Thankful – Week 7

I’m taking part in the Ten Things of Thankful challenge. Simply list 10 things a week that you are thankful for, but no worries if you list less, or a bit more, the point is to get everyone to notice there is something to be thankful for. If you’d like to join in, just pop on over to TToT and add your post to the list, I hope to see you there.

Image from NatureHills.com

This week I’m thankful for:

  • family who care. My sister texted out of the blue because she had a “funny feeling” and wanted to make sure every thing was alright. Then a couple of days later her husband was worried because of the weather out our way. (El Nino is dumping a lot of rain on the desert) I’ve never known him to worry about me before. I hate for people to worry, but I will say, I sure feel loved.
  • friends who listen. I can only hope I listen as well as some of my friends listen to me. (I know I need to work on this more actually) I’m so very grateful I have such good friends. I may not have many friends, but the few I have are the best you could hope to have.
  • massages. Hubby got us massages for Valentine’s Day. Actually he just got us massages, it just happened to be on Valentine’s Day, but it was pure joy. I went in with a migraine at about a 6 and left with it closer to a 2…amazing. I just wish it could have lasted into the next day. But I’ll take a few hours at a 2.
  • getting my house clean. Stuart and I working together to clean the house. It wasn’t bad, but my back has been hurting so I haven’t been able to do a lot so things like vacuuming and mopping went undone. That has all changed, the house is clean and I’m a happy girl.
  • a local friend came for a visit. It was a nice day when a local friend came and spent a few hours with me, we just talked and had sandwiches. What a nice break from spending so much time alone.
  • a new pillow. I’ve been in need of a new pillow for quite some time. I finally bought one this week. I hope it was a good investment. It has a 100 night money back guarantee, so I felt good buying it. No risk!
  • library books. I haven’t been able to focus enough to really read a whole book in a while now and I’ve really missed it. Recently we got our library cards in our new town. I decided to check out their online selection so I could read on my Kindle. There are a ton of books available to check out on Overdrive, I’m thrilled. I decided to check out a couple of Young Adult books to get me back in the swing of things, thinking I could concentrate on them, and I was right! I’m so thankful I’m reading purely for pleasure again!
  • successful dinner. We’ve been trying to have the family together for a dinner since Christmas but something has come up every time we scheduled and we’ve had to postpone. (mostly me feeling ill, I hate that) We were finally able to get everyone together this weekend. Everything went smoothly despite my fears that everything would fall apart any moment, nothing disastrous happened, everyone was fed and I think all had a good time. (Anxiety is real in this girl lately, I’m thankful I did not let it ruin this dinner for me.)
  • citrus trees. It’s citrus season ya’ll! Everywhere I go I see citrus trees filled with fruit! There are local Meyer Lemons in the stores. I so want a citrus tree in my yard, as soon as we buy a house I will have a lemon tree, even it I have to start with a baby one. I adore lemons. yummm. I hope there is a mature citrus tree already there. 🙂
  • the taken for granted things. I’m so thankful for running potable water, electricity, food a plenty, a home, and love in my life. These are things I’m most thankful for each and every day and I never want to forget that. Most of us take these things for granted, yet there are so many who do not have these basic necessities. If you have a little extra won’t you consider giving a little to those in need. Remember there are many ways to give.

What are you thankful for this week?

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank

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Genetic Test for Medication

When I first started seeing my new psychiatrist she asked me if I’d had genetic testing to determine which medications would work best for me, I hadn’t, so she asked if I was interested. Of course I was interested! I was then given 2 swabs to rub on the inside of my cheeks and off they went to the lab at GeneSight, within a few days the results were back.

You can read a lot more about GeneSight and see an example of what an actual test looks like on their site. To see a detailed example of  test results click here. It will take you to a pdf. I was going to show you some of mine but mine are black and white copies and aren’t nearly as pretty as the actual test results, and mine has over 9 pages of information. (I think some is repeated to give more in-depth information about it, but golly, that’s a lot of information.) I will however talk about some of my results.

Sample of one page of a GeneSight report.

