Posted in Illness

Friday Afternoon

My body has always thought it’s a wonderful trick to play- get a new, weird symptom on a Friday afternoon when the doctor’s office is about to close for the weekend.  I have to determine quickly, is this going to kill me or can it wait until Monday?

Yesterday was a doozy. I was writing out holiday cards at the time and was having trouble focusing well enough to write the names and addresses. It was early afternoon and almost time for my afternoon nap when I suddenly got two hard muscle spasms in my cheek and the area on the right side of my mouth went tingly, then numb. The tingly lip thing had been happening on and off for about a week prior.  I assumed it was just fibromyalgia messing with me again, although the face spasm was a new twist.   Then I realized my vision was darker and I got scared.  I ran to the bathroom to find my right pupil was large and my left one was small.  I could still grin and my eyelids were not drooping or anything so it wasn’t Bells Palsy or a stroke.  I covered one eye and then the other.  My left eye with the small pupil was reacting to light and seeing the room well lit and bright.  My right eye pupil was large, not really reacting, and the room seemed quite a bit darker, with a blue or gray haze over it.

I did some quick googling and there are like 74 reasons your pupils could be a different size.  But with the particular symptoms I have, it kept coming back to Multiple Sclerosis. Don’t you just love the symptom checker on WebMD?  LOL  Ten years ago, when I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I questioned if it could actually be MS.  My Uncle Ralph had MS so it is in my family.  The specialist assured me I had Fibro because of the tender point test when I almost accidentally punched him.  Fight or Flight!

In the past year, I’ve developed ME/CFS supposedly- extreme exhaustion and fatigue, made worse by activity. I’m also experiencing swollen glands and sore throats more often than normal along with headaches, weakness, and trouble walking.  Wait, most of those are also symptoms of MS.  Though swollen glands and sore throat are not as far as I can tell.

Anyway, I woke up this morning and checked my eyes again.  The right pupil is still bigger.  My vision is still a little bit off.  I have a headache and my eye hurts.  And I am still anxious, angry, and almost resigned to the fact that life sucks and it isn’t going to get better…. Unless the Electoral College Electors put Hillary in office!!



Posted in Uncategorized

Haunted by Dreams

It’s 6am and I’ve woken from a dream; I’m very upset and unable to go back to sleep. The dream is too clear to forget so I start trying to analyze it.

I am on a boat, actually a yacht, off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale, where my husband and I used to vacation. I know the people, they invited me aboard and welcomed me. But I am upset because I am supposed to be aboard another boat, with people who know my family. I don’t really know them and it was an obligatory invite, or demand; I’m unsure. But as we go further out to sea, I am struggling to remember the name of the hotel where they were staying, so I could at least call and tell them I cannot make the trip with them. It seems like something I should do while my hosts tell me “Don’t worry about it.” The guilt is stifling.

There is also a small bit prior to the actual yacht ride- I cannot find my shoes. They seem to have disappeared. And I try to fix a window. It is already broken and needs replaced. However, as I work on it, it shatters completely. My host says it’s okay, we will just get a new one. It had to be done anyway.


Back to reality- what is going on in my life at this moment? I just found out through the grapevine, on Thanksgiving Eve, that my father has been battling throat cancer since July. He has gone through radiation and chemo. I don’t know if there was a surgery or not. He has a feeding tube. He is now waiting on scans to see if the cancer is gone.

I am estranged from my family. The bearer of bad news also said “Dad says if you can’t be in his life when he is well, he doesn’t want you in it when he is sick.”
My mother is the one who destroyed our relationship and blocked me from her facebook and email. In time, my younger sister did the same. My brother sent me “anonymous” hate mail from a fake account and then deleted it immediately so I couldn’t reply to the vitriol.

I am sick myself although none of them really believe it. They say it’s all in my head, a way to get out of work, a way to take drugs legally. I have fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, and IBS that is looking more and more like Crohn’s Disease. My mother has Crohn’s and she certainly is believed. I have some symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis- my Uncle Ralph had MS.  My doctor wants me to do a nerve conductivity test but I keep putting him off.  My immune system is dysfunctional and he has also suggested that I get my tonsils removed. I do not go visit people because if they have any germs around, I will get sick. I go to the grocery during off times when there are few people around. I don’t use the telephone except for doctors appointments and insurance arguments. I stutter badly or lose my train of thought on the phone. Even if I did take the chance and try to call my Dad, I don’t think he could even talk right now. I could mail a letter to my dad but my mom is like the gatekeeper. He will probably never see it and she will delight in reading it and throwing it in the trash.  I’ve written before and have no idea if he even knows- there was no reply.

