Saturday, August 31, 2013

Please Stop Calling Me.

Some time ago, I wrote this post about how I came home every day to messages on my landline answering machine, most of which weren't for me.

Now that I work from home, I have the pleasure of hearing the phone ring in real time.  Because I can't just sit there and let it ring, I always go to check the caller ID.  I find that if I don't pick up the telemarketing calls, they call repeatedly until I do.  I'm hoping if I answer all the calls, maybe some day they'll stop.  It's been 5 months.  They haven't stopped yet.

I still get the calls for the auto parts store and collection agency courtesy calls for people I don't know, but they are not the bulk of my calls.

Rick Santorum called me the other day.  I've also gotten calls from the Tea Party.  I don't know if they know I don't agree with their politics and they're calling in the hopes they can turn me.  Or, maybe, they know and they're calling to annoy me (that might be working).  Or someone sold my number to the right-wing out of spite.

I get many, many calls from local agencies wondering if I have any household items or clothing to donate.  Lupus and Big Brother/Big Sister call me twice per month.  It seems like there will always be a truck in my area and that the driver can even give me a tax deductible receipt for my charitable donation.  (Is this supposed to imply that my receipt is tax deductible?)

Yesterday I did ignore a call.  It comes up on my phone as Children's Cancer.  The first time they called a few months ago, the time I answered, the woman asked if I could make a donation.  I don't make my donations based on phone calls, I have charities that I support and so I politely declined.  She was insistent that even my small $20 donation could make a difference and I replied that I'd already made my donations for that time period and I was tapped out.  And then she said this to me:

"Don't you care about children with cancer?"

Holy crap.  Was she kidding me?  That sort of line has to be in some manual of telemarketing don'ts.  With that question, there was no way I was going to make a donation, even if there was some chance she could have changed my mind, which there wasn't in the first place.  It wasn't that I don't care about kids with cancer, it was that I had already made my donations for the period and I was tapped out.  Like I said.

So when Children's Cancer called me again, I didn't answer.

We've also been getting calls for my husband's business at home.  I've turned down more "merchant services" offers than I care to count pretending to be the owner.  Since they only ask if I'm the owner and don't name the business or my husband, I just say yes.  I own some things, so, sure, I'm the owner.

Shortly after the Children's Cancer call, I received one from Private Caller, which I always answer in case it's a real person trying to find me.  Yesterday it was Kyle, calling to see if my husband wanted to support something with police and kids and an anti-drug program.  I said not now, but thanks.  He assured me that my "small, one-time $50 donation could make a difference and show that our business is against drugs."  OK, no doubt it would, but no thanks.  And then he said this:

"Surely you can make one small donation of $50 show that your business supports the war on drugs.  You can afford that, right?  Your business IS against kids taking drugs, right?"

I briefly considered saying that the business actually IS for drugs, but decided that probably wasn't a good idea.  Of course we are against kids taking drugs.  Way to strong arm a gal.  I again politely declined and his last ditch effort was to again tell me that of course we can afford $50.  Oh, can we?  Is he our bookkeeper now?  Awfully presumptuous and rude.  Whether the business can or can't isn't the issue.  Here's a tip- tell me what exactly you'll do with my donation and maybe you can sway me.

You won't sway me, but at least that is an effort I'll respect.

I wish the phone would stop ringing.  I wish everyone would stop calling me.  I wish I could just learn to ignore the phone.

Hooking up with my buddies at the moonshine grid this weekend.  Come check us out!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wellness Wednesday: Week 3

You guys, I'm tired.  I am so tired, in fact, that I can't even use the word exhausted to describe it because I don't have the strength to use a three syllable word when a two syllable word will suffice.

In the spirit of honesty, here are some fun facts.

  • I have not exercised since I wrote last week's post.
  • I have gained back about 1.5 pounds from the virus loss.  I knew that was coming, but still.
  • I am going to eat pizza tonight, and garlic bread.  And then I intend to have ice cream.
I'm PMSy. That's probably why I'm so tired.  Eating so much isn't going to help and will probably just make me feel worse, but there's just no stopping it now.  In my head I know that if I was at a healthy weight with a solid exercise plan and proper eating habits, the severity of my PMS would likely not be so bad.  Getting out of this cycle is way hard.

And it really is one terrible cycle.  I eat when I'm tired.  I've known this for a long time. I drink too much coffee, then I have trouble sleeping.  I'm already feeling the hormonal fatigue and then I dump a ton of crap on top of it.  Exercising?  Yeah, right.  As if that's going to happen in this condition.

{My husband just walked in with dinner.  Pardon me while I go stuff my face.}

So, I'm done eating now.  I ate my ice cream, too.  I'm not exactly thrilled with myself at the moment.

