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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/blog/kenzie/sort_by/entry_order DESC, entry_creation_time DESC/page/4
by Kenzie
Rated: ASR · Book · Writing · #1160028
Fibro fog, pain, writing sandwiched in between. Quotes. Sermon notes. Encouragement.
A Texas Sunrise

Sunrise on Surfside Beach, Texas

A friend, William Taylor, took this picture. He visits Surfside Beach with his dogs almost every morning, watching the sun rise while the dogs prance about at the water's edge.

This is only about ten miles from where I lived in Lake Jackson, Texas. Sadly, I only visited this beach about four times in the six years I lived nearby.

Each day is a challenge. A challenge to get by without thinking about the fibromyalgia pains. A challenge to stay awake when chronic fatigure wants to take over. And a challenge to navigate through fibro fog.

I haven't been writing as much as in the past. For years, I wrote at least 500 words a day. Now, I'm lucky if I write 500 words in month. Sigh.

For more information about what my day (or life) is all about with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pains, IBS, depression and everything else thrown in, check this out:

It's a New Day  (E)
My pain and welcome to it.
#1028189 by Kenzie

Sunrise on Surfside Beach, Texas
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July 8, 2009 at 12:52pm
July 8, 2009 at 12:52pm
I don't spend much time here anymore - with my chronic illness and needing to earn some money online.

So, I just noticed that Lifewriter is now "invalid". Anyone know what happened?
July 7, 2009 at 1:33am
July 7, 2009 at 1:33am
I found another networking site. It's free and some say a bit complicated. But if you figure out how to navigate it, you can use it to link back to your portfolio here or to specific articles or poems as a way to find new people to read your work. (You also might end up with referrals that way.)

The cool thing is that you get points for everything - posting, commenting, sharing links - and at the end of the day, those points turn into the number of entries you have for a drawing for $50. At the end of each week, there is a $150 drawing. And at the end of the month there is a $400 drawing.

Meanwhile, you also get money (mostly pennies) for having others notice your posts there. If you're featured, you get more. For one picture I posted, I got over $5. And once you have $25, you can take that money out of your account.

I figure that I can use whatever money I get there to help keep up my membership here. Of course it would be really cool if I won the $50, $150 or $400.

Two of my friends have gotten $50 winnings and one got $150, so they do give it out.

Here's the link:

June 30, 2009 at 3:10pm
June 30, 2009 at 3:10pm
Someone sent an email to me asking if I ever write anything new - here or elsewhere. My response was yes...and no.

I used to write - sometimes dozens - of articles each and every day. Some I put on the internet at places like here, others I submitted to publications and I did get published. The most I ever made from a story or article was $500; the least was $10.

But once my fibro fog hit (as part of fibromyalgia), I found myself less and less able to write in that same way. Sometimes I can write now, but I cannot meet deadlines. I still make notes in my notebook and in my online notebook, but most of those notes go unattended and unwritten anywhere.

Here's a list of what I have shared most recently at my other hangout.

A Reason To Have a Land Line

Christians...Do You Know Your Neighborhood?

Daily Whine & Shine - Tuesday, June 30, 2009

And Still Another Death - Fred Travalena - Master of Impersonations of the Stars

Daily Whine & Shine - Monday, June 29, 2009

I Want To Speak To A Human!

Former GITMO Detainee Accused of Killing 3 Missionaries

Pelosi at Work Again - The Cap & Trade Bill

Probe Of ACORN Stopped By 'The Powers That Be'

The President and Fox News

Check It Out! A Chance To Win $1000 Grocery Card

Giggle, Giggle, What's In A Name?

More About Michael's Music

Don't Let the Democrats Tax Your Lights Out

What Was Your Favorite?

Daisy Sig from PassItOn

"My Favorite Neighbor
"Sharing Sunshine...It's What I Do!
"Admirable Women
"Whose Work Are You Stealing?
"The Potter's Cup and Saucer
June 17, 2009 at 11:49pm
June 17, 2009 at 11:49pm
Someone asked the other day how they could keep track of me if I forget to update my blog here. Here's one way: http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977713979
May 19, 2009 at 4:49pm
May 19, 2009 at 4:49pm

I pulled into the parking lot at Walgreens and parked my car. As I got out, I could see that there was some change on the ground on the sidewalk in front of my car.

I looked around to see if there was anyone walking on the sidewalk who might have dropped some change. Not seeing anyone, I reached down and put the 12 pennies in my pocket. Then I went inside.

As I made my way to my car after picking up a few things, I looked down and was surprised to see some more change on the sidewalk at almost the same place where the pennies had been.

Was this some kind of trick? Was there a "Candid Camera" crew nearby? Not that I could see. I reached down and picked up the change. This time there was one quarter, two dimes and three nickels. That's 60 cents! My trip to the store had netted 72 cents.

