Saturday, August 31, 2013

An odd day...

The first thing I did yesterday morning after walking Tyke, was go to the grocery store to frugally do the week's shopping. I had very carefully made a shopping list that covered all the week's meals that would be nutritious but not too expensive. It included buying fresh vegetables which I am trying to eat every day.
When I got to the check out stand, and had to pay for the groceries, it turned out that I had spent exactly the week's budget with not a dime to spare. Talk about living on the edge.  I am actually trying to spend less than that so I can give myself a little room in case of the unexpected. Next week I am going to shop at the grocery store that is supposed to be cheaper, although it is farther away from my apartment.
I think my knee is in good enough shape to venture a larger distance from home as long as I don't go up any inclines, and I will plan my route accordingly. When I have done the shopping for one week, I have both carrier bags filled along with two shopping bags that I hang on my handlebars. That means I am perfectly balanced and can make the ride home easily. It shouldn't be too bad to have to go a little bit farther. Besides, it's amazing what you can do when forced by the circumstances.
I was unable to buy the authorized trash bags and the postage stamps that I am almost out of. I am borrowing two trash bags from the Exfactor until I can buy some myself and hope I won't yet need the stamps.
I spent the day doing the odd chore and taking care of some paperwork. The thing is, though, that I felt uneasy the whole time as if I didn't have things quite under control. I think it is the worry about my finances that upset me, but I also think that I worry about them too much. The feeling didn't leave me until after I had walked Tyke in the evening and I had a real sense that the weekend had started. I really do feel like I have those two days off when I don't have to worry so much and can relax a bit.
I don't know what happened to living 'in the moment' which I seemed to make an effort to do in the near past, but I don't seem to do much of it lately. I am constantly keeping my mind occupied with either the computer, or the sound of the radio, or the images on the television. I very seldom have everything turned off just to enjoy the silence and the solitude of my own company. I sure don't stare off into the middle distance much anymore.
I do very much keep up to date on what is going on in the world and am immediately informed of the latest news and worldwide opinions. At least I feel that I can form a realistic point of view about things. I am glad that I am a European and that I get my information from a number of different sources and not just my own country's news broadcast.

Friday, August 30, 2013

And that is the truth...

My grandson played his first volleyball game of the season yesterday and his team won. He is quite an athlete like his mother was when she was in high school, and he plays soccer as well and is on the cross country team. I think this is wonderful, because what is better for a growing young man then participating in sports after school and on the weekends? It's just a shame that he lives so far away that I can't be in the bleachers when he plays to cheer him on, but I do get to see the photos of him participating and get a taste of it that way. Needless to say, I am very proud.
I first met my grandson when he was a year and a half old and he was quite an alert little boy who I had to walk around the neighborhood in his stroller to get him sleepy enough for his afternoon nap. Even at that age, he already loved kicking around the ball in the backyard. I do remember him, one afternoon, being so tired from that, that he fell asleep in my arms on the sofa and me not wanting to move for fear of waking him up, so I sat like that for the longest time.
He thought there were monsters in the closet and instead of trying to convince him there were not, I told him to take the broom and chase them away. I thought it was better to make him believe he had some power over them, rather than make him think he was helpless. That did help.
He will be the only grandchild I will ever have, so he is very precious indeed, although I am sure that those of you with multiple grandchildren think that way about each and every one of them. My son did not have any children and in many ways I think that was a relief, because it would have been tough to think that a child would be left without a father. My father played a big role in my life and it would have been a loss to have done without him. I am sure that the fact that I was my father's favorite child does play a role in that also. It did give me a big sense of security.
My grandson looks like a Dutch boy. He inherited his mother's blond looks and my father's body build, but he got his brown eyes from his father. It makes for an interesting combination. My grandmother would have been peeved because brown eyes don't run in the family and my grandson is an exception.
And what I really like about him, is that he likes animals and that he is very kind and compassionate  with them. I think that is the sign of a good soul.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thank goodness for small favors.

The orthopedic surgeon told me that I have not torn my meniscus again, even though it does feel like that. He says that when I tried to get up with Tyke in my arms, I jammed my kneecap into my thighbone and that caused some damage. I already wondered why I had such a painful spot on the other side of my knee.
It will take some time for it to heal. In the meantime, I am not supposed to kneel down or climb stairs, nor do any heavy lifting or any heavy bike riding. That means not going up any inclines, but I had already planned on that. If it feels better, I can wear the elastic brace, and it does feel better because I already tried it.
I was very much relieved that I did not have to have another operation and could have kissed both his cheeks. I shook his hand instead and I sincerely hope that this will be the end of this story.
Because I had to wait such a long time for my appointment with the rheumatologist, I made an appointment with one at another hospital not too far from here. It is for the 20th of September and that makes the difference of more than one month. This hospital has a good reputation and the specialists are at least as good as the ones at the university hospital. I am sure that I will be in good hands.
I have been wearing dresses exclusively and it is funny how you go through periods when you prefer one type of clothing more than the others. I have all kinds in my closet and dresser and can change my mind about what to wear whenever I want. That is because I had to get a new wardrobe after I had lost all that weight.
I thoroughly enjoy wearing dresses now and before that it was skinny jeans. I do have to say that wearing the dresses makes me feel very feminine, although I never do look butch. I look around me and see lots of other women wearing dresses too and think what a nice thing that is and that we have the weather to thank for that. But I plan on wearing them way into the colder season too and then layered with other pieces of clothing.
I have put some weight on and look better than that skinny thing that I was. I can sit on my rear end without it hurting.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Preconceived ideas.

I first made a pot of coffee that was two thirds decaf, but I sat here drinking a cup as if it had no effect on me whatsoever, in other words, in a zombified state. I knew I had to take another measure and made a pot of regular coffee, and now I am a bit more alert and capable of sensible thought.
Sometimes you have to boycott your own system to get through a rough spot. You can always go back to it when the sailing is smoother. No doubt that will be in the morning after I have had a decent night's sleep and I do have to say, despite what I may have claimed before, that regular coffee tastes better than decaf.
I got the letter with the appointment for the rheumatologist in the mail today and it isn't until the 24th of October. I think that's an awful long time to wait, but since I'm not a dire emergency, I suppose it doesn't matter. I can take care of my bum knee in the meantime. I have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon in the morning and can't wait to hear what he will have to tell me. I assume he will send me for another MRI scan and that I will have to go throigh the same procedure again.
The lotion that I have for the psoriasis on my head is helping a lot because I apply it faithfully, although I have a few stubborn spots that won't budge. I have to be careful and try not to apply the lotion too often because it is a cortisone one, but if I don't use it for a day, the psoriasis comes back immediately. I also apply an ointment on and behind my ears and those spots have cleared up completely. I am no longer constantly scratching them.
I have very swollen fingers, but at least they don't hurt right now and that is a blessing. I used to think that was an allergic reaction and always tried to figure out what I had eaten that I was allergic to. It was quite a puzzle. I know better now and don't worry my head about it anymore. It usually happens during the night and in the early morning, so it is a predictable thing. Now that I have some idea of what I am dealing with, I better understand the symptoms. There are no more stabs in the dark.
If you don't know what you are dealing with, you should not try to diagnose yourself, because you may be way off the mark. But it is good to be well informed once you do have a clue.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The garden of the imagination.

