Healing Hurts

Physio hurts.

Drove out to Coquitlam tonight for my physio appointment. Driving there was difficult; I was having high anxiety, as I have since last Sunday when I learned of the deaths of two people I cared about. Late last week I had to force myself to leave the house so I could get over that huge hump of anxiety; it’s lower than it was, but still difficult to deal with.

Physio itself hurts like hell. I have to do exercises to build up certain muscles that have sat dormant in my crippledness for years. The muscles scream in anger and rebellion at me. And the physiotherapist — who is awesome! — has to push and prod at me to get my spinal muscles to ease up, and to ease my spine back towards normalcy.

And it hurts like hell.

Don’t even get me started on the squats I need to do and what they do to my knees.

At the end, all that back and neck work triggers a small migraine, so I drive home drinking a coffee from McDonalds after taking an extra-strength Tylenol to banish the migraine to the depths of hell from whence it came.

Home, I still hurt all over, and I have more to do before I can go to bed tonight.

This healing thing isn’t for cowards. I am one, but I’m trying really hard not to be.

Discouragement

It’s been a while since I’ve written.

We got a new tire for my car. Or rather, we got 5 new tires for my car and one of them turned out to work. The first time Mr Katje went to the scrap yard he got a deal on 4 tires for 200 bucks off a 2000 Dodge Caravan — ie, my exact car.

They didn’t fit.

I don’t fucking know WHY, they just didn’t fit. They should have. SAME CAR. That night included Mr Katje lying on the ground looking at this tire he couldn’t get onto my car and saying “Happy birthday, Dear, I got you the wrong tires.”

(Yes, tires were my bday gift. I turned 31 and I got a working car. #blessed)

So he went back and was able to return them (a VERY WELCOME SURPRISE) and got a different one which definitely DID fit. So my car got all fixed up in time for me to drive up to Sechelt.

So mom and I went to the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, or FOTWA, or #SecheltWritersFest, or SCFWA, from August 17-20. We were in the tent selling books with other local indie authors.

We had a great time; I sold 2 books. Pretty good considering the overlap between SFF readers and people who go to festivals like that one is pretty slim.

Then we got back to our respective homes and Mr Katje and I went and watched the eclipse the next day, which was fucking underwhelming. I thought 86% totality was going to be pretty good but it was just disappointing. Didn’t help we couldn’t get any eclipse glasses so we had to look through pinhole boxes we’d made that morning.

When we’re 80 we’ll just look right at it because either medical technology will have progressed to the point where it doesn’t matter and we can just get new eyes, or we’ll be so close to the grave we won’t give a fuck.

Continue reading

victory, followed by “fuck you”

I was going to write this post last night and I kinda wish I had because I would have been able to end on a lighter note, but I didn’t, so now I just get to complain more about how shitty this week has been overall.

I went and yelled at the pharmacy. Actually I didn’t yell. I was super calm and polite. I explained what happened. *Multiple times.* I explained so many times I turned blue in the face.

When I first got there and someone came to the window I said “Are you someone in charge that I can yell at? Because I don’t want to yell at someone who’s not in charge.” And the person responded “You cannot yell at anyone.” And I did not respond *You fuckers fucked up and made me crazier for the past few days so don’t tell me what I can do,* but I really really wanted to.

So then I get the person who’s in charge, the pharmacist, and I explain about a thousand times what happened. I do not yell, but I let her know I’m livid.

Throughout it all she sort of acts like I’m the one at fault, that I didn’t understand what the person a few days ago told me, that I’m the crazy one…not once did anyone at the pharmacy admit fault, or even get *close* to saying “Maybe we did fuck up.”

I’ve spent most of the week fixing their fuck up and they didn’t acknowledge that it was their fuck up.

So I wasn’t really happy about that. Finally she tries to put it through and goes “Oh well it’s working now, so I don’t know what the problem was,” and I say “Well it’s probably working now because I called Greenshield yesterday and told them about this whole kerfuffle and they likely put a note on my profile.” IE, it’s working now *because of work I did*.

In the end, though, they comped my co-pay of the dispensing fee (ten dollars total for both scrips), so I got them free. Which is about 1/2 a victory, so I’ll take it.

AND A GOOD THING TOO.

Because today, on my way home from my typing assessment at the college I’ll be starting up at in January, a typing assessment I *aced* and I know I aced it because the person monitoring the assessment came over, saw my results, and said “Oh wow, you did excellent!”   — on my way home from this assessment that left me feeling so happy, and also feeling great that I didn’t get a parking ticket, my car tried to kill me.

