Become A ‘Criminal’ Or Continue to Risk Death: I Have A Decision To Make

I have a decision to make.

I am trying to decide if I am willing to become a criminal for the sake of my health and quality of life.  If so, I  would be considered a violator of a federal law, facing a maximum penalty of $50 million and life in prison.

Here is the choice I face:

1)  Continue to take legal and potent medications to treat my Rheumatoid Arthritis


2)  Consider using a drug that although legal in my state, is considered a violation of federal law:

marijuana aka wheat,  ganga fu, butter, rainy day woman, diablito, o.j., love leaf, kif, binky, moocha, gong, juanita, poke, hooch, skunk, swag, hash, blunt, yellow submarine, sweet lucy, dimba, juju, poke, hooch, pakaloco, grass, boo…

Last summer, I almost died.  Not figuratively speaking, I mean really.  

I. Almost. Died.  

An infection made it to my blood stream and I was minutes away from having organ failure and dying, had I not gone to the ER when I did.

I live in pain, every single day of my life.  Some days it’s my feet or my wrists or my neck or my knees.  Oftentimes, it’s all of the above.  In spite of it all,   I love my little life and consider myself incredibly blessed.  I am not however, a masochist nor a martyr.  Although I have learned to accept my situation, it would be nice to feel better and to improve my quality of life.

I have a long and complicated medical history that no one in their right mind has time to listen to (or would willingly, even if they had the time.)  Trust me. 

The bottom line is that there is no cure for RA, and although there are well-known medications that reduce symptoms and new ones that are coming on the market, the side effects are horrendous.

There is no question (per numerous doctors that treated me) that my long-term use of some of these medications significantly contributed (if not caused) me to get this deadly infection.  One of the common side effects of these types of drugs is weakening of the immune system, thus making the patient more susceptible to infections or worsening of an existing infection.

Not to mention:

{thinning skin, easy bruising, changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your face, neck, back, and waist), increased acne or facial hair, menstrual problems, impotence, or loss of interest in sex, increased appetite, fluid retention, weight gain, increased blood sugar (which can lead to diabetes), extreme fatigue, difficulty swallowing, increase in blood pressure, unfavorable changes in cholesterol levels, irritation of lining of stomach and small intestine, ulcers, bleeding, early cataracts and glaucoma, thinning of the bones leading to osteoporosis, mood changes (some people get “revved up” and have trouble sleeping, others get depressed), adrenal suppression, lymphoma.}

I have tried most of the medications available including chemotherapy to treat my RA. Some have helped but they have come at a high price, literally and figuratively.

Last Tuesday, I met with a certified well-respected doctor who specializes in medical marijuana, to discuss the potential benefits for Rheumatoid Arthritis patients.  Holy Shit.  There are many, including the suppression of inflammation.  Inflammation is my enemy.  Inflammation is actually everyone’s enemy and the cause as well as the result of many illnesses.

 Marijuana use for RA patients promises to attack inflammation, target pain, relax muscles and help with sleep.  Many of the RA drugs out there promise the same benefits but the side effects of marijuana use are NOTHING compared to those of the conventional medications.   If marijuana use works for me, I could potentially cut FIVE of the many medications I take daily.  That is HUGE.  Less poison in my system!

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Potential Side Effects of Marijuana use:

sensory distortion, panic, anxiety, poor coordination of movement, lowered reaction time, the user may feel sleepy or depressed , increased heartbeat,dizziness, shallow breathing, red eyes, dilated pupils, dry mouth, increased appetite, paranoia, suspicion, distrust or fear of other people.

Nobody likes side effects but unfortunately, there is no such thing as no side effects when it comes to medications or certain medical treatments.  When comparing the side effects of marijuana to my current medications, to me,  it’s a no brainer.


The federal law does not recognize medicinal marijuana as acceptable or having medicinal value even if its use is protected under state law. It is not approved by the FDA as a drug that can be prescribed by doctors. Basically, we are halfway there but not quite there.  This is not fair to patients who are getting arrested and not fair or practical to expect law enforcement to be responsible for verifying the authenticity of a patient when the state and the federal agencies are not in sync. 

