Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Baking

Tomorrow night is Jewish New Year, known as Rosh Hashanah.  This year it also falls on the Jewish Shabbat, or Sabbath. I'm not Jewish, I wasn't raised Jewish, so I never got any instruction on how to make good challah (my main contribution to the Sabbath meals is making bread).  Fortunately for me and others, there is the Internet.  So I googled a four-braid round challah. A round challah is traditional for Rosh Hashanah,  I've heard different reasons for it.  But nevertheless, there you are.  It represents the wheel of the year, which is seen as cyclical.  It also represents a crown of God.  Some people just make a long coil and put it in a spiral like a snail's shell.  Others, however, do a round braid.  (Challah is often braided, as I've shown I past posts).  So I decided to do the round braid, and instead of the apples I meant to use, I did raisins (which are also traditional, as it represents the sweetness of the new year).  For each loaf, you make a rectangluar coil and then roll it out flat, then put raisins  on the dough and roll it up into a long coil.  You do this four times, then you braid the challah.  I've found instructions all over the internet.  The first loaf I tried was kind of haphazard.  The second was much better.  They're rising now and will be ready to bake about 11 pm.  This is also the best use I've ever for my Pampered Chef rolling pin I got years ago, which has two narrow rollers, as it didn't take up as much of my workspace (I was doing this all on a floured cutting board for easier cleanup). I got the roller years ago at a party and literally have used it maybe twice. :) So it was nice to use.  Here are the pre-rise pictures of the loaves, as well as a picture of the rolling pin.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Yay!

I got the cast and boot off! Now I just have a compression bandage that comes off and I can take a normal shower and soak my feet to get rid of all this dead skin. Yay! 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Darn

Well, I jinxed myself. I brought my other shoe with me to my doctor's appointment in case I got to wear it again, and it turns out that I have pain in a very bad spot (the cuboid something-or-other), pain I've actually had for a couple of years but flared up while I was walking to my car so I mentioned it, and I'm in the cast and boot for two more weeks. It could have been a week but next Friday was not good for me due to some things going on at work. I am not happy.  At this point, if it weren't environmentally horrible, I would burn the thing. But I guess it's better than continuing to be in pain, right?

Public Service Announcement of the Week:

Well-meaning people often use the term 'bipolar' as a synonym for acting crazy and maybe having a few ups and downs or mood swings.

But clinically, bipolar disorder can be a crippling illness that brings crushing depression that creeps up on you before you realise it, punctuated by disorganised and horrible highs that feel good at first but threaten your well-being or throw your good judgement out the window. That's Bipolar I. If you're 'lucky', you may have disturbing-yet-not full-blown manic episodes (known as hypomania) that's no less serious but generally gets treated as such. That's Bipolar II. Or sometimes it's a mix of it all, what's called mixed episodes, where you may feel so depressed you may just want to end it all while being agitated and irritable all at the same time, a particularly dangerous combination.

Mental illness, like all illnesses, makes us feel horrible and exhausted. There is no shame in it; there should be no stigma. In some ways, it's no different than having high blood pressure or diabetes, but at the same time, it is insidious, as it alters our emotions and thinking, and people see the behaviour but not the pain, and it can absolutely wreck relationships.

Even when you've been stable on the same medications for years, it can strike when you're least expecting. Suddenly you're speaking with push of speech, very fast, or it's hard to get up in the morning and you drag trying to get out of bed because you're depressed and facing taking a shower is so hard, like you're moving through jello, and all you want to do is to curl up in a ball and let the world pass by. Having bipolar disorder or any other mental illness during a worldwide pandemic, with all the anxiety, uncertainty, and change in routine is even more difficult. That's why it's more important than ever to have a good healthcare team, the support of loved ones, and the ability to self-monitor before it gets too bad. And it's important to reach out to the people in your life before it gets to be too much or to call a number such as the national suicide prevention hotline (1-800-273-8255).

We never know what's going on in someone else's head or how they're really feeling. But we can listen to them put those feelings into words and try to understand their pain. Empathy is one of the greatest gifts we as humans possess.

