Had a nice visit with [livejournal.com profile] sffan this weekend. Also got a close look at her mutant blood cells. Seriously - she has something remarkably resembling a Romulan Bird of Prey circulating around there. It's nothing more than an indicator of food allergies, so no big worries.

Dar also appears to be allergic to wheat now and possibly all gluten. That makes two members of the household. Guess we'll all be going gluten free; it's easier and more fair. Rice cakes for everyone!

I'm still smelling burning plastic at varying degrees of intensity. It's been weeks now, and it's nothing I'm really going to get used to. I'll be calling the neurologist tomorrow. He said to let him know if I developed any new neurological symptoms, and I'd say this qualifies. In fact, another bout is hitting now. Joy.

Without really intending to, I've started rereading The Lord of the Rings. I initially just wanted to read the section on the race to the bridge in Moria, but then I got caught up in the story again and went back to the beginning. Thanks to the movies (which I adore almost beyond description), I can now read the sections with Sam in it without wanting to throw the book across the room. Obsequious little toady. OK, I guess I still have to work on that part.
Yeah, I'm feeling a bit blue this early AM. Some of it has to do with the continued Hillary bashing, some of it is due to this ridiculous flare. Besides the constant and at the moment intense burning sensation in my arms and legs, I've also been inducted into the wonderful world of spasticity. Sounds a lot funnier than it really is, believe me. It's a neurological condition where the muscles lock up. Right now it's mostly affecting my feet, legs, and hands, although I started to get a twinge in my jaw and neck tonight. It feels as if the muscles have turned to steel while someone is shooting an electrical current through them. Poor Dar has been dealing with it for years now. I'd always had sympathy for what she was going through, but I'd never really understood it until recently. And I wish she'd stop giving me her symptoms already :) My neurologist is back from vacation as of Tuesday, so I'll give him a call and see if he can find a spot for me on his schedule sooner rather than later.

I have two sleeping kittens on my bed. Jane and Chloe, I fear, will one day lock me out of my bedroom and declare the bed as their territory forever. End of story. Speaking of Janie, she had a great day today - playful and up to her old tricks. She was wrestling with Chloe (Jane started it) and giving as good as she got. It's wonderful to see her close to her old self again. We still need to find some sort of good quality semi-soft dry cat food for her (and Holmes and Pico), and then we'll be all set. Right now she's still eating a lot of wet cat food, but that leads to all sorts of machinations trying to keep the rest of the cats from swarming her. And it's hella expensive, too.

Watched Canadian Idol tonight. I do love the judges on this show; the American version could learn a thing or three about musical criticism from these guys (three men and a woman, actually.) And I am officially calling "mine" on the Pigot brothers! Absolutely outstanding! Oliver and Sebastian Pigot. Remember those names. I am now completely invested in watching this season play out. (OK, [livejournal.com profile] puffgirl_two, you can stop laughing and doing the victory dance now.)

And I think it's time for my next round of meds. Hopefully that will help everything settle down for a few hours. Meanwhile, I shall try to summon the will to kick these absolutely adorable kitties out of my room so I can get some undisturbed sleep. I am helpless before their cuteness. I wish I were joking about that.
I wrote this last night, but I couldn't get the damn thing to post. So instead of rewriting I just saved the draft and am reposting this morning.

[livejournal.com profile] llaras had asked how Jane was doing, and I realized that I haven't let you guys know how she's doing. Physically she's still looking ragged. The swelling from the initial injuries has gone down and left us with a clearer picture. Part of her bottom lip is hanging loose, her little face is off center because of the fractured jaw, there's definitely hip involvement that still bothers her, but the worst is that her tongue was nearly completely severed. Piera the Vet said it was 75% detached. Janie. Baby! She's on antibiotics and pain meds; we're feeding her nutrient dense food so she's gained some of her weight back, plus she's getting steroids which are also making her fill out. Her mood is good albeit frequently stoned. She has another vet appointment on Tuesday for a pre-op exam, and then if Piera is convinced taht she's strong enough for the surgery, she'll schedule Jane to repair her tongue and her jaw. At least. So the poor kitty girl still has a load of crap to go through, but we're confident that she'll pull through.

I'm intensely happy with the outcome on ANTM. Not so happy with Survivor, but then I wasn;t that emotionally involved in that one. Lost had me on the edge of my bed tonight, and I'm drooling over the prospect of watching BSG tomorrow. There was a moment at te doctor's appointment yesterday when I thought that they might admit me, and my biggest fear was that would mean missing Lost and BSG. Because they're that good.

Now on to the medical stuff. )

Really gotta go. Sleepy, sloppy finguers here. I love you guys. Thanks for being in my corner, eh.
1. I discovered where the nearest laundromat is to us. Birdland Plaza in Elmira, about 15 minutes away. This is a very good thing because . . .

2. We discovered that our dryer has gone all Maytagzilla, Destroyer of Fabrics on us. Not only does it leave black streaks on the articles being dried, it also gnaws little holes out of the material here and there. Lovely. It's like living in the middle of a Steven King short story.

3. I discovered today that among the lists of Ontario's major doctor shortages, ophthalmologist loom large. I've been waiting to hear about a referral for several weeks now because I'm starting to see some definite side effects of the plaquenil, and it just came through today. My appointment is for August 21. I'll probably be blind by then, but hey, at least I'll get to have a guide dog. Doggie!

4. I discovered that wearing my Canada baseball cap out into the paddock to Cria sit Satine is an absolute guarantee that the temperatures will tumble and a stiff wind will come swooping down out of the northern ice fields. And freeze my ears right off my head. Even though a few hours earlier when I went out there dressed for winter is damn near balmy. I don't get it, but I'm learning to respect it.

