Friday, December 19, 2008

friday catblogging

Today I introduce Isis, my parents' newest resident:


Don't be fooled by that innocent look, the dainty crossed paws. She should have been named Sekhmet because she is a little hellion. At least this is what the reports I've been receiving are saying. Yes, we know she's part something-point Siamese, we'll just have to see how her color develops and see what her points become.

Isis appeared early one morning, before Ra had risen in the East, hiding in the stump of a tree. Mom left the house to go to work when she heard Isis cry out from her hiding place in the woods, all the while an owl called out over their heads.

Mom crossed the road to the woods and called out to Isis, but she would not leave her shelter, for the owl was hungry and hoping to find a meal before Ra appeared in his chariot. Mom implored Isis to stay hidden while she returned to the house, to find Dad so that he could join her in rescuing tiny goddess.

Mom had to leave for work so she would not be late, but she guarded Isis until Dad appeared with light and food that was gooshy. The owl, being a creature of the night, left Isis and the bearer of light and food alone, retreating to its roost.

At the scent of the food that was gooshy, Isis appeared from her hiding place, somewhat bedraggled but still proud in countenance, as are all her kind.

Until she tasted the gooshy food and nom nomed without any pride. Dad was able to collect Isis while she nomed the gooshy food and carried her inside, where she now resides.

Friday, December 05, 2008

friday possumblogging

I'm hoping to start a new trend here - possum blogging, or opossum blogging, whichever you prefer. I know not everyone has one of these creatures readily available for photography, but then that's the fun of it. The photo-hunt at night. You might find one like this:


This is a juvenile, born this past spring and Momma Possum has finally said "OK, kid, you're on your own now." I know it's hard to tell scale in this photo so here are my estimates for size and weight: she (I think) weighs about 3 pounds, and is 12-16 inches from her nose to the base of her tail. Her tail was almost as long as the rest of her body.

But don't worry, this young one takes advantage of the stale bread I throw in the yard for whatever wants it and it also eats sunflower seeds that the birds scatter from the feeders. So despite not having a Momma Possum to gather food for her, this little one should be fine because I can't not feed the outside critters. Plus it's better to let something eat stale bread than send it to the landfill. [/environmentalism]

There is also a second, large adult possum that comes by every once in a while. More possumblogging yet to come from me.

...I think it will catch on. *nods*


Since it is Friday, be sure to head over to Modulator for the Friday Ark, where there are links to many other cats and critters for your viewing pleasure.

friday catblogging

It's a miracle! I remembered to catblog on Friday, instead of Monday rolling around and me saying "Well, crap" and trying to remember to post new cat pics.


If you think you see a bald patch on Eep's back, just above her tail, you are correct. Since she hates to be groomed, she doesn't get brushed as often as she should. She will tolerate being brushed for a completely random amount of time before she goes for blood. As a result, a pretty big mat of hair formed on her back where she can't reach to groom herself because of her fat ass.

The solution: a battery powered beard trimmer/shaver and some of my Valium. One for me, one for the cat.

After 45 minutes she was the friendliest she has ever been. All she wanted was to have her head skritched and to groom Hubby's hand. I got to work removing the matted hair and by the time it was all over I had removed a mat the size of my hand. Eep seemed relieved that that source of irritation was gone.

(I don't want to hear how I'm a bad cat Mommy; you spend a third of the summer in a hospital bed and see how much you get done around the house, including grooming a mean-spirited long hair cat.)

I just wish I had thought to take pictures of Eep while she was under the influence of the Valium; she could not get traction on the vinyl floor with her back legs, they just slid out from under her so she ended up almost swimming across the kitchen vinyl tile floor. I should have taken video of all of this.

Next bad idea - giving Eep a bath.


Friday, October 10, 2008

friday catblogging

It is autumn outside the Oubliette, and Callie has agreed to a photo shoot.

Autumn Comes to the Oubliette, Featuring Callie.
(Who came to the Oubliette in the fall as none of you may remember.)

First the contract negotiations. Callie is never happy with the first agreement her agent makes for her. Just a blip in the day's schedule, these things happen.

Negotiations complete, Callie does her sultry, come hither look.

Playful, sexy kitten pose.

Playful, silly kitten.

Proof she can do Star Trek, and sci-fi in general.

Go ahead, tell me I'm irresistible. You don't have to hold back.

Then, the shoot ends.

...and I want some water. Not the stuff from the bowl the other cats have polluted, but bottled water, from a glacier. Or an iceberg. One of those nice dark blue one, the really old ones.

Ahh, models. We all have our days when we're sure we're under-appreciated.


Don't forget to visit the Friday Ark #212 at Modulator.

If yesterday was Friday Catblogging, that means tomorrow must be the Carnival of the Cats at My Big Fat Orange Cat. For those of you who who like numbers and such, tomorrows CotC at MBFOC is number 239.

Monday, September 29, 2008

time dilation and having the plague

So, as you might have guessed, the previous post is pretty much a month late. It's not that I wasn't completely thrilled by David's phone call, but days start running one into another seamlessly.

Then I had the Plague and I died. Then I got better and time continued to not really have any meaning to me. Oh, I see this blinding orb move across the sky, then a smaller one moves along the same path, but that has no relation to time. The day and night doesn't mean the date has changed.

And even better, I've started to notice "cognitive impairments", or what most people call "brain fog". I'm hoping that it is side-effects from the Neurontin, which I'm almost maxed out on. If it's not a drug side-effect, *sigh* I don't know. I'm still not sure if I want to know if the cognitive impairment is permanent. Maybe it would be better to not know.

