Photos mostly from this week….

I don’t often take photos of myself, but I did while I was waiting outside the supermarket while the wonderful Mr Belived did some shopping on Wednesday. (I’d just been to my psychologist appointment and was tired so I didn’t go in).image

image

Restless flycatcher, spotted on one of Mr Beloved’s walks with Emmalumpdogg.image The double barred finches think clever Mr Beloved’s bird feeder is the best dining spot in town!image image Rescued tortoise… Rainy morning, about 5 am, discovered by Emmalumpdogg. Poor tortoise had its neck stuck through fence but couldn’t walk any further of course, so Mr Beloved improvised rescue tools and released it down in a safe place by the creek.image Emmalumpdogg decided she is a hooman and therefore would like to try drinking out of water glass, thank you!imageMr and Mrs Superb Fairy Wren enjoy breakfast at the birdseed cafe.

Wednesday was a very loooooooong day.

Warning:epic post!image
Yesterday was a loooooooooong day. Not just for me, but for poor Mr Beloved – since I’m still not allowed to drive (stupid fainting thing!) he has to play chauffeur. He is the world’s most patient man.

First stop: J, the magic physiotherapist. Oh, I love her! 45 minutes of bliss. Things are definitely improving each time I see her, and even though I could do my exercises more (I try, I try!) my pelvis is more stable, I can bend forward and backwards with less pain, and this time she worked on my thoracic spine because my neck was locked up. Within my fibromyalgia limits, as always. But by the end of the session, I could turn my head so far I felt like an owl! Wonderful!

Rush off to the optometrist. Because the day before I’d been in to collect my two new pairs of spectacles – red for reading and sewing, black for everyday distance vision. This was after my second eye test and both pairs of glasses having to be remade because they got them completely WRONG the first time: the height was wrong, the curve was wrong, when I put them on everything was distorted and I just felt dizzy and seasick. They spent 45 minutes fussing with the frames, putting “tilt” on the frames, adjusting them. Made no bloody difference. Ugh. They tried to tell me that I would “adjust”, that I should “try them out for a few days”…. Uh, no. YOU got them wrong. And I was made to feel like the staffer having to fill out the paperwork ( paper? In 2016?!) was doing so under sufferance. Not happy.

Anyway, on Tuesday I collected my red readers. Small adjustment to the earpiece and voila.. Good to go. New prescription had been made correctly. BUT…. Black everyday glasses? Exactly the same wrongness as last time. Peripheral vision distorted, direct vision at wrong height, a complete mess. Useless. Unacceptable. I leave the store, unhappy, and silly young assistant promises to get in touch.

Which she does, half an hour later, when we’ve been to the grocery store, asking if I’m still in the mall, and would I like to come back in and try to get the glasses adjusted now? No, I tell her, I would not. Oh. Would I like to come in tomorrow then, and try for an adjustment and maybe another eye test if that’s what’s needed? Fine, I say through gritted teeth, and look at my calendar, and book in the appointment, in between the two I already have for Wednesday. Grrrrrrrrrr.

Which is why I’m at the optometrist yesterday, hoping to collect my black everyday glasses. But guess what? After keeping us waiting 20 minutes past our appointment time (grrrrrr) the bloke….

CAN’T FIND THE GLASSES. Which young assistant had just the day before. He goes to look for them. He gets other people to look. I helpfully tell him the name of young assistant, since they don’t have a decent audit trail. He calls her back to the store from lunch. She looks.

I am saying things like I’ve been a customer here for at least seven years, I’ve never had this sort if trouble before, this is very stressful and wasting my time, I’m really considering not coming back once this is resolved, blah blah blah. Shoulda gone to Specs$vers? Hmmm… Not so much….

In the meantime, he checks my new readers, adjusts my old ones, which Emmalumpdogg keeps jumping on and bending the nosepieces (new readers have no bendy nosepieces. For that reason.)

New glasses are lost. Vanished. Unfindable. Stupid young assistant has actually done me a favour, because rather than having the same mucked about frames used again, bloke has authorised new glasses altogether.

All that took over an hour.

