I live with two cats and a dog, so I like to think I am the boss. Think is the key word in that sentence.

Boo, my YorkiePoo and Butter, my tuxedo cat, had about a week of struggle after losing Buttons in daily life. The hierarchy had been messed with and boundaries needed to be reset. Butter would get in my lap and Boo would growl/bark and chase her out of it (and no, he was not trying to play). Boo would go to get a drink and Butter would hiss and the claws came out. Fur went flying ,although no blood was shed. Eventually, they came to an understanding and everybody could move around the house without (too much) fear. Delilah just camped out on the porch, taking it all in.

Yesterday, anticipating the use of a CPAP machine, I rearranged my bedroom so there would be a place to put the machine. There are new shelves in there, the bed is perpendicular to where it was, and a table was moved to the adjacent wall. While I was doing this, Butter sat in the doorway, watching. Boo was holed up in the living room. I finished, happy with the arrangement, and all hell broke loose. Boo went after Butter, she escaped into the garage suite where she likes to hang out. For the rest of the day, if Boo was in the living room and Butter stuck her head out, he’d go after her. Same thing this morning. I started thinking about moving one of the litter boxes into the garage suite. But things seem to have calmed down now, so we’ll see if Boo can get back to a truce and I can get back to pretending I’m the boss.

I mentioned when I started this blog that I was thinking about getting rid of my scale. Well, I did. I finally put it out to the curb, where somebody picked it up. I figure I go to a doctor’s office enough that they can keep tabs on my weight and I can have a “checkpoint” of sorts to see how it’s doing. With the scale out of my house, it’s much easier to concentrate on healthy habits rather than a number. I have enough numbers in my life between checking my blood sugar and figuring out carbs to be consumed and the units of insulin needed. As much as I like the idea of using my weight as a daily/weekly barometer for my behaviors, in reality it was too much on top of everything else. I want to feel like the boss of my numbers, and the scale was even more recalcitrant about it than the blood sugar numbers are.

Another thing I want to be the boss of? Flip turns in swimming. They fascinate and horrify me at the same time. I have yet to figure out how to do them. The problems? First, water up my nose. Yes, I know you’re supposed to blow out to keep it from coming in. I understand the science and theory behind it. But I can’t make it work. I always end up with water in my sinuses, and it hurts! I can’t even jump in a pool without holding my nose, let alone do a somersault in the water. I did order some nose clips, and they just came today. I’m going to try them out tomorrow – maybe they can help me be boss. I also came across a tip about humming while researching flip turns. I’m going to try that, too.

Second problem: my sense of proprioception sucks. As in, I get extremely disoriented doing a backbend. Those physical field tests for sobriety? I’d fail even if I hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol in a month. Tai chi has helped with this, but I still get turned around both in terms of direction and where my body is in space. (Yet, I can do weights while kneeling on a balance ball. Go figure.) I’ve attempted half somersaults in the water (mostly while holding my nose :-)) and I intellectually understand that I just want to flip so I’m looking at the sky, but … wow. I probably shouldn’t be doing it without a lifeguard present. I can’t even tell you what I’m doing. Let alone what I’m doing wrong.

But I’m persistent, so I’m going to keep at it until I feel like the boss.

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I got the results of my first sleep study: I stop breathing 11 times an hour when I’m laying awake watching television; when I finally fall asleep, I stop breathing 41 times an hour and my oxygen levels go down to the 70s. I always did like to pick and choose which rules to follow – I guess the one where breathing is an automatic bodily function is one I don’t like.

I have to wait for the results of my second sleep study; my doctor is on vacation and I don’t see her until the 9th of September. I know they’re hoping to get the oxygen up to the 90s without supplemental oxygen, but I won’t find out for another week+. Until then, I’ve given myself permission to nap if I feel like it, without guilt. (Okay, so I have been napping. But with guilt.)

Next up will be figuring out the CPAP mask. I was okay with the one that covered my nose and mouth until I got home the next day and realized that the skin on the bridge of my nose was compromised by just the one night. It’s healing now, but I’m a little worried about the long-term – I have no desire to fight MRSA again. Time for some research. Amazing how the internet has made it so much easier to find things out.

I was planning to go to the pool today and get some swimming in, but I just couldn’t force myself out of the house. Instead, I made a deal that I could stay home today if I got a bunch of stuff done that I’ve been putting off. I’m happy to report that I did. My carpets are vacuumed, chores accomplished, and little bits and pieces tidied up. Among the projects I finished is this:

gold beaded choker with magnetic clasp

gold beaded choker with magnetic clasp

My second necklace. I love knitting them … figuring out the clasps if they’re too small to go over the head, not so much. But I’m learning. I already know what I want to do for the third necklace – I just need to sit down, get the dog to leave the yarn alone, and knit it. (Yes, Boo-Boo the dog. He thinks balls of yarn are his toys. The cats don’t seem to know the yarn exists. Go figure.)

Here’s a picture of the detail on the second necklace:

detail of gold beaded choker

detail of gold beaded choker

(Wow – I just impressed myself looking at this picture)  I’m so glad I learned how to knit!