Again, I looked around to see if there might be someone missing some change. As I did, a young man of about 14 stepped out from behind a truck and said, "May I have my change back?"

"So this is yours?"

"Yes, may I have it back?"

"Of course. Were the pennies yours as well?"

"Yes, ma'am."

I reached into my pocket and brought out the 72 cents to give to the young man. He took it then tried to give me a $5 bill.

"What is this?" I inquired.

"It was a school experiment, ma'am. Please keep the $5. I was supposed to give a $5 bill to anyone who picked up the change. I have a pocket full of change and of $5 bills. I have been here for 3 hours and you're the first one who reached down to pick up the change."

The young man insisted that I keep the $5 bill, so I did.

As I walked away, though, I thought that I would love to be a part of that young man's school class when they discuss all of the people who walked by and did not pick up the lost change.

I know that when my son and I lived in Texas, the tweens and teens always dumped their pennies on the ground as they came out of stores. It's what they did. Obviously, they would not have been caught dead picking up pennies. But because they regularly threw them out outside stores and fast food joints, the poor and homeless could usually be seen there after the stores and restaurants closed. They were not too proud to pick up change.

Some people may still think that pennies are not worth stooping to pick up. But I have always picked up loose change that I find. I don't believe my son ever participated in the ritual of throwing away pennies. He knew that I kept them in a jar and often times when we had were struggling until the next pay check those pennies put a few gallons of gas in our car or a loaf of bread in our breadbox.

Today, we're told that the economy is so bad that everyone is struggling. Still, the young man said that 22 people - of varying ages and of varying appearances of wealth (based soley on the types of cars they drove, since he was not cognizant of clothing brands or styles) did not pick up the change.

I wonder how many people didn't even look down and see the money. And if they did, I wonder what they thought of there being change on the ground. And, I wonder why no one else bothered to pick it up.

Would you have picked up the change?

May 12, 2009 at 1:44pm
May 12, 2009 at 1:44pm
May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month and May 12 is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.

Someone you know probably has fibromyalgia, even if she (or he, but it mostly hits females) has not yet been diagnosed.

For years, fibro sufferers were left to doubt themselves as doctors struggled to understand and diagnose the disease. What a difficult task that was, since fibromyalgia symptoms can change by the hour!

Fibromyalgia sufferers make up as much as 4% of the entire population! According to the National Foundation for Fibromyalgia, as many as 12 million Americans suffer from FM but remain undiagnosed. While fibromyalgia is most common in women, especially between the ages of 20 and 50, it does affect men, the elderly and children. Kids are often mistakenly diagnosed with growing pains or behavioral problems. And often times, FM is mistaken for chronic fatigue syndrome, since the symptoms are similar and the two often go hand-in-hand.

Each year around this time, I try to write something to explain at least what I go through with fibromyalgia. Some of what I experience is similar to what others experience. Some of my experiences differ from other fibro patients.

Before I get into the symptoms of this malady, perhaps we should discuss what causes fibromyalgia. Researchers are not sure. They think that trauma - emotional and/or physical - can trigger fibromyalgia syndrome, or fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome. (Some choose to link the two syndromes together because they usually are linked and the symptoms mimic each other.)

When my fibro started is a mystery to me and to my doctors.

I had a back injury in 1997 (possible physical trigger) and I left my husband because he was being abusive to our son (possible emotional trigger).

I had two rear-end automobile collisions in the span of three months in the year 2000. In one,

I had whiplash (a possible physical trigger) and in the other my car was damaged so much that it took 8 weeks to get it repaired (a possible emotional trigger).

I had a knee injury and arthroscopic surgery in 2002 (a possible physical trigger). A year later, my worker's compensation pay was cut off because I had reached "maximum medical improvement", but my doctors would not release me to work because they determined that I was not capable of working (a possible emotional trigger).

In 2003, I moved from one Texas town to another, then to northern Michigan, then to central Michigan, then ended up women's abuse shelter for 30 days, then moved in with my elderly parents. My Dad had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and my Mom, although we didn't know it then, was beginning to show signs of alcohol-induced dementia. (emotional triggers?)

Also in 2003, my only son moved in with his girlfriend and her mother in Memphis, TN. (emotional trigger?)

Social Security Disability personnel decided that I was not disabled, although Michigan did think I was and paid me $283 per month and $100 in food stamps. The income was not enough to live on my own, obviously. Even renting a room costs more than $283 per month in most parts of the country.

And in 2003, I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

In 2005, I married my hubby and moved again - to Ohio. The Michigan disabilty stopped and there is nothing like that in Ohio, and with him working I don't qualify for food stamps. Even with his work provided insurance, our medical bills are quite high. Doctors are forever wanting to do tests about digestive problems or what look like heart or chest problems, only to realize/discover that it's another aspect of fibromyalgia or a result of fibro.

