Monday, October 31, 2005

No Halloween treat for me.... 

Started methadone for pain relief last week. It caused excessive sedation (to the point where I couldn't get out of bed to use the bathroom), so I cut the dose in half per my doctor's instruction. While the sedation I experienced on the half dose was tolerable, it only got rid of half my pain. It also caused sweating, constipation and depression, like I needed more of any of those.

One thing that I found interesting is that although it didn't bother my stomach on the first dose or two, with each subsequent dose, I got more and more nauseous. Tonight I started vomiting, six days after I started the methadone. I think I figured out why this is happening.

I know that opioids are constipating, at least they are for me. I think that perhaps they also aggravate my gastroparesis, like my entire digestive system is freezing up or something. This would explain why I can tolerate a pain med at first but eventually can't keep anything down.

I'm going to try to get in to see my primary care doc again tomorrow or reasonably soon. I don't know if she'll be able to do anything about this, but it's worth a shot. I also have an appointment with my gastroenterologist on November 9th because of the digestive problems I was having prior to the adventures with the pain meds.

I have lost five pounds in the past week without intending to. I'm feeling kinda rough around the edges as you might imagine. Good thing I'm not answering the door to hand out candy because I'd be scaring the little kiddies.

I strongly suspect I will have to learn to live without pain relief. I guess that would fall into the "life is not fair" category.

"I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much."
--Mother Teresa

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Rave of the Day for October 30, 2005: 

I could NOT stop laughing when I read this! Thanks to Pete for e-mailing it to me......

A new priest at his first mass was so nervous he could hardly speak. After mass he asked the monsignor how he had done.

The monsignor replied, " When I am worried about getting nervous at the pulpit, I put a glass of vodka next to the water glass. If I start to get nervous, I take a sip."

So next Sunday he took the monsignor's advice.

At the beginning of the sermon, he got nervous and took a drink.

He proceeded to talk up a storm.

Upon his return to his office after the mass, he found the following note on the door:
 1)   Sip the vodka, don't gulp.

 2)   There are 10 commandments, not 12.

 3)   There are 12 disciples, not 10.

 4)   Jesus was consecrated, not constipated.

 5)   Jacob wagered his donkey, he did not bet his ass.

 6)   We do not refer to Jesus Christ as the late J.C.

 7)   The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not referred to as Daddy, Junior and the spook.

 8)   David slew Goliath, he did not kick the sh*t out of him.

 9)   When David was hit by a rock and was knocked off his donkey, don't say he was stoned off his ass.

 10) We do not refer to the cross as the "Big T."

 11) When Jesus broke the bread at the last supper he said, "take this and eat it for it is my body." He did not say " Eat me".

 12) The Virgin Mary is not called " Mary with the Cherry".

 13) The recommended grace before a meal is not: Rub-A-Dub-Dub thanks for the grub, Yeah God.

 14) Next Sunday there will be a taffy pulling contest at St. Peter's not a peter pulling contest at St. Taffy's.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Chronic pain patients vs. addicts: my take 

Please consider this a public service announcement to the healthy people who read my blog and/or a refresher course for those of you experiencing chronic pain.

For a few weeks now, I've wanted to write something coherent about the basics of pain control and how the general public confuses people who are addicted to pain meds with people who need pain meds to function. This is not in my opinion the public's fault, really; I see it as a by-product of good ol' Nancy Reagan's "just say no" campaign. This nation is so terrified of drugs that most of us can't conceive of a narcotic being anything other than dangerous and evil. And the publicity surrounding Rush Limbaugh's abuse of OxyContin didn't clarify the issue any. So where does that leave people with chronic daily pain?

I think a good place to start would be this article from WebMD:

Nothing to Fear but Pain

Basically, strong pain medication, when dispensed in the proper amount at the proper time, does NOT produce a high in a person who is truly in pain. It merely knocks the pain down a few notches, like turning down the volume on a stereo. This enables the chronic pain patient to think more clearly, to sleep through the night, to move more easily, to function more normally. When the medication wears off, the pain patient typically does not crave more; he/she just wants to hurt less.

Exactly the reverse is true if someone without pain takes the same medication. The addict gets a "buzz" that the pain patient does not. The addict may experience alterations in thinking, sleep patterns, behavior, etc. that the pain patient doesn't. And when the medication wears off, the addict wants more, in order to enjoy the buzz. And unlike most pain patient, the addict will do just about anything to get more.

Real confusion sets in when it comes to dependence. No matter what you've seen in the movies and on TV, this is NOT the same thing as addiction. Dependence is a factor with many medications, not just the ones for pain. For instance, a diabetic who takes insulin will do so for the rest of his/her life. Why? Because his/her body requires this substance in order to function. Deny a diabetic their medication, and they could die. Now, pain medication is usually not a matter of life or death, but for chronic pain conditions, it is often a necessary part of treatment. A patient who takes daily doses of an opioid (like morphine) will come to rely on it to function and will experience physical withdrawal symptoms if the med is suddenly completely discontinued. Does this mean they're an addict? Usually not. The pain patient is usually not mentally craving the medication at all, and if for some reason they need to discontinue the medication, if they are tapered off of it slowly, they will not experience withdrawal symptoms either.

The addict, like the pain patient, experiences physical withdrawal when they stop their drug of choice cold turkey. But unlike the pain patient, they also crave the medication for psychological reasons. Some become so desperate to get and/or stay high that they resort to illegal means to obtain more. It is the crime committed by those wanting a fix that makes the news and frightens the public.

Now, what happens if a pain patient's condition improves and he/she no longer experiences pain, yet continues to take the same dose of pain medication? Then that person may experience a buzz and may begin to enjoy how that feels, and may crave that medication to the point of either faking continued pain or resorting to illegal means to continue obtaining that drug. These are the stories the media loves to publicize, yet they are NOT that common.

Now here's where I get on my soapbox. I understand the fear of crime, and the desire to punish those who will stop at nothing to get high. But what few consider is the effect the paranoia about addicts has on the legitimate pain patient who needs that same drug to have a quality life. Here is an article that appeared in a Detroit newspaper that illustrates the problem pretty well:

Painkiller drugs scarce for poor

The war on drugs in effect kills pain patients with friendly fire. Many doctors are so afraid of the DEA prosecuting them for prescribing strong medication that they simply let pain patients suffer. If they do find a doctor who will treat them, pain patients often have to sign pain management contracts with their doctor agreeing to not go to any other doctor for pain medicine. They are not allowed more than one month's worth of medication at a time, may not refill the script early, and cannot have the script mailed to them but must be examined by the doctor once a month and get their prescription in person. If they lose the script before getting it filled, well, too bad, they must suffer for a month. All because we are trying to guard against addicts.

If the person in pain does get a prescription, they may have trouble getting it filled, either because the pharmacy won't carry meds linked to crime or because the pharmacist gets on his/her moral high horse and decides the patient is an addict. They usually require ID of the patient and may not allow anyone but the patient to take delivery of the medication (in other words, a friend or relative may not pick up the prescription on behalf of the patient). If the pharmacy does carry the controversial meds favored by addicts, they are usually kept under lock and key. Again, all because we are trying to guard against addicts.

There are other issues to make the dispensing of strong pain meds problematic. The doctor may be an addict and write scripts for himself. The pharmacist may deliberately put fewer pills in the bottle than the prescription requests and pocket the rest. The patient comes up short because if they come in to complain, the pharmacy will generally accuse the patient of pocketing the pills. And then there is the issue of theft from family or friends. The patient again has to pay the price because he/she is not going to be able to get their refill until a certain date and may not be believed when they try to explain the theft. In other words, the patient constantly runs the risk of being mistaken for an addict.

The worst case scenario is being burglarized for your medication. I know a dear lady who required narcotic pain relief. Her cleaning lady broke into her house while she was on vacation and stole her medication. When she reported this to the police, she discovered the cleaning service was really a front for the woman to steal drugs.

I will be honest. I have very mixed feelings about addicts. I saw Oprah's show yesterday about a man who overcame addiction. While I was very moved by his story and was happy that he overcame his addiction, I couldn't help but think about how many people he hurt, whether directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, when he got high. I know they say addiction is an illness, and as such, I should really be sympathetic to their suffering. And I do try hard not to be prejudiced against whole groups of people. But I really struggle with this one, because I am sick too, and because of the medication I must take in order to function, I can easily be mistaken for an addict who basically lives to get high and who might steal, lie or even kill to get high. I really really resent that assumption. I also really resent the possbility that I might be held up at gunpoint for my meds while leaving the pharmacy. Ok, that last one probably will never happen, but you get the idea. Pain patients shouldn't have to feel like criminals if they need an opioid to treat their condtion.

I wonder if addicts have any idea how much their behavior hurts legitimate pain patients? Now, instead of people recognizing OxyContin as a godsend for cancer and other chronic pain sufferers, they say, "Oh, yeah, that's what Rush Limbaugh got high on". There are thousands of people in pain going without treatment because they are terrified of becoming an addict. The truth is just not getting much publicity, I guess because we are so eager to save people from themselves.

There were other points I wanted to make, but I'm too tired to continue. I did want to mention one more thing, though: I wrote this entire post after I took a methadone. Are these the ramblings of a closet addict? You decide.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Catching up on the random tidbits that are my life..... 

I made a big ol' deal about acquiring an update to my operating system, and now it has sat on my desk for a month. I keep meaning to get to it, but I've been feeling so awful that I never finished the backups I need to do first. For some reason I'm getting errors when I try to back up to my iDisk, and I've got way too much junk to back up onto a single CD. If I ever get a clear head, I will sit down and figure out a different way. It would also help if I weren't sleeping 12+ hours a day! I start my new pain med tonight.....if it agrees with me, maybe my migraine will finally go away (I'm on day FOUR of this stinkin' headache) and my brain will engage again. Weird that I can figure out what to say in a blog but not be able to figure out how to back up my own system.

