Thursday, November 29, 2007

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear...Snow, That Is...

Yup...forecasters are predicting SNOW again in my fair, emerald city. It certainly feels COLD enough outside to snow these days! It is supposed to get down in the 20's by Friday evening and...well, it ALWAYS rains here (myth #1), so there will obviously be plenty of sky-falling precipitation to freeze into precious, little flakes. Add those precious, little flakes to the ginormous flakes behind the wheel of cars and my fine, but hilly city turns into a winter nightmare...and just my luck...I get to go to WORK this weekend (adding one more ginormous "flake" behind the wheel of a car!).

I really can't complain about the Northwest weather so far this year. As you may recall (or if you can't remember, but wish you could, go here and

here ) LAST year's fall and winter weather gave me MUCH to complain about..we had flooding that would make Noah worry about the sea-worthiness of his ark and winds that could only be described as SENT FROM HELL!

I am sitting at my computer right now with a space heater blowing dry, skin-chapping wind on me just to warm my frozen feet. I don't know why it is THIS year I seem to be much less tolerant of the cold...I've always been warm-blooded, but for some reason, I can't seem to get warm and STAY warm. I find myself walking around my home with blankets bundled around me (YES! I DO have my heat on blasting electric bill will most likely cause me to sell a kidney just to pay for this comfort.) and my indoor thermometer says it is 70 degrees inside (I look like Nanook of the North!). I even moved it around the room just to make sure it wasn't broken AND set it near the front door to "test" it's ability to read colder weather...seems to be reading just fine. The common cold denominator is ME.

I don't know if the Novantrone is causing me to feel cooler this year or if my intolerance for the cold is some strange aging process. I AM carrying the same amount of insulating BODY FAT I had on me last year...THIS cover should have me looking like Richard Simmon's Sweatin' To The Oldies every time I exert ANY physical activity, but I remain chilled to the bone...not a drop of sweat beads on my forehead. And if it did, I'd be worried it might turn into a tiny icicle!

I've also noticed with this cold intolerance/feeling cold all the time comes a new and improved muscle my joints and muscles are just too cold to move about the hut. I've been hitting the Baclofen again just to be able to sleep through the night and not wake up in a tight, banded board. Once I get moving again, the incredible stiffness does seem to the moral of the story is to keep MOVING, I guess. LOL

And for all of you medical prognosicators who (like me) simply PLAY a doctor on the Internet, NO...I am not sick or coming down with something. I am not having chills nor do I have a fever. I'm just DAYUMED COLD! Very, very dayumed cold and I have been for several weeks now. What gives?!? (And NOW you may diagnose freely)

Has my body suddenly become living proof of global warming on a microcosmic level? Has the "ice" around my heart (formed from glacial movement of my brain and causing cynicism) spread to my Nether regions? Have I lost so many brain cells to MS I am no longer "rubbing them together" and creating warming friction? Has my cat suddenly discovered a way to not only try to suck my will to live, but also suck my body heat? Has Seattle Public Utilities launched a covert operation to pump COLD air into the homes of a million people in order to force them to run up massive electric bills? Has the distance between my FEET and my HEART increased significantly to cause a cooling of blood flow before it reaches my toes?

I don't tell amongst yourselves and get back to me on this one.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Grinch Night...

It happens earlier and earlier each year...pretty soon, "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" will begin airing in August!

But, tonight was the "big" night on ABC...did anyone ELSE catch my favorite holiday story tonight? Sadly, I almost missed it myself due to some serious "self-Christmas" shopping. I had to swing by my favorite electronics store on my way home from a meeting to purchase a replacement camera for my now defunct Canon...something I consider a necessity.

I DID wear my most discrete "Grinch Wear" sweatshirt to my meeting with the mucky mucks today...after all, I only get to wear this stuff for a few short weeks in December each year (I left the Grinch bedroom slippers at home and I'm not telling if I actually had on the Grinch boxer shorts or not! LOL). I'm not sure what the mucky mucks thought of my choice of outfit for the meeting and frankly, I don't really care. They are all mental health people so I imagine they can just deal with it...or diagnose me behind my back...whatever.

Of course I will be watching my personal video of the Grinch a few more times before the season is's sort of like Christmas music to me...I can get away with watching the derned tape as many times as I like, just as long as I PUT IT AWAY by January 1st!

Ah, life is good in Whoville tonight...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Miso Tired...

Yeah, I know...I'm really stretching it to link the title of this post to the picture! But the title IS correct...I am DAYUMED tired.

I just finished a five day stretch of working the DAY shift...I will make no more mention of the time of day I have reported to work. I am nearly comatose. My body aches as if I just wrestled Helga, the women's heavy weight champion. I have developed "interesting" sores in my mouth which seem unrelated to anything Novantrone could be causing...I'm referring to them as my "stress" sores as they are surely the result of too little sleep with too much stress.

Apologies for not making it around to my usual blog reads...I've just been too tired. As you can probably tell, I've even been too tired to post anything HERE. And even THIS post is lacking in substance (which actually isn't that unusual now, is it?!?).

I do feel compelled to make one comment regarding some of the search words/sentences I have noticed lately that a few desperate souls are entering into Google and ending up peeking at CHEESE...a couple today are just TOO fascinating to not make mention of here.

Some of you may not be aware of this, but when someone enters a "search" page and gets directed to this blog, my stat counter keeps...well...STATS of this information. And I am privy to what gets entered into Google Search and directs someone to this blog. Today, I noticed two such searches that caused me to laugh out loud and I apologize in advance for this horrible behavior...I'm sure "whoever" entered the search words was probably quite sincere in

Today, I was most intrigued by "someone" who entered the following:

"Does Copaxone make you fart?" and "Does being tired cause heating of the brain?"

I am now VERY interested if BrainCheese was able to ANSWER those two questions?!? Does anybody ELSE know the answers to these questions??? I'm just way too tired to do any research on either topic...LOL...

Friday, November 23, 2007

I Am A Grinchologist...

Now that I can breathe a sigh of relief to have Thanksgiving over, it's time to start planning for the NEXT big event...winter holidays. Don't get me wrong...I actually had a very pleasant Thanksgiving at work followed by a most scrumpdilleeishous evening meal, hosted by none other than dear Saint EB. My e-vile plan of playing upon the sympathies of friends to mooch a meal worked like a charm! I made a "buttload" of money working on the holiday, I didn't have to cook ANYTHING, and...I ate a most excellent free meal. Life is good in my world.

