Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Busy month

Well. 

We all got sick a couple weeks ago--all except the imp, who seems to have completely dodged the upper respiratory yuck.  The pixie missed three days of school, because she was running a fever on the first two days.  Third day, she was fine, so she went back on that Friday.  And that Saturday, she popped a fever again.  This was the week of Odysseus's birthday, too.

We've finally scraped together a significant downpayment fund for a mortgage.  And that's going to be slightly complicated for us, since we have no debt, and haven't had any debt for the past six or seven years.  At all.  So we've been working on that, too.  And house hunting. 

Why the urgency?  Because the neighbors are horrid.  I don't mind the sweet little old lady between us and the corner, but the new ones that moved in to the other side last May?  We're going to have to put privacy film on the bedroom window so that prospective buyers don't see their nasty yard.  And hope that we can show while their kids are off at school, so that they don't hear the language the kids routinely scream out in the back yard...which is right next to the master bedroom window. 

There's three generations living in that house, and judging by the way the teenager acts (like a cat in heat) and dresses (like she's advertising a career choice), it's gonna be four within the next two or three years.  

Their front yard isn't good, but it isn't as bad, either. 

So, we're waiting to hear about the mortgage application, so that we can make an offer on a house barely outside of city limits (though the city has annexed the property across the road...and the one we want) with six acres, a septic system, and a well.   Enough space for the children to grow up without me losing my mind. 

And that...that's been the extra piled on top of the usual mess of grading, teaching, grading, and teaching. 

Oh, and editing a book for a friend I hold very dear, even if I've never met him face-to-face in my life.  I'm about ready to print it, copy edit by hand, and snail-mail the packet. Doing that much copy editing in Word is a serious pain. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Oof.


Last semester was hard.  Really hard.  I was trying to figure out what was going on where my health was concerned, running on empty, and trying to do more than usual.  I didn't do a very good job with any of the three classes: I was stretched way too thin.  

This semester...wow.  I wasn't thinking it would be as difficult to deal with as it is.  I have Tuesday/Thursday classes only.  MWF classes are 50 minutes per class; TTh classes are 75 minutes.  I didn't think that the extra 25 minutes would be so much of a difference, but they are.  And even worse, the two hours between classes don't help a lot where regaining stamina are concerned.  Mostly because I'm supposed to wait an hour before taking anything after my Levothyroxine, and four before taking herbal supplements.  

That puts my adrenal support supplement at 10:00, at the earliest.  Because I take the thyroid med right after the alarm goes off at 6:00.  And the adrenal support supplement is to be taken with a meal (at 7:00, then at lunch), and I often don't get lunch on TTh.  So, the days when I need it most, I don't get it. 

Yes, I will likely ask for a similar schedule next semester.  Four days in a row not at work helps.  

No, I will not ask for three classes.  Not any time soon, and perhaps not ever again.  I have a reason beyond just being unable to keep up.  Despite making a bit over $2,000 more per semester, we took a tax hit of a bit more than double that. 

Y'see, that bumped us up a tax bracket.  And instead of most of the tuition for the kids' school being covered by the EITC (think: unintentional voucher), the tuition is going to come out of our savings for a house outside city limits.  

They tax cigarettes to try to change behavior, and get people to stop smoking.  By the same logic, an income tax...yeah, I'll leave you to think about that.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A rant.

I had one of my students tell me one of the most horrifying things I've ever heard, today.  My student was talking about the full semester class that replaced the six week college orientation class I took: 1 credit hour replaced by 3 credit hours, with no useful information actually covered therein.  They told me that the instructor went on a rant that their entire generation was stupid and you can't fix stupid, so the instructor wouldn't even try. 

What the actual fuck? 

I have...issues with that. 

First of all, the stupid cunt nugget said that out loud, in the class, to the students that were their responsibility.  And it is patently obvious that said cunt nugget had forgotten that what you practice in front of a mirror is what comes out of your face in class, even when you're still talking to the reflection you saw during practice. 

Second, it's patently false.  Ignorance is not stupidity.  These kids may not have the same base knowledge we have, but they have something we didn't at their age: an encyclopedia/calculator in their pockets.  They've got different cultural expectations of education and knowledge than the cunt nugget's generation did.  They expect to be able to look up anything they need, and are in the process of learning to discern which sources are and are not credible for that purpose.

