Monday, April 30, 2007

Mystery Magazines

For some reason unknown to me, I have two magazine subscriptions that I did not order and don't know of anyone ordering for me. I have no idea why they are coming. The Wired one has actually been going on for quite a while, with a brief (also unexplained) hiatus. The New York magazine one just started. Don't get me wrong, I like the magazines. I just have no idea why I'm getting them. And when I log in to their websites, it tells me I'm paid up all the way into next year.

Isn't that weird? Did someone get me a subscription and not tell me? And, if so, why did they get me the New York magazine, which is all about stuff happening in a city I don't live in? Not that it isn't interesting, but it's not like I can just pop over there any time I want. I dunno. It's just another random bit of world weirdness.

The tops of the trees

I just got one of the strangest spam messages ever, I think:

Subject: The tops of the trees were now engulfed in the fog and now struggling above it.

Message: They can get into your body, you know.

And that was it. No embedded image, nothing. It's a mystery to me. Maybe someone is having an existential crisis of some sort.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Movieland

We've been watching a lot of movies lately, probably due to the whole actually having a TV room thing. Last night we watched The Fifth Element, one of my favorites. Then I went to Best Buy today (had to bring my Gateway PC in...long story and one I'm rather too embarassed to tell, computer geek that I am) and there's a new Fifth Element out with over 2 hours of special interviews and what not. I hate it when they do that. I want all that stuff, but I've already got one copy, darn it!!

Pam, you want a copy of the Fifth Element? ;-)

Night before we watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I still just love that movie. I hope they never remake that one. It would be a shame. Remakes are almost never as good. (side note...why was Mia Sara the only one who didn't do a cast interview for the new release? everyone else did...it was interesting to see how they'd all aged...though I already knew about Jennifer Grey's nose job.)

Night before that was Ocean's Eleven. Thought it was about time, since Ocean's Thirteen is coming up. It was actually good. I was kind of surprised. In general, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the amount of A-list actors in a movie as compared to the quality of said movie. Take Ready to Wear as an example (shudder -- Oh, the horror).

So tonight will be Ocean's Twelve. Hopefully it is as good as the first one.

Movies are good when you are studiously trying to ignore the news. It's bad enough reading the depressing stuff; I don't want to see it too.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Start making sense

I've been mad before. I've been depressed before. I've probably even jokingly said that I wanted to kill someone. But I can't imagine actually doing it. What makes a person snap and take the lives of others? I just can't grasp it. I don't understand.

I was reading some of the articles about the professor who gave his life to save his students. And bios of some of the dead. It depresses me to read about it but somehow I feel like I owe them that much. I may never have met them in life and likely wouldn't have if they'd lived, but the small thing I can do for them now is remember them.

Still -- it's just craziness. What a mad, mad world indeed.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday, busy Monday

Had an electrician out this morning and a flooring guy this afternoon. And the first visit from the cleaning people. Sadly, my alarm didn't go off so I had to answer the door in my bathrobe for the electrician. Lovely hair. Not.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Freaked out

I'd whittled myself down to just one pain pill a day (generally taken at night) a while back, with brief upsurges when the back/leg pain got unbearable (had a few really bad days while moving/packing/unpacking). I really just want to get off of it completely. I don't like what it does to me and I don't care what they say about it causing euphoria...that's not one of the side effects that I get. Mostly it just makes me sleepy and sometimes kind of addled and fuzzy. I sleep well and badly at the same time. Always have a hard time getting up.

So last night I didn't have a lot of pain so (I guess I can call it last night, even though I haven't slept much of it) I thought I'd see how I'd do skipping the pill completely. Well, let's just say that the withdrawal symptoms didn't hit right away, but by 5 AM, they were driving me crazy. I thought I'd been doing pretty good, getting down to just the one pill. I didn't think skipping it one night would be that bad.

I finally went and took a pill about 5:15 AM. But they take a little bit to kick in, so I went to the laptop (my true drug of choice, I suppose) to look up hydrocodone and withdrawal symptoms and what not. Maybe some hints on the best way to get off of it, no matter that the dr. prescribes it for my pain. I'm hoping that it could be something that I could just take when the pain gets really bad and not on a daily basis. After all, the pain is much, much better now than it was before when I could hardly walk or move. It's pretty light to moderate on a normal day, though I can still have a bad day now and then for no apparent reason.

To make a long story short, the information I find on it scares the bejesus out of me. The dr. definitely never covered this stuff as much as I think he should have.

