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Monday, 31 January 2011

Books, Books, Books

As part of my attempts to improve my self this year, as well as my implementing a new diet and exercise regime and taking up the piano I have decided that I am going to tackle the challenge of reading the books, that have been lingering on my top read list for quite some time. As a way of motivating myself to actually do this I have decided that I will keep a list of all of the books that I read over the course of the year.  I didn't really feel that this book list was in keeping with this blog, so for those who are interested information on my literary escapades can be found here.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Almost free from pain, and a (close to) functioning boyfriend to boot.

I did manage to get an emergency appointment with my regular dentist for the same day as Sheldon rang them, I went in and saw the dentist he had a poke around, took an x-ray and told me that the exposed nerves in the damaged tooth had become infected, which would explain the agony I had been in previously, mouth ulcer my arse Mrs Emergency Dentist! He sent me off with some high strength antibiotics and instructed me to return in a week when he would determine the fate of my slowly diminishing tooth. We went to the pharmacy where I filled the prescription for the antibiotics and Sheldon bought me some Paramol to help with the pain. I then embarked on a week whoich consisted of bed rest and mushy foods while in a semi-lucid state as a result of the opioid painkillers.

I went back to the dentist the folowing week now free from the pain which had blighted my sleep just 7 days before and had a general check-up. After a lot more poking and two more x-rays the conclusion was that the damaged tooth needed to be extracted and that I needed two small fillings in teeth on the opposite side of my mouth, but on the plus side my other teeth and my gums are in good shape (not bad for ~10 years of what is tantamount to dental neglect.) Sheldon also had a check-up on that day and after his ~5 years of a similar attitude towards dentists and teeht in general he was told that he needed to have a tooth extracted from his lowee right jaw and a filling on a tooth in his upper left. We booked the next possible back to back appointments with our dentist, the following friday afternoon, to have the necessary work done and left in high spirits with a sense of relief and triumph after beating our friend who had just a short while previously been told he needed 7 fillings and a possible crown (which was later deemed unnecessary).

The day after our dental check-ups I went with Sheldon to his psychiatric appointment, he had been feeling down, devoid of energy and incredibly vulnerable and had been getting increasingly clingy over the previous weeks and a change in his medication regime was discussed with the psych. Rather than the change that we had hoped for the psych kept him on his current medication and also added Quetiapine to the mix. There is however some hope for the future as the psych said that he would like to wean Sheldon of his current cocktail onto a monotherapy, up until recently this would most likely have meant lithium treatment, and infact the psych did mention Lithium which freaked Sheldon out. Lithium has had a very bad press particularly in the way it is represented on television and Sheldon's first thought was of the Nirvana song Lithium, which doesnt exactly fill anyone with a great level of confidence in the drug, as Kurt Cobain was on the drug when he wrote the song.

Kurt Cobain however, is not someone you want to look to for sensible advice or a fair portrayal or any form of drug, as well as being on Lithium he was a well known heroin adict and (for those of you unfamiliar with the work of Nirvana), wrote some of the most nonsensical lyrics know to man kind.

Anyway back to Sheldon, he is not keen on the idea of Lithium therapy, and idea which I wholy support, especially having recently found out that it was amongst the cocktail of drugs which were forced upon my aunt wheh she was sectioned as a result of severe post partem depression following a late stage miscarriage. The good  news is that Lithium is no longer Sheldon's only option as Quetiapine has recently been approved as a long term treatment for bi-polar disorder. Since he has started on the Quetiapine, Sheldon has been a new man, so much has changed in just over a week that I barely recognise him as the same depressed, clingy guy he was before, which is a very positive indicator in favour of its use as a long term treatment for Sheldon's disorder.

On Wednesday of this week I took Sheldon to his GP to get the Quetiapine added to his prescrition script and also to discuss the posibility of a referal to Nottingham GIC in order to continue his gender reassignment treatment  long story short "computer says no", basically due to cuts the treatment is at a very low priority and there is no chance of getting anything done until April and even then it will only happen if we can prove that Sheldon's is an exceptional case, which means we got some work to be doing over the next few months. On the upsode however it means that I finally managed to convince Sheldon to book a place on the local areas Life in Trans conference next month ( something which I've only been bugging him to do since before christmas) so things are heading in the right direction.