After qualifying me as a medicinal marijuana candidate, the doctor gave me a pin number to use when registering my name with the Sate Health Department. If I do this, I want to do it right.  I am not interested in getting high every day just for the heck of it .  I would like to try the specific strains that target pain and inflammation that may improve my quality of life.

If approved, I will receive my medicinal marijuana ID in a few weeks.  It has been suggested that I use a vaporizer to administer the marijuana as opposed to smoking it. That sounds fine to me. 

I have researched the arrests of medicinal marijuana patients in my state and they are greater than I would have hoped.  The confusion and lack of a standardized process has made it difficult for all involved.  I don’t think the police or the FEDS are going to necessarily be interested in little ‘ol me but it is uncomfortable knowing that my name is registered in a state system and that I am in violation of the federal law. 

Typically, I  find humor of most situations I encounter and believe me, I was tempted to insert all kinds of jokes in this post (like me dealing with distrust and  fear of others as a side effect of marijuana) but I need to be serious about this first before I am able to laugh and enjoy the benefits.


Marijuana fines and penalties:

{1000 Kilos or + or 100 plants or + = $10/50million = 10 years to life

100 to 999 Kilos or 100-999 plants = $5/25million = 5 to 40 yrs

50 to 99 kilos or 50-99 plants = $1/5million = up to 20 yrs

Less than 50 kilos, 10 kilos of hashish, 1 kilo of hashish oil or 1-49 plants =$250,000/1million = up to 5 yrs }


What are your thoughts on this topic?

A Fitbit For Someone With RA & Fibromyalgia:Ha,Ha,Ha,Ha!


It seems that everyone and their grandmother has a Fitbit or something comparable to track their steps, calories in, calories out, exercise, weight gained, weight lost and even sleep. I am frankly surprised it does not include tracking your bowel movements or the color of your urine since I hear you are supposed to drink at least 950 ounces of water per day.  Maybe they are working on that feature (can the Apple Watch do that?)

So when Mr. B mentioned to me that they were giving them out at his work to their employees and asked me if I wanted one, I laughed.  Seriously?


I then pictured myself wearing one of the fancy ones I have seen online and figured, why not.  Except that Mr. B could only get us the plain black flex bracelets and I’m not paying for some fancy cover.

He has since programmed his Fitbit to track his easy-peasy  10,000 steps per day (which he exceeds daily, even though he sits in an office all day.)  Apparently, the Fitbit vibrates when you have reached your goal (dammit, mine will never vibrate) and from what I can see,  he is enjoying this feature.  I am actually happy for him except that I will flush that thing down the toilet if I see that he starts weighing less than me.  

I decided to put mine on and sync it to my online account I had created, even though I honestly saw no point.   After all, I am horizontal for at least 50% of my day, I am fatigued 98% of the time, my feet hurt even when I am not on them, my wrists don’t like to bend and even my hair hurts.

So, what the hell am I supposed to be tracking?  I know I can break the record for hours slept per day, but really.

I imagine the tracking of a typical day in the life of brickhousechick,  looking something like this:

1.  Get my body out of bed (at noon), go to the bathroom and return to bed:


Sleep tracked: 15 hours

Steps Taken: 10

Calories out: 5 (it’s hard work to fall)


2.  Once back in bed, I try to reach the remote so that I can watch TV:


Activity tracked: reaching

More activity tracked: lifting my head

Pain to my neck, fingers and wrists:  100

Sleep needed after exertion:  6 hours


3.  Get myself something to eat:



Activity tracked: opening the fridge

Activity tracked: pushing the start button on microwave

Steps Taken: 12

Tears shed: 26

Calories in:  2500

Calories out: 2

cooperativeindependentliving.  com


Activity tracked:  operating grabber

Calories out: -5


4.  At some point in the day I should shower:



Activity tracked:  step into shower

Activity tracked:  turn on shower

Activity tracked:  apply shampoo & conditioner

Steps taken: 4

Calories out: 2

Gallons of water used:  50 gallons x 30 days = 1500 gallons, 25 gallons x 30 days =750 gallons, which is a 750 gallons of water per month x 65 gallons per rinse per hour….


