The Opiate Crisis

There has been a lot of chatter lately about the opiate crisis in the US.  Missouri seems to be one of the first offenders (not the doctors I see obviously).  However, if we’d just spend 10 minutes in logical thought, the answer has revealed itself already.

What is the opiate crisis?  Doctors have been prescribing opiate painkillers for so long that people are addicted and they do things they shouldn’t to get opioids.  This was backed by pharmaceutical companies all over the country, even rewarding some doctors for prescribing them.  And it’s true, they can be a serious problem if you are addicted.

For the most part, this means people like me who need opiates for pain relief because Tramadol is a joke, suffers from debilitating pain without an end in sight until they start surgically poking and prodding on things.

However, if you look at the states with legalized marijuana…

  • They have lower opiate addiction rates.
  • They have lower opiate prescription rates.
  • They have lower opiate overdose deaths.
  • And patients with chronic pain or illnesses report a higher quality of life.

I understand all of this very personally.  Several of my family members suffer from chronic pancreatitis.  Opiates do not relieve the pain when they have an attack or flare up.  Yet, that is exactly what they are prescribed for it in my state.  Ask any of them and they’ll tell you, marijuana works better and actually prevents the flare ups.

Even my nerve damage pain would be easier to manage with a special brownie than with a bottle of percocet (not that I get bottles of percocet… I always get Tramadol which is the equivalent of taking NoDoze for me – I don’t sleep well, it doesn’t impact my pain, even with Tylenol it does nothing for me except disrupt my life even more than the pain).  But there are days when I have to have something.  I ate lunch on Sunday.  I had about two bites of food on Sunday night at dinner because my pain had gotten so bad that food made me feel sick to my stomach.  Monday, I managed to choke down three bites of my lunch, but it really was choking it down.  With every bite, I expected to puke.

I got a terrible migraine from the lack of food on Tuesday.  Where were my doctors?  Beats me.  I called both Monday and Tuesday to tell them that 1) my pain had increased exponentially and was happening on both sides and 2) that it was bad enough it was making me nauseous and no one ever bothered to return my phone call.  I eventually got a prescription refilled for Tramadol and after taking 100mgs of it along with 900mgs of Gabapentin and 1000mgs of Tylenol, I was surprisingly less nauseated and was able to get a little food into me.

But that is a lot of drugs.  Most of them the max doses at a single time.  I was also completely brain fried.  My head didn’t feel connected to my body.  My legs didn’t want to work.  I was still in pain – it had gone from a 9 to a 7, but coherency and logical thought had gone right out the window.  I was doing good to figure out how to put on my shoes at that point.  And yet, I still hadn’t heard from the nurse practitioner at my pain management office and I still was in so much pain was I barely making it.  I did a lot of crying on Monday and Tuesday.  I am writing this on Tuesday night and imagine I will do a fair amount of crying and cursing Wednesday night because dart league starts back up and I have to go.  Not to play, but to make sure people are signing up properly with the stat program we are using and I already know the chairs there make me hurt.  I will sit in an uncomfortable chair and it will take my pain from an 8 or a 9 to a 12 and I still won’t be able to do anything about it.  i’m not even sure if I will be able to keep food in my system on Thursday because of it… frankly, mixing that many drugs makes me nervous about whether I’m going to go to sleep and wake up the next morning.

So, I have chronic pain from nerve damage.  I also have an anxiety disorder and lately, I’ve been battling depression, but I can’t take antidepressants, which makes that a complete and total clusterfuck – pardon my language.  All three things respond well to marijuana usage.  But it’s illegal in my state and I tend to be one of those people who tries to follow the law all the time…  Meaning, I don’t partake even though I know it holds some therapeutic and realistic medical value to me.