5. I discovered that if you have a soda bottle that's been filled with water and then frozen, and you put that frozen bottle up against the butt of a cat in heat, the cat will do a crazy little Butt Dance of Temporary Release. It's cute and pathetic at the same time.

6. I discovered that Earth Hour really only requires turning off lights for an hour tomorrow night at 8PM your local time. I thought it was supposed to require a shutdown of all electric usage in the home {probably barring fridges and water pumps). I was kind of surprised at the simplicity of it, but it's a good way to increase individual participation. Live in a multi-person household and not everyone agrees to the lights out? Then turn off your lights - you'll still be participating and still making a statement. Win-win.

7. I discovered that I can never get too co,mfortable with lupus. The past week has been mostly OK, but today was horrid. I had some errands to run (bringing a cat-pee-soaked comforter to the laundromat), and I was barely able to get it done. Then there was the debacle at TSC while trying to buy some textured ration for the alpacas. That included doing wheelies with the shopping cart because I couldn't center the heavy bag of feed so the cart was tipped over on two wheels. It looked like it should be sporting racing decals of flames as I manhandled it on two wheels around the corners of the aisles. Then I had a nearly incomprehensible conversation with the clerk about Jester. Not only did I pause, sputter, make up words, and ignore most rules of English syntax in trying to explain Jester's breed and history, when I got home I found I'd had it all wrong so the gibberish I was poorly spouting at the increasingly weirded-out clerk turned out to be all lies anyway. And then when I went to put the feed bag in the trunk I wrestled with it so badly - still off balance and the cart still mostly on two wheels - an elderly farm man asked if I needed help. "Oh, no," I cheerily replied. "I just have to slip the bag off the carriage and into the trunk." At which point the carriage fell over and the sack of feed started to do a slow slide out of the trunk and down my bumper. I managed to manhandle it back in the trunk, then I uprighted the cart and dragged it back into the store. To the barely contained giggles of an open carriage over brimming with young Mennonite girls.

8. And lastly I discovered that hoping to go to sleep at a reasonable hour isn't the same as actually being able to accomplish that. Wicked nausea, bloating, pounding headache. It's mostly gone now. Maybe I can sleep now. Hope so.
Chloe KISS lips_0913
Really, doesn't she look like a lost member of KISS? Except, you know,
Chloe has looks and talent. And youth.

Cats are cute. We could all use some cute. )

Dar had a meeting of the alpaca cooperative this morning to deal with the extremely fucked-up new changes to the registration process for the upcoming Alpaca Ontario Full Fleece Halter Show. While she did that, I went into Listowel and ran a bunch of errands. It wasn't the greatest adventure because I was having trouble walking, but it was good to get outside and do something productive. But it wore me down, wore me out, wah-dee-doo-dah, blah-blah-blah. And why is it 4PM already? Seriously, is anyone else feeling like this particular seasonal change is just all kinds of wacky? Both Dar and I feel as if we're losing time somewhere in the day.

I tried to watch American Idol last night, because Dar loves it and because she made the yummiest from-scratch tuna noodle casserole and I wanted to thank her by joining her in her AI viewing. I lasted one hour and was actually ready to bolt after only a couple of minutes. I've been told that it wasn't a very good night. (No, really?) I tuned in to catch Jericho, but I kept falling asleep so I think I missed some important points. I'll have to try to find it when it's rerun this weekend.

I actually have serious topics to address, but I need to devote some time to it. So off I go.
There is a blizzard going on outside the door. And the roof. And the rattling windows. This has, for the record, been the worst January, February, and March in Ontario since they started keeping track. The cold, the snow, the wind. It's been relentless. Relent, already!

On the other hand, this BSG icon makes me laugh. It's by [livejournal.com profile] prettybutt, and she's probably saving my sanity without realizing it.

I'm trying to think of some positive stuff to post, guys, but my brain keeps swerving to the Dark Side. (And another fictional band is formed: Swerving to the Dark Side. I also like Swinging to the Back Side, but they'd have more of a big band sound.)

We've come up with an alternate plan for Chloe and Jane. I was getting ready to put up a "Free to a good home" post on the Kitchener Craig's List, but PETA kindly put up an informative link that scared the crap out of me, all about how people look for free small animals to sell for black market research or take home and feed to their pythons or other nightmare scenarios, so even though I think the odds are long that that would happen, I couldn't in good conscience take the chance. Go ahead and laugh, but you'd have nightmares, too, if it were one of your pets. No, come the better weather - you know, July or August - they're going to be outdoor kitties again. We'll fix up a proper space under the deck where they used to hang out, and I'd still like to try to get them out to the barn without having the alpacas jump up and down on their heads, but there's time for that. When the weather is really bad, we'll bring them back in. It's the best compromise we could come up with. I think that Jane will take to it in a hurry, but Chloe has learned to love her creature comforts, so we'll see.

My asthma started acting up again, so I upped my prednisone a little bit. I had knocked it down by 5mg per day, but now it's up 2.5. Just that small bump upward has made me edgy as hell. I wish I could get drunk. Not falling down sloppy drunk, but the kind of happy buzz that you can sometimes get from a having a few drinks when you're just sitting around and hanging out. I think my jaw is going to break from clenching it. Which would be unfortunate because with the freakin' blizzard there'd be no way to get to the hospital to have it set. Dar would have to do it with saran wrap and a table leg or something. No doubt she'd find a way to use the heat gun - she loves that heat gun.