I am so depressed right now, so sick and in such physical and mental pain. I cry for my father, who I cannot seem to reach out to in a constructive way. Hubby suggested I drive out to see him- but she may turn me away at the door. I’m so sick at the moment though that I could not make the drive anyway. I mourned the loss of my parents from my life 10 years ago when the argument, disownment, and estrangement happened. If he dies without me seeing him ever again- does he miss me? Would he want to talk or write with me again? Am I hurting him worse by staying away?

And it was said- stay away. If you can’t be in his life while he is healthy, don’t come when he is sick


Posted in Rants

How the ACA is Being Corrupted and the “Opiate Crisis” is Ruining My Life

Last year, I had Medical Mutual of Ohio health insurance, purchased through the marketplace on It was great insurance, the deductible was reasonable, the monthly payments were $376.00; a little high but still cheaper than what I was paying pre-ACA. Open enrollment came about and the bill was going to jump up to $476 so I had to shop again. The choices were suddenly horrible, even for the best plans available here in Ohio. The gold plan for Summa had 3 free doctor visits, $345 per month but a $6500 deductible. I wanted this one but hubby argued, saying it was horrible, like not having insurance at all. So reluctantly, I went with the Anthem Blue Cross/ Blue Shield for $414 per month but only a $1500 deductible. Of course, my doctor takes Anthem. It’s a huge company and almost every doctor accepts it. Little did I know….

Six months into the year, I find out that Anthem is not applying my doctor visits to my deductible. I tried to call and was put through voice menu hell, never speaking to a real person. Then the email argument started. It turns out my doctor is not covered under my particular policy. Remember that “Obama lied- you can’t keep your doctor if you want to!” complaint? Guess what… The insurance companies are finding all the sneaky-ass loopholes they can find in order to screw us out of our money while providing the least amount of service. My doctor wanted me to have a sleep study to find out why I am waking up 19 times per night. (My Fitbit tells me I am not really sleeping at night) I had the appointment lined up and had to cancel because Anthem didn’t get back to me as far as letting me know if it was covered or not. Two weeks later, I get a letter stating they determined it was “medically necessary” but would not state that it was covered. All this time, I am still arguing about them covering my regular doctor visits. They say because my doctor is not in my policy, none of the tests he orders will be covered, and I need to find a new primary care physician within my plan.

So I (tearfully) inform my doctor’s office about what is going on and begin the search for a new primary care physician. I use the search tool on Anthem’s patient portal and find the listing of doctors available in my area. Most of them are within a “community health care clinic” and not board certified in their stated specialties. The few private physicians available only have one or two-star ratings on So I start visiting offices to see who would take a patient such as myself, one with several chronic conditions with several prescriptions (including opiates) to deal with them all.

The first one outright denied me, saying their office does not prescribe 3 of my medications. They suggest I go to the office a few doors down. (That woman was on the approved list also) I walk in and it looks like a back alley abortion clinic. Tile floors, blank walls, metal folding chairs in the waiting area… The check-in counter is occupied by a lone receptionist who looked and acted high. There was a table covered with stacks of patient files, out in the open, haphazard and teetering. I should have turned around and left, but I was hot, tired and resigned to whatever hell I had to put up with. I reasoned, maybe it was a new office. Maybe the doctor is just starting out. I started filling out paperwork and made an appointment. Then the doctor shuffled in and dug through the files, and shuffled back out. She was ancient. I later looked her up online and found out she got her medical degree the year I was born, 47 years ago. I canceled that appointment and sent a note off to my doctor’s office, telling them NOT to release my records to her office. Healthgrades only had one star for that very old lady.

I decide to try the “community health care clinic”, even though you never know who you are going to get. They have 20 doctors who rotate around 5-6 locations and you get stuck with whoever is available. I am assigned to a very young doctor who just graduated last year. I figure, what the heck… He may be young but maybe he has an open mind and knows more about the current studies on my illnesses. Everything is going fine until he says he does not prescribe long-term pain medications and I would be referred to a pain clinic. I told him I already signed a pain contract with my regular doctor so he said I could just continue seeing him for pain meds. I would rather pay the fees myself than go to a pain clinic. I’ve heard horror stories about people being cut off from their meds and sent to a psychiatrist.
I have given up on the sleep study and other things my regular doctor wanted me to do and I figure I only have to stay healthy for 5 more months until I get a better health care policy so I can go back to my normal doctor full time.

