New Disease. New Drug.

The dermatologist has diagnosed me with subdermal eczema. I have eczema under my skin. Ugh. The going theory is that I’m having some type of allergy that set off the eczema which is being worsened by my immune system attacking my skin relentlessly. That certainly explains the itching, lesions, rashes, cracking, swelling, and irritation.

The treatment – at least the first treatment to attempt – is the RX steroid ointment desonide. Desonide comes in a tube and has the texture of petroleum jelly. After taking a cold shower, I am to squeegee the water off my skin with my hand and apply the ointment to any itchy red areas. Neither warm showers nor towels are part of the treatment unfortunately. After applying the ointment, I should wait for an hour then cover my skin in petroleum jelly before putting on loose fitting cotton clothes.  According to the dermatologist, most patients experience a burning sensation after application.

Practical, huh? (<-Obvious sarcasm)

I asked what I could expect if I went without yet another steroid. Burning, lesions, scaling, peeling, oozing, scabbing and possible infection are some of what I can expect without the steroid ointment. I was already washing with Cetaphil soap, patting dry with a towel washed in hypoallergenic detergent, moisturizing with coconut oil/Aveeno Eczema, and applying hydrocortisone to any hot zones before the dermatology visit. My regimen covered all the home treatment options available.

I’m so tired of having problems. I try so hard to stay healthy yet I seem to constantly suffer from one BS autoimmune problem after another. The situation is extremely frustrating. I will say, however, that intensely itching all over and feeling as though your skin has been run through a cheese grater is also intensely frustrating. At least it doesn’t burn.

Hives, Hives, Hives

Well, the hives are back. At least 40% of my skin is broken out in hives and eczema. It feels like my skin might catch fire from all the itching and burning. I’ve been taking Benadryl at night so I can sleep. Even non-drowsy allergy meds make me drowsy so I try to suffer through the day applying hydrocortisone to hotspots as needed. Every day starts with a cold shower which provides a few hours of relief.

It would be great to know what’s causing this misery. I’m using hypo-allergenic everything. I moisturize with coconut oil with added vitamin E which I patch tested first – that’s not the cause. Does one of the cats or dogs have fleas? Nothing shows up on a flea comb, but I’m splurging on some Advantage II just in case. I haven’t changed any medications, soaps, or detergents.

I really don’t have time for this. I’ve got work to do and I need to close the income gap since Jonathan had trouble finding work this month. That means working the normal day job hours and putting in lots of hours on side jobs. I don’t have time to knock myself out with Benadryl because I feel miserable.

The Corner, The Gap, and Reprieve

Maybe Luke Will Turn The Corner

Sometimes, I think Luke will pull through his depression and other times, I think he may be stuck there for life. This weekend he threw a tantrum at the pumpkin patch. Other children and parents were staring. Yet, on the ride home, Luke apologized for his bad behavior.

After spending 30min in the car on the way to a job complaining about how stupid he is, Luke found a credit card I dropped and decided maybe he wasn’t so stupid after all.

Maybe we’ll turn the corner with Luke.  Maybe Luke will end up on medication by the time he’s 13.


The Gender Pay Gap

Overall, I try to keep a positive attitude about work. If positive isn’t possible, I try to be indifferent. I’ve spent too many years being 100% invested in a workplace; allowing my job to define me only to be laid off. I vowed this job wouldn’t command every moment of my time.

In spite of trying to keep a somewhat positive attitude, my job has been a source of frustration lately. As I watch my (male) coworkers purchase new iPads, iPhone 6s, brand new top of the line cars, and add additions to their homes, I struggle to support my family. All of the coworkers have teenagers or college students. All but one have stay at home wives. It’s pretty clear I’m being paid significantly less than my coworkers based on standard of living.

I’d ask for a raise, but TheCompany has a policy against asking for raises. Raises aren’t granted without approval from HR, and the CIO. Obtaining approval from both typically doesn’t happen – at least I’ve not heard of a case where both HR and the CIO have approved a raise request. I guess it’s “raise control”. Many people have relocated to different cities and states to work for companies without such a ridiculous policy. Those who remain are people such as myself – people with family in the area.

As much as some people refute the wage gap between men and women, I can attest that it is very much real. Similar education and experience. Completely different pay grade. My (male) supervisor also favors other (male) employees which is a topic I could write an entire post about.

