I’m Back! Did You Miss Me? I Did!

I have been slightly busy lately. I did get a job for a bit. I worked two weeks before I was fired. I can’t get anyone to hire me so I am considering the fact that, eventually, I may need to move. I dread this idea because Montana is perfect for me. I spent time thinking about it and deciding where to go but I am just not sure yet. 

I traveled to southern California to get away from the smoke of the wildfires raging in Montana. The trip was nice but made me realize how much I really love it in Montana. When I go back, I am going to double down on either making my own money or getting a job. I’m not really holding my breath on either though. In five years, I have not had any luck with either except for a spurt of income here or there.

I was thinking of starting YouTube back up but, I am working on the motivation… I figured, if I started blogging again, I would get motivated to do YouTube. Is it working? We’ll see.

The CV Axle, The Drive, and Why Does No One Listen To Me?

Ever since I started therapy years ago, my big complaint is that no one listens to me. I am not taken seriously. Let’s take this trip as an example.

No to CV – Part 1

Before we left, like a month or so before, my son took the car to a mechanic. He’s a good mechanic and I needed the CV axle changed out. We had the part and everything. He dropped the car off and left for So Cal. I got a call that it wasn’t the CV axle and it was the (forgot which part) instead. I asked if they could change the CV axle anyway and they insisted it didn’t need changed. It was fine. So they got the part, fixed it, even drove it to my apartment. But, they didn’t change the CV axle. Meh. Fine. Whatever.

I drive the car to a few out of town places and I can still hear the occasional sound of my car wanting the CV axle changed. It sounds… off. The wildfires start, the smoke rolls in, and we debate on leaving and heading south. The smoke was pretty thick. I mean, the state was on fire, it was bad.

Screenshot_20170907-063601.png
Screenshot of the map before we left… or the day we left… or something.

I have asthma but my youngest son has worse asthma than I do. I was starting to feel dizzy just walking through the apartment to use the bathroom. I forgot to screenshot the air quality map but it was pretty bad. It wasn’t the worst level, but it was really close.

We finally decided we did need to leave because we had the doors and windows shut and it was still hard to breathe. Plus, with the doors and windows shut, it was hot as hell in my apartment. So, we finally packed up and left.  I snapped this picture at one of our stops.

Smoke at a rest area
Smoke masks the mountains at a Montana rest stop.

There was so much smoke filtering the sun that I could walk around with no sleeves on and we could stare directly at the sun without solar viewing glasses. Each stop was a quick, “Get out, go pee, get back in, and let’s go.”

Starting to worry

I was starting to worry about the car around Missoula. I could really hear the metal on metal sound. I didn’t say anything to my ex or my older son in Cali because I didn’t want to worry them.

We slept at a rest area near Billings where the sky was clear. It was so nice to breathe again without feeling like I was snorkeling through Jell-O. We were still coughing up crap (and we still are to this day) but it was easier to breathe, we could stop for longer rest breaks, and Jack-Jack was able to run around a bit at the stops. 

We made it to Buffalo, Wyoming for a gas stop. When we were pulling into the gas station, I heard a sound that I am not sure what the hell it was but it wasn’t good. I pumped gas and then tried to drive off. It was horrible. The car was shaking when I tried to move. The only blessing is that we broke down right in front of a mechanic shop. 

No to CV – Part 2

I went over and they said it was the power steering pump, ordered the part, and let us hang out in their parking lot (because, like, where were we going to go?). One of the ladies came to the car and offered to buy us a hotel room for the night and watch our cat. I was really happy about that but we were fine car camping. They were great! I mean, they really went above and beyond… except they wouldn’t change out the CV axle.

At that point, I was just happy they changed out the power steering pump and still happy that they worked to get us in the day the part came in (usually it takes a week to get your car worked on. They were booked.) The next morning, they got the power steering pump changed out, and we got on our way.

We can still make it!

And that is when I really started to worry about the car. I was consistently hearing a clicking sound (for lack of a better description) and feeling the grinding every time I turned. I started having issues with it vibrating when I hit 65 mph so I started driving anything below that. 

We made it out of Wyoming and into Utah. I HAD to drive highway speed through Salt Lake City area (it was a little south of it, I think) because I didn’t feel like being run over. We made it out of the heavy traffic and by then, I was a nervous wreck. The car felt like shit, it was vibrating so bad I half expected to watch a tire run off from my car, and the grinding was worse.

I still didn’t say anything because I thought we’d be able to make it to the Lancaster area without having someone come rescue us. (I was wrong)

I can’t drive 55! No really. I can’t.

