Bite me. I’ll never do “business” with someone I don’t know who solicits via vile comments.
This has been a year I hope to forget. I’ve had endless appointments and testing done for GI issues (starting with a large gallstone that nobody would remove without repeating tests that had been done two years prior with no change in those symptoms), kidney function abnormalities, etc. I’m done. They win. Even though the new primary care doc (different health system) is a far cry (in a good way) from the “healthcare providers” (use term very, very loosely) I’ve seen this year, I am no longer interested in testing, treatment, or being BOTHERED by sitting in waiting rooms and arranging my limited life around waiting rooms. My newish primary doc is a decent sort. But he wanted me to see a GI doc before referring me to a surgeon. Well, I don’t want a surgeon now. I don’t want ANYTHING from medical people in this town. I can use Urgent Care for simple stuff. That (and any trip away from home) requires getting in and out of the car twice for one appointment/stop. THAT causes a lot of pain that generally results in at least a day or two in bed to help the muscle and joint/disc pain.
Sent to current doc after messaging about still seeing GI doc AGAIN, when symptoms have improved “enough”:
“I’m SO, so sorry to be a pain in the ass. Really, I am. I just don’t want to be bothered with medical anything other than the bare minimum to stay alive within the ‘cage’ of my house. Appointments are not worth it to me. I’m buying my own Blood Sugar strips/CPAP junk. My labs were better. That should buy time. Plus, appointments are painful with the DJD and DDD. A single there/back = 1-2 days in bed.
I’m just DONE with folks meaning well, but not hearing that I DON’T CARE anymore about finding out about any new problems. I won’t go to the ER. I don’t care about the gallstone. I don’t care about anything but basic maintenance. I’m trying to wean off of all meds I can. I’d like to spend time not thinking about appts, tests, etc. The nausea is better. I’ve had mild nausea intermittently for years, and that is livable. Belching yesterday’s lunch at breakfast the next day tells me that my gastric motility is dull- don’t need a test for that, and don’t want meds for it. The stomach pain is much better since NOT having to deal with the other health care systems.
If I’m not interested, why should anybody else put more energy into something that doesn’t effect them?
My goals: 1) not wasting what little is left of quality of life in one waiting room after another. Nobody will fix the things that effect mobility (clot history)-and my shoulders are not strong enough for rehab anyway, and the rest of it is just not fixable. After the hell with the other healthcare systems in town not giving a damn about what I want out of things, I’m just done looking for anything else that would need anything done about it. If that means palliative now, so be it. I can’t leave the house in the late spring/summer/early fall during the daylight (heat) anymore. If I have to have anything done, it means hiring “help” and I don’t “do” babysitters. And 2), not contacting your office unless there’s something that can be treated VERY, VERY simply (UTI, URI).
Had I seen you first this year, I doubt I’d be where I am now, but my PCP of 11 years was still here- and she was the ONLY reason I stayed with freaky OSF for so long. I don’t trust much right now (nothing related to you). I hope that changes. I’ve had 2 GB ultrasounds, the endoscopy, and abd/pelvic CT. If there’s something going on that isn’t on any of those, I won’t want treatment anyway. SO why waste anybody’s time? I’m done on the patient rodent wheel. I’m fully aware of the risks.
I’m sorry. “
We’ll see if this is clear enough with the new guy. He’s been reasonable in the past (saw him many, many years ago when I was still able to work, and only left when I switched jobs and had different insurance).
DO NOT MOVE TO Northern ILLINOIS if you have a lot of medical issues and expect decent care from “local” “healthcare professionals” unless you get the one that implies “merciful” (all sold out to other companies and they’re no longer advocates for patient well-being, but profits, but I’m hoping the one I’m with now is at least not terrifying). Smaller communities are being paid bonuses to deny care to seniors and the disabled…so they send folks for tests that are cheaper than the fix… and/or hope that folks give up, since that population is limited in transportation options many times.
Well, mission accomplished. I’m done.
I collect and create reborn dolls. I often cruise through eBay to find used reborn to either collect as is, or to repair/upgrade them (they’re also USUALLY cheaper)…. and I have found some shady junk inside of those dolls. And those are the ones that are actually reborns. Many are just plain old dolls or collectible dolls that are mass produced. None of those are reborns. They CAN be made INTO reborns- but out of the box factory dolls are not art. Reborns are an art form. Those who paint them are reborn artists.