5.  When I have to, I go shopping:

 On bad days, I use a mobility cart.

Unknown children like to hang on

Sometimes, I flirt with meet others

Activity tracked:  turning ignition on scooter

Activity tracked:  putting the scooter on reverse and hearing loud beeps

Activity tracked: placing items in too small of a basket

Calories out:  7

Calories in:  500 (from free samples)

Humiliation: SUPER HIGH

Hearing Loss from Beeps:  Mucho


6.  My final and favorite activity of the day:





Activity tracked: lifting glass

Activity tracked: swallowing 

Antioxidants consumed: a ton

Hearts helped: 1

Happiness felt: limitless

Pain relieved: ALL


PS.   “There is some evidence that orgasms can relieve all kinds of pain — including pain from arthritis, The Huffington Post.  

FYI: The Fitbit tracks all activity.

How is your Fitbit treating you?

Get Me Out Of Here

I spent four consecutive hours yesterday watching, HGTV’s Beachfront Bargain Hunt.  For those of you who know better and spend your Sundays reading, writing or doing something productive, this particular segment on the HGTV network features people who are tired of renting and are looking for beachfront vacation properties to buy.  A realtor shows them several properties until they find the beachfront oasis of their dreams. 

After bombarding my brain with images of pristine aqua-blue waters framed by miles of golden sandy beaches, clear blue skies, thirst quenching tropical beverages and sling-shot bikinis, I felt even more depressed than I already was.


I am no different from the 1.3 million US residents living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. If you have RA, you will experience pain.  If you have RA and you live in a cold climate, you will most likely experience even more pain.  And stiffness.  And aches. And sadness.  And isolation. 

I know I do.

As a result (and just because) I am leaving tomorrow (weather permitting) for an almost 3 week hiatus, landing directly in the warm and comforting arms of my wonderful mother, who happens to live on the island of PUERTO  RICO.


Just what the doctor ordered.

Just Call Me: Footloose

Just for ha-has, let’s talk about my past shall we?

I know it is not very riveting but I am in the mood to reminisce about the old me.  There is nothing too wrong with the new me but I miss young brickhousechick and her spunk.

I would like to focus mostly on the end of my high school years, college and  several years after that.

I never joined a sport’s team in high school, not because I was not athletically fit but because I was shy (I know, can you believe it?)  I did join the cheerleading squad but kept a very low profile.

I was not a bad athlete, if I may say so myself.  My long legs helped me run distances during Gym class and beat the other students.  I played flag football with the neighborhood kids,  played wiffle ball and could actually hit the ball.  I was often the last man standing during dodgeball (which explained the huge red welts on my thighs when I was finally bombarded) and I killed it in kickball.  I simply lacked the confidence to try out for any organized sport.  

I took Jazz classes at 8:00 am while in college and was the Queen of my Jazzercize class in my mid 20’s, but that was nothing compared to how good I was (I know I am not shamefully shamefully bragging) at mastering my passion.

Please allow me to modestly tell you how f***** awesome I was at:


I’m talking getting THIS  kind of reaction – when I danced:


By dancing I don’t mean with a pole – though it looks like a

Or Dancing With The Stars- kind of dancing.

Or belly dancing.



Or ballet *yawning*.




I am talking, FUNKY dancing, people!

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Reaction GIFS




GIF Soup

GIF Soup


Everywhere I went = I danced.

My high school superlative was, Most Likely To Be Dancing.

My father nicknamed me, Footloose after seeing me appear on the 11:00 o’clock news dancing at a Boston club.


I danced in the streets.

LA Weekly

LA Weekly

In my room.

With Batman.



Man, did I have the moves.  

