Run Out of Bandwidth

I’ve run out of bandwidth. I don’t mean that as some metaphor for being busy or tired or frazzled, I mean that my ISP has suddenly and without warning placed a limit on the bandwidth which our connection can use per month. We’ve exceeded the limit, so we have no internet for the rest of the week. I only have the data plan on my phone.

No youtube for the kids. No gaming. No downloading. No Netflix. No Pandora. None of the services we regularly use for news or music are available to us. Today is the first day of internet-less-ness.

This evening, Luke and Oliver played outside with plastic guns and foam swords. Jonathan painted the poop-brown upstairs bathroom with the silvery light blue paint I picked. I did what I usually do in the evenings: cook, clean, feed pets, check homework, provide cash, sign forms, wash a load of laundry, and spend at least 30min training BigDog. None of these things use the internet.

In fact, I typically only use the internet for around 30min-1hr in the evening and even then I use it mostly for reading or writing. Reading and writing use very little bandwidth – especially compared to streaming services. I need to reign in the kids’ youtube and Netflix streaming activities so I’m not kicked off the internet at the end of every month.

So…for the next few days you likely won’t hear from me. Since my mobile/cell is used for the corporate day job, I don’t have the WordPress app installed. Can’t have work finding my anonymous blog. I’ll catch you on the flip side of the internet when I have access again. Stay well.

The Productive Un-Productive Day


I had the day off and big plans, but nothing went as intended. Last time I took a day off to work on the house, I got quite a bit done. Today? Not really.

It was too windy to paint furniture outside. I didn’t have the right paint to work on the upstairs bathroom. Huge storms rolled through last night and stirred up the well water leaving it a muddy brown. No laundry. No dishes. No cooking. No cleaning. No dog washing. I was finally able to take a shower this evening after the water was left to settle all day.

Cleaning out the pantry was on my to-do list and I was able to finish that task. I filled 6 shopping bags with canned and dry goods and donated the bags to friends. These friends are currently living without electricity after a sudden hospitalization and job loss. They won’t be able to pay their electric bill until September and have needed to visit food pantries to sustain themselves. I figured they would make good use of all our shelf stable extras while making room for food the kids will actually eat. No one in the house is a fan of canned mixed vegetables.

Since I live on a mountain in the middle of nowhere, everything is 30+ minutes away. So, I drove 40min to my friends’ house, then 30 min to the grocery store, then 30 min home from the grocery store. Most of my afternoon was spent driving. Some days I feel like buying a Prius would be worthwhile.

Early this morning, Luke broke his shoelace trying to thread his shoe in some fancy way he learned on youtube. I mended his shoe and lace with a lighter and super glue, but it was clear he needed a new pair of shoes. The sole was ready to fall off any minute since Luke had picked at the glue. So, I took Luke shoe shopping.  Honestly, I needed new shoes too, but I’ve been putting off buying shoes because money has been tight. 30 min drive to the shoe store. 1hr looking at shopping. 30 min drive home. Shoe shopping with Luke deserves a post of it’s own, really.

So, yeah, I cleaned the pantry, delivered food, went grocery shopping, answered some emails from work, cooked food which didn’t need water so I have lunch at work this week, and bought shoes for Luke and myself. After the water finally cleared up, I did 2 loads of dishes, 1 load of laundry, and took a shower.  In list form, I sound productive, but today has felt totally unproductive. Maybe that’s because I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to work on.

Congress Trying to Suspend Civil Rights Protections at the Workplace

Ugh. This is just beyond words. Giving your employer access to your medical records? Um, no. Maybe that works out great for the few people who don’t have any risk factors for any type of disease, but for those of us with a chronic illness, this is a disaster.

Dances With Fat

DefendReader Ali let me know about some dangerous legislation that is on the table right now that would nullify important worker protections on the basis of genetics and disability of workers and their families.

As I’ve discussed before on this blog, the Affordable Care Act (which, full disclosure, gave me the opportunity to have insurance by insisting that insurance companies stop denying me coverage based on my BMI) also had some problematic things, including Workplace “Wellness” Program provisions that allow workplaces to penalize workers for not submitting to invasive blood tests and mental health questions and/or not participating in “wellness” programs regardless of whether or not there was proof of efficacy.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a series of lawsuits claiming that these screenings and their associated penalties are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)

Enter Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)…

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The Math Mega-Tantrum

I came home from work feeling defeated and ready to flop across my bed and cry myself to sleep because the pain had been so unrelenting today. I took meds, I stretched, I drank water…nothing helped for long. The pain invaded every thought, every activity, every minute. Constant, unrelenting, grating pain.

