better today

Today was bad and good.

I woke up feeling like shit. My eyes were puffed and stinging from all the crying the night before. My shoulders and neck were stiff and sore, despite having taken a muscle relaxer the night before.
I didn’t have an appetite so I grazed on stuff here and there instead of making a meal.

I went outside to my car and it was a lot colder than the previous day or evening had been, due to the storm that had rolled through. So I bundled up with my scarf, put on my gloves, and took off, heading towards the gas station.

I drove right past the police station, and a motorcycle cop shot out and followed me. He pulled me over. I had no idea why until I came to a stop, rolled down my window, and went to unbuckle my seatbelt.

That’s when I realised I’d not put my seatbelt on.

I always put my seatbelt on, ever since my car accident in 1994.

The cop was apologetic. He ran my license – clean. He came back and apologised – said it’s “click it or ticket” month and he HAD to give me a ticket. I took the damned ticket and had no way to explain myself. “But I just forgot this once” doesn’t cut it when they’re on official quota for a specific violation. The ticket will cost me betwen $78 and $89.

I nearly cried right there after the cop left. I nearly turned my car around to go back home and sob again. But for some reason, I put on my seatbelt and continued on my way.

“I have no choice” rang in my head again.

I got to work and began my day. I felt like I could have a nervous breakdown at any moment. My shoulders continued to tighten.

Just before lunchtime, a disgruntled cow-orker of mine informed me that one of our cow-orkers had been fired.

Well, last Friday, another cow-orker was fired (I later found out she was threatening management to hire her full time so they told her to feck off), and another cow-orker quit without another job lined up because this company is that stressful to people.

Later on, I was told that the cow-orker who was fired today was told it was for poor performance. I was told she’d had more than one warning. But the thing is, how is it poor performance when she was taking between 33 and 48 calls per day? That’s about what I take.
Well, another cow-orker told me that good performers take up to SIXTY calls per day.

So now I wonder if I’m next to be fired.

“There must be better ways than this, I ask you” – 1000 Homo DJs

I worked through lunch and left early to go to another MRI appointment. This is the one that was denied, then accepted by the insurance company. It’s for my neck/shoulder pain and is related to the car accident. Sounds sick to say but I was happy that my shoulder felt like it was about to go out, and I was in pain laying there for 20 minutes in the MRI tube. Because that means something was going on and something will show up on film for the doctor to look at.

When I got out of the MRI office, I had to take an anti-anxiety pill. I HATE the noise from those things. This time, the attendant was nice enough to tell me how many minutes each iteration would last. So I counted the seconds and tried not to let the loud noise of the MRI machine take over the counting. .. if that makes sense. The noise made different pitches of sounds. And as I count, I tend to get OCD with counting sometimes. But on top of the OCD, I tend to let sound get in the way of counting. So instead of a steady “one one thousand, two one thousand”, my brain lets the sound dictate how the seconds will be counted, and they’ll draw out longer or be shorter. I amused myself by fighting against that, and freaked out less by the sounds this time.

But as I said, I still needed an anti-anxiety pill when I got out of there. I had remembered to grab the camera this morning, and so I drove straight to the estuary after my appointment, and snapped pictures of ducks, geese, sandpipers, seagulls, foliage, the shoreline, and ground squirrels.

Special note to Mel: I didn’t feed the ducks but I did enjoy watching them. They make me think of my sister, who loves ducks. :)

I’d post the pix but I STILL don’t have photoshop on the new machine. I keep bugging my boyfriend for a crack of it.

I got home and the depression set in again. I wonder if it’s the friggin house, or just the fact that I’ve come home and that’s the end of my day and I’m on the countdown before bed again. I’m so stressed out by time regulation it isn’t funny.
So I started drinking.

I only had two drinks. It was enough to get me nice and fuzzy. I chatted online with friends for a bit, then took a shower.

Now it’s time for bed.

breaking

Still having breakthrough bleeding.

Enjoyed the sights on the way home because of the storm clouds.

Got home and sobbed for half an hour straight while pacing the house and clutching my head.

I hate the synthetic hormones.

I hate my job.

I’m waiting for the on-call nurse to call me back. She’ll probably tell me to get off the Yasmin. But then I bleed and get horrible cramps.