Then, one day this happened:

My joints began aching.  Every inch of my body hurt – including my hair.  I spent all my time going from doctor to doctor.  I had surgeries.  I rested in bed.  I rested in bed again. And again.  

I had to stop working because I felt like this every day: 



When they discovered cervical deterioration of my spine, I tried dancing but looked something like this:



But that hurt.


After crying, screaming, yelling, kicking and feeling sorry for myself, I, being the eternal optimist that I am (don’t ask me why), decided that Rheumatoid Arthritis was not going to stop me from doing what I love. 

I dance when I can and even when I can’t.

If my feet hurt, I move my arms.  If my arms hurt, I move my feet.  If my hips hurt, I shake my head.  If my head hurts…I still dance.


‘Cause All Of Me, Loves All Of Me And Words & Pictures

“When you truly love yourself, you are enough. Your happiness and well-being become a top priority”
― Annette Vaillancourt


I am feeling somewhat better after my little break-down this week.  When I think about this coming Fall and how alone I will be, I go back to that sad and dark place occupying a corner of my heart.  Fortunately,  I am beginning to see the possibilities for me and what opportunities await me in the months and years to come.

I also thank you wonderful people, for your unbelievably kind words of encouragement.  You truly are the best and I wish I could climb right into this screen and hug you all…and kiss some of you, too.


In working through this realization that I will be spending an abundant amount of time with just me, I decided that I better get to know me.  What if I don’t like me?  What if me and I just don’t jive?  If I am going to be tied to my own arthritic hip 24/7, isn’t it important that I find out as much about me as possible?  Especially, to ensure that me is not a criminal, an identity thief or God forbid, a bitch! Imagine that!

 So I decided to follow me, for a full day.  Like an eager student who shadows  a person in their workplace to decide if the type of work she is observing, is something she wants to pursue.

I had to ask me for permission and thankfully, me agreed.

After watching me get up, make the bed, go to the bathroom and get dressed, I have to admit, I was a bit bored (yawn).  Me’s knee was swollen and she was limping around the house (what a  wuss!)

I watched me eat some cereal and sit on the comfy couch with my laptop, ready to search for the opportunities and activities waiting to be chosen by me, to help fill the endless hours my empty nest will bring (ay, that was a mouthful.)

First Internet Search:  A Jewelry Making Class.  Me enjoys making bracelets out of beautiful beads  but needs the skills necessary for securing clasps and hooks. What? A Class this coming Sunday? Why, yes!  Me and I are both available to attend (maybe we will get a twofer on the cost.)

Second Internet Search: Meditation.  Me has always wanted to learn how to meditate and appreciate the true meaning of mindfulness.   What? Free classes at the University? Yes, please!

Woman meditating on the beach at sunset.

Then, me took a short break to look at showtimes for a movie I have been dying to see;

Words and Pictures

What? 2:20 today? Ticket for One, please!

I could have called my friend Gina who wanted to go with me but I decided that I needed to go, with just me.  Like a date.  With me.  Would me share popcorn with me?  Would me like yeast or cheese on her already buttered popcorn? Would me try any funny business in the theater? I had to know.

After accepting the fact that my fellow movie goers were no younger than 97, I settled in my seat, with me.


Starring Clive Owen & Juliette Binochi, in an inspirational romantic comedy.  Clive Owen plays, Jack Marcus a prep school English teacher who tries to educate his students about the power of the written word (as writers, you are going to really appreciate his character and his take on the English language.)

Juliette Binochi, an artist in real life, plays the character of Dina Delsanto, an artist who is battling  Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Her illness limits her painting abilities and she is forced to teach Art at the same prep school.  A friendly war ensues about the importance of Words vs.  Pictures, as the two teachers try to prove to their students that their mode of expression, is superior to the other.

No, it is not a chick flick.  It is an everyone flick.  It deals with addiction, bullying, family relationships and passion for one’s career.

  What an inspirational film.

Me and I both loved it.  