I was hoping to take the down time today (did I mention the blizzard?) to get more familiar with all of the bells and whistles on my camera. However, I'm shaking like I have the DTs, so that's pretty much out. Just turning the pages of the manual was getting to be a struggle. I think it's a result of the med combination. I'm not sure. Don't really care. (Swing and Sway to the Dark Side. La-la-la-la-la.)

I should read. I can jam the book under something so it won't be jumping all around while I try to hold it. A lectern! I need a lectern to hold the book. Someone get me one of those, OK? I prefer dark wood to light, but whatever you can find will be wonderful. (I'm kidding. You know that, right?)

OK, me and my cranky self need to settle down.

Ciao, my babies.

Pray for spring.
It's pretty unmistakable once you've heard it. [livejournal.com profile] sparky77 switched her room from the one next to mine on the main floor of the house to the guest room downstairs next to Maddie's. That was where we would keep the kittens when the adult female (predator) cats were out and roaming around. Now the room next to mine is the Kitty Haven, and Chloe and Jane are literally bouncing off the walls in there. Rock on, little kittens. Rock on.

Still no cria out of Satine. I don't know, maybe she ate a jackrabbit and that's what's bumping around inside her. Or it could be the fact that Jester makes periodic breaks out of his own paddock and trots down to the front to visit the alpacas. Which not all of them are all so psyched about. ::coughSatinecough:: I actually got to watch him bust down the fence yesterday. I saw him start trotting back and forth the length of his paddock, picking up speed. Then *wham* he rammed his chest into the gate and lifted it off the post, then trotted on happily down to say howdy to the furry guys. It was pretty impressive :)

We're expecting another big storm tonight. This time it's ice and snow. Oh, woe. I hate ice storms. If it has to be both, I'd rather have snow first rather than how it's going to hit here. Dar and I headed out through the dense fog this morning to hit the store (again) just in case we're stuck here for a few days. The fog was because of the above freezing temps and the evaporating snow. There's so much melt going on that it looks as if part of our side road between our house and the big main road (Line 86 for those of you who've been here) is going to be flooded. That could be just the start of the troubles once the temps plummet and that turns to ice covered with a foot of snow. Come on, spring!

I canceled a dentist appointment for today, and Dar canceled an appointment that Maddie had with her doctor for tomorrow. The Alpaca Collective meeting for tonight is being rescheduled, and from what we hear on the radio there are tons of cancellations coming in now. Bleh.

I did hear from my neurologist's office today. I have an MRI scheduled for 2/15. That's a pretty impressive time frame, and all I can think is that the blood work I had done a few weeks ago has some results that pushed me to the front of the line again. He also rescheduled my appointment with him, moving it from 3/27 to 3/5. No complaints from me.

I've been having a rough couple of days in some ways. My muscles are very weak in all my limbs but especially in my legs. They actually gave out on me a couple of times today while I was just standing around. Fortunately I was standing next to something so I could grab on, and whatever it was quickly passed. My hands and forearms are constantly numb and tingling. My gums and tongue are sore and burning, and my teeth are incredibly sensitive to hot and cold. (Which in no way stops me from eating my rainbow sherbet. There are some walls that will not stand.) Then there's the near constant low-grade nausea. I'm thankful that it's just annoying rather than the full-on vomit comet, and Gravol ginger tabs are doing the trick. Still, annoying is the operative word. All in all, I love my neurologist for pushing through the MRI, because that's going to be a big help in clearing all of this up.

I'm watching the returns for Super Tuesday, and I have to say that I'm really surprised at how well Huckabee is doing. Huh. And I guess I'm a Hillary fan, because I find myself being gleeful whenever they post a win for her. Huh again. This is one hell of an election year, that's for damn sure.

And just to prove that I love the kitties more than I love to sleep, I made a little ball out of aluminum foil and threw it in with Chloe and Jane. It sounds like Thunderdome in there :)
I'm eating rainbow sherbet in bed. (And the electricity just went out and flashed back on. It's going to be one of those nights.) That may not be decadence to some of you, but for a lifelong near-ascetic such as I, it feels like the equivalent of eating imported chocolates while lounging in a scented bubble bath. Actually, it's a remedial exercise; I'm so parched that I was gagging. Have you ever had that? I have no idea why my mouth is so dry, but there you go. I've always found sherbet to be a thirst quencher (not that I'm so much thirsty as dry), so it seemed like the thing to do.

(And the lights clicked on and off again.)

We have a major snowstorm blowing around outside. I shouldn't complain, because outside of the cold we really haven't had it that bad this season. The way the forecasters have been spooging all over themselves today, though, that's going to change with this storm. I went out and bought another snow shovel this afternoon - a lightweight one. We have a couple of snow shovels, but all of them except one is too heavy for me now. This way I can help Dar shovel, and we can both use the lighter tools.

I shoveled a bit today, too. We'd had one of those crazy storms where it wasn't a lot of snow but a great deal of wind. Most of the driveway was clear . . . except for right around our cars, where the drifts were about two feet high. Of course. Dar did most of it, but I managed to do about fifteen minutes before I had to call it quits. Lupus? Sucks.

Q and I took off for a couple hours this afternoon to do grocery shopping and run some errands. The parking lots at the grocery stores were jammed; everyone was stocking up for the storm. I remember when I was a kid and a big storm was predicted, my mom would send someone off to the little neighborhood store to get her holy trinity of storm supplies: milk, bread, and toilet paper. Heh.

