Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dear Defendant

This post is copied from an email I sent a friend earlier, edited only to take away my real name (which is NOT Just Me, big surprise). THIS was my day.

So I got my mail for the first time in a week today. Imagine my joy at a letter addressed to "Defendant: Just Me". Inside was a notice my license was being suspended for not paying the ticket I paid a week ago. I freaked, of course. I had to come home to call because my cell was dead. Finally it turns out that they received the payment and it's all ok, but I had the words "you" and "bond" in the same sentence. EEk!

Then I went to the bathroom in a hurry because I have another UTI and when I have to go I MUST GO. I also shake and I managed to yank the button of my pants so hard the button snapped in half. So I spent the rest of the day with half-on pants. Then I did paperwork and realized my assistants are doing a crappy (other words can be used to fill that gap because I'm about that mad) job because I'm letting them. So I typed up the 15 theses (like Martin Luther if that isn't clear because I think it's not) and in a few days I'm letting them have it. Nicely. But this is getting old because it adds a lot of time to my day that is unnecessary.

I have this oddball craving right now for Arby's. thankfully it's healthy in small sizes, more or less. I'm sure it's got to do with the depression I'm fighting. So I went for my sandwich of the day and they didn't give me sauce. So I walked back in, making them think I was some random person who came in and took sauce from the pumps and left. Then I checked my messages and one was from my old vet updating the records on my 3 cats. Including naming Eli. I hadn't gotten teary in a day or two over him but that wrecked that.

And finally I got to town. We have a small town square with a blinky light, our only light in town. Imagine my exhausted surprise to suddenly have teenagers dressed in black wearing halloween masks jump out toward the car as if to hijack it. (I realize they weren't). It did, however, scare me and set the nerves on jangle. I decided if they were my kids I'd want them stopped because it really was dangerous so I called the cops. The cops called back and couldn't find them but were going to get the sheriff working on it. I sincerely hope that's not one of those people-wtihout-kids-being-judgmental-of-innocent-play. I'm too tired to figure. One day. How was that all only one day....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

From me to you

I know I've been kinda crabby lately. I guess that's just how I handle grief. One of the things I've learned over the years of dealing with people dying is that it kind of builds up and then one day you mourn a lot. I think mourning for my cat is more complicated than just that. And I really miss him. The 10 days since I kept telling him he'd be just fine, that I could SEE it coming, feel like 10 weeks ago. I know that if I could just get my kitten now I'd be better, but that's impossible.

Anyway, I figured I'd share a cooking secret I've figured out recently. I figured out how to make some of the best chili I've ever had. This can be done with any recipe; I make a mild chili but lots more could go into it. Anyway, the 2 tricks are: 1) use tomato juice not from concentrate and 2) add a can of drained black beans. Several weeks ago I had grabbed a can of the unconcentrated tomato juice and when I was halfway through making the chili realized I only had half the kidney beans I needed, so I added the black beans. It makes really, really good stuff. (Keep in mind I LOVE black beans though).

Anyway, that's as positive as I'm getting today. I need to get ready for bed. I don't feel ready to go back to work tomorrow at all.


  • Christmas wasn't my best. I had trouble with noise and actually had to go lay down between dinner and presents rather than help clean like always.
  • My brother made the most insenstive comments of the year. I get angry when I hear people make comments about "oh, that's just so-and-so, off her meds" as a joke. I take antipsychotics and those are the referenced meds and I AM "crazy" without them and I don't find it funny. Maybe if they were easier drugs to handle, but they aren't and taking them means constant side effects and impact on my entire life/health. My mom didn't hear it; she says she would have shut him up, but it hurt. It's not like he doesn't know I take antipsychotics. I quit reading blogs if the blogger makes these jokes and have given up several favorite blogs over it. I wish I could quit relatives.
  • I had to email my doctor for lab orders. It's a bit odd that I know precisely what needs done, but something is going on. I'm drinking 3 times what I was, peeing constantly, and becoming very clumsy. So far this evening I slammed my fist in the car door (blinding pain), twisted my ankle rather hard just walking, and burned myself on the stove.
  • I just tested positive for ANOTHER UTI. I know I was clear between because I tested a few weeks ago and was negative. Dr. Brain thinks they may be a side effect of my tricyclic (read: old) antidepressant causing urinary retention. I'm going to have to hope my doctor will prescribe some antibiotics without seeing me. Or I'll go to urgent care. That's probably the better plan, actually since I can't see Dr. Body until the 8th. I may need to do that as well, but we'll figure that out.
  • I don't want to see him the 8th because I already have the gynecologist (a terribly stressful thing for me, even though she is supposed to be skilled with trauma patients) and Dr. Mind that day. But the 15th is worse because I have the dentist, Dr. Mind, and it's my birthday. So it's lesser of 2 evils time. I suspect I really need to see Dr. Kidney, who I'm not supposed to see until April.
  • I really should change my sheets. But I'm going to be a sloth and sleep in them one more night.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A week

A week ago tonight was the last night I'll ever have slept cuddled up with my Elijiah. That day was so exciting because he was finally strong enough to jump up and down from the bed at will, and he spent most of the night tightly cuddled with me. He was soooooooooo happy to be back in "his place" in the bed. And I was happy to have him there.

I'm tired of being sad. There are so many ways I'm ok, but I'm tired of the sad parts getting control for a while. Also, we seem to be getting ANOTHER ice storm and that means carrying Christmas presents to the car is a)not happening tonight like planned and b) will be 12 times harder and will require me to go in and out of the garage a bunch of times (inconvenient).

Gotta finish wrapping so I can go to bed. So tired.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Beats 2002

There is a long story attached to my getting Elijiah, the cat who recently died. Basically I was very manic after my other kitten died unexpectedly (Ellie), and Eli was adopted to help fill that gap. When I got him I also fell in manic love with another kitten and that's how I came to have Noah.

When Ellie died I was a wreck. She was very young, less than 6 weeks. She had received a clean bill of health days before. She'd also just started coming around me. She was a beautiful, tiny calico kitten and as she gained trust she was really starting to love me. Then one night I went to the bathroom and saw her laying on the living room floor. I went and petted her briefly then went to bed. I thought her position was odd but figured she was playing. A few hours later I woke up to my adult cat, Anna, freaking out. She'd found Ellie's body under my bed.

I was in no shape to handle anything. I was on lithium but no other mood stabilizers and lithium alone is useless for me. I was very upset. My "friend" (described in detail here) agreed to come and help me handle the body.

Frankly I think my reaction was totally appropriate given the circumstances. I was very sick and this was highly traumatic. At least with Eli I knew he might die. But when my "friend" decided to tell me all the 70000 ways my life was wrong she made sure to make some scathing remarks about my "ridiculous (her word)" reaction to Ellie's death.

This time I was spared some of the trauma because Eli died at my mother's house and I didn't deal with the body or the clean-up. But I'm still upset and freaked out.

The difference though is that I KNOW I'm allowed to feel this way. If I want to cry daily for a while, that's ok. If it makes me sad to wash away the last of his hairs, that's ok. If I feel sorry for myself for a while, that's ok.

And if the answer to being sad is to get another kitten then yes, I'll go back to 3 cats. Because that's ok too. My "friend" very snidely told me that this is unhealthy and blagh blagh blagh. Well, it's not exactly what I planned. I planned to have 2. But I also know that there are relationships that the 2 cats don't provide for one another, even though they do love each other, especially after the craziness since Eli got sick. Noah and Eli were raised as littermates. That won't be true for the kitten, but the kitten will appeal to Noah's playfulness in a way Anna can't because she's too mature (read: old. Almost 16).

I now just need to snap my fingers and have all wrapping done. Actually decorative bagging and boxing, because my vow this year was no wrapping and no ribbons. I get upset trying to handle those things because my hands don't do well and it's messy and I want perfection. So, I quit. But I'm so tired of trying to get things together. So tired.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Better today

I've spent a lot of the last few days grieving, as expected. Today I rested a lot, then moved on to trying to warm my house up.

I've managed to put things together so that I am reasonably sure that my cat didn't really suffer. I doubt he even was aware of more than a moment or two, just enough to jump down from where he'd been sleeping (and most of the blood was), stagger a few feet, and be unconscious. That knowledge helps so much.

I also realized that he had every chance of having a hard life. He was going to be cut off from his favorite window because of too much risk of eating things in that room. He very well might have spent his life looking for more plastic to eat; many animals who start this do. He was so overweight and at 6 his joints were already showing signs of arthritis. He'd probably have had other problems as well. And I NEVER thought he was genetically typical. You'd have had to see him to understand, but he did not appear quite right.

I'm going to get another kitten at the end of February. I'm on vacation in mid-February for 10 days. Most of that time I'll be halfway across the country, but I return on Wed. and don't go back to work until Monday. The cat shelter conveniently is open on Thursdays, so I'll pick out a kitten then and have the next few days to get it to the vet, and acclimate it to my home and the other cats to it.

The waiting is hard. Friday someone asked me if I had pets and I had to answer "two cats" and about choked on the answer. I want the kitten to help me move on. Kittens are, of course, known for being funny and I need this. Nothing will replace Elijiah, and I know that. But this is a 3 cat household. Cats are the only "children" I'll ever have, and so my connection to them is greater than even most people's connection to their pets.