After receiving my results we started going though it all to see what medication therapies would be best for me. It was very surprising to me how many medications I’ve been on in the past that were listed in the “Significant Gene-Drug Interaction” category. I also found out that this test really didn’t show which drugs I would have severe side effects to. For example, all antipsychotics. There are a few that are listed as “Use As Directed” that caused me severe Akathesia (the need to constantly move) and muscle twitching, which can become permanent.

We went through all of the medications on the list for Antipsychotics, Antidepressants, Mood Stabilizers, Anxiolytics and Hypnotics, Opiods and Non-Opiods. I’m not really sure why I was tested for opioids and non-opiods but I will be taking that to the hospital the next time I have surgery. (hopefully that’s never)

I’ve been told I’m a complicated case. I’ve tried a lot of medications in the past, some worked for a while and stopped and some never worked. We started going through one that worked for a while first. Lithium. When we tried Lithium I started to show toxic signs before I got to a therapeutic dose. We tried Depakote, I felt better and got to a therapeutic dose but it caused so many side effects that I couldn’t take it. (my stomach hurt so much and caused me to have severe retching, it was most painful, and this went on while I was on antibiotics so I blamed it on the wrong drug for a long time, finally we figured out what the culprit was and I had to stop it.) So then we tried Vraylar, an Antipsychotic, almost immediately I started having symptoms of akathesia. It wasn’t as bad as it was with Latuda, but it was starting, so I was put on a drug to help control them. It did but I still had this constant hum that made me feel like it was going to start all the time and I was still a little manic. You may remember the post about me talking all the time. I saw my psychiatrist during that time and could not stop talking during that visit, it was most disturbing to me. I can’t even remember what she did to change my medication at that time, I believe she added another medication. I know at one time I was on five drugs from this one person….or was it six? I’m still on a ton, but I’m tapering off 2 so that will make it less and one of those should also take over a medication for a condition I’m being treated for by another physician, so that will take away 3 drugs all together. Score.

I’m sure I’ve completely confused you. It confuses me!

Let’s see if I can make a little more sense than I have been….yes I seriously doubt it too, but bear with me. The last visit I had, I took that gene test and was ready. I told her what I had taken before that seemed to work for a long time, Topamax, all by itself, but we got to such a high dose I has severe cognitive issues, so I’d like to add it to the Lamotrigine I’m already on, both of these are mood stabilizers, that way I don’t have to have such a high does of Topamax and shouldn’t get to the point that I have cognition problems. (I was over 400mg before now I will be at 200mg, much more doable I think) Topamax can also help my migraines and my Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertention, so that’s a great thing.

I’m also seeing another psychiatrist on the 28th for a second opinion. I’m not thrilled by how this has been handled, all the drugs just pushed on me, and at one point when I was at my worst and asked what to do if I was in crisis, I did not feel it was taken seriously. I was told to go to a certain hospital, but was not given the information. How is someone who is in the throws of a severe mixed mania episode supposed to remember what psychiatric hospital this woman spoke of to find out how to get there, and I was not in the frame of mind to ask her to write it down. I was a complete mess at the time. It’s times like that that patients really rely on their health care professionals, and too often they fail to live up to what is needed.

I’m still a lucky one. I have insurance and can actually go to a psychiatrist and get help, there are countless others out there who can’t. We often tell people to reach out when they are in pain, but if they can’t pay for help, they are simply turned away. This country treats their citizens like garbage. If it’s unsightly, throw it away.

Please support mental health facilities who treat those who can’t afford care, there are so many people who are homeless because they have no where to go for treatment. Take time to be kind.

Have you tried GeneSight? Would you if you haven’t? Do you think it’s beneficial?

I do think it’s a great place to start. It’s telling me if certain drugs metabolize faster or slower than they should, and well all kinds of things. Be sure to read more at their website if your interested.

Thankful Week 5 – #TToT

I’m taking part in the Ten Things of Thankful challenge. Simply list 10 things a week that you are thankful for, but no worries if you list less, or a bit more, the point is to get everyone to notice there is something to be thankful for. If you’d like to join in, just pop on over to TToT and add your post to the list, I hope to see you there.