What is a reborn? A reborn doll is a one of a kind, hand painted collectible doll for adults. They are NOT toys. It is not a factory made doll. It’s not a doll from Ashton Drake or Paradise Galleries (those are collectible dolls- and many are very sweet). It is not a “handmade” thing with over 100 available from China.
It takes hours to make a reborn from a blank kit. The paint is done in layers- starting with the veining, base skin tone, blushing, nails tipped in white, eyebrows and lashes, etc. Many are indistinguishable from a real baby in photos.
They are then weighted and stuffed. The weighting is done with fine GLASS BEADS- not aquarium rocks, steel wool, rags, newspaper, pebbles, or anything else besides polyfill stuffing. I’ve actually pulled those things out of dolls I’ve purchased… and immediately fixed. I personally do not like poly pellets. They don’t add enough realistic weight, and take up much more space, without providing any real benefit.
Reborns shouldn’t have eyebrows drawn on by permanent markers. There should be visible blushing. Every wrinkle should be painted. Hair can vary. I personally find human hair to be creepy- but mohair rooted one hair at a time is exquisite when done well. The limbs should be filled half way with glass beads, and the rest STUFFED with polyfil. The weight in the body and head is done by filling nylon knee highs with fine glass beads, and putting them in the head (so it needs to be supported and is floppy IF the size of the doll is realistic with that- so no floppy 24 inch and up babies. Another weight is put in the butt. The head should be fully stuffed with polyfil stuffing. You don’t want empty cheeks. If there is a magnet for the pacifier, it should be placed correctly so that the pacifier fits the face properly.
They are expensive. Just the basic materials cost more than 130.00 just for the very basic doll kit (others cost more), body, stuffing, paint, beads, clothing, magnet for pacifier, etc. That doesn’t include anything for the time it takes, or the ability to do them. Solid silicone dolls are much more expensive. And they weigh a ton. But some are stunning. The ‘usual’ reborn is vinyl (not the same as silicone, no matter how many times the Chinese sellers on eBay repeat it). I typically charge $250-350, depending on the size and cost of materials. That gives me about $100 for my work, which takes many hours over several days.
This is how they start….
And this is how he ended up:
So be picky. Ask questions. If your reborn doesn’t look like a real baby- and I mean REAL, then don’t waste your money. Keep looking. Forever Babies Reborns on Facebook is my page, and where I will post when I have dolls available (studio is being reorganized at the moment).
And I’m more than bummed in some ways, but in other ways, I’m really OK with it. But, considering where I live, and my experiences with the medical folks here, it’s not that surprising that it’s been frustrating. It’s been 16 days since the nurse was here to meet with me for being on palliative. I was told that the chaplain and social worker would contact me, to set up a time to come and meet with me as well. I haven’t heard from anyone. When I called the nurse today, and asked to be taken off of the list, she asked if something had happened, and I basically said “Yeah- nothing!”. She told me people had been sick. Had I known that (COMMUNICATION), I would have understood. Why can’t someone just let a person know that they weren’t forgotten, and someone would be in touch as soon as they could. I can understand THAT. Even a 15 second e-mail… that would have been enough. I could have sent my well-wishes for the sick staff in a reply.
At the only meeting, I was basically told that there were much sicker patients than myself, and what did I want from palliative- which sounded like I didn’t belong. The next day on the phone, it didn’t seem to be an issue, so I didn’t bring it up. I know there are sicker people out there- I used to take care of them ! But this isn’t a competition ! When I mentioned knowing that they had sicker patients, she said that she didn’t mean it that way… OK. that’s fine. Good to know. *thumbs up*
Ended up OK- should I decide later on that I want to try palliative again. But for now, I’m on my own. Again… or is it still? I see the gallbladder surgeon on Friday (with a completely different healthcare system in town)… once the gallbladder is out, my days with doctors will be few and far between. Seems much safer like that, and if not safer, at least much less frustrating.
Well, that’s great ! I’m glad I don’t look like I feel... I’d have to worry about the dogs mistaking me for a fire hydrant or other excretory depository.
I’m not sure what THIS looks like:
– autonomic dysfunction: inconsistent regulation of blood pressure, heart rate, temperature
– diabetes w/complications on insulin
– degenerative joint disease (with one shoulder now having symptoms, both shoulders, both hips, and both knees involved- and no “elective” replacement surgeries because of my history of pulmonary emboli).
