Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce (and it tastes like cheese!)

STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING! A miracle has occurred!

I found a VEGAN cheese sauce that I actually like! I can hear it now, “But Dotchi… Bacon and cheese isn’t vegan.”

I know! That’s why this recipe is so cool. It is vegan but it tastes like Bacon Cheddar spread you would buy for crackers, only it tastes better… and spicier. I should warn you: I like spices. You can adjust the intensity to your liking though.

First the recipe because it drives me nuts when I have to scroll through 40 pages of recipe tales to get to the actual recipe. I am adding links to the stuff I use. I get nothing for this (I wish) this is just to help new cooks and those unfamiliar with some of the ingredients.

Further down I will tell the story of how I got to this…

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Vegan mac and cheese

Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce

Ingredients List in order of use (don’t judge it by the ingredients)

Step 1 ingredients

  • 2 cups Sweet Potatoes (the white ones, not yams) peeled and cubed
    • You could use regular russet, red, or golden potatoes.
  • 1 cup Carrot, peeled and cubed
  • Water for boiling

Step 2 Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Canola oil or Olive Oil
    • Honestly, you can use whatever oil you have on hand. Soy, Corn, flaxseed, avocado… As long as it is an edible oil and not automotive oil or snake oil.
  • 1/2 Cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer
    • You can use whatever creamer you like or use Almond or soy milk. I prefer the creamer because it’s thicker… and it’s what I had at the moment.
    • Water works too if you are out of creamer or milk. It just tastes like it’s missing something.
  • 1 TBSP Honey or, for the strict vegan, Agave Nectar or Bee Free Honee
    • I know some vegans who allow honey and others that do not. Depending on how it was… raised?
    • This is easier to get out of the spoon if you add it after the oil – slides right out. You’re welcome.
  • 1 tsp Salt (I use Pink Himalayan Salt)
  • 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp Ground Chipotle or Paprika (I use chipotle for the spicy taste)
    • DO NOT spend that much on ground chipotle unless you have to. That is a ridiculous price! Hell, you can grind your own for cheaper than that!
    • Use less if you can’t handle spicy foods. Smoky paprika shouldn’t be spicy but will add a nice flavor to it.
  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar.
    • I use white vinegar because that’s what I have but you can use Apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or anything else you like. It will taste a little different. I’ve been known to use any wine I have lying around *cough*.
  • 1/3 C Nutritional Yeast. This is NOT Brewer’s yeast or yeast in the little packets!

Step 1 of Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce

  1. Put the potato pieces and carrot pieces in a pot with enough water for boiling.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat for about 20 minutes or until the food pieces are fork tender. Fork tender means it’s really super easy to stab it with a fork. 
  3. Once tender, drain the veggies and place them in a food processor (or blender. I’ve done both. Either works just fine)

Step 2 of Spicy Bacon Cheese Sauce

  1. Add all the other ingredients into the food processor or blender.
  2. Turn on your food processor or blender and run it until everything is blended and all smooth and creamy like.
  3. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides in between running it. Sometimes I do. Sometimes it cooperates.

It will look like this:

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Serve this over veggies, pasta, potatoes… I really loved it on broccoli!

How I discovered Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce

Okay, now for the rambling chatty part.

My friend, Java, is allergic to milk and cheese. One of the things we’ve been trying to find is a cheese substitute. We ran into a few problems… 

1. Some “non-dairy” cheeses have casein, a milk derivative, in them.

  • To me, that is as stupid as putting peanut oil on cashews (even when they aren’t salted!) or putting soy lecithin in almond milk and then declaring it a safe alternative to soy (I think they all switched to sunflower lecithin – another allergen of mine but not as unreasonable as soy lecithin).

2. Daiya has xanthum gum, which isn’t very kind on the digestive system. And I didn’t really care for the taste. It’s been awhile and I haven’t retried it. It didn’t win me over though.

3. Some are impossible to find in the areas we live. I live in NW Montana and shop in Montana, Idaho, and Washington. Java lives on the east coast in a southern state.

4. We needed to avoid Cashew because of dietary restrictions on Java’s end plus, it’s impossible to find it not drenched in peanut oil. 

What we’ve tried…

I tried various alternatives I found, like a box of Macaroni and Chreese. It was gluten-free, dairy-free, and supposed to taste like regular macaroni and cheese. I know what regular macaroni and cheese tastes like. It wasn’t even in the same ball park. It was like macaroni and dirt vomit. 

I tried a few others and they just flat sucked. They didn’t even have a hint of cheese flavor. They either tasted like dirt, vomit, bitter lemons, or something like that. They just were not good.

We also tried whatever store brand we could actually eat. But none of them had a good flavor. 

Mouth feel – It’s not really a criteria, but it does help.

