Sunday, July 24, 2011
I'd like to share what it's like to be me with osteoarthritis, chronic pain, fibromyalgia and a permanently damaged spine. My day starts with me waking up in my reclining chair in so much pain that I generally convince myself that I don't need to get up and go to the bathroom for at least an hour. I take my meds (100 mg of Savella, 900 mg of Gabapentin, 7.5/750 Hydrocodone, 6000 units of Vitamin D) and I do my best to maintain a decent mood. By the way, I sleep in a recliner because I cannot stand the pain of trying to lie flat on my back. Between the nerve pain, the scar pain, the arthritis, and the left over stuff from having a metal rod and screws holding my spine in place; lying down just doesn't work for me.
I get up and work my way into the restroom after about an hour when my meds start working. I have to be careful if I am in any sort of a fibro flare, because event he kitty rubbing up against my legs will make them hurt and burn in a way that makes no sense. I do my best to dress and get ready for my day. I have to be selective of the clothing that I wear because I cannot fasten some things nor can I pull them down over my back. I also wear interesting shoes because I cannot always put on my socks and I cannot tie my shoes on my own. Breakfast needs to be protein food, nothing sweet like cereal or bars because if I don't eat the right stuff soon enough after taking my meds, I get nauseated to the point of vomiting. That's a real day ruining agent.
With it being summer break (that will soon come to an end for me--we return to school on August 1 with out modified year round calendar, I have had a lot less stress to deal with because my work days haven't been all day and it has been easier to fit in my medical appointments and my daily exercise at the pool. However, I come back to the last thing I do each day which is to take my meds (the Savella, Gabapentin, and the Hydrocodone) before I try to go to sleep for the evening. I don't sleep well and I take the last dose when I wake up around 2:30 AM each day.
Anyway, part of the reason that I started this blog was to see if I could find some help with my stomach issues that I suspect are caused by Savella. I did some research and it describes some mild stomach upset, but the kind of thing I have been going through often has been a few days every couple of weeks that includes vomiting and pain in my tummy. Since it doesn't happen every day and all of the time, it doesn't make sense that it is my meds that cause it, but I don't recall anything like this until I started taking this medication in late April either.
Any help or ideas from anyone would sure be appreciated. Thanks either way!!
Friday, July 22, 2011
This day has been a stinker--and I don't know how to explain why it went south in the first place. I finished my homework at a decent hour last night and got a pretty decent night of sleep (for me.) I was awake a couple of times, but it was no more than usual. I made plans to go observe my son's ELL class at the church today for part of my class project due tonight and mostly because I wanted to watch what he idd with such a big group of kids who speak so many different languages. Then, I promised my son that I would go to his new school and help him organize and set up his classroom. (Duh, I haven't done my own and we start back to work on August 1!! Go figure.)
Anyway, this morning, I felt a bit yucky, so I got a drink of water and fell back to sleep without taking my morning meds. I woke up an hour later and then I had to hurry to get to the church on time to observe my son's class. I grabbed my meds and took them on an empty stomach (no wait, I ate my daily half of a banana.) Anyway, I got to the church and observed some wonderful activities and teaching. I ran into my pastor and we chatted a bit before my son and I left to go to his school--after I found out about a summer tutoring meeting that we Anyway, I added that to my schedule at 2:30, which now also included driving one of my sons to work at 3:30 and taking our youngest son to a doctor's appointment at 4:00.
I told my older son that I wasn't feeling quite well and that I needed something to drink. I couldn't quite decide what I wanted, but he went in and bought me a bottle of water and a bottle of caffeine free diet soda. I decided to go with the water and I took one sip. I looked at Mitchell and said, I think I'm going to throw up. He asked, "Really?" as I grabbed a bag and vomited up that swallow of water and continued to try and heave more. It was awful. We went to his classroom and it was simply too hot for me to work much, and I ended up with diarrhea as well. On the way back to the church for the meeting, I tried a sip of the soda, thinking carbonation might make me feel better. Oops, more of what happened earlier. I gave up trying.
We went to the meeting and it was lovely. They brought a cake that said "Job well done" on it. They took photos and we shared stories. It was very positive and fun as well. I tired a sip of lemonade and I was better. I am not sure when my ribs will feel better though. Next, I got my husband to bring my kids to me and I did my motherly duty in giving rides and the like. On the way home from the doctor appointment , we stopped and did some shopping. I got a good deal on blueberries, yay, my favorite.
