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Monday, April 15th, 2013
10:40 pm - Marathon Explosion
We were in Newton, at the first aid tent with Eric's aunt, (not) passing out bananas and water at Mile 18. They closed the stations down and dispersed the personnel.  They wouldn't let anyone into the city, so Eric's aunt took us to my folks' house and I notified my boss et. al. that I wouldn't be at work tomorrow.

All we have right now are the (now rather smelly) clothes on our backs.

I just want to go to work, then home.

Or maybe just home.  I want my apartment back. Also my city. 

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Monday, February 25th, 2013
10:07 pm - Full Circle
I used to have PMS.  I went on birth control pills and the symptoms were pretty much mitigated for a while.

Then I went on anti depressants. They took away the dysphoric lows that sexist casual observers would often misinterpret as PMS. (Until those dysphoric periods got ragingly out of control, then the casual observers just worried about me.)

But the hormone fluctuations during the week I take the sugar pills interfere with the way my anti depressants work.

The result: something for all intents and purposes that manifests itself as PMS.

Isn't neuroscience ironic? ;-) 

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Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
7:37 pm - New Year's Resolution Watch: The Dentistning
I went to Harvard Dental School today for my appointment, and it was mostly a good experience.  The exception to the general positivity of the experience being the receptionist was a little abrupt when I went to the front desk but didn't know who my doctor was or which window to go to right away.  (I explained it was my first time there and no one mentioned what doctor I was seeing, and she mellowed.)  Also, I had x-rays, which seldom go all that well.  In the old days, they used to waste film on me because I'd gag or bite wrong or throw up.  (I have an unusually small mouth, so getting dental work is hard for reasons other than the fact that I'm a nut.)  This time, they had these diodes covered in plastic and hooked up to a computer, which bit into my tongue so much my mouth is still kind of sore, but they felt more solid so I didn't feel like I was about to swallow them, and they didn't stick into my throat.  They also gave me some second and third chances to get really good pics of my teeth, unlike the old days when the exasperated technician would just give up and send me back to the dentist after a semi-usable set was produced.*


Then I walked back to the teaching office, where I got to hear the words I always hear at the dentist.  ("So Nixmarie tells me you're a gagger.")  And it turns out my teeth are basically healthy, but I need to get them bleached because it's hard to tell the surface pre-cavities from the stain of three years without dental care. (Ah, the delights of no insurance.)  If it turns out I just have some trouble spots, I'll just need some take home fluoride treatment.  Also, two of my fillings look like they're leaking, which doesn't hurt but sounds like something I want to get fixed.  So I'm back in three weeks for the bleaching, and then they'll figure out what to do with my teeth from there.  Hopefully, I won't need too much work, because although the dental school is a good deal financially -- right now my treatment's less than $200 for the xrays and cleaning, most private practices start at $300 and work their way up -- I do actually have a job.  

Ah, the ka-ching of money rushing into their till.  (Although I do believe them when they say I need some work done, they actually went through my x-rays with me in a group of students, which was kind of cool.)

The doctor appointment has been postponed until March, because my employer just changed insurance to something much better, and I want to use the good insurance when it goes into effect in March.

Isn't this exciting?  

I kind of find it interesting, actually.   







*It surprises me sometimes the way I get treated now that people know I have anxiety issues / am an adult / am pretty well versed in health care stuff, versus the way I got treated as a child.  As an adult, people really try to make me feel better and work with me, as a kid I was always made to feel like I was giving the doctor a hard time on purpose because I shrank when people tried to touch me, or I was asking too many questions to be a smart ass (I notice girls have to deal with that misinterpretation more than boys).  I wonder if the world has changed or people just suck when dealing with kids.  Especially smart girls.  Probably a bit of both.  I'm probably more willing to meet people half way too, truth be told.  

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Saturday, January 19th, 2013
7:12 pm - New Year's Resolution Watch: The Vegetarianing
10.  (Nicely) get the caff to adequately mark vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, because they've just started offering "vegetarian" options with fish, chicken broth, and other non vegetarian ingredients.  Ugh.  

