An Unexpectedly Productive Monday

Today, I’m feeling better than I was expecting when I woke up this morning. I mean, I didn’t sleep well last night. I was ruminating a lot into the wee hours of the night and then kept being woken by a fellow client’s screams. This client can’t speak or use any form of alternative augmentative communication. The staff think he was in pain, but they couldn’t figure out what was bothering him. Thankfully, he seems calmer now. I hope he actually is.

I had a pretty productive day today. In the morning, I went to my GP. I had to discuss how I’m doing with respect to my abdominal discomfort now that I’m on one magnesium tablet a day. Together, we decided to leave it at this for now. I’m not totally well, but I’m as well as possible.

I also asked him to do a breast exam, because I’ve been feeling some discomfort. I felt okay with a male examining my breasts, after all he’s a doctor. Thankfully, he found no abnormalities, but he referred me for a mammogram just in case anyway. It’s been scheduled for this coming Thursday, which I consider really early given the state of healthcare and the pandemic and all.

In the afternoon, I decided to sort through my polymer clay stash to throw out the clay I can no longer work with. I mean, I know all clay can be made workable if conditioned enough, but I just feel that it’s too much work for me given how totally crumbly some of them are and how some of them literally get shredded by my pasta machine.

In the evening, I went for a walk, made another polymer clay unicorn and decorated my room for Christmas. Yes, I’m early for someone from the Netherlands, as most people don’t start decorating until after St. Nicholas, but I won’t be celebrating that anyway.

How was your day?

Desperate Yet Determined #WotW

Hi everyone. What a week it’s been. I’ve been swinging between despair and determination, sometimes experiencing both at the same time. Let me share.

Last week, I was in a very depressive, dysregulated, suicidal state. I finally managed to tell my assigned home staff about the nature of the “monster” in me, ie. my suicidal thoughts. She decided to E-mail the current behavior specialist assigned to my care home asking her for help in finding me someone to talk to about this. I mean, I have my nurse practitioner at mental health, but I cannot seem to get it through to him how I’m truly feeling.

I also E-mailed my nurse practitioner, only to get a response saying we’ll talk about it on the 23rd. Well, that was the final straw for me and I’ve pretty much decided I’ve had it with treatment with him. I mean, I know I should have called the team, but it’s not like this is the first time he doesn’t pick up on my signals, be it in E-mails, on the phone or even face-to-face. Our talks have pretty much been meaningless forever. Honestly, the only thing he’s helped me with is getting the right medication, the topiramate, for my nightmares.

This week, I’ve been swung back and forth between the thought that truly there is no hope for me and the thought that, maybe, if I stand my ground firmly enough, I will be able to access the right help somewhere.

I’ve also been ruminating over those two years I’ve been in treatment with my current mental health team. My nurse practitioner told me a year ago that “we could search half the country for a suitable therapist but that wouldn’t make sense”, adding that we’re stuck with each other (as if it was something he hadn’t just decided on himself). Half a year earlier, he wanted to refer me to the specialist autism center, but that got shoved off the table for a reason I was never told. I have been saying for all of the two years that I’ve been in treatment with this team that there are two things I want to work on: my trauma-related symptoms and seeing if I can lower my antipsychotic. Neither has even remotely been started yet. After two years, I’m done.

I am not so naive to think my nurse practitioner is actually going to give in and actually help me find someone else this time around. I have a tiny bit of hope focused on the behavior specialist for my care home, but not much. Even so, I’m pretty sure I can get by with no help from any mental health professionals at all. It won’t be easy on me or my staff, and that’s one reason my staff might pressure me to stick with mental health. Thankfully, so far they don’t.

On the physical health front, I’ve also been swung back and forth between despair and determination. After thinking kind of wishfully that my abdominal discomfort was almost gone last week, it returned on Saturday and has been pretty bad all of this week. Nonetheless, my GP wants me to stick to my current regimen of one magnesium tablet (laxative) per day for two more weeks and have the staff call back to evaluate then. I was pretty upset yesterday when I heard this. Now I’m more resigned to the idea that there’s no hope for improvement of my symptoms.

Overall, right now, despair is taking over, but thankfully I’m not actively suicidal right now. There must be some tiny flame of determination in me somewhere.

How was your week?

Word of the Week linky

Gratitude List (November 12, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone. I’ve really been struggling lately, which is one reason I haven’t written much. To get myself out of my rut, I thought I’d share a gratitude list. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful or #TToT for short. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for salami pizza. We ordered delivery from the local Italian restaurant on Sunday and I had this.