So, moving on because that's the way things have to be.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


My cat died overnight. His platelets were very low last week and must still have been because he bled to death. He seemed to be doing so well. Yesterday he was well enough to be able to jump up on the bed and down by himself. He'd been far too weak for that. And he was so happy the last few days. I was so sure he was going to recover.

He was so shy I don't have a good picture to put up here, but he was a loving, beautiful, sweet boy. I miss him so much already.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This post is mainly for my own benefit because I want to remember these interesting days of tube feeding my cat.  Also, I know I've appreciated every drop of information I've found, so maybe this will help someone someday.
As a brief summary, my obese cat ate a bunch of plastic which blocked his bowel.  He stopped eating and lost a lot of weight, which causes metabolic issues in cats that are often fatal.  He lost about 1/3 of his weight in a few weeks, even with syringe feedings.  As a last resort a tube was placed in his neck that lets us inject liquid food with a syringe for several weeks until his appetite returns.
At first this was a disaster.  The tube had a broken part that kept coming off and the tube had a kink in it inside the cat so that every feeding required 2 of us and food flew everywhere, including in hair, on glasses and in my mouth.  The walls also were thoroughly decorated.  The vet tried to fix it but it just broke again.  Finally the cat scratched the tube and the kink released.  So now feeding him takes about 5 minutes and is very easy.  Flush with water, squirt in food, flush again, put cap on, release the cat.  It's especially easy since we figured out that he does better sitting on a card table on some baby blankets.  We also keep cat wipes and baby wipes handy for rapid cleaning.
Cleaning the cat also has been a huge issue.  All the time he was sick he didn't do much for hygiene.  Then he got an enema and that was really cleaned up either.  He was horribly smelly for a while.  I wound up cutting the hair around his butt and some at his mouth where food had built up. 
After just 3 days of the tube working he's gaining weight, pooping (for the first time in a month), and showing a bit of interest in eating.  He's becoming social again, which is the best part for me.  I think this is going to work.  It's not easy, but I think we'll succeed.  If it doesn't he'll die.  Which may kill me.
So, I think things are going well.  I also was reminded of this very old forward, from back when forwards were sometimes worth reading/keeping. 
Cat Bathing As A Martial Art

 A. Know that although the cat has the advantage of
 quickness and lack of concern for human life, you have
 the advantage of strength.

 Capitalize on that advantage by selecting the battlefield.
 Don't try to bathe him in an open area where he can force
 you to chase him. Pick a very small bathroom.

 If your bathroom is more than four feet square, I recommend
 that you get in the tub with the cat and close the sliding
glass doors as if you were about to take a shower. (A simple shower curtain will not do. A berserk cat can shred a three-ply rubber shower curtain quicker than a politician can shift positions.)

 B. Know that a cat has claws and will not hesitate to
 remove all the skin from your body. Your advantage here is that you are smart and know how to dress to protect

 I recommend canvas overalls tucked into high-top construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh gloves, an army
 helmet, a hockey face-mask, and a long-sleeved flak jacket.

 C. Use the element of surprise. Pick up your cat nonchalantly, as if to simply carry him to his supper dish. (Cats will not usually notice your strange attire. They have little or no interest in fashion as a rule.)

 D. Once you are inside the bathroom, speed is essential to survival. In a single liquid motion, shut the bathroom door, step into the tub enclosure, slide the glass door shut, dip the cat in the water and squirt him with shampoo.

 You have begun one of the wildest 45 seconds of your life.

 E. Cats have no handles. Add the fact that he now has soapy fur, and the problem is radically compounded.

 Do not expect to hold on to him for more than two or three seconds at a time. When you have him, however, you must remember to give him another squirt of shampoo and rub like crazy. He'll then spring free and fall back into the water, thereby rinsing himself off. (The national record for cats is three latherings, so don't expect too much.)

 F. Next, the cat must be dried. Novice cat bathers always assume this part will be the most difficult, for humans
 generally are worn out at this point and the cat is just getting really determined.

 In fact, the drying is simple compared with what you have just been through.

 That's because by now the cat is semi-permanently affixed to your right leg.

 You simply pop the drain plug with your foot, reach for your towel and wait. (Occasionally, however, the cat will end up clinging to the top of your army helmet. If this happens, the best thing you can do is to shake him loose and to
 encourage him toward your leg.) After all the water is drained from the tub, it is a simple matter to just reach
 down and dry the cat.

 In a few days the cat will relax enough to be removed from your leg. He will usually have nothing to say for about
 three weeks and will spend a lot of time sitting with his back to you.

 He might even become psychoceramic and develop the fixed stare of a plaster figurine.

 You will be tempted to assume he is angry.

 This isn't usually the case.

 As a rule he is simply plotting ways to get through your defenses and injure you for life the next time you decide
 to give him a bath.

 But at least now he smells a lot better.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I don't live at home anymore

I can't access my own blog (for fear of giving away its existence), so I have no idea how much of this I've written about.  Long story made short:  my sick cat became very, very sick last week and had a feeding tube put in on Thursday.  It has not been exactly easy to feed him with this, as the tube has a bit of a malfunction.  So I have been home only 35 minutes since I left for work Friday morning.  Thankfully the tube is working much better now, but my presence is still needed.  So I don't know how long it will be before I'm home for long.
The good news is that he is doing well.  He's had a tiny bit to eat prall of his own accord, he's pooped for the 2nd time in a month (aside from the enema induced mess), he is feeling soft and clean again (thanks in part to my mom's cat who spent the day with him and cleaned him, and thanks in part to many, many cat wipes and my attack of the grossest areas with scissors).  Things are progressing.  I can tell he feels better today.
But as for the blog, I can't look at what I have written.  I can't respond to comments.  I can't post easily.
So, I'll be back when I can be.  Just know I'm trying to save a life.

Join me

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Today was my psychiatrist visit.  I got some answers for some of my recent health maladies.  Well, more I got some guesses as to potential causes, but it's better than "well, sometimes these things happen".  They are not supposed to all happen at once! (says me)
My UTIs may be because of urinary retention from my antidepressant.  They started when the dose was increased and this is a side effect.  I'm on a tiny dose but the side effect may be additive from other meds.
I already knew my tooth-grinding may be med-related.  This she couldn't find specifics on, but it also may be from the higher dose of AD. 
I also got confirmation that my feeling excessively sedated for my needs probably is true.  I already knew that I get to come off meds (trial at least) in the spring, after SAD is over.  But I've been doing this to make my depakote less effective at sedation and she's ok with that because she agrees I'm on a lot.  I was secretly hoping she'd say I could just decrease the depakote, but she didn't so I guess I have to wait those last few months. 
I'm so happy with how things are turning out.  Me, decreasing meds!  3 years ago when this blog was started I was in such bad shape that I went 2 years with every appointment involving increasing or adding something, literally just trying to keep me alive until the right med came along.  Seroquel XR (this specifically) is it. 
Now I just have to get the AD down so the UTIs stop........

Join me


Today was my psychiatrist visit.  I got some answers for some of my recent health maladies.  Well, more I got some guesses as to potential causes, but it's better than "well, sometimes these things happen".  They are not supposed to all happen at once! (says me)
My UTIs may be because of urinary retention from my antidepressant.  They started when the dose was increased and this is a side effect.  I'm on a tiny dose but the side effect may be additive from other meds.
I already knew my tooth-grinding may be med-related.  This she couldn't find specifics on, but it also may be from the higher dose of AD. 
I also got confirmation that my feeling excessively sedated for my needs probably is true.  I already knew that I get to come off meds (trial at least) in the spring, after SAD is over.  But I've been doing this to make my depakote less effective at sedation and she's ok with that because she agrees I'm on a lot.  I was secretly hoping she'd say I could just decrease the depakote, but she didn't so I guess I have to wait those last few months. 
I'm so happy with how things are turning out.  Me, decreasing meds!  3 years ago when this blog was started I was in such bad shape that I went 2 years with every appointment involving increasing or adding something, literally just trying to keep me alive until the right med came along.  Seroquel XR (this specifically) is it. 
Now I just have to get the AD down so the UTIs stop........

Join me

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some things never change, others don't stop

I've been reading my archives and discovering how incredibly much I've changed in the almost 3 years this blog has existed. I've been through so much, and come out so much better than I dreamed possible. Even now, I'm feeling much more down than usual, but I'm surviving. And I've got plenty of reasons to feel down.

In the latest cat news he got a feeding tube today. This is a more or less last ditch effort. He's developing a liver issue cats get from not eating and without treatment it is 90% fatal. With treatment (the tube) he has a 70% chance of survival. The trick is that over the next weeks we feed him through the tube until he no longer feels sick all the time from his liver breaking down and then let him start eating. This may take a few days or it may take months. From my limited diagnositic skills from the internet I think we started the treatment early, which is good. He wasn't nearly as jaundiced as pictures I've seen online. Nonetheless it's breaking my heart. He's such a good boy and I can't imagine my life without him.

Work is extremely busy, hence the low posts. Welcome to healthcare in December. It's typically one of the busiest months and so far is true to form this year. I've had overtime every day for the last 2 weeks I think. Too bad I don't get paid time and a half until I've worked 8 hours over (because I'm a 32 hour employee) per week. But they hired a new assistant yesterday and she'll make my life a lot better.

I don't know if I mentioned it but my antidepressants got really messed up in the chaos of the weekend. I was waiting for them to come in from an order and one of the things I was going to do when I wrecked was pick them up. So I got back on those yesterday and hopefully will feel all better in a few more days.

