Saturday, March 14, 2015


When dealing with a chronic illness or illnesses, that condition slowly becomes a person's entire life and effects everything a person does and doesn't do.  Sadly, it's how you identify yourself because all the other parts even the outstanding, wonderful parts seem to dwarf in its presence.  Since 2002, my list of illnesses has grown immensely.  It's as if my body and its functions have been kidnapped and ransacked by some perverse domino effect.  I jokingly tell people that I've inherited all the worst genes from both sides of my family, but the truth is that it isn't a joke at all.

A few years ago after a returning from a trip to Central America, I came down with the swine flu.  It was at a time when the flu was just gaining momentum and was in the news everywhere.  The swine flu itself wasn't that bad, but it left me with a cough so bad that it hung on for 3 months after all the other flu symptoms subsided.  After countless rounds of ineffective antibiotics, I was finally diagnosed with adult onset asthma.  I was told that sometimes a virus like the flu will bring on asthma in an adult.  Although I was relieved to find out what was wrong with me, struggling to breathe on a regular basis wasn't something I wanted to deal with, but I have to admit it was better than thinking I had something far worse than asthma.  During my 3 month fiasco, I had many breathing treatments because the cough I had was so bad at times I couldn't catch my breath.  It felt like I was trying to cough up a lung and because the cough was so severe I even broke a rib from the strain coughing put on my chest.  When this episode finally passed, I rarely had to use my inhalers and I got to the point that I questioned if my diagnosis had been accurate.

I questioned that diagnosis right up until Tuesday night.  I had gone upstairs to get ready for bed which included taking all my nighttime meds.  Shortly after doing my normal routine, I started feeling a tightness around my mid-section.  That tightness increased and as it increased my breathing became more labored.  My son and I scurried to find my inhalers.  Oh my God, (not an OMG, but a full blown OH MY GOD) where had I put them?  It had been so long since the last time I had to use them.  I religiously to carried them in my purse, but I had failed to put them in my new purse when I had bought it a few months earlier.  Thank goodness, I had unopened ones in my nightstand.  By this time, I was in a full blown panic and I was really struggling to breathe, but the 2 inhalers (Symbicort and Pro Air) didn't seem to be do anything to relive my symptoms.

It became obvious that I needed medical attention because nothing I did was helping.  As I struggled to breathe, the anxiety I felt deepened.  I had lost all ability to calm myself down.  My son finally made the decision to call 911 and by the time the EMT's arrived my heart rate was over 130 and my vision had stars in it...I'm assuming that was from lack of oxygen.  But regardless of my condition, I was unable to sit down or lay down.  All I could do was pace and walk in circles while talking and flapping my arms so nothing could get close to me.  I insisted that I walk to the ambulance because laying on a gurney seemed to be an impossible task to accomplish.  Once inside I felt trapped, but the EMT's were versed in how to deal with difficult people making little to no sense. 

They convinced me to at least sit on the gurney while they examined me, hooked me up to oxygen and started an IV.  Before reaching the ER, I received a breathing treatment which helped open everything up and improved my oxygen levels. By the time I reached the ER, I had both feet on the gurney and although I couldn't lay flat and relax, I had lost that overwhelming need to pace and act like a crazy person.  As my anxiety started to subsided, the albuterol left me wired up and dried out so I still was having trouble relaxing.  After being released from the ER in a stable condition and being told I had most likely experienced an asthma attack and a panic attack on top of it, I was left with the difficult task of winding down enough to go to sleep for the remainder of the night.  One might think after all I had been through, I'd be totally worn out and ready to sleep, but you see, leading up to this attack I hadn't slept for over 2 nights.  Insomnia and I have a quite intimate, ongoing abusive relationship.  It's not one that I like or want, but like any person in an abusive relationship, it's a situation I feel trapped in without any clear way out. 

