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

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.