So, after Salt Lake City, I found a private/public rest area to take a nap in because my adrenaline rush wore off. They have nice rest areas! It’s at a Chevron station that has a HUGE parking lot. We parked in the back and I slept for a bit. Then we headed off to the next rest area once it was cooler outside. 

The ride there was slow. I could do about 55 mph without it shaking to pieces while I drove. So, to everyone in Utah driving on I-15 southbound… I am so sorry. I know I held up traffic and I apologize profusely… and thank you for not running me off the road.

After rest area #2 in Utah, we headed on with our trip and I knew I was going to have a hard time. I could only go 50 mph without it shaking to death.

We made it to the Moapa exit in Nevada. I slept for a bit because it’s really draining to drive a car that you aren’t sure is going to fall apart while you are driving it down the interstate. I was seriously worried I was going to end up killing someone when the car fell apart.

Then we headed out again. I was dreading driving through Las Vegas but we made it through. I drove at about 65 mph with the car shaking horribly the whole way. I white knuckled the steering wheel. I won’t lie… I was terrified. My chest hurt from the stress.

Once out of Las Vegas, I slowed back down to 50 mph. Then we hit the mountains coming into California.

You shall not pass!

Driving up the mountain pass this time was like trying to bike uphill. I was happy when I hit 35 mph. We made it almost up the mountain when the car overheated and I had to take an exit to let it cool down. We sat there for about an hour… maybe. And then headed to the rest area the was not too far from there. It had overheated by the time we got there.

By then, it was getting hot, we were miserable, and the car sounded like it chewing metal while we drove. We couldn’t go very fast at all. I was updating the guys in So Cal to how bad it really was at this point. I figured it was close enough for a rescue if I needed it.

Eff this! Come get me!

Back on the road, we made it to Barstow where we stopped in a park and parked under a tree for shade. I needed Benadryl from the extreme heat and I was starting to get a headache. I took my medicine and sent messages of how we were staying right there until it cooled down.

After chatting through text about how bad the car was doing, my older son decided to come get me with his friend… and I was totally cool with this idea because I didn’t feel like getting stranded in the desert with no cell signal!  I also mentioned that, oh yea, by the way, no one will change out the CV axle. He wasn’t happy.

They stopped to get some parts to help fix the car and then headed there. I slept for a bit enjoying the shade while we waited. 

And my car is toast

When they showed up, first thing they did was check the fluids. I had already checked all the fluids (except the transmission fluid) and they were good. When they checked, the coolant was low. WHAT?! I was so mad.

Then, I was like, “Hey, let me drive this so you can hear the grind.” Only when I drove it… no noise. I was so pissed at my car I could have spit fire. After a little bit of inspecting, they decided to test drive it. They didn’t make it out of the parking lot before stopping and saying, “Oh hell no! This is getting fixed here!”

We found a parking lot that was flat so they could fix it. They started taking it apart and saw how bad it was and decided to call for a tow. Only, the AAA that we have, only covers seven miles for towing. You gotta be fucking kidding me. Who the hell needs a seven mile tow??? It was going to cost $780 something to tow it back to my ex’s place.

So we debate amongst ourselves on what to do. The meds were all fine by then and my headache was gone, so I said I could just drive the car while they followed. I mean, I drove it this far, right! Right? Hehe.

It’s like slowly driving the car into the ground

We started driving and Oh. My. GAWD. We could safely do about 40 mph… if you want to call it safe. The car was shaking to death. We would pull over to let people pass then pull back onto the highway. And then I hit a railroad track… I could feel the wheel shaking and it sounded like the car was coming apart at the seems. 

My older son had to take over after that. We were safely doing 25 to 35 mph the rest of the way back to his place. The front driver side tire looked slanted and you could see the shaking from the follow car at times.

My car is now parked in a garage awaiting repair. And guess what needs to be replaced…

The CV Axle! It’s the CV axle! It needs changed. Who’d of thunk it!? It was like a huge mystery that no one would have guessed! 

I am not mad at the second mechanic. They fixed the main problem of the moment and went out of their way to get us in ASAP to fix it. I thank them.

But the first mechanic… why didn’t you just change it out? We had the part! I was willing to pay for it.

I am over being pissed off but THIS is what I keep saying. No one will listen to me. It’s like I am yelling into a void. Is it because I am a woman? Cuz I will totally have a sex change if it means someone will finally fucking listen to me! 

Why won’t people listen to me? I want to know. 

Anyway, we are here now. I am making pizza today. I will be working on a YouTube video for my gluten-free flour recipe. We’ll be here for a least a couple of weeks. I’ll keep you updated. we’ll probably be here a couple of weeks. I miss home but this is okay for now because at least my CV axle will be changed out (and everything else we ruined by driving with a bad CV axle)

Evacuating

Because the fire is getting closer and the area is getting smokier, the entire county is on Ready in the Ready-Set-Go series.