I ended up recruiting another vegetarian who worked in the STD unit with me to help orchestrate a phone calling and email writing campaign to try to get the caff to see why marking fish dishes and things with chicken broth in them as vegetarian was not okay. his Friday was the first day the published menus actually reflected seriously vegetarian friendly choices.  Is New Year's Resolution 10 over?  God, I hope so. 

Next:  I have a dentist appointment on the 22nd at 8, which I decided to keep, even though I was invited to a meeting at 10:30 the same morning at the eleventh hour this past Friday.  Hopefully, I'll be out of the dentist's office at 8 and in my office before 10:30.  I thought about canceling but I really need to get some dental things taken care of (I haven't been in over three years) and I told them weeks before the meeting that I would have to have the time off.  Cross fingers that I didn't do something stupid

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Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
7:06 pm - Therapy Notes
I'm taking two intensive Spanish classes this semester instead of one, so most of my therapy until May or so is going to focus on stress management and my Superwoman delusions. Not that taking two classes was a bad idea, in fact even my therapist (fluent in Spanish herself) endorses it as the next logical step.  I know this is the only way to really make progress with a language I want/need to have quite a bit of fluency in.  But I'm torn between the excitement of my inner brain box Hermione personality and the depression of a person who is really going to miss watching I Love Lucy while crocheting a blanket for my cousin's wedding.  

I'm acclimating to the pills, but they still make me groggy at times, and the week before my period they don't work that well.  I hope this is just a thing that they do,  I don't want liver problems or more pills.  But I'm also not thrilled with a life of agoraphobia and sobbing fits.  So I'm trying to hammer out a compromise. 

Another development in therapy is that my therapist finally hooked up my lifelong hypochondria with the fact that one of my aunts died really young.  I've spent years having this conversation:

Any therapist:  Do you think there's a reason for your hypochondria?
Me:  Well, my aunt died pretty young, and I'm named after her.  So I've always been aware that we're all not going to live forever...
Any therapist: *not listening*  Of course, hypochondria does just happen some times....

Maybe they were wrong about the pills too.  (And that snap you hear is the breaking of my "don't whine about the crazy pills" New Years' Resolution.)

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Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
6:34 pm - New Year's Resolution Watch: Three Days In
5.  Go to dentist (appointment already made for Jan 4th), doctor, and eye doctor to keep on track with health.

I got a call on the morning of the 2nd saying the dentist had cancelled and I called back to ask why.  Apparently, the dentist hasn't gotten back from vacation yet.  I rescheduled for the 22nd.  Gah.

Also on the doctor front:  I'm on call two of a three call scheduling process.  (I had to change my insurance on Patient Gateway, as well as my doctor, because the provider I liked left last year.)  I need to schedule a pap smear and a liver function test on top of a basic physical, the side effects aging and of crazy pills, which inexplicably makes the whole thing harder than it has to be.  The eye doctor has to wait until I get the liver test out of the way for the psycho pharm, because I only have enough ephemerol refills to last till March.  
 

7.  Stay on top of car maintenance.

The battery died on Sunday, and we found it was a year older than the ideal age to replace the battery.  But we did manage to change the windshield wipers... a month after we noticed the rubber was peeling away from the backs.  Well, we still have the rest of the year....


10.  (Nicely) get the caff to adequately mark vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, because they've just started offering "vegetarian" options with fish, chicken broth, and other non vegetarian ingredients.  Ugh.
I called them up to talk to them about this, and sent them the definition of Vegetarian from the British Society of Vegetarians website.  I also got the other vegetarian in the department involved in my little campaign.  They responded by not labeling anything at all on the menus for the rest of the month.  Well, I did what I could.  

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Monday, December 17th, 2012
7:02 pm - The New Years Resolutions of Mary Beth (2013)
1.  Focus on what direction I want my career to go in.

2.  Do more things like Knitting for Boston because more traditional volunteering isn't really working out with my schedule.  This is not to say abandon attempts to volunteer, because I really enjoyed the few times I did this year, but it's not quite as much as I would like to give back.

