those oh so very easy surgeries and recoveries that were alllll done for cosmetic reasons and nothing else, I'm lighter, limberer, and enthusiastically motivated to shut you up by ripping your jaw bone off your stupid brainless head and feeding it to Toby. Strangers who do not know me will get you one free pass but, if a stranger proving how much of a douche nozzle they are by judging another within my earshot may very well end up in an intimate relationship with my shoes and elbows. I haven't forgotten all the Kung Fu I was taught, and I'll probably be able to do them better now. You can be my practice.
The flesh a person is in, is not that person, but it can affect them in unimaginable ways. I feel like a stranger in a strange land now. I can't quite grasp the extent of my aura. Toby caught a glimpse of mm the other day, and barked at me as though I were a stranger. I'm wondering how Smidge will handle seeing her new old bed, unimpressed that it no longer has the cushioning she requires. I can get around things a bit easier, but still move like I need to squeeze, and that makes me look like I'm up to no good. I had some of these issues with the first surgery, but the effects came much more slowly, so my adjustments were more easily accepted. This time, not so much. Not even after the gastric bypass did I have a figure. Now that I do, I don't look right.
But just because I'm struggling doesn't mean I've lost one iota of my venom for humanity as a whole. Once built, or stolen, I can just shoot my lethal laser gun at the global urban centers while wearing some dumbass latex cat suit.
FUCK THE WORLD
PS: If you find any spelling or grammatical mistakes in this, chalk it up to unbridled anger combined with full body pain. Thank you.
Making a List and Checking It Twice
Then I check it again. And again. And again and again and again. No, I am not the Ginosaji, but I think I may have discovered why my memory has become a cess pool of forgetfulness over the past few years.
Earlier today, I went to the Imaging Healthcare site to confirm my EEG w/Sleep Deprivation test for Tuesday morning. My neurologist wanted me to have the test before my surgery date. While I was on my portal at Imaging Healthcare, I found the test results for my many procedures, dating as far back as October, 2013. I clicked the report generated from my MRI of last year. According to the physician who examined the imagery, there is nothing that would indicate why I have seizures and migraines; however, he made note that I have "Mild Diffuse Cortical Atrophy." What exactly is that?
It means that a portion of my brain cells have dropped dead. It seems to be relatively common in people who suffer from migraines, which I have all my life, except for that nice extended break in my late 20s. The primary symptom of this condition is forgetfulness, because it is a form of dementia. To experts' knowledge, the condition does not cause seizures, but it can cause you to stand at the fridge with the door open, wondering why they hell you'd come into the kitchen in the first place. The thing is, though, is that cortical atrophy is mainly associated with elderly people.
It's a natural part of growing old; however, it can also indicate dementia and the beginnings of Alzheimers Disease. I just approached an online doctor about it. Hopefully, my questions will be answered, despite my not subscribing to the 'Ask a Doctor' website. If I had the money, I might, but people who are running GoFundMe campaigns because their medical situation is guaranteeing they won't make ends meet in any conceivable way tend not to shove their debit card in a virtual doctor's face and shriek TAKE MY MONEY!, especially when said persons are going back to their neurologist for the EEG results sooner rather than later. It would be frivolous and unresponsible to pay to have my question answered, when I can barely pay attention for being so broke. Then again, maybe I can't pay attention because my brain is dying in increments. Whatever. At any rate, here's what I wrote to the "Emergency Medical Hologram" (Geek points to those who get that):
Since 2008, I've been having grand mal seizures. I was 41 at the time. They're well under control with the dosage of Keppra I'm on, and my neurologist keeps a close eye on me, doing annual tests and having me keep a diary of my migraine headaches. I'm due to go for another EEG with sleep deprivation next week. As I was setting up my appointment for a bone density scan ordered by my OB/GYN, I noticed that I could access the results of my previous tests, one of which was the MRI my neurologist ordered last year. Everything appeared normal except that I exhibited "Mild Diffuse Cortical Atrophy." Is this normal for a 47-year-old? From what I have read, it's an age-related issue that could be nothing, especially if you are a senior citizen, although it could mean you might have the beginnings of Alzheimers. For the past four years, I have struggled with memory issues. It often takes me three times longer to do things because I keep forgetting what it is I need to do next to complete whatever project I'm working on. My longterm memory seems relatively okay, but I'm constantly having to retrace my steps to make certain I'm doing or have done what I need to at any given moment. Should I be especially concerned about this, or am I just well on my way to joining AARP?
For now, I'm going to try to not let that report worry me, since I need to focus what rudimentary mental ability I still have to the task of preparing for this surgery and the subsequent week or so of recovery. This next week is going to be busy, what with my pre-op visit and EEG, both of which are on Tuesday, then a surgery consult with my pain doctor, since she's the one who has to oversee the pain management after the procedure. Those are the only two days I need to leave the house, which is great, because I need to begin sorting what clothing I need to take to Angie and Cierra's, gather up any connectivity cords and my extra surge protector, and prepare my room for Matt and the Mother Unit. While I'm gone, they're going to clean up Syd & Nancy's cage and paint, among other things. I also need to write out instructions on what Smidgen and Toby need and are used to getting, as well as draw a diagram of puppy pad placement. Since Toby has been on Prednisone, he's become a peeing machine. Most of the time, I get him out in time enough, but there will always be incidents, so I keep the carpet covered with the protection, but there's a certain way it needs to be done to reduce the amount of pads used while still being a flawless barrier between the carpet and Toby's cho-cha. Thanks to the help I have so far received, I've been able to get another box of puppy pads, to ensure the Mother Unit does not run out of them.
