Monthly Archives: April 2014


So, I find myself sitting, early this Friday morning listening to Change of Heart  “at work” in my office at home at 5:30 am getting more done by 9 am (blah blah blah).  There is the sound of claws on laminate flooring as the dog chases, catches, and chews on the cat (I’m glad they love each other).  The window is open, a hawk cries just out of sight.  An owl alerts the world that it is morning.

I keep thinking about changes.  It’s been a third of a year now full of changes.

Not all of the changes have been easy.  I miss my little boy desperately.  Skype helps a lot and I bought a year’s paid subscription so I can call anywhere, even land lines, without having to worry about it.  Voxer helps too.  I still miss him.  I know he has his wings and that this is as it should be.  But still…

It was very hard leaving “home” to go on vacation (and to do the half) in Florida and getting on one plane while my family got on another plane and I never went back to Texas to say good-bye.  Watching them leave (their plane was an hour before mine, and I wasn’t allowed to check in until they were nearly ready to take off) through the airport while I sat waiting to check in will remain a very fresh and raw memory for me.

Not all of the changes were hard.

I love my new house.  It feels like a home in a way that the old house never quite did.  Maybe because here I have a room of my own that is all my own that I love.  Outside my window is a bird feeder that birds actually come to.  I have the window open this morning listening to the bird song from wherever they are.  There is a chilly breeze coming in and it’s wonderful.

I have a garden and flower beds that won’t require hundreds of dollars of water to keep looking like flower beds, and I’m making them my own.  I’ve adopted plants from the farm where I grew up.  I’ve adopted plants from the yard of the vacant house next door.  I’ve bought plants that I love (yay pussy willow bush), herbs and plants that hearken back to my childhood and my great grandmother’s house.  I still want a rose bush and a lilac bush.

My job is sometimes hectic and sometimes, frustrating sometimes, incredibly educational sometimes, but always something I enjoy doing and something I look forward to doing almost every day.

Oh come on, NO one loves their job every day.  Some days you just feel like shit and don’t want to deal with breathing or going to the bathroom let alone facing people or stress.  I’m glad that the days that I want to hide under the front porch are way fewer than the days when I actually enjoy going to work.

And looking at where I am now, I have to think that the best change is that my boss believes that I am capable now.  I thought I was going to work where I was forever because it was decent insurance and it was good pay.  It didn’t really matter that I was ridiculed all the time or that my boss outright told me that he didn’t think that I was capable of being a productive member of HIS team… or that I was deliberately set up to not possibly be able to reach the goals set.  Now I’m part of THE team and I am a productive member of the team.  And I realize that I can.  And knowing that I can, again, is one of the biggest changes.

I don’t always feel marvelous.  I am getting back to caring how I feel.  And I am starting to find peace in what I am and what I’m doing.  And the absolute best part is, the change in the weather seems to be agreeing with my RA.



Stepping Out!

This gallery contains 2 photos.

This morning I ventured out.  There were some things I knew I needed to buy (or rather… I guess… wanted to buy… ) and the hotel is way not a shopping mecca. There is a mall 3 long blocks from … Continue reading


No es bueno, no es malo, es simplemente diferente

It’s not good It’s not bad It’s just different Alone in a really big herd in a foreign land… flipping the Sacagawea Golden Dollar that I got as change from my $10 this morning at McDonalds. The coin is dirty … Continue reading

People are Just People

People are People So, I’ve pretty much had it with people dumping on people because there is something, just a little something, that they don’t like. Hair color, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, whatever… People rag on other people for lots of reasons. None of them are really good reasons.
I don’t know if I’m getting old, or I’m just flat out weird, or maybe a combination of a lot of things, but (as I’ve been watching out the window of the bus navigating the highways and byways of Ecuador) I realize that that People are People.
The people you pass on the street? They may not be JUST like you, but they really are just like you. They have their own problems. They have their own opportunities. They hurt, they get angry, they get happy, they love.
Life is so full of ire and anger and stress, why is it that people find it necessary to spend so much energy and effort on judging and hurting other people.
Cliche? yeah… I know.. but… seriously… why can’t we all just get along?
I watch the people… they are going to work, carrying their children, waitng in line at the bank, packed like sardines (more cliche? full of it today, aren’t I?) in city busses.
What is it about people that compels them to judge, to hate, to malign? Energy would be much better spent focussng on making yourself less stressed and more content rather than expending it on hate against others…

okay… soap box over.. you can go back to your regularly scheulded programming.