3.  Get 10K speed up to run 10k in 1 hour 10 mins.  Also, run something longer than a 10k. 

4.  Climb next rung of career ladder you've decided on.

5.  Go to dentist (appointment already made for Jan 4th), doctor, and eye doctor to keep on track with health.

6. Take meds without whining.  

7.  Stay on top of car maintainence.

8.  Be more proactive when it comes to scheduling fun things, because for some reason fun makes me nervous and that's nuts.

9.  Accept the things I cannot change, change what I can, figure out the difference.

10.  (Nicely) get the caff to adequately mark vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, because they've just started offering "vegetarian" options with fish, chicken broth, and other non vegetarian ingredients.  Ugh.  

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Monday, December 3rd, 2012
9:56 pm - Stress Knitting: What Everyone is Getting This Christmas
imagejpeg_2 (3)

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Friday, November 23rd, 2012
12:10 pm - Resolutions Kept?
1.  Save enough money to go to the dentist.  Go to the dentist. (I don't have dental insurance and I do have a lot of other bills, so this is tricky.  However, I've just climbed out of a pit of insurance crap, so I'm feeling optimistic.) 

Bwahhahahhahahaha!  No.  I think the closest I got was to make a list for a number of prospective dentists in August.  


2.  Keep on top of insurance stuff, and the medical appointments I need, without living in fear of those envelopes coming in the mail. (Ambition!) 

Actually, I did do a pretty good job of this, after a rough start to the year when Harvard Pilgrim decided to not cover therapy and in August when they decided not to cover the crazy pills, I managed my reimbursements and payment tracking well. 

3.  Figure out a consistent spiritual practice.  (This one is something I find myself doing at least a little bit every year, but it seems like something I should really work harder on.) 

I did a lot of meditating, praying, and reading relatively consistently this year.  I'll never be Charlie (Charlene?) Church, but I have made the effort to be less concerned with the ephemeral material short term, etc.  

4.  Progress in my Spanish studies.  

Done! I am now on par with a college sophomore majoring in Spanish. 

5.  Get to the point in therapy where I feel happy and comfortable switching to a "maintenance" schedule of every other week, because I think it's time.  

Well, I did this though having the worst panic attack I've had in years, wherein I freaked everyone in my immediate orbit out and was put on some heavy drugs, but that needed to happen and I am less dependent on my therapist now.  So, done!

6.  Increase the amount of money I save every month. 

Done! From $100 to $200.  

7.  Finally pay my parents back the money I borrowed for my health insurance premiums when the museum cut the hours I was able to work two years ago.  (Debt-wise, I have only just sort of recovered from that hours cut.  Bastards.)

Eh, sort of.  It was hard getting them to accept some money but I did.  Not all of it though. 

8.  Continue taking halfway decent care of the car.  (I have a love/hate relationship with cars that sometimes spreads to me not cleaning them when I should.) 

Well, it's not a junk heap, but it needs to be cleaned on the outside and I have no plans to do it.  

9.  Work more on being assertive at work, especially now that I've heard they were looking to give me more leadership-type duties.  

Yup, I've gotten people to help out with the paperwork, even though they don't stick around.  I've also had a few talks about my career. 

10.  Be more aware of appearance, because a woman of thirty shouldn't be surprised by noticing what she's wearing halfway through the day.  (Not that I look dowdy, because I actually get complements on my clothes a lot of the time, but I just should be more aware.) 

Yup, no bathing suits falling apart or pants ripping this year too.  (Last year I had a few wardrobe malfunctions because I was trying to make things last till the end of the season when they clearly weren't going to.)
11.  Less 5ks, more 10ks


Ran 4 10ks this year and am registered to run the First Run 10K in Lowell this year. 

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Friday, October 12th, 2012
10:24 pm - Adjustment
For the past few weeks my meds haven't been holding up as well, and they cut out pretty much entirely when I came down with the Drippy Cold From Hell last week, so I've gotten an adjustment to a maintenance dose of 20mgs of Lexapro, which should fix it.  I knew I was in trouble last night when I was reading a book on Robert Oppehenheimer, and it said that when he was depressed he'd roll around on the floor, and I caught myself wondering if that would bring me any relief.  I actually thought to try it during a particularly bad moment at work today.  (Everyone.  Has.  Chlamydia.) 

