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got my meds

i had to call my dr yesterday because i just couldn't handle being off the muscle relaxants. i was having all sorts of cramps, the worst being in my neck, jaw, and hands/wrist. i had to wear my wrist brace (which i haven't needed in years). my mouth ached and my neck had a spasm so tight, i couldn't turn my head. my arm, however, was much stronger and i had a lot more mobility in those days without the medication. i decided that i'd rather feel better than be annoyed by my arm, so i asked if i could go back on them. i got the green light and took my first one this morning. within 2 hours, my neck felt better, my jaw loosened up, and my wrist still hurts but it's better. i took the brace off. so that's good.

another good thing i have to look forward to is an extended weekend this labor day. arthur's parents have some neighbors up in CT who live in a 235 year old house that was an underground railroad station. serious history happened there. we visited them a year ago. they added onto the back of the house to make more room for their kids, but the front part is all exactly the same. even the basement. there's a secret panel in one of the kitchen cabinets that reveals an old dumbwaiter that was used to lower food down to slaves being hidden in the basement. there was a small space behind the chimney and the wall down there were they could fit 2 people at a time. there's also a set of stairs that lead to the basement that were sealed off but you can access them through a piece of wall that slides out. it's like stuff you only see in movies! so anyway, these people are going to florida for labor day weekend and asked if we would stay in their house and take care of their pets while they're away. holla! so we'll be sleeping there for 4 nights. i have a knack for old houses, particularly ones with history. i can't wait to stay there! so awesome! maybe i'll do something really country like bake a pie and put it on the sill to cool. haha. arthur's parents will be around that weekend too, so i imagine we'll be splitting our time between them and the pets we're supposed to watch.

well i guess that's it for now.


well, it's been a while again. i'm recovering from my latest procedure in which i had a shunt placed in my head to drain excess fluid that was frequently building up, causing me major headaches and nausea. the procedure required general anesthesia. they drilled a small hole into my skull and placed the tiny shunt (basically a drain) inside my head, right up against my brain. then they threaded a small tube down the rest of my body, just under my skin, where it ends up in my belly, where the fluid drains to. i woke up with pain and the inability to lift up my left arm. i was told it was nerve damage and it would repair itself within a week. well, it's been over a week a think (i've been having some confusion about what day it is and i forget when things happened in the past) and it's still not like it used to be. my arm is very weak and i find myself lifting it with my right arm to get it moving. i have been doing some exercises from my PT but i only notice a slight improvement so far.

in order to allow the arm a full chance to recover, they took me off a muscle relaxant i'd been taking to prevent spasms and it was also helping with seizures. if i did have a seizure, with the muscle relaxants, i tended not to spasm so hard, and it made the seizure recovery a lot easier. so now that i've been off them, i've been having leg cramps and tightening in my back, and i find myself clenching my fists while i sleep. i already sleep with a night guard in my mouth because i clench my jaw and i was ruining my teeth. the fist clenching is leading to another problem... wrist pain. years ago i broke my right wrist when i fell down an outdoor staircase. i've had two surgeries and about 6 cortisone injections in it. every now and then, i'll get a twinge of numbness in my fingers, or a bout of sharp pain. lately though, the pain has been constant, and i'm sure it's because of the fist clenching because i've been off the muscle relaxants.

my other problem is my blood pressure keeps mysteriously dropping, causing bad dizziness. it's especially bad when i go from sitting to standing. i usually have to hold onto something for like 10 seconds before i can start walking. it also happens if i go from lying down to sitting up in bed. it's very frustrating and makes me feel very.... unwell.

now that we bought our smaller apartment and we got rid of a lot of stuff, i'm considering leaving my job and going on disability. i'm pretty sure i qualify, and it would be nice not to have the stress and weight of work on me every day. i've taken more time off than i planned, and i know my boss is not happy. he's already taken a bunch of projects away from me and he has hired other people to oversee the people i was supposed to oversee. i feel like i'm slowly being pushed out of the firm in some kind of sneaky "we want you out but we don't want you to sue us" type of way. disability would allow me to still get some money while recovering. i think i could use a good 6 months of rest and PT before i'd feel like working full time again.

my only ray of hope in all of this is arthur. he's at work during the day, but he took a couple days off for my procedure and he left work early on my discharge day to bring me home. he is a constant source of comfort and love, and i'm very lucky to have him. if it weren't for him, i sadly would've had to move back in with my parents because i need someone to be with me. he never complains when i wake him up at 2am with a muscle cramp or nausea... or sometimes i wake up from a dream and i'm confused and i try to get dressed because i think it's morning when it's not. he makes me breakfast and makes sure i take the right meds before he leaves in the morning.