The Next Adventure Begins

Sitting in the living room family room den thing where I have been hanging out an inordinate amount the last week.  Fringe is on TV.  Showered and dressed… hobbit feet propped up on the coffee table.  A couple hours from now I head to the airport.  Electronics are all charging, just so I’m covered for the next 12 hours.  Packing is all done.

Ecuador, here I come.

Not sure why this trip feels so huge to me.  I mean, I know that it’s my first international flight alone, even though I won’t be alone alone… we are traveling as a herd.

The altitude scares me.  Not like Everest would (even base camp) but I know that I’m looking at a headache for the next few days and that won’t be fabulous.  I’m all packed with as many medications as I can think to take.  I know I will miss something.  It is inevitable.  I wonder if the change in altitude will piss off the RA.  I know exercise, for the next few days at the very least, is out.  But will there be any interesting side effects to the ouchies or swellies?  I guess time will tell.

WHY is my iPad update taking so long?  None of the other updates took this long… sigh…

The remnants of last night’s Sheetz coffee is feeling very friendly this morning.  I wonder what Ecuadorian coffee tastes like.  I wonder what interesting food will present itself.

I wish I remembered more from Pitt Spanish.

I wonder if I will “get” to see a volcano erupt.  2 weeks… and it has been move and more active since February… I’m betting I might get so see something.

I want to explore.  But I doubt I will have much time for exploring.

I’m looking forward to being actively involved in SIT.  I’m not sure what to expect or to what degree I will be engaged.  It is a functional thing.  But I will be a part of the team… the incoming team… but also the bigger Quito team and the bigger Sherwin team.  I’m nervous but I’m excited.

The adventure begins… wonder what the next two weeks will hold.

Methotrexate… a rant…

Okay, so I gave you fair warning.  This is a rant.  I try not to let it eat at me and fester, but there are just some things that are so irritating that I have to let lose.  THIS is one of them.

Methotrexate has always been kind of a sore spot with me (not to… you know… make bad jokes about stomach shots and stuff).  For a while I had a hard time finding a store that had sufficient available Methotrexate (liquid) to fill my prescription.  It isn’t a profitable drug.  Passe.  So the makers don’t always manufacture sufficient.  Or there is a mass recall (this has happened more than makes me comfortable).  Add to that, my DOCTORS have suggested that I would be better off using the “with preservative” kind and have written my scripts as such.

Most pharmacies don’t have a problem filling what is written.  Most… If they have it.  I’ve had trouble with one chain in more than one city… in more than one state… in more than one TIME zone… when it comes to this drug.

In Texas it was ‘suggested” (okay… they told me flat out) that they don’t carry my medication as it is written.  I need to go BACK to my doctor and MAKE her write my script either as pills (which make me really REALLY sick) or as the injectables that they DO carry because the company they happen to chose to use doesn’t carry the with preservative vials.  So… I said that they wouldn’t be my pharmacy, I trust my doctor and it is HER job to write what she wants me to take… not theirs to prescribe what they want to sell me.

Now I find myself insured with a company and the pharmacy that I HAVE to use for maintenance drugs (which, despite the fact that I take MTX every week and have for three or four years now, apparently this isn’t… ) is… yep yep yep… the one that doesn’t like my MTX script.

Skip forward to yesterday.

Dr called in my refill.  One month supply, 4 shiny little vials (except the doctor thinks she’s calling in two moth supply… blood test to blood test) came from the pharmacy.  Bear and I got into a lengthy text message conversation about the meds.  He said the bottles didn’t look like what I’ve been taking.  They didn’t.  They say preservative free on the vials, so I got a one month supply, half of which I would be throwing out, and the vials are bigger and a different shape than what I use.  OH… and they are twice the dose I use.  The ones I take are 25mg/ml the ones they filled are 50mg/ml.

Now, I’m not a pharmacist or anything, but I’m good enough at math (it was one of the dual minors on my undergrad degree) to know that 50 is kind of a bigger number than 25.

I called the pharmacy.  They don’t carry my script and TECHNICALLY the doctor didn’t say it HAD to be with preservative.  They GUESS (they guess???) they can TRY to get what I take to fill my script NEXT month, MAYBE, but only if the doctor SPECIFICALLY says they HAVE to.  Otherwise they will give me what they like to sell not what I take.

What do I do with the drugs I won’t take?

Toss them they guess, they can’t do anything with them.  WE left the store.

The guy on the phone laughed at me.  He thought it was hilarious that I was calling him about this.