And I haven’t even touched on mouth feel yet! (<- Hahaha, see what I did there!)

I am not a huge “mouth feel” kind of person. I survived on puree mush for quite a while. If it just has the flavor I am mostly happy. Hell, I drank pizza that wasn’t too bad!

BUT, mouth feel does compliment or destroy a food. If it’s supposed to be “melty and delicious” but comes out tasting like ass and having the consistency of curdled milk… nope nope nope!

Alternatively, if it’s supposed to be like pancakes, soft and fluffy, but comes out kind of flat and dense but tastes pretty okay, I can handle that.

But it takes a LOT to make “mouth feel” make or break something for me.

SQUIRREL ALERT! 

A.D.D. is easy as 1-2- OH EM GEE! A SQUIRREL!
Hey Sparky!

My worst mouth-feel story was vegan chocolate pudding. It had maple syrup, avocado, and cocoa powder. I like maple syrup. I like avocados. I like chocolate. So I didn’t think it would be too bad. I thought it might taste a little weird with the avocado.

But, meh, I made it anyway. I have never gagged so hard on something before in my life. It coated my mouth with a goo that felt like snot, acted like glue, and clung to my uvula for dear life. Luckily, the stomach acid helped clean it off as it went rushing by. It was absolutely horrible! 

Vegan Cheese Google Search

The other day, I was surfing around Google looking for something not food related when I found this link… 

Life-Changing Vegan Cheese Sauce

It’s gluten-free. It’s vegan. It’s cheese-ish. It looks like cheese sauce. It’s freaking orange!

She created hers from another recipe. You can find it here. It’s a nut-free, yeast-free, dairy-free, vegan, cheese-like sauce.

I looked at both and noticed that I would not be eating those because they call for soy sauce or coconut aminos. I can’t have soy. The coconut aminos are too expensive for me. Also, I can’t have lemon or paprika. Almond milk is out for us but I could use coconut milk. I altered the recipes to suit my needs and started cooking.

I made the first batch with the substitutions and it was pretty okay. Was it cheese-like? No. Was it a good substitute? Yes. I think it was.

Sharing the cheesy joy – the substitutions

Then I wanted to make it and share it with my older son and that’s when I ran into problems. He can’t have garlic, onion, lemon, or mustard. Also, I can’t have paprika. So there went a lot of flavor.

I substituted paprika for chipotle because I didn’t have any cayenne or mild pepper. I felt ground jalapeno would be too much.  

I added honey instead of lemon (a common substitution for me) because vinegar went in for mustard. I figured the lemon was probably for smoothing out the taste which is why I picked honey and not lime juice (which I am out of).

I think the mustard added zing to it so when I substituted it to share I just added vinegar since mustard is just mustard seed ground and LOTS of vinegar.

I skipped substituting the garlic and onion since chipotle is so much stronger than paprika.

I used sweet potatoes because I don’t react to them like russet potatoes (which is a rather painful reaction I would like to avoid).

I tinkered with the recipe a couple of times. I tossed one batch because it was too… something. It just wasn’t tasty. FINALLY, I came up with the recipe you see above but not with as much nutritional yeast. 

I liked it okay but I decided to add just a LITTLE bit more nutritional yeast. Fun fact: The nutritional yeast lid has two sides. One for sprinkling nutritional yeast and one for accidentally dumping too much into the blender. Whoops.

I decided it couldn’t be worse than some of the other concoctions I have come up with so, I blended it in.  

Vegan Spicy Bacon Cheese Sauce was born!

Then I tasted it. I couldn’t place the flavor at first. Cut me some slack… I haven’t had bacon, real or fake, since August 25, 2010. I had my son try it and I said, “Does it taste cheddary to you too?” He replied with, “It tastes like cheddar bacon spread you put on crackers.”

That’s when it clicked in my head! OMG! He was right! That was the flavor! I made cheddar bacon cheese sauce. Wait! No… I made VEGAN cheddar bacon cheese sauce. I also added too much chipotle. It was setting my face on fire.

I cut back on the chipotle, took out the black pepper I had added to my first batch, and carefully measured the nutritional yeast to see how much got to the “bacon cheddar” flavor. (1/4 cup for mild flavor, 1/3 cup for awesomeness)

We ate it by itself. I ate it with half the nutritional yeast which I think has a less bacon flavor but I like it. We also ate it on rice noodles. Today we ate it on broccoli and that is honestly my favorite way. It tastes so much like cheddar when on top of broccoli that I kind of impressed myself.

I finally dubbed it “Not-Cheese” and added it to the family recipe book.

I am more excited now about trying other recipes of homemade non-dairy cheeses and I’ll let you know when I try them.

My question to you is… 

How do you feel about mouth feel?

