Good afternoon!  My primary care doctor pulled a fast one on me, and now I’ve got to go in and get weighed–tomorrow!  Oh no!  So today, I’m trying to get myself to weigh more.  Problem is, I really don’t feel like eating or even drinking much.  I ate two slices of high fiber bread, which is more than I ever eat at once, with peanut butter on them no less, and I salted them, too.  I got on the scale, and didn’t weigh any more than before.  My only recourse seems to be to drink a lot tomorrow before my appointment.  It’s at 11.

Of course, all this is very stupid, because Dr. K is going to take one look at me and know for sure that I’ve lost more than the scale indicates.

Who am I trying to fool, anyway?  Who am I really cheating?

The person at the office who called to make the appointment wasn’t exactly nice about it, either.  When I told him that I didn’t know what Dr. K would want to set up, he snapped, “Well, you’re going to have to come in and discuss it with her.”

When the ball gets rolling, the ball gets rolling, I suppose.

Thorazine – update

I may have mentioned in here in the past that I have been getting the beginnings of Tardive Dyskinesia.  It is very slight, just a bit of vibration in my tongue.  I have reported it to Dr. P.  We decided not to do anything about it, because it wasn’t getting any worse, and because it wasn’t bothersome, but I did worry that it would worsen in the future.

Well, it seems to have worsened slightly.  The vibrations are more intense now and to stop my tongue from vibrating, I sometimes purse my lips.  It is a strange habit.  I think people can see the area under my jaw vibrating from the tongue movements, or perhaps my cheeks, but this might be a bit of self-consciousness on my part.

Here is an excellent You-Tube on the topic of Tardive Dyskinesia:

So, if you’ve viewed the You-Tube, you know I’ve got reason to be concerned.

TD is permanent and there is no known cure.  Dr. P says it may be advantageous to stop taking the Thorazine, which is the medication that caused the TD.   Stopping the drug may lessen what I am experiencing.  However, Dr. P says that if I can’t adjust, and we have to restart it, the TD may be aggrevated more.

With the glaring exception of the fact that I have been starving myself, I have been stable.  My meds seem to be right for me.  I don’t like the idea of messing with them.  Still, it may be time to start thinking of getting off Thorazine before this TD business gets worse.

Given that I have started this habit of pursing my lips, and also that I believe the tongue vibrations are visible, perhaps ever so slightly, outside my mouth, to others, these are indications that the warning signs have worsened.

I know it’s Sunday, but as soon as I finish writing this blog entry, I’m going to give Dr. P a call, and leave a message telling her I think it’s time to try to get off Thorazine.  We could taper slowly.  I’m going to do it.

The Thorazine Essays

I wrote the following in 2007.  Thought I’d share it with you.  Originally, these were going to be part of my creative thesis, but quickly I decided that they didn’t belong in it.

Thorazine 1 tells us the following about the side effects of Thorazine:

Drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision, tiredness, nausea, constipation, and trouble sleeping may occur. You may also be more sensitive to sunburn and less able to tolerate heat/strenuous exercise (see Precautions section). If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication for longer time periods may develop serious side effects, but with frequent visits to your doctor, this risk can be minimized.

Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: feelings of restlessness/agitation/jitteriness, mask-like facial expression, shuffling walk, drooling, uncontrolled shaking of the hands, twitching in the face, muscle spasm/weakness, trouble swallowing, uncontrollable movements of the mouth/face/hands, unusual mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, worsening of psychosis), unusual dreams, trouble urinating, severe constipation, severe stomach/abdominal pain, unexplained weight gain, swelling of the feet/ankles, nipple discharge, swollen/tender breasts, changes in menstrual flow, decreased sexual ability, fast/pounding heartbeat with headache, severe dizziness, butterfly-shaped facial rash, joint/muscle pain, confusion, darkening of skin color, vision changes, fainting.

For males, in the very unlikely event you have a painful, prolonged erection (lasting more than 4 hours), stop using this drug and seek immediate medical attention or permanent problems could occur.

Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: fever with persistent sore throat/cough/chills, yellowing of the eyes/skin, dark urine, severe stomach/abdominal pain, unusual bleeding/bruising, chest pain, seizures, confusion, rigid/unresponsive state, severe tiredness, breathing problems, pale skin.

This drug may infrequently cause a serious (sometimes fatal) nervous system problem (neuroleptic malignant syndrome). Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following rare but very serious side effects: fever, rigid muscles, increased sweating, fast heartbeat, mental/mood changes, change in the amount of urine.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Thorazine is a deep orange pill inscribed with the number “823.”  It is strikingly resemblant to Advil on first glance.  If you hold a tablet in your hand and your hand and your hand is wet or sweaty, the orange dye will come off and the pill will appear whitish, like the whites of whitewall tires.  The outer coating tastes like saccharine, but the inside is bitter, so it’s best to swallow the pill whole.  The 100 mg tablet is about the diameter of a pea.  My father was allergic to peas.