Hell, I may be more impaired than I think. I wonder what my current IQ score is. It was...well above average before all of this started, and the test I took off the interweb at the time which was within one or two points of a professionally administered test when I was in first grade. (time passes) Uh, yeah. My current score isn't as good. Don't start with the older one is, the more unreliable the tests are, and you have to take the exact version, blah, blah, blah. I did want to finish writing this tonight, so I took one of the first tests I found.

Even more fun, I may end up going to the Mayo Clinic. That's another post, because it's the only way to keep on track. But it won't be tonight because I'm saying f*** it and going to sleep with Top Gear in the background.

why, yes, i am a sci-fi geek


Over Labor Day weekend, I was planning on going to Atlanta to Dragon*Con. That would have meant leaving the house and heading to Atlanta the day after I was released from the hospital.

So no D*Con for me.

However, I did get a phone call from David Nykl, and so there was much happiness. Thank you, David, for the call and thank you Desi for arranging the call.

Although trying to find a quiet corner of Michael's (the craft store) to take the call was not easy, but damned if I didn't manage it.

I talked to David Nykl on my phone!

He also suggested that since I only live 4 hours from Atlanta, that I hop in a car and come see him in person. Trust me, that thought had already crossed my mind several times before he suggested it.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

the really short version, part 2

I just checked the date last post in August, and I was still in the hospital when I made it. So much has happened since then, it's not even funny.

First, I am out of the hospital. I was discharged the evening of August 27. In all seriousness, since then I have either been on my feet or asleep. If I sat down to try to blog, watch TV, bead, I would immediately fall asleep. If I stay on my feet, I stay awake and even alert.

I didn't have a C. diff infection. Officially, I had a flare of the Crohn's Disease. Personally, I think I had the stomach virus that was going around, and it just f***ed me over. With the Crohn's, any sort of stomach bug hits me harder than the average person. That's life for me. This was just the first time that I couldn't nurse myself back to health at home, assuming that it was a virus and not a full-blown flare of the Crohn's.

If it was the Crohn's alone, I needed everything I was given in the hospital. Well, I needed it regardless of if there was a virus along for the ride. Dehydration is dehydration, and IV fluids and meds were what I needed, along with nurses and patient care techs (PCTs) to take care of my physical needs.

So, since then I've been taking my medications, resting, and healing. I'm eating solid food and even been able to start eating some foods with a little more fiber in them which means my diet is becoming less boring.

There is still even more news, and it's a biggie. Stay tuned. OK, so I'll probably write it as soon as I eat and take a round of meds.

Friday, September 12, 2008

friday catblogging

Technically it's still Friday...

030 here's the catblogging.

The swing has made a comeback with a luxury, hand-made, flannel pillow. Oh, yeah, first class all the way. Freya likes it for a little while, if I put her in it first; she hasn't figured out how to get in it from the couch. The rest of the herd have varying opinions, which will be covered on Caturday.


Be sure to head over to Modulator for the Friday Ark. You know you want to....more kitties and even some other critters, some fuzzy, some not, for a little variety.

the really short version

My neurologist put me on even more Neurontin 2 weeks ago and every, and I do mean every, time I sit down to do anything on the computer I fall asleep. The Neurontin is working great, but getting used to the side effects is taking a lot more time than I expected.

Damn, you have no idea how lucky I am to have been able to stay awake long enough to do this. I need to figure out how to use the computer while walking or something, because as long as I'm doing something active, I'm not falling asleep. It's only when I sit down that it kicks in.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

an actual update from the hospital

I've just had my evening meds, so hopefully this will stay coherent.

The Crohn's had been improving slowly since my last hospitalization in June. Of course, pretty much anything is better than needing 2 units of blood transfused every two days because an ulcer had to make a fuss.

At the beginning of this month I started feeling a little crappier, like a minor flare of the Crohn's within the overall flare. No big deal, it happens. I'd had a nice stretch of good days so a few bad days in a row were bound to happen.

On the 10th of this month food stopped becoming my friend completely. I tried giving my GI system a break by well, not eating solid food. Tomato soup, lemonade, and Boost High Protein shakes are pretty much what I lived off of. Plus the usual handful of pills.

Long story short, I went to the doctor, he gave me some antibiotics since it seemed I had a C. difficile infection, based on my symptoms. A week later (Wednesday night) I was getting worse and went to the ER. Early Thursday morning I was admitted and here I've been ever since.

A CT scan showed no abscesses in my abdomen, lab work was negative for a C. difficile infection, and an ultrasound showed my gallbladder is just fine. As of right now, the only explanation for what's going on is a flare up of the Crohn's. That doesn't mean there isn't something else going on, but on the flip side, the longer one has Crohn's, the worse the flares become.

There's still the possibility of an intestinal infection that's not C. difficile, which is why I'm being treated with 2 antibiotics right now. Or I could have a viral infection, in which case I have to wait it out.

My treatment also includes, among other medications, increasing one of my meds that reduces inflammation in the intestines, IV steroids, and Valium (which eases intestinal spasms, relaxes painful skeletal muscle spasms associated with the MS, minimizes the tremor that has developed in my hands as a side effect of another medication, reduces anxiety, and helps with insomnia).

Today I had my first solid food in two full weeks, since the 10th. The doc won't send me home until I can tolerate solid food again, and without the need of heavy-duty IV pain medication. As of right now, I've had two half meals and two snacks consisting of real food (Jello doesn't count as a real food, it's considered a liquid). This hasn't gone as well as I'd hoped. I'm eating small amounts of food with more frequency than I usually do, so I don't overload my system. I'm doing all the right things, but the transition isn't as smooth as I'd hoped.

So that's what has me in the hospital this time; nothing as dramatic as a bleeding ulcer, but a slow downhill slide that requires inpatient care.