And my doctors don’t seem to care that Tramadol doesn’t work for me.  They seem to think I have another agenda when I tell them that it fucks up my sleep and doesn’t even take the edge off the pain.  However, Tramadol works on Serotonin levels and I can’t take antidepressants because SSRIs which also work on Serotonin make me stop sleeping and bring me close to having a psychotic break from reality…. but since Tramadol isn’t an SSRI, it should be fine.  They’ve actually told me that.

Sorry, I started rambling.  I told you my head was not connected to my body.  I can’t even read the clock on my computer at the moment.  It looks very far away and possible in Roman Numerals (yep, dangerous drug mixing).  Anyway, if we want to stop the opiate crisis and actually start treating people and relieving their pain and mental illnesses, it’s time to stop with these archaic Prohibition Era laws and just legalize marijuana in all 50 states, including mine which even regulates hemp oil to some degree.

 

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Something Not About Dogs…

since moving into the new house, a few strange things have happened.  Some of them I could chalk up to carelessness, but not all of them.

For instance, several bottles of my Jamberry lacquers have gone missing.  I’d chalk them up to getting lost in the move, except they were all together and they were all in one bag, which was closed.  So, I haven’t a clue where they went.

We did lose a folder with dart stuff, a box of cords, the dog’s nail clippers, and something of my mom’s that she has yet to remember…  But these were all items packed the very last day and probably in the same box.  Everything else was found.  My lacquers were not included in that list because they were packed early and in a 31 bag.

Along with my lacquers, we can add every extra battery we owned.  I had bought a huge pack of AAA and AA batteries and we can’t find any of them.  They were packed with my computer equipment, all of which made it to the new house except the extra batteries.

Then there’s the door between the garage and the house.  A couple of times, while I have been smoking in the garage this door has become locked.  Once, there were other people home.  Twice, I was home by myself.  It isn’t a door that automatically locks (it has to be shut before it can be locked and the dogs can’t do it), so I’m not entirely sure how I locked it and then went into the garage to have a cigarette.

The first night we were here, I was working and went out to smoke a cigarette.  When I returned, I found the lid to a canopic jar sitting in the middle of my keyboard.  It hadn’t been there when I left.  It had been on my bookcase with my other ancient Egyptian decor.

However, the weirdest one was the chess piece.  Several years ago, I got an oversized chess set Egypt v. Rome at the Battle of Antioch.  It’s a great chess set.  The board is two feet square and the pieces measure between 3 and 5 inches tall.  We didn’t unpack it yet because I haven’t found a good display spot for it… Yet I found one of the Egyptian Rooks sitting on the table next to my computer one morning when I got out of bed.  I asked mom if she had placed it there.  She hadn’t.  It was unwrapped from the bubble wrap, just sitting there like it was waiting to go on my chess board.

One set of reading glasses that I know made the move (I used them in the new house) has disappeared.  The power cord for my Epson printer vanished and I had to replace the printer.  Oddly, I found a cord that looked very similar to my Epson printer cord, but it’s got two round pieces on the end instead of one round and one square and I’ve never owned anything with a similar cord… So I haven’t a clue where this one came from.  I just know I spent a couple of days mumbling about trying to put round pegs in square holes, even as my husband attempted to make it fit.  Also, a very distinct pair of Aviator Sunglasses that I have never owned are now in my possession.  These aren’t like glasses that the previous owner’s accidentally left here.  I found them while unpacking a box of clothes and they weren’t there when I packed the clothes and we didn’t have movers pack our stuff (although, next time, I will).

Ah well, at least the dogs don’t stand and bark at empty spaces like they did in the old place.

 

Not 8 months old, Not an Australia Shepherd

So Kelly, who was sold to me as being an 8-month-old Australian Shepherd pup, totally isn’t.  I knew this before the vet confirmed it.

Instead she’s a 6-month-old beagle/border collie mix… I think that goes well with Lola who is an adult German Shepherd/Border collie mix.

Thankfully, she’s healthy and 28 pounds.  She might get as heavy as 40 pounds, but she might not.  Considering she likes being a lap dog, this is probably a good thing.  However, my husband also likes that she is a lap dog, so that’s points in her favor with him.