 

 

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Cabinet Peaks Medical Center – My how You Have Improved!

I didn’t post this week because of this. I thought I would share why.

Back Story – Before the ER Trip

I was having a blast with friends when I cross contaminated the pan I was using but didn’t realize it.

I figured it out a lot later. The oil brush I was using to coat the pan was the same one I used to coat the pan when I made pork for the boys. I made two batches of pork. I brushed the pan with oil between batches. The brush ended up with pork juices on it… and then I forgot to put it in the contamination sink OOPS!

So I am cooking, talking, and having a grand old time. My first tortilla gets done, the egg gets done (so that’s two things I have cooked in pork oil on both sides). I take a bite and swallow. I went to say something and as soon as I opened my mouth, I couldn’t breathe. At first I thought, “Must be something in my throat…” (why is that always my first thought???) and went for the sink to spit out everything in my mouth when I realized, DUH, I swallowed my food. I could feel that “marble stuck in my throat” feeling and I knew my throat was swelling… and it itched SO BAD!

AND Epi-pen to the leg!

At this point, my friend comes over and is cracking jokes about the Heimlich maneuver. When she sees me turning purple and asks in a serious tone, “Are you okay?” I managed to squeak out, “Epi”, and she went to get it. Of course, this is the one time I didn’t have my Epi-Pen on me in the kitchen.

I got the pen and stabbed myself in the leg and screw counting to ten. I just held it there until I could gasp for air in large quantities. Once I could breathe again, I did a quick count to ten then massaged the spot on my leg where I injected. My friend went to get my son and he helped me by getting the Benadryl. That’s when I noticed I was out of ranitidine (I found the back up bottle this morning. I have just enough to last until shopping day). I thought, “Meh. It’ll be fine.” and just took the Benadryl.

After 15 minutes (ish), I was still breathing okay. But, my throat still itched pretty bad (just not as bad as earlier). I was having waves of nausea so bad I was sure I was going to throw up any second.

Disclaimer: If you have to use your Epi-pen, call 911 and go to the hospital immediately. I have dealt with allergies since I was 9 years old. I know my body quite well. If I was responsible, I would go to the ER right away. But I deal with them often enough that I am not going to the ER every single time (even though I know I should). 

“But Dotchi, how is this different from your regular nausea?”

With my regular nausea, it’s the nausea where you think, “Man. I feel sick to my stomach and if I could only puke, I would feel better.” It’s rather mild. This nausea felt stronger and I was getting the “bubble under the tongue” I get seconds before I puke. Then it would dissipate and I would feel okay, only to have it happen a minute or later.

So I decided to call 911 at with my son’s encouragement (read as: “Seriously mom! Just go to the hospital!”). I hate going to the hospital because of the fear that it’s going to be that one doctor. I have an extreme fear that the man is going to kill me one of these days. Let me rephrase that: I HAD an extreme fear…

The ambulance showed up and I felt better seeing faces of people that have taken care of me before. I have to say, when I see a nurse that is at the clinic I go to, it made me feel so much better (not physically – just mentally). I got my little puke bag JUST in case, and we headed to the ER.

At Cabinet Peaks Medical Center ER

When we arrived my throat was still itching, just not as bad, and I was still having waves of nausea. I already knew everyone there by name because of my other trips to the ER and they were all nurses I like. YEAH! I was just hoping it wasn’t that one doctor who I fear the most.

The doctor was THAT doctor. So I was expecting hell and a complaint form afterwards. Instead I got …. a top-notch experience. 

Wait. What?

Yes! A good experience! He listened. He didn’t ignore what I was saying. He acknowledged my allergic reaction. He treated my reaction like I was expecting. He even came back in the room to make sure one of the medications was one I could have. It has dextrose in it (the non-dissolvable one does not but at the ER they have the dissolving tabs). Sometimes I have to pick my battles. I will take some pain and swelling over extreme nausea any day! 

For those of you asking why I didn’t just smoke some medical marijuana for my nausea. I don’t take marijuana and Benadryl together. I don’t feel it is safe.

The whole experience went well. I got checked in by the nurse/ EMT. My youngest son met everyone during this process. I got hooked up to the EKG. My vitals were still good when checked. I saw the doctor. I got meds. I played 20 questions with my son. I felt better. I got released. There were NO ISSUES

I… I am having conflicting emotions here. I am not sure what to think. I am so happy the doctor did a good job. I am cautiously optimistic that this is a good sign. I am going to check my records in a few days though. But… I am confused about this whole thing. He did good. He was polite. I am not sure how to react. I’ve spent the week thinking about it. I am just flabbergasted. 

Anyway, back to the post…

“How are you now?”