After I have the instructions written out to my satisfaction, I need to write out some semblance of a will. I want to make certain that I am not intubated or put on life support of any kind, should something go wrong during the surgery. Also, I'm keen on bequeathing certain things to certain people. Nothing I have is of any monetary worth, but there are some things that mean more than mere money. I also want to have some sort of arrangements made for Toby and Smidgen, should I die, and I'm going to request that my ashes be taken to Craggy Dome on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville. I doubt my wishes will be adhered to, but I have to state it, just in case. Getting my document witnessed and notarised has already been made possible, thanks to your generosity.
Later on in the week, I plan on zipping up to Oceanside to spend the day with Angie and Cierra. San Diego transit isn't just for the city proper, but for the entire county, so I can take various buses and trolleys to make it up there to them. I'm looking forward to the journey and to seeing those crazy Oceanside chicks. What I'm planning is to go up and go shopping for some of the heavier items, that Angie and Cierra can store for when I arrive from the hospital. It will cut down on having to haul the stuff from the store to the house, then from the house to the car, then from the car to the apartment, and so on. Right now, I can carry bottled water and large bottles of juice, both of which I'll need post-op. After the surgery, lifting things like that won't be an option. Wiser to get anything I can do beforehand done, so things will be easier post-op, right? Again, thanks to your kindness, I'll be able to buy these supplies this next week, and have one less worry clinging like a funky monkey on my back.
So that's where we are for now. I want you all to know how humbled and amazed I am by your outpouring of fundages I know you can ill afford. Despite my misanthropy, I am always awestricken by how people can pull together when any sort of shit hits the fan. Religious, racial, and cultural differences are swiftly ignored and reviled by folks as each person does what s/he can with the seemingly impenetrable hope that things can and will get better. That's a testament to the goodness within us, despite our fatal flaws. If I had not known this before I launched my GoFundMe campaign, I would have been smacked by the Clue-by-Four of Kindness within just a few hours afterward. Thankfully, I didn't need the Clue-by-Four, because I have always had faith in my friends...my tribe.
Again, thank you from the bottom of my shriveled little heart.
I'll be back with more updates as they come.
Does anyone else remember that movie from the 70s, Thank God It's Friday!? It featured Donna Summer singing her absolute best song, in my opinion, 'Last Dance' and co-starred a very young, very Elfin Jeff Goldblum.
What does this have to do with my fundraiser? Nothing, really. I do know, though, if I evergot to compete on Jeopardy, I wouldn't have to have a fundraiser, because I have so much useless information in my head, I would rival Ken Jennings *and* Watson. My mad useless trivia skillz would send me home with all kinds fundage, I promise you that.
We're a little over 1/5 of the way to my goal, which not only gives me a 1/5th more peace of mind than I had starting this up, but also confirms for me that, even though our species collectively sucks, we do have the potential to incline toward helping one another and our fellow Earthlings, if we are capable of doing so. The world needs more people like you guys and fewer like Pat Robertson. I went yesterday to get my prescription refills, supplies for Smidgen and Toby, yoghurt for the antibiotic I'm currently taking,enough food and beverage (juice and water) to hopefully do me 'til the 14th, and some cleaning supplies. I paid the mother unit the money I owed her and also paid my rent. All of it came to more than I'd hoped, so what you guys have sent me so far is already a couple of deep breaths of relief.
As it stands right now, I have three appointments next week. One is for an EEG with sleep deprivation on Tuesday morning. Later that afternoon, I have my pre-op appointment with Dr. Hess, at which time I will learn more about any supplies I need to have to help with a swift recovery. I then have an appointment with my pain management doctor, who has to be the one to handle my after-care pain program. You can't have two doctors throwing such meds at you. You could end up in a jail cell with your doctors for committing such a heinous crime.
My bus pass is good until the 24th of the month, so that's one less worry, since I don't think I'll be physically able to deal with transit until at least a month after the surgery. The friend I'm staying with is gonna take me to post-op doc visits, then the mother unit will take over that task when I return to the house. I have no other health-related activities in which I must participate for the rest of the month. So, I guess that's it for now. Again, thank you generous souls who have contributed so far. I don't deserve the friends I have and I hope to someday return your kindness in the best way I can, to help make your lives better in some important way. Please pass my fundraiser on to all your pals. Once you have to resort to setting up a GoFundMe in order to scrape by, pride goes out the window, so it will not bother me at all if you spread the news around like butter on bread. As I said, the $500 is the bare minimum I need to just get by without being a further burden to the mother unit or placing Smidgen and Toby in a situation where they don't have the food or medications they need. It's not a financial cushion, but I don't think you should use a site like this as a cushion. It should be a legitimate barebones need. With just this, I expect to be in another deficit long before September ends, but it will be a deficit that I can feasibly claw myself out of. Without the help, the hole will just get bigger and deeper which, in turn, will put me in the position of feeling more like a leech and useless person than I already do, by individuals who have no right or reason to impose their feelings on the matter. You're helping lift me, Smidge, and Toby up instead of watching us be torn down. I'll never forget your generosity and friendship. I'll update again soon.