Her limp is improving. She still a lover.  her and Lola are still getting along great.  They have moments when they each get jealous, but it isn’t too bad and it’s somewhat expected.  They each want all the attention they can get.

I’m just glad Kelly is healthy and se seems to be happy with us… and I don’t have to eat my hat.

Today

I feel depressed and hopeless.  I am filled with disgust and self-loathing.  My right hip still hurts, as I expected.  The ablation points were sore for several days, but that has receded.  The kicker is that over the weekend, my left hip began to hurt and has now swollen up.  The swelling isn’t as bad as my right was, but I figure it’s just a matter of time.

I’m tired of being in pain.  The Tramadol with acetaminophen doesn’t help.  I’m still not sleeping more than 5 or 6 hours a night.  I’m not working like I need to be.  It’s taken me five weeks to write a single chapter.  I’m nowhere near where I should be on this book.

I don’t go out and do things with friends because I can’t drive myself most of the time.  I guess that trend will continue since my left is causing me problems now.  Just sitting in chairs at darts hurts.  I can’t even get in and out of the shower without an increase in pain.

My migraines calmed down so that I could experience a new form of torture.  My pain stays about a 7 all the time.  I’m just tired and angry and sad… it got worse when my left hip started to act up.  I don’t care if it’s completely gone, but I’d like to be able to live my life.  If we could get it to a constant 2 or 3 all the time, that would be good enough.

But my body seems to refuse to be calmed.  I feel as though it is punishing me most of the time.  There are days when all I want to do is cry because I just don’t see the point of doing anything else.  I’m not sure how people live this way.

Kelly the Unloved

I mentioned a week or so ago that I was looking for a puppy companion for Lola.  I was sent an ad by a friend for a puppy with a note that said she had heard it needed a good home.  So, I contacted the person who had her and we set up a meeting.

It was a little over 2 hours away from me.  We got about three-quarters of the way there when I started to have doubts.  The puppy didn’t have shots, hadn’t been on heart worm medicine, nothing.  I was told she was an 8-month-old Australian Shepherd.  If she is, I’ll eat my hat.  I have a feeling the vet will confirm that she is actually on 4-5 months old when she sees them on Tuesday (the soonest appointment we could get for her).

However, my mom said we’d come this far, we should at least go look at her.  Lola and her got along fine (we took Lola with us) which was good.  Then I actually started to survey the puppy’s surroundings.  She had a limp, a scar on the opposite foot, and she hadn’t been given a name until they had posted her for sale… at supposedly 8-months-old, this puppy didn’t have a name.  She also lived with a large aggressive male dog who I suspect is the one that caused the limp and the scar.

I agreed to take her home.  It just hit me that they had no attachment to her because the only thing they had planned to use her for was breeding their male dogs.  Of which they had four, all in tact.  She was going to be a puppy factory herself and they just got tired of waiting for her to reach sexual maturity.  Since she’d never really been to a vet, they were just guessing at her age.

Coming home with us was her first car ride.  She was a little freaked out at first, but quickly adjusted with some help from Lola and ended up curled up in the back and sleeping most of the trip home.

Upon arrival at my house, she attached herself to me with some serious persistence.  When we fed her that night, we discovered she was food aggressive and have been working on her with that.  I believe she probably had to fight the males for anything she got in the food department.  She knocked over the trashcan the first night to dig out scraps.  She looked like she was overweight, which I thought was a little weird, but then I realized it wasn’t “weight”.  She was bloated and had the worst gas ever and lots of it.  When we called the vet to make her first appointment, I discussed her gas, bloating, and pooping problem – she was going about every 2 hours.  They told me to put her on white rice and chicken for a few days to see if that would help since they didn’t even have an emergency first visit available until the 18th.