I have no idea what's up with me tonight. I'm really jumpy. Too jumpy to sleep. I didn't even realize that's what was going on (lights out and on again) until someone closed the bathroom door and I just about jumped out of my skin. Then again when whoever it was opened the door to leave. Repeat that a couple of times, because the bathroom gets a lot of traffic, and you have one very edgy maystone. Maybe that's why I have such a dry mouth? Don't know.

My cold is back, too. Q has a cold. Dar still has an ear infection. Sickly 'r' us.

There is an upside to the memory problems that come with lupus - watching the two-hour repeat of last season's Lost finale was pretty much like seeing it for the first time :) I squeed, I gasped, I cried out in shock. It was great! And tonight's ep just blew me away. I love what they're doing with the new season. Is anyone else watching? Should we resurrect [livejournal.com profile] lostdriveshaft for discussion? I think I have Q convinced to check out the show again. I'm not really working that hard at it, because I know I don't like to be pressured to watch a show that I either don't like from the outset or have lost interest in. ::cough*Heroes*cough:: But she asked what happened, I gave a brief synopsis, and the interest sparked again. Yessssss.

I watched the replay of the Clinton/Obama debate tonight, and I gotta say that I was really impressed with Hillary. Obama did well, too, but she just comes across as being more seasoned than he does. Because, of course, she is. Tonight I heard for the first time chatter about the possibility of the outcome being a Clinton/Obama ticket, and I think that would be an unbeatable combination and a great solution. In fact I'm getting kind of goose-bumpy just thinking about it. I wonder if it would really happen?

Damn, my mouth is as dry as the Sonora again. Off to try to do something about that. Have a good night, all.
I'm so hungry! (damn prednisone) But I'm too tired to go out to the kitchen to get something to eat. (damn prednisone) But if I don't do that, I'll keep waking up because I'm so hungry. (damn prednisone) Do we sense a theme here? (damn prednisone)

Went out to the barn with Dar this morning. We're having that weird weather that's rushing across the northern tier: warm temps followed by flash freezing and dangerous winds. This morning was the warm temps, so I got to play for a bit. Got me some soft little alpaca kisses out of it, and a couple pics.

It wore me out, but what else is new, eh. It was worth it. I zoned out while Q and Dar ran to the store to, as Dar always puts it - completely without sarcasm - "pick up a few things." Two hours and many grocery bags later, they returned. Actually, it was a stock the cupboard run, because the odds are that we'll lose power before the weather system passes. And also, the temps are going to be dangerously cold and the roads should be ridiculously icy, so get it all done when you can.

I tried to shovel all of the slush from around my car this afternoon, because I didn't want to end up parked on the equivalent of a skating rink once the front comes through. I wasn't all that successful and ended up having to move my car and reshovel a new space. Again - it knocked me out for a couple of hours. At least I got to cozy up with Jane and Chloe who pretty much staked out my bed as their own for most of the day. Chloe's cold is back, poor thing. And Jane was like insanely affectionate, patting my face and licking my hands. On the other hand, maybe she got into my prednisone and was just trying to eat me because she couldn't drag herself out to the kitchen where the food bowls are.

Jester the Wonder Horse is living up to his name in unexpected ways. He figured out how to unhitch the gate to his paddock and wander down to visit the alpacas. Dar noticed him rolling around in the snow (literally) in front of the alpaca barn. The alpacas meanwhile were bunched up in the main paddock goggling at him. Dar got Maddie to go out with her and harness him, but before they got there I got to see Adama and Sparky get up the courage to go up to Jester and touch noses with him. Awwwwwww! They can't really be in the same paddock together, but it was awfully cute to see them interact like that.

In medical news (because you knew that was coming, didn't you?), I have appointments to see my new rheumatologist and my neurologist. I see the rheumy at the end of March and the neuro at the end of April. Assuming I haven't died by then. Sigh. Actually I figure that when my all my blood work comes back they'll probably get me in to see them each earlier. I hope. Because basically I'm still untreated for lupus and have no official diagnosis for the neuropathy that's pretty much progressing to the point where it's starting to cripple me.

And what the hell is going on outside? It sounds like snow plows running up and down the driveway. Or trucks or planes or something. Man, I bet it's the wind storm kicking in. And that is my cue to haul my butt out to the kitchen to get some crackers before the electricity goes out. I should probably hit the bathroom, too. Because I know you were dying to be let in on that particular plan of action.

This is gonna be very jumbled because it's late and my brain is conjumbled and stuff.

1. New rheumatologist, Dr. Pope. But first . . . young resident Dr. Ty Verylongarmenianname. "Just call me Ty. It's easier." I like him. He took a loooooong history, and he was both engaged and engaging. Because of the neurological issues going on with me, he found my case kind of exciting.

2. Not as exciting, though, as the fact that we raise alpacas. He had no idea what they are, so for a while he kept stopping the interview/history/wev to ask questions about the alpacas. Except he kept calling them alpackies. Hee.

3. I'm a pushover. No, really - he pushed me and I went over. It was all part of the exam, no worries. Again, my neuro issues took center stage, so Ty did some elementary neuro tests on me, including the one where you stand with your eyes closed, and your arms out in front of you, and then someone pushes your shoulder. Normally, you should be able to compensate. Of course, I didn't. You would have thought the guy just got the coolest toy in the store :) "That's a positive Bwlejroudgh!" (I can't remember the name of the test, sorry.) Then he ran next door to get his friend, Dr. Nema the Nuerology Resident. Back they come. "She had a positive Bwlerhjoro!" Uh-huh. Some more tests with "touch your nose and then my index finger" thingie and "follow my moving finger with your eyes" thingie. Ty wanted to push me again, but Nema said it was OK, thanks.