This I pretty much knew:

Hydrocodone is a semi synthetic opioid (narcotic) derived from two of the naturally occurring opiates, codeine and thebaine. Hydrocodone is prescribed for the relief of moderate to moderately severe pain. It is taken orally as an active narcotic analgesic (pain killer) and an anti tussive (cough suppresant). The pain relief by hydrocodone is thought to involve peripheral and central actions but the exact mechanism(s) remains unknown. Because the drug acts on the brain, its major side effects are central and include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, euphoria, lightheadedness and confusion.

I can certainly testify to the lightheadedness, the dizziness, the drowsiness, and the confusion.

This I didn't know:

Hydrocodone may also affect the center that controls respiratory rhythm, and may produce irregular and shallow breathing.

Sometimes I get that choke-y feeling of not being able to get enough air. It's freaky.

And it goes on to say:

Repeated hydrocodone use can lead to habitual craving and lead to both physical and psychological dependence. In those individuals who take hydrocodone for prolonged periods, sudden stoppage of the medication can lead to withdrawal symptoms. These may include extreme anxiety, difficulty breathing, vomiting, sweating, palpitations, lack of concentration and an intense craving for the drug.

The dr. had started me on tramadol first, back in early 2005. But he put me on hydrocodone that same year, at first having me take 2 pills at a time, 4 times a day. When I took that many, I just really couldn't function. I went down to 3 times a day, even when he was still recommending 4. At any rate, I've been on some dosage of it for over a year. Yeesh, drawing close to 2 years. Is it any wonder that I haven't finished my second novel? That's an excuse, but I think a valid one.

Anyway, getting back to the withdrawal symptoms. The only ones I didn't have this morning by 5 AM are the vomiting and the intense craving. Well, I suppose it equates to a craving, even though mentally I really *don't* want to take it. As mentioned on a different website, I also have some other symptoms (that I didn't even realize were symptoms): a runny nose, restless legs (that's the one that really drives me crazy), crying for no reason (I get this quite a bit, actually...a particularly beautiful song playing on the radio makes me want to cry sometimes).

And more:

The time period of drug consumption which leads to dependence is variable but may range anywhere from 6-12 months of continued use. Dependence and addiction to this drug is usually treated with slow withdrawal of the drug, use of methadone, psychological and supportive therapy through an effective drug rehab program.

Methadone?? Frigging methadone?? I just...I don't even know what to say to that.

Others report similar issues to me:

I find that I am constantly tired and have none of my normal ambition. I sleep 9-11 hours per night and still never feel rested.

Tony gets on me sometimes for how long I seem to sleep. It's not that I want to sleep 11 hours a day. Or 10 or whatever. Even when I do, I feel like I haven't slept at all. I guess it's just good to see that I'm not alone in this.

And at least there's this:

Physical dependance is not the same thing as mental addiction though. Some folks are able to take narcotics for pain, appropriately and as prescribed, without ever abusing them.

I don't feel like I abuse them. I generally try not to take them, except when the pain is bad. My prescription is still technically for 3 a day. I almost never take that. Usually I just do the one pill at night. By the end of the day is usually when the pain kicks in.

And this is kinda hopeful:

Question: After taking this medication for a year with back pain what is the best way to stop taking it without withdrawal symptoms?
Answer: It depends on the dosage and the time you have been on the drug. In general, cut the dosage about 20% every week. Once you get to 20% cut 5% a week until it is gone.


I guess what I need to do is start chopping the pills in half for a while instead of going from 1 to none. Some other forums seem to suggest this too. And there are some other drugs you can go on to alleviate the withdrawal, but I kind of hate to do that. That just seems like trading one problem for another.

My big worry, I suppose, is what do I do when the pain gets really bad? The steroid treatment I did late last year really really helped, but it was a one time thing and I've had some bad days since then. I don't have too many bad days any more, but they are still there. If I get completely off of this stuff, is it safe to take a pill every now and then when the pain is really bad?

I guess I need to find a doctor up here now. Not that so far the doctors haven't seemed concerned with how long they've had me on this stuff. But I don't like anything controlling part of my life.

Information taken from:

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just how nerdy am I?

I took a nerd test after Pam posted her results. Seems I'm a bit nerdier than I might have thought...not! Could be worse, I suppose. It probably would have been higher in college when I was using IRC...