I stayed awake until sometime into the next day when I just couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.  Since then I've struggled with sleeping, eating and staying calm.  I have to admit I'm frightened a lot of the time and start to feel anxious, but one good thing has come from this experience and that's that it's left me more in-tuned to what my body is trying to tell me. In the past, I have continually ignored all the indicators that I was doing things the wrong way.  Just call me stubborn, foolish and hard-headed! Because I have to push myself to eat now, my blood sugar has been better than it has been in awhile.  Also, actually sleeping has helped bring my blood sugar down.  Most people don't realize that many factors effect a person's blood sugar. Yes, a proper diet is essential, but stress, sleep, exercise, medications and other factors effect a person's blood sugar as well.  The trick is to get everything in harmony so your body can function normally.  Although the "N" word is normally negative, NORMAL in regards to body functions is a good thing and in this area normalcy is something I need to strive harder to obtain.  With that said, it's 9:03pm and I'm going to get ready for bed. Let the sheep counting begin...

Thursday, February 26, 2015


When I think of how far I've come from the person I once was it not only amazes me, but at times, I don't recognize myself at all.  Yes, it's as if someone else once resided in my shoes.  I was a person who lived on the edge, had poor impulse control and didn't know the definition of doing anything the safe or moral way.  One might surmise that the fast lane caught up with me and maybe it has...maybe this "slowdown" I feel is in some sense an atonement period or the simple, but harsh realization that much of the time I wasn't a good person.  Although in the past I longed for love, I never found, let's just say I don't feel equipped for it.  The Mr. Wonderful I recently had in my life turned out to be not so wonderful, but I was okay with that.  I think I knew going in that it wasn't meant to be, but I have to admit it was nice to have someone show some interest in me even if it didn't last very long.  When the moment of truth came, it didn't hurt.  It actually felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and the feathers had been scattered.

I think back to when I flitted from man to man in reckless abandonment.  I often lived the tasteless joke: "What's the difference between being kinky and being perverted?"  A kinky person uses feathers and a pervert uses the whole chicken.  I'm not saying I was abusive to my feathered friends, but if I remember correctly a few of my many lovers clucked or quacked a time or two in utter delight.

After my first legitimate heartbreak, I never seemed to let myself fully believe in the forever after kind of love.  I allowed that experience to confirm that true love was a figment of the weak-minded and emotionally feeble. I believed in the here and now type of relationships.  I believed in mind blowing sex with all the wrong people and yes, I lived dangerously where sex was concerned.  I'm often amazed that never came back to bite me in the ass...or maybe it has because now I'm a hermit satisfied with life without a significant other.  I live life with a huge bag of feathers and no one to tickle!

The other night I tried to compose a list of ex-lovers and I couldn't do it...too many were faces with no names. What I composed was a disjointed, unpleasing anthem for the promiscuous. I suppose at the time I knew their names, but who they were obviously wasn't important enough to remember.  I cringed when I thought about how close I came to trying out the oldest profession in the world.  What stopped me still is a mystery...I remember the hotel room and the gentlemen with a heavy French accent, but when it came time to get paid for my services I just couldn't do it.  I was hungry and homeless and living on the streets.  I was young...barely 15, but I knew what I was doing and that it was wrong.  I suppose even though I was desperate I still had moral fibers holding me together.  Now, those moral fibers seemed to have choked the life from me and keep Mildred from being an old, worn-out feather in anyone's hat.  Now, I am, but a gnarly feather duster to be kept in the hallway closet!

Thursday, February 12, 2015


What does one write about when they really have nothing to say?  Some say silence is golden, but in my case silence is nasty by-product or better yet, the waste material of being a hermit.  So why should I sit here and type when my heart isn't in it?  That's a good question and one that can be answered with a simple explanation.  My friends, all whom I love dearly are real pains in my ass and don't know how to quietly sit by and let me drown in my own waste.  They seem to want to read all the tidbits I reveal here via Mildred's fingers.  You guys rock and thank you for not letting me drown.