10 things I’m thankful for the 5th week of 2019 are:

  1. Possibilities – Just as I started to write this post I received a message that I may be able to see a specialist in San Diego I’ve been wanting to see for a long time. A special thank you K for making this possibility happen.
  2. My new therapist – I saw her for the first time on Wednesday and if first visits are a clue as to how things are going to go, I’m going to love going through this process with her.
  3. Vertigo that doesn’t last long – Last night I bent over and the world started to spin, I sat down and waited but it kept going. Stuart helped me to my chair and shortly afterward the spinning stopped. Yay! I still felt like I was moving for a while after, but the visual spins had stopped and that’s something to really be thankful for! Plus the meds gave me a good night’s sleep. 😉
  4. My slow cooker – Organic chickens were on sale so we bought 2 and I was able to cut one up and use some of the bones to make stock in the slow cooker. For the other, I roasted the whole bird in the slow cooker, comes out like rotisserie chicken, so good, so easy, and something to eat on for days. Something to really be grateful for when I’m not feeling my best.
  5. Imodium – need I say more? I ate way too many grapes and the next day I paid the price. Thank goodness there’s an over the counter drug to help stop me from running to the bathroom all day. ew.
  6. Shoe strings – I have a pair of yellow high-top Converse that I wore during the reception of my wedding, almost 15 years ago. For years I haven’t had shoe strings for them. I don’t remember what happened to the first pair, the shoes look almost new, so I can’t imagine they just wore out. hmmm? I’ve bought numerous shoe strings that were supposed to fit and they were always either too short or way too long. Well this week I was wearing another pair of sneakers and the strings were wayyyyy too long, so I thought I’d try them in my “wedding” shoes….voila! I can now where my yellow high-tops with joy!
  7. Dinner date set – Finally we have a date set for a dinner party we are throwing at our house. This dinner was originally supposed to be Christmas dinner on December 22nd, it has been rescheduled many times, for different reasons, mostly because of me. I am determined that no matter what it will go on this time! And celebrate my husband’s birthday at the same time!
  8. Another possibility – My therapist recommended me for a study about chronic pain that I don’t qualify for…darn it…but I decided to ask some questions and the group gave me some good information. Now I have the name of a massage therapist who treats chronic pain, he is actually helping with the study, and I have a chronic pain support group in the area I can check out. Good things happen sometimes if you just ask.
  9. Rover.com – we have been needing to find a pet sitter in the area, not that we are going on a trip soon, but if something comes up we need to have a sitter all set up, and our little girl is very picky about who takes care of her. After getting in touch with at least 5 sitters through Rover and meeting up with 3 so far, we know we’ve found at least one that Kiki will adore, and she just lives around the corner! I’m so thankful that we found her and so thankful there is a site like Rover that makes searching for a pet sitter so much easier.
  10. My heating pad – Something as simple as a heating pad, which I’m using right now, can bring such comfort to me. I’m so very thankful that the heat relieves part of the pain in my back and hip recently.

That’s my 10 for the week.

Extra – I’m thankful my Lantanas are blooming. So are the butterflies.

How about you? What are you thankful for this week?

My Doctor Treats Me Different – Mental Health Stigma

image by pixabay.com

For the first time since my diagnosis in 1996 I’ve felt that I’ve been treated completely differently because of my mental illness. Perhaps it was because I mostly stable for so long and my few people have ever seen me have an episode, but this came from my doctor.

Since we moved to Tucson 8 months ago I had to get a new PCP (Primary Care Physician), I initially wasn’t sure about her, she seemed a little too friendly, and one of the first things she said was that she wouldn’t write a prescription for diazipam. (I didn’t ask, I’d get that from my ENT anyway), but I gave her a chance. I admit I went in there not expecting much so I felt that’s what I got. The second visit was much better. Every time I’ve seen her she hugged me, until I told her about my mixed mania episode. Now things are different.

