Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Feeling a little better than last week

I had about a two week period in a funk, maybe longer, where I was depressed, irritable, and somewhat labile. It's unlike me at my norm. My lamotrigine had been upped about a year ago for some lability and more hypomanic issues. I was stable for years on my original dose, but my mood is still subject to my Bipolar II disorder. I spoke with my psychiatrist on Tuesday and he upped my mood stabiliser, lamotrigine, as well as my ADHD medicine, as I've been having trouble focusing lately. That puts me at the highest dose of Strattera, a non-stimulant, non-addictive medicine for ADHD. I'd recently walked off with a sink running at work (which half our sinks are automatic, but still), had a minor fender bender, and lots of little issues that were adding up to a bigger one. I've only taken it for a couple days (the pharmacy had to order it), but I think it's helping. I was able to up the lamotrigine immediately, and I feel a little better and think that it will help. Anyway, that's why I haven't been writing.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Not your typical Friday night

Our plans were put on hold tonight so I listened to music, trying out some new headphones I have, and for whatever reason, I started listening to a lot of older Linkin Park, mainly the albums Metora and Hybrid Theory.  I remembered that Chester Bennington's death had been around this time of the year, and I checked, it was the 20th of July 2017. Hard to believe it's been four years.  It's a shame; he was very talented, and had a beautiful voice (when he was singing, as opposed to the occasional screaming, but you could never say he didn't put emotion into his work).  That's what first appealed to me about them--Mike Shinoda's speaking and Chester Bennington singing, their voices intertwining.  I think it was 'In the End' that I first heard them.  There's a dark aspect to their music, emotional, raw, and full of depression and hurt.  I spent so much of my early life feeling exactly those things--I was clinically depressed from much of my childhood and teens all through my 30s.  I felt trapped in circumstances in my early life, then wound up going from that to an emotionally abusive marriage where I walked on eggshells for a six-year relationship that culminated in my wedding and then finally getting my voice and leaving six months into the fiasco that was.  Then there were years of trying to rebuild my life, or rather build it, because I'd always been a mirror of what people wanted me to be, rather than my own person. And once I stopped doing that, I was much happier.  So you can see why their music appeals.  (It's also why I like Simon & Garfunkel and Ed Sheeran, who often sing songs that are beautiful and light musically, but really quite depressive if you look at the lyrics.  Simon & Garfunkel have suicide through several songs, and Ed Sheeran sings about drugs, prostitution, miscarriages, and all sorts of 'negative' things, but in a way that makes him sound happy.)  Somehow I get all those.  Linkin Park is a rawer kind of music, where the music itself expresses the pain, not just the lyrics.

I don't know why, even though I'm not in that place any more, I still feel comfort in this sort of music.  Most people feel depressed listening to that sort of music.  I feel more alive.  It reminds me of the demons I've conquered.  There are plenty I'm still working on, as it's a daily struggle with my brain to keep on an even keel.  Thankfully I have a good support system, a friend of over 30 years (the same one who helped me get out of that awful marriage) who still asks me hard questions I can't dodge that cuts down on lies I might tell myself, and then I can't tell you how different my life is with the right medicine.  My brain chemistry hates me, and while I sometimes wish that wasn't so, I know I need help, and there's no shame in that.  My roommate is very astute at sensing changes in my mood, and helping with my anxiety, which without medication would be crippling.

I know that's a fairly heavy post.  Sorry about that, I didn't mean to go all dark on you.  It's one reason I try to keep things upbeat here, because of that tendency. I'm feeling actually pretty decent tonight. It was a good week, I got a lot done, I feel good about myself.  But it did make me reflect on how far I've come.  If you told me at age 20 that I'd have connexions to so many people who make my life better, I'd think you were crazy. I was so alone for so long.  Thanks for being there.  You know who you all are.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Taking a bit of a break

I'm the last one at my office. It's been a very productive day, but I'm starting to run out of steam, so I was hoping giving my attention to something other than sheets of paper with codes and encounter numbers would help before going back to it.  I've requested a lot of clinical notes and I'm hoping I'll get those and can put in some more requests.  If not, I've got some paperwork to do involving putting information into two different spreadsheets.