If you're wondering what the heck this is all about, click the eyeballs you see in provided widget below. Should you choose to help me out, just know I really appreciate it, as does Smidgen and Toby. Ta!
As most of my longterm pals here on the Cliffs know, I underwent a Rouxen-Y gastric bypass operation on 22 March, 2004. For any newbies thinking of having the surgery or scoffing at me, thinking I took the easy route out, do not delude yourself that any part of it is a breeze. You have to go into it with the mindset that anything can go wrong, from your not surviving the operation, to your body developing health issues directly related to GBS. The procedure is a tool that you must be emotionally and psychologically prepared to use safely and correctly; otherwise, it would have been all for naught, and I couldn't imagine such a horrible end to what seemed like my last, best hope.
My surgeon, Dr. Paul Ross warned me that I would have excess skin and probably a lot of it. He explained that, as he understood it, no insurance company in South Carolina, be it workplace insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or anything like that covered that surgery. In SC, the skin removal was considered cosmetic and, if I decided I wanted it or I very much needed it to avoid constant skin infections, the surgery would be self-pay.I made my peace with that information and proceeded, because my genetic history combined with eating cheap and not wasting anything (this is one of the reasons why so many people at or below the poverty level are fatter than those with extra coinage.) had me hurtling toward an early death. And it wasn't just death. It was the constant pain I was in, especially my knees, and the vitriol I had endured from 1st grade and on through college. I wasn't in it to look good, because I never thought about my appearance. I'd had family and peers to keep me abreast of how "chunky" I was. The Paternal Grandmother Unit made my clothes, because we couldn't find outfits in the girl's department that would fit me. What few clothes we could afford to buy had to be found in the "Husky Boys" department. The last reason I wanted the surgery was my appearance. My self-worth as far as my looks were concerned had been eradicated years before I had ever heard of the surgery.
I had tried every diet then known, and nothing worked worked past the maintenance portion of whatever plan I trying. The screenings for GBS in the late 90s and early 00s were intense. I had to go through a bevy of tests and even talk to a psychiatrist, who as an utter prick. Still, I held in my knee-jerk reaction of weeping and shutting down. By the end of all poking, prodding, unprofessional antagonism, and appearing to be appropriately worshipful of the insurance company BMG offered, I was deemed a good candidate by the doctors. At the time, BMG offered Cigna Insurance, who refused to approve the surgery and told me to go to Weight Watchers for six months, then they'd revisit my claim. But, with the year change, BMG dropped Cigna and went with United Healthcare. The doctor sent UH all his paperwork, my current comorbidities - deteriorating knees, chronic pain, skin infections, clinical depression, and sciatica. Thankfully, I had not yet developed diabetes or heart issues, which were prevalent on both sides of my family. Within a week I was approved.
I made one promise to myself as I was wheeled into the O/R: No matter what happens, I will never regret getting this surgery. There have been moments of difficulty, over the decade since the operation, but I've never broken my vow. In early 2011, I was prescribed a medication the doctors said would help with my depression and insomnia. I can't remember the name. It worked for the insomnia for the first week, then I was back to square one. It didn't do a thing for my depression. They kept me on it for three months and in that time, I gained 60 pounds, despite my increasing my exercise and adding even more protein to my diet. I stopped the meds and was beginning to lose the weight I'd regained when Aunt Tudi died.
Since August 2011, I have not paid much attention to what I eat or if I eat. I lost the rest of the side effect's weight plus 20 more by doing nothing but lying in a foetal position on the love seat and watching reruns of Law & Order: SVU. And I did not stop losing weight. I ate whatever was available when I had any appetite at all. A lot of what I did eat just came right back up. There were days I just didn't even try. The only time I felt enthusiastic about anything was when I'd look at myself in the mirror and see how truly gaunt I was getting, because I wanted to disappear. I began to fall down a lot. There were times I couldn't even stand up. My blood pressure kept tanking out on me, and my anemia got worse, because I stopped taking any of my vitamins. I had 0 fucks to give, so why bother with any of it? In mid-August, 2012, I began vomiting copious amounts of blood and could barely raise my head. Aunt Janice had me rushed to the same hospital in which Aunt Tudi died. I couldn't even stand for an x-ray of my stomach, probably because my blood pressure was 62/35. I had developed an ulcer because I'd been eating aspirin for my Fibromyalgia, headaches, arthritis, and injuries from falling, even though I knew GBS patients are supposed to avoid that like the plague.
A few months later, at the end of February, I attempted suicide by taking all the meds I could find in the house and washing them down with Vodka. Obviously, I survived. I spent some time in the hospital and one of the doctors I saw was concerned about how ill I appeared and had some labwork done. Everything was fucked up. He asked me about my eating habits, and I told him the truth - that I ate when I thought about it, but I rarely thought about it. He asked if I was taking my meds properly, and I told him that I was not. I only thought about the day Aunt Tudi died, and I had no desire to engage in Earthly matters that always end up being senseless and not worth engaging in. He asked about my weight, since he knew I was a GBS patient. I told him about the medicine that made me speedily gain a lot back, but I'd since lost it all and more. When he asked how and I told him about my great invention, The Grief and Stress Diet, consisting of curling up on your love seat and watching TV without moving except to maybe go to the bathroom, he told me that what I had been doing and was still doing was attempting passive suicide. Those who engage in such behaviour usually don't realise that's what they're doing. They just want the world to stop, but may fear doing anything proactive to make their final dream come true, so they just stop. It's a slow, painful way to go, which is also a motive for those who feel they've irreversibly damaged someone or something they dearly love. It's a kind of capital punishment for the crimes they perceive they have committed.
