Whoa… Dude… New Meds

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Dizzy, Health

The meds the neurologist prescribed require a ramp up, and I’m finding it very hard to function. When I took the first one, I felt woozy and off balance which is what he warned me of. It took a couple days but I acclimated and felt fine. On Monday I had to increase to two pills a day and I’ve not yet acclimated. I call it “the drunkies” and they persist for nearly the entire day.

I wake up and have to take a dose and don’t feel clear headed enough to do anything until around the time the next dose is due. I’ve not been able to get more than 4 or 5 hours of work done since Monday and I’m woefully behind at school as well.

I did a look up on what I’m taking and it’s pretty interesting the likely side effects I may get:

Drowsiness; tiredness or weakness; dizziness; headache (Hilarious. These first four are why I need the meds); shaking of a part of your body that you cannot control; double or blurred vision; unsteadiness; anxiety; memory problems; strange or unusual thoughts (I’m going to need a ruling on this one.); unwanted eye movements; nausea; vomiting; heartburn; diarrhea; dry mouth; constipation; weight gain; swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs; back or joint pain; fever; runny nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat, or flu-like symptoms; ear pain; red, itchy eyes (sometimes with swelling or discharge).

Some of these sound downright sexy, no?

No.

And I’m supposed to increase the dosage again on Saturday. I’m not surprised that side effects include the symptoms I’m taking the meds for since all the meds prescribed since this started have had them listed. But the degree is bordering on the ridiculous.

It also continues with the suicide and depression warnings. Great. I don’t have enough social anxiety, now my meds add to it as well.

Can you help? Maybe. If you see me holding a big knife in a suspicious way, there may be cause for concern. But most likely it’s because Andrea’s baked a carrot cake and I’m itching to get some. (ZOMG, such a tasty birthday breakfast!)

So, what was I talking about? Right, meds. When clear-minded, I notice that I should not be posting anything, anywhere on-line because I’m writing like someone that’s drunk. I will try and correct this, but make no promises when Ms. Drunkie McDrunkerton comes around.

My initial thought is to dump the pills, but my doctor said we need to give four to six weeks for acclimation and to allow the medicine to get to the recommended level in my system to check for effectiveness. All’s I know is, it’s going to be a rough month.

**Edit** I ran this through spell and grammar check a bazillion times after I wrote it last night. Hopefully it makes sense!

"Bringing Up Baby" Review

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: AFI's Top 100 Movies, Movies

Bringing Up Baby (1938) was released in 1938 and stars Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. I was VERY excited to watch it because I’ve always heard about how great these two are together. I am completely ambivalent about this film, as it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t good either. I found it to be nothing more than a bit of fluff, which is actually more disappointing than if I had passionately disliked it. It inspired nothing more from me after viewing than a shrug and a “Meh.”

Talking with friends this weekend, I was struggling with the inclusion of this movie on the list and wondered if it wasn’t another that was there because it represented something rather than by standing on its own merits. I’m even more perplexed as to why this movie is on the list when, in the opinion of my friend Andrea, Philadelphia Story is much better and also stars both Grant and Hepburn. That movie is also on the Top 100, and I’ll get to see it as well.

Susan (Hepburn) may be a “flutter brained vixen with love in her heart,” but she pretty early on reminded me of Sandra Bullock’s character in “All About Steve.” The big difference being that I actually felt empathy for both the lead characters in that movie and I never cared at all about any of the characters in “Bringing Up Baby.”

I found them all unlikable, including the indifferent fiancee, the obnoxious and self-involved socialite (Hepburn), and the oblivious, and in many cases incredibly stupid, paleontologist (Grant). Correction: I cared about the leopard and the dog. I was worried that the dog was going to get eaten by the leopard, and sure enough they had a fight between the two that was pretty shockingly violent, depending on how much was actually done with the two animals. While I don’t belong to PETA, I would be extremely upset if that were a real fight between little dog and leopard. I’m not terribly surprised, because it was 1938 and I have no idea what kind of protections were in place for animals on the set in those days. Guessing there wasn’t much judging by the amount of furs you find in the old movies.

I had marveled at how much interaction there was between the actors and the leopard, but later in the movie, when Hepburn’s Susan is forcibly dragging a wild leopard, Chooch noticed some camera trickery that we felt was actually pretty fantastic for 1938. If you look closely at the leash she’s using, you can see an overlay of another leash at a slightly different angle. Clearly she wasn’t in any danger in that scene. They also used glass in some scenes to keep the leopard contained and unable to attack the actors. Still, better than I expected.