I write a note to my regular doctor, letting him know that I got the new primary care physician as the insurance company demanded but would continue to see him for pain management. I get a note back from his secretary stating that he cannot prescribe my pain medication if he is not my primary care physician and that I would have to go to a pain clinic if that is what the new PCP said.

SOBBING…… I wrote back stating that I was told previously that this would not be a problem. I am not leaving my regular doctor, I only signed up with the other one because if anything terrible happens to my health, I will need him to sign off on testing. The insurance company will not cover anything ordered by my regular doctor. What do I do? Should I renounce all affiliation with the new doctor just so I can get my pain medication? What the everloving FUCK? Of course, it’s the weekend now and I have to fret about this until I can call on Monday. My husband is now saying to stick with my original doctor and we will just pay the bills. That is fine as long as I don’t get sick in the next five months.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Sheild is ripping me off, endangering my health, and there is not a damn thing I can do about it.

Still sobbing.

Posted in Uncategorized

Japanese cat and dog clocks with swishing tails make clock-watching more adorable than ever

I want….


AC 1

Honestly, I’ve never really seen the point in hanging a clock on the wall in your home. Between the time displays on my PC, phone, TV, DVD player, PlayStation, and microwave, I’ve got plenty of ways to tell the current hour and minute without a dedicated timepiece taking up space where I could hang other things, like the California license plate in my living room that simultaneously makes me miss my home state and driving whenever I look at it.

I’m just not convinced that having a wall clock makes your home that much more convenient. However, it can make it a lot cuter, if it’s one of these adorable Japanese dog or cat-shaped clocks with an amazingly lifelike wagging tail.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Do cats understand the laws of physics?

But of course!

Why Evolution Is True

Betteridge’s law of headlines would suggest that the answer is “no”, but the authors of a new paper in Animal Cognition beg to disagree. This short report (reference and free pdf below) tests the idea that cats can identify a rattling sound in a box as denoting an object in the box, and then, when the box is opened upside down, will get flummoxed if something doesn’t drop out of the rattling box. They will also get flummoxed if a toy drops out of a shaken box that didn’t make a rattle. In other words, cats can somehow sense the incongruity between an auditory stimulus (the rattling) and a visual stimulus (the expected object causing the rattle).

So, to be brief, here’s what Saho Takagi and her colleagues did.  They studied 30 domestic cats of both sexes, all tested in —yes—cat cafes: a delightful staple of Japanese culture.  Each cat was given…

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Posted in Politics, Rants

The Stupidity of Bigots

Today I went to a formerly close friend’s house to get a haircut. She is a good stylist and my last trip to Best Cuts was a butchering. We were chatting away while she was snipping at the unruly mop on my head and all was fine. I began to internally question myself for backing off from the friendship but then it happened… She stated support for Donald Trump!
It all started with a conversation about healthcare and how my premium went up this year. I was a little disappointed but I did point out that under pre-ACA, my bill was still higher 3 years ago than what I’m paying now. Plus, I can’t be kicked off because of my preexisting Fibromyalgia. So she went on a rant about a friend who died from cancer and said that her insurance probably didn’t pay for the ongoing treatments. A few minutes later, she said this same friend had a bad immune system, the doctors knew she was going to die, and they put her through the pain of chemo just to get money. So which is it? The doctors should have done nothing or they should have done everything? (I wish I could just say these things out loud in the moment the conversation is going on. I spend way too much time being shocked and stunned by other people’s statements.) So tiring of Obama-bashing, she said the whole system needs torn down and started fresh. I quietly countered that Medicare went through the same troubles when it first started and Republicans fought it every step of the way. ACA will be the same, it takes time for it to be tweaked and changed for the better. Besides, it’s already better than what we had.

