Sunday, September 21, 2008

As hurricanes go...

I guess this one wasn't as horrible as it could have been - but it was not fun either.

Howdy! Sorry I've been gone so long, but this is actually one of the first chances I've had to post. I'm back at work after my 1 day off since Ike hit. We've been on 12 hour shifts since the day of the storm and I am working 6p to 6a. Good thing I have not been battling fatigue issues with the MS, and what I'm feeling is just regular fatigue!

My men/women in blue down here are busting their tooshies on the streets - I've been in the office handling the younger violators and other issues with my investigations. All of us are running on generator power in our bodies, and most of us dealing with home issues as well.

On the home front - lost the fence and 1 pine tree in front... luckily when it split in half it decided to fall towards the street! The tree in back lost most of it's limbs in the back yard. We have some type of roof issue as we have water on our ceiling and already had to kill some black mold.... bleach is a wonderful thing. Luckily, we only went w/o power for 5 days. One of my co-workers still does not have power on the North side of town. Did you know brick is porous enough that it will get "soaked" through with the right combo of wind/rain? Well, apparently Ike was enough of a combo for our house - we'll see how the adjusted handles that issue - it's covered but we might have to vacate the house depending on what they deem the "problem" to be... If it molded the sheetrock, then all the insulation and all affected walls must be re-done - hence a home evacuation for a while. (That's worst case scenario and I'm trying the reverse psych trick on it!!!)

My partners' sister fared okay and only lost a part of the fence. My parners' parents lived on the island's west end. They got lucky. Our home, the sister's home, and the parents' home caught the clean side. We are doing the happy dance and singing our praises!! I feel for the east end of the island and Chambers and Liberty county (where a couple of friends have lost quite a bit - but no lives hurt/lost!). But, L's parents have a home to go to when the island gets livable again. They lost the dock, the boat (I suggested we put a pier under the bow side and make a downstairs bar of it - B liked the idea as 1/2 the boat is over the canal and half on the bulkhead - I'll get a pic posted as some point!), and all the downstairs.... including a fridge & freezer that's probably in the bottom of the canal... but all the windows, doors, stairs, and roof are okay.

We had an co-worker lose an aunt when the tree that crashed through his house fell on top of her room. We've had numerous co-workers lose their houses and had family/friends' houses lost. We, luckily, have had very few co-workers injured during the response to the emergency. Myself and my partner experienced first hand the goodness in people's hearts - and I will have tons to post about our neighbors later - as several neighbors took time away from their damage to help me with mine when they realized what hours I was working, telling me and my partner to just accept it as thanks for a job I do... I'm cried then, and I'm tearing up now just typing about it... I've had confirmation that there is so much good in this world still - among neighbors and strangers alike, as I see all the volunteers stepping up to the plate during this time and doing what they can, when they can, for complete strangers.

I have MS, it doesn't have me. We here in southeast Texas had Ike, but it did not get us. We will do whatever we can to make us thrive again - and it will be bigger and better than ever... Galveston will be even better than it was - because it will be. We, the citizens, will make it so.

So, now that I've typed your eyes off with this post - Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers during this time. I'll be back to posting normally again soon. I'm adjusting to my new normal after Ike, just as I adjusted to my new normal after my dx.

: ]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

If you live by the coast...

You might get a hurricane.

Yup, Ike is on a bee-line for Galveston, which means H-town will therefore be majorly impacted. Which means I go on 12 hour shifts starting tomorrow and probably won't be "off" until Sunday or Monday (or later) depending on damage and clean-up stuffs.... I've been in a couple of tornadoes and survived Rita (where we got the clean side) but this one is a little scary.

My partner's parents came to our house tonight from Galveston - they're hoping they have a house to go home to in a couple of days. We're not under mandatory evacuation where we live, so while I'm at work my partner and her parents will be riding it out at our house, with our 3 pups. We've taken some precautions and will most definately lose power in the afternoon tomorrow - the winds should hit close to 70-80 by the mid-afternoon tomorrow... I've got my "supplies" packed up for the station.