I love small towns. Yesterday they called to warn me my water was to be shut off if I didn't pay in the next few hours. I'd already left for work and got the message when I called in from my cell. I called and explained and they let me drop the check off late at night and left the water on. Nice of them. Really, really nice.

Probably I should go to bed now. I took a nap and now am not as sleepy as I should be. But soemtimes naps just are needed. I had a very bad night of sleeping Saturday after the accident, and then again Monday night because I was upset about Tuesday's dental appointment. (Where he couldn't do anything. My tooth is probably cracked to the bone and is likely to have to come out. I'm going to try a nightguard first and that will be ready next week. I will have the extraction with twilight anesthesia possibly (depends on how much it messes with psych meds) and that means it won't happen until late January when I've got sick days.

One more day this week!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Stupid weather channel

So we were supposed to get a couple inches of snow late this afternoon with out any really bad weather. Ha!

We got ice starting this morning, and a lot of snow. My mom came up to help me work on de-plasticating things for the cat, and told me she hit some black ice.

I had to leave for a haircut and to get a prescription. It should have been no big deal according to the forecast. In fact, there shouldn't have had anything on the roads according to that.

I left and it was slick in town. There are 2 ways to go to get to the same place and I picked what I thought would be better. Instead it was really slick. There is a place where you go around a curve, cross a railroad track, go down a slope and stop for an intersection with the main highway. As I approached this there were flares and a car that had gone off the road and hit a guardrail head-on, accompanied by a patrol car.

I started to slow to stop and my brakes didn't do their thing. I saw the guardrail coming for many feet before I hit it. I was fortunate; my car was just starting out of the slide and I slid at a relatively good place in the curve, so that I got scrapes and a small dent, but nothing major. No damage to me. There was another man waiting for the cop too; he had actually been the first in a series of 10 accidents at the rural site, most of which the people just left. He let the other person go first because she had a baby with her (both unhurt, but the car was totaled).

I had to leave my car and stand where it was safe(r). Given that we knew of 10 accidents in 2 hours and people were sliding everywhere and my car had to be left more or less in the middle of the road (no shoulder) I was sure I'd get hit. I didn't, thank God.

I have windburn and haven't been able to get warm, but those are minor. And of course I got a ticket, although the cop actually apologized.

Nonetheless, not easy to deal with. I've got so much money output right now, and that's another. (Cat surgery and many vet visits, root canal(s), fillings that failed, COBRA, whopping psychiatrist bill because my insurance quit paying for her because I had too many psychologist visits).

The worst part really is that I'd run out of antidepressants last week. I tried to fill it but nobody had the mg I take (it's a really small one and then I take a lot because I'm on a bizarre dose (75 mg is the start dose; I take 70 mg because 75 makes me manic). So I got a partial that only had 10 pills. I knew I'd havfe to stretch it 2 days because I couldn't get the pills until today, so I divided it in half. Well, I didn't exactly make it to the pharmacy today. So I'm bottoming out and am crying at the drop of a hat. And I won't make it tomorrow either. So I'm a crybaby for a while....

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I give

I am so frustrated by my own body. Something has to be wrong here.

I'm on my 3rd UTI in a month (or the same one that doesn't heal). This time I didn't even go to the doctor because it hit on Thanksgiving; I used the refill that was on my last round of Bactrim, assuming that's why he gave it to me. (One of those healthcare worker courtesies I get from him sometimes. Plus, this many UTIs and you learn the symptoms).

I also had that infected tooth with the root canal 2 or 3 weeks ago. Well, guess what? I'm almost 100% sure that I'm going to be getting another one next week. I know for sure from experiencee that I have a toothache (had to be taught that toothache and soreness are different critters) and that I have all the same signs of infection I had before. So I'm on a huge dose of amoxicillin for a week or so. And then we decide what to do. I can't get in to see the dentist before that as he's closed for some reason or another Thursday and starts late on Monday and Wednesday. (I think he's easing into retirement, something I dread the idea of because he's good).

And, to make it better, amoxicillin generally upsets my stomach. I am not excited about this high-dose thing. So, if I'm quiet for a few days I'm sick. Plus I'll have to figure out a revised work schedule to give me Tuesday off if they think I'll be having something painful done.

One thing I never thought bipolar could possibly make challenging beyond the whole sensory issues thing and auditory hyperacuity is dental work. But it has a unique challenge, one my dentist is sensitive to and which I make sure to be prepared for, but which is not easy: the lidocaine shots they use to numb you have a hefty dose of epinephrine in them. It's an important ingredient in getting the shot to work apparently. For most people it isn't a big deal. For me, the hit makes me shake, get agitated and almost short of breath, and generally is a really bad sensation. Of course this makes sense when you consider that not only is epinephrine more likely to trigger this kind of reaction in a bipolar patient who is more susceptible by nature, but I have not had any caffeine in 16 months. My body is not used to this at ALL. Since the psychologist pointed this out I've realized that even being slightly upset (natural epinephrine release) makes me react strongly. But anyway, those minor numbing shots mean immediate dosing of 1 mg of ativan, so even fillings make me sleepy.

And now, the million doses of amoxicillin begins......

Monday, December 01, 2008

Did someone break a mirror in here?

Seriously, something is jinxing me. And I don't even believe in that stuff.

But guess what I had to do today? I got to get up early to take my cat (the same one that had emergency surgery 2 weeks ago to remove most of the contents of my house) in to the vet for an enema.

Let's just say 1)cats don't like that and 2)I'm really glad I didn't have to watch.

Oops, late for meds. Gotta run.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


UTI again. Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.

Not fair.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Open Letter to the World

Dear World,
If you have a new job and notice your co-worker arrives late and you know that you have flex time and are allowed to work whenever you want within reason the same as she is, and you ask her if she got something mundane done the day before, when she explains that she met with the corporate boss for an hour and had several things come up that resulted in an overly busy day with much of it concentrated later in the day and she had to stay overtime, it is NOT ok, in any way to respond in a somewhat snotty tone "Well, if you'd just get here earlier you might find it easier to get done".  That makes no sense.  I do 8 hours of work in 8 hours.  If families need to talk to me, they need to talk to me.  If my boss needs to talk to me, she needs to talk to me.  That may mean extra time.  And I have to prioritize. 
My life is mine.  And if something is your business, I will tell you.
Just ME
I had to bite my tongue so hard because most of my answers were not nice.  I did explain that between taking some very sedating meds and having a long drive, I did what I had to do.  I made my voice icy which should say "You just crossed a major boundary."  Instead, she decided to recommend how I should take my meds, type unspecified.
I'm going to my supervisor about it, this is how people start gossip and she needs to know my superiors are aware of and supportive of my situation, even knowing it is less than ideal.
In all the time I've been here not one co-worker has been mean at all about my coming late.  I've not heard one comment or even question.  It's just apparently accepted as "how Just Me is".  (Just about told you my real name...) And I like it that way.
The new kid is going to learn she doesn't rule the roost........

Join me

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What the average person apparently doesn't know

Today had several noteworthy moments, which I'll discuss later when I haven't worked 10 hours.

But I evaluated a lady who just came back from gero-psych where they took away all anti-psychotics from her. I was seeing her before she left, and didn't expect to re-start her, but her overall condition was a lot worse. She certainly is not agitated anymore.

During all the time I saw her before she was very confused, but never hallucinating. Today she was hallucinating and afraid. She kept telling me she was scared.

I told the nurse this and the nurse LAUGHED and said "She always does that, it's normal for her".

So is that ok? I realize that these people have probably not had hallucinations and paranoia of their own, but it's completely scary. I remember being in a state similar to her the day after my lithium toxicity was discovered. I had been very, very sick all night, vomiting in a way that I didn't know was possible, a way that made me later struggle with realizing that the only way I'd ever really consider killing myself wasn't an option because I would never risk feeling that way again, and my doctor had me on a strict schedule of phenergan, a mild but effective anti-nausea medication. I had to keep it down every 4 hours or whatever and I had to keep down a certain amount of fluid. Unfortunately, my doctor ran phenergan through his computer for interactions and there weren't any, but buried deep in it's profile is the sentence "this drug may cause hallucinations in susceptible people". I spent a whole day hallucinating and somewhat aware it wasn't right but not sure enough and alone so that I had nobody to help me find reality. I remember it somewhat and have an email written during those hours. And I know that I would never want to live like that or have someone I love live like that for 5 minutes, much less have that be considered ok for them.

I was thinking on the way home that I don't even know how to word this in my mental health directives so that someone could understand that I need them to be certain I'm not hallucinating. In the last few weeks so much "static" has left my head in terms of not things that would be clearly psychotic, but just not supposed to be there. I never want that back. It terrifies me that I might be left like that without every med possible being tried in every way possible. I know my doctor would never let that happen, and I know when she retires she will refer me to someone just as good as she is, probably someone she trained, but if I couldn't communicate I can see someone not seeing a need to get me to the only doctor who I trust.

I've not thought about this part of aging with mental illness too much. For now my mom is my safety net. When she is gone I have no idea what will happen to me.

The scariest thought ever.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Theme Song

I keep mentioning this, because to me it is nothing short of miraculous: after 10 years of not tolerating music I am enjoying it again. There are weird consequences to this, including that I own very little music and what I do own is old. What I really wanted was to start a player with this song on my page, but that's not going to happen because the song is too old.

