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Category Archives: PVCs

No good

Last week and this weekend were not good.

Yes, I made it through the colonoscopy  without incident, thank goodness. But since then, I’ve been feeling poorly. I thought initially I was coming down with a cold because my throat was feeling funny. I started drinking warm water with lemon juice in the mornings for the extra vitamin C kick. I gargled and drank my warm water with honey and apple cider vinegar. I was so tired one day last week that I actually went upstairs at 2 in the afternoon and got into bed. I didn’t sleep, but I wanted to.

I have felt that way the rest of the week and over the weekend. My throat is yucky, I feel nauseated, I’m tired as hell, and I’m feeling a lot of imbalance. And my jaw hurts. And my arms and back hurt. And I’ve been anxious as fuck. Thursday night I had Hub come hang out with me in the bedroom after dinner because I was so anxious. Yesterday, he went to help his Mom decorate their tree and I stayed home alone. And I hardly moved because I felt so bad and so anxious.

I put laundry in this morning but I am loathe to following through with it because I’m so anxious. I thought having something to do would distract me, but it’s not. I just tried to make lunch and while I was waiting for the microwave to heat my soup, I had a long uninterrupted run of PVCs–longer than normal–which upset me. I barely ate half my soup. Last night at dinner, I picked at my food and ate maybe 1/4 of what I would normally. I have no interest in food and no interest in drinking.

This isn’t the flu (thank goodness) because I have no aches and no fever and really my nose is only mildly running and my throat only feels slimy and snotty and just mildly scratchy-weird. And this has been going on since Tuesday. My legs hurt, too, I realized when I was sitting at lunch.

I feel kind of weak. Probably from not eating and drinking enough. I hate feeling this way. Hub is at work today and I’m alone at home. Well, the dogs are here, but honestly neither f my dogs is really an empathizer. They are both affectionate in their own ways, but Butthead is really just annoying or sleeping, and Le Moo is more independent and only wants affection on her terms and in her way.

I feel nauseated. Combine that with the jaw pain and the arm and back pain. And the fatigue. I just can’t get past the anxiety. I feel like I’m not breathing right, which I know is the anxiety. I feel warm and cold. Mildly sweaty and clammy. All of this is very likely anxiety. But what if it isn’t?

I don’t want to be alone. I want to cry. I want it to all stop so I can feel normal again (at least normal for me). I feel alone and afraid and like this will never get better.

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Here I am

I have wanted to write new posts, but there are things that have happened and I didn’t know where to start. So I started nothing. And then more things happened and I just wanted to blurt them all out in one post, but then I thought that’s no good way to share the different types of information.

None of that has changed, but I’m writing anyway.

Mid-October, Butthead started limping again. 10 weeks after her surgery. We started her on some pain killers and hoped that she just pulled something or overdid it. I didn’t not feel good about it because it was like she was fine, then she tried to play with Le Moo, and a few hours later she was limping. But we tried to be positive about it

The next morning, I woke up and I was spotting. Spotting post-menopause and post cancer diagnosis is bad. I was entirely freaked out. It wasn’t a lot, but it was terrifying to me. I contacted my oncologist’s office and they fit me in for that afternoon with the office PA. Hub raced home from work and we made the hour trip to the doctor’s office, all the while trying not to fall right over into a panic attack. When we finally got in to see the PA, she did a (painful!) exam and decided that there was a stitch migrating out that was causing a tiny bit of blood. She saw no lesions and no other issues, so she said she would consult with my doctor, but if no one called to follow-up, I should rest easy that it was just the stitch migrating from the second surgery. Not unusual, she told me. If it continued or got worse I should call them again. By the next morning it was done and I’ve been fine since then. But shit that was scary.