So when I moved out here and found a physician, the first thing she did was draw blood and have me give a urine sample. It wasn't long before I was getting an urgent call to come in and see her. She wanted me to start taking vitamins again, and urged me to at least try some protein shakes, because I had let on that almost everything I ate, what little I ate, I usually lost shortly thereafter. She said that I was close to entering starvation mode, like an anorexic person, and I needed to do anything I could to pull myself back from that threshold. It mostly went in one ear and out the other. My teeth had already begun to feel the brunt of my vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and vomiting at least once a day, without fail. It has now gotten to the point where the doctor is demanding I come in once a month for a B12 shot and I must get labwork done every three months. She groused that I was just a hair away from Malapsorption Syndrome.
I'm trying to remember the things she told me I must do. I keep up with the calendar in typical OCD fashion, which is constantly. I'm still not eating as properly as I need to, but the extenuating circumstances are the issue in that matter, so it's not of my subtle slide into anorexic thinking. Still, though, I'm doing the best I can, and plan on getting a hotplate and pot and pan so I can properly cook vegetable dishes, now that I can actually chew. Yeah, my passive suicidal behaviours did in my teeth, which were never good, thanks to my dad's genes. There were complications in getting the dentures properly aligned so, after a year of eating soft food - mostly instant potatoes that I can whip up in my microwave - I can now begin to relearn how to chew with the faux fangs.
Another thing the doctor discovered after seeing I had gained over 20 pounds in two months, was that my thyroid had finally died. Having been diagnosed with Hashimoto's Syndrome back in the 90s, I knew this was going to happen eventually. Once I got on thyroid medicine, though, the weight has been coming off. My only exercise resource here is walking, but much of it is very hilly. The more I walk, the more my back feels like it's going to shatter. About that, I was also diagnosed with spondylosis that is pinching four discs in my back. My pain doctor mentioned month before last that she was glad to see me losing weight, as that would help take stress off the problem areas in my spine.
And I got to thinking... The medical care and programs made available to disabled people here in California are like the polar opposite of South Carolina, so I took the chance and called my insurance to see if panniculectomies were covered in my policy and, if so, how much the copay would be. As I mentioned here a couple of weeks ago, I was informed that the surgery has to be precertified and, if it were approved, my portion of the bill would be $264.
So, yesterday, I went to see this dude, one Dr. Jason Hess, to whom Dr. Denysiak had referred me. After an examination, he said he wouldn't see any problem getting not only a panniculectomy approved, but also an abdominoplasty, since the insurance I have has covered the surgeries for patients who had far less skin to get rid of. I should know in two weeks or less.
One more thing about the gastric bypass surgery and how my actions years later could have easily killed me. On the morning of 1 July, I decided to take a walk with Toby. Toby refused to cooperate, pulling out of his harness several times, so I brought him back to the house, then headed out again. But I forgot my water. Where I wanted to walk, though, a little convenience store with some Mexican name, has lots of water, and I figured that would give me incentive to reach my goal. En route, I found a homeless elderly lady working on her cardboard sign for the day. It wasn't even 10 and she already looked hot, miserable, and defeated. I didn't have cash, just my debit card, so I offered to get her something to drink and bring it back to her. She thanked me and assured me she'd be right where I initially found her.
I was gone for hours. I missed a turn somewhere - this neighbourhood is like a maze - my voice navigator wouldn't work, and the sun prevented me from seeing the phone screen. The only things I can recall about this adventure gone wrong is that, at one point, I collapsed in some shrubbery in front of an apartment building, and the tenants came out to see if I was okay. I told them I was, but I wasn't. I sat there for about 15 minutes, got up, and started calling for Toby, as I thought he'd run off. I remember a soccer field. I remember a dude who refused to give me any directions to a store or fastfood joint, just so I could pull myself together, and he told me I looked and acted like a drunk and to keep away from him. I finally swallowed my pride and called the Mother Unit, who sent Matt to try to find me. Eventually, miraculously, he did. I had walked almost 4 miles, making a wrong turn every time. I never saw the old lady again.
After that incident, I didn't feel right for a few days. I kept blacking out, I had to hold on to whatever I could when I made my way through the house or to the bathroom. I couldn't bend over without getting swimmy-headed, and then the Migraine from the Inner Ring of Hell came upon me and decided to linger for three days, leaving behind nausea and auras to keep me company for two extra days. Once I was able to look at the computer screen, I began hunting for reasons a person would suddenly become so confused, unbalanced, and feel as though a seizure was about to come on, and I found something very interesting. Apparently some people who have had gastric bypass surgery develop seizures a few short years afterward. Most of the time they are associated with hypoglycemia, which also causes a person to fall down more than stand up, and behave like an erratic asshole. Confusion is also a player in this Olympic team of NOPE. This could be why my neurologist has not found the cause of the seizures I started having 4 years and 4 months since my GBS.