– degenerative disc disease, from cervical spine to sacral spine (or neck to butt)
– severe fibromyalgia
– carpal tunnel
– peripheral neuropathy (progressive sensory, diabetic amyotrophy)
– nocturnal epilepsy
– neurocardiogenic syncope/POTS (related to autonomic dysfunction/dysautonomia)
– GERD (fairly severe)
– epigastric hernia (vs. ventral- still getting worked up)
– sleep apnea
– diabetic nerve pain (feels like thighs are on fire, or hot needles in feet)
– defeated patient with little hope of getting anything addressed without some sort of support.
And I’m not sure how ‘visible’ my history is, either:
– APL (acute promyelocytic leukemia)
– acute, subacute, and chronic pulmonary emboli in all three lobes of my right lung and right pulmonary artery
– multiple concussions
– mild stroke
– hydration issues
– kidney injury (related to dehydration)
– sepsis (r/t pyelonephritis, cancer, and post knee replacement UTI)
– and I’m sure things I’m forgetting, including several surgeries.
Now add a doctor for nearly each of those, who don’t talk to each other. I’m supposed to manage it all, AND manage the communication (or lack thereof) between doctors. BTDT, and it ain’t working ! My job is to be a compliant patient. But how can I be compliant when decisions are being made without any input from myself, and the doctors not communicating with each other before ragging on me? I get to be a participant in my own life !! If not, I can’t work with that physician/NP/PA/XYZ. I can’t trust anybody who won’t hear MY concerns. The first part of assessment is focusing on the issue at hand- and that includes patient concerns. LISTEN- it’s cheap and used to be fairly standard.
Otherwise, if I’m not a part of my own healthcare, why should I go see those who have ME figured out without my participation?
With all of the suicides of notable people in the last couple of weeks, it has stirred up my own battles with depression and suicidal thoughts. Not to worry- nothing ‘serious’ has gone on for years. When the physical pain becomes more harsh than usual, or there are more health scares, I do think about the ‘what ifs’ of a longterm and debilitating illness, but I’m nowhere near that.
“Flaws” were never discussed in my home, even after I’d talked briefly with our pastor about suicide when I was in 8th grade. There were some hard times in high school. An English teacher that I did not have as a teacher reached out to me, and did an old, quick depression assessment. I didn’t do well, and she told my guidance counselor who’d known me since I was two years old. He talked to my dad (the principal of said high school) , who was furious that I’d made some “not perfect life” comment to those outside of our house. I was given strict instructions to never tell anybody that anything was wrong. Verbatim: “If someone asks you how you are, you say “fine”. I don’t care if you have an arm dangling by a thread. You are FINE.” When I worked in psych and alcohol/drug rehab, “FINE” translated to ‘f-ed up, insecure, neurotic, and emotionally disturbed. I guess I have been ‘fine’ a few times in my life 😉
Back to the suicidal stuff. In my early teens, it wasn’t something I considered seriously (mostly because I was terrified I’d get in trouble, assuming I’d mess things up and survive). And I didn’t really want to DIE. I just wanted to feel less confusion, fear, and emotional pain. I felt a lot of pressure being the principal’s kid (some self-imposed, some overt instructions from my folks). Then I went to the University of Illinois after a summer of becoming anorexic. I was a mess. That was the fall semester in 1981. By the first couple of weeks after Christmas break in late January 1982, I was still a mess, with the anorexia getting worse, and being alive felt like torture. With my brain starving, my thoughts were not ‘normal’, and dying seemed like the only way to make the eating disorder end.
By the first week of February 1982, I had a plan, a private dorm room, and the whole thing figured out- except I didn’t really want to die. Plan: I would overdose on the tranquilizers I’d gotten to (presumably) make me less anxious about eating, involve some sort of booze, and go into my lockable dorm closet, lock it from the inside, and also make sure my dorm room was locked. I had been mandated to see a university student health center counselor my first semester there, and I finally fessed up to her. She had the university fire department take me to McKinley Health Center, where they ‘babysat’ me until an adult friend (for a long time, from church) could come and get me- I did NOT want to face my parents. I was SO ashamed for not being ‘perfect’ enough. There was a blizzard that made most of IL a skating rink that February, so it took a few days for everything to happen to get me to the hospital near Chicago. Where my parents were waiting in the lobby (I hadn’t considered them needing to be there to sign me in, since I was on dad’s insurance). They were allowed to see me, then ‘banned’ from any contact for a month until my assigned psychiatrist tried to sort out the family dynamics.