It says a lot for how I felt about the Susan character in that I thought that she was the “Baby” in the film title. Her character was so oblivious and obnoxious in her annoyance directed towards Cary Grant’s David, that it was completely unbelievable to me when she was suddenly in love with him. “Screwball comedy” or not, I feel pretty strongly that this movie is another that doesn’t belong on the list. I hope it gets corrected and more worthy films get added. I may change my mind after I hear what Christiana and Mike have to say, as they typically explain the reason for such things. But for now I just don’t get it, especially with Philadelphia Story coming up at Number 44.

I did find it interesting that David’s fiancee told him not to use slang after he says he’ll “knock him for a loop.” It goes to show how much has changed since then as I find it rare to hold a conversation of any real length without slang being used. It’s definitely a huge part of American vocabulary, although it remains true that some slang is too raw for use when  in the workplace or formal environments. “Knock him for a loop” seems so innocuous and descriptive it’s surprising that it ever raised an eyebrow, even with a tight-ass like the fiancee.

I was curious about what the current value of $1,000,000 was since they mentioned it a bajillion times. If the site I used (I didn’t save the name) is correct, then it’s now worth $14,461,800 (1,446.18% x 1,000,000). It’s easy to see why there was such a fuss.

Easily my favorite part of the movie was when Susan was acting like she was a gangster. Chooch may correct me, but I think that may have been the only part I laughed at.

12 Angry Men has just arrived, and I can’t wait to watch it. By all accounts, it will be fantastic.

**Edit: I thought I had posted this a week ago, but found it lazing about in drafts. Better late than never, eh?**

Baby Days

Author: Chooch  //  Category: Family, Friends, No Whining, Our Kids

Saturday was a rarity for us. Although we know lots of people with short ones, spending an entire day with babies is not a common occurrence for us. We spent the afternoon at a birthday party for the two year old daughter of dear friends, and there were two other adorable wee ones in attendance. Watching them laugh, play, fuss, fight over toys and then laugh again is something that will lift 20 years from your age as you giggle at their antics and try to keep up.

In the evening, we were with two other adorable babes as they grinned, giggled and danced the night away.Wave after wave of miniature cuteness from the day carried me away to the point that I looked at Chooch and said, “Really? We’re done having kids?” He gave me a suspicious look as he said, with much finality, “Yes.”

I was as surprised as he was at my question, but the feeling passed as I reminded myself that we made that decision long ago in the hopes of better providing for the children we already have from previous marriages. It was the right decision, especially with the weird medical stuff we’re going through right now and the added difficulty of having our three boys all living so far from us. I’m sure that my constant missing of them contributed to my brief baby craving, and no matter how much time I spend with other people’s kids, it just doesn’t soothe that longing. If anything it makes it more poignant.

No whining – this is my life and I’ve got much to be thankful for, including the health and happiness of the three magnificent young men in my life and heart. Everything else is gravy.

Besides, I’ll be a grandmother someday. Then I’ll be free to purely spoil, rather than parent, the sweet wee ones. That certainly seems like something that is worth waiting for.

Health Update

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: 5k, Chooch, Dizzy, Health, No Whining

My neurologist appointment this morning went well. I’ve seen a general decrease in the severity of the migraines, but the number remains the same and the dizziness has increased. We talked for a long while about the effectiveness since the dosage increase, along with the side effects that I’m dealing with and we made a few changes. He’s lowering the dosage back down and adding a new medication, one that we hadn’t discussed before now. The side effects it may present are much more tolerable than what I’m dealing with now. Unless I have a bad reaction I’ll be weaned off the old and increase the dosage of the other until I’m only taking the new stuff.

We also discussed alternative medicine options again and all in all, I’m happy with the new treatment plan. At this point, I’m not expecting to have a treatment that will make everything “normal” again. I just want something that allows more … just more.  I’m feeling generally limited in what I can do, and yes I realize how good my life is and how lucky I am in nearly every way. It doesn’t mean I can’t want more. Every time I get excited about some new physical activity that I want to try I have to remind myself that I will have, at the very least, limitations on how far I can push myself. Have no doubt, I will do it, I just have to be cautious.