The past few weeks haven't been all bad, though.  I seem to be hanging out at the coffee maker in the morning, warming up and actually talking to my coworkers, which I used to be too tired to do in the mornings.  I've also taken to crocheting scarves for Eric's cousin, and I'm doing some practice swatches for a hat for my nephew-not-in-law.  

The colors of Fall have really popped this year, and unlike last year the cold has settled in to stay.  I love seasons, I hope we don't have a repeat of last winter for a good long time.  

Oh, also, I made fairly decent time on the Tufts 10K for Women last week, for not being able to breathe through my nose: 1:27:41. 
 

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Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
7:18 pm - Updates
1.  Spanish class was moved from Tuesday night to Monday night at the last minute, because the people who plan these things at CCAE are kind of yutzes.  However, the teacher seems cool, and my therapist has successful shifted me to Tuesdays in spite of initial fears that would not be possible.  (Quitting therapy was never the option, because I'm still in my observation period for pills.  Given the fact that I'm tolerating the pills extremely well, I'm probably more depressive than bipolar but the diagnosis is still a little too close to the line so I really do need supervision.  So if push came to shove, I'd have to quit Spanish.  But that doesn't look like an issue right now.)

2.  Annie is gone!  And we can all breathe and cheerfully kick people out fifteen minutes after the damn museum closes.

3.  I'm using my last few Annie paychecks to buy a much coveted (and, since my old winter boots fell apart in Newport, sorely needed) pair of Doc Martens red Vintage boots for winter boots.  

4.  My crochet is improving!  I've got a scarf half made using fishnet stitch.

5.  I ran the Orchard House 10k in an hour and twenty two minutes.  

6.  I need to go make dinner!

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Monday, September 10th, 2012
7:09 pm - Weekendish
So Friday night I met up with my Psycho Pharm and was told I was doing wonderfully, and may just have to spend the rest of my life on a 10mg to 20mg maintainence dose of Gleemonex.  This is pretty great news, however, I managed to put in a "does that mean medication is optional?" moment that irritated the hell out of everyone.  "Low dose" is apparently not equivalent to "no dose," which is frustrating.  I'd like to experiment with going off my meds, but even I have to admit that seems like a bad idea. (One of the withdrawal symptoms is "brain zaps", also called "cranial zings.")  Apparently, I've been on this stuff long enough to forget how badly off I was.  Or at least that's what Eric says. 

Anyway, I went on to meet Eric in the park for an eggplant sub and a Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings concert. It almost got rained out, in fact the opening act -- the principal of a school in Roxbury who had a second career as a Billboard-placing soft jazz artist  -- was a real trooper.  He played through the begining of the rain storm, but a representative from from the Mayor's Office came on stage and told everyone to take cover. Everyone took cover except the princpal, who was in the middle of the rapidly vanishing crowd, playing his heart out.

Then everyone mobbed the Waterfront Marriott.  I ended up standing several feet away from a Dap King, but was too nervous to say hi.  Oh well.  The Marriott was nervous about having us in there, but it all worked out in the end.  Eventually the rain stopped and the show was back on.  The roadies mopped off the stage and we were treated to an hour an a half of awesomeness.  I drank a gigantic bottle of Coke to keep the Chexbrex from messing with my enjoyment of the show, but by the time the show was over and we made it to the subway I was really out of it.  

I washed the mud off my feet (sandals had, in retrospect, been a bad choice).  

The next day I was on at the museum.  It didn't go badly, but it was so busy that I'll be glad when this exhibit is over.  


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Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
6:46 pm - News
1.  One of my uncles won an axe throwing contest.  Now he wants to form a family team.  He couldn't have chosen a group of people less fundementally suited to axe throwing, yet he soldiers on.

2.  Poor Ziva got a scratch on her cornea.  Now her eye is puffy.  It is our fault, somehow.  Dad has been faithfully giving her her drops. 

3.  Saw my CBT therapist (Paola), who says I'm doing really well, and if I continue doing well can cut down to 1 therapy session a month.  After about a year or so, I'll just stop going to her and see the Psycho Pharm lady every 1-3 months to make sure my meds are holding.  I will be doing that for the rest of my life probably, as my current stability has proven the whole "chemical imbalance" theory, but compared to running back and forth to mental health specialist every week and change it'll be downright restful.  

