Thursday, August 25, 2011

Freddy Krueger

Hi y'all.  Long time, eh?  Guess I've been a busy girl since my latest LIBERATION attempt.  That must be it.  Out paintin' the town ya know.  Workin' on my top ten list of things I wanna get to do this go 'round.  She must be busy takin' her boys to Holiday World.  Nah.  Ridin' horses?  Nah.  Playin' basketball?  Volleyball?  Swimming?  Dancin'?  Bakin' a cake then.  How 'bout that?  Surely she could manage that.  No?  Maybe she went to walk the mall and got lost then?  Ha!  No such luck this time my friends.

So what's she been up to then?  I believe the high school basketball program read at one time up to 5'10" but I'm way closer to 5'8" on a good day.  And now Oompa Loompa's tower me from my handy dandy wheelchair.  But seriously I've filled this 1st month post procedure with nothing but being a big sissy.  And I don't mean Amelia's bigger, older sister.  Quite frankly I mean I've been a whiny over-sized chicken shit!  And that my friends is a hard truth for this Orth girl to swallow.

I've never really thought of my self as scared of much of anything 'til now.  Bees and wasps I suppose whilst out mowing or riding horses.  Big hairy spiders maybe.  (Little ones too, as size is relative, especially to little girls screaming for their daddy's help.)  Snakes longer than your riding mower.  Yeh.  All very real entities just like the end of the world and Freddy Krueger.  C'mon now . . . what's not scary about them?  The end of the world - self explanatory, right?  Saw a movie.  Heard of end times from the Bible.  Are you ready?  Still scary!

And as for Mr.  Krueger.  Jinkies!  He scared/scares the holy hell outta me.  To this very day I still don't even wanna see pictures of that child molesting burned up nightmare jackin' living dead bastard.  The whole idea terrified/terrifies me.  You don't know Fred?  Well if you are over 18 - you're about to.  [spoiler alert]  Ha.  Or should I say the following content is not meant for audiences under the age of, blah, blah, blah.  You get my point.  Back story.  So the parents of some kids this guy molested and or murdered got together and went all vigilante and burned him in a big wood burning furnace.  Nothing you or I wouldn't have done (or do) if anything like that ever happ'n to our kiddos, right?  Right.

But Fred comes back.  Not like 'ol Shadrack and his boys from the Bible.  Three men didn't go in and four weren't seen inside.  (Yes, prolly my favorite Bible story of alllll time!)  His remains, well, remained.  He however was showing up in all the elder kids' dreams.  Long gruesome story made short he'd show up whilst they were sleeping and kill them and others of them while they were sleeping.  Redundant much?  Yes.  Dying in yer sleep.  C'mon already.  I already had enuff trouble trying to sleep worrying about the end of the world.

Anyways, maybe I was a chicken shit, or at the very least had chicken shit tendencies.  I just never really considered myself as scared.  If the house was ever broke into I had an escape plan.  Too much information yet?  I knew were all my Daddy's guns and ammo were and I knew (know) how to use 'em.  If I could make it to the cabinet that was my first stop.  And then out back to the barn to hide and assess my situation unless of course that is where they had parked earlier to hide out until Dad left for work or G'pa left the fields.

Next move would depend on the season and on what was planted in the field next to us.  If fleeing from the front of the house and corn had been planted and was tall enuff I intended to high-tail it thru there up to G-pa's.  I knew/know where his guns are too.  Doubt in this scenario tho that I'd get to be the one wieldin 'em.  Plan B.  Beans or milo wouldn't allow for much cover tho, so if that had been the case I'd have had to cross the road and run the tree line to our other neighbors Denny and Debbie's.  This was also my winter plan.

Sooooo, maybe I was scared.  Didn't feel like it tho.  Know why?  'Cause I had a plan.  MORE ON THIS LATER.  For now on to more scary stuff:  lock yer doors yet?  What ever you do - don't fall asleep!  Seriously tho what I consider truly being scared is having absolutely no control over something.  For example Dad's surgery in Cleveland.  My mom, sister, aunt and I sat in the waiting room waiting (of course waiting, what else?) to hear how Dad's super risky - Evansville wouldn't even touch him anymore - quadruple bypass had went.  We were told they would call the phone on the desk with updates.

The phone rings.  And who of the four of us gets up to get it?  ME.  And why?  I  may not have been able to control how the surgery was going but if it was to be bad news I sure as hell could control how that news got to the three others that loved him the most in this entire world.  So although the situation was indeed scary just as it woulda been had our house been stormed by 'bad' guys wanting to steel our big screen and murder us - some how it was all okay cause I had a plan.  Bizzarro enuff for ya?  Then quit reading already!  Geeesh!

Years later, Dad dying . . . again scary, but we'd talked.  Made plans.  Dad was ready.  I was more scared for Mom and Amelia than anything.  Sooo, speaking of them two hooligans they've prolly been the ones to scare me the most lately.  Mom of course losing her leg and nearly dying.  Had no control over any of that cause I was so selfishly wrapped up in myself, remember?  Cried and prayed all the way home from ATL as Jason made record time getting us back.  But you can read allll about that back a few entries -- there will be a test on it later.  Winner gets a 3ooM.

On to Amelia then.  It wasn't her that scared me exactly - it was her beautiful little nearly newborn girl.  Not sure how long they'd been home from the hospital and back we went.  Amelia driving and me in the back with Arlissa.  Her color just wasn't right.  So we were off to emergency.  I won't make you wait for the outcome.  She stayed overnight, came home just fine, fast forward 5 stunningly beautiful years and she's now ridin' her new pony all over Creation and going to kindergarten.  You go girl!

Where was I?  At a horse show getting a sunburn under the tent?  Yeh, but with my blog.  Oh yeh.  I had been blessed with 2 strong healthy boys.  The 1st after over 30 hrs. of labor and the second 1 month early, but both praise the Lord haven't had anything but a cold or flu or two.  I tried to stay all calm, reassuring and such for Amelia at her baby girl's ER visit, BUT truth be told it was horrific.  Seeing baby girl so tiny on that table and Amelia wide eyed and pale.  There was nothing I could do.  Not even a plan damnit.

Alas we'd over reacted.  Before the night was over the hospital she ended up at was fulll . . . of her family and loved ones.  I bet they'd never seen such a crowd for one little baby and an over reaction.  I guess I'd  done something after all.  As I prayed that Arlissa be okay I prayed too for Amelia to have all the support she needed.  GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS PEOPLE! She was and she did.  Amen.  Where was I going with all this anyways?  Who knows?  Not this girl.  Maybe it's time for a proofread then, try and get back on track.

Proofreading done.  Some spelling issues, but some words I like better spelled my way anyways.  So take that spells checker!  Anyways I titled this entry Freddy Krueger 'cause I wanted to write about things that scare me.  And right this very second just as I've been since returning from my latest LIBERATION attempt - I AM SCARED!!!  Hell, today I might have even graduated from scared to skeert.  For those of you not from around here - skeert is even scarier than scared.  Worse yet?  SKEERT in all caps.  Just sayin' . . .

So here I lay.  Back in the hospital.  What of the future?  What indeed!  Thank God our house is big enuff we don't have to go upstairs.  Like putting a puzzle together.  A few fancy maneuvers later, help from Granny and Papa and . . . bed down stairs?  Check.  Bed side commode.  Check.  Shower chair.  Check.  Wheel chair.  Check.  Scooter on the way.  Check.  A plan?  Not really.  I gotta accept all this first.  Yeh, it's takin' awhile.  I'm an Orth, remember?  So what if I've had it 11 years now.  "So what?" Pink wails.  I only used to think I had it.  I only use to think I felt bad.  I was wrong.  I got 'er now tho y'all.

For long term readers then you know my father-in-law is always saying he doesn't hear the fat lady singing.  The other day ladies and gentlemen, I told him she was half way thru her first verse and fixin' to start the chorus.  Ha!  Maybe then we could all join in with her.  Any who, I hate to disappoint him, but I may need to throw in the towel on this whole getting better idea and focus what very little energy I have left on just stickin' around. 

And I know I keep saying 'just one more try' and then I'll focus on nothing but my boys, BUT this time I mean it.  Seriously.  Help me keep to it friends.  OK?  You have my permission from here on out to just bitch slap me if I should stray from the path.  No need to worry about retaliation as you can surely take a step back from my wheelchair and escape.  So here's the latest plan:

Stay put in the hospital as long as they'll have me.  Rehab after if they'll have me.  Follow-up with last LIBERATION doc.  If block is back I'll get stents.  And dare I say it?  Get better.  If block is open --- gotta start the whole acceptance game.  So either way, life must go on.  I'll get better or I won't.  Can't control that now can I?  What I can control however is how I handle it and move forward.  Rather it be in a chair or on two very sexy legs.  Just sayin' . . . 

Thanks to everybody still reading and especially to those who put up with me everyday.  I love you all!  You know who you are.  <3 <3 <3 <3

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Meat and Potatoes

We walked (wellllll, you got me - Jason walked and I glided along in front of him in my handy dandy wheelchair). Ha! Nothin' like starting a blog out with a lie. I promise to keep all tall tales to a minimum from this point forward. Anyways, we went from the third floor of our swanky motel across a walkway and into the third floor of the North Campus of the hospital.

Forgive me for lack of details as this doc is only serving a few patients, BUT he is serving them well. This guy cares y'all! CARES I tell ya! And why do I know this? He had me on the table for just over 3 hours. 3 HOURS I said, but let me get back to the beginning. Okay? Okay! After finishing my last blog entry I visited the potty and was whisked away to LIBERATION Land, we'll call it.

Our swanky hotel only got swankier as we found our way to the hospital. I wore my America's Next Top Model "T" and black capri sweats. And Jason had on his torn Carhartt jeans and faded out maroon company issued polo. A bleach spill on the front – no biggie – today was to be about comfort. Out of place much? Yeh. I felt like I was lost in the White House. Marble d├ęcor, regal executive blue and gold carpeting – nice place, we covered that already tho, eh?

On with it then. We asked directions at an info desk just once. Then we were greeted immediately at Interventional Radiology, gave some insurance info and waited all of maybe 5 minutes before nurse Jim came to get me. Can I get a, "Yeehaw!" y'all? Things was going good. No time for a before video. Oh well. These peeps were all business. I'm cool with that. Very cool! Not cold tho – I DO NOT NEED A WARM BLANKET – thank you very much.

Huh? I tend to shiver or shake or spasm uncontrollably when nervous. And everyone and their brother wanted to bring me a warm blanket. Nice but HEAT WILL KILL ME! Anyways, during this prep time I undress and 'gown up' as I've come to call it. Again with the stretching of the truth. Jason undressed and gowned me. HE IS THE MAN! Jealous ladies? It's okay. You should be. Hehehehehe. I LOVE YOU, BABY!

Carry on nurse Jim. Commence with the standard questioning. No I don't have dentures. Do you have dentures? Funny guy tho cause he asked if I had kicked my marijuana habit. Jeez 'o Pete, ummmm, uh, yes I guess I had. Especially considering I've never partaken of the wacky tobaccey. Funny guy. I don't drink or smoke or do drugs but that marijuana – I'm alllll over that – NOT! Had a girlfriend in high school that was, but that perhaps is a blog entry for another time. Anywhooooo . . .