Either way, I might have to miss more work. I can either miss due to being mental sobbing basket case or I can miss due to dying menstrual pain.

And we just got lectured on Saturday on our mandatory overtime day at work that we can only take 3 days off total per month from now on.
And I’ve already taken 3 this month as of tomorrow when I have to leave early to get another MRI (car accident related – to get my neck looked at this time).

As of this Friday I will have worked 100 hours since March 16th.

Crying resumes.

Crying stopped by 8pm when I took a shower.

The on-call nurse never called back.

I considered at one point during my pacing and sobbing that I should just take myself to the Emergency Room and commit myself.

But fear took hold.

I have to be at work – I’m afraid to miss any more days.

I’m afraid to be locked up for longer than I need.

I’m afraid of how much it will cost to be locked up.

I didn’t try calling the on-call nurse or the manager because I was afraid they’d tell me to stop taking the Yasmin, and if I stop taking it, I will bleed and have pain again.

Oh and don’t say ‘how do you know?’
I’m tired of having to prove myself to people. I’m so goddamned tired of being the one who knows myself best, yet having to prove to the medical establishment and anyone else who talks to me that YES, I DO know myself well enough to make a statement about what MY BODY will or will not DO.

I TOLD everyone I get psycho and messed up on synthetic hormones. I was asked to prove myself with “oh they’ve changed the dosage in the past seventeen years, just try it out” and “oh but you never tried THIS one before, just try it” and “you’ll never know unless you JUST TRY IT”. I’ve proved myself.

Now the only quandry is do I continue to prove myself or have I proven myself enough? When is it enough for me and the world? Am I now on a mission to prove to MYSELF – that is to say, have I lost the ability to TRUST myself over this??? Is that why I go on?
So the quandry is do I stay mental and miss more work or do I go off the Yasmin and get bleedy painful doom again and miss more work?

I make my case again for disability insurance. Only, I’m never sick enough for the federal government (social security disability insurance – SSDI). They say my disability means I can’t work AT ALL for a year or more. THEN they’ll give me money. And it will never be enough to live on.

I make my case therefore for reset button.

the brain won’t stop

I never did get to finish my last post. I had to finish getting ready for work and then left for work. Suffice it to say that the depression passed, and I felt better on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Today is the usual anxiety day – I have to get housecleaning and laundry done before returning to work again tomorrow. I only had one day off work this week because we were forced to work on Saturday to test the new CRM.

I’ve been on manic mode since Friday. I’ve got too much energy, I’m having weird dreams, my legs keep twitching and bouncing, my neck and shoulders are sore, I ramble on and on not just here, but in talking with people face to face, rapidly changing subject like someone with Attention Deficit Disorder.

Next depression? Dunno when. It’s a roller coaster when one is on synthetic hormones. It wasn’t this much of a roller coaster just having hormonal imbalance. Adding synthetic hormones to the mix just makes it a whole new level of f***ed up.

There’s other stuff, too. There’s TMI stuff. Stop reading now if you don’t want to hear about TMI grossness.

….

A lovely side effect of taking Yasmin is yeast infection. I got something to take care of it, but then I started bleeding. It is light but has lasted for several days already. I’ve been wearing pads again. Perhaps it’s breakthrough bleeding because george caught on that he was supposed to show up last weekend but was suppressed? I dunno.

I’m about to change schedule of when I take my pill again, too, because I keep forgetting to take it at night before bed. I’m constantly between 1 and 3 hours late. That could also be why I’m getting breakthrough bleeding. So now I’ll try taking the pill with my lunch. I can’t take it with dinner cuz I rarely eat dinner. I get home from work and graze on popcorn or I drink booze. I need to take the pill with food or I get nauseous.

Another thing I’m going to alter again is my sugar intake. I remember sugar playing a significant role in my depressions before, and I’ve been craving sugar like nobody’s business since being on the pill. So it has to go. I know this means I’ll have another emotional meltdown due to withdrawls, but I have to do this for long term sanity. Here’s hoping that this helps me out.

Regarding the drinking….well… yeah. I need to stop that again too. Let’s just take it one thing at a time, shall we?