Monday, August 24, 2020

My day didn't go quite as planned

I called 911 about 2:15 am this morning and I was in the ER from about 2:45 am till noon, not for me, then came home, let the dogs out, fed everyone including me, napped for about an hour, got things together and took them back over to the hospital, and then came back home, where I started my laundry to make sure I had clothes for tomorrow and then made about eight phone calls.  I was exhausted.  It was time to feed them and take them out again, so I did, and then I put the clothes in the dryer and just crashed on the bed with the two dogs (we take up the whole bed, which is only full-sized.

It's 2:08 am. 24 hours of stress and trying to get everything finished that needs to be while balancing that with my medicine, food, and sleep.  Tomorrow's a workday and right now I plan to go, but I'm so tired.  My eyes are bleary and I'm still in my clothes (although at some point at least I got a shower).  I really am burning the candle at both ends.

And I'm scared.  Really scared.   I'm holding up pretty well considering a week ago I was having suicidal thoughts.  My doctor adjusted my medicine and it seems to be helping.  But my support system outside of anyone directly affected already is a couple of friends, my work lunch bunch, a couple of other co-workers and usually my online friends (which, while not really 'friends', with the exception of a few librarians I've never met, are all people I know personally or family.  But I can't share this on Facebook due to respect for privacy.  So I texted and messaged my work buddies called my friends, and I've pretty much reached out as best I can. I even checked in with my aunt and uncle in other states. But I recognise that while I'm physically fairly healthy, I'm kind of fragile emotionally and I need to be on my guard for any issues that might be triggered by it.

So anyway, that's what's going on.  I've spent 15 hours in the ER in the last week, and it's taken a toll.  But I'm trying to be strong and not fall apart.  I'll fall apart after the crisis if need be.  In the meantime, I've been told I should read Marcus Aurelius and Seneca, two Stoic philosophers, for a little insight.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Getting things done

I had a huge list of things to get accomplished this weekend and made a lot of progress towards completing it.

Today's completed tasks:

  1. Wash, dry, and fold roommate's laundry and some table  linens
  2. Clean our masks
  3. Put roommate's medical information in my phone
  4. Put away dishes
  5. Load dishwasher
  6. Wash plastics
  7. Take out the trash
  8. Take out the recyclables
  9. Straighten up utility room
  10. Go to the pharmacy
  11. Do a small grocery trip
  12. Make bread
  13. Clean the bathroom
  14. Get rid of expired milk
  15. Go through the produce
  16. Read
  17. Listen to music
  18. Take a nap
  19. Feed the animals and let the dogs out
Plans for tomorrow:
  1. Get dog food and a couple of items from the grocery
  2. Change the cat litter and pads
  3. Sweep the floors
  4. Mop the floors
  5. Find some important papers
  6. Take a shower
  7. Re-pot the olive trees into a pot with better drainage
  8. Clean out my nightstand drawers
  9. Bills
  10. My laundry

Friday, August 21, 2020

Wednesday

I was called at work due to an emergency and the last few days have been a blur.  Wednesday morning I'd scheduled two urgent offsites, but I had to leave at 2 pm.  I won't go into details, but it was very serious, as in possibly life or death.  Now things are okay again, the emergency is over, and I'm just trying to catch up.  Work still went pretty well (except I overslept today) and while I didn't clear my desk, I got a lot off of it and filed away.  It felt good that afternoon to leave work fairly taken care of, although I still need to work on surgery authorizations ahead (I'm usually a month out, now I'm filling in fairly close to the date of service, and that's not great).

Today was also when all the emergency issues settled down and all was mostly well.  There was no Sabbath dinner though, which felt odd.  I didn't get much taken care of during everything, so this weekend I plan on getting quite a bit done.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Feeling better

Today I saw my psychiatrist through a Telehealth appointment.  He was very surprised, as he's seen me for 9 years at least and I've been stable at the same dosage for all that time. He upped my mood stabiliser, lamotrigine, by 50 mg, to be taken in 100 mg increments twice a day, rather than the current 150 mg once a day and kept my aripiprazole (an atypical antipsychotic for bipolar disorder), buspirone (that's my anxiety med), and atomoxetine (for ADHD) the same.

I am feeling better at work, too, even without the medicine change being in force yet.  Monday I got a lot of offsites scheduled (10).  I'm working steadily through my to-do pile.  I'm keeping up with the surgeries but I'm not as far out as I'd like on those.