When will I be going home? My guess is Tuesday, since I haven't been having a smooth transition to solid food. If I'd been having an easier time, the doc said he might have felt comfortable with sending me home Monday. It all depends on how well I respond to treatment and when we figure out what's causing the abdominal pain that's completely unlike the pain I generally experience with a Crohn's flare.

Did that make sense? It does to me, in a rambling sort of way. A couple of the meds for MS and migraines leave me in a permanent brain fog, so what makes sense to me doesn't always make sense to everyone else.

The joys of the Autoimmune Trifecta.

sunday catblogging - hospital edition


What's actually going on: Freya in full cat loaf mode after I came inside from taking photos of the International Space Station flying overhead.

Surprise caption contest! Simply leave a comment to this post with your version of what's going on, what Freya's thinking, make a LOLFreya out of the photo, or whatever else your twisted brains can come up with. In a few days I'll post my favorites, granting eternal glory on the interwebs.

What makes this a hospital edition (aside from the obvious fact that I am in fact in a hospital as a patient and my meds are really screwing with my language skills) is that the caption contest is a thinly veiled attempt to get you guys help cheer me up and hopefully have some fun in the process.

This morning's hospital update and Tropical Depression Fay's impact in Huntsville to follow.


ETA - If you haven't already, head over to Modulator and check out the Friday Ark if you need something more than kitties to get your critter fix.

Son of ETA - Sunday means Carnival of the Cats, which will be hosted by Kashim and Othello.

Friday, August 22, 2008

i had to go and run my mouth, er, fingers

There's a few remarks I made in my previous post that with 20/20 hindsight, might have been inspired a great deal because of feeling ill and being somewhat pissed off at the world in general because I felt like crap. It happens.

That's not exactly what this post is about.
...because I can't get an increase in my pain medications without an office visit, or an actual hospitalization, because some people like to get high.

Now, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy some of the side effects of using my meds properly. Yes, they make you feel good. Anyone who says differently is a liar. Admittedly, a bullet would feel better after gut-wrenching pain for four fucking hours.

Maybe I do need a nice Thorazine vacation. I don't need 10 years EMS experience to tell me that delusions are not a good sign.

Well, I'm not getting a Thorazine vacation. I'm getting IV antibiotics, anti-emetics, more solumedrol, and pain medication because I may or may not have a Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, infection on top of a flare of the Crohn's Disease.

Based on what I've been told so far, I will be here until at least Sunday. The original C. diff diagnosis was made based on my symptoms. This time the hospital lab will be analyzing a fecal sample each day for 3 days looking for things like what specific strain of C. diff I may have, if I have any parasites, or any other abnormalities. This is in addition to the second CT scan I've had in the past week, and the metric crapload of blood that's been drawn.

This is the long way of saying so far we don't know crap. (go ahead and groan)

I'm sure if I dig agound on this machine I'll find some cat pictures and make Friday Catblogging for once.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

with great power, comes great arrogance

First, let me say that, on a personal level, I like my pain management doctor and his nurse practitioner (M, a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner, because I'm lazy). They're great people, and M spent more time than she had to just listening to me when I was in the hospital in June, manic as all hell because of some of the meds I was on.

This is a professional gripe/bitch/moan.

I think the pain management field is broken. There are people out to legally get high and abuse the system. Then there are the rest of us, who live every day of our shortened lives in pain most of you have never experienced, and are denied adequate pain control because of those who abuse the system.

So the fix is to crack down so hard that those of us in delirium-inducing pain have to endure it so that the people who want a buzz can't have one?

"...I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone..."
- Hippocratic Oath, Classical version

Withholding treatment causes harm to patients. I think the pain management establishment has forgotten this.

I'm ready to sever my relationship with the pain center and see if my neurologist will take over my pain management. At least he will return my phone calls and won't make me wait weeks for an office visit


Usually, I try to make light of my medical crap. This is not one of those days.

First, some background information. My current round of neurological meds tend to make me dream very vividly about whatever TV show/movie/book I've just watched or read before going to sleep. I watched "The Prophecy" for the first time in several years right before bed and that night became Thomas Daggett. I've gone back and re-watched the film since then and what I dreamed wasn't in the film. I wasn't just experiencing a scene first-person, I was getting the director's cut in my head.

Yesterday I was in so much pain that I was actually delirious off and on. I found myself living "Stargate Atlantis" (probably because a new episode had been on Friday night, so it was the freshest thing in my memory). I was being tortured for information (by the Genii, if you're familiar with the series) on how to sink the city. I didn't know how to sink the city, I was a member of the science contingent, studying plankton of all things. My torturers thought I was trying to hide information, so they kept going.

I have bruises at the base of my left thumb from where I was biting it, trying not to scream.

(Gods only know what my delusion would have been if I'd been watching Top Gear on BBCAmerica. "The....the Bugatti Veyron has 10 radiators and generates 1,001 brake-horsepower but I don't know how much torque the engine generates at 7,000 RPMs...")

All because I can't get an increase in my pain medications without an office visit, or an actual hospitalization, because some people like to get high.

Now, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy some of the side effects of using my meds properly. Yes, they make you feel good. Anyone who says differently is a liar. Admittedly, a bullet would feel better after gut-wrenching pain for four fucking hours.

Maybe I do need a nice Thorazine vacation. I don't need 10 years EMS experience to tell me that delusions are not a good sign.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

i'm not touching escalates

Well, I'm back after surviving an upper respiratory infection then the internet crapping out at the house. Not completely crapping out, but randomly doing so. Internet roulette. Without further ado, here's Freya:


"I'm Not Touching" has been taken to a whole new level. She was actually growling at me for daring to work while denying her access to the beads. I don't know what is up with this cat and beads, but she's borderline obsessed. Well, maybe not so borderline, I think she passed that border a ways back.