Health Update

I’m having a reprieve from fibro/RA pain lately. It comes and goes, but unfortunately it comes more often than goes. I’m experiencing moderate fatigue so it’s been hard to get everything done, but I have been able to work on chores around the house.

Unfortunately, I’m having terrible eczema across my stomach, on the underside of my right arm, and across my left hip. The itching is so severe it wakes me up. I wish I knew the cause because it is extremely irritating. Alas I do not so I’ll slather on allergy relief creams so I can get some rest.


The Poor Girl Blues

Times have been less-easy lately. I would say times are hard, but I also know that times are much harder for many and in comparison I have an easy life.

Jonathan hasn’t worked this month because of a job scheduling problem with the contractor he works under. While he doesn’t earn a lot, the $500/mo he usually gives me helps. Now, without the anticipated $500, I seem to be falling behind on everything. I’m back to stretching every dollar, couponing, and allowing myself few if any conveniences. No coffee, no fast food, no snacks, bring lunch to work every day, no driving unless necessary, no shopping for non-grocery items…I’ve had lots of practice being poor.

Oliver, Luke, and I were going to travel out of state this weekend to visit my best friend Lea and have fun in a big city, but I couldn’t afford it. I had to cancel the trip last minute because we can’t afford the gas for the 6hr drive. Fortunately she can afford to visit us here, but the kids are disappointed the trip was cancelled. No one except Lea and I know the trip was cancelled because I couldn’t afford it.

I didn’t have the heart to tell Jonathan his lack of income caused the cancellation. He is already stressed, anxious, and sleepless because he is so worried about jobs and money. Last week he could barely eat because his stomach was churning with stress. Jonathan would work if he could. Unfortunately the weather and schedules just haven’t worked in his favor.

Fortunately, some friends have offered me free lance work on the weekends so I’ll have a  few weekends to close the gap. Here’s hoping for more freelance work and that my RA/fribro keep relatively quiet until that work is done.

Luke is “Too Stupid” for…

Luke finds a way to use telling me that he’s “too stupid” as an excuse/reason for everything in existence in the history of ever. I wish I was making this up. I wish I could figure out if he’s saying he’s stupid because he’s depressed, because he believes he is stupid, or because he thinks it will get him out of doing what he needs to. Unfortunately, I just don’t know.

I ask Luke to load the dishwasher after dinner: He’s too stupid to load the dishwasher.

Luke needs to finish his homework before playing a game online: He’s too stupid to finish and might as well give up on ever playing the game.

Luke should read the instructions before assembling something: He didn’t read the instructions because he’s too stupid and he refuses to read the instructions because he’s too stupid.

I ask Luke to floss his teeth in the bathroom instead of the kitchen: He’s too stupid to floss his teeth in the bathroom.

I see Luke is upset and ask him why he’s upset: Because he’s stupid. (No other reason given ever)

I ask Luke how his day went: It was awful because he’s stupid.

If Luke picks up a fork instead of a spoon absentmindedly: He’s the stupidest person that ever lived.

This evening Luke scooped too much pasta onto his dinner plate: He was the stupidest person I know according to him. (Jonathan pointed out the massive abundance of pasta on his plate, not me.)

One of the cats hurt her nose at the vet. Luke asked why the cat’s nose was injured. I explained the cat hurt her nose at the vet. Luke was stupid because of course he should have known that this happened.

At the dinner table, Luke tried to correct something I said. He tried to correct it incorrectly, but I didn’t point that out, I just kept talking to Jonathan. Luke started loudly proclaiming that he was stupid because his correction attempt was incorrect.

“Too stupid” knows no bounds and is also extremely frustrating. Telling him he’s not stupid and providing reasons why just makes him angry and argumentative. Ignoring his claims of stupidity just makes him proclaim his stupidity even louder… Listing examples of things he’s done which show he’s not stupid leads to door slamming or red-faced crying.

I guess I’m going to go to Luke’s counselor and ask what to do during his next session 2 weeks from now. I really don’t know what else to do.


