Thursday, April 25, 2013

Monday, April 22

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Mom! Feel free to leave comments for her, below :-)
(oh, yeah, and Happy Earth Day. Go Mother Earth, woot!)

My brother sent me a Damnit Doll. It sits right by my desk and already is getting a lot of bashing. Better than grinding my teeth or raising my blood pressure/sugar :-)

Picture is of a Dammit Doll, which reads "Whenever things don't go so well, / and you want to hit the wall and yell,  here's a little Dammit Doll, / That you can't do without. / Just grasp it firmly by the body / and find a place to slam it. / And as you whack the stuffing out / yell "Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!" /".

Sunday, April 21st

Sunday was the same ol' thing: cleaning, laundrying, (which reminds me, the washer machine ate the Downy ball. Again), guinea rearing, and injuring myself by hitting my head on the towel rack and then feeling a large snap on the right side of my left knee (the one with the torn meniscus? Yeah, that one) while cleaning the shower. Good thing the pain killers had kicked in and I was feeling fine (well, until they wore off ha).

Sundays: Just another day of work!

Guinea pig running through a tunnel. Image is sort of dark, so I can't really tell.
Zeke and Benny enjoying hay in their play area.

Saturday, April 20th

Happy Birthday, Grandma! Say "Hi!" to dad for me!

Mostly, I just chilled, kicked back, called three of my aunts, and wrapped up my mom's Top Secret project for her 50th birthday :-)

Picture is me with my left leg propped up on two pillows, with an ice bag on my left knee, a plate of food on top of that, and my work computer can slightly be seen on the right side of the picture.
The envelope for my mom's Top Secret Birthday Card, which is covered with various sized colored, shiny smiley stickers including a stamp in the upper right hand corner, and reads "Yes, there's 50 smiles!". For privacy reasons, my address and my mom's address are blocked out.

Friday, April 19

 “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” - Albus Dumbledore

16 hour shift & dinner!

Pictured is a Ziplock square containor of some sort of food: corn, black beans, green peppers, salsa, sour cream, chives, cheese, and rice? (Half the time, I don't remember what the freezer meals contained, so it was sort of like mystery meal every night of the week lol).

Thursday, April 18

But on you will go / though the weather be foul / On you will go / though your enemies prowl / On you will go / though the Hakken-Kracks howl / Onward up many / a frightening creek, / Though your arms may get sore / and your sneakers may leak. / On and on you will hike / and I know you'll hike far / and face up to your problems / whatever they are.

Benny and Zeke time!

Benny and I read Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" (his favorite part? "No, that's not for you! / Some how you'll escape all that waiting and staying / and find the places where Boom Bands are playing!" Memorized. Boo-yah!).

Zeke and I read from a book of children's poetry and listened to a recording of Yeat's "The Stolen Child" ("For the world's filled with weeping, more than you can understand.")

Good times!

Benny is pictured looking at Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" book. The page is open to the section quoted above ("But on you will go" etc.).
Zeke is pictured laying down and looking fairly content, watching a YouTube video of William Butler Yeats' "The Stolen Child" on my Kindle. To the right his teddy bear is propped up next to the Kindle.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Monday ... Tuesday ... Wednesday?

My mom once told me I should start a reality show, because, literally, a typical person can't make this stuff up. I tell people she should have named me after a hurricane. My name is comic gold - an oxymoron or ironic comedy. Peace is such a long, difficult road to obtain, even more so if you're me. I'm a firm believer that people make themselves, but, sometimes, I'd like to think my mom named me "Serenity" to give me some form of peace in this chaotic, no-barriers-held-back world.

Sunday I was cleaning and wearing socks. For me, cleaning within itself is often a safety threat. Add socks and it's a lethal combination. I lost my balance stepping off the "foyer" (see picture, below) and managed to land on my left side, twisting my ankle (you know, the one with the screws?) and angering my knee with the torn meniscus. Like I said, a person can't make this stuff up.

I then proceeded to continue cleaning, vacuuming, baking, and guinea pig-rearing and have spent the last two days with liquidy cold fire radiating from my knee, down my shin, and up my thigh. Today, my ankle is taking its share of the pain. I haven't been able to focus and the report I should have finished on Monday is just now ready for editing and formatting.