But anyway, the other night I popped CD in just to see what would happen. What happened was that I found songs I used to love. These are CDs from when I was in grad school, and I listened to most of them over and over while writing my thesis and doing other computer projects in my 8x6 little office in the trailer I rented. That was the coziest room I've ever been in; it was just so tiny. I loved it.

The reason for all these years of no music is that I developed what Dr. Mind thinks is a form of OCD, where I would be unable to get a song out of my head if I chanced to hear it. But back in grad school, before that symptom developed, I almost had the opposite reaction: I lived hearing the same songs again.

But anyway, the CD I popped in last night started playing and I was shocked to learn I still know the words. Then track 3 came up and I realized that this song perfectly describes life with bipolar from my standpoint. I will say this is a Christian song and if that's going to offend then please don't listen. The artist is Carolyn Arends and the lyrics are below if the link doesn't work. http://www.carolynarends.com/music/media/video/std.ram


Seize the Day by Carolyn Arends

I know a girl who was schooled in Manhattan She reads dusty books and learns phrases in Latin She is an author, or maybe a poet A genius but it's just this world doesn't know it She works on her novel most every day If you laugh she will say

chorus: Seize the day, seize whatever you can 'Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand Seize the day, pray for grace from God's hand Then nothing will stand in your way Seize the day

Well I know a doctor, a fine young physician Left his six-figure job for a mission position He's healing the sick in an African clinic He works in the dirt and writes home to the cynics He says "We work through the night so most every day As we watch the sun rise we can say


Well I know a man who's been doing some thinking He's as bitter and cold as the whiskey he's drinking He's talking 'bout fear, about chances not taken If you listen to him you can hear his heart breaking He says "One day you're a boy and the next day you're dead I wish way back when someone had said


Well one thing I've noticed, wherever I wander Everyone's got a dream he can follow or squander You can do what you will with the days you are given I'm trying to spend mine on the business of living So I'm singing my songs off of any old stage You can laugh if you want, I'll still say

(C) 1995 Sunday Shoes Music (ASCAP)

See what I mean?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm Famous!

Well, only in the way that fame is defined in the Master of Irony world, but therapydoc of www.everyoneneedstherapy.blogspot.com referred to me today and the hits have been coming. Which is really fun for a little blog with only a tiny readership.

So, go read what she has to say about SAD. Her treatment is basically "be kind to yourself" and I think that's a really hard thing with SAD. I know for me SAD means struggling with holidays more than I already would. It means few weekends I do much for fun because my sleep needs increase so much. It also means crazy eating habits because when I'm depressed I go through cycles of craving one food and one food only.

I am so hopeful that this year is my year to NOT get it. Last year it wasn't so bad, but I was on so much Seroquel along with my high dose Depakote that I wouldn't have known feeling bad if there was a large sign painted on my head that said "depressed".

I think I may have felt some effect from the lights today. According to the literature this is possible, and I am likely to over-respond easily. So responding fast would be expected for me. I certainly was awake after I finished and I didn't go through my usual exhausted period at any point in the day.

Please God, let me have another miracle solution.....(so far: lithium, high dose depakote ER (that ER being vital), my weighted blanket, my dawn stimulator, Seroquel XR, and incredibly good doctors are my miracles.)

Day one

I'm currently doing my light therapy for the first time. I have it as low as it can go, and for a short time period, because this is me and my reactions are unpredictable. I have a feeling it will take a while to find my optimum, because I have the intensity down to 10% and you're supposed to start at 50%. But I'd rather be too cautious.

I should feel something fairly soon. I hope.

In other (wonderful) news, my sick cat ate all by himself this morning. As long as he continues he will live. This is the biggest, most wonderful news I've had in weeks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What happened next

So, any guesses what stressors just jumped into my life?

1)I was rear-ended on the way to work yesterday. My car and I are both fine and I feel very fortunate because I was hit pretty hard and nothing happened. My bumper must be made of rubber because that's twice I've been rear-ended in a year without repercussions. Nonetheless, S.T.R.E.S.S.

2)I can't be specific here but there were a few work changes that are stressing me out a bit. I've not even sorted out exactly what part of it all bugs me the most, and I'm really fighting to give a new situation enough time for it to work out.

On the other hand, I got my new SAD light today. I only ordered it 2 days ago so I'm amazed it's here. I got a new kind that uses only blue light (which is the effective frequency), which has the benefit of less time involved and a much, much smaller size. I'm very excited to try it out, even though I'm a bit scared that it could trigger manic symptoms. It's been so long since I felt that particular discomfort and I'd rather go through life never feeling it again.

Truthfully I'm wanting to play with it now and that's the worst possible idea. So I guess I'll go read the directions and be ready for the morning.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What a week/month

Today I had to take my poor cat to the vet for the 5th time and this time the vet did exploratory surgery. He found a large ball of numerous pieces of plastic wrapper-type material. So my cat, who will not eat chicken, fish, or anything that is not slimy and smelly from a cat food container, snacked on trash. And it nearly killed him. He's not even certain to live now; infection is a risk of course, and he hasn't eaten in a long time. Apparently when cats quit eating, especially fat cats which he is, it can be very hard to get them on track again. So I have a few more days of dread waiting for the first attempt at food Monday, and then gradually increasing his intake hopefully. If he doesn't eat I'll have to put him to sleep, and since I lost it just leaving him for surgery I can't imagine that.

Everyone has made such a big fuss because of how well I've handled so much in the last while. I went through so much with my last job over a fairly extended period (including that I wasn't getting my hours and was losing money), then I was fired, then hired, then immediately started the new job. It turns out that 2 days notice is fast to start. In my field notice usually lasts 3-4 weeks, so there's generally a lot of time to adjust and prepare. Then there has been my crazy physical set of problems: 2 UTIs. 2 deep fillings. 2 weeks of toothache I thought was normal but wasn't. 1 severely infected tooth. 1 root canal. 3 antibiotics. And the sick cat, who it has been AWFUL to watch. Last night I was up with him for quite some time while he dry heaved and cried because it hurt. He's been throwing up mucus and bile and water and he's had no intake of food in a week.

But today things hit. For one thing the weather has made it officially SAD season. I need to buy my light, but can't afford it yet. I haven't had a full paycheck since early October. I came into this job at the tail end of a pay cycle and the pay cycles are alternate from the last job, so I've had almost no income for a month and a half. Another (very bad) thing is that after being 100% responsible with my meds for 2 years plus I have been away from home the last few days and I forgot all about taking Depakote with me. I didn't even think about not having it with me. So that's affecting my mood adversely. And it's all my own fault. I didn't count bottles. I need to always do that and I know it. I've just been so stressed/drugged/in pain this week that I messed up. I also feel guilty about my cat. Somehow I left something where he ate it. And he nearly died. That's terrifying, especially since this is my scaredy-cat who wouldn't normally do this. My other cat is a lot more adventurous and who knows WHAT he might eat.

So now I'm totally stressed out and upset and I have NO time to just deal. My mom is insisting on doing things tomorrow. Honestly I'm probably going to shut her out, I'm just too TIRED and she's not listening. I had to work today to make up for the root canal day and that wasn't exactly a relaxing day. Today was horribly stressful. Then I don't get to sleep in Thursday before seeing Dr. Mind because I have to see the dentist for a re-check and to find out if I get a crown (bye-bye more money) or lose my tooth (I am TERRIFIED of this, I think partially stemming from a bad impacted wisdom teeth removal experience). Then I have to work next Sunday for Thanksgiving so I don't get that day off. Then I don't work Thanksgiving, but I have to be in a loud and stressful atmosphere. It's going to be Dec. before I have a whole weekend to rest and I really need rest.

So, I guess the lesson learned is that I'm still bipolar and I still can make the same old mistakes. And I've just done it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This isn't good

It's 4:34 AM and I am WIDE awake. And I've only had 5 hours of sleep tonight. Between having a sore mouth and being very itchy from my pain medicine I've just not done well. I took just tylenol and an anti-anxiety med that is really an anti-itch med a while ago to see if that gets me another hour or 2 of sleep. Clearly I'm not holding my breath as I can't even settle into bed to read.

I want to get ready and just go to work and get that over with, but I think I have to take my sick cat to the vet and of course they don't open until 7-7:30. I can't just make that decision until I talk to my mom because the sick baby is staying at her house because she can monitor him more closely than I can from work (she is able to be home a lot more than I am).

I'm going to be charming to work with today; I itch everywhere. Miss Manners better not be watching :). I guess vicodin goes on the "unpleasant but not really allergic reaction" list. Not sure what happens then since it's just about the only thing I can take for pain except really strong stuff.

Anyway, time to get ready.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


So I saw my dentist this morning for an on-the-spot root canal. It turned out that it was much worse in there than he thought from my description and that had I not gotten my UTI and started antibiotics Saturday it might have made me pretty sick by now. He must have told me 7 times that my pain tolerance was very high. At one point (don't read if squeamish) he was cleaning up in the tooth and it was so irritated that the numbing was ineffective, so he was flushing it was lidocaine as he went and still not getting all the pain.

He is very good about my bipolar issues and understands well because his brother is bipolar. He told me at the end that he wonders if the two issues make for the increased pain tolerance.

It's an interesting thought.

And now, back to my vicodin-induced coma.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Much better and a question for those who've been around

I have had a lot of things work out. The manager changed minutes around and decreased things so that we only have normal amounts of work again. It's hard because tomorrow I think there will be several new evals, but at least Friday I even got off early. I've never had a company be so supportive, giving up money to accomodate my needs.