I probably won't be posting for a little bit - if I do, then that's a very good thing (or, if you don't particularly care for my style, it might not be!!) Course, there's another HUGE pink elephant in the middle of my brain I'm not going to blog about now because Ike is a HUMONGOUS pink elephant.... seems my L-spine MRI series was, and this is a direct quote from my wonderful NP, "SUCKED". I have an appointment in a couple of weeks to see a neurosurgeon because I have a nerve root compression between my L5 & S1.... and according to the radiologist, it's bad enough to recommend me as a surgical candidate for repair. Talk about freaking out this morning. I called my best friend, who's a doc, and she told me that was actually good news. Sorta like if you had to chose between a broken ankle or a sprained ankle, you'd want to take the broken one because it gets set, it heals, you move on.... with a sprained ankle it has to be nursed back and watched and treated gingerly....

Despite my saying I wasn't going to talk about it - I already said too much!! Oh, well, I just hope I have a relatively secure home to come back to myself in a couple of days!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ike is a 4 letter word....

I live in Brazoria county, which got issued a mandatory evacuation order at 10 tonight. Course, I will be leaving my house to head to my station as we're expecting to be activated.... meaning 12 hr shifts until the hurricane and any after-effects are over. I did it for Rita (the one right after Katrina that nobody remembers!). I love my co-workers and think we have a great unit, but sleeping at the station on the floor and waking up and having to re-visit those horrible high-school shower scenes in the women's locker room are not my ideas of a hurricane party!

I'll know more tomorrow by midday. I already called my supervisors and they said they had not gotten any orders but to expect it. One of my supervisors is trekking her kids to her in-laws in LA tonight to be back for a possible activation... Funny, huh? But, LA will be spared for this one hopefully.

I actually visited the downfall of society (aka WalMart) tonight and stocked up. Some for my honey who will be leaving our town for higher/northern parts and half for me to take to the station. All non-perishable, easy to eat stuffs. Now my main concern is my Copaxone... we have a fridge to store it in and our station should go to generator power if we lose it, but it's still on my mind. I'm sure I'll be fine... See you on the dirty side!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Must view YouTube

Okay, I've been playing with my blog trying to learn all about how to add things and spice it up. I discovered the video blog gadget - FUN! So, I typed in a comedian that I love and can watch a lot of without getting tired of him - Jeff Dunham. Dunno if you've ever seen or heard of him. He's a ventriliquist that's really good and really funny!

So, I tried to get specific videos showcasing my favorite characters: Walter, Peanut, Ahmed but I'm not figuring how to get'em in there without getting other crap that I don't want. Anyways, the first clip is a great one - Ahmed's "traditional" shtick. The 2nd one is Jose Jalepeno (on a stick). The 3rd clip is actually the entire, yes, the frakin' entire, show from one of his DVD's. It's very good but I doubt you have the 1 1/2 hours to just watch your computer... but if you ever do - It's chock full of belly laughs!! And, if you just want to see parts.... Walter is ~17:25 and peanut is around the end.

The last clip is Ahmed doing his song, Jingle Bombs - HILARIOUS!! If anything, type in Jeff Dunham in a video search at YouTube's site. You can pretty much see all his stuff and make sure and check out the Peanut videos. I'll try and remember to swtich my videos up every now and then.... If not, leave me a comment and I'll check it out... I am blonde!

So, now that I've bored the www with 2 posts tonight - holla' at y'all later!

: p

I heavily dislike scratching in public...

But the itchy/red welps on my body from my Copaxone shots annoyed the crap outta me today!!! I go through cycles, I've noticed, where they bother me more than other times. This week, not so good. My right leg shot from Saturday still looks like a nasty bump into my footboard of my bed! But, I'd rather have a few itchy spots than more lesions on my brain anyday!