The doc comes in to be sure I hadn't come up with any questions from last week's appt. and goes over his game plan. He's gonna look at the left jugular and azygous and definitely balloon the right jugular. Sounds good to me doc. Let's start this party! Are you cold he asks? Nah, just eager! And I think he may have been the only one in the entire building not to rant and rave about the availability of heated blankets. Smart man, I tell ya!

Exit doctor. And Jim commences his desperate search for an IV site. As Willie, my favorite character from Swamp People, says, "Well good luck to ya." He looked and looked and the clock was nearing 11. Guess what? My procedure was scheduled for 11. After one unsuccessful try he went to fetch some help. Bring in the cavalry, I'd thought. And boy did he. Nice enough woman nurse but geesh! I would preferred Jimmy give it another couple of gos.

I refer to her as woman nurse cause she didn't give her name. She said she wasn't gonna give it 'cause that way I couldn't complain about her later. I thought she'd been a jokester like Jim but after our meeting concluded I had mixed emotions. She stuck me, ummmm, I believe it was four times. And I'm not even bitching about the number of times. It was the darned location! Square in the middle of my pee pickin' wrist. In all my years of IV'n . . . I NEVER . . . nor will I ever again. HAVE MERCY, that hurt.

30 + hours of labor, 2 C-sections, a bladder reconstruction complete with bladder spasms, being thrown from various horses, having my feet stomped by, yes, prolly those very same horses, getting a concussion having a basketball slammed into my head, getting rear-ended in a car accident – none of these things hurt nearly as bad as that woman nurse going in both, yes both of my wrists and fishing both aggressively and unsuccessfully for an IV site.

Was it my screaming, moaning or yelping in pain that prompted Jim's return? O.K. - I didn't really scream but tears were flyin' and teeth were grinding. The second wrist hurt the worst. Thank you, God for only giving me two. Seriously, I'd been praying for strength and veins since Jim informed me in the beginning of this ordeal that I musta left my veins at home. So now as bad as I wanted this procedure, needed it even, I was considering telling them thanks for their time but I was READY to go home. Seriously? Yes, seriously.

So then Jim decides to assist the woman nurse. They think maybe they've found one. They do this one together. The underside of my right arm between my elbow and my wrist. I begin to shed tears of joy. I even say, "Praise Jesus!" out loud and proud. And then they leave the room. Woman nurse returns and I thank her. She manages a "mmmhmm," and exits. Enter Jim shaking his head no. Then he exits and Jason approaches. And he shakes his head no too. I say, "What's everybody shaking their heads for?"

Jason tells me it ain't lookin' good. Well what's HE know, I'd thought to myself. And then Jim re-enters to find Jason eyeballing the site and Jim reaches across me to show Dr. Spindler the site is failing. "See how the fluid is bunching up outside of the vein?" Jim asks. Well duh. Of course he sees it. He's been around the block with me a time or two or 10 or 200. Anyways, had I not still been writhing in pain from the last wrist stick I'd have prolly known it hadn't worked too. As noon approached more tears followed as I couldn't help but wonder if I'd be able to get my procedure at all now. Please God, I need your help!

During this lull in time I got to meet Paul who introduced himself as my photographer. Very nice guy. Very talkative. We talked sports. Why, I dunno. Surely I can't after all these years still appear to be an athlete of some sort. Of course not, nah, he was just tryin' to somehow connect to a girl from Indiana. So you must be a Colts fan? Nah. Pacers? Nah. NEW YORK JETS! Well, how does an Indiana girl come to like a New York team? And with that the pain in my wrist started to subside.

And then Jim introduces me to my new nurse, Albert. It was no big deal when Jim said his name, but when Albert said, "Hi. I'm Albert." Again with the waterworks already. For those of you who truly know me you'll completely understand, but I lost it at this point. I flashed to my cousin Albert's face looking down upon me and smiling, just as the nurse was doing during his introduction. He looked perplexed. I bet the poor guy thought he'd done been assigned to a looney tune.

Why on Earth would such a warm welcome hello result in tears? A blog entry for another day I suppose. Or maybe not. I will say I miss you Albert, prolly my most funnest, favoritist cousin ever when I was only a little tree climber. Aggravated the crap outta me he could always go higher. Just sayin' . . .

Anyways, back to the vampires. I mean nurses. Finally just before 12, a whole hour past when my procedure was scheduled, they decided I was to be medicated/sedated after access to my femoral vein. The plan was to lightly sedate me via oral meds first. Yippeeeee! If only they'd have thought about a little sumthin' for anxiety nearer to the beginning. Finally some good news. I'd have gotten up and danced a jig if I could have. So Jason kisses me and assures me it'll all be fine and he'll see me in a little bit. My God I love this man!

Then Paul, Albert and myself sashay down the hall to the LIBERATION lounge let's call it. Paul introduces me to zillions of other technicians as they hurriedly prep and or fuss with whatever it is they are there to do. And in comes another nurse to get an IV started. WHAT THE HELL? Paul explains to her yadda, yadda, yadda about oral meds and she explains to him that my doc will not do it that way. Yikes! Will not, eh? Even after what I'd already been thru? Don't make me get off this table lady!

The woman nurse from earlier had already said if she couldn't get me I couldn't be got. And I sure didn't want her back in on this. More tears Angela? Really? No doubt dehydrated, I had no idea how producing any more tears was even possible at this point. She stuck me. A swing and a miss. "We'll try the other arm," she said. Yeh, ummmm, I'd heard that before but I at least liked this one's style. Stick and go. If ya didn't get it, move on. NO FISHING! And especially no violent deep wrist fishing. Pleeeeeeaaaase, God. Please.

And with stick number two and photographer Paul and nurse Albert's confirmations I was successfully IVed up and ready for prepping. Again with the waterfalls gushing from my eyes. I praised God again out loud and thanked the nurse who had finally won the war. I told Paul I thought maybe it would take 8 times since that is Mark Sanchez's number. (Jets' Quarterback for the non-sports fans out there.) But I sure was grateful it had happened in 7. "Seven sticks?" the successful nurse asked, her eyes nearly popping outta her head. No way she'd have ever let anybody stick her that many times. Huh, well, yeh. Me either. But what else was I supposed to do?

Sticky heart monitoring placements, a sexy cap (specially made for me Albert says), oxygen on, area sterile and we are a go. Huh? I still ain't got no meds y'all. I can feel it ALLLLL. And hear it all. Thank God I couldn't see it too. Well, I prolly could've had I kept my eyes open but a girl's gotta draw the line somewhere. So I listen as my doc directs the learning doc on how to begin. Details, details. Questions. Answers. And then a little silence and I ask, "Should I be awake for this?"

Immediately Albert is at my side asking if I need anything for pain. And although I wasn't really hurting, at least no more than normal, I promptly replied, "Yes, please!" I prayed this would put me to sleep. I knew the left side was picture perfect and the right was … "a problem," he said. "We'll figure this out," I remember the doc saying. Oh my God! Ummmm, Albert? You still there? And sleep.

Then in what seemed like no time at all I woke feeling someone or something on the outside of my neck. Huh? Where was I and what was going on? Maybe they were done and were doing an ultrasound to check flow. Or not. Once awake enuff the doc explains to me he was going to be entering from above the blockage too. HUH? Was he asking permission or what? This my friends I'd never heard of and had done no research on whatsoever. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Oh my indeed! Oh my God they were going in and I was still awake. Still awake I say. God? Albert? Somebody? Anybody. Pleeeeeaaaase knock my ass out! I bet the woman nurse from earlier woulda had she been there. Just sayin' . . .

So what seemed like seconds but were actually hours later I awoke to good docs voice explaining it had been a tough one but that he got thru. Through as in finished or through as in past the block – I dunno. But I was relieved to have been blessed with sleep thru most of it, either way. So as the doc exits telling me he'd share the good news with my husband and me later I ask Albert how things really went. I reckon my cousin Albert woulda gave it to me straight and thankfully so did this one.

He told me I hadn't really rested until he'd given me a healthy dose of benedryl. Thank you kind sir. And thank you benedryl. So "the parts I missed," he said the doc would go over with me in detail with my husband but he could report that it had been after all that time – wait for it – wait for it – a success! Praise the Lord! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus! Amen! Unhooked and unharnessed we made our triumphant return to wince we started. And the hubs looked relieved. Had he been nervous? Should I be then?

And before I could question him or him me, in comes the doctor. He apologizes to Jason immediately for it having taken so long. Soooo long? What the hell time was it? 4? After 4? WHAT? So let's start on the left. The left looked good. No treatment needed. Small abnormalities in the azygous so he ballooned that a few different places which by the way, for those following the whole story, I'd never had done before. Sidenote: This left me very excited about possible new improvements.

And finally the meat and potatoes. The right jugular was not only severely narrowed as the earlier ultrasound indicated, but just at the collar bone apparently it had closed off completely. For the mathematicians out there that'd mean 100% blockage. 100%. You hear me? Sooooo. He said he almost gave up trying to get thru at all but decided to try coming in thru the top down as well as from the bottom up. Made me think of a teeter totter. Up down up down up down.

Looking exhausted but relieved he explained that once he'd finally gotten thru he ballooned the area to 14mm vs. the 12mm I had done in Atlanta. So he'll see me back in a month and should it be blocked again we may have to re-visit having a stent placed. Yadda, yadda, yadda. I'd done well he told Jason. And after we both thanked him and he had left the room, I told Jason that the doc had done well! What kinda doc woulda took allllllllll that time and worked so hard to get thru that occlusion? Praise God! And praise Dr. _________! Thought I was gonna slip and tell ya, heh?

Next up was to lay flat. I've got that down cold my friends. Problem was tho I'd been laying flat on my back perfectly still for nearly 7 hours already. And they wanted four more? Uhhhhhh!?! Albert's pain meds and benedryl had completely ceased to work by 5. And in come the shakes. All I could think of was how that couldn't be good on my newly opened jugular. Could a girl at least get a Tylenol up in here? I know I got Advil in my purse. Just sayin'. Fast forward thru an hour or so more of moanin' and groanin' and in no time at all we had returned to Hotel Swankville and were discussing our dinner options.

Calls home were made and pizza was ordered. Had I made it in time for the Project Runway premiere? More on that later. "Make it work!"

Meat and Potatoes

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Make it work.

No Food Or Drink After Midnight

Sooooo, I may have had to shut down my nervous eating and drinking last night but shutting off my brain was a whole 'nother issue. After a late Applebee's dinner fetched by my gorgeous husband and served to me in bed, we curled up and caught up on episodes of Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, and Suits. "Pleeeeeaaaaase, can we watch just one more?" I begged at 11:57 p.m.

"No," replied the hubs. And although I immediately deployed my puppy dog eyes and pugged lips, he continued, "You need to try and get some sleep. You've got a big day tomorrow." A short silence followed as I contemplated whether or not to commence further conversation on the subject. Hmmmpf. Guess he was right. (Don't tell him tho, okay?) With that followed kisses g'night and my listening to him fall asleep. Sleep well my knight in shining armor. I LOVE YOU!