On Tuesday night, I did the first night of what turns out to be a 2 night sleep study. I was hooked up to more wires than I have ever been in my life – even after spending all that time in and out of the hospital years ago. I felt like I was in the Matrix with some Big Brother thrown in there. There were wires sprouting from my forehead, face, neck, top of the head, back of the head, chest, back, legs, and hand. There were two belts around me and two different thingies stuck in my nostrils. (Plastic does not smell pleasant.) Once all that was hooked up, I laid in a bed with a video camera watching me all night … it was mounted on the wall at the foot of the bed and the little green light blinked at me all night.

Then they expect you to sleep!

I’m not sure what was more unnerving, the wires that kept me stiller than usual because I was afraid I’d tear them off or the video camera with someone watching me all night.

I did manage to drift in and out of sleep, and after paying attention the past couple of nights at home, I can say that it actually was a fairly typical night of sleep that they recorded. Apparently not good.  The tech said I’d get a call within 48 hours if they didn’t need me to come back. I got a call. But instead of telling me not to come back, they were calling to make sure that I’d be there next week. They left a message reiterating the date and time and the importance of keeping the appointment, then needed me to call back to confirm that I would be there. I go back this Tuesday for a CPAP mask titration. Same deal as last week, except that someone will be adjusting the mask and rates all night.

Let’s see, I’ve got something in my arm to monitor my blood sugars, something in my abdomen to regulate insulin, and now I’ll be getting something on my face to regulate my breathing.

I am Borg. Resistance is futile. But at least I may finally be able to get a good night’s sleep again!

 

So for the last week or so, I conducted an experiment.

I began swimming at the Bath & Racquet Club at the beginning of July. After a week or so of swimming, I added in cardio (yes, I know swimming can be considered cardio … but I prefer to think of it as stress relief) and weights, following a program set out by a trainer. I enjoyed how my muscles and mind felt while doing them, but I was losing most of the day afterwards because I’d get home and be so dizzy and nauseated and tired that the only thing I could do was lie down and sleep. Eleven to fourteen hours of sleep each 24 hour period doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for living.

I decided to take a week or two and see if taking it easy – just short, slow walks with the dog, tai chi class, and short bike trips to the grocery store – would help or make any difference. Short answer? Not really. Instead of getting myself out on my bike to the gym, I’d fall back asleep after eating breakfast and walking the dog in the morning. Wake up five  or six hours later and be ready to do something. The dizziness, nausea, and exhaustion? Still there. Afternoons and evenings easier, but still spending the same total amount of time sleeping.

Since it doesn’t make a difference time-wise, I’ve decided the heck with it – at least for now. I need the stress relief I get from swimming. So I got back to the gym this morning and went swimming. Just swimming. I’m thinking I’ll stick to that for now and leave the cardio machines and weights for later. When maybe all this gets figured out.

It’s now 11:27pm, and I can’t wait to hit my bed. I have the first night of a two-part sleep study scheduled for tomorrow night, and the instructions say to go to bed late the night before and get up early the day of to help falling asleep in a strange place. I’m keeping everything crossed that they find something – anything – that can be fixed. Because we start work in a month, and right now I can’t imagine being able to keep my focus long enough to play a concert.

 

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the knitted necklace – finished, I thought

So for the past week or so, I have had umpteen blog posts running around my head. They just haven’t made it to a coherent state on my computer yet. While they’ve been percolating in my brain, though, I managed to finish my first knitted necklace.

Tilli Thomas yarn – beaded silk in gold. Expensive, and not a whole lot of yardage. But I had to have it. (Better than stuffing my face, right?) Not enough for a purse, shawl, scarf, I thought. But jewelry? A necklace? Why not.

So I experimented with a cheap yarn until I kind of knew what I wanted to do. Then, I made what you see in the picture above. But I kept looking at it, and I kept putting off posting it. Something about it bothered me. Tonight, I added a couple of beads. Here is the finished project.

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with the beads added

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around my neck

I’m not totally happy with my first, but I am glad I’ve started experimenting with knitted necklaces. I have a choker being blocked now, and I have a third necklace that I need to redo because I didn’t swatch and it came out too short. It’s a great way to use expensive yarn!

I’m thinking about making a bunch of them and then trying my hand at selling them. Any suggestions?

I miss going to the gym and working with weights and swimming. I miss being able to complete workouts without dizziness and exhaustion in the middle and after. I miss being able to push myself physically and then enjoy the rest of the day, rather than collapsing afterwards. I miss the stress relief of swimming.

I miss looking forward to a bike ride. I miss training for a half-marathon and/or marathon. I miss taking long walks in the park, just because it’s there.

I miss being able to enjoy taking a deep breath. I miss not feeling like I need to yawn all the time, but can’t.

I almost miss my mindset before I learned how good physical activity makes me feel, because then I wouldn’t be missing what I’m missing so much. Ignorance is bliss, and all that. But once learned, it’s hard to unlearn.

I miss standing up without having to have a plan for if the world starts spinning away.

I miss all the hours I’m spending sleeping. I miss being full of energy from doing things. I miss being full of energy to do things. I miss the sparkle in my eyes.

I miss the feeling of living, rather than just trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Something needs to change.

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