Friday, August 24, 2012
Prompt #1 is from IAMLOVEDBYYOU: Bright white light greets her as she finally exits...
He pushes back the curtain, slowly taking in the sight of her sleeping form. It shouldn't be this way. She was always the one taking care of others, but now machines and doctors are taking care of her. Still, no matter how long it takes, he won't give up on her.
The doctor enters. "The scans appear normal, so hopefully the coma will only last a few days. Can you tell us if she's ever had a concussion before? That would affect her prognosis."
"No, not as far as I know." He walks closer to his girlfriend, hesitantly reaching his hand out to her cheek. "As long as I've known her she's always been healthy."
"Then hopefully she will be fine soon." The doctor checks the monitors for a moment, noting a few thoughts on her chart before heading towards the door. "Feel free to spend some time with her. Talk to her, touch her, and sit with her, because she will know you're here."
He bends down and kisses his beloved on the forehead. "Please, I can't do this alone." Reaching back, he pulls a stool up to the side of the bed and sits. One hand is running through her hair while the other is stroking her arm gently. It's not long before he succumbs to the sleepless night and stress.
Yet, as small shards of sunlight slice through the silence, she begins to stir. Her entire body is stiff and foreign. Jumbled memories poke the backs of her eyes, trying to make her remember where she was. She tries to draw a deep breath, but is hindered by something in her mouth, or in her throat. Her hand brushes something as she pulls it to her face, gently touching hoses and bandages. As her heart rate jumps from the realization of her condition, a hollow voice penetrates her thoughts.
"Sweetheart, wake up. You're in the hospital. You were in an accident, but you'll be okay." She feels a hand pulling hers away from her face as the voice gets louder. "Nurse! Nurse!"
Feet fill the room, followed by more hollow voices. There's a flurry of activity around her, calling for her attention. As the sun bursts free of the horizon, the doctor pulls out his penlight. Bright white light greets her as she finally exits her coma.
Okay, I took a little over 15 minutes for this one, with about 5 minutes of revisions (grammar, logic, etc). Since the story came to me with the prompt as the ending, I couldn't stop at 5 minutes and leave it hanging.
Thanks for all the ideas! It'll take me awhile to get through them. I hope you like this first one. Feedback is totally appreciated!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
I've gotten so many wonderful responses to what I wrote from the writing prompts at the writing seminar that I thought I'd start a challenge for myself. I'd like my sparkfriends to help me out with this challenge. I need to get my brain back into writing form (or at least closer to it), and prompt challenges can help with that. So here's what I need from you:
Respond to this blog with a writing prompt. This means a short, 1 or 2 phrases or sentences, idea that doesn't have depth, but can be expanded. (See the prompts in my last blog for examples.) You can post several if you'd like, but I can't guarantee I'll get to them all if I get a lot of them.
My challenge will be to take your prompts, one at a time, and write something from them. I'll take a short time to think then about 5 minutes to write my thoughts. Whenever possible, I'll respond to at least 1/day, maybe more. (Of course, this will be fluid because my health issues often make it hard to function some days and doctor appointments take up a lot of time.) I will do my best to remember to thank the person who gave the prompt.
I look forward to your prompts and I hope I can meet this challenge!
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Today I went to a local library for a 1 hour seminar about writing and getting published. I was there a half hour early because I took disability transportation, so I was by far the first one there. I got to talk to the author who hosted it at length, as well as talk with her husband and 2 small boys a little. She had some good information, though much was a reiteration of what I've been hearing from the writer's sparkteam I'm on. Still, I was glad I went. I did feel a little out of place because there were a lot of moms there with their kids, many knew each other and/or the author, and the author writes books for middle school kids and teens.
At the end of the session, she gave us a piece of paper with some prompts. Basically it's 4 simple sentences/phrases with suggestions about how to make them better, or add pizzazz. Most wrote just a few simple additions, but I like to go all-out. I couldn't finish the first one by the time they moved on to the 2nd, so I skipped the 2nd and moved to the 3rd. We ran out of time for the 4th. Here's what I wrote for the 1st prompt: "I wake up. It looks cold outside."
I wrote: "A chill pulses through my skin, snapping my attention into reality. As much as I don't want to exit my cocoon, I notice the open window and toss back the thick blanket's heavy weight to race the frost lines on the glass. I push on the frame, hoping the ice that's formed won't prevent me from separating myself from the dense overnight snowfall."
Here's the 3rd prompt: "She runs faster and faster."
I wrote: "Her head snaps back at the sound. Fear paralyzes her feet, but her legs heed the warning. With a deep breath, muscles explode and hurl her forward. She can't listen to the screams, but she can't hear anything else. Even her thumping heartbeat can't over-power the terrible screetch. Only when she's slammed the door shut behind her does she realize her bare feet are raw and bleeding, and her lungs are gasping for air."