Sleep is fleeting and my arthritic right knee has sworn an oath of war against the left. It's been hazy the last few days. Pain has this weird way of sapping all your energy and making you sleepy and then jerking you awake after only five hours of sleep (hence the 3 or 4 hour nap on Sunday from running errands on Saturday and effectively putting me behind schedule on Sunday).

On the positive side, I'm alive, fairly certain that I didn't break anything, and I might have a potential new business idea as a home safety inspector (let me live in your home for a month and I'll find the safety flaws - might solve the high rent problem, but I doubt the clients would be willing to foot the medical bill).

Pictures! There's a complementary picture of my swollen ankle, a picture of Benny (the brown furry blur) chasing after Zeke (who was hogging the hay by sitting in the paper bag I had filled with hay and had managed to run out of frame before I could take a picture), my lunch on Tuesday (popcorn), and my lunch today (yogurt, cheese stick, olives, and coffee) - snacky foods that are quick and combat the whole "Ouchy no appetite" side effect of pain.

Until the next time, hug your loved ones extra tight and guinea out!

Picture is of my feet, the left one which is clearly swollen and puffy.

Picture is of a really blurry Benny, as he chases after his brother (out of frame) while playing in their play area.
Picture is of a bowl of popcorn, most of which has been eaten.
Picture is of a small container of olives, a cheese stick, and a Chobani Champions Greek yogurt tube.
My apartment foyer, in midst of cleaning my apartment. It has all sorts of items stacked on top of it (such as chairs, a TV tray, my tennis shoes, my winter boots, hay, boxes, my leather jacket, the guinea pigs' trash can, recyclables), which is in the process of being cleaned off so as to put all the items back (or thrown out). Shown on the left side of the picture is a chair with a bag of hay on top, and a space heater underneath. Shown on the lower right side of the picture is the knee walker.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Friday ... Saturday ... Sunday

Man, I'm a horrible blogger! I haven't updated my blog since Friday. Yeck.
Friday I had to go all the way down to DC - to the far reaches of a hospital in NE DC near Fort Totten - and back for my cardiology follow-up. I left at 12:30 PM and didn't get home until a little before 6:30ish. By the time I got back, I was sore and tired and only managed to barely work 8 hours before passing out. Dinner was a bowl of cereal. The good news is that I got a 6 month follow up (to wait for my knee and my body to heal, otherwise it would be 3 months), but I also need to keep an eye on my blood pressure (ironic, considering that's my assignment for next month's health promotion).

I lost a whole's day worth of work this week thanks to bronchitis. Pisses me off, considering I'm already behind. I didn't work on Saturday, either, because I spent the whole day running errands and getting the laundry started and taking the recyclables out. From CVS, to Target, then to PetSmart, and lastly to WalMart for the stuff Target didn't have. Even though a good friend gave me a ride home, I still wound up passing out early without dinner for the boys or me. It's pathetic.

Even more pathetic is that I called the fire department because of a wasp last night. I tried spraying the wasp with Raid for wasps, but only managed to piss the wasp off (fuzzy eye sight, poor aim). I quickly left the apartment, only to realize there might be other wasps outside, so I slowly pushed the door open, peeked inside, and then did a quick 360 with my better leg to make sure there were no wasps behind me. Which is when I high-tailed it to the bathroom, locked myself in, and Googled the fire department to call them. I'm not sure if I'm allergic to wasps and wasn't about to test the theory, and if I got stung, I wanted help sent straight away.

