Monday, December 30, 2013

TV For Free!

We've been in the new house two weeks today and it is just yesterday that we started getting TV channels. Two weeks without any news, late night talk shows or even my guilty pleasure - Young and the Restless. Sure we've had our DVDs and streaming Netflix but I've really missed watching regular TV. I've always known that it's a big part of my morning and evening routines, for better or for worse, so being without it was difficult. Especially when I wasn't feeling well or couldn't sleep - two things that happen frequently. 

Initially we tried to get our TV for free through the antenna but since it was unsuccessful we started searching for alternative solutions. There are plenty of options available between the cable companies and satellite companies but none of them were reasonably priced. All we want are those basic channels that are offered for free to anyone whose antenna can pick up the signal - ABC, NBC CBS, FOX, and PBS. 

I tend to think that these big TV providers have a seriously outdated business model. Nobody is watching 300 channels but their packages are all set up so that you are forced to pay for a bunch of stuff you will never watch. At the same time you can go online and watch almost anything you want for free. And the handful of programming that isn't available for free will be available on one of the streaming services (Netflix, HULU Plus, etc.) for less than $10/month. 

I do believe that watching what you want, when you want and paying a la carte for it is the future of TV. I don't have a whole lot of faith that the big providers will be flexible enough to keep up. Hubby and I are already conditioned to the alternative viewing options - unable to return to cable or satellite, with their fees and overpriced packages. No thanks.

Unwilling to pay out the nose for these channels we decided to revisit the antenna. Long story short, we got a more powerful antenna, which was enough to pick up the signals. It took us a couple weeks but we are back in business and for that I am thankful.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Window Coverings for Migraines

As all of you who suffer from chronic migraines know, window coverings are very important. The minute we decided on which model of house we were building, I started thinking about how I was going to cover the windows.

The 2 spare bedrooms in the front of the house were easy. We bought and installed blinds, that was plenty for now. I really just wanted to keep prying outside eyes from looking in. 

The back of the house is all windows. Two in the master bedroom, two in the living area and a big sliding glass door in the dining area. For these windows I turned to Eclipse Blackout Curtains. I've been using these for years with some degree of success. Normally I buy them at Target but finding just what you want is always kind of a crap shoot in the stores around here. Plus I needed to make sure that I could get 8 of the exact same panel so I went online. The results were thrilling. Not only were the panels half the price being charged in the stores but they also sold them in the 95" length, which gives floor to ceiling coverage. I was able to get 8 panels for just $80 and the shipping was free.

While comparison shopping at Target I discovered that they now sell a quality, aesthetic curtain rod that wraps in toward the wall allowing the curtains to block out more of the light. In the past I have used the cheap white rods that wrap around but had wanted something nicer for the new house. The best part is that rods were cheaper than most of the other regular rods and even came in sizes large enough to cover the sliding glass door, something the white rods never did without sagging in the center.

The only trouble is that these curtains don't block out as much of the light as the ones I have bought in the past. Though I am fairly confident that once we install some blinds behind the curtains the light blockage will be complete. In the past I've always used them over blinds and didn't have all this light come through.
UPDATE: Even with the blinds installed there is still too much light coming through.

The one trouble spot has been the front door. We have one of those long narrow windows that runs beside the door. The door leads into a long wide hall that opens up into the main living space and hits the side of our couch. Even though the sun never shines directly into this window due to the position of the house and the overhang of the porch, it is a bright spot in the corner of my eye whenever I am on the couch or walking from the living area into the kitchen. Basically there is no avoiding it.

While curtains are made for these small windows, they are all white, sheer or made of lace. That would do nothing to solve the bright problem that is this window.

Again turning online I found that Home Depot actually makes an easy to install window film designed to block out light. The best part it that it was another inexpensive solution.

A little cutting

A little smoothing out

Some trimming along the edges

Presto! What a difference!

It is like the difference between going outside with dark sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat vs. just going out with no protection. We can still see out but it is not bright by any means AND now it's really hard for people to see in, which is great on a day like today when the Mormons are out ringing doorbells. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

'Tis The Season For Self Abuse?