She had people reading aloud what they wrote so I decided to read my response to the 3rd prompt. I could tell no one was ready for it, as I heard "wow" and "oh my word" and "that's great" from a few people, including the author. Obviously there's a reason why I plan to write adult fiction! haha It came out a little dark, but the 2nd prompt was "At night, a hungry creature appears on my back deck." I know that added a little to what I wrote because others were reading their responses (including little boys with scary, magical creatures) to that while I skipped ahead. That way I got about 5 minutes to handwrite what I wrote, instead of about 3 minutes.
If only I could focus on writing for awhile instead of dealing with all this medical junk and disability red tape. Speaking of, I got another piece of paperwork from social security disability today. It isn't anything difficult. They're sending me for an evaluation of depression at the end of the month. I'm the first to admit that I have depression - considering what I'm going through if I didn't there would be something definitely wrong! So I'm not sure if they're sending me to find if I have depression causing worsening of my other conditions (or faking them?), or if they want another reason why I can't work. I didn't talk about any mental health conditions in the paperwork I did before, excluding when they asked if I had any. I've literally worked through panic attacks. One day I held one off, though I literally sweated through my underwear, bra, slacks, and shirt, until I could leave for my hour lunch. I drove home, had the panic attack while showering, put on new clothes, got back to work on time without anyone realizing I was in different clothes or what happened. I mean, who does that? I've fought through ridiculous things, but I can't do it anymore. Of course, the panic attacks stay away as long as the anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds are kept out of me, but I still have plenty of days where I sink back into the depression to where I can barely function enough to go to the bathroom. So I don't know how I should be approaching this evaluation. I'm not going to lie, but I'm concerned about the depth of the evaluation. I have a hard time with people poking around in my head when I don't trust them, so I'm also worried that I won't feel safe enough to force myself to be graphically honest.
Tomorrow starts my first day of PT for my neck to try to combat this constant migraine. I think it's a waste of time, but it's better to prove it than to say it. I also picked up the prescription of nasal spray DHE, just to find out it has 10mg of caffeine per dose! Caffeine not only causes migraines but it also causes panic attacks, heart palipatations, and can cause bleeding because it dilates the blood vessels. Sure, that helps get the DHE in quicker, but I'm terrified of what it's going to do to my other conditions! I currently have about 10 open sores on my foot from the chilblains because the blood vessels in my foot keep bursting and leaking, causing blisters that I have to keep popping so I can walk. If this dilates my veins even more, it could mean real trouble! I'm not going to be trying it soon, but I'm not really sure when I should be trying it. The whole reason the doctor in Milwaukee wanted me on IV DHE was to break the status migranosus, or constant and continuous migraine that is affecting far more than my head. But the local neurologist is ignoring the recommendation. Whatever. Not like she sent me all the way to Milwaukee for a 2nd opinion for a reason, right? (Yes, that's major sarcasm!)
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I haven't blogged in awhile, even though I've been meaning to. I end up getting so focused on one thing or another that I forget other things I want to do.
So here's what's been going on:
My last blog I was so upset because I was told it was doubtful I'd get help from the county. The next day I got notice that I was approved for food support. Honestly, are they trying to make things more difficult for me by sending my stress level sky high whenever possible? The ironic thing is I can't eat enough food to spend the money they're giving me, and since I use coupons I'll probably have some money left over every month. Since I can't use that for the (expensive) supplements my doctors want me on, I'm not sure what I'll do with it. I'm also waiting to find out if I'm approved for medical assistance. In many cases you get put on state health care, but considering I'm averaging around $10,000 in medical bills each month so far this year (yes, around $85,000 by the end of July) they'll probably want me to stay on COBRA with them covering the $462.25 it costs. It will save the state a lot of money! But it will take awhile before I get the answer. I'm also waiting to find out about energy assistance, the (small) possibility of getting help with housework), and about cash assistance.
I saw my local neurologist last week and even though my neuro doctor in Milwaukee wants me put on a high dose of DHE to break this (probably decades long continuous) migraine, she doesn't agree. She's given me several prescriptions to try: imitrex (which I took when I was a kid and it didn't work), propranolol (which I have to be very careful because it can cause a drop in blood pressure, and mine is already on the low end!), and a nasal spray with a small amount of DHE. So far I've started the propranolol (which also can be used to treat PTSD right after a bad event or to ease the symptoms later on, so I'm glad to be trying this). She also wants me to be doing PT for my neck. I'm highly doubtful that will do anything but make it worse, considering all my other medical conditions.