I was quickly and painfully reminded of the next approaching winter holiday when I flipped on my boobtube at 6:30-in-the-gawd-awful-morning and began my comatose preparation to return to work (need I mention ONCE AGAIN, I hate working the day shift and I'm in my once every seven week five day stretch of them!)...the "tube" was replaying scenes of midnight mayhem as malls in the Seattle area threw open their doors to greet the insanity of holiday shoppers willing to risk life and limb in the name of a "bargain". Don't worry, dear will NEVER find me in these crowds...I really don't like people all that much. LOL

And as I watched news reports of paramedics being called in to revive trampled shoppers in other stores across the nation, I began to feel a sudden warm "glow" in my cheeks...I began to feel the ice chunk around my weak but beating heart loosen...there was a bit more of a bounce in my step. Yes! It was now officially GRINCH SEASON!!!

Yup...I'm definitely a Grinchologist. And I look forward to the 3-4 weeks of the year when I can brush up on my Grinch-study. The only time one CAN reasonably fly their Grinch flag is between Thanksgiving and's's part of our "culture"...and I am what I'd consider an expert in this area.

WAIT! No, I'm not talking about being mean and nasty because it's the holidays. I'm talking about the GRINCH...Dr. Seuss's, "How The Grinch Stole Christmas". It's a classic and the man (Seuss) was, in my opinion, a genius.

For nearly 40 years (or at least as long as I can remember), "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" has replayed during the winter STILL gets air time every season. This 30 minute animated film has quietly snuck into our homes year after year and I, for one, LOVE it...and I've never grown tired of it.

I used to watch the cartoon with my eldest sister, Patty, when I was but a tot (she was 8 years older than me). And when I finally got a REAL job and found myself several hundred miles away from her, we used to call each other (we still remained in the same time zone) and watch the "Grinch" on TV together while talking on the phone. This is one of the fondest memories I have of my sister, who died in a car accident 20 years ago this December 14th. She adored this cartoon and message as much as I did/do.

I have Grinch wear...T-shirts, sweatshirts, boxer shorts, slippers. I freely admit this. I own not one, but TWO copies of the original cartoon and I watch them every year. I have the TV version of the story memorized and I can recite most of it on cue. I still get choked up every time I watch the cartoon where, in the end, Seuss eloquently says, "Christmas time will always be as long as we have we." I used to have "Grinch" parties instead of holiday parties complete with "Grinch" door prizes. Yes, I AM a GRINCHOLOGIST. And I am DAYUMED proud of it.

Sure...some people are getting excited to celebrate the birth of Jesus while others are preparing for Hanukkah to begin at sundown on December 4th. And still others are looking forward to Kwanzaa and the Solstice. But me? I'll be anxiously anticipating the network replay of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas"...aaahhhh...that's the spirit of the season...LOL...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

And The Weiner Is...

Well, he's just too dayumed smart for his own britches I guess! But then again, he IS a self-proclaimed Republican, so I suppose we should subtract I.Q. points for that...LOL

Yep, MDMHVONPA, aka, the Mister of Mystery, the Pa of Pennsylvania, has solved the picture riddle of the previous post. You'll have to check the comment section for the answer (because I don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't already seen the pic of the post and still might like to take a guess why Dick Cheney's head is on a Golden Idaho!). I'd offer him a prize, but he already has a mansion, two "bootiful" twins, and a wife that has the patience of Job...what more could he want/need?!?

Some of the other creative "spud" answers are quite Hi Larry Us as well..for having MS brains, y'all still got "it"!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Picture Riddle...

My personal guru described the following picture/riddle/joke to me today and I found it to be a pants-wetter...or maybe it was just an excuse to soil myself...hard to say. Anyway, see if you can guess the "pun" hidden in the picture below OR, better yet, what would the caption read?

Leave your smart-witted guesses/answers in the comment section...I may wet myself again with anticipation! LOL

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanksgiving, BRAINCHEESE style...

As we Americans roll upon the Monday before the Thursday we call "Thanksgiving", I do not venture out to the grocery store. That's because since Friday evening, the grocery stores have been packed with people, shopping in preparation for the "feast". It's tradition, doncha know? Husbands, wives, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles, partners, friends, siblings, etc., have ALL been making those last minute preparations/shopping lists in anticipation of the gorge-yourself-til-you-puke-tryptophan-induced coma we call "Thanksgiving".

My Thanksgiving tradition will be the typical one I celebrate each year...I will be at work...where it is safe...where I *belong*. Only occasionally over the past several years have I varied this tradition...a few times I have been assistant to the head chef of a friend's household, but I have personally not prepared a Thanksgiving turkey in many years. I like to spend my holiday at work.

I'd also like to say my tradition of being at work is purely altruistic. As a matter of fact, I HAVE said this before under my breath! When coworkers who are also parents beg to be off work for the holiday, I have stepped in like a perfect martyr and "volunteered" to work in their place...I don't have children or family, so it IS the right thing to do...right?!?

But if the truth be known (and I'm about to disclose it here), my motive is purely SELF-SERVING. Yep, that's right. I'm really not doing anyone a favor, but for myself! You see, if I am at work, no one expects me to cook, plan a meal, shop for food, or do ANY of the usual things one might do at Thanksgiving...and often, friends "feel sorry" for me and invite me to THEIR table. Because...I have to work. I end up getting paid a butt load of money (from my job...seriously...why did you THINK I would be paid on Thanksgiving?!?) AND I often get a free meal!! All that is usually required of me is a bit of dishpan hands when the cleanup of the feast begins...hehe. It is an EXCELLENT way to spend the holiday...deviant, but most excellent. LOL

I don't think MY Thanksgiving tradition is really what the pilgrims had in mind. And don't get me wrong...I am THANKFUL to be employed and also THANKFUL to have any friend willing to invite me into their home (I'm not fit for public consumption most days). I am also not ANTI-family/tradition/celebration/sharing/thanks giving...I used to celebrate/honor the holiday with a big feast also. But the typical Thanksgiving tradition most Americans seem to celebrate these days appears to have lost much of its beginning meaning. As I've aged, I find it difficult to wrap my brain around an abundance of food, football, shopping, and alcohol. I prefer to spend my "thanksgiving" privately...without traditional consumerism...and...well...give thanks. Which is something I can do ANY day of the year, not just the 3rd Thursday of the month of November.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Plague Unplugged...

I have been reading in medical news about a "new" virus that has mutated from the adenovirus known as AD14...and then, I happened over to MDMHVONPA'S and read yet another blog article about this particular virus that he has posted complete with a WARNING to those of us with compromised immune systems...thanks, Mark...I think?!?