i really miss going to his family house in CT. i haven't been able to travel and we missed some good holiday parties up there this summer already. i'm hoping we'll be able to go up there in august or maybe for labor day. i can't believe the summer is already half over...

well, this post has exhausted me. back to bed for now.

stream of consciousness

dear journal,

as the apartment moving-in process comes along, i have come to realize just how small this place is. lol. the living room is already full of stuff and i think we're out of room. it doesn't help that our couch is rather large, but it has to be a sleeper sofa so emily and arthur's mom have a place to sleep when they stay over. now that we don't have a second bedroom, the living room has to double as a guest room. that might actually be more fun for the guest, since they will have tv and instant access to the kitchen ;)

my broken toe hurts. like, a lot. the healing process might actually hurt more than the initial breaking of the bone, which is often the case. i've broken a lot of things (the worst was my leg), but a broken big toe is probably the most annoying so far. the others were just extremely painful.

i stopped by a paint store the other day and picked up some colors for the walls... none of which arthur likes! we will have to compromise at some point. maybe i will agree to go with a darker shade of one of the neutrals i picked out. i like the neutral grays and creams. he likes the more "dramatic" colors, if you will. there's this really pretty color called "sea haze" that i want for the bedroom or bathroom. it's like a gray/blue/green. very light and easy to match stuff to.

time warner cable sucks a big one. we have wifi, but the tv is not working yet. they are saying they have to run a new cable somewhere. there is already a cable in place from the previous owners, so i don't understand why ours isn't working. didn't those people have a tv?? weird. there's always some glitch.

well, father's day is tomorrow. it's always an awkward time for me. do i call him? not call him? send him a card? i have tried and tried in years past to reconnect with him, but to no avail. he's done with me, i know. but am i done with him? somehow i think it's easier for a parents to shut out a child, but not as easy for the child to shut out the parents. i don't know. both are difficult. i don't know why i want to reach out to the person who has hurt me most... besides my ex, brian. it's like an abused dog who keeps coming back to its abusing owner because he feels some kind of loyalty, no matter how he was treated. maybe it's just too painful to accept the fact that he doesn't care about me. i just keep thinking about how i flew to chicago to help care for him after his car accident. he couldn't do anything by himself. i helped him pee for christ's sake. then i had fucking BRAIN surgery last year and he doesn't even call. i guess that should've been my signal that he was done with me, but yet i can't let it go. i still have my mom. she would never cut me off like that, but she's in her own little world. doing her own thing. maybe i'll call anyway tomorrow and have my mom put him on the phone. i know we don't like each other, but i don't know if i can live the rest of my life knowing our relationship has gone to shit.

in other news, the construction crew on a project i designed totally fucked up my design of this office space. they left out a key element (just didn't see it in the plans? or something?). it's their supervisor's fault, but then ultimately it's MY fault because i didn't go there to check on them. i would have noticed, but i didn't go check. i'm usually on site every couple of days when there's a build, but i haven't been feeling well. and then there's my toe.
they've been working for 2 weeks already on the space. i wouldn't say it's near completion at all, but the bare bones are there and they're wrong. there's no safety concern, it's just missing a circle in the middle of the reception area. hard to explain.
i can still change the design so it doesn't look like a major fuck up, but other people saw the plans and approved them, and they will all notice if it's different. i will also need approval on the new design if i go that route, and that could set us back another week or so. but ripping out what they just built and starting over will take even longer. it's possible they won't have to rip everything out. i don't know a whole lot about construction, but i know they can somehow get around things by not removing everything, just some parts, in order to fix what they did wrong. i'm really stressed out about it and it's causing me to wake up at 3am, wondering what i'm going to do. i want to just leave it alone but i can't because what they're building wasn't in the plans. i can't just let them design the thing by themselves! the circle was going to be hard to make. maybe they are being lazy? but we use this company all the time and they're usually good. UGHHHHH.