After relaying all the above to the fireman dude (in which he was laughing - I can't blame the guy), his response was "Ma'am, we can't send a firetruck out to kill one wasp." Sheepishly, I replied "Yeah, okay. Can you please stay on the line in case I get stung?". After he agreed and I had warned him that I can deal with anything but wasps and spiders (and therefore might scream like a little girl and/or cuss), I tip-toed to the living room and eventually killed the wasp after two more sprays. Eeeeech! I scared the boys with my girly scream (sorry) and still have a massive case of the heebie geebies thinking about it.
So, the pictures! Friday I didn't take any pictures because I 1.) Forgot because I was busy and 2.) Don't like taking pictures on the Metro least someone think I'm a terrorist and/or running the risk of my phone being stolen. The train on the way back was packed and my poor knee suffered being stuck in one position and being accidentally whacked with an umbrella a few times (the lady at least apologized, so no hard feelings). Instead, I took a photo of Metro's Web site :-) Then, a picture of the Target, a greeting card I saw while in Target, and how the couch looked once I finally woke up!
Picture is of a really huge dead wasp.
Picture is a computer screen shot of the travel itinerary from Shady Grove Metro to Providence Hospital.
A picture of the Target building as seen from the back (where the bus stops are located).
Card reads: "Talking to yourself is easy. Gossiping to yourself is just Weird."
Picture is of the couch after I woke up. From left to right: a Pyrex rectangular cooking dish, a plastic re-usable water bottle, two plates stacked upon one another with a fork on top, a blue towel, my sewing kit (a small Ziplock re-usable container), and my plate of what appears to be nachos. On the couch is a small heart shaped pillow and red flannel blanket with an alternating pattern of white zigzag lines, small dots in a zigzag design, and black zigzag lines.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's alive!

Hi again!

I apologize for being MIA yesterday. I had to pay bills, complete shipping orders (because of my anxiety and difficulty in walking and navigating a shopping cart, I mostly shop online. WalMart has free shipping if you spend $50 or more. I only go to the store for stuff I can't get online or that I know is cheaper in store - like Splenda or AC filters - or guinea lettuce on a non-Peapod week), and icing my knee, which has decided to act up and required me taking a heavy dose of pain killers once I got home - hence the MIA.

That and I also forgot to throw my insulin and my afternoon dose of antibiotics and Mucinex into my backpack before heading off to work. On the flip side, I DID remember my lunch, which I wound up not eating to get through Marketing and avoid having high blood sugars (I ate my egg and cheese omelette, the cheese stick, and PB though).

After bills, personal necessities, hay, and medications, I'll have around $200 left to spend on food for me and the boys, so I'm even more thankful my mom surprised me with a Peapod order. It'll be tight, but I got taco soup in the crockpot and it'll be all right (knock on wood).

Speaking of bills and icky adult responsibilities, I need to call and make an appointment with my case manager/counselor to work on getting over my fear and anxiety of having a roommate. It's getting way too expensive to be single in this town, and, with no car, I'm sort out of options as far as Maryland is concerned. I don't socialize well and most roommates expect you to be social and, for me, it never goes over well. There was that time one of my roommates locked me in the laundry room because she thought I was hitting on her boyfriend (um, no, and guys stare at me all the flippin' time. I'm thinking it's time to start charging them, but that could get messy, what with the taxes and all). Also, the thought of being confined to one room bugs me to no end - when I think, I pace, and pacing takes space (I have a lot of excuses, but I'm on borrowed time today and will graciously spare you the rest!).

Since I overslept until 5:30 AM (when Zeke went off and wouldn't shut up until I got off the couch), the boys were so hungry that they wouldn't even let me pet them :-( I gave each a small handful of lettuce and a carrot so I could at least clean their cages, so breakfast for them was at 6:30 AM and 7:40 AM for me. As a "I'm sorry I'm such a horrible mom," I gave them the blueberries from the Peapod order, in which they wound up eating half the pint. Sheesh. I have not one, but TWO blueberry monsters! Like, save some for me!

So, the pictures! I couldn't resist including a photo of Benny's blueberry expression (he always makes this face when eating blueberries) and Zeke actually taking food out of my hand. Ah, the magically properties of blueberries! I've also included a pic of me icing my knee (with a bag of frozen veggies, no less - I fell asleep with the ice bag last night, so used the frozen veggies this morning). I've also included a pic of my WalMart order because that was the inspiration for the post.

With that, I'm off to find clothes to work (it was 90 yesterday - 90!) and head off to work. Guinea out!

Picture is of a WalMart online order.
Picture is of me feeding Zeke blueberries.
Picture shows Benny making his "Mmmm, blueberries" face. His eyes are half closed, and he looks like he's thoroughly enjoying the blueberry he is eating.
Picture is me icing my left swollen knee with a bag of vegetables. Beyond can be seen the chaos which is my apartment. In the upper center of the picture, a pair of brown pants can be seen drying on the clothes line.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Smell the spring on the smokey wind

Good morning fellow readers! I have bronchitis, which means spring is finally here!
It's really weird, too, because I have arms and legs. I've only caught brief glances of them since October, and its like I have alien limbs. It's just so weird! I'm in this transition from my long winter coat (the "Eskimo" outfit) and winter boots to shorts, a t-shirt, and my birthday shoes (no, not bare feet. New shoes!). No more three or four layers. I feel naked. It keeps tripping my Aspie senses.