It all goes back to being so tired.  If I didn't feel like complete crap tonight, I'd have cooked the dinner I'd planned.  If I had willpower...  if I wasn't PMSing...  if... if... if...

It's 9:15 p.m.  I'm going to go to sleep shortly after I publish this.  I hope that I didn't drink so much coffee that I'll be up in the middle of the night like last night.  I hope that I wake up slightly less tired than I am now.

That's it.  That's my life as it happens.  I'm not sugar coating, I'm not woe-is-me-ing.  This is honestly how it goes.  I could say something super positive like gee whizz, tomorrow's a new day and I'm going to be great tomorrow.  But that would be bullshit.  This isn't a new scenario for me and old habits die hard.  Tomorrow *is* a new day and I do hope I'll do better.  But be great?  Unlikely.  Such is life.

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wellness Wednesday - Week 2.

Last week I started a weekly feature here about my journey toward better health.  I affectionately called it Status of the Fat Ass.  I offered up a cookie to someone who could give it a better name and I'm going to go with Carinn's suggestion of Wellness Wednesday.  Carinn, what's your poison? Chocolate chip?  Oatmeal raisin?

I mentioned last week that I was certain I had come down with the stomach virus my son was just getting over.  Turns out I was right, and today is my first normal food day in a week.  I haven't had an illness like that in 25 years and I really hope that doesn't happen again any time soon.

I still managed to walk on three separate days (once twice).  I also spent Saturday and Sunday running around my house for various cleaning projects.  A smarter woman probably would have rested, but unless I'm dying, I generally don't give in to illness.  I'm stubborn that way.

The upside of this virus is that I am down 5 pounds.  Sure I lost them in the most unhealthy way possible and I certainly don't advocate not eating for a week as a way to lose weight, but if I had to get a virus, losing a little bloat was a nice perk.

The downside of this virus is that I'm still feeling dehydrated.  I'm not great about drinking water, so when my stomach rejects everything I put into it, even the little bit I did manage to drink, um, evacuated promptly.  Monday night my eyes were feeling particularly dry, something I battle even on the best of days, and in trying to remove my contact it actually stuck to my eye and ripped in half.  So I'm *trying* to drink more water now.

I had casually set a goal of walking/running 100 miles in 2013, but I had only really mentioned it to a few friends.  I decided to go public with it here.  After today's 2 miler, my total to date is 57.03 miles.  I think I'm still on track to make it to 100 miles, so I'm pleased with that.

I'm not setting a weight loss goal other than to eventually get to a healthy weight.  My thinking here is that if I set better eating goals and goals for exercise, I will lose weight by default.  Also, I know losing 1-2 pounds per week is healthy and the thought of not hitting a healthy weight for almost a year is a bit overwhelming.  I'm going to focus on healthy habits and let the weight take care of itself.

Part of having a healthy lifestyle is to have a healthy mind.  I'm trying not to go overboard, trying not to get discouraged by the long road ahead of me, and trying not to think about about the fact that the changes I need to make are forever changes, not short-term.  There will be setbacks, slip ups, days where I make poor choices, and many other obstacles.  My hope is that I treat them as obstacles and not complete blocks.  I'd like to learn from them and make better choices in the future.

This past week hasn't been a good indicator of how I'm doing.  That's life, I guess.  Hopefully this week will give me more opportunities to practice some healthy habits.

Have you made little changes that have added up in big ways? Share them with the class!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Our Friend Seaweed.

Our family lost a beloved pet today.  Seaweed, our 2 1/2 year old goldfish, has died.

There were many fish before him.  Most lived only a few weeks, which I suppose is pretty common.  They swam around, ate their food, and generally didn't do anything noteworthy except die quickly.

S'weed, as he was often called, was different.  He knew us and when we'd walk into Nathan's room, he'd start swimming wildly.  He would "yell" at us for food by swimming to the top of the water and shaking his head while making fish-face.  He liked to swim upside down, often giving us a scare.  A quick tap on tank and he'd right himself, as if laughing that we fell for his hijinks again.

Seaweed cheated death twice.  Both times he somehow sucked in a small piece of gravel from the bottom of his tank, presumably to suck something to eat off it.  The gravel got stuck in his mouth and my husband had to use tweezers to pull the piece out.  The first time we thought it was just a weird random thing.  The second time, we bought new larger rocks for his tank.  He survived well over a year after that last incident.

He hadn't been swimming around as much in the last week or so.  He just hung out on the bottom until we fed him, he'd eat and go back down.  Then last night I knew he wouldn't make it through.  I encouraged Nathan to give his tank a hug, blow him a kiss and tell him how much he loves him.  When we got up this morning I saw I was right.