Last night while I lay in bed wide awake counting defective sheep who couldn't jump over the fence (I even built a ramp so the fatter ones didn't have to attempt to jump over it...after all who wants a bunch of dead or gimpy sheep cluttering their thoughts), a question my sister-in-law asked me a few months ago echoed in my brain.  As the family sat around a table at Helen's Restaurant enjoying lunch together, we all listened to the colorful stories my brothers were telling about the days of their misspent youth.  After several stories had been told, my sister-in-law wanted to know where I was during all these stories and where were all my stories...great questions, but ones that don't have  simple explanations.  How does one go about explaining being "Rudolph" to the newest addition to a dysfunctional family.  I briefly thought about it because at this point in my life giving something that happened a million years ago consideration just seemed pointless.  The truth was that I truly can't remember joining in any reindeer games.  Whose loss was that? The lack of reindeer games most likely is due to being the youngest and only girl and while most of my stories are great for blog subject matter, they aren't really appropriate for casual family lunches.  Fifty Shades of Mildred and a slice of apple pie for dessert sounds delightful!  So I smiled and let my brothers have center stage...a place more suited for them then Rudolph.

After beating myself up for the better part of an hour while I twisted and turned for the childhood I didn't have, my mind jumped back to relive the whole fiasco I had with my aunt a few months ago while I was in Maine.  Does time really heal all wounds?  I really want to know because my heart is still broken.  Part of me wants to apologize to her because I miss her, but the sane part of me knows I did nothing wrong...well, maybe a little wrong by letting myself say what needed to be said while I was angry. Mildred can be a real bitch when she's angry! Many would say my anger was justified and my aunt deserved the tongue lashing I gave her, but hindsight tells me I should have handled it differently.  I shouldn't have let the mixture of being angry about how she treated my mother and I and being physically ill at the time come out so harshly.  I guess if I was really honest I'd have to admit that what really hurts the most is the fact that I'm not worth an apology.  I had to accept the fact that someone I love dearly doesn't feel anything for me. In hindsight, I think all I might have been to her was someone to fill the void...I was last on her list and now I'm gone. 

I heard something the other day that's stuck with me...people who are "collectors" never find love.  Collectors are people who never really burn any bridges or truly end relationships. They just collect people like they're some kind conservation piece. Romantic entanglements somehow morph into long, drawn-out, unhealthy friendships and friendships that are one-sided just remain that way to fester and be a constant source of hurt and disappointment and people who are relatives...well, they're in a category all to themselves. When the epiphany hit me it was like an arrow going through my brain. All of a sudden I short circuited as the reset button was pressed.  I actually lost my breath for several seconds.  OMG! I'M A COLLECTOR! I can't let go and although I do know what love is, love for me has been a fleeting thing.  Here I am by myself because collectors never find lasting love.

Okay, so I lied...I did have something to say after all.  As you see my mind set is in a dreadful place, but you know what?  I remain hopeful!  I really do and in the grand scheme of things that's what's important...isn't it?

Monday, November 03, 2014


From early childhood to present day I've always been a cat lover.  And over the course of my life, I’ve owned a variety of breeds. Since 1994 Himalayans have most graciously allowed me the privilege of living in the house with them and feeding them. I often told people they ate better than I did because the cat food they consumed is Science Diet @ more than $30 per bag. If you aren't familiar with the breed, Himalayans have Siamese markings called “points” and like Siamese cats, they're highly intelligent, have a melodious voice and beautiful blue eyes, but they unlike a Siamese cat their bodies and fur were of a Persian cat.  A few characteristic I've always found to be fascinating with this breed is their love to pose and their need to act regal in all situations.   

This breed is not overly active, but they do like to play and be involved in whatever activity I'm doing. For example during my computer time, I always had company nestled around me in various spots. Draped on the tower when I owned a desktop computer, positioned on the stool next to my desk, strategically positioned on top of the printer and on the back of the sofa positioned behind where I sat, they all found a spot to best “help” me type.  Not only did they assist me at the computer, but they scrutinized all my activities and followed me from room to room. I had about a two minute window of time to return if I left before they'd seek me out where ever I was. If I went to the bathroom, they'd have to “bond” with me while I was in there. It was senseless for me to attempt having any privacy because they'd thump and cry at the door until I let them in. My bathroom time usually consists of grooming, petting and sweet talking them.  Too much togetherness just wasn't a concept any of them seemed to grasp. 

I first got involved with this breed in a breeder capacity. When my breeding days were over, I kept the mother and father along with two males from two different litters about a year apart from each other. My clan consisted of Dixie, a small tortie-point female, Beavis, a very large blue-point male and their two sons, Chewy, a large seal point male and Whitey (Dwight Cat), a beautiful flame point male who was a stereotypical "blonde" in every sense of the word.