2. I am grateful for the night staff who helped me calm even the slightest bit on Sunday night when I was experiencing severe mood dysregulation.

3. I am grateful for a new book to immerse myself into. I’m reading a collection of short, autobiographical stories from a Dutch GP.

4. I am grateful for relatively good weather again over the past week. We’ve hardly had any rain and, though the temperature was quite low for my liking, at least it wasn’t freezing.

5. I am grateful my abdominal discomfort seems almost gone. I think I’ve finally reached the right dosage of magnesium. We aren’t to evaluate it with my GP until sometime next week though. Fingers crossed.

6. I am grateful my assigned home staff has returned to work part-time again. Like I mentioned before, she had been on sick leave since late September, but she seems to be recovering. She worked part of my day activities shift on Tuesday and my evening one-on-one today.

7. I am grateful for white chocolate. I bought myself a chocolate bar yesterday. I have it in my locked kitchen cupboard so that I can’t consume it all at once, but that way I do enjoy it more.

8. I am grateful for new essential oils. I ordered cypress, mandarin and lavender. Lavender, I’d had before but had used up. The others, I’d never used before. I did have to throw out a few others that I either didn’t like or that had expired, but that’s okay.

9. I am grateful I finished my polymer clay owl. Some people think it looks more like a turkey, but oh well. I’ll write a separate post on how I made it with more pictures later.

10. I am grateful for my staff. I have been extremely depressed lately and have been convinced that they should and will abandon me. While I heard from the manager yesterday that three staff are indeed leaving my care home, this apparently has nothing to do with me and the staff I have the best relationship with, aren’t leaving (yet).

What are you grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (November 6, 2021)

Hi everyone on this gloomy fall day. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. Unlike most days when I write my coffee share post, I haven’t had my last cup of coffee yet. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d say that my GP appointment on Monday went okay. My magnesium got decreased in hopes of relieving me a little from my abdominal discomfort. It’s helping a tiny bit, but not enough for my liking.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had an okay week otherwise. I’m struggling quite a bit with the disconnect between my intellect and my emotions. This is causing me to appear well-collected a lot of the time when in reality I feel extremely distressed. I discussed a few examples of this with my assigned staff and support coordinator today and they’re helping me improve these situations.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I finally gave in (or up) with respect to the adaptive footwear situation and had my husband order new walking shoes for me. After all, the old ones will probably have a large enough to get my socks wet hole in them within a week or two at most. I am so grateful my husband found almost the exact same shoes. They arrived in the post today. I am still hoping I will eventually get used to my orthopedic footwear, but it will need some further adjustments for that to happen first.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I am looking forward but also stressing about the national cerebral palsy day in three weeks’ time. I went to the event on my own three years ago, but this is quite hard this time. I can’t afford for a staff member to go with me to the entire event even with my one-on-one being covered by the care facility. After all, I have one-on-one only part of the day and would need to pay like €45 an hour for individual support for the rest of the day. I might go on my own after all, or I might skip the event, like I skipped the online regional meeting today. I was seriously planning on going to that one, but just couldn’t get myself to do it after all.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d proudly announce that I’m going to be an aunt again in May. I’m pretty sure my sister is fine with me sharing this on my blog now that she’s past three months and all tests so far are fine. My sister’s other child, my niece, is also doing well. I shared a few months back that she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. She had surgery in September and is currently wearing some type of cast. We are all hopeful that once this will be removed in a month or so and once she’s relearned to walk after that, she’ll be completely fine.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (October 30, 2021)

Hi everyone. It’s almost 8PM here so I already had my last cup of coffee. Still, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. Or Weekend Soft Drink Share for me maybe, although I didn’t have a soft drink this evening either. Instead, I decided to have water with my chips. We have Pringles, the original flavor, so if you’d like some, here you go. Let’s have a drink and a snack and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that, like I said yesterday, the weather was good most of the week. Partly cloudy, partly sunny with maximum temperatures between 13°C and even a rare 18°C on Thursday. Today though, it was raining most of the day. By early evening though, the rain stopped for a bit.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, yesterday, I got in over 14K steps thanks to the great weather. Today, I only managed about 6K steps, but I did get in over 250 steps an hour during seven out of the nine hours between 9AM and 6PM. I consider that quite an achievement!