This round of INT ended in a stalemate; neither of us was willing to concede. The standoff ended when I had to leave the studio so I picked Freya up and carried her out with me. I'm not foolish enough to leave her in the studio, alone, with all the beads she can eat. Apparently seed beads are tasty. Then comes the wrestling match when I pry her mouth open to get the beads out because she's somehow gotten past my defenses. Just another day in the Oubliette.

I'm so glad I'm done with that bracelet. I think it turned out nicely, but it was a pain in the ass to make.


No thanks to Freya, it worked out well. It needed the ear rings, too. With a more elaborate bracelet like that (the photo doesn't do it justice, can't capture the iridescence) it needs matching ear rings to balance it.

For just $12.00, the entire set can be yours, but that's a different blog. I sold that one, so you can't have it. I do have it's mate in green, however...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

playing for keeps

The most intense, high-stakes game of "I'm Not Touching..." the world has ever seen is being played right now.

not touching

Do you see how she is so very deliberately Not Touching anything? Not a single bead or bangle, despite how close her paws and nose are to everything. Since she's Not Touching anything, and is simply lying there, pretending to be asleep, she knows I won't do anything to her. It's in the rules. If she puts one paw on anything I'll pick her up and move her. That's in the rules, too. She knows exactly how far she can push me before I'll do anything and damn, is she right on the lairy edge of what she can get away with.

This is a deadly serious game. In the previous round, every time her paw crept toward the beads I would cover them with my hand, then she would growl her pitiful little growl at me and try to move my hand out of her way. Reach, growl, bat at hand, withdraw. Lather, rinse, repeat.

All without touching anything.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

caturday catblogging

As promised a couple of weeks ago, FluffyCat edition of Caturday aka Friday Catblogging a Day Late.

Eep just hanging out in the basement, recharging her eye lasers

Also from the basement, I present Callie, who is doing her very best cat model work

She really did sit there in her basement window and look that unbearably adorable long enough for me to snap several photos.

For those of you who are not new to the Oubliette, Callie is even more sweet, talkative, and loving than she was when I had the adoption fund-raiser. She's EvilTimmy's cat more than mine; she likes to curl up with him on the couch in the basement and try to burrow into his neck, snuggle until she cannot physically get any closer. She's still a talker and my new quest is to record Callie talking to me, having a full two-way conversation.

I know my promise was, besides taking Callie in and preventing her from going to a shelter, was to post pictures of her here. I haven't forgotten that, so I'm trying to be sure she is featured often.

For those of you who discovered the Oubliette more recently, here is Callie's tail, er tale. You can also do a Google search of this site for "Callie" and find her entire story. At the moment the bio for each resident of the Oubliette is AWOL, but I'm still working on updating stuff around here. Each cat's bio will return and newer entries have labels that make browsing through the archive by topic a little easier. I might go back and add labels to some of the older posts, if it's worth the time and effort. It may not be worth it; my time may be better spent creating content and not filing the archives.

I do have a story to tell you, and I'll bet you've never heard this one before. But that's another post...


Don't forget, the Friday Ark #197 is up and running at Modulator. There's plenty of kitties and critters, so go check if out if you haven't already.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

tuesdy critterblogging

I missed out on Friday Catblogging and even Caturday, but fear not. I still have photos to share. Not of cats directly, but cat related. Enjoy Tuesday Critterblogging.

window squirrel 2008 002
That squirrel is a regular to the buffet I've started putting out on the window ledge. It does keep them out of the bird feeders, which I like, and squirrel watching is an added bonus.

window squirrel 2008 003
The squirrel knows exactly what glass is and what it does. It poses for the cat and the camera.

I didn't get a photo of it, but there's a momma squirrel who was showing her kits the window ledge before she kicked them out of her tree. Little baby squirrels. Absolutely adorable and completely unafraid of any movement on the other side of the glass.

time dilation strikes again

This is a perfect example of how I lose track of days. Without actually looking at the date of the last post, I thought it had been 3, maybe 4 days, tops since my last post. Definitely not a full week.

Yet another fun challenge of learning to live with MS.

Now, I wasn't exactly planning on writing War and Peace this past weekend since my in-laws were in town and CRAP! I've lost an earring. A very nice ear ring that was a gift. It's now time to play scavenger hunt.


Okay, found it. Not going to be wearing those ear rings around the house anymore. They're too nice to risk losing again and I'd have to go back to the hospital gift shop to replace them. So, yeah. I have a cheap pair on now that if I don't care much about. They're ear rings; they're plain silver hoops that have no sentimental value and little monetary value.


Back to living with the time dilation nonsense. I'm used to losing track of hours at a time; I'm an artist, it's pretty common for me to get into my work and suddenly have been at it for 8 hours and in desperate need of a stretch, a pee, and something to eat, not necessarily in that order. This is different, this is days at a time.

During the work week, when I'm home alone, I generally have no clue as to what day it is. I have to use post-it notes to remind myself to go to doctor appointments on the correct day, which usually works. Having the day of the week on the computer also helps, usually.

Then I'll have the other extreme: completely skipping a day in my head. I showed up at the Pain Center to pick up my Friday prescription on a Thursday. Swore it was Friday and what bites is I couldn't pick up my prescription until Friday since my doctor wasn't in to sign it. Plus it would have been considered an early refill if I had picked up on Thursday, and early refills are only allowed in extenuating circumstances, which forgetting which day it was wasn't.

My sleep schedule doesn't help, at all. I tend to sleep during the day, it's always been what works best for me. Unfortunately, I can't keep a daytime sleep schedule mostly because of doctors' appointments. Today is a prime example of that.