We discussed it on the way home.  I then told me that I was happy she let me shadow her today.  I told me that I kind of liked her.  That she is fun, beautiful and a fighter.  

I reminded me that there is nothing we cannot handle, together.  

I told me that I was happy to be me and that I even… loved her.


‘Cause All of Me is Learning to Love,  All of Me

It Leaves Me With Just Me

powellriverpersuader.blogspot. com


Have you ever had an aha moment that is immediately followed by a wave of deep sadness because it was during that aha moment, that you realized how bad things were going to be?

This is what happened to me today.  Out of nowhere, I gained wisdom about something I knew would be difficult, but the clarity of the situation really struck me.

This wave of sadness has taken over my body and mind.

What do we writers/bloggers do when we experience a deep emotion?  We write, of course.

It’s as if someone kicked me with all their force right in the gut.  I feel like a shriveled up deflated balloon that moments before, was filled with air, joy and happiness.

As many of you loyal readers know, I will have an empty nest this coming fall.  I have written about it on many occasions.  I talk about running around the house naked swearing like a sailor.  About having more time with Mr. Brickhouse and even on how we will save on electricity.  All in good fun.

Today however, I don’t see it that way.  Today, I truly understand the impact and meaning of this much-anticipated empty nest.  Why didn’t I think of this before?  Why didn’t I see it?  How stupid of me to think otherwise.  I was looking at an ideal life.  An imagined vision of me stepping right into this next stage in my life with open arms.  Blindly and naïvely envisioning a future when I could finally focus on myself, my goals, my health and my marriage.

And then it hit me.

I will be alone.


Stuck at home, by myself.

With no purpose to my every day.

No longer needed by anyone.

Just me and my thoughts.

Just me and my illness.

I already spend a lot of my days on my own.  I am usually too fatigued to be involved in multiple activities.  I see friends when they are not working, I try to walk, I blog, I watch tv and I mother.  Mothering has given me a purpose and an identity.

The fact is that Mr. Brickhouse has a very demanding job.  He is gone all day and most nights, at meetings. I know this.  I have known this.  I have accepted this.  But now, it saddens me to no end.  I cannot depend on him to be there.  It is not fair to expect him to fill my void.

My aha moment made me realize the reality of what awaits me.

What will I do?

What plans do I have?

What are my goals?

What is my purpose?

The fact that I cannot hold a job due to my illness has bothered me in the past but I knew deep down that the most important job I could do, was being the best mother I could be, despite my physical limitations.

Now what?

Wake up. Rest. Wait until my body is not stiff.  Eat breakfast. Rest. Run an errand.  Rest.  Blog. Rest.  Pay bills. Rest.  Go for a walk. Rest. Eat dinner on my own. Rest. Blog. Sleep. Repeat.

This will be my life.

My new reality.

It scares me to death.

It leaves me vulnerable with thoughts I have repressed for way too long.

It leaves me with just me.



I will allow these feelings to simmer for a day or two because they need to.  

They are real.  

They are valid.

And in the end:

This too shall pass

Beauty Is In The Foot Of The Beholder 

I am very self-conscious about my feet.  They ain’t pretty.  Even with the most magnificent neon color polish, they turn heads – in a yucky kind of way.

Yet, here I am posting pictures of them for all to see.  Am I crazy?  Well, yea, but there is a point to this post.  Keep reading and try not to cringe at the photos.



This is the “face” of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Thanks to the most narcissistic orthopedic surgeon ever, my left foot is now straight.  I hate to admit that this, “I am the God of Feet” pompous, swollen-headed, dingle-berry of a doctor, did a great job.  As brilliant a surgeon as he is however, I will not have my right foot operated on by him.  Ever.  Jerk.





I hope you are not eating while reading this…

As a result of not wanting to go under the knife again, because the recovery was one from the deepest infernal regions of the universe, my feet don’t match.

One of these feet is not like the other…one of these feet just doesn’t belong…


You should see how simple it is to find shoes that fit both feet.  After the fusion, the newly operated foot is now longer that the right foot.  Fun times!