Depression

I’ve been depressed since March 14th. I took most of the day off work on the 15th, and the entire day off on the 16th. The anxiety that resulted from being off work intensified my depression, because I was afraid I’d be fired when I returned on Monday.

On top of that, I spent the weekend from Friday through Sunday with anxiety panic moments over the thought of returning to work on Monday – not because I thought I’d be fired, but because I just didn’t want to go back.

I returned back to work on Monday to no firing – no reprimands – no nothing. However, my depression worsened:
Now that I’m full time, I’m expected to participate in the weekly company meetings, which fall on Mondays. This means that once a week, I have to give up my lunch hour – it’s mandatory. Oh sure, they pay me for it, but I’m lucky if I have ten minutes to scarf my lunch down (half the time it takes that long just to assemble and reheat my specially prepared gluten-free lunch). On the Mondays when I have to work through lunch on the phones so other groups can attend the meeting, I only have time for two very hasty bites between phone calls, resulting in a cold lunch and foul mental state.

Then there’s the mandatory charity outings that the company invokes upon its employees. This month’s endeavour entails spending a day out in the sunshine pulling weeds and other laborious work for a nature preserve. Paid, of course.
The Yasmin pill makes me very sensitive to sunlight. My eyes hurt and I can burn easily. The company simply says, “wear sunblock”.
I’m not the only one grumbling about this. It was brought up in the company meeting that people across teams and departments are grumbling loudly against participating in charity stuff as part of the job description. Despite it being part of the job description, we must sign a waiver that should we become injured on such an outing, our company is NOT to blame.
I’m not scheduled to go for another couple of weeks, but I’m trying to find a way out.

Back to my depression – Monday night I came straight home from work and drank myself drunk. I woke up Tuesday morning with a slight hangover. Tuesday I took a total of 3 Lorazepam for anxiety – two at work and one on the way home.
I got home from work Tuesday evening and did some dishes and went to bed before 9pm. I was awakened at 1am by my boyfriend, who was just crawling into bed, wanting to know if I’d set my alarm.

This set off another panic attack, only this time, I didn’t have any medication. I wasn’t supposed to have gone to bed so early – I was supposed to pick up my prescription. And I’d also forgotten to take my Yasmin pill. I whined near tears at my boyfriend for allowing me to have slept. It’s not his fault but I was panicked.
I did my breathing exercises and soon fell back to sleep.

Woke up this morning with a left shoulder so sore, it feels like it’s about to go out again.

…and now it’s time to go to work.

Time off work

I get anxiety at work. I stay home from work. That causes anxiety cuz I fear I’ll be fired for taking time off.

I can’t win.

I had my mental breakdown on Wednesday. I went in to work on Thursday. I lasted til my first break at 10am and asked to go home. I was told I could go after I finished the email support.

Well. There were 19 emails assigned to me. Plus several escalation cases I had to get back to people on. So even though I was relieved of phone duty, I still had to do email support, and this took another hour and a half.

I got home and took a nap. That alone seemed to help, and the swelling in my eyes lessened considerably. I then called my neurologist and asked again for the referrals to the MRI and EEG tests. I’d requested to see the neurologist a few months ago to finally address the non-english speech outbursts I’ve had (think of it like Tourette’s) ever since the car accident in 1994 when my head bowed out the windshield.
I think the only one who’s ever heard my outbursts is my man. It’s very embarrassing even when it leaks out in front of him. I’m pretty good at controlling it but I’m tired of having to constantly monitor myself consciously like that. It drains me to be on continuous self filter mode.

I got the phone numbers and to my fortune, was able to score both appointments for TODAY. That seems like that never happens – I jumped at the luck and called my boss back to let her know I’d be off work Friday, too.
I never got ahold of her directly, thus adding to my anxiety. “What if she didn’t get the message? What if the other managers weren’t informed that I’m not coming in today either? What if I get pegged as a no-show?” etc.
And yet, I felt so much better to be taking care of an outstanding issue.

