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Monthly Archives: September 2015

And so I fly… (part 1)

Spoiler alert: I made it home alive (and so did my husband).

Yeah, so the trip is over and I survived the flights both going and coming back. It was not fun either time and I hope to not fly again. Ever.

Our round trip was Sunday. On Friday night I started getting nervous. More about whether I was going to forget something or get to security and have to throw something away. But behind that, I was starting to get nervous about the flight itself. Hub isn’t a good flier either, so he was starting to get nervous, too. In some ways, that made me feel better because he doesn’t have anxiety and yet he was getting worried about the flight. Anyway, we left for the airport and parked our car in the daily lot, then grabbed the shuttle to the airport. We found the security line, which ended up taking almost an hour to get through. It was crazy ridiculous. I did what I was supposed to, including putting my liquids (mostly makeup) into a clear baggie and on the conveyor belt outside of my small bag. But guess what? After going through the xray doohickey, they stopped me and a female TSA agent said she was going to have to pat me down around my waist and my ankles. I actually thought nothing of it at the time, just let her do her thing, then grabbed my stuff and my shoes and went to where Hub was putting his shoes back on. We hurried along to find our gate, which seemed to be the last gate on that concourse, of course. Once we got there, we found seats and tried to stay occupied. We had about 45 minutes before boarding. I kept asking Hub if we needed to be in line for something because people kept lining up, but he said they were getting their seat assignments, which I had already done online when I booked the tickets. Also, I had checked in online (for both flights) the day before so it would save us some time and money.

They finally started boarding the flight. We were almost in the last group to board because our seats were in the back of the plane. I haven’t been on a plane in 17 years, so I forgot how small the aisles and seats are. And of course, I’ve got nicely padded hips…and our seats were in the back, so I had to pass alongside all the passengers already boarded. That kinda sucked. When we got to our seats, we found the person in the window seat was already there. Thank goodness he was a small guy, so I didn’t feel like I was smushed in between him and Hub, who is a big guy. We put up the arm rest between Hub and me, then I went to find my crochet in my bag. But I realized REALLY quickly that there was absolutely no elbow room to crochet. Ugh. I was really counting on that as part of my relaxation technique. So I swapped it for a book, then plugged in the headphones for my iPod and put the earphones over my ears. Were you aware that United uses their headrest tvs to show the safety video? It’s like a commercial and they tried to make it entertaining. Hub and I just rolled our eyes through the whole thing.

Lucky me, the little guy at the window seat kept his window shade open. So I pretty much had to crank my head toward Hub the whole flight. I clutched onto Hub as we took off, wrapping my arms around his arm so that I was pretty much attached to him. I did that almost every time I felt the plane bank, or there was turbulence, or we sped up or slowed down. I felt every single shift in the plane. Every single shift. I am so hyperaware of movement because of my vertigo and imbalance that I knew when the plane climbed higher or descended even a little. I tried to think of turbulence as pot holes, though that didn’t help very much (we had a good amount of turbulence as we ascended, then more during the length of the flight). I cranked my music and tried to sing along in my head. I tried to read but the book was terrible and I couldn’t concentrate. The woman in front of me put her seat back–of course–so I put my table tray down and just rested my head in my hand and my forehead against the back of her headrest (against the tv screen, technically). I had the little air blower from the ceiling on high, so that blew down the back of my neck and kept me relatively cool. I swayed my head to the music, tapped my fingers, and intermittently clutched at Hub as we flew. With the time zone change, I was having trouble tracking how long until we were supposed to land. At one point I was all happy because I thought we were going to start descending any minute, only to realize we had almost forty five minutes left. That was just less than half the flight. UGH. So back to the music I went, swaying and singing silently.

The pilot announced we were going to start descent, so of course I plastered myself to Hub, even though we still had twenty minutes before landing. I closed my eyes and just tried to ignore everything except the music I was blasting in my ears. The landing was hard and fast, and it felt like it took forever to slow down and stop. Everything was so loud…louder than I remembered from all those years ago. It took forever to get off the plane, because as I mentioned we were in the very back, just four rows from the bathrooms. It was interesting to watch the debarking process, because people were really patient and allowed other passengers to get off in order. All except ONE GUY who was sitting behind us who had jumped up as soon as he could, and instead of letting us out like he should, he pushed his way right up along our seats so Hub and I (and our seatmate) couldn’t get out in order like everyone else. SO RUDE, dude! I mean, really? How much faster were you going to get out by being an asshole?

