Friday, April 27, 2007

learning to fly

I tend to blog to bitch about something. Lately, though, bitching and complaining seems like a terribly negative contribution to the world. I’ve been on the receiving end of it so often these days that I hardly want to show up to that particular party. Which is, in itself, a complaint, of course.

Did you hear? Nancy Pelosi went to Syria. I love this woman. Dick Cheney said it was “bad behavior.” Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a Harvard University Professor and a Pulitzer-prize winning historian, said, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” You’re damned straight. Thank you, Mr. Cheney, for proving this point so eloquently. Talking heads spouted lots of theories as to whether the history will turn out to be shameful or admirable. As far as I’m concerned, it takes a lot of guts to take up the reins of foreign policy and do what the President ought to be doing anyway, especially in the Middle East.


Thinking my shoulder was All Better because the pain was mostly gone, I started practicing yoga again. Three lovely sessions last week, only to wake up Saturday morning thinking, “Damn, that was stupid.” So back to the babying. I can’t imagine that yoga would be a good idea anytime soon – probably not even at LEAF. I’ve re-established a nice running habit, though.


I’ve been wanting to do something with the front garden bed for a while. The windstorm swept off the front porch rather violently and we’ve rearranged some other areas that resulted in a much less cluttered porch. Which only made the weeds and rocks in the front bed stand out more.

I always thought of it as a shady spot until I took a moment on Saturday to simply observe it – I was thinking about which plants would make the best ground cover – something had to go there; I wasn’t going to just mulch it over.

Come to find out the spot is actually sunny in the morning and for most of the afternoon. Without taking the time to step back and simply observe, without judgment, I would never have noticed.

I’ve never been much of a gardener. Last year I tried herbs on the back porch – the oregano came back with a vengeance and kinda killed off the basil. I think I might divide it and set some down in the front bed just to see what it does. Two basil plants – a cinnamon and a sweet – went in on Sunday. I’m trying to keep them nicely watered this year. Even went so far as to buy a watering can. (Duckie already had one, of course.) Imagine that.

So I like the Idea of a front garden. I like the thought of coming home to a bed of flowers and herbs (maybe strawberries too, if my boss ends up handing down her strawberry pots) instead of a bed of weeds and rocks. It will take patience, sweat and time. I wouldn’t have had the time or the inclination had I not wrecked the shoulder and yoga practice.

Brian has good ideas, too – we might end up renting or borrowing a small tractor. An acre of land has a lot of potential.


The governor of North Carolina, Mike Easley, had a $35 million budget deficit, so last month he decided he was going to make it up by cutting mental health funding and community service programs, even to the point of making retroactive pay cuts. A huge outcry from mental health service providers prompted some reconsideration. (Note that this did not go through state legislature; it was an autocratic decision by the governor’s office. I thought that stuff was illegal, but hey, what’s good for the federal government is good for the states too, right?)

I don’t know how much Virginia Tech affected this issue. My guess is, the protests had already sent a signal to the governor and it became a visible political issue after the massacre.

I had a med check last week. The counseling center had two handouts explaining the cuts and laying out some options for registering protests with the governor’s office. (Which reminds me I have yet to do this.)

I said to Dr. M, “How are things in the mental health community these days?” I don’t really know why I asked; what was she supposed to say, anyway?

“They pretty much suck,” she said. “How are you?” She’s good at that. Part of the job description.

Brian and I had discussed the PMS issue at length before the appointment. He said that three out of every 28 days I make life hell for the people I love the most. Since Dr. M regularly asks how Brian thinks I’m doing (because let’s face it, my perspective can be somewhat skewed) I brought that to the table. The Lexapro increase wasn’t doing the trick.

“Have you talked to your OBG?” she asked.

“No. Haven’t seen her in years. Regular doc does the yearly physical.”

“Might want to. Progesterone may be an issue.”


“We might want to consider temporary treatment for those three days. I’d hate to recommend it because I don’t usually prescribe benzos for bipolars, but –"

“Benzos? Downers?” I asked, just to clarify. “Like Valium?”

“Yes, Valium is one option.”

I wrinkled my nose. “That doesn’t seem like a safe option for me. I had Valium once for an operation and I really liked it.”

“Seroquel, then,” she said. “It’s meant as a sedative for mood disorders. Which is you. Half a 25-milligram dose to start. You’re sensitive enough to chemicals that it will probably knock you out. Try it before you need it – do a test run when you’re not busy.” When I’m not busy. Yeah, ok. I’ll pencil it in.

I couldn’t help but think of James immediately, who has had such a hard time with the side effects.

“Side effects?” I asked, just to be sure we were talking about the same thing.

“Weight gain, risk for diabetes, hypertension, drowsiness.” Yup. Same stuff.

The nose wrinkle again.

“But,” she said, “you’d only be taking it for three days a month, and at a very small dose.”

Brian said it would be good to have around.

“Even if I’m totally useless and, like, unconscious?”

“You don’t have to take it. But it might be good for me to be able to say, ‘Take a pill.’”

Which is kinda scary. I used to like downers – a lot. I used to borrow Ambien from a friend during my first marriage when I was really miserable and preferred to be asleep anyway. Now, though, I really dislike the idea of not being conscious enough to deal with my daughter.

Then again, maybe it would be better to be unconscious than potentially violent. Which is terribly sad. (Enter the whine.)


The three yoga practices I shouldn’t have done last week yielded a fascinating revelation. I was moving into warrior iii (otherwise known as the airplane), a challenging balance for me, and it seemed very right to channel some energy through the heart chakra to balance out the back leg. I had always thought of the standing leg as the balance point – but maybe sometimes it isn’t.

Balance with the heart, I thought. It worked like a charm.

The Animal Planet aired a show last night with strange and amazing facts about animals. In autopsies of dead orangutans, those crazy tree-swingers who rock and roll from tree to tree so effortlessly, scientists discovered that there’s about a 50% occurrence of bone fractures in a normal orangutan’s skeleton. From falling out of trees.

So if you’re an orangutan, you have to fall, to learn how to fly.


SB Gypsy said...

Sweetie, are you on birth control pills?? (if so, it could be the horse hormones) After my hysterectomy, I was on hormone replacement for awhile, and found that the human hormones left me feeling so much more sane. Human Progesterone is a feel-good hormone, yet the synthetic kind gives you a good bout of depression.

Human hormones can only be otained at a compounding pharmacy(only two in the state of CT), and are more expensive than regular birth control pills. It's a thought.

(un)relaxeddad said...

Can't comment on downers (though I did acquire a pretty thorough acquaintance with serotonin boosters at one point in my life and I don't mean credit cards) but can send winces of sympathy. Sounds like your doctor is at least frank and open to treating you as an equal partner in assessing treatment which is such a blessing. Nancy Pelosi. Can we borrow her?