Flopping on the bed in tears after work wasn’t a viable option because Luke and Oliver needed dinner, showers, homework checked, papers signed, order forms filled out, etc. The cats needed dinner. BigDog needed training time. MediumDog needed attention and dinner. I gulped down a few more ultram to take the edge off so I could function.

Shortly after I got home, Luke threw a mega-tantrum over his math homework. Luke is 12, but he was crying, shouting, screaming, and acting like a child half his age. Luke regresses when he feels overwhelmed. Lately, Luke has been declaring that he wants to kill himself whenever he feels frustrated making it difficult to determine if Luke is just going for dramatic affect or if Luke actually intends to commit suicide. Do I rush him to the psychiatric hospital to be committed because he intends to harm himself or do I refuse to take his comments so seriously?

After 2hrs of mega-tantrum, Jonathan took a break from gardening to grumble at Luke for having bad behavior. It didn’t really help. Jonathan didn’t take Luke’s suicide threats seriously. Per Jonathan, I wouldn’t take Luke’s threats seriously if I had “raised Luke from the beginning”. Luke demanded that I walk to his room repeatedly even though walking was very difficult for me and he just wanted to ask a question about his homework. I understand Luke was upset, but I wish Luke would understand how much pain I experience at times. I try to explain it, but I’m not sure he truly understands. If he understood, he wouldn’t refuse to leave his room and demand I come to his room to answer questions on days like today.

These days, Jonathan spends most of his time outside gardening while I do the house chores, cooking, animal chores, and take care of the kids after work. In the morning, Jonathan sleeps for 3hrs after I wake up to get the kids and myself ready for school.(This doesn’t bother me, however, because Jonathan is in a rotten mood in the mornings) I’m hoping Jonathan’s garden endeavors pay off in much lower grocery bills this summer. I’m hoping that I’m not stretching myself thin and dealing with everything on my own just so Jonathan can dig in the yard.

The Pastry Incident of 2015

Today has been one of those days. It was raining, a severe pain day, and a face-palm worthy 14hr work day. Goodness.

Fortunately, I got to work from home after 5P so I came home. I was hungry and ate a somewhat stale cherry turnover as a snack. It tasted ok after a few seconds in the microwave, but it was clear why the turnover was nearing it’s date with the trashcan.

Jonathan brought Luke home from math tutoring about 30min later. Luke ran upstairs and immediately started rummaging through the trash frantically.

“My treat! There’s no treat! My favorite treat is gone!”, Luke yelled.

I asked Luke what he was talking about. Turns out, I had eaten the last cherry turnover…LUKE’S cherry turnover.

“I can’t believe you ate it!”, Luke shouted as his face turn red and his eyes welled with tears.

“I’m sorry, honey. I didn’t know it was yours.”

“Yes you did! I didn’t get any! You knew it was mine!”

“No. I really did not know it was yours. If I did I would have saved it for you.”

“Thanks a lot! There is nothing to eat. You ruined everything!” Luke yelled as he stormed down the hall. He slammed his bedroom door and flopped on the bed sobbing.

Yes, folks. I ruined everything in Luke’s life by eating a discounted, semi-stale pastry. Being 12 is hard.

Weird Day is Weird

Today has been…weird.

There’s a 6′ long garden snake trapped in the wall of my house.

BigDog is suddenly refusing to allow me to put him on the runner chain in our yard. He insists on being loose which wouldn’t be a big deal if he stopped annoying the neighbors by running through their yards and getting into their trash. BigDog’s penchant for roaming and his trash adventures are the reason we put him on a runner chain in the first place.

Luke did his homework without having a huge meltdown.

Everyone in the house was asleep by 9P except me (I’m usually the first to fall asleep because I wake up at 5A). Even Jonathan was asleep in spite of his insomnia.

Since I’m eating only very soft foods, the TMJ flare feels like it is beginning to subside. Hopefully it won’t go on much longer so I can go back to eating crisp, fresh, fruits and veggies. I miss apples, pears, carrots, cucumbers…even kale; all of which require more chewing than TMJ currently permits.

For the past 2 days, I’ve had a break from exhaustion-level fatigue. Of course I feel some fatigue, but I don’t need to lie in bed for an hour after work just to function in the evening.

Chronic Illness = Constant Choices

I’m having a nasty TMJ flare. The sort of flare were I can’t open my mouth completely because of the swelling around my mandibular joint.

