Home free

I’m shocked to be posting this so soon but … I guess I’m back?

Health issues came to a head pretty quickly after my last post. I remained in bed in non-stop pain Sunday through Wednesday AM, and finally threw in the towel, called my GI and said I needed help. He had me come in immediately (not an easy task when moving or getting up is extremely painful) so Jeffrey helped me shower, dress, and pack a bag (We knew where this was going.) To nobody’s surprise, my GI sent me to the ER and by 1:30pm Wednesday, I was lying on a gurney in the ER, pumped full of morphine and in my own little pocket of heaven. (Aaahhh, morphine.)

I was sent for a CT scan, whereupon it was determined I was in a Crohn’s flare-up (my intestines were inflamed) which explains all the pain. I was admitted to the hospital for what turned into a two night stay during which I was pumped full of IV fluids, antibiotics, and steroids for two days and kept on a liquid diet of broth, jello, tea, and sherbet cups. (Which was like a feast for me after days of being to unable to even SIP something without experiencing cramping pain.)

Here was my Wednesday – Friday stay in my luxurious private hospital suite with a view.

Knowing I’d likely be admitted to the hospital and not allowed visitors, Jeffrey had the foresight to pack me a bedside buddy:

The bottom pick is after a day of fluids and steroids and being pain free for over 24 hours, for the first time since December 2020.

What made this whole thing shocking was that it was “just a flare up” of Crohn’s. No intestinal obstruction or twisted bowel, no surgical intervention needed, no new layer of disease or body breakdown. We had ourselves convinced I wasn’t coming back from this whole and unblemished, but we were wrong (thankfully.) Just a quick 2- night stay in a hospital with steroids and BAM! It was like the last 8-12 weeks just washed away and I was perfectly fine. So Friday morning they discharged me and sent me home with a simple prescription for Prednisone and a “stay well.” That NEVER happens to me. It’s always a long haul recovery and new dietary restrictions or discoveries that I have some new condition or chronic illness to contend with. Not this time – and I am so NOT complaining about that.

I am now safely, soundly, and happily home with hubby and hounds (and grateful to be) walking around like the last 2-3 months never happened and it was all just a bad dream.

My welcome home crew resting peacefully (and deservedly so) yesterday after a long and stressful ordeal:

I can’t believe this was all resolved so quickly but I am so beside myself with joy and relief that it was. So I guess my dark and doom-filled last post was a bit heavier handed than was necessary (although completely true at the time.) While it has been an awful, painful, almost unbearable two months…it is all over now and I’m feeling like my old, sassy self once again.

Now, if only I can keep the 45 lbs I lost from coming back, which won’t be easy, since I accidentally ordered 4 cases of pudding (96 pudding cups) , instead of 4 packs of pudding (8 cups) for my “road to recovery” (for which I need to remain on a low residue diet.)

Oops:

On a side note, through the diligence of a good friend, just before everything hit critical mass, I secured my first vaccination shot (Pfizer) at SUNY Albany on Sunday, February 21st. Side-effects from the shot may have amped up my symptoms, but I don’t regret getting it one bit. Second shot scheduled for March 14th, 3 weeks to the day from my first shot.

It may just be a happy 50th birthday in May fir me this year after all.

Thanks for the well-wishes, everyone.

Stay safe!

Sassybear

Pause for pain

Hey folks. I’m going to be taking a hiatus from blogging for a while. Unfortunately, my health continues to be all over the place. Most of my days are now divided between excruciating pain, severe pain, low pain, and on very few occasions, no pain (Man, do I love those day.)

Most days, it’s a struggle to sit up at my work desk (yes, even at home) and get through a full work day, and I don’t always make it, but that’s where my focus and energy have to be, because I do not have the luxury of quitting or not working. By the end of my workdays, I’m just too emotionally and physically drained to really write much of anything, and I just can’t keep posting these “I’m in pain” posts because it just feels wrong and gratuitous (i.e i’m pandering for sympathy.)