What next? Prayers of course. And tears. Emotional much? Yeh, wellllll, sue me. I had a come apart – aka breakdown, earlier this week when I'd become too hot and was consequently rendered a complete invalid. Scary shit. Heat intolerance is no joke. The well lit room I found myself in went dark. I like to call these 'dark moments' as a homage to Dexter's dark passenger. Only difference is I don't kill people – hehehehe . . . inside joke! Sorry.

Anyways, everything stopped working. I seriously wonder if that experience is anything like actually dying. Morbid stuff, heh? Sorry again. But I go there from time to time. MSers on Facebook droppin' like flies, my condition worsening . . . I go there. Can't help it. Again, sue me. Where was I? Ah yes. Prayers. Got a call from Aunt Ann earlier. She wanted to wish me well and let me know our entire church gathered around the alters in prayer for me this evening. Again, I began to cry and she assured me everything was gonna be alright.

Soooo in my prayers I always try to thank God for stuff first before I ask for anything. Harder and harder to do these days. Selfish hussy! After my usual rounds of thanking God for all those near and dear to me and praying for each of them – everyone at Pt. Township Church included tonight – I found myself greedily asking/hoping for all that I'd been blessed with after my last procedure. The mantra has been that we want the same good stuff this time – we just want it to last longer.

But guess what sports fans? I've gotten MUCH worse than I was before the first procedure. MUCH, MUCH, MUCH worse. Not to mention since then Msers have died. Some from MS and one weighing especially heavy with me who died just after her procedure. Sure she may have had other stuff going on they say, BUT that other stuff may be the same as my other stuff. Who knows really? Point being there is risk!

How dare I be asking to walk again when I should be asking to survive it. I should be asking to see my boys again. I should be asking that my family not be hurt by my having made the decision to risk my life trying to get better. How dare I be so shallow! God's will, Angela! God's will! How 'bout don't ask for anything. Just be thankful for what you have. I am already so blessed. As bad as I may feel there are always people worse. Always indeed but that doesn't really make things better now does it? Nooooo! No indeed! Jeez 'o Pete. Worse even! Thanks for that Angela! And with that I had to wake up the hubs and ask him not to forget to say his prayers.

And you know what that goober did? He recited word for word the prayers the boys say each night. "As I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep . . . Amen." Not exactly what I'd had in mind but adorable all the same. And then a moment later he assured me he prayed for me every night. And I'm sure he does. Just as sure as I am that I thank the Lord for him each and every time I pray. And in no time at all he was back asleep. Grrrrrrr . . . lucky sucker!

I couldn't sleep. My mind was racing. Football sign-ups are upon us. Will I be able to go to practices this year? Games? How? Greedy? Shouldn't it just be enuff that I am blessed with two healthy boys that are able to play football? Damnit Angela! Thank Him and move along already. So fast forward thru hours upon hours of this kind of thought. Unable to toss and turn even. Weak ass loser. Lay still and get over it. Eventually I suppose I musta fell asleep 'cause here I am – just now awake and askin' for a Coke and my lap top.

SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP! It's a new day!

But, geesh, this fat girl is thirsty! For what? Ice cold Coca-Cola my friends. The very same drink she is giving up this very day. And the very same drink whose sexy red and white 2-liter exterior is at this very moment beginning to glisten from the newly risen sun peeking in the tiny crack between the lush drapes hanging in our swanky hotel room this beautiful morning . . . this beautiful morning that God has made.

This beautiful morning given to us by Him – where miracles are plentiful, and especially so today of all days. Why on Earth should I be frettin' over a Coke when I'm zero sleeps and only a couple of hours away from a potential life changing procedure? Jeez 'o Pete I gotta lot on my mind. What'd I ever do before I discovered blogging as a way to release all this, ummmm, errrrr, ehhhh, CRAP for lack of a better word? I gotta blog before I explode.

What else is on yer mind, Angela? What else could there possibly be? Well, I'm so glad you asked! There's a whole heck of alot I tell ya! There are even more wayward thoughts rattling around up there than there are pesky lesions left by my MonSter friend – multiple sclerosis. Yeh, let's focus for a tic on the subject at hand instead of blathering on as I'm know to do about with goofy poems, lists, analogies and such. FOCUS!

MS sux. Neigh. I mean CCSVI. After all, with my whole heart and soul I believe it is to blame for my MS. It seems to me without a shadow of a doubt that if the freeway that's supposed to take blood from your brain back to your heart is blocked with construction or cluttered with stop lights like the Lloyd it would make absolutely perfect sense, at least to me, that it would be the primary reason blood was being forced to hangout in said brain and wreak havoc whilst waiting on an exit ramp.

So okay I can't write but so many words without spewing forth an analogy of some sort. My baaaad. How bout a poem then to pass the time 'til LIBERATION? Roses are red. Violets are blue. I'm wasting time. And if yer still reading – so are you! Good one, heh? Could you tell that's all I've been up to is wasting time? Will 10 o'clock ever get here? Anxious much?

I WANT THIS SOOOO BAAAAAAD! Pray for me people! Right now, pleeeeeaaaase! And I'll pray for you. Lord please help the people that have read my blog this far. Please give them something better to do with their lives. Cure them of the boredom of which they clearly must suffer. Hehehehe. I tried to make a funny. So what have I left out of this blog entry? "Nothing, Angela, nothing at all," you say – desperately hoping that I will conclude this installment and put you out of yer misery.

And alas, maybe that is what I should do. Put 'er to bed as they say . . . nah. I got nearly an hour to go and, ahhhh yes, I've yet to include a list. So here ya go:
Top 10 things Need Fixin'
Number 10 - This frickin' "HUG" needs to go the frig away.
Number 9 - I wanna go to the potty alllll by myself like a big girl.
Number 8 – Ahhhhh, screw it . . . Number 1 – I wanna walk!

I'm over it. Maybe I'll make another sad ass before video. But I'm getting' off here. Time is dwindling. If these are my last moments should I be spending them blogging. Noooooo! Pray for me, k? I love you all! Peace out!

Friday, June 3, 2011

more f'ball

    Adele's whaling, "we could have had it allllll . . ." and I can't help but think we could have too if it weren't for this damned MS. Grrrrr! Just made it to the last day of football camp. Barely. Overslept. Lost keys. Struggled hoisting gimp leg in the truck. Once in – gimp locked in a spasm. "No time to get help, Angela!" says the loud ass Orth girl in my head. "Go! Go! Go!"

    I throw my right leg aside and go for it with my left. Yikes! Reverse goes ok but I don't back as far as I need to. Screw it. No time. We gently go forward over a bit of the front yard. Just a bit, Jason. Promise, Baby. Plenty of room between us and the light post – promise. Foot on brake. Shift to drive. Relatively smooth, maybe a bit too much for the small bit of road we have before the stop sign at Smith Rd. So where'd the brake go? Wham! A complete stop prolly five feet or so before the sign courtesy of my overzealous, underexperienced left leg.

    Anywhoooo, long overly exaggerated, super ultra edge of your seat dramatic story made short - Asa survived the heart attack he says I nearly gave him, we took a different route, and arrived unscathed (at least physically) at 7:58 as the other campers were marching out of the locker room. "Lousy Mom!" yelled the voice in my head as Asa instructed me to stop right where I was so he could get out. "Now, Mom, now!" he demanded, "I still gotta get my equipment!" Ask and ye shall receive my son! Wham! This truck has phenomenal brakes.

    Once stopped, I began undoing my seatbelt to open my door and let Abe outta the back. Cha, right Momma! Think again. Like Abe is gonna wait on my slow fumbling ass to operate both the seat belt and the door. Luckily, Asa, sensing his little bro's urgency, allowed for his exit too before slamming his door shut. Shew! That could've gone real bad. Thank you Lord for looking out for us!

    So as Asa has turned to alert the coaches that he has arrived, Abel says to me all meek and whiny, "Mom, they've already took attendance." Nearly in tears myself at this point, I somehow muster a reassuring smile and retort, "It's okay, Baby. They see you're here." And again, thankfully, he trots off to join the others in line as Asa climbs the truck bed to retrieve his pads and helmet. Once Asa catches up with Abe they kick things into higher gear passing some of the other campers destined for the dust bowl. Ahhh, the Spindler boys – here comes Thunder and Lightning - eager and excited to give it their all . . . Momma may be weak and hurtin' but she sure is proud!

    Next stop – handicapped parking. Same spot I had all week. Seat back, computer on and who's that sexy guy in the Durango checkin' me out? What's this? He's walking over here to me. My first thought was that I looked like Hell. Of all days, I hadn't even brushed my teeth this morning. Oh my goodness! Had I forgot to put on my shirt? What's a disheveled, crippled girl like myself supposed to do at this point? "Smile back at the sexy man," says the voice in my head. And I did. No harm in a little flirting . . .

    With my uber sexy husband, that is! I knew it was him the entire time, goobers! Anyways, he brought me breakfast and some cash so I could buy the boys some ice cream to celebrate their last day. I love him soooooo much. It's no secret I'm a very lucky girl in the husband department. Thanks for the Pepsi, the biscuit, and the cold hard cash Sexy Man! <3 <3 <3 And thank you, God, for Jason. Amen.

    So . . . where were we? Where, that is, besides the high school parking lot? Gettin' out of the hospital? Right. Full of 'Roids, muscle relaxers and pain killers (as needed) I was home and couch bound. When I wasn't sleeping I was stewing about Mr. Billboard. What to do? What to do? Hmmmm . . . if only I'd had more steroids. Lucky billboard bastards. Anyways the abridged version goes a little sumthin' like this:

    I call them again and again and aside from each time being reminded I am no longer a member, they have no recollection of anything plus no bills even to refuse to pay. Huh? All this back and forth and refusing AND it's finally discovered, wellll, ummm, they are now claiming they don't even have anything to pay let alone refuse to pay. So at this point it's Aprilish and the procedure was in early Decemburrrrrrr people! Hello?! McFly are you there? Fine, I say. This info sure coulda been useful the umpteen times I'd called before. I now focus my rage on Atlanta. Had they not billed the insurance afterall? So help them God if they had not. Matter of fact, help us all!

    So I call the hubs to get their number and he refuses saying he'd handle it himself. Well lah-te-dah. Something about not wanting to burn bridges and such. Hopeful for another procedure. Blah, blah, blah. Fine. "Handle it," I say, 'cept this time I ask him to have them send it all to me so I can drag my sorry ass to the locally based Welborn HMO headquarters and hand deliver the bill to Mr. Billboard personally. So many conversations on the phone with this dude, I felt I needed to see his greasy face. Anyways, I did say abridged version, right? Yeh, then on we go.

    Jason talks to Atl again and they assure him everything had been sent. They'd be happy to send everything again but feared re-sending may confuse things and those result in non-payment. Etc, etc. And guess what else? They themselves had taken awhile to send out the bill, so they suggested that Welborn may too be struggling with a backlog. Guess what persistent bitch calls Welborn back and suggests such nonsense? Ah, yeh – this bitch! And they deny, deny, deny that that'd be the case.             Grrrrr! They do say tho that if indeed my place of service had actually sent a bill I should call back about every two weeks or so to check on it. Ummmm, so daily is overkill then, heh? I just can't help but think they get a bill marked PAID they immediately file it in the round filing receptacle – you know what I mean?