The next day, the abdominal cramps hit and I was poofy like I expected. I stayed on Benadryl, Ranitidine, and Ibuprofen for the day. My liquefied insides fell out by the end of day two also. I felt like a truck ran my over. I felt HORRIBLE but, at the same time, better also. (That’s hard to explain) And my leg was tender where I injected my Epi-pen. 

It’s been a few days since then. It happened on the 7th, I think… I lost track of days. Anywhoodles, over the next few days I recovered with no problems. I am now doing fine although I am a little rash here and there. Not sure what that is from. I think the two are unrelated? I can never tell with rashes.

But I had to share the good experience I had at Cabinet Peaks Medical Center’s Emergency Room. Plus, share the experience with the doctor because I am pleased with the experience.

Mailbag! More on Vitamin D

Oh… this is long. Grab your coffee, chips, and popcorn. We’re going to be here for a while. I tried to make it short but I get long-winded to tell you about my adventures in Vitamin D.

RealMaryZ from The Bitchy Mama replied on my last post about Mushrooms and Vitamin D. Here is part of her comment.

…you can try sunshine, canned tuna, fortified milk, cereal and orange juice, egg yolks, cod liver oil, and ultraviolet lamps. Good luck!

Thanks RealMaryZ! I love it when people offer suggestions because I hope that someone has another idea of something I have missed. That’s how I found out about the mushrooms/ Vitamin D.

Continue reading

50 Questions: My Last Meal

What is the menu for your last meal ever?

When I started planning this post, I realized that it would be different depending on the circumstance.

  • Was I on death row, for some reason, and I would be dead at the end?
  • Was I deciding to become Breatharian, and live as long as I could on light and air alone?
  • Did I just learn that I would have to have my stomach removed and I would be fed from a G-tube forever?
  • Was I trying to escape from some evil organization and food was my way out?
  • Am I just suicidal and want to die happy for one moment? (Note: I am not suicidal nor could I ever kill myself)

The reason for this is, some food can kill me. Literally. For example, I could die if I eat peanut butter, turkey, or soy. So if I am trying to kill myself, I would have one meal. BUT, if I was trying to live afterwards, I would want a different meal.

Here are the two menus.

Menu 1: I want to live

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My last meal… minus the gravy and mashed sweet potatoes

I would have homemade BBQ sauce on slow cooked chicken. Or maybe a nice slow cooked roast. Or maybe both. My favorite veggies are broccoli and sweet carrots, southern style, so I would of course have those. My homemade macaroni and cheese is a must! And homemade gluten-free biscuits. Not shown: I would also have mashed sweet potatoes with gravy flowing over them that I would dip my biscuit in before eating. Oh man, I can almost taste the BBQ sauce just thinking about it.

Menu 2: All caution to the wind! Here I come sweet release of death!

The second menu doesn’t have a picture because I would die if I tried making it. Instead here is a clip art of a sandwich.

sandwich_hero

If I were planning on dying, food really wouldn’t be that option because dying of anaphylaxis or slowly suffocating to death would be on my list of ways I don’t ever want to die. But, pretending that my life turns into a horrible movie and death by sandwich looks like the only option out my menu would be…

One, maybe two, bites of a turkey sandwich. My sandwich would have wheat bread, mayonnaise made with soybean oil, raw tomato, turkey slices, american cheese, and mustard. It would have to be made by someone else because I would start gasping for air before I ever got to take the first bite if I tried making it myself.

I say “one, maybe two, bites” because it doesn’t take long to start gasping for air when I touch turkey. Without an epi-pen, I would suffocate to death not long into my loaf of loathing and my nightmare inducing situation would probably end with my body being dumped on a jogging trail somewhere.

And trust me when I say this part… if my body is found on a jogging trail, I was killed and dumped there!

Neurologist Appointment and Medical Marijuana

Not looking forward to the next week and a half. Went to my neurologist yesterday. I am not really impressed this time. Never had a doctor roll her eyes at my son while he was talking to her. And she seemed short and rude with us. Just Cabinet Peaks bullshit trickling down to my other doctors? Or maybe she had a bad day?

I mentioned not wanting to be on man-made medications because they cause me so many negative side effects. She got real snotty and said “Everything has side effects, even herbs.” When I explained that I don’t have side effects to herbs though, she shot back “But everything has side effects. You can look up side effects of marijuana and get a list of side effects.” She was a real bitch.

Let’s see… Here is a review of the meds.

I was always so nauseous from the pain that I had to take Zofran. I couldn’t eat because I hurt so bad and nauseousness was too much that I had no appetite. The doc gave me Zofran for 3 times a day but medicaid will only pay for 15 pills. I couldn’t get the rest filled. So I got to pick which meal I wanted to eat every other day. And I could only eat a little bit or I would throw up.