If we were having coffee, I would ask you all to pray for wisdom for both me and my GP with respect to our upcoming appointment regarding my abdominal discomfort. Like I said yesterday, I am grateful my X-ray was normal, but my discomfort is all but gone.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I ended up not pursuing the issue I mentioned yesterday with the €90 software I bought via PayPal from some shady vendor. I did reach the vendor, but he claimed the problem I was experiencing wasn’t on their side, so there’s no way I’ll get my money back. Oh well, I hadn’t had my hopes up too high.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I finally did start crafting again. The project my staff saw that she brought the supplies in for today, was a polymer clay owl crafted around a metal ring. She also brought a finished owl she’d borrowed from the storekeeper who had inspired her, so that I had an idea what it should look like. It looked very different from how I’d expected it to look. I started working on the project today.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you that my assigned staff, the one who was on sick leave but is slowly recovering, came to the care home for a few hours again today. Remember how I said a few weeks ago that I worried that I caused her burnout by sucking up her energy? Well, she went out of her way to reassure me that I didn’t make her sick.

She also cooked a meal for dinner with another client. It was a potato, leek and mince casserole. At first, I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I did.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (October 29, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone on this Friday evening. I’m doing a gratitude list again today. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful my abdominal X-ray came back all normal. There’s no constipation or excess gas. Of course, this does mean we still don’t have answers as to what is causing my abdominal discomfort and how to deal with it. I have another appt with the GP to discuss further steps.

2. I am grateful my staff, the one who was on sick leave, is slowly returning to work. She came by for a quick visit yesterday.

3. I am grateful for nice weather. Most of the week, the temperature’s been above-average for this time of year, with today it going as high as 17°C. It’s been pretty clear and sunny with no rain too. The weekend is supposed to be different, but oh well, that’s okay.

4. I am grateful for interesting conversations. I’ve been exploring the enneagram again and engaged both my husband and several staff in discussions about it. I got one staff to take a test and, assuming the test typed her right, so did I.

5. I am grateful my creativity seems to slowly be returning. I’m not yet actually creating anything, but I’m exploring polymer clay again. One of my staff is going to bring me some supplies for creating something she saw online or in a book tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to it.

6. I am grateful I had the guts to finally press the “report a problem” button on one of my most recent PayPal purchases. I spent €90 on what looks in theory like pretty amazing software. Turns out though that the license information I was given doesn’t work. I tried to contact the vendor via their website but got an “undelivered” E-mail response. I saw that their PayPal contact info was different, so before proceeding to actually report the problem to PayPal, I decided to try one more time to contact them via that E-mail address. Fingers crossed this will work.

7. I am grateful for yet more newly-discovered essential oil blends. I still haven’t bought more oils in part due to said €90 I might’ve thrown down the drain, but I love learning new ways I can use the oils I do have on hand. I currently have a blend of cinnamon, ginger and ylang ylang in my diffuser.

8. I am grateful for salad again. My day activities staff and I made this for lunch (well, she did the actual making) on Wednesday and there was still some left on Thursday.

9. I am grateful for all the sensory equipment I have right here in my room. On a Messenger chat, we were discussing ways to cope with anxiety and I mentioned my essential oil diffuser, weighted blanket and music pillow. These things make me so privileged.

10. I am grateful I am safe in the care facility. I find it hard to say this, but it’s true.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (October 22, 2021) #TToT

Hi all on this mixed-bag Friday weather-wise. It’s cloudy with some rain, but the sun tries to peek through here and there too. I seem to have given up on the blogging challenges entirely, but I’m still attempting to write as often as I comfortably can. Today, I’m doing a gratitude list. I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) as usual. Here goes.

1. I am grateful my staff, the one who is on sick leave, was happy with her presents. Like I mentioned before, I gifted her a handmade soap, hand cream and bracelet. Another staff delivered it to her house as to allow me to save money on postage. The staff who is on sick leave, later texted the other staff an audio recorded message for me. It was so sweet!

2. I am grateful for my nurse practitioner and community psychiatric nurse. On Sunday, I landed in a bit of a crisis and E-mailed them, along with my assigned day activities staff and my support coordinator. My nurse practitioner responded on Monday. Though I felt like he was downplaying my crisis a little, my CPN later said that she at least felt that I was doing well because I asked for help.

3. I am grateful my GP takes me seriously. This really could’ve been a grateful for last week, but I forgot to mention it then. As regular readers of this blog might know, I’ve suffered with what doctors think is irritable bowel syndrome with constipation for years, but it’s gotten worse and somewhat different over the past nine months or so. I saw my GP about it a few weeks ago and he initially sent me home with orders for the staff to fill out a rating scale on my bowel movements. Boy, was it embarrassing having to ask the staff to look at my poop! Thankfully, it did show that I hadn’t been misguided about my symptoms. Last week, we went back with the rating scale and the doc examined me again. After discussing me with the gastroenterologist, he decided to refer me for an abdominal X-ray. It’s been scheduled for this coming Tuesday.

