Monday, April 01, 2013
If you understand the significance of that sign, you'll enjoy this blog. Of course, this is the sign from the Mystic Grill in Mystic Falls, VA... aka this is the fake front for the soon to be real Mystic Grill in Covington, GA, where Vampire Diaries is filmed.
My last blog talked about the trip to Covington with SherryGayl in mid March, and now here are the pictures about the tour itself. Of course, shortly after I arrived in Atlanta I found out the cast either had the week off or went to New Orleans to film the backdoor pilot for the new The Originals spinoff. I am incredibly excited for the new show, ridiculously so, but I admit I'm disappointed that I didn't get the chance to meet any of the cast. They only film in Covington maybe 1-2 days a week for the outside shots, while the rest of the filming is done in warehouses in Atlanta, away from the public. Since I had planned for 3 nights in Covington I was really hopeful, but it just wasn't meant to be. Still, being there was great and the tour was awesome.
The tour meets up at the visitor's center which has some items from different tv shows and movies that have filmed in town.
Just a few blocks away is the town square, which includes a lot of filming locations. For such a small area, shooting in different directions allows them to use the same general location many, many times. Around the square is:
The Mystic Grill facade (soon to be a real restaurant) with Sherry and Sheri (the awning was destroyed by weather and just replaced in the last few days):
The alleyway where plenty of vampires have been staked, sometimes with hybrids watching:
The clock tower (town hall), where we're standing is where Klaus drowned Carol Lockwood (they built a fountain for that shot):
Alaric's apartment windows (sad face for missing Ric):
Rooftop from multiple scenes, including the 'destroy the moonstone' spell; underneath is a Thai restaurant that Ian frequents when in town:
Grayson Gilbert's doctor's office front:
At the square there's also Scoops, the ice cream and candy shop, and just off the square is Amici, the Italian restaurant we ate at.
After the square, we drove around to some of the houses around the older part of town. Some of these houses were built in the 1800s, others in the early 1900s, so they're pretty old and quite beautiful. There are other locations further out as well:
Flashback Lockwood Mansion, aka the Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast:
Rebekah's party house:
Dying Damon's walk through the graveyard:
Isobel's 'best foreclosure in town' house:
Sherry was able to outrun the hybrid that was chasing her:
But the hybrid caught me so I scolded him:
*Next was the Lockwood Mansion, but there are a LOT of pictures from that incredible property so I'll show those last.*
Many street shots were done here (such as Klaus throwing fence posts) because you can see the clock tower in the background:
The Gilbert house (which was burnt down in the show because it was foreclosed and is now on the market for over $400,000):
That was the end of the tour! There's more on the tour, but some of the locations are not easily recognizeable from pictures or even while you're standing there. Jessica and Travis (who do the tours) have lots of stories about the different locations and that's part of what makes the tour so incredible to take.
Now, back to the Lockwood Mansion photos. Technically, the house now belongs to Matt since both of Tyler's parents are dead, Tyler is on the run from Klaus, and he left the deed to Matt, but it's the Lockwood mansion in our hearts. Hopefully when Klaus goes to New Orleans Tyler can come back and it'll be a bachelor pad for Matt and Tyler to throw blowout parties at! The house is absolutely incredible. Pictures don't even do it justice because it is so beautiful. The owners come out and say hi while you're there, and they're totally sweet.
The house is surrounded by a huge gate, there's a massive yard with a fountain in front, a carport converted to a 'hangout spot', an insane backyard with a lake, a resident stray cat, and a family of swans.