On Monday I have an ophthalmologist visit and field of vision test in the morning, so I have parking at the hospital. Yay!  Parking days bring joy kind of like jeans day (every Friday is jeans day at work, along with certain other days throughout the year).  And then on Tuesday I have two virtual appointments shortly after work, so I'll clock out and stick around for a telehealth visit with my psychiatrist and a phone call from my health insurance care manager, which should be right after one another.  There are lots of appointments this month, and I rescheduled three just to keep it from being more than I could count on one hand.  But not all are during working hours, and I've been pretty lucky to get ones that are early or late.  I was afraid I'd be going back to a doctor with my foot yesterday.  I stretched to get something from atop the refrigerator, and being short, I overstretched, and my Achilles tendong went pop! pop! pop! It's a little sore today, but not bad, so I'm hoping I didn't do anything to it.  The older I get, I really should keep an orthopaedist on speed dial.

Okay, that was a quick 15 minutes.  Now for the final push through the work of the day.


(Well, I did burn my ring finger slightly because I dropped a potholder, but still....) Aren't they lovely? Now, off to bed (and yes, I turned the oven off). 


my roommate cooked a lovely meal, we had a good time watching 'Murdoch Mysteries' during dinner (it was the one with William Shatner of all people as Mark Twain), and I've finally gotten all the dishes either washed or a load running in the dishwasher, the linens are put in the laundry, and I've got the bread in the oven. Last week's bread dough was like cake batter when it came out, and I had to put a LOT of flour in it to make it work.  This time, since it's been raining this evening, I put about 2 oz. less water in it than the normal cup.  The dough came out much better, a bit stiff, but it rolled well into the coils and it rose reasonably well.  We'll see how it comes out. I've got another 13-15 minutes left.  I really, really want to go on to bed, an I just have to go that little bit of time before putting the bread in the upper oven to cool and turning off the lower one.  Just 15 minutes.  It seems like an eternity.  So here I am, whiling the time away on the Internet.

It was a good day. I got a lot done, including some things that were on the back burner but needed to be done.

I found a raw amethyst pendant at UK on my way home, set in a silver setting.  There wasn't anyone around and it was outside, so there was no lost and found to turn it in to.  It wasn't anything expensive, just maybe sentimental.  It feels like a jangly mess whenever I hold it in my hand, so if I keep it, I definitely need to cleanse it or something.  But it is nice.  I've had things I've found and lost again like this; I think sometimes things just go through a variety of hands over their existence.

Three more minutes. Actually, I'm going to check now, as the loaves are poufier but shorter than usual.  But if I don't blog any more tonight, have a wonderful evening.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Stupidity in action

My roommate just told me he'd seen people online who contended that 'The Lord of the Rings' was racist in respect to orcs, the slathering, kill-you-dead creatures who, oh, yeah, are completely fictional.  Because there's not enough real racism to fight against, right, we have to worry about racism against imaginary people. [Sarcasm sign firmly displayed, just in case you didn't get that.]

Sigh.  Our world is becoming stupid.

We should do everything we can to fight racism in the real world. The fact that these people have lost sight of the arch of the holdoeck really saddens me.  I mean, who has time to worry about stuff like that when real people are dying?

Makes me angry.


I came home today, fed the animals, and promptly took a 'nap' for about an hour and a half. Everyone else was napping, so it seemed like the thing to do.  I feel better.  Today I worked very hard and while of course what I do isn't physical at all, mental work can be tiring, too.  I got an awfully lot done today; I finished up everything for this week except for one new visit I have for tomorrow where I have to wait to see if they come and get the notes when dictated, sending a form in the meantime if they're not so they know we tried to get the authorization in time. A lot of insurance won't allow for a retroactive authorization.  So tomorrow I'll do that but also work into next week and do some other things that have been on the back burner.  So much of what I do is a blend of tracking packets of paper and submitting them via fax or online, but there's a lot of follow up as well.  So tomorrow I'd like to work on some of the follow up if there aren't too many add-ons surgery-wise or office visits, for that matter.

