Sunday, September 30, 2012

Time to Change

I have totally been avoiding the computer for the last few days. I have not turned on the laptop at home since the last time I posted. Avoidance is good for me.

I went to my therapy appointment on Friday and I was honest. I said that I have really been struggling and some thoughts about how I just don’t want to continue on anymore. It felt good to get it out. I have a med doctor appointment on Friday and we think it is a good idea that we reevaluate my medication. I have been on the cocktail of Prozac and 2 Wellbutrins for a while. Maybe it is time to change.

I went to the animal shelter today. I had taken my 6th grade nephew with me and we looked at cats. Since it was kitty clearance weekend and by Sunday afternoon most of the kittens were gone and I just could not decide between take a Mom and her daughter or two brothers. I wanted them all. So I left without any kitties. I will continue to think about it. I just was not ready.

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Over the Hump

I never knew when I started blogging that I would get to know people all over the world that help each other. Thank you for helping last night.

I am feeling a little better today. I was so busy at work that I barely had time to think about anything outside of work. I even stayed late, partly to delay coming home to an empty apartment.

I think getting another cat is a great idea. I will to look into it. As it happens, I am going to a wine tasting to benefit the Quincy Animal Shelter, the shelter in the city I live in.  They have some awesome kitties.

Today I got an AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) card in the mail today. I am 38! Ugh, not yet!

I am watching a PBS Nature program about animal houses. All, I can say is Wow! Animals are awesome.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Confession Time

I have a confession to make.

For the first time in a long time, I had thoughts that if the next 40 years of my life are like the first 40, I don’t want to live through them.

I have not thought like that in a long time and it is a bad sign.

Since Boots died, I have been really struggling. I feel horrible about myself and it is just sliding down hill from there. My therapist appointment is Friday and I can’t wait.

I got my hair cut shorter this weekend and I took a picture of it.

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I look at this picture and outside of my eyes, I see nothing good. Nothing good at all. I just see someone unlovable. Today I heard, “Jen if only you weren’t so like you are, your personality is great.” Blah.

I just wanted to admit the above and get it out. I am hoping seeing it in writing will help.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Final Answers

Finally, we have some answers about my Mother. We got the autopsy reports back today. There were 2 reports – one Final Anatomic Diagnosis and the Final Neuropathology Report.

The official cause of death was necrotizing pneumonia. Necrotizing is such a scary word, I think. She was being fed by g-tube and aspirated the feedings. Since her breathing rate was very low and she sounded bad, that was not a surprise.

The Neuropathology report said that she had Front Temporal Dementia with ubiquitin positive inclusions. I have been trying to figure out what ubiquitin positive inclusions are but all I get are complicated results that are included with Front Temporal Dementia.

I was happy to finally know what was going on. Instead of saying Mom had “dementia” I can say what she had. It just gave us the answer that we were looking for. There were no surprises in either report except maybe for nodules that Mom had on a few organs but nothing that would have changed anything.  After the long struggle, it is closure.

It also proves that Mom did not have Parkinson’s as the death certificate said and it made Dad happy.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jen Reads: Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier

If I said I wanted to go to Siberia, would you giggle and say “Really?”

This book chronicles Ian Frazier’s journeys to Siberia and Russia. He discusses the culture and his shock as viewing it from an American point of view. He discusses the people and land and it made me want to chuck it all and go to Siberia and follow in his footsteps.

Siberia has 75% of the land in Russia but only 28% of the people. It encompasses 7 time zones.  The entire country of Canada can fit into the area that is Siberia. It is just so vast and remote. It is know as being a place of exile and it has transferred into English in such phrases as “social Siberia”.

I have been bitten by the travel bug and well, I so want to go to Russia and Siberia. This book brought me to Siberia and said, “Jen, you must go here.”

If you want a travel chronicle on an unusual place, this is a book for you. It gets my whole hearted recommendation.