    Fast forward another month to May. So much other stuff had been going on. Outta painkillers, coming off the 'Roid high, and the muscle relaxers now failing to relax anything – the MS was baaaaaack. Meanwhile, my great aunt passed away. The flood water was threatening my Momma. So much so my sister and her kiddos even came to stay awhile after they'd helped evacuate all my g'pa's horses. It was scary people. But back to my point → I was distracted and thus laid off the insurance for a bit.

    And the hubs, instead of focusing on terrorizing Mr. Billboard for $ he knew we'd never see back, he began focusing on our new insurance and how wonderfully willing and speedily they had just paid nearly $10,000ish for my recent hospital stay. Whooopeeee! That's how insurance is supposed to work boys and girls. And with that revelation fresh in mind he began thinking maybe, just maybe there could be a paid for round two in his wife's near future. A phone call or two later, my appt. for round two in Atlanta was scheduled for May 11. And even more good news – the 2011 price for the procedure is only $7500. Yippee do. I could care about savings as we'd thought the ins. Would be taking care of this one.

    But hold on up there a tic partner! My $10,000 procedure in Dec. plus my $200 consultation fee in Nov., ummmm, WHERE THE SAM HELL IS MY REFUND??? $10,200 - $7,500 = $2,700. Math never was my strong suit, but I'm feelin' a bit cheated. Had I know the savings I sure as hell woulda waited a couple of weeks – just sayin'. Common sense people. Hello, McFly? Geesh!

    Having said all this I actually convinced the husband to call back. Wellll, he wanted to confirm the appt. anyways. Whatever happ'n, I dunno (memory's an issue, remember?). Good thing he'd called though 'cause we discovered another new policy since Dec. was that ALL patients pay in advance and they were no longer billing insurances. WHAT??? The only silver lining at this point was that we hadn't packed our bags yet. Grrrrr!

    Then one unsuspecting day after this jewel of knowledge we get notification in the mail that our good 'ol Billboard friends had paid on our freaky deaky Atl claim. Jason studies it awhile looking perplexed. And then passes it to me. 2000 sum odd bucks, my friends. Huge money, I know. Very nice since it was deemed both experimental AND out of network, but still no where near what we'd spent. And are y'all sittin' down? Way, way, way far away from what they'd actually been billed. I know I just used this silly remark in my last entry, but I feel like the re-telling of this situation calls for it even more loudly than before. HOLY SHIT, BATMAN!

    Whatever do you mean, Angela? Well, I'm glad you asked. Atlanta had billed Welborn 20,000ish. Oh my! In my pee brain, instead of being pissed at Welborn for grossly underpaying, I was more upset with Atl for arrogantly overbilling. "Prolly common practice," says the hubs. All I can think about is Atl and their new fancy corporate billing department re-billing us for the unpaid balance now. Scary, heh? And all the hubs can think about is whether or not Atl has received the $ yet and whether or not they'd be willing to just put it as a credit for round 2. So my super hubs calls and is damn near laughed at.

    Note to readers: It is not so smart to laugh at a man on a mission – especially if he's 6'2" and 300 lbs. A refund on the change of price? Ha! A credit for what your ins. Paid? Ha, again. This girl here would not be getting LIBERATED this May. Or ever in Atlanta if this was the way things were being ran these days.

    "Don't let this get you down," the hubs so lovingly says. Ohhhh, I ain't down, Baby . . . I am good 'ol fashioned pissed. Don't go and let yourself get those two confused. "What next then?" asks a friend. Hmmmmm? What indeed, I wonder to myself. But whatever it is – everything happens for a reason. God's plan, I tell ya. God's plan and God's time my friends. And until I know what that is I will trusr in Him and keep on keepin' on . . . or at least tryin' my damnedest to.

    So any thoughts, ummmm, and or donations -hehehehehehe- you know where to find me. Thanks for readin'.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Long time . . .

Well here I sit with the truck running so I can be in the air. Hard on the truck? Prolly. Bad for the environment? Surely. Keeping Angela alive? Absolutely.

Why on Earth are you sitting alone in the truck, Angela? It's true – very few circumstances get me off my couch these days, let alone out of my 68 degree home. Summer has begun, my friends and my men are in FOOTBALL CAMP! Yeeeeehaw! I love me some football! Just seein' my big man in full gear gives me chills.

Enuff to give the truck a rest? Hmmmm, afraid not. Oh, look! There they go. Right past the truck today, then past the field, beyond the tennis courts and on to the dust bowl. They took a different route on Tuesday. Anyways, it's quite the trek. I so wish I could go with them. See. Hear. Feel the crack-a-lackin'.

What am I bitchin' about now? Trophy wife all comfy in our truck? Seat laid back a bit. Air blastin'. Radio playin'. Laptop fired up. Why complain, right? Welllll, this wouldn't be my blog if I weren't bitchin' 'bout somethin', right? Don't get me wrong – I am blessed to still have as good of vision as I have, BUT it is hard as Hell to see all these healthy parents parading around here. How dare they parade! Not parading? Be-bopping then. Call it what you like. Walking perhaps? Whatever. I'm jealous. Thou shall not covet . . . hmmmpfh.

I'm sooo not the 'jelly' type. Never have been. Never! Never had a reason to be jealous. Always had the best. OK, wellll, even if I didn't – always thought I did. Am I being punished for that attitude now? Yikes! So not in the philosophical mood at this point. Nevermind. Let's get back to where we left off, shall we? It's been awhile. The entire month of May, for example, bang, zoom – gone! Did I leave you in March or April?

Any whoooo, I was in the hospital. That I remember. A special thank you to all who visited. Thanks to my boys for the ice cream. Ryan and Angel for the coloring book and crayons. And last but not least a shout out to Melissa for visiting. It was awesome to talk to you. We were tight in the first grade and tho we'd grown apart over time it was as if we'd stayed close. I pray your Dad is doing well and that your girls are enjoying their summer. It's clear you rock at what you do. Deaconess is lucky to have you. Keep up the good work!

As a matter of fact I was pretty impressed with all the hospital crew I encountered this time around. I used to play basketball with one of the therapists I had this time. She said it sure was weird seeing me this way after having played ball with me in high school. Imagine how I feel, my dear. Standing before her I had the terrible urge to get down in the defensive position and await her to make a cut for the basket. Anyways, I digress.

Aside from my neuro practically refusing to see me – even once inside my room – shit got done this visit. No joke. And who do I owe this visit to? Dear 'ol Dr. Lee. Odd for me to speak well of him, I know, BUT after accusing me of using him he musta ran into the man who calls himself a neuro in the hall or something because he actually called me. Yes, besides my daily kisses on the forehead I got my very own personal call from Dr. Lee – moments before, by the way, I was about to call my Momma to bitch about him.

Anyways, he called and told me he was awfully sorry about my MS prognosis and that he would see to getting some stuff done for me while I was there. WHAT? There's stuff you can do for MS? Holy shit, Batman! I had no idea. Were you aware there are daily exercises you can do to combat spasticity in your legs? Well, I'll be darned. There are and since the hospital – I been doing 'em. And guess what? They help. Fewer spasms. Take that know it all neuro!

And guess what else? Braces for your feet to combat foot drop. Holy cow! Who knew? "How long have you known you've had MS?" asked my former teammate Lori. I answered 11 years. And she replied, "They've never talked to you about braces or assistive devices?" And guess what else I learned while there? There's medicine to combat the infamous MS hug. Huh?! Odds are that just may be what got me admitted in the first place. Oh, yeh. That reminds me. What came first the chicken or the egg? That's where we'd left off. Memory is an issue too. But we've covered that, right?

No? Humor me then, k? K. Back to which came first. What's it matter? Fry 'em both up and they are delicious. Damn. I'm makin' myself hungry just thinkin' about it. Breakfast or supper? Or both? Sunnyside up and extra crispy. Anyways, it was supposed to be an analogy to why I was in the hospital. Did I really have pneumonia or was it just the hug masquerading as pneumonia? Or even more educated and scientific – had the pain from the hug caused me to breathe weird and present as or actually even cause pneumonia? Again I say, either way . . . delicious! I was in the hospital getting' stuff done. Praise the Lord – progress.

Only trouble was – would progress continue once home? Welllll, depends on what one considers as progress. The exercises? Still helpful tho I'm not doing them as consistently nowadays, as I just don't have the energy the IV steroids must've given me. The muscle relaxer given to combat the hug? Still on 'em but they just don't have the magic they used to. Maybe I should take more. Note to self: Call Dr. Lee. For now tho the extra-strength back pain stuff my hubs got me is doing pretty decent. Just don't take 'em during the day and expect to stay awake.

The braces? Gave 'em a legit try but turned out using them caused more falls than not. But I did start the new "walking" drug for MS – Ampyra. And I'm trying real hard to get more comfortable using my walker/rollator. Huge. Clunky. People staring. People wondering, "What up with that loser?" and "How come her hair ain't blue?" Kinda pessimistic, heh? Soooo, maybe they're thinkin' . . . "She's a hottie! Way too sexy for that walker!" Ohhhh, great! Now I have Right Said Fred stuck in my head.

So on the mobility front . . . nothing worth writing about. Nothing nice anyways. So what up next then? What indeed? Atlanta round 2? A no go. Northern Indiana doc then. Denied. Mention of Bulgaria – laughed at. More on this and my struggles with Mr. Billboard Insurance Man later. I've typed 'til my fingers are tingling. Now excuse me whilst I dance off here to the music in my head. Ha! I guess the dancing'll have to be in my head to. Oh, well at least it's somewhere! "Everybody . . . FOOTLOOSE!"

Friday, April 8, 2011

What happened to March?

Wowza! I go on an insurance rampage and somehow or another an entire month slips by. And you call yourselves friends? 'Ol Steve Billboard coulda had me bound and gagged in an office supply closet down town somewhere. C'mon people! Were you not at least a teensy bit worried about me?

Okay, okay, looooong time readers - prolly not - as you all know even on my worst days I am not one to go easily in to said closet. (A). I would only approach with a formidable entourage. (B). I'd be packin'. And, or (C). Once in the closet I'd go all McGuyver on ya with paperclips, staplers and toner cartridges. No, no, no. Better yet, (D). All of the above.

"I'm sorry Steve. Was that your letter opener I used to open your eyes?" Too graphic? Too bad. My bad, tho. Forgive me, won't you? Or not. I don't care. It's been a rough month. And April ain't lookin' too promising. "Well, what's been up, Angela?" I thought you'd never ask.

Where'd I leave you? In mid to late February I was fired up to fight the fight and still feeling well enuff to fight it. Ahhhh, those were the days. The weather was promising to get better and the kiddos' Spring Break was approaching, BUT what's this? My MS HUG had crept back in to remind me, "YOU STILL HAVE MS, DUMBASS!" So saying it crept back in and saying it yelled at me in all CAPS is a bit contradictory.

