Sunday, October 31, 2010

Baby Grace Comes to visit / Autumn evening

Click here for TMS presentation yesterday.

In this, our series of Baby Grace: Little Wise Baby Books, Baby Grace coo'ed to mommy and daddy, "My bubby needs me. Let's get over there soon."

Dressed in her ladybug Halloween costume

Sure enuf, no sooner did they leave their neighborhood than they see Bubby hobbling up her driveway. She is moving home from neighbor Scott's and needs help to move her stuff home.

Her sciacita has at last begun to subside, with the help of the powerful anti-inflammatory, Prednisone, tho she is by no means out of the woods. But it will be good to go home.

Baby Grace and family whisk into the drive with a honk and the flourish of a police car. The doors pop open and Bubby takes a quick peek into the backseat where Mama Nicole and Baby Grace are sitting. She looks for movement...and sure enough Baby Grace, 11 weeks old is wiggling her bootied toes.

My carpet is clean, says Bubby as she opens the front door and they all sit down on the living room carpet.

Ruth, aka Bubby, is the mother of Dan, who used to be a baby himself. Ruth can barely remember taking care of him. Now he is asking about her. How is she feeling? How was her Depression presentation yesterday?

She tells him the presentation was great. That her pain was so bad she lay on a litter at the side of the room.

Anybody else, Mom, would've stayed home.

I know, I know. I just lay there on my yoga mat and asked some really good questions. No one paid me any mind.

Dan laffed at his very silly conscientious mother. Then he asked about the presentation.

Well, it's about this new device for depression. It's a coil and the doctor puts it on your head and it zaps electrical impulses into the brain to increase blood flow.

Sounds like a great scam, said Dan.

But now Bubby's leg was really beginning to hurt so she asked if they could go up to her bedroom to spend time together.

Ah, the bed felt so soft under her aching hip. And now look who's ready to be presented....there should be a word as in the unveiling of a painting...when the Little Lady arrives...

She seemed to like my big roomy bedroom. I had the drapes pulled open so the beautiful plumage of the autumn leaves would look like it was part of the room.

Dan helped me set up my laptop here in the bedroom where I type on my belly so as not to aggravate my lower limbs.

We're gonna do everything in our power to strengthen our muscles and keep Sy Attica at bay. When she comes, she brings her big bad friend: Ann Hedonia. They make war on your body and your mind.

Baby Grace has soft cheeks and hands. I kiss her again and again. I can't wait for Sarah to see her. Sarah was another one of those pink-cheeked cherubs who used to be my baby. Now she's writing in faroff France. I think I hear the sound of her laptop pattering quickly across the sea.

Scott brings over my dinner later on. He made a most delicious sweet and sour pollock dinner. Where'd you get this delicious recipe? I asked him. He reminded me it's the one I always make with mustard and maple syrup.

Truthfully Si Attica tapped a lot from my mind.

He left for the 'saltmines' at 7:30 pm saying he'll check on me in the morning.

Now I was ready o play music for the first time since I'd been sick. How I missed it. Ah, this would be nice, some Samuel Barber. But wait! It was that terribly sad Adagio in Strings and then something I'd never heard called Agnus Dei.

Wow, I was feeling sad. I began to miss my father. Never have I loved a man as much as Dad (other than my son of course). A love that blared for 34 years. Once when I was 21 he took me aside and told me his philosophy. It shocked me. But that was dad.

When Baby Grace was over, I did indeed offer my own son some advice. I told him my trip to Cleveland was really important. He hadn't realized it was my childhood home. I needed to connect back to my roots, I said. I had this overwhelming desire to go back and I made sure I did it.

You make sure, Dan, that if anything big like that ever comes over you, you do it.

He listened to me, my son, he listened.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dr Terry Boyadjis speaks: Depression Update: TMS

A version of this article will appear in our next Compass magazine.

We met in the many windowed Classroom of the Willow Grove Giant Supermarket.

Our guest speaker Terrence Boyadjis, MD, drove in from West Chester PA with his wife Lorraine to give a New Directions' presentation on Hope for Hard-to-Treat Depression: TMS new leading technology.