I called the insurance company.  The part of the company that handles the prescriptions.  The part of the INSURANCE company DIRECTLY AFFILIATED with the pharmacy (which is why I HAVE to use them for maintenance drugs) because I was concerned with being laughed at and being told that there is NOTHING they can do until they get a different prescription.

And I had questions about why (maybe the doctor changed what dose she wants me to take even though I’ve been mostly controlled and even though when I was there she verified my dosage) it was 50mg rather than 25mg.

The insurance company showed that 25mg had been billed in Feb and (GHASP) yeseterday.  25… 25… yeah… the right dose.

I was also informed that MTX is apparently not considered a maintenance drug, so I can get THAT filled anywhere I like.  So I’m going back to where I can get what I take without argument or stress.

I don’t understand why they think it is okay to mess up my meds.  And I know it isn’t personal.  They mess up meds for lots of people or it wouldn’t be such a joke.

My MTX… taking twice the strength might make me feel crappier than usual for a day, but it probably wouldn’t do any real lasting damage.  But other people take other meds.  They RELY on pharmacies filling the scripts RIGHT.  They might not realize the dose is doubled.  What then?  Not everyone has a George Bailey looking out for them.  Not everyone triple checks the labels every time (okay, MOST times).  What happens with them.

he he he… ooopsy?

shake my head… you are dealing with LIVES… it’s really not that funny.


Let me start by saying that I hate paying $6 every time I have to go for an Orencia infusion. I know it is a little thing, but parking, in general, irritates me a lot. I also hate knowing that they bill almost 10,000 a month for my office call, chair rental, infusion center rental, soda crackers and cranberry juice. I’m REALLY counting on what the insurance company saying being true… that after I hit $3500 out of pocket, I won’t have to pay any more the rest of the year. Except for prescriptions, those come out of a different company and a different bucket (and SO don’t get me started there).
I don’t like knowing that the Intercontinental hotel is DIRECTLY attached to my clinic. That tells me that it is probably billing way more than is absolutely necessary.
All that said, I messaged my Dr through the online thing, and she called me back to talk. She asked that I call her, asked that I just stop in her office, asked that I call her to follow up and asked again today that I call her on Monday. This is a doctor that has crappy ratings in the rate your doctor thingys.
The place is expensive, but… She listens… I miss Dr Booth incredibly. I love her sense of humor and the fact that she always remembers everything about everyone in my family. But Dr Gota cares. She might not care the way other doctors show it… or the way some patients think she should, but she’s very matter of fact and to the point and she follows up. She uses the computer for her records and takes copious notes, but when it comes time to be poking and prodding, she does that just fine.
I don’t always like the look on her face. I certainly don’t always like being sent for x-rays and blood work. But we have ruled out that anything is broken and we know that I waited long enough for my diagnosis that I already have significant wearing in the joints. But we know. And knowing is half the battle.
I’m looking at being able, in the next couple months, to change to a more local (and a not pay to park) rheumy. But I’m not entirely sure that’s what I want. I don’t like the cost. I don’t like being slapped in the face with some of the reasons why the cost is what it is. But… I like her. I think I want to stay anyway.
The decisions that I know I have to make because I have to be comfortable with my care because it is for a long long time, but I have to think, too, about all of the cost… what to do, what to do…
That is part of my uncertainty today.

Making a Fist

069I found out, yesterday, that my inabiltiy to make a fist right now is (most likely) attributable to tenosynovitis. Given the way it presented (one finger on one hand) the Rheumy was kind of surprised that I have it.
She sent me down to get blood work and an x-ray (nothing broken, apparently), called in a perscirption for prednisone (I’m taking 40 mg for a few days and it seems to be wroking, at least way better than 20 did… it’s not all better, but way better… I’m not wanting to chew nails at any rate) and I’m to call her back tomorrow.
So this morning, I’m nearly able to make a fist (nearly… way closer than yesterday when my finger wouldn’t even bend).
That said, I’ve decide that today I have a reason to make a fist and do that whole WOOHOO thing fist pump knee raised.
I signed up today to make this blog my actual registered URL (and the payment went through this time). So from now on, I will not only be on the WordPress URL (, I will also, officially, be at
I’ve tried this independently before. I think it’s way worth the money to have done it this way, and the URL is mine as long as I want it to be… for a small annual fee.
so I want to do the whole woohoo thing
I guess I will have to do it with my right hand, rather than my left, at least for another day or two!