The front of the house and fountain:
I had to show off my 'It ain't easy being evil' shirt that I wore for the tour:
The incredible backyard (if you look close you can see one of the swans at the front edge of the lake):
The carport 'hang out' area has a covered but open area with a fireplace and chandelier, and their resident stray cat, George:
And it has an indoor area with another fireplace, photos, and memorabilia:
In the backyard there are benches where Elena and Stefan sat:
The staircase where the recent Miss Mystic pagent occured (when April won):
And last, but possibly one of my favorite spots, is the bridge where Klaus and Caroline walked across while talking. This was after they were sitting on the stone bench and Klaus teased Caroline about her Miss Mystic application. Then they walked across the bridge while Tyler vamp-listened in on their conversation while sitting on the steps with Hayley. After they crossed the bridge Klaus talked about the hummingbird and the one time he thought about being human again. I'm a big Joseph Morgan fan and Klaus has become one of my favorite characters, so I did EEP a bit when I realized this was the bridge.
So there you have it! Those are some of the best photos from the Vampire Diaries tour. They definitely don't do it justice. If you're a fan of the show, I highly recommend taking a trip to Covington and taking the tour. I'm seriously hoping to make the trip there again in fall or winter. When (I refuse to say if!) The Originals is picked up, it sounds like they will be filming in Conyers, which is 10 miles from Covington, and Jessica said she hopes to set up a 2nd tour for those sets. Filming for this season of TVD is almost complete (they finish by mid April) and filming for next season should start in mid July, but it'll be way too warm for me then, so I'm hoping to go back and tour both sets in late fall or winter. After all, I missed out on meeting the cast, so I need another chance!
I would LOOOOOVE to have more people join me on my next trip, so if anyone is interested in joining me, let me know and I'll do my best to keep you in the loop when I start planning the next trip so you can try to come with. After splitting the hotel and rental car costs with Sherry, I was able to do this trip for about $650! Thus it's quite affordable and can be quite relaxing as well. It will cost more depending on if you want to stay at Twelve Oaks, want to buy a bunch of merchandise after the tour, eat out more often, or do any extras that are going on in the area (they showed the TVD episode airing on Thurs night at Twelve Oaks and it would've cost $15 to join in, but it would've been too hard on my body).
If anyone has questions about the pictures I posted or the tour, let me know. I hope the TVD fans enjoyed this blog and are considering visiting Covington and taking the tour.
Edit: I realize I forgot to credit SherryGayl for all the wonderful pictures. She brought her great camera along. Very helpful for me, because I could concentrate on maneuvering with my walker and not falling over while she was taking the pictures. When she's in the picture it was Jessica or Travis (who do the tours) taking the picture. BIG THANK YOU TO SHERRY!
Monday, March 25, 2013
I know people have been waiting for this blog, but I've not only been trying to recover from the trip, I've also had to deal with a lot of junk this week. My LTD should have been decided a week ago, but due to their incompetence and blatant disrespect of laws, they never sent the letter requesting an extension to make a decision to my lawyer's office, so while I was in GA they told my lawyer's office they needed information from me on the day they said it was due to them. Morons. My lawyer made sure it was okay for me to get that to them when I was home, so I had to compile a bunch of information from them. I've had to email my doctor, deal with requesting a new housekeeper, yet again asking for someone to pay to fix my broken shower due to the housekeeper, and more. Add in I came home right after an ice storm followed by snow and no one cleaned up my walkway and right after I was home there was another snowstorm and they still didn't clean up my walkway (they left all the ice in place).
As for what happened, this is going to be absolutely crazy long. You've been warned!