I keep giving myself whiplash, too. It's so unusual to see Benny laying his cage. He's usually snuggled himself under his den of blankets and doesn't come out unless he smells food. Not only that, but he is purring and almost smiling. He honestly had me worried until I noticed the sunlight and decided to check the weather status. Both boys are basking in the sunlight and warm weather. If they were anymore relaxed, they'd become one with their cage ;-)

A school bus passed me yesterday and one the teenagers tried  to taunt be saying "Nice shoes!" I had to stop myself from saying "Thank you, they're a birthday gift from my mom!" I'm just so gosh darn happy about having new shoes - they're comfy, solid, and supportive. I love them so much that I could almost hug them - almost lol

Thanks to the antibiotics and sleeping from 8 PM to 4 AM, my lungs are no longer feel like they're drowning. They're merely floating. Still short of breath and lungs are sore, but bronchitis is a cake walk for me. It's the every 3-4 year colds that I can't stand.

My mom also surprised me with a PeaPod order, so I get yummy food two days earlier than planned (no complaints here - I'm finishing dinner up and wrapping that up with a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles for desert!). I'm popcorning along with the boys :-)

At any rate, I need to finish eating and take a shower. If I can stay awake tonight, I plan on working on a short essay on what it means to be autistic. It's sponsored by ASAN and smacks of good intentions, so definitely worth a go. Until then, guinea out!

A picture of my arm reaching out onto my fourth floor balcony, "pinching" a tree down below in the parking lot. Below are a bunch of planting pots and dishwasher containers filled with dirt and dead plants.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Medication & Stuffs

Hi! Hope you are all having a great start to your day as I enjoy my dinner (I fell asleep last night at 10 PM and woke up at 2 AM and have been busying tending to guineas and finishing up chores; see pictures below - that's what happens when you're single and coming down with something upper respiratory!).

Before I begin, a quick shout out to my 6 month old nephew Liam - he's officially crawling! Woot! Go Liam!

I've included in today's post a picture of the prescribed and over-the-counter medications I take. Those on the right are my daily medications and supplements. Moving to the left are those I take occasionally (I have digestive issues, so Tums and Gas-X are my buddies; lately, Mucinex has been my best friend) or rarely (like the nebulizer inhaled steroids and Albuterol for asthma flare ups).

With the help of my pharmacy (they do try - but they call with reminders to pick up before I get paid. Still, they are awesome and know me by voice lol) and a lot of my own legwork, I some how keep mostly everything managed and "organized" (meaning, I have a weekly pill organizer). I keep my specialists in touch with other specialist (i.e. I keep track of lab and test results and communicate those to the other specialists. Otherwise, it'd be like trying to get a Trekkie and a Star Wars fan to communicate with one another. I'm just the Klingon Translator.). I can barely keep up with it and thus don't expect others to (they should - but docs are people, too).

The medical care field is filled with potholes and loopholes and it's easy to slip through the cracks. You have to just sometimes become stubborn and do something, or you're going to be dinning with dust bunnies. Be aware and don't be afraid to ask the pertinent questions. For example, "What is my risk of my Mitral Valve Prolapse worsening if I don't get a yearly echocardiogram? If something should go wrong, will the test catch it in time?" This is actually a real question I will ask my cardiologist on Friday . My health insurance company is evil and now has a $750 out of pocket deductible before they'll cover any tests, including blood work, MRIs, or even echocardiograms. I have to be extra cautious and call ahead to make sure the insurance company isn't going to make things screwy (and then call back twice more to confirm).

I highly recommend visiting AHRQ and their "For Patients & Consumers" section. Lots of awesome, informative material on how to be a proactive patient (and no, I didn't get paid to write that. I firmly believe in their mission and jest at the death panel peeps).

I am falling asleep and need to finish dinner, check in with my asthma doc, and then make up my mind on whether I'm going into work or pulling the sick card. Until next time, guinea out!

As a bonus, a pic of the boys hanging out!