i'm getting all stressed now. heading to take a shower and clear my mind. sigh.
well journal, here we are again. back after a small hiatus. the big news: we're moving next weekend to an apartment that we BOUGHT. yep, arthur finally convinced me that buying was the way to go. we looked at a lot of condos... some super fancy, some pretty dumpy. when this one popped up, it was below our budget, in our current neighborhood, and the building is pretty much amazing. the only problem i have is with the actual apartment layout. if i had my way, i would renovate the whole kitchen/living room area before we even move in. but arthur disagrees and he wants to live in it before we make any rash construction decisions. he of course also thinks the walls are great colors the way they are (bright reds and blues and greens... not my taste), but i think it will be a lot easier to convince him to get the walls repainted rather than gut the kitchen at first. the best thing about the apartment is the view. through the living room window, it has a clear view of the high line. the high line is essentially a park that was built on preexisting not-in-use elevated train tracks. the tracks hadn't been in use for... a long time. they were an overgrown wasteland. instead of knocking them down, the city put them to good use. now you can take an elevator or stairs up to the park and walk for miles. so, we will have a little green to see in the summer months. it's very rare to have a view of any park from an nyc apt, so this definitely sold me. the building itself also has a garden area in the back, which is nice.

my health has been up and down. i've had a lot of anxiety over this move. it has been hard to purge so many of my belongings, but we have to downsize by about half to make this move work. arthur's parents are here this weekend and they are taking some things back to their house for storage (as much as they can fit in their car)! i'm very grateful that we won't have to pay for storage and i won't have to throw certain things away.
anyway, i'm pretty sure my anxiety led to a seizure i had a few days ago. since then, i have had tingling/numbness in my fingers and toes. it comes and goes but it definitely started after that last seizure. i remember arthur wanted me to go to the ER when i came to, but i refused. i probably should've listened to him. i've also been waking up with muscle spasms in my neck. i take a muscle relaxant but it just hasn't been working like it used to. maybe i need to switch to something else.

my viral load is still yo-yo-ing. i've accepted the fact that i'll probably never be undetectable, and i just pray arthur never contracts it. we've had a few scares in the years we've been together, but he always tests negative, thank god.

well, i'm going to lie down now. i like to spend sundays relaxing as much as i can because the work week kills me. by wednesday, i'm usually totally spent. we're moving on saturday, so i need all the rest i can get.

It's been a while.

Dear Journal,

I have really been wanting to write. I just had too much to say. lol. Then I wasn't feeling well (I'm still not, but my doctor is pretty much convinced it's just anxiety. And yet, I worry...). Anyway, I was basically forced to spearhead this project at work that I merely asked a question about. Then suddenly the whole thing's in my lap. That gave me major anxiety and I was feeling like I couldn't handle it, like I wasn't good enough for it, like I didn't have the energy to give it my all, etc. I've been dealing with it though and I think it's been good for me. I did assign a few things to other people just so I don't have to do them. But ultimately I'm responsible, so it's my job to look over everything they do. Christ. It's a lot of work.

The other major stress in my life right now is Arthur and I need to find a new place to live. Our lease here is up in June and we can't stay. Rent is over 5k a month and we just can't pull it off anymore. We also decided we don't really need 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. So, downsizing is the way to go! At first I was looking at rentals, but he has convinced me that it's a good time to buy something. The problem with that is it's so damn hard to buy in Manhattan. You can get something decent for a million. We put an offer down on a place that was 935 but the seller's rejected it and wouldn't negotiate. Our problem is we pick the good neighborhoods. lol. We looked at another place today and it was pricey as well but had amazing views, a beautiful gym, gorgeous lobby, new kitchen and bathroom. It was nice but it was SMALL and it was also 900-something. In NYC, you pay for "air space" instead of land like when you own a house. You also pay for the location more than anything else. Just two blocks out of this prime zone, and the prices drop by a lot. it's ridiculous. This condo is also on the East side which would be a big change for us. We've been living on the West side for 7 years. There's an unspoken divide between East and West siders in the city. I can't explain it. You're either one or the other and it's like a big deal when you switch sides. It's weird. Kind of like the North and South sides of Chicago. But if you're not from chicago, you wouldn't get that either. lol.

I started working again out for the first time in forever because I thought it would help my general physical feel, which has not been good. It helps a little but not much. I've been trying to drink more water too. I don't know what my deal is. Maybe it IS all just in my head? I feel short of breath and dizzy constantly, except for when I'm sleeping. I've had all sorts of brain scans and heart tests and everything comes back normal. I even had my doctor check for a pulmonary embolism. I think that's when he decided I was insane. :( i seriously think I just need to relax, but I can't seem to. I'm going to take a bath tonight. See if that helps.