In other news, I am chugging along. I went to Mom’s grave and came home and did nothing. Nothing. Unfortunately, the weekend is now gone.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blah

I can’t say that I am feeling any better about myself. I have added the unlovable component and the cycle begins.

I am so happy that I am off tomorrow to take Dad to the doctors. I am so ready to put this week behind me.

Mom’s birthday would have been tomorrow. Another reason I am sort of down this week. I will probably go to the cemetery on Saturday. 

I just want to put it behind me and start over.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Nothing Good

What did I see when I looked in the mirror today?

Nothing good.

I thought about contacting one of those body dysmorphic disorder studies that I see advertised on the subway. I can’t seem to shake the fact the fact that I hate what I see in the mirror. It just makes me sad. I look at other people and see that they look fine and then there is me. Blah.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Day at the Big E

Saturday, I went to the Big E or the Eastern States Exposition, a big state fair type fair in West Springfield, MA. Until a few years ago, I had never heard of the Big E. I was really excited to be going. I love going to fairs.

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The Big E has pavilions for each of the New England States. Being from Massachusetts, I was a little partial the Massachusetts pavilion.  Each pavilion highlights things from each state. At the Maine pavilion, I got a delicious baked potato.

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My eating goal of the day would be to eat what I wanted and not eat something that I didn’t really like. My friends got some pizza but I wasn’t really into pizza so I skipped the pizza place in the Vermont pavilion.

In Maine, I found this poster from Alan Claude:

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This was in his Young Adult collection but really, I think it is totally relevant to me situation, don’t you? He even signed it for me.

There were animals!

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This fellow was calling to us to let him go. He did not want to be shaved.

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We saw a dressage show. It was really cool to watch. The horses were gorgeous.

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For some reason I really loved this kid’s t-shirt!

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I had a great time and by the end of the day, I was so tuckered out and slept like a babe. It was overshadowed a bit by the death of Boots but I did have a good time. I was really happy to spend time with my friends.

I am doing ok. I stayed home from work today. I had a hard time getting out of bed and I had a bad migraine so I thought it would be better if I took a mental health day. I was supposed to meet someone from OkCupid but even cancelled that because I wasn’t feeling up to it.

It is amazing how empty my apartment seems with out him. He was a little 11 pound cat but he brought life to me apartment. I will miss him a lot.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Boots :(

I have some sad news. I was going to post about the Big E or a book, then I came home this afternoon. Boots did not meet me at the door when I got home this afternoon.  It was unusual but when I went to find him, he was lying on the floor all paws out. He was not breathing or moving. Boots died today.

I will really really miss him. He was my buddy and he helped me when I need a lift.  He had not had a seizure in a few weeks and I thought he was getting better.

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Oh well. I am going to go and lay down.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Causes

Dad got Mom’s death certificate today to send to his retirement board to get all of his pension now that Mom is gone. He was very upset that the cause of death was listed as “Parkinson's”. We had several doctors say that Mom did not have Parkinson's.

He asked me if we should go after the nursing home if they were treating her Parkinson's and not dementia. I had to talk him down. I said that she was not any special Parkinson's medication. She was taking Abilify but that was more because she was convinced that my Dad was cheating with the nurses and she was getting physical with it. I tried to tell Dad that she was terminally ill either way and nothing would have helped.

We still have not received the autopsy report so I called the hospital to follow up. Hopefully I will get an answer tomorrow.

Other than that, I have not really been feeling good. My back has been killing me. It is not only my lower back but the pain goes around to my lower abdomen area as well. It hurts when I sit and when I stand up. It is awkward moving at first, but then I am feeling better. I am not sure what is going on. If it does not get better, I will go to the doctors. The front pain is the one concerning me. I haven’t been feeling well in general. Something is messed up.

I am looking forward to this weekend. I am possibly going to the Big E (Eastern States Exposition), the only state fair type fair around, that I am aware of. I am looking forward to that. The weekend can’t come soon enough.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thinking on Nut Island

This weekend was a bit of a wash out. I had such a bad migraine with ear aches, jaw pain and sore throat. I had it all and I could not really concentrate on the awesome football game that the Patriot’s played (and play well they did! It is going to be a good football year I can tell.)