Cyclobenzaprine: On it because my muscles were always so tense that I hurt like crazy. I walked like a 70 year old. The joints in my body did not want to bend correctly (hence, the walker) and my muscles BURNED like they were on fire ALL. THE. TIME. Cyclobenzaprine made me sleep. I thought it helped loosen my muscles and I slept so much on it that I felt like I got sleep. I was on this so long it stopped doing anything except making me sleep.

Clonidine (for anxiety): I slept. A LOT. I also had diarrhea of the mouth. If a thought popped into my head, it fell out my mouth. I turned into a bitch too. I would be fine one minute and then just snap at everyone the next minute (and again, I am SO SORRY). I felt drugged. My heart would race randomly and flutter toward the end. I still have palpitations sometimes.

Gabapentin: While it helped take the edge off the pain, still could not do anything. Made me sleep 2/3 of the time every day. Literally, I slept most of my days away. And I was still like I was before: I could not bend over to pick anything up. I could not cook. I had trouble dressing myself. I had trouble showering. I could not walk to the store or go anywhere without that damned walker unless I planned it right. And by that I mean, do not do anything at all the day before or that day. And that only worked if I wasn’t walking there. Can we say weight gain!? I am still trying to lose the weight. I gained 50 pounds! I can’t fit into my clothes anymore. When they increased the dose, I would take a dose, sleep until the next dose, take that dose, sleep until the next dose, etc. So they lowered it back down and tried other meds with it.

Then they added Keppra for me to try. I was apathetic. I did not care. I would have been suicidal but my give-a-damn had busted. If a truck ran me over, I just didn’t care. I didn’t want to throw myself in front of one though because that took effort. I just sat in my chair not caring. It very much reminded me of Wellbutrin. Nothing made me happy. There was no joy, no happiness, no love. I felt nothing. Just a huge gaping void in my chest where my heart used to be. I cared so little that I could not make myself call the doctor to let them know something was wrong. I did have a moment of clarity and vowed not to take it but it still took me a week to call the doctor because I still did not care.

Then they tried Lamictal. I asked about the “Lamictal rash” and everyone assured me that it was so rare that I did not have to worry about it. By day 3 (I think) my skin hurt so bad I could not be touched. It felt like I had a massive sunburn. I had a pretty rash and little itty bitty blisters across my back and mentally I was a wreck from the pain. It hurt so bad I wanted to die. (figuratively, but not suicidal)

Then they put me on Topamax, which my friends online lovingly called Dopamax. Hahaha. Wow! That was one bad acid trip. I locked myself in my apartment an could not make myself leave. I became paranoid and thought that everyone was cohorting against me. I felt like Alice in Wonderland. Things that were across the room looked like they were a mile away and anything with in arms reach looked like it was 2 inches from my face. At times I felt like my whole body filled my living room and I was HUGE and other times I felt like I was a tiny little kid sitting in a gigantic chamber. I got obsessed with doing everything in a certain way. I couldn’t turn off a light without a ritual that went with it. And I was terrified to call the doctor because I thought they would think I wasn’t trying. I look back now and I am horrified at how I was.

Enter medical marijuana (MMJ).

No more clonidine. I don’t need it. MMJ helps my anxiety just fine. Actually better than clonidine did.

No more Zofran. MMJ helps my nauseousness. It also helps my appetite so I am eating more than I did before.

No more Cyclobenzaprine. My muscles relaxed. They didn’t loosen, they relaxed. They aren’t tense anymore. I can bend again! I can touch the floor!

No more Gabapentin. MMJ helps with the pain. I do not need to keep taking something that just takes the edge off the pain because MMJ helps totally with the pain. No more searing joint pain, no more electric shock feeling running through my legs, no more extreme ripping pains in my back. It took my pain and made it almost gone. I’ll take a level 2 pain over level 7 pain pain ANY DAY!

I can move again. I can walk without my walker all the time. Not just when I am not dying in pain. I can stand up for a little bit. I can clean house for about 30 minutes at a time. I still can not lift a lot but I can still stand and clean! I can cook a small meal again! I am independent again!

Other good side effects:

My angioedema attacks are fewer. My allergies are calmer.

My joints don’t kill me. I still feel like my bones are grinding together in my lower back but the pain is so much less that it barely bothers me.

AND, something I do not talk about a lot, I can feel my crotch again. No more accidentally peeing myself because I can’t tell when I have to pee until it’s too late (as in, as it comes out). I can tell when I have to pee WAY before it’s critical. I stopped retaining urine. No catheters in FIVE MONTHS!

I can walk to the store and back WITHOUT planning and WITHOUT a walker. I am walking like a 39 year old again.

I feel happy again. I have joy and purpose in my life again. I got a sewing machine from my ex (Thank you Mendel) so I can make clothes and bags to sell. I spent the last week or so relearning the sewing machine, practicing stitches, and refreshing all my skills. I still have to sit down while working, but I CAN DO IT! I couldn’t do this before.