When web sites start to explain fibromyalgia, one of the first things they usually mention is that with fibro, the pain receptors are confused and forget to turn off. That leads one to believe that fibro is merely a pain issue, but there is so much more than pain involved.

Often times, when people are trying to explain fibro, they say that it's like having the flu all the time. It is, but that doesn't quite explain it either. But to begin with, imagine a time when you had the flu. You were aching all over, tired, irritable, perhaps coughing, cold and shivering. Imagine living like that every day of your life, with no hope - right now, at least - of ever being cured. Like with the flu, there are medications for fibro sufferers that can lessen or eliminate some symptoms, but the syndrome is not cured by those medications.

Now, before you think that's all that fibro is about, imagine this exercise. One fibro site suggests that you take one of those old spring-loaded clothespins and attach one to your arm and imagine living with that pain all the time. They say that's what it's like to have fibromyalgia.

I would take both of these explainations and put them together. It's like having the flu all the time, and it's like having dozens of those clothespins attached all over your body all the time. Sometimes they're pinching a lot and sometimes not so much, but they're always there.

Official fibromyalgia web sites list these symptoms:

Pain - The pain of fibromyalgia has no boundaries. People describe the pain as deep muscular aching, throbbing, shooting, and stabbing. Intense burning may also be present. Quite often, the pain and stiffness are worse in the morning and you may hurt more in muscle groups that are used repetitively. Pain can also appear in bones and joints, as well as in muscles.

Fatigue - This symptom can be mild in some fibromyalgia patients and yet incapacitating in others. The fatigue has been described as "brain fatigue" in which patients feel totally drained of energy. Many patients depict this situation by saying that they feel as thought their arms and legs are tied to concrete blocks, and they have difficulty concentrating, e.g., brain fog.

Sleep disorder - Most fibromyalgia patients have an associated sleep disorder called the alpha-EEG anomaly. This condition was uncovered in a sleep lab with the aid of a machine that recorded the brain waves of patients during sleep. Researchers found that the majority of fibromyalgia patients could fall asleep without much trouble, but their deep level (or stage 4) sleep was constantly interrupted by bursts of awake-like brain activity. Patients appeared to spend the night with one foot in sleep and the other one out of it. Sleep lab tests may not be necessary to determine if you have disturbed sleep. If you wake up feeling as though you've just been run over by a Mack truck-what doctors refer to as unrefreshing sleep-it is reasonable for your physician to assume that you have a sleep disorder. Many fibromyalgia patients have been found to have other sleep disorders in addition to the alpha-EEG, such as sleep apnea (as well as the newly discovered form of interrupted breathing called upper airway resistance syndrome, or UARS), bruxism (teeth grinding), periodic limb movement during sleep (jerking of arms and legs), and restless legs syndrome (difficulty sitting still in the evenings).

Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Constipation, diarrhea, frequent abdominal pain, abdominal gas, and nausea represent symptoms frequently found in roughly 40 to 70% of fibromalgia patients. Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) also occurs with the same high frequency.

Chronic headaches - Recurrent migraine or tension-type headaches are seen in about 70% of fibromyalgia patients and can pose a major problem in coping for this patient group.

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome - This syndrome, sometimes referred to as TMJ or TMD, causes tremendous jaw-related face and head pain in one-quarter of fibromyalgia patients. However, a 1997 published report indicated that close to 75% of fibromyalgia patients have a varying degree of jaw discomfort. Typically, the problems are related to the muscles and ligaments surrounding the jaw joint and not necessarily the joint itself.

Other common symptoms - Premenstrual syndrome and painful periods, chest pain, morning stiffness, cognitive or memory impairment, numbness and tingling sensations, muscle twitching, irritable bladder, the feeling of swollen extremities, skin sensitivities, dry eyes and mouth, dizziness, and impaired coordination can occur. Fibromyalgia patients are often sensitive to odors, loud noises, bright lights, and sometimes even the medications they are prescribed.

Aggravating factors - Changes in weather, cold or drafty environments, infections, allergies, hormonal fluctuations (premenstrual and menopausal states), stress, depression, anxiety and over-exertion may all contribute to fibromyalgia symptom flare-ups.

Source: Fibromyalgia Network - Symptoms

I have the pains in my muscles and joints (which, in my back and knee is also arthritis). I have constant pain. Sometimes I have aches, sometimes shooting pains, sometimes burning pains, sometimes pulsing pains.

I also have chronic fatigue, depression, IBS.

I have chemical sensitivities.

I have thinned skin, which results in bruising and bleeding at the slightest bump.