I really never thought I would get this attached to a fish.  But I did.  We're going to miss Seaweed.  He was really special.

Nathan showing S'weed the birthday card he made him last March.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Status of the Fat Ass.

I mentioned before that I was going to start a feature here about my journey toward better health.  I was going to call it Fitness Friday.  The problem is that Fridays aren't a good writing day.  I've been trying to find another catchy title, but I'm at a loss.  I considered Weighty Wednesdays but that made me feel fat and also implies that the sole purpose was about losing weight when in reality it's about being healthy.  Why don't any days start with H?  That would be helpful. Someone get on that.

The next thing I thought of was Status of the Fat Ass.  Say it fast.  It almost rhymes.  But then I remembered how corny I am when I'm trying to be clever.  So while that's the title of today's post, I'm really hoping I come up with something else for next week.

Wednesday is a good day for me to write here, even if it's a quick update, so I think I'm going to stick with that day.  If someone can think of a clever title, maybe even some alliteration with the word Wednesday, feel free to make a suggestion. If I use it, I'll give you a (fat-free, low-cal) cookie next time I see you.

So here goes, the kick off post.  Had I done this two weeks ago, I would have said, "You guys, I weighed myself and I am 159.4 pounds, which is terrible, but at least it's not 160."

Now I can say this:

You guys, I weighed myself on Monday and I am 160.8 pounds.  Which is just terrible.  There is no but.

That weight is appropriate for someone at least five inches taller than I am.  Since I'm not likely to grow, I have a bit of a problem.

But this isn't just about weight.  This is about healthy habits and bad habits, about being active versus being sedentary, and about having a healthy mindset versus a not-so-healthy one.

Today, even though I have picked up the stomach bug my kid just got over, even though my toe is still broken, and even though I was 100% not in the mood for this, I took myself out for a walk because it was just THAT beautiful out.  I managed 1.26 miles.  I'm glad I went.  I'm tired now.

Update: Since I wrote the first draft of this post, I can't even pretend I don't have this stomach virus.  I was pretending I was well when I went for the walk.  Now, not so much.  Oh well.  Sometimes denial works. This time it didn't.

My reason for posting this feature weekly is simple.  I need some accountability.  I need to take care of myself regularly, not sporadically.  Next week I hope to tell you that I made some self-care progress.  For now I'll leave it at that.  I hope you'll join me on this part of my journey.

Update 2:  I had been hoping to have blood test results back by the time I started this feature.  The blood was drawn 2 weeks ago, but I never got results.  So I called and the doctor's office took 2 days to call me back.  Apparently, the lab lost my blood.  How you lose blood is beyond me, but I've been invited back to have more blood drawn, "if I want to."  Yes, that's exactly what I *want* to do. Sigh.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Load of Laundry.

Except for a brief trip to Target, I've been working on cleaning up my inbox all morning.  I have many other tasks I should be working on, but the email is great for my lack of attention span and general lack of wanting to be standing.  Last night I didn't sleep, which is pretty typical, and when my son woke me at 5:15, I was not ready to be awake.  The headache that had finally dissipated after 5 days was back and I wasn't ready for a sick child's attitude.

Nathan came home early from camp on Friday with a low grade fever and vomiting.  He threw up again on Saturday and from noon on he had a fever.  He didn't cool down until around 10pm, even with Motrin.  Today he woke up at 99 and we're up to almost 100 even after Motrin this morning.  And he is cranky as all get out.  Unless by some miracle the fever goes down without medication, we'll be at the doctor tomorrow because I'm not comfortable with this many days of illness without a break.

Yesterday was a long day of running back and forth to the bathroom in a panic he'd be sick.  Once he is sick one time, he worries constantly that he'll throw up again.  He was not in good spirits either and though I was patient with him all day, he finally pushed me to my limit at about 7pm.  He was up at 5:30 yesterday, so I think I did a pretty good job under the circumstances.  (Actually I don't, I feel like shit that I lost my temper at all).   By the time he was asleep, the dinner I planned to cook just was not happening.  We ordered take out and then I dumped  bowl of ice cream down my throat for good measure.

Today I am tired, my head hurts and I'm wiped out.  Nathan's watching a movie with his dad (who also hasn't been feeling well), so I have had the time to work on the emails and write this.  What I had planned to do, cleaning, organizing and purging, isn't happening.  What that ultimately means is that I'm not on my feet at all, not even getting any passive exercise.  And since passive exercise was really all I was aiming for, it's a disappointment.