I had to be up at my usual time (5:30am) today to get to the MRI appointment at 7am in Berkeley. I got there really early. I never know what traffic will be like, going in that direction.
During the MRI, I didn’t get claustrophobic like many people have described, but what I wasn’t expecting was the noise. UGH.
Even though I had earplugs, the noise really rattled my nerves. My mind flashed back to Drew Barrymore’s character (Charlie) during the MRI scene in the old movie Firestarter, heh. I finally understood why she was so upset!
At least, I *think* I remember that being the movie and the character…hmm, maybe I should buy it.

The good news is that they gave me the films to take to my neurologist. The bad news is that I can’t get a followup appointment with the neurologist until MAY.

I came home, worked on some genealogy stuff, and then a few hours later had to go back to Berkeley for the EEG. They put nasty gritty gel in various places on my head, and put the tight-fitting hat with electrodes on me. I had a ‘belt’ across my chest to monitor my breathing. I had to lay down during the test and close my eyes and just relax. Then after a time, it was announced that there would be a strobing light, which would increase in frequency to over 20 strobes per second. I tried to ponder that and prepare for it, mentally.
I normally don’t like strobing lights – I began to get irritated with them in the clubs back around five years or so ago. But the strobing light during the EEG traumatised me. I had tears welling up in my eyes not just from the flashes, but because I was ready to have a panic attack. I had to keep telling myself the same thing I did during the MRI, “just be calm, just be calm, just be calm…”

The good news on the EEG is that I can call my doctor to get the results in a few days.

Yasmin update: I haven’t had an appetite for any food, despite a starving, rumbling stomach. I get hungry, look at a world of food options, and don’t want any of it. I’ve been getting the point of wanting to throw up before I force food into my gullet.
Also, george is due tomorrow, and I’ve been feeling some tiny pelvic pains, like george is buried deep down, going ‘WTF?’ in a straitjacket.

HAH. GOOD.

The bad ain’t over, yet

Ragey again this week. Started taking Lorazepam before bed. Waking up with Lorazepam hangover. Falling asleep behind the wheel both to AND from work. Stopped at a light today on the way home and fell asleep – car honked at me to wake me up.

Severe indigestion Monday and Tuesday – could be dietary failure point or could be hormones. But I’ve not had indigestion since last year when I took gluten out of my diet.

My eyes are messed up – this is a possible side effect from the Yasmin – “Change in corneal curvature (steepening)”. I have NO idea what that means. All I know is, as of the end of last week, my eyes are VERY sensitive to light and to the computer monitor. AND my eyes are now unable to focus when I wear my glasses – like suddenly the prism in my glasses is CAUSING my eyes to cross, rather than correct my lazy eye. I have gone back to wearing my old glasses – we’ll see how that goes, tomorrow.

I have minor yeast infection. Another side effect of the Yasmin.

And today I had a severe mental breakdown when I got home from work. My eyes are swollen from all the crying. I thought this part was over after last week. *sigh*

I may take tomorrow off work to figure my shit out.

I pedaled!

Yesterday the weather was so warm! My man and I went for a bicycle ride. We rode approximately 13 miles, from our home to the shoreline, across the San Leandro channel bridge onto Bay Farm “island”, and followed the bike path around the perimiter of Bay Farm, ending back up at the bridge and back onto the island of Alameda. Thirteen miles! My first ride since surgery!

Alameda and Bay Farm Island

(follow the green line around, basically)

From there, we rode to the bicycle shop and I rested while my man shopped for a new seat. Then we headed back towards home, stopping off at Julie’s Tea Garden for some lavendar lemonade and a lemon scone. Mmmmmm….

We got home, showered, rested, and headed back out to hang with some friends. It was an active, exhausting, wonderful weekend. :)

In the medical news for me, last night I picked up my second month’s worth of Yasmin, courtesy my surgeon, and a small bottle of Lorazepam (anti-anxiety to help with the spaztasticness side effect of the Yasmin) from my primary care doctor. Judging by how little they gave me, I assume I have to make an appointment to be seen.
I needed the Lorazepam, too, cuz I woke up with anxiety at 3:30am. Without the Lorazepam, I’d not be able to get those last two hours of sleep, becuase I’d be trying to breathe and trying not to have an all out panic attack.

I’ll call the primary doctor tomorrow at work for an appointment, cuz I forgot to do that today.