4. Dr. Pope shows up about an hour later. I'm not upset, because she was stuck draining some guy's knee and ewwwwww. Sucks to be that guy. Besides she's a hot shot and very busy. She's also trailing two interns (with my permission), and the guy intern looks to be all of 17. No. Lie. Anyway Ty is bubbling again about the positive Bw;lekjro. He should maybe think about switching his specialty, because . . . very excited!

5. Pope is smart, patient-oriented, and a very fast talker. I really like her. She did some more neuro tests, but vetoed Ty when he wanted to push me again. He's a crazy man! (Actually, it was all pretty funny. He was so excited.) She looked at the MRIs of my brain, but she didn't see anything too out of the ordinary, and nothing that would explain my neuro symptoms.

6. From what I can gather - and I was pretty tired by this point - she thinks I have lupus, but she isn't convinced that it's lupus CNS. The CNS (brain and central nervous system) could be something else. So . . . she's sending me to the Urgent Neuro Clinic.

7. As she explained it, the "urgent" in Urgent Neuro Clinic just means that you wait months to get in instead of a full year. Except - for me they made an exception, apparently, because I have an appointment for next week. Yay! And . . . yikes.

8. The deal is two-fold: the problem is in my cerebellum, and it's on my right side. The MRIs show nothing wrong with my cerebellum and the only visible flare is on my left side. Hmmmmmm. She said that getting a good cerebellar view is difficult, though. Other problem (3) is that it's progressing. Whatever "it" is.

9. I'll have to get a lumbar puncture. Ye olde spinal tap. And in no way will they be pushing my dial to eleven. Over my dead body.

10. She ordered a bunch of blood work for me. How many vials of blood did they take. Why, that would be eleven. Plus another damn urine sample. Honestly, I'd rather they just take the blood. Hate trying to pee into a little cup.

11. No gall bladder surgery for me. Or that colonoscopy, either, until this gets sorted out. Because of the meds, I'm a slow healer now, and she thought it was too risky. OK by me.

12. I think that's it. Long day. We were there from 12:45 to 5:30. Plus it was a 90 minute drive each way. In the snow. And the dark. (And it was all uphill coming and going. And we had to drag the car. With our teeth.)

13. Dar was very good. There was only one moment when I thought she was going to rip the doctor's head off, and she restrained herself before I had to throw myself between them. No, seriously, I couldn't get through these exams without her. For all my bitching, I'm a lucky woman, and I know it.

14. Alpackies.
First, I'm really stoned right now. Something to calm my wildly snapping synapses, something to stop the top of my skull from exploding upward (and it hurts like hell and is very sensitive to touch), something to clear up my sinuses and cough, and a half of something to shove me down the path to sleep. If that doesn't do it, I'm heading it straight to the Bailey's, and screw the gall bladder nonsense.

Very foggy-brained, very sleepy past two days. I mean fatigue comes with the territory, but I rarely keep dropping off to sleep, which is exactly what's been happening here. Usually the nausea wakes me up after just a few minutes, but it's still weird - for me anyway - to be constantly nodding off like this.

Jane is well and truly in heat. I've never been around a kitty in heat before. It's . . . loud. And kind of pathetic for her. Fortunately we have kitty tranqs, so Dar fixed her up with some for all of our sakes.

I have emails to write and something to post in reply to a question to me over at But You Don't Look Sick. I keep putting that one off, and I'm not sure why. I'll work on it tomorrow. I'll work on all of it tomorrow. I will also attempt to actually walk out the door and start my car. It hasn't been started in several days and we are in an arctic freeze. This should get interesting.

Interesting is also the primary season. Did you know that I'm a political junkie? I am. I see brokered conventions for both parties. And even though McCain took SC, I still don't believe that he's going to be ipso facto GOP presidential whatever its called (runner? candidate?) Still too many ups and downs to predict it, current mythology about the winner of SC always becoming the candidate for president. It's just too weird a year.

Me for sleep. And pie, if we had it. Why do I taunt myself like this? Why?
1. Hallucinations in all forms. Little things scurrying around the floor just on the periphery of my vision. voices and sounds calling for my attention. That annoying thing where the bed shakes and moves perfectly as if one of the cats were walking across it. Last night I rose up to see if I could get Rocky to settle down from his pacing up and down beside me, but . . . no Rocky. No other cat for that matter. And lastly and oldie but a goodie - the hip pain that used to keep me up. I think I've reached the effective peak of the prednisone at this level. My next appointment is in one week, so that's not long at all for a wait.

2. [livejournal.com profile] dumbphilomel arrived this afternoon bearing gifts: American-style junk food in the form of Twinkies, Hostess chocolate cupcakes, and (omg I"ve been craving these) S'mores pop tarts. And I even had a half of a S'mores and one cupcake. Tomorrow I may - may - take on a Twinkie, because it's been almost 30 years since my last one. I'm sure the toxic chemicals have all been depleted from my body by now, so just one won't hurt me. Too much.

3. Brain spasm. Someone put a small open pitcher of cream on an interior shelf in the refrigerator. I was putting away food after dinne, and I knocked over the open pitcher. With much swearing and muttering under my breath, I cleaned out the shelves (fucking stuff got everywhere), and I came across a tupperware container that I swore had been in there for weeks. It looked like old whipped cream or mashed potatoes, so I started to run it under water to rinse out the container. Turns out it was cream cheese frosting freshly made by Dar. I felt like such an idiot for not noticing or checking. I want my brain back.