Finding all this out, you'd think I'd give in and say I regret having the surgery. You would be wrong. The surgery allowed me to help Aunt Tudi more. I recovered swiftly from my knee replacement because I was half the woman I used to be. I'm no longer gawked at wherever I go (unless, of course, I'm acting like an escaped mental patient). I've gotten to travel, and hope to travel more. It has made it easier to go vegetarian and is the reason why I haven't had to get my right knee replaced before the preferred age of 50. Everything I do is much easier than it was before the surgery. I wouldn't be able to sleep on this wee bed with a cat and dog if I hadn't had the surgery. And if the surgery ends up having a hand in my death, I want the record to show that the malapsorption and defenciencies that may have led to my death were the result of my actions, or lack thereof. The gastric bypass surgery did not kill me; rather, the tool I chose to accept, I later used against myself, even though I didn't realise what I was doing at the time.
If I die, I die. There will be less of me to cremate after Dr. Hess has his way with me with Aetna's blessing. I hope I don't die any time too soon. Whenever and however I die, I shall do so with no regrets about the gastric bypass surgery.
Today I went to see Dr. Denysiak about my lab results and any health concerns I may have. I was a bit nervous to go, because I was going to be asking her to do things for me, one of which is something I'm sure doctors are burnt out on doing, the other of which regarded a thing I could never broach to my docs in South Carolina, because I already knew it was a futile attempt on all our parts.
- I need certification from my PCP to send with my discharge request to Nelnet, so my paltry monthly sum will stop being garnished over $200 a month. I need Dr. Denysiak to confirm that I am indeed permanently disabled.
- I want to get the ball rolling on the skin removal surgery I need, and I had to ask her what she and I needed to do to make that happen.
Because I was antsy about all that, my blood pressure was elevated at one point. I say "at one point" because the nurse took it five times, one of which was lying down, and another standing up. Lowest reading was 98 - 50, highest 150-100, all within the course of about 10 minutes.
When Dr. Denysiak came in, she told me that she was referring me to a cardiologist to dig deeper into my blood-pressure conundrum. She went over my labs and I'm still extremely deficient in some vitamins and minerals, the worst levels of which were B12 and Iron. I got a B12 shot today, and I have to go every month for one, until my body gets straightened out.
She asked me when was the last time I had my eyes checked. I told her it had been years ago. I was nearsighted then, and my vision has really only gotten worse, probably because I lost my glasses in that car accident my seizure caused in 2012, and I couldn't afford to pay for another check-up and get the glasses replaced. As I mentioned earlier, the palm trees out here look like giant umbrellas to me, just as the deciduous trees in SC all looked like giant broccoli. She pushed the referral through and said I could go upstairs as soon as I left to set up an appointment with one Dr. Couris. I go see him in August.
She said the referral for the cardiologist should be sent by tomorrow, at which time I can call for an appointment to have the blood pressure issue addressed. In 2013, the Mother Unit strongly suggested that I get my heart checked, since she had to have heart surgery due to a possible genetic issue that affected the heart. I never did. Given my default frame of mind since 2011, I didn't care if I had the same condition or not. In fact, I hoped I did and that it would kill me ASAFP. But, I'm going to follow the doc's orders and give this heart doctor a call to set up an appointment.
I then asked her if she would fill out the necessary paperwork for me to send to Nelnet, so I can stop having what little money I get garnished by institutions who haven't a monetary care in the world. She didn't hesitate with her resounding yes. I think I melted a little from relief. In the meantime, though, those who know me should consider me indefinitely too broke to pay attention.
The other question was a seriously big deal for me, because I was told before I even got the gastric bypass surgery that I would be denied the procedure to remove my excess skin, when or if the time came. That's how I began my request to Dr. Denysiak, that I had essentially forgotten about skin removal surgery, because it was never an option to begin with, not in South Carolina. I told her how my back pain had gotten worse over the months and that the affected area was directly across from the dead weight of my stomach, giving me rise to believe that if that weight weren't pulling on my spine all the time, my back might get better and I would be better able to excercise and lose more weight. I also told her about the skin infections I've had to fight over the years, the worst of which are the topical yeast infections. She had me show her the area in question, and immediately sent an insurance request and referred me for an initial consultation with a plastic surgeon, commenting that she doubted my pre-certification would be denied.
After Dr. Denysiak left the room, the Mother Unit and I began to discuss the surgery as we waited for the nurse to return with the B12 shot. Being the sick bastard Mama is, she suggested that I ask the surgeon for the skin he removes to make myself a lampshade for my strange Gothic lamp she thinks is so ugly. We were cackling like lunatics when the nurse returned, so I told her what we were laughing about and she started cackling, too.
Secretly, though (well, not so secretly, now that I'm writing about it online), I would love to be able to do that. Mine is the kind of lamp that screams human skin lampshade material. And, hell, why just throw it away?
Waste not, want not, as they say...
About an hour ago, Matt reminded me of the drum circle that's happening tonight. A short while after that, the Mother Unit also reminded me, asking if I was going with them.
I am not.
When it was mentioned at the Rainbow drumming circle on Sunday, I didn't get the chance to tell the Unit and Matt that I wouldn't participate. Later, I forgot to bring it up. They just assumed I'd be up for any drum circle, and that's totally understandable. I don't think they understood why I won't be going with them, though, despite my best efforts to explain.
Honestly, I didn't try very hard to explain my reason to Matt, because his understanding others - at least me, at any rate - is as selective as his hearing and attention span, and it would have led to nothing more but another avoidable conflict. But I did try to clarify my position to the Unit.
