Let’s see if I can do this more or less chronologically.
Went to see the headshrinker AND my PCP in Fredericksburg on September 11. (Note: while I was not old enough to actually BE a hippie, I am a product of the drug era. When I hear PCP, I immediately think about the stuff they used to lace pot with…not Primary Care Physician.) The psychiatrist was a nice but nervous man. We discussed my issues and he prescribed the full dose of Efexor I’d be on and refilled the clonazepam. Still think I should (eventually) get that changed because I STILL don’t think it does that much.
My PCP walked in and it was like…a completely different doctor. I suspect a bit of an ass reaming about the massive med changes he had made. He was pleasant, he smiled, he LISTENED to us (this time) and expressed his anger at having his direct order to have me admitted to Richmond for psych eval “over-ridden” by “someone”. He got to see the psych notes (apparently I was not allowed? Or maybe they just weren’t entered before I was kicked out) and didn’t understand why I had been discharged literally within hours of getting there. (Rather than the normal 24-48 hour evaluation period.) That was an interesting piece of news and he also indicated that the drugs I was given in Richmond were actually prescribed by the staff psychiatrist. So I really have NO idea who the guy in the blue scrubs that grilled me about being in their ER was. No name, no way of filing a formal complaint. Oh well.
So anyways, we talked with the doctor and guess what? He ended up doing what we had asked for, 2 1/2 months prior: gave me my Vicodin, acknowledged Beloved’s wisdom in cutting my neurontin dose ummm in half of what he had prescribed. (Beloved had told the nurse what drugs I had stopped taking, what dosages I was taking — and was told that the doctor was unhappy that he had not “consulted” with them before making those changes. He is very smug to have been right…as he should be.) We talked about the move, he said I can call in my next appointment in October and all was happy happy joy joy.
Well, except for this: I had gotten my fasting blood sugar test (finally) done. The nurse called us about 2 days later to say that I had an A1C of 6.4. Now when Beloved told me that, my first thought was “A1C? Airman First Class? WTF?” But that’s the technical term for that particular blood test. Over a 7 scored and you’re diabetic. Anything below 6 is normal. Between 6 and 7, you’re “pre-diabetic”. So I am officially pre-diabetic. No finger sticks, no insulin yet. Just watch the diet, try to exercise. Stuff we’re going to do anyways. And probably a fasting blood sugar test done at least once a year, maybe twice to keep tabs on it. Not really surprising, as geriatric onset diabetes (Type 2) runs in the family, from both sides. And I could linger at that 6.4 for as long as the rest of my life, if I really do manage it with diet. My grandfather, while actually diabetic, did manage his with diet. His son, my father, has to do the multiple finger sticks and takes insulin, but is also on VA healthcare because of his exposure to Agent Orange. So his may be worse because of that; no way to ever know.
We’re not getting a lot done in the way of actually packing or getting rid of stuff for our move. We’ve got the suitcases and carry on luggage now–Pelican cases for anyone who knows what they are. Look it up, for those who don’t. Beloved’s parents are taking a lot of our furniture (they are also moving, this upcoming weekend) because they will be in a smaller place and our furniture was bought specifically to fit within a smaller apartment. Once that is out of the house, it will be easier to go through our stuff. Or at least that’s what we keep telling each other. I am feeling very overwhelmed but I always do, and I HATE to move…and I do some of my best work at the last minute.
My in-laws bought me some clothes. My mother-in-law knows that the way you dress affects the way you feel and I have not been dressing like I feel very good. It’s a sign of illness when an animal stops grooming itself, and frankly, humans are no different. So I found clothing that I chose specifically with an eye towards the weather in Eureka (able to be layered, sweat pants, that sort of thing) from a place called “The Woman Within”. They have a website and they also do catalog sales. Except for the two sweat pants / matching tops sets, everything is 100% cotton. (Sweats are 60-40 cotton-polyester.) I had to watch the sizes carefully as I have lost 2 inches of height somewhere along the way (degenerative arthritis in the spine will do that, you know) and now I have to shop in the “Petite” section. Sigh. I got 2 turtlenecks, 2 sleeveless t-shirts (shells), a v-neck, short sleeved t-shirt, 2 skirts and the aforementioned 2 sweats sets–and I don’t know how much the shipping and handling added, but the merchandise added up to just at $125. Not bad. If you’re looking for clothing that real women wear (not designer, let me tell you), then I’d recommend them. Usual prices aren’t bad, and a lot of what I got was on sale for less than some of the thrift store clothing I’ve bought.
We’ve spent big portions of September either recuperating from the various hospital trips, or going to see someone’s doctor and having to recuperate from that. We spent a great deal of today making phone calls and getting things done. And in the course of that, we’ve had more good news in a single go than I think we’ve had in quite a while. While I’m happy about that, remember: distress or eustress, it’s all still stress. So it was overwhelming for both of us.
I spoke to the company that manages my LTD (Long Term Disability) benefits with some questions I have had…turns out that fibromyalgia is NOT limited by the policy that my former employer had with this company at the time of my disability. Which means that there is no limit of just 2 years for pay out. In fact, they can end up paying me for another 15 years, or until I turn 67 and would “retire” anyways. WOW. Income, steady income for the next 15 years. As long as my primary diagnosis remains fibro (and it will, it’s not going away) and my doctor keeps me on medical treatment for it. And that will also remain permanent, since the pain won’t go away without narcotics. And the insurance company’s “Any Occupation” review board (as opposed the medical board that reviews the doctor’s notes) will determine whether I can work in any occupation (hence the name) besides the one I was in when I became disabled. And since I am on narcotics (and barely drive any more), who is going to hire me? No one, that’s who. I will just have to be careful to have the doctor document fibro stuff every time I go see him and the fact that I am *still* not able to hold down any meaningful job due to the limitations of fibro and the meds I am on for it.