I could not bring myself to turn the computer on. Since I had talked about books twice this week, I decided to give Sunday a book rest as well.

On Saturday, I was feeling a bit blah so I grabbed my book and decided to read for a little while on Nut Island, one of the Boston Harbor island in Quincy. It was an okay day but it started to rain so I had to leave but not before I took some pictures. Nut Island might have been an island at one point but it is accessible by car or bus.

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The view from Nut Island I really good.

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You can see downtown Boston, though not very well, in this picture.

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Nut Island has some trails and is a nice place to get away if you are in the Quincy area. I am going to highlighting some things I like about where I live.

While I was sitting at Nut Island, I decided I am going to move to Denver. When I don’t know. I have figure that out. I got some advice at a happy hour and painting I was at last week to just do it. I can always come home. I don’t know where I will live in the Denver or when I will go but I can’t live in would have, should have, could have land.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Happiness: Fluffy Bellies

Coming home to a fluffy kitty belly after a tough day at work makes me happy.

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What makes you happy today?

Trust Your Eyes–Linwood Barclay

It is not often that I put a book down and saw that I don’t like it. I never used to be one of those people that abandons books (I am looking at you the 2nd book of Twilight) but lately since my to-be-read pile is huge, I have decided that there are just too many books that I want to read to read a book that I don’t like.

I was given the opportunity to read Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay by the Blogher Book Club. It is not a book that I would usually read so I wanted to try something new and different.

Trust Your Eyes is about a man, Thomas Kilbride, who is a schizophrenic man who is obsessed with maps. He visits the world using a computer program called Whirl360, where he can view street shots from where ever he wants to go. This is his world because he never leaves the safety of his bedroom. While looking at NYC, he see something in a window that looks like a woman getting killed.

Ray, Thomas’ brother, is home dealing with his father’s funeral and is worried about his brother and what to do with him. Thomas does convince Ray to get more information and investigate what he saw and the brothers get drawn into a big conspiracy.

I know lots of people who would love to get drawn into this book. They love juicy thrillers and conspiracies. I am not one of those people. I just could not get into the book or the characters. It was not the story for me. I did not get grabbed from the get go. I kept reading a few pages, mulling it over, putting it down and begrudgingly picking it up again. That is so not me. I love to read. It is a joy. This book just did not grab me like some books have done.

To my thriller loving friends, this is for you! I know that this will entertain you and keep you guessing.

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Family’s Journey

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Have you ever read a book that makes you think of your own life? January First by Michael Schofield is one of them.

When my Mother first was diagnosed with early onset dementia, we were flabbergasted. Mom had not been “right” for a long time. She had totally withdrawn from society. She was cold and lack any empathy. She didn’t seem to care about us. She loved Dad and never stopped showing him but with us, most of the time she just was very very cold. She said she saw things that were not really there.

Dad had enough and at an appointment with her primary care doctor and marriage counselor, they decided she should go see a neurologist at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston since we as family demanded it.  Something was Mom with Mom and we knew it. We went to the doctor who had her do hours of neuropsychological testing. That first test found a diminished intelligence and problems with her frontal lobe. We were not shocked. We showed the results to my Mother’s relatives but they said that nothing was wrong. That came to foretell her family’s support for the rest of her life.

We got the diagnosis of early onset dementia but at age 50, what does one do with that? Dementia is an older person’s disease. Mom was an anomaly. It was a problem.  We contacted social workers but they were unsure of where to proceed with someone so young.

The first thing we did was apply for Social Security Disability. We gathered every document that we possibly could. Thank goodness Mom had work in the kitchen of a nursing home for 18 years. She had worked the proper number of quarters to apply. (This is very very important.) She was approved on the first application.

Then we looked for some sort of funding to send her to adult day care a few days a week. We never found a place that we could really afford but she did get into the Marge Crispin Center. She loved it. It also gave Dad a break.

