12 thoughts on “Rolling With The Punches…

  • January 27, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    so good to hear from you! i was getting concerned. how life waxes and wanes. i also cannot wait for you to get your new hearing aids – what a relief that will be for you. i find it hard to believe you could ever sound like a ‘complete idiot’ though 🙂 glad to hear lucy is home and well.

    i’m sitting here at the computer after lying in bed for over an hour trying to get to sleep. i have a conference to go to all day tomorrow and saturday, which necessitates a very early start to my day – which of course means that i cannot get to sleep! such is the way it goes with me (and, i’m sure, many others). but i am marching ever-closer to my goal of finishing this degree, which will be marvelous indeed.

    • January 28, 2011 at 11:55 am

      Hi, Julie…

      Never be concerned about me, sweet girl. “No news is good news.” Keep that in mind.

      But you are so right. “Life waxes and wanes.” Still, life is good. It beats the alternative.

      You cannot believe how much I am, like you, waiting for my new hearing aids. Although I’m afraid I’ll need a PhD in computer science to figure them out.

      By the way, when you are struggling to hear conversation in a room or you think you hear something and you respond… and it’s complete non-sequitor, a totally out of the ball-park comment that is seemingly ridiculous, you do feel like an idiot. Trust me. You should see the way people look at me sometimes. Then I get this sinking feeling. I said something inane, stupid, absurd, because I mis-heard something someone said. So at dinner parties where there’s a lot of cross-talk, I simply smile like fool, knowingly but knowing nothing, and keep my mouth shut.

      It’s very isolating and very tiring and I prefer being on my own with a book or The New Yorker or in front of my trusty iMac.

      You will be at your conference when I post this. I had the luxury of sleeping in today until 8 a.m. Then walked the dogs, wrote another post, which I haven’t yet posted, and then decided to respond to you and Jessika.

      I’m concerned when I hear that you’re not getting much sleep. I hope this is an infrequent occurrence. You know how I feel about the healing power of sleep. Please keep me posted on how your studies are going, on how the conference went, and now that your leg is healed and you’re a little more mobile, I hope we can have that cup of coffee, together.

      Hugs and thanks for writing.


  • January 28, 2011 at 1:54 am

    I second Julie!!
    Great to hear from you again.

    Know all about financial troubles. It REALLY takes a toll on you and on any relationship. Our financial situation is basically due to the fact that I got ill. I no longer have the income I had. In fact it’s now a third to what it was when I was working. And regardless of how much I want I just can’t return to work. Unfortunately. I don’t miss work per se since it only added to my depressions etc., but I do miss the money and the social aspect of work.

    With one of my diagnosis came dental aid, a full coverage of dental costs at a VERY modest annual fee. The fee includes all medical care and once you reach a very modest level you get full subsidies on medical care. I am soooo relieved we have these subsidies, not only for medical care but also for medicines. Without dental aid you basically pay full costs. It’s the prime reason why I haven’t been to the dentist for two years until I got the aid approved. Now I’ve found a new dentist. She’s terrific, very sensitive to the fact that I’m over-sensitive to sound, pain, light. My former dentist treated me like less knowing, ,this one has shown me exactly what need to be done and why plus added that it didn’t look THAT bad that my old dentist constantly did.

    Good luck with the hearing aids!
    I have a pacemaker. It’s tiny compared to its capacity. They are becoming all the more advanced with time. The first ever pacemaker lasted a day, now they last years. The person that got that first pacemaker is still alive btw, some 20 or so pacemakers later. The pacemaker is a swedish invention if I dare brag a bit 😉

    And Julie, all the best with school!

    • January 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      Hi, dear Jessika…

      It’s always so reassuring to hear from people who can identify with the issues you’re struggling with. For us, money is really not a serious problem. It’s just that for college teachers like us, who are paid part-time, we work for a month with no salary. Everything seems to happen when we’re not earning a penny. And trust me, when I left The Toronto Sun, I gave up a very comfortable salary with benefits, but I got peace of mind in return. The place, the sick values, the way people were treated (not me) I simply couldn’t live with … so I decided to strike out on my own.

      Luckily, we don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol and I am not a good traveller. But I really understand how difficult it is to leave the social side of a work place. Why is it that once you leave, it seems all your work friends forget you existed? It’s the social side of work that I miss most.