So, at the risk of humor at HIS expense, I give you the photo...AND, a little bit more medical information about this particular mutant virus direct from the Center For Disease Control, aka, CDC. This government agency is responsible for reporting, tracking, and making recommendations regarding communicable diseases (just in case for some strange reason you did not know this)...yes, they DO know if you have been treated for Syphilis, Gonorrhea (clap), or any of the other highly contagious sexually transmitted diseases...and yes, Big Brother IS in your bedroom (or motel room, or back seat of your car, or...well, "wherever"). Please be sure and wear something sexy for him. LOL

But, aside from tracking who's passed what venereal disease on to whom, they also track MORBIDITY of diseases...and if people start to "kick" in higher than average proportions from something, they like to issue "alerts" about this. It's supposed to aid in disease prevention because, as is typical for most Americans, we don't really care about something until we know if could kill us. They also track TRENDS of diseases as well...and I imagine it has been the "trend" of the AD14 mutant virus that has caught their attention. Well, that and the virus made several hundred MILITARY PERSONNEL sick at Lackland Airforce Base in Texas this past February...about 423 personnel were tested, 268 had a form of adenovirus, and 106 tested positive for AD14. And that, my friends, is a LOT of military personnel without guns in their hands in Iraq!

And this is not the first time an adenovirus has caused problems among military personnel. A vaccine was created (pill never heard of it because it wasn't OFFERED to the common folk) back when AD4 and AD7 spread like wildfire among military recruits (most likely because of their confined spaces and proximity to one another)...this vaccine really eliminated the spread of these two adenoviruses, but the same vaccine will NOT protect against AD14. And particularly not a MUTANT of AD14.

People in nursing homes/the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, small children, etc., ROUTINELY contract adenoviruses...the CDC isn't really that interested in us common immuno-compromised folks (unless we're carrying something that might SPREAD to healthy people). But when seemingly HEALTHY, VIRILE, YOUNG MALES in the MILITARY come down with crap that sends them to the hospital (or even kills them, as one of the military personnel DID die from complications of the virus), our government takes notice.

As most of you know who stumble into this blog regularly, I am on Novantrone as a treatment for my Multiple Sclerosis. Novantrone is an infiltrates the DNA of my White Blood Cells, knocking them out of my system (until new ones are formed several weeks post infusion), in hopes of decreasing or even eliminating the chance of T-cells (a type of White Blood Cell) from crossing over from my blood into my cerebrospinal fluid and inflaming my brain (what's left of it, anyway LOL). At least that's the CURRENT school of thought, simplified and in a "nut shell". But White Blood Cells (WBC's...because I'm too lazy to type out those three words over and over!) are also the immune system's first line of defense against OTHER invaders/organisms that cause And actually, to be quite technical (I DID attend nursing school, after all), WBC's DON'T work directly on virus cells, but they DO work directly on what are called "secondary infections" that often result from viral pneumonia, etc. It is these SECONDARY INFECTIONS caused by the AD14 virus that are killing folks...not the virus itself. People are dying from pneumonia and complications of respiratory infections...technically speaking. The AD14 just weakens the body with fever, cough, etc., which allows OTHER infectious bacteria to set up shop. TMI?!?

I have been on Novantrone now for almost 10 months. But for the grace of God go I, I have NOT contracted a serious bacterial or viral infection. SHINGLES DON'T COUNT! Herpes Zoster virus was ALREADY laying dormant in my body and waiting for my immune system to fall off...I didn't get this from someone else. I know, it's splitting hairs, but it's important in the big picture of things. In other words, WHATEVER I have been doing to protect myself from the general public sea of disease HAS been effective. If anyone "should" get sick (be more susceptible), it "should" be people who's immune systems are compromised. And, because of the nature of my job, i.e., entering the largest petri dishes known to mankind such as emergency rooms and hospitals, I AM exposed to the general public sea of disease daily.

So, what am I doing to ward off these bugs? Well, I'm glad you asked. LOL Here's my remedy and these things are all stuff your MOTHER told you when you were little:

1. Keep your hands out of your mouth

2. Wash your hands frequently

3. Stay out of "range" of sick people, especially cough-ers

4. Don't eat food off the floor (or from potentially contaminated surfaces)

5. Rest

6. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water

And here are some nursing tips my mother never told me (but I'm sure she WOULD have if she had thought of them):

7. Although use of an antibacterial hand wash is controversial (it is theorized THIS may be why we are seeing so many super bugs), I use PURELL religiously. I carry small bottles on my person and in my bag. I use it frequently throughout the day, as if I have an Obsessive Compulsive hand washing disorder.

8. I don't touch surfaces like public bathroom doors (most doors, actually), hospital beds, jail cell doors, etc. I either use a paper towel (after washing my hands in public bathrooms, just hang onto the towel and push the door open with it as well as turning off the faucet with the towel, too) as a barrier between myself and unseen germs or I use my sleeve, foot (to push open doors), etc.

9. I wipe down shared equipment with an antibacterial, such as phones at work, to avoid BREATHING other people's germs.

10. I tend to stay away from large, public gatherings if possible when I know my WBC count is at its lowest (10-14 days post infusion).

11. I take 1000mg of Vitamin C daily (I have NO scientific proof Vit-C wards off anything...but like religion and believing in something greater than myself, it CAN'T hurt!)

12. And finally, if you are sick/coughing/puking/thinking you are sick/with runny nose, you will likely hear me say out loud, "GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!" And I really mean this. :)

So HOW is the AD14 virus spread? Well, no differently than any OTHER communicable disease. This is direct from the CDC and Dr. Gregory Gray of the CDC: "There are 51 different adenovirus strains. In the 1960s, Gray says, adenovirus was considered a "rather innocuous childhood problem." That opinion changed when adenoviruses turned out to be responsible for huge outbreaks that caused severe disease and deaths among military recruits...It is a very interesting virus.
Adenovirus can spread from person to person via aerosolized droplets in sneezes and coughs. But it's also present in feces, and fecal-oral spread is common among young children. The virus can survive for weeks on contaminated surfaces. In the summer, there may be swimming-pool-related outbreaks.
The adenovirus incubation period is two to nine days. Different adenovirus strains behave differently, but outbreaks can be explosive.

And what are the SYMPTOMS of an adenovirus or AD14 you ask? Typical cold/flu symptoms...most healthy people would not KNOW they had contracted an adenovirus specifically because the adenoviruses ARE responsible for the common cold! Generally speaking however, any cold/flu symptom that is prolonged and WITH fever (usually sustained fever over 100 degrees) SHOULD have a doctor's consult...or nurse practitioner...or shaman...or whoever you see for your health care. Prolonged cough (with discolored sputum, pain in the chest cavity, or anything else not your "normal" for a cough), prolonged fever, prolonged diarrhea or gastric upset/vomiting, prolonged headache/body aches, PROLONGED ANYTHING, SHOULD be cause for a consult with your physician. "Prolonged" to me generally means anything I just can't stand any longer...which could range from a few hours to several days, depending on the symptom. And any physician worth their weight will WANT to know if you have any of these symptoms if you are also IMMUNO-COMPROMISED.