Two things on my mind tonight as I watch MNF - Go Packers!! (course, that only applies to this game as my Cowboys still are #1!) Which leads me to my first thought.... I used to hate, and I mean HATE with muy emphasis on that word, needles. My mom used to like to tell the story about how I made her feel like the most horrible parent in the world when all the lobby of the doc's office saw was a white-haired streak of a little girl running through it screaming at the top of her lungs that her mommy didn't love her cuz she was making me get a shot... by the way, it was one of my immunizations! Even as an adult, I'm a little ashamed to admit (with the appropriate head bowed and humble look) I was very squeamish. Any time I had to have blood drawn or get a shot, I always had to warn the nurses that I would be fine as long as they made it where I would not see the actual needle and DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES tell me "You'll feel a little prick". Either one of those would induce my flight syndrome and I would immediately get up and leave. Yes, that's right - Leave an emergency room or doctor's office! I did it... now, I would usually return around 10-20 mins later after I got control of my panic attack and apologize. Where, the nurse would usually apologize for not believing my warnings. Luckily, I didn't get sick that often and my doc's nurses got used to me and believed me....

My first med was Betaseron. I got off that due to the anxiety/depression issues as well as a semi-allergic reaction. Obviously, I'm now on Copaxone. But, that first time I met with my Beta nurse to show me how to do the injections and mix the meds.... OMFFFFFFFFFGosh!!!!! NO WAY IN HELLLLLLLl!!! I almost passed out from just looking at the needle... the nurse was great and stayed the entire 2 hours it took for me to get comfortable enough to actually give myself the shot. She promptly called my NP after leaving and I had a magical anti-anxiety med prescribed for me for the 1st couple of weeks of taking it... Couldn't have me hyperventilate into an ER visit... I was off work anyways so it didn't hurt anything. And, I guess it tricked my mind enough to where I don't even really think about it anymore when I shoot up every night. I still think it's amazing though - how our minds can be so squeamish and cause such a physical reaction to a mental problem.

Which leads me to my 2nd thought for today... I had an MRI of my L-spine this morning. My NP, now that's I've recovered use of my right leg after a round of steroids and rest, wants to make sure the structure is all okay down there and not making my nervous system react in an MS way to a non-MS problem. No problem. I show up this morning, and was actually excited when I got to wear scrubs instead of that very revealing, uncomfortable, horrible little gown they like to put you in most of the time. We get done with the 23 mins of clicking and beeping and sounding like a very exciting game of space invaders and the tech tells me the radiologist wants me to have it with contrast as well, since I'm an MSer. No problem I say.. I'd take another 20 min nap! (yes, I'm one of those weird ones that actually catch z's in the tube!!! ) So, the nurse is there to shoot me up with Gallium (????? the one w/o the funny taste) and I tell her my shpiel (it still makes me feel better) and she remembers the first part but tells me the dreaded words.... I could not freakin' help it but I flinched and that needle stick HURT! It was not her fault - and I grimaced through it. They got the stuff in me and I got my 2nd cat nap. I get the results in 5-7 days and I went on to work. I'll have a bit of a bruise on my left arm where I got the shot but I survived.

Another day of docs and life with MS. Now it's time to go pay full attention to the pack and watch my puppies play - always good things to do.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gotta love friends!

I know one thing that scared the bageebees out of me when I heard the diagnosis of MS - will I keep my friends? My family, we'd been through a lot already and survived, so I was not worried nor was I disappointed in them. But, my friends.... those mean the world to me. There's a quote (and I do not know who to attribute it to) that says "Friends are the family we choose for ourselves"...

My 30th birthday gift was my diagnosis. Technically it was 8 days after my birthday but that was just because I refused to go to the doctor for my deteriorating eyesight until after I returned from my vacation. My best friend is a doc and she had prescribed me some eye drops that seemed to help with the pain and I was taking tylenol for my weird headache that was only right above my eye and above my ear. I'll never forget calling my work partner, and close friend, on the verge of crying but keeping it together cuz our male friends NEVER want to hear their girls crying, do they? Anyways, I told him I needed him to come pick me up and take me to my MRI - after being shipped between the eye and brain docs that were separated by a floor all morning. He shows up and gets me to the MRI place (it was either that or the docs were going to admit me to the hospital to get'em done).