I am nerdier than 90% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!
I'm sitting outside even though it is cold because Grace has been dying to go outside for ages. I can see that our front porch is going to be great once it is warmer. There's even already a plug I can plug my laptop into! Whoo-hoo! Hmmm, I guess that's kind of proving the nerd score there, isn't it?
We'll also have the patio in the back (once it is built). We're thinking of having a fire pit in it too. Think that would be cool. Anyway, back to work!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Curious and curiouser

My childhood wasn't a "normal" one (not that I think there's any such thing as a normal childhood) by any stretch, but it was nothing compared to Augusten Burroughs. Just watched Running with Scissors. I'll have to pick up the book now. Just...wow.

Makes my childhood look downright white picket fence. Well, maybe not exactly, but somewhat. I tend to shy away from writing about it, but maybe I should someday. It's not the big things, though, but the little ones. Ah, memories.

I woke up today with a lot of back and leg pain. Not sure why, since I really took it easy yesterday. So I took a pill and went back to sleep after the patio guy was here. Feel a bit better now, but now I need to get some stuff done. Not that I've gotten nothing done today...I have gotten a few things knocked out. But nothing that really shows. I think I'll work on the guest room now.

Tony is out at dinner with a new person who just started. Someone on his team, I think. Maybe someone who works for him. Wasn't clear on that part. He should be home soon. He took the train in today and was all excited since it took him 40 minutes from leaving the house to sitting at his desk. Not too bad.

Me, I'm listening to Muddy Waters. Had mac & cheese with tuna for dinner.

That sounds sadder than it actually was.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Yay! And, oh no!

First: the Yay!

Tony made it back from Toronto and is right now on his way here from the airport. He missed the train by 7 minutes (ugh!) so he's taking American Taxi.

Then: The Oh No!

I got a fair amount done while he was gone but not everything that I had planned on. Surprise. Hoo-wah.

All of my (current) orphan boxes are gone though and the garage is a lot more spacious; seems that everyone needs free boxes. I'll have more soon after I unpack some more stuff. As in books.

Today was probably the least productive day...my back was bothering me for most of it. I finally broke down and took one of my pills but that, as you can probably guess, is not conducive to actually getting anything done. It is, however, very handy if you want to take a nap with the cats. Harley makes an excellent fur blanket and Grace makes a plump pillow.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

On bullet holes...

This, by the way, is what a bullet hole in the back of your Mercedes looks like. Well, after you'd (obviously) been driving around in snow & salt. My poor car is now happy to be whole again and living in a place where no one will shoot it and where it has a nice little garage to sleep in.


Just thought I'd share. We're past the stage where the situation horrified and scared us. Now, I'm at that place where I can look back and laugh...kind of.

All legal again

I went today and (after two wrong turns...which is funny if you understand that I shouldn't have turned AT ALL) got my Illinois drivers license and got my car registered. So I'm all legal again. I was kinda illegal because I should have gotten my car registered in January (my birthday month) but didn't because a) at first, we thought we were going to move to an apartment up here while we looked for a house and then b) my car got shot and I couldn't drive it anyway and c) I didn't want to give Kentucky any more of my stinkin' money. It all worked out okay. I'm all registered up now.

They actually make you take the vision test and a written exam here when you move in from another state. Kentucky didn't make you do any of that. I don't think Florida did either. I got my first license in Mississippi...not going to think about how long ago that was...

I actually missed one question on the test. Ack! But it wasn't because I didn't know the answer. I just didn't get how they were wording the questions. I guess they didn't care anyway, since they gave me the license. :-) I still felt like a dork for missing it though. It was on the shape of the sign warning you that kids are around and to be careful. LOL so I suppose all those kiddos in the neighborhood ought to watch out for me.

Let's see...other than that...everything is going okay. The dresser arrived yesterday. Also the table and chairs, but the hardware was missing on those, so they are Fed-Ex'ing the rest to us and I'm supposed to call the delivery company once we've got it so they can set it all up. No biggee. Just need to find out when the couches are going to get here. Right now we've got one wicker chair and the La-Z-Boy in the family room (which, of course, means that you can often find Harley there, if he isn't burrowed into the bed).

In other news...I think I should ban myself from watching Law & Order or CSI (and all the clones thereof). We've got cable again...actually, we've got super-cable now. Tony went ahead and got whatever the big package is. We figured we'd cancel things we didn't use. It's got DVR, On Demand, all kinds of stuff. I've determined that there's an episode of L&O or CSI on at any given time of day. I like the show but a) they can be real downers and b) I don't need to be watching that much TV. Shoot, I've still got a bazillion books to unpack. And a bazillion reviews to write up. If I can just work around my Spring Allergy headache (the sniffly sneezy head-going-to-explode headache).