If you are interested in reading the CDC's report about the AD14 virus, you can link to it here . Yep, you guessed it...the article is from the CDC's "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report", or the MMWR. THIS is why the mutant AD14 virus is making the news...
**DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a doctor...I only play one on the INTERNET.**

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Oh Yes, It CAN Get Much Worse...

I suppose it's all a matter of perception and I am the FIRST to admit, I am NOT an eternal a matter of fact, I generally keep one foot on the shore of reality when testing the waters of optimism with my other big toe. "Caution" is my middle name and, although I CAN swim/tread water if I have to, I prefer the safe comfort of a lounge chair on the beach.

The past few weeks have been a test of my endurance and ability to keep my head above water...that is, if one believes life is meant to test us. And today came over me like a tidal wave...I'm STILL coughing out the imaginary water from my symbolic lungs. And just when I thought nothing else could go wrong, Murphy's Law hit me in the head like a hidden log in a swift stream.

I am never able to share much detail about the actual work I do...laws prohibit me from such disclosure. But suffice it to say, whatever COULD have gone wrong in my work day today, DID. Between the pouring down rain of the Northwest weather (I am often outside in these monsoon events in my job), SNAFU's of mammoth proportions within the system I work in, and dodging "irritants" who should know better, I ended the evening with my $150.00 raincoat completely is covered in green paint I managed to back into and smear all over myself while trying to secure a "situation". Yes, this has been my day.

But, it does NOT stop here...oh no. That, my friends, would have left a breath of optimistic hope in me, believing things COULD be getting better. Just before sitting down to type this post, I retrieved my digital camera to take a picture of the ruined raincoat for your viewing pleasure (because I'm sadistic that way and also rely on the sympathies of others to heal my wounds...LOL)...I slid the lens cover back and the LCD screen flashed an unusual and bizarrely waving screen. Thinking this might simply be a battery problem, I replaced them...but alas, after nearly an hour of "fiddling" with my electronic toy, I have determined it is malfunctioning and most likely will require an expensive repair service to fix it...or, I may simply have to replace the entire camera.

So, with my head completely submerged in water right now, I believe the best thing for me to do is go to bed and try to erase today's slate clean so I can start over tomorrow. I can't WAIT to see what fresh hell Friday will bring!...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

No Excuse...My Bad...

As some of you may have noticed, I have been behaving badly in the world of blog etiquette. It's been over a week since I have stopped "replying" to you in the comment section of THIS blog, and almost that long since I have been posting comments on YOUR blogs...MY BAD...I've got no real excuse, except LAZINESS.

Oh sure...I could ramble on about my fatigue level, work schedule, planetary alignments, Mercury retrograde, the holidays approaching, feeling under the weather, thyroid malfunction, or some other malady. tell you the truth...I've just been LAZY.

I DO read all y'all's blogs via Google Reader. Every day I get alerts if you have posted something new and exciting and I open up my reader and sneak peeks at your daily musings. But to comment on your blogs, I must also open each, individual blog and that...well...that requires me to mouse to other pages and try to think of something witty to say. And frankly, there's been a warm, arid wind blowing through my wit, causing me to fall short in my usual Hi Larry Us and off-the-cuff thinking (but my grandiosity remains!). I've been infected with the LAZY virus...

I also READ your comments here on Cheese daily...I have to read them to post them because I have a moderator working behind the scenes to make sure no advertising or nasty remarks inadvertently wind up on my pious blog. LOL And I laugh heartily at YOUR wit in the comments (and also appreciate Mandy for featuring Cheese on Between The Blogs , although I am quite certain my rambling River of Refuse here is not deserving of such a highlight!), often thinking, "Gee...I wish I'd thought of THAT line". But, I continue to suffer from LAZINESS lassitude.

I have just tonight FINALLY made it around to most of my regular reads to leave comments...I'm sure you've all been anxiously awaiting THAT barrage on your blogs! I had an unusual burst of energy, so I took advantage while the gettin' was good and trolled around the wonderful works of several MS bloggers. You all seem to being doing OK in spite of all seem to be unaffected by my bout of LAZINESS.

And now, after sitting at this computer screen for well over an hour, I think it is in my best interest to hit the hay and attempt to get some shut eye...maybe a good night's sleep will do wonders to combat my LAZINESS bug. Of course, there IS always that trick of lighting a fire under my arse, too...but then again, I'd have to find the gumption to strike the match...sigh...LOL...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Crappy Cell Phone Service...

It's always something...I can't have just a "normal" day. If a "normal" day were to occur in my life, I am quite certain Armageddon would be upon us. And today, like every other day in my life, was filled with the wonders of surprise...

I awoke to the hateful sound of my alarm this morning. Not because I had to go to work today, but because I had an appointment that required me to be up and alert before I usually do so on any other day of the week. So, as you can imagine, ANY TIME I am awakened by an alarm, I am generally not in my "happy place". And I was definitely NOT in my happy place when my eyes snapped open like a roll-up blind and the light of morning filled the shadowy crevasses of my brain secondary to the noise bleating from my bedside alarm.

After completing my morning routine of bed ballet just to take those delicate first steps from the warmth of my covers, I gingerly stepped out into the colder-than-a-well-digger's-arse temperatures of my sleeping cavern and stumbled into my bathroom to begin my morning ritual. I was not looking forward to the icy chill of the toilet seat upon my precious hine-y...but since I know of no other way to "prewarm" the commode for my morning arrival, it is just something I accept. I'm actually looking forward to the day MS begins to numb my rear end...

Unfortunately, yesterday evening as I was preparing to go to bed, I was in a bit of a sleep deprived stupor and neglected to complete a usual bedtime ritual...that would be the CLOSING of the toilet seat...the dropping of the keep my dearest Princess O' Darkness from playing in the water. She has a "thing" about the toilet water...probably goes hand in hand with her "thing" about urinating in the tub drain!

Her favorite "thing" to do in the toilet is to bring one of her spongy sparkling ball toys in and drop it into the water...the toys DO float after all...and what better fun than to spend hours of blissful peace batting these little floating balls around in a toilet?!? Especially hours when she knows her human slave is snoring soundly in the next room? I've told you all along this cat is brilliant...

So, I should have known with the toilet lid up all night long there WOULD be a shiny floating toy bobbing at me when I peered inside the porcelain god...I've grown to expect this. She (the P.O.D.) has trained me well. And sure enough...there it was...floating like a ship without a harbor on the surface of the watery bowl. A small, silver spongy ball bobbing in the most likely germ infested toilet.