On Friday Sheldon and I headed back to the dentist and I was terrified about what was going to happen, luckily the dentist was really good. He suggested that I should go before Sheldon rather than watching him gettin work done, which would likely make me more nervous. I got into the chair plugged in my headphones and started listening to Eddie Izzard, this was a suggestion that I found on a dental phobics website to help distract form whats going on and mask the dentist noises. The dentist gave me the necessary lidocaine injections to numb the area around the tooth that he was to remove which was ok, the only time I experienced any pain was when he gave me an injection in my lower pallet which I think caught my salivary gland. I was shaking like a leaf though, even with Sheldon there to hold my hand. In the end the dentist decided that he wasn't willing to extract the tooth there under local anaesthetic, as he didn't want me to have a bad experience which would put me off returning for check-ups in the future. Instead he drilled out the pulp and the majority of the nerves from within the tooth and gave me a temporary filling with zinc oxide which will slowly kill off the remaining nerve within the tooth, he will check the tooth when I go back for a check-up and decide whether it still needs to come out or if a permanent filling would be sufficient, if the tooth does need to be removed then he said that he will refer me to the hosital to have it removed under general anaesthetic  He looked at the teeth on the other side and put a small temporary filling in one and said that as they were only small holes he would prescribe me some high fluoride toothpast and leave it until my next check-up to do the work that was needed there. He made me leave the room while Sheldon had the work done that he needed doing. We both headed home, via Mcdonalds to get some nice cold milkshakes and the supermarket to buy some ice cream.

We're both slightly swollen and in a bit of pain but that will all fade in a few days and we'll back to functionality, or as close an approximation of functionallity as we've ever managed.

After all this hassle we were both looking forward to a quiet weekend at home, watching some tv, catching up on some lost sleep, and just generally spending some quality time together. That however was not to be the case as both saturday and now sunday evening have been spent dealing with the problems of our families who are 50 and 200 miles away respectively.

On saturday Sheldon's mother rang and while they were talking things got on to the subject of Sheldon's sister and the fact that she wants to loose some weight. She in no way needs to loose any weight so we were all perplexed as to why she had decided that she needed to. While Sheldon was talking to his mother about ways that she could help his sister to loose weight ( his mother likes her comfort food so often buys them in and his sister has no will power so if theres junk food in the house she will eat it) I spoke to his sister and found out why it was she wanted to loose weight, she will be leaving high school in the summer, has bought a beautiful dress for her prow which currently doesn't fit her around the stomach area. I gave her some general advice about eating sensibly and told her of some exercises which will help to tone her stomach area. She also told me that she often eats because she feels sad and that she didn't know what to do other than eat when she feels like this. I gave her a number of alternatives to comfort eating and made her promise to talk to one of her friends or to call me or Sheldon if she feels sad so that she wasn't bottling up her feelings and turning to food as her only source of comfort. After that Sheldon hung up the phone and mother and daughter had a conversation which ended up with them both crying, Sheldon's mum saying that she was useless and me continuing to play agony aunt to a 15 year old girl with some rather serious self esteme issues and maladaptive coping mechanisms. When that was all over we were   both drained and headed off to bed.

Today Sheldon wasn't feeling to good so I left him in bed to catch up on some much needed sleep while I did our laundry. I eventually managed to coax him out of bed and convinced him to have something to eat and we sat and had a chat for a bit, until the phone rang and for the second day in a row our plans for a quiet evening in front of the TV went out of the window.

This time round it was my mother with a sob story that her purse had been stolen out of her handbag and that either my younger brother or my father was responsible for its disappearance. I rang both my brother and my father, and asked if either of them knew anything about the purses whereabouts, they both swore blind that they didn't so I asked them both to have a look around the house for it. Later on my mother phoned me back and said that she had reported it to the police I said good for her and that it could be the police's problem and not mine before sending my brother and father text messages telling them that I have had enough of their relying on me as some sort of all powerful mediator as I had enough on my plate dealing with my own life without having to sort out their issues as well. I would have gotten more involved and made some sort of attempt at ensuring a solution, but its not the first time this has happened. My mother has the memory of a seive and often misplaces her purse, where in she will accuse everyone in the vicinty of stealing it, before finding it exactly where she left it. On the othert hand both my brother and my father have form when it comes to not only theft in general, but specifically when it comes to stealing money from my mother. I don't know who is telloing me the truth and who is stringing me a line and I have neither the energy or the inclination to try and work it out, so I'm gonna leave them all to it.

