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July 22, 2014

Well, the process of breaking down a household after 11+ years has begun. Decades’ worth of books are in boxes to be sold at our garage sale; no need to have them around since I can’t focus my attention on books anymore. Of course I’ve kept the 45-year-old encyclopedias and the books from nursing school, as outdated as they are; maybe they’ll be worth something as antiques someday. There is also a set of books on the Presidents that my mother bought me, one by one, as they came out each month at the supermarket. They only go through LBJ—that’s how old they are—but the sentimental value is such that I’ll never get rid of them. Or the books from my childhood.

Oh, look: here is the punchbowl set I’ve had since I first moved out of my parents’ house. I still use it on occasion, so it stays. So will the dining room table and chairs, even though there’s only Will and I now and the only time people sit around the table is when the kids come over for dinner. It’s piled high now with sale items, so we can’t use it right now even if we wanted to. I also won’t be giving up the fancy glassware and dishes I still use for Thanksgiving and Christmas, the electric skillet my sister Louise got for me about 30 years ago and still works, or my mother’s turkey platter.

I AM getting rid of a batch of DVD movies and CDs, though. Most of those movies are on cable often enough that I never watch the DVD version, and of course with 2 iPods, I’m pretty much over CDs. I’m keeping some though, so at some point in life where I’m NOT running around with my hair on fire, I’ll import them to my main iPod and then get rid of them.

What I’m trying to remember, though, is that every single Item we don’t sell, give away, or pitch is an item we have to move, either to a storage facility or a house/apartment we don’t have yet. That’s why about half my wardrobe is going—if I ever reach a size 14 again in this lifetime, I’ll want new stuff anyway—and why I’m going to be tough on myself about the Christmas decorations (I have enough for a 15-room mansion). I mean, who needs THREE artificial trees?

I also have some costume jewelry that makes me wonder just what in the hell I was thinking when I bought it. I know I’ve gone through different fashion phases, and of course there’s that bipolar spending thing where I buy stuff just because I can. I’m not sure I can tell the difference when I look at the crazy earrings and choker necklaces on the table before me… fact, I have no memory of even buying most of it. That’s probably a good thing.

Then, there’s my carnival glass. This is glass that’s been made in such a way that there are iridescent streaks in it, and it’s beautiful. It’s called carnival glass because they used to give it away at carnivals way back in the 1920s and ’30s. I went through a period about 15 years ago when I collected tons of it (again with the manic shopping) and now most of it has been wrapped up in boxes out in the garage for the past decade. I know I need to get rid of it—if I haven’t used it or even displayed it in all these years, I certainly can do without it. But it won’t be easy. Maybe I’ll just sell the pieces that I’m not using and keep the ones I have out and around the house…..

It’s overwhelming, this business of moving after so many years in the same house. Everywhere I look, there’s more stuff to be gone through and either marked for sale, put away in boxes, or thrown away. I’ve found family pictures in some of the most unusual places (a hatbox, a briefcase, even among a batch of old 1040 tax forms and bankruptcy papers). Can’t get rid of those…..some of them even prove that I wasn’t always fat and middle-aged.

We needed to do this years ago. Why didn’t we? 


Sh*t Just Got Real

July 21, 2014

For someone who usually doesn’t take narcotics—even when prescribed and encouraged—I’m somewhat amazed that I’ve given myself permission to do so this time. The belly pain is still there, although it’s much better than it was and I’m sleeping great. The main problem is, I have become…..well, as your grandma would say…..bound up. It’s a common occurrence in people taking pain meds, and as indelicate as the subject is, I’m still a nurse, and nurses aren’t the least bit afraid to talk about these matters.

Not to put too fine a point on things, but doing business these days feels more like bricks making their way out sideways. Anyone who has ever experienced this phenomenon knows what it’s like to sit there for 45 minutes and sweat buckets while trying to relieve the pressure, and then when you finally do offload, the result is the size of…..a walnut. That’s it. Oh, you may THINK you need to do more, and you do, but that’s all you can manage. So you go take a swig of prune juice or Milk of Magnesia if you’ve got it, make a wry face because of the taste, and hope for the best. 

Well, the “best” hasn’t happened yet, so I’m trying to be a good sport while feeling like I’ve gained 50 pounds in two days. In the meantime, I think I’ll lay off the Vicodin and bring on the Dulcolax. I hate sitting on the throne feeling like I’m giving birth. In fact, I’d rather go through unmedicated childbirth again than deal with this… least I’d get something good out of it.

You ever notice how your values change when you can’t “go”? I don’t CARE about the plane crash in the Ukraine or the fact that I am in desperate need of a shower. I don’t care that I just sold my seldom-used bike and made $40 that I didn’t have before. I only want to get the mail moving again.