Back to the doctor in six weeks, to see how the treatment is going. My only real concern is that these changes will muck with my ability to drive to class. Luckily, the instructor has already promised to work with me if this happens, which gives me great relief.

For those new to my blog, I’ve had severe dizziness, migraines, fatigue, etc.,. for almost a year. I’ve been unable to return to full time work, and my civil service job is gone. (My bosses were fantastically supportive, but they do have a mission to accomplish and need an ass in the seat doing the job.) After a plethora of testing, which ruled out a multitude of horrors including MS, cancer, brain hemorrhage, Lyme disease, etc., I’ve been diagnosed with vestibular migraines and neurocardiogenic syncope. Basically translates to – a tired and dizzy chick that gets migraines and may faint.

I’m continuing the search for treatment that will allow more normalcy so I can return to the work force, and instead of waiting around for that to magically happen, I’m taking two classes this semester towards better employment when I am well enough to work again. One is online and the other is easily converted to online, to accommodate my symptoms and inability to drive while dizzy.

I’m also pissed enough at the hard lost weight that has returned that I recently got moving again by re-re-re-starting the Couch to 5k running program, but I only do it when Chooch can go with me because I am typically pretty sick at the end of it.

On an unrelated note, I saw Christmas stuff being laid out in the stores already. Does anyone else wonder where 2010 went?

Heart Health and Cancer Prevention

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Breast Cancer, Cooking, Family, Health, Weight Loss

Like many people, I’ve spent the last few years avoiding bread and other carb-heavy or high glycemic-index  foods. This year however, other health issues presented themselves that put my focus more on wellness and disease prevention rather than just losing weight. Those issues also remind me that my family history is something I need to really pay attention to as I am getting older. One side of the family is laden with breast cancer victims while the other side of the family has heart disease as the prevailing cause of illness and death. Being 41, I cannot ignore either issue. *tick*tock*

Dietary fiber has long been believed to be extremely valuable in the fight against many cancers as well as heart disease, and I never intended to avoid it for so long. It just kind of happened. I really chose South Beach again because its final “maintenance” phase is pretty damned healthy with whole grains, fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Having to avoid the whole grains while on the road to maintenance is the problem for me.

So in the last six months or so, I’ve gone off the weight loss phase South Beach and have been enjoying fruits, vegetables and, almost exclusively, carbohydrates in the form of whole grains. I haven’t had a weight gain as a result, as the weight I’ve gained happened before I added them back in.

It has been an insane couple of months, heading into and enjoying all the wonderful fruits available during summer. My palate has completely changed, and many things that I enjoyed while on the low-GI diet I cannot stand after eating foods that are sweetened by nature. Heading into fall I’m saddened by the pathetic state of the fruit department but excited to try new dishes with fall produce offerings.

For the sake of weight loss history, I attempted to review posts I’d written in a “community weight loss support group” that was started in January of 2008 but that died off shortly thereafter. I continued to use the site as my weight loss blog site until I got sick last fall.  Sadly, the blogs I wrote during this time are lost due to a change at Ning that led to it being available only by paid subscription and I am unable to do so with my permissions. I am therefore unable to retrieve the information that I posted there on what I was doing, both in nutrition and exercise. Bummer, but such is life. I was able to gather what is essentially a near monthly weigh-in record dating back to January 2008. In examining the fluctuation, I really didn’t do that much better on South Beach than in traditional “eat fewer calories and exercise more” tactics.

While I truly feel better eating only low carbohydrate/glycemic index foods, I will not go back to eating that way again. And I am having too great a time altering recipes to my whole grain preferences. It may take me longer to lose the weight that I have gained back since my illness started, but I will make that sacrifice for an improvement in my overall health. Looks aren’t everything, after all, and we’re only given one body to carry us through this life. So we’d best take good care of it. *tick*tock*

Here are a few informative links to explain some of the wellness steps we’re taking. (Yes, there is controversy on some of these as to whether or not you get cancer prevention benefits. Since the foods are beneficial in other ways, I’m going to continue eating them.)

  • Healthy cooking oils –  I typically use olive oil when I want that flavor boost, and canola oil for everything else.

Keep in mind that nearly every health regimen or recommendation for wellness includes a minimum of 30 minutes a day of exercise. Many claim that it does not have to be done in one 30 minute session, either. Breaking it up into smaller sessions work, just get moving.