Third...you don't SAY that to students.  True or not, you just don't.  Why?

Students live up to--or down to--stated expectations.  If you tell them that they're stupid, they'll believe it, internalize it, and become it, especially if that's followed by the message that they're not worth the effort. 

Stupid cunt nugget needs to be fired.

From a fucking cannon. 

My week so far

Monday: Imp had a doctor's visit.  I drove on relatively higher traffic roads than I'm comfortable with, managed behavior, and then went to Sam's Club...only to find that the 'scrip had to be ordered in, and would be...spendy.  With no option of a generic. Took the kid to school, set up an appointment to talk to the principal.  Back to Sam's Club with a discount for said spendy 'scrip later (and Odysseus meeting us there), with both kids in tow.  Not fun. 

Tuesday: Teaching (thankfully, only supervising the first peer editing class).  Then back to Sam's Club, then picking up the kids and booting them out the door when I got them home, while I got most things in.  Then popped a fever with general body aches (no other symptoms whatsoever).  Went to bed very early.

Wednesday: got the kids to school.  Totally flaked on appointment, came home, sat down, dozed off.  Woke up, talked to mom, replaced kitty litter, unloaded the dryer, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, sat down ate lunch, and dozed off for a bit, talked to sister, dozed off again, and got kids.  Made chili.

Thursday: made it through morning routine with the kids, and they were fairly cooperative (for once).  Topic selection day in class, so it's a high-energy class period.  Seventy-five minutes of high energy.  Fifteen minutes of  housework flattens me.  I'm glad I've got two hours between classes, honestly.  I don't think I could have done back to back classes on this...here's hoping I don't wind up popping a fever and being useless again.  Probably not, since I wound up sleeping a lot over Tuesday night, and random catnaps all day Wednesday.  At least, I hope not.

I don't think I'll be doing much of anything tomorrow.  I don't think I'll be capable of it.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Musings

I wish my university would tell me whether someone has been dropped involuntarily for non-payment, or whether they have voluntarily dropped my class from terror/not wanting to work.  It would make filling out my roll book way easier if I didn't have to add names out of alphabetical order because of an accounting mistake.

Ever have a day where your child is standing there, eyes and mouth wide open, because they can't remember what to do next in their morning routine?  The morning routine that they've been following for two and a half years?  There are times I find it harder than normal not to swear at my children...

I know you're not supposed to change the dog food around, but what if your dog hates the food and won't eat?  Do you make them keep eating the food they hate, or do you switch around until you find something they like?

I didn't vote for Trump in either the primary or general election, last year, but if he keeps doing the same job he's been doing for the past six days since inauguration, I may well vote for his reelection.

Finally found some of my draft books, yesterday--the one with the random-ass short stories* I've been working on when I get stuck on something else, and the draft book for The Schrodinger Paradox. Since my classes are working on writing their papers, today, I will be working on getting stuff transcribed from the draft books, and more written. 

One has to wonder how Lzzy Hale of Halestorm can possibly channel rockers who are still alive like she does.  I mean, the dead ones make sense--how does she channel the souls and capabilities of those still living?

One also wonders about the soul-destroying apocalyptic break-up voiced by Starset's new album Vessels.  Is it metaphoric, or literal?  And did it happen between albums, or was it a formative event in the lead singer/songwriter's life?  Either way, it's a gorgeous, powerful album that you cannot judge without listening to the whole thing. 

I currently have five students doing their writing in the classroom, two drafting long-hand, and three on laptops.  All the rest took off to go find a computer elsewhere, or a comfy spot to write. 

Shadow the cat wound up getting her wish, a few nights ago.  We forgot to retrieve her from sleeping on her boy.  She had mild regrets in the morning--a full bladder and an empty belly will do that--but not enough that she hasn't tried to repeat her accomplishment.

A few weeks ago, I made a knitted wool-blend yarn headband for the pixie in Lion Brand's Wool-Ease (worsted weight) Rose Heather.  And my mother in law asked me "Where's mine?"  So, I made one for my mother in law.  Then my mother, sister, and all three aunts asked where theirs were...so my sweaters are going to wait while I make smaller projects. 