So Will is out getting me some stool softeners while I look longingly at the Vicodin bottle, needing to take some but fearing the consequences. Hmm, maybe I’ll try some Motrin instead and see if that works. I don’t want to be in pain, but I also don’t like feeling as though I’m sitting on a bowling ball. Nor do I particularly appreciate the fact that this never used to happen to me when I was younger. In my 40s I could take Percocet for a week after a kidney stone surgery and never have a moment of trouble with my plumbing; obviously that is no longer the case. Phooey! 



NOW What??

July 19, 2014

As if I didn’t have enough on my plate…..last night I started having belly pain on the right side which did NOT go away with the morning light, so Will insisted on taking me to the ER, as did my primary care doctor.

I don’t have a gallbladder or an appendix, so that rules out any condition involving those organs. I wondered about a kidney stone (which I do have, but is not the cause of this particular pain). After being treated to the full-meal deal (IV fluids, blood work, and a CT scan with IV contrast) the ER doc said there was nothing wrong with my inner workings, except for some good-sized cysts on both my ovaries. Next thing I knew, they had made an appointment for me to visit a gynecologist in early August, and I got to go home with a nice Dilaudid/Zofran cocktail (medicine for pain and nausea) with a Vicodin chaser. It still hurt, I just didn’t give a damn anymore.

Great. I haven’t been to a GYN in years and had hoped to avoid doing so ever again. Not that I have anything against them, I simply haven’t needed one since the end of my reproductive years back in my late 40s. Now I don’t know what to think. The ER doc said it’s not the usual thing for a woman past menopause to have these things, which is the reason for the urgency, but then I had them when I was still having periods so I can’t get too excited about it.

All I know is, this was yet another expensive trip to the ER that I’ll never be able to pay off, and God only knows what lies ahead. But for now, it’s one foot in front of the other…..and if I have to spend a little time in Vicodin Land while I’m trudging along, so be it.

Bipolar Bites

July 18, 2014

…..except when it doesn’t.

God must be listening to the people who are praying for Will and me, because other than that hiccup in June, I am having NO issues with my illness. (OK, it was more than a hiccup, but it was over with pretty quickly.) It’s like it doesn’t even exist. Yes, I take a fistful of pills every morning and night to keep it in its hiding place, but with everything else I’ve got going on in my life, I am blessed indeed not to have to deal with bipolar.

Not to worry though; I am under no illusions that I’m cured or that it won’t come back to bite me in the ass again. My last hope of that was dashed when I had those back-to-back episodes last fall, and the point was reinforced when I had to go back on that second anti-psychotic in March, this time to stay. I have made up my mind that this is the way it has to be, at least as long as Dr. Awesomesauce says so, and I need to quit fighting it because it only tires me out.

I will confess that I miss my hypomania. I could use a little dose of that right now, with all that has to be accomplished in the next few weeks. Sometimes I look at the pills in my hand and think “What if I just ‘forget’ the Zyprexa or the Geodon for a week?” And then I think of what it took to get me to where I am—all the med adjustments and the blood, sweat, and tears—and I promptly drop those thoughts right into the circular file in my head. It’s SO not worth upsetting the delicate balance of chemicals to have a week or two of extra energy and fun. Besides, as we all know, it usually doesn’t stop there, and the last thing anyone needs at a time like this is me going totally ape shit. End of discussion.

This beast isn’t what it was two years ago, hell, not even one year ago. It still interferes with my life in some ways, like cutting my nursing career short and making it hard for me to stay focused. I still need to take medications and abide by my sleep routine and see Dr. A on a regular basis. But somewhere along the line, things have changed to where I see it like this: I have bipolar, but itdoesn’t have me. And that makes a HUGE difference in the way I feel about it and deal with it.

Thanks, God. :-)

While Rome Burns

July 17, 2014

There’s something to be said for standing by and watching your life fall apart around you…..but somehow I doubt it would be appropriate for all audiences.

I don’t seem to be able to get much done in the area of finding a job OR another place to live. I have applied for one job I think I might be able to handle (resident services coordinator for a retirement complex) and thrown away about 4 dozen bottle of nail polish and a pile of old birthday banners, decorations and stuff. (Why the hell do I think I’m going to reuse an “It’s A Boy!” sign when I haven’t hosted a baby shower in nine years?) Oh yeah, and I’ve filled one whole box with books and miscellany.

Meanwhile, my son Ethan has done some legwork and made arrangements for us to go see several apartments on Friday, so at least someone is helping us look for a new home, even though we’d prefer to stay in our small city. Besides, he wants us close by so we can see each other a little more often, which I can’t say I feel bad about. My sister Louise also lives in that area, which would mean more frequent visits with her as well. Not the worst of all worlds to be sure.