Come in, come in. Have a seat, ladies, plenty of room.

We had nearly 20 people and filled the room. There was a lively give n take between Dr Boyadjis (his dad hails from Cyprus) and the group. He and his wife have two grown daughters - cost-analysts who live in DC. Dyou spose they went to the Jon Stewart Comedy Central Rally today in the National Mall?

If they ever get depressed, he said, he would not hesitate to give them what he believes is the best non-drug treatment for depression: TMS - transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Drugs, he noted, have notoriously unpleasant side effects such as drowsiness, weight gain, oh you know them all already.

Before he became a psychiatrist, Boyadjis was a radiologist, which he hated, and decided to switch to psychiatry. "I love psychiatry," he said, noting that the long road getting there made his choice all the more meaningful.

Hmmm, perhaps we can say that about many of his patients and their long road toward recovery.

Clearly a knowledgable psychopharmacologist - or medicine prescriber - who might add a little-used tricylic or even the often-overlooked Emsam patch to jiggle the sluggish chemical and electric pathways of the brain - Boyadjis was fascinated when TMS was approved by the FDA in 2008.

The machine evolved from the MRI and has been around in England since 1985, a descendant of Michael Faraday's studies of electric current. Fascinated with the concept of powerful non-invasive help for depression, he jumped wholeheartedly to champion it with his patients in September 2009.

He ordered the NeuroStar machine for his office, a machine he prefers for its safety and ease of operation, made nearby in Malvern, PA by Medtronics. Other companies worldwide make similar devices.

Don't panic! This picture of the brain below is from one of his brochures but does show graphically the way the machine 'pings' its ways into the brain.

His success with his patients is nothing short of amazing considering these are patients for whom often nothing has worked to "bring them back." But how does it work? Or why? "There's no clear consensus on how the treatment works. The brain is vast and mysterious."

Treatment lasts a full 30 days. Anything less doesn't give the brain the full benefit of this powerful treatment modality. The patient comes in every day, Monday through Friday, sits in a comfortable chair, not unlike a the dentist, and the doctor places the treatment coil atop the scalp.

A jolt of electricity is inserted into selected areas of the brain. If, for example, you suffer from anxiety, he will set the machine to direct electricity into the right side; for depression, on the left. For both depression and anxiety, both sides will be tapped.

Electrical bursts are seven seconds long. A series of about 30 bursts are given for a total of a 37-minute treatment session. Not bad once you adapt to the rather noisy bursts. No one drops out. Side effects are minimal. No memory loss, no seizures, no cognitive distortion. The only side effect is the discomfort of the "taps" during the treatment, which lessen with habituation. The patient drives himself home. Improvement can be seen immediately or more likely during the course of the 30 days. All his patients have found success.

Boyadjis himself tried it. But only for about four seconds. Very unpleasant, he says. It felt like an ice pick on his scalp. But it's worth it to the nearly 20 patients, ages 21 to 70, he's treated so far who have gotten their lives back including a heart surgeon so depressed he hadn't worked for four years.

Although the surgeon has been restored to health, he faces other problems that the 14 million other depressed Americans face: the breakup of his family. Tired of waiting for him to get better, his wife is filing for divorce.

Such is the difficulty of depression, whose name belies a chronic whole-body illness that makes an individual more vulnerable to other diseases that come along in addition to the crippling inertia that keeps a person from going about their daily tasks and enjoying life.

It's imperative, says Boyadjis, that the illness be treated immediately. To wait is to face certain worsening of this true ruination of human lives, far harder to wrest from its grip.

Of much promise, he notes, is the use of TMS on pregnant women. No drugs to pass into the growing fetus.

The one severe drawback is the cost of the procedure and the reluctance of insurance companies to pay. "They are dragging their feet," says Boyadjis, "but the day is coming closer when they'll pay up."

Meantime he has a payment agreement with NeuroStar to help finance the costly payments that run $250 to $300 per session.

Boyadjis is currently treating three to four patients in his West Chester office and looks forward to adding a new patient after his release from a psychiatric facility. His office is one of 70 private offices in the country to offer the service. Nationwide there are 250 institutions where it's done including top hospitals such as Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, and Mass General.

