I’ve been wheezing for almost a year now, but thought it was just because I was so fat. HA!
I was in the ER on Thanksgiving with my breathing sounding like I was playing a harmonica. After a couple of visits, they finally said it was an Upper Respiratory Infection. None of the breathing treatments there helped, but they gave me an Albuteral inhaler that did nothing for me. I just had to wait the URI out and my coughing finally left around New Year’s.
But the wheezing has continued. The ER also gave me referrals to a Pulmonologist and a Cardiologist… for the wheezing and I have an enlarged heart.
I went to the Pulmonologist last Monday and after the battery of breathing tests, told me I had moderate asthma. Huh?! I was shocked. I really did think my inability to catch my breath when I walked (even to the bathroom) was because of my weight. Apparently not!
I was prescribed Symbacort, but it isn’t doing much and I am waiting for insurance approval to get some Spiriva.
Now that I know what it is, I am able to put symptoms together. My mom has had severe asthma since I was a kid, so I’m used to her asthma. Mine, not severe, still has similar symptoms I overlooked. My wheezing is like a whistle, not the gasping kind of breathing I have seen in her. When I walk, it does get louder and more musical, but generally, sitting, I just whistle.
The feeling I get when walking is really odd. I feel like I can take half a breath and then something clamps over my lungs and I am unable to inhale any more than that half-breath. I lean over trying to breathe, catch my breath with that clamped down feeling. It does not go away until I am sitting again for a few minutes. Then back to the open breathing and whistling.
I go to the Cardiologist March 26th. It will be interesting to see what the deal is with my heart, too.
Not one person who has seen Fried Green Tomatoes will think of anything else but Idgie’s love for Ruth and how she wanted to impress her by getting a honeycomb directly from the hive.
“You’re just a bee charmer, Idgie Threadgoode.
That’s what you are, a bee charmer.”
Honey in Birth
Honey has a great supply of natural sugars and most midwives had honey of some sort on hand, whether in the Honey Bear…
…or Honey Sticks.
…or some Honey Lollipops.
If a woman’s energy was waning, a couple of spoonfuls of honey or 2 or 3 sticks, could perk her back up for awhile more… even if she was unable to eat or drink much else, honey was a great pick-me-up.
Honey has antimicrobial properties, it is a hydrogen peroxide thing, and there is a lot of research showing honey, Manuka Honey in particular, used on infections can help heal the wound quicker… and without the risk of medication interactions/allergies. Honey is often used on diabetic ulcers, it being more effective than many other treatments.
New Use for Honey (for me)
So, I kind of knew this, but when I was an intern midwife in San Diego, I got to see the range of what home birth midwives do with honey.
Mind you, by the time I was interning as a midwife in San Diego, I had been in birth for over 20 years and had gone to hundreds of births in hospitals, birth centers and at home. Over the years, I would see things done I had never heard of before, but could usually be shown the research about it.
Honey was often used in the way I mentioned above; for energy.
So when a woman’s perineum tore at birth and said she did not want to be sutured, I was pretty shocked (every woman who had ever torn in my experience was sutured, it wasn’t ever a consideration not to be). When the midwives acted as if this was a normal thing, choosing no stitches, I was baffled. When they pulled out the plastic Honey Bear and grabbed a spoon from the family utensil drawer, I blinked.
Honey was spread onto the back of the spoon, the woman’s legs opened a bit and the honey “painted” on the tear, all the while the “antibiotic” properties of honey explained. She was instructed to keep her legs together except to put more honey on it.
I’m not kidding.
I still cannot find medical research showing honey’s aid in normal healing of a perineal or vulvar tear; it remains a midwife’s tale that it does anything at all. (This is different than an infected wound, where the research is copious.) Many midwives, myself included, believe it was keeping the legs together that did much more to heal the tear than the honey.
I mean new parents know to never give their infants honey because they might have spores of a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. Wouldn’t that follow that it might not be the best thing for a perineum?
Here is a medical grade honey-gauze that might have been an okay thing for an open wound.
Or perhaps a tube only used only on your body and no one else’s?
I remember when my dad (whom I am missing so very much lately) would bring us miel (honey) in the comb from the Cuban store. I loved biting into the wax, feeling the honey ooze out of the tiny openings, then chewing the wax like gum. I wonder if my kids have ever had that experience.
Miel. One of the best Spanish words in existence.
A Recent Conversation
“I had some cereal and some honey.”
