Archive for January, 2005

Disturbing Developments…

I was asleep by 12:30AM and ignored the screeching alarm clock until Mom woke me at 7:15AM. I managed to get Alex to the bus on time.
 
I returned to the house and began computing for a while. Then I thought of the fact I needed to do my map for this year and did that. The map is a rough plan of goals I set for myself. I do it in color and it consists of words. This year I have a lot I want to accomplish. The biggest thing is probably earn some money. Debt will force you to do that.
 
I had an appointment with Brenda, my counselor, at 1:30PM. I managed to get there early and read some in the waiting room. We discussed my stress, and how to maybe eliminate some of it. Now that I am more awake, aware, and alert things bug me more. My nerves don’t handle the pressure well sometimes. Brenda gave me homework to do, and I am not sure how to write it out, but I will work on it. Lots of times if I write things out I come up with my own answers. That is why I believe so strongly that writing and art keep me sane… if you can call it that.
 
I came home and spent quite a while talking to Mom, who just happens to be part of my stress problem. She and I have some serious communication problems at times and it upsets me no end. I love her dearly, but she drives me nuts often.
 
I cooked barbequed chicken and broccoli rice au gratin tonight. Alex has been eating like a starving hippopotamus lately and I weighed him to find out if he was gaining any weight. He has gained somewhere around 15 pounds since about Christmas. This is good because he was quite thin. However, it means he will have to get outside and do more physical activity if he wants to stay toned. That is not easy for a geek. Computer, Xbox, iPAC are the kid’s favorite things in the world. At least he is not addicted to the idiot box. We rarely watch any television, but he likes to watch DVDs of movies and anime.
 
I got disturbing news this evening. One of my best friend’s husband had a serious accident and totaled his car. She has to drive over to Louisiana and pick him up. I am a little worried about her driving so far because she has some problems with her back. Maybe it will work out okay though. At least he is okay, or we think he is…
 
I also got news from another friend who is going to the Capitol tomorrow to speak in protest of some of the cuts our state government is planning on making to Medicaid. If the plan goes through this very wonderful person may be forced into institutional care. He has a waiver that allows him to live independently with full-time helpers now, but the budget cuts may cause his aid to drop from $75,000 to $36,000. This is very unfair because no one should be forced to live in an institutional (nursing home) environment. His disability is physical and very serious, but he has lived independently for the past eleven years. I pray that the lawmakers will not destroy his life.
 
I worry too that should my condition worsen and I need care that my family were not able to provide that such cuts to the programs could send me into a mental facility and I have vowed I will never go to a state institution again. I do not foresee such an event, as I function normally now, but anything could happen and often does.
 
Seems our government always wants to cut the things that are needed most and take from those who most deserve help. I worry…
 
My SSDI does not meet our needs already… what will happen if that is cut. My credit is maxed out and I cannot borrow any more. I would love a job, but finding one is practically impossible because no one will hire someone with my condition and my ability to work is questionable. It was not even a possibility the past three years because of my inability to sleep or stay awake on any set schedule. At least that has improved.
 
Well, I gotta go…
 
Always,
Jo Ann

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Quiet Day…

I was asleep by 2:30AM. I stayed up late to finish reading Angels & Demons. This was a very good book. Made me think as well as entertained me. I guess I will finally have to read The Da Vinci Code soon. I have been saving that novel since it first came out. I have been busy with library books.
 
I got up at 10:00AM. Today was a quiet day. I relaxed and read a lot. I started and finished Why Read? by Mark Edmundson. This was a good book on literature and the humanities. I enjoyed reading it.
 
The sun came out, the temperature went up, and all the ice melted away.
 
I failed to cook again today. I guess maybe I will cook tomorrow night.
 
I started reading Magic Seeds by V. S. Naipaul. I can see why this writer has won a Nobel Prize. He writes with a clarity that is wonderful.
 
It is interesting how my reading related to the website I visited at random today. Seems that the meeting of science and religion is becoming a theme for me right now. This is interesting because I am at a point where I am questioning some of my religious thought. I basically do not consider myself a religious person, although I am a Christian. I believe in Christ, His teachings, the Bible, but I am not greatly impressed by religiosity.
 
I wish I knew if anyone is reading here…
 
Oh well, best say "Good-Night".
 
Always,
Jo Ann

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Icy Update…

I fell asleep by 12:30AM and awoke in a coughing fit at 9:00AM. It was such good sleep.
 
The temperature outside was 20 degrees when I got up and there was an inch of ice on the ground. The power stayed on except for a few moments during the day.
 