'Tis the season to judge yourself harshly, compare yourself to others and basically feel bad about your shortcomings. Oh wait, NO IT'S NOT! Nevertheless, that is exactly what I did. This holiday season has been especially difficult due to the big move and the move has been especially difficult for me because of my chronic migraines and fibromyalgia.

In all the craziness I didn't bake a single holiday treat, I didn't have the chance to get my husband a gift in time for his 40th birthday (just days before Christmas), I didn't bake him a cake or make him a special meal, I still haven't found a couple of the Christmas gifts I bought before the move so not everyone got to open their gifts from us yet, I had to leave one of our holiday gatherings early, the house is a mess and there is little I can do about it because I'm exhausted and in pain. I've been stressed out and on edge.

I can blame it on my type A personality, or on the general feelings of inadequacy that have resulted from years of living with chronic migraines and fibromyalgia, but the blaming doesn't help me move past this terrible self abuse I heap on myself when I can't keep up. I watch as the people around me manage to still get everything done even when something big happens to disrupt life. Heck, I remember when I used to be able to do that. Despite knowing that I can't, knowing that it's not my fault, and knowing that this doesn't make me weak or lazy I struggle to accept the reality of my limitations.

I don't want to be this way. I don't want to rest when there is work to be done. I don't want to constantly be falling behind. I don't want to be judged by others. I don't want to keep comparing myself to my old self or to the healthy people around me.

None of the stuff that went awry was a big deal. Everyone knows about my health situation and they all know we are right in the middle of a move. It's okay if some gifts are late. It doesn't even matter a little that I didn't do any baking. We can still celebrate hubby's birthday when things calm down. The house will come together in time...

What I should be doing is celebrating all the things that went well. After all, there were lots of victories this season. We moved into our new house. We managed to get our Christmas cards out - we like to do something fun each year with Photoshop for our cards. We attended two parties. We got to talk and laugh with family. Nothing terrible happened. This will be a season we will look back on and chuckle about the craziness.

Monday, December 23, 2013

New PFAM Blog Carnival Is Up

This month's Patient for a Moment Blog Carnival is now available. The topic is thoughts on the holiday season. I wasn't able to participate because of the move but there are lots of great posts for your reading pleasure.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Just Days Away From Christmas

Christmas is now just 5 days away. Even though I spent the last 4 days unpacking it looks like I've only scratched the surface.

With all this work staring me in the face I can't stand thinking about all the shopping and wrapping left to do. Then we have two big family gatherings to attend, both of which we will need to bring a dish to pass. I'm thinking we'll be bringing store bought food instead of home cooking. That should save me lots of time and stress.

Hubby had the wonderful idea of putting up our decorations this past weekend before the movers came, knowing there would be no time to do it after. I love sitting in the dark and looking at the tree. So far the only thing Santa has brought us is a little bunny rabbit. Honestly, he is much cuter than any wrapped package could be.

As much as I wish we had more time to prepare, the holidays are all but here and I am determined to enjoy them as much as possible. AND this year I'm determined not to overdo it. I know, I know, I've said it all before. But this year I'm betting that the sheer exhaustion of the move will work in my favor. I just don't have the energy to put on much of a brave act. That being said, all my fingers are crossed that migraine pain won't keep me at home through the festivities. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Big Move

Oh the madness, the sheer exhaustion, the stress and the joy. This has been one crazy week. Let me get you caught up. 

Just prior to our final walk through of the new house, a well meaning but not terribly bright worker decided it would be nice to power wash our driveway. The problem, the temperature was only in the 20s. Not only was the driveway and the front walk a skating rink but there was also a 2 foot wide, 3-4 inch thick strip of ice running from the garage to the street. Sand was generously applied and ready to be tracked into the house. Great. 

Two days later (Friday) we are at closing. Just as we wrap up the rain begins. It rained, a heavy, blowing, just above freezing rain until about 6 or 7 that night. At that time the temperature dropped enough to turn the rain to sleet and within another hour the sleet turned to snow, the heavy wet variety. The snow then continued all night, finally stopping at about 9:00 am Saturday. 