I don’t feel like I am going to freak out and cry on a daily basis. People come around again. And for the first time in YEARS, I actually WANT to go out and do things. I WANT to be around people again. You have no idea how great that feels.

For the first time in a long time, I WANT to listen to music. Noise doesn’t make me hurt. It’s not too much stimulation for me.

It also has helped my seizures. I went from having them all the time to maybe 2 or 3 a week. I’ll take that!

I sleep about 8 hours a day now instead of 16-24 hours a day. Except for the occasional sleep attack which lasts a couple days now instead of weeks to a month.

I am a completely different person now.

Okay, I know you are wondering…. The negative side effects:

I get a bout of “the stupids” from time to time. Usually right after taking it. I have trouble following a conversation. I found that if I take ibuprofen with my dose, it helps block this effect. Finally, a use for ibuprofen where it works!

Yep, that is it. That’s the only negative side effect. Done with that list.

Back to the neurologist:

I am considering finding a new neurologist because she didn’t want to listen to me when I told her I don’t have side effects to MMJ. She also looked up Trileptal because Miles and I both said we were still confused as to why I needed it when MMJ was working. She looked and the other one said it was for my “headaches”. Funny, because he said I needed it since I was not on anything for seizures. O.o

But for now she took me off medical marijuana for a long term EEG (check in at noon, leave at 5 pm) which happens on the 28th.

Yesterday would have been a take day (since I take it every other day) but I skipped it since I saw the doctor before my take time.

Today, I woke up hurting and with a mild angioedema attack.

My waist down to the soles of my feet are feeling numb-ish again. I barely made it to the bathroom earlier. When I sit in on position for about 5 minutes, my legs start going numb. I can’t really feel my feet.

My joints are killing me. My muscles feel like I lifted 300 pound weights and keep tensing up. So I won’t be doing anything until after the 28th. The boys went and got my walker out of storage.

I can’t straighten my back again. I started shaking from the pain. I am almost in tears from the pain. How the hell did I do it before?

My chest hurts again. I feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest. I feel like I am on the verge of panicking and screaming, partly from the pain.

I feel like my bones are breaking. I have sharp shooting pains from my joints. I don’t even want to move.

It already hurts too bad to cook anything again and my steamer died so I am at the mercy of my kids cooking (which is tasty cooking but I hate asking them to make food). I have no appetite today and I am so nauseous I could puke so I am guessing this won’t be a huge issue. Back to barely eating.

This better be worth it. And hopefully the Neuro-doc will act more like the first two times I saw her because I was horribly unimpressed this appointment. We will see how this goes.

Overall pain level lately: 2-4 depending on the day.

Overall pain level today: FUCKING SEVEN!

Dear Cabinet Peaks Medical Center, WTF?

So, I was working on a post about how I feel like Cabinet Peaks Medical Center is taking steps in the right direction. I seriously hope someone from there is reading this… maybe they have Google alerts on? I can hope. But before I could finish that post, the one step forward took two steps back. Let me explain…

Step forward…

I got a survey in the mail to fill out for my visit to the Emergency Room (A&E) on New Year’s Day. I decided to fill out the survey since… why not! No one listens anyway but it would make me feel better. Only they did listen! I got a call from a guy… we’ll call him George… who asked about my responses on the survey.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I was VERY pleased with the response I got at the Emergency Room on New Year’s Day. They were quite stellar that day. And I put that in the survey. But I also put that if they were always like that, I would be quite happy. They aren’t though. There are two doctors there that I trust with my life and have no issues with whatsoever. That’s not the case for all the others (so far… I have high hopes though… I hope for change!)

Oddly enough, one of the doctors is one that no one else likes (or maybe I should say very few people like) but I have no issues with him. I have seen him being rude to someone else but… frankly, if that person was acting like that to me, he was a LOT nicer than I would have been. My mouth would have ran off without me. It does that sometimes. Dr 1, you have the patience of a saint. I don’t care if anyone else doesn’t like you. You made a HUGE impression on me the first time we saw you.

Why? My son had pink eye. Somehow it came up that we homeschool. Dr 1 went out of the room and came back with a skeleton display (the kind you see at the doctors offices) and showed it to my son and explained the parts on it and all. I thought that was the COOLEST thing EVER! He showed an interest in us as people, not just numbers and cattle to herded through the ER and out the door as quickly as possible.