If there is something I despise more than anything else in the world, I would have to say it is hypocrisy, religious hypocrisy to be exact.
Since 2011, I have had issues with my spirituality that, today, sees me on the threshold of unapologetic atheism. I have not participated in Esbats or Sabbats, nor will I until I can say without reservation that I still believe. This is a full moon drum circle. Engaging in connecting with Earth's heartbeat by creating rhythms beneath a full moon is too close to participating in ritual for my comfort.
The Unit's argument to mine was that she was not Pagan, nor is Matt, and they're still attending. In fact, she said, there were probably few, if any, Witches present, that it was more about the drumming than anything. And she's right. I can't deny she doesn't have a point. She also fails to understand that, because I'm an initiate, because I take spirituality extremely seriously, I don't feel comfortable going to an event that even hints at ritual. I would feel like a hypocrite, and that's an untenable position in which to find oneself.
I would love to go drumming tonight. Since this one is on the beach, I would particularly love going, as I have been wanting to return to the ocean for quite a few months now. (I think I may be past the used condom incident to the point I could brave the water again.) Immersing into the Pacific beneath a full moon as the attendees drum out our collective heartbeat sounds wonderful to me right now. In all good conscience, however, I can't do it. Even though the Unit and Matt don't see a problem with my participation, neither of them have undergone an initiation into a spiritual path. They don't see the conflict because, for them, there is none. And that's okay. That's the way it's supposed to be.
In completely unrelated news, my back has been about to kill me today. As I went up the stairs earlier, I felt like the G-force was tripled. It then occurred to me that the excess skin I could never get removed may be a major factor in keeping my back in a fix. So I decided to see what my health insurance might cover, given it changed when I moved to California. I couldn't find anything on Aetna's secure members' page, but that didn't stop me. I wrote Aetna. About thirty minutes later, I got this back:
Your provider will need to request precertification for the procedure.
If approved you may be responsible $264 out patient procedure co-payment.
I'm flabbergasted by this. It just doesn't even seem real to me, that this procedure, considered strictly cosmetic by all insurers in South Carolina, would cost me less than $300, if I got approval. Based on the experience I've so far had with the medical maze in California, I'm pretty confident I'd get approval, especially if it means the procedure would help with my back, knees, and my skin in general.
I go see my PCP next week, and will definitely be broaching the subject to her at that time. I will also be mentioning it to the pain doctor later on this month, considering he's been treating my pain issues in regard to my spine, knees, and fibro. So, we'll see.
I'm probably screwing myself over royally for feeling this way, but I'm actually kind of hopeful about the prospects of this. Anyone who reads this needs to keep your digits crossed for me, 'cos this would be monumental.
The past couple of days have seen me regain my lost focus on things I needed to do. Along with it was a wonderful spurt of energy, which I have tried to utilise for best effect possible. Yesterday, in particular, resulted in a great deal of Shriek dissemination. I'm thinking knowing I'm going to be taken off life's stage for a goodly portion of the weekend that spurred the flurry of activity.
Late tomorrow morning, I'll be going back under the knife - and "sander" - at the dentist's office. "But why?" you may ask. "I thought you got a full set of dentures!" And you would be more than justified in any confusion this has imposed on you. My permanent teeth never fit me correctly, but I was waiting for the gums to heal more before I went for any adjustments. The problem only got worse over time, though. The dentures are too large for my mouth to rest with my lips closed. I have to work at keeping my mouth closed, which gives me a distinct chimpanzee appearance. If I don't close my mouth, I look like this dog.
When I laugh or smile, Tuna is replaced by Mr. Ed. But it's not the aesthetic that distressed me as much as the health concerns. Because the teeth were so large and ill-fitting, I couldn't use them to bite food, and there wasn't enough room in my mouth to even chew properly. The act of grinding the teeth together in an effort to chew was not only unsuccessful, but excruciating. Being a GBS patient, I have to chew my food beyond thoroughly. Any small amount of unchewed food can get caught in my tiny digestive track, which means it will come back up. My inability to chew resulted in a lot of vomiting so, almost a year out, I'm still on a soft food diet. Let's just say I'm fortunate to love potatoes and cottage cheese so much.
Then, there was my speech. I've always been very self-conscious about my speech, because of the variety of accents in my family and, upon entering school, being teased for having a lisp. At the age of 6, I began speech therapy with myself. I obsessed over tongue-positioning to cloak the lisp and, a couple of years later, I was almost lispless. That didn't stop the kids from doing what kids do, though, so speech became an issue for me early on. Obviously, without fangs in my face, and because of my almost life-long practice of tongue positioning, my impediment is magnified. With the teeth in, I have a whole new set of speech problems, from sounding like Gopher in the Winnie the Pooh cartoons to slurring my words to the point of sounding like a drunk zombie politician on the campaign trail. I have to repeat everything I say, all the time. This is particularly frustrating when I go see Dr. Harrington. He's deaf as hell and my unintelligible blarghing is counter-productive to a successful talk-centric session.