Before getting on the plane on Mon, 3/11, I had to finish packing and had to run some errands. This included getting my hair cut (it hadn't been done in many months; it looked awful and was bugging me). I got home and did my inevitable 'I forgot this' 'gotta do this' 'don't forget that' 'oh yeah there's still that' for awhile. A friend waited for me while I finished up then I kissed my kitty goodbye and headed for the airport later than I wanted to be. The good thing about using a wheelchair in the airport is they don't want the staff tied up in long lines, even though there was barely anyone in the lines, so they put you to the front of the line. Unfortunately, I have to go through extra screening. I don't care if they do a pat-down, but it did bother me that all of a sudden bringing medically necessary liquids on the plane means they tear apart every part of your luggage to test all of it, or they opened the sealed liquids and ruin them. Seriously TSA - you're stupid! Thus, it took awhile to tear apart my very carefully packed luggage and then I couldn't put it back together well because they were rushing me. Oh and you can't repack your luggage sitting in a wheelchair but if they do it then stuff is left behind, broken, or they can't figure out how to pack it. Yeah, the next time TSA asks GPACT for suggestions on how to better treat people with medical conditions this will be mentioned. Still, I did my best to keep a smile on my face, crack jokes, and just be cheerful. Nothing gets you stopped faster than being a jerk at security. I get taken to the gate and left there, having to balance my luggage on my walker while I attempt to go to the bathroom and get water. And guess what - there is no such thing as "Minnesota Nice", especially in a car or in an airport. Everyone is out for their own good. Heck, people take over the specialized handicapped seats and don't want to move when they see someone struggling to walk while balancing luggage on a walker. Jerks. I ask at the counter about getting my seat moved so I'll have more room considering I don't walk so well and can't take my walker on the plane. The guy waits until the last minute to give me a seat right at the front of coach, but he said I won the lottery for that seat so I told him I wanted to give him a hug - and he got one. Unfortunately, after that they started boarding - WITHOUT giving me a pre-boarding. So I've got a flight attendant taking my luggage while I slowly walk down the jetway with over a hundred people nipping at my heels and grumbling. OMG You are supposed to let disabled people pre-board for this exact reason! They go by as I try to prepare my walker to be checked under the plane (where it was damaged, TYVM) and then I have to try to get around all of the people jockeying for power in first class and a dozen people already in the way in the front of coach. OMG people, you will get on and off the plane - you don't have to throw fits and elbows to be first on and first off! Finally I get seated. I got seated next to a sweet woman who has a service dog. She was doing her best to keep him from sitting on my feet or getting in the aisle, but he kept wanting to stretch out. It was okay, we made it work. It was good she was so sweet because I didn't figure out until we were landing how to pull out the TV from under the seat to watch the movie that was being shown that I REALLY wanted to see. *Grumble* Thanks flight attendants and Delta for NOT saying a word about it. Not a single person in the front row realized that it was there. So it was 2 1/2 hours of chatting and listening to my mp3 player. And a half hour of trying to get a flight attendant's attention so I could go to the bathroom, considering I needed help to get up and down the aisles. (I peed for nearly a minute straight, that's how bad I had to go.) They ignored my call light and I had to keep turning around to find someone to get their attention.
Okay, so we get there and everyone pushes and shoves off the plane while I wait. And wait. And wait because there is no wheelchair at the gate waiting for me, even though it was requested when I ordered my ticket and by the flight attendants right after we landed. Wonderful. I get off, fight with my damaged walker to get it working, and have a flight attendant carry my luggage up to the gate while I still waited for a wheel chair. Nice. It turns out the airport is pretty empty because of a rainstorm cancelling flights, and they had 1 person to push me and another person in a wheelchair (who apparently took my wheelchair at the gate from what I heard). Poor guy! (BTW when I was in a wheelchair I pushed my walker in front of me.) This goes on for several minutes before we run into a few other staff member who can push a wheelchair. It takes awhile to get out of the airport, but I had her and a few other workers who were leaving after their shifts cracking up laughing. Then out to the shuttle to take me to the hotel. Which the shuttle was totally full so they barely fit me in - after having to ask other passengers to move so I wouldn't have to fight my way through 10 people to get to a seat. Again, the courtesy for a disabled person is severely lacking at airports!
To the hotel, which was cheap, and I got what I paid for. The people were nice but the place was not. It was one of those places that you wear 2 pairs of socks and take one off before getting into bed because the floors are that gross. The walls are too thin, especially being right next to the airport. I dropped off my stuff then took the shuttle just down the road to a restaurant to order a kids menu item and barely be able to eat it all. I talked to a nice police officer as I waited to be picked up to go back to the hotel, and gave him my caringbridge website because he wanted to find out more about me. Tried to sleep at the hotel, but it just didn't go well.