Butthead continued to limp, despite NEW painkillers. And by the following week, there was a terrible CLONKING noise coming from her knee when she was walking. Not all the time, but a lot. And that’s not right. So I called our vet (my uncle) about 10 minutes after I first heard the noise and he suggested that I come in to the office for an xray. So again, Hub rushed home and we packed Butthead up and raced down to HIS office, which is 90 minutes away. He sedated her and did an xray and physical manipulations (we actually HEARD the clunk upon manipulation in the exam room prior to sedation) but he found nothing out of the ordinary. He suggested that the knee was moving more than he would like, possibly because of severe atrophy from her quad muscle. Again, I was distressed, because this seemed to happen overnight, but we went home with instructions to continue pain meds and work on building up the quad muscle, which upon tightening should keep the knee in place. However, after a week of pain meds and exercises, and the vet talking to his colleagues, we decided that Butthead needed a second surgery. So off we went for a third Thursday in a row, over 90 minutes in traffic, to the vet’s office for surgery. He found that Butthead’s meniscus (a fatty pad in between the upper leg bone and lower leg bone where the knee joint is) was smashed on one side. So he had to remove that, and in addition he put in a nylon string attaching top and bottom bone, hoping to keep the knee more stabilized while we worked on muscle building.

We brought Butthead home and have been in post-surgery recovery mode with her. She’s still limping, but much like after the first surgery. Prior to this surgery, she wasn’t using the leg at all, now she is using is more each day, especially outside the house. Hopefully this will work and we can go back to exercises in a week in order to build up her quad muscles. UNfortunately, some of those exercises include walking (slowly) up stairs, and walking (slowly) up steep hills. Both of those things are hard on MY knees, so Hub gets the brunt of that work.

Which brings me to me. I’m feeling rotten. I’m not sleeping and I’m in a lot of pain all over my body. I’ve developed plantar fasciitis in one foot, which causes me to be in pain every time I stand up from sitting or laying down. Once I walk it off, I’m mostly okay in that fashion, but when I sit down again and then have to get up, it starts all over again. Plus, the rest of my body just hurts. Fall seems to be a bad time for me, pain-wise, and I have no idea why. I’m walking like an old lady again, and yet trying to just keep going because my Mom needs me. And my dogs need me. And my husband needs me. And my brothers and Dad need me. So I push on when I have to, and try not to limp too obviously so no one knows how bad it is. Except Hub, who sees me without the mask.

I am in pain all day long, and it screws with my sleep as well. And no sleep means no restorative sleep, which means no healing of muscle pain. Which means more pain. Which means less sleep. Which all sucks very much. Let’s not even talk about the ongoing nightmares. Or the hot flashes (and hot flushes) that go on all night and through the day. Or the PVCs that are hanging around again, although they’re mostly mild at this point.

In two weeks I’m going to see a hypnotherapist to see if she can help me with the sleep and the chronic pain, and some of the health anxiety that comes along with all that. I’m mostly okay with the health anxiety (though today has been a struggle) but it does keep me from exercising, and I need to get some exercise.

Then there’s the refrigerator saga (we’ve gotten a new one but not gotten paid for the dead one, plus the new one is smaller and waaay noisy), the dishwasher saga, and new on the scene, the laptop saga. Good times.

October was a struggle and so far, November seems on par. More about that in the next post.

 

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Rinse and repeat

So here I am, just days away from surgery number two. I wrote about my pre-surgery nerves in this post last time. I’m feeling pretty crappy these days, some of which is because I haven’t been sleeping. I’ve been having nightmares and I’ve felt overheated at night. I’m terribly heat intolerant, so it keeps me away and/or wakes me up when I’m too warm. And of course, if I’m warm when I try to go to sleep, then I can’t fall asleep. So it’s been sucky sleeping lately. Not a great way to go into surgery, I’m sure. Also, my throat has been dry in the mornings and my nose feels stuffy. I’m hoping it’s allergies, because I can’t take the thought that it’s a cold, which might (or might not) postpone my surgery. No fever, so I feel like just a cold won’t be an issue, but my anxiety makes me worry about it. Repeatedly and often. Woo.

In my previous post, I talked about all the prep work I was doing in advance of surgery. I re-read the post and feel kind of embarrassed at how much I was doing. I made all that food and ate none of it. I got all that yarn and used none of it post-surgery. I borrowed all those books and it was over a week (or more) before I could read anything. I used almost none of the things I packed to take the hospital. Even so, some of it was worthwhile. I’ll be changing and washing sheets in advance, because I like the comfort of the laundry detergent when I get into bed. Hub will be getting me deli turkey and making me gluten free biscuits because those were the two things I ate for the first two weeks, almost exclusively (great diet, eh?), along with plain water. So no soup, no lemonade, no mushrooms and cheese…that was all a waste of time the first time.