Maybe this weekend I will get around to the update. Except for a meeting of my chronic pain support group, I should be home all weekend because Chip D. Dog is having some surgery and will be a bit under the weather, or at least terribly inconvenienced with that funnel collar on his head. The vet decided the lump on his chest needs to come off because it's growing. While he's out, they're also gonna remove the wart on his lip because he keeps biting it, a cyst on his eyelid and they're gonna clean his teeth. I figure we'll save a bit of money having it all done at once because they'll only have to knock him out once. Not that it's cheap. In fact, it will cost nearly as much as surgery on a person.

I started reading Harry Potter volume 3 during my vacation. I'm almost done with it. I've had so many appointments and trips to the drug store since my vacation that I've had plenty of time to read. I read in the car while Dan chaffeurs me. I've just been too out of it to drive a lot lately.

I might get to watch some Harry Potter movies with a friend. I'd like to see the movies while I can still kinda remember the plot of the books. I was told by another friend's 11 year old that the first two movies follow the books very closely.

Now that it gets cold in the evenings, I'm using my massage cushion pretty much nightly with the heat setting. It does help with that pesky low back pain. And I appreciate any extra source of heat since I'm trying to be frugal by keeping the thermostat low. Our utilities are expected to go up by 70 percent this winter. Not good news for those of the arthritic persuasion.

Am having further adventures in cooking. Made potato soup last weekend (with Dan's help, of course). It turned out pretty well, but I think I'll try to find a gluten free cream version that Dan will like better (the one I had made used chicken broth). All the recipes I've seen so far for the cream style use flour, but I'm sure I can locate something suitable for me on the internet. Or use a regular recipe and try substituting corn starch for the flour. I'm trying to come up with fairly low cost ways to stretch our food budget whilst I have no income.

Speaking of no income, my long term disability company has blown me off yet AGAIN. They claim that the doc who supervised my sleep study hasn't coughed up the info they requested. Well, they got the name of the doc wrong, so no wonder. It's their own fault; I spelled the name out to them on the phone. Anyway, they wanted me to call the doc's office, which I did and had to leave a message and got no reply. And they want ANOTHER 30 days to process my claim. Now the earliest I can get any benefits is January. Grumble. I have some choice words for them, but I bet you can figure out what they are.

The liquid methadone wasn't available at my local pharmacy, so my doc gave me a new script for the tablets. I'm to take the lowest dosage, which is cool by me. I'm to ease into the full dosage over the course of a few days, with consistent pain relief to take place after a few days on the full dose. I took my first pill a few hours ago. So far, I don't notice anything except being extra sleepy. Too early to pass judgement, but I'm being cautiously optimistic.

I do want to do a long serious post about pain control and addiction and the difference between the two, but I will save it for another day.

That should be enough tidbits for now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Catching up on "Lost"..... 

I've fallen behind in my blog, but I've still been keeping up with "Lost". And I've had some very interesting conversations with other viewers on The Lost Forum. Check it out.....it's on my Links list.

I particularly liked the episode the week before last entitled "Everybody Hates Hugo". It begins with Hurley, whose real name is Hugo, in the pantry in the hatch, helping himself to a little bit of everything and then some. It gets pretty surreal when you see him drinking out of a milk carton featuring a picture of Walt, and then he somehow finds a complete steak dinner in a box. Jin starts speaking to him in English, saying, "Everything's going to change." Standing next to Jin is Hurley's former boss, Randy (who incidentally, was ALSO Locke's former boss), in a chicken suit. Hurley responds, but he is speaking in Korean! Right before Hurley wakes up from his dream (you KNEW it had to be a dream!), he is told to "have a cluckety cluck cluck day". Funniest dream sequence I have seen in years.

Hurley, it seems, has been assigned the dubious task of itemizing and being in charge of the pantry. Jack tells him that he can't tell anyone about the food or distribute it. Hurley, however, can't keep a secret to save his ass and is one of the world's worst liars. He shows the pantry to Rose and asks her to help figure out what to do. While conducting an inventory, Kate wanders in and takes a bottle of shampoo. Hurley protests but is ignored. He is rather paranoid about becoming disliked, and his worst fears are confirmed when Charlie tries to hit him up for some peanut butter and he has to say no. For some reason, Hurley decides the best solution to the problem is to blow up the pantry so no one gets any of the contents. Rose gets him to chill and come up with a better solution. In the end, Hurley decides to freely distribute all of the food, much to the delight of the other survivors.

Jack and Sayid go exploring in the hatch to see what it's made of. Mostly they find thick concrete walls. Sayid says the last time he heard of any construction like this, it was in Chernobyl. Jack hears a noise and goes to investigate. He just misses Kate taking a shower. There is some playful banter, and then Kate departs. Yeah, there's a lot of flirting going on, but I just don't think those two are going to end up together.

On the other side of the island, Jin, Michael, and Sawyer are let out of the pit by Ana Lucia and her co-horts. Sawyer is being his usual charming self and gets smacked around by Ana Lucia some more. He says he'll kill her if she hits him again, but you can tell he doesn't mean it and is secretly pleased when she grins at him. I'm not sure why Michael doesn't make a break for it and start searching for Walt at this point, but he follows the rest as Ana Lucia leads them to ANOTHER hatch. This one is small and dingy. Michael had been told that 23 people in the tail section of the plane survived, but there are only a half dozen or less, which of course makes you wonder what happened. One of the people in the hatch, a nervous-looking fellow, asks Michael if there was a woman named Rose among the survivors in the front of the plane. Yep, it's BERNARD! He's so relieved to hear his wife is ok that he begins to cry. Back on the other side of the island, Rose puts a candy bar in her pocket to save for her husband and kisses his wedding ring that she has on a chain around her neck. I really hope there is a reunion between those two very soon. That would be sweet.

Also, Claire makes a discovery.....the bottle that had been on the raft containing messages from the survivors washes up on shore. She gives it to Sun, who decides to bury it in the sand, I guess because she thinks her husband is dead and wants to bury something. In last week's episode "....and Found", Sun discovers her wedding ring is missing. She is quite distraught because it was a tangible link to Jin. No one is being particularly helpful or sympathetic. Jack tells Sun about the time he lost his own ring. Hurley decides that Vincent ate the ring and actually wants to hang around the dog and wait for him to poop it out! Locke tells Sun that sometimes we find what we want when we stop looking for it. Kate, upon hearing that the bottle had washed up, realizes that Sawyer may be dead and wants to look at the bottle, so Sun shows her where it was buried. Naturally, that's where her ring is. Very symbolic. Makes you wonder if something will happen to her before she ever gets to see Jin again.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the island, Ana Lucia and her crew decide to gather supplies for a trek to find Michael's, Jin's and Sawyer's group. The enormous man Sawyer had been referring to as Shaft introduces himself as Mr. Eko. Jin goes with Ana Lucia and Bernard to catch some fish. While Ana Lucia is being a bitch and chewing out Jin for not being helpful, Jin pulls in a net full of fish. Michael goes with a blonde woman named Libby to look for fruit. She comments that Sawyer looked frightened and that she knew a thing or two about being scared. Michael asks her why he, Jin and Sawyer were thrown into the pit. Her response was that they have "trust issues". Michael at this point seizes on opportunity to run off to look for Walt.

When Libby returns to the rest of her party to announce that Michael has disappeared, Jin decides to go after him. Interestingly, Mr. Eko wants to go along too, which comes in handy since he seems to know that part of the island better than anyone else and can pick up a trail in the jungle. I suspect Mr. Eko was not on Flight 815. Eko and Jin converse a little; Jin's English is getting better enough that he can indicate that he is married and that his wife was on the plane. Jin gets quite a shock when he stumbles upon a dead body with a weapon still in its chest. Eko knows the man's name. He convinces Jin to hide in the underbrush because someone's coming. We see the legs of people walking by; are these the "others" everyone has been fearing? One is carrying a teddy bear. After Jin and Mr. Eko reach a stream to take a break, Michael shows up and tries to shoo Jin away, but Jin and Eko manage to convince Michael to come back with them. This doesn't make any sense to me. If he was gonna give up that easily, why'd he make a break for it in the first place??

The story of Michael in season 2 seems weak to me, and inconsistent. Otherwise, I'm having a great time watching "Lost" unfold. I'm seriously bummed that there won't be any new episodes for two more weeks. I guess I'll have to content myself with re-watching some of the episodes from season 1 off the DVD. There are a few audio commentaries I missed.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The questionnaire to end all questionnaires.... 

Was trying to play catch up reading my friends' blogs after I got back from my little vacation. Found an amusing questionnaire on sol's journal (please check "The Journal of SolemnDragon"; it's on my Links list), but it was several days after the fact, and I can't figure out how to reply to slashdot journals anymore since they updated. So I thought I'd just cut and paste and then answer the questions here. Then I read a little further, and sol asked some of the other slashdotters to come up with their own questions. So I have added theirs as well. What follows may be TMI, or it may be quite enlightening. You decide:

Name someone with the same birthday as you.
William Shatner. Grouch Marx. So maybe I shoulda been an actor??

Where was your first kiss?
The first one that meant anything to me was in the doorway to my room in a mental hospital.

Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property?
Not seriously, unless toilet paper counts as vandalism. Shortly before I graduated from high school, I did have fun going all over town stealing real estate signs and then putting all of them in the front yard of the principal's house. I also really enjoyed stealing all the forks from the kitchen of the Sigma Phi Epsilon house in college and putting them in the front yard and spelling the words "FORK YOU". Oh, and I did steal the campus grape arbor as a publicity stunt to promote the radio soap opera I was co-writing. Hmmmm, maybe I AM a serious vandal.

Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex?
Yes. In the swimming pool at college. But since I hit like a girl, it had no effect at all.

Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people?
Not well.

First thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Their smile.

What really turns you on?
Intelligence, a sense of humor, a great smile, and a great ass.

What do you order at Starbucks?
I rarely go, but the last time I did, I ordered a chai with nonfat milk.

What is your biggest mistake?
I don't know how to answer this one. Any suggestions?

Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose?
Unfortunately, yes. At that same mental hospital where I got my first meaningful kiss.

Say something totally random about yourself.
I can make my tongue undulate.

Has anyone ever said you look like a celebrity?
Not recently. In the past, I've been compared to Carol Burnett, Kristy McNichol, Dana Delaney.

Do you still watch kiddy movies or tv shows?
Does "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" count? I do plan on watching the Harry Potter movies sometime soon.

Did you have braces?
Yep. For five agonizing years. And then my wisdom teeth grew in and moved everything back out of alignment, dammit.

Are you comfortable with your height?
I suppose. I wouldn't mind being a little taller, though.

What is the most romantic thing someone of the preferred sex has done for you?
Written me an original poem.

When do you know it's love?
When I mention their name at least a dozen times in an hour while trying not to talk about them.

Do you speak any other languages?
Not well. When my fibrofog is at its peak, though, what comes out of my mouth could almost qualify as another language.

Have you ever been to a tanning salon?
Yes. I did the tanning thing off and on from 1989 to 1995.

What magazines do you read?
I subscribe to "Fibromyalgia Aware". I also get newsletters from the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation and the Best Friends animal sanctuary. And for some reason, I've been getting "Life Extension" magazine even though I never signed up for it.

Have you ever ridden in a limo?
Twice for funerals, and once for my mom's 50th birthday. Of course I enjoyed the birthday ride much better than the other two.

Has anyone you were really close to passed away?
My mom, eight years ago.

Do you watch mtv?
I pulled the plug on the satellite dish, so not anymore. But when I had the dish, I did watch "The Osbournes".

What's something that really annoys you?
How the disabled are ignored in our society.

What's something you really like?
Chocolate covered macadamia nuts!!

Do you like Michael Jackson?
I like his music but not his personality.

Can you dance?
Not well, and not for very long. But I will from time to time dance wildly for a minute or so until it hurts too much to continue.

What's the latest you have ever stayed up?
Can't recall, but I'm sure I've been continuously awake for more than 36 straight hours more than once.

Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room?
Twice. Both times after some schmuck hit my car.

Do you actually read these when other people fill them out?

Are you now, or have you ever been, involved in a pseudoscience?
I'm not sure what is meant by "involved". I used to work in radio with a host who regularly interviewed people who believed in the paranormal. And even though I don't spend a lot of time thinking about astrology, it has been pointed out to me that both of my husbands and FOUR of my boyfriends had birthdates the same week. So whether I care to admit it or not, I do seem to be attracted to Sagittarius men.

What are your car/truck radio buttons set to?
My car radio only has 18 presets, and we have 42 stations where I live, so I had to be kinda picky. Generally, there are two AM talk stations that Dan likes more than I do. My favorite FM station plays "modern rock" like Green Day, Jimmy Eat World, 311, etc. For a change of pace, I like to switch to the hip hop station. I also like the hard rock station. The rest of the FM stations are oldies, "classic" rock, mellow mixes that Dan likes.

When you're completely burned out, what's a good way to recharge (other than sleep)?
Tunes! Stuff that's either danceable, loud, catchy or all three.

What's your favourite place that you've travelled to?

What do you want to try that you haven't yet?
Original writing for PAY.

Five things you love to eat, and five things you hate to eat?
This is tough since my dietary restrictions have eliminated most of my favorite foods, at least in their intended state. From what remains or can still be tasty with wheat replacements, I'd say chocolate, rice lasagna, reduced fat cheddar, steak, gluten free brownies. I hate to eat lima beans, black eyed peas, pears, anything hotter than a banana pepper and anything burned.

Did you learn to drive stick or automatic first?
Um, I STILL can't drive a stick. *hangs head*

Do you like board games?
Yes, even though I'm not as good at them as I used to be because of cognitive dysfunction.

Tell me your opinion about gambling.
I enjoy it, but feel no compulsion about it one way or the other.

How many dictionaries do you own?

What's your favorite medium to work in?
Purple ink.

What was your undergraduate major, and was it always that or did you switch?
I started college as undeclared. Then I decided to get a degree in mass communications. Then my sophomore year, I realized I was taking a shitload of English courses, so I added a BA in English.

Worst physical pain you've been in?
The gallbladder attack was no fun, but then recovering from the surgery without pain meds was worse. I've hurt nearly every single day for the past eight years, so it's difficult to pick out one specific day.

Who's your best friend?
Dan. Who else would it be?

Was high school good? Why (not)?
Yes, I suppose it was overall. I was teased and ostracized, but I met and befriended some immensely funny and intelligent people that more than made up for it.

What kinds of music do you like best? Get specific, if you can.
Most of the kinds I mentioned above, plus 90's alt rock, 80's new wave, 70's album rock, 60's pop and 50's rock and roll. And much much more.

Last three CDs you bought:
"Get Behind Me Satan" by the White Stripes, "Monkey Business" by the Black Eyed Peas, and "Big Bang Theory" by Styx.

And conversely, what kinds of music would you rather never hear?
I tire of divas and boy bands.

Five favorite movies:
"Lord of the Rings" (the whole trilogy), "Gone with the Wind", "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", "Airplane", "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". There are LOTS of others, but those are the first five that popped into my mind.

What's something other people like that you just can't get into?
"Dancing with the Stars", "Supernanny", "Survivor".

When you want to look good, what do you wear?
Black v-neck top, a bit form-fitting but not so tight that I can't be comfortable. Pants, same thing except no v-neck, heh heh. Just for the record, I have tried on low-rise jeans, and I do look good in them, but I find both those and thongs immensely uncomfortable. Just say no to crack.

When your heart breaks, how do you put it back together?
I think things through.

Should the following be exterminated: white briefs:
Nah, some guys actually look good in them.

blue eyeshadow:
Nah, then I'd have to stop wearing it.

pants that create the muffin-top look on women:
Just so long as I don't have to wear them.

flip flops in the office:
Maybe. The noise they make when you walk would be really annoying in an office.

Were you a Boy/Girl Scout?

Can you swim?
Yes, but I'm only good for about one lap.

Tell me your guilty pleasures: song:
Cheesy 70's pop.

Harry Potter.

Ed Wood stuff.

Whipped topping in a can.

I enjoy driving REALLY fast.

Do you have a library card?
Yes, but I haven't used it in at least 10 years.

What's the best present you've received in the past five years?
An Amish made rocking chair.

Do you have a favorite: Painter:
My mom.


John Fielder (local guy).

Stephen King.

(science fiction/fantasy):
Harlan Ellison.

Emily Dickinson.

Can't decide.

You're in a strange city for the weekend. What will you do while you're there?
Sample the local cuisine if it fits within my dietary restrictions, tour as much as I have the energy for, find out what makes this place unique.

Are you thrifty?
I suppose I could be, if someone held a gun to my head.

You bought tickets for a cultural event. What are you going to see?
You name it, I'd probably like it. I saw a ballet of "The Nutcracker" last year, I like plays, LOVE concerts and enjoy the hell out of the comedy club.

What's something you're hanging onto that you don't need anymore?
Um, my house is FILLED with stuff like that. Take your pick.

What was your favourite stuffed animal from childhood, and do you still own it?
A stuffed brown dog named Lady after the movie "Lady and the Tramp". Unfortunately, one night I accidentally threw up all over it and my parents tossed it in the trash.

What colour shoes are you wearing right now?
I'm wearing purple chenille socks, but no shoes.

Favorite kind of bread.
I no longer eat bread in the traditional sense. Gluten free brownies are as close as I get.

Favorite 80s cartoon.
"The Simpsons"??

What's your parents' favorite comic strip? What's yours?
My mom liked "Calvin and Hobbes", "Bloom County", "For Better or For Worse", and "Mother Goose and Grimm". My mom once started her own comic strip called "Frieda and Leona", based upon my sister and me, but she didn't get anywhere with it. Don't know that my dad had a fave. I like all of the above plus "Peanuts". I used to draw pictures of Snoopy.

Who's your favorite supervillain?
Catwoman? Didn't she get to have a whip?

How often do you chew gum?
Mainly just when I fly or go to the mountains, to keep my ears from popping. Occasionally, I'll chew some if I forgot to brush my teeth.

Where do you keep your umbrella?
If anyone has the answer to this, please let me know. I was looking for it a couple of weeks ago.

Who was your idol while growing up?
Carol Burnett. I wanted to be a comedienne.

What is your favorite Sports Team?
The Colorado Rockies.

Which Sports team do you hate the most?
Hate is an awfully strong word.

What was the last software you purchased?
Um, I bought an upgrade to my operating system a few weeks ago. Close enough?

What do you like best about yourself?
My sense of humor.

What do you like least about yourself?
Lack of patience, inability to help others.

What countries have you visited?
Canada, Mexico.

What's your religious affiliation, if any?
United Church of Christ. About as liberal as a person can get and still be a Christian.