We have time to get home briefly to check on Emmalumpdogg before the next appointment. Specialist dentist. He’s the owner of the practice and you only get to see him if your dentist refers you up. I have TMJ (temporomandibular joint) issues, have had ever since my first husband, 💪exacerbated by my tendency to tense my jaw when stressed and grind my teeth at night sometimes. (Gosh, what could have stressed me out that day! 😂)

Well! He is the chattiest the dentist I have ever met! We establish cultural credentials (everything from Shakespeare to MotoGP!) and somehow spend 90 minutes, of which maybe 10 are about the problem, with about 2 taken up with an actual poking around exam. Which hurt, and established beyond any doubt in his mind that I need a further consult with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, with the possibility of botox(!) injections to ease the problem. Who knew, eh? Said surgeon is down the big hill in Ipswich, so that will be an interesting trip.

So. Up to the pharmacy to refill my antibiotics script, since everything is closed today because it’s a public holiday (Show day! Whoopee!) and finally, home. Emmalumpdogg demanded her afternoon happy stick chewing time, poor Mr Beloved collapsed onto the bed to rest his aching back.

Loooooonnnnnnnng day.

Oh, and my new black glasses? Due on the 15th. We shall see. I can’t wait to get the feedback form in the email, cos I’m gonna let ‘er rip. 👿

Continuing the cupboard clean out

black-and-white-nov-2008
Then: November 2008
Now: November 2013
Now: November 2013
Such a pretty dress!
Such a pretty dress!

First time I sewed it was all the way back here in October 2008. I had to manipulate it a bit for the photo shoot, it doesn’t work  In Real Life, the bodice is just too loose, and my tummy is too big.

It’s either getting re-gifted or sent to a charity this arvo…

Cleaning out the cupboard

So. After folding the basket(s) of washing this morning, I couldn’t find any clean shorts.  I resorted to (gasp!) looking in the cupboard, where I keep my out-of-season clothes.

It’s been a while.

These used to be snug...
These used to be snug…
Roomy!
Roomy!

More pics to follow, but you get the idea… two garbage bags full of donations ready to head out the door already.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This weight loss has been over a period of 5 years, and mostly involved getting OFF a particularly insidious psych drug that (IMHO) NOBODY should ever be given.  In fact, the manufacturer of said drug has settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit in the US because of the damage it does (weight gain, diabetes, heart disease).

End of Semester Two…

At 2:14 today I submitted my final work for CWR1000.  PHEW!!  It’s been a tough 15 weeks, which is why I have been mostly absent from the blog.  I’ve had a rotten period of mixed mania, followed by a bout of depression where I had big problems with not having much appetite and lots of anxiety, and my weight has dropped accordingly (I guess some would see that as a silver lining…)

In my new Dr Who t shirt

I am confident of a pass in the university subject, and have really enjoyed it – after all, Creative Writing was why I wanted to go back to university – and anything more than a pass will be a bonus.  The 2000 word short story got 87% on the first go around; (it was worth 25% of the semester’s mark) the next part of the assignment (submitted today) was to re-edit it substantially and provide 200 words of notes on the reasons for the changes.  It’s such a small framework to work in, but I hope I’ve managed to pull it off.  That’s worth 30% of the overall mark.

The other work handed in today was a portfolio of all of the in-class exercises, notes on the readings, and reflections on the exercises throughout the course. And that’s worth the  30%.  I hope I’ve covered that off sufficiently but if I haven’t – well, it’s too late to stress about it now, its already in the university’s computer.  (The remaining 15% for the semester was for the 500 word descriptive piece waaaay back in August, and I got 83%.)

So what now? Well, on Wednesday I’m off to Adelaide to see my lovely family!  My brother will be 40 on Friday and they’re having an “at home” for him on Saturday.  I can’t wait to catch up with everybody and just hang out.  I am anxious about leaving Mr Beloved and Miss Constance, of course, and will miss them terribly for the week I am away, but it will be so wonderful to be with Mum and Dad and Gordon and Ju and Hanneul (if I get to see him, I think he’s very busy…) I haven’t seen my family in far too long.  We speak on the phone to Mum and Dad every Sunday night, but there’s nothing like actually just sitting down to a meal or three together to catch up.  I’m on direct flights from Brisbane to Adelaide this time, too, so much easier than having to rush through the Sydney terminal to change planes.