I've been trying to get back on track with diet and exercise, but I'm stuck in this cycle.  I feel like crap, so I don't exercise.  My toe is still broken and it still hurts like hell, so it's easy to blow it off.  Then, because I didn't do anything physical, it's the perfect excuse to eat garbage.  It's not like I'm negating any hard work, right?  Eating like shit causes me to sleep poorly (heartburn, anyone?), which leaves me sluggish the next day.  I have trouble getting myself to be active on a good day, so on a bad it's that much harder.  Throw in some self-loathing for my sloth- and slob-like ways and it's all just one big mess.

I'm trying to break the cycle, but it's just so hard.  I wanted to start a feature here about how I'm working towards better health with an initial focus on how the little things make such a difference.  Except I'm not even doing the little things, so there's nothing to say.  I told myself once I wrote this post I'd get up and switch the laundry and then vacuum the attic stairs.  If I do that at least it's something. Maybe I'll feel like doing more.  Maybe not, but at least I won't have been sitting all day.  This post is sort of a confession for the posts I haven't written that you didn't even know I'd committed myself to, which is silly, but there it is.

So I'm getting up now to do the laundry. Then I'm going to vacuum the stairs.  I don't want to.  I want to curl up on the couch with a snack and a blanket and watch a movie.  But that's not going to help me. 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, or maybe a load of laundry.

Linking up with the moonshine grid this weekend.  Why not pop on over and read some other blogs?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Chronic Pain.

I'm on Day 3 of a migraine.  It's a myth that all migraines are the kind where someone must stay in bed with all the lights off and absolute silence.  Some are like that, and then some are the kind I typically get.  I've had the other kind, with the last one happening in July 2002.  It was the worst pain I've ever experienced.  For five grueling hours, it felt like my brain was swelling while my skull simultaneously was shrinking.  I could see but not really and hear but not really.  Wiggling my toes hurt my head. Breathing hurt.  I had to force myself not to cry because that hurt, too.  I contemplated going to the emergency room, but I knew I couldn't walk to the car and the thought of EMTs trying to carry me out of our second floor apartment didn't sound any better.  I waited it out and it broke.  I thank the stars that it hasn't happened since.

This migraine, and the others I get on a monthly basis, are milder, but tend to last longer.  It's been 48 hours since I first woke up Monday morning with this one and after 25 years of them, I know enough to expect it with me most of the day.

I knew it was coming on Saturday when I first began to experience Strawberry Jelly Head.  The back of my head, right around my brain stem, starts to feel like it's turning into strawberry jelly.  Not jam and not any other flavor, strawberry jelly.  I tried to rest on Saturday and Sunday, but clearly that didn't help.

When I woke up Monday morning, my entire head was in pain.  I felt like I had been hit in the back of the head and the face with a bat.  While the pain is mostly always concentrated on the left side, it often radiates everywhere to varying degrees each time.  Now, at Day 3, it's back to the left side, but Monday and Tuesday it was everywhere.

The strangest part is that the pain moves in waves throughout the day like an oscillating fan.  If the intensity of all over pain lets up long enough, I can start to feel the smaller subsections of pain.  The feeling of kabob skewers working their way through my sinus cavities and into the backs of my eyeballs, which feel just as swollen as everything else in my head. My ears feel like someone is hammering nails straight through them, throbbing and aching.  Every step I take sends shooting pains up my neck, through the back of my head, straight to the top.

Once the main event ends, possibly because I've been sufficiently medicated or caffeinated, or it starts to rain (yes, that's always a factor), or any number of other factors occur, there's the lingering after effects I can count on for at least the rest of the day.  The fatigue is unbelievable.  It is exhausting to be in that much pain.

Perhaps the most disturbing though is Marshmallow Brain.  Have you ever microwaved a marshmallow?  First it gets really big.  You keep your finger on the stop button just in case, but you don't press it because you're daring that marshmallow to see just how big it will get before it explodes.  Once the microwave stops, the marshmallow suddenly deflates, becoming a crumpled shell of what it once was.

During the migraine, when everything in my skull feels far too large to fit in there comfortably, I always have a slight worry that this might be the day my eyeballs actually pop.  In time though, everything starts to deflate and my head-contents now feel too small.

This is where I am now.  My head feels like it's leaking, but it doesn't really Hurt with a capital H.  If I stand too quickly or turn my head too abruptly, something in my head feels like it's shifting and clunking into the sides of my skull.  I can eat again without feeling sick and my sinuses loosen the strangle hold they've had and for a brief moment I fear I'm getting a cold on top of everything else.  I can think more clearly, although still a little more slowly than usual, but I'm relieved to no longer have the confusion or inability to finish sentences which usually accompanies the more intense days.  My neck, shoulders and eyeballs are sore from the stress, but, again, this pales in comparison to the ravages of the actual migraine.

Update:  I wrote this earlier this morning, but then things got worse again.  Now, much later in the day, I'm feeling a little more human.  This better be the end of it.

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