I’ll pack my small bag for the hospital with pain medications (leftover from the first surgery, so we don’t have to pay for them a second time), my gluten free chewing gum (peppermint, to get my stomach working again), and my pillow for the ride home. I’ll have my lip balm and my cell phone and my advanced directive (again). That’s pretty much it.

I’m still going to the library tomorrow, so I don’t have to go soon after surgery, but I know now that reading will be nearly impossible the first week. Even watching television was nearly impossible, because my brain just wouldn’t focus.

And on top of things, I’ll be worrying about surgical menopause. Woo hoo. There are horror stories about this, and I’ve been trying really hard not to read them. I talked with T about them at my last session, but I’m not sure I can be reassured about this. I’m mostly worried about the insomnia…and then the possibility for increased depression and anxiety. There’s a whole host of new symptoms for SM that I’ll have to learn, and that my health anxiety will have to feed on. I’m wondering if acupuncture might help. I’ve been trying to read about it, but I know full well that acupuncture doesn’t always work for everyone.

I finally saw the massage therapist last week. It was so nice to have her work out some of my muscles. I wasn’t able to lay on my stomach, but she was able to work most everything while I was on my side. I can’t say how much it all helped long-term, but it felt really good during (with the exception of the trigger points which generally hurt like a mofo). I really hope I’ll be able to get back to her more quickly after this surgery than after the first. My muscles really took a beating after surgery.

No matter the fact that I went through this surgery (basically) once before, I’m nervous. I know now how it is going to feel to wait in pre-op…and how I felt in the post op, and how gross and out of it I felt in recovery. And on the way home. And the immediate days following. I made it through, obviously, so I get that, but it doesn’t mean it was easy and/or no big deal. In the back of my head, I’m also thinking about actually making it through the surgery. I’m afraid. I don’t know another way to be at this point.

My PVCs have mostly dropped off in the last two weeks or so. I had some last night, but they were mild and didn’t last very long. I hope that continues, because I can do without those.

 

 

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Another detour

This trip has been exhausting and I haven’t really even left my house. Technically, I did the three hour tour, but otherwise I’ve spent most of my time housebound. Not to say I’ve been immobile because my anxiety over a blood clot has not allowed that. But walking around the first floor of my house (with Butthead following me around) is not exactly doing much of anything. I have otherwise read, watched television, or played Two Dots on Hub’s iPad.

I did make another detour. Sunday I was feeling pain in the back/side of my left calf. I was trying not to be too concerned about it, but not succeeding very well. By Sunday night, I was unable to sleep because of the fear of a blood clot. My legs have been bothering me a lot (walking around in my “house slippers” has probably not been the best idea), in all areas, mostly due to my chronic myofascial pain. But this pain I was having in my left calf felt different. It was a burning, stabbing feeling. I saw no redness, no swelling, found no heat on the skin, but I knew not all those things had to be present for it to be a blood clot. Monday morning, Hub was supposed to go to work but I made him stay home and in turn he made me call the surgeon’s office. I was considering the ER to have them ultrasound my leg, but Hub didn’t want to sit there for ten hours waiting to be seen if we didn’t have to.

So I called the doctor’s office and left a voice mail. One of the nurses called me back (they’ve all been very nice, despite me feeling like a whiny baby) and told me she’d write me a referral for a doppler sonogram of my leg and email it to me. I had to find a radiology center to go to on my own, since we’re in completely different counties. So I called the local imaging center nearby and the nice scheduling person got me in that afternoon. I went to the appointment and they took me only about ten minutes late. But the lady doing my doppler sonogram ultrasound thingy was not very nice. She seemed annoyed to be dealing with me and despite me attempting to be nice (as my heart pounded and my PVCs bumped in my chest), she had no interest in returning the favor. I’m not saying she was mean, but she certainly had no interest in being kind or compassionate. Hub reminds me later that it could have been anything–an argument with a coworker, a crappy boss, a sick child at home–but all I knew at the time was that it felt very uncomfortable and I worried whether she was really doing the ultrasound properly.