I'm totally intolerant of latex. If I wear latex gloves myself, it results in each of my fingertips bleeding within 10 minutes. Hopefully, people taking care of my medical needs will never slip up and use latex gloves during any tests or procedures, because we don't know what will happen if they do!

I get brain (fibro) fog, and I have what I call a "dyslexic mouth".

I get migraine headaches.

I have a skin condition called "palmaplantar pustulosis".

My ears frequently feel like they've been frostbitten, even in the midst of summer. It's quite painful and my doctors don't have an explanation for that other than it must be part of my fibromyalgia.

I also get soooooo sick with most prescriptions I take, so I have do take a prescription for nausea every day.

Any and all of these might be part of having fibromyalgia, or they might be the result of having a weakened immune system because of the fibro.

If someone you know says that she/he has fibromyalgia, take a minute to try to understand. Today, your friend or relative might be able to function fairly normally, and you'll naturally expect that your friend can do the same thing tomorrow. It isn't always so. Click this link to see The Spoon Theory. http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/navigation/BYDLS-TheSpoonTheory.pdf

Basically, the spoon theory says that each person is given a certain number of spoons each day. The "normal" person might use one spoon in the process of waking up, getting ready for work, eating breakfast and driving to work. The person with fibromyalgia (or other invisible illnesses) might use up one spoon for each of those activities, so by the time lunch time comes around, the fibro patient may have used up all of her/his spoons.

I've been doing a lot of writing about fibro. At Gather.come, I have shared articles with these titles:

What in the world is fibro fog?
Please Understand
What is Fibromyalgia?
How Dare You!
Understanding Fibromyalgia (or other chronic) Pain
Fibrmyalgia and Chest Wall Pain
Fibro Symptoms Linked to a Brain Chemical
Being a Christian with Fibro Fog
A New Fibromyalgia Drug Comes With Warnings
Sufficient Grace
One Doctor's Take on Fibromyalgia
Reducing Pain
My "Friend" Fibro
My Dyslexic Mouth
It's My Body!
Oh Fibro, You Rascal
Oh Fog, You Devil
Ears That Go "Owwww!"
The Skin(ny) On Me
Drugs and the FDA
Your Will, Lord, Not Mine
It's a New Day
Speaking of Pain...
I'm So Tired

Some of those I shared here as well.

Here are some good fibro resources:

Fibromyalgia Netwodk

National Fibromyalgia Association

May 7, 2009 at 2:00pm
May 7, 2009 at 2:00pm
Since 1952, we have had a National Day of Prayer on the
first Thursday in May. I won't repeat the history of this day. You can check that if you wish.

Here's the official National Day of Prayer web site. http://www.ndptf.org/home/home.html They're having an online prayer rally today, in case there are not any local events which you can attend.

This year, there has been quite a stir about this day, and that's the very reason why we need to pray for our country.

As it says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Here is the prayer from Prime Time With God today:

Dear Heavenly Father, my God and Creator, my source of strength and provision, lover of man's soul...I come to you today to pray on behalf of my country, my home, and the people who make up this nation. Oh how we need your help! Please have mercy upon us.

I'm sorry for my failures and ashamed of the sins of this nation. May all that is good and every person who is called by your name bow before you in repentance and rise up to follow you as shining lights and examples of your love.

May we live godly lives and be pleasing to you. May we look to you for our answers, for our help, for guidance.

May we lift up the name of Jesus and proclaim his saving grace.

I pray for our nation's leaders, that they will seek your face and make their decisions based on biblical values and that you will protect them in their daily lives and often overwhelming duties.

I pray for our Christian leaders, that they will receive wisdom and anointing for the day as you give them power and protection from harm and evil.

I pray for families, that they would pull together and support one another-with Christ at the center.

I pray for individuals, that we each will take responsibility for our thoughts and actions, that we may allow you to minister to others through us and do great and mighty things according to your will.

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken"(Ecclesiastes 4:12).

May we stand together as your children. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Click here to see the devotional from Prime Time With God today. http://msg1svc.net/servlet/Pv?c=703d63676926733d3738313236266d3d31323926743d4826... The title is, "Witchcraft in the Workplace."

No matter what you're doing today, I do hope you'll pray for our nation.

April 24, 2009 at 10:44am
April 24, 2009 at 10:44am
Some time ago, Marsha Musselman gave me the gift of the signature below. For some reason, I didn't receive it then. But I did receive an email from her recently with the signature, and it arrived on the day when I was being attacked on another site - for my faith and my beliefs.

I have noticed that when I am attacked - in the real world or in this cyber-world - two things happen:

1) I'll receive friend requests at some of my stomping grounds, because people have seen my responses to attacks and (they say) I have responded with grace.