The when I come back I am determined to tackle the project that has been hanging over me for too long – The Sewing Room Of Shame.  We need the room back. I spoke to my psychologist about it yesterday, and my mental health nurse, and I think I am ready to start it…one little box, 15 minutes at a time…

…and on November 12, Semester 3 of university starts. Fun.  Because my poor muddled brain can only manage one subject per semester I  have to do subjects in Semester Three each year, whether I want to or not.  Luckily this year it’s one of the ‘core’ subjects that everybody doing a B.Arts is forced to do: CMS1000, Communication and Scholarship.  I bought the textbook today – $98 KACHING thankyouverybloodymuch, and I couldn’t even buy a second hand copy as the course requirements specify the 2013 edition.  My only consolation is that I will be able to sell it easily to someone in Semester 1 next year, when hordes of incoming first years will be doing it.  I know other textbooks are much more expensive, but really, when you see the content in this one  – !  And because it’s such a limited course offering, you can’t buy it from anywhere except the uni bookstore.

I’m doing this subject as an ‘external’ student, which will be interesting – I’m going to have to make sure I keep in contact with my friends I made  in Semester 2, or I’ll go a wee bit stir crazy from lack of people contact perhaps.

So that’s about it from here. It’s hot and there’s a lot of smoke haze – 31C and bushfires burning to the north and east of Toowoomba. (Areas that flooded last year now have high fuel loads, and several fires have started from lightning strikes… this is the way the cycle runs, unfortunately.) The other night there was so much smoke in the air the moon was blood red. and both Mr Beloved and I needed extra asthma medication – not fun. It’s clearer today but still hazy.

 

Posty post post…

I cried at my mental health nurse’s appointment today.  ‘I’m just not managing my pain very well,’ I said.  She asked if this was part of my perfectionism, or if something else was going on.  ‘I think it’s partly because the pain is worse, and partly because now the mania is coming down the pain is just there again.’ I said.  But it’s the nights that are worst. And I am doing everything I can to try and manage without taking too much medìcine – trying to get by with taking as little medicatión as I can, because I don’t know when I can get into to see my doctor again, and I don’t like having to ask for more paìnkillers.  I told one friend at uni, an ex-nurse, that I had a bad night the other night and had to take 200 mg of tramadól and I let her reaction really get to me and I shouldn’t have – she had no idea of the chronic pain I live with, I shouldn’t let one person’s reaction get to me this much. I’m doing what I can by moving around more, using ice packs, setting up a program on the computer that stops me every twenty minutes so I don’t sit and type for too long, but the pain has just been sooo bad… (I did call up and make a doctor’s appointment late this afternoon – she had a cancellation, so I can see her next week.  What  a relief.)

I have to remember to tell the Very Helpful Psychiatrist when I see her on Monday that I’m getting the shakes a little bit, but whether that’s the medicatìon, pain, or anxiety – who knows.  It’s swings and roundabouts.  You treat one thing and something else pops up.  You then have to decide – just how badly do you want to treat the next symptom? *headdesk*

I am definitely coming down from the mania.  I don’t want to spiral into a depression.  Talk about your rapid cycling… I managed to get to my appointment with the mental health nurse on time  today,  but I didn’t do a full face of make-up for the first time in a long time, just face powder, blush, lippy, mascara – which I then proceeded to cry off. I really must invest in some waterproof mascara, especially if I’m headed towards depression again.   My skin is behaving itself for a change, so I felt like I could just get away with face powder today.  No doubt it will be in the clinical notes – everything goes in the clinical notes.

Before I went out I put on the first dress I ever bought from TS14+, the one that Mr Beloved referred to as my ‘WW1 battleship camouflage dress’ when I first got it.  It’s too big for me now, it flares out too much at the sides to look attractive on me, especially over the mesh sleeved underdress.  Oh dear. Another one for the donation pile.  Looks like I’ll have to spend more money on some new dresses for summer after all – maybe once we’ve recovered a bit financially from the last hit.  I am glad to have lost the weight but I’m still getting used to the idea that things don’t fit the same way.  I have enough clothes to manage provided no one minds seeing me in the same things all the time, (who notices? I don’t) and provided I don’t mind wearing scruffy stuff at home, where too big shorts and t-shirts really don’t matter so much.

I’m still trying to work on my story for class.  Re-writing it and tightening it down, but I’ve got a way to go yet – the maximum length is 10% over the 2000 word limit, and at the moment I’m at around 2500 words.  It needs work, but I’m getting to the point where reading it on the screen is getting difficult – I’ll have to print it off, get out the red pen and get to work moving paragraphs around and editing places where information is repeated or unnecessary.  This iteration of the story is worth 25% of our marks for the course; then we get it back and a further 30% of the course marks come from how well we edit and re-work the story, which we then re-submit.  So it’s something I’ll be working on until the end of October.  (That sounds like a long time but is really only a few weeks, when you think about it… almost September as I write this.)  At the moment I just keep working on it every day, nipping here, tucking there, a sentence at a time, trying to make it better.

