>> Monday, December 02, 2013
The holiday season is upon us! Here's some pictures of last year's Christmas! Enjoy! #exclaimationmarksrule!!!
The holiday season is upon us! Here's some pictures of last year's Christmas! Enjoy! #exclaimationmarksrule!!!
Here we are, Thanksgiving weekend. The year has been rushing by and now here we are, one of our traditional family holidays with the food and the parade and maybe some movies and video games and napping and over eating and just being together (and not liking every minute of it, but overall being thankful for being together).
It's been an adventurous year. It's like we've just been on this crazy rocket-sled of stress and chaos and doctors and school and struggling and broken things scrounging to pay bills and get groceries and get by until we can get to the other side and possibly have a life where we don't struggle so much.
I'm not complaining, not really. We don't really do without. We have many nice things. We have enough food, even if we sometimes have to stretch the leftovers a little too far. We all have enough clothes to wear, even if some have too many holes. We're doing ok.
It's a time to be thankful, not whine. I am generally a negative person. People say "just be positive" or "think positive and positive things will happen". I don't know how to do that. I really don't. Why? I don't know. It's just how I'm wired. And I wouldn't say I'm a 'glass half empty' kind of guy, I'm more of a "well, it is what it is" kind of guy and the world is just a negative kind of place.
But I am thankful. I'm thankful that in spite of our struggles that my kids don't share my negativity. I am thankful that the hardest part is mostly over and there are better financial times just ahead. I am thankful that even though the kids might have to wait for the 'nice' presents from mom and dad this year that we will be able to give them nice presents in January or February.
I am thankful that we were together this week. In spite of the frayed tempers and the moments of disrespect and lots of slop and mess and burned pie crust and so forth, we are enjoying our time together. We're watching the parade, talking about what we're going to do the rest of the day, and waiting for the turkey to get done.
I am thankful that in spite of my ongoing health issues, this week has been very good. And that in spite of it taking a downturn today, I've been able to participate in most of the family fun this week.
And finally, I am thankful that the kids go back to school on Monday. Because dang.
Google+, when you upload photos, does some interesting things with them sometimes. Photos that are similar it groups together. Sometimes it will even turn them into animated gif files.
I uploaded a lot of pictures of Da Bunny and it returned these groups. So I put them here to share.
Today was the first day of school for all my kiddos. Some of them started last week, but today was the first day that all of them were gone and out the door. My youngest started kindergarten today. So in many ways it is the first time all of them have been out the door without one of their parents or older siblings.
Yet I am not home alone. While all MY kids are out the door, I have a grandkid that lives here. And I get to baby sit.
And that just makes me tired. I've raised all my kids, yet the process goes on. Don't get me wrong, I love my granddaughter very much, but at this time in my life I just feel old. Really really stinking old.
Actually, to clarify, her mom is home today too, so I have a chance to relax and do some of the things I want, like blog and watch all those grown-up shows on Netflix.
The pain isn't so bad today. My headache is kind of throbbing a bit, but not screaming yet.
Speaking of which, we're working with a new doctor for me. I think I mentioned that a while back, but we're onto a new treatment plan.
There are 3 things we're trying, botox, which is supposed to relax the nerves that spawn headaches, medical manipulation - which is like chiropractic treatments, but also like massage and kind of nothing like either, and a herbal thing my neurologist recommended called "butterbur", that's supposed to open up the bloodflow.
None of which has really begun yet so I'm still just kind of spinning here.
Anna is back to school too. She's finishing up her apprenticeship or residency or whatever they call it for teachers. It's hard, financially, but we just need to get to the other side of this and move forward. It will be a good future if we just deal with it now.
What other news can I share? Well, Da Bunny (granddaughter) will be one in a couple weeks. That's exciting. Derek is off at college, a junior. It's his first time being away from home for more than a night or so. I hope he's behaving. And... well, I don't know what else.
Here's a picture of a tiny bunny.
It's been over a year, close to two years, since I've been to see a neurologist. In case you don't know the story, I went to one, was very very unhappy with him (he basically said "I can't help you" after 1 visit), went to another neurologist that I really liked, got the ball rolling on some things and then for a reason I don't know, she left town. That left only the first neurologist that I went to as the "only game in town". There was a replacement coming for the second but all we could do is wait. And wait. And wait.