Name five historical figures that you admire.
Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Hellen Keller, Albert Einstein.

Do you have any toy stuffed animals?
Yes, several. I sleep with a stuffed zebra, using it as a cushion.

What's the worst movie you've ever seen?
I've seen several that I knew in advance were bad, so that doesn't count. One of the biggest disappointments that I thought was gonna be good was "Stargate".

If you've done one thing you doubt anyone else here has done, what would it be?
I dunno, dyed my hair purple?

What's your earliest memory?
Standing near the water on Virginia Beach. The waves scared me. I was a year and a half old.

How many remote controls do you currently have in your house? How many of them do you actively use?
Eight in the house. One belongs to a non-working dish converter thingy, so obviously I don't use it. Let's see, I regularly use two of the TV remotes, the downstairs DVD remote, and two VCR remotes.

Where do you keep your frequently used remotes?
The downstairs ones are SUPPOSED to be on the entertainment center, but the one to the TV in particular gets lost a lot.

What devices are controlled by your remotes?
The ones I didn't mention above are a remote to an upstairs TV (we have FOUR of the friggin' things) and the downstairs stereo.

Do you have multiple remotes for the same device?
No, or I'd go nuts trying to figure it out.

If you could put a tire swing anywhere you wanted, where would that be?
Would putting a tire swing in the bedroom be considered kinky? Just asking.

How many animals have you lived with in your lifetime?
21, including birds and fish.

What is the furthest you've traveled in one day (24 hours)?
Honolulu to Denver, which I think is 1800 miles.

What currently running TV show (if any) will you not miss an episode of?
"Lost". I'm hooked.

What was your favorite animated show as a kid?

When was the last time you watched an educational program geared towards kids (i.e. Seasame Street, Wiggles, etc)? When was the last time you watched a program of that nature for your own benefit?
I've seen bits and pieces of "Blue's Clues" and actually think it's very cute. I remember watching "The Electric Company" for my own benefit, but obviously, that was a very long time ago.

What color is the exterior of your home?
A shade of blue/grey called dolphin. Seriously. We bought a new home, and the builder had a (short) list of colors from which to choose.

Looking around you, what color do you see the most of right now?
Slate blue. That's the carpet.

Do you prefer to live with the lights on or off?
When I'm at the computer, the overhead light must be on or I'll get a migraine. Same thing when I'm watching TV.

Toe-may-toe or toe-mah-toe?

Have you ever seen a shooting star?
Yes, several times.

Have you ever seen a UFO?
Yes, with my mom when we were on a rural highway in Kansas.

Do you remember seeing Haley's Comet?
I honestly don't remember one way or the other.

What is your favorite movie of foreign origin (relative to you)?
Can't decide between "Il Postino" or "Eat Drink Man Woman".

Ever hurt someone and didn't know it until it was too late?
Yes. Found out after my mom died how upset she had been with me.

Ever hurt your career unintentionally?
Yes. I've been too damned nice. People walk all over you when you're too nice in the workplace.

Do you consider yourself lucky?
Generally, yes.

How long would you like to live?
Until I'm 112. That should be long enough.

Would you like to travel to space?
You bet!! Can you imagine the view??

Do you believe in ghosts?
Yes, but I'm not sure they believe in me. There is some sort of energy force that inhabits my house. And it seems to have a sense of humor, so I'm guessing it's my mom.

Three defining events from your past that have helped you become who you are.
My mom's death, meeting my husband, hearing Van Halen for the first time.

The three most significant aspects of your current life.
Chronic illness, wonderful marriage, adjusting to loss of income.

Your three most important goals for the future.
Spreading awareness of chronic illness and support for the disabled, becoming healthy enough to regain a career, becoming spiritually evolved.

If your life had a soundtrack, what would be the theme song?
"Hands" by Jewel. I like the line, "Poverty stole your golden shoes, but it didn't steal your laughter".

Name one song that you know that nobody else has ever heard of.
Well, I'm sure a FEW people have heard of this one, but it IS somewhat obscure: "Teenage Enema Nurses in Bondage" by Killer Pussy. And one line in the song sums it all up nicely: "This job STINKS"!

If you had one superpower what would it be and how would you use it?
I'd like to be invisible, but I'm not exactly sure what I would do with the power of invisibility.

If you had one purely selfish wish what would it be?
To win a significant amount of money, enough to pay off all my debts and replace the income I lost by not being able to work.

What one thing would you like other people to notice about you?
That I'm funny!

If you were locked in an apartment for one month with a duplicate of yourself what would piss you off the most about them? Would one of you have to die?
It would be a real problem having a mirror of my bad temper. We'd probably both survive, but the apartment would be toast.

What one trait do you wish other people shared with you?
An interest in learning. It's amazing how many people don't care that they're ignorant.

If you had one purely unselfish wish what would it be?
That no one in the world was starving.

What was your favorite subject in high school?
Drama and/or English (same teacher taught them).

What was your least favorite subject?
Trigonometry. I don't remember a thing about it.

If you had the chance to go (back) to school for free, what would you study?
Web design. Refresher writing courses. Acting. All kinds of things.

Do you want to live forever?
Nope. I think 112 years would be plenty.

What is your quest? Why?
To finish this questionnaire. Because it's there.

cable? dsl? isdn? t1? t3? dial up?
Ack. Dial up.

Do you or have you had an imaginary friend? If yes, what was its name?
I probably did have an imaginary friend, but if I did, I don't recall the name or even the gender.

Do you prefer Oxford, Webster, or dict?
Webster. That was the dictionary my school district gave to me for winning the area spelling bee.

How many times in the past week have you used a dictionary?
Probably twice.

The last time you used a dictionary, was it because of:
a) print, or conversation;
b) to understand someone, or to be clear yourself?
It was because I couldn't remember how to spell a word in my blog, most likely.

Your weight at birth?
5 pounds something.

Strangest place you've ever slept?
My front yard! I was sleepwalking at the time.

Most unjust punishment received as a child?
Spanked for something my sister did. I think she ate something we were supposed to have for dinner.

Smelliest pet?
My current dog can get kinda smelly. Sorry, Chip.

Where do you keep your keys when you're not carrying them?
In my purse, center of the open section. I have fibromyalgia and will absolutely lose my keys if I don't put them in the same exact spot every time I'm done using them.

What do you eat when you're trying to save money?
It used to be ramen noodle soup, six packages for a buck. Now I guess it would be eggs? First I have to re-learn how to save money.

Do you curse when you're mad?
Hell, yeah!

How many people have you made cry this year?
None that I know of. If I'm wrong about that, I apologize.

Can you make yourself cry?
Sort of. When I cry, there aren't many actual tears because of damage to my tear ducts from the Sjogren's.

Who do you miss right now?
The friends I had a reunion with a week ago.

Where was your first job?
At a geologist's laboratory. I prepared samples for analysis.

Do you know how many calories taking off a girl's bra with your mouth burns?
Haven't the foggiest. For that matter, I've never removed a girl's bra with my teeth. Not even my own bra with my teeth. Gee, what a boring life I'm leading.

Have you ever jumped off a swing?
Yep. Used to have contests with other people to see who could jump the furthest. I have exceptionally long legs, so I generally won.

Did you play the recorder?
Um, does a tape recorder count??

Do you have your spleen?
I sure hope so because I don't recall it being removed.

Is your favorite number 4? Why? Why not?
Four is supposed to be my lucky number, but it's not my favorite. My fave is 6 because I had a great year at that age.

Do you have a web page?
I have a couple of them. See my Links list on the top right of this page.

Think of something yellow. What was it?
A canary.

Look for something purple. What is it?
My chenille socks.

When did you learn to ride a bike?
When I was eight years old. Without training wheels and in only a day and a half. This astounded my parents who had been told by doctors I would never have good enough balance to ride a bike because I'm deaf in one ear.

Do you like green apple candy?
Yes, but I haven't eaten it in years. I wonder if Jolly Ranchers is gluten free?

If you were naming a dog, what would you name it?
If it were a male springer spaniel, I'd name it Jerry. Get it? Jerry Springer Spaniel! Heee heee.

When did you burp last?
A few hours ago. Damn that reflux anyway.

Where does Sol keep her umbrella?
Wherever she likes.

Have you been in the newspaper?
Yes. When I went to the Colorado/Wyoming state spelling bee in the eighth grade.

Have you ever seen a ghost?
Yes. He had died in a fire at my college. I saw him sitting in the balcony alone during a play.

Do you like rocks?
Yes. I'm particularly fond of quartz, mica, and pyrite.

Does basil go with oregano?
They're side by side in my pantry and seem content enough.

What do you want on your tombstone?
I'm being cremated, so I won't have a full-sized tombstone, just a small engraved marker on a wall with my ashes in a container in a vault behind it. If there's room on the marker, an engraved rose or dove would be nice.

Is pink the new blue?
Sure, if you combine the two and get purple.

Are you sure?
Sure of what?

Do you wear Sure?
Nope. I think I wear Dove.

Do you eat Slim Jims?
Nope. What's in them anyway?

Have you ever seen professional wrestling?
Not a whole match intentionally. I've watched a few minutes here and there when one of the wrestlers had an exceptionally nice ass.

What kind of shampoo do you like to use?
Good question! I'm currently in the process of trying different brands since I don't like the new formula of Pantene.

Are your eyes green?
Nope. Chocolate brown.

Who was the first professional to cut your hair?
Probably someone who worked in the barber shop across the street from the grocery store. I wasn't able to convince my mom to stop butchering my hair until I was in the seventh grade. Then I let a complete stranger butcher my hair, heh heh. Let's just say there aren't many hairstyles that are flattering to thin, plain, flyaway hair.