I asked politely if she could tell me anything and she said no, that they’d send the results over to my doctor’s office later that afternoon (it was 3pm by the time I left). I went home and tried not to cry, but trying to convince myself that if there was some huge blood clot, they’d be required to send me to the ER without delay. So I waited for my doctor’s office to call…and I waited…and I waited. And the office closed. And I spent the evening bound up in PVCs and fear, repeatedly looking at my calf and waiting for some sign of swelling or heat or redness.

Tuesday morning before I even got out of bed, I asked Hub for my laptop and I logged into my email to see if there was an email from the doctor’s office, but nothing. On a prayer, I signed into their healthcare portal and found the test results sitting there (they hadn’t been there the day before). There was a single sentence from the doctor’s office saying “tests came back normal”, but I opened the report anyone to read it carefully. Beyond it saying the report indicating they saw nothing abnormal, they did indicate the test was limited because of my “body habitus”. Meaning, I was too overweight for them to perform the test appropriately. I’ve have ultrasounds of my heart, of my stomach, of my pelvis and I’ve read EVERY SINGLE REPORT and never seen that phrase written before. Are my legs heavy? Yep, they are, and I am well aware of that issue. But what does that have to do with the work they’re performing? There’s no more fat on my legs than there is on my stomach, so I was kind of upset. And I know she pressed really hard on my legs with the ultrasound thingy, because later I was feeling the residual pain from that.

I’m really tired of being anxious about this shit. And I’m tired of the PVCs that are hanging around. My incision is getting slightly better, but there are ends of “fishing wire” sticking out, which I assume are the internal stitches poking through the skin. I’m able to get up and down for the most part, and I finally walked down all our steps today (thank goodness for our elevator) but haven’t walked UP them yet. My legs still hurt and that stabbing burning pain in my calf still comes and goes. On top of all that, my neck is killing me (I can’t turn my head to the right) and my back hurts and my arms are achy. I’m overcompensating for my abdomen with all my other muscles and they’re ALL complaining. I asked the nurse about going to see my massage therapist but she wanted me to wait until after my appointment next week with the surgeon.

Oh, and the headaches are hanging around, which is very frustrating. They feel like pressure headaches and I haven’t been able to get relief from them for a couple of days. That, too, makes me nervous.

Positive note, I did go with Mom to her radiation appointment today. Unfortunately, while she was in her treatment my stomach decided to be unhappy, but I managed and made it back home to rest. I had a little trouble getting into and out of their big SUV, but I didn’t injure anything, so I guess that’s good. Friday I go to see T, but I don’t think I’m ready to drive yet, so Hub is going to take me.

This has been so difficult. Even thinking I would have trouble after the surgery, I wasn’t really prepared to deal with all of this. I hope it ends up being worth it…not that I can go back anyway. I wish I knew when I’ll be able to get past these concerns over blood clots. And also, making myself go through this sort of “exposure therapy” was really rotten. I don’t like it at all.

 

 

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For the birds

***Anxiety attack trigger warning***

This is for the birds. FOR THE BIRDS.

My anxiety is ramped up at the moment. As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m mega-worried about a blood clot. I’ve got pain in my legs which I’m pretty sure are muscle pains, but still…

I’ve also got pains in my back, up behind the rib area. I’m afraid of what that is. It could be muscular as well…I suck at taking care of my back so I often have back pains and upper back/shoulder pains. I’m trying to keep it in check, but the more I’m sitting here (with these blasted PVCs), the more anxious I’m starting to feel. I’ve got a pain on that same side in my upper arm area (both of these are on the left side). I feel myself falling into the anxiety. The breathing is not easy…it’s tight and anxious. I wanted to shower but I can’t force myself to do it. I’m frozen in place, feeling the distress in my body. I’m rocking my upper body forward and back, which is a definite anxiety posture for me.

My arm hurts. My back hurts. My abdomen hurts. My legs (thighs AND calves) hurt. I can feel myself clenching my jaw so my head hurts. I have a closed feeling in my throat. The light is starting to bother my eyes. My PVCs are making me cough, which hurts my stomach. I feel warm on my face.

I feel like I’m crumbling apart.