A huge strip of rubber went flying off my tire and broke my bumper. I didn’t know this happened; all I knew was suddenly there was this jerk to my side and then a horrific rattling sound. I had to quickly change lanes and get into the shoulder to investigate; of course as soon as this happened the person who’d been behind me decided to move into the right lane, blocking me, and shake his fists wildly at me while yelling.

Because I caused the rubber to fly off with my mind, obviously. YES I DID THIS ON PURPOSE, random man in car.

After checking it out and calling my husband to yell HALPS, I drove incredibly slowly down the shoulder with my flashers on until I could actually get off the highway. (Highway is such a misnomer for most of the Canadian roads called that. It has fucking traffic lights on it.)

I then proceeded to sit in the car for about an hour waiting for my husband to arrive (I’d waked him up with my call so he had to shower, get dressed, etc while half-asleep), which is SO FUN in 30 degree, smokey hazy weather, let me tell you. (My lungs hate me for going out at all today.)

He arrived, we changed the tire together, and then I managed to get home. The bumper no longer made that horrific rattling noise if I went above 20 KM, because we’d removed the tire with the huge flap of rubber sticking out from it that was playing my bumper like a mbira.

Tomorrow we’re going to see about getting a new tire for the back (Mr Katje has already called a scrap yard and they just got one in; my car has an odd tire size) and also replace the one opposite it, because it needs it.

But our wallets really didn’t need this at all. Especially not with me planning on going with my mom to the Festival of the Written Arts in Sechelt this month. (We’ll be in with the local authors selling our books, assuming I make it.) So it’s a good thing my scrips were free huh! (Like 10 dollars will make a difference, hah.)

I’m so fried. Any happiness I felt earlier after acing my typing assessment is gone. I’m just depressed and too fucking warm. I tried to take a cold shower when I got home and couldn’t even manage that because the water warmed up when it hit my skin.

Yup, so, stick a fork in me. This week has made me *DONE*.

-Katje

gaslit by my crazy pills (gifs in post)

i went to the doc’s on friday to get a new scrip for my zoloft and my dexilant, because the bottles in my medicine drawer (top drawer of my sewing-desk-that’s-being-used-as-a-computer-desk) were running really low. no problem, got my scrips for 100 pills each. i have to go in every time to get the scrips, and then i get enough pills for three months.

went to fill them today (july 31st; it’s august 1st as i’m writing this but i have not slept yet) as well as my husband’s scrip which i picked up for him while i was at the doc’s.

“you last filled this on june 27 so your insurance won’t cover it till september.”

An animated gif of Will Ferrell playing Ron Burgundy in Anchorman, saying "I don't believe you" and lighting up a cigarette.

what?????

not only do i have ZERO MEMORY of this, june 27 was the day i left for visiting my mom in powell river. as in, I WAS WAITING FOR THE FERRY DURING THIS TIME I SUPPOSEDLY FILLED MY SCRIPS.

but, ok, maybe i went in the day before and it didn’t process till the 27th, or maybe i went in after midnight (it is a 24 hr pharmacy) because hey, i did only get 3 hours sleep that night. so i say i’ll go home and search for the pills because fuck me, there is NO WAY i can afford my meds without the insurance covering them right now. it is a tight fucking month.

i have searched. i have looked all over the house. they are not here. what IS here are bottles and receipts for 100 worth of each of those meds dated april 18th…which would mean they run out about *now*.

so either i had incredible fucking foresight and got my pills A FULL MONTH BEFORE THEY WOULD EVEN RUN OUT (this is basically 99.9% unlikely; this is me we’re talking about) or someone fucked up and put my april paperwork into the insurance company at the end of june.

A gif of someone saying "What is going on?" (I do not know where this gif is from. The Office maybe? Idk.)

i’ve checked my bank records, too, as has my husband, in case it was something he picked up for me. there are no charges around that date that would correspond with the cost of the meds (and no, i didn’t pay cash, because i never pay cash for important shit; cash is for coffee or an extra gallon of milk in the middle of the week). i have checked every inch of my house where they could possibly be. my next step is to check my car, which i’m going to do after i sleep.

the thing is tho…i went to my doc on friday. this past friday. if i had already gotten a scrip from him a month ago, he would have said something because it would have been right on his screen when i asked for the new one. so this makes absolutely zero sense.

so if they’re not in the car, i’m phoning my doctor’s office and asking them if he actually gave me a scrip in june. because if he didn’t, there was absolutely no way i could have filled it in june.

and if that’s the case, the pharmacy is going to see what happens when someone fucks up the insurance filing and DOESN’T GIVE A CRAZY PERSON THEIR CRAZY PILLS.