I have an unusual relationship with my toilet (and with my cat I suppose)...I fear it. Mainly because I know what has gone IN it! And yes, most of what has gone IN it has come OUT of me...but it has swirled around in my nether regions, often for days at a time out of sight. And I just can't be responsible for knowing the true content of what comes out after ingestion. LOL

Rather than flush the P.O.D.'s favorite toy into the great abyss called the sewer, I have taken to fishing these toys out of the toilet and rinsing them with soap and sewer pipes are already in a state of concern given I live on such a steep hill...I'm not inclined to have to call out a plumber to have cat toys SNAKED out of my lines. So this is EXACTLY what I did this morning...begrudgingly and with some cursing under my breath, I fished the frisky feline's toy out of the watery petri dish and tossed it in the sink for cleansing. I was also holding my cell phone in my hand and set it down on the edge of the bathroom counter...and here is where my day turned ugly.

The P.O.D. loves water...she loves the sound of water, too. And as the sound of the bathroom sink faucet began to spit H20 out, she came running down the hallway to investigate what might concern her. In her expectant glee at the prospect of batting water at the sink, she ran full-tilt-cat and leaped up on the counter top, skidding to a stop at the end of the counter, and narrowly escaping flying off the Formica runway. My cell phone did NOT escape, however.

In what can only be described as a freak-of-nature-could-only-happen-to-me event, I watched in slow motion horror as my precious cell phone skid to the end of the Formica runway from the force of the P.O.D.'s momentum and fly off the counter toward the toilet. It did a bank shot with the skill of an NBA pro off the back of the toilet seat and dove keypad first into the toilet bowl...the sound of the cell phone plunging into the water was like the scream of a drowning victim to my ears right before they go under. I stood in a brief moment of disbelief.

Then, like the sometimes what-am-I-thinking idiot I am, I dove into the toilet after the cell phone, hoping the 10 second rule for dropping food on the floor (and still declaring it "good" or edible) also applied to the electrical circuitry of the cellular world...but I was wrong.

With toilet water dripping from my elbow (oddly in this moment, I forgot my fear of "water", toilet water), I held up my cell phone, hoping against all hope its LCD screen might magically remained black...cold...dead to me. The phone then started making a crackling sound, painful to my the sound of one who is dying in their last breaths...then, without further incident, the LCD area fogged over and the sound ceased. My beloved cell was gone forever and the P.O.D. was nowhere in sight. I DID imagine I heard the faint sound of her kitty laughter from the other room...

To most people, this event would not be a big deal. "Just get another cell phone", you say. Ah, but you must understand...I have been a customer with one of the "our name used to be and now it is, but let's change it back to what it used to be" wireless carriers for over ten years! And, I 've had the same cell phone plan (and a really old phone) throughout this company's many changes. And because I've been on the same plan with the same cell phone for so long, I have more minutes than God for a lesser price than most people pay AND my phone will no longer WORK on the newer network without an upgrade. The company told me this a long time ago in an attempt to get me to buy a new cell phone/plan and upgrade my service, but I declined and laughed in their long as my current phone WORKED, I didn't need no stinkin' upgrade!

About 3 hours later, a few hundred dollars poorer, 1,000 signatures written, a new plan for more money with less minutes in my pocket, and a new phone I have no idea how to operate, I left the wireless carrier's local office with my new cell phone. Oddly, they did NOT want to keep my old phone...even though I told them there was no refuse in the toilet when it was submerged! I'm sure I entertained the 20-something boy who waited on me in the store...I do hope he at least got a healthy commission. And...strangely enough...he would not accept my offer of a free CAT either!...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

No Surprises...

I had another MRI yesterday at the request of Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named...just checking under the "hood" (or possibly "roof", given my recent shingles fiasco) to make sure nothing new and exciting has popped up in my noggin to account for my recent status change and fainting spell Wednesday. Or, perhaps she was just checking to make certain there IS a brain housed in my thick skull? She didn't really say WHAT she was looking for when the test was ordered. MRI's are as routine as a morning crap for me these days, so I didn't object to having the test done, and went like an MS lemming to the local Club Med for my appointment time.

I always request a copy of my scans for my own viewing pleasure...I've become fairly skilled at reading the pictures of my OWN brain (probably not YOUR brain, but I know what mine is supposed to look like) and came home yesterday to pop the disk in my computer. I scrolled through the various "cuts" and brought out my last MRI from April of this year for comparison...just like a *trained* radiologist (LOL).

After careful arm chair neurologist/radiologist scrutiny, I declared, "Nothing new", and sent an email to Dr. SWWNBN with my educated findings. She later emailed me back to report my *findings* were correct...unchanged...nothing new...same old brain with Multiple Sclerosis.

Now, I know what I'm about to type is going to sound strange to some of you...and a few, it may even piss you off! And still a few more of you will mumble behind your computer screens, perhaps even firing off an email or two to MS friends, telling them to go "read the blog of the nutcase over at BrainCheese"...whatever. Think what you will. And still a few more of you will leave comments telling me to "count my blessings" and what not in an effort to "cheer" me. That's OK, too.

But...has ANYONE ELSE ever experienced the let down of having a "normal" or unchanged MRI scan when in the throws of feeling like MS crap?!? I mean's not like I was WISHING for a big ol' brain tumor to suddenly appear on my MRI...or PML, or Herpes Zoster in my brain (which is what Dr. SWWNBN may have ALSO been looking to rule out). Quite the contrary, actually. I was HOPING nothing had changed inside my skull...WISHING even the MS lesions might have disappeared and I could proclaim a misdiagnosis.

Somehow however, deep in my twisted thinking, I was rather counting on the MRI to shed some light...give some explanation recent relapse symptoms/shingle debacle/increased fatigue situation. Certainly not a brain cancer, but "something" visual to say, "Here it is. This is the problem. It's not ALL just in your head. There really IS a reason you feel like crap"...some little blip on the MRI screen I could point my finger at and proclaim, "There! I told you I was sick!"

"Unchanged" is supposed to be a good new lesions...just the same OLD ones interfering with my neurological functioning. Status quo. No surprises. Nothing remarkable on exam. Just my brain on MS.

And still, I struggle with the feeling I need to JUSTIFY my recent condition with a pictorial portfolio of NEW enhancing lesions and black holes in my brain to show the rest of the world a visual demonstration of why I feel so badly. I need to have some OUTWARD symbol or "sign" that tells the world I have PERMISSION to feel like feel explain the grief of this need to feel frightened or unsettled...

OK...go ahead and fire off your emails and comments now...I'm suffering from the LET DOWN OF AN UNCHANGED MRI. Go ahead and remind me of my "blessings" and starving children in China and somebody you knew who had MS and was in a wheel chair by age 21...I'm sure that will lighten my mood. LOL

Or, on the RARE chance you, too, have ever experienced this phenomenon and will ADMIT IT, leave me a comment about that as well...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Cure Or Curse?...

A funny thing happened on my way to the forum. Well, actually it WASN'T funny and I was on my way to a MEETING, but I'm sure Shakespeare won't mind me borrowing that line and twisting it for my own purpose.