Have you ever flown into O’Hare in Chicago? That mo’fo is HUGE. Walking to find the baggage area to get outside for pickup took forever. We used the moving sidewalks, too, but I was so tense on the plane and so squished into the seats that I was exhausted and in pain. It was kind of slow-going. But we had landed 30 minutes early (YES!) in comparison to the schedule, so we had some extra time to get outside. One of my brothers picked us up (along with some relatives coming in at the same time but via a different airline) and we were off to the hotel to meet my parents and change our clothes for the wedding.

Our flight out was an hour and forty minutes. The wedding itself, specifically, was thirty minutes long. Then we sat for ninety minutes in the reception room, as appetizers were circulated and the open bar, well, opened. I hadn’t eaten before flying (it was too early) and after we landed we went to the hotel. I had packed a tiny bag of gluten free cheese crackers, which I inhaled at the hotel (along with about six ounces of apple juice), but that was all I’d eaten all day. Unfortunately, every single appetizer was either breaded and fried, or had some sort of bread base (egg rolls, spanicopita, bruscetta), so I had nothing to eat again for those ninety minutes. I had two Shirley Temples and some water…and a few Hershey’s kisses that were on the table. That sucked. I was so hungry and I was getting a bad headache. Then the soup came out…but I can’t eat soup because it’s usually thickened with flour. But the waitress said they had some fruit, which she brought out for me and a few other people there who had allergies. That was some awesomely tasty fruit, ya’ll. 🙂 Then they served salad, which was good enough.

Luckily, my brother (it was my niece’s wedding) had arranged for a gluten free meal for me, which turned out to be pretty tasty. I was impressed because normally “gluten free” means plain and dry. But it was pretty okay, including a nice big baked potato, which I scarfed down like I was starving. They ended up bringing out chocolate mousse next, but I was too worried about being sick on the flight home that I didn’t eat it. Before we knew it, Hub and I were retrieving our bags from the car and changing back into our travel clothes in order to leave for the airport to fly home. When we went in to hurry around and say good bye, they were just serving the wedding cake (which I couldn’t eat anyway) along with what looked like ice cream or custard or something, and maybe some other small desserts. I’m not sure because we were already a few minutes behind schedule and it was more important to me to say good bye to my family than to see what we were missing dessert-wise. Then we were gone, on the road to heading home.

 

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Butthead’s water therapy – session 3

Today was Butthead’s third water therapy session (see session 2 and session 1). She seems to be getting more accustomed to it because today when we approached the facility, she actually tugged me to the front door. Of course, once inside, she spent most of our waiting time trying to get back OUT, but I’m not surprised.

When they took Butthead back, I asked the staff if I was the only crazy person taking pictures and video of the therapy and they assured me that I was not. But apparently most people only do that during the first session because it’s a novelty. I told them I had people waiting to see pictures and video, so I was going to do it every time! LOL

Here’s Butthead getting strapped into her life jacket. You can see how sweet the two techs are to her. Prior to this, Butthead was in the water for about five or ten minutes as they acclimate her to the water and prepare her to get into the life jacket. They also test her joints and feel her spine and look for signs of pain.

Today’s session went for fifteen minutes at 2.2mph, and she ended up walking for just over half a mile. Here she is about 3/4 of the way into her session, plodding along like a good girl…

At’s my girl. Doggedly (haw haw) doing her therapy. Trust me, she protested much less than I do when I’m in physical therapy! LOL

Hope you enjoyed swimming along with us! Next week is xrays to establish how healed she is. Woo!

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2015 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, love

 

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Doggy water ballet – video

We went back for Butthead’s water therapy (session #2) this past week. I read up a little about taking pictures through a window and successfully (yeah!) took a bunch of pictures and like five or six short videos.

This video was the best one because you could see Butthead’s face. In some of the other videos she was either turned away most of the time, or her face was hidden behind the dog bowl sitting on the lip of the pool. Butthead tried to jump out of the pool once, but otherwise doggedly (hahahaha) walked on the treadmill.