I saw her on Friday for back pain. I felt like she dismissed things I said. I tried to talk about the back pain and she asked what I wanted to do about it. I said, “fix it”. “How do you want to do that?” I jokingly said, “I want you to fix it.” and I laughted. She said, “I can’t do that”, in a very abrupt way. She immediately said she would refer me to PT. I tried to say that I wasn’t sure it was muscular, I was concerned it may be arthritis. “No. You need PT”. She normally talks well so I can understand and is friendly, on Friday I had to turn my cochlear implants DOWN because she was so LOUD. She didn’t even want to look at my back, when I said where it was, she said she thought it was my lower back….”well bitch if you had asked you’d know!”, I thought to myself. She touched me and said, “I expected it to be tighter”, in a much lower voice to my husband. I tried to tell her that it feels different, but she dismissed me. I needed to go to PT. Fine, I’ll go to PT and I’ll find a new PCP! (you’d think she thought I was seeking drugs but I’m allergic to opioids, and she knows that, so WTF? I just wanted a discussion and maybe an xray)

I may have made the grave mistake of telling her about my episode, but when my drug list started to change, that would be a pretty obvious clue things were changing. I also mentioned I had back pain as a side effect from akathesia due to a side effect form Latuda 2 years prior, I should not have said that…..WAIT!……………

What am I saying?? I should have been able to say all of that!! My general doctor should be able to be aware of my mental health issues and not start treating me like I’m not able to think for myself.

I will be firing her soon and I will make sure that she and the office know why I am doing so. This is crazy, I’m not!

Unblocked!!

I’m happy to report that my ultrasound showed that my ureter (my kidney plumbing that was not working right) is going back to normal and I will be fine without further action, no more hydronephrosis!! Yay! Happy Dance!! If you missed the post about all of this, you can find it here: My Plumbing Doesn’t Work

However, they found that I have a kidney stone on both sides. Bummer. They are small enough to pass, but they will probably hurt….a lot. Bigger bummer. I now have to do a 24 hour urine collection. Yes, I have to pee in a “hat”, (that is actually what they call the collection container that fits in the toilet) then I put it in a jug and keep it in my refrigerator the whole time. It’s not so much the eww factor, my refrigerator is small! and the jug is a 2 liter. Since I drink so much water I’ve been given 2 jugs, just in case. That was kinda funny. I actually hope I do have to use both just to shock the ladies in the lab, they were very surprised when they were told to give me 2! LOL. But there will be nothing in the refrigerator to eat, just pee. Okay a little Eww factor. When I take the urine back, I have to get labs done, they are checking for risk factors for kidney stones (what I eat, drink, medications, genes….).

My Urine Collection bottle and “hat”

I’ll keep posting as we find out more, but I don’t have another appointment with her until April. That’s a very good sign that I’m doing well.

Feeling Old

I just want to talk about something kind of silly today.

Wedding day, September 3, 2004

I was looking at my wedding pictures the other day and realized, I don’t look like that any more. It it will be 15 years in September, so go figure I don’t look the same, but golly, I sure was disappointed. Does the gray hair really age me? I actually like my gray, I think I have pretty streaks, I think it’s kinda cool. Looking close in the mirror at the new wrinkles is not such a welcome site. Suddenly, when I wasn’t looking, I got older.

Photo taken June 20, 2018
A good hair day….a little wet.

I never thought it would happen but I’m completely out of touch with today’s main stream society; by that I mean, fashion, popular TV, movies, and music. I was watching TV last night and there were so many commercials in which I had no idea who the people were. My TV watching normally includes cooking shows, cartoons, and British mysteries…with a little science fiction mixed in, last night we were watching The Good Place (not live, on DVR). I know very, very little about the new music and their artist, and most of the newer actors. Some I know by site, but I don’t know their names. Some I’ve heard of, but I don’t know anything they’ve done. Okay, the music is understandable since I can’t hear most music anymore, but it still makes me feel so out of touch. Even before I lost my hearing I wasn’t a fan of a lot of rap music. I often feel like it’s is yelling at me, if I wanted to hear someone yelling at me all the time, I’d have lived with my father.