Thorazine 2

Thorazine has been a more faithful friend to me over the past 25 years than most humans have been.  Thorazine has never lied to me or used me, or stolen from me or abused me or deceived me.  Thorazine does not say bad things about me behind my back or borrow things from me without returning them.  What Thorazine does do is rather remarkable and no human friend can match its abilities.  My first dose had me convinced, because the drug silenced the roaring in my head.

And because of this sudden silence, I was able to speak again, and hear my own voice, and respond to others without a huge chaos of echoes in my head.  It was like being brought up from a deep well, having been drowning in it for so long, in a very narrow, soggy place, now out in the open, free, and able to move about–and speak!  I could ask for what I needed: a toothbrush, a pen, a spoon.

It is odd that I needed silence to speak, thereby producing noise, almost as odd as the expression my [ADHD] mother uses, “It’s so loud in here, I can’t hear myself think!”

Thorazine 3

Summer sucks, and I’ll tell you why in two words: I burn.  It is a side effect of Thorazine to be very, very susceptible to sunburn.

In 1983 when I was hospitalized for a long time, I had been on Thorazine perhaps two weeks when I was finally let out on pass, meaning, in this case, that I was allowed to roam around outdoors on my own.  It was a partly cloudy spring day, in the middle of the day, and it took no longer than five minutes before I began to feel a burning sensation on my face, and when I came inside my skin was quite reddened.  The nurses had all kinds of taunting remarks to make about my new skin color, and I wished I could wash it off; it was very itchy besides.

At that time, I was taking 100 mgs of Thorazine a day, a low dose, but Thorazine is known to cause sunburn at any dose.  At one time, I took a hefty dose of 1,300 mgs daily and I don’t recall sunburning to be exceptionally problematic.  But now, at 600 mgs a day, I cannot even think of summer without immediately visualizing a burnt marshmallow.  It seems to be the ideal dose for Helios to do his nasty work.

I have tried sunscreen.  Most sunscreens, combined with Thorazine, make me burn worse, but I’ve found one kind that, if applied every couple of hours, is slightly more protective than bare skin.

I burn, and turn red, I burn and turn red like a red teacher’s pen.  I burn with Thorazine longings, for a cool world, for an icy mountain stream that moves down my body, down my arms to my fingertips, past my buttocks, puddles gathering at my feet.  I burn because I hate, and I burn because I’m embarrassed.  I burn like the cigarette that slipped from my fingers one morning when I was too doped up on Thorazine to stay awake.  I burn with the shame of having a mental illness occasionally, but mostly, I burn with the pride of having survived it all.

Thorazine 4

Today I purchased a quart bottle of flavored seltzer, and brought it home.  Here is one of life’s little treats I enjoy every now and then that isn’t expensive but tastes as though it is, and is available at any supermarket.  I refrigerated the seltzer for a time, then decided I would drink some of it, because I was thirsty; my medication certainly more thirsty than I was without medication, when I could endure entire days without even a sip of water; in fact, in those days I didn’t drink water at all–I drank milk and OJ in the morning, maybe a glass of diet soda at night, but now I drink water literally by the gallon.  And here I was with my luxury: flavored Seltzer.  Cold.  Fizzy.  To be opened with care, I remembered.  And it’s a good thing I remembered, because seltzer, of all beverages, packs a wallop if opened carelessly.  One can even sustain injury from such mishaps.  A bottle of selzer is potential unrealized.  There’s a lot locked up in it that hasn’t come out.  So I opened it.  Carefully.  One crack at a time.  One iota.  A little more.  A little more.  A little more–as the bubbles gradually rose and exited to the surface of the water like a caged, screaming fetus finally allowed out of the womb–until finally, I was able to unscrew the cap and remove it–and drink, right out of the bottle.  Thorazine is like that; it acts as a buffer.  It slows down the release so there won’t be an explosion of fizz.  It ensures that there won’t be any dangerous messes.  It cradles the bubbles gently and gradually, so I can drink, drink, drink.  Without Thorazine, I’d have seltzer on the floor, as disorganized as my mind, and an empty bottle, without life, without hope.

Weird Reaction

Yesterday I went to see Dr. P, and I was surprised (or not surprised) that she read me the riot act regarding my eating!  I wanted to tell her all the things that were going well, and she picked the one thing that is not going well to discuss!  I suppose that was to be expected, though, because one is supposed to talk about one’s problems when one goes to see doctors, right?

Dr. P asked me a million questions about what was going on, and then said I had to go to see my primary regularly to get weighed.  I think she said once a week.  Now, that’s a $20 round trip cab fare that I can’t afford.  When I protested about the cost, Dr. P said, “Your other choice is to eat.”  Well, duh.

I felt rather defeated when I left Dr. P’s office.  I know I have to get this thing under control.  But what did I do?  Here’s the weird reaction:  I went totally out of control once I left Dr. P’s office.  I spent money.  I spent a lot of money.  I won’t even admit here how much I spent but it was more than I have.  I kept telling myself, “It’s my graduation, I deserve this,” but truthfully, I don’t deserve empty pockets.

Nor do I deserve starvation.  I deserve wholesome meals.  I deserve to feel good.  I don’t deserve deprivation and hunger.   I need satisfaction in my life.  I need nourishment and love, and the feeling, when the day is over, that I’ve accomplished something meaningful and good.