The combination of pain, inability to properly eat or speak, and looking like the ugliest Osmond in all of Utah drove me back to the dentist last week to hopefully get them adjusted enough to where I could lead just a fraction of a normal life. I saw a different dentist in the office that day, one Dr. Habashi, who is hubba-hubba-level handsome. Unlike the dentist who took me on after my first dentist, Dr. Preber, moved to Northern California, Dr. Habashi listened to everything I had to say, noted by areas in my mouth that I was not exaggerating, and gave me a thorough exam, including another full digital imaging of my head. After gathering all the evidence, he gave me the bad/good news. The bad news is I'm one of those rare individuals who, instead of having the occasional, inevitable bone shard still in my gums work its way out as the gums healed, some of the shards established residence and began developing spurs. Even though I did have a couple of shards work their way out, which is quite normal, it turned out that I had a few more that remained, forming hard knots all over my gum lines, top and bottom. This was keeping my gums inflamed and made wearing the dentures pretty much impossible and agonising.
The good news is, this can be fixed! He set me up an appointment for a second oral surgery to basically "sand down" my gums and remove any bone left behind from the first surgery. I will then have to be refitted again for properly-fitting dentures. Thanks to b_bopper55, I will be able to pay for the second surgery, but the new teeth are obviously free, considering they were not made correctly, and did not function in any way dentures are supposed to work. So, hopefully soon, I'll stop being left-side Ren and finally transform into right-side Ren.
I'm thinking that this surgery may be worse than the initial extraction surgery. There's an image of a NYC high-rise construction worker ambling into the operation room after I'm put out, revving up his industrial electric sander and wearing a grin that can't say anything but "Serial Killer in Training." So, I'm trying to get as much writing and advertising done today as I can. I've already alerted the band that I will probably be incommunicado for most of tomorrow and all of Sunday, and I am finishing up a rudimentary outline of the five main characters of The Harming Tree. I've been writing a lot of late, but all of it is currently disjointed, as I write what is "given" me, and that process is never a consecutive narrative. So, yeah, I may be posting a good bit about Shriekback today, as well as posting my 5-character study with accompanying anchor images.
So far, the week has certainly been an interesting one.
Yesterday evening, You Tube's All Seeing Eye, placed this little gem in my recommendations - Contemporary Acoustic Buddhist music, courtesy of Mantrasphere and record producer, Barry Andrews. Listen!
Today has been a little less productive because I went to get a nerve block injection for the left side of my lower back. They gave me a giant shot of dilaudid and phenergan to relax me, and they said it would last a few hours after the procedure was finished. That was this morning at 9 o'clock. I did not go to sleep, like so many other patients do, according to the staff, but I did zone out for much of the day, only recently snapping out of the catatonia. So far, I've been satisfied with the block's effects. I can stand up straight now, instead of looking like a human comma. After months of really hideous pain, any change for the better is welcome to the point of my turning into this little old lady.
Since hearing the new Shriekback album, the ebb and flow of my current Work in Progress has changed tidal behaviours and set my writer brain on fire. Big changes are in the offing, and I'm eager to get to the revisions and rewrites.
But first, I need to finish the song-by-song review of Without Real String or Fish so it will be ready to share, if approved, when the album is released. The problem I'm having with it, though, is the brainmeats begin conjuring new themes and possible directions for the book, when I'm trying to focus solely on whatever song I'm discussing at the moment. What I'm having to do is limit the work on the review to two or three songs a day, with each song on perpetual repeat until I collect my "sanity." I am halfway finished with it, and am about to work some more on it, since I haven't touched it at all today, for obvious I'm-drugged-the-fuck-out-of-my-mind reasons.
I figured I would visit the Cliffs before proceeding, because I'm committed to being more present here, my favourite and preferred dot on the Internet map. It's now time to make a concerted effort to maintain my "critical brain" as I beat back the "creative brain" for a little while.
I'm gonna be writing like a damned maniac.
Still attempting, and subsequently failing, to hold my shit together with this flare. It's beyond anything I've experienced since I began suffering the symptoms of fibro. I've put a call in to the doctor to let her know I haven't felt much of an improvement from the shot yet, and it's been well over 24 hours since I got it. Hopefully, she'll call me back before 5 to let me know if there's anything else I can do other than wait it out. I get to start the other medicine tomorrow, so there's that.But, to be honest, I am wishing with all my heart that there will not be a tomorrow. The pain is that bad, and I'm that weak.
It's not like anyone really needs me around.
Matt fell ill yesterday, and he's still hacking and wheezing. And he's more subdued that I've ever before seen him! Honestly, it's rather disturbing. The Mother Unit started getting sick today. I think it's just a cold but, these days, who the fuck knows? So far, I'm okay. I went through Matt's vitamin/herb bag for him, and found his olive leaf and zinc pills. Also, I offered to go get him and Mama some food. He said they had soup for tonight, so I'll see what I can do to help tomorrow. I'm wondering if Costco carries hazmat suits...
In other news, I went back to the dentist today for another exam and to get my possibly last gum impression before I get my permanent teeth. On 11 September, I go back to get an adjustment on the final shape and placement of the actual teeth. After that, it won't be long until I get the finished product. Score! One crummy aspect about all this, though, is I seem to have extra bone protrusions that are essentially gum bunions. Until I build up some callouses in the affected parts, the dentures are gonna be painful. They aren't excruciating or anything like that; they're just really touchy, and get more so, the longer I wear them. I'm taking it in stride, thinking of it as the oral equivalent of breaking in a new pair of shoes.
Have a bubonic "totallylooksalike" piccie. missautopsy may get a kick out of this, since she collects these kinds of surreal comparisons.