What happened was just this: I thought maybe I was just using muscles I hadn't in near to forever and I was sore. Makes sense, right? Work thru it says Coach Tucker and Coach Dixon. And I tried. Until the fatigue and weakness crowded their way in too. Forced then back to my 'lazy' ways the muscle soreness should have subsided, right? WRONG. Try worsened.

Shower frequency - down. Standing to brush? Ha! Still going out? HA! (louder) To bed earlier and earlier and waking later and later. A nap in the afternoon? Sure! Walking? Worsening. The so-called 'hug' was ravaging me. To explain, should anyone hug another with such force it should in no way shape or form be considered a hug. It's more like a malicious, forceful violent crushing just below my breasts around my entire ribcage.

If there were indeed a visible figure causing this pain (giving this hug) I would without a doubt writhe against it. Biting at its neck, clawing its face, gouging its eyes. Kicking, screaming, spitting, cursing. Can't tell I'm in this pain, can you? If only you'd have known me before - maybe, just maybe you'd be able to see it now. This bitch as I've come to call her makes it hard for me to breathe. Just talking, I now get winded.

Small walk to the potty? Huffing and puffing like I just finished a day of volleyball conditioning or ran sprints in basketball. Hungry? Yeh. Starving, but I can't eat hardly anything anymore for the overwhelming feeling of fullness. Shouldn't gripe tho, right? More weight loss, right? All fun and games 'til I lose too much. And, "Yes, Virginia there is such a thing as too skinny." People die of such things. No joke. And speakin' of . . . there have been more senseless deaths in my online MS community since I've written last.

Yes, people die of MS. Some how or another tho, MS always escapes as the official cause of death on the 'ol death certificate. My Dad for example died of respiratory failure. He had lung cancer, kidney failure, and a bad ticker tho. Could it not have been one of the other reasons he now ceases to exist? I'm just sayin' . . . when I go, I don't care if it's in a car accident --- I want MS as the frickin' cause. Richard Pryor's heart attack? I say MS. Heart problems need exercise to overcome. MS = lack of exercise = cause of heart problems. Just sayin'.

Okay. Enuff of that tangent already. Back to the hug. No, vice. I prefer vice. So the bitch comes back with a vengeance and stays. Pain lessens only after hours of bed rest and or inactivity on the couch. And what a fun, productive life that is - ESPECIALLY AFTER HAVING AN ALBEIT BRIEF TASTE OF THE GOOD LIFE! That and plus layin' around makes my a$$ sore. I know, I know. Bitch some more, Angela, right? Right!

So my gorgeous, wonderful, ever optimistic hubby and I concoct this idea that maybe, just maybe I was comin' down with somethin'. Made perfect sense. Whenever someone with MS gets sick with say a cold or flu or whatever - it is common knowledge my friends that old MS symptoms can flare up - nay, in my case, WILL flare up. And quite often new symptoms find this prime time for rearing their ugly heads as well. Kinda like, "Hey guys, this one's feelin' weak! Let's gather 'round and kick her while she's down!"

Anyways, wishful thinking. No temp. No runny nose. No cough. No upset tummy. Oh well, a girl can dream, can't she? The hope had been that I'd be sick and once better the MS symptoms would again subside. No such luck. PHOOEY, I say! PHOOEY!!! Guess whose vision is blurry in her right eye and who can't feel the cold tile beneath her feet any more? This girl! Yeehaw, y'all!

So I worsen. Hubby threatens emergency room a time or two. I say, "So they can tell me I have MS?" Laughable. I hadn't been in the hospital in years. Actually admitted as a patient, wow, not me, nope, not in four, count 'em four years. That my friends was quite the record considering I was once a regular going in at least once a year - sometimes more. I was a sick girl back in the day, what did I have to be bitchin' about now? SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP!

And again, I tried. This time it was nearly a week in bed that prompted the hubs to go around me and get an appointment with good 'ol Doctor Lee. Previous attempts at trying to get me to make an appt. failed 'cause, wellll, 'cause he wasn't gonna do nothin', right? Right. "You got MS," he'd no doubt say. "You're gonna feel bad," he'd no doubt say. Waste of time and energy - one of the two of which I had absolutely zero of.

I remember hurting so bad Thursday night I even thought about the ER. No, no, I could wait 'til morning and try my neuro. So what if he didn't treat MS patients with IV steroids in the hospital anymore? Surely the pain I'm in he'd be able to order some home health IVs or prescribe me some huge oral dose or something, or anything. BZZZZ! Wrongo! I call in to the world's unfriendliest, least helpful, most uncaring person in the world to ask my equally as worthless doctor for help.

And what do I get back nearly 5 hours later? "You need to call your general practitioner," snarls the ugly hag. Huh? She explains that MS acts up when other things are wrong and it would do no good just to treat the MS. WTF? Oooooookay?! If you don't wanna treat patients with MS - grow some balls and say, "I don't wanna treat patients with MS." SUCH A$$HOLES!!! But stay tuned, it gets better!

My appt. with Doc Lee is at three. Jason comes to get me. Gets me a chair. Wheels me in a packed out office. My distaste and hatred for this whole situation grows with each tick of the clock. Three-thirty, four, four-thirty. Angela Spindler. Me, me, me. That, by God. That is me! At this point I am about to have a 'come apart' as my sister, I believe so eloquently coined the term. To have a come apart is to throw a royal a$$ banshee of a fit. Anyways, here I am Dr. Lee. Screw the pleaseantries! Make me better.

Blood pressure. Stethescope. Breath in. Out. "Well, Honey, you're sick." Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle! No shit? Really? As he goes for the script pad I go for the, "Now wait just a minute!" I explain with the hubs help I ain't been sick. I've even wanted to be sick but instead been in nothin' but pain. "Shortness of breath?" he asks. An understatement, I struggle to say as I can hardly find the air to do so. I tell him I can't even eat. And that, especially to any of you that know the good doctor, is mucho seriouso.

The next words from the doctor's mouth were, "Better take her over to the ER, Poppa, to rule out a blood clot." I role my eyes. But Jason, Jason looks concerned. I work on getting my breath to begin my already well thought out protests as Jason begins maneuvering my chair into the hall. Next the doc is barking at us to back up and get a little shot of something for pain. Now whether it was for pain or to dampen my fight, we'll never know for sure, but it wasn't long at all before we were arriving at the ambulance bay at the hospital.

I remember the stick. I remember looking at the clock in the truck and telling Jason he could still make it to go out and eat with Ryan and Angel. And I remember the nice guard helping me in the wheelchair. Where did Jason go? To park the truck. Duh. EKG. Fine. Off to the waiting room with the rest of the losers, you faker! Hadn't I waited enuff today? Shot, don't fail me now! And it didn't. Wish they'd have given Jason one too, poor guy. I slept thru the waiting room and a good deal of the ER.

But hold up! What had that EKG shown? You all got the right girl? Usual visits to the ER are non-eventful. Just like a doc's visit. Hi. How ya doin? No biggie. Here's some fluid or not and follow-up with your doc. Okay? Okay. Bye. This one, however was different. First off, it seemed I was whisked off to a room vs. meandering towards one. Then I was speedily helped into a gown and re-hooked back up to a heart monitor. And given oxygen. Huh? That sure was a new one. And my blood was taken almost immediately and an IV drip started. And get this. They came to me for the chest x-ray.

Had there been a doctor in yet at this point? Had Jason explained symptoms? Was I getting something for pain? Wasn't hurting . . . wasn't feelin' much of anything. Dr. Guest, I think. Not for sure. Tall guy, that I remember, but what guy isn't tall when you're layin' on a table? Anyway, he ordered a CT scan and sadly that I did have to leave for. Sadder still the dye needed for the pictures exploded back out of my IV and went all over my glasses and face. And in answering a previous question: Whether or not I was getting anything for pain - moving from table to table - I sure needed something now! Morphine? Yes, please.

So the scan showed no clots. Wooo whoooo! But, what's this? "We're going to admit her." WHHHHAAAAAT? Morphine? Yes, please.


To be continued . . .
with "Which came first the chicken or the egg?"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And . . .

Guess who I just noticed was on my News Feed? Ann Komis, that's who! For the out-of-towners Ann is a news anchor at our local NBC affiliate. Had she finally accepted my friend request? Why did I just notice her today? Today when a fire had been lit and was refusing to go out? Whatever. Enuff with the intro.

I decide to write her whilst I had my 'write-on.' And here's a little bit of how it went:

I titled it STORY IDEA.

Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimers, Parkinsons may have found new hope. An Italy doc's wife got MS and he re-discovered an old vascular link. Thanks to the internet the idea is spreading like wildfire this time. I say this time because it can't be snuffed out by $$$ hungry drug companies. We are patients looking out for patients this time and not big societies looking out for a bottom line.

I AM SOOO MUCH BETTER. It'd be such a great story. Remember me? I took Broadcasting from you years ago at USI. And sadly I've had MS now for 10 years. But now I am getting better instead of worse. Google CCSVI for details. Before and after videos are all over youtube. And I'd be more than eager to show off some of my new skills on camera. Please, please, please consider this!!!

Sincerely, Angela Orth Spindler (USI class of '98)

And then of course I left all my numbers, blood type, first born child's information, etc. I'm comin' for ya Billboard!

Meandering

So meandering thru the News Feed on Facebook as I do almost daily now, I stumbled upon an Asasociated Press link a friend had shared. Thank you Tessa! For those of you who don't know her Tessa is one of my first MS friends and hails from Canada. You simply wouldn't believe the number of Canadian friends I have these days. Point is, living waaay up there, she'd have had no idea whatsoever that this article would have peeked my interest so. Now sit back and allow me to share the articles title with ya.

Ind. Senate panel advances marijuana, meth bills

By The Associated Press

So as I'm sure she posted it for the as yet to be discovered, MS link but there are all too many of those floating around out there today and I pass many of them by without a glance. This one however grabbed me. Ind. --- well, I'm from Indiana. And meth??? Well, it just so happens the little southern town in Indiana that I live in, although its true name is Mount Vernon, has been called out as Meth Vernon from time to time. A quaint little rural community made up of mostly farmers, a couple factories and an oil refinery I'm sure our anhydrous ammonia supply makes us ripe for the meth manufacturing, but alas I digress and meth or no I love it here and wanna stay.

On with my story, or snip-its of the AP story first:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A state Senate committee on Tuesday backed having the state crime policy panel study whether Indiana should legalize marijuana after hearing a legislator with multiple sclerosis say he wished he could legally try the drug to relieve his pain.

The committee also approved a bill requiring computerized tracking of cold medications used in making methamphetamine rather than mandating prescriptions, as some law enforcement groups urged.

Rep. Tom Knollman, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a walker, told committee members he regarded himself one of the most conservative members of the Legislature but that he believed legalizing marijuana for medical uses should be considered.

He said he has spent up to $25,000 a year on pain medication that often is ineffective. "I hear that one of God's plants is working to help ease the pain of multiple sclerosis," said Knollman, R-Liberty. "I know when my leg starts twitching and I hurt, I'm looking for any alternative."