You can see she’s kind of tired, but that’s because she’s at the end of her walking, and this was an increase in time from the first session.

More good news, they were really happy with her progress again. I thought it looked like she was limping a little on the treadmill, but they didn’t mention it. She wasn’t limping when we took her home, although she did sack out for the rest of the day and seemed tired the following day. Now she’s back to her regular self, wanting to run and play even though we’re not allowing it. I cannot WAIT to get back to the vet to see her xrays at eight weeks to see if we can finally stop walking her on a leash every time we take her out. And when we’ll be able to let her run around a little bit, as I know she misses it. Even Le Moo has been trying to get Butthead to play every now and then, and we have to keep stopping them. Which sucks, because Le Moo doesn’t play very much and when she wants to do it, we try to encourage it. SOON MY PRETTIES! LOL

We go back again for another appointment this coming week, which will make three sessions. The following week we have a bunch of appointments, plus Butthead’s appointment with the vet, so I’m not sure we’ll be able to fit in a session next week. Which is probably just as well, because I’d like to find out how Butthead is healing before making another water therapy session. They aren’t inexpensive, but if it’s helping, we don’t mind putting the money into it for another session or two. We’ll have to see.

I really wish they’d let Butthead off the treadmill and into the “open water” area of the pool to see if she’d know how to swim or not. And if she LIKED it. Not that we have too many places to take her to swim, but it would be neat to know.

Also, on a slightly different note, our refrigerator is broken. STILL. We’ve had one repair guy out from a local place, and then we’ve had the manufacturer repairman out SIX TIMES since it broke. You read that right, SIX TIMES. And he’s due back again this week. He keeps trying to fix things and says it’s working, but it’s not. This last time we called again because it wasn’t cooling right as per our thermometer inside the fridge. So the guy comes out and runs his tests and uses HIS thermometer and tries to educate us on how refrigerators work (thanks, dude) and that our fridge is FINE and we should start putting food in it. So we put some food in it after he leaves at 2ish in the afternoon. By 6pm we notice the fridge thermometer is up to 50 degrees when it should be between 33 and 39 degrees (as per said repair-dude). By 10:30 in the evening, Hub is having to clean up water in front of and under the fridge because the ice in the icemaker in the door has melted and dripped out the ice opening. The thermometer was reading 61 degrees. So we call repair-dude again who said “I dunno” and says he’ll set up an appointment to come back again this week. What. The. Ever. Loving. Fuck. This will be visit number 7 from said repair-dude. *sigh*

And the flying experience is coming up upon me. I am oddly not even thinking about it so much. I’m more concerned about having to get in and out of the airports, and how to pack my dress without it getting all wrinkled. So I guess that’s good!

Hope you enjoyed Butthead’s video. She’s a STAH…

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2015 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, love

 

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Doggy water therapy

The first appointment was DENIED! We went to the appointment, but something happened… either a misunderstanding or they ran out of time or…we’re not sure. But we weren’t able to do the water therapy. They did the evaluation, xrays, and some laser therapy, but there was no water entry.

But we went again this week, with the confirmation that water therapy was imminent. Hub drove us, my mom came along, and we stormed the water therapy castle. The facility has a large room with an above-ground type pool, rectangular in shape. There’s a wooden ramp going up from the floor to a platform. Next to the platform was a treadmill base (no sides or arms). There are straps and a hook on the ceiling, which I would guess are for safety reasons. Once the dog is on the treadmill and secure, one of the techs can push a button that slowly lowers the treadmill into the water–in Butthead’s case, just above her belly.

Our poor Butthead had no clue what was coming.

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They took her back into the room and we were stuck watching through a window. A lot of the pictures are bad because of the glare (I’m going to try again at the next appointment), but I took dozens and dozens of them. So they got Butthead onto the treadmill and lowered it into the water…

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The two techs spent time acclimating Butthead to the water. She seemed a little stressed as they were lowering the treadmill into the water, but I don’t blame her. She was on a grooming table at a Petco one time and the dumbass groomer wasn’t paying attention and she lowered the table without holding onto Butthead and Butthead freaked out and slipped and fell off the table sideways while her head was still in the grooming noose. It was all very traumatic (we were watching, so it was traumatic for us, too!), although physically Butthead was okay. Anyway, so that kind of movement is frightening for Butthead, but you can see the tech in the pool with her…he held onto her the whole time. Later, they put a life jacket on her and he held onto the life jacket while she was walking on the treadmill.