4. T.K. and Rachel came back and beat the odds to end up in the Final Three on Amazing Race. I'm so psyched! They and Ron and Christine (father and daughter) are my favorite teams, so this may be the years when I'll be actively rooting for a team to cross the finish line first.

5. Many friends are here. The place resembles my graduate school dorm at the moment, but it's wonderful to have them here. Q's cat Pico is a dead ringer for My Pixel. Except I think I already said that, didn't I?

6. Sleep would be good. Tomorrow starts the week of doctors' appointments. (Whoa, huge new floater in my right eye just scared the fucking crap outta me! Seriously, guys. It's like looking through a large dark bruise. I think I need to make an ophthomologist appointment tomorrow, too.)

7. Sleep. Sleep coming back right now would be good.
That would be y'all. Your kind and loving curds went a long whey to settling me down.

High temps lead to much fog. Mine was all in my brain (Day #2 of barely there brain), but Mark and Q each ended up driving into Toronto for various visitors: him to drop off Maddie's friend, and Q pick up Tobey and son.

I went through medical records to see what blood tests and scans I still need to get copies of for my next rheumatologist appointment. Took awhile, but I'm done. go, me.

No reading. Little TV, although I did get to see the premiere ep of the last season of The Wire. Still has the best damn writing and cast on TV. I hate that it's over. I love that David Simon included that classic (and completely true and documented) faked-up copier machine-cum lie dector from the first chapter of his first and influential and most highly rated by me book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. Buy the book. Read the book. Worship the book.

That's it. I'm hoping against all odds that tomorrow is better than these past two days have been. They won't be if I don't fall asleep. And I'm a bit concerned at what it's taking for me to actually be able to fall asleep, no matter how utterly fatigued that I am lately. Off to see what I can supplement this with because I really can't stay like this.

Oh, and my cold is back. Huh and what the fuck. Which from now on shall be Huhtf.
Not such a great day today. My legs have been pretty bad lately, so Dar suggested that I up my prednisone by another 2.5 mg. I did, but it's too early too tell if it's going to be of any help. It's mostly to compensate for my body trying to deliver me from this cold, but that's pretty much gone now so . . . I'm rambling.

Down. Tense. Looking for a place to hide away for a bit in what is actually a very public house.

I feel like I'm staggering when I walk. I ended up on the floor in my room this evening. Let's hear it for wall-to-wall carpeting! And a very padded bed.

The side effects are kicking in, most prominently tingling and numbness in my hands and feet. My right foot feels as if it's coming awake after being asleep - you know that feeling, right? And the sensation has now spread about half way up my leg. It's uncomfortable, shall we say.

I'll have to wait a few days to talk with my doctor(s) about this because of all the holidays. Let this be a lesson to me - don't get sick around the holidays! ::wags finger in own face:: Of course this being Canada, there's always a holiday to work around, so this will require some clever scheduling.

At least Chloe is feeling better; she's still sneezing, but it's not as violently and her fever is gone. Jane seems to be fully recovered, as is Rocky. Pixel has it now, though. Mao only got a slight case of it, and Holmes and Little Cat never did seem to catch it. Little was our biggest concern (heh) because she has a heart problem; a bad cold could have become a very serious illness for her.

Jane may yet end up at our friend's ex-husband's place. She called to confirm that Jane was still up for adoption, then said she was going to talk to Bill again about taking her. We'll see. My one proviso is that this has to be permanent. He shouldn't take her unless he's willing to commit to this. That poor kitten has been passed around and brought back here far too many times already.

Maddie's horse is being moved into the back barn tomorrow for a little while. This should be interesting. I imagine the alpacas are gonna freak big time, but they'll settle down eventually.

Maybe by then I will, too, eh. I wish it were summer or fall or spring or any other time when I could at least get out and walk somewhere. Hunker down under a tree for a day. It's still December and I already have cabin fever; this does not bode well for the next four months of winter :) Please send distractions, or at least mind altering drugs. Thanks to the gastric bypass surgery it really takes very little alcohol to get a buzz on - maybe I'll spend from now until the vernal equinox in a flimsy haze of Bailey's. (Which phrase, by the way, would make an excellent band name. Just TM me, OK?)

I think I'll get started on that little thing. But before I go, I want to wish a Happy Birthday - in a completely unironic way - to my dear [livejournal.com profile] malterre, who I'm fairly certain is having even a worse day than I am. I love you, my friend.
The weather started off being not unreasonable. Kind of damp but warm enough that there was melting going on. In mid-afternoon the temps rapidly plummeted and the wind whipped up and suddenly it was Siberia. And I mean suddenly.

I finally got the Christmas gifts off to my brother and sil, but not without me annoying the hell out of the poor clerk with my many questions. I wasn't really meaning to be annoying, yet I knew the answer to everything I asked her. I was just in one of those "toy with the clerk" moods. I think I've been hanging around cats too long or something; I'm picking up their love of torment. ::evil heh::

After being pain free for a couple weeks now, I had a resurgence of the old lupus pain in my hips and legs. It started late last night and kept up for most of the day. I was lurching around on very stiff joints, looking ungainly and feeling like crap. It seems to be settling down again, so I'm not sure what's going on with that. Dar thinks it might be related to this cold that I'm still dealing with. Hopefully tonight will be better.

I got a call from the Immigration doctor this morning. Those additional blood tests I had to have because my blood pressure was too high? Yeah, well, he wanted me to know that they came back too low, and Immigration will probably flag them for further follow up. And since the tests concerned my kidney function, he suggested that I let my doctor know and get some further testing done. The levels were only slightly decreased but still below normal, so I'm not going crazy over this, but it is a bit worrisome since I just had them done a few months ago and they were fine. Another thing to add to the list of questions/concerns I'll bring to the appointment with my new rheumatologist.