Now we have no means and no time to really clear the driveway before our appliances are to be delivered but the delivery won't happen unless it is cleared. Hubby rushes out to get a shovel but with all the existing ice, including the thick patch running down the drive, clearing it is not possible. That top layer of snow was the only form of traction and with that gone it was back to being a skating rink. 

To make matters worse the delivery guys had to bring the fridge in through the front door and we didn't have enough towels and such to lay to protect our brand new wood floors. I had expected that they would have stuff that they lay down since this is what they do all day but apparently they just track snow, sand, salt and dirt into houses every day - no big deal to them. 

Monday was the big move. We hired movers to do the heavy lifting, which was wonderful but they too were ill prepared and certainly not even slightly concerned about the condition of our floors. For some two hours our doors were wide open while they tracked what felt like an entire beach worth of sand into the house. It was cold, my head was hurting, our dog was shaking and we were all exhausted. 

Since then we've had the flooring repair guy and an appliance repair guy out and we are still waiting on the cabinet guy, the lock smith and the cable guy. Even though I've managed to unpack the kitchen boxes and get most of our clothes and bathroom stuff put away, everything else is still in boxes. 

Yes indeed, it has been a pretty crazy week. I'm exhausted and in a good deal of pain. Still, I'm so excited to  finally be settling into our new home. And now that the worst of it is over I'm able to resume some of my normal routine - like blogging. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Crazy Side Effects from Imitrex

For years now I've taken Imitrex and the generic version Sumatriptan Succinate to help manage my migraine pain. In that time I've noticed lots of crazy side effects. Since I was taking so many other medications I was never sure if these were side effects from this medication or a reaction with my other medications. Now that I've discontinued and detoxed from most of the medications I was taking, I've finally discovered that these side effects are from the Sumatriptan.

Like all drugs Summatriptan Succinate comes with a long list of side effects and certainly some of the side effects I experience are covered in the handouts like chest/neck/jaw tightness, dizziness, tiredness and weakness. But I also experience other side effects that are not listed. Here is a list of some of the things that happen:

- my pain will get worse for an hour or two before starting to get better
- my blood sugar will plummet and I'll get super weak and shaky until I load up on sugar
- my nose will get runny
- I'll have an increase in urine
- it makes my breath super foul for up to 2 days

Now these side effects don't all occur every time I take my Sumatriptan but they happen more often than not and are annoying enough that they discourage me from wanting to take them. Not so bad that I would consider not taking them but it makes rationing them easier. Frankly, I can't imagine my life without my migraine rescue meds.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Note To All My Wonderful Readers

In an effort to try to manage my chronic migraines and fibromyalgia the best I can over these next couple of weeks leading up to the big move, I won't be able to blog as frequently as usual. I'll do what I can when I can but it is getting to be crunch time here leaving me with little time and energy for much else. I'm sorry for this slow down but I know you all understand.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanks Migraine

I made a series of bad decisions on Thanksgiving, which made for a rough holiday weekend.

Our Thanksgiving dinner plans at my in-laws were scheduled for 5pm. The bad decisions started at about 3pm when, despite being certain that I was NOT up to a big holiday gathering, I decided to attend anyway. If it hadn't been a holiday I would have stayed home but for some reason I felt like I had to tough it out. To make matters worse, I felt compelled to be a "good" guest and not ask for the accommodations that I really needed.

I should have asked that the painfully bright light above the table be turned down.
I should have excused myself after dinner to lay down in a quiet room instead of participating in post dinner conversations.
I should have taken my rescue med well before we made the 30 minute drive out to the in-laws.
I should have admitted to my husband just how bad I was doing so that we could have left earlier.
I should NOT have ever left the house.

Instead I did the exact opposite. I pretended I was doing okay until I was about collapse from the pain and nausea and then I had to endure a torturous 30 minute drive home. It was too bright, too loud, too far from home and I was clearly not up for any of it.

I have got to find a way to stop putting all this pressure on myself to appear "normal". It's never easy for me to cancel plans or bow out of gathering, but for some reason it is so much harder to do during the holidays.