I hung some pictures in my room and tended to email.
 
I hoped for an important phone call all day, but it never came.
 
I spent much of the day reading Angels & Demons. The book is wonderful.
 
The ice melted a little during the day, but things are refreezing tonight. I hope the power stays on despite the tree tops that are leaning on the power lines. When the wind blows the power flickers.
 
My brother, James, shot the ice off of some of the trees this afternoon, but we could still lose power if the tops fall out of the trees or the trees fall. We have plenty of pines that could cause a problem.
 
I haven’t much to say tonight. I really want to finish my book.
 
Always,
Jo Ann

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Another Day, Almost Paradise…

Went to bed at midnight woke at 7:00AM. When I took Alex to the bus it was about 30 degrees but the temperature has steadily dropped all day. It is now 19 degrees and sleeting a little. I just hope the power stays on. We have alternate heat but so much depends on electricity… such as this machine and I hate it when the power goes out.
 
I finished reading Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There are so many funny things recounted in it.
 
I began reading one of my own books, which I had been saving quite a while. I have been waiting until I had time to savor it and to run out of library books I find inviting. It is Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. If the power goes out it will entertain me. I am over 100 pages into it and loving it. I do not know why I have resisted reading this so long… I guess it has to do with wanting to read newly discovered books. My picks are not always bestsellers when I read them, but they often end up becoming bestsellers with time.
 
I painted some today, but it did not hold my attention. I was hyper all day. Felt like I was going to bounce off the walls, but at the same time I felt weak. Odd combination. I have not spent much time on the computer. Too busy walking around.
 
I bundled up with gloves and a heavy jacket to walk outside today.
 
I did not cook tonight. I did not feel like preparing a meal. If the power stays on I will barbeque the chicken tomorrow. If not, oh well…
 
I think my coffee this morning almost ruined my day, not sure I am over it yet. Most times I don’t drink coffee. I am a Diet Coke fiend. Coffee can turn my stomach because of its acidity. That is what happened today. I had to take Pepto and Rolaids to calm things down inside. Still have not felt normal all day… but then what is normal? I maybe never feel totally normal. That is a term I find very vague and ill-defined.
 
Well, I want to get back to my book before I go to bed. With any luck I will check in here tomorrow, if not you can assume the power is out.
 
Take Care,
Jo Ann

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Shopping Day…

I went to bed at 12:30AM last night, but my mind did not cut off until around 3:00AM. It was busy, busy thinking about all kinds of things.
 
I got up at 7:00AM to take Alex to the bus, but he took a look at me, took pity on me, and insisted I go back to bed. I did not fuss and did as I was told.
 
Mom called me at 9:30AM and I reluctantly got up. I am really not a morning person. I hate to be bothered when I first wake up. I stop short of growling at others, but I can be irascible when I first wake. I am trying to convert to morning person status, but I have a long history of crankiness to overcome.
 
We had to go shopping today… first we stopped at K-Mart to have a key made for mother’s car. She misplaced hers… as usual we found it this evening, but now we have an extra extra pair. Next we stopped by the bank for something for Mom. It must not have been much because we handled it at the drive-thru and Mom always goes inside the bank for important things. We went to Ross because there was something Mom decided she wanted. We shopped there for awhile. After that we went to Dollar Tree where everything is $1.00. Then we went to Wal-Mart and bought groceries. I think I am going to have to stop eating… groceries are very expensive.
 
We came home and put everything away… It was almost 4:30PM and I have been tired ever since. Going shopping is draining especially when one is coming down with a cold. I sniffled and sneezed all day long. I hope it is only allergies, but I am betting on a cold. I feel too draggy.
 
My eyes were better today. I only rubbed them vigorously a few times. It was nice seeing the world clearly. 
 
I took care of some email and put a Pasta Con Queso in the oven. I did not feel like bothering with more than that for supper.
 
Mom has wanted me with her all evening so I have not been in here alone much. I have read a little in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. I hope now that Mom has gone to her room that I will get a little more reading done, but the bed looks awfully inviting.
 
I am hoping for snow overnight, but I seriously doubt it happens. We just don’t have much snow in this part of Georgia. Yesterday was Spring-like… tomorrow is supposed to be frigid… no wonder I am flirting with a cold.
 
I bought a new pillow today. Maybe it will help me sleep better. Pillows go flat so fast with me, this one has a three year guarantee. I don’t think I ever saw a pillow with a guarantee before, leastways I don’t remember it, maybe I just was not paying attention. If this one goes flat I am sending it back to the manufacturer… though I think that might be a little weird. Do your pillows have warranties? Would you send one back? I wonder if there are other things with warranties that I never notice. Am I really that unobservant? I thought I was curious and watchful, but maybe I am not.
 