I couldn't drive Hubby into work since I had taken some meds that make me very drowsy for about 3 hours. So he drove himself in to work and I slept. In an hour or two we'll do a car-swap at lunch. He'll come and take me out for lunch then after lunch I'll drive him back to work. I'll go to the appointment with my GI by myself, and not on any meds that make me drowsy. Later in the afternoon, I'll go pick him up at work. Typical car-swap day for us and we have the procedure down to an art since we only have one car. We'll fix that once we pay off the current car loan, but not before because we don't need two car payments. Just no.

To top it all off, sleeping for 8 hours = new day, right? That's how I end up jumping ahead in the week. I went to sleep then woke up after several hours (not a nap, a real sleep), so it must be a new day. I thought it was Tuesday yesterday evening because I had just woken up from eight hours of sleep and was a little disoriented.

At least I'm no longer waking up and wondering what happened to my hospital room, why is the bed different, where are the windows, the is the TV mounted on the wall. It's sad when you don't recognize your own house.

Monday, June 16, 2008

i'm going home!

Today! In a couple of hours, I'll be at the house. That is all.

the stigma of pain medications

From the "chaps my ass", maybe that's not quite the right description. How about "pisses me off"?

The stigma of being ill. It's there, and it's real. If you've ever been sick and not wanted to tell someone the truth, you've been there.

Why? Why should we be ashamed of being sick, of having an illness? Why should some symptoms of a disease be acceptable, and some not?

I'm not talking about polite conversation here, about descriptions of diarrhea. There's a time an place for thing which may squick people. And I know there's the grey area where polite society meets genuine social stigma, a taboo.

Pain Medications

I'll admit, I've felt ashamed of the fact I have to take opiates/opioids/narcotics/the heavy-duty shit or whatever you call them. There is a genuine stigma, a social taboo, associated with taking opiates on a regular basis. If I don't take them, I'm in severe pain, and that's the end of it. Well, the opiates also slow down the digestive tract, which in me is a good thing. There area actually prescription anti-diarrheal meds that are opiates.

But I digress.

Why should I feel ashamed of taking an opiate every day so I can maintain functionality? Why should anyone feel that way?

You're just getting high. Pain patients only want the narcotic high. She keeps getting stronger drugs, she's hooked. Candy-man. Taking narcotics every day makes you an addict. Addict...dope-head...not really in that much pain...cope with it, everybody had pain...

Did I miss any?

Why? Why should this be?

I expressed my nagging anxiety about being on opiates to the psychiatrist who did the psych consult for me, to prescribe the meds to even out the steroid/demerol psychosis. He asked me to define "addiction" and I ended up with more or less, using or taking something for the pleasure of it, because of a want, not a need.

A want is addiction. A need is a symptom and a controlled medical condition.

I had to get over this anxiety. Why should I be afraid of being an addict? How do I take my meds? Every 6 hours maximum of 4 a day, says the bottle. But sometimes, when the pain is bad, I take two and ration out the remainder to last until my refill.

Both the psychaitrist and my pain doctor said the same thing.

It's OK.

It's OK. Some days are worse than others, and that's the nature of pain. The 4 a day is a guideline, and a double dose is fine; what would be prescribed, and perfectly safe.

I signed a contract with the Pain Center that I would use my opiate prescription exactly as prescribed. I would not take extra or double doses, I would not run out early. If I break the terms of the contract, I will be completely SOL as they drop me as a patient.

My doctor said it was fine to break the contract in that way. It's expected, from every patient, just as long as I don't go trying to get early refills.

- What about nausea/vomiting with the Crohn's? I asked. If I take a double dose, throw it up [he could see the anxiety building in me], I'll come up short...

Hmmm...well, if that happens, we know about your Crohn's and you take both phenergan and zofran for nausea/vomiting? Just let us know, I'll make a note of it in your chart, you can have early refills in this case, until your Crohn's settles down.

- What about alternative routes? Trans-dermal patch, oral gel...

We can give you some fentanyl patches to use for bad days. They're not for breakthrough pain, that's what 2 percocets are for, since the fentanyl patches takes a couple of days to build in your system. Use them for a few days instead of the tablets during bad stretches. Talk to us if you look like you're going to run short. We'll take care of you.

- OK, but sometimes I think the phone messages I leave end up being a game of telephone and by the time it gets to you it seem like I'm not having as much of a problem as I actually am...

Yeah, that happens. Just call us back, make sure I get the message. I'll take care of you.

I'll take care of you.

Now, as a patient, I really should keep a pain diary. Log my pain levels each time I take my meds. I have three diseases which are painful individually, not to mention the snowball effect pain has. It has real physical effects that are negative. Higher blood pressure, higher pulse, higher stress overall.

I do not need any more stress. It has a history of making my diseases worse, especially the Crohn's.


So I've just revealed to the entire blogosphere what I take, why, and even how much and how often. I feel better, less stressed, because I know there's no shame in taking my medications the doctor has prescribed, needs me to take.

But. This should never have been an issue in the first place. I'm not telling you about taking my migraine preventative, after all. That med is not an issue in society.

Why should being treated for severe pain, by an anesthesiologist be any different?

It shouldn't. Unfortunately it is. For me, for other patients, for society. There's something very wrong with that.

going home, maybe

Well, it looks like I'll be going home later today. Maybe, if the detox continues to go well.


Ok, here's the short version of why I'm in the hospital.

Memorial Day - Woke up with blurred vision. In denial about serious problem, blamed eyestrain, needing new glasses prescription, anything but something neurological.

May 29 - Had appointment at the Pain Center. Was told to get my butt to the neurologist, and I assured them I had an appointment the next day.

May 30 - Get thee to a hospital! Optic Neuritis, definitive diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, despite having mild symptoms but no lesions for 3 years. All previous symptoms could be blamed on other medical problems, and were.