Are you a candidate? Probably except if you have an electronic device such as pacemaker, defibrillator, or vagal nerve stimulator.

Boyadjis has no doubt that this "neuromodulation device" is where the field of psychiatry is headed. First there was ECT - electroshock therapy - which, while effective, requires anesthesia and inducing of brain seizures. Some memory loss and cognition impairment are famously frequent.

Vagal nerve stimuation - VNS - arrived next but Boyadjis was unhappy about the need to surgically install the implants to deliver a pulse of electricity to the vagus nerve. Interest has waned and its manufacturers are losing money.

Magnetic seizure therapy has a low-response rate and DBS - deep brain surgery - is serious inpatient brain surgery, still in experimental stages.

Quick conference to get the audio-visuals a'working.

Thrilled by its possible uses, Boyadjis has used it on a young schizophrenic man to quell his alarming voices. Together, they tracked the voices before and after treatment. From 30 times a day, the voices had quieted to only 5 times, a manageable amount, simply by placing the coil at a low-pulse dose in the back of the brain.

Trial and error, patient and doctor, working together to get the brain balance right. Although none of his patients have come in for a "touch-up," if necessary that is what he'll do. He's a true believer.

Afterward, a dozen of us met in the Giant Coffeeshop. Fontaine ordered a delicious cocoa.

Ruth, feeling grateful after a great program and a pad full of notes.

Linda has a Halloween party tonite.

Dennis made the food pronouncement of the day: In the morning, eat like a king; at lunch, like a king and queen, and at dinner, like a pauper.

Ruthie pulled out her cellphone and flashed its jewel-like interior. "I've gotta keep it on all the time," she said. "Guess why?"

"I'm on the active list for a kidney transplant! I could be called at any time."

Drugs, they did her in. Lithium. If only, if only.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hello Chris Hall! - Thanks Stephen - Poem: House on Upward Slope of Cowbell

Thanks to Stephen and Arleen who said the first time they met me: She'd look good in feathers. Not sure what they meant, but I know I've always underdressed. I should have my dtr/law Nicole dress me. Here's her kid, my first grandaughter. These nice folks will stop in Sunday to see their poor Bubby:

Next-door neighbor's Halloween deco's. My light will be off as I will be writhing in pain as I am now - pity me pity me I need attention - at Scott's house. He's sleeping now beside me catching up on his sleepless nites at SEPTA.

So my young art teacher Chris Hall calls me. I'd left a message about not coming to class. He thought maybe my bipolar had returned but I told him no, that I had painful sciatica. He's too young and innocent to know about things like this.

He knows I love Matisse and said he found another artist I'll like. I told him I'd photograph some old chalk pastels I did on my website, just for him. I really like this guy. At first, I thought my drawings were done by Sarah or Dan, but then I remembered doing two of them.

Here they are, courtesy of my Canon:

This I really believe is daughter Sarah's. Too good to be mine.

These drawings were therapeutic ones I drew when suffering from bipolar. At times my anxiety was very high so I would draw to see where it was coming from. I drew this very scary bee w/stingers, Ya know what? It represented my family members who for a while were quite toxic to me. Luckily, I don't have an 88-yo borderline mom! Dyou?

This seems to be a place of tranquility. I'd like to go there now. Would you go w/me?

This is my best one but dammit it's blurry! I'll have to reshoot. This is the only one I remember doing. I was on my lithium then & had no memory. We won't recount what it was doing to my kidneys, thank you very much Dr Larry Schwartz.

Twas nice to go upstairs to my Study. I forgot I lived in a big house on the upward slope of Cowbell - still gotta load that poem, gang! - know you're waiting, thank you Roberto for being my friend, I so appreciate it, gee, I shoulda sent you a postcard today, I was doling em out like I was gonna wake up dead tomro like poor Mr Martino. Pls write the details. I'm a glutton for death and decay.


What? No more green pastures
Where have all the cowboys gone
or the farmgirls with thick legs
striding to the barn
breasts bouncing.

You were here once
I sense your presence
for I am that girl
that farmgirl
sent to replace you.