There is no happy ending to this post. I’m not writing it to show how well I was able to handle this. I’m writing it because I’m hurting and I have nowhere else to turn. And it sucks.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2015 in anxiety, panic attacks, PVCs

 

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A three hour tour

That’s right, I said it, today I went on a three hour tour.

So, here I am doing my best to recover and not give in to my anxiety. I’m moving around, I’m TRYING to stay hydrated, and I’m trying to eat (I have no freaking appetite). My sleep is still disrupted, unfortunately, but at least I’m mostly able to get up and down from sitting without as much discomfort. My PVCs are really annoying me (especially today), but that’s not new territory for me, as we all know.

Then I start to realize that there’s a smell. TMI, I know, I’m sorry. But it’s coming from one of my incisions…the biggest of the FIVE incisions and the one in the worst place (in the “fold’ of my skin when I sit). I attempt to clean the area more carefully with baby wipes, without messing too much with the strip of tape over the incision. I hope for the best, but the next morning, the smell is still there. So I call the doctor’s office at 9:15 this morning (they supposedly open at 8:30) but the telephones are still turned off and I can’t even leave a voice mail. So I use my fancy schmancy portal system and leave a message for my doctor. Two hours later the nurse calls. And despite everyone saying things like “oh, they’ve heard it all!” the nurse seems completely perplexed. She’s never heard of this issue! A smell without pus, blood, heat, oozing, fever…just a….smell? She’s SO perplexed that she has to go find the doctor to see what he wants to do. She calls me back fifteen minutes later to say the doctor says to take the steri-strip (some sort of adhesive bandage?) off and make sure there’s no redness or pus. If not, he’s fine with me leaving the steri-strip off and just keeping the area clean…and keeping an eye on it. She suggests I go shower to make sure everything is clean before removing the strip of adhesive. Then she tells me “it’s going to hurt, taking that adhesive strip off of the incision…” and she has NO suggestions as to mitigate the pain. “Go slow” is all she can tell me.

I can’t really SEE this area because of the angle and the swelling from the surgery, so I have to have Hub do it. He SUCKS at this kind of stuff, generally speaking. But he does his best after washing thoroughly…and oddly the tape comes off without any issue. Any adhesive property is gone. He tells me the incision looks fine, but I ask for a mirror. I think it looks horrible and I can still smell the damn smell. And it’s making me queasy with fear. So although Hub had a meeting to go to in a few hours, I call the doctor’s office back and ask to see him. The kindly nurse fits me in, but our drive requires an hour with traffic. And there’s always traffic. Plus, storms’ a’comin’. Fun times.

Hub bows out of his meeting (his boss is really understanding) and we get on the road. The doctor’s office is busy again, and I am sure we’re going to have to wait over an hour. But twenty-five minutes later, the nurse takes me back. She asks what’s happening and I tell her. She starts to take notes, asks if I’m still taking the hydrocodone (vicodin!) and I say no, I only took it once in the hospital and it made me feel crappy. One eyebrow goes up. So she asks if I’m taking the ibuprofen and I told her I stopped that Monday. She seems taken aback. Then she tells me to hang tight and the doctor will be in.

Probably ten minutes later the doctor comes in and asks how I am. He takes a look at the incision and says it looks fine (Hub says I TOLD YOU) from his chair nearby. I tell him to shut up. The doctor thinks this is funny. Then I ask the doctor to talk to me a little more about blood clots. I tell him I have so much muscle pain (especially using my whole body to move around instead of my core…stuff hurts so much) that I’m afraid I won’t be able to decipher what is muscular and what is blood clot. He looks at me in a way that says he’s TRYING to understand, but doesn’t really get it. I tell him about my pre-existing condition and how it affects my muscles, and how anytime I stress them even mildly, they will hurt intensely. He tries to explain what to look for, but honestly it’s pretty much the same shpiel I got from the nurse originally. After that he sends us on our way with a prescription for anti-fungal cream because of the location of the incision and how it doesn’t get a lot of air time. He wants to avoid a yeast infection. Me, too.

We head back outside and it’s raining. We get back on the highway and head home. All in all it takes three hours almost on the dot. I’m exhausted and in some mild pain. My incision is clearly irritated and I’m doing my best to not just go lie down because I need to stay mobile (and if I go sleep now, I won’t sleep tonight).