So what is my point?  

My point is that someone out there finds these mis-matched arthritic footsies of mine, sexy!

Let me prove it to you.

Here is a comment left on an old post of mine where I featured my feet:

Hello. I just want to tell you I really enjoyed this blog post. I hope you don’t mind that I tell you that you have very beautiful feet. I have a foot fetish with a preference for bunions, and your feet are very exquisite to me. I hope these comments flatter you, your beautifully unique feet are very sexy. I hope you continue to post pics of your feet 🙂


There is a God

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Can You Make Me A Promise? Please?


Pretty please?

Can you promise me that you will stop yourself from judging and confronting a person who is parked in a handicap spot with an official handicap placard, because they do NOT look handicapped?  Please?

Yes, there are some people who may be taking advantage of the ‘system’ and they should be reprimanded.  But, don’t take on that role.  You are not the handicap police.  Step away from the situation because the majority of the time that person IS legitimately authorized to have that placard.

You just don’t know.  You have no idea what the situation is.  You have no idea what lays underneath that healthy looking façade.  They look fine to you, but maybe they are not.  Pain is invisible.  You just don’t know.  Don’t assume they are faking it.  Let it be. Let them be.

I have been stared down, laughed at, chased, verbally assaulted and judged too many times.  More often than I care to remember.  I have a handicap placard yet, I look fine.  I dress nicely. I wear bright lipstick.  My hair is neat.  I don’t use a cane –  at the moment and I am not limping – today.  So, I MUST be faking it, right?  I just want that parking spot right in the front. 

What the idiot staring me down last night and ready to pounce and yell at me didn’t see, is the pain I am in.  That my cervical stenosis is causing pain radiating from my head to my lower spine.  That my feet are deformed and it hurts to walk.  That my wrists are swollen.  That I am desperately fighting the debilitating fatigue in order to go out and live.  He assumed I was faking it.  He checked the placard.  He gave me nasty looks.  He judged.  Without knowing a thing about me.  Nothing.

So please promise me my friends, that you will stop and think.  That you will not rush to your own unfounded conclusions that this person parking in a handicap spot is abusing the system.  Don’t try to be a hero and save the world by “getting” them.  Although your vigilance is appreciated, 99% of the time, your assumptions will be wrong.  

You just don’t know.

Thank you.

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Is That a Heart Attack You Are Having or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

It was 1:30 am and I was sound asleep.

Suddenly, I was rudely and abruptly awakened by a piercing pain in my chest.    I gasped for air and shrieked.  Was there an intruder in the house and had he stabbed me?  Thinking we had been attacked by aliens, Mr. brickhouse jumped out of bed alert and wide-eyed, ready to defend his domain.

Oh my God, it ****ing hurts!  When I breathe in and out it’s worse.  Help me, please.

Mr. B (still technically asleep) was frantically circling the bedroom asking me if he should call an ambulance.  I signaled for him to hold off and I began to relax my body and to breathe slowly.  The pain was gone.  No need to call the ambulance, it was probably just gas.

During the next couple of weeks I became increasingly weak.  Walking to the kitchen felt like I had climbed Mount Annapurna (Mount Everest is so overused.) I was short of breath all the time and continued to have chest pains, particularly at night.

After seeing a cardiologist and discussing my long-term use of steroids for my Rheumatoid Arthritis, he was concerned that them “roids” had done a number on my heart.  A stress test was ordered.

Gulp.  I failed the stress test.

I am used to things being wrong with my body but this time, I was really scared.  I was only 44 at the time and was not ready to die of heart failure.  I had visions of living a long life (with deformed joints and all, nevertheless, a life) and was NOT prepared to die.

That evening my chest pains intensified.  So much so that we should have called an ambulance but stupidly decided to wait it out at home.  After propping myself up with pillows, the pain vanished once again but not before I promised Mr. B that I would call the doctor first thing in the morning.