Next morning, Tues 3/12, I checked out, leaving my luggage at the hotel thanks to the wonderful staff being willing to watch it. The shuttle took me back to the airport so I could pick up the rental car, then back to the hotel to grab my stuff. I was supposed to meet SherryGayl around 1:30-2:00 at the airport, but her bus was SERIOUSLY late. Instead, I drove up to where the bus was supposed to arrive in Atlanta so she wouldn't have to hop the train to the airport. Good thing she was running late because I totally couldn't find the bus stop! I drove around for nearly an hour and a half and finally found it. It was paid parking around there and I didn't know how long she'd be, so I drove around more to find a place I could park, out of the way. Then she arrived and I had to figure out how to get the heck back there, with no parking available so I had to pull over, toss her stuff in the car, and get out of the way. GAH! I was so frustrated by then. (Hey Atlanta, you might want to actually have signs and directions about how to get there!)
Finally we were off to Covington! We were using Sherry's phone for GPS (save $40 versus getting it with the car) but when we got into Covington she couldn't get a signal! The insane adventure continues. Finally I just started choosing directions until we were able to get a semi-signal to point us towards the hotel: Hampton Inn. Checked in then went back to the car to head to Wal-Mart for food. The Hampton Inn in Covington has a mini-fridge and small microwave in every room, which is ideal for someone on a very specific medical diet like me. Food support works in any state, so I saved money by doing this as well. Then we spent the evening resting in the hotel room after the long day.
Weds, 3/13 was the tour! I think I'm going to put this in a separate blog, as I'll end up talking about things that most people won't understand unless they watch Vampire Diaries. I'll post the pictures in that blog.
After the tour we headed back to the hotel. I was exhausted and it turns out we got a big of sun burn on our faces, so we got a lot more sun than I anticipated. Sherry went for a walk to grab some food nearby while I rested, then we watched Arrow and Supernatural (both reruns) in the room and chatted. I also showed her some videos and talked about Vampire Diaries, since she'd never seen the show before and I wanted her to have an idea, since we'd be watching a new episode the next night.
Thurs 3/14 we got some breakfast then I ended up getting into a 2 hour conversation with the front desk people. Whoops! I'm a talker! (Obviously.) They were awesome though, one in particular. Finally Sherry convinced me to leave and we went to some of the small shops in the town square. Sherry got this really great dress (perfect for her to go on a date and show off her new shape!). Then we went to Amici Cafe, an Italian restaurant. The spaghetti on the kid's menu was just the right size for me and the waiter was cute and sweet, so it was awesome! Then we went to Scoops for some treats. Sherry finished off her smoothie (I think?) before we even got back to the hotel. I got 1 piece of chocolate covered toffee which I ate slowly while laying on the bed in the hotel. Sherry went back out a little later to walk to Walmart and see if they had any sweaters. She got back just in time to watch Vampire Diaries with me... laughing at my utter enjoyment of the show and of the fun on twitter during the show. Yes, I get pretty funny during my favorite shows!
On Fri 3/15, it was time for the fun to start wrapping up. We ended up talking to the sweet, adorkable front desk clerk again for an hour or so before heading up to the room to pack and check out. It didn't take long to get back to Atlanta and I dropped off Sherry at the bus stop. Then back to the hotel right next to the airport to check in and drop off my luggage before dropping off the car at the airport and taking the shuttle back. I still had food left so I ate that for lunch and dinner (I had a handicapped room right next to the breakfast room so I could use their microwave and ate the cold stuff first). Unfortunately, they had begun a remodel project, so the whole afternoon and evening they were working on the walls with crazy noisy equipment and both dry and wet paint was everywhere. What a mess! Then most of the night people upstairs were either attempting to break the bed or break each other because every few minutes there were echoing thuds... this lasted for several hours. I eventually had to ask the front desk to check on them because there had to have been damage up there!