Not the detour I had wanted, but I knew if I didn’t go I’d be worried. I’ve never had an incision like this before, or in this kind of weird spot before. I was too afraid not to go. Amusingly enough, when the nurse took my blood pressure before the doctor came in, it was really good. WTF. I was so uncomfortable sitting on the table because of my back and legs, but my BP was normal. I’m so fucked up.

 

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Don’t pity me

I’m doing that just fine all on my own. Bleh.

Seriously, this is the first day I’ve been able to concentrate even a little bit. Prior, I was feeling very foggy and dizzy, and like my eyes wouldn’t focus. It was pretty horrible. Thursday I was trying to be a good girl and eat protein, so we had some deli turkey in the house in preparation. Turns out there’s something on there in the gluten range (maybe the seasoning? we don’t think we’ve bought this meat before, it was fresh-made at the store) that was affecting me and I spent most of Thursday suffering from hot-face, which made me miserable. It wasn’t until after I’d had some for dinner that I realized it was probably the turkey and I had to just wait it out. I didn’t start feeling that going away until sometime Friday mid-morning. Meanwhile, my sleep has been close to nil. That has been kind of horrible because it aggravates anxiety big-time, as all us anxiety sufferers know. My PVCs remain annoying…

I’m in some mild pain, but taking ibuprofen twice a day, just to help speed healing, I hope. Friday the doctor’s office called to check on me and the nurses warned me to be very aware of blood clot symptoms, especially with the weekend coming. She told me to not wait and go to the ER if I felt I had symptoms. So now I’m spending the majority of my time worrying about a blood clot. Fan-fucking-tastic. And apparently this is an issue for MONTHS after a surgery. So my leg is bothering me and it’s kind of freaking me out, but I am trying to remind myself that it’s probably a muscle ache and maybe must my knee hurting (which is normal for me). I’m afraid…there’s so much going on in my body, I have no idea how to identify what is normal and what is not. My heartburn is pretty bad (with accompany nausea!…yay), even though I’ve gone back on my regular digestive enzymes and probiotics…they haven’t really taken over yet. So that means I’ve got pain in my chest which radiates to my arms and back. And I have to decipher that as being different from being short of breath and in pain which could be a clot my lung (versus in the leg, of course). This has not been a good experience for me…I’m sure T is thinking “Ooooh, exposure therapy” but I’m thinking OMG how am I going to get through this?

I feel very split up about all this…trying to realize I had major surgery and still feeling like I’m supposed to be active to help heal. They’re all telling me to listen to my body, but my body LIES to me. So how am I supposed to know how much to rest and how much to do? I had major surgery and yet they sent me home five hours after. Which is it? Major surgery and rest, or get up and move? I’m FINALLY able to stand up and sit down without groaning from the pain and stretch, but it’s still uncomfortable.

Eating is difficult because of the nausea and the heartburn. I have no appetite, but I know without food I won’t gain stamina or energy. I’m trying to drink but I’m NEVER a good drinker so I’m sucking with that, too. Which apparently could lead to more potential blood clot issues. So much fear in my body at the moment. I told T when I had my phone appointment on Friday (which I could only talk for half an hour, I was so out of it) that I feel like I’m in the midst of anxiety even though I didn’t feel ANXIOUS. She said it’s my body responding to the trauma of the surgery…and to just try to use my tools even though it’s not really “anxiety”.

My head feels full and pressured. I have a headache (while I’m taking 800mg of ibuprofen…wtf is up with that?) and I’m so tired all the time. I want to be past all this NOW.

On top of all that, Hub has a really bad cold that came on Tuesday night. I’m SO lucky that I haven’t gotten sick yet, even though he’s feeding me and getting me drinks. It’s really really sucky, though, because he’s not touching me. No hugging, no kisses, no rubbing my back or my hands or my arms. No comfort. It’s a really big loss for me… I want so much to be soothed and because we’re trying to keep me from getting the cold, I feel bereft and alone.

Like I said, I’m doing a find job of pitying myself. And now the eye floaters are back, so I’m done here.

 

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