Next, she brings up the evil Muslims coming into this country unchecked. I pointed out that the actual vetting takes 2 years. (At this point, she seems to be getting annoyed with my calm explanations of fact.) She claimed Trump has the right idea and HE is getting people talking. She did state that she doesn’t approve of his business practices and thinks he’s arrogant. But back to those nasty immigrants: She complains that it’s not like Ellis Island all those years ago- those people WANTED to be Americans. They learned our language and adopted our ways. (She claimed that since she worked with the public, she knows these new immigrants don’t care about America.) “They talk to each other in their own language so you don’t know what they are saying and they laugh at you for being a stupid American who only knows English.”

First of all, she has this notion that I have lived under a rock all my life. Um, I’ve worked retail, I worked at an airport, I had my own business with employees, I’ve traveled to 5 other countries… She has only known me during the last 8-9 years of my life, after I got Fibromyalgia and couldn’t work a normal job or travel like I used to.
Second of all, maybe she IS a stupid American who barely knows English herself! After all, she thinks Trump is “on to something“!

It is generally difficult for adults to learn new languages. My sister is currently teaching me sign language and it’s hard to remember all the signs. That is how I actually calmed the situation down, telling her about the difficulty I am experiencing in learning sign. It is useless to try to argue with the woman. She is 8 years older than me so she automatically assumes I’m less than she is in some way.
I don’t know how she could be so gung-ho for Obama back in 2008 and supportive of Trump now. Is it because she is not hanging out with me anymore? Was she pretending just to be on my good side? Did she have a severe blow to the head that I don’t know about?
Anyway, I totally made the right choice in backing off from the friendship. Now I just have to find a new hair stylist.


Posted in Science

T.V. and Deep Thoughts

When I was watching the latest episode of Doctor Who (S09E05) last night, he said something that really stuck with me. “People talk about premonition like it’s something strange. It’s not. It’s just remembering in the wrong direction.”

It got me thinking about what I believe and don’t believe. When I gave up Christianity and came to the conclusion that God is probably not a thing, I decided to stop believing in EVERYTHING that wasn’t scientifically proven.

It’s been several years now and some things keep popping up that I don’t know how to deal with. “Spirituality”- How can you be spiritual if you are an atheist? Is there a better word for when you feel an absolute connection with nature and the universe? I have that feeling sometimes, when I work in my garden or when I watch the meteor showers.

Premonition is a very tough one to figure out. Back when Sylvia Browne and Jon Edwards were popular, I was a sheep and I believed it all to be real. It’s like Mulder’s poster, “I want to believe”. And I eventually found out it was all a scam. Just like religion. So I threw it in the bin of things to no longer believe.

So what do I do with the instances in my life where I personally had premonitions? There were a few very strong instances in my life where I knew what was going to happen or something was warning me about something that was going to happen. I know the normal explanation is “coincidence”. I call bullshit. These two events affected me deeply and I have never forgotten:

I had a dream one night, well really a nightmare. I was a young teenager at the time. I woke up sobbing and the memory of it did not fade as dreams usually do. A little girl was on her way home from school and stopped by a quick mart to look at the cheap jewelry on a rack. A man took her and locked her up under his garage. It didn’t make sense to me at the time, but she was under the fucking garage. I told my mom about the dream and I was upset and out of sorts for 2-3 days. I kept thinking about the poor girl under the garage. Then it came out in the news that a missing girl in PA or NY had been recovered alive- she was last seen at a neighborhood quick mart. They found her locked up in a bunker under a garage, kidnapped by a pedophile. I felt such relief, but so upset that I knew and I couldn’t do anything to help her. Is this premonition? What is this?

The other instance is something creepy that has an explanation, kinda. I’ve read that it could be part of OCD or something. When I google, a bunch of hooey numerology and angel numbers comes up. Maybe someone better educated can clue me in.
Here it is:
Six months before the Twin Towers fell, I kept seeing 9:11 on my clocks. I would see it out in public on clocks. It was every day just about for six months. I was so upset by it, I put black tape over the digital readout on my stove and VCR. I tried and tried not to look at any clocks after the second month of this. It was torturous and I thought I was losing my mind. It finally stopped and then a few weeks later, it was September 11, 2001. Is this premonition? WTF is this and how do I file it away in my head?

Deja vu happens to me frequently and always has. It makes me think of timelines and other dimensions! This particular memory brings up thoughts of reincarnation.

