Archive for December, 2008

that waiting thing again

I had my scan yesterday and it went fine, took my steroids and benadryl and didn’t have any reaction to the dye. Only problem is I’ve slept really badly the last couple of nights because of the steroids. I woke up constantly all night long, both nights. Today I am so tense from the waiting for the results and whatever leftover jitteriness from the steroids, that I don’t really know what to do with myself. I’m home with Z., she’s doing something quietly in the living room. A. took the day off work but is out having lunch with some friends he used to work with (an annual thing they do this time of year). I’m kind of glad he’s out as his anxiety is not helping mine. I realized that part of the reason the waiting anxiety has gotten so much worse is that A. is not hiding his anymore, or maybe I’m just better at seeing it. But right now I need him to be saying that it’ll be okay, no matter what the results are we can handle this, stuff like that, but unfortunately he’s too close to the fear place I am in to do that for me I think.

My hope is that my scan results will be ready in the morning, but am prepared (kind of) for them to be delayed till Friday because of the holidays. The imaging center was really packed on Monday. Probably trying to get their tests done before the end of the year because of insurance, I know I was since my out of pocket limit was reached a while back so this scan won’t cost me anything.

I go see the pain management dr. tomorrow. The tricyclic antidepressants don’t seem to be doing much good. On the one hand, I’m still taking just as much ibuprofen/tylenol as I was before and I am still having pain that breaks through that. On the other hand the pain is more in the low to mid levels of the 1 to 10 pain scale, rather than the upper levels, and I have been able to sleep on my side again (it had been months and months since I had stopped being able to sleep on my pain free side). Other side effects have been a rise in my resting pulse rate (by 10 to 15 points), constipation (which I think I have finally gotten under tolerable control), and not sleeping so well (I wake up a lot more, but now that I can sleep on my side I can fall back asleep faster). Another odd thing which is probably not related, but who knows, is that I have had more allergy attack days in the last month than I usually have in a whole year (sneezing, runny, tickly nose kind of things that go on for a day or two or three). So, we’ll see what he thinks we should do next tomorrow.


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I moderate the comments on this blog and usually I get sent an email notifying me of a comment. I haven’t been on the blog for a long while and when I got on today I found three comments from early December waiting to be published that I never got notified by email about. So I just published them and I’m sorry to those who may have wondered where in the heck their comments were.

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A., Z. and I made our gingerbread house yesterday. Usually we buy a kit which comes with the gingerbread already baked, candy, and the last few years the royal icing already made (some kits have a powder you have to mix up). A number of years ago I had bought an iron gingerbread house mold but had never used it. It was always easier to just use the kit. Nothing really changed in that regard, but this year I felt like just once I wanted to make one from scratch. So I did. The decorating part is a group effort, but I do all the prep work beforehand.

The good things about making our own gingerbread house:

-It smells really good when you go near it. The kit houses don’t smell like anything.
-The size of the walls from the mold are taller than the kits we have used which makes for a nicer look and more room to decorate.
-Buying and using the different candies was fun and Z. really liked sneaking pieces of everything (except the spiced gumdrops which she hated- never thought I’d find a candy she didn’t like!)
-There was some pride in having made the whole thing from beginning to end.

The bad things about making our own gingerbread house:

-Very time consuming! I made the dough one day and put it in the fridge. Then I spent half a day baking the various pieces. Then I had to make the royal icing (thank goodness for meringue powder, easy and fast). I had forgotten to check the confectioner’s sugar supply but luckily we had exactly the right amount of sugar. Then we had to put the house pieces together, which took forever.
-The house pieces are much more fragile than the kit pieces. We broke the wall in three or four places on our first try at putting them together. So we repaired it with icing and used the other wall.
-The house pieces were very “rustic”. Z. asked me what that meant and I pointed to our unglazed terracotta French tile kitchen floor (done by previous owners) and said, like that. The first batch I pressed the pieces of dough into the mold and the last two I used a rolling pin and rolled it out first then put it in the mold, patched the bare spots, and rolled again. It was negligibly better than the pressing. There were holes, big ones and tiny ones.