So why post this at all you ask? Because I have been truly lucky and fortunate to develop friendships with many of my blogger buddies, and I am genuinely touched knowing that if I disappeared for a long period of time without explanation there would (probably?) be some inquiries and I don’t want to worry anyone. And I’m not super responsive to texts and emails and comments lately. Being in regular pain for hours, days , and weeks on end is exhausting, debilitating, and has really frayed my gay nerves (ha ha – still shreds of humor though) my patience, and my civility. What little control I still have over my attitude, emotions, and communication I need to use to ensure that I stay as positive as possible, and don’t take it out on Jeffrey who has been, once again, the most amazing superheroic caregiver and concerned spouse that I could imagine existing. There are days when he truly is the only thing keeping me going. (and you all know the comfort and support my two beautiful amazing dogs give me, so that kind of goes without saying although I just said it, didn’t I?)

So thank you for your understanding and patience if I disappear for a while; and thank you for understanding if I don’t respond to texts or emails or comments right away or for a while. My sole focus is to get through each workday and evening without this getting worse and not needing to go to a hospital. While I realize it’s probably time for me to seek medical attention, I just can’t put my safety from Covid, over anything else right now. So no unnecessary office visits until I’m fully vaccinated (which I will be by the end of April.) rest assured, I am in constant touch with my G.I.

I know this might sound really awful to go through to everyone (and it is) but this is, unfortunately, not the first time I’ve been through a horrible gut spell for a long period of time, so don’t assume what is coming across as a lack of panic is my refusal to seek help or be smart about this. The fact is, I have a severely compromised digestive track, that has been through hell for the last 22 years, and certainly isn’t getting stronger or better or healthier as I age (“I’m almost 50, folks” as my retired in DE friend Ron might say.) I also have multiple other conditions that make a lot of food and ingredients in foods dangerous to me, and no matter how careful we try to be, and how educated we try to get, sooner or later we misstep or miss some thing all together, or worse yet, some new allergy or problematic food response develops. I have been incredibly fortunate to make it as long as I have with “as few” episodes of these as I’ve been through, and experience tells me, if I just make it through this and adjust enough things in enough ways we will figure out what’s causing it and I will get better. If not, The first thing I will do post vaccination is seek medical help.

I know some of my blogger friends (or their partners, family, or friends) are also going through difficult health times and choices, too, and I truly feel for them and I’m concerned for them as much, if not more, than I am myself. So I get I’m not the only one struggling. I do.

Because I’m obviously feeling emotional and sentimental in writing this post, I need to say please take care of yourself, take care of each other, appreciate your health, don’t take risks you don’t need to (mask, distance, hand wash, sanitize, isolate, vaccinate! It ain’t over yet, folks.) when there are so many things we don’t have control over. I know there are far many more problems in the world than just not being healthy, but man, does being healthy make dealing with all the other problems a little bit easier.

I’ll be back as soon as I can. Thanks for reading this long diatribe and all of your words of support. I look forward to the day I can put this behind me, start blogging again, and show off my massive weight loss before I can properly eat again and gain it all back.

Be safe.

Sassybear

Vaccination Frustration

OK. I’m joining the bandwagon. Trying to register for a vaccination in New York sucks. Let’s get this out of the way up front:

Yes, I know I’m lucky to be eligible for one now (if you call having a chronic disease lucky).
Yes, I know I am lucky I have a job that will allow me to go wherever and whenever I need to, to get it.
No, I don’t imagine trying to run a statewide (or federal) registration and vaccination program is easy

Having said that, it is not a pleasant experience to try to get an appointment. My eligibility group (immunocompromised disorders) became eligible in New York yesterday (Monday Feb 15th). However, we became eligible to register for vaccination appointments on Sunday the 14th, one day prior. I started trying to find, and register for, an appointment Sunday morning. After 3 days, multiple searches, 3 failed attempts to register (I got to the end of the available appointment registration process three times only to get an “unable to post” error message) and 3 different devices (iPhone, MacBook Pro, and PC) I was finally able to schedule an appointment on April 14th (almost 2 months out) 3 hours away for my first shot. However, later this morning, through the thoughtful and diligent efforts of my husband and a friend, I was able to secure another appointment a week earlier at a local vaccination center, only 20 minutes away. I am very relieved and grateful. I have cancelled my 3-hour-away appointment and will continue to look for an earlier appointment, but at least I don’t have to spend 12 hours on the road to get my vaccinations (2 shots, 3 hours each way.)