Yesterday afternoon, my sister and I went to a sculpture exhibit in a small village not to far from where she lives. It was on the grounds of a beautifully restored farmhouse in the garden and fields around it. There were the works of about 12 sculptors and I have to say that most of it was wonderful and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. There was work in stone and bronze and wood and ceramic and almost all of it was way out of our price range, but we pretended it wasn't.
The desire to see and experience beautiful things prompted me to look up future events in the area for the next few months. I went to the website of the tourist board and looked up what they had to offer and discovered quite a few interesting things and filled them in on the proper dates in my agenda. Most of them are for free and some cost just a small amount of money. The ones that are for free have my preference, of course.
Next weekend. there are concerts in the park and I will go to that alone, because my sister will be helping my nephew move to the city he will attend university in. I don't mind going by myself and, as a matter of fact, will probably enjoy the music more when I am not distracted by the presence of another person. I remember going to this event before with my sister and we did nothing but walk around and chat and ended up having drinks at an outdoor café.
I have been using paracetamol and a high dose of ibuprofen nonstop for a while and yesterday evening, I decided to stop using them to see where exactly all these aches and pains are again. I want to try and go without for a while and see exactly how bad it gets so I can let the rheumatologist know this when I go to see him/her. The fingers to my right hand are swelling up as I sit here and are starting to look like sausages. My knee is feeling quite sore also. Slowly but surely, everything is starting to hurt again.
Pain is not a good companion and highly distracting, keeping your mind off the job that you're trying to do. I mist end this monologue now and return to my bed.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

What kind of Saturday is that?

After initially starting off well meaning, I have this afternoon decided that today is my lazy day and I am completely ignoring the big stack of dishes that remains undone on the kitchen counter. I consider that a very daring thing to do since this makes the kitchen look very messy and very hard to go into and use. It is only a little kitchen after all. I have, in a way, arranged things a bit neatly and made a half hearted attempt to make it look like I cared  a little, but I would not want anyone to come over and inspect it right now. I would get minus points for housewifery.
Well, it was never my intention to set out and be a really great one of them, but as a rule I do like things a bit more organized. I simply don't care that much today and want to save my energy for only pleasant things. I did do the groceries this morning on my granny bike armed with multiple shopping bags. It was the first time in a long time that I rode my granny bike and I have to tell you: that is the perfect bike for me. I like how the handlebar curves inward and allows me to sit very upright and helps me keep the weight off my elbows and wrists.
At the grocery store, I tried to shop smart, but I spent more money that I had intended and I tried not to look too shocked when I saw the grand total at the check out stand. Some of the things that I got will last a while, so they are an investment, but it hurt nevertheless. It probably wasn't necessary to get two bags of basmati rice, but I can tell you that I will be eating rice in the near future for quite a while.
I made Mexican rice for lunch, although I had intended to fix it for dinner. I was so hungry that I did not want to wait. After having eaten pasta for a week and feeling very bloated after every meal, I have to say that I do not have this problem with rice and it is very possible that I am going to turn into a rice eater. You can turn any dish imaginable into a rice dish. All you need is the right spices to jazz it up. It does make me wonder about the sandwiches that I eat and I think I again have to stop eating bread, even though it's such a convenient way to eat a meal. It's apparent that gluten does not agree with me.
I thought cooking rice was a difficult thing to do, but it turned out to be quite easy. All you need to do is boil two cups of water and add one cup of rice and let it simmer until the water is gone. I think I would like to get a rice cooker and maybe I will ask for it for my birthday. If I am not mistaken, I have just enough room for it in the cabinet where the pots and pans are. When you have a little kitchen, you have to imaginatively stack things to eek out all the space possible.
There was a sale on the expensive kind of lemonade starter, so I bought two bottles of it. It tastes very good and I can't get enough of it. I will be making ice cubes non stop.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Where there is a will...

Now that I know that I have at least some kind of rheumatism, I am much more aware of what it does to my body and of how I should take care of it. I no longer do things in spite of the pain like I had done for such a long time. I am careful about where my limits are and not to overreach them too much, although when I take Tyke out I often have to because he does pull on the leash regularly. I have learned not to pull in return too much and hope that in the end he pretty much goes in the direction I want him to. Whenever something hurts too much, I stop what I am doing.
Taking the paracetamol and the ibuprofen on time is important too, although I only take them once every 6 hours, but I think that is as often as I ought to take them. It is a wonderful thing when you can take some pills and know that in a short time, they are going to give you relief. That in itself relaxes you and makes things easier.
I have started applying a scalp lotion to the psoriasis on my head and I am happy to say that it helps stop the itching. Along with the ointment I use on my ears, I am in much better shape. I've got a little supply of all this stuff on one shelf of the bookcase beside my armchair so it will be within my reach and I can't forget to apply any of it. It is starting to look like the living space of an old lady around here with all her potions and notions within easy reach. I do have to say though, that this makes me feel very cozy and comfortable and like the grandma I am.
Since I changed the living room furniture around, and I like that so much better, the lamps over the dining and salon tables had not been hung in their proper places on the ceiling yet. The Exfactor is going to do this job, but he wanted to make sure that I really like the furniture the way it is now before he did it because it involves drilling holes. Well, I am sure of myself and tomorrow he is going to come over and rehang the lamps. This way I won't be in danger of constantly bumping my head into them. They are adjustable in how high they can be hung, but that is still not high enough to walk under. I'll be happy when they are in their proper places and they will look better too.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Knocking your socks off.

I saw the GP yesterday and she told me what I already knew, namely that the test results for rheumatoid arthritis had come back negative. But, she said, there was enough concern to refer me to the rheumatologist because there are all sorts of rheumatism. I will get a letter in the mail soon with an appointment. In the meantime, I am to continue with the paracetamol and the ibuprofen and the stomach tablets that protect me from those medicines. They do help me and make my life so much more comfortable.

I like seeing the female GP better because she takes me more seriously and seems to be better informed. I always got the feeling from the male GP that he wanted to get me out of the office as quickly as possible. I doubt I will ever go see him again unless it's an emergency and I have no choice. He is the one who very briefly examined me and told me I had sprained a ligament when I had torn my meniscus.
I have visited the website of the Rheumatism Foundation and looked at all the different kinds of rheumatism and I have some idea of the kind I have. I will have to keep that idea to myself until I see the rheumatologist and find out what he has to say.
Speaking of food, which I was not, of course, I have been eating all sorts of pasta dishes this week and have liked that very much. I have put all sorts of sauces through the pasta and mostly they have all been a success. The most simple one was a tomato one with Italian herbs. It tasted okay, but it has also been the most boring one. I do get to try out my taste buds and what appeals to them most.
Next week I am going to be eating rice dishes and I am going to buy a big bag of basmati rice. I am going to try Indian,Indonesian and Mexican rice. I have been looking up recipes and getting ideas. I don't know which one I am looking forward to most because they all sound good. Since there is no gluten in rice, I hope I am bothered less than I have been by the pasta. That has been one drawback.
I am drinking a tall glass of unfiltered apple juice and it's time to eat something. I think a sandwich will do.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

All in a day's work...