I'm now going to go and enjoy whats left of my quiet weekend at home with my boyfriend before Monday arrives bringing with it yet more issues that we have to solve.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Feel the Pain and do it Reluctantly

It now 5:30 in the morning and I have been been awake pretty much constantly for the last 50+ hours. Not as a result of one of my usual bouts of insomnia, oh that it were but no, but as a result of chronic toothache. To many people toothache may not seem like a big deal, some painkillers maybe a quick trip to the dentist and problem solved, but for me it is not that simple. I have a severe dental phobia and as a result have not seen a dentist in about 10 years. This phobia results from several very bad experiences with both general dentistry and dental surgery as a child resulting in me having to be treated in hospital on 2 seperate occassions following dental treatment. I am terrified of dentists but I did this morning (following a great deal of nagging from Sheldon) manage to get and more importantly attend an appointment at out local emergency dental surgery. The dentist there told me that I had at least 2 maybe 3 cavities that would need filling but that they weren't in urgent need of repair so I would need to wait until I could get registered and book an appointment with a general dentist before getting them done. She also noticed a rather large mouth ulcer which I#m pretty sure had errupted the night before leaving me feeling like my jawbone was trying to escape out of the side of my face. She gave me some Difflam to stop the pain and reduce the swelling. That worked great and the pain from the ulcer is now none existant.

So thats it end of problem right? Wrong! A few hours after the pain relief had taken effect on the ulcer I started experiencing excruciating searing pain throughout one of the teeth that the emergency dentist told me that I would need to get filled. I have spent the rest of the day since then filling my self with all of the painkillers that Sheldon and I have in the flat ( a cocktail of Ibuprofen, paracteamol, aspirin and codeine) in order to try and get some form of relief this has worked to some extent ( the pain has reduced from excruciating to almost tolerable but it is still unremmitant)but not enough to allow me to get any sleep. I am currently going slowly insane as a result of the combination of pain, sleep deprivation and a mild drug induced haze, and am trying to find a way to distract myself until the dental surgery opens at 8am and I can get hold of them to try and get myself an appointment to sort out this tooth. I'm going to have to wake Sheldon up ( he stayed up with me for a while but eventually dozed off and I'm currently resisting the urge to wake him up to request pain relief in the form of cuddles, but one of us should at least be able to get some sleep) in order to phone them as the pain in my tooth means that it hurts when I talk, breathing through my mouth is slightly painful aswell, the damaged tooth is extreemely sensitive. Hopefully I"ll be able to get seen by either my regular dentist that I have now registered with or the emergency dentist and get someting done as if I loose much more sleep I may well reach the point I reached before where I went wondering the streets at 3am  out of my mind with my laptop but no shoes.

I'm really dreading the thought of having the dental work done but the dentist that I am registered with is very experienced in treating nervous patients and dental phobics and comes recomended by this forum, and I have been told that Sheldon will be able to accompany me into the surgery while I'm having the necessary treatment which helps put me more at ease because I know if something happens that I don't like he will make sure that the dentist stops doing it, the people that I saw at the emergency surgery were also lovely, very acommodating of my nervousness and let Sheldon come in with me.

My main fear with dentists is the lack of contol when I'm having treatment done and Sheldon has been constantly reminding me for the last 2 days that I am the one who is in control of my dental treatment and that I can say no at anytime if what the dentist suggests I don't like. The major difference with dental treatment this time is that I am now a consenting adult whereas before I was a minor and consent was gleaned from my parents there was nothing I could do to get the dentist to stop if I was scared or uncomfortable whereas this time I can or if I can't for some reason I know that Sheldon will whereas my parents wouldn't.

While I have been considering this dental treatment one phrase has been constantly springing into my head and that is the title of this book. Feel the Fear and do it anyway! Considering this though I have come to the conclusion that it is a ridiculous notion and I'm not going to the dentist because I hgave miraculously realised that my fear is irrational and I should just get on with it. I'm going to see a dentist because this pain is severly affecting my ability to pass myself off as a functional human, and what ever the dentist may do to my its bound to be preferable in the long run  to this level of unending paim. On top of that my fear of dentists is not an irrational fear, I'm not a dental phobic, I'm a rational adult who has been caused some not incosiderable damage by dental practitioners in the past and am therefore wary of tyrusting the in future, to quote Sheldon's mother "thats not prejudice, thats informed oppinion" so based of these considerations I have decided that my mantra regarding this dental treatment will not be the well meaning but entirely uselees in this scenario "feel the fear and do it anyway" but rather "feel the pain and do it relcutantly."