That weekend - Hospital Hotel. Solumedrol IV twice a day to get my eyes back in order, get the swelling down. Didn't feel sick, enjoyed the stay as much as possible, considering I was in the hospital for a serious medical problem.

Monday, June 2 - Went home. All was well. Taking oral prednisone to taper down from the solumedrol.

Friday, June 6 - Woke up with gastric bleed, and a very serious one. Called my gastrointerologist, waited to hear back with instructions. Went to ER, admitted to the hospital.

Saturday - Continued to bleed from somewhere in my large intestine. Received 2 units of blood that night.

Sunday - Began prep for colonoscopy the next day. Had blood count monitored every 6 hours, as I had since admission.

Monday, June 9 - Colonoscopy, upper GI endoscopy at the same time. Bleeding had stopped by the time the scopes were performed. Recovered in my room, blood count continued to drop. Second transfusion of 2 units overnight.

Tuesday - Thursday - convalescence. Began to show signs of demerol/prednisone/solumedrol toxicity. Tapered down as quickly as possible on the prednisone. Switched from demerol to nubain to control pain.

Friday - now - Consults with various specialties - physical therapy, psych, pain doc, pharmD, psurprise pseudospeciality. Detox by IV and oral fluids like normal saline and iced tea.

So here we are. I've had internet access the whole time, wireless broadband. I love living in Huntsville. High tech rednecks. Bless this city.

I went downstairs with my nurses - I've moved in by now, on staff or whatever, and hung out in the Smokers' Den (courtyard) when I saw this....

huntsville hospital june 2008 008_bright-contrast

How cool is that?

ETA: A couple of my nurses had gone down to smoke and I went with to get the hell off this floor. I went out to the smoker's courtyard with them, chilled, chatted, then saw the landscaping. I had my camera, and snapped the photo. Although they had no idea what I was doing - possible crazy patient alert - which was hilarious. Then they loved the photo, and how I saw what they didn't.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Carnival of the Cats #222

The Carnival of the Cats #222 is up and running at Mind of Mog. Go forth and check out this week's moggie round-up.

Seems like only yesterday that the Oubliette was hosting CotC #57 or CotC #70. My how time has flown by...

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Happy Caturday, all.

In celebration of the Oubliette being back in business, now, 1000% more cats.

First: Arming lazors...

Son of First: μFuzzy and her FuzzyMomma - AKA Freya and McCullough

Photo the Third: Cat on a Cold Shingle Roof - Leo, the neighbor cat.

And so begins the Oubliette's first ever (since the re-inventon) caption contest. Submit which photo your caption is for (1, 2, or 3), your caption and the winner will be chosen by Oubliette staff. We have a second volunteer staff member, an editor, who I'll introduce in a later post.

Next time, the fluffy ones. Mwah-ha-ha...

Friday, June 13, 2008

we have internet again!!! and friday catblogging

Having drug-induced mania and insmonia and not having internet is really not cool, at all.

Of course as soon as the hospital fixed their internet problems, it was Consult Time. And vitals checks, and lunch, and another consult, and, and...


The parentals arrived from a land far, far away where there is a metric shitload of water covering everything, floating down here in their custom-built ark. Well, not an ark exactly. It's a Toyboata, so it's a bit smaller. You have to have a Dampervan before you enter the ark size range.

Just google those two vessels.

On with the show.

Insomnia, mania, tremors, paranoia, depression, inappropriate emotional responses, auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations. Name that condition.

No, you're wrong.

Steroid psychosis. It's so much fun, and deserves it's own post. That is one of those topics.

It's still Friday, it must be Friday Catblogging. Tonight, Freya's tonsils.

Momma, why you flashy light at me?

Now for a bonus photo...

When bloggers end up in the hospital what do we do? Take pictures and post them on the internet.

The track marks on my arm from repeated sticks for bloodwork. Photos? Yes or no.


Be sure to head over to Modulator for the Friday Ark and some soggy moggies, among other beasties.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Greetings from the other contributor

Just wanted to drop in with a quick introduction. I'm the "other guy" here, Telephorus. I am good friends with the author. I'm currently swamped in my new position as an attorney for a state government agency. When I'm not doing that, I'm also a volunteer paramedic and EMS educator. And yes, I've heard the jokes about attorneys and ambulances.

I'll contribute rarely, but I'm honored to be asked to contribute.

what i'm doing and why i'm doing it, plus a cat picture

I have decided that fate, karma, destiny, luck, deity, or whatever you want to call it has a job for me to do...

Hello, my name is Mira d'Oubliette, or Mira of the Oubliette. I hope you enjoy your stay in my small, dark corner of the internet.

I am an artist. I paint in oils and acrylics. I draw in anything I can get my hands on.

I am a photographer.

I am a writer, a wife, an aunt, a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter, an in-law, a niece, a patient, a retired EMT, an art historian, a thirty-something woman, a Roman Wiccan, a cat lover, a sci-fi geek, an internet geek, a geek in general, a National Weather Service Storm Spotter, and a Jill-of-many-trades. (You can stop humming Meridith Brooks now.)

I have Crohn's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. These are all autoimmune disease, and I collectively call this the Autoimmune Trifecta. I have had Crohn's the longest, since 1986. I was born in 1976. Yes, you're doing the math right.

I am now a professional writer and photographer who works from home due to multiple autoimmune diseases. Working from my home allows me to have some professional life while being able to take care of physical needs as they occur. As I have a two decade medical history, and I am not getting any younger, this is the best option for me.