What happened next made me seriously doubt all my parenting skills and wonder where Mr. B and I had gone wrong.  The next morning I put a call into my cardiologist and left him a message alerting him of the continued pains.  In trying to maintain some sort of normalcy with my children, I took my daughter and her friend to their scheduled manicure appointments.  Just stay calm, brickhouse and don’t scare the kids.  While waiting at the salon, my cardiologist called me back and told me to do exactly as he instructed.

“I want you to go home right now, pack an overnight bag and get yourself to the hospital ASAP.  Enter through the ER, and I will be waiting for you there.”

Oh My God, try to stay calm brickhouse and find a way to tell your daughter.

After calling Mr. B and telling him to meet me at home and calling a friend to ask her to pick up my daughter and her friend, I decided to tell my daughter what was going on.

Sweetie, mom is ok.  Everything is fine.  I just have some pain in my chest and the doctor wants to check it out.  I have to stay overnight at the hospital , but I am sure it will be nothing.  To which my daughter responded, “But MOM, who’s going to take me to get my haircut later?”  Okay… I must have done a really good job of hiding my fear, so much so that all she cared about was her haircut.

To make matters worse, as we were arriving at the ER, my son (knowing what was happening) called my cell phone and said, “MOM, where did you put the Dunkin Donut munchkins? I can’t find them anywhere!”  Really?  I may be dying and you want to know where the munchkins are.  What kind of evil children had we raised?

Ok, I’ll get to the important stuff now.

After getting hooked up to all types of monitors and EKG’s, the pain came back.  We are talking, GIVE ME SOME DAMN MORPHINE NOW OR I WILL KILL YOU ALL – type of pain.  Handfuls of Nitroglycerin tablets were forced into my mouth by the nurse while other nurses ran around the room checking my vitals and monitors.  It hurt so bad.

Next thing I know, I am riding in back of an ambulance in pain but this time, the pain was not coming from my chest.  The pain I felt was in my whole body – as the ambulance hit every single pot hole on every road as it sped to a bigger hospital, 20 miles away. OUCH

I was wheeled to a room on the cardiac ICU floor.  I looked around and noticed that the average age of the patients on this floor was...95.  Why was I here?  I didn’t belong.  My roommate was waiting for me in our room.   A very nice elderly woman who for her own protection, was placed on “bed-arrest”.  Meaning, a bed alarm would go off if she tried to escape.  Yea, It was not a good night.

The next morning, they performed a Coronary Angiogram (a cath) via my groin, to check my arteries and my heart.  I was given the good news once I awoke, that my heart looked perfect and that there was no sign of damage or disease.  You mean, I’m not going to die? AYA CARAMBA!!!  But, what is wrong with me?

After the procedure, I was to lay still and flat on my back on the hospital bed for several hours to avoid any bleeding or other side effects of the cath going through my groin.  Ugh.  I looked over at my roommate’s bed but she wasn’t there!  Oh Shit.  Did she…perish?  I was afraid to ask.

The next several hours were by far the most humiliating hours of my life.  Having to lay flat without moving my legs or body meant I could not get up for any reason, including to use the bathroom.  The instructions were to ring for a nurse and she would help me, using a bed pan.

I don’t know if they were short-staffed or what but after ringing the damn bell for 20 whole minutes, no nurse came to my rescue.  I was wishing my roommate was still with me so that she could help call a nurse.  I really had to pee.   I kept hearing the beeping out in the hallway but it was as if the entire floor had been deserted.  Finally, not being able to hold it any longer, the flood gates opened and I was soon laying in a pool of my own urine, completely drenched.

The nurse finally showed up and saw that I was crying.   She apologized and began complaining about staffing and how it was someone else’s fault.  Are you kidding me?  I am in a cardiac ICU floor and it took 20 minutes for a nurse to show up?  I could have been having a heart attack!  Maybe that’s why my roommate was “gone”!  

After filing a formal complaint the next morning and listening to the head nurse profusely apologize, I was released from the hospital.