      I’m thrilled to hear that you receive dental aid and full-coverage. Although we have insurance, a crown is not covered. Luckily, my wondrous dentist is going to accept payment in instalments, which will make things a little easier. The drug coverage is another story. You’re lucky with full drug coverage. I take two drugs for immune-suppression for my transplant (and nine prescription drugs altogether) and our drug coverage doesn’t list those two very expensive drugs, so I need Ontario Trillium Drug Benefits which cost me a fortune, but a lot less that if I had to pay for these two drugs out-of-pocket. So I’m not unhappy about that. It’s just a bit of a shock, once every three months.

      I didn’t know you had a pacemaker. I hope all is well. Did you have a heart attack?

      I send you all the best for years and years of health with your subsidies and your Swedish pacemaker. My hearing aids are made in Norway. The same neck of the woods.

      Thank you for writing, dearest Jessika. I love hearing from you and I’m sure Julie loves knowing you’re sending her the best for her studies. She’s working so hard and will be an amazing social worker when she graduates.

      Are you reading anything interesting these days?

      We should have a blog-fest of great books here. Not just book about mental health but books that inspire us. What do you think?


  • January 28, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    I didn’t have a heart attack, I had myocarditis years ago and over time began I developed bradycardia. It was just a few years ago that I started to faint everywhere and nowhere as the pulse and blood pressure was too low to keep me upright. The pacemaker implant was very simple, 2 days in the hospital. It’s function is tested regularly. It comes with all these technical functions that they can withdraw a graph as to how much, when and to what degree it has been used. Very exciting given that it is less than 2 inches long. If, and this is if, my heart would stop it also holds the capacity of zapping it back into rhythm as an internal defibrillator. I’m in awe of the technical advances in medicine.

    The costs of my medicines seems a dab prohibitive. The antiseizure medicine I take to keep the mania in check is, in dollars, 250 dollars a month, the antidepressant somwhat cheaper. But then add other medicine and a trip to the pharmacy can wind up a bill of 1000 dollars (had I to pay it). The subsidy is 1800 sek (about 250 dollars) a year for medicines. I usually hit that limit during one visit to the pharmacy. Once you’re there though, you don’t pay anything. The doctor subsidy is 100 dollars a year, you pay a fee for doctor appointments until you reach that level and then it is free. This is a godsend, it truly is. Dental care isn’t included in the general social insurance. It has always seemed odd to me. Health care and medicine should not exclude dental care. There are only some diagnosis’ that are eligible for the dental coverage, I have one, as a transplant patient you’d be covered too.
    Regularly a debate will ensue over costs when people that are blessed with good health doesn’t want to pay the taxes that keep the system going. That’s usually until you are met with illness that would kill you financially within a month.

    I’m reading The Shaking Woman or a History of My Nerves by Siri Hustvedt now. When her father died she developed an affliction in which she shakes uncontrolable, she writes about brain vs soul, as she has sought to find an answer to the problem. Therapy? Medicine? I like it alot, lots of food for thought.
    I love reading. A book section would be terrific 🙂

    • January 28, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      Hi Jessika…

      We’re bionic!!!!!

      I’m so happy you’re managing so well with your Swedish pacemaker.

      Isn’t it great to be alive in this age of technology?

      Honestly, if this was 1911, I’d be dead. Long gone.

      As for drug costs, the Ontario Trillium Drug Benefits program costs me $850 every three months, but the two drugs they pay for would cost me $1,300 per month, so it’s a bargain. My other drugs are all covered by my private health care which costs very little. Once I turn 65, my drugs will cost less, I hope.

      I am hesitant to name the book I’m reading because I don’t want to upset the author, but he’s writing in a way that I wrote when I was manic and it’s resonating in a very unpleasant way. I will persist, however, or change books. I rarely have time to read for pleasure, but I’m going to start. I read The New Yorker every week and The New York Times on Sundays. I’m a bit of a news junkie and I love The New York Times magazine. However, there are so many books, especially fiction, that I long to get back to.

      The Shaking Woman is not yet available in Canada through Amazon.ca, but I’m going to pre-order it in paperback. Sounds fascinating.

      I need food for thought versus food for my stomach. I struggle with eating, binge eating and starving, so I have to feed my soul, more.

      Let’s keep talking about our books.

      I’m so happy your medical costs are so reasonable.

      Sending hugs, health always, and heartfelt thanks (no pun intended) for sharing so candidly.