Fashion these days? I simply do not understand leggings being used as pants. I once saw a billboard that said, “Leggings Are Not Pants”. They were advertising a store that sells office work clothes but, I just squealed! Exactly! I think they have their place, under a long shirt or tunic (that’s how I wear them), at the gym…but wearing them all the time out in public? I don’t think it looks good on anyone. I do wear nice yoga pants out in public, but they look like normal pants. Well, not normal pants that you see now a days, they are all “skinny”. Why does everyone desire to wear something called “skinny”? I think of “skinny” as someone who is underweight, no one needs to be skinny, sometimes it’s not a choice, but skinny is not something one should strive for, in my opinion,. Okay, I admit I tried on a pair of skinny jeans, eww, just ewww. Yeah, I’m not skinny and that’s okay. I’d rather be comfortable and look good. I probably just look like an old lady now, but I think that’s better than looking like my clothes are spray painted on.

Taken April 2018
Leggings my way.

It’s also very evident that I’m older because I found myself saying, “In my day….”, and calling a 30+ year old a kid. Also because I don’t have a tattoo. I like many that I see, but I do get a bit confused when I see so many on one person that I can’t tell what any are, and when someone gets one on their face, I have to wonder if they are going to regret that one. When I was younger I always said that I wouldn’t get one because I don’t know what it might look like when I’m old. Will it be stretched out, saggy, all faded and ugly? I guess now that I’m older I can get one and not worry about those things. Biggest problem there, not only do I not have any idea what I’d get or where I’d get it, the idea of being hurt intentionally for it, makes me run the other way, and I don’t really like the idea of having anything on my body permanently. But I do play with temporary tattoos. See…..

This is a Manifestation tattoo from Conscious Ink
“Let Go” is something I am trying to remember.


Remember all opinions expressed here are my own.

Today I’m feeling old.

Tomorrow maybe I’ll feel young again.

*all photos are the sole property of W. Holcombe.

Ten Things of Thankful – Mid January

Today I’m taking part in the Ten Things of Thankful (TToT) challenge.
“Every week, bloggers from all over the world gather together here online to share with each other the things that they have been thankful for during the past week. Although the number ten is in the title, that is more of a suggestion than a hard and fast rule.” If you are interested in participating here’s the link to it. Ten Things of Thankful
“The blog hop opens every Friday morning at 1:00 a.m. Mountain time, and closes the following Tuesday at 11:55 p.m. Mountain time.?”

This week I’m thankful for:

  1. feeling better mentally and starting to get back to being me.
  2. my dog always being there for a cuddle, support, and listening to me when I need to talk. 🙂
  3. being able to drive this past Thursday, only 1 mile to the store, but it was glorious. (I haven’t been able to drive in the past few months)
  4. the weather was so nice when I drove I was able to take the top down on my car.
  5. my father-in-law’s wife appears to be okay after a fainting spell and a fall.
  6. I was able to go to my nephew’s birthday party and got to play with the sweetest child I think I’ve ever met. Such joy was emanating for her, I didn’t care I was hurting, she said she wanted to play with me instead of the other kids, that warmed my heart.
  7. I have the ultrasound on my kidney’s tomorrow to see if my ureter is still causing my urine to stay in my kidney’s too long.
  8. I have the love of my blogging friends and family. One in particular is going though a very challenging time, I’m grateful she can talk to me.
  9. I was able to just throw together a soup yesterday with mainly just pantry ingredients.
  10. last but certainly not least, I’m very grateful my friends who live where the blizzard has occurred are safe.
  11. extra…I’m grateful we had a few 70F degree days this week, it was a joy, and I’m grateful we have a fireplace for the cold night we’re getting tonight. (the warm weather will be back on the weekend…Yay!)

I think I could have gone on, there are so many things I’m thankful for this week. Some weeks I really have to struggle, but I’m so thankful for so many things. Like this challenge, I needed it to show me how thankful I am for so much!

What are you thankful for this week?