2) Existing friends and connections will stop by with some kind of affirmation or validation.

This is the signature that Marsha sent.

A signature given to me by  [Link To User sha4852]

March 14, 2009 at 7:24pm
March 14, 2009 at 7:24pm
People Are So Rude...and So Impatient
by Marilyn Mackenzie

I went to the grocery store today and as soon as I drove into the parking lot, I knew it would be crowed inside. I drove around for a while trying to find a parking place fairly close to the store. My pains were great today, and I didn't want to walk too much, since I would be walking in the store. (You know...I've come to love shopping carts. They act like my very own "walker" to help me navigate. Even when I'm only picking up a few things, I make sure I lean on a shopping cart.)

When I got to the door, I saw a real mess. Some dear, sweet older lady had dropped one of her shopping bags and spilled food all over the floor just inside the door. Her blueberry packages opened up and there were blueberries everywhere!

The woman was near tears and apologizing for making such a mess. (I'm sure she was also upset about possibly losing some of the foods she had just purchased, but store personnel replaced them for free.)

Three store employees were down on their knees picking up blueberries.

And about a dozen or more people were getting loud and angry about being inconvenienced while they waited for the blueberries to be picked up. They could have easily used the other door to leave, but they preferred getting perturbed.

Finally, one of the managers decided that they could not keep the customers waiting any longer. He told his employees to just let the people pass. And pass they did. It appeared that some of them purposely ran over the blueberries with their carts so they would be ground into the carpet.

What is wrong with people?

February 4, 2009 at 2:29pm
February 4, 2009 at 2:29pm
You know how some people put ♥s in all their writings? It's easy to do. Hold down the "alt" key and type a 3 on your keypad (not on the upper keys of the keyboard). Release both the "alt" key and the 3 and you should have this: ♥
December 31, 2008 at 2:22pm
December 31, 2008 at 2:22pm
What's In Your Bucket?
by Marilyn Mackenzie

A few days before Christmas, as I stood in a long line with other Christmas shopping procrastinators, I heard the words of a grandmother using the time for a teachable moment. Her pre-teen grandaughter was obviously disappointed that some product was not available.

The grandmother said, "Dear, what's in your bucket? We all have two buckets we can carry around with us. One has all the blessings we've received. The other has all the balogna that life throws at us." (Actually she said b.s., but I changed it to balogna.)

"If you continue to dwell on the balogna, you completely forget that you also have a bucket of blessings. And usually that bucket is full to overflowing."

I thought those were intriguing thoughts, and the grandma was wise to talk with her grandaughter while she had a captive audience. She also spoke loud enough for those around her to hear, so the message was one offered to others who would listen. I did.

As I stood there, I realized how right that grandmother was with her assessment of life. We do usually have more blessings than balogna.

The year 2008 has had both blessings and balogna in it for me. I lost my brother and an aunt this year. My health has not gotten any better, and once again I was denied disability and my attorney has to prepare another appeal.

But my hubby's work was in the midst of changing retirement plans when the financial mess started happening around us, so the money was socked away during the change and no money was lost in the transition. The change made us realize how much money was in the account, and we were able to withdraw some to pay off bills. For the first time in many years - probably since my hubby was a young man - he has no car payment. My hubby received the usual raise this year again - nothing fantastic, mind you, but a raise nevertheless. We are blessed that he has a good job and that his company has never laid off anyone in it's long history.

We have close and extended family members who love us. We belong to a church that we and hubby's 12 year old daughter love.

We live in a neighborhood with very little crime. Yes, the value of our home went down like others around the country. But it also went back up a bit by the end of the year.

All in all, we do have more blessings than balogna. I think I'll start carrying my blessing bucket with me, so that I can see the blessings we've already received and so that I can be ready to catch new ones.
December 2, 2008 at 11:42am
December 2, 2008 at 11:42am
At 56, I've spent some time in hospital emergency rooms, both for myself and for my son. But I can count on one hand the number of times I've been admitted to the hospital.

Let's see...

In about 1981 or 1982, I spent three days in the hospital after driving myself to the emergency room for unknown abdominal pains. I told the emergency room doctors that the pain was like having the worst menstral cramps, the worst constipation cramps, the worst flu cramps, and the gall bladder problems I had experienced about ten years prior, all rolled into one pain. I could not tell exactly where the pain originated because everything hurt. I was admitted and kept drugged for three days. They did tests on me, including a colonoscopy, which at that time was a horrible test (now it's much easier). And they woke me at 6 a.m. on the morning of the fourth day and said I could go home. The doctors were stymied about my pain source. They gave me psyllium to regulate my bowel movements. What?!?!?

I had a C-section when I had my only son. But I was only in the hospital for 24 hours, back when most women stayed in the hospital for a week to ten days with that kind of delivery. We didn't have insurance and my mother was coming to help with the baby. So the doctor let me leave.