I saw Dr. Brain and am officially "very stable". I NEVER thought I'd hear that. After winter ends, if I remain stable, I'm going to be able to start lowering my Depakote dose. She not only said I can when asked, she said by then I'll probably need to. That will mark over 18 months of stability. A miracle.

I'm going Tuesday to get my painful tooth looked at. I imagine I'll be getting the crown done soon. I hope. I'm tired of the pain.

The biggest problem now is that I have ANOTHER (or the same which didn't heal) UTI. That makes for the 2nd time I've been treated in a month, and the 3rd in 8 months. I had an ultrasound and CT scan in April that showed I have a cyst that dumps blood into my urine, but I also am showing white cells, indicating infection. Dr. Body told me that if I had another this quickly I'd need more testing. And urgent care says I need a re-check this week because this shouldn't happen so quickly. The urgent care doctor actually acted like this might be a fairly bad infection, although he wasn't specific.

So, here's my question: Have any of you on heavy psychotropics had trouble with recurrent UTIs? I have this feeling there is some connection between them and diabetes insipidus as the time frame correlates too well, but there's no evidence I can find.

I'm scared of the other tests they may want to do. Let's just say that most of them aren't sexual abuse victim friendly.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Well, work is now a bit of a problem. One assistant quit last week, so we're 2 short. The other assistant had already been doing the extra load and working 12-14 hour days, which meant I was have to step up to the plate. I'm supposed to have less patient care time because I have administrative work, and now I am doing as many treatment hours as the assistant. I don't then have time to do my full job, making me work a million hours and see myself falling behind.

I worked 11 hours Monday and about 10.5 Tuesday (plus 3 hours of driving/day) and today just conked out. So I had to cancel Dr. Mind and work Thursday. And I just simply can't do these long days. I can easily do 8 hours, and sometimes overtime is ok, but I can't do this. I'd love to be able to, but I can't even make it a week without getting messed up. And I really need to go see Dr. Mind; I skipped last week because of being sick and having dental work. It's good that I can tolerate this, but I also am the loser when I don't do what I'm supposed to do and seeing him is one of those things.

And with all this extra work I don't hit overtime because I'm a 32 hour/week employee. I guess I may get 1 hour or so but considering how much more than 4 8/hr days I'm working this is a little unfair. But I don't want to complain about the money part because I don't want to take away from the major health issue complaint.

This is when this disease really is the worst. I thought it was when it was active and hurting me; now I know it's when it is insiduous.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Sorry about being such a bad poster of late. I'm just really feeling like the world is moving fast. And it won't be better for a while.

My new job is, in a word, wonderful. There are a million positive things. There are, of course negatives, and a few are big. As of tomorrow there are 2 of us doing 4 jobs in the OT department. Since some days I have evals and evals take a lot of time, keeping things going is going to be tricky. When I was hired they were very honest that I'd need to spend a great deal of time organizing things due to weeks of not having my position filled. I've done this, and things are much better, but I still have quite a bit to do to have this even accurate. This also is a problem when there's not enough help. Another negative is that the short-term disability does not have to accept me, (which they won't), and even if they did they exclude mental health. I'm going to beg them to reconsider this. I don't want to have to leave because of it, and right now I'm not planning to because I'm healthy, but it's a scary issue. My last 2 disability leaves have been 16-18 weeks each, and that's too long to have no income.

On the plus side, I LOVE the people I work with. I also love the atmosphere. It's very laid-back and there's no worrying about Evil Managers; all that I have met have been wonderful. They have a very therapist-centered approach that gives me leniency to do things MY way, even if my way isn't typical. I've heard "that your call, you're in charge" more than in my total career to date.

The nursing home is really, really nice. Often if you ring for help in a nursing home you wait a long time. And if it is a therapist ringing the aides can be angry. Here I've gotten no attitude and the wait is always less than a couple minutes. There is no smell, ever.

So, at this point I am planning to stay put. When the economy improves I'll move closer. (I'll have to sell my house).

And now I must get to work.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Not my best week

So this week I'm fighting a sinus infection. This is amazing in many ways as I am fighting it, rather than just getting sicker and sicker which has been my body's response to stress for years. But I've had a sore throat, fever, drippy nose, and cough off and on at different times and yet none of it was enough to really say "I'm sick". I even cancelled with Dr. Mind because I am so tired and felt resting was more important. Plus I had to get dental work done today and I felt I could handle only one thing.

This is partly just because last week I didn't rest at all on Thursday and I worked a full day Saturday. I wore myself out. So I'm paying the price.

Then the dental visit hurt. I had 2 cracked fillings in adjacent teeth. One was deep and may need a crown. They rebuilt the tooth and made it so it doesn't touch the tooth above it much. It's really sore and swollen and feels bizarre this evening. I also was told that I may need a biteguard at my next visit as I've cracked 3 fillings in a year and am grinding my teeth. I'm going to call about that; if I have to get it I might as well do so since in another 6 months I could easily crack another one given the rate I've done in these teeth. And some intuition says that I'm going to need the crown. I don't know why, I just feel it. Crowns are extremely expensive and have to be replaced about every 10 years so I really don't want too many of them. Plus, getting them also hurts. If I understood right this tooth might not be as bad because the work today could be the base but I'm not sure of that.

And now the time is going to change, which always throws my bipolar self for a loop. I dread this so much. In a few months I'm going to be taking vacation in Phoenix, which is 3 hours different. I'm going to have to spend the entire week trying to keep on my time. I've been scared of travel outside of my time zone for years and have chosen not to try, but it's time to be trusting of my wellness.

On the plus side, next weekend is Dr. Brain time. And I am excited because I get to ask questions I never anticipated. For years, from the time it was experimentally positive, the goal for me was to get me stable and get a VNS. Eventually I asked we no longer talk about stable because all that was happening was I was getting worse.

Well, now I'm stable. Not only stable, I'm myself again. I'm a person I thought died 11 years ago. I can't even explain how it feels, only that all the years of being told if I waited a medication that helped me WOULD come out. Seroquel gave me a life; Seroquel XR gave me myself.

And already I'm on less medication. I've decreased from 650 mg of Seroquel last May to 300 mg now. And I'm great. Even the start of winter isn't bugging me and I always get depressed by now. I did have an increase in my antidepressant in September that maybe helped, but still this is a miracle.

So this time I'm going to ask some questions about the future. I want to know if I make it through the winter if I can start trying to go back to a more normal depakote level? (Mine is about 25-30 points above normal and I've never been ok without it there.) I'd like to just be on a lower dose enough to see if I can lose weight. I also want to know if the VNS is still an option for me, since I'm still considered treatment resistant and medication sensitive and would have tighter control if we weren't relying on my body to respond consistently to anything, as we know it won't (ie my antidepressant dose varies so much I can really take practically a PRN amount with permission).

I just keep thinking that I've met the criteria to maybe, maybe, maybe get off of some of the approximately 40 pills I take daily now (vitamins, etc. included).

Anyway, time for bed. I tried to stay up until 10, 9:52 is good enough. Hopefully I'll be asleep before the tylenol wears off.......

Sunday, October 26, 2008


1)Nobody tried the guessing game. I'm disappointed in you all. The answer was "A recruitment card for the job that just fired me". Oh yeah.

2) The new job is a wonderful thing. I really like what I know of the company, the patient population is interesting to work with, the facility is fabulous, the care is great, and the rehab team is really nice. The drive isn't all that bad. One of the benefits is that every month your productivity is on track you get a bonus of 5% of your monthly gross earnings. I'm well on track for that.

3)Work will get more stressful this week after one assistant leaves. They've not found anyone and are trying to hire 2 people. So the assistant that stays and I will have our hands more than full.

4) I have a neat award but I'll post it in a day or two. I have unfortunately already caught a cold and I really don't feel good. I hurt and have a fever and sore throat and painful lymph glands. Uck.

5) The most amazing thing that has happened in a month that has been so stressful and yet has ultimately come out with me feeling MORE self-confidence than ever before: I'm having normal sleep cycles. When I went on Seroquel XR it was supposed to help with decreasing morning drowsiness, and when I cut my dose in half that should also have helped. But I didn't have time off to adjust and so I was still going to sleep very late and then was so stressed all I wanted to do was sleep. Now I am consistently awake at 7:30 and gone from the house by 8:30.

More later when I feel a tad better. I'm going to bed for now.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mail call

So, this morning I popped into the post office, just like every morning. I had a package slip, which I expected as I have a few things on order, plus was expecting my hire packet from work, a box from the "we forgot" people I used to work for, some meds, etc. It was my hire packet, and that will raise a question tomorrow.

But anyway, guess what else was in there? hmm, I think I'm going to make you all actually guess. I'm tired and that sounds fun to toy with people a bit.......

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

And now, a lighter moment

It's probably about time. This has been one hideously serious 5 weeks in this little house. But now it is over.

Anyway, I mentioned in another post that many of my things didn't quite make it home. Tonight I noted that this includes 2 Allen wrenches, making my set completely useless. But I also falsely accused them of keeping some labels. So, those two even out?

Yesterday I was cleaning the kitchen and realized the day before, when upset, I'd left the ketchup out and it was no longer good.

Now I'm wanting to eat something with ketchup. I was upset that I have none, until I remembered that they sent me 2 packs of it. Not my important stuff, but the leftovers from my fries the one day I ever had fries at work.....

