bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Archive for February, 2009

You WILL See This New Word

My good friend, MJ, who actually turned me on to blogging, wrote a new post the other day, and coined a new term.  It is such a good one, that I am sure you will hear it pop up in our culture very soon.  “Posterboarding”

Now anyone that is a parent, may already guess what this term means.  This is one reason I think it will catch on.  “Posterboarding” is when your child informs you that s/he needs you to do something in order for them to complete a project the next day.  I believe we have all been there. 

“Mom, I need a poster for my book report that is due tomorrow.  Do we have any posterboard?”  –You’ve been posterboarded.

“Dad, I need you to burn this music onto a cd for my talent show audition tomorrow.”  (MJ’s example) –You’ve been posterboarded.

My personal real example–“Mom, for tomorrow I have to make a family tree on posterboard and bring in three artifacts that are important to our family.”  –I was posterboarded. 

Fortunately, I already had the posterboard here, but the three artifacts involved calling my parents, getting their family crests, copying them, etc.  The killer on this one was that this occurred on a Sunday.  This chick had all  weekend to tell me about it. 

I wonder if there is such a thing as Posterboard Rage.

What? TV Doesn’t Mirror the Real World?

After watching a recent episode of “The New Adventures of Old Christine,”  I saw a common TV irritation repeat itself. 

Whenever anyone picks up a purse or a messenger bag, it is SO obvious that there is nothing in it.  Unless, of course, a prop of some sort, like keys or Kleenex are required for the scene, and then it is obvious that there isn’t anything else in there, because the character always pulls it right out.

Now, let’s quickly discuss the TV world vs. the real world.  My purses never look as flat as the ones on television even when I put only the minimum daily requirements inside.  Putting one wallet in there would make it at least fill out a little.  And, when it comes the messenger bags, these guys pick them up, and sling them over their shoulder like they are filled with cotton balls! 

C’mon!  Would it be so hard to stuff the purses with paper?  You could recycle old scripts that way.  In fact, at least half of the time, the purses I buy have paper already stuffed inside them!  And, put a rock or two in those messenger bags, or learn how to “act” like they are heavier than tissue paper.

Don’t tell me Hollywood has lost touch with the outside world!

Reasons to Laugh

A break today from health issues and instead a talk of personality characteristics.

When most people describe me, they almost always mention my sense of humor.  At least that’s what I’ve heard.  “Yes, Matilda talks about you all the time!  She says you are really funny.”  Some people might find that a pressure-filled comment to launch into some Seinfeld-esque stand-up routine.  But, I usually just laugh.

My laugh.  Apparently, it is quite distinctive and contageous.  Well, maybe not contageous, but people say that when they hear me laugh, they want to know what is going on that would make me laugh.  Interesting.  And cool.  At least it’s not Janice’s laugh from “Friends.”  No one says, “Wow.  Your laugh is unique.”  “Unique” is another word for weird or odd, but has a nicer connotation.  I once purchased a wine rack for a friend’s wedding.  The lady at the register said, “Oh!  What a unique wine rack.”  I took it back the next day.  I didn’t want to be known as the one who gave the unique gift.

I have been recognized by my laugh.  One day, I had three friends seek me out in stores because they heard my laugh and recognized it.  Yeah, my laugh isn’t a quiet one, but it’s not obnoxiously loud either.  Well, maybe in church, but that’s different.

My mom is probably laughing her head off right now.  Because, strangely enough, and I emphasize strangely, I was once unhappy with my laugh.

I truly have no idea what was going on my head at this time in my life.  I think I was in my early teens.  (At least I hope I was.)  Apparently, I didn’t like the way I laughed, so I tried out new laughs.  As you can imagine, my mom says it was a very irritating period.  And annoying.  She finally asked me what was going on, and I said, “I’m trying out new laughs.”  That makes me laugh right there.  Who does that?

I guess after you’ve gotten hair cuts, wardrobe changes, and tried out new makeup, what’s left to change?  Your laugh?  Only I would come up with that one.

Funny, but I don’t remember this season of my life.  But, it does sound like something I would do.  Chances are, some boy commented on my laugh, and I decided to change it.  I’m not sure how one would go about actually changing a laugh.  I guess you would have to study other people’s laughs, and pick one you like.  Then, you’d have to practice.  A lot.  Sounds like a lot of work.

In college, I did try to smile differently.  Talk about weird.  I’ve always thought my smile was way too wide.  And, considering how often I laugh and smile, this is serious business.  My eyes actually squeeze shut when I am really smiling.  I got my Senior picture taken and the woman told me, (no lie), “Oh, my.  We have a problem.  Your eyes close when you smile.  Try to keep them open.”  How do you keep your eyes open?  Well, I raised my eyebrows.  As was apparent on the prints.  OH MY GOSH!  I looked like some kind of crazy, scary clown.  Go in and try it in the mirror.  Smile nice and wide while raising your eyebrows.  Scary, huh?