In the end, we found out that the pain in my chest was caused by inflammation and  fluid around the lining of my heart and lungs (pericarditis),  which would get worse when laying down.  Just another lovely symptom of RA.  The abnormal stress test?  That was a fluke.

I learned a few important lessons after that whole traumatizing  experience;

* Never use my poker face with my kids during an emergency

* Never buy Dunkin Donut munchkins again

*  Write my city council to request more funds be allocated to fixing all the damn pot holes on our roads

*  Though warm, never lay in urine again – be it mine or anyone else’s.

The Three Wise Men Arrive Tonight, But I Need Advice from YOU, Oh Wise Ones

Happy Three Kings Day mis amigos!

 I am hoping they bring a lot of gold this year (I can do without the frankincense and myrrh.)

Do you like my new blog theme for January? I decided that I am going to change my theme every month just for ha-has.  It’s fun and will help with the winter blahs and keep things interesting .  There are so many color palettes and backgrounds to use!  I recommend playing around with all the different themes available.

****Speaking of blogging themes and blogging.  I need advice from all you wise bloggers out there.

How do you do it?

How do you manage your time effectively so that you can write, read, comment, tweet, facebook and have a life with your family?  Am I missing something?  Is that even possible?

My little family is getting tired of watching me sit around in my bata (bathrobe), typing away, ignoring them, not cooking, not cleaning, not talking, not ANYTHING else – but blogging. I try to change positions so I at least look different than I did the last time they looked at me and I even change my bata for variety – it’s not helping.

I try to esplain (like Lucy) to them that this is the etiquette for blogging.  You write, you read, you comment and then you – REPEAT.  I tell them that this is serious business and that it is imperative to developing and maintaining a wonderful blogging community.  They just stare blankly at me.  The common questions I get are, Are you getting paid for any of this? and Why?

Last night I went out to my favorite Mexican restaurant (ate killer fish tacos) with Mr. Brickhouse.  The entire time I talked about my blogging friends.  I discussed what they do, what books they have published, their experiences, their sad posts, their happy posts, their funny posts, their sexy posts, their underwear size and their menstrual cycles.

He listened attentively (either that or he was pretending to listen as he checked out the young girl at the bar) and even asked questions.  I figured, If I introduce my blogging friends to him in this way, he too will feel attached to you all and will understand my need to blog 24/7.  I think it worked a little…or it might have been the beer hearing aids he was wearing.

He is sober today and watching me in my bata right now writing this and does not look as happy or interested as he was last night.

This is my usual daily blogging routine:

(Keep in mind that my RA makes it difficult for me to have a real job since my pains and fatigue are unpredictable although usually present)

1) While waiting for my joints to un-stiffen every morning (usually at 1:00 in the afternoon), I stay in bed and begin reading all the new posts of the day.  While doing that, I get interrupted by an email or 5 or a Facebook message.  Then I remember that I have to transfer money using my online banking tool and switch over to that.  

2) Two and a half hours have passed and I have answered 20 texts and my mother’s phone call – which usually lasts one hour, while reading posts.  I check my Reader and there are now 10 new posts from bloggers I follow.  I don’t know if I should I read those or comment on the comments I commented on while reading the comments in the comment section? 

3)  I think of an earth shattering post I must write, right there and then and begin a new post.

4)  It’s 1:00 pm and I haven’t had breakfast, lunch or taken my important meds.  

5)  I get up and it takes me one hour to make breakfast, empty dishwasher, do dirty dishes all while trying to read new posts.

6)  Now I have to nap because I am exhausted from making breakfast and cleaning.

7)  It’s 4 pm and I go back at it on my laptop, while watching Judge Judy.

8)  It’s 6 pm and there is no dinner in sight.

9)  I make dinner, clean up and sit to rest while trying to catch up on the 50 new posts posted by the people I follow.

10)  I fall asleep at 11:45 pm with my laptop on my belly.

11)  New day = REPEAT

Please help me, oh wise ones.  

What strategies, tricks, time management skills,  or super powers do you have or use?