Today, I went to see my pain doctor, who had the results of the MRIs of my back and right knee. It turns out I have a severely herniated disk in (I think he said) 5th lumbar. He’s looking into getting me an epidural, as well as some restorative injections for the right knee. The shot for the shoulder is still waiting on approval. He gave me meds and is having me come back next week. Also, he’s arranged to have me do aqua therapy.
I really like him. He comes across as just a D00D. The only time our interaction rankled me was his mention of my weight. I quickly informed him that I had just recently been diagnosed as hypothyroidic and that I’d gained approximately 20 pounds in two months. But since I’d been on the synthroid meds for the past two weeks, I’d lost 5 pounds. He sorta backed off that topic when I made it rather obvious that I knew my shit and was trying to deal with it accordingly.
I took the Mother Unit to D.Z. Akins for a late lunch. I tried out their lox and cream cheese omelette with a side of cottage cheese. The portions where huge and wonderful, so I’ll be enjoying the meal two or three more times before it’s all gone. The closest thing I ever got to well-made Jewish food in SC was Temple B’nai Israel’s annual bake sale, and IHOP’s cheese blintzes. D.Z. Akins is to die for.
It is cloudy today. I don’t know how long it will last, so I’m looking out the window occasionally to enjoy the lack of sun. Smidgen and Toby are here with me on the bed. I am rifling through a couple of old Shriekback articles I need to transcribe, whilst following various news sources concerning the chaos on several continents, mainly the Gaza tragedy and the Ebola outbreak. But I’m also taking mini-breaks from all that to aggressively seek out stuff that will make me laugh. Laughter is sometimes the only thing that will convince me I’m going to make it through the day without killing myself or someone else, or both.
Some new health issues have come up, but I’m not going to delve into that until I see my doctor on the 7th of August.
As is evidenced in my post last night, I am still writing. I don’t know when The Augury of Gideon is going to be released, but I promise it is complete and ready, for anyone who might be interested. Also, I started a Facebook page for The Vampire Relics. Please click the title to go see and join up. I’d love to have you.
For the past few days, I’ve been missing Todd a great deal. I don’t think I’ll ever get over losing him, and I do worry about him a lot, given what I assume to be some serious emotional upheaval in his life this past year. One of the things I liked about coming out to California was to have a better chance of seeing him again, since he’s also on the West Coast. It’s safe to say that won’t be happening.
Also, I’m deeply frustrated in regard to helping people effectively use the power of the Internet that is right at their finger-tips. I am by, by no means, a computer or network expert, but I’ve dabbled, explored, and worked damned hard to learn what I have over the past 15 years, and I would like to think that my efforts will not be vain, but I’m beginning to think I’ll always be the one to “set the time on the VCR”, so to speak.
Janice is finally getting her knee replacement, I think next week. She was wonderful at taking care of me after mine, so I feel a bit guilty not being there for her. She said she’d be okay, and she does have Johnna, Michael, and the kids. Blake is going to be staying with Uncle Michael during her recovery. I hope everything goes as smoothly for her as it did for me. I know her doctor. He was Aunt Tudi’s orthopedic doctor, so I have no doubt she is in very good hands.
I am thinking about committing to “paper” some accounts from my childhood that haunt me to this day. There are four, three of which have to do the paranormal or alien engagement, and one that I think was the Mother and Father Units fucking with me when I was in my crib. When I sufficiently gathered my thoughts about that, I’ll begin posting about them. I need to see if anyone else has ever experienced anything similar.
The Mother Unit is going to Costco later on, and I need to go with her. It’s time to restock cat litter and the fur-kids’ vittles. I don’t know what she and Matt have planned for tomorrow. Maybe we’ll go drumming, if the timing is right and we all feel like it. It would probably do me a little bit of good to get out of the house, at least as long as the sun isn’t trying to incinerate me. It’s not that it is hot, but that is almost always present. I feel like an ant under a magnifying glass.
This is after the doctor in SC told me that he didn't think I was in much pain, and that I could probably wait for a knee replacement until I was 50, if I even needed it then.
I was just recently diagnosed with spondylosis, which is affecting four discs in my back. Since the doc in SC proceeded with my left knee replacement because the severity of the degeneration was "beginning to affect my body alignment," I'm pretty much of a mind that I wouldn't have spondylosis now, if the SC doc had done his fucking job sooner than he did.
So yeah, I'm in a bit of a foul humour.
The good news is, my liver is fine. It just has some wonky levels, but that's not a result of anything malignant.
The freaky-ass news is, the rest of my is fucked up. Apparently, I have a kidney stone in my right kidney. My anaemia is worse, and my calcium levels have not risen. She wants me to have a colonoscopy and upper G.I. to see if I might be bleeding anywhere. She also wants me to have a gynecological exam, since my menstrual cycle is, at best, inconsistent.
Aaaaaand, I have spondylosis, with disc narrowing in the L1-L2 and L5-S1. This would explain the general crap feeling I get when I move…like, around. Also, she said it would explain the incontinence I've been experiencing for the past couple of months.
She is referring me to a gastroenterologist, a gynecologist, and a urologist, for all the tests she wants me to have, and she wants to see me again in six weeks.
Looks like I continue to follow in the mighty footsteps of my family, what with our glorious genetic wellspring of good health. ::makes with the oogly-boogly face - this one: o_0::