4. I am grateful for my husband’s ability to put things into perspective. I have been worried sick (no pun intended) about the possible outcome of said abdominal X-ray. My husband though said that, since I’ve been having symptoms for as long as he knows me, it’s not likely to be anything serious.

5. I am still grateful for topiramate. The increased dosage does seem to do something in the end. Last night, I had dreams about leaving the care facility, but they do not seem to affect me as much as they used to. I call that a win!

6. I am so grateful for one-on-one support. I cannot say this often enough. I am so very grateful my staff aren’t leaving me when I’m in crisis.

7. I am grateful the chili con carne I had for dinner yesterday was better than I expected. I hadn’t had meal delivery company chili in a while since it’s part of their fall/winter menu. However, I’d remembered it as dry rice with dry beans and a tiny bit of mince thrown in. To my surprise, they’d actually added some sauce and there was more mince in it than I expected.

8. I am grateful that the people who were installing blinds on my side of the building, are finally done doing so. Originally, only the other side of the building had blinds on the outside, but some of my fellow clients suffered badly from the sun shining through their windows during the day especially in summer. It took the company several weeks of installing the blinds and they had to be in each room to program them too. Thankfully, they programmed mine to manual, not automatic. Otherwise, if it’s sunny, the blinds will go down, then if a bit of wind blows they will go up, then down again, up again, etc. I’d rather keep them up and just draw the curtains when it’s sunny.

9. I am grateful that, when they were working on my blinds this afternoon, my one-on-one took me to the snoezelen® room at the day center. After all, the noise was quite unbearable. I loved lying on the waterbed while there was no-one in the adjacent room. So nice!

10. I am grateful I had the energy to go on the elliptical for over 30 minutes this afternoon. When I first stepped onto it, it felt as though I’d hardly manage 15 minutes, but I did pretty well.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (July 18, 2021) #TToT

Hi all on this beautiful Sunday. I used to have this rule that I had to write my gratitude posts on Friday or they didn’t “count”. Then I would allow myself to post on Saturdays too. Now it’s Sunday. I think it shows I’m pretty rigid with my rules of what is the “right time” for a certain post. I mean, the Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) linky is open till Tuesday and even if it wasn’t, that wouldn’t be a reason not to publish a gratitude post. Gratitude is always useful, so…

1. I am grateful my family and friends are still healthy and haven’t contracted COVID. Many are fully vaccinated by now too.

2. I am grateful I don’t live in the flooded area of the country, let alone in Germany or Belgium, where the flooding has been much worse. There’s been a lot of outrage at the way the Dutch handle the flood, but I think they’re handling it as well as they can. I am grateful we’ve not had any deaths due to it so far.

3. I am grateful for a sunny day here. Several, in fact. Since last Friday, the rain is pretty much gone out of this area of the country and we’re having warm summer weather.

4. I am grateful my GP took my abdominal issues seriously. Like I mentioned on Friday, I am back on a higher dose of magnesium. Here’s hoping this will work.

5. I am grateful I am still pretty motivated for creative endeavors. I’ve been making some jewelry, lip balm, as well as a melt and pour soap this evening.

6. I am grateful for the ability to online window shop without actually buying anything. I have so much I want to buy once my benefits arrive, but I’m glad I’ve restrained myself from spending any more money until then at least.

7. I am grateful for grilled hamburgers with cheddar cheese. We had those for lunch on Thursday.

8. I am grateful for a short chat with a woman from the care home a few doors next to mine. I mentioned her before, we used to talk a lot at day activities and she’s even had coffee in my room one time. Now due to COVID, we can only meet outside. I am however grateful I got to chat to her again and she’s well.

9. I am grateful my husband came by today. I hadn’t seen him in two weeks, as he had to work last week Saturday. Today, we went to Subway to have lunch.

10. I am grateful I found the Bible reading plan I’m currently following. It’s called “Hope Heals in the Midst of Suffering”. I can totally relate to the plan’s author’s experiences and they are so validating!

What are you grateful for?

July 2021 Health and Wellness Update

Today, I’m not feeling too inspired to write. However, I said last month that I wanted to make health and wellness updates a monthly occurrence. Here goes.