Life at home has been pretty quiet.  One of our good friends passed away last month and that was sad, although he was so riddled with cancer it was a blessing at the same time.  But he'd lived almost four years with a stage IV diagnosis.  He had colon and prostate cancer both.  We had his memorial Sunday, and it was the largest gathering we'd been around since the pandemic started.  He was a long-time teacher and speech coach, and he touched a lot of lives.  It was good to see people come out to remember him.

Taking a quick break

from work to test out my hotspot on my phone for creating an Internet connexion for my Kindle Fire.  I take it to work because the battery lasts for a very long time, even when playing music, and I play music offline while I'm doing paperwork.  But sometimes I want to blog. Years ago, I signed a paper to the effect that I would not blog using the company's  equipment or networks.  The main network can't reach things like Blogger anyway, as they are blocked along with social media sites, unless you get a special dispensation.  There is a public network for patients, families, and visitors, but again, I promised not to use it for blogging.

With my last phone, the hotspot never worked, but this is working fine.  Yay! It means I am more likely to write, as my Fire has a connected keyboard that works very well and has a 10.1" screen, so it's much easier than using my phone.  My roommate uses my laptop, which is connected to all sorts of things like TV and keyboard for use like a desktop.  So I have to rely on other devices.

Anyway, hi, and it is now time to have a quick bite before returning to my tasks.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

My day started rather rough

 My neck has been hurting quite a bit, and it's making pain and parasthesia going down through my arms, which has been quite annoying. So last night I took my dose of muscle relaxants I keep just for such an occasion. Tizanidine is really mild, and they're only 4 mg pills, but I take three at a time as directed.  Usually when I take them, the next morning I wake up early and refreshed, ready to go.  Not this morning.  I was sluggish, kept falling asleep and hitting snooze. I start my alarms (there are several) at 6 am so I can get up by 7 am at the latest.  It takes 15 minutes for me to shower and 15 minutes to get ready, then a 10 minute drive and 20 minutes between walking to the bus stop, taking the shuttle, and walking from the bus stop at the University of Kentucky emergency department.  So I realised that I was, indeed, going to be late when I finally crawled out of bed just before 7:30 am.

I took a shower, got dressed, grabbed my lunch, got in the car, took my COVID screening on my phone, and texted my supervisor and my manager.  Then I drove carefully to UK's Orange Lot. Right as I was getting ready to go through the second roundabout, I thought about combing my hair (I drive with both windows down), and I realised that I didn't have my comb, or my crossbody purse, just my backpack (and yes, there's a brush in the backpack, but that's beside the point.)  So I told me, that's fine, just don't get pulled over or get into an accident, as you don't have your licence with you.  I'm pretty poor right now, as it's right before payday, so I wasn't planning on spending money at least, and I did bring my lunch.  All good, right?  I had my phone and my receiver for my continuous glucose monitor.

So I parked and was getting my jacket on (it was raining a bit) and then it hit me. My badge was in my purse.

Yesterday I'd put my badge holder on a new lanyard one of my co-workers brought back from the beach. Because, unlike the one I usually use, it has a reel and snap joint for clipping in onto the lanyard, I'd decided to keep it in my purse rather than put in on for the trip, because I didn't want to take a chance of losing it at UK. It's $15 to replace the suckers.  The reason for that is they double as a proximity card, so in addition to clocking in and out, they get us through various locked doors (and my office happens to be one you have to badge into) AND you can't get into the computer and get to all your files unless you have yours.  And of course, then I left the whole purse, which is only big enough for my wallet, keys, lip balm, hand sanitiser, and glucose tabs, really.  I'd left it on a stool near my bed at home.  But if I'd gone to work, I wouldn't have actually been able to work, and I'd have to fork over money I didn't have to get a new one.

I called my boss and basically asked, since I was already going to be late (although it would have been maybe by five, ten minutes tops) if I could go back home and get my badge, and she said that was fine. So I got back in the car, went home (obeying all traffic laws) got my purse, made sure my badge was in it, drove back (which was interesting, as a jogger crossed against our green turn light and some yahoo in a truck in the oncoming lane decided he was supposed to go, too, so he ran a red light, nearly hitting the car in front of me, who had yielded to the jogger, who looked to be in his 60s and was certainly old enough to know how to cross a street and obviously just didn't care).