I picked more wildflowers out in the field today and made the bouquet in the small glass vase on the coffee table more full. I've got four kinds of flowers in there and some wild grasses too. It looks very cheerful and the wildflowers are doing well. Some close up when it gets dark and open up again in the morning when it gets light. I wish I had thought of doing this sooner, but now will keep picking them until the season for them is over.
I've got some blue flowers that look a bit like cornflowers, but I know they're not. I haven't seen those in a long time with all that maize growing on the land now. I found some purple clover and I know that if I go to the strip of grass that runs along the street that we also walk through, I will find other flowers and more purple clover. I will have to go there tomorrow. It is better than buying a bouquet of flowers at the store and cheaper too.
The apartment is all cleaned up again because the domestic help was here and everything got a good shine. I changed the bed and now have good smelling sheets on it and it will be a pleasure to go to sleep tonight. I will put on clean pajamas too. I've got a load of laundry in the washing machine that needs to be hung up and I will do that shortly. There is no rain predicted. I also still need to clean the window where Tyke drooled on it.
Seeing as though the assorted plants in my lined wooden box are doing so well, I am going to buy some potted herbs and put them on my kitchen windowsill. I am finally turning out to have a green thumb. I am remembering to give the plants the right amount of water on the same day every week and I can do that with the herbs also.
I think I will get another ivy plant since the one in the box is doing so well. It is growing like a weed and I am very fond of it. Since I have the sheer half curtains in front of the windows, I pull the blinds way up and lots of light gets into the living room, which creates ideal conditions for plants to grow in.
I have changed bikes and am using my granny bike again. Or I will be when my knee is better. I think I will be more comfortable on it because it will allow me to sit in a more upright position and I won't have to lean on the handlebar so much. This causes me to have pain in my elbows and wrists and that is why I changed bikes. The Exfactor got the granny bike in shape for me to ride it. It is all ready to go. All I have to do is get my knee in order.

Does it really have to be so?

I am drinking my mostly decaf coffee as fast as I can to become coherent, because my mind is still shrouded by veils of sleep and dreams I had before I was rudely awakened by the phone. Of course, there was no one there, because it is the midnight phone call I always get, but usually I remember to turn off the phone before I go to sleep, My mind should be working by the third cup of coffee and I am eagerly drinking it now.
My stubbornness prevents me from going back to bed and my curiosity has me staying up. I do want to know what the rest of the world is up to at this time of the night. Because of the different time zones, all sorts of people are up and about now, living their lives. That makes me a perfect candidate for Facebook and I take complete advantage of that.
I made an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon on the 28th of August assuming my sister would be able to take me on that day and I turned out to be right about that. One thing I am very curious about is what damage I have done to my knee. I suppose I have hurt my meniscus again, but in what way I don't know. I hope the surgeon can shed some light on that just by examining it. He did not explain to me what he did during the surgical procedure, so I am in the dark.
I had pasta with a mushroom ragout and shredded fake cheese on top for dinner and it was so good. It was a good thing I only made enough for two plates full or I would have kept eating it. I have the appetite I had when I was young, but I don't think I have the metabolism to go with it. Maybe I need to be a long distance runner, ha ha! That's something I will never be.
I was an athlete when I was a teenager and ran both long and short distances. Unbeknown to me, or anyone else, I had exercise induced asthma, but still managed to come in first or second at a great price. People thought I was out of shape. I also did the long jump and various other activities, wherever I was needed. I was an all rounder. It got to the point where I did not appreciate this and that made me quit. Never neglect a kid that is trying her hardest.
That brings back many memories that I momentarily got lost in. When I was a kid, I wanted to become a grown up as quickly as possible, because I thought the adults in my life weren't doing such a good job. They did not take care of me the way they ought to have.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dinner and then some.

I will just write this post to kill some time and then it will be time to prepare dinner, which is what I am really looking forward to. All day long I think about dinner and wait for the hour to arrive when it will be time to prepare it. It is truly the highlight of my day. I don't know of anyone else who enjoys eating dinner as much as I do, but maybe nobody has admitted it yet. When interrogated a little more thoroughly, maybe someone will.
I am really very sleepy and am hitting that low point of the day, but I am choosing to ignore it and hang in there a while longer. I refuse to take a nap, but may be forced to make some coffee with some caffeine in it. I have been drinking sparkling water, which for me personally is almost a new discovery. It turns out that I like it very much and will be drinking lots of it instead of lemonade. It has no calories, after all. And with all that dinner I eat...
I don't have rheumatoid arthritis because the assistant said over the phone that the results of the blood tests looked normal. I have to call back on Wednesday, when my GP will be there, to find out what she will have to say and if I have to make an appointment with her. I don't know if I am relieved or not, but I suppose I am. I guess now I will be told that I have that mystery disease called fibromyalgia that everybody seems to have nowadays and for which there are no tests to confirm it. I think that is highly frustrating.
I am taking paracetamol and ibuprofen all day long and having much benefit from them. That is as much for my knee as for anything else, because it hurts a lot. I will have to go back to the orthopedic surgeon. I must get a hold of my sister and find out when would be a good time for her to take me there so I can make an appointment.
The coffee tastes good and is hitting the spot. Any moment now I should stop yawning. Tyke thinks it is time to eat dinner and is sitting beside me gently growling at me. That's his way of getting his point across. It sounds more like throat singing. He's musically inclined.

Oh. for Pete's sake!

I won't write down all the nonsense that I regularly do about the cups of coffee I am having and if they are decaf or not. Let's just say that I am trying to be as alert as I can possibly be and I am not feeling any pain right now, so I guess I must be doing something right. I won't even tell you how thirsty I am and how very much in need of a tall cold drink. That is something I will take care of.
Because it was raining so much all day yesterday, my sister took me to the grocery store in her car and I was able to get a lot of shopping done because I had a means to get them all home easily. I tried to shop sensibly and got the groceries for eight days and went only three euros over the budget. I thought that was quite an accomplishment.
We went to a special nursery in one of the villages, and it was located in one of the old farms that had been completely restored. There was a shop inside one of the old barns and in another barn there was the opportunity to get something to eat and drink. The plants and flowers that were on sale were arranged by landscape and by each a garden had been designed so that you could see what could be done with them.
There was, for instance, a prairie garden that had grasses and American flowers that grew only there and the whole thing was beautiful. I think it was our favorite, but that must have been because it was the most exotic that would also grow well in our climate. We got lots of ideas of what to do with my sister's garden and even I got a taste of my old gardening bug. I think my sister want's me to let it loose on her garden and I will gladly do so.
It was raining the whole time we were walking around there and we shared an umbrella. We were finally forced to go into the barn were we got something to drink and had a chat while we sat on one of the benches by the tables. It was cozy enough there and the aroma of some delicious food that was bubbling away in the slow cooker surrounded us.
My sister an I are more alike than we are different from each other and we are more and more admitting that. The things that irritate us, are the things that we have most in common, but now we acknowledge them. In many ways we could have been twins because we understand each other without having to give much explanation. We don't always get along, but in the end, blood is thicker than water. I suppose that when it really comes down to it, she is my best friend.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fron the inside out...