Last month, I was worried about my kidney function. My nurse practitioner was since able to reassure me it was within the acceptable range. I since have stopped using the Water Reminder app, as it was being a bit of a nuisance having to fill out my fluid intake each time. However, I still make sure to drink plenty of water.

The fact that my kidney function is acceptable means I have been able to start the topiramate too. Thankfully, like I’ve said, I don’t experience any side effects.

I also found out last month that I don’t have a UTI. The doctor still isn’t sure what is causing my bladder pain. I for a while took the max dose of paracetamol plus naproxen twice daily. Thankfully, I have since been able to get the naproxen back to an as-needed prescription.

As of last Tuesday, my magnesium, which I’ve been taking for constipation for a few months now, has been upped. I myself thought I suffered with diarrhea, but my GP was able to see that it was a result of constipation really. I am really hoping this will work.

To be honest, with respect to lifestyle, I’m not too satisfied with how I’ve been doing over the past month. I am still struggling to make healthier breakfast and lunch choices. This week, I started having crackers for lunch, which I like far better than slices of bread. However, we didn’t have those until Wednesday and yesterday, we already had a special grill lunch.

I did make sure to eat some fruit at lunchtime each day as well as some slices of cucumber. Overall, combined with my relatively healthy choices from the meal delivery service menu, I did meet my five servings of fruit and veg each day.

I got weighed in again yesterday and, sadly, had gained 400 grams compared to last month. I am still within the acceptable to me weight range, but I do need to make sure I really watch my diet more carefully over the next month.

Exercise-wise, I’m not doing as well as I’d like to. I would really like to make it to 10K steps more regularly again. I do know the weather hasn’t been great, but I still have the elliptical and can dance in my room. I would also really like to make weight training a part of my routine again. That might take some more time though, as, well, I want so many things.

Overall, I feel okay about the things I can’t control, like the fact that my kidney function is within the acceptable range after all. However, I could really do better on things I can control, such as eating a healthier diet and exercising more.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 2, 2021)

Hi everyone! Can you believe the first half of 2021 is over already? I certainly can’t. Today, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. I just had my afternoon soft drink. If you want one too, I bet there’s still some left in the fridge. I can also make you a Senseo coffee if you want it. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, first I’d talk a little about the weather. It’s okay. Most of the past week, it’s been raining, but I still got time to go outside inbetween rainfalls. It was a bit chilly for summer early in the week. Today and over the weekend, temperatures are supposed to rise to above 20°C.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that most of the pandemic restrictions were lifted last week. They however had only been lifted a few days when news got out about the delta variant of the coronavirus soon becoming dominant. Thankfully, the Netherlands has quite a high vaccination rate, so I have my hopes up we won’t enter a full lockdown come September. After all, my husband and I celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary on September 19 and we really want to finally be able to do something fun.

If we were having coffee, I would share that this week was a truly mixed bag mental health-wise. I did enjoy some activities, like jewelry-making. Last week was my 35th birthday and I got a bunch of supplies as a present. When being engaged in creative activities, I do genuinely feel some level of contentment, if not happiness.

However, there have also been times when I felt incredibly left out and hopeless. Like I said two weeks ago, the manager indicated that I cannot get more support than I’m getting now. Sometimes, I’m okay with this, but at other times, it really frustrates me.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I’ll finally start my topiramate this coming Sunday. The longer it takes, the less hopeful I am that it will actually help. We’ll see though.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, on Wednesday, some type of staff support person came to observe and help the staff with some situations with other clients and with me. She offered some ideas for easing transitions for me. When I’m doing okay or sort of okay, they help, but when I’m very distressed, they don’t. I’m still unsure as to how I can ease the many transitions I face during the day.

If we were having coffee, I’d update you all about my situation with the possible UTI I talked about two weeks ago. Well, it isn’t a UTI. What it is, no-one seems to know or care about. I was told to take naproxen and paracetamol and, when this week I reported that they helped some, was just told to continue taking them for another month. A month! I mean, seriously?! I feel quite frustrated about this.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you that my sister and her family are visiting me and my husband in Lobith tomorrow. My husband gave me the choice between taking a ParaTransit taxi and him picking me up at 10AM. Since my sister won’t visit till 3PM, I decided to take the taxi. I still have my entire kilometer allowance, since I haven’t felt comfortable yet using the taxi due to COVID-19. My taxi should arrive here in Raalte by 12:30PM. It’s normally a little under a ninety-minute drive to Lobith, but the taxi service might be late and/or combine my ride with someone else’s. However, if I schedule my ride earlier, I won’t be able to have lunch. Fingers crossed the taxi won’t be late.

How have you been?