The “Too Stupid” Blues

Luke (12) has driven me a bit crazy this weekend. Every other statement is how he can’t do XYZ thing because he’s stupid. Nothing I say to refute his stupidity sinks in. He’s too stupid for a computer, too stupid to play with any of his toys, too stupid to help me cook, too stupid to take out the trash, too stupid to feed the dogs, too stupid to get ready to go to the store… The “too stupid” has become EXTREMELY aggravating. It’s simultaneously a complaint to be whined about AND an excuse to get out of doing anything Luke should be doing.

I’ve tried all manner of things to get him to stop constantly declaring his stupidity but nothing seems to work.

What would you do???

The Seizure Man

Pharmacy Update

After nearly 3 weeks, the pharmacy finally gave me the pain meds. I wish I could change pharmacies but my insurance mandates I use the company’s pharmacy and it’s a travesty.


The Seizure Man

Yesterday on the drive home from work there was a man having a seizure in the middle of the road. He rear-ended the car in front of him, hit his head, and stopped breathing. Two men got him out of the car and gave him mouth to mouth. I flagged down the ambulance because it couldn’t find with all the traffic clogging the intersection.

The man having the seizure began to become coherent but he was terribly confused. He didn’t know his own name. He kept trying to get up and run into traffic. The one of the men who stopped and I held the seizure man down in the road in the pouring rain for his own safety. I had his legs. The other man had his hands. It took every ounce of my strength to keep hold of the man’s legs. He was strong and kept trying to kick me off with all his might. Two EMTs showed up and helped restrain the man’s arms but the seizure man was struggling so violently that the EMTs had to call for backup. Soon 3 firefighters arrived to help strap the man to a board. It took 2 EMTs, 3 firefighters, 1 other man, and myself to restrain the seizure man and strap him to the board.

I had been kneeling on the asphalt so long that my left knee was painfully frozen in space. As one of the EMTs walked past, I said, “I have RA. Can you please help me stand up?” He offered me his arm. I stood up and gathered the seizure man’s things. Glasses. A shoe he kicked off during his struggle with me. A shirt he had used as a pillow…

The police interviewed asking if I knew the seizure man and when I didn’t, they told me to go. The seizure man pleaded with me as he was loaded into the ambulance, “Please help me! Will you help me? Oh God please help me!” I tried to explain that I was helping him as best I could, but that I couldn’t ride in the ambulance with him. My shoes were filled with rain water and made sloshing noises on the short walk to my car. My hair was drenched. My blazer was soaked. My pants were covered in gritty road water.

When I was helping restrain the seizure man yesterday, I knew I would suffer today. I knew that kneeling on the asphalt in the rain to restrain he man would cause my left foot to swell like a marshmallow, my left knee to swell like a big purple grape fruit, and that my hands and shoulders would burn with pain today. I just decided all my pain was worth it if I could keep the seizure man from running into the road and getting hit by a car or suffering a more serious injury.

Looks like I’ll spend my evenings bed ridden for the next few days.


The Great Pharmacy F*ck-Up of 2014

Today, 3 weeks after my initial attempt to refill my pain meds, the pharmacy finally sent my pain meds. Since tramadol changed drug classes, the pharmacy decided to delete my prescription instead of calling in a refill. They also failed to inform me that they chose to delete my prescription in spite of numerous online refill request attempts, phone calls, voice mails, and hours spent on hold waiting for SOMEONE to answer the damn phone.

When I finally spoke with someone, she treated me like a drug addict. “Are you SURE you need a refill of this medication? You know you can become dependent on this medication, right? Is there a REASON your prescription has been deleted?”  Yeah, because my doc is going to write me a script for something I’m addicted to…<eye roll>

As a result of the pharmacy’s BS, I ran out of tramadol and had to ween myself off the medication last minute. I spent the weekend lying in bed suffering from severe, debilitating, pain among other withdrawal symptoms.

How is this acceptable? Why don’t I use another pharmacy?

#1 I’m an employee of the same company that owns the pharmacy. I cannot complain to management about the service of the pharmacy without retribution. I have tried to bring up the issues with the pharmacy with management twice and have been told to keep my mouth shut because the pharmacy staff are technically my coworkers. Any further complaints and I will be investigated.

#2 The insurance plan offered by my employer mandates that I use the company’s pharmacy. If I use another pharmacy, my medications will not be covered by insurance.

Now that the worst of the withdrawal symptoms are over, of course they send me the medication they should have sent me all along. It’s safe to say the past few weeks have not been very good at all.