I ended up getting maybe an hour of sleep before I had to be awake at 4:45 am on Sat 3/16 to pack up the last few items, check out, and catch the shuttle to the airport. Unfortunately, the shuttle was running late, which meant I was running late, but the Atlanta airport was much better about my stuff and didn't unpack everything. The boarding process on the plane was also much better, as I got to pre-board and be settled before everyone else shoved through. I had a nice guy next to me who was on the way back from overseas (India I think?) and still had to catch another flight from MN to the west coast. The disembarking was also better and my friend was ready and waiting to pick me up. I got back home and was absolutely exhausted.
There's no rest for the weary, of course, as I slowly unpacked I put just a few things away then rested for awhile until everything was done hours later. I laid down for a short nap and soon after there was a knock on the door. A police officer came by. Apparently the city is sick of having to send officers by to tell my neighbor to turn down the volume, and some of them blame me. They're setting up mediation for later this week, which is going to be 'fun'. Ugh!
Anyways, that was the trip! I figure I spent over 35 hours to plan this trip, excluding planning what to pack and actually packing. Every bit of the travel was planned and prepared for (except getting lost in Atlanta of course - I thought I had that figured out but it didn't work). The hotels were carefully planned for their amenities and cost, and I called both to verify everything before I booked. I spent so much time planning it that while it was happening I often questioned if it was really happening or if I was dreaming it because of how much time I had thought about it.
I'm so glad I went. I really needed it. I also really, really hope to go back, potentially in the fall or winter. There are a lot of things that will need to go right to make that happen, but I'm trying to be hopeful. With some luck, it will happen - especially because there's more I want to experience there. It would also be absolutely incredible if the next time I go more people can join and make it an even bigger event. How awesome would that be?
If you've read all of this, you're a superhero! Thanks! This has taken hours for me to type and I have to get up early tomorrow, so I'm going to do the Vampire Diaries set tour blog tomorrow (hopefully). That blog will include some pictures. I can't include all because Sherry is awesome and took a TON of pictures. Anyone who's into the show should check out that blog and seriously consider visiting Covington and taking the tour. It's so much fun.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
I've mentioned a few times how much I've wanted to take a trip to GA as something positive I really want to happen. I've waivered on it a few times, debating over whether I should or shouldn't go, but with all the negatives happening and about to crash in on my life in the next few months, I decided I needed to do it. It'll be a last real positive before a bunch of horrible negatives happen. Well, I've been planning it like crazy, but now everything is booked and I'll be in GA NEXT WEEK!
For those who wanna know, here's what's happening:
Mon, 11th: flying into Atlanta late evening & staying in cheap hotel near airport
Tue, 12th: picking up sparkfriend SherryGayl at airport & driving to Covington, GA (about 45 mins to the east)
Wed, 13th: touring Vampire Diaries set with www.mysticfallstours.com/ and hopeful I'll have a chance to see some cast members (6th-7th is supposed to start filming of the huge episode that will become the backdoor pilot for The Originals spinoff, and with a typical episode taking 8 weekdays to film, they should be finishing up the episode while I'm there!)
Thu, 14th: no plans so far on this day except resting and watching a new TVD episode in the evening
Fri, 15th: leave Covington, drop off SherryGayl for her trip back home, go back to cheap hotel for a few hours of rest/sleep
Sat, 16th: very early morning flight (depart at 7:30 am!) back home
Anyone who's seen my posts/blogs/etc knows that this is going to be crazy difficult on me. I'm using a walker (at 31 it really sucks), get tired easy, and I'm used to spending a lot of time laying down and resting because of my medical conditions. It's going to be hard, but if I can't push myself to do this, is there anything I would push myself to do? I'm also totally broke and am putting all of this on credit cards (and doing this trip as cheaply as possible), but I've spent my whole life being financially responsible; I'm already facing being homeless and without aid/help/services, so if it's going to happen then I'm gunna be homeless and in debt for something worthwhile! I didn't choose to have to face this many medical issues, I'm losing the battle for aid and services partially because of political battles that are ridiculous, and I'm so sick of taking crap from the world because fate chose to deal me this hand, so I'm going to take a leap of faith and do something good for myself - that's what this trip is about.