I spoke to the airline and found out how to get handicapped assistance from curb to gate (both ways) when we fly out. Easier than I thought, and the agent I spoke to was pleasant and helpful. Checked the airline’s website and determined that medical equipment (read: canes and CPAP machines) do NOT count as carry on luggage and will be allowed on board in addition to our bags and carry ons. YAY!
I got an answer from the minister at the Humboldt UU fellowship, replying to the email I sent yesterday. I explained what was going on, who we were, and so on… Always good to have people waiting to greet you in a new place if you can and we are really looking forward to attending services there.
Beloved made his own phone calls as well. Found out that the utility deposits in CA are not going to be completely onerous (well, except for AT&T landline/DSL which requires their money upfront) and will be on the first bill. Found out that CA is VERY generous in Social Services (which I think we will qualify for, and with the letter from VA, may not require the year’s wait for those services to kick in). They have SSI AND something called “SSP” which, if we are eligible, could add quite a lot to our income. If we get both of those, we may not then qualify for CA Fresh (their version of SNAP), but hey, we’d have enough extra money to afford our food. Also, they figure eligibility differently than VA, removing rent and utilities from the income amount–which may also then put Beloved back into being eligible for Medicaid. THAT would be a great blessing, since we’re both a bit concerned about his lack of insurance at this time, with no coverage until Medicare kicks in NEXT August.
He also made a call to our cell phone carrier and FINALLY got the 3-4 year old SNAFU figured out and straightened out. Got us $80 credit for a line that we had tried to turn off like a year ago–but had somehow become the “primary” line and couldn’t be shut off…so we’ve been paying like $40 a month more for that line all this time. Not as much as one could hope for, but way better than NO refund. And part of clearing it up and getting things correct included changing his phone number–so the lucky duck already has his Eureka telephone number! I’m mildly jealous, but not enough to merit changing MY phone number with the bazillions of people who have it and with whom I MUST stay in touch, for emotional or financial reasons. Bad enough I’m going to have to do it eventually, and sooner rather than later.
And I actually cooked dinner for us. It’s kind of sad that I have to admit said accomplishment is a major one for me. I have not yet made it into the kitchen and whipped it back into shape…it’s winning the war of wills at this point. I do have a deadline of sorts: my in-laws are also taking some of our kitchen appliances, and that means I have to wash and ready them for departure when the furniture goes. Which means, I hope, that I will be forced to organize the modern art display of carefully stacked dishes into a real STACK of dishes, not an artistic arrangement that could be sent crashing down with just one nudge on the wrong piece. Which, if all goes well, will then lend itself to at least being rinsed in the dishwasher (that for some reason, even though it is brand new, still does NOT actually wash the dishes clean).
We’re going to a friend’s house for their “we got married in CA and you couldn’t be there” party on Saturday. And Sunday, if he got permission (from the Navy), my son and his family–or just the family if he didn’t–will come over for a little bit so that I can see them before we go West. They will also be taking some things back home with them. Jay, tell them what prizes they have won. Well, Bob, they’ll be taking home this box of Legos! (Most of them were mine, some of them were my son’s and he’d be glad to have them back.) I am also going to let my daughter-in-law pick and choose through the kitchen stuff I won’t be taking…things like the really huge Tupperware bowl, crystal bowls from Germany, etc.
My daughter will be coming down one Tuesday (her normal day off) to see us before we leave. No granddaughters, but really, we’re not set up for it and this way, we’ll all be able to talk without chasing the toddler or dealing with a crying baby. She promises me lots of pictures and I keep poking her about getting Skype. So that’s one area of stress that has been relieved and I’m very glad that it has.
I’m also getting polite and chatty emails from my mother–and as long as they stay that way, without politics or religion…we’ll keep talking. Another source of stress, dismissed.
Now if the house would just empty itself and my suitcase pack things up without my actually having to do anything. I am clenching my teeth a lot, mostly from the stress–which ends up giving me headaches. Not helpful. By my latest assessment, I need to: empty out my jewelry armoire, sorting out what I want to keep from what I will give away; sort my clothes into going and going to the thrift store. AND I need to go through every box that holds my shite and sort it out: trash, give away, sell, take. Oh gods, if I keep listing things I shall go mad. One thing at a time, one step at a time. It’s really all I can do.
Oh, and we bought the tickets. So come hell or high water, clean apartment or not, with or without all that shite being done…we are leaving on November 1. Flying first class (wowee!!) to Sacramento. ANOTHER source of stress…gone. And that was a major one, so I am very glad to actually have them in hand, so to speak. And we’ve got the handicap assistance set up, so I won’t have to call the nice lady back. That works for me.
Looks like the light at the end of the tunnel is NOT an oncoming train, but really the other end of the tunnel. Dear gods, I hope so. The ride has been a lot more than I bargained for, and way more than I ever wanted. Or as the meme I saw today said, “I don’t just ride the crazy train, I motherfucking drive it!”.
Our life has been on hold, for health reasons, for money reasons, for time reasons. And frankly, it’s still on hold until November 1, when I step off the plane in CA. Or maybe Nov 2, when we actually get into Eureka and can put our toes into the Pacific Ocean. I am looking forward to that life very much and I will do whatever it takes to get there. Now if I could just figure out some way to take all our friends and family with us, it would be perfect…but that’s just my “how life is supposed to be” talking, and that is apparently what I’m supposed to be letting go of now. (Having learned about letting go of things, and of words…)
I am cautiously optimistic, preferring to keep some little piece of hesitancy just in case (because “just in case” has happened way too many times in the past few years to be ignored). But I will acknowledge that things in general seem to be…going in a direction that leads directly West. Which is where we want to be.