I wasn’t a teenage drinker. I’d tried a few things here and there, but I hated the whole going across state lines thing on Friday nights, where the drinking age was 18 at the time. But that fall semester of 1982, when I finally got to return to school, I was not coping well with feeling like the designated nut job. I tried SO hard to make it look like all was well, but it wasn’t. I started going to bars and drinking 4-5 drinks in less than 2 hours, then stagger back to the dorm. On September 2, 1982, I got back from the bars, and was SO tired, but couldn’t fall asleep. I remember taking the prescription sleeping pills (from shrink I was assigned to at the hospital near Chicago). I just kept taking them (there were 10 Dalmane 30mg capsules left, and I took them all), like some sort of automated prescription Pez dispenser was dropping capsules into my hand, that went to my mouth seemingly of its own accord. I didn’t think about dying, but after taking the sleeping pills, I was told (and stomach contents confirmed) that I then went on to take 50 imipramine tablets. No matter what was going on in my head, my body went into a 3 day coma. My roommate didn’t notice anything alarming enough to call an ambulance until the day after I’d taken the meds on top of the alcohol. I told her I was just tired until I couldn’t talk anymore. I was told more than once that I physiologically shouldn’t have survived the type and quantity of medications along with the booze, and the length of time before my stomach was pumped.
I didn’t want to die. I wanted the expectations to FEEL less intense (they weren’t imposed by anybody but myself at that point). I’ve been in therapy for various things, starting with the fall of 1981. I was stunned to wake up in the ICU at the same hospital where I’d been born prior to being placed for adoption. The first thing I remember was someone putting an oxygen mask on me (then I fell asleep again), and a syringe going towards my crotch (at the time, I didn’t know that a syringe removed the water from the balloon of a catheter that keeps it from falling out. I didn’t know I HAD a catheter… so that was awkwardly confusing). I also remember not being able to follow the Saturday morning cartoons they’d put on the TV.
One therapist would ask me about suicidal thoughts, and told me she would NEVER ask me to give them up, since having that option helped keep people from feeling backed into an inescapable corner. She would ask me to hang on just until she called me at whatever pre-determined day/time she came up with. And that was helpful. She never shamed me for essentially just looking for ways to not feel emotional pain. I never liked “contracts” because I didn’t want to sign something I might not be able to uphold- but the simple verbal request to hang on was enough (everybody is different, and some folks need more supervision, so more formal contracts or even interventions and required hospitalization might be the first step some folks need). At the very least, I knew that someone cared enough to take 5 minutes to call and see if I was OK the next day. Sometimes, when things were chaotic in my head, that external reminder that I wasn’t alone was sufficient.
I hope someone reads this who is a survivor of someone who completed a suicide attempt, not surviving it. You need to know that it isn’t about not loving family/friends enough to stay (or reach out). In that state of mind, people truly do believe that the world (meaning their family and friends) would be better off without them. It’s about not being able to imagine things ever getting better. It’s a desperate, last-ditch attempt to find some peace. But it’s not generally about not wanting to live. It’s about not wanting to have to endure emotional pain that feels like endless torment.
Don’t be afraid to be blunt if you are concerned about someone. Asking about suicide will not make someone suicidal !! The best thing someone can do, especially if they don’t know what to do, or don’t have training in crisis negotiations, is just to listen. Don’t judge. No empty “it’s going to be fine”. And NEVER “oh, it’s not that bad”- that just says “you don’t care enough to try and understand me”. Let the person know that you realize that they are doing the best they can. Let them know that you understand that their pain is overwhelming. NEVER “I know how you feel”…. unless you are in a person’s head, and have had identical experiences and reactions to things, you have no clue. Empty platitudes are not helpful. Saying something like “how can I best help you?” is very helpful. Letting someone know that you don’t have the answers, but will do what you can to help is SO much more helpful than someone who is clueless trying to help someone when they don’t take the time to really understand the situation, and can’t admit that they don’t know what they are doing. If you feel like you are in over your head with someone who is suicidal, call 9-1-1. If the person gets mad, they’ll either get over it or not- but don’t put yourself in a position to have unimaginable regrets if the person can’t hang on.