The other doctor is just awesome. There are times I am going in for an allergic reaction and I secretly cross my fingers and hope that he is the one that is working. Why? Because he is the only one that treats my allergies right. Not that there is a “wrong” way (except maybe ignoring someone… we’ll get to that) but he goes the extra step. I get the medications I need, I refuse the one I don’t want, they don’t argue about it, and then I get a bag of fluids (which makes a HUGE difference in recovering.) He has no idea how much I appreciate that extra bit of awesomeness. I can actually move the next day. I don’t WANT to… but I CAN move. Without it… I hurt so bad the next day I can hardly move. And usually end up not moving because when I do manage to make myself move, I end up in tears. Dr 2… you are awesome!

The other doctors… oh, not even… I can’t… don’t get me started. It makes me so angry to think about. One I hate with a passion… luckily, he isn’t coming back. *i*  <— That's me with pom poms!

The others just… grrrrr. So I told him all about the grrrrr bits and why I am not happy and why I don't trust them. I also told him who I think is worthless in an emergency room and why… which made me kind of sad to say it too because they are nice people, just really useless.

George listened to me and told me his plan to fix the problem. And now I wait… I have high hopes that things will get better. I want this hospital to be a place I trust and don'tfear going to. I want this hospital to live up to my standards. Really, that isn't hard to meet. One PA there, while I didn't agree with his decision, took the time to explain WHYhe decided the treatment (or lack thereof) that he did. And that made all the difference.

Really, I am not a hard person to please.

Simple steps to pleasing me…

1. Wash your hands. Use sanitizer all you want but also wash your hands.

2. COMMUNICATE WITH ME! I am not psychic, nor am I stupid. Talk to me.

3. Don’t mock me.

Really. That’s it. Two being bigger than one but still, wash your damned hands.

One Step Back

The first step they took back wasn’t even for me. It was my friend. She ended up in the Emergency Room with an allergic reaction. We knew it was an allergic reaction. Long story short, we actually discussed leaving AMA and going to another hospital. She was at work when it happened or I would have stabbed her with an epi-pen, given her 50 mg (or more) of Benadryl, and THEN taken her to the ER.

Instead, I had one hell of a weekend. I had to wake her every 4 hours to give her Benadryl and Ranitidine (thank you Dr 2 for teaching me this wonderful blend of allergy kick-assery). By Monday morning of lacking sleep, I called George to complain, only I was so pissed off that I couldn’t even verbalize the issue. I handed the phone to my friend and she explained, very calmly, what happened (or didn’t happen).

George will take care of it. So it’s only like a half a step back. But still… Where is Dr 2 when you need him?
Second Step Back

I have an appointment on Tuesday at 3:15 pm 1:15 pm.

Back to the communication part. So I have this appointment for a hida-scan. I get the call to confirm the appointment only it goes like this (paraphrasing here) “Hey your appointment is tomorrow. Oh, and we changed it to 1:15 pm.”

WHAT? What happened to contacting me to make sure that time works for me? I have an appointment that I have each Tuesday at 1:00 pm. I had to cancel that.

AND I had to make sure my driver could still make it to the 1:15 pm appointment because he does have a life, you know. I can’t drive because of Epilepsy.

My family is not okay with me walking alone because a couple times I kind of wandered into the highway during a seizure. Really, it’s better that I have someone with me.

So they are not inconveniencing only me, they are inconveniencing a lot of people… including the ones I had an appointment with at 1:00 pm that I had to cancel. Sorry about that guys.

So tomorrow when I go to the hospital for my appointment, I am filing a formal grievance because this is bullshit!

My High Hopes…

But I still have high hopes that this hospital will pull it’s head out of it’s ass and actually be a hospital that is worth going to. I want to have a hospital that I trust. And I am going to be a thorn in their sides until they straighten up and act like a respectable hospital. They do have their stellar moments (like New Year’s Day and saving a friend’s life and the moment with my son) but I hear too many stories of how horrible they are and I see too many times how horrible they can be.

Note to Cabinet Peaks… you are not Gods. Quit acting like it. You are part of our community. Make us proud and show us how awesome you can be. Some of us still have faith in you.

I am so Irritable!

I am not sure what is wrong with me but, I am really agitated the last few days. Everything is making me angry and it’s little stupid things too. It’s not just the big stuff. Yesterday I made a batch of brownies. I REALLY wanted some brownies! I miss my homemade brownies that I made when I lived in Tennessee. Those are made with wheat flour though. So I have tried new recipes now and then to find one that is just as good as mine.

Testing… and failure!

The batch came out of the oven and looked like melted chocolate lava. It was bubbly and liquid like with a crunchy island crust on the top. I waited about 2.4 seconds before trying it anyway. I blew on it. I ate a bite. Then I spit it out. It tasted horrible! I wanted GOOD brownies. These tasted just like box brownies (which I hate the taste of). So… everyone else loved them. But, I was so disappointed I could have cried. I wanted delicious, ooey gooey goodness filled brownies that melt in your mouth and make ice cream on top, covered in chocolate syrup, look  and taste like a little slice of heaven. I wanted brownies that make you want to orgasm in chocolate flavored deliciousness when you sink your teeth into it. I did NOT want brownies that tasted like they came out of a box. I was so sad and angry… it was actually probably a bit of an overreaction, to be quite honest. But I miss brownies!