Yesterday, I was minding my own business, albeit a bit "rushed", having gone to a morning doctor's appointment (routine) and slipped back home to change my clothes and make off to a meeting downtown. I wasn't feeling my "best", but also wasn't feeling my "worst" either, and I have just chalked up my generalized feelings of malaise, gastric upset, and "crappiness" to my recent shingles escapade and subsequent medication treatment for the malady. I mean screw Multiple Sclerosis...not EVERYTHING is because of MS.

So, I'm standing at my ironing board (no, I wasn't ironing sheets!) waiting for the iron to heat up so I can at least press out the wrinkles in my clothes (haven't found an appliance yet that will do the same thing for my face)...I had about an hour to get "pressed", in my car, find parking, and make my way to the Statewide committee meeting.

And as I'm standing there listening to the steam begin to heat in the ol' iron, I notice I can barely make out the word "Niagra" on the starch can beside the heating iron...this should have been my first and immediate clue to seek cover. A dizzy sensation began to seep into the front of my brain with a wave of nausea that came crashing up over my esophagus levee...suddenly, tossing lunch was on my mind and my vision seemed to be fading.

In my panic to remain upright (rather than just take a seat on the floor), I reached back and fumbled for the wooden chair I knew was just behind me...I think I got my hand on the chair before my world went dark. The next thing I have full recall of was looking UP at my ironing board from the floor with my neck crooked somewhat around the leg of the chair and a bit of a throb in the back of my head. It took me a bit of time to realize I had fainted...and hit my head on the chair.

I live alone...I have yet to train my cat to call 911 or do ANYTHING remotely helpful in times like these...I also have just enough medical training to question my conditions BEFORE summoning a neighborhood scene to my door. Nothing worse than having fire trucks lining the driveway. So, I sat/lay on my floor until I felt I could push myself up without leaving lunch tossed beside me.

There was no blood gushing or oozing from the back of my thick skull (and thank goodness it IS so thick and "dense")...just a goose egg popping up. Every other limb moved without discomfort and no bones were protruding in unlikely positions. Skeleton seemed intact. I hadn't taken the iron down with me and seared flesh from my was still perched on the board hissing. I WAS however, quite dizzy, nauseated, feeling shaky, and my vision remained distorted...and of course, a bit disoriented and "concerned". Something wasn't right in my world.

Since I'm on (and have been on) steroids currently, my first thought was to check my blood sugar since steroids tend to create all kinds of havoc in this arena and I HAVE passed out before from glucose issues. Nope...B.S. (blood sugar, not bull s#!t) was 121. Only minuscule elevation and certainly not enough to cause fainting and ongoing gastric upset. Cardiac status seemed "OK", given the fact I WAS a bit panicked...I expected a tad elevation in my pulse. No trouble breathing...nothing to indicate a heart attack, a stroke, or really ANYTHING I "should" call 911 for. my rule of thumb about 911 is this (and for ME only): If I can personally DIAL the numbers 9-1-1, I probably don't need them.

I gathered myself up off the floor and made my way to the more comfortable head was throbbing, so I grabbed an ice pack which seemed to soothe the bump significantly. I pulled the imaginary cotton out of my mouth, sipped down some water, and proceeded to attempt to lay very still on my couch to regain my equilibrium. There was no way I would be making a meeting in an hour (by this time, in about 15 minutes) and probably no way I'd be finding my way in to work later in the afternoon...I called my employer to let them know.

Not long after my call to work, my doorbell WAS work (coworkers) coming to check on me. I was very crabby about having to get up off my couch to answer the door...they were very sweet. The "second opinion" decision was also reached that I would NOT be taking myself nor be carted off to an ER for evaluation. I was convinced the "something isn't right in my world" feeling had been brought on by the antiviral medication I had been forcing down my gullet FIVE TIMES A DAY to treat the shingles in combination with the oral Prednisone. This, Alex, was my final Jeopardy answer.

I spent the remainder of my day and evening laying quite still on my couch, ice pack on head, feeling extremely nervous/shaky and nauseated, somewhat confused, and trying to balance the tipping scale in my body that was leaning toward the "yucky" feeling...I eventually fell asleep and HAVE slept for many unaccounted hours. My cat woke me up around 10:00 this morning and I have to admit, "something" has returned to normal this morning...whatever normal is.

Yes, I DO have a bit of a headache/neck ache...probably had a very mild concussion, but otherwise my brain seems functioning status quo. I obviously STOPPED all the shingle medications yesterday (mainly out of plain forgetfulness and then stubbornness) and my stomach feels remarkably better...I'm also not going to continue the oral steroids. Don't need 'em at this point and was already down to the bottom dose of the taper. I AM practicing medicine without a license...but it's MY medicine and MY body and I DO think I know what is best at this point, thank you very much.

When the "cure" becomes worse than the "curse", it's time for a change...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

OK, Maybe I Went Graphically A Bit Too Far Yesterday...

So today, I give you THIS darling little cherub to look at first thing when you sign on to Cheese! But trust day there will no doubt be a photo of this child with either their finger up their nose OR poking a finger in their eye! It's just nature's law...

Actually, my day today (Tuesday) did not go half as bad as expected and at least a quarter as well as I could have anticipated...I'm no math major but I think that translates to "it went OK". My shingled arm is still giving me some bouts of nerve pain, especially late in my evening...and my fatigue level is still higher than average, but overall, I seem to be on the quick mend. I just have to push my way through a bit of a grueling day tomorrow and then, all shall be down hill...until the next mountain, that is.

Let's see...what's happening in my microcosm of a world? The November election is FINALLY over and I feel I can once again return to leaving my television on during the commercial breaks...I'm so sick of the political ads. At least there will now be a few months reprieve before they start up again for NEXT fall. My cat has not adjusted well to having her "pillow" return back to work and she seems a bit more neurotic than usual...I have not adjusted all THAT smoothly to returning back to work and seem a bit more neurotic than usual. My job seems to be a bit more of a pleasant place to work this week...or my PERCEPTION of it these past few days has changed...this is also a "good" thing. The weather has turned into a typical Seattle fall with rainy/overcast it should be. Basically, all seems to be status quo in my tiny bubble of life and I am happy there are no major dramas or traumas occurring presently.

And, so far, I have resisted poking my own eye out!...(you knew I just couldn't LEAVE that alone, didn't you!? LOL)...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pardon Me While I Poke An Eye Out...

Just not like me to do anything half-arsed, doncha know? I am recovering/pretty much recovered from the major affliction of shingles...manipulated my way back to work today WITHOUT Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named blessing and a note from her minion. Hit the door of my office running straight into my yearly performance evaluation, which was one of the best evals I've ever had...just goes to show you, I have absolutely NO IDEA how I am doing at work. Spent 9 1/2 hours snapping up the phone repeatedly and triaging calls...and now, 2:00AM, I am "home". Just in time to start this process all over AGAIN tomorrow.