We got home in time for me to type up my project and get it submitted before I needed to go to the pool. Hmm, except I had an email from the professor and it seems that when I did my midterm on Monday, the first question didn't get submitted. I tired to respond to her email and let her know that she was right, I hadn't intended for it to be like that. (Hmm, 5 essay questions on the exam, I wouldn't have omitted one of them intentionally.) My work email that I use for professional activities like my classes wouldn't let me send anything. I did some "stuff" and found a way to bypass entourrage and get an email out to the teacher. Then, I started to look through all of my computer records and I finally found the exam, but I didn't have any of the resources saved on the test work I found. So, of course, I sat and figured out where I got the info I used to answer the question from and did that. That made me postpone typing my project, but I started and decided how late I could work until I needed to leave to get to the pool. I got as far as I expected to, and then I went to the pool with a plan to finish that typing when I got home.
The thunderstorm started as we left for the pool. That means we are supposed to have a shift in the weather. It was raining pretty well when we got to the fitness center. I checked in and got ready to swim. I collected some equipment to use when I worked out--and there was aloud crack of lightning. the lights flickered in the pool area and the jets stopped working. We weren't allowed to get in the pool. Shoot. We waited for over a half an hour so I finally just went and showered--until I remembered that I could ride the stationary bike for some exercise. We came home and I finished my project. I am not sure that it got through to the university and my professor. I tried anyway and this time I have a good copy. I sent her an email and let her know that the technology was not quite right.
It's been a tough day--I just finished my last fruit serving of the day, so I saved that streak. I am so glad that I was able to get everything under control after it became a problem. Some days are like this.
Tomorrow, I will get up and eat a proper breakfast when I take my morning meds. That should get things going okay. I start at the dentist, then I'm going back to my son's classroom (if he has picked up two fans for the place!) and I have physical therapy at the pool again in the afternoon. Hopefully that will be a start to a wonderful weekend! I understand that the temperatures have dropped about 25 degrees outside, so that should help some of my family with the mood they have been in.
I'm looking forward to the weekend, my friends!!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I just turned in the mid-term exam for my class. I stayed up most of the night to finish getting caught up and today, it was my mid-term. I haven't done today's reading yet. I will have to do it tomorrow along with tomorrow's work. However, I think I am getting control over the material now, after such a mad dash to get caught up.
Everyone around here is talking heat, heat, heat. Personally, I detest the cold in the winter so much that this heat wave is just a gift in my thinking. I need to work out in my gardens tomorrow sometime. I will have to carefully choreograph my plans so I can get to the pool early and work in the yard in the evening. That should do it.
I have a lot of phone calls to do tomorrow and my class work. Everything should go okay. I do a pretty good job with time. I'm sending good wishes to everyone.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
I am taking a really brief break from studying because sometimes it helps me to focus on material better. I have about 8 more pages to read before I watch a video and take the midterm for my class. Then, I have two more days of lessons to get caught up on so I'll be where I'm supposed to be with the rest of the class. I am so far behind because my book came over a week late and I had trouble getting online with the university. the teacher has been very kind and understanding.
The material is full of theory and is not easy for me to read. I am having to use the strategies I teach my students in reading the text with lots of highlighting, note taking, sticky notes, and rereading. I want to understand and learn this because I think I will be a better teacher because of this. Right now, I am reading a section on how people have prejudices against/ towards others because of the way they use language and speak. I hadn't thought a lot about this, but it is a significant thing in all of our lives unless we live in a fairly isolated area with only family or others from exactly the same background that we have. Language and how we use it is quite distinguishing and is used as much as appearances when people are making judgements.
My daughter's retreat has been a handful for me. I had to gather letters from family members and church members that basically were positive and built her up. She has a whole bag of those and I am sure that she will cherish those for the rest of her life. I also had to provide her favorite treat that they referred to as "agape love." I needed enough for 65 people and her favorite food is pizza. She would eat it day and night for every meal and not be sick of it. However, I also had to "sneak" it in as a surprise and I had no idea of when/how they were serving this. Finally, I thought of her favorite candy (Reese's) and I bought a boatload of those and put them in a nice serving bowl. It was easier and less expensive. The thing is this retreat is called Chrysalis and their idea is that the girls come in as caterpillars and will leave as butterflies, ready to explore the world. They want to surround them with the positives of life and scripture and goodwill. I think it would be a wonderful experience. I attended a couple of retreats as a high school girl and I remember the positive feeling I had when I left--and they weren't entirely focused on doing this like Chrysalis is.