So, a girl on my dorm floor had this interesting smile.  She kind of frowned.  I thought that was pretty cool and tried it out a couple of times.  Didn’t take.  Decided that the best thing was to not smile quite as much as normal when taking pictures, and at least whenever I saw myself smiling, it wouldn’t look so bad.  Does anyone wonder why I’m therapy?

Looks like my attempts at trying to reinvent myself failed.  But, instead of thinking of it as failure, I am opting for deciding to accept myself as the way God made me.  And, He had a plan in mind when he formed Michelle.  The Great Architect put together a unique individual.  But, in this instance, I think unique is a wonderful word!

Single-Digit Midget

When Tom was in the Army, and you had less than 100 days left of your enlistment, you were called a Double-Digit Midget.  So, I’m a Single-Digit Midget.  Nine days until surgery.  Can’t come fast enough.  I’m having discomfort and ready to start to feel better.

We told the kids yesterday.  Karen was so busy listening to the music playing that I was surprised she even heard me.  She did keep eye contact, though.  And made fun of my hand gestures, which were implying it was “no big deal.”  We had planned on telling the kids yesterday afternoon.  One of the men at church asked Karen if she was going to go get a nurse’s uniform.  She gave him a funny look.  He said, “You know, so you can take care of your mom after her surgery.”  Oops.  So when we got in the car, she asked, “So what’s this surgery thing?” 

ADD Moment:  (Glenn Beck does this in his book, and I love it)  While talking with a 2nd grader the other day, she mentioned that she got a nurse’s uniform.  “And it came with its own testicles!”  If she hadn’t mimed putting the stethoscope in her ears, I’m not sure I would have figured it out!  When I told her mom, she laughed and laughed.  She asked me if I laughed out loud, and I was proud to say I did not.  We were having a very serious, adult conversation, so I just smiled really big and said, “Wow!  How cool is that?”

So, Karen truly was not affected by the news.  Good.  Kinda guessed that one.  Oh, but when she left this morning, she did want to know if she could tell her friends that she walks to school with.  Well, at least she was able to use it as a “wow!” moment.

Then, it was time for Mark.  I was prepared for a boy that would hug me, ask questions, and be genuinely worried.  Which is why I didn’t want to tell him earlier.  BUZZZ!  Wrong answer.  He just listened, said, “Oh.  Okay.”  And went on to ask Tom a question about plans for later in the day.  Good! 

The best part about them knowing is that now I can explain why I need them to do things now instead of two weeks from now.  Plus, if I have to sit down because of the pain or discomfort, they don’t need any explanation.

I think they are happy to hear that I’m going to feel better.  We did tell them that every person that has had the surgery (which, we made sure to stress, was very common), felt so much better and was glad they had it done.  Which could probably be said about liposuction as well, but I digress.

So, I’ve made a good dent in my “To Do Before I Go Under the Knife” list.  I’ve frozen a couple of dishes, bought some easy-to-prepare meals, printed and written down schedules, and started decluttering.  My mom also had me over for this fantastic, delicious, very rich dessert and I had two pieces.  “After all,” I said, “I’m going under the knife.  This could be the last of this dessert I have the rest of my life!”  I can see this surgery thing is going to work out just fine!

You’re a Damned Train-wreck

A year ago, that’s what my internist told me.  I had just gotten out of the loony bin, found out my thyroid was low, have sleep apnea, and who knows what else he was looking at.  Most people might find that insensitive, but I love this guy, and he meant it as a strange compliment.  In other words, “You’ve been through a lot.”  He also mentioned that he was impressed that I hadn’t started drinking in order to survive day to day.  🙂

Well, now, friends, we can add another malady to the list.  Gentlemen, you may now quit reading.  This gets female in the next paragraph.  Okay, you’ve been warned.

I am having a hysterectomy on March 4th.  I am 42 years old.  And, a damned train-wreck.  I have fibroids on my uterus that are really causing trouble, so after other conservative measures, a hysterectomy is the last choice.

I’m fine with it.  Which is probably surprising a lot of people.  The comment I get the most, including from my therapist, is “Ooh.  Major surgery.  That must be scary.”  No.  Not in the least.  I think this is where my faith in God kicks in with a vengeance.  There is truly nothing I can do in order to help or hurt this surgery.  I know it is the best thing for me.  If I come out of it on the other side, great.  If not, I spend eternity in heaven.  What’s to be worried or scared about?  I’m treating it the same way as getting a wisdom tooth pulled. 

I’m a little unsure as to what to expect during recovery, but Tom will be taking time off, my parents will be on-call and taking care of the kids while I am in the hospital, so that is all taken care of.

My biggest concern last week was how being thrusted into menopause was going to affect my bipolar disorder.  Was I going to be all over the place?  Would I sink into a deep depression?