I was very tired at work today, and my butt is SO sore from bicycling. I didn’t panic once. Go fatigue and Lorazepam! :p

catchup

The last glue plug fell out on March 9th. It was the first glue plug to go but apparently not all of it ever came out, and therefore the area got a little infected. Ew.

The belly button is still healing, but despite that, I was finally able to wear jeans on March 9th for the first time since surgery (which was Feb 1st). Granted, they’re the largest size jeans I could find in my drawer (size 33-inch waist), but still. It may be another month before I’m able to wear my 32’s or my 30’s. That’s okay.

I did my homework on the hormones and found out that I was wrong. I’m not on progesterone. That’s the naturally-occurring hormone in one’s body. I’m on synthetic hormones of course, and the names for those in the Yasmin pill are Progestin (synthetic progesterone) and Ethinyl Estradiol (synthetic estrogen).

And, it’s the synthetic estrogen that’s making me a raging psycho hosebeast, not the progestin.

My surgeon was sorry to hear about my side effects and wanted to put me on Micronor, a progestin-only hormone, instead. She called in the script for me. Once I found out that it’s the synthetic estrogen that’s causing me the emotional imbalance, I was ready to try the progestin. But the doctor warned that I have to take the progestin EXACTLY at the same time every day OR ELSE I’d get cramps and breakthrough bleeding. And the progestin isn’t a good source of birth control, whereas the progestin/estrogen is.

So I started studying side effects for both Micronor and Yasmin.

I found askapatient.com and read peoples’ reactions to Micronor, rather than the usual Generic side effects noted in the lab website I’m so fond of.

Reading these peoples’ experiences terrified me. I mean… getting hairy arms, legs, chest and back? If I wanted that, I’d have started taking Testosterone shots to become a boy back in 2003. I’m no longer having that gendertastic episode. I do not want hair growth.
And there’s the other stuff – the painful periods returning and lasting up to 3 weeks at a time, for example.

So then I read about the Yasmin. I saw exactly the issues I’m having show up in other women. And I saw that they stuck with the Yasmin in most cases. And things got better.

So I called my primary doctor and explained the surgery, the Yasmin, the side effects. I requested a refill of an anti-anxiety pill, Lorazepam. I was happy that I didn’t have to come in for a visit – they just called in the script for me.

Then I called the pharmacy and told them to disregard the Micronor and to refill the Yasmin. So here I go, month two coming up on the Yasmin. We’ll see how it goes.

And george is due next Saturday, on my half-year birthday (everyone should celebrate their half-year birthday!). My great gift would be that george doesn’t show up to spoil the party like he was always so fond of doing.

I’m still a ball of energy on the Yasmin. But now the weight is all over the chart. I was down to 153lbs (69kg), and within four days I shot up to 157lbs (71kg). And yet I’m still coming home from work and dancing til I sweat in the living room. My knees and back hate me for it, but I can’t stop. When I sit down, I bounce my legs. The Lorazepam will help calm some of this down when I’m at work and can’t get away from my desk. This will in turn lessen the anxiety and rageyness.

In fun news, I got to spend the weekend with my man for the first time in like, EVAR. We lazed about and watched X-Files on Friday. We went to our friends’ house for an awesome feast and silliness (more Redneck Life board game playing!) last night, and today we sorta slept in with the time change and all – and we hope to get some bicycling in before sunset. If so, it will be the first time I’ve gotten back on the bicycle since surgery.

Regarding the early Daylight Saving Time (DST) switch this year, let me first rant to say that it’s all bullshit. Its real intent is not to “save energy” but to continue enriching the oil kings – notably DUBYA – because – as cited on NPR, with an extra hour of daylight, people are bound to go out after work…in their cars….which requires MORE oil and gas to buy to operate the cars. Is there any way to stop this madness? How soon til I have enough money to get an electric car?
*adds “electric car” to list of savings goals to prod this into action*

The only problem we had in our household with the early DST switch was that I forgot to update my linux box before the time change, so I had to do it manually. No big whoop. However, there are going to be some small businesses out there who didn’t patch their computers, and their systems will be horked. Even people I talked to last night didn’t understand that they had to manually go and get a patch this year for the time change. So there will be some frustrations floating around when people realise that the patch affects more than looking at the little clock on the desktop.