Not long now til the dental surgery opens so I'm going to try distract myself with some suitably brain numbing television. Hopefully the next post I write will be minus pain and plus sleep. *Fingers crossed.*

Monday, 3 January 2011

Why do mental breakdowns always happen on a bank holiday?

I did manage to hold myself together over christmas and the new year, although I did want to kill Sheldon's mother on a couple of occassions. Don't get me wrong she's a lovely woman, but she tends to stress a lot and wont let anyone do anything to help her so she gets even more stressed as shes doing everything on her own. Sheldon and I can put up with the stressing and the whinging most of the time but she also has a habit of waking up at the crack of dawn and as we have to sleep in her living room when we visit this means that we tend to get woken up at a similar time (generally about 5-6 hours after we've gone to sleep) and after almost a week of mild sleep deprivation she becomes a little bit too much to handle. It was however still the best christmas I've had in a long, long time. Sheldon's family are lovely and very welcoming and I had a genuinely pleasant and relaxed time while we were down there.

Traveling was a bit of a nightmare, the train journey from here down to Sheldon's mothers is supposed to take about 2 and a half hours, and usually it does, but this time around, thanks to the worst weather we've had for 120 years, it took us 6 hours to get down and 4 and a half hours to get back, a fair bit of which was spent sat in a station midway between where we left and where we were trying to get to which was less than fun. We did however manage it and it was all ok.

Since we got back however, Sheldon has had a bit of a breakdown. He's going through a depressed phase of his bipolar cycle and this is somewhat exacerbated by the stress of all the travelling we did during December and the amount of time that we had to spend around other people. He was really down on New Years Eve and it took a great deal of effort just to get him out of the bed, we still managed to have a good night. We spent the evening at home had a quite drink in front of the TV and played some silly games, it was nice but there was a slight melancholic overtone which coludn't be helped, last night Sheldon got even worse and became extremely depressed after I had gone to bed. When I woke up this morning I rolled over and noticed that Sheldon was wearing his hoodie in bed, which he never does, I asked him why and he said it was because he was cold but I knew straight away that there was something else. He eventually admitted that he had been drinking before after I had gone to sleep and had cut his arm with a razor blade. He said that he hadn't woken me when he had done it because he wanted me to get some sleep as I have been exhausted reently and that he hadn't told me when I asked him why he was wearing his hoodie in bed because he thought I would be angry with him and he couldn't face a confrontation. I'm not angry that he did it but I am concerned, especially as I know that the razor balde that he used was from a used razor and he didn't clean his wounds up after he had done it for several hours until I found out and cleaned his arm for him. He assured me that he did clean the razor blade before he used it but there is still a substantial chance that they will become infected so I will have to keep a close eye on those.

As Sheldon is self-harming and clearly very depressed I feel as though I cannot leave him alone in case he hurts himslef further. I have stolen a few minutes to myself while he's a sleep to write this. He is due to see his psychiatrist in a few weeks but I really think that he could do with seeing someone sooner. We have a direct line to contact the mental health team that deal with Sheldon's care but as it is a bank holiday weekend there is no point in even trying to contact them before Tuesday and even then the chances are that they will either tell us that there is nothing they can do and tell us to wait until his next appointment or if things get worse to contact his GP, or even worse they may put us in touch with the crisis team which is even worse as they do literaly nothing. Last time we had dealings with them was when I was severly depressed and they came round to our home, complained that our sofa was too low to sit on and told Sheldon that maybe if he tidied up the empty pizza boxes from our dinner that I would somehow feel better, I really can't be bothered with dealing with them and if that is all that the mental health team suggest I may well just tell them not to bother and deal with it myself until we can see Sheldon's psych.

I'm exhausted and don't know how well I'll manage it, but I'm going to have to keep myself together for Sheldon's sake. I have already been through the flat and hidden all of the alcohol, sharp objects and lighters that we have as well as anyhthing else that Sheldon may be able to use to hurt himself and I am going to be keeping my eye on him at all times to make sure that he doesn't do anything that might put himself at risk. This will be difficult as it means that I'll have to be awake when Sheldon's awake and sleep when he sleeps which isn't usually the case as I usually go to sleep and wake up before he does but I'll cope, I have to cope for Sheldon's sake as theres noone else whos going to help keep him safe.

I feel as though I'm waffling now, which I probably am so I'm gonna go and try to get some sleep.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope you've had a better start to the new year than we have.