I will write here about my life. I will be frank, possibly offensive on occasion, and unapologetic. I will write stream-of-consciousness style mostly. I will share with anyone who wants to read this blog my ups and downs, stories of coping with Crohn's disease as a nine year old child, my thoughts on a thunderstorm, pictures of my cats or whatever else strikes me when I have camera in hand. I will answer emails as I best I can and at my discretion, which means I may not answer every piece of email. Also, please, for the love of the internet, remember spam filters sometimes grab non-spam. They go for spam and get Vienna sausages instead...

This is my job, and I am serious about doing it, although the content will not always be serious in nature. Yes, serious about not being serious. Anyone may ask me any questions about anything. That doesn't mean I'll answer every question. I have my prerogative and I will exercise it. This is also not a crisis line. Please, if you are having a medical crisis, call 911, don't email me first.

This blog is about real life, the good, the bad, and the otherwise. I will write frankly and honestly, within my comfort zone, about my life. My comfort zone can vary from day to day, but in general it is fairly broad. I will try to keep this website work safe, at a PG-13 level. I will talk about medical conditions and procedures using proper medical terminology, and I will provide links to definitions or define terms within a post. If there is something you are unfamiliar with and I don't explain, Google it or go to Wikipedia. Wikipedia will be your friend for general "oh, that's what that is" information. It's mine. Do not think I'm talking down when I take the time to explain something in detail. I'm saving a link to Wikipedia.

I will try to update daily. I understand, and you should too, that I may not be able to do that, or that some days my post will be very short. I have good days, I have bad days, and I have really shitty days. Understand this. I am writing this from my hospital bed after having lost more than 4 units of blood in 36 hours from a bleeding ulcer in my intestine. I'm having a good night, I can't sleep, but I'm not feeling that bad, and I can type and think.

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that effects the central nervous system. This is the brain and spinal cord.

Multiple sclerosis can cause a variety of symptoms, including paranoid delusions, changes in sensation (hypoesthesia), muscle weakness, abnormal muscle spasms, or difficulty to move; difficulties with coordination and balance; problems in speech (Dysarthria) or swallowing (Dysphagia), visual problems (Nystagmus, optic neuritis, or diplopia), fatigue and acute or chronic pain syndromes, bladder and bowel difficulties, cognitive impairment, or emotional symptomatology (mainly clinical depression).
-Wikipedia, Multiple sclerosis signs and symptoms

I could suffer from any one or combination of the above at any time. I woke up partially blind one day, and that is how the "Yes, it is definitely MS" diagnosis was made.

People with autoimmune diseases do not always look sick. Often we don't. Crohn's disease attacks the digestive system, yet I was heaver than ideal. Then I began to lose over a pound of body weight a day. A pound a day, and that could last for months, in an extreme situation. I'm not as overweight as I was just 10 days ago, I'm about 15 pounds lighter, depending on which sets of scales I use for the before and after weights. There is a margin for error in this, but the physical signs of my skin becoming loose on my body is obvious.

Have you seen Silence of the Lambs? Where the killer puts the victims in a pit, doesn't feed them for a few days to loosen their skins, before killing them. I would be easy to skin right now.

You have probably noticed I have an eccentric sense of humor that can be on the grim side.

If you can't handle it, go somewhere else.

If you can't handle rapid mental gear changes, go somewhere else.

As of right now, because of the MS and medications I'm on, I fixate on things. This post is an example. I'm currently fixated on writing this, laying out how it is in no uncertain terms. I could and probably will be fixated on something else in an hour or two. I may want to write about it, I may be doing something completely different. That's how this works.

I have been told I am an inspiration, a hero, an amazing person, and many other wonderful things. I have been told every day from May 30, 2008 to June 12, 2008 that I should tell my story. Maybe I'm an inspiration, but I don't think I'm a hero or doing anything all that special. I'm living my life. I've had to make major adjustments in my lifestyle that I thought were many years away, but caught up with me sooner than I expected, sooner than I wanted.

I see this a work, a job. My job is to provide entertainment; something enjoyable, interesting, thought-provocative, sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet, writing and photographs. That's my job. I get paid by readers dropping money in the Oubliette's PayPal Tip Jar. You decide what to pay me. This is a different kind of new internet economy, right here. I get paid whatever you think I should get paid. I am not asking for a hand-out. I will be documenting my income, and the rest is my problem. You are not donating to a charity, you are buying a subscription to a dynamically written journal. This is business, but there are no ads on this site, and there never will be. I have complete control of the content of this, my little corner of the internet.

I write stream of consciousness. Sometimes this is good, sometimes this is bad. I'm a fairly good self-editor, but typos and screw-ups occur. Some thing will certainly get past spell check and all the other electronic assistance these days to make sure writing is coherent.

I am not alone in this. My friend is helping me with this. He is Telephorus, the Accomplisher, named so after the son of the Greek god of medicine, Asclepius. I have a long-time interest in the religion of ancient Mediterranean cultures (Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Minoan, and so on), and people will be named after figures from these cultures. Telephorus may post here on occasion, at his desire, but I'm not going to let him steal my thunder. Along the same vein, privacy will be respected and defended for everyone. I will use pseudonyms for everyone unless I've been told it is unnecessary.

*takes a deep breath and looks at the verbal diarrhea*

If you made it this far, congratulations. You just read my terms of service, mission statement, and some randomness.

As I stated previously, this is a profit-making venture, to a point. I have operating costs to create this, then I have medical bills. Constant medical bills. That's what I'd like to have a little extra $ for. You may subscribe to this blog as an RSS feed, so think consider paying for your subscription. The amount is at your discretion, what you think this is worth to you.

Thank you for reading this, and allow me to extend a whole-hearted welcome to my little corner of the internet. Stay as long as you like, poke around, or just take a moment to look at a cute cat picture.

And you can't say I didn't live up to my promise of a cat picture.