Another Dog Sweater Pattern – L.L. Greene

This crocheted sweater is tri-layered using wool and synthetic.  I used four different yarns to make it.  Puzzle weighed (I think) about six pounds when it fit her, and she outgrew it fast.  Here’s the sweater:

JCG Bean dog fashion

And here’s Puzzle in it:

4x6 LL Greene

What appears to be “rag wool” is made from fingering weight yarn.  I used two yarns together with (I think) an “I” size hook, using a pattern I found at the following site, but I varied the pattern somewhat.  Here’s the site:

I do recommend making your dog sweater with some wool fibers, because these will help keep your dog dry.

The inner, aqua layer, I made with sport weight synthetic yarn.  The stitch is double crochet.  I sewed the two layers together.

The maroon layer is also made from the same sport weight synthetic yarn.  I don’t know how I made the neck (shown at top) edging.  The back (shown at bottom)  lace edging is made as follows:

Lace Edging

Chain multiple of 15 + 1 (I did 31)

Row 1: Starting 2nd ch from hook, work 1 sc in ea ch across, ch 3, turn.

Row 2: 1 dc in ea of next 3 sc, * ch 5, skip 3 sc, 1 tr in next sc, ch 5, skip 3 ch, 1 dc in ea of next 8 sc, repeat from * across, end last repeat with 1 dc in ea of last 3 sc, 1 dc in top of ch-3, ch 3, turn.

Row 3: 1 dc in next dc, * ch 5, 1 sc in next ch-5 sp, 1 sc in next tr, 1 sc in next ch-5 sp, ch 5, skip 2 dc, 1 dc in ea of next 4 dc, repeat from * across, end last repeat with 1 dc in last dc and 1 dc in top of ch-3, ch 3, turn.

Row 4: 1 dc in next dc, * ch 7, 1 sc in next sc, ch 5, skip 1 sc, 1 sc in next sc, ch 7, skip 1 dc, 1 dc in ea of next 2 dc, repeat from * across, end last repeat with 1 dc in last dc, and 1 dc in top of ch-3, ch 1, turn.

Row 5: 1 sc in first dc, * ch 5, in next ch 5 sp work (3-tr cluster, ch 3) twice & 1 more 3-tr cluster, ch 5, 1 sc between next 2 dc, repeat from * across, end last repeat with 1 sc in top of ch-3, fasten off.

Sew the lace onto the sweater.

I believe this sweater is okay for a male dog, but I’m not entirely sure.  As you can see from the way it fits on Puzzle, it doesn’t go too far back on her back.  The difficulty in making sweaters for male dogs has to do with their–ahem–anatomy.  Some male dogs will pee on any sweater you make for them, unfortunately.

Here’s the link to the other dog sweater I’ve posted.

You can access all of Puzzle’s sweaters by going to “tags” on the right column and clicking on “dog sweaters.”

I have a box that I keep Puzzle’s sweaters in, and there’s plenty of room for more!  My next project is a knitted squares pattern made with pastel (sort of) colors, using bulky weight yarn.  I’ll post it once I’m done making it.  I plan to get most of it done while I’m on the plane to and from Washington State!

Wrapping it all up

With the exception of a few bits, everything seems to be falling into place.  My creative thesis, titled:

This Hunger Is Secret: My Journeys Through Mental Illness and Wellness

has been accepted.  I am done with the final paperwork of the semester.  All that I must do now is to print out my thesis and accompanying documents for my binder and send them off to Port Townsend!  I am sending them ahead of time, rather than transporting them in my suitcase.  I figure it’s safer that way.  If I get lost on the way over and end up in Texas, at least my thesis will be in the right place.

Then it’s on to the graduation residency in Port Townsend, Washington, where I will give the required graduation reading and–graduate!  I fly out there on the 9th of July, and graduation is the 12th.

I mentioned that there are a “few bits,” or should I say, “bites.”  My eating, or rather, lack thereof, is still a problem.  I’d like to say there’s been an improvement, but really, there hasn’t been.  At my last therapy session, I avoided the topic altogether.  I am so afraid that my therapist will decide to hospitalize me.  She has explained to me, in prior sessions, what the criteria are for hospitalizing people with eating disorders, and has told me that if I keep on doing what I’m doing, I won’t make it to graduation.

Baloney.  I WILL graduate, and that’s all there is to it.  I WILL be in Port Townsend on the 12th of July.  I WILL give my graduation reading (probably on the 11th) and I WILL be very proud of myself.

I will probably be crying a whole lot that weekend.  Why?  Because I don’t want to leave school.  I don’t want it to end.  I want it to go on and on forever.  If I had my way, I’d have my advisor forever, and I’d have assignments forever, and my classmates would be my classmates forever, and I’d keep coming back to residencies, and most importantly, there would always be this big goal–getting that thesis done–to work toward.  Now that I’m “done” with it (no work is ever finished, only abandoned, as they say) I don’t have that big goal anymore to work toward, and I miss that.  Sure, it feels mighty good to have it done, but now–now I guess I’m an MFA, but–

Anyway, it should be interesting to see how it feels to print out the massive document.