I don't know if this is going to be a very cohesive post, because I am still not quite awake yet and I am drinking coffee that's still half decaf. I don't dare drink regular coffee for fear that it will get me wired too much and make me do funny things. Maybe funny (ha, ha) to you, but not at all funny to me. It does mean that I have to drink it twice as fast to feel any effect, and any minute now I am going to be wide awake.
But please, don't hold your breath waiting for that moment, it could be a while in the making. I have eaten a banana to get some sugar to my brain quickly and help me think better. I think that is taking effect now. An overripe banana must have twice the sugar as a still slightly green one, and this one was overripe.
I think I have really messed up my knee trying to lift up Tyke on the examining table at the vet's. It is hurting more now than it did before the surgery and I have to take pain medication just for its sake. It gets especially sore if I sit in the same position with it for any length of time and the best thing is to keep moving around, and walking and riding my bike seem to do it good, as long as I don't overdo it. It does swell up at the end of the day and then I clearly have to put it up and rest it. I will wait until next week until I decide what to do about it.
I visited my friend Lucienne yesterday and I got the biggest compliment when she told me that she thought I had gained weight. I was so skinny before and I do like the more full figured, feminine shape. The trick is to not gain more weight than this. Last night I had some chili con carne with pasta, and I have to tell you that it tasted very good and that I ate as much as I could stand. I am definitely having this dish again soon. I am not giving up my love for good food for the sake of a pound or two, and I have done without good food for a long enough time.
Lucienne has a new little dog. She picked it up from the shelter and it had been a stray. It's a smart and sweet dog who already knows his name. We took to each other right away and were friends in no time, but you know how it is with me and dogs. I just like most of them. I wanted to take him home with me, but I don't think Tyke would have appreciated it. Tyke likes me all to himself.
I have to go grocery shopping in the afternoon and I'm looking forward to it. It will be fun to decide what I am going to eat this coming week. I've got lots of ideas.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Tyke has completely forgotten that it is time to go for a walk and is sound asleep on the sofa. I am not disturbing him, because we can always go for a walk and I am enjoying sitting here with a cup of decaf. It's perfectly alright to upset the schedule every once in a while. As I write this, I realize that I am always the one who has the most trouble with that. As a matter of fact, I find that I'm a bit unsettled, but that could also be because of what my GP said to me this morning.
I saw her at 8:30 and told her that I thought I might have osteoarthritis, but after I told her about my symptoms and other complications, she said that it sounded more like rheumatoid arthritis and that she wanted me to have the various blood tests done for it. I donated blood with the assistant and will find out the results maybe as early as Monday afternoon. Then I will have to see my GP again and talk about the treatment and the various medications.
I am somewhat upset about this, because I understand what is involved with this disease. It is an autoimmune disease and causes chronic inflammation of the joints, which would explain why I have so much pain in so many places. It did cause me to finally reach for the paracetamol and ibuprofen again and I just took a large dose of both of them. I feel that they are beginning to work now and that is quite a relief. I didn't know what the right thing to do was, but now I know that these two medicines are the ones to take.
I have also got a fungus infection on the soles of my feet and my hands and got two tubes of cortisone crème for that. I have to apply it twice a day and it could be a couple of weeks before it is gone. I do have the patience for that, as long as it goes, because I look ridiculous now with all that peeling skin.  
Tyke is awake and we have to go for a walk now. The sun is shining and the warm summer day beckons us.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Scanning the horizon...

When you have just had you meniscus operated on, it is a good idea to not try to pick up your dog to put him on the examination table at the vet. I tried to do that and nearly blacked out half way through the attempt. The vet and his assistant came to my aid very quickly and took Tyke from my arms and deposited him where he was supposed to be. I recovered from that alright, but I do have a very sore knee now and wonder what damage I have done to it. I will be more careful from this point forward and remember to not try to perform any other acts of heroism.
Tyke had to get his vaccinations and he was a little intimidated, like he has been the last few times he has been at the vet's, but everything went well and I think he didn't even feel the actual shot. The vet checked his ears and eyes and teeth also and put him on the scale and Tyke has lost maybe an ounce or two. At least he had not gained any weight. Having him loose weight is going to be tougher than I thought.
School has started again and the elementary school children are passing past my open kitchen window several times a day. It is a good way of keeping track of what time of day it is. Some of them are quite noisy and I assume those are the ones who are not at all intimidated by going to school. The little girls squeal and the boys shout, and that's the way it has always been. When I was a kid, I would have been the noisiest and often got punished for it. I was a bit of a tomboy and did not squeal at all like a girl, but shouted like a boy. That's how my spontaneous me got zapped at the very beginning.
I think coffee that's not mostly decaf does not agree with me at all. That's how I made this last pot in order to get over the effects of the nap I took a while ago, but I don't like the way it is making me feel so on edge. I like the coffee better when it is milder and more decaffeinated. I have already gotten used to drinking it that way, even though I thought I would go through withdrawals. It wasn't so at all and now I am going to have to make a kinder pot of coffee. It will be done in a moment.
I think possibly, we eat and drink all sorts of things that are really not good for us and that, unbeknown to us, do us harm. I am very much aware of that now that my food is so much down to the very basics.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Over the top.

I am enjoying the food that I eat too much and gaining weight. I immediately have to put a halt to it and stop making such a glutton of myself. There is no need for me to eat two equally filling and oversized meals every day and I have to drop one of them, no matter how much I enjoy eating both of them. I have been very indulgent with myself and acting like it didn't matter because it was all so 'healthy,' but you can also eat too much of what is good for you. I will no longer go through life with blinders on and change the eating habits that are only newly acquired. And that's an executive decision.
I am sure glad that I made up my mind about that.
I got out the bottle of baby lotion yesterday and applied the lotion to my hands three times and it helped just a little bit. The skin is still dry and peeling, but I think I see a tiny improvement. You've got to be optimistic about these things and see the glass half full.
I was taking vitamin tablets every day and supplements for my osteoarthritis, but things only seemed to get worse and I thought I was having more pain with each progressive day. Yesterday, I did not take any of them and had less pain. Now, this may only have been a coincidence and, of course, it is not a scientific study, so I really can't draw any conclusions from it. And to tell you the truth, as I sit here, my shoulders are starting to bother me quite a bit. I think I will not take any of the tablets anymore until I have seen the GP and hear what she has to say. I will not play doctor myself.
Tyke found a fantastic, big, round , fat, colorful tennis ball on the field yesterday and proudly brought it home. It is now his favorite ball to play with and he takes great care of it. When I ask him where his best ball is, he immediately gets it and reluctantly shares it with me so we can play catch in the apartment. Sometimes the ball ricochets of a piece of furniture and goes in a direction I had not expected, but we have not broken anything yet.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Looking for love...