Later journal, my dinner awaits!


dear journal,

we've been in CT since friday. the drive up here was rough for me this time. there was major traffic leaving the city. it took us almost 2 hours to just get out of the city limits. i was getting really claustrophobic in the car (we had a SMALL one), and the smell of the exhaust and dirty air in general was making me feel sick. i was feeling panicky, we opened the windows but that didn't help much. it was like, i wanted to get out. i ended up taking two of my anxiety pills and reclined the seat back as far as it would go. that helped a little. i ended up falling asleep about 45 minutes before we got there and i was still so tired after arthur woke me up, i just stumbled into their house and crashed on the couch for 4 hours. i woke up feeling better, but this whole weekend i've had my panic breathing problem. i don't know why. i'm not panicked or nervous about anything. i love it here. i was paranoid and worried that something else was going on with me, like some kind of lung blood clot, but i have no chest pain and i'm able to sleep just fine. i've been trying to do some of my breathing exercises and it works a little, but then the problem just starts back up again. yesterday i was so "breathless" i was dizzy and thought i was going to pass out. i had to go lie down. if this continues through monday, i'm going to call my doctor again. i'm sure it's just anxiety, but why? and why would it be lasting this long?? i recently had an echo of my heart done and it was fine. i have not had my lungs checked though.

arthur's dad has shown some mental deterioration this time around. it's very sad to me. i know arthur sees it too but he doesn't talk about it. last night i heard someone walking around up and down the hall outside our bedroom. i really thought it was the ghost. arthur didn't wake up. i was lying there afraid, imagining our door opening and a dark shadowy figure entering out room. but i got up and opened the door, and there was his dad standing at the end of the hall looking out the window. i called his name and he turned around, not sleep walking. i asked him what he was doing and he said he "oh, i was just looking for the bathroom." i said "don't you have a bathroom in your room?" and he was like "oh, yeah." then he just stood there looking around like he didn't know where his room was. so i put my hand on his back and led him back to his room. then his mom woke up and took it from there. it's very sad. it makes my problems seem manageable. i don't think there's much you can do for dementia. his mom said that these episodes usually happen at night. everyone is still sleeping this morning, so i guess we'll see how he is today when he wakes up.

i'm not sure what we're going to do today. we might try to repair some things in their garden that were broken during this winter and a recent windstorm. his mom enters a garden contest every summer and she needs some things fixed/replaced so she can get to work on her planting. they had a huge wooden arbor that just fell down, totally cracked. and it knocked down a huge ceramic pot that was there when they bought the house :( AND there was a beautiful climbing rose vine growing on the thing. she said it was about 30 years old. we're going to investigate today to see if it can be detached from the arbor and supported somehow to be put on another one, or if the vine is broken. that would be so sad if she had to start from scratch. she said they are very slow growing. the winter up here was brutal this year. she's lucky her house is still intact!

well, i think i hear arthur awake now. i'm going to make some coffee and relax, try to get my breathing under control. it's a very annoying thing. hmm.


dear journal,

i've been having an ongoing anxiety problem since saturday. i wake up feeling like i can't take a full breath. i spend most of the day thinking about my breathing and concentrating on my breathing, and just trying to get more and more air in. then i start making myself think that i'm having a breathing problem or a pulmonary embolism, and then i just get more anxious. i also imagine i'm having an undiagnosed heart problem and i'm going to instantly drop dead. i have spoken to two doctors about this "breathless" problem and they both said it's anxiety. i take medication for it, but it makes me really tired so i don't take it as often as i probably should. as the day winds down, i start to feel better. like right now it's 9:30 and i'm going to bed soon, and i feel pretty ok. i sleep ok too. but shortly after i wake up the next day, it starts again and i feel short of breath, can't take a full breath, can't get enough air. this results in me probably taking way more breaths than i need, and then i feel dizzy. i'm not sure what to do about it. my therapist has given me some breathing techniques and meditation ideas, and they work for like 30 seconds but then it's back to breathing hell.

this weekend we're heading to arthur's parents' house in CT. i love it there. i'm hoping i'll be able to relax enough to stop thinking about this problem and enjoy myself. i hope i feel ok enough to actually do stuff. arthur's dad is in the early stages of dementia. they thought at first it was alzheimer's, but doctors now think it's dementia. i don't think that's necessarily better, but whatever. arthur is in denial. his dad is still functional... he still drives, cooks, carries out normal activities. but he'll wander around the house and forget what he's doing. he'll go outside and wonder why he's there. one time i'm pretty sure he forgot my name, and he woke up the other night and tried to put his shirt on like pants. it's very sad and i'm very worried about arthur because between his dad and me, he's dealing with a lot. i also worry about his mom... if his dad dies in the next few years, will she stay in that house by herself? i can't see her doing that. it will pain her to sell it. maybe i'll buy it ;)

well journal, i think i've calmed down enough to sleep now. i love this livejournal. it's just what i need.

