Monday, September 05, 2005

What I've been up to... 

Am frustrated with having no money to donate to the Katrina relief fund, even though I know money is what they need the most. I STILL haven't been paid by my employer for the four weeks of vacation I earned. I was supposed to get it two and a half weeks ago. I called HR on Friday; apparently there was some mis-communication and my request never got processed. In other words, they "forgot".

So while I'm waiting for actual money to arrive, I've been thinking about what else I can contribute. I decided that getting together clothes, shoes, blankets and towels is better than nothing. Even though they're not needed right now, they might be useful locally a month from now. We had the first evacuees from New Orleans arrive in my hometown on Saturday. More may be coming after some of the overcrowding is sorted out in Texas (we're quite far from Louisiana, so the ones in the most immediate need were sent the shortest necessary distance). And if the stuff I donate doesn't go toward helping Katrina, it could go to another worthy cause; my church is always asking for contributions for local needs such as for the homeless. I wanted to feel like I was DOING something as right now I'm too ill to do much in the way of volunteering. I'm hoping that after I get approved for disability, I can focus on something else like volunteer work again.

Last night and today, I went through my clothes closet, underdresser and linen closet. I had probably 25 pair of jeans or other pants that are too large for me. I haven't re-gained any of the weight I lost a year ago, so I feel pretty safe about getting rid of them. I also had lots of shorts I can no longer wear. There were fewer tops I was willing to part with since I tend to wear oversized shirts anyway, but there were some. And since my feet are a full size smaller now than when I was heavier, I had 8 pair of size 10 shoes to send along. I have a feeling there aren't many in that size donated. Also, my sister gave me a gift card for a local housewares store as a thank you for playing the music at the wedding, and I bought new towels. Then when I got them home, I realized I had more towels than would fit in the linen closet. So I took some out and added them to the donation pile along with some blankets.

I paid a bit of a price for all this sorting and re-organizing....back spasms from hell! Almost exactly like the flare I described in a recent post. So aggravating that just moving some clothes around caused head to toe agony. Had to take my emergency pain med before bed last night, and guess what? I still hurt too much to sleep! Could not get comfortable due to sharp pain in both shoulders and nearly constant spasms between the shoulders. Couldn't take my muscle relaxant until this afternoon when I had some food because it causes stomach upset and I was already nauseous. It helped some but not as much as it used to. I don't know what I'm going to do if neither my muscle relaxant or my emergency pain med are effective anymore. I don't have any alternatives that I can tolerate, at least none that a doc around here will prescribe.

One thing that does help a bit is my new massage chair cushion! A friend gave me the cushion and a brand new crockpot a few weeks ago as a surprise. The cushion has different zone and intensity of massage and has optional heat. Haven't tried the heat yet because it's still summer, but will in a few weeks when the weather cools off. I'm also going to test out the new crock pot soon by making some soup.

Another reason I'm frustrated about lack of money is that last week, I got a letter from my long-term disability company stating that they were delaying a decision on my claim for another month! Now the earliest I can get benefits is November! Their reason for the delay is that three of my doctors hadn't sent them requested paperwork. They only waited three weeks before deciding these docs were being uncooperative. Now it's my job to contact each doc and see what's up. I called all three on Friday. The primary care doc's office sent the paperwork the day before the letter was written. The other two offices were already closed for the Labor Day holiday. Grumble.

On the brighter side of things, I have my wheelchair now! My doc actually had it delivered to my house! I plan to break it in sometime this week. I'd like to have used it once or twice before my inlaws come to visit in a few weeks. That way if they want to go someplace, Dan and I will be used to the chair already.

I did get copies of my medical records from my primary care doc. I will send copies of them to Social Security to add them to my file if I can figure out where to send them. I haven't heard back from the other docs I requested from, but it's early yet. Oh, among the records I got were the results of my cholesterol test last week; my total cholesterol is down to 156! Yayyyyyyy! A few years ago, it was 256. My triglycerides are in the proper range finally, as are the LDL and HDL. Not bad for a person who eats whole eggs and real butter.

Got a nice surprise....my local comedy club drew my name again, so I've got tix to a show next Sunday. The comedian's name is Corey Holcomb....I've not heard of him, but the tix are free, so I'm willing to give it a shot. I still have to come up with enough for a two drink minimum, but since I don't drink alcohol, it won't be terribly expensive.

Finished editing the pix I took of my sister's wedding. Haven't put them on a web page yet; will get around to that after things settle down a bit here.

Dan has this entire week off work, so we'll try to do a few things together. We had wanted to do some day trips in the mountains, but we have gas shortages in our area, and the last thing we want to happen is to get stranded someplace, so we'll be staying in town. I think I got him interested in going to the zoo. We might also go see "Red Eye" at the theatre.

Did finish my review of the Jon Katz books for But You Don't Look Sick, but the webmistress hasn't been feeling very well, so they haven't been posted yet. Bummer that I wasn't able to do the whole review in one sitting; I decided to call it a night after the first half was done, and in the days that followed, I had a lot of brain fog, so there is a noticeable decline in writing quality in the second half of the article. But I've written other reviews during foggy times, so maybe the more poorly written articles are only noticeable to me. I suspect I'm too picky about my own work.

The joints in my hands are starting to creak, which is a sure sign I've typed too much. This is probably more than anyone wants to reading in one sitting anyway. Adieu for now.

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