It’s just so hard to get motivated. We don’t have a target date for move-out, and we’re still paying some rent here so it’s difficult (read: impossible) to save anything. And I have to admit that I’m afraid to start all over again in a new place, because my unemployment runs out in late October or early November. What if I don’t find a job before then? I don’t fancy being homeless in the chill of autumn….of course, we could stay with our daughter and her family, but this is obviously not the best option. They need to live their own lives, and we need our privacy. But it’s good to know that we have a place to go if we need it.

There’s so much that needs to be done. Boxes to buy, things to pack up, stuff to go through and get rid of, a yard sale to organize. Not to mention a job to find. The whole mess is so overwhelming that I feel like I’m rooted to the spot while time and opportunity are rushing by at the speed of sound. I don’t want to get to the point where someone has to light a fire under my ass to motivate me. But it certainly is difficult to get into the spirit of the occasion when the only thing that’s going right is being in a stable mood.

And I’m absurdly grateful for that. Oh Lord, what a clusterfuck this would be if I were bouncing off the walls or down in the dumps. Yes, my mind is racing and I’m restless and agitated, but for once it’s not because of my illness, only a reaction to the chaos around me. The meds are holding me together beautifully—who knew that tiny bit of Zyprexa would make such a difference!?—and I’m sleeping well. What a difference from a year or two ago!

Now, if I could just quit fiddling while Rome burns…..

bpnurse: Woman Of (Distr)Action

July 15, 2014

Living in a world of chaos these days, I’m finding it challenging to stick with any one course of action longer than a bird can stay on one tree branch. There is so much to do in preparation for moving 3,000 square feet of stuff to God only knows where, and I’ve been running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off. I haven’t even been able to concentrate long enough to write in the past few days. Now that’s distracted.

Just this morning, I was going through a pile of stuff that Will had set out for me when I got a wild hair and decided I was going to go through my 500 or so bottles of nail polish and get rid of most of them. About halfway through that, I decided I’d better get back to weeding out the other stuff and box up what we’re not going to sell at our garage sale next weekend. (Gotta make some money somehow.) By the time I finally accomplished the thing (whee! one box filled already!) I’d forgotten about the nail polish and sat down at the computer to try and find something to write about. I’ve been trying for two days and come up with nothing, despite the fact that there’s plenty going on.

I’m not manic or even hypo, but my thoughts are racing and I feel speeded up, like I need to keep moving even though I’m not sure where I want to go or what I want to do. My baseline mood is decent, although I’ve been irritable at times, once to the point where Will made a remark about it the other day. Even writing feels pressured, as if I’m wasting time by sitting here typing when I really need to be doing something else. 

I still can’t eat much, despite the fact that my UTI has cleared up and I don’t feel nauseated anymore—I just have no appetite. I get hungry, but nothing sounds good so I usually don’t bother until Will puts food under my nose and tells me to eat. The only thing I’ve eaten in over a week that tasted good at all was the tacos my daughter, Mandy, made last night. She cooks the meat with the seasonings for over two hours. It’s a long wait, but well worth it. Now, I’m back to where it’s going on 3 in the afternoon and I still haven’t eaten…..there’s just too much else to do.

In the meantime, my son Ethan is looking for places close to where he and his husband Clark live. I don’t want to move to a city, especially one that’s miles away from everything and everyone we know, but we can’t rule it out. Logic tells me that there’s more housing and more jobs up there, and Ethan may very well be right. It also doesn’t hurt my feelings that they want us near them so we can see each other more often.

Which reminds me, I’d better get back to going through that last batch of nail enamel. Think I’ll sell the good stuff at our garage sale…..young girls love that shit. It’s a small step, to be sure, but at least it’s moving forward. Even though we haven’t got the foggiest idea of where we’re going!


Suckage: A Song (With Apologies To Jerry Garcia)

July 13, 2014

And now, for something a little different (if not particularly chirpy), here’s a little ditty I composed while sitting at the computer listening to classic rock music.

To the tune Truckin’ by The Grateful Dead:


man my life’s a mess


I’m totally stressed


where the hell do I belong?

But I’m gonna keep hangin’ on…..

Livin’ like I have ain’t always been easy

Sometimes I don’t know if I’m coming or if I’ve gone

In debt up to my ass, creditors just keep on callin’

Don’t they know that I’ll never answer the phone?


man my life’s a mess


I’m totally stressed


where the hell do I belong?

But I’m gonna keep hangin’ on…..

Busted flat, I dunno where I’m goin’

All I know is I have to figure it out soon

I’d like to have more time before I leave here

but I’ll probably still be singin’ the same old tune


man my life’s a mess


I’m totally stressed


where the hell do I belong?

But I’m gonna keep hangin’ on…..





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