And now somewhere around the start of  November I have my brother’s birthday party to look forward to.  Not sure of the details yet, just that something will be happening, and the idea of seeing my family again has me teary with happiness.  It’s been far too long.  Even if I only get over to Adelaide for a couple of days, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone.

The storm that was trying to build all day seems to have gone around us.  We’re supposed to get a thunderstorm tomorrow, and sometimes this sort of weather makes my pain worse – my back and hips like to predict weather along with the kookaburras and the Bureau of Meteorology.  There must be some scientific explanation for barometric pressure and joint pain but I bet the rheumatologists don’t have any peer reviewed papers on it. (Not that I’m going to go looking.  I’m hurting too much.)

Another week, another post…

You wouldn’t think just trying to do one university subject and stay well would take up so much time, but somehow it does.

We had our hottest day here  in months  – the official temperature recorded was 24, but inside the house it got up to 27.  That was Thursday, and when the clouds eventually gave up their rain we got all of about 2 mm.  The overnight temperature was something like 10 above the average. Poor woolly dog is still in her full winter coat, but the temperature has dropped back down again since. (And she likes to snuggle under things, especially people clothes, when it does get cool.)

(Just back from the groomers – we do NOT encourage ribbons in the hair and they do not last more than about an hour!)

I had to go and buy clothes today though, since I have very few things to wear for summer – I’m back under 100kg for the first time since at least the end of 2003, and I need to look decent for university: it helps me, psychologically, if I feel that I am turning up looking my best. That means I like wearing (reasonably) good clothes and having some face on and my hair looking okay.  Most of the dresses I bought at TS14+ and have been wearing during the last few months will be fine for the next few months with the addition of short sleeve underdresses (instead of the long sleeve t-shirts and heavy opaque leggings I have been wearing them with).  $$$ but what can you do? I have found that the TS14+ clothes are lasting well and wash and dry really well – so in the end they’re much better value than the cheaper clothes that fall apart and don’t even last a single season.

Today I got the result back for the first piece of assessment for CWR1000, the Creative Writing subject I’m studying this semester: 83/100, and that’s for 15% of the overall mark for the semester. Not enough for a High Distinction (that takes 85) but I’m  very happy.  It was for a 500 word piece of pure description: no narrative, no plot, just describing a place, person, or emotion.  I chose to write about a place, my bedroom at our old house in Wagga.  I did a solid job, but need to let loose with more poetry, more abstract and imaginative language in my writing, says my teacher.  I can do that. I’m looking forward to doing that.  I am in the middle of a first draft of what will end up as a 2000 word story (due 7th September) which is worth 25% of the mark for the course, so I will make sure I incorporate his feedback into the new piece.

Mental health report: I think I’ve turned the corner on this mixed mania episode (and there was a collective sigh of relief).  The medicat1on (Saphr1s) at the higher strength seems to have done the trick (or maybe I would have got there on my own – that’s the damn trouble with B1polar, you never can tell, but it’s too dangerous not to treat it just in case things go disastrously wrong and you wreck your life and your relationships permanently). In any case, I am grateful to be back to my somewhat saner state of mind. It’s still a bit wonky but my sleep patterns have noticeably improved, and I’m not so up and down-y all the time now.  I am staying on he higher dose until I see the Very Helpful Psychiatrist next, then we get to wean me off, and then we see how I go. Fun times.

And the cockatiels are setting up the nursery again – Mrs Bird has a lovely new cornflakes box, which Mr Bird is modifying.  No signs of eggs yet, but there could be baby birds by Christmas… if that happens successfully we’ll eventually have to give them away, since Yarrow, our baby bird from the flood, has taken up residence in the only spare cage.

That’s about it from here this week.  The kookaburras have just started laughing so either they’re setting up their nursery too, or we’re in for rain in the next couple of days (they’re better than the Bureau of Meteorology at getting the big storms right).

 

 

 

So. Tired.

Ugh. So I just LOVE having rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder.  Yep.  Love it.  Because now I have moved into what the psychiatrist calls a ‘mixed state’ which translates as ‘don’t know if I’m going to be ok or burst into weepy tears’, and it’s very NOT fun. It’s the worst part of Bipolar, the mixed state, because it’s both mania and depression at once. It’s the most dangerous state.  But I’m okay. Sort of. Just really tired and scattered.