I sent my psychiatrist an email letting him know the present doses of all my medication and the fact that I had cut back on the caffeine. I also asked him when he thought I could further reduce the antipsychotics since I had done that successfully so far. He called me yesterday afternoon to talk about everything and get a good feel of how I was doing. We agreed that I would wait with making any further reductions until he came back from his vacation, which will be on the first of September. I have an appointment with him that first week, when he and I will get a good idea of the state of affairs.  
The skin on my hands and fingers is still itching and peeling, although I am applying the ointment. I think it is the wrong ointment and that I need something else. My hands have become very dry and I think I need to get some Nivea to rub into my skin. I have tried some other lotion, but it is not doing the job. I had already made an appointment with the female GP about the osteoarthritis, so she can look at my hands at the same time. Because my joints are so painful, and I don't know if the supplements I am taking are actually good for it, I thought I had better get some professional advice.
When I go grocery shopping, my list of things to get is not very long and pretty simple. I have found the foods that I like to eat and that are healthy and good for me. I enjoy preparing them and eating them, but I know there will come a day when I will grow tired of them and I will have to find other foods to like. I buy potatoes that are almost crumbly and fix those with Italian herbs on them and they are a real treat. Instead of ketchup or mayonnaise, or any other kind of dressing which my stomach does not tolerate, I eat applesauce with all my food and I simply adore it. Eating has become a treat as a result and it used to be such a tortuous event.
I took 500 mg of paracetamol a while ago and it is now starting to work. It doesn't take care of all the pain, but some of it anyway. I will be more comfortable when I go back to bed. I will have to start taking it every night before I go to sleep as a precaution, because I think it is also my painful joints that wake me up. There is really only one position I am comfortable in when I sleep, but I do find myself in other ones when I wake up. And, of course, I also have to make room for Tyke and Gandhi who, very companionably, share the bed with me.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

It's that time of the day again.

I suppose I had better write a post or you're all going to think I disappeared into the woodworks. For some reason, I haven't felt very inspired to lately and even now I sit here and wonder what I am going to write about.  I am sure I will come up with something, although my imagination is letting me down somewhat these last few days. I can't think of anything interesting to post on Facebook either and all that requires, is a witty sentence or two.
At least today is Saturday and I always think that's a nice enough day to exist on. I never do anything of consequence on this day, except watch cultural programs on television. I also eat good stuff and walk Tyke, all in all not really difficult things to do. I do know how to celebrate the weekend properly.
Fate would have it that it's a partially cloudy day and not too hot. As a matter of fact, it is cool enough to use as an excuse to have put my ankle boots on. Any Dutch woman will tell you that she doesn't need too big a reason to do that. My knee turns out to be in good enough shape to wear the ones with the heels and I am thrilled about that. I feel so much more feminine when I can.
That means I can wear the other two pairs too and that makes me very happy. I was worried that I could never wear them again because of my, possibly forever, handicapped knee. Both my ankle and my knee are co-operating and I only feel a bit of discomfort. It's not even worth writing about.
My sister and my brother in law are back from their house in Italy and picked up their car this afternoon. It was good to see them after two weeks and they looked tanned and well rested. My nephew, who is really an adult now, was with them and I hardly recognized him because he is constantly shooting up in height and changing. I really do think that he has changed into the man he is going to be now and that he is not going to transform anymore.
Both my nephew and my grandson are built like my father and are tall and lean and have broad shoulders, which makes them very attractive people. My son was built that way too and he was also a good looking man. My father was a very handsome man when he was young and the boys in the family take after him and all three have his good looks. It's too bad that my father did not get to witness this.
I am hitting a low point in the afternoon and must make a stronger cup of coffee to get over it. I will make it half and half. That ought to do the trick.

Friday, August 09, 2013

The little things...

It's turning out to be a real pleasure to drink a mix of decaffeinated and regular coffee, because as a result, I am a lot calmer and also no longer beset by heart palpitations. I was ignoring the latter, figuring they had to do with stress, not realizing they were a result of me drinking all that caffeine. Looking back on that now, I think I must have been a fool not to have put two and two together and seen the writing on the wall. Of course all that horrible caffeine caused me to be wound up! I just didn't remember what it was like to be without. A little bit of it goes a long way.
In a while, it is going to be Friday and that is one of my favorite days of the week. I usually don't plan anything complicated for this day and if something like it does come along, I deal with it and pretend it didn't bother me one bit. If I do have chores or other jobs waiting for me, this is not the day that I do them on. I save the weekend to do them. I want the last day of the working week to be something special. If I had the money, I would go into town today and treat myself to lunch. Instead I will treat myself to lunch at home, which is almost just as good.
I don't think I have to go see my GP about the fact that I have osteoarthritis in different parts of my body. Just from my own experience, and reading about it, I can make my own deductions and don't think I need his stamp of approval. I can't twist open a jar of applesauce without having pain in my elbow and wrist and hand, and I think that says enough. I also have it in both shoulders and the pain radiates to my neck. It could be easily mistaken for pain resulting from stress and I would start to think I was a very uptight person. I will have to get a gadget to help me open jars more easily. That would be something I could ask for for my birthday.  
The itching on my fingers is getting better thanks to my faithful application of the ointment. It really does help and what I have now is some peeling skin. I will keep applying the ointment until everything has cleared up. It seems most everybody comes with an instruction booklet.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

In my wild imagination...

The last time I went to the grocery store, I tried for the first time to use the bank card of my new bank account, but when I put in through the scanner, I got the message that the card was invalid. Luckily, I also had the card for my old bank account and could pay with it. I called up my new bank when I got home to find out what the problem was, but they didn't understand it either and told me to try the card again at another machine.
Today I tried it again and got the cash I asked for, so the problem seems to be solved. It is the only hitch I have had since I changed banks and opened a new bank account, and I count myself lucky that all has gone so smoothly. My sister had asked me to let her know, so she could decide if she wanted to change banks also. I am, so far, more than satisfied with my new bank and the projects it invests in. I feel good about the fact that it is a bank that also invests in smaller projects.
I did the groceries early this afternoon and managed to get the foods I wanted without spending too much money. I discovered the diet variety of Tyke's brand of kibbles that I had not seen there before and I hope he likes it. I also bought a big package of decaf and I made myself a pot of coffee that is two thirds decaf and one third regular coffee and it tastes fine. It is my intention to always drink it this way. I can't tell by the taste that it is any different, because nowadays decaf does not have an odd flavor anymore.
I also bought many packages of Tuscan potato slices that will be easy to fix in the frying pan in the shortest amount of time. I did make sure I ate lunch before I went shopping and I made a list of what to get so I would not shop motivated by hunger and on impulse.
Last night, once I went back to bed in the middle of the night, I slept well and didn't get up until 8 o'clock this morning. I hope that, now that I am drinking so much decaf, I will sleep even better. I am getting sleepy while I am sitting here, but I think if I take Tyke for a walk in a little while, I will be soon wide awake again.