My barber used to say "thank ya, thank ya now". Would you if you were a barber?
Probably not. I'd probably say, "Wear a hat. It'll grow out!"

Have you ever cut anyone's hair?
Absolutely not. That would be like asking me to drive a car blindfolded.

Do you like Sunny Delight?
Not particularly. What's in it anyway? If I'm gonna drink something that's fake juice, I'd just as soon have Tang.

Who moved my cheese?
Not I, said the mouse.

What does FOIL stand for?
Um, I dunno, Finicky Overweight Illiterate Ladies?? Sorry, that was the first thing that came to mind.

Where do you keep your aluminum foil?
On the shelf of the cabinet to the right of the sink.

Do you like French onion dip?
Yes, but I don't know of any that's gluten free. Bummer.

Have you ever had green ketchup?
Not yet. But I'm sure if someone offered it to me, I'd try it.

Do you like mayo?
Certainly. But unfortunately, I can no longer eat most of the foods that go with mayo.

Do you like Orange Crush?
It's merely ok. Another form of fake juice.

What about grape soda?
Yet another fake juice. The only fake juice soda I really like is Mountain Dew. I believe that contains orange juice?

Is their a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?
I'm too busy admiring the rainbow to notice.

Chocolate or lots of chocolate?
Diabetes dictates small portions of chocolate only. This is a particularly difficult rule to follow when it comes to chocolate covered macadamia nuts.

Have you ever eaten franks chocolates?

Do you know who frank is?
My aunt's second husband? No?

Moonlight or sunlight?
I like both.

T.V. is ______________.
A blessing and a curse.

If I found myself in jail or an emergency room, I'd call...
Ghostbusters! Ok, maybe my husband would be more appropriate.

Favorite comfort food:

Favorite thing on the whole planet:
Hmmmm. Can't narrow it down to just one thing. Sunset over Kau, Hawaii was pretty awesome, though.

The earliest name you can remember:
Not sure how to answer this. I do remember, though, that my kindergarten teacher had the same last name as me.

Any given morning, this is the first thing you're likely to think about:
Whether I can get rid of my back spasms before I get up.

What's your favorite day of the week, and why?
Saturday, I guess. It has the fewest obligations.

Your favorite kind of weather?
Late spring, about 70 degrees, sunny with just enough of a breeze to carry the scent of lilacs.

Would you characterize yourself as more visual, audio, or tactile?
I think equal parts visual and audio.

Favorite quote or motto?
"The most wasted of all days is that during which one has not laughed." --Nicolas Chamfort

If Congress (or other primary representative governing body) were appointed, would you rather have the top 50 graduates from the ten best universities this year -or- would you rather have the first 500 people from some random page of a national phone book?
Well, we already know from our current representatives that having an education doesn't necessarily make one a good politician. So I'd give the random 500 a shot.

If you had to choose between total anarchy and a total police state: which is the lesser of two evils?
Total anarchy, by a long shot. Can you tell I have authority issues?

Regarding belief in God: "When you are running down the street, your hair on fire, you don't pray to the Bank of America" - Richard Pryor. Thoughts?
Oddly enough, I tend not to pray for myself during times of crisis. I'm more likely to offer a prayer of thanks for things that go well in my life. It's not an intentional omission; maybe I'm a little TOO self-reliant??

Favorite vehicle company?
I have very little experience with car companies, but the guys at Saturn have been very nice to me.

Favorite computer company?
Again, very little experience. I have a Mac.

Favorite internet service provider?
Have only used one: Earthlink. I like them.

How many email addresses do you have (that you regularly use)?

Favorite vegetable?
Corn. I like it enough to not need butter or salt on it. It's also a good replacement for wheat.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Switching to plan "B".... 

Managed to get in to see my primary care doc and tell her about how I wasn't able to keep the OxyContin down. I was trying the lowest dose, so we couldn't go any lower. We discussed a few other meds, but I'd tried them without success.

So she suggested methadone. Yes, it's used in the US to treat heroin addicts, but it's also a pain med. It is generally well-tolerated and can be taken at very low doses.

If I can find a pharmacy that carries it, I'm going to use the liquid form. That way, I can make small adjustments in the dose as necessary until I find what works best. I'll start with 5mg three times a day, but if that's too much (I'm extremely sensitive to meds), I can bring it down a bit.

I'm gonna wait a few days before I start it as I've still got a major case of the weak and wobblies going on. I want to be back to my regular diet and activity level before I try anything new. Maybe mid-week.

Until then, I'm gonna keep a low profile, maybe try some soup, maybe take an Epsom salt bath if I can handle sitting in the tub. I will say one thing: trial and error is exhausting.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Through the wringer, again..... 

Right before I went on my little vacation last weekend, I got to see my primary care doc about the extraordinarily high pain levels I've been having. I've been her patient for three years, and she has seen me deteriorate over that time with the fibro and Sjogren's into someone who can hardly function. I've been making do with an emergency pain med only, so when I told her I thought it was time to switch to daily pain relief, she did not disagree.

The biggest hurdle I face is extreme sensitivity to meds. I can't tolerate any anti-depressants, most muscle relaxants or most strong pain relievers. We discussed me trying a patch, but I'm allergic to adhesives, so that would be a problem.

The only pain reliever I'd tried that didn't cause copious vomiting was Dilaudid. That was my emergency pain med. So my doc decided a low dose OxyContin would probably be safe for me because it's similar but long-acting.

We agreed I should wait to start it until I was back from my vacation, just in case it didn't agree with me. I took the first dose on Tuesday. It made me queasy, but I figured that would be temporary.

I was to take just an evening dose for five days and then switch to every 12 hours after that. So I did this. With every new dose, the nausea got worse, and I began experiencing a worsening of my tinnitus plus dizziness.

I began the 12 hour dosing today. The nausea was worse than ever, to the point I couldn't even enjoy the reduction in pain. Oddly enough, I also got the hiccups, twice.

I hoped that it would pass or I could tune it out by doing normal things. But then I had to go throw up during church. And I began violently vomiting after I got home.

All I could do after that was cry. It's very disappointing to not be able to tolerate any of the treatments for pain. I hate the idea of maybe just having to continue to live with excruciating pain with no relief.

I'm going to call the doc tomorrow to find out what she thinks I should do. I wish I could tolerate anti-nausea meds so maybe I could keep taking the pain med. I have very few options unfortunately.

I know it's not the end of the world, but I'm feeling defeated right now. I had such high hopes for finally being able to hurt less. I just want to improve my quality of life if I can.


Rave of the Day for October 23, 2005: 

My October review for But You Don't Look Sick has been posted. Here be the link:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fibromyalgia

I have sort of a dilemma now. I don't know what to review for next month. I don't have any income at the moment with which to acquire a new book, and the books I currently have suitable for review are outdated. Plus I've been sleeping so damned much this past week that I am getting very little reading done at all. Guess I'll have to think on this for a bit.

More later.....

Friday, October 21, 2005

Alive, but not kicking too hard.... 

It has been so long since I posted that I'm not sure where to start. Actually, I have enough to say to probably fill at least a dozen posts, but I don't have the energy or endurance to make that happen. So I guess I'll begin by mentioning that I went on a little vacation last weekend.

Decided to go against the conventional wisdom of hanging onto my last paycheck and bought a plane ticket so I could visit a friend. Hadn't seen this person in seven years, so we had plenty of catching up to do. The cool thing about good friends is that you can pretty much pick up your last conversation wherever you left off.

Did the smart thing and travelled with my wheelchair. The chariot does come in very handy in airports. And my hometown airport gave Dan a special pass that allowed him to take me all the way to the gate (they don't usually let non-passengers past security). Once at the gate, an attendant wheeled me right up to the plane and then they put my chariot in with the baggage.

I now know not to fly in the front row. There is no place to store your check-in bag where you can reach it. This really sucks when you need access to your bottled water, snacks (they don't feed you on planes anymore unless you're actually in the air for more than three hours), gum, reading material, eyedrops, air purifier, etc. My check-in bag was too heavy to put in or get out of the overhead compartment by myself, so I had to keep bugging the flight attendants everytime I needed something from the bag. On the plus side, I did meet a really nice elderly couple who had been married 63 years and who were returning from a cruise on the Mexican Riviera. I noticed they held hands.

One thing I haven't figured out yet is how the hell you're supposed to travel with any check-in bags. Dan had quite a bit of trouble trying to push my wheelchair and manage my suitcase at the same time. So did my friend when I arrived. I for my part tried to pack as light as possible, using my usual carry-on bag as the check-in bag because it was small and had wheels and a handle. I used a smaller Samsonite shoulder bag as the carry-on, holding it on my lap while in the wheelchair. I hate needing so much stuff, but that really couldn't be avoided.

I unfortunately made one mistake right away: I was so flustered by not having access to my bag on the plane that I totally forgot to eat. My next opportunity for a meal wasn't for another three hours. So by the time I started shoveling scrambled eggs in my mouth, I was dizzy, weak and in a great deal of pain. I was also quite nauseous, and that didn't go away even after I ate. I took some pain medicine, but it didn't make much difference. One cool thing that happened, though, was that I got to talk to another friend on the phone (he lived in the area) whom I'd lost touch with probably ten years ago. We made tentative plans to meet Sunday after he got off work.

The next day went much better. Didn't have anywhere pressing to be, so I got up at my leisure and took my time getting cleaned up. My friend had to work, but her kids had the day off school, so I just hung around reading a bit of Harry Potter here and there while her youngest boy watched TV and played a motocross game on Playstation 2. Turns out he's a Harry Potter expert, so we chatted some about that.

