Good riddance 2011

December 31, 2011

I was going to write a great post for today, but then I fell asleep and that threw everything off.  So much for fabulous the little blue pills.  I fell asleep yesterday afternoon too.  Bah.

I’m determined to go out tonight so this will be short.  This was not a good year.  Actually, this year really sucked.  My romantic life was more pitiful than usual, my job was boring and stressful, I’m no longer on speaking terms with my sister, and my health nosedived.  That adds up to a lousy year.  Yes, there were some good things, but overall, I will be happy to see this year go.

So goodbye 2011.  I will hardly miss ye.  And hello 2012!  Let’s hope it’s a kick-ass year!  I wish you all a fantastic 2012!

Measuring symptom improvement… by way of a 2 year old

December 29, 2011

I knew the fatigue was getting bad when I’d be tired after 12 hours of sleep, then take a 3 hour nap that next day.  Now matter how you look at it, that’s not good.

Now that I’m feeling a bit better (thank you sleeping pills!) I haven’t been as tired and I haven’t taken any naps, intentional or otherwise.  Progress!  Yay!  Still, I know that I don’t have the energy of a “healthy” person, so maybe some of the progress is in my head?

Two weeks ago a friend had a timing conflict and needed someone to watch her kid.  I was so tired every day, but she was in a jamb, and she’s a good friend, plus I wanted to try and push myself a bit, I rested all day, then went over in the evening.  After a bit over an hour, I’d had it.  We’d been sitting most of the time, but I needed to be alert and engaging.  It was exhausting.  Thankfully, my friend’s husband came home a bit after that, and while I still played a bit with the kid, I could let my guard down and relax.  Still, by the time I went home I was beat.

Today I went over to take care of the same kid.  I went in the morning.  I got up with my alarm, and felt a bit tired at the time, but then felt much better as I got ready to start the day.  I had a ton of fun with the kid and wasn’t tired, even after more than two hours together.  I hung out for a while with my friend, then came home and listened to an audio book for a while (loving those audio books!) before I took a 35 minute (yay!) walk, stopping at the library on the way (I’m visiting the library a lot these days.)  I felt great after all of that!

So two weeks ago, an hour with a two year old wore me out completely.  Today, two hours with a two year old left me feeling as good as when I started.  The lesson?  The doctors shouldn’t measure our progress on those annoying 1-10 scales.  They should just put us in a room with a two year old and see how long we last.  After all, anyone who can keep up with a toddler must have at least something going right!

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Ridiculously cautious optimism (a.k.a. Loving the little blue pills)

December 28, 2011

I love the little blue pills.  They’re like magic!

I really resisted when my rheumatologist wanted to prescribe a sleeping pill.  I’d tried sleeping pills (from a different doctor) before and I always felt drowsy the next day.  And the sleep wasn’t all that great.  They were just good for falling asleep when I was in a lot of pain.  Still, she insisted that I at least try these.  She prescribed the lowest dose and suggested that I start with half a pill.  She said that these are slow-acting, so instead of putting me to sleep, their job was to keep me asleep, and to give me some good sleep.  Well that sounded reasonable.  I had no trouble falling asleep, but I was waking up a lot.  I would only wake up for seconds at a time before falling asleep again, but I knew it was disruptive.  I woke up exhausted every morning.  So I picked up the little blue pills at the pharmacy, cut one in half, and gave it a chance.

Miraculous!  I woke up feeling good in the morning!  I’ve been taking half a pill every night for almost a week now and I feel almost like my old self.  I don’t have my full energy back, but I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Thank goodness!

This isn’t a long term solution.  I mean, it could be long term, but I refuse to take a sleeping pill every night unless it’s absolutely necessary.  Still, for now, it’s fantastic.  Hopefully it will allow me to gain back my old sleep habits.  But I’ll worry about the future later.  For now, I’m just so excited to not be fatigued all the time!

I am incredibly lucky.  This may last or it may not, but at least for now, I have a break from the fatigue.  I sincerely hope, with all my heart, that fellow fatigue sufferers will soon find some relief as well.  It has been one of my harder symptoms to handle.  I hope that one day soon it is better understood and that there are more treatments available.  We all deserve that.

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The need for access to affordable healthcare for all

December 27, 2011

The so-called “Obamacare” plan has a lot of faults to it.  The process was overly politicized by a group of people with the best and most affordable healthcare in the country, the majority of whom could afford private care if they needed to.  They weren’t exactly representing “us.”

But like it or not as a whole, there are definitely some good parts to the plan.

For me, a great part is that health insurance companies will no longer (starting in 2014, but there’s a stop-gap plan until then) be able to turn someone away for having a pre-existing condition.  They also will not be able to find a convenient reason to end coverage shortly after someone is diagnosed with an expensive condition.  I believe there’s also something in there to prevent insurance companies from charging exceedingly high premiums to those with pre-existing conditions.  This is HUGE!  If I were to move to CA right now and I had to get my own insurance, I couldn’t do it.  I’ve seen their insurance company policies.  I’d be out before they got through the first page of my application.  But after this, they’ll have to insure me.  It’s a fantastic start.

But there’s still a long way to go.  There isn’t enough in there about making healthcare affordable.  I was talking to a friend last night who has always been perfectly healthy.  In fact, in the 10 years I’ve known her, I’ve never seen her have more than a sniffle.  She lives in CA and pays $300 a month for her health insurance.  I have no idea how much her company pays, but she gets it though them.  $300 is ridiculous for an individual plan.  Recently she has been having numbness in her left arm.  She went to the doctor, who sent her to a physical therapist.  She went to physical therapy three times.  It didn’t help.  And she got a bill for $400 (in addition to the copays she had already paid) for those three PT visits.  When she told me this yesterday I was in shock.  I wish I was there in person to review her policy.  She could have a deductible or co-insurance, but for $300 a month, she really shouldn’t have either.  Now she still has the problem and, with copays has paid about $500.  She doesn’t want to go back to the doctor because of the cost!  What kind of system is this!

I have been surprised had how many people are against “Obamacare.”  I suppose these are people who don’t pay for health insurance now and who are healthy.  They figure they’ll never need it.  I just hope they read this article and really consider it.  It could happen to anyone.  I eat well and take care of myself and get plenty of sleep and try to avoid stress.  And I have health problems.  I take a lot of medications and see a lot of doctors.  That’s not my fault.  And it’s not someone’s fault when they get cancer or get hit by a car.  And what if it were their fault?  Does that mean they shouldn’t get health insurance?  Well, I suppose that’s a discussion for another day.  In the meantime, let’s get people to consider just how important it is to have access to good, affordable healthcare.

The new system isn’t great, but it’s a start.


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