Hmmmm . . . so I look this dude up. A Rep. since '08. A Republican. Previous employment? A farmer. Member in good standing of the National Rifle Association. Sounds like my kinda guy. So what if he reps Southeastern Indiana and not Southwestern. Close enuff. Plus the poor sucker's got MS. Hmmm, indeed. Lightbulb y'all. I get downright inspired. He has his own webpage. An easy email form. Kaa-chow! Five minutes later I'm clicking SEND. Here's what I said:

Blah, blah, bla with the form fillin' out. And then the point.

I realize I'm not in your district, however I just read the Associated Press article you were quoted in and discovered we have a little something in common. Multiple Sclerosis. I too am Republican and come from a farming family, etc. etc. I could go on, but I'm writing to be sure you have heard about CCSVI.

A simple venoplasty allowing proper drainage of blood from my brain back to my heart has made many of my 10+ years of MS symptoms disappear. Thanks to the internet a growing number of us are discovering neuros have too much $$$ to lose by admitting there just might be something to this.

Long story short my insurance company is refusing to pay on the grounds this is experimental. I argue that its discrimination. MS or not if veins are blocked causing blood back-up and havoc in the brain they should be allowed to be fixed. I hope you can help, but if not PLEASE look into this as it most likely will help you too. I've gone from a walker to using no assistance at all. Plus I've been able to stop two drugs totalling nearly $2,000 per mo. Kind regards, Angela Spindler

Sooooo, whatcha think? I only had so much space. My plan is to wait a bit for a response generic or heartfelt and then send an actual letter. To him and to every Rep in the state referencing him and his plea for help. Ahhhh, I love shit stirrin'. Ya know I may have missed my calling. I should be a politician y'all. What should I run for? Mayor?

But seriously, don't forget to officially become a follower if you would. Even tell your friends about me. Nobody has to really read me. I just need numbers to show Mr. Billboard. Like, "Hey, Buddy, this many people know how crappy you are treatin' me!" "Hey, Buddy. Can you spell fight?"

Anyways . . . Happy Hump Day y'all. Just needed to type a bit. Thanks for puttin' up with me. Love ya!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

CANCELLED, you say?

Really? Cancelled? Terminated? Done? WHATEVER. Ahhhh, yeh. I'm fully aware thanks, but it was I that cancelled you Mr. Billboard. My family of four left you for greener pastures in 2011. Please, please let me explain. It was a tuff decision . . . NOT!

Ya see we left ya for an insurance company that covers "insert catheter in vein" as I believe you termed it. It goes by sooo many names these days. I prefer LIBERATION!!! But it can also be called a venogram. Venoplasty. It's very near kin to angioplasty. Ever heard of it? It too was experimental eons ago. But guess what? People got over it 'cause it saved lives.

Damn near what the procedure has gone and done for me. Given me quality of life back. Terminated my a$$. So once I clear up who kicked who's tookiss to the curb he continues, "Well it doesn't matter. What matters is that you are no longer a member and thus we do not have to allow you any further appeal." Oh yeh? Them was fightin' words. Jason left me the 300 today. Don't make me come over there!

Breathe in. And out. Makes me think of the radio skit, "How big a boy are ya?" Anyways I, as calmly as I could muster, explain that at the time of service I was still a member in good standing. Then of all things he tells me and I quote. Yes seriously. Pay close attention to this one. "You haven't had the procedure yet." WHAT? HUH? WHAT? REALLY? And this whole time I'd thought I was feeling better. Bunch of liars. Is there really even an Atlanta. Hello? Virginia? Is there really not a Santa Claus?

Only one word works here. And God forgive me please. But seriously?! Dumbass! So again with the phone silence as this new found bit of information has me baffled. No. A better word - bumfuzzleed. Anyways, I'd been knocked silent. And for anyone who truly knows me, that my friends, is hard to accomplish. Yet this Steve Billboard had gone and done it. I hope he didn't take it wrong but the next noise I could muster was a chuckle. And then a throat clearing to fight back the tears the pure upsurdity of the conversation had caused.

"I had my procedure successfully completed Dec. 10, 2010," I explained. And guess what? I think I baffled him this time 'round. Who in their right mind would pay out of pocket for an experimental procedure? Huh? Who indeed? More dead air. Then he explains I was not covered at that time. Then I explain I was. Then him. Then me. You get the jest. The long and the short of it was that I could go no further 'cause I was no longer a member.

Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. WHATEVER!!! I wasn't after $200. I was after $10,000. Grrrrrrr! So when we tired of the back and forth shenanigans I calmly asked, "What is it that you need from me next as I am no where near letting this go?!" And with that he suggested I start with having the facility that did the procedure send them a bill. NO PROBLEM! I would have thought they'd have done this already but perhaps because I arrived with $$$ in hand they hadn't seen the need. Or maybe they had and he was full of shit. Either way, I could call Atlanta. 'Cause yes Virginia they do exist! No biggie.

So I answer, quite simply, "No problem." And then he threatens that we'll have to start this whole denial and appeal process over again. Woooooo! So what? It's big money we're talking about here. If I don't get it out of them I'll still be paying on it in 5 years. You betcha I'm gonna fight for it. My cars gettin' old and about to hit 100,000 miles. The house needs a roof. The windows leak air. New carpet'd be nice. Remember, I can feel it now? I could go on and on here, but the point is --- INSURANCE SHOULD PAY!

So I thank him. Yeh, I know right? Overkill maybe. But Momma taught me manners. (FYI she also taught me to fight HARD and never give up. NEVER! Not even with your dying breath! Know why? 'Cause if your breathin' you ain't dyin' - just sayin' . . .) Again, I digress. So I thank him. And then I take a break to relax my jaw. HUH? Yeh, you read me right. Relax my jaw. Having realized I'd been gritting my teeth for much too long at that point I needed a Coke and some Advil. Darned headache. I needed a nap.

And I tried but needed to get this all off my chest. And awwww, doesn't that feel better? No? Well it does for me. Blogging (aka, bitching) can be very therapeutic. Wonder if the insurance was billed for blogging therapy if they'd cover it? Experimental? No, wait - I've been cancelled. Dah, dah, daaaah! Cue dramatic/sarcastic music.

Next then? Next I call Atlanta and write a letter requesting my appeal, THIS APPEAL, be brought to the next level. We spent plenty of our own money the first trip. Why shouldn't I fight for that too? Oh yeh. And be expectin' another appeal on the procedure. You know, the one I'm almost sure I had. And while your at it go on and bump it up to super dooper appeal status 'CAUSE I AIN'T CHANGIN' MY MIND!!!

LAH TEE FRICKIN' DAH

My appeal rejection letter states the following: "Upon review of available information, WHP has determined that the above-mentioned services are experimental/investigational and not a covered benefit. Therefore, the charges for the above-mentioned services will remain your financial responsibility."

Blah, bla, bla. [grits teeth] Blah, bla, bla. It goes on to say: "If you disagree with this decision, you may request an additional level of voluntary appeal before the WHP Grievance Committee. You must notify WHP, orally or in writing, of your request for this additional voluntary internal level of appeal, within 180 days from the date you are notified of the first appeal decision."

Allllrighty then! Let's break this down, shall we? My supposed date of procedure was Nov. 18, 2010. And thus like a good girl should I attempted pre-authorization as is recommended to do. And guess what? DENIED. When exactly? Well I'm glad you asked. I was denied the very same day we were packed up and leaving for ATL. Anyways, old news.

So we go anyways. Surely there'd be a payment plan. Remember? Right? People don't just have $10,000 layin' around. $550 for the scan. $200 for the consult. And everyone else's insurances had paid - NO PROBLEM! Fine. We can appeal and reschedule. Or take out a very high interest rate 'medical loan.' Yikes! So if everyone else's insurances are doing it. Hmmmm. Maybe with a little hand holding, peer pressure, being shown the money they'd save . . . Just maybe they'd come around.

Y'all know the Welborn Health Plans billboard up on the Lloyd Expressway? Makes me literally sick to my stomach to see the smiling faces on there. Turn off the expressway then Angela before you wreck. Noooooo! There's one on 41 too. Bastards! It's a lie I tell ya. A lie! If they truly are the "BEST" . . . Lord please have mercy on us all. Ahhhh, but I digress.

So I launch an appeal. I even shared it with you. Remember? Took some re re re re-writing to get it to a 'G' rating but I got 'er done. No cursing even. Look it back up. I think you'd be proud. Anyways. Bottom line was savings. Costly monthly drugs vs. a one time procedure. Simple economics. Plus me feeling better = less medical expenses overall, etc. etc.

Screw it all. The hubs wasn't waitin' and the good docs appointment book was fillin' up fast. Before we left the office I was rescheduled for Dec. 10, 2010. That was to be my new birthday come Hell or high water. And we had both remember? Sure woulda been nice if I could have been LIBERATED in November. Just sayin' . . .

So you know the story. Nearly a month and $10,000 later (which we'll be paying on for 5 years by the way) I AM LIBERATED! Upon our return home we admittedly don't find opening the mail is a top priority for us however within a week to 2 weeks from our return we discover a letter from WHP. Yippee. A reversal of their initial denial perhaps? Hah! Laughable! Try a rejection of my appeal - this one dated Dec. 8, 2010.

And the wording. HILARIOUS! "If you disagree with this decision . . ." Now what pray tell could have happened that would have changed my mind in less than a month. Oh gees, if you say it's experimental Mr. big bad insurance company with smiling faces on billboards, then it must be experimental and scary so I MUST NOT WANT TO FEEL BETTER AFTER ALL! I mean really?!? If a couple of docs paid by Welborn Health Plans deem something experimental am I supposed to be okay with that?

Am I supposed to give up feeling better? Standing to brush my teeth? Washing my hair with my head tilted back? Baking? Walking? Staying up late? Getting up early? Feeling like going out? Playing with my boys? Thank God my husband could get a loan fast and easy. But what about the poor souls who have to listen to the billboard monsters? This sickens me. Seriously sickens me. Whilst I'm doubled over in angered despair riddle me this: Is this everyday procedure only experimental because I have MS???? Bastards!?!?! Forgive me.

Where was I. Ahhh yes. Today's oral requestfor "this additional voluntary internal level appeal" because NO, OF COURSE I HADN'T CHANGED MY MIND! So why had I waited so very long to notify WHP of my plans to go in front of this so-called Grievance Committee? Again, dear readers, I'm sooo glad you asked. I, as an Orth, a Spindler, an Angela, hahem (clears throat), I don't do anything half-assed. PERIOD. I wanted all my ducks in a row should they answer my request with a "come in to see us in an hour."

Preparation. I wanted all my clinical notes together. I wanted the disc of the procedure. I wanted before and after videos. I wanted a professional, well thought out plan of attack before proceeding. Up bright and early this morning. 2+9=11. Just a coincidence, but whatever. Today was gonna be the day. At least I'd be put down for wanting to take this to the next level which would catapult me into finishing all I would need to stand in front of this Grievance gang. As many times as I've typed 'grievance' in this entry I can't help but think of General Grievous. Just sayin' . . .

So at 9:25 a.m. this beautiful Wednesday morning I call. As per the letter ORALLY to me in these circumstances means I can call and or show up at their Evansville office and say: "I wanna take my appeal to the next level and go in front of your Grievance Committee." Or something calm and cool and curse word free like that. So I get a very nice CSR Sarah who gives me to Steve in Appeals. "This is Steve," he answers.