My husband and I go to pick hr up at 4:30 for an hour long celebration service. The heat is high today and I don't know how much work I'm going to do in the garden. I may not get my regular workout in, but I can read as I ride the stationary bike tonight. I have had a good lot of walking already and I helped Mitchell to go through some of my teacher stuff for his new classroom and grade level this year. Hallelujah that he has a job!! He is teaching ELL children at the church this summer (for two more weeks) and that is a job I almost envy him over--he is getting a great deal of experience with children from grades 1-7, all whose home language is not English. He is learning a lot about that and working with several volunteers and helpers too. I am so happy for him. (My blog came full circle back to the topic i am studying!!)
Have a marvelous Sunday--watch out for the heat if you have a heat warning!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I finally got the text book for my online class that started last week. I am seriously behind because it is a summer class and we are doing a week of work each day. I couldn't get online with the school for 3 days which really caused me grief--and then we have been assigned some 30-50 pages of reading each night along with written assignments each day. I couldn't do much. I read some articles and watched a video. I did some responses. However, I have a lot to do and it will take me a couple of more days to get there.
I haven't taken a class for credit since 1996. Things have changed a lot since then. Registering for a class is all different--all online. It is hard to tell if you have done what you needed to do. Then there are all of the things that you have to do to have access to the school email and their online service. They wanted my school ID number--back when I was working on my master's and the 45 hours I took after that, we didn't have an ID. I had to be "readmitted." Then the class was full and I had to get permission to register--over the holiday weekend. I was 3 days behind when I finally got online and now that I have my book, I should be 5 days into the class and I am about 2.5 days into it. I have worked in almost every spare minute since I got my book. I read and read tonight at the fitness center, both in the sauna and on the bike. I will get back to it in a minute.
The topic is fascinating--Sociolinguistics. I am learning about a lot of misconceptions I had about language and vocabulary and how oral and written language came to be. I took a little quiz and found out that I cannot recognize regional accents when they aren't incredibly obvious. Mostly, I learned that all of us think we talk correctly and that other people have accents. That's a hoot.
Being back in school is a good thing for me--I expected the training in working with English Language Learners/ English as a Second Language students would be really enlightening and helpful. I forgot how I feel energized when I am learning and thinking and enjoying the company of classmates and colleagues. As soon as I get on track and get caught up, I will revel in some of this. Teachers need to continue their education and I haven't sat dormant for 15 years. I have attended many seminars and workshops. I became Nationally Board Certified which was, hands down, the best professional development that I have ever had--because it was about me analyzing my day to day work and reflecting on the quality of what I do. I learned so much about me and what I do well. That is not something that I have heard in my career from anyone and it was enlightening.
On a different note, today was a really weird day at school. The park program "forgot" to let us know that they were going on a field trip to the forest preserve. I cannot go on field trips because I cannot climb onto a school bus. We did a lot of paperwork and started organizing things that can go back to my classroom first. We couldn't take them though because the custodians were waxing the hallway floor. I did a lot of sparking then and left work on time since the plans I wrote for today will work for tomorrow. We only have 3 more days left--and I am feeling like we didn't accomplish nearly what I had hoped to. However, there have been about 20 regular students who have a lot of fun with literacy and who should be in good shape for the coming school year. That is important. My one little guy that I started tutoring in January came and was quite troubled for most of the summer. I had hoped to bump him up a level of two, and I am not sure that I even helped him maintain the level I had him at. He has spent day after day crying and telling me that "Reading is too hard." I design his lessons so that that isn't so, but I couldn't get past that behavior until I called his mother last Wednesday and sent him home. That seemed kind of mean, but it got his attention and let his mother know what I have been dealing with. He has a wonderful mother who gives him the world and works with him faithfully. She volunteered in my classroom on Monday mornings since about mid January and gave me that lovely candy gift around Easter--and flowers as well. I wish her son could get settled down.
Anyway, I am reflecting now and I need to shift back into my learning mode. I have a lot to do!
Thanks for letting me ramble. I love learning and I love school. I love teaching--especially reading. It is a great profession in many ways and can really be fulfilling when you find your niche.
Take care, my friends--If I am not too visible in the next several days, please assume that I am studying.
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