The proof?
My yellow house,
this sacred ground
that’s been my heaven
been my hell,
more of a heaven
since I choose to be
a woman alone.
Never has a man pleased me much.

The first time we met
- remember? –
I walked in
and felt
kissed by the sun.

Was this really
a modest abode
for Apollo before
mounting his

I suppose.
Don’t read
the minds of
Their answers
will surprise you
and leave you

O light
we kept one another
read our books together
brushed up on
useless knowledge
watched the deer saunter
in like starved dogs
to the backyard
to nibble casually
on my phlox and tomato plants
Then the archers
would slay them
one by one
in unseen forests
with well pointed arrows.
The deer have lost their homes.

My yellow house
finds me impeccable
infallible as the Pope
or Queen of England
listens with barely a moan
to my problems
watches me dance
in the empty rooms
as Apollo comes
home at night
dog tired
from his
endless drive.
he sinks
all color gone
in the loveseat
until morning comes.

Burn on,
O sun,
for you will outshine me
a mere mortal.

Remember me, if you will,
as one of
your darlings:
a minor
who glowed golden
only for you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I hobble home - Anhedonia recedes but pain still high - Fun on the phone - Four hours work

Too beautiful for words, Grace Catherine Deming, age 3 months. A Ziegfield Girl? A Rockette? Dallas Cowgirl?

First photos of outdoors - free at last!

The Upward Slope of Cowbell (see poem at end if I can find it)

Land ho! I emerge from Scott's house at 1 am and walk home barefoot to my house next door. For the first time in my agony, I am able to love my house. Oh, you are so beautiful, I say, as I lie on the couch. I work in my old workspace for four hours. Sitting at the computer is sheer agony. What can I do? Lower it to the floor and work there on my belly? Larry Paster, my physical therapist, says to buy a big plastic ball and sit on it. Doubtful. I'm going for the floor idea.

Donna and me in the meer at Scott's house. She brought me my fruit: green grapes, Pink Lady Apples, and grapefruit.

While loading an earthshakingly important message on FB that no one will pay any attention to, I got a request for an online chat with Matt. He used to come to New Directions.

Matt had a bright future even after his initial manic episode. But it was clear that something went very wrong w/Matt and we cant figger out what it is. The onset of bipolar is truly traumatic - my trauma lasted five years - but usually people are functional while they get their heads used to their new diagnosis. Matt got worse and worse.

Now he is doing better w/a very nice girlfriend and a car to visit her with. He's worked at a grocery store for 3 years. Good for you Matt!

I congratulated him for not hanging out with "sickies" - my word - I was typing real fast and that was the word that popped into mind, a good un I think. And then Matt shocked me with the admission that he'd been in the hospital and began telling me some real bad things he did while there.

Whoa! I shot back, I don't wanna hear about your bipolar shenanigans. If you need to process your feelings about this, talk to your therapist but not me. I told him to read my blog and see how a person can be creative and free and do their own thing w/o psychosis.

He said he'd leave me a comment on FB about my blog. You better you better you bet!

Called my entire phone list inviting em to the Depression seminar on Saturday. See, we run these programs for our members and then no one shows up.

It's about Loyalty. Ada and Gretchen will be in DC for the Jon Stewart Rally.

Hey, carry me down on a litter. Oh, I forgot I had an obligation.

Ruth on her bed cage

But wait. I'm calling people on the phone list. Hopefully none are home and I can just leave a convincing message. But here's Linda Barrett answering the phone. And she's in distress.

Linda is a walker. She's in the Abington shopping center at the Rite-Aid and walks home around the side of Rite-Aid. I've walked there many a time. It's deserted. There's parking and a dumpster back there and beautiful houses.

Linda begins to walk, swinging her black patent leather pocket book on her arm. It contains her wallet with $3, credit cards, medical cards, one or two poems.

She senses someone tall walking behind her but feels no fear.

Then the deed is done - her pocketbook is grabbed from her wrist. She is unhurt and calls out "You f'g bastard."

Then, smart girl that she is, she goes back into Rite-Aid and calls the police.