Say hello to Freya, the youngest Oubliette cat. There are 4 more.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

good intentions, crappy timing

This is a very abbreviated version of what's going on. Oh, do I have stories for here, when I feel up to writing them.

I am in the hospital, again. I was out 3 whole friggin' days when I was admitted to the hospital.

Three days.

Friday, June 6, I developed an intestinal bleed. Tests were performed, and I have "quite a few ulcers" along my transverse colon (the bit of large intestine that goes sideways, up high). One or more of the ulcers had started bleeding.

I had to have 2 units of blood transfused Saturday night and 2 more units on Monday night. At this time I am resting in my room, seeing how I tolerate the switch from IV to oral steroids. Medication and blood count monitoring.

No, there is no guarantee that I won't need more blood.

And that's just the Crohn's disease.

I'm still having MS symptoms, and good for me, the treatment for them are steroids. This not a two-for-one-sale on disease treatment. For a limited time we will throw in treatment for rheumatoid arthritis for no extra charge. That's right folks, three diseases, one treatment. And as an extra bonus, we'll throw in pain management with heavy duty opiates. This is a limited time offer, we can't do this forever....

I have just two words: pain crisis. I have an abbreviation, too: IV.

I'm not going home before Thursday, and if things go great, I'd prefer Friday.

Thank all that's holy my doc has "you'll be here as long as it takes" attitude and isn't trying to get me out of here in X many days.

In the mean time, I forgot I had a MySpace page, Go friend me, I'll return the favor. Tell me you wandered in from the Oubliette so I can make an Oubliette group or something. No, I'm not a big MySpacer, but it is really convenient in mass-updating people.

Freya will never let me leave her side again. Ever. I will have a furry tumor on my leg that will be impossible to remove.

Stay tuned for Freya the Service Cat.

I'm not shitting you on that, either. Really, Freya the Service Animal.

Friday, June 06, 2008

hey, it's friday

It must be time for catblogging.

Freya decided the color exercise I had done in chalk pastel was the perfect place to roll. Don't worry, the pastels are non-toxic. The worst she suffered was a bath and the pigments staining her fur for a week or so.


Be sure to check out Friday Ark #194 @ Modulator for more fuzzy, feathery, and critter goodness.


I finally have trackbacks enabled again. Haloscan added a new (to me) 5-star rating feature for each post. I'll leave it up for a while; I don't know if I'll end up keeping it.

Thoughts, anyone? I'm trying to get caught up on all the new and shiny blog toys that have appeared in the past year or so and suggestions of what to look at and what to avoid would be appreciated.


@ Omnibus Driver - Thank you. It is good to be back.

@ Desert Cat - Thank you. I'm working down my antiquated blogroll in alphabetical order, so yours was one of the first to pass the "good, still there" test.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

let the cleaning begin

I hadn't quite realized how out of date parts of this place was getting. A random click on my blogroll went to some crap that definitely isn't a blog.

*glances at blogroll*

This is going to take a while. On the upside, during my hiatus, blogspot became very easy to use so revamping the look of this place only took a couple of hours. I'm not even going to pretend I can do serious HTML/CSS anymore. I've been out of the game way too long for that.

From cutting edge to back of the pack. Don't get me wrong, I don't really care about my rusty HTML skills, since I've forgotten more than most people on the interwebs ever learn.

*pokes sidebar, sneezes*

Yeah, the griping is pretty much just stalling.

reinventing the oubliette

It's taken a while, but I think I know what to do with this blog.

First, cat-lovers, have no fear. All the furry monsters are still here and will continue to get their fair share of fame. Or more than their fair share.

If you've scrolled through the archives, then you know that I do have some medical issues. (I know some of you are laughing. Go right ahead. I'm trying to do the same; it's healthier.)

In a nutshell: I have had Crohn's disease for 22 years, Rheumatoid arthritis and Ankylosing spondylitis for about 10 years, and I have now been diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis, although I have most likely had it for 3 years now. Or about when I stopped updating here every day.

I was talking to a nurse last week, and when she learned what I have, and for how long, she said something along the lines of "You should write your memoirs about this".

And you know something, she was right.

So, that's what I'm going to try to do now. Write about living with four autoimmune diseases. My daily ups and downs, the good and the bad. I don't get out of the house much, but I do have a life. I do things during the day, and while it's not as exciting as EMS and rescue work, it's my life now. I paint, I draw, I write. I take pictures of flowers in my yard, my cats, and storm clouds when severe weather heads this way.

(Can you smell the acceptance?)

I'm a wise-ass and love sarcasm. I'll make fun of myself, my diseases, and nearly anything else. I don't mind sympathy, but I don't want pity. (Usually. If I'm throwing a pity-party here, it will be very obvious.)

I don't mind people asking questions about anything, and I'm not trying to discourage questions. I simply might not answer them.

I'm not trying to be an inspiration and I'm not looking for glory or anything like that. I'm just trying to live.

And if you were looking for the webcomic, that project has been scrapped, at least as a regular feature. It took too much effort for me to keep up with the schedule I wanted to. I'm not saying I won't do any more of the strips; I just don't know how often any new strips will show up.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Thank You

Thank you for your payment. I hope you enjoy your visit(s) to the Oubliette and will continue to be a reader.

If you have any questions/concerns regarding your payment, please email me at

- Mira d'Oubiette, Noah, McCullough, Eep, Callie, and Freya

More Fine Print

As this is a profit-making venture, this is not a charity nor was a charitable donation made. If you have any concerns regarding, consult an accounting or tax professional.

Again, thank you for your payment.

Cancellations/Return and Shipping Policy


As there is no tangible merchandise being purchased, only a self-determined payment amount for reading/viewing blog known as "The Oubliette", there is no refund policy. All sales are final.


There is no shipping as there is no tangible goods or services for sale.