I found a very neat site that I want all of you to try out. It's called Free Rice, and it's one of those "click to donate" sites, but this one has a neat twist. It's a vocabulary test, and for every word that you identify correctly they'll donate twenty grains of rice. It truly is addictive because the difficulty level increases with every correct answer, and I donated 400 grains of rice in very short order before I forced myself to move on. I figured that this would appeal to my meme/quiz-happy flist :)

I stumbled across this by way of a post at Shakesville (formerly Shakespeare's Sister) that was talking about keeping hope for the future in the face of feeling helpless and staying engaged in changing the world instead of adopting that truly despicable "it's cool to be cynical and disaffected" affect that seems to be epidemic these days. Anyway, among the comments to the thread was a link to a site called So What Can I Do?, which I hope you'll take a look at, too. I browsed it briefly, and there seems to be something for every level and type of engagement.

And now my aching joints and I bid you good evening. Hope you're all warm and safe and happy this night.
Anyone remember the old Bugs Bunny cartoon where he goes to the fancy schmancy horse race at Upson Downs? Ah, the classics never fade, do they?

So, weird day for me. I'm sure I've mentioned an interminable number of times that I have loss of balance issues. Well interminable number plus one: today was just nuts. I lost count of how many times I stumbled up against things while we were shopping. Then I toppled over into a snow drift at home while I was carrying some groceries in from the car. (My fault. I should have balanced the weight better between my two hands.) Then a bit later while I was helping to put them away, I leaned over and ended up on the floor. I didn't crash or anything; at that point it just seemed easier to fall over than to try to regain my balance :) But all freakin' day and night I'm stumbling and my legs are giving out. Enough already.

For the first time, I've actually felt a touch of dementia. Very strange feeling, that. Not painful or even very frightening - more distracting and disconcerting. I'm not going to get all frazzled about it yet. It could be just a one-day thing; it could be a new side effect. Hey, I hear sun spots are a popular culprit. And we even had sun today. There ya go!

Dar worked herself to the point of exhaustion today. I worry about her. It was Oliver's birthday today, so she made a special meal for him. Actually two special meals since he's a vegetarian and others here are confirmed and committed carnivores. Plus the shopping and baking and wrapping and general worrying about all of us sickies. We are a sorry lot today. But tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow . . . Oops - wrong reference :)

I don't know if you heard (or care) that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will be coming back on the air without their writing staff. I'm shocked. I'm disappointed. I'm pissed. I will be boycotting their show. I'm also in the market for a new mood icon theme. Although they and the network and the WGA have been pretty tight-lipped about it all (as of a little while ago anyway), I've heard some fans defend it by saying that they can't afford to let the upcoming primaries go by without some kind of programming by the two of them. My take on it is that that is exactly why they shouldn't have come back. The worth of the primary coverage to the network execs is exactly the kind of negotiating tool that the WGA needs. Until I hear explicit support of this move by the WGA, both Stewart and Colbert are scabs to me. And Colbert? Consider yourself on notice.
We had blue skies today. Blue skies and sunshine. Blue skies and sunshine and low winds. I think it was a preview of heaven. We actually made it out of the driveway and into town. And we didn't get bushwhacked by snow squalls on the way home. It's a Hanukkah miracle! One more nice day tomorrow, and then we're back into the snow pattern, damn it. But at least there's tomorrow.

Went out to the barn again this afternoon, and while it did knock me on my ass again (metaphorically speaking), it was still worth it. We saw loads of animal tracks around, and not just out in the paddocks and the field. Our front stoop looks like a rabbit convention was held there. Seriously, there are a mob of tracks there. I know that the rabbits live under some of the pines in the front yard, but it looks like they're settling in under the bushes up against the house, too. Now I want to buy a little condo complex for them all.

There are also cat, dog, fox, and pheasant tracks close to the house. (We know it's a pheasant because Dar has actually seen it.) I think the pheasant may be living under the deck, which would be kind of cool. Last winter Dar and I used to wander around out back checking out all of the tracks; I really miss doing that. I love seeing all of these traces of the animals living all around us whom we usually don't get to see.

Made an appointment to get Jane spayed next week. The poor thing spends a lot of her time alone, hiding under beds or other furniture. Hopefully getting her spayed will take the edge off her presence and the big girls will leave her alone. Then Chloe will become the target, no doubt :) we'll deal with that when it happens.

But for now, the muscles in my legs are twitching like crazy and the nerves are pinging like there's no tomorrow. It's the oddest sensation, because it's not really painful although that's what one would expect considering we're talking about nerves. Instead it feels like waves of sensation running up and down the nerve pathways. It's uncomfortable and disquieting but not painful, thankfully. I have to admit that it scares me nevertheless, because these symptoms are sounding more and more like multiple sclerosis. But then I'm not a doctor, so what the hell do I know about it. I'm too tired to get that excited tonight anyway. Instead I'll sleep and dream about another sunny, snowless day tomorrow. Yeah :)
lupoid sclerosis. I came across it a few hours ago, and the more I read about it, the more excited I am that I might have stumbled across something important for my case. I have almost every single symptom for multiple sclerosis, but I also have two antibodies (ANA and anti-dsDNA) almost exclusively associated with lupus. I've been wondering if a person could have both equally or more probably one primary and one secondary, and the answer is YES. It's rare, but it exists. The key would be to get that damn antiphospholipid antibody test that I keep meaning to get a doctor to order for me. That seems to be the connection. And would explain the plaque build up on my arteries in spite of my excellent cholesterol levels, too.