I know a cortisone shot will solve the pain, stiffness, swelling, severe headaches, and tinnitus. However, a cortisone shot will also make it look as though someone has punched me in the jaw. Plus, the rheumatology appointment and shot will cost nearly $100 after insurance which is money that I don’t have this month.  So… a cortisone shot is not in my future unless my mandibular joint swells so severely I can no longer open my mouth (which has happened before).

Right now, my TMJ game plan is to keep taking meds (now that I finally have meds) and eat soft foods or foods that do not require chewing to rest my jaw. Hopefully, this strategy will work, the swelling will decrease, and I’ll be able to eat and speak normally again without getting a cortisone shot. Fingers crossed.

One more week until I can buy guaifenesin to start guaifenesin protocol for fibromyalgia. Since guaifenesin is over the counter, I’m hoping it helps significantly since the pharmacy has a penchant for screwing up my meds regularly. That’s how I got into this TMJ predicament in the first place.

This is what it’s like to have a chronic illness without being independently wealthy. I must constantly choose between getting a treatment I need, but could probably survive without, and having enough money to support myself and 3 other people. I don’t know how people without health insurance do it.

whining about pain from work

At work. In a ridiculous amount of pain and there is nothing I can do about it. TMJ is causing my jaw to swell so I can’t open my mouth very well or without intense pain. No eating for me! Now I have a raging headache from the jaw pain and not eating. Today sucks. It’s super hard to focus on work with pain this severe. Sigh…

The Impact of the Awful Pharmacy

Spending a week or more without the meds I had been taking has had some interesting side effects. Along with the typical withdraw symptoms of shaking, sweating, nausea, and headaches, I’ve experienced a migraine, insomnia, night terrors, severe pain, and – the worst so far – a TMJ flare.

I deal with pain and weird symptoms daily (as regular readers know), so the withdraw symptoms were uncomfortable, but I’m accustom to feeling uncomfortable which made the symptoms tolerable. I haven’t had night terrors in years and I chalk the night terrors up to suddenly being without Lexapro (an antidepressant). Mess with your brain chemistry, the brain comes up with some weird stuff.

The TMJ flare has several causes. I ran out of pain and anti-inflammatory meds which caused widespread body pain which, unfortunately, caused me to unintentionally clench my teeth. Clenching teeth aggravates TMJ. Going off pain and anti-inflammatory meds which allowed the TMJ symptoms to worsen. So, for the past week, I’ve had intense jaw pain, severe daily headaches, ringing in my ears, and an oddly swollen face. On top of all that – I’ve had insomnia since the jaw, ear, and headache pain are just out of control.

In summary, the awful pharmacy has really screwed up two weeks of my life because they just decided not to refill or send my meds. They’re now calling their mistake a “clerical error”. Clerical error my ass.

The Awful Pharmacy Supervisor

I went to the pharmacy as soon as it opened this morning. I picked up the meds that the pharmacy claimed to have shipped but had not actually shipped. The meds were “returned to stock” because I “waited too long to pick them up”. I was so angry. I’d called check the status of my meds every 2-3 days. The pharmacy only told me the meds had not been shipped and were returned to stock yesterday during my 4th follow up call.

I tried to speak to a supervisor. A woman appeared from the back of the pharmacy and treated me like a rambling lunatic. She was condescending, sarcastic and rude. She raised her voice so the other patients in line behind me could hear her list my medications. She shouted the name of the antidepressant especially loud. I raised my voice to equal hers so all the patients in line could hear what was really going on. I’m not ashamed that I need medication to function or that I have chronic illnesses. I’m not ashamed that I take antidepressants for the crushing fatigue that accompanies fibromyalgia. I live this life 24/7 and could not care less if strangers in the pharmacy line know.

The pharmacy supervisor resolved nothing. She told me I was calling the wrong number, that I shouldn’t use online refills, that I should only request one refill at a time…a bunch of bogus information that the pharmacy has contradicted in past interactions. She just made nonsense excuses to get me to leave.

Visiting the pharmacy was an awful way to start the day. I was late to a meeting at work because it took over 45min for the pharmacy supervisor to speak to me. I was the 2nd patient in line when the pharmacy opened so the wait was absurd. The pharmacy’s incompetence is negatively affecting my health, but I literally have no alternative. It’s like being trapped in an abusive relationship. I can choose not to take the meds I need or choose to deal with the pharmacy and both choices are dreadful.

When I finally got to my car, I felt like crying from sheer frustration and anger. How is treating a patient like this even remotely acceptable? Just…how???