While I'm in the tube, right after I finally finish the last scans, the MRI tech (a female) tells me that I have some visitors. Next thing I know my best friend from HS (a guy) and my work buddy are talking about how it was confirmed that I was truly a blonde with no brain and the national enquirer was outside waiting to get my story. They then take me to dinner and we spend the whole time laughing at the various pirate jokes we can come up with since I had to keep my right eye closed to try and walk close to a semblance of normal. Then, a group of friends was supposed to be meeting later that week for dinner. I called one of the girls to tell'em I wouldn't be able to make it - seeing as I couldn't drive and next thing I know, there's an excel spreadsheet being emailing around between all my friends trying to get a schedule of who's picking me up to go grocery shopping, who's taking me to dinner and lunches to get me out of the house, and who's taking me to my doctor appointments and test. My family actually got a little pissy that they weren't getting in on the action!!!

I tell ya, friends and family are so important. Friends can really determine what kind of outlook you'll take towards an event in your life. I can honestly say that my fear of MS was reduced each and every day, as I read all the emails, cards, talked on the phone, and tried to get some sleep in between all the friendly visits. I had a freezer full of food, side-stiches from laughing at myself, and warm-fuzzies all in my brain and heart from my friends during those next couple of scary months trying not to think about having to retire from a job I love due to losing my sight at 30...I think the reason I've survived so well with this disease has a lot to do with my support network - It's amazing.

What brought on this shpiel of thankfulness? I got to share a wonderful night of good food and good conversation with 4 of those great friends tonight. I say a prayer of thanks after each one of those.... I soak it all in and let it wrap me up! And, now, I consider this blogdom another level of support as well - so take from me all the support you need and I will return the favor as well!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm a sports fanatic!

So, I'm doing this Blog in "Georgia" font, in Bulldog red to honor one of my favorite college football teams! I love the fall....the smell of turf in August, the broken fingers of the offensive linemen, the gatorade over the coach's head. I was born and (mostly) raised in Texas, with 4 older brothers - 3 of which played Texas highschool football. You don't grow up in a household like that without becoming a football fan.

I guess it would be possible, but why?? I LOVE FOOTBALL! I always secretly desired to be a football coach - I wanted to be a secondary coach, yelling at the Roy Williams' (UT's) and Buschi's and LT's (I know he's a lineman, but he rocks) to get off their asses and get on those wide receivers! Offense might create a lot of press and highlight reels, but games are won by defenses! Yes, I catch boys off-guard because I know the difference between the nickel and dime defensive packages!

College football rocks - I have my faves that I have to root for besides Georgia. And, I have my reasons, either due to family members playing for them, good coaches (past ones included) or I've just liked what I've watched.... I will go to a neutral gray for this list so I don't offend: Arkansas (GO PIG SUUUUUUUEY!!!!), Texas A&M (Gig'em!), LSU (Geaux Tigers!), Oregon State (You gotta love a school with the Beavers as their mascot!), Texas Tech (Guns up!!!!), and Oklahoma (Sooner Pride!!!).

I have others I will root for but I know these schools and have followed them for a while - LSU is my latest fave as my best friend completed her medical residency with them and converted me!! So, needless to say my Saturday plans are set for the next 5 months! I also like the Pros - I'm Cowboy blue through and through!!!!! but the college boys still play for pride and fun! I'm going to watch the Giants play the Redskins tonight and hope that Eli whoops up on'em - I like the Manning family dynasty! And they're soooo cute!! LOL

My body behaved today. I like it on days like today. I'm going to 2 in a row tomorrow!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

And just when you think

You're going to blog about one thing *Wham* life happens and there it goes... LOL

So, one of my favorite symptoms is my spasticity - i LOVE getting charlie horses in my calves for no reason! But, they've become that annoying aunt that always gives you that weird sweater your mom will make you actually put on. It reminds you to be thankful for when it's NOT there! Tonight, though, I get the cramp on the top part of my lower leg, running right beside my tibia (or is the top one the fibia - my best friend would be so dissapointed that I don't remember)... on TOP of my calf... haven't had that one before. So, my honey goes to massage it out since it seems to work on the bottom of that part of my leg and I realize I really don't feel her massaging that part of my left leg. It feels like she's rubbing a feather on it when I can SEE how hard she's pushing into the skin.... YIKES! Course, we start cracking up with all sorts of comical sayings that left my brain as soon as I tried typing them in here.... Dang, you just gotta love the central nervous system???