So, I cook up some chicken and white rice (Lola’s had to go on this diet before).  After two days on the chicken/rice diet, she’s starting to go less frequently, she looks like she lost “weight”, her gas is less frequent (though it would still gag a maggot), and she is becoming less food aggressive already.  By the third day, she was eating Taste of the Wild puppy food.  She still has a bit of a gas problem and she still looks like she is losing weight, but I really do believe it was just bloat and the more she passes gas the less bloated she becomes, making it look like she is losing weight.

However, we have other stuff we are now working on.  She isn’t fully house broken.  She doesn’t know how to “play”.  I don’t think she had ever seen a ball or a plushie before, let alone dreamed about a whole toy box full for her to chew on – Lola has a BarkBox subscription because she loves to tear up toys and we like to keep her stocked.

She’s lost two puppy teeth since we got her last Monday night.  She’s had what I am positive was her first bath (totally not a fan, just like Lola).  She’s finally warmed up to Jason completely.  She is still following me around as much as she possibly can.  Her night time accidents are getting less frequent with Lola’s help.  Kelly goes to the door, but she doesn’t make any noise.  Lola has been waking someone up to let her out.  They have even begun to cuddle a little bit and I think Lola is becoming very attached to the little beagle mix (yep, beagle mix… short haired, howls like a hound, has black spots on her skin, short snouted – however, she’s as big as a full grown beagle already so she has to have something in her genes a little bigger, but I don’t think it’s Australian Shepherd and those two teeth that fell out were her first puppy teeth to come out, meaning if she’s on an average teeth losing scale, she’s probably not more than 5-months-old).

Like most neglected puppies, she’s a bit attention starved.  We had this problem with Lola when she was first adopted into the family.  Actually. every problem we have with Kelly we had with Lola when she was first taken in by my niece and nephew.  The good news is that she likes Jude.  He sat on her is first day here (and got in trouble for it) and she didn’t do anything to him for it except want his attention.  When she’s had enough of him, instead of snipping at him or growling, she crawls under my futon in my office.  She doesn’t want as much attention from Jude as Lola does.  Although, I think Lola is pretty happy to have someone else for Jude to focus his adoration of dogs on.

Mind Your Words and Thoughts

Every time I get ready to write a blog post, I have to really sit and think about it…  Primarily because I have to mind what I say and voicing my opinion.  For instance, I received several nasty notes about my using Planned Parenthood for birth control services before I had insurance.  It didn’t matter whether I was Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, Planned Parenthood offered the only affordable birth control services for me and I have a medical condition that requires it and yet, I was made to feel like I was evil for using them.

Anytime I voice an opinion about politics or current affairs, I know I run the risk of losing readers.  This is exceptionally difficult for me because I have a history degree and therefore have a natural interest in both.

What most people don’t know is that I endure reviews and messages telling me that I’m sick and perverted and how disgraceful it is that I condone/support/promote violence against women by writing the D&R novels.  I can’t change the fact that women are the most common targets of violence by both strangers and people they know… It would be very unrealistic to have 13 books where all the victims were male.

Not to mention the time I gave my opinion of Fifty Shades of Grey and I got messages asking me why I was pretending to be a woman.  So because I didn’t like a book that promoted an unhealthy relationship with a millionaire, I must be a man… How strange.  And other messages calling me a freak because I stated I didn’t enjoy the book because in the real BDSM world, Christian Grey would be a predator and I shouldn’t know that much about the lifestyle.

I’ve even turned in a Facebook user for issuing a death threat towards me, surprisingly not over the D&R novels, but over my fantasy series: The Brenna Strachan series.  They told me they were going to speed up my habitation of Hell since I was obviously a heathen that deserved to be burned for writing such wickedness and having Lucifer be a practicing member at a Catholic Church.

So, I blog about my dogs, my health, occasionally my books (it’s hard to do that all the time), and things I would do differently if I was just starting out as an indie author because everything else seems to be taboo.  And losing a reader affects how much money I make… which affects whether I need to find a part time job to go with my writing or not.