It's interesting, but it seems that when I take a melanin tablet before I go to sleep and do wake up prematurely for some reason, I am in a much better mood than I would normally be. This time I woke up because there was the sound of an explosion and Tyke barked twice in response. I still don't know if it was a clap of thunder or something else, but I do know that I don't mind being awake and it has been a while since I have felt like that in the middle of the night.
I put my bathrobe on first thing when I got up, because it had been freshly laundered and I wanted to luxuriate in it, but it was much too warm to wear and I have just now taken it off. Having a lightweight robe is still on my list of things I want to get, but I first have to win some money in the lottery. Luckily, I always have the hope that I will once a month, so you can't take that fantasy away from me. It is worth the monthly investment to cherish this hope.
One thing I have found out since I started eating sensible foods, is that I have to eat enough of it. I can't diet in the sense that I can limit the size of the portions. I really have to eat until I am full and not stop before that time. This is alright because what I eat is healthy, but I can't really eat with the idea that I am going to lose weight. Not that it is important.
I physically and mentally don't feel well until I have eaten enough food. That means that I am using up the food that I had bought at a quicker rate and that I will have to go back to the grocery store sooner than I anticipated. I don't mind doing this, because I have a good idea of what I want to buy now and what I enjoy eating. Fruit is a quick pick me up, but in itself is not very filling. Potatoes and legumes are very successful. I could not do without carbohydrates.
My mental state is very important to me and I give a lot to have it be healthy. I am sure that my diet has a lot to do with that. Feed the body, feed the mind, and all that. I think if you eat foods that you have some sort of negative reaction to, you should quit eating them, even if it is very subtle and you are willing to put up with it. You have to pay close attention to how your body and mind react to different foods and see if you don't fare better without them. Very often you have an addiction to the very food that is bad for you.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


I can't eat strawberries, They give me a stomachache and make me throw up. I already had a suspicion about them in the past, but I was eating several foods that did not agree with me and was not sure. I did not eat them regularly enough anyway to make sure. I found out last night when I tried to eat them before I went back to sleep. My reaction came pretty quickly and there was no doubt about it. I never have to eat another strawberry again. I learned my lesson.
I wanted to cut back on the caffeine, but I don't see how I can do it since I use it for medicinal purposes. I am not the same person without it and it has the same positive effect on me that my medicines do. I need regular doses of it at set times during the day.
The reason I want to cut back on it, is that I would like to sleep better at night and I am sure that the caffeine is keeping me awake. I am trying the melanin tablets again and they did help me somewhat last night. I think if I were to drink less coffee, I would be sound asleep all night. I slept longer this morning and felt better too after I did.
I had a big lunch this afternoon because I was so hungry that just eating fruit wasn't going to suffice. I had two plates of food and felt sufficiently full after I did, but was still able to go take Tyke for a walk in the rain. Yes, it is raining today and I am glad that it is. It was very pleasant to walk in after we had all that dry heat and relentless sunshine.
I  crouched down this morning to get Tyke's ball out from underneath the shelf system in the kitchen and when I got up, I put all the weight on my sore knee. That was not a smart thing to do, but I totally forgot that I ought not to do that. My knee is quite a bit more painful now and I feel that I have to be extra careful with it. It still hurt when I walked and bent my knee anyway, so now it just is worse.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions...

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

When in doubt, write a blog post.

I suppose what I really mean is, when you need to be comforted, you should write a blog post. For some reason, I am feeling a bit insecure right now and instead of letting that feeling engulf me, I am going to try and slowly talk myself into feeling a bit more empowered. I am trying to guess why I feel this way, and it could be a number of things that is the cause of it, but even if I listed them all, that would not change a thing.
I am sure that when I wake up tomorrow morning, I will feel much different and my outlook will have changed. Feelings are such temporary things, especially when they are more out of the ordinary and they influence your daily life to some extent like this one does now. I try never to have any that are too extreme and nip them in the butt when they threaten to be. I am uncomfortable if they take on a life of their own that I no longer have control over.
I want to write about something very ordinary so as to settle my mind and the most ordinary thing I can think of is food. It is also true that it plays an important role in my life and that I enjoy discussing it. At least food is something that I have control over, in the way that I can decide what I eat and how much of it. I always feel that my life is going well when I eat well and today I had a good day when it came to that.
I fixed the Potatoes Provencal for dinner. I sautéed them in a frying pan on a low fire with a lid on until they were properly golden brown and done. They smelled heavenly because of the herbs and spices that were sprinkled on them. I had them dipped in Grandma's applesauce and I have to say that it was a success. I was still hungry after that and had the 'capucijners' with the rest of the applesauce and enjoyed them a lot and then my stomach was truly filled.
I have to buy more bananas when I go to the grocery store next, because they are good to eat between meals and filling. They are also a good source of carbohydrates. I also have to decide if I am going to eat rice. I am not sure if rice is gluten free, but if it is, I will eat it.
I no longer feel so insecure, but I do feel sleepy and I will go to bed.


I bought mandarin oranges and bananas and strawberries, enough to last four days. I wanted to get honeydew melons too, but all the ones I pushed their bellybuttons off, were not ripe enough. I decided to wait a while before I buy them. I had a banana and a mandarin orange for lunch and Tyke thought that was mighty interesting seeing as though he never sees me eat fruit, and of course he had to have some of it too.
He thinks he likes it and when it was gone, he sniffed everywhere to see if there was more. He was much disappointed when I brought the peels to the trash and he didn't get them. I don't think I can trust him around the bowl of fruit and I've put that high on the kitchen counter. Gandhi won't touch it, she doesn't like fruit. I haven't tried olives with her yet, but I've heard that cats like them. I don't care for olives, so that's why she hasn't had them yet.
I also bought four packages of Potato Slices Provençal to fry up, and several sorts of vegetables that all look good enough to eat, ha ha! I took my time choosing them, because I wanted them to be the kind that I really wanted to eat and not something that was just acceptable and would do. And of course I've got applesauce and this time I bought Grandma's kind. I bet it's going to taste great.
My imagination didn't go much further than four days and that is how much food I got. At least I get to pick out exciting things again on the fifth day and maybe I will be more inspired then and have cravings for other foods.
I also picked up calcium with vitamin D and K tablets. Since I won't be eating any milk products, I thought that was important. I also take vitamin C and an All in One vitamin tablet. Every morning both Tyke and I take probiotics, Tyke takes his capsule with a slice of lunchmeat. He is not a vegetarian. If I could give a probiotic to Gandhi, I would do it.
I am fine now having decreased my medication and am not bothered one bit anymore. I have also stopped taking the 10 mg tranquilizer at night and feel much better for it. All I have to do now, is get off the sleeping pill, but there is time enough to do that. Rome wasn't built in one day.  

Monday, August 05, 2013

A sensible diet.

Tomorrow, after the domestic help has been here, I am going to the grocery store to buy sensible food. It will consist of fruit and vegetables and some fish. I will give up eating gluten and lactose and meat. Whatever I have leftover of that food, I will give to the Exfactor. These last few months I have wandered away from eating sensibly too much and it is time that I return to the basics. It's been fun eating so many different things, but in the long run, they are not healthy for me.
I especially look forward to eating many kinds of fruit, because right now there is much choice. Fruit has been absent from my diet, but I have been taking vitamin C tablets every day. It is, of course, better to get this directly from the source, not to mention all the other benefits there are from eating fruit. I have been fantasizing about eating honeydew melons and mandarin oranges, and the thought alone makes me happy.
I have to make sure that I get enough protein and will be eating legumes regularly. I do happen to like them and with the addition of fried up onions and some piccalilli, they are very good to eat. I like them plain too, but like them jazzed up a bit for flavor better. I will also have to stock up on applesauce and eat that along with them. There is no reason to make your food dull just because it is healthy.
I feel a bit ambivalent about the fish. I can't really afford to buy fish from domestic waters and will have to buy the imported kind. It doesn't have as much flavor and I am concerned about the source and the quality of it. You always hear all sorts of negative stories about it and I don't know how much truth is in them, but I think: where there's smoke, there's fire. I may do my best to get the domestic fish. That means eating less at a higher price.