From left right to right, clockwise: liquid pain medication, CVS dye-free allergy antihistamine, a bottle of Tums, a foil package of Albuterol for my nebulizer, CVS Sinus and Allergy PE, a bottle of glucose meter testing strips, Asmanex, a bottle of naproxen sodium on top of three packs of two individual use alcohol pads each, a foil package of inhaled steroids for my nebulizer, a nasal decongestant, insulin needles for my insulin pens, Advil decongestant, a foil package of Gas-X tablets, my glucose meter, a small pile of the daily medications and stupuliments I take (fish oil, Strattera, metaformin, Calcium Plus, iron, B12, a prescribed allergy pill, Klonopin, and an anxiety medication), my lancet used to draw blood for the glucose meter, and my insulin pens, Lantus SoloStar, and Novalog.
A pile of laundry (mostly sweaters and sweatshirts) has been dumped on my couch, waiting to be folded.
A week's worth of dishes, piled up in the sink and ready to be put into the empty dishwasher machine (lower right hand corner). Also on the counter can be seen (from left to right) are American and Irish flags in a vase, paper towel holder, KitchenAid mixer, coffee pot, and popcorn popper.
Zeke is in his igloo with Benny looking at Zeke. Both are in their play area, and Benny's ball is seen in front of him.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Now Mobile!

I now have no excuse to be "missing in action," because this awesome sauce has figured out how to access the Blogger App. Oh yeah 8-)
But! MIA or not, I *have* been taking pictures! No amount of allergy-induced low-grade fevers, under the weather asthma yuckiness, or exhaustion-induced whining can stop me now! Ok, so that's a little white lie big as the Capital! I'm not fit for public viewing, as the little trip to exchange the guineas' rotten lettuce proved to me this morning. I felt like I was in everyone's way, and the bubble-gum-snapping foot-on-the-gas-pedel-lovin' 7 minutes early bus driver (who made me wait another 30 minutes and still didn't afford me the time to get seated before gunning the bus) didn't help. Just don't ever try to run and catch an early bus with a busted knee. It hurts and you won't catch the bus anyways. Live, learn, get Luvs.

The first picture is of the bus stop by my chiropractor's office, where I get physical therapy for my sciata nerve (I might have two physical therapists in 2 or 3 weeks. You know you're full of grace when you have not only one, but two physical therapists!). It takes me two buses and an hour just to get there, then another hour on the way back. So, if my appointment is at noon, then I leave at 10:50ish to catch the 11 bus. Unlike this morning, I got one of my favorite bus drivers who I haven't seen in a year (mostly because of my sleep schedule) and he was also recovering from a meniscus tear, so we had a good conversation :-)

The second picture is what I'm doing now. Work, followed by more work, followed by a 4 AM panic attack because my blood sugars were 369, I had the chills, and I had yet to eat or take insulin or my medication. It didn't help that the boys were Jedi mind melding me into cleaning their cage and feeding them (and I had yet to dry their laundry. No newspaper means a load of laundry every other flippin' day. Good thing they're cute).

The last picture is what I'm making for tonight: Country ribs with homemade yummy barbecue sauce (got the pork at Safeway for $2.76 - woot!). As I only have $15 until I get paid, it's all hands on deck, which means I better get to work so I can get busy cooking in the kitchen tomorrow! (Yes, I do have food. I just have to cook it instead of eating protein bars).

Until the next time, guinea out!

Picture is of a Ride On bus sign.
Picture is of a print copyright log with a pen and white out.
Picture is of country ribs marinating in homemade barbeque sauce.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lawn Equipment vs Serenity

Hi, good morning. It's me again!

My apologies for the late post, but I promise to do another one today.

Yesterday I woke up at around 6:30 AM after passing out at my keyboard - yes, while working - around 4:45 AM, only to wake up at around 8 AM to the sounds of lawn equipment. There is nothing scarier than waking up at your desk at an odd hour, because you have to first figure out where the heck you are and why you're so cold, and then some how limp over to the couch to warm up (because I have yet to make my bed). Luckily for me, I keep this uber soft blanket (it's thin, but man, that sucker makes me feel all warm and cozy!) on the couch that my mom bought me for Valentine's Day this year.

Even worse, especially for me, is waking up to the sounds of lawn equipment.