Another friend of mine came by that evening whom I hadn't seen in about seven years. He took me to a Greek restaurant. I was a little unsure whether I could eat Greek food, but I was able to confirm that the ingredients in what I wanted to eat were gluten-free, so I went for it: lamb kabobs, rice, marinated veggies, Greek salad and dolmas. Delicious! Afterward, we went to an independent short film festival. One of the films was something my friend had worked on. It was soooo cool to see his name up on the screen and hear people applauding! I enjoyed most of the films, which covered every topic and ranged from about a minute in length to a little over 15 minutes. The only downside to the festival was the shortage of chairs. For awhile I had to sit on a concrete ledge, which was extraordinarily uncomfortable. When we got back from the festival, we and my other friend played Boggle, a word finding game. I played better that I expected to but not nearly as well as I used to when I was healthy. It was a great deal of fun, but I just about killed my hips off siting in a wooden kitchen chair despite putting my wheelchair cushion on it.

The next day, I slept in until 11:30. I'd needed the sleep, but was so stiff I could hardly walk once I got up. The local festival we'd planned on attending had already started, so we just took our time getting going. My friend and I went with her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend. My friend pushed me in the chariot; I think we found every single sidewalk crack and pothole along the way, heh heh. I had a great time checking out all the vendors' wares, but I didn't buy anything because I didn't have any space in my suitcase for souvenirs. I lucked out and found something I could eat (boy do I miss funnelcakes!): I had a turkey leg and Fritos. My friend bought some Christmas ornaments. I took photos of the fall foliage and my friend's daughter and daughter's boyfriend climbing trees. My friend's daughter has a learner's permit, so she drove us home. I think she did pretty well despite missing a few turns. That evening, my friend, her youngest son and I played Trivial Pursuit. The boy did very well for being 11 years old. I managed to beat him, but not by much.

The following day, we went to church. My friend's daughter was in the choir. The sermon was about the evils of divorce, but I managed to hold my tongue admirably well, heh heh. My friend thought to bring my wheelchair cushion to put against the back of the wooden pew, which helped considerably. We put in some quality couch time during the afternoon. I finished my Harry Potter book (volume 2) while half-watching "Steel Magnolias".

When time came to get ready to visit our friend in a neighboring town, we decided to stay overnight there rather than come all the way back and have to return in a few hours so I could catch my plane early the next morning. We met the friend who had just gotten off work and decided to go someplace to eat. We decided on P.F. Chang's, an Asian restaurant, because they have a special gluten-free menu upon request. But before we went there, we decided to drop by another friend's house a few blocks away to see if he was home. He was, and was most surprised to see me for the first time in TWENTY years! He decided to come with us. And he called one more friend of ours who was only a mile way. ANOTHER 20 year reunion! So the five of us went to P.F. Chang's with plenty to talk about. We tried to catch up over lettuce wraps and were there until the place closed for the evening. We still wanted to chat, so we went downtown to a bar called The Newsroom which was filled with vintage typewriters. Since I'm sensitive to cigarette smoke, I decided we should sit on the outdoor patio as two of our party smoked. Remembering how sick the champagne at my sister's wedding had made me, I stuck to drinking Coke. It was truly amazing how the five of us looked essentially the same as we had during the 1980's, how we'd all had financial ups and downs (I don't think there was a millionaire among us), and how easily we could still converse and laugh heartily. We had more stories to tell than in the past, but that was the only major difference. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

My friend and I were offered a futon to crash upon for the night, and we accepted rather than drive around and try to find a place to stay. We got there about 2am and needed to be up at 6am, so I skipped my sleep medication and just tried to rest my eyes a bit. I wasn't able to sleep anyway as I found out to my surprise that my friend now snores.

So I found myself at the airport at 7:30am on Monday with no sleep, burning dryness in my throat from the cigarettes at the bar, and pain at the "I need to go to the ER" level. I didn't mind because I'd had such a good time, but I think it may have been a factor in what happened next. I was dropped off at the curbside check-in with my wheelchair and suitcase and didn't even notice that my airline didn't do curbside check-in until my ride was long gone. So there I was in my chariot, trying to figure out out to wheel it and my suitcase at the same time by myself as the guy from the competing airline at the desk chose to ignore me. I inched along for awhile until my suitcase fell over, my check-in bag fell out of my lap and I nearly tipped the wheelchair. Then a very sweet lady who had just been dropped off offered to wheel my bag in for me. Yayyyy! She happened to be flying on the same airline as I. Unfortunately, my bag got picked for hand inspection, so that held up things even more. I was trying to steer myself toward the security line with my weak hands and not making much progress when a very nice man saw me struggling and helped me all the way to the gate. When I started to board, the flight attendant realized my wheelchair had not been properly tagged for being stowed with the baggage, so that had to be taken care of before takeoff. It was a wonder we took off on time. On the plus side, I sat in a regular row this time so I could put my carry-on bag under the seat in front of me and could access it any time I liked. And the seat next to me was empty, so I had elbow room on one side for a change (WHY do the seats have to be so friggin' narrow????). And the sweet guy who had helped me in the airport was in the row behind mine, so after we landed, he wheeled me from the plane to the gate where Dan was waiting. All's well that ends well. So except for the business about being sick, it was one of the best weekends I've EVER had.

It was after I got home that the real trouble began. Those of you either familiar with me or familiar with fibromyalgia know this pattern well: I can have a wonderful time for a few days doing things I'm unaccustomed to, but I never realize how much I'm overdoing it until the fun is over and I relax. Then all hell breaks loose, and it takes me approximately twice as long as the vacation was to recover from it. So it should be no surprise that within minutes of returning home, I lie down for a nap and find myself unable to get up again for seven hours. I somehow manage to drag myself downstairs at 6pm and eat something and then go back upstairs to take a shower. The shower totally wiped me out, and I collapsed back in bed for another six hours. Dan found me unable to get up when he came home from work, so he helped me up long enough for me to drink a Boost. Then I collapsed for ANOTHER seven hours!

On Tuesday, I was in wayyyyy too much pain and mentally out of it to drive, so Dan had to take me to the massage therapist and the chiropractor. Once home, I fell asleep on the couch and drifted in and out of sleep for three hours. Wednesday was not that much different: I overslept and nearly missed my aquacise class, then zonked on the couch for a couple of hours. And yesterday, I overslept AGAIN and was late to my therapy session. Today, I slept another 12 hours. It was the first day I was competent enough to drive, but just going to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription wore me out again. And typing this post has taken over two hours, during which I've nearly dozed off a few times. The price I pay for a good time.

I've got lots more to post, but I'm too fuzzy headed to continue tonight. But I promise more in the coming days: a book review, thoughts on "Lost", my adventures in pain control, a lengthy questionnaire I stumbled upon, and perhaps some Raves of the Day.

"Springsteen, Madonna,
Way before Nirvana,
There was U2, and Blondie
And music still on MTV.
Her two kids in high school
They tell her that she's uncool
Cuz she's still preoccupied
With 1985......"
--from "1985" by Bowling for Soup

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Rave of the Day for October 12, 2005: 

Wanted to pop in for a moment and share a link to a journal entry by someone with CFIDS (commonly known in the US as chronic fatigue). It gives an excellent analogy of being thrown to the wolves by society when you have an illness that is poorly understood and at times not even considered real. For added interest, please also read the comments that follow as they are illuninating as well. Thanks to Ricky Buchanan (who has the the "Not Done Living" website) for directing me to this, and thanks to feyandstrange for summing up what countless others feel:

out in the cold, with wolves after me

I do have lots of updating to do, but life sorta overwhelmed me there for awhile. I'm going on a little trip tomorrow, but will try to post something before I leave. If that doesn't work out, I promise something next week.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Incredibly, life goes on.... 

After Dan got home last night, I actually discussed with him whether I should go to the ER. How desperately I wanted to hurt less! But the more I thought about the uncomfortable beds, bright lights and freezing cold rooms, the less I wanted to leave the house. So I stumbled into the bathroom and took a pain med, a muscle relaxant and a sleep med all at the same time. Probably not what the doctor ordered, but hell, I was desperate.

To my surprise, the combo worked....for four hours. Then I was awakened by a dagger-sharp pain in my left ankle, and as I began to awaken, I could feel the pain spreading to the rest of me like molten lava. But I willed myself not to get upset about it, to get as comfortable as I could, to think about the things that are good in my life, to be as much at peace with the pain as possible. I wasn't able to sleep more than about 20 minutes at a time after that because of the pain, but I stayed in bed for another five hours knowing that the relaxation would do me good.

It was quite difficult to get up without help today, but I did manage it. Overall, I still hurt considerably, just not quite as much as yesterday. But it was enough of a difference to allow me to get on the Gazelle machine. My legs felt like they had lightning bolts in them, and there were a few occasions I was sure I was gonna scream from the agony, but somehow I got through.

So life does go on, no matter how much I hurt. How this does weary my soul, though. How did my soul get so old when my body is merely middle-aged? I feel like crying but am too tired to expend the effort.

I do love this world, I really do. And I realize how truly fortunate I am. I know I will emerge stronger than before. There are far greater catastrophes out there than anything I will ever face. Somehow that doesn't seem like the right wording, but I hope it makes sense.

If the elephant that's sitting on me would just shift its weight a little, that would really be great.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


I finally got some quality sleep last night. You know, the kind that's so deep that when you wake up, you don't know where or who you are? Probably the first time this year. I slept deeply for nine hours and then lightly for another four.

But I paid a horrible price for it.