She thinks it's her fault cuz she walked that way. We chatted awhile and I told her she handled it very well. That she had been traumatized and should talk about with people and even if she wants write about it and post it on our new Readers Voices on our Writers Group Website. She'll think about it, she said.

This is what I love to do, talk to people on the phone, but you know what?


I went into the kitchen and cooked a lil meal. My left leg was fighting me, trying to kick me under the table. So I leaned over the table to rest.

I made two delicious scrambled eggs w/brown eggs I'd bought for myself in Cleveland. It was good to see them again. I had some processed applesauce in those cute little plastic packets. And some crackers, for my healthy dinner.

Then I settled down on the couch to eat and the phone rang. David Perkins. He thought I didn't remember him! My god is he ever wrong. Everything. Everything I remember about "Perknose" the gifted eccentric who is living somewhere north of Doylestown w/o a damn car.

Gee, Dave, how can we help you if you can't get to us. Public transportation, I told him, we're accessible, come see us at our Giant Meeting, it's free, we won't scalp you w/our $5 charge.

Mr Perkins is in a rut. He can't motivate himself. I put on my goddess hat and tried to sell him my bill of goods.

-I pledge to you, I said, that if you come to our Giant meetings, we'll get you out of your rut.

-I can't get to public transportation. I live too far away.

-You figure it out, Dave, and we'll do the rest.

And then he swept me off my fee.

-Let me give you a hug, he said.

-On the phone?




That's my Perknose. Get him to us and we'll cure him. It's a promise.

Wisdom from Saadi - Praise of our bodies - Prednisone is working, thank Allah!

13th c. Persian poet-panegyrist Saadi's mausoleum in Shiraz, Iran. Lose yourself while looking into the reflecting pool. Will yourself there, invisible, flying on soft wings, trying w/your eyes to comfort the people of Iran and nearby Iraq we have so dreadfully mistreated. I kneel down by the soothing water, o Saadi, and dip my fingers inside, then wash my face w/the cool springs that are all that are left of your temporal body. But my heart is lifted by reading your works.

I got one of those email forwards from a gal in my last novel-writing class. Anne Strauss not only found an agent but is on her second re-write before the agent sends it to the publisher. She wrote a few friends, whom she called angels, and told them to expect a small miracle when they awoke next morning.

Hah! I thought. Such childishness.

When I awoke at 4:30 am, the TV was talking to me. It was none other than Karina Teck Lineback - I've never heard of her either - doing pilates. These gentle exercises are just what I need for my sciatica.

After I mostly listened to her, not ready yet to indulge, I took my first shower in many days. Ahhhhh! I smell like peaches.

Now I was finally ready to read the short story my friend Phil Nerges got published in the
Amoskeag, Journal of Southern New Hampshire, very high quality works.

I shut off all background noise and lying on the blue sheets on my belly w/my leg feeling so much better, I read in wonder. I had read rough drafts of his work and they weren't half as good as this. He'd polished it to perfection!

Read it here

I wanted to write what it's like to be confined to your bed. Last nite I sent SOS notes to several group members late at nite but go no responses. I desperately needed human communication after Scott left for work. I guess I'm learning that altho I love to live alone, I need people very much!

The woman is alone in bed with simply her body for amusement. I examine it fully, feeling my arms and the bones inside them, feeling that the flesh has fallen away and the bones are closer to the surface. Now, my legs, massaging the calves and the thighs. It is nice to be reacquainted w/them and show them love, the love they so deserve for carrying me on my earthly journey these past 64 years.

I roll over and massage buttocks, firm and fleshy, ready to be slapped by my man, who takes excellent care of my body, and soul, then a careful exploration of - don't be shocked - my nostrils. The dilaudid created bloody boogers which I must carefully dislodge, so I get to know my nostrils and gently caress them and thank them for the gift of life, my breath. I breathe deeply, inhaling the air, and moving on to caressing my lungs and attendant breasts.

And it is this little exercise I do severl times a day w/o thinking. And then, my mind goes to Baby Grace. This is what babies do, discover their bodies. What's this? What are these five things jiggling before my eyes? And look? There's another pair of those flapping five-sies.