You have no idea how hard it is to not eat food that you enjoyed and you miss.

I have a rule of not bringing food into my house. Everyone breaks it. And I do mean everyone. I don’t mind my roommate bringing in food because 1) she is careful and 2) she asks before she brings it in. But it irritates the core of my very being to sit and watch people eat. I have tried to do the whole mind-over-matter, telling myself that “they are eating poison”, finding an alternative that works just as well, and other things that do help. But there are some things you cannot replace. How do you replace Doritos? You don’t. And they make a mess. Days after they are eaten, I am still cleaning up orange, toxic powder from all over the living room furniture. I am not being dramatic. I am being serious. It leaves welts on my son’s skin.

I also don’t like it when people bring their sandwiches over. My roommate is the only person who is super careful about it. Other people bring their sandwiches here and when they leave, I am left cleaning up bread crumbs. My skin is currently peeling off my hand from this. Why do people not get this? Please stop bringing food into my house! How hard is this to understand?

Let’s Pretend with ALLERGIES! AKA If Your Life Sucked as Bad as Mine

Let me explain this a little better. Imagine that you are in a room with people. This room is in your house… we’ll pretend it’s in the living room. And every one of those people are going to sit in every seat in your living room, including your sacred chair. You know what I mean. That one chair that is your chair and your chair ONLY. That one that you paid a ton of money for because it stands you up, massages your back, and heats your back… yea, that chair. They are sitting in your chair.

Now, imagine your favorite food. That dish that, if you were a little hungry, you would gleefully devour in about 2 bites or less… plate, fork, spoon, and all. That dish that is your absolute FAVORITE dish of all time. That one that will never be the same if you change the ingredients. There is just no way in the world to replace this food. If you aren’t following me on this part, pretend it’s corn. Your favorite food is corn. Okay? And its powdery corn or something…

Now, imagine that you are hungry… just a little hungry. Not starving to death, just a little hungry. It’s right before dinner and food is cooking and you are looking forward to eating. Now imagine that each person broke out your favorite dish and all of them got a nice heaping serving of it and ate it in front of you while you got to eat… nothing. You get nothing. Okay okay! You can have a small cup of water with unflavored gelatin in it and maybe a smidgen of sugar. Now sit quietly and chew your sugar-water and quit complaining. Other people are happily eating your favorite dish. Quit being such a party pooper.

Wait… What?

Sounds harsh, right? You are thinking, “I wouldn’t do that to a friend!” and “How horrible!” or something like that. Well, the people I know just think “Meh, just cuz she can’t eat it, don’t mean I have to go hungry.” And then there is probably some of you who are thinking “just take a bite and take Benadryl!”

If you try to sneak a bite, your skin will peel off, you will vomit for 30 minutes, your face will swell until duck lips look tiny in comparison. You will be covered in a burning, itching rash and you will poop out the liquid acid of death. Your gut will cramp so bad that you will wish you were dead, or at least giving birth so you have a reward in the end. You will have a few moments where you cannot breathe at all and your entire body hurts so bad, all the way to your bones, that tears run down your purple face as you violently shake and you will start to wonder if you are going to pass out or start gasping for air first… It’s not worth it.

AND while you are watching everyone else eat, you pray to whatever god you worship that they clean up well when they are done. If they don’t, you will be walking through your house with a little mine field all around you. Touched a chair without realizing that they touched it without washing their hands and rubbed a little corn juice on it and BAM!, your covered in a rash, your skin is peeling off, etc.

Now, just imagine yourself and your guests who come over and imagine everything you touch all day long. Think about your living room and what you touch when you are in it. Put powder on your hands and try going through your living room one day. Your hands touch all over the place. Now, that favorite chair of yours is suddenly a toxic threat. It’s covered in poison.

People don’t understand that being allergic to some things actually turns that thing into poison to you. If I were to sit down and eat Doritos, it would be like consuming poison. If I ate peanuts (and I did accidentally), I would be in the hospital. If I touch turkey, I go into fits where I am gasping for air and I can’t breathe! While all of my allergies are not this extreme, for the ones that are this extreme, is it too much to ask people to have a little respect? A little common courtesy?

Is It Too Much To Ask?

It’s not like I go into a restaurant and ask people not to eat their food in front of me. I don’t go to people’s houses and ask them to not eat in front of me. I am in my apartment. I am asking you to not contaminate my living space, my safety zone… my “bubble”, if you want to call it that. Is that too much to ask?