Amongst my bag of "goodies," I have sensory processing disorder. I hate seams, rough clothing (I wear most of my sweats, leggings, thermal, and pj bottoms inside-out), bright lights, lawn equipment, bass and/or loud music, the sound of power tools, Nascar the Loud Vacuum Cleaner, and any sort of hummy-constant-all-consuming-cannot-think sound. If I'm tired and already on edge, humming will even make me loose it. As you can imagine, most places - e.g., the mall, stores, bus rides with multiple people listening to their music at top volume et al. - can drive me into sensory overload. It literally hurts my brain and I cannot think. All I want to do is escape. If I don't and I'm tired or sick, instantaneous meltdown. Three seconds to the ship self-destructing. Non-functioning Serenity. You get the idea. It's not a pretty picture.

Ear plugs don't work all that well because I am sensitive to vibrations. It is to my understanding that I am more sensitive to vibrations because I grew up with constant ear infections and, at one point during the fourth grade, was losing my hearing due to my ear bones trying to fuse together. As a result of all of that, I have low frequency hearing loss and auditory processing disorder (whether the autism or the ear infections caused latter, no one knows. They just sort of go hand in hand and it really doesn't matter where it originated as long as I know how to deal with it). Having auditory processing disorder means my brain hears EVERYTHING. Because I hear everything at once, it's like I'm deaf without being permanently deaf. I prefer silence. Too much noise and I become over-stimulated. My brain doesn't know how to deal with things one by one, and it's a constant fight to not sit there and channel surf.

So, the lawn equipment people. I hate spring. There's allergies (which means my ears pop and even the birds outside the window are too damn loud), more people milling about outside, construction equipment, and lawn equipment, my personal nemesis. These aren't your typical apartment lawn maintenance people, either. I know they have a job to do, but they love placing all their equipment right outside my building. It's a curse! Not only that, but they usually show up at random at 8 AM and remain until 4 or 5 PM. The only good news is that they're able to wake me up (you know I'm sick when I oversleep the lawn maintenance people).

This time, instead of holing myself up in the bathroom as per my norm and taking PTO, I decided to try to make it through and work. It wasn't so bad, but I wound up not going to my chiropractor appointment last night. The exhaustion only really hit me and rolled over me after getting back from the orthopedist (story below with picture!). My blood sugars were low because I had once again forgotten to eat nothing more than a protein bar for breakfast and dinner was nothing more than a box of macaroni and cheese (no vegetables - see explanation with picture below!) at 4 AM. I'm in this funk where I can't get myself to eat. Nothing sounds appetizing and I haven't been able to cook because of my knee (the joys of being single /sarcasm).

By the time I had come back - around 3 PM - they were still at it! Normally, I can do a little better, but on two hours of sleep and no regular meals, I was one cranky Serenity. The guineas didn't even dare wheek for food or attention (I fed and gave them attention anyway because I'm nice like that). I called into work, moved my chiropractor appointment to Friday, loaded myself up with insulin and pain medication, ate a bowl of cereal and some yummy empanadas, and fell asleep from roughly 4 or 5 PM to 6:30ish PM. I woke up feeling out of it, but minus the "I'm ready to have a meltdown and the apartment management peeps better have this place bolted down." I can tell I am growing up: in the past, I would have forced myself to go through the motions of going to the appointment and running errands on the way home (I still need to go do a drug run at CVS. I took my last anxiety medication last night, so yeah ....) and running the risk of the consequences of having a public meltdown (which I dislike even more than lawn equipment because no one knows what to do and I can't talk).

After working from roughly 8 PM to 12:41 AM, I passed out on the couch after laying down due to nausea. Thanks to the cortisone shot, I have a constant diabetic headache, but my knee is now less "You will die" and has subsided to a "You suck." MAJOR improvement. CHEER!

You're probably wondering why I am mentioning "cortisone shot" and are probably dying to know how the orthopedic appointment went. Too make a long short (too late!), pictures!

I wear Band-Aids like most women wear jewelry.
As promised: the results of the knee appointment! The orthopedic doctor says my knee pain is either a torn meniscus or as a result of peroneal nerve damage. For those not in the know, I injured my sciatica nerve back in October while apartment cleaning. The damage was so severe that I had pain down both legs, and lost most of my strength on my left side. By the middle of November, when I was finally able to figure out the health insurance, work/other doctor appointments timing, and financial quirks, I was dragging my left leg instead of walking. The sciatica nerve is still pinched and causing major havoc with my left side (on Sunday, my foot went all pins and needles for two days after vacuuming). The bus incident in December only made matters worse (Note to my readers: if you take the 97 bus route, hang on tight. The PM bus drivers like to speed and take their corners sharp).