Right. I’m off to shower and start my day… at 1pm!

stuff

The belly button glue plug fell out yesterday morning in the shower, leaving an open wound. I’ve been wearing a bandaid over it.

Went over my options for hormonal treatment with the doctor today at lunch. She suggested she could put me on a progesterone-only pill, but I think the progesterone is the problem. I’ll research it and get back to you with solid reasons why.
She told me I could have a hysterectomy, but I don’t want to go on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) because of all the scary side effects from that (hm, last time I updated that directory was 2004).
I took the Yasmin before bed last night instead of in the middle of the day. Today seemed calmer, so I’ll continue taking the pill at night and see how it goes.

more aggro

This morning I took my boss aside and explained that I’m having bad reaction to my medication, just so she’s aware that it’s not who I really am.

It’s like an X-Files episode…“We’re not…who….we are!”.

I was fine til just before lunch, when I had thee most illiterate asshole old fart call in for support, and he couldn’t even SEE shit on the screen to find where I was directing him verbally. UGH. I kept growling on mute. Cow-orkers again asked me if I’m okay. I said NO.

Then as I was preparing to go to lunch, my podmate came over to me to vent in a not so hushed manner about how she’s about to freak out and quit on the spot, how much management sucks with all the shit they’re piling on us, how she doesn’t care if she’s away from her phone right now when she’s supposed to be taking the next call, and how she hates certain NAMED managers who don’t even DO work all day. I didn’t know what to say, except that I’ve had bad days, too. While she ranted on, the NAMED boss in question came into our cube to feign looking for OUR manager, then looked at my cow-orker talking to me, and went back to his cube next door. I mean, come ON, woman! Could you put yourself in anymore precarious a situation? And don’t be making me guilty by association!

GAH.

First the furry, now this girl.
I mean, I’m nutso. I admit it. But at least I know WHY and warn my manager as to the REASON. And I keep to myself other than that.

This girl – she’s myself three jobs ago, when I acted out on a regular basis and got myself fired from the same corporation TWICE.

I had more aggression towards customers (on mute, I love the mute button) throughout the day. I left work pissed off because I never did get ahold of my doctor, and yes, I did try to reach her.

I drove recklessly out of the parking lot and zoned out on the way home. Halfway home, I realised I’d forgotten to re-fax in my timecard to the agency, because they never did get my last timecard TWO WEEKS AGO.
This damned agency HARDLY EVER received my timecard. I’d fax it every week and nearly every week I’d have to re-fax it. Either they suck or the workplace’s fax machine sucks. Either way though… I’ll still blame the agency. Screw them. Whatever.

So I got pissed again. I have to remember to fax it tomorrow.

Then I got home, checked my mailbox, and discovered that the book scanning company STILL has not sent me my tax papers. I can’t file my tax return til I have their papers. I’ve already called once last week about this. So I entered the house, SLAMMED the door, THREW my shit down on the floor, and called the bastards. I left a nasty message threatening legal action. These are the assholes after all who wanted to fire me for having george pains and having to be off of work a couple of times per month. These are the same assholes who hired a friend of mine, who raised their scanning numbers OFF THE CHARTS to new crazy highs, and then FIRED HER for also having health issues and needing emergency surgery for a compressed disc (she’s suing, btw).

So naturally, I’m in NO mood to do housework now that I’m home. The dishes haven’t been done since Friday. The kitchen smells like a kennel from all the food and eggshells and stuff in the sink.

I don’t care.

I lit incense rather than deal with it.

Then I started drinking. My boyfriend offered to get a pizza, but then called and said he wouldn’t be home in time before the pizza joint closed. I told him we could fend for ourselves, no worries. But he had his heart set on pizza.

So I went and got a pizza.

I got back into my car with the pizza, started the car, and drove OVER the parking spot divider.

Some guy had just parked in front of me and to the left, and saw the whole thing.

Then I backed over the curb instead of continuing forward, for fear of scraping the gas tank, and I almost hit the van parked to my left.

That would have RULED!

The guy stayed in his car the entire time…
It was funny.

And this is what recklessness I’ve come to, being on the Yasmin for 3 weeks.

I feel like I’m 23 again.