Ready means to get ready. It’s basically planning ahead. Have your evacuation route ready and all that good stuff.

Set is the pre-evacuation. That is where you pack all your stuff and get ready to actually leave.

And of course, GO, is actually getting the hell out of there. You know, evacuating.

Like I said, the entire county is on Ready. Parts of the areas to the south of us are on Set and the west side of the highway going south has evacuated completely.

So… because of that and the smoke getting to us, we are taking initiative and evacuating. We’ll head to my ex’s place a few states away and hopefully we won’t take too long getting there.

You can follow me on my facebook page (See Stalker’s Guide for the link). I will be posting updates on there occasionally as I get WiFi. I’ll be back to blogging soon… just in a different part of the country. Hopefully one that isn’t smothered by smoke.

See you then!

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!

By Popular Demand: All the Useless Crap I Got for Christmas

The first time someone snidely told me to be sure to post pictures of all the useless crap I got for Christmas, it was because they didn’t have enough money to buy anything and they were taking it out on me. I was quite hurt but, I let it go.

The next time someone spat “Enjoy all your useless shit!” at me, it was because they didn’t like their presents. They felt they were entitled to more.

The last time someone said that “at least you had a Christmas” in a rude tone…

You know what. Fuck all of you. Let me tell you about my Christmas. First, the list of useless crap I got for Christmas.

1. A purple RCA Voyager 7 touchpad from my ex. Thank you ML.
2. A bottle of Rumpleminze from Dad and Mom. Thank you, Dad and Mom!

Yep, that was it. While it may seem small to some, others are throwing it in my face because at least I got presents.

Okay, now guess what I bought my children, you petty little bitches. Go ahead. Guess. I will wait while you take a guess.

Answer: Not a damned thing.

I have no income, so I can’t afford to buy any Christmas presents for my kids. The only presents they got were from my parents and from their dad. In fact, if it weren’t for their dad and my dad, we wouldn’t have had a much of a Christmas.

Because I am broke doesn’t mean that I couldn’t DO something for my kids though.

Together, we made a “fancy” meal. Read as “something other than lentils and rice”. We had bison, chicken, homemade mac and cheese, biscuits, broccoli, carrots, and some other foods. While I did not make the whole meal, I helped and I made the mac and cheese (my specialty).

After we ate, we watched a movie together and played games. I found an ocean monument in Minecraft! It felt like a special day, even though I could not give my kids gifts. It was still a special day because we went to my parents to exchange gifts. And by that, I mean, I gave my parents a bottle of whiskey that my ex paid for, and I got a bottle of Rumpleminze. I needed it too.

It was a special day despite the few gifts because I did something special with my family. I got to spend the entire day with them.

I am pretty hurt that people can be so petty and nasty just because my family made sure we had presents and a nice day despite the fact that the rest of the year we fucking starve and have nothing to look forward to.

It made me feel so loved that my kids took the time to help me set up the tree and then prop it up vicariously with random heavy objects from around the house. Why? Because we can’t afford a nice tree. No. Ours is a hand me down that is missing half the legs and doesn’t stand on its own.

In fact, we didn’t decorate our tree at all this year for fear that all the ornaments would break when it fell over. Not IF it fell over, but WHEN it fell over. It fell a lot. But it had lights and made the apartment feel a little festive.

I needed that too. Even though we are poor, more poor than I have ever been, I don’t take it out on everyone else. I don’t hurl insults at people who can pay their rent each month. I am just grateful I am not homeless yet.

And this is why I hate the holiday season. Because even when I cannot afford anything, I become the verbal whipping boy for the poor community.

I am sick of it. If you think you can’t have Christmas without presents, then you are what is wrong with this holiday.

My Ex is Awesome.

Most people would not call their ex “awesome” but I can honestly say my ex is AWESOME! I have Fibromyalgia, seizures, chronic pain (to name the big three) and have one heck of a time staying upright long enough to blog or work on my writing.

He heard my lamenting loud and clear! I miss blogging! But since it is not my income, I cannot justify sitting up and hurting myself long enough to get a post out.

So guess what he did. He bought me an RCA Voyager touchpad as my holiday gift. I had been playing around with it and I excitedly report to you all that I can blog! I can blog while sitting reclined in my chair! I can blog without having to ask someone to help me lift my laptop that sits on a heavy piece of wood!

I CAN BLOG!

Know what that means? Starting 2015, I have no excuses to not blog. So, stating January 5, 2015 I will be posting regularly. I set my start date for the 5th so I can get an early start on my blog and keep myself motivated.

See you all then!