But things are looking up, at least.

Monday, August 17, 2020

I have not been doing well

The last two weeks I've really spiralled down in terms of my mood.  I keep a mood diary (a good thing to do if you have Bipolar II) and have done so for over a thousand days.  It really tanked as I've been very anxious and almost paralysed with making phone calls from that anxiety, which is unfortunate, as that is part of my job--calling on insurance authorisations, calling facilities to schedule imaging tests, and calling families to let them know when those are scheduled.  It's been awful. 

And now the emotional storms are back. I've been generally very irritable at home, not so bad at work, but I've had no tolerance for frustration at either place.  Yesterday I was yelling at my roommate over a criticism.  I've also being feeling responsible for just about everything, even things I can't control.  The pressure of that has made me boil over (again, at home), and yesterday I was in so much distress I actually felt like cutting my wrists and ending it all.  Not good.  So this morning I went ahead and made an appointment with my psychiatrist.  I have a telehealth appointment tomorrow.  I've also filled out a screening form for him to go over.  It has me pretty depressed and very agitated the same time. I think I'm having a mixed bipolar episode, with major anxiety elements, and it's gotten to a dangerous level both in terms of my mood and the effect it's having on my work and relationships.  I really think that after years of being completely even in mood, I may need some adjustment to my medicine.  But all this is scaring me.  I want to just curl up in a ball and hide from the world and hide from myself.  That latter, especially, is simply not possible. 

Today I must admit went much better.  I made myself make phone calls all day and answer them.  I scheduled 10 offsites, got five surgeries authorised, and got a denial for an MRI complely overturned.  I was productive.  I've been working steadily for weeks, but I have felt like a hamster in a wheel, just spinning and going nowhere. 

I'll see how things go with the doctor and if he thinks I need to go back into therapy, I will see if my former therapist, who got me through my hoarding issues, is seeing clients either virtually or in person.  He was always very good at cutting through my overthinking to the heart of the matter. 

Anyway, that's what's going on in my life.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

So I'm just starting my day

And I haven't made it through all my caffeine yet, but I thought I'd write a little. I want to get back in the habit again. I hate that I haven't done this blog justice in awhile. I guess I'm on Facebook too much. 

My roommate is getting ready to take a shower and then I'm going to wash my hair and clean up (I can't take a shower due the cast and our shower is not configured right for trying to shower with your foot covered in plastic, even with my shower chair helping.)  I long for a shower.  After I get cleaned up I need to make a quick trip to the grocery store for a few things, come back, and start my Sunday chores to get the house in order for the Cthulhu game with Brenda.  I also am going to put my roommate's bedsheets into the washer and do some laundry, as he sleeps with the dogs and the bed is covered in hair. Fortunately I did my laundry yesterday.  Once I get involved in the game, I tend to forget to change from the washer to the dryer. 

The game last week was very eventful.  One of my characters was nearly burned as a witch, and since the adventure before that had had her shot in the face in the Elizabethan era with a flintlock, and her face had been reconstructed with a futuristic plastic skin, her face kind of melted with the fire. But only two character knows about the plastic skin other than mine, and I'm not sure it'll come up, because one would have to remember and the other is usually on the periphery and probably won't get the information she'll need to share.  Like I said, it was eventful.  It should be interesting to see what happens today. 

So that's what's going on here.  I know it's not particularly entertaining or informative, but it'll hopefully help me get back into the habit of writing, and then I will try to actually generate some decent content.  Thanks for sticking with me. 


Saturday, August 01, 2020

A lazy day

I didn't really need to go anywhere today particularly, not the independent pharmacy I normally use, nor the grocery or other errands.  I do need to pickup another prescription drug up at Kroger perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow. So it's been quiet. 

I stayed up very late with the candles for Sabbath last night, but not as late as they sometimes burn.  It was about 1 am.  I woke up at 7 am though, got up and used my computer (my roommate was using my old desktop and it crashed a few weeks ago; a friend's son is trying to resurrect it or at least save the data but in the meantime he's using my laptop most of the day, and apparently had used up half my SSD drive in the process).  When he woke up I moved to the phone, which I can do most things with, especially as I have a small Bluetooth keyboard that attaches for long posts such as this one.  (One can only swipe on an on-screen keyboard so we'll). 