Twice, I've been hospitalized overnight with chest pains - once in Texas and once in Michigan. Now I know that both incidences were actually related to my fibromyalgia, but I didn't know it then. The first time - in Texas - I had not yet been diagnosed with fibro. The emergency room doc and my own family doctor fought about whether my chest pains were caused by heart problems or gall bladder problems. I had tests for both, and it turned out it was neither. My family doc tried to tell me it was heartburn, but I knew that wasn't right. I had had heartburn before, and this was different. It felt like someone was holding my heart in his/her hand and squeezing it.

The second time I had chest pains - in Michigan - I had been diagnosed with fibro, but I didn't know all that fibromyalgia brings with it. Obviously, neither did the cardiologist to whom I was assigned (by the county medical services). I had a heart catheterization and was scheduled for angioplasty, but when I woke up, the cardiologist informed me that I didn't have any blockage. Instead, I had annoying arteries and veins...that jumped out of the way whenever they darned well pleased. And closed up if poked. The doc said it was as if my veins and arteries had minds of their own. I later learned that this was not that uncommon with fibromyalgia sufferers.

Know what else I learned? Not only to fibro folks have spasms in their skelatal muscles, but also in their organ muscles. Of course, that means that I do. I've had test after test - upper and lower GI series, endoscopy, colonoscopy, you name it. And the results are always that the doctors are scratching their heads, not really understanding, that I have inflammation and spasming - in my stomach, in my intestines, in my gall bladder, in my heart. Sigh.

I also have stomach problems because of all the medications I take - pain relievers, muscle relaxers (skeletal and organ), for inflammation (although I can't tolerate those very often), for depression.

I have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The definition I found said, "mild to severe abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating and alteration of bowel habits." Let's just leave it at that. If you want more information on IBS, you can look it up.

Perhaps while I'm listing my maladies and symptoms, I should add that I had a back injury in 1997 and a knee injury in 2002. They both still cause me pain.

In 2000, I had two car accidents - rear end collisions - that were not my fault. In one, I ended up with whiplash.

Also in 2000, during my pain management for my back, the skin - especially on my hands and arms - was permanently thinned. Now they bruise or bleed at the slightest bump.

On Monday, I had horrible abdominal pains. That's not all that unusual, as noted above. But this time was different. Not only did I have the symptoms of IBS, the pain that often accompanies my taking medications, and the "normal" (for me) spasming, I also was vomiting. And, did I mention that I was in horrible pain. I guess I did.

The pain was great enough that I called my hubby at work and asked that he come home after lunch to take me to the hospital emergency room. I knew I couldn't even drive myself.

We arrived at the emergency room about 1:45 p.m., I think. We waited and waited and waited. And we discovered that in our little part of the world, Mondays are the worst times for the emergency room. Who knew? The second worst time is Sundays. I found that rather odd. In most other places I've lived, Fridays and Saturdays (and some Sundays) have been the busiest at emergency rooms. But not here.

I don't remember what tests were performed through the emergency room. Mostly x-rays, I think. But somewhere along the line, they informed hubby and me that I was being admitted. Still, that didn't happen very quickly either. I think I was finally in a room about 9 p.m. or thereabout.

And I soon discovered that hospitals are much different than they were back in 1984 when my son was born.

First, there was a plaque on the wall that asked me to be sure to recommend the hospital to my friends and family. Huh?

Even though I was on a clear liquid diet on Monday and Tuesday, there were choices. And the menu was beautiful. It looked like it belonged in a fancy hotel (for room service) or restaurant.

On Wednesday, I got to choose real foods, and boy where there choices. And it was delivered between 20 and 45 minutes from the time you ordered. None of this having cold foods delivered all at once on a food cart. Nope. Each meal was delivered specially. Wow.

For breakfast on Wednesday, I tried having an English muffin with bacon, scrambled egg, and cheese, plus a banana, orange juice and coffee.

For lunch, I had a huge mound of cottage cheese and fresh fruits. I could have had dozens of other things, but having had such a time with my tummy and having been on liquids for so long, I didn't want to be tempted to eat the wrong things.

I have never seen so many employees in one hospital before. It's like someone pulled all the sales clerks off the sales floors (you know...you can never find one!) and trained them to work in hospitals. And they walk all over each other.

Seriously. It's no wonder the costs of medical care are so high. There were three housekeeping employees who checked in each day. One emptied trash. One brought towels and changed linens. The third "cleaned up." Even fancy hotels don't bother you that much with that many employees.

The nurse's aides (I forget what their new title is) were all over too. I think each one only had about 4-5 patients and mine was always coming in and asking what she could do for me or get for me. I was afraid to mention anything I wanted or needed...for fear that it would cost a fortune.