Ha. I win again.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I got the job. I start Wednesday. I ran around today gathering things needed. I will be so glad to do this.

Best of all, I am going to be earning money before my vacation from the prior job runs out (they did have to pay me my back vacation that was accrued) and so there actually is no financial loss with this whole mess.

Now I just need the energy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

How I was Fired-Part IV

Preface: As this story draws near an end I'm starting to struggle more. I'm starting to be depressed, and to feel more frustrated. I think partly that's because tomorrow should have been back to work from vacation. Instead it's anxiously-awaiting-a-phone-call about the job I interviewed for.

This is where the story starts to hurt a whole lot more. I am not going to be able to explain a great deal of what happened, but in summary the thing I am generally best at is relating to my patients, and so that was turned around and used to hurt me as badly as possible.

I need to ask that at this point, even if you feel I have done something blatantly, hugely wrong, that you not share this with me. I have so much self-doubt which I'm not handling all that well, and debating what I chose to do based on my needs and personal experiences just doesn't help much. It's all I can think about myself sometimes.

Later, once I'm working again and feel confident again, we'll maybe talk about what could be different. For now, please hold that thought. I hope this doesn't offend; normally I like openness and debate, but right now I can't afford depression. I need to be strong enough to handle my new job.

The next week I actually didn't get a final warning all week. I was considering this a banner week. It was not an extremely smooth week, but in comparison it was miraculous. You take what you can get, and all that.

This is where I can't be very specific. Let's say it this way: in healthcare certain patient characteristics make one more or less believable and trustworthy. I posted about this in a way here, talking about how it helps that my doctor actually trusts me instead of calling me automatically a drug-seeker because I am bipolar. I've had that happen a few times before, most notably at a hospital when my blood pressure was 200/100 and my head was bursting. I can't take ibuproferon because it interacts with lithium, and I'm allergic to codeine. So rather than treat my headache effectively they decided I was just trying to get narcotics and gave me only regular strength tylenol.

So anyway, we had several patients at that point who there were reasons to take what they said with a grain of salt. Two of them came forth with comments about me which were not true. Normally nobody would have thought anything of it. This time it was turned into a big deal.

I wasn't there, so the details are sketchy, but somehow EM talked to my other patients, none of whom were totally reliable reporters. The one who was most reliable later was very, very upset about it and said her words were turned around and her husband verified. But however, I was told she too was unhappy with me, although she pulled me aside to tell me this wasn't true, several times and nearly cried because she'd thought the change she did agree to was only while I was on vacation.

On Friday I was called and told that these 3 people had complained, but "this happens sometimes" and I still would supervise. I was also told by the manager that she'd talked to EM's boss and told her EM was picking on me.

On Monday I worked on vacation preparation. On Tuesday, a full week after all this started, I came in and was sent home. I finally decided that I needed to speak up, and I emailed a complaint about my boss to her boss as encouraged through company policy. I stated she was not the right person to investigate as even the one patient felt she was trying to get bad things said about me. Further, 2 of the people in question were highly unreliable witnesses. And it had been a full weeek. And for that matter the person I was writing to herself had told me just days ago that it was "something that happened" and now it was a huge deal. It made no sense, aside from I knew they were going to fire me (which I did not say).

So I spent all day Wednesday waiting for them to call me in. Finally at 4 pm they called and fired me.

And that's about the end of that story.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I'm taking a day off from writing about the injustice of the firing. Writing those posts is both cathartic and really painful. It's kind of embarrassing to openly talk about being fired. I do not believe it happened justly (and what I'll share today is partial proof), and I do not think that I was fired for reasons that demanded firing. I think that I was set-up and that everything I did wrong was used to make sure I was gone before my vacation. But nonetheless, I did things that were wrong, and I was fired, and like most people I've always had a sort of negative view of people who get fired. I always felt superior. Now I know I'm not. Now I can even admit that years ago one of my assistants was fired and it probably partially was because of me. She was doing things that were very wrong, but she was not in good mental health and I didn't fight hard enough for her because I was so angry that she wasn't doing it for herself. I thought if I could fight for myself I shouldn't have to fight for her. Lorraine, I was wrong about that. I'm sorry.

But anyway, today was my big interview. I feel like it went extremely well. The interviewer said the recruiter would call to negotiate today but he didn't. So I guess that waits for Monday. The place is incredible. It's the most beautiful nursing home I have ever seen, by far. The facility is very modern and up-to-date, with appropriate equipment for rehab. This is not what you get everywhere. I felt I handled myself well too. Eye contact and the like are generally hard for me. I've come an extremely long way in this area in the last 3 years (I realized today that I make eye contact with Dr. Mind pretty much all the way through the session unless I'm uncomfortable with the topic), and I didn't have to fight that so much today. We'll see.

On the other hand, I've spent some time being pretty frustrated today. I received my box of stuff from my desk yesterday. The box was beat up and I didn't realize until today some of what had happened in there. For one thing, things weren't gathered up and placed neatly in the box. Instead my things were pretty much dumped. My box of socket wrenches had been opened (it has a very tight latch so it would be possible to just pop during mailing) and were dumped everywhere. My Uno cards were no longer in their rubberband. There was a hole in the box so I'm probably missing some of both. (I think this is especially true for the Uno cards, which is bad because this was a deck I painstakingly altered for use with cognitively impaired patients and it took hours to do. Plus, anything lost is financial loss for me.). And worst of all, supplies that belonged to me have been taken. Several packs of fancy, uniquely large post-its, labels, scissors, tylenol. Yet I did receive the 2 packs of ketchup that were in my drawer.....There were larger missing items, but I included all of them in the list going to HR. I'm really frustrated about it; it basically says I never should have trusted anyone. Which hurts. And I know that I'm going to look like Ms. Demanding wanting those things back, but they were MINE. So little of what I thought was my life feels like it is still certainly mine; I want control of my office supplies.

I just hope the HR person realizes what has gone on. Since my total list is 7 items and will require a whole seperate fairly large box I hope she does. I realize my office supplies are just plain gone, but still....And as far as the tylenol, I have a theory. You know how lots of women carry a bottle with about 14 different meds in it? Even my psychiatrist does it. Well, people knew I had good meds. I really wonder if someone didn't take my tylenol hoping to find gold. Too bad I'm smarter than that. The good stuff is in a pill pouch in my purse, and made a little harder to figure out by "weaker" anxiety meds are loose. There are 2 colors but they are the same med, same dose. The good stuff is in a wad of aluminum foil and I only carry a few at a time.

So, today was mainly good, and in a way the anger about the stuff is good too. Not for sleeping, but for getting some anger out.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Part III

Preface: Today I just need to add that I got my box of things today. And I am so very, very happy, because I can now send back a number of things which were sent to me that contain patient information, violating HIPPAA law. Somehow this makes me feel I'm the better person or something. I don't care what my motivation is. I just need to be ok.

When we left off the OT who has worked with me had just left from telling the managers about my needs and how to enhance my work experience. I treated a patient and then was pulled aside for a phone conference. The way this occurred is totally complicated so I'm not going to try to explain, but due to an error with the sign-in feature of the computer program (it didn't lock you in and out and I accidentally altered it) I'd been caught "lying" on my timecard for Monday. I finally offered to just set the in-time to later than I had arrived so that there was no asking them to pay for time I didn't work. I was told after the call it was "a learning experience". So, two days later, I was rather shocked to be pulled aside by EM and her boss and given a 2nd final warning.

(Aside: Earlier that week I found out totally accidentally that someone had been hired to do my job on Thursdays. That was fine, but it was odd that she was hired without anyone talking to me. Even her interview was done when I was away from the building. I began to quietly suspect I had been replaced.)

This final warning was partially for the time clock error and mainly because of coming late. Apparently when I was told July 23 that I needed to call if I'd be later than noon "because we worry" I was supposed to intuit that this was disciplinary and in fact it was a verbal warning. I do not know how I was to know this, and per company policy a verbal warning has to be explicitly stated (most places make you sign that you understand), but they said I had received one. Without my knowledge.

At this point I started to get mad. I told them that if they were looking to fire me they might as well get it over with, as it was doing nobody any good to put me through this. I was told that wasn't the point, but not very believably. I also argued extensively with their new restrictions on when I was to be in the building. Suddenly what time I left was a huge issue, despite it not having been one at ALL for 9 months. I refused to agree to the restrictions without consulting voc. rehab. They were to check with their people and get back to me.

So, 2 final warnings in 2 weeks. I knew this was obviously bad. I made the decision though to stick it out. I decided that it would be fired or nothing; I was not quitting because I had done nothing wrong and I did not want to leave. If emotionally I reached a point I couldn't take it I would quit, but otherwise I'd make sure they had a reason to be paying unemployment.

I kept thinking if I could make it to vacation, starting 10/8, I would be ok. I could recover, re-gain perspective, and return prepared to be as perfect as possible.

Things didn't work out quite that way.....

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Part II

Preface: I realized I need to make a few additional descriptions. There was EM, the Evil Manager, but truly she didn't always seem evil. I was warned about her a lot at the start, but never felt she was against me until the last few months. Then there was the manager, who I'm totally confused about. She made comments as if she were on my side and believed everything EM said was crap, but she never made any effort to call me or anything since all this happened. And I have some suspicion she knew I was going to be fired days before it happened.