While I was waiting for the candles to burn out I listened to about three chapters of Caitlin Dougherty's 'Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs'. She is a mortician whose YouTube channel I've watched and enjoyed.  The book is all about answering children's questions about death.  It's very interesting. 

Yesterday morning I did a dumb thing. I'd transferred things from a small crossbody purse to my backpack and there was some cash, about $24-$25, and instead of putting it in my wallet (I'm not used to a wallet--I'm used to having a wallet case on my phone and that was not the case yesterday (that is not meant to be a pun).  So I put it in my jeans pocket (it was jeans day at work, given that it was Friday).  Unfortunately, I thought putting it in the main front pocket was a bad idea, because I was afraid to put it in the same pocket as my keys, as I didn't want to lose the money if it came out when the keys did.  I didn't think about the back pocket as I never use them for the most part. So I put it in the coin pocket. Unfortunately, these jeans have shallower pockets than normal (my phone was and issue in the front left pocket), but I thought it would work.  Anyway, I went to the UK parking lot, parked, walked to the shuttle, took it to UK's hospital, and then walked around the building and across the street to work (I haven't been going through UK as I'd have to be screened there as well as at work, and it always confuses UK that I'm not an employee).  Somewhere between the car and work I lost the money.  That was a real bummer. I did try very hard not to let it ruin my day, and for the most part succeeded.  I did retrace my steps on the way to my ankle doctor's appointment, and I asked the shuttle driver on the way to my car if anyone had turned in some case, but of course, they hadn't.  No doubt I made someone's day, though. 

As far as the appointment went, I was put in another soft case, so no showers, of course, but this time it will be for two weeks as the doctor is taking next week off.  He does think, since it's feeling better, that I may be able to take it off then and keep it off. Let's hope so.  I did order a little hose and shower head that is just rubber and you put on a sink to help me with my hair, since I've been doing sink baths and haven't had a shower since June 22nd.  :(

Anyway, that's what's going on lately.  I also used a good trade-in deal to upgrade my four-year old phone while I could (it wasn't being updated with security patches or anything anymore).  It was good while it lasted, but it was time for another.  I've been trying to figure out the differences in Android 10 from Oreo, and working with some of the features.  I plan on having this phone just as long, if possible. I know some people who change phones every year.  I'm not one of them.  I did try to make sure that instead of getting cases that match what I wear, I'm doing neutrals. I ordered a wallet case, and I financed a case and screen protector before I even got out of the store, because I do that (I also keep insurance on my phones, and my last phone had actually been replaced under that because it went haywire, not because I abused it in anyway.)  I made sure I got a black case on the way out, and then I ordered a wallet case in grey.  When my roommate asked me about my Amazon order (remember, he's on my computer), I explained I'd had to get a wireless charger and that I'd gotten a wallet case. [I know, you can't use them together; I can with the other case]. I also got a car charger because this takes a USB-C cord, which I didn't have.  So I think the accessories are covered. I explained the wallet case was grey, so it would go with most things (I think it's part of my OCD, all my clothes down to my underwear need to match, as do purses, phone cases, and even facial masque.  It's pathological, I know, but mostly harmless).  However, over the four years I had my last phone, I had gotten maybe seven cases.  This time I got the grey one.  My roommate, an artist, immediately pointed out that it doesn't go with everything--not red and yellow for example. I pointed out that I rarely wear red and never wear yellow, they look atrocious on me.  So I think I'm okay. I'm going to try to keep it to just a couple of cases, then.  We'll see. 

So that's why I didn't have a wallet case to put my cards into, which is why I had to put them in my wallet, which I then packed away in my backpack and didn't think to put the money there, and then managed to lose money in the process.  I feel stupid.  It was a costly mistake, but on the other hand, lesson learned, hopefully. 

Okay, I'll sign off here for now.  Hope you have a pleasant weekend.  I've gotten a lot of rest (I've already laid down for about an hour and a half, dreaming vivid dreams of superhero stories in cinematic quality).  I'm going to try to read and maybe get a few of my Sunday things done early.  And there are game notes to do, yay.