Next year, we’ll go back to the kits but will buy some supplemental candies to decorate with.

Another crafty thing I’ve done this past week is paper Xmas trees. I got the idea from a friend on my mom’s list who got it from one woman’s blog, who got it from another woman’s blog (there are instructions on her blog).

I used some Better Homes and Garden magazines to make mine. I got a free subscription somewhere and will flip through the magazine and put it right in the recycling. Since I was behind in my magazine reading (surprise, surprise) I had two. The pages are very thin, the magazine a good thickness, and lots of ads for some color. They were really easy to make and look kind of cool on our living room coffee table (a dark brown that is almost black).

Soon I’ll be heading out in the bitter cold to what is usually Open Studio for a holiday card making workshop at the Wellness Community. I go every year and usually have about enough time to make 4 cards. I make both a Xmas and a Hanukkah card for both Z. and A. I am completely blank as to what I will make them this year, but then again I am usually completely blank when I go every year and somehow come up with something.

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Pain management appt.

I went to my first appt. at the Pain Management center a few days ago. It was good, I felt like, although I am pretty knowledgeable on the subject already, that the dr. took me through the steps and stages and possibilities for help very well. So we’re going to start with the old fashioned tricyclic anti-depressant desipramine. The tricyclic anti-depressants can work on chronic pain, supposedly desipramine works the best and happily has the least side effects of the group. I have to gradually increase the dosage over a few weeks and it will take a few weeks to see if it’s working or not. In the meantime I am continuing the ibuprofen/tylenol use. After a few weeks I’ll see if I can cut down or cut it out. The side effects are mainly dry mouth (which I have anyway from my other meds) and constipation (which seems to be a side effect of pretty much any med I take from here on out). There is some concern about my having an allergic reaction as years ago I had an allergic reaction to Elavil (another tricyclic anti-depressant which I was also taking for pain) and it’s in the same family, but hopefully I won’t. Last time it took a week for the reaction to show.

So if this works, great. If it doesn’t work, or if it works but not enough, then the next step is neurontin. It’s an anti-convulsant that is used a lot for pain, particularly nerve pain, which is not what I have, at least we don’t think so, but it may still work. After that the next step is the dreaded narcotics. The dr. is trying these other things first because the idea is to give me better functionality and quality of life, not just pain relief. But he also feels that the narcotics would be less dangerous to me than the continued use of ibuprofen, which at this point I agree. It’s part of the reason I decided to go the Pain management route in the first place. I go back and see the dr. again in 4 weeks.

Meanwhile I am struggling with my other health issues. I started bp meds but my bp is still high. I am going to talk to my internist but hope to wait and see if I can cut the ibuprofen use if these other drugs work. Maybe that will be enough to lower it. My blood sugars have been high lately, for no apparent reason. It’s frustrating! They were great the day after Thanksgiving, which makes no sense, and then days that I am carefully watching my eating they are high. Whatever! I know they are more complex than just what you are eating, but still. It’s frustrating. Every morning I get to take my blood sugar levels, my blood pressure and weigh myself. Nothing like starting the day depressed!

Otherwise we are gearing up for the holidays, lots of decorating going on (mostly A. and Z. doing that) and gift shopping (my domain- I’ve been doing most of it online this year, but have to get out to an actual store today for some things). Every year I buy a gingerbread house kit and Z. and I put it together and decorate it. Crazily, this year I decided to make the gingerbread house myself. I made the dough which has been in the fridge since yesterday, and we have this beautiful iron mold that I’ve had for years and have never used. This weekend we’ll have to make the gingerbread part and start decorating it. We have to buy some candy though, I only have a bag of gumdrops so far. Part of our shopping trip is buying the candy (Z. will be so happy with that part of the trip anyhow!)

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