An animated gif of Mugatu from Zoolander screaming "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

anyway so it’s 6am, i’m drinking sleepytime tea, and trying not to rip my fucking hair out because i feel like i am taking crazy pills but not the kind that keep me from going crazier, the kind that make me go even fucking loopier than i really am, this is what you were talking about wasn’t it Mugatu.

in other news i got some words written in july but no where near as many as i wanted, so let’s cross our fingers i get a lot more done this month. (reminder, to be the first to hear when the book is finished, join Loony Nation, my email newsletter.)

happy fucking lammas/imbolc, by the way. or whatever you celebrate today.

-katje

Happy Canada Day from your grouchy neighbourhood cripple

I really do hope you’re having an excellent day, regardless if you celebrate Canada Day or not. It’s Saturday and that’s a nice day so have a wonderful one if you can.

As for myself, I’m grouchy and grumpy, because I’m broken. Again.

I’m up visiting my mom in Powell River and I was really hoping we could go to the special Canada Day farmers’ market today (an hour longer than usual!) and maybe hit up some celebrations elsewhere. Just, you know — go out, have fun, see people, enjoy the summer weather.

INSTEAD, I am basically kind of stuck at home. I could conceivably go out but it’d be a bad idea I think. I threw out my back this week, which when you have a spinal injury is a lot worse than just mechanical back problems. How did I throw it out? FUCK IF I KNOW.

Honestly, no idea, and it was probably nothing. I think I just moved wrong.

So now I’m in agony, though the number has gone down from a 10 on the first day to hovering at about a 5/6. (That is, according to my own scale of pain measuring, which…well, I have chronic pain, which means I basically live life at a 3 or 4 for other people. So when I say I’m at a 5/6 for me, that means an 8/9 for people who don’t have chronic pain. It’s really amazing what you can get used to when there’s no help for it.)

I have been grouchy and depressed since this happened and there has been much crying. There’s no really safe bed for me up here (mom’s mattresses are too soft, which didn’t used to bother me but now it does) so I slept in a chair last night. Sitting is painful, standing is painful, walking is painful, and I absolutely cannot lie down or I am fucked completely.

It sucks. Spinal injuries suck. There’s no two ways about it. And I’ll continue to have this life where I’m okay until suddenly, I’m not. FOR NO FUCKING REASON. Because there’s no logic to it. Backs just stop working, and especially when your discs are trying to flee the vertebrae.

We’ve been discussing options. I have somewhat of a plan; a lot of it is just nagging doctors until I get some help. First I really want to see if I can get a referral to a spinal decompression place so MSP will pay for it. They’ll be reluctant I’m sure but here’s the thing: the ~3500 for the non-invasive 8-week program of decompressing my spine that *might* give me back a good chunk of my function will actually cost them less than my other option, which is surgery.

I really don’t want surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary, but we are getting to the point of “I need to fix this or I’m looking at a short, agony-filled life”. So if that means going under and getting my fucking discs taken out and my vertebra fused together, well, that’s what that means.

But yeah, I’d like to do decompression first.

So right now it’s Canada Day and instead of going out and doing something fun I am sitting at my mom’s place and praying that I’m well enough to go home by the time I was planning on it so I can go see my doctor in Vancouver and ask about getting a referral to the spinal decomp place so MSP will cover it.

And if I can’t get that….I don’t know. I have this vague thought of trying to raise the money for it somehow, but I don’t know how to do that, to be honest.

Anyway. I’m going to try to write today, because it’s Camp Nanowrimo this month, and I’d really like to make my goals even if my back is being a complete jackass about it. At least I’m better than I was two days ago; that’s something.

Wish me luck!

Loonily yours,
Katje

Father’s Day is tough for me

I really wish it weren’t. I cut my biological sire out of my life when I turned 26. That’s 5 years this August and yet certain days haven’t gotten easier for me. His birthday. Today. Any day that reminds me: I have no mortal father.

(Immortal? Well, that’s better read about at my religious blog.)