Frankly, my dear...

I have the hardest time keeping my eyes open and all I want to do is sleep. I don't think I am supposed to spend my days that way, and I do try to stay awake drinking cups of coffee. It is possible that the coffee I'm drinking now is too old, so I am going to have to brew a new pot, but I really don't mind doing that. The most important thing is, that it will keep me from going back to bed where I just came from.
I am going to blame this need for sleep on the fact that I decreased my medication. I don't know what other reason there could be. I certainly is a strange side effect and I don't remember ever having had it before. But it is true that on top of that, it is another hot day and that also makes me feel lethargic. I very much would like for it to be about ten degrees cooler and for it to rain. I would go stand out in it gladly. And that is degrees Celsius.
I just got myself a cup of the newly brewed coffee and I'll see how much better it will make me feel. Because it's so hot today, I have had many glasses of cold lemonade, so I've had about enough of them. Tyke and I, and Gandhi too, are taking it easy today and are mainly trying to stay as cool as we can possibly get. Luckily, the bedroom is always a lot cooler than the living room and a pleasure to be in.
The caffeine is doing its job and I am temporarily revived. I don't think it's a long term solution and no doubt I will be sleepy again by the end of the afternoon. I suspect there is something in my diet that makes me feel lethargic too and I will have to start eating differently. I may have to get off the cheese and wheat products altogether. Since I am lactose intolerant, that may be a good idea. Maybe I don't tolerate gluten. I do always manage to eat vegetable soup with vermicelli okay, though.
I think I will switch to a diet of fruit and vegetables and that means I will have to go back to the grocery store tomorrow. Luckily, it is the right season for all kinds of fruit and it shouldn't be too expensive. I will have to see what kind of vegetables are available and in what form I want to buy them. If I buy them fresh, I will not be able to eat them quickly enough before they go bad. I may have to buy them frozen.
It seems I have just worked out a dietary problem. I really think it is the smartest thing to do.

A much better thing to do.

Before I went to sleep last night, I did not take a tranquilizer along with the low dose sleeping pill like I had been doing, and I am glad that I didn't. Once I got up again. I felt ever so much better and I slept the same amount of time, and just as well, as if I had taken it. Even though I have used tranquilizers off and on for many years, it seems that I never do get used to them, and they always affect me very much. I must never underestimate their strength, even when I take them at the lowest dose.
I am trying to decided how much I am affected by the decrease of the dose of my antipsychotic medication, and there are times during the day that I think I am somewhat. I can't be too sure though, and these may be natural fluctuations that I have anyway and now am more aware of.
I had a great need to sleep yesterday and took quite a few naps. I would get up and piddle around for a while and think I was done sleeping, only to find that I had a desire to go back to bed. Maybe I was getting caught up on all the sleep that I didn't get during the week before. It's best to give in to this desire, because if I don't, I start to think that there is something emotionally wrong with me and all it is, is a need for sleep.
I've got terribly itching hands and I suppose it is a case of dermatitis. It's nearly impossible not to want to scratch them, but I do have a very good ointment that helps that I can apply twice a day. The worst itching is on the spots where I had those warts removed last year and I hope this is not a sign that they are returning. The good thing is, that the ointment also works against that.
I suppose I will go back to bed for a while to sleep some more. I've got to decide what to wear in the morning and I sure as heck hope that it's not going to be another hot and uncomfortable day. I hate to say it, but I am looking forward to autumn, but then I do hope that winter doesn't come for a very long time.

Sunday, August 04, 2013


My mental stability seems to be fine so far, although after I take the second dose of my antipsychotic medication at the end of the afternoon, I do seem to get a bit lightheaded. These are the leftover 1mg tablets that I still had and maybe they are past their use by date. I will have to look on the box later this morning and see what it is. There are only three tablets left and I will have to order a new supply, so it is really no problem in the long run.
If I am going through withdrawal symptoms, I am not especially aware of them. I am not exhibiting any sort of odd behavior anyway. I think I would know about it if I were. I am a keen enough observer of my own behavior to notice it. As a matter of fact, sometimes I wish I weren't and that I was more oblivious. But at the same time, it's what makes me such a good patient for my psychiatrist, because I can tell him everything he needs to know about me as if I were his assistant on location out in the field.
I do still rely on cups of coffee to keep my energy levels up during the course of the day and I have been thinking that this is really not such a good thing. It may mean that I am still taking too much medication and I should really cut down on the coffee and find out. At the end of the afternoon I especially feel an enormous drain and always have to fix a pot to keep me going. So, my next ambition is to cut down on the caffeine if I can. It will be a bit of a challenge.
When I first found out I was manic depressive, I had no idea how to deal with it and I was like a bouncing ball ricocheting between my different moods as if I had no control over them. I felt like a victim and not like someone who was in charge of her life anymore. It took me a long time to get the sense of control back over it again, but I did in the end.
I thought I would always be depressed, but it turns out that it is the mania that I have to deal with that needs to be kept in bounds. It is a wonderful thing to be manic a little bit, but that goes a long way and it isn't always very pleasant. When I am hypomanic, I think I can take on the world, but when I land back on earth, I find very often that I have overcommitted myself and that I have to cancel many of the things that I had taken on.
It does make me awfully brave and I do get things accomplished that really need to get done, so it has that advantage also. It is at times like these that I should be a world traveler. I would bravely go all over the place.  

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Don't try that again...

Today it really is a lot cooler than it has been for this past week and I have to tell you that it comes as a great relief. I've got the windows open and a shy little breeze is blowing through the apartment. I wish it was a bit more bold. I am still dressed very summery and actually feel like sitting here in my underwear because I can't get cool enough. But I think maybe I am having hot flashes because of the vanilla custard I ate this morning.
I went to the grocery store on my bike for the first time since my surgery, and it wasn't the knee that was operated on that was bothering me, but the other one. I think I am getting a bit old and worn out, but you know what they say. You've got to use it or loose it. Riding a bike is very good exercise, even better than walking Tyke, which I have already also done twice.
There were many temptations in the store, but I tried to stick to the list that I made. I did buy the custard, although I knew that was a mistake and that it would bother me. I also took a long look at the cake with fresh fruit and whipped cream and it did look very good. It was only the expense of it that kept me from buying it. And the fact that I had no real excuse to get it. I really could not find a reason to indulge to that point.
I made copies of a bunch of forms while I was at the store, and I do have to say that they have reliable copy machines there that always work well.  It's so nice when something does what it is supposed to. That is one of the reasons that I like to shop at that store. Everything I want is always available and it is the neatest and cleanest and most organized store I have ever been in. I can go to a slightly cheaper one, but inevitably, they will be out of things.
I constantly have to take my shoes off and walk around on my bare feet. I'm so glad that it is warm enough to be able to do that. I would wear slippers, except that I can't grasp them well enough with my toes and end up walking beside them. The soles of my Birkenstocks have completely deteriorated and I have to throw them in the trash this weekend. It's too bad because they were comfortable to wear.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Highly prolific...