I better go read my book and leave you with peace…
 
Always,
Jo Ann

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Contacts Aren’t For Sissies and Other Revelations…

I did not fall asleep last night until after 1:00am because of my contacts. I have the habit of wearing them well over the time recommended and sometimes they really cause a lot of discomfort because of my abuse. I would take them out more often if I could see with my glasses, but I hate to see the world through a blur… Anyway it took about forty-five minutes to remove the contacts and all of it was painful. Today I left them out for most of the day. I put them in about 8:30pm because even though my eyes did not feel really good I wanted to see the computer screen clearly.

Did not wake to the screeching alarm this morning… Mom had to call me at 7:10am and tell me to cut the damn thing off. Penny had jumped in bed with me sometime recently and promptly left when I got up.

I managed to deliver Alex to the bus on time, but was so blind and so uncomfortable with my eyes that I could not see the bus numbers.

I had to fix Mom’s medicine for the next two weeks this morning. I was supposed to do it last night, but somehow I missed it. I think the uncomfortable contacts may have been at fault, or possibly I just got busy and forgot. I think the contacts can handle the blame… I don’t hear them complaining.

This placing all her pills in their respective dispensers has become a regular job for me. I don’t mind and have a system for doing it, but if I were not here she would have to have a nurse come in and take care of it. It is a complicated procedure because she is on so much medication. For a while she was paying $1000.00 to $1400.00 a month for meds, but I got her on some programs that have brought the cost down tremendously. Due to the overhaul of Medicare some of the programs have already disappeared and the others end in the near future. If I cannot get her on the pharmaceutical companies patient assistance programs her bill stands to go back up to nearly what it was before. See the medicines she is on are new and there are no generics for most of them. If they were going to do something about prescription drugs they should have done a lot more. People like Mom who are on Social Security and have to take lots of meds for a quality of life need help… She was spending more on medication than she draws and it will be like that again if I cannot get the patient assistance stuff set up. The thing is I am not sure where to start, and the staffs at the medical offices are not really willing to help find aid. I know there must be a way, and I will try to find it, but it is not the easiest thing in the world for someone like me to do. It is uber stressful and we all know I am supposed to avoid stress.

When I die I want to come back rich… I am so tried of being poor. Poor is stressful and darn it stress makes everything else worse.

Anyway… I am beginning to think that compartmentalizing my life is a big part of the problem with me. I think having all these different secrets to keep from one or another segment of the people in my life drives me crazy. Like here, there are things I don’t say because some of my readership, if there is a readership, might find out something they should not know. I won’t give you a for instance because “they” might be reading… but the theory that it is all to do with compartmentalization intrigues me.

When I have a breakdown and cannot function at all is it because I am too confused to know who the heck I am anymore, or what to say to explain myself? There may be something to this, but I am not professional enough to know. I should probably mention it to my psychiatrist, but he is always so busy I try not to take up too much of his time… and he would probably just listen and nod his head anyway. He is so understanding and so kind and good. He is the best doctor I have ever had, and believe me I have had enough of them to know what, with dealing with this damn disease since 1981. It is no walk in the park I tell you, but life is still good and I enjoy some of it.

When people look at me funny and say, “You have got to be crazy!” I just nod and think ‘Well, yeah, I even have papers.’

About those papers, one day I was talking to my doctor and I said something like, “So the file is pretty thick. You must have a lot of information to prove how crazy I really am.” He looked at me smiling and said, verbatim, “No, all this proves you’re sane.” That was sweet considering my diagnosis. The latest of which is Schizo-Affective Disorder which is near as I can understand it, having both Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder mixed together. A near lethal mix of mental illnesses if there ever was one. I rather just say Schizophrenic and leave it at that as was done with me for many years.

My chart is thinner now, they archived my information recently.

Just so you know, I am on some of the best medications the drug companies can provide and am doing very well right now, thanks. I am not a danger to myself at present and am relatively happy with life. Schizophrenia (Schizo-Affective Disorder) can be managed although there is no cure… and a person can have a somewhat normal life. Not everything in the news, movies, books, and media in general about severe mental illness is true. One thing, we are not all psychotic maniacs, although we may at times deal with challenges that send us into psychosis. I have not been hospitalized for a breakdown since 1997, but did spend some time in one for an overdose (suicide-attempt) in 2000. I was in duress and have vowed to never do anything so stupid again. I have never and will never be a danger to anyone else. I love people too much to want to hurt anyone.