Then every so often, I go through my 800 draft blog posts to see what I can safely finish writing and publish without causing people to raise their pitchforks at me and I quell my own irritation over the fact that I feel like my voice is often stifled because my blog is connected to my writing career.  Like many public figures” I can’t afford true Freedom of Speech…

Looking For A Puppy Is Harder Than You Think

Lola is a very social dog with strong maternal instincts.  I sometimes wonder if spaying her was the right decision…  She’s small in stature for her breeding and it’s hard to get rid of mixed breed puppies, but she really is the most social dog I have ever owned and she is good with human children and puppies.

After the disaster between her and Bella (a beautiful 4 year old husky in need of a good home with separation anxiety), we realized that a full grown dog wasn’t going to work as a companion for Lola.  She isn’t an alpha and Bella picked up on that and attacked her.

However, now that we are settled into our new place, it has become painfully obvious that Lola really does need a companion.  When other dogs pass by our house (no leash laws where we live and most of the dogs roam free), Lola has this sad little whining bark she uses to try to get their attention, because she wants them to come play with her (we do not let Lola roam free unless she is locked in the backyard or with one of us… I worry about her getting hit by a car since we live next to a paved county road with a high speed limit).

I’ve spent most of the last week looking for puppies.  I don’t want a small breed, but that’s mainly because I want something that is going to be about her size.  I want another female since Lola seems to get along a little better with females than males.  I don’t require pure breeds or even known mixed breeds… in other words, a mutt would be fine.  And yet, I can’t find one.

This has brought two things to my attention: people seem to be more responsible about spaying and neutering their pets now then they were a decade ago (puppies are hard to come by) and that about half the adoptable dogs at my local humane society are chihuahuas or pit bulls.  Sadly, I don’t like chihuahuas – and before you lecture me, there’s a reason behind it – and the pit bulls are all 18 months or older, meaning they are for all intents and purposes, adults.

Let the search continue!

October is Coming

And this means more talk about spooky and murderous stuff than usual.  Much like Michael Myers, Halloween is my favorite holiday.  I like all the dark stuff.  I like ghost stories and fake blood and decorating my yard with tombstones and motion activated witches.  I love children in costumes that I get to swoon over for a moment before giving them their candy and sending them away.  I love to dress up in costume to hand out candy as well.  It’s the one day of the year when you can be someone or something completely different or let your freak flag fly and no one bats an eyelash (as long as the naughty bits are covered in front of the children).

Someone asked me once if I would be okay with movie or TV adaptations of my books.  The answer is probably.  While the main cast of the D&R series would be vitally important, my serial killers also require dedication and determination.  They would need actors that could commit to playing a serial killer and emotionless human being.

In other words, Topher Grace couldn’t be in them.  His performance in Predators is by far the worst and least convincing serial killer role I have ever seen.  He’s supposed to come across as mysterious, smart, and capable.  He came across as predictable, idiotic, and a bit of a wuss.  Part of this is because when he could be killing and enjoying the hunt, he’s hiding behind his good guy doctor persona… but why?  He’s on a foreign planet with other killers being hunted by some very serious serial killers (which is how I think of the Predator characters).  Even Lawrence Fishbourn’s character is better played, portrayed, and sympathetic to Grace’s weakling serial killing doctor role.

Anyway, I’m finding a few new horror movies to check out in the upcoming weeks… And I’m sure I will have more to talk about!

The Best Friend

My best friend, Beth, offered to take me to the biggest Renaissance festival in the area for my birthday.  I really want to go.  I love renfairs… all the costumes but with running water and food that I didn’t have to kill or grow myself.

After all the stress of buying a house and moving, a day away sounds amazing.  But I’m not sure I could go this weekend, I imagine I would be in a ton of pain afterwards.  Yet, the 14th we do the nerve ablation and I have no idea how long I’m going to be down from that.

It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to attend one.  It’s so hard to not be able to say yes or no.

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