If any of my sparkfriends who live in Georgia would like to meet up, let me know! The best days would be evening of the 12th or during the day on the 14th in Covington, if you're a fan of The Vampire Diaries and want to come on the tour on the 13th that would be INCREDIBLE, or if nothing else there's the evening of the 15th in Atlanta (but I'll have already returned the rental car, so no driving around for me). Sherry will be with me and she's awesome so I'm sure we'd all get along.
Sparkfriends, keep your fingers crossed that this tour will go well for me. I've got this planned out pretty darn well, so I'm hoping it'll go smoothly even with my medical issues. (For instance, the hotel in Covington has a mini fridge and microwave so I'll be going to a grocery store to pick up some foods I can eat to try to avoid some Gastroparesis problems by NOT eating in restaurants.) So WISH ME LUCK! Eep!
Thursday, February 07, 2013
For those who have an idea of what I've been battling, and how incredibly difficult my life has been lately, what do you think could happen next? How about this:
My neurologist is giving up trying to stop the status migranosis. She refuses to do the standard treatment that has been used for decades because she doesn't believe in it. The treatments she has tried (4) have all failed or made the headaches or another one of my conditions worse. She has also failed to find why I keep losing blood flow and nerve signals to my extremities for no good reason and why my muscles keep giving out. She's ignored the orthostatic intolerance (blacking out frequently when I change body position) also. I think I make her feel stupid and/or she thinks I'm completely faking it because I'm not statistically normal. Of course, the neurologists in Milwaukee aren't willing to do much of anything themselves because they expect the local neurologist to do it since I can see her without having to fly across WI for an appointment.
I can no longer afford to see my GI doctor in Philadelphia and the GI doctors in Milwaukee are refusing to even consider taking on my gastroparesis (paralyzed digestive system). They do want to look further into my eosinophilic esophagitis (allergic reaction preventing the esophagus from working) but refused to give me an appointment for the testing because the doctor didn't turn in the orders. Then she all but demanded I show up there immediately for testing, no matter how risky and horrible of a trip it would be for me. When I said I would not risk my life for testing that she didn't deem that important a few weeks ago, she got huffy. When I tried to set up the appointment for late March or early April (when winter will be wrapping up and the flight on a 4-5 seat plane won't be as dangerous for my other conditions) they refused to give me an appointment because they 'don't schedule this test out that far'. Doesn't matter that I'm traveling 350+ miles, have to set up the trip with the non-profit that flies me, with family, and schedule it around other doctor appointments - I'm supposed to bend to their every whim even when they've had an epic fail.
My primary care doctor is playing games with me again. I have several mental health issues (when you have as much medically wrong as I do, and you can never again be the person you once were, let alone be who you want to be, because of your diagnoses, of course you'll be depressed and anxious!) and she's trying to claim that those are my ENTIRE problem because they can't fix the physical issues and/or she doesn't actually understand what several of my diagnoses are. Seriously, she admits she's never heard of some of them and never knew that some of the others could ever be as bad as I have them. She's trying to convince me to give up finding the other diagnoses that I was told by other specialists MUST be there. Having such a wide range of diagnoses is so unique that there must be something that's missing to tie it together. I've been told to keep looking and keep seeing specialists. She sounds like she wants me to stop and I actually have to delve into medical terminology to speak with her on something closer to a doctor's level to make it clear that I AM NOT FAKING THIS! I'm not giving up on her though, because I know she's been trying to help me; she's just so far out of her comfort zone that she can't process what's happening.