They keep hospitals pretty cold now. The staff said it was to help keep germs away. But they were great about asking if you wanted another blanket (to add to the three already on the bed) or wanted to have a blanket warmed. That felt great. But who knows? It might also cost extra.

I had a private room, and I hate to think what that might cost us.

I was pretty miserable while I was there. Even though they were pumping me full of strong pain killers (which turned out to be too strong...and another reason why I kept vomiting), I would wake up every two hours in pain and not able to have more meds for another two hours. Grrr.

And when I didn't wake up on my own every two hours, the staff helped that along. They gladly woke me up at midnight, 3:30 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. to check my vital signs. Grrr.

I wondered why my own doctor didn't come to check on me. Instead, I had a different staff doctor at every shift change. It turned out that the doctor group to which my doc belongs does not have privileges anymore. I do wish the emergency room staff or admitting people had mentioned that before I was admitted. It's nice to know that your care is in the hands of someone who knows your quirks. Grrr.

At 6 a.m. on Wednesday, I went for my last test - an ultrasound of my abdomin. I was told that the results of that test would determine if I went home for Thanksgiving. The doctor made his rounds about 10 a.m. (why do they do that earlier in the movies and TV shows?) and there were still no test results. About 2 p.m. some preliminary results came in, showing that I did have some inflammation around my pancreas, but nothing more serious.

Around 4 p.m., I knew for sure I could go home, so I called my hubby to come and get me out!

Okay. Hospitals are much nicer than they were 20+ years ago. I admit that. But they're still hospitals.

I'm out and hubby and I had a nice Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant - The National Exemplar. (You can check their website to see how nice...)

Still...I'm having pains. I'm not vomiting anymore, but the pains are still there. I finally figured out that one prescription they gave me to help get rid of the inflammation is making me ill. Figures. They were also pumping this into my system through an IV. Could be why I never felt I was getting better. Guess I'll be calling my own doctor this week.

November 8, 2008 at 8:50pm
November 8, 2008 at 8:50pm
Here are some of the things we're supposed to celebrate in November:

American Diabetes Month
Celebrate Empty Nester Month
Diabetic Eye Disease Month
Epilepsy Awareness Month
Family Stories Month
Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month
I Am So Thankful Month
International Drum (Percussion) Month Military Family Appreciation Month
National Adoption Month
National AIDS Awareness Month
National Alzheimer's Disease Month
National American Indian Heritage Month
National COPD Awareness Month
National Family Caregivers Month
National Georgia Pecan Month
National Home Care & Hospice Month
National Inspirational Role Models Month
National Life Writing Month
National Novel Writing Month Link
National Peanut Butter Lovers Month
National Pet Cancer Awareness Month
National Pomegranate Month
National Roasting Month
National Scholarship Month
Prematurity Awareness Month
Vegan Month

Here are some celebrations for the second week of November:

Pursuit of Happiness Week: 8-14
National Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week: 9-15
Fraud Awareness Week: 9-16
World Kindness Week: 10-17

November 8 - Cook Something Bold Day, Dunce Day, Abet and Aid Punsters Day, International Tongue Twister Day, National Parents as Teachers Day

November 9 - Chaos Never Dies Day

November 10 - Forget-Me-Not Day, Area Code Day, Gingerbread House Day

November 11 - Air Day, Veterans Day

November 12 - National Pizza With The Works Except Anchovies Day

November 13 - World Kindness Day, Sadie Hawkins Day

November 14 - Loosen Up Lighten Up Day, American Teddy Bear Day, Operating Room Nurses Day

November 15 - I Love to Write Day, America Recycles Day, Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day

Food for thought:

All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse. ~ Benjamin Franklin

He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money. ~ Benjamin Franklin

He that lives upon hope will die fasting. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~ Benjamin Franklin

November 4, 2008 at 3:01pm
November 4, 2008 at 3:01pm
Here in the Cincinnati area, there have been reports of scanning machines not working in many polling areas. The machines are spitting out the forms without recording the votes. Supposedly those ballots are being sent somewhere where they can be counted and recorded by hand.

It was also reported on our news last night that there could be hundreds of thousands of people voting in more than one place. Our neighbor, Kentucky, has a law that says that even after a person moves and registers elsewhere that they have to keep their names on the voter registration rolls for two Presidential campaigns. That opens up the ability for people to vote in more than one place. And there are some who admitted to doing just that. I imagine that Michigan must have some similar law, since I moved from there in 2003 and still get information from them, even though I informed the county of my move in writing.

Our news people also intereviewed one lady who decided that rather than voting in her new location (state), she chose to come back to Ohio to vote because her vote will count more in a swing state. You can't do that. You're supposed to vote where you live!