Carl Edward Chambers is up for parole again. I don’t think there’s a lot ‘new’ to say. He should never walk free. Period. I understand the asinine rules of mandatory release that the state of TX didn’t think through when they allowed for first degree felons to be freed, even if on parole/”supervision”. Repeat offenders and those who have caused bodily harm to another human being have no business being among law abiding citizens. They lost that right with their CALCULATED DECISIONS to hurt others. The State of TX is complicit with what happened to me. All they can do now is keep Chambers contained like the animal he is.
1. He plea bargained to a 60 year sentence, and is not due for mandatory release (again) YET. It’s time he does ONE thing positive, and complete his incarceration (as much as possible with “mandatory-freedom-to-hurt-more-innocent-people” still in play with this case). He’s already botched one round of mandatory release, so why give him the chance to hurt someone else? THAT is my primary reason for continuing to protest his release. My life is trashed, and I’ve made sure I have plenty of options for defending myself. He was very calculated with what he did to me, even stealing my address and phone number from the sister he was staying with, in order to target me. I can’t be the only woman who reminds him of his first wife…. that’s what I was told- I looked like her. I’m fairly standard-issue…. overweight, brown/gray haired middle-aged white woman. Lots of targets in the ‘free world’.
2. EVERY time he’s been on parole, he’s committed a more violent crime. Murder is the only thing off of his resumé, that we know of. Why give him the opportunity?
3. I’m getting older, and have multiple medical issues, to the point of being disabled for over a decade. Because of the severity of what Chambers (I refer to him as Numbnuts) did to me, NOBODY else has touched me. I can’t stand the thought of being ‘handled’ and violated. The sensation of having another human’s body heat and breath near me is nauseating. So, I know I’ll die alone. When I was younger, I always envisioned a life with a husband and house full of kids. Normal. Happy. Fun. LOVE.
4. My parents are both gone now, but they suffered in knowing what had happened to me. My dad read the very graphic police statement I gave, when they visited just a few months after it happened. There is always collateral damage when someone violates another human being. My folks didn’t deserve to have to deal with what happened to me. They lived 1200 miles away, and I didn’t want them to come initially since there was so much going on with statements, meeting with various legal folks and the rape crisis volunteer, etc. I encouraged them to talk to their pastor, or even friends… but my mom’s close co-worker at the time took me to dinner the next time I flew home, and asked if I’d been raped- she had watched changes in my mom, and mom wasn’t talking about it.
Initially, my mom just wanted to know if I was pregnant, and I was- but thankfully the spawned little bastard fell into the toilet at about 10-12 weeks after the rape. I’d never had sex before, so I know ‘what ‘ it belonged to. I wanted nothing to do with it, but struggled with abortion. I am adopted, so didn’t want to go that route… so when the cramping started that morning that I’ll never forget, I was SO relieved to see that mass of %50 sociopathic DNA swirl away forever. Had I gone the adoption route, what could I ever have told that kid if he/she came looking for me ? How could I ever have spun the tale to make that kid feel like he/she wasn’t one big fat felonious mistake? And I wouldn’t lie to an adoptee who simply wants the truth about his/her ‘roots’. That was the only baby I ever ‘carried’…. the impact of the wine cooler bottle that Chambers rammed up my vagina for many, many minutes tore uterine ligaments…. think about that. What kind of force is required to rip internal, unseen ligaments? I could not have raised that ‘thing’ without prejudice, and that would have been unforgivable on my part to do to a child. SO, the toilet ‘delivery’ was a blessing. And still traumatic. Rape….the crime that keeps on giving.
5. The person I was before January 10, 1987 is DEAD. “She” died the minute I knew what was going on… the knife at my neck, and threats to kill me repeatedly did the job. My body may have survived, but my dreams of a husband and kids of my own was gone. For good. I avoided having time available during ‘normal’ social times like weekends and daylight. I worked a lot of nights and weekends for a nice excuse to never be alone on a date. My view of the world was mutated to see ‘plausible risk’ everywhere. I’ve managed to not be paranoid, but I know that safety is never a guarantee, and nobody really ever knows what someone else is capable of. That is my worldview post-rape. There is no ‘safe’.