I also need to get an appointment with a vascular specialist and perhaps a cardiologist. My primary doctor all but said most vascular surgeons are jerks, so it's doubtful they'll want to deal with a unique case such as mine. Which means if I do get an appointment, I will probably spend most of the time fighting for them to just listen to me.
I have been without any income since April 2012 - after my short term disability ran out. The long term disability company denied me benefits by claiming pre-existing conditions (which is crap) and by sending my denial 3 days after I faxed (and followed with a phone call to ensure the fax was received) proof of 5 new diagnoses that have absolutely no chance of being pre-existing and can't be anything but disabling... which they promptly 'lost'. I had hoped to send in an appeal but I am not currently capable of doing it myself, so it took months to find a lawyer, then a month and a half to convince any of my doctors to help with the appeal (my primary is the only doctor who would submit anything - the rest have a mistaken belief that their notes can take the place of legal documents). In mid December the appeal was submitted and I was supposed to be approved or denied by February 1st. They didn't. They decided to delay the case for another 45 days; when I called to ask about what was happening they were snarky and told me I never gave them any paperwork about the new diagnoses - which is the paperwork I submitted 3 days before their denial. I am down to $500 to my name (waiting for nearly $1,000 in reimbursements from the state to cover my COBRA costs) and if the estimate I was given for how much I should be getting from LTD is correct, they owe me enough to pay up the $4,000 I'm behind in my mortgage, $10, 000 I owe my parents, and several thousand I've racked up in credit card bills (I never carried a balance until November 2012 - I've had my main CC since 1999).
Of course, the social security disability is in limbo, and will probably be delayed for another year or more until I can get in front of a judge.
Speaking of my mortgage, I got a letter today saying I'm going into foreclosure. My social worker said that the county should be able to help me with my mortgage since there is NOWHERE to put me and if I lose my house I'm homeless. She said that I have to be pretty much out of money and that being a few months behind should help my case. Apparently they waited so long to even consider it that now they've determined it's not worth catching up my mortgage and helping me - even though there are no open waiting lists for section 8 housing, they will not put me into a nursing home or assisted living facility, and any other place they could put me into will put me on a waiting list for a year or two if I'm lucky. So unless I get a few thousand dollars and some income soon, I will have no where to live. And anyone thinking I should move in with family, my sister and I barely speak, my parents have serious mental health problems (and my mother has been physically abusive on top of that for a large portion of my life), I don't get along well with pretty much any of my relatives, and most of them live in areas that lack adequate medical care, especially considering the demanding nature of my conditions and the obscene number of doctor appointments I have each month. I also have no friends I can move in with as most of them have thrown me away because I'm 'too sick'.
Today I also got a letter that there is now a lien placed on my house due to a nearly $1100 unpaid bill for the deck the association replaced this past summer. The postwoman said everyone in the neighborhood got the letters, so it looks like the HOA decided to not pay the contractor. Yes, they fail at paying bills and fail at making sure that driveways and sidewalks are clear so people like me can actually leave their house without risking life and limb - nothing like trying to use a walker in 3+" of snow on top of 1/2" of solid ice. They also fail at enforcing the dozens of rules in the association - even when I complain over and over and over and over so they could've probably paid for all the decks with the fines they could've assessed!
BTW, imagine this: even though I've been shelling out nearly $500 a month for COBRA, somehow my insurance was cancelled on Jan 1st with no one able to figure out how it happened, why it happened, and who/what did it. So now I'm getting phone calls from doctor's offices saying I have no valid insurance. So while the health insurance company is trying to figure out why it was cancelled, I asked that they at least reestablish it! Way to screw over a person who has a lot of medical issues and way too many doctor appointments.
As I said I have $500 to my name. If the LTD had come through I really, desperately wanted to take a trip to Covington, GA, by mid March. I'm a big Vampire Diaries fan and at least one of my favorite regular characters is leaving to go to a spinoff so if I'm going to have a chance to meet the actor (in addition to the tour of the town and filming locations) I have to go by mid March (absolutely no later than the very beginning of April). There spinoff is set in New Orleans, so they probably won't be filming in the same area. I have had a ridiculous number of things taken from me because of these diagnoses, including the only 2 real goals I've ever had for my life: to be a good wife and mom, and I just wanted this one chance at something really positive in my life, but apparently that was too much to hope for. Even if the LTD pays out, it'll be too late for this trip to have a chance of being what I want it to be.