Psych 101.2

I saw my psychiatrist today, it was an interesting visit. I am feeling much better than I was. No more rage, but Stuart did admit I’ve been talking more, which was quite obvious in her office. I just talked so much and so fast it was crazy. I seemed to have been extremely happy and just couldn’t control it. I was thrilled that she was finally speaking up and I could hear her. She was even trying to slow down. She is normally very soft spoken and talks very fast with a Russian accent which makes it impossible for me to read her lips well. If I can’t hear her better, I’m lost. Stuart normally has to take the lead in my visits. Today I got the giggles, and when we got outside I busted out laughing. I thought it very funny that I was bouncing off the walls in her office. The whole thing seems very surreal.

It is now obvious that I am still having a manic episode, but it’s much better than it was. The main symptoms have been the extreme talkativeness, sleeping very little, and doing more than I’m really physically able, and today uncontrollable giggles. My Fitbit says that I’ve been getting at least twice as many steps per day than I normally do. I’m thrilled about that and hope I can keep it up; however, completely reorganizing my house and cleaning like crazy, that is taking a bit out of me, but I’d really like to finish. Oh, and I’m forgetting things, someone can tell me something or I can tell someone something then I can’t remember the conversation…that’s weird.

She asked me if this was normal for me when I have an episode. I told her I haven’t had a severe episode in almost 30 years, or more! This is new territory for me. I have had a couple of depressive episodes when my medication needed to be adjusted, but I could always tell myself that I knew it would end, and that got me through it until I could get my medication leveled out. True mania hasn’t hit me in a very long time. To be honest, when I had manic episodes before I was stable I would paint like crazy (often days at a time), lose time (meaning time would pass and I didn’t remember I didn’t realize it, or remember what I did during it), spend a lot of money (I once bought a Jeep on a manic swing), do very risky things (like drive to DC and meet with someone I’d only talked with on the phone) and be very promiscuous. Now, I’m not doing all of that, I did always talk a lot though. After I was diagnosed talking a lot was a sign to me that I was a bit manic, but nothing like I’ve been the past few months.

I’m grateful that we have found medication that seems to be working, it just needs to be adjusted. I hate that it’s taking more meds than I’d like to take, I’m hoping after I get stable for a while we can work on getting me off a couple. Today she increased the main med, took away something, and added another to help me sleep, hopefully. I’m having to take another drug to stop the akathesia that started with the new mediation, it’s an anti-psychotic and I’ve had trouble with those in the past, but this is a newer one that is less likely to cause this problem. Yeah, right. The drug that stops the akathesia is normally a blood pressure medication, weird huh?

So we’ve solved the riddle of why I’ve been talking so dang much. I can now stop telling myself to just “Shut the F up!”

so how’s your day been?

**photo of self manipulated with PhotoLab app. Sole ownership belongs to me.

Stop Talking!!

I can’t stop talking. I talk on the time!

I’m driving myself crazy and I’m sure I’m driving Stuart crazy.

During the day I talk to KIki (our dog) a lot. I think she likes, but how would I know? Lately I’ve been trying to figure out why I talk so much and how I can stop. I’m trying hard to notice and stay silent, but I tell Stuart everything that’s going on even if it’s not the slightest bit important. For example, just now I showed him a pdf that was a page that listed everything that is recyclable here, and told him I printed it and taped it by the bin. That was good, he’s been looking for that, I should have just stopped there. Then I started pointing out that the page had a blue background because our recycling bins are blue and it says to “Use the Blue”, I went on to say, however, the one I printed out is not blue because our printer only prints in black and white. All of this transpired while he was trying to read. How he gets any reading done I have no idea.

That is just a tiny example.

If I’m not talking I’m often slightly moving my lips because I’m actually talking in my head, but unlike most people I feel the need to say it out loud. A couple of months ago this actually got worse because of the mania, and I really noticed it then. I talked more and very, very fast. Now I’m back to my normal speech, but I’m really noticing how much I TALK! When did this start? I haven’t always been like this. What on earth prompted it?

Well I have a few theories.

When I first started losing my hearing I realized that I would often talk over people, I realized then it was for two reasons. One I couldn’t hear everything they said so I often didn’t realized they were still talking. (I wasn’t very good at reading lips, or even noticing that they were still moving….duh). I made a conscious effort to get better at that and I think I have. When I’m with others, like going to breakfast every Sunday with Stuart’s father, I don’t talk over anyone. I try very hard to understand what is being said and add to the conversation when appropriate. (hand patting back, I got that at least).