At any rate, the orthopedic doc says to wait two to three weeks and then make an appointment with the MRI folks if the pain still persists and we'll go from there. So far, the pain has lessened and I only have the sciatica pain and diabetic headache from high blood sugars (steroids do some weird chemistry funky dance in the body to reduce swelling, but, unless inhaled, can cause high blood sugars in diabetics). I'm not sure which is worse: that the office staff at my orthopedist's or the MRI folks know me by name, or that neither are surprised to see me. They just sort of sigh and ask what I did this time. It's routine. I swear, one of them even knows the guinea pigs by name and asks how they're doing.

Look! It's modern art!
I'm proud of myself. I remembered I had left over vegetables in the fridge and heated them up to go with my macaroni and cheese. I must have been exhausted from lack of sleep (only three hours the night before, not counting the naps on the bus), because I forgot the dang thing in the microwave. When I woke up this morning, this is what I found. I need to call Rubbermaid and tell them that their products are not microwavable (I even vented the lid) and that they're not Serenity-proof, and can they please do something about that?

Almost like new!!!

Thanks to my quick thinking, I cleaned the container out as best as I could and stuck in in a pot of boiling water. When it was pliable, I used tongs to pull it out, cooled it off enough to use another container to make it square again, and then did the same to the lid. Instant-presto, it's fixed! Phew! I am so happy because I got this set as a Christmas present, and I am loving these things better than the plastic containers I have been using (usually, the Giant salsa plastic containers).

So, with that, funky cool readers, I have to sign out to get ready for work and feed Benny before he passes out from starvation. I told him 9 and it's now 10 AM and I'm regretting not feeding him beforehand (luckily, for me, his treats were on sale and so I stocked up. They only distract him momentarily, but whatever works!). Yes, I will feed you, you poor, starving, moments-away-from-death guinea pig! Until next time, guinea out!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy Autism Something Month!

Hi! I am finally getting my very first Autism Awareness/Acceptance/Whatever floats your boat blog up for Autism Whatever Month - yeah!!! To avoid conflict, blue is my favorite color and I don't care if you light it up neon pink, as long as it's not around me. Whether you celebrate awareness, acceptance, avoidance, or whatever floats your boat, then this blog is for YOU. I don't believe in cures, that vaccines are the sole reason for autism, or that there's an epidemic of massive proportions at hand (Diagnostic tools have improved and are now almost too easy to use).

[Pause for just a beat there. Me getting something done is a MAJOR accomplishment. Mostly my brain will go "Yeah! Great idea!" and then proceed to the next shiny idea. It's no wonder I tend to go about in circles with nothing much done.]

If all goes as planned, I will be shoving my long-ignored "Cooking on a Budget" blog out of the way to post a daily picture of a peek into my life. To get it out of my system now, today's pictures will include my two adorable guinea pigs who will have to sacrifice "Mom time" in order for me to post blogs every day this month. As a bonus for Blogger having URL coding issues, I'll post two additional pictures tonight. Five pictures for the price of two, no coupons or store card required - how awesome is that!?

Since this will be the "introductory" post, I will introduce myself. The name is Serenity. I'm 31, my favorite colors are blue and green (for Father Sky and Mother Earth, respectively), and I love chocolate and coffee. I'm told I have a big heart, that I am funny, have no hidden agenda (I couldn't lie to save my life), kind, generous, and all sorts of other warm, fuzzy adjectives. Truthfully, I know my weaknesses better than my strengths (yes, that's the autism). I received my official diagnosis at the age of 22 and count myself as very lucky to have been able to do so (not only can most people figure out I'm autistic, but, at that time, I did not have steady income with health insurance. Florida's CARD program rocks!!!). I'm both a sensory seeker and avoider (it's complicated) and among my medical diagnosis (in addition to the autism) are ADHD (executive functioning disorder or "attention issues"), anxiety boarding on PTSD shadow traits (I'm on medication to help control seizures related to anxiety), auditory processing disorder, dyspraxia, anemia, asthma, diabetes type 2, glaucoma, Mitral Valve Prolapse, hyperlordosis with a pinched sciatica nerve currently wrecking havoc on my left side, and early arthritis. I'm probably missing one or two in there. If you didn't catch all that, don't worry. I'll introduce you to them one by one so you don't get so overwhelmed (and, no, I don't know how I do it, either. I'm used to it because, well, it's my life and I know no other).