THEN... I hear a very loud buzzing outside and one of the chairs sounds like it falls over - my honey's out there so I get up, still looking at my left leg funny, and go make sure everyone's ok. I find our youngest 4 legged kid running around and there is loud buzzing coming from her mouth. Before I can even ask.... Venus (the youngest) spits out a quite sizable locust from her mouth!! Now, I can't even begin to laugh because Venus' older sister, Emma, then grabs it in her mouth and goes a couple of steps before upchucking it... the oldest, a chihuahua named Bobbie, does not want any part of this hot potato game with the locust! Talk about laughing your ass off - OMFG!

Want a better mental image? Venus is a ~1 1/2 yo black lab/border collie mix, Emma is a 9 1/2 yo chocolate lab/who's your daddy mix, and Bobbie is the 10 1/2 year old chihuahua (pronounced cha-whoooa-whoooa). I love dogs - they rock!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Oh those pesky ...

MS symptoms! I had a good day today! I woke up and was able to walk normal from that point on, even walked up the stairs at work... been a couple of weeks for that! I was able to get up and down from my chair without any trouble and did not even really have any cramping today. I had my check-up with my fabulous NP at my neurologist's office this past Friday. I could even hop off the table to show her my "normal" walk!! I do have to get an MRI next week on my L-spine. They wanted to make sure they got the steroids in me first... They're pretty sure it was a flare-up (ever noticed how hard exacerbation is to type?) but they want to check my lower spine just to make sure there isn't some disc damage. I had a pretty bad back injury from the job about 7 years ago so it would not be a far reach. They say once you've hurt your back then you're screwed for life! Hey, I was lucky - I was able to keep working after a very good physical therapist!

I'm also tapering down off of one of my meds, which is always exciting! That's actually been one of my harder things to cope with and get accustomed to with MS - taking all the meds. I can't stand taking pills and yet I've gotten up to quite a few in a day just in my little MS experience... I know there are others out there with much worse, especially if swallowing already presents a challenge.

I was typing this tonight and felt my chest start twitching and then my bi & triceps decided to get in on the conversation. It doesn't hurt and apparently, according to my other half, I don't notice it most of the time. It's just annoying, really. I've been known to start talking to my muscles to tell'em to stop it.. then I remember that they really don't have a say in it since my nerves are the ones calling the shots. I heard someone say something the other day about someone "getting on their nerves". Did not really know how much that phrase would apply to me in my life!!!!! : P

Monday, September 1, 2008

OK, about my partner...

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend! I got to see my family in north TX... can't believe how big my nephews are getting.

I told y'all in he last blog that I would tell you about my co-worker - he who has the pain tolerance of Apollo himself! He's not a native Texan, not even a native Southern boy, but he'd qualify as both! He plays hockey and thought he twisted his ankle a couple of weeks ago. Then, last weekend, he twisted his knee pretty bad - bad enough to go to the doc. So, while he's at the doc for his knee, he tells them about his ankle. Well, turns out he's got a sprained knee ligament but a broken ankle! Now, my partner is a good guy and has his moments of brilliant charm but somehow he was able to convince the doc to put him in a removable boot and release him to work with NO restrictions. My buddy is not out on the streets patrolling, he's like me in plain-clothes behind a desk conducting interviews and the like. But, he was the in the class with me, doing everything all of us are doing - and I think I have more "restrictions" on me than him.

I think that's one of the hardest things about MS to explain to others that do not share that Dx. The restrictions the disease puts on us, in so many ways that are not visible. How do you explain to your best friend that you can't go have that drink with her after work because all you can think about is an Epson salt bath to calm your spastic muscles and then climbing into bed? Do your nephews understand why you can't come see their football games because they are at 1 and 3 pm on fields with no shade in 95 degree weather and 90% humidity - but you can make the 8am game next week in the pouring rain? How do you feel when you call in sick to work, not because you've got the flu or a migraine or a broken leg, but because your head is spinning so bad and your feet are so numb you don't trust yourself to walk to the bathroom, let alone crawl into your car and drive?

I can't remember what blog I read it on, but it would be easier if our MS restrictions were easier to explain, just so we could just call in "MS day"!!