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Saturday, September 1st, 2012
2:47 pm
Sorry I haven't been updating much.  Fatigue is my biggest side effect with these pills, so most nights I have just about enough energy to cook dinner or clean up after dinner, do a little yoga, and then collapse into a tired heap in front of Home Movies or Una Familia Con Suerte.  The past three or four nights have been an improvement over the previous week and a half, but my energy level still isn't "normal" yet.  I'm told the fatigue will wear off completely in a week or two more.  

Otherwise, though, life with pills has been nicer.  I don't feel compelled to stress over things not happening "on schedule." I don't get rogue thoughts that I'm throwing my entire life away. I don't burst into tears over the poignancy of waiting for the bus in the mornings. Eric no longer has to put up with existentialist tantrums on how we're all just too friviolous and fuck Dr. Who and Star Trek and all that useless fiction anyway.  It's a pretty sweet deal, considering.  

I've been spending the Labor Day weekend working on my running and teaching myself to crochet.  I'm far from being good at it, although with the help of a new book I got from the library and the Lion Brand How to Crochet videos on You Tube, I actually am sort of doing it.  We were going to the pool every week until it closed late last week, but it has been in the mid to high seventies so far this weekend so I'm not really missing the lack of a pool.  The leaves are already turning.  I hope it'll be a good Fall.  

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Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
10:25 pm - First Day on Meds
The OCD symptoms seem to have been the first to resolve themselves.  For the first time in years, or maybe ever, I don't have the urge to run back to check everything in my apartment when I'm already half way to the bus.  Also, the compulsive thought cycles about how irritating behavior "x" or "y" in some people (or the entire population of Boston) can be are totally gone.  I also feel more chatty, I'm watching that one because it seems a little manic-ish -- when I first took them, the meds made me foggy so I went to sleep early and got up clear headed.  (I think my coworkers were actually a little surprised by my uncharacteristic sociability in the morning.)  And it doesn't feel manic to me, but I seldom have pleasant mania symptoms so I can't say it isn't.  But to be optimistic, possibly it's just that I was plagued with more social anxiety than I thought, or that now my brainspace is no longer occupied by symptoms and management of same, I actually can relax enough to chat.  

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Monday, August 13th, 2012
7:18 pm - Evaluated
Okay, so I'm officially borderline bipolar.  They can't decide if I'm more unipolar with frequent periods of hypomania or truly bipolar -- after a routine evaluation and reviewing my records, the NP was like "my God, you're just right on the fence - how frustrating," so they're starting me on a low dose of antidepressants and if I don't go into a manic phase in a couple of weeks, they'll up the dose to the standard dose for people with long term unipolar depression. If I stay non-manic, than I'm probably more unipolar than bi.  So basically they're just throwing pills at me right now and seeing what will hold.  Hopefully, it won't be as rough a ride as birth control was.  

It's been a long, kind of odd day.  Also expensive.  (I'm on generic Lexapro, which is $100 for a thirty days' supply.)  It's like I started off at work in the normal way and then got sucked into Bizarro World for my 2:00 appointment and then just stayed there until I got out of therapy at six.  

Also, both my therapists (man) are advising me to really cut down my museum hours, which I don't mind so much.  I no longer know what I'm staying there to prove.  I'm going to be at the museum both days this coming weekend, maybe being there while medicated will help clear my vision of the place, help me figure out if I'm achieving what I want without the distracting fog of emotions covering everything up. 

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Sunday, August 5th, 2012
10:25 pm - Fun with Relatives
Spending a lot of time with Eric's family lately, which is interesting because we don't get to see them as much, as they live over an hour away.  (That may not seem like much to people from other parts of the country, but in Massachusetts that's a long distance.)  Our first trek into the howling void of west of Boston (kidding) was to Eric's aunt Sue's house near Worcester, to visit some Italian relatives who had just flown into town to tour the US and Canada.  I tried speaking a little Spanish to them, explaining that people in the US didn't really get many chances to learn Italian but if they felt more comfortable speaking another Romance language, then I knew Spanish.  They seemed to be appreciative of the gesture, even if they probably knew better English than I did Spanish, but it was useful to introduce a few Spanish words in when English failed.  