I may not be right, but I'm certainly on to something, following a path that's leading to more than a dead end.

And yes, this is what I do instead of sleeping. Besides, once the oxycontin kicks in, it seems a shame to waste such a relatively pain-free block of time. I took it six hours ago, so it should be winding down, and so should I, I guess.
It still is in my top holidays list even if I did mostly ignore this one. Dar dressed up as a witch doctor to answer the door and she decorated the entry hall. See?

Day 304-Halloween

We only got a few kids unfortunately but the weather was very windy and then it started raining which really took everyone by surprise.

Maddie had gone out with a group of old friends in Kitchener; they collected food donations for the local Food Pantry, and they brought in over 400 lbs. of food. Woo-hoo! Go, Miss Madelaine :)

I was too stiff, sore, and in pain to be of much use. I stayed in my bedroom - which is at the front of the house near the driveway - and would give Dar a shout when I heard a new batch of trick or treater's heading our way.

The cats kept an eye out, too. Pixel was a big help. My good baby girl!
Pixel waits for Halloween ghosties

One of the people on our alpacasite list had a cria beheaded a few days ago. The general opinion is that it was either Satanists or some truly horrid initiation rite. Anyway, it being Halloween and most farms being somewhat isolated, everyone is keeping a watchful eye on their guys.

I'm way drugged up for pain, and way tired on top of that, so I'm giving it up and going to sleep. Happy Halloween to you all, my lovelies.
The weather was beautiful today: crisp and dry and with a weak sun that meant that I could go outside and work. Yay! I'd been wanting to get in one last run at the lawns before the snow starts to fly, and I've also been wanting to clean up the paddocks. Stuff accumulates out there over time; we had six childrens' wading pools just collecting rain water and turning various shades of green and brown, just as a for instance.

So first I tackled the yard and some of the back acreage. Man, I've really missed using the lawn tractor. Zoom, zoom, zoom and I must admit the lawns look great. Well, the back does. The front was taken over by mutant giant dandelions early in the season, and we never did reclaim it. But at least now they're very short mutant giant dandelions. That took a little over an hour, and then I had to come inside and rest. Yes, that's how wimpy I have become. At one point near the end of the lawn tractor adventure, I'd actually gone completely numb from my hips down. I found myself wondering if I was still going to be able to drive well enough to 1) finish the cutting and 2) actually get me back to the house. Yes on both questions, I'm happy to say.

After a couple of hours of resting and getting my circulation back, I sought out the keys for the old, unregistered minivan that we now have, and got it running. It hadn't been started in weeks, but fortunately the weather hasn't been cold enough to slay the battery although it did take a few tries to get it going. Off I went to the paddock areas, scaring the alpacas as I tootled by. Not really scared, because as soon as I pulled up next to the back fence, they all came trotting over, curious as ground hogs. "What's thaaaaaat? Whatcha dooooooooing? Huh?Huh?Huh?Huh?" I just love those guys so much :) So I marched around out there and entertained the camelids by emptying the pools and then jumping up and down on them to try to get all of the air out. I gave up on that finally and just used a utility knife on them. The pools. Not the alpacas. Brought in all of the chairs that ended up out there, too, during the various Cria Watch marathons we had this summer. I had the back of the van filled in no time.

Drove the van back, unloaded, bagged the pools for garbage, rolled up a couple of long garden hoses, put the chairs and then hoses under the deck, played with the cats for a bit (more on that in a bit), went inside and slowly, painfully climbed the stairs to get wet food for the outdoor cats (in a minute, really!), made my way back outside and fed those guys, crawled even more slowly and painfully back up the damn stairs--and pretty much just collapsed for the rest of the evening. Very, very tired, very, very much in pain, and very, very pleased with myself :) I'm probably going to pay for this big time tomorrow, too, but I don't care. Days like today are too good to let go by, you know? The whole week is supposed to be like this, and I plan to take full advantage of it.

So. Outdoor cats. Mirabelle spent a most comfortable night inside from what I could tell. Turns out that she's a stair cat, which is very cute for us but a bit of a trial for the other cats because while they tend to stay upstairs with us, their litter boxes are downstairs. Duh-duh-DUNNNNN! I'm sure they were each having their own horrible little Mokie flashbacks :) This morning it became obvious that both cats wanted to go back outside, so I let them scamper away. I think that's how it will play out for a bit, at least until the bad weather hits and they really need to stay inside all day and all night. Mark brought them back in for the night when he got home from work; I think it's a good compromise.

I made an appointment with the Immigration Services doctor for Nov. 20. It turns out that I could have gone this week or next week, so it's good to know that it's not a long wait. I may end up moving the appointment up, but I need to talk with Dar about the paperwork that has to be done before then. I really, really would like to get this done before there's anything really damning that shows up on my records from all of these tests. I can be rejected for application for permanent residence for two reasons: criminal record and serious health issues. I haven't run afoul of the law (yet) since I've been up here, but this whatever could knock me out of the Immigration pool. To kill a mixed metaphor. Timing is going to be important,and our timing hasn't always been exemplary. To put it mildly.

Now to bed. Actually, now to track down outdoor kitties just to see how they're doing and then to bed. Someone do me a favor and hold my eyelids open for me for a few minutes, OK? Thanks!

I leave you with picspam. The lovely Adama out enjoying the back pasture; the whole herd doing the same, and a pic of me and my new cowboy hat what I bought on sale in Vegas. It ain't purdy, but it sure as hell keeps the sun off me.

Beauties and the Beast )

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