I did cancel my unnecessary appointment with Dr. SWWNBN for tomorrow morning at Dawn's crack...decided I didn't NEED it...I'm already back at work and I don't need no stinkin' note from her to release me! Won that battle already...moving on to the next one. I have a pseudo-type training day tomorrow with what we call "ride alongs", so I will be entertaining and "educating" someone from another part of the county to the intricacies of my job. Then on Wednesday, I have a doctor's appointment in the morning, a 3 hour meeting of the minds in the afternoon with the State Mucky-Mucks, and finish off my day with the rest of my scheduled work until nearly midnoc. On Thursday, it's another "ride along" day with a different county employee, and then one day off before working the weekend. Good thing I was able to rest at home all last week!

Yep...I might as well just poke my own eye out right now and get it over with...I think it would be less painful than the week I have planned...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Did I MISS Thanksgiving?!?...

Call me me Satan...hell, call my anything you want! But what in the HECK is happening in this country that we are now beginning to think about and celebrate Christmas on HALLOWEEN?!? I kid you not...if I see one more TV advertisement urging me to go out and begin shopping for CHRISTMAS, I may slit my wrists...or someone ELSE'S wrists...whichever is handy.

We have barely even stepped into the month of November and I am being constantly bombarded with ads, music, jingles, shows, etc., about Christmas...whatever happened to WAITING until Thanksgiving was at least rotting in our guts at 6:00AM on Friday morning before running the big holiday sales ads? I don't WANT my seasons this jumbled up and confused...and Christmas certainly is NOT a fall holiday! Bing Crosby did NOT sing, "I'm dreaming of an orange, leaf colored Christmas"...

I can certainly empathize with the retailers this appears there is quite a scare that we gotta-have-stuff Americans may not be lining up at the stores in droves to BUY our gotta-have-stuff or it's not a holiday loads. Houses are going into foreclosure at an all time high once again and even the CANADIANS have reason to thumb their noses at us with the "Loonie" getting more than 6 cents higher on our overly circulated American dollar (and BTW, way to go you Canucks!). Businesses are scared...merchants are worried...our economy sucks right now...and we're still pumping millions of dollars abroad to fund whatever it is we are now doing in the Middle East.

But seriously...I do NOT need to be reminded in October (or even November) that Christmas WILL come again on December 25th. It's sort of like my OWN birthday...I haven't forgotten THAT date either in 43 years. And, like any other special date, anniversary, or remembrance of a loved one, it's probably NOT something most Christians would forget either...their anniversary of Jesus' birth...unless, of course, they're just in it for the "stuff"...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Adventures Aboard The Caranda...

I have been meaning to post a little sumpin' sumpin' about a recent sailing adventure I took with two of the most delightful people I know...Horhey & Merrinuts (aka, George & Lynne). I advised them (make that "warned them") the adventure WOULD make Cheese blog's just taken me a bit to git 'er done.

So in honor of my most excellent sailing trip (which I had waited to be invited on for the past 8 years...when that didn't happen, I just invited myself!) this past month, I have rewritten the lyrics to one of my favorite childhood sitcoms. You guessed it...GILLIGAN'S ISLAND!!! It seemed only fitting this sailing trip with these two folks should be forever placed to song...LOL

Sung to the Tune of "Gilligan's Island Theme Song"

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a grateful trip
That started from this Northwest port,
Aboard this sailing Ship. The Cap'n was a mighty sailin' man,
His deck hand brave and sure,Three passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour.

A three hour tour. (Of Lake Washington)

The weather started getting cold,
The sun was about to set
If not for dragging in the deck cushions,
The seating would get wet.

The seating would get wet. (With evening dew)

The Cap'n steered the ship to dock
Like Andretti behind the wheel,
The deck hand went below the ship
To prepare a delicious meal.

To prepare a delicious meal. (Of homemade soup, salad, bread, and a sinful dessert!)

So this was my trip of sailing upon
The boat of George and Lynne,
It was a most relaxing time
To spend a day with friends.

To spend a day with friends. (Even if I did have to beg the ride for the past 8 years...finally my whining paid off!)

Welcome To McDonald's...Can I Take Your Order Please?...

Just practicing for my new job!

OK, I greatly exaggerate...but I DID complete my Vocational Rehab Assessment last week at the "U"...I simply have not felt well enough to formulate any written ideas until now (and just so no one thinks I am "dissing" McDonald's employees, I am aware the memory and endurance needed to work in that environment is FAR greater than what is necessary for my posh, little "govmet" job!). But I HAVE been thinking about the assessment over the past week and HARKOO/JOYCE reminded me I had yet to post anything about this topic.

So, without further delay, I give you the synopsis...or dissertation...just depends on how boring it becomes.

I had my 90 minute Voc. Rehab. consult at the local University on Thursday of last week (while already developing full-blown shingles, I might add). You remember? I was sent to the "U", who's motto is, "We're the U, go eff yourself!" And, true to form for this prestigious University, I sat in a waiting room for over 20 minutes past the appointment time, waiting for my "therapist" to arrive.

I'm not a big fan of the "U" (because of prior interactions through my job), so I was more than a little peeved by this disrespectful delay...I DID have to go to WORK immediately following the appointment and I watched the carefully planned minutes between the appointment and my time to report to work tick away...I was now going to be rushed to get to work...something I abhor.

So, when Mr. Voc Rehab (henceforth, to be know as Mr. VR) eventually bounced his smiling self into the lobby, seemingly unconcerned about his tardiness, I imagined the assessment would only go down hill from this moment forward. But thankfully, my initial gut reaction proved to be very wrong...I actually ended up feeling the assessment was successful and well worth my time (AND insurance money!).

I had no idea what to expect from this particular type of evaluation...I've never BEEN to a Voc Rehab consult before and I could only speculate we would be talking about my current job and possibly physical issues related to my job performance as well as any limitations. I half expected to have some sort of physical examination or physical testing of sorts, but this did not occur. We focused solely on my current job, my MS, my perceived difficulties and my expectations of my job, as well as my OWN performance expectations. It was a PURE TALK CONSULT...not unlike hundreds of cognitive therapy sessions I have had in the past.

What was different about THIS consult/therapy however, was the focus was primarily about my job...and more importantly my PERCEPTIONS about my job. Mr VR did a brief history of my disease and also a detailed outline of the daily tasks of my job...and then, we got down to "business".

We talked specifically about my "Midwest" work ethic and how sometimes this "performance drive" leaves me feeling exhausted...especially when always feeling I MUST perform 100% ALL the time...especially when now, with MS fatigue beating me down, I have less stores of energy available to PUSH myself to achieve this top performance.

We talked about my need to take breaks, to stop for meals, to pace myself in a more reasonable manner, and why I don't do this routinely NOW if no one (i.e., boss) is insisting I can't provide these basic accommodations for myself? (And, breaks ARE a protected contract agreement in my job.)