And so it begins. Since time immemorial. Bedouins, Israelites, Huns, Magyars, humans all, all equal under the eye of God. Or the eye of the sun, whichever you prefer.

Learned about Persia and Iraq last nite on a PBS show by Rick Steves. Well-done, my man, except for those awkward questions you asked some Iraqi women about 'how to meet boys.' Listen, Rick, when you do an i'view, you've gotta WORK UP to the intimate questions. You can't just go up to someone you don't know w/your movie camera arrayed behind you, and attempt to strike gold. The Chilean miners...look how deep they went before extracting the booty.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Doctor's Visit and Attempt to Stop the Pain

Had a 4 pm appt with Dr Sands. This would be the first time I would leave my bed - and walk - othan to the bathroom a short walk away - in over a week. The pain in my left leg is excruciating. Only by lying on my belly does it subside.

Walked down the stairs, holding onto the wall, then out thru the door.

I'll go the long way, I said to Scott, who walked by my side. I wore a long skirt - much easier to put on than pants - two sweaters - and a pair of little socklets I got from Aunt Selma on my trip to Cleveland. Shoes were out, excruciating to take on and off.

Scott opened the back door of my car, I flung myself inside on my belly, and scrunched upward to the door.

I'm in, I said, bending my knees upward.

He slammed the door and we were off.

I had to tell him the easiest way to get to the dr's office, which meant hunching up on my elbows and peeking out at the world from the backseat.

How neat! I told him the special way to go...Mill Road, which got us onto Easton Road faster.

He had the handicap placard from my glove compartment swinging on the rearview meer and we parked in that blue zone.

It was a long painful wait but finally we were taken back. My bloodpressure was taken and it was normal, unlike in the ER when it was quite high. I'd lost 7 pounds in a week. Not that Scott doesn't feed me.

They also asked me when I planned to schedule my next eye appt.

Soon Dr Sands came in. He inspires confidence. His stethoscope is always wrapped in something quirky. Today it looked like a very fancy tallis or yalmulcha. He wears very comfy shoes. He's the no. 2 man in the practice under the head, Dr Morris Gross or Weiss, I forget which name.

You know what? I thought to myself this morning.

We all want to be great. Or at least, some of us do. I sure do. How do we measure greatness? I think Bill Hess is great. Visit his blog. Tell him Ruthie sent you.

Dr Sands sits w/his laptop on his lap and peers at you under his specs. He's a minor comedian. I'm looking right at him from my belly. But I'm centered at my head cuz that's where our brains our..our mind, which has taken second place to our left leg.

They keep good records on their computer at North Willow Grove Family Medicine. The results of all my phone calls are on there.

I ascertain that my regular doctor is on vacation, staying home with his little son.

He's gonna prescribe me Prednisone, which he believes will alleviate the pain. He leaves the room a moment and presto he comes back with a typed-up scrip for Prez plus sample packets of a laxative he believes will end a 6-day seige, a sort of interior Battle of the Alamo. POW POW POW!

I shuffle out, pay my $20 co-pay, go to their water fountain and drink a huge cup of water.

SUFFERING makes me thirsty.

As we drive out, we ponder what drugstore to go to..the closest.

Ah! How bout the Willow Grove Giant. So Scott fills the prescription, picks up a few groceries while waiting, and comes back to the car.

At dinnertime, I take the precious pills BUT RUTHIE FAILS TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS.

I take ONE Prednisone pill instead of SIX. And claim to feel substantially better in the morning. "Placebo effect" cries Ada Fleisher correctly.

So next day, today, I take all six of em at noon, five hours ago. Am doing fine. No perceptible changes tho I haven't subjected myself to walking.

Then I read the bottle label. And realize something important. What's the schedule of the six? Three in the morning, three in the evening?

I call the Giant Pharmacy whose no. is posted very legibly on the bottle. The pharmacist assures me it's fine. I can hear him working in the background. Always working. Did they expect the Miners to work during the 33 days of their captivity?