  • January 28, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    i’m sorry, sandy – i didn’t mean to discount your experience re: dinner parties and your hearing. i just hate to hear you talk negatively about yourself, as you know 🙂

    my sleep is an ongoing challenge….some nights i can drop off quickly, other nights it is many sleepless minutes (sometimes hours), with lots of tossing and turning before i wake up. no matter when i get up, how long i’ve slept, it’s always a challenge getting out of bed in the morning. last night i was nervous about the conference.

    which went well – i’m back there again tomorrow.

    my cast is off, but it will be quite a few more weeks before my foot is fully healed – i still cannot walk pain free yet, let alone do any strenuous exercise on it. but thats ok. i’m driving so that’s whats important.

    and school is in the home stretch – i’m working on my final Practice Research Paper, which is my piece of research. i hope to be handing in a first draft by the end of feb, with final edits and all that done by the end of march. so exciting to be almost at the finish line!!

    • January 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm

      Kudos, Julie, on the remarkable progress you’re making at school. You’re really moving along. I’m so impressed.

      You needn’t apologize. My hearing is my reality. Along with all the other stuff. We all have “stuff,” don’t we. No one goes through life without issues and it makes living a challenge and thriving a joy, in spite of those issues, or sometimes because of them. I often say I’m one big ball of scar tissue, but that’s not true. I’ve learned so much, as have you. Look where you are, Julie.

      Sleep can be a problem for all of us at times. That’s why I find walking my dogs late at night so helpful. But this morning, for instance, I was up at 5:30 a.m. for no earthly reason. Maybe something is bothering me, or a layer of the onion is beginning to loosen and peel away. I have a feeling “things” are percolating.

      Going to a conference can be a sleep-robber. As can the spectre of wakening early if you’re not a morning person. I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying the conference. Are you presenting?

      And I’m happy to hear you’re cast-free, although I don’t like to think that walking hurts you all the time. About two weeks ago, I fell on some cement stairs and bruised my tail bone, so I can empathize to a tiny degree. It doesn’t impede my ability to walk, just my ability to sit. 🙂

      Still, you’re making progress. That’s the key. You can drive. You’re mobile. And I bet you can shower more easily, too. Small blessings.

      Thank you for your kind note and keep up the great work. I’m so proud of you. Spring is coming and it will be so lovely not to have spend half an hour getting dressed and layered to go outside, don’t you think? To see green.

      February is next week. It’s a short month and then it’s March and spring break and longer days.

      Enjoy the conference tomorrow.


  • January 29, 2011 at 11:41 am

    How is your newer car? Nice ride I hope.

    Speaking of reading – I needed a break this winter from my worries – from my thinking. I needed a distraction – a book that would pull me in to it and away from myself. I bought Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars. Gruesome and very real – but wow, what great writing. Truly appreciated the experience of reading his work. And it did give me the pscyhological break that I needed. I can’t afford a holiday – so I took a mind break instead.

    On a much lighter note – and more beneficial in the long run; I have begun reading Emotional Alchemy (How the mind can heal the heart) by Tara Bennett-Goleman. She talks about using mindfulness to discover and deal with our schemas. Another one of those ah-ha moments of self discovery.

    • January 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm

      Hi Sheila,

      Our new/pre-owned little car rides like a dream. I just wish I could keep it clean.

      As for your reading, you’re intriguingly eclectic. I have not really read any Stephen King, but wow, he sure knows how to tell a story. One of the best books I ever read was his non-fiction book “On Writing: Memoir of a Craft” ~ I’ve just never read his fiction for some reason. The Tara Bennett-Goleman book looks intriguing, though. I am anxious to learn more about mindfulness. What do you have sitting on your bedside table? You should see mine, would that I had the time to indulge.

      Tonight, I think I will.

      Hugs and thanks for that lovely dog story.


  • January 31, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    i’m making progress indeed. i cannot wait to be out from under the weight of this degree. it will be such an amazing feeling to be DONE!!! then i can be finished with york university for once and for all. hooray.

    and, i have another exciting project getting under way, that’s just kind of fallen into my lap – well, the idea has. i don’t want to say too much about it just yet, but i will when the time is right. thats why i went to the conference – to learn about this venture, and meet good contacts. both of which i did successfully.

    today has been a bit of a down day in terms of work, but that’s ok, because in general i’m being quite productive.

    the foot is getting slowly better – every day a little bit more. i’m back at the gym now too which is great.

    so in general, things are good. and yes, we simply MUST do that coffee!!!

    • January 31, 2011 at 9:30 pm

      Please keep us posted, Julie.

      Happy to hear about your exciting new project. I’m in the middle of a post tomorrow and I haven’t even begun to prep my class for tomorrow, so I will keep this short.

      Good luck with everything. And yes, recovery is slow, but as long as your moving forward, that’s what counts.

      Keep up the great work.



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