I got to work 45 minutes late, but got started on my work, and actually got a bit ahead today, so it was a pretty decent day all told.  But it was a little sketchy there for a bit.

Tomorrow I need to really be on my game because I have a meeting at 11 am and I have to prepare a couple of spreadsheets.  The other person who reads the material won't be there tomorrow, so I'll read both weeks of summaries.  I've gotten very good at pronouncing the word 'hemiepiphysiodesis' due to this meeting.  Wednesdays morning are usually me preparing for it, as she does her part the afternoon before.  After the meeting, I plan to get as far as I can on authorisations (I have a couple to do for this week, and then it's on to next week). I'd like to get a minimum of two to three weeks out this week, and preferably a month out, and then fill in the new visits or added ones.  I also need to work on some denials and do some housekeeping in terms of putting data into other spreadsheets so I can file some paperwork.  That doesn't all have to be done tomorrow afternoon, but it would be great if I could get some of it done this week.  I've been working really steadily and my days are certainly full; there's never really boring downtime some people have in their jobs.  There's always a lot to do.  But since we shuffled our duties between a co-worker and myself so she both schedules and authorises offsite imaging and I authorise surgeries and office visits, my anxiety has gone way down.  Scheduling was a juggling job that kept me constantly worrying about details of whether something would work, and it took a whole lot of time.  I hope she's doing okay.  We back each other up, though, so the other day I did both jobs and it wasn't too bad becuase it was a little quieter on the offsite front, at least, and I only had to schedule the urgent ones.

I guess I should sign off here.  I will try to write more.  I've been listening to Pandora, but I have a book I'm reading (or, as my roommate puts it, a computer file, as it's a Kindle book out of the library) that is fiction (something I've been struggling to read of late), over 300 pages, and I'm over halfway now.  It's called The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. It's about a widower who finds a charm bracelet of his late wife which turns out to lead him on an adventure learning more about the woman he loved and the life she had before they met.  I'm really enjoying it.  The writing is very pleasant and the story drew me in.  It's taken me a couple of weeks to get this far, as it's hard to make time, but I checked it out again so I have it for another two weeks. Yay! Hopefully I can finish  before it's due.

Oh, I got to do a librarian thing today, finding out some information for a co-worker that involved calling an oral history centre and finding out how to access their materials.  It was fun.  That part of my life seems like it's in the past now, but it's still nice to be able to do things like that occasionally, plus I learned about some resources I didn't know about.

Okay, I really am going to sing off her for now.  Good night.

Monday, July 12, 2021


Was the first time since the pandemic began that I went into a store unmasked. I've been masking at work (I work in healthcare) and everywhere else inside except at home despite being vaccinated in December and January. I have underlying conditions and so does a dear friend, and we've been very careful due to variants. He still has me wipe down anything I bring home to him from the grocery, for example.

Now, at the beginning of June I did go to a family gathering at a restaurant where we didn't wear masks, but we were eating.  But yesterday we went to a friend's memorial service, and while we did bring masks, we didn't wear them. Almost no one was, actually.  About half of Kentuckians have been vaccinated, so many of those people have been (certainly the ones I was hanging around with have been).  But some weren't, of course.  But still, we have to take the plunge sometime, I guess.  So today I went to the grocery and didn't bring a mask. I felt a little naked, but closer to 'normal'. Lately, I've felt like peopel will assume I'm an anti-vaxxer because I am wearing a mask, when the guidelines have said vaccinated people can go without one.

I'll still wear one at work, of course, although there are areas of the hospital we don't have to because our vaccination rate is so high, and of course I can go without in my office.  And I wear them on the shuttle bus, as that's still a guideline due to the close quarters, especially as they've returned to full capacity.

Hopefully we won't get sick. But I have faith in the vaccines in terms of preventing us from becoming seriously sick or hospitalised, at least.