Whoopity doo. I thought. I gotta name too. It's even longer and more impressive than yours. Ha. Ha. Ha. Okay. I wasn't at all bitter at that point. Nervous maybe. Apprehensive sure. But I wasn't the pi$$ed off Angela you all know and love until much later on in the brief one sided conversation. Long story short - I'm well aware you have already denied me. And in both rejection letters it mentions different levels of the appeal process. Thus,

"All I'm wanting today kind sir is to notify you orally as per your last letter that I want to heighten this appeal to the next level which is to go in front of a Grievance Committee as I understand it sir." Welllll maybe I didn't use 'Sir' so much but I was civil and kind. My Momma raised me right. His Momma? I dunno. Anyways he says I cannot make such a request orally. Fine. His letter says I can, but WHATEVER.

I undestand trying to make it hard on someone. I mean ya can't just give $10,000 to anybody who just calls in and asks for it right? I was prepared to jump thru a few hoops. And you know what? Thanks to LIBERATION I even felt like jumping. Anyways. Anyways, back to the story. He tells me I must submit the request in writing. No problem. Whatever. His address right in front of me I verify it with him. 1. It's always good to do. And 2. I wanted to show him I had all my shit together so to speak.

An arrogant answer to follow I kindly retort "While I've got you could you tell me a little bit of what to expect going in front of this committee?" Blah, bla, bla. Doctor this. Specialist that. Vote this. All very formal, legal and scary sounding. I retort, "Should I bring legal council at this time then?" Whoa! Phone silence. Verizon guy, you there? Can you hear me now?

"No. No," he says. "This evening meeting is to be quite informal." Huh? We'll see about that. Again per the letter (that apparently doesn't mean beans): "You will have the opportunity to represent yourself or designate another person to represent you . . ." So ummm, yeh, I was a member of Drama Club in high school and I'm wondering if for show's sake I shouldn't rep myself and have about a dozen or so friends and family speak on my behalf as well. Any takers?

More to come my friends. After lunch I'll get to this billboard man actually calling me back. Actually telling me not to bother 'cause I'd been cancelled. What the #@*%???

Monday, January 31, 2011

202 to 188: 'Condensed' Pt. 3

Where was I? Hmmm . . . IMPROVING!!! So what can I report? Let's address the title first, shall we? 202 to 188. Random numbers? Nope. I'm proud to announce they are pounds people! Pounds, I say! Before leaving for the ATL I weighed in at a hefty 202 lbs.

Just to give you a baseline - my first prom dress was a size 3. I was an athlete in high school. Still fit in college. Then at 21, I remember feeling embarrassed that my wedding dress was a size 10. I weighed 140 at the time. The most I'd ever weighed. Ever.

Enter MS and the kiddos . . . and the POUNDS. I really can't complain as I have been lucky enuff to maintain right around 200. Steroid use due to exacerbations would rocket me up to near 220, but that has been my all time high. I've always eaten what I wanted - still do.

Trouble has been my darned inactivity. Lack of energy. Lack of ability. Grrrrrrr! MS sux! So I get LIBERATED. Have I joined a gym? No. Doing rehab? No. Insurance wouldn't pay, remember? And my docs don't believe I need therapy just out of the blue. Anyways . . .

So I've been feeling better. So much so, people are noticing. "You look good." "You are smiling more, Angela." "Your color is better." I told you about the guy at church asking me if I'd gotten taller, right? And my favorite compliment thus far: "You losin' weight?"

Welllll surely not. I wasn't doing therapy or working out or eating healthier. If anything, thanks to my reawakened taste buds, I'd been eating more. So I'd reply, "Nah. Just feelin' better, but thanks." Or, "Nah. Just wearin' bigger pants." Ha! Yeh, I know, sad attempt at being funny.

Then I try to get in the truck the other day and can't lift my leg. Oh no! Was the MonSter back? Whoops! Long story, short - welllll, thank the good Lord and my Momma 'cause my ass was all them bad boys was hangin' on. Huh? Those once perfect fittin' jeans gave a whole new meaning to ridin' low. Too many more steps they'd surely have wound up 'round my ankles.

Maybe I had been losin' weight. There's that word again - MAYBE. So I'm at my Mom's for dinner and there sits her fancy new scales. "Do you mind if I try those out, Mom?" Up, up and "WHAT? That can't be right." 188. Ta da. Another LIBERATION miracle. Hmmm . . . must be 'cause I'm able to be more active. Not alot, but apparently every little bit counts.

Just imagine what I could accomplish if I worked at it. Ahhhh, yeh. But this entry isn't about my future. This is about now! So what else is going on? Let's make a list, shall we? Where to start? Where to start? I mentioned taste, right?

1. Taste is revived. Some stuff I don't like as well. Some I like more. Eat! Eat! Eat! And swallowing is easier too. Knock on wood - not once have I choked since LIBERATION. I'm even swallowing pills easier. (Ahhh, pills! A perfect segway to my next improvement.)

2. I've been off of my Provigil for 1 month. Thanks in part to my new insurance requiring prior authorization and in part for the med being $600 a month for cash paying customers - long story short - I chose to wait it out. And low and behold - I made it. A couple innocent little naps here and there, but by golly, I MADE IT! Up w/out uppers! Yeehaw!

[Sidenote: Now I'm struggling with whether or not to start them back up. Not because I NEED them but because I can't help but think they'd make me feel even better. Make me more productive. A better me perhaps. Just sayin'. Dunno. Jury's out. Maybe just half. Or maybe every other day. Any thoughts?]

3. SHOWERING!!! The jury didn't even have to deliberate on this one. Yes, Todd, I'm sure the water bill has skyrocketed but my bathing daily, as Ms. Martha Stewart would say, "It's a good thing." And why is it special? Isn't there some unspoken rule that bathing daily is just what people do? Well if you hadn't picked up on it yet I'm just gonna come out and say it. I didn't!

I used to dread it. It would zap me of all energy. Even sitting in a chair, yeh. Sad, sad ordeal. Just the act of undressing. Soaping. Standing to rinse. Drying off. Dressing again. Killer! Shampooing? Hated it. And thus didn't even do it every time I'd shower. Nasty, I know. But think about it. It's more sad than nasty. And then there was making my way outta the bathroom to drop like a ton of bricks and not be able to function for hours afterwards.

And speaking of dropping. Nevermind all the wet slippery circumstances prime for falling. Nobody who falls in perfectly safe conditions ever goes enthusiastically into a more precarious environment. Just sayin' . . . until now! Now I look forward to it. I even stand a great deal of the time. And I can put my head back to rinse my hair. That is a luxury I'd forgotten about, my friends. I'd been rinsing from a chair, head down facing the floor for much too long.

Opening of the shampoo and soap bottles is going better too. I don't need help people! Do you hear me? Drying off is easier too. Standing and drying outside of the shower is much more time effective and efficient than attempting to dry while sitting inside on my chair. (And yes, I do turn the water off first.) Drum roll please!

I have energy after I shower! I can dress. I can stand to brush my teeth. Yeh, you heard me, STAND! And then leave the bathroom and do something else. Get a snack in the kitchen. Shoot some pool. Watch some TV. Or get this people . . . you sittin' down? Dry my hair! That's just crazy, heh? Actually on purpose applying heat to oneself. Suicide, right? Not anymore!

So I'm "all gussied up" as my Dad used to say. And no where to go? Huh? Here's a shocker for ya - I feel like going out. And I have been. Guess what. Walking better = not worrying about falling or embarrassing anyone. Yippee!

4. WALKING! No walker. No cane. And, yeh, I may be just a bit taller. I still waddle, sure, and at times could pass for drunk, but the point here is - I AM WALKING!!! Yes, everywhere! With a hand up and down curbs. And with just one hand on the railing - the stairs! Walking up and down the stairs y'all. Hear me? Not crawling. Not struggling. WALKING, I said!

5. Dancing.
6. Driving.
7. Staying up later.
8. Getting up earlier.
9. Baking.
10. And what kinda writer would I be if I didn't leave a little sumthin' sumthin' for your imagination? Suffice it to say there have been improvements even where improvements weren't needed. Yeh, take that and let your mind wander. EVERYTHING IS BETTER. EVERYTHING!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

'Condensed' Soup Pt. 2

Did I make y'all wait long enuff? Too long? I can't help it it. I'm a sucker for cliff hangers. Know what else? It tickles me pink I actually have readers. Pinker still when they call me DRAMA QUEEN. (Thanks Shawn!) And when I'm asked, or even begged to continue . . . now that's an all together different shade of pink.

And in the spirit of 'Seasame Street': The color pink has been brought to you by Dr. Sullivan and the American Access Care of Atlanta. "Ha! Ha! Ha!" adds The Count (my favorite Seasame Street resident). "So far in this entry Angela has used the color pink four times. Count them with me. One - Two - Three - Four. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

And the number four has been brought to you by, "NOBODY!" yelled Oscar the Grouch. "And furthermore, YUCK!" he grumbled. "That's an awful lot of pink for just two lousy paragraphs." So although clearly aggravated The Count had nabbed his top spot on the street, the beloved trash talking goblin had a point.

And how on Earth had I wound up on Seasame Street to begin with? Perhaps I should have simply said: Knowing I have readers makes me smile. I hear tell smiling now turns my cheeks a rosy pink. And to what do I owe this new found pigment? LIBERATION. The End. Boring, heh? Yeh. I liked my puppet dialog much better.

On with it then . . . I believe I'd left you not knowing the outcome of something or the other. Had it been a steel cage match between The Grouch and The Count? No? Of course not. I was telling you about traveling with the varsity basketball team my sophomore year of high school. No? Not that either? All right already. Enuff with the teasing.

I'm on the bed waking up from my procedure. And when I say waking up, I mean waking up. "Rarin' to go," as my Dad used to say. But unsure of what the doc had or had not found OR was or was not able to fix, I did not want to immediately go bragging. Besides, how does one explain feeling 'awaker'? And another patient had been a curtain over from me. What if his procedure hadn't faired as well?

Thus far then I am 'awaker.' A definition, please? By this I mean faster to wake. Easier to wake. Even eager to have woke. How 'bout that one? Was my vision better? I know that light was not that bright earlier! Hearing? Tennis shoe squeaks on the floor. Interesting, but maybe that was just 'cause nobody was talking to distract me. Deep breath in. And out. VERY NICE! People had reported breathing better - deeper. And until just at that moment I'd had no idea what they'd been fussing about.

I was thinkin' I needed pinched at this point. Where was that gorgeous husband of mine? You know the one - the one who actually told the doctor to "balloon something - anything - whether it needs it or not!" (Not an irrational request since he was paying for this himself.) Anyways, I knew Jason would tell me the news - good or bad, just as the poor guy had to back in May.

So all this, and before I'd heard whether or not all had gone as it was planned. And as soon as our eyes met I could tell somethin' wasn't as it should be. How disappointing. And I'd thought I was feeling improvements. Hello Mr. Placebo. C'mon in. I'm just as big a sucker as the next guy. Too bad I can read my hubby's non-existent poker face. Screw the pleasantries. "What happened?" I demanded.