After July nothing else was ever said about anything I was doing wrong. We arranged for the OT who saw me through vocational rehab last year to come and talk about what she could suggest. She was away for much of the summer, so this was scheduled for late September.

In mid-September I was off on Tuesday because I was going to a conference on Thursday when I had a call from EM. They had discovered orders missing on some of my patients. I don't know why she called; I think it was just to threaten me some because there certainly wasn't anything I could do over the phone. I went to work on Wednesday knowing I was in trouble. I had no clue how much.

As usual when I got to work I went through the immediate needs, sorts through papers and dealt with them. A paper popped up that should have been shredded weeks ago. Basically my assistant had written an inappropriate note and the manager had told me to shred it. I know now that this is wrong; at the time I thought things that weren't co-signed were not "real". The manager was sitting beside me while I was sorting and when I got up to shred it so did she. I thought nothing of this.

Soon after she called me into the administrator's office and questioned me about why I had done this. I told her the manager had said it was ok, that it was inappropriate, etc. (It should also be noted that this company refused to put many notes of extenuating circumstances into charts, despite that being general medical practice. I know of at least one note of mine that I'm pretty certain was shredded by EM). At that point I was suspended pending investigation. I was told they would call Friday. I would not be able to attend a training I had looked forward to for months and spent a considerable amount of time preparing for.

By Thursday afternoon I had been called and told to report for work on Friday, that things were ok.

On Friday I met with EM and her boss for a long time. I received a "final warning" but things were handled in a way I thought was fairly sympathetic. I left not feeling that bad, all things considered. I was fighting depression from the moment things started and that didn't change, but I thought I had made a mistake.

Things seemed ok again, except that I was sleeping late quite a bit because of the depression and increase in meds. Not terribly late, but late. And I missed day one of meeting with my assistants weekly, but was told "that's ok, start next week". It took about 3 days of the next week to adjust the meds. And then I was back to me.

On Wednesday of the 2nd week the OT from voc. rehab came to talk to us (EM, manager, and me) about what works for me. She talked extensively about adjusting times to meet my needs (again, foreshadowing), and letting me use my own organization. Nobody had issues they brought up about anything and I opened it up for that.

It seemed things would be ok. That was a nice belief for an hour.....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What Happened Part One

I'm ready to explain how I was fired now. I probably will post in parts, since it happened in parts. The truth is that I don't understand what happened. So as you read, if you understand, I'd really, really like to know.

The first 3 months I had no complaints about my work except that once I was told I needed to increase my productivity some but that this would come as I was more acclimated. The other time was really horrifying to me, but eventually I laughed at it as other people did much, much worse variations and nothing was ever said. Basically I had written a note to my supervisor about several frustrating things, and at the bottom I signed "grrr" to express frustration. It was not in relation to anyone, and besides, that's pretty harmless. But I was given a huge lecture on not being threatening. Then, just to show that this wasn't at all related to my disability, I was told that if I was feeling I was a threat to myself or others to tell someone. Duh. I got a bit irked at that and gave the "I am bipolar, I am not violent. I take meds. Professionals guide my treatment and I am well in control of myself and if I am a threat to anyone it is ME, and believe me I won't be at work at that time" spiel. I was reassured it wasn't my diagnosis, but it clearly was. You just had to listen to the "I'm going to kill ___" that everyone else threw around.

So then after my orientation period I was informed I was going on an extended probation because of these two issues and another that basically was I had made an error and written a score for a patient as one thing on one form and another on another form. That was so minor I'm not sure why it was a big deal, but it was. But that was considered non-disciplinary.

At the next review the supervisor and I had some disagreement about how to handle my time management/organization issues. Nothing major, just she kept insisting she knew how to fix things, and that doing them her way would fix it. She would not listen to me say that my issues are different, they are due to my brain not working correctly and that I have tried every single thing she demanded I do and each failed. So I wound up trying to handle managerial stuff that my assistants' could have handled and it took me a very long time each week.

Shortly after that supervisor was fired and I was told to disregard everything she said. Yay.

I think I did ok for a while. And then the facility received negative publicity, the hospital wasn't very full, and so there wasn't enough to do. I did paperwork, weeks and weeks of it, which was good but not productive. Yet there was no alternative. This lasted with only a few breaks through when I was fired.

During the time I worked there I did not work on Thursdays. This meant that Wednesdays could be pretty busy. Originally I was told they would provide coverage for evals on Thursdays, but that was not true; it happened twice and I got in trouble for one of them. Get everything in writing.....Anyway, if there were late admissions, especially on Wednesdays, I would be at work very late. From the beginning the person I will call EM from here on out (Evil Manager) was well aware there were days I worked until 1 AM. Nothing was ever said for nine months.

In late July the manager and I had a meeting with EM. At this meeting I told her some of the things I was doing because of her now-fired boss and she told me to "ignore anything Stephanie ever told you". She agreed to move stuff to my assistants' responsibility list. In that meeting she asked me to name a time that I knew I would generally be at work (remember I arrive late but also that flex time is a major benefit, even without the disability issue). We agreed on noon, and if I was to be later than that I was to call the manager and her, "because we worry about you". Note that at no point was it mentioned that this was a verbal warning or that this meeting was in any way disciplinary.

We had a meeting with the assistants in early August. EM's new supervisor-to-be came as well. We talked a lot about organization of charts, tracking certain things, and I spoke for several minutes about hearing that there was a feeling that I was sometimes shutting people out or something. I talked about the illness and the mood swings and that if you hit me at a bad minute often I'm better in a few more, and that it's ok to suggest I take ativan. I don't care. Much better that than for me to embarrass myself or hurt someone's feelings.

All seemed well, until about 10 days after the meeting when EM denied that the assistants were to do the tracking that was so hard for me. She threw it on the rehab aide, who just kept printing things out from the computer that I could print myself, and I didn't want a bunch of papers on my desk, I had enough stuff. The rationale won't make sense to you, but really, the assistants should have been able to do this without any issue.

But even then, I just started doing it and figured it was tough luck if it affected my productivity.

And things went fine for some time. And then, oh did they go wrong. But that's part II....

Monday, October 13, 2008

This helps

First, in case I didn't say this already, I have an interview Friday.  And I am SO happy about that.
Second, I finally had a talk with HR from the old company today.  I will be paid for the 61 hours of accrued vacation time.  Which is a LOT of money I thought was forfeited.
On the other hand, I'm getting really irritated because she told me my ex-boss is planning to ship my belongings tomorrow.  I have been gone a week.  There is NO reason not to have done this or have delegated it.  It makes me feel sure she's taking one more chance to go through everything and that makes me angry.  My stuff is MINE.  (I didn't get to take it because I was fired over the phone.)
Anyway, I need to get to sleep.  I'm not relaxing well tonight and I really don't want more meds because we're leaving early for the zoo.

Join me

Maybe, maybe, maybe

I'm awaiting a VERY IMPORTANT call. I may have just found a way to work part-time at least or more until this company I want to work for has a position available in my county. It means driving, but I can do that for a while. Work is work is work, after all.

Now if I could just stay nice and calm until I know.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

THAT was different

We went to a local Mexican restaurant here. Although I live in this midst of nowhere, we have a reasonable Mexican population who work in certain area factories. And so we have some really good restaurants.

I'd been to this one a few times when it was new and it was good then. However, the employees' English was so limited back then you really had to order by number or point. Today I noticed that the waiter spoke much more English and was able to take our orders with more ease. Sadly, he apparently didn't comprehend so well, as when my plate arrived it had 2 "I don't knows" on it rather than the tamale/enchilada combination, and my mother had 1/2 of what she ordered and a "I don't know".

Oh well, it was good. (except when I spilled lemonade all over myself)


I saw Dr. Brain today. As I talked through the events of the last 3 weeks I realized I am currently just numb. I don't want to start the story because I don't want to end the numbness (which is partly medication and I'm ok'd to be on quite a bit of it for a while) quite yet, but at least I finally have a description. I told her the whole thing and never even cried. I talked and talked and talked, and I don't even know what I looked at. She asked about how my session with Dr. Mind had been; I told her I didn't remember. I feel the same about the time with her.

I did realize that the timing has been exquisite on the company's part. They clearly planned this, but they also executed it so that they had the fewest losses in providing me training and vacation time.

In the last 2 days the numbness has protected me enough that the hardest part was that my pregnant cousin has come to visit from another state with her little girl. This was one of my best friends all the way until after college when she suddenly quit responding to my emails, call, etc. I've spent all these years hurting and not understanding. We are going to be near them one day this week. My mom asked if I was ok visiting and I tried, I really did but I realized I'm too fragile right now, and the pregnancy might be the last straw. My mother was confused and I had to explain that sometimes it HURTS when other people are pregnant and I have to know that won't be me.

I think the sleepiness is starting (I took 1 mg ativan plus 10 mg ambien so I should sleep well).

More posting soon. I so want to explain this horror, because it is a horror, and I need to hear what you all think. But I just can't stand dislodging my fragile barrier between hurting and talking.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mmmm, not yet

I am doing remarkably well. I have a great deal that hasn't necessarily hit me yet, and I cry daily. I have some hard things ahead, including having to get the box of things I was fired over. And talking to human resources about things like COBRA. And some legal stuff, which I'll explain as I tell the story. But I'm not hitting horrible depression.