no words

dear journal,

the recent plane crash in the french alps that killed over 100 people has left me speechless. when it came out that they believe the co-pilot crashed the plane on purpose, i was dumbfounded but i must say i was not as horrified as most people seem to be. i was in a long term, what i thought was a close relationship for a little over 5 years with a pilot. his name is brian and he worked (and still works) for a private jet company that takes fancy business people back and forth to fancy meetings. you know, the planes that have lounge couches and shrimp cocktail platters and champagne. he flies fancy planes, the kind you see in movies. he still works for the same company. anyway, ironically, he contacted me last week to say he was in nyc for 4 days and did i want to meet up for a drink. he does this every now and then, but i think it's been a year since he contacted me. his contacting me after years of telling him not to and him very well knowing how much he hurt me, he still does it. he just doesn't get it. or he doesn't care.

anyway, i know now what a pilot's life is like. people are saying things like this guy was selfish, choosing to kill all of those people just to kill himself. if he was really that far gone, in his mind, he was the only one aboard that plane. if you are planning on killing yourself, you're going to do it no matter how many people you think you might hurt in the process or afterwards. but you're not thinking about that. you're just not thinking of anything except ending it right now. you're thinking about how much better you will feel when it's over. my ex brian put on such a charismatic facade. you'd never know he was fucking guys in every city he flew to. you'd never know he was lonely or hating the fact that he never had a "normal" life. but he couldn't get away from flying. he just couldn't leave it. he made that sacrifice but he couldn't deal with the lifestyle it brought.

i can see both sides of what might've happened on that plane. i do believe it's possible for a nice, "happy" guy with a girlfriend to kill himself and everyone on that plane because he was going through some sort of internal turmoil. but i also think it's possible for the media to easily pin this on him. what if he had an undiagnosed heart problem that caused all of this to happen at the worst possible moment? what if he had a stroke? brain aneurysm? and the poor guy is being called a murderer. i feel sad for him and his parents. i feel sad for my ex who is probably still cheating on 5 guys at the same time with 5 other guys. it's a sad existence, being a pilot. i'm glad i'm not with him anymore and i declined the invitation to meet up this time.

vivid dreams

dear journal,

last night i had a very vivid dream and it wasn't exactly a good one. i don't have time to go into detail now, but it involved me trying to drive uphill and the car wouldn't go up no matter how hard i pressed the gas pedal. and someone was chasing me. i guess i was making some kind of noise because arthur woke me up. i wasn't sure where i was at first. i thought i was in the hospital. i was drenched in sweat, my entire pillow was wet and my sheets were all soaked in sweat. arthur found me a clean shirt to put on and we were too tired to change the sheets, so he let me sleep on his side and he slept on the floor. i had a hard time falling back to sleep after that, mostly because of the dream, but also because i kept thinking about arthur on the floor and how he was willing to give up the bed for me. i don't really know what i did to deserve him, but he is truly amazing. i worry sometimes about how everyything with me has been affecting him. he did mention once about seeing a therapist to get things off his chest, but he never did. instead, i'M the one seeing someone. i'm not sure when the right time would be to talk to him about it again, but i think he would really benefit from it. i've been reading about the burden caretakers have to bear and it's just as hard as being sick. in my opinion.

anyway, just wanted to share that little tidbit. now i have to get ready for work. work is another story... i'm thinking about applying for disability, but i don't want to. it's a tricky situation.


last week kicked my ass. i came home so tired each day from work. like i couldn't do anything else. and it's damn hard being somewhat disabled in this city. everything has steps. there's so much walking required. it's just difficult. my knee isn't healing very well, so i'm going to see a "wound care" specialist this week. that sounds just grand, doesn't it?

i'm really not in the mood to write anything else. i just wanted to write something so as not to abandon this journal again. it has really helped me get a lot of thoughts out of my head. arthur and i looked at some apartments this weekend. still nothing good. even he agreed that these were bad. we have to move out of here in june, so we need to find something. i'm hoping to find something for 3k. that would save us a lot of money.

i really miss arthur's parents. we haven't seen them in a while and his mom couldn't come down for my last hospital gig because his dad was sick too. we're trying to figure out when we can go up to CT to visit them.

well, i'm going to bed. tomorrow is another busy day.


Toby Sklaire

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