6. He still owes me a ‘why?’ answer. He could easily send it through the Board of Pardons and Parole and it would be forwarded to me. The lack of any sort of explanation tells me that he would do it again in a heartbeat, and has no remorse. Just another day for him. S.O.P. for Numbnuts. I used to have ‘revenge fantasies’ early on, involving a vegetable peeler, and Numbnuts restrained in a chair for me to ‘peel’ the part of him that hurt the most. It’s been years since I imagined that, as revenge isn’t ‘me’. But it was a way to cope for a while early on. Now, I just want what I asked for with the plea bargain. Sixty years. No more, no less. He’ll be in the TX DOCJ system until he’s at least 88 years old. He’s nearly 60 now- and there is nothing about being 60 that makes him less of a risk. Last time he was out, he had a lawn-mowing business (enabling him to be alone with homeowners any time he was ‘mowing the lawn’). How was that idea approved? He even moved while on “intense” supervision. So intense he moved without anybody knowing. Seriously? That’s “intense” supervision? I was told he would have an ankle GPS monitor and have to give detailed daily activity plans to his parole officer. I guess “moving today” didn’t make the list. Convict + secrets = more crime.
7. Last go around with parole, he had obviously lied his way into the life of some woman with no self-esteem, and she married him. WHILE IN PRISON FOR RAPING AND BEATING ME. He’s still manipulating women. Couldn’t have been honest about what he’d done- or she’s just nuts and passively suicidal. Her grandsons wrote notes on Chambers’ behalf that sounded like someone with an 8th grade education had dictated them. I guess Numbnuts was allowed around kids because he opted for adults to violate. NO WAY I’d let any kid I had be around someone like Numbnuts. Same idea as letting John Wayne Gacy be a Boy Scout Leader. Just not a good idea.
8. I’m a lot more angry now than I was years ago. Mostly it reflects the isolation and no family of my own. Had I not been raped, I would have had a shot at “normal”. Chambers killed me. He killed my dreams. He killed my belief that most people are good. He killed my ability to feel whole. He killed any desire to be physically close to another person. He tormented my parents. He impregnated me and caused weeks of torment until the spawn was flushed. He’s shown no remorse that I’ve ever heard about (but he’s a sociopath, so not expecting much there).
Geez… just thought of this. For 8 years more than half of my life, I’ve been a rape survivor. Still dealing with the aftermath of someone who CHOSE to make his life useless and cause irreparable damage to mine. My life stopped at age 23. And yet 31 years later, I’m still having to justify keeping my “killer” locked up.
I’ve had my medical cannabis card for 6.5 weeks now. It’s been a very educational and hopeful thing to find a natural product that makes such positive changes. For so long, I have been tolerating life. Now I have glimpses of actually having a better life (at least with the stuff I am taking the cannabis for). It hasn’t been all perfect (takes some time to get the dosing right), but that’s operator error and inexperience). For years, I didn’t believe that marijuana could have anything positive to give to the world, and wow… was I ever wrong.
I had been cutting down one of my seizure meds because of kidney and liver issues, but had only gotten down to %50 of my usual dose, because of wide mood swings with getting off of the stuff (I’d dealt with it in the past, so knew to go slow). With the medical cannabis, I’m off of it completely, and have cut down another anticonvulsant by %60- with no known change in the frequency of seizures (they are nocturnal, so I only know I’ve had seizures if I wake up in the morning with the inside of my mouth chewed up). I have only taken opiates two times in 6 1/2 weeks. That’s it. Before the medical cannabis, it was 3-5 days a week; the rest of the time, I just put up with the pain to avoid any sort of physical dependence or tolerance. I’ve had chronic pain since 1995- so 23 years- and while I don’t expect to be pain free (gotta keep expectations reasonable), there has been improvement. Also, I am definitely sleeping better and my mood isn’t as wonky.
The sensation of using cannabis isn’t what I expected. For medical cannabis patients, the goal is to find the dose that takes care of the symptoms without altering psychoactivity. Getting ‘stoned’ is NOT the goal of medical cannabis. It’s more like a ‘thing’ that I didn’t know I was missing, and suddenly feeling like life is more good than miserable. With CBD oil (I use capsules and vaping more than the sublingual oil, but I have used it that way), I do feel a mild sleepiness, and I take the larger of two daily doses around supper time, so that I’m ready for bed at a decent hour. With THC, the doses are very small. CBD is the cornerstone of cannabis pain management. THC is the enhancer.