That's where we stand. A message to all you sick people out there, including depressed sick people: You mustn't feel guilty for being sick. It's not your fault. Do what you can while you're sick. That includes eating canned chicken soup directly out of the can w/o adding extra water.

EASY does it, as us drug addicts say.

Sciatica agony - Day 12

I woke up for the day at 12 noon. Stared at the ceiling to figure out Who am I, how do I feel, where am I.

Since I can't photograph myself, the bottle of Miralax represents my head. Ruth Deming, your new expert on constipation.

Heard someone sleeping beside me. Can it be, I thought? Has Scott come home and gone to sleep. In my pain, I turned my head over and found...Scottie! He'd walked home from the train station, made breakfast, taken a shower, and gone to bed.

I was in drug heaven.

The prednisone hasn't had any bad side effex. My brain was thinking very rapidly but it was nothing to worry about. I have a lotta work to do today but couldn't make a move until Scott woke up. Oh, yes, one adverse effect is I'm making lots of mistakes when I type. Lots. They'd never hire me.

Mainly I've got to advertise a terrific program New Directions is having this Saturday at the Giant Supermarket. Here's how one of the emails I sent reads:

Hi everyone,

We're so fortunate to offer you one of the best programs ever, and of course it's free.

The highly acclaimed psychiatrist Dr Terry Boyadjis of Psych First in Westchester - - will enlighten us on Hope for Hard-to-Treat Depression this
Saturday, October 30 from 1 to 2:30 pm.

We'll meet at the Willow Grove Giant Supermarket at 315 Old York Road, Willow Grove PA 19090, the former Home Depot.
Enter store on the right and proceed upstairs to one of the classrooms. Elevator or stairs are
on your right.

This psychopharmcalogist knows all about meds - but will also discuss other treatment methods
such as TMS, which he performs in his office.

Do not miss this opportunity to soak up information. We have made the program 90 minutes
long instead of our usual speaker meetings of 35 minutes b/c we believe he will be so helpful to
all of us.

Please tell you friends.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prednisone to the rescue

Here's an email I sent to a few trusty friends who are following my sciatia agony and lack of progress...until today:

had an excellent visit w/ my family doctor, seth sands, who is filling in for jim foxhall. he did a brief exam and ascertained i have sciatica.

he spent a lot of time w/me and listened to all my complaints including a new one - a very painful toe. When we took off my sock the toe was red and hot and he said it was some fort of gout which should subside w/the new med he prescribe.

that med is prednisone. this is a steriod and may produce 'labile moods' or moodswings. last time i took it got very angry. grrr.

he thought possiby the neurontin i'm taking for pain (useless) might help the moodswings.

scott's making dinner now. i need to take the pred with food, so we'll see what happens.

thanks everyone for your concern. i'm fine as long as i lay on my belly on scott's bed.

I took an hour's nap while trying to send out this email. being in pain makes you very very tired. and spelling? every word i type is wrong. just overlook it please.

deep down i'm still the same ruth z deming. remind me when i'm better to tell you about the trip to the willow grove giant supermarket w/me stowed face down in the backseat. for comfort. while scott was buy tonite's food and my new meds. Pred is a bitter pill.

once three years ago i fot inappropriately angry at a famous local psychiatrist. i'm so embarrassed i'd never mention his name to you. laszlo gyulai. then i called up and apologized. steroids, i said.

i'm lying here cringing. some bipolars laff hysterically about their past crimes.

oh, did i ever tell you bout the time... just kidding.

marce, thanks for calling. i went home to check o see where i put chris hall's phone no. - he's my painting teacher - but it wasn't anywhere there. i found your name on the caller ID.

i can't stand up for more than 5 minutes, the pain is so severe.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Good gracious, gifts for the sickling

A stout knock on the front door which Scott answered while I lay on the upstairs sheets. The door slammed and I waited. Who had paid me a visit?

Scott appeared in the doorway with a beautifully wrapped gift. It was a collage of autumn leaves done by Linda Barrett. I called and thanked her profusely. For me she made a collage. Now that is thoughtful.

Anytime you get an envelope from Nancy Wolen it's a grand occasion. This envelope has magical spirit-lifting properties. No wonder I saw Mailman Tom floating like a butterfly down Cowbell Lane.