I understand vaccinations and appointments are far too limited for the amount of people who want them, and I was under no illusion that I would get one really soon or necessarily at a “close” facility. It’s the process of locating an available location and time slot and actually securing it that is frustrating. If that was MY experience, I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for seniors less tech savvy than myself, without people in their lives to assist them.

Get your act together, New York. Our lives depend on it – literally.

Stay safe, all.



Be my guest

Look who came down to visit me “at work” today for the first time

He makes a perfect donut hole.

What a treat and great end to my work day and week. I have a 4 day weekend, y’all. And speaking of guests, The BF is coming for a quick over night visit tomorrow, then it’s couch surfing, movie marathons, and pure relaxation the rest of the weekend with hubby and the dogs.

Ain’t no shame in that!

And the beat goes on

After experiencing 7 days of progressively feeling better with fading issues, I finally feel safe to say I’ve made it through another health crisis. It’s been a long few weeks, that really hit me hard, both physically and emotionally, but the important thing is that I’m pulling out of it (again) and managed to avoid another hospital stay, which I really do not want. Unfortunately, I hadn’t realized just how hard a time I was having until I had a small breakdown on the phone with a staff member on Friday and very inapropriately began crying (which is something I just don’t do at work or in front of co-workers.) That’s when I knew I needed a little mental health break – so I ended my day at 10:30am am on Friday, and took today off as a personal day to recoup, recharge, and recover (i.e. pull myself together.)

So, what have I been doing during my week of recovery, you ask? Well….shopping, what else?

Jeffrey purchased me a cheer-up t-shirt of a giraffe illustrating the correct way to wear a face masks (because some people just can’t seem to figure it out on their own):

C’mon folks…it’s just not that difficult.

We also purchased a new giraffe curtain for our guest bathroom upstairs (aka Jeffrey’s office bathroom)

A few steamy showers should take those wrinkles right out.

I purchased the final volume of the Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest series and now have a complete set:

A bit elusive, this issue #68 was.

Along the top of the shelves below (which hold my Trade Paperbacks and Graphic Novels in my basement comic book room), sandwiched between my Super Stuffed Animals, you’ll see my complete set of digest size comics, including DC Special Blue Ribbon Digests (1-24); Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digests (1-72); DC Adventure Comics ( 491-503 – only the last 13 issues were digest size); and Archie’s Super Hero Specials 1-2. There are a few other Digests-size books, but these are the only one’s I wanted for my collection. It’s always exciting to compete a series of books.

The irony that I love “Digests” does not escape me.

I also ordered a set of Lantern Corpse rings, which are metal and adjustable, so can be worn by adults:

Each ring represents a different Lantern Corps, powered by a different emotion spectrum:

  • White Lantern (only one) powered by Life
  • Red Lanterns powered by Rage
  • Orange Lantern powered by Avarice
  • Yellow Lanterns powered by Fear
  • Green Lanterns powered by Will
  • Blue Lanterns powered by Hope
  • Indigo Lanterns powered by Compassion
  • Violet Lanterns powered by Love
  • Black Lanterns powered by Death

It will be a sweet addition to my already sizable Green Lantern ring collection. While I’d normally add this to my X-mas or birthday wishlist, it was a must have item I wasn’t willing to risk not being able to get at a later date. A (collector) girls’ gotta have what a girl’s gotta have, no?

As I slowly began adding solid food back into my diet to confirm I could tolerate it, I was finally able to build up to and enjoy my ideal breakfast this past weekend: coffee (2 Stevia and a splash of Lactaid milk, please); sunny-side-up eggs (because it’s “all about the yoke; ’bout the yoke; no hard fried”); gluten free toast with butter (can’t have yolk with out something to dip in it); and Crystal Light Sunrise Classic Orange drink (which long ago replaced the much preferred but way-to-sugary and calorie filled orange juice.)