Can someone tell me how someone with as many medical diagnoses as I have, and having to face it alone (Please, no offense - I mean in person support. Understand I do appreciate the words and support of my online friends) when even being alone is becoming unsafe, is supposed to deal with all of this? I know exactly why my mental health is continuing to worsen and why I just want to spend my time sleeping, watching tv, and wasting time online so I can distract myself from spending every single moment of every day bathed in negativity and horrible-ness.
My social worker is supposed to be coming tomorrow and she's *supposed to* be bringing someone with who will be hired by the county to do household chores for me, since I'm unable to. (Imagine trying to scrub a toilet or tub when just standing up, let alone bending over, can cause you to pass out and strong smells can make you severely sick.) I'm not holding my breath.
I know I've asked for this before, but things are worse now than ever... If anyone is willing to write to the Ellen DeGeneres Show or to anyone else who might be able to help me try to get through this time, I would appreciate it. I'm willing to take whatever help I can get, though I know I may not deserve it. I'm desperate to find SOME positive that I can cling to because I feel broken, destroyed, and forgotten. I'm terrified of what's going to happen in a few months when I lose my home and have nowhere to go... especially because there's a chance I'll have to give up my cat and he's the best family I've got.
Friday, January 18, 2013
Take just a moment to read this short blog/article. Really consider the implications of what the author says.
I've been using the same imagery of linking the flu to what it feels like to have Gastroparesis, for nearly 2 years. It knocks people off their feet for a moment while the consider the implications. When you have the flu do you feel like doing normal activities? Do you want to take out the garbage, vacuum, cook or even smell food, go to work, play with your kids, or even stand upright? Usually that's a resounding NO. I've had a pretty bad case of Gastroparesis since July 2010, but I've had mild symptoms of it since I was an infant - over 31 YEARS of not being able to eat like everyone else around me. I was yelled at as a kid for not finishing food, for not eating fast enough, or because a single taste of some foods made me sick to my stomach. It has gotten worse over time, but the last few years the condition has become downright dangerous. Even so, I am still berated and harassed by a few people because I don't eat like others. Some people refuse to believe there is anything wrong with me because I 'look fit and healthy'... because having 11 medical conditions that are invisible illnesses isn't enough to make them see and believe how impossible it is for me to even stand some days. Yet many times I have gone out of my way and even risked my safety for someone else.
The words you choose to say might have one meaning in your mind, but mean something entirely different to someone else. Be careful of what you choose to say, and if you don't know what to say then be willing to admit it. It is better to admit ignorance than to pretend to understand. I am so sick of people saying I look perfectly healthy when every part of my body is screaming in pain, I can barely eat, and I know that most of my conditions are incurable, untreatable, or have failed to respond to treatments. I am not healthy and if they really looked in my eyes for a moment they might realize how much those words just hurt me, but instead I feign positivity and acceptance of their ignorance because I don't want them to feel hurt. I deal with hurt every day of my life, so I can take a little more, right?
Take note of what people say to you when you feel sick, depressed, hurt, or let down. What makes you feel better and what makes you feel worse? What do you want to say in response when you appreciate or hate what they said? If you have a friend with a medical condition, take a moment to really think before you speak. Sometimes just giving someone a hug and saying you're there for whatever they need means more than any other pseudo-supportive comment you can come up with. And please do not try to commiserate with them, because support doesn't mean one-upping someone, it means allowing them a chance to explain their pain. If they need to talk about what's bothering them, don't say how you've felt the same before because (this) happened to you. If they understand the same, when you need the support they'll sit back and listen to you.
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