Finally they scheduled an appointment. Then they moved the appointment up a few days. Which we found out yesterday was today. Rather than wait any longer, Anna made the changes in her schedule and made it work.
So here we go. New doctor. In a nice shiny new building with cobblestone floors and a fountain and Anderson Cooper playing on the TV. Appointment was at 11:30, so of course it's was noon before I got called back. The assistant went through all my history and medications and all that stuff and then we wait some more. Like almost an hour I think.
But then there she was. Dr. Michelle Raphael. Very young. Very tiny. But she dove right in. We talked for a long time about my condition and my history with it and everything that has happened and everything that is happening. We talked and talked. I didn't feel rushed and felt she was very patient in getting all the information she wanted.
Then we do the standard tests. Poke. Pull. Look here. Look there. Push.
"So, doc, what you do think?"
And here's where the rubber meets the road. This is the time where you listen to what your doctor says and you find out if you are really going to get help from this person or if they are just going to run you through "the usual" and get you out the door. Here's what she said in a nutshell:
We're going to do more tests. We are going to schedule and MRI and an EEG right away (and they did, day after tomorrow - last time it was a 3 month wait.) Based on your previous MRI (which thanks to modern technology she was able to pull on on the computer right there) there is some plaquing and there are slight changes from one to the other so we need to get a new one and see where we are. Boom. Done.
Also, we're going to try some new medications for your headaches. Right now we don't care what's causing them, we just want you to try to live and function somewhat normally. So here's a new one that you will take every day to prevent them from happening, and here's one you will take as needed at the moment you believe you have one coming on. We'll ease you into these, so you won't see any change for many weeks, but once we get you up to speed we'll see if these are helping or if we need to get something else. Boom. Done.
So here's the gist. It doesn't look like your condition is deteriorating as much as you think. You're actually doing better than you think. I know you have pain and I know you feel weak, but it seems everything is tied to your headaches. It's probably not MS or anything else that is deteriorating as much as it feels. You just get bad headaches. And while that is serious and it sucks, ultimately it is something we can fix or at least help. We're going to grab you, and flip you, and poke you and prod you and pretty much torture you until we figure out what is causing your pain and make it stop. (I'm totally paraphrasing here, but this is the gist...)
And then she was gone. We waited about another 45 minutes while her assistant set up the MRI and EEG and faxed the prescriptions to our pharmacy.Then we went and got some lunch because it was almost 2 o'clock.
So how do I feel about my new doctor? At the moment a little overwhelmed. In spite of the waiting, I feel that she took the time and listened. I think she was very patient as I rambled about my condition and kept looking to Anna to help me fill in the blanks. I think she was very understanding of the pain and the need to do something RIGHT NOW. I also feel she was very sympathetic at our frustration with the previous doctors and feeling put "on hold" for almost 2 years.
But I think I feel just a little cheated. And maybe that's not the right term, but let me explain.
I've been in this condition for 6 years now. I can point to when it started. I can tell you how I felt then and how I feel now. I can tell you my symptoms then (well, Anna can) and I can tell you my symptoms now. I KNOW things have gone down hill. I KNOW that generally I've gotten worse. Her assessment that "I haven't gotten as bad as I think", that kind of .... I don't know. But it was just the first "get to know you" visit and all she has to go on is the records of the neurologists before and my primary care doctor.
BUT, I do feel good about getting the tests done right away. I don't know if that was more her influence with the offices to get it done NOW, or if it's the fact that THIS time I have insurance, but I don't care. It's going to get done sooner rather than later and I feel good about that.
I also like her being very knowledgeable about the latest and greatest meds. The new stuff she gave me is really REALLY new and wasn't available 2 years ago. Targeted specifically at the head pain, regardless of the cause. And it's not a change from my current meds, it's on top of it. Which, on the one hand, good because the benefit I am getting from my current meds won't end, but on the other, bad because it's more stuff I've gotta take. But if it works as she described, I am optimistic of more pain free days.
So, generally, overall, I feel pretty good about her as a doctor. I like that we're diving right in and working right away to get to the root of the problem. Time will tell, I guess, whether she really will go to the mat for me, so to speak, or if we'll just coast again.