That’s what he said.
“You put honey in cereal? With milk? That’s pretty gross.”
“No, cereal without milk and honey separate.”
“You were spooning honey into your mouth?”
“No I was using a fork and dipping it into the honey and eating it.”
Now I was really on high alert.
“You are telling me that you put a fork into the honey, suck the honey off… then put the fork back into the honey and do it again?”
“Uh, yeah. Why?”
“You are telling me you double, triple and quadruple dip your fork into a communal honey jar?”
“I never thought of it that way before. It never occurred to me.”
Maybe, knowing what I do now about honey’s medicinal properties, it might not be the grossest thing after all.
“45” is what I call POTUS, the 45th president of the United States, that horrid man who squats in the White House tweeting (LYING) about random topics to divert our attention from the fucked up bullshit he does that will, PLEASE GODDESS, get him impeached.
(For some amazingly strange reason, this post cannot be formatted correctly, no matter if I work in WYSIWYG or HTML; I have tried for 2 days to fix it, to no avail. I apologize for the bizarre lack of paragraph breaks/doubling of paragraph breaks.)
I have a theory (that has surely already been discussed in other places) that the new administration has an entire strategy to create as much turmoil as possible, knowing there would be protests (because the Women’s March on Washington was planned well in advance of the Inauguration), then seeing even more protests with each Executive Order, their idea took on greater and greater maniacal glee.
You learn activism by doing it, they said. One of the main obstacles to activism is the idea that you have to be an expert to do it —
Because there are so many causes to fight, it can be challenging to protest everything one feels strongly about. Surely, the administration is having a field day cheering that fact.
I see people in my own life swirling around, grasping at causes willy-nilly, protesting 1 one day and another, 2 days later. This frenetic energy cannot possibly be maintained. Speaking up, living in crisis mode, changing one’s life patterns, even for a short time can exhaust someone, causing Outrage Fatigue.
Every morning, we wake up to a fresh Trumpian outrage, as the orange one’s fat little thumbs have tapped out the latest vitriol via Twitter before we lift our weary heads off of the keyboards we fell asleep on because we were up past midnight planning how to block his Cabinet, or save ACA, or get to Burr and Tillis, or, respond to Russian hacking. Is it any wonder that some of us are experiencing outrage fatigue?
As the Day of His Ascendence (formerly known as Inauguration Day) approaches, the more the sense of impending doom and inevitability grows. After the election, outrage and disbelief propelled many into passionate, but ultimately quixotic pursuits. Flipping the electors. The Jill Stein recount. As those prospects faded away, and the names and hideous bios of Trump’s Cabinet appointees came out, many geared up to protest and block that odious pack of cronies, capitalists, and cranks from running the country. Lists of committees were drawn up, scripts written, action plans mobilized. The GOP then ganged up on ACA, as Trump fanned the flames. No, no, protest that! many online cried. Russian allegations exploded; Trump kept tweeting. Crooked media! Overrated Streep! All-talk John Lewis!
As sure as I am sitting here, the White House and even much of Congress are devising ways to wreak havoc on America and betting “libtards” will be out en masse protesting within a couple of hours. They are counting on it. So far, we are not disappointing them.
But with the passage of time, people become numb and mute, collapsing with exhaustion, creating an open, wide and clear, path for the “president’s” coup to complete itself. (And I do believe we are in the middle of a coup!)
Long-time protesters each speak about outrage fatigue, previously called burnout, in their stories. ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) movement and even the LGBT(QAI+) (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Asexual, Intersex, etc.) all find themselves teaching younger generations how to avoid the outrage fatigue that comes with long battles, ones we are surely just beginning with this “president.”
What I Can Do!
I have Bipolar Disorder and struggle with depression and must be hyper-vigilant to not become overwhelmed with sadness and pain, something that’s been quite a challenge the last 6 months or so, increasing each day. I’m also physically disabled, unable to go out into the streets to protest.
But I can write.
Since the Inauguration, I have been sitting back and pondering… considering what cause resonated most with me, which one I would be most effective battling.
What bubbled to the top was Censorship.
As a writer/blogger, I’ve been censored several times, from Blogger slamming my blog shut for having nude women (giving birth and breastfeeding!) to my midwifery licensing organization strong-arming me to “edit” one of the most important blog posts I’ve ever written. (I did and deleted the original, something that still brings tears 9 years later.)