Depending on the strain of cannabis, the effects are either more sedating (indica strains) or uplifting (sativa strains). It’s %100 possible to customize pain relief with the level of relaxation desired, to make daily life less interrupted by the symptoms being medicated- or the side effects of the ‘treatment’. With traditional pharmaceuticals, fatigue and sedation were the only options.
I have had a couple of times when I overshot the dose (homemade edibles usually), and the feeling of being ‘buzzed’ is not pleasant to me. There is a literal, physical ‘buzzing’ sensation that isn’t painful, but noticeable. The ability to form memories is altered- though there isn’t a sensation of being messed up. It’s a very “aware” feeling, and initially it scared me- but it is fairly easy to take care of with some CBD (I usually vape when I’m trying to counteract any ‘bad’ THC effects, as it acts faster than edibles). But there is also a very relaxed feeling that is welcome after days when pain is really lousy (i.e. taking trash cans to curb, laundry, etc). I’ve decided to buy most of my edibles because the consistency in dosing is better.
I don’t smoke. Anything. I used to smoke regular cigarettes, and did try a couple of puffs from a joint, but didn’t like the coughing fit that seems to be fairly standard for smoking the stuff. I like vaping (steam, not smoke), capsules (yep, just regular capsules), edibles ( gummies and chocolate, and an infused granola bar), sublingual sprays, concentrates and RSOs, making my own topicals, and some homemade edibles (baked goods- easier to get the dose more consistent, at least when I’m making stuff). I use cannabis 3-4 times a day; morning, early afternoon, suppertime, and just before going to bed. I don’t feel ‘altered’ with the dose that is working now. There is no urge to jump in the car and drive all goofy. There haven’t been a bunch of ‘munchies attacks’ (thank GOD).
Initially, it’s not cheap to use medical cannabis, since there is so much trial and error that goes on with finding the strains and doses that work the best. I recommend saving up money (gotta take cash to the dispensary) while waiting for the medical card to show up (took me 113 days to get mine).
Bottom line: this prior anti-weed snob is SO thankful for something that works so well, has few side effects (and those are dose dependent), and WORKS for so many things. It’s not the evil herb that I was preached to about as a kid. It’s not about being stoned, like I saw when I worked as a detox RN. It’s about getting better, and having a better quality of life. It offers hope. It very well could be a lifesaver, as there is only so much constant pain a person can take. I had a doctor tell me that pain doesn’t kill anybody. Well, maybe not physiologically, but emotionally and mentally, it’s an absolute life-sucker. I’m getting a bit of life back.
First of all- and this is very important- in the world of medical marijuana, it’s not ‘weed’, or ‘pot’. It’s medication. This is not recreational usage. For many of us, it’s our last hope for something to help with whatever our qualifying conditions are. We don’t “use” marijuana, we “medicate” with marijuana. Don’t ever imply that a medical marijuana patient is looking for a buzz. We just want to have a life that is a little closer to what is considered normal. This former detox RN would never have considered medical marijuana if smoking it was my only option (though many MMJ patients get good relief with smoking their mj).
Prior to getting my MMJ card, I’d never smoked marijuana. I’d smoked regular cigarettes on and off for many years, starting in the hospital for anorexia when I was 18. I’d quit for a few years, then start up again. I quit for good the day I was admitted to the hospital for blood clots in my lung, back in April 2007. Before my dad died, he asked me if I’d ever consider using medical marijuana, and I told him that if I didn’t have to smoke it, I’d be willing to try it. I’m glad we had that conversation. It means a lot to me that he would understand, and be happy if I found something that made my life better… he always wanted my life to be better, and even though he’s been gone for nearly two years, I still feel his love and hopes for my life after he was gone.
Back to what it’s like to use medical marijuana… The biggest factor is how it’s used. Since I’m not smoking (using combustion to burn the product), my other options are vaping (no combustion- just convective heat to produce vapor), edibles, tinctures, sprays (under the tongue), and using it to cook with in mainstream foods (like ramen, spaghetti, etc). I don’t want regular meals to have MMJ in them… it would waste some of the MMJ since I’m not a fan of leftovers. I know some people sprinkle the decarboxylated flower on foods… but I’m not there yet.