Dixie was the resident schizophrenic who developed a strong dislike for her two sons who loved to aggravate her. When her space was invaded she lunged at the violator. The older she got the wider her personal space got.  It was comical to watch the males walk way out around her to avoid getting snapped at and/or bitten. Her "husband", Beavis was the only one she tolerated and allowed near her and although she appears to have a dislike for all other cats, she was always very affectionate towards humans and loved to talk to everyone and tell them about the horrible males she had to live with.  That sounds like a typical female to me! 

Beavis was a gentle giant with the softest little voice I’ve ever heard, yet his purr sounded like a loud motor boat. Beavis didn't need to be petted to purr. Sometimes merely looking at him or talking to him would trigger it. One of the funniest things Beavis would do is growl like a dog when someone would knock on the door or ring the doorbell.  He was definitely the Alpha male and at the very top of the pecking order in all feline matters.  He had a very gentle, loving demeanor, but about once a month he kicked ass to make sure everyone knew who was the boss!  What usually started out as him giving them a bath turned into a kitty wrestling match.  As soon as they'd tap out and show submission all would go back to normal until next time.  It was hilarious to watch 3 large tom cats give each other baths and no matter how old they got, Whitey remained the baby of the family and was treated as such by his entire family...humans included. 

Chewy (named after Chewbacca from Star Wars) reminded me of an Ewok not a Wookie when he was a kitten.  It didn't take him long to train me to his liking and he deemed himself “my cat”.  That position was his until the day he died from cancer.  He knew exactly how to get his point across and as long as I complied everything was all sunshine and rainbows. His loud voice freakishly resembled Chewbacca's voice. He did tricks like a dog and “flopped” on command.  Flopping consisted of falling over and landing with his head on my foot. The maneuver took skill and grace and was funny to watch.  Chewy never learned to purr until he was around 7 and when he finally did learn it was in an erratic, unnatural pattern.   It was something he never got the hang of doing, but that was okay because he after all was Chewy.

Whitey was the baby of the family and the cat Chewy picked out to keep. When Whitey was just a small kitten Chewy kept separating him from the other kittens as the time grew near to sell them.  He tended to Whitey like a mother cat would and never stopped mothering him even when he became an adult cat. Instead of selling Whitey, I kept him because that's what Chewy wanted and Chewy always got everything he wanted.  Whitey was very vocal from an early age and has a wide range of cries and noises he made. His most memorable sound sounded like he was saying “momma”.  This was cute except at 2 am when he got on a rant and would tear through the house running upstairs and downstairs crying for “momma”. Whitey also loved to be “spanked” and talked while he received a spanking.  His favorite "spank me, baby" tool was the back scratcher I keep on my desk.  I would gently spank him and he would tell me all about it with such fervor.

Last night, Whitey passed away at the age of 18.  His mother, father and brother who had died several years ago had been cremated and their ashes had been stored in my closet until they were all buried together early this morning.  Yes, I'm sad, but feel blessed because they filled my life with such love and joy for so many years.  They are and always shall be the cats who loved me. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014


I was just thinking about how quickly so many people seem to jump on the paranoia bandwagon when it comes to things like the threat of a possible Ebola outbreak in the United States or the dreaded, yet over-hyped Avian influenza (bird flu) from a few years ago. They'll run out and buy hand sanitizer and face masks, yet when the AIDS epidemic hit about 30 years ago it was and still is in many cases next to impossible to get people to practice safe sex. Wear a condom? I don't think so!

So what is it about sex that seems to make a person's judgment fly out the window? Does playing Russian Roulette heighten the sexual experience? Do people's keen sense of denial keep them from believing that something like AIDS happens to other people and not to them? I guess it's the same thing with someone who smokes and then is actually surprised when they're diagnosed with lung cancer or people who eat nothing but junk food and sit on their butts and then wonder why they've developed Type II diabetes or heart disease. So what does it take to make people actually connect the dots and realize that health warnings whatever they are pertain to everyone and not just an unlucky few? Is ignorance really bliss or is ignorance a silent ninja assassin?