And I’m so damn sick of my brain waking me up with useless chatter at 2:30 in the morning.  I just want to sleep through the night so I can get up and concentrate on my school work like NORMAL people, you know? And get to classes and appointments without looking like a zombie and wanting to come home and collapse across the bed without even taking time to take my clothes or makeup off afterwards (it’s not pretty waking up crushed and with the remnants of mascara ground into the pillow.)

So I get to try some new med1cation tonight, yippee. The Very Helpful Psychiatrist reckons it will make me sleep.  It’s a short term fix only. I said I don’t care I JUST WANT TO SLEEP AND BE NORMAL.  The doctor asked if I wanted to go to hospital ‘just for a little while’ but I don’t want to.  It’s such a hassle.  I want my own stuff around me and my own ice packs and my own uncomfortable bed, not to mention Mr Beloved and Connie… I worry that if this med1cation doesn’t work that I might have to go but I’ll fight it all the damn way.

*sigh*

The lovely vet came over to see Connie today -we have to buy a rug for the bedroom floor and build some stairs for the bed, because at 8 years old poor Connie’s knees and back are starting to wear out from her constant exuberant jumping from the bed to the slippery floorboards and back up again.  She also gets to have a yummy fishy powder supplement to help ease her joints – and if that’s not helping fast enough she goes back onto some meloxicam, poor little mite.

Tomorrow Mr Beloved gets his eyes tested and new spectacles organised; I did that last week and so should be picking up my new specs this week.

The black-ish pair is actually much darker in real life, if I remember rightly. Not so tortoiseshell-y. The red pair are that red. (Turned out my vision problems are mostly because I’m tired and stressed.  What a surprise, right? At least it’s not the start of a brain tumor or anything horrible. Except for the persistent floater in my left eye which is just a damn floater and there is nothing to be done about it.)

And here’s a compare and contrast for you:

On the left: at the end of February;  on the right (in winter plumage, but having lost some weight) at the end of July. Is university good for me? Perhaps.

I finally got an official result from last semester: I got an HD. High Distinction.

Wooohoo.

And my first piece of assessable work for this unit is due on the 13th and I already feel like I’m falling behind so if you’ll excuse me… I have some writing to do. And I have to read the first Harry Potter book again before Friday as homework and look at the way it is structured (yep, really.)

Odd.

So I saw my lovely GP today, mostly to get (yet another) form signed for the Great Big Government Department Which Controls Our Lives.  Since I’m having a bit of a fibromyalg1a flare we decided some blood tests would be a good idea, and then she asked ‘Have you lost weight?’

‘Yeah, people keep asking me that…’

Turns out, yes, I have.  Another 10 kg since I last got on the scales in March, and another 7 cm off my waist.

Ah.

That would explain why those jeans looked odd now. And why the fat-chick-size pantyhose I bought kept falling down: I just attributed it to them losing their stretch in the wash. Didn’t occur to me that I might have needed the slightly smaller size.

I don’t know my waist measurement, I was too shocked by the number on the scale – 107 kg – to pay attention to the tape.  When I left Canberra I weighed 103 kg. I have been as large as nearly 130 kg.

Really, none of this…

The thing is, I haven’t been TRYING to lose weight.  With the insomnia, I have been exercising even LESS than usual.  I’m still eating donuts if they are marked down at the supermarket or we feel like it. So… I’m not jumping up and down with joy at the weight loss until I’m sure I’m okay, you know?

That sounds awfully pessimistic.  Maybe it’s just because we’ve stopped having sweet biscuits in the pantry, I’m not baking, and I’m just not eating as much now that I don’t  take that wretched atypical-anti-psych0tic ser0quel anymore. (I will be forever grateful to the Very Helpful Psychiatrist for getting me OFF that horrible horrible drvg, and on to something which works better for me.  If it was the only thing she had ever managed to help me with it would have been enough to earn my trust forever.)

And, burying the lead in a big way: today I got the result for Essay 2 of last semester. 87.5%. Which is an HD. And if I’d actually written an introduction I could have gotten a higher mark, so oops, eh?  Before I have to do any more subjects that need essays I think I’d better get some help with how to write the darn things.

Still no official result for Semester 1 overall but if my maths is correct (and it rarely is) I *think* that means an HD.  I’ll let you know.