The kind of insidious thing about abuse is the grooming for it can make it almost impossible to escape, even after you’ve escaped. My brain keeps bringing up the script that I’m a Bad Daughter for not calling him on his birthday, or today, for not welcoming him back into my life, because that’s what he groomed me with my whole life. It’s hard to turn off scripts that have been running in my brain since I was young. It’s bad code and I’m still a first year programming student.

Anyway. I don’t really want to write about him today. I wanted to say that Father’s Day is still hard for me, both because of him and now because I was hoping by this point I’d be wishing a happy Father’s Day to my husband. I really want to reclaim this day and make it positive. I keep trying, but so far no success.

So, I figured I’d post here, and offer a space for anyone else who is having a hard time with Father’s Day, for whatever reason. If Father’s Day is hard for you, pull up a chair and snuggle in in the comments section.

A picture of a cozy living room. Two love seats sit paralell, a coffee table between them; behind them is a fire place. Bookcases adorn the walls. The room is full but not cluttered.

Imagine the comments section is a cozy living room like this one.

Talk about whatever you want to — about the day, not about the day. I promise I’ll listen, and I will do my hardest to reply, even if it’s only with a <3 because I’m sending you love.

Today may be hard, but hard things are usually easier when they’re shared.

<3

Katje

notes on gabapentin, day 6

ok, so 6 days of taking my new meds. here are some notes on it.

  • it works. i mean, it definitely stops my twitching when i’m awake. however i’ve noticed, now my twitching has stopped, that i also have nerve pain in my extremities. i just never noticed it before because i was always either jiggling my limbs or twitching.
  • i’m not worried about the nerve pain, as it can take 2 weeks for gabapentin to get rid of it. so if i still have it after 3 weeks, i’ll worry.
  • i sleep really well on it. first 2 nights i used it were on the recliner, because my neck was so stiff and sore. i never sleep well on the recliner, but those 2 nights were the best recliner sleeps i have ever had. and the third night, in bed, it put me into a mini-coma.
  • i’m still tired during the day, but i also haven’t been taking my iron daily and i have a massive sleep debt of like, 20 years. so i’m expecting to still be tired throughout the day for a while.
  • even though i’m still tired throughout the day i’m way more awake than usual.
  • side effects i’m experiencing: drowsiness (useful), slight dizziness and nausea, when i wake up in the morning it takes me longer to shake the sleep fog, and longer for my vision to come back to normal, and some extra bleeding and bruising (which i’m not actually 100% sure is from the gabapentin, as it could have other causes right now). all in all, nothing too severe and nothing i’m not willing to deal with in order to get a better night’s sleep. (regardless i’ll bring up the side effects with the doc when i see him next, which should be a week tomorrow.)

conclusion: it’s working, and so far i’m happy with it. will continue to monitor it for any severe or scary side effects, and am waiting to see how close to “normal” i’ll get with regards to feeling awake in the day, but for right now allowing myself to feel cautiously hopeful that this might be the answer to my sleep woes.

and now, i am a sleepykat so i am off to bed. yes, at 6am. don’t judge me.

~katje

ps: i think it also made my breasts bigger, which i consider a win. at least i do today; on a day when i don’t id as femme as i do today, it’ll probably cause some severe dysphoria. c’est la vie du genderqueer.

Not everything is for you: kids and Deadpool

This was originally posted on my Medium profile on February 17th, 2016.


I suppose it was inevitable. People have taken their kids to see Deadpool…and then complained it wasn’t appropriate for kids.

Look. I am the first person to say that the MPAA ratings are bullshit and usually far too puritanical. I believe parents know better than a bunch of film-rating execs what’s appropriate for their kids. What’s more, the MPAA ratings are hopelessly vague. An “R” rating doesn’t tell me if a movie is going to have an animal dying, which will have me more upset than a kid pranked with a fake trip to Disneyland. It doesn’t tell me if there’s going to be a rape or attempted rape scene, which will trigger the fuck out of me. I’ve learned that the best way for me to enjoy movies or TV shows is — if I think there’s a possibility there’s a chance for these things that will really upset me and basically ruin my entire fucking week — ask someone who’s already seen it, or have my husband pre-view it for me so he can warn me, and be on hand for cuddles afterwards if I do, indeed, decide to go through with viewing it.