Kent gave me the greatest news of my life (aside from the two times I took the EPT tests that told me I was pregnant).  He said that often hysterectomies affect mood disorders in a very very positive way!  WAHOOOOOO!  Because hormones have A LOT to do with mood disorders, the reduction of the hormones will most likely help stabilize my moods.  No more PMS!  WAHOOOOO x 2!

So, while I get to add this to my list of “issues,” I’m looking forward to coming out the other side of this feeling much better.  Both physically and mentally.  (Oh, but when I asked my psychiatrist about what to expect after the surgery as far as the bipolar disorder goes (and not telling him what Kent had said), his response was a hesitant, “I’m optimistic.”  What the heck?!  He also asked me what I felt about the economy.  What was I supposed to say?  “Well, you know, Robert,  this week, the Commerce Department reported retail sales crept up 1 percent in January as stores slashed prices. It was a small rise after six straight months of declines, and economists cautioned that sales were likely to slip again as consumers curtail spending.”   Not one of my better sessions.) 

Well, Pollyanna here, is VERY optimistic.

It’s Tough Enough Being Bipolar

Yesterday was a doozy. 

The day before was amazing.  I had so much energy.  You wouldn’t believe all I did.  It would have been a normal day for the rest of you, but for me…a big day.

Then yesterday I had a meltdown.  Not the worst, but not the smallest either.  I had to cancel having 3 friends over for stamp camp, an activity I normally look forward to.  But, after the meltdown, it seemed just too much to handle.

Today, I went to take my morning plethora of prescriptions, when I realized I didn’t have my anti-depressant.  Oh, yeah.  I’d refilled them through the mail order service, and they hadn’t arrived.  Great.  So I decide to call the toll-free number.  Ah.  Only for refills.  I check my insurance card for a different number and deal with the automated system.  Now, I’m 43, not 93.  I know that automated systems are normally a good thing.  And, this one is especially smart, because she told me “I can help you with that.”  But, she couldn’t.  And, there’s no going back.  So, I dialed again.  And again.  Finally, I just shouted, “THERE’S BEEN A BIG MISTAKE!”  to which she replied, “It sounds like you had a problem.  Let me connect you with a customer representative.”  woah.  cool.

Thankfully, Tom is sitting nearby, because things just got worse.  The customer representative was nice enough, but she just didn’t have the answers I needed to hear. 

CR:  That prescription is due to ship on Feb. 11th.

Me:  But, I’m out of medicine now.

CR:  We show that you rec’d a shipment on December 15th.  That was good for 45 days.

Me:  (crying)  But I’m OUT OF MEDICINE!

CR:  Would you like to talk to a pharmacist while I look into this?

Me:  (sniff)  Yes.

Now I hand the phone to Tom.  I am no longer able to carry on a conversation.  The conversation with the pharmacist was pointless.  She was going to counsel us on the effect the absence of the prescription would have.  As Tom said, “I think we know what that is.”

Back to the CR.

Tom:  You show that the last mailing was Dec 15?

CR:  Yes.

Tom:  Well, this is PAST 45 days.  She should have her medicine.

CR:  Oh.  Yes, I see what you mean.  Let me see what I can find out……..Oh, apparently, the insurance won’t cover it until after 65 days, which is why it is shipping on the 11th.

Can you believe this, people?  This is majorly screwed up.  We will only give you 45 days worth of medication instead of the 90 days you are supposed to get with the mail order, and even then we expect you to go without for 20 more days. 

Now those of you wonderful readers who aren’t on anti-depressants probably don’t understand the enormity of the situation.  Even when you decide to go off of an anti-depressant, you are told that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you just quit.  You must wean yourself off, or the withdrawal symptoms are unbelievable.  So, that’s what I’ve been going through for the past day and a half. 

Finally, Tom told the CR to cancel the order and that we would get it from our local pharmacy since we needed it ASAP.  The CR was kind and apologized for the misunderstanding.

Of course, that wouldn’t be easy either.  I no longer had a refill left, except for a lower dosage.  And, if you have ever called a doctor’s exchange, you will know “refills are not considered emergencies.”  Well, maybe not for YOU, Dr. Man, but it is for me!  I’m a donkey on the edge!  But, I called the pharmacy and after a long discussion withthe pharmacist, I ordered the smaller dose with the plan to take the equivalent, Tom took off and picked it up for me.

After a couple of Xanax, and a dose of my anti-depressant, things calmed down.  I slept for hours, and here I am. 

I am so frustrated with the insurance company (who strangely enough does a fine job with the prescriptions I fill monthly).  They endorse this mail order company as “a way to save on your prescriptions.”  On all the prescriptions I tried with the mail order company, they were all more expensive than with my local pharmacy.  Sometimes THREE times as much! 

So, beware my friends. 

And, prescription mail order companies…Remember, if I kill you, all that will happen to me is a lifetime of  free drugs and a box of crayons.

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