I have one sweater almost finished (Wool-Ease Avacado green), but messed up counting rows on the sleeves.  The left one is an inch too short, and the right one is an inch shorter than that.  Thankfully, it's a pretty simple thing to undo the cuffs, and add a bit.  I just need to finish the projects for family, first. 

I still need to remake a couple other sweaters I messed up on, too...

I got the pixie a plastic loom for Christmas (then had to get her a better one, since there was no way to keep the nylon loops from flying off of the one I gave her while she worked).  The imp was so intrigued by it that he went and spent his own money to get one of his own.  They're both doing excellent work on their various projects--and have finished about four or five apiece.  (Or rather, I've finished off the projects for them, since they lack the dexterity to bind their projects off.)

Last week, I tried easing back from taking an equivalent amount of Aleve tablets to equal prescription strength naproxen that I'd run out of.  My body says, "I'm sorry, I can't do that, Dave."  Come to find out, chronic, systemic inflammation is part and parcel of CFS/ME, and I wind up feeling like somebody hit me with a Mack truck.  So, it's back to the full dose.  I hate taking pills...

I need to stop procrastinating by writing the blog post, and start writing fiction. 





*Short stories are being gathered for another collection, tentatively titled Normalcy Bias.  So far, I've got about 25K words, plus a few more stories I need to transcribe (and one I need to finish). 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Analogies

I finally figured out how to explain chronic fatigue syndrome to some of my guy friends (no, the energy budget didn't work that well--only sort of). 

Car analogies.

CFS/ME is like having a short in the electrical system, misfiring spark plugs, and an alternator that doesn't work quite right. 

For the most part, the only "recharge" I get is from eating a bit (protein and dairy--fruits/veg, grains, and legumes don't help a lot) and from sleeping.  I don't recharge from sitting down and resting.  And I don't recharge fully.  Ever. 

However...

The AdrenaMaxx helped a bit.  I'd recharge a little when I'd sit down and rest.  It took an hour and a half to build back up what I spent in fifteen minutes of housework, but I'd build back up eventually. 

The new adrenal support suppliment--Flex Naturals Adrenal Support--also helps (and doesn't contain ingredients that interact with my other medications).  I got it in the mail after I got home from picking up the kids on Tuesday.  After I'd massively overdone it by going to Sam's Club after I'd finished teaching my second 75 minute class for the day.  By the time I got it, I was already feeling the physical effects of doing too much (you know how you overwork, and then all your muscle fibers keep twitching after you stop?  Yeah, I was at that point) and it was too late in the day to start taking it. 

I took a dose yesterday with breakfast (right around 7:00).  I was still paying for the day before with massive whole-body aches, increased exhaustion, and brain fog making the world seem dull and out of focus.  I took the kids to school, and then went home and collapsed in my recliner, picked up the laptop, and started in on surfing through blog sites, news sites, and Facebook.

Around 8:30, the world snapped back in focus.  The brain fog cleared a bit, then a bit more.  And I started recharging.  By 2:00, I was able to go get a few things exhaustion had made me forget the day before at Sam's Club.  And I was able to make breakfasts for the imp for the next two weeks (egg muffins), and pre-position things for making supper tonight. 

No, I'm not at 100%.  I'm not quite even up to 50%.  But that's better than where I was last week, and I'm recharging at rest instead of only eating and sleeping. 

And more than that, I have hope that eventually, I'll get back to normal with enough rest, support, nutrition, herbal supplementation, and time.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Adrena-Maxx supplements

After I got the CFS/ME diagnosis, I did a lot of in-depth research.  One of the things I found was that it often came with sub-clinical adrenal disorder, often referred to as adrenal fatigue.  Not to the level it needs treated with steroids--and in fact, treating with steroids can shut the adrenals down completely and permanently, at that point. 

Every site, including doctors' blogs, recommended supplementation that included increased B vitamins, and a few herbs.  Several of the non-affiliated MDs' sites recommended finding a specially formulated adrenal support blend. So I went looking.

Sweet baby Thor in a thunderstorm--there are a LOT of adrenal support supplements out there.