And then he smiled. Or tried for one anyways. Enuff with the teary eyes. Enuff with the swallowing hard. He cleared his throat as I continued, "There wasn't anything wrong with me was there?" He looked perplexed as if I weren't meven speaking English. I rephrased my question. "They didn't fix anything did they?" And with that he was up on his feet standing over me and holding my hand. (A sidenote: His hand was warm. Was my being able to feel the warmth of his hand on mine another improvement?)

Finally he talks over my nervous rantings to tell me the right jugular was blocked % and left was blocked % . . . AND that they both appeared to respond well to ballooning. Welllll, correct me if I'm wrong but that sounded like pretty good news to me. Who am I kidding? Phenomenal news. Fan frickin' tastic! Music to my ears. Why wasn't he dancing a happy jig? Had the despair he'd been fighting so hard to mask not been so telling - - -

Commence with the interrogating. Boys okay? Yes. Mom then, or g'pa, I'd thought. Still with no offering of information, I ask, "You talk to Amelia?" And with those four words my friends, all Hell broke loose. "Ha! Ha! Ha!" laughs The Count. "Count with me. One - Two - Three - Four. Ha! Ha! Ha! Four words 'til all Hell breaks loose."

"That's garbage!" interrupts Oscar. "Using us to stall with details is just plain dirty." Again with the infinite wisdom of a trash can inhabitant, right? Couldn't be all that bright, heh? Then forraging thru the gnarly green hair on his head with one hand and pulling at his chin with the other he asks me, "Know what would be even trashier?" What with the loaded questions I wonder? I pause to think. And I got nothin'. So I reply, "What?"

His monobrow raised hauntingly over his left eye and quivering with anticipation, he looks around to be sure no one is listening and whispers slyly, "Can this entry. Make 'em wait for part three." Hmmmmm . . . as I take a moment to ponder this genius he begins to grin ear to ear and laugh devilishly arms flailing all about. Genius indeed, I'd thought as I raised my right eye brow in contemplation. Not a bad idea.





But, not a good one either. Sike! Did I getcha? No? Well, my sister nearly got me. And now, without further ado, an explanation. "Well, what did Amelia say?" I asked. And he says, of all things, really and truly, "She told me not to tell you." Yep. Those exact words. "She told me not to tell you. WHAT? Well whoopity doo! Them's was a fightin' words my friends. Who cares if she's Red Sonja? It was on like Donkey Kong. No joke. Nobody was keepin' nothin' from me. Not no way. Not no how. WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?

A bit of backstory must be inserted here. Way back when, when my Dad had his first heart attack - it was kept from me. Whilst I was partying at a slumber party my Dad was having a heart attack. I was dancing, singing, maybe even drinking and he was near death. The next day when I was supposed to go with these same friends prom dress shopping I was told "No!" by my Momma. And my g'pa would be there to get me in an hour or so. WHAT?

Long story short I report to my grandparents house instead of home. Anyways, there I was all mad I wasn't still out havin' fun. I was quite a little brat about it if I remember right. Guess what else? Had I not gone off the handle about missing out on a girls' day out I'd have prolly never been told about it at all. Had they thought I wouldn't be able to handle it? Amateurs!

When finally I had dragged every last detail out of 'em I was livid. I coulda been there. I coulda helped. If for nothing else I coulda been there as support for my Mom. What if he'd have died? Huh? What then? All whilst I was partyin' hard. Well, not that hard. But still, you get my point. And from that moment on it was sworn I would be made priivy to everything pertinent and done so immediately. Get it? Got it? Good. And so it had been 'til this escapade. Grrrrr! For my own good and whatever. I know that now. But still, WHATEVER.

I finally get that they MAY . . . just MAY have to take my Mom's foot. Please pay extra especially close attention to the word MAY. It's not just the month between April and June. Without looking up the word's official Webster's Dictionary definition, to me it means possibly. Not for sure. Might. Maybe, get it? Notice how the word MAY is even in the word maybe. Coincidence? I think not. Propping myself up on my elbows (as if getting closer would help me to understand him better), I ask, "When?"

Had I been getting loud? Or was it that I should have still been laying flat? The real reason unknown -- seconds after this exchange -- enter Jacob. Yes, the nurse. "You doing okay?" he asks. "I know it's early," he says. "But I just have to ask. Notice any improvements yet?"

Bring on the water works. No. That description does no justice to what actually went down. A better illustration: Niagra Falls. I answered Jacob with a "no" although it had not exactly been the truth. A "no" however was all I could muster thru the tears. And as I had not been given the chance to share these potential improvements with my husband yet either, he somberly explained to Jacob the news I'd just received from home. He looked concerned thru out their conversation and nodded his head several times to let us know he understood. His only request before leaving my bedside was that I try my best to lie still for as long as I could manage.

Fine. Now back to the "When?" WHEN? WHEN? WHEN? We were at least 7 hours away. And I was supposed to lay flat for four hours. She had to wait. "Call 'em back," I'd demanded. "Tell 'em we'll be there as soon as we can. They gotta wait." Irrational much? I know, right? That made no sense whatsoever. It was gangrene, people. Wet gangrene even. That shit travels fast people. And if it gets in the blood, welllll, I don't even wanna go there. But until I got to my trusty internet, those delicious morsels of information were unknown to me.

Allow me a tick to clarify. Ask me about Multiple Sclerosis, lung cancer, kidney failure, dialysis, heart failure, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heck, even pit bulls and I've done my fair share of research. Somebody gets somethin' or worries about somethin' I dive in to learn more. It's what I do. But had I done it with gangrene? Not exactly. Self-centered hussy! I'm going to forever feel like I should have/could have done more. Again, Mom, I am so sorry. So I knew a smidge about gangrene but as she'd never been diagnosed with it - I didn't know enuff and what I did wasn't exactly good. The short version was that gangrene meant infected, rotting flesh that needed to be removed. But Mom was only admitted for IV antibiotics, right? Couldn't be anything that horrific. Couldn't be.

So back at home: Mom was being prepped for surgery. Or already under the knife? I still don't know exactly for sure the timeline. Remember I learned later that they were even considering doing it the night before? Remember the night I got aggravated at my sister for not being able to leave my Mom alone? Remember me telling Amelia that Mom was a big girl? You don't remember? Wellll, I do! So --- under the knife in a surgery deemed 'emergency' and for a longer time than they had originally estimated.

I hear tell it was touch and go for awhile during, and even after surgery. I can't imagine what poor Amelia had been going thru. And all whilst 'The Wheel' was partying it up in the ATL. I'm aggravated I wasn't told the truth and aggravated I wasn't there. BUT, and this is a big BUT - BUT I am and forever will be eternally greatful I was given the opportunity to get my life back. What a mixed up mess 'o emotions. Geesh! And that's not all folks. She didn't just lose a foot. She lost almost her entire right leg. No one would know 'til the next day whether or not the doc was able to get all of the gangrene or whether or not the infection had spread to her blood.

All this excitement whilst I'm layin' in a bed balling my eyes out. Uncontollably sobbing. Hmmmm. Jacob? Where you at? "Could I get another one of those little somethin's to help relax me?" He checks with the doctor and - booyah, score! And not long after the Xanax arrived so did Dr. Sullivan. Very concerned. Came to my bedside. Sat. Talked and listened about my Mom. Yeh. You heard me right. What doctor does that? And the very same one to give you your life back? WOW! This man rocks! P.S. He even wrote RX for a little somethin' for the next few days. Help get me thru the rough stuff. Unheard of.

Where was I? Mom touch and go. And me a mess in ATL. Ahhh, yes. Lunch time marked my halfway done mark. A turkey croissant from the deli next door. Oh, my! The best food I'd ever eaten. Ever! Had my tastebuds been revived too? Another improvement? If all food was gonna taste this good, I dunno, could be a problem. 200 lbs was already more than enuff. So with my belly full and my xanax, ummmm, xanaxing time flew by. It wasn't long and Jacob came around with discharge instructions. I was to return the next day at 9am to get a blood thinning shot in the belly. WTF? Nooooooo! I'd done my four hours flat and that was hard enuff. That was four hours closer I coulda been to home. "Please, please, please, no!" Was there anyway I could do without? Had I not made it clear I wanted to go home? C'mon Jacob. Work some sorta werewolf magic would ya? Hehehehe. And with the good doctor's approval Jacob readied a syringe that my hero hubby could administer in the a.m. no matter what our location.

Soooo, we're ready then? Ready? Ready. And we were off. Welllll, off to the lobby. We needed paperwork and the prescription from the doc. Not really so much a part of the story, but definitely worth mentioning: The clinic is also a dialysis center. While we are there waiting an older gentleman enters with a nice big lumpy fistula on his left arm almost exactly where my Dad had his. I know Jason noticed this too as I caught him doing so. Our eyes met then and we shared a smile thinking of Dad. Then a nurse came out to get some of the patient's information. You won't believe what his name was? Give you one guess. Robert. And as he exited the lobby, "WHAAAAAAA!" You'd have thought I'd cried myself dry, but alas I had not. What a blubbering baby! Had that been a message from beyond? Was Dad telling me Mom would be alright? That I needed to take care of myself? OK, now I've cried myself delirious.

Anyways . . . The plan was to swing by the motel, check out and head home. Who cares that my sister had given instructions that I was to stay there overnight as had been planned? Who did she think she was after all, heh? A pretty darn good 'wheel' I hear. I'm so very impressed with how she handled everything. I've heard stories since I've been home. Stories even that she'd actually wished I had been there. A source (who I'll leave unnamed for safety's sake) even told me she'd said, "I don't know what I'm gonna do without Angela." And she may not have known. Not right away. But she sure figured it out. I'm so proud of her. (I taught her all she knows, ya know. wink, wink)

The 16 lanes of Atlanta traffic were stressing on a girl from a town that not all that long ago only had two traffic lights. We're big time now tho -- we got five. "Count with me," says The Count. "Ha! Ha! Ha! One - Two - Three - Four - Five. Ha! Ha! Ha!" Needless to say by the time we'd made our way back to the Drury, I was spent. Physically and emotionally drained. Where had those improvements gone? Were they a figment of my imagination? Had they been there at all? Would they come back? And even more important, how did any of this even begin to compare to what my mom and sister were going thru? God be with them!

And He was. He was with me too. Even at the Drury. We'd gone in just to get our bearings and maybe rest up just a bit. Maybe. And covers up. I was out and out fast. No drugs required. Zonked. And I don't think I moved a muscle 'til 4:30 or 5 the next morning. I had to peeeeee, BAD! Huh? I'd held it all night? Another possible improvement? Or a fluke? Or maybe complete and total exhaustion had been the culprit. Either way, I was a happy, well-rested (and dry) camper. Yippee for me. I walk without any disorientation, support or stumbling to the potty. Another yippee. And then, "Yeeeeeooow!" The tile beneath my bare feet in the bathroom is ca-ca-ca cold! No big deal, right? The big deal is that I could feel the cold floor.

Wanna hear more? No cliff hanger this time, but there is more to come. A part 3 ought to catch us all up quite nicely. So much has happened. Improvements, improvements, improvements! For me and my Momma! You won't believe the stuff we can do. Heck, I don't believe alot of it myself.