Immobility can be a curse for me. It was today. I had lain still for so long that my arms had gone numb, my head was pounding and the rest of my body felt bruised. I absolutely could not get out of bed under my own power. I had to wait for Dan to come upstairs and ask him to help me up. And then when my feet hit the floor, I nearly passed out, the pain was so intense. It felt as though I had liquid glass flowing through my body.

Walking was quite difficult with dagger-like pains in my hips and knees. I didn't dare use my Gazelle glider, even though I desperately needed to stretch my muscles. I tried getting into the shower as quickly as possible, hoping the hot water would help. Thank God Dan had installed a grab bar in the bathroom as it was quite a trick getting myself into the tub. Once in, I moved around some and stretched under the water, but I got light-headed before too long and had to get out.

After the shower, I sat at the computer for awhile, even though I knew I needed to eat. I just couldn't get downstairs. I finally asked Dan to help me get to the kitchen when I realized I hadn't eaten in 16 hours. I had a Boost for breakfast because I didn't think I'd be able to keep anything else down.

I called my primary care doc's office and made an appointment to see her on Tuesday. I don't think she's gonna be able to do anything about this pain as she can't prescribe anything stronger than Dilaudid, but I hope she'll know of a pain management doc or clinic that would help me.

Speaking of Dilaudid, I took some, and it had almost no effect on my pain at all. Yes, I know I have multiple ailments that cause pain, but this is ridiculous. Thanks to years of undertreatment, my pain has escalated to a level where no reasonable treatment will even touch it. Right now, I am fighting not to vomit because I hurt so much absolutely everywhere. The doctors who think fibromyalgia isn't a real disease and doesn't deserve pain control can go to hell. Today I couldn't hug my husband without tears because it hurt so much to be touched. Why does it have to be this way? Mild, even moderate pain is a given in my situation, but agony this extreme shouldn't be allowed to go untreated. It's damned inhumane, that's what it is.

I desperately want to go to the ER and beg them to give me something to knock me out, but I know better than to bother. The only med strong enough to help that I can tolerate is morphine. And no one's gonna let me have morphine if I'm not dying.

Speaking of which, I fully understand how some chronic pain patients cross the line from depressed to suicidal. I am not suicidal, but I understand those who are. They just want the pain to stop. The desire to stop hurting is massive. It can be all encompassing. The people who tell me if I just put my mind on something else I'd be fine have no f-ing clue. I spend probably 90 percent of my time distracting myself, tuning out as much as I can, trying desperately to function. I do amazingly well, I imagine better probably than most would if they hurt like this. But there is only so much a person can ignore, hide or otherwise cover up extreme pain. It really does test the sanity. I'm not exaggerating here. I dare anyone to hurt 24/7 at this level and not suffer mental anguish.

I'm terrified to go back to bed. What if this actually gets worse? I fear I'll start screaming and won't be able to stop. Or that I'll hurt so much I can't breathe. I'm not generally anxious, but I don't think I can take any sort of escalation right now.

Dan's home from work.

Friday, October 07, 2005

"Lost" gets oriented..... 

This week on "Lost", we see a bit of who Jin is calling the "others". This masive Neanderthal-looking dude thwacks Sawyer with a club and quickly dispatches Jin and Michael. The three are taken captive and dragged to a covered pit. After they come to and analyze the situation a bit, Sawyer asks Jin and Michael to boost him so he can see if there's a way out of the pit. Suddenly, a knife slices between the bamboo poles covering the pit, and Sawyer tumbles back into the pit. Then the door is opened, and a woman is thrown in. It is Ana Lucia, a passenger from the tail section of the plane that broke off prior to the crash. She does a little Q&A with Sawyer and Michael. Sawyer of course is his usual charming self, deciding to play Mr. Hero to save a lady in distress by brandishing his all-too-conveniently concealed gun. Ana Lucia catches him completely off guard by smacking the crap out of him, stealing his gun, and getting the Neanderthal to let her out. The caveman guy, who Sawyer refers to as Shaft, asks Ana Lucia who the three in the pit are, and she says they were on the plane.

Down in the hatch, Kate recovers her wits after almost getting shot while hiding in the ventilation shaft. She sneaks back out and discovers a cache of weapons. She grabs and loads a gun and sneaks up on Desmond, who is still holding Locke hostage. The gun goes off and hits, of all things, the computer. Desmond comes unglued, wailing, "We're gonna die!" Jack and Kate somewhat reluctantly allow Desmond to attempt to fix the computer. Kate suggests that maybe Say-id can help and asks if there's a front door to the hatch. There is, sealed from the inside. Kate goes out to get Say-id.

Jack is absolutely not buying Desmond's gibberish that the world will end if he doesn't enter the numbers into the computer and reset the timer. Desmond responds by telling him and Locke to watch a film. The film cannister says "Orientation". Locke and Jack watch this incredibly cheesy instruction film telling them that they are stationed on segment three of a six station experimental program. This program conducts environmental, psychological, electromagnetic and other types of tests. And, yes, you briefly see polar bears on the film. The man doing the voiceover on the film states that two people are responsible for entering the proper code into the computer every 108 minutes and recommends that they take shifts to ensure this is done. Apparently, they are supposed to be relieved every year and a half or so by two new people. The man mentions an "incident" occurring at one point. The audio cuts out in places; either this has been watched too many times or had been edited? Anyway, the "orientation" reminded me of those awful health films they made you watch in school in the late 1970's, and it made me laugh. Locke's reaction was to watch it again, and Jack sneered and went back to confront Desmond.

Jack attempts to elicit more information from the increasingly agitated Desmond. The story is that Desmond was doing a race around the world three years ago, crashed his boat on the island and ran into a dude named Calvin, who was running the computer operation solo, I guess because his partner died? Anyway, Desmond is convinced to be Calvin's partner, and then Calvin died. Jack scoffs at the whole notion that Desmond is actually accomplishing anything and says that nothing will happen if the code is not entered and the clock counts down to zero. He says that Desmond was just being tested to see if he would be gullible enough to do it.

Desmond has tinkered with the computer for awhile and switches it on. The power goes out, and the computer begins to smoke. Desmond reacts with terror, grabs some food and some meds and bails. His plan is to run as far from the hatch as he can in the time remaining and not wait for Say-id to show. Jack takes off after him, catches up and forces him at gunpoint to stop. Desmond gives Jack the code to enter in the computer, but Jack doesn't appear to be listening. Suddenly, Desmond realizes that he did know Jack from an encounter in Los Angeles; Jack had done spinal surgery on a woman and thought he had failed and had told Desmond this. So Desmond naturally asks what became of that woman. Jack, who had married that woman, for some reason gets very choked up, as if the question had touched a nerve. He turns away, and Desmond resumes fleeing across the island.

Kate returns to the hatch with Say-id and Hurley (I think he just tagged along out of curiosity), finding Locke alone in despair. Say-id curiously doesn't ask questions, just gets to work. I'm surprised he trusts Kate and Locke this much. Hurley, while looking for a breaker switch, stumbles into the massive pantry and is suitably impressed with his find. Say-id magically gets the computer working, and Locke sits down to enter the code sequence. Hurley starts freaking when he hears his cursed lottery numbers are the code, but then Locke gets the last number wrong, and Hurley doesn't correct him. Then Jack appears and has Locke hit the back space and put in the proper final number. But Locke won't hit the "execute" button. He insists Jack should do it. Jack again resists, adamant that nothing will happen if they just let the timer run out, but in the end, he doesn't appear to want to be responsible if something does go wrong, so he does push the button. Part of me wanted to see him not do it. Locke sits back down and says he'll take the first shift. Perhaps later in the season we'll find out what happens when you don't hit the button.

I found out via The Lost Forum that next week's episode is called "Everybody Hates Hugo". I'd like to find out more about Hurley, so I'm looking forward to that. My guess is that he starts hoarding food from the pantry and doesn't tell anyone.

Hurry up, next Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The agony I've been hiding..... 

Ok, I talked to the rheumatologist today about how my pain levels have escalated to the point that they're 8-10 on a scale of 1-10 every single day now. And how the Dilaudid, the emergency pain med prescribed by my primary care doc, no longer helps. And how I just didn't think it was necessary for me to suffer this much.

His response was predictable: alarm that I was indicating I needed something stronger than Dilaudid for pain and/or daily use of narcotics. Lectures about the vicious cycle of narcotic pain meds and their side effects. And a statement that he was not comfortable prescribing such strong medicine.

I've been going to this rheumatologist for five years and am reluctant to switch docs while I'm in the midst of trying to get approved for SSDI. I might not be able to find another that supports my claim. So I'm probably gonna stick with this guy, which means I'll have to resort to a pain management doc in addition to him because no other type of doc in my state will even try to prescribe meds as strong as I need.

I am reluctant to do this. My last search for a pain management doc took multiple tries, several hundred dollars after I finally found one, and only temporary relief. I am soooo burned out on docs and don't relish the idea of waiting three months to see a specialist and going through additional months of trial and error and side effects.

But I am just as tired of being undertreated, of crying from pain a few days a week as opposed to once every few months, of not being taken seriously by the medical community. I know my ailments aren't curable, but it seems to me that they don't have to be this unbearable every single day. I do wonder, though, that if I do begin taking daily pain meds whether Social Security will deny my claim, stating that I should be able to work if I am in less pain.

The pain is presently robbing me of quality of life. I want to have a positive outlook, I really do, but the pain is a 24/7 distraction. It's like trying to dance with an elephant sitting on you.

I've put up with daily agony for eight years now. I suppose if I had to, I could continue to cope without meds. I have to be prepared that I may be told I have to keep on going just as I am now.