We talked about my need to have "permission" to allow for basic accommodations for my MS perceived need for permission...and how these accommodations could be met WITHOUT making formal requests at this time.

Ultimately, I left the appointment feeling more at ease and with a plan...I DO love to have a plan!

We decided I WOULD NOT make formal accommodation requests of my employer at this time. Instead, I will have informal conversations with my bosses, explaining my concerns and needs as well as what they may expect of my continued performance (i.e., I WILL be taking breaks, pacing my work, requesting noise reduction when it interferes with my ability to process information, and so on).

I will also ask Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named to write a letter with FORMAL request/acknowledgement of my needs, which I will keep in my desk as a reminder I DO have the right to make such requests...I have "permission". This letter will also be immediately available to me should I be forced to make such a formal request in the future.

The most difficult decision (and oddly so) I arrived at while in my consult appointment was to begin the process of application for a disabled parking sticker...this is a "biggie" for me to accept because, basically on most days, I am perfectly capable of walking distances. But on those days I am not, I simply force myself to do so anyway and become very tired...more exhausted than I need to be. I have always worried others would view me as "weak" or even a "slacker" if I were to use such a thing...or even worse, view me as taking advantage of the "system" for having a parking permit when (as I've already said), on most days, "I look so good!"

The important point is, I get to decide when I "look good" and when I don't by having the permit at my disposal...when I CAN walk the distance and SHOULD walk for exercise and, well...when I can't.

I am hoping once this latest shingle fiasco settles down and I return to work, I will be able to feel strong enough to begin implementing some of the ideas Mr. VR and I discussed. What I ultimately walked away with from my appointment was this understanding: Although there are actual physical limitations brought on by my MS, the biggest and scariest hurdles to overcome exist in my mind (isn't that ALWAYS the case?!?). I am hoping now, after our assessment/consult, I have obtained a better mental picture of the "track" I am on and there will be less surprises along the way...the hurdles don't feel quite so tall and more like something to stride over versus existing as permanent road blocks.

But, there IS always McDonald's...

Friday, November 02, 2007

RoJoo Turns...39!...LOL is destined to be a day of random posts here on Cheese. It's the steroids talking again...LOL Well, that and BOREDOM as I am feeling somewhat improved and now climbing the walls of the hut!

But I didn't want to miss the opportunity to give a birthday SHOUT OUT to my bestest of buds, Rojoo...he's celebrating his 39th birthday today...again...for like maybe the 17th or 18th time. But who's counting anyway?!? HAPPY DAY TO YOU, MY FRIEND...
And for some not-so-light-but-moving reading, check out his MySpace Poetry blog site...he IS, after all, a published poet.

Vote For OUR MS Celebrity Bloggers...

If you haven't heard of the "Blogger's Choice Awards", let me take a quick moment to introduce you now.

It is a website devoted just to bloggers...of a wide variety of topics...where readers can go and VOTE for their favorite bloggers. We among the MS community (or at least among those that I personally read) have TWO wonderful bloggers listed on this site: Bubbie of Bubbie's Blog and Zee of Behind Blue Eyes , and they are listed under Best Health Blogs.

Unfortunately, the 2007 Awards Vote is already closed...but why not start the 2008 voting out with an MS bang? Go here and sign up to vote, then cast your vote for 2008 (and you CAN vote for both Zee and Bubbie, too) would be a wonderful thing to have a Multiple Sclerosis blogger nominated for this award in 2008, doncha think? MSers can use all the press we can find to get the "word" out about this disease...and BOTH of these bloggers have wonderful and witty things to say!

I've also noticed a high volume of "traffic" on BrainCheese lately regarding the "102 MS Blogs" link on my left side bar...I'm really pleased to see this link is being so widely used (and I will refrain from calling any of you driving by to this link as "lurkers"...LOL). I hope those of you "driving by" to click the link will also take the time to hit the Blogger's Choice Awards site after you've had a chance to READ the bloggers mentioned above...there ARE certainly a lot of you searching the 102 blogs I have listed! And if you've run across OTHER MS bloggers I should add to the 102 list, please leave a comment or send an email with their link so I can expand this list even further!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back...

I'm not exactly sure where the hours in my day have gone...I can account for a 2 hour nap this afternoon, a bit of TV time this evening, a bit of blog reading (yes, I AM continuing to read everyone's blogs...just lacking the cognitive ability to comment today!), some emails to and fro...but overall, I'm really not sure where my day went. I know all the medications I am currently on are "fogging" my brain, but seriously...14 hours just poof?!?

I awoke this morning (after a seriously drugged night of sleep) with a throbbing pain in my shingled forearm...unbeknownst to me, sometime in the night, my "patch" had developed a serious edematous condition and what looked like the possibility of beginning infection/cellulitis. Curses! I had hoped (somewhat unrealistically anyway) I might be well enough/recovered enough to return to work on Friday WITHOUT Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named blessing...but it was appearing my "recovery" was taking a bit of a set back. Or at least a step back.

Fortunately for me, the good doctor was not available today and I communicated with her minion on call...we arranged for a reasonable compromise to attempt to send me back to work on Monday while "observing" my latest arm development and monitoring for increased signs of infection. The good news (two steps forward) is, the pain in my right ear is all but gone now, my throat pain is considerably lessened and only a "scratchy" voice remains, AND the RLS symptoms in my LEFT leg are diminishing (thank GAWD!). For whatever reason, the intense foot pain I developed yesterday in the ball of my right big toe when I step down remains, but not as this is also a "good" thing. My fatigue level even seems somewhat improved (or at least it has since I awoke from my unprecedented NAP).

And now, this evening, after putting ice packs on my arm "patch" throughout the day, resting, and futzing away an entire day, the shingle area appears to be returning to normal..."normal" for having shingles, that is. LOL The redness is decreasing as is the localized appears my efforts to AVOID a serious infection have paid off and I am quite pleased to report this. The only somewhat discouraging news to report this evening is the fact my LEFT ear now seems to want to have attention with some congestion and pain...fortunately, this is NOT shingles pain and most likely just that...congestion.

I have taken the time to read many of your blogs throughout the day (when I wasn't napping or staring into space while drooling) and many of you are writing some really inspiring posts (and hats off to you, Joan , for taking such a big step today!)...I really appreciate each of your WRITINGS...selfishly, it has given me something to do and kept my mind off my own troubles! LOL I'm hoping to get back to your posts tomorrow, reread, and hit the comment sections as I know sometimes those comments are the only way a blogger can tell if ANYONE is reading their posts (or as ZEE has requested today in HER blog, that the lurkers "delurk" and leave a comment!).

So, to you I say, "Be well"...I'm working on just that, also...being well...