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At one point, Butthead seemed annoyed and she pushed a couple of things (her leash and collar) off the ledge. The female tech just laughed and picked them back up. But a minute later, Butthead was trying to push the towel off the ledge! LOL

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Butthead walked for eight minutes at 2 miles per hour. They stopped the treadmill and started unstrapping her life jacket so they could get her out of the pool.

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Aaaaand out we go!DSCN4727

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They were really happy with how Butthead did. No limping in the pool, no problems at all. Afterward, we took her home and she was sacked out for the rest of the day. She limped a little bit later in the evening, but otherwise she survived. The question is, will we be able to get her back into the car (and into the facility) next week!

The techs were awesome. You could see they were really enjoying their job, petting Butthead and encouraging her as she tried to figure out what the hell they wanted from her. In the end, I think Hub was more upset about the whole ordeal than Butthead was. I was busy trying to take pictures and from behind me I could hear him making noises like he was worried and unhappy. I kept telling him that Butthead was okay, but he seemed so distressed. My mother was laughing because I kept saying “She’s okay, she’s fine!” like I was comforting him (which I was!).

I took a short video, but it turned out really blurry because the camera kept focusing on the window and the reflections instead of the dog. I’ll try again at the next appointment…I read a little about how to get pictures through a window, so maybe they’ll be better.

That was our water therapy adventure. I saw on the rehab’s website that for some of the dogs, after their therapy they get to swim around in the pool as a reward, sometimes fetching a ball. It was adorable to watch the videos. I wish Butthead would do that, but I’m not sure how she’d react if they let her go into the swimming area.

If I can get video, I’ll post again after next week’s appointment!

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2015 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, hub, love

 

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A stand for self-love — link

I wanted to cry at how beautiful this was. I picked out a couple of things, but definitely read the whole blog post.

http://idaho-style.blogspot.com/2015/09/a-stand-for-self-love.html

The dad who stood in front of me with his two young sons and knelt down to tell them to “this is what a beautiful woman looks like.”

and

And the twentysomething man who stood behind me and whispered, The effects of what you are doing here are far reaching. It’s absolutely amazing. The power of this moment will go on and in ways you never thought possible. You are changing more lives than you know.

(in case you think men don’t “get” these things…you can also see in the video that many men and boys stopped to draw a heart, too!)

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2015 in link, love

 

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The men-all-pause

I was really concerned about my surgical menopause, after having my ovaries removed in the second surgery. Everyone talks about hot flashes and night sweats (which are apparently hot flashes but at night) and moodiness. Among other things, of course, but those are top issues that women report. I wasn’t sure how soon I’d be feeling the effects of the surgical menopause, as anecdotal reports varied, depending on the individual. I figured mine would be slightly delayed, because of my weight–fat around your waist especially is full of estrogen, and that would likely keep me from falling into the surgical menopause immediately. But even women who are overweight often have menopause symptoms immediately after surgery, so you just never know.

I had one hot flash (so far), I think. I’m not sure if it was because I was getting a fever from an infection, but it felt like what I’ve heard a hot flash feels like. But beyond that, I haven’t had hot flashes, per se. I just…get hot. And then I get cold. And then I got hot again. Especially at night, I go through this cycle of having the ceiling fan on and an oscillating tower fan right next to the bed, and I start with my sheet and comforter on top of me. Then I get hot, so I throw off the comforter, then I throw off the sheet. Then I get cold, so I pull the sheet over me, but that’s not enough because the oscillating fan is blowing RIGHT ON ME, so I have to pull the comforter over me to get rid of the chills. But then I got hot, so I get rid of the comforter, but I’m too hot for the sheet, so I throw that off again. Then I’m cold, because FAN BLOWING ON ME, so I yank the sheet over me again, and then the comforter. And then I repeat this cycle. At some point, I know I fall asleep, though I don’t think there’s been a pattern of whether I have the sheet and/or comforter on or off me. I just know that repeatedly through the night I wake up and go through the cycle of hot cold hot cold sheet comforter sheet comforter hot cold hot cold. And no matter how many times I wake up and go through the cycle, it keeps me awake for about an hour as I cycle through the hot cold sheet comforter routine. I don’t really SWEAT like a lot of women talk about (sweating through their night clothing and/or sheets), my internal thermostat is just messed up. But really, I don’t sweat too much anymore unless it’s really humid out and I’m working my ass off at something, then it’s like face sweat and, well, boob sweat, but not all over sweat. So maybe I just don’t sweat enough to have night sweats. Either way, this hot cold cycle is annoying and unfortunately affects my sleep, but it’s manageable. Because I don’t sleep well most of the time anyway, so this is nothing new.