And now that I've written all that, I feel a headache coming on. So I'm going to close the curtains and try to rest.
Good morning. Merry Christmas.
I don't know why I'm awake, but I am. It's very quiet, the only sound is the air moving though the furnace vents. Not even the dogs are awake yet.
I haven't peeked outside, it's still very dark, but it was snowing pretty good when I went to bed. We very rarely have a white Christmas here, being the high desert plain, but we got one this year. It makes me a little homesick for Nebraska, but not too much.
Any minute now the kids are going to break down the bedroom door and chaos will ensue. There will be much shredded gift wrap and noise of movies and video games and toys, but for now I am enjoying the quiet all to myself.
I haven't been much in the Christmas mood this year. Even though I have kind of isolated myself from the crush of commercialism in our world, I still felt that this time of year just doesn't mean much to most people other than the giving and the getting. And while there is something to be said about 'more blessed to give than receive', it is still missing the point.
I'm going to get a little religion on here, hope you don't mind.
Jesus was born in a tiny town near Jerusalem. Whether it was winter or summer or whether early Christians made up the holiday and stole the date from other celebrations - none of that really matters. What matter is, it happened. And whether you believe He was born of a virgin and was killed on a cross and rose from the dead, you cannot argue that He changed the world. In spite of all the hate and wrong and ugliness that has been done (and continues to be done) in His name, His simple message of love, peace, and forgiveness still survives.
I often wish everyone that believed in Him - or at least claimed to believe in Him - focused on the things He actually said instead of assuming what He wants us to think about issues such as abortion and education and homosexuality. What would happen if all Christians everywhere started picketing at funerals in their area, not with signs that say "God hates fags", but rather with signs that said "I'm so sorry" or "We love you" or "We brought a ham, can we leave it with you?"
Jesus didn't come roaring into town with avenging angels to strike down the "perverts" and false teachers. His birth was about as humble as you can get. The modern equivalent might be being born in a taxi while stuck in a traffic jam on the freeway. No doctors or nurses, just noise and car exhaust, and a lowly taxi. His whole life was like that. Below the radar. Simple. Some have criticized that 'secular' historians of the time, in that place, don't mention Jesus at all. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but if it is it doesn't surprise me. A simple man with a simple message at a time of military occupation in a mostly rural area. But that message resonates throughout the millenia.
Why aren't we doing the same? Why aren't we practicing the example of the manger? Of coming quietly, gently with a message of love and simplicity? Why do we have to be in the faces of those we disagree with, even though Jesus never actually said what we claim he said? Why do we insist on being right instead of being helpful. Which is better? To campaign for a candidate that claims he will end abortion, or to open the doors to a food pantry in your church and give to those in need? To write your legislators and insist he or she not support same-sex marriage, or to make friends with someone who is struggling with physical pain and illness and offer to babysit or drive them to the doctor?
What would happen if we started saying "God loves you, let me show you how much" instead of "God hates that, you can't have it"? What if we came as quietly as Jesus did in the manger, instead of acting like Nazis going into Poland? (A little harsh? Maybe, but it makes my point).
The kids are waking up now. The sun is peaking through the window. It will be time to delve into the chaos.
Anyway. I hope you have a Merry Christmas, and thank you for letting me rant.
|Grandson Gnarly Dude, being gnarly.|
|Jazz hands are called jazz hands because of what you do with your hands while singing jazz.|
|Small venues have the awesomest music. Especially when she sings.|
|Christmas is always a pajama day.|
|Mr. D. Drummer Man.|
|Nobody really wanted their picture taken.|
|He's up a tree now.|
|I made a lot of these for my facebook|
|Sometimes you just have to scream|
|Watching the eclipse|
|Red hair is so HAWT!|
|Puppies, just before they got a new home.|
|No, that's not creepy at all.|
|Bad case of love pox|
|Miss V. 10 seconds old.|
|Miss V on the quilt Great Grandma made|
|The lemon eating champion of 2012|
|There's a bug on you.|
|Everybody loves cakes|
|Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah|
|Happy to be going somewhere|
|Future pumpkin model|
|Charlie Brown. He's a clown.|
|We so gangsta|
|No, really, not creepy at all.|