Soon after I sent my psychiatrist the email asking him if I could decrease the antipsychotic medication, he sent me one in return with the answer that I could, so when it was time to take the next dose, I took the lesser one. Of course, I imagined that I could tell the difference immediately, but that is just a bunch of silliness, because I won't really be able to for a couple of days. 
I will notice the real difference after about one week and be really aware of it and settled into the new dose after two weeks, because that's how long it takes to get used to it.  I mustn't try to imagine any sort of big effect before that time.
I don't know if I will go through any sort of withdrawal symptoms, although you don't really get addicted to this kind of medicine. It's not like when you use sleeping pills or tranquilizers and you try to get off those, although I do always get off them successfully.
It is a good thing that my psychiatrist always is in favor of me taking less pills instead of more. He never minds me decreasing the dose as long as he thinks it's not going to get me into trouble. He believes that there is a minimum dose of pills that you should function on and that the higher one should be used only in case of emergency.
The one thing that is important, is that nothing out of the ordinary should happen right now, because I don't want to become upset while I reduce the dose. I don't want anything to upset my equilibrium. Life is full of surprises, of course, and you can't control events, but I can control my exposure to them as much as possible. I will only have to do that for two weeks and then I will be fine.
I do wish I had something or someone to help guard me against life when I am vulnerable like this, but I am in the frontline. I can catch the first blows if any are dealt out.  I've got to be tough enough to take that. There are no buffers.


I had sent my psychiatrist a few emails to let him know what I was doing with the extra tranquilizer that I discussed in another post. I decided to take a small dose of it because I felt somewhat stressed after the surgery on my meniscus and wanted to let him know that. I did not hear from him and assumed he was absent.

After I took that low dose tranquilizer for several days, I noticed that it made me feel down and somewhat insecure, so I decided to stop taking it and I sent my psychiatrist another email letting him know that. I got an email from him a while ago thanking me for keeping him informed and agreeing with my decision.

We made a pact that I inform him on every change in medication I make, and that I only do that independently with the minor ones. When it comes to making a change in the three major medications, I have to discuss that with him first. I have been contemplating making a change in my antipsychotic medication, but I wanted to hear from him first before I sent him an email about that.
The antipsychotic medication dampens my mood if I have a tendency to become hypomanic, which I very often do. Lately, though, I have been noticing that I may be taking too high of a dose. I take the first one in the morning and find it a little bit difficult to get the show on the road until late in the afternoon when it is time to take the second dose. I feel that's just about the time when I function best, so I am loathe to take it.
I would very much like to decrease the dose and have asked my psychiatrist if he agrees to that. In the meantime, I try to pep myself up with cups of coffee and glasses of lemonade. I also feel like taking lots of naps, to the point that it's not normal. I sometimes practically doze off behind the computer during the day and I am not worth much in the evening after I have taken my second dose.
Another thing is, that my schedule is still messed up and that I don't sleep steady during the night. I would like to, but I am a light sleeper and wake up for no reason at all. I never feel that I am really sound asleep. I think I don't reach that point until maybe in the morning when I go back to bed for a while.  Odd as it sounds, I think it is because of the sleeping pill that I don't sleep well. I have already decreased its dose and maybe I can try to get off it.
One thing at the time, though.

The start of August.

Thankfully Tyke got his fur trimmed yesterday, because it turned out to be an awfully hot day. We spent it inside with the blinds closed and the fan going at top speed trying to stay as cool as we could get. Even Gandhi wasn't interested in going outside. I gave Tyke ice cubes to chew on, and he liked that very much, but saved enough for the cool drinks that I made for myself. The ice cube trays that I bought in Texas are coming in real handy.
It is supposed to be another scorcher today, but after that, we will have less cruel temperatures and I am glad for it. Of course, earlier this summer, and in the spring, we were all complaining because the weather wasn't nice enough, and now we've got this. Dutch people are never happy unless they have something to complain about, but I do think we have a legitimate reason now. The problem is, that no one can do anything about it. Summers like these do happen and they always have.
The water level in the rivers and in the Ijssel Lake is starting to drop and needs to be carefully managed so that the land around it doesn't dry out. The ditches that surround the polders are not supposed to get empty, because otherwise the farmers can't spray their fields. We had floods in the same area not too long ago.
The water level in the rivers is very important because so much freight is carried by ship. They are in danger of running aground now. The Ijssel Lake is our main source of sweet drinking water and we don't want to run out of that. We really are a country that carefully needs to manage its water supply and it is always a fine balancing act between there being too much or too little. Our whole existence is built around these two extremes.
Half of the Netherlands would be under water if it weren't for the dunes and the dikes and the water being continually pumped out of the lower lying areas. We wouldn't exist if not for our constant struggle with the sea and the rivers.  The dunes and the dikes have been, or are, increased in height so that they will withstand the higher sea level that will come about in the next few decades, be it brought about by manmade or natural causes. That is irrelevant.  
You can argue about that until you are blue in the face and in the meantime not take any corrective measures. That would be foolish.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Yes ma'am, dares and double dares.

I am practically in a coma, having woken up because I had to go to the toilet and then stubbornly staying up. I know I will be alright in a little while, but it is the suffering I do until I get there that is the hardest. Of course, you mustn't take me seriously when I say that, because I exaggerate, but I am desperately waiting for this cup of coffee to do its work. This is actually my second one and the line between being awake and asleep is a fine one indeed.
I started off sitting here with my bathrobe on but, of course, it is much too warm. My bathrobe is only handy when it is freezing outside and it is certainly not doing that now. I don't know if I am looking forward to that, but I can tell you that being too hot is not much of a pleasure either. There's some question every morning as to what clothes to put on for the day, because it may start out nice and cool, but by the afternoon, it can be sunny and hot again. The best thing to do, is to wear layers that can be peeled off.
After having taken the low dose tranquilizer for several days in the afternoon, I think I am going to have to stop with it, because it makes me feel a bit depressed and insecure. It was alright when I took it for whatever stress I felt, but that is over now and I don't think it's a good idea that I keep taking it. It's too easy to fall into the habit of using it all the time and not realizing what the side effects are. You start thinking that you have an emotional problem when it is really due to the use of the tranquilizer.
I very much like my haircut and my hands keep reaching up to touch it. My hair is staying in place very well and that is always a sign that it has been cut well. I don't have to use any hairspray anyway. I think it was washed with a lightening shampoo, because I noticed last night that it was a bit blonder, or should we say, greyer. I have so much silver in my hair that it is hard to tell. I like the color and hope to achieve that myself.
I am awake now and fully capable of functioning. I had a glass of lemonade too for the sugar. Now I will see what other kind of trouble I can get into. Whatever I do, I have to do it silently so as to not wake up the neighbors.