I grew up watching things that were well “beyond my age”. When I was 10, mom took me to see the Kama Sutra movie in theatres — “Just act like you’re 18!” — because she knew that I could handle a positive portrayal of adult sexuality. And, in fact, probably needed to see a positive portrayal of adult sexuality, seeing as by the age of 10 I had already been assaulted. She was right. The Kama Sutra movie did not scar me (though the “sequel” which was “American tourists rekindle their marriage by exploiting Indian traditions” kind of did).

But that was one of very few positive experiences I had watching things beyond my age when I was very young. I was a really sensitive kid, you see. I’m still sensitive now, but I’ve had to grow an unnaturally thick skin just so I can survive daily life (which is full of people saying I’m too sensitive, a sissy, a coward, a pussy, etc). I was easily scared (still am, and horror is one of my fave film genres) and very empathetic towards suffering seen on screen — especially for animals.

When I was a little kid, my dad showed me Alien and Aliens. I still adore these films, but the truth is they scared the shit out of me when I first saw them. (I mean, duh, they’re scary films.) I was probably way too young to see them whenever I did the first time. I don’t remember how old I was; I just know that the Aliens franchise was part of growing up for me.

Continue reading

new meds

content warning: emetophobia

got my gabapentin today. trying it tonight.

also sleeping on the recliner tonight, because my neck won’t stop hurting. i don’t know what’s up with it. it hasn’t hurt this much since the last time i got whiplash. which was…on a bumper car i think. (yeah, bumper cars give whiplash. just in case you were out of things to worry about your kids doing.)

we had to go out when i was just waking up and before i had a chance to let my muscles adjust to actually being upright. that was less than fun. i’m doing better now, though, and we did pick up the package from the post office and our scrips — can i just publicly thank Asclepius for insurance? i don’t even know what it would have been without, but with our extended insurance from mr. katje’s workplace it was 17 bucks for three scrips. gone are the days of me taking my anti-depressant every other day to make it last! Io Asclepius! — and also got a little grocery shopping done as we were out of milk.

we’ve recently switched to 3.25% milk from 2% and i’m drinking a lot more of it. IT’S SO GOOD. however, we kind of regret going to IGA instead of Save-On today. milk was over 6 dollars for a 4L; at Save-On it’s around 4.5 bucks. that was a huge ouch. but i was too unwell to handle too grocery trips, so we just got it and sighed heavily.

i also asked at the pharmacy about switching from zoloft capsules to tabs because the capsules are incredibly hard for me to swallow and can cause me to throw up if i don’t do it exactly right. apparently the tabs are not available in Canada. because Canada has super draconian laws about medicine and food. (if you think the FDA is tough, haha have i got news for you.)

sometimes, i appreciate those laws. not today.

so continuing to use zoloft in capsule form until i can figure out a new med. maybe one that doesn’t make me sick and actually works better for my mental illnesses. hoping i get that appointment with a psychiatrist soon because i am running low on my meds.

but i’m excited about the gabapentin! i had a feeling i have Willis Ekbom Disease (aka ‘restless legs syndrome’ but the restless legs are a reaction to the uncontrollable spasms it causes) which i brought up with my doctor (short aside: i love my current doctor. he actually practices medicine instead of just telling me to lose weight. sent from the heavens. Io Asclepius again!) because i’m worried that it’s causing me to have a bad sleep. even after using the cpap for 6 months i am still exhausted all the time. much better with the cpap than without, but still. i shouldn’t be this tired.

so i asked if there was a test for willis ekbom and he said no, it’s one of those things where we give you treatment and see if it works and then that’s the test, basically. so i’m only supposed to take it before bed to see if it helps interrupt the processes that are causing me to spasm so i can actually get a full night’s rest instead of my body shaking itself ever so slightly awake all the time.

(i still spasm during the day and it’s uncomfortable, but if i can just get it to stop at night i can handle the daytime spasms. i’ve been dealing with them for a long time, after all.)

i’m really crossing my fingers the gabapentin works for me, because if i can fix my sleep i have a feeling i will feel 100x better, even with continued disability and chronic pain.

-katje

edited to add: between finishing writing this post but before publishing it i actually took a look at my pills. they’re capsules, because of course they are. i now have three prescription pills that are capsules. huzzah me. XD

Hope in the face of numbness

This post was originally published on my Medium profile on January 6, 2016.


My left pinky has become permanently numb.

I don’t know when this started. Every day I press it, hard, to the palm of my hand, in the hopes that that feeling, that pins and needles, that signal to my brain that something is wrong with the flesh — in the hopes that will disappear. It never does.

My pinky has become permanently numb.

Continue reading