But this elephant is so heavy.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Getting behind The White Stripes.... 

Went to the music store yesterday. I don't allow myself to buy mass quantities of CDs anymore, so there were at least a dozen discs tempting me all at once. I visited three listen stations, which gave me even more temptation. Finally, I caved a little and grabbed "Get Behind Me Satan" by The White Stripes, which was on sale for $4 off.

I must admit the only White Stripes songs I was familiar with prior to this CD were the two I downloaded from iTunes: "Fell in Love with a Girl" and "Seven Nation Army", although I've heard from several people that both CDs containing those songs are excellent. There is nothing on "Get Behind Me" that sounds like either of the downloaded songs. This makes me wonder: is Jack White a man or a chameleon?

The CD contains some startling sounds. On "Blue Orchid", Jack sings in falsetto, which made me giggle for a moment, but the more of the song you hear, the better the falsetto sounds. This gets even better with repeat listenings.

"The Nurse" starts with what sounds like a xylophone, and you think this will be a lighthearted song. But the lyrics are dark and augmented by Meg's explosive drumbeats and odd bursts of Jack's guitar and piano.

"My Doorbell" has been playing on my local radio station, and it was what made me check out the rest of the album. It is the most infectious song on the album, and it gets stuck in your head after you've heard it just once. Jack's staccato piano playing on this one fits Meg's drumming perfectly, and the lyrics are somewhat liquid and flowing in the gaps. Makes you wanna march around the room and sing along.

More lyric-driven is "Forever For Her (Is Over For Me)". I like the emotion in Jack's voice in this one. It's like a slightly jagged ballad.

"Little Ghost" is quite jarring at first because it's very nearly a country song with its harmonies and traditional guitar sound. But the lyrics are really sweet and clever, and it warrants more than one listen.

"The Denial Twist" reminds me of another artist, but I can't quite pinpoint whom. This one leaves me impressed that two people can create so much sound together.

"White Moon" features Jack's song-writing talent. His singing is by turns plaintive and vindictive, and so is the music. It, like a few of the other songs, ends abruptly, like someone changing their mind.

"Instinct Blues" was to me reminiscent of Led Zeppelin, both in the singing style and the heavy metal blues guitar complete with feedback. Is there anything Jack White can't do?

"Passive Manipulation" is a brief ditty sung by Meg. The lyrics make you think.

"Take, Take, Take" is about a fan, a male fan of a woman. It takes a few listens before you get where it's going.

There is one true ballad on the CD. "As Ugly As I Seem" is no ordinary love song, though. While the tune is sweet, the lyrics are bitter.

It's hard to know what to make of "Red Rain". Country guitar and bells, of all things (actually, it sounds like a toy piano), collide with hard rock. Repeat listenings don't make this one any less murky.

The last cut on the disc is "I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)". Deceptively simple with just Jack and a piano. But the lyrics are pure country with a bit of a twist.

I think I'm gonna put "Elephant" and "White Blood Cells" on my Christmas list.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

"Just Like" heavenly..... 

Dan and I made a last-minute decision to see a movie last night and chose "Just Like Heaven". I seem to be on a streak lately of seeing movies that exceed my expectations. I hope it continues.

"Just Like Heaven" stars Mark Ruffalo (yum!) as David, a depressed landscape designer, and Reese Witherspoon as Elizabeth, an overworked doctor. Elizabeth is in an accident, and her family rents out her apartment to David. Much to David's surprise, Elizabeth is not quite willing to vacate the apartment and inhabits it as a ghost. Naturally, no one but David can see Elizabeth, and because he lost his wife two years ago, he is thought to have lost his mind as well. He tries various means, both orthodox and otherwise, to rid the apartment of this spirit, but she will not budge. About the only real help for David comes from the metaphysical bookstore clerk. I forget the name of the guy who played him, but he was hilarious.

Elizabeth also doesn't believe she is a ghost, but she doesn't really know what or who she is, either. She convinces David to help her discover her identity and what happened to her. This takes quite awhile since she didn't date or socialize with the neighbors and her family removed her personal effects from the apartment. After some hilarious mis-steps, she and David stumble upon a medical emergency in a restaurant, and she remembers that she was a doctor and actually convinces David to perform impromptu surgery.

During the journey of discovering her past, Elizabeth and David fall in love. They also find out that they were supposed to meet before Elizabeth's accident. Without giving away the major plot developments, I'll just say that it's a bumpy ride to resolving Elizabeth's condition.

I found the movie to be a lot of fun, but must warn any men reading this that it could be regarded as a chick flick because it's a romantic comedy/drama whatever you wanna call it. Both Witherspoon and Ruffalo are engaging enough for this to be a good date movie. And sometimes you're just in the mood for a feel good movie. This fits the bill.

Saturday, October 01, 2005


Yay! This week on "Lost", we get to see what happened to the fellas on the raft. And we get a second take on exploring the hatch.

Sawyer was indeed shot, in the shoulder. He was thrown from the raft before it was blown up. He survived the blast and was trying to stay afloat, yelling for Michael and Jin. Michael dived under the water just before the raft blew up, which saved his butt. We don't get to see where Jin landed in the water or what happened to him.

First, Sawyer spies some floating raft wreckage and hauls himself onto it, then goes after Michael, who had been screaming after Walt but suddenly isn't making a sound. He drags Michael onto the wreckage and incredibly begins performing CPR. Why would a con man have bothered to learn CPR? He looks genuinely concerned that Michael might have drowned. Fortunately, Michael sputters back to life.

I didn't care much for the arguing between Michael and Sawyer that followed. Seemed inconsistent with Michael's character and forced. Made me like Mike a whole lot less. But Sawyer was his usual facetious self, which saved the scene. He gets pissed at Michael and climbs onto a different piece of wreckage. Michael says something aggravating, and Sawyer responds, "What are you gonna do? Splash me?" It cracked me up when Michael actually does this and to Sawyer's dismay, his chunk of wreckage comes apart.

It didn't surprise me that a shark comes sniffing around since Sawyer is bleeding, but it did surprise me that Sawyer decides to remove the bullet with his bare hand. Then he sarcastically asks Michael for a band-aid, which I found hilarious. After Sawyer spies one of the pontoons floating in the distance, he decides to try to out run the shark to get to the pontoon. He gives Michael his gun, which all too conveniently still has dry bullets. Michael does manage to shoot the shark, climbs onto the pontoon wreckage, and he and Sawyer drift along with the current the rest of the night.

The hatch scene is replayed, but this time, we get to see what happened to Locke when he got to the bottom. He finds Kate on the floor, and as he checks to see if she is ok, Desmond comes up behind him with a gun and asks, "Are you him?" Locke says yes, but then Desmond poses a riddle to him that he can't answer. Desmond decides that Locke is not who he was expecting. He is surprised to hear of the plane crash.

Desmond forces Locke to throw away his knife and tells Kate to tie him up. Then Locke objects and says that Kate's a fugitive, so Desmond changes his mind and says Locke should tie up Kate. While Locke is doing this, he sneaks to her an extra knife he was carrying. Then Kate is thrown into a room and the door is shut.

Locke makes nice with Desmond, talking calmly with him and trying to get him to put down the gun. Desmond won't back down though. He asks Locke how many of the crash survivors have gotten sick and doesn't believe that the answer is none.

Kate manages to get loose with the help of the contraband knife. She discovers she has been locked in a huge food storage area. She sees a vent overhead and is about to devise a way to escape when she is distracted by a box labeled "Candy". She stops and unwraps a chocolate bar. The look on her face when she tastes the chocolate is priceless, and she quickly grabs several bars for future snacks before resuming her escape. She climbs up into the ventilation system.

An alarm goes off in the underground abode. Desmond makes Locke go to his ancient computer (Locke's comment is, "I haven't seen one of these in 20 years!") and type in the ill-fated lottery numbers and then hit the "execute" button. Instantly, a timer resets to 108. Guess that will be explained later??

Then Desmond hears Jack coming down the hatch. He blasts the Cass Elliott music to drown out any noise Locke or Kate might try to make. Kate is crawling in the ventilation shaft when the music starts, and she reacts with the most hilarious expression. She ends up right above where Jack, Desmond and Locke have their confrontation. When Jack refuses to lower his gun and Desmond shoots over his head, it narrowly misses Kate!

Sawyer awakens to find Michael sobbing, which really unnerves him. It is actually the best moment between the two of them in the episode. The sun has come up, and to their surprise, they have drifted back to the island overnight. Exhausted, they stumble off the wreckage and onto the beach. Almost immediately, they hear Jin shouting and running toward them! His arms have been tied behind him to a piece of bamboo. He is hysterical, but the only thing I could understand was him saying something that sounded like "others". And sure enough, behind him on the beach are strangers loping toward him like zombies carrying crude weapons.

Thought this would be an appropriate place to mention a website that my friend Robert brought to my attention yesterday. It's a message board for fans of "Lost":

The Lost Forum

I visited there last night and discovered that it's just as addicting as the show. There is a place to post your favorite theory as to where the show is going, spoilers for future episodes if you're too impatient to wait for the next broadcast (I plan to resist that temptation), and places to analyze each episode. I spent entirely too much time there last night and tonight, but I must admit it is a great deal of fun. Also cool are the screen caps. Apparently, some people will freeze frame something and post it. For example, the shark that wanted to take a bite out of Sawyer apparently has been tattooed with the very same logo as Desmond was wearing on his shirt. I never would have noticed it if it weren't for a screen cap.

I'm also gonna add it to my links list because I think it's worth visiting more than once.

Is it Wednesday yet??

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