The strongest moment of Deja vu I will never forget: I was 15 years old, on a church group tour with my grandmother, visiting Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. We were in a very old hotel far north in Norway, surrounded by countryside. I sneaked out the back door after breakfast to have a smoke. The view of the hills, the ponies, the old wood fencing, the misty morning, all of it- slammed through my being and I felt as if I were HOME. After the initial feeling of joy and belonging, fear and confusion took over. WTF was that about?? Cell memory? According to 23 and Me, I am 3.9 % Scandinavian. So I have some DNA there…

Update 12/5/2016  Just saw this article:

I had heard of this concept back when the tsunami in the Indian Ocean happened.

Update 6/11/2017  Just saw this great video on Ted-Ed about Deja vu

P.S. if you are interested in finding out your DNA origins, click here. 23 And Me

Posted in Cats, Old posts

Spooky the B & E Cat (2009)

Cat B & E

I live in a neighborhood with lots of rental houses. Renters sometimes get cute little kittens for their children to play with. Eventually, the kitten grows up, is not so cute anymore, gets boring, and then begins reproducing. Of course there are a lot of responsible pet owners that do the right thing, spaying, neutering, vaccinating, etc. My anger is directed to the irresponsible ones that let their female cat have litter after litter of kittens, outside, in the elements. Then the renters move away and leave behind their mess of kittens that reproduce like rabbits!

Spooky fresh out of the cage
I love cats. I hate to see cats suffer, freezing and starving every winter in my neighborhood. I am quickly becoming the cliche’ crazy cat lady. This past winter, I fed and sheltered a total of 9 cats. I have thrown together a mish-mash of a cat house on my deck, made out of saw horses, poles and a rubber truck bed liner for a roof. I had no intention of sheltering any cats when winter started but when the snow came, they started showing up. I fed one and he told another. And another shows up, with his two sisters. In no time at all, there were 10 cats. I found homes for two, spayed 3, one died, one was injured and the Humane Society picked him up. The rest are all boys and they are still hanging around. There are already 6 pet cats in my house, aged 15 years down to 10 months. I do not need anymore cats!

The cat that does the

breaking and entering

is a tortie I call Spooky. I thought she was feral so I caught her in a “have a heart” cage and took her in to be spayed. She was busy mating with those boys the week before so she was already pregnant. I felt kinda bad paying for a kitty abortion, but I can’t even find homes for the cats that already exist! I considered keeping Spooky but she does not get along with my pets. She doesn’t understand why I put her back outside after she healed from the surgery. She keeps breaking into my basement. We live in a 118 year old house. There are single pane windows halfway below ground level with concrete window wells. We plan on eventually putting in glass block, we just haven’t gotten to it yet. Anyway, two panes were broken out and critters could get in and out of my house. As a temporary solution, I made a sun room over the window with a storm window and thin Plexiglas sides. Now the cats could go out and sit in the window well and have 180 degree view without getting wet or cold. My kitties loved it because they could see people walking on the sidewalk, see other animals in the driveway, see the birds above their head, etc.
let me in!!

So back to Spooky… After her surgery, I let her out of the cage in the basement and she proceeded to show me she was not a feral animal, just a shy house pet that someone threw out. I kept her locked in the basement away from my pets. The weather got nice for a while so I started putting her outside. She wouldn’t stay outside; she dug at the Plexiglas until it separated from the glass window and she broke into my house. I woke in the middle of the night to a screaming cat fight downstairs! I ran down, found her under the furnace with my Simon staring at her, daring her to come out. I shooed him away, scooped her up and foggily searched my brain, wondering if I forgot she was in the basement before I went to bed. I set her outside, locked up, and went back to bed. 20 minutes later, there was cat screaming again and I realized she had broken into my house. This time I coaxed Simon out of the basement and shut her down there alone. The next morning,

heavy duty bricks

I went to work outside on the window, using packing tape because it was too cold to use the silicone rubber I had used previously. Later that day, Spooky moseyed into my living room, pleased as punch, she had let herself in again. Out she went and back to work I went. This time I tried setting bricks around the sides of the glass, closing off all the Plexiglas. Then I found out that Spooky is uncommonly strong for a cat. Once again, she strolls into the room, during dinner, and freaking out the rest of my cats. It turned into a game. I would try to block the window and she would figure out how to get through. She even tunneled


the bricks one time, 10 minutes after I had just reset the concrete. I finally gave up. I had to block the window from the inside and so far she hasn’t gotten through. Just in case though, I get all my pets upstairs and shut the basement door before I go to bed at night!