I thought for a while I was having dry mouth from the SM, but that went away about a week after my last round of antibiotics (from the incision infection). I am having some headaches, which could be the SM or it could be allergies. I’m pretty new to these spring and summer allergies, so I’m still trying to figure out what is an allergy symptom and what isn’t. My hair isn’t falling out, yet, and I’ve had no moodiness. None, zip, zero, nada, zilch. I thought that would be a big thing for me, because I do trend to moodiness, but nope. No crying jags, no anger, no swing from happy to sad. I’ve been pretty okay–moderate–and I keep wondering when it’s going to hit me. More than the hot flashes, even, I thought it was going to be moodiness. I warned Hub, and apologized before I even went into surgery. My fingernails, though, are bad. I’ve always had issues with my fingernails, but over the last ten years or so, they’ve been pretty good. They would grow fast, and if I kept them trimmed to a certain length, they weren’t too prone to breaking. And they grew at a pretty good pace. Now they’re breaking all over the place, and not growing back very quickly.

What is most distressing for me at this point is the fact that I’m losing words. Or not being able to find the words I want. Hub has found himself jumping in to try to finish sentences for me when I stop to try to find the words I want. The words that might be just out of reach, or totally out of reach. I find myself pausing a lot, searching for words when I speak, searching for words when I’m writing something (an email, a blog post…doesn’t seem to matter). I feel like something is wrong with me. I mentioned it to Hub who suggested it might be the hormone shifts, and I think I read that somewhere, but I’m not 100% certain. Whatever it is, and I hope it’s SM, it’s scary and frustrating and distressing. I’ve always been someone who thinks thoroughly before I speak, but I’ve never had this much loss for words.

I have had much more muscle pain, which can also be a SM symptom. I saw the massage therapist last week and she beat the hell out of me. I was actually hurting for three or four days before it started to recede. But again, I do have myofascial pain syndrome, which is a muscle disorder, so it could be that I’m in a flare because of all the hormonal changes (and the physical stresses I’ve been under because of the surgeries and because of the care I’ve had to give to Butthead after HER surgery). It’s so hard to tell what is SM and what might be something else.

I’m having lots of dreams and nightmares…much more than before. Prior, the dreams would generally happen in the morning, after Hub got up but before I would get out of bed. Now they’re happening all night, and when I wake up and go back to sleep, I fall back into the dream/nightmare again. They’re vivid and uncomfortable dreams, and they generally leave me feel unhappy and distressed.

Oh, and the hormonal acne shit is driving me a bit batty. I thought with the lack of hormones, the monthly acne would go away. Nope, instead it has gotten worse. It’s all along my jawline, my chin, along the sides of my nose and nostrils, and around my mouth. Prior to the surgery, I would have one or two pimples per month, but now I’ll have several at a time. It’s frustrating because I don’t know what to do for it. Before I would wait it out because, well, hormones. Now, if I don’t really have hormones, when will the damn things go away? Bleh.

It’s still possible for other symptoms to crop up at any point. I have my fingers crossed that nothing gets worse and everything gets better, but I’ll do my best to cope no matter what comes.

 

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Robin Williams’s daughter posts lovely note – link

This was a lovely sentiment. I suspect her father would be incredibly proud of her.

http://mashable.com/2015/09/06/robin-williams-daughter-note-depression/

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2015 in depression, link, love, mindfulness

 

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