That was on Wednesday night.  On Saturday, we went to Eric's cousin's wedding in their backyard in Winchendon, which was a genuine hootenanny.  It didn't have an obvious Country and Western theme, but Winchendon is pretty rural, there was a lot of country music being played, and a whole pig was barbecued, which makes it country enough for me.  (I expected to be upset about the pig, but it was weirdly interesting.  With the exception of the fish at Asian eateries, I'd never seen a meal look so much like a dead animal before.  A sad commentary on our times. It was sociologically fascinating to see people who were normally meat eaters be repelled by it.  I feel it's a little like hunting in that it's a bit more okay if you really take a moment to acknowledge what you're eating.  Not that I had any, they had a variety of vegetarian edibles -- including some lovely grilled corn and potato salad -- so it was cool.)   They got married in front of their flower trellis, to a backdrop of a wonderful tree lined valley, and there were a few rather picturesque flashes of lightening during the ceremony.  

I also ran 10k this weekend, almost by accident.  It was as hot as hell yesterday, but I was still feeling pretty good when I finished 5k.  I thought about it for a few minutes, texted Eric to bring some more water to the park because I was going for 10k, and then I ran my little legs off, slowly.  My usual time is about an hour twenty, which is too slow.  I did this 10k in two hours because I had to take so many shade breaks, but I felt I had to do it because I felt up to it and it had been at least two months since I did a full 10k and my Orchard House 10k is about a month away and I sooooooo do not want to be one of the last people coming in this time.  My feet were killing me this morning, but I did some yoga and tried staying off my feet for most of the day and now I feel pretty good. 

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Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
7:39 pm - Insurance Companies Are Satan's Motor
Set up the evaluation, it's at 2pm and will last an hour to an hour and a half.  It will cost $148 because my insurance isn't covering it, it's a part of my deductible, because I haven't been diagnosed with anything yet.  Un. Fucking. Believable. The receptionist was trying to find a slot on her calendar for next week because apparently my faxed over records from my CBT therapist were suggestive of getting me something as soon as possible.  But according to my insurance company I'm making it all up until I give them the $148.

At least I have the appointment.  And I'm spending enough money on medical stuff this year to get a fairly hefty tax break, but that's not the point, the point is a. recognition that mental illness is actually illness and b. the fact that these guys take advantage of vulnerable people -- some of whom have no real option but to not get treatment because they can't afford it -- and there's a place in hell for them.

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Thursday, July 26th, 2012
8:54 pm - What not to say... blah blah blah Part II
Q.  What meds are you considering?

Ephemerol.  No, seriously, I'm not telling.  You'll tell me the horrible side effects and it'll be like the time I went on birth control pills, got a pain in my leg, and decided it was a blood clot.  Ha ha ha.  I'm on to that game. 

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6:36 pm - Happy things that have nothing to do with my mental health
1.  I think I've swam more this summer than I have in years.

2.  I seem to have started a one woman consulting service for the technically challenged who work in doctors' offices.  I wish they'd just get "Email for Dummies" or something.  

3.  The two-ish year old on my bus who has been going through some sort of shrieking phase the past few weeks -- seriously, some commutes are twenty straight minutes of "EEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAEEEEEEEeee" -- has tapered off.  (Also, the parents did try to provide discipline, but were a little too hung up on how adorable it was to do it effectively.  I love working with children, but I've never understood people who think crying / shrieking babies are cute.  I mean, crying usually indicates some sort of problem, right?  Why grin moronically and coo and do absolutely nothing else when one's child is in distress?  And how are their ears not bleeding?)  

4.  We're going to the Brown Sugar Cafe tomorrow night, it will be our first real sit down date since about mid-June.  It'll be nice to sit in a fancy-ish place and not have to worry about getting home to load the car and get on the road to whatever we're doing this weekend.  

5.  I still need to get a dress for Eric's cousin's wedding.  I have no idea why it's so hard to buy a non-dowdy, non-slutty summer dress in a fabric that will last for more than just one outing, but it is.  

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