Well, I digress, back to today… The day was beautiful and I went for a long walk, in fact, went for two. I finished reading The Prodigal by Derek Walcott. The language of this book length poem was excellent although I kinda tired of reading it as I went along. I started Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. This one is tasty… great stories of life. If you get the chance to read it do.

I cooked steaks and ramen this evening. It was such an improvement over ramen alone. Alex ate it up in no time at all. Sixteen year olds love to eat, leastways mine does and he is quite thin. Amazing he stays thin since he is a geek and rarely gets out. Thank God he has his own computer now or I would not ever have started this blog. We could not share really well. He hogs computer time when there is only one.

It is okay to be deep in debt if it brings your only child happiness… I keep trying to convince myself of this, but somewhere a doubt niggles at me. I am scared of the debt, sometimes I fear it will swallow me up, but I cannot worry about it too much now, I will worry about it later when it comes to get me and carry me away.

I read some interesting articles on the net this evening… Maybe sometime soon I will learn to link to them so you can read them too.

Well, I should let you go before I bore you to death.

Always,
Jo Ann

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Beautiful Day…

Today was a very good day. I went to bed about 12:00 last night, but did not fall asleep until after 1:00. Rose to the screeching alarm clock at 7:00AM.
 
It was not so cold here this morning, it was 20 degrees… heat wave. I took Alex to the bus and came home to the computer. Surfing is addictive!
 
I lay out pork chops for supper. Can’t believe I wanted to cook again. Is this a new trend? Will I become a culinary master? I think not, but I will be keeping my eye on developments. By the way, it is not that I cannot cook. Most people find my preparations quite edible. It is the drudge work involved, there are so many other things I rather do. Like read, write, draw, paint, or use my computer.
 
Penny, our adorable dog, had a 10:00 appointment with the vet so I drove Mom there and back. Mom has Parkinson’s Disease and has had numerous small strokes so she is not supposed to be driving. Now that my sleep cycles are normalizing she won’t be driving at all. I will do it. She has been driving on occasion with me in the vehicle because we were afraid I would fall asleep at the wheel. I have done that a few times, but those days are hopefully over.
 
I spent most of my day here at the desk, except for a walk. It was too beautiful to stay inside all day. We are blessed with some of the most perfect Winter days.
 
I uploaded a few more pictures here this afternoon.
 
I cooked barbequed pork chops, broccoli rice au gratin, and sugar snap peas. Now, I fixed four pork chops for Alex and I, two a piece, right? I took his plate to him with his two chops… when I finally started back to the kitchen to get my second one he informed me he had eaten it. Little rascal…
 
Alex still does not want me to take his picture. I will catch him unaware sometime.
 
The pain was much better today. Withdrawals must be almost over. That is a relief. I am so happy to be free of that sedating medication. Now I must only be sure that I continue to get sufficient sleep. Sleep problems is why I was on the Seroquel to start with, but over the time I took it my dysfunction got worse. It is amazing the improvement I have made in only two weeks. I feel so much more alive.
 
I took some steaks out of the freezer and placed them in the refrigerator for tomorrow night’s supper. Mmm… could be something going on here. Alex is loving real meals. I am amazed I am cooking. Nothing fancy yet, but more than microwaving frozen stuff.
 
This blogging thing is going well, too. I am at best sporadic at journaling and I am doing it almost daily. I like that I am writing something more often. Sometimes I read so much I do not write at all. I need to balance it out more evenly.
 
My mood seems to be growing more positive, and this is very good. I am quite happy with life right now, despite the challenges. Things look good to me. I feel like this year is going to be better than last. I have great hopes for my life to press forward in days ahead.
 
I have been thinking that since I am more alert I can accomplish more. The sluggishness I was experiencing has held me back from many things. Maybe I will stick to exercising some every day since I am not so tired all the time. That would be pleasant change. I actually enjoy walking out here in the country… and I love jumping on the trampoline with Mick singing in the background. I am a serious Rolling Stones fan. I have most of their CDs. I’ve only been to two concerts, (VooDoo Lounge and Forty Licks), but hope to go again. The live shows are great. 
 
Valentine’s Day is coming up and I want someone to love… I have found though that men do not grow on trees out here in the boonies. I guess I am going to have to get out more. I think maybe I can do that now that I am on a more regular schedule. Insomnia and sleep disorders really screw with life, especially social life. Maybe… well, we shall see what happens…
 
Guess that is all for now.
 
Take care,
Jo Ann

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