Mainly the worst things are sadness about not getting to say good-bye, anger that I'm not going near, frustration because what happened was so bizarre, embarrassment, and the only part of the anger that HAS hit: Thursday was to begin my vacation, time I had saved up for a very long time (I only took about 6 days off in the 9 months I was employed, I think). I was going to Niagara Falls. Now I'm going nowhere because of money. They knew they were going to fire me, they didn't want to pay my vacation, and they timed it for now. It's very obvious looking back; they used me as long as they could and then fired me. I lost over $2000 in vacation pay; I had quite a bit of time saved up because I needed to save it in case I had a bipolar episode. I may re-think that with my next job.

I did get a good lead on a job that sounds pretty good today. The only problem is that it will not start for some time. But aside from money-wise that may be ok because time to emotionally adjust may be good.

When I started this post I thought I was ready to start the story. I'm not. I am tired of it. And I have to get ready for bed because I go to see Dr. Brain tomorrow. Lucky her. Sympathy makes me fall apart totally.

Soon. Bear with me. Somehow this is far from the hardest thing ever to happen to me (yet it seems it should be), but I have to go step by step. Maybe in a few more days. For today, it's enough I braved the bi-annual meat sale to get a supply of pork to freeze. (not an experience to remember).

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The end of the story

I was fired today. I'm already looking for a new job. I believe there was a lot of behind the scenes action that set things up over the last few weeks. I just hope I can show that enough to get unemployment.

It's been a horribly long day and I don't feel like saying more. I will sometime soon.

24 hours

It's now been 24 hours, 10 minutes since I left work. I made it through hours of total calm because I was so angry that calm was all I had. Then I lost it rather completely for a while last night, which at least got me to sleep.

And since I woke up, 5 hours ago, I've been waiting for the phone to ring. Either way, fired or come in, I just need to know. Every minute is more anxious. Because I can't handle this pressure much longer.

And I'm so limited in what I can do without the phone. The things on my to-do list involve calling people.

I swear I did nothing wrong. NOTHING.....

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

That rip your own intestines out feeling

I am so frustrated. I cannot believe that I am doing the best I have done in years and having this much trouble just working. Granted, a lot of that has to do with definitions and what happens where and when and who does what or decides they see what, but oh boy my life is a mess right now. Tomorrow is my last day before vacation. Or tomorrow I am fired. One or the other.

At worst there are 2 openings at the local hospital and chances are good I could get one. So I'm less panicked, but still annoyed that's even a consideration.

I was calm for hours, but now I just have lost my patience with it all.

And I probably sound like I'm talking in tongues, but I just can't explain any more.

I hate this.

Yet again

I just was suspended from work again.  There is a great deal I'm not telling, but there is an issue with a supervisor, and as of now my fate rests in her hands.  I finally went over her head with my concerns that she can't fairly judge and that each previous incident has had a negative spin put on it.  I take some responsibility for my actions, but at the same time they've dramatized.  And the current issue is so totally unfair that I'm speechless.  Especially because her boss told me Friday "it just happens".  And now "it just happens" may mean fired.
Further I'm getting a new roof and it's too loud to be at my house so I'm at my mother's with nothing to do.
This is NOT a good day.

Join me

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Nothing to say

There's just not much to say. Everything going on in my life I can't talk about so publicly. Work is still a mess. I'm feeling all kinds of things and don't know how to sort them out. I go on vacation this week and I really hope some of it is just smoothed over by distance by the time I return.

My decision has been to fight as long as I can. I'm upset and stressed but handling this well enough. I don't want to quit this job, even though it is getting more and more unhappy in some ways. I have a theory that if I can wait it out that it will improve.

My UTI seems to be clearing and the back pain is subsiding. Which is really good. I won't miss that. I guess frequent UTIs are now going to be part of my life.

I just can't wait to be off. 3 days......

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Another example of why doctor screening is good

Today I saw Dr. Body. I've been having some fairly severe back pain for at least a few months. I've thought it was a UTI a few times, then decided not when nothing progresses. I've considered muscle issues, but I don't remembering hurting myself. I thought for a while it was menstrual cramps, but then it got to be all the time and that's not right. Then I thought maybe my ongoing constipation issues, but ultimately I decided since it's near my kidneys and my kidneys aren't happy ones that the best thing would be to see him for a check-up.

This is why I love him. He reviewed my meds and checked in on my bipolar condition. He listened to me, examined me, and well, he BELIEVED me. There was no questioning of whether this was the bipolar being weird, or if I was drug-seeking (a frequent assumption if I need narcotics for anything, which is more frequent than most people because lithium levels are affected by all NSAIDS (ie ibuproferon, aleve, celebrex, etc). He gave me muscle relaxants, and enough of them to let me heal if it is an injury (ie, a month supply, not the "you might be an addict because you are mentally ill 5 pills I've had other doctors give"). He also gave me exercises, which as a therapist I respect. And another med to add to my constipation meds. And he did a urine dip which was positive. So I also got an antibiotic. He treated all of me. And then when I asked him for a gynecologist referral because mine moved away or something he didn't act at all like I had hurried him. Instead he told me about someone and then called them and set up an appt. for me, specifying the doctor, which is really important because I need a doctor who is good with trauma. In all he spent an hour with me or looking up meds for me on his computer.

Also, I have gained weight, which is kind of odd since I fit clothes better. But rather than lecture me he just passed it off as "meds". Which is exactly what I needed to hear, right before I start my new and healthier diet.:)

This doctor is worth every second of the drive. He's worth every penny of the amount I paid 3 years ago to question him on everything from his beliefs about mental illness to his approach to sharing power with Dr. Brain to his understanding that I absolutely will not take medications he doesn't look up and make sure won't hurt me with the others I'm on.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I forgot

There is one thing. Please pray for this tomorrow.

Amidst all the stress of the last 2 weeks this barely even seems significant. But it is. As older readers know, last winter I was diagnosed with a cyst on my kidney, plus a disease called diabetes insipidus, which means my body doesn't maintain it's electrolyte balance well, nor does it hang onto water appropriately. I drink, my body flushes it out, this makes me thirsty, I drink more, I pee more. It's a problem caused by lithium. Generally they make you stop lithium, but because lithium has been one of the only drugs that gave me any good results my psychiatrist, family doctor, and nephrologist worked together to keep me on it.

A while back I thought I had a UTI. But it didn't get worse so I didn't get tested. I test positive anyhow because the cyst dumps blood into my urine all the time. But for at least 2 months now I've had a ton of pain in the kidney region. I have no memory of injuring my back, although this is possible. But even with being careful to protect my back and drink tons of water the last week or so I still have it. And my urine still is kind of smelly and icky. So I think I've had a UTI for a while. Or my kidneys are not liking the lithium compromise.

So tomorrow I'm getting this checked out. I know it's responsible to do so but I feel like a big baby. I do every time I show up with my list of meds pre-printed so the nurse doesn't have to go through it verbally. 33 pills takes a while......

Anyway, pray it's nothing, or that I hurt myself, or that it is just a simple UTI...Please. I can't handle more.

That's neat anyway

I'm emotionally struggling and that's why I'm not writing much. I can present a good front for most of the time, but I'm also feeling like a failure, like I'm never going to succeed, and like I have no right to try. And because I can't be totally specific here I just don't feel like trying to write about it.

But, today my blog reached over 6000 (total) hits. It took a year to get the first thousand, and I think 2000 the 2nd year and now I'm still 3 months from the 3rd year and that's another 3000. So, thanks for coming by.

I'll be back when I feel like I know what's going on in my own head.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sometimes learning takes a different turn (link corrected)

Somehow that I no explanation for, in the last weeks I stumbled into reading the blog of a woman named Angie Smith. Her husband Todd is a singer in the Christian band Selah. (My finding her may have to do with this, as I'm starting to listen to music again, but it has to be music from my past. Unfamiliar music is jarring and I don't handle it. But Selah was around and I liked their songs back before music hurt me, so I listen and am happy). This spring they gave birth to their 5th child, a daughter who died shortly after birth. Her blog details going through her pregnancy knowing the outcome would be painful, and the grief, which was further increased by the loss of her infant nephew to SIDS only weeks later.

Her writings are so clear and real and speak to me. My therapist has already defined part of what I'm dealing with outside of my work issues as grieving. I'm trying to deal with parts of my past and losses of things from my illness. And truthfully, grief is new to me. I deal with a type of grief with patient deaths, but there's a distance. I should have grieved when my grandma died, but I didn't know how and I shoved it deep inside and probably that's what will bubble up next.

One of her entries made me think a lot. I thought I would try this also. I didn't actually have anything to break, so I purchased a cheap and ugly flowerpot on clearance. I also decided throwing it down would be risky for me what with picking up shards and tremors, so I smashed the thing with a hammer. The smashing probably felt too good because I have too many tiny pieces.

But I worked for 90 minutes or so, and I learned a lot. I knew this was risky business what with already having tremoring hands. I was correct. I learned that broken pieces don't necessarily mend easily. I have burned fingers and at least one cut. I have put together and taken apart many times and I still don't have a flat base. What is coming together is going to be extremely slow, and extremely ugly. I already have "extra" pieces and holes I can't fill. I've learned to not glue hastily, and that sometimes a piece may look like it will fit in one place, but it really fits elsewhere. But this thing CAN be rebuilt. It's going to be changed, but it will exist again. Not as well as Angie's maybe (again, hammer not good idea), but it will.

You may or may not be interested in the Christian rationale for this, but I suggest trying it if you need to think your way through something. I'm already surprising myself.

More on this as it happens.