Disclaimer: I don't mean for this blog to be viewed as a "Pity Party Blog for One." That's not my goal. My goal is to raise autism awareness. How I choose to live my life is my choice, and I do the best that I can with the knowledge that I possess. Which means, I'm not open to ideas about alternative treatments, experiments, or drinking coffee out of the cup backwards. This is simply who I am and my only focus is to survive to the next day. Super Librarian Girl away!

So, now the GOOD part. The pictures!

Sonic Boom: Waking up the living dead, but not Serenity.
Yes, that reads 7:30 PM. That's when I had breakfast yesterday, seriously. I have a really screwy sleep schedule. Sometimes I sleep 15 hours, other times 3 hours. The number of sleep hours vary and I have no control over it. It's not something I am willingly choosing. I have sixteen alarm clocks and wake up to none of them (nor the fire alarm or hurricanes or earthquakes or ...). I tried creating a bed time routine, but would often lay in bed until 7 AM the next morning, bored out of my mind. Or, I'd simply run out of time and still have a lot of household chores to do (small apartment and dyspraxia means keeping up with myself, a difficult chore indeed!). I strive my best to work eight hours a day for work. Taking melatonin gives me nightmares and sleep medications only make me really calm. Benadryl, allergy medications, and pain killers have some affect, but my brain is in control of the sleep cycle. It's really sucky because I don't always get to do what I want or need to do. Sometimes I can and then I stand up and CHEER! Mostly, though I just feel depressed because I long for a typical sleep schedule. I used to have one a long time ago, before graduate school or college. It must have been nice. The psychiatrist, the counselor, and I are all in agreement that it's a result of a mixture of the autism, situational depression, inability to effectively manage stress, and my lifestyle (I work way too much). Some where in there is the answer.

When he sleeps, he means business!

This is Benny. He likes blueberries, anything mom is eating (e.g.. peas from Whole Foods. I kid you not, he will eat defrosted produce anything, except for Bird Eye's peas), cuddling with mom and watching YouTube or Netflix videos, being read Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" (he loves attention!), his blankets, and willow ball. He doesn't like the word "No." He's my playful, demanding, stubborn, opinionated, loop-hole-loving smarty pants. He will be five in May and (knock on wood) shows no signs of slowing down.

See my new teddy bear?

This is Zeke. He's my sweet, sarcastic, opinionated, stubborn, stick-it-to-you calmness of my life. He's recently learned how to play and has taught Benny how to bite your finger with just enough pressure to let you know that they want down (joy! /sarcasm). He came into our lives 5 months after Benny's best friend, Oreo, passed away. Benny was in a funk and Zeke turned things around 360 degrees. Since they're both alpha males, it took time for them to "play nice," but now they're sharing, playing, and acting like brothers. They both share a play area in front of the TV and Sunday nights are anything but quiet :-)

How do you make me right side up?

This was the original picture I was going to post tonight. I washed the blankets and sheets on Sunday, but fell asleep on the couch the last two nights and have as of yet to make it. Will be doing that *soon*. One of my co-workers graciously gave me a ride home, so now my injured knee (which may or may not have a torn something or another - I'll find out tomorrow, so stay tuned!) doesn't have the excuse of "I'm too sore to make the bed," ha!

Yup, Gandalf personally sent me birthday wishes. Don't be hatin'.

. . . Then I remembered my birthday cards (from left to right): from a good friend, my mom, and my co-workers at work :-) These are the peeps who keep me going and I am thankful every moment of them. They're my sanity in this snow globe snowing world.

With that, it's time for me to sign off so that I can go figure out dinner, clean the guinea pig cages, feed the guinea pigs (oh, who am I kidding? They're going to be eating first!), and then work on other stuffs before bed. And it's already 11:39 PM, sheesh. If you have questions for me, post below in the comments, and I will answer as time allows. Guinea out!