My first exposure was edible infused chocolate, before bed. One little square of a hybrid, in one brand of commercial chocolate bar has 18mg of THC (or the part of marijuana that has psychoactive effects, depending on the dose) which was perfect. I slept incredibly well, and while I woke up with some pain, I went back to sleep immediately instead of tossing and turning for the rest of the night.
Since this is all new, it’s common to not quite get things right. The next night, I tried some vaping along with a different kind of chocolate… and I was zonked the next morning, and while I got up to use the bathroom, take my other meds, and get something to drink, I didn’t get UP until 2:00 p.m. Not the goal. But, lesson learned.
During the day, I’ve tried some of the sativa strains (which are different than the indica, or hybrids). Sativas are more ‘perky’…. my favorite edible for this is the gummy candies. They have THC, but I had no “high” at all, but did have some relief from some pain during the day. There are SO many strains. Check out Leafly.com for more info on the hundreds of strains of marijuana.
I’ve also been using CBD oil for months, which enhances the effects of the THC, and minimizes any unpleasant side effects (which are all dose related). The combination has definitely been helpful already, even only a few days into all of this.
Note to self: don’t decarboxylate everything (heat to release the active components of the flower/buds) before knowing what I’m going to use it for. There’s definitely a learning curve. But I haven’t felt ‘stoned’ at all (just really tired that one morning).
I made my first candy bar today with Girl Scout Cookies (strain of marijuana) and mint chips. Turned out that my math was a little off… but if I break each section of the bar in half, I’ll have a good dose- and it’s a sativa. I’ve had hybrids at night- and now have some indica (more relaxing and sedating).
Bottom line- I feel much more alert and intact than with opiates. I’m still learning a lot, and I’m sure I’ll make mistakes- but marijuana doesn’t kill people. It’s safe to adjust and test to get the right dose. In the meantime, I’ve taken no opiates since getting my MMJ card, and have no interest in them whatsoever. And with the MMJ, there is no interest at all in getting into the car, and risking a low speed chase 😉
After nearly four months (113 days), my IL medical marijuana card came today. I actually cried when I saw the envelope from the IL Department of Public Health, and felt the card inside. It’s my last hope for effective pain relief for severe fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy (made worse by chemo for leukemia), degenerative joint disease, and degenerative disc disease. I’ve been on so many different opiates, been to chiropractors, physical therapists, used TENS units, had steroid injections, yadda, yadda, yadda. This is it. And I’m so hopeful based on what I’ve heard from people who are using MMJ for their qualifying conditions.
I called the dispensary (MedMar) before I started over there, to be sure there wasn’t a need to have an appointment. The guy just asked that I be there an hour before closing so they could spend time with me. I told him I’d be there in 15 minutes ! When I got there, I walked into the lobby area, where an armed security guard was in a glassed in corner of the room. He was very polite as I gave him my MMJ card and drivers’ license. He’s a retired police officer, and said it was a good job. He told me that since it was my first time there, someone would be out to get me. And soon, a kind young man came to the door and invited me in. We had to wait between two doors, until the door to the outside had completely closed- no chance of anybody sneaking past. It is all very secure and professional.
It isn’t weird inside. It’s nothing like “Disjointed”. It’s more like an old fashioned chemist’s office than a head shop (though they had some beautiful glass pipes). There were photos of flowers, and various MMJ terms. It’d didn’t smell particularly “weedy”. Nobody was stoned.
Then there was an initial interview about my qualifying conditions… and answering my basic questions. I explained that I’ve never smoked marijuana before, and had no experience with it. We then went over to where all of the product is stored (lots and lots of options). I’d told the young man that I planned to make my own edibles for the most part, and really didn’t want to smoke the weed, but didn’t mind vaping. I ended up with a nice assortment of concentrated oils, ‘shake’ (ground up MJ that is good for edibles like canna butter, which requires processing), edibles (chocolates and gummies), disposable vape pens, and a bit of “flower” (or bud) to use in a dry herb convection vaporizer, or for cooking. And, I got one package of joints (5 of them) , just for the heck of it- I can always unroll them and use the dried MJ in something else if I don’t like smoking it. The joints are factory rolled, and a lot bigger than I expected. I’m hoping I can put them out after a puff or two, and not end up wasting any of it.
Anyway, that’s the overview of my first trip to the medical marijuana dispensary. 🙂