Nancy is a painter, her medium is chalk pastels, those lovely little crayons that little girls - or big ones like me - just wanna gobble up they look so delicious. Ya know what? I think Nancy would make a fine illustrator for children's books.

She could easily do something like this 2004 Caldecott winner if she'd put her mind to it.

I have faith in you, Nancy. That's something that Mr Roberts might say. But I like Mr Roberts.

Here's the inside of Nancy's get-well card to me, the one that reminds me of a children's book.

Do you know I studied to be a librarian? But never finished. I left behind my love for children's literature when my kids grew up. This meant no more Peter Spier...

or Edward Steig, the Dostoevsky of children's writers

Is it wrong to compare myself with Proust, a man whose sickness left him abed in his parents' flat for many years, even after their deaths? In some ways I feel like I'll never go home. It's like one of those dreams you have where something is so very close but when you reach out to touch it, it's not there.

Scott filled all my water bottles before he left for work tonite and brought me a bowl of green grapes.

Gotta figure out how not to go stir-crazy tonite. Any ideas?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Take your pills, dear

One more thing before I close the laptop and settle down to the new and cranky and candid Sherlock Holmes. I CAN'T WAIT.

As bedtime approaches, I reach over to take my new pills, Neurontin, for pain. I haven't goggled it yet, well, actually, I don't wanna know a thing about it, all the side effex and what it's doing right now to my Promethean liver, but I do feel it necessary to share this tidbit with you.

The active ingredient in Neurontin, which I believe is called gabapentin, a b'ful name that reminds me of a truth serum and the inability to lie (tho I've got heaps of that inside me) it's the taking of it that interests me.

The capsule. How can an intelligent human being put this in their mouth and swallow it? It's pure plastic. It takes like plastic. Can you envision yourself cutting off a tiny bit of plastic from a water bottle and swallowing it with a bit of water?

Or swallowing the wrapper of an individually-wrapped slice of Kraft American cheese?

Or perhaps slicing off a piece of the plastic chair that sits on your front porch?

Think of the meaning of, "and this too shall pass."

Something to crow about

I just love the PBS Nature shows. Did you see the one about Crows tonite? Crows are highly intelligent and can recognize individual human beings and the things that people did to them, good or bad, over many years. They teach their children, too, about their nearby human inhabitants during their twenty years of life in the trees, skies and telephone wires.

Next time you see a crow, tip your hat to him, and tell him you think he's swell. You might make a little caw-caw sound as I am doing now in Scott's blue bedroom and who knows? Sometime when you're at a picnic, this very same crow may come up to you, cock his head, open up that mysterious beak of his, and caw right back with a gutteral the likes of you and me could never duplicate.

Slowly, she's recovering

What does a girl do when she's unable to walk due to sciatica agony? Am still camped out next door at boyfriend Scott's who's played a major part in urging me to exercise and to walk a bit.

He's right and he's tough. Makes sure I get my carcass off the bed and walk, albeit stiffly like Frankenstein, around the blue-carpeted second floor.

The pain has substantially diminished tho I can't stand for more than two minutes tops and I must collapse back into the bed.

His dad gave him dozens of old movies so we watched Lemon-Drop Kid, made in 1951. Scott had a nice snooze thru the first half while I snoozed on n off during the whole film.

My snoring was truly operatic. Since I'm on dilaudid I have very odd, psychotic-like thoughts when I pop off to sleep. Wish I could remember them.

In these '50s movies, the producers love for the women to exhibit their beautiful bodies. I love this picture of Marilyn Maxwell's pointy boobs. I don't think 'pointy' is 'in' this year. Try 'round.'

Marilyn Maxwell died at age 50 of a heart attack. Her 15-yr-old son came home from school one day and found his mom dead. She suffered from hyptertension and pulmonary diz.

This is so sad, her poor son, that I think I should publish another photo of her, don't you think?

Did I tell you I started a new blog yesterday? It's for my support group. The idea is that people othan myself will be able to load stuff on it. I sent the link out to 10 people asking for comments.

Check it out here and give me your feedback.