Breakfast fit for queens!

I am slowly moving to a low FODMAP diet (which is not how you do it, but I have too much food to get through to just dispose of it). Just click the linked word “FODMAP” if you’re curious about it. To facilitate good gut health and portion control, we have signed up for a weekly meal delivery plan. Unlike the Green Chef meal plan we previously used, which required us to prep and cook every meal, all the meals we’re getting now are low FODMAP, Gluten Free, low-calorie, and come vacuum packed, fully cooked and prepared. All we have to do is reheat and eat. We tested it out for one week before I stopped being able to eat, and the food was surprisingly good, so we’ve returned to it, at least for a while. We just enjoyed the first of our new batch last night: Lemon Chicken and Pasta with Kale. Tell me this doesn’t look good for a meal that came prepared, cooked, vacuum packed, and shipped overnight in a box:

Seriously, the meals are surprisingly good, and require no time to prepare (i.e. heat up) so its simple, easy, portion controlled, and totally worth it. And we can cancel it any time on line, without hassle; or skip a week; or add or reduce the number of meals. So far, it’s been great and we’re loving it.

One of the foods I’ve had to give up since discovering my gluten intolerance is Chinese food (at least, the US of A version of Chinese food.) I miss it horribly. So I’ve collected gluten free recipes for all our favorites – Eggs Rolls w/ Duck Sauce and Hot Mustard; Sweet & Sour Chicken; Sesame Chicken; Chicken w/Broccoli; General Tso’s Chicken; Orange Chicken; Chicken Lo Mein; Chicken Chow Mein; and Lettuce Wraps and Street Noodles (from P.F. Chang’s) – and w will allow ourselves a “Chinese Take Out” night once a month. (Hey, even the gluten free versions or not very healthy. Gotta watch the carbs and calories as well.) Given my limited culinary skills, this may present a challenge. But if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad….

We are gearing up to file (and likely pay) our taxes next week. We like to have it done and out of the way. I’m fine with paying taxes – I believe in paying our fair share to support the community, neighborhood at large, and country – but I’d sure like to figure out just how much withholding we need, to avoid paying a bunch every February. We do the calculations, and increase accordingly every year, but we never seem to be able to get ahead of the owe. Uggh! We do not have stimulus checks to look forward to, but we are very OK with that. We both work full time, have not lost a days pay during the entire pandemic, still have a warm, dry, safe roof over head, have never missed a meal (health issues aside) and have good health care benefits. That money is not for us – it is for those who need it, and I am glad they’ll get what they can, even though I know it is nowhere near enough. I feel fortunate I do not struggle like others, and sympathetic that others even have to. I am sad that other countries have managed to provide families weekly stipends during the whole pandemic shutdown, and we squabble over the second of two measly payments while corporations are making record profits. Although, we don’t even house, clothe, or feed all those that need it in good times, so why should I think we’d successfully do it in bad times? (Yikes. That got morbid fast.)

Anyhoo, my dear bloggerland buddies, that is what I have been up to since posting last Monday. I am feeling like my old self again and happy to be back on the wellness wagon. I appreciate all the well wishes and comments of concern.

On a final note, the Governor of NY opens up vaccination eligibility on Sunday to people with comorbidities and immunosuppressive conditions (or those who have to take meds that cause immunosuppression, like me) so I will be joining the millions of New Yorkers trying to secure one of the thousands of available vaccinations. While I am under no illusion I will be able to obtain a vaccination any time soon, I’m grateful to be eligible to try, none the less. Wish me luck.

Stay safe, everyone.

Highs and Lows

The bad news: I relapsed today and had several hours of severe nausea and chills. I have no idea what set it off, as I felt fine on Saturday and Sunday. I felt better as the day went on, but I’m a bit shaken from the whole episode.

The good news: We watched the 7-part Netflix special “Pretend it’s a City” – Martin Scorsese’s “docuseries” focusing on New York City writer Fran Lebowitz. It was incredibly enjoyable and we devoured the whole series in one sitting.

Finally, a “meal” I enjoyed that can’t make me sick.

Oh, and it’s snowing.