May I Introduce: EMMA!

Ok, maybe I have gone off the deep end?  Most would say “YES”.  We have three wonderful, adult pugs that we love very much.  But I had been thinking very seriously about getting a bigger dog to help me feel more secure while home alone.  While we live in a very nice neighborhood, you can’t rely on that.

Soooooooooooooooooooooooo…….. This past Sunday we adopted Emma:

EMMA01~1She is a 9 week old Labrador/Shepherd mix. And while it will be awhile for her to protect me, I absolutely love the bonding process between puppy/master.

I’m Back!

I had started this post on January 16th:

Hi Everyone –

I haven’t written for a while.  Why?  I really don’t know.  I think part of it was because I truly don’t want my blog to turn into a “poor me”, “look what I can’t do anymore” type blog.  The of part is, I have been somewhat depressed.

This new year has started off with changes in our family.  Our oldest son, has moved out, and is now living in Colorado.  While I understand his want for independence, it’s still hard as a Mom to see your first-born leave the nest.

Our youngest son is truly enjoying high school, and these past few weeks, I’ve noticed how much “my baby” has not just grown (over 6ft at age 14), but how grown up and responsible he is becoming.

While I am still volunteering at the thrift store 12 hrs a week, I am alone at the house much more now that our boys are finding their own way.

I worry about being alone, but I also am stressing about getting around and being able to run errands without having to rely on my husband to drive me everywhere.  Driving a regular vehicle may never be in the cards for me.  In March, I will be 2 years post stroke, and my drop foot is just not “there” to even attempt to drive.

My husband & I have talked about getting me a heavy-duty scooter that goes faster and has a longer range, which would enable me to go to more places and do more things.  But, that takes money!

As far as my stroke recovery, I am thrilled with how far I’ve come.  I know how much worse it could be.  But, like anyone that becomes disabled later in life, it’s damn hard not to compare the new reality with the old.

First Time Sick Since Stroke……..

Two days ago, I came down with a horrid cold that my high school freshman brought home.  Being “Mom”, I, of course, wanted to nurse him back to health, which unfortunately, this time, meant I got it 😦

This is the first time I’ve gotten sick since my stroke & I have to say it, “It seems different”.  I find that I am much more tired and “discomboobulated” (a word my mother used to use)!

Before my stroke, with a cold, I would feel run down and tired, runny nose, etc…  But with this cold, I find that the stroke symptoms are exacerbated.  I find that my mind is not as clear, get fuddled much easier, and my right side (the stroke affected side) is just not as “on” as it has been.

I am finding that my body reacts so differently since my stroke to so many situations that it never did before.  What was once “just a cold”, now has me seeming to be more “off” than usual.

And I Thought Medical Insurance Couldn’t Get Any Worse?

Okay folks, it has officially begun.  The crappy insurance era where probably most of us will be forced to pay way too much, for way too little.  Or, in my case, just do without because it’s too damned expensive!

I don’t qualify for disability because after working & paying into the system for  20 years, I “chose” to stay home and raise my boys.

We have medical bills piling up to the roof that we are trying to pay off.  And on January 1st, our new insurance took effect.  If you can call it that!  To keep our old insurance, we would have had to pay exactly 1/2 more in premiums, with less coverage.

So, to save money (being able to make the house payment & eat is still a priority), we changed our policy.  The problem?  We have to pay out-of-pocket all expenses up to a certain amount before the policy kicks in.  And that includes prescriptions.

Today, I discovered that because my Baclofen is dispensed by a pain management physician, they are required to see me every 30 days before they can refill the Rx!  So this means, I have to pay for the office visit every month ($100 easy), plus the cost of the prescription out-of-pocket.  The old insurance won’t cover a visit every 30 days, so that wouldn’t have helped.

The doctor’s hands are tied because of the new “rules”.  This boils down to one very real, very disturbing & frightening reality:  I will no longer be able to afford my pain medication!

My husband feels like he’s letting me down and I feel pissed off because we have “played by the rules” our entire life, but keep getting kicked down!  I’ve always made the joke that if we got divorced, I would qualify for “aid”.  We then could afford all the name brand products we can’t now.  I also joke about having 5 or 6 six more kids so we would qualify for all those lovely “I have them but I can’t afford them” benefits!

Do I sound bitter?  Damn right!  Free medical insurance, free housing, free phones, free food, free schooling, etc…. and all I’d we’d have to do is NOT WORK!

Playing by the rules suck!!!!!!

WRPT’s = Weird Random Panic Thoughts

Ok, Thursday, I thought is was because of  the Chinese food I had eaten for dinner that caused it.  But now?  This morning it happened again and I don’t know why.  It’s what I am going to call my WRPT’s, or Weird Random Panic Thoughts.  These are thoughts that have absolutely NOTHING whatsoever to do with my life (on a day-to-day level), but wake me up in the middle of the night panicked to try and “fix” the problem!

Thursday WRPT #1:  Awoke at about 2:50 a.m. panicked because I couldn’t figure out how those rotating Christmas Tree stands work.  How is it they don’t get the cords all tangled up?  Seriously!  I laid in bed for almost 40 minutes ready to go downstairs to check the computer about this.  You know how it is that early in the morning.  You are half awake, but still feel alert?  The only way I could get back to sleep was to send myself an email from my phone to check this out the next morning!

For anyone interested, here is what I found:  Cords from a pre-lit, artificial tree–or added light strands–plug into electric outlets on the locking mount that grips the tree. The outlets turn with the mount, preventing the cords from wrapping around the base of the tree when it spins.

Friday WRPT #2: This morning a WRPT woke me up at 3:47 thinking I had missed the Superbowl!  I am serious here folks.  I was panicked because I couldn’t remember if I had missed the Superbowl.  Hell, at that time of the morning, I couldn’t honestly remember what month it was.  Now to a die-hard football fan, this could be a very real panic inducing thought.  But for me?  I can only name four professional football players by name, John Elway, Peyton & Eli Manning (can’t tell them apart), and Larry Fitzgerald.  But I can’t tell you which teams they are on. Ok, Elway I can because we lived in Colorado.  But not the other three.

The point is:  Football is not a MAJOR part of my life.  I don’t plan my weekend around which teams are playing when. Fantasy Football just sounds weird to me.  And,  I don’t have a favorite team or own any football stuff.  So WHY the panicked thought about missing the Superbowl?

Balance Issues

While I am totally aware of how far I have come in my stroke recovery, I am always aware of the things that keep me from progressing.

Lately, it has been balance issues.  I say lately, even though it’s been a problem since day one, because I am more aware of it now that I am more mobile.

I don’t like using a cane.  Although I do remember when I was still using a mobility wheelchair, telling myself I would be happy to get to that point.  Now I don’t use the cane inside the house, but I do take one with me when I leave.  At the market, I can use the cart (“trolley” for those of you across the pond, lol), and do fine.  But, outside, on uneven pavement, walking up/down a curb, or in a place with uneven lighting, my balance sucks!

I would love to find some type of therapy that would help improve my balance issues.  So if any of you have any ideas, let me know, ok?