Government censorship has always made me crazy, but it’s been over there… you know, in other countries.
Until this “president” brought it front and center in the United States.
I could enumerate so many examples, but the loudest and most obnoxious recently came from “president steve bannon” when, on January 26, 2017, in the New York Times, he said:
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while….”
You can imagine the response.
From shock to hysterical laughter, CNN’s Jake Tapper gave the best answer of all; an emphatic, “NO.”
My Strategy to Avoid Outrage Fatigue
I have chosen to focus on that one strength of mine… writing… and the topic that most resonates… Censorship.
This way, I will be able to pace myself. During the couple of weeks with this new strategy, I’m finding myself able to see-and-toss the non-censorship posts, news pieces and videos, but am seeing, quickly and clearly, the pieces that relate to me specifically. This prevents news overload, which pulls me down towards depression. It is, sometimes, challenging to ignore the information on the periphery, but as I do, I find myself more and more at peace.
By focusing on my life-long writing skills as my major protesting mechanism, I am able to keep my interest level high and will have long-term focus on the censorship issue.
One last strategy is for me to connect with other writers, especially those who focus on censorship. Companionship fosters support and support can manifest in many ways including encouragement, reminders of the mission at hand and backing each other up when conflict gets nasty.
I’m hoping that as I send this out over the airwaves, it will find other like-minded people, but especially writers. I could use the support and suspect you could, too.
Sitting here, I am so livid and repulsed by that orange man I swear, if he was in front of me… well, let’s leave it at spit in his face for now. To attackRepresentative John Lewis, on this Martin Luther King Eve, is the most heinous thing that fucking pig has done so far… and he has done a LOT of stupid, cruel and repulsive things.
One of the best pieces of advice about the orange man is for people to daily insult him so he is so busy using his fingers to tweet, he won’t have any to push the nuclear release button.
Clearly, I am not in the hospital. My gallbladder decided to chill out and a blast of IV Levaquin overnight in the hospital brought me back to normal. I feel perfectly fine. I have an appointment with the surgeon I met while there, who not only takes my insurance (huge hurdle made!), but also has experience with super-big folks. He scoffed when I told him the GI Doc told me I would never find anyone to do my surgery and said I was hardly the biggest he has worked on. My appointment is Jan 23rd.
I met a nurse while in the hospital who, upon introduction, seemed a jaded veteran. Surely because I wasn’t in pain, I could be my entertaining self and each time she came in, we talked about this and that… my meds… the stupid heart monitor they make you wear the whole time now… and she mentions that she hated the monitor, too, but she thought she was having a heart attack. Without lots of detail (for privacy), she lost a loved one at Thanksgiving and was struggling with mourning after having to go back to work right away. I listened and validated her pain and difficulty trying to take care of others. I said I knew it was she who should be the one being nurtured. She fought tears, but I went and held her for a couple of minutes… giving love and healing light to her. When I was discharged, she walked me down to my car (I invited her) and she said very kind words about my being a midwife and how she could see how loving I am and how lucky my clients were. I thanked her for such kind words and then hugged her again before turning to go. If you’re reading this, please send her some love.
Note: When 30 Imodium AD and 12 Lomotil a day won’t stem the diarrhea, you might want to check for gallbladder issues, especially if a fever comes with it. Pain in your upper left abdomen is optional.
Redoing my Advanced Directive. Always so much fun talking about pulling the plug. I do NOT NOT NOT want to EVER live in a Nursing Home. Ever. I will find a way to die before anyone tries to stuff me into one of those horrid places. No life-extending bullshit. If there is a will she/won’t she live quandary… err on the side of letting me go. I AM A DNR!Everyone got the message now?
I am learning that my youngest, Aimee, has burst forth and begun sharing her writings. She is SUCH an incredible writer! I had no idea. Was I not paying attention?!
I go a couple three days without reading even headlines. Then, like tonight, I peek at what is trending.
And now I am despondent.
Just the headlines are enough to make me want to crawl in a hole. Imagining these people in control, making rules and regulations (or undoing regulations as the case may be)… it’s terrifying.
I do not say the word “rape” lightly. I do not use it randomly. I have been raped. I know the seriousness of the word.
So when I say I am horrified seeing who is going into the Cabinet because they are going to rape the United States, I mean it with all the terror that comes with the word.