I narrowed it down to those without adrenal tissue added.  Unless you're right at the spot where the docs would start treating you with small dosages of steroids, you don't want adrenal tissue in your supplement.  That can exacerbate the issue, or shut your adrenals down, depending on amount and potency. 

Even with that ingredient left out, there are still a LOT of adrenal support supplements out there.

I kept looking, and finally settled on AdrenaMaxx.  It's a chewable supplement that contains several things I already knew helped me (like a lot of different B vitamins, and a few amino acids that are contraindicated for those with bipolar disorder or borderline hyperthyroid--L. Tyrosine, specifically). 

I received the bottle, and found enough cotton wadding to make a few yards of yarn, did I spin.  The pills themselves were crumbly and easily broken, so that's probably why they were packed in so tightly. 

The recommended dosage is two tablets per day.  So I started taking them. 

They didn't do anything right away.  But by the second day, some of my symptoms had begun to alleviate themselves.  One of the most annoying but least serious symptoms completely resolved itself.  And then, my energy levels started replenishing faster when I sat down to rest.  And then, the weight started coming off.  Most of the symptoms that mimic the low thyroid symptoms started to ease.

Spectacular.  The supplement was working beautifully.

Then I started doing research into the actual ingredients, potential side effects, and potential interactions with other medications.  Amino acids were all fine, even the L. Tyrosine.*  Slippery elm, fine...licorice root.  Not fine. 

See, licorice root interferes with the absorption of medications metabolized by the liver.  Including hormonal birth control pills. 

Uh...yeah, I quit those suckers immediately.  I would rather be miserable and incapable than miserable, incapable, and pregnant. 

Bottom line: AdrenaMaxx works.  It works beautifully.  But. 

And that's a big BUT. 

You shouldn't take it if you're taking birth control.  It can cause it to fail.  

*L. Tyrosine is metabolized by the thyroid gland into thyroid hormone.  Since I no longer HAVE  a thyroid gland, it doesn't do a whole lot besides just help other systems function properly.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Energy budgets

Say your personal energy was a dollar amount, and every activity you do spends some of that.  Let's start with getting out of bed: you just spent $2.  Showering is $4, brushing your teeth is another $3.  Getting dressed is $3 if you're a guy, $4 if you're a gal (bras are awkward and take a lot of wiggling).  You've spent $10-$11 before you've even left your bedroom. 

If you've got kids, getting them up, dressed, and breakfast and lunch fixed is another $5 (when they're cooperative.  If they're not, you may spend up to $15 or $20 on this).  Getting your own breakfast is another $2 (but gives you back $1.50.  Eventually).  So, figure another $5.50 to $25 to that $10-11 you've already spent. 

Getting out the door with the kids is another $1 (if they're cooperative), and then your workday starts.  You'll spend something between $30-$40 at work (assuming you work full-time, and assuming lunch gives energy back--otherwise, you may spend up to $50).  Your running total of energy spent is around $45-$76 by the time you've left work, picked up the kids, and gotten home. 

Supper takes between $2 (takeout) and $10 (cooking for family without preplanning) to make (but again, gives back most of that).  Bedtime routines take $2, if the kids don't fight, and $10 if they do.  So, between $4-15, coming up to $49-$91 by the time you get the kids to bed.  And then, you either do housework, or your evening is yours. 

Typically, shopping takes $5-$15, depending on how much, how many people are around, and what time of day it is.  Fifteen minutes of housework takes $15-$30, depending on how heavy the work is. 

Even mental work takes up $5-$15.  If you're a full-time teacher, you're spending $50-$75, depending on the age of your classroom.  Part time, you're still spending $25 or a bit more on high energy days (like topic selection days in Freshman Composition classes). 

Most people don't think about their energy budget.  They start out with around $100 worth of energy when they wake up (or shortly thereafter). 

Before I had kids, I typically started with around $110.  Just after I had the imp, before I was diagnosed with the hypothyroid disorder I developed post-partum, I woke up with $85.  Now, with CFS/ME?  I wake up with around $40.

Energy gets budgeted very carefully.  Because if I overspend, I'm dealing with $20-$30 of overdraft fees before I even get out of bed.

It sucks, but that's life. 

I'm gonna finish my coffee.