Finding other services were bad. The Alzheimer’s support groups we went to were not as supportive as Mom had a different form of dementia and did not exhibit the same behaviors that other patients do. We gave up on those. Dad’s health was effected. Having a young Mother who had this was very hard on myself and my siblings.  I slipped further into depression and hopelessness.

Sometimes I thought that we were affected more by my Mother’s disease than even my Mother. She was happy. She got to read and play solitaire for hours. She was with Dad and for the most part happy and maybe even oblivious to what was going on with her mind.

Finally after 10 years of living at home, we needed to take Mom to a nursing home because we just could not do it anymore. We brought her to a hospital, where she was very confused as to why she was there. From the hospital, she went to the nursing home. She spent 3 years there until she finally stopped breathing in March.

Reading about what other families went through was tough for me but I felt a sort of reverse sympathy to the family based on my experience with my mother.  It was hard and emotional for me to get through the book because I too have my own mental health issues, after all this blog would not be around without them.

How far would you go to advocate for your child? In January First, father Michael Schofield and his family struggle to find the right treatment for his daughter Jani, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at six years old. Join From Left to Write on September as we discuss the Schofield's memoir, January First. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Jen Paints

Today was a little better. I had plans after work to go painting at the Paint Bar in Newton,MA. It is one of those places where they teach you how to paint a picture and you can buy beer or wine. Tonight we painted a tree.

It started with:

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Eventually, it made its way to:

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Then it was:

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It came out ok. This was a no negative zone and I tried by best not to criticize it  but but I liked how it came out.  It is a good time for about $35. A beer or a glass of wine is $6 and that is not bad. I had a good time hanging out with my friend who also painted a nice picture.

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I recommend it for a nice girls night out or even by yourself. There are different paintings each night, so there is more than just the tree.  I paid for this myself but decided to blog about it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Another Labor Day Gone

Blah.

It is like Sunday night here. The long Labor Day weekend is over. I have to work tomorrow. I have been feeling very unworthy and generally down all weekend.

My mind can’t get out of the hatred cycle. I seem to be taking two steps backward again. Maybe it is because I have been alone more of the weekend plus, it is just a broke time of the month and well, it all combines to just overwhelm me.

Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Jen Reads: Russian Fascination

I have a slight obsession with reading about and books set in Russia. This week I finished on book on Russia and started another about traveling across Siberia.

I finished Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

While it is based on Russian folklore and not specifically set in Russia, the world created is certainly Russia based.

Alina Starkov is an orphan serving in that Ravkan army as a map making assistant.  In the orphanage, which was a in a duke’s house, she became friends with Mal, who is also in the Ravkan army as a tracker. They were always together and they are serving close to each other in the army as well.

Ravka is under attack from a dark force, called The Dark Fold. The Dark Fold has taken over a lot land and Ravka is fighting to free itself from the hold that the darkness has. As Alina and other soldiers are crossing the darkness, they are attacked by  flying creatures called volcra. In an effort to save Mal from one of the volcra, Alina unleashes a power to summon the sun to fight the volcra.

She is then whisked off to the Darkling, a nobleman who can fight the Dark Fold. She is whisked into the world of the Grisha, magical soldiers that work for the Darkling. She feels out of place as an orphan.  She is torn by her love of Mal and the handsome Darkling. She uncovers things during her training that cause her to question where she is.

I liked this book. I have become really interested in books that are takes on old folklore. I love the TV series Grimm and it is a modern take on the Grimm fairy tales. I am really looking forward to the second book in this series, called The Grisha Trilogy. It seems like a lot more books are part of series that suck you in than there used to be.

I also started to Travels In Siberia by Ian Frazier. This book is a true account of his trips to Siberia and Alaska. The write is funny and part of it makes me wonder how the Soviet Union was ever a super power. More on this book when I finish it.

I have been totally avoiding the computer and I have been pretty much alone for the last two days. I can’t say that it is good for me. I have been feeling sort of blah but the laughs from Travels in Siberia has helped.