The people being appointed are going to make the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) “conflict” look like a picnic. They are going to dig deep into the land, tearing up beautiful homes, ruining National Parks… and the repercussions will be felt/known/experienced for hundreds of years after these fucking pigs are out of office and dead.
I felt hopeless for a couple of hours. My chest felt like someone was sitting on it; I struggled to breathe. My blessed cub held me and talked to me as I cried about how horrible this all is.
And it hasn’t even begun yet!
I think that’s the scariest for me is if I am this upset and sad now, what am I going to be like in a year when we are in the middle of the rape, still years ahead to be attacked… every which way we try to get away, to fight our attacker, he strong-arms us and continues the assault.
Not Giving Up
I saw this photo:
I cannot let anyone die alone.
No LGBTQIA+ youth who is outed because of new laws will not be alone. We will do everything in our power to save you from the evils of “conversion therapy”… torture.
No woman who has to have an illegal abortion because abortion has been outlawed will not be alone. Those who can will learn to do abortions safely, despite the laws, risking jail, but finding the risk is far less than a woman attempting self-abortion.
No Muslim who has to “Register” to be in this country will not register alone. Women who have their hijabs mocked or pulled off will be defended so she is able to practice her religion in this country that still allows religious freedom (so far).
No woman who is attacked… grabbed “by the pussy”… will not mourn and heal alone.
No Black man, woman or child will endure the escalating hate and murder alone.
No immigrant, here legally or “illegally,” will fight to live here alone.
No Native American will have to wrest their rightful land back from the lying White people alone.
No disabled person will be left to live or suffer alone. We will find the tools they (WE!) need for anyone who still has needs. We will not let the world become completely able-ist, forgetting/not caring for those who have challenges.
No writer, photographer or artist will be censored. We will find ways to get the words and images out to the world.
No child who is hungry and has lost their free breakfasts, lunches or dinners will starve alone. We will find food for you precious babies of ours.
And then there are the promises I cannot keep:
We will not know the impact slashing Social Security will have on our elder Americans. Will they die alone freezing and starving while those in charge have billions of dollars to spare?
What are we going to do for our mentally ill (myself included)? What if our free care is removed? What if we are not allowed our medications, therapy, our psychiatrists?
We know a only fraction of our brothers, sisters and others who have killed themselves because of their despair of who is coming into the White House. What of all the others who are misgendered, hidden, reported as dying of “natural” or “accidental” causes when they really overdosed on purpose. So many suffering without our knowing they are there.
I need to go house by house looking for those in pain. Like the Christians in Germany who saved the Jews, taking chances, risking death even… all to save even one soul.
I might cry again. No, I will cry again.
But I cannot give up. I cannot let someone die reaching out for another hand. I know mine is not the only one searching. Maybe, just maybe, if we all keep holding our arms out, joining hands, we might be able to save more than just one person.
At first, I was on the kind you keep in the refrigerator and draw up in a syringe with a needle. Good lord, those are pain in the ass.
Not having one clue of all the options, my Insurance Liaison asked if I would rather have pens. I asked what the difference was and she said, “They don’t need to be refrigerated.”
I got the pens and loved them right away.
I keep them in my top drawer with all my pens.
I am on both Lantus (long-acting insulin) and NovoLog (more immediate insulin), so poke myself 4 times a day.
Now, as a midwife, I know to draw up solutions with one needle, then change needles and use that new one for the injection. Pushing the needle through the rubber at the top of the vial flattens the tip slightly and when you put that in the leg or arm, it hurts more.
But when I use the lancet on my finger to test my blood glucose before giving myself insulin…
… I (lazily) use and re-use them. They are annoying to change (4-6 times a day), so it’s just easier to leave it in the mechanism each time. I know, I know… beyond the lazy factor, not too sanitary, either. Especially when I am supposed to be worrying about infections. (I hear you! CHANGE THE LANCETS!)
So when I got the needles for the pens, I thought, “I can be lazy with these needles, too.”
And I was.
The one thing with the pens that was different from the refrigerated insulin was the injections freakin’ hurt! It wasn’t unusual to bleed a little after the injection and I also got plenty of bruises.
I don’t recall the reasoning behind it, but a couple of weeks ago, I changed the needle after each injection. Was I experimenting? I have no idea. But let me tell you, when I began changing the needle each time…
… the pain upon injection vanished! The bleeding and bruises? Gone.
What a dork I was re-using the needles.
Clearly, with each stab into my flesh, it flattened those really thin needles enough to damage the skin and tissue.