A few weeks ago, some college students admitted to being registered in more than one state. One guy actually lives in England and yet voted early in Ohio.

There was also a news report a few days ago about an elderly woman in a nursing home whose son was trying to get her vote invalidated. She had no idea who was running or who she ended up voting for, but some "helpful" people had come to the nursing home to make sure she and the other residends were able to vote.

Voter fraud is against the law and can be punished by jail and fines.

It has to make you wonder if the results of this election will have as much or more controversy as the elections in 2000 and 2004.


On The View this morning, they commented about the touch screen voting in Florida. A while back, they mentioned that in early voting the elderly voters didn't get it. They weren't waiting for the screen to record their votes and were ending up voting wrong. My parents lived in FL when there was the chad problem. They admitted that they were confused.


Just now on the news was a report of Black Panthers standing in uniforms outside one polling place in Philadelphia where some voters felt intimidated. One of the Black Panthers was removed by police because he had a night stick that he was waving around.

The news people were asked to leave by the polling people, but they checked with their legal department and found out they're allowed to be within ten feet of the polling area.


What's going on where you live? Or what have you heard on the news?

October 30, 2008 at 11:01am
October 30, 2008 at 11:01am
A Business Plans for the Future

by Marilyn Mackenzie

November 5, 2008

John Smith sat in his corner office, looking out the window and wondering what the next four years would mean to his business. He was resigned to the fact that Obama would be the next president.

The pondering company owner knew that he would have to raise the prices on his products and services - probably about 8% - to accommodate the rise in taxes.

Smith employed 35 employees. His company was still the size of one where everyone seems to be like family. He knew, though, that he would have to downsize. The figures in front of him didn't lie. In order to continue paying the wages he did to his employees, providing the minimal benefits he could, and offering raises for employees who were an asset to the company, he would have to lay off about 6 employees. The calculations in front of him were proof of that fact.

As he looked out onto the parking lot again, sad at the prospect of having to let some people go and not enjoying the task of choosing them, something caught his eye. He rushed out to the parking lot and discovered 8 cars, trucks and SUVs with Obama bumper stickers on them.

"That's the answer!" he thought to himself. After taking down the license numbers, he rushed back to his office and called the employee who served as his assistant and his only human resources employee. He started the process of letting go those 8 employees who had obviously voted for Obama.

That was 2 more employees than he had anticipated laying off, but the lay off would mean that other employees had to work longer hours. The extra 2 lay offs would mean that he could compensate the ones who had to work harder.

Feeling better now about his decision, he picked up the phone and started to call each one of the business owners in the group that met every Tuesday for breakfast.

"Fred," he said. "I have the perfect solution to your lay off problem."

And so it went that day. Each of the businesses in the breakfast club targeted the obvious Obama supporters for lay off.


Don't worry, folks. This is a fictional story, obviously. Obama has programs and policies to help every American. Right? Right.
October 21, 2008 at 10:00am
October 21, 2008 at 10:00am
Here's a test you can take - with 48 questions - about Obama's policies and record. It includes questions on healthcare, taxes, energy, social values, etc.


I took the test. Here are the results:

You DISAGREED with the Barack Obama position on 47 of the 48 test questions. This means you disagree with the Obama position 98% of the time.

I'm not surprised.

After you take the test and find out your score, you can also see how other Americans feel about these issues. In most cases, 50-60% of Americans disagree with Obama's stand. In some cases, it's as much as 70-80% who disagree. That I found interesting. I guess that some people are planning on voting for him even though they disagree on some of the issues...if you listen to the polls.

September 24, 2008 at 3:40pm
September 24, 2008 at 3:40pm
Have you heard? John McCain just announced that he is suspending his Presidential campaign and asking President Bush to call everyone back to Washington so they can deal with the financial crisis. McCain is asking that the debate next week be cancelled for now and rescheduled later.

Talk about showing that America is more important than any campaign. That's the same thing McCain said about the surge - that America was more important than the election.

September 18, 2008 at 2:18pm
September 18, 2008 at 2:18pm
We have been without power since about 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. Probably won't have any electricity until late this weekend or maybe even early next week. This really stinks. The library computer keeps logging me out wherever I go. Grrr.
September 9, 2008 at 5:20pm
September 9, 2008 at 5:20pm
Do you ever visit GodTube.com? It has some great Christian and inspirational videos. One series has good and evil, and they might remind you of a commercial about Mac and PC. *Smile*

Today I discovered this one about a baby preacher:
September 5, 2008 at 12:15pm
September 5, 2008 at 12:15pm
I wrote something today:

 Divided We Stand; United We Must Become  (E)
This man can bring us together. We need to let him help heal our land.
#1470447 by Kenzie

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