Another theory is, when I first got sick and for a long time after that, Stuart worked from home. Even at his last job he worked from home a lot. Here, he is gone all day, I’m alone and basically have no contact with people; especially when I’m having a flare and can’t drive or get out at all. I’m often texting, but that’s different. (I probably do that too much too) So when Stuart gets home he is bombarded with everything I’ve been thinking all day and everything that is happening since he’s been home. I have noticed when I’ve been in silence for hours and I suddenly see someone, like when Stuart gets home from work, I can’t understand much at all. His voice sounds all garbled and tinny. That’s just weird to me. I normally have the TV on all day trying to hear something so I’m not hit by that, but even with that noise going I still get bombarded by this garbled speech when I first see someone. Is that one reason I talk? So I won’t hear that?

I used to get so mad at him because he didn’t hear what I said. He would be watching a show or reading and just not hear, after all, he didn’t know if it was important or not. How could he, I talked all the dang time. Recently we made a pact that if we need the other to pay attention, we would let them know and ask them to stop what they are doing and pay attention., but other than that, I could just ramble, if he hears it, that’s okay, if not, no worries. I really want to stop talking so much.

In Buddhist teaching we find that talking all the time or for too long is a form of selfishness, while being easy to talk to shows respect, generosity, and courtesy toward others. Buddha saw being easy to talk to as an expression of love (Sn.143*). Listening is a virtue, not talking all the time.

So how to I stop this constant chatter? First I think I should meditate more, I’ve lost that practice along the way, not that I ever did it much. Practicing to sit still in silence has to be good for this person who can’t be silent. I know I won’t be able to silence the chattering monkey mind for a very long time, but if I can just keep my mouth shut for a while, that would be a big step forward. Perhaps I can remember the Buddha’s teaching each time I start to ramble. I shall also try hard to listen more, how can I be listening if I can’t stop talking. Of course there aren’t many people around for me to listen to, and often when I try I can’t understand what they say anyway…..part of the problem huh? I have noticed when I’ve been in silence for hours and I suddenly see someone, like when Stuart gets home from work, I can’t understand much at all. His voice sounds all garbled and tinny. That’s just weird to me. I normally have the TV on all day trying to hear something so I’m not hit by that, but even when that noise going I still get bombarded by this garbled speech when I first see someone. Is that one reason I talk? So I won’t hear that?

If all else fails, I can always tape my mouth shut…that will teach me!

**Everyone should read the comment by Kara, it is a wonderful contribution to this post. Don’t wait, go there now!

*Sutta Nipāta, ed. D. Andersen, H. Smith, PTS London 1913

My Plumbing Doesn’t Work

I saw the nephrologist today (kidney doctor), she was very thorough and very kind. When I told her I needed to read her lips she immediately started looking at me when she talked and did not forget, not once! That’s pretty remarkable, even people who are around me all the time often forget. I admit it does drive me crazy how often medical personnel seem to just ignore me when I say it. I liked her from the start.

When I told her I was there for hydronephrosis (the kidney swelling due to urine failing to properly drain from the kidney to the bladder, caused by an obstruction ) she mentioned that a stone is the most common cause, but I have it in both kidneys, so that isn’t my issue. She told me “your kidneys are working fine, it’s just your plumbing that isn’t working”. The ureter (the tube that hooks the kidney to the bladder) simply isn’t allowing my urine to flow like it should. We are hoping that it was caused by the urinary tract infection and it will resolve on it’s own. I have to have another ultrasound week after next (our schedule and their schedule didn’t work together before then), to see if I still have the hydronephrosis, if not, then we know it was caused by the UTI, if so, then I’ll need to have a CT scan. I’m having the ultrasound first to try to avoid radiation exposure unless it’s necessary. After the CT scan we will discuss treatment options.

Hopefully it will be all clear, but if pain is any indication then it’s still there. I’m not in pain all the time, but today was a higher pain day. If I drink anything other than water it hurts a lot, I tried that today…I won’t be trying it again for a very long time.

Now I have to pee.