I'm also supposed to be doing warm water PT (for my Ehlers Danlos, fibromyalgia, and orthostatic intolerance), but considering how far away I have to go to get to any place with warm water PT AND I have to find a doctor around here who is willing to set it up, I don't think that's happening! There's no way I'm doing PT twice a week at 2 different places - I refuse to waste that much time every week waiting for disability transportation or trying to drive myself to these places. Not when I have too many other things that need to be dealt with!
I've had several horrible frustrations lately, one of which being my neighbors. I live in a 4 corner townhouse and share a wall with some guys who have antisocial personality disorder and deal drugs to child molesters. Then across the common driveway is several more people who are sociopaths - but at least they're selling their house... or trying but failing as it's been on the market for months and no one wants it. Anyways, Saturday night there was a huge deal with the next door neighbors throwing a huge party. They had at least 3 visits from the cops (in groups of 4), got 2 tickets, will get at least 1 more from the association, and yet they argued with the police and decided to stalk outside my house to threaten me! This started around 10:30 pm and went until after 2:30 am. One of the officers even asked me to call his cell phone directly (bypassing dispatch) if it continued beyond the hour he sat at the road. I appreciate his dedication to what he called his 'project for tonight', as 2 guys there were drunk and one was clearly agitated. I wish they would've tried something so they'd be arrested!
Friday night I went and visited my cousin (well, cousin's ex-husband, but it was an amicable split, so he's still like a cousin) and his girlfriend, who recently moved to the suburb next to mine. I had a great time with them, even if it wore me out really badly. We're hoping to get together again, maybe even do some karaoke. My favorite part wasn't playing rock band, it was the wonderful conversation with her about books and her ability to at least somewhat understand my medical conditions when I talk about them (most people's eyes glaze over and they can't focus long enough to listen let alone understand).
Today, after a lot of argument and attempts to stiff me, I was notified I'm getting a short term disability payment for Jan-April. Overdue, yes. Lasting, no. Helpful, yes. But it will barely cover 1 month of bills. Add to it the 401(k)s I'm pulling and I'll have enough to pay bills for maybe 3 months. Soon I'll have to decide to stop paying my mortgage and let my house fall into foreclosure. Then I'll have a place to stay rent-free for about a year before I'll have nowhere to go. My social worker is supposed to be trying to help me figure out where I can live, but she already said she'll be handing me off to someone else (for long term), so maybe they'll have ideas because she doesn't.
I still need to figure out how to appeal the long term disability denial. It won't be enough to save my house, but it will be helpful. I've also turned in the documents I've gotten (so far) from social security disability, so now I'm waiting on more requests or a determination from them. It could be months or more before I know.
On Friday I finally couldn't put off taking my car in any longer. My brakes were clearly metal on metal. I got new front brakes, had the caliper and brake assemblies on all 4 tires cleaned (this is the 5th time I've replaced the brakes in the 7 years I've owned the car - this assembly with this car is notorious for brake problems), and had the tires rotated. I wish I could count on disability transportation more (and it wasn't so difficult on me physically) so I could leave my car (which is 13 years old) alone so it'd stop breaking down so much. I also got an oil change. Together it cost almost $270.
At least my stomach is working better! I've been able to maintain my weight (and even add a few more pounds) since I was taken off the TPN a month ago. I'm trying to get back into some exercising, but it's very hard for me. Not only am I used to spending most of my days laying on the couch, but even gentle exercise exhausts me and any wrong movement is incredibly painful. Plus since I have to do everything for myself - including dealing with the doctors, insurance, transportation companies, and researching my conditions because half the doctors don't understand them - my brain power is usurped by all of this and can't be spent on what I should be doing for my health.
I've also been spending time on PCH (publishers clearing house), entering sweepstakes and trying to earn points to enter more sweepstakes. I also enter several other sweepstakes every day. If I can't make money the 'old-fashioned' way, maybe I might get lucky with a sweepstakes if I'm committed to it. (Probably not, but you can't win if you don't try, right?)
I'm also trying to do some reading and considering ideas for my own writing. Obviously I have too much going on to really focus on this. I promise I have ideas though! I just can't stand the thought of trying to put a half-effort into it. On Thursday my library system is having a speaker about writing and publishing, so I'm hoping to make it to that.
Unfortunately, I'm still not sleeping well. I still have headaches every day. I still have pain every day. There are still a LOT of questions about what's going on with my health. And I'm still not getting the help and support I need from my family. But it is what it is, so all I can do is keep trying to move forward and see where my journey takes me. I'm at the mercy of the universe for the most part, so what little I have control over I need to deal with.
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